Friday, August 20, 2010

Things NOT to do in front of potential landlord...

After walking several people through our next door apartment, I've discovered a few mistakes that people make. First, do NOT tell the landlord that the lower level is perfect for letting kids make messes because you can just close the door. As the landlord in this situation, I say, "No. Actually, it's a better idea to clean up those messes." *Smile* Next, do NOT fight with each other. Landlords sharing a wall with renters will NOT enjoy hearing arguments through the wall. Last, do NOT tell landlord that you send your child to a private school, but need help paying for rent. ?? Okay, that one was the worst.

The good news is that we had quite a few people walk through that were excellent candidates! It was rough to decide which family was the best. In the end, we picked the couple that could commit to a year and seemed to be very respectful and responsible. They accepted and we're trying to get the place ready for next week. :D

Monday, August 9, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a cartoon series about a world where select people can bend elements. Water, Earth, Fire and Air. They live within these nations (i.e. Fire Nation) and have done so in peace because of the abilities of the Avatar. The Avatar is the only person who can bend all elements, but, perhaps more importantly, is the bridge from the mortal world to the spiritual world. He can speak and receive guidance from the spirits when necessary. He acts as the mediator during times of trial and helps keep peace and order throughout all the nations. This series depicts the events that happen after the Avatar (in hiding for one hundred years) returns to an overzealous Fire Nation who is trying to take over the world and capture the Avatar.

It is so addicting! The story is complex enough to captivate an adult crowd (hence, Dustin and I are hooked, as are some very close friends of ours), but light enough for children to follow along. We watch it every evening and can't get enough!

So, we recently went to see the Hollywood take on this series. It was OK. I was bummed that they didn't follow the story line as well as I hoped and that it was mega-serious, but they did get the main points and expanded on the complexity of the story for a more mature crowd. They also had some fabulously accurate sets. All in all, it was worth watching and I'm excited for the next one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anthropology and Home Life


This block, I signed up for my general social issues requirement. All of the classes sounded super hard except for the anthropology one, so I took it! I'm finishing up week #3 and am actually enjoying myself. For the most part, the material is quite interesting. I wouldn't recommend the teacher to anyone with a brain... or even a pulse, but I do enjoy talking about different cultures, people, traditions, etc. It's all very fascinating! This brings me to the point of my blog -- diversity and tolerance. Since it is the Summer of Diversity, it is only fitting that I'm learning about the study of people. I find that I have a lot to talk to the kids about and, hopefully, we can learn and recognize our own quirks and traditions.

This week, we're realizing how different we are from our friends and family. This may be embarrassing and I hope I don't regret blogging about it... Oh, who am I kidding, I'll just privatize the thing. Anyway, in our family, we have some definite traditions. We were thinking of them over the last few days and listing them off. They started out quite ordinary and predictable, but progressively got weirder and weirder.

Here's what we have so far:
1. We value the time we spend with one another and create many opportunities to participate in family activities together.
2. We make the most of the extended family we have in the area, and consciously work on maintaining lasting relationships with them.
3. Trust is something that is earned, but also practiced.
4. Respect is never expected, but is given liberally.
5. Punishments are determined by child and parent on a case-by-case basis.
6. Apologies (given by child and parent) are sincere -- not, "I'm sorry you took it that way."
7. We have rules set up for equality among each other. (If you knew me as a child, you knew this one was coming...)
A. Birthdays and other special events are celebration for everyone -- presents are given to each child and appreciation is given to both parents (not Santa or the Easter Bunny!).
B. If one person is working on chores, everyone joins or suffers consequences.
C. Fights are two-sided and, therefore, no one will receive a harsher punishment for continuing the dispute.
8. We tend to sleep in the same bed -- okay, now we're weird.
9. The driver (usually Mom) is the last one to buckle up in the car. (Reasoning = if someone's going to die, the driver should die with them. Creepy? I know, this one's all me.)

I am mostly proud of the things we've accomplished with the kids. We have continued (even through incredibly busy moments) to work on our relationships/bonds with them and each other. I can see that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to hypocrisy from our parenting, but I think everyone is prone to being a hypocrite. All we can do is apologize and continue to do our best.

