Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Guess It Really Does Happen

The other day I watched Emma get off the school bus. I noticed she was talking to a boy that is four years older. He seemed to be yelling something at her from across the street, and I could see that she was none too happy about it.

I asked what was going on, and she said that he was telling her why Santa did not exist.

I was not happy with that boy. Why did he care, in January, whether or not my daughter believed in Santa? And why did he, in January, feel the need to enlighten her?

I heard that this same boy was having problems in school and was being expelled. My Macey is good friends with his little sister, so I asked her if she had heard whether he was being home schooled after getting into trouble.

"I don't know" she told me. "No one has said ANYTHING about it on the playground."

I laughed so hard. She had just repeated a popular pun, but she was really serious! That truly is where all the information is dispersed, so if people are not talking about it on the playground, it probably is not happening.

I love Macey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hate To See 60

From my calculations, I was a "business professional" for seven years. Maybe a little more. During that time, the best thing in the world was casual Friday. We got to wear jeans to work. Woohoo!

But I have realized that jeans are almost my dress up pants now! During the day I usually choose to wear lounge pants or yoga pants or stretchy pants, whatever they are called. I only change out of them when I leave the house. Then I "dress up" in my jeans.

Which means only one thing. By the time I am 60, I am just going to prefer to be naked. So if we still know each other when I am 60, just remember to call before you come over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The problem with the law firm has resolved itself. We have parted ways.

I told Garry and my sister many times in the short three weeks I had that job that I was going to quit. I even promised Garry that I would quit. The very next day. So you would think that I would be relieved.

But I'm not.

For the last seven years I have been working from home. Even though I worked as a piano teacher at home and at the College of Southern Maryland, and then had various jobs out here in Utah, I have the amazing daily luxury of just surrounding myself with people I like and that like me. It's hard to not be liked, to not be good enough. Even if it is for a stupid job that did not pay nearly enough for an area of law I HATE (personal injury law).

I must learn to get a thicker skin. This time in my life is a luxury; Molly will not always be around everyday to tell me that I am her best friend.

The sad thing about this is that I felt when I applied for that job that I should not do it. I can write. I always have something to say about something. But when I did the writing samples for that stupid job, I had a complete stupor of thought. It took me forever to write just a few paragraphs and I could not figure out why I should not pursue this job. I have a three year old that prays daily for "monies to go to Disneyland". How could I not try to pick up another little job?

I should have paid attention to what I felt. The last few days have been hard and it did not work for my kids, either. I had Macey crying last week because she only got to swim at the pool for 30 minutes because I was working and I heard Molly play with her toys and Snow White told Cinderella she could not play because she was working.

So I've come up with a compromise that I think will work for everyone. I'll work on my job for the newspaper from 8-10 in the morning while the big girls are at school, Braden is napping, and Molly just wants to watch Snow White for the 100th time, and I will do my business plan writing job after 8:30 when the kids are in bed. See, I could not fit a third job in there anyway! It's all for the best.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It Cannot Be Worth It

Since moving to Utah, I have had a lot of little jobs to bring in extra money. I have been an adjunct professor (which I loved!), a patent researcher, a legal blog writer, a business plan writer, a freelance writer and most recently a legal blog writer again.

I still write business plans and write articles for a small local paper in Salt Lake City. But, I also accepted a job with a law firm in Virginia. For $18 I write a blog, about 400 - 600 words. I have to send it to one of the lawyers for approval. Once I get approval, I post it on their site, I tag it, I include the correct header and footer, and then I write a "teaser" on another blog site where I write about the article I just wrote about, include a link, and include tags and a footer. When I am done, I send out an email to the lawyers and other bloggers about what I just wrote and include links to the main article and the teaser. Each article must include two sources: one external and one internal. And when I finally get done, I get $18.

It might be worth it but for one attorney who has given me a hard time. You send the articles to a rotation of attorneys. There are six. Five think I'm fine. One does not. Apparently I lack proper blogging skills, I do not understand what they are trying to do as a law firm, I need to be 'mentored' through the process, I'm not taking it seriously enough. . .and a few more things I am trying to forget.

