Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First time for everything

Today I did something I've never done before- I bought salt and pepper shakers.

Mark and I have been married 8.5 years and we've never owned salt and pepper shakers. I could never commit to any. It's crazy to me that the set I finally buy is plain, simple, and in practically every restaurant in this country. 

Eight and a half years before spending $4 on salt and pepper shakers... Pathetic. I know.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I think a big move is worth a new blog post on a poorly neglected blog, right?

We hadn't told Parker where Mark had gone, because we know how he carries anxiety.  But Parker can't not notice what's going on around him and asked, "Where's Dad?" And of course simple answers never suffice for Parker.  So when I said, "He's in Texas."  He wanted to know what Mark was doing in Texas.  When I told him he was interviewing for a job, so we could possibly move to Texas, Parker excitedly proclaimed:

"Yay!  I get to live by Grandpa! And Savanah!
I get to have a new primary!
I want a house with stairs!
And I'm gonna get a new backyard!
I hope they don't have swim lessons in Texas. Do they have swim lessons in Texas?
But Mom, I don't want a new kindergarten.  I want to stay with my friends in kindergarten."

This is why we don't tell him things.  He runs with it.  And then fixates on it.  Between that conversation and the time we moved Parker came up with many plans on how he could stay in his same kindergarten class.  Something along the lines of:

"Airplanes go really fast. They could take me to kindergarten every day.  I could go to the airport really early in the morning, because I'm five now and can fly on an airplane by myself........ hmmmm, what if the airplane is late?  And I miss the second bell?  If I'm late a lot, they'll kick me out.  I know.  Maybe my friends can move to Texas!  Yeah!  That's a great idea!"

I could tell Parker was split exactly half way down the middle.  Half nervous/stressed and half excited.  Whenever he talked about it, he sounded excited, but then would usually throw up afterwards.

Ben's been nothing but a mess since the first box got packed.  Totally reverted on potty training, barely sleeping through the night, and started tantruming over EVERYTHING.  Of course he didn't have any idea what was going on but anytime he saw me packing a box he'd say, "No like Texas!  No go to Texas house!" 

Now that I type that, it seems he understood more than I gave him credit for.

But we managed to get here pretty easily.  I would call the move "seamless".  The packing, the cleaning, the getting the house ready to rent, the actual trip here; everything was pretty easy.  (On Sunday in RS they asked if you've ever been on the receiving end of an act of service that you knew you couldn't repay.  I thought about all the people that just helped us with our move.  Even though we couldn't repay the favor, they watched my kids, cleaned my house, packed boxes, loaded a truck, and helped us on our way.  Man, I miss my AZ "family".)

(definitely the hardest goodbye. my sister's kids on the morning we drove out of town.
saying goodbye to our little house was a close second.)

We're here now and getting settled.  Parker was in school 4 days before they took a whole week off for Thanksgiving.  He surprised me with how brave he was on his first day.  Considering the only thing he didn't want to leave in Arizona were his kindergarten friends, he did great opening himself up to new friends.   Ben has finally stopped asking to "go home" and complaining "no like Texas house".  His sleep is looking better, but we've still got a ways to go in getting him back to fully potty trained.  Mark says his only regret in life is not being born Texan.  So that sums up his experience so far. I think I still feel like I'm in the twilight zone and haven't quite made sense of my place or what I'm doing here yet.  Odd feeling, but trying to roll with it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

That was not fun

Kindergarten registration started this morning at 9:00.  I got to the school at 9:15 and there was a crowd. As I feverishly filled out the paperwork (and scoped out the other Moms around me to make sure I was going faster) I overheard registration packets being denied because the parents hadn't done a tour.  Phew.  Now Parker's only #4 on the wait list.  I finished the paperwork 40 minutes after registration opened and both Kinder classrooms were full.  Add in the fact that I'm only willing to send him if he gets the teacher I requested; and I'm pretty sure I need a plan B. Picking out one school was hard enough.  Another one?  That sounds impossible.

If you don't live in Arizona, you may thin I'm crazy picky.  But no.  No one here sends their kids to the neighborhood school.  All my friends send their kids to different schools.  In general, you just can't trust schools here; so you have to hunt for what you think will be good for your kid.

All this work for a kid who doesn't even want to go to school.  He's in Pre-K, and while he likes going, he's catching onto the fact that he's going to be in school for a long time.

With a very exasperated tone he asks me, "How long will I be in school?"

I tell him, "At least until you're 18.  But then you can go to college and learn how to do whatever job you want."

And than he asked a question that hurt my heart, "What job can I do without going to college?"  (zinger) So, now he tells people, "I'm going to be a firefighter because I don't want to go to college."  (Although sometimes he mixes up the words "college" and "Chicago"- and people are quite confused.)

