Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Time is It????

 Well, it's time for another visit to our local Unique!!!

Merry FISHmas!
Get it?
It's a fishbowl and the tree is made out of....fish ...stuff...

If that didn't make you hungry, THIS will:

Om nom nom nom nom......

Betsy Ross has had enough of your crap.

Happy father's Day, Dad. You're ONE dad. 
My other dad is also ONE dad, but I got him a tie. 

Don't go for the sunshine or the sandy beaches. Go to the Bahamas for the owls.
It's where they go to retire now that foxes and hedgehogs are the trend.

Susie never knew what Mom was going to pack in her lunch, she just knew that nobody would trade with her.

  Oy to the world, Ya'll.

I really wanted to buy this for my therapist.....

If we managed to make it to 'happy' in the session, I'd pay my bill via the slot in the head. 
We could make re-living my nightmarish childhood a sort of game. 

But the entire idea was too shocking for the cow mug.
Cow mug is such a prude. 

Unlike Lady Kitterington, the dopest fly cat in da house.
Am I doing it right? Am I talking like the teenager kids talk? Dawg.....? Cat.... argh....I'm old.

Fritz barely remembers anything from the Chuck-E-Cheese Character Convention, he just remembers having waaaay to many shots out of this bad boy and waking up with a tattoo of the Little Caesars guy on his back.

This isn't all that interesting but I had one of these as a teen. 
Buster Bunny.
My boyfriend gave it to me, but he was cheating on me with this girl that was super ugly, but apparently super easy.
Now, mind you, I was also cheating on him, but at least it was with someone cute.
That's the way 17 year old brains work sometimes.
When Tyler gave me this, and Nate, the cute boy drove up to Flagstaff, got a truckload of snow and I woke up to SNOW in Arizona on my birthday as well as a Christmas tree, a teddy bear and a bottle of perfume...Tyler's Buster Bunny was doomed.
When we broke up, I took one of my brother's guns and shot Buster Bunny in the head.
Then, I hung him from my windshield.
I'd like to take a moment now and publicly apologize to everyone who was in our Seminary class that semester. We fought like an old married couple, in class for weeks.  Sorry about that whole 'chasing out the spirit' thing we did every single day.
In spite of it, we still went to MORP together and argued the whole time.
When it was time to say goodnight, we decided to bury the hatchet and just be friends.
Then we made out for a half an hour and I felt like there was balance again in the universe, since he had now cheated on HER with ME.
Good grief. 
No wonder I've been divorced twice.

 Back to my post.....

I don't think this ended well. 
Somewhere in history, there is an account of a hack poet who derailed a train full of nuns and baby hearts or something.

Papa Can You Hear Me......

( I can't explain why, but this had me laughing so hard, tears were streaming down my face at Unique. It might possibly have been because I'd taken four Benadryls, but I like to believe this is simply the funniest thing I've ever said.)

Their parents didn't approve, but they were determined to make it work.
(A word of advice to Opera Guy: don't buy her a Buster Bunny.)


What in the name of all that is holy and decent?

I don't ever drink, but when I do, I drink it from the head of  my Don't Ask, Don't Tell Ken doll.
Stay Mormon, my friends. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Break 2014

This weekend, we went to Washington DC.
Matt works so much now, such long hours, that getting away is really hard and besides, we love 15 miles from one of my favorite places to vacation. Every time we go to Manhattan, I get excited, still. It was always my dream to spend time in NYC and let that city be a part of my soul.
I love this place, even though the winters here are absolute crap. 

DC is also one of my favorite places, and it's only about 3 1/2 hours from here.
We only had Friday and Saturday to play tourist, so we made it count.
I got close to 25,000 steps on Friday, according to my Fitbit and about 17,000 on Saturday.
My legs are Jell-o.
My heart is happy though. I love, love love spending time wandering though historical places and seeing the artifacts as well as the people who come to enjoy them as well.
I love that my children see travel as a normal part of life, and that they have good memories of places all over the map. 

The Lincoln Memorial, Parker's favorite. 

He doesn't have the travel bug that I do, but he will sometimes walk on by himself and absorb a sculpture or a memorial and I watch him take the meaning and the art into his heart and it becomes a part for him. This boy is an artist, he just needs to find his medium for this season.

How is this child growing up so fast?
Oh, my heart!!

And this kid.....I don't know what I'm going to do when he is on his mission. He is my rock who always stands up for what he believes is right and who seeks out the good. 

.....and the funny.

We visited Uncle Niel and Bobby Shelton. 
My children have read and heard so many stories about him, they see him as family, a real person that they lost. They love Grandma Olson so much and ache for her heart, having lost her big brother.  We understand big brothers in this family and cannot imagine life without them.

I am growing my hair out again and have entered the  'I give up' phase.

The fountain at the Korean Memorial.

She actually said "Philippines in Da HOUSE!" when she saw this. 
Weird child.

