Monday, December 22, 2008

Icky Sicky

Just a run down of the past few days...

Friday: I woke up real early with sharp chest pains. Tried to wait it out to see if it went away, finally went to the ER to be sure. Nothing bad, just...Costochondritis. Nasty stuff, could be from all that snow shoveling. I sleep all day while Mike drives the kids down to Grandma's for a sleepover.

Saturday: Wake up and my chest feels better. I pop some ibuprofen and decide to go to Costco. Mike and I meet with the guy replacing our garage door. We look and try to decide what we want.

Sunday: I am still sick, now the kids are getting sick. The whole family missed church, and I slept from 9am to 9pm, then from 10pm to Monday morning.

Monday: MAJOR snow dump! Snowed in and can't leave the house. We are still sickies, but had to take Lexi and get two teeth extracted. Merry Christmas Lex! Delivered our Christmas candy. I tasted some after we got home. The cookies were hard and the caramels dried out! What a bummer. So if you had to eat it, and spit it out...sorry about that!

The chest pains have subsided, and the cold is gone. Lexi's awaiting the tooth fairy tonight. I informed her that "due to weather conditions" she may not come until tomorrow. Mike is running down to the store to see if, by some miracle, they have any golden dollars. (that's what the tooth fairy brings)

I sit here, pretty much snowed in. Not having a garage to park in means that I'm not sure I could even get my sweet mini-van out of the driveway. Even if I did, it would never make it out of my neighborhood. Have I mentioned how much I love the snow?...because I don't! I called my sister and she said "Do you have any snow?" She lives about 5 miles East and I knew they had a lot less than we did, but she was convinced otherwise. On the news tonight, our small town reported a whopping...13". The highest in the County! Boy, aren't we the lucky ones!

The satellite dish is frozen over, so no TV today. As long as my Internet still works I will feel OK. Right now I am browsing Real Estate sites in Arizona!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the 'Mother of the Year Award' goes to...

I will preface this post by saying that I have given myself 4 days to ponder these events. I have also have time to fester a bit, but having gone through it many times in my head...I think I can write this without naughty cuss words. I also worry that sharing this may cause others to think less of me. Before Monday night...I may have thought less of anyone in a similar situation.
I have never been one to put on the face of a 'perfect Mom'. I think that I try to do a lot of things correctly, but who's to say what is or isn't correct? The Lord has a wonderful way of teaching me things...even if I want to vomit during the lessons. I like to rant and rave about not judging others...then I find myself being judgmental and I get a hard blow.
As a Mother, this blow was a big one. If not the least in the top 5 or so. This is my story...

Monday Night was the Annual Spanish Immersion Christmas Concert. Someone (and I don't know who, so I'm not being specific) had the genius idea of having the concert at the Mall.
Ahhhh...the Mall. Now...nothing against shopping malls, but I only step foot in one if it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. So I take it back, I have a lot against the Mall. It served as a great 'hang out' place to meet boys in the 8th and 9th grade. Having the right clothing from the Mall could make or break a person's social experience.
As an adult, the Mall is nothing but an overpriced maze filled with weirdos and scantly clad bimbos. Oh! and all the cities MIL*'s.
I have issues with people walking around slow at Walmart...OH MY GOODNESS, the people at the Mall are not there to shop, or even get from one place to another, so they just STAND in the way. Not even moving!
At Christmastime, the Mall is the ONE place I will not go. I cannot even drive through the parking lot! When I got the paper that the concert would be there...I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth. The evening didn't have the potential to be turn out well.
So the huge 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes are supposed to perform in an area the size of my Living Room! There are three rows of steps...which holds about 1/3 of the students. We are all Mormon families...the concert is on a Monday Night. So it's a given that there are two parents and at least 4 kids for every student performing. Even if it wasn't Monday...WE'RE MORMON! There is bound to be million of us, with a million little kids.
There was a dance group performing before us. So we were told to be quite until they finished. Well guess where the performing took place? Right next to the Mall's play area! Did you say quiet?! HA!
Mike took the kids over to the big Tree and play area. I walked a few steps over to the dance group to try and get in early for a good spot when Cori started.
The dance group went fifteen minutes into our time, which really got under my skin. It might not have so much if it was something besides dance. I won't rip on the hobby of dressing up little girls like streetwalkers. These girls were changing costumes between performances right there on the side of the stage area. I looked over to see a NAKED little girl! I directed my friend standing next to me in her direction. My friend said "Are you kidding? She is too old to do that!" She was probably in...2nd or 3rd grade! I hope that Mom is proud...because someone might need to remind her of that when her daughter has major 'being naked at the Mall in front of a million people' psychological trauma!
Mike came over with Addi and Lexi stayed playing with Sophie. Mike took Addi so she wouldn't get trampled by the mass parents with cameras. Being the aggressive natured person I am...I inched my way as close to the front as possible. When the dance team finished, I got right up close in the very front. I was sitting on the floor front and center. Well, as luck would have it...Cori was not even close to visible. So I stood up and tried to stand in the row behind me where parents were standing. One of the joys of being 5'10" is that people don't see over you very well. I got a tap on the shoulder because a Grandma behind me couldn't see her granddaughter. (Cry me a river!) I just wanted one picture of her singing! I saw Mike standing in the back, a good 5" above everyone. (It sure is easy to find him in a crowd) I figured that he might be able to get a picture above the crowd. such luck! I was frustrated and bothered, but I settled with knowing that I had pictures from the Thanksgiving Concert...that would have to do.
Mike had Addi with him and said that Sophie and Lexi were playing. I couldn't see in the back and they were only singing the second song. I went over to get Lexi and Sophie, I figured maybe they would want to get a treat. Lexi came running around the corner, I stopped her and asked "Where's Sophie?" she shrugged her shoulders and said "I dunno". I said "Didn't Dad tell you to watch her?" I asked "He said to check on her once in a while." So I asked "When was the last time you say her?" she responded with "I dunno?" So I snapped at her to "help me find her" I walked over to the play area. There were a TON of kids and I remember she had a purple sweater on. As I glanced over the play area, I didn't see the sweater. I started looking in the hidden areas, and I even went inside the big tree to look. I started to feel my heart pounding so hard, all I could hear was the pounding in my ears. I ran to Mike and told him I couldn't find her. He ran over and started looking. I snapped at him with "She's not here! Look somewhere else!" I ran completely around the entire area and Mike ran through the neighboring Department Store. I thought I was going to throw up. I'm sure I looked like I was on drugs. I don't even remember people being around me, or hearing anything around me. I felt so lightheaded.
I knew I had to tell a Security guard, even if it meant we had to stop the concert. Maybe she was with a family we knew? Maybe they were looking for us? These thoughts were only the few rational ones in my head. Everything else was telling me that she could be gone! I could never see her again! This was a perfect opportunity to take a child!
I saw a security guard and ran across the hall. I tried to form words. I said something like " kids..." He looked at me and said "Do I have kids?" being a smart ass, "Yes, I have three kids" Mike was right at my side and I wanted to punch him, or tell Mike to punch him in the face. I had tears in my eyes and I said "Have you seen a little girl...a lost little girl?" Then he said "Sophie?" Oh, it felt like my insides fell out on the floor. I took a deep breath, and it felt like I hadn't taken one in the past five minutes...which felt like five hours! He said she had taken off running down the hall, away from the play area into the main area of the Mall. He took her to Customer Service.
I ran down the hall practically pushing people out of my way. I saw her sitting at the desk, coloring. She was so happy and content with two older women. I asked "How long has she been here?" one of them answered "Almost ten minutes" both of the older women gave me disappointed looks. I don't blame them, I'm sure they had almost ten minutes to decide what kind of mother I was. They said that Sophie had told them her Dad's name was Daddy and her Mom's name was Momma.
I held her like a baby and walked as fast as I could to the car. Mike followed with Lexi and Addi. Cori was still at her program singing to all the other parents listening.
I was so mad! Mad at Sophie for running away like that, mad at Lexi for not keeping an eye on her, made a Mike for thinking Lexi could watch her, but most of all mad at myself. I had been so caught up in getting a stupid picture that I could have lost my child!
I sat in the car...not speaking...crying. Sophie was crying because she wanted to go back and play. Lexi was crying because she felt responsible and as she said "I am just a kid! I can't be that responsible!" and she was right. Addi was crying because everyone else was crying and I wouldn't speak to anyone.
When the concert was over, Mike grabbed Cori and came out to the car. Poor Cori had absolutely no clue what horrifying events had just taken place. I did my best to tell her what a good job she did. (even thought I had heard nothing) and Mike told her what had happened.
As we drove home in silence, I thought about all the many mistakes I have made as a Mother. All the things I wish I hadn't said, or the things I wish I had done differently. I thought about how many times my kids drive me nuts, and I want to pull my hair out. How I even will complain about them, and wonder if I should have waited to spaced them out farther.
What I learned on Monday night is that my kids are my LIFE! I don't know what I would do if anything happened to one of them. And even if I wish I did things differently...I am so grateful I've gotten to do them. I may not do things right, but at least I've had the chance. If ANYTHING happened to one of them I would want them to know one thing...more than anything else. I LOVE THEM MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD! They are a part of me. Having that feeling tonight really made me know how great that love is.
I still struggle thinking about this whole experience. As nauseous as it makes me, I don't ever want to forget that feeling. I don't ever want to take a chance of being in that situation again. I have been trusted with these precious children and I hope and pray that I will be a better Mom. I realize that at any moment, I could lose the opportunity to have one of my precious babies. They are the greatest gifts and blessings I have been blessed with. I hope to never take that for granted, and love them everyday of my life!

