Sunday, August 31, 2008

A.C. Gilbert House

We spent our Saturday with our friends, the Loving's, down at the A.C. Gilbert House. It's a children's museum down in Salem. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. It's worth the drive. We get in free with our OMSI membership, but I think when our current OMSI membership expires, we'll buy a Gilbert House membership instead. It's about $50 cheaper. Plus, as far as our family goes, the Children's Museum in Portland targets a very young audience (too young for my older kids), and OMSI targets too old of an audience (too old for my younger kids--they like playing with all the stuff but the write ups that accompany the displays are too old and smart for us). Gilbert House just seems to please them all.

Gilbert House is actually three old homes put together in the same block and set up with different kinds of displays in each. Everything is very hands on and FUN! The kids love the maze with the huge tube slide, and the bubble room is always a hit.

There were some new displays this time. There was a room based on organs--the stomach, lungs, heart, etc. The kids got to play in a ball pit that was a "stomach." They thought that was a blast. The other thing they spent a lot of time on was the grocery store area.

Last time we went, there was a room that was set up like a Hungarian house. It has been changed to a Chinese home. One wall was composed of photos and a journal of two young Chinese-born girls who had been adopted by Oregon families as babies. It was the experiences of their return to China.

This is #6 and me as we went down the tube slide for the fourth time. We sent #6 down by himself once, but he bumped his nose part way down and started to cry. It's very dark in there, but it's so fun. After #6's bad experience, I immediately ran up the maze again to take him down, so he wouldn't be too afraid to do it again. I didn't want that fun to end on a sour note.

I don't know how to describe this room. It was dark. As you moved, your sillouette showed up on the wall and your outline changed over and over.

I love #1's expression in this photo. She's so fun to have around. She still acts like a kid. I hope she never loses that. She'll be a great mom if she can keep that going. She tried on every costume she could and played with everything the little kids did.

The kids have had their picture taken on this chair many times. I should go check to see if I can find them and compare. The three extra beauties are three of the Loving girls. The oldest was born shortly after #3 was when we lived in Monmouth. They now live in Seaside. Way back, when the Warden and I were first married, I was one of their mom's Young Women leaders and their dad was just home from his mission. Now they have four wonderful and beautiful daughters. Their dad, is one of the vice principals at Seaside High School. Great people!

Gilbert House - post to follow later

Friday, August 29, 2008

Building of the House--more tender mercies

I have had the distinct pleasure of working with the 14- and 15-year-old girls in our ward for the past three and a half years. They are wonderful, and I feel like I have found my youth again. It has been one of the great blessings of my life to be able to share in their growth.

Through this calling, I have learned a lot about the changes that take place during these two years. Almost without exception, these girls have struggled as they turned 15. Some have come through with flying colors; well, in our ward, all have so far, but not all unscathed. It has been hard to watch these wonderful young women as I've seen them make some of the choices I wish I hadn't made as a teen.

As Quinlan enters high school this year and turns 15 in November, I'm grateful for this calling and the things it has taught me and hopefully prepared me for.

Yesterday, I got to spend some time with one of my girls. She has been going through some huge stressors in her life with a mother who has a hard time getting around and a dad who isn't around a whole lot, a brother currently serving a mission and another leaving soon. She has had a lot of disappointments lately too with things not working out like she would have hoped in a couple of scenarios. My heart is breaking for her. We had a little text conversation last evening from which I learned a lot.

I must admit that there are some disappointments from my high school years that I still cannot talk about. They were that painful. I have never been grateful for these experiences before now.

When I've been with the girls, one of the things they've asked is for me to tell them stories of my youth. "I get to ride in Sister Hess' car. She's gonna tell us stories." I've always thought this very funny. My teen years were anything but idyllic, but one of the blessings of my genetic make up is the ability to laugh at life. Zan fequently says that when life gets stressful you can choose to laugh or cry. In my case, it's not even a choice--you laugh; crying's not an option. So, I think the girls have enjoyed my ability to laugh at myself. Little do they know that a lot of these situations were extremely painful at the time. Now I see the reason for the pain.

Awhile back, I read or heard something about someone called to a position of leadership in the Church. It was said of this person that their trials had made them "authentic." He was someone people could relate to because he'd "been there." Becoming authentic has a painful price.

I reassured this young woman (via text--very funny how we communicate these days) that Heavenly Father has something very important for her to accomplish and we just never know how He's going to fit us to His tasks. Wow! How come I didn't know this as a youth? Maybe I did and that's what's held me in place all these years. I just love it when in teaching others you teach yourself--another tender mercy. He really loves me, doesn't He? (just another quote from Margie--see end of last post).

As Quinlan left this morning for freshman orientation, she was nervous because Zan was going dropping her off early. I reassured her that of all the kids in that school, she and a handful of others, had more reason to be confident than anyone else--she KNOWS who she is. She has made covenants with God Himself, and He is her reason to be confident.

Zan handed me this this morning (another tender mercy):

From C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity"--
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself."

