Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Never-Ending Post

Well, that is just a bummer.
Abe was driving home from working late last Saturday evening and got into an accident on I-15.  Fortunately, no one was injured and he was able to drive his car home, but it is most likely totaled.  It was not Abe's fault and we're fairly certain the other driver's insurance will cover the costs, but they are certainly not moving very quickly to get it resolved.  Boo, Allstate!  Sorry, if you have Allstate.
It's a hassle just before the holidays.  We are super grateful that my dad is letting us borrow one of their cars while we get things resolved.  Abe must be an optimist-- smiling by his bashed up car.

I am putting off my Christmas shopping.  Mostly because I'd like to get our car situated so I know a little more clearly what I have to work with ($$), but also because I want to enjoy the holidays.  So here's my plan:  Rather than getting it done little bits at a time, and then continue to stress and worry, I am going to wait until much closer to Christmas.  Then, two weeks before Christmas I will get it all done in one fell swoop; on-line.  
I realize this is probably not a very good plan either.   I'm not sure there is a good way that will alleviate my stress.  Why can't we all just eat cookies, sing Christmas carols and be with family?  Why must we do presents at all?
Okay, new topic.

Let me tell you a little more about my adventures in the early morning.  Getting up at 4:45 AM is really not such a big deal if you go to bed at 8:30 PM.  If Clark or I are up past 9:00 we start to get really antsy.  Clark says he's developing a fear of alarm clocks.  I am so happy to have recruited a friend to go to the 5:30 classes with me.  That does make it much more enjoyable.  I tell Abe, who is a little put out that I'm going to bed so early and getting up so early, that if he wants to spend time with me he is welcome to join me at the gym as well!  I guess he's not that interested in spending time with me afterall.

I did something recently that I really regret.
I am a consumer of Facebook.  I don't post a whole lot on there, but I do regularly check it to see what is going on with my nearest and dearest.  For the record, I think people should be MUCH more discerning in what they post.  If complaints must be posted, they should be very few and far between.  Uplifting articles or stories are always appropriate.  Family news such as births, deaths, marriages, family reunion information-- YES.   Reminders of upcoming activities-- YES.  Birthday wishes-- YES.  I am not a big fan of political rants and articles, but I am not offended by them.  To each his own.
As a rule for myself, I stay away from political or decisive posts.  But I recently broke that rule.  I posted an article about homeschooling that I really liked.  I thought my homeschooling friends would appreciate it and I hoped that my non-homeschooling friends (I have them and I love them) would better understand my decision.
But I didn't really think it through all the way.  And a good friend whom I really respect didn't take it the way I hoped.  That's the person I know of who didn't appreciate it.  I fear there are others and I feel badly about it.  I feel very happy with my choices, but alienating others who feel differently isn't going to do much good for anybody.
Am I being too sensitive?  Part of me hopes I am, since I usually fear I am not being sensitive enough.  But still.  I'm sorry I did it and I will re-adopt my policy of not using Facebook to say or do things I would never say or do to someone's face.

WARNING:  The next paragraph is the ramblings of my stressed mind.  This is my therapy.  
I am anxiously engaged in a good work with my family.  The hours of the day pass so very quickly.  There is more work to do than we possibly have time for and I think that's a good thing.  It's much better than the alternative-- not having enough to do.  I recently read a book-- 20 Wishes.  It was sweet.  I don't highly recommend it, but it was sweet. It about a group of various aged widows who look outside of themselves to overcome their grief.  They are searching for things to do to fill their time and fulfill them.  I am not being critical of their situation, but it was hard for me to relate.  How would it be, how will it be, to have to really think deeply about about how to spend my time?
As it is, I'm feeling sad that my sister is about to have a baby and I've done very little help her.  I haven't spoken to my dear friend in Virginia in months and I miss her.  I'm not blogging as much as I'd like-- and that is very healthy for me.  My wonderful friend from when my older kids were babies lives 35 minutes away and I haven't made time to go see her.  
How shall I remedy these things?  How do I make time for even more wonderful things? This is partly why I am sort of against hard and fast goal setting.  Because as soon as I really focus on one area of life to achieve a goal, I feel like other areas are neglected.
I suppose balance is the solution.  But here's the problem with balance.  It's boring.  It's much more fun to focus and send my energy into a particular area where I can see results .  To master something, to achieve something is more thrilling than just making sure none of the balls I'm juggling fall to the ground.
I think I need to go through some sort of gratitude exercise to clear my mind and get myself thinking correctly.  My brain feels rather muddled right now.

