Friday, December 31, 2010

Recap of 2010

Did 2010 fly by as fast for everyone else as it did for me? I can't believe it's already over.

2010 brought some interesting events. I started taking violin lessons again in January of 2010. I was able to attend both BYU Women's Conference and the Casual Blogger Conference. I attended and finished a class called Just Moved for women who've moved to new places and finding ways to cope with the difficulties of moving. I was diagnosed in May with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and told that it would be difficult to conceive another child and then found out in July that I was pregnant with baby #5. I've spent the year teaching primary in church and trying to make friends in our new place. I've become reacquainted with some old friends who live in the area as well.

My husband started the year working out of one location and ended the year at another, with one more in between. His company started the year with four locations and ended with seven. We're hoping 2011 brings him a position of management, either at a new location to be built or at one of the old ones that may be vacated.

We bought our rental house. That was an unexpected turn of events, since we did a short sale on our house from where we moved. We happened to fall into a small group of people who'd had to short sell under certain conditions and were therefore able to buy again before the three year time period was up. It was a blessing to not have to move again, which we would have had we not been able to buy this house.

My oldest child finished first grade and got glasses over the summer. My second child started kindergarten in the fall. My third child went through a series of tests because of a sudden problem with his eyes that came up in September and is now wearing glasses. My daughter, my fourth child, potty trained before she was even three, much younger than my boys.

We had several health scares with our nearly 9-year-old dog and were afraid on more than one occasion that it was going to be time to say goodbye. Luckily, it wasn't and he is still around.

We were able to visit family in two different states over the summer and host a niece at our house here for several weeks.

A lot happened this year. I'm not sure how I feel about it all. I would change a lot of it, if I could, but I can't. I'd like to be starting out 2011 with my husband as a store manager instead of the second in command at his store. I'd like to be starting 2011 with five children already--I had wanted to have this fifth baby before September so my daughter and this child would only be two years apart in school instead of three. But I guess all things happen for a reason, whatever that might be.

Today I plan to sit down and write up some resolutions for 2011. I am a goal-setter and I have some definite ideas of what I want to work on this year. The hard part is picking and choosing what I might actually be able to accomplish and not set too many goals.

With that, Happy New Year, 2011! Goodbye 2010.

Church Callings

I have to be honest. I am NOT looking forward to my calling this year.

I have been teaching primary since last January. Before we moved here, I didn't have a calling for nearly a whole year. Before that, we taught the same class level out of the same lesson manual in primary. Before that, I was the relief society pianist and before that, I was the ward librarian. You get the drift. My callings have been less than exciting.

I have made up my mind to mostly just endure. Teaching primary is not my favorite calling. You'd think with my teaching experience that I would enjoy it more, but primary is a completely different setting than a public school classroom.

In the classroom, you are expected to set up rules and consequences. You enforce those and weed out bad behavior. You have standards and you have lesson materials and you keep the children engaged and focused. If they seriously act out, you send them to another classroom or the principal. You have conferences with the parents to track their progress and hopefully can expect some support from home.

Why is it in the church that many parents feel that primary is just a place for the kids to be baby-sat? They don't seem to care how well their children behave or even if they do, and they view it as the primary's problem? I know not all parents are like that, but it seems like a lot of them are.

I really don't like sharing time. It's so long and it annoys me how the kids can't sit and be quiet for any of it. We had a great primary presidency in both places that prepared good sharing times, but I noticed that a lot of times, they tell the children to be quiet and then continue on their lesson without actually waiting for the children to quiet down. There are no consequences for loud, noisy primary children, so they continue to be loud and noisy.

This year, my husband and I are supposed to teach in senior primary. The last few times, we've been in junior primary. I am not excited about this at all. I have a hard enough time being with little kids who love and adore you. I really don't want to work with older kids. And I'm quite sad that we won't be in sharing time at the same time as my other children, especially my daughter who is starting sunbeams this year.

And the fact that I will still have to prepare lessons every week because my husband doesn't ever contribute. If I leave it to him to do, he waits until Sunday morning, and I can't handle that. I don't want to show up unprepared.

Some day, I hope to have a calling I am at least enthusiastic about, but maybe that's my lesson. Maybe I will be stuck in primary until I get enthusiastic about it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dealing With Sick Kids

How do you handle dealing with sick children?