So why am I blogging about this when I clearly lack proper blogging skills? I guess I am looking for approval to tell this attorney to take his $18 and take a flying leap. With a tight economy, I have been trying to just be grateful I have something that I can do from home. But for the last two weeks, I have felt really bad about myself and trying to figure out how to please him. And I just don't want to do it anymore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Tough Being #4

Braden started crawling on New Year's Eve. Happy New Year to me! Okay, it is a little more work when they start moving around but I was not too disappointed that he was finally crawling because I was hoping that he would be happier because of his new freedom -- I was hoping that he would not be as frustrated and not cry.

I have learned that it is tough being #4. I should have guessed this since I am #7. But Braden does not crawl around and get into things (much). He just kind of follows me around. And when I pick him up, he does not shove and scoot to get back down. He just appreciates the attention, knowing it is short-lived.

I must remember to hold my baby more for the days are going way too fast.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Best Morning of the Year!

Is there anything better than Christmas morning when you have kids young enough to be super, super excited?!?! I don't think so.

This year I tackled the new challenge of matching pajamas when you have three girls and one boy. But I did it! (Thank you, Children's Place).

We spent Christmas Eve with my sister and her family. We had the traditional fabulous crab dinner. Just crab leg after crab leg until we could not crack open another leg. We read Luke 2 together and the kids acted out the Christmas story and opened one present.

When we got home we made cookies for Santa, read The Night Before Christmas, and I got to watch A Christmas Story, a favorite of mine. I love the Mom! She's so smart, but so kind.

We said our family prayer and were ready to call it a night when I caught Molly trying to eat one of Santa's cookies. I guess she figured the list was in and a little naughtiness at this late hour was not going to hurt anything.

The kids went to bed and the girls all slept in Molly's room. Emma came downstairs, really drowsy, saying that she saw a light. I think that she was hoping for the Polar Express and was wishing so hard that she thought she actually saw it coming. Poor thing.

The girls were excited to see their presents from Santa. While they were distracted with their toys, Macey was scooping up all the candy Santa left on the floor and putting it all in a pile for herself. I laughed so hard. That girl is a thinker!

We had a great Christmas!

Freezing Our Lights Off!

This is our third Christmas in Utah, and our third visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake City in freezing, freezing temperatures. I have to admit, this is one tradition I am willing to let slide for a year, or two, or three. It's just so darn cold! We bundled up as best as we could but then, of course, someone needs to use the restroom. If we go again next year, I am cutting off all liquids for 24 hours before we go.

But the kids were excited to see Mary and the manger scene outside of the Visitor's Center. They are very into Mary this year. We have a nativity, and Molly steals her and takes her on trips to WalMart and Target.

We walked around and ooohhhhed and aaaawwed at the lights and then called it done! It's lovely, but have I mentioned that it is cold??

All Aboard!

We are so blessed to have a house of believers at Christmas time. No sulky teenagers. No difficult kids telling their little siblings that Santa is not real. Just a house full of Christmas magic.

So we are trying to take advantage of this small window by doing fun things together. One thing we loved last year and was even better this year was riding the Heber Creeper "North Pole Express". You journey to the North Pole, pick up Santa, sing songs, eat cookies, drink hot cocoa -- a little piece of heaven for 90 minutes. We love it!


One of my favorite events in December is attending Garry's work party for the kids. They do such a great job! There are crafts for all of the kids, great food, and each parent brings in a present for Santa to give their children so the kids think that they are getting a present from Saint Nick himself.

We were afraid that they might not have it this year and were so relieved when they announced the date! Wahoo! I dressed the kids up, made sure their hair looked nice, and we were off!

Okay, but one thing. . .the Santa. His beard kept falling down. He had to hold it up with his hand. Even the little, little kids knew something was up. But they were excited to get their presents anyway!

Dragon Leader!

