Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's the Last Day of June (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: It has been so hot around here for the past two weeks. It's been over 100 degrees (this is the first time I've tried alt + 0176 on my new(ish) laptop, and it's not working. Boo to that!) (also, not a Mac, FYI) for several days in a row. The normal temperature for June here is 87. Our lawn is dying, our garden is dying, and our chickens and bunnies are suffering a bit. I feel very burdened by having to wear clothes. Waistbands are especially uncomfortable since heat is inflating me. The other day, I took my socks off, and my ankles had ballooned over the top of them. I am sweaty... everywhere... all day long!

Fact #2: Last night we went to the Mystery Escape Room. It's an entertainment venue where you're "locked" in a room (not really because it's against fire code), and you have to work together to solve a series of puzzles to escape. You have one hour to get out.  We participated in beta testing for the Terrorist Warning room (I'm not a fan of the theme - I don't think terrorism should be a source of entertainment - but it ended up not being as horrifying as I thought). We didn't get out, but there were a few glitches (hence the testing), and we got a really good discount for being some of the first occupants. It was really fun. Go if you ever get the chance.

Fact #3: I'm struggling with school right now. I feel like it's taking me away from my family, and I don't want to do it anymore. There are some classes on the horizon that I am absolutely dreading. I don't know how I'll ever get through them. The degree feels so far out of reach. Fifteen more classes, and I can only handle two, at most, a semester. Some of the classes I need to take are so time-consuming (due to group meetings, sometimes twice a week) that I will only be able to take one at a time. My thoughts are:

  1. I can do this. It's okay for a goal to take time. I shouldn't give up just because the end result is far away. Scotty took eight years to get his degree from start to finish. I was lucky to already have junior college under my belt. Fifteen classes will add up quickly.
  2. I shouldn't put my family on the back burner for school. It's more important for me to enjoy my time with my children while they are little. This phase will be gone soon. I don't want to look back and struggle to remember their childhood because I spent all of my spare time studying and doing homework.
  3. If I take a break from school, I don't know if I'll be strong enough to come back and finish. It might be harder later. It's now or never.
  4. I really want to know what it's like to function as a family without school interrupting. We haven't yet experienced life without one of us in school. 

Fact #4: This summer, my wardrobe consists primarily of cut-offs. I made a sorry attempt a couple years ago at wearing colored skinny jeans. They were cheap, so I added a few pairs to my wardrobe. Then everyone stopped wearing colored skinny jeans, and I never looked okay in them anyway, so I admitted defeat and chopped them all off into shorts. I haven't hemmed them because I have four needy children, and I'd probably end up drop kicking my sewing machine out of frustration. So this summer, I kind of look like the Hulk. I don't think I'm ever going to have a well-dressed summer. I'm always in "clothing survival mode" in the heat.

Fact #5: Last weekend, Scotty did the Spartan Race. I sat this one out. At the beginning of the race, I felt really sad that I wasn't participating, but around the three-mile point, I was really glad I didn't try to do it. I'm in no shape to attempt such a feat. Friends are always asking if I want to do another one someday, and the truth is, I don't know. I want to be capable of doing one again, but I feel like this isn't my season for racing - especially to that extreme. To prepare for last year's race, I ran 15-20 miles per week and went to the gym at 5:00 a.m. at least four days a week. I can't do that right now, and if I were to do that, I think my family would suffer.

Fact #6: Things we've done this summer:

  • Lunch at the park (at least 15 times. No joke).
  • Day camp for Cub Scouts (my first Scout camp!)
  • Swimming at Grandma's house
  • Blessed Eva
  • Piano lessons and taekwondo for Nicky
  • Jungle Jim's
  • Chopped 6" off Daisy's hair
  • Doctor appointments 
  • Speech therapy for Zoe
  • Board games with friends
  • Hung out at a reservoir
  • Mowed my grandma's lawn each week
  • Watched Master Chef
  • Spent 2 nights in a condo in Midway
Fact #7: I realized this morning that my kids haven't asked me a single time this summer if they can play on the computer. This was a surprising discovery for me because my kids LOVE to play on the computer. I was patting myself on the back a bit because, look at me! I've kept my kids away from the screen for three weeks! But then I realized that the reason they are staying off the computer is because we just got Netflix, so they are currently preoccupied with a different screen. 

