Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Questions to Ask Your Boyfriend

Occasionally I like to look for writing prompts on the internet. Most of them really aren't my style, but sometimes I find a prompt or questionnaire that I like. This one made me laugh because it's titled, "Questions to ask your boyfriend."

Since I'm fresh outta boyfriends, I guess I'll answer the questions myself.

1. What movie was so sad you will never watch it again?

I think this is a really good question, but I can't think of one. There are plenty of movies I won't watch again but not because they are sad.

2. What are the two biggest lessons you've learned from previous relationships?

Since I haven't had a lot of romantic relationships in my life, I'm going to answer this from a friendship perspective.

Lesson 1: The best friendships are built on the true version of yourself.

Lesson 2: Competition can't be a thing.

Just don't ask me how often I still fail at these lessons.

3. What would be the absolute perfect day?

I'm not going to answer this question because I kind of hate it, but I want to point out that this question pops up in, like, every questionnaire in the history of ever.

4. What did you learn a little too late?

I feel like my life's lessons have come at the right time, but I wish I'd had better social skills as a teenager and young adult.

5. What gross and unhygienic things do people do that bother you?

I'm not a huge germaphobe, so I can tolerate a lot. I'm not saying I like gross and unhygienic things, but I'm not super sensitive about it. The one thing that really annoys me, though, is when women don't properly care for and dispose of their menstrual products in restrooms. Ladies! C'mon!

6. What habit do you have that you don't think many other people have?

I make a clicking sound in the back of my throat when I'm tired, and I always space my steps evenly between cracks in the sidewalk. I also like to shoot rose petals out of my nostrils. Don't knock it til you've tried it!

7. What are you too hard on yourself for?

I don't want you to know!

(Funny how I'm secure enough to admit that I like shooting rose petals out of my nose, but I can't tell you what I'm hard on myself for).

8. What habits do you have that annoy other people?

Oh boy. This is something I just have to guess on. I tend to be a bit of a control freak, and that might annoy some people. Also, I clear my throat a lot, and that's probably irritating to listen to. I sometimes meddle where I shouldn't, and I probably give people unwanted advice and act like a know-it-all.

9. What do most people overestimate or underestimate about you?

For some reason, people always assume I'm good at doing hair, and I'm really not. My whole life, people have asked me to french braid their hair - like there's something about me that says, "This girl can braid!" It never goes well. I'm really bad at doing hair.

I don't know if anyone really underestimates me. I'm surrounded by people who believe in me. Whaddayaknow!

10. How often do you feel utterly worn down?

Umm....

This might be May speaking, but as far as I can tell... all the dang time.

11. What is something that you should do but will never do?

Iron.

12. What was the best thing about how your parents raised you?

My mom never really helicoptered. She let me make a lot of my own decisions, which is something that worked really well for my personality. My dad was good about making me earn money and spend it wisely.

13. What do you most look forward to about getting old?

Having no house payment.

At least, that's the goal. We have a plan, and we are on track with that plan, but we are also open to direction from the Lord.

14. What is the biggest sign of weakness in a person?

Not being able to admit when they're wrong. As a person who does not like to be wrong, I know this to be true. But also, not being able to forgive.

15. What's something you tried really hard to like but just couldn't?

This Is Us.

I can't with Mandy Moore. I just can't!

16. What makes you different from most people?

You mean besides the fact that I like shooting rose petals out of my nose, and I don't like This Is Us?

17. What was the best mistake you ever made? 

I thought and thought about this, and I honestly can't think of a time I've made a mistake and things turned out better for it.

18. If money was no object, where would you live?

I would buy several houses in an old run-down neighborhood and make many of my family and friends move there with me (which they will agree to... because FREE HOUSES). We would fix up the houses and help build up an existing community.

19. Who was the most toxic person you've ever known?

I don't know if I can really bestow that honor on someone, but a former co-worker comes to mind.

20. What were the last two books that you read?

Even This and Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter both of which happen to be by Emily Belle Freeman, and I read them at the beginning of April, so dang, it's been a while since I finished a book.

