Monday, December 08, 2014

Another Week

Yesterday was kind of a crazy day ... well, the morning part, anyways, so I'll start there and then fill in the rest of the week.

Getting to church and Sacrament Meeting went well enough. I was running a little late (for me), but I manged to remember everything I needed to bring (i.e., snack for Nursery, lesson stuff for Nursery, my scriptures, my tablet and phone ...).
My partner in the littles side (those who won't turn three until 2015) wasn't there. And I didn't know she wasn't going to be there. ... And since T, with the older kids (those who are going into Sunbeams -- the 3-year-old class) had them in Junior Primary, I was on my own [responsibility-wise] that first hour. Snack time was ... interesting. We had two little girls that kept bickering. *sigh* And a lot of kids kept trying to eat while NOT at the table.

I was just glad that we had some visitors of the adult variety during that first hour. And, that T roped Brother McC in to help supervise while I taught a lesson and she took kids to go potty.

Let me just tell you that after church, I came home and collapsed on the foot of the bed.

But then I got up to watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Michael and the kids.
Then we ate lunch and drove out to a friend's house, who was hosting a little Nativity display at her house (and Bubbles and Bucket got to pet some of her family's yaks. Bruise didn't care to).

And we scurried home for an impromptu dinner with the missionaries (Sister B is being transferred tomorrow. They needed to get laundry done ... and no one had signed up to have them come to dinner that night), so we fed them spaghetti and watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional together.

And my wedding band snapped. So I'll need to get that fixed. After payday, though. Poor ring. It's only almost 14 years old. But, like I joked to the missionaries, NOW I have an ADJUSTABLE wedding ring. (Not really.) I should call the jeweler's and get an estimate (I figure that it should cost about the same as having it resized ... we'll see, though).

Which leads us to today ... where I haven't even showered yet, since I was doing some housework (like ATTEMPTING [not succeeding, mind you] to get the bathroom counters back in order to free up the laundry baskets so that I can get THOSE out of the bathroom and start painting the bathroom cabinets and finish painting the cupboard in there. THEN, after touch-ups, the bathroom SHOULD be mostly done (for now. We're thinking of changing the door and we'll replace the fan and the lights ... but that'll all be done in the new year.

I've worked my way through most of the laundry, about half the dishes, and picking up the front rooms (should vacuum and do a million other things ... like clean my desk AGAIN)...

Okay, going BACK in time ... I watched T and L one day last week. Mom came up the next day. We took the kids out to McDonald's. Bubbles had one of her more epic tantrums before we headed out. She had hit both her siblings in the face and wouldn't say sorry. Once I got her to take some deep breaths, though, she calmed down enough to have a time-out. Bruise had a pack meeting (getting ready for Lock-Down in a month and the Blue and Gold and the Pinewood Derby). I have one more patch to sew on his shirt.

Bubbles and I got our new WIC vouchers (just waiting until they get it so that it's all on a card. That'd be nice). I worked on painting the frames of the mirrors in the bathroom and finishing caulking up around the window in there. Decided that I wasn't feeling up to social things and skipped the RS activity ... Not great, I know. But, well ...

Friday, Vesper and I went to the kids' school for their assembly. I knew that Bucket was being recognized for good behavior, but I didn't know (until I got there) that Bruise was ALSO being recognized, too. (So were a couple of their friends ... like T. I was able to send a picture of him to his mom, who had another appointment, so couldn't make it out that time.)
After that, I took Bubbles to the library to pick up my holds and to the Toddler Storytime. (I hadn't been taking her to storytime after the occasion where she wouldn't sit down enough for the librarian. I was told that Bubbles needed to either sit down or sit with me. ... And strong-willed daughter of mine, she didn't want to do either of those. So, I had to take her, SCREAMING, out of storytime. ... Times like that, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY miss one of the librarians who recently retired. Or the storytimes at the next town's library, which were REALLY geared for littles. ... Since then, they've started the toddler (and another one for babies) storytime.
Bubbles had a GREAT time. I know that we're going to have to make this a weekly/regular thing.

We missed the school's movie night fundraiser (the kids had already seen the movie, so they weren't TOTALLY bummed), since it was dependant upon them FINALLY getting their room clean.

Saturday, we took them to Home Depot for the kids' activity (building Christmas/Holiday-themed yard stakes -- Snowflake, Gingerbread person, and a snowman on them). Then we worked on the bathroom some more. Then we went to a baptism. After that, we headed out to a local Nativity Festival (over 300 nativities ... and there's also concerts and kids' activities. Good stuff.

Then, we went to look at our favorite lights display ... which had moved. We didn't remember at all, since we missed it last year (due to a taquitos-induced DISASTER), which was the first year it had been moved ... and we hadn't made it out to its new location.
Thank goodness for smartphones. We were able to look it up and get out there.

And it was totally worth it. With Bubbles being two now, she is TOTALLY INTO all of this.
"KISSMIS IIITES!!!" It's pretty adorable.

And, since I already told you about Sunday, that brings us current with everything.

And, golly, I'm tired. I'm sure Michael would tell you that it's due to my staying up too late.
I just haven't been sleeping all that well. I'm sure that I'll sleep better after my traffic ticket is taken care of. Ugh. And after this month of teaching in Nursery is done. And I'm done Christmas shopping. :P I know, I know, I'm getting caught up in the minutiae of life. But I also know that I'll feel a lot better once I have a pretty, organized bathroom again. (In related news to THAT, Bucket is getting a slew of new-to-her lip glosses. Lucky girl! And I've tossed out a shload of old makeup I never really used.

Well, I should get Bubbles some lunch (something besides THREE cuties/tangerines). And I should eat, too.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Well, I'm not dead ... Just busy and lazy ...

Wowzers ... it's been a while. Like a WHOLE MONTH (and some extra days).


Now to TRY and get caught up on what all has gone on around here ...

Let's see ...
We'll start with Halloween ...

Bruise was the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Bucket was her own version of Madeline/Maddie Hatter (from Ever After High). Bubbles opted to go as Princess Sofia the First (it was either that or Princess Anna from Frozen). We went to the mall for their trick-or-treating, then stopped by a neighbor's house, then went to a local Halloween party for all the kids. Bruise and Bucket ran into their friends (that sometimes come over after school so I can keep an eye on them since their folks are both working for a while).

We helped my dad and L move some of their big things (like my dad's shop contents) to their new house. It was a (busy) day trip. They had ME order the pizza for dinner ... and I got two of their addresses mixed up, so pizza took just a little longer to arrive. Whoops!
(That'll teach them, right?) ... But, on the bright side, Michael and I got the wifi password for their new place. So we're ready for spending the night in the future. (And Bruise and Bucket LOVE the cupboard under the [garage] stairs. They feel JUST like proper Muggles, I tell you!)

Freyja-cat got her shots. And Bubbles got to pet the office cat at the vet's.
Bruise, Bucket, and I have all joined Bubbles in getting OUR flu shots (Michael never gets one).

