Sunday, November 18, 2012

From the Bottom of My Heart

Saturday afternoon I came home from running errands, etc. and I could see that there was a little package in my mailbox.

"WOO HOO!" I thought.  "Amazon comes through for me again!"  I figured it was probably one of my recent Christmas orders.  But then I thought some more, and do you know what?  All my recent Amazon orders have been delivered, so it was really and truly a random surprise package!  The very best kind!!

And guess what, EVEN BETTER, it was for ME!!!  Not for Dennis or one of the kids.  FOR ME.

So I sneaked it in to the house before anyone else could see and start grabbing and asking, "What is that? Is it for me?"  Because, no thank you, it is for ME!

It was from an address that I didn't recognize, but the city on the return address gave me a moment's pause.  I actually know two people who live in this city, and I wondered if by some happy chance, one of them had sent me a little present?  Especially after my last whiny blog post?  Maybe?  How awesome would that be, and how amazingly timely and how terribly, terribly needed?!

So my hands shook a little bit while I carefully opened the package, because I was really excited and was trying to savor the moment.  Plus I didn't want to tear anything important.  And then, some tears started falling out of  my eyes, and my heart burst wide open with joy, because my friend sent me THREE bars of very special chocolate and a lovely card that instructed me, nay commanded me, to NOT SHARE ANY OF IT!  And the card also said other lovely things that literally had me sobbing, because....well....because....


I actually go around a lot of the time feeling unlovable, and like I'm pretty much a big fat dud.  And this beautiful card said that I am NOT unlovable, and that I am NOT a big fat dud!  My friend loves me, and she loves me enough to send me special chocolate and a sweet, sweet card.

Now, I do not tell you this so you will all feel obligated to send me presents in the mail.  Although that would be pretty awesome, the truth is, I just wanted to tell my friend how incredibly wonderful she made me feel.  My heart does a happy dance every time I see that little pile of chocolate and that thoughtful and super cute card.  I want to tell her, from the bottom of my heart, how much I needed that, and how much, much, much I appreciate it.

And now, a thought to end my blog post:  The Lord can't be sending me chocolate in the mail to cheer me up every time I get down.  But He has blessed me with friends who can send me chocolate, and friends who leave me sweet and optimistic and loving comments on my blog, and friends who let me have my fuss and are still my friends anyway, and that is how I know He loves me.

So thank you my friends, all of you, for taking the time.  It means so SO much to me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keeping it Real

Sorry I've been AWOL lately.  I'm tellin' ya, I'm in WAY over my head these days.  And the really sad thing is that I'm not doing anything!!  Well, technically, that's not quite true, but I'm not doing much, so I'm not only feeling bad that I'm not doing all the things I should be doing, I'm also feeling guilty that I'm feeling bad when I really should be feeling pretty good!

Did that make any sense to you? didn't make any sense to me, either...

So here's the thing.  I started my new job three weeks ago, and it is KICKING MY TRASH.  Hard.  I am not accustomed to feeling so utterly and completely incompetent.  I am so busy at work that I barely have time to take a potty break, and every day at lunch time I lock my office door and cry while I eat because I am so overwhelmed.  This stress is spilling over in a very real and very messy way into my life at home.  By the time I get home each day, I am practically frantic because I'm ALWAYS late coming home, and I just don't want to be!!  I want to be here when the boys get home from school, and that has not happened ONE TIME since I started my new job.  And then it's time for homework and practicing, and everyone is fussy because they don't want to do their homework and practicing, and neither do I for crying out loud!  And not only do I not want to do homework and practicing, I don't want to fix dinner and I don't want to unload the dishwasher and I don't want to do anything but crawl whimpering to my bed and stay there for several years.

