Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If You're Happy and You Know It

When I hear what other people hope to accomplish in life, I sometimes feel disappointed in myself. To be honest, I don’t have many long-term goals. I’m not trying to obtain a certain career or degree of education. I don’t have any internal need to travel the world or climb to a certain height. As a stay-at-home-mom, I feel a sense of triumph if I make it through an hour of my day without yelling at anyone. I can't focus on where I'll be in a year... or ten.
If someone were to ask me what I’d like to accomplish in my life, I’d be satisfied to just live happily. 
When I think about what happiness truly means to me, it’s easy to list the things that aren’t happiness.
Money isn’t happiness.
Possessions aren’t happiness.
Being pretty isn’t happiness.
Being skinny isn’t happiness.
I’ve been deceived into thinking that I need those things, but when it comes down to it, none of them will provide me with long-term joy.
The hard question to answer is what happiness is. I think George Sheehan described it well when he said, “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, and accomplishing.”
Lately I’ve been having a hard time keeping my chin up during my every day role as a mother. As a whole, my life is happy, but when I break it down into days – or even hours – I spend a lot of time feeling upset, defeated, and like I’m barely keeping my head above water. I’m not, by nature, a nurturer, nor am I patient. I’m most certainly not disciplined, structured, or organized. I’m overwhelmed by my three children. Every day is a struggle for me in this aspect, and as my kids enter new phases of life, I continually meet new challenges that I don't know how to handle. 
As I deal with my insecurities and feelings of failure each day, I try to keep in mind that this is all a part of being happy. This is the struggle, and if I endure it, I will accomplish something. That means more to me than anything I can cross off a list, so while I sometimes feel like an underachiever, I think what I’m working toward will have a decent payoff.

I just need to work on finding the joy in each individual day.
*clap, clap*

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This Week in Children's Drawings...

Maybe I shouldn't post two of my child's masterpieces in a row, but how can I not show you this amazing illustration I found in Nicky's notebook?


It is titled: The Crnow.

When I found this drawing, my heart melted. I knew that it was a depiction of my son riding the cat, which is great because Nicky and the cat have a special bond.

But what about those random letters across the bottom? I had to ask Nicky about them, and when he explained that it read, "Colonel," (or as he pronounces it, "Kerno") (our cat's military rank), it all made perfect sense.

Nicky has never had much interest in drawing (he has impatiently scribbled for many years), so all of this is new to me, and I'm loving it!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Nicky only has a few short days left of kindergarten. I don't know how it went by so fast. Wasn't it just a few days ago that I sent him off to the school for the first time?

Over the weekend we did some serious cleaning around the house (okay, not that serious, but still much-needed). Every time I clean off the fridge or the back door (where we hang a lot of random things because magnets stick to it perfectly), I see this picture that Nicky painted at the beginning of the school year:

Monster Art

It is my FAVORITE.

I think it's because this was one of the first things he ever painted that actually resembled something.

(It's a monster).

(An awesome monster).

I've had it hanging in the kitchen for most of the school year, and I decided to make a more permanent home for it in a frame in Nicky's bedroom.

Oh, these growing years! So much joy and so much I'm going to miss!

Friday, May 17, 2013


You will be happy to know that I've snapped out of my moodiness.


So... you want to know a few insignificant facts about my week?

Daisy puked all over my bedroom carpet the other night. Her timing was impeccable. Zoe was screaming, Nicky was in the bath, and Daisy had just gotten out of the bath and gotten dressed in her bedroom WITH A WOOD FLOOR and walked into my room with a CARPETED FLOOR. Why can't they ever yarf on the floor that was installed for the very purpose of catching yarf?

So I laid the baby on the floor and let her continue screaming, put Daisy back in the bath, and called a neighbor to come help.

The neighbor ran barefoot to my house and held my baby while I cleaned the carpet. And oddly, she asked if she could watch. Yep. My neighbor wanted to watch me wash puke out of my carpet.

Stranger things have happened. But still...

