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Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth, Good Health to Children

Last week Graeme got sick and stayed home from school for three days.  Around the same time, Kai became congested but no fever so he kept going to school.  Then on Tues of this week Chloe came down with a fever (104) and congestion and had to miss the last two days of school.  Finally, yesterday Kai got the fever too so this has been the scene at our house for the last few days:

Graeme's still congested but no fever (thank goodness), Chloe's temp is all the way down to 103 (sarcasm) with coughing and congestion and Kai's temp is up to 104 also with coughing and congestion.  I sure wish I had taken them in for flu shots.

I'm trying desperately to focus on Christmas, but at this point I'm exhausted and wishing it was all over.  I wish I could say everything was done and ready, but there's still wrapping to be done and now I'm going to have to prepare a Christmas dinner since we won't be able to go to Mom and Dad's.  I know this is a Christmas we'll all remember, but right now I'm focused on surviving.  Merry Christmas anyway.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lost tooth (teeth)

When we took Kai to the dentist a month or so ago, we were a little surprised when the dentist told us that he had a couple of loose teeth.  Not so much surprised at the fact of loose teeth (he hadn't lost any yet and we were expecting it soon), more at just how loose they were.  Kai hadn't said a thing about them.  After the dentist visit, we started telling him to wiggle them so they would fall out and the tooth fairy would come visit.  Although he's super excited about the tooth fairy, he was completely unwilling to wiggle them.  Then, about a week and a half ago, he started complaining that one of his teeth hurt when he ate.  Brian offered to pull it but Kai was really, really unwilling.

I didn't think much more about it until last Thursday when Kai and I were eating lunch.  He started complaining about his tooth hurting and then wanted to show me how loose it was.  It was so loose he could push it all the way over with his tongue (I could see the bottom of the tooth)!  I told him that was pretty neat and he probably could pull it out.  He refused, of course.  A couple of minutes later he said: "Mommy, my tooth is gone!"  "Well, where is it?"  "I don't know!"  We looked all over and couldn't find it so I'm pretty sure it went down with his corndog.  When I mentioned that he probably swallowed it, his response was: "That's not possible!"  Which kind of cracked me up.  He was convinced that because teeth are hard, you can't swallow them without serious bodily injury.  Anyway, we wrote a note to the tooth fairy and all was well.

Until the next day, that is.

Having not learned my lesson, I cooked up another corndog for his lunch.  A few minutes into the meal, out of the blue, he said: "Mommy, my other tooth is gone!"  That's right, his second lost tooth went down with the corndog to join the first.  No more corndogs for Kai!

If you look real close, you can see that the new teeth are already coming in.  We wrote another note to the tooth fairy and she was kind enough to leave more money even though "she didn't see my tooth" (according to Kai).

These lost teeth make me a little sad.  I'm happy that Kai is growing and developing, but each of his "firsts" is a "last" for me.  No more first lost tooth, first smile, first day without diapers, first day of Kindergarten, first breath in this world.  I'm comfortable with having no more children, but these milestones still make me a little melancholy.

BTW, I went to Weight Watchers on Friday and was down 1.8 pounds.  It wasn't as much as I had hoped, but any loss is better than a gain.  Now I just need to survive the rest of the holidays........

Friday, December 10, 2010

I win or Weight Watchers week 5

From the title of this post, you're probably already guessing where I'm going with this.  Here it is anyway:  I went to Weight Watchers today (in spite of bloating and horrible cramps) to discover that I lost 5.4 pounds this week!  Needless to say, I'm thrilled beyond words.  And with my new attitude change I'm even celebrating my accomplishment instead of minimizing it.  Hooray!  I am winning!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weight Watchers week 4, BPD and a Change in Strategy

Okay, so I went to my fourth Weight Watchers meeting last Friday, but I haven't really felt like posting about it until right now.  Probably because I'm going again tomorrow.  Anyway, I gained 2.6 pounds which was really really bad and I've been pretty upset about it.  Although, I think I've been more upset about the comment the lady who was weighing me made.  When I saw my weight gain I said: "Oh, that's bad."  and her response was: "Well, it looks like Thanksgiving was good."  Which made me feel like crap because I think if Thanksgiving was good, I would have lost weight!  So I've continued to feel like crap since then and have regularly contemplated giving up.

But today I was thinking about Biggest Loser (one of my favorite shows) and I remembered Jillian the trainer telling one of the contestants that she needed to stop seeking approval from others.  I realized that's exactly what I've been doing!  Now I know that's not a good strategy in general, but it's even worse for people (like me) with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Because of my BPD, I tend to view people in black and white; a person is either all good or all bad and that includes me.  So when someone else is rude or unsupportive, it's devastating because it means that I am a horrible person.  I've really been working on my perceptions of other people and I'm getting a lot better about accepting the good mixed with the bad, but I realized today that I haven't been applying those perception changes to myself.  Not a good strategy for weight loss because I can never ever win.

New strategy for tomorrow:  no matter what the scale says, I'm going to remind myself of my victories (big and small) and I'm going to tell myself over and over again how beautiful, strong, smart and talented I am.  What it boils down to is that I've got to believe in myself or all of the wonderful, supportive people in my life won't be able to help me one little bit because the second they make a mistake or say something wrong (we're all too human) my world will come crashing down.

