Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

what I'm listening to tonight

The nice thing about not having any particular "focus" to my blog is that I can post whatever I feel like whenever I feel like. haha. It just so happens that I got this CD from the library tonight and listening to this song on the way home, it seemed to fit my mood perfectly. So now I'm listening to it again. And again. I like it a lot. And . . . . I just felt like posting it for you to listen to, too.

(What?!? Me? Moody?! Never.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Expectancy and Expectation

I recently read The Shack," by William P. Young. I found it very interesting, even though it attempts to explain some things from a theological point of view that I don't necessarily agree with. One of the things that struck me as I read and continues to mull around in my wee little brain is the author's distinction between the terms "expectation" and "expectancy."

Here is how he explains it:

"Let's use the example of friendship and how removing the element of life from a noun can drastically alter a relationship. Mack, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that 'expectancy' to an 'expectation' – spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend."

What strikes me first of all is how much I pull expectations into all my relationships. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Is it? Manners, common courtesy, basic human interaction and moral conduct: it's all based somewhat on expectations. I smile at someone, I sort of expect them to smile back - and if they don't, I wonder why. I step on your foot, you expect me to say "excuse me" or "I'm sorry." I expect my children to act and behave in certain ways, or to be in the process of learning to do so. Respect, responsibility, kindness, I expect these things of them. I expect my husband to be responsive to my needs, at least to some degree, as he expects the same from me. I expect that my friends will not hurt or betray me.

Our expectations are based on our life experiences, and what we are taught, and our own emotional thermostat, how strongly we feel things, how sensitive we are. All of these things influence each other and play out together.

I have felt that the important thing most of the time is to be upfront and open about my expectations. Communicated clearly. Because we all sort of have unspoken expectations of people, don't we? And we speak of having "reasonable" or "realistic" expectations. The wife of our former prominant Church leader is even quoted as saying "the key to happiness (in marriage) is low expectations" (which I think was meant to be primarily humorous).

I guess my point is that it is very difficult to do away with all of our expectations. Is is even possible?!? Is it desirable?

This quote from the book above seems to make it seem so. And the way it is worded makes it seem that by introducing expectation into our relationships, we change it from a living, changing and miraculous thing into something dead and burdensome.

Expectancy, according to this quote as I understand it, is simply enjoying and anticipating the joy of the relationship. That sounds like what we all want, right?

"That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else."

So how is that done? How is that maintained? How do you balance expectancy with expectation? And can you have both in a relationship? Have you ever experienced a relationship of expectancy without expectation?

I recognize that not everyone will be struck with this dilemma in the same way that I am right now. But I would like to know what anyone else thinks about this. Am I just thinking too much about this? What do you think?!? Let's discuss.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flashback Friday

I've sort of had a long-term goal of rereading all the 50+ journals I've kept since I was about 10. I just have a twisted hope that doing this might help me gain some insight into myself, put things in perspective, and provide some laughs perhaps.

I've often browsed through pages here and there for fun, but haven't ever read them all straight through. So I thought summer might be a good time to get started. And I thought I might share some snippets here and there from what I've read recently. I do this somewhat reluctantly since there are some people reading this who may have been involved in some of the drama in my life at the time . . . yes, all the way back in 4th grade. But. I will do my best to keep identities concealed and only disclose information and journal entries that I think are humorous or insightful. My intent is not to embarass anyone (except myself) or to drag reluctant skeletons from anyone's closets (but my own). If you feel that you don't want to find yourself unwillingly quoted or mentioned, email me and I'll be more cautious. ;)


Here's one from Feb 1988 when I was 13:

"Last time I wrote I liked R, right? Well, he's a total idiot. I have never met anyone meaner in my life, so I hate his guts at the moment but, right now I like this guy at church. I don't know his name, but I'm determined to find it out. He's really cute and only one year older than me and I think he likes me! So, I've almost got it made! But, not quite. Next week, I'll have more on that."

Um, yeah . . . not knowing his name just might be an indication that you don't quite "have it made" (whatever that was supposed to mean). haha.
And it makes me laugh how many entries from middle school revolve around this same theme "I used to like this boy, but now I like this boy, but he likes so-and-so, and so-and-so likes so-and-so" and on and on and on.

