Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 18- Plans/Dreams/Goals I Have

What if I don't want to answer this one?

At this point in life (and winter vacation), I'm just trying to get through day to day.  Here it is 10:45 at night, and I haven't even finished the laundry for today.  I'm getting all the stuff ready for Sunday and making sure that all the teachers have their manuals and sharing time is prepared and class lists are prepared for the doors for new classes.

I don't even feel like talking about my goals and dreams right now.

I dream of having a truly clean house.  There, how's that?  I see things streamlined around here and organized and beautified.  Part of my problem is that these dreams seem like a lifetime away.  I don't do anything right now to see them come to pass, when really I could, but I just don't.  I'm waiting for life to get easier.  I shouldn't wait.  I know that, so why do I?  I do this in a lot of areas of my life.

It's that "someday I'll arrive" attitude.  It's dangerous.

Someday I want to design and build my own home.  Will it ever happen?  I'm halfway through my life.  I don't think it will, but I would sure love it if it did.  How would I afford that with seven kids?  Anything's possible, right?

My goal is to finish school, and I'm not that far away.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.  From there, a master's degree, but I'm not sure in what yet. 

Honestly, this post is probably a little too honest.  Sometime, when I have time to sit around and dream and plan, I'll let you know what I plan to dream.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 17- Someone I Would Want to Switch Lives with for One Day and Why

I don't look at life this way very much.  I don't think I'd want to change places with some mega-superstar.  I think the fame and money would go to my head too quickly.  I wouldn't want to change places with someone who has a great amount of power because I would mess that up entirely even if only for a day.  I think it would be fascinating to be Kate Middleton for a day right about now, but nah.  I'm pretty happy with my little life.

So, that all said, I have two possibilities for day changes--either of my two older daughters.  I would love to have a "Freaky Friday" experience with either of them.  Most especially Inmate #1.  I think she's who I would pick. She has a great bedroom, lots of friends, and within reason, pretty much anything a teenage girl would need.  I think she knows she's got it pretty good.  She's got it together and is a good kid.

Let me tell you what would change if I were her for a day, though.  First thing, that bedroom would be clean.  She would learn to drive and take charge of the things she wants done instead of waiting for the parents to get it done for her.  She would get all of her homework done that she has over the break, so she has the rest to play and do what she wants with it.

If she were me for a day, I think my talents would get developed a lot more than they do.  I would take time for the fun things of life.  I would take time to be more social.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 16- Another Picture of Myself

WHAT?!  You have GOT to be kidding!  Whoever created this 30-day challenge must not have been very creative (sorry, whoever you are).  Aren't you all about sick of seeing my face?  So, for a little variety...

This is me at six months old.  Looks a wee bit like a few people I've become acquainted with in more recent days.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 15- Put Your iPod on Shuffle: First 10 Songs that Play

This will come as a shock to some of you, but I don't own an iPod.  I don't even own an mp3 player, but here are the first ten songs my playlist comes up with this morning and why I chose them for my list:

  1. Burning Flame by Vitamin Z - when I was in high school, I had a brother who played in a "new wave" band.  We were always discovering new and different music to listen to.  This was one of those from my late teens.
  2. Kissing a Fool by George Michael - The Warden and I listened to "Listen Without Prejudice" in the car on our honeymoon.  This is where I learned to appreciate George Michael's ballads.
  3. I Love You (Always Forever) by Donna Lewis - This is another one of those high school songs.
  4. When I'm Sixty-Four by the Beatles - This song makes me think of Inmate #2.  At one point, he was learning to play it on the piano.
  5. The Promise by When in Rome - High school.
  6. Love Story by Taylor Swift - Who doesn't love this song?  This one reminds me of Inmate #1.
  7. Numa Numa by Gary Brolsma (?) - Another Inmate #1 song.  She came home singing it from EFY a few years ago.
  8. Our House by Madness - Fits, don't you think?
  9. And We Danced by the Hooters - When I was in high school, my dad had a good friend who owned a condo in Cannon Beach, Oregon (my favorite place on the Oregon coast).  We went there at times.  One particular time, my best friend went with us.  This was part of the soundtrack for that weekend.  Good times!
  10. The Riddle by Five for Fighting - Five for Fighting is probably my favorite right now.  I love the piano and their lyrics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 14- A Picture of You and Your Family.