My personal battles right now in this life are obesity and BPD.  As hard as they are, I guess they could be worse.  I will win.  As Stuart Smalley would say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Anonymous

I've been getting comments on my blog lately from several anonymous sources who I'm pretty sure are actual people and not ad generating computers.  While I'm grateful for your interest in my thoughts and experiences, I haven't responded to or published your comments.  You may be wondering why, so here it is:

20 years ago when I was in college, I was given a position of responsibility in the dorm where I was living.  One of the dorm rules that I was required to enforce was no lit candles.  One of the other residents (who was a friend of mine) had a birthday party and attempted to light the candles on her cake.  I stopped her and she became very angry at me.  She complained to my supervisor about how awful I was (she made up a story about how I mistreated her) and I got into a lot of trouble.  I assume it was her but I don't know for sure because my supervisor wouldn't tell me who leveled the complaint against me and wouldn't listen to my side of the story even though I had no other complaints against me before or after.

I know, I need to let things go, but I'm not angry at that girl anymore, I just appreciate knowing who I'm interacting with at any given time.  Anonymity doesn't sit real well with me.  So, if you would like to link to one of my posts, send me the address of what you're linking me to.  Or leave your blog or email address in your comment and ask me not to publish it.  I'm always looking to get to know new people!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Scenes from the blizzard and Gratitude

The blizzard last Tuesday was an interesting experience.  I was baffled by the near panic I sensed all around.  I went to the grocery store in the early afternoon and it was packed.  School was dismissed early, businesses closed and everyone went home.  I didn't understand why until the storm actually hit around 3:30.  Here's what I saw from my front and back doors (that's not fog, by the way, it's snow blowing sideways):

I think the most frightening part was how quiet it was.  The wind was blowing really hard, but there was very little sound.  And it was so cold!  I think our furnace ran nonstop until we went to bed.  I am so very grateful that we were all inside and the power didn't go out!

Speaking of gratitude, we had a very special Thanksgiving this year.  We were going to California to spend the weekend with Brian's dad and Maree.  We were very excited to go, but we never made it.  That being said, here's what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving:

I'm grateful the blizzard ended Tuesday night.
I'm grateful the snowplows worked all night to clear the roads and the other drivers were being extra careful.
I'm grateful the radiator cracked just south of Beaver and not in the middle of the Nevada desert.
I'm grateful we didn't have an accident and nothing else in the engine was damaged.
I'm grateful the tow truck driver came in less that 45 minutes because it was very cold and we didn't dare
      run the engine.
I'm grateful the Beaver McDonald's was warm and nobody minded us hanging out for 5 hours.
I'm grateful my sister and brother-in-law live in St. George.
I'm grateful my bil has a truck and didn't mind coming all the way up to Beaver to get us.
I'm grateful my sister, her husband and kids are kind and generous enough to welcome us into their home in 
      our hour of need.  We were warm and well-fed and loved.
I'm grateful that my dad was willing to drive down to help us and that he didn't have to.
I'm grateful my uncle went on the internet and helped us find a new radiator.
I'm grateful to the person who drove up from Las Vegas with our radiator early Saturday morning.
I'm grateful to Evan the mechanic for going to work on a day he wasn't scheduled to work and only charging
      us $20 for it.
I'm grateful for clear skies and roads on the drive home.
I'm grateful for good neighbors who took care of our home and our stupid cat.
I'm grateful for 10 inches of snow on my lawn before winter has even officially started.
I'm grateful for my family and friends, every last one of you!
But most of all, I'm grateful to be safe at home.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Princesses and Excellent Sprite

10 year olds are not always the best readers in the world but they're generally pretty good-natured about their mistakes.  Yesterday we were discussing Daniel and the lion's den so Kelly asked one of the kids to read the following verse:

"Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."

Boy were we surprised to hear that Daniel was actually preferred above the presidents and princesses because he had an excellent Sprite in him.  That prompted an interesting discussion about how progressive those Persians were (being ruled by princesses) and how Daniel had managed to get his hands on Sprite hundreds of years before soda pop was actually invented.  Hee, hee.

I love my calling.  I hope my sprite is as excellent as the sprite that is in my students.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weight Watchers - week 3

I went to my third Weight Watchers weigh-in/meeting this morning.  I was really nervous to go because this last week was difficult and I was pretty sure I'd gained weight.  (Brian was in St. Louis Mon-Wed and it was that time of the month for me.)  The bad news is I gained, the good news is it was only .2 of a pound which I'm ultimately okay with.  The nice thing is, the workers at Weight Watchers are not at all judgemental and I got some great suggestions for how to survive Thanksgiving without feeling like a big loser.  I even have a goal to lose a pound or two.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa B. - #17 and #18

This is Grandma and Grandpa B., my Dad's parents.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, my thoughts always turn to them.  I remember as a young child going to Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  It felt like every square inch was filled with people and/or food.  Grandpa would make this really yummy apricot drink and Grandma would make everything else, especially homemade rolls and pie.  I don't think she sat down all day and I never saw the clothes she wore because they were covered with an apron.  After dinner I sometimes had to help with the dishes (done by hand, of course).  I had to dry because I couldn't put my hands in the water; it was so hot I swear it was boiling, but Grandma had her hands in it constantly.  There were piles and piles of dishes so by the time we got to the end my towel would be dripping and I'd basically just be smearing the water around on the dishes.  The water was so hot, though, that they were probably dry by the time they got to the cupboard anyway.  Thanksgiving is also a tender time for me because my Grandpa died on the Thanksgiving before my mission.  Grandma called, Dad left, and the next thing I knew Grandpa was gone.

