Sunday, January 31, 2010

There is light at the end of the tunnel

The light is now visible at the end of a long metaphorical tunnel. Any faithful church going family with very young children knows just how long that tunnel can feel.

My children are still quite young. We sit in the Relief Society room for Stake Conference. This is a room reserved for "families whose children may become restless during the meeting." All the parents look at each other mouthing the words, "may become!" then snicker. Our children are still young enough that they could be described as restless any time they are awake.

Stake Conference used to really intimidate me when I was a young mother of a baby. It's a two hour long meeting full of droning speakers punctuated with the occasional hymn. Of course if you don't have children this meeting can be very spiritually uplifting where the speakers do anything but drone on and on. They speak with power. They inspire one to be better in efforts to come closer to the Savior. But small children's myriad of activities, snacks, toys, and wails successfully drown out any inspiring words.

Heath and I have refined our strategies to endure Stake Conference with small children. Today I felt prepared and organized. I created less than half the coloring sheets and activities I usually arm myself with for these meetings. I handed things out one at a time, expecting the kids to finish what they started before giving them another piece of paper. In the past I have printed off 10 or more gospel related coloring sheets for each child and stapled the packet together. They were given sole possesion of the crayons which inevitably ended up all over the floor. Five minutes after the meeting started I would hear, "I'm all done, Mommy! What else can I do?"

That will never happen again if I have anything to say about it! So the kids got things one at a time and I held the bag of crayons. It's hard to say if my organization and discipline is what bred today's success or if my kids are getting older and are learning what is expected of them, or a combination of the two.

Gwen sat on Heath's lap calmly coloring or looking at books. He took her out twice to walk around and let off steam. This is big because a year ago we had Stake Conference on her first birthday. Heath was in the hall with her for about half the time. I had her in the hall the rest of the time. It was very frustrating. Especially since the hall seems to be such a social gathering. I'm actually trying to pay attention! Can we gossip later?

Parker colored, drew pictures, practiced writing his name, and read stories. When I could tell he was starting to get restless I held him on my lap. He loves to sit on my lap and have me play with his hair and rub his ears. I whispered in his ear how proud I was of his reverence. He beamed.

Gavin sat quietly working on his Article of Faith word searches. He colored. I love watching him color when we have Family Home Evening or some other gospel related activity because he takes his time and does a really nice job. When he was finished he asked for another coloring sheet. I told him I didn't have any more so I gave him a piece of graph paper and told him he could draw or take notes. He loves to take notes during Sacrament Meeting.

This is what he wrote. The paper is really thin so what he wrote on the other side is coming through.

He asked what else he could do. I told him to turn the paper over and draw a picture or write why he knew Jesus loved him. He wrote the most beautiful testimony. I teared up at his solid testimony that Jesus loves him.

I will type what he wrote.
Why I love Jesus!
I know that!
I love him!
He loves everyone!
Lots of things say that!
That one day I'll visit him!
I know it.
We love each other!
Lots of people love him!
He's important!
He died for us.
What a payday for a mother. For the last several years my children have been in some state of infancy. I have probably spent more time in the hall with a baby than I have in class. I have heard story after story of grandparent types talking to young mothers bouncing a baby on her hip in the hall. The kind words said to the young mother are always along the lines of, "You are in the right place. Don't ever feel like it's not worth it to get dressed up and come to church just because your baby needs to be taken out into the hall." I have been the recipient of this advice myself. The words don't always feel helpful at the time. It can be hard to get up, get a family dressed in Sunday best, wrestle through Sacrament Meeting, only to spend the rest of the meetings in the hall for some inadequate independent study. But it is worth it. Being consistent and faithful is worth it.
My kids have a strong testimony of their Savior. They have a strong testimony of prayer. They know they are children of God. They would not know these things if Heath and I had not taught them through our example.
For all the mothers out there who feel like they are dressing up to have social hour in the hall with all the other mothers with babies . . . for all the mothers who wonder when their children will ever allow them to hear an entire talk ever . . . there is light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't reached the end of my tunnel yet. But I see my efforts paying off. Hang in there. It does get better.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Patent Pending

Ideas float around constantly.  Most of these ideas fall by the wayside but some turn into something.  Recently I read an interesting article in the February 2010 issue of Inc., the magazine for growing companies.  The article was titled Saul’s House of Cool Ideas by Josh Dean.  I learned how Saul Griffith, a fellow thinker, turns his ideas into something.  This is his job and he is good at his job.  He is an inventrepreneur. 

I had no idea such a job existed.  Inventrepreneur.  It just sounds cool. 

Basically Griffith takes his ideas, however crazy they may seem, and creates a tangible product.  From the article I learned that he was the mastermind behind OptiOpia, a company that mass-produces cheap corrective lenses for the developing world, and Howtoons, educational science cartoons.  He started Makani Power which builds robotic kites that produce electricity.  This guy is amazing.  He’s so good at what he does that his company, Other Lab, has been asked to build Terminator 2.  I have never seen the Terminator movies.  I was interested to learn from the article that Terminator 2 is a kind of silver goo that looks like mercury and can turn itself into any form it comes across.  Other Lab is interested in working on it.  They think it would be great if our soldiers had a screwdriver that became a wrench that became an airplane. 

Over the course of my life I have had a few ideas.  I hesitate to even share these ideas since they are not patent pending.  Perhaps they should be.  If someone is serious about trying to figure out how to make Terminator 2, maybe I have something! 

  • Car magnets

Imagine driving along, minding your own business.  The car in front of you seems extra sluggish, panting up the hill on the freeway.  Or maybe it gets caught in some invisible time warp that prevents it from accelerating through a left turn with a notoriously short protected left turn arrow.  You push a button on your steering column.  Your car attaches itself to the car in front of you.  Thonk.  With your front bumper securely attached to the back bumper of the other car, you are able to gently guide the other car through the obstacle. 

Think that’s pretty incredible?  Picture this.  An aerial view of the freeway shows a car driving along in the center of, what appears to be, a hole in traffic.  There are no other vehicles within a 20 foot radius on any given side of the car.  How is that possible you ask.  The driver of the car has enabled the negative magnetism gage.  The magnet is quite literally keeping all other vehicles at a safe distance so all may drive in peace. 

Heavy traffic tracks would be the ultimate mind blowing future of driving.  Think of all those times you were caught in a parking lot of slow moving traffic.  To make matters worse, car blinkers are blinking like a bad case of Turrets Syndrome.  Some cars don’t even bother blinkering.  Optional feature of their car, supposedly.  Either way, cars are drifting across lanes only to slam on brakes, and begin the process of lane shopping again.  As you putter along mesmerized by the lane changing synchronized car dance, you have the thought that traffic would move forward if people would spend less time moving laterally.  And you’re right.  Which is why air traffic control, the guys who allegedly clocked you speeding even though the ticket shows the wrong color for your vehicle, not that I have experience in this!  Anyway, the air traffic control people flip a switch that turns on the heavy traffic tracks.  Like the tracks at amusement parks, these heavy traffic tracks keep all cars in their original lane on a track until the bottle neck of traffic is relieved. 

Car magnets could be the future of driving as we know it.  Inventrepreneurs could very easily make this a reality.  I would have to work on the logistics a little more.  Unfortunately, some may find my invention unethical because it takes away people’s choices.  But couldn’t it be argued that some people could use less choices?  Like mandatory parenting surveys where if you don’t pass you are automatically sterilized at no cost.  That could be my next invention!  Not a good parenting candidate?  No choice in accidentally reproducing.  Think of the money society could save!  I am of course kidding. 

