Friday, February 29, 2008

100 Things

One hundred things about me...

1. I am whole quarter of a century old. I feel old. I guess I'm not, but really...I feel old.
2. My husband is Cameron. He is a dork. And a brat. And occasionally he'll surprise me by doing something sweet and romantic. Usually he's a dork though.
3. I have three kids--they are all boys. Usually that's ok. They are Benjamin, who's 4, Samuel, who's 3, and Levi, who is almost 10 months. They have more energy than any people I have ever seen...they kind of remind me of prairie dogs, running like crazy from one hole to another.
4. My kids sort of drive me nuts a lot of the time--especially Samuel, who is, once again, refusing to go to bed. I sometimes wonder if I am really cut out for this mom thing.
5. I am a really good pianist. I don't get to play nearly as often as I would like though--I kind of hate my piano, and it's super out of tune. Plus, my kids don't give me a lot of practice time.
6. I can play the organ too. I taught myself, and am currently getting ready to start an online course to teach me more about the stops and settings.
7. I don't sew well. I CAN sew, but I am too impatient to read the directions like I should, plus I tend to not care enough if my seams are perfect, so things don't work out quite like they should. I have successfully sewn curtains, a couple dresses (that I even wore frequently), a shower curtain and some other crafts things. It's not my forte.
8. I LOVE TO READ. I think, despite my family, my full time job, my callings, and my life in general, I have still managed to read three or four large books in the last week. I squeeze it in whenever I can--eating lunch, waiting in the car for Cam, before bed, while the kids are in the tub...etc...
9. I can kick Cam's butt at Guitar Hero III. But...he is getting better. And that worries me.
10. I teach 8th grade. I never wanted to teach 8th grade. I wanted to teach high school. You may think that 8th grade is close enough, but it's not even remotely the same.
11. I have type I diabetes. It sucks.
12. I like to scrapbook. A lot. I haven't been able to for a long time.
13. I drive a minivan. Yeah. I drive a minivan.
14. I hate cleaning. I think it is phenomenally BORING. There is very little satisfaction in it for me--I like a clean house, but really, with three pretty small boys, the whole house is NEVER clean at one time. So, it's more just an exercise in futility.
15. I wear the same size clothes I did in high school. (I do not, however, look the same!)
16. I like lemons with salt.
17. A chocolate milkshake makes most anything a little bit better.
18. My name is spelled like a boy's. No, my mom insists she was NOT disappointed that I was girl--she just thought it was spelled that way.
19. I have a bachelor's degree from Missouri Southern State University.
20. I had a full-ride academic presidential scholarship to High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. But I gave it up when I got married. It was my decision. Totally.
21. I teach gospel doctrine class at church. It is a little overwhelming. Somewhat intimidating.
22. I like the color purple. I used to have a purple bedroom. But then we moved.
23. I would be happy living in Webb City for the rest of my life. I won't though.
24. I miss my mom.
25. I like stitching and embroidery projects.
26. I like country music...a lot...but I am usually a little ashamed to admit it. I feel like it makes me uncool somehow.
27. I like to sing along with the radio really loudly while I drive. It's probably the only time I really belt it out.
28. I have to wear mascara. Otherwise I look like a zombie. My eyelashes are blond and it makes my eyes look they are sinking into my head when I don't have mascara on.
29. I do not run. Period.
30. I love Willow Tree figurines. Not so much the angels. But I have lots of the figurines. Cameron says there are too many little faceless people all over our house looking at us.
31. I LOVE thunderstorms. I think tornado season is really exciting. And I love lightning.
32. I really like to watch the elephants at the zoo.
33. I don't mind mowing the lawn. I kind of like it. Don't tell Cameron.
34. I am a high-stress person. I tend to freak out when I can't control things. Like my kids.
35. I have post-partum depression. Bad. I feel like it is getting somewhat better, but it is still bad. Worse after Levi than the other two.
36. My degree is in history. High school social studies, to be exact.
37. I am certified to teach high school history, English, and junior high English.
38. I like salad.
39. I hate my feet. I think they are really ugly--my toes are too long, and the bones are misaligned. Seriously. My doctor says I need surgery.
40. I have hazel eyes. They are green with some brown around the pupils. I usually say they look like moss with mud on top.
41. My hair is really straight. It will not curl. I sometimes wish it would.
42. I have an awesome bed. It is a HUGE king-sized bed. It sits really high off the ground. The mattress is not terrible. And I love the bedding--it has fall colors, and it's made out of taffeta (no, we don't sleep under it--too hot!)
43. I tell people too many details about myself. It drives Cameron nuts. He says I should keep things more private. I just don't think most stuff matters.
44. I am not organized. At all. I wish I were. But I'm not.
45. I am a REALLY good wife. I don't nag. I try to do the little things that are special. I work hard.
46. I like Southern food a lot.
47. I love my kids. They are amazing. Even though they drive me nuts, they are amazing. And adorable. And so smart.
48. I love my husband. He is a dork. But he's handsome, and funny, and fantastic! I love Cameron.
49. I got married in the Logan, Utah, Temple on March 12, 2002.
50. I spell gud.
51. I am obsessed with checking my email--it is really a compulsion that I have. I wish I had some interesting email once in awhile.
52. I have 3 brothers, and 2 sisters.
53. Cameron has 3 sisters, and 2 brothers--I have lots of in-laws. And two mother in laws.
54. I like to vacuum.
55. I hate laundry. I would rather scrub a toilet than do laundry.
56. I am picky about my tomatoes. They have to be a little underripe. Bananas too.
57. I am 5'6".
58. I like spinach. And asparagus. And collard greens. And broccoli and peas.
59. I hate milk.
60. I wear contacts...except when I have on my glasses...but since Sam bent those, I only wear them at night.
61. I love roses.
62. I love lilacs even more.
63. I have seen Phantom of the Opera three times. And Les Miserables twice. I love Jekyll and Hyde. Titanic stunk. Ragtime was ok. I want to see Beauty and the Beast.
64. My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. Cameron and I went to Walmart at midnight the night it was released on DVD for the first time. No...there wasn't a line. And no, no one else was there. And yes, the people at the store thought we were REALLY weird. And yes, they had to get it out of a box for me. No, I didn't watch it that night. But I really did think lots of people would be rushing out to get it.
65. I really enjoy the Harry Potter books. They will be the classics from this generation.
66. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I should have mentioned that earlier, but since this has been a random sampling, hopefully it's ok that I put it here. It is not 66th in importance, that's for sure.
67. I don't mind speaking in public...if I know ahead of least a few minutes.
68. I like taking naps. Long ones. Like two or three hours.
69. I don't really like going to the movies. I think the chairs are not comfy, I can't get up and pee or get a snack. There are no pause buttons.
70. I wish I could warp...or time travel.
71. I can crochet. I have made some really cute baby afghans. I rarely have the time or the patience to finish a project bigger than that though.
72. I like to bake. Especially cookies and cakes. I make a KILLER carrot cake.
73. Cameron is a better cook than I am. I do it more often though.
74. I wear red, blue, and black a lot.
75. I wish I weighed less.
76. I hate my crooked teeth. But, even though Cam has told me I can get braces, I haven't done it. Lack of time? Or lazy? I don't know.
77. I like to drive fast. And I hate the time it takes to get places. See #70.
78. I have a really good memory--I don't lose things very often because I remember things. Cam does not have a great memory. I am good at tests because of it too.
79. I don't have a cell phone. When I was in my car accident last week, the other drivers (yes, drivers!) thought that was weird.
80. I don't have very many friends. I am a bit anti-social. I find people stressful. Plus, I have so much going on at home that it's hard to put in a ton of effort to making new friends. It bothers me sometimes, but usually I have plenty to do anyway.
81. I really miss my dad. A lot.
82. I really like my stepdad, Mason. A lot.
83. I took French in high school and college. I don't speak any French at all.
84. I usually wear a size 4 in jeans.
85. I refuse to put out the trash.
86. I wish I lived closer to a temple. I shouldn't use that as an excuse though.
87. I love steak and potatoes. And bean salad.
88. I always reply to emails sent to me.
89. I love hardwood floors. Having had both hardwood and carpet, I hate carpet and love hardwood.
90. I pick out the constellation Orion every time I see the stars outside.
91. I didn't breastfeed any of my kids. I tried. I failed. They survived on formula. They even got fat.
92. I can type 70 words per minute.
93. I like to take pictures. But I don't have time to practice, and I have been too lazy to read the manual for my my pictures aren't fabulous.
94. I love Taco Bell.
95. I really like Big Macs.
96. I make awesome hot wings.
97. I don't really love my handwriting. But I do think it looks nice when I put it in my scrapbooks.
98. I am really competitive. Really.
99. I hate showers. And baths. I see these things as daily necessary evils. But I hate getting wet.
100. I was able to come up with 100 things without too much trouble. I thought it would be hard. Most of it is probably irrelevant to anything. But still...I did it.