Christmas 2009 with the Warden's family
At the Hamm family reunion in Seaside, OR (end of July 2010)
For this one, I went a step further.  This is us in 2010.  We're not often around people who say, "Hey, can we take a picture of you," very often, and I honestly don't love having my picture taken, so these are the few times when it was done.

I can't tell you why I love the bottom photo so much.  It just cracks me up how everyone is looking at someone at the end of the log except for Inmate #5 who is looking right at the camera.  This is just so us!

There were multiple takes of each photo.  You are clearly only given the best that we have to offer here.  Scary, I know.
At Punchbowl Falls (early August 2010)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Traditions

I've been a bit sick the last few days, but I will not be stopped from having Christmas Eve at our house this year.  Since before we were married, we've done Christmas Eve at the Warden's parents' house with his siblings and their families.  In the past number of years, as their family situations have changed, the siblings have been come and go from this tradition, so we decided that maybe it was time to do things a little differently.  This year, we're on our own.  I'm excited about his prospect.

Tonight we will have a few friends over for food and fun and games.  We'll, hopefully, sing carols around the piano.  We're having the Warden's family food tradition--Chicken Tortilla Pie with layers of tortillas, chicken and cheese and a sauce of sour cream, diced chilies and cream of chicken soup.  There are a few other things in it, and I'm happy to post a recipe if anyone is interested.  This was my favorite recipe as a kid.  It was the Warden's too.  With my being sick, the Warden was the chef.  I believe he has prepared four 9"x 13" pans of the stuff.

After dinner, we'll have the kids get in costume for the reading of the Nativity.  This has also been a Hess family tradition.  Funny, but I don't remember my family being particularly social when I was a kid--no big Christmas traditions.  We got a new pair of pajamas each year; most of the time, my mom made them for us.  That was pretty much our Christmas Eve celebration--new jammies and a picture of all the kids in them then off to bed early "so Santa can come."

We draw names a couple weeks before Christmas and go buy a gift for the person we choose.  Those gifts are opened on Christmas Eve right before the kids go to bed. 

Tonight before I go to bed, I will prepare tomorrow morning's breakfast.  We're combining our two families' traditions--caramel pull-aparts from my family and breakfast casserole from the Hess family.  Our wonderful Danish neighbor sent over Kringle for our family to enjoy too.

The other tradition we started this year came from some good family friends.  Years ago, when I taught one of their daughters in Young Women, I asked her what her favorite thing was about Christmas.   She told me that she loved that each person in the family had all of his/her gifts wrapped in their own individualized wrapping paper.  This year, I found nine different patterns of wrapping paper and wrapped each of the Inmates' gifts in their own paper.  I didn't have to put tags on anything.  The best part about it is that they have no idea which gifts are theirs, so they're not sitting there shaking them and fondling them trying to figure out what's in them.

I didn't get Christmas cards out this year.  I'm going to blame that on statistics.  That was one thing my mom did EVERY year.  She hand-wrote notes to what seemed like hundreds of people.  There was always a family photo and a signed card.  In my mind, that's what should be done, but not this year.  We did get some Christmas baking done, but didn't deliver to as many people as I would have liked.  I had to bow out because of illness, or we probably would have had a lot more deliveries done.  The Warden likes things simple.

Please share the traditions your family loves.  I'd love to try something new next year.
Merry Christmas!!!

