Saturday, June 28, 2008

Have You Ever Met a Depressed Fish?

Elisabeth-Jane took a bunch of steps on her own today! She took a couple the other day and I assumed it was a fluke, but it seems that once this girl starts something she goes at it like gangbusters (and does that phrase date me or what?)(kind of like her getting teeth, of which she is working on her 8th currently...). Today she took four steps in my office to get to her older brother who had a bag of skittles in his hands, yummy! Then she just kept going the rest of the day. She prefers the faster method of crawling, but I'm pretty sure she will be walking a lot more really soon.

On a domestic note, I clipped 15 kitty nails/claws tonight (5 on each kitten), and they feel much better for it. My legs and hands thank the many websites I perused to make sure I knew what I was doing before attempting this scary feat. The kitties did very well, too; they were all very patient with me, and I lavished them each with love afterwards. I am proud to note also that -despite a lot of squirming on their parts- I did not make any kitties bleed! We are also trying a new kitty litter (mixed w/ the old 'til they get used to it) called Swheat Scoop. It sounds wonderful: flushable, biodegradable, and it doesn't have a weird, chemical air freshener smell. We'll see how that goes.

The third thing that happened today was I bought some fish oil tablets in order to hopefully treat my body better and combat the bouts of depression &/or mood swings you faithful readers may have noticed already. I had intended to try St. John's Wort, but felt better about trying the fish oil first. I will let you know how it works for me.

And typing with one hand is very tiring, so I will pretend I have written down all I want to and try to get to bed.

Love & hugs to you all, and I wish you a peaceful and happy Sabbath.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Tonight we are going to the drive-in theatre to see a double feature of wall-e and Kung-Fu Panda. We are really excited. Two new releases we all want to see for 5$ for adults and 4$ for the kids 3 & up. What a deal! We are going to be there when the gates open, eat our foil wrapped hot dogs and way too many treats, play cards or whatever, then enjoy the movies until we are all so exhausted we can hardly make it home (and H & EJ should both be out cold by halfway through the 2nd movie). I like Fridays.

What are you doing tonight?

p.s. Anyone have recommendations on kitty litter brands/types for new kittens? And what the heck do I do with the stuff I scoop out (it's stinking up our trash can, even with a lid, and the environmentalist in me hates the idea of bagging it up each time we scoop)? Do I have another choice?

p.p.s. Great story about being a four year old: Earlier today I told Oliver it was his turn to scoop out the kitty litter, and Isa practically died. I had to call Robert, so I had another person hear this. She actually said to me, "I want to scoop the kitty poop!" A timeless quote to bring up when she changes her mind later...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Want to be an Adult; I WANNA I WANNA I WANNA

Do you have those days where you are really tired of being patient and keeping everything together? Paying the bills, keeping the house clean, feeding/clothing/taking care of everyone else... I know we are where we are supposed to be. I don't know why we are here. We DO know this is the house we are supposed to be in. Robert & I knew it halfway through our first look at it. We prayed about it over and over and got the same answer, and then everything with the move all fell into place when normally a cross country move in 2 weeks would probably not go very smoothly.

So here's what I used to want: to be a famous singer, pop star, Broadway diva, platinum CD artist, doesn't matter. I just wanted everyone to know I have that particular talent and get some praise for it. Then I realized what I really wanted was recognition for who I am, totally (the talents I have are just an ends to that mean), and love. There is no better way to that than through having and raising an amazing family. However there is a catch. It is not a fast process. This is not your basic, run of the mill get-rich-quick scheme. This is the slow and steady, really steep uphill climb, that ends with me being at the top of Mount Everest (and the bragging rights that go with it), but freezing my butt off, starving, wondering if I'm going the right way, losing my guide every now and again (where does he keep getting off to?), and questioning why I am doing this in the first place all the way up. I know in my heart this particular Everest is worth it, but there are always those moments of panicked reflection, usually when I am tired &/or hurting. FLYlady says when you start to feel depressed, HALT: check to see if you are too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (of course the idea is that you never let yourself get to that state b/c you are FLYing (finally loving yourself). Of course, that means valuing myself enough to think I am worth paying attention to before I hit that point. In fact I play the martyr, actually wishing sometimes that I will get sick enough to be put in the hospital, but not so sick that it's really bad, just enough to get some of those people I want to come visit me to feel bad enough to come. And I laugh at the entirely sad state of me. What a dork!

