Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Good Things

I need to write about the good I see in the world, because the bad and the evil is so... yuck. And it's everywhere. It's affecting people I love.



It's disguised behind kind smiles and lurking behind good intentions. The evil permeates all facets of government, business, and entertainment. It slowly grabs the righteous and leads them away before they realize they've even left safe ground. Evil is real, it's building up, and it's trying to win.

The evil will not win against me. 

So, here's some good things I see in my world:

Family
temple covenants
the gospel of Jesus Christ
forgiveness
charity
helping others
baby laughter
freshly mowed grass
rain
food in our kitchen
a beautiful, safe, wonderful, secure, dedicated, righteous home
clean clothing
running water
books
the priesthood
education
clouds
trees
incredible children: 7 of them
music
friends
poetry
the Holy Ghost
prayer
artwork
mountains
prophets of God
kind words
letting go
the word of God
my ever-patient, funny, nerdy, hard-working, loyal, forgiving husband
creating
fresh starts
And this chrome book. And the Cheerios on the table. Next to the scout book, near the string cheese wrapper, over by the backpack, next to the window where I see birds and the tulip tree.



Good is greater than evil. Good will triumph. Love will reign supreme. Faith, hope, charity --they will rule the world one day, I have no doubt.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Importance of Bison

Many curious (okay, a few curious) friends have asked about the significance of Bison to our family. I've decided to share the story with you. This is a safely guarded family secret and when you hear about it, it will be significantly anticlimactic for you because:
1. You weren't there.
2. We're total dorks.
3. It's really not a safely guarded family secret, nor that big of deal!

About six or seven years ago (I honestly can't remember), our family and our bestie family went camping to Yellowstone National Park. It was cold, it was rainy, it was AWESOME. We truly had such a good time! Lots of memories from that trip...

Anyway, we had five kids at the time and they had five kids at the time and we looked pretty awesome together. People would count our kids as we hiked around (they always do! Especially now that we both have 7 kids, each!). One day, it was stormy and rainy, and instead of going to hang out at the campsite, we went to one of the Visitor's Centers to watch a movie about Yellowstone. We were early, and as the kiddos got settled, Brandon said, "Okay, kids! As we're watching the film, whenever you see a Bison on the screen, yell out really loudly, 'BISON!' okay?" The kids giggled and said they would.

More people came into theater and it filled up pretty quickly. The movie started and about 3 minutes into it, a Bison was shown. All the kids looked at each other nervously, and Brandon took the reins --he shouted, "Bison!" and then you could hear all these little voices popping up, "Bison! Bison! Bison!" one at a time. It was HILARIOUS because the other patrons were confused and the kids couldn't stop giggling for being so rebellious in a movie theater!

Well, after that, the word "Bison" (shouted, of course) became kind of our "word" for the rest of the trip. Not only that, but after we got home, we decided that it would be our family word.

Do you know how, dear reader, when families go to crowded places, they have a place that will be the "meet place" in case someone gets lost? We've often done this (and still do), but we took it a step further. Our word, "Bison," would become something we shout when we get lost. If mom or dad yells, "Bison!" the children have to echo the word back. This way, we can hear each other over the loud conversations around us.

In November, the same year of the camping trip, we took the kids to Salt Lake City to Temple Square for the lighting ceremony (when they turn on the Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving). As many are aware, it gets very crowded there (wall to wall people!). At one point, we lost one of the kids (which was probably inevitable), and I noticed pretty quickly. Without missing a beat, we shouted, "Bison!" and we heard a tiny voice, above the crowd, yell, "Bison!" We kept shouting back and forth until we found each other. It took, literally, seconds. And we realized that had we shouted his name, or had he shouted, "mom" or "dad," we probably wouldn't have been able to hear each other. "Bison" is not a word people use in conversation! It's odd enough that it is noticeable. We've used our word many times over the years to call the kids back to us or to find each other.

Fast forward several years. We moved to PA, and as soon as we moved, we bought a 12 passenger van to replace our 7 passenger mini-van we had sold in Utah. The only one they had (in the make and model we wanted) for miles around (literally states around) was a big brown one. A big brown van!? You better believe immediately named her "Bison!"

Then one day, many, many weeks ago, we moved to Kansas. As we drove Bison into Kansas, we remembered that Bison is the state animal! Sweet!

