Feb 28, 2014

What did I do all day?

I asked myself this question at 5:51 p.m. on Thursday.  I really had to think about it.  I mean, clearly I didn't spend time cleaning the kitchen, which is where I was sitting when the thought occurred to me.  I never spend enough time doing that.'s what I did on Thursday.

6:00 a.m. Find myself squished between two little girls vying for space on MY pillow.  Notice that my husband is home (after being in Minneapolis for three days). Ahhh...

6:45 a.m. Reluctantly roll out of bed.

6:59 a.m. Melt coconut oil and swish for my almost-daily oil pull. *blech*

7:00 a.m. Supervise breakfast and the making of lunches.  

7:19 a.m. Spit out the oil in a cup while driving Zach to school.

7:20 a.m. Drive up to the drop-off corner at Zach's school.  Endure his furious tirade about not being dropped at the band room, and his pronouncement that in retaliation, he will not go to after-school basketball practice.  Tell him that he can walk home from school and then turn in his phone.

7:25 a.m. Receive this text: "So can you bring me my basketball stuff?" to which I respond: "What are you going to do for me if I do that for you?  It's not convenient for me to come back to the school today."  No response.

7:57 a.m. Bid farewell to Garry, Gavin, and Tyler.  Gavin is mad about his clothes and Tyler is mad about being late (15 minutes early).

8:15 a.m.  Make a breakfast smoothie.  Post the recipe on Facebook.  Breathe for a few minutes.

8:30 a.m. Pick up a friend's double stroller so the girls and I can take a walk in the lovely weather (40-ish, crisp, and sunny).

8:49 a.m. Finally start said walk.

9:15-ish a.m.  Arrive at Zach's school (the 3.5-mile walk's mid-point) and drop off his basketball stuff.  

10:00 a.m.  Return from walk.  Turn on the TV for the girls.  Get in the shower.

10:25 a.m.  Finish getting ready and start getting the girls ready to leave the house (looking respectable this time).

10:40 a.m. Arrive at Tyler's school.  Wait five minutes while the office ladies try to find his class, which seems to have disappeared into thin air.  Sign him out as girls run amok.

10:56 a.m. Arrive at the Children's Specialty Clinic for Tyler's orthopedic follow up (aka cast x-ray).

11:15 a.m.  Good news!  Bones are healing nicely.  No surgery.

11:45 a.m. Arrive home after returning Tyler to school.  Lunch.  Email.  Little Einsteins.

12:45 a.m.  Naptime!  Lexi, too.  Girls object; Mom is unswayed.

1:00 p.m.  Primary newsletter.  Email.  Facebook.  A few quick texts.  Phone calls: Piano humidifier solution is now sold at Walmart; Dr. Y can add hormone panel to lab order; Garry knows that Tyler's arm is healing; friend I was concerned about needed to be concerned about.  Or something like that.

2:50 p.m. Time to get the boys from school.  Load up borrowed stroller, then pull two sleepy girls from their beds. They object with many tears. Tell me about it.

3:07 p.m.  Arrive at the elementary school.  Load girls in stroller (pretty handy...why did we sell ours?) and walk quickly to kindergarten pick-up.

3:15 p.m. Pick up Gavin.  Tyler goes to News Crew.

3:16 p.m.  Zip back to the van with the Littles.

3:20 p.m.  Load up.  Head to Lab Corp.

3:25 p.m.  Sheepishly walk into Lab Corp, which closes at 3:30.  They'll take us.  Phew.

3:35 p.m.  My turn.  Gavin is transfixed with the blood draw.

3:45 p.m.  Back to the van.  Back to the school.

3:55 p.m.  Littles romp on the playground while we wait for News Crew to end.  Fake a conversation with the non-friendly lady on the bench. Shiver. It's cold.

4:15 p.m.  News Crew ends.

4:25 p.m.  Wait at the middle school curb for basketball to end.  Eat Girl Scout cookies, even though they are not dairy-free.

4:35 p.m.  Zach appears.  He's grumpy about the back seat, among other things, and argues with anything that moves as we drive home.

4:38 p.m.  See some friends from church at a stoplight.  Roll down the window and chat for a few minutes while we wait for it to change, then wave as we part.

4:42 p.m.  Pick up the mail.  Let kids run home from the mailbox...their favorite thing.

4:50 p.m  Explain Zach's chore list, which he traded for basketball clothing delivery.  Take Tyler to art lessons.

