Saturday, July 31, 2010

Uncomfortable Situations

I ran into an old boyfriend today at the community swimming pool. Of all places, it had to be the one place where you are wearing next to nothing and all the flaws show. Plus my husband wasn't with me, as he had to work, which was another manifestation of how cruddy we have it sometimes because that old boyfriend was there with his wife and kids having a nice time all together as a family. They had the "divide and conquer" thing going on and I was busy chasing my four kids around the pool trying to keep them from drowning.

Seriously, it wasn't that bad because I had my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law there with me, and three more children besides my own. They did help out quite a bit, but I felt like I spent most of the time scanning the pool for my kids to make sure they were all okay. Which also meant that he and his family crossed into my vision a lot. I hope they didn't think I was trying to spy on them or anything.

The best thing was that my boys kept fighting with his boys over the toys that my sister-in-law brought.

This is the guy that I probably would have married if the circumstances at the time were slightly different. I did date him for two years. I did wait for him on his mission for two years. I even dated him again when he got home. I'm not sure what went wrong exactly, except that we both married other people. I dated a few other guys in between and even had a near-marriage proposal from one of the others. But even running into him wasn't the same awkwardness as this guy.

I loved having my in-laws with me. It was a great reminder that if I'd married that guy, I wouldn't even know the awesome people I was with at that pool. I'm lucky that I get along smashingly well with my in-laws, even my mother-in-law. No issues there at all. This old boyfriend's parents and family didn't really like me very much. I never could figure out why, but looking back, I can only imagine what kind of in-laws they'd be. Certainly not like the ones I have!

Ever run into an old boyfriend or someone you used to really have a crush on, since marriage and kids? How did that go?

Summer Marriage Challenge: Let Him Lead

Here's this week's challenge: Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.

This was an interesting conversation. I asked my husband to tell me what his vision is for us, for our family. He was totally taken aback and didn't really know what I meant. I explained about this challenge and asked him where he saw us in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. It turns out, he doesn't really have a vision for us. I brought up how he is always goal-setting and meeting those goals for his job, so did he have any goals for the path our family should take? He didn't really have anything to say for a while and then he said, "I guess I'll have to think about that one." We haven't talked about it since.

My husband is not a goal-oriented person. If he didn't have to set goals for his job, he probably wouldn't, and I'm not even sure how much he uses those goals as guidelines for his job either. He probably sets them because he meets with a superior who has him do it but then doesn't really think about them specifically as he goes about his job, getting things done. He just gets the things done that need to be done. When it comes to the family, I'm pretty much the take-charge, goal-oriented visionary.

During that discussion, I brought up how being the husband, father and priesthood leader of our home, he is the leader. So then I asked him where he thinks he is leading us and how we can better follow? He didn't really know and said he had never thought about that before. I guess I hadn't really either until this challenge.

I definitely have my ideas of where I want us to be. The problem is that I like things to be a certain way and he's quite easy going so often he'll just go along with whatever I want. So I didn't really say anything about what I thought because I want to see what he thinks. I guess we'll try discussing it again sometime soon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Marriage Challenge: Feeding My Husband

We are to week #6 of the "Completing Him" Marriage Challenge and this week's challenge is: Make your husband a priority. Ask him what his favorite dinner, dessert and drink are. Be sure to serve him all three one night this week. Bonus: cook his favorite dishes all week long!

We all know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

I would have happily joined in on this week's challenge, but it is going to have to wait because my husband had surgery on Tuesday and he has been having a hard time keeping food down all week. I could have done his favorite dinner on Monday, but he worked the night shift that night. We had a big meal for lunch, one of his favorites.

I find this challenge difficult because my husband likes pretty much everything I cook and claims he doesn't have a favorite, so I just have to be astute and guess which meal is probably his favorite. His favorite dessert is banana cream pie, so I'll be making that for sure. Favorite drink? His favorite beverage is either chocolate milk or Coke, and since we're trying to be healthier around here, he won't be getting Coke. I don't even keep soda in the house. He can have chocolate milk. But that's nothing special because we have that pretty much every night with dinner.

The dish that I am cooking for this challenge, when I am finally able to do it, is a dish that we call Italian chicken. I pound chicken pieces flat, coat them with and egg/water mixture, coat with Italian bread crumbs, then cook stove top in vegetable oil for about 5 minutes on each side on medium heat. Very juicy and tasty. He likes to dip it in Ranch dressing. I even made him a sandwich with this meal once because he was meeting us at the baseball field after work for our child's first baseball game and wouldn't get to eat until MUCH later, so I threw together a sandwich with lettuce and Ranch dressing on a French roll and he said it was really good.