So, there you go. We love bison and the word "Bison." And now, after typing out the word so many times, it's looking less and less like a word. (The same thing happens to me when I type out the word "word" too many times. Word. Word, word, word, word...)

Oh! And also, imagine our absolute delight when we found out that the great Bison will now be our national mammal! How fun!

And here's an article defending the choice of Bison.

And a picture of one (that we took in Yellowstone that summer! I found out it was August of 2010, and so here's the blog post link if you'd like to see what we did on that trip):



P.S. Yes, I've had a bison burger. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, I feel some guilt.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

How the Zoo and the Library Got Rid of Angry Mom

This morning, angry mom was around.

I'm not even sure why, because last night was date night (always fun) and #7 slept most of the night (in bed with us, but who cares! She slept!). Brandon took the girls with him for the youth baptism trip to the Kansas City temple (our van (i.e. Bison) is invaluable wherever we go!) and so it was me and the younger five kids. And it was chore day.

Whoo-hoo.

We got started and it was already going to be a bad day, I could tell. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was... blah. And I couldn't figure out why. I apologized to the kids and then I took a time-out. I re-focused and we tried again. This time, it started out better, but it was still kind of a blah time. But then! I got a text from a friend in our ward and she said they were going to the zoo this afternoon, would we like to go as well?

Would we? WOULD WE?!

Super excited (since we hadn't been to the zoo, yet and I hadn't really left my house for the last three days), I told the boys and we jumped into action. Chores got done really fast (most of them) and we went to the zoo! Sunset Zoo is small and adorable and fun and even though I have a thing about zoos (I mean, really, caging up animals so we can look at them?), we had a really great time. We even bought a family pass (because holy cow, the price was amazingly low!).

Next, we went with our friends to the library, which was good, because I had a book to return. Our library is the best, dear reader, the best! Well, the children's section is outstanding, anyway. It's better than Provo's, I promise you, and that's saying something! We spent an hour there getting books and letting the kids do crafts, play computer games, do dress-ups, play with puppets, puzzles, games, blocks, magnets, and jump around in the story room on huge stuffed dragons. I realized that:

1. We need to just come to the library as a family and hang out for FHE. Often.
2. I need three hours to myself in the library.
3. I love books so much (that wasn't a realization, just an affirmation).

So, angry mom was gone, dear reader. The outdoor air (it was only 63 degrees and beautiful, today!) and books (because... books) gave me such a good shift in attitude.

And we arrived home not long before Brandon and the girls did. So we're all home, now. The lawn is mowed, the house is semi-clean, and all of my brood is home. Fighting with each other, being children, and causing chaos, but they're mine and they're home.

P.S. Thank you so much, Kristi, for inviting us this afternoon. (I've made really great friends, here!)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Slightly Disjointed Thoughts on Time and Change

Sometimes it's hard to reconcile who I was with who I am now. The past doesn't seem intangible to me because it ebbs and flows through me to the present, to the future, and then back through to the past again. Like the rising of the tides, I will be emotionally healthy and focused on "here," but my eyes will be fixed on "to be," and slowly, as the water shifts, my hands reach back to gently touch "then."

I've heard depression described as the inability to move from the past and anxiety as the inability to face the future. The answer to both of those ailments is to focus on the present. Considering I struggle with both of these time-distorted issues, I've studied a lot about what it may mean to live in the present.


Conflicting gray area rules often run me ragged as I search for solutions. Dear reader, you will understand what I'm referring to because when we attempt a well-balance, moderate life, we face juxtapositions. We are told to live in the present, but we're told to plan our futures. We're told to live in the present, but we're told to never forget our past. We're told to live in the present, but we're told to not procrastinate. We're told to live in the present, but we're told to record our memories.

Ebbing and flowing between the three seems to be something of a solution I've encountered because I'm able to reach back to the past to retrieve lessons learned and memories shared, while at the same time I can reach forward to what is to be and imagine what my life may become. When I was young, I practiced the piano so that I may enlarge my talent and increase my abilities. The abilities I searched for did not lie in front of me, but down the path, in an obscure future. When I share stories about my youth with my children, I am overcome with nostalgia, and I revisit a long past reality that created who I have become.

