Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shark Tooth (Hoo Ha Ha).

This post was partly written and originally posted on January 17, 2012.  Updates have been added to this post.

Sometimes you get a phone call from the school saying your daughter has fallen (but was able to get up), and they believe she's okay, but she has a fat lip and some blood.  Everything seems fine, regardless, she didn't break a tooth or anything.

Sometimes you talk to your daughter and your daughter agrees that, yes it hurt, but she's fine and wants to stay at school.

So you hang up and don't think much about it until you get home.

What turns out to be "she's fine, she didn't break a tooth or anything" actually appears to be quite the opposite and you're not entirely sure how the school staff missed the fact that your daughter's tooth is now shaped like a shark tooth.


You call the dentist.

30 minutes and $50 later...


Getting rid of the shark tooth... PRICELESS.

Cali has an overbite and the orthodontist mentioned, at a check up while we wait for her to get older before beginning work, that Cali needed to be careful because kids with overbites of this degree tend to break their front teeth at least once when they fall.

Oh good, she's done it three times now.  We tend to be over-achievers at our house.

I just need to make this kid wear a helmet until she turns 12 and we can begin her orthodontist work.

On the plus side, the dentist only charges to fix a broken tooth one time within a year's span.  If it breaks again, there's no charge.  I'm sure this is to cover any work that doesn't stick on their end, but I'm not complaining in any way.

Need a good dentist referral?  Go here.

Tell them Cali sent you.

(No, I didn't receive compensation for this post.  I just really appreciate a good dentist.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Your Pill Problem Has Done To Me.

This post was originally written and posted on May 30, 2011.  I would like to add that while my relationship with my mom still feels strained at times, we are on much better ground with life than we were at the point when I wrote this, and she is in a much healthier place.

Dear Mom,

First, let me say that the apologies don't really count when they're covered with enabling excuses. I know you were in a car accident. That happened 30 years ago. I know you had breast cancer. That happened 13 years ago.

Maybe I don't understand.

But let me tell you what you don't understand.

I remember lying in my bed in the middle of the night, and listening to you upstairs, getting up every half hour (oh how I wish this were an exaggeration) and going to the pill cabinet. Until I finally crept up the stairs and took the bottle I knew you were going after. I took it and hid it in my bedroom. And then I got to listen to you get up every half hour and dig with more frantic sounds through the pills, dropping bottles everywhere as you couldn't find it. I don't even know what the pills were.


I remember my high school boyfriend finding your pills in my jacket pocket and looking at me angrily. Until I had to explain to him that the only reason they were there in my pocket, was simply so you couldn't find them.

I remember coming home after a date to popcorn spilled all over the floor, and knowing that you had just stumbled from the couch to your bed, not caring or perhaps not comprehending the mess you were creating.

I remember you trying to talk to my friends in slurs and fragmented sentences. And the drift that was created between my brother and me because I stopped bringing my friends home, and thus stopped being home.  He's blamed me for not being there for the family ever since.

I remember coming home after a date and telling you I was home. You were in bed but asked me about my night and we would stumble through a 15 minute conversation. Only to have you scold me the next morning for not checking in when I got home. You didn't remember anything about our conversation.

I remember the letter you tried to write me... that was nothing but scribbles and illegible words. Until it finally just dropped off.

As an adult I remember taking my brand new baby to visit you. And as you held her you weaved and stumbled, and then got angry and threw a fit when we took her away from you.

And how you faked the seizures in the kitchen until we hauled you off to the hospital. What you don't know is that Dad and I took the E.R. doctor aside and told him of your medication problem. He said he wouldn't give you anything that would "affect" you. But once you knew you had your medicine, you started acting "loopy". Being flippant with the nurses and calling loudly across the hall at the doctor. When my 8 month pregnant body screamed for bed after hours in the ER I decided it was time for me to leave.  I don't remember the degrading remarks you made to me for leaving, but I remember they were made. And I remember how embarrassed Dad was by them.  And how empty it made me after all that I had done for you that night.