Car magnets could still be an interesting invention.  It wouldn’t take away freedom of choice any more than a Prius does with it’s electronic stability control.  Or stopping when the driver has not paid any attention to the fact that they are about to ram into the car ahead of them.  It can also parallel park on its own.  A car is making these decisions for people already.  Magnets would just be another welcome safety measure.  

  • Telepatienting

Jobs are being outsourced all the time.  More and more employees have the option of telecommuting.  Why not pick your favorite endocrinologist and create a telepatient relationship online?  If Kaiser Permanente is going to pride themselves on paperless files for patients because they are moving patient care into the digital age, then let’s take it one step further.  It’s not just Kaiser Permanente making this switch from paper files to electronic digital files.  Most doctor’s offices are doing this now.  Telepatienting is not that far fetched an idea.

The majority of Americans do not visit the doctor unless they feel something is wrong.  Usually this realization is brought on by such stellar programs as The Doctors or Dr. Oz since we all know the information these programs provide is so accurate and reliable.   Americans also self diagnose using Web MD.  When this site gets to the point that it either can’t help anymore or it has frightened people into action, that’s when people choose to go see a real doctor.  Endocrinologists are slightly different from the average doctor.  They specialize in care of patients who need more monitoring than the once in a blue moon type of patient/doctor relationship most non hypochondriac Americans have.  I see one for my Type 1 diabetes. 

Endocrinologists can be as close as a 10 minute drive away or as far as a 4 hour drive away depending on where you live.  While it’s nice to not have to sit on crinkly paper with your half naked body being poorly shielded by a cloth or paper gown gaping open in the back, visiting an endocrinologist for monitoring purposes can feel very superfluous.  Especially when your endocrinologist has a way of making you feel like your best efforts will never be good enough and you must be stupid to not have your body under better control. 

Imagine visiting your endocrinologist via the Internet as you sit in your pajamas.  You upload all your blood sugars and other pertinent info to the server and he/she/it sends feedback.  Through Skype you and your doctor can talk face to face in real time if needs be.  The endocrinologist can upload forms for lab work which you can print out and get taken care of at your convenience.  The results can be emailed to you.  This should be the future of medicine. 

I really think I have something with these ideas.  As a resident of San Francisco, Saul Griffith is pretty local for me.  Maybe I should give him a call.  And when that doesn’t pan out I can always launch my other great idea. 

  • Reality TV game show for writers and poets

We seem to have a reality show for virtually every other obscure job, creative passion, or disability.  It’s only a matter of time before one of the major TV networks picks up my pitch. 

Contestants will be under the clock to produce an original essay, short story, or poem.  This will be determined by the episode.  There can be a panel of judges.  At least one blunt British judge, one bleeding heart female judge, and some other judge.  Contestants will be voted off.  America can even be involved with the voting off part.  Cash is on the line of course.  In the end there will be one clear winner.  America’s favorite writer!  Let the games begin.

I've Learned

  • Posting video on blogger is easier in the wee hours of the morning.
  • Good thing my blood sugar was 42 at 4:30 this morning!
  • The computer doesn't reach REM sleep if Photoshop or Windows Live Writer is open.
  • My screen saver pictures cycle all night.
  • Sometimes the computer doesn't reach REM sleep no matter what's open or not.
  • I think the computer has the same sleep disorder I do. It's never tired!
  • I've learned that it's very important to save all my work before bed.
  • Actually any time I step away.
  • Sometimes Heath turns off the computer because we almost never do.
  • I don't really care what anyone thinks about how un-green this is for the environment.
  • We only care about how un-green it is for our wallet.
  • But obviously not enough!
  • Sometimes the computer restarts itself.
  • Sometimes it restarts several times a day.
  • When it does everything not saved is lost.
  • Windows Live Writer does NOT auto save like Microsoft Word does.
  • I have had to rewrite many a rough draft because of that.
  • I hardly ever use the New Post button blogger offers.
  • The last couple of days I have.
  • I don't know why.
  • Sometimes it depends on how I want the pictures arranged.
  • I have more control of that with Live Writer.
  • Even if I compose the post in Live Writer I have to use blogger to post video.
  • Sometimes I just hit the New Post button for no apparent reason, like I did with this post.
  • I've learned that sometimes the computer won't wake up after we tell it to sleep.
  • After trying everything (patience, sweet talk, violent threats, panicked crying) we inevitabley have to hold the power button until the computer shuts down.
  • Prayers do not help.
  • Heath's sympathetic shrugs and kind voice as he tells me he's sorry but he told me so does not help either.
  • Knowing he will be back with McDonald's for breakfast (my favorite tiny bit of absolute goodness that he planned to get before the computer turned into a snarling mess) doesn't help.
  • But there is still a small glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that maybe just maybe I will be that one in a million who gets their work back.
  • And I did.
  • Hallelujah!
  • My tears of sorrow turned into holding my breath and gasping repeatedly.
  • Could it be true? Did I really see the Live Writer tab with the title of my latest creation on it?
  • My face blue from gasping and holding my breath as the computer finished waking up completely, I clicked on the Live Writer tab and held my breath some more as the text filled in slower than a slow motion scene in Top Gun.
  • My words greeted me warmly.
  • I cried.
  • Not really, it just sounded good.
  • But the adrenaline is still pulsing in my temples and my heart hasn't stopped pounding yet.
  • I BEAT THE ODDS!
  • And my McDonald's Sausage McMuffin tasted even better than I could have ever imagined.

We're Going to Disneyland!

Last night we got this phone call.

video

I have never seen Heath so excited about anything! He could hardly wait for the phone call. The kids were not as excited as he hoped they would be. Their reaction was a little anticlimactic.

Parker understood right away what was going on and he was quietly excited. Gavin was more cautiously excited. Both boys are very excited to go to Disneyland. Gwen is not 2 yet. She was more interested in watching the video on the camera than actually co-starring in it.

The countdown is on.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I give up!

I forgot to give Gwen and Parker their antibiotics this morning. This is the fourth time I have forgotten. Three nights and now I have a note on their bathroom mirror to remind me so I don't forget at night anymore. But now I've forgotten this morning! It's hard to remember when kids aren't sick anymore.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Kid Funnies

After a long, frustrating thing with kids pointing but not talking I was fed up with pointing. All three of them can talk. Gwen pointed at something on the counter. I asked her what she was pointing at. I think I said something like, "I don't do pointing. What do you want?" She shrugged. Heath and I laughed at the comedic timing.

Animal Morality

Gavin brought home a reading book about squirrels. In first grade language it described the life of a squirrel throughout the year, beginning with birth in the spring.

We spent a lot of time on the page that talked about how a squirrel's coat gets thicker in the fall. Gavin thought the coat was like his coat - something the squirrel can put on or take off. I explained the coat was another name for fur. He wondered if the coat had holes in the face for the squirrel's eyes. Somehow we moved past the coat page.

One page showed a photograph of a squirrel standing up on its hindlegs reaching into a bird feeder. The page said that sometimes squirrels steal food from bird feeders.

Gavin read this page, paused, then said, "I don't think that's very nice. But they're still learning." Then he turned the page.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Because

Just because the weather is sad, foggy, cloudy, muddy, and cold

doesn't mean you can't have a staycation.

Just because it feels more like a pool, they wore bathing suits.

But still got lots of bubble bath.


Just because of this face, along with tears and terrified screams, I stopped turning on the jets.


Even though Parker loved the jets.


Just because it's fun to show off how wrinkly they are getting.


Just because it's fun to act goofy at an indoor beach party


with music blaring from Gwen's boombox.


Just because she's cute with that little tongue sticking out.


Just because silliness is the name of the game.


See?

