Today I took my last final. It went so smoothly and I feel very good about it. I also received my Sociology term paper grade. A perfect score! Yay for me! My first semester back at UVU ends on a very, very good note.
So, Eric took me out to lunch to celebrate and of course, ended up buying me shoes. He knows his way to my heart. SHOES! They're cute!
I feel like I just climbed a mountain and I'm looking over the valley and it's good. It's sooooo good. I did it! I'm doing it! The kids and I have our whole lives ahead of us and it'll be good.
Oh my goodness. Little Miss Sassy-pants and I have been having a bit of a power struggle lately. I'm not sure what to do with her. She is usually such a good little thing, does what she's told, and is pretty responsible with her things and her time. That hasn't really changed, but we're experiencing a lot of back talk. And I mean A LOT. I'll ask her to do something and she'll immediately say no. It doesn't matter what it is I'm asking, she says no. It could totally be something that benefits her, she just says no. Getting her to get dressed, brush her teeth, allow me to fix her hair, eat her meals, clean her room, do her homework, ANYTHING is a huge power struggle. She'll do it, but she will whine and complain and stomp around.
The newest thing is completely bewildering to me. Every night I have the kids select an outfit for the following day. It has to meet my approval. We do this to prevent fighting and arguing the following morning. The kids feel they have control over what they are wearing because they are choosing their clothes and I have veto power if it's too scary. Well, Mckenzie does this every night, as per routine, but every morning she changes her outfit. It's usually something that is more appropriate to wear to bed (it has holes in it or it's too small.) I ask her to change it, she says no, I say yes, she stomps into her room and slams the door. It's been happening EVERY MORNING. Why? I ask her every night if she's happy with what she's selected for the next day. She says yes, and then the next morning there's a struggle. I don't argue with my children because I just don't. I'm the final word. However, that doesn't prevent them from throwing huge tantrums.
She speaks to me as if we're on the same level. Like we're not mother and daughter, more like we're peers. It makes me crazy when she says "I'm going to my friend's house." Umm, no. That doesn't fly with me. Children need to ask permission. They don't inform parents of their plans. Especially when they are EIGHT YEARS OLD! What is that about???
Then there's the bossiness. Ordering people around... I will say something to the kids and here's my little red-headed parrot at my side repeating the orders I've just given. I have to turn to her and remind her that whatever I've just assigned applies to her too.
Tonight at the dinner table she got so mad at me because I had to remind her once again that I was the mom. She ate quietly for a few moments and then announced that she was going up to her room, packing her bags and calling her Nanna to come pick her up. She was moving to Nevada to live with her grandparents.
How can something so bossy come in such a cute, small package?
I am pretty pleased with myself at the moment! I haven't taken all of my finals yet, but I have found out that I have an A in my psychology class which has made me exempt from taking that final. I also found out my score in my Student Success class has also made me exempt from taking that final. So, that leaves me with my Sociology and History finals. I do have to take those finals next week, however my Sociology professor sent me an email yesterday informing me that I received 102 points out of 100 on my last test because of my scores on my essays! I am so excited that I can't stand it.
When I got pregnant with Ethan, I put my plans for school on hold. I tried to take classes on and off throughout the years, but being the mommy of so many little kids made it a little difficult to do that. So I had made the goal to try to return when Carter went into first grade. Well, Carter is in first grade and we all know the obstacles I've faced this year. I had decided to once again put my plans for school on hold. But last fall I went out to lunch with my grandmother who basically told me to buck up and just do it. So, I enrolled and did it.
I didn't have high expectations for myself. I was always a good student in high school but hey, let's face it... my mind isn't exactly a sponge anymore. However, to handle the kind of stress I've been under and to be able to still pull off A's, I feel really good about what I've accomplished! Let's hope I can keep the momentum going this summer and through the fall! Yay school!
BUT all this success in school means nothing if I fail as a mommy, so I'm taking a lot of credits this summer but most of my classes will be online. We ALL need to be moving up!
