Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summertime is Learning Time

I know some people also like to do learning activities with their kids in the summer, we've been having a lot of fun doing it this week with Hallie home!  It's so fun to do it with her now that she's been to kindergarten, she likes to tell me how to do it "right".

Here's our schedule:

Monday – Group Reading, Math, Art, Choice Time, Space
Tuesday – Individual Reading, Writing, Music, Choice Time, Animals
Wednesday – Group Reading, Science, Choice Time, Weather
Thursday – Individual Reading, Math, PE, Choice Time, States
Friday – Group Reading, Writing, Computers, Choice Time, Play time

We've already learned the scientific names of their favorite animals: bombus lapidarius, ursus maritimis, and the mighty sylvilagus floridanus.  Now listen, we learned how to pronounce them, not how to spell them.   I am pretty confident that I spelled them right, but I'm not perfect.  Can you guess what animals they are?

Today we also memorized the names of the planets and their order.  But um, I totally stumbled when it came time for the order, it's strange because Planets was my main focus the year I did my student teaching for second grade, and it was at the exact time that the announcement came out about the demotion of Pluto from its planet status, so I assume I must have come up with something else to teach the kids, but I cannot remember what it was.  I still have most of my materials that I made for that, but no where can I find that.  So there I was, telling Hallie how to remember the planets

"Ok, so you just think of My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us... oh, wait. Oh... um."

and she just stared at me and stared at me and stared at me, so feeling pressured I started again without having a plan fully formulated, I had no idea what i was going to say at the end when I got there, but what came out was acceptable, I guess:

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nuggets.  

If I give it more time I might try to come up with something to change the whole ending, maybe My Mother Says Upstairs Now!  Or something like that... 

What do you say for it now? Anyone? Anyone?

Oh, and choice time and play time are essentially the same thing, they get to play with "educational toys" that I never let them play with otherwise.

By educational toys I mean shapes and letter puzzles and whatnot and wheretofor.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Favorite One

A while ago I posted some family pictures that Devin's dad helped us take.  I realized later that I didn't post my favorite one, I don't know why.

I post it now, to let the record show that this one is my favorite.


It Was My Email

So my post about Facebook got my sister and brother in law involved, and with them on the hunt I knew they would figure things out for me. And indeed, they did.  The trouble was never with my Facebook - well, some of the troubles obviously were, but Miss Maureen was not.

Miss Maureen was just a spam who found my email address.  I was confused about how she had gotten my email, but I thought she had somehow managed to hack that off the Facebook site just like my pictures and profile.  Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and my security controls really are as tight as I think they are.  I think.  These days, who knows?

The moral here is, that instead of getting rid of my Facebook account I think I will get rid of that email address. It mostly only gets spam these days anyway, and I never use it, so... gonzo!  Good riddance, I say.  It's about time!

I feel free!

Thanks Jeff and Mimi, for all you do to keep me safe on the internets.  I'm like a child on this playground, seriously.

For those who know and care, it was the 14 rose email address that I will no longer be using.

Oh, and sadly, yes. This means I have still never been hit on by a stranger, man or woman.  I mean, it's not like my goal in life is to be whistled at, or have to figure out how to respond to a lame pick up line, but sometimes you wonder what you are missing.  Sort of.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Facebook

In a sort of frenzy I closed my Facebook account yesterday.

Why?  Well, in the first place, I've been thinking about doing it for a couple of months now. I have sort of been slowly falling out of love with Facebook in general.  I don't like the ads on the side, I don't like the amount of time I waste on it, stuff like that and sometimes it just seems like why? Why do we do this thing called Facebook?

But I kept telling myself that I do it to keep in touch with friends and family, to see what they are up to, and have a nice easy way to contact them when I want to or need to.

I first started getting really frustrated with Facebook when Devin's account was hacked into and no longer belonged to him, but to someone else.  I made him a new account and tried to let people know which account was actually "Devin".

Actually, that's not true. My first problem with Facebook was a few years ago, I began getting messages, three or four every day from women who were completely naked, and the message was nothing but the photo of them naked.  It was irritating, to say the least.  I finally had someone tell me how to block it, and thankfully those have stopped.

