Friday, November 12, 2010

Curve Ball

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  You get used to dodging the ones that come at you head on, but these curve balls can really throw you off course.  Our curve ball came on Wednesday afternoon when Otto was informed that he had to be laid-off because there wasn't enough work.  He was one of several people who were laid-off and there will be more people laid-off in January.
It came to us completely out of the blue and Otto didn't want to tell anyone at first, but now he has a game plan, a ton of contacts, lots of prayers behind him, and he feels as though it is okay that we tell people.  So, consider yourself informed now.
I had a feeling that something was coming at us.  We have been doing too good for quite a while now, and I know once you start getting comfortable, things start to go awry.  We're okay.  We have to make some adjustments, but I know that everything will work out fine.  Otto has a lot of great contacts, he is a hard worker, and we have a ton of support.
So, we are adjusting.  We are changing some of our plans, and we know that everything will work out for the best!
Funny, those curve balls can really shake things up!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Guy

Today is my Big Guy's birthday.  I felt bad because I have committed to work tonight, but I wanted to do something special for his birthday because birthdays are special at our house.  Because of this, I decided to do a special birthday breakfast.  We all got up early, had strawberry Carmel stuffed french toast with whipped cream and peach preserves, fried ham and OJ.  We sang Happy Birthday and had a Dulce de Leche cake and Otto got to open his presents.
My parents and grandparents gave Otto some gift cards for his birthday and it just so happened that Microsoft released a really cool gadget for the X-Box called a Kinect which makes it so you can play games, and interact with your X-Box using nothing but your body.  You don't need a controller at all and you don't need a remote.  You can say commands, scroll through menus, and play games without any other sort of accessories.  Otto and I first saw some information about this sweet gadget about a year ago and I promised him that he would get one the day that it came out. . . .. and that day was today. . . . and he got one. . . . .Best Birthday Ever!!!  I can't wait until he sets it up tonight!  It is going to be so fun!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

100 Years

100 years ago a woman who impacted my life greatly was born.  Her name was Nellie Blanche Dodson.  She was not born into luxury or wealth, but she became one of the most influential women in my life.  She was my Great-Grandmother and as the oldest Great-Grandchild, I got to know her really well.  She was a really private person, so she didn't really share many details about her life publicly with people.  She had 4 children, was a nurse and was a great example of strength to me.
To me she was Nana.
To me she was MY Nana.
To me she was the woman who was always telling me that I needed to pull my hair back and get it out of my face.  She was the woman who called me out on things when she thought I was being rotten to my parents.  She was the woman who had endured some tough trials, but didn't complain about them.  She was strong.  She made choices and stuck through the consequences.  She endured and she learned.
I remember her telling me that she loved my singing.  I remember her telling me that my parents worked me too hard.  I remember visiting her with my many boyfriends in high school and having her grill the heck out of them.  I remember that she did whatever it took for her to come and see me get married.  I remember our visits after my doctor's appointments.  I remember watching her grow older and feeling helpless watching her lose strength in her body.  I remember how straightforward she used to be no matter what the cost.  I remember her counting my contractions with me when I was in labour with Abby.  I remember her love of gardening, flowers, birds and squirrels.  I remember how she always seemed to have a bird that liked to live outside of her window.  I remember helping to take care of her when she got weak.  I remember staying in the hospice with her on the night of her grandson's funeral so that she would have someone by her side while everyone else went to his funeral.
That night, I remember talking to her because I was pregnant with Anne and no one wanted to tell her because they all knew that she would be mad.  Somehow the old girl found out and it wasn't long before she said to me, "I hear that you're pregnant again.  I can't say that I am happy about it."  (Abby was less than 4 months old) So I told her, "Yep, you're right, I am. . . . and I'm going to name her after you."  Well, that really set her off.  In her old Nana stern voice she replied, "What!?!?!?  Why would you curse your child with a horrible name like that?"  So I told her, "Well, because I wanted to name her after you because I love you."  She thought that wasn't good enough and kept on telling me so. . . . so I finally told her "Well, you will probably be dead by the time she is born, so there isn't really anything you can do about it."  And then I saw the glimmer in her eyes telling me that she loved that response.  So finally we agreed that I could use the name Nellie, but that I couldn't give her the middle name Blanche. . . . and I couldn't actually CALL her Nellie, I would have to call her by her middle name. . . . thus my daughter is named Nellie Anne Comin, but she goes by Anne.
After our conversation about Anne's name, my Nana softened and told me that she didn't mean to be so hard on me but that she was worried about me because she had 4 kids in 6 years and it was really hard for her.  I told her that I knew that and that I loved that she was so concerned for me and that I knew that she loved me and only wanted the best for me.  The rest of the evening was very nice and I am so grateful for that because it ended up being the last time that I would see her alive.
I loved my Nana.  I can't believe that she has been gone for almost 10 years!  I REALLY can't believe that 100 years ago she was born.
So, happy 100th birthday Nana.  I love you and miss you a TON!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have started

Today was Day 1!  Check it out on my other blog!

Monday, October 18, 2010

San Diego

My little sister has decided to serve a mission for our church.  We are so proud of her!!!  We are even more excited that the church has decided to send her to San Diego!  It will be the perfect mission for her.  I know that she will be able to help people out and serve for the church.
I have a special spot in my heart for my baby sister because when she was born and until I got married when she was 8, I used to feel as though she was MY baby.  I used to hold her all of the time, change her diapers, and do a lot more.  I am so excited that she won't be leaving until the spring so that I can spend more time with her!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Going to Happen!

Okay, so I am going to try another fitness thing. . . . that means that I will be posting on my "Don't Mind Me" blog again. . . . so head over there and check it out!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Walk to the Bus

Every day that the weather is good, Dustin, Lee and I walk Dustin to his bus stop which is about 2 blocks away.  We have many adventures on our way to the bus stop, and today was no different.
Today, I started off walking to the bus with Dustin and Lee.
Then, Darth Vader decided to join Dustin and I.
Soon Dustin and I were visited by Yoda as Dustin and Yoda raced to the sign.
We then had Buzz Lightyear show us the rocks that he had picked up along our route.
Slinky Dog tried to beat Dustin in another foot race to the corner.
Finally, Woody found a lava rock which he brought the rest of the way to Dustin's bus stop.
While waiting for the bus, I was attacked by two pirates who keep on saying "Arrrrr, yo ho yo ho" over and over!
The great thing about having so many characters accompany us on our walk is that they all come with their own theme music and action sounds.
I should really video tape these walks. . . . they are hilarious!!!  No two walks are ever the same!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A New Look on Life

Some of you may know that I have a daughter with a cognitive disorder.  Because of this, she has been severely delayed in her speech, slightly delayed in her gross motor skills and I am always worrying about her education.  I am at the school every September talking to her teachers and coming up with some game plans to get her through the year.  The thing I love about Caroline (my daughter) is that she tries harder than everyone else so that she can understand what is going on, and I admire that about her.
Last year, just to rule it out, I took this Monkey to the optometrist to get her eyes checked because we noticed that she was having trouble copying items off of the board at school.  The Optometrist told us that Caroline was just on the border of needing glasses, but that she was fine.  I was relieved and her teacher and I decided to move her up to the front of the classroom to help things along.
Throughout the year, Caroline would complain, ever so slightly, that she was still having a hard time seeing the board.  Because of her disorder, the teacher and I figured that it was just because of her delay developmentally.  I decided to take Caroline to see the optometrist yesterday, because she was so borderline last year and she DEFINITELY needs glasses!  Her prescription in one eye is the same as mine and I have had glasses since grade 4!
I felt terrible, happy, relieved and guilty all at the same time!  You see, Caroline doesn't usually complain, especially when it comes to school, and so I feel as though I should have listened better.  I feel guilty that she had to go through most of last year and the entire summer basically not being able to see.  I feel terrible because Caroline already feels as though she is different than everyone else in our family and being the only child with glasses made her feel sad because she will stand out even more.  I told her I was excited because she is now the only one of my children who needs glasses, like me, and I think that that has helped her to accept the change that the new glasses will bring.
I felt happy because her world is about to change.  She will be able to see the letters on signs!  She will be able to read the notes on her piano music without having to constantly stand up.  She will be able to see things from a distance and not guess at them.  I feel relieved because I had a nagging feeling that I needed to take her into see the doctor and even he had second guessed that. . . . until he did his tests.
Whenever people ask me for advice about raising children, my advice has always been the same. . . . listen to them. . . . they will tell you what they need.  I feel like I may have dropped the ball a little bit with Caroline, but I am so happy that her life is about to get so much easier!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Baby

Lee is my baby, and he always will be.  As we were laying down yesterday, cuddling for our nap, I started to wonder what it was like in that big, thick head of his.  I started thinking about his position in our family and in life and I thought that in some aspects of life he has it great!  And in some aspects of his life, I can see how he would think  his life is hard.
Here are a few examples:

1 - Everyone goes to school except for him
ADVANTAGE:  Lee gets mommy all to himself
DISADVANTAGE:  Mommy makes Lee have a nap

2 - Lee has to have a daily nap
ADVANTAGE:  Lee and mommy read books, sing songs and cuddle
DISADVANTAGE: ummm. . . . . Lee has to have a nap

