Hi.

My poor blog.  If it weren’t for GCBC and Find-a-Friend Fridays, it might have completely withered up and died this summer.  Summer is just busy.

Here’s a peek at the last several weeks in no particular order.  I do not expect anyone to care except for my posterity, who I decided long ago will read my blog nightly along with their scriptures to keep them on the straight and narrow.   …. What are you laughing at?

Anyway,

We went camping for 6 days in Colorado.  It was a twelve-hour drive, and my children surprised me by being very, very good the whole way down.  They compensated for their good behavior by driving Matt and me bonkers over the next several days.

One day, we drove up Pike’s Peak highway to some reservoirs to fish, hike a little, and picnic.  Matt sent the boys with a couple camp chairs down to the beach and told them to pick a spot and wait for us there while we unloaded all the other equipment.  A few minutes later, we walked down to the beach and could not find them.  We searched the shore in both directions and still could not find them.  Long story short, they didn’t know that we had parked right next to a reservoir, so they hiked down the road (like a MILE) to the reservoir below that we had passed on the way up.  Then they hiked the trails from the parking lot there down to the beach, where they sauntered to the other side of the lake, plopped down the chairs and sat and waited for us.  For a long time.  When I finally happened upon them an hour later, I was so relieved and they were so confused about why we took so long and why they were in trouble.  They actually did exactly what they were supposed to do; they just did it at the wrong lake.  Matt was about pack up everything and head back home after that, but we recovered, even though the boys had to stay within ten feet of us the rest of the trip.

Another lowlight of the trip included middle-of-the-night puking by Grant.  In our pop-up trailer, on the cushions, during a thunderstorm so all the windows had to be closed.  So not fun.  Highlights included time with family and beautiful hiking and scenery.  We survived and actually had fun.  I’d say it was (almost) worth the 3 garbage bags full of dirty laundry we brought home with us.  Here are Matt and Natalie hiking at Garden of the Gods.  It’s a scene that makes me happy.

In other news, I taught EFY last week, but only for one day because I got sick.  I spent the night and following morning vomiting and running back and forth to the bathroom.  I tried to show up the next afternoon and teach, but they sent me home.  :(  I was sad I wasn’t able to finish.  It was fun while it lasted.

Matt’s mom and grandma have been in town and it’s been fun to have visitors.  I like the company and the kids love the grandma-love.

I got nostalgic and read my entire missionary journal this week, starting right after my mission call all the way to the plane ride home from Argentina.  It was so cool to relive all those memories and feelings and blessings.  It’s taking all my restraint to not hop on a plane to South America right now and go visit everyone.  I couldn’t stop there, so I kept going and read all my post-mission years up until I met and married Matt.  My goodness.  Those long single years were sure busy and dramatic times.  Half of me wants to go back and relive the excitement, but the other half (the tired and happily-married half) wouldn’t touch those years again with a 10-foot pole.  :)

This summer has been pretty low-key, and it’s been nice.  I’ve actually enjoyed the free time and summer activities.  I’ll miss the relaxed schedule once school starts again.  Just in the last few days, though, my boys have entered a new really annoying stage of behavior that Matt appropriately labeled last night “the gauntlet of stupidity.”  The constant noisemaking, grade-school comedian, poking and giggling and wrestling stage has made me grateful again that school is right around the corner.

So how about you?  What’s been the highlight of your summer?

What kind of blog is this anyway?

I get a fair amount of spam comments on this blog.  In fact, I probably get more spam than I get real comments.  Let me check. Yep, totally.   28,956 vs. 6,872.  Wow.  (WordPress has an awesome spam filter.) A couple have jumped out at me lately.  Besides the fact that most of them are ridiculously-translated, nonsensical comments trying to redirect me and my readers to their trashy website, sometimes I wonder how they ever expected anyone to click on their link anyway.  Check out a couple of my favorite recent spam comments:

Yeast infection for you! it the best thing that can happen to you

asinine hazy idea, grace! thanks. i look out for number one.

In the beginning just remember it was darked and then someone smiled! try this:You’re just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you! :)

Um, wow.  What inviting comments.  Can’t wait to “meet” those folks. <—sarcasm

Then there are things that “regular” people are looking for.  These are things that actual people have typed into Google or other search engines that have somehow landed them on my blog.  While it’s sometimes hilarious to see what people are looking for, it’s slightly unnerving to realize that something about my blog and its content has selected it as an answer to their search.  And they clicked on it.  I can only wonder how helpful or disappointing their visit was.  I mean, seriously, look at this list.  What does this say about me?

angry mom

example of urology limerick poem

weird monkey transformation

boogers bedroom

baby terrorist

an angel measuring something

old lady diapers

kidney leisure ultrasound

what do ships, railways, mines, cars, and government exist

you lover her not me quotes

self help books internet addiction

my husband wears the worst jeans

Apparently, I’m not nearly as classy as I thought I was.

