Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mom's coming up today.

I have half the dishes done.
I'm sporting a 98% mastery of 5th grade math (yes!) on Khan Academy
I'm halfway up to getting caught up on scriptures.
I did Duolingo.
Still need to do Rosetta Stone; that'll be later.
I worked on ... mostly so that I can run my kids' noses in HOW AWESOME THEIR MOM IS, WHAT?!??

Tomorrow, I'll have a meeting with the kids' teachers about what wasn't discussed at Curriculum Night (a lot ... because we only had 45 minutes scheduled. Yeah. Not the teachers' fault at all. And, well, as an Ed major and daughter of a teacher, I have lots of questions. And I made sure to let them know that I AM on their team and willing to help out with anything that I can!) ... then a few hours (where I'll clean the house and prepare Sunday School lessons and stuff) until I donate blood.
Then the big kids will get home. And there's a fundraiser for their school at a local eatery. AND it's the Strings program's kick-off (Go to the school, get instruments and music books, etc) ... and by then, it'll be time for bed.

Just in time to get up, get everyone dressed, do a quick devotional, run Bubbles to Grandma's house, run the kids to school, and volunteer for School Picture Day. *sigh*
It'll be good ... it's just a LOT of walking and crowd control.

But Michael will pick up Bubbles after work, so I won't have to run into the next town TWICE. Then, it'll be time for grocery shopping and cleaning the house a little more, making sure that we're prepared for General Conference (making cinnamon rolls, maybe?) ... then it'll be time for a good weekend.

Conference, doing part of the annual fire department scavenger hunt between sessions, more conference, ... we're going to try and take some cookies to a (less-active) friend's house (I don't know if HE knows that he's our friend ... but he will now, won't he? Mwhahaha), Michael will go to Priesthood session at the Stake Center (so he can actually pay attention) ... I'm considering having the kids watch it with me at home (yay streaming!) ... then Sunday will have the last two sessions of Conference. And I'll be more ready to study this conference than I have been before.
(This year, I did a 40-day challenge before Conference, where I read a talk a day (more or less) so that I am now more familiar with what was discussed and what I should know.
I also took my copy of the Ensign to Staples and had them laminate the front and back covers and spiral-bound the whole thing. It's such a great idea. As soon as November's Ensign comes out, you know what I'll be doing. And investing in more highlighters ... I had four highlighters, so I used them. Orange was quotes/stories, pink was suggestions/counsel, blue was blessings promised, and yellow was ... everything else. I really could have used at least one more color ... but I worked with what I had at the ready.)

I should go put on my face since I have a Visiting Teaching appointment to go to in a bit.
Don't want to scare anyone, ha ha ha.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Well, I'm almost done with mastery of Fifth Grade math on Khan Academy (humbling, yes ... but I'm working for this. I'm hoping to be done all the way through 8th grade math by the end of the calendar year). And I'm working still on Spanish (Duolingo and Rosetta Stone) and German (Duolingo). And, since my kids are working on, I've started there, too.

Michael got home early from work last night and took over being the heavy -- the front rooms look a lot better now. They're going to be working on their room this afternoon. And I need to finish dishes, laundry, clean the hall bathroom, and vacuum. Not that I've done any of that YET.

But Bubbles and I are going to run a couple errands and ... okay, we're back.


You know you love it. Or something.

But, after while feeling sorry for myself, I took some action.

I messaged one of my friends who I haven't seen in AGES.
And, yes, the message I sent her did sound kind of pathetic.
She'll write back sometime, I'm sure.

Then I checked in with my Roxy-sis ... and we set up a meet-up-in-person book date in a couple weeks. I'm pretty stoked about it.

My mom had called while I was mopey and mucusly-challenged ... and she could tell that I was upset.
She stated that, since old-friend and I had met, she'd gone through a lot that had changed her a bit.
(It's nice when your mom has your back. And, if it were my fault, my mom's cool enough to tell me.)
(Most times, anyways. And in a way that doesn't feel like she's ripping the rug out from under you. Pretty awesome mom, right? [Yes. The answer is YES. There is no other answer.])

And, yeah, that did help me to feel a bit better.

I mean, I still will wonder off and on what happened ... I don't want to blame everything on PTSD or anything. It could very well be that I'm not as good of a person/friend as I would like to be. And I have to live with that.

So ... yeah.

Michael also brought home pizza for dinner. Which meant that I didn't have to cook. Which was nice. And, since he was being the heavy, I could play good-cop. And that was nice ... even though between crying, not drinking enough water, and everything, I did have a headache (nothing that water, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, PastTense, and time couldn't fix.

We watched "The Beautician and the Beast," since it's soon to be off Netflix again. And it'd been ages since I'd seen it (over 15 years ... wow, I'm old). And it was as cute as I recalled. Michael even tolerated it well enough (Hey, he likes "Wing Commander," so I get to enjoy costume dramas and fluffy romances like this. And, yes, I'm willing to be in the room while he's watching his shows ... so it's fine.)

I did tell Michael that I was sorry for being all Mrs. Bennet ... and he got the reference.
(My kids didn't. Time to get them started on Austen movies.)

If you don't get the reference, here's a quick peek:


Yeah, not exactly who I want to BE ... though, easy enough to channel at times.

I still need to get caught up on ... many, many things. So many things.

But we (Bubbles and I) went out and returned library books (so that I SHOULDN'T get another fifteen-dollar-and-change fine for late books. *sigh* Yeah, that was last month. It always occurs RIGHT at that point where I start thinking that I have everything together. ... Well, OBVIOUSLY not, huh?) and we picked up milk and a few other things.
She talked me into getting her a book (Hard sell there, right? /sarcasm) which I read to her after lunch (it's a Big Hero 6 book. And I got her to take a nap by telling her that, if she DOES take a good nap, I'm willing to let her watch the movie. #PickYourBattles #Compromise)

Even though I haven't done any of the things that I put on my mental to-do list as I was blearing awake, I DID check the mail. And I cleaned off a good section of the junk counter.And Bubbles and I read through quite a few library books. So that's something ...

