Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Years


Then:

We were kids.
My hair was blond.
We had plans and schemes.
We thought we had life figured out.
We were optimistic.
We loved each other.









Now:

We are older, and yet we know less somehow.
My hair is dark brown.
We have three kids.
I have a million stretch marks.
Our plans have changed.
We realize how little we actually have figured out, and even less have control over.
We are still optimistic even though we have experienced the deep pain and disappointment that life can sometimes bring.
We love each other more greatly and deeply now than we ever thought we could have.


Thank you my darling, my love and my everything for a crazy, fun, funny, beautiful, hard, and exciting life-- My love to you on this special special day.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Youtube Debut

Check it out (keep watching, I'm in there I promise--note the superior acting skills):

Friday, October 01, 2010

Holiday Mixing-- This Time it's Personal

Alright. It's time to take a stand. I've stood by silently long enough on this whole holiday/season mixing thing, and I've just experienced the last straw.

I think I've been pretty reasonable up to now, I've endured years of retailers putting out Halloween stuff the day after school begins; Christmas stuff the day after Halloween; Valentine's Day stuff the day after Christmas; Easter stuff the day after Valentine's Day; Guilt trips about Mother's day and Father's Day; Swimsuits in January; School supplies in June; Fall Sales in July; and the inability to find or purchase a pair of shorts after May. Every year it gets worse as the retailers push the dates forward in effort to stay competitive, and every year I've kept my mouth shut.

I kept my mouth shut when we were bullied into decorating for each holiday, and pressured into turning our homes into shrines for each celebration. I didn't say anything (publicly anyway) when they introduced mini Christmas trees for each holiday to decorate-- tweaked with the appropriate color scheme and ornament array for each holiday of course. I'm not keeping quiet any longer though.

You've officially messed with my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. You were already treading on thin ice each year as you slowly introduced t-shirts with turkeys on them and the subtle engorgement of Thanksgiving decorations available, but there's no mistaking the bold move you've made this year, and it can only be met with equal retaliation. Here are the incriminating evidence:



Thanksgiving Ornaments for your Thanksgiving Tree. There is no Thanksgiving Tree.

Acorn Garland for your Thanksgiving Tree. There is no Thanksgiving Tree.

Thanksgiving Feather Tree-- THERE IS NO THANKSGIVING TREE!!

Here's a little Thanksgiving banner to hang in your house. You know, like you would do for a birthday or for the Fourth of July.

Oh, some Thanksgiving pajamas for your kids! Hey, maybe they could open them on the night before Thanksgiving! Maybe we could make that a yearly tradition!

Wasn't wearing a costume for Halloween fun?? Let's wear one for Thanksgiving too!

Treat bags! Kinda like the ones the Easter Bunny brings.

Hey, it's a holiday appropriate plush toy! Actually I just hate all of these in general...

And finally we have a four foot plush turkey that we can all rally around as the singular symbol of the holiday, just like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.

See, the best part of Thanksgiving, the thing that makes it my favorite holiday and really just the best holiday out of the year (the Fourth of July being a close second), is its complete lack of Holiday-ness. There is no house to decorate; No kids to dress up in ridiculous and expensive costumes and makeup; No presents to buy; No silly charade of hiding gifts the night before; No treats to hand out; No "shopping days;" No religious affiliation with accompanying guilt; No anti-religious affiliation with accompanying guilt; No songs written; No school programs to stress about being on time for in order to get a good seat; No school parties to organize; No cards to take pictures for and send to everyone you know; Did I mention the no decorations part? Because that's a big one; No treats to make and hand out to neighbors; No enduring questionable treats from neighbors; No concerts; No Ballets; and if you are a member of my family, No formal wear; Essentially, aside from burning the food, there is no stress. Just a lovely couple of days off where we can be with the people we love and eat the food we love. Watch a parade and a football game, and basically you've got yourself a little slice of Heaven.

AND YOU RETAILERS ARE MESSING IT ALL UP!!!

Do you realize how hard we already have to work to keep Christmas from leaking into and taking over our Novembers? Leave Thanksgiving alone, or there will be hell to pay, I guarantee it. Thanksgiving is the holiday for adults. Its the kind of holiday that we would all put together if we could design a holiday. There is even a separate table for the kids so we don't have to mingle with them. Let us have our day and the month preceding, and do your worst with the rest of the year with all of the kid celebrations.

And I swear on my life, if anyone but anyone dares write a Thanksgiving song, I'll pull out my husband's shotgun.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun. Run.

I did it. I ran my very first official race, my very first 5k.

The race was organized by a friend and neighbor of mine to benefit another friend and neighbor of mine who is fighting some very mean cancer cells in her body.

I figured it would be the perfect first race to run. Low key, very friendly, full of people that I love, great cause, and no chance of me coming in last (hee hee).

This is my friend Esther and I up at dark-thirty waiting for the race to start. I may have been a little enthusiastic about not being late for my first race.

Everyone needs a friend who will on short notice (like the night before) voluntarily wake up at some ungodly hour to run a race and go as slow as you want to. If you live in the area, I highly recommend her, just remember I saw her first.

And we're off at the sound of a cap-gun shot (not quite the same affect as a real gun)

The grand finish-- this must prove that I ran the entire time, right? Right??

I'm pretty sure I have the best husband and kids in the world-- look how they supported me and cheered me on.

And for the record:
we all froze
I did wear shoes (I'm unable to go that long barefoot just yet)
My time was-- I did it. Seriously, when I ran past the clock, the numbers disappeared and the words "you did it!!" replaced them.
I'll worry about my time next race.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Bleed Blue



I think it all stems from having a brother who is absolutely fanatical about BYU sports, football in particular. It was definitely fueled by the fact that I had recently become a BYU student again. But ultimately I can pinpoint the exact moment I stopped hating football and started to become a fan: The BYU/Utah Game of '09.

It was an easy game to be interested in, all BYU students and fans must hate University of Utah students and fans or they are not allowed to take tests or attend classes (or hold callings for that matter), and I was no exception. When faced with a rivalry, one almost certainly will take up a side and join in the cause.

Q: How many Utes does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Just one. . ..but he gets three credit hours for it.

So, I thought, ok-- maybe I technically hate football and everything it stands for, but certainly I can get involved with this one game and enjoy watching BYU beat the tar out of Utah, right? I mean, that would be enjoyable, and if I get bored, I can always take a lap around the stadium for exercise (I did actually think this very thing). Because you know, four hours is a very long time. Four hours spent doing something you hate is even longer.

