Saturday, October 12, 2013

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Getting up with an alarm for the past three weeks has turned me into a waking-up-at-5:40 person now and I am really annoyed!  It seems such a waste to wake up so early on a day that you can sleep in until 8!  Carson also woke up around the same time but he seemed pretty cheerful about it.  I guess I should learn to be more cheerful like him.

We took Jared to receive his Partriarchal Blessing this morning.  We have been blessed to be able to go with four of our children as they received them and it has been amazing to me to see how the needs and concerns of each of our children and even the concerns of their parents have been addressed in their blessing.  They are each unique and wonderful.  Heavenly Father has big plans for each of them and I am honored to be their mom!

Gary worked a little on his honey-do list.  Part of our closet shelves were falling down and taking the drywall with them so he decided to fix that.  He's pretty proud of himself and has pulled a muscle patting himself on the back.  I am pleased that I don't have to worry about being crushed by closet shelves.  I helped out by taking a nap except for lending my hands to push one of the board against the wall while he lifted it.  It was a very important job!!

While I was napping one of our children decided to head off to college.  Carson is college bound and he has the badge to prove it.  Here are Carson's tips for getting ready for college:

Step 1:  Get yourself a college bound pin to wear:

Step 2:  Pack your suitcase:

Step 3:  Assure your mom that you have your backpack and jacket:

Step 4:  Make sure you have your shoes on:

Step 5:  Pose for a million pictures (or three):

Step 6:  Don't forget your suit coat (and make sure your belly is showing a bit):

Step 7:  Don't forget your soccer ball:

Step 8:  Text your sister a picture of yourself so she knows who to look for at the airport:

Step 8:  Wait forever for your parents to take you to the airport.  Get really mad at them and say "I NEED TO GO TO COLLEGE!!"  Give up because they won't take you to the airport, change into your CTR Superman shirt, and play some sad sounding melody on the keyboard.

Carson thinks it is really hard to get good help these days!!


Friday, October 11, 2013

It's My Party And I'll Clean If I Want To!

I have no reason to write Gary a letter since he is coming home today but I have enjoyed keeping track of my days so I'm going to keep doing it until I start to not enjoy it or get busy or lazy.

Carson came down this morning right after the big kids left for church.  He staggered into my room and face-planted on the bed.  He fell back to sleep before he'd even gotten his feet on the bed and even slept through the alarm.  I bribed him with a chocolate breakfast drink to get him to wake up. 

I usually make him an egg breakfast taco but at his ARD meeting yesterday I found out that he is eating breakfast at home, then eating breakfast as soon as he gets to school, having a snack at 10 and lunch at noon!!  How does he eat that much food?  We decided we should probably skip the breakfast at home and just let him eat at school since he likes eating with his friends.

Emily came in this morning and asked me how I liked her outfit.  She had on a skirt I had never seen before so I asked her if it was new.  She said she got it awhile back but it was too long so she hemmed it.  I was kind of shocked by that.  She had cut and hemmed it this morning before school and after seminary!!  It takes me months to get the courage to try to fix something, another month to finally pull out the sewing machine, lots of time deciding how short or long to make it, hours to iron it before I sew it and then I usually hate it when I'm finished.  She just whipped that up in less than an hour!!  I guess that's the difference between a perfectionist and a free spirit.  I didn't even know she knew how to use a sewing machine without help.  I told her I was flabbergasted with how good it looked!  I might hire her as my personal seamstress.

Today is Jared's birthday.  My third 17 year old!  How in the world did that happen?!  It seems like just yesterday, I was being pressured by the anesthesiologist to get an epidural.  I didn't because I made the mistake of reading the risks of having an epidural and just didn't feel like I should have one.  It was all going perfectly fine until they told me to push and *OUCH!!* and then I changed my mind and decided to not have a baby.  Since he is celebrating his birthday today, obviously my plan did not work.  He was so mad to be pushed into this world.  That kid kicked and screamed for the longest time.  All of my other babies cried for a minute or two and then were happy to be held by their mom but not Jared!!  He claims that he was trying to say "just a minute" when he was told it was time to come because he had something else to do which wouldn't surprise me considering I spend a lot of my time waiting for him.  He's a good kid though.  We'll keep him!  Happy Birthday to Jared.  Your family loves you!!

Gary is back home so all is right in Carson's world.  Gary got quite the homecoming from him.  Carson has a way of making you feel like you are the most important person in the world when you walk through the front door whether you've been gone for a week or a couple of hours.  He's such a cute kid!!  My homecoming for Gary was "Oh good!  You're home!  Come on, we need to take dinner to someone."  Pretty romantic, don't you think?  I did save him some so he could eat too but we had to wait until we got back home.

Now we are looking forward to a nice weekend of organizing and cleaning.  Do we know how to party or what?!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No Police Raid Today

Dear Gary,

This morning my door opened at 4 and this most pitiful of voices said "Mommy....I scared!"  Carson climbed into bed with me and we both fell fast asleep.  When the alarm went off at 5:40, I thought for sure he would wake up but he didn't.  I guess it was my turn to be the parent and make sure the kids didn't miss their ride, see them off and lock the door.  That's only fair, I suppose, since he has done it the last few days.  When the 6:30 alarm went off, I was even more surprised that he slept in!  He must have been worn out from his busy day yesterday. 

As he was drinking his chocolate milk, I went and picked out some clothes for him.  He has gone through most of his favorite shorts (basketball) this week so the only things left were the shorts that he isn't really fond of wearing.  I picked out two and let him choose his favorite.  Oh my goodness!!  I have found the secret to successful negotiations with an 11 year old boy with Down Syndrome!!  If I had just chosen the gray pair for him, he would have thrown himself on the floor in despair.  If I had just chosen the denim pair for him, there would have been weeping and wailing.  Holding up two pairs and saying "which one would you like to wear, the gray or the denim"?  Well, he chose the gray and I said that was a great choice and he said "Yay!!" and got dressed!!  It was a magical moment and I was able to avoid the awkward choice of the basketball shorts with the hole in the backside.  I should probably just get rid of those, huh?

