Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blurry Blogness & Other Stories


I am confessing a problem I have. I am a list-maker. (I know, shocker!) And I love to compartmentalize my life. Blocks of structured time are my friend. Otherwise, I tend to waste the day away. Of course, my kids love to de-compartmentalize my life. I seriously think they wake up in the morning thinking "How can we decompartmentalize Mommy today? AKA How can I best disrupt her well-meaning schedule and pre-arranged blocks of time?" But I digress. So after analyzing my blog-slump from the past week or so, I think I have it. And I also think I could make money by becoming a blog-slump analyst. I'll make some business cards for y'all to hand out. Anyway, I decided I love going to certain blogs and knowing what I'm going to find there each day of the week (On My Mind Monday, Thursday Thirteen, WFMW, etc), so I am releasing my alpha version of my new and improved Focused Blog Two Month Plan. Look forward to:

  • Mondays: Munchkin Monday (all things about my kids; now you can plan ahead to avoid me if you're sick of hearing about them)
  • Tuesdays: Deutsche Dienstag OR Take-It-Or-Leave-It-Tuesday (I'll either post a German post or a product/book/movie review post)
  • Wednesdays: Works-For-Me-Wednesday
  • Thursdays: Thursday Thirteen OR Tell It All Thursday (This is my catch-all for updates and any other randomness - I may even divulge a secret or two. Probably about DH - his secrets are juicier.)
  • Fridays: Free Recipe Friday OR Feature Friday (Either a recipe or I'll be highlighting a blog or website I like)
  • Saturdays: Short Story Saturday (Creative writing at it's best. Or worst. You'll be the judge.)
  • Sundays: Spiritual Recharge Sunday (Thought/scripture/lesson/quote - something uplifting, inspiring, testimony-building)

What do you think? Any topics you'd like to see? I am going to try this for a few weeks and see if I like it. It might not give me a chance to blog as much about my daily life, which of course, is oh-so-interesting, but I will be able to compartmentalize! Yippee!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Youth Conference

I've been missing my blogging. The past two weeks have been typical summer craziness - first the Simster and PJ were sick sick and more sick. Then I cleaned like mad to get the house presentable for a fun visit from my in-laws. I knew I had to get the entire house looking good, since they hadn't been here before and would want the complete tour. Then I spent a week entertaining, enjoying, playing, and chatting with my in-laws, including my 15-year-old sister-in-law and 14-year-old niece. I didn't go to bed until after 1am the whole time they were here (and I neglected to photo document their fun stay...slacker me!). In the midst of that, I had three kids to keep tabs on, had normal YW activities, I was working on helping my replacement at work, and DH was working his tail off. (Yep, he used to have a tail. But now he's worked it off...) That weekend I spent three days enjoying/chaperoning youth conference and then last week, I had a commitment every evening (fireside, FHE, YW activity, baby shower, RS Activity, made dinner for a family, Stake Water Park). Whew! I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Now I have a week to calm down a bit before heading to Utah on my business trip :)



Quick update on youth conference... It was really enjoyable! I wasn't used to having youth conference so chopped up (Friday 7-11pm, Saturday 9am-2pm, 7pm-11pm, Sunday 7-8:30pm) and no overnight stays, but we had a great time. The theme was "To Shine For Him Each Day" and they focused on letting our light shine. Only four MiaMaids and Laurels were even in town to go, so we had a small group, but they had a good experience.
Friday we started with a fun road rally. I haven't been in the area long and didn't know where I was going, but the kids were supposed to do it anyway, and my group just had fun and didn't worry too much about winning. Then they got to play black light volleyball. The youth conference shirts were glow in the dark, so everyone was glowing. Again, my team didn't win every game, but we had fun. I remembered why they keep putting me in Young Women - I'm not sure I'm going to ever really grow up! :)
Saturday Morning we showed up at the Nelson Center to perform service. This is a group home for children who have been severely abused physically and emotionally and are so scarred and emotionally and/or behaviorally challenged that they can't be put in a foster home right away. These kids spend time at the Nelson center among caring volunteers learning correct behaviors and learning to trust adults so they can be placed in foster care and then hopefully adopted. Our youth spent the morning weeding, pruning bushes, caring for trees and flowers, staining fences, painting signs, even taking out dead trees. It was 97 degrees plus 20% humidity so we were all sweating bullets, but it was such a good cause. I had to gently remind the youth at times what the purpose of the service was and to remember what they have that these kids don't have, but overall, they were troopers. Then we had lunch and played water games with the kids.
Saturday Night we had a banquet, speaker, and a dance. Thanks to my MIL and FIL who volunteered to stay with the kids, DH went with me to this. We had some yummy food, then a great talk on Living in the Limelight and being an example. I loved how the speaker talked about how he loves his wife now more than ever, and he knows that his love continues to grow because of the covenants they made in the temple. The music for the dance was a live band, and I guess they played mostly "old stuff" so the youth weren't totally thrilled. Even though the music was "old" they still played stuff that was too recent for DH and I. Some of the songs DH and I jammed out to, my YW were laughing at us. *Sigh* I always told myself I was going to be one of those cool parents who stayed up-to-date on the music, but the Bubbs is only three, and I'm already out-of-touch! Poop. It was also entertaining to watch DH, since he never went to dances as a youth, and he thought the music was supposed to be hymns and church stuff :) Cute, huh. It was a fun night, and the guy I have a crush on even asked me to dance! Like four times! :)
Sunday Evening was the conclusion with a fireside from a recently returned mission president on Letting the Light of Christ shine through us. He shared some stories of the people he served in Australia and the missionaries who sacrificed to be there. It was so motivating to hear about youth and adults who are so strong in their testimonies even when everything around them is attacking their beliefs. The spirit was strong and I was renewed in energy to "go about doing good." The culmination was a picture collage given to each YM/YW that contained pictures from all the youth in our stake "Shining For Him Each Day". I've scanned it so you can see how talented and creative someone in the stake was to put this together. I had two of my girls with me on the ride home and we had an amazing conversation and I was able to testify to them of how important they are and how Heavenly Father has given them each unique gifts to help them in this life. It was such a great way to end the weekend and it definitely recharged my spiritual battery! What amazing YM & YW who are growing up and standing strong in these latter days!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Business Trip"

