Monday, January 28, 2013

Tomorrow's Just An Excuse Away So I Pull My Collar Up And Face The Cold

     The title of this post was taken from the song Thirty-Three by Smashing Pumpkins.

     I haven't blogged in a few days. No excuses; I just decided to take the weekend off. We were out of school Friday for snow and out of school today for ice so it was a long weekend for me. I've been feeling a little sorry for myself these last few days. There are things in my life that I have been willing to happen and they just aren't going the way I had hoped. I can handle things not going my way but, when I really really want something, it's hard when it doesn't happen. I don't really have much to say tonight. I'm feeling kind of melancholy. I'll leave you with this.

I promise myself

"To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me."

Christian D. Larson

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, Knees and Toes

     During circle time in my class, we have been discussing our five senses and naming different body parts. Here is a conversation that took place between a student and myself:

Touching my head, I asked, 
"Can you tell me what this is?"

"Hair!"
 the student replied

"No, what's under my hair."

Pausing for only a brief second the child calmly replied
"A possum."

Well, maybe it was a not-so-good hair day after all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So Take The Photographs, And Still Frames In Your Mind.

      The title of this post was taken from the song Good Riddance by Green Day.

     Today would have been Mike's 37th birthday. Last year we went out to dinner (Mexican which Mike loved) and then took balloons decorated with messages from the kids and let them go at his grave. This year we decided to do the same thing. I don't have much to say...I wouldn't quite know how to say it if I did. I guess I'll just post some pictures from today and a video I made last year. 


Balloons for their dad







Video

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Live Life, Breathe Air I Know Somehow We're Gonna Get There

    The title of this post was taken from the iCarly Theme Song as performed by Miranda Cosgrove.

    Tonight John wins the fun parent award. He let the kids make spaghetti tacos just like they've seen on one of their favorite shows, iCarly. I don't like mixing my food so I just had spaghetti, even that was a little difficult for me. My gross spaghetti story is for another post though. Here are pics of the kids and their spaghetti tacos.







And just for the heck of it, here is a silly picture of Mason. 




Monday, January 21, 2013

And A House Is Not A Home When There's No One There To Hold You Tight

     The title of this post was taken from the song A House Is Not A Home by Luther Vandross.

     My least favorite room in our new house has to be the family room. The previous owners had painted it this pale blue color that just does not suit my taste. Other than some furniture, the room has stayed empty. I didn't want to decorate the walls until I had painted them. This weekend I finally picked a color and today John and I set off painting. Minus a few touch ups that need to be done, it turned out awesome. Here are the before and after pics:


Before



After



     We have picked out a painting we want and at some point the furniture will change. I'm just excited to be rid of the blue. Maybe this will help this house to feel like our home. This project was fairly easy and it's inspired me to think about other projects.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Money, So They Say Is The Root Of All Evil Today

   The title of this post was taken from the song Money by Pink Floyd.  

"NO! We don't really have to."

"Yes, Melanie, we do."

"No, we don't. Isn't there some other way?"

"No. It's either fix this now or we pay a lot more to replace it once it's beyond repair."

