Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving...AGAIN...

Moving is TERRIBLE--if you have ever done it, you don't want to do it again, but this time it has been especially ridiculous.  First of all, we have always upsized, and now we are downsizing--by HALF.  Yeah, that means nothing fits.  So we have been to Goodwill a lot today, since I don't feel like bargaining with people I don't know who want to offer me $10 for something I paid $500 for.  Snobby? Yep.  Oh well.  We are already taking it in the shorts on our house, why add to that?  We are sure hoping that with this move, our luck will start to turn around a bit. We were SO lucky to have a friend find us a rental house right in our neighborhood, and it is a really nice house.  It will be really nice to only have to keep one story clean too, so I am looking forward to that--and the electric bill will be under $1000--which ours has been for 3 months now, so that will be AMAZING!  YAY!  Anyway, to say the least, moving sucks, and these pictures pretty much sum up my day today...and we are just getting started!  (We have SO MUCH CRAP!) P.S. The 140 food storage boxes you see (YEP, that's over 800 #10 cans of food) were boxed up by me, moved out of the basement storage room by me, and somehow, Todd put a neighbor to work moving them up the stairs into the garage, and you guessed it, he LEFT to take some things to Goodwill, leaving me and my awesome neighbor to move them all AGAIN (simply the WORST job ever).  I don't know how he gets out of that awful job every time, but I felt like killing him today...but he's no dummy!
 Then, there's my favorite--I found this box in Abby's room and Ashlie had packed it.  We cracked up when we saw how she labeled it.  I would say, she pretty much summed up my life in 4 words, I feel like stamping it on my forehead today:
FRAGILE:  VERY MUCH CRAP.
Now a bonus:  For your viewing pleasure, here is us when we moved into the house 2 1/2 years ago, trying to get our $6000 Creative Leather couch into the gameroom in the basement.  Surprise! It wouldn't go around the corner--and Todd ended up cutting it in half basically, frame and all, and piecing it back together.  Well, guess what we had to do today?  Yep.  We had to get that STUPID COUCH back UP those stairs!  Joke was on us, because if we thought it was a pain in the you know what to get it DOWN, you should have seen us taking it back UP!  Let's just say it was no picnic, and it really wasn't as funny this time...moving makes you CRAZY!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Attitude is everything...


In Sunday School this last week, the teacher related a story about a guy who received a not so nice parrot as a gift.  It really hit home for me, so I wanted to share it.  Here is the story:

The Rude Parrot
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.
Every word out of the bird’s’ mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.
Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, “Um, may I ask what the turkey did?”

Once in awhile, I feel like that rude parrot.  My Heavenly Father is trying to mold me, to shape me, to teach me, and to guide me, and all he meets with is resistance, and every once in awhile, probably a little rudeness and profanity (just keepin' it real) on my part as well!  Sometimes, especially during times of trial, I, like the parrot, have had a hard time understanding that the Lord is only trying to change my attitude--and change my ways.  This last year, however, I have learned that attitude is indeed everything.  When I have been submissive, and humble, when I have let the Lord be in control, I have been happier, and more peaceful.  When I have been controlling and dominant, and tried to tell the Lord how I think things should be, or how I want things to turn out, I have felt frustrated, anxious, and hopeless.  I know the experiences we are having are for my good.  I know that everything happens for a reason.  Most of all, I know that down the road, I will look back on these experiences and see the growth in my testimony, and the changes for good that came because of them for me and my family.  The only thing I think I will regret when I look back, is that I did so much squawking, kicking, and screaming along the way, instead of just trusting and knowing that God was in charge.  Yes, attitude is everything!

Please forgive me if posts are few and far between this next few weeks, I will get back on top of things once we are moved into our new place, and the craziness has subsided somewhat back to our normal levels.  Life happens!  :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Confessions of a Desperate Housewife...

<-----The picture of a Desperate Housewife!

