Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Am I?

Lately, I feel a little disappointed in who I am.

I'm not crafty.  I'm not clever.  I'm not funny.  I'm not even that fun to be with.  I'm a very serious, plain-minded person.

I wish I was really good at something.  I do a lot of everything, but at everything I do, I am just mediocre.  So mediocre in fact that I feel pretty much invisible.  I feel like I could disappear and nobody would even notice I was gone.

I don't know if this is sort of a post-Christmas blues or a post-pregnancy loss blues.  I just feel like I contribute nothing to anything.

Maybe I could be the best at being average?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You're Gonna Miss This

You know the song by Trace Adkins?

You're gonna miss this.  
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast.
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know this now
But you're gonna miss this.

I get this concept.  I really do.  But to be honest, when we look back at these things we miss, we don't think about the hard things.  We only remember the good things.  I miss when my older kids were snuggly chubby babies.  They were so cute and giggly.  They would smile huge when they saw me and reach their chubby hands up to touch my face.   But I honestly don't remember all the long sleepless nights and the stretches of screaming when they were upset about something.  I look back and think, Why can't my baby now sleep like his older siblings did when they were babies?  They all slept nice and soundly through the night and rarely had a night where I was up all night with them.  But then I look at old blog posts or journal entries and realize that was not the case.

So yes, I will miss this period of time when my children are young.  But I won't miss some of the hard things about it.

I won't miss the nights when I can't get my baby to stop crying and can't figure out what's wrong with him.  I won't miss the endless diaper changing and spit up.  I won't miss having to spoon feed him several times a day.

I won't miss when my older kids call me from school telling me they are sick and the anxiety that shoots through me at that moment when I hope that nobody else gets what they have and that they won't miss too much school or be too sick.  I won't miss when they clobber their sibling over the head because their sibling isn't sharing a certain toy. 

There are definitely things I won't miss.  In fact, I will probably block the hard things from my memory, as evidenced by the fact I already do it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Little Irritations

I hate making phone calls.  I'd rather speak in church once a month than make a phone call.

Last January, I got my piano tuned.  That is, January 2010.  The guy who tuned our piano in Arizona lives in Utah (he travels between the two frequently) so I had him tune the piano here.  During the tuning, he got distracted.  It might have been one of my kids or a phone call he got.  Anyway, he broke one of my piano strings.  He promised he'd be back with a new string in about a month.

I waited.  He never called.  Finally, in about May, I started trying to track him down.  Turns out the receipt I had from him didn't have a phone number on it, only a name.  His number was no longer on my caller ID.  My mom had used him to tune her piano before, so I called  her about it.  She couldn't find his number either.

Then, I kept forgetting about it.  I'd only think about it when I played the piano, which was very often.  In November 2010, my kids started taking piano lessons, so I thought about it, I just kept putting it off.  I had tracked down a number which I found online, but it wasn't a working number.  Finally, in January 2011, my mom had her piano tuned by him and got his number for me.

I called him several times, leaving messages throughout the next few months.  Not every day.   Only when I remember and only when I was feeling particularly brave.  I finally managed to nail him down to come tune my piano again (offer him business, remind him of the broken piano string).  He came to tune it and repair it and realized that the company he'd ordered the string from sent him the wrong string.  So he left and said he'd contact me within the  month about the string.

I called him within a month and he hadn't received the string yet.  I've tried one other time since then, probably in about August.

Now it is December 2011 and I still don't have that string in my piano.  I've looked into having someone else repair it, but it will cost around $200 or more for such a repair.  He really needs to come back and do it.  I really need to stop being afraid to call him.  Maybe I will try later today.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More on Christmas

I know in the past I've been a little down on the whole Christmas season.  I think I've partly figured out why it stressed me out so much.

1.  I do the whole thing by myself.  From the baking, to the cards, to the presents, to the decorating, to the activities.  If it's going to happen, I have to do it.  My husband will help, but he thinks all of it is pointless and meaningless and it's hard soliciting help from someone with that attitude.

2.  We have three birthdays in December.  Check that.  Three.  In addition to buying Christmas presents for SEVEN people, we also have to buy at least one present per person for three birthdays.  For birthdays around here, we like to let the person pick all their meals.  So in addition to the cost, I also get to plan those days, sometimes it gets pretty strenuous.  The biggest part is the cake or pie.  My husband has to have banana cream pie.  Often, I'll just let Marie Callendar do the baking, but sometimes we don't have the money and I usually have the ingredients for such a pie on hand.

3.  The kids asking me and telling me all day every day for several months, more during December, what they want for Christmas or what they want to do as a fun Christmas activity is enough to drive a person insane.

Okay, enough with all that.  Those are reasons why I'm wound tighter than a drum this time of year.

But, there is one thing about Christmas that I love to do.  I will skip decorating.  I will skip baking.  I will do the most basic gifts.  I will skip big meal preparation.  I'll skip activities.  But I never skip this.

I love to do Christmas cards.  I love to get them too.

I know lots of people who don't like the Christmas card and letter tradition.  They think it's a brag card and make fun of how people will list their accomplishments, etc.   But I actually love reading those.  I love finding out what my kids and their kids have in common.  I feel like I'm getting to know them in a small way.  I enjoy the pictures too and usually keep them up for quite a while.

Besides, do you really want to know that my son spent two months on and off with the stomach flu?  Do you really want to know that my daughter still has accidents or gets up at night with bad dreams?  Do you really want to know that my 5-year-old waits until I turn around to pound on his 9-month-brother and then every time I ask what happened, he says, "I don't know, I think he fell down?"  Do you really want to know that my husband and I fight about how to decorate the tree every year?  I mean, people don't want to hear the bad stuff, but they complain about hearing the good stuff.

The yearly Christmas card is something I will do every year until there is no longer a mail system and then I'll do it digitally.  Hopefully, people will still reciprocate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Call Me Scrooge

Ever since we've had several children and no money, Christmas is my least favorite time of year. Which is ironic because growing up, it was my favorite. It was especially my favorite as a teenager, a college student, and then a young single adult teaching school. Even our first four or five years of marriage, there was something magic about this season. My birthday is on the 21st, so that's another reason I always loved this time of year.

When I was in school, I was involved in orchestras and choirs and the music was so wonderful this time of year. I also started mailing my own Christmas cards when I was in high school to friends who lived far away and that became a favorite part of Christmas.

But establishing traditions of our own as we've added more children to our family has become burdensome to me. I know Christmas isn't about how much you give and it isn't about how many fun things you do, but it sure feels like it sometimes. I remember when I was growing up, my parents would often become grouchier this time of year, and I always thought to myself, Just relax, Mom and Dad, this is all supposed to be FUN. Now I'm on the other end of that pistol and I can completely understand why my parents, particularly my mother, did not enjoy the holiday season the same way I did back then.

This year, there's this popular little thing to do that EVERYONE, and I mean, EVERYONE, is doing. It's called Elf on the Shelf.

I'm not doing it. Hadn't even heard about it until the first of December when one of my Facebook acquaintances posted a picture of their elf. I thought it was this clever little thing that she'd come up with (she's that type of person) but then I saw pictures of people's elves popping up all over Facebook. Honestly, it's not the idea of the Elf on the Shelf that bugs me; it's the pictures that everyone is putting on Facebook. It's like, Look at me, look at how awesome I am that I'm doing this for my kids for Christmas! To me, it would be the same as taking pictures of the decorated houses you drive around at Christmas time to see the lights and posting those on Facebook. Look at these awesome lights! Isn't this a great tradition, driving around looking at lights?

And then when I mentioned on Facebook that the "Elf on the Shelf" stuff was annoying, I shot myself in the foot. I think I will now be shunned by all members of my ward because I don't do "Elf on the Shelf".

So there you go. Just call me Scrooge.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hair Envy

I have a major case of hair envy. I always have, but I think it's worse now that I have a daughter. I feel bad that I passed on my horrible hair to her.

See, I have really thin, really fine hair. Now, I know a lot of people who have fine hair. But I don't know very many people who have the same combination of thin and fine hair. I don't have very much hair either and typically, the longest it ever gets, no matter how long I try to grow it out, is to my shoulders. That is where is stops growing.

