Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It's Officially Summer Break - Just Not For Me (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: I'm sick. It started about a week ago and then got bad over the weekend. I have a sore throat and cough, my eyes are watering like crazy, and I have fluid in my ears. It feels wrong to be sick like this when summer is upon us. I feel like I should be eating soup, but it's too hot for soup.

Fact #2: The kids are out of school, and I am not. I've done this before, but it's harder this time. I'm taking more classes than I have in the past, and my kids are older and more demanding (namely the two-year-old who insists on being held all day. I do most of my computer work with one hand while holding Eva's legs with the other so she can't kick the keyboard).

May 2017 
{School work}

Fact #3: I'm hoping that the aforementioned two-year-old will start taking some decent afternoon naps at home now that I don't have to pick the older kids up from school every day. Eva has had to live her life "on the go," and it has really messed up her sleep.

Fact #4: Scotty started a new job last week. I made him stand on the porch for a "first day" photo, just like I do for the kids. He wasn't exactly thrilled, but he is a good sport.  

First Day

Fact #5: The new job brought some changes. For one, Scotty has to wear suits every day. That's a big step up from his previous ward robe of collared sports team shirts that he gets for free. We had to buy a new car (Scotty had been driving a work truck), and Scotty had to get a passport. 

Fact #6: On Sunday I met Durga. She's a friend from my blogging community of yesteryear. When I started blogging (in 2005!!!), the only people who really read blogs were other bloggers, so I had my little populace of people I connected with online. I've had the chance to meet some in person, and there are some I'm still in touch with on social media whom I've never met. Durga lives in Australia, but she is in the U.S. on "holiday," and she happened to be close by, so I crashed the house where she was having dinner. 

May 2017

I wish I could have sat across from her for hours and listened to her talk (that accent!) but it was a quick, ten-minute hello, and then off we went. I was on my way home from a weekend trip out of town, and I was sick, tired, and sunburned. I didn't want to pass up the chance to meet an old friend from across the ocean, though. 

Fact #7: Meeting people like that used to terrify me, but now it's become an exciting part of my norm. I still get a little nervous when I meet someone, but it's always a good experience. Now that I'm in school online, I have relationships with class mates that I've never met, and the day will soon come where I will get to meet a few of them. 

Fact #8: The hard part is when you have a great "online" relationship with someone, and when you meet in person, you crash and burn. That has happened, too!

Fact #9: Last week I found a loft bed on clearance at Sam's Club, and without thinking, I bought it for Zoe. It was the display, and it needed some repairs, but I knew Scotty was up to the task. What I didn't know was that they weren't going to take it apart for us. So when we came back that night to pick it up, they brought it out fully assembled (but they only put the bolts in half-way) and lifted it into our trailer with a forklift.

May 2017

Luckily, Scotty had brought some tie downs or we never would have gotten the thing home. We drove twenty minutes on back roads to get it home. It takes up half the bedroom. Things appear smaller in a warehouse than they do in a tiny bedroom. 

Fact #10: Speaking of van experiences, this was our parking spot at a swimming pool over the weekend. 

May 2017

Scotty climbed in and out of the passenger side, and he opted to leave the dumpster lid open to avoid having someone come open it and slam the lids on the van. 

I Dream of Churches

When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite books was Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hawn. 
I read the book several times, and I always loved that the book took place in an old church turned private residence. Of course, “old church” usually means there is a cemetery nearby, and that’s where Helen comes into play, may she rest in peace.
Because of this book, living in an old church became a childhood fantasy of mine. I still have a soft spot for the idea. In fact, I occasionally have dreams where I live in a church. If the planets ever align and an old church becomes available in the right place at the right time, and I have the money to buy it and turn it residential, consider it done. 
Of course, I live in Utah where churches are plentiful, but not the right kind of churches, so I was surprised when, a few years ago, I came across this in a local newspaper:
Baptist Church0001
It is exactly what I’ve always dreamed of, and it is HERE in Utah… in the town I grew up in! Someone is living my dream in (what I hope is) a happy and Helen-free manner.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

