Thursday, June 30, 2011

Achieving Normality

Nothing ruins a good hair day faster than sudden low blood sugar symptoms.  My hair looked awesome today.  The idea of having my picture taken for my new Google+ profile bounced around my mind all day.  One minute I thought Heath could do it when he got home.  The next minute I wondered if I should trust Gavin with my camera.  I could hear Parker in my head.  “Let me do it!  I can do it!”  In the end, the picture was never taken and it may not happen today.

The boys have been really good to do their chores almost every day.  This week I have been really proud of them.  On the days I thought of declaring yet another freebie day in exchange for them getting dressed, no more arguments, or any other random incompatible bargaining chip, they would announce they were cleaning without being asked.  Nice!  My sense of responsibility has evaporated with the cool, wet winter.  While dusting and bathroom cleaning is happening on a semi daily basis, not much else is being done.  Until today.

Clean dishes were emptied from the dishwasher while yesterday’s dishes were loaded and washed.  The counters were wiped down with disinfecting wipes as well as all the cupboards.  It didn’t take long for me to get in the zone.  The cleaning zone.  A zone where I become oblivious to everything around me except microscopic dirt specks.  Thank goodness my peripheral vision still works or I may not have seen Parker sitting in the middle of the upside down pool.  There was no time for more than a fervent lecture.  All three kids’ eyes widened with surprised understanding. 

Toys were cheerfully tossed onto the couch or front entryway to expose all the carpet for vacuuming.  The vacuum hummed while the back of my knees started to sweat.  Why do I always get into the zone in the heat of the afternoon?  My clothes were starting to feel sticky.  Ugh, how quickly I forgot the unseasonal cool rain from earlier in the week.  Hunger pains grumbled in my stomach.  Stupid Zoloft that makes me want to munch all day and now my weight is reflecting it! 

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Temperatures are in the upper 80’s outside.  It’s hot.  Late afternoon always entices me to invite the kids back in for some boob tube time.  All plans suddenly halted in a split second.  The bottom layer of my hair suddenly was damp and sweat trickled down my neck.  My deodorant dam burst and my armpits were suddenly soaked.  The back of my shirt instantly clung to my sopping wet back.  Nausea came over me and the room almost spun. 

Auto pilot turned on.  Good thing since I had spent the last 45 minutes or so pushing myself to finish a thorough cleaning job, telling myself I could rest later.  Without even thinking about it I washed my hands and tested my blood sugar.  38.  The number barely registered in my mind.  I suspended my pump and fumbled with the straw encased in stubborn plastic on a Capri Sun juice pouch.  That was sucked down in two seconds flat.  Next I grabbed a peanut butter granola bar because I crave them.  Halfway through that my conscience started whispering I shouldn’t eat until I feel better.  A small package of apple fruit snacks beckoned to me.  Still shaking from the low, I tore the package open and shoved them all in my mouth at once.  They tasted like real green apples at first.  Then they tasted like feet.  Was it the odd combination of apple juice, peanut butter, and tart fruit snacks? 

The phone rang.  Heath told me he was on his way home.  I sunk onto the couch to talk to him and recover.  When I told him we had planned on breakfast for dinner he came up with some elaborate story about how we didn’t have any thawed bacon.  He suggested we go out to eat!  How did I know that was coming?  No surprise that I agreed because at that point dirt from the ground sounded good as long as it made me feel better.  Of course I wanted to indulge in my guilty pleasure – fast food.  My momentary hesitation was my hair.  It started out looking so good.  Now it’s limp, flat, and still slightly damp.  I don’t like being jerked back into the reality that I’m still diabetic no matter how hard I try to be “normal.” 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In a Tent

Heat waves danced in the distance.  Several girls lounged on sleeping bags eating Skittles and taking turns with a Walkman.  Candy may have been on the do not bring list or it may have been ok.  I don’t remember.  Music was definitely contraband. 

My turn with the headphones came up.  The other girls kept shushing me because I felt the need to yell over the music.  I finally gave up my turn.  The game was too new to me.  Poker cards, or face cards as we called them, were definitely not allowed.  At the tender age of 12 it never occurred to me that a game called BS was inappropriate!  Fun game though.  We never did get in trouble.  We were careful during the day.  At night several girls crowded into the Young Women President’s tent where we played with her! 

Shar was the best.  She was a spiritual leader but she never took herself too seriously at Girl’s Camp.  How could she when she had a reputation to uphold?  She was the mastermind behind every practical joke.  Plans were meticulously made months in advance.  As the elementary school secretary she had connections with another known practical joker, the janitor.  Everyone loved Terry.  He made school fun.  Working as an office aid for the principal and secretary was a blast.  I heard a lot of fun stories every Friday when it was my turn to work in the office.  Terry would set aside at least one box of toilet paper every year for Shar. 

My first year at camp was my favorite.  That was the year that I joined the group of cool people.  We waited for everyone to go to sleep.  In the wee hours of the morning we tiptoed through camp expertly toilet papering every single ward.  The 9th ward was tricky because the whole Young Women’s group and leaders all slept in one huge army tent.  They were all on cots snoring together.  For most of the wards we felt brave and bold enough to whisper loudly.  We held our breath for the 9th ward and the Stake leaders.  If the Stake leaders woke up and caught us we would be dead where we stood! 

The eerily gray sky was lightening more and more as we quickly finished off our toilet paper stash on our own ward’s tents.  We had successfully TP’d every single ward camp except the 4th ward.  The 3rd ward (my ward) and the 4th ward had been in feuding competition for as long as I can remember.  I only feel a little bad that they were blamed by the Stake leaders for the good natured prank.  They deserved it because they were the 4th ward! 

