Monday, December 29, 2014

Change of Plans

We weren't finding out what we were having. 

We've done it twice, and it's really lots of fun!

But when I went in for my ultrasound at 19 weeks, Scotty and I both thought we saw "something" (or a lack of something, if you know what I mean).

Over the next few weeks, it ate away at me. It turns out that "kind of" knowing is a lot harder (and very different) than "not knowing." 

I had an appointment on the 15th of December, so I called my doctor (without Scotty knowing), and asked if he would do a gender check. He obliged, and I had him put the results in an envelope so we could open it on Christmas. 

(Note that this required me to be patient for 10 days while I had the answer tucked in my purse. High five for diligence!)

Since Scotty didn't know about the envelope, I had to attend several Christmas parties and lie to everyone.

"Do you know what you're having?"

"No. We're not finding out."

My apologies to all of the people I deceived over those ten days!

As we suspected, we're having a...

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I never thought I'd be a mother of girls, plural... let alone THREE!

I'm very excited, but I never imagined that Nicky wouldn't have a little brother. It always seemed like a given. I'm not entirely opposed to having another baby someday, but I have always felt like four is our number, and I would really like to be "done." I feel good about four. Five? I just don't know. But "change of plans" seems to be a big theme in life, so we'll see what comes. Maybe there will be a brother someday - life is unpredictable, and God can be pretty convincing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Resolutions in Review

When I made my resolutions for 2014, I decided to make my theme for the year "Sing a New Song" based on Psalm 40. This year I really wanted to change my tune and fix a few character flaws that had been holding me back. I can't really say that I was successful, but I'm definitely singing a new song - or at least an unexpected song. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that I would go back to school or become pregnant.

Here are some of the things I hoped to accomplish this year:

Run a half marathon before June. DONE

I ran an organized half marathon in April. Then after I was injured in the Spartan Race in June, I couldn't run for about six weeks. One Saturday morning in August, I went on my first "real" run post-injury (i.e. more than a mile or two), and I hoped to run between 5-8 miles, but I ran 13.1. I just kept going and going. I had to text Scotty and say, "I'm still alive - I'm trying for a half marathon." He thought I was nuts - and I was, considering I hadn't ran in six weeks - but I did it.

Win something by luck (not skill). DONE

I was hoping to win something cool, but all I got was a camp chair in a raffle. Still counts, though. And I needed a camp chair. An iPod or $1,000 cash would have been nice, but whatever.

Reach the weight recommended by my doctor. DEBATABLE

Pregnancy interfered with this one, but I'm in a good place with my weight gain so far. Not too much, not too little, so there's still some doctor approval involved.

Read the Book of Mormon as a family. IN PROGRESS

At the beginning of the year I made a plan to read the Book of Mormon with my family in its entirely. I'm sure there are plenty of families with small children who accomplish this, but my plan was too much for our family. By the time March hit, I had to change what we were doing because it just wasn't working. We are still reading, but we didn't finish.

Read The Power of Everyday Missionaries and the Old testament. SO NOT DONE, IT AIN'T EVEN FUNNY

This didn't happen. Not even close! And I don't even have an excuse. I just didn't want to do it. I think I made it about 30 pages into each.

But The Power of Everyday Missionaries is really, really good. Somehow I just need to get through it! I can do it by the new year if I try. Will I try? Sheesh! I dunno.

In my new year post for 2014, I also made mention of a few other goals I was working on:
  • There were three friendships or relationships I had specific goals for
  • I tried to do 5,000 things to improve my home/family life
  • I had a bad habit I wanted to overcome
  • I tried get in a better place spiritually and emotionally
I'm going to go ahead and proclaim those goals "mostly unsuccessful." In fact, in a few of those areas, I think I'm even worse off than I was a year ago.

So, here I bid adieu to 2014, and though it wasn't a horrible year, I'm glad to be singing my way into a new year, even though it's not the song I had in mind.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Searching for Jesus

Like many families, we have a Little People nativity set. Each year after Christmas, I box it up and put it in the basement with the rest of our holiday decor, and each year, without fail, a piece or two get left behind. It wouldn't be so hard for me to take those left-behind pieces downstairs and put them away, but usually (because I am kind of lazy... shhh... our little secret), I end up putting them in the toy drawer with the rest of the Little People and reuniting them with the nativity the following Christmas. It has never been a problem for Mary, the donkey, or one of the wise men to vacation with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty for the summer. That is, until this year.

I have a confession: our Baby Jesus is missing.

I discovered his absence when I got the nativity out this year, and I was kind of surprised because, when Jesus goes missing from a nativity, you should notice, and it shouldn't take a year.

The nativity has now been "in play" for over a month, and Baby Jesus hasn't turned up. I've searched through the kids' toys several times to no avail. I've also gone through our Christmas boxes just in case he was misplaced when we cleaned up last year, but alas, there is no Baby Jesus.

I have to admit that I fear we might become a Christmas metaphor. We are the Family With No Jesus. I was surprised when the First presidency didn't talk about us in their Christmas devotional - I guess they hadn't yet received word of our ultimate failure.

I was thinking about it in church on Sunday - how we haven't found our Jesus. I looked around the congregation and thought, "Do any of them suspect that we've lost him? Can they see it in our countenances?"

Of course, I say these things in jest. The First Presidency and my Church congregation are not really going to shun us for losing our Baby Jesus. What matters most is that Christ is manifested within us - not whether we have a plastic figurine of Him in our Christmas decor (though you have to admit, our nativity is lacking a key element).

As I've been searching for a plastic figurine of Jesus, I've thought about how many other ways I can "find" Him.

I find Him in kindness - the kindness of others and the kindness I, myself, can provide.

I find Him in love - the unconditional type of love which is amplified by forgiveness.

I find Him in music - in hymns of praise and rejoicing, and in many other musics that reflect the nurturing and sharing of God-given talents.

I find Him in nature - in the very places that He created; in the beauty and majesty that testify of a maker and of a much greater plan.

I find Him in family - in the ways we serve and care for one another.

So many of my surroundings testify of Christ that it is never hard to truly find Him when I am searching for Him.

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As for our Little People figurine, it will turn up. I don't know where or when, but he is somewhere, and we will be reunited and have a complete nativity again some day.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Being Excited for Christmas has Directly Influenced the Amount of Time I Spend Blogging {and ten other random facts}

Fact #1: We are suffering from a fruit fly infestation. Is it just me or does it seem like fruit flies should be obsolete in the middle of December? Don't they take a season off?

Little punks.

Fact #2: There are very few moments when my household doesn't echo with sounds of complete chaos. There is always somebody throwing something (it's currently a big blue ball in the family room. Scotty is supervising. Sometimes Scotty is the problem), and there is always at least one kid crying.

Fact #3: I think that's what made the transition from two kids to three kids so difficult for me. As soon as there were three of them, someone was always crying. Always. When there were only two, they would occasionally be quiet at the same time.

Fact #4: Now I'm used to the crying. Not that I love it or anything, but I can tune it out.

Fact #5: Another thing that is hard about going from two to three is that when you have two kids, you can pay attention to one and ignore the other, and it just kind of works out. But when there are three, you pay attention to one, and the other two fight. If you want to feed a kid or read a book to a kid, the others are left in a pair, and they will use that time to try and kill each other.

