Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am taking an entire month long leave of absence from my blog. Mike and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this month in Italy and Greece. I will be gone for a while, a really long while. School will start while I'm gone, and things will be crazy. I'm sure I will be back-dating entries when I return, and there's no doubt I will have hundreds of pictures.
I am excited for the adventure, and sad to be leaving my kids. The longest Mike and I have been away is 12 days (which felt like FOREVER!) and I will miss them dearly, but I am glad for the much needed adult vacation. Besides friends and family, here are some things I will struggle without:

Air-conditioning (can you say swoobs!)
Diet Dr. Pepper (I WILL have withdrawls)
My bed (only doubles, and I sleep with a 6'7" 250lb. starfish!)
My flat iron (none work with converters)
Internet (hit and miss)
Cell phone (no coverage, and too expensive anyway)
My own vehicle (only planes, boats, buses and trains)
And TiVo (just American Gladiators, Ellen, Oprah, and HGTV)

I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me, I don't. I just take for granted how good I have it until it's all not there. And I wonder why Europeans consider us big, loud, aggressive, impolite, rich and a bit naive? So, I will do my best to represent...Peace out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh my!

Part of Sophie's potty training was working towards the goal of going to the zoo. My friend started potty training her son at the same time Sophie did. It was fitting since the two were born together and basically knew each other from conception.

We had a fantastic time, and got to see so many animals. Cori loved the white alligator "ghost of the bayou". Sophie had a good time on the carousel (which my kids called the "caris wheel") Lexi really liked the Giraffes. And Addi got the surprise of a lifetime from the Elephant exhibit. It's a huge Elephant statue that blows air out of the trunk at random times. She was not expecting anything, and was terrified! I wish I had a picture of her face.

Whew! We all got so "pooped"!!!

So, thanks Hayden and Sophie for conquering the "bladder matter". We love you and are so proud of you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Always! Always!

My sweet Cori...what can I say. She is such a responsible kid. I mean to the letter, she is a rule follower. It is a characteristic she gets from her father, and it makes me want to be a better person. She has started telling me how to drive. Letting me know if I came to a complete stop at stop signs. Questioning my directions, and my parking abilities. She keeps all of us in line, and just can't figure out why others don't follow the rules. She is harder on herself then I could ever be!
However, we've run into a bit of a problem this summer. All of the girls have had an issue with leaving the door into the garage open. The open that door, then open the garage door to go play. Day after day after day, I've gotten so frustrated that I finally said "The next time that door is left open, you will be grounded!"
Well, sure enough, the very next day, Cori leaves the door open. It happened to be the day we had scheduled to go somewhere and Cori was devastated. She begged and begged. I have big issues with following through, so I had to ground her. It was heartbreaking...for both of us. She even tried to bargain with me, and said that I could "ground her until Christmas if she did it again." But I had to reschedule our plans for another day. I wake up the next morning and as I head into the laundry room I find this note taped to the door:

It was so cute because that was just how I had said it "Always! Always!" Then I was coming in from the garage later in the afternoon and found another note taped to the outside of the door:

When I asked her, she said that she didn't ever want to forget again! I couldn't help but think that if I was a better Mom, I would have made the reminders myself, to help everyone. I can't believe her desire to be a good kid, and always do what she's told. What a sweetheart!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not your typical Infomercial!

(WARNING: really gross stuff here, really, really, really gross!)

3rd Grader: Hey look everybody, Billy peed his pants.
Billy Madison
: Of course I peed my pants, everyone my age pees their pants. It's the coolest.
3rd Grader
: Really?
Billy Madison: YES. You ain't cool, unless you pee your pants.


(I'm not sure if I can get in trouble for this, but I'm just trying to help out anyone else who finds themselves in my position.)

Needless-to-say, I have put on some weight. Now, I'm not a skinny girl who is complaining about ten pounds, and I'm not a new mother who needs to shed the "baby weight" which would restore my amazing 6-pack. I really do have a excuses. (And please don't comment and say that I don't, or that I'm beautiful, blah, blah, personality, blah, blah...I know I'm freakin' hot!)

I lost about 15 pounds for my High School Graduation, which was good. It didn't put me anywhere near skinny, but I looked better. Of course the minute the reunion was over, I gained it all back and then some.

I have always said that if there was a "magic pill" to lose weight I would pay a TON of money to take it, and wake up skinny the next morning. So you can imagine the excitement I had when I heard about a new FDA approved pill, that will "aid" in weight loss.

Now here's the part where I don't want to get in trouble...

Ok...there it is!

It is accompanied by about three hours of literature, all of which is good. All things I know healthy foods...exersice...yadda, yadda, yadda, and take this pill before your three meals a day. Now, they do not claim any miracles. That is why it is called a weight loss "aid". So if you would lose 5 lbs., taking this will make you lose 7 lbs., typically 10 lbs. you would lose 15 lbs. Sounds reasonable to me!

I sadly admit that I read through MOST of the information, but read many of the headers and not all the information below. I pop my first pill and I'm on my way to the perfect life! (because my life would be perfect if I were skinny!)

