Saturday, May 7, 2011

Awesome Things

One of the blogs I follow (  had a fun post this week. Gretchen Rubin was praising another author friend of hers, who recently published a second book, by sharing a list of some awesome things: Awesome Things Make You Happy

I am generally a fairly happy person, but there are still moments of 'awesome things' that just give that little added boost to the day. Here are some of mine:

*Noticing the digital clock right at 11:11. In our family, we use this as an excuse to "make a wish".
*Hearing my teenager sing in the shower as I walk down the hall, passing the bathroom door.
*Receiving an unexpected compliment.
*Walking barefoot on sun-warmed lawn.
*Smelling microwave popcorn.
*As I drive my normal route into town, I realize everything is suddenly green. Spring has arrived.
*Finding a 'long lost' friend on Facebook.
*Sharing a great movie with my husband.
*Checking on my children, after they're asleep.
*When someone lets me merge in a heavy lane of traffic.
*Seeing deer grazing in my yard.

There are a ton of other things, as well, but those were the first few I thought of. What are yours?

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Obviously Controversial Thoughts on the Death of Osama Bin Laden

I'm not really sure how I feel about the celebration of Osama Bin Laden's death.

When I first sat down at my computer, after watching Star Trek (the new one) for the third or fourth's an awesome movie, by the way...I checked my FB newsfeed. The first post I saw was from a family member in Canada, saying people were outside the Whitehouse, cheering Osama's death. I then pulled up an online news site to see what happened and to watch Obama's speech.  After watching his speech, I went back to Facebook and read other people's status posts. Almost everyone who had posted seemed jubilant, with one friend even posting the "ding, dong, the witch is dead" song (which I did find humorous, at least).

I know Osama was a really bad guy, who did really bad things, but to say "justice has been served" because we killed an old man in hiding, somehow doesn't feel right to me. Don't we believe in trials? If anything, he should have been treated as a war criminal, if not a criminally insane one. Is it right to just execute someone, regardless of what has been done? I don't know. According to what we've been told and to what he bragged about, he felt that the US is a wicked nation that needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth (my words). He's not that wrong, in my opinion...we are a pretty wicked nation, as a whole. Not that he has the right to be our jury or judge. But I'm not sure killing him will stop the Al Qaeda (sp?) has been operating with Osama in hiding, so there are obviously other leaders of the group. And now they have a martyr to rally around.

Unfortunately, the suspicious part of my mind wonders if killing Osama now is a diversionary ploy. Obama's approval ratings are rock bottom. There's the birth certificate authenticity issue (many feel it's fake). Even if it's real, there's the fact that his father is a British national, making Obama technically not a 'natural born citizen, born to two US citizens' and therefore not legally allowed to be our president, regardless of where he himself was born. We have the budget issue, which many people blame on Obama's insane spending habits, but with this killing, our military spending has now been 'justified', right? I can go on and on. My point is just that this seems like a way for Obama to get back into the good graces of the American people. One could argue that it's pretty far from the actual elections and we, as a people, have short memories, so maybe he should have waited until closer? But, he has already starting his campaigning and fund raising, so this gives him something to focus on during his upcoming speeches. If I'm right, and this is a political move, I'm sure he has another 'big win' up his sleeve to show us how awesome he is when the time for elections does get closer.

And then there's the speech. I saw a lot of people commenting about how much they liked the speech. Someone even said he thought it was "honest and direct". Seriously? Has ANYTHING Obama said in the past few years been honest? Maybe it's my very biased opinion, but I trust absolutely nothing that comes out of his mouth. He has done nothing but lie and lie and lie. And yes, initially I liked him...I would have voted for him (but I misplaced my mail-in ballot). He's a great talker. Actually, I think that's why I don't like him now...I had faith in him prior to his swearing in and have been repeatedly disappointed in the things he has since done, to the point where I almost feel personally betrayed. I definitely feel like a fool for once believing that he meant what he said.