Okay, here goes.
100 Things I'm grateful for
1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Abe
3.  my children-- Clark, Bethany, Elinor, Tessa, Faith, Cannon, George
4.  my home
5.  good books
6.  mentors for my children
7. homeschooling
8. teaching piano lessons
9. my calling as ward missionary
10. date nights
11.  exercise friends
12.  swim team
13.  functioning washer and dryer
14.  Abe wasn't injured in his car accident
15.  my children's friends
16.  my friends
17.  furnace
18.  warm showers
19.  gummy bears
20.  chocolate (in all its glorious forms)
21.  game nights
22.  going to bed at night
23.  grandparents
24.  my parents
25.  comfortable shoes
26.  the library
27.  ward choir
28.  Netflix
29.  Bethany's violin
30.  listening to my children practice piano
31.  annual book club retreat
32.  graduating from BYU
33.  our trampoline
34  my siblings
35.  electricity
36.  the internet
37.  My Tech High
38.  safe community
39.  sister-in-laws
40.  early morning walks
41.  Abe's work
42.  good health
43.  cell phones
44.  D&D-- as geeky as it is
45.  grocery stores
46.  Christmas carols
47.   good roads to travel on
48.  my blog
49.  make-up
50.  book clubs
51.  aunts and uncles
52.  LDS seminary
53.  cars to drive
54.  toilet paper
55.  air freshners
56.  functioning vacuum cleaner
57.  flushing toilets
58.  hair dryer
59. food to eat
60.  hats and gloves
61.  visiting teachers
62.  Legos
63.  educational cartoons
64.  toothpaste
65.  children's laughter
66.  quiet time
67.  missionaries
68.  learning new things
69.  second chances
70.  computers
71.  Teen Beach Movie-- what?  I like the music!
72.  kindness
73.  Facebook
74.  carpooling
75.  holidays
76.  temples
77.  scriptures
78.  crunchy leaves
79.  clothing
80.  functioning lawn mower
81.  new window blinds
82.  opportunities to work hard
83.  work-out classes
84.  TV shows and movies
85.  grateful children
86.  parks
87.  being raised in the military
88.  digital cameras
89.  doctors
90.  refrigerators
91.  The United States of America
92.  my couches
93.  my microwave
94.  sunsets
95.  sunrises
96.  agency
97.  my wedding ring
98.  wonderful neighbors
99.  hand-me-downs
100.  pumpkin pie-- tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

By the way, I don't highly recommend Twenty Wishes.  Not bad, just not great.   But I did just finish Crossing to Safety and I LOVED it and highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sick Day

Oh, my.  We be sick at our house.  This was yesterday morning and we were in pretty bad shape.  Clark started things a couple of days before with a bad sinus infection and cough.  The next day he was markedly worse and I took him into the Dr.   Then, yesterday we all (except Abe fortunately) woke up with fevers and chills and body aches.  Today I am feeling better, and Clark is on the mend, but everyone else is still zonked out on my bed upstairs. 

Yesterday really was not a good day to get sick (is any day, really?).  Like most days we had lots going on, not the least of which was Bethany's concerto audition.  We bailed on everything except that for her.  We drugged her up and sent her on her way.  With the help of lots of prayers and a Priesthood blessing from Abe, she said the audition went very well.  We don't know results yet.  
Before the sickness struck this week Bethany has a fun time making clay snails.
How colorful!  Then Elinor and Faith helped her to make a short film showing a snail race with some animation software. 
Cannon was a good helper for Abe and I raking leaves on Saturday.  You wouldn't know looking at our lawn today that we have put forth some effort with our leaves, but we have.  And Elinor and Faith filled lots of bags earlier this week as well.  
The reward of helping with the leaves being that you get to play in the leaves a bit as well.
A couple of weeks ago Clark and Bethany went to a Speech and Debate tournament down at BYU.  Neither of them won their categories, but they were pleased with their placements.  Abe and my dad volunteered to be judges at the event.  You don't really need any special training to judge, but it is really quite interesting.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

You Might Like to Know... or Not

--You might like to know that today is November 10th.  That's means we're 1/3 of the way through November.
WHAT??? How did that happen so quickly?  Time is passing much more quickly than it used to.  But it's not just because I'm getting older.  Even my children acknowledge that time is passing quickly.  It's not just my imagination.

-- You might like to know that it has now been over two weeks that my man-child (Clark) and I have gotten ourselves up and out the door for swim practice and working out by 5 am.  I know, it's shocking to me.  But I'm enjoying it and it is not so bad as long as I'm in bed by 9:30 pm.  I've done several new classes that I haven't ever done before and I've even recruited a friend in the neighborhood to come with me!  She is a fellow homeschooling mother of six. 

