Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm LDS and this is how I live . . .

I am very open about my Mormon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, beliefs.  The name of the church is often shortened to LDS (Latter Day Saints).  I am very open about it because I value it and it affects every aspect of my life.  Recently, I was thinking about how much it is in my life and wrote this.  This is how I view my LDS faith and does not represent an official LDS stance.

I am LDS and . . .

I read my scriptures (Bible and Book of Mormon) regularly.

I pray multiple times a day, alone and with my family.

I give 10% (tithing--Malachi 3:8) of my income to my church.

I also fast two meals once a month and give the money that would be spent on food, to my church to be used to help others in need.  My husband and my older kids do this too.

I spend three hours on Sunday at church, not only listening but participating in my church meetings.

Every Monday night, we gather as a family for Family Home Evening.  We are together and make a point to be together, purposely not planning other things that night.

When I was 21, I chose to serve a mission for my church.  This taught me many valuable life lessons that I think on and often use daily.

I am asked by my church to serve in a volunteer capacity in church.  Currently, I am working with Scouts in my area.  I would never had been involved in Scouts unless I was asked and I have learned a lot and love doing it.  It has been a joy to see young boys gain confidence and self-esteem as they do Scouting.

I visit several ladies once a month in my congregation to make sure they are all doing well.  This is known as visiting teaching.  My husband visits several families as well.  This is known as home teaching.  We chat, make sure the people we meet have what they need--emotionally and physically.  In my years of doing this, I have found many people don't need concrete things but do need the emotional connection of a monthly visit.  I also am visited once a month as well.  I really value this aspect of my church.

I spend a lot of my time as a mother, driving my kids to LDS sponsored activities, from scouting to service projects to fun activities.

I am very self sufficient.  My LDS beliefs stress hugely the value of freedom.   I have been taught the need to take care of myself and not expect others to do it for me.  As a result, I have learned to do many things that I would not have otherwise and my confidence in myself has grown.  For me, this even applies to simple things like repairs around the house.  Why should I ask others when I was given so much?  That said, when I have needed help, the LDS and non-LDS friends around me have given time, money and compassion.

I value motherhood.  I consider it a huge need and blessing to be at home raising my children.  Many have mocked me for this and I am grateful for a religion that has stressed the importance of this.  I would have missed out on so much joy in my life if I had had someone else watching my children.

I honor my husband.  By respecting, loving and honoring him, I in no way, honor myself less.  We are a team and look to each other for solutions to our daily lives.  I know he honors me too.

I value family.  The importance of family is a huge tenant of the LDS faith.  As I result, I am always looking for ways for my family (my nuclear and extended) to be together.  The most happy moments of my life have come from being with my family.  And the saddest have been doable because of my family.  I try to have this blog reflect this value.

I value the Constitution.  As members of the LDS faith, we have been taught that the Constitution is a sacred document and the freedoms declared in it come from God.  Daily, I thank God for the freedoms I enjoy and ask him to protect this nation and its freedoms.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party 2012

This past summer, we learned that three of Dentist Husband's siblings were moving back to Utah.  My first thought was, "Oh, our Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party is going to be so good this coming year."

And, it was.  
This party kicks off the "party season" for our family.  It is the first of a potential of eight we have at our house through January.  (We are still trying to decide if are going to reinstate the Miss America party we used to have . . .)  

The party in pictures below . . .

Let the carving begin!

Final outcomes.  And, in a first this year, two of the winners, including the top prize went to the 2nd generation (our kids).  There was some slight discontent about this.  I have a feeling next year, the adults will "bring it" in full force.  (You have to be 12 or older to enter the competition.  Any younger, you get a participation prize--this year, glow in the dark frisbees.) 

Above:  The "Best Overall" winner, carved by my son.  And the spider, done by the oldest nephew (age 16), won "Safe Bet."

Below:  "Coolest Concept" winner on the right.  Dentist Husband's grandfather was the designer behind the waving cowboy in Las Vegas--Vegas Vic.  So, this pumpkin was in homage to him "Vic R Treat"

Below: Dentist Husband's sister and her husband won "Pumpkin Smashers Choice".  It was a "concept design" with him pretending to be Twiki from Buck Rogers.  He really played it up but it still earned them the one pumpkin smashers would choose to smash first.  

 Below:  (Far left) "Nice Try, Failed Attempt winner.  It was "Nice Try, Failed Attempt" because she carved the words "I feel so empty inside" on the back to create a shadow but we couldn't read it.  And the letters we could read, made no sense.  She is expecting her 2nd child in February and so her husband did a "where pumpkin babies come from" (far right) which was close to winning several awards but came up short every time.  (Which is too bad, because it was hilarious.) 

