Monday, December 17, 2012

Gratitude Post #24

My sister asked me where the gratitude posts had gone.  I had a lot of them planned out and wanted to end them with a bang, but this post was difficult for me to get in the right frame of mind since it can seem like a downer, but in the end it is not.
Today, I am grateful for the book An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.  On the cover it says "This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending..."  The book is written by Elizabeth McCracken and it details the stillbirth of her first child and the emotions and pain that she went through while grieving.  I know that grief.  I know that pain.  I know that sorrow.  I know how it feels to wake up every morning after losing a baby and crying for a month because the pain is right there.  I know the anger at pregnant women who look so happy and bursting with life.  I know the shock of having a midwife look for a heart beat on a 16 wk gestation pregnancy and while doing an ultrasound that I can see has no heartbeat tell me out loud what I am praying is not true.  I know the horror of miscarrying in an ER bathroom that looks like a murder scene when all is said and done.  I know the pain of a radiologist telling you during that first ultrasound when all you want to hear is the sex of the baby (and that it was a girl, just what you were dreaming of) and not "I have found an abnormality that I need to tell you about" that is not conducive to life outside the womb.  I know the feeling of failure telling my husband that I have failed him some way in not carrying his baby to term.  I know the anticipation of seeing the baby's heartbeat at just nine weeks and there is none, just after you have moved far away from all of your family and have no one to comfort you. I know the irrational drive that tells me that I am in the labor and delivery ward of a hospital, yet my baby is dead and I am not leaving this hospital without a baby, so dear husband, please go pick out a baby for us to take home, because I am not leaving here without a baby.  So this book spoke to me on so many levels and I want to share a few quotes from the book that really spoke to me.
After she is able to have another baby  a year later she says "I can't love and regret him both.  He isn't here (referring to the stillborn baby, who they named Pudding), but now someone else is, this thrilling splendiferous second baby, and like any mother, I can't imagine taking the smallest step from the historical path that led me here, to this one, to such a one."  I feel this way about the two babies that are now living in heaven between Dillan and Chloe.  If either one of them had survived, I wouldn't have Chloe.  So despite the extreme pain and sadness and anxiety while I was pregnant with her, I wouldn't change a thing so that I could have her sweet spirit here with me now.
"I do not want him devoted to neverness."  It's hard when someone asks me how many children I have.  I have four living children here with me now. Do I want to mention those who aren't?  Do I want to make whomever asks me a little uncomfortable?  So I don't mention them, but they are always in my heart.
"Did they think that by not saying words of consolation aloud, I was doing people a favor? As though to mention sadness I was 'reminding' them of the terrible thing?"  I had people who said NOTHING to me after losing a baby.  It was as though if it is not mentioned, it didn't exist.  The baby did. The sadness and pain certainly did.  This was a big lesson to me on how to approach people that are grieving.  Some people said that craziest things like "You'll get over it."  If I could get just one person to change that thought to "You'll get THROUGH it" that would be so much better.
"You can never guess the complicated history of strangers."  Going through this has helped me to be more compassionate and understanding because I DON'T know what has gone on in someone's life, and beyond that I don't know what their perception is or anything for me to make a judgement call on how they should or should not behave.
"Once you have been on the losing side of great odds, you never find statistics comforting again." 
"Grief is like a waterfall, and just like that I'm over it, no barrel needed, I am barrel shaped."
Another thing that she said in the book that spoke to me was that she was at a subway terminal, a man handed her a card that said "I am deaf" and you were supposed to give the man money in return.  She says how she wished that she had a card that said "My first child was stillborn" that she could pass out.  I wished for that too that I didn't have to explain it over and over again why I was so scared at each and every one of my OB appointments when I was pregnant and to people who said "I thought you told me you were pregnant" when I was no longer.  That would have been so much easier. 
And yet, even as I cry and remember the sadness and pain that I went through during those childbearing years, I would not have it any other way.  I have learned so much and I believe that it has helped me to remember to love my children more and to be extra grateful for them that I may not feel if they had come easier without any problems from me. 

How I dealt with the Tragedy

Like most everyone else, I have been so extremely saddened by the horrific tragedy in Sandy Hook and all of the children that were killed in their innocence and those that were trying to protect them from harm.  I cried when I heard President Obama speak.  Dillan came home from school and I told him I needed a hug, which I can't believe that he complied, and then I told him what happened, and I got another hug from him.  I cried at church when we sang Silent Night.  I cried when President Obama spoke at the memorial service and read each child's name.  I knew that I needed to say something to Olivia, since I knew that she may hear about it at school on Monday, but I wasn't quite sure what I could say to her to not scare her and know that she would be protected.  So in my final cry of the weekend, she asked me why I was so sad.  I told her that a very bad man had done something awful in a school to a lot of children and their teachers were there trying to protect them.  Through tears and sobbing, I told her that she would be safe and that this was not something that had ever happened before, but I told her she always needs to listen to her teachers direction, but more importantly than that, was that she always needed to listen to the Spirit.  If she listened to the Spirit it would keep her safe from harm better than anyone else could.  I also asked her to remember to pray for that every day.  Fortunately, the whole family was around when I was telling Olivia this, so hopefully they absorbed some of this as well if they were feeling scared about what had happened as well.  I am so grateful that i have that knowledge of the gospel and the Comforter that can help not only me, but my children in times of danger. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude Post #22

Today I am grateful for Thanksgiving.  Really this means that I am grateful for family gatherings not the enormous amount of food or football, although both are very enjoyable.  Thanksgiving dinner was always held at my parents home, except for the one Thanksgiving that my mom was very pregnant with Kellie and we went to my Aunt Merilyn's.  I remember the smell of waking up at my parents and the warmth of the cooking, listening to my grandpa snoring in the other room, and my mom banging pots and pans.  Then there was the hustle and bustle to get everything ready, tables set up, chairs around the table, places set.  I know that I didn't appreciate it like I do now.  All of my mom's sisters and brothers and their families would come to my mom's house and eat, catch up, play games, watch football, and sleep.  I remember the year that we were each supposed to write down what we were grateful for and then it was shared with everyone. Then there was the year that my Aunt Merilyn brought her guitar and we sang Thanksgiving songs ("Hang down your head, Tom Turkey" and "Oh a Turkey Tom and a Turkey Mom go gobble, gobble, gobble all the day").  Then there was the time that all the cousins were playing with a ball  and it busted, so of course we needed to get a new one, so a lot of us piled into my cousin,Paige's Supra and went to the grocery store to get a ball.  That was a highlight for me because I was accepted as a "big kid" although they may have just thought I was a pest.  And of course, the food.  It was tough to wait for a warm roll from Grandma.  I look back on all of those family gatherings with fond memories.  I am so grateful that my parents and their siblings and parents worked hard to coordinate these events and mostly keep the peace.  I did miss a raucous event a few years ago and quickly booked my trip for the next year only to have no sparks fly.  I am so grateful that I am able to keep in contact with aunts, uncles, and cousins even though I am so far away.  But, I'll be back. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Post #21

Today I am grateful for my heritage.  I have great parents and super great grandparents.  I recently read the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and he writes in there about how previous generations and the choices that they have made and what they are exposed to and how they interact with other people affects future generations.  Which is interesting to me and I reflect back on what I picture my grandparents may have gone through when they were my age and the challenges that they may have had.  I think about my grandmas giving birth during the Depression or World War II years and what that must have been like.  I think about my grandpas and what they did to earn money for their families and the struggles that they had during those times.  Then I think about what they were like when I knew them.  My Grandma Reese called me her Black Eyed Pickle Pie, which I believe that this is the reason why I give children nicknames as well.  She was a spunky grandma and was always hiding treats.  I do this too.  I think of her when I use her green mixing bowl.  I think about her making bread and her famous rolls.  My sisters said they knew who got the Grandma Reese gene (no pun intended since her first name was Gene) when I stopped to chat with the Ranger at the Grand Canyon pay station.  She read from the encyclopedia every day, and tat reminds me of my insatiable need to read.  My Grandma Gillette I didn't know well since she died when I was eight, but I became a nurse because of her, so that caring gene must have come down from her.  She always sent us a card for each holiday and I still have some of the cards that she sent me.  But mostly, I am grateful that they were all faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They all have strong testimonies of the church.  I don't know how difficult it was for them to be faithful members nor do I know if they understood how their faithfulness would affect generations living now and those still to come. 