The Grandpa I knew was kind and gentle and humorous.  He used to tell me things like:  "Assumptions make an ass out of you and me" and stories like the one about the city girl and the country boy.  They were on a date riding in the country boy's wagon.  The city girl wanted him to hold her hand so she batted her eyes and told him that her hands were cold.  He gave her a funny look and told her that if her hands were cold then she ought to sit on them.  I was blessed to receive my Patriarchal Blessing from my grandpa.  It starts with the words: "a beloved granddaughter of mine".  Grandpa was always puttering around working on this and that (he built the house they lived in) and I think I knew he was going to die when we came to visit and he was just sitting in the rocking chair.

The Grandma I knew was strong and rigid.  Having raised four rowdy boys, I'm not sure she knew quite what to do with all us girls.  Her love and affection came in the form of food.  I always thought I was pulling one over on her when I would sneak sugar cubes and marshmellows from that one drawer in the kitchen, but there was always more the next time we came to visit, along with rolls or cookies or pie or candy.  Mom would tell us not to ask for food, but we didn't have to ask, it was just magically in our reach as soon as we walked in.  I used to be a little bit afraid of Grandma until I went on my mission.  She sent me a letter every week and those letters taught me who my Grandma really was.  She was an intelligent, determined woman who missed her husband desperately.  I cried often those first few months because she would tell me something that happened and then mention that she wished she could tell Grandpa.  Their love for one another continues to inspire me.

Grandma died when Kai was a baby.  Her last words to me were: "You take care of that boy".  Taking care of people was what Grandma knew and her death was a nightmare for me.  She was so strong and so used to fighting for life that she fought until the very last moment.  When she finally let go, I felt like an anchor had been cut and I was adrift.  Now, five years later, I'm happy for her.  She missed Grandpa horribly for a long time and now they're together again.  But I still miss them both very much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ice cream in a pharmacy bag

Losing weight is hard!  Not just hard, more along the lines of: I'd rather give birth with no epidural while getting a root canal and attending parent-teacher conference than keep trying to lose weight.  Seriously not a happy endeavor.

That being said, about a year ago I miraculously managed to lose 40 pounds.  Hooray for me!  Then over this last winter/spring/summer I managed to gain back 20.  Hooray for me?  Yeah, not so much.  I'll admit it, I'm desperate.  So I signed up for a program being offered by my insurance company called "Waist Aweigh" (obviously titled by some obnoxious thin person who enjoys mocking us poor fat souls) anyway, the program will reimburse me for weight loss programs (up to $50 a month) as long as I lose one Body Mass Index (BMI) point every 60 days.  Easy?  Not so much, but at least somebody (besides me) now has a vested interest in me losing weight.

I was already going to a gym so I went and joined Weight Watchers (something I really, really never thought I'd do!)  All snarkiness aside, I think it's a good thing and it's helping because I've actually managed to lose almost 4 pounds since I went to the doctor a few weeks ago.  I'll keep posting about it, but that's not really the point of this particular post.

Here's the point:  Today I attended my second Weight Watcher's meeting.  I was so excited to be losing weight again that I ran right out after the meeting and bought myself a container of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby!  (And you can just shut up about it not being a good idea to reward weight loss with ice cream!  I don't care!)  Since I had to get flouride I just paid for the ice cream at the pharmacy.  And guess what?  They put the ice cream in a pharmacy bag!  Isn't that hilarious?  I mean, for me ice cream is practically medicinal anyway so I've decided that from now on all ice cream should come in a pharmacy bag.  It would completely eliminate ice cream guilt and turn me into the best mom ever ("I'm sorry kids, but you have to take your ice cream medicine before you can have your vegetables").  So there you have it.  Ice cream in a pharmacy bag, it's the wave of the future!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kind stranger - #16

No, I didn't forget about the whole "blogging about 38 people who aren't me" business, I've just been a little busy :)
Friday morning I went to the old Wal-Mart (20 minutes from my house, the new Wal-Mart is only 8) because I wanted to get some fabric to make jammies and dinosaurs for the kids for Christmas.  I was in a huge hurry and I needed to get that fabric right then!  I knew I wouldn't have time to come back later.  Imagine my excitement when I found the PERFECT fabric for Chloe!  It was so cute and age-appropriate (not always easy these days) and green!  But the only bolt I could find of the stuff didn't have enough fabric on it.  Tragedy!  So I found some other (less perfect) fabric as well as some fabric for Graeme and Kai and I got in the cutting line.  While causually looking around, I spotted another bolt of the perfect fabric in another customer's cart!  I couldn't believe it!  My hopes soaring, I asked her how much she was buying off the bolt.  My heart dropped when she told me that she was taking all of it.  I know it seems silly, but it really was the PERFECT fabric for Chloe.

Anyway, we chatted a little and she left.