Fortunately, there were only two follow-up episodes, and we have been a vomit-free household for the past 32 hours. You just never know what you're going to get when it comes to throw up. This was one of the better experiences.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have seven children under the age of eight in my care for approximately an hour and a half. Ages 6-8 were manageable, but the four that were 4 and under were a little rough, especially when I was trying to throw dinner together.

It wasn't a bad experience, but it reaffirmed my commitment to NOT have seven children.

On a related note, did you hear that mothers of three are more stressed out than mothers of four or more?

Amen to that.

I'm completely nuts right now, and I have this habit of thinking things like, "I can't handle my three kids. How does [insert name of friend with more children] handle [insert larger number of children]?"

But now it's official. Three is an all-around difficult number. Maybe I won't always be this crazy psychopath of a woman!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013



I'm a little ornery this week.

Maybe it's a hormonal thing, or a post-vacation thing, or a post-Mother's Day thing. Or maybe it's because my baby has been wide awake and ready to start her day at 5:30 every morning for the past two weeks (after waking up 3-4 times through the night)*, and I'm feeling sleep-deprived. Or maybe I'm just a jerk.

I have all these angry thoughts in my head that I need to suppress. The internet is not a good place to be while I'm in such a condition, especially when it seems like everyone is boo-hooing about something, and I have no sympathy. **

On Friday I left a nasty comment on a blog.

It really wasn't that nasty, but it was something I wouldn't normally do. I'm not a nasty-comment-leaver, but I was in this get-over-yourself and quit-making-a-big-fuss-out-of-stupid-things kind of mood, and I couldn't let it go. Again, it wasn't that nasty, I basically just told the writer that I'm happy to not share her opinion, but it felt nasty afterward.

I feel bad.

And at the same time, I don't feel bad.

But I do feel bad.

And I know that if I read my own blog as a stranger while I was in such a mood, I'd be leaving myself all sorts of "suck it up, you big baby" kinds of comments. So why can't I be patient with the small complaints and moderate whining of other people?

I ended up "unliking" that blog on facebook and removing it from my feed reader because I find myself feeling angry over at least half of what I read there anyway, so why bother reading any of it?

Additionally, I had to remove the blog from my life to keep me from going back and seeing the repercussions of my comment. My slightly nasty comment probably fueled a bit of a fire (I'm sure the post would have received some nasty comments eventually, but since I was the first, I probably started something ugly), and I can not go back and look or it will be the death of me.

So maybe I should stay away from the internet for the rest of the week. Or maybe I should take a chill pill (can someone tell me where to get one of those?) In the meantime, I'll douse my ornery self in lemon bars.

*Six months old, and she hasn't slept through the night once. Not even one itty bitty accidental time. (Look at me being all whiney like all the people out there who are driving me nuts!)

**Makes me wonder... is everyone really boo-hooing, or am I just perceiving it that way in my irritable state?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Other Places

Believe it or not, sometimes we go on vacations to places other than Disneyland. It doesn't happen very often due to school, work, money, and all of those other inconveniences that get in the way of recreation. But every now and then, we take off on a little overnighter.

Last month my friend, Cheyenne, posted pictures of her family in Goblin Valley on facebook. I went to Goblin Valley a few times as a teenager, and seeing Cheyenne's photos made me want to take my own kids. As soon as I got the idea in my head, I couldn't let it go. Over the course of two weeks, I talked Scotty into heading down there for our anniversary (we ended up settling for the day after our anniversary, but let's not be too nit-picky).

We left early Friday morning and came back Saturday night, so it was definitely a quick trip. We were just a little hesitant to camp for more than one night with our children because we haven't had much luck camping with babies. In fact, until this trip, each attempt we'd made at camping with our kids included several hours in the car with a screaming baby. This time, however, things went much more smoothly. Zoe ended up cutting two teeth and starting with a nasty cold while we were gone, but she was pretty agreeable considering how miserable she was.

Goblin Valley was the perfect playground for our kids. Nicky and Daisy ran and climbed and ran and climbed some more. Their little faces were beet red, adn any time we tried to get them to rest in the shade, they would sit for about thirty seconds and then take off running again.

