Friday, November 20, 2015

Cell Model

I was up at 4 am yesterday. Why?  Seventh grade Science, that’s why.  The Cell Model project.   It was spinning through my head all night and started chiming me awake well before my alarm sounded.  Eden had mentioned it last week, and I hadn’t heard another thing about it since.  A parent reminder email from the Science teacher  (God bless his dear soul) forced me to check the calendar and realize that it is due this Friday.

Our lives are so busy right now that planning ahead sounds like a nice idea, but every moment is chalk full of the stuff that a family of six and two working parents does.

So, instead of facing a stressful evening of last minute shopping-baking-clashing craziness that night, I hit WINCO before my early Yoga class **Namaste**  for various cell-appropriate edibles.  To get a jump start on the whole thing. 

(Note to future insomniac self:   5 am winco = no other people in sight. Consider future shopping at this time.)

A 5am grocery store run is one little act of love I can perform for my teenage daughter.  So much of her life does not involve me anymore, there are aspects of her social and school life that I will never know about, despite my carefully planned conversation starters.  But I know about the cell project, and I could tell she needed a little bit of help to get going.  I can do this part.  

(Kenneth was concerned about the accuracy of the mitochondria representation so he lent a hand)

I remember very clearly a night, years ago, when Eden was about 5 or 6.  I was on the computer and she was calling for me from bed to come tell her a story.    I am so glad that the memory I have is of me logging off the screen, and snuggling in with her to rehearse a familiar tale like I used to do.  Those days are gone now, and the memories I carry from them are priceless.

Maybe in a few years I will remember the night of the Cell Model project with some fondness and wish for the crazy days of business again. 


I love this girl.  

PS - During yoga someone emitted an audible fart.  It wasn’t me.  Phew. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Honestly I don't know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. 

Right now I'm just wishing I were back in Mexico with my sisters. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

As of now...

"What are we going to talk about when the kids are gone?"

"I guess we'll talk about when we are going to visit the kids."


Our lives right now are jam packed with kids activities, sports,  homework, counselling, parent teacher interviews, and hoping to fit a meal in there from time to time.

I don't hate my job anymore.  I don't love it either, but here are some things I like about being a Speech Language Pathologist in the schools, such as.....

- The kids.  Especially as mine get older, I love my younger clients.  Actually, I love all my clients.  Its really fun to get to know these developing people but not be entirely responsible for their success in life or at school, and also I don't have to make sure they eat and bathe and sleep.  Also, if they run out the door in frustration and angst, it's not really my problem.  I just call the principal.

- Meaningful progress seen when I work with someone.

- Communication is important to me.

- It's not boring (I would otherwise sit around the house eating crap and being depressed).

- Developing relationships with adults.  Because manohman, trying to make friends when you are 40 years old in a conservative community where conformity is valued above all... its tough.  And it has nothing to do with the chip on my shoulder.

- I make money.

- (but not that much money)

- Schedule works well with my family life

- Frequent days off

- Even though I don't love it, I know that I am good at it.  Its nice to know you're good at something instead of questioning every day why you are in this position and what the hell am I supposed to do next.

- In general I think its important that I have something in my life that does not involve my family, so my children can see that life does not revolve around them... also so they can learn that they can do things other than family life in their future.


Kenneth are I are in family counselling right now.  It is part of a program we are starting to help our son.  I am under no disillusioned view that it will fix everything, but I am hopeful that I can add a few more tools to my collection labeled "how to maintain grace and peace in the face of unpredictable turmoil".  

I have gained 10 lbs since I moved to Utah.  Probably due to this achilles injury that has kept me from running for a year now.  Also I am 40, and metabolism changes, so they say.  I am not sure how I feel about this.

But I know I am healthy.  I've been exercising regularly (cycling, yoga, swim) all year, and I eat pretty well, except when I don't.  I'm focusing mostly on being at peace in my body and celebrating the life I live in it rather than fixating on the extra weight.  Namaste.

However.  Another part of me things that something must be done.

Patience has suggested the "Fast Metabolism Diet."

We shall see.


Our littlest chicken has been laying the most beautiful blue eggs.  I can hardly bare to eat them, they are so lovely.  When those little hens cluck about the yard, it just makes me happy.

I miss my friend Wendy every day.  Sometimes we can chat on the phone, but its just not the same.  I miss her kids, who I love like I love my nieces and nephews, and I miss her back porch, her calmness, and her incredible cook book collection.