Okay, so I am about to go on a rant here, so please forgive me--let's just get that out of the way first thing.  Sometimes I get fired up about things, it's just my nature, and I can't help it.  The other day, I saw a promo on TV for the season premiere of Desperate Housewives, and it really got me irritated.  Don't get me wrong, I am not against having a show about desperate housewives--I am, however, against a show that depicts such housewives in such a demeaning manner.  I am certainly no expert on the show, mind you--I have only seen it a few times, and was pretty much turned off by it right away, since it in no way depicts the life of any housewife that I know (and I know a lot of them).  The show pretty much depicts these women as being tramps, who will sleep with any man who walks onto their property, whether it be the landscaper or the pool guy, or the UPS man, it makes no difference.  They also have time in their busy housewife lives to be involved in each other's business, cause drama and fight with one another, and even sleep with each other's husbands at times.  No big deal.  These are women devoid of morals and even general manners, and the show depicts them as basically tramps and whores.  Oh, and all of them are rich too--a must for a desperate housewife, so she can shop to her hearts content!  Why are they this way?  Of course, because they are housewives, and they have nothing better to do with their time!  Don't even get me started on the real life spin-off of Desperate Housewives--the REAL Housewives of (Your City, USA).  Are you kidding me?  The only point of this fabulous show is to show us normal housewives all of the luxuries of life you are missing out on if your husband isn't filthy rich and can provide you the necessities of life that every housewife deserves--you know, like fake boobs, liposuction, botox parties, posh dinner parties, a new Mercedes (just for fun), and most importantly, dropping $5000 on Jimmy Choo boots, or $10,000 on a new handbag.  Sure, because that's how Real Housewives live.  Uh huh!  NOT!  These shows demean, and mock the women on them, and make term of "Housewife" into a joke.  They make it seem as if each housewife is just a selfish, greedy woman, who is in it for whatever she can get from a man (any man).  That is why I can't stand to watch it (sorry to those of you who can get past this & love the show)--but I can't. Watching it makes my skin crawl.

Having said that--here's one thing we CAN agree on.  I am a desperate housewife at times.  There, I said it.  Yes, there are some things that I have been desperate for ever since I became a housewife 15 years ago--and I will tell you here and now what they are:

1. I am desperate for SLEEP!  I haven't had a good night's sleep since I delivered my first baby--and that is no lie.  Something always wakes me up--every night--without fail.  Sometimes it's just a cough or a sneeze from a child.  Sometimes it's a teenager calling because she needs a ride home.  Sometimes, now that I'm older, it's a necessity that I wake up in the night and pee, or take some advil for my aches and pains.  You name it--it wakes me up.  Before I became a desperate housewife, I don't remember ever NOT having a good night's sleep.  I slept like a baby--sometimes until 2 in the afternoon on days off, or Saturdays!  Now I am lucky to pull 4-6 hours in a stretch, and that is even now that I'm done having babies!  Ugh...  This post explains the way I feel most of the time all too well:  (Click HERE).

2. I am desperate for APPRECIATION!  Ask my children--they will tell you how often I complain that no one in this house thanks me for anything.  Sure, I get the mandatory thank you card on Mother's Day--but really?  How hard is it to notice that I clean up after all of them every single day of every single week, of every single month...ok, you get the point.  I don't even need my husband to buy me a new Mercedes or Jimmy Choo shoes to show me he loves me, all I want is "Hey, thanks for doing my laundry, you're swell!" And my kids, once in awhile, could say, "Hey mom, thanks for cooking my dinner, and cleaning my crap up off the floor all the time, you're the best!"  How about that?  Yep, that would be awesome!

4. I am desperate for some VALIDATION! You would think that this falls under number 2--appreciation- but if you read this post, and watch the little movie on validation, (click HERE), you will see that validation means having people actually treat you with respect, like you have something to offer them, not like you're an idiot because you don't go to work every day, and all you do is stay home with your children. Just because I became a mother, and not a law professor, doesn't mean I don't have a brain in my head, or something intelligent to add to a conversation--although I must admit, whether I have something intelligent to say depends on the day, and probably a little on how much sleep I got the night before (see number 1).  But C'mon, give a desperate housewife a break!

5.  I am desperate for LOVE!  ♥ And I am not talking the pool guy or the UPS man--hello?  In real life, are there really pool guys that are attractive enough that you would want to invite them into your house?  I make sure to lock the doors when mine comes over--the thought makes me shudder...ewww!  Plus, hello?  These women on TV have husbands who are obviously filthy rich, and they are sleeping with the pool guy who makes $10 an hour?  How stupid are these women?  Nope.  I am madly in love with just one man--and he's my husband, and the father of my 6 children!  GASP!  How crazy is that?  My only complaint as a desperate housewife, is that when there's 6 kids, and volleyball, and soccer practice, and activity days and scouts, and piano lessons, and laundry, and work, and....you get my drift, when we finally manage to fall into bed at night we are both so exhausted that half the time one or the other is asleep, and we can barely muster the energy for a goodnight kiss!  If I don't have enough energy for my husband, where are these ladies mustering the energy to get it on with the pool guy or the neighbor?  P.S....you know what's even more awesome?  When you finally DO find the time to "be alone", and then comes the KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, at the door.  Of course.  Welcome to desperation.