I get seriously stressed out, which is probably why I almost always get the bug myself. I don't sleep at night, and I am constantly on edge waiting for the next one to get it.

For the last two weeks we've been battling a horrible stomach bug that causes both diarrhea and vomiting for days and days. My oldest came down with it first. After three days, he seemed better. Two days later, it came back with a vengeance. After three more days, he seemed fine for a day, then it was back for three more. By Day 13, I was pretty worried. During that time, my daughter had one day where she had diarrhea and vomiting. Three days later, my second son had a bout of diarrhea. When we were at Day 13, I came down with it as well as my third child, who is now going into Day #4 of it.

Even though it seems everyone has had their run of it, I worry that the little bout my second child had of just diarrhea wasn't the same illness and that he is still going to get a turn with it. And that my daughter didn't truly have it either.

I myself spent time getting i.v. fluids and Zofran at the urgent care center on Tuesday morning from throwing up all night. And I do mean ALL night. I started in with the vomiting at 10:30 p.m. Monday night and it didn't subside until about 5 a.m. Tuesday. I literally slept on the bathroom floor, sitting upright (because whenever I would lay on my side, the stomach cramps would kick in hard and cause me to start all over again) on a towel (the floor was cold) with my back against the wall. It was a LONG miserable night.

Fortunately, my husband seems to have escaped it all. Or maybe he started it. It was only a few days before my oldest started that my husband had a bout with what we thought was some bad food.

Needless to say, he's been a gem in all this. I'm stressed out to the point where I can't even figure out what to feed the healthy kids, let alone the sick ones. He has been stoic and confident through all of it--administering blessings several times to my oldest and to me. He has slept fine during the night, getting up when the kids have needed us (two episodes of vomiting over the side of a top bunk bed=not fun) and helping clean up all their messes.

Last night, my fourth child seemed to be feeling better. He hadn't had any diarrhea or vomiting for at least 7 hours by bedtime, but he was still complaining of upset stomach. He didn't get up once during the night like he had the other three nights to use the bathroom or to throw up, so I'm hoping he's on the mend (he is, in fact, still in bed). But I'm still a little concerned that two of my children didn't seem to get the same thing.

I aired out my house yesterday in the freezing temperatures and washed all bedding, all towels and even the bathroom rugs. I used Lysol wipes on everything I could think of--door knobs, light switches, the stair banister, kitchen chairs, etc. And I thoroughly cleaned all the bathrooms.

I'm hoping we finally kicked this bug back to where it belongs. But every few hours I ask all my kids how they're feeling. This two-week long episode has made me paranoid.

Does that happen to you?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's a Material World

It really is a material world. Growing up, I never caught glimpse of all the materialism. Since becoming a parent, I can see how material it really is.

Take Christmas, for example. Now, we always hear about the "materialism" and "secularism" of Christmas. But I never really understood how it had infiltrated our supposedly humble LDS culture until this year. This year, in talking with friends about Christmas, I've found out that many of my peers, who share my beliefs, spend exorbitant amounts on Christmas and think nothing of it. Even if they don't spend a ton of money, they go to extremes (like waiting in a line overnight in subfreezing temperatures) to get certain gifts for their children or spouses.

Now, I don't have a problem with getting a good deal. But fighting someone in an aisle of a chain store at 12 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to get one of three Big Wheels for $88? Is it really that important that your child have that specific gift? For me, no material item on this earth would be worth getting up at midnight to get in line outside in subfreezing temperatures and try to fight off all the other shoppers.

Or the fact that so many people cannot seem to grasp the concept that just because it's Christmas, you don't need to go all out. I frequent random parenting message boards on the web, and often I see parents saying how they will get their kids whatever the kids want only because it's Christmas. Or they will forgo getting practical things (like coats, boots, clothes, etc.) and buy expensive, useless-after-one-week, toys that their children want "because it's special--it's Christmas!"

My sister-in-law told me her new method for Christmas shopping which I really like. I shared it with my husband and we decided that we'd like to do it next year and see how it goes. For Christmas, she and her husband bought each child "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." They additionally got one Santa gift per kid, but you could also do a family Santa gift. Then it stays simple, the kids kind of know what to expect and can give you very definite ideas of what they want within those categories.

