Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Teaching Parker about the godhead:

(about 2011)

'God is the boss hero'
'Yoshi likes Jesus'
I found a lot of unpublished memories, they are broken and I deleted many of the sentences that didn't make any sense at all; I was exhausted.  But here they are, where someday I can remember them with the kids.

Ethan closing the freezer door carefully, one pant leg pulled out and trailing behind him

Parker singing 'come out butterfly' to a beautiful monarch butterfly cocoon.

Parker and Lyra both turning to me to give me kisses when I made kissy sounds at them in the store.

Parker getting his blood pressure test at the store.

Lyra singing to herself 'I'm a nice princess, I'm a nice princess'

Parker singing to himself 'god loves me, god loves me' as he walked up to school.

Esther had a toy in her hand and went to crawl away when Ethan cried and reached for the toy he wanted, she turned back, gave him the toy and then crawled away.

Ethan got his finger pricked for a blood test and after the nurse was done milking the blood out of his finger they gave him back to me.  I held him and through his tears, he held up his band-aid finger and started 'telling' on them, babbling loudly and angrily, waving his injured finger and then holding it close to my face for my inspection and then returning to angrily babbling at the ladies.

The teacher took me aside and told me that Parker had been pitching a fit in the bus, they went on a field trip and gave each kid a buddy.  They assigned a girl to Lyra and a boy for Parker.  Parker was VERY upset.  Apparently he insists on being behind Lrya in line as well.  The teacher looked at me and half smiling said 'It's to keep an eye on her.'  Parker is endlessly protective of Lyra.  Lyra knocked over something and Parker was worried that she would get in trouble for it so he insisted that it was Esther that had done it, even though I had sat there and watched while Lyra did.  When I insisted that it was, in fact, Lyra, Parker came over to tell me right in my face, like he was defending her honor, 'It was ESTHER!'  Sweet for Lyra, problematic for mom.

Oct 16
Esther's first step

Oct 31
Ethan's first step

the rain let up a little before we left for trick or treating and it was GORGEOUS!
we went to a whole block of houses
everyone LOVED it
babies in the wagon got a sucker each
they too loved it
Once Parker had a little heft in his bag, he started running from house to house excitedly repeating 'candy! candy! candy!  when we got home I told them that since they had so much candy, we then had enough to pass some out as well!
so we emptied half their candy into a bowl and they gleefully passed it out to the many trick-or-treaters that were still passing though
There were only a few of their more favorite candies left and now they are playing cats.... and giving Esther suckers, because she loves them.
it is sweet, but I am going to have a lot of washing to do to get all her sucker smears off everything.
I didn't want to take it from her, though, because the kids were so happy to see how happy she was.
Nov 7
Chris went out of town for a few days, and the kids were angels.  Ethan and Esther brought themselves in from the car while I got kids backpacks.  Lyra and Parker brought in groceries by themselves and brought them all the way in to the kitchen.  It even occurred to me that there was no possible way that they would all behave so well were it not a blessing.  Also, I felt significantly less tired.  I was happy and patient and energized - there was no particular reason for it, I really, honestly think that it was a sincere blessing.  And it occurred to me that Chris must have prayed for me - earnestly and fervently.  Later when he called, I asked him if he had, and he said, almost surprised, that he did.  I could tell.  I could feel it in myself and see it in the kids.  I know it sounds cheesy and dumb, but it really happened.  

Lyra came running in at night yelling 'Esther has her head stuck under the bed!  we knew that they hadn't actually gone to bed yet and were in there messing around.  Chris jumped out of the bed and ran to save Esther.  He came back promptly to report that the 'head' stuck under the bed was actually the head of Esther's toy.  So, it was hers, but.... not actually her literal head.

Isaac loves paw patroll.  the way he says it sounds a lot like 'bottle' but he loves it.   He will give anyone a hug.  I asked for a kiss and he made a kissing noise and leaned in till I presented a cheek, then he pulled away with a wicked grin and laughed with the sweetest glee.  He was teasing me, and he knew it.  When he sees anyone he loves walk in the door he yells with excitement and throws his hands in the air.  It is beautiful.

Ethan has been very literal minded.  I guess he has been that way for a while.  A few months ago he was telling me that, in spite of what I was saying, the car could not 'say' anything because it didn't have a mouth.  It really upsets him when we pretend to mistake his identity with anyone else.  It can really upset Parker, too.