I am taking myself and my extra ten pounds to Mexico in a few weeks to spend time with my sisters and my Mom.  Its supposed to be a "Happy 40th Birthday to Me" trip.  I am looking forward to resting and playing.  I know I will wish my kids were there.  So cliche.


I can't wait for ski season.  I plan to attend the Sundance ward more frequently this year, now that the Sunbeams are no longer my responsibility.  I can't wait to sit on that lift and visit with my kids in the white majesty of the mountains.

I want to take the kids to Hawaii soon.  I have a friend from three lifetimes ago over there, we are great texting buddies and she always remembers my birthday.  As I get older, the friendships I've maintained across time and changes mean a lot to me.  And also the kids would love the beach there.  (another reason I should keep working$$).
I really miss my doctor.  I just can't bring myself to see a doctor here about the things I need to see a doctor for.  I never thought I had trust issues, but I think this is evidence that I have some work to do in this area.  Which means I would need a counselor.  Which means I would need a doctor to recommend one for me.  Also I need a mammogram.  Honestly... grow up.


Utah in the Fall is a gift.  Maybe I will post some photos, but I may end up leaving my camera in the bag and just soaking in the glory from my peaceful back yard.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

School Days

This year's school pictures are brought to you by the perfect afternoon shade on my front porch.  I will not be purchasing the school's version for 2015, for obvious reasons.  

Eden is in 7th grade.  She has weathered the treacherous storm of moving to a new school/neighborhood/community with grace.  And believe you me, it was a storm.  She is on the swim team this year (whether she likes it or not).  After several years of summer rec teams back in Colfax, she qualified for a year round team here.  

I realized I wanted my girls to be swimmers when I saw the body confidence of all shapes and sizes of swimming girls through the years on our little Colfax team.  It took me until I was over 35 years old to stop hugging my tummy and trying to cover my thighs at swimming pools.  Geez Louse.    

Eden loves to bake, she loves her friends and she loves to play with her sisters (even if she won't admit it).  I feel like I'm learning a little bit of what it means to be a Mom to a teenager.  This does not mean I am good at it.  

Oakley is still in school.  
I am hoping I can say this for the next seven years and have a successfully graduated, literate, non-addicted-to-meth young adult to present to the world.  Am I aiming too high?  

He too made the swim team, but his refusal to participate (probably due to lack of body fat and perpetual coldness) caused me to withdraw him... because $$$$.  He did volunteer this fact one day, "Mom, I think I want to run,"  So I gathered up all my Mom powers and got him signed up late onto a community center cross country team.  He is participating nicely and eats a big meal on the days he runs.  
I had a piece of insight the other day when I was watching him run... "let him tell you what he needs."  And I had to whisper a gentle amen.  My exile from Sunbeams has reminded me that our soul knows what we need, even if others think they know best.  

Perhaps I can trust his little big soul to give me some insight from time to time.  

Ivy's second year in the Portuguese program is coming along.  
I wish I could say she is fluent, or that she can read well, but some things take longer for certain children, and I don't fret for her like I do for my son. 
She is happy, well behaved, and so sparkly.  
She and Georgia are two peas in a pod.  I try not to let them dress the same, so people can tell them apart.  After we put them to bed there is generally a period of time that involves giggles, playing, bed switching and general silliness.  We call it bedtime recess.  

She is also on the swim team, and will be skiing up a storm this winter.    I am not sure that African hair was designed to be in the pool every day, but her little African body sure was.  She also enjoys gymnastics and reading with Mom on the couch.  She doesn't know this is more enjoyable for her Mom than for her.  

Georgia is taking first grade by storm.  She's doing well in Portuguese and I worry that she is bored in her English class.  I wish they would teach to the higher level kids too... I am not sure how to address this at school since my others require so much help at the other end of the spectrum.  I think she will do well with Portuguese.  To be honest, I still wish she were in a Spanish program, however, I would have to drive her to one of those, and she can walk herself to school with her sister for Portuguese.  So, there you have it.  

Georgia is our last little swimmer, and I hope I can get her to stick with it.  She is also very flippy and bendy, and it was probably her strong insistence that led me to sign her and Ivy up for gymnastics in the first place.    I am not sure where she got her strong personality from.  Weird. 

I can't believe my baby is in grade 1.  When Eden was this age I saw her as so grown up, such a 'big girl".  But this little one is still a baby in my eyes.    And this, perhaps, is the most cliche thing I have ever written on this blog. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

On a Roll...

