Say What

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Gwen: The mom and dad are divorse.
Me: Why?
Gwen: Because the muhver doesn’t have any hair!
When I told Heath about the unfortunately divorced Lego family I said I would try to keep my hair so he stays married to me. He assured me he only likes me for my hair! We were kidding.

Parker: You’re trespassing in a construction zone.
He was building with the marble run.

Gwen: We are from Utah!
Parker: I thought you were going to Utah.
Gwen: We’re not. We’re going to the mall.

Gwen: Parents are lucky. They get to talk to strangers and tell their kids to not!

Gwen: Are we there yet? I need a shower.
Candi: Ha ha … that’s funny. How dirty can you get riding in a car when you’re 6?

Parker in the shower: Ah that feels so good!
Water turns off.
Parker: Oops! Forgot a part!
Water turns back on.

Some of these aren’t as funny as the need for me to remember the moment. It’s been a busy couple of days and I haven’t been very inspired to write about anything.

Demonstration Gone Wrong–Guest Post

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I have never had a guest post for me before. When this email from my brother came through I had to share it exactly as he wrote it. Well after my heart stopped racing. I’m such a mom. Enjoy!

Exactly one week after my birthday, I watched Calvin and his friend try their hardest to look cool while jumping off bike ramps in front of our driveway. They would ride half way down the street and hit top speed before the ramps.  Then they would unconsciously slow down and conservatively drop off the front of the ramp.  It was all too safe for me.  

I gave helpful pointers to them in an attempt to educate and teach valuable life skills.  After a few minutes, I realized that the time for lecture was over.  It was time to show them what I meant.  I grabbed my mountain bike and told them to watch me.  I picked up speed and hit the ramp.  I popped off the top and sailed through the air.  There was no denying that I had left the ground.  I needed some epic guitar solos and fireworks behind me as I showed the boys how to fly on a bike.  

Imagine my confusion when I found myself on the ground with my bike on top of me.  That scenario had never entered my mind.  I always jumped my bike and naturally assumed that I still knew how.  I guess after approximately thirty years, essential skills like flying on a bike get a little rusty.  

I had Daphne put a paper towel on my elbow and wrap my arm.  I saw that a little blood had gathered on my sock and figured I would address it after I did the dishes.  I went to the kitchen mostly to not cry in front of the boys.  That would be lame.  After the dishes were done I decided to look at my ankle.  My countenance dropped when I saw that I could move my foot a little and see some of my insides or a whole lot of my insides depending on the angle I held my foot.  I knew I needed stitches.  I told the kids to take a picture of my ankle so they could show Deanna and I took off to Urgent Care.  

The adventure continued at Urgent Care.  At exactly 9:00 PM, the lights went out.  The only things that the generators powered were a couple of lights in the halls.  The power never came back on, so the doctor moved a bed into the doorway in order to have the hallway lights illuminate a work area for him.  He gave me five stitches in my ankle.  Deanna received the news from the kids and read some of my texts.  She quickly arrived at Urgent Care so she could watch the doctor sew my ankle together.  They both talked about the beauty of the stitches as if they were in a crafting workshop.  It made me laugh.  Of course, I wouldn’t watch the actual stitching.  That’s just creepy.  

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Now I have some more cool scars.  I like the picture of my ankle.  It shows where the big gear on my bike chewed on my leg from mid calf to ankle. There are some regular perforations on my leg from the gear until a big crescent shape where it went through my ankle.  All the evidence on my leg leaves no doubt as to which part of my bike mangled me.  The forensics are pretty obvious.

My friends at work congratulated me.  They admire my dedication to teaching awesomeness to my kids.  Deanna shakes her head and asks aloud, “What am I going to do with you?”  

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Now I have the fun task of following the doctor’s  advice of keeping the wounds dry wile trying to stay clean.  I keep my left arm up and keep my right leg out.  I try to soap up and shake myself about.  Stupid Hokey Pokey showers.  Oh well.  I am just glad my kids got to see me fly.

Still Got It!

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Gwen’s office is a tri-fold poster that sits on her desk. It’s a way for the students to focus on their work and not be distracted by others. I think it turned out really cute.