A few minutes later, as the workers were cutting my fabric she appeared again out of nowhere with a brand new bolt of the perfect fabric in her hand!  Instead of heading straight to the checkout stand she had taken a few minutes of her time to search for that fabric for me, a total stranger!  I was so happy I almost cried!  I did manage to say "Thank you!" then she smiled and left.

Again, I know it seems silly, but the simple kindness of that particular stranger made my whole day.  I think sometimes I get caught up in the idea that to serve others involves a tremendous amount of time and effort when in fact meaningful service is often quick and spontaneous.  I hope and pray that she felt as happy as I did and that I will be more aware of these little service opportunities in the future!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A lesson in advocacy or Not Pleased part 2

Remember how I was not very pleased with Graeme's language arts teacher last week?  Well, this morning I was helping in his class and this same teacher came and asked me to stop by and talk to her before I left.  I of course did and you can just imagine my surprise when she apologized for not emailing me back and informed me that she agreed with everything I had said.  Apparently one of the 3rd grade teachers (who has been teaching a long time) is calling the shots on the 3rd grade team and the other teachers just go along with what she wants.  Also, Graeme isn't really THAT bad in class and she's happy to start sending him out for recess.

I was relieved and grateful, but here's where the lesson comes in:  she thanked me for saying something because she didn't really agree with this other teacher but none of the parents had ever said anything so she just stuck with the status quo.  Having been a teacher, I understand that my child's teacher isn't always his best advocate.  She hasn't invested as much time and money into him as I have, she's got 32 other kids to worry about and she will NEVER love him as much as I do.  I am his BEST advocate and I'm so glad I spoke up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An athlete's heart

Yesterday I had my annual go to the doctor to be insulted, poked, prodded and drained dry appointment.  I have hypothyroidism so I have to have a blood test every year and my doctor insists on a physical even though I'm pretty sure she hates fat people.  Maybe she's just doing it for the money. Hmmmmm.....

Anyway, I was really not looking forward to going because I've gained back 20 of the 40 pounds I lost last year and didn't want to hear any snarky comments from my beloved doctor.  I was also a little worried about my blood pressure since I'm gaining weight again.  The thing is, I do strenuous aerobic exercise 4 to 5 times a week as well as walking 3 to 4 times a week.  So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when my resting heart rate was 52 bpm (excellent, by the way) and my blood pressure was 120 over 70 (exactly where it should be for a woman my age).  I think the doctor was a little surprised, though, because when she finished listening to my heart and breathing she said:

"Oh, you have the heart of an athlete!"

I think I said something intelligent back like:  "well, um, yeah, um I been exercisin"  (You have to remember, this is the same woman who once told me that I should just go lose some weight if I wanted to feel better.)  Now, I know she was referring to my fantastic blood pressure and heart rate readings, but being of a philosophical bent I choose to believe that she meant I have the "heart" of an athlete.  Where "heart" is referring to that rare quality of perseverence and dedication that truly exceptional athletes have.  Does this mean I'm destined to become a truly exceptional athlete?  Has my excessively compassionate doctor started me on the road to the Iron Man triathlon?  Maybe not, but thinking about my athlete's "heart" made jogging on the treadmill this morning at the gym just a little bit easier.  And I dislike my doctor a little bit less today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not pleased!

Here's reason #7,632a why I'm not pleased with our elementary school:

Graeme hasn't been bringing home homework.  He kept telling me that he was completing it at school but his main teacher called me last week to tell me that he was missing homework assignments.  I was pretty upset and asked her to please send the missing work home and not keep him in at recess to complete it.  I didn't see any homework.  So I told Graeme no more electronics until he started bringing home homework.  Still no homework.  So I was checking the kids' grades on Powerschool yesterday and he had a whole bunch of blank scores.  I of course emailed his teachers and asked what was going on.  His reading/language arts teacher replied that she's been keeping him in at recess to do missed work and oh by the way Graeme is the only student who complains that she's going too fast and he's disruptive in class (makes noises) and he's very bright but she thinks he thinks that he can just slide by and doesn't have to do the work.  Also, (according to her) it's 3rd grade policy to give a zero for late work.  In other words, even if the kids do the work, if it's turned in late they get a big fat zero and besides (again according to her) Graeme won't bring anything home anyway so what's the point in trying to send work home?

I was speechless.  First of all, why hadn't she contacted me sooner?  How long was she just going to let Graeme fail?  Second, how has she not made the connection between no recess and Graeme's disruptive behavior?  Hello!  He's an 8-year-old boy who can't hardly sit still when he's doing something he enjoys!  He doesn't enjoy school, he's still having problems with bullies, now his teacher is being hostile AND he doesn't get to run around outside.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand why this is a problem!  Third, has she ever sat down and talked to Graeme?  He doesn't like doing homework (who does?) so he doesn't bring it home (plus he's pretty forgetful).  There is no malice or forethought involved in this.  I'm pretty upset about this because this is the teacher Chloe had for 3rd grade and she was wonderful with Chloe.  So I was very excited that Graeme would have her at least for part of the day.  I guess I shouldn't have been.

I did get an email from his main teacher telling me that she doesn't take points off for late work (hmmmm, 3rd grade policy, eh) and she would start Graeme on a tracker (paper that he has to bring home every night) if I'm okay with that.  Okay with that?  I was jumping for joy!  A teacher who's willing to help!  Who knew?  Did I mention that this is his main teacher's first year teaching but his reading/language arts teacher has been teaching for at least 4 years?  Why is the new one so much more willing to solve this problem than the experienced one?