Eeeeeeasy Tiger!

A good sign it might be time to lay off the weight training?

When your snow shovel breaks before your arms are done!!! And then the teenage neighbor boy, shoveling two houses down, says..."Dude! That's an awesome snow pile!" (Because it comes up to my chest)

But... hey!... No snow on MY cement!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Messy Roads

I HATE messy roads and bad weather! I sit here knowing that I will not leave my house unless necessary, and even then...I will try to avoid it still!
Mike and I were able to go to the Jazz game Saturday night. It seems that EVERY Jazz game we have ever gone to has been in bad weather. We went with Mike's Boss and his wife, they drove. (thank goodness) We had a very nice dinner before the game and 18th row seats. It was a ton of fun! I love that Mike and I have things like that in common. I love to watch basketball... especially when you're so close you can see the players sweat dripping off their ripped arms!
We got to go back to the dinner area during half-time for popcorn, nachos and drinks. We also met up with my sis and her date.
It was a great night, the only thing better would have been the Jazz actually winning the game! But it was a great game nonetheless.

On the way home I started getting questions about my childhood and growing up. During dinner, the fact that my kids have only one grandparent came up. With the details for Mike's parents deaths and the question of how my Dad died. This is always been an awkward question...not for me, but always for the person asking. Suicide is not in the same category as an accident, cancer, or any other illness. While I do believe it is a result of an illness, it is still very different. Mike's boss was very polite and it wasn't near as awkward as it could have been. But on the drive home, more details came up of my family situation and my past.
I have no problem answering questions or telling people about me. It does make me feel sorry for Mike. The consensus I always get is "how did you turn out normal?" with a look of surprise. I wonder if they look at poor Mike wondering why he signed up for a lifetime of wacky issues and insecurities!
Here's my how I see it...we are all drivers. God gave us cars...some got Porches and some got Geo Metro's.
Before we are given our own cars, we have to ride with someone else. This person teaches us, or doesn't teach us, how to drive. We watch this person and this is where most of our instructions come from. When we are given our own cars, some of us are dropped off to start on older bumpy roads with potholes and higher hills, and others begin on brand new smooth roads. The truth is...there will be hills and valley's for all of us.
Most of us pick up passengers along the way.
Some of us have maps...which I believe are the gospel, and some don't ever get a map, or have one and choose not to look at it. We can't control the weather or other natural elements.
We can fill up for gas...which I think is going to church, praying, scriptures, etc. There are different grades of gasoline...that is our choice. Sometimes we figure it is always worth paying a higher price for the best...and sometimes...some of us...settle for less to save a few bucks. While saving seems good at the time, we regret it in the end. It affects our performance.
I feel that the destination for us all is the same, we just each have our own road to get there.

My road began real bumpy. As a passenger, I was dropped of too early. I was kind of kicked out of the car as it was still moving. As a passenger, the bumps were beyond my control. But then there were the bumps I created for myself. I realize the bumps I chose, and I don't blame anyone for those but myself. I also realize that for the crazy road I didn't choose...I started as a passenger with people who might not have known how to get off that road.
I guess I just want to preface all my answers with "but I promise that I AM normal, kind of" I think that any part of me that is normal, is due to certain choices. I have learned such an appreciation of the gift of free agency. There is a MAJOR reason we had to learn to use our agency, and that is why we are here. Everyone makes wrong choices, even if they are trying to make the right ones. I made many wrong choices knowing they were wrong. But I also made some good choices, despite the wrong ones.
I think that's why we can never label people. Just because someone drives a Porche does not make them better then a person who drives Metro. For all you know, the person driving the Porche has a real hefty payment each month and it straps them. Maybe they can't even afford to use premium gasoline. The person in the Metro might have the car paid for, and can then afford to not only use the best gas and take good care of their car, but has financial security for a much happier life.
Nobody is bad, regardless of the car they drive, and those on bumpy roads don't want to be there. They may act like they do, but they don't! Maybe they were passengers on a bumpy road for too long to know any different. Or maybe people have labeled them and they don't feel they deserve the better road. People can make a wrong turn and find their way back to a smooth road. I think that for me...I was blessed with some good shocks. I knew that things didn't have to be so bumpy, and at some point I slowly steered off that road.
Having the big bumps so far behind me now, also makes me realize that there are other dangers on my road. I think that if I take my eyes off the road, like to look at the other cars around me too much, I can easily steer off the road or crash. The same goes for speeding or reckless driving.
I also try to be aware of the passengers I have. I don't want them to look back and wonder why their ride with me had so many bumps. I want them to know the dangers, but appreciate the choice they have. Ultimately, their road will be their own choice. I will try to be a good leader, and I will hope they follow. But if they have that point I can only provide shocks. I will be able to tell them what I learned from the bumps in my road. I think it is important to teach them, and remember myself, that whatever the conditions...the road leads home. The potholes, the hills, the bad weather...all teach us to be better drivers on our roads. We would never learn anything without all of that. We don't know what types of weather or terrain are ahead of us.
Don't ever judge a person by the type of car they have been given, the roads they have driven on or might still be driving on. Some of us didn't get Driver's ED and somehow found our license in a Cracker Jack Box one day!
And coming from a person whose ridden a really bumpy road in some real crappy weather...if you know someone on that road, try to help them out. You may not be able to get them off the road, but you can show them encouragement...which is a real good set of tires. And I think that unconditional love is...well...great shocks!

Monday, December 15, 2008


It is actually finished...printing as we speak.(except that we are not speaking) It will arrive in time for Christmas! I will enjoy sleeping again.
The cover was my last project. It was a total 'mental block' moment for me. I originally put a picture of my Grandpa and Grandma on the front, but it just wasn't 'doin it' for me. (probably won't use Grandpa, Grandma and 'doin' it' in the same sentence EVER AGAIN.) I settled on the idea of a classic stock photo, something generic. After deciding I couldn't pay money for a picture of a fork...I thought I could take a picture of a fork myself!
I walked away from the computer...all haggard and frazzled to get a fork. I grabbed my camera, entered the kitchen and THERE THEY WERE!!!... sitting all sexy-like... staring at me like two amazing golden trophies, singing "Hallelujah" as a duo of angels! (enter the choir singing)...

My beautiful Salt and Pepper shakers that my Grandpa made for me last year!

I could have kissed them and I think I did...The answer to my huge dilemma of what to put on the cover!!!
Having finished this project, I honestly feel like I've received an academy I'd like to thank all the fam who contributed recipes...all 147 of them. Special shout out to those who submitted pics with their recipe. Priesh-'E'-'H'-ya! And super thanks to Addi and Sophie who's Mom had to sit in front of the computer for a few weeks instead of playing with them. I promise to make up for it these next few weeks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo

"Candy Factory" is what the kids call this time of year, when we bust out the holiday candy making. Since my favorite 'candy making' store has gone out of business, I always worry that I won't find what I need. Luckily, a store still carries my favorite chocolate so for the time being we are still good.
Each year it is so fun to see the girls participating more and more in this tradition. Mike always reminds me how expensive and time-consuming this is (not the most cost effective way to have holiday treats) but it's a dying skill, and I hope my girls will make these recipes with their kids someday.