21. If you dropped everything and went on a road trip, where would you go?

I'd love to head across the nation and hit several places along the way. I love road trips, so I'm really good with anywhere! I'd love to see the Redwoods and the Oregon coast. I also really want to go to Nauvoo. And Mount Rushmore. I could go to Idaho to see Shannon and Cyndi or to Memphis to see the temple Scotty helped renovate. I love South Carolina, and Disneyworld has been calling my name for quite some time!

22. What makes you nervous?

Calling people on the phone. It's so stupid, but I know a lot of you can relate. I'm always worried that I'm bothering people or that I'll have to face some form of rejection. But mostly I worry that we won't be able to hear/understand each other.

23. What makes you angrier than it should?

People letting me go ahead of them when they have the right of way in traffic. You were there first! Just go! You disrupt the flow when you start flagging people to go ahead of you. I may be the most impatient person on the planet, but I can wait three seconds at a four-way stop for my turn. Keep a movin!

24. What are the manliest and least manly things you have ever done?

I guess this is where the boyfriend things becomes relevant. But never fear! I will answer this question! When I was a kid, I tried to master the art of peeing while standing. It was both the manliest and the least manly thing I've ever done.

25. How do you feel about pets and animals?

Pretty much the same way I feel about kids. They are wonderful when they are clean and well-behaved.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Patriarch's Granddaughter

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a blogging friend, Erika, in person. We became acquainted over twelve years ago as part of the same blogging community. Erika emailed me a few months ago and told me she was coming to Salt Lake for an archery tournament, so I sent her a list of ideas for things to do while she was here, and I made my way downtown so I could spend some time with her.

One of our main topics of discussion was religion. Erika is Methodist, and I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We had some great conversations about our experiences with God's love and our faith. Erika asked wonderful and genuine questions about my church, and I felt a lot of enthusiasm about answering them. One thing she asked about was patriarchal blessings. I was really excited about that because patriarchal blessings have been a big part of my life!

In my Church, members have the opportunity to be given a one-time blessing by a patriarch - someone who is ordained specifically to give these blessings. The purpose of the blessing is to offer the individual guidance from Heavenly Father and to declare the persons' lineage in the House of Israel (read more here). The blessing can give counsel, promises, and warnings and help us understand our spiritual gifts.

We do not openly share or discuss the specifics of our patriarchal blessings, but I can tell you that mine has been very helpful throughout my life. The older I get, the more sense it makes, as I have seen portions of it fulfilled. Some couples choose to share theirs with each other. Scotty and I have read each other's, but we'd been married for several years before we did that. This is just based on personal choice.

The reason I say that patriarchal blessings have been a big part of my life is because my grandpa was a patriarch. This is an office in the Church that not many people hold. Patriarchs maintain that office through life unless it is lost through transgression. They may, for health reasons, stop actively giving blessings, but they remain patriarchs, as was the case with my grandpa (read more here).


Since my grandpa was a patriarch, my grandma was given the responsibility to type the blessings. Each individual is given a copy of his or her blessing so they can read it any time. The blessings are also maintained by the Church so if a person loses their copy, they can request one.

The blessings are not written down beforehand. The patriarch may jot down some notes, but the blessing is essentially dictated by the Spirit. It's quite phenomenal!

My grandpa would always have two tape recorders going when he gave blessings (the second one was for back-up in case there were any problems with the first one). My grandma would then listen to the tapes and type the blessings on her type writer (computers were eventually an option, but my grandma was mostly a typewriter gal).

Generations 

I spent countless hours playing in my grandma's house while she sat in the office typing away to my grandpa's voice. I was always there since I lived right across the street. The recordings of my grandpa giving blessings were just part of the everyday background noise in my grandparent's house along with the clickety clack of the typewriter. Because of this, I grew up hearing hundreds of patriarchal blessings.

Another thing my grandma did was schedule the blessings. She always put the information for the individuals on post-its and hung them on the door frame next to the phone. Since my grandparents lived in our community, my grandpa gave blessings to a lot of my friends and school mates. I always loved checking the names on the door frame because there was usually a name of someone I knew.