5:10 p.m.  Home again.  Check chore status.  Ignore dinner preparation and life in general.  Return emails. Manage chaos.  Feel stomach growl but do nothing about it.  Ask the question that titles this post and start typing.

6:09 p.m.  Check the clock and realize Tyler's art class ended nine minutes ago.  Jump in the car.  Call Garry to ask if he'd rather have omelets or hamburgers for dinner.

6:15 p.m.  Arrive at art class and say, "Is it 6:00 yet?"  Laugh with the teacher.  Listen to Tyler talk about his class projects on the way home.

6:25 p.m.  Arrive home at the same time as Garry and regret the absence of dinner preparation.

6:30 p.m.  Be relieved when Garry makes hamburgers.  Start cleaning up the kitchen and getting small people ready for bed.

7:00 p.m.  Dinner.  Star the usual "What was the best part of your day?" routine.  Listen to Zach complain about the quantity of food he is required to eat.  Listen to Gavin complain about how messy a hamburger is when laden with 1/4 c of ketchup.  Try to keep Kate from running around the kitchen.

7:15 p.m.  Put Kate in bed while Garry puts little kids in bed.

7:20 p.m. Make Zach do the dishes (one of his chores-for-basketball-clothes consequences).  Help with clearing counters and sweeping the floor.

7:45 p.m. Sit down at the piano to practice a medley for a baptism on Saturday.

8:35 p.m.  Get ready for volleyball.

8:45 p.m.  Meet friends at the church for a twice-monthly volleyball game night.  Chat until the people using the gym are all done.

9:15 p.m.  Start playing.  Try not to be embarrassed by lack of skill.  Laugh a lot.

11:00 p.m.  One more game.

11:30 p.m.  Talk to Garry for a few minutes.  Get into bed.

1:15 a.m.  Finally fall asleep.

Feb 24, 2014

Love note from heaven

This afternoon I got the sweetest note in the mail.  The card wasn't signed, but I figured out that it was from a high school friend I haven't seen since graduation.  We reconnected on Facebook a while ago, and apparently she reads the things I post about my crazy real life both on Facebook and on my blog.  Her note was a tender mercy in my life.  Here's why.

Lately I have been sad and lonely.  I realize this is unjustified on so many levels (e.g. I am living the blessed life I have always wanted, and I know there are lots of people around me who love me), and yet the feelings are real. Some hard days are just hard days and I wake up the next day and move on.  Others, like that one day the other week, are harder to shake.  I have been having more of those kinds of days lately. I kind of can't believe I'm saying this out loud...

So the last few days have been especially rough.  I had kind of a bad morning on Saturday, so I decided to shake it off with a run outside.  Endorphins and sunshine are good, right?  I didn't get too far from home when the sidewalk began an ascent that my lungs didn't like.  As I trudged up the hill, with what seemed like gale-force wind blowing against me, I started to cry.  Have you ever tried to run and cry at the same time? Not super productive.  But I was pondering how running is a metaphor for life.  As I ran (I use that term loosely) up that hill, I lamented the mountains and opposition in my life that seem too hard. I set my sights on a light pole at the top of the hill and thought, "I can only go that far," which is exactly how I feel about my life right now.  I made it to that light pole and then staggered to a stop, lungs burning and tears flowing. I continued on in a stop-and-go pattern, usually stopping to walk because I was sobbing. (Valerie and Alexis, you drove by at one of those walking you know.  Haha.)

After that I ran away (in a car) to the temple. It was one of those "Where can I turn for peace?" kind of days, and that's the only 100% guaranteed place of peace for me.  It was there that my desperate prayers started to be answered in ways that I could actually see.  After a lovely hour in the temple I walked to my car and ran into a wonderful friend.  It was pretty crazy to see her in the parking lot, since we're practically neighbors in Colorado Springs and the temple is an hour away.  We hugged and talked and cried a little, and then I had to get home.  As I drove I reflected on the way Heavenly Father placed Amy in my life...not just in that parking lot, but in this particular season of my life.  She is a ray of sunshine, and one of the few people with whom I can jump straight to a "real life" conversation and feel perfectly safe.

