Saturday, December 15, 2012

Real

I haven't blogged because sometimes it feels like there's just nothing to say.  Nothing feels important.
I moved and redid the chicken coop and I love it now.
But so what?
We have seen God's hand in our lives in so many small ways that bills no longer feel overwhelming.
But other people had their children die today, so I don't care as much about that.  I'm just grateful for the time I have with my loved ones, but feeling quite palpably the temporary aspect of it all.  How quickly life can be snatched away.
Maybe I'm depressed, but I don't think so.  I just feel extremely thoughtful of late.  Thinking of what's important.
And then feeling a bit of self loathing as I then tire of my thoughts and questions and retreat to Pinterest or Facebook hoping for an amusing meme.
My soma.
Igloo has started reading all those dystopian books again: 1984, Brave New World, etc.  so I started Fahreneight 451 again last night and saw so many parallels to society today my jaw dropped open.  Have you read up on common core?  I kept thinking about the new language arts standards as I read Bradbury's novel.  And I actually felt a little scared.  If you don't know, you can read about it at the Washington PostOr this piece.
We slowly, slowly cut the literature so that no one wants to read anything that makes them feel bad or makes them question the status quo.
It doesn't seem quite so outrageous to picture a generation that doesn't want to be bothered.  They just want their entertainment after 8 hours of work.  Because I do it and I know you've done it too.  And we write it off because the rest of the time we are politically active and caring and looking for ways to help others.
I guess I just don't want to become complacent.  And I don't want my children to become complacent.  I want us to keep talking about REAL things.  Important things.
And maybe that's when the chicken coop is important.  Because it's something real.  One of those tiny insignificant things I do make sure I go outside every day.  To make sure I'm connected to my food and the world around me so when bad things happen I can't keep retreating to meme's and craft projects.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finding Peace With Loss

I'm still depressed.
But I'm trying to keep myself occupied and it's sort of working.  I finally went to do dishes last night and my dishwasher broke.  Luckily it's only a $30 part (this is the part where Kim would comment about her perpetually broken dishwasher, ha ha!) so I'll be doing dishes by hand for a week.  I think it's a blessing in disguise.  Last time the dishwasher broke I was much better about doing all the dishes.  A dishwasher makes me lazy because I know it's there and easy to load so I procrastinate.  So I'm okay with it.
If the washing machine breaks I will cry.
I have been busy making handmade Christmas gifts and that has been a nice way to occupy my mind at night.  It's fun to think about the people I will give these to. Jack even said he wanted to start making jewelry and made me a bracelet.  I may have to suck it up and start wearing jewelry (it drives me bonkers!  I hate having things moving around on me) because he said he wants to make me all kinds of things.  I don't think I'll re-pierce my ears though.
I also started a goal of reading the whole entire Bible.  My in-laws gave us an ipad as an early Christmas gift (I know!!!!!) and I downloaded the LDS scripture app so I am reading the Bible along with the Institute manual and it's fascinating!  It's slower going, but I love reading all the commentary and explanations.
I also downloaded and NASA app.  Just for fun, but didn't realize how healing it would be.






I was just browsing through the pictures and was humbled.  Those aren't just stars in the last picture those are galaxies.  Billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars.  This life is such a blink in eternity.  We forget that because it's painful and it drags on and we're selfish.  But there's a whole gigantic universe out there created by a God who loves us- even when we're selfish and depressed.  It's hard to describe, but I look at those pictures and I feel God's love.  I feel like so much of what I worry about doesn't really matter as long as I am trying to obey Him, and I feel peace.
I'm still filled with grief, still depressed, and yeah, there's a little apathy.  I just don't want the apathy to take over.  So I look at the stars and feel gratitude for God's creations, and it brings me back.
That might not be what works for everyone, but if it helps anyone I figured I'd put it out there.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reflection

My friend passed away Sunday night.  As it turns out, she had a congenital defect in her blood vessels. The doctors discovered this during surgery and said she would have only lived for another 2 weeks even if she hadn't gone running.
I suppose it's a small comfort.  It feels less flukey and random.
I'm pretty upset about it still.  I went to her funeral yesterday and her husband and children spoke.  It was a really nice service, but it was so heartbreaking to look at this sweet little family and imagine the sorrow they must be feeling.  I am trying to focus on feeling grateful for the time I had with her, but it's hard.  Because we always meant to get together more, but then we didn't.  We took it for granted that only lived 30 minutes apart.
So I'm feeling sad, angry, regretful, depressed, apathetic....with moments of gratitude, faith, and love.
Her daughter said, "everyone prayed for a miracle, what we didn't realize is that she was the miracle."

Now why can't I feel like that?!

She's definitely her mother's daughter.  My friend had so much faith.  I guess I thought her family had been through so much already with a cancer kid, a head injury kid, and her kidney stones earlier this year.  It just seems cruel.  And I'm having a hard time getting past that.  I know she would want me to.  I know she would want me to focus on the good and cherish our memories.  Her blog was entitled, "Courage To Be Strong" and quoted their family scripture:
Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid,neither be dismayed, for the LORD thy God is with thee..." Joshua 1:9

So this has been a trial of my faith.  I don't understand it.  I am feeling just about ever emotion there is to feel.  But deep down, I know that the Lord feels our pains too.  That He wanted Kim to stay and raise her children and be a light to the rest of us.  But I learned after my dad died from cancer that God doesn't just heal everyone.  That sometimes it doesn't matter how much faith you have.  Sometimes death just comes.  Life means the good and the bad, the joy and the pain.  We rejoice when a new life comes and grieve when one ends.  It makes it easier knowing of the joyful reunion we will have someday.  I saw so many dear people at the funeral, it was like a mini reunion and someone said they think that's what heaven will be like and I think she is right.  It's so wonderful to see those people who are dear to you.
Kim quotes President Thomas S. Monson on her sidebar:

"If we do not have a deep foundation of faith and a solid testimony of truth, we may have difficulty withstanding the harsh storms and icy winds of adversity which inevitably come to each of us.
Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble - that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply embedded within us."

