Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I had my first guitar lesson

The thing about writing down your goals publicly is that you do indeed feel accountable to them.  Even if no one reads my blog.  So this past Saturday, the coach of the opposing team at Adam's basketball game was carrying a guitar out to his car following the game.  We chatted about the guitar and it turns out he teaches lessons.  Well, that is one easy way to find a guitar teacher.  I figured if I am gonna really do this I should just do it.  So I said, "I want to take guitar lessons!"

He called me back and today was my first lesson.  I really liked it.  I took my guitar in to get it re-strung and then even had to borrow a guitar from a friend so I could practice.  I almost bought a new guitar too at the guitar shop . . .  but then I figured I better make sure I stick to this for more than 2 months before buying another guitar.

So, facetime me for a rather unspectacular version of Horse with no name.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wanted -- warm sunny day

I am all for a little cool weather for the holidays -- thanksgiving to Christmas.  But, it is now practically the middle of January, and I am officially done with cold weather.  Especially on a Sunday when we are done with church at noon.

So here are the indoor things we did . . .  piano, just dance, coloring, laundry, eating, Madelyn made fudge, we played rook, we watched football, the boys played some xbox, we watched some of the golden globes, had ice cream, watched downton abbey, and more . . .

Sunday afternoons are long -- maybe next week we will want to be outside.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Catherine is a teenager!

[Think of all cliches about time flying and add them here]

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Because, just like that Catherine is now a beautiful, talented, fun-loving teenager who I love being with.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Just a few things

From 8:30 - 12:30 the AT&T tech is supposed to come.
From 9-2 the home alarm tech is to come
Sometime this morning the wood floor is supposed to be delivered (for a small section we are removing the carpet and putting in wood floor)
The outside Christmas tree lights are supposed to be taken down.

I need to get the oil changed in the van.
I called and have a clock repairman coming to check on the grandfather clock.
There are a lot of lightbulbs I need to buy.

Keeping a house going is really time consuming.  I tried to get it all scheduled in one day . . .  but

The At&t tech couldn't fix the problem.
The wood floor company ordered the wrong size planks.
The weather kept the Christmas light company from coming.

so I suspect I have many more days of "just wait around" ahead.

I did get the oil changed -- my only small victory.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I spoke with the speech therapist yesterday afternoon confirming that I had gotten all the documents and would be at the school for the ARD for Madelyn's speech at 8 am today.  I had it on my calendar, I had a plan.  I got up in the morning and got ready for it and at 7:30, Madelyn started complaining that her throat hurt and she wanted to stay home from school.  I was trying to decide if this was real or just slight exaggeration.  In the meantime, Catherine jumped on the bandwagon saying her throat hurt a little too and she should stay home.  Now, they had both been up already for a while (we have piano lessons from 6 am - 7:30 am) and there had been no complaining before.  I certainly don't want sick kids to go to school, but I also don't want well kids to miss school and have to make up all the work.

I suggested that they could both stay home, relax on the couch and help fold the 10 loads of laundry that needed to be done.  Before I could say anything Madelyn was curled up on the couch folding laundry.  Catherine, though, was sprinting through the house frantically trying to get ready for school.  She missed the bus at 8:00 and so I quickly got Owen dressed and we got in the van about 8:15 to take Catherine to school.

My cell phone rang at 8:20.  It was the speech therapist. I had missed the ARD.

It's amazing how a slight change of plans has the ability to derail the whole schedule.

Catherine was perfectly fine all day.  Madelyn rested and seems fine.  There has not been a single complaint about sore throats since this morning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 39th Birthday to me!

This is now my 8th anniversary of birthday blogging.  (Old ones linked to here)  I took a birthday photo on the front porch. (using the selfie stick I got at a white elephant christmas gift exchange).

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I weigh 145.1 lbs-- I haven't changed height (and I've started checking -- I don't want osteoporosis to affect me!).

People ask me about New Year's resolutions and I don't usually make any, because it's hard to change behavior during a holiday break.  I make many birthday year resolutions because by January 7 things are back to normal.  I set MANY goals.  I NEVER even come close to doing them all, but I figure if I don't think big, what good is it.  Last year, I set out to improve my Spanish (I probably worked hard on it for 2 months and then got bored with it, but I still think I am better today than I was last year on my birthday).  I took voice lessons.  I sang the national anthem several times at local (very small) athletic events.