God's Greatest Gifts


Before I became a mom, I worked in a secondary Special Educarion school handling the finances of four SpEd programs and School Nursing Services. Our school was different than a traditional SpEd school in that it offered vocational training. We had job sites both on and off campus. Some students were bussed to locations in the community such as Sam’s Club and K-Mart, while other’s stayed at the school to work in the computer lab or floral shop.
One of my favorite aspects of the school was the small restaurant on campus where the students learned food service skills. Everyday at 11:00, I helped the café instructor by working with students on the cash register. Since the school served only 160 students at a time, I knew almost all of them by name. I had the chance to work with students from all different backgrounds.
Working with such students presented me with many opportunities to learn and grow. One student in particular that stood out to me was a girl named Sage who was studying floral design. One of the rooms in the school hosted a beautiful, black grand piano, and one day, Sage asked her teacher if she could play it during class. Her teacher told her that if she had her things put away in time, she could play the piano for a few minutes before she got on the bus. Sage was usually a good student, but on that day, she was exceptionally well-behaved. Ten minutes before class ended, she had everything cleaned up and was ready to play the piano. Her teacher asked her if she had taken piano lessons, and she said, “No, I’ve never had a piano at home to practice on.” So we assumed that Sage would sit at the piano and fiddle with the keys for a while without making much of an impression on those listening.
When Sage sat down at the piano, she hit a few notes to help position herself at the keys, and then she began to play the most beautiful rendition of How Great Thou Art, as if she were a concert pianist. Her hands moved up and down the entire piano hitting several keys at a time resulting in perfect chords. She knew exactly where to place her hands, and she never hit a bad note. Not one! There were several of us in the room with her at the time, and every single one of us had tears in our eyes. She continued to play songs until it was time to board her bus. While walking her out to the bus, her teacher asked her how she learned to play like that. Sage said, “I don’t know where I learned it. I just sat at a piano at church one day, and I knew how to play it.”
Sage was blind. And to think of her sitting at the piano creating such beautiful music by simply hearing the song in her heart brings tears to my eyes even now. Listening to her play the piano made me feel like I was taking part in a miracle. What an amazing God we have – to take away a young girl’s sight for reasons we can’t comprehend and give her an incredible musical gift.
I don’t know where Sage is now, but I hope there is a piano nearby.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Common Scents

I used to have a Sunday School teacher that had no sense of smell. At first I thought it was really cool that someone could be born unable to smell; she never had to smell B.O. or garbage or the Great Salt Lake on a windy day. But as I thought about it more, I realized that she would never experience fresh mountain air or fireworks or perfume. She’d never smell fresh baked bread or cookies. And worst of all, it would take her a while to notice if she stepped in dog poop.
It’s funny how the mind can make life-long associations with scents. When I was little, my family ended up with a bad piece of beef. My mom cooked it, filling our house with the ghastly odor of fleshy rot. It was bad, and I mean bad! Following the creation of that tear-jerking aroma, my mom sprayed the house down with Glade Air Freshener in cinnamon. Ever since then, if I smell anything that remotely resembles that cinnamon air freshener, I immediately smell the beef, too.
Likewise, when I smell B&BW Warm Vanilla Sugar, I smell the dog poo that my sister tried to cover up with body spray on Thanksgiving several years ago.
When I smell witch hazel, I remember some of the more unfortunate aspects of child birth.
Not all of my scent associations are negative, though. I still swoon a little when I get a whiff of the cologne Scotty used to wear while we were dating (you know, before we got married, and he stopped trying to impress me). I remember my first pregnancy when I smell coconut, and I remember baby Nicky anytime I smell lavender since I used to lather him up in lavender baby lotion and inhale him  like a scratch and sniff sticker.
The smell of coffee has always been enjoyable for me and reminds me of Barnes and Noble. I never say, “Oooo! I smell coffee!” I always say, “Ooooo! I smell Barnes and Noble.” Likewise, I often say, “Ooooo! Smells like vacation!” when I experience the scent of sunscreen.
When I clean my house, I occasionally use Harry Potter Pine Sol, which became such when I read Harry Potter following a thorough wipe down of all my home’s surfaces.
I think we often take such small blessings, like having a sense of smell, for granted. I’m very thankful to be able to experience fragrance, both good and bad, and to have such a refined sniffer as to be a memory keeper of sorts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

El

A few weeks ago I saw a good deal on The Little Mermaid DVD so I bought it to add to our movie collection. We'd previously owned it on VHS, and I only recently got rid of all of our VHS tapes.