We had a gamut of disease going on in our house: Bruise came down with a case of pink-eye. He shared it with Bubbles (giving eye drops to a toddler? AWFUL). Bubbles got a double ear infection ... right as she was done battling a case of impetigo (on her leg and back). Bucket also came down with an ear infection (just the one, though).
And I STARTED to come down with a cold. But, thanks to my array of DoTERRA samples, I kept that puppy at bay. Phew. Since I didn't have time to be sick anyways.

Bruise got to be in his first Veterans Day parade ... in related news, I got my first traffic ticket for making a right turn without coming to a complete stop as I RUSHED to drop him off (and, of course, I shouldn't have stressed/rushed, since NO ONE WAS THERE FOR ME TO DROP HIM OFF WITH so that the girls and I could go downtown and get a spot for the parade. *SIGH*).
This is my life.

It appears that Freyja-cat has more special needs ... in this case, besides her standing prescription for "kitty-Prozac," she also is showing signs of a food allergy ... so the fact that she'd licked off most of the fur on her hindquarters was related to the fact that she's my SPESHUL BAYBEE and I need to get her some non-poultry/non-corn based food at the local feed store.

The kids have had a lot of time off school ... two days for Veterans Day ... and a whole week for Thanksgiving. It's been nice, getting to sleep in and all that. But they were missing school ... what will they do later this month when they have TWO WEEKS away from class?
(Answer: They'll finish their second-grade workbooks, drink lots of hot cocoa, clean their room, and visit family! That's what!)

Bruise's picture retakes came back. They're ... better.
But this is why I don't pay full price for them (online coupons!!) and why we get FAMILY portraits done ... so that I can MAKE SURE he looks decent and actually SMILES with his eyes and all.
(I love my son. But if he brings back home ONE more picture where he looks like a stoned juvenile, OY TO THE VEY, Y'ALL.)

We had parent-teacher conferences before Thanksgiving week.
The kids are doing well in everything ... they are being progress monitored for Spanish. But their teachers are sure that they'll reach the standards goal by the end of the year.
Also, Bruise has been falling asleep in class.
I think that for the next session of Strings lessons, we'll be moving to the afternoon class.

We got our house decorated for Christmas. The kids helped decorate the tree for FHE (Family Home Evening) last night. I got my nativities set up ... and my Charlie Brown Christmas tree. And my Linus-as-a-shepherd figurine. Michael got lights up on the house.
We have a star on our tree this year ... it's time to try something new, right?

The other thing to write about is that Michael and I have been working on our bathroom. Two weekends ago, we textured the walls (finally) and I started painting. I put white primer on the ceiling (it was NEEDED) and spray painted the fan cover with white spray paint (it looks TONS better). Then Michael and I painted the walls. They're now the slightest whisper of blue.

Today, I put primer on one side of our (huge) cupboard in there and primed the window sill and frame. In a bit, if it's dry, I'll start to paint that the other color we picked out -- the cabinets and cupboard and trim around the mirrors will be a dove grey. And I'll need to spray paint the trim around the shower and tub white ... and OF COURSE it's started freezing, so I'll need to figure out how/where to do that.

Michael also put up some shelves for me. Now I can get all my stuff off the counters, right?
He's also putting up some shelves above the toilet. And he got me a shelf-thing for the bathtub, which is awesome. Once I get that window painted and the trim back around the tub, I can load that up and the bathtub will look tons better.

We really didn't do much Black Friday shopping this year. Just went out in the afternoon to pick up some stuff for the bathroom ... and we hit Target for the DVDs. (Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrman version, for $4? Don't mind if I do!)

I also need to take the hardware off the cupboard doors so that I can spray paint it ... it'll either be white (to pop against the grey cabinets), brushed nickel (to coordinate with the tub shelving, our new toilet paper holder, and the towel rack we're going to buy ... and the new faucets we haven't bought yet), or oil-rubbed bronze (for added contrast). We'll see.
But, again, since the weather's turned, it's going to be a challenge to figure out how/where to spray them all.

Michael also put in a dimmer switch for the bathroom lights. And we'll be replacing the light fixtures (and the old fan) sometime.

It's really coming along, though. We've been in here for about seven years now. You'd hardly recognize the bathroom. And it's just getting better and better. (and it'll be amazing once I get stuff organized/get rid of a lot of junk ... HOARDER!!)

And I've been reading some library books lately.

One of our Christmas traditions is reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."
We finished it last night.
I cried. Like I ALWAYS do.
Every year, I think, "MAYBE I can get through it THIS year without crying."
And Michael says that he's glad for that. Apparently, my crying at the end of it is another of our Christmas traditions.
I'm also going to read the kids (again) "A Christmas Carol." ... And, if we can make it, "The Forgotten Carols," since I LOVE that story.

Since it'd been AGES since I last watched "While You Were Sleeping," (and technically, it's a holiday movie!) we watched it (again) last night. ... I'm still so very impressed with how awesome the writing is and how VERY well the casting is. Everyone plays their parts so darn well! And it's wonderfully quotable. Yeah, I adore it something fierce.

My Christmas present from my mom arrived -- She got me a DoTERRA kit. And I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Thanksgiving night, Bubbles was starting to HACK-cough. I got her home, slathered a few drops of Breathe and OnGuard on her ... she slept through the night without coughing at all. Pretty awesome. And I'm enjoying my diffuser. My DoTERRA gal came over to teach me about how to use my stuff and using the LRP (loyalty rewards points) for ordering and all that. AND to bring me some freebies and my bottle of Holiday Joy (Bucket's favorite. Bruise really likes Wild Orange. And Lemongrass).

I've only had them for about a week now, and they've come in VERY handy. So that's nice. And I'm saving a lot of the stuff for Christmas. Unless Michael needs me to get out the Deep Blue (muscle) Rub. But I'm looking forward to trying the OnGuard toothpaste and all.

Okay. Time to paint some more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Less than a week! Do you feel spoiled?

Yes, I'm actually blogging with it being just LESS than a week in between posts.

No, I don't have anything wildly exciting to post.

So ... yay?

Let's see ... what all has gone on?