I don't understand the backlash for this part of the challenge. Why not cook food your husband likes? Why not try to please him as often as possible? It just makes sense that the more charitable you are to him, the more charitable he is to you and the circle just goes on.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I am so tired, but I probably won't sleep at all tonight. I am just completely nervous about tomorrow.

Tomorrow, my husband is having some minor outpatient surgery. Even though it's minor and outpatient, it will still take up a huge chunk of the day. My niece is flying in from Arizona in the afternoon. My sister-in-law is watching my kids in the morning and then she's supposed to pick up the niece in the afternoon (a 10-year-old needs to be picked up at the gate by an adult). I'm so worried that we won't be done at the hospital by the time my sister-in-law has to leave for the airport. She can't bring all the kids to the gate.

My house isn't ready for our guest even though I did my best to clean it well on Saturday. I meant to vacuum today but now it's too late. The kids won't stay asleep if I run the vacuum now. And I won't have time in the morning as we have to leave for the surgery at 6:30 am.

On Wednesday, the store of my husband's work chain opens up near us. Because of that, the pre-opening party is tomorrow night and DH really wants to go. I'm nervous that he won't be able to go and then I'll take all the kids by myself, which is always such a treat when there's nowhere to sit.

So I'm just nervous. Wish I could sleep. Wish DH had taken tonight off and worked the day shift today so he could be home, getting some sleep and helping to calm my nerves.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Greenwood Hills

I stood on the diving board, overlooking the sparkling blue water of the swimming pool. The lifeguards were high up in their towering chairs, scanning the swimmers through their dark shades. I watched as a little girl plummeted down the slide and slipped into the water, sending a wave crashing over the side of the pool. The hot Texas sun shone down from a crystal blue sky scattered with puffy white clouds.

Beneath my running feet was the rough surface of the diving board. I heard the clank of the bending board, and I squeezed my eyes closed as I went head-first into the cool water. Swimming to the side, I pulled myself up and out of the pool, the bitter taste of chlorinated water in my mouth. I took a deep breath and smelled the chlorine and the suntan lotion that clung in the air over the glimmering surface of the pool.

The green Astroturf tickled my toes as I walked over to my spot. The water oozed up from the wet carpet, squishing as I walked and forming puddles in the low pockets on the deck.

The shriek of the lifeguard's whistle carried over the low hum of people talking, and I heard her shout a warning.

I sat on a lawn chair, feeling the criss-cross of the plastic pinch the backs of my legs. A pop song blared over the radio and I could see others mouthing the words. A plastic package crackled as I took a favored lemon drop out and placed it on my tongue, the sweet taste of sugar and the sour taste of lemon filling my mouth. I offered my brother one, and we sat there soaking up the hot, streaming sun, sucking on the sour candies.

We watched as other divers tried tricks off the diving board, making great splashes that washed over the sides of the pool, spraying a mist that cooled us in the blazing Texas sun. The radio flickered and a voice came over the loudspeakers, announcing that it was now time for adult swim, and the kids had to clear the pool. A chorus of groans arose as the pool emptied and we watched as a few of the braver parents slid into the refreshing water.

The warm sun dried the others quickly and I heard the beeping and crackling of video games being played in the shack behind me. The vending machines were whirring as dozens of children stood in line for candy and soda, their quarters disappearing into the slots and their treats falling with a thump.

I heard a pop as someone served a volleyball over the net in the sand volleyball court behind the shack. I got up to watch and the sand crunched beneath my feet as I joined the game. As I waited for the ball to be served again, I breathed in the thick, humid air and looked up at the bright blue sky. This was just another day at the pool to pass the time in the long summer.

*I wrote this as an assignment for a class a few years ago to write about a childhood memory. Loved my summers in best memories are from there. The pictures are of three of my brothers, two going off the diving board and one on the slide.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Communication in Marriage

Week #5 Challenge: Make a list of 5 things you currently do and ask your husband to prioritize them for you of what is important to him. For example - a clean home, home cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

This might appear strange, but I think this is useful because it opens up lines of communication that may not exist. Actually, when I handed my husband my list, he looked at me a little strange, but I just told him that I just wanted his opinion on it just to see what he thought and we were able to talk about it more, whereas usually, I just go about my life doing these things and he doesn't seem to care or notice. At least knowing what's important can help me divide my time more wisely and prioritize.

