July 31, 2015

The Art of Non-Conformity

On Wednesday afternoon I went to my local library after receiving a call that a book I had placed a hold on was ready and waiting for me.  The book is: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.  My childhood best friend, Tara, had told me she read the book and it was a life-changer for her.  Admittedly, I didn't run out and grab the book right away.  Though in my defense, Tara had told me about the book while we visited her on our family vacation last month.  It's not as though our library was down the street from us.  And by the time we got home, I had forgotten what the book was.

About a week after we returned home, I was surprised to see that Josh was reading The Art of Non-Conformity on his Kindle.  He said that from what he had read so far, it was actually a really good book.  He told me a little about it and what he had learned so far, and I decided that I would go grab a copy from the library and give it a read.  So here I am, 2 days later, and I have finished the book.

The Art of Non-Conformity is a book about living the life you want to live without the fear of what society, or those you know, think about it.  It challenges you to not live your life the way others do because that is "what you're supposed to do".  The book is about realizing who you want to be, what makes you happy, and going after your dreams and what matters most to you.  The Art of Non-Conformity is about living an unconventional life.  It is about making your way through the world and getting the most out of life.  It's not just about living the best life you can live; it is also about being happy, giving back, and feeling awake on your journey.

I really enjoyed reading about the life that Guillebeau has lived and created for himself.  He has had remarkable experiences, once in a lifetime experiences, experiences that he has chosen to have and made happen while so many of the people around him criticized his choices and the paths he has taken.  Guillebeau decided what he wanted to do with his life and he has done nothing short of obtaining those goals, his dreams.  And he has become very successful walking to the beat of his own drum.

Though I enjoyed reading The Art of Non-Conformity, it wasn't the life-changer of a book for me as it was for Tara.  And it didn't move me as much as it moved Josh.  Actually, I showed my mom the book I was reading and she laughed at me.  She said I was the last person who needed to read a book like this.  She mentioned that I have always been stubborn and that I have been a non-conformist my whole life.  I don't know if that was supposed to be her being funny or serious.  Probably both.

Last night, Josh and I were laying in bed talking about this book.  We talked about some of the different principles that were talked about.  He told me the book had an impact on him because he has always worried about what others thought of him.  So many of his life choices have been made, and largely still are made, based on what others would think, instead of truly following his own desires.  He "kindly" pointed out to me that I am not like that.  I have never been the kind of person who really cares what others think of me.  I have never been one to make my choices based on what others would think or say.  I do think about how my actions will impact those around me (I've got a family, after all) but I find ways to pursue my goals.  I largely live my life the way I want to live it.  And I am happy.

Though after reading this book, I did take another look at my life.  Guillebeau suggests making a life list, and then breaking down that life list into doable parts.  This is something I will definitely be doing.  I also realized that I do have a few major life goals, or dreams, that I still want realized.  At first, I thought that I cannot achieve these dreams at this moment because I have a family at home that I need and want to be here for.  And then I realized that I am going after these goals, at a pace and time that fits with my family and our schedules.

I have always wanted to be the very best mom that I could be.  By always, I mean when my first child was born more than 16 years ago.  This is a dream that I am blessed to live everyday.  Being a wife and a mother is what life it all about for me.  This does not mean that I am unable to pursue other goals or dreams, but it is where my priority and my heart are at this time.

What are my other goals and dreams?  I want to be a professional Genealogist.  I have a deep desire and love of genealogy, whether it be my own family's or for somebody that has come to me for help with their family history.  I won't be a professional any day soon, but I can still work on it almost any day that I want to.  I can progress, learn, and develop until the day comes that I am ready to pursue it on a professional level.  For now, it is an enjoyable hobby that I am very good at and that I receive a great deal of joy from.  It could very easily be the job that never feels like work.  I am a stay-at-home mom right now; but if I ever have the need or desire to go back to work, at least I know what I'll want to do.

I want to learn to play the cello.  I taught myself how to play the piano, and I taught myself how to play the violin.  Learning to play the cello is a desire that has waxed and waned in me for the past 15 years. This desire has grown immensely this past year and I'm realizing that it is almost time for me to find a way to make it happen.  Whether I find a place to rent a cello at a bargain price or I save up and purchase one, the time is almost here.  I find a great deal of peace and serenity when I am able to make music.  I also love playing in string ensembles, and finding a cellist proves to be very difficult.  It would be great to be able to fill that roll.