We are soaking up the last bits of summer with all of our might.  I have to admit, I am a little tired of 100 degree weather at the end of September, I could use a good cold snap, some chili and home made bread (hopefully this happens on a Monday because its my only day off work.  Otherwise, It will just be mac n cheese and call it good.)

I want to soak up every little bit of joy that these kids of mine and keep it in my heart forever.  And yes.  I am claiming my nieces as my own, I feel like there are enough of their pee pee panties around my house that I have the right to do this.

Oh, how I love living close to my sister. 

And where? do you ask.... Where is Oakley?

He was there, and then he disappeared.  When it was time to go, Kenneth went on the routine Its-Time-To-Go-Now-I-Have-To-Find-My-Son-I-Hope-He-Is-Not-Abducted search and eventually he emerged from the forest, where Oakley had joined a Mexican family for a bit.

"How did you even know what they were saying?" I asked.

"Mom!  Some of the little ones were translators."

Of course.  

Jesus Wants Me For A SunBeam

We grew mammoth sunflowers in the garden this year, among other things.  They have been harvested now, and I left their seed laiden heads on the back deck to dry.  Now there are various birds, including a mountain blue bird and quail who throw caution to the wind and venture up to partake of the goodness nature provided.  It makes my heart happy.

I am broken- hearted about being released from my calling as a Sunbeam teacher.  Those little people taught me about vulnerability, kindness, forgiveness, goodness, friendship, the joy of learning and the importance of always singing at the top of your lungs.   I tried to stay on as their teacher, but the Men in Suits wouldn't listen.  Apparently they know me better than I know myself, and they know that God wants me to sit in front of a computer arranging the  Visiting Teacher schedules for 300 women who I don't know instead.    It feels a little bit like I am being forced to face the fact that I want to be done with the whole thing so badly.

But I just can't.

It was easier to hide from that with the Sunbeams, since what I know and love about the Savior is in every nook and cranny of a Sunbeam room.

The Relief Society President said she loves my testimony and that the ladies in RS could really benefit from my point of view.  To which I wish I could say... I have BEEN in Relief Society.  And guess what happens when I say what is in my heart.... People sigh and roll their eyes, they unfriend me on Facebook and become super sappy sweet when they happen to run into me in public.  The Sisters of Relief, generally, do not want to hear what I have to say.  There are a few exceptions, this is true, and often a life life for me.  But for the most part...

So today, on my first day back in Relief Society, I did not say one thing.  The lesson was about the evil and wicked world we live in and how if we all just push forward through the stress and chaos and horrible life ahead of us that one day, some day in the distant future, we will earn a great reward.

And I remember when I used to believe this too... that I just had to white knuckle my way on the iron rod until the end when I maybe, just maybe MIGHT get the big Celestial trophy, if I have worked hard enough and fought long enough.  Maybe.

But how exhausting this is.

I wanted so badly to say that I am saved by grace here and now.  I am perfected.  The grace of God is evident in every piece of life around me.  The grace of God perfects the life around me, just as it is.  And the very best thing that has ever happened to me is to stop being disappointed because things are not how I thought they were SUPPOSED to be, and embracing the beauty of how they are.

Even in the hard bits of life.  Even when I know that praying for what I think I wanted isn't going to work.... but that this moment here and now... this is heaven.  The hard moments, maybe especially.  They are beautiful too, and me being present in the midst of it, this is a gift.  The hard things in life can be just as much a grace as the good ones.

Right Oakley?

I wanted to say that the great reward is being present, mindful and just okay in this very moment I have been given, and that turning to the Savior makes this possible for me every day.  I did not say any of that.  I just sat there, holding onto the list of  300 sisters I don't know.

I suppose I could get to  know them.  And probably learn to love them.

But it will not be easy like it was with the Sunbeams... and honestly, I am just scared.

Because they eye rolls, the sighs, the super sappy fakeness.... it really just means one thing.

You don't belong here.

And I don't know where else to go.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The National Potties

Washington DC National Mall sports a variety of rest room facilities.

It is, of course, impossible to see them all in one trip, but my children showed dedication in trying to attain this goal.

The potty at the Jefferson Memorial is located conveniently in the basement.  After a lovely paddle boat ride with the family, the need to pee can be overwhelming.  Just a quick jaunt around the pond, past the iconic Jefferson and his wise words immortalized in marble, and then down the stairs.  The floor of the bathroom down there is a checkered black and white that could leave you dizzy if you were intent on staring at it and spinning in circles.  Right across from the bathroom is the gift shop, along with a nice chronological history of Jefferson's contributions.  Great job, Jefferson Monument, on a top notch rest room experience.