Before we went on this trip, I showed Nicky a picture of Goblin Valley on the computer. His reaction was, "It's just a bunch of boring rocks!" That made me worried that he would compain the whole time and drag his feet. I was so glad that that was not the case. He LOVED it. He even said, "This is so much better than I thought it would be!"

(This will now be one of the "life lessons" I refer to often. "Nicky, remember when you thought Goblin Valley was just a bunch of boring rocks, but then you got there and you LOVED it?" I will say this ALL.THE.TIME. I can already feel it).

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Last summer I started taking pictures of our shoes on all of our hikes (I totally ripped this idea off from Amy). Here is our Goblin Valley photo:

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Daisy refused to participate because she's three, and Zoe was lovingly strapped to her father's chest.

After spending a few hours in Goblin Valley, we drove down the road to Little Wild Horse Canyon. We went on a hike through some slot canyons. 

See this?

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley 

I went in there!

It may seem like a small feat, but I'm really proud of myself because I'm a little claustrophobic. The first set of slots had my heart pounding, and I couldn't stop imagining getting trapped. I wasn't sure I could do it, but it was SO COOL, and I really wanted to make it through. Fortunately, I was okay by the time we reached the second set of slots (I went through a very similar thing the first time I rode the Nemo ride at Disneyland). There were a few points in the hike where the path between the walls was the width of my shoe! Luckily, the walls were a little farther apart. 

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

Family Vacation to Goblin Valley

(That photo looks almost identical to the Goblin Valley one, except Daisy decided to make her presence known).

The geology in Little Wild Horse Canyon is incredible. There is something exciting around every corner. I'll probably post some more pictures from our hike soon.

We spent the night camping at a KOA. Our tent was literally ten feet away from the campsite next to us, but we survived. Despite the lack of privacy, I really like KOAs. They had an old-fashioned playground that I enjoyed introducing my children to. I taught Nicky and Daisy how to use a teeter-totter, and a little team work was good for them. We roasted hot dogs and had smores for breakfast.

On Saturday we went and played for a few hours at the White Wash Sand Dunes, then we went and saw Crystal Geyser, which did not erupt while we were there, but it was bubbling, so it probably erupted ten minutes after we left. It was still really cool to see, though. Sadly, my pictures didn't turn out well enough to go through the effort of posting them here. There were some very cool mineral deposits from the geyser that created a really beautiful waterfall leading to the Green River. 

Our little vacation was so wonderful and much-needed. Now I've got the itch to see more of Utah's amazing landscape. This truly is an incredible state.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


We have bought ONE house.

We have been to Disneyland more times than we can count on TWO hands.

We have THREE children.

We have driven FOUR cars.

We have owned FIVE strollers.

We have traveled by airplane together SIX times.

Scotty has been in school for SEVEN years.

We want to have EIGHT kids.
(Just kidding!)

We have lived in our house for NINE years.

Today, we have been married for TEN years.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Motherhood and the Book of Mormon - Lessons in Miracles

While I was pregnant with Zoe, I was very concerned about my delivery. With Nicky and Daisy, I had been induced - Nicky out of necessity, Daisy by choice - and both deliveries had had complications. There is no way to know whether those complications could have been avoided by allowing labor to take its course naturally, but I couldn't help wondering.

Throughout my third pregnancy, I stressed about this a lot. My body does not do well to prepare for labor. I've never even been close to going into labor naturally. I hoped that my body would go into labor on its own, but I knew that, more than likely, I would go one or two week past my due date and end up having to be induced.

For some it is an easy decision to make. Women choose to be induced and women choose to wait, and both scenarios frequently bring forth healthy babies. But for me it wasn't an easy choice.

I prayed over and over again that I would know what to do - that I would have some impression to guide me when the time came to make a decision.

As the end of pregnancy drew near, I still didn't have any idea what to do. The hospital I deliver at allows elective induction at 39 weeks. My doctor was very supportive and let me make the decision without pushing me in one direction or the other.