The way it works is this...the pill keeps your body from absorbing some of the fat you intake. So, instead of regularly digesting passes through your bowels. (you can see where I'm headed with this.)

Now, I take full responsibility for my experiences because, well, I knew what I was getting into. But here is the good says that there are "treatment effects"
  • gas with oily stool
  • loose stools
  • more frequent stools that may be hard to control
  • (these effects happen more frequently at the beginning of the program)
Now who signs up for that!?! I'll tell you who...people like me who think "I'll be fine, and loosing weight is so important...who really cares? right? right!" In my defense, there are similar warnings on many fat-free foods. I have always been aware of these "maybe's" and I have never ever had any problems. Until a couple days ago...

In the first 48 hours, I will admit that I could tell a difference. I had more gas, and even experienced the slightest bit of the first effect listed above. I thought I didn't know if I could continue, but I was determined to lose weight, and nothing too crazy had happened to me.

I do not think I eat really unhealthy foods, I just eat way too much. When I married a 6'7" 250lb. man...I somehow thought we should eat the same portions. I exercise a lot, and it just makes me more hungry, and well, that's how this whole thing started. So they warn you not to eat meals containing more than 30% fat. I'm thinking "Whoa! That's a lot of fat, I'm sure I'm fine." and I was, for a while. In fact, I was fine for so long, that I was really was enjoying the program and my little blue best friend.

I had even gone out to eat a couple times and had no side effects!

This past week, I was having a really stressful day. Driving all around, with all four kids, and Sophie was peeing her pants all day long. I had some extra errands to run, and knew we would have to stop for lunch. We stopped at Carl's Jr. I ordered a combo meal, and instead of fries I got the zucchini (forget that it's fried, it's a vegetable!)

I will not go into details, but about 4 hours later, I had the most horrible experience! Luckily, and I can not tell you how lucky, I was at home. (If I had not been, I cannot even imagine the humiliation.)

Here is my thought process:
1. Are you kidding me? I cannot believe this just happened! What in the world!?!
2. Why didn't someone tell me about this!?! Why did this happen? Was it something I...OH YEAH! Carl's Jr.
3. Oh! I guess they did warn me...what did they call it again? "stools that may be hard to control"
4. (reading the pamphlet again, EVERY DETAIL) "While no one wants to experience treatment effects, some people think of these effects as a way to become more aware of what they eat. It can be an incentive to keep from eating more fat than you really intended to."

I'm guessing the "some people" who think that, are not pooping in their pants. I fully intended to eat what I had ordered, and just hoped that the magic pill would make it all disappear. On the other hand... Genius! make a pill so "every time they eat something they shouldn't, they get crazy humiliation and uncontrollable bodily functions! HAHAHAHAHAHA! That will teach them!"

Seriously? If I take another pill, you can bet I'm not stopping for a burger! So...I guess it worked! Funny thing all the information it keeps saying over and over that all you need to do is "take the capsules as directed, and stick with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet" you'll be just fine.

Now, if I could do that...would I need the pill? No! and I probably wouldn't be fat to begin with!

You may ask why I would share...well, when I told my sister she said "you have to blog about this." Of course I thought I could never, but then when Mike said the same thing I thought "maybe I should?" Not to mention, my challenge about blogging more personal doesn't get more personal than that!

So, please no mention of this ever again. I only shared to save anyone else from total devastating embarrassment! No further details will be given. I am moving on like it didn't happen, and so should everyone else!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pioneer Day

Our Pioneer Day was great. Mike didn't have work off, but the girls and I made a day out of it. We went to another church's festivities with Lindsey and her girls. The girls were in a parade, had 3-legged races, gunnie sack races, tug-o-war, and egg relays. Thanks for the invite, we had a blast!
My word for fireworks is 'spectacular'! and this year did not disappoint. We have a wonderful neighborhood, filled with great people, and...with illegal fireworks!
It really was a great time. Our neighbor loves fireworks and knows all the tricks to make them do things they shouldn't. It's so nice to walk out the front door to the coolest firework show on the block. (Never mind the fire that started in the vacant lot) Happy 24th!

I took a picture of the amazing full moon last week. Then some pics from my Mom's b-day at our house. Good times! I love that my family is so close. And I really love how easy it is to pull pics off this little SD card.
I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But I STILL love technology...

Always and forever.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You gotta gimmie somthin' people!

I came across a blog the other day...
That's right, we all know! We all do it...a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend...I mean we all do it right? Yeah, that's what I thought.

So, I came across a blog titled "Seriously so blessed". ( Now apparently it is quite popular. Sadly admitting
this, proves the small bubble I live in. My social circle is so small I know of nothing until it happens and is over. In the beginning, I thought it was a legitimate site...then it sounded a bit funny to me...then it got really hilarious. I was reading this site and Mike comes home to tell me, "Oh, I heard about this blog." he goes on to say "Yah, it was on"
(The man doesn't blog, but he's heard about it? Come on! Where have I been?)