"D&C 84:88
"For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

When I was a kid, growing up with four brothers, there was one brother whom I fought with continually. To be honest, his words and behavior were the greatest trials of my growing up years, and although he has been completely forgiven and we are great friends now (prophesy fulfilled), I continue to struggle with the effects of those years. There were many times during those days that I would go to my room and cry for a sister.

I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who has blessed my life with a bunch of little sisters all these years later. I struggle and hurt for them. I cheer for them . I love them. They are one of my greatest blessings. What a tender mercy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today's Tender Mercies

So many things to be grateful for. Started out reading an article this morning that I just chanced across. it was just what I needed. Funny how after that everything just kind of added to the lessons learned from what I had read.

Took Aedan to a birthday party today after attending a funeral. I walked Aedan and a couple of his friends down to the park where the party was taking place. A bunch of moms were sitting there chatting while their kids played. I wasn't going to stay, but I quickly recognized this as a tender mercy. I needed to be there. I needed to talk to these women and enjoy their company. It ended up being just what I needed, and I was glad I stayed.

As I left the party, I started pushing the buttons on the stereo. Zan had stored a new FM sports talk radio station on the stereo a few weeks ago, and Quinlan, as a joke, a few days after he stored it, covered it up with a country station, knowing that would tick Zan off. Well, as I started to pass over that station, I felt strongly urged to stop. I'm not a country music fan--raised with too much of Willie, Waylon and the boys I guess--but after listening for just a moment, I knew why I had to stop there. Another tender mercy. This is what I heard:

So many messages from this song sang out to me. The idea that the birth of a child is like seeing God. I feel that I've seen God many times in my life in that respect--when my children were born, when my mother died, when my kids have gotten baptized, when I watch Gannon pass the sacrament. It's times like these that I know God loves me. That He's aware of me. I also love the message that God sends us personal messages everywhere. Do we stop to look? Do we accept these things for what they really are?

Tonight, Zan and I took an older, mentally challenged woman from our ward to the temple with us. I've visit taught her for the last few months. I feel that she, too, is a tender mercy in my life. Margie loves unconditionally. She has a child-like way of looking at life. I can learn a lot from her. She frequently says, "She loves me, doesn't she?" or "They love me, don't they?" Why is it I always look at life from the half-empty point of view when it comes to this? I've decided I'm going to start thinking this in my head when I talk to people. Heck, I may even ask them, "You really love me, don't you?" Wouldn't that make them remember me?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good-bye to Summer

Okay, so I had all of these grandiose ideas about what summer would be for our family. How I was going to run things. What things we would accomplish. Wait.....Where did it go?

As school starts in a week and a couple days, I'm sad to see it come, but at the same time, I'm excited to see what this coming year will bring in growth for the kids. We got our school shopping done last week. I feel like we did pretty well.

I'm realizing, as an adult, what a strange child I was. When my mom took me school shopping, I always settled for what was cheapest. I never asked her to buy me the "in" thing although I would have loved to have worn what everyone else had. For my kids, I don't let them get away with settling. I don't buy them the best there is, but I make sure they get something they will LOVE to wear the first day of school.

I took the kids one or two at a time over to Old Navy. Aedan's trip was a BLAST! He liked everything. He must have taken twenty items into the dressing room.

Gannon was with us and played dressing room assistant. He took the clothes we didn't want out of the dressing room to give to the attendant. Aedan tried on everything knowing he would get two pairs of pants and a shirt (we had inventoried everything and found that he didn't need much--he actually didn't need anything, but like I said, I want them to be happy to wear what they wear that first day).

He found a camouflage pair of pants and a camouflage shirt. He was in love with these. He tried on everything else, but always came back to these until the very last shirt--dark blue with a skull and cross-bones on it. This won out over the camo. Ahhh. Gannon and I had both been trying everything we could to talk him out of that shirt.

There had been a few others that looked so good on him, so I tucked them into the "maybe"pile. As soon as the camouflage shirt was placed in the no pile and the blue shirt into the yes, I grabbed the camo pants, the skull shirt and two other shirts and a pair of jeans and started to head out of the dressing room. Aedan noticed that I had grabbed the extra shirts and said, "Mom, are we getting those too?"

I replied with, "Yes, just because I love you."

Aedan's response was classic, "Yeh because you love me more than Gannon, huh?"

Suddenly we heard Gannon, who'd been doing his dressing room duties, on the other side of the door, "Uh, Aedan, I'm right here."

That night, after Zan got home, the kids did a fashion show for him to show off their new duds. I narrated as a fashion show announcer. They all seemed really happy.

