Thursday, May 27, 2010

Social Awkwardness

I am such a dufus. I went to the CBC '10 Girls' Night Out tonight. But I really don't know anyone else there. So I stand there, awkwardly, like a wallflower at a dance, not knowing whom to approach since everyone else there seems to know at least one other person and are all engaged in conversation. I don't want to be rude and walk up to someone and jump right into the conversation, but nobody really invites you in either.

So, after about 20 minutes of painful discomfort, eyes desperately searching for familiar faces (why can't you bloggers whose blogs I frequent look like your pictures???), I finally give up and leave. I feel like such a schmuck. I just can't handle an uncomfortable social situation like that.

I won't be able to make it to tomorrow's daytime classes, since the husband had to work, but I'm planning on trying again at tomorrow night's social event. Let's see if I can beat 20 minutes. At least I stayed 15 minutes longer this time than the last time I attempted to attend a blogging girl's night out.

Mount Laundry

Lots of people think I'm strange, but I have laundry days. I do regular laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. I try to wash sheets and other bedding on Tuesdays, about every other week or every third week. I wash towels and the bleach load (husband's white work clothes mostly as well as cleaning rags) on Fridays.

When I do laundry, I wash each load and then I fold the load when it's dry. I usually have my children put away their own laundry. I try to do all that in the same day, preferably by dinner, so it's out of the way. It doesn't always get done, I admit. That's the plan, but sometimes the unfolded laundry sits in the dryer or laundry basket until the next laundry day.

Oh, and my kids separate the loads for me. They do it when they put their dirty laundry in the hampers. Yes, hampers. Two of them. One for whites and one for colors. Makes loading the washing machine a piece of cake for me. My mother did this and I borrowed the trick from her. And when I do bedding, I change the sheets before the wash load. That way, all I have to do after the sheets are washed is put them away. The beds already have clean sheets on them. Then the next time, I take the folded sheets from the closet to put on the beds and wash the other ones. A little extra work right up front, but then I don't have to worry about it the rest of the day. I hate it when I don't do it that way because I'm feeling lazy and then it will be bedtime and I'll realize I have to put sheets on all the beds!

So, how do you approach laundry? Is there a method to the madness or not?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Sacred Privilege

The bearing and rearing of children is a great sacred privilege and responsibility that I take very seriously.

That's why it makes me feel literally sick to my stomach to think of all the children who are born to parents who abuse and neglect them.

That's why it makes me feel so upset to think of all the children who are raised by homosexual couples who are gratifying their own selfish interests and not putting the best interests of the child first.

That's why I feel sad when I hear about and see all the children who are born to parents who are not married and/or are young teenagers.

I want to bring as many spirits into this world as I can to bring up righteously, in a home where the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is present and the holy priesthood is there.

I hope that I still can bring another spirit into the world. I don't know yet how things will work out. But I feel very strongly on this issue and very sad at the condition of the world in regards to the bearing and rearing of children.

I am grateful to have been able to bring four spirits into the world already.

*my daughter at 3 months

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Celebrity Friends

Okay, not really. I don't actually have any friends that are real celebrities. I have had acquaintances in the past that are now celebrities, okay, really only one. That's Jessica Simpson. She went to my elementary school and junior high. I have a video tape that contains her singing a solo in a junior high school choir production when she was in 7th grade and I was in 9th grade. She's also scattered throughout my yearbook from the school year '92-'93. And that year, I helped her and a bunch of her friends get ready for cheerleading tryouts. She tried out and made eighth grade cheerleader. We moved the following year, so I have no idea if she did 9th grade cheerleading or not. I know she wasn't one in high school.

Sometimes I read the Yahoo articles that are about celebrities and their fashion no-nos. I was reading one that was highlighting and grading many on the red carpet and realized that I am always drawn to Salma Hayek. She just seems like a nice person. Whenever I've seen her on talk shows, I've always been impressed with her.

So I wonder. Which celebrity could I be friends with given different circumstances? I think Salma Hayek and I would be friends if she weren't a celebrity. Or maybe if I were one. Hmmm. Something to think about.

What do you think? Which one(s) would you be friends with?

*photos courtesy Google images

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Old Favorite

What are your favorite movies? What are some movies that you can watch over and over again and not get sick of? Have you ever gone through phases where you just love a certain movie and can't get enough of it?