This was our Saturday morning. Rockin' the Christmas music, singing and dancing. I just love how sweet and helpful they all are. Sophie is still a bit young to help, but she sure participates in the eating of the candy! I'm hoping that next year she'll be old enough, and patient enough, to get involved.

This year we busted out caramel dipped pretzels, choco-covered peanut butter creams, and the all-time favorite choco-covered mint creams. We also made the traditional caramels, and the girls wrapped them in wax paper and some in foil. Mike helped with the wrapping, and it went pretty quick.
We still need to dip the pretzels in chocolate and drizzle them. We have to make glass candy, maybe lollipops, and that should be it.

The girls love to see all the candy out on the wax paper...they say it's just like the beginning of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I guess that means that they are Oompa Loompas! Or maybe they are the kids with the golden tickets. Because when this crazy lady gets old...I'm gonna need one of them to take over the factory.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Writing and Thinking Quirks!

Latest struggles...
1. Ending every post tile (and most sentences) with exclamation points!

2. Wanting to spell out emphasized word phonetically...whoop-ty-doo

3. Mis-typing word verifications for blog comments, duh! Seriously... sometimes it takes me 3 or 4 tries. Maybe that is a screening process for people like me...if you can't type in the simple letters you see, people probably don't need to know your comment!

4. And here is an issue I've had for a while now, probably since third grade...I cannot use the following words correctly...


I sit and look at it for a minute. I think of about 20 different variations in my mind and then settle on something and figure there are others who are in my same boat. So I need to have some type of education on the way these word sound and how they should be used. Honestly, I feel like a bit of a shmuck admitting that!

5. I've been checking my email Inbox WAY TOO OFTEN. Like every hour or so. Why? I'm really not sure. I feel like one of the obsessive compulsive people who have to lock the door ten times in a row. The funny thing? I really don't email very often. I usually check my email once a week or so. I send out an email every other week or so (usually answering 'get to know you' emails from family or friends) So what in the world am I looking for in my Inbox every hour...I have no clue! It's like I'm playing the lottery...yeah/yah/yea/yay...yep, I'm loosing it. And even though I have a million other things to do...I somehow fit in the time to make a quick check.

6. I also have discovered my true and undeniable love of...That's didn't miss really is "..."

There are my theory's:
I think that maybe this cold weather is affecting my brain cells. Half of them are frozen. I'm hoping they thaw in the spring. I read a quote once...'you shouldn't let your mind wander, it's too little to be let out by itself.' I think I may have let it out to wander and it's freezing it's ARSE off!

I also wonder if that trying to diet during the holidays is driving me crazy...literally! My brain runs on sugar and caffeine. (and the occasional Fish Oil) Thanks to Diet Dr. Pepper the caffeine part is taken care of. Maybe the lack sugar is causing mental blockage. Hum? Skinny or smart? I think I'll take skinny. If it really is the sure explains a lot about skinny girls. KIDDING!

It's probably just my insanity sneaking out again...darn it. I try to keep it together, but now and then the crazy gets loose. I think I'll try sleep, and maybe a some sugar...but not at the same time of course.
Have you heard that researchers discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana.... The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can't remember what they are.
ha ha...hah hah...hay hay...hee hee...hardy har har!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lickety Split!

Mike's family party was on Saturday night. In previous years...we have ALWAYS been late! We really struggle with being on time to anything, but for some reason we cannot ever make it on time to his family's functions. Part of the issue is that we are traveling down to BFE. It only takes us an hour...yeah, an hour each way.
The dinner is 'pot luck', however every time I have tried to bring something, it ends up cold or spilled in my car. This year I wised up and brought chips and salsa. Everything seemed fail proof this year. We were determined to get there in time!
It was all going great when...accident on the freeway! Huge one! So, of course, we were sitting 40 minutes in a parking lot on the freeway. Well, at least we had a better excuse this year.
We show up and everyone is done eating! We are only 30 minutes late, and seriously they are all done. (When you take socializing out of the dinner it goes pretty quick) I don't think even half of the family showed up this year. We were in a big cultural hall and hardly anybody is talking to each other.
By the time I get all the kids food, drinks, and situated...I get a plate. Now, trying to watch what I'm eating, I don't get a very large plate. I'm thinking I can try some of the food, and go back for what I can. As I am maybe 5 minutes into eating the food gets taken away. Clean up is in full force! Forget who has or hasn't snooze, you loose. Now in my defense, I had pretty much starved myself all day so I could indulge a bit.
I make a mad dash to the table and grab anything they still have left (not much) then poke my head in the kitchen to sneak what I can as they cover bowls and rinse out dishes. Honestly! Not a good combination for me...I'm starving, I sat in traffic for 40 minutes on top of driving an hour, now I'm not even getting to eat! Watch Out!
In previous was difficult with little kids because their parties would go on and on. Santa wouldn't show up until after nine o'clock and then there was two gift exchanges. Well, I shouldn't have complained. Now we show up, there is no talking, you are given a short window to stuff your face with whatever you can grab, and then the tables are gone! They literally put away the tables while you are still sitting at them! No lie!
Santa showed up at seven o'clock and the kids' gift exchange took maybe 5 whole minutes. The adult gift exchange used to be a fun... talkative... joking around type deal. This year it was like pulling teeth. Everyone just took a gift (if they were paying attention) and that was it. The floor mops were out, things were gathered and we were out the door.
It was funny that this thing used to take so long. All I can think of, is the ladies running the show now have a baby in their family, so maybe their child's bedtime is considered. (we were rude a few years ago for even bringing up the fact that it was hard to have our children out past 10:30 or 11:00) But why nobody talks to each other? who knows what that's about? The only word I could think of all night...awkward! Really really awkward! I don't know what we would have done if Mike's siblings didn't show up. Not only did we make up half of the people there...they are the only ones who will carry on a conversation with us.

Santa came and the girls loved it! To my girls, he came with his reindeer, straight from the North Pole and they couldn't have been happier! They sang with him, sat on his lap, whispered in his ear, Addi even gave him a picture she drew.

It was fun to see the kids with Santa! It was also great to see Mike's Grandma. She has slowed down quite a bit in the past couple years. We don't know how many more Christmases we will get to have her, so it's great to see her with Santa! She is so sweet!

The good part is, besides getting to stop and eat dinner on the way home, we could drive home in plenty of time to get the kids to bed even earlier than a school night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give me a Gee Ennnnn Ohhhhh!

What great ladies! I was really nervous to have everyone over, but it all went well. In Christmases past, I think a nice dinner and gift exchange was the agenda. Well, with the economy I wanted to be sensitive to every body's situation. I know that for us, Christmas this year is not as big as other years. It seems that December spending gets out of control pretty easy, so I thought that others might be in the same boat.
So I decided on an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party. (oddly enough, a week later I was invited to a similar i was glad I would have something to wear) We all brought White Elephant gifts to exchange. Something old, used, or just needs to be taken to D.I.
We had such a blast, and everyone rocked their sweaters! There wasn't a winner...which is probably good, since they were all so ugly. The best ones for me, were the sweaters people borrowed from their Mom's. Of course, you're not going to tell your Mom you are in need of an ugly Christmas sweater. So there are these poor Mom's /Aunt's lending out their favorite Holiday apparel, without a clue that it will be laughed at and made fun of. Kind of sad!...but hey, it sure makes for some good laughs! Mindy made her own sweater, complete with flashing nipple lights!
I have to thank my sis-in-law, who let me borrow a hideous sweater vest, turtleneck, broach and matching earrings. Too funny!

Some of the awesome gifts we walked away with included...a fart machine (can be found at Target), a farmers video on manure, used musky bath set, slippers made from feminine hygiene products, a sweet homemade picture frame, a HUGE can of Stagg chili (from camp), and needle point ornaments. I know there were other great ones...that's all I can remember tonight.
Mike took pictures for me, and when I suggested a 'funny picture' we for some reason, got in a pyramid...umm...too many ex-cheerleaders I guess. But it is quite a funny picture to see all those grown women climbing on each other to form a pyramid...ha ha!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tis' the Season to be Jolly!