During that 39th week, I started feeling very strongly that I needed to ask my doctor to induce me on my due date. I was surprised at this prompting because I kind of assumed that God would want me to choose the more unpredictable route so I could learn a life lesson about patience or something. I prayed for a confirmation, and, to my surprise, I felt entirely at peace. I had no hesitations. I had received an answer - I needed to be induced.

At my final appointment, the doctor verified that the baby was head-down (and had been since 27 weeks), and everything was good to go. I asked him if I could be induced on November 1, my due date. He checked the hospital's schedule, and due to some unforeseen post-Halloween rush, there were no openings, so he scheduled me for November 2.

The date was perfect. Scotty was off work that day (he has every-other Friday off), Nicky was out of school, and all of my child care arrangements fell into place without incident. I arrived at the hospital bursting with excitement, put on my gown, hopped up on the bed, and settled in with my latest library book.

I felt good. So good.

The nurse came in and announced that she just needed to take care of a few things, and then I could get busy laboring. A quick examination of the cervix and some pressure on my stomach concluded that something wasn't quite right.

"The head's not there," she said, "Let me go get the ultrasound machine."

I immediately grew nervous because, clearly, my nurse was inept. I knew my baby's head was down. I can't claim many talents, but I am dang good at having babies head-down. My baby had been head-down at my appointment four days earlier and was still head-down.

Except the ultrasound proved that my baby wasn't head-down.

The nurse paged my doctor with a message in all caps, hoping for a timely response. BABY IS BREECH.

The induction was held off, and I waited impatiently to know my fate. Blinking away the tears, I ran through the scenarios in my head:

-The one where I have the courage to walk out of the hospital and wait one more week to see if the baby turns on her own.

-The one where I have a c-section, and my perfect childcare plan goes kaput because I have to stay in the hospital longer than planned.

-The one where the doctor tries to turn the baby, and it hurts like the Dickens.

The worst part of it all was that I had finally made a decision I felt good about only to be faced with more big decisions I didn't feel capable of making.

When the doctor came in, he verified that the baby was, in fact, breech. I was still having a hard time accepting the news when I suddenly remembered a moment from the previous night. Scotty and I had been sitting on the couch together after putting the kids to bed. The baby was kicking and rolling all over the place, and at one point, my belly jutted out so far to the right that it was like the baby had turned horizontal. We had laughed about it, and I had braced myself in pain a few times, but we never imagined that she had actually turned.

My doctor discussed the options, and they turned out to be very similar to the scenarios I'd already gone through in my head. The chance of the baby turning on her own if I waited another week was about 10-20%. The chance of successfully physically turning the baby was about 50%. Or I could have a c-section.

I decided to have my doctor try and turn the baby. I was terrified because I had heard a few stories about turning breech babies, and the common factor seemed to be VERY.INTENSE.PAIN.  I had the option of having an epidural, but if I had one, the baby would have to be delivered no matter what. If I didn't have the epidural and the baby wouldn't turn, I could go home and wait a few more days to see if she would turn on her own - again, only a 10-20% chance, but I figured I needed to leave that option available, so I didn't get the epidural. I expressed to my doctor that I was afraid it would hurt, and he assured me that he would know very quickly whether the baby would turn or not, and he would stop if I said to.

My belly was slathered in ultrasound gel (seriously... so! much! ultrasound gel!) and the nurse monitored the baby's heart rate while the doctor positioned his hands at the head and the butt of the baby. As soon as he began moving the baby, I felt completely at peace. A reassurance came over me that everything was going to be fine. Slowly the baby rotated until she was at the most uncomfortable point in the turn. My doctor stopped and asked me if I was doing okay. Since I knew everything was going to be fine, I had returned to a feeling of excitement, and I happily informed my doctor that I was doing great.

