Thursday, September 30, 2010

Serenity Behind Invisible Walls

“Your mind is a dangerous neighborhood you should not be in alone.”  ~ Just Like Heaven

In the middle of all the action it shines like a beacon of hope.  A personal paradise surrounded by a metal gate.  Enter the room with the invisible walls to feel peace and serenity. 

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Never mind what is happening outside the invisible walls.  Never mind that there are no walls.  Inside the room with the invisible walls is another world altogether. 

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Having an intense introverted moment?  Step into chaotic bliss.  Considering the pros of infanticide?  The room with the invisible walls holds perspective starting with a thin, black box cycling through every photograph and video ever preserved.

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And then there are the keys with no names.  What do these no name keys unlock?  Anything one needs them to.  The faster the click the greater the relief in adventure.  In fact, this very action is what caused the keys to lose their identity.  Friction rubbing them smooth and blank. 

The room with the invisible walls will cure all ails.  Frustration, exasperation, fatigue, boredom, addiction. 

Addiction?  Yes.  Addiction.  No need to mindlessly consume empty calories or swig Diet Coke so quickly it’s not even tasted.  Step into the room with the invisible walls and feel the pressure of the real world melt away into nothingness. 

The fruits of these escapades are harvested as organized chaos.  Concrete memories filling volumes.  Elusive thoughts made comprehendible through visibility.  And story after beautiful story forever preserved through text. 

I owe it all to the room with the invisible walls.  My fortress of solitude.  An oasis surrounded by a metal gate of invisible walls.  Welcome to moments of clarity.  Sanity is optional. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gavin Say What

It’s kind of sad that Gavin is growing up and says less and less Say What worthy stuff.  Some of these came from his school journal last year.  I included the dates and spelled everything the way he did.  The rest are conversations from this week. 

9/10/09
I wonder why I toek (talk)

11/5/09
I am thankful for Mom becuse Mom loves me is thakfull for me

6/2/10
I am going to talk about my dad.  I like my dad.  He is has old as a presedent.  He go’s to work.  His name is Heath.  He even has blue eye’s like me.  He has brown hair like every one in my famly exsept me.  He speck’s englesh.
Gavin often makes a point of being the only one in the family with “yellow hair.”  What he doesn’t realize is his hair color is about the same as his dad’s hair color. 

Gavin:  I think.
Heath:  You think?
G:  Yeah.
H:  Plato would say that because you think therefore you are.
G:  Is Play-Do a liquid?

After seeing a commercial about a real estate agent
Gavin:  Is every kind of agent a secret agent?

Gavin:  Can you imagine if everyone spoke Gavinese?

I’m kind of having a nostalgic day today.  One of those I love my kids exactly how they are right now but I see old pictures and video of them and want to cry kind of days.  Gavin is my oldest and I don’t want him to grow up anymore.  That’s ok, right?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race to Nowhere

When I took a Social Problems class as a freshman in college the course focused mainly on drugs, sex, and poverty.  I think the real social problem now is what we are doing to our children. 

Children are expected to perform flawlessly at school with a curriculum that is age inappropriate.  Then they are overscheduled at home.   When do kids get to be kids?  The first two years of their lives before they are enrolled in an overpriced rigorous academic preschool? 

Why are we doing this to our future?  I think we can all agree that the school system is broken.  That needs to be addressed before President Obama lengthens the school year.  How would more days of school in a broken system with burned out teachers protected by unions help American students keep up with students of other countries?  It doesn’t even make sense. 

And why would we want to keep up with other countries when those countries choose career paths for their children before they are even half a decade old? 

Can you imagine your job being what you dreamed of doing as a three year old?  Space cowboy, dinosaur, flying nun, super hero. 

I have read that employers are not looking for straight A students.  They are looking for graduates who can problem solve, are creative, and can think for themselves.  If you think you are not contributing to the race to nowhere go count how many toys are in your house that talk, blink, sing, and otherwise do all the playing for your child.  I know I have a lot. 

Dennis Waitley said it best when he said:

“We’re not all designed to be straight A students, celebrities, world-class athletes or the CEO of a major corporation.  But we are designed to make the most of the skills and abilities we do possess.  Perhaps the most splendid achievement of all is the continuing quest to surpass ourselves.”

Americans need to adopt a less is more philosophy all across the board.  Less extra curricular activities.  Less emphasis on regurgitating information like a machine instead of a person.  Less homework.  Yes, practice is important but hours and hours of it because everything is of such critical importance?  No.  Less is more.  Let’s get out of the race to nowhere.  Let’s let kids be kids again. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn Thoughts

As a child I thought that Spring was far superior to Fall.  I’m not sure why.  Probably because I get Spring Fever in January.  Spring means longer days, warmer temperatures, new foliage, and blossoming hope for a beautiful summer.

On the other hand, Fall means the end of Summer, returning to school and hunkering down for Winter.  My opinions have changed as an adult, especially now that we live in the Bay Area.  Where I used to despise Winter I now love it.  Winter means rain and lots of it.  You don’t have to shovel rain. 

My opinions of Fall have changed as well.

Fall does mean a return to school

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But I think it’s so cute when Gavin creates his own classroom.

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Gwen-Cinderella-dress-001 Gwen-Cinderella-dress-002 Gwen-Cinderella-dress-005  Gwen-Cinderella-dress-007 Gwen-Cinderella-dress-008 Gwen-Cinderella-dress-010

Fall means Indian Summer.  It is currently 100 degrees.  We used the air conditioner maybe a handful of times in August and now that we’re days away from October temperatures are expected to reach 104 today and tomorrow.  San Francisco was supposed to hit triple digits today!  But Wally Weatherman changed his mind this morning and forecasted upper 80’s.  Still.  San Francisco?  Although they have amazingly beautiful autumns.  The city is known for it. 

must-be-football-season-017 must-be-football-season-018

Fall means football season.  Which means our circle is jam packed full of cars every Saturday.  We let people park in our driveway any time we can.  A guy was driving around looking for a spot at the same time Heath was about to run some errands so Heath told him to park in our driveway.  The guy was so appreciative of that.  He had his name “Coach So and So” on his shirt so you can imagine how happy he was to get a nice spot in the shade of our tree.  He said it was picture day so there were even more cars.

The guy said he was sorry we have to deal with all the cars and that he wished somebody could improve the parking situation at the park.  Heath and I agree that it’s not a big deal to have extra cars for several weeks out of the year.  On Saturday there were football games, soccer games, and softball games going on all at the same time. 

must-be-football-season-001 must-be-football-season-002  must-be-football-season-004 must-be-football-season-005

Football season means hall movies for the kids.  I love these pictures.  I love that the kids will sit quietly just outside the baby gate to the master bedroom, munching popcorn while watching Netflix movies streamed through the Wii.  Meanwhile, Heath and I are downstairs cheering on BYU. 

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School means I get this one all to myself every afternoon.  So maybe we already put the pool away because we have school kids who have to hunker down with homework every day.  It’s all worth it to have the Little Miss all to myself. 

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She cracks me up.  I bought her some Disney Princess hair do dads and she insisted on wearing all of them at once.  My favorite are the Cinderella ponytail holders on her arm that she’s wearing as bracelets. 

Fall is where Mother Nature shows off her love of color. 

So many reasons to love Fall.  Too many to count right now.  I guess you could say I’m a Fall convert.  What’s your favorite season?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ingredients for a Great Sharing Time

This is a shout out to Little LDS Ideas, the mastermind behind today’s successful Sharing Time in Primary.  If you’re in need of some creative ideas for Sharing Time, or anything to do with Primary, Sheena posts every week without fail. 