Today Parker's teacher called to tell me he is doing great in school.  When we moved here he was decidedly behind and struggling.  But he is right where he should be now.  I am really proud that he has pulled up.  In some ways he is ahead, too.  So is Lyra.  Apparently in the computer math class she had one of the top seven scores.

Esther is always saying quirky things.  It is always startling, and I never remember what it is that she said.  'I want to do that, because it is fun'  It is fun because a lot of the kids her age would never think to add anything beyond the informative 'I want' so when she takes time to add the because, it is startling and fun.  When she is excited about something, I mean really hoping and excited, she clenches her fists and flexes every muscle in her body till she trembles.  It is adorable.  perhaps not when I write it, so much of who she is must be enjoyed in person.


I realized that I hadn't really written anything about the kids last year.  Ops.  I think I had written a few sulky posts and wanted to wait until I had that under control before I started imposing on whomever read again.  I ran across this random piece of paper with a few sweet stories that happened the first few months that we were in St George last year.  I thought I would throw them up so that I could finally toss this abused scrap of paper to a place of rest.

- Ethan- is very particular about how his socks are.  They must line up perfectly along his toes or he fusses and fusses and cries and screams.  The sweet thing is that when he saw me putting Isaac's socks on, and the seam didn't line up perfectly across Isaac's toes, he fussed and fussed and began to pull off Isaac's shoes until I realized what was upsetting him.  I lined the sock perfectly along Isaac's toes and Ethan calmed down immediately.

- Esther - is unusually expressive.  She can hardly talk still, but that doesn't stop her from saying 'awesome' when she saw a bowling ally for the first time.  She also exclaimed 'amazing' when I turned on the kitchen aid to make cookies with her for the first time since we moved.

-Lyra and Parker- We tried putting them in the same room for a while.  I think is was because it was so cold, or they were having a hard time transitioning in the move?  I can't remember now.  Parker was generally very patient with Lyra, but he had been complaining that he couldn't sleep because she kept talking and making noise.  To this, Lyra replied 'I just feel like if Parker's eyes are open, he wants to hear me.'

A conversation that Lyra and Parker had in the back of the car:

Lyra "Parker, listen to me! Mommy, Parker won't listen to me!'
Parker "I would listen if you told the truth"
Lyra "I always tell the truth"
Parker "no, you don't, Lyra"

I may have already written these down somewhere, but there they are, fun enough to be worth remembering.

I don't know that I ever wrote about when Parker saw some dried, smeared strawberries on the floor of the store.  He demanded some wipes, and then started wiping them off the floor of the store.  I know I had been telling him about being helpful or something, but had never intended it be taken that way.  He even got at least Lyra to start helping and they both sat there, insisting that we scrub that smeared fruit off.  Afterwards I really wanted someone besides me to give them a pat on the back for their super civic-mindedness.  I grabbed the first employee that I saw and told them, queuing them in that they should be impressed.  It was an older woman who enthusiastically told them how well they did, that she was the store manager and asked if they wanted a treat.  She then marched over to the candy isle, tore open a bag of dumdums (my kids favorite) and passed them out.  I was so grateful to her I started to tear up.  I guess our transition up to that point had been hard if it meant that much to me.  I still wonder if it was ok to let her open a new bag for us.  Still so grateful.

So there you have it, apparently all I have saved by way of memories from St George.  I feel awful because our kids were so beautiful.  They still are.  They are so very beautiful and happy and kind.  Unfortunately all I can really remember about that time is the occasional beautiful hike, horseback riding lessons, sitting in the ER with Parker suffocating and with blue lips in my lap as everyone in the wating room was seen except us.  People after us were seen and we were still waiting, even though I had checked at the counter that our place in the cue had not been lost.  They still didn't see us until I offered to pay them up front.  We didn't have any insurance at the time because Steton had some BS excuse for why they couldn't but had given every indication that they would.  I also remember sitting in the ER with Ethan.  He had been throwing up constantly, we all had.  But he was particularly bad.  We finally had insurance, but  when I had spoken with the nurse, she said that I was not to bring him in until he had gone so long without keeping fluids down.  I did wait that long and by then when I walked into the regular dr's office the looked at me for the negligent mother that I was and sent me to the ER without seeing him.  We then sat in the ER waiting for them to give Ethan an IV because he was dehydrated.  We waited at least 3 hours after the dr. had seen him.  No one would give him even a sip of water no matter how the dehydrated toddler begged for one.  even the skin around his nose and mouth was uniquely white and dried, it was like he was developing white veins around those places.  And then again in the hospital with Isaac finally getting ear tubes after months of consecutive ear infections. It was awful. Sometimes we had insurance, sometimes we didn't.  Then they changed it. We had three different providers that year.  and spent a few months with no provider at all.  It was a nightmare.  This year we have had two so far.  I am not bitter, I just absolutely loath this company.