I want to be physically fit.  Okay, this has been really hard for me over summer vacation with my children at home.  With our family vacation and their swim lessons in the mornings, scouting, and sports in the evenings, I have neglected myself over the summer.  I couldn't justify to myself the 3rd or 4th drive into town so I could go to the gym, and I didn't want to take a couple of hours of the day that I could have spent with my kids by leaving them to go workout.  With school starting up again next week, it is my time to make a comeback and establish the healthy exercise habits that make me feel oh so good.  My body is a temple, and it deserves to be treated as such.

It is safe to say that The Art of Non-Conformity has made me take another look at my life.  There is always going to be room for personal improvement and stepping outside of the box a bit more.  Though for now, I can honestly say that I am at least "90 percent happy".

March 1, 2014

From the Valley to the Pinnacle

Throughout our lives we are faced with countless challenges and opportunity for growth.  Sometimes, those opportunities arrive in the form of a figurative butt-whooping.

This past year and a half, I have had my butt whooped.  I have fallen.  I have struggled.  And for a while (okay, for far too long), I let myself stay down.  But I feel that sometimes we need that time.  It is okay to not always be a bubbling ball of joy.  It is okay to be in the valley of life so you can experience the joys at the pinnacles.

During the trials of my current valley, I have been able to do a lot of soul searching and arrive at several important self-realizations.  They are personal and I won't be sharing them, but they were needed.  And an even greater comfort was being able to share and realize these things with my husband by my side.

Now the time for growth has arrived and I am ready for it.  With these self-realizations coming to light, I have been able to make plans to begin carving my own way up the mountainside towards my personal pinnacle.  This new mountain is similar to mountains I have climbed in the past.  Though this time, the mountain is a little steeper and a bit higher than the mountains of my past.  Despite the difference in this mountain in comparison to past mountains, several of the supplies that I need to make it to the summit are unchanged.

1- I need a partner.  It is always safer and highly recommended to bring a partner with you when going out onto the mountain.  I am grateful to have my husband as my partner.  He will help push me when the path becomes steep.  He will be an extra set of eyes for possible approaching hurdles.  He will be there to help lift me if I stumble or fall.

2- I need a compass.  This compass is the spirit.  This means reading my scriptures daily in personal study.  It means saying personal prayers and constantly having a prayer in my heart.  It means going to church each week and fulfilling my religious obligations.  The spirit will guide me.  It will warn me of possible dangers on the path I am making.  The spirit will also direct me towards paths of safety; providing hidden views of majestic vistas, views that will provide motivation to continue on to the peak where the grandest view of all is visible for those who endure to the end.  But without using the spiritual tools I have been given, I will not be able to hear the spirit as it whispers to me what I should do.

3- I need practice.  This practice is what I need for the endurance to make it to the pinnacle.  The practice is my physical health.  I'll need to exercise and become more physically fit to be able to make the journey.  Before running a marathon, one must train.  You can't expect to finish a marathon if you've never run more than 2 miles at a time.

4- I need proper nourishment to keep my body fueled for the journey.  A candy bar may taste good, but it's not going to give me the proper fuel my body will need to continue on.  I need to begin supplying my body with the proper fuels.

5- I need perseverance.  I will trip, and most likely loose my footing from time to time.  But these stumbles don't mean I must turn back because the path is too hard.  These stumbles are a reminder that focus and concentration are needed.

6- I need direction.  It is easy to loose site of the destination and to go off to explore the lake up ahead, a cave, nature, a flowing stream, or to rest by a tree and enjoy your lunch.  But it is important to be mindful of the time and of where you are and how much farther you need to go.  Meandering too long can get you lost.  Or perhaps in your meandering you have gone a bit back down the mountain instead of climbing upward, without even realizing how much ground you have lost.  Instead of giving up because of the time and the miles you have lost, you need to observe your surroundings and get back on the journey.  If not, that lovely little stream you were enjoying may have led you all the way back to the base of the mountain and you'll have to begin your journey again on another day.

When beginning my journey from the valley to the pinnacle, I often loose direction.  This is one of my biggest struggles in climbing my mountain.  I start off focused and dedicated to the journey ahead.  I begin with fast progress, steadily making my way up.  And then I trip over a tree root.  But instead of getting up right away and continuing on, I sit down.  And while I'm sitting I'll throw a few stones and watch them bounce down the mountainside.  While watching the stone bounce down the mountainside, I'll see something that catches my eye.  Next thing I know, I'm making a new path to find my source of distraction.  It is only when I am totally off course that I realize what I have done.

