Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Know Thyself

When I was on the hcg diet 2 years ago (was it only 2 years ago?  cause it feels like 2 lifetimes ago…) one of my friends expressed a little envy about the weight I had lost and then said that she just knew she wasn’t in a place to be able to do it herself.

I (not the brightest bulb in the bush sometimes) didn’t get it.  Sure, she should be able to do the hcg diet.  It was hard, but not that hard, anyone could do it.

Fast forward to last January when I stepped on the scale, the celebrations of Christmas and New Years (and Cindy Lynn’s yearly pan of divine home-made caramel) behind me and the three month separation from Russ in front of me.  My weight was up and I knew that I was not, nor was I going to be anytime soon, in a place to do anything about it, and that it was probably going to get worse before it started getting better.

I realized that I had two options.  That I hate myself for gaining weight, or I could accept it and try to have some compassion for me in the midst of what was clearly going to be a stressful year.  I’m glad that most of the time I’ve been able to choose compassion, because now I totally understand what my friend was saying.  And I appreciate her example to me, that she understood herself clearly enough and loved herself enough to say that it wasn’t the right time for her to try to diet.


I had another moment like that two weeks ago.  It was pms week and I knew that was part of the reason for the way I felt, but I finally realized that the amount of overwhelment (is that a word?) I felt was more than I could cope with, and the amount of anger I was feeling wasn’t normal.  And so I made a trip that very day to Costco to buy a super-sized box of my favorite natural anti-depressant, hoping that a little bit of chemical assistance would help me cope better with this moment in my life. 


It’s probably obvious that I’ve been thinking more lately about the messages that I’m sending to my kids when they read these blog posts in the future.  And the thought that has been in my mind for the last month is how important it is to “know thyself.”  To know that while there will be times when it is ok to push like crazy and do the hard diet and lose the weight, that there will be other times when life is just too hard for that and it will be important to love yourself anyway.  And to know that there will be times when you might just need more help than you can pull from inside of yourself, and that’s ok too…

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This is what happens

…when you’re walking around your bedroom looking for a place for this,


And you put it up against the wall, and start pushing the pins in, and then


drop it.



so much for organization…

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Twas the best of weekends, twas the worst of weekends…

The Best:

We started our weekend proving that we are true Oregonians: Russ was given tickets to the Portland Timber’s soccer game yesterday in downtown Portland.  (A nice perk from Intel to their new employees—tickets, food, and some Timber’s bucks for souvenirs.)  We knew that the forecast called for rain so everyone put on their new long johns and we brought jackets and waterproof ponchos as well.  It was funny to see everyone around us pull out all of their rain gear too.  Oh—and our food people also had cloths for us to wipe our wet seats off with!  And we did indeed watch the game in the rain. 
photo 1(4)

I never thought I’d see anything to rival the Cameron Crazies, but I have to say that the Timbers Army (see their banner on the far end of the stadium?) gave them a run for their money.  They were seriously singing for the ENTIRE game.  Many of them had flags—some big Timbers flags, and some big yellow flags with what I’m assuming were player numbers on them.  They were still going strong long after the game was over.

Another cool thing we saw happened during the singing of the National Anthem.  Apparently at Timber’s games the National Anthem is a group sport.  Watch the crowd in the distance between the two guys in the front.

At the end of every line of singing, everyone waved their scarf.  (And there were a LOT of scarfs.)  Then at the end, everyone cheered and kept waving.  It was very beautiful to me.

Because our “gift package” included Timebers bucks, and because the store had  a lot of end of season sales going, everyone was able to get something.  Jared got a super hat, Josh got a jacket and hat, Rachel got a shirt, and Jenna got a hoodie and hat.  Unfortunately the team store was so crowded that we spent the entire 2nd half in it—I was kind of bummed about that. 

The Worst:

After last Sunday’s bout with stomach pain and nausea, my stomach had hurt off and on all week.  It had started feeling worse Friday morning, and by the time we were at the Timbers game it was pretty bad.  I kept eating tums all throughout the game but it didn’t help at all.  Fortunately we made it home (but only barely) before I started throwing up again.  Both the throwing up and the pain got worse and worse until at 9:30 (probably an hour later than I should have decided it) I told Russ I thought I needed to go to the ER.  I truly don’t think I have ever been in such pain—it was as bad as having a baby, except that it never let up.  It was bad enough that I didn’t care that they couldn’t get an IV in.  I was literally begging the nurse to give me something to make me feel better.  They eventually gave me delaudid and zofran in my IV, and after a while I started feeling better.  Boy was that a relief!!  Then we had to wait a long time for the ultrasound tech to come in.  I was sure that I had gall stones or kidney stones, but everything looked fine.  The doctors decided that what I have is gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach.  Once they told me what I wasn’t supposed to eat, I realized that from Friday night to Saturday afternoon almost EVERYTHING I’d eaten was bad for my stomach.  (spicy chili, chocolate, chocolate, cheese, caffeine, ibuprofen, and more chocolate.) I guess that’s why it got so bad. 