Then about a week ago I got an email from a Mr. Rajeev, who told me that he thought I had really cute girls.  Yesterday, I got an email from a Miss Maureen who wanted to find real, true love with me.  She insisted that age and gender don't matter, that distance doesn't matter because love can conquer all.  She told me that she felt she had gotten to know me through my profile and pictures on Facebook.

That was the kicker.  Not because she was hitting on me, although that was strange because I have never once, not once in my life been hit on, but because she claimed she could see my pictures.  I thought that I had the top level of security on who could and could not see my pictures, but I know that I am not friends with anyone named Maureen on Facebook, because I don't actually know anyone named Maureen.  So, if she could see my pictures, then she could see the pictures of my children.  That, on top of the email from the Mr. Rajeev put me over the edge, and I told Devin I was shutting it down.

The final message from the Facebook peoples said that I had 14 days before they would actually finalize the destruction of my Facebook account. If I logged in anytime before then, they would ask me if I was reconsidering, in which case I could have my account back if I wanted it.

I've been thinking about it.  A hundred times a day I will think that I want to get on Facebook to check something, or to say something to someone, or to see how someone is doing.  A hundred times a day I think, "oh yeah, that recipe was on Facebook", or "oh yeah, but Facebook is the only way I have of getting ahold of her, and her, and oh yeah, her too... why don't I have phone numbers or email addresses, or REAL addresses for any of these people?!  Oh right, because Facebook has always been there, and been so convenient, why bother?"

I think about my sister moving all around the world in a few months and I won't get to see all the adorable pictures that she puts up of my nieces and nephew.  I hope she will put some of them on her blog, and I will get to see some of them I am sure when I do manage to visit, but the bulk of the pictures I will miss because I am not on Facebook.

I tell myself that a relationship does not rise and fall based on how many pictures of their life you get to see.  But somehow, it still sort of feels like it does.

I think about how through Facebook I was able to reconnect with my best friend from elementary school, who I haven't seen since 7th grade, and it has been so fun to be in touch with her again, but she is one of those people for whom I have absolutely no other contact information.

I considered letting that old account go, and creating a new account where I didn't post any pictures of my children, and just kept it really simple and basic.  Is it selfish of me to keep a thing like Facebook at the expense of creeps looking at my children?  Except, what if I really could keep my children out of it...

As you can see, I am going back and forth all over the place.  It has been nice, and frustrating not having an account anymore - and it's only been two days.  We'll see if I come back or not. I have twelve days left to decide.

Devin though, is officially done. Don't count on seeing him on there anymore.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Letter to The World

Dear World -

Have you ever been completely jealous of someone, and at the same time so totally not jealous of them at all?

Have you ever made it through cutting the onions just fine, only to give in to the tears while chopping the carrots?

The thing is, it was hard enough for me to give my sister to BYU when she went away to college.  It was harder still for me to "let her" get married and go off with her husband to have adventures.

Now you, world, are trying to claim* her as well for even more adventures.  So listen up.

That's my baby sister that is coming at you.  That's the little girl that taught me just about everything I know about being who I am.  She taught me to play, to fight, to laugh, to apologize.  We grew up and she taught me how to be married, and continues to teach me how to be a mom.

She's two years younger than me, but she's always been years older than me.  Growing up it was always she who introduced me to the people who came into my life.  She was my brave face, my adventurous spirit, my willingness to try.

Now it is my turn to introduce you to her.  She will learn your languages, and how to cook your food.  She will learn to navigate your streets and love your people.  She will open her door and let people in to her home and her heart.  She will love you.

So please be kind to her.  Treat her well, treat her right, and show her your very best side.

I know that I am being very selfish, crying over the carrots because I will no longer get to talk to her while I make dinner for my family.  I know that it is her life that is going to change completely, and mine only the barest fraction.  I know that.  And since her world is going to be changing so much,  I beg you, world, to make it a change for the better.

Sincerely,
Me

*My sister's husband just got accepted to the Foreign Service.  They don't know yet where they will be taken, but they will get to see the world.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Green

When Devin's parents were in town, I took advantage and went off to the grocery store all by myself.  Sometimes it feels really sort of deliciously luxurious being alone in a grocery store, did you know that?  Oh, and but I had Heather with me. Because these days when I say I am alone, Heather is obviously a footnote to the definition of the word "alone".