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This is her Unique of the Week poster. After spending so much time tracing the letters and coloring the letters in her name I still secretly wonder if I misspelled Louise! You know how you can look at something so long it no longer looks right? That’s what happened.

This poster is a combination of required criteria and Say Whats. Her favorite place is Hawaii even though she has never been there. I quoted her directly for who she admires most. “I admire my mom. (Days later we convinced her to add to the list.) And my dad … and my boys … and that’s it!” Then there is this gem, “My wish or dream is to hug a unicorn!” That girl. She’s crazy.

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This is a special dress I made with Heath’s encouragement. What happened was I bought the t-shirt when Gwen insisted she couldn’t live without it. I didn’t know there were more Disney choices for a better price at JC Penney. The problem was that the BFF shirt did not come in Gwen’s size. Too little or too big were my choices. I bought too big and very much regretted it. Heath suggested I add ruffles to the bottom and turn it into a dress. His brilliant suggestion turned into this cute dress.

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Then there is this shirt. I bought the fabric months ago to make a new skirt. When I finally got around to it I realized I didn’t have enough fabric to get the length she needs. I had visions of making a cute Bohemian top with half a dress pattern. The dress pattern is getting too small for Gwen but I figured a shirt would work out nicely. Gwen was so excited about it.

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Until she moved and then I got depressed. What I had spent so much time lovingly making didn’t fit. It would be perfect on a shorter and plumper little girl. The shirt is too wide. I should have made the ties after all. And as you can see it is definitely too short. She doesn’t even have to raise her hands much at all before I can see a tummy begging to be tickled. *sigh* Into the donate pile it goes.

Yep, I still got it. My creative skills are unmatched. Sort of.

I’m so Handy!

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A ringing phone before 7:30 am is never a good sign. Unfortunately you can’t pretend like you’re not home. Where would you be that early in the morning? Some people exercise early. They run or visit a gym. I am not some people.

You can’t pretend like you didn’t hear the phone. They’re kind of like fire alarms. Eventually everyone wakes up. I could have been in the shower. That was the brilliance of the timing though. That call was placed precisely when it was on purpose. I couldn’t be asleep. Not after a ringing phone. I couldn’t be in the shower because I have kids to take to school. The phone rang in that moment when my brain was not fully functioning and I was stuck.

“Hey! I was wondering if we could stop by this morning to do some painting. Maybe 8:30 or 9:00.”

My mind whirred into action. Actually it sputtered a few times like an old temperamental car. When I saw the name on the Caller ID I was prepared to say no. Somehow I found myself saying 9:00 would work. Afterwards the logic came. At least this way the job will be done!

After the phone call I changed out of my workout clothes. No more time for that. I was hopeful I could do it around 10:00. How long could painting take? Slap some paint on the walls and ceiling and voila! It’s done. Oh but it’s only taken a month to fix the leaky shower. Well that took one day. It’s been a month of sporadic visits to fix the walls. Painting was the last step in an unusually long process. I just didn’t know that painting was all that would happen today. All day.

Handymen were late. Heath said that when Handyman called last Friday he showed up an hour late. I was expecting them to come early. That’s been my experience in the past with this guy. Up until he stopped calling at all and just randomly dropped by. “This is a good time right?” Whatever dude. Even if it wasn’t. Come in.

While Faithful Sidekick did a dance between two bathrooms and the front door, I worked on Gwen’s office. This is an assignment I loved with the boys. Kind of hated it the third time around. I had set the bar so high for myself with my scrapbooking skills that I was burned out before I started. The office and the Unique of the Week poster are both due tomorrow. I finally received inspiration on Wednesday. I have been feverishly working on it since then. My broken back can testify. Heath keeps giving me bigger and bigger tables and more and more space to scrapbook and I still end up on the floor. The creativity flows better down there I guess.

Impressively it only took me a couple hours to complete the office. That included a major overhaul of the original design. I don’t normally scrapbook that fast but I did and it looked awesome. The problem was I couldn’t get it laminated. I hadn’t showered yet because my bathroom was being painted. All day long.