We finally left the ER about 3AM, armed with a dose of phenergen that I was guaranteed not to vomit, a bunch of prescriptions, and directions to take zantac 2s a day.  Thanks to the phenergen I slept the entire day—from 3:30AM until 4:00PM.  I needed that. 

I’m not used to having to pay a lot of attention to what I eat, but hopefully I can get the hang of this so that I can get over this.  I don’t ever want to feel like that again!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happiness is…

stumbling upon the library booksale.


37 books
52 dollars
hours of happiness ahead!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Blogging and Moving

I thought for a long time about starting a blog.  Cindy Lynn had been blogging for a while already and we’d had a fun family blog going for a couple of years.  In the end I decided that having my own blog would be the perfect place to keep track of what I was thinking and what we were doing.

I was unprepared for how much I would love it.  I was also unprepared to find out that people knew that I had started a blog, and were reading it.  It felt so strange.  The connections were good and I enjoyed them.  But there was also the feeling of awkwardness that now anyone might be reading my thoughts and I would never know.

In the years since those first posts I have loved having a blog.  It has challenged me to write out my ideas more thoroughly (conclusions, how I hate you!), provided a place for me to record things I would otherwise forget, and has now started to segue into books that are a treasure to our family.  It has had unexpected benefits and a few unexpected frustrations.  From time to time someone has surprised me by mentioning that they read my blog (I should really blog sometime about how I got the best calling ever because of my blog, shouldn’t I) but for the most part I know it’s just a handful of friends reading and a few unidentified strangers. 

And then we moved.

Until today, I haven’t even used the word blog around a single person in Oregon.  (I was dying to show my friend a picture of Jared's most awesome Halloween costume ever.  So I pulled it up, and showed her, and then closed it again.)  Russ is surprised by my reticence.  I’m surprised by how complicated my feelings about the whole thing are.  It’s like I have this whole on-line part of my life that no one in Oregon knows about, but that I’m not sure I’m ready to share.

You see, for the most part when my friends in North Carolina started reading my blog, they already knew me.  They already knew that I think too much and talk too much, and do some things excessively and some things not enough.  When my unknown friends read my blog, well whatever they felt they didn’t tell me about it, so I didn’t worry about it too much.

But this?  This is totally different.  We are here to stay.  (For the foreseeable future, anyway.)  And we are strangers, just starting to get to know people.  Showing people my blog feels like having no holds barred, being completely exposed.  I know I’m mostly that way in real life, but somehow in person it’s in smaller quantities and feels more manageable.

I don’t know how this will turn out.  I’ve seriously considered going private, though Russ is voting against that.  It may turn out that it doesn’t matter anyway because the demographic in my ward here is enough older that maybe most of the women wouldn’t be interested in reading blogs.  Or maybe one day I’ll just be in a mood and throw caution to the wind and tell everyone.  (Not very likely.)  All I know is that of all the things I expected to be complicated when we moved, this was not one of them…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

O, Winco

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee for thy cheap prices, and felicitous bulk goods
I love thee for thy plentiful produce and affordable lunchmeat.
But today, dear Winco, I love thee for showing me this.
For where else, indeed, would I see such offerings?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Oregon Weather (right now, anyway)

I would have given anything to have a camera with me on Saturday.  I was canning applesauce at the home of a friend in the ward and somehow I just didn’t expect to need a camera.  Anyway, we had already been talking about the Oregon skies and how they change so quickly.  Then I looked out of her kitchen window…

To the left the sky was an angry looking dark grey.  Then in the middle there was a vertical band of lighter grey.  And on the right—a bright and sunny blue sky.  It was crazy to look at—all of that out of one medium sized window.  A few minutes later it was grey and raining everywhere.

This afternoon it was sunny in front of our house and cloudy in our back yard.  Then it rained hard in our front yard and never in our back!

Maybe our new slogan is going to be

Oregon Weather, always an adventure!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A moment in my life…

I was thinking about my kids as I started working on a blurb book again last night.

