Wednesday, September 10, 2008

28 Notables From My 28 Years

I turn 28 on Friday. I've never not been excited for my birthday before this year. So, I made a list of things I've either accomplished or enjoyed in these 28 years--in no particular order.
  1. I have taught school for over 7 years.
  2. I have yodeled in the Alps.
  3. I own hundreds of books.
  4. I've sold hundreds of copies of a CD I made with my band.
  5. I have been endowed in the temple.
  6. I graduated from Brigham Young University.
  7. I decided to be a teacher when I was in 3rd grade, and I still haven't changed my mind that it was the perfect decision for me.
  8. I have a closet full of outdoor gear, including 3 sleeping bags, 2 tents, rock climbing gear, and snowshoes.
  9. I had my own TV show on a cable station.
  10. I have planned and executed several girl-only trips from Canada to Hawaii to Maple Canyon.
  11. I bought a car and paid for it in less than a year.
  12. I know over a dozen poems by heart.
  13. I hiked Havasupai.
  14. I play clawhammer banjo.
  15. I have collected nearly a week's worth of music if it were played constantly.
  16. I play the Irish bodhran.
  17. I own a soft bed.
  18. I have survived major heartache and heartbreak.
  19. I have been in a hot air balloon.
  20. I have biked through Ireland, and I sang in a pub in Dublin.
  21. I have taught over 250 children, and most of them still love me.
  22. I have visited 14 National Parks.
  23. I have been a bridesmaid for at least 6 friends' weddings.
  24. I have lived with over 43 roommates.
  25. I've discussed the Gospel with numerous strangers on airplanes.
  26. I know how to bottle fruit.
  27. I have smiled so much in these 28 years that I have little lines around my eyes to show for it.
  28. I have outlasted all of my brothers and sisters in getting married.


My friend Whitney just wrote a post about a boy/girl child in her sons' class named Juice. In my third grade class this year, I have a little girl named Jam.
When I put together my classroom blog I had my class make up "pen names," ensuring their safety and privacy. I told the kids they could use any nickname they would like. I even suggested that their middle names could be used as a pseudonym.
As I collected names for each of my students, I noticed some children were really excited about their new names. I had a little girl change hers about 3 times because she wanted it to be just right. Some kids put hours of thought into their aliases, but several just used their middle names.
Near the end of the list, I asked a little brown haired girl what she wanted her blog name to be. She told me "Jam." I thought it was a clever name for her, and I wondered if there was a story behind her nickname. Then, it occurred to me to ask her mother what her middle name is. When her mom came to an assembly the next day, I asked, "What is *****'s middle name?" She replied, "Jan. Why?" Just as I had begun to suspect.
Yeah. So maybe "Juice" is a like "Jam"--a little confused. The only difference is, "Jam" wasn't given her name, she chose it with her own ears.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Una botella con agua mineral, por favor.

As a high school Spanish student, I thought this phrase was equally sophisticated and fun to say. Now, I'm dreaming of water with far fewer minerals, muchas gracias!This morning, my kitchen sink looked like the "before" picture on a water softener commercial. There was a thick coating of hard green/gray matter on every square millimeter of metal. I have tried unsuccessfully to scrub the tar out of my faucet with rough sponges and brushes to no avail. It has finally come down to two things: Shower Power and a kitchen knife. I spray the thing down, wait a minute as it foams, then I scrape ever last flake of nasty until I see the silver shine through. It's a messy job, but my sink sparkles now.
Sophisticated? Yes, I think so.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stay HOME!

About 8 or 9 years ago, I overheard a conversation in the grocery store. A young couple with their baby were talking to the checker. The checker obviously knew the mom well enough to inquire about what she was doing with her life. She asked the mom what she was doing for work. The mom responded that she was staying home with her new baby. The checker said, "That's nice," but hurriedly added, "but you won't do that for too long will you? I would go crazy!" The mom agreed, "Oh no, no. I could never do that. That would be way too hard to stay home forever." They agreed that 6 months or so was a good time to find a good day care.
I felt sick to my stomach.

Recently, I've had some great opportunities to see stay at home moms in action.

My sister Whitney has 2 little boys. I visited her in Minnesota this spring. The entire week I was there, I watched her move around like a whirlwind doing laundry and cooking, cleaning and straightening, baths and bedtime. Even with the two of us there, it was hard work.
Last week, I was in Seattle with my brother and his wife. They have 2 kids, as well. Again, we spent hours and hours attending to the kids and making sure they were both happy and healthy.