Sunday came next.  Oh, Sunday.  I'll say it out loud: I don't like Sundays.  I love my religion, and I love my ward, and I am 100% committed to the LDS way of life, but Sundays are hard.  It seems like everyone is grumpy most of the day.  The kids are crazy during sacrament meeting (my boys were actually punching each other during the last speaker's remarks) so it's hard to listen and feel anything spiritual.  I know some people adore their Primary callings, but I am struggling with the fact that the Primary room is too much like my bench in sacrament meeting, with the same net effect for me.  How's that for real?  Ha.  Sundays used to be my re-charge days, but now they are just as draining as the rest of them.

So last night I was lamenting the things I don't like about my life. I have a special talent for focusing on the negative.  It was kind of late (10-ish) and I was hiding in Kate's bedroom.  She had had a hard time getting to sleep (late nap for the fail) so I held her until she nodded off, and then just stayed with her.  And moped and cried, because I'm a 34-year-old baby.  At the exact moment that I felt like the most insignificant, invisible person in the whole world, my friend April sent me a text: "How are you?"  Another answered prayer.  Someone cared.

And then Lori's note showed up in my mailbox today.  She told me she wrote it months ago, but it arrived today, when I was feeling vulnerable and alone.  Heavenly Father is trying to tell me something: I matter.  My keys matter.  The things I feel matter.  My small spot in the world matters.  My mere existence matters. Yes, life is hard.  Yes, I've had some setbacks and disappointments lately.  Yes, there are times when I feel very alone.  I really don't know what any of it means, except that I'm not alone, even when I don't receive that miracle text, even when people around me don't understand, even when I'm frustrated about seemingly impossible mountains I have to climb.

So what's the moral of this story?  I'm sure there are lots of people out there who feel like I do, either all of the time or some of the time.  Maybe to you, their problems don't seem very significant, or maybe they do.  Maybe they look like they have it all together, but I promise you they don't feel like they have it all together. Regardless of your perceptions, regardless of your own insecurities, if you've been thinking about someone, call or email or text or write or whatever you can do to reach out.  Be present for someone who needs a friend.  Follow your gut when you feel like you should do something for someone.  It might be way out of your comfort zone to reach out.  Your efforts might not always be life changing.  But sometimes, when you write a note and don't mail it for three months, it might show up in the mailbox at the perfect time and allow that person to see the hand of God in her life.

Feb 22, 2014

22 photos on the 22nd

I'm long on pictures and short on words, and as such I present: 22 photos on February 22nd.

Our Valentine's Day Feast.

Pretty in pink before a preschool party.

"You make my heart glow" Valentines.

Zach asleep on the couch (inaugurating the sleepy teen years?).

Lexi asleep on the floor during dinner (renewing the sleepy preschooler years?).

Gavin and Lexi asleep in their "nest" on my bedroom floor during Tyler's birthday party.

Kate asleep in the van (I hid in there with her for awhile).

I have a love/hate relationship with TV.  This is the "love" part.

I took this picture for our new time capsule. Let us remember the anomaly of Zach's clean bedroom.

Grocery receipt.  Gavin guessed our bill would be $108.07.

Laundry mishap.  Waa.

Zach's Court of Honor bling: Second Class and First Class ranks; Fingerprinting and Citizenship in the Community merit badges.

Ugliest double pie crust ever.  Haha.

I was part of a digital use study last fall and now the researchers are talking about me in webinars, apparently because I blog when I'm emotional.  Ha.

I'm selling a jacket. Ten bucks.  Anyone?

Ice cream with Valentine's Day gift cards. #dessertonmark

A blizzard-ish night when I took an hour-long walk outside (crazy? yes).

Beauty Salon by Gavin and Lexi.

1996 Mesa High yearbook snapshot.  Memories!

Last Friday's view from the treadmill.

Apparently my get-ready-in-20-minutes routine doesn't include enough foot lotion.

The end.

Feb 21, 2014

Key to my heart

Dear neighbor,

I met you for the first time tonight when you were standing on a porch two doors down from my house.  I was walking out to the car in my driveway and noticed you talking to my neighbors.  You were showing them something in your hand. I heard you say, "...found them in the mailbox..," and that's when I ran across two yards shouting at you.

You see, I couldn't find my keys yesterday.  It's not that uncommon a plight for me, although I have made a concerted effort over the last few months to hang my keys on the hook every time I walk in the door.  Still, I wasn't too concerned when I plucked the extra car key off the rack and went about my day.  The keys would turn up.  They always do.

Except yesterday they didn't.  And I still couldn't find them today.  Late this afternoon I really tried to retrace my steps and figure out where they could be.  That's when I saw the pile of mail on the counter.  The mail.