Anyway, back to his speech. The thing that bothered me the most were his many "I" statements. He took personal credit for a lot of things that I don't think he could have been solely responsible for. If he was truly 'the man' doing those things, he should show some humility and let others praise him, or let his actions speak for him. Otherwise, he should only be using "we" or should be giving credit to those actually responsible. The last couple minutes of his speech had more "we" usage, but I still didn't like all the "I"s. His arrogance is appalling. His praise and thankfulness for our military personnel and the many deaths and injuries they and their families have suffered was also lacking, in my opinion.

Several months ago, I mentioned to my mom that Obama will win the next election, regardless of what he does or what happens in our country before the election. We are in the biblical "last days" and our country is going to be facing some very hard times. Things are going to continue to deteriorate. Obama's plans for us are just taking us there that much sooner. It's all part of the greater plan. With Obama's approval ratings being so low, I was starting to hope that I was wrong...I should have known Obama wouldn't give up the next four years without a few tricks up his sleeve.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Break - The Downside

In my last post, I went on and on about how much fun it is to have older kids. This week, I'm realizing how hard it is to think of things to do that all four of those 'older' kids will enjoy.

In the past, our spring break (and summers and weekends and all other kinds of breaks) were filled with trips to local parks, Seattle Center's Whirligig, the Children's Museum, Jungle Playland, etc. None of those are things my older two would enjoy anymore (or in some cases, like Jungle Playland, are too old to participate in, even if they would still enjoy them).

So, do I take just my younger two out? My older two have 'been there, done that', so it would technically be 'fair' to let the younger two enjoy those outings, right? On the other hand, a drive to Seattle or Mt. Vernon is pretty significant now that we live in the boonies...I would really rather find something all four kids would like, especially if it means a long drive. Finding closer entertainment would even be better! And since it looks like rain this week (imagine that!), finding indoor activities would be ideal.

Roller Skating is on this week's agenda, so that's one thing, at least. We are also planning on a trip to the library, but that doesn't really count...that's really close and something we do all the time anyway. What else is there? A movie? Nah, we watch enough movies at home...we even have a projector for that movie-theater feel; we save our family theater trips for highly anticipated releases, none of which are happening this week. The Aquarium? Yes, we love the aquarium, but it's a once-a-year thing for us (due to the cost), and we prefer to go when the weather is nice, so we can also spend time at Pike Place and wandering the waterfront. So, that's probably not happening this week. The Zoo is also more enjoyable when it's not cold and wet outside. We just did the family swim thing...once in a while is okay, but the older two wouldn't be all that interested in going again this soon.

I'm stumped! If you have ideas of local activities, preferably not too expensive, that kids from 8 to 14 would enjoy, please share them with me :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You Never Know about Strangers

A few years ago, we had a great vacation in California, complete with a 5-day park hopper pass to Disneyland and California Adventure, a 2 day stay with Robert's Uncle John, and several other fun visits to local amusements. On the night of the last day of our Disneyland adventure, we stopped by the gift shops on our way back to the hotel. Robert took the kids to choose one toy each, while I went to find myself a Disney sweatshirt.

While I was browsing through the clothing racks, I had an encounter with a stranger. She was also looking through clothing racks, while her son (about 8 or 9 years old) was sleeping on the floor nearby. I can't remember what happened exactly, but she said something rude to me and I replied rudely in return. I walked away to look at a different section of clothes, but was feeling stressed and terrible about my reply to her. Not because I cared about her, mind you, but because I didn't want to end my vacation with a guilty conscience, a few minutes (and a lot of self-talk) later, I went back to her and apologized for my rudeness, explaining that I was had been a long day.

