Sunday, December 27, 2009

The BFG by Roald Dahl

I had heard of this story many times as two of my children have read it and many other of Dahl's works. But it wasn't until recently that I decided to read it myself. This decision was spurred after doing a classroom observation for my schoolwork. I have to have 80 hours of observation before I can begin my student teaching. The class was a 2nd/3rd grade classroom of about 10 students. It is the teacher's first year at this school, though she has at least two years prior experience in teaching. The class was about halfway through the book on the day of my observation, and the teacher did such a delightful job of reading. I particularly enjoyed the voice she gave to the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) and the way she so accurately mispronounced the words as written.

The book is a quick read and a delightful, fanciful story of a little girl who is carried away by the BFG after she spies him blowing through a trumpet in the middle of the night. Although the BFG is friendly, thus the name, he actually isn't very big for a giant and is not typical of giants in many other ways as well. The young girl witnesses the existence of more typical giants and is warned by the BFG about what will happen to her if the other giants were to find her. She is horrified when she learns that giants eat people and devises a plan to save the human race from the giants, with the help of the BFG.

It is a rather silly book, but fun to read and full of confusing words that sort of make sense. If you have children in the 7-10 age range, this is a recommended read for them and you.

Thank You Notes

We have always tried hard to get our children to follow the age-old tradition of writing thank you notes. Some years we've done better than others, but apparently, there has been some success. This morning, Cierra asked if we could take Ruger to church. We explained that dogs generally don't go to church (I assume that service dogs would be allowed). Dad added that we needed Ruger at home to protect the house while we were away. Shortly after we observed Cierra dictating to Nick (because he can write) a letter thanking Ruger for guarding our home.

Here's hoping he'll be as helpful when it comes time to write the holiday thank you notes.

Week Ending 12/27/09

Well we're coming to the end of the holidays and the end of the year. My goal is to send out a year in review at some point, but we just finally got family pictures done yesterday so the letter will wait until those come back.

The week has been busy. I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, did visiting teaching and last minute shopping and errands on Thursday, thoroughly enjoyed Christmas day on Friday and relaxed on Saturday. Neil worked Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and a few hours Saturday morning. He had Wednesday off to celebrate his birthday. He took the kids to the zoo, did some Christmas shopping, then spent the evening with Alyx and Derek.

We were all spoiled with presents and family and are now dreading the going back to work this week. I at least enjoy my job, Neil tolerates his. We've decided his manager is a complete idiot and unfortunately it only gets worse as you go higher up in the company. This is probably one of the reasons why Neil has decided not to pursue management with this company.

Church today was entertaining for me. I got to play in nursery without actually getting out the toys. Instead, we had a lesson, ate snacks, sang songs, and kept the kids active with a variety of games such as London Bridges, Ring Around the Rosy, and Motorboat. Maybe I'm just slow, or maybe it's learned behavior that we fail to question, but as we did Motorboat, I realized that the words and the actions conflict at the end. For anyone unfamiliar with the action poem, here are the words and the dilemna:

Motorboat, motorboat go so slow (participants walk slowly in a circle holding hands)
Motorboat, motorboat go so fast (participants run in the circle, still holding hands)
Motorboat, motorboat step on the gas (participants suddenly brake and fall to the floor)

Did you notice that - you've just stepped on the gas, yet the actions have you coming to a stop rather abruptly as if you had actually stepped on the brake. Granted, fast and gas rhyme, whereas fast and brake do not. Coming to the conclusion that the words and actions did not match, I attempted to change the actions to fit the words and pick up speed. This is not recommended, especially when playing with small children because picking up speed actually causes them to fly through the air and I swear this is not what caused one little boy to end up with a goose egg on his forehead, but that is a foreseeable end.

Next week I'm helping out with the Valiant 11/12s and I'm pretty sure there will be no call for Motorboat in that class.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Blessings

Now that the stockings have been unstuffed and are no longer hanging with care, but rather strewn throughout the house haphazardly; and children are somewhat nestled - at least the older ones - while the younger ones are having fun with their newfound toys, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the blessings we've experienced this Christmas.

First, we are still in our home. We are patiently waiting the bank's decision on the short sale offer and really in no hurry to move. We expect that they will make a decision once the holidays are over and they realize that it has now been over a year since they have received any type of payment from us. It's not that we don't want to hold to our obligation, but the reality is we never should have been approved for the original loan and we are in no position to even afford the payments of a loan modification. But the blessing is that we were able to have Christmas in a warm, comfortable home that is large enough to hold our family when we are altogether.

This brings me to our next blessing. Once again, we have all the children together in our home. Alyx even spent the night and we will be taking a family portrait later this afternoon. The spirit in the home is peaceful, which is a change from a couple of years ago when Alyx was always here during the court-appointed parenting time but was resentful and moody. While I always loved her, I admit I did not enjoy having her in the house with that attitude most times. Her attitude now is more in tune with our whole family - very laidback.

That attitude is what I consider my third blessing. As much as I love the holidays, I really do not get into the whole decorating thing. I love the decorating, actually, it is the un-decorating that I dislike. The tree is now pretty dry and I am ready to remove the few ornaments that made their way onto the tree and toss the tree out into the woodpile. I love that my children are willing to toss the ornaments onto the tree in a very unorganized way. They enjoy the decorating and do not need to have me being anal about the positioning of each ornament or deciding which ones should be allowed on the tree and which ones are too gaudy to be displayed. And I admit to having a few of those ornaments. But those are blessings as well as they reflect my childhood Christmases and traditions we have carried forward.

I am grateful for food. And I am grateful that my family does not expect any special feast or spread. This is a carry over from my own family where mom always had too much food and candy and we were allowed to graze throughout the day without any formal sit-down dinner. We have plenty of food and the children can graze at will without expecting me to jump through any hoops to make food, especially since I really don't cook anyway.

Another blessing is our ward family. We struggled to fit in and still don't, but as I have come to know individuals, I am realizing that there really isn't a place to fit in. People are just people and often what we see in appearance has little relevance to who the people are on the inside. As I have had the opportunity to get to know many on a more personal and individual basis, I realize that I fit in much more than I thought I could and I don't have to do anything special to be accepted. Now, granted, that means that there are some people who just don't get me and we will never be friends, but I am finding that those people are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes by.

We were blessed by being visited early in the season by the single sisters of the ward. They chose to be Santas to our family and brought presents and goodies. They sang carols to us and forgave the intrusions of unexpected visitors relating to my scouting position as Popcorn Kernel.

I was particularly blessed this year by being able to work part time. In addition to the extra income, I have made some wonderful friends and strengthened other relationships. One lady in particular has become dear to my heart. She is a single woman who desires marriage and companionship but is such a strong personality in her own right. She ended up with an extra ticket to the performance of The Forgotten Carols by Michael McLean and invited me to come along. What a blessing. I was excited to get dressed up a bit and to enjoy some away from work, kids, home time. The performance was good. I wasn't too sure at first how much I was really enjoying it. I love music and have always liked McLean's music in particular. The songs were good, but I just wasn't real sure about the whole story line. During the second act I found myself wanting the time to be done so I could just get back home. In retrospect, I realize that even though I wanted the time away, there were still many things going on at home and my mind was still engaged at home and unable to fully experience the performance. It really wasn't until the end when Michael came back out on stage and talked to the audience that I really started feeling the spirit of what was intended. This portion actually prolonged the away time, but it was when I really was able to put off the naggings of the mind and understand the message of the performance.

And that brings me to my final blessing - not that I don't have many more that I could name, but this one is big. It is the blessing of knowing the Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, I know that He wasn't really born in the cold of December, but in the early months of spring. But this is the season we celebrate His birth most fully. And while most of us know the traditional story of who was there at this blessed time, His existence touched the lives of far more than those who were physically there to celebrate His birth and participate in His life. Because I know Him, He inspires me to be better, to strive harder, to live more fully following His example.

Merry Christmas to all and may the miracle of Jesus touch your life and lead you to be a better you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Almost Week's End

I realized that I haven't been blogging regularly nor am I even able to get the weekly update in. So since I have a few spare moments, I thought I'd just get down what has occurred over the past few weeks.

The kids just finished up their last week of school and are officially on Christmas Break. I am done with popcorn except for turning in some money and leftover popcorn to council. The Christmas shopping is mostly done although I imagine that it won't be until I start wrapping the presents that I'll have a better indicator of what percentage of "done" I am.

I've been busy with scouts and school and soccer and church programs and school programs and work and other things that I don't quite remember. Last Saturday was the ward Christmas program. I was supposed to be an angel with other children angels. Instead, I had a blazing headache and was sent home by the Activities Committee Chair. Daniel stayed and played a shepherd and then got a ride home with a good friend. My roasting pan with the hams I had cooked didn't make it home and Neil said he couldn't find it at church on Sunday. My headache was still waging a war on my body so I stayed home. Hopefully the Activities Committee Chair knows its whereabouts. The roasting pan, not the war.