Has anyone else reread old journals? Found anything interesting or useful? Is it worth rereading or better left alone? Burned? Am I old enough now to revisit all this stuff without being mortified? Does that point ever really come? It's amazing sometimes how much it all still feels so much a part of me. So much just engrained deep inside me. Never forgotten. I guess that's part of my motivation. I want to dig it all up, look at it again, up close and personal, and make myself laugh at it.

Anyway. We'll see how long this lasts. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

lazy days of summer

I looked out the back window this afternoon and caught Isaac in the act: doing nothing. Amazing.

I sort of hate summer. The heat gives me headaches and my allergies go beserk. I feel sluggish and unmotivated and sleepy . . . all the time.

So. I need a plan to help me endure . . . things to look forward to . . . simple, fun things that don't take too much out of me but still keep the kids happy and busy (that may be a contradiction in itself). I'll be thinking about that . . . as soon as I wake my brain out of this hot sluggish slump it's in.

How's your summer going so far?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading Round-Up - April and May 2010

I'm going to try something different this time for my reading round-up. I'm not quite sure what yet . . . . Let's see. . . I think I'll try writing the first few words/phrases that come to mind when I think of this book. No complete sentences. We'll see how this goes.

Here are April and May's Books:

1. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott
funny, smart, write!

2. Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy - Sonya Sones
yikes, sanity is no joke, family

3. unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters - David Kinnamon
inside and outside, perspective, showing others love

4. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - Michael Pollan
(to quote the book) "eat real food, mostly plants, not too much!" :)

5. Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, #5) - Brandon Mull
finale, fun, yay Fablehaven!

6. The Magic of Ordinary Days - Ann Howard Creel
friendship, marriage, sacrifice

7. The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) - Shannon Hale

enjoyable, looking forward to reading more of the series, geese

8. An American Childhood - Annie Dillard
what if I wrote about my childhood, what would my story be, why is it so interesting to read about other people's lives?

9. The Only Alien on the Planet - Kristen Randle
adolescence, great read, her name is Kristen!

10. A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain - Marilee Strong
not for the faint of heart, real, disturbing

11. Dear John - Nicholas Sparks
I think I'd rather watch the movie, decided I like chick flicks more than chick lit, read in a day

12. The Four Loves - C.S Lewis
who do you love, how to love, Love C.S. Lewis ;)

13. The Candy Shop War - Brandon Mull
fun, quick, passing along to the kids!

14. Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days - Kevin Leman
good ideas, sometimes overwhelming, I need to freeze time so I can work with each child individually without losing ground with the others. Ha.

15. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
one of the best I read this month, young love - is it real?, opportunities lost

16. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
eye-opening, well-written, excellant

17. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
slightly pompous, enjoyable, made me smile somehow

18. The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
long, terribly long, check it off the list :)

Hm. Well. That was interesting, eh?

And for the record, I've read 49 books so far this year!! I am thinking I might go for the 100-books-in-a-year goal, just for the fun of it. About halfway there, about halfway through the year . . . I think I might be able to swing it. 'ya think?!?

So, what have you been reading? Any thoughts on these? I've said before that I will read just about anything recommended to me, so don't be shy about making recommendations. I figure I read enough I can swallow about anything and still have time for whatever I want (as long as it's not nasty, you know).

And if you have any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions or kind criticism of my reading round-ups, please share those, too. Just be nice. Thanks a bunch! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Cheers for Abigail!

Just a little Abigail update. The last week of school she had a small violin recital at her teacher's house. She played Bach's Minuet 1 (from the Suzuki Book 1) and a song she had composed herself called "Grown Ups Talk" (some of you may have heard her singing it before, she adapted it to her violin). :) And she did a really great job.

Also the last week of school, they had a school awards ceremony. Abigail achieved the National Fitness Award as part of the Presidential Fitness program for getting at least 85% (or something like that) in all the fitness areas. She also got an academic award for having at least a B average!! YAY!! We're so proud of her.

And this past weekend was her annual ballet recital. (These pics are in reverse order, but just deal with it) So this first one is her bow in the finale.

Each of her class was one of the four seasons and performed a solo on stage with some of the younger dancers accompanying them.

Abigail was beautiful "Mother Spring" and the little girls were her "flowers."