Carson chose for me to say family prayer this morning.  As I was praying, Heavenly Father allowed for me to see, for a very brief moment, all of my blessings.  I saw the blessing of having a little boy with Down Syndrome that wakes up cheerful and forgives easily.  I saw the blessing of having teenagers that willingly get up early to go to church every morning.  I saw the blessing of having two kids at college that are doing so well.  I saw the blessing of having a husband that works hard to provide for us so that I can stay home with these kids.  I saw the blessings of having an eternal family.  I was so overwhelmed with my blessings that I couldn't say the words to the prayer.  Luckily, it was just Carson and me....otherwise, the teenagers would have said "Geez're getting to be as bad as Dad!!"  I was grateful to feel that love from my Heavenly Father. 

As I was driving to our house after taking the kids to school, I passed two Oviedo Round Rock police officers.  I'll just pause from this riveting story to say...isn't it funny that in my head I still think I am living in Oviedo even though I haven't lived there in over 9 years?  Talk about living in the past!!  Anyway...back to the police.  As I passed them, I couldn't help but wonder why they were just sitting there on our street.  I started to think about what would happen if they were doing a police raid on all the houses in the neighborhood.  Then I thought about how our house looked right that minute.  We would probably be one of those news story where they would say something like "the 3 children were living in filthy conditions so we had to take them into protective custody until we can get the Hoarders team out to remedy the situation."  So...I ran in quickly and started cleaning the kitchen that hadn't been cleaned the day before.  The good news....there wasn't a police raid and the kitchen is clean.  I even cleaned out the microwave (I now have a firm testimony of covering the food before turning on the microwave) and the grease stains off the stovetop.  The bad news....your wife is crazy.  A loon.  You really should have been more thoughtful when you chose an eternal companion!

I went to Carson's ARD meeting today.  Usually it's you and me against the ARD committee but as you know I had to go solo since you abandoned me are in training in Houston.  I really hate those meetings and usually sit there thinking "What was God thinking when he sent this special boy to 2 of the most unorganized, non-combative people with no training in education...special or otherwise on this planet?"  I feel woefully unqualified for the job and never know what questions I should be asking.  They tell me his goals and I don't know what they are talking about and just hope that they know what they are doing.  I am supposed to be an advocate for this child?  Luckily, it went well and they all love Carson and think he's cutest.  They have good goals for him and some ideas for us to work on at home.  Phew!!  All that worry for nothing!  Then they started talking about preparing him for the transition to middle school next year.  Time to start worrying again!!

They sent Carson off on the bus while I was still in the meeting.  They were teasing me and said that I had checked the box that said it was okay to leave Carson at home alone so the bus driver would just drop him off.  Just so you know...I did not check that box!  Then they called the bus and had them bring Carson back to the school.  He seemed pretty excited to go on an adventure but was excited when he walked in the room and found me.  "Hi Mom-mom!"  I love when he calls me "Mom-mom"!

Emily and her friends went to the freshman football game tonight and Jared is at band practice so Carson and I are hanging out at home enjoying these:

Carson's best friend, Penny, brought these over.  You are just missing out on all of the goodies this week!  Emily came home from school and said "Whoa, Mom....You cleaned the kitchen!!"  As your dad would say "she sure is a cheeky little devil, isn't she?!"
Well, I think that's about all.  I am hoping for a quiet night where we all go to bed by 8:00.  I'm sure it will happen.  We love you and are excited to see you tomorrow.


When my sister and I were teenagers, we were asked to sing at a special church service.  The General Young Women's President, Sister Ardeth Greene Kapp was speaking and Lori and I both had solo parts in a song sung by a choir that we were part of.  That was back when I had a little bit of self confidence...I would never, ever, ever sing a solo now.  Before the meeting began, Sister Kapp met with the choir and wanted to know each of our names.

Later, as she was speaking, she asked that one of the choir members come forward and called Lori by name.  Anyone that knows my sister would not be surprised by that.  She just always radiated this special light.  Her friends jokingly said that people would get trapped in her aura.  So Lori went up to the front of this giant congregation of youth to stand next to this famous person from Utah.  Sister Kapp asked her if she had a best friend in the audience.  Lori said she did and Sister Kapp asked her what her friend's name was.  To my surprise, she said Shanon.  So Sister Kapp called me up to the stand.  I remember Sister Kapp being surprised to know that her best friend was also her sister.  I don't remember why she called Lori and I to the pulpit that day but I do remember feeling honored to be my little sister's best friend. 

October is breast cancer awareness month and I have been seeing all of the pink everywhere and the public service messages about breast cancer.  I watched this video this morning.  Barb was 28 years old when she found a lump in her breast.  She was diagnosed in October 2011.  Barb and her husband Brig made this video in December, shortly after Barb began her first chemo treatment. 

This brought back a memory of my sister.  Lori had long hair.  As she nursed her first baby, he would gently grab hold of her hair and run his fingers through it.  It became his security blanket of sorts.  When Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months after her second baby was born, she found out that she would have to have chemo and radiation along with a double mastectomy.  When her hair started falling out, her, her husband, and little boy went out to the yard and he started cutting her hair as she sat there and cried.  Her son got upset at his daddy for cutting her hair and making his mom cry.  They saved her braided pony tail and he carried around his mom's hair for quite awhile after that.
The only thing about that video that kind of bothers me is the title because sometimes the brave don't have a future.  My sister was certainly brave.  She endured her trial and she endured it WELL! 
I can't decide how I feel about fundraising for breast cancer.  Part of me feels like there is a lot of funds raised that aren't used appropriately.  Part of me thinks that with as much money raised, there should be a cure by now.  Part of me is hopeful that one day there will be a cure.  I do like, however, that October is a month to celebrate the people that have been affected by cancer...those who have survived, those who fought a good fight but had to leave their families and friends sooner than any of them would have liked and those who live in honor of their loved ones that have gone.
So this day, as every other day, I celebrate my sister and cherish the memories I have of her.  I hope to be as brave and courageous to endure my trials as she was with hers.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I've Always Wanted To Live In England

Dear Gary,

Do you remember our family meeting where I said something like Jared and Emily have really been getting along well lately?  Well, they have made a valiant effort to prove me wrong today.  I won't go into all the details except to tell you that there was biting and punching involved...out in front of people...who aren't our family.  It looked something like this only with real people who are our children.  We should probably leave the country.