Her idea for this week was Scripture Cookies.  It went over so well I had to share. 

I split the kids into three groups.  There are only three classes in our Junior Primary so that was an easy split and I split up the Senior Primary girls into two groups while the boys made up the third group.  There were only nine Senior Primary kids today.  We have a very small Primary. 

The groups looked up the scriptures assigned to their group and they figured out what the ingredient was in the verse. 

scripture-cookie-groups

I gave the Junior Primary teachers copies of this “cheat sheet” so they could help their class figure out what the ingredient was.  Some verses were hard because so many ingredients were listed.  The third group’s scriptures were the hardest because I changed the recipe to chocolate chip cookies instead of Ranger cookies.  It was tricky finding scriptures for vanilla and chocolate chips!  But I did it. 

The groups read the scriptures and determined the ingredients.  When everyone was finished one child would represent each scripture by coming up and choosing the correct ingredient and put it in the bowl. 

Scripture-Cookie-ingredients-002

One thing I found very interesting was that Junior Primary never questioned anything.  The first person to come up was nervous picking out the brown sugar and hesitated quite a bit in putting the entire baggy in the bowl.  I told the kids not to dump anything out.  We got through all the ingredients and they must have thought it was strange that I had a bunch of plastic baggies in a bowl with an empty butter box and a plastic Easter egg. 

Scripture-Cookie-ingredients-003

I asked if they had faith that we could make cookies with those ingredients.  All of Junior Primary stared at me with wide Bambi eyes nodding their heads yes.  We closed our eyes while I pretended to stir and then I handed the bowl to Heath who was helping me since I was the only Presidency member there today.  He walked out with the bowl.  I told the kids he would bake the cookies.  Again, Junior Primary just accepted this.  He walked back in with a cookie sheet full of Costco cookies.  I know, I’m lazy! 

The kids were so excited.  The teachers laughed and said they were impressed with how quickly the cookies were baked into perfectly round chocolate chip cookies!  Then I told the kids they could have one after Closing Exercises.  They were so bummed and asked why they couldn’t have one sooner.  I told them because they had to go to class and I didn’t figure their teachers needed them hopped up on sugar. 

By the way, I worried a little bit this morning that today was actually Fast Sunday.  (Fast Sunday is typically the first Sunday of every month where people fast by going without food and drink for two consecutive meals)  I was dying on my couch with the flu and Gwen was still kind of sick last Sunday so we didn’t go to church.  With next week being General Conference (a special worldwide conference where the prophet and other church leaders address members via satellite, internet, radio, television, and in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT) I wasn’t sure how Fast Sunday would be handled.  Luckily our ward had a regular Sunday and Fast Sunday will be after General Conference. 

Senior Primary was much more fun than Junior Primary for this Sharing Time.  I had a better idea of how I wanted to do everything after doing it once with the younger kids.  There are fewer Senior Primary kids so the dynamics change. 

One girl picked up the butter box and was surprised that it was empty.  I think the boys tried to choose the chocolate chips for the vanilla bean because they had no idea what a vanilla bean was.  When I held up the bottle one girl said that wasn’t in cookies.  Heath opened the lid and let everyone smell it.  When he got to the doubting girl her eyes got huge and she emphatically shook her head yes that that was definitely in cookies!  The other adults were interested in seeing a real vanilla bean.  I don’t think they knew that’s where vanilla extract comes from.  The pianist was shocked to hear that it costs $11 for two beans.  But that’s the only way to get vanilla into homemade ice cream.  The alcohol from the extract prevents the ice cream from freezing properly. 

The kids told me they didn’t want my cookies because there was too much plastic in the bowl.  I did the whole faith speech again and a lot of the kids gave me these looks like I was crazy.  Some flat out said they didn’t have faith!  We closed our eyes and I pretended to stir before handing the bowl over to Heath. 

He ducked down behind a table and started tossing ingredients in the air.  He told me he wished I hadn’t told the kids to close their eyes because nobody saw him tossing things.  I saw a flying spoon.  Then he stood up with the sheet full of store bought cookies. 

The kids were so funny.  Obviously the whole thing was rigged.  I assumed even Junior Primary got that.  Although when we got home Gavin asked if his dad really made the cookies at church.  Gavin said, “That’s not normally how you make cookies.”  We asked him what he thought and he finally realized it was a joke.  Anyway, Senior Primary started asking all these questions.  One boy wondered how we could touch the pan without getting burned.  I told him that we did get burned but we can’t feel pain.  Another boy thought I meant we had super powers.  I said, “No, my hands are burned.  I just can’t feel it!”  Because I have no problem lying in church apparently!  No, we were all laughing and having fun.  Even the music leaders and the one teacher who does come back into Primary after teaching her class. 

I did spend some time talking about the importance of the scriptures.  There was a point but I’m sure that wasn’t the part anyone remembers. 

After Senior Sharing Time they did Singing Time.  The chorister let them fish for wiggle songs.  Since they are older and she can trust them more she let them fish from behind the pulpit.  Every kid that went up to fish had to look for our “primitive oven” as they called it.  They pretended to be unimpressed with the fact that the cookie sheet was sitting on top of an electric keyboard under a table.  The jokes and hilarity of the whole fun activity carried through the last hour. 

Then we did our closing exercises, which I have to say, I love doing at the end.  We have broken up the Primary schedule in the best way so the time literally flies.  Senior Primary has class first while Junior Primary does Singing and Sharing Time then they go to class while Senior Primary does all that, then we all meet together for the announcements and scripture and talks.  It’s awesome. 

After closing exercises the kids swarmed the door until we told them to make a line.  I passed out recipes

the-recipe

while Heath passed out cookies.  It was seriously the best Sharing Time I have ever been to!  All the music leaders and teachers told me they thought it was creative and fun.  So thank you to Sheena for the best idea ever! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Mo’ Tab

Call me old fashioned.  Call me an old lady fuddy duddy.  But whatever happened to the old school rules of written language? 

When did night become acceptable as nite?  Or light become lite?  I find it interesting that my auto spell checker has a red squiggly line under both nite and lite as if it has a problem with this spelling too.  But if I type in donut instead of doughnut there is no line.  Both are acceptable.  Since when?  Since a long time ago, I know.  It’s just sad.

We are becoming lazy with our writing to the point of shorthand.  Shorthand is all well and good when one is taking notes or texting.  But I feel indigestion when I hear about students writing the number 4 in place of the word for!  Lazy.  And I must say, it is one thing to use shorthand while texting or tweeting for brevity sake but when someone can’t even spell girls correctly or any other simple word, I judge you.  A lot.  Not alot but a lot.  Is it anyone else’s pet peeve when people can’t space between a and lot? 

It’s not just spelling rules that are dying a painful death.  Whatever happened to indenting paragraphs?  How did that get swept under the rug?  I used to indent paragraphs in emails until I realized nobody did it.  Paragraphs are not indented in blog posts or online articles.  Why?  Is it so difficult to hit the tab button?  It’s right there.  Next to the letter Q.  But it has been forgotten.  Like an old and moldy memory. 

Tab luster has been replaced by bright and shiny double spacing between paragraphs.  Sigh.  Too bad for the tab.  The program I am using now, Windows Live Writer, gives a hard return every time I hit enter.  It’s already set up to eagerly anticipate the next paragraph without me even having to think about it.  Hit enter and the space is naturally doubled.  Meanwhile my tab key is standing as straight and tall as a key can possibly be hoping I will pick it.  Sorry tab.  Indenting is becoming a lost art.  Too bad for the tab. 

