Thursday, March 31, 2011

S'No Way!

Yesterday, I actually listened to a weather report (which is quite a rare occurrence for me), in which they earnestly reported that we had a chance of rain in the afternoon.
That news bummed me out, because the reason I checked the weather was to continue my long procrastinated (yeah, like 7 YEARS long!) project of transplanting a bunch of bulbs and other perennial flowers from the random places they have ended up (due to the sewer projects, the driveway project, the chicken yard project, etc.) and placing them in actual flower beds. Quite, quite radical.

So, just after I checked that depressing news, it began to snow. Yep. And now we have about 3 inches. SIGH.

I know that it will melt today. I know that we probably have one more snow storm this season. But logic doesn't have a whole lot to do with the bummed-outness of someone who had some actual gardening plans going.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Shameless Commerce!

Remember how I complained about fundraisers here ? And I said the only one I actually liked was our 4-H club's annual Cheese Sale? Well, it's that time of year again. One week only. Excellent cheese (it will arrive around the 2nd week of April). Let me know if you want more info.

It is just a good thing I love these kids so much! And that they really do get a LOT out of their 4-H experience. Almost enough to make sorting out 500 bazillionty pounds of cheese worth it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Last week I went to a "Shadow Day" for school the program (Fashion) at the University I want to attend--and OH HOW I LOVED IT! It was so exhilarating--the classes were exciting and I could do them--well!

, the design program, which is what I really want to do, is a "lockstep" program. You have to take the fall classes (which are only offered in the fall) before you can take the spring classes (which are only offered in the spring). Which really limits someone who has to drive 100 miles each way and has a family to take care of, who was really hoping to be able to go half-time!

And, it is a VERY intense course--the students in the class I attended said "They say if you are in Fashion Design you have to choose between eating, sleeping and hygiene--but really you just give up on all three! You can tell who the design students are--they are the ones in sweats and ratty ponytails, with dark rings under their eyes!"

Looking honestly at my life, I don't see how I can possibly do it right now. SmallDaughter requires so much attention, so much work--it would be really difficult to do a half time program, let alone a "time and a half" program.

So, I am rethinking my options.

I still want to go to school. Still don't want to go for nursing or elementary education. Still can't decide what else I want to be. Hmmm--this seems very familiar, like I have been here before! Oh, yes--I have been!

If you have any awesome ideas for what I could be when I grow up, PLEASE let me know.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Midnight Essay

As I prepare to return to college, I am trying to get as many scholarships as possible. One night, I woke up with an entire essay in my head, which had to be written down before I could go to sleep again. I don't know what scholarship will need this particular essay (so far, the essays I have come across have themes like "How would you spread the word about Credit Unions", or "Why is America the Land of Opportunity, and how does Brand X Butter help it stay that way?"). However, I know that someday, my midnight essay will be exactly what I need.

I will share it with you.

Most college students worry about meeting that certain someone, deciding what they want to do with their lives or finding out who they are and how they fit in. I worry about going to school and still being a good wife to my husband and a good mother to my children—but mostly I worry about SmallDaughter.

I worry about how to help her understand and be understood, I agonize about helping her meet her potential, I ponder about ways to help her learn to write her name. I worry about helping her learn her shapes and letters, to brush her teeth by herself and to say her prayers. But most of all I worry about keeping her safe.

Every toddler on earth has a knack for getting into trouble—but most of them outgrow it as they learn about the world around them. SmallDaughter is 10 years old, but because of several neurological conditions, she remains “the world’s tallest and fastest two year old”—functioning at about the same level as an average 2 ½ year old child.

She is a charming, bright, sparkling redhead, with big blue eyes and an infectious smile. Her ready laugh and responsive personality charm everyone who meets her. Yet, with all these gifts she is almost totally non-verbal.

I have never heard her say “mommy”, let alone “I love you”. Yet—she does communicate—surprisingly well. Using ASL signs, word approximations and body language, SmallDaughter expresses opinions, teases and jokes and gives us flashes into her mind.

People wonder how I can cope with the difficulty of living with a permanent two year old. It is certainly a challenge, but it is also a blessing. My older children BigGirl and LargeBoy were not only typical, they were above average. They learned skills so quickly and easily that it was easy to miss how much work was really involved.

SmallDaughter slows that process down. She is like watching childhood in slow motion. Every milestone comes at tremendous cost and effort. She just mastered the skills needed to “jump”—the motion of “bend the knees, then spring upward”. Her therapists (and her family) worked on that skill with her—for six years.

I would not have chosen my life. I would not have signed up to have a ten year old who still wears diapers and has tantrums, who pours milk on the carpet and has no sense of safety. But I would not trade my life for anything. I would never give up the lessons my family has learned— how valuable each moment and each milestone is, or how patient BigGirl and LargeBoy are with not only SmallDaughter, but anyone who is “different”.

Choosing to go back to college as a 39 year old wife, mother of two teenagers and a perpetual toddler (and her Service Dog) is scary. But, SmallDaughter has taught me:
I can do hard things. Giving up is not an option. Laughing makes things better. No one knows what the future holds, but today can be a great adventure. Most of all, I have learned that things (and people) do not have to be perfect or fit some ideal to be wonderful. Life is a sweet gift, and filling it with joy every day is the most important thing we can do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farewell-for a little while

We just got back from the farewell party for my cousin Matt. He is leaving on his a matter of hours. For two years he will voluntarily leave his family, his friends and his home to share the answers to life's biggest questions with people he doesn't even know yet--who will become some of the people he loves the very most. More than any other missionary I have known, this has been a long and difficult journey. I really admire him for choosing to serve wisely, humbly and obediently.

I was there when he was born. I can't even express what a cutie he was when he was little--outstandingly cute, even in a family that is famous for its cute kids! I was there two days ago when he made sacred covenants in the house of God , as a strong, handsome man. He is a HUGE* example and role model to my siblings and my children. He is one of SmallDaughter's "guys". We will miss him dreadfully.

I also know that he will be an amazing missionary. He is so loving and funny, but he also has wisdom, depth and compassion that many younger missionaries lack.

Go forth with faith, Elder--return with honor (and with some really good food for your loving {and possibly slightly bossy) cousin!

*his example and role modelness are about 6 times larger than his large self. We just had a discussion on the perfect height for a guy, and he said if you are taller than about 6'2" or 6'3" (which is the neighborhood he is in), than that is all people notice and remember. In this (as in so MANY other ways) Matt is just perfect!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I survived the wedding--which wouldn't have been bad, except we got a TON of snow on Friday night--which meant school was canceled and I had to change all plans to include SmallDaughter, and lost about 3 hours of prep time on Friday, and another 3 or 4 on Saturday due to shoveling out activities.

I ended up ditching a lot of really cute and fun ideas and going with something simpler (when you lose 6-10 hours out of a 2 day span, that REALLY affects you!). Fortunately, as my sister reminded me once again--Nobody else can see what is in my mind, so nobody else was disappointed when it looked different!

I did the backdrop and the bouquet and boutonniere. They did the cuteness and the smiling! I really do LOVE this couple!

Ironically, SmallGirl's school was also canceled on Monday--not because of the howling winds and blizzard conditions we had Friday, but because we got a sudden thaw and lots of rain and had serious flooding!

Now, I am moving on to other exciting activities!