Fantastic finds, cute kids, and interesting weather...

Check out the adorable Autumn Leaves stamps I got for $1 at Joanns. How awesome is that?? Cameron didn't think they were totally worth it, but I do--they are SUPER cute, and I love that they are acrylic stamps. They are even sort of good-sized. The circles are just a little smaller than a nickel, so that gives something to compare to, right?

Ok, so this is a HORRIBLE pictures of me, but Levi looks pretty cute. Forgive the fact that I look like I haven't slept well in 8 months--I haven't slept well in 8 months! Plus it is evening, I had a crummy day at work, and my mascara has about worn off. If that doesn't explain the crappy picture, maybe the simple explanation of "I am completely UN-photogenic (unlike my sister) and I always look like poo in pictures" will be sufficient.

As soon as Sam walks in the door from pretty much anywhere, he starts stripping down. It would be comical if it wasn't so aggravating. He just likes to be naked, apparently. I think he might (maybe) still have his clothes on right now, but we did just get home, and he hasn't been told to get ready for bed yet. He does, however, need to get REdressed EVERY night when I come home from work if we are going to go somewhere. Ben is usually hanging out in his underwear watching a movie when I get home. I guess they get that from their dad--Cameron used to strip down to his underwear almost immediately after walking in the door. I have mostly broken him of that, but he still insists on it any time he is going to take a nap, or really get relaxed.

It is supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow. That's crazy, since we had an ice storm less than a week ago. But, I'll take it. I am HOPING I can convince Cameron that he wants to clean up the garage. I am not holding my breath, but that is my plan. If nothing else, it will be a pretty day before we get the big thunderstorms and cold that are heading our way again on Sunday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monumentally NOTHING...

I realize that no one else cares, but I am about sick of Samuel and his refusal to go to bed. Every single night I sit here and I think horrible thoughts about the child because it is pretty much impossible to like him after I have put him into bed about a thousand times, and when it is almost 11 p.m. and the little snot is still getting up. Seriously, I don't want to see him after about 8:30. Period. He is adorable and sweet and funny...but I get tired of his company and want some time without him. Even now, Cameron and I were IN OUR BEDROOM WITH THE DOOR CLOSED (just so the boys would think we were in bed) and suddenly, I hear Levi screaming, because butthead has woken him that mommy would come out. He doesn't actually want me, he just doesn't want to go to bed. Ben is getting just as bad, but with Ben, it's more a he wants to snuggle thing, then it is that he refuses to go to bed. Besides, if Samuel is up, Ben thinks he should be too. It has worn out my last nerve. Now I am trying not to do anything crazy!

Beyond that, it was a relatively uneventful day. Went to work, came home, ate dinner, played some Guitar Hero III (for the first time all week!), and now I'm typing on my blog. Nothing exciting at all. I did take some cute pictures of the boys though...wanna see??

Look everyone!! I am getting some more teeth. Don't they look cool?? I now have two sharp little bottom teeth and a sharp, crooked, little top tooth.

Ben likes to be a dork any time the camera is within view. He usually runs away and REFUSES to smile or even look at the camera. Tonight he decided to just hide under Maddy's Bumbo seat. I caught him though.

Aren't I the cutest, most handsome thing ever? My mommy sure thinks so! I have a smile that would melt the polar ice caps.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

There should be a law!

Today I got two more new students. Of course, instead of putting them into my smaller (only 25ish) class, they got put into my already HUGE class. So, I now have 34 8th graders in my 3rd hour. There should be a law against that! Seriously, none of them are able to get the attention they need or deserve. I feel like all I do is spend all hour trying to keep them under control. I will readily admit that I am not an experienced enough teacher to know what to do with that big of a class. I am completely overwhelmed and not a little frustrated! Not only do I not have a clue what to do, as it is, especially since I have NO training whatsoever (other than what I have figured out by trial and error this year) in middle school education, and I have NO training whatsoever in teaching English/Language Arts (other than what I have figured out by trial and error this year :)--and that I love to read). I just need the school year to be over. I am ready.

In other news, Maddy had her EEG today. The test results had to be sent to a neonatal/pediatric radiologist in Springfield, so we won't know what the tests showed for a day or two at least. Right now we are just praying that everything is all right.

Cameron has been a super cranky butt the past couple days. I haven't exactly figured out why. But, I have decided that it is just too stressful for me when I try to figure it out. I don't particularly want to coddle him, because frankly, that tends to encourage the moodiness and selfish behavior...but I do want him to know I love him and appreciate him for all the great things he does. I want him to know that it's ok if he has a bad day once in awhile, and even that it's ok for him to be cranky occasionally. I just wish he would accept that I REALLY do feel that way. I don't sit and hold it over him nearly as much as he thinks I do. I wish he would get that I love him and always will and that I want him to be happy more than anything. Anyway, any suggestions for getting the info. through thick skulls? I love Cameron so much. I wish he could feel a bit happier with himself. (I know--pot, meet kettle, but still!)

Well, I just made another semi-nasty test (this one isn't NEARLY as bad as the other one though!) for my students. It is about the Diary of Anne Frank--the play version. I think they will do pretty well on this one. It is going to be a nightmare to grade though! I don't know why I feel like my tests have to be long and difficult. I think it is because I feel like writing tests is one of the few things teaching-wise that I am REALLY good at. My tests are not always fantastic, but it's more because I get lazy than because I don't know how to do it. Secretly, I kind of like writing tests. I like applying all the little rules to my questions, so I can ask a higher-order question with a simple true/false question. I love coming up with the constructed response prompts. I love making the matching sections--even though I know the kids hate it because I always have more answers than I do questions and they think that's horribly unfair and evil. Tough! Anyway, I am a freak of nature and I like making tests. So, this has been a pretty good week as far as that goes.

The boys are all in bed. My test is completed. I think it is bedtime!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I should not embarrass my poor Nick further, but I am going to, because the story was just so darn funny. Today my students were taking a test...a rather difficult one, in fact. So, the room was pretty much as quiet as it ever is or will be. Then, I hear a voice--"Momma? I mean Mrs. Reed? I have a question." The poor kid was mortified, because of course, EVERYONE in the whole class heard him. And I couldn't help but laugh (although I made sure he was laughing first--he is a pretty good-natured kid, so I think it was ok). It took a few minutes to calm the students back down because of course, they had to share their embarrassing call the teacher mom stories, and they had to make fun of poor Nick. For the rest of the class period, anytime a kid had a question, they said, "Mom? I have a question." Poor Nick. In grade school this isn't nearly as big of a deal, but by the time a kid is in 8th grade, well...let's just say everything is a potential embarrassment...especially something like this. I think if it had happened in a different class with a different teacher, it would have been far worse. However, I have a really good rapport with most of the students, and although classroom discipline is NOT my strong point, relating to, and making the students feel like they are in a safe, comfortable environment, is. Anyway, suffice it to say, we all got a good laugh, even if it was at poor Nick's expense. At least he was laughing too.

I had a really bad day at work today--I got pretty frustrated with something that happened with my principal--in fact, I am still pretty upset about it. So, having some fun this afternoon was a good thing. I am just seriously tired of the way these obnoxious kids refuse to do anything. ANYTHING! Obviously I am generalizing, and I will admit, it is really only about 7 of them that really drive me crazy, and even out of those seven, I can pick about 3 that are REALLY awful. But is getting seriously old. Especially after the response I got from the principal today. Grr. I won't get into it too much, because it will just make me really mad again, but he basically said these kids wouldn't be acting up if I were spending more time teaching and less time just sitting. I know he didn't mean to be offensive, but seriously...he has only been in my classroom a couple times, so really...he doesn't know whether or not I sit. Did it not even enter his mind that the reason these kids are failing and getting written up is because of THEM, not the teachers?? Hmm...something to consider, I think.

