Saturday, January 24, 2015


Yeah, it's kind of a New Year's Resolution post, but not really. 

I have been thinking for a while now, that I need to start blogging again. 
For a long time I was kind of not sure what to write. I haven't even journaled a whole lot over the past year or two. I was in a state of observation about my life- just taking it all in and trying learn and grow and understand the things I was going through... have been going through. I am not sure I have it all figured out, but I do know that writing about it helps me sort sometimes, and I promised myself that I would start writing more. 

I have very poor handwriting. I haven't always, but since I don't write very much any more, and when I do write, it is usually fast-paced, so I can keep up with my thoughts, and I have carpul tunnel, so that means my hand usually gets numb and then it just gets worse; a fight to get all my thoughts down and with as few words as possible, so that I can finish before I am interrupted. So typing is really better to actually be able to read what I write. Plus, there is a backspace button, which looks much better than scribbling on the pages :)  I don't know if I will spill my guts all the time- I am still deciding about what this blog is about, and how I want to go about this. Because some stuff I won't write "out loud". But I do open up quite a bit when I write, so I'm sure there will be a happy medium of personal vs too personal in here. 

This blog has mostly been about my creative things- starting with crafty stuff, just so I had a place to post pictures so that I could see that I DO (did) actually have moments when things went well and I made something that wasn't half bad and actually followed through with an idea. I am kind of wishy- washy and have a lot of inner battles about sharing things, or even having the guts to attempt to do something creative, because it never turns out the way I want it to, or as good as the image in my head. Well, I don't really craft anymore, but I have really turned to photography as my main way to feel like I have a creative outlet. I actually had to give myself permission to really work on it (in my own, sporadic way) a few years ago, and I think, even though I am still not where I want to be, that I've gotten a lot better. I actually feel like I have made some good improvement, and I feel very thankful that I can work and improve and sometimes take a picture that people really like, and I really like. 

My biggest issue with photography, is that I don't share a lot of pictures, because I don't have the time to edit and so I feel like they need to be hidden until they are "better". I don't know how I feel about all of that still. I don't know where that will go. If I get good enough, then maybe it won't even be an issue.... but because I am an arty person inside, it's hard not to want to play with pictures. But mostly I just want to take good, crisp pictures, with nice detail and that captures a moment or a characteristic, or a feeling- a memory mostly, or something beautiful. One of my goals this year, is to share more pictures of things that bring me joy and show the things I really appreciate.  So I thought this blog might get more use if I used this as my place to share. I love my FB, but usually I have too many thoughts to share it all on FB- that's for shorter snatches, not long, wordy explanations. Not that I don't get wordy there, because of course I do, but I think I miss this medium for my thoughts. I have moved away from just my family blog, because FB has taken over for that, but I think I want to make this maybe more public.... not that I long to be a famous blogger, oh please no. But it's interesting to just have a voice for the few people who read this to know who I am. Of course, I don't think people read this, but... that's not the point at the moment. The point is, that I am just going to try and blog more.... here. I have had a few nudges it seems, to begin again. I kept putting it off, but here I am. It's all official now. Behold! I am following through! 

I have had some things that I thought I would write about, but I just never made it here. But I have been a big whirl of thoughts for several weeks now, perhaps months. A lot is personal, spiritual. I probably will talk about spiritual often, as that's a big part of my life and thoughts, but right now I feel a little guarded, so I'll just say that I am observing more and hope that I will feel like sharing some things here and there.

 My personal life is stretched a little more than usual lately because my mom has had some strokes and that is stretching our family a lot, bit by bit, starting with some dementia onset after a surgery a year ago at Thanksgiving, and this past year, the day after Thanksgiving, I found her as she was having a stroke, trying to get up from her office chair. She had had a mini stroke probably in August, before this one, and has since, I am pretty sure, had another mini one that pretty much wiped out a lot of her speech. It's been very frustrating for her and as we have tried to get her affairs in order, it has been a very interesting time for my whole family. I have done things I didn't think I could. 

Sometimes I tuck inside my shell and can't do it, and other times I have been blessed to be able to do more than I thought I could. I really have seen the Lord's hand in my life through this though. It's been emotional sometimes, to have to deal with the emotional reality of the situation- that my parent is not where she thought she would be, and might not be here for very long. Sometimes that is a comforting thought- that she won't have to go through too much more, and other times I hope she has years left, and gets to experience some neat things with family and grandkids and great grandbabies that have only been here a short time, but really make my mom happy. She loves her kids and her grand kids. I know, all mom's do, but it's probably the biggest part of her world. She has always given of herself for her family. She doesn't even know how to spend time for herself, really. 

Now her life is full of therapies and naps and short visits, because that's all she has energy for. I am thankful for her newest nurse's helper that is the sweetest lady to my mother. It has helped me not feel so horrible, because we have had a LOT of sickness for the past two weeks or more. I hadn't been sick for a long time, and had been very thankful for that, but then got sick, started to get better, and then go sick AGAIN as my antibiotics should have been just finishing in my system. (like fever that turned my lips blue, I got so cold when it first came on- but a hot bath and ibuprofin helped that and a couple of days later, the fever was done) I am still trying to get over the cough, but am feeling a lot better, but kind of overwhelmed with feeling like I am behind- behind on visits, behind on where I wanted to be with homeschool by this time of year, and with the house... but I guess overall things are good, so I will try not to complain. I haven't cared about my house for a long time- that's a long story and I won't go into that today, or maybe never, but I've been doing some healing, and I am making some baby steps of progress. It is short lived when it happens and sometimes feels like it might never get better, but I know that's not true. Times and Seasons. 