Grrrrr!  Like I said, NOT PLEASED!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Bad Days

I saw an interesting sticker on a van this morning in the parking lot at school.  It said: "No bad days".  I've seen this sticker before, but it struck me today that this is what I've been striving and yearning for ever since I found out about the whole Borderline Personality Disorder business.  I just long to be able to face each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and to end it the same way.

Not that I think bad things aren't going to happen; while it would be nice if I had met my personal quota of unpleasant experiences, I know there's more to come.  I would just like to be able to confront everything that comes and consistently find the good and let go of the bad.  I'm not asking much, I just want to be happy and I want all my loved ones to feel the same way.

So, I'll keep trying.  No bad days.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me!
I'm a hundred and three
I sort of look like a monkey
but I don't live in a tree!

38 years ago today I came into this world (kicking and screaming, I'm sure!) and I'm terribly glad to be here!  Be extra happy and kind today (just for me) and toast me with a moist chocolate cupcake.  I love you all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dietrich - #15

When we first moved here, Chloe was just starting the 2nd grade. That was a very hard year for her; she struggled with the move and making new friends and adjusting to a new and very different school. In her class that year was a little boy named Dietrich. He was severely handicapped and couldn't move or talk much, but he had a smile that would light a room. When the other boys teased Chloe, Dietrich smiled and gave her a high five. Chloe loved Dietrich and would point him out to me and wave when we walked by his house on the way home from school.

Dietrich is now 11, just like Chloe, but unlike Chloe he will always be 11. Dietrich passed away on Saturday and his funeral was today. I know he's been very sick for several years, but I don't think an expected death is any easier than an unexpected one. I keep thinking about Dietrich's mom; how can you bury your child and keep going on? This morning as I watched my 11-year-old child walk away into the cold dark morning the image of another mom watching her 11-year-old child being lowered into the cold dark earth came unbidden. How do you say goodbye, knowing you won't be able to see or hear or touch your child for a long time?

I'm sure Dietrich touched many lives in his short one, he certainly touched ours. As I drove past his house today, I saw his small wheelchair empty and folded, resting on the driveway. It's work is done now that Dietrich has gone home. The world is a little darker today without him in it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

G.G. - #14

This is my Grandma-in-law, Brian's only living grandparent; affectionately known in our house as G.G. (Great Grandma).

She's a few years younger than Grandma T., but she's still pretty old. G.G. has always been a good example to me of gracious generosity and faithful perseverence. She raised a child with Type 1 diabetes (my mother-in-law) fifty years ago when not as much was known about diabetes. She is highly educated and taught elementary school for many years.

G.G. has struggled with health issues the last few years, but she's always glad to see us or hear from us in any way. She even let us come back to her house after Kai threw up a sugar cookie at her kitchen table! And I can always count on Christmas and birthday cards from her and Grandma T. (and Mom, of course).

About a week ago G.G. went to the hospital and ended up having heart surgery. Everything worked out okay and she's recovering well, but things like that really scare me and make me realize how fragile life really is. We've lost too many grandparents, G.G. and Grandma T. are just going to have to stick around forever!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grandma T. - #13

So it turns out that blogging about 38 people who aren't me is much more difficult than I thought it would be! Blogging regularly is a battle that I'm just not winning. Oh well, I'd better continue what I started!
This is my Grandma T., my mom's mom.

Isn't she beautiful? Grandma T. is an absolutely amazing woman. This picture was taken two years ago when she was 91. That's right, she's now 93 and she still looks like that. She also still lives on her own. My parents help her out quite a bit, but she essentially takes care of herself. She was even still driving up until a couple of years ago. She's my only grandparent still living and I love her very much.

Grandma T. always lived close enough that we got to see her regularly; she always had a cookie jar on the kitchen counter and it always had cookies in it. I remember being a little intimidated by the cleanliness of her home, I kept my hands to myself when I was at Grandma's house! She used to live in a house in Salt Lake with a giant cherry tree in the backyard and a giant garden in the side yard. I loved playing in the tree and on the big back porch. Grandma was also quite a seamstress in her day (although I didn't find that out until I was an adult) so maybe that's where I come by my love of sewing.

Even though I saw Grandma regularly as a child, I feel like I'm finally getting to know her. For instance, I found out a couple of years ago that she loves eggplant. I didn't even try eggplant until after Chloe was born so that revelation was kind of a shock for me! I've also learned that for the most part, life has been hard for Grandma but she has powered through it all with a unique mix of stubbornness, faith and vinegar. I think if you look up the word "fiesty" in the dictionary you'll find a picture of my Grandma!

I feel so blessed to have my Grandma and I often wonder how much longer she'll be with us. According to her, not much longer; but she's been saying that for ten years! Whatever will be, will be; I'm just grateful for all the time we've had with her and I plan on enjoying all the time we have left.

Friday, September 10, 2010


On the way into town today, Kai piped up from the backseat with:
"Mommy, I like where we live."
"Me too, buddy."

"And I like you and daddy as my parents."
With a tear in my eye: "Thanks buddy! I like you as my kid!"

My baby is content, what more can I ask?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grandpa C. and Maree - #11 and #12

This is Brian's dad and my "second" mother-in-law, Maree.