Kim was always a source of strength for me.  When I was struggling with my faith, she remained my friend and stayed an amazing example of what a righteous woman was and eventually helped bring me back to my church.  She never knew that.  I hope she knows it now.  I will be forever grateful to her and others whose lives showed me a better way.
I love my friend. My heart aches for her family.  They have a long and difficult road ahead.  I am so glad they have the gospel of Jesus Christ to help them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Prayers Needed

My dear friends, followers, strangers who stalk me on the net:
One of my best friends from childhood is in the hospital.  She had a stroke (she's 32!) and things aren't looking good. I have been beside myself all day wishing there was something I could do.  All I can think of is to get as many people praying for her and her family as I can.  She has 5 children all under 12 (and to top it off, her husband is the bishop in their ward!).  I don't know what God's plan is, but I believe in the power of prayer.  Please take a moment and get on your knees for my dear friend Kim.  She is the strongest, most faithful woman I know.  And the world would be a lot less bright without her in it.
Thank you!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I don't want to be in charge

It snowed today.  It was beautiful.  I'm sad because my camera is in the car and the snow had melted by noon so no pictures.  And then it snowed and melted again.  Just a typical October in Utah.  At least Halloween will be warm.
I spent most of the day getting ready for the Primary Program Sunday.  Programs are like moving.  No matter how early you start packing, there's always things you forgot so you're scrambling at the end.  Craziness!

You guys, I don't mean to complain, except that I do...because this week has really sucked.  I keep telling myself to be grateful that we don't have to spend $300/mo on drugs and some family has offered to help, but then things on the car break (electrical so it still runs), we get the bills from the doctor, things going wrong with the boy's upcoming baptism, and tonight Jack broke a tooth biting a pair of scissors.  He broke another tooth last month while trying to break apart some Lego's.  They aren't cheap to fix so I told him if he ever did it again I'd have the dentist pull the tooth.  I was dead serious at the time.  I've spent way too much money on those teeth to have him breaking them.

So now I have to have his tooth pulled.

And I really don't want his tooth to get pulled.  The orthodontist might pull it next summer, but we don't know yet.  So he'll have a hole for more than a year.  It's the canine on the right.
I want to be merciful, I really do, but I think having a hole in his mouth would be a fantastic reminder to never put anything hard in there.  And I want to be consistent with my threats and punishments.  Or am I going to regret it every time I see him smile or look at pictures.
Or will I be proud that I stuck to my guns so my kids know I'm serious about consequences.

I'm stuck on this one.  I don't have an "oh well" apart from, "oh well, we'll just call the dentist."  I'm tired of oh wells.  I've worn them out this last week.

Someone else be the parent.  Please?

Do you ever think bad things happen because something really awesome is going to happen?  It's pretty awesome when people offer to help you, I'm not ungrateful.  Tired, but very grateful.  But I'm tired enough that I was thinking more like lost stock market funds worth $200,000 awesome....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Things My Therapist Told Me

#1. "No one is listening.... until you make a mistake"
Today I found out I goofed something in Primary.  Well, someone else goofed, but I didn't catch it after 4 months.  So it's my goof.  And now I look dumb to the new bishop.  The #1 thing I hate is looking stupid.  My therapist told me to embrace those times I did look bad and remember them as a way to feel empathy for others and not hold them up to such high standards.  If I was perfect, God would have to take me and I don't want to leave yet, so I have to mess up. :)

#2.  "You're not tense.  Just terribly, terribly alert."
Sometimes it seems like on hard days you notice every little tiny bad detail. Of everything. And it all compounds into a giant ball of chaotic madness that you are sure will literally cause you're brain to explode.  Write it down. Write it all down.  Every little detail, just get it out of your brain and save yourself the hemorrhage.

#3.  "I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."
I got my scope bill today.  I have to have another scope after Thanksgiving and I have a CT scan I owe on.  I wont talk numbers, because it's still less than those meds would have been, but enough to be too much.  The bottom line: handmade Christmas.  Tumbleweed spent the last 2 days with fevers between 101 and 104.  I have 10398 things to do before the primary program on Sunday.  And my house still has not recovered from me painting it.  Mostly these medical bills are impossible!  I still can't figure out why I'm not freaking out.

I think I'm in denial.

No.  Just thinking, "Oh well. We wont spend money for Christmas."  Yay it works!  Actually, I can see so many ways we've been blessed with ways to save money in the past few months.  I can see now that it isn't so my kids can take gymnastics, but for us to still be able to feed ourselves.  I feel bad for my kids, but I know they'll get some nice things from other family member (EDIT: they'll get nice things from us too!  They just wont cost money!).  I also know that this isn't permanent.  I'm mostly annoyed that my rental property ate up ALL of our savings this year.  But I know people who are unemployed.  So I'm still feeling grateful we're able to have a rental.

Now, I need ideas.  What is your favorite handmade gift?

