Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some Things

1.  I have discovered where the smell is coming from that makes me hate my basement.  It's coming from the laundry room.  I don't know what's causing it yet, but the door was shut for awhile and blocked by a towel and I found I that the smell has dissipated and I didn't want to gag when going into the basement.  When I opened to door to do the laundry I almost fell over with the power of the smell.  So good news is that I can shut the door and enjoy the basement, bad news is that I still have to do laundry!  Oh the horror.

2.  I went to a seminar yesterday.  The key phrase there is that "I went".  That in itself is an accomplishment.  I got out of the house and actually did something!  My outlook thanks me and I'm sure my paycheck will too.

3.  But really, about the seminar.  It was good.  It was inspiring.  It was a motivational seminar designed to not make our work better but to make us better as people in all aspects of our lives.  If we are better people then better work will  naturally follow.  It was filled with phrases like "Humility is the pathway to power"; "Insight changes eyesight", "Our life follows our language" and my favorite "I am a human becoming not a human being".  It was good food for thought.  Glad I went.

4.  With the discovery of the origins of the "bad smell" I might just end up moving my office back down stairs.  I really should put quotes around "office" because it's kind of a joke. It's just the laptop.  I wouldn't mind my ergonomically correct office chair back though.  So much better than a stool.

5.  I crafted.  Crazy huh.  I haven't felt like doing that in months!  But I started and I enjoyed it!  I made a wreath for the front door, Fall signs to hang from my banister and a pretty good start on Christmas cards.  I figure when you're in the zone just keep going.  It felt good, but now I have to clean up the mess it made on the kitchen table.  Sadly I don't seem to be discovering a "zone" for that yet.

May your day be lovely.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rebellion and all it's Gloriousness: The Teenage Years

I've been thinking a lot lately about my teenage rebellion years.  Well really teenagers in general.  There are so many things to worry about especially when you are a parent to said teenager.  I know several people who are struggling to deal with their troubled teen and are experiencing the frustrations of watching them make wrong or stupid decisions.  They are worried about the path they might be on.  They are worried that their child will make some of the same mistakes that they did while growing up.

My heart goes out to those parents.  I want to speak calm and peace to their souls.  I want to help them see the good parents they are and give them some rest.  But I don't have children.  I don't have a troubled teen.  Right now I just have the prospects of this little guy or gal fluttering around inside of me.  But I have been paying attention.

I paid attention to what my mom said when she needed a sounding board that wasn't my father.  I listened as she discovered things that she would have done differently in raising her older children versus her younger ones.  I come from a family of 7 kids and I'm the second one in.  My youngest brother is 14 years younger than me.  My parents learned a lot in that time span about agency and picking your battles.  Things that they wish they had of known with me and my older brother.  So a couple of days ago I called my mother for a refresher course in teenagers.  I want to share them with you in hopes that something will help and in hopes that approximately 13-14 years from now I can remember them when I'm in the midst of my own teenager's angst.

First let's talk about Rebellion.  The big scary word that everyone is afraid that their teenager will experience.  We tremble with fear not knowing when it will hit.  Not knowing how we're going to deal with it.  So let's try to put it in perspective.  There was a fireside given in my home stake that my mother attended dealing specifically with teenagers.  The speaker (whom I think is Brother Barrett of the Logan LDS Institute and is a very dear person to me and has helped me through a lot) said that teenage rebellion is a glorious time!  An exciting time. What!! you say? A glorious time!  Isn't that the opposite of what we want?!

It is a glorious and exciting time because your children are starting to ask the questions that they know the answers to.  I couldn't help but think of primary.  The 11-year-olds specifically.  In Primary they are the top dogs.  They have heard every lesson and they have the "Sunday school" answers down pat.  They know it all and some have a tendency to roll their eyes when asked to participate in lessons.  (This is a huge generality but I have seen entire classes afflicted with the eye-rolling disease, so it is out there, but forgive me if your child doesn't fit the category.)  And they do know the answers... intellectually.  But a lot of the times they haven't experienced the question yet.  Not for real.  They know the answers but they don't know the power of those answers in their own lives yet.