3 - Lee has 3 older sisters
ADVANTAGE:  Lee has 3 girls who dote on him and love everything he does
DISADVANTAGE:  It's like having 3 extra moms who won't let him get away with anything

4 - Lee is HUGE
ADVANTAGE:  Dustin can't pick on Lee without some severe retaliation
DISADVANTAGE:  Lee is tall enough and weighs enough to do certain things, but his not developmentally there yet

5 - Lee has 4 older siblings
ADVANTAGE:  There is almost always someone to play with
DISADVANTAGE:  Lee likes to play by himself

There are many more, but those are the things that I could think of from the top of my head.  I love having my little guy around and I am so happy that he is part of our family.  Our afternoons alone together are the favorite part of my day.  It reminds me of when I just had Abby and Anne and we would cuddle together every afternoon and listen for bunnies.   I will definitely miss having a toddler around the house when my baby grows up to be a big guy like his daddy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It seems to me that every September, I come to a crossroad of sorts.  I always seem to have to make some big decisions on what I want my life to be like for the next little while in September.  This year is no different.  I am currently in the process of making some big decisions which will affect both myself and my family in the future.  It's hard.  It's scary, and I am just trying to get as much information as possible.
The neat thing that I have found with crossroads is that making the choice and finally setting your foot on one of the pathways is always rewarding.  I find that after I have made my decisions that I feel more secure and at peace.  It seems that I have the most unrest when I am at the crossroads rather than when I finally take the step of faith.
Once I make my decision, I will post more about it, but for now. . . .
. . . . well. . . .  .
I am still at the crossroads.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maybe We're Wrong

I think that I have mentioned over the summer that this year I have been struggling with where I am in life, right now.  I seem to be unhappy with myself and that has been a huge struggle for me over the last year or so.  Don't get me wrong, I love my family and I love my life, but I am just not happy. . . or at least I wasn't for a long time.  I have tried to get advice from many different people as to what I should do to help me feel better about myself.  I have gotten some great advice from so many people and I appreciate all of it.  The NUMBER 1 piece of advice that I have gotten is "You are so busy that you need to take a little 'ME' time to relax and regroup."
  I think this is good advice.  I think that for the most part, everyone needs to take a little "me" time and relax and regroup.  The problem is that in my quest to always have a little "me" time I have noticed that I still haven't achieved my goal of happiness that I desire. 
And then it hit me. . .
Maybe this way of thinking is wrong. 
Maybe the answer ISN'T that I need MORE "me" time. . . . maybe I need LESS "me" time.
Let me explain.
You see, this past weekend was my Grandma Lee's 80th birthday party.  I was busy. . . . okay, beyond busy.  I spent days scanning, editing, organizing, and burning pictures onto disks for my family and then creating a slide show of my Grandma Lee's life.  It was a lot of hard work. . . but I was happy to do it.
As part of the evening's events, all of the grandchildren were to write down their favorite memory of Grandma Lee.  There was one story, in particular that struck a chord in me.  One of my cousins shared with us that while having a conversation with my Grandma Lee one day that she said to them, "I never had a mid-life crisis because I was too busy."  She was!  She was constantly busy doing things for other people.
That hit me.
(Picture a heavenly choir singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus in your mind now)
If I want to be truly happy, I need to stop worrying about trying to make myself happy, I need to focus on making other people happy and I will seek the joy and peace that I desire.
That's it!
The lightbulb has turned on and I get it now!
I finally understand!
In a world where everything is about "me" and "my instant gratification" I was looking in the wrong place for happiness.  I was becoming so absorbed in myself that I was getting consumed about how I should be feeling when in reality the answer was to serve other people instead of myself.
So, I tried it out. . . and guess what . . . it works!!!
I have been trying it out on my family first and the results are undeniable!  It turns out that I am happiest when I am doing something for them.  When I actually stop what I am doing and actually listen to what they are saying or asking me to do. 
Otto and I went and delivered bags for donations for the food bank that we will be picking up on Saturday together on Wednesday evening after the kids were in bed, and I realized as we were walking home, hand in hand, that I had finally found what I was looking for.  I have found the peace and the joy that I have been seeking. . . . and while my family and friends' advice was good, and I do believe that we should take time out for ourselves, that maybe while we are doing that we should maybe invite someone who we know is having a hard time to come along with us. . . . or maybe we should spend that quiet minute writing a note to someone we love . . . . or making meals for someone who is sick. . . . and so on.  Maybe those minutes that I have to myself can be best used to help others and then I will find the happiness and the joy that I have been seeking. . . . maybe I was wrong in my thinking before. . . maybe it isn't all about "ME".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Person

Picture this if you will. . . .
It is the early 1900's and you are an educated doctor married to an educated woman who is also an anesthetist.  You want to help people.  You want to make a difference.  You  want to use your skills to the best of their abilities.  You want to serve a mission in China, but it is too dangerous out there.  Instead, you are sent a request to move to a small, little town in a province called Alberta.  There are not many people there, but they need a doctor.  Without you, they will have no medical help.  You decide to make the journey to this small town to become their doctor.
This little town, called Lamont is full of poor immigrants who have left their countries with nothing in the hopes of finding a better place to raise their families.  Most don't speak English and most have nothing, but they need you.  They need a doctor.  You are their doctor.
You build a hospital.  You travel around and help people in different counties. . . whether they can pay or not. . . and then it hits. . . the Great Depression.
The people have nothing.  They cannot pay you.  You try to accept produce as payment and animals as payment.  The hospital even sets up a pig farm in the back to try and raise money.  You realize, however, that you cannot accept produce forever because there are bills to pay.  What do you do?  These people need help.  They need YOUR help.  They need a doctor.
And then it hits you.



Wouldn't it be better if the community helps bear the burden of the medical costs.  What if each family pays $25 for a year and then you wouldn't have to charge the sick and the wounded for their hospital costs as their bills will already have been paid.  You could help those in need and still pay the hospital bills.  It could work!  The community can work together and help each other.

They do. 

It works.

The hospital expands and grows.  A nursing school is built in the community which becomes well known and attracts many nurses to the school and consequently to the town.  The hospital and nursing school become the largest employer for the town for generations, even in 2010.  Your small idea of community health care becomes the foundation on which Universal Health care in Canada is born.

You are one man.

You have changed the lives of an entire town for generations and the health care of a country forever.

You are remembered for your gentle spirit and kind heart and innovative ideas.

Your name is Albert Ernest Archer.

And I am proud to be your Great-Great Granddaughter.

Thank you for your legacy and for teaching me that one person can make a difference.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Infinity . . . . and Beyond!

Lately I have been feeling down in the dumps.  I don't really know why, but I just have felt sad all of the time.  I am not one who likes to wallow in pity, and so this has really been getting to me.  As I was doing laundry I thought to myself that I should start thinking about things that I am thankful for to help me feel better. . . . but I thought better of that. . . . I just didn't want to do it.
And then it hit me. . .
A light saber slashed across my shins followed by the bluest eyes and the biggest grin I have ever seen and I knew I was in heaven.
Time is so fleeting and since I am now done having children, it has become very apparent that I won't have moments like these for much longer.  So, I sat down, ate some banana bread and watched the action unfold.
There it was. . . two Jedi knights. . . . one named Buzz Lightyear and the other, Darth Vader. . . . battling it out with a light saber and a spatula for the ruling of "Infinity and Beyond". 
There was action!
There were sound effects!
There were tongs involved at one point!
And in the end 5 or 6 different super heroes were quoted as the battle raged in my family room.
Who won?
Does it matter?
The prize?
A kiss from mommy who now sat contented with life and who wished that she could capture moments like this one to infinity and beyond.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Uncle Brant

How was your long weekend?  Did you spend it with family and friends?  Did you do fun things?  We did!  My sister, Jenna got married last weekend, so we got to kick off the summer with her wedding, and followed it up the next week in the company of our extended family on my mom's side.  Otto had a scout camp that he went to (and had a blast), and we spent the week with my Aunt Christie's family doing various activities.  We also got to see one of my great friends, Cynthia, who has been up here visiting for the summer!  The perfect week right?
Well, almost.
On June 30th, my Uncle was involved in an accident while loading the boat at the cabin which almost killed him.  Our cabin is boat access only and so we store our boat at "The Marina" and the brakes on one of the boat launchers failed causing my Uncle to fall out of the boat that he was loading and onto the cement, where the launcher proceeded to run over him with it's back wheels, drag him into 2 poles which broke on impact and then run over him with it's front wheels too.
It is AMAZING that he is even alive.
He has:
3 broken vertebrae in his back
Skull fracture from the base of his neck through his face to his nose
5 broken ribs
Bruised lungs
Broken collar bone
Shattered elbow
Lots of muscle damage to one of his knees
Shattered ankle
Broken ear drum
He was leaking cerebral fluid out of his ears for a couple of days, but the doctors seem to think that will clear up.  The biggest problem is that his lungs are already weak because he had cancer 20 years ago and right now he cannot breathe on his own.  He has developed an infection in his lungs that the doctors are treating, and even though he is improving a bit, day by day, he is still in the ICU listed as being in stable but serious condition.
Immediately upon hearing about the accident, my parents, grandparents and my Aunt Christie all went out to be with him and his wife and two of his children who were with him.  My mom is still there with my Uncle and his wife and my grandparents.  She continues to give us updates on his condition.
This has been a shock to me.  I don't know how close you are to your extended relatives, but I grew up being quite close to mine.  My Uncle lives only 15 minutes away from myself and Otto and I see him and his family at least once a month.  I also am in a singing group with my aunt and so hearing about this terrible accident has been devastating.
The good news is that it has also been motivating me to be better prepared.  It has made me look through my bank accounts and make sure that both mine and Otto's names are on all accounts, registrations, credit cards, etc.  It has made me check into my insurance policies to see if I have proper coverage.  It has made me take a look at my family life and wonder if all of my affairs are in order so that if something were to happen to myself or my husband, would we be able to get through it.
I can only imagine the pain and the sorrow that my aunt is feeling right now.  I don't know what I would do if something like that happened to my Big Guy.  Being so far away from it all and knowing that I can't really help at all has been really hard for me.
So all I can do is pray. . . .
. . . and wait. . . .
. . . and hope that all will be well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Perspective

