Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Den Leader

I was told 5 minutes before Sacrament one Sunday in July that I'd be given a calling after the meeting. I thought about it that whole hour and wondered what it would be. I'd gotten away with not having a calling for a couple months and had enjoyed that break from church service. :)

I wasn't ready going into that meeting. I knew it was going to end up being something different than any of the callings I'd had before. I just knew it. I prayed for that hour and tried to prepare for whatever it would be. I had this spiritual confirmation that I was on the right path... that I was right where I was supposed to be and that the Lord wanted me here. One of the hymns we sang was even "Come, Come, Ye Saints" ... which has been my favorite lately... I could also hear it being sung in another room... AND it was quoted in someone's talk.

Everything just felt right in that moment. God knows who I am and knows what I struggle with and has guided me to this point and I'm here right now for a reason. I felt like all the hard choices I had been making in life right then were good and acceptable and that it was time for me to apply myself where I'm needed. By the end of the meeting, I was ready for any calling I was given. I knew the Lord would give me the strength to do it... even if it was Relief Society teacher. Oh, please don't let it be Relief Society teacher... ha ha.

One of the Bishop's counselors came up to me afterwards and just blurted it out - "How would you feel about being a Den Leader in the Cub Scouts?" Ummmmm, my mind just went blank. I said, "Suuuuuure. I have no idea what that entails." I wasn't expecting that one. He said to not worry, that there was a training I could go to, and that there was another Den Leader and she'd fill me in. He shook my hand and that was it. Ha ha. I told Zay, "I'm gonna be a Den Leader in the Cub Scouts." And he just chuckled.

Photo: www.scoutermom.com

So, since then I've learned way more about the Boy Scouts than I've ever known (none of my brothers finished the program, I don't think... and Zay didn't do Boy Scouts when he was younger). I'm in charge of the Bears. Kal comes with me to our twice-a-month meetings and gets to spend time with the older boys at Church. Which is awesome. It's not that bad of a calling after all! I kinda like it. We get to do all kinds of fun stuff and it's relaxed and I'm only in charge of 2 boys (and that's if they show up, ha ha). Sometimes we do combined activities with the other den leader. Easy peasy!

Thank goodness it wasn't Relief Society teacher. Plus, this will be so good for me because I'll know way more about the program once Kal gets to that age and starts Cub Scouts himself. I get excited thinking about him being a cute little Boy Scout. *squeal!*

On a tour of the library...


I don't know what this thing is, but it's creepy.

Trying to warn me about the monster behind me.

Ice cream cones. :)





Monday, October 27, 2014

Summertime Recap & Photo Dump

This post is all over the place, but who's got time for transitions? I'm just gonna ramble... :)

Best summer ever - can I say that? Kal really makes me feel like a kid again. I spent so much time just being with him and doing fun things with him, whatever we felt like doing. No pressure. No job. I thought a lot about what I want to be "when I grow up" and started volunteering once a week at an animal shelter to see if working with animals would be the right fit. I did a lot of self-discovery. A lot of sitting around and thinking and enjoying Kal's company. I wasn't too strict about how we did our "homeschool pre-school" time. Just played a lot and had no schedule to it. Colored and painted. Cut things out. Talked. Played in the water hose. Sports. Games. Video games. Movies. Parks. Birthday parties. Walks. Bike rides (the bike he got last Christmas he can now ride like a champ and rides it to Church every Sunday).

Being cute. Right before going to get our family pictures taken.


Addicted to the ice bucket challenge now.

Dirty face, wearing mama's high heels, naked from the waist down, eating a banana and a slice of cheese. HA HA HA.