Some of the things I debate if I want to write, is because, family might be reading this (no offense, and it's not exclusive to family in these areas). If it was all a neutral audience, I might say more. Now, don't misunderstand- I love all of those family, (that is not side exclusive) But because I am who I am, I take things a certain way sometimes- that kind of feeds the negative parts of my mental process, and I am responsible for that, but it's taking some time to work through. And because we love our family members, sometimes distance (not claiming it to be the best way, just the way we deal)  is because of the things we want to work through on our end more than it's about any fault one might think we have with their end. And some things you just can't explain to anyone, no matter who they are. 

It would be great if everyone just always understood everyone and we could see their side of things, or where they are coming from, and know all of the reasons and things that make one feel they way they do about something or another, but we don't, unless we communicate it all... and sometimes to feel you have to explain it all is very exhausting to think about, so it's easier to say nothing. I will say that I even do the same to my husband. I mean, we have the we part of us that collectively don't want to explain personal things to family or friends, so it's easier to tuck it away, but it's fair to say that I, at least, know that I do the same to my husband. 

We do communicate, but sometimes it takes feeling like there is safety in the things you want to say, before you are ready to say anything. And when things are rushed and the day to day takes it's toll, it takes a good mini date and maybe a drive around your neighborhood 10 times (until you suggest we go on a real drive if we are going to keep talking about things) until you are ready to open up. Sometimes we (collectively) don't know if the answers we give, to the questions people want to understand, will be heard with open hearts. And when the things that others want to understand are sensitive spiritually, it's best not to just throw it out there, because it might be misunderstood- and very often is. Even from spouse to spouse. I'd say that both my husband and I need to work on feeling safe to share with one another, and being someone that the other feels safe to share with. I think sometimes we can get used to the same old same old, and we are going through all of this growth, so that communication needs to grow as well. But we are working on it. I'm guessing that might happen a few more times in the stages and seasons of our lives, that we will have to morph how we interact as we grow up more :) I think the past several months we have learned a lot about where we are communication wise, for which, I am very grateful, but know I have more work to do. I am very grateful for him though. 

 I know it's pathetic that we need hard things sometimes to makes us recognize our blessings, but with all of this stuff the past two months with my mom, I have been ever so much more thankful for him. Even just coming with me to visit her helps more than he realizes (not to mention all of the heavy lifting he did when we moved her stuff out of her apartment). Plus, the man is so great with certain people- and old people are on that list. I really love to watch him interact with them. It's one of his most attractive qualities. I sometimes could feel jealous at how much attention he pays to old people, but then when I see them smile and joke with him, I just feel blessed he's mine. And my mom has been so thankful for him as well. He has made her laugh and listened to her cry and has given her many a priesthood blessing. Two of those were requirements in the man I married- sense of humor and priesthood worthiness. I found a good one. My kids find some of his humor predictable at times, but more for them to make fun of I guess, right? :) They just know their dad well. 

I was going to write some stuff about music and this great concert and some spiritual stuff, but I guess I'll just tuck that one in my journal, because this is long, and after a week of procrastinating writing about it, it doesn't feel as relevant to this post as it did when I thought it would be the first post I posted this year and embarking on this blog rejuvenation.  (one thought I have had a lot lately, is that vowel sounds make me frustrated sometimes when they are too interchangeable and I don't know what letter I am messing up on when I try to spell a word and have to spell check- I'm glad it underlines it for me though, or I'd never know) 

Wow, I can't believe I actually did it! I blogged before January was over, with time to spare even! I feel like I need to tuck in some pictures because that makes anything more interesting. .... Let me see what I can find: 

I'm rusty, so this is in no particular order, and because I am using a laptop, my pictures are on my slow PC and so I had to pull from old albums on Picassa. 

That was a few anniversaries ago... not sure which one (so pathetic- sorry, but it's the truth- I have no memory anymore) 

Below is from my mom's 70th birthday party several years back. That's my sister, Lynette, my mom Alice and myself. My sister and I have been working together a lot via the phone, texting and messaging to get things sorted for my mom. Our brothers are inputting and helping as well, but we kind of said we were the ones handling it, and I think because all of my brothers are married, they kind of naturally let us, not because they are lazy, but because we kind of put ourselves in charge and they just move things and do what we ask them to for now. But really, everyone is working together in a variety of ways and I am thankful that we are all who we are in all of this. 

My cute husband with our youngest, a few years ago. He's so fun with her. We call her "The Emmers Express", because she's non stop. She probably gets her sense of humor from her dad, but I'm not entirely dull myself. She gets her constant singing from me (they all do- I know this because it's usually Randal that asks us to stop after awhile). Except, her made up songs are probably better than mine were at her age, and she's less shy. And she can sing and pretend and play forever. Oh my, has she been a blessing and a joy. If we weren't laughing so much, we might be a lot worse for the wear, but it's a gift that men can be like children I tell ya! She wears him out, more than he already is, but he has a lot of fun too. I'm glad he can. I'll do the late night talking, and he can be the "fun" one :)

My mom and Libby when she was baptized 3 years ago, and Randal and Libby below. One of my favorite pictures. It was pre- braces for Lib- I mean, that's adorable, but her teeth are very pretty now. :) I can't believe how much she has grown when I look at these pictures- she's a tween now. She's talented and fashionable and smart and also has her father's sense of humor, and her brother's, because she is much more quick witted than I, and very sarcastic and likes to tease more than you'd think. When she was little I thought she was just trying to be difficult by teasing me, but really, she was just trying to diffuse the tension I think, by joking. There was a lot of tension back then. I'm glad it's less tense now. She's a beautiful girl, and is always a very sweet helper with my mom. One of their last days together before all of the hospital stuff happened, they had a tea party with a green tea set. Now that we have cleared out my mom's apartment and got rid of a few things and kind of sent some things between 3 of us for now (my sister, one brother and myself, the rest is stored for the other two) Libby really wanted that tea set. It has a special memory for her. We also have the file of pictures that Libby (and a couple from Ivy) drew for my mom. She liked Libby's art very much. There are actually a lot of notes and drawings "To Grandma Bunker" from grand kids in her stuff, but Libby drew enough just for her while she has lived in Idaho, that my mom made a file. :) (and yes, Libby got the tea set- of course!)