We’ve lined up vowels in text messages and killed them off execution style.   We have murdered spelling nearly across the board.  Nobody handwrites anything anymore, and now indenting is coughing and sputtering.  What’s next in this vicious game of Written Expression Roulette? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the Winner Is . . .

The Mom of the Year Awards are coming up.  Please put in your nominations for me. 

This morning I walked back in the door after watching my neighbors drive off to school with Gavin.  Dread immediately came over me as I realized I completely forgot to give him his weekly reading record to turn in today.  It’s due every Wednesday and was the furthest thing from my mind until it was all too late. 

No worries.  My plan was to be “that mom” and turn it in to the office when I dropped off Parker this afternoon.  It wasn’t Gavin’s fault.  It was my fault.  I guess it could be argued that Gavin should be responsible enough to ask for it but it’s pretty much out of sight and therefore out of mind most of the time.  I have to keep weekly homework assignments and such locked up in the office, far away from the ever lengthening reach of Gwen. 

So instead of being “that mom” who drops off whatever was forgotten I was “that mom” who emails the teacher to explain why it will come tomorrow!  I hate myself right now! 

My latest indiscretion is going to put us all in an early grave.  I called the school to report Parker sick today. 

I know.  How dare I?  I had every intention of sending him today.  Both boys seemed better yesterday and ready for another day of school.  But Parker has been mopey all morning telling me he’s tired.  I thought maybe he was just bored.  He gets that way easily with this blasted afternoon kindergarten schedule.  This is why I requested am kindergarten!  It’s ok.  I was on the afternoon schedule as a kindergartener and I turned out alright.  Well, mommy indiscretions aside. 

So Gwen and Parker are eating their lunch and Parker tells me his tummy hurts.  His color was a little off too.  I happened to be on the phone with Heath when Parker made this announcement.  So Heath and I decided it would be wise to keep him home one more day just to be sure. 

I talked to Parker’s teacher yesterday when I went to pick up the boys’ homework.  She told me that Parker had been in and out of the health office on Monday.  He said he didn’t feel good so she’d send him to the office.  Then the nurse would keep him for a minute and send him back to class.  I finally got the call from the nurse about 2:20 that I needed to pick him up.  I checked out both boys since school gets out at 3:00 and they took turns puking their guts up all evening. 

As I talked to Parker’s teacher about how the whole family had been hit by this bug she said, “That sounds like the flu.”  I agreed and she said she thought it was early in the year for the flu.  Again I agreed.  Then she said, “I guess everyone was exposed then.”  I agreed and our conversation was over.  She gave get well wishes one more time and I walked away.  Suddenly what she said along with the unhappy look on her face took on a whole new meaning for me!  I realized she was probably accusing me of infecting the whole class with a flu bug. 

I refused to feel bad about it.  I walked away thinking, “Sorry lady.  I gave my whole kindergarten class chicken pox without realizing it.  There’s an incubation period before symptoms show that’s just how it is!”  I hoped my mom didn’t beat herself up too much over the chicken pox fiasco.  It wasn’t her fault.  Nor was it my fault for sending my seemingly healthy boys to school only to have them vomiting all night.  How was I to know? 

Maybe that tiny twinge of guilt from the conversation I had yesterday played into my decision to keep Parker home one more day.  But I like to believe it had more to do with the fact that he didn’t really look good. 

Well, as soon as Parker realized I had called the school about keeping him home he totally lost his mind.  He sobbed for 30 minutes straight, “IWANNAGOTOSCHOOLIWANNAGOTOSCHOOLWAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHIWANNAGOTOSCHOOLWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Mother of the Year right here folks!  Please vote for me.  At least I didn’t tell an entire class of 7 and 8 year old second graders to shut up then the next day tell them and I quote, “You suck!” 

No, I am not making that up.  My next door neighbor told me that this morning.  Her daughter is in Gavin’s class and their teacher has had a substitute for the last two days.  Apparently the sub had no control over the class and in a moment of extreme immaturity this grown woman told the class they suck.  In front of parent volunteers and everything.  One parent went to the office to report it and said that if she sees that woman substituting at the school ever again the mother will pull her child from the class. 

There are no words.  Nothing left to say.  It’s been a day around here.  How about you?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Say What

Parker:  I like watching Friends (TV show) because it helps me make friends at school!

Gwen pointed at the silhouettes on the IHC (Intermountain Health Care) mug.
Gwen:  That’s Grandma!
Me:  What makes you think that’s Grandma?
Gwen:  Um . . . happy and 'miling?
Me:  She’s happy and smiling?
Gwen:  Yeah.

Me:  How old are you?
Gwen:  Um . . .
Me:  Are you two?
Gwen:  No, I four.  I kindergarten.

Radio:  Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you can know . . .
Gavin:  Is this a church song?

Parker:  How do you get out of that place?  (Smithfield House on BYU campus)
Heath:  There are doors all around the top.  The people aren’t stuck in there.
Gavin:  Tell me more about this Smith house. 
Heath:  Well, there are concession stands . . .
G:  Oh boy!  Tell me ab0ut that! 

Me:  Can you help me shop for a pretty shirt?
Gwen:  Yeah.  Let’s go shopping!
Gwen:  Ooh!  I know!  How bout that one?  I love it pretty dress!  Ooh so pretty!

Gwen:  Ooh Mommy!  You so pretty!  I love it pretty shirt! 
(By the way, nothing raises one’s self esteem faster than the gushing approval of one’s own 2 year old)

Me:  Gwen, what do you think of my new shirt with these pants?
Gwen:  Um . . . need a dress! 
Me:  Oh you like it better with my new skirt?
Gwen:  Yes.
Me:  Ok, how’s this?  (Wearing new skirt)
Gwen:  Better.  I love it pretty dress!

Parker:  Mom, you make me sick.  When you’re sick then I just be sick.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to lose five pounds in two days!

It is a proven fact that if you export more than you import you will lose weight. 

Follow these simple steps and watch the weight melt off:

  1. Workout with your EA Active Sports Wii Trainer. 
  2. Clean up soupy poopy that has dripped all over the carpet from your two year old with the stomach flu. 
  3. Gag a few times but inevitably keep it all down.
  4. Fall asleep on the couch watching BYU get their butts kicked by Florida State.
  5. Wake up with a headache and feeling slightly queasy. 
  6. Check your blood sugar and see it’s very low.
  7. Suspend your insulin pump while forcing yourself to eat something since you aren’t the least bit hungry.
  8. Feel seriously nauseated while your blood sugar stubbornly stays low. 
  9. Puke.
  10. Puke some more.
  11. Vomit bile since there is nothing left to puke up.
  12. Sip water and juice so there’s something on your stomach to throw up.  The juice is to keep your plummeting blood sugar up.  But to no avail.
  13. Think about how diabetes complicates everything.  Stupid low blood sugar. 
  14. Make your husband inject glucagon that expired approximately 18 months ago in the hopes that your blood sugar will finally head north because the sweaty feeling of low blood sugar mixed with nausea is not helping.  Thankfully the glucagon works.
  15. Spend the night on the couch puking every hour until 2:30 am.
  16. Spend the next day on the couch.  Barely eating or drinking.  With a heating pad on your aching back from sleeping on the couch. 
  17. Finally consider rejoining the land of the living.
  18. Take a bath in a jetted tub so the jets soothe your aching back.
  19. Force yourself to eat some more since hot baths make your blood sugar drop low.
  20. Step on the scale and see that you’ve lost 5 pounds in two days!  That was easy. 