[Note to self:  It would be better not to start a blurb book again without figuring out the font first, since fonts change everything.  It would be better not to start a blurb book and get 90+ pages done and then put the project down for 3-4 months.  (Though driving across the entire United States and then back and then moving is a good excuse if there ever was one.)  And lastly, it would be better if you could just relax and go with the font flow, whichever font that means, just a little better.]

Anyway, back to what I was thinking about.  I was thinking that as my kids read these books (and Cindy Lynn’s blurb books too) they’re getting reminders of the things that have happened in their lives, but they’re also getting little windows of insight into my life (and Cindy Lynn’s) that they might not have gotten otherwise.

It made me think again about the kinds of things I blog about, and why I blog, and all sorts of questions like that.

And in that spirit, here I go.  So my children get a peek into a few different moments of my life that happened today.

Today was the primary program.  It made me emotional, which I didn’t expect.  I think it was the combined effect of my own children having aged out of primary (couldn’t they have waited until after the program to do that??) and a feeling of sadness about not being involved in primary music anymore.  (Because I can still love primary music passionately, even if it’s not my calling right now.)  The program went well.  My favorite parts; the 5 year old who throughout the program became enamored with her own voice, singing increasingly louder with each verse of each song, and holding out her ending notes much longer than everyone else,  (I’m certain I heard laughter from the congregation) and the little Sunbeam who said “Heavenly Father lub us.”  (Beyond precious.)

I went then to class with my co-teacher, an awesome woman who’s just returned from a mission with her husband and has been a little overwhelmed by the antics of our 9 year old primary students.  I had reassured her that since her last frustrating lesson I had read them the reverence riot act and that I would be there to help remind them what behavior was acceptable.  She was teaching a great lesson on prayer, the kids were super involved, and wham.

In less than 30 seconds I went from “fine” to “my stomach hurts so bad I think I might die.”  I’m not sure if I’ve ever had something like that happen to me before, but since I was fortunate enough to have a set of keys with me (unusual for a Sunday) and we are fortunate enough to live only 90 seconds from the church I drove myself home and spent the rest of church time alternating between laying in fetal position on the bathroom floor and throwing up. 

It was not my finest moment. (Or couple of hours.)

Eventually the acute pain eased up a little bit and I moved myself in onto my bed, got a heating pad for my stomach (it just seemed like that would feel good), and laid under my favorite blanket for a couple more hours.  Russ went to 7-11 and bought me a coke and the girls brought me crackers. 

So there you have it.  It’s been a day.  And I’m glad they’re not all like this…

Saturday, October 20, 2012

(Not) Fall Drive

A couple of weeks ago when I was checking it popped up a window offering to tell me “the best drives of fall.”  Curious, I clicked.  Drive #3 was the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I felt a pang of homesickness for North Carolina.  Then I clicked on another window that offered to tell me the top 10 fall destinations.  And in the top 10?  The Columbia River Gorge.  I felt better—if I didn’t get to experience a fabulous NC fall, I could at least experience the Columbia River Gorge.  Our calendar has been so full that the only time I could figure out to go was on Conference Sunday after the last session.  We left the kids at home and Russ & I headed out in the convertible, top down and jackets on.

The convertible does NO favors for my hair.


We drove through the gorge and saw almost no fall color!  The evergreens were still green (of course) and most of the deciduous trees were as well.  After a while I decided I needed a bathroom but I didn’t tell Russ soon enough to stop at Multnomah Falls.  (Which probably would have been crazy crowded on a lovely Sunday afternoon, so perhaps just as well.)

Instead we drove a little farther to the Bonneville Dam.  It was nearly closing time, but we were able to run in, use the bathroom, and then take the elevator down and watch some salmon swim upstream.  (No strange pacific lamprey this time though.) 

Then we decided to stop at the fish hatchery that is near the dam.  I wish I’d taken more pictures—I was very entertained by the fact that the buildings at the dam and hatchery are all super formal & beautiful.  There was one building that looked like it might be a home, or even a bed & breakfast, but no—it was the egg incubation house.

The best part of the fish hatchery was the rose garden and the giant sturgeon.


(So glad there was someone there to interpret!)

The sturgeon were really huge.  Perhaps big enough to keep me from ever recreationally going into the Columbia River.  (Not that I know if people do swim recreationally in the Columbia.)  Apparently they can live for almost a century and grow to be 10 feet long, and they’re not very far removed from the prehistoric.

Gigantic sturgeon

As we left the fish hatchery we could tell the sun was getting low.  The light was beautiful.