6.  I am desperate for a VACATION--(see number 5), enough said.

7.  I am desperate for a MAKEOVER!  I'm not talking botox, or liposuction, or fake boobs either.  Nope,  I am just talking about having time to shower on a regular basis, instead of spritzing perfume in my hair and hoping no one will notice that I haven't washed it for 4 days.  I'm talking about finding a moment in the day to excercise without my toddler throwing crap onto the treadmill for me to try to jump over as I jog.  (That post is HERE).  I'm talking about a manageable hairstyle and clothes that fit (since we already established that I don't run on the treadmill as often as I should).  In trying to take a decent picture of myself for this post, I seriously got about 100 shots with my phone at different angles trying to find an angle that looked decent. Every shot I took, I would look at it and go, REALLY?  Is my nose that big?  Is my double chin really that noticable?  Are my eyes really that squinty?  Sad thing is, when I got ready that day, I thought I looked pretty good!  See what we do to ourselves women?  We torture ourselves thinking we need to look perfect!  You can go back on my blog, and you will find very few pictures of me on here for that reason!  I really need to come to terms with myself and the way I look, and accept me for who I am, extra pounds or not, fat cheeks and all!  I'm thinking the makeover I really need is one that comes from the inside first, and the outside will take care of itself!

I'm sure I could add more--but I think you get the point.  So, you see, I AM a desperate housewife--but this does not mean that I am what the shows on TV say I am.  (Thank Goodness!)  The problem with making a show about an actual, real life, desperate housewife like me, is that people would be bored to tears when they get a glimpse of a normal desperate housewife's life!  Especially one who actually *GASP--takes care of her own children all day long!  Here's the deal:  I don't dress up in designer clothes to go to the store, in fact, sometimes I stay in my PJ's all day.  I don't wear $1000 shoes, I wear my $20 flip flops (and I thought those were expensive--but I splurged on TEVA's since they are so comfy and I wear them year round).  I change poopy diapers (sometimes a few times a day--gross), I am faithful to my husband, and we are a pretty boring couple who spend our Friday nights watching disney movies with our kids and running carpools to get teenagers to and from their activities.  I can't afford Botox, and even if I could, what's the point?  If I hardly get out of the house, who is noticing my wrinkles anyway?  On a typical Monday afternoon, I don my Cub Scout Uniform, and have 8 year olds over for an hour to learn to tie knots and awesome things like that.  When I want to really have fun and get crazy, I stay up late, after all the kids go to bed, and watch my TV shows on the DVR, or sit at the computer and rant on my blog about the latest and greatest thing that irritates the heck out of me, or the crazy things that pop into my mind!  Good times!  No, I'm nothing like the Desperate Housewife, or the Real Housewife on TV, and you know what?  I don't think I'm missing out on a thing! Because THIS my friends, the life that I live, is my reality--and even though I am far from perfect--I think my reality is just fine! My kids should know that NO--being a housewife and a mother is NOT glamorous--but that's not why I signed on for this job!  I signed on for this job, because this family--each of my children--are the most important thing in my life, and if I don't raise them, if I don't spend my time on them, if I don't care for them--who else will? 

In one of my favorite quotes of all time about motherhood, President Hinckley said this:
"You have nothing in this world more precious than your children. When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out. It will not be the money you have made. It will not be the cars you have owned. It will not be the large house in which you live. The searing question that will cross your mind again and again will be, How well have my children done?
If the answer is that they have done very well, then your happiness will be complete. If they have done less than well, then no other satisfaction can compensate for your loss."
Being a "housewife", or a mother, or even more important, being a woman,  is so much more than the false images they depict on a meaningless TV show.  It is so much more important, I think, than I can even imagine sometimes.  What I am doing every day, is helping my children, who have been sent to me on loan from God in Heaven, to return to Him with honor. And in that goal, I need not be desperate--because He has promised that I will have all the help that I need! Thank goodness--because as you can see, I need plenty of help!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Almost FALL...


When you live in the desert, like we do, and August and September bring 110 degree temperatures, you sure look forward to FALL weather.  By fall weather, I mean 107 degree highs, and would you believe it? It starts to really drop at night to below 100!  That's fall in Arizona.  I always look forward to Halloween, since by then it seems like the worst of the heat is finally over, and we can actually start to feel a nip in the air, (you know, when it gets down to those chilly 85 degree temperatures)!  So forgive me if I put my Halloween decorations out in the middle of September, and dress up my blog to match--we are DYING out here this year, and man am I looking forward to FALL!  Please fall...could you be a gem and come sooner!