My second year of Girl’s Camp was just as fun.  That year a bunch of us played BS in Shar’s tent for a couple hours before she pulled out the industrial box of school toilet paper.  It’s hard to say what prompted some of the Laurels to do this but soon we were all sitting in a circle ripping toilet paper rolls apart square by square.  As we ripped we plotted.  My mom had gone as a Stake leader that year.  She was asked to teach the first aid certification classes and be on hand as a nurse in case anything happened.  Everyone thought my mom was cool so we came up with a plan to involve her in our antics. 

After stuffing toilet paper squares into large black garbage bags, a few of us went to Stake camp for my mom.  One girl pretended to limp while she held onto the shoulders of another girl and me.  We slowly made our way into camp while I called out, “Sharon!  Sharon!”  My mom came and we kept up the ruse.  She knelt down ready to check out the fake sprained ankle when we finally whispered the truth.  Soon we were all on our way to the priesthood leader’s camp. 

We dumped the toilet paper out of the garbage bags and into the men’s tent.  There was so much toilet paper that it was almost knee deep.  Giggling, we raced back to our own camp.  The next morning was our ward’s turn to have breakfast with the priesthood leaders.  The tables were decorated with empty toilet paper rolls.  There was no way they couldn’t figure out it was us!  We’d have a good laugh over it and enjoy our meal together. 

Only that’s not what happened.  The two men didn’t get the toilet paper rolls.  They honestly thought the rolls were creative centerpieces and napkin rings.  We kept giggling and asking how they slept and other questions to help them figure it out.  We finally had to tell them it was us that toilet papered them.  They were surprised because they assumed it was their home ward that did it.  Apparently the 9th ward had stapled their socks on the outside of the tent.  They put rocks in their sleeping bags and stapled their sleeping bags shut. 

Suddenly our cloud of toilet paper didn’t seem as brilliant as we first thought.  They laughed anyway.  In fact, they kept the toilet paper in their tent the rest of the week.  They said it was really soft.  It got matted down more and more every day but it took until the end of the week before it lost its fluffy softness.  By then it was ankle deep.

I remember having impromptu water fights and laughing hard enough to almost pee.  As a nerdy Beehive my best friends were Laurels.  Popular ones.  The cool girls!  I was bummed to have to move out of that ward but it was probably just as well.  My Laurel friends would have been out of the program by the next summer anyway.  Young Women’s only lasts from age 12 to 18.  I probably wasn’t as cool as I thought I was.  Just cool by association.  I was Tyson’s little sister.  Those were the days though!  Girl’s Camp was so much fun. 

After I moved I didn’t do anything “illegal” in a tent.  I participated in dance parties with a flashlight as a spotlight.  It just came to me that that’s where I got the phrase, “Spotlight on me!  Spotlight on me!”  I became really good friends with one of the Young Women leaders and years later found out her family was best friends with Heath’s family.  There was more laughter.  Laura almost peed not me!  But that was at Youth Conference.  Young Women’s was where it was at.  I love those memories.  Especially the ones that happened in a tent. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Art of Being a Mom

Knowing when to give in – “I don’t care when you go to sleep as long as you stay in your room and I can’t hear you!”

and when to crack down – “Yes, chores need to be done every day.” 

Moments of brilliance

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like unrolling a few feet of paper for the kids to use for an all day coloring project

and running to the playground even though it was sprinkling already.

Teaching kids

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and letting them practice their skills.  Smiling when they honestly believe that Mommy is really pretty and if one bow is good, all of them must be better! 

Motherhood is synonymous with sacrifice.

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Sacrificing time, personal interests, and one’s own skin to be outside with the kids.  (Apparently I was sitting out there much longer than I realized.)

Tickles, knock knock jokes, and a box full of nail polish
Explaining that soup is made by magic, spelling words for hand drawn cartoons, and kissing doll’s foreheads.

The art of motherhood is warmth and cuddles

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especially on rainy days in June.  Snuggling close while enjoying a book together.  Oohing and ahhing over faraway thunder claps.  Popping popcorn and watching a movie. 

Some days are just good Mom days! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Every Day

Heath:  People always think that mustaches make them look older but they really just make them look goofier. 
Parker:  Goofier?
H:  Yeah. 
P:  Heavenly Father does that?

Then Parker pointed out that Gavin had a sauce mustache which reminded me of a day that I was upset with Gavin’s attitude.  I told him to wipe the smirk off his face.  But I forgot that he is 7 and still in the pre-operational stage where he takes everything literally.  He got a confused look on his face as he wiped his mouth and looked at it.  Then wiped again and looked again.  It cracked my stone face and I couldn’t help but smile! 

Back when I started this blog I remember posting a lot how my kids make me laugh every day.  Not a single day goes by when I don’t laugh because of something they say or do.  All this time later and it’s still true! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Say What

Parker got up after we had sent the kids to bed.  He came down and said
P:  Daddy, my Buzz’s helmet is broken.  Can you fix it?
H:  I will be happy to fix it in the morning.  Go to bed.
Parker was peering over the edge of the couch to see what I was doing.  I was working on some Ben & Jerry’s. 
H:  Yes, we have ice cream.
P:  When did you earn ice cream?

Gavin:  There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day but is there Children’s Day?
Me:  Every day is Children’s Day! 
Later
G:  Is today Boy Day or Girl Day?

Heath:  You punched orphans?
Parker:  It’s a video game, Dad.  You wouldn’t punch orphans in real life!
Heath:  I’m glad you understand the difference!

It was Gwen’s turn at our homemade version of Pictionary
Gwen:  'Kay, we’re talking about feet! 

Some random arthritis commercial came on and the guy was saying that I probably have painful joints.  Then he said that he does too because he’s been in my shoes.
Me:  Stop wearing my shoes then!
Parker after a long thoughtful pause:  High heels?

