Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Blurry Christmas with the Tylers


Now that Blogger and My Computer have finally agreed to allow me to post Pictures with my Blogs-- I have to make the disclaimer that the week before Christmas we discovered that my Camera is broken!! (I know, right?) So we had to resort to the use of my old camera (that is also broken - hence the need to purchase another camera that is now broken as well- equaling TWO broken Cameras at Christmas) #2 mentioned Camera is not completely broken. It will take a picture... eventually. Which means- three minutes after the cute smile, the unwrapped gift, the perfect moment - the shutter will finally agree to take the blurry, closed eyed picture. So, without further ado--

A Blurry Christmas with the Tylers


This is Riley baking with me. I probably have 1 million pictures of her standing on a chair with ingredients spilling on the ground. I love them all.
A Nelson Family Tradition is making Candy Trains. My family got together the week before Christmas and opened up insane amounts of candy and frosting to unleash our creative energy and produce an edible candy train. Here is Riley. (I am not a cool enough mom to have a picture of the finished project)
This is Blake's Train. If you look close you will see he used giant gummy rings for the wheels instead of a more traditional M&M or Spree. This was so he could make a "Monster Train"! I thought it was so cute. His train was pretty minimal in candy since he would rather play than create. He also didn't care to eat his- since he won't eat frosting and each piece is obviously covered in frosting. (That is the same reason I do not eat mine :)

Here is Macie and JT's train. She is more like JT and would rather EAT than create. She also doesn't care if there is frosting on her candy. In fact, the more sugar the better!

This is Macie after she had eaten most of her train and we realized we should take it away before she throws up!This is my Train. Not too exciting. Accept that someone brought candy sharks to the party which necessitated a lake on the side so my shark and swedish fish could swim together. If they weren't touching frosting- that would be delicious!

Showing off my awesomeness to make my kids Christmas Tree Pancakes! This is an improvement on the usual "snowball" or "circles" I usually make for my kids.

Christmas Eve at the Tyler's. Before dinner Santa and Mrs. Clause showed up and surprised us! My kids may read this someday- so that is as much as I can say about that. But I will say- I was so happy and surprised that I teared up. (But that only makes sense if you know the rest of the story - which you don't - since my kids may read this one day!)

All the Cousins (minus Isaac who lives in Las Vegas) with Santa and Mrs. Clause! so cute :)... notice the fact that no one is looking at me since my camera took the picture long after I said "say cheese!"


Here are the Cousins doing the Annual Nativity. Yes, among Kings, Shepherds, and Princesses, it appears that the Native Americans came to see Baby Jesus :)


And this is Christmas Morning-- before the kids woke up. This part may get Blurry, not because of Lame Camera-- but because of all the generosity we received. Our tree looks pretty full-- and none of it was from us. I still don't know how to Thank all of the people who loved us and our kids and made what was looking like a hard day for us- into a beautiful memorable day instead.

This is a gift Riley made for JT - a giant telescope. I loved watching her make silly gifts for everyone and knew they would be among our favorite things unwrapped. (and not just because I thought they would be the only thing we unwrapped!) Oh and I don't have a picture of me unwrapping gifts- but I will say the Highlight for me was a surprise gift from friends (I have no problem admitting that I was disappointed when JT pointed out we wouldn't have the money for gifts this year and that if we wanted to buy even one thing for each kid it would mean forgoing our own presents!! I am not a mature and selfless mom. I like presents too! :) But he was right, and I agreed that I would rather see them with presents- and sometimes That is Life) So- the simple fact that something had my name on it- (and thoughtful gifts for JT also) was enough to make me cry. Then opening a gift card to go shopping, and ear rings, and a tart pan!!! It wasn't just that someone thought of me. It was that someone knew me. (man I am tearing up again! dumb camera... oh yeah, it's not the camera this time)


Anyways- back to the no tears part--Riley unwrapping gifts. Some of her favorites were Polly Pockets, clothes, markers, Little Pet Shop and paints. But her favorite was the Magnetic Dress Up Dolls that Aleisa helped me make! Thank goodness for Aleisa coming through and helping me be the Frugal Superstar Mom I always wanted to be! (ok, darn it, I did cry about that too! Really, I am so thankful for that small act of kindness from Aleisa!)


Blake got a lot of trucks, cars, and more cars. Which is his favorite thing in the world. The highlight of him unwrapping gifts was when he opened this Monster Truck Carrier with Monster Trucks inside and he exclaimed "Wow! I must have done a REALLY LONG POOP to get this truck!!!" I guess he still thinks that is how it works- even though he has been potty trained for months!

(once again- I don't have a single picture of him with his eyes open! ugghhh!)

And here is Macie on our favorite toy! Our kids love to ride their bikes, but Macie has not mastered a tricycle yet and refuses to ride in the stroller, so our family walks (when JT isn't home to help) are tedious! I was telling my sister Karen about it and she gave us her old push tricycle! Yeah! So I will love using this as much as Macie will! (p.s. don't like the look fool you- she loves it)


And this is the kids with our new Nativity. This was actually the first part of Christmas Morning. When JT told me, years ago, that his family started Christmas morning with the Christmas Story and a small devotional I thought they were crazy! We thought we were tortured by my parents forcing us to eat breakfast first- but to sit through talking and Spiritual stuff??? That was crazy talk! ... But I am changing my tune... As I heard JT read the story, and watched my kids use the new Nativity we received anonymously this Christmas - I didn't care about the presents under the tree. I wasn't anxious for the stockings. I was grateful for friends, family, and The King of all the earth who chose to be born humbly in a manger with no gifts, no stockings, and not even a bed to lay him in. I guess even as a baby he was more mature and selfless than I will ever be. (Oh,and the kids loved it too!)