With nothing else to do to pass the time I nervously puttered around the downstairs cleaning. Take down the invisible walls because my office is now neat and tidy! My kitchen looks good too.

The hands on the clock kept marching toward 1:00. I was freaking out. I have to leave shortly before 2:00 in order to get a parking spot to pick up Gwen in the front of the school. The noises coming from the powder room were not of putting stuff away. There was a lot of slapping that sounded ominously like more painting. Could I just have a coronary and be done with it?

Finally at 1:09 Faithful Sidekick left. He is a really nice guy. I like him so much better than Lurpy Handyman. Lurpy Handyman makes me uncomfortable because he’s weird. Faithful Sidekick makes me uncomfortable because he’s so quiet. Luckily Lurpy Handyman came and went in the first five minutes. Faithful Sidekick was on his own to paint all day. He politely told me he was finished and asked if I would check his work. Yes I wanted him out of my house. I wanted a shower. But I was impressed with the job and told him so. He beamed and we wished each other a good day.

The next 40 minutes are medal worthy. Keep in mind my morning routine of shower, makeup, and hair takes 60-120 minutes depending on how rushed I feel. I completed that routine in 40 minutes. Yes I want the cookie.

I showered so fast (including shaving my legs) I don’t think I felt the water. Ah but I felt water on me the rest of the afternoon. It was 86 degrees and sweaty. I was melting. It’s a little discouraging to get dressed after a shower when your clothes will instantly show sweat rings.

Once Gavin got home from school I took Gwen to laminate her projects. Then I helped Gavin study for his spelling and vocab quiz tomorrow. Just call me Super Mom.

The best part of today is knowing that, barring any other home repairs, the Handymen will not be visiting anytime soon. I have decided that the blessing of renting is that the landlord pays for all repairs. The curse of renting is that we have to have someone fix this stuff for us.

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I do what I can though. I installed a new showerhead in the kid’s bathroom with minimal supervision. The Handymen recaulked our shower so we had to use the kid’s shower on Saturday. The showerhead was unacceptably low. And I’m short! I used the new showerhead this afternoon since I didn’t want to do anything to mess up my bathroom. It was lovely.

It was a real problem for Heath and me to walk through home improvement stores. We want so badly to renovate something! One day we will own a home. One day. Until then I will think of this song every time I think of my handyman.

Don’t forget to turn early

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It was a swelling Mom morning. I watched Gavin step onto the bus. That kid is so adorable! I love him! Cub Scouts started yesterday which meant Gavin came home to an empty house.

There were two Wolf leaders at the church when we arrived. We always get there 15 minutes early because we leave straight from school. Dylan is still a Wolf for a little bit longer but Parker is a Bear now. Heath told me I could leave early since there were two leaders there. Good because I hate waiting. Waiting is probably better though because I think I was caught in the high school’s traffic. It took a long time to get home.

As soon as I walked in the door I called out Gavin’s name. He was in the living room and we met in the hallway. I wish you could have seen his face! He was doing his classic Gavin smile. His lips were twitching as he tried to suppress his smile. His eyes were shiny giving away how proud he was of himself. I gave him the biggest hug. He is so cute I can’t stand it! A quick glance at the door showed he had locked himself in after getting home. The funny smile was because he had already started his homework. I have good kids.

I tried to keep Gwen away from him so he could work. That’s about as effective as using a Band-aid to stop a runny nose. Which my mom claims she did with my brother once but that’s another story. Gavin can be really patient with his sister. He would talk out loud about what he was working on. Then he would tell her he was almost finished and they could play. When he finished he put everything away without being asked and took Gwen outside to play. Aw, melt my heart! Parker came home later and quickly did his homework so he could play too. The three of them were happy outside for a long time.

This whole bus thing is awesome. I just didn’t think it do crazy things to my heart. Every day I hope that boy gets on the bus and makes it to school safely. Every day I can’t wait for him to get home so I know he’s fine. He is loving school and loving life.

Wednesdays are my new favorite days. Actually I love Wednesdays any year I don’t have a kindergartener. I especially love them right now since it means Gwen and Parker go to school together and come home together. Big huge yay! It’s also fun to have Gavin leave first because we see him at the bus stop as we drive by.