She apologized to me, as well, explaining that she had 'lost' her son for several hours that day. They were both emotionally and physically exhausted, but she wanted to get a memento of their trip before heading home the next day. As a mom, I've 'lost' my children at stores in the past, but usually only for a minute or two (to find them hiding in a clothing rack or on a different aisle than expected). That minute or two of panic is real and extremely stressful, so I can't imagine how hard it must have been for that mom to have lost her son for several hours, especially at a place like Disneyland, where there are so many strangers and possible predators all over the place. The things she must have worried about and stressed over are unimaginable to me. It made me even more glad to have apologized, hopefully making her last few minutes at the park a little less terrible than it might have otherwise been if it had ended in rude words from a stranger.

For some reason I've been thinking about that encounter a lot today. I'm not sure why today of all days, as I didn't have any run-ins with rude people or have any bad-day issues, but regardless, I thought I'd share it with you anyway. I have thought about that over the years, as well, and I've tried to remember the lesson I learned from it. We really never know what other people are going through, especially if they're strangers to us. I try to remember that if someone is rude there may be an underlying reason; maybe a love one recently passed away or is sick, maybe they lost a job and are trying to figure out how to buy enough groceries for their kids, or maybe they just had an awful day for some other unknown reason. If someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe it's because they're speeding to get to the hospital in time to say goodbye or have a pregnant wife in the car (I know Robert broke several traffic laws when I was ready to deliver). We just never know, but we can do whatever it takes to not contribute to their bad day by being rude in return.


My youngest child, Shaya, was baptized a member of our church yesterday. In our church we believe that a child must be old enough to know right from wrong (a general rule of thumb is at least eight years old) and old enough to make their own decision on whether they want to be baptized or not. Since she turned 8 a couple of weeks ago and chose to become LDS, she had her service yesterday. It was a nice ceremony, with several friends and family in attendance. (Those same friends and family came over for dinner afterwards; I had a wonderful time socializing with them while our kids and their cousins and friends hung out together).

The thought that this is my youngest and last child to get baptized made me cry a little. All my kids are growing up! I'm going to have a house full of teenagers soon and then not too long after that, Robert and I will be empty nesters. Robert prepared a slide show DVD for Shaya of her first 8 years (he's done that for all of the kids) while I am working on a baby book of Shaya's first 8 years (I've also done that for all my kids, but this one will be given to her late). It was fun to reminisce over the early years and to see how cute and adorable our kids were as babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

It makes me a little sad, but on the other hand, I really do enjoy having older kids. I've never really been a 'baby person' (although I've adored my own babies!). Life is so much easier with kids that are independent enough to fix their own meals, clean their own rooms (not that they actually do), and get themselves ready for church or school in the morning. But even more than that, I love spending time with my kids, especially now that they're old enough to have 'real' conversations. I like reading books with them, because the books they choose these days are ones that are actually enjoyable to me, too (I do like pictures books, as well, but I hope you know what I'm getting at). I really do love all of my kids and I love the stage of life they're all in right now. Hopefully, I can remember to always enjoy the little things and not stress too much over the annoyances and occasional bratty times.

Anyway, I'm proud of Shaya for making the decision to get baptized. She's a very good person and I love her very much!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thy Will Be Done

On Wednesday of last week I started spotting, so on Thursday morning, I called the midwife center (where I went when I was pregnant with Shaya) for the first time this pregnancy. They were able to get me in for a 1:00 appointment. Based on the first day of my last period, I was 10 1/2 weeks along, but the midwife was unable to hear a heartbeat using the little handheld tool thing. That, and the fact that I was spotting, was reason enough to send me to the hospital for an ultrasound and some other testing. By the time the ultrasound and tests were finished, the midwife office was closed, but one of the other midwives came to talk to me anyway. She said that the size of the gestational sac was 7 weeks, and although they couldn't detect a heartbeat in the ultrasound, that it might just be too early yet.

As requested, I went back to the hospital on Friday to discuss the ultrasound and bloodwork with my midwife. She talked to me about the ultrasound again and said that it looked to her like a blighted ovum, which means that a baby never formed, usually due to chromosomal abnormalities (more information, if you're interested: She was pretty sure I was going to have a miscarriage, but that if my 'spotting' slowed down or stopped, I should come back in the following week for another ultrasound. She was trying to be positive, but I could tell she didn't think that I'd be coming back in next week.

