Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture This

Gwen is in her Spongebob nightgown.  She has a purple fairy skirt on that’s basically an elastic with purple strips of thin fabric flowing from it.  When she put on the skirt she pulled up her nightgown with the skirt so her underwear is showing in the front but especially in the back.  She has taken her pink and white striped train conductor hat from her dad. 

Heath:  Hey Gwen, do you like my hat?
Gwen:  No, that’s not cool Dad!

Earlier today Heath had kissed her cheek and she said, “You’re not my prince!”  Who is this girl?  She is hysterical. 

As soon as she put the hat on she tipped her head to one side and looked up at me as if over the top of her nonexistent glasses in that classic Parker way and said, “I need a baby!”  Words don’t do justice to how funny Gwen and Parker’s mannerisms are.  Nor can I adequately describe how matter of factly she said she needed a baby.  It was too funny. 

Hoochie Mama in training . . . I’m sorry but with her nightgown hiked up into her skirt she looked, well beyond words!  Anyway, she left for a minute and came back pushing Baby Tink in her stroller.  Too funny!  I had to capture the memory because not 20 minutes later Gwen and I were at odds with each other.  We do the terrible 3’s in our house but I don’t remember the boys being filled with such venom and spite with their snotty actions.  I’m biding my time until that girl turns 4 and hopefully goes back to being as sweet as she was at 2 just like her brothers did. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

What Else?

If I wasn’t doing this what else would I be doing?  Sometimes there is no answer to that question because what one is currently doing has become such a part of them that they can’t imagine what else they would be doing, where they would be doing it, or who they would be doing it with.  Sometimes the answer is clear and more often than not one is happy with what they are currently doing, where they are doing it, and who they are doing it with. 

A few days ago one of the kids said something funny.  I know I say it a lot but if you haven’t met my kids you really should because they’re hilarious!  And I don’t say that just because I’m biased as their mother.  Anyway, we were laughing at the comedic timing of the moment.  I looked at Heath, sighed, and said, “What did we ever do before we had kids?” 

This is a question we ask a lot.  It’s rhetorical because we know what we did before we had kids.  We longed for kids so much it was almost suffocating.  Heath answered in a different way. 

Heath:  We didn’t go on enough vacations, that’s for sure!
Me:  I know.  We should have.  We didn’t have any money though.
H:  I know. 
M:  So what did we do?  We decided to stretch our money even thinner by having babies. 
H:  Yeah, kids are expensive.  What were we thinking?  (The sarcasm font has not been invented yet)
M:  Most poor couples went to car dealerships to test drive sports cars for a cheap date.  We toured model homes. 
H:  It was good though.  We knew exactly what we wanted and we loved that house.  It was fun making it ours. 

The conversation continued along those lines.  We know what we did before kids.  We know what we would be doing if we didn’t have them.  We love that this is what we’re doing now.  So my house is a mess and Gwen has half the sandbox in her hair after I washed it last night.  Kids are like dogs that way.  They can’t stand being clean!  At least my kids don’t roll around in their own poo.  So all our extra money goes toward our children and taking them to see family because we don’t live by anyone and we can’t afford any other trips.  So what?  We love what we’re doing. 

If you weren’t doing this what else would you be doing?  Are you happy with your life? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sunkissed

There is something about seeing the world through the eyes of a child.  The child is seeing things for the very first time and we want them to believe the world is a beautiful place.  So we explain things with positive words and comforting feelings.  I don’t know where along the lines that positive attitude falters and we struggle against cynicism and negativity.  When a child comes into our lives we remember our happy and carefree childhood and the cycle starts again. 

I was well into my teenage and possibly adult years before I realized the spots on my body were actually called moles and not “beauty marks.”  Moles are for ugly, skinny, spinster cat ladies.  Bless my mother for instilling the confident notion of beauty marks in my mind!  Looking back I wonder if my siblings had anything to do with her description.  My brother and sister both had freckles sprinkled across their noses, which my mom explained were kisses from the sun.  They liked to tease me and say the sun must not love me as much because I didn’t have freckles.  But my mom pointed out all the beauty marks I had sprinkled across my body.  I felt beautiful because I had more beauty marks than my siblings, that and I always tanned better than them! 

Heath has a fair complexion with freckles sprinkled across his nose and beauty marks scattered all over his arms and legs.  His beauty marks are the color of caramel while mine look like Hershey’s special dark chocolate.  Our kids have no choice but to be spotted like us, their parents.  I found it interesting that the kids were all born with creamy flawless skin.  Over time the spots developed.  It makes me think of the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians where Cruella was all upset the puppies didn’t have any spots yet.  I don’t remember ever not having spots but then again I don’t remember much before the age of 3. 

When my kids play connect the dots on my arms I point out their beauty marks too.  They love it.  I think the reason why sun kisses is the description that has stuck instead of beauty marks is because I didn’t think little boys wanted beauty marks.  So I told them the sun kissed them.  They love to point out all the spots on me where the sun kissed me.  They think the sun really loves me!  I love that they have their daddy’s freckles lightly dusted across their noses and my dark chocolate “beauty marks” sprinkled across their bodies. 

I don’t know what my kids are ultimately going to think of the unique spots in their skin.  I hope they always hold on to the lovely idea of sun kisses and beauty marks like I did.  For now there is nothing that warms my heart more than hearing Gwen gasp and say, “Freckle!  You have a freckle!  The sun kissed you!” 

I love the beauty marks on Parker’s neck and the beauty marks on Gavin’s tan back as if he’s a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  I love the tiny little beauty mark inside Gwen’s ear.  I love the perfectly placed beauty marks on my toe and the caramel colored “h” birthmark on my hand.  The story I like to believe with that is that Heath and I were meant for each other.  God placed the “h” on my right hand as a reminder. 

These identifying marks on all of us are unique and pretty cool.  I love that I grew up believing it was a sign of beauty and that I can pass that sentiment on to my kids.  Because who wouldn’t want to believe they were kissed by the sun?  The very idea feels like I’m wrapped in a bright, warm hug.  Kind of like the beginning of an orange and red sunset where the sun is still peeking over the tops of the mountains at the end of the best day ever. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Candy Monster

Holidays mean candy.  It’s stupid but true.  I always secretly hope the kids gorge themselves on their candy finishing it the same day they receive it.  If it sits around I cannot guarantee its safety and I’m not much of a sweet tooth!  Even if I exercise self control I can’t keep it out of the clutches of

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The Candy Monster.  The red eyes and chocolate goatee give her that devil incarnate look right?

The Candy Monster finished all of her Easter candy before lunch on Sunday.  Heath told her that she ate enough candy and she needed to stop.  She walked away from him and told me to close my eyes while she not so secretly peeled her Cadbury egg.  Clever.  I told her I knew exactly what she was doing so she continued to peel and close her eyes in rapture as she bit into the decadent egg. 

When we came home from church I saw her munching right along with her brothers.  My suspicions were confirmed when I caught her stealing candy out of her brothers’ baskets.  The next day I heard this

Parker:  Mom, why did you put our Easter baskets in your office when there’s still candy in them?
Me:  Because I had to get it away from your sister! 

The boys’ candy was bagged up with their names on the bags.  I know enough not to put it in the pantry cupboard where little fingers can reach.  I put it up in the same cupboard I keep my purse in.  I’m just waiting for Gwen to figure it out and push a chair over there to help herself the same way Parker used to help himself to all the gum in my purse. 

My boys don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  Gavin always wants to save his candy for later.  Parker is an out of sight out of mind kind of guy.  He will eat until it’s gone or taken away then forget all about it.  Gavin just forgets all about it.  He’ll bring stuff home from school and forget he ever had it.  Meanwhile I have it saved in the cupboard for him where months later The Candy Monster eats it. 