Greyson....the world is sometimes just too loud for him, but if we take on the big things one step at a time, he does amazing things and always wants to help the world to be softer, more orderly and feel right. I love that he helps us from letting things get too out of control when some of our ideas go off the rails. He reminds me that great distances are still traveled by individual steps. He helps me slow down and when we slow down, the details of life are so beautiful.

I'm thankful that I get to be with these amazing kids and the memories that we make.
I am thankful that I have a husband who loves and values travel as much as I do and who cries every time he reads the words inscribed on the all at the Lincoln Memorial. he has such a good heart.
We went out, just the two of us for a couple of hours while the kids napped and had a massive pillow fight in the hotel. 
As we walked through the Mall, with the Washington Monument on one side, the Capitol building on the other and hundreds of families picnicking and enjoying the sunshine--I had one of those moments again where I knew my life was perfect. I really am so very blessed.
I can't always feel that, but I always know.
Sometimes, when I let my guard down and I can feel the sun shining on my face...it's like a wish or magic and all of the beauty and love I am surrounded with washes over me. Those are the moments that keep me going when I lose my way. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


It's Spring Break!!!

It is also pouring outside. 
They said there might be a light dusting of SNOW in parts of New Jersey tonight.

It's just a little storm. 
It really is spring.

I know because my flowers are beginning to erupt and you know how I love my flowers. I can't wait for the irises that Brian and Paige brought up from Utah bloom. They don't usually come until late summer in New Jersey, so far I have not had any success with irises here. That's a shame because they are my favorite. This year's blooms will be even more special to me because they will be from the garden of people I love.
I'm crossing my fingers that this year will be better. I have high hopes for my flowers and  our vegetable garden this year. 


Today, the kids all had eye appointments.

One of the things I was struggling with as my depression was kicking my butt so hard- was that I wasn't making the appointments my family was needing, I wasn't really able to take care of any of the things that shouldn't be so hard. I wasn't making them for me or the kids and we were all overdue for dental exams, physicals and eye checkups. I'd look up the number and try to call, but there were many days that it was just too hard to even do that. I can't explain why, but it was. I felt very guilty about it because I have always been on top of these things with my family.
It was one of the few things I felt I always had covered as a Mom. 
Every day I told myself to do it, and every day I just couldn't.

As I have been working through it and pulling myself out of the pit, one way I know I am doing better is that I am taking care of those things. 

Everyone got new glasses and Romy got her first pair. 

She wanted them so bad, I remember wishing I had them at her age, too. I didn't need them until I was 30, though.
She barely needs them, but she was excited to finally be on the four eyed freak train with the rest of us. (Matt had lasik done and Zane wears contacts.) 

Parker stressed over his decision- his last pair of glasses has a skull on the side, and while he thought they were super edgy at age 16, he felt like a dork wearing them at age 20.
I helped him choose frames that fit his face and his need to be current, but not trendy.
Grey could barely see without his glasses, so we chose frames that were similar to his old ones. When he put on his new glasses, he had the strongest reaction because his prescription had changed quite a bit and also his old glasses were filthy. 

It's a different world out there when you have clean glasses, Son.

Zane got contacts again, but he also needed a pair of glasses for his mission.
He told me to just pick a pair because he didn't care. 
I had him try on two pair, he had no preference, so I chose one and he was done. 

Romy's glasses are hot pink on the inside and when she wears them, they really bring out the color in her hair. The woman at the store said those glasses were made for Romy, they look perfect and fit her face really well.

That appointment took nearly four hours.

Sure, it was four appointments,  but normally they only take 20 minutes each. 
I think that everything that could go wrong did go wrong and I had to cancel a different appointment I had for today,  but the glasses were all finished by the time everything was resolved. We don't have to go back to have fittings or anything and that saves me a trip later.
Sometimes things just go that way, we all stayed in good spirits about it and it wasn't so bad- plus it's done now and I can check that off my list for a year. 

It's progress for me to make and keep appointments. 
We hit McDonald's afterwards, but we were all so tired and starving that after we inhaled the food, we came home and three of us fell asleep.
 The other two got sick from the food.
 Apparently, you're supposed to chew your Chicken McNuggets.

And so begins our exciting Spring Break.
Tomorrow, we have a jam packed day of wearing pajamas and possibly walking to the deli for lunch. Roe and I were going to spend the day in NYC, but it looks like the weather will be wet and contrary to what the movies would have you believe-- rainy walks through Central Park are not actually fun. 
They never show how cold it is in movies and how businesses give you stink eye if you come in dripping wet. 
We can spend the day dry and happy at home. 
Did I mention we also have a cute puppy here to entertain us?
Only 1000 times? 

Well, Badger is a pretty good excuse to stay home and not freeze to death in the rain. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts after Conference Weekend

Favorite quote from conference:

Normally, conference is insanely low key and a chance to just lounge around and be together.
Adding a puppy to the equation, made things a little bit crazier.
With 6 people, all home the entire time, in the house, the puppy got a little bit too much attention and I think it was a bit of a confusing weekend for Badger. 

