Archive for November 2010

Yeah, I’m Pissed AND On A Soap Box

November 23, 2010

Unless you are living in a remote desert valley, or have your head in the sand, I’m sure you’ve heard SOMETHING about the controversial new TSA procedures… full body scans and pat-downs, which include an “open palm” swipe of the genitals. One of the big stories in the news is the little boy who was subjected to a pat down. And of the 60-something grandma who got a scan AND pat-down. And thousands of others who aren’t feeling so safe after their TSA security experiences.

I’m not going get into to many stories of what has happened, but I feel strongly about a couple of things surrounding these issues. First, the whole “no profiling” thing… it’s complete and utter crap! 6-year-old children do not commit terrorist acts on airlines. 80-year-old grandmother’s do not stab people in the jugular with their knitting needles. Mothers traveling alone with their 3 children, juggling a car seat and diaper bag, don’t go on the attack with a box cutter. Maybe it’s a good idea to focus on actual possible (probable) threats rather than searching and sexually assulting the Mother Teresa’s and Grandpa Joe’s in this world, just to appear unbiased and politically correct.

I understand the need for security, but the question is, do these actions really keep us safe? The funny thing is that it seems like we are taking actions based on the fear of what MIGHT happen rather than realities of things that have actually happened. When my hubby took a kiddo for a date night last week, he was frustrated when they were late because of the back up caused by the newly added metal detectors. What happened to cause such a step-up in security? My guess is nothing, other than a fear of liability. It’s a fine line between protection and violation of rights.

That is my second and ultimately biggest issue with the new TSA policies. Forcing “customers” to subject themselves to a scan which bathes them in radiation and takes essentially nude pictures of them is wrong. Forcing patrons to submit to a pat down in which a complete strangers touches every part of their body, including their genitals, is wrong. It’s ethically wrong. It’s socially wrong. And as an American, it is a violation of our Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment states the following:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I’m not sure it could be more clear, and I don’t know how anyone can argue that our rights are not being violated. But we’ve become so accustomed to doing what we’re told as to not rock the boat that we’ve allowed the rights that this country was built on to be compromised. The scary thing to me is that it is such a slow process, I think that most of us don’t even realize that what is happening… kind of like the frog in the frying pan idea.

You can argue that as the level of threats increase, security must follow suit. The problem is, when that “safety” compromises our rights as human beings, to me that seems a little counterproductive. Where does it end? In 10 years, will body cavity searches be a normal part of flying to Disneyland? You may laugh, but 20 years ago, I guarantee you that what has now become the standard would have seemed shocking and unacceptable then. We literally send people to jail for doing to strangers what is happening at our airport security. So it’s OK to have your body violated as long as it’s mandated by “the man”? Getting groped is OK as long as it’s done in the name of safety?

There is a quote by a guy I like, Thomas Jefferson. He said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty”. I’m all for evolution and adaptation, but the direction this country is going is not only NOT what our forefathers had in mind, it’s down right scary.

Write your lawmakers and representatives. Or just spread ’em and enjoy your molestation before your next flight.

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The First Step

November 18, 2010

It’s been a rough road, but they say that knowing is half the battle.

For quite some time, there have been problems we’ve been dealing with, but didn’t really know WHAT exactly those problems entailed. Was it an intruder, an apparition, a case of amnesia, or a disease? And we had not one, but two! After many tears, wondering “why me”, much research and the involvement of the very best experts, I finally have the answers to some of the questions that have been plaguing me.

The first: Luminousoffusphobia – The fear and/or aversion to turning off lights in a room you are leaving. The weird thing about Luminousoffusphobia is that it doesn’t affect ones ability to turn lights ON all around the house. Pretty much every light in the whole damn house can be on, but they are rarely turned off, unless someone without the phobia is the one to do it. Now that I have a name to the face of this devastating disorder, as well as a better understanding, as a family we can now begin fighting the good fight.

