Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Title is the Hardest Part (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: Yesterday my baby figured out how to take the lid off the bottle of breakfast syrup. Imagine this for a moment: a 14-month-old at the kitchen table with a 1 gallon jug of Mrs. Butterworth's.

No really, I imagine it!

Are you crying?

Because you should be.

Fact #2: Today the three-year-old opened a can of root beer and poured it into several cups on the kitchen table and mostly missed the cups. Where was I? Vacuuming bedrooms downstairs.

Fact #3: Do you see how dangerous it is to clean? A mere attempt at tidy carpet has resulted in what I'm sure will be eternal root beer stickiness on the linoleum (which only adds to the never-ending syrup mess). The cost of cleaning is to high! Too high, I say.

Fact #4: The Giver is on Netflix  now. If you've never watched it, you should.

Fact #5: We recently got to a place in life where markers were allowed to be kept in accessible places. Zoe still had a few marker-related incidents from time to time, but for the most part, it was working for us. This week, Eva learned how to take the caps off markers, so I have to go back to hiding all of the markers. The problem is, I'm so out of the habit that I often forget. Now  there are master pieces all over my house, and I am constantly finding markers all over the house without lids on them. I throw away about two per day.

Fact #6: Notice how I put that Giver thing in there to break up the messes a bit. Let the truth be known: my life is messy.

Fact #7: I'm a firm believer in supportive pictures in blog posts and yet, I do not practice this belief because of laziness.  It's been a really long time since I've posted a picture of anything, so here is my kid in a crow mask:


Fact #8: Sometimes when I talk to people my age who are single, and we discuss their current dating life, I realize that, at this point in my life, making new friends is sometimes very similar to dating. I keep finding myself in whirlwind "romances." Is this true for everyone, or am I just creepy? 

Fact #9: Tonight I had to go to a square dancing activity in preparation for the upcoming pioneer trek I'm participating in next week. What is a pioneer trek, you ask? This is where Mormons get a little crazy and dress up as pioneers and pull handcarts through the middle of Wyoming. 

Hopefully I'll be able to elaborate on this more in another post, but anyway... square dancing. One of my least favorite things on earth. I don't like touching people I don't know. In fact, in most cases, I don't like touching people I do know, and square dancing is very touchy-feely, partner-switchingly awkward. 

But I was a good sport, and I did it. I held hands with 20 different sweaty males (all of whom were either teenagers or married men... awkward, awkward, akward!) Plus we were all dressed in full-on pioneer garb, and it was 96 degrees outside. 

Can someone get me a medal? Cuz I'm pretty sure I deserve one. 

Fact #10: I was a little surprised when we square danced to disco music and "Who Let the Dogs Out."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Things I'll Miss

I have four kids.

How did this happen? How can I be old enough to have four kids? Why have I been allowed and trusted to be responsible for all of these little people?

It's a lot of people. I have many friends who have more than four. Frankly, I don't know how they do it. I feel like I have absolutely met my limit. Actually, I felt that way with three. Somehow I went ahead and had another even though I was already completely overwhelmed.

I routinely get the"You're going to miss this" speech from my elders. I smile and nod and try to be a good sport about it even though I really hate being given The Speech. I know I will miss parts of this, but I definitely won't miss all of it, and I'm a firm believer that missing it is part of the reward of surviving it. Once you've made it through, you get to have the blessing of hindsight that allows you to miss it. I'm not there yet. Let me have my resentment so I have something to regret later. It's my right as a mother. Stop bossing my motherhood.

Anyway, like I said, there are definitely things about my children's current phases and stages that I will miss someday.

Eva - age 14 months

I will miss her hugs and her unconditional love. Babies love their mommas like no one else. I'll miss her toddles - that silly walk that works for her but makes me contemplate, what if we all walked that way? I'll miss her baby giggles and her rolly thighs and her squishy potbelly. I'll miss the way her head feels on my shoulder and the way the weight of her sinks into my chest when she falls asleep on me. I'll miss the way she comes up to me while I'm asleep and gives me a big, loud kiss on the face. I'll miss the way she snuggles with her blankets. I'll miss the way she points and gets excited when she sees candy and the way her face looks when she says, "Whooooooaaaa!" I'll miss her weird, little tooth that has a slit in it. Someday it will fall out, and she will look like an entirely different person. I'll miss marveling at everything she learns and the ways she grows.