So what I really want right now, besides the wherewithall to just sit back and enjoy my sweet sifties and kitties for a bit, is to get an Associates degree at a culinary school. I don't mean I want to go take some cheesy hour-long classes at a little restaurant or shop, I mean a real culinary arts program, that will make people want to come to the Dinner Theatre Robert & I will own and run one day. Then once we have them roped for the first time, they will keep coming back because of my mad skills in the kitchen and the amazingly talented crew and cast of the shows. Reality check is, the closest school is 30-45 minutes away, I have a nursing baby, plus the older kids to care for, a husband who works/is gone 50-60 hours a week, and Culinary Schools tend not to like their students going part time anyway. The kicker is, no matter how much I want to go to Culinary School, even if Robert were able to work from home and/or someone could care for the sifties, and I found a great part time program, I don't want that! I want to raise my children, now. I want to be the one they need, and if my husband were home, I'd want to be here, too.

Ideally there is a little college, within 10 minutes of us, that has an empty classroom, where Robert & the kids will all hang out in (Robert would of course have his laptop and be working for insanely huge amounts of money b/c he is such a wanted IT contractor, and the kids would be reading, watching movies, running around, etc.) while waiting for me, and we would all have lunch together and see each other between each class/lab I take. Oh, and about 25-35% of all my classes would be waived b/c of my BA, so I would finish my Culinary AAS in about 12-18 months. At which point Robert will have made so much $ (we already paid for my schooling) we have a tidy sum set aside to buy our theatre space. Then we all work together as a happy theatre family, where the work is of such variety that everyone is happy b/c there are creative outlets for all! Thank you for visiting Polar Bear Fantasy Land, please watch your step as you disembark, thank you, goodbye, goodbye now, goodbye...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life is More Fun Today

Soooo, yesterday we picked up our new kittens. We let the older kids each pick and name one, hence the name Jasmine for one of the boys, but Isa insists it's name is that, so I figure we'll just call him Jazz (shaking my head and sighing). Consequently we now have added 3 new souls to our family: Nightia (She is the dark one with a few stripeys, the only girl, and the oldest by about 2 weeks; she was abandoned and passed on to us), Jasmine (a boy who looks like a grey Siamese cat), and Mew (who is orange and white with one green eye and one blue, and he lives up to his name: he is very mewey and clingy, but we figure he'll grow out of it at least a bit). They are little bundles of fun. It was a good choice to get 3, they all play well and it is nice that they are all a bit different, and they are good companions for each other. Today we took them out of their huge box and let them run around in Robert & I's bathroom with all the doors closed. They were climbing up my back and wrestling with each other and chasing Horatio's cars. We are teaching EJ and H not to play in the kitty litter (ugh). We have them in a box in our room for about a week based on sound advice from many different sites, that they should be introduced to a small part of the house for a short time. It makes sense for them to be acclimated to the smells and sounds before we let them loose with all the new sights and hiding places, which is scary since they are too little to come when called yet (and, hey, they're cats, they may never come when called except when they want to, right?!). So the pic of them is in the small box we brought them home in before we put them in their big box. 2 more things I must mention are last night Nightia was lonely while the other kits slept, so we took her out and she snuggled on my lap and played with her tail (so cute!)(remember I've never had big pets), and today after we left the kittens in the bathroom to rest & eat after our playtime, I went in to check on them and Mew purred for the first time. It's nice to know they feel at home already.

