17 September 2014

Just the Facts, Ma'am

This morning I am blogging.  But there is so much to catch up on that I'm pretty sure it's going to be just one of those posts where I ramble incessantly and then abruptly stop.  It won't be well written and possibly not even thoughtful as rush to just get down the bare minimum in the time I have allotted.

The reason I even have time to blog today is because I finally started to paint our family room and the color does not work.  At all.  So I'm going to have to prime over the wall I painted to get it ready for a new color that we have yet to pick out.  But since we haven't actually picked out the new color yet, I'm procrastinating priming which means I've carved out some time for myself this morning.

The reason we haven't picked out the new paint is because the Hubba is sick.  Down-and-out-not-going-to-work kind of sick.

I think these past two weeks have been the busiest in my life.  And in their in the top five for most overwhelming, too.  I wish I could keep track of everything.  But suffice it to say that my days basically begin between 5:30 and 6:00 am.  I get kids ready, make breakfasts and lunches for 9.  Usually the Hubba takes the kids to school, but since he's been sick, I've been taking them.  Then I come home and pick up Wiyah and drop her (and the Hubba, when he's not sick) off at work.  Then I drive back home where I frantically prime and paint rooms or do other household necessities for two hours.  Then I get ready and go into the office.

At the office I'm supposed to be just working part-time right now.  But recently we have this....project.... It's a very big and important project I need to take care of.  And I thought it would probably take three or four days at most.  But I'm actually working on my fourth WEEK of problem after problem after problem.  You have no idea.  I'm on the phone with customer service  at least an hour or two a day trying to figure it out.  And there are usually several emails back and forth as well.  So basically in a month of work I still haven't accomplished this one task because of a million set backs and that also means that I'm not getting anything else done either!  Anyway, with the Hubba sick at home (with the kids--Kelvinator was home sick on Monday with the same thing) these past several days I actually have been spending entire days at the office and not getting home until 6 or 7pm.  And a couple of days last week, I actually came straight home from the office just to head back to the hospital to teach for another 3-4 hours.

Then I'm making dinner, running errands, helping with homework, grocery shopping, more housework/painting, etc.  Until I essentially drop dead around 10pm every night.  It's been crazy.  The only other time I remember being worked like this was when I was in college and working two different part time jobs--one as a janitor at the Institute building and other as an office assistant in the UA math department--plus housesitting for the Hubba's parents and taking care of their pets and garden and housesitting for the Hubba's brother and taking care of their great dane and the Hubba's bird.

Anyway, to give you a sense of how incredibly filled every second of every day is, here's a true confession.  I haven't written my missionary daughter a letter in at least two months.  Maybe more.  I can't even remember.  I've been emailing her on Mondays, for sure.  But for the first ten months of her mission I wrote her every single week.  And I've had this package that I've meant to send to her for two months as well.  And guys, her mission is almost over and I'm ending it being totally lame.  I feel awful.  But honestly, I'm swamped.

One of the things that was actually swamping me was that I needed to apply for colleges for Baboo.  So I was filling out the applications and then I'd have to email her questions and stuff.  And then there was the financial aid application, too.  Anyway, that took time, research and a concerted effort but she is finally applied to three different colleges.  I'm not sure when we'll hear back.  I keep meaning to check with each college and see if we've heard anything or when we'll hear anything.  But...I haven't had time to do it.

There are other pressing things that are stressing me out, too.  Things to take care of for our family and other kids, but I haven't been able to get to those either.  Hopefully, after I'm done blogging I'll still have some time left to take care of a couple of those things, too.

Winkleberry is having such a hard time.  She finally got over waking up and crying about wanting her "sleep-in days."  Basically, I think she had enough weekends to realize that eventually she could sleep in.  And every Saturday morning she would wake up and come downstairs and say "Did I sleep in?  How many hours?"  And she was ecstatic the day she slept in 3 whole hours and didn't wake up until almost 10am!  She was not really happy the day she found out she had only slept in for just over an hour.   Funny girl.