Every conversation was slurred. And full of chronic diseases. And I finally stopped answering your calls.

And now you need a place to live. With a pending neck surgery and a bag full of pills. And I don't think I can do it.

I can't have my Circus watching it. I can't have them living it. I can't listen to your excuses as to why we should all put up with it. I can't listen to the apologies that are nothing but "feel bad for me's". I can't feel bad for you. I'm too hurt for myself.

I'm too hurt that the pills take precedent to your family.

 I'm too hurt that I raised myself, with Dad being at the fire station and you...

I'm too hurt that I can't handle a conversation with you that goes deeper than the latest mod podge project.

And I'm too hurt to bring it into my home now.

 I'm sorry, but there are some things that medicine can't fix.

And no one can fix this but you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Toothfairy Test

I had a conversation with a co-worker a few weeks ago about being a parent.  I think she said it nicely when she stated, "It doesn't matter how many books or articles you read, or how prepared you think you are for parenting, it's never enough.  Those kids come with their own hard drives and you can only hope that they'll turn okay despite you."

Here here, amen, and all that jazz.

Parenthood is giving me a great big slap in the face right now with a couple of my children who are struggling with school, and I'm at a complete loss as to what more I can do.

And equally as aggravating: the toothfairy. (here)  Yeah, totally on the same level for me.

Yesterday morning I was throwing a load of laundry into the dryer because I needed an article of clothing out of it to wear to work.  Tayler's alarm went off in her bedroom, and she crept out into the hallway rubbing her eyes.

"Mom, I need to tell you something."

This could be the opening for who knows how many things so I simply turned and looked at her, waiting for what would follow.

"Cali lost a tooth yesterday but she didn't tell you because she wants to see if the Toothfairy is real."


I almost had a hallelujah spot right there in the closet of a laundry room (Literally.  It used to be a large linen closet).  I hate the Toothfairy.  Loathe her.  Who in their right mind ever thought she was a good idea?  You're naturally growing up and loosing body parts, let me give you money.  And here it was, my perfect chance to be done with it for good.  Cali is my last believer, and we're on borrowed time with her belief at that.

But then I thought of all the ways to realize that the Toothfairy isn't real... and of course, subsequently the Easter Bunny and that jolly ol' elf, Santa Claus himself...  In one early morning moment all of that would be gone from our house.  Forever.  And not just the loss of those beliefs, but we'd be leaving behind a stage of our lives.  That would be the end of little kids in our home.  Our family would step into a new phase of life.


And it all hung on that stinking Toothfairy.

I walked Tayler downstairs where we raided The Man's wallet for a single dollar, because let's face it, I rarely have cash on hand.  I handed the dollar to Tay and asked her to go make the exchange.  If Cali woke up it would be much less strange to see Tayler standing next to their bunk beds than it would be to see me.

But Cali didn't even stir and Tayler found the tooth hidden in an empty gum box (I don't know... my kids are weird).

And with that we borrowed just a little more time for Cali's childhood, before she gets too big on me.

For the record Cali didn't say a single word to me about her missing tooth until after dinner last night.  And she only showed me the gaping hole in her mouth, she made no mention of her test, and the fact that it successfully proved the reality of the Toothfairy.

Not a single word.

I guess that's how it is when you know something secret, that not everyone else is sure they know.  There's power in that, and that was good enough for her.

Or she faked sleeping and knows exactly what went down and now has a completely different secret.

I guess I'll never know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

After by Anna Todd: A Warning.

In this post I'm going to give you the run down on Anna Todd's Wattpad experience, that ended up in her online writing hobby becoming a printed novel series.  But at the end I feel it necessary to give you a warning about her series and the uses of Wattpad.  I don't feel like I can be comfortable promoting this platform without telling you what I have come to realize about it.  I'm not saying that it shouldn't be used, but I feel there's an issue here that parents simply need to be aware of.  I'm not against Wattpad in any way, in fact I have half a mind to start toying with my own story, but I feel a bit of education needs to happen for those of us with teenagers who may be reading these things, for free, on this site, and have known nothing of the site ourselves.  