Fact #8: Some of our friends, whom I would consider "shared interest friends," meaning we like a lot of the same things and usually trust their recommendations, have been begging us to watch Doctor Who, so when we got Netflix, episode 1 was one of the first things we watched. 

Have you watched Doctor Who

Have you?

Because all I can say is WHAT.THE.HECK?

I told my friend, "I'm sorry. Doctor Who isn't going to happen. This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen!"

She laughed and said, "You have to give it a few episodes."

So we gave it about eight episodes, and it was still stupid. So she said, "You have to give it a season."

We didn't give it a season. 

Maybe we'll come back to it someday (multiple friends have now encouraged me to keep going, but they won't let me skip to season 2. They say we have to watch all of season 1. I'm not sure how anyone has made it through season 1). 

Fact #8: Our family has developed a fanship of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Scotty and I enjoy the books as much as the kids (with the exception of Daisy. Daisy hates everything). 

Fact #9: Recently I've been seeing a lot of articles online that argue that Powerpoint presentations are not an effective teaching tool (here is one example). I am so happy to see this! When I was in junior college, people were just starting to use Powerpoint. By the time I graduated, Powerpoint was everywhere. In my pre-kid job, I attended numerous trainings on everything from autism to punctuality, and most of the presenters used Powerpoint. I have always felt like the quality of presentation goes down when the presenter is relying on slides (not to mention that it has never worked for me visually), and I am so relieved to find that this is a common opinion - it's not just me! (I am, however, contemplating using Prezi in my upcoming Sunday school lesson - just as an experiment - but I intend to use it more as a discussion guide than to present information).

Fact #10: Thanks to jDawgs, I now know that sauerkraut is nothing to fear. In fact, I have a jar of it in my fridge. It's good stuff. Embrace the sauerkraut! Everything will be okay!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sloppy Blogging

I'm right in the middle of my homework. Stuff I've been working on all day. It's great. So great. I need a break, so here I am... blogging with no rhyme or reason and no path in sight.

Sloppy blogging. That's what I'm all about at this point.

So, let me tell you about my life.

I have a garden. It's in rough shape. We got a really late start on our planting this year, and we did very little prep work. We are also doing very little upkeep, so things are a bit (or should I say a lot) "weedy,"

A few weeks ago, a Mama Robin built a nest in our peach tree (which happens to be in our garden) and laid some eggs. Then Mama Robin's babies started hatching and she got territorial. Any time anyone goes in the garden, she goes crazy. She leaves her nest, perches on the perimeter, and starts squawking all sorts of profanities. Then she dives at our heads. At first she'd fly within a couple inches. Then she got more serious and started ruffling my hair. Now, she's just downright pissed off, so if I go in the garden, she charges right at my head with no fear. I am forever ducking and squatting.


It's intense, and I have become a bit flinchy. The other day we went to a reservoir, and some kids were throwing frisbees on the beach. One came within five feet of me, and I almost jumped out of my beach chair.

Talk about fight or flight!

According to the internet, robins mature in two weeks, but then they take 10-15 more days to master the art of flying. Hopefully they'll all be out of my hair (literally) any day now, but I'm not sure when they'll relocate. In the meantime, Mama Robin and I have quite the rivalry going on.

In other news...

I have a very fun dialogue going on on facebook right now. I asked my 'friends' if they'd let me guess their color profile (from the Color Code), so all day, I've been guessing people's personality types. There have been family members, close friends, and even a few bloggers participating (I'm currently on pins and needles waiting to see if I was right about Melanie, whom I've never met. I was spot-on with Amy, whom I have spent about five minutes with in person, and I was pretty close with Becky). Even my ninety-year-old neighbor got in on the action (as well as her daughter and two grand-daughters... it's turned into a multi-generational gig).

Some of them are trying to guess my color as well. Tonight I will make my grand reveal...

And with those two things, I'm going to go ahead and wrap this up. Look forward to more sloppy blogging in the future. My brain is fried from school, so all you get are the leftovers!

P.S. I started watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I just feel like I need to throw that out there.

Monday, June 8, 2015

That moment when...

...your husband thinks he's Professor Xavier during a round of Splendor


...your chicken realizes she's on a leash.