But that's also something that I'm not sure I agree with. Getting the kids what they want. Do we always have to ask them what they want and get that for them? What if we see a great deal on something we really feel they will love, can we not get that because it's not on their list? Some of the best gifts I've ever gotten have not been from a list of mine. I don't always know what I want, it's nice to be pleasantly surprised.

In fact, this year, I saw an ad for a certain boot I wanted. I circled the ad. I went to the store and tried on the pair. I wrote down the size, color, and name of the shoe. Then I passed that information on to my husband. He did buy me those boots. I was glad for that. But in addition to buying that pair of boots, he also got me some really cozy slippers and a really pretty pair of red pumps that I had never indicated I wanted. I didn't need those other two pairs either. But it was so nice to be surprised Christmas morning. Likewise, I enjoy finding a gift that would perfectly suit my kids and giving it to them and then seeing them be excited about it, even though they didn't ask for it.

I had plenty of conversations with other parents, despairing that their children didn't know what they wanted for Christmas and so they didn't know what to get them. I'd say, look at their interests and get them something along the lines of that. Even clothing with pictures of my child's favorite characters would make my children happy.

Next year, I want to make all their stocking goodies. I want to do as many homemade gifts as possible, actually. I want to make Christmas less material. After all, the true reason for the season isn't the next ipod or the next video gaming system, is it? How do all these material things fit in with the real meaning for the season anyway?

That will be another challenge I'd like to overcome--focusing on that true meaning. It will be hard with the materialism all around us. I even get sucked into the materialism, even though I try not to. It's hard not to--after all, gift giving and receiving is fun, isn't it?


I must explain my long hiatus from the blogosphere. I actually have quite a few things I wanted to write about this month, but we've been dealing with some health issues and other things around here that have kept me from even reading other people's blogs as regularly as I'd like. Plus with Christmas, I was a little more stressed out this year than normal, feeling like I wasn't quite ready for the season. And every year I vow to begin my Christmas preparations really early so that I'm done by December 1st and can just kick back and enjoy the month. That certainly would have helped this December, as I've been dealing with a bad stomach bug in our house since December 15th. Sure, it's only been two weeks, but that is a really LONG time when it comes to stomach bugs. And before that, we had two birthdays in our family to celebrate plus a family visitor. And the boys started basketball, so it's just been crazy!

Hopefully, I can at least write a few of my December posts before Friday. I've also been working to update my family blog, so it's been keeping me busy today.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I hate change. Granted, many people struggle with it, but I really can't stand it. Anything small that changes in my world throws me out of balance and leaves me wondering what is wrong with everyone and everything.

Don't tell me to read "Who Moved My Cheese?" Reading books about how to handle change has never helped me. My dad used to gather the family around for a family meeting, or evening as an FHE lesson, and talk about change and how to cope with it. Despite all that, I really still don't like it.

I didn't like it when they took one of my favorite characters off my favorite show this season.

I haven't liked it every new season when they change their TV re-run line-up during the day. Now it's to the point that there's absolutely nothing on worth watching at all.

I don't like that the next door neighbors are moving, even though I wasn't very good friends with them, just because my kids will miss their kids and now have nobody to play with outside during nice weather except each other. The chances of having new neighbors with kids the same ages is slim indeed--this is the first place we've ever lived where there were kids that mine could play with on the same block.

I don't like it when my husband transfers to a new store, which hasn't happened since October, but still, I don't like it.

Why do my brothers have to keep moving and not just stay in one place?

Why do we have to keep moving and not stay in one place?

I'm still bummed about the fact that we're having another boy instead of a girl. Why can't my daughter have a sister?

My sister-in-law (husband's sister) came out to visit her sister (husband's other sister). When I was telling my mom about the visit and how there was no real reason for her to visit, she just visited because she could, my mom said, "That's just what sisters wouldn't understand." No, of course, I wouldn't. I've never had someone come visit me just to visit me and spend time with me. Not once in my entire life. And now my daughter has the same curse. It's just not fair.

I hate change. Even change in my favor tends to be difficult for me. My husband did not get the store he wanted for his job--he was in the running to get his own store but didn't get it. And the next round of stores that will have openings for managers are not within driving distance, so that will necessitate a move.

More change. Yuck.


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