Between trying to fill my bucket with drops of awesome, so that I DON'T feel like a total loser and all, I do find myself channeling this video:

(Barats and Bereta - PC Fratboys, if the link's not treating you well.)

Okay, I should go be a little more productive. Those languages aren't going to study themselves. That floor isn't going to vacuum itself. Those dishes? Nope, not going to wash themselves ... no matter how hard I utilize those puppy-dog eyes. The laundry sure isn't going to wash, fold, and put itself away ...

OR, you know, I could just curl up on the couch with a book and watch Pioneer Woman on Netflix or something ... either or.

But I DO need to make dinner tonight for sure.

Monday, September 28, 2015

..... ..

I've not been very productive ... but that'll be changing here shortly.

I HAVE gotten the kids' laundry through the wash (one more load to dry) ... now to have them fold and put it away when they get home, right?

I'll be doing another load of dishes, since that's a NEED. And I'm going to get the front rooms cleaned up a bit more (since they're really not at all right yet. Ha ha...)

So, a few months ago, I did the "see less from" for a friend of mine on Facebook, knowing that we'd still be Facebook friends and that, when I was ready to see more of her posts, I could just go to her page.

I realized today, since I was feeling braver and readier, that somehow we've been unfriended.

I had to call Michael anyway, so he looked too. (An engineer-ish trait is confirming information, just to be sure that things are really things.) He also had been unfriended.

I can hope that this is a Facebook glitch, though there are more than a dozen friends that we still have in common.

I'm not feeling brave enough, though, to send a message, to throw out a "hey! I saw that Facebook says we're not friends anymore! Whoops! I hope that I didn't do that ... or that you didn't do that. Because I still care. And I hope that you do, too. ... Not hearing from you when you were in town was sad, but I figured that you were busy and all. And I didn't want to be that needy friend when you're busy. ... Or it could be that, as close friends as we were, you do just need your space and all ... and maybe I'm not quite as fun/cool/supportive/helpful to you as I hoped I was. ... And, well, that's cool, too. Because I just want you to be happy. ... Even though I miss you. ... But I hope that you and your family are all doing well. And that you're happy. Because I want you to be happy and healed and whole..."

But, really, how do you say all that in a not-at-all-pathetic, no-pressure way?
I'm not coming up with anything.

So, yeah.

I mean it's great that Michael's my best friend and I have him and get to see him and have sleepovers with him just about every single day. And my mom's an awesome bestie, too.
I have other friends-that-are-girls, too ... just not always as close as I'd like or within a 30-minute drive, you know?

And I know that 99%+ is all on me for that. It's easier, with kids, to NOT leave the house and just replace calling people (and dealing with kids in the background/ambient noise/non-complimentary schedules/etc) with emailing, facebook, and blogging. ... Or not even doing those, but striving to achieve a cleaner house and/or making progress in getting through my TBR pile.

I mean, I know that this friendship was on the rocks and all ... we weren't talking or emailing (though, when I'd reach out, she'd respond and it'd be very much like old times ... though with her being far away and having kids and going through school and ... a lot of ands ...) ... I know she's busy. But I miss hanging out with her. And it hurts to have this ... raw space.

And I get that them's the breaks sometimes. And it'll suck for a while.
And I'll need to pray and read my scriptures more. And things will get easier.
And I'll clean my house and invite some friends over to watch movies together.
And, eventually, Bubbles will be in school and I'll start volunteering at the library or spend more time volunteering at the kids' school(s).
And maybe PTC will choose a day/time that isn't the same date/time so that I can work to be more social with the sisters in my ward ...


So, I obviously need to be more proactive in being social.
And, in order to do THAT, I should clean my house so that I can have people over without them being in danger of bodily harm (from tripping over the mess) AND so they'll have a place to sit (as comfortable as my piles and piles and piles of laundry are ...).

I'm not totally, completely okay yet ... but it's nice to be able to type all this out in some attempt to work out HOW my jumble of feelings can be translated into actual thoughts.

Though, I'll be honest ... I do rather wish that I was back in high school where/when all my good friends lived pretty close. That was handy. If one moves away/starts being homeschooled/whatever, I could still keep in contact a bit ... but there were other friends to hang out with at lunch or before school or at rehearsal. I miss that. I miss it a lot.

Heinz Brand Catch-Up (j/k)

Okay, what have I been up to?

About 5'5" ... same since sixth grade. Har har har ...

But, really, let's see ...

Friday, was a little busy ... Michael got home from work after Bubbles and I were trying to get the house a wee bit cleaner (limited success, though). We finally watched "Home" so we could return it to his cousin. (Very cute. And not just because I think Jim Parsons is funny.)
Then we made sure that our temple clothing fit (and, no, my skirt didn't. I need to lose some inches for sure to get it to fit well).

We picked Bruise and Bucket up from school and took all the kids to Grandma's house (to spend the night. FREEEEEEDOM! Don't get me wrong, I love our kids. But it's nice to have a date-date without any children around) and headed up to Portland.

We stopped by Deseret Book. I got a new temple skirt (elastic waistband, so it's a little more forgiving) and I also picked up a copy of the Teaching, No Greater Call manual, since it's often referred to in the lesson outlines for my Sunday School class. We also saw on a crazy-good sale (nearly 75% off) a book that's by an author that we like (and his wife).
(Sure enough, I was able to find what I was searching for in the hardcopy manual ... so I can be better prepared for my lessons.)