Have I mentioned what an amazing husband I have? We have been really poor our whole married lives, until maybe 2 years ago, when we finally caught up to our debts (we are now debt free, except our mortgage, thanks to some generous help from some loved ones who will remain anonymous, but you know we love you!), and started having money left over after bills were paid to buy things like groceries and start savings for all the kids. Robert and I had to do a lot of trial and error learning how to deal with money, but we finally have a system that is working well for us (it's -guess what- using Excel!). I have all my info on spreadsheets that I can balance, budget, cut and paste to my hearts content. I love order. If I weren't so creative I think I'd love to have been an accountant. Did you enjoy that tangent? The point is now Robert can finally just go out and buy me something nice every now and again. A couple of days ago he picked me up a box of See's candy (Butterchews, baby!). If you have never had it, I have no response to that, it is unfathomable to me. If you have, you know what a treat it was, especially as we had a See's at the local mall in Provo (and the Orem Costco sold gift certificates at a discount from the regular price!), but the closest one here is way out by Robert's work and too far to take an afternoon jaunt to. Then the day before yesterday, he surprised me with some beautiful roses (2 dozen!) from Costco. Have I mentioned yet that I love Costco!? And knowing that I do the money managing in the house and he only paid about 15$ for them is strangely romantic. Then today (all good stories have groups of 3, right?), just as I was getting ready to do my 15 minutes of Scripture study, he sent me this link to a great talk by Dallin H. Oaks, one of the 12 Apostles. (btw, here is the text to that talk) He touched on many great points about knowledge and knowing. I love the quote, "Anyone can disagree with our personal testimony, but no one can refute it." Also as Robert pointed out, "what is especially interesting to me is Dallin Oaks's profession as a lawyer, professor, (insert more titles here) where he has spent TONS of time evaluating witnesses and evidence as a profession. And here he is talking about spiritual witnesses and testimony." Elder Oaks explains also how we can be united as a church in following our leaders, yet still be independent in our knowing for ourselves the Doctrines of the Gospel. Our leaders, the Prophet himself even, have always encouraged us to be obedient when we have affirmed for ourselves that what they are teaching is true and what we are asked to do is good and right. To those who think we "Mormons" are sheep who are going on "blind faith", this is a great talk if you are open to an explanation. I know that the Prophet, his counselors, and the 12 Apostles are all led by the Spirit (The Holy Ghost, the 3rd member of the Godhead or "Trinity") and they follow Him. I trust and love them all. My faith is built on that trust and my personal witness of the reality of Gospel and universal truths. I do what they ask b/c I have personally been told directly to my heart/soul/mind that this is what Heavenly Father wants for me. And I have faith and trust in Him, b/c he has proven himself to me when I have taken the first step. See Alma 32-33 for some wonderful insights into this topic. In conclusion, I would like to point out that my sweet husband showed love to me by letting me feast my eyes, my tummy, and my spirit. Have I told you today how wonderful he is? I love you, Robear.
And now I have to go play Super Paper Mario or Isa will die! Thanks for sticking with me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There is No Such Thing as Coincidence

Yesterday my husband came home with a challenge for me. A family he home teaches (is supposed to visit at least once a month and love & support as part of his Priesthood calling and as sort of a stand-in for Heavenly Father and/or Jesus) and hasn't visited enough yet just had a baby. I asked for service and I got it fairly quickly. I'm also in the process of sending pics and comments for dadcando's site (see the sidebar of links or click here), and I'll post a link to that when I see it up.

...and now back to our show... So, I baked some brownies (really good homemade brownies, that morphed from Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownie Recipe) and serged 3 cute burp cloths from flannel. I just take a simple pattern I have out of paper and do one piece of solid colored flannel and one with a cute pattern and serge around the 2, usually with white thread, but sometimes with other colors depending on the fabric. The brownies are fairly quick (the longest part is scooping them into muffin cups, b/c they are easier to portion and give away that way and they cook faster), and the burp cloths are super fast. So I got to be superwoman, who can do service faster than a speeding train (OK, in under an hour), with really not much effort on my part. Honestly I know I am very blessed with these particular talents, and to some people it would not be fast or easy, so I am very grateful to my Father in Heaven for helping me.