I can't even begin to fathom upgrading to Blu-Ray.

I like to be a good ten years behind.

Anyway, yesterday Zoe and Eva were watching The Little Mermaid in the van, and I was reminded of something from the movie that has driven me crazy for most of my existence.

As a child, Ariel was my Elsa. I went around singing, "Ahh ah ahhhhhh, ahh ah ahhhhhh!" knowing that I sounded just like Ariel. "Part of Your World" was my "Let it Go," and "Under the Sea" was my "Do You Want to Build a Snowman."


I didn't love every song from The Little Mermaid, though. I've always taken issue with "The Daughters of Triton." It goes like this:

We are the daughters of Triton
Great father who loves us and named us well
Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Atina, Adella, Allana
And then there is the youngest in her musical debut
Our seventh little sister, we're presenting her to you
To sing a song Sebastian wrote, her voice is like a bell
She's our sister, Ari- (Gasp!)


If you recall, the daughters of Triton were putting on a musical performance under the direction of Sebastian, and right as the sisters were about to present Ariel in her "musical debut," they realize she isn't there. 

That never sat well with me - as much as I loved Ariel in my childhood, she also gave me a lot of anxiety. She repeatedly put herself in danger and refused to follow the rules. She was unreliable and didn't think of others. 

She showed all of the deficiencies of an undeveloped prefrontal cortex. 

But that's not my issue (okay, it is an issue, but not the one at hand).

The issue at hand is the unfinished song. I have always gone crazy wondering what comes next. Ari- WHAT? What is the "el" supposed to sound like? What's the next note? Is it high? Is it low? How long do they hold it? 

Is it the note I think it should be? 

You know when you watch a movie, and you hope it will be different this time, but it always turns out the same? 

They miss that last syllable EVERY.DANG.TIME.

And I can't deal. 

The only thing worse is watching Gus Gus try to carry the cheese.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

This post is brought to you by homework avoidance (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: A few months ago, I had a darling little girl who loved me. Now I have a two-year-old.

Fact #2: There are a lot of articles online that chastise people for using the phrase "terrible twos." We're supposed to call it "the boundary phase" or some other fluffy crap that praises their development instead (just one more thing society can argue about).

Regardless of the terminology, having a two year old is rough.

Now, will someone hand me some food so I can cope by eating my emotions?

Thankyouverymuch.
Fact #3: Speaking of the two-year-old, Eva got her first stitches last week. As per family tradition, they were in her face.

Fact #4: The week prior, Daisy needed stitches in her wrist. She sliced it open while trying to make a telephone out of cans.

Fact #5: Before Daisy cut herself, we'd gone an entire year with no emergency room or instacare visits! That's pretty miraculous for a family of six.

Fact #6: Two weeks ago, I hurt my back. I've had this particular injury before, and it takes a long time to get better as it gets aggravated any time I pick up a child. I need it to heal. Like, now.

Fact #7: As soon as I wrote Fact #1, my neighbor texted me and asked me if I wanted a cheeseburger. How did she know? 


Fact #8: I have good people.

Fact #9: I've been reflecting a lot lately on my good people and on my life's blessings, in general.

Fact #10: Now I gotta go eat my blessing... er... cheeseburger.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

14 Adventures - Part III

This post is a continuation from the other day when I started writing about 14 adventures that Scotty and I have experienced together in honor of our 14th wedding anniversary. Read adventures 1-5 here and adventures 6-9 here

10 & 11. His & Her Bachelor's degrees

This adventure is grouped and yet, separate.