Oh, and you guys, stop letting me look at bills after 6pm.  I may not be panicking, but I haven't solved insomnia yet. kthnx!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some Thoughts on Anxiety

Some of you asked about my anxiety.  Short answer: copious amounts of therapy.
Long answer below:
I don't care to give out too many personal details, but I will include as much as I feel comfortable with.  I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder about 6 years ago shortly after a miscarriage.  I started getting panic attacks about social situations or even leaving the house at all.  My heart would feel like it was being squeezed and I felt paralyzed a lot of the time.  So I went to my doctor and got some zoloft and also went to therapy.
I cannot recommend therapy enough.  If I could afford it, I would go all the time.  Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit for you.  I haven't liked all my therapists.  Anyway, after 4 months of intense weekly therapy, I stopped having panic attacks, I was able to go back to church, and my marriage stayed intact.  I wish I could go into detail about what worked, but it was a lot of being honest with myself about myself and forgiving and just general self acceptance.
Fast forward to second baby.  I went back on Zoloft for post-partum depression, but started having situational anxiety. It was mostly me not being able to handle stress. I would freak out a lot when I felt stressed out.  It started getting worse 2 years ago, especially when I was made cubmaster.  I don't know what it is about Pack Meeting, but I simply couldn't handle it.  I had to get Xanax just to get through them.  As my husband puts it, "You were a wreck."  So last year I went back to therapy. My therapist gave me a lot of coping skills. Someday I'll have to find my notes of everything she said.  The main thing was accepting that I am NOT, in fact, an easy going, happy go lucky girl.
No.  I permanently have my panties in a bunch and have ridiculously high expectations of everything.  Being in denial of that only made myself and everyone else miserable.  Once I accepted that about myself, I was able to lower my expectations.  Irony.
My new mantra became, "oh well."  I practiced that a lot.  We forgot the flags for the pledge!  Oh well, we'll use one of our shirts with a flag.  Some didn't bring treats?  Oh well, we wont have them.
I would practice worst case scenarios.  What if I forgot the scout awards??  Well, worst case scenario: I deeply offend someone and manage to get released and never be put in charge of anything again.  At worst we offend so many people we eventually move.  Fine.  Then no one in the new area will know what a horrible cubmaster I was.
So I had a LOT of practice with this kind of stuff and eventually stopped freaking out so much.  I still didn't like pack meeting though.
Money has always been touchy.  I can really panic about money.  But last year I made friends with some people who had lost $200,000 on a house due to the real estate crash.  I couldn't believe it.  How were they coping!? 200,000!!!  Gone!!??  He was going back to school and they were renting a small apartment (with older teenagers) and it was fine.  Oh well.  Guess we'll have to do something else.
When the pharmacist told me how much my medication would cost I cried.  I tried calling my doctor and seeing what else I could do (nothing cheaper).  Normally I would have sat in my room or in the shower going ballistic with sobbing or doing something destructive. Maybe that was too personal.  Oh well. See!!  I did it again!  But instead of doing that I looked at our budget.  I looked at jobs online.  I looked for manufacturer coupons.  Oh well.  If we don't treat it, it will only get worse.  Maybe we'll have to sell the piano. Oh well.  (that was hard.  I love my piano)
So that's what worked for me.  I recommend therapy for anyone who suffers with anxiety or depression.  Sometimes you need medication, but sometimes you can get to the heart of what's really bothering you and that can lead to healing.  My prayers and sympathy are with anyone struggling with mental illness.  It's a very tough road and what works for me may not work for you.  But hang in there.  It's worth it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Answered Prayers

Today my prayers were answered fifty fold. We spent much of the night discussing how we would pay for my medicine.  This morning I decided to shop around and see if we could save $20 or so.  I decided to check with my insurance to see if they had any ideas.  They referred me to their pharmacy in SLC that does their mail order drugs.  I called and was told they have an out of pocket cap of $150 for a 90 day supply!!  I almost swore in shock but caught myself, afraid they'd hang up on me and I'd be lost.  So instead of  $1800 I'll be spending $300!  Relief doesn't begin to describe it.  I dare to hope that I can be free of pain now.  Now it may seem like the answer was there all along, but I truly feel like God led me to the answer I needed.
Yesterday was despondency.  Today is hope.  Tomorrow is chocolate.
Also, I have to mention how proud I am of myself. Years ago I would have been in a panicky anxious mess. I cried a lot yesterday, but not even a small panic attack.  Only my husband really knows how huge that is.  So with ridiculous amounts of therapy and plenty of drugs, there's hope for anxiety. :)
A few weeks ago I saw a conversation on a blog (I can't remember whose) about trials. Someone suggested that the idea that God wont give us anything we can't handle doesn't seem true.  One commenter said (wisely) that it was true. God will give us things we can't handle. But He wont give us anything we can't handle without His help.  I am finding this statement to be more and more true for me as time goes on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Scope

Well, I had my bladder scope today.  I would love to say, "well, that was an experience I hope I never have to have again!", but I have to have another in a month....so oh well.
My doctor is really nice so that helped.  Most of my bladder looked fine (and weird!!!, but cool!), but right where it connects to my urethra is was all red and splotchy.  Unfortunately this is also where the scope was hanging out so every time it touched the bladder wall I yelped in pain.  But that didn't happen too much.  The worst part was the potassium solution he put in my bladder. This is the test they use to confirm Interstitial Cystitis.  If you don't have it, it feels like water.  If you do it hurts like hell.  Literally like salt on an open wound.  Luckily he emptied it after I yelled, "Holy Mother of Pearl!" (like my primary president swearing there?  I'm trying.) so it didn't last long.
So basically he said it's like the lining on that part of my bladder is gone and every time my bladder gets urine in it (ummm all the time), the acids are further damaging the lining.  The good news, it's early stage and he thinks he can cure it in 6 months with a drug called Elmiron-think of it like pepto bismol for the bladder.  The bad news: Elmiron is crazy expensive.  WITH insurance I'm looking at $300 a month.  yeah...we don't have that.
So I don't know what we'll do. Unfortunately, because of this condition I have to pee all the time and can't really go out and get a part time job.  Igloo is thinking of getting another one, but I worry about his health from working that much.  Maybe we just credit card things until we get our tax returns.  You know, the tax returns that were supposed to go toward fixing some things on the car.
To say I feel guilty (and cynical) is an understatement.   I know if it was any one else in the family I would tell them not to worry and we'll deal with it and it isn't their fault. Why doesn't it work when I tell myself that?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chickens, Laptops, and Paint