But on Friday she had an incident at school that was embarrassing and traumatic for her, although I didn't know it at the time.  On Saturday, it came out though about how stressed she was for that to happen again and how upset she'd been.  She was crying and worried.  Begging me to home school her ("You could be my teacher and Dad could be the principal!").  That continued through Sunday and in fact on Sunday night the only way I could get her to sleep was to tell her that we would just take things one day at a time and she just needed to go to school on Monday and then we'd re-evaluate.  She ended up having a great day at school on Monday and so I thought we were out of the woods.  But Monday night, it all started over again with wanting me to homeschool her.  I convinced her to go to school the next morning and go to sleep.  But she apparently forgot my convincing by morning because yesterday was awful!  She woke up crying and not wanting to go to school and it took all of my patience and influence to get her ready for the day.  But when it was time to leave she was upset and crying again, wanting to be homeschooled.  I got her in the car and got her buckled and eventually she stopped crying and seemed distracted.  I thought we were good.  But when I was dropping kids off, she was crying again and refused to get out of the car.  I tried really hard to get her to walk into the school but she flat out refused.  And I was king of powerless because, um, I wasn't appropriately dressed to really get out of the car and be seen by other human beings.  So once the late bell rang and I realized the only way she could even get in the school was for me to sign her in at the office, I just took her back home.

But I was angry, then.  Because it was a power battle that she had won and now my entire day was thrown off and how exactly was I going to get her back to school?  So I was letting her know how upset I was.  Then Wink started yelling at me while she was crying and she said some things that she hadn't ever said about school before which led me to ask more questions and to listen better.  By the end, I realized that the issue wasn't just the incident that had happened a few days before, but that there other issues happening as well that she was having a hard time dealing with.  Before we even got home, she was still sobbing in the backseat but apologizing to me for being rude.  It was so sweet.

So we came home and I just sat with her on my lap and hugged her and cuddled her for a while.  I told her that eventually later on that day she would have to go back to school but we wouldn't worry about it for right now.  Then after a little while, I got up to start painting.  It wasn't too long after that she started asking about how it worked when you went to school late.  And after that she was urging me to hurry up and take her back to school.  I thought, wow!  That really worked out!  She was anxious about the protocol for arriving late at school so I told her the low down and held her hand all the way to her classroom.

But it was so heart-breakingly sad.  As we were walking to her classroom, she kept saying "I'm scared."  And I'd reassure her.  Then the second she crossed the threshhold into her classroom she was like a robot child.  It was like somebody just pulled the veil over my Winkie-pie's eyes.  She had zero facial expressions, but the puffiness under her eyes made it look like she was fighting tears.  Her teacher spoke to her but she didn't answer just moved like a little robot to where she needed to be and didn't even look back at me so I could wave or say goodbye or offer her some encouragement or a thumbs up.  I was really proud of her doing a hard thing so bravely.

As I left the school, I wondered WHAT IN THE HECK AM I DOING!?!?!  I felt like a brand new parent with no experience whatsoever.  I questioned everything about my judgment and what the right thing to do was.  Why was I sending her to this place where she was miserable when all I wanted to do was just hold her and make her stop crying and being sad?  Was it really the right thing to do to encourage her to go and stay?  Or was it really fine to expect her to do hard things?  Ugh.  I was so conflicted.  I found out later that she had had on ok day.  She cried once when they were switching classes from English to French.  Baboo had written her a sweet, sweet letter on Monday when she found out what a hard time Wink was having and talked about how she remembers being homesick when she went to first grade and how she has felt homesick on her mission.

I actually was a little pleased to know that Baboo had ever felt homesick in her life, especially her mission, because she was just so danged eager to leave.  Couldn't wait to leave home!  And she never really talked about missing us or feeling homesick at all.  So it was very reassuring to me to know that she did, in fact, actually like us and the home we provided her.  Not even kidding.

Anyway, so Wink now had a name for what she was feeling --"homesick."  Anyway, I thought that since SHE had been the one to decide to go to school yesterday, we were over the hump.  But maybe there's just a lot more humps and bumps ahead.  Because this morning she was moving along just fine.  Wiyah was teasing her and had her laughing all morning until I finally (and wrongly!) stepped in and told Wiyah to quit distracting her so she could get ready.  I needed her to hurry and get ready for school.  And at the mention of the word "school" she totally just lost it again!  Crying for the rest of the morning.  At school she was just sobbing but was obediently getting out of the car when it was time to be dropped off.  But I just couldn't let her go like that!  So I had her come sit in my lap and we said a prayer together.  I reminded her that she had "Baboo in her pocket"  (the photo pendant of Baboo.  And Baboo had told Wink that she'd be wearing her necklace and praying for her all day!) and a surprise from me in her lunch (just a little note).  She said, "I just don't want to be homesick!"  And I told her that it was ok to be homesick and I was so happy that she loved me and our family so much that she would miss us.  I told her it was ok to feel that way.  That I bet other kids in first grade felt that way and I felt that way sometimes too.  I told her it was ok to cry.

