One Fine Friday

Tags

, , , , , ,

fashion-disaster-day-006

It was Fashion Disaster day at school. The kids were encouraged to wear mismatched clothes.

This is really hard for my kids because they don’t have many outfits that don’t match. The boys wear jeans and t-shirts or denim shorts and t-shirts. It’s hard to mess up clothes that are specifically designed to go with everything. Gwen’s clothes are more colorful but even then most everything goes together. I have learned that hot pink is a pseudo neutral and goes with many other colors.

I pulled her colorful skirt hoping to find a shirt it clashed with. Even this tri-colored skirt goes with most of her shirts. Even turquoise blue and purple don’t look too bad. Then I saw the Olaf shirt. It was just the wrong shade of pink for that skirt. Perfect! Gwen’s friends already said yesterday they were going to wear two different shoes to school. We took it one step further and gave her two different sock lengths as well. She looks like a fashion disaster. And she could not wait to go to school.

Parker was another story. He hates these crazy dress up days. He’s like me and feels a lot of anxiety as he worries if he got the day wrong or if he was the only one to participate. It took a lot of persuasion to get Parker to put on the black socks. We told him if he didn’t put on the socks he would look too close to normal and people would think he just has bad fashion sense. They wouldn’t necessarily get that he meant to look bad. The black socks completed the old man tourist look. Too bad he can’t wear sandals to school!

The funny thing about Parker’s clothes is that there is not a single outfit that doesn’t match. He had to borrow Gavin’s button up shirt to pair inappropriately with basketball shorts. I don’t think about it too much but I guess I have a tendency to only buy clothes for my kids that go together. It solves the problem of wanting to make a button that says “My kid dressed himself today!”

Parker was very worried about his outfit this morning and swore he would keep his sweatshirt on all day if he was the only one in stupid clothes. I guess most kids simply wore their shirts backwards. A few wore mismatched shoes. We reached the low to mid 80’s for a high today so it was a good thing Parker wasn’t the only one dressed in bad clothes. He did say he tried to wear his sweatshirt backwards but it was uncomfortable and the hood kept getting in his face. I’m sure once he gave up on that idea it was finally warm enough to take it off for the day.

When I picked up the kids from school, Gwen waved a book in my face as she climbed in the van. Her friend promised to buy her a book at the Book Fair and apparently made good on her promise. This disturbs me. Gwen’s friends keep buying her gifts randomly throughout the school year. Why? She had received enough things before Christmas that I decided to have her give Christmas gifts. Not a single friend reciprocated the gesture. Huh.

That’s the thing. These gifts are not attached to anything like a holiday or birthday. Her friends just buy her stuff. It’s weird. I was a little girl once and I don’t remember this gift dilemma. Is Gwen the Queen Bee? More alarming, is she like Penny on the Big Bang Theory – she’s so cute she doesn’t need money because people just buy her stuff? That freaks me out more than anything. It’s one thing for Gwen’s little girlfriends to buy her stuff. But what happens when she gets older and boys start buying her stuff? This is not the independent woman I am raising her to be!

I don’t even know how to explain in words how disturbing this is to me. It just is strange that all she has to do is bat her eyelashes and say her mom won’t let her buy anything from the Book Fair and she gets a new book. What is my obligation now? I told the kids they could buy a book if that’s really how they wanted to spend their vacation money. Parker quickly picked up on my reverse psychology. He is saving his money for our upcoming trip to Legoland and Disneyland. Gwen hesitated. And I guess whined enough to a friend about it that she got a book.

So is Gwen socially required to spend her hard earned vacation money on gifts for her friends? Seriously, what is my obligation? I hate this! This is my A number one reason why I hate holidays. I hate the obligatory gifts. If I see something I know someone might like then I will get it for them for the next holiday. I don’t like feeling pressured to buy something for the sake of social convention. If I don’t feel inspired to buy a gift I want the freedom to NOT BUY A GIFT! I feel like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Gifts bring too much pressure. Feeling indebted, wondering if my gift matches the effort and money that was put into what I received, it’s all too much! I hate gifts.

At least the boys weren’t jealous of Gwen’s good fortune today. They both had their own wonderful days. Gavin’s English/History teacher had some behavior plan for her students and Gavin earned lunch with her today. She went to In & Out and brought it back to school for the kids who were dining with her today. Gavin walked in the door this afternoon and said he didn’t eat the fries so he was going to have a snack. That’s when I learned that he wasn’t the only kid who ate with the teacher today. I’m glad because that could have been awkward. Gavin hates fries. He said the fries were mostly on another desk. All the kids helped themselves and Gavin just didn’t reach over. No one even noticed.

Parker climbed into the van this afternoon with a teddy bear in his arms. Apparently he won it at the Flag Salute. The circumstances are too much. He won it from a Box Tops drawing. I never give Parker Box Tops anymore because he can never remember to turn them in. The one time he did this school year he won the drawing and scored a cute teddy bear! Unbelievable.

So far it’s been a great start to the weekend. If only I could be as lucky as my kids.

Serial Plant Killer

Tags

, , ,

I was not depressed but I bought a small cactus anyway.

My friend was really struggling because her roommate had moved out. The loneliness in her apartment was suffocating. She could barely breathe with the weight of depression pressing down on her. I went over to help her pack up her apartment. She was moving back to her family in SLC. I scored some household items and some advice. Her sister suggested she buy a plant to care for. It would do her good to watch something live.

The next time I was at Wal-Mart (because there aren’t many shopping choices in Southern Utah) I bought a cactus. It had a red part that looked like a flower but was as spiky as the rest of the plant. A cactus seemed to be a safe choice because it wouldn’t require much water.

I mothered that thing including bringing it with me every time I rode home to Salt Lake for a weekend. It lost a lot of dirt with the back and forth trips. The cactus seemed fine but eventually I got bored of the project. I didn’t need to see something live the way Dani did. So I threw my cactus away. Maybe it was herbicide. I don’t know. It didn’t hurt my feelings to not have my little cactus in the window anymore. It’s possible I gave the cactus a name but I don’t even remember it now.

Moving out of a student singles ward after graduation meant moving into a family ward. Family wards mean Mother’s Day gifts for all adult women, regardless of marital status. Every year I was given a potted flower against my will. Every year I killed the poor thing. Except for the year I gave my marigold to my friend across the street.