Really...I can't wait--Halloween is my favorite!  I get a little excited about the pumpkins, and the candy, and the costumes, and the candy, and the--wait, did I mention the candy?  Yeah, I pretty much love it all! I'm CRAZY for Halloween!

P.S. Aren't these kids in my header just the cutest kids you've ever seen?  No. Really!  Love them!  ♥
HAPPY (almost) FALL!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My little walker...

So, I found this in my DRAFTS folder & never published it!  Look at my sweet baby starting to walk!  I can't believe how fast he has grown up!  :)

So my sweet baby started walking while we were in Israel, and I didn't really post about it--so here you go! Isn't he the cutest thing--I think YES! Love this boy...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Say No?


Sometimes I wish there were 36 hours in a day.  Today was one of those days.  In fact, I think since school started again I have been getting, on average, about 4 hours of sleep each night.  I have always been a night owl, but this is getting ridiculous.  Not only did school start, which brings homework, school projects, and general chaos, (and irritability on the part of parents and children alike), but Todd has been AWOL working on his new business venture (YAY--but BOO--man it's nice to have a husband who helps out around the house, but you sure miss him when he's gone), Emie made the JV volleyball team (YAY--but BOO--I never see that girl anymore), Erin is getting up at the crack of dawn with Emie for A hour, so she is a gem when she gets home (seriously...all she wants to do is go to sleep & I don't blame her), Abby is getting ready to start her NYS volleyball season, Josh just started soccer, which brings soccer practices & games (YAY--but...well you get the point), Ashlie is going to gymnastics soon, and Jack is just EVERYWHERE, (mostly where he isn't supposed to be--ALL the time).  Add to that long list Cub Scouts every week, Activity Days, Visiting Teaching, etc., and then on top of ALL of that--add the fact that we have 2 weeks to be packed & MOVED out of our house, and into our new one!  That's right--sleep is nowhere on my schedule for the next month or so at least.

Now, after reading all of that--don't you think I'm busy enough?  Because, I'm not.  No, there's a voice inside my head that tells me, "Tami, you're not busy enough, so be sure and volunteer your time whenever someone asks you to!"  Will someone please smack that little voice upside the head?  Seriously, I was sitting next to a friend in church this week and they announced that another friend would be needing meals this week.  Despite the fact that I had Cub Scouts on Monday night, and I had already signed up to bring the dinner to Emie's volleyball team on Tuesday night (quite a chore since there are 17 girls on her team), and work concessions at the volleyball game on Wednesday night, along with all our other kids activities--I hear myself blurt out, "I will take a meal in if you need me to."  As soon as I said it, I thought, "What did I just say?"  Surely I wouldn't complicate my life further by volunteering to take a meal in this week of all weeks!  But I did.  I'm not saying I don't love to help people--or to serve others.  I do.  And I do it a lot.  I'm just saying that sometimes my mind is willing, and my body screams out NO!  My heart wants to volunteer for everything--and yet my common sense tells me, "You can't do EVERYTHING!"  I think sometimes it becomes a problem at times for women--we have what I like to call YES-ITIS.  We say "Yes", even when the answer should be a resounding "NO!"  And not because we don't want to help, or serve, but because that week--or that month--or that year--we simply CAN'T do it--whether mentally or physically, because we are just drained!! Sometimes do I use that as an excuse to get out of things I simply don't WANT to do?  Yep.  You caught me.  (Like when they asked for volunteers for team mom this year and I literally slouched down in my chair and waited for someone to raise their hand--and silently screamed with JOY when some mom did!) But most of the time, there are things that I say "Yes" to, when I should be saying "No", if for nothing else, for my own personal sanity!

No doubt there are women who will read this and think, "What's SHE talking about? She stays home all day, and  I do all those things she mentioned, PLUS, I work!"  I have a sweet sister, bless her heart, who is working her tail off at 3 jobs trying to help her husband make ends meet and support their 4 children while they are in school--she is truly a HERO in my eyes!  I have another sister who is a single mother, and works herself to make ends meet, and I don't know how she does it--and I don't think I could do what she has done!  My heart goes out to you--and I do NOT know how you juggle it!  (I blogged about working moms once HERE.)  You are amazing!   Then, there are others, who are even crazier than I am, who have MORE kids, and MORE responsibilities than I do, and still volunteer even MORE of their time to help others, and do it without even complaining!  My other sister has 8 kids, (ages 13 and under), and served first as Primary President, and is now serving as Relief Society President in her ward.  Do you know what this CRAZY sister of mine was doing last Saturday?  She was sweet enough to drive down from Payson and spend the day with ME in my basement, packing up my food storage for our move.  Even while we were packing, she was getting call after call from ward members who needed her assistance or help.  Now THAT, is one amazing lady!  Does she have to do it?  No.  She does it because she has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and she is trying to do what He would have her do. What amazing examples my sisters are for me! Finally, there are also those who will read this little rant and think, "What's she complaining about--she CHOSE to have all those crazy kids didn't she?" And yes, they are absolutely right--although I can also CHOOSE to complain, can't I? Geez. This is still a free country! :)