This morning was quite the adventure. The bus was right behind me. No one was in front of me. As I got to the top of the street I noticed a lot of cops. There were two police cars blocking most of each side of the street. And police officers were milling around. There was no accident that I could see. The kids could gawk longer than I could and assured me there was no accident scene or anything like that. Just cops everywhere blocking the entrance and exit to the street.

Thankfully there is another way out. I put on my blinker signaling my intent to turn right into a neighborhood that also goes up to the main road. I drove through that turn as slow as could be. Before I put on the blinker one officer crossed the street in front of me. He and the other two officers on the other corner stared at me as I made my turn. I kept waiting for someone to do something. Wave me through the obvious detour or stop me or something. Nothing.

They just stared. That was my only clue for this conclusion but it felt as if they were looking for someone specific. I don’t know. It was just really weird. We continued on our way to school discussing the weather and whether or not Parker needed to wear his jacket. It wasn’t cold outside but with the fog layer of clouds he thought he needed his new jacket. He took a couple steps outside before turning around to return the jacket! Funny boy.

Then Gwen and Parker walked side by side toward the schoolyard. Gwen keeps saying, “That’s so romantic!”  when I remind them they have to wait for each other after school. She’s crazy. They do look cute walking together. Not like a romantic couple of young children but more like a brother and sister who actually care about each other. At least for a minute or two.

Before he got out he said to me, “Don’t forget to turn early when you go back.” I didn’t understand what he meant. “When you go home don’t forget to turn early.” That boy is so sweet! He wanted to make sure I didn’t forget about the strange police presence in our neighborhood.

I did remember but the adventures didn’t stop there. I flipped on my blinker to move into the left lane. Two cars were already in the short left lane. I was slowing down as I had my blinker on. When I moved over there was a long horn blast. I really think it was on the other side of the road but it’s hard to tell when it happened at the same time I moved over. If it was the guy behind me then he’s an idiot! I could not have been more clear about my intent. He wasn’t even tailgating me. Which is shocking in this state! I don’t think it was him.

The police were still hovering where I left them. Heath told me to keep the doors locked. Obviously I always do. We live in Happy Valley but I grew up in the ‘hood and I don’t trust anyone ever. For as nice as the area is where we live, occasionally there are still strange happenings. I’m hoping that whatever was going on is over by the time school is over. Until then I am grounding myself for the day. I don’t need to go anywhere and now I really don’t want to.

Where’s the Superglue?

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Another miracle occurred the other day. I don’t know exactly what happened or how or why but I consider it another Post-it Note from Heaven. When there are five Sundays in a month the Bishopric plans a special meeting for the adults. I love these combined meetings because I get to enjoy them with Heath.

Now that I’m in Primary I don’t get the opportunity to attend anymore. The different auxiliaries will usually try to make arrangements for the teachers to be able to attend these combined meetings. But someone always has to sacrifice in order for the Primary children and the Youth to be taken care of.

The Primary rearranged the schedule to allow the teachers to attend this meeting. I sent out the reminder email about it. The next day I saw an email from the Relief Society President. Every week she sends out an email of announcements and she also gives a recap of the lesson. It is particularly nice for those women who serve outside of the Relief Society and can’t attend the lessons. At the end of the recap she will say who is teaching the following Sunday and will include a link for the lesson. Sometimes the teachers have questions for the women to ponder prior to the lesson.

This time the email ended by saying that a Sister would be teaching a lesson. I was so confused. There was no mention of the fifth Sunday combined meeting. I reread the paragraph several times trying to be sure I read it correctly. Then I emailed the Primary President about this new turn of events. As a Presidency we agreed to stay with our course of action. I let the teachers know that the Bishop’s meeting had been canceled and that they were welcome to attend the other lessons if they wanted to.

The lesson was on Elder Holland’s Conference address Like a Broken Vessel. It was supposed to be a discussion on depression. I really wanted to go. The title of the talk caught my attention first. Lately I feel so completely broken and overwhelmed because I can’t fix it. I know the Lord can through the Atonement but even then my faith has been tested.