On the upside, the people who love me found me a gym where I went every day.  It helped my knees a lot.  And horse back riding lessons.  Who knew, but they were a life saver.  They were a chance to get out, do something that didn't involve a crying kid, poop or vomit.  Playing with horses humanized me I guess.

Since moving to the Salt Lake valley, I have been at home more.  I think I am doing better now.  Granted, the other day I was fed up with the sewage leaking from the upstairs and into the down stairs.  My solution to that was to start tearing up the flooring in the upstairs bathroom.  I found the problem.  And the accompanying mold.  I cleaned up what I could and then  ordered $300 in tools.  They arrive Wednesday.  I wonder if they will be enough.  It is a relief to do something, though.

I had a moment alone with Issac today. It was so peaceful and happy.  The house was clean. I had a cup of tea, Issac was playing adorably with play-dough.  The trees were dancing around dropping the last of their yellow leaves.  There was beautiful music playing softly in the back. It was absolute peace. There was a soft cloud cover making everything seem extra cozy inside.  The occasional sun ray broke through the clouds just to assure us that the clouds were just for fun. Even the light, warm rain was breezy and affectionate.  It was perfect.  Issac was making 'pizza' that I would eat between my sips of tea.  I would then make them into balls, which he made into spaghetti strings with the 'play-dough stapler' but were actually vegetables that, naturally, made perfect pizza.  It was so peaceful.  I wish it was possible to capture that feeling and share it with myself years from now.  Isaac is so beautiful.

Parker is doing so well in school right now.  I asked him to compare a moment when he was not listening to the teacher to a specific moment when he was.  To think of how those moments felt.  He thought about it and said that not obeying really didn't feel as good.  the example he used was when he chose to lie on the floor during class.  He was lying in bed at the time and compared it to lying in bed.  'Why did it feel different?  I was just lying down like I am now.'  I appreciate that he could feel the difference, but it is hard to explain to an eight year old why they feel different,even though physically they are the same.  I am glad he saw it, though.  I think it made an enormous difference in his motivation to behave.  He is so much happier.  It is visible in his eyes.  His posture is so much happier and bright.  It is such a relief to see him settling back into himself again.  To see his sweet childish smile and bright curious eyes.

Ethan is doing really well in Karate and told Uncle Ammon that he even has four teachers who all have, get this, the same first name.  They are all named sensei!  He is great.  I love how he will just hold my hand as we walk and talk to me about whatever.  I love how he builds one 'contraption' after another and shamelessly asks us to tell him what we like most about the contraption  before he sets it off.  He and Isaac don't always get along, but he still looks out for Isaac.  Isaac threw 'turtleie' over the fence and Ethan was the one who made sure he was found and retrieved for the sobbing little brother. (7/10/2018) Another little boy on the playground was running around terrorizing smaller kids and decided to pick on Isaac.  I believe he called Isaac a 'poop face.'  It clearly upset Isaac and Ethan, enraged, grabbed the kids arm and squeezed hard enough to make it red for just a little while.  I took Ethan aside and asked him what was going on and Ethan said 'I don't know, but I didn't like that the boy was being mean to Isaac.  It made me really mad.'  Whatever,  call me a bad mom, but I gave Ethan huge props.  I was so proud of him.  I do feel bad for the little boy. I did my best to explain that I really believe kids act out like that because they have no better way to express some of the frustration they build up.  Poor kid.  At least my kid's anger problems are mom approved (nervous laugh).

Esther is so beautiful.  We had haircuts today, which she loves, and she sat there telling the stylist so matter of factly how she wants things to look and how she is glad to be there, because she likes it.  She was so fun to watch during her dance class. She is getting so big and moves with such enthusiasm and a spunky grace.  I love it.  She loves Lyra.  They are such good friends.