And here's a picture of my mom from 1957, I believe this is her senior picture from high school.
It was always so bizarre to see pictures of my mom with long hair. My whole life her hair was short- probably most of my mom's life too. I think she wore it short before she even met my dad. So somewhere between here and when they met, she chopped it very short. Like Rizzo from Grease, kind of. The picture with her and Libby is probably the longest she let it get in YEARS. It's in need of a trim now too though. They had to shut down the beauty parlor at the care center while the flu was going around. I hope she is able to get a hair cut before we move her to Salt Lake. Hopefully, that will happen by Feb. 1st. That's the plan. My poor sister, she is trying to get all of the plans sorted, and they keep changing. She's way more organized than I am, so I'm thankful she's doing it, but I have been praying for it all to work out (and helping where I can), because it's been a lot of stress and worry and hours on her end. I am glad we can serve my mom this way though. It makes us all want to have it all sorted for ourselves, but I am glad we can help her do this. It would have been too much to do alone for her. And she certainly has helped all of us over the years. Love you Mother Alice. 

Monday, September 29, 2014


Sometimes, when I'm trying to be productive, that's when everything or everyone need something from me. I wonder why that is? Is it like one of those Murphey's Laws or something?
It might not bother me so much, if I were a more efficiently productive person in the first place.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Because there's less traffic here than FB. (probably need to proof- read, but haven't much- sorry)