      John and I have had many conversations that sound something like this. I hate spending money and I hate even more watching it leave our bank account. Can't I just keep all the money I earn? It's so not fair. So, one thing we are working on this year is getting our finances in order. John created a spreadsheet to track where our money goes and we are working on a budget. It's so hard. We are pretty much debt free at this moment with the exception of our house and our student loans. However, this does not mean we do a good job of budgeting. The last five months or so we just haven't been able to stay on top of things. We were doing okay up until the move at the end of July. The move was fairly expensive. We had to rent the moving truck and then the two trips to and from Williamsburg to move his stuff and then moving my stuff. It wasn't cheap. Then, we spent money fixing up things at the old house so it would be fairly done when my brother and sister-in-law moved in. After we moved, we ended up having some trouble with our cars. The engine needed to be replaced in the Equinox and the van had some exhaust issues on top of needing tires and some small things. We spent several thousand dollars just making sure the cars were maintained. After that we had some heating issues at the old house that we needed to take care of. Christmas came a long and then we decided it was important for us to go to Arizona to see his family. I felt strongly about this and so we went. Now here we are in January and we are trying to get things on track. 
     I'm a fairly cheap person. I don't like to spend a lot of money and I try to save whenever I can. I don't buy name brand clothing for the kids unless I can get it on sale or at a really good price and I rarely buy clothes for myself. I don't have tons of jewelry and what I do wear is more like costume jewelry. The kids are involved in their various sporting activities and that always takes some money. Of course we have our regular monthly bills that we have to take care of, but I'm excited about the fact we have no credit card debt. I plan on keeping it that way! 
     There are lots of things we do to cut down on costs. We eat-in most nights. I've started doing some of the cooking to help John out. John is pretty handy so there have been many times he was able to fix something rather than us paying for someone else to fix it. Just the other day I got pulled over and told all my brake lights except for one was out. The officer let me go with a warning. We went that day and bought the bulbs and John replaced them in like 2.5 seconds. Okay, maybe this doesn't sound like a big deal but, had I still been on my own, I would have taken it to a garage to have it done and probably paid 10 times as much. He also fixed the van back over the summer. Nothing on the dash worked and it hadn't worked for years. I had taken it to several places and no one could fix it. John Googled the problem, soldered a few wires and voila it has worked ever since. He fixed the leaky shower head in Sebastian's bathroom, and really the list could go on and on. John also keeps the deep freezer and cupboards pretty stocked so, if something unexpected comes up that we need to pay for, we never have to worry about food. Last week he went shopping and that was the first time in about 6 weeks. We had picked up little things here and there but we really hadn't needed to until then. This was a huge help.
    We have lots of things we want to spend money on. We want to put in a wheelchair ramp for my niece. We want to fence in all or part of the yard so that Jasper can run and play. We need to update some of the electrical in the house. Really, why shouldn't you be able to run the deep fryer, microwave, AND the griddle all at the same time?  :)  I really want to put in a swimming pool for the kids. We also have some things we would like to do at the old house. So we need to sit down and prioritize. 
     With all the I wants I've listed above, I would feel remiss if I did not talk about how blessed I am. We have a beautiful home that I can totally see us growing old in. I can picture our grandkids someday running around in the yard. We also have the old house that is paid off so if hard times should come and we ever needed to we have somewhere else to go. We are all healthy, we have all the things we need, and many many of the things that we don't need but wanted. I am grateful for the lessons my parents taught me concerning money. I watched this short video clip this morning before church and it sums up nicely all the things we've been trying to figure out. 


"Is this benefit temporary or will it have eternal value and significance."


Any money or budgeting ideas?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Maybe It's Not Too Late To Learn How To Love

     The title of this post was taken from the song Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.

     I had a melt down a few weeks ago and everything anyone said or did seemed to reduce me to tears. I was picking arguments with John and we got into a not so nice argument over how to handle some discipline issues with the kids. Eventually a whole smorgasbord of emotions came out. A big part of me was feeling sad/angry for the kids and what they have had to deal with in the span of their short little lives. I was feeling a bit out of control myself and I really just didn't know how to share what I was feeling. Then John said something that gave me pause and made me realize that I was acting crazy. He said:

"I think you're projecting some of your pain on to the kids. It's making you think they hurt way more than they do because you still hurt so much."

Just a few days before this Sebastian and I had the following conversation:

"Sebastian, do you ever get sad when you think of your dad?"

"No."

He said it in such a matter-of-fact tone, that I was taken aback. "Really? Not even a little bit?"

"No."

"Do you think about him a lot?"

"Yea."

"Well what do you think about?"

"Stuff we did together."