If it had been a normal Sunday I would have never dreamed of asking for permission to attend the lesson. Given the sudden change in plans I took the opportunity to ask. The Primary President sweetly told me to go. I know that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that there were many other women who needed this lesson at this time. Still, I felt like the Lord once again had His hand all over the events in my life, timing things just so.

It was interesting that I ran into the teacher at the grocery store Saturday night. She said it was her idea to teach that lesson and she was starting to think maybe next time she should ignore those promptings. She was mostly joking but Heath and I said at the same time, “NO! Don’t do that!” Then I told her I needed this lesson at this time.

I wish the lesson would have been a little different than it was. Although I don’t know what I was expecting considering how Elder Holland’s talk was on real depression. Not just sadness from a life experience but real depression. The kind that goes on longer than normal. The kind that shuts people down inside and they can’t snap out of it.

I shared an experience in answer to a question. The very act of speaking out loud at this time in my fragile state of mind made me cry. I didn’t want to cry about that experience. I just want to talk out my feelings about what’s going on in my life now. I just want someone to listen. My current challenges never fit into the lesson so I didn’t bring it up. Ironically I have been depressed ever since.

School has been a welcome break from my own mind. Today it became apparent that I’m not done mourning. I really need to have myself a good cry. Just get it all out and then move on to my daily responsibilities.

I am very grateful I was able to take a break from my job as Primary Secretary for one hour. I sat next to the two friends that not only know my current trials but know my battles with anxiety. Just before the meeting started I ran into my friend Carole. She used to be one of my visiting teachers. I love her. I don’t know why sometimes I think about telling someone my dad died but never say anything and why other times the words come out before I think. I told her. It really affected her as if I had knocked the wind out of her.

I don’t know why I act so matter of fact with people. I talked to her as if I was reading a newspaper. That’s how I am at church. I am so happy to be there and feel some spiritual rejuvenation that when someone asks how I’m doing I genuinely feel like I’m fine. Only later do I start having conversations with them in my head of all the things I should have said.

I should have never said anything out loud in that lesson! Something snapped inside and I can’t stop crying now. It’s the only feeling I have. Everything else I regard as blah. I don’t want to do anything or care or anything. I feel blah. Blah with unstoppable tears.

It was very nice to be able to go to a Relief Society lesson even if it didn’t fulfill my expectations. My expectations were a little too high considering the content. I miss sitting in full lessons. As the secretary I have to miss the end of the Sharing Time lessons to knock on doors letting the teachers know they have five minutes left. It was nice being in a room full of women who were also crying for their own reasons. We gain strength from one another just being together.

At the end of the lesson the teacher pulled out a broken bowl. Her mother in law kept the pieces expecting to fix it one day. After she passed away the teacher’s husband took the bowl and pieces expecting to fix it but he also packed it away. She said that it could be restored but there were some pieces that were tiny slivers of glass. There is no way to put those pieces back. Then she said that the Lord knows us. He knows our trials and limitations. He also knows where every tiny sliver is and where it belongs. He can fix anything that is broken.

That was helpful for me to hear. For weeks I kept seeing finely ground cookie crumbs in my mind as I feel so broken and shattered by my family’s experiences. I don’t know how that cookie will get put back together but I have faith that somehow it will.

Tis the Season

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Can you feel it? That tingling in the air? The distant roar of fans? The smell of grass and sweat? It’s football season baby!

I love football season. If I have to send my kids back to school at least it means football season starts. I love carefully selecting my spirit wear each week. I love screaming at the TV with Heath. I love the pizza on game days. Which is a little weird since I hate pizza! But I love the tradition. I love football.

The first BYU game was really fun to watch. It’s always fun to win but I’m impressed that after struggling most of the game, UConn didn’t go down without a fight. Good effort boys! May you have a successful season. And of course props to my BYU boys. I have enjoyed watching your games since 2001. Keep up the good work. I love being a BYU fan. I love football!

Heath has been binging on football games nearly every night eagerly anticipating BYU’s first game. I never think I’m interested in watching anything but BYU’s games. Somehow I get sucked into a lot of the games. I cheer for whoever has the ball. I get exasperated with the refs and yell out my warnings to the boys to calm down. I love football season. Go Cougars!