P.S. did I mention how this showed up on our door step and I have secretly always wanted a Little People Nativity??? I guess Santa really does listen!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas


Merry Christmas!
For starters, here is a Pic of my Riley and Blake dressed up as Mary and Joseph and Macie as the Shepard. Pretty Cute, huh?

So- let's talk about this month. This blog post has been stuck in my mind for days now- trying to escape. It has been an interesting month...

It is no secret that the Real Estate Market has been hit hard by this recession. And if you know me, you know JT supports our family with a Real Estate income. Yes, he works at the Hospital in the ER, but he is no doctor - and his pay check there reflects that. He works hard, but it just is not enough to support a growing family and a mortgage. Real estate has always come through for us. But this year has been harder than most.

As I prepared for the Holiday Season I was optimistic. I saw myself sewing adorable gifts from scrap fabric, baking wonderful treats from my pantry, and focusing more on the Baby that was born on Christmas than the gifts that were received. I envisioned a frugal superstar making Christmas out of nothing. And then my children begging to hear the Christmas Story read from Luke "one more time, puh-lease, before we open presents!" I was already congratulating myself on a Christmas fit to be printed in the Ensign.


And then December hit.

And boy has it hit.

Someday I will post my notes from the Relief Society Scripture night that I taught at the beginning of the month. Normally, that kind of event would be the highlight of my month. Speaking. For an hour. On the scriptures. My dream come true! (seriously) But this time- I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was up against every road block possible. My Testimony seemed to be shaken to the core. (a feeling I was not expecting or familiar with)

When that was over - it was our Anniversary, our get-a-way and by the time we got back I felt like I was 10 steps behind. Suddenly the reality of life, finances, and Holidays hit me. It was too late for home made gifts. Who was I kidding anyways? Me? Crafting adorable gifts for my kids? But how could we make Christmas work with our finances? Does the Ensign really want to print a story of my life crashing down around me days before Christmas?

And there it was.
On our doorstep.

The 12 Days of Christmas.

Not just the 12 Days of Christmas (which I have loved) But Secret Santa Gifts on my front porch. Generosity from friends and family. Help crafting presents. Cards. Gifts. Treats. Thoughtful acts of service and kindness. And for as much as my kids love it, I know I appreciate it even more. I think I have cried every day during these 12 days. Every time the doorbell rings I start crying again. I pray every night for these families that are thinking of us. I ask Heavenly Father to help me do something. anything. The more I receive the more I cry. I can hardly even figure out what it is I am feeling.

Grateful.
Loved.
Shocked.
Confused.
Undeserving.

I think that last one is the hardest. I have never felt so selfish in my life. Just keeping my own head above water has been exhausting this past month- how can I serve others? It isn't that I haven't wanted to. Or tried. Wasn't that the point of the Relief Society Scripture night? To share my love of the Scriptures? But even that almost drowned me. But is it that obvious to everyone else? Are we the family that needs help? So here I am. Paralyzed. Wanting to serve. Wanting to share. Wanting to give.

And instead- the doorbell rings with more love for my own family.

I have no idea who is doing all of this.
I think I am too embarrassed to even want to know.
And I am certain that if they wanted me to know who it was- they would stick around on the front porch while I wipe my eyes and answer the door.

So, if you are reading this. And you have stood on my front porch this month doing something kind for me or my family. And you have rang the doorbell and wondered if what you are doing is making a difference...

Thank you.
wow, those words seem small compared to all that you have given me. How can I make those words sound as big as they feel?

Thank You
still not big enough :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oooppss - To Clarify

oooppssss- Sorry Everyone, Looks like I need to Clarify.

We ARE STAYING HERE and going to UW. :)

I keep having people ask if we have decided where we are going and I realized I have strung you along for years and never gave you a firm answer to our plans!

I think it is because it simply felt good. There was no big event, singing angels, or interesting story - it just felt good. For the first time in a couple years we have been able to just sit back and feel calm. In fact this whole thing played out so differently than I ever imagined. I saw us getting a thick envelope in the mail. I saw us eagerly opening it and then jumping up and down as we hugged and cried. I saw us calling everyone we knew and running through the streets shouting for joy. But in fact - it was a phone call. And it was JT casually turning to me to say he got accepted. It was us sighing relief. Going to the Temple to pray and feeling calm and content. It was us just sitting back and enjoying the new found peace in our lives. Sorry I forgot to pass that on to the rest of you.

So no New York for me. I guess the Big Apple just isn't ready for Katie Tyler yet... someday.

As for adventure--- We will be moving up to Seattle (if we can find renters for our house) in June. Classes start in June and then the full time schedule begins in September. With the intensity of the program and the amount of studying JT will need to do- there is no way to add in a 2 hour commute. This way he can come home for dinner and bed time with the kids and then head back to the Library to study without wasting time in traffic.

And I get my dream of living in the city.

Thank you all for your love and support. It has been fun for me to run into a lot of you lately who read my Blog and I had NO IDEA :)

And to everyone who already knew we were staying here- sorry for the boring informational blog! I am sure I will have something more juicy to write about soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the Nativity...according to Riley



It is beginning to look a Little Bit like Christmas around here.