I recently did a web search for hair updos for people with thin, fine hair like mine. Unfortunately, I pulled up a lot of ideas for fine hair, but the hair models in the Youtube videos did not have hair anything like mine. They had about twice as much hair and it was twice as long so they could do a lot more with it.

I saw a little girl at church today whose hair was pulled back into a pony tail, which had then been braided, which had then been wrapped around into a bun. This four-year-old's bun was about four times as large as mine would have been had you done the same thing to my hair. And I know her hair is about to her shoulders, maybe slightly longer, so it's not incredibly long to make such a thick bun.

I passed on this horrible hair to my daughter. So far, hers has grown longer than mine has ever been, but it is still baby fine and very, very thin. The tiny hair rubber bands that you use on little girls' hair I can wrap around her hair about 6-8 times, and that's her WHOLE head of hair.

Add to that my oddly shaped head (very small, flat in the back, kind of oval even) and you have a recipe for disaster for any type of updo. And I can't wear my hair down either because it just looks hideous. Plus in the winter, with the cold, the wind, and the dry heat indoors, it gets so full of static that I really can't wear it down. I can't even brush it. I haven't been able to brush my hair ever. It just gets too full of static from a hair brush. I have to use a pick and a comb.

Last night, at my daughter's dance recital, there were so many girls with beautiful, long, thick hair that it almost made me sad. Sad for me and my daughter.

My husband has a lot of hair and it's very thick. Why couldn't she have inherited that? Why do our kids (at least mine anyway) always seem to inherit the things we like least about ourselves?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading Books Just Because

I joined the website Goodreads not too long ago and it's been great for finding books to read from my friends and also for keeping a list of books to read in a place I can always find it.

However, I'm finding that I'm adding books to my list that I don't really want to read. I'm only adding them because so many other people have read them and they are classic books.

One such set of these books are the books by Tolkien. I realize that he is quite revered in many circles; in fact, many of my own family members love his books. So I decided that I needed to read "The Lord of the Rings". I did some research and decided to read "The Hobbit" first. My husband also read it a few months ago.

This book is complete drudgery to me. I'm not the least bit interested in the characters or the plot. I've never read "The Lord of the Rings" either, but I lost interest about 1/3 of the way through the first movie. It's just not up my alley. I love fantasy and really get into certain types, but this type is just not something I'm interested in.

But I'd still like to try and read the books. Maybe I'll find more to be interested in as I go along, I don't know. Right now, I'm about 1/4 of the way into "The Hobbit" and bored out of my mind every time I pick the dreadful thing up.

I guess some books and some people just don't mesh!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Worn Out

I am really feeling run down today. I've been feeling happy the last week and hopeful about everything still going on with the molar pregnancy, but today, I think all the exhaustion from caring for my family and not really having time for myself this last week is catching up.

My son and daughter who've been sick seem to be doing better. I'm hoping for good health this weekend because my husband and I are going on a trip and taking the baby and the rest of the kids are staying with a nice young couple from the ward (sad that we no longer fit into the category of "young married couple").

But I haven't been sleeping well. I'm too worried about everything, from sick kids, to Christmas, to healing fully from the molar pregnancy.

Today I had another blood test to check my hcg levels from the pregnancy. They have gone down again, which is good, but they are not back to normal so I have to go in again next week. My poor arms have had it with all the pokes and the ladies who do the drawing at my lab are horrible at it. They used to have two other girls there that were really good but now both the girls they have are just terrible. Today, and last week, she missed my vein in one arm and had to draw from the other. Since I've had so many pokes in the last three weeks, my arms are not healing--they are still bruised and with clots around where the last poke was. It hurts really bad every time and I'm not looking forward to next week. I am hoping that the levels get back to normal soon so I can stop having all these pokes! Plus the sooner they go back to normal, the sooner we can start with our six months of waiting to be able to try again for a baby.

Anyway, it was just frustrating to get that news back at the end of the day today. I was so hopeful that the numbers would go back to normal by today. Guess it takes longer than a few weeks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: Faith of Our Fathers

Faith of Our Fathers: One Nation Under God (Volume Four)Faith of Our Fathers: One Nation Under God by Nancy Campbell Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this series, especially reading about that period in history.  I definitely had characters I attached to but some of it was a little too cheesy and unrealistic for my taste.  I have actually read this series before, about ten years ago, and found that certain side subplots were so unnecessary to the main story that I skipped them altogether and didn't miss out on anything.  Overall, though, I did enjoy reading these.



View all my reviews

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Challenges of Children

It's been an exhausting week for me. My daughter, who will be four in about ten days, has not been sleeping at night. She wakes up at least half a dozen times almost every single night because she's scared of the "haunted people". Now I don't really believe that she's seeing things. I think she's scared herself from all the pretend play she's done with her brothers since October that has revolved around haunted houses and ghosts, goblins, witches, vampires, etc. We have since banned all scary play from our house (this week we did) because they would play it during the day and then she wouldn't sleep all night. Plus, she won't go play in another part of the house by herself. If we are downstairs doing something, she won't go play upstairs unless someone is with her. That is how much she has scared herself.

In addition to being very frightened every night, she's also developed a pretty bad case of croup. During the day she is mostly fine, coughing occasionally, but at night, she has trouble breathing and is awake coughing. So even if she wasn't afraid to sleep, she still wouldn't because of all the coughing. I know how to treat croup, as my now seven-year-old child had it all the time when he was ages two through about six (and he still had it a couple weeks ago, just not as bad as he used to get it). We've had her sit in the bathroom each night before bed with the hot shower running (usually when one of us showers) to help clear things up and then we've been running the humidifier in the room she's been sleeping in, and she's been doing okay, but it hasn't been fun. Two nights, she was separated from everyone else because the cough was so bad and because she was alone in the guest room, I had to sleep with her because she was too afraid. I don't sleep well when I sleep with any of the kids for any reason.

On top of that, the baby started having diarrhea right about Monday or Tuesday. I'm not sure which day he started in with it. I only remember that last Sunday, diarrhea wasn't a concern with him--he had croup too and was up coughing a lot the couple nights before Sunday. And I know that by Wednesday, the diarrhea was bad enough that he started with TERRIBLE diaper rash, which is now so bad that he is bleeding. He still has the diarrhea too, and I don't know what is causing it. I had introduced a new food last weekend, on Friday or Saturday, which was squash. He started with the diarrhea 2-3 days later, so I stopped giving him squash. If it had been the squash, you'd think he'd be done with the diarrhea by now, but he still has it. In fact, he's been refusing ALL solids and only drinking about 3/4 of his bottle every time. He's not grumpy at all when awake and not feverish, so I can't figure out what's wrong. But it's been 5-6 days of diarrhea and I'm starting to get worried.

So with all that, I'm completely exhausted. Oh, and I have three other kids to care for who keep seeming to need my attention. Go figure. Kids that need their mom's attention. It's a crazy life.

On a side note, I was uploading pictures yesterday and found a few pictures that my eight-year-old took of the baby in the laundry basket. He's so dang cute, you just can't resist those cheeks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feeling Good

I am grateful for feeling good. After nine weeks of feeling so awful, it's nice to have energy and not feel sick all the time. I can eat and doing things actually sounds fun instead of exhausting.

And there are all these things that sound like fun. I want to go ice skating. I think church basketball is starting up soon, and I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait for my husband's work Christmas party next weekend in California--they fly us out, and it's a fancy dinner and dancing at a nice hotel and then they fly us home. Two weeks ago when we found out about it, I wasn't thrilled at all because it sounded exhausting and I was so sick. But now, I can't wait. I've ordered a dress, should come today or tomorrow, I've been looking at online tutorials for ways to do my hair, I'm going through my fancy jewelry and trying to decide whether I should wear a pair of shoes I already own or purchase a new pair. Maybe a manicure/pedicure is in order as well. I can't wait!

And I love being able to eat! I had a pb&j today for the first time in seven weeks and the smell of peanut butter did not make me nauseated. And I'm still hungry and could eat some more without feeling sick.

After nine weeks of feeling so awful, I feel so physically good right now. And being able to sleep at night (due to not feeling sick--oh and my baby is doing much better) is so wonderful.