I really loved the ladies at our last ward (congregation). I'm usually teaching the kids in Primary, so I've never really gotten to bond with the ladies, but I got to in that ward... and I felt so included. I wasn't ready to meet new people at Church, so I went to a handful of activities at the old ward before really trying to embrace the new one. One activity I went to... we earned points with a game and then used those points to bid on random things... like, most people wrote a service they could do (babysitting, cookie-making, etc.) on a card and then people bid on it with their points. It was so funny. There were other really random things too. I bid all my points on what the auctioneer called a "jar of happiness." It had quotes and scriptures on little pieces of paper in a mason jar. The auctioneer was so surprised I bid all my points on it and I very seriously hollered out, "I need a jar of happiness right now!!!" and everybody cracked up. I laughed until I cried that night. Because I love those ladies. And I did need some happiness. And I pull out a quote and read it every so often. :)

Lovely ladies at a ward activity.

Eventually I stopped clinging to my old ward and focused on meeting new people in our new one. Our Bishop is so awesome. We seriously went to his house for dinner one night and ended up staying 5 hours talking with him and his fam and other folks from the ward. Hanging out and talking, as simple as that sounds, is one of my all-time favorite things to do. Good conversation and good friends. I feel like I'm getting that from my ward now. It's been a good summer just for that reason alone.

At the Bishop's.

This summer was such a good recovery time for me. Whenever something big or scary or hard happens in my life, I feel like I need a period of time for just reflection and relaxing and adjusting and processing. I felt lucky that somehow I got that and I was able to heal over this time, just being nurtured by good friends and an awesome little family. Because life hasn't always been kind to me.

So this one time... I reached in and turned on the shower like normal one morning, but the shower head was pointed out towards the rest of the bathroom and my FACE. I still had my clothes on and it startled me and I was flailing around, trying to turn it off. Yeah, life is cruel. Lol.

But speaking of good friends, I lost a friend earlier this year. Not to death. But due to a lot of unnecessary crap that happened. It kind of sent me reeling and confused. I can honestly say now that I'm so glad that friendship fell apart. It wasn't healthy and I deserved better, for reals. And turns out, I didn't need her. And her being out of my life was such a relief of a burden. And I've learned from it. I'm not so easily trusting with just anybody with my friendship anymore. And that's a good thing. I'm not gonna put in the effort anymore for those who aren't worth my time. And that feels good. Gives me confidence in knowing what and who I should or shouldn't allow in my life. I think I have a tendency to want to "fix" broken people... to the point where I try really really really hard with "friends" who don't deserve it and wouldn't do a dang thing for me... and sometimes I neglect the people who have always been there for me and who I have respect for, who have their ish together. I can't neglect those folks anymore. My eyes have been opened. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I'm way more self-aware about it now and more conscious in my true friendships. Real friendships don't make you feel insecure, I know that much now.

I literally buried this piece of paper in my backyard to let go of the past. It was cathartic.

So, this summer... I spent time with my real friends, and that felt so good and so comfortable. Firepit smores. Dinner parties. Movie nights. Venting with my girls. So awesome. Kal is down for anything... a great tag-along, especially if his friends will be there (he has his best friends, but then he has "friends"... who could be just about any kid under the age of 18. ha ha). I wish I took more pictures of ME and MY friends, but of course my focus is always on this little guy...


And on food. Mmmm.

Oh, yay! Here I am with a friend. Ha ha.


Zay has been working out a ton this summer... every single weekday at like 6am, or earlier. I cringe just thinking about it. And he knows not to disturb me a second before my alarm goes off!!! I'm a monster when I don't get my sleep and he's just "up and at 'em" like a crazy person. Lol. I am SO proud of what he's been accomplishing... Every morning he is out the door, at the gym or hiking with his buddies... he's made a big investment in this. He feels like he's getting old (he's only 32) and wants to make being fit a high priority. I think he's sexy no matter what! ;) And it's hilarious watching him and one of his workout buddies come back to the house and try to make green smoothies. The smoothies end up being so chunky/grainy... and they just chug 'em down. I love green smoothies, but not with broccoli or celery... or other random things that don't quite get "smooth." So gross. But good for him! Ha ha. He's also been working with Kal with his basketball skills...



While he's been working out like a pro... I on the other hand have just been trying to learn how to eat right, consistently! And cook. Even if that means baking cookies. That's an important skill too! I think I've got my peanut butter cookies down. And every once in awhile I make a meal that's pretty dang good. Waaaay better than I was a couple years ago, that's for sure. Slow progress. I didn't have a mom like Zay's when it comes to cooking, so I'm behind in learning.