  • Michael and I had ourselves a date-day ... over 24 hours of being together, sans kids (this is due to our excellent family. If you marry into a great family, you should TOTALLY live near them. Here are a few reasons why:)
    So, Michael FINALLY got to have his last two wisdom teeth out. By our brother-in-law, K.
    I drove Bubbles up to stay with Mom C, Michael dropped Bruise and Bucket off at school (to be picked up that afternoon by Mom C [told you she's awesome], and we headed out to K's office (about 3 hours' drive -- coastal roads aren't the most direct, especially when one bridge is out).
    Michael's oral surgery goes without a hitch, except for K being extremely busy ... because he's that good, y'all. Not just saying that because he's related.
    I ended up surrendering my tablet to another guy in the waiting room. His mom had an appointment ... and, well, he's got some learning disability. So, he asked if I had games on my tablet ... and well, it was a long wait, anyways. I wasn't the most comfortable ... but I also had a book, too, so it's not like I was just sitting there bored out of my skull.
    Michael's wisdom-teeth extractions, as I mentioned, went well. We head over to a local drugstore to get his medication before we head back home. We call Mom C and tell her, YES, we'll take her up on the offer for the kids to spend the night ... since we're not even going to get to our town before 9pm.
    We head home -- I drive most of the trip back. First time driving the work truck (since Michael's on a low dose of Vicodin after surgery) ... AND it's dark AND the highway is just one-lane-each-way (with a couple passing spots) AND the roads are a little damp (but it's NOT raining then, thank goodness!!) ... Yeah, I was ready for sleep as soon as we were home, really. 
  • The next morning, we get up, go out to breakfast (Michael had a cinnamon-sugar crepe and a strawberry-vanilla cremosa [Italian soda with cream], I had a chicken-bacon crepe and an Irish-creme-flavored Steamer [steamed milk]), then we went to our local mall for a wellness fair. I picked up some DoTERRA samples, we set up an appointment for January for having a friend check out our irises ... We also picked up Bruise some new shoes (his old trainers/sneakers had a hole in them) and some more pants ... and skedaddled over to Mom and Dad C's.
  • We ate lunch, visited with family, helped Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles to carve their pumpkins.
    Bruise has a "screaming castle" (from a stencil book), Bucket has "Betty the Bat," and Bubbles has what I like to call PumpkInception: there are three jack-o-lanterns on her jack-o-lantern.
  • Then Michael and I scurried up to the temple. We were going to do an endowment session before the Stake Temple Trip's chapel session (and I LOVE me a chapel session -- the Temple President will talk to the group. I always learn something new. And, unlike a regular Sacrament Meeting/Stake Conference/Ward Conference, I don't have to deal with children climbing over/on me ... so I listen SO MUCH BETTER.)
    We did NOT make it in time for an Endowment session, due to the wind storm knocking a tree onto the interstate ... so we did Initiatories instead. ... There have been some changes in how they're done --- not so much the words, but ... yeah. And I rather miss the old way. But it still is very good. And it'd been about a year since I had done any before ... so I have no complaints. It's good to do them, this way I get to listen/learn the covenants better.
  • Then we headed back, took the kids home, started reading "The Halloween Tree" to them ... and got to bed.
  • Sunday was church. Bubbles was in fine form (TIRED!!) ... we dealt with a lot of kids crying. I was rather drained by the end of Nursery.
    After church, Bruise and Bucket worked on cleaning their room. It's MUCH better. Still tons of room for improvement ... but, hey, you can WALK in there now!
  • Monday, the missionaries came over for a bit. It was Sister Palmer's last time over (she's gone home now). They stopped by later to pick up laundry, since there were a lot of things for them to get done before Sister Palmer left.
    They came back while J and I were Visiting Teaching (It's so sweet/nice that P will come TO my house so I can VT her without schlepping all my brood over. ^_^).
  • Yesterday, I took the kids to Strings (at their school, before school starts), then went to pick up WIC. Then Bubbles and I chillaxed until my mom came for a visit. We did some Christmas shopping (Thanks, Amazon!) and had a good visit ... and lunch at Applebee's. Yum.
  • Got the kids off for school today. I had them take a nap after Mom left ... and it helped. I think they'll be taking a nap today, too. But not tomorrow, since they'll have a friend over.
I also need to pick up brown hairspray for Bruise's costume. And do a test-run for Bucket's costume ... I'm sure that I have about everything needed, since I hoard makeup. Just need to look at some pictures first.

I think that I'll take a nap today, too. I got one on Monday ... albeit a short one ... but, oh, that was sure nice. I just have to figure out dinner, right?

At least I know we have enough milk. Ha ha ha.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Even Longer (aka. "Not Dead YET")

Yeah, I'm totally sucking at ... well, really most everything. But especially blogging on a regular basis. (I mean, every day might be overkill ... but even just ONCE a week would be better, right?)

(Then again, I have some friends that haven't blogged in months/over a year ... so I SUPPOSE that I'm doing okay after all. But only by THAT comparison. And we aren't really supposed to compare ourselves to others all that much, right?)


OKAY ... so ... what all is going on.
So, let's see ... and I don't know that I'll be going in any particular order.

Forefront on my mind is that the Facebook group for my friend Kim McDaniel, the one who passed last month, might be closed/gone.

And, when I got that news the other day, I just about lost my breath. Because, well, it was one thing that we all had left of her. Sure, people aren't posting a whole lot. ... But, and I only know what I do, since I'm not THAT good of a stalker, but I know that I'd go and look over pictures that people had posted. Or reread some of the stories that people shared about her and her life/influence.
And, well, my first response was, "Oh no. I'm not ready." The thought of it disappearing into the void was like losing her all over again.

My mom was there when I read the post about closing that page. And, since she always has good advice (though I don't always take it), I did go and download some of my favorite pictures of Kim.
And I'll post what I shared, so that you can know a little more about my friend.

While Kim was living in [our town], I was blessed by the opportunity to be one of her Visiting Teachers (in fact, I was really bummed when she was transferred to another route). It gave me an opportunity to ask her if she was sincere when she announced at a ward social that she was into gangsta rap -- since it was announced in a tone that COULD have been sarcastic.

She was always full of humor. I'd say that she was a force of nature embodied -- she's great. It was a highlight to go visit her. I know that she was always very concerned about asking for any help -- feeling that people might/would feel that she was taking advantage. I never felt taken advantage of. In fact, in talking with other members of the ward, we would have loved to have had more opportunities to serve her and her family. We love them.

I loved sitting by her in Relief Society ... and I'll confess that when we sat together, I did not listen to the lesson nearly as much as I should. But we tried not to be too loud or distracting.One time, Kim came over for a baking day. We made cinnamon rolls. She ended up sharing a good portion of those she made with the staff at her doctor's office ... which is just like Kim. She was considerate and kind like that.

Tuesday, I was making some cheddar biscuits. And a thought forefront on my mind was, "Oh, when Kim's better, we have to make these together." (We were overdue for another baking day. We were going to have one together and try our hand at something savory. But it had been postponed for about a year, due to busy schedules and her health.) I knew that these were the biscuits that she and I should make together WHEN she was better. I didn't care if it would take a year, ten years, forty years ... but-- dang it -- we HAD to make these.

Then, the next evening, I got the news.

So, well ... thank goodness for the resurrection and all ... I'm just going to have to wait for a while longer to make those biscuits with her.

She and I would also trade links for funny videos on YouTube. One of her absolute favorites was the Jimmy Fallon/Will Ferrell "Tight Pants" skit. She's right. It is really hilarious.

I miss her. And our ward is really, really so sad that we didn't get to keep her for longer. Which speaks volumes about how wonderful she is and how much she means to us.

But, yes, there -- in a nutshell -- is my Kim.
Michael still thinks that I should have gone to the funeral. But ... well, I don't know. I don't like crying in public. I had responsibilities here. It was a really long drive ... And, more importantly, it wasn't going to bring her back.
But, using the Purex fresh-scent crystals, when I smell our laundry, it's almost like she's around. Just her scent.
Taking the warm laundry out of the dryer, it's almost like getting a hug from her. which still makes me feel special, since she was (self-professed) not huge on hugging people. But I would get hugs from her.

So, there's that. And I realize that it's been over a month. And that is a very long time. And a very short time. And I know that I wasn't as close to Kim as I should have been, as her friend. I feel that I SHOULD have been more aware ... more ... something. Better, anyways. 