This movie happens to be one of my all-time favorites. I was flipping channels last night and it was on, so I watched what was left. As always, after the movie ended, I was in tears and just felt happy. It's a great "feel-good" movie and has a great message.

What movie do you just love?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Old Magazines

I have tons of old magazines that I can't seem to throw away. I probably should recycle them, but our neighborhood doesn't participate in the city's recycling program. I'm not sure why we don't, or how we could get involved with it, but we are only tenants here anyway. So I guess we have to go through all the magazines and take them to a recycling center.

My problem is that I feel like I'm throwing away lots of information when I toss magazines. We have political magazines, church magazines, parenting magazines, and wildlife magazines for the kids. We also get the magazines that our individual universities put out to alumni, which generally only come about 4 times a year. I also get the magazine specific to my college that I graduated from.

I read the parenting magazines right when they come. Although I haven't renewed my subscription since it expired in December. I figure that most of the ideas the magazines have are just recycled and reused over and over and I don't really get much new information with each issue, although they are fun to read.

I don't always read the alumni magazines. I haven't really looked at the kids' wildlife magazines either, which was only a one-year subscription and has expired. The church magazines are completely accessible online, so I often wonder why I pay $18/month to have them. I read the Ensign cover to cover when it comes, but my husband doesn't ever look at it and my kids don't ever look at the Friend unless I force them to during Sacrament Meeting.

So why do I hang onto all these magazines? I don't like tossing them. I do usually go through them once a year and get rid of the past year's issues, but not until after re-reading every single issues to make sure I'm not throwing anything very valuable away and then I'll pull out pages or copy ideas for my files if there's anything good that I think I can't live without.

Does anyone else have this problem? Or something similar that they can't seem to clear away?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Too Fast

I didn't sleep so well last night. You see, we got some bad news this week. I previously wrote about our desire to have more children and how it doesn't seem to be happening for us. There is a reason for that. Apparently, I'm having some problems that are possibly causing infertility. And it turns out, so is the husband. Of course, there are more tests to be done. There are steps we can take. But it may not pan out.

Last night I slept lightly and restlessly and had uneasy dreams. Dreams about pockets that were full of holes and empty. Dreams about half-eaten papayas. At about 3 am, I woke up. I started thinking about it all. I hadn't really allowed myself to do that yet, that maybe if I just didn't think about it and went about my life as normally as possible that the problem would just go away and I would be normal again.

And then it hit me. If we can't have another child and probably won't take the adoption route (unless we have some spiritual inklings in that direction that are very strong, we don't plan on going that route), my babies are already growing up. My youngest is 2-1/2 and she's just growing so fast. And while I thrill at the idea of her turning 3, then 4, then 5 and starting school and watching who she will become, as I do with the others, it dawned on me that those days of a newborn snuggled up against my neck, sleeping softly, with pursed lips and fluttery eyelids could be gone. All the milestones that my daughter has already hit may be the last time I get to see those milestones in my own children.

And the flood gates opened. I couldn't stop crying. I feel like part of me has died. I feel devastated. I hate not having control over my body and that it is doing its own thing.

Then, at about 5:30 this morning, my daughter crept into our room and climbed into the bed on my side. She put her arms around my neck and just held on for a long time. That's not like her. She doesn't like to snuggle in bed in the mornings, she wants to get up and get going. She even fell back asleep for a little while in that position, with her arms tight around my neck, holding me and comforting me. It was like she just knew that I needed her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Old Testament

This year in Sunday School we are studying the Old Testament. I'm a little bit sad that I can't be in there because I'm in primary, because I don't know the Old Testament well at all. In fact, there have been times when a scripture has been mentioned and I can't remember if that book is in the Old Testament or the New Testament. But it is really hard for me to study the Old Testament alone, I just really struggle with it.

So now I am setting a goal to do the assigned readings every week and keep up with it so that I can have it finished by the end of the year. I realize that it's not the same as reading it cover to cover, but if I do the readings and use the study guide, maybe I will gain a little bit of understanding.

I just had to share my goal. If I share it, I will be more likely to do it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Career

I am a homemaker. That is my career. Motherhood is part of it, but not the whole part. In order to raise my children well, I need to make my house a home. I need to make it a refuge from the storm, a place where they can come to get reprieve from life's hardships, where they can feel confident knowing there is order amongst the chaos, there is love in a world full of hate.