Gratitude Post #20

Today I am grateful that our violin teacher, Shari Parris, kept teaching my children after Chloe threw up on me at the first lesson we took with her.  Now a little explanation.  Dillan started taking violin lessons when he was about seven from a teacher that we called "Tsunami".  This was not a reflection on her playing style or personal hygiene, but her name was Hisami, so it rhymed and we went with it.  If anything, it was the antithesis of her personality, which I would call reserved at best.  Whenever Dillan had his lesson, it didn't matter if he rocked the Twinkles or messed up, her response was the same.  We had to drive twenty minutes and Olivia was a baby, so I started shopping for a teacher closer to us.  My friend, Laura, who may or may not be better than me, told me about the teacher the Sophia went to, Miss Shari.  I called her and knew instantly that I loved her because she sang a response to me on the phone.  A kindred spirit.  I figured since Dillan was starting, why not Chloe too?  The first lesson was directly after the first swim team practice of the summer.  Chloe had been telling me that her stomach was upset, but this was nothing new for her, so we went to the violin lesson.  Dillan was up first and Miss Shari was a JOY.  She is a born teacher.  She came up with the ways to teach each of her students to master their abilities.  So Chloe's turn was up.  She stood there with a pained look on her face and I was unsympathetic.  That is until she turned to me and said one last time "Mom, I don't feel......BLECH" and proceeded to throw up on me as I sat on Miss Shari's couch. Miss Shari took it all in stride and helped us clean up and get us out the door, since the lesson was almost over anyway.  She never mentioned it again to Chloe, which was a good thing since Chloe was horrified about this and would not let us talk about it for a very long time.  Chloe did not keep up the violin like Dillan did, which was a good thing, since she had a pained look on her face when she played.  Dillan has continued his career and is still in the high school orchestra playing sixth chair, he tells me.  Miss Shari also taught Olivia in a music class and taught her violin for a few months, but that proved to be a waste of money since Olivia is destined for the stage, but not behind a fiddle.  All of my children have benefited from Miss Shari's vivacious, infectious personality.  We always looked forward to our lessons, even more so when there was consistent practice.  One of my children almost poked her eye out with their bow.  She saw me "blossom" with Blake.  She knew that I always wanted to shout "That's my baby!" at a violin recital, but since they were held in a church I had to refrain (but I did think it in my head and said it at lessons).  I hope that she will still be teaching when I get ready to put Blake in violin lessons in a couple of years.  I am so grateful that she has shared her gift with our family.

Gratitude Post #19

Today I am grateful that not all of my children are teenagers at the same time, nor toddlers.  When I had just Dillan and Chloe, I was talking with a woman about how I loved him as a 3 year old with all the funny things that he said and Chloe as a baby that I got to dress up as my living doll, and how I loved these ages and dreaded when they were teenagers.  She said that she loved her children at all stages of their lives, even when they were teenagers.  I looked at her incredulously because I remembered what I was like as a teenager and we don't need to call my parents or siblings to confirm that I was a HUGE pain as a teenager.  I picture my parents singing songs of joy when they dropped me off at college. I couldn't believe that any sane person would enjoy a teenager.  Now, truth be told, this woman that I was talking to is not a sane person, I don't mean that she has been diagnosed with any mental disorder, but she does punch my husband in the arm every time she sees him and calls him a jerk, and Kevin has seen her puppy climb down her dress and come out the bottom, so her opinion is not completely balanced, but I do understand her point.  As my children have grown, I can appreciate them at each stage in their lives.  I love babies and their smell and the funny faces that they make when they sleep.  I love toddlers and their curiosity.  I love preschoolers and their perspective of the world.  I love school age when they are able to play and have fun.  I love teenagers WHEN I can talk to them and discuss what is going on (NOTE:  I did put WHEN in caps on purpose.  I believe I am getting a taste of my own medicine with this one.  I used to tell my mom to stop looking at me and I would not converse as a mature individual.  I was a stinker.).  And I look forward to when my children become parents and then I get to be the grandma.  And I will tell their children all about their parents silliness.  But, boy, am I grateful that I'm not Nadya Sulemon (aka "Octomom"), and not just because she has fourteen children, eight of which are the same age.  I can't even wrap my brain around having more than one person in each stage.  I'm glad that I get to appreciate each one of them as they go through each phase. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude Post #18

Today, I am grateful for the wonderful neighborhood we live in.  I love our neighborhood and the wonderful neighbors that we have.  When Kevin and I were looking for a home in Phoenix thirteen years ago, we did not really have much of a clue as to what we were looking for besides the kind of house that we wanted, which for me, included a bathtub, since the house that we had in the Avenues in Salt Lake did not have a bathtub, but only a small shower.  I knew that I wanted a pool as well.  And grass.  A lot of homes in the desert southwest have "kitty litter" front yards, which is rocks that are low maintenance and don't require water, but you do need to rake the rocks regularly for your yard to look nice.  We found our house after Kevin was working here and looking while I was still living in Salt Lake, and we had to move quickly since it was a sellers market at the time.  We had Dillan as our only child at the time, and he was 1 1/2, so we were not thinking about schools at all.  But we found the perfect location for some great schools.  We are equidistant to the elementary school, middle school, and high school, which are all in walking distance.  The ward that we live in is amazing, but that really is for a different post.  What makes our neighborhood so great is the community that we have here.  A lot of neighborhoods in this day and age have people that come and go through their garages and do not see each other.  But here, we know all of our neighbors (and we are very glad that we have new neighbors next door), and every spring there is an Easter Egg Hunt with a golden egg as the major prize and a brunch, and then in the fall there is another gathering sometimes with a hay ride, and there has even been a band.  It was so fun to go trick or treating in our neighborhood and find more people that we don't see regularly.  One evening when we were out at a swim meet this summer, we came home to find our driveway flooded.  Neither Kevin or I could figure out what had happened.  As I was scooping the water out with a bucket onto the lawn (you don't waste water here, so I put it to good use to water the lawn) and as I was doing so, a car pulled up and a man came out that I hadn't met before that said that he had come by and seen the flooding, so he turned off the main water valve.  Who knows how much more water would have been wasted if not for our kind neighbor?  Our neighbor just to the north of us had a blood clot and was whisked away in a ambulance and we were glad to know them and be able to keeps tabs on them and Chloe and her friend made a get well poster for our neighbor that she loved and put in her hospital room until she returned.  And even though I apologize to them when our children get extra wild and crazy in the backyard, they tell me that they love hearing the sound of kids playing.  I know that Heavenly Father was guiding us to our home when we were searching for a new home.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gratitude Post #16-17

