Thursday, December 28, 2017

Don't Be A Chicken

I noticed I was walking down a path of paranoia which was preventing me from the life I dreamed of living. My dream life is a simple one where you could ski without fearing the structural security of the ski lift. A life where you could go in the hardware store without fearing all eyes would be on you because you clearly don't know what you're doing. And a life where you can cook a turkey for your friends without fearing its consumption would leave people hovering over a toilet in the following 24 hours. 

I have been listening to a podcast that has been the dishwashing entertainment I've found in quite some time (Bold New Mom. Find it. Listen to it.). In one of her episodes, she said, "What's the worst thing that could happen? You might have a negative emotion. But we can deal with our emotions. So why not try things?"

That's when it hit me. I prevented myself from doing a lot of things because I was nervous, scared, paranoid, or embarrassed by them. But were they worth not doing because I might have to deal with an uncomfortable-at-first emotion? I had been holding back on things I was interested in all because I created an emotional roadblock to keep myself in a box of comfort.

I decided it was time to bust out of the box. I could be uncomfortable if it meant I could experience more of life! I made a tentative goal to do something that scared me every week to begin to push myself out of my comfort zone to do things I've always wanted to do but always felt too afraid, nervous, or anxious about. 

My first goal was horseback riding. I had never been horseback riding. It was something I've always wanted to do but my general fear of big animals kept me from pursuing it. Until the right Groupon came along and I decided it was time to saddle up. 
Jeff and I escaped on a date to start my journey of broadening my horizons. What a start! The afternoon consisted of a straight hour of me giggling as I became one with the beast beneath me. 
Next up was a Christmas present I wanted to make Jeff but almost cast it aside because it involved a trip to the hardware store. I decided, hey, I can conquer the hardware store. Through more giggles (forcing myself to be uncomfortable has brought to light that my coping mechanism often involves hysterical giggles), I desperately called my dad to assist me in navigating the Home Depot as if I was a regular. While I did intend to teach myself how to use a screwdriver, my dad instead directed me to some wood glue that did the trick.

It's a Family Home Evening board because every Monday, the responsibilities of each family member becomes increasingly foggy, which leads Jeff to shout, "We just need one of those Family Home Evening board thingies!" So a thingy I did make. (It's missing pom poms at the top for cuteness, and our faces are on magnets so we can move around with each passing week.)
Feeling confident about my two successes, I enlisted myself in the Stake Christmas Choir. It's something my dad has always done, and I felt a desire to honor his tradition while living in his house. I've always loved singing, but my fear of not being good enough held me back from participating in such events, but I said, what the heck! If I like to sing, I should give it a try and see what I learn! I learned I really enjoyed the stake choir and had a great time getting an early dose of Christmas spirit in the months leading up to the holiday. The older boys came to see my performance. It was fun to share with them what I had been working on.
I went with Carson on a field trip where I had to *gasp* interact with people.  I've always wanted to go on a field trip, but I lack the skills it takes to interact with other moms I will likely never see again without visibly cringing because small talk with strangers I feel guilted into talking to is the one thing that drains my soul faster than any other. But I went. I was awkward. And stood in weird places. And shuffled my feet a lot. And made alien-esque movements with my arms. But I went. And I had fun experiencing a new place with Carson.
And now to get on to the "meat" of this blog post, I faced one of my greatest fears since being married -- I cooked a turkey. I have joked for the last 9 years that I will conveniently always be traveling to other people's houses for Thanksgiving so I never had to cook the turkey. As my cooking skills have improved, I've grown interested in seeing what would happen should I grab a large bird, smother it in butter, and cook it per the internet's instruction. So that's just what I did. And I invited some friends over in case the bird was undercooked and gave me food poisoning, so we could all be miserable together.
Much to everyone's disappointment, the turkey was cooked through, delicious, and didn't give a-one-of-us food poisoning. Maybe next year, food-borne-illness-related-bonding-experience. Maybe next year. 
That's right. We had The First Annual Stadium Way 49 Roommate Reunion Friendsgiving of 2017. Complete with a kids' table strategically distanced from the...
Grown-up table.
I just told my sister today. The one year of my life I felt of a normal height was when these two were by my side. It was a good year. For more reasons than just the sense of vertical normalcy. 
The week after Friendsgiving we "ran" down to St George to celebrate real Thanksgiving with Jeff's family. I had signed me and the two older boys up for a 5k on Thanksgiving morning as a way to convince myself I could guiltlessly indulge in however many slices of pie I wanted the rest of the day. Nevermind that the announcer at the race rudely informed us the 5k only burned off about 1/2 of a piece of pumpkin pie. I'll take my guiltless day anyway. What do you know!
Carson was SOOOOO excited. He was busting out his ninja moves, dancing to the music, relishing in the coolness of his headband. The race started, he took off. Bouncing. Bee-bopping, smiling, giggling, cheerfully punching his hands into the air to facilitate his extra energy. Then it happened. The thing that all too often happens to Carson in these young, growth-spurt-stricken years where his mind is constantly having to readjust what it thinks it knows about his lengthening limbs. He tripped and fell. Hard. There was a dad pushing a stroller involved. Carson's dad actually. Crash of stroller and boy, and a recovery that was not forgiving.