Our $20 Noble is proudly standing - naked - without lights or ornaments. And the Kids' Nativities are displayed in our home. (the rest of the decorations are yet to come)


Riley called me in to show me how she had arranged one of the miniature Nativities. If you look closely you will see a Shepherd with his sheep. A Mary and Joseph. And then the Three Wisemen standing by Baby Jesus.

Riley: Mom, come see my Activity (she means Nativity)

Me: Cute, Riley, but why are Mary and Joseph so far away from Baby Jesus?

Riley: Oh, Mary and Joseph are on a date. But don't worry, the Wise Men are there.


Mary was so lucky to have babysitters led by a Star so that she could go out with her man!




P.S. I am taking a bow for getting a picture on my blog. thank you, thank you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

For JT

So I think it is pretty clear that I express myself better in writing. This may be due to the fact that I am a bit of a "passionate" person. And if you missed JT's talk on Sunday- "95% of the time that is a great thing... but the other 5% may be a little difficult" for those who live with or love me. (as I am sure any of my family, former room mates, or mission companions could tell you) So I have learned a way to deal with the "passionate" side of me.

I have warned JT that there is a price to pay for me being a Thinker and Not a Fighter. This means I take a long time to think through my feelings before I start any kind of argument or bring up any kind of issue. This isn't mature or noble of me, it is really due to the fact that I have to win- so I will not even begin an argument unless I am certain that I can prove I am right. JT knows when I am stewing on something, but he gives me my space until I have decided whether it is worthy of a fight or not. (in most cases- Not) Now, I am not bottling this all up. I would literally explode. I have a journal. Ok, Ok, we might as well call it a diary because it has little to do with real events or experiences. Mostly just a place to vent. To test out my arguments. To be passionate without consequence. So the price he pays for a kind wife - is a diary. A diary he is never to read, and may even want to burn when I die so that my posterity will not be shocked. It is a dangerous book to read. But after realizing what a One Sided Story it tells- I decided I should frequently insert the truth.

The truth that my life is wonderful. That my husband is my soul mate. That I am deeply happy.

And today- my Blog gets to be that entry.

This week was a hard week. Only my "diary" can hold all of it. We have been put through the ringer. I know that this spikes your curiosity- but that is about as much detail as you get. I wish I could say more. I was feeling absolutely drained when I saw that one of "my girls" was going through the Temple for the first time today to prepare for her Mission! (a girl that I have taught and adored since she was 7 years old!) I felt like this was the last thing I could handle this week. And yet I knew I wanted to be there for her. When I was getting the kids out the door early this morning to be watched by my Sister in law- JT arrived home from work. I wished he could be going with me- but he had worked long hours and needed sleep. I felt like I needed him with me today and yet I knew he needed sleep desperately.

As I entered the Temple without him I felt the weight of the week press down on me. I struggled to put on my Happy Face. To smile when I want to cry. To make it through.

And then it happened-

Right before I was to go in and take my seat, the line of people ahead of me shifted. It was truly as if the clouds parted and there he stood. Quietly laughing with a friend. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had just left him at home exhausted and half asleep! The minute I believed it was him and not just a dream- I began to cry. And cry.

This must have seemed ridiculous to those around me. After all- he is my husband. Hadn't I just seen him? Why would I be so excited? They had no idea.

To JT- You are my Hero. I would be so lost without you. I would be weaker and smaller. I would have forgotten myself a million times. I don't know what I did to deserve you. I know that I do deserve you. You were there when I needed you most and least expected it. You held my hand when I felt empty. You are my Best Friend. You are everything to me. I love you always-

And I hope this makes up for the 5% of "difficult passionate" that I have been this week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Rollercoaster

It's early in the morning. But it isn't cold or damp outside like it would be in Washington. It's California. And it is our Nelson Family Vacation -1991. I eat a muffin and juice for breakfast and then take my Dramamine. My stomach is already twisting in circles and we haven't even left the hotel room to go to Magic Mountain. I am scared to death, but I know I can't chicken out. I am the fifth out of six children, and in a family like mine- saving face is everything.

There it is. The Viper. It is huge. It is red. And it is the biggest Roller Coaster I have ever seen.

Standing in line is like being tortured. I have to watch it scream and loop past me over and over as I wait for my turn.

And then it is my turn. My stomach drops. I look to my big brothers whose faces glow with excitement. Even my little sister appears ecstatic. Am I the only one scared to death right now? The belts lock. The bar comes down. Is this really going to hold me in place???

And up we go. Slowly I feel the pull of the cars ahead as we make the first climb. It is moving so slowly. Is this to build suspense? Or to fool me into placidity? Is it to give me time to rethink this terrible decision and beg to be let off? No. I am too high now. There is no way off this ride. I tell myself this is fun. After all, people are smiling... aren't they? We are close to the top. I can barely see my parents below.

And then the drop.

Lurching over the top of the small mountain the ride takes off. My stomach is in my throat. My heart is beating out of control. We are racing down the track. As soon as we recover from the drop I am pulled around a corner. Suddenly I am filled with excitement! This IS fun! I lift my arms from their death grip on the bar to extend them over my head. I start to smile. And then it happens. Suddenly I am upside down. My bearings are lost. My head is spinning. I am lifting off of my seat. The only thing connecting me to this planet is centrifugal force. (or is it centripetal force?? I must have been asleep in Physics the day we talked about this) I can hardly comprehend that I am upside down before I am swept into my next loop. Adrenaline is rushing through me. I think I want to scream with excitement. Or is it terror? Either way, nothing escapes my mouth. It is a giant hollow "O". My stomach continues to twist. I loose all frame of reference. I have no idea which way is up and which way is down or where on earth I will land in the end.