We did our holiday decorating...and we got it all done the day after Thanksgiving. Every year it seems to get better. I'm not going to be one of those old Grandma's who pull out a hundred boxes of Christmas decorations to fill every corner, but it's definitely accumulating. I try to throw out the old when replace it with something new. I love my Grandparents...but helping them decorate year after year...I have promised my self that I won't keep adding boxes to my collection of festive decorations.
I do not believe in 'yard art'. (no offense to those who do each their own!) You will never, I repeat never, find lighted and or moving figures or animals of any kind, no blow-up stuff, and none of the trees in my yard with ornaments or lights. Call me Scrooge...but it will never happen. It was a real stretch to put the graveyard bones and headstones out this Halloween. I think it stems from my childhood, living across the street from a crazy eclectic lighted house. They had random lights...colored strands, white strands, blue strands, etc. Some of them would blink, some would not. The blinking ones never blinked in sync with each other. They would be strung around random windows, partially around random trees, across different parts of the roof...all connected in a line. (Just trying to describe it makes me feel like I need an Excedrin!) Eventually different 'yard art' was added ruined Christmas lights and outdoor decorations for me. As fate would have an adult, I live in a lively neighborhood where much of the season's celebrating happens on every one's front yard. The irony! I am actually grateful, because my kids love it. They look around wishing their house looked like the neighbors. So I owe my neighbors, big time!
If you drive by my house, no, we are not JWs. We DO celebrate, just not on the outside. The tree is not in the window and there is no lights of any kind. I WOULD be able to handle evenly spaced, white lights...but I can't afford to pay someone to do that for me yet...maybe someday!
In October, I got a great coupon from one of my favorite decorating stores. It expired at the end of the month and I was determined to use it on something. Well, after seeing the fantastic trees they had at good prices I had an idea! Mike of course said he didn't think we 'needed' a new tree. (Technically, who really 'needs' a tree. The entire commercialized Christmas decorations are not necessary. )
This meant it would have to come out of my food budget. I gathered the girls and asked them what they thought. They thought that eating mac-n-cheese and spaghetti for two weeks was a darn good trade for a new Christmas tree. So after two weeks of carb loading...we made the purchase. I have fallen madly in love with the concept of 'pre-lit' trees. I could kiss the genius who figured that out! I don't want to sound boastful, this year was my first experience with a pre-lit tree, but honestly...LOVE IT! A drawback of getting a bigger tree...not having enough ornaments. I figure I have many years to accumulate tree stuff. (see...there's that accumulating factor again, that's what my December nightmares are made of)

The girls love it even more than I do. It was always a dream of mine to have a tall tree. My grandparents always got massive trees (real trees) and it seemed so magical as a child. We spent many Christmases with them, and I still think of their house when I think of Christmas. All the kids would sleep on the balcony Christmas Eve...waking up to such an amazing view of the tree and filled stockings! Consequently, I have a balcony for Christmas Eve sleeping, and have now invested in a big tree. It's kind of strange how I find myself re-creating my favorite childhood experiences for my kids. It seems that most of what I do is based on whether or not I like it growing up.
On a side note...speaking of she my child or what?
I should dig and find a couple pictures like this of me, almost the same age. I love that those weird traits get passed down. Maybe my long lost relative performed in a traveling circus...maybe one of my great-grandchildren will perform in a traveling circus. There's got to be a reason we are made so strangely flexible, come to think of favorite childhood toys were my stilts! (there's got to be something to that!) I'm not sure what I enjoy more...that she gets such a kick out of herself, or the holes in her tights for both her big toes. That a girl!

So the stockings are the chimney with care. Here's hoping hoping St. Nick will SOON be there!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A brain full of mush

I feel like such a glamorous and 'put-together' person...hardy har har! I am the farthest thing from it. As I clean off the pictures from my camera, I realize how sad my life is. Sad in way which is considered not glamorous. But the fact is...I love my life. I wouldn't change it, well, maybe some of it!
In my defense. I have been a real slacker lately. (or all the time) The joy of being a manic person is that when I'm feeling good I take on incredible projects. On my bad days I can hardly brush my teeth, but on a good day I can hike Kilimanjaro!
In October...on a good day...I decided to publish a cookbook for my Grandparents. I asked all of my relatives to submit family recipes, or request recipes which held memories of their childhood. I put November 1st as the deadline to submit, which meant I didn't get them all until the second week of November. So the past two weeks I have don't want to know how many hours...trying to compile 139 recipes into a cookbook. What was I thinking?
The good news is that I will wrap it up tonight. I will hopefully feel this weight lifted, and I told Mike to remind me of this cookbook EVERY TIME I even mention the slightest hint of a new project. The other up side, is that each time I actually have to finish something I helps me create boundaries for myself. I have little memories of feeling overwhelmed by something I totally chose to do. I bring it upon myself.
As soon as I get over my anger toward my mouse and keyboard...I will be a better blogger. (and a happier person to live with)

Our Thanksgiving Feast! I was impressed with the spread. I took this one and only picture of Thanksgiving. Can you tell I'm on a diet? No people, just food! So pathetic.

This is the Preschool field trip to the Library. I could not show a better comparison of my two little girls! All the kids were following the Librarian around to a cute song. Addi took the opportunity to star in her very own motion picture titled "I am the biggest Drama Queen!" What a goof ball. Her teacher and I would just keep snapping pictures between laughs.

This would be my sweet Cori as a Native American in her school Program. She's a doll! The only natives surrounded by Pilgrims...I found it sort of funny! Had it been literal, she would of showed a thing or two to those invaders of her land. She would have kept them all in line.
They performed for the school the day before this. When she got ready for school, she asked "Is the program at 9:30 am or pm?" I said " like 30 minutes." She broke down in hysterics! She said that they had NOT done their best yesterday and needed more practice. She did not want to perform for the parents without more preparation. She was very disappointed that people did not know what they were doing, or heaven forbid, made MISTAKES! I convinced her to go to school, to do her best, and to let everything else go. "You cannot control what other people do or do not do. You are awesome! You will be great no matter what!" She sang her heart out and was the most beautiful angel. I love her so much, and I worry I've ruined her. I've put too many expectations on her and she already has a fear of making mistakes. I feel so inadequate, and hope I can redeem myself. She deserves better!

On a funny note...this is her chore chart. This is what she handed me this week. I was a bit taken back by what I saw. This picture shows just one corner of the chart. There was more written, like "I love Money!" and "I am rich!"
I pay her allowance for these chores, (yes...I pay them to read. there is an explanation for that, I will have to get to that someday) and apparently money is a great motivator for her. Her husband will love the fact that she pinches all her pennies and asks the price of EVERYTHING...even if somebody else is paying for it. Looks like we have a topic for Family Home Evening. Love her!
On a side note, the girls opted to be full tithe payers this year. (a proud moment for Mike and I) Lexi paid up right before our settlement with the Bishop. We are walking down the hall at church when Lexi says, in her loudest voice,"So, Addi...did you hear? I LOST ALL MY MONEY!" I shushed her...and reminded her that "You did not LOSE your money, you paid your tithing." She says "Oh yeah...that's what I meant." That's what I get for having a proud moment. Again... hitting those Family Home Evenings pretty hard this month!

Speaking of hitting something hard...These are my wonderful garage doors. Which are even more wonderful now that I know how expensive they are! It's true that you do not fully appreciate things until they are gone, or you have to replace them. I also didn't fully appreciate the luxury of parking in a garage. When I have to run the kids to school, in my pajamas...without shoes...and without a bra's rather embarrassing. (and extra cold) You would think it would make me get dressed...nope.
Here's the story.
I was sitting in my driveway, waiting for the girls to get home so we could run errands. We had been out all day, and I didn't get to grocery shopping. I was waiting to grab them and head to the store, already bothered that it was the Monday before Thanksgiving and dragging 4 kids through the crowded store would not be a joyful experience.
I had been sitting in my driveway for over 5 minutes. I was making my grocery list, and dropped the pencil on the floor in from of me. I leaned down to pick it up....and POW! My face slammed into the steering wheel...HARD! I look up to see my garage door in my windshield. I had my foot on the brake, and didn't realize the car was in drive. I always put it in park when I pull in my driveway, sometimes I realize my foot is on the brake still, but it is always in park. Argh!
Mike said..."I'm glad the airbags didn't deploy"...I agree, then he adds "because they are expensive to fix!" I quickly add "And I would have broken EVERY BONE IN MY FACE!!!" He says "Oh yeah...that too."
So we are hopefully replacing them this week. The top panel had to be replaced a couple months ago (which is why it is still white) and we hadn't painted them yet. Now we may have to replace the whole thing! Just the bottom three panels are $2500, and then the cost of painting them too. And we don't know if we can paint them without also painting the third car door, or the paint will not just gets better. The pictures don't look as bad as in real life. The door will not open, and the wheel of the door is busted off. Merry Christmas!
The guy who gave me the estimate tried to make me feel better. I said "Who runs into the FRONT of their garage door?" He said he had just come from a similar estimate...only the car was being stolen and it was put in drive rather than reverse. I said "Ummm...that really doesn't make me feel better." Then he said "A lot of first-time drivers will pull in the driveway and get nervous. They will step on the gas instead of the brake." To which I walked away mumbling "you can stop...that really doesn't make me feel better... sorry I brought it up."