Becca lovingly planted it in her front yard with other marigolds. She called my contribution her Tristan Flower and claimed it thrived better than all the other marigolds. She couldn’t thank me enough for giving her my plant! Better her taking care of the thing than me.

The Primary President became the proud owner of boxes and boxes of flowers planted in plastic party cups. I didn’t understand how she came to adopt these flowers but she thought it would be nice to give them out to the Primary kids. Like every other Primary handout, the flowers came to my family in triplicate. Because neglecting one plant isn’t enough. I should be responsible for the savage death of three flowers!

They baked to death on the picnic table in the gazebo. They were attracting bugs in the house so I put them outside. Out of sight out of mind. Even the kids forgot to care. I don’t even want to think of the number of plants I have killed in my lifetime. Once you become a serial plant murderer you stop counting.

Which is why it is so alarming that I have a plant in my house that refuses to die. Its will to live is commendable. I don’t really know how to feel about this plant or the fact that I have had it for nearly a year.

It was delivered by a flower store to my father’s memorial service. My sister in law told me to take the basket of flowers home with me. I wasn’t so sure since we were driving from Utah to California. The flowers were sure to die en route. Amazingly enough they weren’t in too bad of shape when we got home. Even after spending the night in Winnemucca.

A day or two later the flowers were definitely wilting. As each type of flower bit the dust I would pull it out to toss. That’s when I realized they had been planted in these tiny plastic tubes. The tubes of water had dried up thus killing the flowers. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to know what to do with those tubes. I couldn’t see how to fill them with water and the flowers were sad and droopy. Deader than dead. I had no problem chucking them.

That’s the nice part of flowers. They don’t last forever. I enjoy them for a week and when they can’t seem to hold their heads up anymore, drying up and shriveling into a floral mess, I happily throw them out. My only responsibility was to enjoy their loveliness for a few days until they pooped out. I had nothing to do with their death. Someone else cut them from the plant that would keep them alive. I get to watch their severed heads die a slow, beautiful death.

It didn’t take long to pull out every flower in the arrangement. I assumed I was done. What a shame they came in a lovely basket I don’t know what to do with. But I was done. The flowers were gone and so was any attachment I had to the arrangement. Right?

Wrong! Once all the flowers were gone it was easier to see the card that came with the basket. Not the card from the people who sent the flowers in memory of my dad. I kept that in a special place as soon as we got home. I mean the card that explains how to take care of the plant. The flowers were clearly put in just to dress up the plant for the sad occasion. They were not meant to last.

I have never had flowers given to me at a funeral before. I felt an obligation to at least try to take care of the plant. It doesn’t need much water though. I would put the basket under the faucet for a drink and not need to repeat the process for a couple months. Unfortunately several months went by. I’m not a plant person! My thumb is not green.

For several weeks in a row I would look at the leaves wilting and drying up. I thought I needed to water that poor plant. But I never seemed to do it. Part of me wanted to be done with the plant and part of me felt overwhelming guilt for daring to think that way. It’s not Dad, I would tell myself. I’m not killing him. If I get rid of the plant it doesn’t mean I love him any less. Guilt still stared back at me from the plant.

Finally I picked up the basket and walked it the twenty feet or so to the sink to give it a drink. How hard was that? I don’t know. It’s amazing how difficult depression makes the simplest of tasks. Some days getting off the couch is more than I have the energy for.

Instead of thanking me, the leaves drooped to the floor. The plant looked stoically brave before in its desert oasis. Dying but dying with dignity. Now that I gave it water the leaves gave up. Just dropped down as low as they could go as if they were saying there is no point in living. Whatever. I was kind of annoyed. Stupid plant that makes me feel so guilty. It could go in the trash once and for all in the morning. Taking it outside for proper disposal was too much effort that night.

The next morning I glanced at the plant and noticed something was very different. The leaves had picked themselves up higher than they have been in months. What? Where were the pathetic floor crawlers tugging at my heartstrings? I guess it was a new day with a new lease on life. Those leaves resurrected themselves. Guess I still have a plant to take care of.

As I mentioned before, this plant doesn’t need much water. A quick trip to the faucet and it’s good to go for a couple months. Today the leaves were still waving proudly like the American flag on the 4th of July. I put my finger on the soil expecting it to still be wet. It’s only been a couple days since I gave the plant so much water I thought I drowned it. The soil was dry as a bone.

Seriously? Now what? Guess I still have a plant to take care of. So I sprayed it with the spray bottle. For now it feels like a battle of wills. I’m not actively trying to kill this plant. I’m not actively paying much attention to it either. It refuses to die. I don’t want to feel obligated to care for this plant because it reminds me of my dad. I guess I can give it water occasionally. I really didn’t expect it to last this long. Yet here it is. The little plant that could.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t want it to mean anything. For now I will still water it when I think about it. We’ll see what happens.

Blood Moon

Tags

, , ,

A blood moon is a lunar tetrad or four total consecutive lunar eclipses. Apparently it’s a big deal to some religious observers. The fact that we had one just before Easter on April 4th was a very big deal. There are prophecies in the Bible about blood moons.

I’m not concerned that the world is ending. I just think these events are really cool. In May of 2012 we were able to experience a solar eclipse. I don’t think I ever did get around to blogging about it. I think I was going to put the pictures into a video. Videos take a long time and I had little babies.

eclipse-038

Look how little my kids are! Gwen is this chubby little thing running down the street trying to keep up with her boys and Avery, the neighbor girl.

eclipse-008

I think we originally set up the tripod in the backyard. There were too many shadows so we moved to the front yard. Look how big the sun is. There isn’t much of an eclipse yet.

eclipse-039eclipse-047

Then we set up in the front yard with a pizza box. It became a neighborhood party in our front yard. The rest of the neighbors were watching the eclipse with small boxes the kids made at school. They loved our setup much better. We didn’t have to squint as much. It was really cool watching the eclipse take place on a piece of foam core board. There have been several eclipses since then. The kids were able to watch one at school not too long ago.

A couple days before Easter this year, Heath got a text from Jeff wondering if Heath was going to watch the blood moon. I will admit Heath hesitated at first. In order to see a blood moon you have to get up in the wee hours of the morning. He wasn’t so sure he really wanted to on his only day off!