Yea for feeling good!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I feel the need to return to my never-ending to-do list. It sort of became neglected in the last few weeks. Now it seems like there are so many things I could be doing rather than lounging around on the couch watching TV all day, which is what I've done the past several weeks.

Here is my list the last time I did anything on it, which was before Halloween.

____Blog book
____Recipe book
____Garage Sale
____Fix It (____Piano Bench,____Closet Doors,____Kitchen Cabinet,____Kitchen sink and counter,____Dresser Drawer)
____5-year-old's 5-year pictures
____8-month-old's 6 month pictures
____New charts (____Daily Routine,____Sunday activities,____tokens)
____curtains
____ceiling fans
____costumes
____storage room
____organize pictures on computer

I'm pleased to say that some of these things got done despite me not staying on top of this list. Here it is currently:

____Blog book
_X__Recipe book
____Garage Sale
____Fix It (_X__Piano Bench (buying a new one--decided old one can't be fixed),_X__Closet Doors,____Kitchen Cabinet,____Kitchen sink and counter,_X__Dresser Drawer)
_X__5-year-old's 5-year pictures
_X__8-month-old's 6 month pictures
_X__New charts (_X__Daily Routine,_X__Sunday activities,_X__tokens)
____curtains
____ceiling fans
_X__costumes
____storage room
____organize pictures on computer

So my ongoing to-do list has now been cut down to this:
____Blog book
____Garage Sale
____Fix It (____Kitchen Cabinet,____Kitchen sink and counter)
____curtains
____ceiling fans
____storage room
____organize pictures on computer

Although, I have had to add this:
____Call Home warranty to see if garage door is covered and then get it fixed.

So, I think that the next project I will embark on will be organizing my digital pictures and working on my blog book (for 2010--I'm a little behind!).

Excited to begin!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cooking and Baking (Recipes Included)

One positive thing in the last few days has been the return of my appetite and the disappearance of my nausea. Today, I just felt like baking and cooking. I woke up this morning with a hankering for cinnamon rolls, so I got online and found the recipe that my friend posted on her food blog not too long ago and tried it out. I have tried about four other cinnamon roll recipes in the last year or so and none of them have turned out, and the only one that did, we didn't really like, it was too heavy. These were easy and didn't take very long to make--only about an hour total. I used another recipe I'd found on another blog for the glaze (icing). I had tried those cinnamon rolls too but they didn't turn out for me.

Since I had such great success with the cinnamon rolls, I decided to make my grandmother's roll recipe. I have yet to accomplish making them turn out exactly right, but this time they turned out better than any past attempts.

Since my husband was off today, a rare Sunday that he didn't work, we made a roast the right way instead of doing a pot roast. We browned the meat in the roaster in the oven at a high heat for 20 minutes and then brought the heat down and roasted the meat for another hour or so. It was delicious. My husband makes awesome mashed potatoes, so he did that part and we also made gravy.

For dessert, I decided to try my hand at that same grandmother's fudge. The last time I made that fudge was Christmas in about 1992, when I was 14 or 15 years old. I'm still waiting to see if it turned out. I'm not so sure it's going to set.

Rolls
Lavee Fowles
1 Tbsp yeast
4 Tbsp sugar
2 cups milk, warmed (105-120)
1 egg
6 cups sifted flour
4 Tbsp melted shortening or oil (I used oil)
2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm milk. Let set a few minutes until foamy. Add shortening and half of flour and egg. Beat until smooth. Add salt and remainder of flour. Knead well (in Bosch or Kitchenaid 15 minutes). Place in greased bowl. Cover with dish towel. Let rise until double in bulk; stir down. Cover well and refrigerate until needed. Roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Brush lightly with melted butter and cut with biscuit cutter. Crease lightly through center and fold, pinching closed. Place on well-greased pan one inch apart. Cover and let rise until light, about 45 minutes. Bake at 425 about 10 minutes.

Fudge
Lavee Fowles

1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a large saucepan (4 qt size). Add milk gradually, mix thoroughly; bring to a bubbly boil on high heat stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil the mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 234 degrees F (soft, firm ball). Be sure bulb of thermometer is not resting on bottom of pan. Remove saucepan from heat and add butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Allow fudge to cool at room temperature to 110 degrees. Beat until fudge thickens and loses some of its gloss. Quickly pour and spread fudge in lightly buttered 8X8X2 pan. Cool and cut.

The tricky part of that last recipe is knowing how long to beat the fudge. I think I did for about 30 minutes and it still seemed runny, but I followed everything else exactly. I put it in the fridge to set, so we'll see how it turns out. It might end up runny, but still tasty.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Molar Pregnancy

Well, I've been out all week because I got the devastating news that I have had a molar pregnancy.

In case you don't know what that is, you can click on this link here and find out. I am still waiting to hear back on the lab results from what was extracted from my d & c yesterday, but the doctor seemed certain that what I had was a partial molar pregnancy.

Right now, I am trying to focus on recovering from surgery and resting as much as possible.

I spent all day Wednesday crying.

I feel like my body has betrayed me. For the next six months to a year, I will have to be retested to make sure that the mole hasn't grown back and that it's not cancerous. We won't even be able to try to have another baby for at least a year or two and at that point, there is a possibility of a repeat of the molar pregnancy. Obviously we will have time to discuss this and decide what to do, but by then I will be 36 and I'm not sure I will want to have another baby. There are so many more risks the older you get (and the more previous pregnancies you've had).

Plus, I just endured the worst nine weeks of my life with the worst morning sickness I've ever had (worsened by the molar pregnancy, actually) and I'm not sure I want to go through being that sick for that long ever again. One of the nicest things about today as opposed to two days ago is that everything sounds good and I can eat whatever I want without gagging or actually throwing up. I can even skip eating and still not gag.

So is God trying to tell us that we're done? I'll be honest here. I haven't heard much from His end lately. Believe me, I've tried. But it's like making a phone call with nothing but static on the other end. I have gotten no feelings one way or the other about anything I've prayed about. I had several priesthood blessings over the course of the last several weeks and I don't think one of them helped. My faith is being tested and I am failing. God may be a God of miracles, but not in my case. And if He cares so much, then why do I feel so empty like He's so far away?

You know what the hardest part has been? Explaining to my children how they are NOT going to have another brother or sister next June and how it's possible they may not ever have another brother or sister again. They were quite upset.

I think this is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with in my life. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my footing. I guess I don't understand, in a world of sin and thoughtless sex and careless parents, why God would deny me the chance to raise a baby up right? I'm angry and bitter and just very sad.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Waiting

I'm still waiting to hear my results from my blood test on Friday. I've been spotting for a few weeks, but I spotted with my last four pregnancies and they turned out fine, so it's hard to say that this is a miscarriage. I've had no cramping, only spotting. My blood test came back on Wednesday with high HCG levels. Thy retested on Friday to see if the levels had gone down or up but unfortunately did not get the results back by Friday evening, so I've had to wait out the weekend. I'm so sick of waiting to hear if I've actually miscarried or not. I wish that if I have, my body would just cooperate and do what it's supposed to do. I wish that if I haven't, my body would just cooperate and stop spotting so I can feel more positive about things. I feel like I'm in limbo, can't go either direction until I know for sure.

And when I feel like this, everything annoys me to death. I can't stand to be around people at all. I can't stand to be around my kids, they drive me crazy. I just want peace and quiet and time to sleep and time to reflect and figure out how to feel. I especially don't like caring for a baby when I'm feeling like this. They are so much work--carrying them up and down the stairs, changing diapers and clothes and having to use a billion burp cloths, following them around as they crawl and get into things, feeding them bottles and solids and trying desperately to get them to go to sleep for naps and night time. It's all so exhausting. If this really is a miscarriage, when all is said and done, I'm taking off to some exotic destination for a few days to regroup. Maybe I won't ever come back. Winter is starting, after all, and I just can't handle the cold. Don't think I will ever be able to handle it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Change That

Well, I'm feeling very out-of-sorts today and the last couple.

I've still been very sick, which really bites.

Here's why.

There is a huge possibility that I'm no longer pregnant. Actually, it's more likely than not. They are still doing a few blood tests, and I haven't been bleeding any more than I did in the past four pregnancies, which all turned out fine. But when I went in for an ultrasound on Wednesday to verify the pregnancy, I found out that they couldn't see anything in there. Well, anything more than a little blip, which is not what they should see at 9-1/2 weeks.