Day 13- A Letter to Someone Who has Hurt Me Recently

Hmm.  This is a toughie.  I try very hard to deal with people soon if they hurt me.  Thankfully most of the people in my life are good people, who I believe, are trying to do good things and aren't "out to get me."  Most of the time, if someone hurts me, it's a misunderstanding and not intentional.  I try to remember this and forgive as quickly as I can.  If I find it hard to forgive, or it's nagging at me, I try to straighten things out face to face.

There have been a few of these with my current calling at church.  When I served in the Young Women as first counselor, I saw the president come under scrutiny from one or two people in the ward.  That was sad and hurtful and unnecessary, but the woman I served with, being the happy, upbeat person she was, seemed to just roll with it.  I never heard her say a thing about it.  I was proud to be able to call her my friend.  It wasn't until I was in this calling that I heard her say anything about it.  The truth was, she was hurt, but she handled it all so beautifully, you'd never have known it.  I want to learn to be like that.  I'm grateful for good examples like this in my life.  I have many of them.  What a blessing!

When unity is our goal, I would hope that everyone would give everyone else the benefit of the doubt that we are all trying our hardest to do our best and be good people.

I'm not really sure if I'm ready to air my "dirty laundry" about this "hurt."  I'm not even sure what I'd say.  I will tell you this much, I see the dirty looks and am aware when I walk in the room that there's not a whole lotta love coming from one person in my ward.  Thankfully, it's only one person.  It has been shared with me that this person has had conversations with others about what a lousy person I am, and that makes me sad, but in this situation, I'm not hurt for me, I'm hurt for those that were effected by this person's decision.  No, this isn't a letter, but like I said, I'm not sure how to form words around my feelings yet, and I've said all that I've needed to prior to this directly to this individual.

Other than those people this person has spoken with, who don't seem to have changed their opinions of me, I don't think anyone else is aware that anyone feels this way about me.

My instinct is to avoid this person, but here's what I plan on doing....I will continue to be kind.  I'm going to love my enemy and bless those that curse me.  I will do good to those that hate me and pray for those who spitefully use me, and persecute me.  (Matthew 5:44)  This is all I can do.  It is probably the hardest thing to do, but I'm finding that the hardest things are definitely the most rewarding things.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 12- How I Found Out About Blogger, and Why I Have a Blog

Oh my goodness.  Boring topic!!!

I found blogger through a google search, I believe.  I had heard the word "blog" quite a few times and really didn't find the attraction.  Even at first, I wrote one post and was bored to tears over it, so I left it alone.

A number of months later, my counterpart in the Young Women program at church started one.  Her's was cute.  It had a fun background and music that turned on automatically when you tuned in.  It was just her.  That was when the fun began.  I talked to Tonya about how she'd set it all up,and she gave me some pointers.  She admitted that she was addicted to it, and for some time, both of us were.

I have a blog for a few reasons.  I keep it as a journal and as a place to vent some of my pent up feelings.  I have had friends who have kept journals in books in which they have placed carefully placed pictures and cut out mementos.  I have always thought that so creative.  I don't have the foresight or patience for those things, but I wish I had that gift.  Here, I can place photos and fun things that illustrate the things I write about.

I also love it when people comment on what I write.  Who doesn't?  It's been a fun way to make connections with people and make new friends.


When I took children's literature, I went to Powell's books on a Saturday morning, pulled up a chair and read this book:

It has remained with me.  I was very impressed with it. 

Today, I found it at the library.  I checked it out and Inmate#1 read it out loud in the car.  It has been passed around our house.  I tried to stress that the things that happened in this book weren't that long ago.  Many of them were during my lifetime.

One word that recurs in this book is "compulsory."  This word is bothering me.  Does it seem to anyone else that this word is becoming more familiar in American life?

I took one of my kids to the doctor the other day.  They asked for his race and ethnicity.  At the time, this didn't really bother me, but then I remember the conversation I'd had with the Warden a number of months back about how schools are also supposed to report the race and ethnicity of each and every one of their students.  It's not a choice.  It is COMPULSORY.  This BOTHERS me!  If the schools don't report it, they lose out on their governmental funding.  If someone refuses to report, the principal then has the responsibility to guess and report it.