I learned 3 new classical songs on the piano.  I made it 3 months on blogging and then for the first time in 4 years I took a blogging break.  I used instagram to keep up with photos and printed chatbooks.  Instead of writing through a blog, I bought a bunch of journals that I have written in.  This year, I'm back to blogging (i just prefer typing).  I want to take guitar lessons and do more vocal things.  I want to learn 5 new pieces on the piano.  Last year I only read 5 books.  This year I want to read 25 books.  (so friend me on goodreads and give me some suggestions).  I want to learn better video editing skills.  I want to be able to do a handstand for 20 seconds.  I want to shoot 80% free throws (I'm nowhere close.)  I want to play hard and sleep well.  I want to enjoy being with my husband and kids.  Last year I finally was able to do a round off, back handspring, back flip in succession. (it's not pretty -- be warned)

I ran my 3rd half marathon.  I plan on doing another again this year.  I've tried to do an act of service every single day.  I've tried to keep up with old friends with greater purpose and make new friends.  I've tried to contribute to my community (coaching 2 seasons of softball and a season of basketball).  I've tried to be a better neighbor.  I try to say yes to my kids as often as I can.  I want my home filled with my kids and their friends and most holidays and weekends that is exactly what you'll find.  Lots of extra kids around.

I have failed at a lot of things too, but I just keep trying.

Honestly, I still feel like a kid.  I'd rather play dodgeball with my kids than sit and watch.  I'd rather shoot baskets than run on a treadmill.  I'd rather play softball than lift weights.  I'd rather draw, paint and write than do laundry.  And while I love to stay up late, I'd rather hit snooze at 5:30 than get out of bed.

I love podcasts (freakonomics, TED radio hour, feminist mormon housewives, mormon stories, radiowest, wait wait don't tell me).

I get through the laundry by binge watching netflix and hulu .

I cook all my meals for the week on Monday with Camille and really love to cook.

I feel like there is so much to learn.  I have goals about so many other things to.  I love getting older and seeing and experiencing all there is to offer.

I love watching my kids grow and learn.  Trent and I are at an exciting stage of parenting.  We can do so much with our kids now.  I'm excited to see them try new things.

I've been reminded again and again what a privilege it is to get older.  I love each gray hair and each new smile line.  The only alternative to aging is death.  I hope for so many things.  I'm grateful for my favorite personality trait that shapes my life --it's that I am always, always positive.  I swear it's like I have the "opposite" of depression.  I am happy all the time.  It's just how I am.

So here's to another year of crazy new things.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Back to normal

the piercing alarm
commotion, chaos ensue
good-bye bus, silence

(Well, not entirely silent.  Owen was with me.)

the morning hustle
pj's, breakfast, clothes, lunches
awakening fast

Didn't I just write about how much I love having my kids home?  It turns out I also love sending them out the door to school.  My kids quite like school.  Sure, they wish it started later and they despise homework, but being challenged, being social, doing and learning new things is quite fun.  And there is nothing in the world like welcoming them back home at the end of the school day.

It's amazing how in one day, everything is just back on schedule.  And the kids are right back to their normal antics.  Today we only forgot one phone at school in a locker (that we had to go back and get) and I only had to run to one store to get something for school tomorrow.  (the book "to kill a mockingbird" -- which is partially my fault because I know we have the book IN THE HOUSE somewhere and so I didn't want to go buy another.  But I've looked.  I can't find it.

AHHHHHH!   (see yesterday's post)

Monday, January 5, 2015

A life skill that is hard to come by

There is a scene that plays itself out on a daily basis in my home.  A child cannot find something.  It begins innocently enough--

"Mom, have you seen my _______?  I can't find it anywhere."

I reply, "No, have you checked your room?'

And just like that it escalates.  "OF COURSE, I've checked my room.  I've been looking for an hour already.  I just know that 'so and so' took it.  She takes everything.  Or you lost it in the laundry.  Or put it in someone else's stuff.  HOW CAN YOU JUST SIT THERE?  HELP ME FIND IT."