Tuesday the school had its final soccer game. We scored a goal and got a 4th place trophy. I was happy both for the outcome and that the season is now over. Wednesday was Pack Meeting. They had an awesome display of color guard by a Marine Corps, who also stayed and talked about the Toys for Tots program and other cool military stuff. Wednesday and Thursday were half-days for Aaron, Derek, and Alyx as they had finals and then Friday off. Thursday was the Christmas program for the younger kids. The pre-school group did a cute musical program which involved a lot of rocking back and forth and hard-to-decipher singing. The school-aged children put on Dickens' A Christmas Carol with a little bit of personal flavor. Daniel played Dickens with a horrible English accent, Nick was Peter Cratchett, and Cierra was part of the choir. Given their ages and abilities, they did a good job. Grandma Janet happened to be in town and so shared the evening with us. Friday was a half-day for the younger children and so I did some housework and school work during the morning then spent the afternoon herding cats. That evening we went to a Christmas party hosted by some friends. Lots of yummy things to eat and a fun musical presentation. Santa even showed up.

Today we all pitched in and cleaned house, except for Nick who ended up with the flu. It had hit Rachel and Cierra at the end of last week and beginning of this week so it was just a matter of time. Nick was a real trooper about it though, even covered up his own puke trail when he missed the toilet. He seems to be feeling much better tonight so hopefully will be able to go to church tomorrow. If not, Neil will have to stay home as I've been asked to cover in the nursery and we figure it'll be easier to send his three boys to the other Primary teacher if he can't be there.

We got a little time to ourselves tonight as we went grocery shopping. Dating really isn't something we get to do very often because of our financial situation, but we've found that it's more about being together and away from the kids than the activity we actually do.

I've got to get to bed so I can get up and moving in the morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week Ending December 6, 2009

The weeks seem to get busier as we get closer to Christmas. This past week was pretty much the same schedule though my visit to the ER in the middle week caused me to change some activities around. I am finishing up the last of the Popcorn Fundraiser for the district so I had many phone calls and emails from the various units as we figured out who still needed what, who had product to return, and how much they all owed. It will be truly done by next week, one way or another.

Monday, being the last day of the month, Neil had to work from 7 am to 6:30 pm. He took Alyx and Derek out to dinner as there wasn't much time to spend with them. We had had them both last week for Thanksgiving and it was fun to spend time with them both.

Tuesday was a typical day including school, work, soccer practice, and scouts. Wednesday started out typical, but ended with a visit to ER, having blessed friends willing to pick up my children from school and me from the hospital. Neil had worked the late shift (12-9) and was so sweet to offer to come to the hospital with me. I assured him that it was better than he go to work and if necessary, I would call him. He stayed up with me most of Wednesday night even while I slept and was willing to call in to work on Thursday so he could run the kids to school and get my drugs. Luckily, the kidney stone passed a little before noon and so he was able to get in an afternoon nap and I was able to get things accomplished for our District Roundtable that night. He went to roundtable while I continued to recover.

Friday the kids had their half-day and I picked them up, ran down to the council offices to pick up some missing popcorn, and then took Cierra to the doctor to attend to some warts. She has a small one on each wrist and two on her big toe. The doctor decided to freeze them right then so Cierra has been experiencing her own pain. The freezing seems to be working and it is hard for me to see these blisters of viral infection and not want to just cut them off. She has caught one of her wrists a couple of times so she now walks around with a handkerchief. It has been particularly hard on her since anytime she gets any type of owie, she wants a band-aid and the doctor told us we can't put a bandaid on the warts if the freezing is to do its job.

Friday night we went down to the temple and looked at the temple lights. The missionaries are a bit zealous this year. Normally once we mention that we are already members, they might ask for a reference, but they also seem to be attentive to who the other missionaries are talking with. It felt like every missionary was on the attack and it made it difficult to enjoy the lights. We left within an hour due to that and the particularly cold night. Neil then took us down to his place of business to see the four-story Christmas tree. There was also an arts and crafts fair going on, but it had already closed down by the time we got there. So our visit there was long enough to take pictures of the tall tree and to chat up the security guard. We then headed for home knowing we had a busy Saturday coming up.

Saturday morning we had tithing settlement. We had planned to get dinner the night before at IHOP, one of our favorites, but because of the late hour and tired children, we put it off until breakfast. We also traded in for Denny's because it was closer to the church. After tithing settlement, Neil dropped me and the girls off at home and then took the boys over to the Thunderbird Building for an Eagle Scout project. When they finished with that, I took Aaron for a hair cut and then Neil took Daniel and Nick on a hike that Daniel needed to complete as one of his scouting requirements. Aaron went over to a friend's and I worked on homework and housework. When everyone got back home, Neil and I went out to pick up some needed groceries.

Today was church and we were all up and to church on time. The suburban has been groaning and we've determined that it is in need of a brake job. It got us to and from church and will be going to our mechanic tomorrow. It was fast and testimony meeting and many great testimonies were borne. We also had a great lesson in Relief Society on the attributes of Christ. I am now listening to the First Presidency Devotional and President Monson has begun to speak.

On to a new week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'll Take Childbirth

I've known pain, excruciating pain. I've given birth 5 times - all vaginal. I'm not sure why that is important, but doctors always ask. I have never had an epidural and I'm not a big fan of drugs in general. I think I have a high tolerance for pain, actually, and only have given in to modern medicine when the occasion really called for it - like childbirth. Even last spring when I needed a root canal but it had to wait until after my trip to Disneyland with a bunch of cub scouts, I made due with Advil. Granted that was partly because the Vicodin I had been prescribed made me puke and I really wanted to go on some rides without losing my lunch.

Wednesday morning I stopped by Circle K for a cup of hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich. The sandwich was a bit soggy and I regretted the decision, though I did enjoy most of my hot chocolate. I got to work about 9 and about 10 started feeling crampy. The kind of cramp that says you need to high-tail it to the bathroom to avoid any embarrassing stenches in the office. Usually the trip to the bathroom spells relief. Not this time. After sitting on the toilet and taking care of business, I found myself in agony trying to stand up. I managed, washed my hands, and had the urge to visit the toilet again. Similar situation, still no relief from the cramps, but the discomfort seemed to be subsiding.

I went back into the office and tried to get some work done. As I talked with co-w0rkers, they noticed that I was grimacing. One mentioned appendicitis and now I am really freaked out. Finally after multiple trips to the bathroom and on-again, off-again pain, I decide to go to the doctor. I assure them that I am capable of driving and head out. I make it as far as the bathroom, where once again I feel the urge to go and find myself crying from the pain going across my belly and up my back.

I go back to the office and one of my co-workers takes me to ER. I am not a fan of ER. I've never been there for myself, but have had enough experience to know that it usually involves a lot of waiting. Plus, there is that side of me who is doubting that I am experiencing anything worse than a bad case of gas and I really don't want to pay $100 copay to be told I'm a wuss who can't handle a little gas. Luckily, the ER is slow and I am taken back almost immediately. The next few hours involves puking, drawing blood, peeing in a cup, and a catscan of my abdomen. Other than the catscan, this resembles my childbirth experiences rather closely. Luckily, the peeing in a cup comes back with the result that I am not pregnant, for which I am grateful. It had been on my mind that there was the slight possibility I was dealing with a tubal pregnancy and could imagine the complications that would involve.

Finally the doctor comes back and tells me that I am not a wuss after all. It is not a bad case of gas and on the positive side, it is also not appendicitis. I have a kidney stone. Now I have heard the stories of people who have had kidney stones. I have also heard this experience described as almost as bad as the pain a woman endures in childbirth. Since I have now had both experiences, I admit, there are some similarities, however, there are also some glaring differences.

First, pain is involved with both child birth and kidney stones. It is acute pain that comes and goes. However, childbirth pain is generally in the form of contractions which do subside and you know that if you can just get through this part, you can then breathe. With kidney stones, the pain is inconstant. It doesn't come in waves and you have no clue when the pain will stop.

Second, childbirth involves another human being and doctors are quite concerned if the process takes overly long as it is not healthy for either mother or child. Kidney stones only involve you and doctors are nowhere near as concerned about getting this thing out of your body quickly. In fact, you shouldn't bother them unless it takes more than 5 days for the stone to pass.

Third, in childbirth, the contractions give you an idea of how fast you are progressing. Plus there is the information from the doctor about how big your cervix has become. You have a pretty good idea of how much longer the process is going to take. Kidney stones do not have any such indicators. The pain can be random in both severity and occurrence. You only know you are in pain and very rarely do you have any clue on how close this thing is to passing.

Fourth, childbirth results in this precious addition to your family and people bring you gifts. A kidney stone is roughly the size of a grain of sand. Other than the thrill of knowing it is now out of your body, there is not much cause for celebration and I've never heard of anyone being thrown a kidney stone shower or receiving presents for enduring this hardship.

So, for the record, although we have taken measures to not have any more children, and thus no more experiences of childbirth, if given the option between that and passing a kidney stone, I'll take childbirth.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankful

I'm not blogging as much as I used to. I miss it actually because it means that I do not have the same amount of free time I previously had. I've probably lost readers, not that I had a whole lot to begin with. I rather enjoy having my writing acknowledged, even though I tell myself that is not why I am writing.

With today being the day Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to take advantage of this spare free time to set forth those things for which I am thankful. They are not in any particular order, just pretty much however they hit me randomly.

First, I am thankful for my job. It is the reason I don't have as much free time, but I really enjoy the people I work with and I enjoy the challenge it is bringing to my life. I am realizing that I need to put up boundaries so that I don't make what is supposed to be part-time into more than full-time. There is plenty of work to do that and I do so like to be of service. I have realized though that by trying to do so much causes me stress as I try to keep the rest of my life in balance. But I am indeed grateful to be trusted by people I respect to do a difficult job.