I talked him into it. It’s easy to live vicariously through other people. My sister calls me the devil because I convince her to buy things she wants but doesn’t need. Maybe I am the devil. If being the devil means I can sleep in and see cool pictures later, I’m all for it!

Heath probably would have decided to go on his own but I like to take credit for my contribution. I just told him he hasn’t used his telescope in a very long time and the Ward members know he loves watching the heavens. He had a friend inviting him to see an amazing heavenly event. He should go. Well he told me that he wouldn’t need a telescope and that I had convinced him to go. I’m such a good wife.

The boys were also invited. They were told that they would have to get up really early in the morning. They both were thrilled at the prospect of seeing the blood moon. They were told they could change their mind at the last minute. If their dad came in to wake them up and they didn’t feel like it, they could say no and go back to sleep. I assumed at least Parker would bail.

Saturday morning came and I didn’t even hear Heath’s alarm. I’m glad because he charges his phone across the room so when the alarm goes off to wake him up, I’m up too. He didn’t sleep well and actually woke up about ten minutes before the alarm was to go off. So he took care of it before it woke me up. I did hear him go in to wake up the boys. Then he came into the room with a red headlamp on that shone right in my eyes. I was less than impressed. Soon enough the house was quiet again and I sunk back into a blissful sleep.

moon-and-track-meet-002moon-and-track-meet-010

While I was sleeping these amazing images were captured.

moon-and-track-meet-008

Two men and two boys were standing in the middle of the football field at the park staring up into the sky at the red moon. They were cold and spoke in hushed tones so as not to break the magic of the moment. It was a great bonding experience for all of them.

Jeff drove everyone home. We live so close to the park but he didn’t want them to have to walk in the cold carrying camp chairs and a tripod and camera. Since he drove into the park it was a long car ride home. We live at the far end of the park. There is only one way in and one way out. I’m sure the boys appreciated the time it took to drive to the park’s exit at the opposite end and then all the way back down the street. The car must have been toasty warm by the time they got home.

Not surprisingly, nobody was tired when they got home. They watched TV which woke me up. The TV was quiet but they were noisy while they laughed and talked. Heath apologized to me later. He said they had to do something to kill time before the bagel shop opened for the day at 6:00 am! They ate at the bagel shop and then bought bagels to surprise me and Gwen with when we finally woke up.

moon-and-track-meet-044

Parker slept in the chair for the next couple hours. Gavin slept through most of the morning session of General Conference. My poor tired boys. They all agree it was worth it.

The Gavinator

Tags

, , , ,

superhero

The Gavinator is not to be confused with Parker the superhero who wears his underwear on the outside of his costume. Parker cracks me up! That boy missed his brother so much today. Gavin was at a scout campout so Parker had to fight crime alone.

The scout campout was an overnight deal at Pinnacles National Park. They did a quick pack check on Wednesday for the scout activity. Since it was so quick Heath took Gavin out to REI afterwards to buy him a tent. As much fun as it would be to set up a 6 man tent, I think that’s a little more tent than an 11 year old needs for an overnight campout! REI was having a great tent sale so Gavin was able to get his 2 man tent for $100. Heath’s reward points helped knock down the price.

front-room-tent-001

Gavin practiced setting it up in the front room that night. Gwen was mad that she couldn’t play in the tent! I love how Armless Amy snuck her way over there too. She has no arms or legs, I’m not sure how she was planning on getting into the tent. Silly dress form.

This is the second time Gavin has gone away from us. We all survived his absence. We feel nervous for him and miss him like crazy. Gavin never gets nervous. He wasn’t too nervous for his first campout. At least he said he wasn’t nervous and he seemed to be telling the truth. When I asked him this time if he was nervous he looked at me like I had made the stupidest suggestion of all time. The kid was fine. He’s fearless I guess.

He had a great time with his friends and passed off a ton of stuff that would be difficult to pass off otherwise. I do like Boy Scouts so much better than Cub Scouts!

This week was his first Track Meet. There was no school on Monday. Tuesday Track practice was cancelled due to weather. We finally got some rain which was awesome. But it mostly fell at night. Thunderstorms were forecast throughout the day but there was never even any rain. Coach Tony didn’t want to take any chances though. He emailed the parents telling them Track was cancelled for the afternoon and he apologized for the inconvenience.

Holy that was an inconvenient day! My afternoon was chuck full. The whole day was really. I took kids to school, got myself ready for the day, bought a vase full of flowers for my nurse because her father passed away and I know how crappy that feels. I came home to eat lunch before driving out to see her. An hour later I had enough time to drive home and have a few minutes to stare at the walls before picking up kids. I picked up Gwen and Parker, then rushed over to the middle school to pick up Gavin. He didn’t have a bus ticket since it was a Track practice day.

Heath did say Gavin should just walk home from school. That made me nervous only because Track was cancelled due to the possibility of thunderstorms. And I was going to let him walk home in that? It didn’t seem like a good idea. I couldn’t take my chances so I picked him up. Then I went back toward the elementary school to pick up Dylan for Cub Scouts. Eventually that day was over!

On Wednesday Gavin got his Track uniform. He said the shorts were really short! I had a flashback of my brother in his running uniform. The shorts were short. Then I thought of all my crazy friends who run marathons all the time. They’re girls but their shorts are pretty short. It must be a runner’s thing. Thursday was the Track Meet.

Gavin looked pretty comical in his uniform. He ordered an adult small jersey, a tank top with the school’s name on it. The coaches ordered the shorts for the kids. I don’t remember choosing the size for the shorts. Anyway, those were a youth large. His tank top ended about where his shorts ended. He also put the tank top over his t-shirt. Some kids did that and some didn’t. I think Gavin didn’t know what else to do. He is very modest and has always worn t-shirts.

Avalon is the 6th grade team captain and is in our ward. She looked adorable in her Track uniform. I overheard her saying that she has never worn anything so immodest in her life! A tiny little tank top and shorts that barely cover her butt is a pretty immodest uniform for a Mormon girl.