Lyra prides herself as being a voracious reader.  She really is. And I love seeing how different her beauty is from one age to another. She is changing so much right now.  She is asking more thoughtful questions and countering when the answer doesn't make sense.  It is such a joy to see how she is working through ideas.  We every other night, all the girls climb up the ladder to her top bunk, give the password, and then pile up to listen to her read scriptures and snuggle.  I think all three of us love it.  I am so glad to get to be with these girls.  They are both so cool.

Monday, July 11, 2016


I arrived there at 9 am.  It was mandatory that I attend the entire orientation and I would not be allowed to register for classes till I had. The entire orientation.  The actual orientation didn't start till about 9:30.  So I sat there, my babysitting time ticking away, waiting.  Finally the well-meaning students clapped and chanted some enthusiastic 'it's morning time' cheer at us and started handing out 'welcome' bags with the schedule and a school news paper tucked into it.  

Even though it was an orientation specifically for transfer students, I was still obviously older than everyone there.  Some people were there with their mothers.  Some with both parents.  Most of them were in their early twenties.  While that was entirely appropriate, it did make me feel a little out of place.  There was a small 'fair' set up where they had a few tables with pamphlets and SWAG for the different clubs and student organizations on campus.  I got a free t-shirt that I am sure my BYU in-laws will hate.  There was a small table that talked about babysitting, day care and other resources for those looking to be hired or hire child care.  I appreciated the table, but it was obvious that it was for people with one or two young kids, not five.  Which again, was fine.  I was obviously not the target demographic for this.  There were also optional campus tours, and so to fill the obligatory time, I took the tour, too..
The tour was led by an enthusiastic young woman from the biology department.  She showed us the library where we can write on the windows with dry erase markers and where they had a 'parents room.'  I wasn't able to actually see into it, but apparently there are toys in there for the kids so parents can study.  I don't know how successful that is, but I am interested to try.  Just like I am interested to try some of the other very important information they shared once we returned to the ballroom.

In the ballroom we hunkered down and learned very important things like how we shouldn't drink on campus and only engage in consensual sex and what both of those mean.  It was funny to be there with all the younger group, who were still a little giddy about both those topics.  I am glad to find out that I have been having consensual sex all these years.  They went over all the scenarios in which it would or would not be completely consensual, just in case there was any confusion.  Also, no slut shaming.  I am not going to do that.  I think I am safe to say that I can work with those rules.  Oddly enough, they didn't really go into drugs.  Or maybe I had completely tuned out by then.  I think I was reading something someone had written on the window with a dry erase marker.  They began to tell us about the parties that were held on campus and the fun food trucks that came through for lunch.  We could also write on the glass with a dry erase marker.
I was only there because they had refused to let me register for classes until I had had the tour, promised to only have consensual sex, had eaten the horrible chicken salad they served up on a stale bun with warm water to drink and had heard them out about how to contest things through this department and that department.  It made sense.  I understand where to go for a student loan if I need one.  

It was a little frustrating how the babysitting bill was racking up while they gave cute directions on how it was important to participate in 'transfer Tuesday' which would be held at a time I could never attend and required hours I wouldn't have to give.  Really, I was questioning my decision entirely.  This cutesy rhyming world full of meet and greet opportunities was never going to work out for me.  This was for people with time to spare and looking for an 'experience.'

Finally we divided off according to major. that was when I had hope that this whole thing wasn't a mistake.  
The student who gave us a tour through the business building seemed to be directed, even though the long tour through the business building seemed designed to waste just a little more time.  Good news is, I now know that the modern sculpture that runs down the walls and between the floors is supposed to emulate a waterfall.  Oh, and did I mention that we can write on any glass with a dry erase marker?  

The winding tour ended at a computer lab where the different business department heads introduced themselves.  They promised us again that if we just held in there a little longer they would finally show us how to register and with 30 min to spare before I had to be back for the babysitter, they did.  I did not have enough time to see one of the promised academic counselors, which was fine because I had already done that a few months ago.  I was frustrated to find that they still had not uploaded my classes.  There was a problem because I had completed my previous degree so the system refused to recognize my credits.  I was assured that eventually they would be counted.  Meanwhile, time was up for me. They had gone over time.  They helped the other students walk through their own registration,and I had to run home.  My babysitter had to go, and I was going to have to figure the rest out myself that night after kids had gone to bed.  But I had done my time and technically I would be allowed to sign up now.

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