I am thankful for my family. Between my work hours and Neil's work hours, our family time has become more rare, but of better quality. Alyx came and spent the afternoon with us. Her visits are rare and random, and I realize that she has a life that doesn't really revolve around hanging out with her dad and step-mom. I do enjoy when she is here. She is growing up into a beautiful young lady, both physically and emotionally. She is intelligent and thoughtful. She brings peace with her which is a wonderful change from the drama queen who used to be forced upon us. I am thankful for her maturity. The older boys are still immature, but I see great potential. I am amazed that God has allowed me to be with such amazing boys. They are so close in age and yet so different in personality. They are equally annoying and helpful. Aaron and I share a bond that is forged from a tumultuous experience from his early years. In some ways, he is my confidante and my advisor. Derek on the other hand is a completely different relationship. Although he is my step-son, I have not yet figured out what that relationship really entails. He has always been very respectful towards me, but lately, I sense a great deal of love emanating from him. Perhaps he is finally realizing that loving me and being loved by me does not in any way violate his relationship with his biological mother. I always get a hug from him before he leaves for the evening and I am grateful that he feels comfortable enough with me to show that affection. Daniel is still my baby. At times I wish he would grow up but I do so appreciate his sensitivity to situations and others' feelings. He is in that awkward stage of pre-adolescence and as the true middle child, I worry about him feeling like he belongs. Perhaps that is why he turns to me so often - he does not have a close peer within the family and his friends are not always available. He is doing so well at school this year and I feel positive that he will adjust to middle school next year with ease. I am thankful for the peace I feel with that decision. Nicholas has become an emotional roller coaster lately. I suspect he is testing the waters as he tries to become more independent. He is so capable and has the potential for being a great leader. I have great hope that this current phase is just that and that he will come through it a stronger, healthier child. Cierra has grown so much this year. Being in kindergarten has been a great blessing in our lives. She is so smart and has made many friends in her class. She is helpful and has such a sweet, giving heart. Rachel was put into pre-school when I started working. She still tells me she hates school, but the teachers say she is very involved and happy when she is there. I love listening to her sing and talk when she thinks nobody is listening. She is very articulate and I know she will be ready for school when the time comes. She still is very much my little girl and I am thankful that she allows me to cuddle with her.

I am thankful for having found the Charter School. I like that the children have small class sizes and get better immediate attention. I am grateful for their association with the pre-school so I only have one stop in the mornings and afternoons. I appreciate the school's Christian values and am comfortable with knowing my children are getting both temporal and spiritual development while they are in the school's care.

I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for my membership in His church. I know that I would be a mess if I didn't have this to direct my life. I am grateful for the Savior's atoning sacrifice and all that His act offers to me.

I am thankful for having a home, even though it has been almost a year now that we have been unable to make the mortgage payment. I know it is through the Lord's blessing that we are still here and though it often feels like we are in limbo, I have always been at peace with knowing that things will happen in the Lord's time. I am grateful that He has seen fit to keep us here for this long.

I am thankful for my bed, which is where I am now headed. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had the opportunity to reflect on your own blessings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

I finished this book finally. I haven't had as much time lately for luxury reading and I borrowed the book at least 2 months ago from the library. It was in the teen section and it had a cute title and would be a quick read, or so I assumed. It should be a quick read, but only if you have time to sit and read.

The premise of the story is figuring out love. It hides behind an adventure trek taken by two sisters, a step-sister, and a boyfriend's brother as they return items taken by the father from women with whom he had had relationships. But the journey is more than just returning the items, the girls find themselves learning things about their father they probably didn't really want to know and forging a bond that could not be attained any other way.

Mixed in the story line are excerpts from what you might assume are journal writings from the various female characters in the book which revolve around love and relationships. There appears to be an underlying search for truth.

Overall it wasn't a bad book. Okay on the entertainment factor and doesn't require any truly deep thought. It wasn't good enough for me to care about what the future of the characters might hold and I was not emotionally caught up in the characters, their quest, or the plot overall. What I did get out of it was a bit of disappointment.

When we talk about love and relationships, I get that people should try to avoid those that feel like love but in reality are just user relationships and a waste of time. I've had my share of those experiences and I understand why you stay in them. It's not because you're afraid of being alone and it's not because you think you don't deserve better. It's because you don't want to give up on the relationship prematurely. The book claims that love should be easy and peaceful. I'm not sure that you can generalize love like that and claim that if it doesn't fit into that context then it really isn't love. Relationships take work. They consist of two people with their own set of baggage from past relationships which have influenced who they are now. And not just love relationships, but family and friends and business relationships.

I would not want my daughter to read the book and think that anytime a relationship got hard it meant that there was no longer love or perhaps never was love. It shouldn't be all one-sided - both people need to be giving and compromising and loving. If we give up or walk away anytime it gets hard, then what do we learn? How do we grow? Having it hard isn't necessarily a bad thing. You just can't generalize love.

Ask for "The Caran"

I get strange requests often enough that I generally don't blink an eye anymore. I'm pretty much game for anything and am not easily offended or embarrassed. I blame this mostly on my involvement with scouts. But even I have never really thought of myself as being overly note-worthy or celebrity-styling. Apparently, I was wrong.

I was picking up kids from school on Thursday, and I was talking with a couple of other parents in the parking lot when a lady came over and asked if she could take a picture of my hair. She quickly explained that she needed a haircut and had been looking at mine for the past couple of days and really liked the layered effect. I had no problem with the request though had a slight weird feeling, which I chalk up to the request being made in front of other people. So she snapped a couple of pictures to take to her hairdresser and my friends teased me about being a "celebrity" haircut.

Week Ending November 15, 2009

It's late and I ought to be in bed, but realized I've got 2 weeks of catching up to do. In all reality, there hasn't been anything of great interest going on. It continues with school, work, scouts, church, and activities all in random order. Everybody has been sick, then better, then sick again. Nothing too bad, really, just enough to make you slightly miserable and irritable. The days are getting shorter and it gets harder and harder to get up at 5:30 even though the alarm going off across the room is annoying beyond belief. It's across the room with the idea that if I have to get out of bed to turn it off, I will stay up and moving. Usually it works, but occasionally I am tempted to slip back into bed and pretend that it's Saturday.

The kids all had the 11th off for Veterans day but both Neil and I worked so it wasn't much of a holiday. I am getting close to the wrap-up for popcorn and am hoping that it all works out quickly so I can be done. I've already given my notice to the district that I won't be doing it again next year. I've done it for three years and it's time to let someone else have the experience. Mostly it's because I should be doing my student teaching next year at this time and I don't want to have to worry about additional stress.

I was tempted to stay home from church today. It seems to be getting harder to want to get up and go. I'm not sure why, because I do feel so enriched when I attend. Today was no exception. I was able to be in Relief Society today and the lesson was on the testimonies others had of Joseph Smith being a prophet. It's not something I've ever given much thought to. I guess I've just always accepted it as a part of the truth of the church. I mean, if a guy is going to just make up a whole new religion, wouldn't he be more likely to follow conventional wisdom rather than going out on a limb and expecting people to accpet completely different thoughts about the attributes of God. New religion wasn't exactly new at that time. There were a lot of churches and pastors and preachers proclaiming the truth of their interpretation of the Bible. Why not just stick to what was already being done. Stick with the Bible and just add a few of your own interpretations. But Joseph Smith introduced a whole new book of scripture and brought to light the idea that the Godhead is indeed three separate beings with a common goal and purpose. If you're going to claim you saw God, why not just stick to seeing God? But Joseph not only claimed to have seen God, but Jesus Christ as well with God introducing Christ as "mine only begotten Son." Not exactly what you want to throw out there if you're making up your own religion and expect people to jump on board. It just seems like a bit much for a 14 year old boy with little education to come up with all on his own.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week Ending 11/1/09

I realize I never wrote last week so I guess I'll just highlight the last two weeks. For the most part it has been pretty average. Cierra was invited to a birthday party on the 24th so I dropped her off then took the other kids to do some shopping. Aaron needed some pants for the Homecoming Dance and Daniel needed new church pants. Neil had left Thursday night after work to go Elk Hunting. He got back Saturday night and we skipped church on Sunday because of it being Stake Conference. The little kids are not yet at the point where they can sit for two hours and I don't like having to worry about them being bothersome to others. Maybe it's the wrong attitude to have but that's my life.

This past week was Spirit Week at the elementary school. Daniel enjoyed dressing up on all the days and Nick went about half and half. Cierra wanted nothing to do with crazy hair, hats, or being backwards. She did, however, enjoy wearing her pajamas on Thursday and getting to wear her Diamondbacks t-shirt on Friday for Sports Day. Neil had the whole week off for the hunt, but didn't end up going back up until Wednesday. He had no success in getting an elk, but did get a coyote. With him home, I was able to go in to work earlier and stay later, which was nice for the pocketbook, but of no help for my house. It's been all I can do to keep up with laundry and dishes on that front as the rest of my time is spent helping kids with homework, doing my own schoolwork, and attending various school and scout activities.

I was able to watch Daniel's football game on Tuesday and our Tiger Den went to the Fire Station on Thursday. Aaron had come home Wednesday not feeling well and developed a fever running between 100 and 102. He stayed home Thursday and Friday. Friday was a half day at school for the younger kids and I had planned Cierra's birthday party for noon. That was a great time for her and her friends. Daniel had 3 Halloween parties to attend Friday night and Derek wanted to hang out with friends. So we did a lot of running around and finally got to bed shortly before midnight.