And despite my horror. Despite the suppression of throw up. Despite the unknown. I am enjoying myself.

I can see the last turn up ahead. I feel the machine contract and break as we come to slow down. I try to assess my feelings. Relief? Disappointment? Shock?

When we exit the ride I notice eager faces getting on for the next spin. I am wobbly. My heart is pounding. My brothers are cheering and high-fiving. My little sister is proudly boasting her lack of fear. Everyone is having the time of their lives. The fear has worn off. The more steps I take from the ride the more I convince myself it really wasn't so bad. By the time we rejoin my parents I find myself echoing my siblings in the desire to "do it again!"

Here I am- it is raining outside. It is definitely not California. I am not 12 years old. But all of those feelings are here.

These past few years have been a Roller Coaster that puts The Viper at Magic Mountain to shame. Just like that little girl had no idea what she was getting into- I was naive. I had no idea it would be this kind of a struggle to get into PA School. I had no idea I would be slowly pulled up a track for more than a year of prerequisites. I had no idea that the top would feel so high and so far from where we had begun and that the rush of the fall would be so intense. It was out of my control. I relied on the Centrifugal Force of Faith to keep me hanging on. There were moments that I lifted my arms and thought the ride was going just where I wanted it to. And there were other times that I just had to rely on a Nelson's desire to "save face." Convincing myself that this was a fun adventure. For over 2 years I have not known which way was up and which way was down. I have literally just been along for the ride....

But today, I think we pulled up to the station. I think the bar is being lifted and I am being released.

JT just got accepted to the University of Washington!!!

This is it. The ride has ended. The confusion. The unknown. The stress. The disappointment. The Hope. It has all slid into place and here we are.

Did it go by fast? As I begin to step away from this process will I just remember it as an amazing experience where our family grew closer? Will I think just about the fun parts where my hands were in the air? It has been up and down and up and down for as long as I can remember. And yet all I can do is smile and join in on the High Fives!

WE DID IT!!!

The ironic part is... it really is just the beginning. Now he gets to go through the grueling life of a student in PA school! So, I guess it is just like Magic Mountain. We are already begging to "do it again!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

why do we do this?

Running.

Why do we do this to ourselves? JT just finished a book about running where it stated that 8 out of 10 runners will get injured each year.

Do we do it for the shin splints? for the knee problems? for the joint issues? for the I.T.B.S. ? (which is the problem I have) or for the thrill of pain?

I can't tell why anyone else does it. And if you asked me 5 years ago I would have told you I wouldn't be caught dead running -- unless Nordstrom was giving away Lancome Mascara and the ONLY way to get one was to run...and then I probably would have bribed someone else to run for me. But here I am- Running.

Everyday I cinch on a sports bra, pull my hair back, and lace up my shoes to go to the gym. But there is something different when I do that same routine to go Running.

There is nothing better than a crisp autumn afternoon in Washington for a nice run. I actually ran through a crunchy pile of Maple leaves today! Talk about euphoric! The crackle of leaves breaking under my feet- releasing the warm smell of maple! I almost closed my eyes. (but I know better than that, I grew up with Maple Trees- and I know that under every layer of crispy leaves is the wet layer that hasn't dried out from last night's rain and will be slippery as heck!)

I think I may have figured it out. Why I run. I won't run on a track. I can't run on a treadmill. The only joy I find in running is outside. I think that is half of why I love running. Being outside. With the fresh air blowing past me (ok, ok, if you have seen me run - you know I am hardly going fast enough for anything to "blow" past me).

I discovered today it is the freedom I love about running. Just Going. Moving. Change. I can't run on a treadmill because I can't stare endlessly at the Bravo channel on the Gym's T.V. I suffocate on a track because I can't stand knowing that I am running in circles. Even running the path around the lake gets mundane. I like change. I like knowing I am getting farther and farther from a messy kitchen. Farther from the calls of mother hood. Farther from the duties of life. Closer to silence. Closer to being an individual. Closer to myself.

(I shouldn't have to insert here that I love my life. -but I will - I love my kids, my messy kitchen, my role as a wife and mother, that is not what this is about)

I remember something I started doing years ago at EFY as a counselor. When there would be a moment that I loved. That I knew I needed to cherish for forever. I would try to capture it by opening up my arms wide and inhaling deeply. Silently I called it my Freedom Stretch. I would absorb whatever wonderful moment it was. Usually a moment when I was alone and remembering a perfect part of my day. I did this on the Mission as well. Particularly with the sky. The sky was huge in Madagascar. I loved it. I loved feeling like it went on forever with endless opportunities. I loved absorbing the smells, sounds, and feelings from my mission.

And here I am doing it again- when I run. When I am sure that no one is looking - I extend my arms and run as fast as I can down the hills. When I am brave- I close my eyes. When I am nervous - I open them up and look up at the sky. I soak it all up.

What does this have to do with anything? My blog isn't about running. It is about my life.

When I heard we were moving to Rochester- I was nervous (of course) but deep inside I was starting to stretch out my arms and Run. I was getting off of the treadmill of reapplying that we have run on for 2 years. I was leaving behind a track that kept my life going in circles. I was seeing a giant new horizon like the ones in Madagascar. I knew I would need to be brave, to close my eyes and let it happen.

It isn't that I wanted to escape anything here. Just like I don't actually want to escape my children when I go for a run. It was just the thrill of freedom. Freedom to start from scratch. To redefine myself. To dream big.