The danger is when I become fixated upon the past: ruminating over past mistakes, agonizing over regret, wondering about what-if's, believing the best times may have been behind me, or pouring over journals and photos without a purpose. There is also danger when I give into worry about the future. When I allow myself to become paralyzed by choices, worry about things that may or may not happen, or decline from making plans altogether because of more what-if's.

One of the greatest things I have ever learned is truth about change. It is only inevitable in the physical sense; biology has taken care of that. But change in a person's character, intelligence, experience, and relationships can only be accomplished when it is welcomed. It has to be a choice. And change can be (and is mostly, I would argue) very, very difficult. It is full of pain, and as mortal humans, we can't abide pain as easily as we believe we can. We hide our pain under masks of anger, addiction, humor, and even the window shades of our houses.

Recently, we have been working with one of our children to help curb a streak of dishonesty and lack of work we know this child has the potential to accomplish. It's hard work because change is hard work! There have been many tears, raised voices, punishments, and resignations. I'm so grateful for the presence and rock-like foundation of my husband, because I retreat from pain and discipline, even when I know it is warranted and needed. Consistency with children is really difficult, and yet it is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. As I've been pondering about our situation with our child, I have come face to face with that truth about change: it really, honestly is a choice. We could choose to let our child remain a child and grow into a child-like adult, incapable of taking care of her/himself. Or we can choose to implement some true love and draw boundaries, not apologize for expectations, and encourage the strength needed to grow and learn. 

I've read the letters I wrote to myself as a teenager and knowingly realize how naive I had been-- no, not naive in dreaming or hoping, but naive in the way that what I know now supersedes what I knew then. Knowledge gained through experience and experience gained through time... it's all connected. I surmise that when I am much older, I will also look back at this time of my life and realize, again, how naive I am. Not because it is wrong to be naive, but because that is the purpose of life: to grow, to learn, to understand.

This truth is also why I believe in an after-life. I spend my life --hopefully 80 years or more -- learning, growing, changing, experiencing, and gathering as much information as my brain will allow. I let it shift my perspectives and change my opinions, even as it forges deeply embedded integrity and character. I learn to love and serve, to give of my time and abilities to help those around me. Here's what I would ask of you, dear reader: Why would I wear out my life seeking growth, finding talents, attaining knowledge, and forging a great and wonderful change in myself if I was to simply die with all of it inside of me? There has to be a reason for all of it. (And honestly, I already know the reason, and it's spectacular!)

Time and change; present, past, future... I'm slowly figuring out what that means for me each day. I'm attempting to draw myself out of the past and retreat myself from an unknown future, ever yearning to live in the present. I'm allowing myself to become a better version of myself, and I'm discovering --most importantly, most fervently, most clumsily --how to let Jesus Christ be the one to teach me, to help me, and to save me. He is the most willing, most loving, and most capable to change me, but He can't if I won't let Him --it's a choice, remember? And, dear reader, I have spent enumerable hours refusing Him and His help because I don't like the pain, I don't like the change, and I don't like the idea that I'm broken. How silly, is it not? To stand before someone who loves me more than anyone in the world, who is perfect and incapable of guile, and to tell Him that, "no, thanks! I'm good. I'd rather stay broken and learn nothing!" But that is what I have done, that is what I do, and that is what I will forget and do again in the future. Gratefully, He waits patiently and blesses me along the way, anyway. And when I'm ready, and go to Him, I find that He's already started on my schooling --He never truly stopped, either.

So, dear reader, I can safely say that --for today, at least --I am welcome to the changes and knowledge I need to grow. I welcome the memories and anticipate future choices. I will be grateful for this moment, this hour, this day, and this life. I'm overcome with abundance of good fortune, and I need to do something with these blessings I've been given. I need to stretch myself open and find what lies inside so I may help others.... That will be a post for another day, though.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Numbered Advice Articles

One thing that has led to greater peace in my life is when I decided to stop clicking on (and then reading) those numbered advice articles. You know the ones: "7 Things to Ensure a Happy Marriage!" and "10 Ways to Raise a Happy Kid" as well as, "3 Ways to Be Truly Successful" and, of course, "4 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Unless You Want Your Kids to End Up Psychotic Murderers." Those ones.

I like lists, in general, I really do. I like beautiful bullet points because they're easy to read, easy to organize, and easy to refer back to. It's a common appreciation, and this is why these types of articles are widely read, widely spread, and widely written. We like directions. We like succinct (thank you, click bait world) details that do not waste time discussing things --we want action! Results! Immediately!