Scotty's original career and education plan fell through, and it took some time to regroup and find a new path.

When I was pregnant with Nicky, Scotty came home from work one night and told me that it was time for him to go to school.

As with many other big decisions we've made in our marriage, this choice was made after a prompting from the Holy Ghost (luckily Scotty had been "in tune" because I completely missed that one).

It took eight years, but time passed, the credits added up, and he graduated with a B.S. in business management.

We had three children while Scotty was working full-time and going to school at night. I told him, after we had Zoe, that I wasn't going to have our last baby until he'd graduated.

image

Don't let the photo fool you! Scotty finished his degree before I was ever pregnant with Eva. He attended the ceremony the following year when Eva was a few weeks old. 

I was serious about not having any more babies while Scotty was in school. What I didn't know is that I would be the one in school when I had my fourth baby. 

I wasn't planning on going back to school until my kids were older (I had an Associate's degree and a certificate in accounting). In fact, my secret hope was that I'd never need to go back to school. Then I got one of those infamous promptings and a positive pregnancy test. I was also the primary president, so I thought, "Well, at least I can let one of these things go. Heavenly Father, do you want me to be a student or a primary president?"

He said, "You're going to be both for a while, and you're going to be fine."

And I was. 

I scheduled Eva's delivery in between finals and the start of a new semester (I literally had three days). 

I know that none of this would have worked out without the Lord's hand in our lives. I was only able to do it through his intervention and grace. 


12. South Carolina

Scotty and I have traveled a lot together, but we're not well traveled. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it's the best way I can think of to describe how we roll. We tend to go to the same places over and over. We don't leave the country, and we always go by car. 

One of the few exceptions to this was our trip to South Carolina. We dreamed of going to South Carolina someday since that's where Scotty served his mission. Even though I'd never been there, myself, a part of my heart had lived there for two years.

In 2010, things fell into place to allow us to go. We took Nicky (age 3) and Daisy (8 months) and flew across the country. We didn't book any hotel rooms - we left our itinerary wide open. The only obligations we had were a flight to and from Columbia.

We spent a week traveling all over the state. This is the only time in our marriage that we have had so much spontaneity.

Day 2 - Mission Office


13. The Spartan Race

I don't like to talk about the Spartan Race these days, but if I'm truly talking "adventure," that's it. Scotty and I trained for a year and did the Beast together. It was completely out of my comfort zone and something I'll likely never do again. 

But at the time, it was a huge part of my life. I worked incredibly hard. I am not naturally athletic, so I really had to push myself. It ended up being one of the best dates Scotty and I have ever been on!

Spartan Race

14. Job changes

These adventures aren't in any particular order. I tried to keep them chronological, but some of them don't fit in a timeline. 

I'll end with the adventure of changing jobs. 

As is part of life, we've been through some changes in Scotty's career. We've experienced a lay off, several years commuting much farther than the average Utahn does for work, and a blip (the "blip" - as I call it - was a job Scotty took for a while in Salt Lake that was actually a blessing in a roundabout way, but it put us through some really hard times financially. He was only there for six months and then he returned to his former "far away" place of employment in a new position). 

Last year, on our anniversary, Scotty started a new job. 

This year, he is again starting a new job, and thus, landing us in an all new adventure! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

14 Adventures - Part II

This post is a continuation from yesterday when I started writing about 14 adventures that Scotty and I have experienced together in honor of our 14th wedding anniversary. Read adventures 1-5 here

6. Having Nicky

Maybe it seems like a gimmick to count each of my children as a separate adventure, but I tried to group them together as one adventure, and it didn't really work because we have a story for each child, and each of them has brought us new experiences (don't worry, I'm not going to tell you the full story for each one. We'd be here for weeks).

Baby 1 051

Nicky made us parents. He ended our bout of infertility. He was the first to shake our world. He brought so many new and foreign things into our lives.


7. Having Daisy

Daisy was our first girl, but part of what made her birth adventurous was that we decided not to find out what we were having. It took a heavy amount of self-control, but it was totally worth it. One of the coolest things I've ever experienced was having Scotty tell me we had a daughter.