Father's Interviews

Does your family have father's interviews? We used to and had a great system for doing so, but it's been so long that I'm now not sure where to begin. If you have any pointers, we could sure use them. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quote for the Day - Something to Ponder

"Not only our eternal salvation depends upon our willingness and capacity to forgive wrongs committed against us. Our joy and satisfaction in this life, and our true freedom, depend upon our doing so. When Christ bade us turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give our cloak to him who takes our coat, was it to be chiefly out of consideration for the bully, the brute, the thief? Or was it to relieve the one aggrieved of the destructive burden that resentment and anger lay upon us?" --Marion D. Hanks, "Forgiveness: The Ultimate Form of Love", Ensign, Jan. 1974, 20

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Life in the Land of the Giants

This blog has become a place where I voice many of my opinions and empty my brain of the burdens that lie therein. I don't mean to use "burden" in a negative sense, more in the "heavy" sense. I have frequently been criticized as someone who "thinks too much." This, I'm afraid, has not been a positive thing because I get so many things swirling around.

This post is just something that's been forming over the last few weeks.

It was somewhat ironic, as she just passed away last week, that about two weeks ago, our family was discussing the tallest people in the world. We looked it up online and ran across Sandy Allen. I became familiar with her years and years ago while listening to the Split Enz (a rather unknown band from the '80s). I have posted a youtube video that pays tribute to Sandy Allen and has this Split Enz song as accompaniment. Enjoy!

Okay, so now for the purpose of this post. As you know, I am married to a giant of a man. When I first started dating him, I honestly didn't notice his height. We had been going out for about a week, and he asked, "Does my height bother you?" To be completely truthful, I was so dazed by the humor and personality of this man, and his, in my eyes, greatness, that I didn't even notice the greatness of his physical stature.

At the time when he asked me that question, we were walking on a sidewalk on Burnside downtown. The sidewalk was slanted. He had crossed over behind me to walk on the side closer to the street. I thought of this as a gentlemanly gesture--he was walking between me and the traffic. In reality, he had taken that side as it was the lower part of the slope.

I'm sure many people have wondered, as there are 14 inches between our heights, what brought Zan and me together. At times, I have wondered too. I had never met anyone who was more perfect for me. On our first date together, just the two of us, I knew I was going to marry him. Such a strange and scary feeling. I had dated many men, but never had anyone "fit" me like Zan. I didn't have to pretend to be something I wasn't. I could joke and laugh, and he'd be right there with me joking and laughing.

One thing I have come to appreciate during our marriage is differences. Zan has to duck to get into certain doorways. He just does it without even thinking. It's just part of being a tall person. It's here that I want to revisit Sandy Allen.

To me, Sandy is the perfect example of a person who made lemonade out of lemons. She had a very obvious shortcoming (pun intended). It was unhideable and it made her more loveable. It was the "out in the open" that so many of us hide. She makes me question, what is my weakness that makes me different and maybe even a "freak" to others. Do I hide that? Do I let the world see it? Do I let people love me because of or even in spite of it? Do I laugh at myself, or do I, out of pride, try to hide it and take myself way to seriously?

This all draws my mind to how many times we read about the importanace of weaknesses in the scriptures. The word "weakness" is mentioned in the scriptures 68 times. Most of these reveal the fact that when we embrace our weaknesses, they become our strengths.

I am not a person that openly strives for perfection on my own (of course, I know that our strength and perfection come only through our Savior, but it's not something I "put on" and pretend to be). To me, it is way too far off. I also feel that it repels people. Who wants to be part of a church in which everyone is "perfect?" I don't. I can't relate to that. I honestly believe that our weaknesses are given to us to make us closer to each other. Some of us have more blantant ones than others, but the truth of the matter is we all have them whether we want to admit it or not.

We used to drive a woman to church each Sunday who had a prosthesis. My children, each Sunday, used to wait for her to get in the car and would greet her. Some days she'd recognize their existence; most days she didn't. After a number of weeks of this, finally the day I'd been waiting for arrived. One of the kids could hide the curiosity no longer. Out blurted the question, "What happened to your leg?"

This woman was quite offended. She never answered the question but shot a dirty look at the child that asked.

Zan has an uncle that passed away a year ago. I met him and loved him instantly. As a young man, he had been injured in an accident as he worked for the electric company in Idaho. He lost an arm and both legs from the knee down. He, I believe, may have been one of the greatest men I've ever met. Yes, his physical weakness was out there for all to see, but it made him inwardly so loveable.

According to Zan, his Uncle Laverl used to get the kids gathered around, those who didn't know him, and he'd freak them out by pounding a nail into his artificial leg. It became a means of making others comfortable with him. There was nothing to hide.

It always seemed funny to me that my children never even asked about Uncle Laverl's arm or legs. They'd just go up and become recipients of one his wonderful bear hugs.

Covering or exposing our weaknesses...Which is stronger?

"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Hello Sandy Allen
The world's tallest woman

We made friends in New York

Don't know if you'll remember

I'm bound to say I felt uneasy

when I first laid eyes on you

But I liked the way you talked

Like a living hoper

Towering over our heads in more ways than one

The hand that shook my hand was awesome

It still amazes me

Hope you're happy - Sandy Allen

Hope your garden is blooming

We're all staring at the mirror

tryin' to put our faces on

Appearance never held you back

Must be when you're number one

you don't have to try so hard.