Zoe - age 3 1/2

I'll miss the way she whispers "Yesss!" under her breath when she gets what she wants (she pronounces it "Yefffff!" because she can't say make the 'S' sound very well). I'll miss the way she gallops everywhere she goes. I'll miss the way she sings, "I like you, I like you, I like you just the way you are!" and how she asks to watch "My whoa" which is Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I'll miss the way she chirps, "Me help! Me help!" whenever I am working on something that I really don't want her to help with. I'll miss the way she put her swimming suit bottoms on with her waist through the leg hole and the way she plays dress up and announces things like, "Yook, I a yion!" or "Yook, me a daddy!" I'll miss her sincere laughter and the arches in her brow that don't quite line up with her natural eyebrows (maybe she'll get to keep those, but she's already lost the birthmark on her eyelid and the natural curl in her hair, so you never know what will disappear as they grow). I'll miss the way she eats the white stuff out of the Oreos and throws the cookies on the floor (see? I know that there are things I'll miss that annoy the heck out of me right now).

Daisy - age 6 3/4

I'll miss her confidence and her passion. Right now her self-esteem is high, and there isn't much to hold her back. She is fearless. She know what she wants and she fights for it. She isn't yet tainted by worrying about what others think. I'll miss the way she calls me "Momma," even though "Momma! Momma! Hey Momma! Momma! Hey Momma!" gets old after a while. I'll miss the mismatched outfits she insists on wearing (plaid shorts under a chevron pattern dress, loud neon socks with high heels for church). I'll miss her obsession with Beanie Boos and Shopkins and the way she lines them up to play. I'll miss her constant insistence that I spend every waking moment with her. I'll miss the way she dances through every room of the house and constantly asks for music to inspire her moves.

Nicky - age 9 1/2

I'll miss his desire to do what's right. I'll miss his passion for stuffed animals and blankies. I'll miss the way he insists that we do the same bed time routine every night. I'll miss the way he loves spending time with me and the way he asks me about everything I do. "What are you watching?" "What is your book about?" "Who sings this song?" "Will you teach me how to play that game?" I'll miss the way he uses masking tape to accomplish great things - like building a Hot Wheels track that runs down the living room banister. I'll miss his love for Cub Scouts and the way he looks forward to den meeting each week. I'll miss how goal-minded he is and his desire to achieve things. I'll miss the way he joins us in our exercising efforts - the way he does burpees in the living room with his dad and the way he critiques my moves. "Mom, you're doing it different than Shaun T. I don't think you're working as hard as he is." (BUSTED!)

So yeah... I'll miss it. I know it. I don't need anyone telling me so while I'm in the thick of it, though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Weird Things My Kids Do

Today I gave Eva a few Ritz crackers to munch on, and she threw them on the floor. She always throws Ritz crackers on the floor. Could it be that she doesn't like Ritz crackers? I thought followed by Strange child! And that got me thinking about how weird my kids are sometimes, and that's what led me to write this post.

Here are a few more things about my kids that I think are weird (to protect their weirdness, I'm not going to use names or genders, and I'll refer to all of them as "it" because I'm tactful like that):

Weird thing #1: I have a kid who likes to lick hair. I have to constantly tell this child to not lick the baby's head (process of elimination: it's not the baby)

Weird thing #2: Another child often picks up hair from the ground and puts it in it's mouth. I always pull the hair out of it's mouth right away, but who knows how much hair it's putting in there that I never see. Is it ingesting the hair? I'm not sure. But I have my trichophagia radar on.

Weird thing #3: One of my children likes to smell it's feet. In fact, we were at the doctor's office just this morning when this kid climbed on the table, flipped it's shoes off, and brought it's feet right to it's face and started sniffing. The doctor was a little startled.

Weird thing #4: One of my kids loves mushrooms and wants them everyday for lunch. It eats a pound of mushrooms all by itself and then asks for more.

Weird thing #5: The mushroom child has a ritual of lining the mushrooms (when they are whole) along the handle of the oven. I have to let this happen or the child gets upset, so I stand by patiently waiting for it to finish making a row of mushrooms. Then the child insists on handing them to me one at a time so I can slice and saute them.

Weird thing #6: One of my kids likes to stretch it's eyeball sockets while I'm doing it's hair. It calls this "eyeball yoga."

Weird thing #7: Two of my kids cry if we look at pictures from our Disneyland vacations.

Weird thing #8: One of my kids is obsessed with the name Bob. It sings songs about Bob and calls everyone Bob.

Weird thing #9: One of my kids wants to be a chicken farmer when it grows up.

Weird thing #10: One of my kids likes to smash Smarties into dust and put it in little sandwich baggies and carry it around in it's pocket. Um, yeah... it looks like cocaine.

Weird thing #11: Two of my kids like to fill garbage bags with water, hang them from the swing set, and hit them with sticks. They call it "playing pinata."