So there you have it. Impending miscarriage. I'm waiting for the phone call telling me the results of the two blood tests that I took prove it's a miscarriage and then the scheduling of a d & c, since I'm not bleeding on my own. Not looking forward to another d & c, as the last time I had one, the doctor poked a hole in my uterus. I feel very fortunate that after that incident I was still able to have four children.

Today I'm still hoping, the tiniest shred of hope, that they are wrong and I'm still pregnant. But it's not looking very likely.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Absence

Last month, I had committed to write every day but then I stopped in the middle of the month and haven't written anything since.

There is an explanation for that.

Remember last year when I groaned in agony over my horrible nausea that comes with pregnancy?

Well, I have the same problem again. Only it's worse this time AND I have a 7-month-old who is having gastrointestinal issues that make him a bad sleeper, so I'm exhausted and not feeling good.

It's been tough. I probably won't write a whole lot again until I'm feeling better, so another month or two.

On a happy note, I had my first ob appointment today. My due date is 6-11-2012. And then we will be done with our family--six kids in nine years. It would be cool if this was a girl, but a healthy boy will be fantastic also.

Now if you will please excuse me. My stomach is feeling very unsettled right now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Cravings

You know what is the worst? When you crave something, so that's what you decide to fix but then you taste something else while you're out and now that's all that sounds good. I've been wanting pizza all day, which is good since Fridays are pizza nights and I always make pizza. But then, when I was at the grocery store, I sampled some steak they were cooking up and it was so tasty. Now all I want is steak. Go figure.


Of course, now that I'm looking at the pictures of pizza, that looks delicious again. Maybe I'm just hungry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Problems

For me, if someone wants to torture me, all they'd have to do is keep me awake long enough for me to be sleep deprived. Yup, this is torturous to me.

Saturday night: baby went down FINALLY around 9 pm. Woke up at 10:30. Down again at 11:00. Woke again around 1:30. Down again by 2 pm. Woke again at 4:30 then again at 5:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep. At 8:30, I finally got him down for a nap and he slept until 10:30. Went to church, came home, he slept again from 2:30 to 3:50. Same story Sunday night.

Sunday night: down FINALLY around 9 pm, after two hours of trying to get him to go to sleep. Woke up SCREAMING at 10:15. Put him down and he woke up SCREAMING again at 11:30. I brought him into bed with me and the rest of the night was the same--45 minutes of sleep then 30 minutes of screaming.

Monday: Woke up for the day at 6 am. Baby went down for a nap FINALLY at 10 am. Slept til 12:30. Took another nap from 2:30 to 4:00. Went to bed at 7 pm. Slept until 7 am.

Tuesday: Woke at 7 am. Went down for nap at 8:30 am. Slept until 10 am. Second nap not until 1:30 pm. Slept until 2:30 pm. Fell asleep at 6:45 in carseat and stayed asleep until 9:15 pm. Went back to sleep and slept until 4:30.

Wednesday: 4:30 a.m. Baby up. Wouldn't go back to sleep. 8:45 nap. Woke up 9:15. 11:45 nap. Woke up 12:15.

Now it's 1:40 and he won't go to sleep but it doesn't matter because I have to take one of my other kids in to the doctor for a regular checkup anyway and if he fell asleep I'd just be waking him up.

I feel like screaming and crying.

Most of all, I just want to sleep.

On top of all that, I'm just not feeling good.

I'd really like a break. I'd really like for the doctor to just figure out what's wrong with my baby so he can eat and sleep like a normal baby.

Yes, he's seven months old and still not on solids because every time I try any solids, he gets bad tummyaches and won't sleep and spends all his time screaming. We waited TWO weeks between every single introduction to solids.

In my book, it points to something wrong with his digestive system. Not a food allergy. A food allergy would be consistent with one food and with elimination, the problem would be resolved. We even changed his formula. After having a rough adjustment to a new formula, he's not doing any better.

He doesn't show signs of a food allergy either. His poop is regular, although he seems to have trouble passing it, it is not constipated (not hard or dry). It's not super runny and super frequent either, like diarrhea would be. There is no blood in his stool. There is no vomiting. There is spit up, but compared to the spit up he had up until about 5 months, it's really quite minimal and not nearly as bad as any of the other kids.

The only signs that something is wrong are how often he screams and cries when he should be sleeping and how little he sleeps.

I'm really convinced that something isn't right, but I don't know what and I don't know how to convince a doctor to take a closer look. I'm afraid to give him solids. I'm afraid to give him formula. I'm afraid of feeding him at all. He pushes the bottle out of his mouth while screaming in hunger at the same time.

Something isn't right.

Something simply isn't right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't Judge Too Quickly

My friend posted this link on Facebook. I read the whole blog post, which was rather long. It was about how a father in a store had belittled his child to make him feel like nothing. The man who wrote the post, a single father, was upset because he sees too many dads doing such things and not realizing how powerful a role they have in their child's life.

I agree with much of what he said about the role of fathers and how a comment, a touch, a kind word or an angry word, can make or break a child was true. I think dads play a powerful role in the life of a child and a very important one.

However, I think in his overly long rant, he went a bit too far. Sometimes, as parents, we just get angry. Sometimes, as parents, we say angry words that are hurtful to our children. Sometimes we don't apologize for them either. I don't think that necessarily will screw our kids up for life because we might do that.

And we also shouldn't really judge what another person is doing at a grocery store in the five or so minutes we see them. We don't know the whole story. Someone posted a video on Facebook a while ago about not knowing the whole story, seeing through new lenses. I wish I could post the link but I couldn't find a non-Facebook link to the video. A man is having a bad day and annoyed with the people around him until he is handed the special glasses. When he puts the glasses on, he sees a statement with each person explaining a little bit of what they're going through and he begins to understand why people act the way they do.

So let's not judge others on their parenting unless they're actually being abusive. I don't think it's right. I've had those days where I was the one yelling at my kids in the grocery store and I don't feel like I'm a terrible parent. We all have bad days. In the meantime, we can try to control our anger and be better parents.

P.S. Try this link to the video and see if it works (if you're on Facebook).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sewing Club

When I was in fourth grade, my friend and I wanted to start a sewing club. We thought it would be a fun place to be with friends and to also learn how to sew. We planned all these fun projects we could do (neither of us really knowing how to sew at that point). We organized every minor detail of the club. It was all very exciting. But it never panned out.

It would have been neat if we had made it work. I remember going through my mom's patterns and picking out the ones we wanted to learn how to do. I can even remember some of the specific patterns.

The thing is that I wasn't brave enough to actually initiate starting the club. My friend and I talked about it all the time. It really was mostly a club just for the two of us where we talked about sewing. But to actually start the club, well, neither of us had the nerve to try, especially me.

It's kind of too bad that I'm still like that. I have all these ideas but am always afraid to try them. Or when I finally do, I try them with the wrong people, people who, although good friends of mine, aren't really interested in doing something like that.

I think it would be awesome to go on a cruise with a bunch of girlfriends, or have a girl weekend away and go to the beach or somewhere fun. But I don't seem to have a group of girlfriends who share that interest.

I think it would be fun to have a girls group where we have girls night out, but we don't always just meet at a restaurant and talk. Playing board games is fun. Meeting to go do something, like ice skating or bowling, or going to a museum or another tourist site would be fun. But I can't ever seem to make that happen.

So, if you're a cool chick who makes things like that happen, what's your secret?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Same as Always Sunday

I almost didn't go to church today. I just didn't want to. I was up with the baby at 10:30, 12:30, 4:30 and 5:30 last night. My husband closed at work, so he worked from 4:30 pm until 2:00 a.m. That pretty much makes him useless all day Sunday. I'm lucky if he makes it to church on the days after he closes. Though it's better now with him working only 15 minutes away and church not starting until 11 a.m., but I feel like his mother dragging him out of bed at 10:15, begging him to hurry so we won't be late for church.

Anyway, back to the original story. I didn't want to go to church. I'm tired of church through my eyelids. Frankly, it's majorly uncomfortable to try and sit upright in a pew or in a chair for three straight hours as exhausted as I am, not to mention embarrassing at how easily I fall asleep.