Eight hours later, I gave birth to an 8 lb. 9 oz. baby girl with soft dark hair and delicate thigh rolls. As I held her and admired all 21 inches of her, I couldn't help but notice that she wasn't exactly small. I laid her on my tummy and reenacted the turning, and I was astonished that things had gone so smoothly, that I had felt very little pain, and that she was even capable of turning breech at 40 weeks in the first place.

More Zoe 

I wondered, why would Heavenly Father, after so much dedication and prayer on my part, put me in such a situation?

At first I thought that I had not listened to the Spirit. Maybe I wasn't meant to be induced. Perhaps I had made the choice out of impatience or selfishness.

But my doctor explained to me that if I had come into the hospital in labor with a breech baby, I would have been given a c-section, so it was very good that I had asked to be induced.

However; if I had been induced on my due date, the day before, my baby would not have been breech. So why, then, did Heavenly Father direct me down a path that led to a breech baby?

When I was studying the Book of Mormon in the final weeks of my pregnancy, the use of the term miracles stood out to me, especially in the last half of the book. I could quote scripture after scripture for you, but instead I will paraphrase according to my simple understanding: God continues to grant miracles among His children. He has never stopped granting miracles, and He never will.

As I read of miracles over and over again, I found myself praying in my heart that I would experience a miracle of my own as I had my baby. I wanted to know that God was there, and I wanted to see His hand in my life.

On , miracle is defined as "An extraordinary event caused by the power of God... Miracles are part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith is necessary in order for miracles to be manifested."

In order for an event to be a miracle, it has to be perceived, understood, and recognized through faith. After much contemplation, I came to know that I had been granted the miracle I desired.

Had I been induced on my due date, I would have been granted the blessing of not having a breech baby. The problem is, I never would have known that I was being spared from that experience. Instead, Heavenly Father gave me one more day. He allowed me to endure a breech baby so that I could see His hand in my life. He allowed me to feel fear and to question my decisions.

This story is not really about the baby being breech. It is about how following the Spirit will lead us to situations where Heavenly Father can teach us great things. Sometimes we have to experience uncomfortable things so we can perceive the miracles that God grants us.


This post is part of my series, "Mothering and the Book of Mormon." To learn more about why I am writing this series, please read this. To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, check out or

Did you know you can request a Book of Mormon for free? No joke! See here.

I'll even send you one if you want. Marginalia included.

You can e-mail me: 

{fluentbrittish [at] gmail [dot] com}

I won't even try to baptize you!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Truth About Three-Year-Olds

Right now I am the mother of a three-year-old, and life with a three-year-old can be pretty tough. If you have a three-year-old, you're probably nodding sympathetically with your bottom lip turned down in a "yes-I-know" expression. If you've had a three-year-old in the past, you have probably experienced some sort of subconscious memory suppression as a healing mechanism. If you're going to have a three-year-old in the future, come back at that time and see if your life parallels mine.

Here are ten of the many ways that three-year-olds make life interesting:

1. They learn the words "hate" and "stupid," and they use them in ALL CAPS!

"STUPID Mommy!"

"I HATE ponies!"

"Being happy is STUPID!"

"Everything that is fun is STUPID!"

"I HATE everything that I loved yesterday!"

2. They still need naps but not until about 5:00 p.m, so there is this 2-3 hour window of each day where you have to fight to keep them awake. If you surrender to the much-needed sleep, don't try to wake them after only half an hour. The screaming ratio is 4:1, so a half-hour of sleep results in two hours of tantrums. You're better off leaving the child be and starting the next day at 3:00 a.m. when the child comes stomping in your bedroom asking for a brownie.

3. Everything that comes out of their mouths is contradicting and manipulative, and no matter what you do, you can not force them to see how illogical they are.

"I'm too full to eat my breakfast. Can I have a snack?"

4. They need to pee all the time. The less convenient the restroom facilities, the more immediate the urge to pee. They never need to go when you're standing ten feet away from a bathroom. It's always when you're at the farthest point possible with a shopping cart full of groceries. They have you book it back to the front of the store only to say, "Huh. Guess I don't need to go!" Then you get this mentality that the child WILL pee, or else! So you sit them on the toilet, point your finger, and say, "Pee! Now!" but "The pee won't come out, Mommy!" Ten minutes later, they wet themselves in the car.