Yup, this is a two for one.  That's because I was enjoying an evening with Kevin last night.  So yesterday, I was grateful that I don't have a broken toe.  I have not broken my toe today (yet), but I have broken several toes.  The first one came when I was so excited that I was going to start a ballet class that I started practicing in the kitchen and kicked the door frame in an enthusiastic jete.  Needless to say, the ballet class was delayed a few weeks.  The latest broken toe happened when I was laying in bed and Dillan's phone rang in our bedroom as it was charging in the early morning and I leapt out of bed to silence it and not wake anyone and kicked the frame of the treadmill.  The sad part about that was that Kevin and I were scheduled to go on a romatic weekend where there was beautiful hiking (it wasn't the Grand Canyon) and here I had a black and blue toe and couldn't wear any shoes except for flip flops.  And then I was supposed to start training for a marathon which had to be delayed by a few weeks.  So, yay me for not having a broken toe (yet). 
Today, I am grateful that I learned to dance.  I love dancing.  Love it.  I started when I was probably three in a basement tap class, and then moved to a almost ground level ballet class, and finally an above ground ballet class.  But wait.  Then I moved to a SECOND STORY ballet class.  I have just realized all of this as I am writing it down.  I guess it's good that I didn't continue my career because I may have a class in an airplane at that rate.  Which I am not opposed to dancing in an airplane as long as it did not detract from other passengers enjoyment, and if it embarrassed my children just a little bit.  I danced in high school and college teams and loved the friednships that I made there.  I remember being so sore from dance camps in high school that it hurt to walk.  But it was a good hurt.  I loved the costumes and the rehearsals and especially the performances.  I've had a few embarrsassing moments, like when I was in the middle of a kick line in college (LOVED the kick line.  Not only could I kick the highest, but since I was the tallest, I was in the front row and center!  That doesn't happen to the tall girls in a group formation) and turned to look to the side where a boy that I was dating at the time had a huge sign asking me to Homecoming that caused me to miss two critical kicks which drew attention to me.  But I loved dancing and have such fond memories.  Thanks Mom and Dad for putting me in dance classes and believing in me, even though I'm sure it would have been easier for you if I was a swimmer or runner.  Thanks for coming to all of the recitals and thanks Mom for sewing all of those costumes. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Post #15

Today I am grateful that grass grows, trees need to be trimmed, people litter, buildings need to be cleaned, and that the monsoon season causes havoc and downed trees.  This may seem odd unless you know that all of these things are what Kevin needs to run his business and support our family. Kevin started his commercial building maintenance company 4 1/2 years ago, pretty much at the same time that I had Blake.  It was a little stressful.  But he had been telling me for a looooong time that he wanted to start his own business.  He had been working with a partner doing the same thing and it was not working out on the business end, but he did learn a lot about the business from this partnership.  I was a chicken and thought that him starting a business was too risky.  I wanted a sure thing.  A paycheck that came regularly and didn't depend on whether or not he was able to get clients and operate a business.  I have kicked myself over and over again for not having more faith in him.  He is a natural when it comes to business.  He has exceeded my expectations for his business.  Now that's not to say that it has been all smooth sailing.  There have been plenty of bumps in the road, but for the most part, this has been a huge blessing for our family.  I would really have liked Romney to win the Presidential election to help with the taxes that we have to pay, but not everyone agreed with that philosophy.  I know that Kevin is grateful to have the business he has and to be able to employ people so they can provide for their families.  He has been able to teach Dillan about his business and had him doing manual labor out there with his guys.  Plus, I have the benefit of getting new plants and trees whenever Kevin finds a good deal. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Post #14

Today I am grateful that Dillan gets up on his own for early morning Seminary.  When Dillan was in middle school, he would wait until the last possible minute to get out of bed and go to school.  That minute was 7:30.  So generally from 7:00-7:30, I would start with gently waking him up, calling his name, opening his blinds, then singing a little diddy about waking up, then clapping my hands loudly, and finally as a crescendo, singing in an operatic voice that he needed to get up that instant or he would be late.  Once I smacked him on the behind with a book to encourage him to get out of bed.  But it didn't stop there.  If he was out of bed late and he went out the door without his lunch, on a couple of occasions, I chased him down the street when I was in my robe.  It was part of my plan to embarrass him into obedience. 
So, since we don't live in Zion or Zion Jr in Gilbert, AZ, he was signed up for early morning Seminary.  I was D.R.E.A.D.I.N.G. it.  Did you hear me:????  DREADING it.  Which was not at all how I wanted to start his seminary career.  I told him that he needed to be up by 5:45 am so that he could make it by 6:15.  I didn't sleep well knowing how I needed to do my motivational get your behind out of bed done early.  And I had things to do.  I didn't want to mess around.  Imagine my surprise when I heard him taking a shower at 5 AM.  You heard me right!  He got himself out of bed and was taking a shower waaaaaaay earlier than I thought. This has been going on since the middle of August.  He slowed down his pace a little bit and doesn't wake up until 5:30, but he wants to be out the door at 6 am, which means we get to the church at 6:07.  He prides himself on being the first one there.  I have a theory on this.  It is for a girl,  He swears it isn't, but I still have my suspicions. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude Post #12

Today I am grateful for the time when I can breathe without any obstruction.  It's been a long time since I have been sick, but it came on suddenly today and now I am unable to breathe with ease.  Whenever this happens, I remind myself to be more grateful to breathe easy when I can.  It's like when I was pregnant with Olivia and I had whooping cough, pleurisy, and a broken rib.  I kept thinking how when I was fully recovered, how grateful I would be that I wasn't coughing all day and night, and how easy it was to breathe in and out without pain in my chest.  My doctor told me that I would cough for one hundred days.  I coughed for 114.  I guess you might say I am an overachiever.  That or I was an old man while I was pregnant.  Either way, I am so grateful that I am not coughing right now.  And that I don't have pleurisy or a broken rib.  And that there is only one Olivia.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude Post #12

Today I am grateful that my mother in law inspired me to become a better cook.  My mom did her fair share of teaching me to be a good cook, don't get me wrong, and she has a slew of people that love her cooking, especially any kind of bread that she makes.  But my mother in law has a natural talent for gourmet cooking and presentation of food.  I remember when Kevin and I were still newlyweds and she was showing me recipes and took me to fancy grocery stores and what to buy.  She expanded my cooking skills so that I love entertaining, and I mean like when people come over to have dinner at our house, not like one of Chloe's friends told Kevin that I was after I was their chaperone to Catalina Island.  I love having people over so that I can try new fancy recipes out on and then wow them with what I have done.  I feel very close to domestic.  Her influence also extends to my daughters.  I know that Chloe loves to go see her grandma and get one on one time to learn how to cook and craft, etc, that I don't always seem to have.  And Olivia, well, she is a mini Cathy.  If I say the word "party", she has a plan already in place for every aspect from the decorations, to the meal, to the party favors, to the entertainment.  Thank you, Cathy, for being a positive influence on me and my daughters. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gratitude Post #11