-- Clark is also getting a taste of something he's not really dealt with before-- public high school kids at a school sponsored activity.  It's been an education for him:)

--You might like to know that I'm almost done watching season 4 of Downton Abby.  I don't know how this lady can legally do what she does, but

-- George has given up many of his afternoon naps.  Sigh.  He is three so I understand this is natural, however unpleasant it is for me.  And it is unpleasant.  Since he's begun sleeping less he has had a bit of a personality change.  Not in a good way.  His siblings are all rather annoyed with him for stealing their money.  I don't know where he's finding it and why they're not hiding it better.  But there it is.  Faith reported that he climbed the kitchen counter up to the fridge where's Abe's wallet was and swiped a $20 bill.  Heaven help us.

-- You might like to know that Cannon sang his sweet little heart out in the Primary program today.  To my knowledge Clark never actually sang a note throughout his 9 years in primary.  It brought tears to my eyes to see and hear Cannon singing.  Elinor and Faith were two of five kids who played prelude songs before the meeting began.  They all did great.

--Bethany and a fellow violinist are auditioning for Concerto Night with the Lyceum Orchestra.  It is my understanding that only one Concerto from her orchestra will be selected.  They are doing Bach Double together.  It is quite challenging and there is a lot of practicing going on at our house these days.

--My children have discovered Studio C on YouTube.  They are very funny, very clean comedy sketches that are entertaining them to no end.  There's one about a lone girl joining a D&D group that had us in stiches.  Perhaps it hit a little too close to home.

--Clark had a high school swim meet up in Logan this weekend.  He wasn't thrilled with his performance, but for a first time out, I think it was probably okay.  Abe and Cannon and Faith went up to support him.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I took Bethany, Elinor and George to the girls' swim meet Saturday morning.  Elinor improved all of her times and placed 2nd in two of her races.  Bethany got first in her freestyle, but something went terribly wrong in her breaststroke.  I don't mean to throw Bethany under the bus here, but I do believe there is an important lesson to be learned.  She qualified for the fastest heat.  There really was no possibility of her placing in the top three.  It would have been best for her to just concentrate on her race and try to improve her time.  But she didn't.  She got psyched out.  She started to worry about keeping up with everyone and worrying about where they were in the race.  She kept looking to the side and it destroyed any chance of a good time.  She ended up getting three seconds slower than she had before.
The moral of the story is it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing or how well or fast they're doing it.  You just worry about how well you're doing.  Are you doing your very best?  Maybe you won't ever finish at the top, but you can improve from where you are.
I'll get off the soapbox now.

That's all for this afternoon's very enjoyable, relaxing time spent blogging on the laptop.  The children are all downstairs, and while I do not know the state of affairs, and that makes me nervous, it has been worth it.

Baby Shower

I have a very dear friend who was my secretary in Primary for several years.  She was so organized and helped me so much.  I really cannot adequately express how much I appreciate and love her.
She's going to have a baby very shortly and the whole church group/neighborhood are thrilled for her. So we threw her a baby shower last week.
This picture was taken near the beginning and already there was a good turn out.  But they just kept coming!  It was wonderful to spend the evening celebrating with so many lovely women.
And here were the die-hard, party-till-you-drop ladies near the end.  
I guess all that Halloween candy caught up with Bethany and Elinor sooner rather than later.  They both lost a tooth during the baby shower.  Weird.
Oh, that's much prettier.

Halloween Leftovers

This post is not about leftover Halloween candy-- although there remains plenty of that to torment me in my own home.
Rather, it's the leftover Halloween pictures and memories I haven't gotten around to posting yet, but think they are worth remembering.  But if I don't post them, I likely won't remember them.
Abe took the kids downtown to trick-or-treat at Aunt Allison's work.  It's fun for them and they get really good candy there.  Which I later appreciate.
Getting ready to head out on a very mild Halloween evening.
Meeting up with more friends.
And even more friends.  It is so much fun for the kids to have so many good friends so close by.
Clark had a few friends over to celebrate Bryson's birthday (in yellow).
These are real pumpkins!  Can you believe it!  It is the coolest Halloween house by far.  Well, the neighbors who do freshly fried homemade donuts are pretty cool as well.  And the ones who do hotdogs for the neighborhood are awesome.  We just have a fantastic neighborhood for trick-or-treating!
And although I look absolutely possessed in this picture-- I was very happy to see my littlest trick-or-treater, George.
The evening's haul was quite respectable.  I underestimated how much candy I needed to buy for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters this year.  And then I felt very bad about how much candy my children collected.  Next year I'll be better and be more generous.