Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Incomplete List of Things I Don't Want to do Today

  • Clean the house
  • Get my tires rotated
  • Go to the store for milk and butter
  • Feed my kids
  • Change out of my sweatpants and slippers
  • Update my credit card information on something I ordered three weeks ago
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Take the kids to get flu shots
  • Do my hair (I slept on wet hair last night, so I look like Inigo Montoya)
  • Brush my teeth
  • Anything related to my Church calling (which I never want to do again)
  • Exercise
  • Pick my kids up from school
  • Brush my teeth
  • Buy gas
  • Swallow pills
  • Carry laundry up three flights of stairs
  • Get out of my stinky brown La-Z-Boy
Things I'm Willing to Do:
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Sit
  • Read a book
  • Spend a few hundred dollars online
  • Marco Polo my friends a daily update on my chin zits
  • Binge watch Call the Midwife
  • Stare at rainbows (but only if I can see them from my recliner)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ten Favorite Quotes - Lighten Up

It's been several months since I last posted a list of favorite quotes from a book. I couldn't pass up the chance to list some quotes from Lighten Up by Chieko N. Okazaki. This book was written in 1992 with women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as the intended audience.

I didn't really know anything about Sister Okazaki until about two years ago when Shannon sent me a link to her talk "Rowing Your Boat" from 1994 (although, in hindsight, I remember a tribute to her at Time Out For Women in 2011).

(Sidenote: go ahead and watch that video. Fast-forward to about 1:50. I have so many questions... Like, who, in 1994, custom-made those oars? What was it like carrying them into the tabernacle? What went on behind that pulpit while the oars were in waiting? Did the audience see the oars during the transition between speakers and think, "Oh boy! This is exciting!"?)

(Other sidenote: Sister Okazaki was pretty big on visual aids. The oars aren't the only thing she brought to the pulpit during her time in the General RS Presidency).

Anyway... for the past year or so, I've seen a post circulating facebook with the following quote from Sister Okazaki:

"We know that on some level Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything - absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means Jesus knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer - how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student-body election, He knows that moment when the brakes locked, and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced gas chambers at Dachau. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

There is nothing you have experiences as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands about pregnancy and giving birth. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion....

...he understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say the new baby has Down's Syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children who ever come are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that" (p. 175).


After seeing this quote float around for a long time, I wanted to see where this statement was made and also confirm that it was correct (you know how social media "quotes" can be). I discovered that it was correct and that it came from the book Lighten Up. I was surprised to see that it was from 1992 because it seemed like something that more likely would have been said or written in the past decade.

I put the book on hold at the library and recently finished it (our library system only has two copies, one of which now has several passages marked by me. Sorry, Library. I should have purchased a copy).

I quite enjoyed the book and found it to be very relevant for women of 2018. Here are nine other quotes I want to keep around for my own reference:

#1: On Diversity

"We are all different and deal with diverse circumstances. Diversity is a strength, not a division... Have you ever had the feeling that your the odd one, the different one?... The truth is that you're not odd - you're special. When white light falls on a wall, it makes a white wall. But when it passes through a prism, that same light makes a rainbow on the wall" (p. 4).

#2 & #3 Callings

"Magnifying our callings doesn't mean multiplying our tasks. It means reaching a level of excellence that gives us new joy. It feels wonderful to do your best, even if you're the only person who knows you did it" (p. 44).

"You, in whatever callings you have throughout your life, will face many choices between serving the program and serving an individual. I believe that if we truly serve individuals in the Lord's way, we'll have less trouble with the program" (p. 63).

#4 Forgiveness

"This is a day that requires the private courage to see the truth and embrace it as our own and also the public courage to carry out those moral decisions with integrity, courtesy, and civility. But we will see great evils being done, evils that we will sometimes be powerless to prevent. It is also probable that evils will be done to us...So this day we have come to is also a day that requires forgiveness... Forgiveness is not the same thing as pretending that there's nothing to forgive. Great wrongs inspire deep indignation... We should not pretend that something doesn't matter or didn't hurt us when it does matter and it did hurt. But we also need to remember that forgiveness is one of the blessings that lies within God's gifts" (p. 60).