This morning started off just like the last few.  Carson's internal alarm clock woke him up just as I got to the top of the stairs to wake up the fighters for seminary.  He really wanted to go into Emily's room to give her a hug but luckily Emily told him she would give him one downstairs or else he would still be lost in the clutter that is her room. 

He made sure they didn't miss their ride but then he came and crashed in our bed.  It's Wednesday...I can tell we are starting to lose our momentum from the weekend and now we are just plain tired.  Here are a few pics to show you how rough it was this morning.

The chocolate milk perked him right up and he got ready.  As we were sitting on the stairs, tying his shoes he pointed to my painted toenails with a smile on his face.  I asked him if he liked the red and he nodded, then he planted a nice, juicy kiss right on my cheek.  I didn't realize that all I had to do to get a kiss from my cute boy was to paint my toenails!  He left before Emily and Jared got home so he only got the mom goodbye. 
I spent the day rearranging stuff.  I'm not going to tell you what I am'll just have to be surprised.  I also learned the secret to making a pretty green smoothie.  Remember how I was wondering how people made smoothies that weren't a brownish color.  Well today, I learned how.  You use frozen peaches, a banana, a couple handfuls of power greens and a scoop of yogurt.  It wasn't bad either....for a smoothie with no extra sugar.  I think it would taste really yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but that might be defeating the purpose of drinking a healthy smoothie.  Isn't it just lovely?! 
Tonight we had scouts and youth night.  Carson was so thrilled to find out it was finally the day to go to scouts that he jumped off the bus without even a thought to where Dad was.  Don't worry, though, he still misses you and wishes that you would come home already!!  Carson didn't want to leave scouts tonight and decided the best way to prevent that was to drop to the floor and go limp.  I love it when he does that.  Especially when there is a big crowd of people around to watch how I am going to get this limp kid out to the car. 
I really think we are going to have to leave the country!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Trials of Being a Trooper's Daughter

Dear Gary,

The tides have shifted.  I managed to fall asleep before midnight (mere minutes before but I'm counting it as a victory) and Carson slept in until 5:45 again.  If only I had been able to sleep in past 4am....yawn.

Carson saw the kids off again this morning.  He's so cheerful and pleasant in the morning and his chatter prevented them from falling asleep while waiting for their ride.  I am sure they were grateful for that.  He made sure they got off to seminary like a good parent would....I stayed in bed because many parents do you need to make sure they don't miss their ride?  One....I say, and since he was willing to do it (although not technically a parent), I let him.  After they left, he came into my room with a smile on his face and his green and red Power Rangers.  Our conversation went like this:

Carson:  Where's Dad?
Me:  In Houston.
Carson:  Why?
Me:  Why not?
Carson:  (in a mocking voice) Why not?!
**10 seconds later**
Carson:  Where's Dad?
Me:  In Houston.
Carson:  Why?
Me:  Why not?
Carson: (mocking me again) Why not?!

I decided to check my emails and FB and he saw the picture I have on my blog and wanted to look at it closer.  I made it big and we had this conversation:  He said "Mommy...gook!  (That's how he says look).  That's me!  Hair....(Then he runs his fingers through his hair and says) handsome....(not boasting...just stating the facts).  I guess when you've got your hair slicked back for family pictures you can't help but be handsome. :)  Just at that moment the alarm went off (wishful thinking, I suppose, to think I would have fallen back to sleep after the kids left for church and needed that alarm) and we had to quit admiring our handsome selves and get ready for school.  Just like yesterday, he was very happy to help and very happy to see Emily and Jared before getting on the bus and the first class send off.

I went back to sleep after Carson got on the bus and jokingly told Jared and Emily that I was too tired to take them to school and they needed to walk.  Jared and Emily are chomping at the bit to be able to drive so they decided that they would drive themselves to school.  I was this close to just giving in and letting them do it but my obedient, law abiding, state trooper daughter self kicked in and I got my lazy behind out of bed and drove them to school.  I hate my obedient, law abiding, state trooper daughter self sometimes!!

Everyone had a great day.  I made Double Chocolate Pumpkin cookies and they were really, really good!!  Too bad you weren't here to enjoy them.  Did I mention that they were really, really good?  Well...since this is supposed to be a love letter, I will tell you that we love you and miss you and are ready for you to come home.  Especially since you are Carson's favorite parent and I am ready for him to start visiting you in the wee hours of the morning!!  Maybe we'll even make more cookies!!



Monday, October 7, 2013

I Think I Need A Pair of Daisy Duke Shorts

Dear Gary,

I couldn't fall asleep last night until after midnight (the axe murderers were really noisy) so I was really hoping that Carson would sleep past 2am and guess what!  He slept in until 5:45!  He came down with Emily and Jared and kept them company while they waited for their ride to church.  I went back to bed because I am the best of mothers.  I heard him walk them to the door, tell them goodbye and then it sounded like he locked the door behind them.  Then he got really quiet.  A few minutes later I got up to check on him because I remembered that sometimes he likes to go out on the front porch and wait for people (and give his mom a heart attack).  I found him sitting in the bathroom completely naked but with his school clothes ready to put on.  Such a responsible kid!!  He was pretty thrilled that I let him wear what he had picked out.  At one point he asked "Where's Daddy?"  I said "In Houston."  He said "Oh!"  That was that.  I think he might be starting to get it.  He was very good about putting his dishes in the sink and rinsing out his cup.