Carson cried the rest of the race...all the way to what we thought was the finish line. "Good job for finishing, Carson! At least you made it to the end! Way to push through! You did so awesome!" We told him. About 10 minutes later is when we realized that through a series of misunderstandings, we had actually only completed about 1/2 of the 1k race. So not only did Carson fall, we didn't even finish the race. Despite our most sincere efforts.
This was us in happier times. 
I ran a 5k by myself after the 1k, and as far as I can tell, I did run the whole race. And by run the whole race, I mean this is the first 5k that I ran the entire time! Now that's something to eat half a pumpkin pie over.

Back at the house, Mary had set up a rolling canvas for the kids to work on throughout our weekend.

I pity the fool who didn't go to St George for Thanksgiving. 70 degrees and a kid table outside is the only way I'll ever do the holiday again.  

We just so happened to have rented a How To Draw A Pokemon book from the library which came in handy as the boys worked on filling up all the blank spaces on the paper. 
We jumped over to Pioneer Park where the weather continued to be perfect, as you can clearly tell from Eli's urge to Zen. 
He calls the red rocks "Hum Rocks." And then he sits and hums on them while doing this pose. Where he got this, I'll never know, but I will forever continue to be amused by it. 
Mary was our hiking buddy -- and my selfie buddy. 

While we were in St George, we had to revisit the "Choo Choo Park" as Lincoln calls it. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good 1/2 piece of pumpkin pie.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Happenings of an Insured Family

Jeff got a new job recently. (Yahoo!) But in the transition, we were left without insurance for 2 months. (Boo!) The second of those months being October...the month that held the 1-year anniversary of Eli's gory evening of 9 stitches. (Gasp!)

I'm thrilled to announce (Drumroll...) we survived both months without so much as a cough to threaten us with a trip to the doctor. (Applause!) To celebrate our first day back to being insured, we went to the park and jumped off all the high things. (Wheeee!)