I went, and much to the chagrin of everyone within earshot of me, I asked Jon to explain each and every rule and strategy (along with the fundamentals of what exactly they were doing with that ball in the first place). Before I knew it, the first quarter had passed, and then the second, and then halftime and it dawned on me that I had actually paid attention the entire first half. Suddenly the second half had promise. Third quarter was just as enjoyable, and during the fourth quarter, I got to see BYU do whatever it is that they did in order to win the game. Blue students rushed the field and I yelled "GO HOME UTAH!" as loud as I could. The feeling in the air was sweet, a BYU victory and a Utah failure that tasted just as sweet. With each disappointed look on a Utah fan, my enjoyment went up and up. Ah-- so this is what sports fans experience. And that was that. I was hooked.

I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing of the strategy behind the sport, neither do I care to get into the nitty gritty details of coaching and players etc., and I'm not totally convinced that I'd enjoy watching them on a TV screen, but when I enter that stadium and walk amid thousands of blue t-shirt clad BYU fans, something happens to me. I can't help but get a little giddy.

My Dad and my Husband split from my Mom and I --You guys go get the food, we have some fan paraphernalia and kettle corn to buy, we'll meet you at the seats after we get stopped by the opposing team as they enter the field, and after we forget where our seats are-- and finally I sit and I watch and I know what is going on for the most part and I yell "COME ON COUGS!" because I feel it, not because I have to.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saved

Caught during a walking moment-- I'm still a beginner


My view as I ran on the waters by Ketchikan

I think that running just may save me.

I remember a conversation with a close and wonderful friend of mine wherein we discussed how long it might take for me to really love running. We speculated that if I was lucky, it might take only a few months, but more realistically it might take up to a year or more. I remember nodding thoughtfully and preparing myself mentally for a long introduction to running.

I have so far not had to wait for the love to come however, it blossomed immediately. In fact, running and I have developed quite the satisfying love affair. I need running, and it gives to me freely. I'm not sure what I do for it in return, but as it is difficult to carry on a meaningful conversation with running, I'll just have to assume it's being taken care of.

I have an intimacy with each inch of ground that my feet have met: the neighborhood that I had my very first official run, and later my very first official barefoot run which made me leap and dance and laugh; The outdoor track on my Alaskan cruise ship (depicted in picture above), where I ran while on water with beautiful Ketchikan as my backdrop; The Provo River Trail behind my house where I bravely took my first run in public, and where I ran my first full mile without stopping to walk, and where I meet all sorts of lovely people for a smile and make eye contact with the cars I pass, and try to outsmart the sprinklers to save my hair.

I wait through mundane tasks and lazy days and occasionally, stress builds up and my spirit falls low and in my head I can hear Queen singing "I want to break free" and that's when I know that I'm a ticking time bomb and I had better get out and run or I may blow. Last Thursday was such a night for me, I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with my family with thoughts of running marching through my brain, and after dinner I went to a store or two to wait out digestion, but my muscles were twitching and my fingers were drumming, and I could barely wait to get in the house before I started ripping my clothes off and digging for my running shorts. I was out of the door before I could even untangle my earbuds.

It might be difficult to explain what I feel when I close my front door behind me and set out on my trail-- my brain is in a frenzy of excitement and the blood rushes to each of my extremities as I warm up. By the end of my run, I can hear my breathing pound out of my chest and the tap of my feet against the pavement, and a smile breaks loose from my lips that I can't hold back. I'm grinning and giggling and I want to scream happy screams at each passer-by (I don't though, because I'd hate to give someone a heart attack). And just like that, my spirit is mended.

Yes, running might just save me. It might just save my spirit from disease and my body from old age and my muscles from atrophy, and when I'm 90 years old, you can bet I'll still be running.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Evidence that I might have OCD

Alright readers, I want to know if you do these kinds of things too or if I'm the only one:

1. I used to have my closet organized by color of clothing item and then length of sleeve, but I have recently realized that it makes much more sense to have my clothes organized by type rather than color (because when was the last time you said, I just want to wear a blue shirt, I don't care how fancy or casual it is? No, more than likely you say, I'd like to wear a dressy shirt to this party or a t shirt for the day). The categories are: Button up shirts; dressy blouses; casual shirts. And on the shelves: Skinny jeans; boot leg jeans; shorts; skirts; capris. And, I rotate my jeans. I wear the ones on the bottom of the stack and then at the end of the day I fold them up and put them at the top of the stack so that each of them get equal wear.

2. I organize my bills in the "to be mailed" stack according to size with the shortest on top, and then I stick a small post-it on top which has the amount of cash I need to pull out of the bank written on it.

3. When I grocery shop I always start at the side of the store which doesn't include the perishables, and end with the things which must be frozen or refrigerated (and on a side note, I make sure to go there last of all my errands so that the perishables will have minimal car time). When I put my items on the conveyer belt at the cashier, I organize the food into types so that all of the refrigerated items are together, all of the boxed items are together, all of the canned items are together, all of the cereal items are together, and all of the personal items are together. This increases the chance that the cashier will put them in coordinating bags which will make it easier to sort through at home.

4. When I get home and put my groceries in the fridge, I put them in categories single file so that nothing is blocking another thing. For example, when we buy multiple flavors of one thing, I put them in lines next to each other so that both are accessible.

5. When I do the dishes, I have a spot for each type of dish, and that type of dish will always occupy that spot. My silverware cart is organized thusly: all steak knives in the back section (so that no one will cut themselves); next section is for children's utensils (because it is bigger and the utensils are also bigger); next three sections are for regular silverware to be put in one per section at a time to ensure that equal space for all utensils exist careful to have a good mix of each type because similar types stick together and don't get all the way clean; next section is for misc. things like measuring spoons and other smaller oddities; next section is for sippy cup parts; last section is for large utensils like spatulas etc.

Because of my dish doing OCD, I have an extremely difficult time finishing a job started by someone else, and usually I end up just doing it over my way; and I also have an extremely difficult time doing other people's dishes because I'm not familiar with their machine or dishes so I don't know where to put things (seriously, it really does frustrate me to the point where I won't do other people's dishes--it's not just an excuse to get out of doing them).

