Thursday, April 30, 2009

K-day stands for CRAPPY DAY!

Fruitcake went to her 'K-Day' appointment...aka...four shots! It's a special, fun, exciting visit with the doctor. What is it really?... It's a scary, torturous and painful hour of hell. Oh wait! But they bribe you with a TINY cup of chocolate milk (seriously, like a 2 oz. paper cup) and a cookie! They fail to mention that you'll leave the office, limping from the pain in both your legs, anticipating a fever in the next couple of days, and feeling rather violated... with a paper sack of toys and stickers.
No, she did great, only cried while she was getting the shots, then got over it quick.

My sweet Fruitcake is now more inches tall, than she weighs in pounds. That's 80% for height and 40% in weight. (and I wonder why her coordination struggles) She has 20/20 vision (which the doctor said is rare this early...they don't usually see that until kids are a bit older) When she was reading the chart, she called the circle a "tie-uh" (tire) and the triangle was a "ship". It sounded like this...
"ship, st-ah(star), haht(heart), tie-uh, st-ah, ship, tie-uh, haht... Each time she said "tie-uh" the nurse looked at me and smiled.
Pricked for Iron...and like her Mama, weirdly high amount of Iron. Not bad though... just not sure quite where all the Iron comes from. (we don't eat much meat)
She peed in a cup, which is a story in an of itself. You should have seen her face when I showed her the cup and told her the gig. She thought it was "dis-gus-tin"...which it is. But it was Sassy Pants who got the biggest kick out of it! She kept looking and me and repeating "ewww Mom! wha chah you do-wyn to huh?! Mom?! wha chah you do-wyn to huh?! SICK! GWOSS!" and loud enough for anyone and everyone in the office to her her yelling from inside the bathroom.
But, we were successful, and emerged with a cup full of pee Fruitcake was very proud of.
At the end...the Doc takes a picture with the poor child who has been through a rather invasive process (but before the shots!)
When they posed...Fruitcake shrugged her shoulders, tilted her head to the side (which is a typical pose for her) but then...she decided to place one arm around the back of his neck, and the other arm on his chest. WHAT?! It looked like a staged engagement photo pose, or a 'cruise ship' couples pose. The nurse and Dr. cracked up, and Fruitcake put her arms down a bit embarrassed. The nurse was laughing too hard, and missed the photo op. She was bent over, laughing... too bad, it would have been 'refrigerator worthy'. Instead... we have a picture of a sweet and embarrassed Fruitcake, and a laughing Dr.

Then came the shots.
They asked me to "pin her legs down, and hold her arms above her head". I hate this! I hate that she looks into MY eyes and has ME holding her while this is done.
I think I'd rather be the one to sneak a shot into her leg... I don't think she even noticed the nurses hiding under my arms shoving needles in her legs. Two shots in each leg!OUCH! She just felt the pain and saw ME. Did I mention that I HATE THAT!!!!

All-in-all a successful trip. She's now ready to roll. Enroll that is. Watch out Kindergarten...she's comin'!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Under a Magnifying Glass