Well, I am about to embark on my first (and last) air-travel-necessary business trip for my recent job. In order to make the transition a little smoother (from me to my replacement), the department has decided to fly me out for the week of testing so that my replacement can watch me in action and kind of have a chance to pick up where I left off. It's flattering to be needed that much, and it's pretty darn cool to call the travel agents for the university and be able to charge the flight to a department account, instead my own credit card :) I got a glimpse of what DH has been doing all these years. But my trip will be more fun because...

SLC, here I come!

August 8th - 15th


Tons of thanks to a wonderful sister and a supportive husband who are making the trip possible (-> watching Bubbs and Simster), and friends and family to stay with when I get there, I will not only be able to dispense my expertise at work (hee hee) but PJ and I will also be able to hob-knob with people we miss the most!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Please Excuse the Soapbox...



So I know this has been said before, but I needed to say it again because it drives me crazy.

People, stop bellyaching about gas prices and the economy!

I am not completely inconsiderate, and I have great compassion for people who are desperately trying to make ends meet and cutting corners on everything while the gas and food prices rise. It's other people I have no sympathy for. A recent discussion with some -ahem- acquaintances of mine annoyed me just a little. It was all about how the Bush administration has caused the housing crisis, the mortgage crisis, people to default on mortgages and credit cards, higher gas prices, higher food prices, the recession, and all financial difficulties in general.

And yes, I know Pres Bush is not perfect. He has made mistakes. Big ones. And he is probably a little bit to blame for some of the issues at hand (ie some of the Iraq war decisions were probably not his best). BUT- And this is a BIG BUT (hee hee) - YOU CAN'T BLAME HIM FOR EVERYTHING! I get annoyed when people complain about how hard life is and how the government needs to fix it, when it was they themselves who got into TOO much DEBT! If you default on your mortgage because you tried to get a $400,000 home when you were pretty sure you could only afford a $200,000 home, you've got to own up to that! If you are complaining about the cost of groceries, get rid of your kid's cell phone, the cable TV, and eating out every day. Consolidate your trips so you're not using so much gas. Shop killer deals online and pay for shipping instead of driving to the mall to pay full price for something. Eat less meat and more rice and beans. Set the air conditioning at 78 or 80 degrees instead of 70 or 72. Stay home and play in the backyard instead of traipsing off to Disneyland. Be willing to give up some material stuff! Let's remember that some of those people "trying to make ends meet" are part of the 1 million people who already bought the new $200 + service contract iPhone that just came out...

I know that I don't understand what all people are going through. All I know is that we have one income (decent, but not six figures or anything) and three kids and we're still managing to set some aside in our savings. Sure, we haven't purchased our dream flat-screen with 50 billion speakers (sorry DH) or our grand piano or our drum set and my kids have only enough outfits to last them a week and then we wash and our house is not perfectly decorated, but we are doing fine. And we are cutting corners where we need to. And I have a list of things I would get rid of in order to save money if things get worse. I am not saying I'm perfect, and I'm definitely not trying to offend those of you who are struggling and trying as best as you can to provide for your families. I'm just talking about those of us who seem to think sacrificing something we WANT means the economy is in shambles and the government better hurry up and fix it.

A wise person once said, "It isn't what we look like, what we have, how much we make, the car we drive, the things we wear, or the people we know. It's who we ARE when all of that is taken away." (Actually, I'm sure somebody said something along these lines. If not, I guess I'm the profound one.) So I am trying to be less worried about what I have and more concerned about what people would see if everything was taken away. I'm far from reaching that goal, but I'm going to keep trying and hopefully instill this idea in my kids. Because you can't take it with you!

Just my soapbox. Thanks for letting me stand on it! (I had to blog about it because I can't say it directly to the face of those I'd like to say it to...)

