Purple Heart

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frisbee

Frisbee has met an untimely demise after violently crashing into a brick wall at school. The boys practicing their mad Ultimate skills were disheartened. They play every day during their lunch break. Losing this valuable piece of plastic was difficult. Its memory has been honored with a purple heart cut out of construction paper.

While the loss has been deep, a replacement Frisbee showed up today. A nice black disc with red lettering. The look is intimidating and professional, being sponsored by the now defunct Ultimate Frisbee League. Memories often are honored by moving forward.

A group of local middle school boys are eager to get back in the game. Credit is given to the previous Scout leader of the disc’s owner. His love for Ultimate Frisbee had him playing weekend games with other Ultimate fans. That love inspired a young man and created a team of friends in Western Washington. They are obsessed with Ultimate Frisbee.

Rest in peace Ultra Star white disc. Rest in peace.

Paying it Forward

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Parker was doing some deep cleaning in his room. He decided that it was time to give away some toys. This is my one kid who actually plays with the toys he begs for. He is a toy man and always has been. I will say that he is always sure of the right time to give toys away. He never looks back and regrets this choice.

I think he has held onto some toys longer because he wanted something to share with young kids who visited our home. I had a couple of visiting teachers who came with young boys. Parker felt good about having those toys handy. We gave away the city rug before we moved. Now he has decided it was time for the Rescue Heroes to inspire another boy’s imagination. He was also ready to give up Buzz Lightyear. Buzz meant a lot to him over the years. But when it’s time, it’s time. I’m not going to hold onto things that aren’t being used on the off chance I end up with visiting teachers who have young boys.

I asked a friend if her son would want the toys. She was very excited to pick them up. Apparently her little boy is a lot like Parker. He loves toys and he plays with the toys he gets. She told me they can’t keep buying him new things every time he earns a reward. So three bags of toys is perfect for him to earn over time. It felt good to pass on the toys to someone who would love them as much as Parker did.

Heath finished up a phone meeting soon after my friend left. We weren’t planning on going to lunch today but meetings were shifted giving him more time than we originally thought. Work is stressful right now so we decided to go out. It’s kind of our guilty pleasure to be able to sit across from each other sipping Diet Coke eating food someone else makes and cleans up.

Sometimes we go to nice sit down places. Other times we go for fast food. Today we ended up at McDonald’s because it’s conveniently located for a late lunch. Funny side story – we decided to go to McDonald’s for dinner when Gavin was at a Scout campout. Gavin hates McDonald’s. Hates it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. We learned that our local McDonald’s gets crazy busy at dinnertime. Mostly with the type of people you see at the post office or the DMV. It was not a fun experience.

Lunchtime at that McDonald’s is quite pleasant. We walked in and there was no line. After finishing our order the cashier asked if we wanted anything else. Just then two missionaries walked in the door. Heath said, “And whatever they want! We’ll pay for their order too.” The missionaries are from another ward in our stake. They were hesitant at first because they don’t know us! We tried to say Mormon things like having a nephew serving a mission right now. Heath’s BYU t-shirt helped.

They took their order to go. I started mixing up my salad while Heath filled our drinks. He sat down and we saw our ward missionaries that we are having over on Saturday. They were happy to report how excited the other elders were that they got their lunch for free! I wondered if we should offer to pay for our own elders. As soon as that thought formed completely I noticed the doorway filling up with several missionary companionships. There must have been a zone conference or something that just let out.

We don’t do nice things for any reward. We do it because people have blessed our lives when we needed it so it feels natural to pay it forward. Although the selfish part of me wouldn’t mind if some good karma came back our way! That would work for me right now.

What if life tasted as good as Diet Coke?

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The sun would not only come out, but it would warm the air too.

People who say they are invested in others’ success would actually invest rather than sabotage.

Insurance companies would accept prior authorizations from doctors thus giving patients access to up to date technology.

Patients wouldn’t have to choose between compliance and cost of living.

Comfort food would come with surprising weight loss rather than a secret side of guilt.