There is something about rain that I love. I adore thunder storms. When I was little, I used to be afraid of them. I was really close to my grandpa when I was a little girl. We all lived on the same property, so I grew up right next door to him. I remember crawling into his lap and burying my face in his flannel shirt. He would hold me and just say, "I'm right here." Later, when I was older and would be in the mountains with him and it would thunder and rain, his blue eyes would twinkle and he'd say, "It's beautiful, isn't it?" So, I love the rain.
The best thing about the rain is that everything is clean and colors are more vibrant. I was cleaning my kitchen today and looked out my window as I was doing dishes and noticed that my fence turned amazing shades of brown. The colors were so beautiful. And as I was driving around town today, blossoms were more pink, tulips were more red, daffodils were more yellow, grass was more green... everything was better.
This probably sounds all silly, but at this point in my life I needed rain today. It was soothing and healing. I told my friend today that it's time for me to start facing the world a little more. I'm not going to let the mistakes I've made dictate who I am. I've done what I need to do to take care of them and now it's time for me to move forward and start to forgive myself. I can't control when others forgive me, but I can control when I start to forgive.
I also can't control outside perceptions and gossip. I've known that all along, but to prevent it, I've been trying to fly under the radar. But frankly, I don't care. People would rather talk and speculate and accuse than ask real questions and I can't do anything about that. I feel good about where I am and where I'm headed. I have the support of people I love and that's all that matters. I've shut myself down quite a bit so it'll take some time to open back up (not that I was all that open to begin with...but hey, I can try!)
My priority are my children. Doug and I screwed up but we can still try to function as a unit and we're definitely trying. There are bumps in the road because there are obviously still a lot of hurt feelings. It's a process. There will always be people who will criticize me for my mistakes and him for his, but in reality those mistakes have been made and neither of us can take them back. Both of us are taking steps to do what we can to make it right. And now we're trying to make sure our kids don't suffer any more consequences.
I guess I just feel like the rain washed away the lingering fears and resentments and insecurities. I feel different tonight. I'm actually looking forward to my tomorrows.
Yesterday was a beautiful day... a day for yard work!! Eric and I totally tackled my yard. I had this dirty little secret on the side of my house... junk covered in vines. We got rid of all the junk and all the vines and mowed that sucker down! It was very therapeutic.
I know this sounds crazy, but one of our favorite places is the dump. Garrett, Carter and I love it! It's so awesome to take stuff off the truck and throw it on the mountain of garbage. It's cleansing for me, in a way. Just to get rid of all the junk!! LOVE IT!
In the middle of all the yard work, I was trying to get laundry done. Yay. And Eric had his kids to get settled after school. He came back over with his lawn mower to help me tackle the mowing. It was fun to get the lawn looking decent again. Both sides of the house were totally overgrown with aspen shoots, so while Eric was at his house I got my little hatchet and started chopping down the bigger ones and pulling out the roots. Let me tell you, it was awesome!! If you ever have any pent up aggression, get an axe and start cutting up some wood. It's a great work out (I'm sore as heck!) and you'll feel like a million bucks in the morning.
After we got all the work done, we burned the wood in my little outdoor fireplace. The boys love burning stuff and I like to indulge their pyromania in a controlled environment. Who am I kidding? Eric likes to burn stuff too! Ok, ok... so do I!
Next up on the list... my flower beds. Thanks to a certain little chihuahua.... lots of stuff is dead or on it's way.
I totally have to brag about Garrett. He is hilarious. He may be a little scatterbrained at times, but the kid has a sense of humor that more than makes up for it.
I've been having the kids read out loud every night, which is something most of them hate, but Garrett loves it and he is fantastic. He is totally into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Last night he was reading one of them to me and he gets the voice inflection and the exclamation and all of that dead on. It's hilarious. He had me laughing out loud. Garrett reads at a 5th grade reading level which is awesome because he's a third grader. But he just LOVES to read. He will read for hours, laughing or getting mad at his books. He really gets into stories. He gets that from me. We can both read a book in a day or two. All my kids love books. Thank goodness!!