And I know, also, that she'd tell me to cheer up and that I was doing fine. 
But it doesn't bring her back, you see. And I hate having to MISS people.
I mean, it's bad enough when people move away (or I move away). BUT we can always call, text, mail letters, connect on Facebook ... all that stuff. Or that we could manage to be in the same place at the same time and SEE each other.
Dealing with death, though ... I just don't like it that people go somewhere too far to contact directly (at least that I can't hear them or see them or hug them or whatever). It's just not fair that they go somewhere that I can't (at least not yet).


Well onto less Allanna-is-a-brooding-sad-sack things.

Let's see what all I've been up to lately.

This morning, Bubbles was in the bathroom sink, having spilled all the mouthwash. 
I was ticked off, sure. But the bathroom DOES smell quite minty-fresh. So, there's that.

Bruise and Bucket had their Primary (Church Children's group for ages 3-11) Program last Sunday. 
They both read their lines very well (loud enough and clear). They sang with the rest of the kids. AND their Sunday School class (4/5 were there) sang the verses of one song, with the rest of the Primary joining in on the chorus. Michael and Mom were VERY impressed that we could HEAR Bucket quite well (since she's quite stage-shy).
It's really awesome to see how they're growing (and to see Bucket doing so much better in dealing with her nerves. ... Priesthood blessings DO help a lot).

Grandma I (the kids' great-grandmother) and Aunt S (Michael's aunt) came out for a visit, since they live quite a ways away (a couple thousand miles, anyways). We got to hang out with them a bit, never as much as we'd like. But it was good to see them. And we had some family snapshots taken, so that was nice.

We took the kids to the zoo a few weeks ago. There's some (a LOT) of construction happening. A veterinary/zoological  medicine school is going in. They're expanding the Asian elephant enclosure. The train tracks are being worked on. They were resurfacing some of the walkways ... So we did MOST of the zoo. (Not the elephants or the Pacific Northwest exhibits) ... I do rather miss some of the Northern-northern (Alaskan/Canadian tundra) exhibit. But we do quite enjoy having lions at the zoo ... so, well, it's a little bittersweet.
A nice plus, though, was that we ran into Jenny and Joseph and their kids at the zoo. It's been way too long since we've gotten to hang out, so just getting to see them was a bonus, indeed. ^_^

Bubbles had her flu shot. The rest of us should get ours.
Michael will be getting his other wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow ... FINALLY.
They're infected/bad and his last dentist (Aspen Dental, I'm looking at YOU) wouldn't pull them because "they're close to a nerve." So, instead of giving a referral or whatever, this dud was just going to let them rot. ... Which they have been doing for over a year.
Michael's been in a lot of pain.

He finally caved and called K, our brother-in-law, who's a dentist and specializes in extractions at his clinic. Sure, we'll be doing a bit of a road trip, but it'll be worth it for Michael to NOT be suffering on the daily. Poor dude.

The kids brought home their school pictures.
Bucket's looks great. Her hair is even STILL in place.
Bruise's, though, ... his hair's a little disheveled. But the biggie is that he has this half-smile (not showing his teeth at all, so it's almost a smirk) with DEAD EYES.
The boy almost looks stoned, poor thing.
So he'll have retakes this time. Crazy boy.

I had PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee) meeting last week. Took notes. Typed them up and got them back to the staff for translating into Spanish and putting on the website/facebook page. Go me, right?
Last month, the library at the school was PACKED full of parents.
This month, they forgot to schedule the robo-call from the school. So we had maybe a dozen people show. Oops.

Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up. We'll see how that goes. I think everything should be fine. Haven't heard anything bad (Except Bruise telling me that it's difficult to listen/write/speak Spanish. ... I hear you kid, says your mom who keeps trying to respond in German. Can we get the gift of tongues and interpreting of tongues happening here? It'd make it a LOT easier to volunteer in the classroom, translate the PTC notes so that C in the office doesn't have to, and deal with Mr. Ruidoso-Neighbor ... though, honestly, since the police went over, he's been quiet as a mouse. And I do hope that he continues that trend. Bless. ... If not, I gave him a blanket warning. And I'll totes call up our city's finest right away in the future. ... Michael says that he probably has a lot more respect for me now. ... I just want to know what all went down that one night that had at least THREE officers go to their house the next day. Dude ... did he take a swing at one or something?? No freaking idea.)

We had our last dinner with Sister Palmer. She's heading home, since she's reached the end of her mission. Per her request, we had scrambled eggs and German Pancakes/Dutch Babies (which let me FINALLY use my German Pancake pan that I received as a wedding present over a decade ago. :P). I also made biscuits (from a can) and gravy (not from a can) for the omnivorous diners (i.e., everyone else).

Last weekend, Michael drove down to help Dad and L move. They still don't have the keys for their newest place, but there was a place to put things in storage in their new town for the time being.
Dad actually called later to request that I tell Michael and [my stepdad] how much they appreciate their help. ... My dad isn't always quite so thoughtful. So, obviously, L is a good influence on him. Mom and I were pleasantly surprised by this incident. (Go Dad!)

Dad C had a bit of a medical scare ... at first we thought it was a kidney- or gallstone. Turns out it's an enlarged prostate. The doctors are keeping an eye on it.
And we're glad that it's nothing more serious.
While the missionaries (Sister Palmer and Sister Bent) were over on Tuesday, Bruise's spacer (for a tooth that was extracted a couple years ago) came out (again).
However, this time, instead of snapping off, it came off all in one piece, with the cap it is attached to.
I called their dentist's office yesterday morning ... and ended up rushing us all out there.
They glued back on the cap, so the spacer is all back in place. (There was no damage to the capped tooth. No sensitivity to water or air. Everything still fit perfectly.) Got Bruise and Bucket to school just over an hour late.
Bubbles used the potty at the dentist's office. Then wet her pants at home.
She used the potty at the restaurant, when Mom, Bubbles, and I went to lunch ... and filled her diaper at home.
... Maybe I just need to keep her out of the house more? :P

Nursery (the young children's class at church -- ages 18-months to 3-years) is going better. CH and I make a good team, I think.
We've had a smaller class lately. Meaning that there are between 9-12 children in the class (as opposed to the 15-18 that CAN/DO usually show up). And, since T (the other Nursery leader) takes the older ones (who'll be in Primary in January) for most of the two-hour-period, it's been a lot calmer.
We've mostly just been playing it by ear. Pretty lowkey.
Sometimes we get out the play dough or puzzles or cars and dolls ... we have snack and a lesson ... sometimes we have singing time. For the last 5-10 minutes, we sometimes play with bubbles (which makes me a little winded and we're both all drippy with soapy-water by the end of the block). But, yes, it's a lot better than my first month in Nursery.
And I have fun with CH. Lots of fun, really. We're of quite a similar sense of humor. That does help. And I've known her for nearly a decade, so that helps, too. It's a different dynamic, since she was in YW (Young Women's, the girls ages 12-18) and I was a leader (YW Camp director and then YW Secretary) ... but it's still pretty fun. Almost like having a little sister, I suppose.

I've started reading more books lately. That's a good thing. I've missed my daily escape.