#5 Sacred Places

"We don't have to be in a sacred place for spiritual things to happen. The Sacred Grove was just a stand of trees before Joseph Smith walked into it. It became sacred because of what happened there. Where is your Sacred Grove? It could be in your car, if that's where you spend a lot of time thinking through problems and attuning your heart sensitively to the Spirit. Perhaps it's while you're out walking. Heavenly Father doesn't save up all his spiritual experiences just for sacrament meeting or the temple" (p. 73).

#6 Good News

"Do you sometimes have difficulty believing that Christ really died for you? That he really loves you? We all have moments when that seems impossible and incredible. Why is it so hard for us to believe the good news of the gospel when it's so easy for us to believe the bad news? I think this must be something of a universal problem" (p. 111).

#7 Judging and Learning to Love

"When people look at other people, what they see on the outside determines what they think. Only when we get close, sit and talk, do we really know the inner heart of the individual. God can see both sides at the same time - the inside and the outside. We can't see both sides at a glance. We have to discover a persons inside, patiently and lovingly. We have to learn to love other people by serving them... We don't need a formal Church calling o be a source of love and peace, radiating goodwill throughout the neighborhood" (p. 138).

#8 Jesus Knows

"...who are we trying to kid? Jesus has just seen the stove where the spaghetti boiled over, and it was pretty obvious that wasn't the only thing that had ever boiled over on that stove. He heard what you muttered when you picked up that one sock, just as you've been doing for the past eight years. He caught that worry about the dentist bill that flashed across your mind when you were putting toothpaste on your brush. He doesn't want polite platitudes. He wants you! All of you! He wants o be the center pf your total life - the worried you, the mad you, and the sad you as well as the inspired, happy, obedient, loving you" (p. 183)

#9 Prayer

"When it comes to prayer, let's have no more empty statements and insincere but polite phrases. Be honest. If you're mad, say so. If you're confused, say so. And don't think anything is too small for the Savior's loving attention" (p. 184)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

I'm counting down to dinner time {and ten other random facts}

Fact #1: I have a serious case of the "need to writes" but also a case of "writer's block." Such a bad combination!

Fact #2: As I'm writing this, my son is loading the dishwasher and listening to "Drive Thru" by Weird Al, so there's a pretty good chance I'll be crazy by the time I'm done. No song should be 11 minutes long, but a Weird Al song especially should not be 11 minutes long.

Fact #3: I'm still reading Markus Zusak's new book, Bridge of Clay, and I hate to say it, but I don't think this book is a winner for me. I'm about 300 pages in, and hardly anything has happened in those 300 pages.

Edit: I'm now 400 pages in, and things are starting to come together, but I feel like I've had to wait far too long for this book to go anywhere.

Fact #4: Markus Zusak is doing a reading here in Salt Lake this Saturday.

Fact #5: I'm also reading Church History in the Fulness of Times and a book called Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I need to finish Lighten Up by Chieko Okazaki because it's due back at the library on Thursday (I'm very close). I am also reading the Book of Mormon in response to the prophet's invitation at the women's session of General Conference. I was already in Alma 58 in my personal study, but I decided to start over so I could "mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior."

Fact #6: I am really needing some changes and some miracles in my life, so I am putting my full faith in the prophet's promise that if I follow his invitation to read the Book of Mormon, "changes, even miracles will begin to happen."

Fact #7: Since I've been on a Church history kick lately, I couldn't help but notice that the time frame in which we've been asked to read the Book of Mormon (three months) is the same amount of time it took Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to translate the plates. More specifically, they translated the plates from April 7 - June 30, or 85 days. If you started reading the Book of Mormon the day after General Conference (October 8), you would have 85 days to read it before the end of the year.

Fact #8: Today has been freakishly calm. I had plenty of time to do everything I needed to. I even read my scriptures, brushed my teeth, and exercised. My kids were well-behaved, and my house is clean-ish.

What gives?

Fact #9: As soon as I hit "publish" my kids will probably go ballistic, and my house will collapse into a pile of rubble.

Fact #10: Dinner time!