How lucky am I to have such great kids?!?! This year the Elementary School started a program where two kids a month from each class were recognized for being great students and great leaders. Macey got the award in October and Emma got recognized in December. The parents get to come to a little breakfast and all of the kids get a certificate from the principal. Emma is a great kid, and she is a great student. We are so proud of her!

Good Enough to Eat

For the last few months I spent a lot of time in doctor waiting rooms -- with Braden's ears and then Macey's ear and then Braden's eczema and even Molly's well visit -- we've been there a lot.

So I've had some time to peruse the magazines in the waiting room. One suggested a cute craft that I let the kids try -- you take ice cream cones, frost them, and then decorate them like Christmas trees. A lot of crafty food (like gingerbread houses) are fun to make but not to eat. Even sugar cookies can be a little dry and bland. But these were YUMMY! Fun to make, fun to eat!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reindeer Remix

A few days before Christmas Macey was in a dance show with her new dance studio -- Elite Academy. They are known around the area for their cheerleading groups, but I signed Macey up in a ballet class and a hip hop class.

Her ballet class did not perform -- they do not perform until they are older. I was a little surprised when Macey came home in her uniform as it seemed a little tight and a little short for a five year old. I am not ultraconservative, but I was a little surprised, nonetheless. They were dancing to a song called Reindeer Remix and were supposed to be dressed like elves.

We went to the dance show and oh my! I had never seen anything like it. I was there 45 minutes early and every seat in the auditorium was taped off or had coats draped on it. I wondered why the show was 25 minutes away. It was because they had to find an auditorium large enough for all of the families coming to watch. The only seating available, 45 minutes before the show, mind you, was up in the balcony. I finally begged a few seats away from a few people and was able to fit in our family and my sister and my niece way in the back but still on the main floor..

She did well! There was a whole lot of booty shaking going on in a little tight costume (read: I'll probably look for a new studio next year) but Macey did great, and she had FUN!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Story of the Tree

Now that Christmas is done, I guess I should blog about the tree.

It didn't start off well. And it didn't go well in the middle. But the end was fine!

It all started off at the tree lot. I did not think that I was picky about Christmas trees. . .until this year. Early this fall we went to a tree farm to pick out a tree. Unfortunately, the farm only grew Blue Spruce trees, and I decided that I did not like Blue Spruce trees. Who knew that they were so . . so . . blue!

We went to a lot after Thanksgiving, and it was FREEZING! I had Garry go screen out some options, and I was supposed to make the final decision. We decided pretty quickly that one tree was "fine" -- did I mention we were freezing?

It was not until later that I discovered I made a horrible mistake. After Garry was able to pick the tree up and get it into the house by himself (something he could not do last year) we discovered that it was smaller than last year's tree. The girls noticed it, too. Instead of getting bigger and better, as was our tradition, it was smaller. And skinnier. I think that the girls were a little disappointed. I know Garry was.

Decorating the Christmas tree is always a little chore. I know I should delete chore and insert joy. . .but, no, it's a chore. Garry is allergic to Christmas trees. When he gets in there and starts wrapping the lights in and out of the strands, he gets sick. For this reason, it can take a really long time to decorate the tree. The light process can take awhile and after that we still have all of the ornaments.

This year we tried to push through it, and Garry got the lights up in one night. A Christmas miracle! But then disaster struck. Half of the lights on the tree went out! Garry hates, hates, hates putting up lights to begin with and now we had to figure out what was wrong?? It did not look good.

After much searching and not a little sap, we found the strand that we thought was the problem. We removed it, and I inserted a new strand the next day. But then it happened again! And we noticed that one strand in particular was getting really hot. Christmas tree fire for Christmas, anyone? I took that strand off and put in a new one. Due to the light debacle, we still did not have any ornaments up.

For one reason or another, we kept blowing fuses. We decorated the tree, and Garry would just replace the fuse. We finally got down to just a few fuses and the days before Christmas we kept the lights off.

I am ready to throw in the towel and just get a nice, prelit fake tree. But Garry is not very convinced. Maybe we'll just have one more year with one more great big tree and try to space out the lights a little better so we are not blowing fuses ;)