I get nothing out of church. Nothing. I don't even feel the Spirit anymore. Can't remember what that feels like, really.

And I knew that if I went to church, I wouldn't get a decent nap at all today. I was right. I got to sleep for about 20 minutes before my husband had to leave for work again. When he left through the garage, that woke the baby up, and I had to get up. Now the baby won't go to bed.

Anyway, I did go to church. I guess my sense of duty is more powerful than my exhaustion. I don't remember a thing that was said. Mostly, though, I went because at 10:15 am, my husband was still not out of bed and the kids were all ready to go. So I got myself dressed (had showered at 5:30 am when the baby wouldn't go back to sleep) and made sure the rest of us were ready. We actually weren't late this time and even got there early enough to sit up front. But still, I hate rushing to church, especially since I'm up at the crack of dawn (actually, much earlier now that it's darker later), and I hate going to church tired. Lately, I find myself not wanting to go to church at all. Yet, still I go. Now that's dedication for you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Favorite Toys

My favorite toy(s) as a child were my Barbie horses. I had three of them. Dallas, Dixie and Honey. I played with those things so much that I ended up breaking off most of the their legs from the knees down. They did not survive my childhood even though my Barbies did.

Honestly, though, I had forgotten about my Barbie horses until my daughter started getting into My Little Pony. I remembered that I had two My Little Ponies. One was a purple unicorn with a white mane and tail and the other was a white pegasus with an orange mane and tail. I was explaining to my husband how I didn't really like the My Little Ponies as much as I liked the Barbie horses because the Barbie horses were more realistic. I never did get into My Little Pony very much.

Upon remembering this, I decided to see if I could find any of these Barbie horses on E-bay. I ended up finding ALL of them on E-bay, plus ones that were before my time and even later. I bid on all the ones I could and won almost all of them. Now, I have a full set of the Barbie horses I had, two of them are mint, in my closet and all the extras I won went into my daughter's toy box.

My husband laughs at me for buying the mint ones. He asked if I would ever let my kids play with them and I told him probably not. I just wanted them to look at and remember some of my favorite times as a child, I guess.




Friday, October 7, 2011

IMPROVE the Moments

So I've been doing a little therapy these last couple of months, just to work through some things and to try and gain a better perspective. Anyway, I learned this great technique for when I feel like things are flying out of control and I feel panicky and anxious. Here it is: IMPROVE the moments.

Imagery--Focus on an image, either imagined or real, that brings peace and serenity. This could be a memory, faces of people you love, a picture hanging in your house, etc.

find Meaning--Think "What can I learn from this?"  instead of "Why is this happening to me?"

Prayer--Pray for strength, comfort, answers, etc. to help get through the moment.

Relaxation--Do something that relaxes you.  A bubble bath, playing the piano, going for a walk, etc.

One thing in the  moment--Focus on only one thing that you can get done or that needs to be done.

Vacation--Take a break.  Either a real vacation, like a girls night out, or just a change of scenery, like taking the kids to the park to get out of the house on a nice day.

Encouragement--Give yourself self-encouragement "You can do this!" 

I feel like this has been helping me, simply by giving me something to focus on when I'm feeling like things are out of control.  Which, with five kids under nine, is bound to happen at least once a day or more!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Recipe (Recipe Included)

Tonight I tried something new for dinner. I don't usually fly by the seat of my pants in cooking. People have complimented my cooking before, but I'm really only just very good at following recipes (most of the time). However, I like to utilize my leftovers and sometimes eating them the same way they were served the first time is incredibly boring.

Since we had oven-baked chicken on Sunday and I really don't like eating those leftovers (a leftover chicken thigh with skin reheated is just not very good), I was brainstorming what I could do with it. I decided that I would take the leftover pieces and take all the chicken off the bones and save it. Then I would throw it in the crockpot with some salsa and then serve it over rice.

Well, it didn't end up working out how I had planned. My husband and I ended up using the leftover chicken for lunch. He tossed some of it with shredded cheese and salsa into a quesadilla and I used some of it for a BBQ chicken pizza.

So when today came up, the day I was supposed to use it for dinner, I went with my original idea, only I thawed some chicken breasts I have in the freezer and used those. I tossed them in the crockpot and covered them with salsa. Then I set it on low and let it simmer for about four hours. I cooked up some rice and shredded some cheese and served it over rice topped with cheese. The kids LOVED it! Maybe I can try adding things like pinto beans or other veggies to the mix as well.

The nice thing was that it was easy and very few ingredients, most are ones that we almost always have on hand.

Salsa chicken over rice

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
jar of salsa--whatever floats your boat
rice
shredded cheese (we like mild cheddar)

Place thawed (or partially thawed) chicken in crockpot and cover with salsa. Simmer on low for until chicken is cooked (our crockpot tends to cook things at too high a heat so an 8 hour recipe on low really only takes 4-5 hours).
Serve over rice and top with shredded cheese.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Was my college education wasted?

Was it worth it? The time, the money. I don't teach in an elementary school and haven't for eight years now. I don't even help out at the school.

What about my husband's? He majored in the easiest thing possible so he could finish as quickly as possible. Communications. He is a manager for a fast food company. They train all their managers from within, and don't even take into consideration the education level. Having one won't hurt but it's not necessary for promotion. So was that wasted time and money on his part?

What about my sister-in-law who majored in physics? At least there is practical application in child-rearing with what I studied--how children grow and learn, different methods of teaching them, what problems to expect. Was her education, the time and money spent on that, wasted as well?

I think having a college education is very valuable. Is it the most important thing? No. Can we be successful and smart in life without one? Sure.

I think people who blast college educations, however, are somewhat ignorant. They don't understand that in college, besides hopefully finding a focus that will help establish you in a career, you are also taught to think. You are allowed to examine different perspectives and analyze the information you find and sift through it for what's important. You gain a broader understanding of the world, of other people, and of their thoughts and ideas. That is what general eds are for--to gain perspective and hopefully find something to narrow your focus.

Even meeting the people I met helped broaden my mind and give me enlightenment and understanding. I met people from many walks of life from all over this country and the world. I had friends from Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Argentina, and Chili. I spent some time in Mexico and learned Spanish. None of that I probably would have done had I not gone to college and had the opportunity through school to do it.

I think it's upsetting that college costs are rising through the roof. But I still don't think that negates the value gained from getting a college education.

Perhaps I will use my education degree again someday to help with income. Perhaps I won't. I still will never regret those four years I spent at BYU, paying them for my studies, and studying what I did.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Busy Day Schedule

This is how my day went.

6 am Woke up to baby crying. Husband went to the store for more formula and to get gas in his car.

6:15 am Baby was almost back to sleep but sound of garage door woke him

6:30 am I shower but don't have a chance to dry and do my hair.

6:45 am I discovered that we accidentally paid our car payment twice and therefore had an overdraft all BEFORE husband's early morning store trip. That's $113 over (formula, car gas, some of the second car payment)

7:15 am We have scripture reading and prayer and husband leaves for work. We eat breakfast. I make kids' lunches and manage while they get ready for the day.

8:00 am Walk to the bus with all five kids and the neighbor boy who I help to see off to the bus every day.

8:30 am Put the baby down for a nap.

9:15 am Baby wakes up

9:30 am I do preschool with my 3 and 5-year-olds.

10:45 am Finish preschool. Put baby down for nap.

11:15 am Eat lunch

11:45 am Lay down while 5-year-old plays with Legos and 3-year-old watches Nick, Jr.

12:30 pm Baby wakes up

12:30-2:00 pm Help kids with Legos. Look up Lego directions online. Try to straighten up.

2:00 pm Start the canning process by pulling all the stuff out and running the jars through a heat cycle

3:00 pm Put baby down for nap

3:15 pm Start actually canning

3:30 pm Boys get home from school. They go outside to play. I keep on canning.

3:45 pm Baby wakes up

4:00 pm Peaches in jars in canner with timer on

4:30 pm Kids come in and start homework. I start making dinner and clean up from canning at same time.

5:10 pm Eat dinner.

5:35 pm Leave house for flag football. 5-year-old now has headache, fever, chills, and sore throat.