(Ravioli, garlic bread, and salad - if you're wondering)

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Lesson from Hyrum

One of my Church history heroes is Hyrum Smith, brother of the prophet, Joseph Smith. I have a soft spot in my heart for Hyrum, and I thoroughly enjoyed President Ballard's conference talk about Joseph F. Smith last week (Joseph F. Smith was Hyrum's son who suffered much adversity through his life, much like Hyrum, himself).

I don't really have a solid explanation for why I love Hyrum so much, but I think it has something to do with his loyalty, his faithfulness, and his humility. Hyrum went through some really hard things, particularly in his efforts to support his brother Joseph as he restored the Church of Jesus Christ. Hyrum even died for the cause after accompanying Joseph to Carthage where they were both put in jail. The jail was later raided by a mob, and Hyrum was shot in the face and in the back (at the Church History Museum, Hyrum's clothes are displayed, and you can see the bullet hole in the waistband. His death mask is also displayed, and you can see the place where the bullet entered his face).

{The statue of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage Jail 
where they were shot and killed}

A while ago, I revisited the story of Joseph's leg infection. When Joseph Smith was seven years old, he (and many other members of his family) had typhoid fever. He recovered after two weeks, but contracted osteomyelitis, which is an infection in the bone. Joseph was in severe pain, and multiple attempts to reduce the swelling and drain the infection failed.

Lucky Mack Smith, the boys' mother, later recorded, "Hyrum sat beside [Joseph], almost day and night for some considerable length of time, holding the affected part of his leg in his hands and pressing it between them, so that his afflicted brother might be enabled to endure the pain" (History of Joseph Smith, p. 55).

(Spoiler alert: eventually Joseph had an operation that was effective in saving his leg).

Hyrum would have been around Nicky's current age. As I read this part of the story, I felt my heart stir at this act of brotherly love. It was one of many acts of love from Hyrum. I received a prompting at that time that I would need to share this story with my children sometime.

A few weeks before this study session, Scotty and I were busy in the house while the kids played outside. Eva took a fall and and scraped her leg. The other three kids carried her in the house, laid her on the couch, bandaged her leg, tucked her in a blanket, brought her milk, and turned on her favorite show. They did everything they could to make her feel better. By the time Scotty and I knew what was going on, they'd made her comfortable enough to drift off to sleep.

I was so touched by their love and concern for their littlest sister - it was a beautiful testament that they really do care about each other.

Yesterday before school my kids were out of control with their fighting. There have been a lot of days like that lately - I feel like they are always at each others' throats, and I'm at my wits end (well, I'm always at my wits end, but I'm at the more end-y end of my wits end right now). I sent multiple kids to their bedrooms, and we still had half an hour before we would leave for school. I couldn't figure out how we would survive that long under one roof without someone losing some teeth. While the kids were banished to their rooms, I sat on the stairs with my face in my hands, trying to not go ballistic. Then a thought came to me, "Tell them about Hyrum."

So I called my kids into the room and told them about Hyrum. I told them how much he loved his brother - how he held Joseph's leg while he was in pain, and how he later died with him. Then I reminded my kids of the day that they helped Eva after she fell, and I told them I was so proud of them for being like Hyrum Smith.

I didn't say anything about the fighting - I didn't have to - and as a result, I am reminded of three things:

1). Hyrum is the bomb diggity
2). I can rely on the Spirit to help teach my children
3). Even though my household often resembles a cage fighting match, there is genuine love there

Thursday, October 11, 2018


This week has been rough, and it's only Wednesday,* so I'm sure there's more to come. I've fallen behind on everything, and I need to reward myself for the little things so I can stay afloat. I've decided to award myself figurative trophies for the following accomplishments (not real trophies cuz ain't nobody got room for those):

Trophy #1

Awarded to: Britt

For volunteering in Eva's classroom for three hours while Eva refused to follow directions from the teacher, ran around the classroom with three adults chasing her, emptied an entire bottle of hand sanitizer, and repeatedly clawed her mother's arms with fingernails of death.

Trophy #2

Awarded to: Britt

For having to clean lotion out of Eva's toys, wash a dry erase marker beard off her face, soak baking soda in her stinky shoes, vacuum up her pixie stick mess, vacuum up her cotton candy mess, clean something red and sticky out of her kitchen set, scrape stickers off her floor, and scrub the curdled milk out of her 9,000 sippy cups.