Fact #6: Heartburrrrrrrn!

Fact #7: I don't remember the last time I was *this* excited for Christmas. I'm always excited, but this year there are some surprises in store that make things a little more exciting than usual. I will report back promptly.

Fact #8: I officially finished my first semester at BYU-Idaho this week. I didn't accomplish much (only two classes), but it's nice to know that I have some education under my belt in a field I actually LOVE. I have so much more to say about this, but it will make for a very boring blog post. Look forward to that.

Fact #9: I've purchased two of the books I need for next semester, and I am having a hard time letting them sit on the shelf. I want to read them. NOW! (I love this feeling - I never experienced this at LDS Business College when I was taking things like Accounting, Business Law, and Nutrition).

Fact #10: Last night Scotty and I went to a junk store and we were able to replace three of our very scratched Christmas CDs for fifty cents each. They are CDs I thought we'd never see again!

Yes, we still have a few CDs, but our last CD player bit the dust last week so we now listen in the car or via the DVD player or computer. We live a very fancy high-tech life around here!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fears for the New Year

During the past few weeks, I've been prepping our household for the new year.

First I tackled the budget.

I have this very fancy system for budgeting. It's called a notebook.

It's actually kind of funny that I use a notebook because I studied accounting in junior college, AND I was a financial secretary for a school before I had kids, so I have every bit of experience necessary to use technology to do my budget, and yet... the notebook wins!

I have every month of 2015 written out with pay days, due dates for bills, and all the other good stuff that requires money during the year.

Next, I tackled the calendar.

As with my budget, I have a very fancy calendaring system. It's made of paper. It hangs on the fridge.

Everything is filled in that could possibly be filled in at this point, and January is quickly overflowing with life's activities.

I'm glad I have these two lifelines ready to go for next year, but at the same time, they terrify me! There's something unsettling about looking an entire year into the future. I am relying on sameness, and at any moment, something could change drastically. I don't know if Scotty will have the same job. I don't know if we'll all be healthy. I don't know if our income will stay the same.

Anything could happen to change our course of life. Anything.

I love the transition from one year to the next - it's such a great time to be optimistic and to experience change - but it's also very scary!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Britts of Christmas Past

This week I've been going through some boxes of old pictures. I've stumbled across some really awesome photos from the past - most of which can be used to humiliate family members via social media. I will have to keep them on hand for when the time is right.

One picture I found was this one of my little brothers and me in 1993:

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The day after I found the picture, I happened to be with my brothers, so we reenacted it:

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The baby is a little heavier now, and the new cat is less agreeable.

During my photo exploration, I found these pictures of me with Santa (there should be more out there in the world somewhere, but these are the only ones in my possession):

Christmas 1991
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If there is one thing that stands out to me about this photo, it is my ears. They used to poke out so much, and I don't think they do anymore (it helps that I've gained a lot of weight in my face over the past ten years). I sometimes forget that I have (had?) pokey-outey ears!

And that reindeer shirt? It says "raindeer," and the deer are falling from the sky. Like rain. Get it? GET IT?!?!

Christmas 1993
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Obviously I had a rockin' perm this year! And I remember having the hardest time picking out my outfit for this party. I pretty much lived in fear that I would leave my house and run into J.T.T. at some random place (like my grandma's house) and not look super hot, so I worked really hard to look good... just in case.

Christmas 1999-ish
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Awwww..... nothing brings out the teenage angst like having to sit on Santa's lap.

Check me out with all my swagger... and my awesome hat! Just trying to get through so I can have my stocking full of peanuts and oranges.

Right on, Britt! Right on!


Christmas 2003
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At some point, I guess Santa didn't want me to sit on his lap anymore, so here I am at age 19, on the floor. I kind of wish that's how Santa visits had gone all along.

The crazy part about this photo?!?!
I was married!

Yep! Married teenager talking to Santa right there!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hate is a Strong Word


Things my five-year-old hates:
  • Pizza
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Anything that requires having her ears touched
  • Pickles
  • Chicken (if you even say the word "chicken," she will start wailing dramatically and throw herself on the floor)
  • Most of the kids in her preschool class
  • Water
  • The dentist
  • "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
  • Shoes
  • Waiting
  • Soup
  • Booberry and Frankenberry
  • Sacrament Meeting
  • Her dance costume
  • Pinkie Pie
  • Harry Potter
  • Shots
  • Not going first
  • Bananas
  • Holding still
  • French toast
  • Elf
  • All vegetables except raw carrots, but she will only eat one and then she "hates" the rest
  • Hair buns
  • Mylanta (she will make herself throw up)
  • Tinkerbell
  • Orville Richard Burrell (more commonly known as "Shaggy") (five-year-olds shouldn't really have an opinion on Shaggy, but mine does!)
  • Milk
  • Having her hair brushed
  • Sesame Street (last week's Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert was interesting)
  • Paying tithing


Things my five-year-old likes:
  • McDonald's
  • Balloons


Monday, December 15, 2014

Little Life Lessons from Diet Coke

A few months ago while on vacation, I snuck a Diet Coke.

Just for informational purposes, Diet Coke is not my drink of choice. Give me Dr. Pepper or Cherry Pepsi. Except that I quit drinking pop three years ago, and accidentally started again earlier this year (after the aforementioned vacation) so really, give me nothing because I need to quit!

But on that day, those Diet Cokes looked so adequately chilled that I couldn't resist.

As I was drinking the Diet Coke, Zoe was trying to pry it from my hands. She wanted that Diet Coke something fierce, and I wouldn't let her have it. After fighting her off over and over, I finally chugged it down and put some water in the can for her. 

She sat on a beach chair sipping happily from her Diet Coke can. It was everything she'd ever dreamed of!*

As I watched her downing that water, I momentarily assessed the situation as it would appear to others: a young mother sitting on the beach, allowing her toddler to chug a Diet Coke. I laughed to myself and thought, "Judge away, folks! I know the real story!"

Since that day I have frequently reflected back on the water in the Diet Coke can, realizing how easy it is for us to look at one another and form assumptions based on what we see even though there is an underlying truth we aren't aware of. 

I am guilty of it.

So very guilty.

And I have also been victim to it.

So in an effort to be a kinder, better person (an ongoing battle), I am trying to make less assumptions about what other people have in their Diet Coke cans. 

*I should mention that this is the only time that worked. Kids can only be fooled so many times. She'd never fall for that now.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Do Tell: The Christmas Disagreement

Scotty and I don't always see eye to eye on things. You would think a married couple would just know what the other is thinking from time to time; and therefore, a consensus should be easily reached, especially for the dumb, little things. But not so. It seems like we have to consult one another about everything.

Like, everything.

Because if we don't, we end up dividing into "his and hers."

It seems to happen mostly with the kids. For example, I let our kids walk from our house to the corner pretty much every day. Then on Scotty's day off, when the girls walk to the corner, he's all, "Where are our kids? Why are they that far away? I only let them walk to the brown fence!"

And I'm like, "Uhhh... well, I let them walk to the corner. EVERY DAY."