So there I was, wandering through the store all by myself with Heather by my side, taking my sweet time really trying to decide which pickles I wanted the very most.  Our grocery store gives free cookies and free slices of cheese to children.  We were looking through the cheeses, I think I was trying to find the pepperjack  because my plan was to make blt's for lunch, and hello pepperjack.

As I was on the hunt, one of the cheese guys came over to us, and bent down to Heather's height. 
"What kind of cheese do you like?" He asked her, preparing to get her whichever kind she wanted.

"Green." She said in her tiny voice.  At this point I turned around and told him that she really would like a piece of "orange".  He smiled and went to get it.  When he returned, I reminded Heather to say thank you, which she did in her tiny two year old "I don't really know you but I'm going to eat this cheese because my mommy is right here by me" voice.

I turned to him and said, "Thanks."  Then, in my snootiest voice, I said, "But I am pretty disappointed that you don't have green cheese for the little kids that want it."

He laughed, and said, "Actually, we do have some green cheese, but I thought it might be a bit too much for her."

Wise man. Wise man.  Do people eat green cheese then? I guess that's a thing somewhere, for some people?


-----------------

Last night at dinner I was talking again about the various people that have sided with me in agreement that Hazel might have red hair.  I told Devin that I had an entire handful of people that thought it might be red, as well as Hanna.

Hallie piped up and said that she did not think it was red, and she agreed with Daddy.  I laughed and said it was on! Hallie and Daddy versus Hanna and Mommy - who would be right, and who would be wrong?  These are the things that make life exciting, you know?  And then we all remembered Heather sitting there quietly eating her dinner.

"Heather, what color hair do you think Hazel will have?"

She was so confident.  "Green!"

We'll see, Heather. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Family Pictures

Does it get any better than trying to get a good family picture?

It's just like every family emotion packed into one afternoon.





I love it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Wasn't There

I finally figured out a way to explain it to Devin so that he would understand.

Pretend you're getting ready to run a marathon, I told him.  You spend months planning and preparing to do this hard thing.  You anticipate what it will be like, what might happen, and you envision it going the way you want it to go.  You think about past marathons, what you did right, what you did wrong, the ways you want this time to be better.  You put months into this effort.

Then race day comes.  You know your body, you can tell when something is wrong and instead of feeling a bit of excitement that the day is finally here, you feel a sick sort of anxiety because you know something is off but you don't know what.

You show up at the race, and a group of race officials rush over to you.  They are clearly agitated and things seem a little frenzied.  They tell you that due to circumstances completely outside of your control, they are going to need you to lie down and go to sleep.  Everything will be fine, they tell you.  They will take good care of you, and you will still get to have a good race.  They just want you to lie there and breathe.  Stay calm.  Breathe.

You wake up, and you see from your watch that it is several hours later.  The officials come over to you, and tell you that you can't have your race medal yet, but that it is waiting for you.  Someone can tell that you seem a little disturbed by this, so they rush out to take a picture on their phone.  They hurry back, and show you the picture of your race medal.

They explain to you that the pain you feel is completely normal.  They warn that it will probably hurt a lot more than if you had actually run.  It will also probably hurt for longer.  But they all smile at you and tell you Congratulations!

Then they finally help you stand up, and give you your medal, and you still just don't quite understand what happened.

That is what it was like for me, when Hazel was born, I tell Devin.  That's why there are still days when I feel confused, and sort of lost.

My baby was born, and it is great and I'm glad she's alive and I'm alive and we're both healthy, but I wasn't there.  The doctor, the anesthesiologist, my midwife, the nurses, and Hazel - they were all there, but I wasn't.

I wasn't there.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Stuff

I had two posts in mind that I kept wanting to do for Mother's Day this year, but I just couldn't decide which one.

Then last night my sister posted on her blog, and her post was almost exactly what one of them was going to be, so I decided to do my second option.

But, I just really want to do both.  Please forgive me for looking like a copycat, Meems, and I may even steal some of yours that I hadn't intended on using originally. But it's cool, though. It's cool.  I guess all it really means is that my sister and I are a lot alike.