Trophy #3

Awarded to: Britt

For riding her bike to pick up Zoe from school, nearly getting hit by a car, having incredibly tired legs from pulling 70 pounds of children uphill in a bike trailer, and stopping at the park so the kids could poop.

Trophy #4

Awarded to: Britt

For finally throwing out the 10 balls of pizza dough in her freezer cuz let's be honest, it's cheaper to buy pizza than to buy pizza ingredients, and she was never really going to make homemade pizza to begin with, so why keep up the act?

Trophy #5

Awarded to: Britt

For sorting through her children's shoes and throwing out several pairs that A) they never wear, B) don't fit, or C) are worn out.

Trophy #6

Awarded to: Britt

For not going to Chick-Fil-A for lunch yesterday even though the waffle fries were calling.

Trophy #7

Awarded to: Britt

For trimming Eva's bangs and not making her look like Lloyd Christmas for once.

Trophy #8

Awarded to: Britt

For making pumpkin cupcakes and only eating one.

This trophy has been revoked.

Trophy #9

Awarded to: Britt

For only swearing 94 times from Monday to Wednesday instead of the usual 100.

Trophy #10

Awarded to: Britt

For unclogging the toilet after an unnamed child left a large present behind.

*Now Thursday

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wherein I Force My Kid to Read Harry Potter

Here's something you might not know about me. Until I was about 22 years old, I hated reading. I would do anything possible to avoid books. I don't remember finishing a single book in junior high or high school. I knew how to skim just enough to get by and still graduate in the top 10% of my class and pass the AP English test.

I'm not proud.

Little did I know that 16 years after I graduated high school, I would nearly cry when a copy of Markus Zusak's new book arrived on my porch on its release date - cry because it's so pretty with it's pastel coloring, is sharp undamaged cover (I'll take care of that very quickly), and it's been 13 years since The Book Thief was published, so it's about dang time Zusak releases another book. But also cry because I love reading and rejoice in books now.

(I'm almost 100 pages in and my current report is that it's very "Zusak," it's unfolding slowly, and my final opinion will all depend on where it ends up. But I am very enthusiastic about Achilles the mule, though I personally wish he were a goat).

So how did I transition from anti-reader to avid reader?

The answer is simple: Harry Potter.

Bless you, J.K. Rowling for fixing me. It wasn't just J.K. Rowling, though. I also have to give Dan Brown some credit because, before I read Harry Potter, I read The DaVinci Code. It was the first book I'd read from cover to cover in probably over a decade. I was taking Survey of Western Art in junior college, so The DaVinci Code fascinated me. I didn't know how to properly utilize a library at the time, so I went to Barnes and Noble after school two days in a row and read The DaVinci Codei there.

Back to Harry Potter, though...

I was 13 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released. I didn't hear about it until I was a sophomore in high school. People at school were reading it, but I had no interest, and it sounded very silly and childish to me. Plus... books, meh. I'd rather watch talk shows and make out with my boyfriend than read about wizards.

The next year, the first movie was released.

I didn't care. But at some point, the DVD ended up in our house, and someone sat down to watch it, and I was in the room. I didn't watch it on purpose, I swear! But I also didn't leave the room, and by the end, I was like, "Whoa! That was really good!" So over the following years, I watched the second movie and the third. I also flipped through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone while I was on the toilet one day, but that's all I was willing to do.

At the time the third movie was released, I'd gotten married and read The DaVinci Code. After I finished that book, I found myself wanting to read, but I couldn't find a book I liked. I kept going back to Barnes and Noble and trying different books, but I couldn't find anything I loved (I did read Angels and Demons, though). I was telling this to my mother-in-law, and she told me to read Harry Potter. I scoffed. I was not going to read Harry Potter, but she begged me and promised I would love it.

Over and over again, I told her no, thank you. But she wouldn't relent, and she practically threw books 1-4 in my lap. I finally said, "Okay, I will try reading book four." I refused to read 1-3 because I'd already seen the movies.