I don't think he was being a tough kid and holding it all in; it was very honest and real. For the most part, the kids don't cry over losing their dad. We talk about Mike all the time and we still tell stories about him but we always talk about his life and not his passing. This is a good thing and I'm proud of them. I guess sometimes I think that if they aren't hurting or don't get upset about it then maybe they don't miss him. I know this is completely crazy. Thank you John for helping me see this. 
     This brings up another point. I've said it before and I'll say it again, John deserves angel status for putting up with all of the crazy in my life. How hard it must be for him to watch this internal struggle I go through. He willingly took on this role knowing that Mike's memory would live on in our lives but I know it can't be easy for him. So my dearest John, I want you to know just how much I love you. I love you for making me laugh and working so hard to make me happy. I love you for your patience and insight. I love our silly moments and how easy things are with you. I love all the many ways you show your love for us. We are blessed because of you. Thank you for staying aboard the Crazy Train and not "going off the rails" on us when things get hard.

Friday, January 18, 2013

And The Dreams That You Dare To Dream, Really Do Come True.

The title of this post was taken from the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland.

Things that made me happy today.

1) Having a window in the kitchen to look out as I cook.




2) Fixing pancakes and bacon with my favorite 6 year old. This has become our weekend tradition. He's a morning person like me and we have the best time together before everyone gets up.

 3) Hearing Mason call the pancakes with the sprinkles magic pancakes.



4) Hearing my 13 year old run up the stairs and say "Mom, I can smell that all the way from downstairs! It smells so good!"

5) Watching all three kiddos play outside in the snow. 



My three angels. 
I love this picture!!!
I'm not sure how I got such beautiful children!


Mason


Mason and Tyler making snow angels.


Tyler's snow angel


Mason


Tyler and Mason


Sebastian


Tyler and Sebastian


Tyler and Sebastian


Sebastian


This is one of the trees in our front yard.



Mason and Tyler


Sebastian and Mason


Let's roll down the hill!


See how much fun it is!


:)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

And Since We Have No Place To Go Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

The title of this post was taken from the song Let It Snow

SNOW!!!!! Finally we got some snow! Kids can't wait to go out and play tomorrow! More pictures tomorrow. Tonight we are playing The Game Of Life with the kids. You know the board game I'm talking about. The funniest part of the night was when John ran over Tyler's husband with his car :). He's a little protective of his little girl.


It started out like this.



Jasper coming in from running around the yard, and yes John is wearing shorts...crazy.




This was taken around 7:00. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Everyone's Got To Face Down The Demons

    The title of this post was taken from the song Jumper by Third Eye Blind.

     Demand improvement not perfection. Often times I get caught up in trying to be the perfect mother, spouse, daughter, sister, teacher and friend that I lose sight of who I am and end up feeling like a failure. What I've decided this year is that I will not demand perfection of myself, after all that is simply setting myself up for failure. What I can choose to do instead is to demand improvement. I can work hard to build upon where I am and became better than who I am in different areas of my life. I can allow for errors and mistakes and simply be happy with the improvements I see. After all, one day the kids will look something like this and it won't really matter.

**** These photo's have been altered using the app Age Booth. The kids thought they were hilarious. I will not post the pictures of John and me. They were horrendous. ****


Old Mason is even missing a tooth and only has one dollar :).


Sebastian


Tyler

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Only Half Past The Point Of Oblivion


 The title of this post was taken from the song Glitter In The Air by Pink.

     I haven't been able to see well lately. I knew that I needed to replace my contacts, but the hustle and bustle of the holidays and travel left me little time to think of much else. Anytime I did think about replacing my contacts I was never home to fix the problem. Yesterday as I was at work I found myself squinting to see things that should have been clear. This morning as I kept rubbing my eyes and trying to clear my vision I finally gave up and went to the bathroom to grab new contacts. I put them in and as I looked around it was almost painful. Everything was so clear and bright. It took me a good while to get used to them, but once I did I had to admonish myself for taking so long to fix this simple problem. What really struck me was that I didn't even know how bad it was. I knew my vision was off, but I didn't realize just how much I wasn't able to see. I had to wonder what beautiful sights had I missed because I couldn't see clearly, or rather because I had ignored a problem that I knew existed because it was easier than dealing with it.