With things that have been happening in my life over the past little while, I have decided that I wasn't really happy with the way that certain things were going in my life.  I was tired of feeling depressed and angry.  So, I decided that I was going to change some things in my life in order to feel better. 
I am a very goal oriented person, and I find that the key to successfully completing a goal is to write it down.  I have already done some things to start taking care of how I feel about my looks.  I have a new hairstyle and color, I am getting back into running again (thanks to the okay from my doctor), and I have bought myself some new clothes (always helps!).  I have cleaned my house from top to bottom and so this is my new starting point.  So, without further adieu, my goals:
1 - GOAL:  Be nicer to people.  HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT:  Smile when I pass people on the street and always try to keep all comments positive.
2 - GOAL:  Keep my house clean.  HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT:  Start back with the Fly Lady program again.
3 - GOAL:  Spend more time uplifting myself.  HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT:  Set aside time every day to read.
4 - GOAL:  Have fun with my kids this summer.  HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT:  Schedule fun things to do as a family and with friends.
5 - GOAL:  Be nicer to my kids.  HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT:  Make a conscious effort not to raise my voice.  Always use "Please" and "Thank you " when asking them to do something.
So, that's it.  Those are my 5 goals for the summer.  Once September hits I always reevaluate where I am and make changes to my goals.  I am excited to spend the summer with my friends and family and hopefully I will be able to accomplish my goals and feel happier and healthier!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Safe Haven

This past weekend we had a fabulous family get together!  It was Otto's Grandma's 80th birthday and so I helped organize a mini family reunion so that we could all spend the weekend together!  It was fabulous!  The weather was gorgeous and the company was wonderful.
There was just one little glitch in the weekend.
It was called "A Safe Haven".
That was the name of the place that we stayed.  Don't get me wrong, the place was beautiful!  They own two vacation homes, a cabin and a Bed and Breakfast.  I found their website on the internet and contacted them for a quote.  It was a fabulous price and the pictures of the place looked amazing, so we decided that we would like to stay there!  They had just renovated their vacation homes and even though the outside wasn't much to look at, the inside of the homes were beautiful!  They looked amazing and we had a wonderful time at the vacation homes.
The owners of the establishment, however, were not very professional.  In fact, they treated us so poorly when we were there that I would completely discourage my friends from going there.  From the moment we got there, members of my family were treated very poorly.  One of the owners was very rude and abrupt with them.  I didn't arrive until later and found out that because of a miscommunication between the two owners, they had made incorrect assumptions and that was the source of the poor treatment.  Usually I can overlook a bit of poor customer service, but the way that we were treated was so unprofessional that it completely left a bad taste in my mouth and even though the vacation homes were beautiful, I would never recommend that people stay there because I wouldn't want them to be treated in the same manner that we were treated.  I won't go into detail, but I will have to say that if the owners learn a bit of a lesson on customer service then "A Safe Haven" would be a fabulous place to stay in the Crowsnest Pass, however, until then I would not return and stay at "A Safe Haven".
Just thought you might like to know!

Friday, May 28, 2010


You know the saying "When you assume something you make an ass out of you and me?"  What do you think about that?  I have been thinking a lot about people judging people lately and it seems as though every time I turn around, I am hearing discussions, lectures and complaints about why this is so wrong.  I have made a very conscious effort in my life to try and not judge people, but I know that I am not perfect.
What happens when we "Assume" a person is a certain way because of stereotypes or circumstances?  It is really easy to close your mind to the real possibilities of who this person really is.  I have two examples, of some circumstances that I have actually learned a great deal from.  I wanted to share them with you and hopefully the people that are involved in these circumstances will not be mad that I chose to do so.
#1 - A woman was at a health clinic to weigh her children.  She has two boys and the oldest is going to be 2 soon and the youngest is 8 weeks old.  While she was there, she was undressing her youngest baby and her older child disappeared.  He was trying to escape the clinic.  When she went to go get him, he came back kicking and screaming, drawing the attention of everyone in the room.  In order to contain her older child, this woman stood him on the counter next to her baby whom she was trying to change.  A health nurse came over and asked her to take her older child off of the counter.  When this woman explained that it was the only way that she could contain him, the nurse proceeded to tell her that she at least needed to sit him down.  When this woman did this, her son reacted by kicking and screaming and so he was put on the ground where he proceeded to run off again.  When it was their turn to get weighed, the woman took her older son over to the scale where there was a smiley face on the wall for him to look at.  He didn't want to look at the smiley face, but he eventually ended up getting weighed anyways.  After the weighing, another little boy who had been sitting very quietly with his family, and seeing what had been going on with this woman went over to the scale to get weighed because it was his turn.  Upon seeing this, the woman's older child started pointing at the other little boy and getting upset that he was getting weighed.  The woman reassured her son that it was the other boy's turn and she proceeded to dress her baby again.  While she was doing this, her older son went over and slapped the other little boy in the face.  The parents of the other child grabbed their child and just stared at the woman as she tried to apologize over and over again.  She was embarrassed for herself, her children and for what she knew she was being judged for.
What would you have thought?  Is she right?  Do you think she was being judged?  I KNOW she was.  I know that 8 years ago when I only had 2 little girls, I probably would have thought she was a terrible mother.  Now, however, after having 5 children and a lot more experience, I understand that all children have terrible days where they hit, scream and just have fits in the most inconvienent places.  I have learned that no child is bad ALL of the time and when you are out and about with two young children by yourself that you can always use a helping hand.  This story reminded me of how much better it is to ask a person if they need help when you see that they have one child who is out of control instead of just ASSUMING that they are a bad parent.  I have, in fact, come across very similar situations in the health clinic and I have offered to help out.  Even though people don't take you up on your offer because they don't know you, the kids usually calm right down because they are scared of the stranger.  It ends up working even without you actually helping out. 
#2 - In the church that I belong to, no one is paid to do anything to help run the services, everyone is a volunteer and the Bishop "calls" them and asks them to volunteer for certain things.  After a period of time, that person is "released" from what they have been called to do and then called to do something else.  These are called "callings" in our church.  There is a woman that I know quite well and she has been trying to get another woman who attends church with her called to organize some meetings and social gatherings for the women in her area of the church.  She is having a hard time getting this woman called because this second woman is of a race where the stereotype is that they are lazy and unreliable.  This woman is actually amazing and quite reliable, but because of the stereotype, there is a lot of hesitation with having her called to do this task because it is quite a large task.  This really hit home for me because it has made me wonder if I have ever just "ASSUMED" a person would be a certain way because of their race.  Have I ever discredited someone because of the color of their skin or "ASSUMED" that they would act a certain way because of what the stereotype is?  It is an interesting thought.  I know that I have had to make a conscious effort to erase some stereotypes that I have had in the past and to see people for who they really are!  I want my children to grow up in an era where they can see past the color of someone's skin and really see the person for who they truly are!  This reason is one of the reasons that my kids attend a spanish school.  They are surrounded by amazing latino women and children and they love them.  They have no idea that latinos can be judged based on the fact that they are latino.
I hope that my children can grow up to see past the color of someone's skin and not make quick irrational assumptions about people without really knowing them.  I hope that my children can grow up in a world that is more understanding and less critical.  I hope that they can learn to treat everyone as equals regardless of race, physical appearance, fame or circumstance.  I also hope that they can get that same respect in return.  I guess I will have to just keep working at it and not just assume that it will happen.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Did you know?

Dustin is AMAZING!!!  He knows EVERYTHING!  Here's a little tidbit that you may not know in the words of the genious himself:

"Did you know that the people in the tv can see us?  Yep.  If we can see them they can see us.  See?  Mickey Mouse just asked me a question and I helped him find Goofy."

You just can't argue with that logic!

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Not What's On the Outside that Counts!