That's what teenagehood is for.  This is the time when they start asking the questions that they know the answers to.  They start finding out for themselves whether prayer is important or not.  Scripture study, taking the sacrament, going to church.  They start figuring out where they want to stand. And best of all, they are doing it in the safety of your home!  That's right folks.  At the end of the day they are still under your roof.  They have that safety net of a loving and concerned family to come home to and the stability that it provides.  They still have to borrow your car, they still have to get permission from you.  And they still have to abide by the rules, you know, the "as long as your under our roof" rules.  In fact, this speaker stated that it's the seemingly "straight arrows" that sometimes scare him the most.  They do everything perfect but have never questioned why or developed the solid foundation of their own personal testimony.  When their rebellious stage, or time of questioning hits then they have a lot more to lose with more serious consequences, like failed marriages or jail time.  Again a huge generality but put in perspective I would rather have my teenager do a little rebellious time under my roof than out where I have no safety net for them anymore. 

So, what can parents do to provide the most teenage friendly atmosphere for them to rebel in?  Well here's the wisdom that my mother's hind sight provides us with. It's not perfect but it's more than I had to go on before.

First: Establish the rules.  This is best done in a family council where all participants have a say and therefore buy in. It is also important that the family council is a safe place, not the time to get uptight about everything, but where everyone can express their opinions without fear of retribution. It is especially important for your teenager to feel they are being heard, that they have a voice.  At the same time you can express your concerns and fears as well.  As an extra added bonus, this also takes the "bad guy" tag off of you!

Second: Set consequences for breaking the rules.  Make sure that these are things you can live with since you are the enforcer in this matter. And if you are establishing curfews I recommend a phone call option.  If the kid knows he's going to be late then call and give mom and dad a heads up rather than leaving you to stew at home wondering whether they are dead on the side of the road and when it's appropriate to call the police.  Also, don't come down hard on everything.  Let the punishment fit the crime. If it's a little thing then don't come down with everything you got in order the "squelch" the rebellion right out of him.  My parents did that on my little brother only to find out that he figured since he was gonna get in big trouble for everything he might as well do something really bad to make the experience worth the punishment.

Third: Find ways to make sure your kids know they are loved.  With my younger brothers especially my mom started insisting on a hug every night.  It was cool when they were little but the older they got the more eye-rolls and "you gotta be kidding me's" came into play.  They balked.  But do you know what?  They didn't really think it was that bad.  Would never admit it, but I could see it in their eyes right after they rolled them.  She would hug them and tell them she loved them and goodnight and despite everything there was a little more light in their eyes.  Usually accompanied by more muttering and a muffled goodnight back and some kind of manly grunt.  It is part of the safety net.  Teenagers especially need that reaffirmation that they are loved because so much around them tells them they are not.  And quite a bit of the time you'll really not feel like telling them, and they'll really do nothing to deserve it.  But that doesn't change the fact it is needed desperately.

Fourth: Don't be afraid of your teenager.  Don't be afraid they won't like you or don't want to be your friend.  It's okay.  You are the parent and bottom line is that you love them and deep down they love you.  Hold on to that.  You might not get affirmation of that love for a long long time, so hold on to those memories when they were little and did express it.  You will hear it again.  Just be that solid foundation for them when they need it. 

Fifth: Strengthen yourself.  Make sure that you are doing the things that you are supposed to be doing.  Set that example.  Do your best to live how you want your children to live when they grow up.

Sixth:  Have Faith. "Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision" - Neil L. Andersen.  Have faith in God.  Have faith in the example you are setting.  Many of you out there are worried, almost paralyzed with fear at times that your children will follow in your footsteps making the same mistakes that you did in high school.  Please realize that your children see you as you are today.  Not the person you were in High School.  Please realize that you are providing your children with a much different experience growing up than you had.  Many of you come from broken homes and inactive families.  What environment are your children growing up in?  Is it the same?  Have you learned from your past?