Also, on Pinterest, I've gained some followers ... so let me brag.
A couple weeks ago, I got an alert that I Chad Hawkins started following me. And I was all, "why does that name sound familiar ...?"
ONLY BECAUSE I HAVE HIS BOOK (well, ONE of his books, "The First 100 Temples," since my Institute [Gospel Study] teacher, Brother Kirby was quoted in it) ... and I was then quite impressed.

Then, the next week, started following my "Churchy Stuff" board. And I was quite chuffed.
THEN, I got a notice that my "Churchy Stuff" board has been added to those followed by LDSLiving.
Could have knocked me over with a feather, y'all. So I feel rather famous. Since I respect all three of those people/organizations.
Which makes me feel that I must be doing something right with that board. (Now just to IMPLEMENT all the awesome scripture-study and other skills/ideas that I've pinned, right? ... And to cook more of those yummy recipes from my cooking board ... and to work a lot of it off from my healthy-type-stuff board.)

The kids all have their costume-stuff. I didn't make anything. I let them all choose. So, there's not really any common theme or anything. Bruise has known what he's wanted to be for a year. Bucket went back and forth between about a dozen choices. Bubbles chose between two things ... I have no idea if I'm even doing anything costume-wise for myself. Oh well.

I think that's most everything that I should put in my brain-dump.

Well, that and I had a fun cameo in my Roxy-sis's dream the other night.
In her dream, she was at a family reunion (no, we're not really related), and started feeling light-headed and passed out, coming to with her cheek on the floor, unable to get up ... everyone was gone.
I prance in, drop a pile of kitty kibble in front of her nose, giggle, and run out.

Which is the kind of surreal thing that happens in MY dreams ... so, well, even when my dream-self goes traveling, at least she's pretty consistent. So, yeah. Good times, yo.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fifteen Days Later ...

Yeah, yeah, I know. I know. It's been a while since I blogged.

I was actually going to blog YESTERDAY ... but there was a short in our phone line. Which meant that I had to spend about 24 hours with NO internet (besides the taste that I got with my data plan on my phone). Poor me, right?

What else has gone on ...

First and foremost, my friend Kim M (the friend I mentioned being on life support?) passed away last week. She had been moved to the ICU and was doing better for a bit. She was a bit responsive. She fought off a case of pneumonia and a staph infection. She got to see her girls and visit with them. ... but she really couldn't breathe. They had to make the hard decision to let her go.
And ... I understand it. I don't have to like the fact that I don't get to see her. That, like a lot of other people, she's gone somewhere that I can't follow yet. That I can't just text or call her. That I'm aware of how much her girls and husband are going to miss her.

A friend of the family started a support group  on Facebook. Its original purpose was to help pass along information and updates about her status. They organized a fast. There's a link to a GoFundMe fundraiser. The new Compassionate Service Leader in our ward (congregation) posted an opportunity to help clean up their apartment here in town and stock the freezer with some meals (Which is why I'm currently doing a few loads of their laundry. It's really the least I can do ... and it all still smells of Kim. She always smelled really nice. Even when I last saw her and she looked so sick, she still smelled so nice.) ... I took over a meatloaf for the freezer. I wrote the girls letters expressing my sympathy and that we love their mom, their family ... that we love them very much. And that their mom loves them so very, very much.

I cry a bit. When I cook (especially when I bake), I start to miss Kim a LOT. I still owe her a baking day. We were going to do it ... but I got busy, then she was in the hospital, then she was REALLY sick ... I had every hope and expectation that she'd kick this thing in the teeth, what with being up at OHSU with the best doctors around. I mean, if that young man in our ward pulled through hypothermia so bad that his heart stopped, what, six times? If he could pull through it, OF COURSE Kim could, too. I mean, I was praying, her family was praying, our wards were praying, friends of other faiths were praying ...

But, well, sometimes prayers aren't answered in the way(s) we'd like. And you have to accept that there's something bigger (and better) planned. And that, yes, it sucks ... but there's some reason behind it. Even though I just wish that I could know that reason right now. But... well... I don't.

Today was Kim's funeral. I didn't go. I kind of wanted to. But I couldn't.
Michael did. He's representing our family and our ward (along with some other members of our ward family).
But I have things here that I need to do. (Freezer meal and laundry for the family, taking the kids to their music lesson, watching T and L [friends and school chums of Bruise and Bucket]) ... things that prevent me from being in two places at the same time.

Besides, I keep crying. And I don't want people to think that I'm trying to say that this whole situation is MY grief ... Kim was loved by lots of people. LOTS. Because she's awesome. And, even though I really wasn't able to say goodbye in any REAL fashion, going to the viewing wouldn't be the same. She wouldn't smile or joke. She'd smell different. I couldn't give her a good, decent hug. It'd just be her body, not HER.
I figure that I'd rather cry by myself. This way no one thinks I'm trying to insinuate that I was closer to her than I was (friend and past Visiting Teacher) or trying to steal attention away from her family and closer friends. I know. I have issues.

.... I really wish that I'd been a better friend. For most of the summer, I wasn't aware that she'd be in the hospital. And, when she got out, I didn't know/realize that she was still so sick and could have really used a lot of help. I wish that the school schedules for her girls' school and my kids' school had been just a little more different, so I COULD have easily made pick-ups/drop-offs for both schools.  Because that would have been one less thing for her to fret about.

But ... well ... there's really no use griping about that now. It's not doing anyone any good.

But, yes, that's been a forefront thing on my mind.
And I realize that I need to get life insurance. Just in case.

Okay, okay ... other news. You don't come here to "listen" to me be all dour and melancholy. You come for the laughs, the sarcasm, the stories ... and I should get to all those kinds of things. Because writing about them is nice and light and fluffy.

This last payday, we've spent restocking our pantry and freezer. We've done so well at that, we hardly have room for all the good stuff. And I put together some freezer meals. We ate "Cafe Rio Chicken" last night (with a side of scalloped potatoes ... out of a box). It was good. Next time, I need to cut down on the cumin. There was quite a bit of heat to it. Good times. But I also have a few other meats-in-marinades in the freezers -- a pork roast with pepperoncinis, Italian-marinated beef roast, Chicken Tikka, French Chicken, Italian Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken ... stuff like that. (Gosh, I'm boring.)

These last few weeks have been pretty hard on our ward. One sister's father was in an accident. He barely survived. She and her sister are taking care of him. It's pretty stressful.
Our RS president's mother passed (she was of an age ... and was having end-of-life care at the home she was in. Still tough, but not entirely unexpected. Sister P is taking it rather well. But it's still not easy by any long shot). That funeral is Friday. ... One of the elders (guys) at church was canning tomatoes with his wife. There was a leak in the propane hose. His sons calculate there was a 30-foot fireball -- part of it got the house. This brother is sporting 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns. But he's in very good spirits ... and for how bad those burns could be, he's looking quite well (small miracles everywhere, you know?). He has a VERY strong testimony of the power of priesthood blessings and of the protection that wearing the garment can give (Seriously, I saw him shirtless. You can totally see where his garment was and was not. It's quite uncanny).

There's been a PTC (Parent Teacher Club) meeting. I chatted with our Principal a bit. And with the teacher that's the PTC-Site Committee liaison.

