Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home Emergency Kit Failure

I hate it when the kids get sick or hurt. I love them. I hate to see them suffering, hate to hear them suffering too. V is in a particularly whiny phase. So when she jumped off the bunk bed and began wailing, I told her to buck up, be quiet, and put some ice on it: I was in the middle of Homeworkland with L-boy.

I gave her little ankle a gander about an hour later.

"Oh crap," saith I. A swollen, tender, red ankle. V screamed her protest at the exam, then doubled her volume during the torturous ten minute ice application. I looked everywhere for the rolls of ace bandaging. No dice. Looked everywhere for the ibuprofen. Nada. I did find some low-dose aspirin. I checked for flu symptoms. As I calculated the odds of V succumbing to Reye's Syndrome, I tried to remember that I received baby aspirin a bizillion times prior to my twentieth birthday with no ill effects.

[In fact, I had this little nap-time ritual in Kindergarten. As I lay there in the dark, pondering the injustice of the grownup-controlled world, I'd get a hankering for the chalky, vaguely orangish taste of a St. Joseph's children's aspirin, and I'd take action. I would rub my face until it was warm and red. Then I'd squint up my eyes, walk out to the teacher, and pitifully whimper, "I don't feel so good."

"Hm, you look a little flushed." (Oh yeah!) She'd touch my forehead with the back of her wrist. "You feel a little warm." (That's right!) "Maybe I should give you an aspirin." (SCORE!)

"My mom gives me two," I'd whisper. Two it was. I'd munch them happily as I slowly limped my way back into the classroom.]

Anyway, I decided the odds of aspirin-related death were low and the lucky child got to swallow her first pill. Since the ace bandages had disappeared, a couple strips of cloth became an improvised splint. (Of course every pair of scissors we own had mysteriously disappeared and I had to use a paring knife to cut the cloth, but hey, par for the course around here.)

Yesterday morning we took a little trip to the ER for X-rays. We had the pleasure of meeting P.A. Chin again. She's doing well. (Oh, did I forget to mention V's stitches a couple weeks back? That was fun too.) We're pretty sure that Mr. Ankle is not broken, but there could be a hairline fracture in the growth plate. Those growth plates can mask the little breaks. They're tricky that way.

Broken or sprained, that ankle needs to be pampered—no weight at all for a week or two, the longer, the better. Since she monumentally failed the are-you-coordinated-enough-to-use-crutches test, Vi got a cute little walker. Which she loves.

Not that she's using it, mind you. Crawling like a baby and begging mommy and daddy to carry her around is much more fun—for her.

So my dear friends, learn from my experience. Be sure to throw a pair of scissors into your emergency supplies, don't forget the earplugs, and be sure to hide the whole kit and caboodle from the pre-pre-med little folk in your household.

Silver and Gold Have I None

...but such as I have, give I unto you. A blog post announcing...

to benefit Stephanie and Christian Nielson

Everyone in the blogosphere and the bloggernacle already knows that Nie-Nie and her husband were severely burnt in a plane accident two weeks ago, but for my non-blogging friends I just want to let you know that this wonderful couple is in need of our prayers. If you feel inclined to learn more about their family or to help them financially you can click here.

Sue's book will be a compilation of some of the wittiest and most amusing bloggers' take on the theme "Sometimes Life is Funny." You can enter a piece for consideration. The deadline for submissions is September 15th, 2008. You can send your submission to Sue at sometimeslifeisfunny at gmail dot com.

I can virtually guarantee that it's going to be an amazing book. When it comes out, you can buy a physical book or an e-book and all proceeds will benefit the Nielson family.

I now go to dig in the depths of my soul to see if I've got any giggles in there. Go and do thou likewise.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Since Last I Posted

Ten days, come and gone.
A cat lost, a cat found.
A beautiful funeral for an amazing woman.
The first day that any of my children have ever attended a plain old normal public school.
(And the second.)
The first day of homeschool co-op.
The E-teen's first driving lesson (which oddly enough included no driving).
Our first two days on a comparatively firm schedule.
Four migraines.
Some gastric distress.
Hundreds of hives that come and go.
It's been grand.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sorry, Kids.