I know part (a big part?) of the problem is that I'm not sleeping well.  I don't do well at all when I don't get enough sleep.  But even when I go to bed early, and sleep a long time, I don't feel rested and I don't feel ready for a new day when it's time to get up.  (And don't talk to me about sleep apnea...this is my pity party so let me have my cry).  Anyway, I wake up in the night and my mind clutches on to some random work thing to worry about, and then I can't go back to sleep, and if I do, I have horrible dreams about stupid stuff like avalanches and something that makes my knees hurt, but I can never tell what it is.  Yeah, so the sleeping isn't going that great.

So the truth is--the real and stupid truth--I am struggling pretty hard right now.  Something's got to give, but I don't know what, and meanwhile, I'm miserable and I'm making everyone around me miserable.

And that's the news from my neck of the woods.  Things will get better--they usually do.  And meanwhile, I'll keep robbing Isaac's Halloween candy since my chocolate stash is utterly depleted.  And oh yeah, it's Wordless Wednesday, so here you go:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Tale of Three Dogs

We have a dog.  His name is Mickey, and he is eight years old.  He's a little on the stupid side, but he is so dang cute, and we've had him since he was a pup--so in spite of his exceeding dumbness, we love him.  But he is NOT a house dog, so he lives in his dog run in the summer, and during the winter, we bring his dog house up on to the patio and give him free run of the backyard.  He gets to sleep in his kennel in the warm kitchen at night.  Not a bad life for a dog.  But I wonder sometimes if he gets a little lonely...

Our next-door neighbors also have a dog.  This dog is a wolf.  Well, he might not really be a wolf, but he sure looks like one!  And he's kind of schizo.  He acts like a frightened cat.  But he's alone in his backyard most of the day, and I KNOW he gets lonely, because he keeps bashing holes in the fence and coming over to visit Mickey.  He used to do it all the time, and then we fixed the fence, so he didn't come over for quite a while.  But in the past week or so, he's been over every day, and at all hours of the night.  Sometimes when I come down to the kitchen at 6:30 in the morning to make lunches, there's that wolf, hanging out by the patio door, waiting for Mickey to play.  I don't really mind--he's a pretty good boy as wolf dogs go, and he and Mickey seem to enjoy each others dog company.

Well,  Paul and Nicole have been wanting a dog for...well, forever.  Several months ago, Paul found a poor little stray basset hound wandering alone in the hills near our home.  Paul took this little doggie up and down the street asking all the neighbors if it was theirs, and they all said no, but he had been living in the neighborhood as a stray for at least a week.  He was obviously NOT a stray, but someone's lost little boy, because he was friendly and trained and obedient.  He was also hungry and lonely, so Paul brought him home and named him Tuffy.  The bad news is that Paul and Nicole can't have pets in their apartment, and their landlord already made an exception for their chickens, since they don't actually live IN the apartment.  But they couldn't keep Tuffy.  So we kept him for a while, while Paul called the Animal Shelter every few days to see if anyone had come looking for him.  No one had, and no one did.  This went on for over a week.

But one day, a  man was walking down our street pushing his little baby in a stroller, and Tuffy was barking (Tuffy ALWAYS barks--a big, howly basset hound bark...).  The man stopped dead in his tracks and stared at our house for a minute,  and then he quickly walked away.  Ten minutes later he was back at our house in his truck, asking if we had recently found a lost little basset hound.  We told him we had, and he eagerly gave a detailed description of Tuffy and asked if it matched the dog we found.  Of course, it did--down to the funny way his right foot turns out a little bit--so we took him into the backyard and Tuffy came running happily to his real owner.  And that was that.  Tuffy (NORM??) went home.

Fast forward to last week when Nicole was window shopping dogs on KSL, and guess who she found FREE TO A GOOD HOME?  It seems like destiny!  So Tuffy is back, spending his days in our backyard with Mickey.  Paul and Nicole come over to see him every day, and so does our wolf dog friend!

For a mom who can barely tolerate having one dog, here is what we've had lately:

SIGH.  The fun just never ends around here!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Catching Up

I feel very sheepish about not blogging for a month.  But the truth is, I have been really busy, and something(s) had to give!  I have been trying to choose sanity over accomplishing everything on the to-do list, and managing, but only just.