So, I sit here at 2 a.m., AGAIN, waiting for a load of laundry to dry, thinking that if I hadn't volunteered my time to do extra things this week, I would probably have had my laundry done, and my house work finished so I could get to bed earlier, and actually get some much needed REST!  Then again, I am also thinking that life is short, and the only things that I am not going to regret at the end of it are those that brought me satisfaction and joy--and serving my family, and my friends and neighbors does just that.  Is it easy or convenient to just say "No" sometimes?  Yep.  But in the long run, it's when I say "Yes" that I feel good about what I've accomplished, and who I've helped in a day--even if it's 36 hours later...  My mom has a quote on her refrigerator that goes something like this, "LIFE IS FOR LIVING--YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD!" 

That will be the BEST. NAP. EVER.! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Patriot's Day...

To me, Patriot's Day is a time to reflect on what's important in my life. On September 11, 2001, I remember just being grateful to have my family around me, safe and sound. I also remember the one other thing I felt, and that was Patriotism. I felt so grateful to be an American, grateful for my freedom, and for those willing to fight and die to keep this country free. Thank you, wherever you are. We must make sure that we never forget. God Bless America, this day, and every day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let the GAMES Begin...


I never knew it was a game, really.  Back in the olden days, (you know, a long time ago, before the crash of 2008), it seemed like most people were like us, and just paid their bills the best they could.  When we signed a note to buy a car, or a house, or a new business, we did our best to pay the bill.  We tried not to overspend, lest we get into trouble and get in over our head.  We had never really heard of short sales, or defaults--I didn't even know what that meant.  Bankruptcy existed, sure, but it seemed like a few years ago, bankruptcies were limited to the very rich and very smart, or the very poor, and down on their luck, not your average joe.  Most people, it seemed to me, just paid their dues, and made the best of life.  Sure, there were people who were down on their luck now and then, there always have been, but not like now.  Now, it seems like it's all a game.  Even people who can afford their bills are trying to get out of paying them.  Why should I have to pay my whole credit card bill, when Joe Shmoe down the street settled his debt for .10 on the dollar?  Why should I stay in the home I bought two years ago, when I can walk away from it, let it go back to the bank, and buy a much nicer, much newer home for less money?  Why am I allowing myself to get taken advantage of when the bank is screwing me?  It has just become the new normal way of thinking.  Now, please don't get me wrong.  I know there are people who are hurting, who are down on their luck, heck, we have been there for the last year.  When the funeral home stopped paying altogether, and our store idea bombed, we found ourselves at the end of our savings, and the end of our rope.  We have had to sell our cars, our boat, our house, just to pay bills and make ends meet and keep ourselves OUT of bankruptcy (barely).  This isn't what I'm talking about, (so please don't be offended, or write me mean emails).  I'm talking about people who are purposefully taking advantage of the system. People who can afford to pay their bills, but won't.  People who can afford to pay their mortgage, but quit.  People who run up debt purposefully, then declare bankruptcy, laughing all the way to the bank. People who buy a business, run it into the ground, and screw other people in the process...get my drift?  
I was listening to Dave Ramsey (LOVE him--his website is HERE) on the radio the other night talk to someone who was complaining of this very thing:
"Dave, my neighborhood has gone to crap.  Half of the homes are vacant, the other half have sold for a fraction of what I bought my house for.  I could walk away from my home, and buy a newer, nicer one down the street for half of what I owe on this house, so am I just a CHUMP for staying here and paying my mortgage every month on a home that's worth half?  Isn't it the bank that's getting the last laugh?"
I was surprised when I heard what Dave had to say to this man: 
"Sure, you could move out of your house and let it go back to the bank, but when you signed those papers, didn't you think your home was worth what you said you would pay for it?" 
Man says, "Well, yes, but then..." 
"No, did you think it was worth it or not?  Can you afford to pay your mortgage?" 
"Yes."
"Are you a Christian sir?"
"Yes."
"So you have morals, and values, and one of those values is integrity, right?"
"Yes, but..."
"But nothing.  If you have morals, and values, and integrity, you do not sell your soul.  You keep your promises.  You keep your promises to God, and that, sir, means you keep your promises to the bank, if at all possible.  It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing.  It doesn't matter what other people think.  What matters, is that when you meet your Maker, you can say to Him, "I kept my promises.  I had integrity.  I tried to be like my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  That, sir, will be the only thing that matters."
Wow.  I was speechless. Now if only Dave Ramsey could have a that same talk with a few certain people that I know...hmmm.
Tomorrow, we go to court for the first time since filing the lawsuit 9 months ago, against the people that bought our funeral home, and never paid us what they owed for it.  9 months. When we started this process, I sincerely thought it would work itself out in 2 or 3 months tops.  Surely, it wouldn't be hard to get the business back, or at least start taking stuff back to pay the debt owed.  Surely, in such a cut and dry case, with such a well written contract, this would be simple.  Well, welcome to the American way of justice.  What a slow, painful, agonizing, ridiculously expensive, crazy process.  We have had letter after letter, deadline after deadline, bill after bill, and now finally 9 months later, we aren't even to the trial part yet--just going in for a summary judgement, where the lawyers get to argue to the judge for 30 minutes on why the case shouldn't have to go any further--but the judge should just decide.  30 minutes.  A crap shoot really, a roll of the dice, but it's worth a try.  Our lawyer actually told us, "It's just a lawyer thing, really.  You don't really need to come, but you can if you would like to."  Really?  After 9 months of waiting for something--anything to happen, I'm supposed to just sit home and hope my lawyer does a good job, without seeing it for myself?  I'm just anxious to hear someone actually TALKING to a judge instead of sending an email or a letter!  Yep, we'll be there.  It would be nice if that was all it took--but I'm convinced that we still have a long fight ahead, and I hope I'm ready to fight it.  We wish we didn't have to, but when you have a society, that has lost the meaning of morals, and values, and integrity, you have to have hope that somehow, justice will come down on the right side of things. We are hoping for the best, and crossing our fingers that someone, anyone, still knows the meaning of "integrity".  Yikes...wish us luck--we sure need it!  I never have been that good at games...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bad Sunday...