So then it's his rule vs. her rule. Do we let them walk to the the brown fence or to the corner? Must we sit down and have a two-hour family meeting over this dilemma?

Oi!

One of the things Scotty and I disagree on is how to handle the opening of Christmas gifts.

One of us loves the idea of everyone tearing in to everything all at once - flying bows, paper cuts, and joyous screaming simultaneously.

The other wants the children to take turns opening gifts as to experience the love or hate of each present one at a time.

(Can you guess who's who?)

So today I'd like to ask how Christmas gifts are opened at your house. Do tell!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Service Fail

At Christmastime I usually do a service project with my kids - we've done the Angel Tree, Sub for Santa, collected items for various charities and shelters, Operation Christmas Box, and others...

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I recall one of the earlier years when we bought things to send to a little girl in Mexico who lived in an orphanage. Nicky was about 4 years old, and I had to explain to him that we were buying Christmas presents for a little girl who didn't have parents. He was so sad for her and so affected by this information - that there are children who don't have homes or parents - that I thought he would remember it for the rest of his life.

Yeah.

No.

Year after year, my kids remember nothing. In fact, they don't remember a single service project we've done.

I don't know why this is - my kids remember everything. But I digress.

This year I wanted to try a different kind of service. Instead of doing an outward service project, I wanted my children to serve each other.

Back in the 80's, my mom used to go to Family Home Evening groups where all the women would take turns putting together FHE lessons to swap. My mom accumulated vast amounts of manila folders with FHE lessons. One of my favorite lessons was about Gracious George the Gingerbread Man. The lesson told the story of the Gingerbread Man with a twist. Instead of just running away, George would stop and do service along the way. After the lesson, we would take turns doing something nice for a family member and leave a little stuffed gingerbread man behind to indicate that it was now that person's turn to do something nice.

A few months ago, I tried this activity with my kids for FHE. The little gingerbread man (which I inherited) had gone missing, so we used a pound puppy instead. I read the story to my kids and then I introduced the dog and the service activity. Things went well for about a day, but then it was Daisy's turn, and she didn't really "get it." She would just hide the dog where no one could find it. After the second time she hid it, we never found it, and the activity died a mere two days after it started.

Nevertheless, I wanted to do this activity again throughout the month of December and have this as a holiday tradition. After all, my kids aren't always nice to each other, and they're not always nice at Christmas time in general. So I bought a stuffed gingerbread man and renamed him Generous George the Gingerbread Man (because it has better alliteration that Gracious George the Gingerbread Man), and last Monday, I reintroduced the lesson to my kids, did a walk-through with Daisy so she would understand she can't hide George, and then we began our service. Daisy started by doing service for Zoe. Then Daisy helped Zoe do service for Scotty. Zoe put Scotty's shoes away for him and left George with Scotty's shoes. Then Scotty didn't find George for six days because Scotty never puts his shoes away (and apparently didn't need the pair that Zoe cleaned up) and therefore, never saw that George was in his shoe basket (and after I clued him in, it still took him two days to finally make contact with George). This morning I woke up and noticed that Generous George is on top of the fridge.

So, I guess if Daisy isn't hiding George, it's Scotty's stashing habit that will do us in. I'm not sure if I should admit defeat now or give it one more shot and admit defeat next Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Foot Post

"Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet!
How many, many feet you meet!"
-The Foot Book, Dr Seuss

(I dedicate this post to my friend, Katie, who hates feet so much that she has been known to wear two pairs of socks just to increase the barrier between her and her feet).

There is major foot drama in my family.

It begins with me.

And since it begins with me, I should have nothing but empathy for the foot drama of my children, and yet.. I find myself incredibly frustrated with their shoe-related issues.

I have always had a hard time finding shoes that fit. I have wide feet, high arches, and toes so long, you could easily mistake me for a primate. When I do find shoes that fit, it's rare for them to not still hurt in some way. If I want to wear anything other than flip-flops or athletic shoes, I have to buy them about two sizes too big. It's frustrating. My feet are always uncomfortable, and I'm worried this will have a long-term affect on my spine.

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Since I chose to have biological children, I think I've passed on my foot problems to them. All of them.

It started with Nicky. I knew early on that he had wide feet. As a toddler, he always had issues with his shoes. Now, at age 8 (later this month), he does much better with his shoes. It helps that he has the vocabulary to tell me exactly what his problems are.

Then there's Zoe (age 2), who is also full of foot drama. I can't get her to wear shoes. Period. Part of that is probably the age, but I don't have a lot of hope that this will change... ever! I have a hard time sizing her feet as well and have to buy her anywhere between a toddler 5 and 7 depending on how wide the shoe is.

Daisy (age 5), though, is my biggest shoe challenge. As we're transitioning into winter, I've been trying to get her to wear shoes and socks instead of flip-flops or sandals, and Oi! She is killing me. She has some sensory issues. For example, she is fanatical about her ears! If you so much as graze her ear with your finger while combing her hair, she goes ballistic! (Can you imagine this child at the pediatrician's office when the doctor wants to look in her ears? It takes three of us to hold her down) ( And don't even get me started on how hard it is to comb her hair!)  This extends to her clothing, so I'm always having to return clothes that she won't wear because they "feel weird." She struggles with socks because of the seams, and she feels too constricted, so she is always "totally freaking out" (as Peg would say) when she has socks on. She hates real shoes - I don't know if the shoe problems are a combination of inheriting genetically crappy feet and having sensory issues, or if it's one or the other, but I don't know what to do about it. I can't find a pair of shoes to get her through the winter. She has a pair of cowgirl boots that she seems willing to wear, but somehow a piece of gum got stick inside one of them, and even though I got it out, she remembers that it was there, and she won't wear the boots because of it.

Sigh...

I try not to complain about winter too much (I'm more of a summer complainer) (plus, experiencing winter is what makes spring so beautiful), but of my ten minor winter complaints (i.e. the abundance of winter clothing building up by my back door, the threat of sickness around every corner, etc), shoe drama is high on the list! Summer, at least, gives me a break from these woes. I must add this to my mental file titled, "Reasons To Not Hate Summer."

Monday, November 24, 2014

That Time We Went to Vegas

Last week Scotty had to go to Las Vegas for a software training. Originally he was going to fly, but then he decided that he would have more control over his arrival and departure if he drove. With that decision, the kids and I had to tag along with him.

We've been to Vegas many times before, and it's not somewhere I would ever choose as a family vacation destination, but for an inexpensive trip, I'll take it!

(Just to be clear, all of Scotty's expenses were covered by his work. Having us there did not add to the company's expenditures).

We arrived quite late on Monday night. We stayed at the Stratosphere, and I found it shockingly nice in comparison to what I expected. I've stayed at Circus Circus, the Sahara (which is now something else), and Excalibur on previous trips, and the Stratosphere had nicer rooms than all of those.

The area around the Stratosphere, however, is not so nice. We had our first breakfast at the Jack in the Box around the corner, and I've never seen so many scary looking people talking to themselves inside one tiny building before, and even more hanging out in the parking lot. After that meal, we opted to drive a few miles away rather than dine in the close restaurants. People talking to themselves continued to be a steady theme around our hotel. I didn't come or go from our hotel once without seeing someone on the street talking to himself.