...you notice that your daughter is only six weeks old, and she's already rolling her eyes at you.


...you see your husband inspecting your child's teeth with a flashlight.


...your two-year-old bites your five-year-old... again...


...your father-in-law finally notices the picture you swapped out in the family wall.


...your husband cuts his own hair.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Post-Pregnancy Cravings

Since having Eva, I have been experiencing a glorious "return to self." When I'm pregnant, I'm not myself at all, and I don't particularly care for the person I am during that time. It has been so great to rediscover who I am and to have access to my former abilities.

That makes it sound like I temporarily lost some superhero powers or something, but to be honest, that's kind of what it feels like - I'm regaining my superhero powers!

(When you're pregnant, something as simple as tying your shoe starts to seem like a superhero power).

With my returning to self has come some cravings for things I didn't get enough of during pregnancy.

Craving #1: Food

Since I have major taste aversion when I'm pregnant, I develop a very complicated relationship with food. The second the baby is out, food suddenly starts to taste good again. The problem with that is that I suddenly want to eat ALL THE THINGS.

Craving #2: TV

This one's a little more complicated. I have this unruly desire to binge-watch a TV show. I am craving me some TV something fierce, but there's no time for TV right now. Any time that could be TV time has to be homework time instead. The last time I binge-watched a TV show was about two years ago when I watched the first season of The Paradise while drinking peanut butter banana shakes. I'm overdue.

Craving #3: Time with Friends

I'm a very neglectful friend when I'm pregnant. I get pretty anti-social, so some of my friends just give up on me, and we fall out of touch. Now I'm realizing how much I've missed my friends, and I'm trying to squeeze in some time with them whenever I can. I can't believe how good it feels to catch up and have a conversation with someone who doesn't call me "the stupidest mommy ever!" 

(At least not to my face).

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Birthday Posters - The Second Half

For the past two years, I've made birthday posters for my son's school. You can see last year's posters here, and the first half of this year's posters here.

Each month I get a list of the student's birthdays and make a poster with their names on it. 

In January, I did a poster with stars and guitars. 


February was "Birthday Sweethearts." I sacrificed my favorite box for this poster. I found it at Sam's Club in the pile of boxes, and it was entirely white and had handles. Take my word for it, it was an amazing box.


In March I paid tribute to the NCAA (which I care nothing about). My husband and kids were all obsessed with their brackets, so it's really all I could think of.


In April, I did a bubble gum machine. At this point, I was nine months pregnant, and I was a little bit miserable. I ended up asking a friend to come help me because maneuvering my sizable belly around a school poster wasn't exactly my idea of fun. I pawned off a lot of the cutting, and she was heppy to oblige.


For May's poster, I had a two-week-old baby. I had great intentions of having May's poster completed before I had the baby, but it didn't happen. This Pac-Man poster took everything out of me! I pretty much let Daisy take over. It was supposed to have a sign above it that read, "A-MAZE-ing May Birthdays," but when I went to print it, I was one piece of paper short, and I just didn't care anymore.


I'm not sure if I'll be doing it again next year. The school will have a new PTA president, so things might be different. Part of me is happy to retire, but another part of me wants to keep doing it. It has been a nice assignment because I've been able to be involved with the school, but it's something I can do on my own time and without worrying about coordinating with other people. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This is the Summer

Summer is fast approaching. For some reason, in Utah, it seems like we always go from 70's to 90's overnight. It never develops slowly, its just BAM! HOT!

Daisy finished preschool a couple weeks ago, and Nicky's last day of school is Friday, so in a few short days, we will be in full-fledged summer vacation mode. I have to admit, I'm more of a school year kind of mom. I like the structure - the waking up early, the getting ready, the packing of lunches. Call me crazy, but that's sort of my thing. Plus, I'm a huge supporter of my children's independence. I'm happy to send them out into the world to learn and grow. It has its pros and cons, of course, but hopefully my ability to see them off will assist them in their journey into adulthood.

Since summer is inevitable, I've been trying to do some prep work to keep things under control around here. I always start summer off feeling super motivated to provide my kids with vast amounts of structure and educational activities. One summer I had this grand idea to do a book theme for each week. During that week we would read the book and do activities that went along with it. Before school got out, I brainstormed a list of all the books and corresponding activities for the entire summer. Then week one came along, and I was supposed to read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and then bake cookies with my kids. Turns out, having a book theme required me to take two unruly children to the library to get the dang book. So that ended that.

