Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paddleboats, Pinterest, Parenting, and Disappointment

It's been a busy last few (six) days.

I skipped the playdate last week ... Mom came up and we went out to McDonald's (the kids love it!) ... Bucket ate a salad instead of getting a kids' meal. Her choice. And they all loved playing at the PlayPlace.
We also went to Wal-Mart and got ice cream.

Thursday was a special bank day -- the kids get certain "dollars" for deposits into their savings account to buy some toys/things. And, once a year, there's a day that the toys are on a sale and all the kids who go to the bank get a goodie bag. ... And this was the first year we made it. Bruise got a light-wand (which Bubbles tripped while holding, so that didn't last too long) and a flashlight. Bucket got one of those little purses with a fake dog in it. Bubbles got a little white stuffed doggie and a light-up tambourine.

I also tried to be a good granddaughter and called my Nana. She really can't hear well over the phone, which is unfortunate ... but she did enjoy the fact that I called.

Friday, after we worked at cleaning up a bit, after Michael got home from work, we went to the local play-pool ... and played for a couple hours. Bruise and Bucket went down the huge waterslide a few times. Bubbles got to work on her swimming, since she wasn't wild about climbing on the kids' structure or the little waterslide.
Then she napped HARD at home ... about 4PM until about 10PM ... So we made sure she ate dinner. Then she and I watched cat videos on YouTube for about an hour and I put her back to bed for the night.

Saturday, we were pretty busy. Went to a few stores. Michael helped a family move in. Took the kids to the mall's kids' club (petting zoo, bubbles, painting, sidewalk chalk, and prizes this time. Bruise chose a Hot Wheels car. Bucket opted for little bracelets (which broke within an hour, really), and Bubbles got a little Winnie-the-Pooh puzzle). We took the kids to the paddleboats. Michael went with all three kids while I took pictures from the shore.
I was chatting with another gal. Who mentioned her father's name ... turns out she's the daughter of one of my stepdad's good friends from when my stepdad lived up here. So, we chatted about family (I went to the same ward as her younger brother) ... we're friends on Facebook now. She's a lovely person (I knew ABOUT her for years before we ran into each other. Everyone loves her. As they should).

Then we all went to Costco and to our ward (congregation) BBQ social.
We got home late ... the kids were in bed nearly two hours after their bedtime.
Michael and I watched an episode of Portlandia and soaked our feet.

Sunday started out pretty well. I didn't yell TERRIBLY much. *sigh*
But I also did totally lose track of time while checking my email then starting to read the lessons for Sunday School and Relief Society. Oops.
We were ALMOST late. We left twenty minutes later than I usually do ... but we were still there before the opening prayer. Which tells you how terminally early I am for church on a regular basis. Heh heh heh.

Monday, the missionaries (we have sisters in our ward right now) came over to do laundry. The kids and I had worked to keep the house clean. It worked. (Especially after all the work we did to clean the front rooms before my Visiting Teachers came over Sunday afternoon.)
Good times. We have three great sisters serving in our ward. And it's really nice for Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles to develop friendships with them and to help serve them.

Mom called, telling me that it didn't look like she could come up this week ... which is doubly sad, since it'd be her birthday, too. So I called my Aunt J so she knew that the trip probably wasn't happening.

It's even sadder when your mom is trying not to cry over the phone. Poor mom. :(

Last night (being EARLY Tuesday morning, I wake up to the home phone ringing.
It's my stepdad. He's not speaking very clearly ... something about "hospital."

I'm awake and it's not even 2AM. I debate on what to do.
I call his cell phone, since he's obviously awake.
He tells me, slurring a little (he takes some strong meds), that he's fallen out of bed and has "broken his hip." Could I call Mom (in the bedroom next to his) and have her take him to the ER?
I tell him that I will. And that, if the paramedics DO end up coming, they'll have to break down a door, since he locks the doors.

So, I call Mom's cell ... she's asleep and doesn't answer (or her cell isn't in her bedroom ... they used to have working home phones, but my stepdad keeps saying that he'll fix the phone line ... and he hasn't. It's been a few months now).

So, I leave a voicemail on her phone, letting her know what's going on. And that I hope C hasn't really broken his hip. And that I hope it's really nothing, he gets back in bed, and she has a happy (relaxing) birthday.

I call HIS phone back ... which he doesn't answer ... which tells me that his hip is probably NOT broken, since you can't sleep through pain like that that quickly.

Well, about ten minutes later (I find out LATER), she checks on him ... and takes him to Emergency where he's adamant that he's broken his back. (He hasn't. Not even a fracture.) But the workers there couldn't understand him (slurring/garbled), but when Mom mentioned that he has been diagnosed with dementia, they're all, "Oh!! Yeah, that explains that. Since a fall off the bed wouldn't affect his speech like that."

So, Mom called at 6AM (probably when they got home from the ER) to explain and apologize. Apparently, he's done this to his kids. And he told Mom that she left him lying on the floor (screaming and calling) for hours. (Really, MAYBE 30 minutes. And he THINKS he's being loud, but is mumbling). So, yeah.

So, I had inspiration while in the shower. I called the local florist down there and had some flowers sent over for Mom's birthday. And then I helped do a kiva.org loan (An Ecuadorian gal now has that last bit of funding to start growing soybeans and corn).

Took that kids to their last swim lesson. Bubbles and I swam for a little over an hour, too.

And now I'm tired.
And still a bit bummed for my mom.
But ... oh well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some food for thought

I found a link to this article via a Facebook group that I've joined (Discussions on LDS Doctrine) ... and I found it interesting/enlightening/comforting:

Suicide: Some Things We Do Know, and Some Things We Do Not - Elder M. Russell Ballard (The Ensign, October 1987): https://www.lds.org/ensign/1987/10/suicide-some-things-we-know-and-some-we-do-not?lang=eng

In this article, Elder Ballad talks with compassion of what has been revealed to us, modern prophetic counsel, and the knowledge that we have not yet received.

As I posted yesterday, the Gospel gives me hope.
I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us better than we know ourselves.
He knows each of us by name. He knows our trials. He knows our potential. He understands us.
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we all have hope. We have the ability to repent and to progress toward becoming more like Him and our Heavenly Parents.

Suicide is not a good thing. It's ending a life, stopping one's progress.
But, sometimes one's journey has gotten to the point where it seems the only possible option.
Heavenly Father will take that into account.