He doesn't want to go on a mission either because that sounds "booooooring".  Daddy's job sounds "booooooring" too.  Amen Parker.  Amen.

It's hard to believe he'll be in elementary school.  That sounds so old.  Today he didn't want me to walk him into preschool.  I'm taking that as a sign that he's ready.  He's definitely more ready than I am.  My heart aches when he's preschool a few hours a day.  How will I do eight hours every day?!

(Parker and his BFF hanging out after preschool.)
Random comment Parker made- He put the hood of his jacket on his head and said, "I better put this on so my hairs on my head don't get cold." 
He's also been telling us he wants "long Rapunzel hair".  Which isn't true at all.  He shuns everything girl.  He won't even walk down the girl toy aisles at Target because, "ewww that's for girls."  But this is why his hair is mighty shaggy. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ready for 2013

Here are some of my goals for the new year.  I decided to put them here because I'm interested to see what tidbits of information or resources you might have to help my reach my goals.

My number one, most top priority goal is to figure out where Parker will go to kindergarten.  I could do an entire blog post about the headache this has been.  I am so ready to be done.  I've thought about it and stressed over it for months now.  I've been researching everything.  But I've been so discouraged that I haven't actually visited any schools.  I've been hoping that either; one, the right school would just fall in my lap.  Or two, we'd move!  Move to a state that isn't consistently rated worst for education in the nation.

Second priority, update the will.  Why do I procrastinate something so important? 

Then there's my goal to eliminate our use of paper towels and Ziploc bags.  Mark is in opposition.  So I guess my goal should be to get Mark to like the idea of eliminating our use of paper towels and Ziploc bags.

Get pregnant!  Again, going to take some coercion to convince Mark this is a good idea.

I also want to work on cleaning my bathrooms two times a week.  With boys, once a week just isn't enough.

And I also need to figure out what I'm doing with me.  I've felt terribly lost since I quit my job and am wondering what I can do to get Christy back.  Where did she go?

And of course I have the usuals... read more, less time on the phone, more date nights, etc.

Thoughts?  Insights?  Pearls of wisdom I didn't consider?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's about to get real in here

About a month ago I was helping my sister plan a Family Home Evening on how to keep her children safe.  She had received a letter stating that a sexual predator in her community had been hiding out in bathrooms at public parks.  Parents were encouraged to accompany their children.

Since then, I have had three conversations with friends where in one way or another childhood sexual abuse was brought up.  None of them had thought to talk to their kids about it.  I feel like with my knowledge and experience I'm being pushed to share.

I am what you might call hyper vigilant regarding my own kids and this topic.  EVERY TIME Parker is out of my care for any amount of time, I ask him a series of questions.

Did anyone touch your penis?
Did they touch your booty?
Did they show you their penis?
Did they ask you touch their body?
Did they offer to give you a bath?
Did anyone watch you go potty?
Did anyone show you pictures or ask you to watch movies of other people's bodies?

And then I ask him, the same questions about his little brother.

Obviously, I trust the people that I leave my kids in the care of.  If I thought something was going to happen, I wouldn't leave them there.  I don't ask because I think it happened, I ask because I want him to know that I care if it did.  I've asked him after he's spent time with his grandparents, even when I leave them with his own Dad, I ask.  He knows that I want to know.

Most perpetrators tell kids things like:

 "If you tell your Mom, she is going to blame you and you'll be in trouble."
"This is our little secret."
"If you tell, I'll kill your brother (or I'll kill you)." 

I know the expression on Parker's face when he says, "no, no one touched me".  I know the look in his eyes, I know his body language.  If he's lying, I'm going to know it.

This is also why we don't keep secrets in our house.  We have "surprises" but not secrets. For example,  Daddy's birthday present is a surprise, not a secret.  I tell Parker, if someone tells you a secret, you better tell me.

93% of childhood sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator.  That means only 7% of the time it's that "chester molester" in the public bathroom.  It's usually someone who has frequent contact with your children.

As many as ONE in THREE girls are sexualized in childhood.  And as many as ONE in SEVEN boys.  It is all around you.  Do not teach your kids that their genitals are a "pee pee" or "hoo ha".  Childhood sexual predators are so hard to prosecute because kids are not good witnesses.  Terms like "va j j" are ambiguous in a courtroom. Kids need to be able to describe in anatomically correct terms what happened.  Parker knows that he has a penis and an anus.  He knows that I have a vagina, an anus, and breasts.  He learned those terms when he was a little bitty toddler learning where his nose was.

Statistics show that REPORTED childhood sexual abuse has dropped 30% in the last 5 years or so.  I can guarantee to you that this does not mean childhood sexual abuse has dropped by 30%.  This means people are not reporting.  Laws and punishments have gotten really tough for sexual predators.  Because 93% of childhood sexual abuse occurs with someone you're close to, parents, teachers, etc. are choosing not to turn in the perpetrators.  This has devastating effects on the child.