This past weekend was more memorable than I anticipated. Really...this entire week has been burned into my brain.
I had to move my writings to an anonymous outlet, due to some... different circumstances. I am still trying to make sense of everything that has happened of the last few days. I usually don't write about such things until I feel they have come to some sort of conclusion. I'm realizing that there my be no conclusion to feelings or things happening right now, so I will try to write my way through it all. I have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel... but I guess I'm starting to adjust.
Sunday night was my 'Kick-off' fireside for camp. I made a slideshow presentation to showcase last year. I also had to give a talk.
I am a person who can talk, anyone who knows me has witnessed that I am never short on words. However... standing up, dressing-up, in front of a lot of people I don't know, expected to talk in a serious manner... that is something I can't do. I have been able to slip 'under the radar' and avoid speaking in church for the past eight years.
For some reason, eight years ago, I was in a different place mentally and spiritually than I am now. The dynamics of my ward were very different. Everyone was poor, we relied on each other, we relied on the Lord. We were young families, students. For some reason I felt much more 'at home' there, and speaking in church was not as intimidating. I didn't fear judgment or criticism for what I might say or do.
Anyways, Mr. Smith and I spoke in that ward eight years ago. Since then, I have not been asked to speak, Mr. Smith has, but I have not. I love teaching Primary, or Young Women, but trying to talk 'seriously' to adults is not in my comfort zone. I don't do serious. I never have.
In preparing my talk, I struggled a bit, having dealt with a week of pain and disappointment and trying to move forward. I knew I didn't stand well with certain individuals, and I knew I would receive some backlash.
What 's so interesting is... while the people around me were reprimanded, and were spoken to about me... nobody has spoken to me or reprimanded me. I am in the dark. I wasn't sure how many of the people around me would be given information and advise regarding me and my opinions, but it has affected more people than I ever imagined... up to the highest level possible, and I feared it threatened my opportunity to attend Girls Camp. Many, many things have been said and are still being said ABOUT me, but no one has felt the need to talk TO me. In fact, I still may not have the opportunity to attend Camp this year.

Anyways...I picked up my neighbor to bring her to the fireside. She is inactive, and she and her sister came to camp last year. She is planning on coming this year too, but nobody is helping her feel included. I really wish someone involved with Camp would 'step up' to include everyone possible, and express the desire we have for everyone to attend camp. This is very important to me, and I get frustrated with people who don't place that needed importance on the girls who will not receive the teaching of the gospel otherwise.
So I had permission from her parents to bring this Young Women to the fireside. I tried to find her a place to sit with someone, because I had to sit on the stand.

My talk went alright...alright. I don't remember much, it was as if the words came out without me trying. Towards to end, I began bearing my testimony, as I start to cry... I shut down. I don't cry often (except lately, so I may not be able to claim that soon) and feelings were fresh. When I began to cry, all I remember thinking was that I had to sit down, and fast! I looked down and finished the last sentence I saw.

I sat down and took, what felt like, the first breath I had in a really long time. As I felt the blood come back to my limbs, face and brain, felt moisture return to my lips, mouth and throat..I thought "how did I end my talk?" I don't remember what I said before I sat down. I just remember thinking I needed to sit...pronto.

I leaned over to the camp director and said "Did I say 'amen' or 'in the name of Jesus Christ'?" She smiled, put her hand on my leg and said "no, you didn't...but that okay"

