Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blog vs Journal

I have a feeling I am not the only one who blogs about the good and takes the frustration and disappointment to the journal.  I hope so, or else my life is pretty depressing compared to all those who seem to constantly be on vacation, eat gourmet foods, and attend theme parties. 
I have been really discouraged lately.  And I am blogging about it.
I felt (feel?) like there is a reason we moved to Kentucky.  There has to be, right?  Why else did we move across the country, leave friends and family, and a culture and community that we were involved and accepted in? 
Well, obviously the reason we moved was for employment - a pretty good reason, but I hope and pray that we can also inform and educate people about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and what we believe.
It has been hard.
Hard to do, and hard to not be discouraged.
I mean, how much can I really do?  98% of my life is spent within the walls of my own home.  I leave my house to go to Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, TJ Max, and the walking trail.
There is literally one other stay-at-home Mormon mom in our branch/city/county/tri-state area. I have abused her and her willingness to watch my kids, but she only has one daughter and she does have extended family in the area so we have gotten to a point where the ratio of her watching my four kids to me watching her one child has to be about 10:1.  (Let the record show, she is an amazing friend.  Without her here, I really don't know what I would do... but I want her to be my friend - not my free babysitter, and I can see the overuse of the latter leading to the degradation of the former.)

Over the summer I had a good talk with my friends and college roommates about how the Church seems to be off the grid in this area.  I expressed my frustration in the situation and how I hoped that our area could be included in the Church's media efforts like this and this.
My roommate's grandfather is Elder Ballard, who just so happens to be over media, and she said she would have a chat with him.
A glimmer of hope?  Yes.
Unfortunately the response wasn't exactly what I had hoped for. 
Elder Ballard communicated how difficult and expensive it would be to take media campaigns to every little area of the country, and that I could make a difference by being an example and by being involved in the community, especially if I were willing to run for positions such as city council.  (Are you laughing at the thought of this?  I am.  "Valerie Johnson for City Council!"  I can see it now.)
This response literally brought me to tears.  Remember how I am pretty confined to my home and my child care resources are limited? 
Before even hearing this, I had made it a goal to be more involved in Riley and Macie's school this year.  I at least wanted to be able to work something out so I could go volunteer in their classes once a week - something that has never seemed so difficult before.  The more I try to work out the logistics of it, the more unrealistic it seems -- to just be a classroom volunteer!  How horrible is that?  I've never felt so helpless before.
Enter thoughts of ineffectiveness. 
It's not that I feel a duty to share my beliefs, but I really would like people to know what I know.  I would love for my kids to have friends who share our beliefs.  And I really would like to help at the school, dang-it!

It's been a rough week.  My kids seem to fight constantly.  Our family motto for the year, "Be kind and Loving",  has not been embraced by the children.
This week Riley told me, and I quote, "You're just not the mother I had hoped for!"
Carver is teething and unusually ornery.
Macie is uncharacteristically mean after using up all her obedience and sweetness at school.
Charlotte whines all day long.  I have come to realize that she would be an incredibly happy child if I let her watch TV and eat snacks all day.  But I don't.  And she whines and cries about it all day.
A part of me wants to give in.  PBS and fruit snacks all day...she would be happy and I would be happy.  But another part of me continues to try and force her in to stimulating activities with me like play-doh, water paints and books, because that's what good moms do, right???
I don't know, but it has been too much this week. 

The topic of our influence and involvement came up in Relief Society and I expressed my frustration.  One sister made a comment directed at me. She said, "Valerie, you need to remember that what you do within the walls of your home is influencing your children, and that is huge.  It makes a difference to them and to future generations."
Well, that is just what I needed to hear.  I know that, but I needed to be reminded of it.  Especially when it seems like everything I say and teach is completely ignored.  When they are down-right disrespectful and naughty, I have to remind myself that I am making a difference in their lives. 
I can't give up. 
One day I will see the fruits of my labors.  Please. 

So, you won't see me running for city council, but I have a stack of pass along cards in my purse in case anyone wants to strike up conversation at Sam's Club. 
I may not be able to work out a situation where I can go into the school, but I will keep plugging away at my own kids in my own home. 

Wish me luck.

Then say a prayer or two in my behalf. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We like to knock our teeth out.