6:00 pm Arrive home from dropping off oldest at flag football.

6:15 pm Baths for all kids at home.

6:45 pm until now Facebook and Blogging. Need to regain sanity.

(Kids are still up, waiting for dad and brother to come home from flag football to finish out bedtime routine and stories)

That is actually how most of my days go, although I don't can every day. But it is always that busy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Canning

I'd like to learn how to can. I like the idea of having a food storage that is partly made up of food I've canned myself. It would be even better if I knew how to grow said food and then I canned it.

Since we live in a place where everyone cans in the fall, I thought I would take this opportunity to learn how to do. I think, though, that it is one of those things you can't really learn until you do it yourself. Last year, I went over to a friend's mom's house to can a box of peaches. I'd like to say I learned how, but really, she and her mom did most of the work. It was fun talking while canning, much more fun than canning by myself would have been. But this year, I don't have much to can. I wasn't planning on canning at all, actually (since my friend moved away) but my dad left me a whole bunch of peaches, apples, tomatoes and pears when he came up last week and bought some to take home for my mom to can.

So here I am with all this food and no intention of canning. I called my friend and got her mom's number and asked to borrow her canning equipment. Now I have the equipment. I have the bottles (emptied from last year's canning exploits) and I have a box of lids in my pantry that I never used.

Tomorrow I will embark into the land of home canning on my own. I've printed up some Internet instructions as well as having obtained a copy of the instructions written by my friend's mom. I plan on canning the peaches. The pears, well, we've mostly eaten and will probably eat the rest (we LOVE fresh, ripe pears!). I am going to try to make fresh spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes and freeze some of it. And the apples. I can't decide whether or not to make them into applesauce or to just use them throughout this week making apple pie and apple strudel.

Wish me luck.

*image courtesy Google images


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Homecoming Queen

A few weeks ago, this article appeared in the newspaper here. It is about two sisters who were both crowned Homecoming Queen in successive years at a high school in Southern Utah. The interesting thing about the article is that both sisters were born with Down's syndrome.

This is a wonderful example of a high school pulling together to help these girls have a special experience. The neatest part was that the older sister got to give the crown to her younger sister on the night of the Homecoming game.

Oh, and I should mention. The cool thing for me is that the principal of this high school is someone I know--someone I even blogged about in this post a few years ago on Valentine's Day. He's a great guy and a great principal!

I just loved this story and thought it was so great that the school did that. What a wonderful memory for these girls and how great that they could have a positive experience like that in a public high school!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Best Pizza Dough Ever (Recipe Included)

Yep, I'm biased. But this is the best pizza dough. Since I learned to make this dough, I haven't wanted any other kind of pizza. At least not delivery. A few sit-down pizza restaurants might have it beat, but more so because I don't have to cook it! But here is my awesome recipe.

This makes 2 thick or 4 thin crusts (round). I have used it to make one big pizza on a large cookie sheet also. When I make a round crust, I use a round pizza baking stone.

Add to heavy duty mixer (Bosch, Kitchenaid) in this order:

1 2/3 cup warm water (about 80 degrees F)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dry milk powder
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp active dry yeast

Mix until blended, 1-2 minutes. Then mix on medium speed for five minutes. Let rest for five minutes. Then mix again on medium speed for 12 minutes. I always move it to a greased bowl at this point rather than letting it rise in the mixer. Let rise for 40 minutes.

Roll out crust and place on cookie sheet or pizza pan. Fold edges under. Use whatever topping you like. I've even done BBQ chicken pizza with this dough before.

Bake at 425 for about 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown around edges. Pop any bubbles in it while baking.

31 for 21 Blog Challenge



If you click on the picture above, it will take you to my friend Gretchen's blog. My friend Gretchen was my best friend in the 3rd and 4th grade. We became friends when I moved to her school in the 3rd grade, a state-to-state move. I was doing back flips on the playground and she came over and challenged me to a contest. I found out that, like me, she was also a gymnast, and it turned out that we both went to the same gym. From then on, we were inseparable. Until I moved away eighteen months later. We've kept in touch through the years.

Last year, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was born with Down's syndrome. This month, she has issued a blog challenge to blog every day for 31 days to raise awareness for Down's syndrome.

Down's is caused by an extra 21st chromosome and there are 31 days in October, which is Down's syndrome awareness month. Hence, 31 for 21! I am going to attempt this blog challenge.

Other than having a few friends with children who have Down's syndrome, I do not have any experience with it. However, if you read Gretchen's story, and I encourage you to do so, you might begin to understand what a challenge this is. We all have disabilities in one form or another.

I believe that the people who are born with this disability, like her son Julian was, are very special spirits who have a very special purpose in this life. So, click on over to Gretchen's blog and read her story. Then, if you feel so inspired, take on the 31 for 21 challenge too!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Bringing Up Boys

Bringing Up BoysBringing Up Boys by James Dobson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed this book and found it to be very helpful, in that I am the mother of five children, four of whom are boys.  I really have to agree with most of what he says about our society and culture in America.  I only disagreed with two things he brought up in the entire book.  I would recommend this book to everyone--it's worth a read, whether or not you are raising boys, just to see all his points about how society is becoming and how it's affecting our parenting.  I give it two thumbs up and five stars.  Going to probably buy a copy for our home library.



View all my reviews

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Bitter Memory

My high school about had one formal date-dance each month. In September/October, it was Homecoming (guy-ask-girl). In November, there was a girl's preference formal dance. In December, we had a casual matching dance called Christmas Dance (guy-ask- girl). One year, in January, we had a girl's choice dance. In February was Sweethearts Ball (guy-ask-girl). In March was usually Junior Prom, which was guy ask girl, specifically for juniors, though anybody could attend. The prom court was pulled from the junior class though. In April, we had Girl's Pref, a casual matching shirt girl's choice dance. In May was MORP, which was just a casual dance that was typically guy-ask-girl. Some clubs and groups had their own dances as well--in cheerleading, we had Varsity Ball, a formal ball for which each of us cheerleaders were to invite a date and celebrate our year of cheering. That was typically in May. And seniors had Senior Dinner Dance. This dance was usually stag, meaning you didn't really go with a date. The school designed that so Seniors could have one last occasion to be with each other before graduation without the pressure of coming with a date--that way more people could attend.

That leads me to my point. I'm glad Senior Dinner Dance was stag or I may not have gone. I say that because out of the 20 date dances that occurred (I call them "date" dances because our school also had a "Stomp" once a month that was more like a stake dance--you just went and danced and hung out with friends), I only got asked to six of them. Out of the remaining fourteen, eight of them were guy-ask-girl, so I was able to go to the other six because I asked the guy on the date.

You might say, what's the big deal? Why bother writing about this now, some fifteen-plus years later?

It still bothers me to remember that when those guy-ask-girl dances came around, I usually didn't get asked. It hurt me very deeply back then and I still feel remnants of that pain today. The worst was Junior Prom when I was a junior. I even desperately attempted to ask a friend of mine just so I could go and be there with my friends. I tried someone from another school and even tried a couple seniors I knew from my school. I even thought about seeing if my older brother, a BYU student at the time, would go with me, but we were never very close. I even considered my dad.

My mom spent about six weeks before the event sewing me a beautiful prom dress, in case I got asked. When I didn't, she set up a professional photo session, made an appointment to get my hair professionally done as I would have if I had been going to the dance, and we did that. That night, we went out to dinner, my mom and I, and we had some quality mother-daughter bonding time.

But I felt rejected, unliked, ugly. I missed Homecoming that year too. Not only did I miss Homecoming, but I was the only senior cheerleader who did not get nominated for the Homecoming Court. I missed Sweethearts Ball also. I even got rejected twice when asking guys for Girl's Pref that year. But I did end up going and having a good time.

I had lots of fun in high school. I had fun at the dances I did attend. My senior year I went to all of them because I had a steady boyfriend. His parents had a rule that he couldn't take me to more than two of them in a row together. Fortunately, I still managed to get a date to the ones I didn't attend with him.

I still look back on occasion and wonder what was so wrong with me during junior year that made guys not want to ask me out.