  

Twenty-five year-old Anna Todd wrote the majority of After from her mobile phone while in and out of appointments and running errands.  Her story had over 1 billion reads and more than 6 million comments (and counting).   

The After series tells the story of Tessa Young, an optimistic freshman at Washington State University, and the dark, troubled British bad boy who stole her heart. 

Since becoming one of the most talked about stories on the internet, the After series garnered attention from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, who published the first installment of the novel, which went on sale on October 21, 2014.   

On Wattpad, After has over 1 billion reads, more than 6 million comments and the print edition is available in 26 countries.   

Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers. It has connected over 40 million people around the world who share a love of reading and writing.   

Wattpad is a new storytelling experience that’s mobile and social.   Wattpad stories are free.   

Mobile: With Wattpad you can read and share stories from your phone, tablet or computer. Whether you’re online or off, use the devices you already own to carry an entire library of stories wherever you go.   

Social: Wattpad creates direct connections between readers and writers. Everyone participates in storytelling on Wattpad. Some people may not identify with being a writer, but they can share plot suggestions via comments and messages or create original art/music to go along with the stories they’ve read.   

Anyone can share a story on Wattpad. Whether you’ve never written before, or published multiple books, Wattpad offers benefits for writers of all levels.   

One of the greatest benefits of Wattpad is a direct connection between readers and writers. Readers receive notifications whenever a new chapter of a story is posted. Many writers share their work serially: posting stories one chapter at a time, so readers keep coming back. As soon as a story is uploaded it can be accessed by millions of readers around the world. 

Wattpad by the numbers:
More than 40 million people have joined Wattpad
More than 80 million free stories are available on Wattpad
People spend 9 billion minutes a month on Wattpad
Stories available in over 50 languages - all for free
A new user joins Wattpad every second  
More than 24 hours of reading material is posted to Wattpad every minute
85% of all activity is on mobile

If you have never looked into Wattpad I would recommend it.  You can find some fun stuff being written on there.

That being said, I have something in particular that I want to say about the After series, and the realization it's brought to me about Wattpad.  After is a graphic harlequin romance book with strong language.  If you like harlequins, then this may be up your alley.  Though please be warned that it is also full of grammar mistakes and I wanted to take my red pen to it numerous times in the bit that I read.  It's poorly edited, which surprised me. What really concerns me, though, is the number of 11, 12, and 13 year olds who told me via social media that they had read the After series in its entirety and loved it.  It was their favorite series because, of course, it's based on One Direction.  And we all know how fangirls are about their bands (if you don't, I invite you to spend a day with my daughter, Casidee).

I'm concerned that this book is being marketed as One Direction fanfiction and is drawing the attention of tween and teen girls.  I'm concerned that they can read these graphic details, for free, through Wattpad.  They don't even have to buy the book.  And I'm concerned that parents don't know that their girls are reading these types of things.

While I can see that Wattpad can be a fun thing, it comes with a warning that anything can be written there and parents need to be aware of what their teens are reading. 

I put this out there simply as information and let you each make your own decision on the matter.  But I for one will not be allowing my girls to read this book.  I can not and do not recommend this book.

I participated in the After by Anna Todd blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.  Obviously.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Fresh Start.

31 December, 2014.

Happy 5 year anniversary to my man.

It's seems like it's been a life time together.  

I look forward to a lifetime more.


...

Lately I've come to enjoy the a.m. crunchwraps at Taco Bell.  It's a treat I let myself get every now and then on my way into work.

When I don't ride Trax, that is.  And with this 3 degree weather, I'm not riding Trax.  I don't have enough dedication to stand at the bus stop in subfreezing temps.

So with this morning being my anniversary, and with it being New Year's Eve, and with the simple fact that I was already a half hour late to work (let's face it, no one else is even going to be there) I stopped in for a crunchwrap.

