Monday, March 31, 2014

Arrow of Light

My oldest child recently turned eleven years-old.  With that, he completed the Webelos in Cub Scouts.  Upon completion, he had his Arrow of Light ceremony.  Growing up, scouting wasn't a big thing in my area.  My brothers didn't participate much in Scouts, I think they might have done a year or so once we moved to New York.  I didn't really have a clue about the Arrow of Light, what it was, or what was necessary to achieve the accomplishment. 

I am a Cub Scout leader in my area, so it might be strange to admit that I didn't have a clue.  The things I do know include that scouting teaches young boys and young men many necessary things.  They learn how to set goals to accomplish certain things.  They learn how to use tools to build things.  They learn how to cook, maybe not extravagant meals, but they should know how to read (and follow) a recipe.  They learn the importance of God and Country.  Although the "Pledge of Allegiance" might not be said in some schools anymore and praying isn't allowed in schools anymore, it is done at Scout meetings.  I don't know if it is done at all Scout meetings, but it is done at all of the ones I have been to. 

My eleven year-old worked hard to achieve his Arrow of Light.  Many hours were put into accomplishing the necessary goals to pass off requirements.  He is diligent.  He is intelligent.  He is brave.  He loves God and he loves his country. 

He received his Arrow of Light on March 25, 2014.  Below, the Scoutmaster is reading about the Arrow of Light.  My son is standing beside him.  On this day, he also got to lead the audience in the "Pledge of Allegiance."  


I didn't get a copy of what was read at the ceremony, but I should have.  He was listening intently as  the ceremony went on.


As the Scoutmaster read the seven virtues, my son lit a light for each one.  The seven virtues in Scouting are wisdom, courage, self-control, justice, faith, hope and love.  There was a light lit for each one of these.  After the lighting of all the virtue lights, he was given his Arrow of Light.


He was then able to cross the bridge.  As I understand it, it is the bridge from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts.  Since it was a quick walk across the bridge, I didn't get a photo of him actually doing the initial walk.  I had him go stand on it afterward so I could get a picture of him.  He will no longer be in Cub Scouts.  He will now be a Boy Scout!


It is hard to believe that I have a Boy Scout now.  I guess I need to get him a new shirt :)  I should also figure out how to get the badges and things on his shirt.  I do not sew worth anything.  I am grateful to all the people that showed up to make this a special evening for him.  I hope to someday be able to share his Eagle Scout photos :)  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Eleventh Birthday!

I was blessed eleven years-ago tonight with my first child.  He ended up being an emergency c-section since he was in distress.  He had been stuck in my pelvic area for well over an hour.  I tried everything I could to push him out.  The doctors tried to pull him out.  They even used forceps.  That little guy wasn't going to budge a millimeter further. 

He has made me smile daily for eleven years.  He has had so many great accomplishments.  His first big accomplishment was starting to breathe.  He wasn't breathing at birth.  I have always been thankful that he was born in a room that was connected to the NICU.  I knew when they took the baby and ran out of the room that there was something wrong.  I hadn't heard him cry or anything.  They took him and ran.  My heart broke.  I had watched enough "A Baby Story" shows on TLC (I believe), that I knew they would always show you your baby before taking the baby to weigh it and stuff.  I kept telling my husband that something was wrong, to find out what was wrong.  It seemed like an eternity, but it was a matter of maybe five- to ten-minutes, before a nurse came out and asked Keith, "Do you want to see your baby?" 

Keith looked at me.  I said "Yes!" 

The first time I saw my son was after I had been stapled up (yes, stapled instead of stitched, whole different story...).  They were rolling me out of the room and my husband came out holding this little fellow.  He was completely wrapped up from head to toe, except for his little face.  He was as white as a ghost, but I figured that was because Keith and I are his parents.  We are not dark by any stretch of the imagination.  I was told that it was because he hadn't been breathing, he hadn't gotten his color back yet. 

