Thursday, June 18, 2015

Because I'm a crazy person

I have a decision to make that I've been mulling over for months.  It seems like I've been contemplating it for over a year at least.  I have been trying to decide when to go to Colorado.  Before we moved it was an absolute.  I was going to go back for a visit first chance I got.  We moved, kids started school, Mike started school, and we started our business.  I had hoped to go in late May.  That was the original plan but then it wasn't great timing for a lot of people and the ticket prices were crazy expensive.  So, here I am, still trying to make the decision one way or another and I am really confused about why it is such a hard choice for me to make.  I've thought about it over and over and I think I am getting closer to understanding my feelings and I'm writing them down here in the hopes of making more sense of them.  It is actually a vulnerable post for me to write because it is admitting some feelings and insecurities I don't often share in public.

1.  Finances.  When we first got married I shut down when Mike would discuss finances.  It was always a topic that created anxiety and I would get physically ill thinking about it.  My stomach would tie in knots and I just didn't want to discuss it.  I've come a long way since then.  Now, we have one FHE a month reserved to go over our finances with the kids just so we can all discuss our money and our financial goals and so the boys can see what is coming in and what is going out.  Most of the time I don't have those old anxious feelings about money creep in but occasionally I begin to worry.  We are in a very different financial situation than my family was growing up and we are incredibly blessed to have what we have.  That said, it is easy to get comfortable and forget that we are partly in the financial situation we are in because of the way we DON'T spend our money, if that makes sense.  It gets easy to get lazy in the goals and to think, "Oh, we don't spend a lot of money, we can afford to buy that" and then that thought leads to a repeat of that thought and then a repeat and a repeat and before we know it, we've spent more money on things than we ought to.  I had almost made the decision to go and buy the $500 ticket to Denver only to have a budget wake-up call and realize that we have a lot of things needing our money right now and going to Denver is not a necessity.  Mike says I can go anyway and spend whatever money I need to spend but I know that if I do that we will not be putting money towards paying off our house in Colorado or towards other goals we have right now.  I'd need a ticket to Denver (Colorado Springs would be even more), a car, possibly a hotel, and fun money for playing with my friends.  It would not be a cheap trip.  Mike is right--we are fine financially but honestly, I like not feeling confined by finances.  That old familiar worry of "what if we don't have money?" creeps in and I realize that I'd rather be safe and secure than frivolous.

2.  General Anxiety.  I am generally an anxious person.  I am happy with familiarity and consistency.  I don't like adventure (especially not on my own!) because adventure means twists and turns and new paths and that would make me crazy.  I keep having flash-backs of my one and only trip to New York where I had to catch a train (I'd never even been on a train before) from Philly to New York, then catch a shuttle to the airport and then get my flight home.  I got off the train in New York at Grand Central Station and had no idea where my shuttle was.  I roamed the city for an hour and a half.  I had no money on me and no cell phone.  I was completely lost in a city where I knew absolutely no one.  I had only flown one other time in my life and I was so naive and inexperienced.  A thousand prayers were said in that hour and a half and miraculously the shuttle turned up out of no where and I made my flight home.  I have flown on my own a few more times since then.  I have a cell phone and a credit card and I'm a little better at planning than I was then but even then, flying and rental cars and GPS's and all the details of traveling stress me out.  All that being said, it's not stressful enough to make me not go but being completely honest with my feelings, I'd admit that while the idea of traveling and adventure is so appealing to me and so exciting, when it comes down to it, I am happy to be boring and stay in my comfortable routine at home.  I wish I could change this about me and maybe eventually I will (I'm already a much better traveler than I used to be!) but I have to be honest and admit that I think this plays a part in my conflicting feelings.  It is just easier to stay home.

Aside from my own anxiety about all the details, the boys have been experiencing more anxiety lately than normal.  They have been very concerned about being separated from one of us and worry when we don't get home when they think we should be home.  I know that I would be leaving Mike with two worriers who would constantly ask him if I'm ok and when I'll be home and I'm not sure if they could handle me being gone that long right now.