I should have kept moving when I stumbled over the tree root.  I didn't need to sit down.  Actually, I really did feel fine.  Excuses were made so I could sit.  Perhaps I wanted to triple-check my shoes.  Or that small scratch I just received really wasn't that bad.  So why did I stop instead of continuing on?

It is an unknown fear of succeeding.  I have no idea where this fear came from.  Though it seems as though each time I am about to accomplish a goal, I self-sabotage.  Why, I do not know.  I don't even realize that I am self-sabotaging until it's too late and all that I had worked towards had been undone.

This was the most important self-realization that I had.  This is why I need tools 1-5 above.  I need tools 1-5 to maintain #6.

Armed with this knew knowledge, and a very supportive partner, I am ready to begin my journey again.  This journey will not heal all of the troubles of this past year and a half.  But this journey will make me stronger and more capable to conquer trials of the future.  This new journey will unlock some of the potential in me that I have blindly refused to unlock.  It is time to conquer the fear of my potential.

And now, if you'll kindly excuse me ... I have a mountain to climb.

November 27, 2013

Learning ASL

I believe the first time I saw ASL (American Sign Language) in action, I was at the mall with my mom.  I was probably about 12 years old.  I remember sitting on the edge of a plant garden and watching these two women communicate with one another.  Sure, I knew what ASL was before then.  But this was the first time I had ever really seen it.

Without realizing how rude it was to stare, I sat there watching them.  I was completely taken in by what I was seeing.  At the time, I had absolutely no idea what they were saying to one another.  All I knew was that it was beautiful, and I couldn't take my eyes off of them.

That's when I knew.  I just knew that I wanted to be able to communicate with my hands as well.  I wanted to be able to join them in conversation.

I forgot all about it not too long after that.  It's not as though ASL was offered in school, and I didn't know anybody who knew it.  Yet occasionally, I would still pass by two people talking.  Or there would be a show on television that featured deaf people.  And when there was, I would sit and watch.

The time came that I graduated from high school.  I went on to our local community college and started flipping through the course catalog to determine which classes I was going to take.  On the first page of the catalog there it was, course listings for ASL.  This just had to be my "foreign" language.  I signed up for the beginning class just knowing that I would be in attendance for all 4 of the classes they offered over the next couple of years.

I absolutely loved these classes.  I would bring home what I had learned and teach it to Cody, who was still a baby at that time.  This turned out to be a huge blessing for me.  Cody knew about 200 signs before he was 2 years old.  I was always able to communicate with him.  He might not have been able to speak what he wanted, but he could sign it to me.  Thanks to this, he didn't have meltdowns or tantrums.  He simply signed to me what he wanted.  It was also fabulous in public places as well because I was able to speak to him in ASL when he was misbehaving, without the attention of the public turning towards us.

I was sold.  I wanted to become an ASL interpreter.  I was going to eventually transfer to Western Oregon University for their interpreting program.  This never actually happened, as I started dating an adorably funny guy while attending NAU.  We got married and never left the city.  Still, I knew I wanted to sign.

Over the years I have continued to teach myself what I could.  I have purchased books and DVD's to help me learn. I have learned a bit.  What I am lacking is the actual experience of talking with others using ASL.

Earlier this year a door opened for me.  I met a fabulous deaf couple and have been given the opportunity to learn more and begin to help interpret for them.  I was so excited to finally have the chance!  I met with them and a couple of other very talented ladies that know ASL.  That's when discouragement set in.

They know so much more than I do.  We would have conversations and I felt totally lost and confused.  Words were coming easily to them and I had no idea what was being said.  I felt that every other sign was unfamiliar.  Granted, many of these signs were religious in nature.  It's not like religious signs were taught in the classes I took.  And the last class I took was back in 2001.  I had a lot of studying to do.

I started writing down every word I didn't know the sign for that came up in our conversations.  I started watching religious DVD's to learn these signs I was unfamiliar with.  I was literally spending a couple of hours a day trying to improve my ASL.

And now I have been offered several opportunities to help interpret for this couple.  But I'm terrified to do it!  There are still so many words I don't know signs for.  And there are so many other people around who like to watch the language being used, much like I did 20 years ago.  I just know I'm going to get stuck, fall behind, and make a fool of myself in front of everybody.