Just because the water looks awesome in this picture.


Just because this picture reminds me of

this picture.

Just because we are all so in love with this little one.

Just because the background is distracting doesn't mean this isn't a really cool picture of Gwen.

Just because it's only fair to get Parker after I got Gwen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Phone Etiquette

My kids have been playing with phones since they could physically hold objects. They have more old cell phones and cordless phones than they have toy phones, although they have a lot of those too. Gwen loves phones. She loves to pretend anything is a phone; her hand, shoes, other toys. She's too funny.

I watch the kids play with the phones and have pretend conversations. They seem to get it. They press buttons then put the phone to their ear. They make the patented little kid obnoxious ring sound with their voice then answer their phone. They seem to get it.

I have taken the time to teach Gavin how to dial 911. I showed him on our regular home phone so it made sense to him and he could remember it in context. He didn't seem to understand and I started to really fear the day I may actually pass out from low blood sugar or something and Gavin was in charge of calling for help! So I let him call his grandmas or his dad. I told him how to dial and told him what to do.

Kids are funny when phones are involved. My kids seem to always get louder when they see I'm on the phone. Those are the times they save their sibling rivalry for. I love it. When I talk to my sister, who I really need to call but I never think of it at a convenient time, the boys get so excited. They always want to talk to her too. She is a really fun aunt and she will have long conversations with them. Then we both laugh at how cute the kids are. When my boys want to talk on the phone they refuse to hold it. So I end up holding the phone for them. They get this scrunched up look on their face like something smells funny and start pulling away from the phone. They don't seem to get phones in real life.

If we are talking to one of our moms on speaker phone the kids get really excited. They come near the phone and start acting shy or they bounce around as they show off for Grandma, who can't see them. The other day we had Heath's mom on speaker phone. Parker came by and stood there for a second with his goofy shy grin on his face. Suddenly he leaned into the phone saying, "I love you Grandma" and ran off almost before he finished talking. That's another thing. The boys hardly ever say goodbye when I give them a turn to talk. They just look at me.

Sometimes the phone rings and I can't get to it fast enough. The boys are closer so I ask them to get the phone. They aren't super fast since they have to stand on a chair to reach the phone on top of their CPU. Usually when I need their help my Heath is calling radar is strong. He is a patient father. Gavin has finally figured out how to answer the phone. He answers and says, "Who is this!" or "What do you want!" Thank heavens my radar is correct and it's really Heath calling.

I tried to tell Parker how to answer the phone when I was on the couch with a nauseating headache. I told him to push the green talk button. I did not, however, tell him to say anything. I thought I missed the call since it stopped ringing. As he walked to me with the phone held at arm's length so proud of himself for helping Mommy, I could hear this talking coming out of the phone. It was Heath. Like I said earlier, he is a patient father! The phone rang later and I knew it was Heath calling to say he got off the BART train. This time Parker was prepared to answer. Or so I thought. He answered like I told him to but then he held the phone out into the air again. We had a couple lessons on phone etiquette. Like finding out who is calling and telling that person to wait a second while they pass the phone to me! I hope one day the lessons sink in.

What age did you teach your kids to use the phone? Did you have to teach them or did they just figure it out?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring Fever or Winter Doldrums

Spring fever always comes with such excitement for me.  The sun peeks out and my heart immediately starts to race.  All I want to do is play outside.  To end each day with the smell of sunshine on my kids’ hair and feeling invigorated by the fresh air in my lungs. 

For me spring fever comes sometime in January.  Doesn’t matter where I live.  My body is aching for it now.  But there is no such feeling yet. 

The rain has been pounding every day for a good week or more now.  I love rain.  I love nothing more than to be cozy in my house, maybe curled up on the couch with a blanket in front of a crackling fire, watching Nature’s rain dance outside my window.  I would hate to think this pervasive feeling of blah is because I’m bored of the rain. 

Wally Weatherman is urging Californians to have emergency supplies on hand – food storage, water, etc – because he is predicting more rain.  Not just more rain but a Frankenstorm.  A storm unlike anything we have seen since 1861 and 1862, where California measured 8 ft of rain in 3 weeks.  Holy that’s a lot of rain!  This scares me and fascinates me all at the same time.  Rain is amazing and I love it. 

But I can’t shake this apathetic, I couldn’t care less about anything, blah feeling I have.  This is not me.  Yes I hate winter but winter in California is kind of fun.  This is not me. 

My life has become so predictable.  Every day I do the same thing.  I’m so bored of it all.  I need a vacation.  We are looking forward to a couple of vacations.  Yet I’m not excited.  I am but the doldrums are too strong for any real feeling of anticipation. 

My voice sounds hollow as it almost echoes in my ears when I talk.  It rasps when I laugh like some sexy smoker’s voice only just begun to be burned by a cigarette habit.  I love that my kids have learned to share so well.  They just haven’t learned that they can keep their illnesses to themselves.  My throat feels sore in that tell tale I’m definitely getting sick sort of way.  Waves of headaches and nausea wash over me periodically and I find myself trying in vain to talk myself out of giving in to the plague.  He is too convincing and my resolve is starting to melt. 

Years ago, weighed down by winter doldrums, I put on a bathing suit, stripped down my oldest son who was maybe 6 months old, and climbed into the bathtub with him.  I imagined we were lying on the hot beach while the waves lazily lapped over us.  I explained the whole imagined scene to him while we splashed the tub water over ourselves.  And it helped, if only for that 30 minutes. 

Maybe all I need to do is give in to the need to vomit then don my bathing suit and run myself a bath.  It’s got to be better than crying. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Update

I just got back from taking Gwen and Gavin to the doctor for a follow up appointment.  Looks like we're out of the woods! 

Gavin was fever free yesterday.  He went back to school today.  Yay!  The doctor was happy to hear he went to school today.  She said he sounds fine and his ears look fine.  One ear still had a bunch of wax buildup but she said the eardrums looked good.  Then she took out that long paperclip thing and dug out his brain earwax.  I didn’t get a chance to ask but I will assume I don’t need to do the ear drops anymore. 

Gwen sounded fine.  No more wheezing sounds while she breathed.  Her ears looked fine.  One ear had fluid but the doctor said not to worry about it.  Gwen’s still on antibiotics so I’m not worried. 

The doctor could see they were both still coughing.  She said they were fine other than their coughs.  I assured her they sleep well at night and aren’t kept up by coughing.  She said they may cough for another week but they’re fine.  So if you see us at church on Sunday don’t worry.  My kids have the doctor’s seal of approval! 

The doctor seemed very impressed with how well they improved in just a few short days.  She said to keep doing the inhaler with Gwen but by Monday we can stop.  I’m not happy that Parker has allergy induced asthma but his inhaler has been really useful this winter. 

All is well that ends well. 

A Weighty Issue

This morning my scale tipped in my favor.  I saw a number I have not seen in a very long time.  My excitement was real but short lived.  Why did I see this number?  Not because I’m healthy! 

I have been trying to adjust my insulin pump’s basal rates.  Decreasing the amount of insulin I pump into my body has helped me lose weight mostly because I’m not constantly in a state of hypoglycemia.  When my blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia) I have to eat to bring it back to normal.  There is no alternative.  Unless you count hospitalization, coma, or death as an alternative to not eating.  And I don’t. 

Decreasing the amount of insulin I use is not a bad thing.  My doctor has had me on way too much for way too long.  It has created a series of other issues with my diabetes. 

The other reason why my weight is down is because I haven’t eaten much of anything in the last two days.  In fact, yesterday my blood sugar was higher than it should be before lunch so I skipped lunch.  A couple hours later my blood sugar had dropped low and I was able to have a large snack without bolusing any extra insulin for it.  I hate that as a diabetic I have found all the loopholes. 