Remember the movie The Devil Wears Prada?  The best scene is where the girl said she is on a new diet where she doesn’t ever eat anything and then when she feels like she will faint she eats a cube of cheese then she announces that she’s one stomach flu away from her goal weight!  It’s true!  You’re proof. 

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get the plague.  Here’s to easy weight loss! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You Know You’re in Love When

  • Date night with your spouse still makes your heart pound.
  • Even after 10 years of date nights.
  • You dress up for a date because you still want to look good for each other.
  • By the way, I seem to be between sizes again.  If I could lose a few more inches I will be down one more size!  Wahoo! 
  • Thank you Julio and Steven!  Maybe we need to hook up again with another workout session. 
  • My fancy pants, that I tend to only wear for dates, are getting loose.  They used to be so tight I swore I was damaging vital organs. 
  • But I didn’t wear fancy pants last night.  I wore jeans.  And a belt so they would stay in place. 
  • The waitress complimented my new shirt. 
  • Then she was quick to refill my Diet Coke. 
  • Give that girl a good tip! 
  • You know you’re in love when you patiently watch your spouse eat after you’re finished.  Sorry Heath, I’m a slow eater.  I have trouble eating and talking and drinking refillable Diet Coke all at the same time.  But he knows that about me.  We were just happy to talk without little people interrupting us constantly. 
  • You know you’re in love when your husband suggests using the restaurant’s restroom because it will be nicer than the mall restroom. 
  • You know you’re in love when walking through the mall with your spouse for a date is still as fun as when you were in high school! 
  • You know you’re in love when your TV snuggle time is interrupted by your two year old exploding from both ends and you know your spouse will help. 
  • If you can watch each other clean up chunky vomit and soupy poopy and still feel “the feeling” you know you are in love. 
  • It doesn’t take much to show how much you love someone. 
  • A babysitter, Mini Cooper, and time alone is all you need.
  • The words “I love you” added to all of the above are the icing on the cake. 
  • I love date night.  Don’t you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flake

For some reason I keep double booking myself.  How is it that I am so flaky?  Normally I’m not this flaky.  I think.  I wonder if there is some part of my subconscious that wishes so hard something wasn’t true that I simply put it out of my mind as often as humanly possible.  Either that or I’m just a unique snowflake. 

I love Jack Johnson.  He makes me forget what I should remember, including the point of this post.  Wait, what was it? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moonlighting

By day I’m a typical mom – chauffer, hairstylist, maid, lunch lady, homework expert, referee, playmate, etc.  By night I’m Moonlighting.

As soon as the last word is read in the chapter of the current Chronicles of Narnia book I’m reading to the boys, as soon as the last note is sung in our trio of bedtime songs, as soon as I’ve said my nightly “Goodnight, I love you and I’ll see you in the morning!” I flop on the couch with Heath for some Moonlighting. 

In a matter of seconds I am back in the year 1985.  Maddie Hayes is so chic yet her outfits remind me of how I was 7 for most of 1985.  My Barbie dolls were clothes horses like Maddie Hayes with a similar taste for fashion.  The flowing silk blouses, the sophisticated suits, the glittery evening gowns with fluffy fur coats.

Then he appears.  David Addison. 



Holy hotness Batman!  Huge wees kneak sigh!  Not only is he eye candy but he’s snarky, goofy, intelligent, funny, and he makes my heart say hummina hummina hummina.  Oh wait, I already said he’s good looking.  No worries.  Heath is aware of my not so secret crush on a character in a TV show from 25 years ago.  And he thinks it’s funny. 

Actually score another point for Heath.  He is the reason why I am Moonlighting every night.  Sometimes two episodes a night but usually I’m sleeping through the second one.  His parents watched it when he was a kid and he remembers thinking it was an interesting show.  So yes, he taught me to love football, made me a BYU fan no less, and enabled my current crush on Bruce Willis a la 1985!  You know how women always go for the “bad boys” thinking they will change them?  Not me.  Heath was perfect when I met him.  I was the one who did all the changing! 

I have become my mother.  It’s true.  Growing up we used to make fun of her for sitting on the edge of her seat or yelling at the characters on the movie or show.  Now I do that.  I can’t help it.  I find entertainment more entertaining when I completely lose myself in the story.  Heath is sweet enough to give me his hand to crush during tense scenes.  In his defense there are times when he tells me to just buck up as he sits far away from me and my bone smashing grip. 

A few nights ago we watched the first Christmas episode on Moonlighting Season 1.  That one was a little too much for me to handle.  A mother and her 6 month old son were being chased by men who killed her husband after she snuck out of the apartment.  I couldn’t do it.  Mother.  Baby.  Yeah that stuff is too real for me.  Heath’s hand was a mangled mess halfway through the show.  But last night when a magician supposedly came back from the dead I was on my own with the hand squeezing. 

This show was the first of its kind.  Back then the 30 minute shows were sitcoms with a laugh track.  The 60 minute shows were dramas and nothing was ever funny.  Moonlighting was a comedy drama.  The writing is interesting and witty.  The dialogue was extremely fast paced for its time. 

A quirk I have grown to love about Moonlighting is how solving the case is almost never the point of the show.  The ending always catches me off guard since I’ve been trained to solve the case with Monk or Psych. 

Moonlighting is a healthy diversion for me.  It used to be that I would tell Heath to bring dinner home so I could eat greasy, bad for me fast food and belly up to my trough of Diet Coke.  Now I get through hard days by telling myself I can Moonlight at the end.  And if I happen to crack open a Diet Coke while I’m at it then it’s even better! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Something Came Up

All my good intentions to exercise this morning, including my own guilt trip I gave myself by writing it in a blog post, flew out the window in a matter of seconds. 

I know I saw 4:30 am but I went back to sleep.  I probably should have checked my blood sugar because by 5:30 am I woke up sweating with my heart pounding.  BG reading 40.  I was surprised because I’ve had lower readings than that in the middle of the night without symptoms. 

Knowing full well that it was finally my day to work out in virtual Hawaii with Steven again, I set a temporary basal rate of 0% for one hour and went down to the kitchen to binge. 

Sleep started to return about five minutes before Heath came out of the bathroom to get dressed.  Of course.  He asked how I was doing and I told him I didn’t want to work out.  My blood sugar had only risen to 149 and I was tired.  I think he said he was jealous of me for having the time to work out at all.  I got up to grab my flattering cotton lycra work out clothes when Heath and Gwen had this exchange:

Heath:  Hi Gwen!
Gwen:  Hi Daddy!
Gwen:  Something unintelligible. 
H:  What?  You’re going to miss me? 
G:  Yeah. 
H:  Nice hair Gwen.

A few moments later:

H:  Tristan!  (He almost never says my name so I knew it was serious)
Me:  What?
H:  Gwen puked. 

Sure enough there was soggy, regurgitated orange chicken and rice all over the floor just inside Gwen’s door.  Last night’s dinner was not good enough to experience all over again in this way!  I looked at her bed but it was fine.  I looked back at Gwen and her crusty hair plastered to her face decorated with chunks. 

Me:  Tell me her hair is still wet.
H:  Um no.  It’s dry.
M:  When did this happen? 

Last night I wanted to kiss the kids one last time before I went to bed.  I haven’t thought of doing that in a long time.  What stopped me was knowing how lightly Gwen sleeps.  Maybe I should have gone in anyway.  But I didn’t.  I was just grateful today was late start Wednesday and that my neighbor was carpooling. 