Today I am grateful for President Henry B. Eyring.  That may seem a little off the wall, but let me explain.  Today we had our stake conference and it was a mutli-stake conference and it was a broadcast from the Conference Center in Salt Lake to 95 stakes in Arizona.  It was fantastic.  And a little shorter than a usual stake conference which is very much appreciated by parents of small children.  Not that they really heard much of the conference anyway, but at least the Battle on the Hard Seats was over earlier.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about missionary work and getting our missionaries ready and being ready to accept the missionaries that come to our ward or stakes.  It was a fabulous talk and I took copious notes that I hope to follow.  But it was President Eyring's talk that he gave that I had actually been thinking a lot about the subject and was planning on blogging about my gratitude for it anyway.  He was taking about being an optimist and how an optimist will have a much greater ability to deal with life's challenges than a pessimist.  I had begin to think about this subject when I attended a school district sponsored presentation from an organization that helps children/teenagers stay out of trouble with drugs, internet, bullying, or whatever is going on with teens these days.  The topic was specifically Cyber Bullying and what we can do to protect our children.  The speaker had statistic after statistic of how our children are exposed to pornography, violence, predators, and any kind of evil that you can think of out there.  I was with a friend and she commented how grateful she was that her children were raised and that she didn't have to worry about this and how daunting it must be for me to be raising my children in the middle of it.  I replied that there are many challenges facing parents to raise their children to adulthood and to give them the protection that they need from outside forces, but throughout time, there have been other challenges that have faced parents that have prevented them from raising their children to adulthood at all.  I told her how grateful I was that I didn't have to worry about my children dying from small pox, or getting eaten by a mountain lion (that's the dramatic me), or freezing to death in the cold.  I know that there are troubles out there and I try to educate myself to prevent my children from exposure to these other dangers, but how grateful I am to live here, now, with all of the advances is everything from medicine to technology to education to housing.  My friend told me that I am a little Pollyanna, and I agree.  I believe that I get that from my mom, which is funny because it used to bother me when she would look on the bright side.  That gives me hope that my children may get some of my better character traits.  But most of all, I am grateful that I live here on the earth at this time when there is a living prophet of our Heavenly Father who gives each one of us direction and all of the apostles that serve with him and share with us their knowledge and testimony. I love that I can listen to general conference whenever/wherever now.  I believe that the messages have become much more powerful over the years or maybe I have just matured and can gain more insight into them, but I am amazed at how many of the talks I think "I needed that right now!"  It's amazing. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gratitude Post #10

Today I am grateful that my parents are serving a full time mission in the Washington D.C. South Quantico Marine Base Mission in the Special Forces Division. That may not be the real title, but they are in Washington D.C. and they are on the Quantico Base for the Marines.  And they have a special force with them.  My mom sends out a weekly email each week detailing what has happened the past week.  In her email today she warned us that the emails are lengthy.  I told her how grateful I am that they are serving their mission and giving us all of the details.  I love reading about all of the people that they are helping and how they are trying to find more people every day that have fallen away from Church activity or those who need extra support as they are serving our country in the military. I think that it is so wonderful that they get to experience both of the joys of the restored gospel and those who are fighting for our freedoms every day.  My parents are so spiritually strong and are so giving to everyone that I am honored to be their daughter.  I know that it was not easy for them to leave all of their grandchildren and friends, especially when their grandchildren are so busy and there are many life events and covenants that their grandchildren are making that they would love to witness, but I believe that all of us in their family have been blessed because of their service.  I can feel it in our family for sure.  Plus, my parents are getting a bonus of enjoying the sights and historic landmarks around the area.  So despite me saying that I was going to write a Dear John letter to them and that they timed their mission perfectly so they could avoid my 40th birthday celebration, I am very grateful to them, their commitment and the love they have for each other.  Way to go, Elder and Sister Gillette!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude Post #9

Today, I am grateful that I started my career at the University of Utah Burn Unit.  When I graduated from nursing school, instead of a nursing shortage, there was a surplus of nurses.  So that meant that there were too many nurses for just a few jobs.  And I had little experience.  Well, really none since I had been working at the U, but as the unit secretary.  I applied for jobs everywhere, even the unit that I worked on.  No jobs for me.  I went to Seattle where my sister lived and went in person and the receptionist laughed in my face when I told her that I wanted to apply for a nursing job.  She said they had just laid off a thousand nurses, was I crazy?!  I felt like I had just spent all of this time to get my education and there were no jobs.  My life was over. 
And then.  My boss told me that there was a job in the burn unit.  The burn unit.  The ONE place that I said that I didn't want to work when I was going to nursing school.  What could I do?  I applied.  So did 32 other nurses.  Nurses that had experience.  Nurses that knew what they were doing.  Nurses that knew the right answers to the interview questions.  I had just started dating Kevin at the time so I went right to his house after the interview and didn't know what to think if I had gotten the job or not.  I did.  He was the first person I called after I got the call that I got the job.  I was thrilled to have a job but terrified to be working in a burn unit.  But what I learned there gave me twice as much training, knowledge, nursing skills,labor intensive work,and leadership skills than I could have gotten anywhere else. And the team work.  Nothing can compare to the kind of team work that goes on in the burn unit.  You could not make it alone, you had to be a part of the team or you and yout patients would suffer.  I worked there for five years and after I had only been there a little over a year and at the tender age of 23, I became a charge nurse.  Thinking back on that now, I'm shocked that I was given that much responsibility.  The people that I worked with are very dear to my heart, maybe because that was where I was working when so many life changing events happened to me: I got married, bought our first house, had my first baby, lost our second baby, and then moved to a new state. 
I still can't believe they gave me a chance.  And if I could do it again, I would in a heart beat.  As long as I could be on the "princess plan". 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Post #8

Today I am grateful for underwire bras.  This may seem a bit odd, maybe awkward and you are done reading.  But I am not going to go into full detail as to why I enjoy them,  Instead, I will share my most embarrassing moment which happened to have bras in it.
When I was 19, I was home from college for Christmas and my little sister, Stephanie, and I headed to the mall on one of the busiest days of the shopping year, the day before Christmas Eve.  She wanted to stop in Victoria's Secret to buy some lotion for a friend.  She found what she needed and then we went to the back of a very long line to wait our turn.  I looked over to my right and I noticed that there was a sale on bras.  So, of course, I leaned forward and whispered, very loudly, into Stephanie's ear "I need more bras."  Except.  It wasn't my sister, Stephanie.  It was a strange man.  And I don't mean that as any kind of judgement on who he was as a person, he was a stranger to me.  I completely FREAKED out!  Stephanie was bewildered because she didn't know what had happened. I couldn't speak.  I was speechless with embarrassment.  And the man didn't say ANYTHING.  No "What size?".  No "Uh, I'm taken."  No "You know, there is a better deal in February."  Nothing.  So I had to wait in line behind him for a very long time, mortified.  I collapsed with laughter that comes from such a humiliating experience outside of the store and I finally told Stephanie what had happened.  And then home to my family (my brother in law got the biggest kick out of it) and then to my friends and then to my roommates and then to my coworkers and on and on, because a good embarrassing moment can be fun to relive.  As long as it's not TOO embarrassing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gratitude Post #7

Today I am grateful that I can borrow books from the library on my Kindle AND when they are due poof, they disappear.  No late fees. No having to remember to take them back to the library.  No worry about someone spilling something on them.  No search and rescue party to locate the library books.  It is heavenly.  But. I may love it too much.  Again, for your reading pleasure, here is a list of the books that I have borrowed and read on my Kindle this year.  So far.
The Worst Hard Time
The Big Burn
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
The Children's Blizzard
Isaac's Storm
Empire of the Summer Moon
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Starvation Heights
The Water and the Blood
All the Pretty Horses
Cutting for Stone
Destiny of the Republic
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
The Professor and the Madman
Blood Feud
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
The River of Doubt
Catherine the Great
The Warmth of Other Suns
Lady Almina
The Floor of Heaven
The Whispering Room
Little Heathens
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