And, in a new addition to the fun this year, the Pumpkin Smashers Choice winner got to smash a pumpkin.  It was a huge hit.  

All in all a huge success.  And to all of Dentist Husband's siblings reading this, get ready for lots of Honey Baked Ham because as you know, that is the main food of choice at all upcoming parties.  I promise I won't bring out the one from last year . . .

Friday, October 26, 2012

Who knew?

Well, after reading this post, I can say my ophthalmologist knew.

Toothsome #2 came home with a note that said she failed her 5th grade eye test.  She had been telling me she was having a hard time with seeing things occasionally and I also knew that 5th and 6th grade is a common grade when kids start needing glasses because of the onset of puberty.  So, it was time to take her to the eye doctor.    I fully expected to learn that she would need glasses for reading the chalkboard. (Which, is actually a white board.  I haven't seen an actual chalkboard in a classroom in ages.) 

So, anyway, it was back to my favorite eye doctor with Toothsome #2.  The tech did the standard tests.  I was watching and thinking, "She can see.  What is going on?"  The tech continued to test her, and then test her again.  At this point, I kind of lost interest.  I had a good book on my Kindle and I got that out and started reading.  I got through a few chapters and realized she had been testing my daughter for quite sometime.  

At that point, she said to me, "Is there a history of lazy eye in your family?"  It was another one of those gulp moments.  I said, "Yes.  My son and I both had/have it."  

Lazy eye definition:  When an eye cannot correct to 20/20 vision.  Lazy eye is not strabismus (when one eye is not aligned with the other eye) but strabismus can cause a lazy eye. 

 (Somewhat interesting side note, Toothsome #1 had two lazy eyes in that neither corrected to 20/20 when he first got glasses.  After a year of wearing glasses, he corrected to 20/20 in both eyes.)  

So, the doctor came in and I learned that my daughter's left eye only corrects to 20/25 which technically is not "lazy" in that has to be 20/30 to have that distinction.  
However, he said, "I think we can correct this."

I was surprised to hear him say that.  I said, "Wait, everything I have read says after about ages 7-9, you cannot correct a lazy eye."  He said, "Well, that was a belief until a few years ago, but recent studies have shown, that even through high school, patching (when you patch the good eye and force the bad eye to work) has been proven to work."  

So guess what we are doing?  Patching Toothsome #2's eye for two hours a day.  She doesn't have to do it at school and she just puts it on in the morning for two hours before she leaves for school.  If it works (and he said it doesn't always work) then my daughter gets 20/20 vision in both eyes.  If not, then we at least did all we could do for her.  

As we left the eye doctor, I told my daughter, "I would have never guessed when we came here that I would be told to patch your eye!  Who knew?"  

Well, as I said above, my ophthalmologist knew. And, I am glad he did.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Break

It was Fall Break around these parts, which means, we head to California.    

The place we stay has pin ball.  Dentist Husband and I both love pin ball.  Thus, my kids love pin ball.

Playing ping pong with Toothsome #4 gave me a great work out in that she missed on average 4/5 balls.  :)

Every night, we went to our favorite Chipotle (on Balboa) for dinner.  It was warm enough two of the nights to eat outside.  After long days at beach, sitting outside with my family eating burritos and people watching was wonderful.  

We also ate at Rubys at the end of the pier on Balboa.   
Sea Lions, people catching fish and general people watching.

After dinner, even though they were fully clothed and it was cold and rainy, my kids all got in the water.  It was awesome.

 At the beach . . .

 Making a raft out of drift wood and using his scout lashing skills.  
 These are somewhat hard to see (because the water was cold and I was a wimp and didn't get close enough) but Toothsome #4 was on Dentist Husband's back.  She would stand in the water and wait for him to come close on the boogie board.  She would then jump on his back and finish the ride with him.  It was so fun to watch.  

One of our best trips yet.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October the most glorious of months is here!

I pretty much live the rest of the 11 months of the year, looking forward to the month of October.  Below, are some picture highlights.

My spunky, white-haired, non-albino youngest child was born in October.  It was a magical time in our family when she came into lives.  Notice my "Halloween" table in the background.  I treat Halloween like most people treat Christmas when it comes to decorating.  

 Every October 1st, I pull out these Halloween classic videos and we watch them all month together as a family.  Escape to Witch Mountain still creeps me out.  

The annual painting of "the ghosts" on our Halloween window.  

Dentist Husband always puts the rest of us to shame.  

We use these plates for every meal.  Even if I get take out, I insist, we put it on these plates. 