My Anne is 9 today.  It is her birthday and I couldn't be more proud of her.  Ever since she was a baby, people have stopped me on the street to tell me how beautiful she is.  Photographers have given me their business cards and requested that I set up appointments with them to photograph her.  She has always been a beautiful little girl, and she knows it.  However, what all of those people can't see is how beautiful my Anne is on the inside.  With Anne I have to be gentle.  There is nothing loud about her.  She is soft and gentle and just beautiful.  She looks all girl and she loves princesses, littlest pet shops and barbies.
One of the things I love about her, and that most people who look at her would be surprised to know is that Anne is VERY logical.  She has a very linear and logical mind and when she thinks, you can almost see her thought process.  It is amazing.  She is incredibly smart and she LOVES math and science.  With Anne, you just do don't things halfway, you put everything you have into it.  She wants to be a scientist when she grows up and so every book that she reads and every present that she wants has to do with becoming a future scientist.  Anne loves to learn.  Anne loves to help people.  Anne loves to be on the computer.  Anne is thoughtful.  Anne is kind.  Anne has a very big heart and looks for people who are left out and makes sure that she plays with them.  Anne loves everyone.  Anne is never mean and she never tries to hurt or bother people.
If there were more Anne's in the world, the world would be a very beautiful, logical, methodical, gentle place to live.
When I think of Anne, the word that always comes into my mind is the word "Beautiful".  She is beautiful on the outside, but she is truly beautiful on the inside too, and after all, it is what is on the inside that counts!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Mother Never Forgets.

Being in a constant state of fogginess right now has made me appreciate a lot of things that I have taken for granted for most of my life.  I am waiting for my blood test results from my doctor to figure out what is going on with me, but until then I just have to try my best to keep on keeping on with this constant cloud of drowsiness, coldness and lack of focus over my head.  I usually have a great memory!  I can multitask like no other.  I can keep track of 5 different schedules all at the same time and not miss a thing.
But now???
Now I can't even remember to get a babysitter so that I can go to my kids' volunteer tea.  I can't even summon up enough energy to walk up or down the stairs.  I can't focus. . . . . I REALLY can't focus!  In fact, I can't even remember what it is I wanted to say about that. . . . sorry!  I'm forgetting everything!  EVERYTHING!
However, there are some things that a mother never forgets.
I didn't forget Anne's birthday party yesterday!  We had a blast!  It was a spy theme.  It was AWESOME!!
I didn't forget that today is my littlest angel's birthday!  My Robin would have been 3.  I haven't forgotten what she looked like, or the hospital room.  It is a clear to me today as it was when I was there.  I haven't forgotten how tiny her little casket was, or how we thought that she was a boy during my pregnancy and called her Bobby.
I haven't forgotten my Angel Baby.
There are some things that a Mother NEVER forgets!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My small rectangular friend

Oh my little rectangular friend. . . . . how do I love thee?
What was my life like before you?  How did I ever think up recipes on my own?  How did I ever look up phone numbers and emails?  How did I ever stay in touch on twitter and facebook
Where have you been all of my life?
My life will never be the same again!  I am now dependant upon you.  What a magical little ipod you are!  You know exactly which song to play to go with my mood.  You are my little ipod of wonder when my kids are bored at an appointment and they can watch movies on you!  You have apps for my little scientist, my big guy, my own musical pleasure, learning apps for my monkey and even a light saber.  I mean, who could have little boys and not live without a light saber. 
You have been the cause and solution of many fights between my children.  You have given me an outlet when I can't sleep at night.  You are there with your spinning recipe apps when I need some inspiration for dinner.
What did I do without you?
Oh Ipod touch.  I think I am in love!  I hope you feel the same way too ;)

Monday, May 10, 2010

In a Funk

Lately I have been in a bit of a funk.  I have felt a bit overworked and underappreciated.  It finally came to a head on Friday during a conversation on the telephone.  That was it.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I was broken.
I couldn't stop crying.  I have been very much on edge emotionally for about a month now and I just couldn't take it any more.  The dam broke.  I cried until I couldn't cry any more. 
I am still trying to pick up the pieces.  I am gradually feeling better, but I will admit that I still feel really fragile.
How did this happen?
I am a strong person.  I can take a lot of crap.  I can handle just about any situation.  I have big shoulders on which to carry my burdens, so why now?
Is it because it is May???  I always have a hard time around Robin's birthday (which will be on Saturday) and on Mother's Day, but this started in April.
So I am just trying to move on.
I am just trying to put my nose to the grind and keep on keeping on.
I am trying to surround myself with fun, happy things and keep my thoughts positive.
I am trying to stay home more.
I am trying to humble myself more.
I am trying to clean more.
Will it work?  I don't know.
I just know I need to get out of this funk.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why the heck not?

As a lot of you already know, I have gotten into the U of C program of Visual Arts with a specialization in Photography.  I am sooooo excited!  I can hardly contain myself.  My parents and siblings seem to be excited for me, however when I told some of them they responded with "But what about culinary school."  My response was "All in good time".  I still want to get the piece of paper behind me to become a Red Seal chef.  That is still what I want to be when I grow up, however I have always had a passion for photography.  I spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars a year getting photos done of my kids.  I LOVE to dress my kids up and do random photo shoots of strange things.  I know that when I die I will not be able to take anything with me except for memories, and I want my children to be able to have lots of memories of their childhood.  I love looking at old photos of myself growing up and I want that same joy for my children.
So, why not?
The great thing about this program is that it will be two years long and all of the courses are in the evenings and the weekends.  Otto and I can sacrifice for 2 years.  We have done it before and we can do it again.  I have been having a hard time lately because I have come to the realization that all of my siblings are now graduating from University.
What does that make me?
I feel like a bit of a disappointment.  I know how important a University degree is for my parents and I will probably never get one.  I have a really hard time focusing on anything.  I am always doing a million things at once because I can't concentrate on one thing at a time.  I have learned (through sad experience) that if I am sitting in a classroom with 300 people and a teacher is giving a lecture that I am expected to learn from that it won't work.  I just can't do it.  I have such a hard time with it.  That makes this program PERFECT for me.  I get to attend classes in the evening and the weekends and I get to DO stuff!!!
When I was at the U of C before (when I was straight out of high school) I was in Business.  I used to dread having to take any math course.  Now, my biggest fear is going to be the "Basics of Drawing" course that I have to take.  I cannot draw to save my life!  I do love, however, that this is the class that I am the most worried about!  What a great program!  I just can't wait.
How does this help my future?
Well, doesn't all education help us?  Isn't that what learning is all about?  I mean, how can it hurt to be constantly learning about things that interest you and will help improve your life?  I don't plan on becoming a huge photographer and shooting for magazine covers and such.  I just want to do this for me.  I want to really learn the best ways to capture my precious moments.  I do think that it will eventually help my catering business because I will learn how to do commercial photography as part of my courses and then I can take pictures of my food that I create and use them to promote my company.  I will also be taking website design which will help me design my catering website so that people can come and book me online.
So that is it!
Why am I going back to school for this applied degree?
Well, why the heck not?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Aren't birthdays a funny thing?  I have always wondered why we celebrate the day that someone is born into the world.  Is it because we are celebrating the fact that the little life that has just begun has the power to change the world?  Are we celebrating the end of an era of pregnancy that the mother endured for 9 months before the baby came into the world?  What exactly is it that we are celebrating?
Yesterday was my 31st birthday and I thought about it alot. 
I thought about what were the hopes and dreams that my parents had for me when I was born? 
Who did they want me to become? 
Who did they want me to look like? 
What personality traits did they hope that I would inherit?
What aspirations did they have for me?
I just can't help but wonder if I have lived up to everything that they have hoped for me.
Am I smart enough?
Am I creative enough?
Am I responsible enough?
Have I set a good enough example for my younger siblings?
Do I work hard enough?
Am I spiritual enough?
Am I headed in the direction in life that they would want me to go?
What have I accomplished in my life?
Is it good enough for them?
Is it good enough for me?
The last question was the hardest for me to answer.  I spent the whole day thinking about my life and where I am and where I want to be.  I am currently the mother of 5 beautiful living babies and one angel baby.  I have a house and 2 vehicles.  I do not have a University degree, but I teach piano, and digital scrapbooking.  I am aspiring to receive my Red Seal for cooking so that I can have a piece of paper to back up my passion for food and catering.  There is nothing that brings me closer to God than through music.  Music is a very powerful tool in my life and in the life of my family.  I would be lost and alone without it.  I currently serve in my church as part of a presidency over the children.  I love this!  I love being around children and helping them learn.
I love to cook.
Let me write that again. . .
I LOVE to COOK!!!!
I love to watch my Abby play basketball and learn how to see the game.
I love to wake up every morning to the deep, melodic sounds of Abby's cello as she practices and to the wavering notes on the piano as Anne and Caroline learn how to play the piano.
I LOVE the mountains!
I love warm weather.
I love my family and the one thing that I have always wanted more than anything else is to feel included in my family.
When I turned 30, I had a bit of a crisis and I decided that I would try and do things that I normally wouldn't do.  Since I turned 30 I really stuck to that goal and I have experienced some AMAZING things and learned a few lessons along the way.  I have sung in an American Idol competition in Walt Disney World, run in a 10K race, coached basketball for Abby, answered "yes" to a survey, sung in a Women's Chorus which performs for Senior Citizens, gone on a trip to Mexico with just my mom and myself, endured 4 days of torture stuck in an airport in Houston, gone horseback riding in the ocean in Jamaica, climbed a waterfall, gone tubing down a river, planned a garden, taught digital scrapbooking at home parties (I hate home parties, so this was a big step for me), and more.
My goals for being 31 are to enjoy my family more and to grow closer to my husband.  I also have some goals about my education and I will post those later, once I hear more about my registration.
So, turning 31 has made me reflect on my life.  Am I where I want to be?  I think so.  Am I who my parents want me to be?  I hope so.  Where am I going?  Well, only time will tell, and I do hope that I have a lot of time left to find out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

