Sunday, January 27, 2008

R-Hall, Our hall

As Shakespeare has taught us all, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 1-2) And likewise most would probably say, "What's in a building? That which we live in anywhere else would shelter us just the same."

So after living in R-Hall at Deseret Towers--an apartment in which the living room, kitchen, toy room, and den were all the same room, our fridge lived in the hallway closet, we had one bedroom for 3 people, and had to go through 4 doors just to get into our own home--one may think we would be thrilled to leave behind that 42 year old building and move into our new, spacious, two bedroom, living room AND kitchen-ed home. But I've found myself aching for R-Hall, and dreading it's demolition. I was truly attached to R-Hall.

R-Hall prior to demolition
I was so in love with R-Hall I couldn't handle watching a single day of demolition. I've been avoiding 9th East this past month while they bring 'er down. So I was happy to see that they are finally finished and R-Hall is gone.

Now as I drive by and look I can see only memories, and can remember why this building has grown to mean so very, very much to me:

*Eric and I moved in 12 days after we got married.
*We lived there for 3 years and 26 days--the 2nd longest place of residence in my life.
*I spent 18 months of those 3 years pregnant with our 2 beautiful babies.
*I brought Viana home to R-Hall, and missed bringing Brooke home to R-Hall by 1 day.
*Viana took her first bath in R-Hall, learned to crawl in R-Hall, learned to walk in R-Hall, etc.
*I could go out into the lobby whenever I wanted to play pool, or invite my friends over to do the same.
*For a while we even had a ping-pong table in the lobby.
*I could do laundry by myself...all I had to do was take the elevator down to the basement.
*I made life long friends in my RAs in R-Hall.
-Chris Killion is both my and Eric's brother.
-I will treasure the nights of laughter held with Steve Holden.
-Never forgotten will be the discussions with Steve Stapley, sometimes heated, but always friendly. Not to mention he could solve anyone's problems.
-Russ Lee gained so much of my respect and admiration that he darned well better marry someone who knows how amazing he is and can equal him.
*Every time we walked outside our apartment I would try and peek in through the blinds to make sure no residents could do the same.
*Really, our fridge was in the hallway closet.
*I did not like having to clean the guestroom. But I did love being able to invite our dear friends, like the Killians and Harris', and our family members, even Grandma and Grandpa Norton and Aunt Janet, to stay right across the hall.
*I learned how to love 264 boys at one time, and then how to love 528 boys once my first year left and the second year moved in.
*R-Hall were the days when I would hang Sister Carter's Heart-to-Hearters in the bathroom stalls. Residents would call me, run to my office, write me letters, tell my RAs, and even post notes on my bedroom door to try and be the first to answer the movie quote of the week.
*Favorite were the times when Steven Chao followed me around cleaning checks as I passed my judgements with a video camera in hopes his floor would win the clean sweep.
*How touched I still am when I look over the individual thank you notes an entire floor left for me in their rooms during one set of cleaning checks.
*How motherly I felt when Pete Bird and I, after forming a dear relationship, came down in his pjs to my office, sick as a dog, hoping I could offer my love and advice to make him feel better.
*I was such a proud wife when residents would come knock on the door, and ask if Bro. Carter could teach them how to administer their first priesthood blessing, or even come with them to help.
*As an educator, I treasure the conversation had with Bradley King on how to mediate and dialogue with his roommate, rather than taking the easy way out and moving.
*I loved hearing over and over again, "You know everyone's name!" "How do you remember everyone's name?" "Thanks for knowing my name!"
*Impressed and amazed at the level of Mike McNeil, Bryce Moulton, Jeff Swift, and Brandon Roman, just to name a few. We're talking future leaders of the church and America.
*Flattered when resident after resident would come to stew date ideas and Homecoming proposals with me.
*Loved talking through his upcoming mission with a certain Pete and his dilemma over the girlfriend mostly sold on waiting...then having a pretty good chuckle when this same girl married a very different R-Hall resident two years later.
*Loved being Santa Claus for a very troubled and somewhat homeless resident who found himself all alone in R-Hall on Christmas.
*Recognizing potential in residents. Breaking through barriers they thought they needed.
*Having so many fun building activities, including pumpkin bowling down 2nd floor's hall, Momma Mish nights, Safety Week silent auction (that wasn't so silent), window painting contests, capture the flag vs. Q, and many others with plenty of food.
*Posting mission calls on my missionary board just as fast as they came in.
*Later getting letters from these missionaries from out in the big, big world.
*Having residents stop by in the summer or fall right before they went into the MTC to say their good-byes.
*Seeing these 18 year old boys come in August and leave as men in April. (most of them)
*My favorite lesson learned from R-Hall came last October. I now understand what Christ-like love is, when I developed just that for one of the least likely and most dis-liked residents, but honestly the most deserving and needy. I will forever hold that "A-HA!" moment in my heart as one of my most cherished growing moments. To see this resident, that frustrated so many people, the way that Jesus Christ saw him was eye-opening and humbling.