I calmly walk into her room.  Open the first drawer, grab the messy pile of PJ's from on top and Voila! item found.

For the record, missing items have ALWAYS been found in the room of the person who lost them.  To date, the laundry has not been responsible for the loss of any clothing article.  Siblings, who do often borrow stuff, have a pretty impeccable record for sneaking it back into the original closet.

While I think my children extraordinarily gifted and intelligent, their searching skills are horrible.  Their idea of looking for something involves yelling at other people to look for them.  Sometimes with their eyes closed.  I have not yet figured out how to properly educate them on the basics of searching for missing clothes.

Step 1 : Clean your room
Step 2 : organize your drawers and closet (that means fold all things unfolded and hang all things hangable)
Step 3 : If you still haven't found it, check all the other places you stash stuff -- corners, bags, nooks, under the bed, behind the door, in the bathtub, etc. . .  

It's like a guarantee.  But I can't get my kids to do it.  The good news is that this ailment appears to remedy itself with age, independence and solo living.  It's the great circle of life.  I suffered from this as a child.  My children will someday be able to find their own stuff.  And I hope I am around when the inevitable text arrives

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The end of Christmas / New Year vacation

Technically, I still have one more day.  The kids don't go back to school until Tuesday.  But with Trent headed back to work tomorrow and all the kids activities back on it feels over.  My chalkboard days of the week calendar has been empty and bare for 2 weeks.  It still has on the thanksgiving saying.  The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were so busy I never put up another one and the weeks of vacation I just never wanted to be bothered by it, so here I am January 4th and my quote board says "It's all about thanks and giving".

I have such mixed feelings about the kids returning to school.  I love them being around.  We play games, go to movies, go out to eat, sleep in, and relax just fine.  The pressure of being the cruise ship activities director does start to take its toll, though.  I'm ready for someone else to plan out their time.
We had a tragic event happen to an old friend during the break that has left me really contemplative about me and my role in my kids lives.  It makes me again realize the importance of surrounding my kids with many different and varied role models and influences in their life so that if something ever happened to me, that my kids would have many, many different women (and men) in their lives who care about them and can mentor them.  While I obviously want to have a large role in my children's lives, more so I want them to be able to see and learn from so much more than me.  I recognize that the world and knowledge is so much bigger than me.  I want to help them find guides and paths that they want to follow and watch their travels far more than I want to be their actual guide (in most instances).  It's hard to be the guide and let your followers feel they have a choice.

I give my kids this analogy often.  Life is a juggling act.  Every interest and every pursuit is a ball.  When you can successfully keep all the balls in the air, then you will be happy and only they can know which balls and what sizes they want to juggle.  What I do know is that every ball comes with a guide (i.e. if you want to play piano, then your piano teacher is the guide).  And every guide will want you to focus on their particular ball.  And that ball can grow in size and grow in time required and that will please the guide, but it may not be what interests you.  My job as a parent is to help my kids choose their balls and choose the relative size of those interests in their life.  One of them may want a giant BAND ball or a GIANT swimming ball while another might want a smaller piano ball.  There will always be a ball for sleep and one for family and one for faith and 5 or 6 for school.  And in every case, each one could grow significantly larger than all the others which is fine, if that is what they want . . .  but the real challenge in life is be in control of the size and importance of each pursuit.  No one else may ever understand why one juggles the things they choose, but happiness is consciously choosing the pursuits and the time they occupy.   Misery is juggling interests you don't want or feeling obligated to a particular pursuit beyond your desired time commitment.  Saying no is a hard thing.  The piano teacher or the band director or the coach might be disappointed, but it is not their life.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I saw the movie this week and read the book about 3 years ago. I loved the book-- the subtitle is "A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption". I know, of course, that movies can never completely do justice to a book and this was no exception. Don't get me wrong, I thought the movie was fine . . . it just didn't really tell the same story of the book. The movie told only the story of survival.

