Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to homework, Back to books, Back to teacher's dirty looks...

So people think I'm crazy... but I don't look forward to my kids going back to school. Not at all!
I love having them home with me, I love sleeping in, watching cartoons together in my bed. I love the warm nights, the sun not going down until 9pm! I love the chaos, no schedules or set bedtimes. I just love the freedom.
Not to mention, as I start each school year... I lose another child. (sniff, sniff) My babies are getting older. The older one want to do their own hair. The younger one have to pick out their own clothes. Pretty soon I will have lost them. I want to freeze them, right now!
I don't have any diapers to change. They are all pretty self-sufficient, and the older ones look out for the younger ones. Nobody's old enough to have attitude yet, and they all just love being home and spending time as a family. These are the years I will miss.

1. Sassy pants started Preschool. I always hated that the youngest child in the family got so much. Well... now I understand it a bit better. We have her in a great school, we have never been able to afford this kind of Preschool for the other kids. I think the structure and environment will be really good for her personality. We will see?

2. Fruitcake went to Kindergarten this year. (sniff, sniff) None of my children have had a hard time... leaving the nest. They are all very outgoing and excited for new things. I am the one who is sad to see them go. I miss them... especially Fruitcake. She is the sunshine of my day! She is always happy, always smiling. I will miss "This is the best day of my life!" comments everyday. And the "You are the best Mom in the world!" statement. Now her teacher will enjoy those three hours of her.

3. Miss MaGoo has an interesting teacher this year.
At the Open House, when we met the teachers... I told them that the girls would be absent the week before Labor Day. Everyone's teacher was understanding and I made sure to let them know any assignments would be caught up. Miss MaGoo's teacher and I had the following conversation...

Me: I just wanted to let you know that Miss MaGoo will be absent on the following days

Teacher: What? She'll be gone?

Me: Yes, we have a family trip planned, so she won't be able to be here

(the trip was a surprise, and Miss Magoo didn't know she was coming, so I was trying to be discreet. Miss Magoo thought she would be staying with family friend's that week.)

Teacher: (nothing...silent)

Me: I can have her do work while she is gone...

Teacher: (interrupted) You know that's illegal, right?

Me: Illegal?

Teacher: Yes, if a child has that many absences, it is against the law

Me: (speechless

Teacher: You have to fill out a form

Me: No problem, can I get one?

Teacher: I don't have the form.

Me: Do you know where I can get one?

Teacher: I don't know.

Me: (She's not making this easy for me) In the office?

Teacher: Maybe

Awkward! It's like High School all over again... I'm getting all sweaty just thinking about getting in trouble. Only now I'm an adult... and I'm not lying... and I'm asking permission.

So I leave her room and head straight to the office. I ask for a "form to be able to take my daughter with me... she'll miss school for a week... I was told I had to fill it out... or else... I...I..."
The Assistant Principal smiles and looks at me. He said "Did she tell you that you had to fill out a form?" yes "And she said to come here and get it?" yes "You're fine! Just send a reminder to her before you go... and if she gives you any more problems, come talk to me."
Miss MaGoo and I are in for a fun year! And Miss Magoo is my most sensitive child. It will toughen her up!

4. Then there's Smarty. Smarty is... very smart. She is fantastic at managing herself, and she loves her teacher. That girl is happy. I worried so much about moving her out of the Spanish program... and she is 100% happier. She is excelling, and so much less stressed.

They are growing up... it's hard to think that other kids, and other adults are influencing them day-to-day. I get such a short time with them. I feel like a corny Mom... but I feel like Smarty just started school a couple years a ago.
I'm sad for me, but so excited for them! They love school, and love learning. I remember looking forward to school... new classes, new friends, new clothes. As a Mom, I do look forward to getting back to a scheduled routine. Besides spending the year driving back and forth... it will be good for me too! I have accepted the fact that this year will be a difficult schedule. Here's what I mean:
Get older kids off to school... (2 1/2 hours later) Sassy Pants to Preschool... (45 minutes later) Fruitcake to Kindergarten... (1 hour later) Sassy Pants comes home... (1 1/2 hours later) other three girls get home.
But it gets better...
On Monday's: Fruitcake goes to school 1/2 hour earlier... and older three get home 1 hour earlier. Wednesday I drive carpool to Preschool, and every-other week I drive carpool to Kindergarten.
There's just enough space between everyone's schedule that I can't go anywhere or do anything! My best shot is in the mornings... but by the time I get everyone, including myself, ready... there's no time left.
Alright, alright... whah, whah, whah... enough complaining. I just have to get a good excuse for not getting anything done!
Here's to another glorious year of education! (If I don't get arrested!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Post Camp Report