The kids had fun at the latest Kids' Club at the mall -- there was a magician. And origami. And painting. Bucket and I went to Claire's and I bought some peacock-feather earrings. Ended up being only a dollar (Clearance purchases for the win, right?).

Taught my nursery lessons. Those last three went SO much better than the first one. Oy.
I'm a little worried about one of the older kids in Nursery.
Seems like the child could REALLY use early intervention ... but, well, apparently that's not happening. I'm rather worried for this kid.

We fed the missionaries (sisters) dinner last week. Per Sister P's request, I made clam chowder. And cheddar biscuits and a salad to go along with it. Apparently, it's her favorite dinner ... but until lately, she'd been paired with companions who don't care for fish at all. Poor kid.

Grandma I and Aunt S (Michael's mom's mom and one of her sisters) have come out for a visit. We went over on Friday evening and spent some time visiting with them. Bubbles, not having had a nap, was a little stand-off-ish. Good thing they'll be staying for a couple weeks. That'll give us the opportunity to visit some more.
... And I've been charged to write letters to Grandma I more often. With requests for physical photographs. ... I'm given another opportunity for growth, see?

Like I mentioned earlier, Bruise and Bucket started music lessons this morning. He'll learn the cello. She's opted for violin. (Once we get a bigger house, I should practice the piano again. It's a nice outlet. Not as easy as singing, though. ... I should sing more. Just for practice and fun.)

I'm officially no longer ANY bit of the Compassionate Service Leader for our ward. I have a replacement. And she's amazing. Took off right away with everything. She and I even had a meeting where I passed on what I had ... and we talked about what I did. And she brought LOTS of GREAT ideas to the table. Sister P is very lucky to have Sister R as CS Leader. (Sister R ALSO brought over fresh apple crisp to our little meeting. Did I mention that I adore her?)

I'm about half-way through the laundry. It still smells like Kim.

(I wonder ... how do I smell to other people? ... I mean, I'd HOPE that I smell okay. But Kim always smelled REALLY GOOD. Her whole house smelled like her. Heck, I stepped into their apartment today and started welling up.)

Bucket and I went to the General Women's Meeting last Saturday. It was nice. I'm glad that they lowered the age to attend right in time for her to make it to the first one (in April). We continued what's now our tradition -- dinner out (at Applebee's so far) before the Meeting. Then she takes some cookies/treats home for Bruise and Bubbles. Sister R sat with us this time. (Last meeting, it was just Bucket and me on our regular pew ... creatures of habit. This time, we sat in a different pew.)

As I mentioned above, I had issues with the phone line this week.
I called, via my cell, yesterday morning as soon as the kids were off to school.
Talked to THREE different CSR (customer service reps).
The first one, Ashton, was nice -- personable and professional. "Hey, I'm going to butcher your name. Um ... Ah-LANN-ah?"

Me: "Actually, it's 'uh-LAW-nuh."
And he got it right from that point on. Friendly, kind ... good employee, you know?

He had to transfer me to another gal. (From all the scammer calls, it does not help that she has a bit of an accent) ... who called me "Allie-ah-na." REPEATEDLY. And had me doing contortions to unplug/replug lines from/into the wall socket (couldn't she just say, "Hey, if that's not really doable, just unplug/replug from the modem or phone itself"???? I mean, I haven't gone to modem-tech school or whatever ... but it's not rocket surgery, now is it?).

THEN I was transferred to ANOTHER GUY (also strong accent). He would talk over me and, even though I corrected him MULTIPLE TIMES (seriously, at least three. Maybe as many as five times), KEPT calling me Allie-ah-na.
"No, it's Uh-LAW-nuh."
"All right, Allie-ah-nah."

THEN, after we scheduled a repair tech to come out (because as I could have told them, nothing I do plugging and unplugging my modem will fix NOT GETTING A FREAKING DIAL TONE, y'all), he's all, "And before I let you go, do you have any questions?"
"Yes, I --"
"So, you have no questions?"
"But, I have a que--"
"If there's nothing else that you need ..."
"... yes."
"OKAY. *breath* If I need to cancel the appointment that MIGHT end up costing a minimum of $80 if the error is on our end, what phone number do I call?"
" ... ###-###-####."
"Thank you. *mutters to self* 'Was that really so hard? Really?'"
(Mom's right. I should ask to speak to a supervisor after a telephone conversation that irritating. And I should take names, for sure.)

I called Michael and vented/appraised him of the situation.
I had to repeat myself a lot, since I was VERY FRUSTRATED (i.e., crying).
He ended up bringing me flowers and chocolates when he came home.
(Also can you tell that someone just might, possibly, be having the painters in? [e.g., "I'm in a glass case of emotion!!!"])

This morning, I got the kids up earlier than usual (so we could be on time to music lessons). They got dressed, made their lunches, packed their backpacks, got teeth brushed, shoes on. We had our morning devotional-thing (Sing a hymn. Read the scriptures from the references at the bottom of the page. Read the history of the hymn. Have a prayer. Read a bit about etiquette). I packed up all the library books to return. We headed out for the car (the kids almost didn't grab their backpacks), took them to music lessons (at their school). Once they were settled, Bubbles and I ran by the library to return the books, then to the store to get WIC stuff (better last second than never). By the time we got back home, it was still about a half-hour before the window for the repair tech.

But he was there! Working on the phone box! We chatted. He came in and checked the jack (and had trouble reaching that. Went back outside to check things. Got a dial tone inside. Checked one more thing. Power-cycled the modem. HUZZAH! We're back in business.

Oh, I could have hugged him.
He was supernice. Very professional. Quite wonderful.
I did get his card and his supervisor's number. Called and left a message praising his work and manner.

He also told me that if it gets to the point where we need to power-cycle our modem often (like once a day), then replacing the modem is in the near future. Which is really good to know.

Then I fixed a freezer meal (a meatloaf, since Kim said that her husband is a real meat-and-potatoes kind of guy), chatted with Sister R via IM, talked to my mom ... headed over and picked up laundry to wash/dry/fold, vacuumed our front room (since Bruise and Bucket's friends will be over today).

Bubbles hasn't had a nap ... I say that, then look over to where she's on the couch. Asleep. She crashed while watching Wall-E. (It's a very soothing soundtrack.)

I should go make something yummy for the kids as a snack.
Or I'll just give them popsicles. Either or.

I'm about ready for a nap, myself. Not going to happen.

I should figure out dinner.

I don't know when Michael's getting back tonight.
Kim's funeral was at 10 AM in Hermiston. I don't know how long it lasts. I just know that he'll be home tonight ... and working tomorrow morning.

Is it just me ... or is it a common thing ... when things get bad, I just want to curl up in someone's lap. Maybe cry, maybe not.
But I'm far too ... um ... zaftig, per se, to be able to fold myself up decently, let alone fit in most laps.

Well, I have laundry to fold and dinner to figure out. And ... something ... something to bake.

I really like having working phone and internet. Even though I did get some reading done, I really like having wi-fi. It's just rather comforting knowing that I can look up things on my computer and my tablet without having to type it all on my phone or chance using up all our data for the month.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Musing, mostly

Well, my lesson in Nursery went a lot better than last week.