3.  Friendships.  The support system I had in Colorado was unique.  I've never lived anywhere where I've made friends so immediately and made so many deep connections with so many people.  We all had some pretty deep things happening in our lives and we needed each other.  I went through the toughest time of my life thus far while in Colorado and those friends were a part of that growth and trial and the friendships I made there are sacred and treasured.  I have such dear, fond memories from my time there.  I have been blessed to make some really great friends every where I've lived.  Heavenly Father has placed some really wonderful people in my life and I have always felt so grateful for the friendships I've made in each place I've lived.  Unfortunately, one of the aspects of moving that I despise is how it affects friendships.  Inevitably, time and distance changes friendships.  Life happens and circumstances change and while your life moves on in one way, your friends are experiencing things without you on the other side of the country and eventually, the ties aren't as strong as they once were.  I've tried to keep the friendships that are most important to me even though distance gets in the way.  In many cases I found that I had to loosen my grip on those relationships and admit that I wasn't needed the same way I was previously.  Sometimes it hurts me to feel those friendships slip away.  I consider myself to be a very loyal friend and and care deeply about people and some times I hold on longer than I should.  I've been frustrated and hurt in the past when I realize that people that I care about don't care about me the same way or don't put in the same effort I put in.  I begin to question the relationship and wonder if I'm just being a burden.  All this is hard for me to admit.

Somehow in the back of my mind I worry that this change has already taken place with many of my friendships in Colorado.  I am not sure that I am ready to admit that those friendships that carried me through some of the darkest hours of my life as well as brought me so much peace and happiness, are no longer as strong or as important.  I am worried that if I spend all this money to go visit my friends and things are different, I'll be disappointed and have to admit that I'm no longer needed as I once was.  I'm not sure that I'm ready to realize that.  What if it just doesn't meet my expectations and things are weird and there is just too much catching up to do and too many holes to fill?

4.  Laila.  This is the main reason I planned/plan on going to visit Colorado.  Months before we moved I began to feel so sad about leaving her behind.  It weighed on my mind and I dreaded having to say goodbye.  It felt like an official and final part of losing her.  Her resting spot is sacred to me and peaceful and I often think back to those quiet moments where I sat by her headstone and appreciated the magnificent view of mountains in the background.  I sometimes just long to be back to that spot to feel close to her again.  The last visit was heartbreaking for me and I won't forget the tears, the rain that poured on the drive home, or the emptiness that filled my heart.  But I've recently come to an interesting realization:  I'm ok.  Laila's birthday this year brought me peace and growth.  I realize that I don't NEED to visit her all the time now.  I still want to, but I don't NEED to.  That's a big deal.  I worry that going will bring up the feelings of sadness and emptiness I had when I left.  She has a new neighbor now and I think that it might be good to visit with her neighbor's mom and that will be hard (and probably healing too).  I think I am afraid to admit that I'm OK and also afraid to admit that I might not be OK.  I realized recently that I haven't ever really confronted those feelings of leaving Laila behind.  I sobbed my heart out that day and then haven't really had a good cry about it all since then.  There have been times when I've felt the feelings trying to surface and I've stuffed them down and not let them out and I am afraid of them coming out.  What if I go and they come out and I come back being dissatisfied with where I am or on the flip side what if I go and I come back realizing that I'm ok being where I am?  It seems like I should be happy about that thought but I think I am nervous about that thought.  It makes me confused and not going keeps me from confronting either truth.

5.  Finally, I want to go.  I want to see my friends.  I want to have an adventure.  I want to do something for me.  Adrianne.  Not Adrianne the wife or Adrianne the Mom, just me.  Adrianne.  I want to go to Kneaders or Village Inn late into the night and laugh and cry with my friends.  I want to visit the Denver temple.  I've really missed the temple (we are 3 1/2 hours from the nearest temple).  I miss that temple in particular. I miss the crisp, clean air of Colorado Springs.  I miss the late afternoon storms followed by spectacular rainbows.  I miss Laila's spot.  I miss the sidewalks and the trails all over the city.  I want to pretend I am not a homebody and anxious person and embrace the adventure of going on a trip on my own.  I look forward to doing something for myself before I have to come back and homeschool and wonder if I choose not to go if I'll look back and regret not doing something for myself outside of my children and family.

I'm just confused.  I've thought over these ideas a million times and still, there doesn't seem to be a clear choice for me to make.  I don't think it really matters ultimately which I choose.  Both choices will bring me joy and both choices have the potential to bring me sadness.  I think I just have to make a decision and move forward and I wish I were better at decision making and deciphering which one will ultimately bring me the most happiness.  I just need to decide.