So from 7:00 – 8:00 am, when I planned on working out and showering, I was cleaning up vomit and giving Gwen a bath.  I finally felt like everything was under control.  The kids were dressed and eating breakfast.  I walked into my bathroom to quickly shower.

Gavin:  Mom . . .
Me:  What?
G:  Come look at this.
M:  What am I looking at?
G:  A tooth.
M:  What?
G:  I lost a tooth.  (He showed it to me)
Me surprised:  What!

He told me it was bugging him and he was trying hard not to play with it but it was bugging him too much so he pulled it out.  We’ve told him to leave his teeth alone unless they are actually loose.  I think he lost four teeth in ten days several months ago.  Maybe that’s an exaggeration.  I was just grateful that the boy who freaked out the full five minutes I trimmed his nails last night, the same boy who needs to be held in a half Nelson to brush his teeth, has always pulled his loose teeth out on his own. 

Eventually I showered and got dressed enough to take Gavin next door.  Mr. Next Door Neighbor was driving today and when he does he backs up so he’s right in front of our house with the van door open.  I waved to Gavin from the front door. 

It was an eventful morning.  I think I got more done before 9:00 am than I can get done in full days!  I don’t feel too guilty about not working out with Steven.  He’ll live.  Something came up. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pencil Me in for Insanity

Schedules.  I either love them or hate them.  Today I hate my schedule.  I hate not having a moment to call my own.  I hate that I haven’t had a chance to put contacts in or do my hair until now.  So I’m not going to do it because who cares at this point! 

I hate that my blood sugars are high most of the time and when they’re not high they’re super sonic low.  It’s because of my new crappy schedule that my body isn’t used to plus the added stress of . . . I don’t know, my life I guess. 

I thought I had a handle on school.  But some days throw me for a loop.  Yesterday I got through the afternoon and was congratulating myself for not losing it when a church thing came up.  I just want to scream, “I am only one person!  I can’t do it all!” 

It’s ok.  I will survive.  A lot of strange things are happening right now that are completely out of the norm.  It’s ok.  I will survive. 

Tomorrow I have all good intentions of letting Steven grace my bedroom again with his cartoon trainer – ness.  It’s been over a week since we’ve sweat together.  My gut is starting to show it.  Hopefully he is understanding when I tell him I’ve been ignoring him because of a horrible cold that completely zapped my energy.  But he’s a cartoon with programmed things to say like “You missed a week of your 6 week challenge.  You won’t finish in time.”  And I can be like, “Listen cartoon dude I call Steven, you’re a cartoon and I can toss your Wii CD butt out the window if I want to!  It’s 6:00 am let’s go.” 

Exercise.  Maybe that’s what is missing from my life.  At least I still have cleaning.  Yesterday I cleaned my house for a meeting I had this morning.  Heath called to say he was almost home and he asked how I was doing.  I told him that the thought of being in control of the dirt in our house was soothing to me.  Everything else feels so out of my control but I can control whether or not the house gets clean.  It’s the little things that mean the most. 

I spent almost an hour talking to a friend today after dropping Parker off at school.  Maybe she needed that.  Although it stressed me out when another friend suggested we do a play date at the park after school.  I suggested before school (pm kindergarten) since Gwen naps after school.  Then the conversation turned to nap schedules for one year olds.  Can I play after school?  Yes I can but it means Gwen will be all ramped up for the night and will have a hard time going to bed and the boys will fight with me all night over homework. 

Sticking to the schedule is important to me. 

By the way, I spoke too soon about Parker’s homework.  He came home with 9 worksheets yesterday to be turned in on Thursday.  What is it about giving piles of boring busy work to kindergarteners?  He was fine with it for the most part.  I’m sure that soon a homework routine will emerge among the boys. 

Somehow the craziness of running the Primary without a president will sort itself out soon.  Somehow I will find the time and energy to exercise again.  Somehow my blood sugars will resume their former awesomeness.  Somehow I will be able to balance my chores, playing with Gwen, and the chatty moms at school.  Sometime soon it will all fall into place.  For now I am whining.  I’m sorry.  My cape is at the cleaners so I will Super Mom another day.  Maybe my cape will be back by Friday.  I have a date that night!

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Grandpa

He is strong enough to make up for being the only grandpa my children have. 

I always thought the kids would be much older before they realized they should have two grandpas.  They would ask questions that I didn’t want to answer so I would brush them off.  This worked for a while.  Until Gavin insisted.  So far he’s satisfied with me telling him the grandpa he does have is the only one he needs.  I will tell him what he needs to know about my dad when he is much older. 

Grandpa loves them so much.  That’s all they really need. 

Grandpa and Gavin Washington Christmas 2003

077

Parker and Grandpa San Francisco January 2008

004

Grandpa holding a sleeping Gwen for the very first time California April 2008

So many people get uptight when they think about their in laws.  Not me.  I don’t know what I did to deserve the family I married into.  We have the best relationship. 

I remember the terror I felt 10 years ago when I met Heath’s parents for the first time.  It was one of those what have I done moments.  My mom had always told me to date for at least a year before getting engaged.  Heath and I dated for a month.  And my mom also told me in no uncertain terms that when I marry someone I marry his whole family too so I better know what I’m getting myself into.  I met Heath’s parents after we got engaged! 

But you know what, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Dawn and Barry are the best mother and father in law a person could ever ask for.  I think they hugged me when we first met at baggage claim in the SeaTac Airport.  I expected it.  But by the end of the trip they hugged me goodbye and I didn’t mind.  Kind of a big deal for me.  I’m not the hugging type. 

I remember the first time I cried when they left.  They had come for Grandpa Westover’s funeral in Idaho.  I remember how much fun we had together during their stay and how grateful I was to be able to attend that funeral.  I learned so much about Grandpa Westover. 

Barry taught me to love football.  It’s true.  There was a football game on during that first visit 10 years ago.  I knew football was a big deal in this family so I thought I’d give it a try.  Barry and Heath were so patient and so willing to explain the game to me.  Barry used to play high school football and I love hearing his stories.  The one where he scooped water into the face mask of an opposing player is the best!

Heath is just like his dad.  I have never once seen Barry get mad at anyone.  Barry fascinates me with his color blindness.  He has good taste in restaurants.  Azteca and Alligator Soul being two of my favorites.  I love that he pours Sprite on his mint ice cream.  I love that he falls asleep in front of the TV every night because I do that.   I love that he was a little rebellious in his time and stole the Phillips 66 sign because that was the year he graduated. 

I love that he ran at a track meet because Garrett started running track.  I love watching him with his grandkids.  He is so patient, so kind, so loving.  I love that he hangs up their art work in his office.  I love that today is his birthday so I have an excuse to gush about him!  Happy Birthday Barry. 

I think about what a wonderful father he has been to his boys and what a wonderful grandpa he is and I think how lucky are my kids!   A grandpa who loves them is all they need.  They have one.  He reads to them, listens to them, plays with them, and above all he loves them.

fishing

This is Gavin’s picture for Grandpa.  He is fishing with Grandpa, something he talks about doing all the time.  Grandpa is on the far left and his shirt says I heart CA.  Gavin’s shirt says “nice.”  You can see the two blue fishing lines going down to the water.  There are two very large pink fish in the water.  Just above the black waves you can see the smiley faced worms on the fish hooks.  The Space Needle is next to Gavin.  And there is a smiley faced sun in the upper right hand corner just above Gampa and Me! 