Many women feel they lose their identities when they become mothers. I have felt that myself at times these past 7 years since I became one. But I think I wasn't focusing on the right things. I was focusing on my accomplishments, my credentials by worldly standards. But recently, I've realized that being a mother is who I am. Being a homemaker is my career. I may not get monetary compensation for it (or maybe I do--I'm the one who controls the finances around here!). I may not get promotions or incentives (no lavish 2 week trips to Italy all expenses paid if I meet my goals). I may not get one shred of recognition from anyone. But this is my career.

Think about it. In any other career, you strive to do the best you can. You set goals and you meet them. You try to maintain order. There are dozens of articles written, and books too, about how to succeed at all the various careers. How to dress, what to say, what not to say, whom to network with, etc. So why not engage that kind of devotion to the career of homemaking?

In the scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants 88:119, it says, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." How can I do all that and focus on a career outside of motherhood and homemaking?

I have adopted the mantra of In-N-Out Burger, a family owned burger chain that originated in Southern California. The founder, Harry Snyder, had one mantra: "If you're going to do one thing, do it well," is what he said. So my one thing is homemaking, and I am going to do it well.

Sure, I have my hobbies, like playing the violin. That is one of my outlets. So is writing. I enjoy many other things. But rather than doing those things separately from my homemaking, why not incorporate them into it? When I practice the violin, often my children will sit at my feet and listen. They want to hear the music that I have to listen to as part of my lessons, and we talk about the music. Because of my violin lessons, I am now teaching one of my sons to play the piano. My taking violin lessons encouraged him to try something new, something that interested him.

In homemaking, we cook, clean, and do various other tasks that some might find menial and unimportant. But I feel that even my scrubbing of toilets has an important part in keeping a "house of order" and making our house a home.

With other careers, you often have to learn new skills and sharpen old ones. Why not do that with homemaking? You might already know basic cooking, but why not learn to cook new things? Take a class to learn some new ways of cooking, or read a book and learn all about the science behind cooking and baking, which can then help you to create your own recipes.

My career is homemaking, which goes hand in hand with motherhood. That is what I do. I have this one thing to do and I intend to do it well!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lingering in the Shower

I love to linger in the shower. I always get in with the intention of washing and getting right out, but once I'm there, it's like a respite from the chaos of my home and I can't seem to get out. I'll just stand there, thinking of all the things I want to blog about, or thinking about my to-do list, or thinking about totally random things that cross my mind. Sometimes I'm thinking about our finances and I'll do math in the steam on the glass shower walls. When I'm done and ready to get out, I always end up standing there a few minutes more, letting the warm water run all over and soothe.

I have to admit, I do waste a lot of water when I take a shower. Unless I'm in a real hurry, like there is an actual deadline to meet (I have 20 minutes to be ready and out the door or I will be late for something), this happens pretty much every time I'm in the shower. When I'm home alone with the kids and am finally taking that shower, I really do mean to get out in a timely fashion, since I don't want to leave the kids unsupervised for too long. But it's so tempting to just stay in there until the hot water runs out.

Do you have a place that is a respite from your motherhood? The shower is that place for me.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My boys were drawing pictures the other day. I overheard them talking about their artwork and one of them said, "You have to draw lips on that one. It's a girl."

It made me stop and think. Why do we always think of men as lipless and girls as having lips? I myself am somewhat of an artist, and whenever I would draw people, when I drew the lips, they always looked like a girl to me even if the subject wasn't. Same thing with eyelashes. Obviously, men and boys have both eyelashes and lips, but it's weird that we think of them as not having them. At least when it comes to art.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hard to Let Go

Today I taught a lesson in primary on the priesthood. There was a segment on baby blessings, so I brought the blessing outfits that we blessed our children in to show my class while I talked about baby blessings--one for a boy and one for a girl.

The little boy blessing outfit is one that I made myself when my first baby was born. He was in the hospital for two weeks learning to suck, so during that time while I recovered and didn't have a baby to care for, I spent sewing the little outfit out of beautiful white satin. It was tiny and difficult, and I, being an inexperienced sewer, sought help from my mother-in-law who had come for a visit. We finished it and he was blessed at 6 weeks of age. We used the same outfit for the next two boys when they were born in the next few years. I had it dry cleaned several times and kept it stowed away covered in plastic for the future.