I made a list of things I do around here, not really having anything to do with him, so I think I missed part of the point, and I could only think of four things: taking care of the finances, planning and cooking meals, caring for the children, and cleaning the house. I know I do more than that, but it just felt like most everything I do is lumped into those categories. I didn't think to add taking care of him and his needs, but maybe I should have. When I handed him the list, I asked him if there was anything I'd overlooked that he would want to add to it, and he didn't add anything.

Here is how he prioritized it:

1. Caring for the children.
2. Cleaning the house.
3. Taking care of the finances.
4. Planning and cooking the meals.

I find it interesting that cleaning the house is #2 because he doesn't seem to really care as much as I do about order and cleanliness, so I wonder if he put that because he knows it's important to me. But at least my desire for order and cleanliness is validated.

This was insightful to me and I think helpful. At least it gave us something to talk about. :)


I am a little behind. Last week I was supposed to write a post about the things that I admire about my husband for this challenge. Unfortunately, I had such a downer week that I didn't feel like posting anything nice about anything or anyone. So I didn't post. So this is a week late.

My husband works hard for what we have. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and really don't know what I would do if I had to work. Just thinking about work and putting kids in daycare stresses me out to the point that my husband would take on a second job before I would go out and rejoin the workforce. My husband totally and fully supports my desire to stay-at-home and be the primary nurturer of our children.

My husband helps around the house when I ask him to and sometimes when I don't. He'll do dishes, take out the trash, vacuum, sweep and mop (a job I really hate) and clean the backyard (pick up dog poop and trim the lawn). He often folds laundry in the evening if I haven't had a chance to fold it during the day.

My husband will watch chick flicks with me and he even will put them in without me asking.

My husband bathes, diapers, does the bedtime routine, etc. with the kids, even when I'm home.

My husband lets me get out for girls' nights and lunches, as often as possible. In fact, he encourages me and is often suggesting it.

My husband supports my hobby--playing the violin. Lessons cost money and he encourages me to continue taking them; the books and repairs (like getting my bow rehaired) cost money, and he encourages that too.

My husband will even cook dinner on the occasion that he comes home from work and my day has been so bad that I don't have it prepared. This doesn't usually happen, but he never complains on the rare occasions that it does.

My husband is optimistic, which is good because I'm a pure pessimist. Sometimes his optimism is a bit unreal for me and I'd rather be realistic, but at least he is positively upbeat.

I'm sure there are more, but that's where I will stop.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


My oldest son got glasses recently. I'm very glad that he now has the ability to see clearly. But I'm kind of sad that he even had to get them.

I got glasses when I was eight, almost nine. I have always hated them. In my senior year of high school, I got contacts. I liked those better, simply for the fact that they weren't glasses. I stopped wearing contacts during my first pregnancy. I needed to get my eyes checked and re-measured and order new ones because we'd moved and switched doctors and everything. The exam for contacts is more expensive than for regular glasses, plus we didn't have vision coverage at the time. My eyes had changed a little bit with the pregnancy too. And ever since then, I've either been pregnant, which is not a good time to get measured for contacts or just too busy or too poor to get new ones. So I wear glasses.

Glasses get in the way. You can always feel your glasses on your face. Because I'm near-sighted, when I'm talking with people face-to-face, I can see my glasses on my face and they really bother me. I usually take them off for conversations. I'm lucky in that I really only have to wear them for driving and to watch TV, or like at church if I actually want to see the speaker, I might put them on.

Anyway, I feel very sad for my child that he is now saddled with this handicap. Yes, I said handicap. As you can see in the paragraph above, I really can't stand wearing glasses, especially as a kid. And since he has to wear them all the time, sun up to sun down, because his vision is much worse than mine, he will no doubt be branded a "nerd" or a "dork". It still happens. Children who wear glasses cannot compete in sports as easily as children who do not, so they tend to stay away from sports unless they are very gifted in that area. He's already smart and at the top of his class academically, and adding the glasses will just solidify his place as a school nerd.

He really had no chance, though. After all, he is my son, and that's what I was, a school nerd. But I was hoping my kids had a chance because their dad was not a school nerd, he was cool--an athlete, easy-going and fun to be around. My son is very friendly and outgoing, but I'm sure with the glasses he'll endure some teasing along the way. I know, I know, it will make him stronger, yada, yada, yada.

But still, a piece of me is sad at the fact that he has to wear them. I hope he can get into contacts sooner than I did. And that the contacts they'll have by then will be much more comfortable than mine were. Or maybe they'll be able to do corrective surgery younger. Who knows?