There were accidents of all sorts. Potty accidents and Matt twisted his ankle when he tripped over Badger coming into the family room. 
This week, Puppy and I will be sticking to a routine and I think it will be easier on all of us, including the dog. 

He is a very good dog.
He sleeps all night in his crate and only barks when he needs to go potty and then he goes right back in and quietly settles down until morning.
It was still a bit chaotic for conference weekend.

We started off on Saturday with a bang, I have a child who isn't so much trying to find himself, but who is trying to prove who he is not. 
This is just where he is right now. I have been there myself.

I see his struggles and I ache for him, but I also see them through the eyes of one who has traveled down that road and knows where it leads. I am a person who tried it the world's way and it didn't work. I chose the church, I choose this lifestyle because it is the only thing that brought peace, stability and a belief that everything was going to work out, that I could be happy and I deserved happiness.
I am thankful for agency, where I can choose that.
I still make plenty of wrong choices, that those who are in a different place than I am see the same way I see the struggles my kids have. 
They cringe and wish I would learn from their mistakes.
They also know, like I do, that it doesn't work that way and just as we cannot live on borrowed light, we cannot learn from borrowed darkness.

I skipped the second session to go on a walk with my son and talk to him, encourage him to figure out who he is, not who he is not. To treat others with the respect all humans deserve and to stop seeing assassins in the trees everywhere he goes. 
I am so glad he is home, so glad he is safe, but this is not easy.

He can choose whatever he wants, I do not need my kids to be Mormons in order to love and accept them. I will always love and accept them, always support and be there for them. I do need them to make choices and to grow. If they do not, my love for them stays the same, but there are obstacles that put life in a constant holding pattern. It doesn't progress and go anywhere until a direction is chosen. You can change directions, but you must DO.
It is hard for all of us, including my child who is stuck. 

I am never going to be a parent who issues ultimatums or who uses tough love, but I am struggling with patience and need to change my focus from trying to hep so much, to moving forward with my own journey and trusting that he will choose something eventually and he will see that it will be okay. 

Conference had some talks that hit on a lot of things I have been thinking about lately, and I know I have things I need to re-evaluate and choose as well.
I have always been more of a liberal in my thinking. I usually vote democrat and I did not support Prop 8 and I think churches need to get out of the marriage business completely.  One can make covenants and promises in church, but the legal contract of marriage should be handled by the state.  These are just things that make sense to me and I am still a worthy, active and prophet sustaining member of the church- even if I did vote for Bill Clinton and Obama (well, the first time.)
I saw myself in comparison to many other members of the church and I was pretty far to the left.
As I look at the world around me now, at the always changing landscape of choice and morality, I see that the line has moved. Where I stand, having not changed my opinions and beliefs is now to the right of the line and it makes me think about how important I always felt it was that I defined myself by where I stood, based on measurements that the world created and I accepted. 
I don't have this figured out yet, but conference had many talks that made me feel like I need to really think about where I stand and what that will mean as the line keeps moving and I am no longer seen as a liberal thinker and I am 'lumped in' with those I have always felt lacked the ability to support free agency at all costs.

I believe that there was a great war in heaven, and we lost 1/3 of our brothers and sisters over the issue of agency and that it is the most important right we have as children of Earth. We must support and protect every one's ability to choose, and one of the worst things you can do is to try and take away the agency of another and control them. Matt says I'm a bit of an anarchist, and that's why everything goes back to free agency for me. I do not want to take another's agency, even if I hate what they use it for and disagree with them. I get pretty aggressive when a person tries to take away my agency and tell me what I "must' do. I have offended a few people with the simple response of "I don't answer to you, do not tell me what to do. Ask me and allow me to say yes or no, but do not presume you are the boss of me." 
So, back to the things that are poking my brain and soul-I have to figure out more of who I am and why I believe what I believe. I have to have the confidence and ability to stand by those beliefs, even if someone thinks I only have them because I'm part of some herd of brainless sheep.
I have never been a lamb who stays where she should, but I am proud that I am still and always will be one of Christ's lambs. He just has to rescue me and call me more often because I insist on learning things the hard way, in my own time and place.

And this leaves me now, wondering who I am, what place am I at right now and where will I go as the terrain I travel on continues to change so quickly and so drastically. 
I don't know the answer.
What I do know is that the answers will come and where the answers will come from. There are many paths that lead to happiness, the one that works best for me is the path the Lord and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has laid out. Even within that, there are many paths to take. 

Somewhere between making choices, choosing to move forward and trusting that the Lord loves and knows each of us, no matter what- I will figure some things out. 
It's spring, and little seeds that have been sleeping underneath the surface are starting to come through within me. It is time to stop looking at the external to tell me where I stand and to look within and know who I am. 
This was not our typical relaxing, easy conference weekend, but rain make flowers grow and storms make trees grow strong. 
They clear out all of the crap that lingered in the air before and allow us to see things differently. 
If the storms and the hardships are the price I must pay in order to see the rays of sunshine- I will pay it. 
And I will try not to complain too much, but I reserve the right to whine here and there.