But we would all rather that, if you're at the end of your rope, you survive.
Get help. Talk to someone. Check into the hospital.

You may think that it's the most merciful act left to you, to protect/ease your family and friends.
It isn't.
They will suffer, too. Even more. Because they'll worry for you more. They'll blame themselves for not being aware/able to stop it.
Every second longer you stay here is another second that they have with you. And that time is precious. It's another opportunity for them to express their love, another opportunity for them to help.

And, if you're around people that are not helping, please, please call someone.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or IMALIVE chatline are available 24/7.

Because you (yes, YOU) are precious.
You are strong.
And, even though it is hard now, we do believe in you.
Please give us the opportunity to try to help. To ease your burdens. To drown out your demons with our love for you.

We're all in this life together.
If we fail to help you, we are all the weaker for it.
It's better to be strong together.

And, even if one's life is ended (through accident, murder, or suicide), we can have hope through Christ's Atonement. Things will be made right. It won't always be easy. But things WILL get better. We will have JOY. But we have to muddle through, somehow.

And it's better to muddle through together, to share our strength and love and humor.

So ... yeah. If you're reading this, I just want you to KNOW some things:

  • You are special. No one can replace you.
  • You are loved. It might not always feel like it, but be assured that you are.
  • You are important. You ARE brave enough, strong enough, smart enough.
  • The world is a better place for your existence here.
  • Depression is treatable. Suicidal thoughts aren't the only fix. People want to help.
Just, please, remember those things. Terrible times will not and cannot last forever.

And it might be selfish of ME to ask you to survive just a little longer ... but it's because I care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And then I disappear for a month ...

I do have some excuses ... sinus infection ... then an ear infection bad enough to send me to the doctor's (twice!) ... but I keep meaning to post something ... and then I don't.

So, what's happened for the past month (and a half)?

Well, forefront on my mind is the fact that Robin Williams has passed ... it seems that he committed suicide.
And ... it makes me so morose.
Michael stated, "It makes no logical sense for him to be depressed." (Since he was a comedian and such a wonderful person, working to help others to smile, you see.)

Whereas, I differ in opinion ... I think that only someone well-versed in sorrow would appreciate laughter as much as Robin Williams did. And part of me wonders, "If only ..."
If only he had Home Teachers or just a friend who saw/sensed past his cheerful facade ...
If only we didn't make mental health such a forbidden/"shameful" topic ...
If only ...

But, as sad as this is, I do know that we have a loving and merciful Heavenly Father.
He knows all ... and will take this knowledge and understanding into account.

And the Church Handbook of Instructions (vol 2) says this:
"It is wrong to take a life, including one’s own. However, a person who commits suicide may not be responsible for his or her acts. Only God can judge such a matter." (21.4.14)

Which, in comparison to some religious tenets (e.g., all suicides are damned), gives me hope. A lot of hope for this poor man who lost his joy.

My heart hurts for how sad he must have been, how alone he felt, to decide that not living was his best possible choice.
And my heart hurts for his family and friends ... and all of us who love and respect him.
(Yes, even myself.)

Things like this make me wonder what else I could/should be doing to help people around me ... people that I might actually have contact with ... to be aware that someone cares, that they matter, that there is help, that they are loved and valued and that things (no matter how dark it seems presently) WILL get better ... and that people WANT to help.

I'm powerless in some situations (like never having even MET Mr. Williams, so it's not like I could just call him up and invite him over for cheesecake or something) ... but there has to be something that I'm not aware of that I CAN do.

Even if it's just to hug my kids a little bit longer/tighter.
Or to smile at a stranger.

There has to be something.


Okay, that's probably enough introspection. If I continue on like that, you'll start to wonder who that is and what they've done with the regular shallow-ish, often sarcastic, weirdo that you've come to know and (I can hope) love.