6. When I shower, I have a particular order to my washing which I never deviate from.

7. I have a regular routine to my day (I'm sure I'm not alone in this one): After I wake, weigh myself, and take care of the kids' needs, I get my unflavored greek yogurt and add honey and then mix it up and eat it while I read emails and blogs. Yes I do this every day, and I eat the same thing for breakfast every day (except on the odd day when I feel like mixing it up with cheerios. Of course then, I have no idea how to eat cheerios and play on the computer at the same time, and I'm always happy when I can get back to my greek yogurt and honey. Also, when I switch it up and eat cheerios instead, I stress about the missed protein. really, I do). After breakfast, I shower. At 11:30, I drink an energy drink and eat a stick of cheddar cheese. Every day. I generally don't permit myself to have sweets until after this snack, and most times not until after lunch.

These are just a few of the crazy things I do.

Am I alone?

Am I crazy?

Please tell me one crazy habit you have in the comments-- I'd love to read them.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Clarification

I love vampires. I really do, and it has nothing to do with sex appeal. I just really love mythical creatures, and it has been that way long before Stephenie Meyer decided to write about them. It's a large part of the reason why I love Harry Potter. I love all of the Underworld movies and also Van Helsing, Brahm Stoker's Dracula was also pretty cool. I've always loved Greek and Roman mythology, and I've thoroughly enjoyed both versions of Clash of the Titans.

I'm just kind of a fantasy/Sci-fi geek like that.

What I do not like however, is a bunch of moony teenagers who whine about how much they love each other and how hard life is without each other.

Bella and Edward: You are annoying on multiple levels (which is ironic because they're such uni-level characters).

And, I kinda don't like Stephenie Meyer by extension for creating such insipid characters.

*sigh* There, I've said my peace.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Running Update

I've definitely been too hasty.......







and I think I've made a mistake.......







And I'm positive that I've wasted 100 $ on a pair of running shoes that I will likely never wear again (Sorry Jon, I'll figure out something to do with them I promise)..........












Oh, but the running? I LOVE it. No, no, love isn't a strong enough word. Maybe something along the lines of addicted, or need...

Anyway, let me back up and explain the mistake:

Remember in this post how I mentioned that feeling of flying in my parents' basement? And how that spurred me on to want to run regularly? And how that lead me to the local running store to buy some running shoes? Ok stop. Right there. That was my mistake. The shoes part. Let me explain further:

So I got home and went for my first run a few days after buying those shoes and..... meh. it was ok. Not horrible, which was actually great at the time, because running has always been horrible for me. All in all, I didn't get injured, and I was happy that I did it. The second run was better, and the third was... ok.... But you know what? None of it felt as great as running in my parents' basement felt or running through Disneyland. I expected it to feel as good or better because now I had the proper shoes, but I never felt like sprinting. It felt like work for lack of a better word, and I wanted it to feel like love, or like fun. I didn't hate it (and that's important), but I didn't really enjoy it either. I mean, I enjoyed that I did it, but I didn't enjoy doing it.

Luckily for me, fate was keeping her eye on me and leading me in a particular direction. You see, when I was in the running store, I had plenty of time to wait and look around and eavesdrop while the guy helping me helped others too, and I noticed a book on the wall called Born To Run. It basically wallpapered the walls actually, and that intrigued me. I was so gung-ho about running that I actually made a mental note to pick that book up someday soon and read it. Another hint deftly placed by fate is that while picking shoes, the guy helping me kept saying "You want a shoe that makes you feel like you are running barefoot." To which I should have replied-- then why am I buying shoes? Because nothing feels quite like running barefoot than running barefoot. But I bought the shoes, and proceeded to have the aforementioned experience.

Meanwhile, we were getting ready for our cruise and emailing each other back and forth and my extremely well read Sister in Law suggested I read Born To Run, and by the way, would I like her to bring me her copy to read on the cruise? Yes, I would like that very much-- how convenient since I had been wanting to read it.

The book begins by listing all of the heinous injuries most people incur while running and hints subtly that if you read the book, you might just find an alternative to all of this pain. Well, I was all ears (eyes?) because that has been my lifelong concern with running. Messed up knees and messed up feet are the kiss of death for your health and well-being, and I wanted none of that.

Well, skipping to the chase, it's a great book that somewhat advocates the trashing of one's running shoes for something more natural such as bare feet. You'll have to read it to get all of the details, but suffice it to say, it makes perfect sense. So that night, for my half hour run, I ran through my neighborhood in bare feet. Uh huh-- on the sidewalk not the grass.

I immediately noticed a huge difference. The "work" aspect was gone. It was freedom, fun, flight, fantastic. And before I knew it, I broke into a dead sprint-- because that's what my legs wanted to do-- as if they were designed for it and have just been waiting for me to let them loose. It was just like it had been before. I laughed and smiled and danced through the rest of my run. When I stopped running I started leaping. Can I possibly explain how it feels to sprint like that? It is light and impossibly easy. There isn't an ounce of pain and I'm going faster than I have ever gone before-- so fast I can barely feel the ground under my feet and everything is whipping by my face. So fast that my brain is a little nervous and keeps telling my legs so-- to which my legs reply with confident steadiness. So fast it's hard to stop. Literally, it is difficult to stop and just awful to walk. My quads took over in those moments and the rest of my body was along for the ride.

I'm hooked. I love my feet. Thank you Father in Heaven for these amazing bodies.

And you know what? I can't stop wanting to run. I look forward to it all day long. I can't wait to let my legs loose and see what kind of ride they're going to take me on.

Now about those shoes..... do you think the store would take them back?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Permanent Jewelry

I have never in all of my 29 years and 10 months ever once considered myself to be a tomboy. I am the only girl in my family, and generally, when I tell people that, they assume that I am or was a tomboy. Nope. And here's why (Don't worry this is all heading somewhere I promise, even if it is a long tangent for a loose connection-- just stay with me):

*Never enjoyed watching sports (That has since changed to a very small degree, but that's a blog post for another time)

*Never was any good at playing sports

*I've always been in tune with my emotional side (but now I'm starting to realize that that was always compared with a bunch of boys whose collective emotional capabilities can't even amount to being serious and respectful at a funeral-- so really, it's anyone's guess as to how emotional I really am)

*I love clothes and shopping and the fashion industry as a whole in spite of it's inherent ridiculousness

*I enjoy sewing, knitting, crocheting, creating, nurturing, cuddling, and coddling, giggling, and flowers, and dainty printed fabrics (but only in very small amounts like a tiny coin purse), and tiny coin purses

So, ok, not a tomboy. Except that there are two things I've noticed about myself that point in that direction (wow, that really was a long tangent for a very loose connection, sorry everyone):


And recently I've noticed:

*I'm the same way with jewelry.