We walked out the door to get him on the bus and decided it was cold enough that he needed a jacket so I ran back inside to get one.  Jared and Emily got home in time to see him off and Emily came running down the street with her arms out wide and blow kisses for Carson.  Jared came walking up with a blanket over his head and stood by the bus to see him off.  I was standing there in my pajamas waving and blowing kisses.  That kid couldn't have gotten a better bon voyage if he had been a soldier going off to war or a missionary going away for a few years!  We must have been quite the sight!  Luckily, it was still kind of dark outside but he was all smiles when the bus drove off.

Emily and Jared came in and Emily asked if she could have a piece of her birthday cake.  Jared told her "no" because her birthday was over and the rest of the cake was for his birthday.  Then they had a fairly long discussion about birthday days/months.  I think they finally decided that it is considered your birthday until the next person's birthday comes up which kind of stinks for you, Chris, and Emily since the three of you have others coming up on the heels of your special day.  After all that though, I think she was able to eat a piece of cake so all was well.

Emily got ready for school really quick and with my keys in hand headed out the door to wait in the car.  I didn't know that is what she had done until I started looking for her so she could empty the dishwasher.  I heard this really loud music outside and thought the neighbors were being kind of inconsiderate but turns out it was our family that was the inconsiderate neighbors because she was out in the car with the radio blaring at full volume.  I'm sure the neighborhood is happy that she shared her music with everyone. 

Do we have a rule about who sits in the front seat?  Jared swears that we have a rule that the oldest one home gets the front seat but Emily says we have never had that rule so it's whoever gets there first.  Last week, Jared got ready really early and was the one out in the car waiting (I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone) so that he could sit in the front but today Emily was ready early and claimed the coveted spot.  I can't remember if we have ever had a rule but Jared always just accepted that Kinsey got the front seat.  I thought it was kind of interesting though that when I dropped Emily off at school and Jared stayed in the car to go to the orthodontist that he didn't want to sit in the front.  Apparently, it is only important for him to sit in the front if it bothers Emily.  Hmmmm.......

It was a seat warmer and heater kind of morning and Emily had both turned on for me when I got in the car.  On the way to school we had this conversation:
Me:  Brrrr......
Jared:  What is the temperature?
Emily:  59 degrees.
Jared:  That is perfect!!
Me:  If you are a polar bear!
They then felt compelled to give me a lesson on the proper temperature that a polar bear is comfortable with.

As I drove over the big overpass to get on Mopac to take Jared to the orthodontist, I couldn't help but think about what it would be like to drive through the side rails and sail off to the road below.  Don't worry...I'm not suicidal...I think I just must have watched too much Dukes of Hazards in my childhood.  Do you ever think that way when you drive over it or is it just me? 

The birds have moved back into the bathroom vents.  They are contributing to my paranoia.  I think my heart may have stopped beating several times today.  It is really quiet in this house when I am the only one home....except when the intruders start making noise and they sound exactly like what I imagine an axe murderer sounds like.  I'm lucky to still be alive to write this.

Carson did not refuse to get off the bus even though you weren't there to greet him.  He was pretty disappointed though that there was no scouts today.  Everyone seemed to have a good day at school. 

Well...I think that's all.  I made a fancy dinner of store-bought pizza for tonight.  I are sad that you are going to miss it, aren't you?  Too bad you have to go out for dinner tonight. :(



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where Do You Keep Your Dry Mustard?

Dear Gary,

Today Carson slept in until about 4:30.  I'm not sure what was happening up there since I was too tired from the insomnia (did you know that every noise you hear could possibly be an axe murderer?) of the night before to walk upstairs but it sounded like he had a group of bowlers or a moving company bringing in furniture.  He must have come downstairs when he got tired of bowling and moving because I found him on the couch this morning.

One of your children came in from church this morning saying that the other one of your children had punched the first child in the stomach.  I asked why they did that but they didn't seem to think you needed a reason.

They made waffles for breakfast but didn't offer me anything but the mess to clean which was fine I suppose since I don't like eating in the morning.  They did offer to unload the dishwasher for me though and since I hate that job, I gladly took them up on the offer.  Oh, when I say they offered to do it, I mean that I told one of them to do it and he did it without complaining and then I heard the angels rejoicing!

They convinced me that I NEEDED to watch this video about what a fox says.  I frankly have never been too concerned about what a fox says but apparently it causes some people quite a bit of angst hence the video production.

It does have a catchy tune, I suppose.

On the way to school, I remembered that we hadn't said family prayer yet so I asked Emily to say it.  As she started saying the prayer, I closed my eyes and was just about to fold my arms when I remembered that I was driving.  Then I said "oh....I guess I shouldn't close my eyes" which is a very irreverent thing to do (talking) during the prayer.  Emily started laughing and then asked that I be blessed with a good night's sleep tonight.  They still seem to think I am a bit sleep deprived for some reason.

After taking the kids to school, I decided to tackle the mountain of laundry that I have been ignoring for awhile.  Good news....I found the lost pool key in the pocket of your swimsuit.  Bad news...that key has been missing for about a month.  Surely, I am not such a bad housekeeper it took me a month to wash your swimsuit?!  Anyway, I managed to get all of the laundry folded while watching Emma (a great movie, by-the-way, if you like Jane Austen.)

Carson had a great day at school but refused to get off the bus when he found out that you were STILL in Houston!!  I bribed him with a snack and scouts so that the long line of cars behind the bus didn't have to wait any longer.  I wonder if the bus driver wonders why Carson will only get off the bus when his dad is home?  He also had a good time at scouts and is getting to be quite the basketball player!