P-&-G

This is Parker’s picture.  I love how Grandpa looks just like Grandpa!  So cute.  Parker was all upset that he forgot to draw himself.  I told him that he’s not as tall as Grandpa so he should fit in there just fine.  It could be like Grandpa has his arm around Parker.  Parker turned out a little monochromatic but I think it looks great.  On the back, since it’s kind of showing through the scan, it says:  To Grandpa I love you Parker

modern-art

Gwen is a true modern artist.  Isn’t her use of color fantastic?  On the back it says:  To Grandpa love Gwen
I held her hand while writing Gwen.  She was very pleased with that. 

Grandpa should get his pictures in the mail soon.  Happy Birthday! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Extra Blue

Bad day to be a Cougar fan!  Should I admit out loud that I almost became an Air Force fan today?  Seriously.  They at least looked proud to stand for something and had the desire to go out and win the game. 

With today being 9/11 the game was interesting to watch.  Nobody forgot for a moment what happened to our country nine years ago today.  That day was so surreal.  Of all the memories of feelings experienced because of 9/11, the one feeling I cherish the most was the feeling of unity in our country.  We really were one nation under God. 

I remember my grandma feeling like we shouldn’t follow through with our camping trip to Lake Mead, NV.  We all convinced her that it was ok to go back to our regular lives.  That that was what America had to do.  Not let the terrorists stop us. 

So we water skied on Lake Mead as planned.  And relaxed on the beach. 

What I remember most about that trip to Lake Mead in September 2001 was the undeniable uniting of America.  I remember seeing flags on cars.  I remember going to church in Logandale, NV and hearing the bishop of the ward talk about his son’s football game.  He talked about the players shaking each other’s hands and that before the game the teams had a prayer.  He talked about how in that moment it was more than a football game.  It was Americans playing an American game together.  I remember the hair on my arms standing on end as I listened to his story. 

Today’s game reminded me of that.  At halftime the talking heads said something about the special opening to the game and they said if you didn’t feel anything from that display then you’re not an American!  Unfortunately I missed it. 

As NYPD officers were interviewed between plays I thought of Chad Lewis.  Several months ago I read his book “Surround Yourself with Greatness.”  Let me tell you, it is quite the experience to read someone else’s experience with 9/11 while flying in an airplane somewhere between Salt Lake City, UT and Oakland, CA!  Chad Lewis (former BYU football player) and his team, the Philadelphia Eagles discussed whether or not to play their next game in light of the historical events that had just taken place.  They decided to play.  America needed football as a distraction and as a source of inspiration. 

That sentiment was reiterated in today’s game.  People interviewed talked about how as football players they aren’t really heroes like the heroes of 9/11 but they were grateful to have had the opportunity to play football at such a turbulent time in history.  Everyone talked about Air Force as if they were real heroes.  Football heroes and armed servicemen heroes.  I didn’t doubt that was true. 

BYU may not have known what interviews were taking place or how those interviews were being placed in the TV coverage of the game but it was if BYU conceded the game from the beginning.  Let Air Force have a win on such a special day.  In fact, we won’t even put up a fight for it. 

I was extremely disappointed in BYU’s performance.  And ready to cheer for the opposing team because they were much more exciting to watch.  Air Force threw the ball, caught the ball, ran with the ball, scored with the ball.  BYU never had their heart in the game.  They didn’t do anything with the ball.  Disappointing day to be a BYU fan.  But I’ve staked my claim on my team and I’ll stick it out.  go cougars.  rah rah rah sis boom bah.  your game was boring today.  I just hope they play better next week or there will be a lot of yelling in our house.  Heath hates Florida State! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Perspective

I feel guilty for publishing the post I did today.  Not for what I said or how I feel or anything like that.  It’s been on my mind for a while now so I put it in words.  I feel guilty about the timing of the post. 

This morning one of my loyal readers had a heart attack.  This person is in the hospital.  I care deeply for this person and thought about this person all day.  But I didn’t feel comfortable posting anything about this person today. 

Heath worked from home today which changes my routine anyway but the news of my reader kind of rocked my world.  Wanting to write something – anything – in order to deal with my thoughts I posted about the little world I live in. 

Now there is breaking news that a huge tragic explosion happened in San Bruno and about 45 homes are on fire.  Who am I to complain about anything in my life on a day like today? 

Analysis of School Days

In the beginning women have these idealistic perceptions of what raising a child will be like.  When the bun is still in the oven it’s easy to think that everything will be perfect and that you’ll not make the same mistakes you see other people making with their kids, blah blah blah. 

What you don’t realize is that you’ll make different mistakes.  Or at least circumstances will arise that you could never have anticipated much less planned for. 

At some point women reach this point of no return, so to speak.  Maybe not everyone does but some of us realize the cause of an attitude or behavior and realize there is nothing we can do about it. 

Even with that realization there is also the comfort that it was handled well with no regrets except the lasting damage left behind. 

This is where I am. 

I hate that Gavin burned out on school a month or two into kindergarten.  I hate that.  I loved his first grade teachers.  They made school fun for him again.  They helped rebuild his self esteem.  He was successful in their class.  He has an amazing second grade teacher this year.  Her teaching philosophy is my parenting philosophy.  She makes learning fun and meaningful but she expects a lot from the kids.  She will be good for him this year. 

What’s hard about it is the homework.  I know I’m obnoxious when it comes to homework.  I don’t believe in it the way my current community does.  Gavin is doing well with homework, don’t get me wrong.  I guess what’s hard is the fact that his little brother doesn’t have any. 

All the way around this school year is difficult.  Parker doesn’t see the point of having to get ready in the morning if he doesn’t have to go to school in the morning.  Big drawback to afternoon kindergarten that I knew would be an issue but I didn’t get what I wanted.  Oh well.  I have considered raising a stink and getting him changed but he made a best friend on the first day.  More stay at home moms have kids in afternoon kindergarten too.  Lots of pluses to this annoying deal. 

So that’s a minor issue that won’t be an issue next year.  I hate having my day broken up into several 2.5 hour segments.  That’s hard but doable.  It’s the afternoons that are the roughest. 

Parker wants to play but he is limited in his choices because Gavin has homework every night without fail.  He gets tired of waiting for Gavin.  Gavin wants to play too.  And he knows how unfair it is that he has homework when Parker rarely does.  There is nothing I can do about it.  I can’t even say, “You had it easy when you were in kindergarten, remember?”  Because that is the furthest thing from the truth.  So far Gavin had the most homework in kindergarten, a lot in first grade, and what I consider a reasonable amount now that he’s in second grade. 

Any time I am tempted to wish that we blew off homework sooner in kindergarten I remember why we forced Gavin to do it.  Because we thought it would build character.  We thought he would develop a working attitude and understand the importance work has in this world.  We didn’t know we contributed to his burnout. 

Even if we had blown off homework sooner than the last couple weeks, it would have taught him really negative things.  And how would we have gone about reversing that negative attitude the next year when we felt the homework was worthwhile? 

Last night Parker was listing off his friends.  Gavin felt the need to compete so he listed three boys who were in his class last year but not this year.  I asked if he still played with them at recess.  The response was no.  He doesn’t play with anyone but there are a lot of kids around so it looks like he’s part of the group. 

Part of me was happy he at least attempts to blend in but part of me was mad that he has to.  He knows he has a socially unacceptable temperament.  He knows he’s introverted and that he would rather play alone.  But he also knows that this has been a source of contention since day one.  The fact that he is happiest doing his own thing bugs the crap out of people and he knows it.  He shouldn’t know that.  No adult should ever make a child feel like something is wrong with them because they aren’t like everyone else. 