So, what all have we done since I last posted? 
(A lot)
(Too much. I'll sum up.)
  • The kids had fun with their soccer academy ... late evenings for us all. But they learned a lot and developed some good skills.
    Their head coach had an accent. Maybe Scottish? And he'd call them "cheeky monkeys."
    Bucket was (80% of the time) the only girl. Usually there were maybe four kids, so they all got a lot of one-on-one coaching.
    Bucket has a good instinct for strategy. Bruise is fearless and doesn't hesitate in going after the ball.
    Bubbles really likes vending machines.
  • Whereas most Cub Scouts activities have been put on hiatus for the summer, Bucket still has Activity Days (which she loves). 
  • Bruise had Day Camp (Cub Scouts) ... during the week where I had my ear infection. So, I didn't help carpool or anything. In fact, a couple days, people came to our place to pick him up and drop him off. I felt like a goober, being so helpless ... but I really do appreciate the service that people were eager to extend. (I love my ward family. They're awesome.)
    He had a great time. I'm glad that he was able to go.
  • We've been feeding our missionaries more often. (Doesn't hurt that they come over on P-day to do laundry.) It's nice to know them so well. We chat a lot and make jokes and have fun. And I'm getting better and better at making vegetarian dishes (One of the sisters here can't digest meat. The sister she "replaced" couldn't eat meat or gluten. The one before her with food restrictions was gluten-intolerant ... It's been interesting, but has helped me learn some fun dishes ... or helped me realize some dishes that I make on a semi-regular basis that work for all these things.)
    It's nice that I have a standing future-plans date for AT LEAST one of these sisters to come back and visit ... and we'll have a movie night. I like things to look forward to.
  • The kids had their dental work done. Bucket's front tooth has a filling to replace the part that chipped. (We had tried gluing it. By "we," I mean the dentist. It lasted maybe four hours. ... This should last around a decade or more, if she takes care of it.) Bruise had a filling.
  • The kids have had private swimming lessons with Bob. He's our favorite swim coach. The kids have made progress. I don't know if they're ready yet to swim in the deep end, but they're doing so much better than at the start of the summer. And, since we have punch cards now, we have an excuse to go to the pool every so often, right?
  • My Roxy-sis came down to spend the day a few weeks ago.
    (The day after Bucket sprained her toe ... Well, it's what you get if you run in the house and smash it against the couch AFTER your mom and dad BOTH tell you to STOP RUNNING IN THE HOUSE.) After taping up Bucket's toe, we took Auntie Roxy to lunch (Thai food, yum) and then downtown to look around. We went to the tea shop and then to the carousel museum. Then we went back to the house to cool down (it was crazy-hot).
  • We've done some fun things with the town's summer passport kids' program. We tie-dyed (Bruise did a big scarf/cape. Bucket did an infinity scarf. I did a bag for Bubbles ... and "fixed" a pair of her leggings that had gotten stained.) We also went to a pizza dinner.
  • I got Freyja-cat some medicine (kitty Prozac and flea treatment). Good stuff.
  • We went to a movie at the park ... It was fun to see The LEGO Movie again on a big screen. We also liked watching so many bats flittering and soaring above us.
  • We cleaned the church one weekend.
  • I shared some Shanna Swendson books with a friend.
  • We saw a local production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."
  • The kids got to go to a friend's baptism.
  • Michael and Bruise went camping with Uncle C (Michael's brother), Cousin C, and Dad C ... they had lots of fun at a lakeside campground. C (Uncle) was the only one to catch a fish ... and that one was maybe four inches long.
    The big excitement was when Bruise reached out too far while Dad C was appreciating nature (and wasn't paying attention to Bruise for that ONE second), and their canoe went over in the middle of the lake.
    Everyone was fine. (Uncle) C found it hilarious. Dad and Bruise were wet, but safe. Dad swam the canoe to shore. Bruise got a ride back with C and C in the other canoe. Michael was there at the shore for them (He had been at the campsite, but felt that something was wrong and raced back to the lake just in time to watch the canoe tip over.)
  • While all that was going on, Bucket, Bubbles, and I spent the night at Grandma (Mom C)'s for a girls-night-in. Aunt A (my sister-in-law-in-law, since we married brothers, you see) and her girls B and I and H all came, too. (A had to leave early since she had to work, though).
    My girls and I helped Mom C bake cookies. After the other girls came, they all colored plates for a Pinterest project (Spoiler: It didn't quite work). We ate dinner, painted our nails, watched Penelope (Which Bucket impressed me ... she described it about five minutes in as "It's like Beauty and the Beast, but the girl's the beast." ... And she's really right.)
    Bubbles fell asleep, so I took her to bed (where she kicked me about once an hour and rolled off the bed once) while the other girls watched The Neverending Story.
    I also flooded Grandma's (Great-grandma's) bathroom. I flushed the toilet and water just KEPT COMING. And I couldn't find the spigot to turn it off. So I lean out the bathroom door and call out, "MOM?? I need HELP."  ... She thought that I had somehow managed to hurt myself. No, not this time. But she turned off the water, I got a plunger from another bathroom, and we got things mopped up and taken care of. (NO, GUYS. It was JUST PEE.) She assured me that that toilet randomly does that.
    We baked a tie-dye cake in the morning. Turned out pretty well.
  • By the time we all got home, Michael and I were pretty bushed. We got the kids showered/bathed and fed. We got ourselves showered (and Michael got a haircut). We ate dinner, got the kids into bed, and went to bed early.
  • Bruise and Bucket have both given talks in Primary at church.
  • We went to the bank today to put the contents of the kids' piggy banks into their accounts.
  • I've done some Visiting Teaching ... in fact, I've done my August VT already (the formal visits/contacts) ... so I just need to keep in touch so that I can be aware of any needs. Phew.
And that really brings us up to today.

I could tell you all about my ear infection. I can mostly hear out of my left ear. It's just muffled/clogged-feeling. But I ended up on Vicodin, ear drops, and oral antibiotics. When I do something, I don't do it halfway, do I?

The kids and I are reading through the "About Animals" volume of Childcraft. (We've done The Plant Kingdom earlier this summer, then Princess Academy.)

I had a couple weeks where I read books ... it was really nice. I should start that back up.

I finally got my accounts (through FamilySearch) to MyHeritage, FindMyPast, and Ancestry.com.
Kind of obsess with Ancestry.com. Loving my membership with it.

Bubbles is talking lots more. "Amma's ouse"/("Grandma's House") is a new one. As well as "Iggy Ank"/("Piggy bank"). It's pretty cute.
She also has been sucking her thumb WAY too much ... the skin was starting to slough off ... so we've been putting some ointment on it. It's looking much better.

And I think that's most things. Hopefully.

If I've forgotten something, maybe someone will remind me. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

It's been WEEKS already?? Whoops!

Whoops! It's been ... almost a whole month since I last let you know that ... I'm alive and all.
My abject apologies.

Where did I leave off? June 12th?

Okay ... here's the recap:

  • I donated blood. And I can take a little pride in the fact that I'm a FAST bleeder. Yeah, go me, right?
    Michael took off from work early so that he could make it to the blood drive, too.
    At first, he was going to swing by and pick up the kids, take them home, and I'd come home asap so he could run back to the church and donate blood.
    We decided to take a risk and have him stay. The kids would ride home with him, in his pretty work truck (He finally got it! And it's PRETTY. Everyone's all, "Oh! You got a new truck!" and we have to correct them that, no, it's not really OURS; it belongs to his office, but he gets to drive it around. (I do not get to drive it around. Which really does not break my heart too much. It's HUGE. Even with the back-up camera, I'm nervous enough driving as is.)
    The kids were getting terribly ansty ... so, once I made sure that I wasn't going to have a drop in blood pressure (where I get all clammy and pass out. It's happened before. Fun times. NOT.), I schlepped them home with VERY STRONG PHRASING of how I expect them to behave. Michael got home a bit later. 
  • Also, Bruise earned his Wolf Badge and his Gold Arrow Point for Scouting. And I've gotten those badges (and his badge for the pinewood derby) sewn onto his shirt. The embroidery hoop I bought at Hobby Lobby made this SO FLIPPING MUCH EASIER.
  • My mom spent the night a few weeks ago. Michael and I had a Stake Temple trip that we wanted to attend. We got to do an endowment session and then a chapel session (I love those chapel meetings. They make me happy. It's great to get insights from the Temple President).
  • We've started our town's "Passport Program" for the summer (Kids get a "passport" and they can earn a stamp at each participating business/attraction [like a wetland park or a historic site]). Most things are downtown, but some are out a bit [e.g., the mill]. And each stamp is an entry into a drawing at the end of the summer). It's fun. 
  • Then we had Fathers' Day ... I got Michael a shaving stuff kit. The kids (with my mom's help) got him bags of snacks (decorated with construction-paper ties) and a framed picture of them (they decorated the frame) for display at work. We also had a BBQ over at Michael's folks' place.
  • Then we had the last week of school -- there was an assembly, which the kids barely let me know about (they were recognized for good behavior and good attendance -- earned themselves each a school t-shirt!), and a "fun day" at school, which had Bruise return home with a slight sunburn across his nose (Whoops, bad mom, forgetting sunscreen!).
  • Bucket chipped a tooth (front, yes, it's a permanent tooth), playing peek-a-boo before Activity Days. It'll get fixed (permanently, mostly) on this coming Friday.
  • We took the kids to the mill for a picnic (and a tour). They had fun grinding wheat. We were quite spoiled by our tour guide. We even got to feed ducks, chickens, and turkeys at the end.
  • The missionaries for our ward (sisters missionaries) spent a day over here so they could get their laundry done. It was pretty fun. One of them is, for all purposes, my long-lost little sister ... if I had a little sister into K-Pop that I was ever aware of. We have fun together.
  • The kids had a six-month dental check-up. Bucket needs to go back and get her tooth chip fix. Bruise has a small cavity (we need to work on flossing better). Bubbles HATES having anyone put their hands in her mouth ... but she's looking good!
  • We've been trying to make it to most of the ward playdates (a gal at church created a little schedule for the summer. And it's been fun. Bruise and Bucket are the oldest kids going, but since we're meeting at parks or a splash pad, they have a good time, too).
  • Our Summer Reading Program featured a storytime by a recently-retired children's librarian that we LOVE (and have desperately missed). It was lots of fun.
  • We headed down to visit my side of the family. We stopped by Michael's work and then a children's museum (he dropped us off, since I'm not allowed to drive the work truck ... and he had an errand to run) and then headed down to visit my Dad and L, then my Nana (and uncle and aunt that she's living with), and Mom and C.
  • Then back for church on Sunday.
  • The kids played outside Monday morning. I needed to run to the store (where, in line, I noticed something in Bucket's hair ... lice. AGAIN).
    Turns out that both the older kids had head lice. We treated it and haven't seen ANYTHING since.
    So I'm totally a fan of LiceFreee! ... Yeah, I'm a convert. Saw it randomly at Wal-Mart when I was getting stuff the LAST time the kids had lice. Didn't use it then ... but tried it this time (since it was what I had on hand). It's gentler on the kids' heads; you can use/redo it as often as you like; the lice don't evolve an immunity to it; and it smells PRETTY DANG GOOD (like anise/black licorice).
  • Since it's been nearly a week without seeing a single louse or egg, I'm STARTING to get over the psychosomatic itching. STARTING to.
  • Bruise and Bucket started swimming lessons with Bob, their absolute favorite instructor. This is the first time that we're doing private swimming lessons. There was noticeable improvement just in their first lesson. I'm eager to see how they improve from this next lesson.
And, well, that should get us just about all caught up.
Michael reported to me that our new(er) vacuum has stopped working. Boo on that. Good thing we hadn't gotten rid of our older vacuum (wedding present from my Nana), so the house looks really nice.

I'm still working on my Rosetta Stone (Spanish), Memrise and Duolingo (Spanish, German, and French). Michael tells me that I should practice my French on folks in the ward (congregation) ... and Iwas slightly incredulous/sarcastic.
"What, you think I should go up to someone and be all, 'He is eating a black apple.', ;You are big and strong.' ... They're going to be all, 'Are you calling me fat?'"

But, I'll admit that my German skills are getting better (that Dative case, though. It's my nemesis) and I'm getting much better at reading/writing in Spanish and French. I still leave TONS of room for improvement, but I'm growing.

Bubbles is using her words a lot more. Which is nice.
She's also throwing EPIC, screaming tantrums. And biting. Both of which I will not be at all sorry when she gets over these stepping stones to big-kid-dom.
We need to get back into practice for potty-training. Wish me luck on that.

Michael and my tablets are now upgraded to Android KitKat.
We had to replace some of out shortcuts on the screen ... besides that, it's quite nice.
And my phone FREAKED ME OUT this morning ... couldn't recognize the SD card.
Just had to restart and it was all fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiine.
Thank goodness.

And we upgraded our phone account a bit ... we now have Caller ID on our landline, which is VERY nice.
Now I can avoid scammers and all those surveys. And I can return people's calls easily when they call that number.
AND our internet is about 4 times faster. Yaaaaaaas, I like that. A lot.
(Sure made downloading the KitKat update [619 MB] a LOT faster.)

We had a nice Independence Day. It was low-key. We hung around town, went for a walk through the wetlands park (saw a garter snake, lots of bullfrogs, a blue heron, some turtles, tons of ducks and ducklings, bunches of dragonflies, a couple caterpillars, a cute spider [white with pink spots, laying in wait on a Queen Anne's lace] ... good times. Then we went home, ate burgers, watched Thor:The Dark World (the kids hadn't seen it), and, eventually did some small fireworks in the street.

Bruise and Bucket are working their way through their second-grade level workbooks ... and I have third-grade level ones (and fourth-grade ones) waiting, so they'll be ready and prepared for school in ... another eight weeks.

This month is starting to get really busy -- soccer lessons (2x/wk), swim lessons (1/wk), park playdates (1/wk), and the passport program and the Summer Reading Program activities ... and I'd like to head out to the zoo and aquarium and OMSI and places.
And I need to get Bruce working a bit more on his other arrow points, if he wants to earn them!
And we can do some activities for Bruise and Bucket's Faith in God booklets.

And I SHOULD be finishing all my library books and all the housework.
Oh well.

But, overall, things are going pretty well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another week gone by ...

So, where did we last leave off?