Someone bring me a coin.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Baking

Mike signed me up for a baking boot camp on campus.  I am not a baker.  I really haven't been that interested in baking, honestly.  I like sweets and desserts, I just don't really eat a lot of them and bake even less of them.  I have a big, full board labeled "Sweet Treats" on Pinterest with all sorts of yummy dessert recipes to try but I've only made a couple of them.  Baking is just exact and if you read my last post then you know how I feel about exactness.  Anyway, Mike is always excited for me to try new things and when he saw this class he told me to take it.  I was kind of nervous, honestly.  First of all, as a non-baker, the title "Baking Bootcamp" was a bit intimidating.  What if I was the only non-baker there?  He called up my friend who I served with in the Relief Society Presidency and told her he wanted me to take this class and would she help him talk me into it.  Ha, ha.  She called and we had a nice chat and she encouraged me to take the class and then she called her daughter-in-law and told her to take the class with me.  So, I signed up for the class!  It is a six-week class on Saturdays from 9:30 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon.  We show up and we cook all day with a lunch break (provided by one of the school's chef's) and then we get to take home some of the stuff we cooked.  We've done two weeks so far.  Last week was rolls and cookies.  I haven't been able to figure out the cookies.  I have a cookie recipe that I have used in the past and it has worked pretty consistently but I really wanted to make the chef's recipe work but I've made it probably five times and they are always flat.  Everyone in the class who made them in the week had flat cookies too so the chef thinks he wrote the recipe wrong for us and gave us some tweaks to make.  I will have to try again but I am all cookied out for now.  

The rolls on the other hand were awesome.  I made them once and didn't put in enough sugar.  I made them again and they were prefect!  So good.   


 Yesterday was the second class and it was all about pies and cake.  We made about eight different recipes and got to take home two full pies each.  It was such a fun and interesting class and I texted Mike during the class to tell him thank you for making me try new things and get out of my comfort zone.  My only disappointment is that I'm trying to lose weight and this won't help me too much!!

I've had a couple of doctors appointments lately.  One appointment was a check up to see how my hives are doing.  They are gone.  I am itchy but not rashy.  I had to take the medicine on a double dosage and then had to start taking it again because the rash came back.  So, this was to see if the rash had finally gone away.  The fact that I'm still itchy could possibly mean that I have an autoimmune disease.  The doctor ordered some blood work and the results should be in this week.  Probably if it's an autoimmune disease it is a thyroid issue since I have a lot of the symptoms but I've been tested for it before and always been in the normal range.

The other appointment was for my ankle, which has hurt for months.  The doctor thinks I sprained my ankle and I'm supposed to wear a brace for a couple of weeks.  I also have to get an x-ray just in the off chance that I broke something.  I don't think it's broken.

The rest of the week has been filled with friends and swimming.  It's been a good summer so far with a lot of fun and the boys have been awesome.  Piper loves having them home and the boys are so good about playing with her.  The other day Mike said, "You need to go see what is going on in the dining room."  I sneaked around the corner to find all three boys sitting in a circle around Piper pretending to have a tea party with her.  She was pouring water for them and handing them plates with pretend food.  It was adorable.  They are such good brothers to her.  

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Blasted Machine

Mike is about to be swamped with school work in the next few weeks.  He has had a light load for the last couple of weeks and now things are really going to pick up.  He's been nervous about the work load and wondering how he will keep up the pace with all the business orders, his job as a father and husband, and school work.  (His callings are only Sunday callings and don't require too much out of him on the other days.  He is a finance clerk and the piano player in Primary)

I've been feeling bad for him and have been thinking of ways that I could prepare to lighten his load for when school becomes busy.  I was thinking about the business and thought that perhaps it was time for me to learn how to use the machine and cut the products out.  Our first product I made on the scroll saw.  It was fun and I liked using my hands but it was slow so we purchased this CNC Router to do all the cutting.  It's pretty complicated.  Mike has been cutting things out for six months now.  He knows the computer program and understands the Router.  Also, he has worked with tools throughout his life.  It's not a completely new skill for him.  I on the other hand do not work with tools.  I don't work with computer either.  I mean, a blog post here and there, email, etc.  I can't even do instagram and only recently have learned a little of photoshop.  I haven't even skimmed the surface of that program yet.  I've learned a bit of the computer program over the last six months.  I know how to turn an image into vectors for instance.  That's a big deal for me.  So now I am trying to figure out how to take our designed product and transfer it to the work laptop that is connected to the router and then set up the wood and get the product cut out.  