When I first saw my little one, I instantly had tears well up in my eyes.  I told him, "I am your Mommy and I love you!  Happy Birthday!"  I didn't realize that would be the last time I would see him for the next 6-7 hours.  He spent the next four days in NICU.  I made many, many trips down the hall to see him. 

Before I saw him again, my husband was allowed to go down to see him.  I had to stay connected to a lot of monitors.  My blood pressure dips tremendously at giving birth.  I didn't realize this until my third child when the nurse that was watching me told me that my blood pressure was close to the level where I could die.  She also had to keep reminding me to breathe.  Yes, should be something someone would remember, but apparently not.  It isn't something I usually think about, but it keeps happening.

When my husband went down, I had him count his fingers and toes.  I wanted a full report on the baby.  Since all I had seen was his perfect little face, I had no clue how the rest of him was.  I would love him regardless of any flaws, but I guess it is just something a mom wants to know.  I had him bring the camera and take pictures so I could see him again.

He was perfect.  Except his poor little head, the head was perfect, but it was horribly bruised.  Between being stuck in my pelvis and having forceps used, his head was bruised.  It hurt him to be held because of the bruises.  It was very sad!  He was a little trooper though.  When he had a feeding tube through his nose, he hated it.  He somehow, to the nurse's surprise, managed to get his finger up between the nose and the tube and pull it out.  He didn't like that thing at all.

The day I was released from the hospital, he was released also.  I was so thankful that he was allowed to come home with me.  The NICU nurses were wonderful, and so understanding.  I felt like such a novice (let's face it, I was) at everything.  They could change a diaper in like 5-10 seconds.  I spent a good few minutes trying to get the thing on him. 

He became a big brother at 13 mos and 13 days.  He has been a wonderful big brother.  I wasn't allowed to hold him until my daughter was 6-8 weeks old.  After a c-section, you aren't supposed to carry anything heavier than the baby.  He was heavier than her! 

My sister sent me some pictures of him today.  It has brought back memories over the years.  I am so proud of the boy he has become!  Happy Eleventh Birthday to my little guy!





To the left, he had just enjoyed a good dinner of spaghetti.  He was famous for falling asleep in his spaghetti.  He was two years-old.


He wasn't supposed to climb trees.  He was 4 years-old.  I never wanted to deal with broken bones.  He wasn't very far off the ground.  I think he is flexing his muscles!



He was two years-old.  I would pile pillows around him so he wouldn't fall off the couch.  I think it worked well!




I really wish I knew what they are looking at!  This was taken Aug 16, 2007.  They are at the Buffalo Zoo.  




This was taken May 30, 2009.  I think he is entertaining his little sister and his cousin!  



This was taken March 13, 2007, so just a few days before he turned 4.  His little sister looks like she wanted a kiss :)  He has an amazing smile!



Another photo from the zoo! He allowed a close up.   I often wish I knew what he was thinking!




 This was taken 8/1/2009.  Looks like we were just having a good time hanging out at our apartment.  One of us don't look as happy as the other two :)



I can still see this day in my head.  My mom had put this area next to the dishwasher for things that the kids could play with.  He rode over and flipped the dump truck over and started going through it.  His baby sister is just looking around trying to figure out what was going on.  I believe he was close to 21 months old.




This was August 13, 2011.  We were at a softball tournament back east in Hinsdale.  The children loved walking their furry cousin, Millie.
  


This was Mar 14, 2014.  He got to open one of his birthday gifts.  It was the one gift he wanted the most, Super Paper Mario!  He was so excited to finally have it!



This is today!  His little sister made him turquoise cupcakes with green frosting and M&M's.  This is me and my boys!  Happy 11th Birthday!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Work From Home

My last day of work in Salt Lake was Mar 7.  I do not miss the drive, that is for sure!  I do not miss being at work when my children get home from school either.  I do not miss not being here to say goodnight and give them hugs and kisses. 