2009 09 15_0108

Daisy brought us the adventure of having more than one kid.

(Just for the record, two was my magic number. Having one kid was hard, but having two wasn't so bad. For some reason, I thrived with two). 


8. Having Zoe

Zoe allowed us to, once again, experience finding out the gender of our baby at birth (it was a lot easier the second time). She also threw in another adventure when she decided to turn breech the night before she was born. Miraculously, my doctor was able to turn the 8 lb. 9 oz. mass of baby. 

More Zoe

Zoe brought us the adventure of having "sisters" in the house. 


9. Having Eva

Eva's birth was an adventure because she brought with her the reality that we would have three daughters. Bringing Eva into the world was a huge leap of faith for Scotty and me. Having three kids was really hard on us. We were completely overwhelmed by Nicky, Daisy, and Zoe, so when we started to feel the promptings from the Spirit that it was time for another little one to join us, we had to put our full faith in God's plan for us.

Scotty and I both received our own promptings, but neither of us said anything to the other because we were too scared. Then one night, when we were laying in bed nearly in tears because of the difficult day we'd had, I laughed hysterically and said, "You know what's horrible? It's time to have another one!" and Scotty, too, laughed with a hint of mania, and said, "I know!"

New Baby April 2015

We weren't going to find out what we were having, but we saw a little too much on the ultrasound screen. It turned out that possibly knowing what you're having is a lot harder than not knowing at all, so the following month, I asked my doctor to do a gender check.

Eva was our first complication-free delivery and our first bald baby.


TO BE CONTINUED...


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

14 Adventures - Part I

Today is Scotty's and my 14th anniversary.

Here's a photo of us from when our faces were skinny, and Scotty had weird, flippy hair that was so over-gelled it was almost like he had inverted devil horns coming out of his head.

Scanned Pics 013

(For historical reference, this picture was taken three years before we got married). 

As I was contemplating the possibility of an anniversary post, I started thinking, "I've written it all!" What more can I say? I've written our love story, I've made lists of things we agree on and things we disagree on, I've written about his and her everything, and I've covered every detail from the sappy to the horrible. It's all on the internet somewhere (maybe that's a bad thing?) and I'm out of ideas for anniversary posts (Did you know I've been blogging for 11 years? I started my first blog before I was pregnant with Nicky). 

But then I started thinking about an adventure that Scotty and I are in the middle of right now,* and I remembered that we've experienced a lot of adventures together. 


So in honor of our 14 years, here are 14 adventures Scotty and I have embarked on together:**

1. Scotty's two year mission to South Carolina

When I was 16, Scotty served a mission for our Church. I didn't see my boyfriend for two years!!!

TWO YEARS!!!

Scanned Pics 002

We only communicated by written letter and two phone calls a year (okay, maybe we snuck in a few extra).

2. Getting married

Getting married is always an adventure, but when you're 19 and 21, it adds a little "typically hazardous" flair to it. 

We've managed this adventure pretty well, though, and I have God to thank for that. Scotty and I were very prayerful in making the decision to marry young, and I know we did what was right for us.

Scanned Pics 010

(Note that we got married before digital photography was common. That, too, was an adventure! But it didn't make today's list).

3. Living in this house

Scanned 035


Scotty and I rented this house from his grandpa. It was really old and beat up, and it had a lot of strange quirks. For example, there was a set of stairs that went straight up to a ceiling. There was also a room-sized shower in the basement, and in that shower, there was a hatch that led under the house. There was a small cupboard full of jars of various liquids (we just left them alone, we had no idea what was in them), and there were lots and lots of spiders. 

The house was terrifying. I was always scared to come home alone, and I never went in the basement unless I was giving someone a tour (an absolute must when you live in a house like this!)

