Saturday, March 29, 2014

The swimmer

A miracle happened today. Josh passed the Boy Scout swim test.

Ever since Josh was super little he has hated swimming. I tried swimming lessons several times with him over the years and he has never managed to pass a class. He just hates it.

But he is working on getting his Eagle Scout award and one of the requirements is to pass a basic swim test. Most kids pass it off at scout camp. If you can swim it's totally no big deal. You have to jump in water over your head, swim 75 yards and back float 25 yards. Josh tried it his first year at scout camp. They had to drag him out of the lake. He tried it his second year at scout camp. They drug him out of the lake again. The kid can not swim. Can't do it, doesn't want to.

But it's a requirement to move up to the next rank in scouting and if you don't move up, you're stuck and he can never make the rank of an Eagle, which is his goal.

So he has been stuck for a long time. He has finished all the requirements for his current rank and almost all the requirements for the next rank. He just can't advance until he swims.

This has been really frustrating for me. I grew up swimming. I only had one more certification to get and I could have been a lifeguard. I love water, so it's hard for me to understand why he doesn't. But he doesn't and he's stubborn and he's a teenager and that's all there is to it.

So next week there is a Court Of Honor. It's the night they do rank advancements and once again he would be passed over if he didn't pass that darn swim test. His scout leaders recently offered to help him. They assured me they could get him swimming. I wished them luck, lol. He came home no closer to passing it off.

This has pretty much been a constant discussion for two whole years. The kid needs to swim. Even if he never learns to love it, he needs to swim to pass off the swimming test. And this week we decided that he has waited long enough. With the rank advancements next week, this is his chance to do it and be done and finally advance to the next rank.

So this morning I took him to the pool at the Y. I told him that we were going to conquer this thing once and for all. He was less than enthused.

It got off to a bad start. He just has major anxiety when it comes to water. For the first hour we were there I was pretty sure it was a lost cause. I tried to get him to relax. I tried to get him to practice treading water, I tried to get him to float...the kid just sinks like a stone.

This is what I know about Josh, and I know it because he's exactly like me. If he doesn't want to do something, there is nothing in the whole world that can convince him to do it. But once he decides he wants to, he can accomplish anything. I've seen this with him a million times. It's all in his attitude. I kept telling him that. He just needed to get over the "I can't" and decide to do it.

Two hours passed. I finally got him swimming half the length of the pool. He had to swim the whole length of the pool four times to pass the test. It seemed hopeless.

And then I saw a change in him. That change that I always see in him when he finally sets his mind to something. He finally got past whatever wall was holding him back and he decided he was just going to do it.

And you know what? After three hours in the pool, he did it. He DID it! The kid swam! He jumped in, swam across the pool three times and back floated back.

The Olympic swim team will never be knocking on his door, but the kid swam. And I don't think I have ever been more proud of him. And more than that, I don't think he has ever been more proud of himself.

Monday, March 24, 2014


A few days ago Josh and I decided that we wanted to read Divergent and then go see the movie together. We decided it would be super fun to have a reading marathon and read the book really fast and then immediately go see the movie. So on Saturday morning we got our reading spot all set up with some snacks and we read for a few hours. We each had our own copy, we just read at the same time and tried to stay at about the same pace so we could discuss what was going in as we read.

We got a lot done on Saturday but didn't quite finish it so we finished it up last night. It was really fun reading together!

Then this evening we went on a super fun date to see the movie, just me and Josh. Josh is super fun to hang out with. I know most people dread the teenage years, but so far I am loving the teen years. Josh is super fun, I enjoy spending time with him. It was super funny though, we got to the theater and we were laughing and joking around and having a good time and suddenly he got quiet, put the hood up on his hoodie and started walking ahead of me. It was random. He didn't talk to me for a minute or two. Then he put his hood back down and started talking again. I said "what was that about?" And he said "oh, sorry. I saw kids from school."

Aw, bummer! I think that was the first time one of my kids has not wanted to be seen with me in public, lol. I knew it was coming, it's a teenage thing, but still. Nothing like getting ignored in public by your child to remind you that you're just a dorky mom, lol. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. :) We had a super fun time at the movie. It was fun having a little mother/son bonding time. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with Matthew when The Giver comes out later this year. It's fun to spend some time with them one on one.