Yes, it's true. I love jewelry in theory, but I've never really been able to put it into practice and I don't know why that is exactly. I buy jewelry. I buy really pretty jewelry. I've even made jewelry of various types. But I never really wear it. On occasion I'll pull out a nice piece and wear it to church or something, but I don't wear jewelry like normal women do. I don't even really wear my wedding ring-- not because I'm hoping to be picked up on in the grocery store or gym (shudder), I just genuinely forget to put it on in the morning.


Anyway, there are a few pieces of jewelry that I've been able to wear with consistency. I used to make myself hemp macrame necklaces that I would tie around my neck and wear for years on end through showers and swims and good times and bad and when I was finished with those, I bought myself a choker made of bicycle chain links and proceeded to wear that for a few years as well. My longest running piece of jewelry is a thin silver toe ring that I made in jewelry class when I was fifteen that I still wear to this day and have never taken off for any stretch of time.

This toe ring of mine has not been a separate entity for years and years. It's as much a part of my body as a tattoo would be if I had one, and in fact, I've had a few people ask me very recently when I was going to stop wearing it. All I could do was look at them dumbfounded-- um, it's been on my foot for 15 years now, do you really think that I'm just going to wake up one day and think man, this thing has got to go! Not likely. It's there. It's staying. Get used to it.

Well, I've recently made an addition. This is a big moment for me, this is likely the beginning of another 15 year or longer relationship. While on vacation earlier this month, I bought a British Columbian jade bracelet just like this one below:


I once bought a "jade" (the quotes are there because the authenticity of which has never been verified, I could very well have bought green glass for all I know) bracelet when I was on vacation in Hong Kong, but it broke after wearing it for a nanosecond. I'm pretty sure jade isn't supposed to break, and I've wanted a real jade bracelet ever since then. Because jade is so strong (supposedly) I've decided to wear it on a permanent basis. And-- I love it. I love sleeping in it, I love showering in it, I love doing dishes in it, it's green and I love green, and basically it enriches every part of my life.

*sigh* this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. This is how I do jewelry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alaska

Many of you know that I've just returned from an Alaskan Cruise. I'd like to share some of it with you, and I wanted to start with some of the scenery. Hopefully I can in some small way convey the feelings and atmosphere that we were surrounded by this last week.


I think it was our third or so day when I woke up and turned to our window to see this unearthly view greeting me. I stepped outside on our balcony to a quiet new world. Cold, silent, enormous, alien, and beautifully intimidating.



The Earth suddenly seemed huge. Bigger than ever and overwhelmingly powerful. I immediately had this feeling of smallness and unnerving loneliness. We were on the edge of the Earth, and it was eerie. It was extremely hard to imagine that this was the same planet that held my little home, my children's crayons and stuffed animals, my shopping malls and my sidewalks.




Even as we pulled into each port of call and witnessed evidence of human residence, it felt as though this was Mother Nature's last great hold on the Earth, and she was just allowing the people to rent space there for a time. It always felt like she was poised to take it back at a moments notice and on an emotional whim. People do not own land in Alaska, the land owns them and it is painfully obvious.
























Perhaps it is difficult to get a sense of what I am describing because the pictures are so small. If you are so inclined, click to enlarge each picture and maybe that will help

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ready to Run


I've always hated running. That's an understatement of epic proportions. I've hated running, and everything to do with running. I've hated runners, not individually because I love a great deal of people who run, but collectively as a group, I've hated runners. I've poked fun at runners claiming that there is no such thing as a quiet runner-- they're always going on about how many miles they've clocked that day to anyone who will stand still long enough to be told etc.

To really understand why though, we'll have to go back a few years. Let's start with Ballet. In Ballet, I was taught to prance and float on my toes, and it wreaked havoc on my running abilities and self esteem. When I was a child, we were made to run a mile twice a year in PE, and for me at that time, Turkish prisons would have been more appealing. Later on in my teen years, I was told that I "have bad knees." These are the excuses I've used my entire life to get out of running. In fact I have always believed that my utter demise would come in the form of someone chasing after me with a weapon of some sort, because I wouldn't be able to run away.

A couple of odd things have happened lately though-- first of all, I have energy for the first time in years (I think this is directly related to the extra 60 lbs that I don't have to lug around anymore). I'm dancing around and twirling and racing my kids back and forth. I just find myself wanting to explode into some activity or another lately, and one such time was at my parents' house not long ago. We were all gathered around talking, but I had to get up and move and I suggested to myself to run. Run?! I don't run. Me wanting to run for any reason is crazy, but I couldn't shake it so I went downstairs and ran from one end of my parents' basement to the other two or three times as fast as I could. And... it felt amazing. I was flying. I felt untouchably fast. A few weeks later, while on a trip to Disneyland, it happened again. Jon asked me to check out the menu from a restaurant down the way across the park, and for some reason, I wanted to run-- fast. And so I did. I darted this way and that between people and strollers and kids and Disneyland characters, and it felt great. I smiled ear to ear, and I think everyone thought I was nuts or in a state of emergency.

After that, I kinda just couldn't get that feeling out of my head, and for the first time in my life, I thought: hey maybe I could be a runner... Maybe if I got the right kind of shoes... Maybe it would firm up that squishy mid section of my body... Maybe it would make me feel good... Maybe... Maybe I would actually like it...

The funny thing about running though, you can't just sleep around with it-- you have to commit to it up front by purchasing a very expensive pair of shoes that will save you from pain and injury. Once you do that though, the world is your oyster-- or more accurately-- your track. So I committed and went to the store where the local runners go to worship and I said my vows and became espoused to a brand new pair of running shoes. It was a humbling experience to say the least, I had to run in front of perfect strangers and admit that I knew nothing of the sport amid other seasoned runners who were throwing out words like "marathon" and "5K" and other foreign running vernacular. But the guy helping me was very kind and not at all condescending, and as I left, a woman wished me luck and just like that I felt like I had joined some sort of club.

I promise not to overdo it at first and I promise to stick with it no matter what, and you know, if I can do this, I think I can do just about anything.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Contract Renegotiations

I thought you'd all like this actual transcription of a meeting between my agent (MA) and the representative of my children (CR) for this year's contract renegotiations:

------------------------------------

CR: Alright. Mother's Day is over and I think you would agree that we've shown Ali just what a special organization we are.

MA: Yes, Ali has had a lovely weekend, thank you for all of the perks and the red carpet treatment. Ali and I both can see that you have a lot to offer and we are optimistic that we can come to an agreement for this next year that will keep us all happy.