What are some of the funniest comments or searches you’ve seen come across your blog?

And p.s…. Any volunteers for Find-A-Friend Friday this week?  I haven’t heard back from my randomly selected guest, so I need a back up.  First come first, first serve.  Thanks!

Snippets

Today’s post is a random mish-mash of thoughts and announcements and such.

Most importantly, we found out on Saturday that Matt passed the Bar exam.  I can’t begin to express what a hallelujah moment that was for us.  I was dreading gearing up for single parenting again if he didn’t pass, and I did. not. want to.   I mean, it’s been a looong road.  Here’s what our boys looked like when we started the law school journey.

Then, once we’d moved, started school, and Matt was in his first semester of law school taking finals, Natalie was born.

And now, we’re finally done.  Look how our family has grown up (and grown old) since then.  Can’t believe how the days and weeks can be so long, but the months and years just fly past.

Anyway, congrats to Matt and hooray for me.  :)

—–

Natalie’s been taking medications for a long time.  Prescriptions are part of our daily routine.  She hates medicine, and every day it’s a bit of a battle.  She actually has a sinus infection this week, so there are even more prescriptions.  She cries and doesn’t want to take her medicine because she’s too cold or feels yucky, and I try to tell her that’s why she needs the medicine.  It will help her fever and help her feel better.  She still hates it.  Today I pulled the medicines out of the cupboard and I saw her sneak from the room out of the corner of my eye.  I called her again and again.  No answer.  Finally I found her in the office hiding behind the couch.  I thought how funny it is that she tries to hide from what’s going to help her get better.  That made me think of this quote from general conference and realize that we’re all as silly as Natalie in some ways.

“Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. . . .  We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.”  -Elder Paul V. Johnson

—–

I can’t really explain this, but lately I’ve had an increased sensitivity to the elderly.  Maybe it’s because Matt’s grandma stayed with us for a little over a month while her husband was in the hospital.  I don’t know, but I’ve just noticed them more around me, and my heart has been drawn out to them.  I imagine that they have great wisdom from life’s experiences and probably many family members and happy memories.  But I wonder how much they struggle with loneliness or sickness, mourn the loss of spouse or loved ones, as well as the loss of their own strength, health and maybe independence.  Yesterday as I left the pharmacy, I saw a man who used to be my Stake president 18 years ago at BYU.  He set me apart for my mission.  One time he called me up out of the audience to bear my testimony at Stake Conference.  He also taught a mission prep class that I attended.  I greeted him, introduced myself and said hello, but as I got back into my van, I had a surge of those memories and I felt a wave of emotion and gratitude.  I wished I’d told him he was an important part of a really developmental stage of my life and my testimony.  I saw him as an 80 year old man now, much thinner and more frail, carrying away a prescription that was probably for him or maybe his ailing wife, and I thought, “maybe he doesn’t know what a great life he has lived and shared.”  I went home and looked him up on whitepages.com and found an address for him.  So I wrote him a letter, and it felt so great, and I hope it will somehow give him a little bit of joy.  Anyway, I’m not telling that story because I want you to think that I did some great thing; I just had a strong feeling and the thought that I should share it, so I did.  But maybe you know someone older whose day could be brightened by a note, a phone call or a visit.  Your kids can help too.  I don’t really know my point, but it’s just been on my mind lately.

—-

I have a cousin who suffers from chronic migraines.  Matt asked about her the other night at the dinner table, so then my children were curious about her.  We explained that she’s had a really bad headache for literally years.  Grant was shocked and cried out, “Why?!!  Are her kids really annoying?”  I thought that was so funny.  I told her about it and we had a good laugh.  She assured me that if that were the real problem, they would have been gone long ago.  :)  It also reveals a lot about what Grant understands about their behavior and my well-being.  Smart little whipper-snapper.

En boca cerrada, no entran moscas.

(photo credit)

Translation: In a shut mouth, flies cannot get in.
Interpretation: Sometimes silence is the best option.