I have had a song in my head all day after watching the video of the dad and his little girl singing a duet to take her mind off of the fireworks.  It's a cute video and it makes me smile but the lyrics have been bothering me all day.  It says "I know you belong to somebody new, but tonight you belong to me."  So....if you belong to somebody new, shouldn't you still belong to them and not wait until tomorrow to belong to them again after tonight?  Just wondering.

As I was turning out all the lights tonight, I glanced over and found this:

I guess we are keeping our dry mustard on top of baby oranges now.  Don't ask me why we do these things.

So...that's about it.  I hope the axe murderers don't get me tonight!



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

Dear Gary,

Today we had a discussion about healthy food.  You know I am the expert on that subject!!  Emily wanted to know if I had any ideas for a healthy snack so I suggested she cut up some celery and carrots or maybe a banana.  She didn't like the banana idea because fruit gets too mushy by snack time.

She went into the kitchen for a few minutes and came back with bite size pieces of celery.  I always think of preparing celery by cutting a stalk into thirds and then cutting those into skinnier pieces so the bag of bite size pieces surprised me and I started laughing (I might possibly be sleep deprived).  She had a perfectly logical explanation for the way she cut up the celery and I thought she just might be a genius!!  You know how when you bite into a celery stick it gets all stringy?  Well bite size pieces solve that age old dilemma!  See!! Genius!!

I asked her about the carrots but she said that she didn't do them because you have to skin the carrot, and then cut the carrot and phew, just way too much effort!!  I had never heard anyone say that they needed to skin a carrot and that got me laughing again (see....sleep deprived!!)  She asked me what I would call it and I said that I always peel a carrot. we drove to school we were having a very deep discussion on whether you peeled a carrot or skinned a carrot.  Jared had to add his two cents in and agreed with me although rather than be nice about it, he said something like "Well...that's just weird!!  You don't skin a carrot!"

I agreed and said that you skin a cat not a carrot!!

Then, Jared said " skin a potato and peel a carrot!!"

I had never heard of anyone skinning a potato either but he had a perfectly logical to him reason why you would skin a potato...."those potato skins (NOT PEELS) piled up high.  You wouldn't call them a pile of potato peels, would you?!"  Well, actually that is what I call them and again he said "well, that's just weird and WHO WOULD SKIN A CAT?!!!"  "WHY WOULD YOU SKIN A CAT?!"

Well, where I come from you peel a carrot, you peel a potato, and you skin a cat!!  Then I got the giggles about the way Jared had reacted to skinning a cat and couldn't quit laughing.

Then a fire truck drove by and Jared asked me if I had heard that the fire truck engine harmonized with the song playing on the radio.  So I started humming like a fire truck would hum and he said that fire trucks do not hum.  So I sang like a fire truck would sing but apparently fire trucks don't sing either.  So, then I made a vrooming noise like a fire engine in perfect harmony with the song and he said "that's almost it just less throaty!!"  Well, that just cracked me up even more!

So, as they got out of the car they kept giving me weird looks and were very concerned with the state of my mind because they both said "Mom....We think you should go home and take a nap!!"

Well, you don't have to tell me twice!!

In other news, Carson found his cleavage shirt before I had the chance to accidentally lose it.  He really likes it and was very upset that I would not let him wear it to school.  He's pretty sure that if you were here we wouldn't be having these discussions.

The cleavage shirt

I hope you aren't struggling too much in that quiet hotel room.



Love Letters

Awhile back, I read about a lady whose husband would travel to his family's ranch in New Mexico to work, and while he was there she would write letters to him on her blog.  I always thought they were so sweet.  Gary has never had to travel for work (which is such a blessing) but he has just started a new job and left for Houston on Sunday night for a three week training ( he does get to come home on weekends).  While he is gone, I thought I would write him letters on my blog.  We have been explaining to Carson that Daddy was going to Houston for job training and I don't know....I just don't think he's getting it!

Dear Gary,

This was a conversation I had with Carson at 2:30 this morning (that's AM, people!!):

Carson:  Where's Daddy?
Me:  In Houston.
Carson:  Why?
Me:  Why not?!
Carson:  Home soon?
Me:  Yes....he will be home on Friday.  Now GO TO SLEEP!

This was the conversation I had with Carson at 5:30 this morning:

Carson:  Where's Daddy?
Me:  In Houston.
Carson:  Why?
Me:  Why not?!
Carson:  Home soon?
Me:  Yes....he will be home on Friday.  Now GO TO SLEEP!

This was the conversation I had with Carson at 6:00 this morning:

Me:  (Waking him up because their ride hasn't come) Come on Carson, we have to take Jared and Emily to seminary.
Carson:  Noooooo!!  Bus!!  School!!
Me:  We'll come right back and get ready for school.
At this point their ride gets here.
Me:  Grrrrrr!
Carson:  Where's Daddy?
Me:  In Houston.
Carson:  Why?
Me:  Why not?!
Carson:  Home soon?
Me:  Yes....he will be home on Friday.  Now GO TO SLEEP!

Conversation with Carson at 6:30 this morning:

Me:  Carson wake's time to get ready for school.
Carson:  Grumble...roll over...sleep....snore....sleep....snore
Me:  Big heavy martyr sigh....

Guess how I feel about this.

Love you but if you ever leave me you get the kids,


This was Gary's reply to me because he is always nice:

You are a saint and will receive a crown of glory for this!!!!  It will be well deserved!
And my reply to him because I am always a ray of sunshine:
No....if I were a saint, I would cheerfully hug him and reassure him and explain in great detail why his daddy abandoned....ummmm....had to go off to do training for his new job because he loves us so much and wants to provide for our family.  Then we would cuddle and I would help him to feel safe and secure.
That isn't exactly what happened. #itshardtobecheerfulandlovingat2:30inthemorning
And his saintly reply:
You are right. I guess this is the process of "becoming" saints. Which is also the right path to be on:)

Love you,
Doesn't that just fill your heart with thoughts of love and kindness...maybe even a few butterflies and unicorns?!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Camping He Will Go

I have this thing....this issue, if you will....that makes me crazy.