It makes me sad to think that my daughter might have to endure the same thing. I hope not. I hope she makes lots of good friends and has fun in high school. But I know she will still face hurtful situations and she will still have to learn from them. I hope I can teach my boys to be the kind of gentlemen who will ask out a girl who might not otherwise get asked just so she can feel good about herself and have a good time, and maybe, in the process, they can find a good friend.

Remembering that kind of rejection still hurts. At least, in my memory, I can still remember the rejection I felt.

This was from the November formal girl's preference dance my junior year.

This was from the Girl's Pref dance my sophomore year, shortly after moving from out-of-state

This was from the Girl's Pref dance my junior year.  Yep, this is the third guy I asked who finally said yes.

This was the cheerleaders' Varsity Ball my junior year.  That was the dress that was intended for my Junior Prom that my mother worked so hard on.  

This was a girl's choice winter dance that they had my junior year.  The guy was a really good friend from my ward.

All of these dates were fun, but not one of those guys ever asked me out in return.  Not that they had to, but it would have been nice to feel like they enjoyed the evening as well and helped me to feel better about myself back then.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Parenting Crossroad

I think I have reached a parenting crossroad.  I've lost my effectiveness, probably because I've also lost my cool one too many times. I've noticed that yelling and screaming rarely elicits obedience.  But yelling and screaming is my first reaction when they are being deliberately disobedient.  I have to tell myself over and over again to remain calm, that screaming at them won't get me anywhere, that spanking them is even less effective, but I just can't seem to listen to myself.  Often, I let my emotions get the better of me and take control.

I need to be more effective.  I need to let my children reap the consequences of what they sow.  I think that part is hard for me.  If they do not clean up the room like I asked and I've given them a time limit and the consequence is getting something taken away, I need to take it away.  It's far too easy, for the reason of avoiding tears and further conflict, to just give them five more minutes.  But I need to be firm.

When my kids get home from school, they are supposed to empty their backpacks, so I can see any important paperwork, they can put away or throw away returned work, and they can clean out their lunchboxes so I have them ready for the next morning.  Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes yelling at them to do it.  They still didn't.  I finally realized that I need to let them sink or swim.  If they don't do the required task, they will reap the natural consequences.  If their lunchbox wasn't cleaned out the day before and they don't put their ice pack in the freezer, then they will have no ice pack and I will send them to school with trash in their lunch.  If they don't give me the papers they need signed or get their homework done, they will reap the consequences.  You want your child to be successful.  The thought that not turning in homework, something that you could make sure they get done, could affect their grade substantially, is quite painful.  It's hard to let go.

So today I make a commitment.  I commit to stop the yelling and screaming.  I commit to tell them once, perhaps give them one last warning, and then let them take the consequence.  Sometimes I will have no control over the consequence and that is what scares me, but I need to let go and let them learn in their own way.

Sometimes, it's tough to be a parent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Chalked Up

Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics' Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic DreamsChalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics' Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic Dreams by Jennifer Sey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book really gave an inside look at elite gymnastics, some of which I was familiar with and some that I never really knew. I thoroughly enjoyed it, having been deeply involved in the competitive element of the sport from the age of about eight until I was about fifteen/sixteen. It sort of made me glad I stopped when I did, that I had the experiences I had but quit before it became as intense as it did for her.



For me, this book was a good read because I was so familiar with the feelings she had. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the inside world of elite gymnastics.



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Seeing Myself Through His Eyes

I wish I could see myself through another person's eyes. Often, we talk about seeing ourselves through our Creator's eyes. That's definitely a good perspective to consider, since He loves us more than we can know and even understand. He sees our strengths, strengths we don't know we have. He knows how to make our weaknesses strengths also, something we don't really know how to do.

But I'm not talking about seeing myself through Heavenly Father's eyes, or even the Savior's eyes.

I'm talking about seeing myself through my 6-month-old baby's eyes. The way he lights up when I'm around. How he's always grabbing at me. How he's always smiling at me and staring at me. It's quite obvious he thinks the world of me. Sometimes I look at his smiling, chubby face and want to tell him, "You don't even know the real me. You only know the mommy me."

Apparently, that's good enough for him. So why can't it be good enough for me?

Maybe if it was good enough for me, I wouldn't have such a hard time with insecurity and self-esteem. Maybe if I could see myself the way that my six-month-old sees me, I would be happy to be who I am and not always wishing to be someone else.

And now I must go and feed him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: The King's Daughter

The King's DaughterThe King's Daughter by Christie Dickason

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I'm torn between how many stars to give this book.  In reading, as in any other entertainment, I like it to be clean.  This is why I tend to gravitate toward juvenile fiction (young adult/teen) because generally, there is no outright sex.  That is my disappointment with this book.  The story is really good and I enjoyed the read, mostly.  I skimmed the chapters that were mainly about sex, though (chapters 39-44) and even though it was alluded to throughout the book (she is a princess whose primary purpose in life is to be wed to produce heirs, so it was a topic she wondered about), I was disappointed that the author felt she had to go into such graphic detail about it when such details were completely unnecessary to the story.

However, I was intrigued by the historical aspect of the book and am now curious to do more reading and research into the European royals and the history there.



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Entitlement and Growing Up

A book is out by Linda and Richard Eyre called The Entitlement Trap. I have not yet read this book, although it's definitely on my read list, but based on the articles published about it, I've had some thoughts.

It is very obvious to me that we live in an age of entitlement, that much is certain. My husband and I have tried in our parenting to steer clear of this "entitlement trap" by saying no, by expecting our children to earn things they want, by requiring chores as a contribution to how the family runs, etc. But I'll admit, it's not always easy. It's fun to buy stuff for the kids and see how excited they get.

I don't think that I do it so much because I want them to be happy or to have what I might not have had as a child. I think I had a pretty darn good childhood and don't feel deprived really over not owning anything. Although, I must admit, I have purchased some toys for my daughter because they were toys I always wanted but never got. (I need to explain about that. I never got those particular toys probably because I never asked for them for birthday or Christmas and nobody ever knew I wanted them. When I wanted them, I was supposed to be too old for such toys, so I was even too embarrassed to go out and buy them with my own money that I earned from baby-sitting.)

I think that the reason I want my kids to be involved in activities and have fun playing with toys and all that is because I want them to enjoy being kids. I remember when I was a kid, all I wanted was to grow up as fast as possible. Being a grown-up seemed like so much fun.

Now that I'm a grown-up, I realize that being a kid was carefree and, in a lot of ways, more fun than being an adult.

Did you ever see that episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel are going to go running together, but then when Phoebe runs, she just lets it all go and runs like she did when she was a kid? And then Rachel is embarrassed by how Phoebe runs, so she sneaks around to go running to avoid running with Phoebe. I think the writers really hit the nail on the head on that one--how it was to run when we were kids. It's the same for any type of play. We might have the occasional moment where we get into the playing like we did when we were kids, but that is rare. More often than not, when involved in imaginary play, we are sort of the directors, giving ideas and watching from the sidelines, not really involving ourselves in the actual play.

So I think that often when I'm buying my kids toys I know they don't need and it's not a birthday or Christmas, I think I'm just wanting them to enjoy being a child because it doesn't last long and it's the only shot at childhood they get.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not disagreeing with the notion of an "entitlement trap". I'm just realizing that not everything we do as adults or parents is to try and make our kids' lives easier. Sometimes there's another reason.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Incivility and Marriage

I've been thinking a lot about the problem of incivility these days. It's so rampant. People are loud, obnoxious, and completely uncivil toward one another in the world today. I know incivility has always existed, but now it's the norm.

Don't like how someone is driving too slow? Cut them off.

Don't like how the McDonald's employee got your order wrong? Cuss him out.

People seem to have forgotten the saying my mom always used to tell me: "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Do people even know what that means? That if someone isn't treating you right, treat them right and they will come around. This works with customer service people.

Now, I make mistakes and have had those days where I'm totally ticked off and I call the customer service line and give them an earful. I'm not shy enough to admit that. But let me tell you something. I have had much better success with customer service by being polite and kind than by being rude and harsh.

It's amazing how when you're nice to someone, they are much more willing to be nice back.

I was thinking how this applies to marriage.