He also does these imitations of cartoons or TV shows that crack me up. My favorite is when he does accents, especially when he does the British one from Big Time Rush. Ask him sometime to do it for you. It's fabulous! I've got to get him into acting classes.
I love this picture that Doug's friend took. She totally captured Garrett's sense of humor. He is so dang cute!! You can't help but love him. He is always giving me hugs and cuddles. I just wanna kiss him all over, but he's 8.... a mother has to be careful with the love around here. Ha ha!
We went to church today. It wasn't something I was necessarily ready for, but the boys asked to go and how can I say no to that request? Mckenzie was not pleased at all, but we went. The triplets were greeted warmly by Brother Oler, their favorite teacher ever. I don't really know what the kids would have done without the Oler's this past year. Kjrsten was their den leader and Brett is their primary teacher and of course, Brayden is their friend at school. The Oler's have showered us with love even when it wasn't always returned. So for them, I am truly very grateful.
Sitting through church wasn't bad. The kids were good. The talks in Sacrament meeting were fabulous. And afterward, the kids were so excited to go to their classes. They'd been nervous up to that point, but they went without skipping a beat. It's a testament to how much they feel at home. We'd had some negative experiences before we stopped going. It was hard on the kids to go because people say stupid things thinking that they are being kind or thoughtful. All my kids really want is for people to treat them normally, like nothing has happened. If they wanted to talk about their dad not living with us then they would talk about it. Ethan especially gets his back up because he thinks that church is the last place he wants to talk about stuff like that. What makes people think that kids want to draw on those emotions at the drop of a hat anyway? And what's wrong with just saying hi?
The kids reported that they had a great day. They had good lessons in primary and they are happy with their teachers. And today there's been a different spirit in our home. I'd like to attribute it to the gorgeous weather, but I know it's because we went to church. The kids are getting along and they are happy. They seem content, like a puzzle piece was missing and it's been put back into place. I can't fix everything in their lives, but I can fix this.
However, after sacrament meeting, I came home and cried. I'm trying so hard to let go of all the hurt, but it's still really tender. The scarring isn't complete so that skin isn't tough yet. I have realized through this process who my friends really are and who they most definitely are not. So something good has come from all this. I also know that people in leadership positions are not always your friends, that they're "goodwill" usually just translates into empty gestures. That when they are really needed, they are not there.
But I'd rather focus on those who have been there.And those who I LOVE. Those who are my balm.
I have to list Eric and his mom first. Others may not understand our relationship or condemn us because of the timing of it. But it is what it is. He is a very sweet man who is not only sweet to me, but he is kind and patient with my children. On those days I couldn't get out of bed, he was the one who called and coaxed me out, telling me I could do it. And he still sends me a text every morning. And his mother is the coolest woman. My kids love her. And they've needed someone like her these past few months.
I haven't been great at communication, but Teri Fronk has been great for both of us. She seems to have a 6th sense for when I'm having a rough day because I'll get a text. What's really cool about the Fronk's is that my kids know that when they go over there, they are loved. That Earl and Teri are super interested in everything they are shown and told. I love that about them. The best talk I've had with anyone in a long time, I had with Earl. He didn't ask anything personal, we just talked. It was so nice to just be me and just talk.
Of course, the Scoube's have been great to my kids. My boys love to go over there and play. They are super patient and equally as interested in what everything my kids have to say. Of course, Jared has converted my boys to being Laker's fans and he has Carter thinking that Mt. Dew cures everything. I'm not about to let Carter find out.
My wonderful neighbors, who love me even though they have seen and heard a lot of stuff. Who knows where I'd be without John and Brenda? They don't have kids my kids' ages, but my troops still love going over there to play. How cool is that?