Sometimes I think I have a magical cupboard.  My porch used to be magic but we haven’t had any mystery packages left there for a few years.  The cupboard on the other hand is magic.  The Candy Monster is in sync with the magic and somehow knows when the candy inside is ripe for the picking.  I can rearrange the shelves when she’s asleep upstairs and find an old package of candy canes from Christmas.  The Candy Monster spontaneously asks for a candy cane the next day.  She finds old lollipops that Gavin has clearly forgotten about and begs me for one.  I give in and the next thing I know she’s found another one.  Are they reproducing in there?  Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “behind closed doors . . .”

In the afternoon while both boys are at school The Candy Monster grazes.  It’s not uncommon to see both pantry doors open with a chair shoved in the middle.  It’s uncommon to see the doors shut and know she’s anywhere else in the house.  The daily question is

Gwen:  Mommy.  I hungry.  Can I have a snack?
Me:  No.  It’s not time for a snack.
G:  But I hungry!  Mommy.  Can I have chocwate?
Me:  No, we don’t have any.
G:  Yes we do!  Chocwate chocwate chocwate! 
Me:  We don’t have any chocolate.  Go play. 
G:  Mommy.  I want this one.
Me:  What’s this one?
G:  This one!  (pointing at the box of extra otter pops then she runs to the freezer and pathetically pulls on the handle as if she has never opened the freezer before)
Me:  No!  You don’t need one. 
G:  Mommy.  Can I have fyoot snacks?  I hungry.  I want a candy cane.  Can I have a yahweepop?  Pwease pwease pwease!  I axe nicewee!  I want crackers and string cheese.  Mommy.  I hungry. 

Every day.  Until my ears bleed.  It doesn’t matter if I give her short answers in simple terms any small child can understand or long orations until I’m blue in the face.  She only hears yes.  And if she doesn’t hear yes from me she hears yes in her own head and forages in the cupboard for food as if I never feed her.  That’s when she finds long forgotten stashes of candy and I seriously wonder if The Candy Monster is really a Candy Fairy that waves a glittery wand to create the ultimate environment in the cupboard for the production of stale candy to satisfy her every whim and desire.  Any time I give in to her candy wishes thinking the candy will be gone and out of the house if I do, there’s always somehow more tomorrow.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  This idiot would like to get out of the metaphorical shower! 

I do like Candy Fairy better than Candy Monster.  She seems to possess some power over sugar as if she’s naturally drawn to it.  The other day she brought me a Kool-Aid packet and asked what it was for.  I’m impressed she didn’t just rip it open and go for the contents minus the sugar.  But I went with Candy Monster because this morning she told me that I was making her a monster when I rinsed the shampoo out of her hair.  Who knew?  For instant monster just douse with water. 

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Unfortunately it’s a personality trait that she has not outgrown. 

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Candy Fairy or Candy Monster, this girl is a sugar fanatic, with root beer colored eyes, and proud of it. 

By the way, the chocolate never came out of her pajamas.  She has a lot of perma-chocolate-stained clothes.  The best Candy Monster story I have is this:  The kids were all sitting on the couch watching TV.  I was on the phone with Heath when Parker came over to me.  I waved him away mouthing that I was on the phone.  Why do kids always need something when I’m on the phone?  He persisted.  I tried to ignore him but the words “Gwen has poop everywhere” rang through.  I casually walked over to the couch thinking it couldn’t be all that bad. 

No, it was worse.  I looked down at little girl covered head to toe in soft, smeared brown goo.  Heath heard what Parker said and what I said when I saw the scene.  I threw the phone onto the couch and gingerly grabbed soiled toddler.  Rushing her into the bathroom I realized it was chocolate and not . . . you know.  I had to laugh at the mistake but I was still pretty annoyed with the amount of chocolate everywhere.  Thank heavens the shirt was white and for whatever reason she didn’t have pants on after her nap.  I bleached the shirt and my sister knows the rest of this comical story because the hilarity didn’t end there.  Maybe I’ll divulge my deepest darkest secret in another post. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Everybody’s Free

It’s finally time to put one of these videos up.  I quote this song often enough.  Please note this song was not written by Baz Luhrmann.  The song was actually written by Mary Schmich as a newspaper article

The lyrics to Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen, by Mary Schmich:

Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proven by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scrambled Eggs Part 2

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The purpose of Easter is not candy and eggs and bunnies.  The purpose is a remembrance of the miraculous Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

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One of our Easter traditions is that the Easter Bunny brings the kids new church books.  This is something our kids love to do during Sacrament Meeting.  There are so many cute picture books with a gospel theme.  Gavin has read them all.  He rereads them and I think he learns something new from the longer books the more he is able to read and comprehend.  This year Gavin got a book called Seven Years Old and Preparing for Baptism.  He read the whole thing yesterday.  I want to read with him at least once so we can discuss it. 

I asked him once what it meant to be baptized.  Every once in a while I worry that he’s doing it because our church believes that children reach the age of accountability at the age of 8.  Children who are 8 years old can be baptized.  I want him to understand the choice he is making.  He responded that when he’s baptized he can have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  That impressed me.  He wants to be baptized to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to help guide him through life and comfort him in times of need. 

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The Easter Bunny usually brings other gifts too.  He brought sunglasses for the kids since they lost theirs in the car accident.  Unfortunately Gavin has regular glasses now!  I love that he put the sunglasses on over the top.  Too cute.  We told him that maybe he can take off his regular glasses and wear the sunglasses on a road trip or something when he doesn’t really need to see that much.  We also got the movie Inkheart and the kids got a soccer ball and a rubber playground ball.  Since the playground ball is pink Gwen thinks it’s only for her.  She’ll learn, I hope. 

Sacrament Meeting was really neat yesterday.  Heath’s talk was fabulous.  I love how he stood up and immediately testified of Jesus Christ and testified that He lives.  His talk focused on what the Atonement and Resurrection mean to us today. 

The kids were really good for me considering Heath was on the stand.  Parker fell asleep in my lap amidst the chaos of Gwen and her friend stacking books over and over.  My favorite part was when Rachel was climbing over the pew and my friend who was sitting behind me had to reach across my pew to help her over.  She also climbed under the benches.  The girls were fairly quiet about it! 

I was nervous to substitute the Primary class because the kids are 10 and 11 years old.  Usually I sub in Junior Primary and not Senior Primary.  My only experience with these kids was the few short months I was in the Primary Presidency.  They are such good kids.  We had a lot of fun together.  My favorite consequence of service is the love that is developed for those that are served.  I love our Primary kids!  They are good kids. 

I don’t know if the Primary kids felt oversaturated with the Easter story.  Sacrament Meeting focused on Easter and the Savior obviously.  Then the Primary class lessons were all on the Easter story.  Sharing Time in Primary was very similar to my object lesson.  It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in some of the other homes.  My kids were excited to hear the story again.  Gwen learned it in Nursery too.  She had a cave cutout with a cutout of Jesus and a cutout of a large rock.  She was so cute as she told the story.  She put the rock in front of the hole in the cave and said over and over that Jesus couldn’t get through but then he did!  She moved the rock and pulled him through.  We asked her how he got through and she said he was resurrected.  Of course when I tried to get video of her the moment had passed. 

There are a couple of hymns I would love to quote here.  Instead I will link to them.  It was a wonderful Easter weekend. I am so grateful that my Savior lives. He loved me enough to suffer, bleed, and die for me but He lives for me today. That is worth everything to me.

Scrambled Eggs Part 1

This is not a cooking post. This was our crazy weekend where we scrambled every day to get a million things done all for Easter. Now that I’m on the other side of all the scrambling, this weekend was really great with a lot of fun stories I don’t want to forget. Enjoy.

Last week felt long. Every day we counted down until the weekend. Every day Gavin would say something about wanting to get to “the double weekend.” This from the kid who claims he hates weekends. Good Friday could not come soon enough! Finally it was here but there was no heavy sigh of relief in sight.