Weird thing #12: Two of my children cry if they hear the song "Crash and Burn" by Thomas Rhett because it reminds them of Shaun the Sheep (the movie) which, according to them, is very sad. The song and the movie are completely unrelated, so... whatever.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Getting Reacquainted with an Old Obsession

First of all, thank you for your kind comments on my last post. That was one of those posts where, after I wrote it, I debated whether to hit publish. I didn't mean for it to go where it did, but it ended up being very eye-opening for me. Enough so, that I made a phone call on Monday morning and went to see a doctor on Tuesday. As soon as I started talking to her about what's going on, it became very clear that this was a step in the right direction. It's amazing what we fail to see within ourselves. I've been in serious denial.

And thus begins my newest adventure with anti-depressants (this isn't my first rodeo, but I've never kept up on them for longer than a month. This time I plan to be more diligent). Hopefully I'll feel better in a month or so, but for now, I at least have a sense of hope. If I can get over this hump and get to a place where I feel like I can function again, that would be so wonderful!

All of this is very embarrassing for me. I'm, essentially, a stereo-type. Look at me, the Mormon stay-at-home-mother of four on anti-depressants! It feels, in some ways, like failure, but I've decided I'm going to do my best to not be ashamed of it. I know I'm not alone. It's okay to need help, isn't it?

There's one interesting thing I noticed, though, about my history with depression. Every time I've gone on medication, I've had a three-year-old. Coincidence? I think not!

(Three-year-olds. Seriously. How can a little person be so cute and so horrible at the same time?)

Anyway, I just figured I owe it to you to update you on my progress.

In other news, Scotty and I started watching Lost again this week. If you're an old friend, you probably remember my obsession with Lost circa 2006-2010. If you're a new friend, let me give you a quick history: I was obsessed with Lost. I even wrote weekly re-caps for a TV blog. I occasionally stumble across notebooks where I took notes on the show. I made myself t-shirts for season premieres, and I went through the five stages of grief after the show ended.

I've never re-watched the season finale. It's taken six years for me to feel ready.

Now that I'm re-watching the show, I feel simultaneous joy and frustration. I remember all of the things about Lost that were so amazing, but I also remember the questions that weren't answered and the things that were just a little too bizarre.

I'm definitely becoming reacquainted with the Lost nerd inside me. Aside from the slightly bizarre nature of the show, there are some great, profound moments. Here is a snippet for your viewing pleasure. A little background, Charlie was a drug addict and came to the island with a small stash of (I assume) cocaine (not really up on my drugs). It's beginning to look like they might be stranded on the island longer than anticipated. Charlie knows eventually his drugs will run out. John Locke encourages Charlie to give up the drugs before they run out - that way it will be his choice and not forced on him. Either way he needs to stop using them. Charlie gives John the drugs but soon wants them back. Here is the scene (you get ten extra credit points for watching):

Overall, I'm still smitten with the show with, perhaps, a little less attraction to Jack and Sawyer. They're still not ugly, I admit (for fun, here's a flashback to when I made a Matthew Fox cake).

One thing I love about Lost is the Easter eggs. In every episode, there are little, hidden gems that make the show interesting. For example, there is a lot of literature tied into the series. Some episodes will show characters reading certain books, and then something in the episode will parallel that book. The creators of the show were really clever in the way they tied these things into the show. They are easy to miss, so it's always fun to find something and make a connection. The other day we watched the episode "Tabula Rasa." I come across the term tabula rasa a lot in school as we study developmental theories. Tabula rasa refers to "blank slate" and is an idea that comes from the philosopher John Locke (of course). That episode in Lost focuses on some of the character's past lives and how those characters have a chance to start over again on the island.

Okay, okay, I need to chill. A friend of mine once said, Lost is the kind of show that makes you want to write an essay. She expressed my feelings exactly, so hang tight, friends. You might be in for a year of Lost-inspired posts. I think I might have woken a dragon.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I'm in a blogging funk. In fact, I've seriously contemplated whether I'm reaching the end of my blogging days. I've had moments in the past where I've questioned, "Is this the end?" but that has always been remedied by a few kind comments (you can try... it might still do the trick).

Blogging used to be one of my favorite past times, but I'm not sure that it is anymore. Or is it? I don't know. I do love having a quiet little place on the internet to express myself, and I love that I have created a life history of sorts. And yet, when I think about writing the good-bye post, I don't feel as scared about it as I did in the past.

Anyway, one thing I know for sure about blogging - when I'm in the middle of a semester, my posts become list-like. It's all I can muster because my brain is constantly fried and I have very little mind leftover for creativity.

Dear Creativity,

I miss you. We were close once, weren't we? I don't remember.



It may be that I'm in a funk in general, and it is leaking into all aspects of my life. I'm in a motherhood funk. I rarely share these feelings, but sometimes I am extremely resentful about being a mom. I struggle with it more than I've ever let on in the blog. I stand by my choice to be a stay-at-home-mom, but I also maintain that it is the hardest thing mentally and emotionally that I've ever done.