Well... I must say that I hesitate writing much of my 'true' feelings on camp this year. (After learning some hard lessons last year) I suppose the purpose of changing around my blog and trying to be 'anonymous' has not quite given me the freedom I had hoped. Being a public outlet, I will word things carefully... and of course I'm trying to speak in general terms and writing more of my opinions and feelings of things.
Ha! That all sounds like there's something big to report... not really.

It was an amazing week! Our camp director is one of the best ladies ever... she is an awesome example of kindness, love, patience, caring, and spirituality! Just being around makes me a calmer person.
With that said... her and I could not be more different. I like to be quite organized... especially with paperwork and such. I love lists and folders and images. I get caught up in order, often forgetting to see the big picture, or just step back and take a deep breath.
Needless-to-say, our director is the spiritual glue that holds us together! It was incredible to see how everything fell into place and the Lord made up the difference for our inadequacies and imperfections.
Everyone really did their part, and tried their best to help contribute to an awesome week.
I think that the spirit of camp was the strongest I have felt in a long time... maybe ever! The girls all did so well, and the spirit was strong.
Sadly, the only moments of tension were with grown adults who really know better... and could have left their emotional baggage at home. That's probably harsh, but it's my opinion.
We had a particular incident with a Priesthood leader, who honestly scared the crap out of me! He was one of the most aggressive, rude, and verbally abusive men I have met. He was SO upset at some of the restrictions and rules enforced at camp. During the heat of the moment I expressed my feeling that he should leave camp immediately! Luckily, there were women who know him and his daughters, and knew the consequences it may have with them.
Having been victim to violence and abuse, my internal instinct was to get him the *beep* out of camp! He had brought a horrible spirit with him, had our Stake YW leaders in tears. He was yelling and saying horrible things to the sweet missionaries, expressing over and over how he didn't want to be there... it was a very shocking and an unexpected situation.
My beef was not only his attitude and disrespect... but he was supposed to be a Priesthood representative, to give blessings and administer. All I can say I would have killed over before I let that man lay one finger on me!
We also wrestled with some issues of prescription drug abuse, and of course the usual offending/hurt feelings drama. People stepping on others toes, and people trying to control situations they shouldn't have. I just don't have tolerance for things like that up at camp. I should have been more understanding, probably with the drug thing, but I get really bothered when time and energy is spent dealing with those things at camp. We are there to serve the girls, and we have plenty of hard work and sleepless nights, without having to pull any 'Jerry Springer' moments. Whew!
Again... I learned a lot! I had a healing moment with my Bishop and my own ward. (which I desperately needed) and I learned a lot about the Young Women. There were amazing camp leaders who are great examples to me. The girls are blessed to have such great women serving them.
The overnight hike was awesome! The spirit was so strong and the Priesthood brethren who came were inspirational to the girls.
On the hike, we had our morning devotional on 'Sexual Purity'. (yeah... not the most comfortable topic to discuss with 15 year-old's) The male leaders did a fantastic job being honest with the YW. There was a comment of "A guy will tell you ANYTHING you want to hear, if he thinks it will get him what he wants!" and "Men only need three things in life... food, sleep, and sex!" It was SO good for the girls to hear these things, especially coming from men whom they respected.
Then one girl asked "But what if he really DOES love you... he's not just saying it. How do you know?" To which a male leader answered... "If he really DOES love you... he won't want to do ANYTHING to hurt you or to make you unhappy. He will want what is best for you... like your Heavenly Father, and anyone else who loves you."
We made a pledge to be 'Virtuous'. That was our focus this year, and it is the newest YW value. I can say that virtue is not the funnest theme... but I have no doubt that it's what the girls (and leaders) needed this year.
As a grown-up, married, mom... I didn't realize how much becoming a 'virtuous woman' could affect my own life. I completed reading the Book of Mormon before camp. (yes... I admit that the week before camp I was reading until 3 or 4 in the morning... but I finished!)
We live in a world where virtue is becoming harder and harder to find. Even as a adult, we are bombarded with ways we should look, feel, and act. We are told that we must compromise our virtue and values in order to be accepted socially, have interesting and fun-filled lives, and keep our husbands interested. We are not much different than the generations younger than us.
We watch movies and television shows where adult women say and do things that are not virtuous. Celebrities, models, actresses, and high society women are not good role models... for the young women... OR FOR US!
I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to serve at camp. It really is my 'dream' calling in the church. I love the Young Women, and I am overwhelmed with how much our Heavenly Father loves them too.
While the stress, worry and drama is over... I have to admit I will kind of miss it. There are about 4 months until we start planning again. I will miss the girls, and I will miss the committee... and I can't believe I am admitting it... but I will miss the meetings too! (don't tell Mr. Smith that!)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Give me a "whoot, whoot"