I know that I should have been offended by it, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't stop! We are talking tears rolling down my face! It is a spoof blog making fun of women's fluffy blogs. MORMON women's fluffy blogs to be specific. It was right on the mark! I was so guilty of blogging like this.

I will admit that blogging has become a habit of mine. I'm not afraid to admit it, and I actually enjoy the chance I have to write somewhat creatively. Writing for me has always been a bit of a outlet and a passion, and I view blogging as a chance to keep my mind sharp. (keeping it sharp would mean it started out that way...debatable)

Reading this hilarious blog really got me thinking about what I put in my blogs. Some are an effort to show off, you know...bragging rights. Other times I am just so afraid I will forget all the funny stuff my kids say and do. And sadly enough, some blogs are just to "keep up with the Jones'" , so to say. So, in an effort to branch out a bit, I am now blogging about blogging...
I realize that this may offend some people. If you are easily (or even moderately) offended, please stop reading now.

If you don't like blogs where people vent their really should close the window now. No scrapbook material here. I am on a soapbox tonight!

OK I have sufficiently given warnings! Last chance!

If anyone is still are asking for this.


I know that I can be rather blunt, and I offend people quite often. (not a shocker to anyone reading my blog this month) Mike says I like to "stir the pot". I figure if I really have this reputation, I should take advantage of the opportunity to really blog about my experiences, things that mold me into the person I am. I am vowing to blog more about how I really feel, and what I think. Not just my daily activities and cute things my kids say and do. Don't get me wrong...I la-la-love the cute things my kids say! I just think I will also mix it up with a lot of personal things.

It has been rather therapeutic to write about my feelings these past few weeks. Heaven knows that I have a lot going through my head. (I'm a bit crazy...OK a lot crazy)

I have mixed feelings about blogging, and all bloggers are a bit different. But...there are a huge majority of blogs that are what's called "baby blog's". I love to see cute pictures of people's kids, and it really is crazy to see people from High School. Most of the really popular skinny girls are...well..still really popular and skinny. And I love to see the guys from High School who are fat and balding. (really...I do love that too much!) I also enjoy reading blogs about complete strangers. I just would really love to read more in depth things about people. Even if I completely disagree with people's viewpoints and thoughts...I love to read what's inside people's heads. You know...what makes them mad, what makes them cry, what makes them laugh.

I have dear friends who are such talented writers. I have been so impressed by my friends and family who blog.I love to read blogs about "real people". You know...people who live in the world and have real experiences. One particular blog (becky's) makes me laugh until I almost pee my pants. There plenty of children experiences, but also struggles, challenges, and feelings about it all. I really appreciate her honesty! Another favorite person of mine (kristen) posted her feelings about putting her daughter in dance vs. sports. I thought it was fantastic! And everyone commented on how they felt about the subject. People had very different views on the topic. It really was great! However...She received some serious backlash from people, which was really interesting. She even felt the need to go private to avoid contention. I don't want to name any names (too late!) , there are some interesting blogs out there. My friend (renee) who does a lot of things without her kids, even if it's just her opinion of a movie, I like to know what she thinks.

I have heard people say that the purpose of blogs is to let other people know what's happening with your family. I got news for you people....your family is not just your 2,3,4 or 8 toddlers. That's only part of your family. What are your interests? What did you do? What do you think about it? I'm just saying.

I think that many bloggers are so singly focused on their kids that they forget that some people want to know more about them or what their opinions may be. I'm not sure if people are afraid to express their opinion, or if they are afraid of what expressing their opinions may do to others, or what?

Now I will admit, as a blogging MORMON mother, some days I seriously have nothing better to do than rave about my kids. I for one, know that I have misplaced my identity somewhere between cleaning poop off of the floor because my 3 year old just isn't into potty training and showing my speech delayed 4 year old to put her tongue behind her teeth to says "TTTTTHHH" not "SSSSSSSS", so that "thank you" doesn't sound like "sank-eeww" and "SSSSSHHH", so that "sit" doesn't sound like "sh**"!!! Somewhere along the way I have become a little absorbed into "Motherhood"... I rarely get nights off to explore my own identity and when I do, I am so tired I want to sit in a movie theater where I can watch other people be interesting and my brain can take a break! Not to mention wondering if my children are being cared for, or if my husband will remember where the animal is that my youngest has to go to bed with or she cannot fall asleep.

I'm not saying that when you become a mom you loose your identity, being a mom becomes part of your identity. There clearly is not enough time in a mothers' day to do everything that she would like to accomplish. I wish I was a better creative writer. That is on my long list of things to do when I am not researching the best way to get urine odors out of my carpet, breaking up fights, folding laundry, managing kids in public, etc. . .I am lucky to have any time to post what I do on my blog.

When I started blogging I felt that I wasn't talented enough to compose my thoughts in a way people might be interested in reading, or my kids may someday read. Well...I have come to accept the fact that the only way to become a better writer is to write more often. And the best way to start exploring my identity is to know how I feel about things around me, and take time (even if it's very little time) to be aware of what's around me.