CR: Let's start the renegotiations then. What are your client's demands for this year?

MA: Yes, well, like I said, Ali has loved being a mother to your organization this last year, but she and I both see much room for improvement. To that end, we are proposing the following demands:


All things included in last year's package and:
-Much later mornings. Especially for the younger two. Nothing before 9 am
-Absolutely no more whining
-No more arguing with Ali or each other
-The level of healthy food eaten must be increased
-No more begging for toys or age inappropriate electronic devices
-Lights need to be turned off when not in use (this has been particularly bothersome this last year)
-No more sneaking food
-The oldest must agree to do his homework happily and to keep his bedroom clean at all times (This includes his closet and his adjoining bathroom. I know there have been disputes over what territory a "bedroom" encompasses in the past and we need to be clear on this point this year)
-The older two must agree to wash their hands after using the bathroom each time
-The youngest must be potty trained by the end of this year (day and night), and he's got to stop the incessant screaming at the top of his lungs (if either of these two demands are not met, next year's renewal of contract will be in serious jeopardy)
-The second oldest must agree to start eating her dinner
-Ali must have no less than two hours of free time each week during the children's awake time
-All three must cease all actions of eating Ali's personal chocolate and gum
-All three must immediately cease growing and getting older. This is a very important point that Ali has been demanding ever since each was born and it has never been met. She is getting extremely impatient on this matter. We'd like to see it resolved way before either of them reach adolescence. The oldest is already starting to show signs of poor attitude and foul language.
-All three must also cease jumping on the furniture


CR: (Scoffs) You've got to be kidding me! Many of these demands are just plain unrealistic. Ali's dreaming if she thinks she can get all of this from any organization!

MA: Hey-- don't tempt us, there are plenty of organizations out there that would love to have her. She's a highly qualified and loving Mother, and you guys are lucky to have her.

CR: Really? And you don't think our organization is being wooed by plenty of other applicants? We get plenty of people telling us how well behaved and adorable we are. Trust us, we're a hot commodity as well. If you're not careful, your client could be mothering a bunch of social derelicts.

MA: How dare you threaten us! This is getting out of hand, I move for a 15 minute recess in order for both of us to gather our composure.

--------------15 minute recess-------------------

CR: Alright look, now that we've both had a chance to calm down, the fact is that we love Ali, and don't want any one else to be the mother of this organization.

MA: (Sighs) Ok. Ali loves your organization as well, and she wants to stay here more than anything.

CR: Ok then. Let's make this work. We won't be able to meet all of your demands, but I think you'll see that we can make up for it in what we are willing to offer:

Everything included in last year's package and:
-An increase in the amount of hugs and kisses (although we won't be able to guarantee the schedule of said affection)
-We're willing to work on the whining, arguing, healthy eating, jumping on the couch, homework, cleaning, eating of dinner and all other behavioral issues
-Unfortunately, we are unable to give you later mornings, we discussed in years prior that it just isn't biologically possible. Neither is the not growing up part. These are things your client is just going to have to accept, but we promise it will pay off in the end.
-More notes written in cute handwriting and with adorable wording
-More adorable words and phrases learned
-More smiles and laughter
-An increase in baths (we know we've been slacking on this one lately)
-And a general increase of love and sweetness that I think you'll find unparalleled by any organization out there

MA: I'll be honest with you, that looks pretty good. What about the screaming and potty training? Ali's just about hit her wit's end on both of these points and she just can't imagine another year of both of these with no improvement.

CR: Hmm. Yes, I see what you mean. I can't promise anything, but we will work with the youngest and I'm certain that a fair amount of improvement will be reached by the end of the year, and in the mean time, when he screams, you're client will be free to excuse herself from the room and can have extra access to more chocolate (The good quality kind of course).

MA: Alright. If you can work with the youngest, you've got yourself a deal. Ali is looking forward to another great year with your organization.

CR: Wonderful! I'm certain that it will be a fantastic year, the best we've had yet! It's been a pleasure doing business with you.

MA: Likewise. Until next May.


--------------------------------------------------


And there you have it. That's how it's done. It's true that my Agent gets 10% of all kisses and hugs from the children which is a bit irritating and frankly downright awkward at times, but all in all, I think it's a pretty sweet deal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Agony and the Ecstacy

Also known as: "Update on my Education"

The last time I wrote about School I was in the throws of a group paper and presentation and also studying for a very heavy final.

I should back up a bit though:

It is safe to say that I've been extremely distracted this semester to the point where focusing on any aspect of school has been almost impossible. And for that reason, I did horribly on one of my midterms. Embarrassing. Disappointing.

Because of that, I was seriously trying to get used to the idea that I might actually get a C in the class (horror of horrors-- yes, for me, if it isn't an A, it might as well be an F). So you can imagine the pressure I had put on myself for my paper and final. At the very least it couldn't be worse than my midterm (of course this forces a girl to internally analyze her study behavior to death), and if possible, it had to be good enough to resurrect my grade for the entire class. Basically I was a basket case. There were even times I contemplated escaping the class entirely (I know it sounds ridiculous, but the pressure was enormous), but somehow I found it in me to keep going.

And it's an odd thing I realized, this schooling situation, where your stress builds up and weighs heavily on you over a period of months only to be completely released in a matter of an hour or so, and then after that-- nothing. No handshake from the professor, no mingling with the classmates, no more art to view and critique. Nothing. This is normal for the average student, but I had forgotten how strange this behavior really is.

And then my grade was posted.

A-

It was enough to keep me ridiculously happy for two days. And aside from that unholy little dash to the right of an otherwise sleek and beautiful letter (Who's job, by the way, it is to keep you humble and inform you that while you did in fact get an A, you could have done better), I am thrilled out of my mind and somewhat amazed that I was able to pull that off amid the craziness of my life.

Also, I'd like to update you all on the status of my major. For a while I was going to go into photography because what I really wanted to do (fashion) wasn't offered at BYU, except that it is and it was just hidden under another degree name. So I'm thrilled to inform you all that I will be getting a fashion design degree.....

.....41 credit hours from now....

*sigh*

Onward and upward.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Plague

(Stronger than a puny Spring Fever, it has the power to bring on full Summer Dementia)


Despite the fact that I love winter, and despite the fact that I have been enjoying the late snowstorms (really I have), Spring plague hit me quite unexpectedly today.