Now- as the prospect of U.W. enters the picture - I have a lot to think about. I am hopeful that JT gets accepted. I know this is a great program for him. I know that it will be "easier" than moving (as everyone points out) but I am not yearning for easy. I know that whatever is right- will work out. I know it will be wonderful to stay close to family and friends.

I think I will just need to find a new way to feel that freedom here. To find that newness and change and adventure in my own backyard. And I think I will start by running.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Interview

JT interviewed today at U.W. for their P.A. program. (which is in the Top 10 schools in the country!)

We are more confused than ever. And maybe farther from an answer to our favorite question "Are you moving to New York" than ever before.

Of course we will need to wait and see if he gets accepted (should hear back in 2- 3 weeks) and then start praying some more.

One thing JT said today was how confident he felt during the full day interview. I think it helped to know that he was accepted to a very strong program in NY to help him stay calm. He said he wasn't nervous at all and was able to be calm and answer the questions easily. He didn't have to feel like everything was riding on this interview since he already has acceptance at Rochester.

SO, is Rochester just the back up plan? Do we stay here if JT gets accepted? Or do we say thanks to Seattle and pack our bags anyways?

I am not sure of any answers right now. The only thing I know- is that I am married to an amazing guy. And that wherever he goes, I am going also. He has not let me down. He has pushed hard for years to reach his goals. He has not given up, even when most probably would have. He has stayed positive and optimistic. He has been thoughtful and understanding of me. It is a huge undertaking to change careers after you have graduated, after you have an established career, after you have a family to support- but he didn't let that scare him. We have made a lot of sacrifices, and have many more years of sacrifice before we are done, but to see the smile on his face- and satisfaction in his eyes tonight reminds me that it is all worth it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hair- for a good cause....

November- the Month I am DOING HAIR!

What? Katie is coming out of retirement? For one month and for one month only... or maybe more, we'll see.


The truth is- we are being extremely careful with our money right now, knowing that we might being spend a small fortune on moving our family to NY. And normally I am ok with tightening my budget a little bit...

But right now I am desperate (and I mean desperate) for some time alone with my guy. It has been a few years since we had a night alone. I am not talking about a date night. We get those (thanks to swapping hair cuts with fabulous babysitters), I am talking about a whole night together. The kind of night where you do what you want (go ahead and interpret that how you like), and then wake up whenever you want, without little blankies and binkies creeping into bed, without an alarm clock, without any distractions or obligations. Just us.

These past few years have been stressful. And although I appreciate the anxiety of choosing between two goods (UR or UW) over the stress of coping with the unknown- it is still difficult. The closer we get to moving, the more I realize that living close to family (who can help watch kids) will be ending. And I realize that the long dreamt of night alone could be postponed for a very long time...

SO- instead of breaking our budget, starving our kids, or sleeping in a tent in the back yard- - - I am going to do hair for a month! :)

I am hoping this is a Win- Win.

I know there are a few of you who have wanted to sneak into my house and get your hair done, and I know there are a few more of you whose house I want to sneak into to do your hair! (just kidding, I just had to say it) so- I will be available in the evenings all month, or the weekends of Nov 5ht and 26th.

Call me, facebook me, show up at my house (ok, don't do that)- just let me know.
:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh the Irony...

JT got an email today from the University of Washington. He was asked to come and interview for a spot in their MEDEX Physician Assistant Program -- yep, that's right---

After we have been accepted to the University of Rochester's program - U.W. decides to ask him to interview for their P.A. school.

Was it all of you praying to keep us here?

Was it the Alumni P.A.'s that work with JT at the Hospital - who called U.W. to tell them that they are anxious to hire JT and need him to get accepted so that he can start working as a P.A. at Valley?

Was it the fact that this year U.W. did not mess up his paper work (like they did last year!) and realized that he is a perfect candidate for their program?

Or is it simply the irony of life?

And what does this mean for us?

Who knows.


I guess if he gets accepted JT will need to do some serious soul searching to decide what will be the better fit for him. Nurse Anesthetist or Physician Assistant? (let's be honest, my vote will probably be for the more lucrative of the two careers) And I guess where our family actually belongs right now.


Who knows.


So, let's take an already stressful situation of trying to downsize, finding a place in Rochester, while getting our house ready to show to complete strangers, hoping that one of them will be a reliable renter and then throw in on top of it all- an interview at U.W. and the possibility of not leaving Washington at all.

Apparently my life wasn't crazy enough.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

9:15 p.m.

Saturday Night. 9:15 p.m. Just got home from a Halloween Party and I am trying to get my kids in bed. We are doing our Family Scripture Study and this is the conversation.

Me: "...they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord..." (2 Nephi 5:20)

Blake: What does it mean "they were cut off from the presence of the Lord?"

Me: (thinking to myself - What? You are actually paying attention??) Well,( I begin slowly, carefully choosing my words) they were not listening to Jesus anymore and so they were not able to feel His love for a while. (Uggh! Did I even answer that right? I know how to answer these questions for a teenager, or a class, or an investigator- but my 3 year old?)

Riley: I don't hear Heavenly Father or Jesus. Will I be cut off?

Me: (oh no!) No, sweetie, we are always trying to be good listeners to Heavenly Father. You are a good listener.

Riley: But I don't hear Him.

Me: Well, we hear Jesus with out hearts. Can you close your eyes, and be very quiet? Then you can feel His love in your heart. (*sigh* I did it. That was perfect, now my daughter will have a chance to feel and identify the Spirit! I am awesome.)