So yes, R-Hall was just an old building that provided a bed and roof over-head to well over 120,000 people throughout the years (including students, summer conferences, and maybe some MTC missionaries at one point), to me it was home. A place of growing. A place of learning. A place of safety. A place of family. A place of love.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crazy, but Happy

Us Carters have been having a fairly CRAZY couple of weeks. Nothing too huge (other than our Bro. Ringger visit and Eric starting a new, very tough, semester, and Viana potty training) just lots of little here and there things that keep us on our toes and busy! But, in all this business, we've been able to capture a few happy moments in our life.

This was the happiest day of Viana's life. Brooke has finally gotten strong enough to sit on her own, and therefore ride along in the shopping cart. Costco wins the prize for bulk size everything, including carts. Viana was so tickled to have a seat-mate. However, she eventually smothered Brooke with just a few too many hugs and kisses for Brooke to handle.
Here we are at RC Willeys on Martin Luther King Day. Eric's trying to convince me to get a blu-ray disc player, oh and a 42" tv to go with it (that's the size you need to get 1080p which really optimizes blu-ray). I told him if he could find a tv and a blu-ray player for $500 combined we'd buy it. Though that will never happen, Eric was hopeful as we attempted several holiday electronic sales. (ps-have you seen blu-ray? It really is amazing. I didn't think it would be, but then I saw it and was blown away.)
Another great joy in our week is playgroup. This was Viana's first stab at fingerpainting, and it was a hit!!! Thanks Tori and Laurie for organizing that winner of an activity!

And then of course, with our newly found potty training skill, we've discovered how much fun it is to hang out in the bathroom. Our bathroom, Anne's bathroom (Momma-"Viana, let's go potty before we go to Anne's house," Viana-"No, go potty Anne's house.") Cannon Center's bathroom, Wal-mart's bathroom--pretty much any bathroom.
So, just a warning, if you are ever on the phone with Viana, be forewarned that she could be keeping your company whilst on the pot! (Fortunately for this conversation, she is talking to a plethora of people on her toy phone.) Can I just share a childhood memory at this point? My dad is great at humiliation. Once in High School my track coach called for me, and my dad brought the phone into me while I was in the bathroom! Honestly Dad! I tried to have this scornful conversation with him through eye contact before cheerfully answering, and my dad just gave me one of his goofy, clueless grins like he had no idea why I would be glaring at him. It's not like my coach ever knew, but still, it's the principle behind the matter. My favorite is when people are totally in public bathrooms talking on their cell phone.


Anyway, crazy though we are (in more than one way no doubt!), we sure a happy group of Carters.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When I get to Heaven...

I've been having the time of my life with this silly girl lately...

Yes, that is the pose she struck when I asked her to show me a silly face.

Happily it was followed by this more customary silly face,

and by this adorable one too.