Game of Life

This coming Wednesday for Mutual, we're going to be playing the game of Life only in real-life size. We want it to be an LDS version--complete with temple marriage, a mission option, etc. The girls have made "cars" that they'll "drive" around the "board" and each is bringing a "husband." I need to get busy making children in the next couple days. Do you have any advice or ideas you might have that would enhance our game?

Friday, August 15, 2008

President Dalton

I love our Stake President. I found this photo online (not sure who the young missionary is). We have come home from vacations early so as not to miss an opportunity to hear him speak. He is just an amazing man. I love that in this photo, Christ is looking over his shoulder for this is how it seems when you meet him. He is truly a representative of Jesus Christ. You just want to be your best whenever he's around.

I've been thinking lately about the keeping of my house. Summer is such a hard time to keep it up, but I thought today, about the possibility of someone important showing up at my home and needing a place to stay. Would my house be ready? As you probably are already aware, that response would be a resounding "NO!" I thought of all the times I've thought of the Savior coming to my door, but that just seems too unrealistic to me. Today, the thought came, "What if President Dalton came to stay?" I know that that is a bit more realistic. I would make my home a haven for him. I know my children would too. Please don't take this like I worship the man, but I do respect and honor him as a servant of God.

So, continuing with the President Dalton theme, I have a couple of things I want to share. When Zan was called into the High Council, we, the entire family, went in to witness his setting apart. When we entered the room, President Dalton already knew my name although I had never met him before. He asked each of the kids' names and spoke with each of them on their level. He explained all that would happen, both with the setting apart and with the new calling. He was so loving and kind to our children. I was so touched. The most impressive thing to me, was when the blessing ended, he turned to the kids, and spoke to each of them individually. He remembered all of their names! I just felt the love he had for them, and I was awestruck. They were that important to him.
Tomorrow, my neice will marry President Dalton's son in the Portland Temple. Tonight, we were invited to the groom's dinner. I can't be around the Dalton's and not learn something. At one point this evening, the fathers were asked to give some advice to the bride and groom. In his comments, President Dalton spoke of one of the differences between civil marriage and temple marriage that I had never noticed before. He said that in the world, they say, "Take this woman/man." In the temple they say, "Give yourself" and "Receive." He said that when they get married, Brittany will give all that she's good at as well as all of her fears and doubts to Danny. I have honestly never thought of that before. He said, if you can truly give yourself and receive all that your spouse is, you will truly be "sealed." Wow! Something new to ponder.
One last thing. After we ate, before the advice, the dad's of the bride and groom went around and introduced their family members. First the Dalton's were introduced and then the Hamm's. My brother, Steve, introduced my dad and his wife, me, Quinlan (kids 14 and up were invited), and when he got to Zan, he paused. My brother shared the fact that he was the one who initially set Zan and me up. President Dalton chimed in with "Best move ever" (or something like that). It made me feel so good. I sometimes wonder if I measure up to Zan's amazing qualities; he's just so good at everything. It just did my heart good to know that I had this wonderful man's seal of approval even as flawed as I am.

So Many Things Stirring Around

Really bad insomnia tonight. Got into bed, read a bit of a book I borrowed from the counselor at the elementary school, stomach starts churning, ideas racing through my brain, and suddenly I realize I'm wide awake. There will be no sleep for me for awhile. I start talking to Zan in my fully awake state when he had been snoring just a few moments before, so this is where I end up--in the front room, in the dark, blogging away.

The book I'm reading somehow has greater significance to me because of the class I'm just finishing. Funny. So many times in my life, I feel like there's a progression. A trail that I follow that leads me to various discoveries. Things that I know wouldn't stick in my brain if it weren't for the last bit of info I just received. I love that. Not deja vu, but "Hey, this is the next thing that follows logically into this puzzle of life."

Would you be willing to go with no TV for a year for $200? I'm currently reading Meeting the Challenge by Jim Fay, Foster Cline and Bob Sornson. I asked Moe Caryl at Errol Hassell if I could borrow the Love and Logic CDs from the school. I also expressed some concern for Brevin as I spoke with her. When I went to pick up the CDs, this book was attached. It has been so good. It deals specifically with parenting children with attention and behavior problems. I love how when I get back on board with Love and Logic, the change in the kids is almost instantaneous.

So, here's what I read tonight that has me churning. It's from chapter 6 of the book; if you can get your hands on it, read the entire chapter. I will do my best to paraphrase here:

"Today when parents 'do' something with small children, it seldom involves really 'doing' anything. Parents watch TV, go to a game with the children, go to the movies, or maybe, go to the zoo. Relatively rarely do today's single, dating, divorced, and commuting parents actually sit down and create or produce something with their small children. Shared focus on a mutual task may not take place at all. This was not a problem back on the farm, when there were cows to milk, eggs to gather, and pigs to slop. But it is a definite problem in today's world of busy parents and busy kids, who spend whatever time they do have together 'relaxing.'"