On our first day, after the aforementioned breakfast at Jack in the Box, the kids and I made our first attempt to explore the city. We decided to go to the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, which is one place in Vegas I'd never been. I'm going to exclude the part where we got lost... ahem... and skip right to the part where we found a really great park and stopped to play for a while.

When we made it to the canyon, we stopped at the Visitors' Center first. I didn't think my kids would care for the Visitors' Center (because they usually find things like that "boring"), but they actually really enjoyed it. For Zoe, it was her obsession with gravel that won her over. The Visitors' Center is outdoors, and it has a lot of gravel landscaping. Zoe loves walking in gravel and picking it up. For Nicky and Daisy, it was the benches, which were quite artsy. They thought the benches were playground fixtures and spend most of their time in the center climbing and sliding all over them. Never mind the exhibits.

After the Visitors' Center, we drove the 13 mile loop through the canyon. I would have loved to do some of the hikes, but pregnant momma alone with three kids... no thanks. The kids weren't very hip with the drive. And to be honest, we're from Utah, so it takes some pretty awesome red rocks to impress to us. It was worth seeing once, though, and perhaps the hikes would offer some more interesting sights.

Late that afternoon we rode the elevator to the top of the Stratosphere. I was kind of surprised how dead it was up on top. There was hardly anyone up there, and even the rides, which I've always seen all over TV, were pretty empty and had long periods between runs.

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The view was pretty cool at 108 stories over Vegas, but it was quite disorienting, and I was reminded that I have a titch of a fear of heights. Also, I have a nasty habit of envisioning my death any time I am up high or in a crowded place, so I just had to accept the fact that I would die in the building if there were an earthquake or fire. It didn't help that the building would shake anytime the rides were going. That's just not cool.

When Scotty's training concluded at 5:00, we went to dinner, and then drove down the strip so the kids could see the lights. We went to the Bellagio to see the conservatory and the fountain. I was a little surprised to see that the conservatory hosted some decor that I have already seen (giant, harvesty, LOTR-looking tree people). I didn't realize that they re-use their decor. C'mon Bellagio! We stayed for two fountain shows, and our kids were totally impressed (bout time!) Daisy said, "I'm so glad we came here! This is amazing!" Nicky was hoping that the water would shoot as high as the Eiffel tower across the street, and from his angle, it appeared to, so he was pleased.

After that, it was back to the hotel for bed.

On our second day, I took the kids to the strip to visit some stores. We went to M&M World, the Coke Store, and the Hershey Store. Then we went to the Fashion Show mall to hit up the Lego store and the Disney store.

Here is where I will tell you one of my favorite things about Las Vegas: the lack of kids.

Everywhere we go in Utah, there are a million children. The Disney store and the Lego store here are always packed with kids. Every museum, every playground, and every free attraction is loaded with them! In Vegas, it was like having the world to ourselves. I LOVED it! (other than the part where we stood out like sore thumbs). My kids were able to pick videos to watch at the Disney store, they were able to color Mickey and Minnie face masks, they were able to build Lego cars and race them, and they were able to play on playgrounds without having to deal with all the politics. It was wonderful!

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That night, we went to the top of the Stratosphere because Scotty was given a pass for unlimited rides at his training. We've always seen the Stratosphere rides on TV, and I've always thought they were quite freaky while Scotty has always thought they were awesome. The kids and I watched him ride the X-Scream first. Scotty has never been nervous about a ride, but this one got his heart pumping. He was on the front row, and afterward he said that he was exhausted from the tension in his body. He had never used so many muscles at one time before! I was just glad he didn't plummet to his death.

(If you are not familiar with this ride, you must google it!)

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After that, he went on the Big Shot, which is still freaky, but a lot less so. He opted not to ride Insanity because he gets sick on rides that spin (he's no fun when he has motion sickness). Poor Daisy wanted to go on the Big Shot so bad, but she was too short. Nicky was content to stay on the ground (err... floor?) with me.

On our third day, we took advantage of one of the McDonald's play places in the morning. Then we went to Ethel M's Chocolate Factory. We went there about five years ago, but the factory wasn't running, so we didn't get to see anything on the tour. This time, one small section was in use, but nothing cool was happening. A bunch of men in beard nets were lifting a sheet of wax paper off some caramel/nut thing. We enjoyed our itty bitty samples of chocolate and scoffed at the prices (12 chocolates for $28!!) Then we wandered around the cactus gardens for a while. I think this outing used up approximately twenty minutes of our day.

Our next stop was the Las Vegas temple. When I was five years old, I went to the Las Vegas temple open house with my grandparents. Even though I've been to Vegas several times since then, I hadn't seen the temple again, so I drove there with the kids and took a few pictures. At that point, Zoe had fallen asleep, and Nicky was throwing a tantrum over Coke (judge me if you want, but I let him have a Vanilla Coke from the Coke store. He kept shaking the bottle in the car, and I ended up having to take it away after asking him several times not to shake it. On top of the shaking, he repeatedly pretended to pour it on his sister's head, and when I took it away, he told me he was going to kick me). This particular tantrum lasted about an hour, so we had to spend some time pulled over so Nicky could get out of the van and "cool down." Our time on the temple grounds was anything but reverent. I had to keep the windows rolled up tight so the patrons wouldn't be disturbed by Nicky's screaming.

image 

After Nicky finally calmed down, we went to Town Square, which is a huge outdoor mall. They have a little playground in the middle that we wanted to check out. It was really cute but smaller than I expected. Nevertheless, the kids were entertained for two hours. It helped that, as usual, the playground was significantly less crowded than any Utah playground. The parents there were also very different from Utah parents - not better or worse, just different. It was interesting to see the cultural differences.

We splurged a little and rode the mall train. I didn't realize that they would make me ride with the kids - boy did I feel attractive as I attempted to squeeze myself into the caboose! The girls loved watching the birds at the mall. They aren't afraid of people at all and will perch right on your lunch table and beg for food. Daisy and Zoe love birds!

After our mall adventure, we went back to the Stratosphere to get Scotty. Then we headed home, but not without cruising past the Pawn Stars shop.

image 

It was a long, exhausting ride, but we made it safely, and the kids were pretty good.

As we talked to our kids about our vacation, they all expressed what a great time they had. Daisy said she wants to stay in Las Vegas forever. At first I thought she was overrating it, but then I remembered how much I loved Las Vegas as a child. My grandparents used to go there for conferences, and they took my family with them a few times. We stayed at Circus Circus, and I thought it was the best place in the world. "Lost Vegas," I called it. I remember being so excited to do the littlest things, like fill the ice bucket at our hotel. Those are the same little things my kids fell in love with - using the key to open the hotel room door, getting to push the button on the elevator, riding escalators, and seeing lights. Not to mention having cable.. Nick Jr? That's big time!

Even though Las Vegas isn't the perfect "family" destination, we were able to find a lot of things to enjoy with our kids. It was really fun, and we're all really glad we went!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting My Gratitude On

Since today is Sunday, I can officially say that Thanksgiving is "next week." I am very excited about that! I've been thinking a lot about gratitude this month (as I think we all have), and I've been focusing daily on the little blessings that Heavenly Father has given me that easily go unnoticed.

