Friday, January 27, 2012

Safety in Numbers, for those of you who run

A couple weeks ago, my sister-in-law went out for a run and she wrote about what happened to her:

Today at 10am I went for a long distance run by my house. During the run a white van with three men pulling a trailer slowed down to wave at me and then sped off. About five minutes later I saw them again where the running trail intersected the road. This time they pulled in front of me, rolled down their window and said 'hi' and I felt very uncomfortable. Had I not seen the men, I would have turned around and headed home like a normal run, but I didn't feel comfortable doing that because no one was around in the opposite direction, so I kept going forward (further away from my home) where the van couldn't follow me and where there was another runner ahead. The van pulled into a tennis parking lot and stopped. At this point I was very frightened, I didn't have a phone and knew I needed to get home. I took a different route along some well traveled roads. There was only one road that connected the previous neighborhood to the new neighborhood I was in (and it is confusing to navigate). Anyways, I told myself that if I saw the van again I would run for help at a house. Twenty minutes later I passed the road that connects the neighborhoods and started to feel at ease....that's when I saw the van pulling up a road parallel to the previous. They saw me and I starting sprinting to a house. I saw a man outside throwing something away and I starting screaming 'HELP ME!! THIS VAN IS FOLLOWING ME!! PLEASE HELP ME!!' The van FLOORED it to where I was, slowed down in front of me, and when they heard what I was saying, sped off. The man very curtly said he'd call the police. I asked if I could come in his home and he said no, went into his home and bolted the door in my face. At this point I was crying I didn't know where to go and was afraid the men would drive back. I ran into the backyard, and jumped three fences. I looked for a house with a car and some semblance of children. I found one and pounded on their door. The couple was kind and let me in. I was in hysterics and bawling. They kindly drove me the mile and half left to my house where I then called the police and filed a report. Sadly I didn't get the license plat number but I tried to describe everything else.

I said many pleading prayers throughout this incident to be protected and I can attest that I was. For those of you women who go running by yourself, I plead that you get a running partner. These scary incidents can happen at ANY time of the day. I'm so grateful I made it home okay and for the kind family that helped me.

I just wanted to post this for all you runners out there to be cautious and be aware. This happened to her in the middle of the day, so it wasn't dark out. It's a good thing she was alert and aware of her surroundings. I'm just grateful something terrible did not happen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: Gone With the Wind

Gone With the WindGone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I quite enjoyed this book. I have loved reading historical fiction, especially from periods of war, as I find them quite fascinating. I have only ever read books from the point of view of the North during the Civil War so this was the first time reading about it from Southern perspective.

I think Margaret Mitchell's book is very well written and mostly easy to read. The hardest parts were the dialogue of the slaves, most of which I had to read out loud in order to understand what they were saying. I have seen the movie many, many times and feel that 1930's Hollywood did a much better job of putting a book to a movie than Hollywood does to most books-to-movies today.

The more I read, the less I liked Scarlett. I was familiar with her character, having seen the movie so many times, but I feel that much is left out of her character in the movie that is there in the book. I find her to be equitable with other loathsome female characters, like Bella Swann in the Twilight series and Catherine in Wuthering Heights. I think the thing I liked the least, though, was how I could relate to her on some of her lower levels. Makes me want to rethink my life and my priorities in life feeling that I am similar to her in any way.

Overall, I enjoyed the read. Not sure if I would ever read it again, just because it's so long and I'm sure I'd skip a LOT of the war and history if I ever did read it again. I definitely agree that it was Pulitzer Prize-worthy. Would recommend that anyone who has not read it to read this book!

View all my reviews


I'm WAY tired!

That'll be WAY fun, let's do that!

I really can't stand the local colloquialism of Utah in the form of the word "way". I remember how much it annoyed me in high school. There was less of a problem with it in college because so many of my fellow BYU students were from outside of Utah, and I stopped hearing it. After being gone from Utah since 2000, coming back in 2009, that was one of the first things I noticed. Utahns still use the word "way" all the time.

My kids have started saying it.

I have started saying it. Nothing bothers me more than when that slips out of my mouth. I almost have to slap myself.

I heard the news anchor say it on the news this morning.

My seventh grade grammar teacher would be rolling in her grave (though I'm not sure if she's even passed on yet).

It's WAY annoying!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Moment of Joy

I have decided that I am going to try better and write about the more positive things in my life this year. My problem is that I often have a hard time seeing them. So yesterday, after I told my husband this little story on the phone while he was at work, I thought, I should write that on my blog!