So there is the week of Thanksgiving, in a nutshell. The actual order was...
Monday...garage, massive grocery shopping
Tuesday...program and field trip, cleaning my entire house, making pies, and prepping food
Thursday...Thanksgiving, and then extended family
Friday...making a mess of my house trying to decorate, more extended family and my braking point!
And every night putting at least 4 to 5 hours into the cookbook. I have been sleeping from 3 am to 8 am every night now for a week. (so if you get a comment from me after midnight, don't be afraid.)

I feel like I have only written down things which make me sound ungrateful and selfish, but it's honestly how my week went. Which means I probably am very ungrateful...which is why I am so glad I could read friends thoughts of gratitude and family love. I will stop roasting my family and hang up my "sorry for myself" for a while. I would promise to lay off the Debbie Downer posts, but I'm not sure I'm good at hiding my emotions well enough. I will be better at writing the good things in's just not near as interesting, or therapeutic to get off my chest.

Oh, oh, oh, I forgot! Don't ask me how in the world I could forget this! There were the infamous naked pictures on my camera from two weeks ago. Those images burn into my brain, I am shocked I could forget.
The whole weight loss thing has been truckin' along. Slow and steady. I decided to take pictures...NOT TOTALLY see if there is progress. What I see looking back at me can be very different than a photograph of myself.
If I ever get super duper, unbelievably skinny...maybe I would...well, no, I would never show these pictures to another living soul. I may someday reveal numbers if...well, no, I don't think I would do that either.
Mike has always taken these pictures for me, but this time I set the timer and took them myself. (which I really have decided I prefer) and I keep them in a special, secret folder on my computer. Which usually makes me paranoid, but where else do you keep them? I figure if some poof thief decided to steal the would serve him right! Those pictures would have a greater affect then any community service or jail time!
Anyways...Mike was looking for a certain picture on the camera and I realized I hadn't taken those images off. I usually IMMEDIATELY take them off and erase them off the memory card. So right as I realize that...Mike says "Did you take pictures of yourself?", that's my overweight twin sister I lock in the basement and take picture of when I am bored in the afternoons. Yep!
Now obviously, having been married as long as we could there be any surprises, right? right. So here's my favorite part...he asks "So, who took these pictures?" WHAT?!? My insides are dying of hysterics! I know that he's not worried about ANOTHER person taking pictures of my sexy weight loss progression. Ha! Oh honey...did I forget to tell you that I signed up for a profession photo shoot of me in my bra and underwear? Yes! I did an ad for stretch marks and saggy boobs!
So, just to play with him, I said "Babe, YOU took those pictures, remember?" Now this is what a great husband I have...he said "Really? I did?" and confidently I say "Yes you did!" Now he actually said "Oh. Okay."
Baaaaaah! I am dying, partially glad that images of seeing my slim and trim, sexy self doesn't stick with him the way it sticks with me. But I guess you've been married a while when your husband can't remember if, seven days ago, he took scantly clad pictures of you or not. Ha! It was still silent, but I could tell he was deep in thought. I just couldn't help it, I busted up!
He jumps right out and says "I didn't take those, huh?" I can't produce words, still laughing way too hard. "I knew I didn't!" To which I had to say "Yeah you did...that's why you had to ask...and then wonder a bit!?" He of course started laughing, all the time defending himself. As the laughter quites into silence, without emotion he asks" So...who took the pictures?"
"HONEY!!! Who do you think took them?" The poor guy says "Umm...did you use the self-timer?" Umm...that would be correct!!!
Heavenly Days I love that man! I can tell you, 10 years ago those kind of pictures on our camera would have been an entirely different story. And trust me...he would have remembered if he took them or not! Now it seems that naked pictures are as shocking as pictures of the kids at the Library. How I love growing old with my favorite person in the entire world!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Debbie Downer