Like the other day when I was feeling completely overwhelmed by one of my school assignments. Not only did I not know how to do it, I also felt like it was a really pointless assignment. When I sat down at the computer to start working, I suddenly recalled an article I saw linked to on facebook a month or so ago, so I searched until I found it. I read the article and, as a result, was able to do some additional online research that led me to a contact person. I communicated with this individual all week and was able to get the information I needed to complete my assignment, and it turned out to be something I became very excited about. I know that Heavenly Father directed me in that assignment and helped me turn it into something relevant in my life rather than just "busy work." I am so grateful!

Also, this week was pay day, and money has been really tight for us for the past few months. I always create our budget about three months in advance and then make adjustments as things change (like when my son has to get stitches in his face, and oops! There goes our Christmas savings). I made our grocery list for this week and estimated how much the list would cost (I'm pretty savvy at this because I'm very aware of what we spend - I always calculate within $5). Then I had to tweak it because it was more than we could spend (Can we go one more week without breakfast syrup? No. Can we go one more week without napkins? Yes, but only if that stash from Cafe Rio is still in the glove box). I ended up being able to cut it down just enough to come in right on budget. I prayed for self-control and for help spending our money well. When I left my house to go shopping, I had a feeling I should go to a different store than I was planning on (a store where most items are slightly more expensive than the stores I usually shop at and where I can't calculate the cost of everything from memory). I ended up getting all of the things I needed, and a little bit more, and I came in $30 under budget. This is one of those amazing tender mercies of our God. I am so grateful!

Another tender mercy I experienced recently was when I had to renew my drivers' license last Friday. Something a little emotionally traumatic happened to me the night before, and I woke up that morning feeling really sensitive, but I had an appointment at the Drivers Licence Division and child care, so I wasn't going to not get my drivers license! I cried a lot on the way to the DLD, and when I got there, just the idea of going inside made me want to cry more. When I got in, there was no one at the desk to check me in for my appointment, so I stood there... and stood there... and stood there... and fought back tears because feeling ignored was not what I needed right then! But then things changed. I went and got in a line, had my picture taken, and was immediately called up to the desk. There I met the most wonderful woman named Lilleth. She was so cheerful and wonderful. She smiled at me and told me how beautiful my new divers license photo was. She hummed while she stamped the date all over my paperwork and did the "sign here... and here" thing. Throughout my entire exchange with her, she was so unbelievably kind - kind beyond what I would ever expect for a person who issues hundreds of drivers licenses each day. She radiated with joy, and it was contagious! I wanted to tell her thank you for being so nice, but I couldn't say the words or I would bawl. So instead, I did the usual, "Thank you! Have a nice day" thing, and then I went out to the car and cried. I needed Lilleth so much that day! I am so grateful!

This week I've been blessed to be more patient and loving with my children than I am naturally capable of. During situations where I would normally get fired up and upset, I've been able to remain calm and composed. I dealt with hard things this week - a lot of which involve poop - and deep, down, I wanted to scream and pull my hair out and yell in my loudest, angriest Mom voice, "You are too old to be finger-painting with your feces on the couch!!!" but instead, I've dealt with these issues with patience beyond my own ability. This has come through so much prayer (so much!!!) and I am so grateful!



Friday, November 14, 2014

Lately...

...I have been finding so much joy and peace in studying the November Ensign, a magazine from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The November issue has all of the talks from October's General Conference of the Church. I've been waking up between 5:30-6:30 every morning and starting my day by reading a talk or two. My margins are full of notes and personal insights. I love these messages!

...I've been experiencing quite the roller coaster of emotions about school. One day I will feel completely immobilized by stress or fear, and the next day, I am bouncing off the walls and bursting with enthusiasm because I love my field of study so much. Then I remember that I have to take a very difficult statistics class in the future, and I return to feeling overwhelmed... until I geek out over an article on the history of family life education (which should bore me to no end but, instead, returns me to that wall-bouncing state of bliss).

...Zoe, who just turned two, has been sneaking things in the shopping cart whenever we go to the store. Usually I find her treasures in time to take them out of the cart before we check out, but sometimes, when the kids help load stuff on the conveyor belt, I don't see them until we get home. One week she got away with a package of sippy cups and a bag of goldfish crackers (there are always goldfish involved!) At least she was somewhat practical. We needed the sippy cups.

...I've been feeling a little anti-social in group settings. I haven't been able to convince myself to attend anything involving a group in months. No Relief Society events, no baby showers, no parties, or the like. On the rare occasion I've gone to something, I've hidden in a corner or near the food and left as soon as possible.

...I've spent a significant amount of time and money trying to satisfy my intense cravings. I don't have weird cravings, like pickles and ice cream, or any crazy combinations like that, but when I get a particular food in my mind, I can't function until I have it. For example, a few weeks ago, I needed root beer, and it needed to be on crushed ice (bonus points if I could have fries and fry sauce as well). So I drove across town to a restaurant that I knew had crushed ice only to find out that they switched machines and now have cubed ice. This, of course, caused me to be an emotional wreck for the rest of the day because A) I didn't get the "right" root beer, and B) I wasted time and money to do it.

...I've considered keeping a food diary of my cravings so I can laugh about it later.

...I've been experiencing a bit of writer's block, except I'd like to diagnose it more formally as "writer's impatience." I have plenty of things to write about, I just don't have the fortitude to form coherent sentences to say what I want to say.

...Daisy, age 5, has been waiting and waiting for snow. She looks out the window every day (even last week when it was still in the 60's) and says, "Mom! I think it's going to snow!" I wish I looked forward to snow with that same enthusiasm.

...I've been beating myself up over my character flaws. I'd already been getting down on myself about my habits and my weaknesses, and then I had to do a character strengths assessment for school, and the results really crushed my resolve. Through some prayer and communication with God, I'm starting to see myself a little more positively, and I know now that I didn't properly evaluate myself in the assessment. I'm now trying to give myself the pep talks that I would give someone else if I knew they felt like this - because I don't think anyone else should feel this way. Why should I allow myself to be an exception?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Currently {October 2014 Edition}

Reading: My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve.

Watching: Endeavor Series 2.  Finished and now going through withdrawals.

Procrastinating: cleaning my kitchen. It just doesn't seem worth it since it stays clean for .5 seconds before I need to haul the snow shovel and the shop vac back in the house to clean the floor. 

Wanting: new couches. But really, there would be no point in getting new couches unless I also get new paint and new carpet. And there's no point in getting new carpet until my cat is dead and my kids have moved out. Until then, we'll continue living in squalor and finding excuses to never let anyone in our house.

Craving: graham crackers and milk. I like to break up the graham crackers and eat them like cereal. It's a nice way to rack up 1,200 calories.

Wearing: maternity clothes. I soooo do not want to be wearing maternity clothes so soon, but my regular pants cut me in half and make two jelly rolls (even though they still fit). 

Relieved by: the finding of 11 additional credit hours to apply toward my degree. Six of them are just electives, but 5 of them got me out of two more classes. Every bit helps! Plus, with my grad plan, I was one credit short of graduation requirements, so now I will be well beyond the requirements.

Just be happy for me, okay?

Missing: energy. I didn't think I had any, but now that I'm pregnant, I look at my "past life" and all of the things I could do, and it's amazing how much energy I really had. 