"Pediatrician John Rosemond notes the things a child is not doing when he is watching TV:

  • Scanning
  • Practicing motor skills, gross or fine
  • Practicing eye-hand coordinatio
  • Using more than two senses
  • Asking question
  • Exploring
  • Exercising initiative or motivation
  • Being challenged
  • Solving problems
  • Thinking analytically
  • Exercising imagination
  • Practicing communication skills
  • Being either creative or constructive

And these are exactly the things that children with A.D.H.D. often don't do well!

"Years ago, parents were advised, if your kid is watching too much TV, be more interesting than the TV. The problem today is that many young parents, having been raised on TV themselves, are clueless about how to be more interesting that the TV. They don't know what to do with their kids, and so the whole family gives up and everyone sits down to watch something.

"Recently, a businessman and his wife, fed up with the amount of time their elementary age children sat in front of the TV, bet the children $200 apiece that they could not go one year without watching TV in the home. The kids took the parents up on the bet. And they won. To the parents' amazement, after the year was up, the children asked the parents not to return the TV to the home. The kids had found, over the year, that it was just too much fun to be doing things with their parents and in a self-motivated way. They realized that they had been missing out on some important things." (Fay, et al., 2000, pp. 62-66)

I'm seriously thinking that this challenge is going to be given to the Hess children within the next month or so. We used to do with out TV for the summer. There was one summer when the TV died the week school got out. It was heavenly! We had already gone without TV the summers before that, but it just made it that much easier. I believe I have gotten to the point where I have released some of my hold on my children's decisions. They are big kids, they can choose for themselves, but this is a battle I think I need to resume--for Brevin's sake if for no one else's. I would give it all up if it would help Brevin. We have one more month with our contract with DirecTV. I won't miss it. I often tell the kids that just hearing the Sponge Bob theme song makes us all a bit stupider.

I guess the reason my stomach churns about this is the worry of entertaining them all. I know they're smart kids. TV is an addiction, and there will be withdrawal symptoms at first. They will be bored. They will fight and argue and nag until they get it all figured out. I just need to get that into my head. I know this isn't going to solve all of our problems, but it certainly won't hurt. I look forward to more creative and capable children. I hope that will be the outcome.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recent Happenings

So, I need to be in bed in three mintues. Think I can do it?

Rachel, Haylee and Ciera Bloxham arrived at our home last Thursday morning. They left at 3 this morning. It was great having them here. I realized how much I miss Rachel. We took the kids roller skating, to the mall, and did a bunch of other running around. I thought of her coming as a well needed break and vacation for her after finishing a couple really hard classes, but I didn't consider what a great reprieve it was going to be for me. It was sooo nice having her around to talk to and just hang around with.

After being spoiled with a pretty low-key summer schedule, these last two weeks have blasted me with things that have needed to be done. So far so good, but it seems like I'm always a step behind running to catch up. Seems like it's not going to slow down any time soon.

Week before last, I was put in charge of finding drivers and chaperones for our ward for youth conference. That all went really well due to some really great people in our ward. Zan and I chaperoned the dance Saturday night. I got to put a lei on each kid's neck when they arrived at the dance. It was fun to be the greeter. The dance took place outside in Pacific University's stadium. Very fun!

Last week, three of the kids had goalie camp every morning. Rachel and the girls arrived Thursday (as I said before). We had a potluck lunch at the neighborhood park for the Bloxham's on Friday, so they could get together with some of their old friends.

I prepared for my midterm, which I took on Thursday evening. I got an A-. I got my paper turned in at 12:30am on Saturday and ended up with an A on that. It really wasn't a very well-written thing, so that grade was a surprise.

I taught a joint lesson on Sunday on the topic, "Change of Heart." while I was preparing it, I happened to look at the calendar as I had to get an agenda ready for a presidency meeting and saw that I was the YW birthday treat person for the month--that day. Thank goodness for afternoon church. I made devil's food cake mix cookies with chocolate chips--they had one egg in them, which was all we had at the time.

This week, we had a blast with the Bloxham's and were sad to see them leave. Quinlan's had conditioning camp for soccer and will continue through Friday. All the kids are getting into the swing of soccer practices. I'm studying for my final, which I hope to take a week from Tuesday. For mutual, I'm preparing a "Life-Size Game of Life," which has to be done by next Wednesday.

Oh, I got my camera back. Actually, it's sitting on the desk at Zan's school. This is the guy. I now have his name, address, and phone number along with this stunning photo of the guy that stole it. He is now unemployed.

This has been such a funny turn of events. I'm a little shocked nad surprised at how much people are willing to expose of another's identity in a case like this.

Thank goodness he stole the cell phone, so I could track him down to get the camera back. I'll have to contact the Washington County Sheriff's department tomorrow to tell them the case is closed. Hee Hee.

The really sad and pathetic thing is that all I really want to do is read Breaking Dawn. It's sitting on my bedside table, collecting dust, with a bookmark in the middle of chapter two. Sigh.
Okay, so try 33 minutes. Off to bed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So Sweet

Everybody here at our house had already seen this but me. So, you may have already seen this. It was just so sweet! Thanks for sharing this with me, Bambi.