There have been a few times that I have interpreted church hymns.  But those are different.  I spend hours a week practicing for Sunday.  I watch DVD's and write down every sign I see and don't know.  I spend more time figuring out why that particular sign was used and not another.  And then I spend even more time memorizing these songs, as I know I will get lost and confuse myself with the words in the book (as ASL doesn't follow the English order of words).

I've been blessed with this opportunity to learn, grow, and develop.  Yet I keep holding myself back due to fear.  It is so hard for me to put myself in front of other people.  I'm the same way with talking, or playing the violin or piano, or just about everything that would be in front of others.  I don't even practice these things when Josh is home because I feel so uncomfortable.  I'm lame.  I know.

I feel ashamed for being so scared, so reserved.  I realize I just need to jump in and do it.  That is the only way to overcome my fears and to grow and develop.  I know nobody is going to make fun of me for giving it my best and trying.  I just need to put myself out there and do it.  How am I ever going to become fluent in a language that I don't use with others, and sit back and observe instead.

Ugh.  Any suggestions or recommendations for overcoming irrational fears?  Really.  They would be appreciated.

November 26, 2013

Unsuspecting Wardrobe Donation

On March 16th of this year, our family made a journey to Logan, Utah so we could be sealed together for all time and eternity.  We were sealed together in the beautiful Logan temple.  (Why do we have temples?  Click here.)  It was a beautiful, spirit filled day that I will never forget.  Now I have the opportunity to be with my sweet husband for all eternity, instead of "til death do us part".  And I also have the opportunity to be united with my family for eternity.  This brings a tremendous amount of peace and security to my heart.

This change and this peace brought something else with it, a literal change of attire.  When we returned home, I went through my closet and got rid of any clothing that I had that was immodest in one way or another.  Perhaps that dress was a tad too short, that neckline too wide or too low, or that top was sleeveless and I couldn't cover it up without making it ... well, ugly.

I ended up donating about 18" of wardrobe space.  This is a huge deal for a lady that only had 2 feet of space to begin with!  I was left with just a couple of dresses, and maybe half a dozen drab shirts to wear.  Most of what remained were cardigans or sweaters and jackets.  I had always considered myself to be modestly dressed, so this was a very eye opening experience for me.  I literally had no idea how much of my wardrobe would no longer be wearable.  I knew a few pieces would no longer work, I didn't realize it would be the majority of what I owned.

As difficult as it was to empty my closet, I found myself being grateful for several things.
#1  What I was gaining in blessings would heavily outweigh what I was giving up in clothing.  
(And most of it was clothing I really was never attached to anyway.)
#2  The items were all being donated.  Somebody else would be able to grab them and love the pieces I had a hard time parting with.  Those items still had a lot of love to give somebody!
#3  This donation basically required that I start building back up my wardrobe again.

I am not a shopper.  In fact, I hated clothes shopping at that time.  Nothing I bought was ever what I really wanted.  It was just cheap (quality and price), and what was being offered at our local stores.  No matter how much I now needed to build up a wardrobe, the task was excruciatingly daunting for me.  But I made a promise to myself.  I wasn't going to purchase something unless I loved it.  And I was willing to wait and save up for when those pieces appeared.  

I found a website that has many clothing items I adore.  I've been able to add 3 dresses, 3 shirts, 2 cardigans, and a couple pairs of shoes to my diminished wardrobe these past 8 months.  This is more shopping than I've done in the past 3 years combined.  And better yet, I love the pieces.  I feel like they are reflective of who I am.  When I wear them, I feel like me.  I feel good about myself.  It has been amazing to me to see what a difference clothing can make on the way I feel about myself.

These past few months I may have come across as always shopping.  And I may possibly seem over excited to share a new find.  Yet this is exciting to me.  I have more than 6 shirts I can wear!  This is a big deal!  For the first time in my life, I'm actually enjoying buying clothes.  I'm looking forward to adding more pieces to my wardrobe.  I'm feeling more comfortable in my clothing than I ever have before.

Indeed, this has been a surprise blessing that came from the necessity to change the type of clothes I was wearing.  I never would have known at that time, just how happy it was going to make me.  And to think it all began with a simple desire to have my family together forever.

I am blessed.