This little girl said something to me the other day that reminded me what I want when I get to Heaven. But first, a background story;


When I was in High School my cousin/best friend Jacob and I were master swingsters. We even had matching outfits that we wore to Homecoming. While at the dance the entire school formed this huge circle around us and we dazzled everyone with our routine. The DJ even announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the King and Queen of swing!" Dream come true no doubt. But was I fulfilled at that? Of course not. So, one day, Jacob and I, and our Brazilian exchange student friend Marcello, were driving down the road. I was singing at the top of my lungs to the tune on the radio. Very seriously Marcello stopped me and said, "CJ, you swing, not sing."

I would say I have been hurt to this day, but it's the truth. I can't sing.

That doesn't mean I don't want to sing though. In truth, I was born with a singing heart. One day my freshman year at BYU I was singing away (I was blessed with a zest for life, I can't help it) not even really noticing what I was singing, and my roommate Shea stopped me and said, "CJ, it's nice that you are singing about me, but could you please stop, I can't concentrate." I apparently had made up this not-so-lovely tune about Shea without even noticing that my mouth was running with it.

Well, since that comment nearly 8 years ago, I have heard little discouraging comments on my singing not-talent. In my heart I was beginning to hope I'd found Heaven on Earth and that I'd gained that talent that I thought would only be possible in Heaven.

Now re-enter my darling little tree hugger into the equation.

The other day I was showering, and-- like I said, I have a singing heart--I was belting out some shower appropriate song at the top of my lungs. All of a sudden the door bursts open and Viana comes into the bathroom and says, "Momma, what's wrong?" The first thing that popped into my head was the fact that I swing, not sing. "I'm just singin' Viana." Or at least I thought I was. To Viana I sounded enough like a dying cow that she was concerned for my well being and needed to check on me. I guess Heaven can wait.

Until then, with Bro. Ringger's visit today, I was reminded of a few of my talents that I have right now, and that I do not have to wait until Heaven, to perfect. Bro. Ringger came to our home to find out about who we are. I got to spend a good 20 minutes telling him all about me. One of his numerous questions asked me about my interests and hobbies. There were 3 I shared:

#1-I can't sing, but I can SIGN. My sister Krista has nimble finger genes. My sister Charina has cat-like reflexes, and I can sign till there's no tomorrow. I love American Sign Language. I'm thankful for my gift to learn it, remember it, understand it, and use it. I'm not professional, or perfect, but I do have a knack for it--and I like it that way.

#2-I can't sing, but I can play 8 instruments. It's been a while since I was in full command of my little orchestra, but in the good ol' days I could play just about anything on the piano, organ, accordion, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, sax, and trumpet. I'm very thankful for that musical talent.


#3-I love outside and adventures that so correspond. I don't know if that's really a talent, but I like to think of it as one. Especially when I remember the trip my family took to San Fran one Christmas, and I was the only sister who wanted to get out of the car to see the Golden Gate bridge. Proof not all are blessed with an adventuresome heart. I also like to think that I inherited this passion from my Grandmother Halcyon. If she were still alive I know she and I would venture out onto millions of "serendipities" as she liked to call them.

So, while I am too often reminded of the one talent I would like, but just do not have, I recognize the hand of my Father in Heaven in giving me so many other wonderful talents. As we are reminded in Helaman 12:7, "O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less that the dust of the earth." This means to me that I could not have created these talents. I know they are the work of the Lord, and I know that I have these talents because He desires me to use them to build His Kingdom and serve His children. And then how comforting it is to read the story of the First vision, hearing Joseph Smith's account of our Father "calling [him] by name," knowing that He knows me, and He know's my name...and I think He even knows of my desire to one day sing and be included in the "University Singers" worthy, choirs of angels.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hooray!