Whenever my grandpa was giving blessings, my grandma would take the phone off the hook. We always knew that it was blessing time when we got the busy signal. Sometimes I'd sit in the window and watch across the street, waiting for the people to leave. Then I'd try calling to see if I got the busy signal. If I did, that meant another person was coming for a blessing, and I couldn't come over yet.

G&G

Even though my grandpa lived across the street, he wasn't in our stake, and therefore, wasn't our patriarch. With special permission, I was able to receive my blessing from my him when I was 17.

Not only was my grandpa a patriarch, my great-grandpa was as well. Patriarchs aren't common, but father & son patriarchs are even less so!

And all of that is why I nearly jumped for joy when I got to tell Erika about patriarchal blessings.

----------------------------------

For a fun read, check out this blog post where I gave a tour of my grandparents' house.




Monday, May 13, 2019

Our Anniversary Tradition

Last week, Scotty and I celebrated our 16th anniversary. By "celebrated" I mean we remembered it was our anniversary after Scotty had left for work, and we texted each other, "Oh yeah, happy anniversary!" I had to work at the school that morning and then our girls had their dance concert that night, and there wasn't a minute to spare.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:


MAY IS CRAY!

Young people everywhere, I urge you to not get married in May! It's too late for me, but you can save yourselves! And your mothers! For heaven's sake... think of your mothers!!! My children will not be granted any wedding funds if they choose to get married in May. 

Or December.

(Oh my gosh, I'm going to be an awful mother-in-law!)

Rings 
Even though Scotty and I didn't get to do anything alone together for our anniversary (but we will... eventually... when it's no longer May... and when we are in the same country) we have a tradition that we were able to squeeze in between dance concerts, church responsibilities, and school functions. 

Since our wedding anniversary marks the day we became a family, we like to do something to celebrate with our kids. Every year (usually on the Monday of our anniversary week, but this time we had to go for Wednesday because our kids got in trouble on Monday for fighting, so their consequence was postponing) we have what we call our "Familyversary Dinner." 

We draw for food assignments (entree, side dish, dessert, drink, etc) and then we go shopping together. Each person picks out whatever they want for their food assignment, and then we come home and prepare the food and eat dinner together. Usually I try to make it "fancy" with a table cloth and candles, but we've had a few close calls with the candles, so we've stopped using them for now. I also used to use wine glasses, but every year someone spills, so I decided they don't spark joy and got rid of them. This year we resorted to paper plates, and we had an extra kid at our house. Whatever. We got it done. 

Scanned Pics 020 

When we started this tradition, we did $5 for each person to get whatever they wanted for dinner, but we usually ended up with a lot of ice cream and cookies or a meal where everything was orangs and covered in cheese. So for the past three years we've done assignments instead to provide a little balance. We still end up eating a lot of junk food, but sometimes there's a nutrient in there. We kind of have to stick with things that are easy to fix since we don't want to come home and spend hours fixing food from scratch. So sometimes the kids end up picking something like Lunchables or mac & cheese. It's all good. We have a lot of fun with it!

This year's menu included:

Daisy (entree): chicken nuggets
Me (entree): Totinos pizza
Nicky (drink): Capri Suns
Eva (side dish): Club crackers and cheese
Zoe (side dish): strawberries
Scotty (dessert): pumpkin chocolate chip cookies


 Here's to 16 years as a family! With many more to come!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Of Mothers and More

Once upon a time, I didn't know if I would ever be a mom. You can read more about that here.

Scanned 044 
Scotty and Britt, pre-kids
(believe it or not, we are actually adults in this photo)

My time of infertility was short-lived, but I had a couple of rough Mother's Days. Attending church was pretty hard in general. One thing that got me through my Sundays was a cute, little baby in my ward named Toby. Every week in church he would greet me with a big smile, sometimes even a giggle, and it always melted my heart. It was like he knew I needed it. On one of those Mother's Days, I remember watching Toby in the pew in front of me, and even though I didn't know what my future would be, I felt peaceful. There's a journal in a box somewhere where I wrote about this day. I tried to find it for this post but had no luck.