Friday, August 8, 2008

007 Continues

Have you seen either of these men? Have they been to your house selling house cleaning supplies? They have moved on from Portland and are now in the Seattle area, so if you live in Seattle or any of its suburbs, BEWARE!

Back on August 1st, I called and left a message with the company they work for (see "My 007 Moment" posting from Aug. 1st). Their customer service department sent me these photos yesterday so that my children could identify which of them came to our door back on July 19th.

Today, I got another call from customer service asking me the specifics about my camera. They have it and are sending it express mail to me! It was left in the back of one of their company cars. Woohoo!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nervous Breakdown Ecard... Who Woulda Thought?

Totally as a joke today, when I was feeling particularly overburdened by my studies and need to clean the house, I googled "nervous breakdown e card." I couldn't believe when there were actually results. The internet has everything.
Well, here is what I found....

"Nervous breakdown One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
~Bertrand Russell

Just a warning.... I'm starting to think my work is verrrry important.
The "Just a warning..." part is the note I added to the card.
I sent this to Zan today. I got a phone call immediately. I was so impressed with his reaction time. I laughed when he called. He assured me he would come home ealry today. What a great guy!

Sounding Off Again -- Man, Am I Opinionated or What?!

Reading the LAST chapter in my textbook last night, I ran across this little ditty...

"In international studies of mathematics and science achievement, young people from Hong Kong, Japan, ,Korea, and Taiwan have consistently been among the top performers, whereas Americans have scored no better than at the mean and often below it (Lapoint, Askew, & Mead, 1992; Lapoint, Mead, & Askew, 1992). The most recent assessment revealed a sharp decline in performance with increasing grade. In math, fourth graders in the United States were comparable to those in many other countries; in science, they were near the top. By twelfth grade, U.S. math and science knowledge was near the bottom in relation to the other 20 participating nations (U.S. Department of Education, 1998). Preliminary findings of a retest suggest that math and science performance of U.S. secondary school students sremains mediocre on an international scale (U.S. Department of Education, 2001b)." (Child Development, 6th Edition, Berk, 2002, pp. 636-7).
Okay, so little known fact... The Japanese, at least, and possibly all these other Asian countries as well, take an entrance exam when in fifth-grade for middle school and another in eighth grade for high school. The best and brightest move on. If you are a bright fifth-grader, you go to a better middle school. If you do not pass either of the tests well enough, you are on your own. Employment is the only option.

I had an investigator who was an eighth-grader. I remember her coming to a discussion at one point in our teaching, very distraught because she hadn't passed the high school placement test. She had to start looking for a job.

Yes, American fourth graders scored the same os these other nations because at that point, all Asian children are entitled to an education. It is after that point that the less bright are weeded out of their test scores. So, in the first paragraph when it spoke about American kids scoring "no better than at the mean and often below it," we need to take into account that the "mean" we are competing against is the average of the best they have to offer. We take for granted the fact that in the United States, we are allowed and receive the blessings of free education. EVERYONE is granted that. In other nations, these things are not the norm. Education must be earned.

So, I ask you, is it fair to compare and try to compete against this? I don't think the U.S. Department of Education has considered this fact. If they have, they will continue to be sorely disappointed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Update on Goals - Here's How I Did

Zan read yesterday's post and said I was being "very hard on myself." I countered with, "My feelings are my reality." Something I've heard him say many times.

I do think that someday there will be a big ward activity and everyone will go straight from there to the Celestial Kingdom, and we'll be sitting at home. I think this is how Satan works. He wants us to feel inferior. There is absolutely no reason why I should feel like I don't belong or unworthy. I just do. I don't feel good enough. This is part of my "row to hoe" so to speak. My struggle in life at this point, and as struggles go, this one isn't too bad. I'll take it. I can control this one, but I need to learn to be comfortable in my own skin and stop second guessing myself and beating myself up for saying and doing dumb things.

Okay, enough of that.
Yesterday was a much better day. I took Gannon, Dierden and Brevin to goalie camp in the morning. While they were there, I took the other kids to the grocery store. We were done in an hour (unheard of) and returned to watch the kids play soccer.

"Soccer" is Teagen's new word. The moment I let him out of the stroller he was dribbling some ball or other all over the place. He wants to be right in the center of the action, but I have to really keep him contained. I feel bad for him but the big kids are doing their own thing, and he'll end up trampled. We try to get him to "pass" (another one of his words) a ball back and forth with a sibling on the sidelines, but "sidelines" isn't one of his words yet.
Quinlan has had her nose stuck in "Breaking Dawn." I think she finished it last night. In the first couple chapters, she hated it and was ready to put it down, but once she got past that point, she was loving it. She would obediently come when called to do something for me, but you could definitely tell where she'd rather be. So, while I watched goalies, she read.