We have been having enormous problems getting our baby to sleep well at night. Saturday night was no exception. He fussed quite a bit a couple hours after going down, but I let him fuss. He woke up around 1 am fussing, but I let him fuss. I normally let him fuss and hope he goes back to sleep (still makes me not sleep though) and only go in there to get him if he's really screaming. At 4:30 am on Sunday morning, he woke up screaming. I finally went in about 5 am and gave him a bottle. He wouldn't go back to sleep. Basically, that's how the whole morning went. I finally managed to coax him into a nap around 10 am but he only slept for one hour. He fell asleep in my arms at church, something that has only happened one other time with this baby (randomly falling asleep that is).

But after church, my husband went to work and I went home with the kids. We had our dinner and then the kids went upstairs to play.

My little boy loves to climb the stairs, and he loves to play with his big siblings, so he followed them up the stairs. I was two steps behind him the whole way to make sure he didn't fall. Once he got up, though, the kids didn't want him in their room since they were playing with Legos, so they shut the door. So I dumped out the bucket of Lego duplos for him to play with in the hallway and sat with him at the top of the stairs.

He picked up a Lego and threw up his arm, letting go so the Lego randomly flew through the air. It made him laugh, so he kept doing it. Then, once, he accidentally threw one down the stairs. That was incredibly funny to him, so he spend the next little while trying to intentionally throw the Legos down the stairs. He'd crawl carefully to the top of the stairs and peek over the edge whenever one disappeared down and then he'd laugh. Then, he'd hold his hand out to me and screech until I held my hand out and he gave me a high five. It was so cute and funny, I wish I could have video recorded it.

That was my moment of joy yesterday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Refreshing Friendships

Today I was able to spend some time with a former college roommate of mine. It's been a little more than a decade since seeing her last, as the last time I saw her I was newly engaged. In the time since, she has spent several years overseas and I have spent time teaching school and moving around the western United States and having my family.

One fun thing is that she and I have the same family makeup. We both have five kids--three boys, then a girl, then a baby boy. Her family is older, though, since she got married four years before I did, so her third child is the same age as my first child.

Anyway, it was such a refreshing day for me. I get to read her blog and she regularly reads and comments on mine. We keep up with each other via Facebook and email as well. But it was so nice to see her again in person and talk. I've had many friendships where things were a bit uncomfortable seeing each other for the first time in a decade, but this wasn't like that at all. I feel so rejuvenated after spending several hours chatting with her and watching our kids play together.

Isn't it wonderful when you can have a friend like that, where long-distance and lengthy separations don't seem to change anything? I am feeling much more positive and excited about things and I know it's from today's get-together. So here I am wishing her luck in her next endeavor, which is moving overseas once again with her family. Hopefully it won't be as long of a time before we see each other again!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Still Adjusting

Lately I've been feeling like I'm running to catch up. The thing is, I don't know what I'm trying to catch up to. I just feel like I'm not doing enough around here. I feel like my house is always a cluttery mess and I can't seem to get the motivation to do anything about making it look better. I have been trying to do this chore chart system that I set up last year but I can't seem to keep up with it. I can't seem to get myself out of bed in the morning to get going on my day like I want to. I used to get up around 6/6:30, shower and get ready, make breakfast, etc. Now, I drag myself out of bed at 6:30 and lounge around for an hour watching the kids get ready and they make themselves breakfast. It's like I've turned into this whole lazy version of myself. I've even been blaming my more "relaxed" husband on my laziness, thinking that his lack of action has rubbed off on me and since he doesn't care whether or not a task gets done, I have no motivation to do anything at all. And then I spend the rest of the time in my day stressing out about how I can't seem to get anything done.

However, after a lengthy chat with my mother last week, one of many lengthy chats actually (I've really become the needy emotional daughter lately too), I realized that I'm still adjusting to having five kids. I really had a good rhythm right after moving here in October 2009 until I got pregnant in August of 2010 and had bad morning sickness. I felt like I really had things under control. I was even doing things for myself--going out with friends to Girls' Night Out, taking violin lessons, involved in ward choir, hitting up every family social event and activity our community had to offer, etc., etc. The boys played baseball, we tried out tumbling and basketball and flag football.

But my anxiety and stress all stem from the fact that I feel like I have nothing under control anymore. My baby doesn't sleep all night STILL. Yep, he's 10 months old and still gets up 1-2 times per night, at least once to eat. His naps are still completely unpredictable. My kids are driving me stir-crazy because I don't have the energy to take them all over to be involved in different things. Right now, my daughter is in dance. The two older boys did flag football in the fall and they are doing an indoor soccer camp right now. The dance and soccer camp are both one night a week, one right after the other, so it's fairly easy that I only have one day of chaos. And even THAT is hard with a 10-month-old and other kids.