My pride was sure crushed when I read book four and loved it.

And I loved book five, and book six, and book seven.

And now it's been a whole decade since the last book was released, and I've been fighting my own children to read Harry Potter. Nicky and I have butted heads over Harry Potter for years. I've tried and tried to get him to read them, but he refuses to read anything but Diary of a Wimpy Kid (I do enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid - we love listening to the audiobooks - they are quite funny, but they are no replacement for HP!)

I tried reading Harry Potter to Nicky twice, but he refused to listen and would roll around on the floor like a dog the whole time (both times we made it to Diagon Alley and then I gave up). One of his biggest reasons to not want to read Harry Potter is that - in his words - "I don't understand British accents."

I've had this argument with him dozens of times... THE BOOK IS NOT WRITTEN IN AN ACCENT! except for maybe Hagrid's dialogue, but c'mon, kid! You can read the book in WHATEVER ACCENT YOU WANT!

My mother-in-law told Nicky if he would read all the Harry Potter books she would take him to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This technically isn't possible because if she did it for him, she would also need to do it for her 402 other grandchildren, and that's not really financially nor logistically feasible, but it doesn't matter because Nicky wasn't interested at all. His response was, "I don't want to go to Harry Potter World, I just want to go to Disneyland, and I can't understand British accents anyway."

Nicky's other argument for not reading HP is that he claims he already knows everything about it. To this I said, "Fine. I will ask you one question about Harry Potter, and if you answer correctly, I will never bug you about it again."

He agreed, so I asked, "What are the seven horcruxes?"

He then listen seven random animals. So I continued to nag him about reading Harry Potter.

Then one night, Nicky started asking "If I bla bla bla, will you take me to Texas Roadhouse?" and I said, "I'll tell you what... if you read the first Harry Potter book before the end of September, I will take you to Texas Roadhouse."

An offer to go to Harry Potter World didn't do a thing for my child, but an offer to buy him country fried steak at Texas Roadhouse did. So on September 30, he finished the last three chapters of Harry Potter, and guess what! He loved it. He won't say he loved it, but I know he did because he talked about it constantly, and he confessed that he really didn't know everything about Harry Potter, and the twist at the end really threw him!

Now he's on chapter 8 of the second book, and I'm celebrating the fact that it didn't take til his early twenties like it did for me.

Friday, October 5, 2018

I Have a Problem

I've dropped some hints around here that I like Philly cheese steak sandwiches. Let's take a moment to be honest about how often I eat them.

Once a week.

At least.

Is that a lot? Cuz, I mean, if I drank Coke once a week or ate a candy bar once a week, I don't think it would be frowned upon. But I drive 12 miles to get a Philly cheese steak sandwich from Moochie's, and I can't help but think people might think that's a little much.

Moochies, My Love
{They don't look that great, but they are delicious}

This week I've been twice. My laptop had some problems, so I took it to the shop on Monday, and the shop was so close to Moochie's that I couldn't not go. And then when I picked my computer up on Thursday, I had to go to Moochie's again. I mean, I was right there.

I'm thinking about cutting back. One time I went a whole month without eating Moochie's. It was worth it because it made my sandwich that much better. Sometimes you need the chance to miss something, you know?

Moochies, My Love

I used to think my gravestone would read, "Here lies Britt, who died right on time," due to my habit of being overly punctual, but now I'm thinking it might be more appropriate to have it engraved with, "Here lies Britt who ate too many Philly cheese steaks." It just depends on how I die.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mornings Got Me Like

Our school mornings get a bit crazy. I can barely handle getting four kids ready and out the door, and I only have to get all four ready two days a week (most days I only have to get three ready). I know it won't always be this way, so I thought I'd document what our mornings are like right now so in ten years I can look back and see how things have changed (whether for better or worse - time will tell).

Each day of the week is unique because we have different things going on each day. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I go walking in the morning. I get home around 6:45, and then Scotty leaves for work between 7:00-7:15. On these days, Eva doesn't have preschool so there's one less kid to worry about. Also on these days, my sister-in-law picks my kids up for school. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Scotty leaves before 6:00 because he donates plasma. These are the days that I have to get all four kids ready. I drive them to school and go with Zoe and Eva to the kindergarten playground. Eva goes in for preschool about ten minutes after Zoe goes in for kindergarten.