The beautiful little dress my aunt gave my mother when I was born. I was blessed in it. When I moved out on my own after college, my mom gave me a box of things that were mine--a baby book she had kept, a giant stocking in which I was brought home on Christmas Eve, and this little blessing dress. When my daughter was born, after all those boys, I was eager and excited to bless her in the same dress in which I was blessed.

Today when I pulled the outfits out, I was saddened to see they were both starting to yellow. I don't really know how to preserve clothing, apparently, since my blessing dress made it 30 years perfectly preserved and now, after only two years of me having it, it is starting to yellow. The boy outfit had a spit-up spot on it that I apparently did not catch, and I must not have had it cleaned after my 3rd son wore it.

I keep telling myself they are only blessing outfits, I can get new ones if we have more children, and my kids probably don't care much whether they are able to bless their children in the same outfits. But I am so sad at the thought of having to throw them away. Sometimes, things are hard to let go. Even if they are only things.

This is my oldest child in a four-generation picture.

(I couldn't find a picture of the 2nd son in the outfit in the digital pictures, so I must have one that was taken with a regular camera before we went digital. I'll look for it later.)
This is my 3rd son wearing the same outfit.

Here is my daughter in the blessing dress. If I can ever find a picture of me wearing the dress on my blessing day, I'll post that too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Leaving the Past Behind

I'm feeling the blues today. The reasons why cannot be explained here. They are too complicated, too personal, and too unreasonable. But I just feel blah.

Being here where I am reminds me of some dreams I had when I was younger that probably will never be fulfilled. It is this place, the very air around me as the seasons change, that leave me yearning for yesterday. I wish I could escape to another place. Yes, that is running away. But sometimes, the whole "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" thing works for a reason. I'd like to live in a place where my memories don't haunt me at every turn I take, everything I see.

Do you ever hear a song on the radio that takes you back to another time, another place? That is how it is with the mere change of seasons for me here. It is all around me.

When we decided to move here, I warned my husband that I've had these feelings every time we visited and that living here could be a problem for me. He told me that I needed to start making new memories.

I completely agree. It's hard sometimes to let go of the past. You can't change what happened. You can only go forward and make the best of things and hopefully, everything all works out for the better because we learn from our mistakes. That is what I have to do. I can't change the choice I made. I can't take any of it back. Sometimes you make a bad choice and you can repair the damage, but sometimes, when you make a choice, there's nothing you can do to alter the outcome. It is what it is.

So now, as the seasons change and winter melts away into spring, which dissolves into summer, I must make a new choice. A choice to make new memories and to leave the past behind me. To let it go and move on. It won't be easy. But it is necessary.

Friday, May 14, 2010


My favorite season is autumn. I love the colors of fall--the oranges, yellows, reds, and even browns. I love waking up on a crisp morning and how it warms up during the day and when the nights are clear and bright and just chilly enough for a jacket. I love the start of school, the smell of new school supplies and clothes, the excitement for another year of learning that's in the air. I love the anxious feeling for the coming holidays--Halloween, then Thanksgiving and the coming of Christmas. I love apple season and all the baking that goes with it--apple pies, apple streudels, applesauce. Just thinking about the smell of cinnamon and apples makes me hungry for autumn.

What is your favorite season? Do like autumn, like me, but for different reasons? Do like winter, all snuggled in a warm home with a fire glowing while the gray sky sends little snow flurries fluttering down? Or spring, as the earth warms itself up from the cold winter and new life is everywhere? What about summer, those carefree days of playing in the warm sunshine under bright blue skies dotted with white, puffy clouds?

Which one do you prefer?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Prayer of the Children

Ethan Stacy. Caylee Anthony. Kelsey Briggs. Brianna Lopez. Riley Ann Sawyers. Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary Yates. And so many others who suffered at the hands of their parents.

I am a child of God, and he has sent me here,
has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.

I used to sing that song feeling peace and joy that I was born to parents who were kind and dear and that my own children have been born to parents who are kind and dear (at least we try to be). But it makes me sad thinking of all the children in the world who are born to parents who are not. Now I understand that this is how parents should be and that Heavenly Father sends children down with the expectation that parents will rise to the occasion and become "kind and dear", at least that's what I believe He must do. But these parents have all fallen very short.