You may be wondering where these passionate feelings are coming from. Reading the spoof blog was only the "straw that broke the camel's back." They were first sparked by the comments I've received lately. I love to hear people's real feelings about things. Whether we agree or disagree, really hearing what others have to say can only expand our horizons. Or maybe know that other people feel the same way.

Thus, as I challenge myself...I extend the invitation to everyone out there-- it really doesn't have to be that articulate. Just so that it doesn't feel like I am looking at a baby scrapbook every time I check out a blog.

(I apologize to anyone who may be offended by speaking so boldly. But you did choose to keep reading!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summertime Fun

My girlfriend Lindsey came to visit yesterday with her three girls. The estrogen was flowing freely.

Background: I first met Lindsey when her husband got a job with Mike. Her hubby played football for BYU and was in the Computer Science Department with Mike and she was finishing her degree as well. I just had Lexi, and she was preggers with her first daughter. We had so much fun together, and our husbands were such good friends. We threw a huge surprise graduation party at the end of the year. They took a job in Houston, TX and we stayed here. It was so sad to have them so far. We got together when they were back in town for Christmas or Family Reunions. To our surprise, they came back for an MBA. We had them here for two years. They were so busy with school, and we had so much going on that we didn't get together as much as we had planned. So, this past April they took a job in Kansas and left again.

It kind of feels funny that they have been so many places and we have stayed here. Not that a lot hasn't happened, just that we have always been here. Since first meeting them we have only moved twice, and Mike has always worked for the same employer. He has thought about going back to school, but the time has never felt right. In so many ways I envy all those who have moved away, going to school in different states and seeing different parts of the country. It seems weird to me that my life has stayed so smooth. Not too many changes, not many bumps in the road.

I was reading my Patriarchal blessing last night. It says a lot about my youth, difficult times, staying close to the Lord. Then it talks about marriage, children, and then it just says my later years will be a time of 'peace and fulfillment'. Strangely, I have always thought I would die young. I have always felt that I would never live to see my late 20's. Mike hates it when I talk about it, but I have never thought I would be around this long. I don't know if I've thought that because of my Dad, or maybe my mental health issues.

My childhood was constant chaos. I moved nine times before the age of 6, then moved around in High School. I think I was supposed to marry Mike for many reasons, but maybe mostly because he is so stable. We have moved three times in our marriage, and all three times he didn't want to. It was like pulling teeth to convince him to move. He has worked at the same company for 9 1/2 years. He still would be wearing clothes and shoes from High School if I had not thrown them away when he wasn't looking.

Listening to Lindsey's new adventures in Kansas made me wish we could move across the country and have our kids experience other places and cultures. I found myself with this urge to pack it all up and go...well...anywhere! Then I realize how many advantages we have living here. To be able to raise my family close to cousins, aunts, grandparents, etc.

Lindsey's girls, and my girls have so much fun together! Yesterday, we went to a water park and had lunch and just visited. Congrats to Kay-Kay on conquering the monkey bars. I remember what a huge milestone that was in my life. And let me just's only uphill from there sista!

We will miss you guys!
I was looking through my pics realizing how many I have not pulled off my camera. So I compiled my very first slide show! I have seen so many fun things on other blogs and I thought I would brave a new widget. (yes, that's a computer term, and my husband will be so stinkin' proud of me for using it :) On a side note- I am planning on using or another company to compile my blogs into a book each year. I know they can use your pics, but what about slide shows?

4th of July

Bear Lake

Sophie's Birthday


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alyssa Kate

We received a new addition this past Friday. I personally love it because my sister did all the hard work, but I get a new little one to love.
My sister and I are so close that our kids are more than cousins, they are best friends! We were able to have her two kids over the weekend, and it was awesome! I had them while she was at girls camp the week before, so I got them back just as I was really missing them again.
They are such fun kids, it almost makes me want more! (but that just lasts a nano second) People think it's funny that I've had them so much and still love it. If you knew my sisters kids you'd know why. Love 'em!
So we got a new precious angel to add to the bunch. She is the most beautiful thing! That makes seven between the two of us. I already get the craziest looks when I go places with the six of them, think of the looks I'll get with seven!
My sister is amazing! She had a harder pregnancy then usual, in fact, at one point we thought this sweet baby wasn't coming at all. Nic is so strong and I admire her so much. She deserved an easy labor, and the 'one push' blessing her and I share. (talk about birthing hips!)
So welcome Alyssa! You are in for a life of crazy fun times! Your bro and sis are so excited that you are finally here. You have amazing parents who love and cherish you. Oh yah!..and a seriously awesome Aunt Tink and Cool Bush!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Funny thing that...Humility!

(WARNING: another personal venting...sorry...this is my journal, so it's my outlet.)

You know the saying...

Humility...the minute you think you've got it, you've lost it.