Moving on...I do NOT know what to do about Samuel and the bedtime thing. NOTHING IS WORKING!!! Shutting him in his room isn't working. Spanking him isn't working. Putting him in a different room isn't working. All it has done is make it so that BOTH Ben and Sam are up--because Ben goes in HIS room and wakes up Levi, so they have both been sleeping in Sam's bed. I just want to give up. Sam is currently sitting on the kitchen counter drinking orange juice straight from the pitcher, messing with my glasses. IT MAKES ME CRAZY!!!! I just want to throw the kid outside in the cold...then maybe when he comes in he will sleep. Obviously that won't really work, but I am at my wit's end. He will NOT go to bed. Grr!! Any suggestions?? Please grace me with your knowledge!

Last, but certainly not least, Madison is having an EEG tomorrow. We are kind of concerned about it because she has been having these episodes where she will just start shaking uncontrollably...kind of like she is shivering a LOT. The episodes usually last anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 or 5 minutes. It's kind of scary. Anyway, Maddy is getting checked out tomorrow, so we'll all be praying that everything is ok. I know Krista is pretty worried, but we are all just hoping things work out fine. (Is she not the CUTEST thing ever??)

Monday, February 25, 2008

This has gotta be quick...

I think it's a good thing I can type like 70 words per minute because otherwise, these posts could take forever.

I just finished making up a mythology test for my language arts classes. I am afraid it is too hard. But, hopefully they will do ok, since we talked about all of it, AND we reviewed today. I have to go to work in less than 8 hours--ick! But we are watching a movie in the morning (The Diary of Anne Frank--which I had to search all over Joplin for, and which I had to buy because NO ONE rents this movie! Fortunately it was only $11, but still!), and they are testing in the afternoon. I told 2nd and 3rd hours that they would be having their Anne Frank test tomorrow too, but I am going to give them a reprieve (it was because they were AWFUL today!) because it takes a long time to make up a test!

In happy news--we have two working toilets again! That is huge news for me! That means that Cameron and I are once again the only users of our bathroom. And I think the toilet in the hall is cleaner than it has been in YEARS! Woo-hoo. Benjamin was very excited that we "fixed his potty."

There really is NOTHING going on today--which is probably good. We are still trying to figure out the insurance for getting Krista's car fixed. Cameron is playing xbox. I am reading lots of new books--the current pick is an indulgence--Mary Higgins Clark. A couple of my students (total dorks! :)) added Cameron to their xbox live list of friends. I think it is so funny that they even want to add him. Cameron was talking to one of them on his headset a few minutes ago telling him to go to bed or study for his test, not play Halo 3! So, right now, life is calm and least for the next few hours! I won't continue to bore you, besides, I want to go to bed...but I think I need a milkshake and a bit of book time. Night!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Today was stake conference. Stake conference is always a stressful experience. We try to endure the whole meeting, but inevitably, we usually end up leaving early. Today it was made even worse by the fact that I am a retard and I forgot the diaper bag. Spending two hours in an auditorium where we can barely hear anyway without a diaper bag (aka: snacks, coloring books, toys, BOTTLE, etc.) is NOT a fun thing. We made it about one speaker past the intermediate hymn, and then we gave up. The big boys were getting super restless ("I needa go potty!" every five minutes), and Levi was REALLY tired and cranky since he missed his morning nap AND didn't have a bottle. What we did hear was really good though. I really like listening to President Jones speak. He is a pretty dry speaker, but he always focuses on the basics and makes it so we can understand. Today he talked about how we want to go home when we are away from home, and then he talked about how the Bible dictionary says that the temple is LITERALLY a house of God. Then he talked about all the blessings that can come from visiting the temple. About how when the Church first began, families were asked to sacrifice their time, and their money, and their china, etc. But that we are asked to sacrifice today too. We have to sacrifice our time (a whole day), our gas (a couple tanks' worth), and our tolls ($30). But that the peace and tranquility and knowledge that we gain is worth it. He said that we come into our homes when we are cold or hungry or dirty or need comfort, and that we should do the same thing with the temple--when we are feeling sorrow, or stress, or the world has "muddied our souls", that we should go to the temple to be comforted and cleansed.

The mission president and his wife spoke as well. At first I had a hard time focusing on the mission president's wife (Sister Seal?) because she kept referring to how different things are here because missionary work is a daily part of our lives, whereas in Utah it isn't. That is SERIOUSLY one of my biggest pet peeves! When people act like the only people who need the gospel taught to them are outside of Utah. GRR!!! But, once I quit being annoyed about that, I was really touched by her talk. She made the comment, at the very end, that she knows without a doubt, that she is a daughter of God, and that all of us are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father as well, and that he WANTS us to pray to him, and to ask him to help us gain knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel. That hit me hard, because I am really (and have always) struggled with prayer. I pray, but I don't pray on my knees, expressing gratitude and asking for help and enlightenment very often. I need to. And it is one of the things I am really trying to work harder on, so it was good for me to hear that.

I am glad that President Jones spoke at the beginning because I needed to hear his words. Had he spoken at the end, I would have missed it. Otherwise, today was an ok day. The boys were pretty much awful all day, but we did all get naps this afternoon, so that was nice. And I have my powerpoint review ready for class tomorrow, as well as plans for reading. So, things should be good to go.

In other news, well...we only have one functional toilet right now. That stinks...kind of literally. The main bathroom (yeah, so now everyone gets to go pee in my bathroom...even in the middle of the night!) is now out of least the toilet is. Cameron pulled it off last night, since the seal was bad (I think I mentioned this), but the bolts were so old (like 15 years) that they were kind of (ok, a lot!) corroded and rusted through (EWWWwww!!!) and of course, we didn't have any bolts on hand (who would, really?). So, it is now no longer attached to the floor, pending new bolts. I guess we could use the potty in the shop, but that is probably grosser than just peeing in the floor. (Who liked that image??)

I am really hoping this week goes well. I am thinking it will be a pretty easy week, as I wrap up two units. Next week will be a pain because I will be starting one last unit in each subject before really pushing MAP type stuff. I will work on MAP type questions now, and sort of have been, but my students need to start doing constructed response questions that I actually grade and get back to them with criticism. We'll see...wish me luck!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Today was really a pretty good day. I like when those happen. It's not that they are terribly rare, but still...I love a really good day. (Who doesn't, really?)

So, I got to sleep all night--except for Ben climbing in my bed, I was relatively uninterrupted. Levi slept all night. It is amazing how much better he sleeps when he is in a crib. That started my day off much better--sleep with do that for you.

Then I got to go to my book club meeting. I loved it! I love that us girls can sit there for hours and visit and talk about something we love (books!) and eat and just relax. I don't know how much it means for everyone else, but for me, it is seriously a highlight of my month. I love that we DO actually discuss the book, and we have a real discussion about the merits of the book, and review it, and discuss specific elements of the story, instead of just sitting around gossiping while calling it "book club." Does that make me a total nerd? Probably. Oh well. Whether it does or not, I love that I have a group of friends who love reading probably as much as I do with whom I can have an intellectual discussion about books. I love that I feel like my opinion is respected and that no one is thinking what I say is dumb.

The book we read this past month was Atonement, by Ian McEwan. I didn't love the book. I did, however, really appreciate the book. Does that make sense? I appreciate that it really did make me think. I had to work to read it...which I liked at some points, because I had to think, but I hated at other times, because it made it hard to escape into the book, which is a lot of why I love reading. I think the descriptions in the book were wonderful...but there was WAY too much of it! The author got really wordy, and while I realize that a lot of that is due to the character that was "writing" the story, it still kind of drove me nuts. I think what I need to do is read another book by the author to decide if it is HIS writing style that I didn't like, or if it was simply the writing style of the character. Sometimes it was hard to sift through the info. to get to the meat of the story though. Basically, I think the book was definitely worth reading. I will even probably reread it at some point (after I work through some of the HUGE pile I have been accumulating next to my bed) and I am sure I will appreciate it even more. I even liked the storyline--I just hated the wordiness. Overall, I gave it a 3/5. Next month's book is The Time-Traveler's Wife. I am looking forward to reading it, but I don't have it yet, so it will be a little bit before I read it. I am probably going to order it online.