I meant to tell him that he could ask to play with other kids.  That it was ok if he only had one or two friends.  The words that came out of my mouth were, “You don’t have to play with anyone if you don’t want to.”  I paused as if I might go on to tell him how to play this game of life and fit in better.  But I didn’t.  I simply said, “Ok?”  His face studied mine for a moment then it visibly relaxed as he said, “Ok.” 

I realized that was what he needed to hear.  That he is fine being Gavin.  I don’t need him to be Parker.  I love that he’s Gavin.  Yes, I cried many days in the summer as I felt suffocated by my bored children.  I cried because there was no one to call to play with.  I knew if I could just get through the summer Parker would start school and find all the friends his little heart could ever want.  That’s exactly what happened. 

I don’t even know what my original point was with all of this.  I’m just rambling.  I hate that Gavin is so burned out and jealous that Parker seems to have it so easy.  But I hope that he learns the value of work this year.  He gets better each year.  But kindergarten scars are still visible.  Perhaps they always will be.  For his sake I am angry about that.  Even though I wouldn’t have changed a single thing I did that year to deal with a teacher determined to break my child’s will.

It’s easy to wear a public face, even in the blogging world.  Maybe especially in the blogging world.  But everyone has something they are dealing with.  Everyone had a vision of what their life would be like.  We’re all trying to learn from our mistakes and circumstances we live with every day.  We’re all trying to understand ourselves and make lemonade with the lemons of our lives.  This post is a glimpse into some of mine. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why always sometimes Y?

English majors unite!  I am starting a petition to change the rules regarding the letter Y.  Who’s with me? 

Have you ever wondered why the vowels are A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y?  Why not just make Y a vowel?  Why all the gender confusion surrounding a letter that clearly functions as a vowel? 

Now you may think that when Y is at the beginning of a word as in yes or yellow, it says the yuh sound so therefore it only sometimes functions as a vowel in words like baby or fancy or names like Bryn, Dylan, or Gwenyth. 

When one looks at how the other vowels function it becomes apparent that vowels are identified with several different sounds.  Teachers say that young children struggle with spelling because of vowels.  Vowels are the hardest sounds to hear.  I’m thinking even if a kid does hear the vowel sound they know they’re playing Vowel Roulette when choosing which one to use.  They’re closing their eyes and throwing a dart at the vowel board praying to peg the right one.  Can you imagine the sweat on a child’s brow from a parent holding a privilege over their head based on the outcome of a spelling test?  Talk about pressure. 

A may be for apple but it is also for also.  The A in also could be mistaken for an O as in octopus could it not?  And what about the U in putt versus push.  How do you know to use a U in push when it sounds like the double O in book?  And then O and U do something entirely different when paired together as in out. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the joke that these letters together are pronounced as fish:  ghitio.  Think about it.  Enough, pin, competition.  Then we have some obscure rule that says “when two vowels go a walking . . .”  Who does the talking?  I don’t even know because honestly it depends on which language the word originally comes from! 

The English language is difficult to master since so many words come from other languages.  Anyone proficient in English knows that there are exceptions to every rule.  Perhaps that’s where the sometimes Y thing comes in.  We can’t have a hard and fast rule about vowels without mucking it up with an exception. 

But I say let’s just start teaching students that Y is a vowel.  Who’s to say that a yuh sound versus replacing any other legitimate vowel sound makes Y a consonant?  G has two sounds – a soft G sound as in giraffe and a hard G sound as in goober.  Yet the G is still recognized as a consonant regardless of which sound is used.  Same with the letter C.  Still a consonant whether it’s spelling ceiling or cat clawing the ceiling. 

So if no other letters change their consonant or vowel status then why should Y?

Why Y? 

If you feel that Y is being unfairly treated as a transvestite letter please leave me a comment so I can add your name to the petition.  If you oppose my arguments tell me.  I am open to differing opinions backed up with logic.  If you simply think I have too much time on my hands and that changing the rules will never happen, well then you haven’t read “Frindle” by Andrew Clements.  Read the book and then we’ll talk.  Together we can make a difference for the letter Y. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In search of the fountain of youth

For eons people have been searching for that magic elixir of youth.  That mythical potion that if consumed one would remain forever young.  Society’s obsession with youth reveals itself in songs, stories, and with the plastic surgery industry.

If I could have one wish today I would wish for a sip from the fountain of youth.  No, I’m not suffering from depression.  I’m sicker than a dog.  I’m suffering from the cold from hell.  While Americans had the day off from work celebrating Labor Day by scoring shopping deals and having barbecues, Heath and I could not get up. 

It’s not a chest cold, thank goodness?  It’s a head cold and it’s kicking our butts.  It’s one of those colds that leaves you weak and feeble.  I was dizzy every time I stood up.  How long should a head rush last?  Is 5 minutes normal?  I could feel the mucous in my head readjust every time I moved, being most severe when I stood up.  So I tried not to stand up too often. 

It’s one of those colds where you blow your nose and start to seriously wonder if your brain came out with the 5 lbs. of boogers you captured in the tissue.  It’s one of those colds that comes with a hacking cough where you wonder if maybe your spleen came up.  Yesterday it came with bouts of nausea as well.  A serious cold that means business. 

So why do I wish for some magic youth elixir?  I realize that kids also get sick.  In fact, my kids are sick.  I think they were the carrier monkeys actually.  Parker started to sound congested by the end of our party Friday night.  He slept on the couch for over 4 hours on Sunday after insisting he didn’t need a nap!  I could barely wake him up. 

No, I want whatever stores of energy they possess.  Yesterday as we watched movie after TV show, parenting from the couch, wishing for death to deliver us from the hell we were living in, the kids bounced and yelled and climbed on us and played and seemed to have this endless supply of energy.  I felt bad that our Labor Day plans disintegrated by Sunday night but the kids didn’t seem to mind too much.  They did their kid thing all day. 

The gambu plaguing our house is the same yuck for kids and parents alike.  Nothing is different but the level of energy.  Heath and I still feel like crap.  Which is why I envy my own children.  How easy for them to go about their day.  They have minor annoyances like coughing or constant post nasal dripping but other than that they are fine.  Oh to be young again! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Buy Eye Ewe

This is it.  The day we’ve all been waiting for.  A close second to Christmas in the Westover household. 

The first BYU football game of the season. 

As sleep flitted away from us while the kids stomped and tromped through the house grateful to be alive on a Saturday morning, Heath said that yesterday was a fun day.  Yes it was. 

Yesterday was Friend Day.  Gwen and Parker played with friends at the playground all morning.  Then Parker went to school holding his best friend’s hand.  Then we spent the entire evening hosting a barbecue with friends.  It was fun.  And Gwen was falling asleep while her dad sang to her.  Successfully fun day. 

For as fun as yesterday was Heath and I are so excited for today.  Not only is it the first BYU football game of the season.  Not only am I so excited I don’t care that the TV is tuned to ESPN already while Heath watches whatever football stories are on.  Not only am I so stoked for today I am actually craving the pizza we will eat tonight.  I know!  Me craving pizza!  Crazy!  Not only all that but this season will be different. 

BYU has officially gone independent. 

I’m still trying to wrap my head around what this means but it sounds like a monumental decision.  BYU’s athletic director, Tom Holmoe, along with BYU’s Board of Trustees, made the decision for three reasons.