Excited for: Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Neglecting: cleaning the blob of tooth paste out of the carpet on the stairs. It's been there for about two months.

Thankful for: the bunk beds my aunt gave us several years ago. They are such a blessing!

Looking forward to: finishing my first class at BYU-I next week. One down, fifty billion to go. 

Loving: cool nights and mornings and warm afternoons.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What I Wear

A few days ago, a short video was released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints discussing sacred temple clothing. 

Throughout my years of blogging, I have occasionally received e-mails from readers asking questions about my Church. Two of those e-mails have been about the temple garment. 

I do not find it offensive to be asked questions about my faith, or even my underclothing. In fact, I think it's better for someone to ask a member of the Mormon Church about what we believe and what we practice than it is to refer to Google or to the media, as there is a lot of misrepresentation out there. 

Regarding those two e-mails about the temple garment - in each of them, the sender had heard about "Mormon underwear" and thought that it must be reserved for some unique sect of the LDS community or for those holding high positions in the Church. They were both very surprised to learn that I wear the temple garment. They were also a little shocked that I wear them everyday and not just for special occasions. 

Because I understand the curiosity many people have about the temple garment, I wanted to share the video today for those who are interested (you may need to click our of your feed reader):


Of course you're still going to have questions even after seeing the video, so don't be afraid to ask (fluentbrittish@gmail.com).

Some things you might want to know:

Who can wear the temple garment? Endowed members of the Church. This means that the person has attended the temple and made certain covenants (or promises) to the Lord.

Where do you buy the underclothing? From a Church Distribution Center or online. As part of your purchase, your endowment is confirmed.

Is it uncomfortable? It takes some time to get used to, but now I'm far more uncomfortable without the garment.

Is it hot? Sometimes, yes.

What kind of fabric is it? There is a wide range of fabrics - cotton, cotton-polyester, DriSilque, carinessa, and even mesh. You can choose what works best for you. They come in men's and women's varieties with a few options for women's necklines (round or square) and lengths (knee or mid-calf). They even have maternity and nursing selections, but I haven't personally used any of those.

What if there's something you want to wear that doesn't cover the garment? I don't wear any clothes that don't cover the garment, save for a swimming suit and occasionally workout clothes, but I reserve those workout clothes only for very strenuous workouts in very hot weather. This is a personal choice, so not all Church members will give the same answer. We are given directions and then can make choices for ourselves.

Can you alter the garment? No.

Is it hard to find clothing that covers the garment? Occasionally. As you can imagine, a high percentage of what is offered in stores, I can not wear, but I'm so used to it that it doesn't feel like a huge inconvenience to me. Some people really struggle with this, though.

For additional information, you can read one of my favorite talks regarding the temple garment here. I have referred to it often as I have made personal decisions about the wearing of the garment.

And, just for fun, here is a blog post that may interest you that discusses some of the things you may have heard about Mormons (note that it is not a Church-sponsored post).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

All About the Fetus Growing

So... If you didn't gather from this post, I'm newly pregnant with baby numero quatro. With this news, I figured you might have some questions, so here is everything you might want to know (along with a lot of stuff you probably don't want to know).

Due date: April 20(ish).

Why "ish?" Because all due dates are "ish," but also because I had a funky start date for my last period. It started, then it went away, then it started again, so I gave the date of the second start to the doctor, and when he measured the fetus via ultrasound, it measured for the first start date, but he wouldn't change the date because the difference was less than a week.

So how far along does that make you? Almost 14 weeks. Depends on what day this post finally gets published.

When did you find out? Some time in August. Approximately two days after I registered for school.

Of course.

Where did you find out? In the library bathroom.

Because that's how I roll.

The gender: Not finding out.

Hoping for: A boy - we would love to have another boy, but that is not to say that we would be unhappy with another girl.

Was this on purpose? Yes. But I have never been one to decide to have a baby and then get pregnant right away, so as always, I had to work on God's time table.

Is this the last one? If all goes well, yes.

Are you sure? 95%

How are you feeling? Very, very tired, pukey, and constipated.

Hey, you asked.

I also feel like my body has been taken over by something foreign. I no longer know what this vessel wants or needs.

Any cravings? Yes. I crave anything I see that I can't immediately have. I'm still upset about the bag of Nibs someone posted a picture of on facebook a few weeks ago. Mostly I like sweet things.

Any aversions? Yes, many. But the biggest one is the smell of fried chicken. If I smell it in a store or driving past a restaurant, I immediately want to hurl. Also, let it be known that most food smells like fried chicken to me right now, so something like a taco stand (completely lacking in fried chicken) still smells like fried chicken.

How's that baby bump coming along? It's pretty big for 14 weeks. The second I was pregnant, there was a loud "POP!" and there it was!

Why have you been blogging so much this week? I don't know. But don't get used to it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do Tell: Life Roles

For the class I'm taking in school right now, I have to watch a lot of videos about study skills, time management, goal setting, and whatnot. All of this has taught me one thing: I am an unmotivated slacker.

I'm not trying to be mean to myself. Truly, if I compare what these videos teach to what I am actually doing in life, I'm a waste of flesh.

So, thanks for that, higher education.

Yesterday's video talked briefly about life roles. It said that each person should have 4-7 life roles at any given time. If we have more than that, we have probably taken on too much. It didn't tell me what happens when we have less than that, but it's probably along the lines of being an unmotivated slacker, like myself. Fortunately, this is one area where I actually have it right - according to the video.


I am a wife. I share my life with someone I love. We make decisions together, spend time together, and take care of each other.

I am a mother. I am raising three (soon to be four) children. I discipline, I teach, I nurture, and I carpool. I also wash lots and lots of underwear and prepare lots and lots of meals.

I am a student. I study, I do assignments, and I take tests.

I am a Mormon. I have committed myself to a faith. I believe. I worship, I pray, I study, and I seek answers.

I am a Primary President. I take care of the children's organization in my ward. I go to meetings, I prepare and teach lessons, I visit the children, I plan baptisms, I promote reverence, and I know lots of primary songs.

I am a fetus grower. This role comes and goes quickly, but while I take on this role, it is a very big part of my life. I get sick, I get tired, I feel uncomfortable, I take vitamins, I surrender my body, and I pee. A lot.

I don't really know where the line is drawn between actual "roles" and "things that are a consistent part of our lives but aren't roles."

What would you call those things? Less than roles?

My <roles would be things like: runner, gamer, birthday poster maker, and blogger. Perhaps extended family roles would also fall into this category: sister, daughter, etc.

What would you consider your life roles right now? How about your <roles? Do tell!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gaming Lately

If you're new around here, you may not know that my husband, Scotty, and I love board games (but chances are, you are NOT new around here, and you have figured this out. Well done, super sleuth!)

We have game nights with our best friends about three times a month. Between both families, we have a wide selection of games to choose from, and we go through phases of playing this or that until one of us gets mad and flips the board (then we have to put that game in time out for a while).

(Okay, no one has ever actually flipped the board, but there have been threats and name calling, mostly in jest, but with underlying tones of "all seriousness.")

Here are some of the games we have been playing lately:



Can I be honest? I hate this game, but I can't stop playing it.