Even though my mind has been really busy, none of it has seemed very blog-worthy, and no one wants to bore others on purpose.  So here’s a brief report of the happenings around here lately:

  • Matt is on his way home right now from finishing day two of the Bar exam.  It was hard.  He feels nervous.  I gave him a hard time about “You’d better pass or I’m getting a nanny and going to Hawaii for two weeks to recover,” (because I’ve been single-parenting for so long while he’s done law school and studied for the test, and because I’m so supportive like that), but I know he really did his best and we just have to wait for fate to play itself out.  I really am proud of him, regardless of the outcome.
  • When it’s a school holiday and you are trying to keep your children under control so your husband can study, might I suggest driving an hour and a half to an indoor swimming place and letting them swim for FIVE hours?  They will be so tired that they can’t even speak on the way home and then you simply have to tuck them into bed on arrival.  Plus you get to sit in a chair and read books while you “supervise” them.  (I fully admit that I have entered a new stage of life where my children are big enough to need minimal supervision.  This would have never been possible in the last 8 years.  I acknowledge the new-found blessing, and I embrace it.)
  • I have been using MyJobChart.com for a few weeks and it has worked so well with my kids.  I just want to mention how much it warmed my heart when Grant — the child I have been butting heads with lately– spent his very first hard-earned job points on “Mom time.”  I still can’t believe it.
  • Have you ever noticed that even though you complain a lot about something and even have small-scale tantrums about it, as soon as you make it a matter of prayer, progress is made, and then you feel like an idiot for complaining so much in the first place?  Cases in point:  1.  Boo hoo, poor me, I’m new and it’s hard to make friends. –> More people than I ever imagined signed up for my girls’ night out and made me feel like a rock star, plus some little doors cracked open and I’ve felt some positive opportunities for new friendships.  2.  I’m annoyed with the school situation here. I wish I could find some better options for my boys. –> I got a phone call saying that they had both (literally) won the lottery and were accepted into a well-reputed charter school.  3.  I feel a little “underwhelmed in the kingdom.”  I miss teaching. –>  I got an invitation to substitute for an Institute class at BYU and some random emails with loose invitations for possible speaking assignments.  Common ingredient in all three “solutions”: prayer.
  • I think I might have been marked in the pre-existence as “the one who will always have library fines.” I’m just faithful at fulfilling my destiny, that’s all.
  • I am so sick of filling out medical history forms.  Shouldn’t there be some big database out there for that?  Kind of like ancestry.com, except it’s more like diseasesofyourancestors.com.  I should really market that.
  • Clark just came into the room singing about how happy he is.  When I asked him why, he replied, “Grant said he’s going to run away because he hates me.”  I’m so proud of the loving family I’ve raised. *shaking head*

See?  Sometimes silence is the best option.

Crunching Numbers

Here’s what the math facts are saying around here lately:

15:  the number of people who said they want to come to the Girls’ Night Out!  Actually, there were a lot more that said they wanted to come, but they had silly excuses like 28-hour drives or previous commitments and stuff.  (We’ll miss you.  *Sniff*)  If you said “yes,” go check your email RIGHT NOW.  I need a confirmation before I buy your ticket.  It’s not too late to join the fun.  Here’s all the info, so just leave a comment on that post to let me know you’re interested, and I’ll forward you the email about it.  I’m going to purchase tickets Thursday night or Friday morning.

The rest of the ugly numbers . . .

7: the number of days left before my husband has to take the Bar exam.
3000: the number of dollars it cost to buy the prep materials for the Bar exam.
0: the number of times I smiled when I told him that if he doesn’t pass this test, he’s a dead man.
90,000: the number of dollars we owe the government for allowing us to have 4, now going on 5, years of school-related stress and husband-related absence.
30+: the number of times I’ve put the kids to bed by myself while he has been studying (because he has to, not because he’s lazy) since Christmas.
0: the number of trophies I will win as “most supportive wife ever.”
6: the number of months we have lived here because all of that work really did help him get a wonderful job, even though we had to move across the country.

changing subject, but still counting . . .