Saturday Neil and I had a staff development for a Wood Badge course we have been asked to help staff. I get to be a troop guide this time and he will be the ASM - Programs - meaning he gets to be the cubmaster on Day 1 and then help out behind the scenes the rest of the time. Kids had all made plans for the rest of the day. Derek wanted to be with friends to hang out and Aaron was going in another direction with his friends. Daniel and friends went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and then planned on going trick-or-treating. He messed that up by not being outside once the movie was done as instructed so he had to stay home with dad and pass out candy. He didn't really miss much as the younger three kids went out scrounging for treats and brought home at least 4 times as much candy as we handed out. He probably got the better part of the deal because he didn't have to walk around and get cold, got candy anyway, and got to see all the different costumes.

The two little girls woke up with fevers and runny noses, Aaron is still hacking up lungs, and Neil had a headache, so we decided to skip church and hopefully keep our ward family members healthy.

Well, on to another week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

This story is more of an biographical thesis in which Mitch Albom captures the last months of a dear professor's life. It encompasses memories of who Mitch had once been and thoughts on who he had become. It captures the best and worst moments of a man who knows he is dying and is at peace with that.

Overall I am ambiguous about the book. There are bits of wisdom for us all, but I found, for me, that these great life lessons that the author was receiving are common sense ideas taught by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a religious book and though the dying professor has gleaned insight from a number of religions and religious leaders, he also has borrowed from poets, musicians, and authors. The number one lesson is to love others. This isn't any big newsflash. In fact, in the September Visiting Teaching message, Elder M. Russell Ballard is quoted as saying, "The plan of happiness is available to all of his children. If the world would embrace and live it, peace, joy, and plenty would abound on the earth. Much of the suffering we know today would be eliminated if people throughout the world would understand and live the gospel." He said that back in 1995. It is still true today and probably even more relevant as the world we live in becomes more and more greedy and concerned about the individual rather than the common welfare of all.

I actually had picked up the movie as well by mistake. Well, I had reserved what I thought was the book, only to find out I had reserved the movie. So I watched the movie after reading half of the book. The life lessons were similar but I was very disappointed that they decided to put a different spin on Mitch's relationship with Janine. In the book, they are married and she gets him. They have put off having children, and who knows why though there are probably many factors involved. In the movie, they are not married, only dating, and it is supposedly through Mitch's weekly visits with Morrie that he decides to propose and this is after she has already ended the relationship. Yes, Tuesdays with Morrie changed Mitch and his outlook on life. But isn't it much better to portray reality - that so often our insights affect us in the little ways but deeply, rather than having this great outward appearance of change, but leaves you wondering what will be the fate in five or ten years when Morrie's presence has dissipated and his influence has lessened.

What I did like from the book was Morrie's take on death. He didn't just give in to the disease and wait for his life to waste away. He continued to live and to do so with all the energy he could muster. He probably lived more in those last months than many people truly live in their entire lives. It is an inspiring message for all readers to not wait until death is knocking at your door to embrace the idea of living, instead, to start living now. Living happily and doing those things which are fulfilling. Giving to your community, supporting your family, not putting off out of fear or apathy those things which will enrich your life.

Week Ending 10/18/09

This past week was Fall Break for the younger kids. Aaron got Monday off for Columbus Day but had school the rest of the week. I started working in the office so I got a full day on Monday, then worked part time on Tuesday and Thursday. I took Wednesday off to stay home and monitor Nick after his incident with the steak knife on Tuesday afternoon, but brought home some work so still stayed busy with that. Wednesday was also Cierra's birthday but with Neil working the late shift, we kind of put off celebrating until sometime in the future. She really wants to have a birthday party with friends, and I really want that to happen. But October is half over and so busy with other things. Her primary teacher took her out and bought her a book and an ice cream cake which the family helped her eat this afternoon.

I skipped book club Wednesday night because of wanting to spend more time with the kids and knowing I had another meeting Thursday night that I needed to go to. I did read the book and will post a review on it after I finish this post. Neil had Friday off from work so we took care of those errands that need attending to that you never seem to have time to do. Saturday he had to work in the morning then we attended the temple wedding of a boy from our last ward. We've had the opportunity to be at a number of that family's functions and enjoy the opportunity to visit with old friends. We ran into a couple who we had known in the Granite Reef Ward and he is now the bishop in another ward in our stake. She is pregnant with their 7th child - another girl due in February. How exciting. I love the idea of being pregnant, but recognizing that it ends with a child, I'm going to pass. I guess if the Lord felt we needed and could handle another child, I'd have no qualms, but I'm quite certain our family is complete and I am enjoying the years of raising the ones we have and knowing that having grandchildren isn't really that far off.

I am back in school so I worked on my assignments yesterday as well and also had some work stuff to complete. We also went grocery shopping and Aaron went to the youth dance. So it was a late night for us all and I really didn't want to get up this morning. We finally got everyone moving and though we were a bit late for church, the boys still were in time to help with the sacrament ordinance. I took a short nap this afternoon then decided to finish up some work. I need to go find the birth certificates so I can finish the enrollment process for Rachel to be in preschool.

I'd best get going. 5:30 comes early in the morning and I still have some stuff to take care of.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Cierra

My girl turned 5 yesterday. I was going to post, but the trauma of Nick left me otherwise occupied yesterday. Cierra's original due date was October 13th. Since none of my previous children had bothered waiting to come that late, I assumed Cierra would be the same. I never thought that her being a girl would change the whole delivery schedule. When I met with my doctor that Monday, he informed me that I was 1 cm dilated and felt we could induce any time. I thought "why bother, she'll come anytime now." But to appease the doctor, we set up an induction for the 14th with my assumption that she would show up before then. She didn't so we met the doctor at 7 am at the hospital and I got all hooked up to whatever monitors they had going and they started me on the pitocin. The doctor left and I more or less got bored with the occassional contractions. The doctor came back at 11 and decided to break my water to get things moving. He left and Cierra decided it was time to make her entrance. The nurse had to page the doctor to get back to the room and by the time he showed up, Cierra was halfway out. The poor doctor didn't even have time to throw on a gown and I'm pretty sure his watch is ruined.

She was my biggest child at 8 pounds 13 ounces. She was also "my girl." While Neil and I were dating, I had told him that I knew I still had a girl that needed to come to my family. My desire to have more children was something he shared and we had both found difficult to find in potential mates. Nicholas wasn't a disappointment coming first; in fact, I had pretty much told Heavenly Father that if I was to have more than one more child, then he would have to send me all the boys first. So I got Nick and then I got my girl. Cierra's name comes with a few explanations. Neil had always wanted a girl named Sierra - he had seen it on a truck and thought it would make a cool girl's name. We changed it to a C because we already had Aaron and Alyx, Derek and Daniel, Neil and Nick, so this would give us Caran and Cierra. Neil also liked the original style jeeps with the title CJ (civilian jeep) and thought it would be cool to have a daughter with the initials CJ so he could do a personalized license plate of "CJ 4 CJ." And though I am referred to as CJ by a childhood friend, it wasn't a nickname that had ever stuck with anyone else. So we gave Cierra the middle name of Julene so that she can be CJ and also I like sharing my middle name with my daughter. CJ hasn't really stuck with her either though. CJ is a tomboy's name and Cierra is all princess. Her favorite color is pink. She loves all the Disney princesses, though Ariel is her favorite. She loves my fingernail polish, makeup, and bubble bath.

So my dear, Cierra, sorry this is a day late, but Happy Birthday Princess!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Amazing Human Body

As a mother of boys, I have had my fair share of visits to the doctor, Urgent Care, and ER. Usually stitches or staples are required though the wound isn't life threatening. And while my mind convinces me to suck it up and take care of the needful, my body doesn't always cooperate. I have come to rely on Neil to take care of ER visits for me because inevitably I pass out once my brain has been given the information that my child is no longer in immediate danger and no longer requires my conscious presence.

Today I asked Nick to empty the dishwasher. This is a chore he has been doing fairly often and does a good job. He had pulled the lower rack out with the silverware then turned to do something with some other dishes. He somehow tripped or slipped, but the end result was a cartwheel over the dishrack and landing on the floor screaming in pain. As I turned to see what was going on, the first thing I noticed was a large knife pointing upwards in the silverware holder. Hoping and praying that this was not a major catastrophe, I scooped Nick up and began to inspect him for injuries. I spotted the slice in his shorts, which didn't seem too bad, but recognized the signs of blood. I plopped him face down across the kitchen sink and yanked his pants down. Sure enough, he had sliced a gash about three inches across his left butt cheek. I yelled at Daniel to bring me butterfly bandaids from the first aid kit, which is luckily in the kitchen and he helped me strip them down to the adhesive and watched me apply them. He admits to almost getting sick. Luckily for me, my brain is in the "You can do this" phase of emergency protocol and so I am both disgusted and enthralled by the blood and meaty stuff (I later learn is fat) that is oozing out of the wound.