I can hear the collective whisper of my friends saying "haha....she thinks she just has one issue that makes her crazy?!"  STOP IT!!!  I know that I have more than one issue but this issue is the one that is on my mind right now!!

So anyway...this issue that I have is that I hate being late and I hate it if anyone that I am responsible for is late.  This is an issue that I have passed on to one of my five children (which is wonderful and so comforting to know that when we are about to start running late for something that she is about to have an anxiety attack right along with helps to know that I will not be lonely in the loony bin.)

The problem is that I have four other children and a husband that do not have an issue with this issue.  They also have a hard time judging how much time it will take to get ready to go places. that I have that out in the open, I'll tell you my story.

Yesterday, Jared had a campout.  Jared is my most laid back, free-spirited, hang loose kind of kid which just means that HE DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!!  So...he decided to start getting ready for the campout at about 4:15 (he had to be at the church at 5:00).  At about 4:30, I realized that I hadn't seen one piece of camping equipment and that we needed to leave soon, so I yelled up to him that he needed to hurry.  He slowly sauntered down the stairs and said "Mom, we need to pick up Joseph on the way." 

This is the part of the story where my heart starts racing and my stomach starts hurting.  I really should have expected something like this because it's Jared.

So, he slowly wanders around grabbing things and stuffing them into his backpack.  At one point, I watched him put a Ziplock bag full of water into his backpack full of his dry clothes and food for the weekend.  I may have loudly asked "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" when I imagined the bag of water exploding all over his backpack.  He casually said "What?  My Frio pack needs to soak for a few minutes." (his Frio pack keeps his insulin's really amazing!  It has these little bead things inside that get really cold when soaked in water and it keeps his insulin at the perfect temperature the whole time he's hiking...even in Texas in the summer!)  He really didn't see why in the world I took the water bag out of his backpack.

See....this kid is going to kill me!

So anyway, we finally get on the road and I am torn between driving the speed limit (my need to always be obedient) and driving like a bat out of .... so that he is not late (my need to never be late).  I chose to drive the speed limit.  So, we pull into Joseph's neighborhood, drive all the way to his house and see Joseph wandering back to his house with all of his camping gear.  He gets into the car and says "You saw me didn't you Jared?"  Joseph was waiting at the entrance of the subdivision and I drove right past him.  I said in my most annoyed voice "You saw him waiting by the road?!  Why didn't you tell me?!"  He said "well, my water bag was leaking so I was taking care of that."

This is where those deep breathing exercises come in handy.

By this point, it was about 5:10 and so I made him call his scout leader and tell him that we were going to be late.  He gave me a heavy sigh and told me it wasn't a big deal that no one is ever on time for these things but I made him call anyway.  Just once...I would love it if a scout leader would say something like "well...Jared, we are all waiting on you and you should feel really bad about that" but instead the scout leader says "oh...that's okay...I'm not at the church yet either."  Sigh....

We get there and everyone had smiles on their faces and were all happy to see him.  Really...where are all the leaders that are annoyed and ready to teach these kids some good life lessons like the importance of being on time?!  I'm just kidding leaders....thanks for being nice!!

Jared gets out and it's at that point that I notice he is wearing clothes to hike in the winter, not in the 95 degree weather in Texas.  His scout leader is pointing out that everything he is wearing will not be allowed on their high adventure camp (they are going to Philmont) and tells him the evils of wearing cotton while hiking.  Jared says something smart-aleck-y like "I made sure to stuff my backpack with all cotton clothing."  Jared does not have that need to be obedient either.

He is still carrying around his bag of water so all of his leaders are wondering if that is his water supply for the weekend.  For some reason that struck me as funny.  I might possibly be in the loony bin sooner than I think.

As they are throwing everything into the truck, one of the leaders asks him if he has his food for the weekend.  He says "Yep!" and happily pulls out his bag of Chewy Sprees. 

That kid!!  He's going to kill me but I love him anyway!

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm Married to Pollyanna

The last few weeks of school, Gary kept saying he couldn't wait for school to get out because that also meant that seminary was ending for the school year.  He couldn't wait to sleep in, he kept saying with much excitement and anticipation!  His wake up time for the school year was 5:35 am. 

We are now into the second week of summer and all week long his alarm has gone off at 5:45 am.  He was anxiously and happily waiting for an extra 10 minutes of sleep.  In what will probably go into the record books of amazing restraint, I have not committed one act of violence against him even though he has woken me up every morning this week at 5:45 to go walking with him.  If I were Catholic, I would be expecting a saint to be named after me any day now...Shanon, Patron Saint of Nonviolence (or something equally clever).

This morning as we were walking, I was looking down counting all of the dead squirrel carcasses I walked past (2) and feeling empathy for the worms that were struggling in a futile attempt to get off the hot concrete into the grass...although not enough empathy to pick them up and help them in their quest because ewwww...they are worms. 

At one point, the thought crossed my mind that I feel like those worms.  I feel stuck in a hard place and completely helpless to do anything about it.  I can't seem to muster up the energy to crawl to a safe place if such a place even exists.  Life is kicking us around right now.  Gary came home yesterday with news that his company is selling out and shutting down and he will be out of a job as of August 31. 

I don't know if I have what it takes to start over again.  The last 6 years have been hard and I have on more than one occasion woken up disappointed that I did not die in my sleep.  I am blessed beyond measure but am well acquainted with sorrow.  It has come and made permanent residence in my heart.  Depression...that quiet disease that no one knows about has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember.  Just when I think that maybe I have figured out a way to lay it by the wayside for a little while something comes and knocks me back into that hole that I have been trying so desperately to climb out of.