I didn’t want to wait for the sunset at the fish hatchery, but then as we were driving and it was clear the sun was truly beginning to set I was sad not to be watching it by the river.  (There are so many huge trees along the road that quite often you can’t see the river at all.)  Bless Russ’s heart—he really indulges me so much.  He pulled off on an exit that turned out to be a boat ramp, and we drove to the bottom right by the river to watch the sunset.  I had been trying to take sunset pictures for weeks, so I had a great time taking pictures.



It may not have been the drive full of fall beauty that I planned, but an afternoon spent with Russ is always a success to me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Except for the hum of the refrigerator and the soft click of my laptop keys, the house is silent.  Blessedly, beautifully silent.

I love my children.  I love homeschooling them, I love that they’re in band, I love that in this neighborhood they have friends to play with, I even love that they’re growing up and (necessarily) separating from me.  But those things bring with them noise, squeaks and squawks, conversations, questions, video games, emotional outbursts, and still more noise.  And sometimes, especially at a time like this when I’m overwhelmed all day every day (by the house and it’s still-not-moved-into state) by the end of the day it’s all too much.

And that is why I give a prayer of thanks tonight that they’re all (including Russ, bless his heart) off at the youth activity, and that tonight it’s an extra long youth activity, and that it’s just me, and the refrigerator, and the keyboard…all alone…in the silence…

The Confession

My name is Cindy and I am an addict.

And I have given birth to a family of addicts.


I bought this 28 oz. container last week.


I am not getting out the other one for a while…

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I Blurb

I’ve added a new component to our home school day this year—30 minutes of daily non-fiction reading, each child gets to pick the source.  I came home with an armful of books from the library; Women who Changed the World, Baseball Facts, 1000 Famous People, etc.

But yesterday one of the kids came up with a different alternative—some home-grown non-fiction.  How could I say no?


I got quite a bit done on my next Blurb book during the summer, but I’m having a hard time getting back into it.  This was great motivation for me!

PS—Jared is reading in the Harry Potter spot, under the stairs.  More pictures of that later.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Can’t Keep the Fire Burning…

Our new house has a fireplace.  In fact it has two fireplaces.  One in the family room that we are likely to use because this is where we spend most of our time, and one in the living/piano room that we are less likely to use because we don’t (at this point) spend much time in there.

The other morning I decided that it was chilly enough that a fire would be a good idea.  Now I know that conventional wisdom would say that fires make your house colder rather than warmer, and I have no clue whether or not that’s true.  But it seemed like a cozy idea.  And so I did it.  Only problem was, all of the pieces of wood (nicely left by the previous owners) in the garage are kind of big, and I had no way to make them smaller.  So I just made a log cabin fire (thank you girl’s camp) as best I could and used pieces of cardboard (which we have plenty of) as kindling.

At first it looked great.


But within a few minutes…not so good…


Clearly I have a lot to learn.  Maybe I need firemaking lessons?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Trip to the Beach Coast

For week 2 of our “enjoy the weather while it lasts” fieldtrips I decided that we’d go to the Oregon Coast.  (The word coast is used deliberately as a contrast to the word beach.  The coast is a pretty place that is often also very cold.  The coast is scenic rather than recreational.  The beach is recreational.)  I checked out the tide charts and decided what day we would go based on when the best low tide would be.  And then I loaded my three grumpy pre-teens in the convertible for the 90 minute drive.

As you can see, they were not too happy to be going.


We drove through the beautiful Coast Range.


And they were still cranky.  But once I stopped and bought a bag full of junk food it was amazing how happy everyone got.

Just a few minutes later we arrived at our destination, Cannon Beach, and more specifically Haystack Rock, a protected marine garden.

It was late enough in the day when we arrived that the light was already really interesting.


And it was freezing.  If Oregon rule #1 is always bring a jacket, then Oregon rule #2 is always take a coat to the coast.  Now that may sound extreme, but based on our limited experiences with the Oregon coast, 2 out of 3 times we have wished for coats.  On this day we just made do with what we had.


When Josh drove to Oregon with Ken, Connor, and Tiger, we spent a day together on the coast.  We’d hoped to see the same starfish again that we’d seen that day, but for some strange reason (possibly the storm than had come the day before?) there were no starfish.  We did see lots of anemones, though.


The tide kept rushing into the marine garden area, so the kids gave up on trying to stay dry.


Definitely not our most successful field trip.  But at least we got out of the house and spent some time together and ate some good junk food.  And next time hopefully we find the starfish!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Weather Report


It started raining today…


Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Truth in Advertising


Our Foster Child

Last winter the kids started a pet care business in our neighborhood—a great way to bridge the gap between “we want pets” and “mom and dad don’t want pets.”  I promised them that as soon as we were back from our trip this summer they could put out fliers in our apartment complex advertising their business again. 