I recently read that diabetic girls will stop taking insulin as a way to lose weight.  That made my blood run cold.  What a dangerous and effective way to slowly commit suicide with the nice side effect of weight loss.  Scary. 

This all got me thinking about weight loss in general.  The world teaches that a number on a scale determines health and happiness.  This is not true, as evidenced by the above examples.  The world teaches that one must diet in order to reach that all elusive number on the scale. 

The world’s diets have been around since people invented labor saving devices to do most of our work for us.  People moved off the farm and into the house, into the office job, in front of the TV, and onto the intoxicating Internet with all its vacuous content and social media.  People gained weight.  How do we lose this weight, the people cried.  Enter diets. 

Fat free diets.  Sugar free diets.  Protein and fat only diets.  Wheat free diets.  Gluten free diets.  Soy only diets.  Vegetarian v. Vegan diets.  Every diet seems to dictate that some category of food is the evil antichrist and must not be consumed for any reason! 

Diets come and go as all fads do.  Scientists have proven that some fat is good so don’t cut out fat.  High fructose corn syrup is ok because it comes from corn and, like sugar, is ok in moderation.  Artificial sweeteners are the way to go.  Oh wait, they cause cancer in laboratory animals so good luck with your sweet tooth, Diabetics.  Bread is so bad for you.  Actually no, it has fiber so if you do some weird math equation it’s ok to eat bread.  In fact, our math equation will make it seem like you are eating less carbohydrates and that’s the goal now.  Low carb diets! 

Diets are insanity.  All this self righteous hullabaloo about free range meat v. cooped up meat, whether or not the animals have been given hormones, and organic food being the only way to go is enough to make one’s head spin.  Who do we listen to?  Who is right in this debate?  America is fat.  Let’s just admit it.  This really is an issue but how do we solve the problem? 

Diets are not the answer.  Some mysterious berry from the rainforest used as an enema to cleanse your system is not the answer either.  Self righteous granola tree huggers are definitely not the answer.  If I have to listen to one more of those purists tell me I made my pancreas stop producing insulin because of some random food choice I will scream.  For now I’m blogging.  I have to do my share to keep up the vacuous content on the Internet!

The answer is simple.  Burn more calories than you consume.  If America insists on watching reality TV at least learn from it!  If we’re going to watch morbidly obese Americans melt before our eyes by eating a normal amount of calories coming from a variety of food sources and exercising.  If this is what we call entertaining, then for heaven’s sake let’s learn from the show.  Output more than you input.  It’s a concept Americans easily understand with regard to their bank accounts. 

It’s not rocket science.  It doesn’t require a guilt trip and dubbing food “bad.”  I agree that for some food addicts it can be difficult to moderate food choices.  It’s not easy to choose an apple over a cupcake. 

But I believe that the second you tell yourself you made a bad choice because you ate a cupcake you just set yourself up for failure.  Cupcakes are not bad per se.  Eating a dozen in one sitting is not the best choice.  So many people think they have sabotaged themselves because they had one cupcake after dinner then went for a walk.  Guess what.  It’s not that big a deal.  A cupcake reward periodically is not going to be your downfall.  A diet of cupcakes, candy and soda with the occasional banana will. 

When you tell yourself that food is off limits you get tunnel vision and crave that taboo food all the more.  Then when you eat it you feel guilty and emotionally eat it more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  So unless you truly are allergic to a food don’t tell yourself it’s “bad.”  Pamela Hansen, author of Running With Angels, lost a significant amount of weight while rewarding herself weekly with an ice cream cone.  No food is bad if eaten in moderation.   On the flip side, overindulging in healthy food can cause an increase in weight. 

That’s why people need to adopt the measuring cup diet, my husband’s astute innovation.  Actually measure out what a serving is.  Move once in a while.  Realize that you don’t have to join a gym to get exercise.  It’s that simple.  If you want more than that read The Word of Wisdom, a health code found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 89.  Who better to trust with one’s health than God himself?  My favorite thing about the word of wisdom is that it’s not extreme in any way.  It doesn’t berate nor does it bend to the whims of fashion.  It remains constant.  And it works. 

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  I am overweight and I know I’m not as healthy as I could be.  But I know where I am going.  I know what my Heavenly Father expects of me with regard to my health and well being. 

Health is an ongoing journey and not a destination.  That’s the problem with diets.  Of course diets will cause weight loss but the weight comes back on as soon as you start eating again.  It’s unwise and impractical to deprive your body forever. 

So back to my scale; will I see that number again tomorrow?  Possibly.  What about next week?  Perhaps not unless I start making more healthy food choices, eating in moderation, and exercising regularly.  It’s a weighty issue but it’s not rocket science. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recent Miracles

I think everyone handles a loved one’s absence in different ways.  Heath has been going on business trips for as long as I’ve known him.  They’re never long.  He’s always invited me to go with him on the really long ones.  And I have.  Even though his trips are short it’s still hard on me.  I’m perfectly capable of taking care of a household in his absence.  It’s the emotional toll of missing him that makes it hard. 

The dinners I make have become a bit of a tradition.  Heath doesn’t like breakfast for dinner so I make it when he’s gone.  The kids love it.  Last night I made blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausage.  It was so good.  Parker and I were ready to puke we were so full.  Gavin, on the other hand, ate six or more pancakes as well as the huge helping of eggs I gave him and two sausage links.  Heaven help me when that kid becomes a teenager because when he hits a growth spurt I can hardly keep him satisfied. 

This trip did not bother me.  Heath kept saying how sorry he was for leaving me alone with three sick kids.  It didn’t phase me.  Until Tuesday night when he went to play basketball at the church.  I wanted to selfishly keep him to myself.  But he goes for a specific person and we agreed that hour was better spent at church than with me.  Wednesday morning I couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t know if I had legitimate concerns or if I just didn’t want him to go. 

I asked him to pray with me.  He did and I felt a little better.  I prayed after he left.  I begged my Heavenly Father to bring Heath home to me in one piece.  My thoughts were filled with the idea that I needed to exercise my faith in my Heavenly Father.  I was overwhelmed with the feeling that He knows me and that He would take care of me and my family.  The boys and I have been praying for Heath constantly. 

I cried a lot yesterday.  Everything bothered me.  Keeping Gavin home from school and knowing because of yesterday’s fever I had to keep him home today bothered me.  I don’t know why but I felt it was worth crying about.  So I did. 

Through all the tears and endless worrying (the job I signed up for) I couldn’t help but feel that the Lord was there taking care of me, making my burdens easier simply by His presence in my life.  My thoughts went back several times to the spring of 2007 when my faith was tried harder than it ever had before.  I had no doubt then and I have no doubt now that the Lord held our hands through every second of that trial of our faith in moving. 

The miracles I have been blessed with are simple but they mean a lot to me.  Besides feeling my Savior’s love and support, Heath was safe.  He said the client was very impressed with his work.  They gave mixed reviews last time he went but this time they unanimously loved everything he did.  More answers to my prayers since I prayed that he would do well with his meeting and would continue to be viewed as a valuable asset to the team. 

I was blessed to not have to be out too much in a pretty mighty storm.  Was Gavin’s fever really a blessing in disguise?  I don’t know but I thanked my Heavenly Father for that blessing anyway!  One worry that crossed my mind a few times with the crazy storm was that the power would go out or something catastrophic would happen.  Nothing happened.  We were safe and secure in our home. 