As far as the soap opera of my life goes, well...Ben is trying to master the concept of wiping himself after he poops. It is NOT my favorite thing. I thought it would be a wonderful day when he was potty trained...but then I realized that at least in diapers, the poop is contained. For the second day in a row, he has flooded the bathroom by putting seriously half a roll of Charmin Ultra double roll 2-ply toilet paper in the toilet. Apparently he is trying to wipe himself, which is great, but I haven't been able to get him to understand the SMALL amount concept. On top of that, the toilet has basically come unsealed from the floor, so there is a bit of leaking going on--I bought a new wax ring and some caulk to fix it, and that is going to have to be the project of the evening. Ick. Did I mention that rubber gloves are involved in this too?

In good news, Cameron brought home Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox. I am a total dork, but I like that game. However, it is stupid with the way it restarts when you die. We have gotten fed up and are going to have a Guitar Hero III head to head! I will kick his butt, to be sure, but I still will let Cameron THINK he has a chance. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

As the world turns...

I frequently feel like my life is either some great comedy where everyone is laughing at all the misfortune that happens to the unsuspecting characters (me!!) or that it is a soap opera. Seriously, there is always some kind of drama going on. What is up with that?? Anyway, today was no exception.

I left this morning, just like every day when I go to work. It was cold, I was running late, yada yada yada. I took my normal route. The roads were all perfectly fine. In fact, I had no problems at all. But...then I turned onto the side road I take to drop Rita off, and it all fell apart. Ok, I guess it probably wasn't that dramatic, but I can pretend, right? I commented, as I was turning, that I should probably have taken a different route, but I would have to get to a spot to turn around, since the road was pretty icy and I didn't want to block it. Too bad someone else was blocking it, huh? I came over a hill, going CONSIDERABLY slower than I usually do, and there was a utility truck (just a pickup) pulled off the side of the road to check something. There was a car coming up behind him...moving pretty fast. I tried to brake, since I could see the car in back was going to hit the utility truck, but of course, I just slid. The car hit the back of the truck and fishtailed into the middle of my which point I could either swerve off the road or hit him straight on his drivers' side door. Since I prefer not to collide with people (or anything for that matter), I chose to swerve. The whole thing was really surreal--I actually made a conscious decision NOT to hit him and to swerve, but he still caught the back driver's side of my (Krista's) car and we skidded (probably 15 feet) through grass and mud (and sharp incline) until the car was mostly on just two wheels--the passenger side ones. Then we kind of came to a stop with half the car pretty much suspended over a creek, sideways in a ditch. Rita and I both just kind of held our breath while the car decided if it was going to flip onto its side or fall back onto all four wheels. Fortunately for us, it fell back down, and did not slip onto its side in the FREEZING cold creek we were mostly in. We were able, although it was difficult since the car was still at about a 45 degree angle to the road, to climb out the driver's side door and get out. Then began the LONG wait for the police (seriously, this happened at 7:40ish this morning, and the police didn't arrive until like 9.). It was really cold, and I was wearing heels and my NOT super warm coat. We got one of the other guys involved to let us sit in his car, which of course, was not in a creek. I also borrowed a phone and called Cameron and had someone call work for me.

It was an enormous pain in the rear dealing with all this. The worst thing is that I was driving Krista's car. Her baby is now damaged. (Not her real baby--her car!) It has quite a bit of damage. There was literally a piece of the car that hit us embedded in the back tire. It is quite nice. Then, there was all the damage from landing in a creek. Then there was the damage from getting it pulled out of the creek. They actually had to have TWO tow trucks pull it chained to the front and one chained to the back. Then, they pretty much just pulled it sideways to prevent it from tipping over onto its side. It was only resting on two wheels--the other two were kind of just suspended in mid-air. One over water, and the other just in the air. Argh! I ended up missing the whole day of work--by the time we got home it was almost noon, and they had already decided to just call a sub to come in. Cameron took a half day off, because he was rescuing me.

In other words, it was a long day. I am really grateful that things didn't go worse than they did--no one was hurt, and the other cars didn't have a ton of damage. And we were able to stay warm and dry and get home.

Tomorrow is my book club meeting. I actually read the book and I do not love it. We'll see what everyone else thinks. I don't know if it is that I have just been so stressed that I want my books lately to be more fluff than deep thinking, or if I truly just didn't get much from the writer's style, but I didn't love the book. Anyway...I guess that is part of why there are so many books to choose from--we all can find something we love.

I think I need a milkshake. And a book. And a bed. Any chances of that happening?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Ice, ice baby..."

Yes, once again we are being blessed with ice. Blessed is the nice way of saying that once again we are frozen in and everything in slippery, cold, and it's nasty outside. Pretty much we are tired of it! Today was our SEVENTH, yes SEVENTH snow day this year--actually, I should say ice day. All our "snow"days so far have been ice days, except one, and it was because of massive flooding. Anyway, the 6:00 a.m. phone calls are getting old, especially since my kids are obnoxious and get up when the phone rings, so even though I have the day off, I actually have to get up EARLIER than I would otherwise. Ugh!

On top of all this...Cameron finally wore me down. He finally talked me into letting him get his XBox 360 that he has been wanting so badly. I hate buying video games. I hate it. They are SO expensive. And although I admit that, yes, I will GREATLY enjoy playing some of the games, I would be just as happy NOT playing them. But, he has been wanting one for quite awhile, and dang it if whenever he mentions wanting something a lot, I don't try with all my power to get it for him, even if it costs a fortune and isn't something I really care about. Sometimes this is bad because I really obsess about stuff. I love surprising Cameron though, and I love to see his happy look when he gets the thing he has been wanting. It brings me way more joy that buying stuff for myself. So, we'll see how things go, but as of now, we are the proud new owners of an xbox 360. I have every intention of developing some mad Guitar Hero III skills so that I can be the resident champion at all family gatherings...unfortunately, I do have Robert to contend with.

In other news, well...Sam is not in bed. It has not been a great week as far as that goes. It's 11:00 p.m. and he is still up. Grr!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Winds-day!

WINDS-day it is! It has been pretty cold all day, and we are supposed to get snow and ice starting sometime early tomorrow morning, and lasting most of the day and night. Ick. Up to 1/3 inch of ice. I am getting a little sick of ice storms.

Today was quite the day at work. When I got to work, late of course, I checked my email and was greeted with the news that Laura Maple had died. Although I don't know Laura, I do know her children and adore them. This is going to be (I am sure it already is, but I haven't seen them) devastating to them. I am really concerned about Chris. He was very close to his mom and I honestly think that deep down, he really didn't think that she was going to die. I think he really thought she would make it and be fine. And now, she is gone. And he doesn't know what the future will hold. Are he and Brittany going to be able to stay in Granby? Or are they going to have to move to Texas? What about their little sister? Where will she live? I think that, although this will bring some sort of ending to the situation that has been dragging on since before Thanksgiving, it is still a huge blow that is going to have long and far reaching effects. I worry so much about the kids. Tomorrow is the visitation, and I think I will be going after work...I am hoping Cameron will be able to come with me.

School was weird today--it was the strangest example of mass hysteria that I have ever seen. Even when Rowan Ford was murdered and the students heard about that (and yes, I realize it was not a student from our school, but she was from our district), they didn't freak out like they were today. There were random bunches of mostly 7th grade girls just standing around and bawling their eyes out. I understand that they were upset, and that really, in such a small community, they all probably knew Laura Maple, but was crazy. Even kids who weren't close to Chris and Brittany were losing it--I had one 8th grader go home. And I don't know that I have ever really noticed her seriously hanging out with Chris. It was just odd. The kids that I thought might be most likely to be upset were actually being quite stoic and mature. Of course, the Maple kids were gone, and Katelyn was gone, since she is so close to Chris AND his mom (like best friend for years close).