November 25, 2013

Withdrawn From School

Today he helped me make chocolate chip cookies, while playing with his 
Squinkies in his Playmobil fortress on the counter ... in his pajamas.

Last year we started Maddox in Kindergarten a year early.  You may be wondering what the rush was.  Truly, there was no rush.  I really didn't want my little boy leaving the house a year early.  But he really wanted to go.  And socially, we thought it would be better for him.  

You see, Zackary started school a year early with home school.  Zackary soared and loved every minute of it.  And then we became active church goers.  At our church, the children are broken into classes based on how old they will be turning that year.  So Zackary was in church class with kids that turned 7 in February, even though he wouldn't turn 7 until the very end of the year.  His best friend ended up coming from that class.  And when he went to public school a couple years later, his classmates were his church friends.  So at church and school, he had the same friends.  He would have been the only child in his church class to be a school grade lower than the others if he hadn't of started school early.  

Josh and I loved that when he entered public school, he already had a group of friends to join - and to add to.  It made his transition smooth.  We wanted the same thing for Maddox.  He also has a birthday at the end of the year.  But we saw how wonderfully starting school early was for Zackary socially (and academically), so we wanted to give it a go for Maddox also so he could have the same experience.  

We searched around and found one school in town that would accept children who were turning 5 by the end of the year.  So I tearfully sent my 4 year old off for Kindergarten.  I was surprised by my emotions.  I didn't cry when his 2 older brothers left for school.  But this time was different.  Maddox is my baby.  And I cried for his entire first week of school.

Maddox did better than I did.  At first, he loved school.  He wanted to go.  And then he started crying when we dropped him off.  This was followed by weekly notes home from his teachers saying he was a little weepy for the day, but trying very hard.  

We thought that it was perhaps from not having nap time anymore.  He had quiet time at school and would often fall asleep.  His teachers were kind and let him sleep, though sometimes we would pick him up from school and he would still have carpet marks imprinted on his face from where he slept.  We thought perhaps he was weepy because he was so tired and his little body needed rest.

When the first quarter ended, we transferred Maddox to a different elementary school where his brother attended.  This school had to accept him now, as he was entered into the school system by the other school.  Each day he would hop out of the car and go running into school happy and smiling with his brother.  We knew this was where he was supposed to be.

Gone were the tears, though it was clear that my little buddy was feeling very worn out by the end of the school day.  Despite being tired, Maddox was doing fantastic!  He loved his classmates and his teacher.  He loved the activities that were offered, and he loved learning.  He finished the school year either at or above average in his studies.  He was moved without question into first grade.

At the start of this school year, there were times when Maddox and Zackary would get out of the car for school and I would think to myself, "He should be home with me.  He shouldn't be here."  I dismissed my thoughts, thinking it was just because I didn't want an empty house yet.  It had to be because he was still so young.  There couldn't be anything real behind my thoughts.  I told Josh and he said it was just because Max was little, and he should be at school.  After all, just look how much he loved going!

During the first quarter of school, we would occasionally get notes from the teacher saying Maddox was a little sad that day.  Despite that, Maddox was coming home and getting his homework done.  He was enjoying his classmates, and loved his teacher.  And he rarely complained about school.  

We got Maddox's first quarter report card, and everything looked great.  He was right on task, and even a little above average in a couple of areas.  But his teacher commented that he had a hard time sometimes and would cry in class.  Josh and I had an appointment to meet with her that week, as did all of the kids at school for Parent-Teacher Conferences.  I was looking forward to getting more insight into the school day.

We met with Maddox's teacher.  He was doing wonderfully.  There was just one problem.  Maddox was in a class where the other students were up to 14 months older than he was.  14 months is a huge difference when you're 5 years old and in first grade.  These other kids were able to keep on task as planned.  Maddox struggled.  His problem was that he has the fine motor skills of a 5 year old.  He still has to think about the letters he's writing and really focus on them.  The same applied to coloring, cutting ... just about everything.  His motor skills were right where they should be; for a 5 year old.  But these 6 and 7 year old students were right where they should be as well.  And they were completing tasks much faster, which left Maddox feeling frustrated because he was still working so hard - and was only half done when they were finishing up.  