You can breathe a sigh of relief.

(You thought I was going to tell you I actually went through with it, right?)

I never tried anything like that again, but still, every summer I start out thinking that THIS will be the summer I succeed! This will be the summer I keep up on my kids' chores, spend quality time with them every day, resist all urges to let them watch TV, and also spend no money (because the great moms, for some reason, are able to do all that and maintain a perfect budget - they don't surrender and say, "I will give you all fifty bucks if you will be quiet for 30 minutes!!!").

(Okay, I've never done that).

(At least not fifty).

This year is no exception. Even though I know failure is as inevitable as the season itself, I'm still sitting here thinking this is the summer I'm going to ROCK it.


This is the summer I'm going to keep up on my kids' chores, spend quality time with them every day, resist all urges to let them watch TV, and also spend no money.

(Don't worry. I'll check back in when it's over... mid June-ish).

Monday, June 1, 2015

13-Year Glimpse

I often wonder what 18 year-old me (18YOM) would have thought if she'd been able to see 13 years into the future. Like most 18 year olds, I was a bit naive about... uh... well... everything. There's nothing wrong with that. It is what it is. But with that naivety, I think I might have looked at 31 year-old me in complete disbelief.

Let's take a look at what 18YOM was like...

At 18, I knew I was going to get married soon. Scotty was 21, and we weren't engaged yet, but we were engaged to be engaged. We were just waiting until I reached the wise, old age of 19 (because everybody knows 19 year-olds are perfectly ready to get married!) I was a student at LDS Business College, and I worked at a local dairy. I taught a Sunday School class of 12 year-olds. I drove a 1997 Saturn SL2 (manual transmission - thankyouverymuch). I didn't EVER worry about diet or exercise, and I sported my own version of the "Rachel" and weighed 125 pounds.


Here are some of the things 18YOM might have been shocked to learn about 31YOM.

1. I live in a middle-class home with forest green carpet in the city I grew up in.

18YOM was too good for this city. She intended to move away to somewhere classier because she, of course, was going to be wealthy. She was going to have a really nice, really big house. Everything inside it was going to be clean and absolutely stellar! She never planned on having anything outdated in her home.

2. My kids always wear mis-matched clothes, they have dirty faces, and their hair is rarely done.

18YOM used to look at these types of children at the store and think, "My children will never..." 18YOM would be appalled that my children's summer wardrobes consist primarily of their winter clothes modified with scissors. She would be disgraced at my daughters' unruly hair and my son's recently buzzed head. She would be horrified by the peanut butter and jelly smears that frequently decorate their (literally) sweet faces. 

3. My furniture has been beaten to smithereens.

There are two points to make about 18YOM on this one. First of all, she had no idea how hard it is to keep furniture nice. She never would have expected the amount of rules, work, and discipline that would have to go into maintaining those dang off-white microfiber couches she would purchase pre-kid. Secondly, she thought her kids would be super obedient and super mellow and that it would be super easy to get them to be that way. Her kids would never be the type to cause damage to furniture.


4. I'm not stick thin.

This is the thing that I think would have scared 18YOM the most. I think if she'd seen what would become of her body, she would have ran for the hills. 18YOM never thought that she'd have to worry about weight. She always thought she'd look exactly the same as she did at 18. If she would have known what would happen to her arms, her belly, and her face, she never would have been able to cope.

Yes, 18YOM would have had a really hard time looking 13 years into the future. She probably would have been so startled by what she saw that she wouldn't have noticed that living in a modest house allowed her to stay out of excessive debt. Or that every time she had the money to replace the forest green carpet, she used it to take her family on vacation instead. She wouldn't have seen the joy her children experience or the independence they develop when they dress themselves. She wouldn't have known how well-used each piece of furniture truly was - how many meals were shared at the scratched and dented table, or how many family movies were watched on the dirty, stained sectional. And most of all, she wouldn't have seen the beauty of carrying four babies or her own willingness to sacrifice some of the finer traits of her body in order to bring them into the world. 

I guess it's a good thing 18YOM didn't get that  13-year glimpse into the future.