We didn't end up needing to bring our temple clothes, since we opted to do Initiatories for the family names that I had in my bag (What? You don't print out family records, have the baptisms and confirmations done, then carry the uncompleted cards in your purse for a year? *bad great-granddaughter/great-niece*) ... I now have the Initiatories completed for two of my great-grandmothers (both of whom I actually met. One, Betty, died when I was four, but I remember her a little. The other one, Alma, I met the summer before my freshman year of high school ... It was due to that visit that I have a soft spot for reading the World Weekly News. :D). Michael had three names (great-grandfathers and my Nana's brother). I also did five names that aren't from my family ... they were all Hungarian and some of the ladies in the records were nearly 300 years old.

After the temple, Michael and I went to Outback Steakhouse (first time -- he had a gift card). It was good (especially the Coco-berry smoothie). We also tried the Bloomin' Onion. He had a sandwich and I had tacos. Everything was really tasty ... spendy, but good. I couldn't finish what I had ordered, so we had leftovers. LOTS of leftovers.

Saturday, we didn't sleep in ... we grabbed a voucher for Free Museum Day and headed up to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. Michael had never been ... and it was a good time to go, since we could get in for free. It's a lot different going there without kids (you actually have time to read the signs, OH. MY. GOSH.) and I was able to lead him around a bit. We looked at nearly everything ... though it took us nearly four hours.

Then we stopped by The Pita Pit (our favorite) on the way to pick up the kids.
After we got home, I was tired and COMPLETELY FORGOT about the General Women's Conference broadcast. Whoops!

However, while Bruise and Michael ran to Target and the grocery store, Bucket and I cleaned out the kitchen fridge. Ew.

Sunday was mostly good. We had church. I taught my second lesson in my Sunday School class ... and was observed by the Ward Sunday School President (no pressure, right?) ... I emailed him later "So ... how'd I do?"

He responded, "How do you THINK you did?" (Can you tell that we're friends?)

I typed back, "Well, if you're judging success on how well we stuck to the lesson outline, abysmal.
"But, the students were participating and asking thoughtful questions ... It felt pretty good."

And he the told me that, yes, EVERYONE was participating (even one student who often doesn't) and that he agreed that it went well. Phew!

After we got home from church, I put on the YouTube feed of the Women's Conference session and took my notes on that. Bucket was ... a bit surly. I'm chalking it up to the fact that the kids and their cousins were up until 11 on Friday night. Because of that, and the fact that Bubbles was SHOUTING due to not wanting to fall asleep, we sent the kids to bed a little early ... where they all climbed into ONE bunk and Bruise ended up getting hit in the face by Bubbles, which caused him to bite his lip and there was BLOOD ... and Michael took care of that because I was on the phone with my mom.

(I'm so helpful. As Michael is steering Bruise to the bathroom, I call after them, "Put a drop of Helichrysum on it. It'll help with the bleeding," and assure my mom that, no, she doesn't need to hang up, Michael's got this, it's all cool.)

Michael and I are now four episodes into Gotham.

Jumping back, Michael took the kids to a baptism (Michael had been asked to give a talk at it) ... Bucket, though grumpy, opted to go Visiting Teaching with me. We met my VT companion there and we chatted while waiting (and waiting) for the sister we'd come to teach. She'd forgotten that we were coming (again ... After last month, where we waited for around 15-ish minutes, I thought that I'd cover my bases by texting her this morning. Apparently, I need to text right after church. Ha ha). she did come home ... 45 minutes later, but that was fine. K and I got to talk books in the meantime, so that was fine.

Bucket, though, had snitched my tablet out of my purse without asking, even though she had brought a book, so I wasn't thrilled about that. I instructed her that she SHOULD ask every time. And reminded her of the fact that she's grounded, so she KNOWS that the answer really is no. *sigh*

But, yeah, that's really most of Sunday.

Today ... I should clean the house.
I also need to run out and pick up milk.
And I need to pick up a card for a (retired) coworker of Michael's. A's wife passed on Friday.
Even though the company will be sending a card, Michael strongly feels that he should also send one from our family. And I agree. A was one of Michael's mentors when he started working at his company. It's good to let him know that there are bunches of people thinking of him.

I also wrote a couple of posts for my Sunday School blog ... I should email my students and let them know that those posts are up for them. And get the other email addresses for my other students. Wouldn't it be nice to let them be involved, too? :P

Then I should get caught up on reading my scriptures and get back in the habit of saying more prayers. And I should read the other manuals and prepare more for my class ... the usual.

And work more with Bubbles on reading and writing and numbers and colors ...

But I'm still loving my hair. ^_^

Thursday, September 24, 2015

If I had a clever title, it'd go here

I woke up a little earlier than usual. So I'm actually showered already.

But I put on pajamas, so don't be THAT impressed.

Today, during morning devotional with the kids, we got to talking about the whole "don't just love those who love you." (paraphrased from Matthew 5:46-47) ... and I told Bruise and Bucket (and Bubbles, if she was listening) that you can't just be cliquish. And that sometimes, yes, people will act like jerks ... but we have to remember some things:
  • S/he is still a child of God.
  • Maybe there's something going on in his/her life that we don't know about.
  • We can always pray for guidance in helping us understand why [whoever is acting like a poophead] is doing what s/he is doing, so that we can use that inspiration/knowledge to speak to his/her heart ... so that they'll know that we care and are trying/wanting to help.
And Bucket's eyes went wide as she told me, "Mom. That is what I needed to know how to solve a problem with someone at school."

Okay. Phew.

My main goal in doing morning devotional with the kids is that (1) they'll get some scripture-time/pondering-time (nearly) first thing in the morning, (2) they'll have some spiritual armor on to help them through the day, since I can't be there to help guide them constantly (it'd be exhausting and overbearing. I'd rather be reading, truly. :P), and (3) we'll have some time together so that I can have some idea of what's going on in their lives.
There are some other goals, too, of course, but those are the biggies.

And, well, learning that this IS helpful ... it's very validating.