This is a total "Debbie Downer" post. She is the person who is always negative, or has a way of depressing the room. So...this is me, I am not as chipper tonight.
I think that Black Friday only escalates my frustration with the commercialized part of the holidays. I will admit, I also think that the Christmas parties this time of year also effect my poor attitude. For some reason, it seems like getting together with family in the summer does not bring near the emotions. In my last post I stated the joy I find this time of year, appreciating our doesn't seem to pertain to extended family.
Maybe it's that our immediate family knows us better, and has an obligation to love us. Extended family is just there to piss us off and hurt our feelings. At a time when I should feel more jolly and joyful, I must admit this part of the holidays is not my favorite. Mike without his parents and me with just a Mother, those really large family gatherings...they really suck! It's as if there is a missing link in the chain of a family. Nothing to connect us to the older generation. In my case, there is just quite frankly a lack of connections. Maybe a pretend or fake link between us, which can't hold the pressure of too many of us in the same place at the same time.
Mike and I come from such different families it is unbelievable. Mike's family are what you would call "good ol' boys". Hard working families who enjoy hunting and getting their hand dirty. Tough rugged men who talk shop and dirt bikes. (I know that these statements are very stereotypical...but it is where we came from, and it shows how different people can be.) My family is more of what you might call "Yuppies". If you don't have a college degree, don't bother opening your mouth. If you're a male over 30 and don't have your Masters or PhD , you will be in the minority, but they will still be nice to you. You better have received at least one of your degrees from BYU, and your calling in the church determines your importance in this life. Your job description is crucial and your salary is common knowledge and openly discussed. (and if you are asked your should not hesitate, your salary gives others an opinion of where you are in life) Basically, you would find Mike's entire family planning a vacation to a 'Gun and Knife' show. While you would find my family on their Blackberry's and iPhones trying to fit something into their work schedule, which only proves how busy they are because of how important they are.
I am a person who hates being lumped into a category, and these are the extremes, but these our the lumps we belong to. (our lovely lady lumps, hee hee)
I had a wonderful discussion with my Therapist regarding family situations which seemed to be making me miserable. He put it best, but in summary...Some relationships are toxic. And I'm sure I am toxic to members of my family. (In fact I know I am) But we can't change the fact that some people are toxic, we can just protect ourselves from letting it make us sick. Learn how to be around them without getting 'infected'. Love them from a place where you don't expect love in return. Be content in knowing things may never change. As harsh as it is seems to admit, some of my family is toxic to me.
I had one particular toxic situation this year that made me a bit ill. I knew better, and should have expected it, but I guess I set myself up. Mike, being the talk radio fan that he is, heard some advise on families at Thanksgiving. One part said that family hierarchies remain in tact, and always will. matter how old you are, to some will always be that snot-nosed-brat who peed her pants at Disneyland. I am on the edge of 30, mother of four, and have been married now for more than 10 years. I expect to be treated like an adult, and when I am not it gets me fired up. I think I qualify to be in adult conversations and advance from the 'kiddie table' so to speak.
There is major fight for my Grandparents time and attention. If you step over the limits, you better believe you will be told. It is a race to the top, clawing, scratching, biting our way to victory. The allotted time is set up by generation, age within the generation, where you live, how many children you have, and even your gender. It is apparent that some people believe that my Grandparents only have a certain amount of love to give. You must fight and earn your share of it. When that love runs out...oh, wait! has yet to run out? It's funny the way love works, there is always plenty to go around. Especially a Grandparents love. They seem to have so much love they can't contain it! My extended family does not seem to understand that concept.
Mike and I were 'put in our place' for being there recently during a football game. I was even told "Well, you had your it's our turn next year." Are we scheduling out time a year in advance now? Come on!
I have family members who put themselves so far above the rest of us, that to even attempt to engage in conversation with them is an insult. Especially for me, because I am a child...on a lower level to begin with. To come down and mingle with us 'commoners', is quite a sacrifice for them and a privilege to the rest of us. You know the type, they are the experts on any topic, in any area, and there opinions are always right, constantly reminding you why they are better then you and how little you know about things. Mike and I were both (within minutes of each other) made to feel stupid for even opening our mouths. It went as far as to say I was verbally attacked for doing nothing but trying to be generous. Seriously, what do I think I adult? Geez, what was I thinking. I don't have a college degree...heaven forbid, I am even below that...I went to hair school! That's what stupid girls do because they aren't smart enough to go to college. Not only that, but I had better plan on bringing my scissors to family reunions, because I will have the glorious opportunity to give all my highly educated family members haircuts! FOR FREE! (deep breath...deep breath...)
When did making someone feel inadequate become such an accepted part of socializing? And maybe I'm fooling myself. Maybe I do the same to others without even realizing it. Mike said that listening to a discussion with my family sounds more like a heated competition or debate rather than a friendly chat. Like we all have something to prove, and we are making a case for ourselves. A verbal war, defending our opinions and standing up for ourselves. While the quieter or more reserved family members sit as spectators...carefully listening and mentally preparing to choose a side if so asked. The funny thing is, I am so guilty. Right there with the best of them. I find myself talking in a way I don't usually talk. Arguing about things that shouldn't matter...and in any other situation wouldn't. And when the discussion has finally ended...I feel exhausted! As if I have gone into a battle, not fighting, but trying to not to fight. It is strange. I am tense, my heart is beating faster than usual, I realize muscles in my hands have been clenched for 30 to 40 minutes.
Needless to say, we had to conclude that in upcoming years, limited time with certain people is best. If you place yourself in a toxic situation, you are bound to get sick.
Mike is in a similar situation, but the attacks are not so forward. While my family is outright mean to your face, his family is nicer to your face. It is more what's said after you leave the room, or the eyes you can feel burning holes in the back of your head. Every year we show up and recite how many kids we have, their names, what Mike does for a living, etc. It feels as if we are meeting for the first time, and yet we gather like this at least 3 or 4 times a year. It's no different than a room full of strangers. Only we are frowned upon for not "picking up the slack" when Mike parents passed away. Forget that Mike's and his siblings are young adults trying to establish families of their own...The year after Mike's Dad died, it was his year to have planned the reunion. Well, boy did we drop the ball when we said we couldn't do it! Silly us, I guess we thought they might not expect us plan such an event. At that point we were working to not have our own families fall apart. A few Christmases ago, my sister-in-law and I were blamed for the breakdown of family traditions, and I'm not sure we will ever be forgiven for what we didn't say or do. We try and find the family members who know us, but always end up sitting with Mike's siblings and enjoy the fact that if nothing else, this event facilitates a great opportunity to spend time as immediate family members. Oh heaven help us...
Friday night, my wonderful grandparents bought the entire extended family tickets to Hale Center Theatre. We saw 'The Christmas Carol' and sadly, Mike and I walked away feeling a bit like Scrooge. Then Mike was asked to speak in church today. It is obvious that the Lord is trying to help us. Giving us the experiences we need to change our ways. (and my attitude)
I am making a commitment to find the joy in our many family gatherings. To keep my spirits up, regardless of others. I love the reason we celebrate this blessed day in December, and I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate giving thanks each November. I realize we are placed in families on this earth for's not by accident. I need to do a better job of loving ALL of my family, even those who hurt me. Considering the situation they might be in, and be compassionate to why they feel certain things. I have to be careful not to eat my emotions, which has taken me 14 weeks to control, and only one family party to ruin. And visit my therapist twice a week until New Years, seriously!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Old Lady's Gobble, Gobble!

The last week has been so busy and so full of things I need to jot down. I have some work ahead of me...I know life will only get busier over the next few weeks so I am giving brief overviews to go back and update later.

Last week I went to the much anticipated, much talked about, much obsessed over midnight premier of TWILIGHT! I can't wait for my girls to someday read these books, and I will feel like such a celebrity to recall my experiences and feelings on these novels. (Not really! But I do remember when my Mom gave me two books to read...Charlie and Little Women. Two great books!)
I could go into detail about my feelings on the movie. I have heard so many different opinions about it I don't have any desire to even bring it up. It's like when the third book was released all over again.
It was a great topic at Thanksgiving. An aunt of mine was on a MAJOR Twilight rampage. I was warned by my Mom beforehand not to bring it up...and although I wanted nothing more than to disagree with her to her face...I opted to stay hush-hush.
The best part of the Twilight premier for me, was the 'girls night' with some new friends. It was a group of women I have not socialized with before. (not outside church...where everyone is friends) We went to dinner, and visited about a range of different things, from 'time share' presentations to childbirth. It sounds strange, but it was really great!
Quite frankly, it could have been any movie, I had a great time. I will confess that the "Ooo's and Ahh's" in the theatre made me laugh...out loud. And there was a time when I forgot if I was watching a movie, or Days of our Lives.
All considered, it was a good chick flick. I had a wonderful time, and I am thankful for the girls I went with!

Thanksgiving was at my house. We had it here two years ago, so I was prepared. Two years ago I had some stress realizing the not only did I not have enough seating, but I didn't have real silverware. This year was much better, and went much smoother.
I made twenty pounds of mashed potatoes. Yep...that would be only one example of how I handle parties at my house. I'm not a low key type, and I firmly believe that there is never too much food. I would rather throw away food after the fact, than worry I might run out. So we had enough potatoes to feed the entire neighborhood. I go way overboard, and I can admit it.
Everyone went home with enough food for the next week, and I was happy to give it all away.
Mike's family was wonderful. I called our Thanksgiving the 'Island of Misfit Toys'. Along with Mike's family, we had one of my sisters, a friend from Africa, and almost a last minute friend of my sister-in-laws. We enjoyed the time together, and the kids loved playing all day. It does feel fun that we are all between our late twenty's or late thirty's. There's no 'head' of the family. There's not hundreds of cousins or family member's names you can't remember. It feels more like a party with great food.
Mike's Mom passed away on Thanksgiving 2001. So the holiday holds additional meaning for us. A family without parents feels a bit different, but as time passes, we become more accustom to the dynamics. We grow closer and understand each other better. I have felt a bit on the outside of Mike's family for a long time, so maybe I'm just speaking for myself. Mike's siblings are closer, for some reason Mike and I have felt we needed to depend more on one another, rather than rely on family and friends. I think it stems from losing loved ones, and having different relationships with our families. At different times we have both felt alone, and had to grow some thick skin to survive in life. Mike's common phrase is "If you have a problem with me or my can go"...and I don't need to finish that one. Thanksgiving and Christmas is a good time for us to really appreciate our families, and try to be better at loving and letting others love us.