I may have a problem.  Now that I look at all of those, and realize that I didn't start borrowing books from the library until March of this year and there are at least five other books that I read before that, I think that Kevin may be justified in being jealous of my Kindle.  And, to make matters worse, Kevin bought me an iPhone for my birthday this year (the day after he got home from the hospital when he was on the brink of death) and I put the Kindle app on my phone.  So basically, I am never without a book.  Ever.  I am never ever ever ever without a book.  I am reading the Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (this will be the third book that I have read about him this year).  I don't think I need an intervention at this point, but......
And, I am happy to report that I don't regret reading any of those books.  Now, I have checked out a few that I didn't get very far into before I KNEW they were NOT for me. And that is the beauty of the library.  I am not out any cash money for the book.  But there is a down side.  Not all books are available in Kindle format at the library.  For instance, there are several David McCullough books that I would love to read, but they are not available at the library in Kindle format.  Oh well. 
P.S.  If you have any recommendations of book that you LOVE with your whole heart (and I accept all recommendations from any genre except fantasy), then please give me yours. 
P.P.S.  My favorite book out of all of these is Mudbound, but there are way too many curse words for me to recommend it to you without first editing the copy and then letting you read that one.  I have done this for one of my favorite books The Art of Racing in the Rain that my sister, Stephanie, has just borrowed.
P.P.S.  Okay, so my favorite book out of the rest of these that I could recommend without editing is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.  But that is fiction.  So.....
P.P.P.S. My favorite nonfiction book is.....that one is really hard because I enjoyed all of them.  And, this is my blog and no one is forcing me to pick a favorite, so there.  I'm not.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gratitude Post #6

Today, I am grateful for blood donors, specifically the seven people that donated blood that saved Kevin's life this year.  That's not an overly dramatic statement from me, for once.  As I wrote in my post "Jagged Little Pill", it details Kevin's crazy experience with losing A LOT of blood and how vital it was that he get blood back in him to survive and how weak he was without it.  So, as a thank you for this, I donated blood today.  It had been several years since I had donated so I looked up a local blood drive and signed up.  This is my arm giving blood (viewer discretion is advised): 
There had been a little gauze covering the offending needle inserted into my arm, but it fell off, so I apologize to those who are a little queasy at seeing this.  It does not bother me at all.  In fact, when I was working at an outpatient infusion center for a few years, we performed phlebotomies, which is when a person has too much blood volume and a unit needs to be removed.  Unfortunately, this blood removed is not available to give to someone else since the iron level is too high in their blood.  I LOVED doing these.  There was something about the challenge of finding that vein with a large needle and the patients did not always have veins that popped up, so you really had to know your vascular anatomy to get it right with the available veins.  This time I was donating my blood, I didn't do the usual fake passing out like I have in the past.  I have scared a few techs that way, but it's so funny. 
If you haven't donated blood and are able to, I strongly encourage you to.  You can help a generally strong healthy man rebuild his blood supply back to a normal level after he gets a vitamin lodged in his throat that tears his esophagus that causes internal bleeding that cannot be repaired until the large clot surrounding the tear can be dissolved and then the doctor can repair it. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gratitude Post #5

Today I am grateful that I only have to go to a Shadow Mountain High School Swim Banquet once a year for the next 14 years.  That was a loooooong 3 hour celebration of the swim team.  I am very proud of Dillan for his first year of high school swim.  He is a great swimmer and has a lot of potential (and height) to be really great at the sport.  But as the mother of four swimmers, I will be going to these for quite a while. 
Which is what I am really grateful for, that I have children who are athletic.  I was never an athlete growing up.  I was on a swim team when I was 7-8, but when my goggles broke, that was the end for me.  I ran one 5K race with my sister, Jen.  Let me rephrase that.  My sister Jen and I participated in the same race.  She was first.  I was last.  She finished the race, got her medal, and came back to run, okay fast walk, to the finish line with me.  I love being a cheerleader for my children.  Love it.  And swim is especially great for me to spectate and cheer at because they tell me that they can't hear me under water, so I can go as crazy as I'd like yelling for them.  I'm so grateful that they got that part of my gene pool as well as Kevin's natural athleticism.  Kevin can do any sport and do it well. He is my personal trainer at the gym (this is not his profession, just his passion and hobby) and when he trains me, he's lucky that I am a lady or I would cuss at him like a sailor for the (good) pain that he puts me through.  But I digress. My children have his natural tendency to pick up sports.  So it is one of the many reasons why I married him.  GO PARTRIDGE KIDS!!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gratitude Post #4

Today I am grateful that my sisters and I did not die when we went to the Grand Canyon together.  That statement may seem a little melodramatic, but I realized that I was going to be driving all of my sisters in one vehicle on a long drive on two lane highways at some points on the drive and I thought that if there was a car accident that it would probably be a fiery crash that would send my car flying off into the canyon where we would all perish.  Yes, I am dramatic.  If we got in a car accident, there was no way that it would have just been a fender bender.  And I was so worried with all of us together in the car that if something did happen, then there would be five families without moms and no sisters to pick up the slack, which is what I picture will happen should something happen to any of us. 
But on a lighter note, I am sooooooo grateful that all of my sisters came down to hike down to the Colorado River and back in one day in the Grand Canyon. It was quite a feat to get us all together, and then the hiking in the rain was a separate issue.  That was actually not bad, and I am so glad that we did it mostly together (Nikki was at the top with Chase.  I knew that if we took him with us that we would get in major trouble with the Park Rangers.  I love my sisters (and brother) so much and it fills my cup with so much love to have them all with me and share all our silliness together.  It makes me miss having a sister close by, so I am grateful for my sisters in Zion in my ward that pick up the slack. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gratitude Post #3

Today I am grateful for musicals.  I love them.  I went to my first one when I was five and I have NEVER looked back.  I mostly love the songs from them.  Last night, I enjoyed a Girls Night In and we shared our favorite movie clips and one of mine was Moulin Rouge when Ewan MacGregor sings. That's what inspired me to share this bit of gratefulness.  This is a list of the musicals that I have seen in person:
Fiddler on the Roof (4+ times)
Wicked (5)
Les Miserables (7)
Phantom of the Opera (3)
Camelot (2)
Annie (4+)
Bye Bye Birdie (3)
A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum
Guys and Dolls
Hello Dolly!
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (5)
The King and I
Little Shop of Horrors
My Fair Lady
The Music Man
Once Upon a Mattress
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
West Side Story
9 to 5 (if there is one that I regret seeing, it's this one!)
Annie Get Your Gun
Billy Elliott (sorry, Mom.)
HMS Pinafore
Pirates of Penzance
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Kiss Me, Kate
The Student Prince
Sweet Charity
You're A Good Man Charlie Brown

Those are the ones that I have seen live.  Holy cow!  I had no idea it was that many.  I have movie favorites that I love too which are The Producers (again, sorry, Mom), Dreamgirls, and Evita.  My favorites are Little Shop of Horrors which I saw with my cousin Carolyn I don't know how many times.  We also saw Labryinth in the movie theaters so many times that I have the movie memorized.
I have my mom to thank for this love.  She took me to so many musicals when I was growing up, many times all the way at the very top of the theater in the back row, but we didn't care, we were seeing a musical.  I love songs that are funny and fun and especially a song that I can belt out in the car when I am alone or even when I have a child with me.  My dream is to be on Broadway one day.  I will probably just be on the street Broadway going to a show, but there is that chance that one of my children will make it there.  Olivia is the one.  She has gotten the musical bug.  She asks me to watch a musical movie all the time.  That's my girl.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gratitude Post #2

Today I am grateful for running water. I'm grateful that I can go to the tap and turn it on and out comes Phoenix water.  I would be a little bit more grateful if it was Seattle water, but then I would have to suffer through the rain.  Sometimes in the summer it comes out too hot to touch, but still, it is "safe" to drink and I don't have to walk anywhere to get it.  I need to flush the toilet, BAM, it's done.  (And that is usually after I notice that someone "forgot" to flush the toilet.  Someone's still nervous that the flush will suck them into the pipes).  If I think my kids are dirty, turn on the faucet and they get all fresh and clean.  If I HAVE to do the laundry (Please people, can't you be nudists), I can start the washer whenever I feel like it.  I can water my lawn, I can water the chickens, I can fill the pool with water.  I don't take this for granted.  I am very fortunate to be here and have water.  I love water.