I didn't write anything last week because it was fall break.  And I wanted to paint!!  I have been soooo sick of the brown.  And I finally found a color I like at ReStore.  I can get 5 gallons of paint there for $30 so I have a hard time getting paint anywhere else, even if I could get perfect matches there.
I went in expecting to get something bright and colorful and came out with something the color of mint ice cream.  It's the color of the base of orange tulips and I fell in love with it.
It looks very grey here.  It's much lighter than this.
I have been pinning picture from a website called Design Seeds for months and planned to keep the tan paint and go with something like this:


I still love that one, but my favorite was the lady bug.
I have brown tiles and didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, but I'm doing it anyway!  So there!!

So that's what my living room is turning into.  The lighter color makes a HUGE difference.  I've been in denial about small homes and light paint color, but now I'm a believer.  Now my problem is finding the right curtains.  I was going to go with redish orange, but it ends up looking like an old lady lives here.  So we'll see what I can find.

Completely switching gears now.  One of my chickens has been soooo sick.  We've had Fortune and Glory for a little over a year now.  Fortune hasn't been laying well all summer.   We figured we were lied to about their age and maybe we were.  Her last egg was VERY brittle and I got worried when I checked the coop Sunday and found her away from all the other chickens looking very listless.  I found what looked like yolk under the roost.  Her vent was pulsing like she was trying to lay or poop and she had diarrhea/egg all over her abdomen.  She looked positively miserable and wouldn't eat or drink.  Her eyes were swollen and her comb had fallen over.  When an egg breaks inside a chicken it is often fatal as it can cause infection and internal bleeding.  We didn't expect her to make it through the night, but she did!  Monday she was even worse.  She could barely walk and spent most of the day lying on the ground.
I spent lots of time on backyardchickens.com seeing what could be done for her.  Her poop had become bright green at this point which they said was from not eating.  I bathed her and kept her clean so flies would leave her alone and we held her and tried to feed her some favorite foods. She finally ate some Quaker cereal Jack gave her and had a little water.  After that she was standing and I gave her a plump, juicy tomato and she practically attacked it!  The morning she has been out grazing with the other girls and while she is still slow, her eyes are bright and her comb is standing up.  We're feeling very hopeful she'll make a full recovery!

We opted for a second laptop (switching gears again) instead of a tablet and I'm glad we did.  Munchkin has preschool online, Jack has latin, typing, and spelling, and I have to submit school work and do primary stuff and check the all important facebook.  One computer is no longer enough.  So we got an open box Asus at Best Buy yesterday for $40 off (yay!!).  They still haven't called us to pick it up yet.  Also, Igloo doesn't have his new smart phone.  So we're feeling annoyed with technology distributors right now.
I'm still a little in shock about just going out and buying a computer, and I'm trying to remind myself the school will reimburse us.  It's still weird though.

Hee Haws

I kept meaning to post last week about our trip to Hee Haw farms.
But I didn't.
So now you get two posts in one day.  The rest of you do it too, don't deny it.
Last Monday we went on a homeschool field trip to Hee Haw farms.  The kids pet goats and pigs and ponies, picked pumpkins, and we went for a hay ride.  The coolest part was that a sow had just gone into labor and had given birth to 5 piglets and we got to watch the 6th be born!!  It grossed out Jack and intrigued Munchkin.  Made for a good science lesson about mammals.

new piglets!!!

My little animal lover
Petting area.  Pigs, goats, and sheep
I love how Tumbleweed is too small here.


This girl was like the goat whisperer.  It was cool and a little creepy.
This is SO Jack.  He's so serious!
Munchkin would only do silly faces.
Tumbleweed was just happy to be among pumpkins.

Giant pumpkins!!!
Playing in the corn box.
The kids LOVE the corn box, which is basically a sand box filled with corn.  It's a lot of fun.  Last year we went to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point as well, but didn't have nearly as much fun and paid almost 3 times as much.  We plan on making Hee Haws an annual tradition.  Later this week we'll head to pumpkinland at Vineyard gardens in Orem.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tablets

With the home school program we're in, we get money to buy supplies for school.  I have $175 left over and need to spend it soon.  So we've been debating between a refurbished laptop, a laser printer, or a tablet (probably a Nexus).
The thing is...why do I need a tablet?  I mean, we have some old ipods my brother in law gave us so get how cool apps are and everything, but isn't a tablet just like a really big smart phone?  Or is there more to it?
Someone enlighten me.
I like computers.  They may not get apps, but they have dvd drives.

Exciting things to know:
2 of our new chickens (previously known as "the chicks") have started laying!!  AND my husband ordered a smart phone!!  That's HUGE for our family.  He may even send a text now!!11!!one!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Visiting Teaching Treats for General Conference

Confession: I have not been a very good visiting teacher since I become the primary president.  I know, you're all shocked.  Me too.
But luckily for my ladies, when I miss them, they get chocolate instead.
And since General Conference is coming up, I decided I wanted to give them something; a little something to snack on always helps me feel the spirit more.  So I made these:

The contents include a can of Pringles, a bottle of Smart Water, Reeces Piece's, and m&m's.  I also attached a little message to each treat (except the Pringles.  I just like Pringles.)  I also gave those with young kids some conference coloring pages from sugardoodle.net.  I love sugardoodle.
Now, please keep in mind that I have zero photoshop skills, and in fact I don't even own photoshop, so this is my mspaint product.  But feel free to use/improve.  Or not.  You can also feel free to tell me that I am NOT clever and should never try to do cutesy things like this.  But honestly, since I don't ever create cutesy things, I'm feeling rather proud of these. :)
My favorite.