Who Complained?

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As if it wasn’t inconvenient enough to have Gwen get out of school 45 minutes before Parker for the first three weeks of school, we are reaching new levels of insanity. There are new mandatory pickup procedures. That’s just craziness right there. When my boys were in first grade the final bell rang and the kids scattered. They knew where to meet me in the back of the school and we went on our merry little way.

When I was in first grade I walked to and from school with my fifth grade brother. By third grade I was the oldest family member in the school and was responsible for my sister in kindergarten. Times have changed.

I thought it was a little odd that Gwen’s teacher told the parents on the first day that she would walk the students to the front of the school at the end of the day. Who complained? You know some parent made a big deal out of the fact that first graders were unsupervised after school. So now the teachers have to escort them out of the classroom. *eye roll*

I was able to intercept Gwen on the first day. The second day was a little strange. She stayed late for some reading assessments. I wasn’t sure if the back gates would be open but I figured I could drive around to the front if I had to. The back gates were unlocked. Her backpack was still hanging up by her classroom so I waited at the picnic tables. Somehow I missed her teacher escorting the assessment kids to the front. She went out another door that I forgot about.

The yard duty lady called out to a little girl wandering around. “Where are you supposed to be? Why are you getting out so late?” I watched the scene for a couple seconds before I stood up to find my own little girl. Gwen’s teacher walked back far enough to call out to the lost girl, “You didn’t stay with me! You’re supposed to be in the front to wait for your mom!” I walked to the front of the school.

Black bars separated me and Gwen. I couldn’t get out and she couldn’t get in. Luckily a mom told me to go through the office. She said they prefer people doing that than asking for someone to unlock the gate. So I walked through the office. The secretaries didn’t seem bothered by me wandering through without a visitor sticker. I went out the front to Gwen. Then we realized we needed to get into the schoolyard in order to get to the van. The gate was still locked so we had to walk through the office again.

At Back to School Night we learned that the back gates will be locked at 2:15 and all parents are required to pick up their children in the front of the school. My friend was not happy. She lives less than a block away from the school. In the back. So she is required to either walk a mile to get to the front of the school or drive to the already congested parking lot.

Wednesdays are the best because the school starts and ends at the same time for everyone regardless of early or late staggered schedules. Gwen and Parker found each other after school and walked down the path to me. Today I left my house early to get to the school early to pick up Gwen. I arrived 15 minutes early and took the second to last parking spot. Then I had to stand by the office in the only shaded spot in the front of the school sweating with 500 other parents.

The drop off zone was filled with idling cars. It’s too hot to turn cars off and wait. I’m not a save the planet kind of person. I’m more of a “to hell with the planet save yourself” kind of person. Mostly because I had a t-shirt in high school that said that and the sentiment still makes me laugh. However I can’t help but think of the planet when it comes to school. No school buses whatsoever so parents are required to drive. And the people in the nearby neighborhoods drive too. Some days it’s too hard to get out of the house on time to walk a few blocks. *eye roll*

The parking lot was full of cars baking in the sun. Those parents were all huddled together in every conceivable piece of shade, of which there aren’t many as I already said. Some parents had umbrellas for their own portable shade.

There is only one opening in the gate. So every child in the first and second grade must come through that one spot and find their parent. This staggered schedule used to affect third grade as well but now that Parker finished this stupid schedule last year they have decided third graders can read well enough to stay at school all day long.

Gwen’s teacher told a parent that things will calm down in the front. Give it time. Yeah, two more weeks. She sent out an email today saying that there were only five kids in her class who requested the late start schedule. I think that is a sure sign Gwen is on the late start. My happy star next to my request for late start was unnecessary! I cannot wait until Gwen can finally get out at 3:00 with Parker.

I hate the broken up morning but it’s much better than wasting time in the afternoon. Dropping off kids is so much faster than picking them up. I actually have enough time to go home in between in the morning. That’s when I shower. Then I get dressed and take the late start kid to school and drop them off. Right now my afternoons consist of me leaving the house before 2:00 and getting home around 3:20 ish. And there is no time to go home in between.