Gavin kept touching the hem of his tank top like he was really self-conscious. It looked ridiculous anyway. I saw that most of the kids tucked their jerseys into their shorts. So I suggested Gavin do the same. We need to have a conversation about taking pride in one’s appearance. He tucked it in alright but there was a nice big roll under his shorts just under the waistband. I’m not sure which looked worse, tucked or untucked!

There were probably about four or five middle schools at the Track Meet. Of those schools, three were represented by kids in our ward. Lizzie goes to one school, Rachel goes to another. Actually she goes to the school that hosted the Meet. Rachel’s dad is Gavin’s Scout leader. He said she just barely decided to join Track that week! She wore her gym clothes to the Meet. And of course Gavin and Avalon go to the same school. It was crazy to see some of the kids all grown up. One girl, Aoife, was in Gavin’s first grade class. She was all grown up and beautiful.

The Track Meet was interesting. Nobody had any idea what was going on. Not even the coaches! It was a little disorganized and unconventional. The kids mostly ran on the grass. Something about that school’s track isn’t long enough or something. There was no long jump. I don’t know if there ever will be. Coach Tony graduated from the same high school Gavin will go to. He was a long jump legend there. Shot-put was replaced by tossing a medicine ball. The discus looked so much like a pickup Frisbee game I didn’t even realize it was a Track event for quite some time!

It was set up that there was always two events going on at once. The kids were supposed to pick one and participate. I saw a lot of kids standing around and wandering around aimlessly. In their defense the instructions were not well known. People mostly figured it out as the afternoon went on. I also saw an inordinate amount of kids leave early. We’re talking after the first event or two families were packing it up and walking out. I wonder if the first Meet is kind of a weed out event. Who really is serious about Track? Gavin’s team was specifically told not to leave Meets early. Most of those early quitters were from Gavin’s team. Hmm.

Gavin did his best and ran his heart out. He is not the fastest nor is he the slowest. But he obviously tries his best. I was feeling bad for him during the relay race. It was the first race I saw him run in and he was dead last. He was running his guts out and pushing himself as hard as he could. I thought maybe his best just isn’t good enough. Then Heath told me later that Gavin was the last kid to be passed the baton. He was close to passing a kid but never quite made it. I am extremely impressed with his performance now that I know he was the last kid to receive the baton! He kicked butt!

That race was run around the field. Gavin ran from one backstop to another. I was with Gwen and Parker at the backstop Gavin was running to. Heath was at the first backstop taking pictures. It is clear in the pictures that Gavin was the last kid to get passed to.

He also ran a race where he was with a bunch of 8th graders. I’m not sure how that miscommunication took place. Gavin did his best but he kind of ran a solo way behind the boys who look like men. A couple weeks before Track started I saw some kids running. I told Gavin that they probably ran for the high school. “No they don’t! Those kids go to my school!” I felt foolish. Some of those kids cannot be 8th graders though. They seriously look like hairy middle aged men.

It was a fun Meet. Although I did not enjoy having Gwen and Parker there. I babysat my own children for several races. Then I decided to move closer to the action hoping to see Gavin run. That’s when I saw Heath and Robert so I hung out with them. Apparently Gwen and Parker fought like crazy. They were supposed to be sitting on camp chairs reading their books. They engaged in territory wars as they touched each other’s chairs. So annoying! Unfortunately they are the two kids I can’t trust home alone right now. The house might literally burn down in a long parental absence. They are such Frenemies.

Heath took so many pictures that I decided to make a music video. I haven’t done that in such a long time. I’m really bummed though. I got it done very quickly and it was absolutely perfect. The transitions were perfect and the timing couldn’t have been better if I had planned it myself! Then Moviemaker crashed. I lost the whole thing. The second attempt took longer and is nowhere near as good. *sigh* It’s not bad. It’s just not great.

Shattered

Tags

Heath left for work about the same time I got into the shower this morning. By the time I got out he was back home. He said he forgot his phone and there is little he can do without it. Between church and work, the phone is pretty indispensible.

About an hour later I was halfway done braiding Gwen’s hair when I heard a text come through. When I finished her hair we had the following conversation.

Heath: I just freaked the heck out of my phone screen. Today is not a good day.
Me: Freaked it out? What happened?
Heath: Breaker, the screen shattered when it feel out of my hand

Typos are to be expected when a phone has been dropped onto a San Francisco sidewalk.

phone

The phablet is no longer very fabulous. He did come home with a new phone. The texts on the way home were much more clear and spelled correctly.

I just got an email from Fitbit. That reminds me that Heath lost his Fitbit last Thursday. It must have come out of his pocket in the BART parking lot based on the updates on his phone. He did contact Fitbit to get a replacement sent. Poor Heath. He’s been very unlucky lately. His misfortune meant I was the step winner of the week! Maybe that’s not worth celebrating though.

Transition Day

Tags

It is with bittersweet feelings that the last day of Spring Break has come and gone. The boys slept in for the last time, rolling into the kitchen sometime after 9:00. Gwen woke up at 7:00. At least that one is ready. I let her watch TV while I read my new book Amazed by Grace by Sheri Dew. Excellent and quick read. That will go in my stack of talks on the Atonement to be reread frequently.

The kids have taken advantage of my laziness by watching more TV than they have earned the right to. I figure it’s ok to bend the rules on vacation. Gwen reminds me so much of Parker at the same age. He used to wake up early and sneak downstairs to watch TV very quietly until everyone finally emerged from their cocoons for the day. Occasionally he still does it on weekends. I go downstairs to eat something and am always surprised to see the TV on after I have been down there for some time. He keeps the sound so low that I can’t even hear it in the kitchen! Now it’s Gwen’s turn to indulge in the solitude of early morning cartoons.

Once we were all finally up I had Gwen turn off the TV. It was time to return to the rules of screen time. The kids all swore they would only eat meals today and no snacks. They have stayed true to their word. As a result they polished off their dinner plates easily and almost seemed ready for more. I had them put their Easter candy in baggies so we could put away all the eggs and baskets. I had to tease Gwen and Parker by writing my name on their bags too.

On Gwen’s I wrote: Gwen or Mom since Gwen said she won’t eat candy again for 24 years!
That is a true story. How she came up with a random 24 year sentence I don’t know but it’s pretty funny. When she read what I wrote she did her patented angry stance. Fists balled up at the end of stiff arms desperately trying to smother the smile threatening to break through her exaggerated frown. The other day she did that and said she was trying to make steam come out her ears! I am not making this stuff up! She honestly thought she could which was the best part.