So I am sitting here and kind of dizzy and really want to go lay back down. I don't want to write about this on FB right now, and I don't think I could make a legible journal entry, so I think today this is my journal writing.
I really have a lot of stuff I could say. I've had some health stuff going on with my head- at least we think that's what it is. Waiting for MRI report today. That procedure was kind of a process that I really felt lead to and through, as I couldn't do a regular one. I last 30 seconds, if even, in the tube. But a few nights searching the internet turned out something here and there that eventually lead to an open MRI that I could get through, even though I still took the little pill they gave me to relax, just in case, which wouldn't have knocked me out to sit through a regular one, so it's good that it was the open on in Twin Falls instead. I will gladly recommend Pinnacle Imaging in Twin Falls Idaho to anyone who is looking. We weren't sure they were on our PPO provider list, but they were and it was more proof I was being helped find the right place that would work for me. I could go on about bird song and some other stuff, but won't for now. Maybe some day.
Anyway, I just feel like writing and I feel like wanting to go lay back down too, so this is keeping me awake. I have to take some steroids which are supposed to mess up my sleep cycle if I take them at night, so maybe those will kick in because it's day. I just took them, but I also just took the pain meds they gave me. Ibuprofin stopped working for me. I was going on 2 weeks, but Friday I went to the ER just to make sure my head was not being taken over by invaders or something because it was hurting pretty good. They gave me a headache cocktail that worked (but then made me anxious- good thing I brought a book and then my husband showed up after work so I could handle sitting in the room waiting. I hate the anxious feeling I get after meds at a hospital. I can't do it very well. That and the idea of pain are more scary to me than thinking about a potential surgery. Well... I was starting to worry they'd see a big tumor or something so that was getting me super scared. I started praying "Heavenly Father, I can't do it. Please help me get through this. I don't want surgery. I was thinking it wouldn't be bad at first, as long as the problem could go away, but now I don't want to anymore. I'll have to sit and be anxious and be in pain and I just don't think I could take it. Please make this go away".
I brought the MRI disk with me to the ER that I had got the day before, since we were from out of town and they didn't know whom we would need to give them to. But no report, just the pics. That day I was getting 4 hours still out of the ibuprofin and I could mostly push myself to 6 to take more. But I woke up Friday and 2 hours of almost pain management was all I was getting. No full relief. It is mostly in my upper jaw and temple area. I've had some numbness at times and really it's been going on for awhile. I thought it was sinus and chiropractic issues, and sometimes it was related to my mental health status- too much anxiety and I felt pressure, if I took medication for it, which I had to recently because it was out of the blue worse than it's been in awhile, then after over a week or two I was feeling pressure of a different kind but in the same area, so I had to get off. I tapered off and felt a lot better after I got off. I really do okay in general, in my little world, off of medication. I don't think medication makes me a more productive person, it just helps me here and there to feel like I'm in control more. But after a bit, I feel more anxious in a different way when I'm on them. I even missed church one day because I couldn't face trying to get my 6 year old up and ready when we already did churchy stuff the day before by going to a baptism. We had expended our usual Sunday getting ready allotment I guess and neither of us had more for the next day. Even off antidepressants that doesn't usually happen. I mean, I have days it's hard to want to get up and ready, but I usually get there. That day I just stayed in bed. As soon as I made the decision to just have my bigger kids go without me and Emrie, I felt the pressure ease and I was a lot better after that. Anyway, after that I thought maybe I better ease off because I recognized the pressure again. And that got me thinking that this pressure thing, first of all, is so weird and I can't put my finger on why it happens. I noticed it was worse before I got on blood pressure medicine, but that's been 9 months now and I am doing a lot better that way. But still the other pressure. I got some allergies and the pain started with the pressure. I even took allergy pills and was still getting this pain in my jaws. I asked my dentist, because we just did some work about the same time and she said with numbness in my temple, it sounded more like something was pressing somewhere that shouldn't. I agreed. I just haven't ever been able to go in and say, "Hey, can you check out my head- I think something is pressing in there." I mean, I've eluded to the idea of my worry. I've been to and ENT and he looked up my nose with a light and gave me nose drops for dryness (because I do have a deviated septum so another factor to the list of what might be going on)  but he was not thorough enough to calm my worry. I've been to regular doc about it and he recommended me to ENT, and looked up my nose... But finally (not sure that's the right choice of words, because it hasn't been pleasant) this numbness and pressure was being consistent. Not just coming and going. The pain in my jaws was really bad and I was trying to find pressure points on my skull to help elleviate some pain. One day that was helpful. I got it to relax a bit, but after that it was just staying. I'd feel okay while the pain stuff was working, but then hurt really bad again after it wore off. And I started to get pretty worried. I also noticed that lately with the mental and the pain and pressure and the fact that I felt like my already poorer hearing in my left ear- because of a bad ear infection 16 years ago- was getting worse. The past year I think it's even gotten worse. It's very frustrating to hear distinct sounds and you know they are words, but you cannot make out what is being said.
So I decided, because of the numbness more than anything, to look up facial numbness. I found some interesting information and that lead me to get up the guts to finally go back to the doctor and ask for further investigation. Because even though I never wanted to find out I had a tumor or cancer or something, I didn't want to keep hurting and the numbness was sticking around more than usual. Although , it wasn't there much when I actually went to the doctor. By that time I had been taking some allergy medicine and I think that part was more sinus related, but I wasn't super stuffy or anything, but was feeling sinus like pressure, but also the jaw pressure and pain, which I knew was not dental- not that we can tell anyway. And the pain has stuck around for over 2 weeks. The ER visit really helped, all of the next day I felt great (and full of caffeine from all the meds from the ER) But the pain started coming back before bedtime on Sat. night and I've been taking the script they gave me for pain. It's effective, but like I said, I am really desiring a nap right now... and I even totally slept in. I am not having to take it every 4 hours but here and there. I'm very grateful for it because I'd taken all the pain I could really- I am a big wimp with pain. But I am hoping to find out what is going on. I think Pinnacle is supposed to send a report to my regular doc today and I hope to hear something. ER doc said nothing big and scary- not sure I mentioned that? He could read enough to see  no tumor or brain swelling. I asked him if he could see something like an acoustic neuroma, but he said that's more subtle and he can't tell that; we'll have to wait for the report. So we at least had some relief over the weekend- of pain (whew!) and mentally. I think my husband was more relieved than I was, but I was relieved too. Because the pain not going away was making me worry something was pressing someplace really bad, or getting worse and what if something bad happened? So that was comforting for the weekend.
Weekends are the worse because you know you will not hear from your doctor. And there was a slight chance Friday afternoon the report would have been done by 5 but my doc closes at 4, so there was no way.. and I was hurting all I could by that time. I had been trying to be patient that Friday, but after I found that out I got worried my head needed to be cracked open to remove some growth that would kill me by Monday. Glad that wasn't the case.
So today I wait. Still no word. It could be the neuroma thing, it could be a facial nerve thing, it could be a blood pressure thing that I need a spinal tap to find out if there are no answers found on the MRI. But something is for sure going on. If I don't have any reason, I told my husband I want my head or feet mapped. I know you can map feet- heads, I am not as sure. But I'd go the holistic approach if there are not conventional medical reasons. This has been an off and on thing for years really and I just want some answers. And now it's really affecting me physically.  Maybe it's because I'm so anti- antidepressant? Maybe my head is used to a certain level of chemical imbalance and it needs to be leveled, but trying to level it, or leveling it with the wrong dose is making me even weirder feeling? That will be harder to pin point I think than something they can see on an MRI though. Hmm, that actually makes me a little emotional to think about. I feel like a normal (sure I'm weird, but overall normal) person, but I do have some limitations and triggers. But I think a lot and deeply and have thoughtful conversations with my kids and journal and analyze and try to be prayerful and find my talents and not beat myself up for the stuff I don't do well at the moment. I believe in Times and Seasons and feel like my trials are also blessings in other ways and have taught me a lot. So what if they say, "It's all in your head- we see  nothing wrong?" Then what does that mean?
I jokingly thought that maybe if there was a growth I could be like John Travolta in Phenom and start moving stuff with my mind, but I'd still choose Mrs. Weasley's wand skills over that really, but it was fun to think about.
It's scary to think about having stuff removed from your brain. One of my sister in laws just had that done actually- thankfully she's doing well and I am sure it's a comfort to me to know that. Her issue was different, but it was helpful to know she is recovering, and if I had to have surgery like hers, then at least my septum would be fixed... but mine is very one side of my head, so I think I'm still going to have to have my nose broke to fix it if I ever decide to go through with it. I just don't like hospitals. I know they are good and necessary, but like I said, waiting for pain or waiting for surgery, or waiting for pain medication after surgery (last year it was gall bladder removal and I got an inflamed pancreas that KILLED me when I moved so I am sure that's still fresh in my head- because you can tell someone you hurt, and you worry that they think you are a drug addict because they don't understand why you should be hurting so much----- well I am am about 60 -100 lbs heavier than the nurses so that might have something to do with some of it. I'm a bigger beast here. But you can't explain why but you don't want to even get up and go pee because it's going to hurt like the devil the second you move, and even if you don't... thankfully blood tests can reveal there is a cause and you are not an addict and please give her more morphin if she needs because she really is in pain and we'll give her something to make the inflammation go down too.)
See, but all the scary stuff stays in my subconscious- even the smell of the hospital sets it off, and sounds I think. I've had 5 babies- one natural, and 4 with epidurals and 2 of those epidural experiences were kind of worse than remembering about my first natural birth (not by choice, but because in Italy you really have to need it.) Thankfully that one was only an hour labor and delivery. More proof that Heavenly Father knows I don't do pain very well. Just thinking about it makes my arms weak. I mean, you do forget the bad stuff, but subconsciously, i think all of the anxiety about pain and anxiety itself is stored up. The anxiety of anxiety. It's true. It's what I dread sitting through more than knowing I'd have to be cut open because I take for granted that I'd at least be out for the cutting open part. I wasn't freaking out about the gall bladder removal until I woke up in pain from that asking "Why am I in so much pain?" because my daughter had hers out just before and she didn't wake up like that. I had an extra duct that was leaking bile so they had to send me over for a stent, which lead to I think 4 days total in hospital... not just the in and out surgery we'd just go my daughter through. Apparently I was awake post surgery (the first part) and trying to climb off the bed before I even came too fully enough to realize people were saying my name and asking me to lay back down and I was going to be going over to the hospital because of the bile thing (the surgeon was good and caught it, so another thankful thing, even if it was not what I expected). I asked for my husband and he helped keep me calm- again- he is very helpful in that regard and was by my side at the open MRI too, which really helped at the beginning and at the end when I could feel the relaxing meds wearing off. Maybe it's not my size, but my mental fight to flee pain, or potential pain? I don't know? But I think he and I might want to open an Open MRI in Idaho Falls now. Not that we know anything about it, but my goodness- why would anyone want to be stuck in a tube when there are other options? Why is that not just standard now? No one take our idea- it might be our only chance to make a few bucks.

