Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paddleboats, Pinterest, Parenting, and Disappointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some food for thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And then I disappear for a month ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There has to be something.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I think that's most things. Hopefully.

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

Counting ...

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