I woke up at 4:00am on Saturday with an actual labor pain. If I had been full term, this would have been the kind of pain that I woke Robert up for, saying, "it's time!" But, I knew what was happening...  The bleeding intensified and I spent the next several hours changing pads or sitting on the toilet, with intense labor pains happening regularly. When I first woke up, they were about 10 or 15 minutes apart, but by the time Robert woke up at 10:30, they were much closer together and the bleeding had continued unabated, and had included several large clots of tissue.

Robert called the midwives, but being a Saturday, the only one available was on call to deliver. She took 20 minutes to call back, and after Robert described the symptoms, she told him to get me to the emergency room immediately. So, we went... Labor pains were still pretty intense and close together in the car, but by that time I had finally taken a couple of extra strength Tylenol so the edge was taken from the pain a bit.

After a couple of hours of being there, the physician, after getting the results of my blood test, told me that my red blood cell count was low, but not dangerous, so that if I wanted to try letting the miscarriage happen on it's own (rather than having a D&C), I could. By that time my bleeding and pain and lessened considerably, so he decided not to do a blood transfusion (phew!). I was told to take it easy over the next few days and that if the bleeding did not slow way down or if I had any other symptoms (dizziness, nauseousness, or just a feeling that something might be wrong) that I was to come back. I agreed, and we got home at about 5 or 6 that night.

I was sore and very tired for the next couple of days, but otherwise, physically fine. The emotional parts were harder, but through prayer and discussions with Robert and my mom, I was comforted in knowing that this is all part of God's plan for me. I'm not sure why I had to get pregnant in the first place if a baby never formed, but I don't need to know the why's. Heavenly Father loves me and there was a reason for my miscarriage, whether I know what that reason is or not.

My mom had a miscarriage when I was around 12, and it's something I've thought about on and off over the years. Things like, "If the baby had lived, she would be 9 now" or whatever. I have no doubt that I'll have those kinds of thoughts this time around, as well. My due date would have been September 23rd, a week or so before Braelen's birthday. I'm sure that will be a bit of an emotional time for me, and I'm sure there will be other times, as well. But for now, I am doing better than I was earlier this week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oil and Water

Being pregnant has some physical quirks. Having gallstones has some physical issues, as well. Both are tolerable, but together they are not a good mix.

For example, when I'm feeling a little queasy from the pregnancy, I would normally go for a ginger ale or maybe even a Coke, but those are about the worst things you can drink when you have gallstones. One of the best things you can drink when you're suffering from a gallstone attack is apple juice with a bit of apple cider vinegar mixed in, but just the thought of that makes me want to puke now that I'm pregnant.

Since I started having gallstone attacks (this past summer, finally diagnosed in October), I have severely changed my diet. It was absolutely atrocious...I ate junk food most of the day, with rarely anything healthy thrown in there, so I definitely deserved some kind of bodily protest. I now regularly eat fruits and vegetables, I no longer drink soda of any kind, and I avoid foods high in sugar and fat, so really, having gallstones was a blessing (in a serious disguise).

I thought it would be the candy (chocolate!) that I would miss, but really it's been fatty foods, like pizza, that I've missed the most. And especially the past couple of weeks, I've REALLY wanted pizza! I have cheated a couple of times; for example, I brought my friend a couple of pizzas for lunch when I went to visit her on Monday (she just moved back after being gone for 11 years). I tried to limit myself to one slice, but Shaya left most of a second slice that I finished off for her. And then, for my birthday dinner on Tuesday, I decided that I wanted pizza. We made a healthier kind, on whole wheat english muffin halves. I piled mine high with onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, but I also put quite a bit of mozzarella cheese on top. They were so good that I ended up eating four of them (stuffing yourself is also bad when you have gallstones), along with a lot of fresh fruit that Robert bought for me. So, sure, relatively healthy, but way too much.