Late Wednesday afternoon, I sent Gavin and Lexi to the mailbox.  They went on scooters (the box is down the street and around the corner) and had a grocery bag to carry the mail.  When they came back I was making dinner.  They thumped the mail bag on the counter and I forgot all about it....until today, when I realized there was a strong possibility that the kids had left my keys in the mailbox door.  Two days ago.

That's when I panicked.  Surely the keys were gone forever.  Whoever had taken them not only had my van key and remote, car key, house key, mail key, library card, and all of my "club" cards...they had my address. Inside every mailbox is the house number of the box owner.  It was like a home invasion waiting to happen. Not to mention a very expensive key ring to replace.

As this realization sunk in, the business week came to a close.  I decided to call the Post Office on Monday morning, just in case our mail carrier happened to turn in my keys somewhere.  I didn't have much hope, though. I generally have an optimistic view of humanity, but taking my keys seemed like an easy crime of opportunity. I was sure I would never see them again.

But you, dear neighbor, changed all of that.  When I heard you say, "mailbox" on my neighbor's porch, I knew you had my keys. That's when I sprinted toward you, hands in the air, yelling, "Those are my keys! They're mine!  Yay!"  I'm sure you were amused at my enthusiasm (Steven and Jennifer definitely were), but seriously, I haven't been that happy for a while!  You explained that you found my keys dangling from the mailbox door late Wednesday night, when snow was fast falling from the sky.  You left a note in a bag on the mailbox door and took the keys home so they wouldn't get wet.  I didn't see your note yesterday because I didn't check the mail (couldn't find my keys). So tonight you went door to door, intent on finding the owner.

Bless your heart for that effort!  You said, "I thought, 'Somebody's life is on that ring!' I've got to find them!"  I am so grateful that you did.  So grateful, in fact, that I was swept up in my euphoria and didn't even ask your name or where you lived.  Please forgive my self-absorption, and sleep well knowing that you made a very frazzled and overwhelmed mama immensely happy tonight.

With love,

Your neighbor

Feb 19, 2014

And the winner is....


It's a dubious honor to be the first person in our family (parents included) to break a bone, and even more so to break two bones at once, but Tyler did it!  Ouch.

He was swinging at recess and somehow lost his grip.  To protect his face as he fell to the ground, he put out his hands and cracked his left wrist in the process.  I was at the park with the girls at the time (12:30 p.m.), and got a text transcription of a voice mail at home.  The transcript was garbled as usual, but I could tell that I needed to get to the school because Tyler was injured.  Strangely, I never got a call on my cell.  Anyway, I walked home from the park as quickly as I could. As I got into the van with the girls, I called the school, and a few minutes later we were in the health office with Tyler.

His left wrist was swollen and deformed on the left side. Between those signs and his obvious pain, we kind of knew it was broken.  Tami in the health office pushed Tyler in a wheelchair to the van so he could keep his arm as stable as possible.  Once there, I fashioned a brace out of my wallet and the tether on Kate's leash.  It was pretty fancy, I think, for an improvised splint!

The urgent care clinic is half a mile from the school, so about 30 minutes after I got the text in the park, we were in the urgent care waiting room.  Fortunately, a nurse triaged Tyler within a few minutes.  I was relieved to get the treatment process started because Tyler was bordering on hysteria.  Seeing him in so much pain ripped my heart out.  The nurse gave him ibuprofen, and once that kicked in, Tyler finally calmed down and could move his arm enough to assess the break.

An x-ray confirmed that his radius and ulna were both broken.  The doctor said it was quite a painful break. He consulted with a pediatric orthopedist, who recommended waiting until Thursday to cast Tyler's arm, so the swelling could recede.  I haven't told Tyler that the doctor will have to reduce (re-set) the break before casting...I'm sick to my stomach just thinking about watching that.  Ugh.  For now Tyler is wear a hard, molded splint.

As an aside, the girls were remarkably well-behaved during our impromptu outing.  I was glad we had eaten lunch!  Their patience waned, and Garry, who wanted to come home early to help, took the girls just at the right moment.  (We took these pictures after Tyler was calm and reading a book.)

Ibuprofen seems to be managing the pain just fine, although when Tyler bumped his arm this morning he screamed.  That's why he's home from school at least today and tomorrow.  We'll see how he feels with a cast.