Bro. Ringger is coming to our house on Thursday!
(Bro. Ringger is the Human Resource employee that works with CES. The in-home interview is our final step in the hiring process!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Miracle

Day two of potty training found itself to also be the last. Not because 'I give up!' and 'It's too hard!' But becasue Viana's got it. After day one with 8 accidents and 8 successes, I thought breaking even was pretty good and felt encouraged for day two. But when day two came, and we had only one accident at the very start of the day, and not another one after, we felt great!

We even ventured out into the world.

Now on day three I feel likeI have a potty trained daughter, and that I am not potty training any longer. Even the scarier number #2 has been conquered.
This is meant to be a note of encouragement to all toddlers and their mothers who will one day go up against this brute called potty training. Stickers really work--who knew?? That and talking about our upcoming development for 3 months before it actually got here.
I know that there will still be accidents, and I have a new resident in my purse named Dora. She resides on a pair of lovely teal panties. But overall, I feel like we've expereinced a little miracle, and we love it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Here we goooooooo.....

I think I forgot to let everyone know that Eric is going to be student teaching this coming semester. Whew! We were beginning to wonder last week when we still hadn't heard and the new semester starts on Monday. Pre-service had thought they told Eric before Christmas, but really hadn't! Eric will be teaching at Spanish Fork Sr. High, so he may have some older brothers and sisters of his current Spanish Fork Jr. students, which would be fun. He's nervous about going back to 10th-12th graders, but I know the second he meets his new students he will be at ease and loving it again. So, as far as all the questions about, "What now?" for the Carters--well, now we just sit back and hold tight until April when the next hiring round is.

Today marks day one of potty training! So far we've had eight accidents, and seven successes. ANY advice or recommendations are welcome! Or any success stories of your own! (Hey, I'm pretty sure all my readers can use the big girl/boy potty, and you had to reach that point somehow, so really, any advice!!!)

And here's a little taste of our Christmas:

Viana excited beyond words
Cousins Timothy, Emily and Molly with Viana singing Christmas carols Christmas Eve.
Baby Brooke fascinated by the crinkly wrapping paper.
We went to Washington for Christmas (Eric's house). While there we had 4 generations together! Viana and Brooke, Eric, Eric's mom, and Grandpa Glen.

Brooke thrilled with her funniest present: a Croaking/singing frog puppet.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I guess winter's ok...

It's no secret: We Carter's hold no flame for the winter months. Emotions such as 'despise' and 'loathe' come to mind when you drop the words "cold" and "weather" around us in the same sentence. Our 3 dreams (well, my 3 dreams) are 1) Get hired by CES 2) Get hired by CES and get assigned to East High in SLC(if you don't know why, go watch some HSM/HSM2) 3) Get hired by CES and get assigned to Arizona. 126 degrees does not daunt us. But utter a temperature like 32 degrees, and it chills us to the bone.
Buuuuuuuuut, the cold weather is good for one thing:SLEDDING!
Saturday we took the girls and Charina and Jen (and Jen's sleds) to the little hill in the middle of Wyview. We had a blast!
We warmed Viana up to the idea of sledding by draggin her along on our way to the hill.

Viana loved it, look at that smile in those pictures!Even Brooke ventured down the hill.
The higher pitched scream is all Viana!


In other news...
Baby Brooke is starting to grow hair!! It's adorable!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's Official!

What do...

159.5 credit hours
11 semesters
4 terms
16 Anthropology classes
10 pre-dental classes
5 language classes (not including English)
3.52 major GPA
3.36 overall GPA (to include 2 re-takes, 8 C's, 16 B's, and 35 A's)
12 new family members (through marriages and births)
2 years on a mission
7 residences
8 international flights
7 jobs
4 cars
6 trips to Disney parks
2 kids
1 wife
26 days in Fiji this summer
35 pages on a thesis paper

and

1,217 checks for the thesis grade to be posted

result in???

Stumped? I'll tell you.
A B on the thesis, resulting in the hottest new COLLEGE GRADUATE around! Congrats Eric! I am SOOOOOOOOOO proud of you!