So, I felt rather sheepish. The slide show was at least I thought my feelings were expressed well through that. (not that anyone had a clue I put it together) Afterward, we were having refreshments. I knew I had to take the girl I brought home, but I didn't see her anywhere. I walk around, and couldn't find her. I was having a meeting following refreshments, so I thought I could run her home quickly and come right back.
I finally called Mr. Smith. I asked him to call her house and make she got home. I figured one of 'the Jones' took her home with them. Mr. Smith called back to tell me she had not made it home, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones hadn't seen their daughter either. They were missing!
Here I had taken some elses child, and lost her. I looked through the building, then told my committee that I would be late to our meeting, but I'd be right back.
I drove up and down the streets, searched the city park, and circled other churches. Mr. Jones was looking as well, and I eventually had to tell the girls father. Her father doesn't want anything to do with the church. I have tried my hardest to make sure this girl (and her sister) have felt included and welcome, regardless of their parents situation.
So I had taken his daughter, and lost her. He got in his car and started looking for her as well. I stopped by all the friends and leaders houses I could think of.
Mr. Jones then called, they had finally found both daughters.
While I was relieved, I was nervous that her Dad would not allow her to go to any more church activities...or camp! My emotions were high, and given how long the day had been...I was close to my breaking point. I apologized over and over...I hugged the girls and told them I loved them.
I knew I had to run back to my meeting, which was probably almost over. I found all the doors locked, I knocked for about 5 minutes, and even tried some windows. I sat in my car for another 20 minutes hoping to catch someone on their way out. No luck!
As I drove home... it all hit me at once. I was in tears! I came inside and went straight to my bed.
The next morning I found out that my calling had 'for sure' been jeopardized... but the Director didn't want to tell me before I had to speak.
I never intended to hurt anyone, but I am disappointed at the lengths some people are going to. I tried to share my frustrations and challenges in my life...I was not trying to publicly attack any specific person. I have damaged friendships, and I have learned (which I already knew) that some people can pretend to be your friend, and pretend to care for you... while secretly having very strong, negative feelings towards you.
Up until this week, I knew that some people didn't like me and the things I have been expressing publicly. I do feel that I have been misunderstood, and I don't follow the 'just pretend everyone is perfect' act. What I wasn't aware of, was the lengths someone would take to try and stop me from expressing myself.
Things have been communicated all around me, about me, but no one has yet to talk to me. Things have been passed from person to person. I'm not sure what has even been passed. A few sentences of what I've written? A rumor from someone? My struggles in my ward? My struggles with a certain person? Does anyone know the full story? no. If judgments are made and assumptions acted upon, I would expect that I would be made aware of things. If it weren't for a couple friends warning me, I wouldn't even know all this is going on behind my back. All I've even been told is that I was going to be talked to "about my blog". That's why I chose to shut the entire thing down...I'm not even sure of the things that got me in trouble. Everyone involved acts oblivious, and smiles, casually engaging in superficial conversations. I am at a loss.
I may not go to camp... I may get to stay in my calling. All I can do is pray that the spirit can touch the right people's hearts. I can pray that I will be spoken to about it. I can pray for the wisdom to know if I should just confront people to defend myself. I'm not sure 'at this point' what is best.
The Camp director was very kind. She expressed that she knows I "need to be at camp" she said that others feel very strongly about it as well. She said that she believes I am very good for the girls and she knows that I love them so much. She went on the say that she believes that "Satan recognizes your value, and is trying his hardest to keep you from sharing your testimony and influencing these girls."
As much as I try...I'm not sure I can believe that right now. I'm not sure what the plan is for me. I do know that I have expressed opinions I probably should have kept to myself. I also know that in the future, I will do my best to sensor what I say and do. I've never denied the gospel, and I've tried to share my testimony. I think my faith grows stronger with my struggles. I only express my challenges to try and make sense of what I need to learn, and how I can grow.
All I can so now is wait. I realize I am under a magnifying glass... all my flaws and imperfections blown up. It doesn't take anything special to see things wrong with me... I don't hide much. I just hope it doesn't last too long. Like anything under a magnifying glass... it's gets really hot and uncomfortable!...and I'm afraid it might kill me if I'm under it too long.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Leader-ship preparing to sail!

Last night was our Stake YW Leadership training. These women are awesome! They are such great examples to me, and I admire every one of them for their dedication and efforts with the youth.
This year, there is such focus on the new value of virtue. Between the YW broadcast, General Conference, camp, our trainings...everything is really 'hitting it hard'!
I have the opportunity to speak this Sunday, and the topic I have been asked to speak on is...drum! (shocker, I know) So my issue is...what do I say that hasn't already been repeated multiple times over the last couple months? I can quote the amazing speakers who have shared, I can read from the scriptures... but what do I add to all of that? and what can I say that will relate best to the particular YW in my own area?
I feel like I have recieved many answers through thought and prayer, but I believe my clear answer came last night. The meeting was a wonderful, and a much needed boost of knowledge and information to feel like I can touch some, or even one, of these girls.
I cannot imagine being a teenager in these times. The temptations and challenges facing the younger generations are enormous! I look at my sweet innocent little girls and pray that they can be strong enough to make it through the battle, with as little wounds as possible. I feel responsible to try and arm them and protect them. But when the time comes, it will be up to them whether or not the chose to use the weapons they have and fight their way through all the muck.
I think that my favorite 'nugget', was the information that we need to validate and appreciate the girls more. We tend to praise everything that little kids do..."yeah! you went poopies in the potty!"..."look at what you did! What a big girl you are"..."thank you for sharing, that was so nice of you"...and on and on.
We often fail to ackowledge or even recognize the positive things that older kids or teenagers are doing. I think we expect so much from them, we are quick to let them know how disappointed we are in them...but even the smallest choices are very difficult. They need to feel our love and support, that we are cheering for them.
As a leader, and a parent, this was the best thing I could have learned last night! I am making a committment to recognize more of the good things that the YW are doing...and let them know how proud I am of them. It is not easy, and they do have many choices in their lives. Even the smallest decisions can lead them down different paths.
So, as a Mom, a wife, and a leader... I am committing to
praise more often and love more fully!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I do love School Uniforms!