Here's her class pre-show :) summer, spring, winter and fall

She also had the opportunity of helping the 3-5 yr old "Creative Dance" class on stage. The cute little "Elmos" - hahaha. Anyway she did a great job of showing them what they were supposed to be doing and keeping most of them on the stage. ;)

Anyway - she's doing such a great job as a dancer and is such a wonderful performer! We're so proud of her in all the things she's doing. YAY for Abigail!!! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here's why I think Zac is a crazy runner nut (and I am insanely proud of him for it) {reposted}

{originally posted June 14 2009 - Zac is running this race again tomorrow, wish him luck!!}

Since I know some of you are too lazy or uninterested to follow Zac's link to the Wahsatch Steeplechase website (hehe), I just had to post some of the pictures of past races from their website. It gives you just an idea of what a crazy race it is. And also might give you an idea of why Zac loves it so much.

I am just happy he came home unharmed, as I am every time he finishes a long race. :) And I am happy to be married to a runner, even though I have to wash his stinky sweaty gross running clothes. I think he is amazing. He inspires me. And I think it's incredibly sexy (did I just say that?).

I'm proud of my crazy running fanatic, and I wouldn't want him any other way.

Enjoy the pics of these insane running-folk. Sometime I need to convince Zac to take a camera along - but you know, when you're running 17 miles up and down a mountain, every extra pound counts (and hurts), so probably not.


Elisabeth Sleep Apnea Update

Alright - so I told you about the sleep study ordeal we had done back in May. We got back from our trip and started calling around to get the results. Actually before we left we had gotten "partial results" with the nurse telling us she would "most likely" need her tonsils and adenoids out. But, the rest had to wait until after vacation.


The nurse from the pediatricians office called me to give me the results. She told me she had obstructive sleep apnea (which can be caused by enlarged tonsils) as well as some central sleep apnea (which is when the brain isn't sending correct signals to breathe). And she said to call and schedule a consultation with an ENT and get her tonsils and adenoids removed and then they would want to repeat the sleep study and make sure the problem was taken care of.

We also got the bill for the sleep study to the tune of $2700. Uh-huh.

So I called our regular ENT (who has seen Samuel and Abigail) and they told me they couldn't get her in until Aug for the surgery. But I went ahead and scheduled it.

Then later on, the nurse from the ENT office called back and left a message saying, actually because Elisabeth's apnea was so severe they would really recommend getting in to someone else who could do the surgery earlier. Ok.

So I played phone tag with the ENT nurse all day on Fri. trying to figure out how concerned I should be about all of this, as I really didn't want to go through the hassle of finding another Dr., starting over with paperwork etc.

And I talked to a different pediatrician nurse on Mon and she said she didn't see the central sleep apnea on the report. So that was confusing. I still need to figure out what the report actually says and get a copy for myself. That is another ordeal since they need release signatures and all this other junk. And I'm not sure if anyone besides the sleep Dr. at the hospital can give it to me. I don't know yet. Having all of the communication on the issue split between 3 different Dr offices and several nurses at each location just makes all of this somewhat confusing and difficult.

Anyway - I finally talked to the ENT nurse again and she let me talk to the actual ENT Dr. who then quoted a bunch of studies emphasizing the importance of fixing severe sleep apnea as soon as possible (along with some scary possible complications of not fixingf it) and when I asked her if I should find a different Dr. to do it sooner, she got us scheduled for July 13th for surgery. ;) hahaha.

So they squeezed us in today for her Pre-Op appointment. We signed consent forms and paid a bunch of money and she is all set, I guess. It should be outpatient same-day surgery, but it is more common with severe apnea to have post-op complications so she may have to stay longer than usual for observation (possibly overnight).

So there's that saga. The ENT sort of laughed at me, though, when she looked at the chart and saw that we had been talking about Elisabeth's suspected apnea and possibly doing a sleep study 2 yrs ago. I told her it took awhile for us to get around to it - haha. I feel bad that it took me so long to make this issue a priority - but you know, I have a lot of things I can feel bad about. I can only do one thing at a time. And we seem to have a lot of issues muggling their way to the forefront, don't we. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sleepovers: Let's take a poll

So I've just been thinking about this lately and would like to get your input.