On Parker’s I wrote: Parker or Mom because he can’t keep it down!
He handled his ribbing with much more humor than Gwen did.

As I scrubbed dishes, swept and vacuumed, I was really tempted to steal some of “my” candy. My conscience is clear. I did not eat any candy. Just a lot of peanuts.

The boys eagerly cleaned bathrooms after cleaning their bedroom. Parker was happy to vacuum the stairs. The house was sparkly by 11:00. Gwen was still in her room not cleaning. The longer the day wore on the more she played. When she wasn’t playing she was acting like I was a prison warden and she was being punished in solitary confinement. Ah, things are almost back to normal! I think I am ready for school to start tomorrow.

Parker ran from activity to activity. He was walking the fine line between boredom and anticipation of returning to a schedule. Gavin was pretty content doing his own thing all day. I barely saw him. I was busy scrapbooking. It was all about him in second grade so I felt like I saw him!

Eventually I let the boys ride their bikes to the park because they were tired of patiently waiting for Gwen to ever be ready to go. I scrapbooked some more. Gwen threw a fit.

It’s been really cool to scrapbook this week. It’s been forever since I did anything like that and it was really fun to go back in time. My kids were so adorable. They are growing up to be such fun people. We have had a great time together this week. Playing games, going to the park, laughing together, doing puzzles … I feel like I can talk to them as peers.

On Friday Gwen asked if we could go to the park. She suggested that we walk so I could get the extra steps on my Fitbit. That is really sweet! Every day they all told me I was the best mom and thanked me for the fun we had. It kind of struck me when I saw a picture or Gavin in first grade next to his Unique of the Week poster. The first line said, “Gavin loves his mom.” Oh! Melt my heart! I love my kids.

Tomorrow is going to hurt knowing we all have to get up at 7:00 and be ready by 8:00. I have to go back to making multiple trips to the school every day. I have an appointment to see my nurse tomorrow too. Ugh! Reality! Homework will replace the fun conversations we have had. Gavin has his first Track Meet this Thursday. We’re hitting the ground running for sure. It’s a good thing. I’m ready for them to go back to school and I want to hold them close never letting them go all at the same time.

How many more weeks until summer?

I hate that wascawy wabbit!

Tags

, , , , ,

Holidays are my least favorite days. There are many reasons and here are yet more reasons to add to my arsenal.

Yesterday I was overcome by a feeling. It felt the exact opposite of nostalgia, whatever feeling that’s called. I wondered when we could skip the charade of magical mythical creature breaking and entering to leave holiday gifts. I just wasn’t in the mood. It’s so much work. I loved it when my kids were little. But now I only have one who still believes and I can’t wait for her to find out.

Not that I want to spill the beans. I still deeply regret doing that to Gavin. Gwen saw the books in the top of my closet and asked about them. All I could do was blink a few times hoping she would either drop it or figure it out. She dropped it. After that incident I made sure my pants weren’t put away neatly anymore so the pant legs could drape over the books. It was the best I could do. I still wished she would have just put two and two together.

It was so tempting to put an end to it all though. The Tooth Fairy is becoming more and more forgetful as time wears on. Gwen thinks Santa used my Cricut because she could see the bike outline on my mat. The Easter Bunny has nothing to do with anything. Can we stop the insanity already?

It’s us. The parents. We do it all. Sorry kids, there are no made up Pagan gods who deliver gifts taking credit from the parents. None of it is real. Please let me go to bed at a reasonable hour and not have to wake up early to “discover” my own treasures.

I don’t know. Christmas is one thing. I love Christmas. I love the whole season. Even the worldly traditions easily go with the true meaning of the holiday. I don’t have to stay up late the night before. Just long enough to make it look like a fat man has been in the house and left gifts behind wrapped in different paper. Easter should be an equally inspiring holiday yet the traditions always feel like such a stretch.

A bunny hides colored eggs full of candy and everyone is okay with this? Bunny? Eggs? The mind boggles at the absurdity of it all. Baskets full of colorful grass are left to collect the eggs the bunny left. The grass is nothing short of evil. It’s shredded plastic that clings to everything through static electricity. It cannot be easily vacuumed because some of it is always left over. What the vacuum picks up just gums up the works. It gets everywhere and serves no purpose. We stopped using Easter grass years ago.

Dyeing hard boiled eggs is a tradition I have always hated. Even as a child. Yes, sorry Mom! I don’t get it. What does one thing have to do with another? At least with the plastic eggs there is the opportunity to hide them empty. In honor of the empty tomb.

I get the idea behind all the symbols of spring. New life, new beginnings, hope for the future, plastic grass to last until the end of time. It still feels like a long stretch with a bit of a leap to make any connection to the resurrection of our Lord. My biggest pet peeve this year was how every week in Primary the kids were told that Easter is not about … long list of Pagan traditions … it’s about Jesus. Then take down the decorations and stop giving out treats. It’s a distraction the kids don’t need in church!

This is where I was yesterday. A large question mark slowly rotating above my head asking why. I still went to the store with Heath so we could buy candy to stuff in plastic eggs to hide all over the house after the kids went to bed. Earlier in the week we bought a bag of candy. It wasn’t Easter candy per se. Just a large bag of fruity taffy that looked good. Our children quickly foiled us.

For the first time in maybe ever, the kids actually greeted us in the garage when we got home to help us bring in the groceries. We were not counting on this sudden desire for unsolicited service. The candy was discovered as I knew it inevitably would be. And Gwen asked to eat some every dang day after that. With no other candy alternatives (we could have used the old Halloween candy in the back of the pantry), we went to the store for chocolate. Lucky us there were great deals to obliterate the surplus of holiday candy before Easter.

Gwen was very concerned I hadn’t decorated for Easter. I reminded her I have no Easter decorations nor do I want them. She wanted to help put out the Easter baskets. I told her to just go to bed or I would tell the Easter Bunny not to come. Kids went to bed. Candy that had been hidden in the cars was brought in along with the Easter baskets and plastic eggs we “let the Easter Bunny use!”