Yesterday was a BAD Sunday!  When you have 6 children, pretty much every Sunday could qualify as a bad Sunday--but yesterday was particularly bad.  We walked in around 11:35, (late, as usual--but before the sacrament at least), and they were still singing the opening song.  We sat down near the front of the back part of the chapel, since there were so many people out of town for Labor Day.  There are never enough seats in any of the aisles for our family--a sign that we had too many kids--even for mormons, so Erin and Josh sat on the row behind us.  Jack was happily swinging around a ziploc bag full of Captain Crunch Berries and started hitting people with it as we got settled and the opening prayer started. I reached over to try and grab it from him, when--you guessed it--he pulled it away from me and the bag opened mid-air and it was raining Crunch Berries over 4 rows of chairs and families sitting in front of us.  EVERYONE opened their eyes to look at what happened, and you couldn't help but to giggle as people wiped the cereal out of their hair and off their dresses onto the floor.  The babies around us were in heaven, as they scooted and crawled our direction for a FREE treat off the chairs and floor!  When the opening prayer finally ended, I turn to go get a broom from the broom closet and Erin says (not so quietly), "You must not be living right, because this is NOT your day".  Little punk--felt like slapping her, but I held back.  Grabbed a hand broom and dust pan from the broom closet and we went to work cleaning up the mess.  Not 2 minutes later, we turn around to hear Josh cry out in pain.  Erin was holding Jack behind us, and I guess Josh was teasing him, so Erin decided to pinch Josh in the side, hard enough to make him cry.  Nice!  As if the Crunch Berries aren't enough embarrassment for one day?  Todd, not so nicely grabs Josh and brings him up to our row to sit, and I give the death glare to Erin, just as the sacrament hymn gets started.  Really feeling the love for my children at this moment!  Luckily, the rest of sacrament meeting went off without too much more drama, thanks mostly to Emie's friend Kessa who brought her Ipod to church and let Jack play games on it--can I get an AMEN to a good reason to bring an Ipod to church!