My Alisa and Eddie and Amelia and Gordon and now Luke. Alisa just knows. She brings me flowers and visits and I get to hold the baby, which really is a therapy. I really don't know what I'd do without her. She is such an inspiration to me. My tall, thin, beautiful little hero. And Amelia who every time she sees me at school, I get a HUGE hug. I LOVE that.
And lastly, my sweet Abby. I should be there for her more. She manages to pull me out of my funk and inspire me. And I adore her for that.
I don't list these people to make anyone else feel bad, but I want them to know specifically that I appreciate them and love them for everything they do for me and for my kids. The last 8 months have been hard, but we're making it work. No one is responsible for helping us come back to church. Like I said, I'm so not ready to be there. I could have listed about 100 places I would have rather been, so it wasn't like some huge spiritual awakening. It was as simple as my kids wanting to go. And these people I listed have helped make it easier for them to want to go.
Tests are done... papers are almost done... Spring Break is over.... I just have a few things to do tonight and then I am going to take a bubble bath and go to bed. I need a vacation.. or even a girl's night out. Anyone up for it?
We've been busy little bees this past few weeks! So be prepared for lots of pictures. There's a lot more on Facebook.
Garrett participated in his first Dual Language Festival. He's been complaining about it for weeks, so to be honest, we were kind of expecting him to get stage fright, but he completely blew us away. He is a good little dancer and did a very good job. I got it on video, but it won't download. They danced the Chihuahua, which is not just a dog. It is a state in Mexico. We did learn that Aunt Elma's mother was born there! How cool to have that connection!
Ethan has spent the month reading about an important figure in our nation's history. He initially chose Davy Crocket, but changed his mind and decided to read about our great-great-great grandfather, Elijah Nicholas Wilson, who lived with Chief Washaki of the Shoshone tribe as the chief's adopted brother. Nick Wilson also rode for the Pony Express and brought some of the first settlers into the Wyoming area. The town of Wilson, WY is named for him. It's about 15 miles from Jackson Hole, which is where I was born and raised. Ethan wrote a beautiful report and had fun learning about his ancestor.
The 5th grade also dressed up as the historical figures they chose and participated in a "wax museum." Ethan dressed as the pioneer version of Nick Wilson who always wore a hat in later years because he'd been shot in the forehead with an arrow during an attack on the Pony Express. And yes, Ethan has a Nerf gun..... he's 10 and has a mind of his own! But I did like his display!
This past Easter weekend we spent with Eric and his kids and James and Elma. We colored eggs and decorated cupcakes on Saturday. It ended up being an all day process and it was messy but so fun and the kids were very creative. We colored lots of eggs which kept disappearing. I had no idea my kids liked hard boiled eggs so much!
We made like 6 dozen cupcakes, but keep in mind we had like 15 kids at the house. The boys had friends over and we always have neighbor kids over as well. So it sounds like we had a lot but we didn't end up with very many at the end of the day.
Easter morning we woke up to snow! But by mid-afternoon most of it melted. We'd planned a BBQ at Eric's with his family so we headed over there for the Easter egg hunt. James and Elma joined us there so we had 10 kids and lots of eggs...EVERYWHERE!!! It was fun, but then for me, it's always the more kids the merrier....but not everyone shares that sentiment. I wonder why...
After the egg hunt, Eric had cooked up lots of varieties of steak, ribs and other meats and we had so much food, we all ate till we were sick. Eric's mom, Shirley had to offer up mint tea to help the guys digest all that meat. But MMMMMM, it was so good. Now it's the kids' Spring Break!! And I have tons of tests and papers due this week. Crazy, crazy!!
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: "I used up everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela
"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." – Herman Melville
Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. -Nelson Mandela
I am a single mom of six precious children! They are six little pieces of my heart, somehow walking independently of my body. My goal these next few years is to make sure they are going to be happy, healthy and successful.
Here's to new beginnings! Stay tuned!