My son likes this one.  The homophone-incorrect spelling thing is bugging me though.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to do for a drink.  But these were on sale. 

Okay, now be honest.  What do you think?  Anyone else do things like this at conference time?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

late night blogging

Tumbleweed fell asleep early so now guess who gets to be up were with at midnight?  Girls night!!!
(I'm trying to be super positive right now)
So, what the heck.  I'll blog.
Henry died.  He got moldy and I had to throw him away.  Anyone else find it ironic that my yeast died from a fungus?  So I think I'm going to spend money this time and buy a start from an actual company.
My chicks STILL are not laying.  I finally took my 2 older hens out and have put them in solitary confinement.  They were just plain mean and pecking everyone.  Plus they're molting right now and just need to be by themselves.  Meanwhile, I have zero eggs coming in.  And I have now become an egg snob so store bought eggs just wont do.
We bought a water softener.  I wanted it for the appliances and my husband wanted it for his and Munchkin's skin.  Wow!  I didn't expect much, but not only is her hair easier to comb, but eczema?  what eczema?  It's practically gone.  I still need to see how winter is, but for now she can eat wheat again!!  hooray!

Maybe it's just in my head and I don't say it or blog it (I'm not sure), but sometimes I feel like all I do is complain about my kids.  Not sleeping, not cleaning, not doing school....  But today I feel like bragging about my kids.  Today was a kid braggy kind of day.  After all, isn't that what we mommy bloggers do?  They're geniuses, you know.  All of them.
Tumbleweed is probably my smartest kid.  I asked if she would like mashed potatoes tonight and she said, "why of course, Mother, I would.  Thank you."  What 2 year old talks like that!!?  She's got the alphabet and sounds down already.  Not unheard of, I know, but it's the earliest for any of my kids.  Must be the lack of sleep.
Munchkin lives in an imaginary world and is always telling stories about what happened there.  Tonight I told her it was time to go to bed and she was telling me about how she had to get one of her pets dressed (I think it was a bird) so it could go find food.  "He's nocturnal, you know."  And then because she thinks I'm a simpleton she explained to me what nocturnal meant.  I'm serious about that, by the way.  My four year old talks down to me all the time because she thinks I don't know things.
Jack started a unit on fractions today.  We were supposed to do a review of what we learned last year before he did his workbook but he wanted to do it without me.  I forgot he didn't have a workbook assignment though and there he was, adding fractions and putting them in simplest form (tomorrows lesson) without even being taught how!
See!  Geniuses.  All of 'em.  They get it from Igloo.  If I was a genius my fungus wouldn't die.  /bitter

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crazy Sunday

Today felt a little nuts.  It started with ward council for me at 9am (a meeting for leaders in my church), then my husband had a meeting with the stake at 10:15.  I finished getting the kids ready for church and we headed out where I then made copies and tried to get things together for primary.  While sitting in the pew, I noticed Tumbleweed's leg.  She hurt it yesterday while jumping on falling off the couch and hitting the coffee table.  Within a few minutes it was swollen and hard like a bee sting, but she was walking so I thought nothing of it.  Until Sacrament meeting was about to start today.  The injury now looked like a second degree sunburn and the blisters seemed to be growing right before my eyes.  They were huge!  I've never heard of anything like that.  So after the meeting I set up primary chairs, let the prelude go long, and found the only registered nurse in the ward to see what she thought.
She said sometimes fractures create blisters and it might be broken.  She was complaining about her leg and was pretty fussy, so I had Igloo take her home and put ice on it until I could leave church.  Yep, I had to stay. :(
There's been quite a few Sundays already that both my counselors were gone and it hasn't been too big of a deal.  But today it sucked!
I wanted to take my daughter to Instacare and I couldn't.  I was needed for part of music practice and no one else could fill in.  To top it off, I have a sore throat and was hoping to just stay home today.  It was really frustrating.  I'll stop whining now.  :)
But we had fun in primary.  The kids got to dress me up when they answered a question right.  I had on a crazy dress and accessories, a wig and hat, and mismatched gloves.  The kids were laughing a lot and it was fun.  I've never left the church so fast though.  I went home and grabbed my girl to get an xray.
blister and swelling 
 The main blister had popped but there were other small ones around it.  Like a second degree burn with swelling.  The doctor took a look at her and told me that little kids with broken legs don't walk and she was walking just fine.  But I asked him to xray it anyway.  He did and found no break. So we both puzzled over why her leg looked like it did.  He insisted she must have been stung by a wasp or something.  I insisted she hit her leg on the table corner and this was the wound.  Finally he said, "It just looks like her leg is having some kind of allergic reaction."
And then it hit me. Duh!  "She has urticaria pigmentosa.  Would her mast cells release a lot of histamine with this kind of trauma?"
Bingo!
So since I get a few UP parents looking at my blog occasionally I figured I'd post some pictures and write about it.
Urticaria Pigmentosa 24 hours after injury
Urticaria Pigmentosa blister
Before this, the only injuries she's ever had were abrasions, and those looked like other kids scrapes.  But bruises might be a different story, we'll see how future injuries react.  And she's never had blisters with UP, just hivey red spots.  So, if you're child has UP and gets an injury that does this, save yourself some money and get out the Benadryl. :)

Back to my life. Primary Program script is finished!!!  I'm taking a leave of absence from church! ;-)




Friday, September 28, 2012

The Waiting Place

Do you remember that from "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss?