10 Years

10 years ago I was a new mom.  I was just beginning to experience the joys, frustrations, loves and pains of motherhood.  I was learning what it really felt like to be sleep deprived and overwhelmed.  I was learning how incredible it was that something so small could bring so much joy and love.  I was learning that nothing in the entire world would matter as much as my little bundle of joy.
And a bundle of joy she has been!
My little baby is now 10 years old.  I am now a mother of a tweenager!  She has been around for a decade and that means that I am a decade older.  I have gone from diapers and sleepless nights to fashion and early mornings.  I have the 3 Highschool Musicals memorized and know almost all of the Miley Cirus songs from memory.  I love hearing her practice the cello and I am the most obnoxious cello mom!  I have watched her play barbies and house as a little girl and grow into listening to the ipod and playing basketball.  Where did the 10 years go?  When did my little princess turn into this beautiful girl?  What will the next 10 years bring?  Is it possible to love this little girl more now than I did 10 years ago????  How is that possible????
Abby is 10.  I am proud of her!  I love my sweet little Abbigail!  Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter! What a Wonderful time!

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  Christie and I spent the day doing what we do best. . . . .shopping!!!  It was AMAZING the deals that I was able to find here!!!!  Justice was having a 40% off of EVERYTHING in the store. . . . even sale items!!!  I got Abby 10 shirts for a grand total of $30!!!  We then spent the day taking advantage of AMAZING sales all over the place!!!  Children's place had a sale of 25% off of already reduced items!!!  Old Navy had the same sale.  Then there was this TOTALLY cute store called "Crazy 8's" which is a cheaper Gymboree store. . . . . ADORABLE STORE!!!!!  My kids will be SOOOOO CUTE this summer!!!  (I even managed to squeeze in some clothes for myself too!!!)
Last night, the men/teenage boys went out to watch the Priesthood session of conference and so Christie and I went out and picked up some chinese food, hung out with the girlies and relaxed after our day of shopping.  The kiddies then put out their easter baskets and Christie and I hung out until about 1 am filling easter eggs!
The easter egg hunt this morning was SO MUCH FUN!!!  It is so fun spending holidays with other people and learning what their traditions are!  I think we may have to adopt some new easter traditions because we have been having a blast!!!
Now it's shower time and then off to go sit in the Conference Center and watch Conference LIVE!!!  None of us have ever done this before, so we are very excited to go!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Fun with Family

It's great to have family, isn't it???  I mean, we were sad to leave Disneyland, but we were so excited to drive up to see my Aunt Christie and her family and spend Easter Weekend with them!  From the moment that we got here, it has been nothing but fun and excitement.  We went to a big bouncy house park and played all morning long there!  After that, it was off to McDonald's for lunch!  Chicken and Fries. . . . you just can't beat chicken and fries!
In the afternoon, Christie and I ditched everyone for awhile, picked up some extra Easter stuff (as though we actually needed it) and I found some tasty treasures at Target!  Did you know that in the US, there are more than 3 flavors of Goldfishies????  Did you know that there are about 15 flavors????  SO TRUE!!!!  I bought one of every kind!  I HAD to try them ALL!!!!  We love goldfishies!!!  I can't wait to try the pretzel and cheese ones.
It has been a great day!  We finished things off by decorating eggs with cousins!  It went surprisingly smooth considering we had 9 kids trying to color eggs at once!  Now comes the HUGE task of trying to convince all of these grumpy kids to go to bed!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Farewell Disney

Yesterday was our last day at Disneyland.  It was magical and amazing!  It started off with the announcement from my sister that she had her baby!  Best day ever!!!  We started off in the Magic Kingdom getting special entrance to Mickey's Toontown.  It was awesome!!!  After that we rode on all of the rides that we hadn't gotten to ride on before that didn't have fast passes.  We also got fast passes for all of the ones that we could get them for. Then we hopped over to California Adventure and ran into our friends again.  We joined forces and conquered  "A Bug's Life" and "Playhouse Disney" together and the kids had so much fun hanging out with their best friends!!!  Then it was back to Magic Kingdom for dinner and some awesome rides!!!
I have been so impressed with my kids because they have gone on absolutely every single ride that they have been tall enough to ride.  There have been no complaints and no crying and they have done EVERYTHING!!!!
We all have our favorite rides, but mine is Space Mountain and Indiana Jones!  Abby loved Splash Mountain.  Anne loved Space Mountain and Star Tours.  Caroline loved Big Thunder Mountain.  Dustin loved Midway Mania and the other Buzz Lightyear one.  Lee loved seeing the Characters!  In fact, one of my very favorite things about being at Disneyland was being there with Lee and Dustin and watching how magical it was.  Lee would call out to the characters as they would walk by because he was so excited to see them.  He would keep shouting their names and waving to them from the line while we were waiting to get pictures with them.  It was SO PRICELESS!!!!  Dustin was awed and amazed by everything he saw!  One of my favorite things that he did was when we were going to get lunch.  We told him that we wanted to get pizza.  While we were walking around to find the pizza place, Dustin all of a sudden looked up, pointed to a sign that read Pizza Place and said "We can get Pizza there!"  There was no picture of a pizza and no one around the sign had a piece of pizza. . . . . it was amazing!!!  He is 4!!!!
Anyways, it was so wonderful and magical!  I definitely loved Disneyland and I hope that everyone gets a chance to go there. . . . especially with young children!
Now it's off to visit my Aunt Christie for the weekend!  We are VERY excited about that!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dining with the Princesses and other Electrifying Experiences

Today was day two of our Disneyland vacation!  It was AMAZING!!!  We got up early and took advantage of our Early Entrance option on our passs!  We used that time to ride some of the rides in Fantasyland that do not have the Fast Pass option and get long lineups during the day.
After that, we had some time to spare before the California Adventure park opened, so we decided that we would stand in the line to get some autographs from some fairies!  Let me just say that the look on Anne's face when we saw Tinkerbell was TOTALLY worth it!!!  Anne was is Heaven and so that made the morning so much more special!!!
After that, as we were leaving the park to hop over to California Adventures, we ran into some good friends of ours.  We knew that there might be a small chance that they would come to Disneyland, but they hadn't solidified their plans by the time we had left, so it was AWESOME to run into them at the gates!
California Adventure was full of fun shows, rides and more!
Caroline's favorite Princess is Ariel, and from doing my research beforehand I found out that the only place that she is guaranteed to show up at is at Ariel's Grotto.  So, I prepaid for us to all eat lunch there today!  IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!  The food was AMAZING and we even got to personally meet and take pictures with the 5 major Princesses!!!  Caroline was in HEAVEN because we were in Ariel's house and Abby was in heaven because she got to meet Cinderella!!!  (I LOVE living the magic through my kiddies!)
The afternoon started off by watching the AMAZING Aladdin Musical Spectular!!  Because I had contacted a travel agency before my trip and booked everything through them, I was able to get these special passes that gave me preferred seating at every show!  It also gave me the early entry passes, and tomorrow we get to visit Mickey's Toon Town an hour before it opens up to the public and the Mickey Mouse characters that live there will interact with the kiddies and sign their books!!!!  AWESOME!!!  Anyways, because we had these special VIP seats to Aladdin, we were able to sit 5 rows from the stage and be surrounded by the entire musical!  The kids LOVED it and if I could have recorded Dustin's face, you would laugh and laugh.  Everything was so magical to him today!
One of the awesome things we learned about Lee is that his favorite Disney character is Donald Duck!  Who knew hey?  If you are not my friend on facebook yet, ask me and I will accept you so that you can see the cutest video of him calling out to Donald Duck!!!
After various other shows and roller coasters and dinner we settled down to watch my favorite parade which is the Disney Electrical Parade.  It definitely didn't disappoint! The girlies agreed with me that it was amazing and I was a bit sad that Dustin slept right through it.
Tomorrow is our last day here.  It has bee fun!  It has been REALLY magical.  It has been worth EVERY penny!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disneyland or BUST!!!