I also had Bruise and Bucket do their Spanish reading in the morning today ... and I had them read scriptures, since we have those in Spanish. And, since today is NOT early release, so they have an hour less to work on homework-stuff and housework after school. (It's only going to get HARDER once Strings lessons and LEGO Robotics start ... *sigh*)

Other things in my life --

I FINALLY got the correct email address for one of the students in my Sunday School class. I misread two letters as numbers ... and his mom was having a devil of a time with it. But she and I persevered ... and I've FINALLY succeeded in emailing him. Phew!

Last night, Michael and I started a bath for Bubbles (Bucket wanted a bath by herself) ... and we both got distracted. When Michael checked on Bubbles, the tub was about an inch from overflowing. Bubbles was happy as a pig in the mud, with the water up to her neck.
(She had been asking to go swimming, so this was pretty much her own private pool. Ha.)

Of course, this was something that needed to be made into a Facebook post, so I grabbed my phone and ordered her to "Cover your parts!" And, well, my Facebook friends seemed to enjoy what we shared of our crazy life

I'm still TRYING to feel prepared for Sunday's lesson.
Right now I'm printing out talks, lessons (for October), and ... well, anything that I think might help me to be more prepared.

We'll see how it goes. I still need to make a questions box, though ... just in case.
Or, until then, my students can just slip me a piece of paper or stick it in my bag or something. I'll find it ... eventually. :P

Michael and I made it to Curriculum Night at the kids' school the other night ... and I left with more questions than answers.
Don't get me wrong. I REALLY like their teachers. But when I asked about what Bruise and Bucket are going to be learning in Social Studies and Science, I was only told that it's integrated into the Math and Language Arts, due to how little instructional time is available vs what all needs to be taught.
Yes, it's an answer, but not exactly what I asked.
(I was looking for something more like, "Well, we're not teaching Social Studies and Science on their own, due to time constraints, but we have integrated units on [countries, cultures, animals, earth science concepts, etc] within the Language Arts and Mathematics that we're teaching." Or something like that.

We also learned, just before we left, that Bruise HAD been falling asleep in class. ... Which was due to his and Bucket's sneaking the tablets into their room. Which lets us know that it was going on for a little while. And that they REALLY can't be trusted with their tablets (which is ANOTHER reason why their tablets have taken a vacation to stay [indefinitely] at my mom's house). *sigh*

So, yeah, I was THAT PARENT and sent a LONG email with the other questions that we didn't have time to address (or fully address) ... along with offers that Michael and I are more than willing to help out in whatever ways we can. If the teachers don't have time to grade homework, it's not like I'm incapable of that (well, maybe slightly incapable in Spanish, since I'm only 46% fluent, according to Duolingo ... and I think they might be giving me too much credit) ...

I just want to know what's going ON.

But we're glad that the kids DID bring home homework packets Tuesday. Math, cursive (since it's not required for Common Core, it's not taught in the classroom), and a Spanish reading assignment with a multiple-choice assessment for comprehension. This is along with a reading log with student-set reading goals for reading in English AND Spanish.

Bruise and Bucket ALSO brought home a sheet about with their log-in information so they can practice at home (optional) ... Bruise's didn't work, so I had to make an educated guess at the Technology teacher's school email (I got it right) and she let me know that Bruce's username was already taken -- and gave me the new username, so we were able to log him in. Phew!

I also read over the sheets that the P.E. and Music teachers had prepared.
The one surprising thing was that the P.E. teacher stated that if students come to P.E. without appropriate footwear (athletic shoes), they wouldn't be able to participate AND receive a failing grade for that day. ... I ran that by my mom, a retired teacher, and she said that it didn't sound legal. So, in my email to their kids' teachers, I mentioned that I was concerned about the kids receiving failing grades since my daugher OFTEN wears sandals/boots/non-athletic shoes to school and I hadn't been made aware of which days she has P.E., so I can't help her with that.
(And the P.E. teacher is a first-year teacher, so I don't want to lambast him with anything ... but, instead of stating that parents could just ask their children's teachers about which days they have P.E., it'd be cool if he'd put a small schedule on there with which animal groups have P.E. on which days. ... Yes, kids are sorted by groups with animal names. It makes it easier to keep track of which class they're in, since around 2/3 of the students are in TWO classrooms with the Bilingual program.)

Yes, I know, I know. I'm a hard woman to please.
I'm aware.

I'm also a woman with a headache, so I should go pop some acetaminophen and rub some essential oils on my temples ... and get dressed so that I can take Bubbles to storytime. And clean the house. And fold and put away more laundry. And wash more laundry. And prepare my lesson(s). And read books. And feed my family healthy things. And ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Well, I've started a second blog ... but it's geared for the Sunday School class that I'm teaching (and their families).

In it, I'm researching and answering questions that they ask in class.
And, since I'm not a scriptorian (at least, not yet), therefore unable to always give the appropriate scripturally-backed answers that these questions deserve, I figured that this would be a good way to address these questions and foster more learning for my students.

That, and if you really want to know what quotes I like from General Conference, you could follow my Twitter feed. Because that's the main reason I have Twitter, to follow the Twitter Stake during Conference. (It's a great way to learn the General Authorities' names, if you miss the words on the screen. And some folks on Twitter are awesome at bringing up sites with these people's background and stuff.^_^ )

Yesterday was ... a day. I was tired. I didn't do much housework. I did get caught up on the dishes. The kids are still grounded. I need to do more laundry.

And I'm just irritated by the whole mess.
Especially when I see UNWORN, CLEAN CLOTHES in the laundry.

So, the kids are now going to be doing their own washing and folding and putting away their clothes. At least until they stop putting clean clothes they just don't want to put away into the laundry.

Which means that I'm going through all the "dirty" clothes and taking out Bubbles's clothes to wash.

I'm just so dang tired of all this dreck.

Especially since every day that I have to talk to them and remind them and FOCUS THEM on the tasks at hand is a day that DOESN'T count toward them getting ungrounded.