The Waiting Place
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

I have to wait 3 weeks for a test to find out what's wrong with  my body.  Don't worry, I had the ct scan a few days ago and haven't heard back yet so it's not cancer. :)  I've had blood in my urine (and pain!!) for a few months so they're just running all the tests for that.  But the waiting sucks.  Can we just be done already?

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the Subject of Health

Do you blog about your worries?
I wonder this a lot.  When I find out I'm pregnant I want to blog about it (I'm not, btw). But there's an unspoken rule about the health topics you can share with others. You can blog about anything comfortable: a 2nd trimester + pregnancy, a cold or flu, or even your struggle with cancer or depression.  Because people know what to expect with that.

But we aren't allowed to blog about waiting.  Waiting to see if a pregnancy will stick, waiting for test results, waiting for news about your husband in Afghanistan.

Why is that?  I know some people break the rules.  I've seen blog posts about pregnancies within hours of taking a test.  I've also seen posts that say, "Oh my gosh they're testing me for stomach cancer today!!"  And then 2 hours later after 2000 comments about prayers and "thinking of yous" that person posts, "What a relief, it was just indigestion!"  But then everyone is miffed because they were made to worry for nothing.

And yet...think of what that person is feeling at that moment.  They're in pain, they're scared, and they have no answers and they feel alone.  All they want is to share what they're feeling so they don't feel quite so alone.  But that isn't allowed.

It reminds me of when my dad died and during the viewing everyone came through and was so upset and my mother and I felt like our main job was to comfort others and appear strong.  It was weird.  Weren't we the ones suffering the most from his loss?  But breaking down was not an option, even though it was we wanted to do.  Instead we let polite tears of sorrow fall down our cheeks while in the presence of others.  I'm not upset about that, but it seemed odd to me.

How private does one need to be about these things?  We don't want to upset others, but how often have you gone to google, hoping to find someone who has blogged about exactly what you're going through?  Maybe that person will give you hope that you might be able to keep your unborn child or that they didn't hear from their spouse for a month and they still came home from war.  Or maybe you just need to be told, "it's okay to worry.  Because I worried too.  And you're totally normal."  In the world of blogging, where does politeness give way to honesty?




Thursday, September 13, 2012

Summer in Pictures

One of my friends who is busier than me did this for a blog post and I liked seeing it so I decided to do the same.

This was Munchkin's last day of gymnastics.  She has a real natural talent for it, just like her brother.  Unfortunately, gym rates are $60+/month per kid.  I read of girls on the Olympic team whose parents spent 6 figures a year on gymnastics training!  So we'll have to find something else for my contortionists.

This picture was just awesome.

In June we took a trip up to Logan to visit granny.  She's pretty awesome.

My new nephew!!  He's adorable and I love my older brother for naming him after our dad.

Since I avoid putting my kids names on here you only get to see part of what I did in Jack's room.  I spelled out his name with the periodic table since he's really into chemistry right now.

The last week of June took us camping to Payson Lakes.  Beautiful.  But a little too busy at the lake.

This is where my husband is great to camp with.  He's really good at making fires.  There's something primitively comforting about having a man who can make fire.

This was our first year marching in the 4th of July Granite parade.  The kids loved it, but got tired toward the end.


I went on lots of garden tours this summer.  My favorite was a home in Orem where the whole yard is converted into food production.  There are boxes going up the house and this picture is of their roof!

Another camping trip.  This time we went up Mirror Lake Drive and found a campsite we loved!  And since we were some of the only people there, I'm keeping it's location a secret!

My dad's favorite place.  I hadn't been here since shortly after he died and it was nice to return again.

The kids being creative in the backyard.

Pretty much the cutest picture ever.

If mom wont buy you lawn chairs, you improvise!!  :)
It wasn't too crazy, but it did seem like there was something every weekend.  It still feels like that!!!  :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life and Henry

Well the last few weeks have felt busy, but I can't figure out what we did.  I had a bunch of church things that kept me busy and I'm still tweaking the homeschool schedule.  I have to admit I'm loving Wednesdays.  It's nice to have a day to just catch up the house/do laundry without interruptions and be with my girls.  Jack is mostly enjoying his classes too.  He still gets homesick and scared of the sewing machines, but one of our neighbors just started teaching there so I think it helps him to know she's just down the hall.
I am really loving being the Primary President.  September is hard though with the upcoming Sacrament Program.  Luckily we have regional conference next week and then a temple dedication the week after so I have 2 weeks to get my stuff together!! :)
Jack's allergies are getting much better!!  I love you Patanol.  For science we got an electronic circuitry board.  It's used and the batteries were left in so it corroded some of the terminals, but we're hoping a trip to the electronic supply store can fix that.  He's really excited to use it, but after doing the first project I think it's too advanced.  We'll just see what happens.  I've got my eye on some easier looking ones on Amazon.
Munchkin started UPSTART, her preschool program, and after only 2 weeks, both she and Tumbleweed are counting to 20 without mixing up or leaving out numbers.  She's getting more confident in reading as well.  I really love this program!
Both she and Tumbleweed are my singers.  These girls sing ALL the time.  It's hilarious, annoying, and endearing all at once.  I'll try to interrupt them and Tumbleweed has started shushing me.
I also got out winter clothes and have discovered that Tumbleweed is starting to wear the clothes that Munchkin has just outgrown.  It's funny and sad for Munchkin at the same time.
It's been illness month!!  I've had an infection, Tumbleweed was getting hivey spots (the hives are new), and Munchkin had one of her fever's hit while we were at a picnic.  Sure enough Prednisone cleared it right up for her and no sign since (Love modern medicine!).  I'm debating another trip to Primary's.  The fevers are sporadic now and not following the old pattern.  I'm not sure if that means anything or not.  But since I know they don't hurt her I'm not in a big hurry.  As long as I can keep the prednisone prescription.
She does still have diarrhea though so I'm going to try something new:  I'm going to bake with live yeast.
I got myself a pet yeast and named him Henry and he's just starting to grow!!  I'm excited.  And yes, I named him.  It's so I'll think of him as more of a pet and be less likely to kill him.  I got the idea earlier this year from a book called Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency by the Mormon Pioneers.
It's an awesome book!  The author co-authored a new book I just got called The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast


Also a great book that teaches you everything you need to know about baking with a live organism.  Why am I going to all the trouble?  The live yeast pre-digests gluten and has other benefits that make wheat easier to digest.  That, and you never run out of yeast.  It's like a sourdough starter, but without the sour.  Once Henry is big enough (a few weeks) I'll let you know how things turn out.
I may even get around to posting some pictures!! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Week of (Home) School

Hey!  Look who's blogging!
I'm getting the hang of being the primary president and we're adjusting to life with all the neighbor kids back in school.  Last week was the first week of a new school year.  Yes, I'm blogging about it late.  So there you are.
About a month ago I got an email that we were chosen from the wait list of a charter school that works with homeschoolers called HarmonyEd.  They have various programs and we picked one called Options Day.  So now Jack gets to go to school once a week and take fun classes and the other 4 he's home with me.  I have had quite a few neighbors talking with me about homeschooling their kids for various reasons, so I wanted to write a little more about that.
During the summer he does whatever math he needs to polish (e.g. mental math and multiplication tables), reading, and we just watch Bill Nye, Magic School Bus, and play geography games for the rest.  So starting back up with our all day schedule was hard for Jack.  He had a meltdown the very first day when he had to write out numbers like "fifty-three thousand nine hundred seventy-five."  Not my favorite thing either, but it took him a whole hour to do FIVE of those.  If it weren't for writing, homeschool would be a dream.
The next day we decided to visit the dinosaur museum.  I like to do at least one field trip the first week of school.  I was surprised at how busy it was!  Poor munchkin obsesses over loves dinosaurs, but gets very overwhelmed by crowds and noise, so we had to skip all the hands on exhibits, but we had fun anyway.  Wednesday, Jack went to school and I ran errands with the girls.
Mistake.
I want to make Wednesdays fun for us and not just a day to get stuff done since I have one less kid with me.  So I need to change that.
Jack gets to take some really fun classes!  This semester he has karate, sewing, nature studies, mixed media art, a writing class where he writes a story and gets to have it printed, and greek history.  He was so excited he woke up at 5 am and ended falling asleep in his classes. He got pretty homesick too and anxious with some of his classes, but liked it overall.  He also managed to bring home some pretty severe allergies.  Poor kids eyes were practically swollen shut yesterday morning!  I took him to the doctor for an infected toe blister thingy and walked out with $100 in allergy prescriptions.  But they work!!!  So it's worth every cent!
Back to school stuff though:
Here's the breakdown this year of my curriculum that I'm doing at home:

  • Singapore Math (4th grade!! Yes, I do feel a bit braggy about that)  We're also using the Life of Fred books, which are AMAZING, and a book called Spatial Reasoning once or twice a month.
  • I'm using the Well-Trained Mind curriculum for grammar and writing.  He still detests writing so I'm limiting it to this for now.  He's using Handwriting Without Tears for cursive.  I love this curriculum.  His handwriting improved so much last year and the lessons were short enough we didn't have battles.  Well Trained Mind is pushing it with him this year since I added the writing on top of the grammar.  But he needs it.  He'll also be doing a typing program, Spelling City (dot com), and Latin.  
  • For science I got an inventing book and we'll be focusing on simple machines this year.  I also plan to get a K'nex or Engino set to go with it and maybe an electronic circuitry board.
  • History isn't too exciting.  I have the Kingfisher Atlas of World History and we just finished the Dark Ages and Africa/Asia in July.  This year will be Renaissance and Exploration (1450-1800).  He reads a page/topic twice a week, summarizes it to me, and has projects and readings to go along with it.  Next year we get to do Utah history and that means LOTS of field trips.  That'll be more fun!
Munchkin is slowly coming along with reading, not nearly as fast as Jack, but that's because she prefers to draw and color instead.  I get comments from people all the time about her coloring ability and I wish I knew how to help her with it.  She gets as much paper and crayons as she likes, but is still to young for formal instruction.  When we do practice reading she prefers to make up her own story instead of reading the words.  It's awesome.  She'll be starting UPSTART in a few days.  It's a fantastic preschool program that her brother used.  We were on the waitlist for that as well and found out today 600 families didn't get to do it so I'm feeling REALLY lucky. 
Tumbleweed is toying with the idea of potty training but isn't quite there yet.  Maybe another 2 months.  Her talking has exploded and she's at the age where she says awesomely funny things.  We're finding that she has a very serious side and she is often chiding us for laughing at jokes and being too silly.

I'm trying really hard to stick to a cleaning/home maintenance schedule, but most days my mind is up in the mountains wishing I were camping.  We've taken some fun camping trips this year and hope to squeeze in a few more before the snow comes.
I'm also trying to get things ready for the Primary Sacrament program in October.  Which means my stress level is terrorist red right now, but somehow it seems manageable.  Weird.  I say weird because I had a lot less to do as cubmaster, but couldn't manage the stress at all.  I think I'm still just grateful to be out of that calling. :)
The yard has fallen by the wayside this summer.  I just wasn't able to keep up with it.  So now the weeds have taken over again and the grass is half dead.  But the chickens are all doing well (still no eggs from the newbies!), and I have tomatoes and zucchini so I can't complain, right?