This week is spring break and Shawn is taking Wednesday off so we can have a fun family day. We're actually thinking of going back to the movie theater to see the new Muppet movie, which we're all really excited about. Fun stuff happening around here!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The year we changed

So I turn 39 in a couple of weeks. I'm heading into the last year of my 30's. When Shawn turned 40  I didn't see what the big deal was. It was just one year older, like every year. And now here I am, just about to turn 39 and I'm starting to see what the big deal is! Forty is coming for me and I'm feeling it.

I don't know what it is about forty but it makes you reevaluate your life. I'm feeling an urgent need to do something with the last year of my 30's. I've had plans and goals and things I meant to do and all of a sudden I feel behind. What did I do with my 30's? I did an important thing, I stayed home and raised little kids. I've been a stay at home mom for almost 14 years. Because my kids are spaced so far apart, I pretty much did it all one kid at a time. As soon as I got one through the baby or toddler years, another one came along and I started over again. I've spend the past decade, and longer, home with my kids being a mom. And that was important to me. I've always been adamant about being a stay at home mom because I knew that was the right choice for our family and I definitely don't regret all the years I've been home with my kids.

But here I am, just about to hit the last year of my 30's and just about to send my youngest child off to Kindergarten later this year and I feel like I'm closing a chapter of my life a bit and getting ready to start a new one. I have loved being home with my kids and I will continue to be a stay at home mom, but with my kids getting older and not needing me during the day the way a baby and toddler does, I feel like a new world is opening up, and that, along with forty staring me in the face, has got me thinking and planning.

I want to DO something with the last year of my 30's. I want to start doing the things I kept meaning to but didn't because I was busy with little kids. I feel like everyone in our family is making a transition this year. Clarissa starts elementary school, Matthew starts middle school, Josh starts high school, and Shawn is busy at work getting ready to move their pharmacy to a new building in a couple of months. Everyone has something big and new happening this year. I want in on that.

I don't always love change, but I find myself embracing this one. I feel ready for change. As much as I have loved being home with my kids all these years, I find myself feeling stagnant lately. Life moves on around me and the kids are busy and Shawn is busy and I'm always home holding down the fort. I don't mind being the fort holder downer, I'm cool with that. But I need to change along with the rest of the family. I need to grow and learn and make sure I'm making goals and doing things for me, and now feels like the time to start focusing on that again.

My time of raising babies and toddlers is coming to an end, and as much as I have loved that time in my life, I'm ready for it to end. I'm ready to move on to the next phase where my kids are a little older and I get a little bit of my freedom back. Does that sound terrible? I'm being careful not to sound ungrateful for the opportunity I've had to be home with my kids, because I'm actually incredibly grateful. I'm just completely at peace with the fact that that time in my life is over. A person can only spend so many years in a pile of Legos and My Little Ponies before it's time to get out and join the world again, you know?

So with my kids getting ready to make their transitions, I'm getting ready to make mine. I have plans. I'm going to do something with the last year of my 30's. I'm going back to the gym, I'm thinking of buying a piano and taking piano lessons. Maybe I'll finally read the pile of books I keep meaning to read that I never get around to. Maybe I'll take up photography again. Honestly, I'm not completely sure what I'm going to do. I just feel ready to do it.

And I'm fully aware that after all of this talk, I'm going to watch Josh take those first steps into high school and help Matthew learn how to use a middle school locker and watch Clarissa get on that big scary bus as a Kindergartener and fall apart a little bit. There will be tears, lol. I say I'm ready, and I feel ready, but still, the idea of everyone's big transition this year is freaking me out a bit. There will be lots of new experiences this year for all of us, and new can be a bit scary. But it's also fun and exciting and when I'm done crying about it on the first day of school, I will go back to being excited about the new phase in our lives.

I'm excited about going back to the gym. Every time I have done the gym in the past I've had to take kids with me, and this time I'm not doing that. The gym is me time now. I need to get out of the house by myself and do something for me. It's time. It will still be a bit tricky to make that work until school starts in the fall, but I'll find a time during the summer and once school starts I can get all the kids off to school and go with no problem. I have some health goals I'm trying to reach before I turn 40.