They took about two hours to "clean" their room (There was improvement ... EVENTUALLY).
They moved all the chairs from the dining room into the kitchen ... and didn't vacuum (until NOW because I had to yell to get them to do it).

I am already tired of having to take away the remote before they get up so that they aren't tempted to watch shows.

I'm glad that Mom's coming up today. I need something to distract me from all this.

I also need to write letters to my Nana and to Gramma I ... it was in my calendar for yesterday, and I didn't do it.


And Bubbles wanted to wear a swimsuit yesterday. So... she wore a swimsuit.
She's REALLY bummed that the outdoor pool is closed (and has been closed for two weeks. And won't open until at least Memorial Day weekend). Poor kid.

Well, it's time to do devotional and all that. Or else it's time for my head to explode ... Either or.

But I did finish my book and did my Khan Academy (83% complete in Fifth Grade Math), Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone ... so that's ... something. That and with my blogging on the Sunday School blog and all, I should feel like I've been productive. Meh.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The good, the bad, and the frustrating ...

It's been a good and bad last few days ...

I had forgotten to update my digital calendar that we had signed up to feed the missionaries ... Whoops!
But we got the house much cleaner and dinner made and had a nice visit with them.

I got my hair recolored. It's SO much better. I really didn't feel like myself as a blonde-blonde. And I didn't like my roots being so OBVIOUS (#ImSoVainIBetIThinkThisSongIsAboutMe).
I am still rather blonde, but I have some brown lowlights put in there that make my skin tone looks worlds better and it feels a LOT more natural. (It can read more grey, though, in some lights ... but I can handle that). I also got new purple streaks in the middle (aka "peekaboo streaks"), which are really fun.

I finally got around to painting my nails and toenails -- my fingernails are mostly nude, with a few accent nails that have a glitter topcoat on them; my toes are a deep violet.

Did I mention that Bucket's Betta, Blue, passed? Well, he did.
And I cleaned out the fish tank and we now have Falcor, a Dragon Scale Betta (He's got a light-teal body and deep-red fins. Quite pretty. He seems well-behaved like Blue).
He and Iggy (the Pleco) seem to get along well enough.

I am behind on dishes and laundry again. As usual.
I'm almost through my "for fun" book (The Night Circus). I'm enjoying it. But it's due on the 24th and I REALLY don't want more fines (I paid over $15 in library fines last week. FUN! Not.).

We went out on Saturday and bought some used LEGO (the kids each made a minifig and I picked up the two minifigs from retired series that I'd been YEARNING for [The movie star (Series 9) and the Hazmat guy (Series 4)]. Then we went to the LEGO store and the kids got more LEGO, even Bubbles got a Duplo kit. And we dropped by Deseret Book (and ran into Bruise's Cub Scout den leader), and went out for a LATE lunch (the kids' Summer Reading coupons sure came in handy for a free Kid's meal at Applebee's EACH) and headed home.

I taught my first Sunday School lesson with the 12 and 13-year-olds. I had five students. They're pretty fun. It's nice having a class that can TALK with you. We didn't really stay on the month's subject ... but we did talk about the Second Coming and repentance, so it was pretty good.

I also got permission from the Sunday School President in our ward to follow inspiration and start a blog to discuss (and confirm with Scriptural answers/references) what we talk about in class that I don't have ready answers/references to.
(FACT: It's a pet peeve of mine when people pass around doctrine that isn't confirmed. Like the Mormon Myth (which has been denounced from the First Presidency) that people from other dispensations of the gospel will bow to us. OR that Joseph Smith said that "if people could see through the veil to the Telestial Kingdom, they'd be killing themselves to get in." (Attributed, but unverified. Researched AGAIN, here.) ... But, yes, I'm not a fan of the "faith-promoting rumor." I prefer facts that can be verified. But that might be partway because my main Seminary teacher, Joan, demanded "Scriptural Answers," answers that were backed by scriptures.)

Also, the BAD part of the weekend ... Bruise and Bucket got themselves in to TROUBLE.
Bruise has been visibly exhausted lately. Bucket hasn't been much better.
We found out WHY ... they've been sneaking in their tablets (Strike ONE) at night into their room (STRIKE TWO) ... and they KNOW that this is against the house rules.

So, they're grounded. Indefinitely, but at least for two weeks. No tablets (It's a good thing that I have self-control, or I'd have broken them in front of those two jokers. ), no TV/Netflix/Movies, no going out to play, ... and they HAVE to do all their chores (without being reminded) for two weeks. I also want them to be reading their scriptures, writing a letter of apology to their dad and me, copying off the section in For the Strength of Youth about "Honesty and Integrity" into their journals ... along with the Honesty section in True to the Faith and a few scriptures referenced.

This isn't the first time that this has happened. And, obviously, they haven't really learned not to do it. We had a talk at the dining room table this morning, where I did NOT yell (I'm getting better, see?), but I DID tell them that I was so disappointed in them that there aren't words in the human language to express it. And I told them about the consequences (being grounded AND their distancing themselves from Heavenly Father and making it VERY hard for the Holy Ghost to be with them ... making it VERY hard to have a happy family, since their actions show a huge amount of disrespect for their parents, their little sister [whose sleep is also affected AND who tries to emulate their actions], and THEMSELVES. Because when you make bad choices and are dishonest, you are showing a lack of respect for yourself.) ... so, we were all down and unhappy. But I did make sure to let them know that I do love them (which is why I'm so disappointed in them) and to give them hugs before they left for the bus.