Gwen:  You a pig, Mom, and you should snore!
This was the most random out of the blue statement ever made at the dinner table.  The best I can guess is that she was thinking of Heywood Banks’ song “If Pigs Had Wings.”  The lyrics say, “If pigs had wings away they’d soar up to heaven’s golden door.”  But Gwen sings it as “away they snore.” 

Hiding a ball while swimming with our friends
Parker:  Look under my pants! 
After the laughter subsided Heath said:  There goes your last hope of us being classy!
Me:  You never thought we were classy did you?  You read my blog! 

The Say What’s keep coming but my memory doesn’t hold them as long as it used to and I can’t always remember before I get it into the running Say What post.  Oh how I love my kids for making me laugh every day. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Caliente Piquancy - or one hot week told in graphic pictures

Saturday:

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The kids played so hard outside in the pool Parker crashed before dinner. 

Sunday:

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I have no pictures for Father’s Day but here’s a cute one of Heath and Gwen, who actually looks very young in this picture even though it was only taken a couple weeks ago. 

Monday:  No pictures but Rachel came over to play with Gwen while her mom went to an appointment.  The girls dressed up for their picnic.  They carried it around in a box that unzipped is a castle play mat, and then they had to pray before eating their plastic food!  They also watched Beauty and the Beast while eating popcorn. 

Tuesday: 

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No I did not have a football accident or anything like that . . .

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just sunburned shoulders after playing at Rae’s pool.  I invited myself to a pool party with Abigail and her kids at her mom’s house.  Abigail was feeling yucky so she wasn’t going to come but she told me I was welcome to take my kids.  Her mom is the ultimate hostess who loves having people over.  Do you like how I used a lot of sunscreen and still got burned!  I even got my shoulders double.  Because I did everything to protect myself I was really irritated when my shoulders were itchy.  After the kids went to bed I soaked some dish towels in cold water and put ice packs on to keep the towels cold and wet.  I sat that way for an hour or so while watching shows in the DVR queue with Heath.  It worked because my shoulders were less hot the next day and by Thursday they were a nice golden brown color.  I tan easily.  This new burn easily thing is annoying and foreign to me. 

The lesson to be learned here is that Ross Gellar was right on Friends when he told his girlfriend that half the time sunscreen bottles are just filled with milk.  If you find yourself in a similar situation where you got a little crispy outside, soak a t-shirt or towels or something in cold water and put it over the sunburn.  It takes the heat right out.  Aloe Vera gel is just sticky and really provides no relief nor does it help moisturize.  I peel every time I use Aloe Vera gel to deal with a sunburn. 

The cold water thing was something I came up with as a teenager getting fried like chicken at Lake Mead in the fall.  (I wasn’t consistent with the sunscreen back then)  The Aloe Vera gel wasn’t taking the heat out and the sun was still really hot so I soaked my t-shirt and put it on over my swimsuit.  When it dried and I could feel the burn again I resoaked the shirt and repeated several times.  The heat was out of my back and shoulders by the next morning I am so not even kidding.  I don’t recommend getting burned but if you do you should try this method.  It’s magic. 

Wednesday: 

The county fair opened and was offering 99 cent entry fees for opening day before 3:00 pm. I thought the 99 cents was per person regardless of age but I was wrong. They only charged us for three people since Gwen and Parker were free. Score!

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And then we splurged our entry fee savings on fair food.  Parker got a Monster Corn Dog (he did not eat even half of).  Later, Heath bought a couple bottled waters for everyone to share when Gwen wouldn’t stop whining that she was thirsty. 

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We decided to spend our money on the inflatable toys instead of rides.  Gwen chose a unicorn and until we bought it she kept quoting Despicable Me, “It’s so fluffy I could die!”  Gavin chose Spongebob and Parker chose Spiderman. 

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We saw animals.  The Clydesdale horses were my favorite because I have never seen one in person.  They are majestic beasts.   The kids loved mooing at the cows.  The goats were fun too.  Heath said there always has to be one prairie dog in the bunch standing up in the pen to see what’s going on.  The kids got to pet a goat that was being sheared.  We also saw 2 day old piglets that were so tiny and sweet and a new calf. 

I don’t want to post before and after pictures of me but I can tell you that I have definitely lost weight.  I found some pictures of me from 2008 and 2009 that are pretty horrifying and my face is certainly thinner now.  Just check out my about me page on my old blog.  It’s a gradual process. 

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The highlight of course was watching the pig races. I started to put together a movie of all the video and pictures but I didn’t finish it.

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Gwen is too cute.  She was singing to We Will Rock You by Queen and trying to clap in rhythm.  Of course she stopped every time Heath tried to get video of her. 

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Gavin kept saying that he heard that song before we went to the pig races!  Yes honey, that song was probably produced before I was born! 

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I love this guy, goofiness and all.  And now that you’re all bored or puking we will move on to

Thursday: 

Heath was asked to teach a grilling class for a Relief Society Cooking Club.  It was one of the activities presented at the May activity to help people have a spectacular summer.  Considering it wasn’t advertised early enough I thought we had a decent turnout with 8 participants.  They were even brave enough to help prepare food and do a little of the cooking. 

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week-of-fun-056week-of-fun-062 grilled corn on the cob

week-of-fun-061 cedar plank salmon and a variety of vegetables

week-of-fun-060week-of-fun-064 my personal favorite was grilled pineapple topped with ice cream.  Holy yum that’s a party in your mouth.  Oh and it smelled amazing too.  All the food did.  I wish I could have a camera that would allow someone to scratch and sniff the pictures! 