A little note to Josh:  I know how you feel about this, and I'm good with you thinking what you want.  It still bothers me.  I can't put my finger on it.  I guess it's the whole government in my business thing.  Maybe it's the rebel in me, but I still don't agree with it at all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 11- Another Picture of Me and My Friends

This is me with my best friends.  They put up with me, and I put up with them.  These are the people I have sacrificed the most for in my life.  These are my treasures.

The Nativity and "Breath of Heaven"

I posted this last year as well. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

day 10- Songs I Listen to When I'm Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad

This is going to be a short one.  If you want to know what music I listen to during all of these times, click on my playlist.  I LOVE it!!!  When it's my week to do dishes, the playlist goes on and gets me through it.  I don't know if I have one in particular that gets me going more than the others.  I just think they're all pretty great.

My tastes are pretty varied.  Five for Fighting, Toto, Taylor Swift, Oingo Boingo, Haircut 100, older Billy Joel....The list goes on.  I love music that makes me happy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9- Something I'm Proud of in the Past Few Days

Well, this is not a hard one to respond to.  It's been a bitter couple of weeks around here, so I'm proud of myself for sticking to it and finishing statistics.

I need to share the process for taking an online class; at least the way I do things, so you can understand why this is what I have chosen.

I have a set schedule for what classes I take when.  This schedule can be tweaked from time to time as needed, but the kinds of classes they are is set.  When I first started taking classes, I chose the classes I would take and in what order I would take them.  As I mentioned yesterday, statistics was supposed to be taken two years ago, but I found myself expecting Inmate #7 and knew that wasn't going to work, so I moved it back.  I wasn't sad about it because so many people had told me how terrible statistics was.  I actually think I had pushed it back in the schedule at least twice prior to this.  I was avoiding it big time.

I bit the bullet last February, when Inmate #7 was seven months old.  I have a year to finish a course, so my hope was that with Inmates #6 and #7 still taking naps each day, I'd at least have a little bit of time to focus on this class.

Before I sign up, I take a look at the course load and how much I'm going to have to submit for my grade.  This class was excessive--WAY excessive.  Eighty-three submitted assignments, three exams and a final.  A typical class has about 10 submitted assignments, a midterm and a final.  I then decide if it's something I can handle.  If it is, I check to see that we can financially handle it (I have money put aside each month for tuition and books).  If we have enough saved, I go ahead and sign up for the class.  I then go to the online materials and look at the syllabus.  I immediately create a spreadsheet and schedule very specific assignments for myself for each day.  As I do so, I know that everything is subject to change, and I revise this schedule often.  I try very hard to be realistic with myself.  I know that even baby steps are accomplishing something, so sometimes it's something very small that gets scheduled in.

When I learned about Independent Study's closure, I re-created the statistics schedule completely from where I stood in the class.  I was just about ready to take the third exam and still had a fourth of the textbook to cover and eventually the final.  I also pulled the Warden in because I knew I was going to need his full support.  I created a plan A and a plan B.  Both needed to end before the 23rd.  I wasn't sure I could really do it because I've never had to work that efficiently for a class before.  Going to two lessons a day from half a lesson a day seemed very daunting.  Could I really do this?  I prayed for extra help.  I knew it was only going to last for a short time.  If I played my cards right, it wouldn't last forever, so I had to jump in.  Plus, if I held out until after the closure, I would definitely forget the information I had already learned thus making it that much harder to get back on track.

As I look back now, I see what a total miracle it is to be done.  I was able to follow the plan.  My family sacrificed a lot.  In hindsight, it seems that it all happened almost effortlessly.  I have no doubt there was a little extra help I haven't been aware of.  So thankful for answered prayer.