I have recently had the opportunity to enroll Fruitcake in a Charter School. Besides absolutely loving school uniforms...I'm not sure what else to love about charter schools. I know it sounds stupid to say that I tried to enroll my kids without much research...but to my defense... I really didn't think they would have a chance of getting accepted. Now that I have to make a decision, I'm wishing I would have been smarter about the way I handled all of this. The way it works is this... if one child is accepted, the other siblings are put on the priority list. There are no guarantees, but once you are are in.

I have cousins who attended similar schools in another State. They have all been exceptionally smart, socially well-rounded and gone to college. One was even the student body president at his University.
I got worked up this school year when Smarty went through a hard experience in public school. I like to think that the situation would have been different if it had occurred in a Charter School. Maybe? Maybe not?
I have a lot of research to do...especially since I think I will enroll Fruitcake a so I don't lose the opportunity. I have 14 days to think it over. Fruitcake is only starting Kindergarten, so I see it like this...
If she goes to Kindergarten and it's not good, she can enroll in Public School for 1st grade. If we find it is fantastic, Miss MaGoo and Smarty will be at the top of the list for applicants next year.

It feels as if I have 14 days to really 'decide the fate' of my child's existence. As a parent, I feel such pressure in regards to every little decision. Hoping my kids will grow to forgive me for my mistakes. I hope not to make any catastrophic ones, but I know I have already done things I wish I could go back and change.

Another hesitation I have is regarding the social side of this opportunity. Most of the children in my area attend public school. A few attend charter schools, and a few attend private schools. I would hate to ostracize my child, hoping to further her education.
Not to mention... I voted against taking money from public schools to fund charter schools. I think we have a great public school system, and while my kids attend public school...vouchers did not seem like something I would support.
To be absolutely hypocritical... I now need to explore the difference between public school education and charter school education. And if there is a difference... is it worth moving my kids around, and possibly affecting their circle of friends.
On a sad note, I'm not sure my kids are terribly attached to their current friends. Probably because I don't let them play as much as they would like. I am a Nazi Mom! They don't have time during the week to do homework, chores, and play. Often times, weekends are spent with family... so I may have already damaged their social futures. Ooops!

I will have to do the research... then report my findings. I have great friends who are, or have been, school teachers. I wouldn't want to mean any disrespect, but I would love to get their opinions without offending them. Sticky. I will have to try and give it a shot.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Advise

Isaiah 45:18
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens, God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else."

Pres. Spencer W. Kimball said...
"We understood well before we came to this vale of tears that there would be sorrows, disappointments, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears; but in spite of all, we looked down and saw this earth being made ready for us, and we said in effect, Yes, Father, in spite of all those things I can see great blessings that could come to me as one of thy sons or daughters; in taking a body I can see that I will eventually become immortal like thee, that I might overcome the effects of sin and be perfected, and so I am anxious to go to earth at the first opportunity. And so we came"

A good friend sent this to me today...she knew I needed it. I am so grateful for friends and loved ones who are in tune with the spirit, and help me through hard times.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Got jumper cables? (and...wise in my old age!)

I usually love spring. It is a great reminder that the depressing winter is over, the sun gets warm. I feel like a frozen block of ice melting, and I can actually feel my toes again!
I love to open my windows and air out all the nasty cold and flu smells that have been lingering for months. The sun is up before I am, and it stays up after dinner.
Normally, this is a time I start getting the 'spring cleaning' bug. I love to clean everything, and have that fresh feeling. I look forward to going outside and planning the flowers for the next 6 months or so. I enjoy seeing the new leaves first poke up out of the clean dirt prepared for them.