("Mommy, if he was such a great guy why did he keep Black people as slaves?)

There are no potties on the buses.  There is internet connection, and a place to re charge your smart phone/camera during your trip around the mall, but NO bathroom.  In addition, do not ask to use the bathroom on the exclusive White House Tour.  It is not permitted, neither is flash photography or water or snacks.  Just in case you have signed up for the 7:30 am tour of the White House and you find yourself in need of a bathroom STAT, there is a swanky hotel a few steps away that will let you use their fancy bathrooms in a fix.

My favorite place on the DC mall is the National Gallery of Art.  Actually, my favorite place in any given city is likely their art museum.  Anyway.  After a very long trek from the other end of the world (the Lincoln Memorial), which included a $3 coke per person so as to ensure adequate energy to continue the activity, I was very excited to show my girls some pieces from the artists I have taught them about.  It is really nice of the art gallery to place replications of famous works in the corridor to the bathroom here.  This way, when you miss seeing the actual paintings because of multiple bathroom trips and time constraints, you can appreciate that you COULD have seen them the seven different times you march to the bathroom for various bladders the size of a bean.  I have no one else to blame but myself.  It was the Cokes.

We did get to see some actual originals, though, and I beamed when they could remember some of the artists.


The best place to use the bathroom by far is the bathroom located just beside the Washington Memorial.  After throwing  a major fit on the top level of the tower (causing your Mother to experience a new degree of panic, frustration and helplessness.... note to self, never take multiple children up there again without a husband), its a good idea to insist on going to the bathroom.  Then, right as you get into the stall, be sure to pee and poop yourself.  Right there. While standing beside the potty.  Inside which you COULD have deposited the pee and poop trickling down your leg.   The fact that there was a line up of 20 odd females trying to use the bathroom is no bother, just monopolize the stall with the remaining of your fit for the next 20 minutes.  If, by chance, you are an employee of the National Parks responsible for cleaning the bathroom, I apologize for the especially stinky garbage.  I just threw the panties away and she had to go commando for the rest of the day.  Because what else does one do?  Being that the child in question was 8 years old, it is understanding that I would find myself unprepared emotionally, and practically, for such a scenario.  But being a parent is never that predictable, is it?

The potty in the American History Museum is hidden in the basement, which my lead you to believe that you are missing more amazing exhibits, but guess what!  JULIA CHILD, that's what.  Her actual home kitchen is right down there for your oogling pleasure, along with a lovely little video of her preparing a suckling pig.

I am proud to say that I can report nothing of the rest rooms in the Metro.  Because AS IF I WOULD EVER ALLOW MY CHILDREN TO ENTER THE REST ROOM DOWN IN THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH THAT EVERY HOMELESS PERSON IN DC CAN POOP IN.  Nope.  Sorry kids you are holding it for a LONG train ride, and stop whining because you will thank me when you are 25 and do not have hepatitis.

There are, however, plenty of really great potties at the National Zoo.  An by the way, cheap souvenir t shirts do not breathe very well, so think twice before wearing them on an all day trip into the sun.  the misters at the zoo were very helpful.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

.....tap tap....this thing on?

There were a few moments yesterday, and possibly the day before, when I felt a great clarity.  An appreciation for each of my children came to me, a gratitude for who they are, on their own, and a deep love for the moment I am in with them right now.

This will not last, I know.  For Friday was the last day of school, and summer vacation kicks my ass every single year.  And with the increased HOT AS HELL factor of the Wasatch front, well, who's to say what could happen with my delicate temperament.

The prayer I have in my heart is that I can remember the impressions from yesterday.  That I can be at peace with who each of my children is.  That I can be at peace with where I am in my journey.  In this moment.  And let the rest go.

Kenneth took me on a surprise hike last week, to the infamous G spot of Utah.  (I wonder if I am the only person who calls it that.  But honestly, if I am the only one, then what is wrong with people?  Its hilarious.  The mythical G spot can be found smack dab in the middle of Utah County.  Who knew).   The night was beautiful, and the escape into nature is something I always need.  Kenneth and I had been on a downhill slope for almost three weeks, and it was only getting worse.  He told me "I started to think that if I can't give you what you need you're going to go looking for it somewhere else" . So he surprised me with a date up in the mountains, away from the business and crowds that I still can't get used to.  It was silly and romantic and just the perfect thing to re connect.