So true! I know I've been having a pity party for myself this past month. I have left out many details, as I do not want to just be gossiping (I already have enough of a problem with that) and I wouldn't want to hurt people in my ward. However, being vague seems to only peak here it goes. My issues have been church related, and I realize that people are doing the best they can. I have never lived in a ward with the dynamics of this ward. A lot of friendly faces, but maybe not so friendly feelings. My testimony has been challenged, and I have questioned things I haven't questioned since I was 16. I have really struggled with a lot of emotions and anger. Since returning from girls camp, my world has been turned upside-down. I have not been given any explanations, and currently have no calling. Which I think results in having no place, or nothing to belong to. I was hit by some low blows by friends, and still no explanations. The beauty of our culture...don't discuss anything...just continue like nothing is wrong...oh! and don't forget to smile. Well, I'm not very good at that. Yesterday was a big day, my first time back to RS since the events. I've been out-of-town, or asked to sub in my kids excuses this week. I thank the Lord for the needed break to recover and prepare again for battle. (I know I should feel that way about church, but I do) So in the midst of my self-absorbed moment I was served a huge slice of Humble Pie.
Now, it's not that I thought I was really that humble to begin with. I am so far from perfect, and my list of things "to work on" has never been a short one. Just in the fact of how hard I take rejection can prove that I am not always mentally in a good place. I get mad when people judge me, and yet I find myself being too judgmental of others. I get mad when people are not honest with me, and yet I find myself bending the truth too often.
Anyways...when I came home from Girls camp this year, I felt wonderful. I was on a spiritual high, and really enjoyed the amazing women I worked with. I thought that we had a wonderful time, the Lord's hand was in SO MANY experiences, and he really made up for my inadequacies. With that said...I must also express the respect I felt for the individual Camp Directors. So many wonderful women!
So... in my post when I returned home, I expressed some judgment of those leaders who I had felt were inappropriate. I felt that some leaders didn't make a clear enough effort to be these girls' leaders, and not their friends. From my insignificant perspective I felt some leaders were not being good examples to the girls. And really, who was I to judge? true "my life" all came back in my face for me to eat my words.
I was recently made aware of the feelings some people had of me, and my example at camp. I will admit that I was quite surprised, and yet, it felt ironic because of the things I had felt about others. That slice of humble pie was served up so much I was choking on it! When I was first made aware of the feelings people had...I was hurt and angry. I chalked it up to one more reason I should never go back to church. It seemed to "fuel the fire", and I wanted nothing more than to give in to Satan's temptations to boycott anything past Sacrament Meeting. We have received several flyer's lately from Baptist and other Christian churches. I joked with Mike that "if one more thing happens to me" I would start shopping for other churches. Well, when the anger subsided, then I felt sad and sorry, and then a strange need to defend myself. Finally came humility!
I would apologize if I knew who I had offended. Although, I do not feel I need to apologize for what I had done, but the fact that it had offended someone. Especially if I had made a wrong impression on one of the sweet young women. The problem is that I don't know who I offended, and things have gotten so blown out of proportion that it has affected the judgment and spirit of the entire week of girls camp. Being raised in a house of only girls, then having four daughters has caused me to not be censored when it come to 'female things'. To clarify...I am not crude or perverted about anything, I just think "we all have the same anatomy...right?" I mean for heaven's sake, my husband won't allow the word 'panties' so I respect him and say 'underwear'. Growing up, my experiences at girls camp were wonderful. They were spiritual, but fun. That is a hard combination at times, but I really enjoy the 'fun' part of camp and find it necessary if the girls are going to return year after year. People have different ideas of fun, but at girls camp, you are bound to have some fun and joking around. Plus, part of the fun of camp is that there are no boys around! You can be more comfortable when you are surrounded by girls. Only because I'm afraid of what people may think I did to get in such horrible trouble...I ran around with a polka-dotted bra on over the top of my sweatshirt. (our theme was polka-dots) And not to everyone. Just a few. Typically, such an event would stay a treasured girls camp memory. Something to laugh about in years to come, and of course, something I would smile, wink, and deny if brought up in public. But to my surprise, is now common knowledge and even scandalous in my neck of the woods. We are talking serious reprimanding behavior to the extent of ruining parents feelings of girls camp. I could say much more on how it all makes me feel...but, OK enough said...
The Stake YW presidency and the Stake Camp committee met at my house last night to discuss how things went. We talked about areas in which we did really well, and what we could improve. Our Stake Camp director is incredible. She is an amazing lady who has seriously 'got it together'. It was a very positive and constructive meeting. Needless to can't make everyone happy, I get that. But I am very surprised by the judgment cast upon women who have made such sacrifices and worked so hard to make this experience a good one. There's great odds that I will not be asked to return to camp, and that breaks my heart. More than anyone besides me could truly know.
So, after a month of feeling not "good enough" for other people around me..questioning it myself. I've learned some valuable lessons. Maybe I have given someone else that feeling? Maybe I have put someone through the heartache I have felt and not even known? I have also learned that feeling sorry for myself doesn't help the situation any. And lastly, I have received wonderful support and feedback from my friends, but someone I don't know may have given me the tastiest nugget...