For those of you who don't know, we have been planning on surprising our kids with a trip to Disneyland during our Spring Break vacation.  It was really hard for me to keep it a secret for so long, but I managed and the KIDS WERE SO SURPRISED!!!
We had told the kiddies that we were going to go hiking in the Grande Canyon, but instead we drove to Anaheim.  We stopped to eat lunch at a Burger King that is right next to Disneyland.  The kids didn't even notice! While we were eating lunch with the kiddies, I told them that their daddy and I were thinking about our future vacations and asked them where they would like to go most in the whole wide world!  They all shouted at the same time without hesitation. . . .DISNEYLAND!!!
Otto and I smiled at each other and then loaded the herd back into the car.  While we were driving into the parking lot, I turned on the video camera and reminded them of our conversation at the Burger King.  I then asked them if they would be okay if we went to Disneyland instead of the Grande Canyon.  Abby said yes, Anne wanted more information and Caroline asked if that meant that they would have to be in the car longer.  I told them that we were there and that we just had to park!  They all got so excited and then Caroline, in her own monkey way threw up her arms and said "I'm going to Disneyland!!!  Whooo Hoooo!!!"  I don't think that Anne actually believed me until we were on the bus heading into the park.
Right now the park is PACKED!!  However, we have still had a lot of fun!  The kids have been great about going on every ride without complaining!  We even had Lee on the Madderhorn roller coaster!  (There are advantages to having a HUGE baby!)
We got great seats for the parade where we had a dance party and we just had a blast!!!  As each of the kids said to me at some point during the day. . . . this was the best day ever!
Abby said it best though when she told me that this surprise would be hard to beat in the future!
Oh kids!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. George

Well, we made it!  After another 8 hours in the car together, we MADE IT!!!  It was so much fun to be able to pull up at my Grandparent's place and see them!  We only live 5 minutes away from them at home and so when they winter in St. George we miss them alot!!!!
As soon as we got here, Grandma and I went fabric shopping so that my friend Annette can make me a beautiful dress for my sister's wedding in June.  Otto and Grandpa took the kiddies for a walk.  When we were all done, we all went SWIMMING in the swimming pool by my grandparent's place.  It was great!  The kids had so much fun!  Otto and I had fun too.  Then it was pizza for dinner followed by some visiting, playing outside with toys and then falling asleep watching Wall-E!
What a great day!
Today we will go to church with my Grandparents and then it will be off to my favorite LDS temple to take pictures with my family!  SO MUCH FUN!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Yesterday was DAY 1 of our road trip.  It consisted of 11 hours with 5 kids in the van.  With the exception of a little bit of fighting, I think that it went pretty well.  I was proud of the kids!  Now I just need to convince them that another 8 hours together in the van is something to look forward to!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Uptight

Last night I was lazy and I took the kiddies to Wendy's for dinner because we were running errands and I wanted them to be happy while they waited in the car for me to run into various places.  Whenever Dustin gets a drink he always wants "Black Sprite" meaning rootbeer.  I always think it is hilarious that he calls rootbeer "Black Sprite" and I always giggle to myself when I hand it to him.  Last night, however, having Dustin call his rootbeer "Black Sprite" triggered a memory that has always stuck with me.  I think it is because I was shocked that someone could be that uptight, or maybe it was because I am busy getting everyone ready to go on vacation and I am exhausted.  Whatever the case, here is the story. . . . what do you think?
When Abby was 4 years old I had put her into a FANTASTIC preschool.  I had spent hours researching which preschool to register her in and I woke up bright and early on registration day to go and register her in the amazing school.  I LOVED this preschool.  I loved that they had 3 different rooms that they cycled the kids though and taught them different things in those rooms.  I loved that they had 2 way mirrors so that I could stand outside of the classroom and watch how she was doing.  I loved her teachers and how they interacted with Abby.
One day, I was a few minutes late picking Abby up from preschool.  When I went inside, the director of the school, the principal and the teacher were all waiting with her.  I thought that they were all just waiting to go home and had decided to keep Abby company while she waited for me.  As I walked into the room, they all stood up and introduced themselves.  I greeted them happily and gave Abby a hug while apologizing for being late.  They said it wasn't a problem, but that was not why they were there.  They then proceeded to tell me that there was a little girl who had recently started going to the preschool and she was black.  They then told me that Abby had been playing with a toy and the girl had taken it from her.  This had upset Abby and so she went and told the teacher that the "Black" girl had taken her toy.
The principal made it very clear that they would not tolerate ANY racism in the classroom and that Abby's behaviour was unacceptable.  I was shocked!!!  These ladies were lecturing me about the fact that Abby had called this little girl "black".  They started lecturing me on racial tolerance and teaching it to my kids.  After about 5 minutes I started to get bored of being lectured because I didn't think that Abby had done anything wrong.  So, I told them what I thought.  I told them that I realized that there is going to be diversity in a classroom.  I told them that while it may not be right to label people based on the color of their skin, sometimes when you are 4 and you can't remember a person's name because you have seen them only once before and you are asked to try and name that person, maybe you try to describe them instead.  I would think that the first thing that would pop into a 4 year old's (or 40 year old's) head to describe this one little girl who was the only one who was black would be to mention the color of her skin so that the teacher wouldn't be confused as to who it was that Abby was talking about.  I also mentioned to the teachers that Abby did not actually call the girl "black" to her face and so the necessary apology that they wanted to enforce on Abby would not be acceptable.  I also asked the ladies if there had ever been any other problems with Abby, at all.  They told me "no".  I then told them that this was not going to be something that I would be discussing with Abby because I didn't feel as though she had done something wrong.  I then took Abby by the hand and took her home.
I know that I can be obnoxious and I am REALLY stubborn when it comes to defending my kids.  However, I am curious to know what you guys think?  What would you have done?  Do you think that the teachers were right?  Let me know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A LOT of laughs and a LITTLE less hair!

A couple of funny incidents have happened around here lately that I think I would be a bad person if I didn't record them somewhere!  For any of you who know my 4 year old son, Dustin, you will understand this first one completely!
DUSTIN:  (climbing into the van) Mom, why is there a rock in the van?
MEGAN: (wondering out of all of the things that are on the floor in the van how Dustin could have possibly noticed a rock) To make little boys ask questions.
DUSTIN:  (Stares at Megan)
MEGAN:  Did it work?
DUSTIN: (A light turns on in his little genious head) YES!!!  I DID ask questions!!!  (Turning to Caroline) Caroline, let's go put this rock out and then little boys will come up to us and ask questions!!!
MEGAN:  (Can't even pull out of the driveway because she is lauging so hard!)

Classic Dustin!

The second event wasn't so funny for me, but I back onto a street and so when I BBQ people can definitely see me.  Some of my friends even honk as they drive by!  Tuesday was a beautiful day, and the forecast for the rest of the week wasn't supposed to be as nice.  I have been really sick for about a week and so I thought that it might be a nice treat if we broke out the BBQ and had homemade (from scratch) hamburgers for dinner.  Otto was at cello lessons with Abby, so it was all up to me.  I usually do the BBQing anyways, so it was nothing new.  I turned on the propane and thought it was a bit weird that I could actually hear it.  I flicked the lighter and BOOM!  A fireball launched at my face.  Caroline couldn't stop laughing at me because of the look on my face.  I immediately thought "Oh no!  My hair!!" and ran inside.  Well, for those of you who don't know, when you get a fireball thrown at your face, your hair instantly shrivels up and it looks like you have a bag of sawdust thrown on your head.  Yep!  I know that from experience now!  I have a spot in the front and center of my head where it now looks as though I took clippers and buzzed part of my hair off.  I am currently researching the latest hair trends to see if there is a trendy way for me to cover up that spot seeing as I just spent a lot of money getting my hair cut and dyed.
So yes, that was funny!  And yes, we will be getting a new BBQ this spring seeing as this one is now fried just like my hair!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm at a loss for people who have suffered a loss

Growing up, I have been surrounded by people who are amazing at helping others when they need it.  My mother is the most incredible person in a crisis.  She can keep a level head and look at things very logically.  My mom is a very busy woman, and she likes it that way.  The greatest thing about her, though, is that she will drop everything that she has going on if someone in her family needs help.  She is amazing and she has helped me through some really tough times!
My Grandmother is another example of someone who is amazing at service.  Growing up I would always end up accompanying her to visit someone in the hospital, someone who is sick or just someone that she was thinking about and decided to take a meal to, just because.  Whenever someone would have something happen in their lives, instead of saying "If you need anything, just let me know", she would simply do things.  She would take their laundry and do it for them, or clean their house, or show up randomly with food, or take them to run errands.
These amazing women have taught me so much about service, and because I am such a loyal person, if someone that I really care about needs something, I am always there.  I make sure that I help my family and friends whenever I can because it is my way of showing them I love them.
Right now I am having a bit of a hard time.  There is a person in my church whom I have always admired and her mother has just passed away suddenly.  I have never been in a position where someone who I don't know really well, but still care about has needed help.  What do I do?  What do YOU do???  Do I offer the simple non-commital phrase of "If you need anything, just let me know."?  Do I bring her a meal?  Right now I am baking her a bunch of snacks and quick foods to have on hand as her family comes and stays with her, but is there anything else that I can do?  I tried calling her this morning, but she is having a really hard time and couldn't really talk.  What would YOU do???
I would love some ideas because I am truly at a loss here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics and Bronze

It has been a very exciting time at our house lately.  My kids have LOVED watching the Olympics!  It all started when their Grandma Wilson got to run the torch and we all got to go down and watch her!  SO MUCH FUN!!  Then it continued with daily updates on the medals and ended with a FANTASTIC hockey game!
I think that the highlight of the weekend was when Abby won her Bronze medal game in basketball on Saturday.  We were told that you needed 2 losses to be out of the tournament, but apparently it was only one loss, so it came as a great surprise to the other coach and I and all of our parents on Saturday!  We were very proud of the girls.  It was a great way to wrap up the season!  Abby wore her medal all day long and then she brought it to church on Sunday.  Four of her other teammates also go to our church, so it was cute to watch them all wear their medals to church on Sunday and show them to their teacher!  Abby told me that she felt as though she won a medal at the olympics.  I THINK THAT'S FANTASTIC!!!!  I was so proud of her!  The other coach and I told the girls that this was their first medal in a long line of medals that they will be receiving for basketball!  I sure hope that's true!!!
So, WAY TO GO ABBY!  Bronze all the way!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

That Mom!