I'm still terrified at the thought of laser surgery for myself. Though with each passing year and day that I have to wear glasses, I find myself considering it.

Glasses really are such a burden.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's in a Name?

First of all, I have only one excuse for the week-long absence and that is my pessimism took over and I had nothing positive going on in my brain all last week. So I refrained from blogging, even though I wanted to, because I knew that nothing happy would come out. You can all thank me later.

My husband and I have a subscription to a political-type magazine called The Week. It was sort of an accident how it got started, but we get one each week until the subscription expires around November, at which point will probably won't renew. But that's beside the point.

I ran across this little quip in the issue from July 2-9, 2010 (p. 22):

Why Jonni can't spell

Parents now spend many hours, and even hire consultants, trying to pick the right name for their baby. That investment may be worthwhile, as scientists say that a person's name can affect their life well into adulthood. Kids with unusual variations on a common name are slower to spell and read, which "suggests a lot about internalizing," Northwestern researcher David Figlio tells "You have the child named Jennifer spelled with a 'G'--her teacher says, 'Are you sure your name is spelled that way?' That can be incredibly hard on a person's confidence." In another study, Figlio found that girls with more feminine names were more likely to take advanced classes in humanities, while those with male names like Morgan tended toward math and science. Meanwhile, boys with "girl" names like Shannon and Ashley were more likely to develop disciplinary problems, probably because of anger resulting from teasing and self-consciousness. Perhaps most troubling is that kids with odd names that sound "ghetto" or "poor" do worse in school, are less likely to be recommended for gifted classes, and are more likely to be pegged as learning disabled--even if they come from middle-class homes. "Those kids ended up being treated differently," Figlio says. It may be unfair, he says, but names create expectations that powerfully influence a child's development, so be careful what you choose.

I find this article very interesting. My husband and I were very careful to choose names that had a strong meaning, that were spelled normally, but were slightly less common. It is such a big deal to parents these days that their child have a name so unique that they don't realize the many disservices they might be doing by choosing that name. Not that having a unique name is wrong, but it's just important, like the article says, to be careful when choosing a name.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wife Swap

Call me crazy, but I have become addicted to this show.

I watch the re-runs that are on Lifetime during the afternoons. I don't even know if they make new ones anymore. But I love seeing the different lifestyles and how different women do things. It's also interesting to see what they can contribute to another family and what they can gain from that family.

I don't like some of the drama--some of it is pretty lame. Especially considering the fact that the families signed up for the swap, I don't understand why so many are resistant when the new mom changes the rules for her week in charge. I suppose it's all for TV, maybe the producers tell them to resist the changes.

When I watch, I always think about what I would bring to the swap if I were doing it, but I'm not sure if we are extreme enough in any way that we live to even be able to do it. It seems they always get people who are so extreme one way or another. We try to maintain a pretty balanced life as much as possible--all things in moderation.

Not that I would ever sign up for such a thing. Living with another family and not knowing anyone there would be way too awkward and I doubt I could ever get my husband on board.

Though I did read somewhere that you get compensated quite nicely for doing it. We could certainly use $20K in many different ways.

Summer Marriage Challenge: Prayer

This week's challenge was interesting because I already do this on a regular basis, since I read the book The Power of the Praying Wife.

I pray for my husband every day, for different aspects of his life, but I also pray for myself to just accept him the way he is and find ways to be at peace with whatever situations we are facing together.

I haven't asked him yet what he might want me to pray for, so I guess I'd better do that. As for fasting, I have plans to fast this coming Sunday, but again I will need to think of a specific purpose for that fast.

I do know that prayer is very powerful and can change lives. Heavenly Father does listen to all our prayers and answer them all, but sometimes it's hard to recognize because it may not be answered the way we want them to be.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ramona And Beezus: The Movie!

As I indicated in my earlier post, Dear Friends, I loved the Ramona books growing up and have been re-reading them this last week since I ordered the whole set from my son's classroom Scholastic book order.

So I was thrilled when I saw the trailer for this movie on ABC Family today:

Although I can already point out many discrepancies just by watching the trailer, I am so excited!

I'm very curious to see if it encompasses the whole series but focuses mostly on the relationship between Beezus and Ramona, or if it just uses the characters from the books and some of the same mishaps but nothing else is the same or what.

I will definitely be at this movie on July 23rd. Hopefully I will be taking my niece with me who will be in town for a visit.


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