Now, I feel like I need to address the shared-sleeping arrangements. When both kids were born, I was too emotional to fight with them (Ferberize) about sleeping in their own room. I felt like they were attached to me for nine months and I couldn't listen to them scream when they were ripped away and shut up in a big, dark, cold room. Too dramatic? Sorry... I'm sensitive when it comes to my kids. So, instead, we set up a bassinet next to my side of the bed and tried to get them to sleep there. Mostly, it didn't work, but we kept trying. Ultimately, the kids would get to where they could start the night off in bed and then wound up in our bed half-way through. I could live with it because they were little. WELL! Now, that they're 7 and 5 and still doing it, it's rough. We've tried everything to keep them in their own beds, but we can't follow through with anything. For example, we've talked about it... Telling them to stay in their beds is easy, but they don't want to, so it's a waste of time. We have threatened them, but I honestly think they'd rather sleep with me then play video games any day ... and I'm actually happy about that. We've tried locking our door (can't lock theirs because they may need to use the bathroom). This was the best bet, but with summer weather and being in the hottest room in the house, closing our door is OUT OF THE QUESTION anymore. So, we're back to square one. They are very good kids and losing a little sleep so that they can feel connected to us shouldn't be a bad thing.

I am grateful for their presence in my life and the relationship that we have. I think the Summer of Diversity is good for the kids, but very beneficial for our family life. I hope that they can look back on their journals and appreciate what we are doing.

PS -- Thought I'd show you what my freakshow of a professor looks like. Her hair seriously looks like this every day! Only in real life it's like orangey-yellow and flatter on the sides.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer of ...

Some of you know about my crazy themed summers, but I thought I'd do a blog today about what we're doing this summer. The reason is because the kids and I made "Summer Journals" for them to write in every day. I probably won't join them every day because Sean still needs a lot of help, but I'm doing it today.

Two summers ago, it was the "Summer of Swimming." We go swimming weekly during the summer anyway, but that summer the kids spent a lot of time at the pool. They got so tan, and I got jealous. :D It was loads of fun. Last summer was the "Summer of Reading." We joined the Summer Reading Program at the Orem Public Library, and the kids read (with some help from me) a TON! Bad news, we got so many late fees I cannot even tell you. We went every week, but because they were so excited to show off their reading skills, we misplaced several books. We'll probably do it this summer, too, but we've started reading chapter books; and, thanks to Nina, we've got tons to read. :D

So, back to this summer. I decided that we would do the "Summer of Diversity." Recently, the kids have had a few opportunities to learn about other people and what they believe, so it seemed fitting. Last week, we got to go to our neighbor's First Communion. It was a great time to talk to Reilly about how there are other churches that believe differently than us. We talked about the similarities and differences during and after the service and she got to know her friend a little better. Then, on Saturday, our youth at church got the opportunity to volunteer at the Special Olympics at BYU. They said all friends and family were welcome to come, so I decided to bring the kids. Sean, however, had other plans, so he missed out and got to go to the stinky dump instead. (That story would be a blog all by itself...) Reilly and I enjoyed cheering for the soccer teams. While everyone else cheered for every player, we decided it'd be more fun if we rooted for opposing teams. Reilly and her friend would pick one team and her mom and I would take the other one. It was fun to trash-talk with one another while getting excited about our teams. The experience was great. They played so well! I was amazed at the abilities they had. Even for "regular" players, they had impressive skill and determination. The goalie of one team has some AWESOME saves! I went in thinking that we were going to watch a slow paced game and got exactly the opposite. It was great for Reilly, too. After the last game, we went to congratulate one of the teams and they all shook Reilly's hand. She had fun and walked away with a little more tolerance for different people.

Today, we're writing in our journals and will do it every day throughout the summer. Hopefully, we'll get more opportunities to become a more diverse, tolerant family. We plan on hitting several of the festivals in our area. We're not stretching much for the Scottish Festival, but the Icelandic and India Festivals should be very diversifying!

Hopefully, I'll keep you posted as the kids journal.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three months? Really?!

I check my blog periodically, but I can't believe how long it's been since I gave it a post. Sad. Sad. Sad. I started it so that friends and family could keep in touch and informed with our happenings. Since the last real post we've had numerous field trips, recorded events, and milestones met. I, however, have also had a huge load of school and church and lessons and family and house duties (... I said duties - haha!). Before the end of the summer, I have the intention of updating this thing so I hope you'll all come back to me.

Right now, I'm pulling an all-nighter because my planner and I are on the outs and I keep forgetting about things. Today, I was supposed to go to the junior high for observation, but stupidly planned on having an hour and a half of lessons, plus I volunteered to babysit the neighbor's kindergartner. What the crap! Get with it! I haven't been this unorganized with my time in years. I keep having a reoccurring panic attack that revolves around my lack of organization. I look around my house and think, "How are we supposed to live in this? How long is this going to take to clean up? How did it get so bad?" I'm running on no sleep with anxiety, all the while trying to juggle kids, husband, work and school.

I'm determined to be positive through it all, but I'm bound to have a bad day once in a while, right? Well, today is that day. Breathe. Breathe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010