The second: Toiletelimphobia – The fear of urinating in a way that causes the urine to actually make it IN to the toilet. Even more than Luminousoffusphobia, Toiletelimphobia has caused a significant amount of trauma in our household (to some more than others). This was a difficult disorder for me to fully understand and come to terms with, and I am still not there yet. It seems so simple, at least in my head, but after years of pee covered floors, it is obviously not. I was first introduced to this phobia when cleaning the downstairs bathroom, which is also named the boys bathroom. I’ve experienced in other bathrooms as well, but this seems to be where the fears culminate. I’ve tried to remain patient, but some days are better than others.

My hopes are that as a family, we can break the silence as well as the cycle. With our love, finger tip dexterity, as well as copious amounts of disinfecting wipes, we shall survive and thrive!

Opps I Didn’t Do It Again

November 16, 2010

Yes yes, so my posting gets a little sporadic at times. No, I’m not bi-polar. I am, however, occasionally blog lazy. Not only am I inconsistent, in this post I am going to jump ALL over the place, and it’s going to be THE. BEST. EVER. Or not.

Work… I sometimes do it. A referral from a good friend has kept me pretty busy most weekends the past 2 months. It feels good to be back in the trenches, although sometimes it feels like I’m in a trench of cow pies, and I may be here for quite some time. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Even though it is time-consuming, it does remind me that I do enjoy what I do.

My knees are covered in bruises and floor burns, which of course means… No, I’m not a woman of the night… it’s VOLLEYBALL season! Have you ever had an activity or hobby that you enjoy so much you could do it every day, for hours and hours on end? Volleyball is that to me. It is my absolute favorite sport to play, and the icing is that I get to play it with some of my closest friends. 6 months ago I was unsure if I would ever be able to play again, but my shoulder has been cooperating thus far…

Which leads me into my next paragraph. Tonight after v-ball, my friends and I are doing a pot luck feast. It’s a fancy excuse to shove our faces, laugh, talk, and have fun into the wee hours of the morning. Speaking of friends, and I know I’ve talked about the la-dee-da awesomeness of my friends before (and quite recently), but I love them. It was fun getting to see one of the newer additions to my friends list TWICE this past week. Cheers and a high-five to the friends in my life!

Remember our broken tree about a month ago? It took me awhile, but I finally got a bid and made the appointment to get the tree trimmed and remove all of the broken branches. I’m not sure if you’re like me, but I’ve gotten used to crappy customer service. Not that I like it, I think it’s just become what I expect when it comes to service people coming to my home. Surprise surprise. Not only were they very reasonable with the price (hence me going with them), but they did an amazing job! I am really happy with how the tree looks, and (here is where I was surprised), they did a wonderful job cleaning up. They raked up my yard, my neighbor’s yard in which the branches hung over, cleaned up all of the branches, twigs, and leaves, AND used a leaf blower to remove all traces of their work. Yippy!

Harry Potter, oh how you thrill the masses. I am excited to be one of the many who will be entertained on Thursday. Even better, we are the guests of my parents (FREE MOVIE!), who are guests of their financial advisors. There happens to also be an extra ticket, and since Ian IS the oldest and also the only child who has read all of the books, he is going with us. I’m really looking forward to it :).

Also on the list of things I’m looking forward to is the Thanksgiving holiday week and weekend. It may feel a little weird in that it will be my first Thanksgiving without my kiddos. In the years past, even after my divorce, they would come spend the holiday with me in St. George with my family. This year is a different story. The “other” parents are taking both sets of kids, and Mr. N and I are on our own. While I will miss my kids, I am LOVING the idea of getting some time to R&R with my most beloved hubby. We weren’t sure about what we would do this year, but after discussing it, we made the decisions months ago to head down south with my family. I love my family, and it will be nice to spend the holiday with them, but this trip is more than that for us. This will be the longest time we’ve had alone together since, well, forever. We don’t ever get the opportunity to get away (for essentially free) for 5 days sans kids. We will be hanging with the fam some, but also have plans to do a number of things on our own: Zions National Park, some magical restaurant in Vegas that Greg fell in love with this past year, swimming, golf, movies, sleeping in, and just getting to be with each other. I can’t tell you how much I need this. WE need this, and I can’t wait!