Friday:

Weekly Friday play date at the park.  Parker loved it because normally he was playing with Rebekah and Gwen since the rest of the kids were at school but now all the kids were there.  That was fun.  Then I went shopping with Abigail and got some Disney t-shirts and matching iron on patches for the kids to color and decorate.  For dinner we had the brick chicken we didn’t make last night.  Yummy. 

Saturday: 

We have plans to hang out with Abigail and David and their kids at her mom’s pool again tomorrow.  We’ll have a barbecue lunch and swim swim swim the afternoon away.  Here’s hoping I don’t get burned again!  Maybe since David will be there I’ll wear a t-shirt since my tankini is pretty low and revealing and I haven’t replaced it yet. 

Heath starts his new job on Monday.  We’re sad to see him go but so thrilled with this great opportunity.  I’m ready for a regular schedule.  At least my angry high blood sugars are ready for a more consistent schedule. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

God moves in mysterious ways

Wrestling with the Lord is not easy yet I find myself doing it a lot.  It’s only when I look back that I realize the point when I started meaning it when I said, “Thy will be done.”  All the other times I guess I meant thy will be done but according to my will, my wants, and my desires.  Oh and in my time frame, thank you very much.  But it doesn’t work that way.  I know this but still have to relearn it over and over. 

Four years ago I knew my family was supposed to move out of Utah.  Heath and I didn’t know where but it was undeniable that we had to move.  The journey that took us to California, even down to the exact city we live in was meant to be.  The Lord had his hand all over that journey.  There was a reason why we had to be here.  I still don’t know what that reason is but we’re here.  For a while there I hoped our time in California was done and we could start a new adventure in the Northwest closer to Heath’s family.  Clearly it’s not meant to be right now. 

I will admit that I was excited to live here for the first year or two and then I found reasons to want to leave.  As a result I never fully settled in.  I guess there was always the thought that this wouldn’t last forever so why plant roots?  Over the last several months the Lord has tried and tested me until I’m finally convinced that this is where we’re supposed to be and now I’m at peace with it.  It was not easy to come to that conclusion but the peace is worth it. 

Several months ago Heath found out about a great job opportunity.  We dreamed about it and hoped it would come true with stars in our eyes but kept plugging along with what we were doing, including seriously looking for work outside of California.  Stars were more glittery for the Northwest than this opportunity I personally thought was too good to be true.  The Northwest didn’t work out again.  No worries.  This new opportunity slowly came to fruition.  Heath was becoming disenchanted with agency life.  I’ve posted about how fast paced agency life is with high burnout rates.  Leaving the agency world was a mutual decision.  Heath was asked to stay long enough to train his replacement and given a severance package along with the vacation pay he earned. 

It’s now official.  He has accepted this new job offer to do the same thing he was doing only now it’s client side.  The best part is his commute will be 15-20 minutes as opposed to 90 minutes one way.  Yeah, that alone makes living here so much easier.  Not that it’s hard to live here or I’ve hated every second of it.  I do love it here and I’m slowly getting over the culture shock of the money aspect of everything.  It’s so strange that now I feel like I’m prepared to finally settle in and enjoy living here while I’m here however long that may be.  It took an almost job opportunity in Redmond, WA to realize the blessings we have here in this house, this neighborhood, all of it. 

Despite all my efforts not to, I have made some really good friends here.  That sounds weird but when we first moved I put my heart and soul into two friendships that dissolved when those friends moved.  I’m the type of person who holds back because I don’t like to get hurt and having those women move really hurt.  It hurts even more that geographical distance has inevitably distanced the friendship after we all swore it wouldn’t.  I wish I could live out loud with my heart on my sleeve but I don’t.  I hold back a little.  Heck, it took me a year into marriage to finally lose myself in love to Heath.  I loved him but with subtle reservations.  How sad is that? 

Anyway, I was talking about staying here.  I look around me and there are so many blessings and so many wonderful things about living here.  I am happy we’re staying.  I’m thrilled with this new opportunity for Heath that comes with a VP title and a sweet commute, not to mention an incredibly supportive atmosphere for him to be the analyst he has always wanted to be but never had the opportunities to be.  Maybe you don’t believe things happen for a reason.  I do.  Heath was led to this position.  As early as 2003 his career has taken a deliberate path we didn’t realize until 2007 and that specificity has not stopped.  I see that now.  I don’t know if I will ever know why we’re here in this very city and the ward we are in but there’s a reason.  A big one. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dead Body in the Desert

Desert is one of those words that I have to double check the spelling on.  There is a dead body in the desert, the hot and dusty place.  There is not a dead body in the dessert, the sinfully sweet after dinner treat.  That would be weird! 

The dead body in the desert is me.  Devon, my new EA Active trainer, is my murderer.  You could alert the authorities but since I’m dead where I sit it doesn’t seem to matter does it?  Devon is a minion of the anti-Christ.  I thought the meaning of the name Devon had some dark overtones, but Wickipedia says nothing about that.  If it’s on Wickipedia it must be true.  “The name Devon derives from the name of the Celtic people who inhabited the southwestern peninsula of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion c. AD 50, known as the Dumnonii, thought to mean "deep valley dwellers". In the Brythonic Celtic languages, Devon is known as Dyfnaint (Welsh), Devnent (Breton) and Dewnens (Cornish). (For an account of Celtic Dumnonia see the separate article.)”  The Celtics!  The Celtics were mean.  According to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, the Celtics drink the blood of their babies.  Definitely a minion of the anti-Christ.

I thought I was doing pretty good with Steven and his set of workouts in 6 week long challenges.  Somewhere along the line I plateaued.  My weight stayed the same and then started creeping up when my eating habits changed a little.  I never want to be one of those people who freaks out over a 1-2 lb. weight gain.  I certainly don’t want to be one of those people who publically berates myself for eating *gasp* an M&M!  It reminds me of that scene in Clueless where Alicia Silverstone is moaning to her friend that she ate 5 peanut M&M’s.  “I feel like a heifer.” 