Anyway- it's almost 2PM. I'm still waiting to hear if something subtle is going on in my head, or if it's all in my mind and I'm really more crazy than I thought. Why is that so discomforting to find out nothing is wrong. I guess the option of being legit crazy is the part that bothers me. If I do have a neuroma, I might have the Incredible Hulk to thank for it. Here's a link because this was comforting to me to find one night in my search too. And the info I've read helped calm my worried about just being a nutter. I'll leave 3 links- even if NONE of them have anything to do with what is going on with me. But one of them mentions how it moves into the jaw, but it's called something else then. So if it's either of those, or some facial nerve thing that I haven't read about but have been told about, I almost be grateful to have an answer actually.
So here's the links and maybe I'll throw in a few pics of our adventure POST MRI too, but I might be too tired for that. I'll add them later if I don't today. HOVER over the word list below for links- I don't have a link color set anymore I guess:

Mark Ruffalo Interview
And this one for the Mayo Clinic just because I like the name -Mayoclinic. It makes me want a sandwich with a side of a pickle or regular chips- or both.

We went to Shoshone Falls after we were done and before we headed out of town. We probably spent 2 hours here taking pictures and looking for Rockchucks (dang it- now I'll HAVE to add another picture) and the girls hiked little places. It was $3 well spent for entry. Beautiful really and nice for the weary travelers (the  2 little girls) to run around before the drive home. Car rides are long, even when they aren't that long. Know what I mean? :)


So Ivy was taking our picture and I saw some Pelicans and there I am pointing them out. I like birds better than trying to look decent for a picture. 

Libby has a bit of a fear of heights. She wanted to see the falls, but this railing was a bit too visually open for her :) But she still had fun! (oh and side note- Libby likes medical stuff. So the other day when she found out about the MRI she asked if I was going to have some "occ..... lobe" scanned while I was there. She'd watched it on Ruff Ruffman. She could remember the name, but I can't. I told her though that they'd probably take pictures of all of my head inside because we don't know what's going on. But she told me a lot about MRI's this past week and I could tell you that the lobe she mentioned is at the back part of my head- she thinks- sounds right to me.) 

Ivy stayed home to help with the girls that day (because the little girls homeschool) to be with the girls while Randal was with me. I really appreciated that when I was in there having the MRI. I took this picture upside down on purpose- thought it might be fun. This is the best I could get of their faces. It's hard to take pictures upside down and backwards. 

Meet Cuddles: 

After Cuddles (Libby named him/her) spent time just looking at me take her picture and roaming around on the rocks below me nibbling the vegetation, she decided to curl up and take a nap for a minute. I was even quietly waving me kids toward me so they could see how close she was. She didn't seem too bothered. We got several pictures of several, but she's my favorite. One of them, probably a male, was pretty fearless before we left. As Emrie tried to inch closer he wouldn't move until I mentioned "don't try and pet it- it's got strong teeth" So she jolted and ran off and that spooked him off under the fence too. But until then he just watched her inch closer and repositioned  his body. He was hanging out with the ladies I think, so maybe he was protecting them? Another one Lib named was called "Chuck" and the one Emrie got close to she named "Sam". Cuddles was the cutest with all the white. Oh... sorry, the other one that ran first, before she got closer to Sam and Cuddles she decided just now to call "Fast Runner" because he/she was a little more spooky- probably younger? Just guessing.

Here's Cuddles curling up for a nap for a min. She knew I wasn't jumping the wall/ fence. And yeah, I think that's rockchuck poop you can see in the picture above. It was kind of all over. For the record- Rockchucks are like Groundhogs, and all are marmots. Not sure they are the same kind of marmots and they live and are called different things depending on where you live. I might be wrong, but I think this kind of marmot is a Yellow Bellied Marmot. I looked a bunch of stuff up over the past couple of years and that's what I remember reading. I don't want to check sources at the moment, but you can look it up, or if you know the real answer then feel free to leave a comment.

Okay, well, I'll update if I find anything else out. All for now- JM

UPDATE: 6 PM- haven't heard from anyone. Maybe tomorrow.

Update: Turns out it was just deviated septum and chronic sinus infections- for years. But had the surgery and recovered, and I think I'm doing a lot better now. This update is Jan. 29th 2015.

Friday, March 7, 2014

King Lear Could've Used Some Prozac Probably

So this picture is blurry, but it's from my son's high school production of King Lear (not my son here- he was the good guy at the end- you know, one of the few that live at the end). I actually like it because it's blurry because then I don't have to blur his face, and you still get a feel for what's going on. Not a story I was familiar with to be honest, but after the first night I asked my son questions about what was going on (there are always issues with the mics first night and a lot of rushing lines) I was able to go back closing night and understand what was going on a bit better. I did grasp that the king is kind of loosing it though and I just though "poor crazy King Lear" I could kind of relate a bit.  