It is super frustrating for me.  In fact, I kind of hate it.  I just would be very happy sitting around doing all the design work and never cutting a single product out.  Mike, for the most part, enjoys the cutting out and while he is creative, he isn't super artistic and therefore, can't do a lot of the designing.  I also help do a large portion of the cleaning up of the products and we share the job of shipping but I do all the photography of the products.  (This doesn't even start to describe all that Camille does for marketing and web design, and all the financial book keeping)

So far I've cut out three successful teacher appreciation apples and one that I have to salvage.  It was the first one I tried all on my own and already there is a problem.  At least it was the very beginning of the program.  But oh!  It's so annoying.  I honestly think that if Mike and I didn't like each other so much we might end up in couples therapy.  Ha, ha.  

No, seriously.  

He's been very patient with me and I think I've been patient with him.  But I do not enjoy this part of our business.  

In the meantime, I'm slowly working on the alphabet.  I like my A but think it needs tweaking.  I do not like the B and will have to redo it but I love the C.  I will need to pick up the speed on these letters if I ever want to get all the letters done but to actually make them become a product we will have to own a laser and that probably won't happen for a long time and when it does, I'll then have to learn how to work that and I am not really looking forward to that.  




Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer so far

The first full week of summer break is underway.  Mostly, the kids want to be at the pool every single day.  We go whenever I have time but my house is suffering because we'd rather be swimming than cleaning.  Mike made a schedule for the boys to fill their time with reading, math, chores, piano practice, scripture reading, etc.  This week Eli has been taking swimming lessons.  He loved it and he's a better swimmer than I thought.  Next week the older boys have a Minecraft Mod camp at UT campus and then as soon as they get home they have to head to twilight camp for scouts each night.  It will be busy for them that week.  This first picture is random.  Mike is helping me format a cook book so my recipes are more organized and I thought it would look better if I had pictures of some of the food we eat.  This week we ate Honey Garlic Chicken.  It's delicious and easy to make.  I love crockpot meals.  
 Ammon graduated yesterday and since I couldn't be there to celebrate with everyone we did our own celebrating by going to get ice cream at Twisters, the drive-in on the corner by our house.








Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pictures of our week

The school year is over.  It was kind of a let down this year.  I have a lot to write about and explain as far as school goes but not enough time right now to say much about it so for now I'll just say that it is over and we are enjoying summer.  I have a bunch of photos and it's late so I can't say too much about them.  
1.  This girl.  She is so cute.  She's been going in the potty about once a day now.  I am not pushing her, just ask her if she wants to sit on the potty and if she does then great!  Some times she wants to and other times she doesn't.  She is on the right track.  She is adorable and mostly such an obedient little girl and only some times tries to see how far she can push us.  She is loving having her brothers home now.  


2.  All three boys got awards at the school awards assembly.  I couldn't get Eli to smile.  He says he did but I have the pictures to prove that he doesn't really know how to smile.  This is the best I got.  All three boys got awards for being on the honor roll all year and also for citizenship.  



3.  I'm still trudging along in the weight loss department.  I also have a lot of thoughts on this but won't take the time right now to write very much.  I've lost a pant size and I'm working on the next pant size.  It's coming but slowly.  Partly, I don't mind slowly because I think that is what I need to make it stick and partly I hate slowly because I'm impatient and want to be thin already.  I'm finding snacks and foods we all enjoy that are healthier for us.  The boys love these dark chocolate strawberry muffins.  
4.  Our garden is somewhat frustrating.  We have a lot of tomatoes, a pepper plant, mint, basil, cilantro, parsley, a blueberry bush, one cantaloupe plant, a strawberry plant, and a watermelon.  We also have a grape vine and Isaac just plated some corn from a scout meeting and we will see how that grows.  The birds, bugs, and bunnies have been having fun with our plants.  Also, I'm not certain about the soil and it looks like all the leaves are starting to rust.  I'm not sure what is going on.  Everything seems to be growing well so far but I'm worried it's going to be a losing battle.  We finally got smart and covered our strawberry plant with the lid to the fire pit.  It seems to be working great at keeping the bunny stumped.
5.  I've been doing Yoga.  I used to think yoga was a non-exercise.  It was always boring and felt like it was doing nothing for me.  In my pursuit to be healthier and not just lose weight, I've picked up yoga and I actually love it.  I've actually made all of the family do it with me from time to time.  I especially like to do it before bed so I can relax and let go of the stress of the day or the morning because I really enjoy going out to my deck and doing yoga while I listen to the birds chirping and look at the view in my backyard.  It's cool.