There you have it. You can now breath easier and continue on with your life knowing that all is well in my world.

One Proud Mama

November 4, 2010

Tonight was the night I both look forward to and worry a little bit twice each year. Yes, it was Parent Teacher Conference at school. While I’ve been volunteering in their classes quite a bit and I have a vague idea about how each child is doing, I don’t get a REAL view of where they are at and how they are doing.

Mr. N and I, along with my ex and all of the kids, made our rounds to each teacher. I won’t lie and say that the kids reports were perfect, but… dang close to it!

Everyone is doing incredibly well, and it makes me proud that we have FOUR children who are all getting above average scores. It’s also a relief to see on paper that they are succeeding both academically and socially at school. They all have their own strengths (as well as weaknesses), but I really couldn’t have asked for better reports from their teachers.

Some days I brace myself for that time when the kids come home from school and the chaos begins. Going through everyone’s planners, signing stuff off, sifting through papers, and helping them with homework can be exhausting. After today, it’s just a confirmation that it is totally worth it!

As a parent, I’m not huge on material gifts, but I’ve got to think of a special little something for the kids to reward them for, well, just being awesome. Nice job kids! Xoxo

Second Times A Charm

November 3, 2010

In June of this year, I wrote this post about my little sister, Sarah. Well, she was back in the spotlight yesterday when she was featured on her local morning show, Tucson Morning Blend. Check out her awesome interview here.

I’m so proud of Sarah! She had a dream, busted her behind, and made it happen. I’m so excited for her and the success that she has begun to see as a result of her hard work… it seems like it’s just getting bigger and better.

Congrats Sarah. You shall now be known to me as the quilting Martha Stewart :). If you haven’t checked out her blog, you’re missing out. Go… go now!

Snow & Guts

November 2, 2010

Halloween in Utah is like a gender confused 16-year-old boy… you never know which way it’s going to go. A few days before the undead event, it snowed like Old Man Winter was out for revenge. On the news it was reported that there were places in the valley that got up to 2 to 3 whole inches in the valley. Um, try 6 to 8 at our house! East Sandy… you’ve got to love it. I like the snow for Christmas, as well as in the mountains for snowboarding. But otherwise, I’m not a fan. Yeah yeah, I don’t need to hear about how I live in Utah and snow is part of that fact. I realize this. It does not, however, require me to love it. And I was not, and am not, mentally prepared to welcome the snow yet. So there!

 

Because Utah is seasonally confused, the trees hadn’t lost their leaves yet, which means that all of the lovely snow that hit the trees were captured and stuck on the branches. This also means that there was a ton of weight resting on each branch. Result=CRAAAAASSSSHHHHH! A large branch crashed to the ground. Well, really it slammed into the fence. Luckily there was no damage to the fence and second luckily, our nice old neighbor who shares the fence with us cut all of the branches that were on his side of the fence and pushed the remaining branch back to our property. It has prompted me to have an arborist come to trim and clean up the tree. Super exciting.

Not everyone in our household dislikes it when the flurries hit. Jake absolutely LOVES the snow. He kept crying to go outside all morning. He then would run around like a bat outta H-E-Double hockey sticks, opening his mouth while running so that he could act like a canine snow shovel and eat the white stuff to his heart’s content. He also kept sticking his head under the snow. I’m not sure why, but he enjoyed it, and who am I to ruin someone’s fun. Plus, I think he’s freaking adorable!

After school got out after the big storm, Emma put “a lot of hard work” into creating this little snowman. He’s very cute, and in my opionion, is the Charlie Brown tree of snowmen :).

While it was our weekend with the kids, five hours of the Halloween celebratory day (Oct. 30th this year) were awarded to the “others”. I hadn’t really planned on carving pumpkins with the kids since it technically wasn’t our holiday, but really, Halloween never ever ends… parties, school parties, more parties, trunk-or-treats, trick-or-treats, etc… But plans around here change often and we got a hankering to carve a gord. I don’t know why, but I really hate scraping out the guts. I don’t like the cold, the smell, or the gooey feeling. And yet I find myself doing it every year. ANYWAY, they turned out cute. Emma and Alex used a pattern (which meant Greg and I did most of the cutting for them, as well as Greg doing everything helping Riley), and the boys did theirs without any help. Everyone did a great job and I’m proud of their artistic abilities :). Cute!