Gratitue Posts #1

Since this is November, and it seems that a lot of people on FB name something that they are grateful for, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and say what I am grateful for.  Now, I can be silly and snarky, so some of these gratitudeness things may not be as serious as others but I like to have fun, and one of my nephews, Noah, chalks it up to me being underdeveloped. 
Yesterday I started and my first post was that I was grateful for clean, ironed sheets and clean shaved legs.  Let me explain because I was called "Supermom" by a reigning pie contest winner.  My favorite day of the week is Saturday when we all wash our sheets, and since it happens to fall before Sunday, which is the only day that I REALLY need to have shaved legs, they coincide so nicely that it is heavenly to get in bed.  And, when I was growing up, for some reason, our mom made us iron the sheets and pillowcases.  I think she gave us that chore to keep us occupied.  I have not kept that up UNTIL Kevin and I went to a very fancy resort for a couple of vacation days and they have a world renowned iron press for their sheets.  I didn't want to get out of the bed.  So for our anniversary this year, I got Kevin (okay, they may have been a little for me) very nice sheets.  And then I remembered to iron them.  Just when I thought clean sheets and clean shaved legs couldn't get any better, it did!!!  So now I am a little hooked.  I haven't ironed the sheets every Saturday because sometimes there is just too darn much to do, but when I do, it makes me soooooooo happy.  And grateful. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jagged Little Pill

As summer was winding down, we planned a getaway to San Diego.  It was going to be our last hurrah before school started, a chance to tour the naval base with Kevin's brother Adam, Legoland, Sea World, the beach.....instead, this is what happened.
I picked up Chloe from the airport who was visiting her grandparents in Kentucky when the unfortunate incident happened.  This is how the story was recounted to me.  Kevin, who enjoys working out and taking supplements, was swallowing an Amino Acid pill, which is about an inch long, when it got lodged in his throat.  He tried to dislodge it by forcefully retching.  This alarmed Blake and he came in the kitchen to assist Kevin.  Dillan and Olivia was too engrossed in America's Got Talent to be concerned.  Kevin says that it eventually passed, and he even congratulated himself on not throwing up any of the food he had just eaten.  I was mildly concerned as well, after all, the situation seemed to have resolved itself.
The next morning, Kevin was still in bed and said that he couldn't get comfortable, was weak and dizzy, and didn't sleep the night before.  He said that he felt like he had the flu.  I said that we would wait to leave for San Diego, as we were scheduled to leave that day.  He said we could still go, just put him in the back of the Suburban,  I declined, mostly because I don't like to drive with him. He is a much better driver than I, so I feel self conscious when I drive with him.  I checked his blood pressure which was low and his heart rate which was high, which was not normal for him at all.  I told him that he was dehydrated and that he needed to drink fluids.  He may have during the day, I don't know, because I left to take Dillan school shopping.  I wasn't that concerned with my patient after all.  I checked on him again in the afternoon and things were the same, so I took Olivia to her two hour gymnastics class.  When I came home from that and put people to bed, and got myself ready for bed, finally relieved that the day was done, Kevin told me that when he got up to go to the bathroom he felt very weak and dizzy, like he was going to pass out.  For those of you who don't know Kevin's stats, he's 6'4" and 225 lbs.  I did not want him passing out on me because I could not pick him up.  And then he tells me he had tarry stools, aka black poop.  Slight pause from me.  Dear, that means you're going to the hospital.  His response:  Maybe it's nothing.  Maybe I'll see if I'm still feeling bad and then I'll go to the doctor tomorrow.  Again, pause for emphasis.  No, we're going now (a little irritated that he didn't mention this BEFORE I took my makeup off).  He was resistant to heading to the ER because earlier this year he had to go in because he dropped a 225 lb barbell that he was bench pressing as his warm up, when it slipped and fell on his chest.  I made him go in to the ER then because I didn't want anything to be damaged in there and have it slowly leaking and then I wake up in the morning and him not.  It turned out to be a cracked sternum, which you can't do anything about except wait.  He wasn't very patient with letting it heal and returned to the gym.  So I gathered him up to go to the ER.  I called Dillan in for reinforcement.  Actually, I wanted him to break his dad's fall should he indeed pass out on us. 
We made it to the ER, where he was promptly checked in.  After all of the tests, etc, he was admitted to the hospital to have an endoscopy in the morning.  I went home to get some rest and was told that the endoscopy clinic opened at 7 am, so he would be seen sometime after that.  I made it back to the hospital just in time as they were taking him to the clinic and he was getting his first transfusion of blood.  He was looking pale.  The anesthesiologist came in told him the concoction that he would be getting was Versed and Propofol.  I told him that Propofol was what Michael Jackson used to help him "sleep" until he took his last sleep.  RIP King of Pop. After he was done, the doctor came and found me and told me the results.  Kevin had torn his esophagus. What?!  The doctor went on to explain that he had made a large tear and there was a very large blood clot around it preventing him from closing the tear, so he was going to admit him to the ICU for close monitoring and IV drips to stop the bleeding and more transfusions.  What?!  I was a little shocked, but being the "seasoned" nurse that I am didn't show it.  That was until the kids called me two minutes later to ask what was going on and there was a scuffle in the background.  I started to cry because it was a lot of overwhelming.  I pulled it together and found Kevin.  He was snoring loudly.  His nurse, as nurses are supposed to do, kept bugging him to wake up.  After he cracked his eyes open a little bit.  I told him that #1 He had survived and #2 He was getting admitted to the ICU.  He fell back asleep.  He woke up again two minutes later.  I told him that #1 He had survived and #2 He was getting admitted to the ICU.  He fell back asleep.  He woke up again two minutes later.  I decided to save my breath and told him that he was getting admitted to the ICU.  He said "That's good.  Here, help me off this gurney so I can walk up there."  I told him that NO ONE walks IN to the ICU.  He said he was fine.  I reminded him where he was going.  I told him to take advantage of someone pushing him in a bed.  We made it to the ICU, where I was reminded how bossy the nurses are there.  I was immediately asked to leave so they could get him settled.  I was let back in about five minutes later.  He had to get up to go to the bathroom almost immediately.  The nurse tried to tell him he couldn't walk that far (ten feet) and that she could get him a bedside commode.  He said he wasn't an old man and that he could walk to the bathroom.  This went on back and forth for a few minutes.  I knew he would not concede, so I took the initiative to help him get up with all his tubing and wires to the bathroom.  Walking ten feet to the bathroom sounds like an easy task. Maybe even if you have an IV in your arm.  But this large strapping young man, losing blood internally, and refusing to believe that he was sick was not easy to get to the bathroom, but by the end of our stay, I think I perfected our orchestrated dance.  But when he got back to bed, he was so dizzy and short of breath that it was scary.  And he was still expelling blood.  He apologized to the nurses for the stink.  And for those of you have smelled that stink, it is more horrid that words can describe.  When I worked in the Burn Unit and we would have overflow patients from the Medical ICU, we dreaded the GI Bleed because of that stink.  And we were the nurses that had patients getting escarotomies which is basically burning already burned flesh.   Sorry if you were eating your breakfast when you were reading this.  Kevin described his trips to the bathroom as the Valdez Oil Spill.  Again, I apologize to those eating.  He ended up needing three IVs in his arms for the medication and the blood transfusions, for which he received seven.  By the end, I told him he needed to stop being lazy and relying on the altruistic efforts of others and make his own blood.  Our home teachers came in and gave him a blessing and my dear friend called me out of the blue to find out what was going on, only to discover that I was sitting in the ICU with Kevin.  She got our kids dinner.  She was listening to the Spirit's promptings that I needed help! 
At this time I went home to get a little sleep and catch up with what was happening.  I Googled what was going on with him.  Probably not a good idea, since I read that the mortality rate is 50%.  Needless to say, I did not sleep well.
The next day, the doctor was able to go in again with an endoscope, but this time he was able to repair the tear.  But Kevin was still very pale and still getting blood transfusions.  And he was still not able to eat.  He had not had anything to eat or drink since he got to the ER.  He tried SO HARD to get anyone to give him something to drink or an ice chip or Gatorade or Sprite.  He kept asking for Sprite despite me reminding him how important it was that he not eat because his tummy was very, very sick.  He asked every doctor, every nurse, every tech, every friend.  He is a bad sick person.  Finally, the doctor said ice chips and gum.  Sharon had come to see him and was deeply worried, so when she heard that, she went to the gift shop and bought him every kind of gum they had.  I think it was a moment full of joy for Kevin. 
He was out of the ICU that evening and then home the next day.  He wanted to resume his normal activities really bad, but since his blood levels were still really low (he was still down about 3 units of blood), he got weak and tired fast.  Plus the heat here doesn't help.I could barely stand to look at him for the first few days after he got out of the hospital because he was so pale.  I said he was Fifty Shades of White and Pale Face.  I told him that this would be the only time in our marriage that I would be darker than him.  The next day after he got out of the hospital was Olivia's birthday.  He had searched for a bike for Olivia and he went and got it, despite not getting clearance from me to drive.  She didn't get her traditional birthday dinner at a restaurant, but fortunately she had her baptism party that more than made up for it. 
So, we were anxious to see what the bill was.  I could have gotten a brand new BMW i3.  I would much rather have an alive husband.  I told him that's all I wanted for my birthday, which is the day after Olivia's.  I just wanted him alive and not dead.  I don't think it's too much to ask.  It helped me to remember how much I need him on a daily basis and how grateful I am to be married to him and have him here with me. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Show Girls