Riley: Nope. He is still far away in Heaven.

Me: (what? that isn't what I was expecting)

Blake: When I die, will I go to Heaven?

Me: (what?!)

Riley: Then you can hear Heavenly Father and Jesus and you won't get cut off.

Blake: I don't want to die. (tearing up)

Me: (oh crap! what do I do now?)

Me: Blake it is ok. You will not be cut off from anyone. Heavenly Father loves you so much.

Blake: I don't want to go to Heaven. Mommy, I just want to be with you!

Me: Don't worry, I will be there too. And so will Daddy and our whole family. We will all be together with Jesus.

Riley: Is Daddy going to die?

Me: (seriously?? it is 9:15 p.m. why are we having this discussion right now- after a Halloween Party- when your dad isn't even here to help me! why are we even awake right now!?) Sweetie, everyone will die someday, but we get to be together forever. So we don't need to be sad tonight. (preparing to launch into the 4th discussion and start teaching about the sealing ordinances of the Temple... of course, I taught the discussions in Malagasy- so the kids probably wouldn't understand any of it)

Blake: Well.... can I have some more candy?

Riley: No, Blake, it is time for bed! Let's pray, I'm tired.

Me: (...... speechless......)

Blake: I love you mommy.


It is now 9:45 p.m. on Saturday Night and I am in shock. Not sure whether to call that a pass or fail - guess it is just survival. If nothing else it was pretty comical.

I am starting to really understand how much of my job as a mother is being a Teacher. I remember as an EFY Counselor they would constantly remind us to be alert to "Teaching Moment" - little golden opportunities to teach, testify, or uplift one of our youth. They counseled us that these moments would rarely come in a classroom or from a pulpit. But from walks on campus, talks in the cafeteria, or late nights eating pizza. I have told myself as a Mother that I will need to be on the look out for these moments- someday. (who knew that someday was today?) I have reminded myself that no matter the effort I put into teaching my Sunday School kids the scriptures, or sharing the Gospel with my neighbors- if I am missing the "Teaching Moments" at home- I am missing the mark. Most of us have heard David O. McKay's quote "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" (p.s. after scouring the internet all night for a reference to the talk where he said those profound words I just discovered that President McKay was actually quoting someone else - J.E. McCulloch to be exact, which led me to this blog that I really enjoyed- who knew?). I have always liked that saying and usually tied it to careers or other success we might see unrelated to our families. But tonight- I realized that it is any success. Whether I am the best missionary, the best Sunday School teacher (which I totally am... cough cough), or best anything- if I am not the best mom- the rest of it will hardly matter.

This post has a Part II.... I know, I have never done that before. But it is late- and I have a lot of thoughts that follow this.

For now, I will go to bed picturing Blake's innocent little teary eyes saying how he doesn't want to die and me wanting to kiss him and squeeze him and tell him that he will be fine and he will never die. But that isn't true, and I can't tell him that. I can tell him- he will always - always- be mine. And he will probably look into my eyes... and ask for more Halloween Candy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Denial

Here it is- 7:30p.m., my kids are sound asleep, JT is at work, and I am on my computer. This is so unlike me. I have a ton of things I should be doing- besides the normal things like cleaning my bathrooms, sweeping the floor, and polishing my nails. I should be getting things done.

I should be searching for housing, figuring out costs. I should be downsizing, decluttering, and donating all of our accumulated stuff that won't fit it in our tiny apartment in NY. I should be budgeting, planning, and organizing. I should even (as a friend recently suggested) be making my Bucket List of things I need (ok, really, just want) to do before I move across the map!

But what am I doing? Blogging. Why? I am in denial.

I can't seem to wrap my brain around all of this. And every time I do, I get overwhelmed. So I am rambling on the internet! I even checked out facebook, browsed on pinterest, and watched a youtube video. (things I never do!)

But seriously -- I'm stalling.

So here is what I am going to do. First, I am going to go clean my carpets... ok, not really, the Kirby Guy is coming back to do that any minute. First, I am going to let the Kirby Guy clean my carpets for free. Then I am going to go listen to the Relief Society Broadcast that I missed the other night. And after that, I am going to start on my Bucket List. That's right. No NY tonight. No cleaning, no planning, no stressing, no moving.

Now I have told you all what I am going to do. (therefore making me somewhat accountable to get up and do something) This is what YOU are going to do. What?! Sorry, it's too late to pretend like you are not reading this post. I know you are, I can see you on my stats. (that's not true, Josh tried to help me figure that out months ago and I have been too lazy to look at it ever since.... but if I wanted to- I could see you on my stats -- if Josh reminded me how -- and know that you are reading this!)

So - your job- is to help me come up with that Bucket List! (or come declutter my house - your choice) What are the things we have said we wanted to do together? What are the things I will wish I had done when I am gone? (those of you who have actually moved for something other than a mission will be able to help me with this one) What are the things that I have put off or forgotten about? How can we make the most of our time before I go?

Now, leave me a comment, plan the event, and find me a babysitter. :)

Thanks - I feel much better now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's all relative...

Blake is officially potty trained. Thank You. Thank You. But please, hold your applause till the end of the post.