I turned in my badge and my time card at approximately 5:30 pm.  I was let out the side door, the same door that I walked in the day I started work.  I was blessed to have that job.  It helped out when we needed some extra money.  We still need some extra money, but I am hopeful that we can get by on the amount I should earn while being at home, with my children. 

If I am offered the other job I applied for, which is much closer to home, and I will get furloughed for a while at a time, I would take that job.  I would know that I wouldn't miss my children five nights a week, until I retired, or they moved out.  I would miss them while I had to be at work, but I would know that, being furloughed, it wouldn't be five nights a week for the rest of my life.  Just five nights a week while they needed me, then I would have time off again. 

I have enjoyed being home.  I haven't so much enjoyed being sick and being at home, but I have enjoyed being home.  I look forward to good health finding me again soon :)  I am excited that I will get to go running with my children again this spring and summer.  I look forward to being able to go on a trip or more this summer without needing to ask permission for time off. 

I am going to copy and paste today's Facebook status, because it pretty much sums up my morning rather well...

"Today, I was in the process of trying to scan some stuff to my SD card and my printer wasn't cooperating, so I took the SD card out, and restarted the printer.  My toddler started crying, painfully, "Biter bite me." Translated "Spider bit me." So, I ran over to her, moved her, located the spider, ran and grabbed a container and a Yu-gi-oh card, got the spider into the container, found the phone, called the doctor, finished getting her dressed, brought her to the dr... spider not one of the ones I should worry about, apparently. Lost the SD card in all the commotion, can't find it anywhere. Glad my toddler will be okay. Hope to find the SD card because it is the one that goes in my camera and has my photos on it Printer will scan to the SD card now, I used a different one I found, but it isn't the one that I want, that has all my pictures on it."

I did end up finding the SD card about 4 hours after losing it.  It was in another slot in the printer.  I have to love not being sure if I am losing my mind or not.  The doctor said that the toddler might get an itchy bump on her leg.  I am happy that she is verbal now, so I knew what happened.  It is helpful when they can tell you why they start crying out of the blue.  

My kids got their haircut at school today.  Every 6-8 weeks they have students from the technical college come in and give free haircuts.  I wait until that time rolls around so I can save money and still have them get decent haircuts.  When my husband or I try to do their hair it never turns out quite as well as when they get it done there.  

I love being a mom.  I love getting to spend time with my children.  I have truly been blessed.  


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Money vs. Treasure

This is something I've been thinking about for a while.  I think it is common knowledge that I am not rich, monetarily.  I do have many treasures though. 

My younger brothers would sometimes be asked, "Don't you wish your parents didn't have so many kids, then you would have more stuff?"  To this, my brothers, being the two youngest, would just laugh and say they wouldn't be here if my parents didn't have so many kids.

I am one of six children.  I am the second, so perhaps, under the above theory, I would have been able to be born and I would have had more stuff.  Would I want that?  Not for all the money in the world.  I would not exchange a single one of my siblings for any amount of money.  They are my best friends in the whole world.  I couldn't imagine one minute without John, Brenda, Susan, Jim or Bob.  I couldn't imagine a minute without my parents.  My siblings have brought wonderful people into my life, through their spouses and their children.  

My last day of work, outside the home, is tomorrow.  I will be taking a pay cut, but I will be able to be at home with my children and my husband.  I will get to see them grow up.  I will get to watch ball games, go to school events, help with homework, just hangout.

Money is something that comes and goes.  It is something I have to work hard for and it doesn't stick around as long as I would like it to.  I work 40 hours a week and I get bills.  Some money gets saved, a lot goes to household expenses.  I don't need money.  I need my family, my treasures.

Treasures are things that I care about, that I can't imagine losing.  My family are my treasures.  Photos are treasures.  Time spent together is a treasure.  True friends are treasures.

My life has not felt complete since I started work.  On school days, I used to drop my kids off at school and tell them, "I will see you tomorrow."  I would get to see them for about 30 minutes a day.  That was not something I wanted.  It broke my heart, actually.