I've had my moments, especially lately. They kind of come and go, but recently I feel like they are hanging around a little more often. Not like King Lear, but enough to decide maybe it's time to get back on my anxiety/depression medication. I think I've been off a year or two maybe, but today I got a refill. It was very interesting that it was the day after I had written a reply to a post on another blog about depression. I've written about it a few places lately. Maybe writing about it kind of helped me reassess? It was kind of a long day yesterday; lots of thinking and stuff and lots of writing, actually. Writing is good sometimes. I supposed that's why I decided to write this.

That's kind of it for now. Maybe I won't even publish this. Maybe I just want to write it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My girls (well... two of them)

So the other day I was looking through Pinterest and I don't know what a "stamp" is, but I thought these would be super cute coloring pages for my girls, so I pinned them to use as coloring pages. Just so happens that we decided to take crayons to church. We haven't in a long time, but Emrie really likes to draw and color, but we usually only have pens, pencils and highlighters to color with, so I told her this week she should find her crayon box and put it in my bag. I printed out some other things too, and an identical set of pictures for each girl. 

They liked all of them, but were each drawn to a particular picture. As I watched them color their pictures I just had to smile because two pictures each really represented each girl, down to how they colored. 

First here's the pictures I saved to my computer- they were both free images so I hope it's okay to share them here. But I only posted the link to one of them, because I don't know which folder I pinned the other to. I don't have a set folder for coloring pages, but I think I might need to make one...

Okay, first, here is Emrie's picture. She is 6.  The colors are a little off because my scanner isn't the best, but I tried to adjust them the best I could. The blues are a little off mostly- they aren't so bright in "real life", and the skin is a little brighter and pinker in these too. But you get the idea and that doesn't really have anything to do with the pictures, but I feel the need to really explain about meaningless things sometimes. I don't know why. It's just the way I am.

ABOVE: You'll notice that in Emrie's picture it's more rushed but has A LOT of details. I'll list them for you- Top left to right and down, then back up: a bird, blue clouds, the grey stuff at the top is not a rain cloud, that is the rocks that go to the waterfall rushing down behind her, and next to the sun. There's a tree and  the brown lines around it are sticks that fell from the tree (because our trees always drops sticks I presume) And the Yellow lines around the tree is the sunlight shining through the trees. Next, a grey and white striped cat with a collar, on the grass, and you might wonder what the reddish specks are- those are her sparkles. I think the red stuff by her feet is too, could be some shadow. On the bottom left is the dog- a beagle, with his collar and the red necklace thing a bit above the dog is the dog's leash. Above the dog is a paper with a heart drawing that the girl made and she put a rock in the corner to keep it from blowing away, that's next to another stick that has a little leaf on it. Near her hand is a little fly- isn't it adorable?... More sparkles, then below the bird, above the sparkles, you will see a little yellow-ish box area with a face; well that is a picture in the dirt that she drew with her stick. (Emrie loves to draw pictures in dirt with sticks)

I sat there and watched her just crank this picture out (because that's just how she produces art). She had asked me what else to put in the picture, after she finished coloring the girl, so I said,"how about sparkles, I guess?"  because I thought it was great the way it was. But she really had to have more stuff, so I suggested a dog, and maybe some grass. I think the rest was all her.

Really, this is how she sees the world. If you sit and watch her, she doesn't hold still and is always imagining and pretending and going and exploring. And she doesn't like to wear jeans too, so a princess or ballerina dress, or sweats or leggings or jammies is what she always wears. Jeans are too restricting. She pretty much doesn't care what she wears, as long as it's not jeans- they make her cranky. But she'll wear anything else forever until you make her change or bathe, as long as it's comfy.  So that's Emrie :) (oh, Emrie's has crayons and colored pencils)

Now for Libby's- she's 10. All Colored pencils. She requested some new ones after coloring this because she liked working with them (I think the softness), so that's part of her Valentines Day present now.

Liberty's  picture: She was careful and precise, but was bothered that the skin tone was so sketchy because the colored pencil needed to be sharpened (again, skin tone more pink in the scan).  She picked out two different browns for the hair, to give it dimension, although this scan doesn't show it well. She wanted the colors to match- she is big on having coordinated outfits and really has quite a sense of style. I tried to tone down the colors of this picture by warming it a bit, but it's a lot better looking "in person". The Yellow is a bit brighter in our version, but that was the only yellow we had so it had to do. She didn't want it to be just pink and blue, so yellow was the best color we could come up with out of what we had (my only input, other than telling her to make the belt match to tie in the skirt with the rest) but she wanted it to be softer, like the blue and pink- which, like I said, the colors are off on my scanner; this is the closest I could get it to the feel of the original.

How fitting this picture has a cat wrapped around her legs, because Libby loves kitties- even not super nice ones- and they don't mind her either. She is careful and quiet and gentle with them. They just know she's an animal person I think. You will notice that she kept this picture very simple, but I was very interested to see that she felt the Eiffel Tower would fit in here, because it totally does. Don't you think? She has a feel for things. She was going for a feel in this picture with every color and simplistic detail.

And if I have one child that should play the violin, that's her. I know it's not in the picture, but I feel like you could tell that about her from this picture, but she'd be great at the piano too. She likes to hum and sing and has a good ear - she comes to ward choir with her older siblings and I and has a pretty soprano voice. I think she'll always be a soprano- it's where her voice likes to be. When she was little and would hum we'd ask her to come down an octave because constant humming in a high pitch is hard to listen to for extended amounts of time- especially for her brother (who now plays the trumpet ironically). But she can't stop. She doesn't think people should even be able to hear her, or used to, because it's in her head, she felt. . Now Emrie is a "belter", just for the record. Kind of funny huh? Because, what other kind of a singer would she be? Libby just sings kind of quietly to her ipod and with us, but not much alone, unless it's under her breath or when no one is paying attention. Libby can be very silly and has quite a sense of humor in her own way- she's kind of quick witted- but she's not boisterous by any means; very opposite of her little sister. But they both love to play dress up and pretend, and most of the time get along pretty well, unless of course they are not getting along, and then "intervening" needs to take place.