Tobes still greets me almost every Sunday, but the faces he pulls at me are a little different now:

We are very photogenic, Tobes and me.

In fact, everything is a little different now.

I've gone from whining that I couldn't have kids to whining that I do have kids. None of them got here easily or quickly, but somehow four of them showed up.

Zoe
When Zoe "showed up"

As this year's Mother's Day approached, I thought about the amazing women in my life and the different experiences that each of them have had. Some have had children easily and are thriving in motherhood. Some have met motherhood with great trials including pre-natal loss, mental illness, developmental concerns, or infertility. Some have borne children at a great cost, financially and/or physically. Some have had a late start. Some have had surprise multiples. Some haven't had children of their own - some by choice and some not. Some have been handed teenagers who are not their own and told "raise them." Some have lost their own mothers.

2009 12 15_1094
Daisy's baby toes

Though each of us walks a different path in motherhood, we have one thing in common: we are women and we have influence.

There's a rhetoric that we are all mothers, even when we're not literally mothers. I don't remember how I felt about that when I couldn't have children, but I imagine that it's not the greatest line to feed a woman who would give anything to have a baby. It's said with good intent, though, and I understand the sentiment of it. As women, we all have influence, and being a positive influence in a child's life - whether in literal motherhood or in teaching or just simply caring - is powerful and important. I know this because I'm a mother who only gets by because of the love and support of other women.

So today, as I navigate this slightly uncomfortable holiday, I am thankful for my mothers - my mom, my step-mom, Scotty's mom, and Scotty's step-mom. I am thankful for my own motherhood journey, hard as it may be. I am thankful for my mom friends - women I laugh and cry with. And  I am thankful for those who may not consider themselves "mothers" but who uplift and support other women.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Latest in Birthday Posters

For the past six years I've made a monthly birthday poster for my kids' school. My favorite day of the school year is the day I hang the last poster! That happened last week. I always start of the year going strong, and then by May, I never want to see a roll of butcher paper again (but then I agree to continue doing it the next year. It's a vicious cycle!)

I posted the first half of the year's posters here. These are the rest for this school year:

January


In January, our family went to Disneyland, so naturally, I had Disney on the brain. Stars are one of my favorite shapes to use for the kids' names. 

February


In February, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part came to theaters, so I made Emmett. Let it be known, Lego hands are complicated. 

March


In March I saw a Baby Shark birthday invitation, and I realized how simple the sharks would be to make out of paper, so Baby Shark, it was! But what looks "simple" never really is. These posters all take at least four hours. Some take longer. 

I draw most things free-hand on white paper, and when it looks right, I hang it on my window and trace it on to colored paper. I have to make all the pieces out of the right colors and then glue them together. I'm always on the look-out for images that would be easy(ish) to make with layered colored paper. 

April


This was the first time I did anything with an Easter theme. I haven't wanted to do Easter posters in March (it feels too early) or when Easter is early in April (because then it feels out-dated for the rest of the month). Since Easter was toward the end of April, I did an Easter poster. 

Also, this school year I started using paint sometimes. I painted the Easter basket in this one and then used a Sharpie to make the details. I also used paint to make Charlie Brown and Frosty the Snowman

May


For May I wanted to do something for Endgame. I had big ideas, but I went with this one since I love Captain America, and it was "simple." I figure I can use some more of my Avengers ideas next year when I'm in a rut. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mayday, It's May

May is the month I lose my marbles.

The other day, as I approached an elevator at the orthodontist's office, I reached into my purse, pulled out my key fob, pointed it at the elevator door, and hit the unlock button. 

Guess what! The elevator didn't open! And I thought, "Crap! Now is a really inconvenient time for my battery to die. I really need to get downstairs." The fact that my brain took the time to consider that the problem was a dead battery before it realized that key fobs do not open elevator doors is evidence that I've completely lost it. 