Seventh and last but not least: Give yourself a break!  Be merciful with yourself.  Forgive yourself.  Cut yourself some slack!  This is your first time raising this particular child.  And this is the first time he/she will be a teenager!  You are both figuring things out and you are both making mistakes.  God knows that and he is absolutely incredible at putting things in your life to help you both out.  His mercy will help. His grace will compensate.  He cares about what happens to both of you.  Will it all be perfect?  Absolutely not.  Will there be heartache?  You bet!  Will you wonder what you could have done better?  Absolutely.  Did you do your best anyways?  Of course.  Of course you did, and of course you still are.  The Lord knows that.  He will help.

Okay.  There it is.  There's my blah blah blah on things that I will have to deal with in the future.  I hope some of it helps.  I hope you parents can go a little more easy on yourselves.

One more thing.  As I was talking to my mom a few things occurred to me. I did not have the best high school experience.  There was a time when I was grounded for pretty much the entire year.  I would get off of groundation just long enough to break the rules again and get grounded again.  I was a mess and a bundle of joy to live with, let me tell ya.  As I look back I realized that even though I knew the consequences of my actions, absolutely nothing was going to stop me from breaking the rules.  No amount of punishment would do the trick. It's like I had this need to see if I could get away with it.  The hammer always came down and I was never surprised.  My parents were frustrated beyond belief and we didn't exactly get along.  But still, nothing was going to keep me from breaking those rules until one day.  I realized that I was tired of fighting with my parents.  I realized that I wasn't happy and that I didn't want to live like this anymore.  I realized that something needed to change and I took action and made those changes.  What I'm trying to say is that no amount of lecturing or nagging or anything was going to make a difference until I saw for myself the need to change.  It was something I felt.  It wasn't like a lecture had finally set it, it was that I had finally asked the right question and then the answers that I learned in Primary had meaning.  I wanted to be happy again and I knew how to do it.

Provide that solid foundation, be the safety net, establish the rules and love your children.  You are wonderful!  You are doing something marvelous and worthy of praise.  You are being parents.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't Worry, I can Blackmail Myself! Part 4

It's been awhile since I have written anything truly embarrassing about myself.  So why not revive that genre of my writing and really go all in.

I woke up this morning with songs from Information Society in my head.  It brought back many memories so I got on ITunes and bought the album for a trip down memory road.  While I was listening to one song in particular it brought me right back to a Junior High/ High School crush and potato harvest.  Odd combination I know, but have you met me?  Enough said.

So.  This boy, who shall remain nameless, was a year older than me in high school and didn't know I existed outside of Jarom's little sister.  You see he was friends with my brother.  He had many.  I thought they were so cool.  And hence my crush.  Well in Junior High, which explains some of it, I expressed my secret love by making a picture.  It was a full sheet of pink and red hearts with a large heart in the center with this boy's name in the middle.  I was not stupid enough to have it at school with me, so I taped it to the back of my bedroom door... a place of honor.  Later this door was to house posters of Brett Michaels, Sebastian Bach, and a plethora of other bands.  But not in Junior High.

I thought I was safe in my unknown crush.  I don't think I told a single friend about it.  But alas, the fates conspired against me.  Imagine my surprise when one day my brother had this particular friend over and I found this guy walking out of MY ROOM!  There's no way he missed my awesome hearted junior high crushing expression of puppy love.  I wanted to die right there on the spot.  I don't even know what I did after that.  I don't know what he said or did, I just wanted to die.

From then on I knew I could never even hope of him giving me the time of day.  Though that didn't stop the crush.  Information Society was one of the tapes we listened to over and over during potato harvest.  Anytime "Repetition" came on it reminded me of my crush... the one I still had.  The one that was accompanied by feelings of humiliation.  It really makes no sense... now that I think about it this all explains a lot about my high school experience.  Huh.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Just Not Fair!

There's a significant amount of whining in that title.

You know how I said I was over the morning sickness?  And that I felt better?  And that life was on the up and up?

Scratch that.  That "flu" turns out to be morning sickness back with a vengeance!  I got sick again yesterday and spent all day trying to keep something down.  At the end of the day I found that chicken enchiladas are definitely NOT anything I want coming up again.  I went to bed about 11:30 after an exhausting day and woke up again at 2:30 to more stomach pains and trips to the bathroom.  Back to bed, up at 3, 3:45, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...   David called the doctor and we got an appointment early this morning.