Black Minorca Chickens 

There has been a "Vacancy" sign flashing outside our chicken coop for about nine months.  That was when the crazy tortoise "Curiosity" was living there.  He dug a ten foot hole underneath the palm tree that was on the side of the coop.  I thought about making Turtle Soup, but restrained myself and he was sent to a good family in Gilbert that had another tortoise.  So, when a sister in our ward offered a couple of chickens, at first both Kevin and I were a little leery.  After all, the last chickens we had, which were Delaware Whites, were not very kind.  They pecked at each other and ganged up on one of the chickens and then would lay their eggs on the counter outside the kitchen window, only to scoot them off and let them fall on the ground.  That is not a fun scene to clean up after birds that you are not enjoying.  We picked up the chickens, which she told us were Spanish Minorcas (pictured above) which are supposed to do well in the heat.  We've got the heat part down pat.  They are black and when the suns shines on them, their feathers have a greenish hue to them.  It's very cool.  Plus they are NICE chickens.  They don't peck at each other (there are only two right now) aren't crazed and lay their eggs in a dignified manner in the coop.  I wanted more information, so of course, I googled Spanish Minorca Chickens.  I was not expecting what I found.  I thought that all chickens were alike and had just one job: lay eggs.  Well, two jobs really, but the second job is a career killer. But when I read that these chickens were bred to be "show chickens", I almost fell out of my seat!  My first thought was "They need to have proper show girl names."  So I named them after my two favorite Broadway show girls:  Liza Minnelli and Nathan Lane.  Then I realized, these girls were competition birds, meaning I could take them to County Fairs and show them!  Who knew there would be another outlet to compete in?  Oh baby.  These girls are getting the star treatment.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love/Hate Relationship

I have a few "Love/Hate" relationships, which I am about to divulge for the whole world to know about.  Or at least my sister, Jen, who said that she was sick of seeing "First Chair" as my last blog entry. 
The first one is........Costco.  This may come as a surprise to some who think that it is my third greatest love (Kevin being number one, children being number two-I won't tell you which one would be number one in that group), but as much as I love shopping at Costco, I detest the feeling of panic that overcomes me when I see some new fantastic offering they have, only to wonder:  How long will this last?  For instance, last December "our" Costco finally got heavy whipping cream!!  I was so excited, because I had seen it at my mom's Costco in Utah, but never here in a non-Utah Costco, where we are limited in the good stuff that we get due to the amount of alcohol that takes up valuable product display space.  So, I was thrilled.  I told my friends.  I told my family.  And then, just two weeks after its arrival I noticed the dreaded *.  Meaning that it's days were numbered and that it would not be staying for long.  WE JUST GOT IT!!!! How could Costco be so cruel as to taunt me with what they had, only to let it disappear so quickly?  The final blow came when they reduced the price to $3.97 for the half gallon.  I bought four and froze them. 
A different, but equally as devastating event happened with the Pumpkin Streusel Muffin.  Fall heaven.  It was only offered during the fall of 2009, which I can understand that it is a seasonal item, but then comes the fall of 2010.  I waited.  I checked the muffin display.  No Pumpkin Streusel Muffins.  The pumpkin pie was out, why no muffins?  I seethed because I had waited through a miserable summer waiting for the first sign of fall:  the muffins.  Then to my sheer and utter delight, they were back for the fall of 2011!!  I stocked up because who know what will happen?  They are gone from my freezer, by the way.  I can't resist.
The other thing that drives me crazy about Costco is the books.  The books!!  I could get lost in all of those books and it is so hard for me to not pick one up to read because it's right there.  It looks so good.  I have no will power when it comes to  a book in my hot little hand.
Which brings me to my next love/ hate relationship:  Good books.  How can one hate a good book?  I will tell you.  It brings my life to an utter stand still.  I am paralyzed because all I want to do is finish this really good book, and then I don't want it to end because it's so good, so then I have to find another good book and then I can't do anything because all I want to do is finish this really good book and then it ends, and I am sad because I have to find another good book to read..........It is a very vicious cycle.  One may think that getting a bad book would break this cycle, but au contraire, it only strengthens my desire to find a good book to read to wash out the bad book out of my brain.  And, yes I am in the vicious cycle right now.  It started when I was casually talking to a nurse that I work with and he asked me if I knew anything about Chicago, and I said "Everything I know about Chicago, I read in the book The Devil in the White City."  Which got us to talking about the author Erik Larson, and how he had written other books, and that I had read In the Garden of Beasts, that this other nurse hadn't, but he had read two of his other books, Thunderstruck, which I have since read, and Isaac's Storm, which I am halfway through (it is about the Galveston hurricane of 1900.  If you've read it, DON'T SPOIL IT.  I want to find out if the storm does any major damage).  And, I already have my next book after that picked out Empire of the Summer Moon.  I can't stop.  I feel like an addict.  My two older children have the same curse.  I will never forget when I was talking to Dillan's 6th grade teacher and was telling her about a book that I stayed up until 2 am to finish, and Dillan's eyes grew so wide realizing that one could stay up that late to read.  I told him that it was still forbidden for him.  The best thing about this obsession is that I am able to multitask with it now.  I run on the treadmill and read my Kindle. 
I have a love/hate relationship with Kevin too.  I love him.  But I HATE that he scares me.  All of the time!!  If he walks into a room, I am startled.  If he comes up behind me when I am not aware and starts talking, I'm likely to shriek.  And he has passed this trait onto our boys.  The other day I was drawing Blake's bath, and was leaning over the tub, when Blake starts talking right behind me.  I did shriek that time.  Dillan noted it and thought it was awesome.  Boys. 
If you have a love/hate relationship that you would like to share, please do it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Chair