After an hour and a half Jessa Duggar still wasn’t married but the candy had all been distributed among the eggs that had also been hidden. We watched her finally get hitched and then we went to bed.

My earliest thoughts this morning had nothing to do with Easter. They were more along the lines of knowing I needed to get in the shower before General Conference started so I could be ready for my temple recommend interview with the Stake Presidency counselor between sessions.

Gwen’s door opened and suddenly I remembered. We probably should get up so the kids can get on with the festivities. It was the last thing I wanted to do right then. But Gwen admitted she had seen the baskets. She wasn’t snooping. She just saw them on the “square stairs.”

Happy-Easter-006

I almost forgot we decided to put the baskets on the landing between the two sets of stairs instead of the coffee table in the front room.

Happy-Easter-004Happy-Easter-005

These pictures are classic. You can tell Gwen is 7 years old and still believes. She appears to be the only one excited about Easter. Gavin looks extremely irritated that she would dare wake him up for an Easter egg hunt. Parker looks indifferent at best. I love how messy the hallway and bedrooms are. You can see how unprepared I was for Easter. I knew it was coming but somehow I just didn’t care. We cleaned up downstairs so the Easter Bunny would come.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the true meaning of Easter and the reason why we celebrate at all. I was looking forward to watching General Conference all weekend. It’s church services that don’t come with a dress code or chore inventory. General Conference over Easter is even better. Lots of Savior themed talks.

We got a few pictures and the kids went wild searching for eggs we supposedly left for a bunny. Then the gluttony began. General Conference meant the kids didn’t even get a break from their candy to go to church. They sat around in pajamas all day listening to Conference and shoveling candy in their mouths by the armful. This goes on every year. I never put a stop to it because I figure I would rather have that stuff out of my house as soon as possible. Leftover candy becomes too tempting for me to steal. Eat it up. Get it out of here!

Heath had to go to the church to help with youth temple recommend interviews. He took the fruity taffy with him. It was all the candy we had left!

As I listened to Conference these last two days I have been obsessed with putting a puzzle together. I was in the zone trying to find homes for puzzle pieces when Heath told me he was leaving for the church. He mentioned lunch. I know I don’t always listen to everything he says. He knows this too. It’s not a secret. Anyway, I thought he had decided that he wanted a personal pizza but that maybe we shouldn’t stress over making the kids lunch. After all, they had eaten candy all morning.

He left and I put a few more pieces in place before changing my clothes and leaving myself for my temple recommend interview. When I got home the oven was on. I couldn’t remember if it was on before I left. Since I wasn’t paying much attention to the world outside my puzzle I imagined Heath had turned it on before he left. What I couldn’t remember was why. In fact I racked my brains trying to remember what he told me to do for lunch. Since the oven was on I assumed he wanted me to warm pizzas up for everyone. I thought out loud trying to get the help of my children. What did your father want me to do? Why is the oven on? They didn’t know.

It was strange the oven was set to low. Maybe he said he would do something for dinner in the oven when he got home. We were having chili Verde. Either way, we had a heated up oven and I really felt like I was supposed to do something about that. Even though the oven was set to low it immediately said it was at temperature when I typed in 350 degrees. I heated up the pizzas and Heath came home just in time to enjoy his as the last session of Conference was beginning.

I told him about my lapse in memory. His face immediately registered recognition when I told him about the oven and how I didn’t remember what he asked me to do. He ran across the kitchen for the crock pot and started laughing. Apparently he had texted Gavin to set the slow cooker (I call it a crock pot but either way our kids don’t know what it is) to low. Gavin didn’t know what he meant so he had set the oven to low. Oops. We all had a good laugh and a large lunch. Well I didn’t. I ate an apple in an effort to keep my blood sugar more stable on a low movement day.

Dinner was around 5:30. I was starving. My blood sugar was low and my body was very aware I hadn’t fed it much since breakfast. The kids on the other hand only thought they were hungry for dinner. My fork flew in and out of my mouth as quickly as they had fed themselves candy all morning. Parker got up from the table without finishing his dinner and announced his stomach hurt. He said he felt like he wanted to throw up. I pointed at the bathroom so he went in. He puked a little and said he felt better.

At that moment, Gwen had gotten up from the table and walked into the kitchen. I heard this strange splashing sound like she was pouring water on the floor. Or the contents of her stomach. Heath mopped up regurgitated chocolate with tortilla chunks while I put her in the shower. Then I mopped the floor after Heath had sanitized it with cleaning wipes and I got to wash Gwen’s hair again because apparently I missed a gross spot.

Vomit. The kids haven’t even missed a day of school this year. Colds have been short and painless. We just haven’t been sick this year. They aren’t sick now. They just ate too much. Happy Easter to us! Heath and I swore to the kids we would tell the Easter Bunny to not bring candy next year. Still a little green around the gills, they agreed.

Can we please tell the Easter Bunny to stop coming altogether? I really hate the idea of the Easter Bunny. I love that “he” brings gospel themed books for the kids to peruse during Sacrament Meeting. That is my favorite family tradition for this holiday. It’s something fun for the kids while still in keeping with the purpose of the season – Jesus Christ. But oh my goodness, please don’t make me stay up late the night before stuffing eggs with candy the kids are just going to overeat the next day. I’m so over that part of Easter.

Park Days are the Best Days

Tags

, ,

It’s so nice when plans come together. Before Spring Break started I asked the kids what they wanted to do. They didn’t really have any plans. I suggested that one day we walk to Mr. Pickles, eat in the park, then walk home. They loved the idea.

My blood sugars have been giving me a hard time lately. I have become very insulin resistant in the middle of the day which is really hard when everyone is home. The other day Heath was feeling well enough and his 11:30 meeting was canceled. So we did a McDonald’s run before his 12:00 meeting. It just sounded good. I knew I shouldn’t eat that much for lunch but I kind of didn’t care.

Incidentally, Gavin and I had this conversation.

Me: Gavin, we’re running to McDonald’s for lunch. I know you’re morally opposed to it …
Gavin: I am morally opposed to it.
Me: Well, what do you want for lunch then?
Gavin: I don’t know. I’ll find something here.

He fixed himself some lunch after we cleared out the offending food. I love that kid! He is too funny.