Eventually we got out of the car, her face was soaked with tears.  But as soon as we stepped onto the sidewalk, she started drying her tears and stopped crying.  She got that stoic robot face on again and I held her hand as she walked to where she lined up.  A girl ran past us and said hi and I asked Wink if she knew her.  She did.  We found out a little later her name was Jessica.  Just that little bit of talking softened her robot face a little, but didn't bring back the tears.  She still didn't really look at me as she entered the school.  Behind me, her English teacher came up and asked if she was feeling better today.  I said, "not really."  And the teacher tried to offer some words of comfort, but the whole exchange seemed a little forced to me.

And again I wondered, "WHAT IN THE HECK AM I DOING??"  I'm sending my sweet precious into the belly of the beast where she does not want to be to spend an entire day with people who don't love her.  It was torture.  It still is torture.  And every second I'm wondering if I'm doing what's best for her and if I need to do something else (like homeschool!)  Ugh.  I hate this feeling.

In other news, I was released as Bear Den Leader at church.  I was really glad to be released.  I have never asked to be released from a calling.  But there are certain callings where I rejoice to be done.  And I've never really enjoyed any calling in the primary and am always happy to be released.  This one was no exception.  Also, I was relieved because between two jobs AND two callings, I was feeling stretched thin.  So Yay!  No more cub scouts!

Unfortunately, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire!  Because right after I was released, I was called to be a primary teacher!  Of course I accepted this calling from the Lord, but I'll admit to a heavy sigh and a feeling of dread and disappointment.  I will be teaching the CTR7 class which is the class of kids who will be baptized during that calendar year.  And Pinkleberry is thrilled for the next few months because that's her class!  The best thing about this new calling, though, is that Wiyah was actually called as the same time as me.  So we will be joint teaching that class together.  And unlike me, she is really excited about it!  So she tells me that she will do it all and I just have to show up.  Of course, I won't let her do it.  But I don't mind her enthusiasm and energy to tackle it!  I hope it rubs off on me.

Interestingly, that means that Wiyah and I live together, we work together and we both have two callings that we do together now.  I am definitely spending a lot of time with my daughter before she leaves on her mission in less than four months!  Speaking of which, she got her passport, but other than that we have not done much to help her prepare.  Honestly I don't know when I'm going to fit in things like going shopping.  It took so long with Baboo!  Wiyah and I are working on getting Christmas music together for the choir.  We'll need to start practicing now to pull it all together in just a few months.  I love doing the Christmas program.  I love picking the songs and putting it together with meaningful thoughts. It's one way that I enjoy being creative.  Wiyah is always talking to me about stuff on pinterest and I always say that if I ever join pinterest I will commit suicide because I can't take all that creativity and cute stuff that people do.  It just makes me feel so bad about myself.  So I stay well away.  But putting on a choir program lets me be successfully creative.  But the cool I was realizing at our last rehearsal is that BABOO WILL BE HOME FOR THE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM!!  Maybe she will even sing with us!  I'm so excited!

What else?  JJ is driving the kids to school.  He actually got in an accident with a post in the high school parking lot and damaged our van.  But luckily he had already been rear-ended a couple months before and the amount to fix the van was more than the blue book value of the van.  And since the van was still running and functioning fine, we kept the cash.  We are hoping to buy a used car with that money ASAP.  I'm dying for a third vehicle here.  Buying before November would be ideal because the other car registrations are due in November and December.  But honestly if I could buy a car before Friday afternoon, that would be just fine with me.  Friday's schedule is pretty much unworkable with the vehicles we have and all the people and all their places to be.  In order to make it work, the Hubba will probably have to take public transportation to an out of town event.  It's a long story.  Sigh...

Anyway, we're looking for a very old used car.  $2000 or less.  Automatic.  And the Hubba is requiring that it be sold by someone we know personally.  He doesn't want to get taken by a dealership or a stranger.  Unfortunately, I've been looking for two months already and no one we know is even selling a car at all--let alone in our price range.

JJ has also got a date for homecoming this weekend.  He'll be going with a group of friends.
X has been going out a lot with his friends, too.

Pink and Wink have a new friend who just lives down the street from us.  I can't believe I haven't encouraged this friendship before.  I feel foolish for not knowing this little girl even lived there, considering how I've been wanting them to have a little friend close by for some time now!  Anyway, the little girls have been playing non-stop with Natalia down the street for more than a week now.  They come home and go right back out again and I won't see them until I send someone to fetch them hours later.  They love it.  And honestly, I love it too.  I love that Winkleberry is always included and she's close enough to walk to.  I love that they play dress up together and go play at the school together and ride bikes and scooters together.  It's beautiful.