With all that said, I'm not sure what's wrong with me this year. Honestly, the past few weeks have dragged me along...and I'm feeling worn.
I haven't even looked at my yard. I want to clean, but I don't know where to start. I need a 'jump'. I am the old rusted car that's sat on the side of the house all winter long...and I need my battery re-charged.
I've been struggling with getting to Spring Cleaning, because I can't get on top of my regular day-to-day cleaning.

I like to use excuses like...I need to get curtains, I need a new dresser for my bedroom, I need to paint my entryway and find something to hang in the hall, I need to finish about 5 big projects (because I have all the stuff to do them), I need to paint my bathroom (I've have swatches tapes to the wall since December), and I need a new vacuum.
Alright...I don't NEED a new vacuum, I just want one. Really, I don't NEED any of those things...the only thing I NEED? I need to just buckle down and deep clean my house.

I started cleaning out my closet a few couple weeks ago. It has been a chore...a bigger one than I thought. It's made me realize how much crap I have, and after getting rid of what ONE: doesn't fit, TWO: I don't ever wear, and THREE: what I won't be able to wear again until next winter...well, I'm not left with much at all. And it makes me want to go shopping!

Speaking of shopping...I have a funny.

I am a person who doesn't know any jokes. Honestly! I've probably heard a million jokes in my lifetime, and I really do LOVE jokes. But ask me to tell you one? Not a single joke comes to mind. I HATE this!
I compartmentalize things in my brain, and for some reason, I've never made a space for jokes. Weird.
So, the other thing I've never made room for? Embarrassing moments. I'm not sure if I don't have the mental space to keep them, or if after so many I stopped keeping track. If someone asks, or I have to come up with one...I cannot think of a single one. I usually want to say "Every day of my life is an embarrassing moment...because literally, I think I have at least one a day."

To my moment...
I was invited to join a book club. This was something I have never done, and it was with a group of women I do not know, or have not known since Jr. High or High School. High School was not a good time for me, I don't like to re-visit it, and avoid even talking about it. So...
This was pretty much a new group of had been a very long time. I was actually looking forward to getting together with a new group of ladies, I love hearing others opinions, and prioritizing my goal of reading more.
(If any women who are in this club read my blog...I'm 'outing' myself and my embarrassing moment...but I'm not sure they could have missed it)

Another background element...
I've spent the last 10 months dreading my 30th birthday. I took a challenge to lose weight, accomplish some things on my list (my list of things to do before I die), because a small part of me feels like on this birthday, I'm saying goodbye to a big part of myself.
So in January, I used a spa gift certificate (thanks to my amazing sisters) and got some facial treatments. I chose to have microdermabrasion...only because the word 'chemical' and 'peel' together frightened me.
While it felt good...I didn't see much result. (I thought I would walk away with the face of a 15 year-old) I thought that acne was something that went away after teenage years...then I figured I still had problems because I was always pregnant or nursing...then I've realized I just have problems.
I went to see my dermatologist, for my ears ( multiple earring issue is not rebellion...I can't get my ears to heal properly if I take them out) While I was there, I asked him about facial treatments, and age prevention. Almost like he needed to build me a time machine or something.
He said that getting some treatments will help with the inevitable...then he mentioned the words 'chemical peel'. I asked for an explanation, and it didn't sound too bad. Then the kicker was when he told me that he could do it in office, and my insurance would cover it. What?! Ten minutes later I had my first chemical peel.
I got home and expected to wake up the next morning to my 15 year-old face. Nothing happened. I have oily skin, and it got dry...but no peeling. I called and they said "next time, we will do another layer" So four weeks later, I went in again. That time it worked better. My face peeled a bit, over the course of a few days.
A couple weeks ago, I called to schedule another one. I went in last Wednesday, and it felt stronger than ever. I drove home a bit excited and still hesitant of how my new layers of skin would look and feel. I knew that with Conference weekend...none of the nursery kids would have to see my scary face.