It seems as though the trees have all held a meeting and decided to blossom during the night while I was sleeping in my bed, and today as I walked through my school's campus, the heady smell of pollen from their blossoms filled my mouth and nose.

It seems as though the bugs are now in full reproduction, busily flying and gathering and working and playing as they do. I'm certain that I've swallowed at least ten since the winter was here.

It seems that the grass is greener than I remember it being and each blade is fulfilling the measure of its creation earlier than I expected. I've passed many students studying and kissing and whispering on it's mossy blanket today.

It seems like the days are longer than they should be by this time. I wanted to bring a coat to class today so that I wouldn't be cold on the walk back to my car, but instinctively I refrained. Something a part of me naturally knew to quiet my protesting mind.

It seems like the biting wintery winds have calmed to a warmer gentler breeze that makes me want to breathe deep and stand taller and stop a moment.

And right now, my soul desperately needs the spring. You see, it's locked in a tight box of winter chills and dark cold days of solitude.

So come Spring!

Come daffodils!

Come and kiss my skin warm Sun!

Come birds!

Come bees!

Come and blossom all the buds of the trees!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Outdated



Remember how I mentioned that I was going back to school? Well it has recently come to my attention that my former education is woefully out of date. When I entered my years of higher learning over a decade ago, things were very different than they are today. My very first year of college, my roommates and I had one computer that we shared between the six of us (it belonged to my twin roommates), and about halfway through the year we had a dial-up internet connection and a juno email account that I vaguely remember checking once a day or once every two days for a note from my then boyfriend. That was about the only thing I remember using the internet for back then, but of course, anyone who has used dial up knows why. I can still hear that series of beeps and dial tones in my head as I waited patiently (ok, I was never really that patient about it) to be connected. Of course, we had to wait for the other roommates to get off of the phone, and if we were feeling polite, we'd ask everyone for permission to use the line, and there was never anything more irritating then when you wanted to use the phone and someone was on the internet. It's hard now to imagine using the internet for only a short period of time and not having it already connected and waiting for you.

That first year we had to register for our classes via telephone, and we used a large book of classes with the corresponding codes. We stayed up until midnight to register our schedules fighting with what felt like a million other freshmen who were also calling at the same time. Busy signals abounded, and it was not uncommon to wait hours to get it all sorted out. Not unlike buying tickets to a concert at the time. Once we registered for our classes, if we wanted to make changes to them we had to fill out an actual physical card using our actual handwriting and get an actual signature from the professor. Then we had to use those two long things that dangle below our waists to actually walk it over to the admin building to hand it in.

When we had to buy our books we went to the campus bookstore and waited in line to flip through a large book filled with dot-matrix printed lists of all of the classes offered that semester. When we found ours, we had to write the books we needed on a piece of paper that was really too small to write legibly on, and essentially it was a huge pain in the neck. But we didn't know any better.

When we went to class, we took notebooks-- you know the kind that are filled with paper, not microchips. We hand wrote our notes with ball-point pens, and we received the syllabus and any other important information directly from our professors via copied pieces of paper. Our professors used overhead projectors and the whiteboard behind them to convey ideas. When we wanted to do research, we went to the library, and when we needed to type our papers out, we went to a computer lab that was shared by everyone else in the apartment complex. When we had a presentation to do for a class, we made posters and flyers and used other physical visual aids.

I was among the first of my friends to own a cell phone (a precautionary measure from my parents). Its battery was bigger than the actual phone part, and lasted for less than a half hour of talk time. I did not leave it on to receive phone calls, and I only used it for emergencies (you know, like when my roommates were on the land line, and I just had to call my friend to tell him how irritating my roommates were (No, not you, you were my favorite roommate, I'm talking about that other one. yeah, the annoying one). I pulled the antenna out of the phone to make calls, and when it rang, it didn't play the latest overly manufactured hip hop tune. I did not carry it around with me, when I wasn't using it (and I only used it rarely), it sat dormant in a special place in the room I shared. If you had asked me to text you back then I would have given you a puzzled look and then corrected your grammar/word usage (actually I'm not that rude, I would have done it in my head). When a guy asked you out on a date, he would use the land line and likely your roommate would have answered and known his intention long before you did. We wrote our deepest secrets in hard bound journals (which were sometimes read by nefarious roommates who refused to mind their own business), and we wrote actual letters to our friends back home and filled them with stickers and drawings and pictures developed from the photo shop.

Last year when I applied to BYU for the umpteenth time, I did so mainly on the computer with the exception of a few things that needed to be mailed in. I registered for my classes online without a class catalogue placed in my lap. When I went to buy my books, rather than a table full of ugly and awkward dot matrix books, I was greeted by a wall of sexy flat screened computers asking me if I'd like for them to print out my book list (why, as a matter of fact I would, thank you). Sure enough, all I had to do was log in and out printed a beautiful and readable list. On my first day of classes, I walked into a newly remodeled room with a class computer attached to the podium and outlet portals between each seat. As I watched the other (much younger) students meander in and choose up seats, I noticed them taking out laptops of all sizes and then they plugged them in. I felt so archaic with my three ring binder and ballpoint pen, and it took a while to get used to the clackity clack of everyone's keyboard as they took notes. It also took a while to get used to ignoring their screens as they checked their emails and surfed the web during lectures. My Professor used a powerpoint presentation to show us ancient works of art, and whenever she needed a picture of something she didn't have in the presentation, she opened up her browser and googled it. Instead of handing out our syllabus, she casually mentioned that it, along with a works list would be found in the course materials section of the blackboard. Oh. Riiiiight, the blackboard. (what??) Knowing full well that we as a generation are guilty of assigning the titles of obsolete technologies to newer and better technologies in an effort to make everyone feel comfortable with change, I figured that "blackboard" didn't refer to those black things that hung on the walls of my elementary school classrooms. Come to find out, there's a whole world on the website of my school that I wasn't using just full of information. This is the blackboard. Ok, lesson learned. Next came the class presentation which I had to make a powerpoint for. I have seen powerpoint presentations, and that is where my experience ends. We also have to do a group paper which involves research. I have forgotten how to do this in even my time let alone how to do it now without using wikipedia.

All of this leads me to conclude that I had better finish my education and soon this time or I may be fitting my eyes for microchipped contacts that will allow me to view my lecture from home. Although that does seem to have certain advantages...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Terms Defined



Baby Juice

noun. That which comes out of a baby's mouth which does not contain excessive amounts of food particles or drink. see also: drool, saliva

Mom, Axel got baby juice all over my arm.