I am not sure if this is the reason I have not been healthy for the better part of three months, or if it is just coincidence.  I look so forward to turning in my badge and my time card at the end of work tomorrow.  I look forward to the moments we will get to spend together.  40 extra hours a week (at least).  When I drop the kids off, they won't be asleep the next time I see them.  I will get to see my siblings and my parents more.  I don't need to ask for time off and hope it is approved.

I am so thankful for the people in my life, for the blessings I get from having some wonderful people that care about me.  No, I am not rich, monetarily, but I have treasures beyond number!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Last Few Weeks

I haven't written in a little while.  I have suffered some pretty serious back pain, and I am trying to get that straightened out.  The pain led me to contact my previous employer, where I get to work from home.  I will be returning to that job.  My current job has chairs that are not cushioned very well, I have to bend over to adjust my desk, if there isn't a foot stand, I get to go looking for that and then bend over and stick it under my desk, after retrieving it from an empty desk.  I am blessed that I will be able to work from home again.  The only time I feel decent is in a hot bath tub or when I am moving.  Sitting in a reclined position is good as well.  I can't do any of those things at work!

I miss my kids A LOT and ALL OF THE TIME, when I am not home.  I worry about them.  I know my husband is fully capable of taking care of them, but I like to be here.  I feel like I have missed so much in their lives in the passed few months.  My toddler says a lot more than she did when I started working.  She speaks in complete sentences.  Sometimes she says really funny things, even if I can't remember them right now. 

One that I do remember is that she passed gas, loudly!  She looked at me and said, "Daddy did that!" 

I said, "Daddy did that?"

She looked around the room, and saw Hazel, our puppy.  She then said, "No, puppy did that!" 

I laughed and laughed.  My husband and she laughed about it too.

My six year-old is reading more.  I am so proud of him.  He started extended day Kindergarten at the beginning of February and he seems to be picking things up quickly. 

My nine year-old daughter recently discovered that she loves to run.  Due to my long work hours and commute time, I never see them after school, they are asleep by the time I get home.  I plan to start running again, and bringing her along.

My ten year-old son seems to have matured a ton.  He is more patient with his younger siblings.   He has grown taller.  He is just a wonderful big brother.

My life will be back to normal in a few days.  I can't wait until I am back at home, full-time!  I will be back where I belong :)


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

StubHub - Utah Jazz vs Minnesota Timberwolves - Jan 21, 2014

I love StubHub!  It makes it affordable for a family of six to go see a Jazz game.  We hadn't been to a game in over a year.  I looked on www.stubhub.com for tickets to a Tuesday night game, since that is my night off.  I bought the tickets a couple of weeks before the game, the total cost for 6 tickets was under $25.  You can't beat that!  We were all excited to go.

After getting the tickets, I thought that we should figure out how we would get there.  We could drive, but if we could get a group pass on the Frontrunner (commuter train), that would be more fun for the children.  A group pass is $15 and it allows 4 adults to travel.  I just didn't know about the age of children that get to ride free.  It turns out that it is 5 and under, so we would have to buy an extra ticket.  It would cost nearly $21 dollars round trip. 

I decided that we would drive to Salt Lake and stay in the Free Fare Zone.  We got to park for free at the train station in Salt Lake, then ride the Trax (cable car) to EnergySolutions Arena.  This was much more reasonable!  My kids got to enjoy riding on the Trax, which is a lot of fun for a child, and we got to park for free, which was nice for us (the parents).   I apparently cut the top of my husband's head off in the photo below, in order to make sure I got the smallest one in our family... I will never be a photographer.

My Husband and kids on the Trax

We got to the game in plenty of time to find our seats and get to them.  We walked all the way around the arena just to find out if we had started by going right, we would have been immediately in our section.  It was a nice walk though :) 

We were in section 135, row 21, seats 12-17... I knew we were in the nosebleed section.  That is part of those cheap tickets which were mentioned previously.  What I didn't know?  We were one row from the very top of the arena.  That was fine though.  Since my toddler can walk now, I wasn't consumed w/ fear that I would drop her. 