And I think that's why I've had to stop reading those articles.

(Unless I end up writing one of them... HA! Haha-ha! Ha... hmmm....)

A lot of them are really, really good. Some have absolute profound guidance that will improve most marriages and parenting, but many do not. Many have ideas that cannot be implemented into every family or marriage because they are either too general --or too specific. I've read articles that would absolutely help a family with two children, but wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface of the dynamics in a family with more than six children. I've also read articles that would help moms of many, but wouldn't be very appreciated by moms with a few children. Some tell us how we can be happy or healthier, and although full of good ideas, some are just not logical. I read one where it told me that if I want to be happy, I need to be following an 11-point routine every morning that included dry brushing my skin, taking cold showers, and meditating for one hour. Uhh... maybe in 20 years I'll have time for that?

My biggest problem with these articles, however, is that they end up making me feel guilty. Here I'll be, thinking I'm doing a pretty good job on the mothering front, when an article will pop up and BAM! I realize I've been doing everything wrong and now my children are doomed! Or I'll be thinking how great my husband is to me and then POW! I'll see that he's most likely having an affair with a supermodel and I'm pushing him into drug trafficking. I'm left feeling my children are all going to end up in jail while l end up alone, walking the streets of... wherever.

"Well, golly, Cheryl," you say, dear reader, "just don't read them!"

"Thanks, dear reader," I say, "for suggesting that, because that's what I'm doing!"

Since the only time I should feel guilty is when I sin (and I've got enough of that, eh?), I decided the best way for me to not give into the despair I feel when I read these kinds of articles is to simply not read them. Well, most of them. The vast majority. Well, not all the time, anyway.

It's almost impossible to solve relationship problems with a bullet list, anyway. The things that need to be taught the most are the slowly built up foundations of a million tiny decisions. It's kind of like... an anthill. A river dam? Maybe it's more like... sediment and canyons being formed... Bit by bit, a character is forged. Piece by piece, ethics are acquired. A well-versed article can be one of those pieces, but it won't change a person overnight. The biggest changes are always intangible, anyway.

Maybe the answer for me is moderation. Read some articles with suggestions about something I need suggestions for, and sift through the rest, only choosing things that may actually help. Seems obvious, of course, but I'm not known for going the obvious way. Usually.

And with that out of the way, I'd like you to read my TOP 6 WAYS TO GET CHILDREN EXCITED ABOUT CHORES!

1. How the heck should I know?!?!?
2..., 3-6: See number one.

The End.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Thornton

I don't believe in coincidences outside of purpose. I believe that when things happen, they do happen for a reason. I also believe we can take those coincidences and use what messages they are trying to teach us, or we can ignore them and miss out on important (or just amazing) experiences.

Take, for example, this word: Thornton.

2 1/2 years ago, when we moved to Pennsylvania, we searched very meticulously for the best place for our family to live. Like most people who are searching for a home, we took into consideration the distance from work, church, the airport, and the main city. We factored in the size of the house and the lot, as well as what type of schools were nearby and what kind of neighborhood it was in. Our budget also played a big part. When it was all said and done, the biggest reason we took the home we did was because of a feeling. We believe, most seriously, that the feeling we had came from God. We believe He is guiding us, even when we feel unworthy of it... Anyway, sufficeth to say, we found our home after much research, effort, and guidance from the Spirit.

We ended up in the village of Thornton. It was a tiny village in the township of Thornbury, in the county of Delaware, in the state of Pennsylvania, about 35 minutes southwest of Philadelphia.

About 8 months after we moved there, we were finally able to sell our home back in Provo. The buyers were a young couple, and in the negotiations, we agreed to do some work on the house for them before they bought it. When it was all said and done, and we went to sign the closing papers, we noticed the last name of the couple who purchased our home: Thornton.

During 2015, I became increasingly restless in regards to my ancestors. My extended family, and especially my parents, have done such a marvelous job over the years in searching for --and finding --my ancestors, that I felt there wasn't much I could do. Oh, how wrong I had been! There is so much I can do, and much to be found and recorded. I found myself feeling pulled toward certain family members, and I found, much to my surprise, that through several branches of my family tree, a lot of my heritage lies in Scotland. I already knew the majority of my family had come from England (and Sweden and Denmark), but I didn't realize Scotland was such a large part! I wish I could say that I have, since my discovery, spent countless hours researching and finding... but as is my lot (and times and seasons), I had only begun before life shifted my focus (ahem: moving to Kansas). But one thing I remembered seeing was that my great-great-great-great-grandmother (not from Scotland) was Sarah Thornton.