We first played this game when I was pregnant with Zoe. Then we left it on the shelf for a couple of years (I was the reason the game got put in "time out") and brought it back out about two months ago.

This game is so complex! There are so many rules, and some of the rules aren't in the rule book, so every time we play we miss some important rule, and something doesn't work out, so we have to go back through every rules and try and figure out where we went wrong. A few weeks ago, we finally found one of the rules on the phase cards. Why it's not in the rule book - I have no idea! But our goal is to play a complete, non-botched game of Power Grid (which we finally did - as far as we know - on Saturday).

Overall, I don't like how long the game takes (the last round we played took 2.5 hours), and I'm not really a fan of the way the game is won. So why do I keep playing? Because I must master this!!!

Other games I kind of hate but will still play:
Scotland Yard
Small World




This is a really easy card/role playing game. Each player has two secret identities. You can take certain actions based on your identities, and you can LIE! So the entire game is about trying to figure out who is lying. You can challenge each other, and the last person with an identity remaining wins. Each game is about 10 minutes, so this is a nice recovery from something like Risk or Power Grid wherein you invest hours of your life.

Other "role playing" games we like:
Werewolves of Millers Hollow (with The Village expansion)
The Resistance




I bought this game for Scotty for Christmas last year. This game is unique in that everybody takes their turns at the same time, so it's a nice break from traditional games.

In this game, each player has his/her own unique board, and points are acquired as those boards develop throughout the game.

The problem with this game is that I can't win it.

Yes, that is a very huge problem.

Other games we play with individual player boards:
Agricola
Alhambra





This is one of our common "end of game night" games. This is the one we often play when the babies are starting to get fussy, and we're trying to squeeze in ONE LAST GAME before they completely snap.

Qwirkle is a little bit like Dominoes meets Uno (or some other color matching / tile matching love child). It's much less complex than the strategy board games we play and takes a lot less set-up.

Other "end of game night" selections we play:
Bohnanza
Skip-Bo
Golf

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fifteen Incidents From the Past Three Months That Should Have Tipped Off All Observing Parties That I am Pregnant

1. That time I tried to take an extra kid home from preschool.

A boy.

(I drive four girls home from preschool. Zero boys).

2. That time I made chicken chili and forgot to turn the crock pot on.

3. That time, a week later, when I remembered to turn the crock pot on but forgot to plug it in.

4. That time I spent the entirety of a game of Risk working on a mission that I didn't even have.

5. That time I started crying in the middle of the grocery store because I smelled a cinnamon roll.

6. That time I went to Apollo Burger because I needed a cheeseburger, but it was the wrong burger, and I couldn't explain to my husband what burger I needed because I don't know if the burger of my imagination even exists.

7. That time I made a spaghetti dinner at 3:00 in the afternoon because I needed spaghetti RIGHT.THAT.SECOND.

8. That time I ate sour gummi worms for lunch and Sour Patch Watermelons for dinner.

9. That time I let my kids watch three hours of Home Improvement re-runs because I couldn't wake up.

10. That time I threw a bottle of ibuprofen across the kitchen because I remembered that I can't have ibuprofen.

11. That time I went to Time Out For Women with my in-laws, and I held a bag in front of my stomach the whole weekend.

TOFW 

12. That time I made a Shutterfly photo book for my daughter, and I put the wrong birth date on TWO of the pages.

13. That time I didn't sleep past midnight because I didn't like the way my mouth tasted, and my sheets smelled weird so I had to keep getting up and rinsing with toothpaste and spraying a bottle of Febreze.

14. That time, the next day, when I had to wash all the bedding because it smelled like Febreze.

15. That time I went to my OB/GYN's office, and I was overly emotional because he had a beard.

(He informed me he is planning to shave it).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's Wednesday (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: Sometimes when we're cleaning, we jam to "Riverbank" by Brad Paisley. (Remember how you're not allowed to judge me for my love of country music?) Daisy now refers to any man in a cowboy hat as "Riverbank." So this morning, as she was looking through a ShopKo ad, she saw a country CD and said, "Hey, Mom! Look! It's Riverbank!"

Fact #2: It was actually Jason Aldean, whom I find "meh."

Fact #3: This picture of Scotty and our friend Stevenson makes me laugh.

image

Fact #4: Last weekend we took the kids camping in the Uintas. On our way up the canyon, we had to stop and wait for a tow truck to pull a drunk driver out of the river. The driver was handcuffed and was putting up a fight, and the cops had to slam him down on the hood of the car - just like on TV! 

Fact #5: Camping in October means you wake up to frost. Lots and lots of frost! There's a slight chance we could have frozen to death... judging by the state of our water bottles that morning.

image

Fact #6: While we were camping, Zoe started showing symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth. That is some nasty stuff, HF&M. Ugh! Her lips have been so swollen, and he gums have been bleeding (which makes for very nasty slobber, mind you!) We're now on Day 5 of it, and she's just barely beginning to recover. This morning her lips were all scabbed over. It is so sad! 

Fact #7: Last week, Nicky put on a pair of jeans, and we quickly learned that he's outgrown all of his pants that I bought back in March. This is a huge bummer because they are hardly worn, and I really thought they'd last through this year.

I ended up finding him six pairs of pants at the thrift store, which was such a blessing because money is a little tight right now. 

I also found this outfit for Zoe (yellow cords!) but she refuses to wear it. She refuses to wear anything, actually.

image

Fact #8: It seems that as soon as your boy child wears a size 10, you can start shopping for pants at the thrift store again. Thank heavens. Sizes 3-8 are non-existent because they are shredded to bits by the time the boys are done with them.

Fact #9: Sometimes, you just gotta enjoy a Vanilla Coke and a box of Milk Duds. Can I get an "amen?"

image

Fact #10: Vanilla Coke and Milk Duds taste even better while playing Settlers of Catan.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

School So Far

About a month ago I started school. I'm working on my BS in Marriage and Family Studies through BYU-Idaho. I don't live in Idaho, as you probably know, so I'm doing my courses online.

{Via byui.edu}

In order to enter the BYU-I online degree program, you have to have 15 credit hours at a CES school or you must complete the Pathway program. Since I graduated from LDS Business College, I met the credit hour requirements and was able to go straight into my program. 

I've had a hard time talking to people about school, and while there are probably several mysterious psychological reasons for this, the biggest factor is that I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid that it will be too hard. I'm afraid that I'll give up.

It's a lot easier to give up when no one knew you were working toward a goal in the first place, which is why I've said very little about this endeavor. 

It looks like, if I stick to it, I'll finish up in about three years. I wish I could get it done faster, but I don't want to set aside my family too much, so I'm taking it a bit slow. I don't want my schooling to interfere with my role as a mother, and I don't want to have to miss certain things for the sake of studying and doing homework. Also, I really don't want to take out student loans, so even though it costs more overall to spread it across three years, I'm hoping that paying for it bit by bit will keep us out of debt.

For now, I'm muddling through. My experience so far has been pretty negative. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I am the student that always has problems; things like, my transcript being blank, my AP scores getting lost, the wrong academic adviser calling me, my tuition not going through, and so on and so forth. 