I took matters into my own hands and decided to start another 6 week challenge on high intensity.  After two workouts my muscles were screaming all the time and I was smiling.  No pain no gain right?  Then Heath bought the new EA Active workouts.  The biggest reason was because the leg strap that came with Julio’s workouts was disintegrating.  The new program doesn’t require the nunchuk.  Actually it rarely requires the Wii remote.  I know!  It comes with a leg strap that is much smaller.  It’s basically a strip of Velcro that wraps around the right leg with a plastic sensor in the middle.  Then you wear another strip of Velcro on your left arm just below the elbow.  This is the heart rate monitor.  It tracks your heart rate throughout the workout and more accurately guesses how many calories you burn. 

It all sounds good right?  The challenges are 9 weeks long or you can start a 3 week starter program to ease into a 9 week challenge.  This is what Heath did.  I just started the 9 week challenge because after two years I figured I could handle it.  I hesitated on whether to do high intensity or medium intensity.  Since it was a new routine with a new cartoon trainer I figured I’d go slow and do medium intensity.  I have never felt so inadequate in the exercise/stamina department.  Ever.  Devon slowly kills me every day until my dead body is now decomposing in the desert.  I refuse to work out with him today.  Not only is he mean but it never cooled down in my bedroom last night despite having all the windows open.  I can’t work out in a room that is already 74 degrees and heading up fast because it’s already 84 degrees outside.  Where are the days when it gets super hot during the day and cools to mid 50’s at night?  That’s the desert of the Bay Area I’m used to but every once in a while we get days where it never cools off at night. 

So Devon, you can mountain bike around Zion’s National Park all on your own, illegally and rudely passing other bikers along the trail.  You can run around every basketball court and soccer field you want.  Count me out.  Have you not gotten the memo?  The guy can rape, rob, and murder me.  I can’t run!  Especially not when you make me do 180 foot fires (the football player rapid jogging in place while squatting), then 150 mountain climbers (about to race runner stance where you quickly switch legs back and forth and basically wonder when the sweet release of death will ever come), and then you make me run a freaking race!  Are you crazy?  I get that you’re a cartoon and all but real people cannot do that many cardio leg exercises in a row before they simply give up.  I would rather work out with Jillian Michaels.  She’s a sweet old lady compared to you. 

Devon, I am tired.  I have tried my best every day and every day I have gotten worse instead of better because you’re running me into the ground.  The 4 lb. weight gain is not that big a deal to me.  Has it ever occurred to you that I’m curvy and I like it!  You lie just as much as Julio ever did too.  What was up with yesterday’s workout where you enticed me to cheerfully work out by promising to work on my arms and upper body only to make me do more legs and cardio?  Seriously dude!  My favorite part was when you told me to keep up with you while we were doing fast kick ups around the track and two seconds later you complimented me for working so hard.  I still don’t regret calling you the name of a company that did that to Heath – awarding him for something they then fired him for two months later with no prior warning!  Sleaziness must be an epidemic in this country. 

Temperatures should start to come down tomorrow.  I will be back, Devon.  Count on it.  Just don’t count on me sprinting through every race.  Sometimes it’s ok to walk.  Walking prevents heart attacks.  In the meantime read up on the Tortoise and the Hare why don’t ya?  This dead body in the desert will be back. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts about fathers on Father's Day

It’s unfortunate that Father’s Day is often glossed over. Mother’s Day is in May when school is still in session so teachers organize lots of fun art projects to honor Mom. Father’s Day is in June, often after school is out for the summer. Kids don’t always pull out the dry macaroni for Dad before school is over. Sometimes but not always. Gavin made a handprint in cement and decorated it with rocks when the second graders went to the Rock Quarry for a field trip. It was meant to be a Father’s Day gift so it sat in the top of his closet hidden so his dad wouldn’t see it if he pulled down the CD case for the boys.

Church recognition of Father’s Day is interesting compared to Mother’s Day recognition. My experience has been that Mother’s Day is such a focus on women. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints people are asked to speak on mothers in Sacrament Meeting. The Primary children sing one or two songs to mothers. Gifts are given often in a very deliberate way. Most wards I have been in have the congregation stay in the chapel until the women are presented with a gift. Every woman 18 years and older is asked to stand regardless of marital status or motherhood status to receive her gift.

Father’s Day is much more low key. Some wards have Sacrament Meeting talks focused on fathers. Some don’t. It depends on the ward. Sometimes the Primary kids sing and sometimes not. As far as gifts go, it’s never as elaborate a presentation as it is for the women. The gifts are always candy too. This has always bothered me. Even as a child who was constantly at war with my father, the idea of candy for Father’s Day seemed cheap and unspecial. Imagine my chagrin when I learned that the ward I live in now doesn’t do anything for Father’s Day. No talks, no gifts. Nothing. The Primary children did get up to sing to the fathers today. They don’t always do that. The priesthood is very important to members of my church so I can’t understand why men aren’t honored better on this day.

Forget about religious observances of Father’s Day, what is Father’s Day like in any household? Gifts are ties or other clothing articles. Sometimes tools. The Cosby Show had a cute episode where Cliff lamented his goofy unusable gifts for Father’s Day. The kids bought him presents that were still goofy but at least they put more thought into them. Why is that the go to response? Why is the general consensus that men are difficult to shop for? Does anyone else find that sad?

It bothers me that women are fawned over for Mother’s Day and men are all but looked over after a few random ties are tossed their way on Father’s Day. Women and mothers are extremely important and deserve to be honored but men and fathers are just as important and just as much worthy of honor.