Okay, Friday was Michael's birthday. It was a quiet celebration.
We went out to dinner with the kids (Thai food, yummm).
(It was a little busy at the restaurant. And we thought we had ordered a Pad Thai for Bubbles AND Bucket each ... so, when meals came out, Bruise didn't have a plate. And he started to cry.
So, I had to take what WAS his plate from Bubbles ... and she was horribly cranky [as is wont for a two-year-old] and started a tantrum at NOT getting a pretty Fiestaware plate ... so Bucket volunteered to have HER serving on an appetizer plate ... and peace was restored again. Thankfully.)
Michael's folks dropped by a birthday card (with a gift card -- Date night!). My mom got him some button-up shirts. I got him the latest Barker and Llewellyn novel (just came out a couple weeks ago). My dad and L sent him a birthday card.
Saturday, we took the kids to the Home Depot Kids' thing -- and they made little wooden riding lawnmowers. They even got to paint them ... even Bubbles. And she and I bought some more plants (a rosemary for outside and a couple aloes to share a pot inside).
Then we walked around the Farmers' Market. The kids bought honey sticks. And we went home ... where Michael spent the rest of the weekend sick as a dog. Poor guy.
I was going to go out solo to the new Hobby Lobby ... but I didn't want to shuffle ALL the kids on him if he's feeling poorly. (And THAT is an understatement. He was horribly ill.)
Sunday, he wasn't feeling well enough to go to church. I was substituting in Nursery for a friend. Bubbles was QUITE out of sorts. By the end of church, I really was ready for a break (Sundays lately have had the schedule of: church, make the kids lunch, Michael naps on the couch while Bubbles takes a nap, the kids go out to play, and Mommy has some quiet, alone time in the bedroom. ... I did NOT get my fortress of solitude. I read on the bed next to Michael as he coughed and dozed and ran for the bathroom, poor guy. That virus was a fierce one.)
(Did Bubbles throw up on Friday or Saturday night? I can't recall. It's all flowed together ...)
Monday, Michael was still not doing well enough to go to work.
Mom C came and picked up Bubbles for the day, since I was helping to chaperone Bruise and Bucket's field trip on the coast.
We ended up giving a lift to R and her son, T. (We LOVE their family. And it was lovely to get a chance to chat with her. She's really one of the nicest people ever. And that is NOT an exaggeration at all.) They were catching the bus back home, so it was fine ... since we were going to head straight from the coast to Mom C's to fetch Bubbles.
It was a good thing that we chose to drive. One of the buses broke down just out of our town ... so it was about a half hour later than the other buses. Of course, the buses were all off to a later start. Somehow, instead of receiving 500 breakfasts for the students (the school provides free breakfasts for all students), they only got 200. They tried to see if they could get the other 300 ... which took a while. It ended up that they just split what they had among all the students on the bus.
At first, I was a little worried ... would I have enough time to get my group (I had five kids in my care: Bruise, Bucket, two girls and another boy) through everything at the aquarium before we needed to take them back to the bus (and sign out my kids so we could get Bubbles).
I should not have worried. The two hours I ended up with was sufficient. A little rushed at parts, but sufficient. We missed the otter feeding; it was so very crowded that we couldn't see anything, so we hit the touch pool instead. The kids got to play for 20 minutes or more at the play area ... and we headed back through the other way, since the kids really liked seeing the sharks. We went and played at the touch pool a little more (Bucket FINALLY faced her fears and touched just about everything. She's liked touching the sea anemones and sea stars in the past ... she finally also touched a sea cucumber and a sea urchin. YES!). Then, instead of going to the other indoor play area (it's a fish market), we HAD to get to a bathroom for the kids.
I had been warned that one student might pull some attitude with me ... I didn't have a problem with him at all. A couple fist bumps and some praise on good answers/excellent vocabulary choices ... it was all fine.
However, one of the two girls got her heart set on going to the gift shop to get a present for her mom ... but in all the paperwork sent home, it was stated that we were to AVOID the gift shop. The principal, herself, reiterated that we shouldn't go.
And, since I said no ... and her teacher said no ... well, this girl was rather pouty about it.
And so she'd run ahead of us and hide (seriously, if I start showing more grey hairs, I know why) or lag behind and hide. It was ... hella annoying. But not something that I couldn't really handle.
In fact, Bucket took it upon herself (since this IS her friend) to try and keep up with her, so that, at least, I'd see Bucket standing around and know that A-girl was next to her.
That other girl? Yeah, I'm glad that both Bruce and Bucket asked for her to be in their group. I really like her.
So, yeah, I had a healthy lunch and a LOT of Cherry Coke to get through the day.
And Michael got some good rest ... so he could head back to work Tuesday.
Tuesday was mostly quiet. Bubbles and I headed out to Hobby Lobby and Fred Meyer. I found more of the Dry Sodas there (I've now tried 7/11 flavors. I just need to find Ginger, Wild Lime, Juniper Berry, and Apple ... I think that Lavender and Blood Orange are my favorites. Their Cherry one is pretty good, too.)
Michael finally got something he's been waiting about six months for ... a company vehicle.
It's really pretty. And his commute gas is paid for (we get taxed for it) ... it's really nice.
So, we need to clean up the blue truck so we can sell that.
The kids are pretty excited about it ... though we had to STRONGLY IMPRESS UPON THEM that this truck is really NOT ours. Daddy gets to use it. We have to take really good care of it. But it belongs to WORK, NOT us.
He already got to use it to help a friend take some furniture to Goodwill. And we picked up bucket from Activity Days in it.
The kids and I got up EARLY yesterday so we could drive Michael down to work in the van ... so he could get the blue truck back up here. ... So, the kids have been a bit grouchy and lacking focus (especially when it comes to cleaning *sigh*). So, this weekend, we'll be cleaning up the truck and getting it listed on Craigslist. This way Michael will have the money to buy company stocks that are coming available (and that his boss would like him to own).
The front rooms are a lot cleaner now. I still need to clean the kitchen. And I'm donating blood this (late) afternoon.
I finally got a shower today (yesterday it didn't happen. I collapsed into a two-hour nap instead).
I've been working on my Duolingo and Memrise ... and Rosetta Stone. I still don't really feel like I know Spanish at all ... but I'm almost caught up on where I had left off in German in Duolingo. So, well, that's something, right? And I'm digging how the Memrise (being like flashcards) is helping me to learn how Spanish words are spelled ... those crazy accent marks and eñe ... 

But, yup, that's most of what's going on around here. We have some things going on this weekend (like readying a truck for sale) ... next week will be a little busy, since it's the kids' last week of school (FINALLY) ... so, well, I should get ready for that, shouldn't I?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

It's June already? Whaaaaa?