I have had friends offer to help.  I asked my neighbor to pick up Gavin’s homework folder.  Unfortunately, she missed the message.  When a friend called and knew the kids were sick, she asked if she could help.  I asked her to get the homework folder.  Unfortunately, her grandmother is in the hospital and suddenly got worse after our conversation.  She was unable to get the folder.  But my neighbor did.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her and her daughter at my doorstep with the folder. 

Another friend offered to do grocery shopping or at least go on a chocolate run for me.  Tonight the friend with the ill grandmother wanted to give me the night off of cooking.  Her husband brought Domino’s Pizza with a salad mix and Diet Coke on his way home from work.  How sweet is that? 

After getting the run around from Mini Med again over my automatic supply shipment, I was able to have samples overnighted to me.  It cost me $15 but it worked out better than if I were to call the local representative.  The reps have supplies in their cars.  But I know for a fact that he doesn’t carry my infusion sets.  Some may consider that to be a strange blessing but it is a blessing to me. 

Skype was how we stayed connected while Heath was gone.  He forgot his phone charger so we didn’t talk on the phone as long as we normally would have.  We instant messaged on Skype and the kids crowded around the computer for a video call.  They loved seeing their daddy. 

These miracles are simple.  Most are.  But to me they mean a lot.  I have heard the analogy that God does things for us throughout the day that are like getting a post it note from Him saying how much He loves us.  These experiences were my post it notes. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

God works in mysterious ways

My kids have been sick for about a week now.  I remember last Tuesday I was so grateful that it was my neighbor’s turn to do carpooling because Parker was not himself.  He slept most of the day after sleeping in, which is so not my Parker. 

My neighbor and I trade carpooling in the mornings only.  So I packed up Gwen and Parker to get Gavin.  Parker said he felt like he was going to throw up.  Awesome.  I told him to stay close to the grass and puke there if he couldn’t make it to the bathroom.  He never threw up but we did go home the second Gavin came out of class. 

Parker and Gwen have had different stages of some nasty cold since last Tuesday.  Gwen was not doing well at all with it.  She won’t be two years old for another month.  That really puts a damper on the medicine she can take since she’s too young.  For the most part I was making her tough it out.  What else could I do? 

Wednesday night she had a croupy, barking cough.  I was panicked thinking she would get croup like Gavin does.  No croup but she did wake up a lot in the night.  Thursday she seemed to be dealing with her illness poorly.  So I called my neighbor and asked if she could take Gavin on Friday so my little ones could rest and not be rushed in the morning.  She agreed. 

By Friday afternoon Gavin was coughing.  The miracle is he never had croup.  In fact, he has shown signs of getting croup twice this winter and nothing has come of it.  Could it be possible he’s grown out of it already?  Croup is a childhood cold symptom and I was told he would grow out of it by the time he was 12 years old.  He’s only halfway there.  I’ll take it though. 

The weekend went downhill with all three kids sick.  I don’t remember when Parker and Gwen started getting fevers.  By the weekend all three had fevers.  Even with all that I felt no need to involve a doctor. 

This morning Gwen slept until about 9:30.  I got her up and changed her diaper.  When I lifted her shirt out of the way I saw red splotches all over her abdomen.  Her skin was mottled with red.  There were no raised bumps.  I called Heath.  He suggested I call the doctor’s office. 

I threw makeup on my face first.  Come on!  This is me.  Good thing because the lady I talked to said it would be worth having Gwen seen by the doctor.  And how does 10:30 with Dr. Smith (our regular pediatrician) sound?  Great!  I had 20 minutes to get four people clothed with hair combed into some semblance of respectability.  We all did the comb and go.  No hair ties of any kind for Gwen.  My hair was still wet from my shower.  I did the ultimate mommy do – a tight, ugly ponytail. 

Of course the red spots on Gwen’s chest were gone when it was time to go.  Heath said to keep the appointment because she hasn’t been herself for days. 

God had His hand all over this one.  I don’t call a doctor unless someone is bleeding and dying and even then I’ll consult my mom, an RN, first!  Gwen has the beginnings of pneumonia.  I think she also has an ear infection but I don’t remember what the doctor said about that.  Her oxygen level is a little low and she is very congested.  Antibiotics for Gwen.  Gwen also has to use an inhaler for a few days. 

After the doctor looked at Gwen’s ears she suddenly said, “Let me look at your boys too.”  Oh thank you thank you thank you.  I only made an appointment for Gwen but took my entourage of sickies because Heath can’t get away from work, especially not on such short notice.  She looked in Parker’s ears.  Poor kid has an ear infection in his right ear.  She was actually surprised he hadn’t complained about any pain.  Antibiotics for Parker, the one I thought was almost 100% over the cold. 

Gavin’s ears were fine.  Just a lot of wax buildup.  I was told to use Debrox to break that up.  His lungs sound clear.  Basically he’s fine to go back to school after he has been fever free for 24 hours. 

We braved the rain some more to get medicine.  You know how it sounds when someone is in the shower?  Imagine that sound pounding against your windows and house.  The rain switches from torrential downpour to sprinkling then back to the sky dumping on the earth again.  We always seemed to be blessed to walk in the sprinkling rain.  Of course it’s sunny now! 

I feel so blessed by my loving Heavenly Father.  Heath is heading out of town for a business trip soon.  Can you imagine my panic if the sink decided to drain all over the floor when he was gone?  How about these sick kids that don’t seem to be getting better?  Now I know why.  All because of some red spots on Gwen’s chest that for all I know were some heat rash.  I’ve been told to give her Benadryl if I see them again.  If Gwen didn’t have red spots I never would have called anyone. 

More proof that there is a God and that He loves us!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

In honor of Marther Luther King June-er Day

We will be staying home doing nothing.  Two thirds of my kids have fevers and it’s a different two thirds every day.  I haven’t left the house since I picked up Gavin from school on Friday.  Since Gavin has a fever I guess he won’t be going to school tomorrow.  School rules say he has to be fever free without the use of medication for 24 hours before he can go. 

Can I just say the walls are closing in on me?  I know I’m a homebody and don’t really like going out but when I have no choice in the matter I want to scream.  I may just brave the downpour outside and buy some more medicine anyway.  The cabin fever is killing me.  Heath says I should pick any restaurant I want, even if it’s a 30 minute drive away, just so I can get out of the house.  We’ll take our crusty faced, gagging coughing, feverish chilluns with us. 

I showered today, put on a bra and did my hair.  I did all this knowing full well I wasn’t going anywhere.  My self esteem was starting to suffer as I ignored my innate vanity to hold sleepy kids.  I need a Diet Coke.  Five or more refills of delicious fountain soda please. 

Maybe Supergirl can help the malaise hovering ominously over the house. 

Supergirl-005  Supergirl-007 Supergirl-008 Supergirl-010

Gwen was alert for only about an hour yesterday and this is what she did during that time.  Had I known she was going to sleep on my lap all morning I wouldn’t have French braided her hair. 

Time to hug my kids.  It’s not their fault they’re sick!  I do love them.  This is just not how I wanted to spend Heath and Gavin’s day off. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

While you were . . .

While people hustled and bustled to get ready for church I snuggled with my four year old son.

While people were wrestling their children in church my little girl slept in my arms. 

While she slept I silently watched my six year old son, the super hero, act out his own comic book. 

While he wanted me to take pictures of him he also knew his baby sister needed rest to fight off her cold germies. 

While I wanted him to get my camera so I could somehow capture the magical moment of my child wistfully sleeping in my arms, she woke up every time I moved. 

While she snoozed so warm, so soft, so peaceful, her brothers played together.  No fighting, no arguing.  Working together to achieve common goals. 

While she was sleeping my heart nearly burst.  One of those motherly moments that words cannot adequately express. 