We woke up as if it was a regular school day. Ok, the kids woke up as if it was a regular school day. Heath had to alter his morning routine to allow me to get up earlier than usual to shower and begin the looooooong process of beautifying myself in time to make the kids look halfway decent too. We can be ready by 8:00 am to drive to school but hair is optional when I can go home and finish later. It’s different when there’s a dentist appointment at 8:15 on a school holiday.

The kids did great, including Gwen who was going for the first time. No cavities so Heath told them they could have dessert at lunch! Since I had to get my cavity filled he joked that I wouldn’t get dessert at lunch. Ha ha. Heath took the mugwumps home to play with their new toys provided by the dentist. Can I just say I have never seen cool dentist toys like that before! Normally they’re stupid little trinkets that break before you get home or get lost within the week. These were probably dollar store items but they were cool. Gwen chose a little finger bowling set, Parker chose a finger football game, and Gavin chose the coolest toy in my opinion – a rocket launcher. The kids played for 30 minutes while the dentist filled my cavity.

I have decided that it’s cool that anesthesia allows people to be numb while being conscious for procedures but I really hate it. Fillings aren’t too bad. It’s a little strange to hear everything they’re doing to your teeth while not being able to feel it so I feel like it should hurt when it doesn’t. Very strange. But c-sections are the strangest. I’m not sure anyone should be awake while their abdomen is split open and doctors are digging around in there to yank out a slimy baby, then hold it up over the curtain as if it’s the most normal thing in the world! At least I was in a sterile operating room where doctors were seeing my blood and guts and not in a replica of a bedroom with a room full of people staring at my unmentionable lady parts waiting for another person to emerge.

The dentist said that the numbness should wear off in about two hours. Nice wish. I was numbed at 10:00, finished by 10:20-ish and the numbness finally wore off suddenly around 1:00 pm. We had planned on eating at a Mexican restaurant for lunch but I didn’t think I would ever want to eat again for the rest of my life so we went to Costco, then shoe shopping for the boys who are so hard on shoes, then to lunch. Heath and the kids had Carl’s Jr. while I walked a couple doors down to Jamba Juice and sipped it while eating Gavin’s fries on the left side of my mouth.

Heath had a Young Men’s barbecue that night and made scrambled eggs for us before he left. I was planning on making them but he just started them as I pulled out ingredients. What a guy. The boys asked why he was making breakfast for dinner when he hates it! They forgot he wasn’t eating with us. The kids and I watched a movie.  We looked forward to Saturday when we could enjoy a day. 

Saturday was the scrambliest day of them all.  Heath was preparing his talk for Sacrament Meeting the next day.  I was preparing my lesson for the Primary class I was substituting.  The teacher told me to teach the Easter lesson.  By the time I got around to looking at it online I realized there is no Easter lesson for that manual since all the lessons are about the Savior from the New Testament.  The teacher was already gone so I couldn’t ask her what lesson she left off on and I would teach the next one.  At one point I thought of teaching the Easter lesson from the Book of Mormon perspective but ended up just going  online and made the rest up.

For the second day in a row I skipped my workout with Steven.  I also skipped Wednesday’s workout so it came as no surprise that today I was up three or four pounds.  There was just no time to workout with Steven this weekend. 

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I was busy putting this stuff together for my object lesson on the Atonement and Resurrection of the Savior.  How cute did my egg carton turn out!  I gathered as many objects as I could find that went with the scripture references.  The kids in the class thought it was weird that I had a Christmas card with everything else.  When we got to that part they understood.  It has a nail on it.  Only it’s unlike any other nail I have ever seen.  I told the kids that I don’t know if that’s what the nails looked like that nailed Christ to the cross but I thought it looked dull and nasty.  They all touched it exclaiming “ow!” as soon as they touched it.  I think they realized that being nailed to a cross was painful. 

Heath and I were in a really big hurry with our preparations because we had a babysitter coming over that evening.  Before she came we celebrated with the kids. 

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The kids love dying Easter eggs.  Gavin asked if the eggs would be resurrected since we were dying them!  That is my favorite Say What quote! 

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I don’t know why the kids think dying eggs is so fun.  Heath does all the work while they watch.  I have a picture of my niece, not quite 2 years old yet, dying her own Easter eggs on Saturday.  You would think we could just phase out this tradition since neither Heath nor I care about it.  I like how Heath signed the paper towel though!  The colored smudges on the paper towel are my favorite part of the process. 

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The Easter Bunny doesn’t even hide our boiled eggs.  He hides plastic eggs filled with candy.  The Pagan traditions of Easter are so dumb and have nothing to do with why we celebrate Easter! 

While Heath and I were out I read the rough draft of his talk while we waited for our order and we discussed how to improve it. That was cool to sit in a crowded restaurant discussing the Atonement and Resurrection and how it applies to our lives today.  

One thing we wanted to get done on our little date was to go clothes shopping without the distraction of our bored children. I found two brightly colored shirts that I hoped would go with a skirt I bought earlier. One shirt goes well while the other is too long. I wanted to wear the skirt to the playground with the kids and whatnot but the shirts are button down and look too formal with it. I’m going to have to do more t-shirt shopping I guess. We tried Landsend since they advertised the greatest t-shirt in the world or some such hyperbole. The problem was that the colors that were left were ugly. What is up with that?

I imagined the clothes in my closet and saw how dark the colors are.  I wear a lot of navy blue and olive green.  Blue and green are the family colors according to my mom.  Although she and my sister have branched out a lot in their color choices since that comment was made years ago.  The sales girl suggested I buy the royal blue shirt over the shocking hot pink one in the same style.  I felt bad but I had to go with the pink one.  It looked so awesome with my dark jeans that are the same color as my denim bermuda shorts.  Plus, it wasn’t blue or green!  I ended up wearing the pink shirt yesterday to church.  Normally I don’t mind that my clothes are really dark saturated jewel tones.  Those are my colors but it was Easter.  I figured enough people would be wearing yellow flowers and wicker hats so I had to look springy myself.  Wicker hats!  Heath and I had a good laugh over that intentional description.  It’s not like white straw hats are any more comfortable.  Believe me.  I’ve tried it. 

The last store we ended up at was Wal-Wart. It was an act of desperation to even shop there because the store we wanted to go to was closed. I hate Wally World. I hate it. I am not frugal and I couldn’t be prouder of that because Wal-Mart is so not worth the hassle for the “bargain.” We stood third in line for 10 full minutes. Nobody had that much stuff either. Given the fact that it was Wal-Wart it made the wait in line nearly unbearable. I apologized profusely to the babysitter when we got home later than expected. Stupid Wal-Wart.

Have you ever thought that Wal-Mart is a little misleading when they say they’re always rolling back prices? It’s kind of like Macy’s who advertises daily about their “1 day sale.” Am I right? Why can’t they just say that the prices you see are the prices you get instead of enticing people there with the illusion of a constant sale? I like Macy’s as far as high end overpriced mall department stores are concerned but Wal-Mart can die an agonizing death.

Stay tuned for Scrambled Eggs Part 2 . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011

Isn’t it Ironic?

Isn’t it ironic that a singer would make her rise to fame through lyrics that are nothing more than rhyming clichés set to music?  Good for her for doing it though.  Alanis Morissette was popular.

Actually the irony I feel I need to point out is the fact that I went out of my way to post that I wasn’t going to post anymore for a while and then I only missed one day.  Should I be embarrassed about that?  I’m going to go with no this time.  It’s my blog and I can do whatever I want on it! 

Believe it or not I didn’t write the post in some desperate way to fish for compliments or see which readers cared enough to comment.  I was surprised anyone commented at all.  I thought it would be one of those posts that silently sit in the blogosphere.  Even though I posted with no expectations I felt warm and fuzzy that so many people cared! 