6: the number of “breakfast” purchases I just saw on Clark’s school lunch purchase history. He eats breakfast at home every day before he leaves, mind you.
3: the number of the hour in the morning that I stayed up until last week watching “The Locator” on TV? Have you ever seen it? They help reconnect lost or estranged family members.
4 and half: the number of gallons of tears I shed while watching multiple episodes of aforementioned show.
2 1/2: the number of books I’ve read in the past week. Yay me.
1: the number of really decent meals I’ve cooked in the past week. I’ve cooked a few others, but they don’t really fall into the decent category.
57: the number of degrees that our house was when I woke up the other morning.  I about died. I think I might have felt the same if I had spent the night inside our refrigerator. I awoke to Grant standing in our doorway wrapped in a quilt.
5: The number of books Natalie read this week. Natalie learned how to read this week!!
12: The number of phone calls I had to make to get Natalie an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist that could see her before April. (I’ll say more about this a little later when hopefully I have more answers.)
10: The number of children that were baptized at the same time as Grant the weekend before last. It was not easy for me to make the transition to what seemed like a conveyer-belt approach to baptism, but I’ll bite my tongue and try not to complain about it (publicly). Despite my frustrations, it was a lovely day, mostly because a lot of family was here to share the  day with us. And, of course, because Grant was happy.
4 or 5: the number of times I have wanted to put Grant in solitary confinement this week. Incidentally this number is down about 235% from last week.
-4.61: the number under the column “available balance” in my checking account right now.  (Sorry, honey)
623: the number of words in this post.  Egads, I’m wordy.
2: the number of times I thought about chocolate while I was writing this.

Stuff that just needs to be said

This week will be our first Find-a-Friend Friday and we’ll all meet a new blog friend.  To all of you who “applied” for the honor, you made it!  It’s a long list, but I’ll get to you eventually.  If you missed it, go back and check out the new plan and add yourself to the list if you’re interested in playing along.

—-

I almost feel like I owe a small apology about my post yesterday.  I still stand by a lot of the points, but in my attempt to say that we all need to be more forgiving of each other, I also kind of lumped the people in the “statistics” into a category of people who don’t get it, which I didn’t mean to do or say or imply.  I joked with a friend that we all need to study this talk by President Monson over and over and over again until we start to realize that we can NOT judge others unless we know their hearts, which we usually don’t.  It’s hard to do, especially when we think we’re right about something, but we need to extend the same kind of forgiving mercy that we hope to receive in return.  (And the less we think we need it, the more we probably do.)

—-

After I declared my undying love for Enrique Iglesias on my Things I Love post the other day, one of his songs showed up in my Pandora feed and it was VULGAR.  And then I felt really stupid.  So just in case you were all thinking I’m some kind of closet listener to explicit music, I’m not.  At least not on purpose.  I still love his old-school Spanish stuff.  But please don’t run out and buy his latest stuff on my recommendation. Please.  Okay, thanks.

—-

This is not any kind of formal announcement or anything, but last week I decided I wanted to write a book about motherhood.  Not a how-to book, but more about the doctrine of motherhood.  Of course, as soon as I started writing it, my children were possessed by demons and I’ve spent most of my time trying to hide from them or sending them to their rooms.  So then I felt like “Who in the world do I think I am trying to write a book about motherhood when I don’t even like my children?”  (I do, of course, really love my children, but you know, there are days . . . ).  If I could only learn to be as patient with them as God is with me.  So we’ll see how that all pans out.

—-

And finally, as a public service announcement, if you stay up too late relishing the child-free time you have, you’ll always pay for it in the morning.  Just go to bed and get your sleep so that you can deal with the next day better than the day before.  The “freedom” feels great at midnight, but it hurts come morning.  And have you ever noticed that if you try to get away with it anyway, your children will always wake up at least a half hour earlier than normal just to rub it in?  You’re welcome.

The season where dreams (almost) come true

A week or so ago, we were on our way home from a family outing and decided to eat out because it would be too late by the time I got dinner ready at home.  We stopped at a Chinese buffet.  Is it weird that except for when I actually lived in China, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Chinese buffet before?

Anyway, I wasn’t very impressed, but my children pigged out to an embarrassing level (Matt gave them free reign of the dessert buffet.).  Then they each got a fortune cookie as we were finishing up.  Grant opened his and started jumping up and down for joy.  He started yelling, “Yes!  I’m going to Disneyland!”  He was SO excited.  Matt and I looked at each other quizzically and I asked him for his fortune paper.  A close look revealed the following fortune:

“You will soon be traveling to a distant land.”

His hasty reading had an unfortunately over-abundant translation.

I tried to comfort him by reminding him that he had just consumed more desserts than children in most third-world countries get in a year.  Somehow that wasn’t quite as magical to him.

Personally, I think it was a nice introduction to the season where Santa politely says no to most of the things on his Christmas list anyway.  :)

(For those of you who missed it, please join us in the  12 days of Christmas challenge! Random acts of kindness daily until Christmas. Today’s the “2nd day of Christmas.”  Click here or on the button on the sidebar for more information.)