May is such a crazy month. There is so much to do from dance concerts to school events to daily chores. Here are some of the side effects of the end of the school year:

  • I taught Junior Achievement for the kindergartners, and I lost my manual the week before the last lesson. I showed up at the school and just made stuff up. I filled the time by letting the kids take turns showing me their owies. Did you know every kindergartner on the face of this earth has a scabby elbow? True story. 

  • Zoe hasn't taken her backpack to school in almost a month. 

  • I took my kids through the McDonald's drive thru for breakfast THREE TIMES last week because I couldn't manage to fix them breakfast. Then yesterday, I did it again because we didn't have any food other than cereal, and all the bowls - including the random Pyrex dishes - were dirty. 

  • I had to move my McDonald's cups to make room for my new McDonald's cups (it's really embarrassing when you go through the McDonald's drive thru, and you still have McDonald's garbage in your vehicle)

  • Everyday my daughter asks me to sew the head back on a stupid teddy bear that she got for Christmas. Might I add that the head fell off on Christmas? It's from the dollar store. Can't we just let it rest in peace?

  • Eva wears two different shoes everyday. I don't even put forth the effort to make sure they are on the correct feet. Two lefties? Whatever. A cowboy boot and a Paw Patrol sneaker? Don't care. 

  • I've stopped trying to abide by our budget. Whatever it is, stick it in the cart! I'll put it on a credit card and figure out if we're broke later. 

  • Daisy wants to be in the 3rd grade talent show with her friend whose mom doesn't speak a lot of English. We can't understand each other. So the friend might be coming to our house tomorrow until 7:00 or she's coming to our house at 7:00. Or maybe none of the above. I don't even know. But Daisy has been planning this since August. I need it to end!

  • The car battery died on me the other day. 

  • My whole body aches like I ran a half marathon (believe it or not, I actually know what that feels like), and I have a pain in my lower abdomen that I'm hoping just goes away because I don't want to deal with it. 


  • My van smells like pee and sausage mcmuffins. 

  • So does my bathroom.

  • And my couch.

  • I don't plan on seeing my kitchen table or counters until June at the earliest. 

  • The other day I found Nutter Butters in my bed, and I was too lazy to get up and throw them away, so I ate them. Someone had already licked the peanut butter filling out. 

  • One of our chickens died today.

  • The day before Easter, we went on a family picnic. Everything we took with us is still in my trunk.

  • I destroyed an umbrella a few weeks ago because I fell on top of it while it was open. 

  • The thought of doing my church calling makes me want to throw up.

  • I vacuumed up pennies yesterday just to get them out of my life. Now my vacuum makes funny sounds. 

  • I also tried vacuuming a pile of grass in my girls' room (everyone's kid has a pile of grass and dead ladybugs in their room, right?) and clogged the hose. I can't find anything long enough to stick in there and push the grass through. I'm currently waiting for the grass to die - hoping it will take up less space when it's dried out and therefore, dislodge itself.

  • I have a library book sitting on my counter that's three weeks overdue. I see it everyday, but I can't for the life of me take it back to the library.

And there you have it! A small glimpse of the mess that I am. 

How many days left in this month?

Never mind. Don't answer. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Things on a Tuesday

This has been an "off" week so far. Yesterday was the sort of day where everything kept going wrong.

I dropped FOUR eggs during breakfast prep, and not all at once! I would get one cleaned up, resume cracking eggs, and drop another one. Two of the eggs landed right on the crevice between my stove top and my counter, so the eggy goo ran down and pooled on the floor under my oven. I didn't have time to pull the oven out to clean it, so I did the best I could by wrapping a towel around a butter knife and sliding it in the crack. Another egg ended up on the floor, and I scooped it quickly into my hands to keep it from spreading, but as I moved toward the sink to deposit it, the egg ran through my fingers and dripped all over the floor. I didn't learn my lesson because I dropped another egg on the counter and tried the hand scooping approach again which resulted in me bumping my crock pot with my elbow, sending it flying. The ceramic piece was in the dishwasher, but the unit was still plugged into the wall (I clearly didn't learn my lesson from when Jess from Gilmore Girls grew up and married Mandy Moore and suffered death by crock pot) (and now that I've said that, I better throw this out there for Shannon, who is currently watching Gilmore Girls for the first time, that I am not talking about Gilmore Girls, so no spoilers here... except in regards to that other show, which I do not actually like, and therefore, don't feel obligated to keep hushed about). 