I spent the last three hours of my birthday (and into the next morning) suffering from a gallstone attack. Oh, and because I'm pregnant, I can't take the pain medication that was subscribed to me. Tylenol just doesn't cut takes the edge off, but the pain is still there. It's so not fun. I am hoping that whatever cravings my pregnant body decides to have in the future, that they coincide with a good, healthy, non-gallstone-attack-inducing diet. Like cucumbers. I hope I crave cucumbers.


What a nice week this has been! My kids have been home all week from school. I've pretty much been in my PJs for the past three days. We've all just been lazing around, spending a bit of time playing in the snow, but also watching movies, reading books, and playing computer games. I have become a homebody, because I really like being lazy these days.

There wasn't any school on Monday, due to President's Day. On Tuesday we woke up to quite a bit of snow on the ground, with messages from the district delaying school for a couple of hours and only having buses on limited transportation. Limited transportation is a huge pain for us...the regular bus stop is right in front of our house; the 'emergency bus stop' is 2 miles away. Two miles of un-plowed, limited use, twisty, hilly roads. Neither Robert nor I feel all that comfortable driving in snow in the first place, but our road is always difficult to drive on when there's any snow at all. Limited transportation means 4 trips on our road, and since more snow was being forecasted, we just decided to let the kids have a snow day. Wednesday and today were both officially school closed (due to snow) days. I'm thinking tomorrow might just be a stay-at-home day, too, even if it isn't official...we'll just round off the week and have some more relaxing family time :-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guilty Little Secret

Whenever anyone mentions something they've seen on TV, I usually have no idea what they're talking about, especially if it's a newer show. I usually shrug and piously reply with, "Oh, we don't have TV at our house." When we moved out to the boonies (almost three years ago now), we made the decision to not get TV. The kids watched the occasional cartoon or after school sitcom, but Robert and I rarely watched any during the past several years that we lived in Marysville. So, we decided to spend the savings from not having TV on Netflix and Hi-speed internet. The kids can get their cartoons and sitcoms via Netflix and we can watch whatever movies we feel like watching.

It's normally a win-win, but occasionally I do miss having television. Football, for example. I actually enjoy watching it when I can watch it regularly and follow the teams and specific players that I like. Just looking up stats isn't the same so I have missed out on the past three seasons of the game. Seattle made it to the play-offs this year, and if they had made it to the Super Bowl (I know, I know, not likely), I would really have missed having a TV. Arriah and Braelen say the thing they miss the most is the commercials. And no, I don't mean the Super Bowl commercials. They miss seeing the every day commercials, because their friends talk about these new products or places to go and my kids don't have any idea what they're talking about.

Now, I have to admit to my guilty little secret. I have become a fan of American Idol. Prior to last season, I may have seen one or two episodes, so I knew what the show was about, but I never cared. Last season, however, I started watching American Idol via YouTube clips the morning after the show was aired. And I got hooked. My favorite last season was Lee Dewyze, so I was thrilled that he made it all the way through. Oh, and I also liked one of the kids that didn't even make it to the top 12, so that was kinda sad.

I'm hooked again this season. Since it's on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I now spend Thursday and Friday morning trying to piece together the show on YouTube. I suppose it must be illegal to be upload the clips, because the YouTube police are good about deleting posts. I have to get to them quick (or wait a few days for repostings) and still sometimes end up only being able to watch parts of the episode. But, that's okay, I still enjoy it.

My favorites so far this season are Jacee Badeaux, Robbie Rosen, and Chris Medina. There's a girl that hasn't received much air time, but I've really liked her voice when she's sang; Ashton something (Jones, I think). I couldn't tell if she was in the 'right' room, but I saw that all of 'my boys' made it through. I'll get to watch them again next week! And yes, there are definitely better singers than the guys I have become fans of, but I don't care about that. I'm looking forward to next Thursday morning. Now, if only they'd extend the call-in deadline until the next morning, I might actually vote...