The photo above shows us after we got to our seats  That little yellow rectangle far below us... that is the court.  There are people on that court, they are the things that look like little dots.... 

The man that was sitting a row in front of us at the game bought his wife, three children, and himself,  bowls of ice cream.  At half-time, my daughter went out to see how much the ice cream would cost.  It was $6/bowl.   That was too much for me to spend.

We had a fun night together!  We left the game before the end of the third quarter.  Our team, the Jazz, were down by 25 points.  I came to the conclusion that the game wasn't going to get much better.  Since the children had school the next day, and we were getting whooped by the Timberwolves, I thought we would just head home and let the kids go to bed. 

We stopped on the way home, and I bought a half gallon of ice cream for... wait for it... for $2.50.  I also bought some cones.  I spent less on the ice cream and cones than one bowl of ice cream cost at the game.  We were all happy!  After the ice cream, the kids went to bed.

My biggest fear about leaving the game... that it would be the greatest comeback in history.  Well, maybe not of all time, but it would have been a great comeback.  I checked the score when I got home.  We lost by 10 and my children got to bed at least an hour earlier than they would have if we had stayed. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Little Helpers

Last week, I HAD to clean the house.  It is nice to have a clean house.  Working full-time, I don't have a lot of time to do the things I need to do anymore.  I NEED a clean house.  I have offered my children money and other rewards if they would do their chores.  They are not a big fan of doing chores.  I wasn't a big fan of doing chores at that age either.

I decided to do the work myself.  I wanted to have a clean house at some point during the week.  That was the day.  I cleaned the family room to begin with.  When everything was picked up, it was time to vacuum.  I pulled the vacuum out and started vacuuming like crazy!  LIKE CRAZY being the keywords.  VACUUM FORWARD, VACUUM BACK... the thing just wouldn't suck anything up.  VACUUM more.  Still nothing... yes, it was on and it was running.  It just wouldn't SUCK!  Most often, you want things that don't suck.  Not the case with the vacuum, when you are trying to vacuum, you want the thing to suck.

I went and found my husband's toolbox.  People get a kick out of the toolbox.  It is absolutely not the average toolbox.  It works though, for the things my husband knows how to do.  It is a little igloo cooler, I think it would hold, maybe a six-pack of soda pop.  Well, in our case, it holds my husband's tools. 

I got out the Philip's head screwdriver.  I unscrewed the bottom of the vacuum.  I unscrewed it so I could get to the part of the hose where it sucks things up.  I needed to unclog the thing.  With a guinea pig, dog, four children, and myself who have hair, the thing can get clogged sometimes.  Then it just won't suck.  My toddler stood beside me, squatted beside me, and knelt beside me the whole time.  She was my supervisor.  When it came time to start getting the hair, and other things, out of the hose, she helped.  I had her hold the bag that I was putting the stuff in.

My 6 year-old came down around the time I had to start screwing everything back together.  He wanted to help.  Then my toddler also wanted to help.  I figured that I would let them do what they could.  I would just stand back and take some pictures of my little helpers hard at work! 

My 6 year-old was getting ready to take the reigns from me.  He is getting the vacuum all set to get some more screws put back in.  My toddler is standing by, being the supervisor.  She has a few tools, in case she needs to help out!


He is hard at work in the following photo.  He has the screw where it belongs and is screwing it in really tight so the bottom thing (for lack of knowing what it is called) will not fall off.  My toddler seems to be getting tired of watching him, I think she is ready to use some of her tools!

 My toddler couldn't stand just watching anymore.  She had to put her tools to use.  She had watched long enough and thought she could help out.  She knelt right down and went to work.  I think her face is her putting all her effort into turning a screw with needle nose pliers. 


In no time flat, the vacuum was up and working.  It was able to suck again.  I am thankful for my little helpers that came along, in the neck of time, to help me get the vacuum put together so I could continue my work. It was wonderful to leave for work that day and know the house was clean.  If the house would only stay clean, it would be great!