Unrelated, just something that did happen this October, Toothsome #4 joined the "glasses buddies" in our house.  And, I just found out Toothsome #2 needs them too.  If you are counting, that makes 5/6 of us being glasses wearers.  

And, if you are looking for a good October read, Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories is a new, wonderful discovery of mine.  Highly recommend.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Albino or Not?

(I posted this picture, even though it is not particularly flattering because it does show my daughter's unique coloring.)

Toothsome #4 came into this world on a very rainy night/morning in October.  As she was being delivered, I heard the doctor say, "Oh, she is a bald."  Then, shortly afterwards, I heard, "No, she has a head full of white hair."  

Toothsome #4 was born with 2 inches of thick white hair all over her head.  She was the "star" of the hospital that night with nurses coming in saying, "I heard there was a baby born with thick white hair.  We see that with black/brown hair but never white." 

At almost 40, I am still a natural blond, having never colored my hair and my dad, at almost 80 is too.  I have a sister who is 50 with blond, never-dyed hair and on my husband's side of the family (even though he is quite dark), he has cousins with very fair hair, skin and blue eyes.  We have always called Toothsome #4 "recessive."  I never even considered that my child could be an albino until one day, at Legoland, a family with an albino child wanted to talk to us about our (Toothsome #4) albino child.  I laughed it off and then looked at their child.  She looked exactly like mine, blue eyes and all.  

So, I did a little research (approximately 10% of albinos have blue eyes) and the pictures showed children that looked a lot like Toothsome #4.  I asked my pediatrician at her next well-baby visit about it.  He laughed it off.  Then said, "And if she is, how would this change things?   I know you and I know you will make sure she is completely sun screened."

So, I quit thinking about it.  However, sometimes as often as once a month, I get people asking me if she is an albino.  It is usually worded awkwardly like, "It is interesting she is so fair when your other kids aren't.  She almost looks like an albino, which I'm sure she isn't, isn't she?"  

So, yesterday, I took Toothsome #4 in for an eye exam.  Her Kindergarten eye exam was somewhat inconclusive and Toothsome #1 had major eye issues (2 lazy eyes, a brief period with patching, etc.) and I finally faced the music that I should at least make sure she could see properly.  

During the exam, the eye tech, casually commented on how fair she was.  I cut to the quick and said, "She's not an albino."  He said, "Well, we'll check just to make sure."  He seemed to spend a lot of time looking in her eyes.  He then said, "Is there a history of albinism in your family?"  Gulp.  I answered, "No."  He said, "Well, she doesn't have it." 

He then went into a very good explanation on what they look for and she didn't have any of the signs.  

Then, the eye doctor (a family friend) came in and said, "So, I see on the notes that you are worried she has albinism.  I'll double check."  In my mind, I thought, "Really?  I just wanted to make sure she could see.  But sure, let's rule this out completely."  Because our eye doctor is such a dang nice guy, he went into an even longer explanation of what he is looking for and then did the exam.  

No question, she is NOT an albino.  

And, I am strangely happy to finally have a conclusive answer.  

But, she is very far-sighted and will need glasses.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

I came home from Book Club and found this . . .

Once a month, I go to my book club.   It is what Dentist Husband jokingly calls, "the sacred night" because I don't let other things get scheduled that night and I rarely miss it.  

Last night, I walked into a completely dark house and everyone was upstairs asleep or almost asleep.  I turned on one light and found what you see below, painted on my kitchen table.  

While Dentist Husband was quizzing Toothsome #3 on his spelling words, he started painting with water colors that Toothsome #4 had left out, on our aluminum-topped kitchen table.  

You can imagine my kids reaction when they saw him doing this.  They couldn't believe it and soon they all joined in.  Dentist Husband told me, "It was a great moment for all of us.  I turned on music and we sat and painted."  

I have to admit, it is pretty dang awesome and I can't bring myself to clean it up.  I have a feeling we will be eating around our kitchen island for the next few days.  It just captures so many great things and I see each of my children's (and Dentist Husband's) personalities as I look at this "kitchen table art."  

Unrelated, Toothsome #2 is in braces.  My two oldest kids got and lost their baby teeth early, which makes it so they get braces young.  She should be done with braces forever in about a year.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What I have been doing . . .

So with all four of my kids in school this year (Toothsome #4 started Kindergarten), many of my friends have been asking me what I have been doing with my "extra" time.

First, it isn't full day Kindergarten, so there isn't a ton of extra time.  I'm not complaining because I am having a slight identity crisis about not being a mom of young kids anymore.  Having Toothsome #4 home in the afternoon is just fine with me.  

Second, spending a ton of money.  The start of the school year means new school clothes, shoes (see Toothsome #4 modeling her new very sparkly ones), school fees, school picture fees, PTA donations, etc.