I've noticed as I'm doing these posts that I keep mentioning how blessed I am by the people in my life; well, Grandpa C. and Maree are no exception. I am truly thankful for my father-in-law and "second" mother-in-law. They are loving and generous people. Since I didn't know them when I was growing up, my relationship with them is defined by my children, and I couldn't ask for more caring grandparents for my little ones.

They live far away in a beautiful house by the ocean so we don't get to see them in person very often but we do get to "Skype" them every Sunday night. The kids are always super excited to talk to Grandpa and Maree and are very sad on those rare occasions when we can't connect. They are always interested in every little thing that's happening in our lives and I know their interest makes the kids feel special and good about themselves. There's just such a unique and irreplaceable relationship between a loving grandparent and a child; it's something I, as a parent, can't duplicate.

I think the relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law is also very unique and special. I feel like a got a second chance with Maree. She is originally from Australia and is very different from me in many ways (especially temperment :) but she has been accepting and loving right from the start. I admire her strength and endurance and the joy that she has in living. Mostly, though, I am grateful for her loving care. We almost lost Grandpa C. to a heart attack a couple of years ago; Maree saved his life and has continued to take care of him. I can't thank her enough for all that she has done and the good person that she is. I truly am blessed!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PG - #10

I'm going to deviate a little from my planned blogging order and talk about my oldest sister today because today is her birthday! She's the only one in my family (besides me) with a September birthday so I thought it would work :)

PG is the oldest of the five of us; I'm going to respect her wishes and not use her name or picture on my blog. If it helps, she's eight years older than me (and always will be, HA!), otherwise she looks quite a bit like me but about five inches shorter (again, HA!) and a bit blonder. She moved out when I was still pretty young so I didn't get to know her until I grew up and also moved out, then I discovered what an intelligent and independent person she is! I'm starting to think it's genetic, because Chloe is so much like her. She loves my kids and always sends them presents for birthdays and Christmas. Chloe really enjoys talking to her on the phone as well as writing letters and emails back and forth with her. We don't get to see her very often because she lives so far away.

PG is a wonderful example to me of how to care for other people. She is forging her own way in this world, but she loves others and gives of herself without a second thought. I'm very grateful that she's my sister, my life is better with her in it. Happy Birthday, PG!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Susan - #9

I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law. Her name was Susan.

She was a very intelligent, kind and loving person. She never judged me or thought that I wasn't good enough for her son, and Chloe was truly the light of her life. Her health was never very good (she had type 1 diabetes) but she always had time for us. She would sit and read to Chloe or let her play the piano or paint. She was a teacher in my high school but I never knew her until I met Brian.

Susan died almost 8 years ago when Graeme was just a baby. Chloe still remembers her, but the other two never knew her. I have many regrets when it comes to my mother-in-law. I was in the throes of craziness from Borderline Personality Disorder as well as hormonal having babies and lack of sleep insanity and I really behaved badly. I realize that she wasn't perfect, but she did do the best that she could. I wish I could apologize to her and build a relationship with her. I wish that I had known then how short and precious life really is. What I wish most of all is that I could share my children with her. I know she would adore them; she would glory in their accomplishments and weep for their disappointments.

I hope someday to have a second chance with her; but before then to maybe be the kind of mother that Susan was.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mom and Dad - #7 and #8

I love this picture of my mom and dad. It was taken 47 years ago and I love how young and happy they look, so full of love and hope for their future together.

My parents have always been wonderful examples to me. My mom is one of the strongest women I know. She gave birth to me and my four sisters and raised us through some pretty difficult times. My dad has always worked hard to provide for us and help my mom. Mom was fierce in her love for us and her desire to protect us. Dad was gentle and wise. Mom has always been beautiful to me; I've often admired the outfits she's put together and she's very good at knowing when clothes will look good on your body even if they don't look good on the hangar. Dad has a wicked sense of humor which I didn't appreciate very much when I was younger.

I'm sorry to say that there are many things about my parents that I didn't appreciate very much when I was younger. I think it's normal to have issues with your parents, but getting married and having children of my own has helped me realize that my parents did the best they could. I know they made mistakes, just as I'm making mistakes, but I'm so grateful that they never gave up on me. I hope my kids can say the same thing about me someday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sophie Marcelle - #6

I'm going to cheat a little on this one. You see, Sophie Marcelle isn't a real person. When I was pregnant with Kai and we were tossing around names, I fell in love with the name Sophie. Then I remembered that Brian's Grandma's name (on his Dad's side) was Marcelle and there it was: Sophie Marcelle.

After Kai came out a boy (dang it!) there I was stuck with this girl name that I loved and couldn't use. When we made the difficult decision to be done having kids, Sophie Marcelle began to take on a life of her own for me. Even though I completely agreed with the decision we had made, I truly felt like she was out there waiting for me.

As the years have passed, my obsession with this child who never was has eased somewhat and I can think of her now with only a slight pang but she has definitely come to represent those hopes and dreams that never made it to fruition. I wanted her, but for the sake of my health (and marriage) it was not to be. But that's not necessarily bad; after all, I have my health and my marriage and my three other children. In the same way, my life is different now than I thought it would be when I was younger, but it's not bad. I have so much, and the occasional disappoint only builds character.