I'm determined to head into my 40's content with myself and my life and feeling healthy and happy. I'm determined to make this last year of my 30's count. Bring it on, I'm ready!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Just when I thought I couldn't take the dead grass, bare trees and gloomy skies for one more second, the sun has appeared and it's finally starting to feel like spring!

I've been struggling lately. Usually after January I perk back up, but winter just feels like it had been dragging on forever. We've had a lot of rain here this past month, so there have been a lot of dark skies and gloomy days and I've been feeling really mopey lately.

But today the sun came out, Shawn had the day off and we decided to get out of the house.

So, first I have to tell you some back story that I keep forgetting to mention! Remember when they built that super awesome park near my house that I used to bike through? The area near the park has gotten even more awesome recently. In October they opened up the coolest place ever, right next to the park. It's a huge shopping plaza thing. I don't really know what you call it. There is a big theater and restaurants and shops and it's all kind of fancy and upscale. It looks kind of like an old fashioned town square. There is a big area in the middle where there are gorgeous fountains that light up at night and in the winter there is a skating rink and there are lights in the trees and it all feels kind of magical every time we go over here. I absolutely love it there.

Parts of it are still being built and new stores keep opening up, so every time we go over there there is something new to check out. One thing they just finished is a branch of the gym that I belong to. I belong to a gym. You know how long it's been since I've been there? Embarrassingly long. But anyway, everything they have built in that new plaza is kind of fancy and I wanted to go check out the gym and see if it was fancy. I'm ridiculously in love with everything over there and I thought maybe if the gym was super cool I might actually start going again!

So the whole family took a trip to check out the gym. Josh and Shawn were thinking of joining so we got the tour. It is definitely a cool gym! They have really high tech equipment and a bunch of fun things there. There is a room with a movie screen where they play movies all day and instead of seats there are treadmills and ellipticals. There is another room with a screen with exercise bikes and the screen plays scenic bike riding videos so while you ride the exercise bike you can pretend you're actually going somewhere and the bikes adjust to the terrain on the video. So cool. There are also treadmills with big screens that do the same thing. You can walk or run and the screen follows along with a scenic path. You can run though cities or mountains or the beach or whatever and the treadmill adjusts to the terrain as you go.

Also, there is going to be a pool, which isn't quite done but will be soon, and they'll be having a water Zumba class. I have always loved water aerobics and water Zumba sounds awesome!

So anyway, it looks like we're all going to the gym! Shawn and Josh signed up and since I technically already belong to another branch I'm having my membership moved over. It's so close to our house and in that awesome place that I love, so I'm really excited about it. It's still going to be hard for me to find a time to go right now because of everyone's schedules but summer will be here soon and I'll be able to go during the day then and Clarissa starts kindergarten in the fall and then I'll definitely be able to go. Shawn and Josh are planning to go over together early in the morning before school and work.

After we got all signed up we decided to take a walk through the cute town square area to see what else was new. And you know what else is new?! Korean food!!!  Right next the awesome fountains in the town square there is an cool little restaurant/food counter type thing. There used to be two food trucks that parked at different places around town. One was Asian and one was Mexican and they were quite popular at different events in the city. Now they've both moved into a permanent building in the new shopping plaza. One side of it is open, so you can order your food and eat outside by the fountains. We went and checked it out and the guy who owns it is half Korean and super nice. He talked to us for a while. They have bulgogi, our favorite Korean food ever! His mom is Korean and he uses her bulgogi recipe and it is delicious.

So we sat in the sunshine and ate Korean food and it was pretty much the best afternoon I've had in a long time. It was one of those perfect spring days where you feel the sunshine on your back for what feels like the first time in forever and everyone was outside enjoying the day and we were by the beautiful fountains and it just felt peaceful and perfect. I needed to feel the sun again. I needed to go outside and do something fun. I needed to shake off the long cold winter and come out of the cave I've been hibernating in.

So today I'm happy. I'm excited about the gym and I'm happy to see the sun and I'm excited for new adventures ahead. Hurray for spring! :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014


We had something fun happen this morning! My mom and stepdad have been getting ready to do missionary work for our church. You basically send in a lot of paperwork to church headquarters and they decide where to send you (anywhere in the world, pretty much) and they send you a letter telling you where you're going and when you're leaving.