Well, now that I look closer at things, I think I'm just going to steal all of the things from my sister. But just know this, some of them I had planned on using myself before she posted them.  I just won't tell you which ones, or how many of them.  But some of them I thought of on my own, truly.  TRULY. (If you want to see my sister's post, because she also wrote some beautiful words, it's here.)

To Mothers: I Salute The Crap Out of You
This is just plain funny.

Four Ridiculous Reasons Why I'm Grateful For My Mom 
my favorite is the bit about the sandwich. It's so true.

#ItWasMom
We can do this thing!  Sometimes I think that I was crazy to think I could be a mother, what was I thinking? But then I watch something like this and I tell myself to just get up and do it. Be the mom.


Here, a shout out to my soon to be moms, the pregnant women.




I won't tell you that this video will make YOU cry, I will only say that it made ME cry.  Let's keep these women in our hearts.

The Circle of Life

"Mom, will you help me put my underwear on?"


My mom cam around the corner of the hospital room, and stepped into the little bathroom where I had been struggling in vain to put my own underwear on.  I could neither lift my legs high enough, nor bend over far enough to get the job done.  This time there was no nurse around to help me do it, but my mom was.

As we struggled together, I laughed a little and said, "Well, I guess it's been a while since you've done this for me." 

Later that same day I wanted to take a shower.  I hobbled my way slowly to the bathroom, and my mom helped me begin the process.  I thought I could do the actual washing on my own.  Things were going pretty well, all things considered, until I tried to wash my hair.  It hurt too much to lift my arms up, stretching and pulling parts of my body that still did not want to be stretched and pulled.

"Mom?  Will you wash my hair for me, please?"

I laughed again, and made some comment about how it had been some 25 years since she had washed my hair for me.

I came home from the hospital and my mom stayed for a few days.  She made me sandwiches and brought me juice.  I listened to her reading to my girls, playing with them, scolding them for fighting.  I was glad that if I couldn't do those things for them, my mother was there to do it for me.  I realized that even though Hallie and Hanna put on their own underwear and get themselves dressed now, there may be a day in the future sometime when one of them will need me to help do those things again.

My mom bathed me and dressed me when I was a little girl.  She did it again for me when I was grown and unable.  She did it for my girls when they needed her.  Someday, her body may weaken and she may need me to do things like that for her then.  I hope that I will be able to be there for her when she needs me.  Someday I hope to be able to do these things for my girls again, and their own babies too.

Those are the times when it feels really special to be a woman and a mother.  This cycle of caring for each other, in our weakest times, building each other up to be strong again, it feels beautiful.

I don't know, it just feels like the circle of life.

I love you, Mom.  Thank you for taking such good care of me and my girls when I couldn't take care of anyone but Hazel.



(I realize that men need taking care of at times in their lives as well, but today is Mother's Day.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sometimes We Get Visitors

We love it when people come to visit us.  In March, my sister, her three kids, and my mom came to visit us.  The day they arrived, my friend Lindsey was driving across the country and she stopped by with her husband and three kids.  The day my sister and mom left, another friend was driving across the country with her husband and their four kids.

It was just a great time.

Last week Devin's parents and younger brother came to visit, and the day they came my brother and mom were also driving across the country so they stopped for a visit.

There are two lessons to be learned here:
1. My house is a great place to stop if you are driving across the country.  We have clean bathrooms and fresh snacks. Also lots of places to sleep if you should be hitting Nebraska at bedtime.
2. Please make sure to coordinate your trip with all of my other family and friends. I like to do these things all at once, you know.

 Hazel just pooped right out on my mom.  I just reread this, and I want to clarify: by that I don't mean that she pooped on my mom.

This shot was taken after I helped herd my brother's five cats back into his van.

 Hallie is really good at frisbee.  Thanks to Uncle Kenny and Grandpa Rose for working with her on her technique!


 For Easter, we "gave" the girls a flower bed.  They get to plant flowers in it and weed it and water it and they are so excited about it.

 In case you can't tell, that's me, and Hallie.  The little girl by me in a pink shirt is actually not one of mine, but a sweet little girl I babysit for.
 Thanks for coming to visit, it was so good to see you!