On top of all that, my mentor observed me 3rd hour, and I had forgotten she was coming. Good thing I had plans today, right? And then, during 4th hour I had a mom show up wanting to know why her son is failing (she was very nice, but there isn't any way to say, "Your son is failing because he doesn't turn his work in and what he does turn in is incomplete or not good work..." without saying just that.). I had to rush through my lunch because she took some of my lunchtime, and then I had an IEP meeting during my plan time, so I cut lunch short (still hadn't even been able to pee yet today!) and rushed to that. That ended right before 6th hour. I went to 6th hour and started it, and Mr. Charlton came in and asked if I could attend another IEP meeting if someone watched my class. That "someone" turned out to be Mr. Charlton, so again, it was a good thing I had lesson plans. Then I went to the IEP meeting, which actually morphed into TWO IEP meetings, because after the one finished, they were having another one, and I am the regular classroom teacher for both kids so they just had me stay. By the time that was over, school was over, and I had to rush to the high school. Ick! A BORING CTA meeting--it was awful. I finally snuck out a few minutes before 5 because I still had a 50 minute drive home (the high school is farther away than my school is) and I had to get Levi. So, I finally got home at like 6. Now I have to drive Richard to almost Kansas City (like 2 hours or something) and we are supposed to get ice soon. So, I am hoping we can get ON THE ROAD!!!

I'll try to post pictures soon for anyone who actually reads this--I suspect any readers I might have had are waning. That reminds me...if anyone actually gets pictures of the them to me! I want to see!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My make-up day...

Today we had to go to school. It was supposed to be a day off. Since we have had like a million snow days, however, we had to go to school. On the bright side, it's only February and we have made up half our snow days already. On the downside, I had to go to school today. The students were...well...there's only one word for it--MORONS! They were being complete idiots today. I even had pretty good lessons this afternoon--at least I thought so. I was teaching them about resumes, and we were going to create a resume for Odysseus, since we have been talking about mythology. Apparently that required a bit too much effort. Plus, I was supposed to be observed by my principal today, but for the THIRD time, he didn't come because something came up. It's really frustrating. We are going to try again tomorrow.

I finished a couple books last week. One was The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian. The other was The Pact, by Jodi Picoult. I actually really liked both of them, but in all honesty, the Bohjalian one is by far my least favorite by him. I really enjoyed Jodi Picoult though--it was the first book I had read by her, and I read all 500 pages of it in about a day and a half. Considering my job, kids, weekend away,'d think that would be impossible, but I was reading at lunch at school, while I rocked the baby, in the car back and forth (Cam was driving), etc. I just thought the book was intense. I started another one by her that I am struggling a little bit more with, but it is really good too. I think my problem with this one is just that the other was SO intense that I went into this new one expecting the same thing, and although it is full of excitement, it is not as fast paced as the other one, so I am just feeling a little drag.

We took the boys to Braums for ice cream tonight for FHE. They earned it. Ben got his for pooping in the potty 10 times...which seemed to be what it took to get him potty trained. And Sam got his for staying in bed 10 times (nights). Needless to say, I'm sure, it took Sam longer than it took Ben. However, we didn't purposely make Ben wait--this was just the first time it was really convenient to take him. It was much nicer to take all of them. Levi was a monster though--he thinks he is seventeen and can eat anything. It makes me crazy! Tonight he was FREAKING out because he wanted ice cream so badly. He got quite vocal and even a little hostile because we weren't sharing fast enough. Frankly, I didn't want to share at all. So we had a fun time destroying Braums--there was ice cream everywhere when the boys were done. And...when we left it was snowing. :)

I am really wanting to work on a couple things in my life. They are pretty basic things, but things I really struggle with. I want to get into a much better habit of reading my scriptures and consistently expressing my gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I pray constantly throughout the day, but it is mostly the "get me through this horrible class" or "what should I do" kind of prayer. I need to be better about expressing gratitude and trying to listen for answers to my prayers. Also, I really need to make it a priority to set aside time for my scriptures. My current plan is to make Cameron get up just a few minutes earlier in the morning and read with me. Then I can read at night.

Anyway, tonight I am grateful for my kids. They are such good little boys. Honestly, they make me completely nuts. I go crazy sometimes after only a few minutes with them. But, they are also so fun, and sweet, and hilarious! Yesterday after church I asked Benjamin how his primary class was. He looked at me and said, "I cried." I knew he cried, since he had been freaking out when I dropped him off. But, still, I asked him why he cried. His response? "Ben cried because I missed you so much in my class." Pretty much I fell for it--it was super cute and sweet. Of course, I also wanted to say, umm...yeah, sure...whatever Ben. :) And then there is Samuel. He is so funny. He stubbed his toe the other day. Awww...I know. But, instead of being worried about it, he just sat down on the ground, and kissed his own toe. Then he looked up and went back to life, since, "Owie all better." Levi is in a super-attached-to-mom mode. Sometimes it really bothers me, since I don't always want him attached to me. But, he has the most engaging, charming grin--he sticks his bottom jaw out, almost like he is showing off his two little bottom teeth, and then his whole face gets involved. His eyes light up. He cheeks get fatter as his lips burst into a huge smile. He is about the cutest, sweetest thing I have ever seen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm OUTTA here!

So what do you all think of my picture collage? The other day, when I was home from work with a really sick baby, and all I could do was hold him constantly, I made it. I think it turned out pretty well. Nothing fancy or anything, but still nice.

In other less than two hours, I am off for the weekend!!! This may not be huge news to some of you, but to me, it is a HUGE deal. Cam and I haven't gotten away for a weekend (or a night even) without kids since having kids. I really need it, and I am SUPER excited! We aren't even doing anything that great--dinner and a movie tonight, and staying at a hotel here in town (not home with kiddos), then tomorrow, I think we are going to Bentonville. We are going to maybe go ice skating and to the cool new mall (Cam doesn't know that part yet.) and then dinner at the nice Japanese restaurant, Shogun. We'll stay down in Bentonville tomorrow night and come back on Sunday. I have been in a great mood all day just knowing that I have a nice break ahead. Ahh....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Still Valentine's Day

My husband and I are pretty much the lamest people on earth--here it is Valentine's Day and we did NOTHING for one another. Well, not entirely nothing--I went shopping and Cameron very nicely stayed home with the boys. My shopping trip was a success too--I found two pair of jeans that actually fit me and look good. So that's awesome. Hopefully they don't shrink or anything. But...less than 24 hours until we are on our own for a couple days!

I thought I would post a little bit about my fantastic husband.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We met about 2 weeks before he proposed (seriously!), so I guess we have known each other 6.5 years, and we have been married almost 6--next month.
WHO EATS MORE: Him, without a doubt in my mind
WHO SAID "I LOVE YOU" first: He did. In my grandma's basement. About 30 seconds before he asked me to marry him. He told me later that he figured he might as well go the whole way if he was committing to "I love you."
WHO IS TALLER: he is...but just by like 2 inches
WHO SINGS BETTER: I do, but he sings better than he will admit.
WHO IS SMARTER: Is it horrible if I say that I am? Really though, school-wise, I am really just disgustingly good at that kind of thing. However, I can't put something together to save my life--there are several pieces of crappy put it together furniture that have some small detail wrong with them because I put them together (sort of). Also, I get lost inside a box. So, he is WAY better at those sorts of things. And he is better with computers. I can hold my own, but it is only to do things that are necessary. Oh and he can sew...better than I can. Did I mention that I get lost inside a box? Yeah, same rule applies to any and all 3-D video games. I suck; he rocks.
WHO DOES THE LAUNDRY: I guess we both do, but I probably do more of it. We have serious laundry issues at our house. It is hard to keep up with all our laundry while we are both working. In fact, we pretty much have two mountains in our house--clean and dirty. There are usually clothes in the drawers too, but it's never all caught up.
WHO DOES THE DISHES: Both of us. Actually, he is the one who unloads the dishwasher; I load it, and we take turns with the pots and pans. Krista helps a lot with the dishes too.
WHO PAYS THE BILLS: I do. I don't know that Cameron even knows when the electricity bill is due. He is really good about communicating--we do great with that, but I am the one who physically pays the bills.
WHO MOWS THE LAWN: Both of us. He hates mowing the lawn...but we finally got our riding mower working. We have a yard that is almost an acre, and it takes FOREVER to mow it. Usually we split it up. If there is push mowing to be done, due to the riding lawnmower being broken ( always is!), I usually get tired of the long grass first.
WHO COOKS DINNER: We split it fairly evenly. Cameron is an awesome cook. He is far more creative with his cooking than I am. I cook because it needs done. He does it because he really enjoys creating delicious food for us. I get home from work before him though--he doesn't get home until 6, so we can't always wait that late to start dinner.
WHO IS MORE STUBBORN? I don't know. He insists that it is me. I am pretty sure he's probably right. But, I hate admitting that.
WHO KISSED WHO FIRST: Umm...I am going to go with him. We were at a big group campfire/campout thing with my cousin and a bunch of their friends.
WHO PROPOSED: He did. See previous statement. He also proposed again in my hometown after he met my family. He went to the highest point in town (yeah, ti's NOT high), the Praying Hands, and gave me a real proposal.
WHO IS MORE SENSITIVE: He is. He gets upset easily, and is very apt to get frustrated and defensive. I try to be sensitive when it comes to other people.
WHO HAS MORE FRIENDS: I do. But really, neither of us has very many friends.
WHO HAS MORE SIBLINGS: Me. There are 6 kids in my family and there are 6 kids in his family too. We even both have 3 boys and 3 girls. But, he has 2 stepsiblings and I got 4 last year, so that means I take this one.
WHO WEARS THE PANTS IN THE FAMILY: He does. I like to ascribe to the theory in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." The man may be the head, but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head whatever way she wants. Seriously though, we don't have too many issues about control. I am not terribly naggy, and he usually doesn't need to be nagged. We communicate pretty well about most things.