The nice thing about that post, the reason why I wrote it, was that that the pressure was off.  This is not a performance for anyone but sometimes I feel like I need to write something to get out of my head and I sit down and nothing comes out.  That’s frustrating.  So after a few forced posts and more whiny narcissistic posts than I should have written I threatened to pull the plug for a while.  Ironically the joy of writing returned with a bonus of several cool writing prompts from my mom.  Maybe it wasn’t that ironic though.  Maybe we all saw that one coming. 

Life is not a movie.  I do my best to make my normal life exciting but sometimes it’s just normal.  You can’t order it in neat little categories to write about on a schedule and you can’t order drama, comedy, or tear jerking moments.  It’s life . . . according to me. 

It Factor

Gwen-It-Factor-001

The new It Girl has it going on! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When it Gets Personal

A note from the school caught my attention.  It started out with the following sentence:

“I send this letter out to (the school) families with a heavy heart.”

What?  Why the heavy heart?  Who died?  Who’s retiring?  What happened?  I read on to find out. 

“Following over $20 million that (the school district) has cut during this state budget crisis, our district must now cut an additional $3 million for the coming year.” 

Oh.  That’s all.  I almost stopped reading because I get annoyed with all the budget cuts and the pink notes on every other car in the school parking lot giving the visual image of who will not have a job next year.  Miraculously all the teachers are still there the next year, the programs that were supposed to be cut were somehow saved and on and on.  I don’t mean to make light of a real situation but where is the accountability?  If the school district cut $20 million where did those cuts come from and why do we still have to cut more? 

The newscasters report almost daily about the budget cuts in the police and fire departments.  They report the increase in sales tax and gas prices.  Did you know that most of Californian’s pay over 9% in sales tax?  That’s a lot.  And gas around here is almost $5 a gallon.  California always leads the country in exorbitant gas prices.  New taxes for this that and the other come up daily in an effort to solve the budget crisis.  This group is protesting because they think they should be exempt and their services are more important than that group.  The next day the story is the same only with that group’s name. 

We must tighten our belts.  The economy is bad.  Pay pay pay pay pay.  What bothers me is nothing seems to ever get better.  In fact, it all seems to keep getting worse.  And why should I have to bail out the government for overspending when I keep my finances in order?  It’s a vicious cycle that I don’t understand.

Money always affects schools.  My whole life I have heard the school debate over whether or not the money should come out of schools and how necessary cuts will affect the schools.  Schools do a lot to raise money which I think is great.  Annoying sometimes but great.  I don’t know what it’s like across the country but here in California the college students are always protesting tuition increases.  They say that education is a right and not a privilege.  I strongly disagree.  Higher education, or a college education, is absolutely not a right.  It should take effort to qualify for school and it should take effort to earn a degree.  That’s precisely why a college degree is worth more in the workforce.  Not every Joe Schmoe should be handed a college education because he’s an American citizen.  Strive for excellence Joe!  The rest of us are. 

Heath has an intern who is a student at Berkeley, where a lot of the protests are happening.  She says that it’s not the math and science majors who are upset.  It’s the liberal arts students, the history majors, the English majors, the people who are earning a degree that isn’t very useful in the workplace.  I find that interesting. 

Unfortunately the budget crisis is negatively affecting grade schools, middle schools, and high schools.  This is the education that is an American right.  This country has the means to educate its children when many other countries can barely feed themselves.  A primary education is a right in this country. 

The letter from the principal went on to explain in detail what would happen to the students at the school if more budget cuts had to be made.  I read through the list of class sizes increasing to 30 students and the explanation that this impacts personal student attention from teachers who have too many students to deal with.  Physical Education would have to be taught by the regular classroom teachers who normally used the time as a prep period.  “Library hours would be cut, barely letting students check out books once a month.”  I’m not sure I believe that one.  I can see librarians being cut along with the PE teachers and regular teachers having to teach library skills, but saying that the students can only go to the library once a month makes no sense to me.  Technology would be cut entirely.  Music programs for the upper grades would be cut. 

The results of PE and I guess librarians being cut would be that the school would have to have an early release one day a week so teachers could use the time as prep time.  I found the letter’s details interesting.  It described the school system I grew up in and later taught in.  Utah’s classroom teachers have been teaching PE, music, library, and art for as long as I can remember and we always got out early on Fridays.  It’s been an adjustment for me to know my kids don’t get out early once a week.  Because this is the system I know I have mixed emotions about the uproar of budget cuts that will make this a new reality in this neighborhood.  And in some ways I wonder if so much personalized attention for students in smaller classes is even that beneficial.  I’m the Piquant Storyteller.  You don’t have to agree with me. 

“Our Reading Specialist’s time would be cut in half, eliminating critical support for our most at-risk students.”  That’s when it got personal for me.  That’s when the bad taste came into my mouth and the goosebumps raised on my arms.  Would it be nice for specialists to teach different programs in education like technology, library skills, art, music, etc?  Of course.  And I wish money would allow us to do so.  When push comes to shove some programs have to be expendable and therefore piled on to the classroom teacher’s load.  I’m not arguing which programs should go and which should stay but when it comes to basic human rights, Special Education is one of them. 

Reading Specialists are not Special Education teachers though which is why legally this program can be cut.  It does not make me happy.  At the risk of offending my family, I would have to say that Reading Specialists should be saved before any other program.  I have taught Special Education as a Mild/Moderate Resource teacher.  I have tested students whose teachers or parents or both have referred them after nothing else worked for the student.  And I have had to explain to all these people anxiously waiting my dictation with stars in their eyes that the student did not qualify.  Talk about dashing someone’s hopes and dreams.  It’s a devastating blow if there are no other programs available to help the student, Reading Specialists being one of them.  What do those people do?  Hire a Sylvan Learning tutor?  Give up and realize that it’s the winners who write the history books and slow learners are not winners?  The public schools need to have these resources available.  A learning disability that affects reading affects every single other branch of education because if one can’t read they can’t learn as efficiently. 

I find it amazing that the government would even put schools in this position because education is what makes this country successful and competitive.  This country cannot remain competitive if it cuts programs that support the struggling student. The other day I heard a news story that said that there are more minority students than white students in Special Education. Yes. Statistics would tell you that if there are more minority students in a school than white students the numbers would dictate that more minority students would be require special services. I’m sure the ratio of excelling white students vs. white Special Education students is the same ratio as the minority students. I’m not even a math person and I know that’s skewed data. See how important a solid education is?  The best way to defeat a country is to take away its educational resources.  So now I’m back to wondering why citizens have to bail out the government for their poor fiscal choices.  It’s a vicious cycle I know I don’t understand. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

My kids have an addiction to cardboard boxes.  The best part of a trip to Costco for them is all the cardboard boxes.  While we put the food away we toss the boxes to the edge of the kitchen making a small mountain of cardboard possibilities.  Then we ask the kids to take the boxes out to the recycling bin.  They take most of it out but always manage to sneak a box or two for themselves. 

They color the milk boxes to look like houses and ask us to cut a door in the side.  Gavin turns some boxes into laptops.  Irrelevant tangent:  Gwen wouldn’t get off the computer when it was Gavin’s turn to play so he hatched a plan.  He filled a drawing board with the alphabet in squares like a keyboard then he drew a princess on the other drawing board propped up against the wall and wrote Disney Princess at the top.  To complete the pretend computer, he asked me for the wireless mouse we gave Gwen to play with after it stopped working.  I loved the creativity in his problem solving.  She still refused to get off the real computer so I let her play the paper doll game on Ubi (my phone). 