My heart is so full today. The story of Ethan Stacy who died at the hands of his mother and stepfather after a court battle that resulted in a shared custody has been all over the news. He was 4 years old. He was cruelly abused by his stepfather while his mother stood by and did nothing. Then, when he finally died of his injuries, they disfigured him so he would be unrecognizable and then buried him in a snowy canyon. At the same time, on the national news, there was talk of Casey Anthony, the mother of little Caylee Anthony, who was a month shy of 3 when her mother murdered her, and how she is seeking to get the death sentence revoked from her penalty. This made me think of all the little children who've been in the news the last decade or so with the same sad tale.

I don't understand how a parent could do this. It makes me question my faith as well. How could Heavenly Father send a child down to that, knowing that is how the child would return to Him? I love President Kimball's Tragedy or Destiny? but somehow, it doesn't seem to comfort me when I think about how these little, innocent, sweet children have suffered.

I like to think that the Savior himself welcomed these little ones home with open arms and held them close for a long time after such a tragic end to their mortal sojourn. That is one thought that does bring me comfort. I have read and studied Bruce R. McConkie's The Salvation of Little Children over and over after an acquaintance lost her little boy to a tragic accident a few years ago. I believe that I understand the doctrine, but my heart grieves for their suffering.

I don't know how others react to such sad incidences, but I cry. My heart literally feels broken when I think of these little children and what they endured. When I think of my own children and their sweet innocence at these ages, how they look at me with so much love and admiration, even when I'm not the most loving of mothers, I can hardly stand to think of what these people have done to their children. Makes me really look forward to the Millennium when we will be free of such evil.

How Schools Turn Reading into a Chore

I read with my children. Every night, they each get to pick one book and we all sit together and read each book out loud. It takes us as little as 20 minutes, but sometimes as long as 45. We read other times as well throughout the day, but that is the one time we for sure read each night.

Here in our state, the office of education is distributing summer reading calendars to every student. The students are to track their reading and earn rewards based on their reading. I supposed it's a good motivator for some kids and keeps some kids reading who might not otherwise read. But I feel personally annoyed by it.

And actually, that goes for all and any reading incentives or projects for kids to read. I am okay with the occasional book report. I think that is necessary to learn to pick apart a book and break it down into its parts--learn what goes into a good book. But to do it for EVERY SINGLE book a child reads? To calculate every single minute they spend reading and give them rewards based on that or deny them rewards based on that? I really don't like it one bit.

The summer reading calendar, is optional, of course. I probably won't fill it out. I already can't stand making my son fill in little circles for every night he reads. He also has to bring home "teacher-approved" books to read and do a report on every single one he finishes. That equates to about 1 book report every 1-1/2 weeks since he reads one chapter every night. He reads that book when he first walks in the door from school and then we read again at bedtime, something he chooses and actually WANTS to read.

I guess my gripe with it is that some kids are good readers and might be more motivated to read if they just read for the fun of reading. The more work a child associates with reading, the more they view it as a chore rather than entertainment. I really didn't like reading books for school very much, you know books like "The Grapes of Wrath", "A Tale of Two Cities", "The Brothers Karamazov", "My Name is Asher Lev,", etc. Having to take quizzes and write essays about books I never did like. I like to read because it's entertaining and enjoyable. Not that I don't like to talk about the books I read and pick them apart for literary value because I do, but I hated being graded on it. Sucked the fun right out. For me. My son is the same way. I can tell he views the chapter books that he brings home as a chore. But at night, when he can pick whatever book he chooses, we have a lot of fun learning about spiders, or the digestive system, or volcanoes, or wildfires, or sometimes listening to a good story about a moose and two ducks who travel to Florida from New Hampshire for the winter ("Duck, Duck, Moose" by Dave Horowitz).

So there, state board of education! I refuse to make my child participate in your summer reading program. We read enough without that incentive!

Oh, and my other annoyance right now is the new law they just passed here that will hold students back in grades 1-3 for not reading on grade level. I get that they need them to be able to keep up with the work in the next grade, but some kids just take longer to develop the necessary skills to read. So someone who might be brilliant in every other area will be kept back one year because they aren't reading at exactly the right level? I just think it's ridiculous. There needs to be more to the equation than just reading level.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bringing Refreshments

When I was in school, if my birthday ever fell on a school day (most years it didn't--it's four days before Christmas), my mom could bring in cupcakes to my class at school. Back in those days, most moms bringing in cupcakes baked the cupcakes themselves and it was rare when one didn't.