Stupid building character.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kai - #5

I'm embarrassed to admit that Kai is the only one of our kids that we have baby pictures of on the computer. It's hard to remember that he was ever that small. Small being a relative term since he was 10lbs and 21in long when he was born and he hasn't stopped growing since. We joke that he had to be big to defend himself from Chloe and Graeme!

Kai is a very sweet boy who managed to inherit my dad's wicked sense of humor. I love this next picture because it is very much Kai. Even though he was only about 9 months when it was taken, he knew he looked funny and wanted in on the joke.

He really is my little comedian. When we sit down for dinner, he spends the entire meal trying to make Chloe and Kai laugh.

At the same time, Kai instinctively understands that he's my baby. He always seems to know when I need a little hand to hold or a small warm body in my lap. He lets me kiss and love on him as much as I want (mostly :).

Just like the other two, Kai is dino-crazy! I swear his first word was "paleontologist" which is what he's going to be when he grows up, of course. He even knows what a paleontologist is! His favorite dino is carnataurus but raptors are okay too.

This is my baby yesterday on his first day of kindergarten (which he loves!) He's so big, I have no idea where the time went. I know that now since he started school he's going to grow up and stop being my little cuddle bug. I accept the inevitability of life but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Graeme - #4

Here's Graeme, my beautiful, tender-hearted boy.

Graeme is very much the middle child. He was my easiest delivery and at 7lbs 15oz and 19in long, my smallest baby. He slept a lot right after he was born and has kind of been in his own world since then.

He definitely experiences all the frustrations of being sandwiched between two strong and forceful personalities, but he really is a sweet and caring child with quite of bit of strength and force of his own. We were watching a nature show about wild skunks once and at the end of the show I realized he was crying. When I asked him why, he said he was sad because the mother skunk left the babies alone and they were going to die. That's Graeme for you. He truly cares for all of God's creatures.

Especially dinosaurs!

Here he is this morning on his first day of third grade. It tears me up to see how big he's getting! He's so full of life and energy, pictures like this always surprise me because he's not even still when he's asleep! I just love this boy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chloe - #3

I've got to go with Chloe next. She's my firstborn and my only daughter. I've always thought she looked just like Brian's mom, but when I re-found this picture just now, I can't believe how much she looks like me!

Chloe's birth was the usual first baby trauma. She was 8lbs 1oz and 19in long. I was in no way prepared for the gigantic personality enclosed in that (relatively) small package!

We tease Chloe that she came out blue as a Smurf with her eyes wide open. She WAS actually blue as a Smurf and unbelievably observant. Right from the start she wanted nothing to do with being held (except at 3 in the morning when we were trying to sleep :). I think she was afraid she'd miss something!

Brian worked at a computer lab on campus when she was born and he used to take her to work where he kept her under his desk in her carseat. She was perfectly content!

I feel so blessed to have a daughter, especially this particular daughter. I often wish she wasn't my oldest, though. It seems like I'm constantly trying to protect her from the danger lurking all around but she'll have none of that! She's smart and fearless and passionate and volatile and determined to make her own way in this world. The tighter I cling to her, the farther away from me she goes. I really have no idea how I'm going to survive her childhood and I'm actively blocking the idea that she's going to be a teenager soon.

Tomorrow she's off to 6th grade, which around here means middle school. A school that's 20 minutes away from my house. Full of strange adults and kids who are big and mean. She's super excited but I feel like I'm going to throw up! This is way harder than kindergarten!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brian - #2

This is Brian, and even though I'm posting about him second, he's anything but #2.

He is my better half and the love of my life. He's smart and talented and funny and kind and frugal and faithful and WAY more patient than me. He works very hard to support me and the kids so that I can be home with them. He also likes to make funny faces when I'm taking a picture of him (so these pictures are your own fault, honey!)

We met in college (in the band) many years ago when the earth was young and dinosaurs roamed. Maybe that's why our kids are so dino-crazy?

He had to shave the beard when he got called to the High Council which was very hard for me for awhile, but now that I'm used to it he's just as gorgeous as ever!

Lest he develop a big head from reading this, he does occasionally drive me nuts with his quirky ways, but he truly is the perfect match for me. I love you, Brian!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ashlinn Mary - #1

You may not be aware of this, but my 38th birthday is fast approaching. That's right, 38 years old in a few short weeks. After talking with my sister (who turned 40 this year, ha ha she's older than me) I decided I wanted to do something different and meaningful for my birthday. So, I decided to do 38 posts about people other than me. (Well, I'm sure they'll still partly be about me, but it is my blog after all!) I haven't decided yet whether to do them all before my birthday or stretch them out a little. You'll just have to wait and see!

Since I'm trying something new, this first post is about the newest person I know. I'd like you to meet my niece:
Ashlinn Mary

She was born Friday, August 20th, 2010 after much pain and travail. She weighed 8lbs 13oz and was 21 in long. (If you had seen my sister before the birth, her size wouldn't surprise you one bit!)

She is beautiful and sweet as all newborns are (I think it's a defense mechanism) and I got to hold her when she was brand-new!