I just think both of these pictures summed up my girls and I love them- enough to scan them! :) I just want to always remember them and how they reflect my girls (not to mention the physical similarities of each) ... so much, I felt it deserved a blog post!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


If I were a Disney Princess I could walk out my door and talk to the birds I hear right now; "Hello Mr. Magpie! Nice to see you Mr. and Mrs. Housefinch!" 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unschool/Homeschool and Why (for us)

I was just looking through unschool stuff on Youtube and Pinterest. I started to listen to one thing and thought, "Naw, I think I'll just kind of do this myself." Some stuff I love, but I think in my need to explain about why I chose to unschool and or homeschool my two youngest children I started to feel like I needed to fit in somewhere. I always say it's kind of a hippi-ish thing to do, but I don't think I need to be a hippie to unschool my kids. It's just how one of them learns best right now.

Last year I thought that I needed to do K12 because that would satisfy everyone else when they asked what I was teaching her. It seemed right to me so I didn't have to defend my point so much, but really it ended up being just like school and in the rush to try and get done before my older kids were out of school, I thought that a lot of retention was being lost or she really wasn't learning anything! And I felt like she was right back in public school, because we were going by their timeline with their curriculum. It just wasn't working.

At the end of the school year last year, well after we dropped out of K12, I talked to my daughter about homeschooling (that's what we call it, even though it's more of unschooling in nature) and how we have done things, but also letting her know that eventually we are going to have to go through the unpleasant stuff she doesn't want to listen to and learn about (math is usually the biggie) I told her something like, "People don't understand why and it bothers them and they worry your not going to learn anything" and her reply made me cry, "But we (she and her sister) are learning things". I didn't tell her that, I mostly try to conform to the idea that they aren't learning things, because she is behind in some things her peers are learning, and I am very critical of myself. But She is a good reader and she likes to learn about stuff, but just not be told it or force fed it because then she digs her heels in like no other and it's over. So in my prayerful pursuit of how to homeschool my child, my day to day feeling is not to push it with her. She'll learn things, more things in some areas, if I don't push it.

Now, we will have to be pulling out workbooks and find some creative ideas (so many pinned and bookmarked) for teaching some concepts. She's going on 10 so before this "school year" got started I talked to her at a neutral time, when she wouldn't feel the pressure, and explained that there are some things she just has to learn. She learns a lot on her own, but we would have to be more structured with a few things here and there and I really needed her to work with me and not fight me. I think eventually it's all going to get sorted. I feel in my heart that she is supposed to learn some things she can only learn here at home. Maybe that is just being nice to her sister- so far we are behind on sibling spat solving too, but I think that if I continue to do my best, be prayerful and listen to the Spirit and take the unschooling approach of stepping back and seeing what she learns, it's going to work out.

I hope that other parts of her life that I feel get neglected in a public school schedule will be enriched. The stuff that I felt that "if I only had more time with her we could work on this" when she was in regular school. It was a replay of life with my oldest, Lauren (who's now graduated and college bound next semester if all goes as planned) when she would have panic attacks in 2nd grade when I'd drop off her little brother to Kindergarten. The girl who LOVED school until she moved a few times in a few years, then it became this thing I dreaded to send her to and felt that someone else was telling me what I could and couldn't do with MY child. I HAD to keep her in school because that's what you are supposed to do. But every day it just got worse and worse and I wanted to feel like I had control of my kid and what I thought was best. She struggles with anxiety to this day and it was quite and obstacle even in middle school and high school.
With my younger one, Liberty, I wasn't even sure that we'd make it through first grade, but didn't want her to miss out on some fun things (and I was doing PTO photography stuff) so we stuck it out, even though she was begging me to homeschool by that time. But every day was torture for both she and I from sun up to sun down.

For years with Lib I tried to be tougher on her because I thought I had babied her too much, and I thought she must be the most manipulative toddler in the world (and at times sooo conflicted), but then I realized when she was in Kindergarten and had loving sweet ladies around her and they spoke kindly and were tender to her, that she was in fact very tender herself and I was breaking her heart the way I talked to her. The whole family struggled to be nice to her because everything with her was a battle. She never just did anything without a fight and was always sad and negative. I tried to do positive reinforcement, but it would be days before I could find any behavior to praise her for- I know that sounds horrible, but it was so true at the time, and even when I did find something she didn't remember she was even praised for it because she only saw the negative. (She also had this super sweet side to her and some people just didn't believe she could be so hard, but that's hard to imagine when a cute brown eyed little girl is snuggling in your lap)

As she began to be able to articulate her feelings through being in school and learning to talk about what was bothering her, that's when I started to realize something was up with this girl (I hadn't just spoiled her or ruined her) and forcing her was just not working. I started to see her as a child that had a tender heart and was sad because we were being so tough on her trying to make her grow up and be more responsible, trying to cut the apron strings a bit. It broke my heart to realize that. I remember a few times she talked about Jesus and wanting to be with him and I knew it was because she wanted that comfort she wasn't feeling.