The cast of Labyrinth would really come if you say you need them and help party your stress away.

Time would bend to the snap of your fingers as through the magic of television.

All houses would have two staircases and friends who pop in at whatever door is most convenient to where you are located.

Everyone would have their own soundtrack musically narrating their lives. And a laugh track.

Life isn’t perfect. It’s an adventure with ups and downs, twists and turns, and lots of Diet Coke to add magic. Raise a bottle, glass, or can with me to life made better with caramel colored carbonation and other addictive ingredients. *gulp* Ahhhh …

If you need me, I’ll be in my cell

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Perhaps one of the greatest perks of being a teacher nowadays, is assigning projects as homework. The messier and more elaborate the better. Maniacal laugh.

Parker was given the assignment of making a 3-D model of a cell. He could use any medium he wanted. So he picked food. *cringe* We tried to talk him out of it. We suggested using Lego bricks or anything else that didn’t have a high potential for being turned in as smoosh.

He insisted on food.

Food is an anxiety trigger for me for some reason. And then the assignment was due the day Heath left for San Francisco. Trigger number two. How to survive? Call Grandma.

Parker did his part. He figured out all the cake and candy he would need for each part of the cell. He had an elaborate drawing and everything. Once again we tried to talk him out of this idea. He stuck to his guns. So then he went shopping with his dad for all the refined sugar needed. I’m not even Catholic and I was ready to cross myself.

Luckily we were hosting a family dinner party on Saturday. Grandma and Grandpa came early. Somehow I was roped into preparing the cake to be baked. It was more like all of us were telling Parker to follow the directions and make the cake. When he had a deer in the headlights expression my control issues took over and I ended up mixing cake batter. My kids have led sheltered lives with me not ever really craving sweets.

After dinner the cake had cooled and was ready to be turned into a cell with Grandma. The kitchen turned into a confectioner disaster area. Gobs of icing dotted the countertop. Colored Nerds were scattered everywhere. It felt as though any dish not used for dinner had been used for the cell project. When I was cleaning up I asked Heath why his rolling pin was out and what he wanted me to do with it. He looked tired as he said, “I don’t even want to know why that’s out! I’ll take care of it.”

cell

I have to say, it turned out better than I imagined. Dark thoughts were transmitted telepathically to the teacher for also insisting the cell be labeled. Sometimes I am convinced that teachers are so jealous of parents for their role in children’s lives that the teachers go out of their way to make life difficult. Parker can be very resourceful. He quickly came up with the idea of using the label maker.

Parker had to own this project. He knew I was very much opposed to it along with the timing. Of course rain was forecast for Monday. Rain to rival the rains that inspired Noah to build an ark. Even if I was the kind of parent to take my kid to school, I couldn’t. Gwen still needs to go to school after her brothers leave, and my built in babysitter was in the air jetting toward San Francisco. Parker insisted he was fine carrying the cell.

I couldn’t shake the nightmarish vision of him tripping somewhere between home and school. I read some news story of a kid who tripped up the bus stairs carrying enough cupcakes for his class. The bus driver saw happy birthday smoosh and felt awful. After taking the kids to school she went home to bake and frost replacement cupcakes that she then delivered to the kid’s class. True story! No amount of sympathy could replace an unfortunately scrambled cell. Which is why I took pictures. For evidence. Proof to the teacher that yes, we did the blasted assignment and yes, at one point it looked great.

Overpreparing was unnecessary. Parker and his cell made it safely to school completely intact. He triumphantly brought it home after school. He has been eating it a little bit at a time every afternoon since. It makes my stomach turn but he loves it! For all the grief we gave him beforehand, I’m glad he is enjoying the sugar of his labors. And mad props to Grandma for her role in all of this. When your parents don’t love you, at least you have grandparents who do!

Malibu Ken Returns

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For my 7th birthday I got a Ken doll. Finally Barbie had a man! My Ken had sculpted hair painted dark brown and he had blue eyes. So handsome! His fair toned plastic muscles were constantly flexed with his arms bent at the elbow. My sister had a blond haired, blue eyed Malibu Ken doll with a golden tan.