Yes, Thornton.

Her son, George, ended up marrying a Jane Smith (who survived the Willie Handcart company at age 17 with her entire family) from Scotland. She and her family sailed to America on a ship named.... You guessed it! The Thornton.

I'm not sure what all of these things have in common, but I feel like God is telling me something about these ancestors. The Thorntons, as well as the Smiths from Scotland. Perhaps I shall spend more time perusing and searching and learning and finding... And maybe we should have named our last daughter, "Thornton?" Ha!

Interesting side-note: all who know me understand my affection for Great Britain. I've always been drawn from whence I came (even though it has been many generations back) and so it came as no surprise that I was immediately taken with the idea of Scotland. And of visiting! I feel a deep desire to go there, to find people... to just... understand where they came from. I truly believe I will need to go there someday. Soon. Like... very soon. Tomorrow? Well, at least soon-ish...

Monday, May 02, 2016

Monday Confessions

Confessions:

*I ate four cookies for breakfast. And some goldfish crackers. Maybe some of the baby's apple cinnamon oatmeal.

*I haven't had more than 5 hours of sleep in a row since about... 2014.

*I bought some Jamberry. I know that I have loads of friends who sell it and have been trying to get me to buy some (not super aggressively --all have been very nice about it!), but I didn't want to. Until now. Heh. Anyway, I got some because I want to curb my nail biting habit. I've tried to keep them painted in the past to do this and it was ridiculous because the paint would come off in two days. You can see how gross my cuticles and hangnails are in this photo --I'm also attempting to fix that as well. So far, so good! I haven't bitten a nail in more than two weeks! I love "fine china" and I did the girls' nails last night. Since I rarely wear makeup (or jewelry or curl my hair), this is pretty fancy schmancy for me! The end.


*I didn't sign the Target boycott. I also kept my red card. That said, I'm shocked at how many people are supporting gender neutral bathrooms, especially feminists. I think gender neutral bathrooms are a horrible idea and our society is on it's way to hell really, really fast. We're pretty much already there. That's gonna offend people, and so I direct you to my next confession...

*I think people spend way too much time being offended. It's the plague of social media.


*I read so many books that I can't remember what books I've read some of the time. And the only book genre I can read consecutively without having to take a break (because of hard subjects or whatever) are clean historical romances (the clean is imperative). Regency is a plus. Which reminds me --I got a Julie Klassen book at our Young Women's garage sale fundraiser for $1! Score!

*I thought I was getting better at not yelling and screaming at the family. But because it is my biggest vice, I can't seem to eradicate it completely. I don't expect myself to never yell for any reason whatsoever, but I do expect myself to grow up and be nice. I'm the greatest of hypocrites, you know, and I abhor hypocrisy and dishonesty in every form. I teach my kids to be kind! Be calm! Apologize! Forgive! Don't bark at your brother! Stop screaming at your sister! And yet what am I doing? Barking, yelling, seething... BLERG. Great example, eh? It's damaging to their emotional state --it's damaging to mine! Sometimes I think I may be too hard on myself because I'm not the only mother who yells. I also am not the only mother who is frustrated with children who won't obey until their mothers become screaming banshees. But I know better. And because I know better, I feel I should DO better. I'm not gonna give up, though. Each new day is a day to try again and honestly, dear reader? I'm trying. I really am.


*I absolutely and unabashedly love the Royal Family. Especially Will and Kate and their adorable babies.

*I feel no shame in admitting that I am a Christian woman who loves and tries to follow Jesus Christ. I don't feel fear in professing my belief in prophets and modern revelation. I feel blessed to have a Savior and I am just peachy keen to let the world know of Him and His commandments and why following Him brings us true peace and real joy. I will never apologize for my testimony and faith. I will never deny what I know and believe to be true because I have never found anything else that can even come close to competing with the safety I have found in Jesus Christ. No matter what else happens in my life, I know I have a Savior.