Next, I headed to primary, where I was asked to teach Ashlie's primary class.  When I got there, I realized that it was only Ashlie, and one other little boy.  Sweet...how hard could this be?  I would soon find out that this wasn't just a normal little boy--he was one CRAZY little boy, and this crazy little boy had a not so private crush on my little Ashlie!  He could not leave her alone.  If I sat her on one side of me, he would follow, hanging onto her dress, and kissing her mercilessly.  I kept telling him, "Okay, now keep your hands to yourself, there's no kissing at church".  He wasn't listening.  I kept asking Ashlie, "Does he do this all the time?"  Ashlie says, "Yes, even at school.  He's in my class, and I have to have 5 friends around me at recess to protect me from him kissing me!"  Oh my!  I kept trying to hold him off from kissing her, but when I was successful, and he couldn't get to her, he would give up and just spit on both of us.  I tried holding him on my lap, but he would wiggle and squirm even more, and get away.  There were a few moments where he would give up, and sit still, but when I would stop paying attention to him, there he was, back in her face.  It didn't get much better when we went to the classroom.  This kid must have planted a kiss on my Ashlie more than 25 times--and that's when she had me there to protect her!  I'm thinking I probably need to call her school teacher and have a talk with her.  I know my Ashlie is adorable--but I think this kissing is a little out of hand for a 1st grader!  Poor thing!

It didn't get any better when I went home.  The car ride home with my children is always a nice end to a Sunday, as they yell and scream at eachother, because they can't get along for 10 minutes.  There is always someone crying at the end of it, this week it happened to be Ashlie.  But every week, it's someone, (sometimes me) and by the time we get home, I'm ready to kill someone, or send them all to their beds.  So much for feeling the spirit on Sunday--this Sunday that was NOT happenin'.  Oh well, there's always NEXT Sunday, right?  Sometimes I'm not sure why I bother...  Oh yeah, I remember, because I am supposed to be trying to teach my children to be like Jesus, and be nice, and get along, and be kind to eachother.  It's so nice to be reminded every week at church what a terrible job I am doing as a parent!  There's always that reason...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hanging On Tight...

Sometimes, in life, we have defining moments.  Moments that change who we are as people.  Moments that we realize something about ourselves, or others, that not only change who we are, but can also change who we will become, for better or worse.  We can all look back on our lives and pick out some of those defining moments.  One of those moments for me, came in high school.  I was an "athlete" in high school.  I put that in quotations, because to the rest of the world, I may not have been the best athlete--but in my small town of Thatcher, where I grew up--that was my label.  An "athlete".  I was not particularly talented at any one sport, however, I was mediocre at several sports, and in a small school, you can get by pretty well being mediocre, so I played 3 sports, volleyball, basketball, and track, plus we played church softball pretty much all summer long in my small town.  I think back then, I really didn't realize how mediocre I really was.  I thought I was a pretty good athlete.  I started on most teams I played on, and our teams always did pretty well (mostly because the other teams we played were pretty horrible--but we always thought we were just pretty good!).  I wouldn't go so far as to say I was arrogant, or conceited, I wasn't.  But I was very confident in my abilities, and really never doubted myself.  I was pretty naturally talented at everything I tried, and it really never crossed my mind that there would be something I would ever fail at. 

Then, my defining moment.  My junior year, I was competing at the state championship track meet in several events, and the 4 X 100 meter relay was one of those.  I wasn't the fastest one on our team, but our relay team had won several meets, and that year, we were expected to win state.  I was the first leg of the relay, since I had a pretty quick start out of the blocks, and in the preliminary race, we had broken a state record for the fastest relay time, beating out other schools by almost 2 seconds to qualify for the finals.  I was very confident that we were going to win, which was exciting, since I didn't yet have a GOLD medal from a state tournament yet. I remember that race so vividly.  I can still see the gunfire as the race started.  I felt so quick going out of the blocks, and really felt good running.  When it came time to hand off the baton, something I had done 100 times in practice and in meets, everything felt like it was going just right--until...I missed.  I had the baton in her hand, and I thought she had it, and it just fell.  It was almost like slow motion then, as I watched it fall onto the track.  The other girl grabbed it, and tried to keep running, but in a race that is decided by hundreths of a second, there was no catching up, no redemption, no chance.  The race was lost.  The rest of that whole day was like a bad dream.  I competed almost immediately after that race in the 400M, where I was seeded 3rd in the preliminaries, only to come in dead last in the finals.  I competed in the high jump, and didn't even make half the height of my personal best.  Finally we competed in the 4 X 400 M relay, where we were supposed to come in at least 3rd, but my heart just still wasn't in it, and we did terribly.  I'm not sure if I have ever, even still, 20 years later, felt as low as I felt that day .  It was like it hit me all at once--a voice I had never heard before inside my head.  A voice that said--YOU SUCK.  You can't do it.  You're terrible.  It's all your fault.  Man, that bus ride home was one terrible ride.  3 hours with only a tissue to wipe the tears, and those terrible thoughts running through my head.  I never wanted to see a track, ever again!