So far we’ve had only one response, but a very positive one.  Meet Mia, our new family member.


Mia’s owner was just getting ready to start a full time job, and was worried about Mia, a rather anxious mini-daschund, being home alone all day.  We all hit it off quickly and she hired the kids to come over every afternoon, walk Mia for a few minutes, and bring her to our apartment (and now our house) to hang out for a while.  It’s a win-win.  For an hour or two every day we’re pet owners.  Even better than that, daschund’s are Jared’s very favorite breed of dogs.  And they get paid for their work.  Could it be any better?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sing, Choir of Angels

IMG_4341One night at the temple last week I was asked to sing hymns with the youth while they were waiting to do baptisms.  I wasn’t enthused; it would be a capella, my allergies were acting up, and I was sure that at least the boys wouldn’t cooperate and sing.

How wrong I was.

For fifteen or twenty minutes they chose hymns and we sang, usually one verse but occasionally more.  They sang beautifully—every one of them.  Finally one of the girls chose “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” and as we were singing that the temple worker came in to tell us that they were ready for our group.  What a lovely way to end a beautiful moment…


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Making Do


What you do when it’s time to make applesauce, but your pot lids are still over at the apartment…


Friday, October 5, 2012


I love homeschooling my homeschooled kids.  I love that my public schooled kid goes to public school.  I am glad I have educational choices for my kids and am happy that everyone else does too. 

Apparently not everyone is as liberal in their beliefs…


This morning while I was exercising (at “Curbs,” as Jared calls it) two women were talking about the high school schedule.  They asked where my child went to school and I told them the name of the school that Josh goes to, and then added that I also have 6th graders who are homeschooled.  This is part of the conversation that followed.


Her:  Well you know, you just can’t homeschool kids.  I mean, my kids were doing harder math in elementary school than I did in high school.  It’s just not possible to do a good enough job.

Me: Actually there are all sorts of resources available to help teach your kids.  Both of my older kids were homeschooled through high school and both went to college with scholarships, one of them with a full scholarship.

Her:  Well there are just too many things you can’t provide in a homeschool.  For instance, they need that socialization.  And it’s not like you can provide a science lab, or anything like that.

Me:  Well actually I did buy a science curriculum that included a lab, and a microscope, and everything my son needed.

Her:  And my daughter is taking child development, and she’s working in the preschool at the high school, working with the children of the faculty members.


At this point I realized that nothing I was going to say was going to convince her that it was “possible” to homeschool.


What I said: Wow, that’s really great.

What I thought: Well, I GAVE BIRTH to a preschool for my daughter!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012



Yesterday I realized there is no room for my bookcase in our bedroom.   I moved it out into the hall with the use of my awesome furniture sliders, then into the dining room where it will have a temporary home.  I can’t tell you how stressful this is for me. I need my books!  They have lived in my bedroom for the past 11 years and I am used to having them there! 

June 2010 053[4]

I know this may seem extreme, but it’s really causing me stress.  I mean—what if I have an emergency book need?!?!?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I can’t get anything done this morning

(Besides the fact that I just flushed 42 minutes of my life down the drain watching my first ever episode of Toddlers & Tiaras, something I might never recover from…)

My feet are cold.  But my slippers are still at the apartment.  I can’t do anything because my feet are cold.  Maybe I will just put on my tennis shoes.

But I can’t put on my tennis shoes because I’m still in my pajamas.  So I’ll have to go and take a shower first before I can put on my tennis shoes.

But I can’t take a shower yet because I’m starving because I still haven’t eaten breakfast.  I need food before I can take a shower. 

But I can’t make or eat breakfast because my feet are cold…

Monday, October 1, 2012

A New Experience (part 2)

This is what we’re hearing these days…


Band started last week and the strains of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Hot Cross Buns” are heard throughout our house many times every day.  It made me cringe a little when Jared practiced the sax at the apartment, but now that we’re in a house he can go for it.

Jenna just figured out how to play “Hot Cross Buns” at the same time as Jared, even though they’re in different keys.  I couldn’t have been more proud if they had played the Hallelujah Chorus.


(And no, I have no idea why they’re playing in the entry.  Except that perhaps it’s the only place with light???)


PS—Jenna is now in the entry sounding out “Angels We Have Heard on High” on her flute.  It’s like a chorus of breathy angels…