The single most protective outcome for kids who have been sexualized, is the reaction they receive when they tell someone.  Kids who have parents who believe them and take action are ridiculously more resilient to the abuse.  Kids who have parents who don't believe them, or who believe them but still don't take action, are taught that their bodies and their safety, do not matter.  Inevitably, these are the kids who are promiscuous teens that struggle with addictions.

I know this is heavy, but I want people to be informed.  Keep your kids safe.  Teach them how to respond if a friend shares with them that they have been sexualized.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

I have long shared the sentiments of Jenna Rink in the movie 13 going on 30- "Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving". That's me. I've looked forward to 30 since I was about 25.  I hated turning 25.  It felt like a lame in between age. So I'd just round up and tell strangers I was 30. 

I've been looking forward to 30 because  I don't feel like what I've been doing in life has matched my age.  Most people guess that I'm older than I am.  Especially in my professional life.  Just a few weeks ago someone said, "What, you're 36, 37?"  I've gotten gasps and stares when people find out how young I am.  People couldn't believe that I had two kids, a masters degree, been married for years and have the career experience that I have.  (It's interesting now that I'm staying home though because most people I'm around have young kids, like me, but are younger than me.  So in that aspect, I feel like the old maid.)

I have a feeling 40 is going to be hard for me.  I've built my 30's up big time. In my head it's all glamourous... it's mostly about having more time and money.  Kids are older, little bit more independent.  No college tuition, getting rid of those student loans.  Time to travel, explore, take on new adventures.  And enjoy the best of life before your kids get to too old and don't want to be with you and your own health starts slipping.  It's going to be hard to say good bye to 30.

Here are ten things about me that prove I'm 30 years old.  Most of these are things I never understood as a kid but I do now.

-I understand what "too sweet" means.

-Plain potato chips ARE better than Doritos.

-Gum is nothing but a nuisance.

-I prefer to drive in silence because the radio is too much noise.

-It's bothersome to have the dome light on while driving.

-I talk to myself.

-Getting off the floor is a little more work than it used to be.

-Sassy shoes really aren't worth it.  Tennis shoes are more comfortable.

-I see the point in having a budget.  (don't tell Mark)

-The cost to see a movie IS outrageous.

I can definitely see how I'm turning into my Mom.  Most of these things remind me of her.  (Love ya Mom!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This one

(photo by Breanne, May 2012)
When Parker was a baby/toddler, I was worried that the world was going to pass him by and he wouldn't even notice.  He's got so much personality now, that I can laugh at myself for even thinking that.  He went from super relaxed and easy going to having a head full of ideas and opinions that he wants to see carried out.  He's not lacking in confidence, which really makes him one of the coolest four year olds I know (in my very biased opinion).
He's loving preschool and seems happier throughout the whole day.  I think he enjoys a challenge and is feeling accomplished.  Although if you ask him what he did at school he'll say, "We just did nothing".  He loves his teacher, and thanks Heavenly Father for her every night.  She's so sweet, I love her too. 
On his first day, I was reminding him that his teacher, "Ms. Kippie", is the boss (because he tends to think he's in charge).  And when the assistant teacher gave him an instruction, he said, "My Mom says Ms. Kippie is the boss, and I only have to listen to Ms. Kippie, not you". 
Confidence: got it
Respect: need some polish
As far as I can tell they've worked that little wrinkle out, but he finds way to exert control.  This week they had color themes for each day, and the kids were supposed to wear the color of the day.  Each morning Parker asks me, "What color is it today?"  If I say blue, he pulls out a red shirt.  That's how he rolls. 
His confidence worked for him a week or two ago when he gave his first primary talk.  He walked up to the podium like he owned it.  He was talking about things you should and shouldn't do on the Sabbath, and man he was preaching a sermon.  "We do NOT go to the movies on Sunday..."  I couldn't help but laugh, kid had conviction.
That same day, his primary teacher told me he said the closing prayer and he thanked Heavenly Father for the zoo, and then preceded to bless every zoo animal he could think of.  We ate dinner at April's house tonight (Mark's out of town again) and instead of blessing the food, he blessed "the zoo that is so hot".  Kid loves the zoo.  (I got him his first magazine subscription today.  "Zootles" - $10 groupon, check it out.  He's gonna love it!)
Right now, his biggest pet peeve (besides his brother) is litter.  When he sees trash on the ground he has a huge reaction and wants to know WHO committed such an injustice.  I love it.  I hope he never lets any injustice happen right before his eye.
I get it when people say they wish time would stand still, but I am honestly excited to see what is in the future for this kid.  He's got big potentional.  I want to know what he spends his time on in high school, what he majors in, what his career will be.  But that's me... always looking ahead.  For now, we need to be working on a little respect and friendliness.