5. They learn to lie. The experts assure you that this is a normal developmental milestone, but it is just one more thing that makes you want to pull your hair out. It doesn't matter what you saw or what proof you present, they will look you in the face and lie. You can watch them pee on their closet floor for the third time in one day, and the conversation will always go like this:

"You peed on your closet floor again!"

"No, I didn't."

"I saw you."

"I didn't pee."

"Then why is the floor wet?"

"It's water."

"How did the water get there?"

"From the hose."

"The hose is outside. How did the hose get water on the floor of your second-story closet?"

"Through the window."


6. They learn to use ultimatums. 

"If you don't let me eat thirty pounds of Easter candy before lunch, I will always HATE you, and I will never love you because you are STUPID Mommy!"

And they leave you wondering Is this what I sound like? Because surely they have learned this awful behavior somewhere.

7. No form of discipline works on them. You can count to three 'til you're blue in the face, and you will never be successful. You can give them a very clear warning about the consequences of their actions, and they do not care. Time out? Psht! Let's face it, they'd be in there ALL DAY. Loss of privileges? Get real. Love and Logic? Just one problem... three-year-olds HAVE NO LOGIC.

8. They make you desperate and have you doing all those things you swore you would never do. Especially in public.

You know how uncomfortable you feel when you hear a woman yelling at her kids in the middle of Costco? You know how you're kind of humiliated for her, and you totally judge her because she is proving in a public situation that she has no control over her children?

Yeah. That woman has a three-year-old.

Sometimes that woman is YOU.

9. They still do everything they did when they were two, but they are stronger, faster, heavier, and have a more extensive vocabulary.

10. There is always another one in queue. By the time you have lived to see age four, there is usually someone waiting in the wings to turn three.

I think the only thing that keeps me from burying my head ostrich-style in the backyard is the fact that one in ten things my three-year-old says is very sweet, loving, or funny. Maybe that one thing is worth it.


I'll tell you when she's four.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Currently {May 2013 Edition}

Reading: Becky's Book of Mormon and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Don't make fun of me.

Watching: Nothing. It's Screen-Free Week. Or, in my case, mostly screen-free.

Procrastinating: attacking the weeds in my garden. They might as well get a few inches taller.

Wanting: a new oven. I don't think I'll be getting one any time soon, but the idea is in my head. And just in case my husband is reading this, don't forget to buy me a silicone  whisk for Mothers' Day. Or heck, just give me the word, and I'll go buy my own Mothers' Day gift. Or take me to buy some running shoes, and I'll pretend that I'm going to start running with you.

Craving: a donut and chocolate milk.

Wearing: some athletic clothes. I think I'm wearing a running shirt. I don't really know. It has long sleeves and thumb holes. I don't really know what it's for, but I'm wearing it for my morning walk.

Relieved by: having a skin tag-free armpit. It is such a treat!

Stressing about: the first baptism I have coordinated as Primary President. It is tomorrow, and I'm worried I've missed some important detail that will ruin someone's life.

(I was recently called to be the Primary President, by the way).

Missing: date night. I don't get enough date nights.

Excited about: a possible impromptu vacation we may be taking next week. I'll tell you more if/when it happens. 

Addicted to: Maroon 5. I've never officially declared a favorite band, but I'm pretty sure it's Maroon 5.

Trying: to not gossip, to read my scriptures more, and to pray more thoughtfully.

Needing: to eat less sugar. But you guys? I love it so much!

Tired of: my kids fighting.

Thankful for: finding not one, but TWO! new swimming suits. I am in no shape to be wearing a swimming suit, but they are decent. 

Enjoying: Scotty's week between semesters. It has been so nice having him home in the evening.

Looking forward to: Zoe's bed time. She's in that phase where she refuses to be put down. She is crying as I type, but goshdarnit, I need a ten minute break.

Hoping: that I will get to do some reading this weekend.