That's right! The big day (or should I say week) is here!
This is my favorite time of year... NO! Not 'Back-to-school', that actually makes me cry!... it's time to escape the world! Spend an entire week surrounded by women, estrogen flowing freely. No cell phones, no television. Not even a 'blip' of what's happening in the world.
Camping is one of my absolute favorite pastimes. While the work is hard... intense...and often too dramatic... there's not a place I'd rather be!
This moment has been building inside me since January. Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into planning. (Okay... maybe not blood... and I'm not a fan of tears... but for sure SWEAT!) Long nights, lots of prayers, tons and tons of emails and phone calls. Visiting store, after store, after store, trying to find the right schtuff.
For me... it's also been countless hours on my computer. Developing love-hate relationships with images and fonts. Cussing at my printer and physically assaulting my keyboard on more than one occasion.
Neglecting my kids, my husband, and almost all my 'housewife responsibilities' in the past few days... it's CRUNCH TIME!
These are the moments I live for. When I am fed spiritually, and I feel the Lord's love guiding and inspiring me. I truly know that I am an instrument in his hands. There are so many things I could not accomplish if he did not want it. He has stepped in when I could not go any further. He has blessed my mind and my heart. In spite of all my MANY inadiquacies... he has not given up on me!
I've had my moments of doubt. Even yesterday I had to learn a hard lesson on 'boundries' with people. I have learned so much about myself, and ultimately I have become much closer to my Heavenly Father.
I have worried about friends, what people think, how I am percieved, and how I am treated. All-in-all I have learned that none of that matters. I have a job to do, and a calling to fullfil. I need to serve to the best of my capacity and if I make friends along the way?... great! If not?... that's okay!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Independent political party
Independence from foreign oil
Independence... fireworks!

I like to pride myself on being an independent person. I think it is one of the best qualities a person can have. But... have you ever met anyone who is TOO independent?
I have had to work on letting myself depend on other from time-to-time. I've had to learn to depend on my husband. I've had to see that asking for help is not a weakness.
There are two people in my life, who are on extreme ends of this spectrum. I try to learn from both of them, but both drive me crazy. So here's the story...

One of them expects to be taken care of by everyone. Like it's everyone's job to worship this person and give him/her anything he/she needs. This person has such a hard life... regardless if it's hard because of their own choices. Life is just too hard on this person. This person is selfish, and either hates me, or needs something from me... but never in between! This person has never taken care of, or supported his/herself. This person has no desire to take care of him/herself, and loves to play the role of helpless and stupid... as in airheaded.

In the other corner...
This person is the first to help others. He/she is so independent that it offends them when you try to help him/her. This person seems to be in a constant battle of who has it the 'most together'. The super woman/ super man who is out to prove perfection in all things. Heaven forbid they show a weakness, or admit they need help. And with a person like that, as sweet as they seem, you can't help but think... If it kills them to have you help them, what must they think of you when you need help?

I think that our experiences in life mold us, and give us qualities... good and bad. I know that my independence came from abandonment, and the feeling that nobody cared. I have to feel physically strong because I was physically abused... and I need to know I can defend myself. I hate to conform because I live in a place where everyone expects you to conform. Had I lived somewhere else, or grown up around different people... would I be someone else entirely?

So I can't help but think... one of these people thinks I'm a in-compassionate hard ass, and the other is in a competition of who needs the least help. How can people be so different? How can I have healthy relationships with both of them?