Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brave: the word that is being misused

Okay, I'm putting on my rant pants today and complaining about a huge pet peeve of mine.  It has to do with the word brave, and the massive abuse of its definition running rampant around the internets of late.  I'm mostly referencing the overuse of it on blogs, and in comment sections of blogs, and instagram.

No, it is not brave to take your oldest kid to kindergarten for the first time.  No, it is not brave to hike a small mountain.  No, it is not brave to tell people you have changed your mind about part of your life.  No, it is not brave to run a marathon.  No, it is not brave to build a new house.  No, it is not brave to go on a date.  And no, it is not brave to cut your hair.  These are not brave things.  These are things we call normal life experiences.  This is living.  This is not bravery.

  1. 1.
    ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
    "a brave soldier"
    synonyms:courageousvaliant, valorous, intrepidheroiclionhearted

Brave is this:

(all images via pinterest)

Bravery is not getting a tattoo.  

I cringe every time I see the word brave misused and overused.  It takes away from its true meaning when we use it to describe everyday, normal things.  The word brave should be reserved for those things that are truly extraordinary.  Those moments when a person has sacrificed their life for the betterment of another.

p.s. if you tell me this post was "so brave" I will punch you in the mouth.

Friday, September 5, 2014

How has Cate adjusted?

It's been just over two weeks since we said our goodbye's to Cate and headed back home to resume "normal life" without our college student.  I'm not going to lie, it was really tough to drive off and leave her there.  Many tears were shed (by Spencer and I), as we hit the lonely road home and thought about how much we love and adore that girl and how our lives would never be the same from that moment on.

And, it's true.  Our lives are not the same.  Things seem quieter here.  One less person at home feels significant.  For the first week or so, Wes kept asking me if everyone was here?  If we were missing someone?  Even at a late-night gas-up on the drive home, he was counting kids and worried he had left someone at the Chevron station bathroom.  I had to assure him that yes, we had everyone, and that his concern was his adjusting to dropping off Cate.  We've moved forward though.  Bedrooms got resorted, the dinner table reconfigured and the dishes rotation reworked.  We even moved benches in the chapel at church.  No more middle bench dwelling for this family- a smaller side bench is our new home.  All in all, we've adjusted, and thankfully, Cate has adjusted as well.

I will admit I was fairly concerned about how the transition would go for Cate.  She is not known for adjusting to change very well, so with her anticipating the most momentous change of her life (school, friends, home, work and church) there was some serious stress going on before she left for school.  She was a pretty big mess of emotions for the last month before she left (normal!).  One day she'd be over-the-moon excited about the new adventure she was embarking on and the next day she'd be overcome with worry and sorrow, knowing that she was going to be striking out on her own and dealing with a million unknowns.  One of the most tender moments we had with her was when Wes gave her a father's blessing the night before we took off for Utah.  Just thinking about it right now, my eyes are welling up with tears because it was exactly what she needed to hear and feel.  The roller coaster of emotions finally cumulated on the day we moved her into her apartment and got her settled in with her new life.  And, from that point forward, Cate really took control of her situation and I'm pleased to report she is doing fantastic.

She moved in with five other girls who are close to her age.  Three of them are students at her school and two of them are just working.  They all go to church with Cate.  Two of them have cars.  Most of them are from out of state or from the farther reaches of Utah (I was super concerned about that issue prior to her moving in.  I kept having concerns that Cate would have roomies that were all from the local area and that they would all spend their weekends back at there family homes and she'd be all alone).  Her church ward is very social and fun.  She and her roommates have jumped right into everything and are getting to know a bunch of other people in their apartment complex.

I really wasn't sure how Cate would stay connected to us once we parted ways.  I thought we might have a month or so of homesickness calls and skype sessions.  I was worried she might feel like everything at school wasn't living up to her expectations and that she was gutting it out, but not enjoying it.  Well, I'm thrilled to say that pretty much the opposite of that has happened.  She does touch base with us regularly, but not in a homesick or sad way.  She is so busy with her new college life and so genuinely thrilled and having so much fun, that her communications with us are short and sweet.  It is evident to us that she is busy (full-time student, part-time worker and full time fun-haver) that she doesn't have gobs of time to bemoan any sort of sorrows or disappointments.  Her texts to me often read like this:

And tweeting pics like this:

So, overall, I'd say she's adjusting perfectly.  Actually, it has gone better than either Wes or I could have imagined.  We are so grateful.  It is such a scary thing to send your kid off (even if it is to the wilds of Utah!) to strike out on their own.  There is so much that could go wrong, but on the flip side there is so much that can go right, too.  I give all the credit to Cate (and to The Lord) for making it happen and doing splendidly so far.  It's not easy to reach so far out of your comfort zone and make a new life for yourself.  But, she's doing it.  Our baby is doing it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Letting my hair down: {day one}