Fast forward 25 years. Now I'm a mom. My children have birthday during the school year and can bring treats. Yet, I can't bake the cupcakes myself. Whatever I bring has to be bought from the store and often, pre-packaged. Don't these people realize that whatever I bake at home probably tastes far better than any prepackaged snack cakes?

I do realize that some children have food allergies, many more today than did in my generation. But buying something from the store doesn't guarantee that there has been no cross-contamination. I also realize that some people, in the move from a generation that always cooked food at home to a generation that buys pre-made meals from the store, have forgotten the proper way to prepare food and therefore, foodborn illnesses are more common in this generation. But I know how to cook. My kitchen is immaculate, and I am a hand-washing fiend when I engage in food preparation. It really bothers me that because of the stupidity and carelessness of the few, the rest of us have to suffer.

The question is, when is this going to bleed over into church events and we won't get to share our skills as cooks and bakers? I love to cook and bake for others. I'm already sad that I can't do it for my child's class.

Of course, having to buy my son's classroom treats last week instead of baking them saved me time, so I guess it's not all bad. But I could have saved $10 by baking a batch of cupcakes from scratch. And they would have tasted better.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthday Parties

If I could be in charge, I would do away with the big birthday party. When I was a child, I was given one birthday party. In our family, most of us had it when we turned 8, but for some reason (and I really don't know why), my parents threw my party for my 7th birthday. It was a Cinderella party and I invited 7 of my friends. We played pin the shoe on Cinderella, decorated paper ballgown skirts (made out of butcher paper), danced around in those, and ate a cake that was the fancy gown of a Barbie doll, which I also got for a birthday present. Cabbage Patch kids were the popular toy that year, but they were expensive and hard to come by, so my mom made me a "Blossom Baby", a handmade doll that looked like a Cabbage Patch kid. That was back in the day when it was cheaper to sew and make new toys than to buy them. It was a great birthday. In later years, they still kept to that same rule, but when I turned 14, I asked for another party. I was granted my wish as long as I organized everything and only invited about 4-5 friends. We went ice skating and came back to the house for cake and ice cream. I had another party for myself when I turned 21, but nobody came because of the snowstorm that hit that day. That is the extent of my birthday party career (and for the first time, I realize that I had one every 7 years!).

Today we are expected to throw a huge shin-dig for every single child on every single birthday. The party has to have a theme and cake that matches the theme, all sorts of games. Many parents go all out and rent one of those bouncy things, or they treat the party gang to Chuck E. Cheese or some other place. There is usually pizza and everyone brings lots of presents.

I personally enjoyed having small, intimate family birthdays when I was a kid. Those years I had parties, those were fun, but most of my birthday memories consist of a fun cake (my mom always did fun cakes), blowing out the candles after singing around the table, and presents in Dad's chair. When I was 18, my parents treated me to lunch during the school day, not something they ordinarily did.

I have thrown 2 birthday parties so far with my four children. One was when my oldest turned 3 and then again when he turned 6. That year he turned 3, we had recently moved and I wanted to meet some people in the ward, so I invited anyone who had a boy in the nursery with my son, as well as some other close friends who had children that age. When he turned 4, he went with his Dad to a game place, like Dave and Buster's, but only because Dad had free passes through his work for that very night. When he turned 5, we had family in town, so it was a big affair even though we didn't have an actual party. He was in kindergarten when he turned 6, the first time that he actually had friends to invite, so when he asked for a Star Wars party a few weeks before his birthday, I said yes. It was a fun party, but cost a lot more than we really had to spend, plus was a lot of work. I decided at that time that I didn't want to do a party for every child every year. So this year, when he asked for a party, I told him no. We told him that he could plan games and activities but that it would only be our family for the birthday. He did plan games and activities, but two days before the birthday, starting throwing tantrums because he wasn't having a big party with friends.

So the question is, am I going to face this every year with every child? Should I say that we will have parties for only the big birthdays--8, 12, 16? And the other years it will be just family? Then, if we tell them now that is the plan, perhaps they won't be expecting some big party on the other years and therefore won't throw the tantrums?

What do you do to celebrate your child's birthday?

Monday, May 10, 2010


I know I'm about 13 years late for this movie review, but I can't help myself. It was on TV last night, and once again, like I always do whenever it's on, I got sucked in.

I really can't stand this movie though.