Ok, so there's a little info. about Cameron, and I guess me, in a roundabout way. I hope everyone has had a nice Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lucky for me, it was an early out day. However, I still had to go to teachers' meetings all afternoon. How lame is that? And they took away our days off tomorrow AND Monday...and March 25, AND we have like 3 days tacked on at the end. It bites. I am so ready for this school year to be over. But, I have decided I am going to have a more positive attitude about the whole thing. This semester, up until now, has completely been crappy, but I have decided I have to figure out a way to make it better--otherwise, I will pretty much go nuts. I only have to survive three more months (during some of which I will probably be a single mom, but whatever...), and then I will be done with this year.

My house literally looks like a tornado went through it--actually two did--Ben and Sam. It is a disaster zone, and I have to get it cleaned up TONIGHT! Because...we (Cameron and I and NO kids!!!) are going out of town (or maybe just out of house--we haven't decided) this weekend. I am SO excited. I need a break! We are losers and don't know what we are doing yet, but that's ok. For all I care, we can go down the road and sleep in the van! Yippee!!

We went to that benefit on Sunday and it was great. We bid on a couple items at the silent auction--a foodsaver and a night out ($25 at Red Lobster and $15 in movie passes--so like one movie). We won both items, so that was good. The benefit overall was VERY impressive. Krista and I had donated a couple baskets for the auction--a scrapbook basket and a Mary Kay basket. Both had pretty good bids when we left, with almost two hours left in the auction. In the end, the little community raised over $10,000!!! All of it will help with living expenses for the kids. I am just thrilled about this. It makes me so happy that people were so generous.

Ok, well, this has to be fast, because, like I said, the house looks like a bomb hit it, and I need to clean it up. Besides, nothing really all that exciting has happened. Levi's been sick. Cam and I have gone to work. Blah! :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Grr--I haven't figured out how to make the stupid pictures organize themselves in the order that I would like. It's irritating. Anyway, these are the things I got accomplished today. I finished Maddy's wall hangings--they have been sitting, unfinished, for a long time. I finally sewed the border and painted the frames, and got them all finished. Aren't they totally cute? After I finished, I almost wanted to keep them cause they are so stinking adorable!

The other project is the shower curtain I have been working on for months. I know it is sideways--I was too lazy to rotate the picture before uploading it--pathetic, huh? Anyway, the countertops in the bathroom are blue, so I wanted to tie in the blue without having to decorate with blue. Actually really like the bright colors--I was worried when I first hung it up, but I think I really like it. I put grommets in the top for the hooks. I haven't totally decided how I am going to hang it, if I am going to keep the hooks or use the cute orange ribbon I bough. Either way, it is FINALLY done!! I am so happy about it!
Today was pretty much a blah day. It was icy...again. So, once again, there was no school. I was bound and determined to get something done since I was home all day. The house still looks like a bomb hit it though--Cameron was working from home, and Levi was sick all day, so I didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked. I got the boys' rooms cleaned up and a couple loads of laundry done and I did make some homemade cream of broccoli soup (we even had bread bowls, although I cheated and didn't make those because I was doing some other stuff).

I wanted to post a couple pictures from yesterday--these are from the boys' little birthday celebration we did after dinner last night. We had cake (it was sickeningly sweet, and I LOVE cake!) and ice cream. The boys had gotten their presents earlier in the day. We gave Sam his gift yesterday because our original intention had been to let him pick out a gift, but then he got sick (you might recall...). Both boys loved their gifts, so that is great.

Cameron and the babies--isn't Maddy getting so fat and cute? She has the cutest little pixie ears and the most precious smile--she is the smiliest baby I have ever seen. She has been smiling since she was like 2 weeks old (real smiles!) and laughing out loud since about 2 months. My kids still barely laugh out loud--at least Levi.
Here are some of the ice shots from today. They are not as impressive as the ice storm from before Christmas, but is a pretty good one. We had one heck of a thunderstorm to go with it--lightning, thunder, hail, and a lot of rain and sleet (and freezing rain--did you know there is a difference between sleet and freezing rain?).
We'll see what tomorrow brings. It was supposed to continue raining until about midnight, and the low is about 20 tonight, with windchills below 10, so it'll probably freeze again. I apologize for the disorganized nature of this post. I had lots of pics to post and was being too lazy to make them do exactly what I wanted--frankly, I find blogger to be a huge pain in the rear, and am considering using a different host.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ben!!!

Happy Birthday, Ben! I have to do this opposite of Sam's because my computer is being retarded (I am blaming the computer, despite the fact that it is really probably me!). So, we'll look at Ben currently, then in the past. :)

NOW: Ben is FOUR today. I can't believe that we have a four year old. That is so crazy to me. Benjamin has so much personality. I can't really describe him. He has so many weirdnesses! He becomes fixated on things--his current obsessions are trains, and juice, and movies. He thinks that it is completely his job to turn on whatever movie he is currently focusing on--lately it has been Ice Age 2, Winnie the Pooh, WordWorld, Peter Pan, etc. Ben also has a weird obsession with kitchen utensils and sticks--anything even remotely able to be used as a stick is used as such--wooden spoons, curtain rods, spatulas, vacuum attachments, you name it.

Benjamin is really a smart little boy. Unlike Samuel, he is very cautious about most things. In fact, if he has to try something new, he usually tells us that "it's Sam's turn" or that "Sam wanna go first." Once Sam has done something, it is usually ok for Ben. He also will only make the same mistake once (in general). Sam will just keep barrelling through things, but Ben, once he has failed once, will sit awhile and figure it out, and then he will almost always be successful the second time he tries something. Ben has a great vocabulary--he says the funniest things too. One example--when we were at Walmart a while ago, I told him that he needed to hold my hand. He grabbed his hand and said, "No, Ben hold Ben's hand!" He thinks he is so big. And really, he is getting so big. Even from a year ago. He goes to big-boy primary. He, as of the last couple weeks, is officially potty-trained (HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!) except for at night. He goes to preschool two times a week, and LOVES it! He takes wonderful care of his brothers, except when he is kicking Levi or hitting him or pushing him over. He LOVES Sam. I am firmly convinced that a lot of why Sam joined our family when he did is because Ben needs him so badly. Ben is so cautious, and so worried--he needs Sam's throw-caution-to-the-wind attitude. Ben is a great helper--he loves to vacuum, and help me sweep. He does NOT like picking up his all. In fact, he will NOT do it. I am currently looking at about a million pieces of train track and trying to gear myself up for the fight it will be to get him to pick them up. Ick!

Ben is a very sweet little boy. He loves to cuddle--at naptime and bedtime, he always wants mom to "nuggle me." He HAS to have his blankie--it is NOT optional. He is especially attached to the tag on his blankie, which he sits and rubs on his face as he goes to sleep. Ben loves Curious George. Ben loves Maddy! Ben LOVES when Mom and Dad come home from work--he always runs up with a huge hug for us. Ben is a great eater--although during the day he tends to forage for junk constantly. Nothing is safe.