I married a mix of the two Ken dolls. My man has dark blond hair, blue eyes, and no hint of a tan. Even my pale skin that has been deprived of sun exposure because we live where it’s always the rainy season, is darker than Heath’s skin. That all changed yesterday. He has been in San Francisco on business. And I am jealous.

San Francisco is cold and foggy. At least that’s pretty much my experience. Occasionally temperatures climb and I wonder if I should be more prepared for the impending apocalypse. In the summer San Francisco is a good 30 degrees cooler than where we lived over the hills. In the winter the temperatures are generally the same, sometimes warmer in the city. It depends. Fall is the best time to visit since San Francisco sees its warmest and sunniest temperatures of the year.

That all being said, Heath got a mild sunburn yesterday at lunch with a former boss. The sun was out warming the city into the low to mid 70’s. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are experiencing monsoon season. Sheets of rain have been steadily falling from the black sky with no sign of letting up for days now. The nurse I met with on Monday said that normally the rain takes a break by now. Once again I am so glad I could enjoy unusual weather in a new place. At least it’s been a warmer rain this week. Highs in the low 50’s. Hello former freezing winter temperatures! Whether or not monsoon season is normal, temperatures in the 70’s are not really the norm for spring in San Francisco.

I’m sure Heath is glad he packed as much as he did. He laughed as he packed outfit after outfit as if he was some Barbie doll. Apparently I’m rubbing off on him. Sometimes you just don’t know what to expect and you want to be prepared for anything. Isn’t that the Scout motto?

Many things contributed to his overpacking – different weather including humidity levels, knowing he would work all day in the office but relax every evening. Last night he ditched his jacket before playing tourist. I tried not to stare at our landscaper friends doggedly leveling our backyard in the deluge. The sun went down soon after Heath left the hotel room but the air stayed surprisingly warm. Hm.

So I may be jealous of his new tan. At least I get to see him soon. Every Barbie needs her Ken.

Busy Day With Nothing to Show For It

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People get so upset on those home improvement shows when they find out a significant portion of their budget is going towards something that will be hidden inside walls. It’s important for safety sake so they do it. But no one sees a proper electrical job. No one saw the shoddy electrical work from before which is how so much of the budget is suddenly allocated to fixing the problem.

Sometimes the days of our lives are the same way. So much effort goes into things that no one ever sees. “Your kids are in school, what do you do all day?” I have no idea. Today I did a whole lot of stuff that adds up to nothing.

I was up earlier than I wanted to be for the second day in a row. Daylight Savings Time isn’t always welcome. The boys got themselves up early which surprised me. Parker turned on every hall light upstairs and every light from the front door to the kitchen once he got downstairs. One was up! Gavin was already in his bathroom when I went down to check on him. Two were up. I went back to my room to watch the news in the dark snuggled under the covers, as is my morning routine.

Lunches were made and boys were sent off to school. Parker took the cell he made out of cake and candy. More on that story later. It took three tries to get Gwen up. On the third time I yelled loud enough she bolted upright in bed immediately apologizing. I felt horrible. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed set her up for a frustrating morning. I felt horrible. There were lots of hugs and lots and lots of quiet, calm encouraging words. I prayed her day would improve. She came home happy enough, so at least that!

Once Gwen leaves I have to talk myself into my workout clothes. Last week I felt a cold coming on. It was an itchy, scratchy throat mixed with feeling worn out. I skipped my last workout to soak in the tub. No regrets. When I looked at that workout I wanted to delete most of the activities. That workout will forever remain a missed workout. No regrets! Somehow I managed to finish today’s workout without completely dying. Just barely.

Then it’s off to the showers. I wondered if I should have skipped today’s workout in the interest of time. I had a doctor’s appointment. The workout happened which made me have to rush to clean up and look like a normal person. I had a whole ten minutes to spare before I had to leave for my appointment! I watched the beginnings of My 600 lb. Life while my heart was in my throat.