Jami can't come out to play right now. She's got some homework she needs to get done. Enjoy yourselves and she'll come out again when she's all caught up.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Not Talking About It...

...and you can't make me. But they are. And so are they. And it's looking like they are going to get into it too. And for those of you who can't get enough, here's one more. You can talk about it with them. Unless you'd rather sing "Kumbaya" with me. Or maybe "As I Have Loved You."

And now for a new feature I'm calling...

Name That Country!

All readers who correctly name the country pictured above will be entered into a random drawing to receive a delicious Toblerone candy bar. Entries will be accepted until 8 pm, November 4th, Pacific Time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So Many Books, So Little Time

I admit it—I'm a dabbler. A fickle bibliophile. I know should settle down and get serious, but it's just so fun playing the field that I haven't been able to talk myself into it. Here's a partial list of my current flings in no particular order.

  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Bushman)
  • Chicken Tractor: The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soil (Lee, Forman)
  • The Real Thomas Jefferson (Allison, et al)
  • In Sacred Loneliness (Compton)
  • Paradise (Morrison)
  • Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning (DeMille/DeMille)
  • Archimedes and the Door of Science (Bendick)
  • A Disciple's Life (Hafen)
  • Fascinating Womanhood and The Fascinating Girl (Andelin) [Man, in a really twisted way, these are two of the funniest books I've ever read.]
  • The Measure of the Universe (Asimov)
  • Eternal Man (Madsen)
  • The Book of Mormon [Perpetually]
  • The New Testament [Perpetually]
  • Algebra 2 [Perpetually]
  • A slew of magazines

Really I need to be reading, not writing, so off I go. I'd love to know what you are reading. Not that I would add it to my pile. No, no. I am totally on my way to being a monobibliofin. (Of course, it's a real word. Do you think I'd make something like that up?)

[P.S. It occurs to me that my fluffy books aren't on this list. That's because brain candy— romance, teen fiction, fun books, craft books, etc.—is generally polished off within a day or two and never hits the pile.]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Sacrament Meeting Strike and the Tender Mercies of the Lord

I've been on strike for about two months now--no sacrament meeting (our worship service) for me, V-girl or C-Baby. Here's how it started.

About a year ago, a Relief Society (women's meeting) lesson on inviting the Spirit through music, quickly turned to the shameful lack of reverence (silence) during sacrament meeting. Mothers were failing in their duty to keep their children reverent (silent). Children were walking up and down the aisles during church. (Um, ow, mine's the only one who does that.) The constant din of babies and small children was ridiculous. No excuse for that kind of disrespect!

A few kind souls offered up the suggestion that perhaps the mothers were doing their best, that perhaps we could offer to help rather than stew in irritation. They and their kind suggestions were promptly shot down. (Pow. Pow. Ka-POW!)

The next week the lesson was actually on reverence and we (the moms of young children and their sympathizers) were toast. (Ka-POW! Ka-ka-ka-POW!) I left. Fast.

Then our meeting moved to the 1 pm time slot. My baby's nap time. Misery. Pain. Suffering. Every week.

So there I was a few months back, sitting in the foyer (as always) with two children on my lap, both hitting me, pinching me, bashing their heads against me and full-on shrieking.

"Let go! You're hurting me! I hate you," screamed the older one. "AHHHHHH! -et -o, hurt," echoed the younger. "I am a Child of God," sang the mommy.

Meanwhile all four of my other children were wandering through the halls aimlessly, in spite of the fact that I had asked them to stay in their seats while I helped the littles calm down and be reverent. My husband, the sleep-deprived chorister was sitting in a daze on the stand. Something had to change. I was going to snap.