After applying four butterfly bandaids and a large gauze pad, I swoop Nick into my arms and we dash through the garage and head for the hospital. I actually had the presence of mind to call my doctor to see if we should bring him there ($20 vs. $100 ER co-pay) but am told that they have no more appointments for the day. I get a call from a good friend with whom I had been expecting to enjoy a long chat, but explain the situation and tell her I'll call her later. We get to the ER and of course can't find a decent parking spot. But we didn't have to do any major hiking and there is nobody in line at the triage desk. I am asked what the emergency is and I briefly explain that my son has sliced his butt open and needs stitches. I'm not sure if the nurse was hard of hearing, or just didn't want to accept what she had heard, but she asked if it was his foot. No, it's his BUTT. Meanwhile a few other people have come in behind me and I can tell they are trying not to snicker. I understand, it is kind of funny. The wording of it anyway, not the pain I am sure my howling son is enduring.

As I am sitting and waiting for him to be called back, my friend shows up. What a lifesaver. She was able to do all those things that I had neglected to take care of. She ran out and got a new outfit and underwear for Nick. She became my calming influence when I started getting the shakes as the shock began to wear off. She carried my stuff so I could carry Nick. She kept me sane by talking to me of things other than Nick's butt wound.

Three hours later, Nick has been stuck, restuck, and stapled. He's been a trooper. Oh, there were tears, but also a morbid desire to see what they were doing - not an easy task given the location of the wound and the fact that the neck only turns so far. He's now a bit loopy but hating that I'm keeping an eagle eye on his every move. I tried to make it fun by letting him choose a movie and ordered out pizza. I probably won't sleep well tonight as I will worry about him sleeping well. I am glad that he is on fall break this week so will have the rest of the week to recuperate. What a story he'll have to tell.

Just in case you are wondering, I did refrain from taking pictures until the doctor was ready to fix him up. The body really is an amazing thing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week Ending October 11, 2009

Last week was a busy one for me and the kids. Monday I met Neil after work at the mechanics to drop off the red truck. It needed a seatbelt replacement. Who knew safety could be so expensive? Nick and Cierra wanted to go so I piled them in the green truck and off we went. They have such interesting conversations. I wish I could remember now what it was they were going on about this time. After getting Neil and Derek, we stopped at the QT for gas and the kids were allowed to go in and pick out a drink and a treat. Of course, Rachel was upset that she didn't get a treat and Cierra's drink was absconded by another child so Neil had to make a pitstop on the way home after taking Derek back to his mom's house to please the princesses.

Tuesday we went and picked the red truck up. Neil has obviously been working too long of hours. He called me from work and asked me to meet him at the mechanic's. I asked him how that would work since we would then have three vehicles and only two drivers. He met me at home and we headed up together. He lingered a bit too long after I dropped him off, but luckily, nobody showed up for scouts so he wasn't actually late for anything. Aaron had his combined activity at 6:30 - water balloon fights and treats. Neil took him over and then he got a ride home with one of his leaders.

Wednesday Neil had the late shift. Aaron asked to go to a church youth group with one of his school friends and Nick had a pack meeting. I took Daniel, Nick, and the two girls to the pack meeting, which luckily was fairly short. After the meeting I took the kids for ice cream. Baskin Robbins has a buy one get one free sundaes on Wednesday nights so the three little guys got a single scoop of chocolate and Daniel and I each got a sundae. We got home before Aaron made it back and so I got all the kids bathed and into bed, then crashed myself.

Thursday, the kids had a half-day so we had our cub scout den meeting right after school at which time I realized that I had failed to bring all the needed materials for our activity. So we learned the Cub Scout promise, motto, and sign. My goal is to have all the boys earn their Bobcat by Christmas. We scheduled a get-together for Saturday so the boys could work on their spaceships since we wouldn't be having a den meeting the following week due to fall break.

Friday was another half-day and I had parent-teacher conferences for all the kids. Cierra has Exceeds in the majority of the areas and Meets in everything else. I always wonder how the kids can be such geniuses at school when they seem to struggle so much at home. Nicholas is in the mostly meets area with a few spots where he is just a bit behind. But his teacher says that is typical for all the students because the concepts are ones that will be hit on throughout the year and complete meeting of the standard won't be accomplished until the third or fourth quarter. He does have some speech issues which translates into his writing. His "l"s are often heard as "w"s and his "th" sounds are expressed as "d"s. While this isn't completely unusual, the teacher is having a speech therapist come in to observe him to make a better determination and intervene if necessary. Meanwhile I am working with him and making him pronounce his words correctly and he loves to write words so I am able to use that desire to help him hear and write the words more phonetically. Daniel is doing great academically, but he still struggles socially with his anger management. He is very helpful when he wants to be, but can lash out quickly when he is upset or feels under attack. We haven't had any serious incidents this year so far, so I see improvement.

Friday night Neil and I went out to dinner. We went to the Sugar Bowl in downtown Scottsdale. After eating, we wandered the streets a bit and went into a shop that specialized in Native American goods. I was reminded of home looking at the kachinas and jewelry. I asked Neil what the date was and realized it was my dad's birthday. So I gave him a call and we talked for a little bit. I had talked to my mom earlier in the week so was pretty much up on all the latest news, but it's always good talking to dad.

Saturday was busy. I worked on cleaning the house in the morning while Neil went out to Ben Avery with Nick and Aaron. He needed to sight the gun he's taking next week when he goes on his elk hunt and thought he'd spend some time shooting with the boys. The sighting took a while and so they skipped the shooting part so they could get home. Cierra had a birthday party to attend at noon so I took her to that after leaving Neil and the older boys cleaning instructions. After the party, we stopped by the library to pick up some materials I had put on hold, then went to the grocery store to pick up some last minute necessities for the party. Everyone showed up around 5:00 and we got the boys busy gluing and sanding their spaceships. Only one boy got his done well enough to actually decorate, but he was the one I was most worried about because his mom is a single mom and doesn't have a lot of extra time. The other two moms are stay-at-home moms like me and the dads are pretty involved in the boys' lives. It was fun having new people over and getting more acquainted with the families. The boys had a blast playing out in the backyard and were quite disappointed when it was time to say good-bye.

Sunday was church. We got up at 7 and made it to church on time. I was subbing in primary and I think the lesson went pretty well. We talked about how serving others shows our love for Jesus. The kids wrote some thank you notes on flowers for the Bishop and then couldn't decide on who should get to take them, so we all went down to the Bishop's office to deliver them then headed back for sharing and singing time. The kids are practicing songs for the Primary Program coming up next month. They sure are getting really good. We were low on numbers due to fall break, but the kids who were there definitely made up in volume.

This week is fall break for the younger kids but Aaron only got today off for Columbus Day. So it's back to getting up at 5:30 in the morning for him and me. I'd better get to bed.

She's Too Young to Drink

I wish I'd had my camera handy. Neil had picked up a few of those Pucker Up kids drinks and Rachel brought one to me to open. I did so and a couple of minutes later she brought another one. Assuming she was being nice to one of her siblings, I opened it as well. I got busy with various things and as we gathered together for family prayer, Rachel came into the room with a bottle in each hand. She took a swig from one, grinned at us all, and let out a beautiful belch. Lovely - I have a two-fisted drinker.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Things That Make You Go ... HMMMMM

Nicholas: Mom, can we go on a trip for Christmas?
Mom: Where do you want to go?
Nicholas: Antarctica
Mom: Why Antarctica?
Cierra: Because they have snow.
Nicholas: And penguins.

Cierra: Maybe we could pray for snow.
Mom: And penguins?
Nicholas: Yeah
Cierra (simultaneous with Nick): Whaaat?

Week Ending October 4, 2009

This past week was absolutely crazy busy. As popcorn kernel for the district, this is my busy month. Also, the work I do is sporatic, so of course, this was the week where we had a big load come in that needed to be processed. Thursday was probably the busiest day for me. I had to get the roundtable newsletter sent off, pick up the Show & Deliver popcorn, do the normal kid runs, code, verbatim, and QC a number of surveys for work, and attend Roundtable.

The other days weren't quite as busy, but I did receive a call from a temp agency who had found my resume online and had a position they were trying to fill at SRP - a place I have previously worked. So along with normal mommy duties, I had to fit in an interview, and time to take the various tests to show how well I know Microsoft Office. Which I found out was not so easy because I don't like having to pay for change so I have been working off of Office 2003 while the professional world has moved to 2007. When I had the computer revamped, I did get 2007 put on, but I am still getting used to the layout of the toolbar. All in all, I didn't do too badly and scored in the high 80s for each of the tests. The only one that I did much better in was the typing test - for which I typed 78 words per minute with zero mistakes. I was rather impressed with myself and even had to brag to Neil.

The one highlight of the week was the General Conference sessions. Since we don't have television service, we went to the chapel on Sunday to listen to the two sessions. We also spent the between-session time at the Rivera's with our ward enjoying crepes, pastries, and other brunch items. This was fun because it allowed the kids to see their friends and I got the opportunity to visit with people I don't normally get to see because of church callings.

Although the addresses are all really good, I was particularly struck by Elder Holland's strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. I hope that the older kids who are in seminary took note of his testimony as they are studying this book this year.

We did get to see Alyx on Wednesday. She indicated that she is going to seminary, YW, and church and is wanting to go. That is such a difference from those who go because parents force them, or don't go because parents don't want the fight. She also had homecoming this weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing pictures. The guy she went with is a "kinda" boyfriend as best I can tell. He is in her ward and they are both juniors at Shadow Mountain High. They read scriptures together over the phone and I am pleased that she has chosen to look to young men in the church for her dating choices rather than the crowd she has previously been with.