Gary is my Pollyanna because as I was walking along beside him quietly counting the dead carcasses and feeling like the dried worms, he was commenting on what a beautiful sunrise we had to look at this morning.  For a brief moment, I smiled at the hilarity of it all.  Here is my husband, who I am sure is worried because he is the sole provider of a household of 7 plus the caretaker of his mom, grateful for his extra 10 minutes of sleep and looking up instead of down at the beautiful sunrise that God gave us to enjoy this morning.

I'm sure there is a lesson somewhere in that to learn.  I'm really trying to learn it but it is so hard!!'s a video dedicated to my Pollyanna.  I'm grateful that he is responsible for our family because I am a mess and would have us crawling with the worms but he is strong and positive and refuses to do anything but soar with the eagles.

Happy Father's Day to all of those dads that do hard things and especially to the dad of my children that takes such good care of us.  We really love you!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blue and Gold Banquet

Unless we get a midlife surprise baby, we have just had our very last Blue and Gold Banquet with our Cub Scout boys.  Hallelujah  Ummm....I mean I am so sad that these Cub Scout years are coming to a close in our family.  Next month we will have our very last Pinewood Derby and then in July, Carson will be moving up into big boy scouts. 

He has worked hard to earn his Webelos rank and will be earning his Arrow of Light in a few months.  Doing scouts with a child with special needs is a lesson in patience, determination, and creativity because he doesn't have the ability to speak very well and memorize words.  It took awhile for me to realize that it was okay that he was not able to say the Cub Scout oath, promise and motto.  We started saying one line at a time and then he would repeat, the best that he could, each line as we said it.  We realized that he was following the Cub Scout motto perfectly...he was doing his best!  Luckily, Carson forgives easily and taught his perfectionist Mom a few lessons along the way in the process.  He has also been blessed with great leaders that are patient with him, adapt the activities to his needs and level and most importantly love him.

I would love to tell you what the theme for the night was but I don't think I was paying attention well enough to remember.  It was decorated with stars and planets that were awesome and I think I heard the word "resources" or "resourcefulness".  Yeah, I know...I'm awesome at being observant and painting a detailed picture.  There were also water bottles on the table that the kids could decorate as spaceships which was the best idea in the world!  All of my kids went to town making their own spaceship (except Kinsey who was being a great big sister and helping Carson with his awesome spaceship).  I, of course, did not get any pictures of the spaceships or the great robot that Carson drew and then had me cut out after he cut the arm off.  He was pretty mad at me for not being able to save the arm so I cut it out separately and glued it back on.  I'm so sad we didn't get a picture of it because it was a great robot!!

Like I said, he earned his Webelos rank.  When they called his name he marched right up to the front dragging his mom with him.  The Cubmaster started listing off his awards so he stuck out his hand to accept them.  I looked down and saw a do I say this delicately?...booger on his finger.  He looked down saw that prize from his nose excursion, muttered something to himself about getting rid of that and just shook his finger at his side until it fell to the floor.  I hope that one day I achieve his greatness!  That I can get the boogers of life on my finger, shake them off, and just go on to accept my awards without a hint of embarrassment and be proud of the things I have achieved!!  I'm getting better because with my older boys I would have been dying of embarrassment but I just stood there in front of a crowd of people and laughed!  This is what I love about this child of mine.  He makes me a better person!

Don't mind that booger, Mom! 
 Here's your award, can pin it on yourself!

He also earned his Fitness, Outdoorsman, Artist, Readyman, Compass Point and Religious Knot!
He helped his den do a skit that told the story of Betsy Ross.  He was George Washington.  I, of course, did not get a picture of that so just picture him with a Revolutionary War hat watching a pregnant Betsy Ross sewing the American Flag.  I never realized that Betsy Ross was pregnant when she made the flag.  Thank goodness the Cub Scouts told the REAL story! :)

He was pretty excited to be able to decorate a cake for the cake decorating contest.  He chose a Blue and Gold theme that depicted an epic battle.
He wanted to put every single soldier on the battlefield!

Kinsey helped him out!

Trying to solve their creative differences!

Kinsey...are you doing that right?
He won the award for the Bravest Cake.  When they called his name, he did two fist-pumps over the head and said "YES!!!"  He was pretty proud of this accomplishment.

This is what we found when we went to pick up our dish.

There were many casualties in this battle!
Good job Carson!  We are so proud of all of your hard work!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle

Tonight, I was walking down the hall at church with Carson when someone asked me "Are you Shanon Warburton?"  I said "I am!"  He then asked me if my husband was older than me.

Can I just interupt this little story to say that for the last 20 years people have been telling me that I still look like I am a teenager.  My husband has gray hair and wrinkles and is 10 years older than me.  He has not been told that he looks like a teenager for a long, long time!

Anyway....I got this serious look on my face and said "No...I am older!!"  Well, the look on this man's face was priceless and his mouth was gaping open.  Then I said "I'm kidding!!" and walked off to get something from another room.  I get a strange sense of satisfaction from messing with people's minds...I should probably repent. :)

When I came back out in the hallway, he was still there and he said "I just have to much older than you is he?!"  I told him 10 years.  He looked relieved as he said "oh....good for you!!"

I think it is finally time to come to terms with the fact that I don't look like a teenager but surely the fact that Gary is older than me (by 10 years!!!) is obvious.  Right? 

Please just say yes to make me feel better.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 waterwear!!

This morning when the alarm went off, I tried to ignore it.  Our alarm will not be ignored though, and just got louder and louder until I was forced to do something about it.  I said "OKAY....BINE!!!" (that's how Carson says "fine" and now all of us are saying it that way) and got out of my comfy bed, turned off the alarm and went to hunt for Carson.  Carson has a funny thing he does in the dark of the night...he plays musical beds so we aren't ever really sure where we will find him.  This morning I found him already dressed, sitting in a chair in the living room, fast asleep.