 

Historically the kids have had a school Halloween parade in which each class walks around in a line so that parents and grandparents can look at their kids in costume and take 2342908432 pictures. This year, they did away with it. I understand the reasoning (something about it taking away from “learning time”, blah blah blah), but really? What will they get rid of next… CHRISTMAS!?! My parents have come these every year, so I’m sad to see the end of that tradition. But the classroom parties were not cancelled, and I was on the volunteering end of it… again. I feel like I spend more time at that school than at home.

The day of Halloween, the “others” picked up the kids in the afternoon and kept them for the trick-or-treating hours (until about 9 pm). Greg and I took advantage of the few hours by trying out a sushi restaurant (YUM), watching his beloved UTES, and handing out candy. With volunteering at a million school Halloween parties, Truck-&-Treats, Spook Alley, Corn Maze, and other never-ending crap, I am SO done with Halloween. But it was good while it lasted, and although it’s been a busy week and weekend, it’s been a good one.

Stuff and Such

November 1, 2010

The bad thing about putting off writing an updated post is that by the time I get around to it, there is so much to tell and I’m so behind that it’s a little overwhelming. But I have been so busy and haven’t had time to post, which meant the stories keep piling up… it’s sort of a vicious cycle. I’ll do my best at catching up over the next few days :).

This month it was Cooper’s date night with me. He really wanted to go to a corn maze. OK, that’s fine. The only problem is that Ian was really wanting to experience a corn maze as well, and since they pretty much end Oct. 31st, and his date night wasn’t until Nov., it was now or never. So, we did a little something new. Cooper was a great sport about letting Ian join us on what was supposed to be HIS special night. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but was sweet enough to let it happen. First we hit Mimi’s Cafe for dinner. The kids had earned certificates for a free kids meal last year in school, and I figured now was as good a time as any to cash them in. SCORE! Greg also surprised us by joining us for dinner. It was nice having it just be the 4 of us :).

After dinner, the boys and I continued with the rest of our date. We had originally planned to go to the corn maze at Thanksgiving Point (mainly because Ian has read all of the Fablehaven books and they had a Fablehaven maze), but the distance and cost encouraged me to look elsewhere.

We ended up going to the Crazy Corn Maze in South Jordan. This was actually my first c.m. as well. Was it awesome? Did it change my life? Will I be chomping at the bit to do this again next year? No, no, and no. BUT, it was OK, and the boys had fun. I did enjoy hiding in the corn at one point and giving them a little scare (hee hee). There was also an additional part of the maze… the HAUNTED portion, that was really what the boys were wanting to do. While we waited  for it to get dark enough for that part to open, I noticed one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The camera on my phone doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea.

We waited in line for the Haunted maze for about 30 minutes. Patience is not my boys (nor my own) virtue. Finally, it opened. It was goofy but actually pretty fun. The boys loved it, and I must admit, I think I screamed about 10 times. That’s sort of my reaction when a men with a creepy masks and one with a chainsaw jump out at me from behind the corn. One might think that a boy would instinctually want to protect his mother. Well, anytime there was anything scary or anything that MIGHT be scary, they pushed me ahead and made me go first. I was the bait. The sacrificial lamb. Guess they are still my little boys :). Anyway, seeing their reactions and listening to them talk about it for the night and next day made the wait worth it.

This “double date” was a first, and probably a last. We had a good time, but the whole idea is that they spend time ALONE with me. And while I know they love each other and had a fun night, it’s pretty much impossible for them to go an entire night (or 10 minutes) without harassing each other on some level. Unless some weird circumstances prevent it, I think I’ll stick to the one-on-one from here on out.

I’m glad that the 3 of us got to experience our first corn maze together, and I had a great night with them both. Thanks boys!