In our world, children do not always get an example of civility from their parents and sometimes they are not taught kindness in the home. Some siblings are expected more to stay out of each other's ways than to become friends. They aren't expected to help each other out or to serve each other or to really even be civil.

If this is the case, how can they learn to be civil to a spouse?

I think that one reason marriages fail in today's world is because people simply aren't civil to one another. The Golden Rule has been thrown out the window. People think "why isn't he treating me right?" instead of thinking "what can I do to show him more love and treat him better?"

I started thinking this when I learned of yet another failed marriage of an acquaintance. The reason? I don't know all the minute details of their marriage or what else was going on, but I do know that this particular lady is no lady at all. She's crass and rude and is generally not a nice person, so it's almost not surprising that her marriage failed. If she is that horrible to people she is not married to, how does she treat her spouse at home? Usually we are worse at home than we are in public.

I think we need to stop and teach our young people to treat each other kindly. To always try to look for the good in people and to live by the Golden Rule.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tutorial: Making a High Chair Pad

In 2003, when our oldest was a baby, we inherited a high chair from my husband's mother.  She was living with us, so we all kind of shared it.  When we all moved on from that place, we took it with us.  She had actually gotten it from my husband's brother, who had the only grandchild for a while, so she could use it at her house.  When we first got it, it was in pretty good condition.

However, three children later, the vinyl pad was pretty torn up.  So, in 2007, when our 3rd was one and we were expecting baby #4, I bought some super cute fabric with the intention of making a whole new pad.  The cushioning of the first pad was also completely shot, so I'd have to start from scratch.  Then I had baby #4 and then we moved twice and it kept getting shoved aside.  In fact, I had to save the high chair a few times from getting tossed out by my husband each time we moved and each time we cleaned out our garage. 


Now, baby #5 is starting solids and ready to start sitting in the high chair.  Since I already had the fabric and the batting, it would cost nothing to make a new pad, whereas buying a new high chair, even used, wouldn't be free.

So, yesterday, I pulled the old vinyl pad out (which we'd also been carting around with us, so I could use it as a guide).  I traced the pad onto some quilt batting (2 layers), then I traced that batting onto the fabric, leaving a 5/8" seam allowance all the way around.  (Materials: about 2 yards of fabric, thread, quilt batting)




Then I started sewing, wrong sides together, around all the sides and top, leaving the bottom open to put the batting in.  Unfortunately, I realized after I had already sewn the pad cover and put the batting in and was getting ready to sew the bottom shut that I'd forgotten to make a slip-cover to pull the top of the pad over the back of the high chair to secure it in place.  So I had to unpick the whole top of the pad cover and then figure out how to sew in that slip-cover.  But I managed to do it.  After I had sewn the pad closed at the bottom (after re-sewing and putting the batting in), I used the custom button hole stitch on my sewing machine to make the hole for the seat belt to come through.  I also stitched a few lines in the fabric to hold the batting in place for when I have to wash it.

And the finished product look pretty great!

Before:

After:

Pretty cute, huh? Now, all I need to do is find some belt fabric and re-do that and the chair will look practically brand-new. Doubt I'll do that, though.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Change of Seasons

I don't like cold weather, but I love the change of the seasons. I like when summer cools off and turns into autumn, and leaves change their colors and fall to the ground. Schools starts, a fresh new year for learning. I like the holidays that autumn brings--first Halloween with all the decorations and costumes and treats, then Thanksgiving with the delicious food and family. I love how it turns colder and the first snows come and then comes Christmas and hot chocolate with marshmallows and sitting by the fire. Then I love how it gradually warms up and buds start popping up everywhere, little blades of grass poking through the snow, and little animals and birds everywhere. Then I love when it turns hot and school gets out for the summer and there is the feel of freedom in the air. The days are longer and the nights are warm with starry skies and fireworks popping. There is swimming and playing outside and Popsicles to eat.

I love autumn, probably because it's synonymous with back-to-school. You know, autumn leaves and school buses, kids playing on the playground, crunching the leaves, wearing jackets to the bus stop in the morning but layering so when the day warms up, they can take the jacket off. I just love the change of the season from summer into autumn, but probably because I love the start of a new school year.

I love buying new school supplies. I love the idea of a fresh start. In fact, I used to teach school, and while I don't really want to be teaching right now, at this time of year, I envy teachers and the fresh start they get. They get to set up their classrooms to greet a whole new batch of students. They get to make new plans and try new ideas and implement the old ones that are successful. I miss that part about teaching and every year as a new school year is getting underway, I wish I could be a part of it.

Welcome, Autumn!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Much?

How much is enough and how much is too much?

It's a pretty common thing for parents these days (maybe it's always been like this) to pick out something they want their child in and put them in it from a very young age and then add more and more things to their activity list until they are overwhelmed and exhausted.

In a way, it robs a child of an otherwise care-free childhood. But because the world is so competitive, parents want their child to have a leg up. I understand that.

I'm not really attacking other parents here. I just worry that I'm not doing enough for my children in that aspect. We can't afford a whole lot of activities, so often, we have to pick and choose. Our oldest took a community art class in the spring, and because money was tight, he was the only one enrolled in something at the time. This fall, I have signed my daughter up for dance and my older two boys will be doing flag football, but I don't have anything to put my 4-year-old boy in and I worry that I'm shorting him somehow by not.

That's the thing. I don't want to overschedule my kids; I'm kind of against that, actually. My fear is that I will miss something they are good at and they won't have an opportunity to develop their talents. After all, I wouldn't want them to waste a talent (see The Parable of the Talents). I think that childhood is the best time to learn new things. Not that you can't as an adult, but I spend my time and effort right now teaching my children and don't have a lot of time leftover for developing my talents. But I had plenty of time growing up to do that.

So how much is enough? My boys have been able to participate in a variety of different sports--baseball, flag football, basketball, and a little soccer and gymnastics. They've taken art classes and Spanish class. They take piano lessons (from me--it's free). But we don't have the funds, and I'm not sure I want to dedicate that much time away from family life, to have them participate so fully that they become extremely skilled.

What happened to the days where kids learned to play baseball and football by playing with their siblings and the neighbor kids and then if they wanted to pursue the sport, they played in high school?

These days, if your child hasn't been playing since, well, childhood, by the time they are in high school, they won't be good enough to compete with everyone else.

So that presents a dilemma in my mind. I don't know how to give them these opportunities without overscheduling and exhausting them (and my wallet).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New School Year

*image courtesy Google images

Summer is almost over and in a less than a week, my kids will be starting a new school year.

When my oldest started kindergarten, I went a little nuts buying new clothes and other things for school. I bought him a backpack more than one that year), a lunch case, school supplies, and new clothes (no T-shirts, only nice clothes) and shoes. I walked with him to school, took pictures of him lining up with his class, walking into the school, etc.

When he started first grade, he got a new backpack and a few needed new clothes items plus some school supplies that he didn't already have. I forgot the camera and didn't take any pictures.

When he started second grade and my second child started kindergarten last year, I bought them both several pairs of new jeans and a couple new T-shirts (yes, I downgraded from nice shirts). I don't remember even buying school supplies.

This year, the school hasn't sent us any sort of a list of supplies that are needed, and I'm not going to buy tons of school supplies in case they're needed if they won't be used. Like last year I sent them both with pencils, crayons, pencil boxes, and folders and neither of them used any of those items. Thankfully, those were things we already had.

They're boys. They don't care if they wear cut-off jeans and an old T-shirt to school. They do need new backpacks since last year's backpacks are pretty worn out. I pulled out and dusted off the lunch cases and they are in good condition, a little dirty, but otherwise functional.

So I hesitate to even bother with school shopping. I don't have a school supply list. I bought new jeans at the end of last school year (it was still cold and they needed them!) and those still fit just fine. I bought them new tennis shoes at the end of last school year. Other than a little dirt from camping once, those shoes are fine, not worn out at all. And they are perfectly happy with the lunch cases we already have.

So do I even bother? I just feel like it's nice to start school with something new, but I don't think boys really care. At least my boys don't. Maybe I should shop the clearance racks at Target or Walmart for some new T-shirts and spend $20 or less for the both of them, just so they can have something new.

So how much do you spend on back-to-school for each child? What do you deem necessary or not necessary?

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