I got a laugh out of the conflict of interest I found in the bathroom one morning.
Dressing up for Halloween reminded the boys it's fun to dress up anytime! The week after Halloween involved a lot of digging through old costumes, between rounds of digging through their bottomless trick-or-treating loot.
When your name is Jonah and you're wearing this bib, pictures are mandatory.
When your name is Lincoln and you're wearing a tie ... the two are unrelated, but you're cute, so picture.
It is irresistible to take a picture of this group when they all agree to put on their homemade matching ties. 
Don't mind if I do!
The strongest love/hate relationship in the family currently belongs to these two. They adore each other...and then they suddenly and drastically don't. Here's a blessed moment of happiness.
Carson got a lizard as a prize for all the reading he did the first few months of school. Eli was sick one day and as Carson was leaving to head out the door for school, Eli assured, "Don't worry, Carson. Uncle Eli will take care of him."
The stamp that everyone thought was a terrible bruise for the day it decorated Lincoln's forehead.
Here's one of those less happy moments I was talking about. Every moment I try to get ready in the morning is a battle of lap space. Now you're suddenly nodding your head in understanding of why I quit getting ready. You get it.
Savoring the days of sink baths before he doubles in size in the blink of an eye like the rest of them did.
The primary program was just the thing I needed to get me whipping out more sets of matching ties for this bunch. I'm sure it was all due to the confidence they felt in their adorable new ties that caused both primary aged boys to speak loudly, clearly, sweetly, and sing every word of all the songs to perfection (at least that's how I'll choose to remember it).
All the boys were cute, but there's something about this one with an elastic piece of cloth around his neck that had my heart melting. 
With determination and hours of daily bedtime reading, I have raised my boys to be readers -- a passion I never had but always wished for. While lugging their books up to the check-out, Eli exasperatingly said, "I love to read, but I don't love carrying around all these books!"
These two have a love/love relationship always. Carson is such a sweet baby watcher and is still as obsessed with Jonah as he was when I first brought him home.
The end.
(Wild applause. Standing ovation. Encore, encore.)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Mario Brothers

Would you still love me even if I told you I didn't make-a-one of my kids' Halloween costumes this year? With 4 kids, I found buying costumes suddenly very appealing, especially when said costumes were only $10-$15 a piece and there was no way I could make any of them for that cheap. So I caved. But points for making it another year as a themed family?

In case you can't tell, we are:
A controller.
And Jeff and I were Player 1 and Player 2. As Jeff pointed out, this would have been an awesome costume to announce a pregnancy with "Awaiting Player 3" written on my belly, so you can be certain there's not another baby brewing or you know I woulda jumped on that bandwagon. 

We went to a trunk or treat at the high school Halloween weekend. 
With our Bess buddies.

I was able to go to Eli's school party on Halloween. It's so fun to see him in his element and get to know the kids in his class a little bit better. We made Oreo spiders and Reese's witches brooms.
Here are my favorite highlights from trick-or-treating:

Kids: "Trick or Treat!"
Lady: "Take a couple!"
Eli: "A couple means 2 guys. Everybody take 2."
*Eli is a major rule follower. I had told them ahead of time that on houses that leave bowls on their front porch with a sign that says "Take One," we only take one even though no one is watching. He then specified on every house that was an exception to the rule like when people told them to take a handful or a couple to make sure he and his brothers weren't over-taking their share. 

The older boys ran up to the door while Lincoln attempted to break into his first piece of candy. Lincoln slowly walked to the door and then stood there focused on the candy already in his hand while the lady at the door patiently held her door open for him with a giant bowl of candy thrust in his direction. Lincoln slowly tore away at the candy wrapper, and without looking, robotically handed the lady at the door his scraps of trash, one by one. He then popped his candy in his mouth, and without ever actually taking a candy from the house, he turned around and got back in the stroller. So basically he trick or treated for a trash can. 

After an hour and a half of trick-or-treating, Carson's pumpkin was near the top. At one house, with much amusement, Carson announced to the man at the door, "I'M GOING TO HAVE TO START PUTTING CANDY IN MY HAT!"

Their costumes provided motivation for them as whenever one of them would get tired, it just took one "Let's-a-go!" and they were at it again. They also spent the entire night jumping off rocks and electrical boxes shouting "Yaaahooooo!"

Whenever people asked the kids if they were having fun, Eli always answered, "Of course!" People seemed to get a kick out of that response. 
The boys were so good trick or treating. The older boys were patient to wait for Lincoln and Lincoln won the endurance race as he lasted just as long as the older boys. We had a really great time working the hills for some free candy!