But here's how their lives are going to look for the next while:
  • Get up, get ready for school. Make sure lunch is packed.
  • Morning devotional. Read scriptures. Pray. 
  • Chores/Workbook
  • Go to school.
  • Come home. 
  • Chores/workbook/homework/RosettaStone/KhanAcademy/Duolingo/Nap
  • More chores
  • Dinner/Showers/Family Scriptures/Prayer/Sleep
It's not going to be tons of fun.
And I've told them that as soon as Daddy or I have to point out what's not been done, that their two weeks is restarting ... even if they've managed 13 days straight. These resets are going to be harsh. And part of this is that they are going to show their godly sorrow (sorry for making a bad choice, NOT just for getting caught. Because they should be most sorry for their decision's effect of taking them farther from God and hurting themselves and others) and have a GOOD attitude here at home.
No whining, no complaining/rolling the eyes/stomping ... We are going to have a HAPPY, PEACEFUL HOME WHERE THE SPIRIT CAN DWELL -- OR BUST.

However, I think that the "no-tablets" rule is going to be good. There will be fewer distractions (for Bruise, especially) and they won't get sucked into watching shows so much.

Well, I need to go "pack a lunch" for Bubbles. And I should go clean up ... especially vacuum, since Bubbles got into some glitter that Bucket "accidentally" left out (that Bucket never asked to get into in the first place). And I should finally clean the fridge and sort a million cupboards ... but I really just want to either nap or read or redo yesterday night and  warn those older two within an inch of their lives that Daddy and I are NOT NEARLY as stupid as they seem to think we are.


But, at least, I'm caught up again on Conference Talks and reading my scriptures ... I should read a billion other manuals and prepare for next week's class ...

Even if I DO have to teach every week now, my class is fun. AND I get to go to Relief Society again. I've really missed that.

I'll survive today ... and the next few weeks. I know I can ... because I'm going to be reading my scriptures and stuff and PRAYING LOADS.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Never say I never gave you nuthin'

I'm not promising that I'm going to be an every-day-ish blogger or anything ... but I'm trying to do better than once-a-month blogging.

There's not a whole, whole lot to report, really.

Michael's dealing with a bit of a skeleton crew at the office. R was in the hospital at the beginning of the week (possible heart attack -- he's now at home, recuperating. I've been saying my prayers). T's wife is sick (with two tinies at home to take care of. And her mom works, so either T stays home with her or comes home early). P has something that is taking her out of the office. B will be gone for at least a day ... so things there will be interesting. And very, very quiet. At least, it sounds like everyone in the Surveying department will be there ... but that just leaves, what maybe three other people? It IS a rather small company.

I got caught up in dishes yesterday. The laundry is ALMOST done being put through the washer and dryer ... which means that I have, like, oh ... I've lost count of how many loads I need to fold. Oh well. But it NEEDS to be done. And, I do have lots of clean underoos now, so that's a nice thing. Especially if I want to take Bubbles to Storytime today (I'm sure that everyone at the library would APPRECIATE if I wore clean clothes, right?)

Yesterday was a good, but busy day.

  • Got up, showered, dressed.
    Organized the papers for the big kids' Strings registration and scholarship applications. Got a BIG envelope to put them in.
    Put that with my purse.
  • Did the usual morning stuff with the kids: Made sure that Bruise and Bucket were ready for school, had a morning devotional with them (we had the short devotional out of a great little book that I bought for that purpose AND went through their Sunday School lesson for next week [The Pentecost]. Got them off to school.
  • Bubbles and I hung around. I did Khan Academy and browsed Facebook a little. Called and set up an appointment with Becca to have my hair colored on Friday. 
  • Bubbles FINALLY got dressed and we left to do errands ...
    Dropped by the school to turn in the Strings packet for the kids.
    Went to Wal-Mart to buy cereal (We also picked up plastic containers for the cereals, apples, some pants for Bubbles, salads for lunch (Bubbles's insistence), and a Cherry Dr. Pepper.
    After Wal-Mart, we stopped by Old Navy and got more (clearance) leggings and a (clearance) pair of flip-flops for Bubbles. She also got an orange bouncy ball out of the giant gumball machine thing.
    Went to Ross, since I've been wanting a new purse for weeks. I found a suitable one. It's BIG (so I can also put a book/church stuff/multiple tablets/the kids' junk that they give me to carry/whatever in it). It has a shoulder strap! And it's in neutral enough colors to go with nearly anything.
    AND, while there, I also picked up a little zipper case for my sunglasses, so they won't be all linty/scratched up in my bag; another little zipper pouch for my random supplies in my purse, AND(!!!!) a new wallet. I LOVED how my old wallet was set up. But it's getting OLD. Like YEARS OLD. But I found one, same maker, SAME LAYOUT/DESIGN, different colors ... and I snatched that puppy up.
    Then I let Bubbles play at the little indoor playground place, per her request, which allowed me to trade out purses and clean my old purse out.
    Then, we went to Target for dresses for Bubbles. We got her one dress, some pants, two shirts, a little stuffed O the Owl (from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood), season eight of The Big Bang Theory, some of the Star Wars stuff on clearance (an R2D2 USB/miniUSB cable for me, since it's handy and so cheap as well as a Darth Vader power stick for Michael - half price!)
    I also picked up two bulbs for Bucket's lava lamp (which has been bulb-less for months).
  • Bubbles was ready to go home by that point, so home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
    We ate our salads and read some books and she laid on the couch to take a nap (sorta) while I perused the Google for haircolor inspiration.
  • Bruise and Bucket got home and we went to the park, since it was early-release.
    Then we went back home and worked on cleaning the house and getting dinner ready.
    Michael came home, we ate, and then he took Bucket to Activity Days (church fun activity for the 8-11 year old girls. The boys have Cub Scouts, so this is what the girls do) and stopped by Target to get more of the Series 14 minifigs (Now we have all but the werewolf (#1) and the skeleton (#11) ... who are now decorating Michael's haunted house.
  • Then everyone went to bed. Michael and I watched movie trailers on his phone and read a few more chapters in our current book (The Kill - L.J. Smith) and went to bed.
    After he fell asleep ... and I couldn't sleep, I got caught up  in my scripture-reading schedule and perused facebook some more.
Today, will be a day of folding laundry, doing Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Khan Academy, working with Bubbles on literacy and counting, cooking, cleaning the fridge (maybe), taking out the catbox, preparing for my Sunday School lesson, and reading a couple conference talks (one from April's conference and whichever one from October 2014 that I want ... I should have done that last night. Whoops).