I blame the staggered reading schedule on the bigwigs in the district office who come up with these wild haired ideas that end up creating more problems than they solve. I blame the gate issue on all the attention starved students who insist on carrying out school shootings that have been encouraging copycat acts of violence for nearly 20 years.

We don’t need gun control. We need parents to actually care about their children. The problem starts at home. I’m so glad I get to endure these ridiculous procedures because some parent couldn’t see their kid needed psychiatric help. They also didn’t notice when their kid planned grisly stuff online and somehow got their hands on automatic weapons that they smuggled to school.

After all these terrible school tragedies the rest of the parents are freaked out. Schools are locked up like prisons now. It’s really sad actually. The more people complain about lax security at school the more trouble they cause everyone else.

School, Illness, and Other Fairly Ridiculous Tales

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Three days into the school year. Parker was very nervous again this morning. He couldn’t figure out why. I know he will be fine. He just needs to trust himself. I got to watch Gavin walk to the bus stop this morning. He needs to leave before us on late start Wednesdays. He was so cute! He saw the bus coming so he started to run for the stop. The bus still needed to turn around in the circle so he had plenty of time.

He doesn’t seem to mind taking the bus. Two days in a row he was the only person on the bus going to school. There are a few kids that take it after school. He seems to have adjusted well to this way of getting to and from school. I was nervous yesterday since he had to get himself off to school and I had no way of knowing how that went. All three of us rushed to the door to greet him when we got home. Parker and Gwen were just excited to see him and I was relieved knowing for sure he had survived on his own. I assumed he was fine when the school never called wondering where he was. But seeing him, and seeing him happy, made me feel better.

Gwen is loving first grade. She has PE on Tuesdays and Wednesdays which means no dresses or skirts. If she wears shorts underneath (which I insist on anyway) and she wears sturdy sneakers then it’s not a big deal. She couldn’t find her shorts on Monday. I could have helped her but she was already dressed in a cute new outfit so we didn’t bother with the dress. Then two more days in a row with no dress. It’s agony for her! My girly girl.

We’re starting to get used to our old morning routines. It takes a minute to get back into the swing of things. The homework routine in the afternoon has been a work in progress for years. The hardest part for me so far this year is giving each child the attention they need and deserve. There are three of them and only one of me! I want them each to have my undivided attention. It’s early yet and we’ll settle into a routine. Gavin’s homework will soon become actual homework rather than signing that I saw the teacher’s expectations. Oh and writing checks for each teacher!

I can’t beat myself up for not starting to read the Book of Mormon with Gwen yet. We’ll get there. I am proud of myself for having the house ready for them to come home and being ready to just listen. That’s the most important thing right now. The rest will fit in eventually. I have decided that my family is much more important than school. I am in charge. Not the school. Homework is important but not to the detriment of my family and our relationships.

Heath and I went to Back to School Night last night. We are very impressed with both elementary school teachers. They have kids close in age to our kids so they get that life doesn’t revolve around school. Parker’s teacher is not the former principal. She seems like a really fun teacher. She has innovative ways of teaching that I was impressed with. Gwen’s teacher is still awesome as ever. I’m so excited to repeat some of these first grade traditions.

I’m also very excited for the Common Core standards. *gasp* I know. Don’t hate me! There is so much controversy swirling around right now about the Common Core. What I like about it is knowing that California has to scale back on their expectations of students. The California standards have been pushing kids way too hard for far too long. I feel like the Common Core is bringing those expectations back to an age appropriate area. I also like how it’s writing based. The students have to show how they know something rather than memorizing facts to pass a test. So far I like it. Sue me! Although I will say that the middle school teachers have given plenty of evidence that they are still teaching to a test. *eye roll* Whatever happened to the joy of learning?

It was interesting to hear Parker’s teacher talk about the math though. Everyone is freaking out about the math! She said at first she didn’t like how it was teaching multiple ways to solve a problem but she’s warming up to it now. I just wanted to scream. My kids have been taught math this way all along. How is this any different? I hated it then and I hate it now. My problem with teaching multiple ways to solve a problem is that so far my kids have been expected to master every single technique. When they get stuck I tell them that it’s just another way to do what they already know how to do another way. But they’re still tested on it! It’s ridiculous.