OK, the meat of this story is when we went over there, Robert insisted I go with him to the door to deliver the gifts, and we found out they have a litter of kittens they need to find homes for. They were so adorable and we had just started (literally 2 days ago) seriously talking about getting some kittens with the kids. I had promised the kids years ago that within a year of us getting our house we would get pets (a cat, dog, or whatever), and as my mother never let us have anything bigger than a hamster (mine got killed by the other 2, b/c we forgot to feed them; give me a break I was only about 7!) I have always wanted pets myself. Robert is not totally thrilled, b/c he has had large animals his whole life (cats, dogs, goats, rabbits, pigs, etc: they did 4-H fair), but he is amenable to the idea. Now we just have to contact them before they give away our favorite one, the smallest one that is orange and white and very mewey. If it is meant to be, it will be. I believe we need some animals in our family (not just the sifties)(sifties, btw, is what we call our kids), and we just got our rebate check from the purchase of our home from lendingtree, so we can afford to get the shots and checkups.

Wish us luck and pray for the safety of these kittens; we're not really worried, but I've read a few horrible stories involving dryers and people sitting on them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A little stream of consciousness

Today started out hard. EJ was up literally all night, and even though Robert does night duty it is hard to ignore the crying baby in the other room that I know will be at least temporarily consoled at my breast, yet I was also fighting the knowledge that if she nurses 4 or 5 times tonight, tomorrow night I will be so full of milk I will be unable to sleep myself but will refuse to pump b/c it's a vicious cycle. So I fed her about 3 times, I think and Robert loved and held her while I pretended to sleep. Needless to say, Robert also did not leave for work (1- 1 1/2 hr. commute) on time, allowing me to "sleep in" until about 9, then get up to a wonderful kitchen sink full of dishes from the fabulous meal I cooked last night. In defense of his not doing dishes, he did make Carnations, which I appreciate more than I can say, b/c it gives me something to grab and feeds the kids until we are all coherent enough to actually eat real food.

Robert helped me make the bed, then I nursed Li-Jane, showered and went through my morning routine to get my day started. According to my FLYing spreadsheet (I am an Excel freak, who records and does everything w/ a spreadsheet), I have done 26 tasks this morning, not including moving our dresser across the room and yelling at the kids a bit. Once again, nothing in particular has set me off, but I seem to be in a funk. They usually last a few days before I start to feel like my life is interesting enough to want to do stuff. Darn, I'm only on day 2.

Currently Isa is walking around singing "A glorious day that I'm feeling..." from Singing in the Rain (which they watched this morn). It makes me smile. IMing with my hubby is helping, too. It's easy to be silly when typos are silly for some reason, and he lets me tease him b/c he knows I adore him more than anyone in the whole Universe.

And I know that what I need to do now is service. for anyone! Who needs something out there? Let me know.

and now, return to your lives, citizens.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What is wrong with me? Do you know?

I am sitting here blogging while my sweet husband who refuses to leave my side is sleeping sitting upright in a folding chair b/c he knows I have been feeling down for the better part of the evening. Yet the question remains: why am I feeling depressed tonight? I had a lovely morning, albeit a little stressful, but most Sunday mornings are like that: getting up, getting everyone ready but not too ready for church (since it doesn't start till 2:30!), feeding everyone lunch, mise en place for dinner, finalizing/printing my lesson for Sunday School (I teach the 10/11 yr. old boys and girls in Primary), making sure everyone is well-rested and blood sugar levels are normal to avoid meltdowns in Sacrament meeting..., my lesson went well and my class (as well as several other Primary Leaders/Teachers enjoyed the truffle brownies I made), I cooked a wonderful meal (sans the rolls I wanted to make and didn't have time for) of Cream o' Broccoli soup which weirdly enough is one of my kids' favorite meals (mine, too), then I crashed about dinnertime. I sulked at dinner, but enjoyed the food alot and figured it would pass soon. After dinner I slowly went downhill some more. I checked my email and found a note from an old friend who I adore in my spam mailbox. I guess since I had gotten 2 messages from her in a short time period it decided the latest was spam. I went to her blog, wherein she described her adventures around the world with her hubby and 4 kids, and I sighed several times. I miss her. I miss lots of friends who are scattered everywhere. I miss in High School where we had the time to just hang out for hours on end or talk on the phone into the night. I miss being able to get by on only a few hours of sleep! I feel like I am 80 most days. I truly think I need medication, but our health plan kind of sucks and I am doing well, I just crash somedays...