We are so blessed to have Ben. He reminds me of how blessed we are to have children. I love my boys, and I love my firstborn, for all the things that he teaches me, whether they are about patience (DAILY!!), love (constantly), humor, etc. I love that he reminds me to say the prayer at dinner. And that he points out the temple whenever he sees a picture. I love that he sits (most of the time) during the sacrament and says "Amen!" when prayers are over. I love Benjamin.
Rub a dub dub, boys in the tub! Really all three of them were there, but this picture only shows Ben and Levi. (duh!)

THEN: Benjamin James Reed, 3 lbs. 4 oz. 16 inches long. 28 weeks. Boy, has he changed! We went from me making daily lists of all the medications he was on (and there were several), and not being able to touch our little boy at all, and when we were allowed to touch him, it was only on the bottoms of his feet, to this boy who is tall and skinny and super smart. He thinks he is big enough to run his own bath. We used to go to the hospital at midnight (well, after midnight, since Cam didn't get off work until 12:00) to bathe Ben. The nurses in the NICU would save his baths until the night shift so we could do them. They did the same thing with bottles once they finally started feeding him. The whole experience of having Ben is the NICU for two months was pretty much horrible. There isn't any other word for it. There are still things that come up in his life that are effects of his prematurity--soon he will have to get glasses because he is pretty far-sighted. And he has had some speech delays, although not anymore! Yeah! There will probably be other things that we will discover as he goes through school--having a fairly severe brain bleed means that there could be issues. We just have to figure out what they are. It was a long haul getting him out of the hospital, and an even longer haul once he was home...but he was worth it all.

Ben at one--the summer after Samuel was born. Isn't he the sweetest??

Ben and Daddy

Happy Birthday Ben! Hopefully you will have a fantastic year being four. I love you!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday is a special day...

Today was a busy day. It doesn't feel like we got nearly as much done as I would have liked, but that is ok. We got some important things done. We got Samuel moved into Levi's room, and Levi moved into Ben's. We are hoping that having Sam in his own room will improve the quality of bedtime--right now it is a huge stress. So, we are hoping that we can get him to go to bed better if there are fewer distractions. I am also (gasp--I think I might cry about this!) considering letting him stop taking naps when I stop working. He is still really tired and could use a nap, but then he is so horrible at bedtime. So, I think I will just have a mandatory quiet time instead. Maybe that can be movie time or something. Anyway...that has no bearing on today, other than I am thinking about it.

Tonight Cameron and I were able to go out together. We didn't do anything fantastic--we wandered around Bed, Bath, and Beyond (my idea--not his), then went to Books-A-Million. We were there quite a while. Then we went to Walmart to get birthday presents and a few things. We got pretty good gifts for the boys, in my opinion. We got Ben a Cars racetrack, and we got Sam a playdough accessory kit, with cutters, and presses, etc. I know both gifts are going to be huge pains in the butt, but I went through the boys' toys today and got rid of at least half or more of their toys, so I think it will be ok. Also, and this is the best part, I got some new books. It's very exciting. I don't actually need anymore books, in fact, I have a huge pile of them next to my bed, waiting to be read. But, I have really been in the mood to get more books to read lately. I have gotten some good ones--tonight I bought a Jodi Picoult book (two, actually) called The Pact, and another called Plain Truth. I am currently reading a Chris Bohjalian book called The Law of Similars. I am really enjoying it so far, not that I am surprised, because I seem to like all of his books. I need to be able to read, especially lately, because it gives me a break from the stress of my every day life.
In other news, Cameron is making some bean salad and I am so excited that I was jumping for joy (literally) in Walmart--yes, Cameron totally laughed at me. I LOVE CAM'S BEAN SALAD! He has changed his mom's recipe just a bit, and I think it is fabulous. Tomorrow we are going to miss church, I think, in order to go to the benefit in Granby. Gotta go--Cam needs me!

Friday, February 8, 2008

A good day...

Today was really a good day. I had a lot of work to do at school, but it was AR day, so the first three hours of the day, the students were reading (I LOVE AR DAYS!!!). Then, this afternoon, I had the students finish Hercules (yes, the Disney version--it was hilarious to see these 8th graders who act like they're too cool for everything, completely absorbed in this movie--singing along and everything!). They were watching Hercules mostly to make it so I didn't have to stay super late at school today to finish my mid-quarter grade reports, but I can totally justify it by making them do a comparison/contrast essay about the "real" version of Hercules v. the movie. So I got my work completely done during 6th hour, and basically tried not to fall asleep the rest of the day. It was so nice. Right after school, I went home. Grandma sent the boys some money, so we went to Big Rs and ate dinner--it was great--the whole family ate for only $10 + $2 tip. Then we went to Walmart and let the boys pick out a couple movies to buy. And Ben got some more train tracks for his trains. We took back one of the things grandma sent, because the boys were fighting over it--but then Ben wanted the train instead, so everyone is happy.

Cameron officially got a job offer today. Isn't that exciting? Things are apparently for real this time. I think we are probably planning on turning the offer down though. Is that crazy of us? It's a good offer--good salary, pretty good benefits, etc. But, we feel so much better about the other job that Cam has in the works. I think we are going to go on gut instinct and faith that the other job will be better and that they really will come through for us. He has spoken to them several times, even since he got the offer this evening, and they have reassured him that there will be a position for him. We'll see...I guess we ought to start decluttering and getting rid of our excess junk!

Anyway, now it is 10:20, and I am ready to go to bed. Hopefully the weekend will be a good one. We have work to do tomorrow--I am hoping to straighten the garage since it is supposed to be about 60 degrees tomorrow. We'll see...On Sunday we have that benefit dinner to go to. Krista and I put together two really nice baskets (several hundred $$ worth of stuff) for the silent auction. I hope someone sees how valuable they are and bids accordingly. That's the point, right? To raise money to help the Maples. We created a Mary Kay basket and a scrapbooking basket. I am excited for the event and hope there is a good turnout. The family needs something really positive! Mom's future is still uncertain, even though they are hoping to have her surgery on her pelvis performed soon, so she can begin physical therapy. At that point, they are hoping the swelling in her brain will subside and they will be able to determine how much functionality she will have. I just keep praying for more miracles, and that those kids will be able to remain together and happy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Samuel!!!

Today Samuel is 3 years old! It's crazy to see that. I can't believe how fast our boys are growing.

THEN: Sam was such a super sweet baby. He cried a TON at first, and for awhile, I thought we would have to send him back...but then, he turned into an angel baby--just like my mom always called him. He was so happy and just completely adorable. He slept well. He was good-natured. And he and Ben have always been inseparable.

SAM'S VERY FIRST SMILES: Krista just happened to have her phone handy when Sam graced us with his very first smiles. He has the most beautiful smile that is contagious to everyone around him. Isn't he the cutest??

NOW: Samuel has become a super energetic, crazy little boy. He is incredibly smart and totally fearless. He climbs EVERYTHING! (The cabinets, the beds, the FRIDGE, etc.) He managed to break our dryer door just 6 weeks after we bought it, by climbing on the door. Luckily it was covered by our warranty still, so we were able to get it fixed. He almost always has a bruise or a black eye or something. He has managed to blacken one of his front teeth--we haven't figured out exactly how he managed that. Sam is super independent. He turns on his own DVDs (which makes me CRAZY!!), he is constantly trying to brush his teeth, he gets his own drinks, he puts on his own shoes, etc. Sam LOVES fashion--he thinks shoes are the best things ever. He gets upset when I try to put the wrong clothes on him. He tells US when he needs a haircut. He has an opinion about everything, and tells me that he "can't want to" whenever I ask him to do something even remotely contrary to his plans.

Sam is so creative. He loves to color. Playdough is his new favorite thing. He makes all kinds of shapes out of the dough. Today it was balls. Last week it was carrots (for his snowmen) and snakes (and boxes for the snakes). He has made bunnies and doggies (we had to ask him to tell us about those!). Sam brings energy and light into everything he does. He loves to read and be read to. He hates going to bed. He is afraid he will miss something. He is a little (or a lot sometimes) defiant when he doesn't want to do something. He is VERY stubborn. He has THREE blankies! He is the sweetest, most sensitive little boy--whenever there is tension or Cameron and I are upset with one another, he gets very distressed. He gives sweet little hugs and kisses and loves to snuggle. He hates being thrown in the air--it is the one thing he is VERY afraid of. Sam is such a special little boy. He is incredibly challenging, but we are doing our best to raise him to be happy, to love his family and Heavenly Father, and to be a good, confident little person.