I think she must have finished it late last night. She's been frustrated because she's wanted to talk to me about certain parts, but as I've been getting ready to take a midterm, "Breaking Dawn" has not been part of my reality (or should I say "fantasy"). I did read the first chapter and know I'm in for some way emotional stuff. I get way to emotionally involved in books.
I read to my boys in the middle of the day and before bed. Brevin and I finished "Crispin: Cross of Lead" by Avi. Not as good the second time through. I remember the first time I read it, I loved it. It was one of my favorite kids' books, but this time my feeling is "eh, it was okay." I read "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox to Teagen before bed afterwhich, he ripped the cover off the book. Sigh. We'll get it. He insists on holding the book himself. After I gave in and gave it to him last night, he laid it down on the floor and laid on his stomach to read it. It was really cute. Wish I had a camera (sigh--see 007 posting if you don't know what I'm talking about).
Gannon, Aedan and I took dinner to a family in the ward who just had a new baby. She was so BEAUTIFUL! I loved that my boys were the ones who wanted to go with me to deliver the food and see the baby. As I was studying, Quinlan actually made the dinner. She did a GREAT job! I'm so grateful for kids who see my need and are willing to step up as needed. Going into this school thing we knew would require quite a bit of sacrifice on the part of our family, and it has, there is no question, but it's proven to be very good for them in many ways. That will be another post way in the future when I'm ready to graduate.

Last night was Gannon's first soccer practice. We went for Family Home Evening. Our family was the only one there. As we sat there, Zan's cousin's family came riding through the playground on their bikes. It was great to see them there. They said they'd come through each Monday to see us. We joked that we'd make it an extended family Family Home Evening each week. We had our lesson, etc. in the car on the way to and from practice. So, my goal to have better prepared FHE's didn't come to pass, but we did have it, so I'm happy about that.
We had family scriptures and prayer. All in all, we did pretty darn good yesterday. Now, the main goal, bedtime was another story. Because I insisted on reading to the boys before bed, I didn't get into bed until 10:15 or so and then Zan had the TV on and "Project Runway" was on with a new season I didn't even know existed (ugh!). This is a weakness of mine. I really like that show. I watch very little TV, but this is one I like. After that, the hair cutting show was on. I hadn't seen that before, and it fascinated me, so although I was in bed, I had one eye open watching what was going to happen next. Ugh! We didn't used to have a TV in our room. Maybe we need to get this one out of there for my sake.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Repenting, Confessing and Starting Again -- This is a limb I'm afraid to go out on WARNING: please read with a forgiving heart

With a title like that, this is a post you might not want to read.

I am a lousy mom. I will be the first to admit it. I'm not at all the mom I used to be. I used to consider myself pretty good, but somewhere along the way I've lost my focus. I think it might have been three children ago. I frequently feel overwhelmed.

I was looking at poor T the other day and realized that I don't sit down and read to him. With my older kids, they got read to twice a day EVERY day. Ugh! I've really lowered my standards. So, I'm in the process of rebuilding, making my kids a much higher priority. I love that the Spirit teaches us what is best for us and is so patient as to teach that lesson over and over until it sticks. Well, I'm ready for it to stick.

I just get the feeling that there aren't enough hours in the day, so I'm going to realign my priorities and use more of that time in their behalf and pray that time will be maximized in my behalf as I choose the right. One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 130:21-22. So, I can trust that only good will come from my efforts.

I'm thankful for good friends that set an example for me in how to be a good mom. One friend in particular, whom we don't live near any more, has been an excellent example to me. I get emails from her frequently, which are full of her good efforts, and I feel inspired by her; I love that she shares. She will soon have a blog up and running (this week, I hope), and I'm excited to read what she does, so I can follow her example. I don't know if she knows how much I appreciate her. She's also a mom of six, but she's a good mom of six. I don't consider myself a terrible mom, my kids are happy, and I don't yell at them (any more), but there's just so much more I could be doing that I'm letting fall to the wayside--as I look beyond the mark, let things slip through the cracks, get caught up in the thick of thin things, you know all those little sayings you hear--that's me right now, but not for long.

So, here I am, and here are my plans. I hope you'll follow up with me to see how I'm doing. I can use all the accountability I can get.

4. Read to T, A, DJ and B everyday
7. Take a walk with kids everyday
13. Do something to make a good memory for them daily
10. Clean house together
8. Train kids in how to do a job properly
3. Hug ‘em a whole lot more
5. Family scriptures everyday
2. Family prayer twice a day
6. Plan and carry out meals
9. Family Home Evening -- well planned
12. Teach them to serve one another
14. Music practice
11. Work on school stuff with them
15. Have their friends over
1. Do not compare kids - treat each as an individual

Where to start:
Early to bed, early to rise – 9:30pm bedtime/6am wake time
How I’m going to make this happen:
I have set an alarm on my cell phone for 9pm. This will be my alert to start getting ready for bed.