ORIGIN American: coined by Ali (I think), perpetuated by Greta et al.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Does Not Exist



I'm sorry guys, but I just can't do it all. I just can't do:

--All of the birthday parties
--The Halloween Costumes
--The Santa Conspiracy (including staying up late to put the presents out)
--The valentines
--Everything Green on St Patrick's Day
--The Easter Bunny and accompanying conspiracy/egg hunt
--Cinco de Mayo
--Little league
--Karate
--Swimming lessons
--Summer camp


AND the Tooth Fairy. So the Tooth Fairy is out. Let's be clear about this though, I don't mind giving remuneration for pulled teeth, I just can't back up the fairy facade.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just the Highlights Please

Jon has been out of town this week, and rather than go on a large rant about how horrible it has been, I thought I'd give you the Readers Digest version:

*I've been woken up by my 7 year old son at 4 am for the following reasons (all separate days):

--To be informed that his nose is runny
--To be informed that he can't find his tissue
--To ask when Dad is coming home (never mind that I've been telling him all week)

In case you were wondering, these are not acceptable reasons for a human to wake another human. Did I mention that I'm not a morning person?


*I got a little overly enthusiastic with some facial waxing strips and peeled the top layer of skin off of my face in several places and now I look like a batman super villain. (by the way, facial waxing strips are a fantastic idea, I just need to work on the execution)

*My cat (who likes to be a pain in the neck by darting into rooms or closets unnoticed) got stuck in our book and game closet for 8 hours and had to relieve himself on all three of my and Jon's grandmothers' quilts. Handmade.

*I've had the immense pleasure of watching "A Night at the Opera" for the first time. I was a little worried because it's an old movie, and I wasn't sure if the humor would still translate. It did. Take a look for yourself, if this doesn't make you laugh, you need to check your pulse:




*I've been filling my lonely evenings with Beatles Rock Band (Which is more like Beatles Karaoke when you're all alone), emails and blog posts from friends (thank you by the way), internet shopping, movie watching, and Arrested Development. I wasn't cool enough to have seen this show when it was still airing, but I'm cool enough to appreciate it now. Basically it's the funniest show ever:






*And would someone like to tell me why oh why Project Runway wasn't on this Thursday??

*My favorite punishment to administer when Jon is gone: Early bedtimes. Go ahead and say it--I'm drunk with power.

*Things to look forward to this weekend:

--Paying my bills
--Braving the Grocery store and Costco on Saturday with all three of my kids
--Picking a fight with my son so that I can send him to bed early. Just kidding. .......for now

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Drafts and Commentary part III --this time, it's personal.

Wasted Youth 02/04/09

Today I broke a cardinal rule in the book of parenting--do not allow yourself to live vicariously through your kids. This is a rule that I had always made myself aware of lest I become one of those hideous cheerleader moms that commit murder in order to get their girls on the squad.

But in spite of myself, it sneaked up on me.

Greta, my three year old, loves to dance around the house and sing. All day long she does this. She also loves dressing up and acting like a princess, so when I saw an advertisement for a fairy tale ballet class where they learn the basics of ballet as they dress in princess costumes, I assumed it was a perfect fit. The first couple of lessons went as could be expected, she was a little shy but eventually enjoyed it, and then she would come home and spend the rest of the week talking about her dance class, doing the things she learned, and begging me to go back. Happily, I thought we had found something, nevermind that I also loved Ballet when I was a girl, and nevermind that she is my only daughter, this was definitely for her. So I decided to invest a little $ in some real ballet shoes and dance clothes, and just as the perfect timing of child-rearing goes, as soon as I did that, things went south. The next week, she wasn't so eager to go (actually, she WAS eager to go--until we were about to walk through the door, then she freaked out), but I gave her a motherly push, and with the help of the teacher she went in. This week, she talked and talked about going and was very excited to go until we reached the door, and she wasn't about to give. She clung to my leg and would not go in no matter what. So, in order not to make a scene in front of the 7 other parents whose daughters had no problem going to dance class, and also in order to not make the one teacher "babysit" my daughter, I opted for her to watch until she was ready to go in. This went on until I finally conceded that she was not going in and in fact, wanted to go home. In the car, we had a little mother-to-three year old chat about her intentions with dance class where she informed me that she would like to cancel them altogether. I was very annoyed. More annoyed than I should have been. I wanted to blame my annoyance on the money issue, and even though that is a valid concern, something else was bothering me. Suddenly Greta's childhood started to play out before me in a series of classes signed up for and arguments had about attending these classes. Suddenly, I saw myself, a young girl loving ballet but hating the act of going to ballet class--arguing with my mother every. single. time. This infuriated me. All I ever wanted as a child was to be a ballerina. Or a cellist. Or a really great swimmer. Or a pianist. Or a singer. But I just didn't stick with it. Any of it. And now I am an adult with no polished talent to speak of in any of my beloved interests. How I wish I could be a young girl again with adult determination enough to become a ballerina. Why is it that the seeds of greatness must be sowed in the most fickle time of a person's life? Are there really children who go to classes without being forced? I don't want to force my daughter to do anything, but it seems as though she clearly enjoys it (at home)

--This one shocked me. I think we all have this idealized version of ourselves in our minds, we think that we'll always be calm and collected and take things in stride, we know the "right" way to act and react, and we (or at least I) think we'll act that way most of the time. So of course when we miss the mark completely, it's very shocking. I think this draft shows how difficult it is as a parent to watch your children make their own choices and not have any say in them. To think that my kids might repeat some of the mistakes I have made is a painful concept for me, but I know that they must be allowed to make their own choices and deal with their own consequences.

Oh, and occasionally, to this day Greta will mention her dance class and ask me when she can go again. I just chuckle. More and more I'm wondering what my role as a parent is, do I leave these things to my children and let them motivate themselves? Or is it my job as a parent to make up for youthful fickleness by forcing them to do things that I *think* they'll be happy about later? More and more the former looks like the path I'd like to take, but then I think--ok, where would Appollo Ohno be if his Dad didn't push him a little during his early youth? And then, is it really important for my children to be the kind of professional that must be carefully cultivated in youth? I'm not really sure that it is, but sometimes I wonder.

I definitely think that we can take one major thing away from all of this and that is that being a parent is hard--you know, without over simplifying things.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Computer Update

Well, Thanks to my familial connections (I married so well), I was able to get in touch with someone who was able to restore all of my information from my sick hard drive (and I mean sick in the traditional sense, not like oh--that hard drive is siiiick!!). So last night I had the immense pleasure of seeing all of my precious pictures and documents float magically back onto my new computer. It was a very happy moment.