Having a Girls' Night Out just isn't happening with me lately. I'm too pooped by 8:00 pm to even imagine heading out that late. I can hardly keep my eyes open past 7:00. Even thinking about picking up my violin to practice wears me out. So does the thought of playing the piano. And forget about giving my boys lessons anymore. Right now, I'm having them review, review, review. They are to pick two songs every day that they've learned before and practice them. I just want them to keep it up but I don't have it in me to teach them.

When I did preschool with my 2nd, we did science and social studies and art and music in addition to math and reading. My 3rd child is just lucky we do anything at all. He doesn't really need it. He can already read the scriptures by himself and do adding, subtracting and basic multiplication. but I feel bad that we aren't exploring the world like I did with my older two.

So in talking with my mom, she made me realize that I'm still adjusting to that fifth child in the family. When he starts sleeping better and simply just gets older, I'll get my rhythm back. Until then, I guess I just have to be patient with myself. Which is not easy to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Am I the only one whose life is kind of boring?

Whenever I call friends or family, they are always too busy to talk. They are too busy to get together. They are busy, busy, busy.

I have five kids and many of them have less.

What are they so busy with that I'm not? Am I really missing something in my life that I'm not so busy? Am I doing something wrong? Why is my life so boring and theirs so full?

I can't figure it out. You'd think five children would keep me pretty stinking busy, but it doesn't. My kids are pretty self-sufficient. They can entertain themselves the majority of the time. I do try to plan things to do, but it's overwhelming to me to plan every little detail of our lives, so I don't. Am I lazy?

In a typical day, I wake up during the night to my baby's cries and often don't get back to a deep sleep at all the rest of the night. I finally drag my weary body out of bed around 6:30 am because that's when the kids have to start getting ready for their day, especially the older ones who are in school. After the kids leave for the bus, I shower if I haven't already. I do preschool with my two older kids still at home (ages 4 and 5). I put the baby down for a morning nap. There isn't a whole lot to do at this point. I'll get online and check blogs, maybe blog a little, check Facebook, check email. Sometimes I'll chat with a friend, but usually they are all too busy. After the baby wakes up, we'll run any errands or go to playgroup or go to the library. In the summers we'll go outside.

Lunch is around noon. Then it's naptime again. I'll often catch a snooze while the baby is sleeping and the kids are either playing, doing artwork (we have an art station set up that is always open), watching Nick, Jr. on TV or playing phonics games on the computer together. Sometimes I let them play the Wii during this time. Often this nap will last until the older ones get home from school. Then it's homework time, dinnertime and bedtime. Some nights the kids have dance or cub scouts or other activities, but I don't like to sign them up for too much because then it's just me driving them around to places with other cranky kids and not having time to make a proper dinner.

My day sounds pretty full, so I can't figure out why my life is so boring and I'm so un-busy compared to everyone else. What am I missing?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mom Guilt

I am suffering from really bad mom guilt recently. I let my kids watch way too much T.V. and play video games too long.

They have to earn video game time by earning tokens for doing their daily routines and their chores. Each token is worth 15 minutes of video game time and they are supposed to be limited to thirty minutes per school day and one hour on weekends. If they play a game together, they can combine their time and therefore play longer. However, I'm so exhausted by my life right now (my baby does not sleep all night ever and is up fussing sometimes for hours at a time) that I often let them play longer than their time slot, often all afternoon as long as the homework is done.

I really feel strongly that video games are not the best thing for their developing brains. But it's cold outside and I'm exhausted and it keeps them happy and busy.

Same with TV. I have two preschoolers. I try to not have the TV on during the day, but again, I'm so tired and if I can get the baby to nap, on rare occasions, the TV saves me by giving my kids something to do to keep them quiet while the baby naps and allows me to snooze a little too.

I feel like I'm squandering away the lives of my little ones by letting them use these devices so frequently and for such long periods of time. Last Friday, I let my 5-year-old play the Wii for THREE hours while the older kids were at school. I was too tired to stop him and it was too easy to just let him keep playing.

And now that I've let these things take over, when I tell my kids no, they cry because they're bored and "there's nothing else to do, Mom!" So now I've done to myself what I've always thought could be easily avoided by limiting video games and TV. I've made my kids bored when they don't have these things to do.


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