Father’s Day used to stress me out. My father and I didn’t get along. I didn’t approve of many of his choices. I often felt like I didn’t love him. That’s a concept I’m still trying to work through but I have had men in my life that are wonderful. It never bothered me when people slipped up and called my grandpa my dad. My grandpa is such an amazing person who is not happy unless he’s serving others. He has taught me many great lessons. I love the close relationship he has with all his kids, including my mom. That’s the relationship I have watched and admired.

It is no small thing that I have a recording of my grandpa telling his stories. The following is part of that recording.

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My favorite story that was shared that night was when my mom accidentally wrecked her dad’s boat. I had heard that story before but that night it felt different. My mom explained the whole situation and then she said that what she remembered most about that day was not the way she felt when she made an expensive mistake. She remembered her dad never yelled at her. He just said, “Take me for one more ski before it sinks.” That is my grandpa. He never gets angry. Whether it’s my mom wrecking a boat or me smashing a snowmobile into a tree, he fixes the problem and moves on. Suddenly I really miss my grandpa! I hope I can see him one more time before he goes home to his Heavenly Father. It hurts to imagine him in so much pain right now finally losing to cancer. He is an incredible man.

Another man I don’t mind calling my father is my father in law. Heath calls his parents every Sunday. Today he wished his dad a happy father’s day and his dad said that he is happy to be Heath’s dad. Of course Heath responded with, “I’m glad you’re my dad!” I said, “Me too!” Barry is a lot like my grandpa. Very soft spoken, slow fuse, peacemaker, great stories, incredibly loving, and full of wisdom. I remember sitting in a pool talking with Heath and Barry while my leg hair spontaneously grew from the cold water, and Barry helping me understand the eternal perspective of my childhood.

Heath, Kirk (Heath’s older brother), Tyson (my older brother), and Ed (my sister’s husband) are all awesome husbands and fathers. These men are so loving with their kids. I especially love watching them interact with their daughters. I’m out of words! I don’t know how to describe how blessed I am to have such wonderful men in my life who are everything a father and husband should be. Whenever my kids have a moment where they say things they don’t mean like they hate their dad, I hurt. I try to tell them (note I don’t yell, this may be the one time I don’t have to remind myself not to!) how lucky they are to have a dad who loves them as much as he does. They have no idea what life is like on the other side of the fence. They never will. It’s hard to know what to say when they ask about my dad. I still think they’re too young to understand. But I do tell them how great their own dad is. They love him like crazy. I do too!

For all the fathers out there – Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for being an integral part of your family’s life. Thank you for creating memories with your children that will bring smiles to their faces for the rest of their lives. Thank you for your sacrifices, your service, the life lessons you teach through example. Thank you. I hope your family gave you a big hug and a sloppy wet kiss because you deserve it. I hope on this day you were honored. Mothers are great but fathers are more important than society sometimes gives them credit for. And when a mother and father get together as a dynamic duo, love really can conquer all.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drama Drama Drama

If it’s not one thing around here it’s another.  The kids were playing in the pool that Heath had just put some pool shock chlorine in.  We had told the kids not to drink the water.  Some people have to learn the hard way I guess.  For whatever reason Gavin had “accidentally” gotten water in his mouth.  When he realized what was going on he started freaking out and spitting.  In the pool.  So we told him to spit in the grass. 

Like any seven year old with selective hearing trying to learn through experimentation, he kept putting things up to his mouth.  This made him remember the taste in his mouth and start spitting in the grass.  Constantly.  Drippy loogy type spitting like when you brush your teeth and the toothpaste lingers as it drops so you keep spitting.  Disgusting unnecessary spitting.  Dramatic-need-to-make-a-point spitting.  Drama King.

I was feeling like my blood sugar was low plus I was done babysitting my own kids.  Heath took over while I tried to fend off the little leeches with a fear of abandonment by saying I needed a break.  Gwen insisted she needed a break too.  Like the drama queen I am I told her I needed a break from her because she’s cute in small doses.  Miraculously I made it in the house and was able to lock the sliding glass door behind me.  Testing confirmed I was low at 46. 

My frantic snacking was interrupted by Gwen and Heath coming in.  She was saying, “My head is about to explode!”  Why?  She was hungry.  Drama Queen Jr.

Parker thinks he’s in charge of the other two while he sits in a chair with his towel wrapped around him.  I told him about the time I more or less left 5 year old Gavin in charge of 6 month old Gwen while I took care of bleeding Parker.  Parker’s response: “Well, Gwen is 3 now and she is not a baby anymore.  And I’m 5 so I’m babysitting her and you are babysitting Gavin.”  Ok.  Not really a dramatic story but that kid is hilarious when he’s not in the throes of negative persistence.  Like this morning when he was slamming the bathroom door and the toilet seat repeatedly because Gwen was sitting in Heath’s seat when Parker wanted to.  Yeah, he can be very dramatic too. 

Is it possible that drama begets drama?  Could my dramatic tendencies have been genetically passed down to my children and mutated into exponentially more dramatic drama?  Bless Heath for his patience with this crazy family! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Old Switcheroo (from Blogger to WordPress)

It’s been on my mind on again and off again.  And lately it’s been on again.  Does anyone else feel creatively stunted by Blogger’s templates and sidebars?  I don’t like being a carbon copy of anyone else.  Nor do I like doing things for the sake of popularity.  It’s a personality trait of mine that really drives some people crazy but I want to be an individual.  Participate in trends but do it my own way.  Blog but do it my own way.  The only way to do this is to switch to WordPress. 