So, False alarm? Actually, in my defense, the people at the Mac store made it sound as if I had no hope unless I wanted to spend thousands of dollars. I believe their exact words were "It's too damaged..."

Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm back, and I'm better than ever! One of the great things that has come out of all of this is that I have learned so much about computers that I never used to know, and now they are less intimidating.

So, anyone else feel like they're on an emotional roller coaster? No--Just me?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My New Old Computer

Despite the cheery title, this is not a happy post. A couple of days ago, when trying to wake my computer up from standby mode, I heard the "dreaded click of doom," which is essentially a horrid clicking sound that means your hard drive has died. Yeah, just that fast, and no there weren't any warning signs.

All of my pictures? Gone

All of my writing? Gone (yes-- all of it and I had about 200 pages written for my novels, and even if I never got them published, I wanted them for myself.)

All of the music I had downloaded? Gone

All of the recipes, craft tutorials, and patterns both free and not? Gone

So yes, I have my computer back with a brand new hard drive, but I like my old one better.

And by the way, do any of you have pictures of my kids? I'd love to have a copy so that I can remember what they looked like as babies (note the melodrama).

Also, did any of you happen to hack into my hard drive in it's heyday and make a copy of my novels? Now would be the time to step up.

And as a parting piece of advice, if you haven't backed up your hard drive, please do so, you don't want to feel pain like this, trust me. As a friend of mine put it: "There are two kinds of people in this world, those whose hard drives have crashed and those whose hard drives will crash." Think of your hard drive as a lightbulb, it's only a matter of time, and it happens to everyone. It's not a "Mac vs. PC" issue.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Readers, where have you gone?

As I've been reading some of my older posts, I've noticed that I've lost a lot of readers. Why is this I wonder?

*Is it because I complain too much?

*Is it because I'm too negative?

*Is it because I'm not as funny as I used to be?

*Is it because my posting schedule is erratic and therefore difficult to follow/predict?

*Is it because I announced that I was going to take a break from blogging a few months ago?

*Are my bible swears too offensive?

Among the readers I have lost there are multiple friends which are very dear to me, a brother (who is one of three total, but the only one that read my blog), a handful of sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, a fair amount of cousins, a couple of Aunts, and a partridge in a pear tree (yeah, the humor quotient has really gone down, hasn't it?).

Hm. I wonder. Well, if you are still out there readers, please know that you are loved and missed.

*Please note, these questions are not necessarily rhetorical, if you know why--do tell!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Drafts + Commentary Part Dos (that's Spanish for "two")

This one is a little heated--beware!!


12/11/08
Educational Reform

Our educational system is so completely screwed up, and I can't believe that I'm the only person who thinks so.
First and foremost, I have no damn idea what my son does all day long. Excuse me for being an "involved parent" but I'd like to know what the child I'm responsible for is doing all day long. There should be a day where parents come and participate in whatever is going on, and there needs to be more communication between parents and teachers. Most of the crap that Gabe comes home with, I have no idea how to interpret, and I'm not an idiot (no comments from the peanut gallery please).
Second of all, there is too much homework. Today for example: Gabe comes home from school at 4:05 ish, and he takes about 20 minutes to get settled at home (snack, putting stuff away, getting yelled at for giving me attitude etc) so at roughly 4:25, we start homework. Today he had a math packet that he was supposed to "do what he can each night" on which I interpreted to mean one page a night, and then he was to read with me for 15 minutes in a designated book. After that, we were supposed to go over a sight reading sheet and fill out a little slip that looked like this:
____________ has read this sight reading sheet ___________ times. signed ___________
___________ has read independently for at least 15 minutes on these days: M T W Th F S
Could this possibly be any more vague? No where in Gabe's homework list from the teacher did it say how many times he was supposed to go over this sight reading sheet, so we went over it once. Then, at the bottom of the sight reading page it said that "the child should be reading independently for 15 minutes every day." So, being the non-idiot that I am, I gather that to mean that my son is also being asked to read an additional 15 minutes each day for a total of 30 minutes of reading. He's in first grade. He's six. HE JUST STARTED LEARNING TO READ! I don't even read that much in a day. So that's where I drew the line and on his little "slip" I filled out:
____Gabe_____ has read his sight reading sheet ____one____ times.
signed _____(me)_______
And I left the rest blank because by that time, it was 5:30, my three year old was destroying the house and enjoying the fact that my undivided attention was on Gabe's cursed homework, my baby was crying, I still hadn't started dinner, and I had already had enough of nagging Gabe to do the first HOUR of homework so there was no way in hell that I was going to force him to read for another 15 minutes.
On days like these (which, lets face it, are everyday) I find myself pondering the need for homework in our kids lives. I mean, isn't that what they spend all day long at school for? By the time Gabe is finished with his homework, it's dinner and then an hour until bedtime leaving very little time for family stuff and friends and unstructured play and being a kid.
Lastly, I think that summer is completely outdated. Why on Earth are our kids spending three months out of the year doing absolutely nothing? What purpose does this serve? Doesn't it make more sense from a learning stand point to keep kids in school for the whole year? Balance people, balance. I mean who is the idiot that said, double the work for part of the year when they won't be able to play at all and then the rest of the year they'll sit on their thumbs and do nothing. This isn't a new problem, just look at how many summer programs there are out there.
I'm so fed up with having to conform to a failing system that is nowhere near capable of reforming to the amount that needs to be reformed at any time soon. And the thing is, I don't think I'm a beleiver of Home Schooling either, at least not for me because I'm nowhere nearly qualified to teach

--Firstly, I feel as though I should apologize profusely for my bible swears. I know there are plenty of people who think that those words are unacceptable, and for their ears I am truly sorry. But hey--I was mad. Really mad. Generally when I'm angry I tend to exaggerate (ha ha haaaa haaa!!), but this was not one of those times. Seriously. Gabe really did have that much homework last year, and I still laugh at the fact that he has so much less this year! Also, It should be noted that he had a really hard year last year. We all did. And my feelings for summer have not changed in the slightest. Honestly, it's the largest oversight of the last century. Basically, I still totally feel that our educational system is just one huge ugly mess. Oh how I wish I could find a private or charter school to send my kids to where they spent more time out of desks than in them, and where there was much less testing. Ah well. At least this year we have a teacher that doesn't belittle our child and then send him home with hours of homework to do, right? Baby steps...