Where was I?  Oh yeah, boxes.  Parker quickly snatched up a colorful Jelly Belly fruit snack box for himself.  I had to cut a door for him and he colored inside the box to make his house.  He played with it that day and maybe the next.  The problem I have with these “toy boxes” is that they always seem to be tossed wherever all over the house.  We ask the kids to put their toys away and the boxes stay on the floor in the way.  If the boxes do find their way up to the boys’ room they sit in the middle of the floor, or at the foot of the bed, or shoved in the closet or under a bed peeking out.  The problem with “toy boxes” is they aren’t really toys and they have no home.  I have chilled out a lot about clutter but I hate things that don’t have a home.  They seem to take up real estate in an eyesore kind of way and it makes me crazy! 

The Jelly Belly box was kicked around for a few days.  I tripped over it one day and decided to toss it in the recycling bin.  The next day I pulled into the garage after doing a school run and saw the box next to the garage wall.  The flappy door confirmed it was Parker’s box.  Just as I reached down to grab it and toss it I had the thought that maybe Heath was a softy and rescued it for Parker.  I left it there.  Not surprisingly the box found its way back into the house and underfoot. 

Me:  Parker, recycle this box please. 
Parker:  No, it’s my house! 
Me:  Were you the one who rescued it from the recycle bin?
P:  Yes!
M:  How did you know it was even in there?
P:  I just digged in there and found it. 

He finally agreed to get rid of it and when he did I asked Heath about the box.  He said he has never rescued it for Parker.  In fact, he said that Parker must have rescued it twice since Heath had tried to get rid of it before.  Parker is such a sneaky little bugger.  What will my children remember from their childhood?  Mom was always throwing away our coolest toys! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blogcation Starts Today

It’s that time of year when we all dream about the sun. 

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Working out with Steven on a warm and breezy tropical island isn’t enough of a vacation for me anymore.  Maybe it’s because when I hang out with Steven he makes me work hard.  I need a real vacation.  A vacation from blogging or a blogcation. 

4 years + an average of 5 posts a week = 1,196 posts
Mix this with writer’s block and a feeling that I have run out of things to say (sad) and you get why I need a blogcation. 

In the last four years I have taken pride in the diversity of my writing topics as well as the diversity of my readers.  But I’m out of ideas.  If you have any ideas for me to write about I would appreciate them.  I need writing challenges as much as I need to eat and sleep.  Until the ideas start haunting me again I have to take a break.  I will probably still post fun things about my kids periodically because they’re cute.

For example. 

So long for now.  I’m boarding my departing train of thought.  I’ll send a postcard if I can and hope to tell the tale when I return.  Au revoir! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A pointless post with no moral to the story

If I’m going to blog about the bad days I should acknowledge the good days too.  Yesterday was a good day.  There were two weeks in a row I canceled Park Day because I had some sort of appointment in the afternoon.  It made me feel like a horrible friend but the anxiety was so intense that anything I could get out of I had to get out of in order to get through each day.  So I bailed on my friend.  The first proof of yesterday being a good day was I went to Park Day!  I even worked out later than I should have which cut my morning way short.  I was only 15 minutes late to Park Day because I only dried my hair and didn’t straighten it.  This is only a noteworthy thing because it means I’m becoming less vain and on a day when I had an appointment!  Not doing my hair is unheard of on a day like that.  I find confidence in looking put together and usually the more nervous I am the more makeup I wear and the more time I spend on my hair.  Small achievements. 

After Park Day I rushed to get Parker fed before school and get Gwen ready for her babysitting play date.  I started getting  a little nervous about the dentist appointment Heath and I had.  I think I would have been ok except my blood sugar was dropping low when I was counting on it being a little high so we could have a late lunch.  Our appointment was at noon.  We had a “small” snack to tide us over.  Being a little nervous I overate.  My blood sugar was high the rest of the day.  Oops.  Then I had to look up the address of the dentist office since we were going to a new one.  We thought we knew where the office was but at the last minute realized we better figure out which building in the parking lot it was.  That changed our plans a little since we left late.  I don’t like to change plans at the last minute.  It makes me nervous.  Yeah, what doesn’t nowadays! 

The good news is I was fine.  We took Parker to school, dropping off in the drop off zone.  Sorry kid!  Then we took Gwen to our friend’s house, where I practically dropped her off at the doorstep.  My friend opened the door and I said, “We’re taking off now!  I’ll talk to you later.”  She was fine with it.  We managed to get to the dentist’s office 15 minutes early even after we drove around the building trying to find the suite.  All good.  I was feeling fabulous.  The dentist was so nice.  I am so grateful we finally found a dentist we’ll be happy with.  I have a cavity.  Blah.  My appointment to have it fixed is a couple hours after the kids have their appointment next week.  All good.  Yesterday was busy but I felt great all day.  That is worth celebrating. 

Today . . . ahh today.  It started out good.  First of all, I told Gavin he had permission to turn on the TV in the morning because I wanted to sleep!  I was up at 5:30 with low blood sugar and went back to sleep.  At 7:30 I woke up momentarily as I heard Heath shutting the bedroom door after he left.  Nice.  I slept for another hour.  It’s the most sleep I have had in one night in I don’t know how long.  Blissful.  Steven and I rocked it in another work out session.  Soon we were off for our weekend errands. 

Heath and I had this crazy idea that we should mix it up a bit.  He said we should go to a Dairy Queen he found when he had to return the Comcast equipment when we switched to AT&T.  DQ is usually a road trip kind of place to eat since it’s never close to where we live.  After lunch we would go further north to a Costco.  Sounds fun. 

Costco is pretty much a weekly occurrence.  The milk and gas is cheaper there than anywhere else.  I hate Costco.  It’s crowded with obnoxious people and it’s a huge warehouse with so many choices I get overwhelmed.  Gavin feels the same way I do about Costco.  Only he’s 7 so he has a hard time hiding his discomfort so he and I end up growling at each other bickering the whole trip.  Poor Heath!  I wonder if every Saturday he wishes he had a wife who would try to do that type of shopping during the week.  Sometimes he’ll go alone but he hates Costco too so he says it’s only fair we all suffer together.  He’s probably right. 

Lately I have been having a hard time on the drive to Costco, crying on the most difficult trip there.  I knew if we went to a different Costco we would be on the freeway in a different direction.  Actually it’s the same direction I go to see my endocrinologist and we would be getting off the freeway sooner than that short trip.  I felt confident I could do this.  Heath wisely distracted me by having me make a list on my phone of the things we wanted to do this summer on our trip to see family.  It wasn’t until we got on the freeway that I started getting slightly uncomfortable with the other cars.  My peripheral vision is too good I guess!  But all in all I was doing really well.  We made it to the shopping center where Dairy Queen was and I was feeling pretty good about everything.  Success! 

The unraveling began when DQ had only a few tiny tables.  So we walked to Taco Bell thinking maybe we could go back later to just get ice cream.  After lunch we went on to our favorite place on earth.  Costco.  The drive there was difficult since we seemed to be cloaked in invisibility or in some sort of driver’s ed virtual driving course where we were being tested on our reflexes of other idiotic drivers.  We managed to make it into the parking lot.  I hate Costco parking lots but this one was poorly set up and the idiots seemed to be multiplying. 

Inside was like being in a video game of happy hour for selfish morons.  Extra points for wandering slowly down the middle of the aisle blocking everyone.  Bonus points for stopping abruptly in the middle of high traffic aisles to shoot the breeze with family.  The easiest points to earn were from parking one’s cart haphazardly wherever and walking several feet away on the opposite side of the aisle to browse slowly.  Meanwhile Gavin kept saying, “I need to go to the bathroom but it’s not an emergency.  I can wait.”  Then, “If you don’t take me to the bathroom now I will pee my pants!  Oh fine.  I don’t have to go.  I’ll wait.”  Maddening.  That’s the only way to describe his wishy washiness.  I couldn’t tell if he really had to go or if he just wanted to get out of the heart of the store.  It’s hard to tell with that kid. 