This frustration led to tears.  Though Maddox was smart enough to be there, he wasn't ready.  As his teacher was relaying what she was seeing, Josh and I listened intently.  She was speaking truthfully to us and wanted us to be aware of what Maddox was facing.  She was choosing her words with care, as she was concerned about upsetting us.  She didn't speak as bluntly as I'm writing, but that was the message that we received.  

As Josh and I walked out of the school, he asked me what I was thinking.  My first thought was that I was super proud of Maddox and how hard he had been trying.  My second thought was that he should be home with me.  This time, Josh completely agreed.  My inner Mommy Voice had been right all along.

We couldn't help but feel that we really messed things up by putting Maddox in school early.  We felt we robbed him of time that he could have been home.  He was trying so hard and getting frustrated at school, at a time when things should still be fun and easy for him.  School should be enjoyable for a first grader.  We really messed up.

The meeting with his teacher was on a Thursday.  The next day was no school, which gave Josh and I time to talk about what we wanted to do.  We honestly didn't know our options.  Maddox had completed Kindergarten.  Arizona will only pay for a child to be in Kindergarten once, as it is not a mandatory year of school here.  So he couldn't just repeat.  But since he had completed Kindergarten, we didn't know if we could just withdraw him from school.  Then again, children are not required to enter school until they are 7 years old.  Maddox was only 5.  Would we need to home school until his fine motor skills caught up?

We decided that if allowed, we would completely withdraw Maddox from school and start first grade again next year.  If that wasn't allowed, we would home school him so at least he could develop his fine motor skills at his own pace, in an environment that wouldn't be frustrating to him.

Come Monday, I had emailed Maddox's principal for our options.  He would not be required to be in school until he was 7 years old.  By the end of the school day I had filled out the papers to have Maddox withdrawn.  That would be his last day of school for this school year.

I went to meet with his teacher about 20 minutes before the final bell rang.  The students happened to be in music class, and she was in her classroom alone.  I explained that I had just withdrawn Maddox, and how I was very appreciative of her honesty with what she was seeing.  We just felt it was best to not rush him, that school should be fun, and we hoped he would be returning to her classroom next year.

Words cannot express the relief that flooded her face.  She was so anxious about telling us her observations during our conference.  She was thrilled we chose to withdraw Maddox and start again next year.  She said she thought this was the best thing for our little boy.  

When the children returned to class, she had them sit on the floor and had Maddox come to the front.  She explained that he was just 5 years old, and shouldn't be in first grade yet.  She told them Maddox was doing very well in class, but now he was going home to be with his mom.  He would be back next year.  A few little girls started sobbing.  Everybody took turns giving him hugs goodbye.  We packed up the last of his things from around the classroom and left with the final bell.

And now, I have my little buddy home again.  He's taking 1-2.5 hour naps most days.  He's playing with his toys, walking the dogs with me, enjoying pajama time, snuggling the day away with mom, watching little kid television.  The life and energy that left with the start of Kindergarten has returned to his eyes.  My little boy is happy.

I know that Maddox is where he is supposed to be.  He can be a first grader next year, when he is ready.

November 24, 2013

A Bit About Me

Going around on Facebook is a little information session about oneself.  You get assigned a number by a friend, I've seen 8-35, and then you must write that many things about yourself.  At first I thought it was going to be really difficult.  But as I started writing, I realized it was easier than I thought it would be.  And then I realized how much even my friends probably don't know about me.

A problem that I have recently discovered that I have is that I am too personal and closed off to those around me.  Okay, I don't know if I would call that a problem exactly, but it definitely doesn't help with making friends.  Let's face it, the quiet people don't normally make friends as easily as those who are outgoing, even though we want friends just the same.

That being said, this is me.  Being a bit more outgoing than I typically am.  Some of these may be the same from my Facebook number,  so I apologize if you've already read that.

- I get nervous talking to people. What I would like to say comes out as verbal vomit mixed with lots of drool.  The spoken words aren't nearly as intelligent as the thought out words that never made it out of my mouth.  I'll try once or twice, then just stay quiet.

- Due to the above, I seldom start a conversation.  I'll talk with somebody if they address me, but beware of verbal vomit.  This makes me seem standoffish.  I don't want to be that way.

- I love a quiet home.  I get easily overwhelmed by noise and activity.  So my home tends to be more mellow and quiet.

- I love going to bed early and getting lots of sleep.  But let's be real.  I enjoy even more the peace and quiet of the evening after my children have gone to bed.  So more often than not, I am staying awake until midnight or later just so I can have some Me Time.