My kids all have a morning checklist. They are supposed to get dressed, do their hair, eat breakfast, clean their rooms, and feed their animals. If they don't finish their checklist, they don't get any electronics after school.

While my kids are working on their morning checklists, I make sure lunches are packed, fix their breakfast (except on Friday, which is "Fix Your Own Friday"), do all the girls' hair, and try to get a little work done on myself (I can either put clothes on or brush my teeth - I can't usually tackle both. On days where I need to get ready for something, I'm just screwed. I'm still learning how to lower my expectations).

In the mornings, Nicky is usually the first kid up. Nicky is pretty good about getting ready for school, but I have to give him a few reminders. When Nicky is in a good mood, he's very talkative. He follows me around all morning and asks me question after question and tells me story after story. He is a little demanding about breakfast. He thinks he should get the works every morning - bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns... you name it. The kid should live at Village Inn or something. He's usually pretty disappointed in whatever I make, and he complains that he "feels like" a breakfast sandwich. He begs me every day to take him to McDonald's for a sausage mcmuffin. When Nicky is in a bad mood, he can be pretty aggravating. He stomps around and tells me how he hates his life and hates his sisters. He kicks walls and snaps at everyone. He's a big kid, so its basically like having a full-sized man throwing a tantrum in the kitchen. He takes up a lot of space and has the potential to do a lot of damage.

Nicky is still going through his "Hawaiian shirt and gym shorts' phase, so every morning he picks his Hawaiian shirt, and if there aren't any clean, he digs one out of the laundry. He does his own hair, and you can tell, but the good news is, he's starting to get better at it. Nicky usually has spare time in the morning, so he finds some strange activity to keep him busy. Today he made a tin foil hat and listened to Weird Al songs (just a side note - Scotty decided to show Nicky a Weird Al video several months ago, and I said, "You are going to regret this." Now Nicky is obsessed with Weird Al - heaven help us).

Nicky is always worried about getting to school on time. I assure him that he's not going to be late, but he wants to leave the house at 8:00 (we usually leave around 8:15 with much protesting on his part, and he still gets there 15 minutes before school starts).

Daisy is my most distracted child. She needs constant chiding to stay on task. I can give her one small instruction like, "Go put shoes on," and twenty minutes later I find her barefoot staring at a wall. She's also very sneaky - her version of cleaning her room is hiding everything under her bed, behind her clothes in the closet, or in her dresser drawers. I have to watch her like a hawk! Daisy gets up early of her own free will but then yells at everyone for waking her up. Every morning she claims she can't find her under shirt, her socks, her shoes, etc. and every morning I walk down to her room and find the items exactly where I told her they would be. Each day, Daisy is paranoid that I'm going to forget to pick her up from school. She makes me rehearse "the plan" to her every day (even though it's the same plan every day). She always spends half an hour "eating" breakfast, but then her plate is still full of food, and she tells me she's stuffed and doesn't feel good. Five minutes later she asks for more food. I think she just wants to be in control of what's for breakfast. As you can image, we butt heads a lot in the morning. I do her hair a few days a week and let her do her own a few days a week even though it's hard to let her leave the house like that sometimes. I have to do regular deodorant checks with her, and I can't ever really take her word for it when she says she brushed her teeth.

{The perfect meme for Daisy}

Daisy is tough to deal with at home, but she is always a good student at school. Praise and bless!

Of all my children, Zoe has the most Jekyll and Hyde tendencies. There's the sweet, funny Zoe, and then there's an animalistic version of her that I refer to as "Caveman Zo." I never know which version of her I'm going to wake up to. If she's in a good mood, she wakes up and independently gets ready for school. She's so proud of herself when she does this, and sometimes she'll even wrap herself up in a blanket and pretend she just got out of bed, but then she'll pull off her blanket and yell, "Ta-da! I tricked you!" and she's fully dressed. On days like this, she's excited about school and full of energy.