First of all, I don't think there is anything romantic about it. But my definition of romance seems to be different than the world's. I think them meeting on the ship and falling in love and him dying, that's all right. But why did he have to draw her nude? And why did they have to have a sex scene when they'd only known each other for a day? Real romance and real love respects, and this did not. It's not surprising, though, given the world we live in, but when there are elements like that in a "romantic" movie, it really sucks the romance out for me.

Second, it's based on real events, one of the worst tragedies in recent history. When I was in the sixth grade, I became fascinated with the Titanic. I was amazed at the engineering of the ship and the time period also intrigued me. It was a sad tale of man trusting in the arm of flesh and not giving God enough due credit by labeling a ship "unsinkable". But back then, I never thought about the families affected by it, the innocent people who died. Now, when I read about it, or watch the James Cameron movie, all I feel is sorrow for all those lost souls who erroneously believed that a ship could not sink. After watching the movie last night, I could not sleep, my heart was so heavy. Yet people still glorify such events, not really realizing the tragedy that it truly was. That is what I don't like about this movie--that although the love story between the two main characters is fictional, the events that surround it are real. I studied the Titanic a lot and read many books about it, and most of the events depicted are factual.

And third, the song. I hate that Celine Dion song because it gets stuck in my head for weeks after hearing it. It's like a broken record that keeps playing over and over again in my head.

I think drowning would be a terribly frightening way to die and I can only hope that those who suffered and died did so very quickly. So very, very sad. So, remind me the next time it airs on television to NOT WATCH IT!!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

When I was growing up, I never thought of my mom as a person. I only ever thought of her as a mom. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that--after all, being a mom was and is her life's work. I'm very glad I'm able to say that. But most of the time, she wasn't so much a person with a personality to me as she was a mom, someone there to help me up when I fell, to take care of the house and keep things in order.

One day, when I was about 17 years old, I was cleaning up in the kitchen after a meal. I don't remember everyone that was there--one or two of my younger brothers, I'm sure. My mom came in and started shooting me with rubber bands. Soon, all of us were involved in this huge rubber band war in the kitchen.

You have to understand, my parents were always so serious as parents. I don't think they started out so serious when they were young and unattached. In fact, I've heard some quite good stories about how un-serious they were in those days. Being parents made them more responsible and much more serious.

This little rubber band war had an impact on me. I realized then, possibly for the first time, that my mom was a person with a personality and even though a mother was who she was, she had other parts to her that she kept hidden often.

My mom really was a great mom, but sometimes I wish I could have known her before she had children and life became hard. Being a mom tends to change people from who they were before. Little glimpses like this one are very eye-opening. Now that I am a mom, I notice that about myself too--I don't always act like who I was before I had kids--I'm much more serious and busy now in ways that I wasn't before. I don't mean to, but that person I was before gets hidden from view when I'm busy wiping noses, changing diapers and doing endless mountains of laundry.

Happy Mother's Day! It's a great day to be a mom.

*photo July 2009--my parents, my five brothers and me

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tight Budget

I sometimes wish that I could spend money without having to worry about a budget. Just spend it without thinking about it, see something I like and buy it. I could do that when I was single and teaching school. At least in a more carefree way than I can now.

I just went to the store with all four kids to buy some supplies for the making of my oldest child's birthday cake. I was out of cake mix at home and needed to buy a few other things. While I was there, I was tempted to purchase a whole bunch of cake decorating supplies. But it's not in the budget right now and what I've already got at home will be good enough for the cake I'm making.

Then we went into the food aisles to buy his breakfast cereal. I swear, everything I passed looked good. Being thirsty and hungry and shopping is not a good combination. Even the soda looked good! I must have put about six different items in my cart that I later took out and placed back on the shelf, knowing that I didn't really need to buy it. Then we walked by the clothes.

My summer wardrobe is so sad. Actually, so is my winter wardrobe. I did get to buy a few new things last February with some money I earned on my own. I try to buy one or two things when I spot a really good clearance deal. But nothing I own is very stylish or nice.

It would be so fun to go shopping on someone else's ticket. Like winning a $1000 shopping spree to wherever I please. I would go to Ross and load up. Maybe hit up a store like JC Penney or Kohl's when they are having a good sale.

Some day perhaps. Maybe never. I guess I can live with that. I think warm spring days make me feel like I should be more carefree with every aspect of my life, like I did in high school on a warm spring Friday the week or two before graduation when I felt so free.

So I'll blame it on the warm spring day.