First grade had some great things, good friends and a great teacher, but her teacher noticed that she was a roller coaster emotion kind of girl (her teacher had a roller coaster son so too, thankfully). She would be so happy, but by after lunch she was ready to tune out and she'd get sad or "sick" and want to come home unless their was something fun to look forward to and then she was happy again. Homework was just the worst thing ever. Mid year I talked to the counselor and told her we were doing homework for HOURS because it was such a battle and she recommended to the teacher that we cut back. Libby was understanding stuff, but it was a tearful event for both of us almost daily. I really thought I'd go crazy. Not to mention she didn't sleep. I thought being up early would help her go so sleep at night, something she struggled with forever, but I am a night owl so I probably had just gotten her into bad habits, right? But she could have had the longest day ever but we'd be up until one, me in her bed with her trying to get her to sleep enough that I could slip out of the room without her shooting into panic, and even that was after hours of just laying there. She'd just be awake. Now we've discovered a half a melatonin does wonders and I feel almost like she can have a regular bedtime, except we homeschool so it's not always so regular :) But WAY better!!!!
I got on antidepressants because I struggle with anxiety and depression, but hadn't been on anything for 10 years, just learned some coping things, and I prefer it that way because even if I am on stuff I am not better at the day to day stuff- it doesn't make me a better _____ fill in the blank. But I was really going crazy and it did help for about a year and a few other select times since, but it didn't help Libby get any better (no way am I medicating a girl that is okay unless you push her, at this age) So the answers to my prayers about my daughter, even though it wasn't going to be everyone's favorite answer,  was to keep her home.

I've battled a lot of guilt and tried to "duplicate the classroom" which just doesn't work for homeschool if you ask me, because that's the benefit, or hindrance, it's not a classroom. You can't sit and recite times tables with the class. It doesn't have that same echo effect that made it stick in my 4th grade head. It's not very sing song-y I guess. And really, if you are home, it's no big deal to lay on your bed and read, or be in your pj's.
I have battled trying to be what I think others think I should be for my daughter, and how I think others will think I should handle her, but through many other things in our lives, as well as listening to my feelings about homeschooling Liberty,  I am learning to trust myself to receive answers to prayers and trust in the Lord. And the other week I was pondering why I am supposed to be doing this- what are they going to learn from me? Then I realized if I think of anything I want my kids to learn from me, what I want them to learn the most is to be worthy of and listen to the Holy Ghost, and trust the Lord's timeline. The rest just doesn't even compare, not times tables or what a paragraph is (because I really stink at that one as you can probably tell- because it's all one big long thought in my head) not any of it.

I know it's my job now to teach as much as I can about grammar and spelling etc., but I think we pick that stuff up as we read too. So much in life that we actually know we just learned by doing and experiencing and talking and observing. The things I studied for tests were forgotten after the test was about a week past, maybe a little longer for some stuff. The things I loved or was taught by someone who just relayed information about something they loved, was the stuff that stuck with me. I mean, who is really Smarter than a Fifth Grader? Not at random facts, not if you ask me. But I can tell you random facts that I learned myself! I can explain a lot of things to my kids that I learned in school, but as they are happening around us. And what an age we live in that we can find so much information with a few clicks of the mouse! Just Google it- isn't that what we all do?

So many educational games, Libby loves and some game with lunch lab or something in the name. If I tell her she can be on the computer if it's educational that's a lot of times where she goes, and Poptropica brings up lots of literary and historical characters that we can talk about too. And she loves Netflix for a lot of really great PBS shows too- Wild Krats and Martha Speaks and Word Girl and Arthur. Emrie loves Dinosaur Train and I am trying to get her to watch Super Why more too, but she likes lots of good things too. They also love "Ponies" so that's a battle sometimes, and to watch Avenger cartoons with Tennyson, and recently Power Rangers for Libby because of the discussion around the house of Lauren meeting the Original Black Ranger at Comic Con and Tennyson's influence- they have a great connection, he and Lib. Oh, and Lauren, Tennyson and Ivy are a great example of how fun books can be and I think Libby is starting to believe them.
It started out very loosy goosy, but it's starting to be more structured in that they know certain amount of stuff they choose will be more educational, but educational doesn't have to mean not fun. We are working it out, and we'll bring in the work books soon I think once I am more settled and as I get acclimated to what I want to accomplish, taking into account my own anxieties and way of doing things.

I do a lot better when I am not worried about what everyone else is thinking for sure though, and I am working on that one. It's weird because I really don't care quite a bit about what people think. Like, I know this is where my little girls are supposed to be. Whether or not I want to sit and explain my reasoning and detail our lesson plans is another story- because I don't- it's no one's business, especially if your questions are out of doubt for my choice, rather than being curious but supportive. When I get questions about it I start to doubt because I feel like I am being doubted, which in turn makes me worry that I got my personal revelation wrong, but then I remember I've probably prayed about it way more than the people asking so I tell myself to not worry about it and remember how clear it's been and how many times when I tried to push because I was worried about being productive enough, that the reminder came that I need to calm down and back off. In time it will all be clear.
Really it's what is right for our family situation. And however anyone else does their homeschool/unschool (or any school really) is their family decision too and I will take the stuff I like from what I learn, but I don't have to feel like I have to be any certain way to fit into this role- at least, I hope I don't get that way. It's a daily journey we are taking and we can decide the directions when we get to another street.

I really believe there have been selective people along the way that have helped me, given me direction through their example and opinions and I am so thankful for that and recognize it, but I catch myself thinking sometimes that I need to do other stuff that isn't me, like them. I caught myself tonight, but my path is my own and it's spiritual and private, and I hope that I can figure out a way to explain that to people who ask questions. I don't think anyone means to offend, it's just such a different thing still (although becoming more popular) so I try not to be offended, but sometimes it makes me feel bad and doubt my abilities, but I am deferring to a higher source for help so I will trust that it will all work out over time and we'll figure out even more what works for us. Maybe writing this will be helpful. Maybe I'll just direct traffic here for answers :) But I am thankful for where I am at right now. And I am grateful for my kids and husband being supportive, and for the girls working with me as we attempt teaching Emrie how to read, eventually- this is the first time I have taken on that- I do good with a lot of things, but don't have much confidence in teaching someone to read- mostly because I have to get them to hold still first! But we'll have an adventure I am sure! With Emrie it's always an adventure!

Here's to another year of homeschool!