And now that the kids are all up, I should make sure that the big kids are ready for school (and brush their hair and teeth) and do morning devotional with them. And do more (and fold some) laundry. And get that dang catbox cleaned.

But I really do want to finish reading Scorch Trial  and The Night Circus and the Carol Burnett articles in the TV Guide that I picked up (so I can give it to Mom. She and I have a longstanding adoration of Carol Burnett. I remember watching "The Phantom of the Opery" and other shorts on TV when I was younger than Bruise and Bucket. Good times. Someday, I'll invest in the DVDs of the Carol Burnett Show. And I will watch the crap outta them).

But yeah ... that's about it for now. So ... yeah. *shrugs*

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Yeah, I know it's bad when my MOM says to me, out of the blue, "So, just how long has it been since you blogged?"

A long time.
A DANG long time.

So, let's see what's gone on, in a nutshell, since then.


  • My mom had another birthday. She's 29 again, which makes it awkward ... since I'm older than her. I know, I know ... She CLAIMS that she's 39 again now, but that only gives me four years and a few months until I catch up again.
    (Joking, joking ... she admits to her age. And not just because she gets a discount at the bread store. I just like to give her some ribbing about her being younger than me.)
    (And you have to realize that this is coming from ME ... the girl who still claims that her Nana is 57. Since Nana was 57 for YEARS. When she turned 80, I even sent her flowers that said "Happy 57th Birthday, Nana!" which REALLY confused her for a bit. And not just because she has dementia. Once I explained that I really DID know that she's NOT 57, she did think it was funny.)
  • Bucket is worried about her Betta fish, Blue. His fins are getting really beat up. And he's not as active. But we've had him for a few years, so We're just going to make his end-of-life days as pleasant as possible. ... So I should probably clean out the fish tank.
  • I was caught up in doing the dishes for a little while. Not anymore. And I have laundry up the wahzoo happening here (I have underthings in the wash so that I'll HAVE underthings tomorrow. Yeah, that's probably TMI ... but I WAS concentrating on getting the KIDS' stuff cleaned first. Oh well.)
  • I was released from my calling as Nursery Leader in our ward (church congregation in Mormon-speak). I did FINALLY get that bulletin board (Apparently, they had installed a bulletin board MONTHS ago ... in some other room in the building. Ha! But ours was installed  on the 6th. And I busted my buns to get the bulletin board planned and put together before I was released ... which was officially done last week.)
  • My new calling at church is Sunday School teacher for the 12- and 13-year-olds. There IS a manual, but it's online and there's just GUIDELINES as far as topics go. I feel quite ill-prepared ... but we'll see how it goes. (Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife, hide yo' husbands, 'cause Allanna's in charge of teaching the youths!)
  • I got together everything for Bruise and Bucket's registration for the local Strings classes. Bruise will be in the Beginners' level class again. Bucket has moved up to Intermediate. And I have their registration filled out, their scholarship applications done, the check written out ... so we're ready to turn this in before the due date!
  • I started doing Khan Academy more. I've mastered K-4 math and am 74% through 5th grade math. (I had originally thought to start with Algebra. HA HA HA. No. My skills are waaaaay too rusty. But y'all should be proud of me for persevering. Math was not my forte ... because I feel quite intimidated by it. But I'm working my way through it.
  • I'm also back into doing my DuoLingo ... but only German and Spanish. With my 15-day streak (so far), I got caught back up with all my skills and have even surpassed where I had been. It tells me that I'm 42% fluent in Spanish and 31% fluent in German. So that's nice.
  • I FINALLY got our Rosetta Stone program installed on the computer. The main problem that I had was when I tried to install from online, the language packs were ALL incomplete. So I had to have their Customer Service help me (She deleted the incomplete packs and let me reinstall them anew from the discs I have). Phew!
  • The kids FINALLY cleaned their room. FINALLY.
  • Bubbles is starting "Mutti Preschool" -- My mom is now working with Bubbles to make sure that she's learning the skills she'll need for Kindergarten. Yesterday, they made a poster with a picture. They concentrated on words with the letter "o." Mom was actually impressed by how much Bubbles has already learned (huzzah!) ... though, little Homeskillet there really likes to make poop-jokes. So there you have it.
  • I'm determined to change my hair again. People like the light blonde ... but, well, it really just doesn't FEEL like me. And the upkeep is a little crazy, since I don't like having visible roots that much. But it was a good experience.
  • We went to the local Renaissance Faire last weekend. Bruise came home with a new wooden sword and shield. Bucket adopted a new "pet" dragon (I've taken to referring to her as "The Babysitter of Dragons."), and I got some perfume oils. Bubbles didn't make any requests, but she did wear her cloak from last year nearly the entire time.
  • After the Faire, the kids went home with Mom C (who watched them) while Michael and I bought LEGO Minifigs (I totally have the banshee now. And she's awesome!) then went out to dinner with our friends Mark and Lacey (who are finally moving a lot closer than they've been!). It was lots of fun to get together with them.
  • My van died on Thursday morning. Bubbles and I had driven (not far) to go shopping (Bruise needed a new watch -- and I got one on clearance for only a couple more dollars than just getting a watchband cost ... and I had bought and returned TWO watchbands by that point ... and I needed flour after having made 5 batches of playdough for the Nursery cupboard [If you really care, here's the rundown: Pink/Vanilla-scented, Orange/Wild Orange-scented, Blue/Peppermint-scented, Green/Lime-scented, and Purple/Lavender-Vanilla-scented]) ... so it was good that it was within walking distance and that I did have a stroller in the back. I locked up the van and left it in the parking lot and waited for Michael to get home from work to jump it so we could get it home. ...