Shopping Regrets

Are you a regretful shopper? I am. Every time I shop, even if it's for something in particular that I've been saving up for, after I make the purchase, I always notice if the item I bought is a better deal somewhere else. Often, I'll do this for months afterward, regretting having bought the item at the time/price I did.

We bought bunk beds and mattresses this last month with our tax return money. We needed a new bed for two of our children, so we decided to buy a bunk bed for them to share. When we found one we liked, we decided to buy two and replace the other bunk bed we already had so that they matched. After finally buying the beds and setting them up, I got an ad in the mail from another furniture store advertising a much nicer looking bunk bed set, one that will divide into separate twin beds (something we didn't consider and currently don't have) for only about $75 more per bed than what we paid. It looks like a good deal. The place we bought our current bunk beds has a 90 day return policy, so technically, we could take apart the beds and take them back with our receipt, but that sounds like so much work! Plus they are pretty good beds and we were happy with our purchase at the time.

I do that with cars too. My parents always did it. They would buy a car and then constantly be on the lookout for a better deal.

And not just big purchases, but little things--shoes, clothes, sometimes even groceries. I just kind of hate spending money, so am constantly on the lookout for good deals, even after the fact.

Does anyone else do this? Does anyone else regret making a big purchase, even if it's one you saved up for and paid cash, just because it was so big?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bad Mom Confession

I have a confession to make. I'm a bad mom. You know how you're supposed to be all supportive of the school by volunteering to help out? I'll be honest. I don't want to go into my kids' classrooms and help out.

I know, I should want to. I have the time to do it. My husband is generally off two days a week on weekdays, so it would be really easy for me to go in at least once a week. And you'd think I'd really want to, having a teaching background. But I prefer to fade into the scenery, I'm not a take-charge person (other than with my own family), so when I go in to help, I'd rather just be handed a bunch of papers to help grade or some materials to prep for a lesson. I don't want to take aside a group of students struggling in reading or math and help them, unless there is a clear cut lesson plan for me to follow. I don't like winging it.

So there. That's my confession.

And to be honest...when I was a teacher, I didn't really like having parents come in and help. They got in my way more than they helped.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My New Life

This is very touching and inspiring. But be warned--you will need a tissue (or an entire box!).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pregnancy Cravings

When I was pregnant with my first child, I craved cucumbers. I had such bad morning sickness and the only thing that I could bear the thought of eating were fresh, crunchy cucumbers. I even kept an ice chest by my bed at night full of freshly cut up cucumbers for me to munch on when I just needed to eat.

Now that child will be seven years old on Saturday. He absolutely hates cucumbers. When I serve them, usually as the vegetable side, I peel them then cut them into slices. I serve them with Ranch dressing as a dip. Most of my kids love that, but my oldest still hates them. Getting him to eat just one slice is a successful meal when cucumbers are involved. And when he does, he has to douse the slice in about as much Ranch dressing as everyone else has put together. Kind of loses the whole health factor when he does that!

I wonder if he doesn't like them because I ate them so much when I was pregnant with him? Do your kids have anything like that, something they will eat or won't eat that correlates with something you would or wouldn't eat when you were pregnant?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Busy...But Slow

Have you ever had a day, a week, a month, even a year that just seemed to drag its heels? You are so busy, but time just doesn't seem to move at all?

That is how this last week was. I can't believe it's only been one week when I think about some of the things that have gone on here.

One week ago, on Sunday morning, we woke up to find little mouse poops all over the kitchen and living room. He/she (it, really, to me) was caught late Sunday night, between when I went to bed around 10:30 pm and my husband got home from work around 2 am. That was a huge relief!

It has only been one week of baseball games in the cold, rain, snow and wind for my boys. Seems like their season has dragged on forever, but the first game was Monday.

I went to Women's Conference at Brigham Young University on Thursday and Friday.

I still can't believe that it has only been one week. All these things and we only passed through one week!

One week ago, all the boys were in one room and my daughter was still in her crib. Now they are two sets of bunk beds in two rooms (my oldest boy is sharing with my 2-year-old daughter currently).

I mean, really, it's nice when time seems to slow down. The kids grow so fast, and time always seems to just speed by. But this week just dragged on and on. April didn't seem to want to end. My budget didn't like that (come on, May!--need to buy diapers but don't have the money in the budget until May starts!*).

*I did buy diapers in April, I just deducted the amount from May's budget.


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