Dillan started taking violin lessons when he was seven years old, which I was supposed to be a participant in his practices.  If you have read "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" that's me but dialed down about 90%.  He's enjoyed playing the violin, even after he stopped taking lessons and has been performing with the middle school's orchestra.  I can't tell if he's in the orchestra because he enjoys the violin or if he enjoys the ratio of girls to boys in the orchestra.  There is definitely a social aspect of it that he likes. 
So the District Honors Orchestra was coming up and Dillan told me that he was going to be first chair.  I said "That's great" and then probably asked him if his homework was done or if he had any chores left to do.  My parents were visiting so Kevin and I could go on a romantic weekend getaway (really, they came down to see Wicked, but I took advantage of them while they were here.  AND it really WAS a romantic getaway, not an endurance event like a Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim hike!) so I took them with me to the performance.  As always, one of the directors gives a speech that we are not at a sporting event and that there will not be any hooping or hollering for the performances, and that we are all to act in a dignified manner.  Who do they think comes to these things?  Crazed mothers?  So, when it was time for the middle school orchestra to get the seats on the stage, I was looking for Dillan, who, let's face it, is not hard to miss.  I could not see him.  I thought, maybe he's in the back, but even then I would be able to see his head poking up.  There was only the empty chair in the front saved for the first chair violinist.  Well, you can imagine my overjoy when my boy walked on stage as the FIRST CHAIR VIOLINIST!!!!  The emotion overtook me.  I hooped so loud that my mom grabbed my arm and said "You are NOT at a football game!"  That's my baby!  I have held back at many of his performances where I knew what he was going to do, but this I did not know about and was pure joy!  He got a solo part in one of the pieces that he played.  The only thing that made me sad was that his violin teacher, who had a daughter in the high school orchestra, was not able to be there.  She is the reason why he loves the violin so much and is such an excellent player.  It gave me hope that I may be able to get Blake to that point one day. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kevin to the Rescue

This is a common theme with Kevin.  When we lived in Utah, he would carry a tow chain in the truck during the winter in the hopes that he could rescue someone stuck in the snow.  So this evening, he and I went to Costco in preparation for my parents coming to town, when we pulled into our parking spot and there was a two year old boy on the top of a roof of a car, just enough out of reach from his very short and very pregnant mom trying to wrangle him off the roof.  There was a woman "helping", but she was on her cell phone and talking to someone and trying to reach for the boy, who was out of her reach as well.  Kevin walked over, and fortunately the ladies had the boy facing them, and Kevin took the boy off guard and just lifted him on the roof and put him in his car seat.  He was touted as a hero through all of Costco.  Little did they know that this is second nature to him.  One of the many reasons I love him.  That and he writes the best love poems.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Kevin's Door

I love my husband.  Even better, I love that I married a husband that has such a great name to put in place of "heaven" in songs, such as "Knock, knock, knockin' on Kevin's door" by Guns 'N Roses or the LDS favorite "Where is Kevin?  Is he very far?" or "Just Like Kevin" by the Cure.  I think of how boring my life would have been if I had married a Steve or a Bob, altough I'm sure I would find a way to incorporate their names into songs, but it's so fun having a husband who's name rhymes with a great place to be.  So it was my sheer delight when Olivia said that we needed to change a verse in "Joy to the World".  She said "Instead of 'Let heaven and nature sing', we need to sing 'Let Kevin do his thing.'"  I loved it!!  But the sad part was that we didn't sing it on church on Sunday.  Olivia and I were rready to belt that one out.  Oh well.  There's always next year. 
There are two other songs that I believe were made specifically for my niece and nephew.  The first is "No One" by Alicia Keys.  How can you not sing "No-Ah, No-ah, No-ah" when you have a handsome nephew named Noah, especially when he's in the car with you?  And when you have a niece named Oana, how can you sing Rihanna's "What's My Name?'  without saying "Oana, what's my name?" She's a little diva too, that Oana.  I love them. 
Of course, my husband's name is not the only reason why I love him, but it certainly makes it more fun.


I know it may seem like no one reads my blog because #1 Lack of Followers and #2 Lack of Comments.  It really doesn't matter to me if no one follows my blog, since the reason why I blog is so my mom has something to print and put in her binder marked "Kim's Blog" that she can easily grab if there is ever a fire in their house, and run out and proclaim to all of the neighbors that she saved it, and then they can cheer, until they realize that it was just my blog that she saved an nothing really valuable.  I do have followers that through no fault of their own, have no idea how to publicly follow me.  I am no technology expert, so I can not say "It's so easy!  All you have to do is put this in, and then put it on your thingamadoodle, and there you have it!"  I barely know how to follow other people's blogs, and even at that, I don't really follow them, but occasionally read them, and if I have a witty comment, THEN I will leave a comment.  But I do have comments, mostly from the recent blog that I posted titled "Mom's Awesome" that I want to share.
The first comes from my oldest sister, Jen.  She sent this out to the whole dadgum family
:No this is NOT a harassment (yet) to get in your December news. It is a shout out to our wonderful sister Kim who is an amazingly talented writer (I think you missed your calling in life, or rather you have more than one calling). I am an avid follower of her blog--even though I am not accredited as a follower because I can't figure out how to do it. I can always count on a good giggle when I read it. She wrote a most wonderful blog about Mom. I say "Ditto". If I was as talented of a writer I would say all those wonderful things and more. I had fun being with mom and dad for just a few days this month and all I can say is we are very blessed to have them as parents, friends and examples. I hope they have have a great time on their adventure this month and look forward to seeing where the Lord will have them serve a mission. In case you have never read Kim's blog you can find it on and I highly recommend putting it as a favorite and checking it often. (Although it was quite a while in between the last posts--must be because she was working on getting that #1 mom status
That sparked others to read it, meaning my mom.  Here's what she said:
It is nice to know that you have my funeral talk written. Don't lose it. It will save you time many years down the road when you are asked to speak. All I can say is that I am grateful that you are getting older and only remember good things. Fortunately we painted over the writing inside the bedroom closet "I hate mom and dad" written during the angst of teenage years. Probably after we'd cleaned your room and thrown out AAAbras.
Love you and am looking forward to our February trip and event. Love Mom
Well, I never said my mom was known for her honesty, as I have NEVER had a AAA bra. 
My sister, Nikki, also made a comment in the family newsletter:
I also ditto Kim's ode to Mom.  Now she just needs to write one about dad. 
Okay, Nikki, that one is done.  Check
Thanks to those of you who read this silly little blog.  I hope that you leave with a deeper sense of peace, refreshment, and wisdom.  Who am I kidding?  Refreshment? 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bilingual Daughter

The school district sent a form in the mail to return to school to indicate which language was the primary language spoken at home, what language did the child speak, and what was the first language the child learned. I filled it out and gave it to Olivia to return to her school. She asked me what it was for. I explained to her that it was a form for the school asking which language that we spoke at home and that I had put that we speak English. Then she said "I speak Spanish." I said "Really? I didn't know that. Will you please go brush your teeth and get ready for school?" She said "Si." Then this afternoon, her and I were going to the school to watch Chloe in her chorus performance. Olivia asked where we were going and I said "To escuela." She said "What does that mean?" I said "I thought you spoke Spanish." She said "I was just tricking you. Of course I speak Spanish."
And while I am speaking about my darling daughter, get ready for her, people. With a new trampoline there have been a couple of incidents when she has felt slighted and that she is getting the brunt of bad jumps. So she called a family meeting to discuss the problem. And interestingly enough, all attended (except Blake who was asleep), and she got them to agree to rules regarding proper jumping etiquette.