Third, PTA.  Below you can see Toothsome #4's back during our annual Fun Run.  I am learning that PTA is very busy at the start of the school year.  I have been told it becomes less busy as the year progresses.  I am not complaining because our PTA President leads by example and seems to do 3 times as much work as the rest of us.  Also, being on PTA means I really know what is going on at my kid's school and that has a ton of rewards.  

Fourth, I have been weeding and recovering our flower beds.  Being out of town most of August means that my beds became a mess.  I must say, once again, planting sunflowers per Toothsome #3's request is one of my favorite things in my garden.  This year, we even harvested the seeds.  

Fifth, recovering my house from summer.  Notice there is no picture because as much I really don't mind letting people know my faults, I would prefer not to completely embarrass myself by showing the condition my house got this summer.  Glad to say, daily things are improving and I might let you in the front door by October 1st.

Sixth, listening to a ton of Dr. Laura.  I clean my house listening to Dr. Laura.  I paid the annual fee to become a Dr. Laura Plus member and I can pull her up on my iphone at will.  Oh how I love my three hour dose of Dr. Laura.  

Seventh, stressing way too much about politics.  Sadly, every two years this happens to me.  It doesn't have to be a presidential election year to get my political angst going and this year has been a real dozy.  I may need to never go on facebook or watch any news until 2013.  

What I am not doing is reading much, which is very sad because it is good for my soul.  But so is a clean house, a well-weeded garden, serving others through the PTA, serving my kids by putting most of effort towards them, and laying on the sofa at night with Dentist Husband and watching brainless TV.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Go Cougars (with a little explanation at first)

As is often the case, Saturday morning had us up early and Dentist Husband saying, "What are we going to do as a family today?"    

Several years ago, when my husband's dental school debt was payed off and we had a little more discretionary income, we made a conscious decision to not sit around.  My husband said to me, "As adults, you always hear people talk about memories they had growing up.  We are going to create memories."  A few simple rules were put in place after this conversation.   One, we all had to be together.  That meant, even if we had a new baby, I came along with the baby.  (No, "Mom stays home while Dad goes off with the older kids").  Two, we were not going to have our kids in so many activities, that we were "ruled" by them.  Meaning, no signing up our kids for three different sports/dance/performance teams that took over our week and weekends.  Dentist Husband and I decided we had to honestly look at each activity and decide if the commitment was worth taking any child away from family time.  As a result, my kids all take piano lessons, and do one outside activity.  This has worked for us.  (And leave your critical comments off my blog, I realize for many people having their kids in two different sports all year round works for them.  We tried it and it didn't work for our family.)  

As a result, any three day weekend has us "gone",  whether that means at a hotel in town, taking advantage of their indoor swimming pool during the cold winter in Utah or driving four hours to St. George, Utah, where it is warmer, to stay at hotel and hit golf balls on a driving range. (We are not quite at a point where we can all golf together.)   Any weekend has us looking around locally to find fun things to do as a family.  We have learned a ton about the state of Utah and its many historical sites, learned about small "gems" of parks, stayed in some very strange hotels (once leaving mid-trip when we discovered a transvestite convention was being held in our hotel), gotten very good at bowling (one very cold Winter had us at a local bowling ally every Saturday morning right when they opened with our McDonalds breakfast in tow) and only occasionally have we flown in an airplane to visit places.  It has been car trips 99% of the time, including summer vacations.   

So anyway, this past Saturday morning, we had not planned anything, until we realized Brigham Young University had a home game.  Immediately, we got online and purchased tickets.  One hour later, we were in the car, on our way to Provo.  I LOVED my time at BYU and have many great memories of attending BYU football games as a student.  (Growing up, we had to go our Stake Center to watch BYU football games.  I remember sitting in the Primary room with my parents with a few other BYU devotees and watching the games eating candy bars purchased on our way out there.  I was raised with a true love of BYU football.) 

Below are some pictures from the game.  We arrived early and ran into a boy from my ward growing up.  (Hi Jonathan).  I took it as a sign that it was going to be a great day and it was.  

They were selling $10 fan t-shirts right when we walked in and we bought one for everyone.  And it is true, "Every day is game day."  

We had seats that were in the shade for the last 1/2 of the game, but before that happened, Toothsome #4 was hot, so I told her to lay down at my feet to get in the shade.  She promptly fell asleep.  

It was a great game.  We destroyed Weber State (as expected, which is why we were able to buy tickets, game day with no problem) and I got to sing the BYU fight song many times (yes, I know all of the words), relive my happy BYU student memories and enjoy a great day with my family.  You can't have a better Saturday than that.