I don't plan on doing all of these goals at once, but I have them laid out, so I know where I'm heading. For now, I'm going to work on the sleep thing. I know this has a huge amount to do with my attitude and energy level. From there, we'll see where I go. I'm going to try to do the others to the best of my ability, but I'm not going to beat myself up for not doing them. We already do them to some degree or another, but I feel like if I tackle them one at a time, I can do each with a more concerted effort and turn them into a way of life instead of continual, half-hearted attempts.

Okay, so I'm going to be brutally honest here, and I know I'm going to offend some, but I hope, if you are offended that you'll forgive me, but this has to be said. I love my ward. I know, when I go to church that I am amongst WONDERFUL people. I would hate to leave it, but I don't feel like I am one of them. They leave me alone, but it's most likely because I leave them alone. I don't feel worthy to be in their presence. I'm now in the ranks of an "older mom" with small children. When I was a younger mom with younger kids, I think I was more easily approached, and being a good mom was easier with having friends who were in the same situation as I was. Now, I think they think, probably because I'm older that I'm too old for their conversations. I used to watch others' kids when they had errands to run, etc., but nobody asks me to do that any more. I have often wondered if it's because they consider me a bad mom and again, not worthy of such a responsibility, or if it's just because they think I'm too busy, but nobody even asks. I don't ask because I fear their rejection. Woah, way too much honesty here.

There are those who are kind enough to invite us to do things. Yesterday, for example, a new woman in the ward, who is dynamic and very outgoing, came up and invited us to go to the park with them today. I was touched and appreciative. I have to admit, I have a very shy side, a socially awkward side that I let emerge way too often. There have been too many times when I've refused invitations just because I haven't felt worthy, or I've been afraid I'd say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'm not very comfortable in social situations with women. I never have been. Being raised amongst the wolves (a whole bunch of great brothers, and I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything), it's hard to know how to interact with the rabbits.

I've decided that I need to raise my standards so that I can feel worthy of being in their presence, so when they invite me I can go and do and feel good about it.

Is this way too much information? Am I exposing way too much? See, that's a quality I haven't mastered yet either, knowing what is socially acceptable to share, and what is not. Sometimes I think people hold back way too much, so as to not lose face. I like to think I am a face value kind of person. Take me or leave me.

I'm not begging to be involved in more, I just think I've been very misunderstood. Thank you to those of you who've been patient with me and forgiving. Just because I'm older doesn't mean I have everything figured out, not even close.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Things to Look Forward To

Ahhh. August. A new month and new things to look forward to. I just can't believe that school's just around the corner. We will have kids in elementary, middle and high school this year. I'm having a hard time grasping this idea. How come they keep getting older, and I'm not? Ha! Don't I wish?!

We've purchased a lot of the supplies. Target rarely has all that we need when August rolls around; must have something to do with having to buy 33+ glue sticks.
I always look forward to school clothes shopping, though. A couple weeks ago Quinlan and I took a stop in 20 Below at Cedar Hills Crossing. All the clothes there are less than $20 (thus the name). They have some very cute things. I look forward to going there again. As far as the other kids go, JC Penney or Kohl's will probably be the place. We might do Target, but their selection hasn't been all that great in the past. Anybody know of any other good places that aren't too expensive?
Another thing I'm looking forward to is finishing up my current class--Psych 320. I'm furiously working on preparing for a couple of exams and a paper before company comes. That leads to the thing I'm probably looking forward to the VERY most.
This Thursday, my very dear friend Rachel Bloxham and her two oldest daugthers (Haylee and Ciera) are flying in from Utah! I can't wait to see them. When Zan and I took our trip to Utah in March, we got to go to dinner with Rachel and her husband Paul. It was like they'd never moved away, but it just wasn't enough. She's been going to school too and is just finishing up a very tough class, so this will be her break. I feel very blessed that she would want to come stay in our home. It will be good motivation for me to finish my course and a nice reward for doing so too. I just can't wait to get caught up with Rachel. I just love her to pieces!
Another thing I'm very excited about I've mentioned in a previous post--the marriage of my niece, Brittany. She's getting married on August 15th in the Portland Temple to Danny Dalton. My sister-in-law, probably not remembering what a clutz I am, asked me to man the punch bowl at the reception. Ugh! No pressure there. But, growing up, my brother's dubbed me the "Spill of the Century." they even had a special theme song for me. I'll sing it for you sometime if you'd like. Hopefully we won't be in a carpeted area. I hope I don't make this a more memorable day than it should be.
As for the rest of the month of August, we'll see what lies ahead. Zan starts back in to work every day as of next week. During the summer, he works full time, but it's 4-10 hour days, so it's nice to have him home on Fridays. When he was a teacher he got all summer off; ahh, the good ol' days, but that was short lived (5 years), and he always found summer employment. As soon as he became an administrator, his contract started looking a bit different with full summers and a much kinder paycheck. I'm just glad I married a man who loves what he does. Sometimes I'm a bit jealous of the school I sometimes give the nickname "mistress," but all in all, it's great to be married to a man who comes home from work happy and feeling like he's made a difference.
With September, we'll start the birthday season for our family.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...