"Be who you are and say what you feel because
those who mind, don't matter...and those who matter, don't mind!"
-Dr. Seuss

So, enough said, this is my last post about all that crap. I have cried enough to flood a city. I'm moving on and I know the Lord obviously needed to teach me a few things. I'm sure someday I will become fit enough to receive another calling, and I'm sure I will offend many more people in the future. I read through this and think how odd it would sound to non-members. I believe most of the members of the church are accepting and very non-judgmental. Other wards have been wonderful and I do believe most members are not under such scrutiny. I just got lucky I guess!

(To my sweet girls, who are raised by an imperfect mother, who may teach them inappropriate behavior:
I want my you to know, that someday, this may happen to you. I'm afraid it happens to many people. Do not get angry with the Lord. The gospel is true, the church is not. The church is ran by imperfect people, doing the best they know how. The Lord is perfect, and he loves you and accepts you. He wants you to feel that love. Never let anyone keep you from the truth. And I always will love you just the way you are!)

Thanks to all who have been supportive, and poor Mike, for suffering through the crying, yelling, huffing and puffing. What an amazing man, truly my rock.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one." -Eleanor Roosevelt

So who ever thought being an individual would bring you so many problems? My dear sister posted recently about how judged she feels because she doesn't conform, or fit the mold. It makes me really sad that she is going through those feelings. It has been very pressing on my mind, and I have to post something of my problems with the 'cookie cutter' image I have never been able to conform into, and the trouble it gets me into. I was dealing with some issues and feelings of recently being rejected, disrespected, and people not being honest with me. Well, yet another issue has surfaced, and I am tired of defending myself.

My personal issues do not come from feeling like I want to fit in...I dealt with that YEARS ago! I never fit in very well with friends and the people around me. I'm still not sure why not, but it doesn't bother me now like it did when I was younger. I spent too many years trying to be accepted by people. What I have that in so many ways, life as an adult woman seems to be more and more like High School. Perhaps it is just where I have chosen to live, or it is the culture of a State predominately filled with people of the same race, same background, same upbringing and same religion.

What I can't figure out is why grown adults still feel the need to judge one another. To impose how they feel on others, and put down those who feel different. Why do women treat other women with anything but kindness and empathy? Are we not all dealing with similar problems and challenges? How strong could we be if we accepted and helped each other, rather than tear each other down? And those of us who are not facing the same day-to-day challenges are possibly facing things we cannot imagine.

I think the truth is that too many people are afraid of something different. For some reason different is viewed as wrong or bad. In reality, our differences are what make us human. I believe that our Creator intended for us to all be different. He made us each unique. Knowing we would all have different experiences in our life, and therefore different views and opinions. Our life is a journey. We were each given free agency, that was the plan. Having that free agency is what makes us unique.

Like in High School, we still are expected to meet certain criteria to be accepted. We need to look a certain way, wear the right clothes, live in the right house, drive the right car, have certain hobbies, have the right friends, etc. It seems like the majority plays along. Whether to be accepted, or it is just all they know.

So, I am struggling to understand why people say one thing, then turn around and say another? Why someone acts like your friend to your face, but really doesn't like you at all? If a person who you think is your friend says or does something offensive, it is quite a hit. It would be much less painful to just be honest in the first place.

I dread having to live my life on 'pins and needles'. Worrying that I am getting scolded for something I did or a comment I made. I want nothing more than for those around me to know what is in my heart. That I am not trying to offend or question them, just that I may not feel the same way. I've never been good at pretending, and I say what I feel. I question EVERYTHING, and have to learn things for myself. These are not always good qualities, and I have gotten myself in some bad situations because of the way I am. I do not expect everyone to feel the way I do, or be like me. I just want people to know that I mean no harm.

I have been made aware that there are people around me who have problems with me. I do not fit the mold, and therefore am often not worthy of acceptance in this culture I live in. I think they don't know quite what to do with me, or where to put me. I have learned to move forward and not worry about what others think of me. I know it is hard on Mike, and I don't want my personality flaws to reflect poorly on my family. Sometimes I worry that my children will feel the same way. I want them to feel accepted and loved, but not at the cost of their individuality. If a person doesn't 'fit the mold', is there a place for them? Is there some pile or group of odd shaped cookies who are just as delicious as all the perfectly round ones? Or are we all a little odd shaped, and some of us just put on extra frosting to try and appear perfectly round?

“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” -Oscar Wilde

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Proud! Proud! Proud!

So, I picked this yesterday from...Smith's?...NO...Albertson's?...NO...


Wahoo! This precious tomato is hopefully the first of many, and the first I have successfully grown. It lasted only long enough to take this picture...then was promptly dressed with garlic salt and enjoyed by all. (in small pieces of course!)

Who knew a produce item could bring our family such joy?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sophia Grace

My baby turned 3 years old! Crazy!

This is officially the longest I've gone without being pregnant or nursing since Mike and I were married. It has been a strange to think our family is complete, but Sophie is the icing on our cake!