Okay, I can't believe that it's nearly June (probably not helped by the fact that our Whiteboard calendar still says March ... since there's a HUGE lamp (from my Nana and Pop-pop's house) that makes it harder to change that up.

(I need to move the lamp to the top of a bookshelf to replace a different lamp there. BUT in order to do THAT, I have to empty that bookshelf enough to move it out, unplug the FIRST lamp, plug in the second lamp and reshelf all the books on that. AND in order to do THAT, I have to move Bruise's little table so that I can access the bookshelf! #smallhouseproblems)

But, yeah, what have I been doing with myself lately?
Gosh, let's think ...

  • Last weekend, Michael took the big kids to a Youth Outdoor Day at a nearby wildlife park.
    They got to try fishing, Bucket painted a duck decoy and built a birdhouse, they posed for a picture in a gianormous Chinook model, they won prizes -- Bruise has a little folding camp stool and Bucket won herself a pink fishing pole. They also came home with lots of swag: little backpacks, "training knives" that they got to build and can use to practice the rules of having a real pocket knife, two shirts ... it was really impressive.
  • Our kids' school also had their Family Fun Day. We went and ... had fun!
    Bruise was able to hit the target for the dunking tank. Bucket and Bubbles got their faces painted (a kitty "mask" and a little bunny on her cheek, respectively). The kids all got balloon animals (a sword for Bruise. Bucket opted for a kitty to match her mask -- they had a special heart-shaped balloon just for the cat's head, and a bunny for Bubbles). Bruise got a book at the book walk (like a cakewalk, but with books). Bubbles won a book on her first try at the bookwalk. Bubbles decided she wasn't interested this time. Her loss.
    We also picked up some sodas with the leftover tickets. Then we got pizza for dinner.
  • Sunday, I was doing Bucket's hair and found a louse. Ugh.
    Then, while sitting on the pew at church, I had a louse crawling on my shirt ... from Bruise.
    YES, I have two kids with lice. UGH.
    So, after Sacrament Meeting (like Mass/Communion), I broke the Sabbath since I had to run to Wal-Mart and load up my arsenal.
    Once Michael brought the kids home, I used that special, stinky shampoo on Bruce and Bucket (and checked Bubbles' hair ... and Michael's hair. And he checked my hair. Repeatedly.
    I treated their beds with the lice-killer-spray. We combed through until there wasn't anything else to find.
    I can tell that we caught it pretty early. Only a few adults. Only a few nymphs.
    Still, I'm itchy just writing it down.
    And that made for a metric buttload of laundry to do.
    I let their teacher(s) at school know ... just to be responsible.
    I blame Satan for this.
  • Monday, I got the kids signed up for the local library's Summer Reading Program.
    Lately, we've taken a break from the Lemony Snickett book we're in the middle of (we've been getting started with story-story/the bedtime story a little late, so we don't have time to read a chapter each night) ... Randomly, Bucket brought me "The Green Kingdom" volume of my Childcraft books. We'll finish it tonight. I'm glad that the kids are enjoying it so much.
    During Summer, we'll be able to get through some more books a bit faster, I think. We can finish "Who Can It Be at This Hour?" ... maybe get through "The Princess Academy" and some other books. ... Debating on reading them "Sabriel." So many books, so little time!
  • Tuesday, I woke myself up by having a bad dream where I found multiple louse nymphs doing Bucket's hair. Glad THAT was a nightmare.
    Michael had basketball that night. He ended up pulling a muscle in his upper thigh a bit.
    He jokes that, since his season he's (1) jammed his thumb, (2) borked his bad knee, (3) pulled a muscle in his upper arm/shoulder, (4) pulled a muscle in his upper thigh, all that's left for him to do (tonight, since it's the last game) is either stub his toe or take a head shot.
    I told him, PLEASE let it be the toe. Because, with the kids in bed by the time he's playing, I can't drive over to the church to drive him home with a concussion.

    Also, while he was at basketball on Tuesday night, and I was watching "My Cat From Hell" on Netflix, curled up with Freyja-cat, I hear *cough cough cough GAG CRY!!* from Bubbles.
    I run into the kids' room. She's sitting in her bed with two handfuls of dinner-vomit in her hands.
    Amazingly, she only got the slightest bits on her dress and a blanket.
    I clean her up, brush her teeth, and put her back to bed in clean jim-jams and a coating of VapoRub.

    About ten minutes later, ... *cough cough* "MOOOOOOM!!! [BUBBLES] THREW UP AGAIN!!"
    It's still a really small amount -- on her pillowcase and her pajamas ... and her bunnies' ears smell kinda funky (they get washed the next morning).
    Get her cleaned up, add a dose of Children's Pepto, a smidgen of cough syrup, clean pajamas. And wish for the best.

    Michael gets home shortly after that. I tell him of the excitement he's missed as he limps with that pulled muscle in his thigh.

    We go to bed, think about maybe getting a little intimate ... THEN *cough cough GAG*

    Well, I can report that Bubbles DID NOT throw up ... but she was in our bed (not coughing or gagging) for the rest of the night. ... Best laid plans, right?
  • So, after that eventful and un- night, I aired out the kids' room. Just in case it was the lice-killer spray off-gassing that was aggravating Bubbles' lungs (seems like that was the trick. She slept like a log last night).
    My mom came up for a visit. We eventually went to the store to pick up snacks and dinner with the kids. (Bruise was hankering for fish sticks. Yeah. I know.)
    It was a nice visit. We chatted and I shared random videos and websites with her. The usual. We also talked about how things are going with my stepdad (the dementia is ... there. And he's had some issues with medication. ... And his hearing isn't the best. Also, he recently had to have the rest of his teeth pulled and get some new dentures). The motor for the fan in their heat pump broke. He says that he'll fix it, but hasn't yet. (I told Mom to give him a date. If it's not done by then, she's going to get someone else to do it. And that's it. ... I'm mean, I know. But, well, she's willing to pay for it to be fixed. And she shouldn't have to wait around for the stars to align JUST so in order to get it fixed. She has a point ... it took him nearly a YEAR to get the water pump replaced. It was nuts. And crazy-frustrating.)
  • I woke up from a dream this morning. Strange dream.
    I was at my Nana and Pop-pop's house, they don't own it/live there anymore.
    And I was with other people. One was a mix of my cousin (S) and my sister-in-law, A.
    There were two mice in the house. I caught them and was releasing them outside.
    As I closed the door so they'd be outside (and a white cat inside wouldn't kill them), I couldn't close the door, because another (wild) mouse was getting squished in the doorframe, toward the middle of the bottom of the door.
    A/S handed me some Kleenex so I could pick it up and move it (as it's squealing and bleeding).
    The tissues are soaked and dripping blood. And I don't want it to suffer ... but I don't want to kill it. Though killing it would be much more merciful than seeing/hearing/knowing it is in pain.