Although I couldn't have been happier either place, I'm amazed at a)how much hard work they do daily, b) how little credit they get, and c) how much their husbands have to trust them to bring up their children.
I've already mentioned some of the hard work they do daily, but none of that includes doctor visits, playdates, or potty training. No moment is their own. The patience in these women is astounding. And, unless nominated for Mother of the Year, a mother's efforts go widely unnoticed. My brother and brother-in-law are great supporters, but their wives get little credit elsewhere. The most astounding thing I noticed with my sisters' families is how much trust my brother and brother-in-law have to have in their wives. These are the women their children will spend every waking moment seeing for the first several years of their lives. If the mother is a yeller, the child will learn to yell. But, if the mother is sweet and patient, the child will learn that, too. I'm so grateful my sister and sister-in-law are the sweet patient types.

Currently, my area of expertise allows me one especially great argument to support homemakers: I teach their children in school. Every new school year (I'm going on year 8), I start out with a new batch of kids in my class. In the first day, I can pinpoint the kids who have stay at home moms. They are generally the kids who are well-adjusted. They make friends easily, and they work hard. They read and write better, and they are better in math. I don't have to worry that my expectations will be met. Full time moms volunteer at the school. They generally read more consistently with their children. In my experience, a stay at home mom is a far better team player than a mom who is working full time.

I met a girl yesterday who told me she was just starting college to be a teacher. When I told her I was a teacher, she commented that she loved the idea of teaching because it is "such a perfect profession for a mom." I quickly told her no profession is good for a mom. When I get home from school now, I crave adult conversation. I have no desire to help kids with homework or ask them what they learned in school. I would never be able to give my kids the care they need as a teaching mother. I told her I will be a stay at home mom when I have kids, barring any tragedy beyond my control. My neighbor was shocked at my response. She told me she hoped I married rich. I told her I probably won't marry rich, and I don't have to have wealth to make it work out. I would rather live mud hut than let someone else raise my babies! I will stay home with my kids regardless of what sacrifices I have to make for them.

By they way, thanks Richard and Whitney for the blog inspiration.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Do You Hear What I Hear?...

I hear those wedding bells jingling ding ding ding-a-ling ding!"
For the past year, I have lived with a great friend named Kate. Her unique outlook and personality make her hard to describe. Kate is a doer. She's constantly active, but she's patient with those who have to be taught her ways. I'm constantly amazed at how teachable she is, and how willing she is to teach. Before Kate, I had never used the word "chi" to describe anything, I had been too nervous to try wake boarding, I never had thought to hang out at a skate park, and I had no clue someone could be so different and so similar to me at the same time.
Kate gets married on Friday. She is marrying a guy she sometimes refers to as a frog--a singing frog. Barrett is the perfect match for a girl like Kate. Neither of them would make sense with anyone else.

Friday will be the end of an era. We've been pretty inseparable up until now. I'll miss keeping her up too late, having her ask how it feels to be so little ("Just look at her!"), and sitting through Relief Society while she pokes me to death. We're planning post-marriage adventures, so all is not lost.

Barrett's basement will be finished soon, and there will be plenty of space for me to move in with them sometime this fall. It'll be perfectly cozy. I'll bring the popcorn, and I'm sure Kate will supply the natural salt, olive oil, all the chi we need. Scoot over just a little Barrett, I don't take up that much space!
Sk8 or die!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Either, Or

When I started teaching in 2000 (at 20, what was I thinking???), I focused on saving every penny I earned. I managed to save a couple thousand dollars, even though I only made $13,000! I have no idea how I did it. I KNEW I was going to have to save up to put a husband through school, so I NEEDED to save as much as I could so he would be really proud of me--and want me even more for being so smart.
Then, I grew up and got selfish. That's not exactly right, but sort of. I decided that I wasn't going to pine away hoping and planning. I earned the money--every last penny! It was mine to spend.
So, during my 3rd year of teaching, I decided I would either get married the following summer, or buy a nice car. That way, I would have an awesome summer no matter how it all shook out!
Ta Da! Bright blue Altima.
So every summer now, I either get married or go on a cool trip. There have to be a few perks for hard work, right?My first "Single Girl Trip,"some teacher friends and I took a 2-week road trip to Banff and Waterton, Canada, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone NP, and Teton NP! It was great. We lived up our independent woman status. Since then, I have been to Hawaii, Lake Powell, all over Europe, every National Park in Utah, whitewater rafting on the Salmon River, Havasupai and Seattle.
For consolation prizes, I'm not doing too poorly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Last night I could not fall asleep. My mind would not turn off. Sometimes I can just lie in bed for a little while, shifting from stomach to side to stomach, and eventually I'll fall asleep. Last night was not one of those nights. I turned on my lamp and read. Usually reading is the quickest way to make my eyelids heavy, but last night I couldn't get enough of my book. I was awake until 3:30 AM. Tonight, I'm going to try reading an old textbook on teaching children mathematics or something. This is killing me.