The thing about doing this is that the employee who is always there in the morning is super awkward.  I'm pretty sure she's trying to flirt with me and I am beyond uncomfortable with the advances.  Yes, I said "she".

After having it happen yet again this morning, I'm pretty sure I'm just going to have to find a different Taco Bell.  I can't take it anymore.

...

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions because I feel like if I want to make a change, then I'm going to do it, I don't care if it's the 1st of January or the 21st of April.  But it just so happens that I want to make a change.  And it's New Year's.  So let's call this a resolution, shall we?

First of all, I want to love my body.  

I know that this is going to take some time getting to know my treadmill and my free weights again, but I also know that this a mental struggle and not purely a physical one.  

I'm going to figure out meals that I actually enjoy eating, but are clean.  No more crap.  And this is really hard for me, because I love my crap.  *ahem* a.m. crunchwraps and McD's Coke *ahem*

I also have two half marathons on my calendar this summer so I'm going to be training for those as well.  I'm thankful for my friends who ask me to run marathons with them.  

It holds me accountable for getting myself there.

But I'm also going to make sure that I'm putting my time into filling my mind with positive influences as well.  Which means significantly less social media.  I've already started following that rule of thumb, but I'm going to continue it in the coming year.  I feel I'm easier with myself when I don't have so much pressure to live up to everyone else.  Also, I don't tend to compare myself to anyone else when I stay off of social media.  

This also means that I'm going to increase my time spent studying my scriptures and the words of the prophets.  I tell my Young Women all the time, I never feel so pretty and sure of myself as I do when I'm reading my scriptures consistently.  Which I haven't been lately, so I know that it's problem.

This brings me to my second resolution: I'm going to study and read through all four of the standard works in one year.  I have my reading schedule set out for the entire year and plan on using study guides as I go.

I'm so excited.

And my third resolution is to get myself back in the habit of using my Flylady schedule. Because it works.  And it will relieve a lot of stress and mess if I just take the small amount of time required every day.

I know that these changes are actually big and will require a lot of determination and follow through on my part.  I know that changing habits aren't easy, especially when those habits are rooted from laziness.

I'll use my daily posts to keep myself invested in following through.  I'm too easy on myself and let myself slide from changes with a shrug of my shoulder and an "oh well."  I don't want to be like that right now.  I really want to make these changes.


2015 is going to be crazy.  Casidee gets her learner's permit for driving this year.  Jayme will go to high school in the fall.  Cali turns 10 which makes all my kids old enough to not have any single digit ages anymore.  This is the year we knock out some debt, and actually take a cruise for Christmas.  Hopefully.  I haven't made resolutions on those so we'll see how that works out.  I can't overhaul every aspect of my life in one year, but then again, why not?

For tonight I will simply celebrate my man and the simple fact that he loves me completely. Which is all that I could have ever hoped for.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Tree Of Life.

So  here's something that I've noticed:

my kids are a lot happier when I limit their use of social media.  Like, it was a night and day change in their attitude.

So basically, I'm fine with my kids not using social media ever again.  Or until they move out of my house.

I'm not sure why that is, but the evidence is plain to see with at least one of my children, so I'm going with it.

Last week for Young Women's we took the girls (and boys) to see the Tree of Life in Draper Park.  Have you heard of this yet?

It was awesome.

And it sparkled.  Which was even more awesome.

We started out at the church and did a thought on the Tree of Life.  Knowing that this a story that they should all be fairly familiar with, I just asked them to walk me through it while one of the young women drew it on the board.  (If this isn't a story you're familiar with you can read it in whole here.)

We started with the fountain, had the straight and narrow path with the iron rod.  There was the river of water, and the great and spacious building.  We covered part of the path with fog, and then at the end stood the Tree of Life.

Once we had our picture up, I asked them what does it all mean?  And they knew the general answers (you can read them in full here):
fountain is the word of Christ,
the straight and narrow path the way that we should go,
the iron rod is the word of God,
the dirty river is the word of Christ dirtied and muddied by the philosophies of men,
the great and spacious building are those who
the fog is temptations in our lives,
and finally, they said the tree of life is heaven.