(The super moon)

20 random facts about myself

1.  I keep my toenails painted year round.

2.  I once dry heaved when my Grandma Genie guilted me into eating a cooked prune.

3.  I need eight hours of sleep to function.  I need nine hours to be happy and seven to survive.

4.  I can see through people within 3 minutes of meeting them.  It is a blessing and a curse.

5.  I don't cry at normal crying moments- tear jerker movies, sentimental life experiences, terrible news.

6.  My children go to their dad if they want something out of the ordinary.

7.  If I ever go blind I want a seeing eye miniature horse.

8.  Home is my very favorite place to be.

9.  The most common thing Emma texts me is the devil emoji.  It's endearing.

10.  I can only eat a hot dog if I'm at a college football game.

11.  People who are chronically late annoy the heck out of me.

12.  I bathe every day.  No showers.

13.  I once went an entire year without eating french fries.

14.  I could not live in Utah County.  But, if I did it would make my blog amazeballs because I would be ranting and raving every day.

15.  I've never purchased an expensive handbag.  I figure why waste a wad of cash on a bag to carry around my wads of cash?

16.  I have no trouble saying no. (see no. 6)

17.  I just yelled "no more cookies!"  I love to practice no. 16.

18.  My dream is to buy an old, run-down home in a historic area and restore it.

19.  I believe in moderation, but I rarely wax poetic about it, because everyone hates that topic and rolls their eyes at me.

20.  If you're not funny, or don't know how to laugh, we cannot be friends.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I've been equally as worried about Spencer transitioning into sleeping alone in his bedroom once Cate left for school, as I had been worried about Cate leaving for school.  I've talked before about my boy and his unending desire to "be with people", so this change for him had been much anticipated and long in coming.

Spencer has always been a people person.  Since his first moments of being cradled in his big sister's arms, my boy has always thrived on simply being in the presence of other people.  He gains energy, strength, passion and interest from being around others.  If I ever need to discipline him all I have to do is tell him to spend 15 minutes alone and that is terrible to him.  (BTW, I rarely do this.  I don't really do much "disciplining" around here.  I don't know why.)

So, when we got back from Utah, Wes and I were hoping and praying that our boy would make the jump to sleeping by himself with out any major drama, and guess what? He did.  Like it was no big deal.

He even tried to convince his best friends (twins who live across the street) that they should split up and have their own bedrooms, because "that's just the way it is". 

It is a weird relief to Wes and I that he's finally crossed this bridge.  I mean, the fact that we lay in bed at night practically giddy that our eleven year old son just up and went to his room and fell asleep in his bed is kind of strange, I'll admit.  But, it's a victory and we are going to revel in it, whether it is wacky or not.  Hallelujah!

BTW- I just got off the phone with Cate and she just accepted a part-time job at school.  She'll be working in the testing center at the front desk.  WTG Miss Cate!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Q & A -- about dropping Cate off for college

(on the road!)

We just got home from a whirlwind trip to Utah, wherein we spent some much needed time visiting with Wes' family (my kids hadn't seen their grandparents for two years prior) and dropping Cate off for college.  The trip was exhaustive, fun, jam-packed and emotional and I've had lots of questions about it, so here goes...

Did Cate take a car down to school?

No!  First of all, we still need our kid car here.  Emma is going to be a licensed driver before we know it and we need a vehicle for her to drive.  Secondly, the drivers in Utah are crazy with a capital C.  Wes and I kept on noticing the blatant disregard for any and all driving rules when we were down there.  Speeding, tailing, no turn-signals, was nuts!  I would not feel comfortable with my newish teenage driver using a vehicle in Utah County.  No way, no how!

Fortunately, Cate is living a short 10-15 minute walk from campus.  Also, the public transportation system in Utah is quite decent and she has a full-year UTA pass ($80 for a year thru UVU) in her possession, so she can ride the bus, train, or trax to just about anywhere on the Wasatch front.  There is a bus stop directly in front of her apartment complex and every 15 minutes a bus comes by and drives directly to her school (a 3 minute ride).  The day after we left, she and her roommate
 practiced taking the bus to and from school and evidently, it was a total success!  Also, she has a couple of roommates that do have cars, so she is quite covered when it comes to getting around town.

Is Cate going to work while in school?

