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Showing posts from 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, t…

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 p…

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 hol…

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…

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 l…

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 bathroo…

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 …

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 fo…

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'v…

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 wea…

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 …

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 …

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 …

The Amazing Human Body

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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 an…

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…

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.

Things That Make You Go ... HMMMMM

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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 …

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…

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. …

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 betw…

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 War…

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 ru…

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 cla…

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 shi…

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 toda…

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 w…