    Friday, we took it to Les Schwab (after jumping it AGAIN) to see if it was the battery (which was under warranty) ... AND IT WAS. So, $3.55 later, I have a BRAND NEW battery in my van WHICH RUNS. I had such a crazy amount of relief running through me that it's a wonder I didn't faint. I know that it's totally a first world problem and all ... but I'm glad that it was fixed before I have to run the kids to Strings lessons (and, eventually maybe, LEGO Robotics in Bruise's case) AND that it was such a cheap fix. SERIOUSLY, it was awesome and I'm really thankful, since we'd been PRAYING a lot.
  • Bad news - one of my aunts has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
    Good news - Her MRI showed that it's just that one bit and it should be taken out and treated and stuff soon. Another answer to prayers. Phew.
  • Bubbles is a bit low in her iron-count, so I need to be working to get her to eat more iron-rich foods. But she's 28 pounds now (at 3 1/2 years), so that's good.
  • Bruise had a few Cub Scout meetings. Last week was the bicycle rodeo. ... Bruise and Bucket have outgrown their bikes. Looks like Santa knows what to get them, huh?
  • Michael got another promotion ... "But it doesn't come with a pay raise," he told me. And that was ... okay. I mean, it's great that they can charge more for his work and it's more responsibility ... then we learned that, no, it does have a raise. Which is nice. 
  • We went to a friends' house for dinner Monday night. Another family in the ward who we like and have worked along with the parents in different callings. We had a BBQ and talked a lot and it was fun. The kids (theirs and ours) were jumping on the trampoline. Their 14-year-old son and I talked a bunch.
    (He's a joker, which is fun. I went to shake his hand and he finagled it so that I grabbed his forearm instead. Which made me laugh like when Robert Gere shuts the necklace box on Julia Roberts' hand in Pretty Woman. You can watch that on YouTube, that clip, if you don't know the reference.)
  • Did I mention that Michael's spoiled me with LEGO?
    He bought me the Mystery Machine and the Big Bang Theory set. They're sitting on my printer right now. ^_^
  • I was feeling so chipper friday, after the van's battery was replaced, that Bubbles and I baked Orange and Raspberry Sherbet cookies (it was out of a boxed mix). She had lots of fun. And I did, too, with my cute sous chef.
  • Other, further back catch-ups: We met with my friend, Brooke, for lunch; we went to Pioneer Days in my hometown with my stepdad's nephew and his wife (both LOVELY people. Jeff, my step-cousin, REALLY wanted to buy "the princess" [Bubbles] cotton candy ... which he did. And, golly, that cotton candy was GINORMOUS. Jeff would have bought more than one, and I'm so glad that he didn't! It was big enough for our family to share ... I have a picture of Bubbles "helping" to hold it and ... well, it looks nearly as big as SHE is!); we went swimming at the local outdoor pool a bunch; Bruise and Bucket finished up their swimming lessons with Bob at the indoor pool ... We went to the Art and Air Festival (no henna tattoo this time). The kids and I went with Cousin Kathleen and her son to the Air and Space Museum in McMinnville. We got to visit Nana and that side of the family. We now have Nana's other couch. I had a PTC meeting (I have this month's coming up TOMORROW evening) where we met the new principal. We went to the kids' Open House at school and met their teachers. The kids have started school (Fourth graders. I have TWO fourth graders!). I got Visit Taught, which hadn't happened in a LONG time. We had a playdate over at Robyn's -- Bruise and Bucket played with her kids (Bubbles did for a bit then played on my phone) and Robyn and I got caught up and worked at setting up a shelf for homeschooling ... which is bittersweet, since Bruise and her son are besties and have always been in the same classes ... until now *sigh* ... It just means that I need to be more proactive about setting up playdates, right?
    Michael and Bubbles and Bucket also went to the Stake Daddy-Daughter camp-out last month. They had a great time.
    And Bruise had fun staying up late and getting to eat ice cream OUT OF THE CONTAINER, which was pretty awesome. ^_^
  • We're working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia (saying that always makes me think of that SNL music video, "Lazy Sunday"). We're now into Prince Caspian, which means that (since we started with The Magician's Nephew) we're nearly halfway through the series.
  • Michael and I are reading through the rest of L.J. Smith's Forbidden Game series. We just started the third and final book last night ... so, in a few more days, I can actually TALK to him about it. (TBH, he's still waiting for me to read through a few books [*cough**cough*The Scorch Trials, The Death Curse, The Kill Order, Hollow City, Jackaby, The Westing Game, etc *cough**cough*] so we can talk about THOSE.)
    He's also reading Code Name Verity and Ready Player One (we started that one together, so he's nearly halfway through it).
    I still need to also read The Night Circus before it's due back at the library. And I have, like, a metric ton of other books in my TBR pile. #BibliophleProbs
  • I've been working to be better at reading my scriptures and praying and all ... so I have a prayer journal going. It seems to help me focus a little more as I'm writing my prayers down. I still say prayers, too. In case you were worried.
    I'm getting close to finishing Numbers in the Old Testament. Doctrine and Covenants were harder to get through, since it's not at all in chronological order. But, if I keep with this reading schedule, I'll be through the Standard Works by next fall.
    And I'm also more than halfway through the 40-day General Conference reading challenge. I try to stay a day ahead ... so when I got THREE DAYS behind, you know that I fell off the wagon there for a bit. BUT I'm caught up ... just need to get a day ahead again.
And so, you see that between taking care of kids, taking care of the house, trying to stay abreast of studying scriptures and foreign languages (well, just two for now), and getting sucked into Facebook and the internet, I didn't MEAN to neglect you. It just happened.

Now, I should do some math, German, Spanish, and then go shopping and drop off the kids' Strings registration and application for scholarships, then get Bubbles fed and down for a nap and read my scriptures and conference talks and pray and write in that journal and .... maybe take a nap, too.

Counting ...

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