I want to try to do weekly updates, maybe even with pictures, but who knows.  Need to go to sleep now.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May

May started off wonderfully with a dump truck backing into my driveway and the next few weeks hauling wheelbarrows of dirt.
Heaven.

I also got to meet my awesome nephew whom I've never seen before.  That was cool too.

Shortly after the month began I received a distressing (to say the least) phone call from a beloved family member.  I don't care to go into details, and I've been trying to find an example to equate it to.  And my mind draws a blank.  They're making some life choices that affect everyone around them and all I can do is just love this family member and I'm not sure how that will work when I don't support what they are doing. And it has deeply affected me.  The next day I went to talk to my ecclesiastical leader who gave comfort and then added to my stress.  He called me to be the Primary President.
For those not of my faith, he was asking me to be in charge of all the children 18mo to 12 years old in our church.  It's a huge assignment.  And everyone thinks I'm crazy for saying yes.  But I gladly said yes. I knew that this really was a call from God and it came exactly when I needed it to.
And I knew it was the Lord's way of strengthening me to deal with this trial.  I am humbled and awed at how He works in our lives.

My mother, meanwhile is seriously dating.  It's good and cool.  But stressful.

The pine wood derby had drama involving parents who don't see any problem with winning at all costs and ended up with my between caught between a rock and hard place and having to compromise my own integrity for the sake of one boy.  A boy who really needs scouting in his life.  That was hard.
And then my grandma almost died (internal bleeding. colon removed.  Stable now.)

So I had written May off.  One of the hardest ever.

And then a miracle happened.

I got to begin and end the month with nephews.  My newest nephew was born four days ago and named for my father.  And suddenly everything that felt so stressful and difficult didn't matter so much.  Because I had one of those glimpses of eternity.  And I saw my family together and healthy and no distressed anything.  And suddenly May became the month I became stronger.  It was that month in my life where I truly began to rely on the Lord.
And today I officially became the primary president and I am EXCITED!!  I was scared and nervous and feeling inadequate, but this past week I simply felt peace.  I love the kids at church, even the difficult ones (just don't ask me about the parents :wink:) and get to serve with some awesome ladies.  I'm ready June.  And I know I can handle whatever you bring.

(I honestly don't know what will happen to this blog.  I hope I have time for it, because I love blogging.  But we'll see.  I hope you come back occasionally.)


UPDATE:  My cousin was kind enough to remind me that the water main at our rental also broke in May.  You know, just in case you didn't think I had enough stress.  There really was more. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Away

I wasn't going to do the "taking a break from blogging" post because I didn't know how long I'd be away.  But now it's long enough that I simply want to say hi to my lovely readers and let you know I'm still alive.  The past 3 weeks have been some of the most stressful I have ever had to deal with and I've found myself needing to pull back and focus on the essential and necessary things, and not so much on the nice to do things.  Sorry blogging, but you are a non-essential.  I am also not reading other blogs as much as I find myself on the internet less and less.  I miss you.  I have found that being online has helped me in many ways, but it has also caused me more headaches from misunderstandings then anything else.  Maybe I'm simply not the social networking type....
(UPDATE): I re-read this this morning and thought "my goodness I sound depressed!"  I'm NOT :)  Try to put a thoughtful, musing tone in there.  I'm just finding I'm getting less and less satisfaction from the online world and find gardening to be much more therapeutic.  Cheers!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Backyard

When I started gardening (in containers since we were apartment dwellers) my husband asked how much of our food I'd like to grow.  80% has always been the number I come back to.  And one of these years I will reach that goal.  And I will do it on a suburban lot.  I am determined.

So last week, my friend and I decided we would order wood chips and compost together and split the delivery fee.
There are few things more exciting to kids than having a dump truck back into their driveway.  
Except having a hot air balloon land two houses down a couple of days later.   Cool, huh?
"Queen of the mountain"
 So again, here was how it looked the day they were delivered

And here it is now

And I'm probably more excited than anyone else.  But it's finally starting to look less like an "under construction" zone and more like a garden.  
What we've done on the hill is our permaculture area.  We have 5 trees: gala apple, golden delicious, mormon apricot, 5 pears grafted onto rootstock, and lemon elberta peach.  The lower middle bed is a gooseberry bush and there's a currant bush up by the pear.  We plan to get one more of each and maybe some elderberry bushes too.  The beds will be filled with mostly edible perennials, herbs, and some beneficial annuals (like squash and legumes).  The goal is to create an environment where all the plants do something to help the others in the beds.  As things start to take off I'll write more about that.

The plan is to continue saving newspaper and mulch and fill in most of that hill with food.  We need to add grapes (which requires a trellis, which goes beyond our budget this year), more berries, and expand the beds more, but this is a good starting point.
The area on the left is my veggie garden.  I can't decide which I like better, permaculture/lasagna beds or french intensive gardening, so I'm trying both.  We'll see which one ends up being the most productive and if that requires more effort.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Backyard Timeline

We have done A LOT since we bought our home.  We started with a blank slate and had a vision of being able to feed ourselves from our own little bit of land.

Four years ago.
Three years ago.
Break for baby.

Last year.
Last week.
Tomorrow (I hope), you'll get to see how it looks now.  I think it's awesome.  And we're not done yet.  I'll explain everything in the next post.
Oh and can I just say how great it is to finally have our own ladder!!  We've lived here four years and always borrowed from neighbors.  Now I can finally take pictures of the whole yard from the roof!! :)