I grew up having tons of sleepovers. Birthday sleepover parties, just with one friend or 2, my house, their house, whatever. I cannot even imagine my childhood without them. And I mostly have positive memories of them. Certainly there was always drama. And sleepy grumpy mornings. And perhaps a couple pranks, scary stories, and other general foolishness.

But there were also innumerable late-night whisperings, secrets told, confidences built, friendships solidified. Some things just don't come out in a friendship until the lights are out and it's late at night. I think it was something worthy and important. It is something I want my kids to experience.

But I know there are many parents these days who have heard the stories of all the trouble kids get into at sleepovers. Not to even mention the scary possibilities of abuse, or being exposed to dangerous things. And they have decided upon the rule: No Sleepovers. Ever.

And so here we are with my oldest daughter going into 6th grade and she has never been to a sleepover and never had a friend to spend the night. In some ways, I feel bad about this. I feel like she is missing out on some really great times. And in some ways, I feel like I'm a "less-than" parent for even suggesting that it would be ok for her to do so. I admit, I would let her if it was a family I knew pretty well. And I would love for her to have a friend over at our house, if she had a friend that was allowed to.

So where do you stand?? And what are your reasonings?

Is it a "never, no never" rule? Only with one friend? Only certain families? After a certain age?Or anything goes?
And do you feel the standard is different for girls and boys?

And if you aren't in the position to really say "yea or nay" quite yet, what are your thoughts on it right now?

I'm just so curious to hear what other people think about this. Please do tell!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 12: Recovery

And finally, Zac had off work the next day to recover and try to get things back in order again.

We pulled weeds and did yardwork for 4+ hrs that morning.

Washed, dried and put away over 7 loads of laundry.

Unpacked suitcases.

Went grocery shopping.

Took a nap.

And made a list of about 10 phone calls and appts I needed to take care of the next day.

And that was that!

Some more random thoughts/tidbits from the trip:

- Abigail wrote over 70 pgs of a story she was working on throughout the trip.

- Hard spearmint candies seemed to work well for car sickness (Isaac is our car-sicky).

- Pipe cleaners are great for a travel craft diversion. Give each kid a handful of different colors and see what they can make! I even had a pretty fun time braiding and twisting them into bracelets - hahaha.

- Hotel pools are an absolute necessity. Seriously.

- I need to move to Indiana. (I did make a visit to my dream home model open house, of course. The lady in the office claimed to remember me from the last time which made me laugh.)

- It's so great to visit family. :) We had a really great time with everyone, even though we drove everyone nuts, I am sure.

So, it was a really great trip.

And now I am trying to adjust to summertime and getting my brain to work again.

(Sorry these last few blog posts have been kind of disjointed and incoherent. Hopefully they make at least a little sense! I just wanted to get these pics up quickly.)

back to real life . . .

Days 10 and 11: through the bug-splattered windshield, part two

On the way home, we took the more southern route on I-70 instead of I-80 (at least initially).

So we drove through Indiana into Illinois:

and into Missouri (look, the top of my head! That may be the only glimpse of me you'll see in these vacation pics - hahaha):

Samuel was running a fever and threw up all over himself in the car. That was an adventure (why must at least one child always get sick on vacation?!?).

And then into Nebraska where we stayed the night in Kearney - with a pool - Hallelujah!!! (and back up to I-80).
Day 11, more Nebraska:

Into Wyoming (where there were prairie dogs at the rest stop!):

First sightings of the mountains in Utah far far away:

approaching Utah:

and home among the mountains once again:


Days 8 and 9: hanging out with family

The next 2 days were spent mostly just hanging out. We went back up to Indianapolis to have dinner at Zac's grandparents house (along with his aunt and uncle and 2 cousins).

On Day 9 we spent a little time throwing rocks into Lake Monroe (no pics of that on my camera, unfortunately). And visiting Zac's dad at his work. And then packing and loading the car . . . and getting ready for the long car ride back home. Oh boy!

Day 7: hiking through the forest

Day 7 we went to Brown County State Park with Zac's dad.

And we went on what was supposed to be an "easy" hike down and around Strahl Lake (most of my "beautiful Indiana" pics were taken here). It turned out to be the hardest "easy" hike any of us had ever seen. The way down took us along a wooden path and about 100 stairs or more (I didn't count). And coming back up was torture. Torture, I tell you. The approx. 2 mile hike took us a couple hours, I think.