This week is already off to another busy start and there is much to do. So until next week, have a good one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week Ending September 27, 2009

This week seemed busier than most. Probably because the computer went down and I had work I needed to do. I knew the computer had a virus and was in need of help beyond what I could give it. But with popcorn season beginning and various other work and scouting needs, I kept pushing off the inevitable. However, by Wednesday, the computer had pretty much quit being nice and I simply unplugged it and took it in for help. Luckily I had received a laptop for Christmas which I have pretty much avoided using for the past several months. And luckily, plugging it into the internet was an easy process and once I figured out that I could also plug in my mouse, rather than use the mousepad of the laptop, the switch wasn't too bad. I still prefer my desktop with the larger monitor. That may be because having hit 40, my body is showing signs of aging and the eyesight is probably needing assistance.

I had a number of meetings this past week - mostly scouting and mostly a waste of time. But I did have my first Tiger Den meeting which went fairly well. There are 5 boys with the possibility of a 6th joining. I do think we need a different room or at least get the one we're using to be less cluttered.

Thursday was a Mother's In Zion group meeting where we were given a number of wonderful ideas for getting children involved in family history. It made me realize how important the detailing of my life's events are at this point while they are fresh and I can still remember them. Most of the time, my week's are pretty mundane, but there are the few episodes that bear writing down and repeating. One day I can use them to amuse my grandchildren.

Friday night I attended the pack meeting of another unit for which I am the Unit Commissioner. They had a member of their pack who is involved in the Demolition Derbies who had brought his car and a video of a recent derby. Neil and I had to laugh because we recognized two other cars in the video as belonging to a couple of employees at our mechanic's shop.

Saturday I attended the General Women's Conference which I previously wrote about though not in detail. What I really loved from the meeting was President Eyring's address. He talked about the legacy that Relief Society women have left and the legacy we are continuing to build. I appreciate his humor and his humility. I suppose there were those who were disappointed that President Monson was not speaking, though he was in attendance, but I truly enjoyed listening to President Eyring.

We arrived to church a bit late on Sunday. I had been fighting a headache since Friday evening and believe that there may be some sinus issues involved as it keeps showing up even though I keep downing Advil. We got there just as the testimony portion of Sacrament Meeting began and we listened from the foyer to a number of sweet testimonies. I was supposed to help Neil with his class as he had both his class and the class just younger, but I ended up visiting with a sister in the hallway and made it back to Primary just prior to sharing and singing time.

We got home in time to get changed and have a realtor show up to show the house. Normally we keep away from Sunday afternoons, but since it was happening immediately after church, we allowed it. We had received word on Friday that another offer had been sent in, about $10,000 less than the previous offer so we will see what the bank says about this. I'm just tired of the waiting and not knowing. I had another lady come with her family today and because we haven't actually signed the other offer yet, I did let her know that if they offered the amount already approved by the bank, we would take that offer over the other one. She's coming back this afternoon with a contractor. It seems like a good sign. Now we'll just have to find a place to rent.

Sunday evening we had our Home Teacher come visit and then Neil and I headed over to the Eagle Court of Honor for a young man who we had known in the Granite Reef ward. I had been one of his Cub Scout Leaders and it was nice to see him complete this rank. He just turned 14 and has had incredible leaders and a grandmother who supported him and pushed him in attaining the award. Once again, we were welcomed back to the ward and asked when we were moving back. Most everybody knows the situation with the house and so we often get notices on which areas have homes available. Of course finding a home big enough and in our price range is going to be difficult, but possible with the Lord's help. I continue to trust in Him because I know things aren't going to happen if I try to do it all myself.

Well, I have other things to get to. Another week awaits.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reverence

I hold a calling in my ward as a substitute teacher in Primary. I actually love this calling because I get to interact with all the different children and it has given me great insight into where I want to focus in teaching as a school teacher once I finally complete my schooling. We don't have a large primary, but it's not small either. It is large enough that we can get some good volume when all the children are singing, but small enough that I can actually name all the children with the exception of a couple who are new in the ward.

In all my times of subbing, I have noticed is that there is a serious lack of reverence. The children come in from Sacrament Meeting and treat the Primary room as a social center. The pianist is usually in there playing prelude music, but it doesn't seem to help. All but one member of the Primary Presidency has children in Primary as do many of the teachers yet having mom or dad in there doesn't seem to be a deterrent to the noise level. My own children have felt my glowering stare as I mentally urge them to quit fiddling with their friends and set the example.

This evening I had the opportunity to join with sisters throughout the Stake for a light luncheon followed by the broadcast of the General Women's Conference. The lunch started at 3:30 and the broadcast began at 5:00. One would think that having an hour and a half to mingle, munch, and socialize would be sufficient and that upon entering the chapel with the anticipation of hearing from our General Presidency and Prophet, we could expect reverence. Me and a couple of other sisters from my ward went into the chapel about 15 minutes prior to the start of the broadcast. The screen showed choir members who were most likely singing prelude music as the timer counted down, but the volume had been muted. I was dismayed at the amount of noise from chitchat occurred while we waited.

Just prior to the start of the broadcast, the Stake Relief Society President made a few comments and we sang an opening hymn. Then the broadcast started and quickly ended. Due to technical difficulties, we watched the computer screen show the attempts of some lucky Priesthood holder to get the broadcast up and running. Instead of sitting quietly waiting, the noise level immediately increased and became so loud that even when the audio stream came back through with the opening hymn of the broadcast, the sisters didn't stop talking. They did quiet down for the opening prayer, but when all we received was the audio stream with no picture, it seemed as if reverence was now an option rather than the expectation.

Technical difficulties continued and included a re-boot of the computer system. Each time we lost the broadcast, we also lost reverence. At one point I became aware of a sister sitting two rows behind me who was speaking so loudly, she might as well have been speaking to me. I know I am not the only who was bothered by this, as the other 4 sisters sharing my pew quietly attended to their own notes and thoughts while we waited for the broadcast to resume. I am grateful for their sisterhood and reverent manner. But I am so disheartened by the actions of too many others.

I realize that opportunities to socialize with our church members outside of church are limited. But the chapel should be a reverent place where people can come in, sit quietly, reflect, meditate, or pray without the interference of others who want to socialize. If you are not ready to sit quietly, then perhaps you should not enter the chapel. And if we cannot set the reverent example to our children and others within the chapel, how can we possibly expect our children to act reverently when they are sent off to their Primary chapel?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Precious Things

As I get older, I am losing things more often. Usually it is just a matter of misplacing things. It is very frustrating to go look for something in the spot I normally leave it to find it is not there. Sometimes I can blame others for having moved it, but I admit that I am guilty of setting something down with the intention of putting it in its proper place in just a moment and then getting distracted. I have come to rely on order in my life. Things need to be where they belong and people should be where they say they are going to be. I have too much going on in my life to keep track of all the little details.

My daily life is pretty routine. 5:30 am - wake up and get ready to take Aaron to seminary. 6:00 - leave the house. 7:00 - go pick him up and take him to school. 8:00 Take the other kids to school. 2:00 pm - pick Aaron up from school unless other arrangements have been made. 3:30 pick up the other kids, except on Fridays which is half day and I get them at 11:30. The time in between the drop off and pick runs is spent in a myriad of ways depending on what is going on that week. Once the kids are home, we get homework done and then they are on their own to entertain themselves as I strive to finish up work or make dinner or whatever else is using my energy.

Daniel is fairly quiet. He is the true middle child of the family and tends to get along with people of all ages. His classroom at school is a mixed grade of 4th - 7th grade students. He likes both boys and girls as friends and has not yet hit the years where girls are anything more than recess playmates. Because he did attend the public school in our neighborhood for a couple of years before we moved him to the charter school, he has friends in the area. They range in age from 7 - 14. Many afternoons he will ask to go out into the neighborhood and look for someone to play with. I know most of the culprits and where they live. I have phone numbers for those he associates with most often. I give him a fair amount of leeway and do not require a typed itinerary each time he leaves the house. He is required to be home before it gets dark.

Friday afternoon he took off to look for friends. Neil got home about 5:00, changed, finished packing the truck and left soon after for the scout trip with the older boys. I was at the computer dealing with popcorn orders for the district. I tend to use only natural light coming through the windows behind me until it gets dark enough to require I shut the blinds and turn on lightbulbs. As I began this ritual, I realized that Daniel was not yet home. I began making the phone calls. First house, no answer so I left a message. Second house, no answer and no machine. I decided to go drive through the neighborhood hoping that I would spot him on his way home, a young boy knowing he's in trouble and hastening his steps. I drove by the homes of his friends. I tried a third number but it kept going straight to voicemail. I left a message.

Returning home with no idea where Daniel was, I began to pray. Pleading for his safety and hoping that it was simply a case of getting too involved and not realizing it was dark outside. I called Neil to see if Aaron could tell me what Daniel had been wearing when he left and if he could tell me the exact location of another friend's house. Neil offered to come home but I told him it wasn't necessary yet. He assured me that he would be praying as well. He then made the fatal mistake of telling me how to discipline Daniel when he did show up. I guess from a guy's point of view, this is his way of saying he is confident that Daniel will be home soon and will need to be punished for making me worry. What I heard was that he was more concerned with the punishing of a child and addressing the "next time" when I wasn't even confident there would be a next time to address.

Just before I hung up the phone and prepared to go to the house of this third friend, I opened the front door and there was Daniel poised to ring the doorbell. Yes, there should be lectures and maybe a grounding for not being home before dark or calling. But I couldn't. I was just too relieved that he was safe. We did talk about communicating better in the future. If I wasn't afraid I'd lose it, I might consider the typed itinerary.