On the way to church the next week, I reviewed our sacrament meeting expectations. Because we had (once again) played church reverently with stuffed animals, the kids were able to spout the right answers as I quizzed them. Do we walk around and visit with friends during the meeting? (No.) Why are we quiet during church? (So we can hear. To show God we love him.) How can we help each other pay attention? (Not fight.) Remember we have a yummy treat at home if everybody behaves reverently. (YAY!) So far, so good.

We walked into sacrament meeting. The baby began crying the moment we walked into the chapel. (She's no dummy. She knows how to get out of there.) We sat down and the middle kids began poking and picking at each other. (Ouch. Moooooom! He...) That was it: I was done. I filed the children out of the meeting, into the van and went home. I ate all the yummy treat by myself.

That afternoon I informed my barely-conscious husband that I was on strike. No more sacrament meetings for me, V-girl or C-baby. I showed him the bruises on my arms from last week's torture. He cocked his head, said "hm," and went to bed.

And so for months now, the bigs have been getting up and going to church with dad then the littles and I would come later, if the baby didn't fall asleep. I was completely unrepentant. I wasn't a wimp. Any sane person would have made the same decision. Even N-girl's sweet worry about my absences failed to move me.

Last week, however, I had a kid break, a math epiphany, and my spirit began to heal. I told God on my way back to my real life that I was ready to go back, to do it again. I told my family when I got home. N-Girl was overjoyed. My husband said, "Hm," and went to bed (got to love night work).

Dutifully, with a vague sense of dread, I went to sacrament meeting on Sunday. Unfortunately, I was unprepared when the baby had a horrifying diaper, so I missed the majority of the meeting taking care of the mess. I missed the announcement that our meeting time was moving, four months ahead of schedule, to the delightful 11 am time slot. Never, in the twenty-five years I have been a member, have I seen a mid-year time change that didn't involve a re-organization of some sort.

So to recap-Jami snaps; Jami rebels; Jami stubbornly persists in her rebellion; Jami feels the Spirit; Jami repents; Jami does the right thing; Jami blinks in disbelief because something just got easier; Jami blinks back tears.

Tender mercies? For me? Oh, thank you, God!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Math? Who Knew?

I went to school with a guy who my sister and I called Perfect Steve. He could write, act, ballroom dance, play two musical instruments, sing, do advanced mathematics and science. He was wise, kind, funny, spiritual, and didn't look like a troll. I would have fallen in love with him except he was several years younger than I was. He graduated from high school early and headed off to college where he majored in math of all things.

I was chatting with him during his sophomore year and asked him how he could stand it. Why in the world had he chosen Math when he could have studied anything? What is there to even learn after calculus?

My questions sent Perfect Steve into an enthusiastic description of the joys of mathematics, the orderliness, the questions, the answers, all truth turned into neat little proofs. He began describing the sheer exhilaration of being able to mathematically turn a sphere inside out.

At least that is what I was able to gather. He lost me pretty quickly. I stopped him and told him I would just have to believe him. I knew that it would take me years of studying math (of all things) before I could understand anything he said. Sorry. Love ya, Steve. Still hated math.

So last week I promised to return with a report about my experience at my homeschool training last week. What in the name of all long-windedness does Perfect Steve's sphere have to do with my LEMI (Leadership Education Mentoring Institute) training? The LEMI trainers have finally given me the vision that Steve was trying to share.

Math is cool!

I want to know how to turn a sphere inside-out mathematically! I want to know enough that I'm willing to work hard for the knowledge. Years, if necessary. I want to thrill my kids and students with the sheer exhilaration that is to be found in asking questions, finding and analyzing patterns, in math. Of all things.

Thanks for trying, Steve. Thanks, LEMI: I needed that.

For the fun of it, here's a picture of a sphere turning inside-out.

[For you TJed/LEMI=a cult folks—I'm running the final blood tests now, but preliminary testing shows that no mind-altering drugs were administered to create a delusional epiphany. Other than chocolate, of course.]