While my children were so content I thought of their dad.  I thought of how much I love him.  How much he loves me and our children.  How sorry I was he was sitting alone at church while we experienced utopia, if only for a moment. 

While the dirty dishes sat untouched I kissed my baby.

While the world went on with its busyness my world stopped long enough for me to drink in the magic of the morning:

The soft music playing in the background.  The occasional little boy giggle.  The whirring of their imaginations.  The smell of clean hair.  The soft touch of tiny fingers holding my own.  Warmth, not from the bright pink polar fleece blanket, but from her small body snuggled on my lap.

While I wished my children didn’t have to be ill, feel discomfort or pain, I was forever grateful to have them all to myself feeling so blessed to simply hold them.

While you were in church learning of the love our Heavenly Father has for us, feeling His spirit testify of truth, I too felt that same spirit enveloping me with such love. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Delicious Life

Not much to do today. Parker and Gwen are sick. My neighbor very sweetly agreed to take Gavin to school this morning. Gwen slept until 9:00 am as a result. That was nice.

It's almost 11:00 am and she's still in her Spongebob pajamas. Our goals are low today! Parker wanted to eat a ring pop. We had a couple left over from when our previously mentioned neighbors did the twelve days of Christmas for us. On the fifth day we got five ring pops!

I let both kids enjoy a ring pop. I walked by while Parker was enjoying the heck out of his. He said, "This is delicious!"

I just can't believe my little Monk, the kid who used to wipe Gavin's face at the dinner table, the kid who freaks out if anything gets on his fingers, looks like this while eating a ring pop!

This is my other Monk in training. She cries hysterically if any food gets on her fingers. She's not as messy. A little snotty because she's sick but that's about it.

They started posing a little too much for the camera.

Then the hand came out like I'm the paparazzi or something.

It's been a successful day already. For a delicious life just add ring pops.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Dangers of Fashion

Arguments have been made regarding fashion. Is it really attractive? Is it practical? Will it actually cause bodily harm?

The last question is a good one. Think of the corsets worn in the Victorian era. Women wore those things so tight it's a wonder they could even breathe. Ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? Those books described women as cinching their corsets tighter and tighter to create a smaller waist. Laura's mother's waist was so small when she met her husband his hands easily circled her waist with fingers touching. Did you just put your hands in a circle? That's tiny!

The high heel debate has been raging for years. Heels are definitely attractive. They create the illusion of a smaller foot since it's angled up into the air. Most traditional shoes with heels are slim and sleek giving the illusion of a smaller foot in general. Chunky, clunky shoes do make one's foot appear larger and heavier.

While heels are considered attractive, women argue over their practicality. Is it necessary to vacuum in heels? Maybe not but having done it myself, I found it fun. What about bodily harm? Do heels really cause damage to the foot? Stacy London, co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear, adamantly argues that a well made shoe with a heel will not hurt. Contributor after contributor on the show agrees, by the end of the show, that their high heeled shoes are comfortable! Is this really true? Or is it more fuel to the high heel conspiracy fire?

Ladies, I am only one person. I cannot speak for us all. If you have the money to buy expensive, well made shoes from high end stores and you find them comfortable at the end of a long day, please comment and let us all know! My experience with heels is they are actually torture devices disguised in attractive, flattering, fashion.

I like to dress up on occasion. I like to advertise that I really do have it all; the hot successful husband, the adorable kids, and I can look good too! Once I wore boots, that happened to be heels, to a planetarium with my family. My feet were screaming thirty minutes into the outing. We stayed for hours. I started to wonder if I would retain the ability to walk after the car ride home.

Last summer I got some high heeled wedge sandals. They are super cute and they were on sale. Ninety nine percent of women agree that the cute factor of an item goes up as the price tag goes down. They may look good and do nice things for my legs but they worry me. I have trouble driving with them because the soles are so thick. I think of Alicia Silverstone in the movie Clueless every time I drive in those sandals.

"Hey James Bond! In America we drive on the other side of the road!"
"You try driving in platforms!"

One day, I am ashamed to admit, I actually fell down while wearing my wedge sandals. I had my 18 month old Little Miss on my hip. I took a step, somehow lost my footing, twisting my ankle awkwardly. Luckily I rolled with it. Unluckily it caused me to fall flat on my butt. My baby was still in my arms so she had a soft thud of a landing on my lap. She was very surprised and cried. I could not stop laughing. Completely embarrassed and somewhat in pain, I vowed to never tell anyone. After all, nobody saw. No witnesses means it didn't happen right? I finally fessed up to my husband a day or two later. Bless his heart he laughed with me and not at me.

For some reason I attempt fashion in the most painful ways on hot dates with my hot husband. Once it was not only the uncomfortable high heeled boots, but a pair of wide leg trousers that fit fine when I bought them 20 lbs. ago. That night, however, those pants would only close after I put on a gut sucker. Technical term for a panty corset to smooth out one's tummy. I bought that many years ago to go under my wedding dress. After having three kids my body is not the same as it used to be. The "gut sucker" was so tight I feared I was actually damaging internal organs. My fat spilled out on top like some strange love handle under my arms. I could barely breathe while nibbling at dinner. But hey, I looked good! At least I thought I did.

Whether or not heels are medically dangerous is still up for debate. I did buy my daughter six pair of Disney princess heels for Christmas to dress up in. She walks pretty well in them for not being quite two years old yet. Christmas day I worried that she would fall off those things. She gets better every day. It's better she learns now than when she's twelve and serves at her cousin's wedding reception. People told my parents I looked so grown up at that reception. They said I was floating around the room. What they didn't know was I didn't want to wobble in my new pumps so I was walking on my toes.

Is being the fairer sex really fair? Especially when the expectation is to put women's very lives on the line for the sake of fashion?

All bark and no bite?

A month ago I saw my endocrinologist and had a nightmarish experience.  I wrote about it here.  Today I went back and had the opposite experience. 

Why did I go back when I said I was finding a new doctor?  Many reasons really.  I emailed the nurse who trained me on my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and briefly told her why I was frustrated with my doctor.  Then I asked her opinion on whether or not I should find a new one.  She has lived with Type 1 diabetes for some time herself and I knew she could sympathize with me.  As a nurse who works with the endocrinologists in the Bay Area she was a good source of information about my other endo options. 

She said that a good patient/doctor fit is essential to diabetes care.  She suggested several doctors I could try as well as a brief description of their personalities.  Then she left it up to me.  I replied that I would check with my insurance company to see who was covered. 

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about making a switch because the doctors she suggested were so far from where I live.  And how can I guarantee the drive and hassle would be worth it?  The only endocrinologists I have ever seen have been here in California.  I have not been super impressed with either one of them.  My overall control over my diabetes has been terrible in the time that I have lived here.  Is there a correlation between the endocrinologists – so called experts in their field – and my diabetes management?  It’s hard to say for sure.

Partly because of time and mostly because of my agoraphobia, I decided to give my endo another chance.  First I rediscovered myself.  I grew up in a passive aggressive home.  I have learned all too well how to play this card.  I also used to be a pretty nasty person.  As a teenager I never put up with anyone’s guff and I was pretty vocal about my opinions.  Over time I have tried to move away from that person.  I have tried to be more nice and understanding giving people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. 

In the last year or so I have had several experiences that have pushed me too hard.  I really missed my former self because she would have told people off in the moment and not been so passive aggressive.  At least I had the aha moment where I realized I was an adult and there was no reason why I had to sheepishly follow every bit of my doctor’s advice.  So I took control of myself. 