He looked so peaceful so I decided to fix his breakfast before I woke him up.  He has a routine that he follows in the morning that includes Carnation instant breakfast...chocolate being his flavor of choice because really, what other flavor is there?!  He also has an egg taco...NO CHEESE!!!...with  ketchup.

After he ate breakfast, I started to put on his shoes and socks but he said "NO MOMMY NO!  No waterwear!!"

I guess when he got dressed this morning, he didn't put on his underwear.  Well, alrighty then!!  How silly of me not to know that!!  I guess we should get some underwear on you!!  So...then he led me right to the underwear of choice for the day.

When his tighty whities were on, he quit giving me the stink eye and let me put his shoes on.  He was pretty happy until the bus showed up.  The bus got here before his dad got back from taking the big kids to church.  That messed up his whole routine and he couldn't possibly get on the bus if his dad wasn't there to say goodbye!!  So, he hunkered down and refused to get on.  Turns out when your child refuses to get on the bus and you aren't strong enough to force them to get on the bus, the bus just leaves without your child and all you can do is turn around and go back inside to wait for daddy to get home.

Carson was pretty excited that Daddy got to take him to school.  I'm not sure we will ever get him on the bus again!!  Gary wasn't as excited to add that to our already busy schedule but how can you get mad when you have this boy that adores you and just wanted to kiss you goodbye?!!

My words of wisdom for all you mom's out there...never forget to put a boy's waterwear on and all you dad's out there...come home on time and also be grateful for those little ones that adore you.

Also, if you are ever told that you are going to have a baby with Down Syndrome?  Fall to your knees and thank your Heavenly Father for being one of the luckiest families on this planet and then just sit back and enjoy the ride!!   It's the best thing you will ever do and the greatest love you will ever receive!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kindness Begins With Me

Last night I was lamenting over the fact that our children aren't very nice to each other and was wondering how we could teach them to like their brothers and sisters.  I was pretty distressed over this dilemma.  Gary in all his wisdom said that maybe "some of us" are not very nice but we'll learn one day to be kind and loving to each other and I can probably not worry about my children being serial killers just yet.

Now, I should probably point out that I could have possibly been suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation because seminary started back up this week and I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4 in the am because I worry, worry, worry that we will sleep through the alarm and so I woke up waaaayyyy earlier than I needed to.  This morning I woke up at 5 so it's getting a little better but I'm still a tad bit cranky.

Since I was up so early, I decided to juice some carrots and apples.  I started juicing several months ago and was juicing about 2 apples and 4 carrots every single day.  Then, in a moment of pure insanity, I coerced Kinsey into drinking a cup of juice every morning so I was juicing 4 apples and 8 carrots.  Then, for Christmas, Gary got me a new juicer and has now gotten hooked on juicing and has convinced Emily and Carson to try it (but they make faces and shudder when they drink the juice so they aren't loving it).  I most normal, loving moms that would be the best news on the planet.  Except that the new juicer requires you to cut the fruit and veggies into small pieces and that is A LOT of produce to cut!  So, I decided to go back to juicing for just Kinsey and me.  No one was around until the juice was all finished and then Gary (who was much too busy to help cut the produce) showed up and offered to pour the juice for me which in Gary language meant that he would give Kinsey and I smaller portions so he could take some for himself even though I told him I was only making it for Kinsey and me.  Then Emily walked in and she wanted some (and she had the nerve to act like she was choking it down!) so we got a fraction of the juice that we normally get.  I may have scowled at them and called him a vulture because I am so pleasant.

I am also anticipating a busy afternoon with lots of driving because I have to pick up the middle school child at 4:15, rush the cub scout to the church by 4:30, dash to pick up the high-schoolers which are normally picked up at 4:30, drive them home, pick up cub scout by 5:30 and then drive across town in rush hour traffic to meet Gary so that he can take the cub scout to Special Olympics basketball practice (which Carson has ever-so-patiently been waiting for for weeks and is over-the-moon-excited about).  I got a headache just typing all that out.  It's not a lot compared to other families but that is a lot of driving for this over-anxious homebody!

I just sent this email to Gary so that we could make sure we knew what we were doing today:

Dear Gary,

Here's the email with the details for basketball. I thought we could just meet you at the school a few minutes before 6 (not right on the dot 6 or 6:02 but maybe 5:55 because I know how you can be but watch I'll get stuck in traffic and be super late now that I said that). Then you can stay with Carson because basketball is dad turf and I will probably come home to referee the other kiddos who will be mauling each other by that point....I mean overwhelming each other with so much love and kindness that we will be in danger of getting kicked out of the neighborhood because our children are too perfect and everyone is jealous of our awesome parenting skills.

Sound like a plan? Maybe I'll even make dinner while you're basketball-ing but don't get your hopes up too high because I might be cranky by then. Oh, and yes...I know that there is salmon in the fridge and yes...I know how to cook it so don't you dare give me suggestions and ideas for dinner or else! Not even a hint about side dishes! Got it?!

Who am I kidding...I am already cranky and it's not even noon! I might need a little nap or an attitude adjustment. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why our kids aren't more loving and sweet to their family and friends! It's a puzzle!!
Anyway...I love you...even though I'm cranky and don't like to share my juice.



This was Gary's response to my soft and cuddly email:

Your emails are classic!  Everyone else in the world is deprived!  I will be there before 6 for sure.



I'm pretty sure we can all tell where my kids get their sweet and loving dispositions.  Maybe one day Gary will learn how to be more kind and loving. :)

I am curing my crankiness by snitching Gary's Christmas chocolate and consuming it in large quantities.  Shhh....don't tell him.