Week Ending 9/20/09

This week was nothing exciting. I turned 40 and guilted all my facebook friends into saying nice things to me and sending me cute little cards and gifts. Other than that, it was pretty much normal everyday life.

Aaron, Derek, and Neil went on a scouting event called On-Target where Varsity scouts around Arizona set up mirrors and flashed each other. Our stake followed up the event with a service project. They then had their Court of Honor on Sunday at which all three boys earned various merit badges and rank advancements. Aaron is officially a Life Scout and Daniel is a Tenderfoot. Derek is still a Star but close to getting Life - I think it's just a matter of putting in the time for him.

Daniel had a birthday party to attend on Saturday and the whole family was invited. It was pretty cool. My mother-in-law showed up Saturday morning and gave me a birthday present. I appreciate the present, but I sure wish she would call when she was in town instead of just showing up.

Sunday was Ward Conference and Daniel gave a talk in Primary and Aaron had to prepare something for Priesthood. Since I wasn't in either place, I don't know how it went. I imagine a member of the bishopric would be calling me if they were setting forth false doctrine.

I'm in a definite funk and the marriage is unraveling. Neil and I talked a lot last night and he has agreed that we need counseling. I am hopeful but cautious. I'm tired of having the same fight over and over but so is he. I didn't realize that. I don't think he goes out of his way to do things that bother me, but it's the lack of thought that bothers me as well. I think we were able to identify some of the problems, but neither of us knows how to change things. It's not that we're unwilling, we just don't have the necessary tools. Hopefully counseling will change that.

On to another week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's a Guy Thing

Being married twice and having four males children in the house, I have learned that there are a few things that guys can do that seem to elude the female abilities. It's not that we physically aren't equipped, nor is it because we don't want to do them based on the disgusting nature of the talent. There are plenty of things that fall into those categories.

I have been sick and while the majority of the symptoms have finally left my body, I am left with phlegm. It seems to creep up my throat and just sit there in the back of my mouth waiting for an opportunity to choke me. I've never been much of a spitter. I do not randomly hock a loogie. However, this is the type of phlegm that cannot be swallowed back down in hopes that it will seek another exit or dissolve itself into my other bodily fluids. It must be coughed up and spit out. The main problem is that it chooses the most inopportune times for wanting to gag me. While I sit at the computer typing, I can get up and run to the bathroom sink to spit up the latest attack. However, the phlegm tends to wait until I am driving somewhere before it plans a sneak attack.

I have gotten better at dredging the mucous out of my throat and spitting it down the drain. In an odd sort of way, it's fun to see how thick the particular glob of phlegm is, though not as much fun having to actually touch it because it was so thick it stuck to the sink. I have not yet gotten the hang of long distance hocking. And it's not like I'm trying to set any world records, but I cannot manage the distance from the driver's seat position out the driver's window. And I definitely do not spit while actually driving. If under attack, I will cough up the intruder and hold it in my mouth until I come to a complete stop. I then open the car door and spit it out onto the ground.

My husband watched in wonder this morning as I performed this ritual. He asked why I didn't just lean my head out the window and spit. Two reasons - one I'm not that tall so even the effort to lean out would leave me short the distance needed to get the spit outside of the car. I do not want to have thick phlegm running down the inside or outside the car door. Two - I have long hair. Not really long hair, but it's not the flattop he sports. This means that there is a good possibility that in the effort of hocking the loogie out, the wind would snatch it and throw it back into my face or worse, into my hair which would then smear it across my face. He said he understood, but he laughed at me anyway.

Yeah, it's a guy thing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Political Unrest

President Obama has been in the news quite a bit lately, and from what I've read, it hasn't been good. Admittedly, he's been in the news quite a bit ever since he announced his candidacy for President - moreso than any politician I've seen in the past. But it appears that he believes that the more he puts himself out there, the more chance he has of people liking him. Say what you will about the other candidates, President Obama ran his campaign as one who is running for a position in his high school student council. He was running for popularity. And it was on that platform that he won.

He is an eloquent speaker. He is a good-looking man with a good-looking family. He is charismatic. But good looks and pretty words only get you so far when you are the President of the United States. At some point, the people start expecting something solid from you. And for all the talking that President Obama has done, that's about all we've gotten from him.

Now I won't claim that he has single-handedly brought about the demise of our great country - there were factors in play that he simply had to take on because he sought this position. But he and his administration have made mistake after mistake and Obama is seeing that his popularity is failing. And although most celebrities will tell you that any publicity is good publicity, being a celebrity president isn't quite the same thing as being a regular celebrity. And in an effort to combat the poor ratings and negative publicity, President Obama does what he does best. Some may say it is the only thing he knows to do. He speaks.

He spoke to our school children. It seemed innocent enough and why was everybody making such a fuss? Well, because we don't trust him. In the eight months he has been in office, President Obama hasn't given us reason to trust him. So the last thing we want is to hear rumors that the President of the United States has deemed it necessary to speak to our children. Is it perhaps because he knows the adults are finished listening? Is it truly any wonder that there was such an uproar from parents across the nation? For those who have school-aged children, you may have had the opportunity to hear the speech yourself or have a conversation with your children about what they heard. None of my children were forced to listen to the drivel and I had no need to be concerned about opting out. But it was indeed drivel according to the media. Oh, the media hyped it as a feel-good speech, encouraging our children to stay in school and work hard and take advantage of the education that was being offered. But did we really need the President of the United States to tell them that? Does he assume that those who are actually still in school are not already hearing this from their parents, teachers, and community leaders? Does he believe that his message was actually heard by those who have already opted out of school, even when they are physically in attendance?

Then when the hubbub over that piece of intelligence grew less interesting, President Obama ramped up his efforts to convince Congress to pass his idea of health care reform. But see, here's the truth: President Obama is not supposed to be introducing bills into Congress - that's not his job. And so his speech to Congress wasn't him actually proposing his own bill, although if one gets passed, he will claim the credit. He was simply trying to make it look like he knew what he was talking about as he urged Congress to put aside differences so that a health-reform bill could be passed. What bill is that? The one that has been debated in Congress all along. And he wasn't so much urging all of Congress to work together to come up with a reasonable bill, but in a back-handed manner, disciplining those who opposed the bill as it now stands so that he gets his way and can claim some kind of credit for being so proactive on this subject. And as he stood before Congress and eloquently submitted the words which he or some speech writer had drafted earlier, he was heckled. Yes, that's what the media claims. A member of Congress who did not believe a word Obama was saying called him on it. From the peanut gallery came the call of "You Lie!" And the media jumped all over that - claiming that this outburst had hurt the GOP. Now granted, maybe the outburst went against congressional decorum, but seriously, folks - are we truly that upset that a representative of a body of Americans called Obama on the carpet? Shouldn't we be applauding this man for actually doing his job - that of representing his constituents? Shouldn't we be far more upset at the rest of the members of Congress who would rather go down in history for maintaining decorum than for doing their job and speaking for the people they represent.

Representation. This is what our government is supposed to be about. Representing their constituents rather than worrying about keeping their coveted offices. Well, I say "Kudos" to Joe Wilson from South Carolina. Thank you for being brave enough to go against the popularity contest winner. Thank you for doing your job and saying for us what we couldn't be there to say ourselves. And to President Obama - take a lesson from Representative Joe Wilson - remember that you are not there to be served, but to serve the people of the United States.

Week Ending September 13, 2009

I love weeks that start out with a holiday. We didn't do anything special, but we did clean up around the house and then grilled some dinner. We were supposed to have lookers, but they never showed. I find it rather annoying when the agent doesn't at least call back to let us know they are not coming after all.

There wasn't anything really going on during the week other than our usual busy schedules. Tuesday Neil had his scouts, Wednesday I had book club. I hadn't had a chance to read the book, but was able to borrow a copy and am excited to read it. It is a autobiography about a young man growing up in the 70s/80s who has Tourette's Syndrome.

Neil had Thursday off so we ran a number of errands, including shipping my clarinet home so my niece can give it a try, checking with a computer place about the status of my computer which appears to be infected with a virus, running to the scout store for a variety of items, and a stop at Goodwill where I found a cub scout shirt - long sleeves with patches from a council in Idaho.

Thursday Daniel had his first football game. The charter school has joined with 3 other charter schools to play sports thoughout the year. Our team looked soooo pathetic compared to the other team. The other school is well-established and the players all looked to be middle-school aged. They were big, fast, coordinated, and had uniforms. Our players range from 4th - 7th graders and our talent pool is limited. They had a lot of heart and spirit though and the final score was 18-21 so we really didn't do too badly.

Friday is half-day for the charter school so I picked the kids up and we went to McDonald's where they met up with other kids from the school. I have stopped buying food for them because they don't eat most of it anyway - they just want to play.

Saturday, Neil had to work and I had a test for my schooling to begin my student teaching. It was a general knowledge test and I think I did pretty well. Science is obviously not my strong point and I honestly don't know whether the reduction in species along the coast of Costa Rica is caused by natural erosion or if industrial forces are in play. I also don't care but figure that if it ever comes up in my class, I can always do the research necessary or just tell the kids to do the research and let me know what they come up with.