I never thought Tyler would be our first child with a broken bone. I can't believe Gavin, Kate, or Zach didn't beat him to it. Tyler has already said that when someone else's turn comes, he'll be glad to share his experience to help them feel better. Leave it to Tyler to turn his pain into something good.

Feb 17, 2014

Kate was here.

Kate is a little spitfire.  She does anything and everything she wants to do, particularly if it is naughty or behind Mom's back. The reality is that I don't follow her around every minute of her life, so there is much mischief to be had.  Her very favorite thing is to dump a container--laundry basket, toy bin, doll clothes box, etc--and use it as a climbing mechanism.  She also loves shelves and drawer pulls because they make good ladders.  

So here are some of the places Kate has been recently.  I keep taking pictures of her antics as evidence to be used against her in a court of law.  Or in her wedding video.  Or when she just doesn't believe she did all the crazy things she did.

Monkey Girl in the fridge.

This was under the bathroom rug.

Kate's room after she "took a nap."

A two-second job.

If Kate is missing, I check the van first.

A dumped-out drawer, just because she was mad.
Yanking it out broke the track.

"Hmmm....What's for lunch today?"

"Sleeping" in my bed at 1:00 a.m.

Making and eating her own "bekis" (cereal).
Heaven forbid that anyone else pour the cereal or the milk.

Kate does hold still sometimes.  My friend once said that one of her (now grown) kids had two speeds: "fast" or "asleep." Ditto for Kate!

Sleeping in the car isn't nearly as cute as sleeping on my chest.  She crawled into my lap as I was playing the piano yesterday and just fell asleep.

I held her a long time, all gooey inside from her cuddles and sleep-sighs, and then tiptoed to her bedroom and put her in bed as gently as I could--at 5:30 p.m.  After all, I have learned to never wake a sleeping spitfire.

Feb 14, 2014

No more moo juice

Everyone who knows me knows my health has been really lame the last few years.  Although I have made great progress, I'm still not where I want to be. Recently some things in my life have shifted (in the wrong direction). I don't know what to blame, exactly.  Surely there's something to blame, right? Anyway, one of my chief complaints lately has been my skin, which is so covered with acne that I want to cry every time I look in the mirror.  I'm at the end of the road with the dermatologist, since the miracle drug is financially out of reach. So I've been doing some research and have come to a sad conclusion: I need to try a dairy-free diet.


Oh milk...I love milk.  I love a tall glass in the morning.  I love cereal and milk.  I love mozzarella cheese sticks (not the fried kind...although they are super yummy, too).  I love cottage cheese and sour cream and of course just regular cheese. And ice cream...oh, ice cream!  And chocolate. Dang. Haha. Anyway, it's going to be really hard for me to live without these things. I'm not sure I can do it.  But I'm so sick of being sick.  I've got to try something.

So here I go...may this be the miracle I've been looking for.  Shall we toast to success with a final glass of skim milk?  Or maybe some peanut butter chocolate ice cream?  Okay, okay...

Feb 13, 2014

Ten years of Tyler

Our second baby is 10!  I have been thinking fondly of the day Tyler was quick and quiet was his entry into the world at exactly 1:00 p.m. in Hillsboro, Oregon.  I remember it was rainy on that Friday morning.  I remember how much time we got to spend with him, just Garry and I, before the hustle and bustle of nurses monitoring both of us.  I remember how hyper Zach was when he came to visit for the first time, and how precious it was to see Zach and Tyler together for the first time.  Ahhhh...memories.

In the name of nostalgia, here is a chronology of Tyler on his birthday.

2004: The original birthday.

 2005: Age 1
(he would not look at the camera that day)

2006: Age 2

2007: Age 3

2008: Age 4

2009: Age 5

2010: Age 6

2011: Age 7

2012: Age 8

2013: Age 9

2014: Age 10

Today, we celebrated Tyler early in the morning with gifts (the grandparents really spoiled him) and pancakes (his favorite).  This evening, we will eat his favorite meal (we call it chicken ring) and, as requested, a mixed berry pie.  He looks forward to celebrating his "birth minute" in Mr. Boerman's class this afternoon.  I hope it's a spectacular school day for him.  It should be fun; the kids don't have school tomorrow so all of their Valentine's Day parties are today.

Tyler continues to love art class, as well as being one of the anchors on the school news crew.  He really enjoys school and is very responsible with his homework.  He loves to read, and is the most prolific reader in the house.  He is kind and sensitive and needs lost of hugs and verbal praise.  We love our Tyler!

pass it on!

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