I'm in a self-esteem funk. I'm not trying to have a pity party, but I'm saying this as a matter-of-fact. I don't feel good about myself right now. This is typical of summer. I don't feel good in summer clothes - shorts, swimming suits, all that horrible summer attire. And I don't feel good about my behavior in the summer either - dealing with kids for hours on end and facing my emotions about motherhood all while sweating like a pig definitely brings me to a low place.

I'm in a spiritual funk. I don't feel completely detached from God, but I am in a place where I'm beating myself up for all of my flaws. I tend to constantly compare my spiritual lows to my highest of spiritual highs, and it feels impossible to ever get to that point again (also I feel like I need to get there all at once, and that's a huge feat) so I just don't try.

I'm in a school funk. I just don't enjoy school right now. I'm not feeling very passionate about the subjects I'm currently studying (both of my courses are on development - one is lifespan, and the other focuses on adolescence). I've always been an 'A' student, and this semester, my attitude is, "Meh. As long as I get 'C's I'm fine." And while it is true that I will still walk away with a degree even with a couple of 'C's, I will beat myself up for it later because I know I'm capable of better.

I've been in this funky place for almost two years now. I have moments where I wade out of it temporarily, but it always comes back. I only get out of it for a few days at a time. I wonder sometimes if it's depression, but I'm never quite sure, and I know that if I go to a doctor and say, "I think I might have depression," they'll just hand me a prescription. I don't want to be a slave to medication, and, I confess, I'm too lazy and distracted for cognitive behavioral therapy. Ain't nobody got time for that.

So here I am, having written it out.

And all I can think is, "Crap. It's all laid out here right in front of me. I need to do something about this."

But I don't even know where to start.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Counting Blessings

In the past month, I have felt extremely blessed. Even though everything has felt like utter chaos, there has been an underlying sense of calm, and I've been reassured that God is heavily involved in my life.

Sometimes I get in a slump, and I put up some walls that prevent me from feeling connected to my Heavenly Father. A few weeks ago, I taught my Sunday school class about this. I shared this quote from Elder Scott:

The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeƱo pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.

My Sunday school kids willingly ate jalepenos and grapes, which was awesome, but then one kid hit his head on the wall while trying to catch a grape in his mouth, and at that point, I'm pretty sure the significance of the activity was lost. I now tell that kid he can't catch food in his mouth unless he brings a helmet to class. But I digress.

Might I quietly confess that I suffer from a major case of Pride? (Don't tell anyone). My pride is such that the walls immediately come up in certain situations and among certain personalities resulting an an inability to feel the Spirit.

In recent weeks, I've had to really push through some of that spiritual numbness and try to reconnect with my Heavenly Father. In my efforts, I've been made very aware of a heap of blessings that have come my way.

Blessing #1: I made a new friend right when I needed one.

Blessing #2: We got a new truck moments before the catalytic converter in our car went kaput (unfortunately, our neighbor was borrowing our car when the check engine light came on).

Blessing #3: I asked Heavenly Father, in prayer, to send a peace offering from a person I have some problems with. Within days, that person said something that I consider a "white flag." I'm trying to rely on that to hold off my negative feelings for a while.

Blessing #4: My phone (a Blackberry - I'm old school) died on Saturday. I immediately saw dollar signs flash before my eyes accompanied by nausea from salesperson aversion. We ended up finding a FREE solution, and now I have an (old) iPhone, and my monthly payment will stay the same.

Blessing #5: Last week I found myself in the right place at the right time (specifically a bathroom that I NEVER use but randomly wandered into) and I was able to help someone with something sort of big. My baby pooped right then for a higher reason, I tell you!

Blessing #6: I haven't been able to study for school as much as I need to to get good grades, but last week I was able to get a decent grade on my test regardless. In making the decision to return to school, I am repeatedly reminded that if I put God and my family first, everything else will fall into place.

Blessing #7: I teach Sunday school to the 14-15 year olds. This class has been a struggle because there are some challenging personalities in the group. The last three Sundays, though, have gone extremely well, and we have had a lot of fun.

Blessing #8: I have been praying for Zoe to make some forward movement in her development. The other day she was at my mom's house, and she told my mom she needed to go potty. Then she actually went. She ended up peeing in the potty twice. I can't tell you how HUGE this is. The struggle with her in potty training (and many other various things) has been really hard on me, so I just need to know that it's not always going to be like this.

Blessing #9: I've mentioned that this semester of school is really tough (sorry I keep bringing that up, but seriously, it's wearing me out). There have been a few times, though, when portions of the reading from both of my classes have been the same. It is always a relief when something overlaps, and I can carry what I studied in one class over to the next class.

In summary, I have to say that I believe whole-heartedly in God and in His love for me. Despite my flaws. Despite my weaknesses. He's there, and He blesses me immensely.

Jut thought I'd put that here in writing for the next time I forget.