Anyway, even though Samuel cried and complained about not wanting to hike for most of the way, I'd still say that the beautiful scenery and having everyone else enjoy the hike made it all worth it. We had a picnic lunch (made all the more adventurous by the fact that Zac had forgotten to pack most of the lunch food - hehehe.) The kids also got to play at a fun playground, climb up and see the view from a fire tower, and drive through a covered bridge. Fun!! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 6: playground with trees and riding a Gator

Day 6:
we played at a local playground with lots of trees ;)

And we went to Zac's Aunt and Uncle's house for dinner. Uncle Terry took the kids for a fun ride along the remote country road in his "gator." It's a tractor.

They also had cats, dogs, and horses which the kids loved. Maybe loved a little too much as we had to load a couple of them up with Benadryl upon returning home.

I should also mention, as a side note, that Isaac watched (and insisted everyone else watch) Star Wars 2 at least 3 times over the course of our visit. And Samuel drove everyone crazy opening all the doors of the house and going in and out, in and out, over and over and over. We really had a fun time and enjoyed our visit immensely, but there were definitely some crazy frustrating times with one or two of our more difficult children. Just so you know. :)
more to come . . .

Day 5: Children's Museum

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis was incredible (the people who designed the Children's Museum in SLC visited there to get ideas). It is considered the biggest/best in the country. Anyway - having 5 floors to explore and sooo much fun stuff, we could have spent more than one day there. There was too much to squeeze into one day! But we sure did have fun.
Zac's parents came with us (and we exhausted them) and Zac's grandparents loaned us their annual passes, which saved us about $100. YAY!!!
We are so glad we went. :)
(and fyi, these posts may begin to get shorter and less descriptive as I begin to get desperate to finish blogging about our vacation. I don't usually do a day-by-day playback of things we've done but this time I'm giving it a try. Just please keep in mind, I am not really doing any of this justice, but I am trying to give just a taste - and record a little bit of it all for posterity.) :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 4: more driving

The next day we drove 5 hrs to Southern Indiana (Bloomington) to Zac's parents' house.

At least it was a pretty drive. :)
(plus a token photo of our trusty trip vehicle. I love our van even more after all this time we spent in it. So much more comfortable than our last van and previous trips.)

Day 3: Amish in the Rain and other fun

We spent Memorial Day with Zac's brother Josh and his family.

A church picnic:
Playing in their yard/pool/slip and slide:

seeing Amish buggy parking at Walmart:

and driving through Shipshewana Amish country in the rain:

very sleepy kids in the car:

Amish cheese factory:
and picturesque farms:

I don't know how I managed to NOT get a group picture of the cousins and/or Josh's family all together, but I didn't. We did have a great time though. Thanks for letting us come visit!

Days 1 and 2: through the bug-splattered windshield

So, yes, if you haven't gathered already we actually did go somewhere on vacation - this time. :) We drove to beautiful Indiana to visit Zac's side of the family. And since some of you may not have ever had the grand privilege of driving through these parts of the country, as we have many times, I thought I'd share some pictures I took along the way so you can feel a part of the adventure.

Day One

Windy Wyoming
We left home in Utah at 5 am and dawn was breaking as we made our way through Wyoming.
We stopped for a picnic lunch near Cheyenne Wyoming and it was so windy our plates of food were blowing away, and of course Samuel with his wind-anxiety (or whatever it is) was freaking out. So we ended up with most of us in the car.

and Nothing Nebraska
My apologies to any of you who really love Nebraska. But seriously. Driving through is just hours and hours and hours of nothing. It's terrible.

We stopped for the night after driving about 13 hrs in Grand Island, NE. The hotel stunk. And the lady next door came over to ask us to please quiet down (at 8:45 pm), which was sort of mortifying. And it took forever to get the kids to sleep (and several different sleeping arrangements). And the shower was ice cold in the morning. Not good.

Day Two
Iowa (and the first glimpses of real trees!! Hooray!!)

Approaching the bridge across the Mississippi

The Mississippi River!!! And into IllinoisAnd finally, this is all we saw of Indiana as we drove in to Zac's brother's house in Northern Indiana at about 11:30 pm local time. Phew!! We made it!!! :)

to be continued . . .
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