- I am overweight.  Not by much.  But there is it.  I get frustrated when people tell me I look great and don't need to lose weight.  They don't see the number on the scale ... or me naked.  If they saw either, they may change their minds.

- Working on my family history is my passion.  This is typically what I am doing when I should be sleeping.  The biggest frustration I have is that a great deal of research has been done by a couple lines in my family.  The problem is that I must have cooties, because nobody is willing to share.  Yes, I can find dates, names, and locations on my own.  But I will never have the photos and personal stories that others already have.  That isn't something records will give me.  And instead of building upon research that has been done, I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel.

- I hate driving at night.  My vision and my depth perception are not the best.  Driving at night makes me nervous.

- I love to drink water, Perrier, and hot chocolate.  I seldom drink anything else.  Oh yea, I don't like soda.

- I may not like soda, but I love movie theater popcorn.  Extra butter throughout, please; and don't forget the salt.  To go along with that, I love going to see a movie.  It is one of my favorite things to do.

- I don't feel as though I have accomplished anything that I have set out to do.  Those goals ... yea, I failed.  

- I have wrinkles and zits.  Great combination.

- I sing in the shower when I think nobody can hear me or if I think they aren't listening.  We all sound good in the shower, right?

- I love dishes.  I have 3 sets.  I'm looking for a 4th, something with turquoise.  And I'm still keeping my eyes open for the perfect set of china.  Oh yea, and I would love a set of silver that comes in a special wooden box.

- I may or may not have a slight obsession with things of the past.  Things like old china and silver, vintage inspired clothing, old music, and fabulous old keys.

- In addition to vintage inspired clothing, I also really enjoy the Steampunk fashion. I don't own any, but I really like it.

- I have never dyed my hair.  Mostly for 2 reasons.  #1, I'm cheap.  #2, I know my mother wouldn't approve.  

- I chose quality.  I've stopped buying cheap.  The cheap clothes, vacuum, and washing machine have all fallen apart and broke before their life should have been up.  Now I will go without instead of settling for something in the meantime.  

- Fix it and Do it Yourself?  I'm not that crafty, resourceful, or patient.  I pay too much to have somebody else do it for me.  Then again, perhaps not.  I bet I save money just paying somebody else to do it, instead of first spending the money to do it myself and then paying again to have it redone. 

- I love the stars.  I think they are romantic and peaceful.  I love the mythology behind them, and I enjoy learning the star names.  In fact, there's a part of me that still believe I'm made out of star dust.  It is the stars that brought my husband and I together, and we married at an observatory.

- I love the snow and the cold blustery days that go with it.  The snow is beautiful.  Peaceful.  Clean.  Glimmering.  Refreshing.  When the streets are packed white, heavy flakes falling from the sky, with a glowing pink sky and lights twinkling about ... that is heaven to me.  It is perfection.

- I would spend hours in a super hot bathtub, with candles lit around me and soft music playing.  That is, if I had a bathtub.  Ours broke about 5 years ago and we haven't been able to replace it yet.  I miss my soaking tub.

- I get along with the guys better than I get along with the girls.  For the most part I prefer their company.  But I have to watch myself because I come across as flirty.  And being married, it's not really appropriate for me to hang out with the guys anymore. Bummer.  But I wouldn't want my Honey to hang out with with ladies for fun.  It's a fair sacrifice.

- My actual shirts take up about a foot of space in my closet.  And I don't like 97% of them.  I may not have a lot of clothing, but I'm slowly starting to buy pieces that I love.  Very slowly. Pants?  I own 1 pair of jeans.  This may be an area I need to pay more attention to.

- I want a super close family with my siblings and cousins.  I've learned this needs to be wanted by both sides.

- I love hiking and camping.

- I love sweets.  I could devour them all day and not feel guilty about it.

- I am not as spiritual as I would like to be.  But it feels good trying.

- I actually want to drive a minivan.  

- I have the long hair I've been wanting ... and have no idea how to style it!

- I want to go back to school.  In fact, I would love to take a class a semester.  Even if it was just to continue learning.

- I love reading but don't do it as often as I'd like.  My world stops when I have a book in my hands.  My children need my world to keep spinning.

- My children are my life.  I'm not ready to have them all out of the house.  I feel like I should still have them at home with me for a while.