Today's final was grueling.  It felt like it went on forever.  It took me a little more than two hours to finish.  When I was done, all I could think was that I wanted to sleep.  I didn't get to do that, and I don't think it's truly sunken in yet that I'm truly finished with this class, but now the vacation can be a little more restful.  Statistics has been such a huge part of my wakeful hours for the past number of weeks.  I'm afraid it's going to take me some time to start to feel relatively normal again.

Now I can move on and redo my literature class schedule and work my way through that one.  Maybe I'll decide that I like this school stuff again.  Previous classes have been enjoyable.  Statistics was just a chore.  It was the medicine I had to take.  Now I'm hopeful that these other classes will be a little bit of sugar.

Now to Pick Up Where I Left Off: Day 8- Short term goals for this month and why

Before I was so rudely interrupted by statistics, I was working on these daily blog posts.  I think ideally they're supposed to be done for 30 days in a row, but what can I say.  I live in a self-imposed madhouse, so you don't always get what you want.

So, here's what I was supposed to write about when I took up servitude to statistics--my short term goals for this month.  This month will be translated to December 19th to January 18th.

  • Study the last part of statistics tomorrow morning.
  • Take the statistics final at 1pm.
  • Inventory where I am with Christmas shopping.
  • Finish Christmas shopping on Tuesday.
  • Read to my kids everyday.
  • Read the scriptures everyday.
  • Have a get-together on Christmas Eve.
  • Read four more books for adolescent lit. and do the assignments that go with them.
  • Get everything organized for Primary for the new year--manuals to teachers, etc.
  • Prepare for the Primary breakfast.
  • Figure something fun out for New Year's Eve.

These are the biggest things on my brain.  There are more, but if they don't happen, I'm not going to be crushed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Statistics ends tomorrow.  You heard it right...tomorrow!  Phew!  I really have until February to finish the class, but I was having so much fun, I thought, what the heck, let's just speed things up and stress life wayyy out and go for it right at holiday time.  No, not really.  BYU Independent Study is setting up a new online system for their students, so they are shutting down their system from the 23rd to January 3rd, so if you have anything you need for your class, you have to print it off to use it during this time.

Statistics is completely online.  I figure I was close enough to being done that I had better get myself in gear and get going and just get it done before the closure.  Before I knew about this, I was doing about a half a lesson a day.  I figured out that in order to be done before December 23rd, I would have to do two lessons a day.  My family has sacrificed greatly.

So, here's where I stand....I had to complete 83 quiz-like assignments.  These had to be turned in all at the same time--right before I ordered the final.  They were counted as one grade.  I got a 96%.  Yes, folks, that is what we like to call a miracle.  Oh, did I say miracle.  I mean MIRACLE!

That 96% helped my grade TREMENDOUSLY!  So, here's what I figure.  If I go and bomb the final--the lowest I can get to pass the class is a 55%.  If I were to get that 55, I would end up with a C.  If I get 100%, I will get a high B.  So, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

This has been a tough class.  I put it off for a very long time.  It was originally scheduled to be taken when I was pregnant with Lachlan.  No way!  I knew it had to be rescheduled, but I didn't want it to be my last class.  That would have left and awful taste in my mouth about this whole experience, so here I am.

I now have three classes left--adolescent literature, which I am also taking right now, but have put on the back burner while I focus on stats; career strategies; and financial planning.  I will then take the capstone and be done.  YAY!!!

One of the things that made statistics difficult was that when I was frustrated and not understanding what I was studying, I would open a new tab and go to facebook or come hang out here in my blog.  To overcome this temptation, I had the Warden change my password and not tell me.  I think that was the best thing I ever did.  If I was finished with my studying, he'd sign me in, and I could be rewarded with some time in the places I enjoy.

Today he told me my password.  It was hilarious, but what else would I expect from him.  It's nice to be back.  It'll be nice to be able to be done preparing for this final and get on with Christmas preparations.  Wish me luck.  Oh how nice it will be to be done!

Inmate #2 will be sad to know this.    

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