4. Buying our first house

Buying a house together is a big milestone and a great learning experience. It brings a lot of new responsibilities and forces you to do things you never knew you would have to do. It's a big commitment, and it's simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

5. Doing the infertility thing

We had some trouble getting that first baby here. We did fertility drugs and a couple of tests. I got pregnant with Nicky during a "month off" while we were getting ready to move on to the next phase of treatment. I'd had an HSG (which found nothing), and I got pregnant the following month. 




TO BE CONTINUED...


*More on this particular adventure later
**Okay, so I've probably written about each of these adventures already, but not in this particular format

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Weekend Away

This week is our anniversary. Scotty and I have been married for 14 years (as of Tuesday - sappy anniversary post pending). We realized, as we discussed the timeline of our lives together, that we have been a couple for 18 years. This means that our relationship is a legal adult, but it's not old enough to drink. It's basically lost in emerging adulthood.

To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to head out of town for the weekend. We stayed one night without kids, thanks to my brave mom, and then the kids came and stayed for the second night (we went "out of town" but not far).

We went to one of those places that acts like it's fancy, but when you look past the charm, you detect that it's really out-of-date and not actually any nicer than the two-star Howard Johnson you usually stay in.

Luckily, we got our room for about half price, but I was still very obsessed with pointing out everything about the place that bugged me (I don't do this at the Howard Johnson because I know what I'm getting when I book a room at the Howard Johnson, but you better believe I do it at a place that charges an arm and a leg and makes itself out to be better than it really is). 

I won't give you the whole List of Things That Bugged, but I will show you this one minor detail:

Dumb light fixture

The light fixtures. 

Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks the placement of these lamps is horrible. Am I too picky? Am I?

I just can't imagine that any interior designer or electrician would think this was a good idea... and yet... there it is!

How am I supposed to sit in bed and watch TV with a lamp in my head space? Scotty and I both hit our heads on the darn thing. Howard Johnson would never do that to us! 

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I was going to say something else about our weekend, but now I'm too fired up about the light fixtures. Give me a minute to compose myself...

Okay...

Nope. I'm not quite there yet. 

I'm trying to think about what we did for our weekend getaway, but my mind is completely consumed with thoughts of the lamps over my head (and all of the other nuisances that I promised not to mention).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What I Feel Today

Some things have happened over the past few weeks that have reminded me that there is a God.

I have seen evidence of His hand in my life. Evidence that I can't deny.

Sometimes I grow distant from Him, and I start to struggle with finding Him. But today, I feel Him strongly, and I believe in Him firmly.

I just wanted to put that out there.

For you.

But also for me. For the days I forget or doubt.


“Yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44 Book of Mormon)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vomit & Things

It's late, and one of my kids threw up tonight.

There's something about having a kid throw up that makes me want to blog.

It might be because I need to reach out and say, "Hello, World. It's me, Britt. I've been barfed on, but you didn't take me down!"

(For a minute there, though, it almost did take me down).

Since it wouldn't be ideal to write an entire post about child vomit, here are some other things going on right now.

Thing 1

I went off my anti-depressants. That was stupid. I found myself right back in That Place. I started them up again, but it hasn't been long enough for me to feel better.

Thing 2

I hate running.

Just had to throw that out there.

Thing 3

The reason my child barfed is because she hates her antibiotic. Zoe and Eva both have ear infections. Eva has to be pinned down twice a day for ten days to get an antibiotic in her (it's awful, and I hate it with every fiber of my being). She does not want to take it, and she will scream and gag until she throws it all back up in my face.

Pretty much all of my kids have gone through this "make myself throw up to win the power struggle" phase.

Thing 4

Last semester, I had this amazing confidence. I felt like I could do anything. I felt like I was going somewhere in life and that my education was solid. I felt like I'd found a path of sorts, like maybe I was heading in the right direction.

That's gone now.

Thing 5

My internship has given me a huge reality check. I thought that maybe after I graduate, I could take on some work from home. I don't know how mothers work from home. It's one thing to do a school assignment. It's a completely different thing to have to work a set amount of hours in your home each week when your life is ruled by tiny dictators.

Thing 6

My kids never stop fighting, and my house is always a mess. Being a mom is hard.

I keep trying, but I'm not getting any better at it.