I ended up taking him and Gwen while Heath stood in the long line to check out.  We finished about the same time and left the insanity of the store to be annoyed and befuddled by people doing the incomprehensible in the parking lot.  Somehow we managed to get out of there.  Heath was even feeling a little crazy and he laughed that if he was feeling that way I must really be at my wit’s end with the experience.  We both swore the whole way home that we would never go to that Costco ever again.  So not worth it! 

We washed our cars which was really fun.  The kids loved helping us.  Heath and I remembered washing our cars together on July 4, 2000.  That was such a great day.  That was the beginning of us falling in love.  Memories!  I’ve decided that I love driving a minivan but when it comes to washing, I feel like my van is this big old dork mobile.  It makes me miss Yazzle.  That little Chevy Cavalier was such a cute car that served me well.  I hope he’s found a happy home.  However, Velma is clean as a whistle.  I had an OCD moment with the vacuum but it looks awesome! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Context

Because I grew up in a home full of language I think I have a higher tolerance for it than most people.  I don’t appreciate hearing it or reading it and would rather avoid it altogether if I could but it is a fact of life.  Some people use language.  It is what it is. 

However!

Frivolous sprinkling of language for the sake of shock value has no place in entertainment period. 

I’ve been to the library again.  I picked up a book that I have always been interested in based on the title alone.  Yeah, I gave up after 59 pages after only encountering the F-bomb once.  I went on Goodreads to read the reviews of this book.  All my friends’ reviews came up first.  High ratings.  I think the lowest I saw was a 3 star rating (out of 5) and it was because of the sex and language.  In fact, everyone mentioned the language in their review.  One review said the F-word gets worse as the story continues.  I was done with the book before I read the reviews but that one sealed the deal for me. 

This is my opinion of language.  It has to fit.  I read The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf.  There was language.  Not too much but kind of a lot.  The F-bomb was in there too.  It was used sparingly, like maybe two or three times total.  The thing is it fit.  It fit the character and it definitely fit the scene – a drunken, abusive rage.  The word gave me a physical reaction similar to how I felt when my father used the word in a situation not unlike the scene in the book.  He also reserved the word for “special moments.”  It made it that much more powerful.  This is why when I encountered the word today standing in as a shock value way to express the phrase messed up I was done reading.  It didn’t fit.  It was inappropriate and for all the other garbage I had read in less than 60 pages the author has sealed her reputation in my mind as one who doesn’t trust her writing skills.  It’s too bad because everyone raves about the storyline, in the book as well as the movie based on it.  It all could have been told without the gratuitous sex and excessive use of language. 

Cinderella Ate My Daughter was not a squeaky clean book either.  But the language and imagery she used fit.  It furthered the story to help prove her point.  Could Peggy Orenstein have used different words to illustrate her point?  Yes she could have.  I guess what made me ok with her word use in the book was that she wasn’t adding anything.  No extra adjectives to shock or amuse.  She was blunt.  Plain and simple.  The language told the story.  It was the story.  It’s all about context. 

I have taken people off my blog roll for their excessive use of language so forcible it almost doesn’t make sense.  I realize that curse words replace a variety of parts of speech but let’s not push it.  I remember a moment where my dad was so upset about an alarm clock of all things.  I won’t repeat what he said but I remember turning to hide my smile even though I was in another room and he couldn’t see me.  I thought, “Wow.  You have officially run out of words.”  When one has to invent suffixes for curse words to have it fit the meaning they’re trying to portray and it still doesn’t make sense, well, that’s just really sad. 

There is a plethora of words to choose from and nowadays you don’t even have to consult a dictionary or thesaurus.  Just type in a word in a search engine and go nuts.  By the way, this is a great way to learn how to spell too.  One particular blogger I took off my blog roll baffles me.  This person claims to be a professional advocating for others.  I don’t see how anyone can take this person seriously when he/she/it never proofreads anything before publishing.  Misspellings galore and language that would make a sailor blush.  I don’t want to be represented by someone like that.  And I’m certainly not going to potentially point traffic to that kind of site.  So it’s a blog but it can still be professional.  In this case it should be more professional since this person blogs about his/her/its profession and advocacy. 

Back to the book I refuse to finish . . . it was the author’s first novel.  I hate to say it but I can tell.  Why do first timers have to punctuate with abusive language to get an audience?  And the sex scenes!  Wow!  Sex in books can either be tastefully done (If Only it Were True by Marc Levy) or it can be porn for women (The Time Traveler’s Wife).  Did you see the episode of Friends where Joey read Rachel’s book then teased her about reading porn?  It’s true.  Men like to see it women like to read about it.  Sex has to be in context too in a book and this book was over the top even though it was about a husband and wife.  Come on!  I have much better things to do than read filthy smut.  I don’t read often so I want to be dazzled, entertained, and inspired by what I read.  Writing is such a beautiful way to tell a story.  Trust your story enough to write it well. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I’ve Learned

  • Mental exhaustion is more tiring than physical exhaustion.
  • Sleep deprivation plays into mental exhaustion.
  • Despite the fact that I haven’t slept well the past 3 nights I don’t feel like I need a nap.  I need a break from my mind. 
  • The meds are still messing with me.  Yesterday I started tackling household chores with gusto, stopped to take Parker to school, came home and all energy drained right out of me along with my mood.  Hours later I stared at the piles of folded laundry and could not make myself put it away.  I have been mad about it ever since. 
  • The simplest of things stop me dead in my tracks.  If screaming would help I would do that.  Instead I try to pretend like nothing is wrong for the sake of my kids. 
  • I’m out of blogging ideas which is a problem since blogging is a great escape for me.  I’m hoping that this post will free up my creativity.  I’m not holding my breath though. 
  • When I tell my kids not to worry about something and to stop letting perfectionism stop them from even starting something I hear myself say it and wish I could follow my own advice. 
  • Even though I know it’s a chemical imbalance and it will take time to resolve, I still feel guilty.  Especially when Heath says he loves me and is being patient with me so I need to be patient with myself. 
  • TV is a great distraction until the commercial breaks.  Even if it’s a DVR’d show and I can skip the commercials it’s enough of a break in the story that my mind wakes back up and I start circling the shame spiral again. 

I read a post yesterday that was really depressing.  There was no point to the painful memory that was shared and no happy ending or even an I’m a better person for it conclusion.  I don’t want to leave this depressing post like that.  What’s the take away? 

Things often get harder before they get easier and worse before they get better.  I am blessed with supportive friends and family even when I feel like I have done little to deserve it.  Easter is coming up which is a celebration of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If that doesn’t inspire hope nothing will.  The Atonement was not just for the sins of the world but also for pain, illness, and circumstances beyond our control.  As heavy as burdens can be they are always easier to bear with faith in Christ.  He never sent us here to fail and He will never leave us.  I believe that to be true and on that note I move forward. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farewell Incognito

I like to give inanimate objects names as if they are my friends.  It makes me feel like I’m popular and have a lot of friends since I don’t have a Facebook account with 664 BFF’s!  Any time I think I should really get me one of those Facebook account things to validate my existence in the world, I think of my real friends.  The ones who are always there for me.  Yazzle and Bond Girl (who have moved on), Velma, Steven, Julio, Pandora. 

A new friend has made its way into my daily life.  Its job is to be attached to my hip.  I already have an insulin pump that is attached to my stomach and I wear it on my hip.  I haven’t even given it a name.  Probably because without it I wouldn’t be the Bionic Woman.  It’s a part of me so I call it pump like I call my arm, arm.  Anyway, this new friend is supposed to be with me every second of every day.  When I sleep it rests nearby.  When I shower it’s not far away.  When I drive it interrupts my thoughts and my music by having Velma beep loudly and say, “Incoming call.”  It scares the snot out of me but I can answer and talk freely while I pull into my driveway.  It only happened that one time and I was almost home. 