Here she is with her Daddy and her big brother.
A few hours after she was born, my sister almost died. A massive blood clot had formed inside her that was preventing her body from healing itself after the birth. Fortunately, the doctors and nurses rushed her back into surgery and saved her life. I will never forget how I felt after hearing the news. It ranks among the top five scariest moments of my life, but she's doing much better now.
I'm really looking forward to knowing this new little person, but no matter what her personality is, she will always remind me how fragile and valuable this life is. My sister is young and strong, yet she almost died. As I've thought about this fact (over and over) since Friday, I've been reminded of how silly it is to let anger and hurt rule my actions. Holding a grudge and refusing to forgive past offenses are my biggest weaknesses and they are the biggest waste of my time. I hope I can always remember that. Welcome to this world, Ashlinn Mary!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nobody But Me

We went to Cedar City/St. George last week for the annual Rural Summit that Brian attends. We had a good time staying in a hotel, visiting cousins, shopping for school clothes and just generally getting out of the house.

On the way home, we passed a semi-truck with the words "Nobody But Me" written in big beautiful cursive letters on the back. I couldn't help contemplating those words just a little. That statement was probably the trucker's working motto, something along the lines of "the buck stops here", but I was struck by the potential tragedy of those words. Does that man really feel that he is all alone in this world? Is he that lonely? or maybe that selfish? Has he cut himself off from the multitude of caring souls who are alive now and who came before? At the very least, can't he feel the loving touch of his Savior's hand? And how many people like him are out there?

I admit that sometimes I feel all alone and forsaken in my life and trials. But I know that I'm not. I know that Jesus Christ came to this earth and was crucified and resurrected for me. I feel the loving touch of His hand. I want to live my life by this motto:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lagoon, Walking Wounded and A New Ring

We've been promising the kids a trip to Lagoon for more than a year now so, finally, we went. Our camera battery died (of course) so we only got a few pictures. I do have to say that the camera dying was the only thing that went wrong. I know, I'm amazed too! In fact, we left home around 10:30 am and got home around 11:30 pm and for that entire time there was no fighting, no disobedience, no meltdowns; I was starting to wonder who these children were!

Here are Graeme and Kai on the little bumper cars. We went on the big bumper cars later. I can't believe all my kids are tall enough for the big bumper cars! They weren't terribly brave though, we may have to wait a few years to go back because the kids are all going to be too big for the little rides and too scared for the big rides.

Chloe's the one in the pink hat and sunglasses. I swear that was the expression on her face the entire day!

They all loved the merry-go-round. Kai and Graeme (typical boys) sat in the spinny thingy every time. I thought they were going to get sick but thankfully no. We really had a great time. It was hot and humid but between the borrowed squirt bottles (thanks Mom!), the twelve water bottles and gatorade that I carried around in a backpack, we did pretty good. And I have to admit that it was great having everybody potty trained, napless and able to walk around THE ENTIRE DAY on their own two feet!

It seems like I'm always blogging about the kids so here's some about me. Saturday was an interesting day; I smashed my toe (it's hard to see, but I broke my nail and it hurt terribly) and broke one of my molars (went to the dentist today; it needs a crown but he did a temporary fix until we can afford a crown). Also, about a month and a half ago I lost my wedding ring. We've looked everywhere and can't find it so I bought a (hopefully temporary) replacement. I had to have it re-sized since I have enormous fingers but it finally came back today. Hooray!

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sick of being me

Do you ever get tired of being yourself?

Today I'm sick to death of being me. I'm tired of my crazy brain; of constantly needing attention, of the mind games and drama. I'm exhausted from my inability to control myself when the kids misbehave (for the gazillionth time) or when there's chocolate in the cupboard. I'm fed up with looking at my fat self in the mirror, wondering what the scale will say today and why isn't the exercise helping?!?!
I can no longer avoid the fact that I'm a bad, selfish, mean person pretending to be a good, caring, nice person. I would dearly love to be someone else for awhile.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about trading lives with someone else. I love my life! I have a great family, a comfortable home, lots of modern conveniences, neighbors that I get along with. Life is good! I just want to change who I am fundamentally, from the inside out. You know, look at a new face in the mirror, listen to new thoughts in my head. Do you ever feel that way? or is my BPD just getting the better of me today?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Garden and giggles

I love my garden. I remember being a little kid, sitting on the edge of the garden staring at the rows that I was supposed to be weeding. I hated weeding! Now I can't seem to get enough of it! I love seeing plants growing beautifully like this corn.....

...but that OCD part of my brain would much rather see this recently weeded patch:

I know, I'm crazy. What can I say? Here's our great potato experiment (it's going well, in case you were wondering):
And the green beans are starting to flower. Hooray!

Now for the giggles: Kai has had bowel issues since he started potty training. Namely, once we introduced the toilet, he stopped pooping.

We tried everything to get him regular again and finally settled into a good routine, part of which is M&M rewards. When he poops, he gets M&Ms.

Anyway, since he's starting kindergarten in a few weeks we've been discussing dropping the M&Ms from his routine. Not surprisingly, he hasn't been real pleased with that idea.

So last night he did his business and then came into our bedroom and said: "So am I going off M&Ms?" Trying not to smile, I said: "Are you a big boy?"
"Yes" Came the sad reply. "Do you think you can poop without M&Ms?"
"Yes" Even sadder. Big sigh. "I'm hungry!" And he skipped out of the room.

Now, I don't know if we're done with M&Ms, but I sure got a good chuckle out of that.