I refused to wear my CGM because I wanted the doctor to see the numbers I see from my meter.  I wanted him to look at the real data and not the overall picture the CGM data gives.  Heath realized we had a laptop that would allow us to download the Care Link software.  That was huge because I could see my own data and any report I wanted to. 

I also decreased all my basal rates and tried to fine tune my pump settings on my own.  That worked until Christmas.  Now I seem to be insulin resistant in the afternoon.  One bad number and I’m high for the next 12 hours only to crash hard in the early morning.  Then I’m low all morning and high all afternoon again.  It’s a vicious cycle I don’t know how to fix. 

Well, onto today’s appointment.  I walked in there armed with daily reports from the last two weeks.  It’s frustrating that he never looks at what happens in a day and how it affects things.  I was prepared to share that info with him.  The nurse saw it.  She never said anything about it though.  The doctor also saw it but never said anything.  In the end that was a waste of time and paper!  Or was it? 

I arrived maybe five minutes before my scheduled appointment time.  The receptionist did her thing and while I was putting my change back in my purse the nurse said she was ready for me whenever I was ready.  Huh.  Last month I waited 45 minutes before I could go in.  I tried to look at my daily data reports and decide what to say to the doctor.  I didn’t have much time before he came in.  Hmmm. 

He seemed happier than he has been in the last few months.  When he greeted me I forgot I was going to be mean and not ask how he was doing!  Stupid I know.  Through the greeting we realize we are both good.  Then he says, “It’s nice to see you . . .”  That was weird.  Did he know I was thinking of not seeing him?  I replied, “It’s nice to be seen, I guess.” 

We move into the data.  He sees how often I have severe hypoglycemic numbers in the early morning.  He sees how out of control I seem to be in the afternoon.  He did ask how I felt about the Symlin.  I told him I didn’t want to do it.  He commented on how it sounded like a definite no.  I told him it was a definite no last month when he suggested it.  I told him the problem isn’t overeating.  I eat to correct lows.  I admitted that I changed my basal rates dramatically but I still seem to by hypo all morning. 

He decreased my 4:00 am basal rate to almost 0!  Yes, the guy who increased all my basals even after I told him that was exactly when I experience the most lows!  Hopefully this change will keep me asleep and not up between 4:00 and 6:00 am. 

I told him I had increased my afternoon basals with no luck and I even changed my insulin to carb ratio at lunch to 1:4.  Pretty strict.  I told him I tell the Bolus Wizard I’m eating a lot more carbs than I really am in the effort to keep my blood sugars down but nothing is working.  He increased my afternoon basal a little.  I’m ok with it.  It’s almost as high as if I’m pregnant.  That’s how insulin resistant I am in the afternoon now. 

Everything was perfect the week before Christmas.  I was having less lows in the morning.  Although I was still not bolusing for anything I ate until lunch.  I wasn’t having any lows in the afternoon or evening but I also wasn’t high!  That all changed at Christmas when I lived on a weekend schedule for two weeks.  So I’m hoping soon my afternoons will go back to normal.  Let’s hope anyway. 

The appointment was almost over.  He was writing me prescriptions.  He went to check on my synthroid dosage.  When he came back in he suddenly asked, “Are you ok?”  Before I could even answer he says, “Because you seem upset!”  I was floored.  I was not upset at all.  I was quite pleased we were actually working together.  He was finally seeing what I had been telling him for months.  I was anything but upset.  That was weird. 

He told me to see him in a month.  I hate that but since I’m doing lab work I decided not to listen to Heath who said to make the appointment three months out!  As I was making the appointment, the receptionist asked me if I had a few minutes to fill out a survey about the doctor.  Weird!  She said she wanted to give it to me sooner but he got into the room too soon.  Weird.  So I filled out the survey.  I wasn’t as mean as I would have been a month ago!  I tried to be as honest as possible but the questions didn’t really address any of my former concerns. 

Did the nurse I emailed say something?  I don’t know.  Heath thinks they saw the blog post!  Ha ha.  I don’t think so but who knows. 

Strange experience.  I found my voice even though it remained silent for most of the appointment.  I think my confidence in my own abilities showed.  Don’t mess with me!  I can be my ---- former self any time I need to. 

For the first time in six months I drove home without crying. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Beautiful Day!

I have two cameras.  One is a little Canon Power Shot Digital Elph.  I love this camera.  It’s small, convenient and takes great pictures and video. 

On the rare occasion when I can’t get to my camera in time, I have another camera.  It’s always good to have a back up.  My other camera is my mental camera.  I take a lot of real pictures but I take even more mental pictures.  Just like Parker, Phoebe’s boyfriend, on Friends.  Only I’m not as annoying because I’m not a Baldwin! 

Since these pictures were taken with my mental camera I will do my best to set the scene.  The kids found the balloons I brought home last night from the Relief Society activity we had.  What I saw when I came downstairs was priceless. 

Gwen was still in her pajamas.  Hot pink stretch pants, light pink long sleeved shirt.  Her hair was a mass of loose curls rippling behind her as she ran.  Her little fist, held out straight behind her, was clutched tightly around half a dozen ribbons attached to as many balloons.  The balloons bounced up and down in slow waves as she ran in what looked like slow motion.  This may be the most beautiful mental picture I have ever stored in my memory.

I have borrowed this mental picture from Gavin.  “It was hard for me to tell if it was a double rainbow or not.  It was before I came in from science.  That’s when I saw it.  It looked like someone put it in the sky with finger air writing.  The bottom one was really bright.”

Today started out cloudy with periodic sprinkles.  Then the clouds dispersed and the sun peeked through bringing warm temperatures and spring fever.  I started to do something I do all the time.  As the clouds dispersed to allow the sun the chance to shine, somehow I turned a corner and ran into a new idea.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since. 

No, I don’t want to share my idea.  I haven’t decided if it’s a good idea.  Until then I simply want to bask in the glory of my daydream.  It’s been a beautiful day! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Here’s to the next 10 or more years!

Heath: I can’t wait until our kids are teenagers so we can make fun of them for doing funny things like that!
(We were watching AFV)
Me: They’re hilarious now.

We both agreed that we are so blessed to have had our kids two years apart. While everything overlaps we get to enjoy it for years. Our kids have been cracking us up for the last 6.5 years but most especially in the last 3-4 years.

Parker peeling an orange: Why are there so many strings?
Me: I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Heavenly Father about that.
Parker: Ok. I will tonight.

Gavin has been obsessed with the process of inventing something. He is working on inventing a phone that invents things for kids who are too young to invent things! The phone includes a keyboard for typing, a computer, and the ability to invent a flying car among other things. Gavin asked his dad if he could have space in the garage to work on his invention or maybe the front yard. When Dad asked how big it was Gavin got out his ruler and declared it was 6” long. He was not thrilled when Dad wondered how something so small could have a flying car come out of it.

Yesterday we had a bad homework day. Gavin wanted to play with his dad and not work while Heath was working. Gavin was so upset that he had better things to do than homework. He had to go shopping for the things he put on his shopping list for his invention.

Parker got Lego Toy Story for Christmas. He is so cute with his toys. He changed the eyes on the car (RC? I haven’t watched Toy Story in a while). I asked him what was wrong with the eyes thinking something was missing because Gwen keeps putting them in her mouth. Parker told me that he put the eyes in backwards because the car was sleeping. Then he wanted to switch Woody and Buzz’s heads so they could be in their pajamas. I didn’t get what he was saying soon enough so he said, “Ok. They can just sleep in their play clothes.”

Last week I noticed that Parker wasn’t playing with Handy Manny anymore. Parker said he couldn’t find Manny. He insisted that he looked everywhere. On a whim I looked in the cupboard in my bench, that the kids aren’t supposed to play with. Manny was inside. Parker was thrilled.