I am THAT MOM who believes that childhood should be wonderful and magical. 
I am THAT MOM who believes that teaching children to believe in fairy tales is not wrong.
I am THAT MOM who believes that a child SHOULD believe in Santa Clause as long as possible.
I am THAT MOM who believes I should have the right to talk about the Birds and the Bees on my own terms and not have that decision made by anyone else.
I am THAT MOM who believes that children need responsibility in order to feel a sense of accomplishment.
I am THAT MOM who volunteers for almost everything that my children are involved in.
I am THAT MOM who pushes my children to stand up for what they believe in.
I am THAT MOM who will stand up for my children, no matter what the cost.
I am THAT MOM who teaches her children that everyone has the right to believe in whichever religion they choose, even themeselves!
I am THAT MOM who believes that talking trains and animals are a big part of being a child.
I am THAT MOM who believes that the TOOTHFAIRY is the smartest and most generous fairy that the children know.
I am THAT MOM who encourages her children to keep believing that life is a Musical and that Music can cure all ailments of the heart, mind and soul.
I am THAT MOM who sends her daughters to school competely dressed from head to toe in Princess crowns, curls, glitter, dresses, and matching shoes when it is Princess day at school.
I am THAT MOM who does whatever it takes to make her kids coordinate their costumes to their hearts' desire on Halloween.
I am THAT MOM who makes every birthday a big deal.
I am THAT MOM who spends hours working on major school projects with her kids so that they can be proud of what they have come up with.
I am THAT MOM who believes that it is worth the money to create and preserve memories made together.
I am THAT MOM who pushes her children to become better at whatever they are doing.
I am THAT MOM who buys raspberry gingerale when her babies are sick or have sore tummies.
I am THAT MOM who will sit in the hospital waiting room for hours waiting to see a doctor for her children.
I am THAT MOM who will NOT leave her hospitalized child's bedside if they are sick in the hospital.
I am THAT MOM who believes that fabulous teachers make all the difference in her children's education.
I am THAT MOM who make sure that her children see the consequences (good and bad) when making a big decision.
I am THAT MOM who teaches her children to serve others by serving others herself.
I am THAT MOM who believes that her children's faith can get them through any trial.
I am THAT MOM who is tired of people judging her for being THAT MOM. 
Because I am not THAT MOM who is naiive enough to think that everyone agrees with me on everything that I teach and do with my children I hope that other people respect me enough to let me just be the only kind of mom I know how to be.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Those words!

I love living in Canada for a couple of reasons.  The snow and cold isn't one of them, but the healthcare is!  I know that the U.S. is in great debates over this issue, and while I do think that our system is FAR from perfect, there is something very reassuring about the fact that if myself or my family members need medical attention I don't have to think about how much it will cost me and I don't have to make sure I go to a certain hospital or see a certain doctor.  My health and my children's health and well being are the only things on my mind in a medical situation.
One of the downsides to our healthcare is that sometimes (okay, quite a lot of times) there are long waits for things like CAT scans, doctor's appointments and MRI's etc.  However, when there is an emergency you do get in right away (we have all heard the horror stories of the few exceptions so I won't go there).  That is what worried me yesterday.
You see, I have been having problems with my ankle and leg for about 4 months now.  In September, I had sharp, shooting pains going up my leg and I had to go on crutches for a couple of weeks.  Because of this, my doctor ordered some X-Rays to make sure that everything was okay.  The X-Ray came back and showed that I had a calcium tumor on my ankle.  Hearing the word "TUMOR" made me panic and so my doctor was quick to point out that it was probably beneign but that they would send me for an MRI to make sure.
4 months later, on February 8th, I got that MRI.  It took 2 hours!  I was told that my doctor would have the results from the MRI in 7 to 10 days and that they would call me in once they had the results.  On Monday, I received a call from my doctor when I was out of town asking me to give them a call to set up an appointment.  I called on Tuesday and they wanted me to come into his office first thing this morning.
Did you read how I mentioned above that when there is an emergency that you are able to get into things right away with our healthcare system???? 
Do you now understand why I was so freaked out yesterday???? 
It is very rare to get into your doctor the next day unless there is some sort of emergency.
I was so freaked out yesterday!  I couldn't concentrate on anything and I couldn't sleep.
This morning I went to the doctor and he told me the words that I was hoping that I would hear! 
I do, however, have a calcium tumor in my ankle which hasn't changed in the 4 months since my X-Rays.  I also seem to have multiple stress fractures in my leg that I didn't know about (but does explain some of the pain that I have been having) and so I now can't run or do any high impact exercise until I get the "OK" from my doctor.  He thinks March or April.
The kind of scary news is that the MRI did pick up some changes in my bone marrow in my leg, and because of that they are a bit concerned that I might have sclerosis developing in my ankle.  So, now I have more X-Rays and MRIs getting scheduled and hopefully they will show no change.  It will definitely be a long 3 to 6 months waiting for the next MRI to see if there are changes, but hopefully I will get to hear THOSE WORDS. . .
Here's hoping!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love and Chocolates

That is what I think of when I think of Valentine's Day.  I know that a lot of people hate Valentine's Day and think that it is a made up holiday by companies to sell more chocolates and flowers.  It well may be.  I have never taken the time to learn the origins of Valentine's Day.  I don't really care to know.  I just love the day though.  I mean, who wouldn't love a day that is set aside specifically to show your loved ones how much you care for them?  I love taking this day to spend time with my family and to remind myself why I love them so much.
Growing up, my mom used to make Valentine's Day very special for us.  She used to buy us little boxes of chocolates and write us each a little Valentine's Day card and have them at our spot on the kitchen table when we woke up on Valentine's Day.  That little gesture of love has really stuck with me throughout my life.  I always knew that no matter what, my mom would express her love on Valentine's Day.  Because of this, I have continued the tradition with my kids.  I love to buy them little boxes of chocolates and write them a Valentine from their Mom!  I also buy my kids a Valentine's Day shirt for them to wear on Valentine's Day to remind them to be nice to each other and to show each other how much they love each other.
That being said, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day!!!  I hope that your day is filled with gestures of love from all of those people who are near and dear to you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Manchild

When I had my youngest child Lee, I was so excited because he was so small and sweet and mellow.  Fast-forward almost two years later and he is still so sweet and mellow, but he is HUGE and his voice sounds like that of a 14 year old boy.  What happened to my baby???  Why did we skip the child phase with him and go straight into puberty???  He's not even 2 years old yet and him and his 4 year old brother can almost wear the same sized clothing!
One of the most hilarious things about Lee is that even though his voice is low, he still talks like a baby, so when he says just about anything you can't help but laugh because it sounds so hilarious!!! 
Here are some Leeisms:
1 - When you drop something, you have to say "Ah Man!"  There are NO exceptions!
2 - If the phone rings you must drop everything right that second and sprint over to the phone as though your life depended on it. . . . otherwise you will be warned that the phone is ringing and that you are taking too long to answer it.
3 - Age doesn't matter as much as size does. . . . poor Dustin!
4 - If there is a button, it MUST be pushed!
5 - Everything has a sound effect!
6 - Changing diapers is not a fun time. . . unless sound effects are involved.
7 - If the clean-up song is sung, a room must be cleaned.  If it is not being sung, you cannot clean. . . . unless there are sound effects!
8 - Dressing up is not only for girls!
9 - If you get asked to say "Excuse me" you must follow it up with a burp!  There are no exceptions!  Burps are funny and if you don't have one coming up, fake it!
10 - Why would anyone want to only eat 3 meals a day when the cereal boxes are kept on the bottom shelf?  Just grab a box, take it with you wherever you go and VOILA you have a snack with you at all times. . . . and snacks taste better with sound effects!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You meet a homeless person on the street. Do you give them money? Why?