6.  We are having fun summer days and nights so far.  The kids have been having pillow fights with Piper on the trampoline.  They let her hit them and then pretend that she hits them hard enough to knock them over.  We've had tin foil dinners, S'mores, swimming almost every day, park dates with friends, etc.



7.  Things are still growing like crazy.  I am currently enjoying the Lilies along the fence and waiting for the Hydrangea to start growing.  Also, the honeysuckle from the woods behind the house is pretty cool.  You can't see it very well in the picture but it's so fragrant and pretty.

8.  This little guy hung out on my deck for a while on Saturday.  He had a friend with beautiful black wings and I tried to get him too but he was too busy flying around and checking things out while this one just calmly sat near me.  I thought he was pretty beautiful and I was grateful he let me take his picture. 



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dollywood and the Nursery




Our family went to Dollywood this past week.  It was a long, fun day.  I have only been on two roller coasters, both at Lagoon in Utah.  That was way back when I was a Senior in high school.  When we lived in Colorado we went to The North Pole and they don't have roller coasters but they have a bunch of rides.  I got queasy on those rides.  Mike, on the other hand,  has gone on a lot of roller coasters in his lifetime and always enjoyed them but now as an adult he hates them because always wants to throw up.  The day was so much fun.  We went with some friends and took turns going on the rides with the kids.  I didn't get very many pictures but I got a few to prove we were there.  Piper and her little friend got to ride on a couple of little rides and then they mostly played while the boys went on the rides.  The rides freaked me out and I mostly just kept my eyes closed on all of them but I went on them!!  Mike got sick after the first roller coaster so I had to ride the others with the boys.  I'm glad I did it even if they did make me want to wet my pants.  Will and Eli wanted to ride the rides over and over and thankfully, my friend is like a little kid and was more than willing to go with them multiple times.

The other news is that the Relief Society Presidency was released on Sunday which means I was released as Second Counselor.  I wasn't in the calling long and I have mixed emotions about being released.  I feel like I was just barely getting the hang of the calling and we were just starting to feel really united as a presidency when we got released but if I'm being completely honest, I didn't love the calling.  It was hard for me for various reasons.  I feel sad that I was just starting to like the calling and then got release before I could really embrace it.  I do feel however, so grateful to have had the chance to work with the women I worked with.  I feel as though I have learned so much from them and grown by working with them for those few short months (just six!).  Now my calling is Nursery leader.  I know that a lot of people think, "Poor sucker!"  I am not one of those individuals.  Perhaps my experience as the Primary President in Oklahoma taught me how important Nursery is.  That ward could not get anyone to humbly accept the calling to work in the Nursery and the Nursery was dissolved.  It caused me a lot of frustration and anger.  I could go on but I won't.  I guess I just feel sad that so many people do not see the importance of Nursery.

I was thinking about this calling and one of the little girls came to my mind.  Her mom is a convert as is her uncle and Grandpa.  They are new converts (well, the Mom is) and I thought about how this little girl is just learning the gospel along with her family.  Besides what they are learning at home, I get to be the first real influence on introducing her to the Gospel and teaching her about Jesus Christ and God.  She is the first generation of that family to be growing up in the church and I have the chance to influence her life.  She isn't going to remember me or Nursery, most likely, but she will hopefully be started on a path of faith and feeling that she is loved by God.  It is quite humbling actually to think about.