Verdict.  This is not the flu.  This is me.  This is my second trimester, the honeymoon of pregnancy that I apparently don't get to experience.  I now have stronger (hopefully) medication and orders to stay hydrated 1 teaspoon of Gatorade at a time.  Since getting pregnant I have lost 10 pounds.  I kind of wish that I felt that were a plus, but right now I just feel miserable.

On the positive side I have accepted my fate.  I no longer fight it the way I did during the first trimester as it was all coming down.  The change, the life-never-being-the-same-again, the inability to work.  Now I am just accepting it. Doing what I can.  Messy house and all.  There are a few good days in the mix.  Sunday was wonderful.  Went to church the whole time, made dinner, went on walk and enjoyed the day.  That's why Monday morning was so dang discouraging, maddening, frustrating!  After today though I can either fight it or go with the flow so to speak.  It's going to beat me either way so I might as well go with it.  My paycheck is seriously suffering though.  Sigh.

So there's me.  Here I am once again.  No real way to plan things because I have no idea if I'm ever going to feel good on any certain day.  I'm so glad I felt good for Def Leppard though.  Perhaps that was one of the Lord's tender mercies.

Wish me luck my friends, wish me luck.... oh and if I should answer the door looking like death warmed over... don't judge me.  Thanks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sometimes ya just gotta

So.  My husband is awesome.  He's smart, he's witty, he's loving, he's kind.  But for some reason all of his smarts and learning and random fact giving are not enough to make up for a few simple things.  Like the making of Jello.  This is not the first Jello incident where I've wondered about my husbands IQ, but this is certainly the most entertaining.  In fact I laughed out loud when I saw the results.

You see, yesterday was rotten, absolutely rotten.  Apparently there's a bug going around and I got it bad...BAD.  I was visiting the porcelain gods yesterday roughly every 15-20 minutes whether there was something "in there" or not.  This did not stop till roughly 11:30 last night and I'm sure that was due to sheer exhaustion.

This morning I laid in bed not daring to move and was dying of thirst.  David was getting ready for work and I asked him to make some apple juice and some Jello before he left.  I figured those would both be easy on the stomach as well as provide some nourishment and wonderful blessed moisture.  So with the Jello I told him to add the ice instead of water as it would set faster.  He did it, I thanked him profusely and he was on his way to work.

When I finally dared to drag myself out of bed at 11:30 this morning, I checked on the Jello and just laughed. 
You see instead of stirring the ice cubes until they melted, he just threw them in and stuck it in the fridge.

It is especially good viewing it from the bottom.
I poured the excess water off and jigglers will have to do.
Did I mention I love this man!  I do.  May not be the best Jello but it was sure a needed laugh this morning.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome Back

Welcome back my long lost September days when the nights cool off and the feeling of Fall in all it's gloriousness is just around the corner.

Welcome back smelly Bath and Body Works lotions.  I'm so very glad that you no longer make me gag.

Welcome back high school music and the memories and excitement.  This was specifically brought to me by Def Leppard and the best concert I've attended in a very long time.  Thank you Def Leppard for still being talented.  Thank you for not disappointing.  Thank you for happy memories and for giving my husband a newer appreciation for your awesomeness.

Welcome back food and all your flavors.  I know, it's still early and I still have a beef with beef (ha!) but oh Alfredo sauce how I've missed you.  And variety, you couldn't have come at a better time.  Nothing against ramen and pot pies but...

Welcome back ice cream.  I know we still have a tentative relationship but my foray into the arms of an ooey gooey caramel and brownie DQ blizzard truly brought joy to not only my taste buds but my heart as well.  I hope that we are not parted for so long again.

Welcome back energy.  I know there will be days when you escape me once again, but I'm so glad to get a glimpse of what you once were in my life.  I promise to try to not waste you or take you for granted again.

Welcome back hope for the future and the excitement that accompanies you.  It's been awhile, I'm glad to see you again.

Anything back in your life?