WordPress has so many more options than Blogger.  Plus, it just looks more professional.  My blog is certainly not professional but it looks like everyone else’s blog!  The sidebar is so cluttered it’s driving me nuts!  I spent time today coming up with super cute page names along a storytelling theme.  The idea was to have the pages hold much of the information I have stored on my sidebar.  Some people clean up cluttered sidebars by inserting the archive button for their old posts.  I tried that once and didn’t like it because it stores everything by date only.  If I’m looking for an old post I don’t know what day I wrote it.  I write practically every day!  This also makes navigating the edit posts screens a nightmare as well.  And I am not going to tighten my belt on writing.  What a laughable idea. 

So . . . I think what needs to be done here is to just switch to WordPress.  There are ways to have a WordPress blog point to this blog.  I think that’s what Heath said anyway.  Which if that’s true then I won’t be abandoning this blog, possibly losing readers along the way, and starting over.  Blank slates work great for some people but this blog has been my pet for four years.  I have fed it, nurtured it, and loved it.  The thought of starting fresh with a new pet pains my very soul.  I can see my blog’s big doe eyes growing larger and sparkling with tears threatening to spill over and it breaks my heart.  This blog may have started with a Blogger URL that I masked with my own URL so it wouldn’t be blocked at Dawn’s school.  Hee hee, so sneaky.  But the blog has stayed the same.  It’s just getting too big for its body. 

I love thinking out loud in posts.  As I write I figure out my decision.  I am open to advice or feedback.  Has anyone made this switch?  How hard is it to import my Blogger posts to WordPress?  Because honestly, that would be ideal.  I’m looking for more creative freedom because I have an eye for design and Blogger is too restricting in that sense. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Friend with Benefits

Everyone needs a friend with benefits.  Now I certainly don’t mean that in a questionable way.  I have a wonderful friend who I met when we were paired up as visiting teaching companions.  The interesting turn of events is that now I’m supposed to visit teach her although I’ve been a slacker about it because of  various issues like anxiety.  She has been such a great friend to me and I hope I have been as good to her.  We have confided in each other some of our deep dark secrets and been that listening ear for one another through rough times. 

Recently she told me her mom was planning to move to a smaller house and needed to get rid of a lot of stuff.  She asked if I wanted her scrapbooking stuff.  My eyes lit up and I of course said yes.  I was excited to get more scrapbooking stuff because I feel one can never have too much scrapbooking stuff!  Especially paper.  I’m a sucker for paper.  Well, I had no idea what I was in for. 

On Sunday after church I went to her mom’s house while Heath was at a youth meeting.  She took me into her mom’s garage to unearth the treasure trove.  Two huge sets of plastic chests of drawers full of everything a scrapbooker could ever dream of.  My friend quickly dug through the drawers looking for personal items her mom would want to keep.  There were a few pictures, a scrapbook, and a couple miscellaneous items that were taken out.  My eyes kept getting bigger and bigger as my friend left so much stuff I thought her mom may want to keep.  I kept asking over and over, “Are you sure she wants to get rid of all of this?  She doesn’t want to keep any of the tools?”  The response was that it was a hobby she started a long time ago and wasn’t ever going to finish.  She didn’t need it or want it. 

When Heath came home I told him the back of the van was full of scrapbooking supplies and much more than I had ever imagined she would give me.  He was excited for me.  I pulled the chests of drawers out and stacked them in the garage so we could go to Costco.  It wasn’t until the next day that I finally had time to dig in and really see what I got. 

Since the drawers were dusty and covered in cobwebs with dead spiders inside many of the drawers, I took the drawers into the house to vacuum out.  I did an initial vacuuming before removing the items and vacuuming up the rest of the dust and bug graveyard.  Ok, it wasn’t really that bad but it was obvious it had been stored in the garage for a long time without anyone getting into any of it.  I cleaned out the drawers with cleaning wipes and dusted off the items.  Then I took the drawer skeletons outside and hosed them off.  When they were dry I brought them in and wiped them down with more cleaning wipes. 

This whole process was a mixture of Christmas Eve excitement and fully loaded guilt.  One moment I couldn’t believe my good fortune and the next moment I couldn’t imagine keeping it all because it didn’t seem right.  You have to understand that most of this stuff hadn’t even been opened!  Two different packages of embossing tools that hadn’t even been opened!  Seventy five sheets of handmade paper all in the original wrapper times two.  I don’t do math in my head but that is a crazy amount of gorgeous paper!  Full scrapbooking kits and stickers galore.  It was an impressive amount of stuff.  I was picked as the winner because I’m the only local person my friend could think of who still loves traditional scrapbooking and hasn’t gone digital. 

I made sure to ask my friend again if her mom really wants to give it all away.  There is a drawer stuffed full of decorative scissors and a drawer full of nice colored pencils hardly been used and markers and pens.  A lot of those tools are not specific to scrapbooking and I didn’t need to keep it if she wanted some of it.  My friend told me she would check on the pens and pencils but she knew her mom didn’t want the scissors.  Holy what!  Did I mention there are Mickey Mouse ears shaped scissors!!!  And a Disney castle punch still in it’s original sealed package as well as a whole Disney scrapbook kit with paper and stickers.  Yeah, you get why I felt guilty.

I was in heaven sitting in my office with the invisible walls sorting and organizing my new treasure chests and combining it with my eclectic stash.  It was good to organize my stuff since it never really had been organized well.  My love of scrapbooking has evolved over the years as has my collection of supplies.  My humble stack of plastic drawers was soon not enough and Heath bought me another bigger stack of plastic drawers for all my 12 x 12 paper.  But even that was starting to overflow.  Words cannot describe my joy as I organized everything so I will show pictures instead.  Maybe you’ll think I’m crazy and maybe I am!  But I am easily amused and get so much pleasure from the simple things in life. 