Yes.  Sadly, we are not a filthy rich family, so the reality of her life is she will have to work part-time during college in order to make ends meet.  Luckily, there are plentiful amounts of part-time on-campus jobs available to her.  Cate set up her school schedule to make working fit her life while in school.  She is taking classes MWF only.  So, she has T and Th completely free and will hopefully be filling those days with work.  She has already applied for a bunch of jobs (online) and has an interview set up for today, so it should all work out quite nicely.

Is Cate living on-campus (in the dorms) or off campus?

UVU does not have on-campus housing.  So, Cate is living in an apartment complex near the school (a 3 minute ride away) that houses UVU students.  Her apartment has six girls sharing 4 bedrooms (two of the rooms are single rooms and two of the rooms are shared).  Cate is in a shared room with another girl who is a freshman at UVU.  The apartment also has two shared bathrooms, a living room, kitchen (with a dishwasher) and all the other normal college apartment stuff.  When we saw Cate's apartment for the first time Alice described it as "ghetto chic" (I hope that doesnt' offend you.  If it does- then sorry.)  Honestly, it looks like a regular college apartment.  Here is a picture of Cate in the kitchen.

She chose this place to live based on location, costs and the online reviews.  Of course it was kind of a gamble because we didn't have any real experience with this complex, but so far, so good.

Did you take the whole family down UVU to drop Cate off, or did just you take her?  Was it hard to say goodbye?

Yes, and yes.  We took the whole family down to Utah because we wanted to visit with Wes' family down there, and because we wanted our other kids to see where their sister would be living for the next year.  Emma and Alice were absolutely enthralled with Cate's new adventure in life and kept announcing that they would be more than happy to trade places with her and start college immediately.  Emma in particular was almost distraught with envy after seeing what great adventure Cate was just embarking on in Utah.  I think it was great for my other kids to see what going off to college really meant and for them to get a feel for exactly what their older sister would be participating in this year.

Saying goodbye to Cate was gut-wrenching, of course.  My kids (particularly Spencer) were so sad and emotional.  I love that my kids love each other so much.  It is one of the greatest joys in my life.  So, for Spencer to say goodbye to Cate, well, it was awful.  He cried for hours on the way home.  That being said, now that it's over and we've all moved on, we are just fine.  Cate is getting to know her roommates, settling in with school and work stuff and basically living like a college student- and so far, she loves it.  The rest of us are home again and back to normal life.  Technology is already proving to be quite a blessing to us as it is so easy to communicate with Cate whenever we want to.  I typically text with her some each day.  Also, we've skyped once as a group already, and will probably keep up with that weekly.  Finally, Wes set up a family Group Me account (kind of like a group texting forum) for just our family so we communicate that way too.  I love technology!

Okay, that's all the time I have for today.  I'm still buried in mounds of laundry from our trip and I need to get on top of things in our house.  I hope this Q & A covered most of the questions you might have.  Thank you for all the interest in this huge milestone for our family.  The fact that I have a kid in college is crazy to me and will take a bit of time to get used to.

Friday, August 15, 2014

There she goes...

Our oldest is officially leaving the nest today, and our lives will never be the same.
But, she'd ready.  A thousand times more ready than either her father or I were at her age.  A grand adventure is awaiting her.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wes to the rescue

(you can see the tip of the bolt on the top left of the tire)

As Emma and I drove home from the grocery store, I did a number on my rear left tire and got a flat.  For some reason, a massive metal bolt was perfectly placed on the roadway, just waiting for me and my van to make a serious connection with it.  Immediately after running over it, I knew something had happened and I pulled off the busy street onto a small side road and looked at the damage.  I could hear the air hissing out of my tire and I watched it go flat within minutes.

My first thought was Wes and my need for him to be at my side, pronto.  Is this what most wives think of when they have car troubles?  I always do.  Besides being the most fantastic person I know, Wes is also my go-to guy when I hit a literal bump in the road.  I gave him a quick call, and as luck would have it, he was on his lunch break and was able to drop everything and drive the 10 miles or so to help us.  Before I knew it, he had pulled up along side us, given the tire a quick once-over, and was preparing to change the flat tire.  I felt awful for him because it's a 100 degree day, he sweats easily, he was wearing his work clothes, and he was foregoing his lunch break, all for the unpleasant job of changing a tire for me.  He quickly suggested Emma and I transfer all the groceries over to the car he had driven in and get on our way so nothing in the grocery bags would melt.  So, once Em and I loaded up the car we drove past my sweetie laying on the asphalt under my van, in the hot sun, getting the spare, I told my girl in no uncertain terms "Make sure whoever you chose to marry is as great a man as your dad".