When Heath kept working from home I wasn’t interested in taking the kids out for lunch. It also didn’t seem like a great idea when those sandwiches kill my blood sugar on a good day. But Heath went to work today and my blood sugar was in the perfect range by mid morning. I thought we could try it.

We walked really fast to get our food. I made the kids walk the long way around the back of the park. They didn’t have a problem with that. We had fun walking and talking. We took our food to the picnic tables by the playground. I love how hungry they all thought they were in the sandwich shop. Parker asked if we would get chips too because he found his favorite chips. I told him that a sandwich and a soda would be enough for him. If he was still hungry he could eat more when we got home.

Gwen had a kids meal. Those are big sandwiches. She ate 3/4 of it because I made her eat half of the second half. She did finish her juice box and her applesauce. Gavin easily finished his sandwich. He was satisfied but not overly full. I let him eat my cookie since I knew I wouldn’t need it. Parker had a hard time eating his sandwich because he chose a sour dough roll. The crust was hard for him to bite through. Then he was full after eating the first half. I made him eat half of his second half as well. These are not cheap sandwiches and there was no way to save them until we got home. Parker kind of rolled to the playground. 

The kids had fun running around doing their kid thing. This is the same playground they rode their bikes to yesterday while I did laundry. Gwen was excited to have gone to the same playground three days in a row. We were there for maybe ten minutes alone before we saw a young mom and her two little boys. Gwen’s eyes immediately lit up.

Gwen: I’m going to go make friends with them.

And off she went to do just that. I love that girl. She doesn’t care who it is, if it’s a person willing to listen to her she will be their new best friend. She had those boys eating out of the palm of her hand. She was not bossy. She got on their level and pushed their imaginations just beyond their boundaries. Enough that those boys had so much fun following her around playing. It was the most adorable thing to watch. The mom was so impressed saying my kids were so sweet. I do have good kids. It was really fun watching all three of them have fun with two brothers ages 4 and 2.

park2park1

I hated to break up the party. But I needed to keep walking so my blood sugar had a chance for normalcy. Plus, I had some turkey defrosting on the counter. I needed to get home to start taco soup. So after an hour the kids had to say goodbye to their friends.

My plan was to walk to the back of the park and follow the sidewalk all the way around to the front. Basically I wanted to get my full walk in and not cut any corners. It was a great idea in my head. The kids were fine walking around to the front of the park via the scenic route. Then they kind of pooped out on me.

Suddenly it felt like I was the one with the 4 and 2 year old. When the kids were tiny I used to put the boys on their bikes and push Gwen in her stroller. I made them ride to the playground in the middle of the park. It was hard to get them home because they were so tired. When we got home Gwen and Parker would nap. Today I felt like I was dragging Gwen and constantly stopping to wait for Parker. They’re watching a movie now but so far no one has fallen asleep. *snap*

My blood sugar is higher than I was hoping but considering the indulgent lunch I fed myself I’m not too surprised. I’ll go back to eating nothing more than a bowl of veggies next week. It was a fun afternoon. I have no regrets. Especially when the kids keep saying I’m the best mom ever. Flattery is always appreciated.

Update: Parker-asleepI caught a picture just a couple minutes before he woke up. *sigh*

Vacation Days

Tags

The only problem with being sick on vacation days is you’re sick on vacation days. Gwen and Heath decided to let their seasonal allergies turn into colds. Gwen is young so she still plays as hard as ever and is relatively unbothered by her coughing. Until she sees cough drops. Then she thinks she needs one.

Heath stayed home yesterday because he felt yucky. He is home again today but is actively working. Yesterday he got on the phone for a couple meetings and that was about it. Tomorrow he was already scheduled to be home because of an early morning phone meeting. I love having him home but it really changes my schedule. I don’t know why but it does.

My thoughts were preoccupied with another issue yesterday which was taking a lot of time away from my kids. I can’t multitask. I can’t stress over problems I have created for myself and play with my kids at the same time! I did take Gwen and Parker to the library to get Gwen a library card.

She has to prove she has a card as part of her reading contract for the A’s Game. The boys both got library cards as part of a field trip before they got to first grade. I want to say Gavin did it in the summer preschool class he took but maybe he really got it in kindergarten. Either way, Heath was there with both boys and their classes to get their very own library cards.

Gwen’s kindergarten class only did a walking field trip to the mailbox to mail a Valentine to their family. The teachers all say they don’t have any money for field trips. Charging families and making families carpool to the field trips like they always do apparently isn’t enough money for these field trips. At least the first graders are still doing the A’s Game. Heath loves that field trip. Gwen is so excited.

I got her a library card and we looked for some books to check out. Parker used the computer to look up the Dragon in the Sock Drawer series again. He checked out the first book in the series on his card. Gwen is into the Magic Treehouse books. She reads chapter books pretty quickly so I let her get three books. Then she said she saw some Lego Friends books so I let her get both of those. They are too easy for her but it will be fun for her to read since we’re going to Legoland soon.

I had looked forward to Spring Break to do nothing. It made me feel bad yesterday that we really were doing absolutely nothing. I suggested we work on a puzzle or something. The kids really wanted to play a game. They couldn’t remember how to play Doctor Who Yahtzee. There are characters on the die instead of numbered dots so the directions didn’t even jog my memory of the game. I pulled out the Skip-Bo cards and we played several rounds. Gwen had never played before and actually picked up on it quickly. That was a lot of fun.

We also planned out our meals for our trip to Legoland and Disneyland. It’s going to be such a fun trip! We can’t wait.

hangingThis afternoon the kids and I went on a bike ride. We rode through the park to the playground furthest away. They played there for about an hour before we rode back home. Parker was playing on the bars. I helped him hook his legs around the bar so he could hang upside down. He loved it.

Gwen did not love it when I picked her up and placed her over the bar. Parker held her legs and I held her hands and torso as I lowered her to a hanging upside down position. She screamed bloody murder. The whole time. That girl is no fun at all. So I had to pick her up off the bar. She didn’t do much playing after that. Just kept her head in my lap while I stroked her back. Meanwhile Gavin kept running in circles on the grass around the playground counting laps as he went. He was bummed nobody really wanted to run laps with him. Parker did run a couple races with him but that was it.