That is why today, at 3:41 p.m., I am still in my pajamas.  I did manage to brush  my hair, but only because my night ponytail gave up and left me with no choice.  However, joy of joy and heaven of heaven, I slept in until 8:30 this morning, and it felt SO GOOD.  And now the laundry is almost done, the Halloween decorating is finished, the mess from last night's work party is cleaned up, everyone has fresh flannel sheets on their beds (thank you fall, for finally coming to Utah!!), and I feel pretty good.  Maybe I should sleep in until 8:30 every day and always wear my jammies...

So here's what's been happening in the past month:

This is my cute little brand new Bear Cub Scout!  He'll move on to Webelos in a few months, and he's pretty excited.  The task now is to see if I can get his patches sewn on before then...

Here's Wade receiving his Star rank advancement and a few merit badges.  He's getting closer and closer to finishing with his Scouting requirements, and to tell you the truth, I'll be glad when he's done.  I don't enjoy the Scouting program all that much, even though Wade is pretty easy to work with.  The program is NOT that easy to work with, and it gives me ulcers.  (I'm not even kidding).

New this year...Wade is playing football.  He loves it.  I have mixed feelings.  He's been injured once, and I embarrassed myself and Dennis by being the stereotypical panicky mother.  But he's part of a team, and I know that's important to a boy this age.  Heck, it's important to all of us to feel part of something, so I don't want to make him quit, even though every sensible fiber of my being begs for him to do just that.

Here's the Timpview 8th grade team being squashed by Provo.  So far this season, we're 1-5.  Ouch.

See those giant fellows in the background?  There were a few boys on the other team that were only slightly smaller than those guys.  We had no chance.

I'm not sure if you can tell by the way Isaac is standing, but he was SO EXCITED to attend a session of General Conference in the Conference Center!  He spent most of the time drawing or reading or lounging on the floor under our feet, but he was really excited to go...

Wade, on the other hand, was not all that excited about being there.  But lately, he doesn't get all that excited about anything.  He's thirteen.

This is me in my office at work.  This will only be my office for a few more days, because I found out this week that I got the new job I applied for.  I will be the new Undergraduate Advisor for the Mechanical Engineering Department!  I'm very excited, but also very nervous, because since our other advisor left, things have been piling up, and there is a lot to do.  I have been trying to do bits and pieces of two jobs for the past few weeks, and it has been stressful.  Several nights this week I have woken up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because my mind is churning, so I am anxious to get down to business and start learning my new job.

This is my front yard.  I LOVE decorating for Halloween.  I have been collecting my decorations since Dennis and I first got married, and I have quite a good collection going.  I helped both Kate and Nicole get their collections started for our Conference Weekend Girls' Night (and Isaac) Out!  If you're wondering, Shopko has the best prices on Halloween decorations, and also the best selection.

More Halloween...we made these ghosties for Family Home Evening once when we actually held Family Home Evening!  Cut up sheets, balls of newspaper, and twist ties.  I wash them and put them away after each Halloween, and we stuff them up again every year.

These creepy skeletons light up at night, which increases their creepiness.  They're so awesome!!

And more Halloween.  Maybe I over do it, but if you can't over do Halloween, what's the point??

So you can see, I've been busy.  There is other news, too.  Because of my new job, I have retired from teaching.  I've said tearful goodbyes to my students, but will be able to come home from work now and help the boys with their homework, and do other important things.  For example, I made dinner TWO TIMES last week.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT???!!

Oh, and one more thing.  Last night, Kate told me she has decided that she wants to serve a mission.  For those of you keeping track, she will be nineteen in about 10 months.  Crap.  Hooray!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Guess What I Just Did??

I just got back from the most amazing evening!  Yes, Mandy Patinkin.  Live.  It was SO FREAKING FANTASTIC.  It was fun--he sang the Hokey Pokey in Yiddish and he made us all dance.  Then we yelled Mazel Tov as he stepped on the wedding glass.  It was powerful--he sang "Being Alive," and "Children and Art."  It was perfect.