The story...
I got the peel last Wednesday. The next morning, I am cleaning out more clothes out of my closet. I'm thinkg to myself...I really don't have much to wear this spring and summer. I'm going to need some clothes. I went to my basement and found the box with my smaller sized clothes in it. After I blew about 10 inches of dust off it...I found some great things.
Capri's, skirts, tank tops, and even some undershirts. Now since these clothes were purchased almost 50 years ago (maybe not 50 years) there were some things I knew I would not wear. I was really enjoying hanging things up and filling like I had clothes again.
So the joy of Utah...I can't really pack up ALL my winter stuff yet, but I'm thinking there's no point in packing up the summer stuff either. And besides some skirts...what's in between? nothing.

Friday morning. I wake up, use the bathroom, get the kids to school, yada, yada...I look in the mirror to see my face starting to peel off. "YEAH!" I'm thinking. I'm loving the fact that this is working and...WAIT A MINUTE...I have that book club thing tonight. A reunion with all the beautiful and popular girls from High School. The girls that have stayed friends, and somehow I was invited to join, and none of them have seen me in 13 years or so.
I was already the 'freak' who went crazy in High School...the one that dropped of the face of the earth. I didn't attend any event or occasion worth mentioning...not even prom. I knew I wouldn't be a part of the reminicing...but at least I would look like a healthy, normal functioning adult...or not.
I realized it wasn't too bad, and some make-up was hiding it well.
I got ready that afternoon, and after looking through my closet for something to make me look 15 years younger and 15 pounds lighter, I settled on a regular pair of jeans (already worn two days without washing) and a plain undershirt. fantastic.
A few hours later, I was running errands with my kids...all of them...all four of them. I had this insane idea of stopping in a store and grabbing a spring-looking sweater or something to make me feel somewhat dressed-up. I trudged thought the store...tried on a white shrug-type sweater...and was done. During checkout, I saw a necklace. Simple and fun. (Here's where my shopping issues come in.) I grab the necklace and justify the item as a "gift" for myself...having successfully dragged four kids through a clothing store and all of us making it out alive.
I went home, dropped the kids off. I threw on my necklace and sweater, dropped in eye drops (so I look like I sleep...maybe even had an afternoon nap) and grabbed a book.
Two hours later...
Dinner was fantastic! It was a fun group of girls, these women were smart and funny, and at this stage in life, we had so much in common. Nobody mentioned my previous lack of social life or absence from High School...although I had to get everyone's names and I didn't know I went to High School with half of them.
I was really enjoying myself, and happy to make new friends.
I went to use the bathroom...WOW!
My face was falling off! Starting around my mouth...the skin on my higher cheekbones...and my forehead. I looked like I had put a couple layers of Elmer's glue on my face before putting on my make-up. It felt like it too!
I knew I wasn't supposed to pull any skin off, so I did a little rub over the areas...this made it worse. great. "Oh well" I thought, I'll just tell everyone why my face is coming off. At least they'll know it's by choice, and not a life-threatening disease. Choosing to have your face fall off for vanity reasons is funny...right?
I walk out and start to visit...of course, I quickly bring up the peel. Then as I am talking...I reach around and feel a strange plastic bulge on the back of my neck...then something else on the back of my shoulder. I'm thinking "what in the world?..." then it dawns on me...THE TAGS!!
Not just one price tag...the tag on the sweater and the necklace...and not just tags...the plastic envelope with the spare button...not a small button...a huge 1 1/2" white button!
As I pull the tags (and button) off and put the button in my pocket, I think "Well?...if they didn't wonder if I was crazy before...I'm sure I sealed the deal."
Then we chatted about books and other stuff. The night was great, and I had a blast.

When I got in the car I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I called Mr. Smith and had a good laugh. When I got home, he looked at my face and said "Wow!...yeah...that's awesome!"
When I told both my sister's they were both laughing...hard. My sister said "you poor thing...they probably thought you were trying so hard."

So if asked an embarrassing moment, I have this one (among a hundred others) but hopefully someone can remind me of this's a good one!

...and I highly recommend chemical peels! They work great!