    I don't remember what I ended up doing. Might have woken up.

    Another part of my dream featured a book fair. But it was more like a pre-order book fair. And I didn't have my kids with me. Or, at least, Bruise wasn't there. And I picked out a book for each child, guessing on his. His teacher said that was fine. And that, yes, I could choose something else if he opted to get a different book.
    When I went to get the order, I did choose a different book for him. And then she was freaking out because it was a lot more popular than she had thought and more people wanted it than she had books in stock. And I wasn't going to give it up, since I had permission in advance to get him what he wanted.

    Yeah, my dreams are weird. At least, what I remember about them.
Today, I need to finish up laundry (on the home stretch!!!), do dishes, make dinner, take Bubbles to a WIC-thing, ... things like that. Nothing wildly amazing ... but things that do need to be done.
Oh, and practice my Spanish and German. (Yay for the kids' school offering use of Rosetta Stone Classroom for Spanish. I also am supplementing it with Duolingo. And added Memrise. And I'm trying Pronunciator [through the local library's site] and LiveMocha ... Overachiever much?)
(Also, French is HAAAAAAAAAARD, with the silent 't's and 's's. My Duolingo scores there are pretty awful. But my German and Spanish have improved!)

Bruise reports that Cub Scouts wasn't very fun ... he had to SAND HIS RAINWATER REGATTA BOAT.
(When he learned that they were doing the Rainwater Regatta, he told me, "I worked REALLY HARD on my car. NOW I have to make a BOAT. *facepalm*"
I did my best not to pee myself laughing. I can understand his frustration ... but, hey, it's something he can mark off for an arrow point requirement.)

Bruise was a little disappointed yesterday ... for his pack, usually the first Wednesday of the month is a Pack meeting, then the next two Wednesdays are den meetings. This month, it's switched so we have the Den meetings first (to work on the Rainwater Regatta boats) and the third Wednesday is the Pack meeting.
He'll be getting his Wolf badge and his gold arrow point at the Pack meeting ... so I was a little sad, too. But, hey, this will give me an extra week to get all his badges sewn on, right? ... And, who knows, maybe he can get enough requirements done to get a silver arrow point by the Pack meeting. So I can get THAT sewn on.)

Tomorrow is Michael's birthday. I should do something special, huh?
He knows that I love him. And I know that he's not a person who's all out for birthday extravagance.
But I should make him a cake.
Or some bacon.
Or biscuits and gravy.
And maybe a pie.

I do have a present for him.
So that's something, right?

Ha! Bubbles obviously had pressed a button on the remote while watching Frozen.
So Anna and Elsa's song was sped up just a little. Not QUITE like The Chipmunks, but it was definitely not normal.

Okay ... This weekend is a little busy. Still combing through hair twice a day, looking for eggs and nymphs; we have a niece and nephew who've had birthdays; the next town over is having a celebration, complete with parade; Home Depot has their free kids' activity. And we should continue celebrating Michael's birthday. ^_^

And Bucket is giving a scripture in Primary at church.

No rest for the wicked, right? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


So, there's been some good things going on ... and some not-as-nice things (but those are really outweighed by the good) ... so why do I feel kinda crappy?