(Side Note: For all of you who wonder what my children actually look like- I tried to add a pic of my little guy right *here* but Blogger hates me too much and would not stop showing me the dumb exclamation mark in the triangle saying it was waiting for the pics that never came!! uggh! I try, I really do, it is hard to be hated by technology-- pouty face)


Anyways, we decided Pooping in the Toilet was about as big of an accomplishment as we could ask of our little 3 year old guy. It was a rough go at first. And he has been willing for a while to do #1 in the toilet, but still going to his favorite hiding place to do #2 in his pull up.

So a few months ago- I bribed him.

This is how I know Bribes Don't Work. (At the beginning of summer I bribed Riley with a Barbie Doll if she would jump off the diving board with her cousins at her Grandma's house. No go. She did not care at all about a prize- she would not jump in. Then a few months later we were there with our friends and out of the blue she jumps in! No bribing, no begging, just her own free will - of course she immediately reminded me of the Barbie I had promised months before! ) With Blake I bribed him with cars and monster trucks to just "do a poopie in the toilet" - that was two months ago. And although cars and trucks are his favorite he wouldn't take the bait.

Finally last week, of his own free will he did it. Just sat on the toilet and pooped. He was excited to show me what he called his "little poop" and then proceeded to remind me of the little car I owed him. I took him to Fred Meyer and he chose a single Hot Wheel. "Wow, that was easy" I thought "I was expecting him to go for the talking Lightning McQueen or that two foot Monster Truck! but no, he picks the smallest car here!" I patted myself on the back for a great bribe and a frugal child and we went home.

The next day he did it again. He was just as excited to show me his "long poop" and then proceeded to tell me that he would now take a "Limousine Car" and maybe tomorrow he would have a "Big Poop" so he could get the "Big Monster Truck"!!!

Not only does my son think each poop gets it's own vehicle- he thinks that the size of the poop is relative to the size of the reward!!

I am going to be in big trouble when he is a teenager!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nights are the Hardest

I can't say that the novelty has worn off... I am still in shock, I am still happy for JT, I am still excited for the adventure, I am still sure this is all right (to be moving to New York)....

But I will say, at Night it is the hardest. It seems like the kids go to bed, my night winds down and my brain turns on. Suddenly I am aware of all of the things that will make this move difficult. Last week it was the logistics. (not to say that isn't still a concern this week) Things like: where will we live? can we move in all that snow? will we be able to get enough student loans to support our family? and how much will all of this cost? But this past weekend I discovered new heartbreaks to overcome.

Saturday we spent the afternoon at the Tyler's. The kids played and laughed with cousins in the pool. I talked with my Sister in laws and snuggled my newest nephew. I watched JT "play" with his brothers doing flips and showing off in the pool. (JT is more "himself" with his family than anywhere else. I guess we all are, right? We let down our guards, or facades, we forget about impressing or in my case- entertaining - and just let it all hang out. It is refreshing to have that freedom. And it is something special especially when I watch my kids or JT be 100% comfortable and at home.) I have to say- I have always felt a safe feeling at my inlaws', like I can be me, however crazy that is, and not be judged or made fun of or hurt. How can we leave this? Who takes their kids away from loving aunts and uncles and grandparents??

Then I went to Jenni's surprise party. I watched a fantastic group of women jump out from behind couches to surprise a friend we all love. These are girls I did not even know 3 years ago who have become some of my best friends. We are all so different. In fact, I don't think we unanimously share a single thing in common besides our faith and love for each other. But we adore each other for the talents that we have and accept each other for the places that we lack. Once again- Who leaves those kinds of friends??

And at Church today- my kids quietly deserted me and JT on our pew to go sit with their beloved former Nursery Teacher "Tingey". (where of course they will sit the entire Sacrament Meeting without whining or fighting because they are with "Tingey"!!) As I guiltily enjoyed the peace that comes from sitting alone on your bench and not having to wrestle kids, I realized that my kids would be missing their friends as well. Primary teachers, Preschool teachers, babysitters and playmates who have loved them since birth. Who moves away from a Nursery Teacher that sits with your kids at church??

I am starting to think we are crazy.

But the first tears fell tonight, believe it or not, when I came down stairs for a drink before I was going to sleep (and then I obviously got distracted by the desire to Blog rather than cry alone in my bed!) and I walked through my dark house, with no lights on. You know you are home when you don't need a light. I remember this on my mission- that first few weeks of not feeling totally comfortable and a little afraid of the dark. (not the dark so much, as the giant spiders that could lay waiting to pounce on you in the dark) But as I relaxed into an area- I was less afraid. Here I am, in the first house we ever bought. I love this house. It may not seem like much to some of you- but it is my first home and I love it. I loved the floor plan from the minute I walked in. I love the kitchen overlooking the large family room. I love the master bath and huge walk in closet! I love my kids rooms - mostly for being the treasure chest that holds my sweetest treasures every night. I love the backyard (even though it backs up to the busiest road and everyone honks at me when I come outside in my robe to push my kids on the swing) and the adventures and parties we have had back there. I love the feeling here. The one I feel when it has been a crazy morning of running around and extracting screaming kids from car seats- and then I put my keys in the door and smile that this is my home. The home my husband worked really hard to buy for me. (and still does) The home that welcomed me and Macie from the Hospital when she was born. The home that has caught the spills of birthday cakes, sippy cups, and dinner with friends. Who leaves a Home like this??


I can't believe that with all of these things to miss- I started crying tonight about my house. I didn't think this adventure would be so hard. I have prayed every night for this for over 2 years- and now that it is here - I am crying.

But something keeps running through my head. I don't even know where it came from, or who said it- but I think it will be my motto these next few months:

I can do hard things.

or is it-
I CAN do hard things.
or
I can DO hard things.
or
I can do HARD--- really really hard--- things.