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These chests of drawers are new to me and I saw that at Office Max these exact drawers cost over $50 apiece. 

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All labeled and organized.

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This is the storage I started with.  My desk on wheels as I used to call it.  When I taught 4th grade this was literally my desk because I was the roving teacher.  All the other 4th grade teachers had a classroom but I borrowed their classrooms when they were off track (3 week vacation every 9 weeks or so on a year round schedule) and stored my two rolling carts and this “desk” in the ESL room when my class was off track. 

Do you like how I labeled the top drawer “Evidence”?  It’s a drawer full of ticket stubs, pictures, and other random scraps that are evidence of our happy lives.  It’s all stuff I have meant to scrapbook for years and probably never will since I haven’t yet but I can’t bring myself to throw any of it out.  Evidence seemed like an appropriate label. 

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The drawers Heath bought for me shortly before we moved.  Do you think I have enough paper?  The funny thing is these drawers were full before I was blessed with more.  It’s just better organized now without tools and scraps in the same drawers as all my paper. 

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Just for fun I took pictures of Gavin’s haircut tonight.  This would make a fun scrapbook page!  His hair was so long he looked like he had a mullet when Heath shaved the front first.  Heath is convinced that Donald Trump has a hairpiece . . . and it’s in our garbage.  Either that or a small dog died in there.  I hate long hair on boys so this is proof that Gavin hates getting his hair cut.  Now he won’t be mistaken for my daughter! 

Dialing Down the Crazy

I haven’t written about my adventures with anxiety and Zoloft for a while.  Mostly because it’s still there, what else is there to say about it?  And partly because my side effects last month, when the doctor increased my dose, were not really something I wanted to talk about! 

Today I feel good.  In fact, last night I had an epiphany of sorts.  It hit me that I have been feeling pretty good for a few days!  This good feeling has been a gradual process over the last month.  About a month ago my doctor increased my dose again, as he has done every month since he prescribed Zoloft.  My dose was so high I had to pay for two separate prescriptions in order to get the prescribed dose.  That made me feel embarrassed until new side effects redefined embarrassment for me! 

A sour stomach can be attributed to a lot of things and I tried to blame many things.  When it became a daily occurrence multiple times a day but concentrated worst right after taking my daily dose of “happy pills,” I blamed the drugs.  The other side effect I dealt with was extreme irritability where I could go from zero to insane in a second from the most mild of provocations.  I was scaring myself.  At least I had the presence of mind to tell my family to get away from me before things got even more out of control.  Unfortunately damage had already been done and I felt horrible about it. 

Gratefully the irritability slowly subsided over a few weeks.  The stomach issue still plagued me every single day.  I called in my prescription refills and completely forgot to pick them up until it was too late on a Saturday.  Heath tried to discreetly pick them up for me on Sunday morning after his priesthood meeting.  (We don’t shop on Sunday) The pharmacy wasn’t scheduled to open for another hour.  The rest of Sunday flew by with no time to pick up the prescriptions until it was too late again.  So I had gone without “happy pills” for two full days. 

Maybe I’m just making this up, I am very superstitious, but I felt like I was dealing with my agoraphobia better than ever.  Irritability was replaced with an extra dose of patience in moments my patience well is bone dry.  The sour stomach was still an issue but even that was letting up in intensity.  This whole month I have rehearsed over and over in my mind how to tell my doctor I want to decrease my dosage because the side effects have increased while the benefits have remained the same. 

Last night I had my monthly Relief Society activity.  Maybe I was calm because a miscommunication kept me from going to the planning meeting.  Which meant I had no responsibility until the day before when I was asked to make name cards for the three presenters.  So easy!  Maybe I was calm because I was so distracted by my new organization projects around the house.  I don’t know but for the first time in my life I did not stress one bit before going to a social function I would rather avoid.  Once I got there I felt fabulous.  I was so happy and chatty I almost thought my blood sugar was dropping because sometimes low blood sugar makes me hyper.  Only I wasn’t hyper.  I was just really confident and happy.  There’s no other way to explain it.  I felt awesome! 

Today I wasn’t stressed to go to my doctor’s appointment.  I didn’t want to go because who looks forward to seeing the doctor when they could do something fun instead!  The drive wasn’t even that bad.  My arms were sore from gripping the wheel but some of that soreness could have been from Damon, my new trainer, who has tried to kill me in the desert.  All I know is that it was the easiest freeway drive I have had for years.  Again, I felt awesome.  I still do.  All the fake it till I make it I’ve been doing lately with my appearance felt genuine today.  I’m not dressing up to feel better when the lemons of life fall on my head, I am now dressing up because I want to.  I like how I look and I feel confident in who I am and what I have to offer.  Even the glitches at the counter with my insurance didn’t phase me.  It all worked out and I knew it would.  Why panic over it? 

The doctor agreed with me that I should decrease my Zoloft dose.  We both agreed that it’s doing its job but the side effects will no longer be an issue if I decrease the dosage.  It’s unfortunate that the relaxed schedule of summer lessens my anxiety and helps keep my blood sugars more stable.  I guess the test will be when school starts again.  For now I am thrilled with my progress!  The sun is blazing, summer is well under way, and life is good. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who Needs a Fancy Pool?

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Who needs fancy when priceless smiles cost nothing more than an hour of manually turning on the auto sprinklers! 

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Forget the crowds at the sprinkler parks,

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one’s own siblings are enough. 

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Adventure awaits

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around every corner.

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Don’t worry that there’s grass on the toilet seat.  At least she came in to use it!

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And in her defense, she did try to clean the grass off first. 

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Eventually we’ll have to find a repair kit for the pool since it leaks air now.  In the meantime, this idea was totally worth it.  Probably used less water than filling the pool too.