The Nursery in this ward is small--just five girls.  One girl is moving soon, and then it will be Piper, her little friend Hayley and the girl I mentioned above.  Along with these three girls is a girl named Mae.  She has multiple disabilities and is blind.  Even though the group is small, they are all either an only child or the youngest child and then adding Mae makes it a kind of crazy group.  I think if we can get someone help with Mae it will be easier but for the time being, it's just me and whatever sub I can find each week to help me.  I hope we can find someone willing to work in the Nursery with me.  It's a great place be and we will have tons of fun!  Playdough!  Bubbles!  Songs!  Snacks!  Toys!  Who wouldn't want to be in there?!  ;)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

School stuff

We are getting close to the end of the school year.  Hooray!  I love summer.  The boys have some things coming up this summer.  Usually we just do things around the house, go swimming, to the park, etc.  I love the lazy summer days.  This year will be a busier one for us partly because we are planning on trying out homeschooling in the fall and therefore, I want the kids to be more involved this summer in activities away from home with other kids.  The two older kids are going to scout day camp in the beginning of June and all three boys are going to go to a basketball camp.  The pool will open soon and we will spend many days there.  We also have a family reunion in July and I have a trip to Colorado coming up.  So, it's going to be a busy summer.

But, this isn't about summer, this is about the boys and their school activities of late.  First up, they had state testing this past week.  It was pretty stressful for Isaac.  The teachers make such a big deal about them performing well and the kids come away believing if they don't do well enough they won't get to move on to the next grade.  It's so ridiculous.  I didn't really know that I could opt out.  I know that some states have that option but I didn't know that we did and truthfully, I hadn't really tried to find out.  My sister called and told me I should look into it but it was the day of and when Mike and I discussed it we realized that the more important thing to us wasn't how much we dislike the test, it was wanting the boys to do hard things.  Isaac was so nervous to take the test and I didn't want him to back down.  I wanted him to realize that he could approach stressful situations with courage and face his fears.  After the first day he said, "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!"   He and Will actually found the testing to be pretty easy and after the initial fear and worry, they discovered that it wasn't something they needed to be afraid of.  The other thought on my part was that this next year with homeschooling Mike and I may choose to test the boys just to see how they are making progress but it won't be the same stressful situation so I thought I'd just let them do it this year and then this next year we won't have to worry about it.

I thought I'd add this funny conversation I overheard in the car the other day.  I don't write it to brag on the kids or anything but as a person who is not particularly academically bright, I am always amazed at the brains my children were blessed with.

Isaac:  It really bugs me and embarrasses me when my class always talks about how smart I am.
Will:  I know, right?  Today we watched Bill Nye the Science Guy and and my class kept saying, "We should say, 'Will Nye the Smartie Guy."  It really makes it hard not to get prideful when they always talk about how smart you are.

Ha, ha.  I couldn't help but bust out laughing.

Will had a play that his grade put on.  He tried out for the part of the octopus and got the part.  I was really proud of him and his courage.  I never felt comfortable with solos or acting parts.  He did a great job!



Eli is really loving art lately.  I bought him a sketch pad and some how to draw animal books and he is quickly filling up his sketch pad with drawings.  He also just recently started to enjoy reading.  Both he and Isaac struggled to appreciate reading.  Both of them were behind in reading when they entered first grade.  I didn't see the point in pushing them.  I wanted them to learn to enjoy it and I felt that with time and practice they would pick it up.  We did our required reading for school each night but I just kind of left it at that and never really pushed more than that.  Both boys have caught up in their reading now and they love to read.  I am so pleased with that because I love books.  I get so excited to hold a new book in my hands.  We have seven bookshelves in my house, all of which are filled with books.  I can't keep up with books for Will.  We get him a book and in two days it is finished.  In fact, we bought a history curriculum for next year and Will already finished his history book for next year and then started reading one of the recommended books for additional reading.  Eli is loving the Magic Treehouse books and Isaac is starting the second book in the Percy Jackson series.  Hooray for reading!

Finally, not to be left out, Mike has ended his first year of his PhD program!  We had some hard months and weeks and then some not so hard ones.  I'm proud of him and how hard he works.  I'm really uncertain about what this next year will bring.  I don't know if his research will be really involved and hard or if it will be less time consuming than his classes were.  His drive to the lab where some of his research will take place is 50 min so I'm hoping it won't be a crazy involved year but it might and if it is, I'll probably complain a bit but then we will get used to his schedule and it will become the norm.