Anyone with me on this? Anyone want to disagree with me? Totally open to it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quarantined


Yep. Welcome to the House of the Sick. The Bubbs had a mild fever for a day or two last week, but no other symptoms. She was pretty much fine by Friday night and a happy family went back to normal activities. Then Monday afternoon, the Simster had a fever. By Monday night, PJ had a fever too. And we've been sick ever since. I haven't given in and taken them to the doctor because, let's face it, it's 99% likely it's a virus and they won't do anything but tell me to give them Tylenol anyway. So I don't feel like packing up the troops, driving across town, and waiting and paying my co-pay just to have the doc tell me to go home and give them Tylenol & Motrin. Anyone else with me on this? (If we're still miserable Monday, I might call the doctor then...)

Good things about a sick house?
  • Lots of cuddly, movie-watching, sleeping kids. PJ has spent most of her days sleeping away which is nice. The Simster sits still for more than 5 minutes and lets me coddle him.
  • Little pressure to make dinners and clean the house. The kids need me, and they don't care what's going on around them.
  • Less fighting, more compassion. The Simster is too sick to fight, and the Bubbs wants to take care of him and help him feel better. I even caught her stroking his forehead and saying, "It's okay you have a fever, Sim. It's okay. It's okay." Nice to see the sweet sibling side!
  • Some home time. Besides a run to drop off one of my YW at a stake meeting, we've pretty much stayed home. It's kind of nice to have an excuse to stick close to home. I'm a home person anyway.
Bad things about a sick house?
  • My babies are sad and moaning. And they don't understand why mommy can't fix it. :(
  • Cleaning up messy sheets and clothes. I don't think you need any more details on that one.
  • Nothing is getting done besides catering to my babies. And my in-laws are scheduled to come for a visit in the next few days!
  • Potty-training is on hold. He actually went two days in a row with not one accident and I thought we were home free. Now he's sick and can't concentrate so he's back in diapers for the time-being. Poop. (hee hee)
  • I miss going to our pool! We've been going at least three times a week, but we haven't gone at all this week, and I'm going through withdrawals. It's like 140 degrees. Okay, maybe only 100. But hot. At least I have air-conditioning.
  • The worst thing? Last night I started to feel a scratch in my throat. Now I'm a little warm and achy. I hate it when I get what they have!
I hope I can post more next week. And something more interesting. But right now, the Motrin is calling me. By name. :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

England Manchester




So he has his call! To the England Manchester Mission and he reports to the England MTC on October 11th! I'm SOOO excited for him! We all talked about going there to pick him up at the end, but then I realized that when he comes home, the Bubbs will be in school... so we'll have to see what we can work out. Congratulations to my brother A! You'll be awesome!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I love this song... and even though I've enjoyed my time in other countries and respect them, I am definitely PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! What a blessing to live in this great nation!




President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The Lord permitted these few poorly armed and ill-clad men at Valley Forge and elsewhere to defeat a great army, … a few against the many, but the few had on their side the Lord God of heaven, that gave them victory. And there came political liberty and religious liberty with it, all in preparation for the day when a young boy would come forth and would seek and make contact with the Lord and open the doors of heaven again.”

(PS Happy 19th Birthday to my cool brother A - he truly is "A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the fourth of July"! And he's finally grown up enough to realize the fireworks aren't just for him! Now we're just waiting on that mission call...)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Goodbye Sanity, Hello Carpet Steamer

WARNING: This post is rated PG for some mature themes. And the picture you are about to see is rated PG because of some missing pants. Just an FYI.

I can't put it off any longer. The time has come...
potty-training!

The Simster is approaching 2 1/2 and I've kept saying, "I'll potty-train after..." First it was, after we move. Then, after we move into our house. Then, after PJ is sleeping through the night. Then, after Girls Camp. Then, after DH takes his sabbatical and trains the kid himself (which, yeah, will not happen - and I guess I wouldn't want him to use his sabbatical for potty-training). I mean, the Bubbs was one thing. I understand her -ahem- equipment. This kid? Not getting it. It's a wild thing, if you know what I'm saying.

BUT! In the last two days, Simster has done both #1 and #2 in the potty without much prodding (4 times). And he's been wearing undies OVER his diaper as well. So today, after he again successfully #2-ed, I reluctantly asked, "Do you want to just wear your underwear?" And he. was. thrilled! With a capital T! And so now we've past the point of no return (at least for me) - once you put them in underwear, you don't give in to reverting back to diapers.

So - I'm excited to kiss the diapers goodbye (only 1 kid in diapers! Yipee!). But the whole training process? Not loving it. He had two accidents today (but both pretty little) and I know there's more to come. And here I am, in a new house that's mostly carpeted. With the Bubbs, I had an entire floor that was mop-able. And believe you me, we stayed on that floor 90% of the time during training. Here? Just the entry, kitchen, and bathrooms. And a 2-year-old boy can barely stay put. So I'm in for a lot of soaking up "accidents", aren't I? Any suggestions for making the clean-up easier? Any other suggestions on helping him focus his -ahem- thingy so I'm not cleaning the ceiling? (I'm already training sitting down, much to his daddy's dismay.) Comments are appreciated, all you seasoned little-boy-potty-trainer-mommies!