But yesterday I had my first positive schooling moment - I was able to get out of taking one of my prerequisites. So woohoo for that. Hopefully there are more bright things ahead.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Underwear Curse

So... it's been a while. Twenty-three days, in fact.

It happens.

During that time, most of my efforts have gone into managing my son's underwear.

A brief history:

(Haha...brief...I didn't even do that on purpose!)

Until spring of this year, Nicky wore briefs. I, personally, would have him continue wearing briefs because they are the most economical male underclothing, and they fit well under pants. But over the years, especially since starting school, Nicky has complained about his underwear being too tight and uncomfortable and what have you. 

Boy problems. Whatever.

Have a period. Then we can talk.

One morning in kindergarten, Nicky was throwing such a fit over his underwear that Scotty and I teamed up and stretched out all of his underwear to make them more roomy. Last year (in first grade) Nicky started sneaking to school with no underwear, so at the end of the school year I asked, "If I buy you boxers, will you promise to always wear underwear to school?"

He said yes.

So I bought him a 10-pack of boxers (at that price, I could have gotten at least 15 briefs. I'm just sayin'). 

That was about seven months ago, so - in my mind - there should still be ten pairs of boxers in his possession.

Three weeks ago, Nicky came running upstairs after his shower complaining that he had no underwear. I was able to scrounge up a pair out of a misplaced basket of clean laundry in the basement. The next day... there really was no underwear for him except for a few random pairs of size 6 briefs that I have never taken out of his drawer. He tried on a pair of the briefs, wiggled and squirmed, and then declared that he couldn't wear them. I ended up sending him to school in a swimming suit because... built-in mesh.

Exactly a week later (this tends to happen on Thursdays) it happened again. This time I figured I needed to suck it up and buy more boxers, so after Nicky went to school, I went to Target.

That night, when I went to open the package I'd purchased, I glanced at the photo on the front, and something seemed amiss. Then I realized that the body on the package belonged to a man. Since I bought the boxers from the boys' section of Target, I first assumed this was some sort of very incorrect marketing. Then I looked at the size and saw that they were for a 32-34" waist, so it was simply a matter of misplaced product.

Let me tell you something about man underwear! It is far worse to buy that boy underwear!

When I checked my receipt, I found I had paid $7 more than I had expected. Luckily, just this once, this was good news because it meant that my overspending that day was in part from choosing the wrong underwear and not so much from my impulse buying!

(I also had to buy $30 in laxatives that day - perhaps this is a story for another time?)

The next day I had to stop at Walmart for a few things, so I grabbed Nicky another package of boxers - this time (hopefully) the right ones. I made sure they truly were boys' underwear.

But lo and behold, the next day Nicky tried on a new pair of underwear, and they were too small. I didn't even think about the difference in sizing between brands. Nicky's original boxers are Hanes, in which he wears a small (8/10), but the brand I bought from Walmart is sized for 6/7.

Curses!

After all of this had taken place, I thought, "This kid has ten pairs of boxers. Why I am trying to buy him new ones?" So I returned not one, but two packages of useless boxers to two different stores and didn't pick up any replacements. Then I spent the weekend catching up on laundry. I found every piece of clothing in the entire house, and when all was said and done, I folded and put away four pairs of boxers.

FOUR!!

(With the pair he was wearing, we have a total of five accounted for).

So, of course he ran out again yesterday. Because it was Thursday. So I sent him to school with a pair of pajama shorts under his pants.

Now, I've come to accept that socks will be lost. I've also come to accept that children aren't the most reliable creatures. But Boxers? Really? They're not exactly tiny. Where have they gone?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Shampooed My Couches Today (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: The other day I tried an Xtend Barre workout. I thought that the former dancer in me would enjoy it ("enjoy" as in "tolerate," for I am not one who falls in love with any form of exercise), and I was surprised to discover how much I didn't like it. It was a fantastic workout, and I have been sore for four days from it, but it reaffirmed that I am no longer a dancer - not in body nor in mind. I am far more suited to push-ups, jumping jacks, and burpees.

Mind blown.

Fact #2: Zoe (now 22 months old) has finally discovered how to say "yes" (or "yaw" - in her dialect). This is very exciting because we've been having major issues interpreting what this child wants, and the fact that we can now ask her 20 questions, and she might say "yaw" to one of them is a huge step forward.

What would have previously been a twenty-minute tantrum over breakfast is now a simple:

Zoe: Ba ba ba ba, Mama!

Me: You want me to take the cherries out of your cereal?

Zoe: Yaw!

Fact #3: Daisy, on the other hand, has recently learned the phrase "shut up." This is not good. Not good at all.

When Nicky discovered "shut up," it took one brief explanation of why I don't want him to say it, and he never had a problem with it ("poop" and "butt" are an entirely different story). Daisy, though, can not be taught by logic. Explaining why we don't want her to say "shut up" is a lost cause, and asking her not to say it will encourage her to say it ten fold.

I think we have many language issues ahead of us, as words are always Daisy's weapon of choice.

Fact #4: As of last night, Canning Season is officially OVER in the Brittish household.

Fact #5: I don't want to see another peach or green bean for the next six months.

Fact #6: We had our first (non-surgery) stitches in the family over the weekend.

image

(My apologies to the squeamish)

That, my friends, is my son's precious face after being sliced open with...

Wait for it...

A SLAP BRACELET!

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Fact #7: Five stitches.

(But I think he really needed six or seven, and I debated taking him back on Monday to have them look at it again because the bottom of the cut is still gaping).

Fact #8: Have I told you that I'm going back to school?

No, I haven't. Because I don't want to talk about it.

But I can tell you this: It is possible to decide on July 22 to apply for a bachelor's degree program, get accepted, and start school in the Fall.

Which is the short version of the "Holy Crap I'm Going Back to School!" story.

Fact #9: Remember how I shampooed my couches? (see title) There is a weird brown spot on one couch that was very obviously not poo, but now that it has been shampooed, it looks very much like poo.

Perhaps a follow-up picture is in order.

Once you've gotten over my son's gaping face wound.

Fact #10: Daisy turns five on Sunday.

Whoa.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's in my Genes

For the past couple of months, I've been trying to find out how I'm connected to a very obscure relative.* I know he's in my family history somewhere, I just haven't been able to find the exact line.

Family History is big in my church. We are encouraged to find out who our ancestors are and learn about their lives. It is a fascinating thing, and I have found that I am related to some very cool people:

Amelia Earhart (12th cousin, 3 times removed)
Bing Crosby (14th cousin, 4 times removed)
Charlemagne (37th great-grandfather)**
Elias Disney (14th cousin, 4 times removed)
Emily Dickinson (13th cousin, 5 times removed)
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) (14th cousin, 7 times removed)

Just to name a few.

I'm also related to:

11 of the current 12 apostles (everyone but Quentin L. Cook)
President Henry B. Eyring (11th cousin)
23 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence
15 prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
21 Presidents of the United States

Not bad, eh?

*This relative was mentioned in a talk by Henry B. Eyring. He is President Eyring's great-uncle, Gaskell Romney, who gave President Eyring his patriarchal blessing. I have multiple patriarchs in my family line, so I want to find out how I'm related to this particular patriarch.
**I am directly related to over 100 members of European royalty