I have loved this voice since I first heard him sing as Georges Seurat in "Sunday in the Park with George," and then when he showed up on Chicago Hope, I started watching just for the occasions when he would visit his wife in the asylum and he would play the piano and sing.  Of course, I loved him from Princess Bride and Yentl, but he really doesn't get to use his pipes in either of those roles!

When he sang Archibald Craven in "The Secret Garden," my life was never the same.  "Race You to the Top of the Morning" melts me, and "Lily's Eyes" rendered me useless for hours the first time I heard him sing it.  And "How Could I Ever Know" breaks my heart every time I hear it.  His voice is so powerful and emotional.

And then, after an amazing performance, and only one encore when we could have stood ten, he came out on the stage and


"My name is Inigo Montoya."  (delirious cheering)
"You killed my father."  (jumping and screaming)
"Prepare to die." (BEST. NIGHT. EVER.)

And then he ran off the stage and that was that.

You can knock living in Provo all you want.  I don't even care.  Because I get to go to things like this. Often.  And it is SO WORTH IT.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adjusting to Change

When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents house.  The house I had lived in since I was nine.  I packed up the things in my bedroom that I didn't want anyone to mess with, took some clothes and some dishes and the quilt my grandma made for me, and my parents drove me to Provo.  I think I cried the whole way there, and I know I cried after they all left.  I was SO excited to get out on my own, but when the moment came to go, I was terrified.  I was lonely.  I didn't know any of my roommates.  I knew a few friends from High School around campus, but they had different schedules and different classes and different lives, and we didn't see each other much.  Oh yes, those were HARD times.

Well, last week my 18 year-old daughter packed up her things and took some clothes and some dishes and her collection of Pillow Pets and we drove her to the dorms and dropped her off.  She had a few tears in her eyes when we left, but I sobbed all the way to the car and most of the way home.  I stopped sobbing long enough to pay attention to the road, but when I pulled in the driveway, my sobbing began anew.  Loud, barking sobs that made my throat hurt.

I still cry almost every day, but just a few tears.  I cry when I see Kate's music sitting on the piano.  I cry when I make lunches and I don't make one for her.  I cry when I'm teaching because Kate won't have any more lessons from me.  And I cry because I know she is struggling.  She's on her own for the first time in her life,  and she is making decisions about how to schedule her time--when to work, when to practice, when to eat.

I want to help her.  I want to draw up a schedule for her and tell her if she'll just do all the things at the time I tell her to, everything will be OK.  But these are things she has to learn for herself, and if I do them for her, she'll never grow and progress.

Dennis and I have talked a lot about this kind of thing over the past few months.  We talked about it a lot when Paul moved to Alaska, and then when he went on his mission.  Did we prepare our children well enough?  Do they know the things they need to know to survive on their own?  We have reminisced about our first semesters at college (both VERY bad), and remembered our first years of marriage (happy, but hard).  We have talked about letting our sweet children struggle, and watching, able to help but unwilling to interfere.  And last night, Dennis actually said the words I had been thinking, "Do you feel kind of Heavenly Father-ish?"

Yes, I think I do.  I love them SO MUCH.  I miss them now that they're gone.  Things will never be the same.  But I want them to learn to take care of themselves, and that means letting them suffer the consequences of their decisions, and letting them feel the satisfaction of a job well done.  I hope they know I am here if they need me and I will help if I can, but a lot, A LOT, of the lessons that are coming their way are lessons they will have to learn on their own.  That's just the way it is.

So, here's to the newlyweds, and here's to my girl out on her own.  I love you so much.  I love you forever.  And you take my heart and my prayers with you wherever you go and whatever you do.  And it's OK to come home and ask for help, in fact, we WANT you to!  We can give advice and sometimes even money!  And we'll all gradually adjust to this new normal, and we'll all be better for the growth and change.

Right?  *sniff*

Wednesday, August 29, 2012