When we got home we had a nail painting party and now Gwen is scrapbooking. Parker hides up in his room all day. He’s either wasting time playing games on his Kindle or he’s playing with Legos. He built a huge house. It looked like a multicolored secret government bunker. It was cool and he was very proud of it. Gavin has been working on making his own app all day.

I shouldn’t let the boys sit in front of computer screens all day but I’m lazy and they’re on vacation. Gavin has run two mornings in a row already. Yesterday he learned to eat breakfast first. Today I reminded him (again) to warm up first and cool down afterwards and to drink water! Maybe by the time he goes back to school he will learn how to run on his own.

When we were at the park I was asking him where he runs in the park. Even though I told him to follow the sidewalk along the very outside edges of the park to get 2.75 miles it didn’t sound like that’s what he was doing. It sounded like he basically runs around one loop and not the whole park. *sigh*

Ah vacation! How I love the laziness it encourages.

Why not me?

Tags

,

A sister was talking about an epiphany she had while reading the scriptures this week. She was reading the story in John chapter 11 about Lazarus dying. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother was dying. They expected Jesus to perform a miracle and save their brother. But Jesus waited a couple days before he left the city he was in. By the time he got to Mary and Martha, Lazarus had been dead for four days.

Of course they were heartbroken and wondered why Jesus hadn’t done something sooner. Jesus wept over the loss of his friend Lazarus. He comforted the sisters in their time of trial. Then he performed a miracle and raised Lazarus from the dead.

Kirsten said the story touched her and made her think of things she had never thought before. She said it’s so easy to think of the minor irritations of life and wonder why the Lord won’t just take them away. Sometimes he pushes us to the very end and Lazarus dies. There is no miracle but Jesus comforts us. Other times he performs a miracle and raises Lazarus from the dead. Regardless of what happens in our lives, he is there for us either way.

I liked the ideas she brought up. As I was getting ready for church this morning I was listening to some show on BYU TV. It was about some women who had graduated high school just before World War II. They sent their boyfriends off to war and found jobs learning things that usually only men knew. They married their soldier boyfriends during brief breaks. They would follow their new husbands to as many different stations as they could.

I wasn’t able to pay attention to a lot of the show but I was fascinated. One of the women lost her husband to the war soon after her baby was born. What she said really touched me. She said for the longest time she would ask “Why me?” Then she eventually reached a point where she could sincerely ask “Why not me?” She felt that maybe not every young woman could handle becoming a widow with a new baby. She knew she could handle it. It was hard but she could handle it.

Last Sunday we watched a movie together as a family. It’s called 1000 to 1 and is based on a true story. A young man suffered a stroke his freshman year of college. During his high school career he made a thousand baskets as a star basketball player. He expected to have a wonderful college career as well. But early on he suffered a stroke which was a game changer.

It was interesting that shortly before his stroke he was talking to his girlfriend about dealing with the tragedies of life. She needed to write a paper on Romeo and Juliet. He talked about how sometimes things happen in life and the real test is learning to be okay with it. Then he had a stroke and it did a number on his self esteem. He started talking to a psychiatrist about the depression that inevitably came with such a life change. The doctor asked him why he expected to be who he was before the accident. The doctor suggested he learn to be okay with who he is now. Well, he still wanted to be the basketball player he used to be.

Since basketball was the only thing in life he cared about his friends and family used it as motivation to help him recover. He believed if he worked hard enough he could still play basketball. He worked very hard. But I could really feel for the coach who knew it wasn’t appropriate to put this boy on the team and let him play. The boy was having seizures occasionally and he still couldn’t move quickly enough to make it safe to play

With some pressure from the boy’s roommate the coach finally agreed to put the boy into the last game of his senior year. This is where we had some technical difficulties with the recording. So we missed a little bit. It looks like the other team fouled the boy so he could have two foul shots. The whole gym was full of people who considered this boy an inspiration. He missed the first shot but made the second. That one point that represented his entire collegiate basketball career meant just as much as the thousand points he made in high school.

I loved the ending when he finally came out of the darkness he had been in mentally. He said, “I’ve been to hell and I’m not about to leave anyone there.” You can see him drive up to a house and knock on the door. It was the home of a woman who had emailed him earlier about her 6 year old boy who loved sports but had also had the same kind of stroke. She hoped he would at least call or write her son. When he was finally ready for it he drove to the house to meet the little boy face to face. They kicked a soccer ball around in the backyard and felt renewed hope as they played together. They were both dealing with the same thing and knew they weren’t alone.

It was a wonderful story. Life is not easy. There is always something trying to steal our focus and rob us of peace. Whether it is big or small. It’s so true that the Lord often takes us further in our trials than we ever thought we could handle. Sometimes there’s a miracle and the problem is taken away and sometimes the miracle is that he is there to comfort us. He knows how we feel. He’s been there. The question isn’t why me, it’s why not me.

I believe the verse in 1 Corinthians that says that we will never be tempted beyond what we can handle. It’s through the enabling power of the atonement that we are given the strength to bear what we could never endure on our own. And when I think of that it’s a little flattering that the Lord gives me so much credit. “You want me to deal with what? I can’t do that!” Then he shows me how I can. He pushes me past what I consider to be my limits. I grow. I’m a better person because of it. Why not me?

The other day it really struck me. Heath mentioned that the Bishopric is approaching their first six months. They were called to those positions last October in between General Conference sessions. The next weekend I went home for a day trip to bury my father and grandfather so I could be back to say goodbye to my husband the next day when he was officially set apart as the Executive Secretary. My how time has flown.

I’m approaching my one year anniversary as Primary secretary. And the kids are almost done with this school year. Where has all the time gone? I guess time flies when I am in survival mode. I feel like I have lived in the dark for a year. Yet here I am. I am still standing. So many times I think of the lyrics “how many times can I break and not shatter?” More times than I even thought possible.

The Lord has carried me and blessed me and given me miracles. Lazarus is still dead but I will be fine. My miracles aren’t having the problem taken away. My miracles came from me dealing with it. There is no measure to how much the Lord compensates for difficult trials in life. I am a better person for the trials of life. I have learned so much. The biggest lesson is learning to trust the Lord. Never before have I craved the gospel as much as I have this past year. It means everything to me. When everything else feels dark and confusing I find light in my scriptures, in church meetings, and on my knees in prayer.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 213 other followers