Let's do a quick recap of everything I've not blogged about for the last 9 days:
  • Bruise finished all the stuff to earn his first (Gold) Arrow Point badge.
  • Michael's Friday, which is usually his short workday (4 hours), was a lot longer (about 12 hours).
    He was the only engineer in the office, since his boss is on vacation (GETS BACK MONDAY. PHEW) and there's been a lot of projects coming due and some crazy stuff going on. Nothing that he can't handle ... but it'd help if he had fewer people coming to him with questions on how to do their work. ... Heck, I'm ready to tell him to just set an hour for people to question him. This way he can get work done, uninterrupted, for the rest of the day. ;P
  • But, yeah, he got home about his usual Mon-Thurs time ... after getting into work early. He was pretty burnt out. ... And, well, I was getting there, too.
  • I missed a RS activity (unofficial) ... which I meant to go to. I just plum forgot about it after getting the kids in bed. Whoops.
  • Saturday, Michael went to help clean up the area for the Cub Scout's Day Camp. My friend, S, came over to sell me her cello (we had agreed that I'd buy it so she wouldn't have to ship it across the country ... and Bruise is looking to start playing it). Michael came home and we treated him for poison oak (just in case. Looks like we got it in time! Phew!). I also went over to the house of a gal that I used to Visit Teach. She's not attending church ... and we'd only ever talked on the phone or on Facebook. But she was throwing an Arbonne party ... and I was one of the only people that made it. (Her best friend, C, and C's sister-in-law [the Arbonne gal] were the other people there).
    It was really fun. It was great to meet A (my past Visiting Teachee) in person.
  • We're working on getting the house cleaned up ... it's always a seemingly-losing battle. But I was caught up on laundry for a little. And almost caught up on dishes ... which ended this weekend. And I'm ALMOST caught up again. 
  • I also took Bruise and Bucket to the library (because that was part of another arrow point requirement). We got a huge bag of books. And we ran into one of our neighbors at the Dollar Store. That was nice. She's one of the sweetest gals ever.
  • Sunday was church ... like usual. Bruise was assigned a scripture for Primary. He didn't ask us to be there for it. So we just did our own classes. Michael took a friend home and I saved him a seat in Sunday School (I'm still bitter that I missed the lesson on Balaam's Talking Ass. *sigh*). In Relief Society, one gal who was in town visiting (she and her husband used to be in our ward, but have since moved out to the coast) sat by me and we visited a bit.
    And I should feel more guilty for visiting during a lesson ... but, well, I don't pay attention very well when the teacher who was teaching does the lesson. I know. I'm a horrible person.
  • We did macaroni and cheese (with added cheese and bacon) (and Sriracha for the grownups) for lunch. And breakfast for dinner: bacon, pancakes, and fried eggs (but no eggs for Michael). Bucket learned that she DOES like fried eggs, after all. And Bubbles got syrup all over. *sigh*
  • Monday was a day full of whining. Mostly the kids. Also me.
    After cooking all the meals during the weekend, I was a bit burned out.
    Michael got doughnuts for breakfast. After we cleaned up the house a little, we went to the park while the weather was nice (it was scheduled to rain at some point).
    At the park, Bubbles and I fed the ducks while Bruise and Bucket played catch with Michael. Then Bucket got bored of that, so she and Bubbles played on the play equipment (Bubbles is rather braver about ladders than Bucket was at that age. But Bubbles does NOT like the bridge. It's apparently too bouncy. And Bubbles likes the swing, but only if she's sitting on her bottom).
    All was well UNTIL Bruise missed a catch, so he got a bloody nose. While Michael ran for tissues (my regular purse was in the car, so I didn't have tissues or wipes on me), Bubbles (under Bucket's watch) decided to push the tire swing ... and, since she's only two and hasn't mastered the concept of inertia, got smacked in the mouth with the swing on its return ... so there was blood THERE.
    "And THIS is why I don't leave the house," I stated.
    So, yeah, Michael had the whining from ME, too.
  • Later, we went shopping and picked up some plants and plant boxes and soil and bird feeders and bird food for some more Arrow Point Requirements.
    And, while at Home Depot, I just about broke down in tears because I don't have much luck with plants ... and I hate wasting money ... and what if they all die?
    But, oh well.
    So, we have a couple English lavender plants for the start of a flower bed. We have a couple container boxes. One has a tomato and a basil plant in it. The other (with room for something else) has lemon balm and chocolate mint. My pansies, in their hanging basket, are doing better.
    I got a new (not broken) bird feeder for the back. And I have a new hummingbird feeder (which does NOT leak) hung in the front. Now to actually cut back stuff in the yard so it looks nice. And maybe we'll tear up some stuff and add some grass? We'll see.
  • Yesterday, I cleaned up the house a bit. And I tried to get some VTing done. It ended up getting done via phone. But my house was cleaner, in case people (my VT companion and the gal we VT) came over. And I finally got out and learned to use the popcorn maker I got for my birthday.
  • My stepdad's not been doing great ... apparently, he's been taking too much of one medicine. And that makes him really loopy and kind of belligerent. Last month, he fell down ... and when my mom tried to get him to his bed, she put out her back. Last week, he fell down. She didn't try to pick him up, but she held the cane for him to get himself up (this was AFTER she fed him a dinner and dessert before he took an Ambien ... and then GOT BACK UP because he wanted an ice cream sundae ... which, since he was so loopy by this time, he got all over himself and the couch). And, he agreed with Mom Sunday morning that he'd sleep it off while she was at church.
    When she got back, he had apparently gotten up shortly after she left to water the garden and feed the animals and fell onto the fence. A neighbor helped up him and into the house and waited with him for Mom to come home ... at least 35 minutes (she was only gone for maybe 90 minutes, since she left church directly after Sacrament meeting).
    Good thing he had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Mom told the doctor what all is going on. Which, of course, my stepdad isn't happy about. And the doctor said that he's been taking too many of one kind of pill. So, hopefully, this will stop.
  • I feel guilty that we haven't been able to make it down to visit family.
    My Nana's dementia is, apparently, getting worse. And I really wish that I were closer so that I could spend more time with her. But we've been so busy lately ... 
  • I was kvetching last week (Wednesday) to Mom about how it's sad that we don't have family stories and pictures and everything on FamilySearch, since there's lots of people who do. We barely have any pictures from her side of the family at all ... and it's sad to not know what people looked like and all.
    I had taken some family names to the temple earlier this month. And that's good ... but, well, it's not a lot of names or anything. And I feel like I should be doing so much more.
    So, somehow, I did a search and found that my great uncle (my Grampy's half-brother) has done a lot of work on FindaGrave.com ... A lot of family history (little life vignettes, pictures, lists of family members ...) so, I spent most of Thursday doing that.
    And then, though I was very happy to have been able to supplement my pedigree chart/family group sheets that much, I was still a bit bummed, since it was only ONE branch of Mom's line. And we've had such a terrible time trying to research HER mom's line (one of her great-grandfathers, according to what we've been told, ran away from home and rode the train across the country before he could read/write ... so the family name may have been changed. At least, Mom's grandfather changed the spelling of his own last name ... THEN, there's her other great-grandmother ... who was, let's just say, a great storyteller. Made some interesting claims. Good times.) ... BUT yesterday, I had a bit of a breakthrough. Her great-grandfather, Bert, is apparently a ROBERT ... which explains why we had such a time finding him before. But, now that I have him, I was able to find his mother's line (no idea about his DAD, though. And I MAY have found my mom's great-grands on the OTHER side (her mother's mother's side).
So, yes, I've been getting some things done.

And I'm back in touch a bit with one of my friends that moved out of state.
I don't know that we'll ever be as close as we used to be ... but, well, I just want her to know that she's loved. And that I miss her.

In other good news, Mom's and my order from The Body Shop arrived on Thursday. So, when I put on some body butter, I smell amazing. (I got Peach, Raspberry, Rose, Passionfruit, and Honey. And more monoi oil and some bath milk (with frangipani) ... and a bath pillow and nail brush.

I did the elliptical for a whole FIVE MINUTES yesterday. I know, it's really dumb. I should just put on Sweating to the Oldies or something. (Hey, I LIKE Richard Simmons. I think that he is quite sweet. With a wicked sense of humor.)

Well, I should go water the plants. And get the laundry going again. And do more dishes. And read library books. And toilet-train Bubbles. And play with Freyja-cat until she's panting-exhausted. And start dinner, since I have a pork shoulder that needs to be used...

And exercise and get a shower and go buy cat litter and do another million little things that should be done.

Like read my scriptures and chat with the other sisters that I Visit Teach, so they know they're loved.

When all I really want to do is maybe crawl into bed and not come out.

I think that I've not been sleeping well.
And I should drink more water.
And eat breakfast ... and make a good lunch.

And clean out the fridges.
And definitely the kitchen freezer.

Counting ...

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