     How often do we live our lives like this? How often do we walk about in a haze not really sure of where were going or with what purpose. Maybe we have a general idea or a goal of some sort, but the path ahead seems so unclear that we never really make any progress. I often feel like this in my life. I feel like I have tons of small things that keep me busy, but when was the last time I changed out my day to day understanding for that of an eternal perspective. 
      I often measure my worth or value using the world's view of what worth and value is. I dare say it's hard not to. We live in a day and age where we are bombarded with outside influences telling us how we should live and what we should place importance on. How often do I get sucked into that rabbit hole and then I'm left feeling like I do today. How often do I sacrifice what I want the most for what I want right now. Often times what I want the most does not give me the immediate gratification that I desire, it requires patience and perseverance. How easily it is to dismiss the things that matter most for things the world tells us matters the most. 






Monday, January 14, 2013

There's Always Gonna Be Another Mountain

The title of this post was taken from the song The Climb by Miley Cyrus.

     I am a special education teacher, and I absolutely love what I do. I want to share on of my favorite essays.


WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by

Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

And I Am Thankful Love Is Spoken Here

     The title of this post was taken from the LDS Primary Song Love is Spoken Here. I'd like to share the words to the first verse.

I see my mother kneeling with our family each day. 
I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray.
Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears,
And I am thankful Love is spoken here.

     I don't talk about my religion on here because its deep and personal to me. However, today I feel the need to share a few things. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. I have been a member my entire life, but I haven't always believed what I was taught. There were many years when I choose to live my life in ways that left me lacking. It wasn't until I was older and able to truly figure things out for myself that I realized what had been missing from my life. 
     Once I got back into church Mike was always supportive of the fact I wanted the kids to come to church with me. Mike considered himself agnostic and on rare occasions he would accompany us to church. He took the missionary discussions many times and enjoyed having the missionaries over for dinner or to talk, but he always found reasons to not take church seriously. I never pushed the church at him I was okay as long as he supported my desire to attend. In 2010 something changed. The missionaries were over one day and asked if they could teach him the discussions. I must admit that my head hung a little because I was tired of having the same conversation with them. To my surprise though Mike said yes. After that I would find him reading The Book of Mormon late at night or early in the morning after he got off work. He would write down question after question for the missionaries to answer. Mike still struggled in different areas of his life, but I could see his desire to be happy and to change things in his life that were bringing him down. 
Tyler and Mike were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 
on April 24, 2010.
From left to right in the back is my dad next to him is one of the missionaries that taught Mike, then Mike and myself with my mom beside me. In the front row is Sebastian then Tyler, another missionary and Mason.
Things weren't magically easier after he joined the church. Our marriage still needed a lot of work, but I had faith that things were and could be better. We were moving in the right direction and we were happy.
     Mike passed away April 14, 2011, just shy of being a member of the church a year. There have been many tests of my faith since that day. I spent many nights on my knees begging my Heavenly Father for answers. Many of my prayers have been answered...and knowing that I will see Mike again someday helps me deal with the loneliness of today.

I want to share one more thing with you. This is a talk given by Joseph B. Wirthlin during the October 2008 General Conference. After Mike passed I would listen to this talk over and over again, it brought me comfort. 

 

"When President Hinckley spoke at Sister Wirthlin’s funeral, he said that it is a devastating, consuming thing to lose someone you love. It gnaws at your soul.

He was right. As Elisa was my greatest joy, now her passing is my greatest sorrow. 
In the lonely hours I have spent a great deal of time thinking about eternal things. I have contemplated the comforting doctrines of eternal life."


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just A Day Just An Ordinary Day

     The title of this post was taken from the song Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton.

     It was such a beautiful day! I can't believe it was almost 70 and it's the middle of January. Sebastian had a basketball game this morning. This is his first year playing but man is he getting good. I love watching the kids in their various sports. I took the kids for ice cream and then we took the kids to the library and the park. I picked up the book The Sixth Man by David Baldacci. I'm trying to get back into reading again. My attention span became crazy short after Mike passed. It was bad before that but, now it's way past horrible. The park was fun though and we took Jasper along with us. Here are a few pictures.



Tyler and Mikayla a few days ago. Mikayla is doing so well after her surgery. Love those girls!


Sebastian and I before his basketball game. I love that kid so stinkin much!!!