- I love my husband.  I adore him.  He's my best friend.  My day is so much more enjoyable when he's home.  We act like kids when we're together.  Our time together is filled with laughing, playing, joking, and snuggling.  We've been married 10 years.  How can time move this quickly?

- I have a fairly simple life.  But this simple life has been filled with joy.  I feel that my family has been blessed with happiness because of this.

- I have been accused of being a name collector.

- I hate crying.  If I cry it's normally when the lights are out or I'm alone.  My family called me the Weeping Stone.

- I would love a home on some land.  Without a nearby neighbor. With a clear view of the night sky.  Preferably in the snowy mountains on the edge of a lake.

- I want to live in Germany.  Or Montana.

- I want to be able to interpret ASL, but I get too nervous every time I have the opportunity.  I also want to be fluent in German, but again - I get too nervous to speak it with somebody every time I have the opportunity. 

- I taught myself the violin and piano.  Now I want a cello.

- Goonies is my favorite movie.

- I love to help other people.  Asking for help is difficult.

- One of the things I want most is to travel ... especially with my family.

That's all the random stuff I can think about me at this time.

January 30, 2012


Have you ever been so tired that it hurts to stay awake, and it's only 10am? That was me today. I found myself begging for sleep before I was even out of bed this morning. I knew it wasn't going to happen, but for some reason just begging for it seems to help. I turned off my alarm the first time it went off, with absolutely no intentions of really waking up. Ever.

Josh nudged me a few times and I knew I had to get up. I groggily dragged myself to the kitchen to make french toast for breakfast. I sliced up a loaf of homemade bread and coated each slice in a delicious milk/egg/cinnamon mixture. It smelled wonderful. (I didn't eat any of it, I had breakfast about 4 hours later. My sliced deli chicken meat with a glass of warmed up, low sodium V8. It was heavenly.)

Josh was helping in the kitchen when he got a page for an open shift. He took the shift and was out the door probably 30 minutes later. I found myself trying to scurry to get lunches made and the children ready.

I barely got the boys out the door in time for school. After dropping Zackary off at the bus stop - about 30 seconds before the bus arrived - Maddox and I returned home. I should have done the breakfast dishes. I should have done laundry. I should have cleaned house. I should have played with Maddox. I should have brushed my teeth. I should have made my bed. Yea, didn't happen.

Instead of being even slightly productive, I opted for dead weight today. Maddox snuggled in my lap and we watched Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, not once-but twice. He would occasionally jump off my lap in search of a costume modifier. That meant I would sit in the chair by myself and wait a couple of minutes before he asked for help finding something.

We searched for and found a gun and sword, a gun holster, a sheath for his sword, Martial Arts belts that doubled as ropes, a pirate hat, and something that had to serve as Barbossa's wooden-bottle-leg. I suppose you could say that we didn't really do a lot of sitting after all. Come to think of it, even though we weren't "playing", most of the morning with him was still spent working on dress up.

I cleaned up the kitchen when Maddox went down for his nap. Then I drug myself to the shower because I knew I had to be presentable for part of the day. The warm water and my laid back music felt oh so good. I brushed my teeth. I felt a smidgen more alive.

In what felt like 20 minutes, it was time to get Cody and Zackary from school. Cody was delayed and I had to fill the space with Zackary and Maddox in tow. We went to the library because Zackary wanted to get a book for another Scouting achievement he wants to work on. And we went to the Scout store to purchase a replacement badge that was lost after it had been ironed on. And finally, Cody was ready.

It was only 40 minutes past his normal pick-up time. We picked up Cody and then went to the dry cleaners to pick up a pillow that was probably ready for pickup on Tuesday. Maddox threw up all over this pillow last Saturday. It was brought in to the cleaners that same day, and then forgotten.

We got home and I felt as though all the life was sucked out of me like a black hole. Dinner was lame, just some reheated beans for bean burritos. I let the boys have a carpet picnic and eat their dinner while watching TV.
I would close my eyes for a few seconds at a time. Just long enough for the burn to reside. I had a hard time speaking clearly today or formulating thoughts. Making my body move was a chore. Getting the boys to bed on time was a joke at best. My lame mumbling of orders (Eat your dinner, brush your teeth, take a bath, go to bed ...) were hardly recognized.

And now, Cody has just finished his homework and gone to bed. That's my cue to take another shower and follow suit. The house isn't cleaned and nothing was accomplished today. I guess that's okay.