 

I got accustomed to sleeping in everyday (till like 9:30am), but some days Kal wore me out so bad that I needed a nap too. But he stopped napping a while ago, so it was just impossible. One day I was exhausted and I looked at Kal and said, "KAL - Mama needs to take a nap, will you come lay down with me? PLEASE." We never co-sleep. But he surprised me and said, "Okay!" And laid down and we fell asleep for hours and it was GLORIOUS! The hot summer days and the energy of a 3-year-old is enough to wear anyone out. I miss naps.

We got a new couch at some point. We started to take the old one outside to get rid of it... and set it right outside our front door. And it sat there. So one day I sat in it... and it was so warm baking in the sun. It was such a redneck thing to do, but we left that couch out there for at least a month, maybe two. Kal would be playing outside and I'd watch him from my redneck couch and it was just so dang awesome. More people should have couches in their front yard, lol. Then we moved it around to the carport, still intending to get rid of it at some point, it got infested with spiders over there in the shade... so, now it's a goner. But I'll always remember that couch and the comfort (and the view!!!) it gave me in the summer of '14.. Ha ha. Something about the view of the mountains mixed with the quiet country feel of the peach orchard and barn has been super healing and helped me relax about being so homesick. Felt like "home." Both of our homes - Georgia AND Utah. (P.S. - loved sneaking peaches every once in awhile from the trees... shhh, don't tell anybody)









We went to some friends' house for dinner one time. The kids were having a blast watching a movie and playing in the living room. I was gabbing it up with my girl in the kitchen. She was baking cookies (she is amazing at this) and talking about getting her cookie business up and running. We were throwing around ideas for a name. She mentioned that she could use my business experience and it would be so fun to work together. And I said, "I'm sorry. Nope. Absolutely not." Lol. I've been burned when it comes to going into business with a friend. Nope. Not happening. I told her I valued our friendship more than that. We laughed about that, because she knows how everything blew up for me when I tried to do that before. She's on her own with that one! I don't want money or business to come between me and my friends again.

I've spent more time with my brother this summer. He's been through quite a bit in the last 5 years or so and we've kind of drifted apart. He was my best friend growing up and I haven't wanted to lose that. But now he's coming out of a dark time and Kal asks to go see "Unca Gosh" (Uncle Josh), so we've been visiting more and it's been very positive and that makes me happy.



Zay & I had our 10th Anniversary this summer! I'm giddy about reaching this milestone. I'll have to write about that in a separate post. But it was awesome and we have really re-connected and made some great leaps in trust and communication and mutual understanding recently. Marriage rocks, yall. Also, Kal had his first real sleepover while we were gone. He did awesome and had a blast. And it took a couple days before he went up to my friend who was watching him and asked, "Where's mama & daddy?" Ha ha ha. She said, "On vacation! Mama's gonna pick you up today." And he was like, "Oh okay!" and went back to playing. It was good to know that he could be away from us and be okay. That's the moment when I really started considering starting Kal in school.




Fireworks were too loud for him. :)

We've been slacking on official Date Nights, because the lazy summer days have been so relaxed that we just spend a lot of time cuddling and watching our favorite shows every night. Which is fine, but I don't want us to get in a rut or anything. So we go out as often as we can. Sometimes Kal comes with us...


Zay and Kal now have a Daddy-Son day... Kal calls it "hot dog day!" They go to JDawgs and get a hot dog every Thursday. I love it. Kal gets time with me ALL THE TIME. But Daddy-Son hot dog days are super special for him.

We're officially done potty-training! The last thing was getting Kal off diapers at night-time and we managed to do that this summer. He just can't get all the way to the bathroom if he has to get up and pee at night. So he has a night light and a little potty right beside his bed. He just has to get up and then sit. So, so far so good. The whole cloth-diapering thing went well overall. I would definitely use cloth diapers in the future. But at a certain age, kids pee like a racehorse and those cloth diapers don't do any good at that point. Now I know when to slap on a disposable instead, so we're good. I'm just glad to be done with diapers (for now)!