Friday, January 11, 2013

All We Wanna Do Is Eat Your Brains

     The title of this post is from the song Re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton.

     I was so angry I didn't even get a picture before I cleaned it up. As I was getting Mason up and ready for school today I happened to look at a little inconspicuous place on his bedroom wall. To my surprise and horror, I realize that he has drawn on his wall and in pen no less. Upon closer inspection, I realize that the picture is of a zombie apocalypse. Yes, he had drawn pictures of zombies patrolling a graveyard. The drawing was complete with headstones and all. He even wrote a word bubble for one zombie that simply said "Brains" except he spelled it "Brannnnns." I was not amused in the least bit.
     I am not one to squash my kids creativity but drawing on walls is a "no-no" in our house. He could have asked for drawing paper or canvas to paint on but, for the love of Pete, do not draw on the walls! Now that I've had a chance to calm down, I realize that maybe I overreacted a little bit. The thing is, this gave me flashbacks to when Tyler was little. That child was always into something. I would put her to bed at night, she would be sound asleep when I went to bed, and then I'd wake up in the morning to find that she had woke up in the middle of the night to create some sort of masterpiece. When she was about four, she carved her name into her headboard with a pencil. It must have taken some dedication because it was pretty deep. One morning I woke up to find that she had found a black sharpie and had colored her entire face with it. Yeah, that was fun to try and clean up and then explain to her teachers at school. I would wake up to find markers, crayons, playdoh, scissors, and cut up bits of paper on her floor. She is a creative mess. When she was three, she woke up in the middle of the night to play with her Lite Brite. The next day she was pretty sick and we took her to the doctor who immediately put her in the hospital with pneumonia. After three days, she was worse than when she was admitted and upon further inspection of her x-rays, they realized there was a foreign object in her lungs. Care to take a guess at what it might have been? It was a green Lite Brite peg just like the green one shown in this picture.

It was later determined that she had shoved one so far up her nose that it worked its way into her lung. Talk about good times. I guess thinking back over all of her little antics I simply can't be mad over one little zombie apocalypse drawing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Let's Talk Deep And Meaningful Things

 The title of this post was taken from the song You, Me and World War Three from the Mission Impossible Soundtrack.    

I have absolutely nothing of value to say today but, I'm trying to stick with my promise to blog everyday. So, I'll just post the new video from The Piano Guys titled Mission Impossible.      Steven Nelson is the reason Sebastian wants to play the cello. 
Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

To Take A Good Hard Look Around And Be In The Minority

The title of this post was taken from the song Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley.



Here is a picture of John and I really...I'm just trying to emphasize what John looks like. Here is a conversation he had with someone I introduced him to.

Other person to John: "So, what country are you from?"

"I was born in Colorado. My great grandparents came from Japan but I guess I'm watered down enough that I don't really look Asian."

I couldn't contain my laughter, but the other person was serious.

"You're American?!"

"Yea."

"Man, you speak good English."

    Not sure it gets any funnier than this. John's last name is Mullineaux which is French however he is Asian and I've been asked if he's Mexican. I can't help but laugh!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm Gonna Catch You Here I Come

The title of this post was taken from the song I'm Gonna Catch You by Laurie Berkner.

"Mom! We learned about motion and forces today!"

Says Mason as he ran through the door yesterday. Yikes! They are learning more and more at younger ages. Crazy! Tyler came home today and was studying for a science test...SOL 5.3 to be exact. As I'm looking it over with her I read her notes on the color spectrum and I stumble across this little nugget. 

"The colors of the visible spectrum from the longest wavelength to the shortest wavelength are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet (ROYGBV). Most scientists no longer include the color indigo, which used to be included between blue and violet."

I had to read those two sentences several times before I realized that I had read them correctly. Where the heck did indigo go? The acronym is supposed to be ROY G BIV. You can't just erase a color from the spectrum. You can't just do that. You can't take out a whole color and say it doesn't exist! It's an outrage I say! Furthermore, how did I not know this?! 

I'm feeling really old. When I went to school Pluto was a planet and indigo was a color.