I hate going to the doctor. Not only that but I had to drive there. In the rain. By myself. I know, I am such a baby! The clinic is a little over 6 miles away. It takes 20 minutes to get there whether by freeway or twiddly bits backroads. So far I have kept my promise of not ever driving on the freeways here.

Yesterday I drove Heath to the doctor’s office just so I could get a feel for the directions. Today I was on my own. In the pouring rain. Thank heavens for Gina GPS and her directions! Well, once she recalculates after she realizes she can’t get me on the freeway. I got there easily enough. Finding parking was a little tricky but I made it.

On the way home there was a cop car blocking the left lane I needed to take. I approached the squad car with the flashing lights very slowly wondering if there was a way to get around. When I looked down the road to where I needed to be I saw a large semi parked. It’s a two lane road with literally no shoulder to speak of on either side. There is no pulling over. The truck was basically blocking that half of the road. So I took the fork in the road to the right knowing Gina would redirect me. She did. Gina and I fight a lot when I know what I’m doing and she insists I go her way. But if I ever get off track she is very kind in getting me back to where I need to be. I know I can trust her when I’m lost.

The rains came down and the floods came up and I drove through many a lane sized lake. Soon I was home. A Diet Coke was my reward! Gavin texted that he and Parker were on the bus as soon as I pulled into the garage. I didn’t have much time to relax before I had to put my mom hat back on. I sipped my reward in front of the TV.

Homework was done and I helped solve problems. Dinner was made. We listened to a Hank Smith talk for Family Home Evening. Then it was bedtime.

So what did I do today? I’m not quite sure. So much yet so little.

The appointment seemed to rule the day. It was good though. I learned some new things, including the fact that One Touch is now basically obsolete. Medtronic doesn’t support it anymore. I said I have the Bayer Contour Next meter and would really like to use it since I like it better than the One Touch Ultra Link. The process has been started to see if my insurance will cover those strips. So far my last two insurance companies wouldn’t cover it. I was told that if needed, my endocrinologist will be asked to sign a pre-authorization form so I can get the strips I need. Finally someone in my corner!

When I asked my last doctor to get me pre-authorization, nothing seemed to happen. Of course he was an idiot. He knows nothing about diabetes and wrote my One Touch prescription for one test a day. I had to ask him to rewrite it. He couldn’t believe I test 7-10 times a day and still struggle to maintain good control. Um, yeah. I have Type 1 diabetes and am trying to have a machine be my pancreas! Thanks for the support.

Having to change insurance in January after changing in July for our move, ended up being a blessing. I think I only thought I liked that doctor because he was conveniently located. So far I am much more impressed with my new diabetes team members. They know what they’re doing! The drive will get easier. For now I am basking in the glow of having done something that is very hard for me.

What if …

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What happens when you fast and pray for something and it doesn’t happen? Does that mean God doesn’t answer prayers? Does it mean He doesn’t care? Or does it mean that something better is in store? That we just need to have patience.

I choose to believe the patience thing. Sure, it would be nice if I could show my faith through sacrifice and automatically get everything I ever wish for. Sometimes I wonder if my kids think that the hole in their stomach from fasting is really a wishing well. It’s not.

We should be fasting and praying for things that are meaningful rather than creating a wish list for Santa. Even then, we should remember that the purpose of faith and fasting is to align our will with our Heavenly Father’s. This takes patience and a lot of trust.

This month I couldn’t abstain from food. That never seems to work for me when I need it to. While I can’t fast in the traditional sense, I can still offer heartfelt prayers. And I did. My whole family was praying for the same thing. Sort of. Parker informed us his fast was for something a little different. He was dead set on one specific outcome. Starving himself for 24 hours would certainly result in his will his way. Not His will nor His way. Parker is 11 and is still learning.