In other fairly ridiculous news … Gavin brought home a list of school supplies on the first day of school. We quickly had dinner and ran off to do our shopping. Office Staples Depot Max looked like a toy store on Christmas Eve. The parking lot was completely full. There were a lot of people inside milling around. The checkout line stretched from the front of the store where the registers were, to the copy center in the very back. I just wondered why that supply list couldn’t be passed out at Walk Thru Registration.

I will say the office supply store handled it well. Even the customers were polite and made for a nice experience. The line went much faster than I expected. I have stood in shorter lines at the craft store that have taken twice as long to get through. I couldn’t really complain about our first day of school at the office supply store evening. It could have been worse. It’s just funny that nobody could avoid that shopping experience since the schools waited till the first day to tell anyone what they needed to have.

Before school started we went to get the school supply items that we were aware of. We bought Gavin a scientific calculator. The cashier offered us a warranty on the calculator for $5. Heath just laughed at the guy. He said, “The calculator costs $10! I normally don’t buy warranties unless it will hurt to replace the item. I’m not paying a $5 warranty on a $10 calculator!” That was a funny day.

I’m not laughing that I have had to alert Primary parents about two extremely contagious illnesses. On Sunday the mom called me saying that she couldn’t get in touch with any other Presidency member. But she just found that her child has lice. Could I let the parents know without mentioning names? That was an awkward email. Two of the three parents who were quite concerned had children in that class.

Then this morning as I was standing in line with Gwen I decided to check my email. The Primary President asked me to inform the parents and teachers in Gwen’s Primary class about a child in there who was diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease on Monday. Holy cow! Both kids are in Gwen’s class. I wasn’t worried about the lice thing and haven’t noticed anything suspicious anyway. But she is really good friends with this little boy who is quarantined with his family after being diagnosed on Monday.

We are now into the throes of school and all the communicable illnesses that entails. All I can do is take things one day at a time. Where is the Diet Coke?

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Heath: Why did you wake up this morning?
Me: Because my blood sugar was low.
Heath: Did you feel the earthquake at 3:20 this morning?
Me: No. I didn’t wake up until 5:48. I was low so I got up.
Heath: Well there was a 6.0 earthquake in Napa that caused significant damage.

We listened to the news the rest of the morning as we got ready for church. It was so sad to see how devastating the earthquake was. Practically every news anchor was reporting details of the story from various places. There were weekend reporters, evening reporters, weekday morning reporters, and two weather reporters on hand. It was a big story.

At church some people talked about feeling the earthquake. One lady I talked to said she woke up to shaking but decided she was too tired to care. She rolled over and went back to sleep. We live in California. Earthquakes come with the territory. Heath talked to a group of guys. One said that he didn’t feel a thing. He claimed it was a result of sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic bed! That’s what Heath and I sleep on and we had no idea anything had happened. Maybe there’s something there.

The two weather reporters kept showing maps. The earthquake was most intense in a small circle around Napa and nearby cities. The rest of the map looked light blue indicating the shaking was much less noticeable. Even though we were not too many miles away we didn’t feel a thing. A lady at church said she felt like she was missing out on something because she didn’t feel it either. That’s a good way to describe it. The largest earthquake in 25 years, we were right here and didn’t feel a thing. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a 6.9 and this one was a 6.0. I do feel like I missed out on something.

A couple days later and the news is still full of stories and updates of this event. News anchors say the story is still trending on social media. My heart goes out to those people affected by the earthquake.

On Sunday a hospital spokesperson said a baby was born about five minutes before the quake. The joke among the staff is that Mom pushed too hard! I have seen stories of skateboarders who are using the cracks and upheaval in the roads in front of their houses as a skate park. A couple guys did their own take on the popular ice bucket challenge. They dumped damaged bottles of wine on themselves.

I think a sense of humor and looking on the bright side is the best way to get through a difficult situation. I’m praying for the people affected by this life changing event.

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