They've been waiting for several weeks for their letter to arrive and they got it this morning. Typical of the small religious town I'm from, their mailman saw the letter at the post office this morning and called them to tell them he had it. He doesn't deliver their mail until the afternoon and thought they might not want to wait that long, so he held it at the post office for them to pick up right away this morning. That story just makes me love and miss my hometown.

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, my sister and brother met over at their house this morning to watch them open it and they Face Timed me in on our Ipads (like Skype) so I could watch too. It was fun being part of a family meeting via iPad.

So the big news is...starting in July they will be working in a church public affairs office for 18 months in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

My first thought was...where?!  My second thought was...didn't they have an episode of Amazing Race in Kuala Lumpur? That's basically the extent of my knowledge of that area, lol.

So we all looked it up and learned a little bit more about it and I think it will be a pretty amazing adventure for them. We will miss them while they're gone, but they're really excited and I think this will be a great experience. They travel a lot and they've been to a lot of pretty cool places and aren't afraid of adventure, so I think this will be a good fit for them.

So there's the excitement in my family this morning!

Monday, March 3, 2014


You know what stresses me out? Doctors. If you know me at all, this is not new information, lol.

I just finished making an appointment for Clarissa to see an allergist. Her nose is running all the time lately and we can't figure out what the deal is. Her regular doctor thinks it's either allergies (which I question, because we have her on daily allergy medicine to see if that's the issue and it's not helping at all) or he thinks it might be her adnoids.

They want to start with allergy testing, so I just set up an appointment to have her allergy tested. It's not a big deal, it just stresses me out because doctors are my anxiety trigger. If it's not an allergy issue we move on to an ENT to have her adnoids looked at, which means possible surgery, which really freaks me out.

Plus we have appointments for both Josh and Matthew to see the orthodontist and I'm almost positive that one or both of them is getting braces. My kids have complicated teeth. I feel like I'm going to have to sell a kidney to pay for dental work.

And speaking of dental work I still have one more crown that has to be done that I'm desperately tying to avoid because you know how I feel about that.

And also I have a weird mole. It needs to be looked at. I don't wanna.

And Matthew has a weird bump on his neck/collar bone area. We had it looked at in December and the doctor said that he thinks it's a cyst, no big deal, they usually go away on their own, but if it didn't go away he needed to see an ENT about it. It sort of went away. I breathed a sigh of relief. Now it appears to be back. Ugh. He may have to have it removed, which I was hoping to avoid because he's going to hate that and I don't want to him to have to go through that.

So I'm sitting here worst case scenerioing, because I have anxiety issues and that's what I do, and suddenly I'm seeing allergy testing, two kids in braces, a scary mole removal, adnoid surgery, cyst removal and the stupid crown I've been putting off that really needs to be done, all at the same time. Oh, and kind of crappy insurance that won't pay for a good portion of any of it.

Pleeease don't let this be the year of the medical procedures. We're all generally pretty healthy and medical issue free, so it's pretty rare that any of us go to the doctor, which is great for me, because,  you know, doctor anxiety, and now I feel like we all need to go at the same time for a whole crapload of expensive procedures. And when you have medical anxiety (and not awesome insurance) that sucks.

So...there. I have written my anxiety down and gotten it out of my head and now maybe I can go on with my day and stop stressing about it. Probably not, but I'm giving it a try. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Our first attempt at throwing a teenage party was a success. Everyone who was invited came and they had a great time. We are absolutely loving the basement TV room. It was the perfect place for them to hang out. They had pizza and played games. Some of the kids who were here were school friends of Josh I had never met before, so it was nice to get a chance to gt to know them a bit. I'm really glad we had the party. We're not generally big party throwers but I'm trying to make an effort to have people over more, so this was a big step in that direction. It was good.

Tonight we're actually having another party over here! We always do an Amazing Race premiere and finale party with two families we're close friends with. We usually do it at one of their houses but they wanted to try it in our new basement room so we're doing it here this time.

They're coming in a it an hour, which is fine except that we just had a kitchen mishap and our house stinks at the moment! We made dinner for a sick neighbor this evening and Shawn accidentally left a plastic ladle on a hot burner. Our house now smells like burnt plastic. Like, really bad. We're desperately trying to air it our before people show up in an hour. That is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to us when we attempt to throw a party, lol.

So now I'm off to go brave the stinky kitchen and make fruit dip for the party. Yay for parties, boo for stinky kitchen! :)