We celebrated her day at Bear Lake this year. She loved it when we sang to her, and soaked up all the attention!

Because this is our family journal I thought I should document some of our history with Sophie. She had quite a struggle coming into this world, and she scared me to death! At a whopping 6lbs. 6oz. she was one big preemie! Some highlights of that whirlwind 3 years ago:

  • Sophie's Blood pressure dropped and Dr. ordered immediate delivery (34 weeks)
  • Passing out in the bathroom of Delivery Room
  • Dr. ruptured placenta when breaking my water
  • My blood pressure dropped to 58/22
  • Only needing my usual 1 and 1/2 pushes
  • Cord wrapped around her neck twice
  • Not knowing where my baby was for over 2 hours
  • My friend coming up to tell me Sophie was in NICU with her baby
  • Nurses telling me I couldn't touch my baby (didn't go over so well!)
  • Hooking myself up to the hospital's industrial breast pump (talk about feeling like a cow)
  • Refusing to leave the hospital without my baby (they gave me a bed in the pediatric unit, Crazy Lady!)

So after what seemed like forever, we were so lucky to have her healthy. Which only lasted a few months. Sophie was 6 months old and couldn't do anything physically. At 7 months, when she couldn't sit up, they sent us to PCMC. What a blessing to have such an amazing hospital so close! An MRI showed that she had undeveloped myelin. (a fatty insulation coating the brain's internal wiring) Her myelin was at the stage of a normal 6 week old. In the process they also found that she had a stage 1 Chiari(Kiari) malformation. (Which is a tongue that grows on the bottom of the brain due to the brain sitting too low in the scalp. It can block the fluid needed to circulate around the brain.)

She had amazing physical therapists and incredible neurologists. After 8 months of miracles, she was caught up to where she needed to be. She is our miracle, and our special blessing to complete our family.

The determination that helped her grow and develop, is the 'spitfire' attitude we love about her! She has no fear, and will accomplish anything she wants. She's been my only 'climber' and can get to anything. For a child who started a bit behind, she is sure making up for it now! She's always been a bit ornery, and she knows what she wants. She's a terrible morning person (that's from me) but a wonderful sleeper. Everyone says she has a 'Julia Roberts' smile, which spreads across her entire face. Her big blue eyes and beautiful long hair make her just as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bear Lake

Every summer my entire family gets together up at Bear Lake for 4 days or so. This year we went over the 4th of July. We were there for the 4th a few years ago and it was super hot and crowded. This year was surprisingly wonderful. For 7 years we have stayed in the same condo, and this year we tried someplace new. Considering our family now consists of 10 adults and 8 1/2 kids. Accommodating our needs has gotten to be a bit of a chore.
The weather was beautiful, the condo was huge (with a great kitchen), and the kids all had a blast.

The pool was right out our back door, tennis courts were a short walk out the front door, and parking was easy. It was my favorite year-to-date. The kids were so easy. I can't believe what a difference a year makes. This was the first year I wasn't preggers or with a little one. None of the girls needed naps, and nobody needed a diaper changed ALL WEEKEND! It was truly amazing for us.

We did sparklers and pops with the kids, and watched the big fireworks on the lake. My Mom did a fish pond a couple nights with all the kids. They were so excited! We rented a crazy 6-seat bike with a canopy. There are no pictures however, because we looked ridiculous. I kept saying "We look like something out of Mary Poppins!" Seriously...we looked really goofy. Especially because Mike's knees were above the steering wheel. There were four sets of pedals, so the girls pedaled behind us. The younger two sat in a basket in the front. Trust me, it was quite a site! I found this pic on the web, it was the closest thing, we just had a big basket in front for two kids.

The water was a bit chilly for me, (it always is), but shallow enough at the shore for the girls to play and enjoy.

Cori is always building things or collecting things. She made amazing sand castles!
Lexi loved the water...and the sand!
Addi built "mountains" of sand and mud.
Sophie liked to run and splash the water with her feet.
She laid down on her towel and took a nap on Saturday. She slept for over 2 hours, I couldn't believe it! What a sweetheart!
It was great family vacation, and so fun to spend time with all of us together. I only took around 400 pictures. So many great memories! I feel so blessed that all six of us sisters can live so close. We have so much fun together, and I'm really grateful for my Mom who facilitates this awesome family tradition.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Acceptance and Compassion