I got to out with a girlfriend of mine last night. It was her birthday, and it was the big 30. She is single, going to school, working, etc. and although we still are a lot alike, we are very different.
We met in Jr. High. She was a very good student, student council member, and what you would call 'goodie two shoes'. She was the most naive and sweetest person I'd ever known. For example...
Our coach had to give us a scolding during our Sophomore season. We not only won every game that season, but we won by a good margin. Our practices turned into tugging each others shorts down at the free throw line, and learning better 'bump and grind' moves to our Salt-n-Pepa warm-up songs, even Grease moves on defense. We were told that we had to keep our grades above a 2.0 and we wouldn't be able to play in the game with visible "hickies" on our body. (Hmmm...classy, I know...this just goes to show what a diverse group of girls we were!) My dear friend raised her hand to ask "Well, can you just wash it off before the game?" Even our coach had to laugh on that one. We sang songs for the boys we were in love with, which nobody ever knew. We would sit on the bus and practice kissing with our vanilla ice cream cones. (I'm sure that's too much information) Oh how I love her! And how in the world we were best friends that year I will never know! But my memories of her are some of the best times ever. I ended up moving a few months later. We went our separate ways and lost contact.
As fate would have it, a phone call from another friend of ours got us back together. She went through some hard times, very similar to the hard times I went through as a teenager. Our friendship grew on another level, in ways I knew connected us forever. She is so dear to me, and I love her.
Last night we went to dinner and a movie. I was driving her back to her apartment, for me the night was over. I looked at the clock and it was 9:30pm. Then it dawns on me that I am an old hag! Here I am, on a Saturday night, and 9:30 is all I have in me? I said "So...I can't take you home at 9:30 on your Birthday...what should we do? where should we go?" I think she thought I was a bit crazy, and I could tell she was looking at me like I look at my Mother when she tries to be cool.
She then tells me that she doesn't really do much, and Country Dancing is about the most exciting it gets for her. I know that she is a really good country dancer, and I said "Let's go! Let's go Country Dancing!" She said "Really?" "Sure! Why not!" I said. She is laughing at me and I'm not sure she believed me.
So, in my smokin' hot, super stellar mini-van, we go to this Dance place on BYU campus.
Now let me just tell you...there is a lot of explaining to this situation. To begin with...I do not listen to Country music, I've never been a fan. Every Country song is about a truck, a girl/guy leaving, or a dog. I've just never liked it.
I have never country danced. Not my thing, but very entertaining.
Also, I would not dream of going dancing without Mike. I am quite friendly, but not that friendly! No worries! I am content with my life and don't have any desire to pretend otherwise.
But I figured it is her Birthday, and if the tables were turned, what would I want to do on my Birthday if I were single?
So there I this place. If you ever want to feel old, just go to a college campus and look around. I felt like I was a room mother at a High School. You know how all-of-a-sudden the College Cheerleaders look 12, yep...they all looked 12. Maybe 14.
I was watching her have a good time. She would sit with me, then get asked to dance almost every song. She said "I'm sorry! You are just sitting here...we can go if you want." To which I said "This is better than what's on my TiVo, it's not like I'm missing some great, it's fun to watch this kind of dancing!"
She tried to teach me some line dances...I sucked! I was even asked to dance. Hilarious! I said that I wasn't feeling good, and it's not like I was just saying 'No' to certain people...I was not dancing, that was obvious.
I did however feel bad saying 'No'. I felt bad for the guys. I would hate to be a guy, and have to ask girls to dance...with that fear of rejection. I have never been on the rejecting side...I was always the one rejected. It brought back so many memories. Starting with my Ninth Grade Night Dance, which was the first dance I ever attended...and darn near the last one!

In High School, I moved to California. I spent Thanksgiving with some family friends in Mission Viejo. It was fun, and the only time I had Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. Over the weekend that I was there, I got to hang out with a guy friend who I really admired. His family was perfect, his friends were great, everything I didn't have at the time. Anyways...we went to a church dance, they were a big deal there. The dance was in Irvine, and there were a ton of people. I had gotten to know this group of boys. We played basketball, went to the beach, even took a trip to Tijuana. (To by butterfly knives, yes...I was a smart one. They put the knives on me because I was less likely to be searched coming back over the border. smart!)
At this dance in Irvine, I was having a good time. I mustered up the courage to ask a boy to dance. I had NEVER done that, but it seemed safe enough. He totally turned me down, hard! Just looked at me and said "" It was as good as a kick in the stomach. I never forgot that feeling. I ran into him about five years ago. I had heard shortly after High School that he came to BYU or UVSC on a wrestling scholarship or something like that. It was weird...I'm sure he would never even remember who I was, let alone that dance.
Sadly, I never could ever bring myself to ask a guy to a 'girls choice' dance. I even really struggled accepting an invitation from a guy to a dance. I only went to three dances in High School, and each one made me feel nervous and scared. I was very stand-off-ish, and came up with any excuse not to go or get close to that person. I always felt bad for the poor guy who was stuck with me for an entire evening...I was a loser, damaged goods. I had so many issues at that point I could write a book about it! It was sad that it affected me, but I let it. Sad!

So this night redeemed my thoughts on dancing and socializing in that aspect. She was, and still is, an example of innocence and carefree fun. It was a fun night, thankfully she had fun. She knew almost half of the people there. The guy who she said had never and would never ask her to dance...did! She is a great dancer, and that kind of dancing is more of an acrobatic sport. It was fun to watch. Mike laughed at me, and said "you still got it babe!" I just felt bad for having to say 'no'...but not that bad! It would probably make them feel worse to know they had asked a 29 year-old, married, mother of 4 to dance...what category of rejection is that in?! Too funny!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Enjoying the Moment

Mike and I went on our first date in a while on Saturday night. Since our trip this past summer, we haven't felt we needed dates for a bit. (maybe we had enough of each other to last a few months)
On our date, we started talking about where we are in our lives, and the different parts we have gone through. Even more scary...the parts that will come. (4 teenage daughters)

I will be turning 30 next year...and honestly...29 is for some reason really hard on me. I feel a constant reminder that I'm "almost 30". On the other hand, I have been married for more than 10 years now, and had my last baby 3 1/2 years ago. My girls are in preschool and for the first time in almost 9 years I am not changing diapers all day long, carrying around a huge diaper bag, and I even have two days a week without kids for a couple hours.

Mike has got to a comfortable place in his career. He has been graduated for 7 years and with the same company for 9 years. He made his way up the "corporate ladder" to a wrung he is enjoying. I know there is always the possibility of him returning to school for more education, or losing his job, but for now we are settled.

I send out a Christmas card each year, updating our friends and family with what is happening in our lives. I told Mike that "there is nothing to report again this year!" For so long we had family dying, babies being born, or moving to new cities to report. It feel like we are now just getting older every year.

Mike and I started talking about how great it feels to be here. We reminisced about the first INCREDIBLY hard three years. Then the next transitioning four years. We both look back and wonder how in the world we survived some of the things we went through.

For the first three years, Mike was taking 14-16 credit hours at BYU while still working 40 hours a week. I was home alone, most of the time without a car, raising babies by myself. We have a notebook we keep as a memory. I would write a note to Mike before we went to bed, telling him what we had done that day. I would tell him what dinner was, that is was "in the fridge", and instructions on how to heat it up. He would write back, telling me about his day. The next morning, he was gone before we woke up, and would leave us another note. There are page after page of notes and "I love you's". Mike was living on 4 to5 hours of sleep each day. I cannot believe the sacrifices he made for us. I don't think I appreciated it enough back then.

I also went to school and graduated, Mike lost both his parents and we had 2 more scary pregnancies, but thankfully two more beautiful girls. We moved a few times, and made good friends along the way.

We can break our lives into segments. Each one very difficult, but very rewarding. I made a ton of mistakes. There are things I should have done...and I didn't. But I can see the Lord's hand in each segment, guiding us and pushing us (or carrying us) through them.

So now here we are...we are done having kids and not planning on moving until the kids are all grown. I am looking forward to working in the next couple years. Mike feels accomplished and will hopefully continue to progress at work. It feels as if we've reached a milestone, and yet it really feels strange. I can say that 8 years ago I never thought this day would come! It seemed like worlds away. Everyone says to enjoy your children, they grow up fast. We are out of the baby stage...they are just memories.

On a personal note, I have to document another milestone. I saw a number on the scale this morning I haven't seen in a long time! I can truthfully say that those numbers are the ONLY motivation I still have. Everything inside me tells me to eat what tastes good, regardless of the consequences. I have a big "Go hard or Go home!" personality, and when I finally made the decision, I knew I couldn't go back. This has been a huge commitment, and a difficult road. Sadly enough, the road that lies ahead is even longer. But I keep reminding myself I could be sitting here in the same place I was in September. I took this picture on Saturday, of course it was the most flattering, but I thought it would be nice to document. Maybe when I reach my goal, I will feel brave enough to document a time line...scary thought.