Where was I?

Oh, yes. The crock pot went flying since it wasn't weighed down by the crock. It hit the metal garbage can, which put a big dent in the side, and then, since it was still plugged into the wall, it dangled from the outlet and spun in a slow circle while I stood there with egg in my hands. 

All of this happened with two little girls underfoot, or "underarm," to be more accurate, since any time I cook, Zoe and Eva have to have their heads in my armpits to see what I'm doing. And that is what makes me prone to so much egg dropping! In addition to all the other morning chaos that gets me feeling stressed and sloppy. 


My day pretty much continued in that manner. Clumsy accidents and messy crises. One after the other.

The day ended in a pneumonia diagnosis for Nicky and me running over Zoe and Eva's scooters in the garage. As soon as I heard the sound of the scooters, I asked Nicky to jump out of the van and look. The scooters were both wedged under my van tires, and I told Nicky to just leave them there, and we would assess them later. I chose to leave them because they were out of sight, and I needed them to stay that way. This morning, I moved the van, and Nicky went and got the scooters. They survived! And I am so glad! The girls have only had them for about two weeks, and I was certain I was going to have to hide the evidence and buy new ones (it wouldn't be the first time I've had to throw away a scooter and sneakily buy a replacement). 

As for the pneumonia thing, Nicky has been a little sick since Easter weekend, but he is so tough that it's easy to overlook sickness and injury in that one. But he has had a bit of a cough that has gotten worse over the past few days, and he's been lethargic and doesn't have much of an appetite. I've wondered off and on for several days whether he has pneumonia. I finally took him to instacare last night. The doctor said he could hear a crackle in Nicky's lungs, so they ordered an x-ray, and sure enough, it's pneumonia.


The x-ray tech was a doll. She printed off the images for Nicky and showed him what everything in the picture was. We now know for sure that he has lungs, a heart, and intestines. Nicky's favorite part was that the tech was able to show him an air pocket in his intestine as well as some of his poop. Show a twelve year old boy an x-ray of his fart, and he will be one happy lad! 

I made Nicky stay home from school today to rest (he threw up this morning, possibly a reaction to his antibiotics and he keeps getting bloody noses, poor kid), so my routine is shaken. Zoe and Eva had school today. Their classes start and end a few minutes apart. When I picked up Zoe, I put her in the van and stopped to talk to a friend. While I was talking my friend, I suddenly had this moment of panic because I couldn't remember where Eva was. I couldn't recall putting her in the van, so I wondered if I accidentally left her at home. It was such a bizarre moment! Meanwhile, Eva was exactly where she was supposed to be... in school. It took me a good minute to orient myself and figure out what was going on. It scared me. 

But let's go back to instacare for a minute. 

Before that, I need to tell you about my squeaky shoe. 


I have a squeaky shoe, and it's really annoying, yet, I keep wearing it. I think, "Oh it's not that bad!" but when I'm "squeak, squeak, squeaking" my way through the library or the grocery store, I suddenly remember how awful it really is to have a squeaky shoe (and even worse is the fact that I paid big money for my squeaky shoe after doing a gait assessment at a running store). 

Yesterday was such a moment as I squeaked my way from the exam room to the x-ray room at instacare. When I was walking back to the exam room, a medical assistant was talking to a co-worker about his squeaky shoe and walking around the area trying to make his shoe squeak. I heard him tell his co-worker, "I can hear it! Can't you hear it?" I stopped walking and said, "Are you talking about my shoe?" and he said, "Oh, that's what it was! I thought it was my shoe!" then we commiserated about our squeaky shoes because apparently he has one too, and he thought my shoe squeaks were his shoe squeaks. 

Let's take a moment to discuss how important human connection is... whether it's fueled by memories, food, feelings, or squeaky shoes. It's good to know we're not alone. I am not the only one out there squeaking. 

Meanwhile, is it really only Tuesday?