My new friend is my phone.  My new friend does not want me to have it all.  I am no longer able to have a phone strictly for emergency purposes because society thinks reaching me every second of every day is important.  Farewell incognito. 

A few days after getting my phone I was walking home from the park with my kids.  My friend (a real person!) pulled up alongside us.  She said she wanted to see if I could go for a walk but she could tell we were coming home from the park.  Then she asked me to give her my cell number so in the future she could call me and meet me at the park.  Normally I would say I live in the dark ages and don’t have a cell phone but that’s no longer true.  Instead I said I don’t know my number because I had only had the phone for a few days. 

Yesterday pandemonium broke out.  I had no idea every phone connected to my name was ringing off the hook and buzzing with text messages.  Silly me, I thought all I had to do was walk up the path behind the school with Gwen to pick up my boys.  Why would I need to carry my phone with me?  Who would need to reach me?  Apparently the school and my husband trying to tell me the school was trying to get in touch with me.  *eye rolling*

Since I didn’t know, Gwen and I walked and talked and stopped every third step so she could adjust the backstrap on her flip flops.  I’m just going to cut that part off because it’s annoying and she doesn’t need it.  When we arrived at the kindergarten pod we sat down at one of the picnic tables.  A minute or two later Parker’s teacher walked out with a gaggle of kindergarteners surrounding her.  It wasn’t the first time she has let the kids out before the bell rang so I didn’t think anything of it.  Until she looked straight at me and said, “He’s in the office.  You’ll have to pick him up there.”  Oh.  Okay. 

Gwen and I walk across the sea of students and parents, since the bell just rang, to the office.  I opened the door and smiled at my friend who was talking to the secretary.  The health nurse walked by at the same time the secretary spotted me, hung up the phone, and said, “Oh there’s Mrs. Westover!”  Parker walked out of the health room over to me.  I hugged him and we started for the door to get his backpack and homework when the secretary said they were looking for me outside.  Given the situation nothing else needed to be done so we left. 

Once I got home I saw that I had missed a call at home but there was no message left.  The caller ID showed it was the school.  I wasn’t surprised.  I took my cell phone out of my purse and saw I missed calls and text messages from Heath and a call from the school.  He was telling me the school was trying to call me.  I texted back what had happened.  His reply came at the same time the computer bonged that I had a new email.  Farewell incognito indeed!  The email was just a Goodreads update and not Heath wondering where I was like I thought. 

Fine.  I’ll carry the stupid thing with me wherever I go.  Not that the school reaching me on my phone at the same time I was parking would have made a difference.  I’m downplaying what happened to protect the innocent.  It’s not the point of the story.  The point is I’m so indispensible I must have my phone on me at all times!  Not only so I can be reached by people but so my kids can get more tiny fingerprints all over the screen playing games. 

I have learned that if I don’t charge my phone every night like Heath told me to it will run low on battery.  I was going to be a good girl and take it with me to the park on Friday but it gave me a red so it must be important message saying the battery was dangerously low and I better charge it.  It also said something cheery like “We don’t want you to miss anything!”  Great.  I was already late so I hoped Heath wouldn’t find out I *gasp* didn’t have my phone with me because it was out of battery! 

This friendship is going to take more effort than the other inanimate objects I have named.  The trick is to find a good name for my new friend.  Suggestions are welcome. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Say What post to ease back into reality

I’ve been dreading this day.  Maybe I’m a weird mom but I really enjoyed the heck out of having my kids home for a week.  We had a lot of fun together.  I cannot wait for summer break and I really hate that it’s only 10 weeks long.  That is not long enough in my opinion. 

The boys survived going back to school.  It was a rough day back in some cases but they survived.  The homework grind is back.  Sigh.  The good news is I have most of the laundry done!  And my kitchen sparkles!  I know.  I’m amazing at accomplishing mediocrity. 

Here’s a bunch of Say What’s from Spring Break and today.  Enjoy!

Heath:  I knew that might happen.  Sorry!  That was Dad’s fault!
Gwen:  Why is it Dad’s fart?

Gwen:  I want more ham!
Heath:  I can cut you some more ham.
Gwen:  No!  I not want food.  I want ham!
Heath:  Ham is food.
Gwen:  No it’s not.  It’s just candy.

Heath:  If anyone says McDonald’s, so help me, we won’t go there! 
Gavin:  McDonald’s so help me.  (He was adamant that we not go so he hoped this would change Heath’s mind!)

Heath:  Do you want caramel?
Gwen:  No.  I not like comma.  He hits me.
Heath:  No, Conner hits you.  Caramel tastes good. 
(Abigail if you read this don’t worry about Conner hitting Gwen!  It’s Nursery and I think they all hit each other once in a while!)

Me:  Can we please throw those sandals away?  They don’t fit you anymore.  Your toes hang off the edge.
Parker:  Why do we have to throw them away?
Me:  Because they’re old and falling apart.
Parker:  He bout we just give them to some kid who haves little feet! 

Me:  What are you doing?
Gavin:  I’m trying to see what I look like when I plug my nose and the hair comes out of my ears. 

Gwen:  I not Gwen.  I just Cora.  (girl from Tron)

Gwen:  I not like this one!  It’s just a boy one.  I like girl songs! 
Me:  This is a girl song!  This is a girl singing. 
Several seconds later:  I just mad!
Me:  I can tell but what I don’t know is why! 
Gwen:  I just mad at Gowan. 
This is while Gavin has been at school for half the day already.  I may never understand the inner workings of the 3 year old female mind. 

Gavin reading:  "The world's best pencil" . . . how do they know?

Gavin:  Is Cheetos the company that says "they" are the best snacks on earth?
(this was complete with air quotes and everything!) 
Me:  I don't know.
Gavin:  I just read the bag.

Friday, April 8, 2011

True Confessions–The Laundry Edition

“It’s Thanksgiving!  Not truth day!”
~ Ross Gellar on Friends

Today is neither Thanksgiving nor truth day.  It’s not even laundry day!  What’s up with that? 

My kids don’t have official chores.  I know I know.  It’s a control issue with me.  I’m trying to get over it especially since I’m averaging a week or more to get laundry done.  That includes washing it, drying it, then actually removing the clothing from the dryer and folding it, then thinking about putting it away.  Sometimes I put a nice floral arrangement on the pile since it has become part of the décor.  I’m kidding. 

The kids wonder where something is and I tell them it’s in the dryer.  The laundry room seems to be our new walk in closet/mudroom/laundry room. I’ve thought about putting up a bar in the laundry room and just hanging things on it.  Maybe get a large dresser to put clothes in.  But there’s no room.  The dryer sure makes a great dresser.  Nothing is folded in it but it holds the clothing really well.  The light even comes on when you open the door.  How nice is that?  Now if the laundry room was on the same floor as the bedrooms that would be even better.  As it is now we’re all streaking through the house looking for something in the dryer.  I’m kidding. 

Parker helped me fold laundry today.  He has always been a helpful one and I love it.  I told Gwen to put her clothes away.  I was putting some towels away when I saw that she had walked her nicely folded clothes up to her room and dropped them on the floor.  I had to laugh.  My mom used to hand me my folded laundry and ask me to put it away.  I couldn’t be bothered with it so I would put it back in the hamper.  I think I used to put my shirts in my sister’s diaper pail with her soiled cloth diapers.  I don’t know how I’ve suppressed the memory until now but that is truly disturbing!  My poor mom.  She tried with me.  She really did.  Unfortunately this paragraph is all true. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let me tell you a story

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Cat Gave Up by Gavin

Once there was a little fish that lived in a little bowl.  Once a cat came to eat him.  It was scary for him.  “I’ll get you for lunch soon!” he shouted. 

“Someone now!  Someone soon help me!” he (Fish) shouted.