Our 16th anniversary the next weekend was consumed by Father Son Campout, a race for Eden (I'd like to bear my testimony that I know the Girls on the Run program is true) , soccer games, preparing for my last work trip, trying to get ready for the remodel demolition  (!!!!), and coordinating schedules for the first week of summer.  Our 16th anniversary was consumed by basic life together, life with four kids, life with projects and plans.  And how funny that he would think I would go elsewhere for my needs.... when half the time I'm not even sure what I need, except to perhaps including wine in my nightly routine.  Ha.  But being consumed with LIFE while having Kenneth at my side is exactly where I want to be.   And also a lot more hikes together.  

Around the end of March I think the deep depression I felt since moving to Utah started to break.  I finally confided in Kenneth how bad things were for me, and the thoughts that circled again and again in my brain were overwhelming me.   It scared him enough that he immediately went downstairs and dismantled all guns in our safe.  This does not sound at all funny, it is scary and why didn't I go for help?  I'll tell you why.  Number One:  Trusting doctors is hard for me, and mental health issues are so complicated, I did not have anyone I could trust and I could not bare to start from the beginning again with some random dude.  Number Two:   Because the drugs they give for things like that take away my opportunity to enjoy sex, and if there is one joy in my life that I do not want to give up, it's knowing that part of me. Sexuality is a powerful force, and I have been without it before and felt dead.

So I guess I just yoga'd my way out of it (which means maybe I was not really that sick in the first place?).  I had to choose yoga since I can't run STILL (akilles tendon has done me in).  Imagine.  Such a major life change and NO RUNNING.  Perhaps this is why the depression lingered for so long.    

I think that Sundance Ski Resort saved my family.  It helped us through this transition into Utah.  The peaks of the mountains became familiar beacons of refuge, and riding up the lift with my children gave me quality time with them that some of the older ones avoid these days.  I think the move has been the hardest on my Eden, who tried so very hard to fit in.  Such a painful age.  And the girls she most wanted to be friends with ended up being the meanest there were.  You know, the kind who are generally nice and all smiles around you, but who exclude you and know they are better than you, the passive aggressive MEAN GIRLS of box office fame.  Anyway.  It has been a painful year for my oldest child, and my heart has ached for her, knowing I can't fix things .  But riding up that ski lift and just being together now and then, I am hoping it helped.  My favorite time to go up was on Sunday afternoons, and Mormon rules be dammed, I swear those were the most peaceful, happy, bonding days we had together as a family.  God's power is in the trees, in the mountains, in the fresh fallen snow, the crisp blue sky, and in the joy of my Littles who went from crying and wailing at the sight of the mountain to speeding down all pell nell, screaming with excitement by the end of the season.  God's power was present in the hours my otherwise lost Oakley spent exploring the mountain side, breaking new ski trails through the trees and working his body to near exhaustion.  This is where God's power is, and this is why I will continue to ski with my family on Sunday for the rest of eternity (or at least for as long as we live 30 minutes from a lovely mountain spot called Sundance).

Oh, and the other thing... my nieces.  Little Dixie and Lucy who come to our Mountain Home (We might actually name our lovely little Lindon property, which is super cliche..... Mountain Home, Quail Run.  Which sounds better?) and play Wild Girls amid the weeds and overgrown bushes of our back yard.  My Littles have developed sister-cousin bonds with these girls and I love them a million times over.  Eve, my little sister who I learn from constantly, has been gracious, kind and understanding in these months of transition.  Taking me to classes with her, letting me hitch hike on her friendships and hang out on her front lawn or couch whenever I felt the need.  She and Sean have shared parenting with us, trusted us with their girlees, and helped with kid pick-ups and transfers so that I could continue to work.  Being near family, being near my a wonderful gift... I still can't believe it's actually my gift to open!

These moments of my life are all precious to me.  I feel enveloped by love and kindness, and I feel greater peace than I have in many years.  It's amazing to me that the more I learn to trust myself, the less my life looks like what I thought it was SUPPOSED to be, but the more happiness I feel at what its turning out to be.  

I want this summer to be less anxiety and more embracing.  I want to remember what I felt yesterday doing the day to day busy LIFE things that can not be avoided.  I want to be kind.  I want gentleness to come first.  I want to love my new home, for it is part of the moment I am in. And this moment is really all I have.