I should say LESSONS, since they split the Nursery class up into two groups: the ones moving onto Sunbeams (they'll be 3 before January 1) and the ones who'll be in Nursery until Jan 2016 (or longer, I'd suppose. Haven't done the math).

I was able to keep the attention of all but two of the first class.
One boy and one girl ... are challenging. The girl was trying to stay under the table the whole time. Oy.

Then we gathered everyone together for snack time ... and I taught my lesson (abbreviated) again.
Not nearly as many kids (percentage-wise, that is) were totally with me ... but it was a lot better.

We've got a new Nursery leader ... one of the girls that I was friends with back when I was serving as YW Ward Camp Director and then as YW Secretary. I knew that she'd moved back into our ward. And, before Sacrament Meeting (thus, before they announced that she'd accepted the call and for us to sustain it), I thought to myself, "Well, we'll be losing our other Nursery leaders ... It'd be cool if we could get C called. ... But, well, maybe she needs to attend Sunday School and Relief Society. Hm. But it's a thought ... if they ask me." ... LO, AND BEHOLD ... Yeah, I'm excited that she's been called. I see us being a good team.

Do you recall me mentioning a friend who's sick ... and has been sick for a while?
Well, she's currently on life-support.
We're praying. If you want to throw in some prayers, good thoughts, good muju, whatever, ... well, I'd take that as a kindness.
She's got a family ... and they need her.

Bruise and Bucket have some school friends coming over today. Our families are friends. And, a few days a month, I'll watch their kids. It's pretty chill. (It's nice that they don't care that my house is NEVER as clean as I'd like it.) I made pudding for them today. Last time, we had brownies. That first time they came over, we had chips. ... Not totally healthy, but ... well... it's a snack.

Bruise, Bucket, Bubbles, and I are still going strong (knock on wood) with our before-school schedule. At least, the kids are getting up and dressed. I have their lunches made. they get SOME chores done (though Bucket has, lately, been either really tired and sleeping in OR trying to read books instead of getting ready/getting chores done). And (important part), we come to the table to listen to a hymn, read the scriptures that go with it (in our hymnals, there are scriptural references at the bottom of the page. Sometimes just one or two. Today's song, though, had FOUR.), and read the history about it and its author/composer. Then we say a prayer together. Then, IF we have time, we also read and discuss good manners.

At least this way I can start to feel that I'm sending my (older) kids out with some spiritual preparation ... and improving their social graces. My main goal for them is to help them to be self-sufficient and ready to make their way in this world. To do that, they need an education, their own testimony of the gospel, good manners, and good habits. Money (e.g., a nest egg) is good, too. But, well, they can make it regardless.

I've been feeling really tired. (No, not pregnant.) And rather useless.
(1) No matter how much I do clean, when I can work up the motivation, the house is always cluttered and messy.
(2) No matter what I try, I can't change the fact that my friend is sick. And has gotten worse. And I KNOW that praying is good and can make wonderful changes ... but, well, it's nice to have something a little more concrete with immediate effects, you know?
(3) When I do get a nap, I wake up feeling ... not refreshed or rested. But more with an attitude of, "well, I'd better get up. Things need to be done."

Things like that.

I had an interesting dream last night.
I don't recall all the particulars, but the main gist was that Michael wrote Weird Al Yankovic a letter ... and he came to visit us. And he stayed at the YMCA. But he came to church with us and my friend Jennie and I were passing notes. Then Michael, the kids, and I were walking through a park where there were tons of homeless guys sleeping under bushes and puking, since they all drank too much vodka or gin (it was clear, that's all I know).
But Weird Al Yankovic was VERY nice and funny ... and he KNEW me, like RECOGNIZED me from some past emails (that I've never written). But it was very sweet of dream-Michael to get a celebrity to come visit us.

So, yeah, if you want to try and decipher what my subconscious is trying to tell me, let me know.

So, last week, I was playing with Vesper as I changed her and got her ready for bed.
Michael was on the other couch. He just looked over and said, "You're off your period." All matter-of-fact and all.
"Yeah. how did you know?"
"You're happy."

... Well ... but I don't know that I totally FEEL happy.
I know that worrying doesn't really do anything. And Nursery DID go so much better this last week ... but, well ... I don't know.

I'm still acting as the Compassionate Service Leader for RS, though I've been released.
And maybe that's part of it. It is strange to be doing something when you don't have the calling (and the blessing of being sustained and set apart and all).
Not that there's a ton of things to be done ... but there are some things. Thankfully, someone else has volunteered to take over making sure that meals are taken to a gal who'll be having her baby any time.  We have a really wonderful ward family.

My cat still has issues ... she's been licking/scratching between her shoulderblades. Poor thing has a bald/semi-raw-looking patch. I've been treating it. Almost thinking of getting her an elizabethan collar (i.e., "the cone of shame).

There's a fly zooming around in here. I'm not a fan of that. At least I was able to terminate one of them. Ugh.

We went to the renaissance fair this weekend. Bucket got another little dragon (she has a rainbow sparkly one with glow-in-the-dark bits. Her new one is sparkly green with blue. Also glow-in-the-dark). Bubbles picked out a pink cloak. I got a sandalwood fan, some wonderful goats-milk lotion and soap (Lovespell scent). We also got some lavender lemonade after watching the joust. Bruise really wanted to get a new (wooden) shield and maybe a new sword and a cloak ... but nothing really stood out to him. I'll need to make him a cloak, since his sisters both have one now.
After that, we went to Mom and Dad's to celebrate Grandma's birthday.(She's 88 now. But just say that she's 49, okay?)

Earlier this week, Bruise and Bucket had a bicycle/scooter rodeo for a combined Cub Scouts/Activity Days ...activity. Bucket came home with a scraped knee (and ripped leggings). Bruise lost his LEGO water bottle AND his kerchief clip there. Oh well. He does need to take responsibility for taking better care of his stuff (and it's not like there isn't a water fountain where they were at ... so, oh-freaking-well).

Bubbles is talking a bit more. I ordered her a set of BrainQuest cards made for 2-3-year-olds. We go through them and talk about Max the monkey and what he's doing and all that. Pretty nice. I'll have to get the rest of them (We have first-fourth grades now. We've established quite a collection, haven't we?)

When Bubbles and I went to get the mail today, we got a postcard from my Grampy and my step-grandma. That's sweet for them to think of us. It sounds like they're having a great time in Oahu. (Apparently, Grampy hadn't been there since 1941. J last visited about ten years ago ... but she says that it's changed quite a lot since then.)

Well, I don't know of anything else really worth bringing up for right now ... I have about two hours before the kids all get home from school. I should fold laundry and sweep the kitchen (spilled rice yesterday) and clean a million things.

At least the kids' room is looking better ... last week, I finally just got fed up and bagged all the crap on the floor (besides clothes to be hung up). The kids can work their way through those bags ... and, in the meantime, the floor looks about a hundred times better. So, yeah.

And I'm thinking of instilling a rule for the next while, ONCE their room's clean, that for every toy on the floor, they go to bed one minute earlier. For every article of clothing on the floor, that's five minutes earlier that they're headed to bed. This way, they'll keep their toys put away, laundry will go where it belongs, and they'll just have to worry about shoes and books.
I hope.