*It's taken me hours to write this post because of interruptions from the minions. And now I will go clean my house and start dinner in the crockpot. Maybe. Unless I'm distracted by something else...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Next Chapters and Stuff

Well, we've been here for about a month.

We've had two tornado warnings (the sirens went off 2-3 times Sunday night and once, yesterday) and a lot of hail. I was a basket-case during the siren, yesterday, because the boys were still at school. Everyone was just peachy-fine, of course, and I've been told I'll get used to the sirens and the warnings and that like lightening, you never know where the tornado will go, but it's easy to prepare for the worst. In fact, my friend told me that it's a lot easier to prepare for a tornado because 1. they see them in advance and 2. you can get to your shelter and most likely be just fine. Earthquakes and tsunamis and such give no warning --it happens and people only know it's going to happen for a couple of seconds. There's no way to prepare for something like that...

So, my house is almost unpacked! Huzzah! I only have to finish the library (so close), unpack the basement food storage, and the garage. And buy some furniture and hang up all the pictures. "But Cheryl," you ask, "don't you know it's ridiculous to focus so much on unpacking when there is so much living to do? Why do you want to make others feel badly that they took 2 years to move into their houses by doing it within 2 months?" Well, those are excellent questions, dear reader! The answers are: "Who says unpacking isn't living?!" and "If they feel badly, then that has nothing to do with me!" The end.

Depression and Anxiety update:
Well, I'm still on my meds, but I knew the change would be hard and it's HARD. I adore my house, I love my family, the ward is so nice, our neighbors are the best, things are cheaper, the parks are fun, we got library cards, we've already been to the temple (and Costco! We loaded up for two months), and again, I love my house. But I'm struggling because of change. I'm going through big changes (and no, not "the change")! The obvious one is moving. The not-so-obvious ones include:
1. Brandon being home all the time. I love it, but like any military family or other business-traveling family will tell you, re-entry is difficult. We're navigating our way to a new normal (a better normal!), and so there are bumps along the way.
2. New everything: new schools, orthodontist, dentist, doctors, grocery store, ward, laws, systems, culture, etc.
3. Toddler stage with a toddler that doesn't want to wean or sleep through the night and I'm not ready to give up nursing, either. And she is smart. Which translates into getting into everything.
4. Hormones (see below under TMI)
5. Making new friends is hard work as a mother. I'm busy with my family and so I don't have time to just go hang out with people very much. Plus, I have baggage and they have baggage and we all have our baggage --and our baggage looks differently, like some have baggage with a really cool vintage floral print, and others have classy briefcases with locks, and I have a bag-lady beach bag with holes in it, but hey! Our baggage is our baggage and as long as we all admire and enjoy and tolerate each other's baggage, it's all good. It's just getting used to it...
6. I can't remember names and faces, anymore. Is it because my memory is full of the previous places I've lived? Is it my age? Apathy? All three?
7. I'm having anxiety because I can't seem to find a psychiatrist for myself. And I need one soon.
8. I'm not being a very nice mom, lately. This is the part about myself I have the hardest time forgiving --I don't like being a nasty, selfish mom. The guilt makes me more nasty. It's a vicious cycle that I KNOW how to break --it's just remembering to do it.

One good thing: my particular wit (and humor) is coming back. Sort of. This may mean I will have the desire to write more... Maybe even poetry, again...

TMI: Aunt Flo has returned after a blissful year of non-periods-due-to-nursing, even though I'm still nursing most of the time. What, period, you think you should get to come back because it's been a year, already?! Speaking of which --has anyone used THINX? What do you think of this THINX? Because I'm very, very, very tempted to buy them and rid myself of pads forever and ever, amen. The idea is so intriguing and genius because:
1. Convenience (sure, I'll have to change my underwear a few times a day, but with pads, it's like, a 284 times a day! Changing the pad, I mean. Not my underwear. You get it.)
2. Overall cost (sure it's expensive to buy a week's worth of undies, but you only pay for them once. And if you take good care of them, they will last for years! Years and years! In fact, I did the math, and I'm totally kidding because like I ever do math...)
3. Environmentally conscious --I already wash clothing; it's not like using some more water is going to impact the Earth as much as my current period-waste that sits in a landfill...
4. More TMI (seriously, look away): I can't wear tampons anymore, so things like the diva cup don't work for me, either.
5. They are helping women in Africa!! Go here.