004 005

No, not Little Red Riding Hood. Spider Man with one boot.

008

Wearing a “pretty dress” and “pretty shoes.” Her words.

Gwen's-Imagination-002 Gwen's-Imagination-004 Gwen's-Imagination-001

Gwen would not leave the blinds alone so I pushed them past the bass unit thinking that would deter her. I wasn’t counting on her blossoming imaginative intelligence. She took the bathroom step over to the blinds to try to reach the opener.

Gwen's-Imagination-016 Gwen's-Imagination-017

My new pet peeve is all the computer cords for the myriad of laptops we now have. Heath bought one for like $40 from work. He got the Netbook for free and he has a work laptop. Anyway, Gwen is constantly playing with the cords. Here she is pretending the big black box is a phone!

Gwen's-Imagination-007

I painted her fingernails and toenails today. She is incredibly proud of how pretty she is. I kept trying to get good shots of her talking on the “phone” and she kept showing me her fingernails! She also loves to wash her hands and rub lotion on her hands. I have started putting lotion all over her body after her bath. She rubs the lotion on her hands and then rubs her feet because that’s what I did! She is so girly. I love it.

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Showing me her fingernails while she talks on the “phone.”

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Blowing her fingernails while on the “phone.” I painted her nails and blew on them hoping to get them to dry faster. She thought they were hot like when we blow on hot food.

Gavin: Why do you always have to help me brush my teeth?
Me: Because you still need help. Should we call Aunt Candi to ask her how long I have to help you brush your teeth?
(I think she told me kids need parents to brush for them after they brush till they’re 8 or 9)
Me: It’s too late to call her now but I will call her and ask. What do you think she will say?
Gavin: She’ll say to help me until I’m 7.

It’s been 6.5 years of hilarity already. Here’s to the next 10 or more.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ha ha ha ha GRRRR!

Let me start by saying I love Windows Live Writer because I have no idea why I can’t log onto my original blog to pound out this story.  If you’re reading this, whatever was going on with the blog is fixed now. 

Parker and Gwen wanted me to read some books to them.  Ok.  I read them the Who’s Under the Hat book Gwen got for Christmas.  Harmless enough.  The kids get major points for taking turns lifting the flaps without fighting.  It was fun.  So fun that Parker said he wanted me to read the Curious George book he got for Christmas.  Water-Everywhere-008

Who knew that was my first mistake!  I read the story about the dog show.  After each story is a page or two of practical applications.  The dog show was about counting and grouping.  You know, math skills.  So I had Parker group the Little People zoo animals in several different ways and count the animals in the groups. 

This went on for a good 10 minutes.  He was having fun.  I was having fun.  Gwen was having fun lounging on her big fluffy bedspread and throw pillows flipping through the book.  She loves Curious George too. 

Parker was done with grouping and counting so he suggested I read another story.  He skipped the kite story and wanted to hear the cleaning up story.  Ha ha ha.  If you have ever watched the Curious George cartoon on PBS Kids you may have seen all of the  stories in the book I got for Parker. 

The cleaning up story is where the Man with the Yellow Hat buys an area rug.  Then leaves.  Interesting that everyone has such confidence in a little monkey that only communicates with gestures, facial expressions, and ooh ooh ah ah monkey sounds.  But that’s the script for the conflict with Curious George.  So George is left alone.  He decides to drink some grape juice.  While jumping on the soft, new rug, of course. 

Oh no!  Grape juice everywhere!  He gets soap to clean it up.  If some soap is good a lot must be better, right?  In the TV show this part of the story is developed more by showing George gather every bit of bar soap, shampoo, bubble bath, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, whatever to dump on the juice stain.  Then he gets the hose to flood the living room. 

Oh no!  Too much water and soap suds!  So he steals borrows the neighbors pump to pump out the extra water.  Why am I going into so much detail?  Because our kitchen flooded when I tried to do the science experiments to teach my children about the physics of air pressure. 

The first experiment I did was simple enough.  I filled a cup with water and showed Parker how the water stays in the straw when he puts his thumb over the top.  Then it all comes back out when he releases his thumb.  That was fun.  We’re all easily impressed.  Parker and Gwen were doing their thing with the cup of water and straw while I prepped for the next experiment. 

I took an old plastic canister out of the cupboard.  Then I put a dry paper towel in the bottom and secured it with tape just like the book told me to do.  Then I plugged up one side of the kitchen sink and filled it with water.  Parker brought a couple of chairs over so he and Gwen could really get into the action. 

If my life were a movie there would be scary warning music playing at this point.  We were oblivious to any imminent doom.  I took the upside down canister and plunged it straight into the water as instructed.  Then I unscrewed the plug to drain the water just like that blasted book told me to do!  I should have just pulled the canister right out and could have showed the same results.  Then the kids could have played in the water and we would have prolonged the inevitable! 

Well, that didn’t happen.  As the water was draining I thought it sounded very strange.  Should I have plugged up sooner?  Water-Everywhere-001 Perhaps yes.  Either way the damage was done.  I looked down to see water sinisterly seeping out the cupboard doors underneath the sink. 

The kids were still perched on their chairs.  Thank heavens for that!  I grabbed the phone to call the one person I call the second anything happens.  Heath told me to clean it up as best I can and he would be on his way home.  In the course of those few seconds while I grabbed armfuls of beach towels, the water had crawled across the room.  I’m not joking. 

Parker helped me mop up the trail of water up to the sink.  He is a good helper.  Man, I love that kid when it comes to housework!  Water-Everywhere-003 Thankfully Gwen was content to try on her princess shoes and push the stroller around in another room. 

I looked under the sink and saw the pipe had separated.  Water-Everywhere-005 Water-Everywhere-006 I called Heath and told him I thought I could screw it back on.  Ha ha.  I don’t think you can screw PVC pipe.  At least where it separated I didn’t see any threads. 

Heath is still on his way home.  He is bringing lunch with him since our kitchen is in shambles and he figures I need a Diet Coke.  I told him to get me a big one!  Water-Everywhere-002

The only casualties of this minor disaster were some cardboard boxes, the garbage bags are still fine, and an entire box of Swiffer refills.  Water-Everywhere-007 Water-Everywhere-004 Hey, at least the box on top escaped without incident!  Always look for the positive. 

The major casualty of this total sitcom moment is my confidence.  For real.  I am starting to think there is a point to preschool.  Gasp!  I know!  Me!  Preschool???  What is this world coming to?  Point for preschool where they can keep their science projects gone awry in their own facility. 

On second thought . . .

Point for me anyway.  Not only did my kids learn that the paper towel stayed dry, they also learned how to clean up gallons of water off the floor and out of the cupboard.  They learned that the big Tupperware bowls in their cupboard are very useful in this situation and that when cardboard gets wet it’s useless.  They also learned how to solve problems by watching me.  And I didn’t swear.  Not out loud anyway. 

The ending to the story:

Heath came home.  We laughed about the whole situation while we ate and sipped our mammoth sized Diet Cokes.  He let me take pictures then assessed the situation.  It was not a big deal.  I didn’t think it was at first but when I couldn’t thread the pipe back together I was concerned.  Then I was grateful we rent! 

Well, Ed probably already knows what to do.  Oh if only I lived closer to my brother in law the plumber.  Apparently the compression valve was not put in tight enough and over time it sagged to the point that I was draining the sink all over the floor.  So Heath put it back together.  Problem solved.

The problem started around 11 am and was solved by 1:30 pm.  An hour later Parker learned to read a couple words.  So all in all it’s been an eventful day!