He started out getting a ladder to climb in the bowl.  Once he was up he felt like it will tip over.  “Uh oh,” he said.  It tipped over. 

“Tell me!  Tell me!  Tell me now!  What will he do next?” said Fish.

“That’s a something all I can say is you’ll see soon, oh you will!” said Cat. 

He grabbed a net oh so fast.  The harder he tried to catch Fish in that net Fish went faster.  Cat was mad.  He was so mad he gave up.  After that crime the rest of Fish’s life was fine. 


Gavin’s stories are improving every week.  I fixed some of the punctuation like putting the dialog onto a new line but that’s all.  I love watching Gavin’s eyes light up when he writes a story for school.  He loves to write for the fun of it too.  He is inspired by things he reads like his hero, Dr. Seuss and his new favorite, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.  He loves to imagine his stories as a movie, which is what he did with this story.  I find it amazing that this kid rocks at math as well as spelling and he loves to write.  Most people are good at math but not English or vice versa.  This kid is just too smart and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Gwen was reading herself a library book.  She knows the basic story from when I’ve read it to her.  The book is Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox.  It’s a really cute and funny story and I think you should read it if you haven’t.  The prince keeps calling up to Rapunzel to let down her hair so he can climb up to her tower but she’s having a bad hair day and keeps thinking he’s saying something else.  She throws down all these crazy things that rhyme with what he said.  He gets frustrated but he loves her so he keeps trying.  At one point Rapunzel throws down her maid when the prince tells her to throw down her braid.  He runs off with the maid.  It’s hilarious. 

I tried to get video of Gwen reading but by the time I grabbed the camera she had an audience with Gavin.  I don’t know if she knew I was filming her.  I also recorded her reading Princess Penelope by Todd Mack.  That time I got in front of her but it wasn’t nearly as cute.  She was playing it up for the camera.  I like the first reading better. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Break

A long anticipated week in the year.  A week where the sun is shining and the girls are in their bikinis. 

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Ok, so it’s a tankini but who’s counting.  She calls it her Minnie Mouse swimming suit.  Too cute. 

Spring Break is an entire week where the daily goal is to do as much nothing as humanly possible. 

To sleep all day . . . oh if only this still happened every afternoon!  Alas, she has given up her naps but she will stay in her room for “quiet time” which is good or I would lose my mind. 

To build, create, and just be. 

A week to call friends.  Forget technology, yelling across the fence works too! 
“MADDIE!  ELENA!  ARE YOU HOME?”  Heaven forbid the kids actually walk next door to talk to their friends. 

A week to dress up or not, depending on your mood.  Go out, stay in, wear a bra or not.  In my defense, the only day I skipped the bra was on Sunday when I also skipped the shower.  It’s a General Conference tradition am I right!  I think skipping a shower and bra is the female equivalent of men not shaving over the weekend. 

The anticipation of Spring Break was only heightened by a weekend of General Conference to kick it all off.  It was a great Conference too!  I don’t think I have enjoyed Conference that much with my kids since they were little enough to nap through the second session. 

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Spring Break is the best time to run.  You can run a marathon or do what I do.  Run in place. 

This is the best week of the year.  I can’t believe it’s halfway over already.  Where did the time go?  Heath took Monday and Tuesday off and we played hard enough the days zoomed by.  Now it’s Wednesday and the last day of nice weather for the rest of the week.  That’s typical Spring Break!  Bipolar weather.  If you’re on Spring Break, enjoy every second of it.  It goes by quickly.  I better go now.  I feel another play date coming on. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This one’s for me

“A famous writer once wrote, ‘An author can be seen as three things:  a storyteller, a teacher, or a magician – but the magician, the enchanter, is in the ascendant.’  I always thought he was right about that.”
~ Mortimer in Inkheart

Heath jokingly told me he’s going to stop putting movies into the Netflix queue that are based on books because I ignore everyone and everything to read.  I loved the movie Inkheart and I loved the book too.  It almost makes me want to try writing fiction again.  I haven’t done that in years.  There’s a time and a season to all things and right now my family is my priority.  Blogging is how I can quickly preserve my stories and have a few minutes to call my own. 

My heart is heavy today.  I’m sitting on the fence debating over who I am and I how I feel about it.  On the one side I feel angry with myself for deciding I can’t go to Utah right now but I had to make that decision or check myself into the ER on a valium drip.  Then I think of the number of news stories lately about plane issues.  Forget about two weeks ago-ish and my constantly racing heart knowing in the back of my mind I was supposed to be on a plane to Utah with Gwen.  If I had found a way to silence that fear and go anyway I think I would have died trying to board a Southwest plane days after a 5 ft. long piece came off the fuselage.  Maybe the fear wasn’t fear but a premonition not to go right now!  Then again, maybe not. 

The doctor doubled my Zoloft dosage and prescribed Xanax as a quick fix when needed.  I don’t know how to feel about that.  I told Heath that it seems strange that my endocrinologist is making these decisions for me.  I don’t think he’s stupid or a drug pimp or anything but I don’t know if I should find someone who has more time and expertise to treat this part of me.  But then again, I see how invested he is in some sort of solution.  Good diabetes management is his job and the longer I stay in the mountains and valleys of my blood sugar readings, the more it’s causing damage to my body.  The doctor told me my anxiety is directly related to my overall diabetes management.  Stress produces some diabetic term I hadn’t heard before and can’t remember now but it didn’t sound good.  So we have to fix this. 

So then I think how do you fix something that is so ingrained in my mind that I don’t know any differently?  My heart rarely races anymore so the stress comes out in other ways, usually tears.  I still can’t be a passenger in a car anywhere without freaking out.  I drove to the doctor’s office just fine today but coming home, the part that is always the easy part was so not the easy part today.  Heavy traffic, construction, brake lights, cement barriers that narrow the right lane, huge semis everywhere, jackrabbit drivers weaving in and out of traffic at top speed despite all the signs saying the speed limit is only 55 in the construction zones, cars honking for who knows what reason, and the list goes on.  I never cried.  I stared so hard at the car in front of me I was afraid I would get tunnel vision and not see anyone else around me so I forced myself to blink and stop staring.  I didn’t want to trust the drivers around me.  But what other choice is there?  That’s driving.  Hoping everyone is working together to get from point A to point B safely. 

It hurts too much to trust.  I’ve been burned too many times.  Will I ever get over that car accident?  What if I never do? 

I don’t even care whether or not medication can rewire my brain to actually entertain the idea of taking my kids to the beach one summer by myself.  I just want to get through a day without feeling the way I do. 

I’m a firm believer in mind over matter and out of sight out of mind mentality.  So how do I face the labels of who I am?  Diabetic.  Agoraphobic.  Anxious.  Woman. 

No one is their illness or disability.  They are still a person.  That was the first thing I learned in my Intro to Special Ed class in college.  It was one of the reasons why I decided to major in Special Education.  Person first.  Disability second.  Not diabetic but girl with diabetes.  Today I feel so low I just wonder what if I am my illness and what if I should give these things more direct attention than I do?  What if I die young because I spent all my time trying to be normal and not playing the diabetic victim? 

This is why I’m fine with having a bottle of Xanax in my cupboard.  The doctor warned me that I need to be careful when I choose to use it since it can be addicting.  Being the all or nothing person I am I have already thought I may always need it only to have my next thought be I will never need it.  For now, I think I will feel better knowing it’s in the cupboard.  How many times have I promised myself a Diet Coke later only to have it sit in the fridge for days?  Sometimes knowing it’s there is enough to get me through. 

I’ll try to be cheerier tomorrow.  I just need to allow myself a mourning period.  Today, well and the last month or two or three have been a lot to take in.  I don’t believe in suppressing my feelings anymore.  I spent too many years pretending to be fine when I was anything but so I let it all out now in order to move on.  Feel sad, feel mad, feel whatever.  Just feel it then move on.