If you do recall, when Charlotte was about 16 months old she slipped in the bathroom, hit her teeth on the tub, and chipped her two front teeth.  I was horrified.  I cried.  Really, I did. I was so sad.  I took her to the pediatric dentist and they said there wasn't any nerve damage so they wouldn't do anything.  I envisioned her looking like a hillbilly until those two front teeth eventually came loose and fell out.  Well, it didn't turn out too bad.  It was a pretty straight cut across those two teeth.  I really don't even notice it these days.  And besides, we DO live in Kentucky.
Well, the day we arrived home from our trip to Idaho, Carver was crawling in the kitchen with something in his hand, somehow lost his "footing" (what else do I say here?), his hands slipped out from under him, and his face went into the tile floor. 
Chipped his two front teeth.
Not a clean cut.  He had serrated steak knives for teeth. 
He was harmful to himself and others.  He had quite a few bloody lips in the next few days, and I don't even think I need to explain how hazardous his bite was to the girls.  We were all on alert. 
He had his 16 month check-up in a few days, so I just waited to get her opinion.  Her opinion was that I should definitely take him to the pediatric dentist to have them filed down. 
I called, but it took us a few days to get in. Really, it was over two weeks before all was said and done.  By the time we got there, the teeth had actually dulled down quite a bit and were no longer pointy and sharp like unto shark teeth.  They still filed them down and we are all much safer.
A little before and after:
I told him to say cheese and he gave me that corny face in the second pic.  What a stud. 
He still isn't walking.  16 months now. 
He babbles all day long.  I love it.  He is always telling me something.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


When we went to Back to School Night we walked into Macie's class and her teacher, Mrs. Camron, exclaimed, "Well, you're almost as tall as I am!"

After her first couple of days at school, I asked Macie by whom she sits.
"I don't know.  Just some strangers," she replied.

Macie has referred to a "Mrs. Gum Drop" a number of times.  It took me a minute to realize that she is talking about Mrs. Montgomery, the teacher's aid.  I keep correcting her, but in her mind it is Gum Drop.

Each day I ask her what her favorite part was, and each day she responds, "Riding on the bus."

AND -almost forgot- Todd went to eat lunch with her on Friday.  At home she was super excited about it.  However, when Todd got there she was already seated at her table.  There wasn't room for Todd so the lunch lady told Mace she could move over to the next table to sit by Dad. 
"No. I don't want to."
So Todd sat at the other table and casually tried to interact with Mace.  At one point she turned around and said, "Dad, you can go home now."
I asked her about it when she got home and she explained, "I am just shy of him when he comes.  He is just a big, tall guy." 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Day of School

Since we have full day Kindergarten, Macie had a "jump start" day last Friday for two hours.  Just to break 'em in, I guess.  The first picture is of Macie on Friday.  All the rest are from today - the actual first full day for both.


Second Grade

I convinced Macie to get a haircut when I took her to the mall for a little back-to-school shopping.  She hates it.  She tells me everyday.  It had to be done, though.  Her hair was incredibly thin and dry.  Now it is so much nicer.  They took off all the yuck. 
Notice that for her first day clothes she picked an outfit that isn't new.  Her outfit for tomorrow she picked out of her dirty clothes pile.  Today when she got home from school she promptly took out her hair elastics, slicked it down with water, and tried to pull it back into a ponytail.  She also changed her clothes.  I can't fight it. 
I've realized it is a battle I will never win. 

Poor Macie was exhausted when she got home.  She was totally grumpy, but she eventually sat down and sucked her thumb.  She even told me she was tired so we just cuddled for awhile.  It has got to be hard - going from nothing to all day.  She fell asleep about 5, but I quickly woke her up and made her eat dinner, then I put her to bed at about 6:30.  I hate it that school starts so early.  They have to be out the door by 7:10 (6:40 if they rode the bus, but they don't in the morning - just on the way home).  That means Todd gets home, we eat dinner, then the bed time ritual starts.  I feel like during the school year they just don't get to see enough of Dad.  He does take them to school every morning, so that is good.
I am proud of Riley for being a good big sister and taking Macie to her room and sitting by her on the bus. 
I had a great day at home with Charlotte and Carver. 
School is a good thing.
Once Mace gets used to all day Kindergarten, it will be a great thing.

Last Day of Summer