We've tried out quite a few haircuts on Kal. Zay likes to experiment on his head. As long as he has that tablet, he does really well sitting still... even for a straight razor lineup. I have a feeling they're going to do a lot of bonding over haircuts for the rest of their lives.


Utah has an extra holiday called Pioneer Day on July 24th. We went to some activities at Pioneer Park. It was fun! Celebrating the people who settled this area.






I don't know why Spiderman was there, but Kal ran right up to him and had a little showdown. I was laughing SO hard.



Tiny petting zoo.


Kal was SO excited to ride a pony. Couldn't wait!

And then this is the reaction he had. Ha ha ha. He was about to jump off, in tears. I had to grab him off before the ride was over.





Checking out the teepee.

We have some really awesome Polynesian neighbors. I love Polynesians, lol. Not trying to be politically incorrect or anything... but Polynesians are so friendly. They remind me of black folks in the South. Like, come on over... let's share some food... kind of niceness. Sometimes I let Kal play outside by himself and he'll go play with the neighbor kids. But one time I looked out there to check on him and I couldn't see him anywhere and I FREAKED OUT. I ran outside and my neighbors were sitting under an apricot tree in their yard, just talking. They saw my panicked look and were like, "Looking for your little boy?" Ummm, yes! Apparently he had been eying them and slowly inching over in their direction... and eventually just wandered over to their house and went inside and was playing with their kids. Scared the crap out of me!! But he was fine. Then I sat down with my neighbors I had yet to meet and we talked all night and had BBQ and made Smores and watched Pioneer Day fireworks. Sooooo, yeah. My neighbors are awesome. Ha ha. Plus I got to pick some of those apricots. :)



I helped a friend move at the end of July. Scrubbed and packed and moved boxes. I think I was there for about 4 hours. I love helping people move, is that weird? It gives me a bit of nostalgia to clean apartments, because I did that as a custodian at BYU. I'm all for cleaning someone else's house. It's when I have to clean my own that I'm like, "Crap. I hate this." Ha ha. I don't know why that is.

One birthday party we went to this summer was at a splash pad. They had a pinata and food. I don't remember much about this party, because I was reading a book most of the time. :) But I do remember Kal walking away from a fight. Seriously, I sat there watching him interact with a boy a little older than him who wanted to push him around. I stood back just to see how it would go down and what Kal would do. Kal just looked at him, like... you're an idiot. And walked away. I was proud of him. I didn't get involved. I totally thought Kal would take his block off, but he didn't. We talked about it later. I don't want him to be a bully or be bullied, so I took it as an opportunity to teach him about standing up for himself and being firm with other kids without reacting in anger... I also remember walking back to our car after this party and getting SO lost. I felt like an idiot. I had to pick Kal up and carry him because it was hot and he was tired and I just could NOT figure out where I parked. I ended up walking around for like 20 mins before I found it and felt like a dummy. Kal didn't complain, so I took him to Walmart on the way home and let him pick out any toy he wanted. He got a Spiderman webslinger toy that he absolutely loved (which he has since broken).








We're trying to decide what fun activity we should get Kal started in... probably next summer. We asked him and he insists on karate and soccer. Karate would be perfect for him. He already thinks he's gonna be a Power Ranger when he grows up and is always mimicking their moves. Karate would teach him some discipline and help with the not-being-bullied thing I was worried about. It makes Zay sad that he's not as excited about basketball as he used to be (I'm not worried... he'll get back excited about it when he's older, I'm sure)... but it makes me SUPER excited that he wants to play soccer! I don't know where his interest in that came from, but I'll take it. I played soccer in high school even though I wasn't that good at it. Everyone who came to the gym made the team, so it wasn't like I had to try out. Ha ha. It was the first year our school ever had a soccer team. We didn't score a single goal the entire first season. It was bad. The second (and only other) year I played, we actually won some games, came *this close* to making the playoffs, and I got a trophy for "Most Improved"! Ha ha ha. I've been asking around to see how we can make this karate and soccer thing happen next year, so I'm excited and he's gonna have a blast I'm sure.