I wanted to jot down some of the struggles I have experienced with being Bipolar. I honestly believe that accepting and sharing will help me sort things out, as well as have a record of events and medications.
I am so grateful to live in a time of great medical advancement. Modern medicine is a wonderful gift for anyone who suffers with depression or mental illnesses. Sadly, the topic is still taboo and people can be judgmental and believe such things should not be discussed. I believe that we fear what we don't understand. People who have not experienced such disease, or had loved ones who have, don't know what to think of those struggling with the disorder. It is similar to someone not understanding why someone who is anorexic doesn't just eat! I suppose that would be called ignorance. I will give a short description of my feelings on bipolar disorder...
I believe that much of what people struggle with comes from life experiences. I have never met anyone suffering with bipolar or depression who has not had some trauma in life.
For me, it was multiple things, but mainly it was abuse. It was a combination of 10 years of abuse, and the side effects from that. (eating disorders, suicide attempts, depression) I was diagnosed at 14, which is a very young age to be diagnosed as bipolar. I was put on a very high dosage of Lithium and Prozac. It is hard to explain what this medication did to me, but it made things much more difficult.
Around that time, my mother was getting divorced from my abusive stepfather. The emotions from these events were very difficult. I was then sent to live with my Dad's brother. It was a very different environment with people I didn't know. My uncle (who was a Doctor) changed my medications. At this time I was also made aware that I was not alone in my struggle. I had a cousin who suffered much of the same mental issues. It was 5 years after this that my other cousin started suffering from severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
After returning to live with my Mom, I went through a process of acceptance, therapy, and learning to live with my disorder. The problem with bipolar disorder is that if you take medication it helps you feel very normal and then you think that you don't need medication. It is a vicious cycle for many, including myself.
I have a family medical history which has helped me to understand the importance of medication and accepting mental diseases as what they truly are...diseases. I was told that it is like a diabetic feeling fine and deciding not to take insulin. The problem is that Diabetes is not taboo, it is recognized as a disease many people suffer from. Mental disorders still scare people, and many don't want to see it as a disease. (as if those who suffer want to!)
I accept that this disease is very prominent in my family and has been passed down through generations. I want my kids to fully understand this disease. To not be ashamed of who they are. I have many family and friends who say that they won't take medicine because it makes them a "different person" and "if people don't like who I am, I will not take medication to make them happy". The cycle of going on and off medication for this disease is very dangerous. Accepting who you are does not mean you cannot take medicine. This disease requires medication to function properly. It can be hard when the medicine make you feel different, but I figure it is a small price to pay for a good quality of life.
Bipolar disease and depression has effected me very greatly throughout my life. I feel that I am fortunate to not have the severity some face. I have read a lot of literature about dealing with it. Therapy is a wonderful thing! Some also believe that admitting this taboo. We all have our fair share of problems, and talking with a professional who can help you is a step in the right direction. Never something to be ashamed of.
I have had friends very close to me suffer with bipolar, one of them who took her life. I have had to deal with my Dad's suicide, and wish he had felt comfortable sharing his feelings with others.
I pray for acceptance. For understanding and compassion.

I went to the doc to get back on medicine today. I have always gone on-and-off, and this last time I was hoping to stay off. But...I'm sad to say I cannot. It is a cycle I cannot continue, for my sake and my family's.
I tried to give the doc a history and realized that I should probably write it down somewhere, so I have it when I need it (and 'heaven forbid' something happen to me, there is a record) When I get really low my mind is forgetful. It is frustrating when I can't remember things. On the contrary, when I am on a mind is so sharp and everything seems so clear. I came home from my appointment and looked up some of my previous medications.
When my doc asked me how I manage the cycles, this was my response..."well, I guess I don't, that's why I am here. Usually I can recognize a high and make myself sleep and calm down. When I recognize a low, it is just frustrating, because I can't pull myself out of it. I won't let myself get too low. When I start thinking 'bad thoughts' I quickly go to the doctor."
I hate that I can't pull out of it. I want to be a good Mom and wife. I can't stand living with myself when I'm like this, I don't know how others can. I feel like I could sleep for days, and I feel like I still need more sleep. I keep telling Mike "I just don't feel well." I went to bed last night at 7:30pm and could barely drag myself out of bed at 10am. I haven't been up with my kids for a week. That was my cue to call the Doctor.
So this is the history, or at least the best I can remember. I think there was at least one or two medications in there I can't remember. I wasn't able to take any needed medications between 1999 and 2004, just anti-depressants. I was always pregnant or nursing. My post-partum depression was the most severe with Sophie, my last baby. I took some Zoloft when I was pregnant with her, but it didn't seem to do anything.

1994: suicide attempt (UVRMC), diagnosed Bipolar and eating disorder, started Prozac and Lithium (high doses)
1995: Dr. John Mitchell took me off Lithium and lowered my dose of Prozac
1996: went off Prozac
1997: suicide attempt (Orem Community Hospital)
1998: went on Zoloft
1999:went off Zoloft (pregnancy)
2004: went on Paxil, asked for Zoloft
2007: switched from Zoloft to Effexor ER, added Ativan frequently
2008: went off all meds, went on Wellbutrin and Lamictal combo

My family's medical history (mental health):

Father committed suicide at age 23(no meds)
Aunt B.M.-severe Bipolar(no meds known of)
Aunt T.G.-severe Bipolar(no meds known of)
Cousin J.M.- severe Bipolar(no meds)
Cousin L.M.- depression/mood stabilizers (on/off meds)
Sister K.P.- depression/mood stabilizers (on meds, now off)