Loving: the convenience of texting. It has been very handy for Primary.

Proud of myself for: exercising six of seven days a week for three weeks. I reward myself by drawing smiley faces on my calendar.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


This morning I was laying in bed thinking about money. Not in the "how-are-we-going-to-afford-that?" sort of way, but in another way entirely.

First I thought about $2 bills.

I'm not a currency collector, but I've been given $2 bills my whole life. My great-grandparents used to give all of the grand kids a $2 bill for Christmas every year. I think some of my other grandparents may have done something similar because I accumulated $2 bills on a regular basis as a child. I think I was expected to store them away somewhere safe because $2 bills are rare (but not that rare, obviously, since everyone handed them out to me like candy bars). I think I was supposed to get rich off them or something.

Well, too bad - because now I don't have a single $2 to my name. I don't know where they went. Somewhere out there, there is a stack of $2 bills that belongs to me.

After I thought about $2 bills, I thought about state quarters.

When the state quarters were first released, and I heard that Utah would be one of the last ones put into circulation, I was totally bummed. I kind of thought Jesus would come before I ever saw my state quarter.

Well, amazingly, the world survived through 2007, and the Utah quarter integrated into the United States' currency without incident. In fact, the world survived long enough that all 50 states made it.

During those state quarter years, I discovered a group of people whom I began to refer to as "quarter checkers."

These were the people that were trying to collect one of every state quarter.

Quarter checkers drove me nuts!

At my job, we would have a line of antsy customers with arms full of merchandise shifting their weight back and forth from arm to arm, leg to leg, while some crazy quarter checker stood at the register and sorted through a coin purse to make sure he didn't pay with a Maryland or a Pennsylvania.

Some of them would even ask me to sift through my till and see if I could find them a specific state.

"Hey, do you have a Texas in there? I'll trade you for an Alabama!"

State quarters were like Pokemon cards for old people.

I got to the point where I could identify the quarter checkers when they came into the store, and I would roll my eyes and moan, "Here we go..."

After a few years, I changed jobs, and found a new community of quarter checkers.

Even though the state quarters have all been released, I'm sure there are still people out there checking for quarters. Now they are looking for specific America the Beautiful quarters. I'm glad I get to sit this one out.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Screen-Free Week Confession

So it's Screen-Free Week.

And despite my current online presence, things are going great. We haven't watched an ounce of TV. There have been no video games or movies. We have stayed pretty busy with play dates, outdoor activities, and chores. Nicky has been great and hasn't even asked for any screen-related activities. Daisy has asked a few times but hasn't put up too much of a stink when I have reminded her that we aren't doing those things this week.

This has all been possible because of one thing: Scotty has this week off school.

Oh, what a difference it makes when Daddy comes home at 5:30 p.m.

This gives me hope for the future. Someday, Scotty will graduate and become a more permanent fixture in our home.

One more year.

One more year.

One more year.

Well, a year and a half, more like.

It's getting closer.

And when that time comes, we will naturally have a lot less screen time because we will be out working in the yard or riding bikes as a family. And when we watch movies, it will be because it's Family Movie Night. I will be able to tag-team with my husband instead of carrying most of the daily parenting responsibilities by myself. I might be less stressed out and ornery all the time.


But back to Screen-Free Week.

Here are some of the things we have done to help this week be a success:

  • Covered the TV with a blanket
  • Made a list of activities we wanted to do
  • Told our family and friends we are doing Screen-Free Week so they can help support us
  • Discussed our goal as a family
  • Decided to treat ourselves to pizza and ice cream at the end of the week to celebrate
There's just one little glitch: 


I really wanted to give up recreational computer and internet time for this week, but I didn't do it. On Monday morning, I was expecting some e-mails for church-related business, and I checked my e-mail on my phone. It all went downhill from there. I haven't even tried.

But TV? Movies? 

Easy. I rarely watch TV or movies anymore.

Sometime, though, I need to wean myself off the internet. I admit, I have a problem.

Tsk, tsk.