I was looking for a journal prompt and this was one that jumped out at me.  I am curious to know all of your thoughts on the subject.  Me, personally, I usually don't give money to the person on the street.  However, I do donate to homeless shelters, battered women shelters and food banks.  I believe that by donating to these organizations that have the tools to provide help for the homeless that I am doing more good than simply giving the homeless person money.  I have heard of people walking the homeless person with them to get something to eat, but I am just too shy and I have never done this.
Those are my thoughts. . . . what are yours?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Running in the Dark

So, because I don't have enough to do, I have registered for my first race.  This is just going to be a little 6K one at the end of March.  I needed a reason to start running again, and well. . . . now I have no excuse if I don't want to embarass myself!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Life Changing Moments

Have you ever thought about those moments that change your life?  You know the big ones like turning 16, your graduation from High School. moving out, getting married, having kids, but I think that there are a bunch of small decisions that are also life changing.  This week has been a fabulous one because I got to witness one of those moments for my Mother in Law and I made one for myself.
My Mother in Law is generally quite a pleasant person.  She seems to just bob around life and make the best of her situation.  I rarely hear her complain, and she is always wanting to give people stuff.  This year, I made it a goal to help her clean out her house and in the process I have been able to get to know her better.  She is very social and she loves people and she especially loves her son!  One of the things that I have always wished for my Mother in Law is for her to be able to create some fabulous memories.  She doesn't get to travel very much and she lives in a small town where a lot doesn't happen, so I sometimes think that she misses out on things.
Then everything changed. . .
My mother in law got to run the Olympic Torch.  She wasn't planning on entering the draw, but she got invited and so she did so.  She was chosen to run the torch on Monday morning and that changed everything.  All of a sudden there was a sparkle in her eyes as she talked about things to get ready to run the torch.  She loved talking to the organizers of the run and she would give us every detail about what she had to do and where she had to go and what she had to wear.  My Mother in Law even saved up to buy the torch so that she could have it once the run was over.
So, the morning of the torch run was upon us and all of her children and their families came down to watch her receive the olympic flame.  Because she ran it in a small town, there weren't that many people parked out along the route.  However, she just happened to receive the flame in an intersection that was in between two elementary schools, so there were TONS of children and their teachers on the street.  They had all made some awesome signs and carried flags and were dressed in Red.  When my Mother-in-Law stepped off of the bus, she was so excited and seeing all of those people got her even more excited!  It has been a long time since I have seen a smile like that on her face.  I just couldn't stop taking pictures of her.  Because the streets weren't very crowded, I was able to run ahead of her and get TONS of pictures for her.  I hope that she will have enough pictures to really be able to remember this moment that changed her life.  I know that running the torch was one of the major highlights of her life and that she will be talking about it for years to come.  I am so glad that I got to be part of that moment.
The life changing decision that I had for myself happened the last day in Mexico.  I went there with my mom because she won the trip as a reward for her sales for a company called Heritage Makers.  The trip was so much fun and so relaxing.  I LOVED being there with just my mom because we like to do the same kinds of things.  We were in no rush to cater to anyone else and we spent most of our time just reading books on the beach. . . . .that's a REAL vacation!!!  Because of some conversations with some people that I had at the convention, I decided that becoming a Heritage Makers consultant would be the right thing for me to do.  Heritage Makers is an internet based company that helps you to create books, calendars, home decor, decks of cards, etc to preserve your memories.  One of the things that I love about it is that you don't have to buy software and download it to your computer in order to use it. . . . you just have to have access to the internet so it doesn't take up any space on your hard drive.  I also love how easy it is to use, and I love the projects that I can create with the program. I have created tons of projects with the company over the 20 months that I have had a membership, and I always talk to people about the program, so I truly believe that this is the next logical step for me.  I talked it over with the Big Guy and he encouraged me to do this.  I am really excited to begin and I can't wait for things to get rolling.  My biggest struggle will be to set up appointments for workshops.   I am going to have to start off asking for my friends' help with this, but after a while I know that things will take off on their own.  I have actually been selling Heritage Makers for my mom's store for almost 18 months and I always love watching people get excited about the program and seeing the beautiful books and projects that they can create using this fabulous software.  I always leave my classes excited for my students and inspired to create more projects using this program.  Soooo. . . . . to all of my friends. . . . . if you want to see what this program is about, let me know!  If you host a workshop you can get a bunch of free things to get you introduced to the program, and who knows. . . . you may just fall in love with the program too. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What May or May NOT Happen When You Fly on an Airplane

I want to start off by saying that my trip to Jamaica was AMAZING!!!  I loved every minute of it from the 30 degree weather, to the waterpark, to the horseback riding on the beach and into the ocean with my girlies, to the hiking up Dunns River Falls and going Tubing down the river, to the family dinners and the playing on the beach.  It was the best vacation I could hope for.  I only wished that I could have gotten there a bit sooner.  But, alas, it was not meant to be. 
Because of my facebook statuses while I was going through the nightmare of trying to get to Jamaica, I have had a lot of requests to expand on my journey and give out more details.  Be careful what you wish for. . . you are in for quite a ride. . . as we were!!!

DECEMBER 26, 2009
- new security measures
- every passenger can only bring 1 carry-on piece of luggage
- each passenger (even Lee) is completely body searched and patted down by a guard
- each person's one carry-on is opened and completely searched
- takes 3 1/2 hours to board the plane
-arrive in Houston 20 minutes after connecting flight leaves
- miss connecting flight from Houston to Miami (where we are supposed to connect through a different airline to Jamaica)
- are told that my brother can get a flight out of there on Sunday, my parents on Monday morning and my family on Monday morning
- are told we can also try to go on stand-by
- decide to try stand-by
- arrange with other airline to rebook our connecting tickets to Jamaica in case we miss our flight
- stand-by flight comes and only 5 people can go
- my brother and his wife and baby and my sister and her husband and baby get on the flight
- Mom, Dad, Jenna, Kristin and my family are all stuck in Houston
- make arrangements to go on Sunday morning on Standby, my parents and sisters are on standby to go through Miami and my family is on Standby to go directly to Jamaica
- baggage is all sent to Miami
- get overnight kits from airport as we now have no luggage as our second carry-on bag which held all of our spare clothes in case anything like this happened is now in Miami
- stay at the beautiful Marriott hotel in Houston
- put kids to bed in underwear and wash all of their clothes in the sink so they will be clean for the next day

- wake up and realize that Lee is gone
- frantically search hotel room, hallways, pool area and etc looking for him
- call front desk to alert security
- informed that front desk has Lee and that he had wandered out at about 3:30 in the morning in just a diaper and a bottle
- Otto convinces police he is not negligent and we get Lee back
- Parents and sisters get on early standby flight (later we find out that we could have gotten on that one too)
- not enough room on our standby flight for us
- try two more standby flights before giving up and sending Otto and kids back to the hotel
- I get boarding passes for direct flight to Jamaica from Houston
- talk to other airline and find out that my ticket has been cancelled because I didn't make the original flight
- convince them to reinstate the ticket so that I can get home from Jamaica when my vacation is over
- get another overnight kit from the airline because bags are still in Miami and they won't send them back to Houston because I am leaving the next day
- get back to hotel and am told there is another situation involving Lee
- Dustin has completely locked Lee inside the room while Lee is napping and there is no way to get to him.
- Engineering department from the hotel come and take off one of the doors so we can get to Lee
- Lee sleeps through the whole thing
- take kids to the mall for something to do and buy them another set of clothing
- go to sleep, excited to finally be on our way

- get up, feed kids, go to airport
- go through security
- check in at gate
- get called up and told there is a problem with the tickets
- find out that the second airline wouldn't release their portion of the ticket to the first airline and unless they do this, we can't board the plane
- wait anxiously while an angel named Nicole works her magic
- finds out that the other airline cancelled my ticket again even though I had already talked to them about it
- this causes major problems and the second airline won't release the ticket
- finally get the airline to release the ticket just as they close the door to the airplane
- we are denied access to the airplane even though they just barely closed the door and the jetway is still connected
- all 7 of us cry as we realize we will be in Houston another day
- try to cheer up all 5 of the kids while we make arrangements to stay in Houston for yet another day with the airline paying for our accomodations
- my angel Nicole takes me around the airport to make sure that everything is in order for the next day
- get stopped by at least 6 employees of the airline amazed that we are still stuck in the airport
- all arrangements are made to get on the plane the next morning
- talk to baggage department and they will not send baggage on to Jamaica ahead of us and they will not send the baggage directly to Jamaica at all
- arrange to have baggage sent back to Houston and then onto Jamaica on Wednesday
- pick up some more overnight kits
- take kids to see a movie to raise their spirits
- find a laundry facility in the hotel and am able to wash clothes while my family sits in their underwear in the hotel room
- talk to other employees of the airline while doing laundry and they are shocked that we weren't allowed to get on the plane.  They inform me that they reopen the doors all the time in situations like this.
- this makes me mad agan!
- have sleepless night

- get up, go to airport, go through security
- go to gate check-in extremely early to double and triple check that there are no problems with tickets
- everything is good
- we fly to Jamaica
- lots more boring things happen but we don't care. . . we are there
- no bags, so we make arrangements to have them sent to us when they arrive
- my family greets the bus as we pull into the resort
- I have never been so glad to see them
- have an amazing night and the kids are ecstatic to be there
- glad that my 4 days in the Houston airport are over

So now you know.  This was our airplane ride from H-E-double hockey sticks.  I was so relieved to see my family at the resort and I had such an amazing time in Jamaica once we got there.  My next post will have pictures.
Even though my family and I were going through this airplane nightmare, I know that God was watching us.  He seemed to send me some angels every time I felt completely overwhelmed.  I will forever be grateful for Nicole and all of the help that she gave me.
I didn't think that the incident at the airport affected me very much, but ever since I have gotten home, I have not been able to sleep because I have been having nightmares about it.  Hopefully the next time I travel I will have a better experience and that will calm me down a bit.
So there you have it.  Our adventure on the way to Jamaica.  I really hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flying Sucks. . .

. . . but hot, tropical vacations are amazing!!!  Note to self. . . . don't fly Contenantal and don't connect through Houston. . . . they are TERRIBLE there. . . . except for an angel name Nicole!
I hope you all have had a wonderful vacation!
I may post more about my vacation later. . . . I am just still too mad to write about the airplane trip down there. . . hopefully time will help!