We'll see.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

More Busy Than God Meant Me To Be ...

... which is a way of saying that I've been slacking (still) on praying and reading/pondering my Scriptures. Among other things.

Where did I last leave off ... my mom's birthday, that's right.

Okay, quick rundown:
  • Went to the last Summer Reading Program Activity for our library. A man ("Mr. Lizard") brought a lot of reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids for the kids to learn about (and everyone who wanted to touch them could ... well, most of them). He was pretty funny.
    Bubbles sat with me (sometimes more patiently than other moments). 
  • I went to the first PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee?Council?) meeting. I'm now committed to being the secretary. I get to take notes, compile them, and email them to the school to be on the school's website.
    This means that I won't be able to make it to RS Meetings (what used to be called Enrichment/Homemaking), since those are at the same time. *sigh*
    But I'll be able to be involved in the school and be useful that way, right?
  • Michael and I finally got our date night ... we saw Guardians of the Galaxy. It was really fun.
  • We went to the Art and Air Festival.
    Bucket REALLY wanted her face painted, but it was getting so close to bedtime (where she'd just have to wash it off), that I wasn't looking forward to spending $10+ on that.
    I talked her into getting a glitter tattoo (She opted for a dolphin leaping over a wave in blue and green) while I caved (finally) and (finally) got a henna tattoo. It's almost all faded now, except for a little on my knuckles. It was really pretty, though. Worth wanting one for, oh, TWENTY YEARS. (Geez, I'm getting OLD, y'all.)
  • I accepted the call (and have been officially called/sustained/set apart) as one of the Ward Nursery Leaders. So, instead of going to Sunday School and Relief Society on Sundays, I'm helping to attempt to keep order and teach lessons to a group of 18-months-to-3-year-olds.
    There's a reason Sister Palmer, while raising her hand to sustain me in my calling, gave the Mockingjay salute and whistled Prim's theme.
    Let's face it, I NEED the odds to be "ever in my favor."
    I taught my first lesson a couple days ago.
    After church was done, I went to bed, ate some Pringles and drank a Cherry Fanta and NAPPED FOR TWO HOURS ... and didn't feel at all rested.
    I was told, when I was extended the call, that the goal is to have Nursery leaders in there for a year. ... I have a feeling it'll be a long year.
    Don't get me wrong, I like the kids fine (Though, there's usually at least 13 in there. That's a lot of little bodies and energy in a small space). And I really like the gals that I'm working with.
    But, oh, I've never wanted to be in Nursery. Partly because I suck at reading my scriptures and all on my own, so I NEED Sunday School and RS. And I am around a two-year-old on the daily ... so it's nice to have a two-hour break where I get adult interaction ... And, well, By the time Bubbles is four, I should have that again. I hope.
    Three more lessons this month. Then I'll get a break on that.
    If y'all don't mind saying some prayers, I'd appreciate it.
    Because, well, I could REALLY use the help.
    (As Michael says, I enjoy teaching older kids a bit more. Or even RS! ... Oh well. This will help me grow, right? ... Yeah.)
  • I had the opportunity to volunteer at the kids' school (stuffing folders) before school started. It was good to be useful. And then we went to the playdate ... we were late since I drove to the wrong park first. And, still, when we made it, no one was at the RIGHT park. We played anyways ... and another mom (from church) and her kids came. So it was just right. Since her oldest is in Sunday School with Bruise and Bucket.
  • We went to the kids' school's open house and met their teachers. I like them both very much.
    It really eased Bucket's nerves to know her teachers.
  • We took the kids to the zoo and OMSI for an end-of-the-summer blowout. We got to see the dinosaur exhibit before that ended. And, wow, there's been a LOT of new information about dinosaurs since I was in school. So it was a really good exhibit with LOTS of new info.
  • I spent a night at Roxy's, since we were having a sleepover. Mer was in the state for a visit and REALLY wanted a sleepover. So we stayed up WAY late, chatting with D on Skype, and crashed for the night. I drank a bottle of Martinelli's (sparkling apple-grape juice) while Mer and Rox had some wine (And, as D could tell you, I was just as loopy as the other girls. ... That's proof right there that I don't need alcohol/drugs to have a good time. Besides, I think that most liquor smells ... weird). Good times.
    Then, in the morning, Michael and the kids drove up. We -- Roxy, her girls, and Mer, along with our family -- went to the Japanese Gardens. Neither Roxy nor Mer had been before (nor had Bubbles). It was crowded, being Labor Day, but it was a nice trip. Then we went to a mall (also crowded) ... then, after lunch, and a little shopping, our family needed to head home since school started the next morning.
  • The kids had a good first day (and all subsequent days thus far) of Third Grade. One half of the day is done TOTALLY in Spanish. Their teacher (for Spanish) will talk slowly and with lots of repetition for now. She'll get them used to listening. By the end of the year, they'll be used to hearing regular-speed Spanish ... as well as replying to it, too.
  • I was cleaning the kitchen ... realized that the oven's heating element wasn't doing well. ... In fact, it broke. Had to order another one. Michael replaced it Saturday night, after we got home from visiting family.
  • Like I just mentioned, we went down to visit family. Saw my Nana (and Aunt I and Uncle M). Stayed the night with Dad and L. Gave Dad his birthday present. Also celebrated my stepdad's birthday with most of his kids and some friends and family. 
  • Which got us ready for church. I had my lesson to teach in Nursery. Michael had meetings before church ... and he was subbing for the Sunday School (Gospel Doctrine) teacher AND teaching a lesson in Elder's Quorum. Yeah, Sunday isn't really a day of rest all the time.
  • One of my friends (her son is in Bruise and Bucket's class ... and those three are all friends) needed someone to watch her kids for a bit a few days. Sometimes work schedules and school schedules are not getting along. So, maybe a couple days a week, her kids will come home with mine and play/hang out until she's off work.
    They came over yesterday and it all went quite well. I do, however, need to plan a snack after school. ^_^ It should be fun.
Tomorrow, Bruise and Bucket have a bicycle rodeo (Cub Scouts and Activity Day girls are teaming up for it) in  the evening.
I also have a WIC appointment in the morning.
My mom's coming for a visit (the house is MOSTLY clean, so that's good).
The kids get out an hour earlier (it's a district thing).

One of my friends is sick.
(And when I say "sick," I mean REALLY sick.)
I took over a dinner on Friday, before we headed out of town.
I hadn't seen her over the summer (She was away. Partly in a hospital).
When I saw her ... I almost didn't recognize her at all.
She'll be going to stay with family.
And I'm just really worried.
So, if you want to say some prayers for her (Heavenly Father knows who she is and what she'll need), I'd appreciate it. She needs to get better.

I'm starting to get back into doing my Rosetta Stone and Duolingo (added Irish to the Duolingo. Not that I can say much in it. However, the spelling is easier for that than for French).

I should close this up. I can't think of much more to write. And I need to do some housework. And study the scriptures (since that's all on me for the next year or so). And try not to worry too much about my friend. I need to have faith that things will work out ...

... And Bubbles just peed on the couch (Potty-training is so fun!! And training pants only hold so much.)

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 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):

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
Kind of obsess with 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.

Counting ...

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