Nick had a birthday party in the afternoon to attend and of course, all the other kids were upset they couldn't go. Such is life. I actually had Neil take Nick to the party and I dealt with the little girls, who actually were quite fine that I was at home with them and settled in to watch movies.

Today we had church and I got to sit through most of Sacrament Meeting before Cierra had to go to the bathroom. Because of where we were sitting, I was able to get out with only Cierra instead of being followed by Rachel and Nick as well. I helped Neil in Primary as we combined the class younger than his with his and with 8 kids in the class, it's always good to have a second teacher. With my birthday on Thursday, one of the sisters in Relief Society brought in my birthday present. I got a bookmark, post-it notes, and a magnetic picture frame.

We got home and I got a nap. Then the kids decided we needed to go swimming. The water was too cool for my taste so I laid out on Neil's hammock reading a book and keeping my eyes on the kids. Nick has gotten rather brave and though he isn't a great swimmer when you consider form, he is comfortable jumping in at the deep end and swimming back to the shallow end. The two little girls are less brave, but Cierra is starting to push her limits and Rachel swims back and forth under water along the steps.

Now it is time for reading scriptures and getting kids in the shower. Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week Ending 9/6/09

It was a pretty quiet week. I was sick for most of it and Neil had odd schedules for work so we didn't see much of each other or the kids. I did have a work meeting on Tuesday so Rachel got to go play at a friend's house. She spent the rest of the week wanting to go back.

We were going to go camping for the weekend, but because of the illness going through me and the younger kids, we decided not to go after all. I'm a little disappointed as I have been wanting to go up to see the lava caves up near Flagstaff. So that is still on my to-do list.

We did make it to church on time and I enjoyed the testimonies borne. I missed a few because half way through, Cierra decided she needed the bathroom and that meant all three little kids had to go out. Rather than bring them all back in, we went and sat in the foyer. I don't particularly like doing that because they seem to think that it means free-play time. I did keep them reigned in somewhat but they were particularly antsy today. I taught Nick and Cierra's primary class and they were pretty well behaved in there. But the moment we got home and they changed clothes, they became overly rambunctious.

With tomorrow being a holiday, we had agreed they could sleep out in the family room on the pull-out bed. They decided to jump on it and broke some springs in the process. I'm hoping that is all the damage they did, but that was the last straw for dad and they were all sent to bed in tears.

We also let Daniel have a couple of friends over to spend the night, but the younger one just recently decided he was homesick so they both went back home. They just live in the next cul-de-sac so I walked them over after they called their parents to let them know they were coming home. It's almost midnight and we've got some plans to get up early to do some work on the house and yard. I'd best get to bed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Schmucks in My Life

I've come to the conclusion that I should never have gotten married. I'm not good with relationships. I seem to have very high expectations of the men in my life, and for the most part, have managed to scare them all off.

The one good man in my life is my dad. He hasn't yet been scared away, but I do notice that he keeps himself at a safe distance. Maybe that's why he's still good. He learned not to get close enough to get burned. I can't say we were particularly close growing up. My childhood memories are of a man who would come home from work, kiss my mom, get changed, and play. He let us crawl all over him. He would be our horse, our wrestling buddy, our serenador. He loved the guitar and he loved to sing. He wasn't necessarily good at either, but that didn't stop him. He would strum away while singing favorite folk songs. But, I wasn't "Daddy's Little Girl" ever. My oldest sister was his princess by birthright and the younger ones were just so adoringly charming that he couldn't help but love them. Me, well, I was a mess. A tomboy at heart, but so clumsy that I was a danger to myself and most household objects.

As I grew through the teen years, I just became more awkward - both physically and socially. We lived in a small hispanic town surrounded by Indian pueblos. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, anomally. Yes, I know very well what it is like to live as a minority. My dad gave me lots of rope and, I suppose, hoped I wouldn't actually hang myself. I did multiple times, much to his chagrin. Yet, I never felt that I had actually disappointed him. I wonder, even now, how much he just pretty much expected I would do anyway. I wasn't particularly rebellious. I do remember one particular Halloween night when me and four friends told our parents we were each sleeping at someone else's house. We actually spent the majority of the night running through the town, avoiding the cops, ding-dong ditching, and eventually crashing out on the floor of another friend's living room. Dad probably knew before I got home the next day, but he's never said anything to me about it.

My interest in boys started in junior high, but since I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, nor was I considered datable until even later, I mostly just flirted harmlessly. I did get a boyfriend my junior year. He was a younger man. He was a friend of a friend and was on the basketball team. I was on the drill team so we had a lot of afternoon practices. He lived in Pena so we flirted and eventually hooked up while waiting for our rides. Since he lived so far away and I didn't have my driver's license yet, our "dating" was relegated to the school campus. He eventually broke up with me because a senior girl wanted him and was willing to sleep with him to get him. I wasn't willing to sleep with him to keep him so he made his choice. He still used my locker for his stuff, and I was fine with that until he thought it would be okay to store his new girlfriend's stuff in it as well. I admit, I overreacted. Her stuff went on the hallway floor, his stuff went in the trash, and my friend and I switched locks. He didn't understand. Schmuck!

I stayed away from dating until I went away to college. Yes, I did go to my senior prom with a guy who wasn't my cousin. He was a friend from church, who admittedly I had had a crush on since he attended my older sister's 16 year birthday party. He also drove a motorcycle. But there wasn't any romantic interest on his part and so I enjoyed dancing with him at prom but soon after lost touch with him. Not enough heartache to be considered a schmuck.

College was full of schmucks. One of my favorites was the guy who dated me because of rumors that he was gay. I don't know whether or not he was, but I did find it interesting that I had heard nothing of the rumors until after we started dating and shortly after we broke up, he was removed from school. The one episode that really peeved me was the afternoon he had come into the apartment. The rule was that the curtains had to stay open if there was a guy in the dorm room. I had gone back to my bedroom to get something and while there, the phone rang. The person identified herself as one of the RAs and asked if there was a guy in the apartment. I said yes and she told me I needed to open the curtains. Sure enough, while I had gone to the bedroom, he had closed the curtains. Schmuck!

Another favorite was the one who started his romantic endeavors a week before Valentine's Day. I got teddy bears, hearts full of chocolate, and a date to the Sweetheart Dance. That night, after the dance, he walked me back to the apartment but then told me he wouldn't let me in unless I kissed him. So I kissed him on the cheek but he said he wanted more. It really wasn't about wanting to kiss him, it was that he used it as a way to keep me out of my house. So I told him he wasn't going to get more and he wasn't keeping me out of my house. I got a proposal from him two days later. He told me he had prayed about it and that we were supposed to get married. I told him I would pray as well, and did so, but wasn't surprised to get a resounding no. He was so surprised. Schmuck!

Not all the guys in college were schmucks, but I didn't find any long-lasting relationships there. The ones I was interested in didn't return the favor, and the ones who wanted me learned quickly that they didn't really. So after spending three years at college for a two-year degree which didn't include my MRS, I came back home. That was probably my biggest mistake. I had lived for three years rather independently and now was being stifled by a mother who thought I should somehow provide her with a daily agenda. It's no wonder I rebelled and moved out and then moved on.

I started dating a senior in high school. I should know better but it was just supposed to be a summer fling until I went on my mission. He wasn't even a member of the church, though he did take the discussions and was later baptized. I was supposed to leave in February for Japan, he proposed Christmas Eve in front of his whole family. Should've gone on the mission.

Needing some space, I moved to California and eventually returned the ring. I dated off an on, sometimes seriously, but usually not. I managed to end every relationship on somewhat good terms - as good as you can when you are telling someone you're just not that interested. Then I met a wonderful guy. But I was in a protective mode and he was having fun playing the field. We weren't exclusive, but I think most people in the single's ward thought we were. The scene embedded in my brain forever is when a good guy friend of mine came up to me at volleyball night and offered me congratulations. I had no idea what he was talking about so he quickly explained that he had heard "wonderful guy" was engaged and just assumed it was to me. Well, wonderful guy was engaged, but it wasn't to me. Would've been nice to have been on his list of people to tell before announcing it to the world. Schmuck!

Now on the rebound, I play hard at volleyball and end up breaking a guy's foot. Six weeks later we were married. After three years and one child, he tells me he's having second thoughts about being married. I tell him he better figure it out. If he's going to leave, he needs to leave now; if he's going to stay, he'd better be committed for life. Two more years and another child and he tells me that "God says we should get a divorce." Yeah, okay. Schmuck!

Not wanting to make another rebound error, I stay single for two years. Not a lot of dating since it's hard being a single mom and finding time for a relationship. I thought I'd found my soulmate with an old friend, but drinking at topless bars ranked high on his list of fun things to do, so that ended rather quickly. Next schmuck was the guy who came off as the perfect mormon boy. RM, divorced himself with 4 beautiful kids. Forgot to mention he had been excommunicated for adultery.

Finally I met the guy I'm now married to. We dated for over a year and his relationship with his kids and mine seemed perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but normal. He was attentive, helpful, funny, sweet. He wrestled, he played, he swam. He didn't play the guitar or sing, but he reminded me so much of my own dad. So I prayed and he prayed and we both were told this was a good thing. Okay, my actual answer was "He is the right man in time." Maybe I jumped the gun. Maybe he was right but just not right then. Maybe he will be right if I just stick it out. Or maybe I just should never have gotten married. Maybe I'm the problem in all of this with my high expectations for what a dad should be. I don't want him to be a schmuck, but it's nicer than some other words I can think of.