Volunteering at the animal shelter has been fun. I like the ladies I work with. But it hasn't felt completely right as far as a job is concerned. I just told myself I would keep at it as a hobby until something *clicked* for me. Part of me wanted to volunteer for a year, move to Georgia, and work at a vet's office with my sister-in-law. But I don't think that'll happen now that I got a completely different job (more about that later). But I will keep volunteering just for fun. Sometimes we get the weirdest animals in there... like a snapping turtle, chicken, duck, and even a turkey one time (I don't think I got a picture of that one, but it had me chuckling when I saw it).





Our neighbor who was pregnant had her baby (the neighbors who helped us find the place we're now living). Not too long after that, they decided to move in with a grandparent and save on rent. We were SO SAD!!! But we still see them, just not as much. I was so excited to hold that baby. I seriously stared at him for like 10 minutes and was weirding out his parents. Lol. He's got a crazy impressive head full of hair. His daddy kept pulling on the baby's chin when he was asleep to make him "talk" and it was the cutest thing ever. Little baby chins and bare-mouth smiles... *squeal!*

Kal's best friends moved farther away too... noooooooo. At first, part of me was glad that they'll see each other less so that when we move to Georgia he won't be too sad about leaving them. That was one of the hardest things I kept thinking about when I'd think about moving to Georgia... I didn't want to take Kal away from his friends. But honestly, now I don't think we'll be moving to Georgia as quickly as we planned... big sigh... so we've made the trek to go visit them. And I'm sure we'll keep doing that, cuz they're all so cute together. When we do move (which is still going to happen, but we can't put a date on it yet), I hope he remembers the good times he had with these knuckleheads:









My mama loves to send Kal packages in the mail, so he's always asking if we can check the mail and gets SO excited when he gets a "surprise" from Granny B. It's so cute! I love that my mama tries to be as involved as possible with Kal from 2,000 miles away. She did surprisingly well when I told her the Georgia move won't be next year, but she's doing an awesome job of being a long-distance grandparent. She wouldn't know what to do with herself if she got to see Kal all the time! She'd be thrilled. It'll be a good move when it does happen, but... big sigh... not yet.





I laughed so hard at how crooked this envelope was. My mama cracks me up.

We've been in really short walking distance to Zay's job this summer, so lunchtime has been so fun. Kal always wants to stop halfway there and sit on a bench with me. Just to sit and swing his feet and giggle up at me. I don't know why, but he's fallen in love with the bench. So I take pics. :)



Lunch at Rumbi Island Grill.

Letting me know what he wants for Christmas. Is 3 too young to have a tablet??

I've been trying to limit screen time with this boy, but some days were so hot or we were so exhausted that we needed to crash in front of a screen. Plants vs Zombies on the Xbox for me and Angry Birds and who-knows-what-else-he's-downloaded-on-Daddy's-tablet for him.



The summer had to end eventually. I felt like it was time to put Kal in school. He was ready for it before I was. I wanted to cling to him forever and have him all to myself. But I could tell he was outgrowing the playdates I had for him a few times a week. He needed more. Every time he saw the neighbor kids outside he'd yell, "FRIENDS!" and grab his shoes and take off running out the front door. Lol. I know he had tons of fun with me, but he was ready to spread his wings and I knew school would be perfect for him, even if I wasn't ready. And I knew putting him in school would mean I would have to go back to work, so I soaked in as much of the summer as I could before the changes were coming.












Sometimes we had so much fun, we forgot to take pictures. Sad! Cuz I have a terrible memory and I use my picture-taking obsession as a crutch to remember things. Sometimes all we got were a few blurry ones...

Swimming at the Scera pool.



My boy's getting so big...





So, the summer is gone. It was a good one. And new adventures have begun! Life keeps on moving on.




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