Our house is still torn up.  We have one room that is almost done.  The sad thing about this room is that it still has our old furniture in it which now clashes horribly.  But at least the room is light and bright now.  Eventually, I'll take photos.  In the next room, we just need to get bead board up on the walls.  Once that room is done I feel like I'll get my house back in order.  We are rearranging some rooms to make things work better.  But the rearranging doesn't start until this other room gets done.  So right now all is chaos and messy and out of order and there are belongings and furniture that don't have a place.  It's just ugh!  And our family room still needs to be painted (maybe the Hubba will feel up to going to Home Depot tonight?!?!?).  Once that's done, then we need to get the new floors in.  We're going with engineered hardwood.  And then when the floors are done, we need to put bead board up in there too.

For the two months that my house has been in total disarray, it's actually been very liberating.  Because we have a really good excuse for the mess now.  And having a REASON besides just being disgusting people who don't have their act together, makes it ok.  So we've had people coming in and out all the time.  In fact, we've had more people in and out of our house in the past two months than we've had in the past two years.  Sad.

So here's a funny story.  Well I don't know if it's funny, but it was kind of nice.  Anyway, I was on the phone last night with the customer service rep who's been helping me with my computer and the project I'm working on at the office.  I've talked to him daily for a couple weeks now.  So I'm on the phone with him and we're waiting while the computer works on something to see what the result is.  He didn't want to hang up until we knew it was working.  So we're just sitting there waiting.  And somehow we got into this great conversation.  It was awesome.  He lives in El Salvador and we were talking about languages.  He told me that he taught himself English just by watching TV and movies and mostly listening to American music.  Amazing!  We talked about Spanish and German and Finnish and Gaelic.  Seriously we were on the phone for like 30 minutes just talking about all these languages we loved and what similarities we noticed and how best to learn languages while we waited on my dumb computer.  It was just really cool.

Alright, I finally feel like I've spent all the thoughts that were clogging up my head.  And it was so good for me to just actually sit here for an hour and think my thoughts.  But now it's time to get going and get ready to head back to the office and babysit my computer and talk to my customer service guy.  And if I hurry I do still have time to take care of one other matter of business for our very own family, too!

Just FYI, I'm still here and I'm still alive!

10 September 2014


Today the Hubba described his lunch as tasting like cat thigh, wrapped up in X's socks, shoved in a horse's hiney and left there for a month, then buried in the ground like kimchi.  So I don't think he liked it.  Luckily, it wasn't anything I made.

07 September 2014


We're getting serious about stopping Winkleberry from sucking her thumb.  Last night she was having a hard time falling asleep and she was crying...

Pinkleberry:  You should try putting your finger in mom's belly button.  That always made me feel better.

(If you don't know what this means, do a search on my blog for "my magic belly".)

03 September 2014


I served up Grey Poupon with the corndogs I offered for dinner...

Mack:  That's mustard!?!?!  That's probably the best mustard I've ever had...But I still don't like it.

02 September 2014

What Gift Do I Have To Give?

Over the years, Wiyah and Baboo have given some really awesome, thoughtful, homemade gifts to their younger siblings.  There were a couple of years when the boys got their own Harry Potter spell books.  And I also remember the little girls getting a "scrapbook" of (photoshopped) pictures of them visiting various places all around the world--Eiffel Towers, Egyptian pyramids, etc...  And of course the Christmas a couple years ago when Baboo did the same thing with the little boys, photoshopping their faces into Star Wars scenes.  I think Wiyah helped out with those, but she also is likely to think in terms of food.  Last Christmas our family was treated to homemade caramels and truffles.  And a few Christmases before that, she made huge peanutbutter cups for her brothers.  And in the very beginning, the girls cut simple fleece scarves for their brothers and followed that up the next year with homemade pajama bottoms.  And of course Wiyah made so many dresses for her little sisters out of old sheets and tablecloths!

One time I asked Baboo how she came up with such amazing gift ideas.  They were simple, but well loved.  She said, "It's easy.  I just think of something I can do, some skill or talent and figure out how to use it for someone who doesn't have that skill.  Like photoshop is easy.  But the little kids don't know how to use it."

She makes it sound so simple.  I think every Christmas and birthday since she said that to me I have racked my brain trying to think of what talent or skill I have that I could put to use.  I haven't been able to come up with anything.  Once, for a baby shower, I printed out my little essay on gospel symbolism in childbirth.  But I don't even think it was ever read.  

I'm not saying I don't have any talents or skills.  I'm just saying that, once again, the talents and skills I have aren't helpful as far as domestic life and apparently gift-giving goes.  My talents aren't the kind of talents that PRODUCE anything.  And I'm really not creative at all.  I just don't think along those lines.

Anway, I totally admire my big girls.  They have done amazing things and I hope when I grow up I can be just like them.


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