Saturday started week 12 on my journey, or as I affectionately have named "My Hibernation Transformation". In my mind the past 12 weeks have felt like an entire year! I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that whether is week 2 or week 102, I will have to do this for the rest of my life! My sister and I ran another 5K a week ago Saturday. As I was panting like a dog, with my tongue hanging out, feeling like I'm going to kill over any second... I told my sister that I can't wait for my resurrected body...because I know it will be skinny and smokin' hot! She tried to tell me that it won't really matter, our resurrected bodies won't be fat or skinny, just perfect. I told her that was nonsense, because I'll be rockin' a flat and sexy six-pack stomach! (lucky her huh? good thing she loves me and will put up with me)

So today, I am 30 pounds closer to that amazing segment. Which will mark a time I can look back and think of my "heavier years". That segment and place which feels so incredibly far away and unattainable some days. Just as 8 years ago, this part of life seemed. 7 years ago today, I woke up with a 22 month-old and 4 month-old. I woke up without my husband and without a car. I was in 800 square feet of glass baby food jars and poopy diapers. There is a really good chance I never changed out of my pajamas and didn't take a shower. Yes, those were very different struggles than the ones I woke up with today, but I had challenges which made me wonder if THIS day would ever come. The strange thing is, there are things I miss about back then. My girls as babies, not running around in the car all day, walks to the park in my stroller. I realize there will be things I will look back at and miss about today.
I guess I see it as goes on either way. There is no changing that fact. There is always something about today that I will miss some day. But you do have control over what you are doing today, and if you are enjoying the moment and working towards a goal. So today is getting you closer to what you want in the years ahead. It will happen. It may take a long time, but it will happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fourth Folder, Fourth Photo

What a mouthful! I saw this and thought it was cute (thanks Stacy). This is the fourth photo in my fourth folder of pictures on my computer. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

This is Cori and Lexi holding Sophie in July 2005. This was the week after Sophie came home from the hospital. (which was one of the most horrible experiences in my life)

We were getting ready for bed...the older girls had just been bathed, lotioned, and put in pajama's. I had bathed Sophie and wrapped her up tight. She fell right asleep and so I placed her in Lexi's arms. This was taken in my bedroom in our last house. It was a strangely huge room, especially for that house. Before we bought the house I told Mike it was such a "waste of space", because it was literally the biggest room in the house! Bigger than the kitchen/dining room, family room or living room...oh how I miss that room. It quickly went from the waste of the greatest and most genius floor plan EVER! When I look at this photo I can smell the baby shampoo and lotion.

Lexi loves babies, she has such a caring and nurturing heart. I love Cori's face in the back, with her arm around Lexi. We are missing Addi...maybe Mike was still finishing her in the bath. Cori was 5, Lexi was 4, Addi was 18 months old...
I look back at it now and think "What in the world?!" 4 kids in 5 1/2 years! No wonder I'm crazy!

Ahhh...just memories now :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

High School? Really?

For some reason I have struggled a bit this week. It was nothing specific, just a combination of things. Do you ever feel like your adult life is mimicking High School? Granted, my High School experience ended with 10th grade, but still!

I popped into a gathering this evening and came across some realizations. I watched a room full of High School Seniors. All enjoying themselves. You could spot the popular kids right away. Then there were the kids who sat at the shy table, and the group of pretty girls. There were, of course, the more awkward looking boys, who didn't quite fit their bodies yet and had pimples all over their faces. (The guys who don't seem too cool at the time...but end up being amazing men, intelligent college grads, hard working, great husbands and good fathers...go figure!)

It was a fantastic event, and this will sound very narcissistic. It was a party for a great friend and wonderful young lady. I was happy to be there for her, I just wanted to share my personal experience from it.

Anyway...I was invited to this party...but as I walked in I felt this rush of inadequacy! I didn't have the time to change my clothes, and could only drop off a gift anyway. I grabbed the gift and expected to run over and leave quickly. I walked into the room and immediately felt incredibly out of place. I snuck in the back and waited for a time to give my gift and leave. I found it funny to watch the teenagers, but then I saw a table of grown women. Women I knew, but I'm not good friends with. They were all together, dressed-up, and clearly good friends with each other.
I panicked, and wondered if I should just walk out and give my gift later. This was my self-talk:

I'm standing in the back:
"Oh geez, I'm SO not dressed right. My jeans probably make my butt look big. My color combination of my clothes is totally wrong. Should I have worn a different jacket? Probably!"

I spot the table of women:
"These women don't like me...they are probably wondering why am here. Should I tell them that I was invited, so they don't think I invited myself?"

I start walking to the front:
"I don't really care what anyone thinks! Nobody will even notice my clothes... Oh man! I am wearing a hat! What kind of person wears a hat? Honestly!"

I give the gift to the Birthday girl:
"I just love her, she is so awesome. What a great birthday! I hope she can see how loved she is!"

I turn around and see the table of women:
"I'm just going to say "Hi", if I don't it will look rude. If I do it may look like I'm trying too hard. Oh well!"

I say hi and walk away:
"Whew! That was a bit awkward...I really worked myself up for nothing. Stupid!"

On the walk home:
"Why in the world did my mind just take me back to High School!?!"

Now I am not usually so insecure, like I said, a bad week. But I have my days!

Last year I was at the gym and saw 2 ex-boyfriends in the same week. Wow, that kinda sucked! I am not a slim and trim, make-up wearing, matching outfit, bronze tan type of gym babe. I'm more of a wear pajama bottoms, Mike's big T-shirts, pull my hair back, no make-up, just happy for some 'alone time' types. Again...very insecure moments! Not too easy to hide in a gym...too many mirrors. However, I did consider a full out sprint to the locker room!

When I feel that way, I immediately wonder why? Why do I care? What does it matter? It's not that what other people think of me is that important...or is it more important to me than I think?

Even in the work place, things can feel like High School. Who you go to lunch with, who drives the nicest vehicle. Did you hear what 'so-and-so' said about 'so-and-so'? Did you see what 'so-and-so' was wearing today? Things can be like that, heaven forbid, at CHURCH!

At my 10 year High School Reunion, it felt strange. Many people didn't know who I was, and those who did weren't really my friends after our Sophomore yeah...didn't really fit in. In so many ways, the room felt like High School, but we were all in different bodies. (Some bodies a lot better than others ;)) Everyone stayed in their groups, taking pictures and reminiscing. Nothing wrong with was just strange to see the same groups of guys and girls, that were the groups in the hallways of the school. And the rest of us, passing by on the outskirts looking in.

I'd like to think that as an adult, I have learned that what other people think of me doesn't really matter. But in all does. Not nearly close to as much! Granted, I don't wake up every morning worrying if my clothes are right, my hair is perfect, and if 'so-and-so' will talk to me today. But it's fulfilling to 'belong' somewhere. To have people around who you can talk to, trust, and confide in. To feel a part of a group who understands you and wants you around. I love my children, but adult interaction is a must for me.

Many times I have wished I could go back and tell my teenage self that it's not a big deal.

I would tell myself that everything will be fine, and many of the people you idolize turn out to be losers anyway. A lot of the guys you want to date won't amount to much, and the guys you don't give the time of day to...will be the ones you want to marry. I would tell myself to keep my butt in school! Stop skipping classes and pay more attention to what's being taught. I should respect my teachers, they don't get paid near enough, and take way too much crap!

I would try and explain what 'being cool' means, and how it's not as cool as you think! What you want to do is surround yourself with people who are kind and genuine. But most of all...I think I would tell myself to just relax and enjoy life. You will do plenty of worrying when you get to be an adult, so don't worry now.

I'm sure that sounded like the whole "Wear sunscreen" advise song that played a million times on the radio 7 or 8 years ago, but it's true.

The one thing I wish I could give my daughters in life is positive self-esteem. It is the foundation of life, and drives decisions. I would pay any amount of money to be able to buy it and give it to my girls.

I just hope and pray that they are equipped BEFORE they need it and not after. I think most people get it after the fact, or some never find it at all. I know that I definitely didn't have it until after High School, and I sometimes wonder if I still have enough now.

It is easy for me to feel inadequate. I compare my bad qualities to others good qualities. I dismiss my good qualities as not that good, and while it's important for me that I'm always improving myself...I could take more time to acknowledge what I do well. Or even the things I try to do well.

Working in the Beauty Industry, I have learned a few things. I've seen that no amount of hair extensions and make-up can make a person beautiful, it really can't. I've also seen that people who are beautiful inside, and love themselves, are beautiful outside. They really are more physically beautiful. Not 'special spirits', but are truly attractive.
This is to my girls...

Remember who you are....a daughter of God. Remember who will always love you, no matter what!...your Father in heaven, your savior, and ME! Remember why you are learn what you need to become Christ-like. If things get difficult, or you are feeling inadequate...close your eyes and imagine yourself ten years from now.

These are from Audrey Hepburn (although you probably won't know who she is) they are the best beauty tips you will ever get...

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
the figure that she carries,or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows,
and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

You are truly special and incredible! Don't let anybody tell you different! The people who don't see that are really missing out!

Love you,