 And the story of survival is an exciting one. 47 days floating adrift in the Pacific ocean and 2 1/2 years in a brutal P.O.W. camp. He endured starvation, dehydration, shark attacks, being shot at, torture, daily beatings, slave working, and more. The movie shows each of these in excruciating, uncomfortable detail. And then it ends. There are a few sentences at the end stating that he struggled severely with post traumatic stress and coped with it by drinking. He was a raging alcoholic who then finally made good on his promise to dedicate his life to God and had a great life. There was no telling of the resilience required to carve out a life after enduring the atrocities he had. There was no telling of the redemption he found in a Billy Graham revival meeting.  Laura Hillenbrand wrote

“At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperini, the war was over.”

The movie felt so incomplete.

If I hadn't read the book and knew how it ended, I might have found the torture more than I cared to watch.  Showing just how cruel humans can be, is really not my favorite form of entertainment.

Read the book.  Maybe see the movie.

Here are some of the quotes I liked from the book.

“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when they make their tormentors suffer. In seeking the Bird's death to free himself, Louie had chained himself, once again, to his tyrant. During the war, the Bird had been unwilling to let go of Louie; after the war, Louie was unable to let go of the Bird."

“What resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him. He was not the worthless, broken, forsaken man that the Bird had striven to make of him. In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness, had fallen away. That morning, he believed, he was a new creation. Softly, he wept.” 

The story of survival alone is not enough to be compelling.  It is the story of surviving and then moving past it and thriving.  The ability for him to suddenly and completely change his life by embracing forgiveness is what makes this story amazing.  Far too many people survive horrible ordeals only to become bitter, unkind, and willing to inflict the same suffering on others.  Their stories aren't worth the retelling, but Louis Zamperini's is.

It's too bad, they didn't consult me. ;)

Me and my "little" brother. We saw "Unbroken". Good movie. Great book.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The room I grew up in

I have been sleeping in my "old" room.  Of course, it hasn't been MY room for 21 years, but I will always see it as mine. My parents bought this house in July of 1984. Just a few weeks before my youngest sister, Amber was born. I was 8 years old. I would soon be starting 3rd grade.  We moved into the house from an apartment across town and it seemed huge.  I would no longer be sharing a room with my sister, Carrie and I remember being so excited to have my own room.  

As you came down the hall, my room was the closest one to the family room.  Often, after I was sent to bed I would lay on the carpet in my doorway and watch whatever my parents were watching on TV. 

During fifth grade, I remember re-decorating.  We painted the walls lavender, except for one accent wall that got wallpaper.  The wallpaper was white with small bouquets of pastel flowers.  My parents got a new bed, and I got their old queen size bed.  My mom sewed a white eyelet valance for the window.  

I loved everything about it.  It felt great to have a place and room decorated how I wanted.  I think back fondly of how much my mom helped me to feel ownership for my own space and I really try to give that same sense of ownership to my own kids.  

The walls in the room are yellow now.  The furniture is different. The closet (which never had a door when I lived here) is neatly closed. And yet when I close my eyes in the room, I can remember who I used to be.  I remember being that young girl, and though 21 years have passed by I don't really think I've changed much.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Back to writing

I've missed writing. I have found many other ways to manage my photos, but there has not been a great substitute for daily blogging.  I keep a handwritten journal and bought several more, but I like typing more than writing. 

My kids have had an elf on the shelf.  This made me think back on growing up and how parents back then made their kids toe the line with behavior around Christmas time. They would threaten to call Santa and would pick up the corded phone and start dialing. 

And what would they actually call?  The number for "time and temperature". As I remembered this a wave of old familiar habits came rushing back. I called the time and temperature number all the time. We didn't have iPhones to always know an accurate time or to constantly check the weather. 

I called that number when my sister or brother bugged me and I would pretend to be talking to mom, because of course I couldn't ACTUALLY call her. There were no cell phones.  If she were driving or at a store or in a meeting there was no way to communicate. We had to figure it out on our own. 

My kids in contrast call or text me constantly. I'm rarely ever unavailable.  They can always reach me. It's so different. 

We all have already forgotten what it was like to not always instantly communicate. My kids will never pick up a corded phone and say, "that's it. I'm calling Santa… hi Santa, my brother is not being nice -- you need to put his name on your naughty list". 

And they will never hear back "the time is 10:56 pm. And the temperature is 43 degrees."