Which is exactly the answer I was hoping they would give.

Because,  yes, it can be about the plan of salvation in that this is how we make it through this life to return to our Father in Heaven.

But it's more than that.  It's also about our daily lives.  The in and out pressures and temptations of school (for the youth) and work and just life are the fog that surround us.  Sometimes we feel like we're lost and can't quite figure out our way on our path.  So what do we need to do?  We need to hold on to the rod, which is the word of God, meaning pick up your scriptures.  Literally, hold on to the word of God.  And by so doing you will find the Tree of Life, which is the love of God.  Every day we can be doing this.  And what is the fruit that we can partake of from that love?  Peace, comfort, guidance, direction, tender mercies in our daily lives, answers to prayers.  The possibilities are endless, really.  And so, so personal.

So we talked about this.

And then we went to the Tree of Life.





Today: Riding Mass Transit And Freezing My Face Off. Don't Underestimate The Power Of A Kind Word. Youth Christmas Party.

I've taken to riding mass public transportation for my daily commute.

Mostly I think it's awesome.  I used to ride the bus a lot when I was a kid, so it's something that's familiar to me.  Saturday plans usually consisted of hopping onto the bus to go hang out at the local mall.

I'm not entirely sure how my parents were okay with this, but the said mall also held a dollar theater so I was pretty much set for the Saturday for less than five bucks.  I also rode the bus clear into downtown a few times when my mom worked there to meet her for a lunch date.

I was telling Brynn about this, and she thought it was pretty cool and started getting excited about the possibilities of trax/bus riding, but then I had to emphasize that this was before we had to worry so much about people kidnapping kids.  To which Brynn replied, "Kidnappers suck.  They ruin everything."

I would have to agree with that statement.

Normally if I catch a certain timed train, it arrives at my stop at the very time that the bus leaves.  So I hop off trax and get right onto the bus which takes me pretty much to the end of the street that my office building sits on.

Except today that bus decided to pull away right as the trax train came up to the station.

I watched it pull away through the window with a dropped jaw.

Over and over my co-workers have told me to call them and they'll come pick me up from the trax station.  But I don't feel like my decision to ride trax should become their problem.  Especially once I figured out that I can also take the bus and end up within a five minute walk from the office.

So I got of trax, pulled my coat close around me, and started walking.  It's only a 20-30 minute walk, and there's sidewalks the entire way so it's really not a big deal.  Except it was 30 degrees this morning.

Halfway through my walk my face lost all feeling.

I broke down and called a co-worker.  "Are you at work?"

"Yes..."

"Have you guys left on your morning drink run yet?"

"No.  Do you want one?"

"How about you leave right now for your drink run and pick me up while you're at it."

Done and done.

They chewed me out for not calling them earlier.  And then made fun of how red my ears were.

Stupid bus driver for not waiting a whole 3 minutes for the trax to stop so I could get on his bus.

Seriously.

I think this will be a smoother process in the summer when I won't mind if I end up walking, because it won't be cold enough to make my face fall off.

Also, today I sent out a round of cards and notes for the Snail Mail Society.


Honestly, I don't think we can ever underestimate the power of a kind word.

Do you need a kind word?  Do you know of someone else who needs a kind word?  Are you willing to send a kind word to someone who needs it?  Send an email to hellosnailmailsociety @ gmail.com for how you can get involved on either side of that project.

The stories that come in for why people would like letters sent are heart touching.

And to round out the day we held our Christmas party with the youth of my church.  We played this game with them,  but we're mean leaders so we made them start our a few rounds with gloves on, which was hilarious, and then did a round of white elephant gifts.


We gave a $1 limit so the gifts are usually pretty funny.  I've learned, though, that I need to start aiming for Caitlyn's gift.  Two years in a row now she's simply wrapped up a dollar.  It's genius.  That's a McD's Coke just waiting to happen.

Next year.

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