I felt compelled to pray that we would have the wisdom to do everything in our power that we could control. Then I prayed that whatever the outcome, I could feel peace. That I would maintain my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. As much as I wanted a specific outcome, I wanted more to have His will be done. I know He has guided our lives in the past and I have no doubt He is doing that now. I simply don’t have the ability to see the end from the beginning as He does. My crystal ball has been on the fritz … well, as long as I have had it!

I wouldn’t say I had a sneaking suspicion that the outcome would not be our “wish.” I really didn’t know. When things didn’t work out as I had hoped, I did feel disappointed. Only it wasn’t a profound disappointment. If anything, I have felt more sure that things will work out eventually. I don’t know how, when, or why. I just know it will all be okay. Until I learn His will for this particular need of ours, I will cling to past miracles. Remembering those blessings that came in extraordinary ways reminds me that He has not forgotten us.

It’s easy to want to lose hope. To believe that God doesn’t answer prayers if the answer is a no, or even a not right now. The peace I feel is real. That proves to me that He did answer my prayer. I am so grateful for that peace.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:16, 1 Nephi 21:16)

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88)

 

How a Cartoon Nearly Ruined My Day

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This morning’s workout kicked my butt hard enough I soaked my sore muscles in a bath. With a Diet Coke of course! I almost never take baths. The humiliation of not being able to keep up with a cartoon trainer is best soothed in a tub … watching Hoarding: Buried Alive .. and sipping Diet Coke. Forget about service! If you feel bad about yourself you should immerse yourself in stories more pathetic than your own. It’s a reminder that some people don’t endure cartoon trainer tyranny. They can’t find their TV.

My calf muscles are screaming almost as badly as they were after I climbed a mountain. Not Everest, or any other significant mountain. Just Timpanogas. A mountain that some people climb multiple times a day as their own workout. And I am dying in a puddle of sweat in front of my TV because my Wii trainer made me run in place. I know. Pathetic.

More pathetic still is the fact that I didn’t do much today. Lying around was almost too much effort. I did make dinner. Yay me! It’s the little victories that mean the most. I also started reading Wonder on Parker’s recommendation. As I hugged the kids before sending them off to bed I had this conversation.

Gavin: I love you the most!
Me: I kind of like you too!
then to Parker: You, not so much. What is up with you always asking me to read books that make me cry?

His face can only be described as stunned surprise. So I hugged him and told him that I really do love him. But his book is tearing my heart out.

Gwen worked on the things I asked her to while tears stung my eyes as I read. She finished in record time because I actually had a fun idea for our weekly girl’s night. I helped her paint her nails. She painted her left hand on her own. I took care of her right hand and her feet. Her blue toes make her look like a hypothermia victim but whatever. As she sat uncomfortably at the kitchen table, with her feet drying on a chair and her hands drying on the table, she requested we watch Last Man Standing. I made it through the first episode just fine. Then my aching body thought I was really in bed trying to go to sleep so I snored through the second. Soon the boys made it home from Scouts.

Heath had more work to do. I thought I could pound out a quick post and go back to Wonder. He’s finished so I think I will fall asleep in front of the TV again. Tomorrow is another day!

Say What

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Gavin: Today in PE we had to talk about eating disorders … and fat people.

Gwen: Did you know you have to eat healthy food for your hair too?
Me: It definitely helps.
Gwen: When I read that I just closed the book and set it aside.
Me: You don’t want to eat healthy?
Gwen: It wants me to eat fish and other foods I don’t like!

Gwen: I’m so glad the nutrition unit is over!
Me: Why?
Gwen: Because they said not to eat candy. They also said not to eat ice cream!
Me: Does that bother you because you are such a candy monster? You don’t like being told it’s not healthy to always eat candy?
Gwen: They think bacon isn’t healthy!
Me and Parker: It’s not.

Me: You lost another tooth! Are you sure you haven’t lost it before?
Parker: You know me. If a tooth is bothering me I will just pull it out. Well, (his eyes look up at the ceiling as he cocks his head to one side) first I think (he puts his finger to his head) if I have lost it before. Since I haven’t, I pull it out!