Samuel is totally the apple of his daddy's eye. Cameron absolutely adores Samuel! Frankly, if I didn't know firsthand how nuts Sam sometimes makes Cameron, I would say that Cam has blinders on regarding all of Sam's faults. He and Sam have a special bond. I love watching them together. Sam loves to jump on Daddy and wrestle and he LOVES to be tickled. It doesn't hurt that he looks exactly like his daddy!

I am so proud of Sam. There are a lot of things that I wish he would do that he won't--I wish he would obey better, and that he would go to bed. But, I absolutely adore Sam. I love how he runs up to me when I get home from work and gives me a big hug. I love how he is so adament about his opinions (I want THAT one, pointing at the Hot Tamales, which are, incidentally, his FAVORITE candy!). I love how sweet Sam is to his brothers. I love how well Sam talks. He can communicate his ideas and wants and needs so well. I love how independent Sam is (when I'm not hating that!). I LOVE how smart and clever he is. I love how absolutely charming he is. I love how cute Sam is. I love how he has such a special sensitivity--he loves to look at pictures of Jesus (especially when he is in trouble--he points them out to me then). He loves his primary class. He notices things we don't--tension AND happy moments. I love that Sam is such a happy boy--he has a smile that lights up my life. There are so many things I could say about Sam. He is such a blessing to our family. I can't imagine life without him. His arrival was such a surprise, but it has truly become one of the best things that has ever happened to me. He brings me such joy...and frustration...and happiness. It is impossible to stay upset at a little boy who is like Sam.

We tried to take Sam out all by himself--found a babysitter for the other two boys--but it didn't go like we planned. We were going to take him for a treat and let him pick out a gift that he wanted. But...he was being really weird. The whole time we were gone he just laid on Cameron or in the stroller. Then, he said he wanted to go home...he didn't feel good. We got ice cream, since that's what he said he wanted. He ate ONE bite! Then, on the way to the car, he threw up everywhere. My sister says he hasn't felt good all day. It makes me sad that he's sick on his birthday! Hopefully he'll feel better tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Sam!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Emotional Drain--the suck zone!

I have been really feeling like the last 6 weeks or so have really been draining. In fact, for lack of any other way to put it, things have sucked. On the one hand, I guess that kind of confirms that maybe we are trying to do the right thing, so we are meeting challenged. But, on the other hand, it has still sucked. We managed to survive Christmas, which was great...but then Levi had surgery (no big deal, just adds to the stress.). Since then, school has just been crazy. I have felt like I am really being pulled in so many directions. We have had lots of days off school, which is fantastic, but also not, because of course, we have to make those up. I guess it has not been any one thing that is causing all this stress I is just a combination of everything. There is so much stress at school, at home, at church, with my family, my health, etc.

I started my medicine for my kidneys today. It is making me really tired. I hope after I get used to having it in my system that this side-effect goes away, because I do NOT need another thing to make me tired. I have plenty of those (Ben, Sam, Levi!) already. I was supposed to be observed by my principal today, but some things came up at school, which leads in to my next thing---

Apparently, there is a student at school who hates me so much he not only wants me dead, he wants to kill me. Today I reported a student (and apparently so did someone else) who had a "death list." The list had the names of me, my principal, the counselor, and about 30 students. So it was a big list. It was from a very unassuming kid. Also, not someone I have noticed being picked on--maybe that's why he hates me...I don't notice enough. At least the principal took the list seriously. I believe the student is suspended (hopefully that's enough). Also, the principal pulled in every student on the list, and sent them home with letters for their parents and spoke to them. Unfortunately, I think this is going to make it worse for the student who made the list (which was quite specific and detailed). I hope that he doesn't choose to truly retaliate. I am really intensely bothered by this incident. I was the ONLY teacher on the list. And I honestly have NO idea why. I just can't believe someone hates me that much.

Anyway, when you add this to all the other garbage going on, I really just want to crawl into a hole (with some books) and be alone for a week at least. I am so tired. And I am just drained. So, I do truly feel like my life is the suck zone lately. Not because it's bad...just because it is so stressful and draining.

But, because I really do want to have things I am grateful for--I will. I am grateful for my husband. I know I have said that before. But, I am really grateful that with him I feel safe and secure. I am grateful that he protects me. He makes me feel beautiful and special. I am grateful for him. I love him.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Miracles can happen--part two!

We were out of school again today. I was actually really happy. It gives me a 4 day weekend--that will help make up for all our long weekends we are losing. Plus, Cameron was on-call this week, so during the day, we got to get some stuff done. I still have a lot of schoolwork to get done, but I still have two days. Today was wonderful. Busy. And I am exhausted. But, it was fabulous! Almost the entire house is clean. There is a little straightening that needs done, like in my bedroom, and the boys' room. And the floors need mopped (that is a herculean task when your whole house is wood floors!). And Levi's room needs cleaned. But, otherwise, the house is clean. There are always little things to do--like laundry (ALWAYS!), and bathrooms can always be cleaner--I need to clean Krista and the boys' bathroom up a little. I feel good about taking some time to relax tomorrow, though. I am certainly planning on a nap. Cameron's plane to SLC leaves at 6:25 in the morning, so we are going to have to leave in about 5 hours to get him there on time. That stinks! I am going to be SO tired. But, at least he is only flying out of Springfield, instead of Tulsa or KC. Joplin would be better, but we are counting our blessings. Hopefully one of the two prospects he has out there will work out, and things will continue to work in our favor.

I found an awesome tutorial online for these cute scrapbook boxes. But, I CANNOT make one tomorrow. I have promised myself that I am going to finish working on my shower curtain. I have only been trying to do that for 6 months. Also, I would LOVE to get my window in the dining room fixed, but since it is so old, and I think the wood is about gone, I will probably just have to put something else there. I found a cute idea in the pottery barn catalog with a chalkboard on the wall. I am thinking I might make a chalkboard and use some trim or moulding to create a frame for it. We'll see. Right now I just have a HUGE empty spot on the dining room wall. It makes me sad...that was my favorite decoration in the house. Cameron was sweeping in there a couple weeks ago, though, and it just fell off the wall and landed on him! I think the screws on the back, holding in the anchor, wiggled out of the old, soft wood.

I am not thrilled about being on my own with the kids all weekend for the second time this month. Especially since Cameron has worked the past two weekends, so we didn't get to do anything. I guess I should be used to being on my own on Saturdays. But it's different when he is out of town. I told him he can't have too much fun without us.

I got some not great news from my doctor. It probably isn't really a big deal, but it feels like it is. Apparently the tests on my kidneys are still showing the possible beginnings of diabetic kidney disease--very early stages, but enough that there is concern, especially since I am only 25. So, my doctor is putting me on some medication for my kidneys--in fact, I meant to pick that up at the pharmacy today. She says it is mostly for prevention so the problems don't get worse. I was really depressed after I got the letter from her. My A1C is still not great either. It is 9.9. It was 10.3 just a couple months ago, though, so it is going the right direction. I am just so sensitive to stuff. I can be just as affected by an apple as I am by a milkshake. And, I think the bigger problem is my insulin sensitivity, rather than my diet. I don't eat perfectly, nor will I ever claim that I do. But, I don't eat as poorly as people think. I watch my intake as well as I can. My biggest problems actually occur during the night. My sugar is almost always high in the mornings. Also, apparently my cholesterol is too high as well. If I weren't diabetic, it would be perfect, but since I have diabetes, I guess they lower the goal range. I didn't know that until yesterday. So, I may have to take cholesterol meds and watch my diet more carefully regarding that. It doesn't help that I am at higher risk for heart disease, both from my diabetes, and from my dad's history. I am really quite upset by all this. But, at least I am getting the depression dealt with, so this wasn't as huge a blow as it would have been, say, a week ago. I just feel like I am way too young to have all these things going on. I am not supposed to have to worry about my kidneys at 25! I am especially not supposed to have to be stressed about cholesterol! I guess I will just try to take it in stride. I just hate taking medicine. The fact that I have to take insulin to stay alive really just irritates me, if you must know. I struggle with my depression meds because I HATE TAKING PILLS! I hate even taking a tylenol. Grr. But, I guess I will be like my grandma and buy a little weekly pill counter to sort out my 5000 the time I am 50 I'll probably have 4 times this many.

All right. It was a great, productive day. Now, I am GOING TO BED!