I need to figure out a time to do something for myself, by myself, every day. Besides time spent in the bathroom (which is never really by myself, isn't that so normal and sad?). And besides writing or reading. I want to walk again. But I need: a time to do it that will not hinder my family nor put my children in danger AND a walking buddy. Why the walking buddy? Because I do better when I have someone to talk to. "But Cheryl," you ask, "wouldn't that defeat the purpose of being alone?" And I would say, "Oh, yeah... Well, whatever."

The kids get out of school before Memorial Day! Huzzah!! I'm ready for looser schedules. No, not loser schedules, looser --more loose. (Although sometimes my summer school schedules end up being loser-y. Ha!) Time to explore! Do more chores! Mess up the house more! Fight with siblings more...! and... Well... I'm still excited.

The piano is in our living room. Our living room is in the center of the house and conveniently located near the kitchen and dining room and stairs. Because it is on the main level where I spend most of my time, and because it's in a big open room where I can see and hear where the kids are most of the time, I am finding that I am playing and singing more. The acoustics are fantastic thanks to wood floors and nothing on the walls at the moment! I remember a time when the bulk of my day was spent on the piano. I kind of miss it.


Goals for myself for this next little while:
1. Unpack the house and find glorious furniture that will compliment my tastes and desires for the living room (that fluctuate wildly between gorgeous Victorian/Edwardian and super cheap).
2. Walk outside
3. Go to the library with the kids
4. Explore more of the city
5. Take a nap. A long one. A very long, beautiful nap. Preceded by a bath. A long one. A very long, beautiful bath.

Quotage for your day:


Friday, April 22, 2016

Home Sweet Kansas

Hello, dear reader!

We moved. Obviously, although maybe not so obviously if you haven't been keeping up with me on social media. Poor, neglected blog... I'll try to write more later next week...

Living Room not long after we arrived!
Kansas is WONDERFUL, people. I know what you may be thinking: wha? How is it wonderful? Isn't it flat and just full of farmers? (as if flatness and farmers are not wonderful, sheesh!). Well, here are the reasons I love Kansas:

*People here are genuinely friendly. Not in a fake way, either. On the East Coast (which I love, so don't take this to mean I hated it, because I didn't), people are polite, but not friendly. They're helpful, but not open. Here, they are open and friendly and helpful and so very nice!

*We live in the Flint Hills (tail-end) and so we have rolling hills and lots of trees. Not quite as tree-filled as back East, but definitely just as hilly!

*Our house is a dream come true for me. Literally. It's nothing I thought I would want and yet everything I've ever wanted! And we own it! I'll share photos below.

*Church is 6 minutes away (instead of 25). Work for Brandon is 5 minutes away (instead of another time zone and airplane ride!). Schools are close; friends are closer.

*Music lessons and sports activities are way cheaper here! This means we can put the kids back into some things.

*Realizing we can travel to Philly this summer for the Temple Open House as well as Idaho/Utah in a reasonable amount of time. Being in the center of the country (quite literally) is pretty awesome for that!

The kids are doing okay. Adjusting pretty well to the house and environment and the new-ness of it all. They're slowly making friends and trying to find their places in the ward and at school. The biggest complaint? "Mom, at school they swear a lot more here than in PA --and they keep using the F word for everything. It's just awful." So, BOO on that! You may be nice, Kansas, but you should clean up your language!

Easter:




I am doing a bit better than I expected. Depression-wise I had one HUGE meltdown on a morning a few weeks ago. Once I screamed and yelled (at the air, not the kids, well a little at the kids, sigh...) and bawled for an hour, I felt a lot better. I think the stress just needed to get out. But I've been consistent about my medication and keeping the stress down as much as possible, so I'm doing pretty darn good.

Things I've been thinking about:

*Not the election. I hate everyone who is running.
*Summer plans
*Unpacking the house (I'm seriously so close!)
*Finding time to go walking
*Getting baby girl to sleep all night, or at least most of it! Maybe weaning her, too...
*Writing again
*Getting my kids into swimming lessons, music lessons, and sports
*Adjusting to having Brandon home all the time (which we LOVE)

5 gazillion photos of the house -- most without a lot of our furniture and zero pictures on the wall (still waiting to touch-up paint before we do that portion of the unpacking):


























































Quotage for your weekend!