And so, I blog. I am sending out little I suppose. Or maybe the venting itself is all I need. I need to analyze my feelings, so I can come to some sane conclusion.

So here's the part that is actually confusing. I am blessed, truly, amazingly, "windows of Heaven opened and poured out upon us" blessed. I am grateful. I recognize so many countless blessings everyday that remind me that my Father in Heaven loves me, notices me, and wants me to be happy (no matter how eternally insignificant my day to day life may be), yet sometimes the loneliness presses in on me until I feel I cannot breathe and I will die from the sheer weight of emptiness in my heart. How is this possible?

Now my sweet 'Li'-Jane has woken and I know the best way to calm her and help her sleep is to nurse her, so I will do that, knowing that loving her is good for me, too. (sigh)

Today was good,
today is done
tomorrow is another one.
From here to there
and there to here
funny things are everywhere.

Someone tell me that I am not the only person in the world who is so incredibly lonely surrounded by people who I know love me. Oh well, noone is reading this since it's so new anyways... and I feel a lot better having vented.

Good night, Gracie.

The Fairy Princess Who Tames Butterflies

This one speaks for itself. What is it about butterflies that is so magical and beautiful? We thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the butterflies; one actually landed on my arm and I froze until it decided to fly away. All the colors are amazing. There are even butterflies that look luminescent. Sadly, we saw many dead butterflies all over the place, too. I know they don't live long, but I was slightly surprised and sad whenever I glanced one lying on the ground looking either perfectly whole (but dead) or else strangely mangled with a ripped wing, possibly indicating that it had lived a longer albeit more adventerous and/or dangerous life than it's comrades. We even got a picture of all of us on the big plastic caterpiller on the way out b/c a kind older gentleman offered to take it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Best Husband in the Universe

So last night Robert and I stayed up way too late watching TV on the computer while I unpacked boxes. The good news is I got about 5 boxes unpacked in my office/craft room and then Robert did "Satin Feet" for me (you know, Mary Kay "Satin Hands," except on my feet) for the first time in months. Then my sweetie fell asleep on the floor while I puttered around on the computer for a bit. I was going to take a pic, but he woke up before I could get the camera. Can I just interject here how grateful I am for a wonderful bed to sleep on? What a blessing it is to be able to sleep in comfort when you are exhausted (and all the time really).
This morning he let me sleep in a bit (OK, snooze, since the kids were making so much noise, but it was still nice), while he mowed the backyard (no small feat as it's huge), then I got up and did the front. Now we are all showered and clean, ready to go to the Cockrell Butterfly Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (we have a family membership). I think Isa will like the butterflies and the boys will enjoy the bug exhibits. We'll see, and I'll post about it later. Gotta go pack the cooler for a long day downtown.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our First Foray into Blogging, otherwise entitled "Let's Tidy up the Nursery"

So, I've been talking about coming into the 21st century, and here we are. My 10 year old decided we needed a blog, and who am I to argue with my Angel? Also, it seems that we need a blog to be cool, and honestly we spent so long at the crossroads (BYU) that all of our friends and family are spread across the world, and I miss them! So here is our attempt at keeping in touch.


OK, so here is a pic of what we like to call "summer visiting teaching." 14 kids, three moms, school's out for summer. You do the math.

All right, so it has nothing to do with tidying up anything, but there are lots of kids. Aren't they all cute squishing our 8 foot Monstersac flat?