  1. Access
  2. Exposure
  3. Money (money being the smallest motivator)

Access:  This allows BYU’s fans to see the games.  Outside of Utah this is a difficult thing for many people.  For the last I don’t know how many years we have had to choose our cable provider based on who offered The Mountain and even then we couldn’t see every game.  I remember many games, even living in Utah, where we listened to the game because it was unavailable to watch.  Before kids this was an interesting way to cheer for BYU.  After kids and this is an impossible way to pay attention.  Plus, we can’t pick up KSL’s radio station outside of Utah unless it’s dark. 

Exposure:  With the decision to go independent BYU sports (football, basketball, men’s volleyball) will be broadcast nationally as well as internationally.  Some 160 countries will be able to watch BYU sports.  BYUtv is one of the most watched foreign produced cable channels in China.  This I did not know.  It makes me think of our friends who live in China.  He used to come to our house when they lived near us and watch the games with Heath and me.  Heath was very patient in explaining the intricacies of the game to both William and me.  William had studied the game through books and loved watching whenever he had the chance.  I can only imagine how thrilled he would be if BYU football was available to watch in his home country of China. 

Money:  Last year BYU played Oklahoma first.  BYU made 2 million dollars from that game.  For the rest of the eleven games of the season BYU made 1.5 million dollars total.  Going independent allows BYU to not only choose the teams and times they play but it gives them more money in their pocket to put toward their facility and paying coaches.  They also have the means to recruit the best coaches. 

When Heath explained these benefits to my brother, now you have to understand my brother couldn’t care less about sports, Tyson said, “What a great missionary opportunity!”  And yeah, it does feel like a small snowball has been pushed down a hill of snow.  It will be interesting to see what comes of all of this.  BYU is not playing for a championship anymore.  They are in it to better themselves by sidestepping most of the politics of the different conferences they have been involved in.  At least for the next 8 years we will be watching BYU football (and other sports too) on ESPN. 

Go Buy Eye Ewe!  Go Cougars!  This is how Gwen cheers.  She may be more interested in the games this year than her brothers.  She was cheering for BYU when Heath was watching the U of U game on Thursday (good job beating Pitt!).  She’s ready.  Are you?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The chains of habit are too weak to resist until they are too strong to be broken

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Bad habits are like a comfortable bed – easy to get in to but hard to get out of.  Nobody is proud of their bad habits.  Those that appear to be are fooling you as well as themselves.  They are rationalizing behavior they wish they weren’t addicted to.  And rationalizing contains the word lies (at least in pronunciation). 

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Everyone has a bad habit.  Don’t pretend you don’t.  Some deep dark secret that is indulged in as often as circumstances may allow.  That thing your mom told you not to do so you wait until nobody is looking.

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When the secret is found out people try to tell you how to feel.  They say things like, “That’s disgusting!  Stop doing that!”  Sometimes they try to take your habit away from you in a cold turkey sort of way. 

The sheep were thrown in the trash right in front of her.  Reality sunk in later and the wailing started.  Followed by maternal guilt calculated by how much therapy will cost years from now. 

The furniture in her room was rearranged and all the sheep fuzz was vacuumed up.  Or so I thought.

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I don’t know where she finds this stuff.  Maybe it’s not always leftover sheep fuzz.  This morning she took out a long string of it and carefully placed it on the table next to her cereal.  Like it was a piece of gum or something she was saving for later.  After her cereal was finished the fuzz went back in. 

She savors it like a guilty pleasure with eyes rolled back into her head.  She keeps it in place with her fingers – her other bad habit.   Do you know she has calluses on her fingers from sucking on them?  I painted her nails yesterday and most of the polish is off already. 

The fuzz goes in and back out then held up to admire then back in to enjoy.  This is how she puts herself to sleep.  Maybe that’s why we have been at go to sleep war for weeks now.  I threw away her shorn sheep.  Somehow every morning she is seen with a new piece.  She is more than willing to take one last pleasurable suck before throwing it in the garbage. 

I see her scavenging the floor for fuzz.  She is a true fuzz connoisseur.  Not any piece will do.  She must have a rubric of qualities in mind.  Not too small, color matters, etc.  Polyester doll hair and yarn doll hair seem to have taken a back seat for now to any mass of white fuzz found throughout the house. 

I tell her that her habit may be why she occasionally suffers from constipation.  I think of my cousin’s dog that used to eat trash.  My favorite story was when he got a hold of a tampon and left his doggy treasures in the yard complete with a string coming out the end.  So far I have not seen evidence of fuzz in Gwen’s daily gifts to me. 

She masks glares at me behind a sweet smile and equally cooperative “Ok Mommy.”  I know she must be thinking I’m such an old lady for “killing her fuzz.” 

I worry this habit will not be broken.  That she will go to kindergarten with a tin full of dripping fuzz. 

How do I help her?  Give her gum?  I’ve done that and she plays with it much like the fuzz only it grosses me out when she drops her gum anywhere.  I’m not a germiphobe in the least but dusty, gritty gum crosses the line for me.  Do I redirect her obsession to sucking on her shirt?  The boys like that.  Will the oral phase ever end? 

What about introducing her to legal addictive stimulants like the caffeine in Diet Coke?  Because that’s what I need, a toddler with the shakes. 

For now I think I’ll just roll my eyes and look at the pictures I took of her French braid that I redid and touched up with hairspray.

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She sure is a pretty little thing.  Weird but pretty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Advertising

What you wear says a lot about you.  Like a walking advertisement. 

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It’s no secret that we love BYU around our house. 

Heath loves to wear his BYU shirts around town because it’s a great conversation starter.  We meet the most interesting people when one of us wears a BYU shirt. 

On a trip to Costco we met the cutest old couple.  I was waiting for them to walk past so I could walk around and grab something out of the freezer.  Little did I know they were slowing down to talk to us.  I quickly walked around them, grabbed the item, and came back to the cart to hear the little old man singing the Cougar fight song to my kids. 

His wife said that he is her second husband after her first husband died in a car accident.  She said that her kids were aware of BYU but that was about it.  She married this man and he would wake her kids up every morning by singing the Cougar fight song.  They hated it!  The wife thought it was so funny.  We all had a good chuckle over that.  She said he loves to sing that song any chance he gets and seeing Heath in his BYU shirt was the perfect opportunity. 

I wore one of my shirts yesterday and for a moment wondered if anyone would say anything.  Nobody did.  Today Gwen picked out her outfit as usual.  She picked her purple plaid skort.  She doesn’t have a lot of shirts that match it since it was a hand me down.  I put her in her gray BYU shirt.  My only thought was that I should have talked her into something else so she could wear the shirt on Saturday for BYU’s first game. 

Gwen and I were walking with our new friends Emily and Maddy to pick up Parker and Dylan from school.  Suddenly somebody was behind us saying, “Who’s BYU?”  I think she was so excited to recognize Mormons that she didn’t know what to say to get our attention.  She wanted to know who Gwen belonged to and if we were Mormon.  And the introductions began. 

She and her family moved here from Southern California just a few weeks ago and they didn’t know a lot of people yet.  We all said our names and what ward we were in.  None of us are in the same ward!  It was like being in Utah all over again.  Oh you live across the street?  What ward are you in?  Oh you’re in another stake altogether?  Who knew? 

Her 4 year old kept tugging at her arm saying he wanted to go get his BYU shirt.  I had to laugh in my head when I asked if anyone was watching the game on Saturday and none of the other women knew there was a game!  I’m dying along with Heath trying to wait for this game.  I can’t wait for football season to start! 

Today was one of those moments where I was proud to be who I am and advertising it out loud.  The three of us women were happy to have met each other.  We’ll be seeing more of each other in the future.