On her caveman days, though, watch out! She growls at everyone and sometimes snaps her teeth. She writhes on the ground and grunts and screams. She beats up on her siblings, yells at everyone all morning, throws stuff, and refuses to go to school. Zoe can be pretty physically aggressive when she goes into Caveman Mode, and that girl throws a punch like you wouldn't believe! Mornings with Zozo are a delight when she's in a good mood and atrocious when she's in a foul mood.

Since Eva only has school two days a week, I don't have to worry about her every day. On the days she doesn't have school, she can roll out of bed whenever she wants, and if she doesn't eat or get dressed, it's no big deal. On school days she's hit and miss. She has had some good mornings and some bad mornings.

Eva usually gets up at 5:30 and gets a sippy cup of milk and then goes back to bed. She usually doesn't sleep too late, but I have had to wake her up for school at least once so far. She's not a big breakfast eater, so it's been hard to make sure she's adequately fed before school. She usually just wants a cup of milk and a bag of Kix to eat on the way to school.

Finding matching shoes for Zoe and Eva is always a challenge. I will go around and find all of their shoes and put them away in the evening, and by morning, half of the shoes are missing. I have no idea what happens, but almost daily, we tear apart the house trying to find any matching pair of shoes so they can go to school. Their backpacks also routinely disappear - this is because they are both obsessed with backpacks, so they always empty their backpacks and then pack them full of toys and stuffed animals to haul around the house.

When we get to the school, Nicky and Daisy get out of the van just fine and head off to the playground, but I never know what Zoe and Eva are going to do. There are days they go into the school just fine, and there are days when one or the other clings to my legs screaming and has to be dragged in by a teacher.

By the time my kids are off to school each day, I am exhausted. My dreams of accomplishing great things while they're gone are crushed by my need to physically recover.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Currently {October 2018 Edition}

Reading: Lighten Up by Chieko Okazaki, Church History in the Fullness of Times, and Real Moms: Making it Up as We Go by Lisa Valentine Clark.

Watching: Party of Five. Also giving Manifest a try but not totally sold on it.

Listening to: Baby Shark (please no more baby shark!) and the Saints podcast on the Mormon Channel with a little Maroon 5 in between. 

Wearing: A University of Utah shirt and my new sweatpants (which it's still too hot for. My legs are sweaty).

Craving: Water

Singing: Baby Shark. Make it stop!!!

Stressing about: A little bit of everything. I'll be better tomorrow, though. Wednesdays are hard. On Wednesdays I live in my van from 3:00-9:00 pm, and there's a pretty high probability that I'll leave a child somewhere. If you see me parked somewhere on a Wednesday, don't come talk to me because I'm probably crying. Unless you’re trying to bring me a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, and in that case, come to my window, friend. Hand me the sandwich, and then quickly back away. Don’t look me in the eye.

Buying: the Harry Potter audio books. I decided it's a necessity, so I signed up for Audible so I can get one a month until I have the whole series. I was waiting for them on Overdrive, but it took five months to get the first one. I don't like the CDs because they are too slow. I like to speed up audio books to 1.5-2X.

Trying: To keep running. I have a way of giving up on things. I can't maintain anything positive for more than two weeks - I expire. So this would be the week I quit running, if I were to follow my normal trend. 

Missing: All of my babies. I love my kids as they are now, but I wish I could somehow experience them as babies again - minus the diapers and nighttime wakings. Mostly I just want the cuteness and the snuggle factor.

Proud of: Eva for doing well in dance class, Zoe for being motivated and determined to learn her sight words, Daisy for being Top Eagle in her class this week, and Nicky for earning two rank advancements and eight merit badges in Scouts. 

Frustrated by: Pants and shoes. I can't find any that fit well. Am I that deformed? Or is the world of fashion just cruel?

Looking forward to: Getting my October Ipsy bag. It's an amazing pick-me-up, especially if I get something really good! 

Neglecting: All housework. On Wednesdays, I give myself a free pass. 

Needing: A hair cut. I have award-winning split ends. 

Loving: Cool mornings and evenings.

Excited for: Lunch with Christie. The new Cafe Rio location is starting to grow on me. 

Thankful for: Inspiration from the Spirit. I love the way it feels to have the Spirit with me and to be able to recognize it.