The next year, my senior year, track time rolled around way too quickly.  We won a state championship in volleyball that year (my favorite sport by the way ♥), and basketball went great as well, even though we placed low in the state tournament, it was still a good season.  But when it came time for track season to start, my heart just wasn't in it.  I just couldn't go out there after the disaster at state, and face all of those people, and coaches that I felt I had let down.  I was the one who had CHOKED.  How could I possibly try again--and even more frightening, what if I dropped the baton again?  In short, I decided that the two sports were enough, and I was going to sit out track season this time.  It was my senior year anyway, and I was tired, and burned out!  I remember walking by the gym, and seeing all of my friends headed out toward the field to practice, and I just walked quickly the other way, hoping no one would notice.  I walked home, and fixed myself a snack, and just vegged on the couch--a rare luxury, since there was pretty much NEVER a time in 4 years of high school that I wasn't playing a sport!  This isn't going to be so bad, I thought.  Not bad at all.  Then I heard a truck pull into the driveway.  I'll never forget looking out the window to see who was there, and seeing Mr. Phillips, my track coach, getting out of his truck, and heading to my front door.  My first thought was to hide--and see if he went away.  But I saw him catch my eye as I was getting out of the blinds--and I knew he saw me there.  I was caught.  I will never forget the conversation that followed.  I opened the door, and Mr. Phillips says, "I just came to see why you aren't at track practice?"  I said, "Well, I decided I wasn't going to go out this year, seeing as last year was such a disaster."  He said, "So you're going to just quit then?"  I was like, "Well, I'm not really quitting--I'm just not going to go out.  I have a lot going on, and I just thought it would be better if I didn't run track this year."  He says, "Tami, I really misjudged you.  All these years I've  known you, I have never thought of you as a quitter.  It's too bad really, to let a dropped baton stop you from achieving something great, I expected better from you."  I know my face was red and hot, since I could feel myself sweating.  Then he said this:  "You can let that dropped baton stop you from coming out for track this season, or you can decide that no matter how many times you drop that baton, you will still have the pride and the determination to pick that baton up and keep running.  You may think this is only a decision that will affect you this year, only for a track season.  The way I look at it, this decision will affect the way you live the rest of your life.  Tami, are you a quitter, who drops the baton, and leaves it there on the track and walks away, or are you the type of person who decides that one lousy dropped baton isn't going to stop me from reaching my dreams.  There are two types of people in life, there are achievers, and there are quitters.  Which one are you?"  Talk about a defining moment.  I walked into my room, changed my clothes, put my tennis shoes on, and rode with my coach to practice. 

It's almost surreal when I think about that experience today.  What a wonderful coach, and man that was to take the time to leave track practice, seek me out, and motivate me to do what I needed to do.  That year was a turning point for me.  I set my mind on a goal to ACHIEVE, not to fail.  That year, our 4X100 relay took the state champion gold medal, with me running the first leg of the race again.  I took 2nd place in the 400M with my best time of 58.2 seconds, only losing by a tenth of a second.  Our 4X400 relay took a gold medal as well. I even took 5th in state in the high jump--finally clearing 5'6"--a personal best (and 1 inch taller than me!) Because of one person, my life, and my attitude would never be the same.  I learned that deep down, I was NOT a quitter.  I could get back up, and do better, no matter how many times I fall.  That's what I love about sports, there are so many lessons we learn from competing.  It's also what I love about a good coach, they can motivate you on and off the field to accomplish great things, and to be your best self.

Lately, we have had some struggles. (DUH-like I haven't complained about them enough).  As I get ready to pack up and move away from the home that I was sure would be my last, (to where I'm not really sure yet) and start over in a business that is like the first--all the while trying to fight a legal battle I'm not sure we'll win, and settle debt that has racked up during our failed business attempts--I'm really not sure how things are going to work out.  I am sure of one thing, however, and that is: I am NOT a quitter.  I might get knocked down, I might get bloodied, and bruised, and I might drop the baton from time to time, but I will pick it up and keep running.  We are always going to have set backs, we will always have struggles, but this life is NOT a race to the finish!  We can take our time, we can start again, we can learn from our mistakes.  If I have learned anything in my life, it's that I can do hard things.  We never WANT some of the challenges we are faced with--but we can face them head on, and fight, and with any luck (and a LOT of prayer and faith) we will come out on top.

During the awards banquet my senior year, my coach Mr. Phillips, made me a special plaque.  It was a "Handoff Award", and glued to the top was that dented, dirty, dinged up old relay baton that I had dropped my junior year.  Under the inscription Handoff Award were the words, "For hanging on tight--even when it's hard"  A lesson I will never forget.

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