We can do this. We can leave family for a little while, they will still love us when we get back. I can say goodbye to friends- even my kids' friends- they won't forget me. ( I don't think...) And I can even walk a way from our first home, I will have many more homes. And tomorrow when I realize I will have to buy snow clothes and learn how to live in the cold- I will just remind myself:

I can do hard things.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New York - Here We Come

The Moment We Have All Been Waiting For....

Has Finally Arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, you have been on the edge of your seats, prayerful at the Temple, fasting day and night and hoping to get rid of us Tylers. Well, it worked. We are headed to Rochester, New York in January for school!

Hallelujah! (I am hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus)

I know, some of you are sad. You enjoyed reading the countless blog posts about rejection, about waiting, about our never ending plight into the unknown. Some of you may even miss us when we are gone....

*Crickets * awkward silence *

And the rest of you are wondering Why Rochester??

Well, after more research, JT decided to change direction a little bit. He decided that he would like to become a Nurse Anesthetist. So rather than go to P.A. school we are headed to the University of Rochester for an accelerated Nursing Course. A year from now, JT will be a Registered Nurse working in an I.C.U. where he will gain the experience he needs to qualify to go to more school to become a Nurse Anesthetist. (Did any of you know I have a thing against the "th" sound? I don't know why, it just feels weird on my tongue- it almost stopped me from supporting him in this career change. Luckily I was able to put that behind me for the sake of a career.) Rochester not only has one of the best and very few accelerated nursing programs in the country but it is also very close to three schools that offer the Anesthetist program. It will take slightly longer to finish the schooling but I think it will be much more rewarding for him in the long run.

And now some of you are wondering how I am doing with all of this? Ok, most of you are busy cheering for JT, high fiving each other like you just won the Super Bowl, or already reading someone else's more interesting blog. But for anyone who wants to know...

I am freaking out!

My mind is flipping back and forth between the pros and cons so fast I can hardly see straight. I keep thinking of JT finally being accepted and how happy and relieved he is. Then I think of the long road we still have ahead. I think of Riley, Blake and Macie being in one of the Top Public School Districts in the Nation! And then I think of them leaving Miss Ashlee. I think of the new adventure and chance to get out of the Seattle Gloom. And then I think of all of the friends and family we are leaving behind. (that is by far the hardest one to swallow) I think of four different seasons and the beauty of upstate New York. And then I think of the snow. And more snow. And more snow.

The most amazing thing in all of this - is seeing how much the Lord's hand has been in it from the start. I think it will take some more reflection and a whole other post to get into that.

One Tender Mercy happened on Saturday after we heard the news. I was talking to my Mom on the phone about it and she was very excited. She said "Katie, this is so perfect for you." She is right. Growing up, I always wanted to live in New York. Usually I thought of living in the Big Apple, ice skating on Christmas at the Rockerfeller Center, singing and dancing off Broadway while waitressing to pay the bills, and eating pizza that I fold in half. But I remember a painting called Kindred Spirits by Asher Durand. I loved this painting in High School (which says a lot for a girl who tended to like mostly Modern Art) and I was very drawn to exploring this side of New York. One without glitz and glamour and taxis and lights. (I have to add that I also loved this for the title Kindred Spirits and the thought of these Best Friends- Poet and Artist in nature together... Sigh) Wow- this is turning into a boring Humanities lesson - back to the conversation with my Mom --- When my Mom told me that this was perfect for me- I found myself in Oregon. At OSU as an EFY Counselor. I was traveling with EFY all summer and my Mission Call had come. My mom forwarded it to me in Oregon so that I could read it. I was in a phone booth (which shows how old I am) all alone. Crying. I called my mom and told her I wasn't sure I wanted to go on a mission anymore and that I might not even open the letter to read it - but instead just send it back and say "I'm sorry." But my mom's answer was "Katie, I read your Mission Call" (yes, go ahead and gasp, she opened it and read it and then resealed it to mail to me at OSU!) "And in ALL the World, this is where My Katie belongs." When she said that I was filled with peace and I knew that it was right. I opened the envelope to find I had been called to the Madagascar, Antananarivo Mission and it changed my life. I can't help but feel that all over again.

Something about Rochester just feels right.

I don't know what it is. I don't know why. But it just feels right. Yes, I am scared. I am not a fan of snow. I rely a lot on my Family and Friends here in Washington. I love my ward, my neighbors, my life here. But I know that this is right for our family and especially for JT.

I am excited for an adventure. I am excited to finally be on the path and moving forward. I am excited for the unknown. I can' t believe it is finally happening! I almost forgot what it is like to know what you will be doing 6 months from now. To be able to plan ahead! And I know this adventure will change our lives.

What this means for all of you? (that's right, everyone wants to know what this has to do with them) I will be spending the next three months having Girls' Nights, Play Dates, Dates with My Man (since we won't have family or babysitters in NY), Parties, Family Dinners, More Girls' Nights and probably some serious tears----

Consider Yourselves Invited :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brazil

This may be too much of My Reality for some of you. But truth be told: I have bad days. I mean really bad days sometimes. And it seems that when I have had a string of these bad days (or weeks) where I feel like a failure as a mother, a friend, and even a wife, my mind wanders to one place.

Brazil.

I have never been there. I don't even know much about it, other than what I have seen on TV or heard from friends. But when the going gets rough and I want to get going I picture myself on a plane to Brazil. I am not really sure who this alternative Katie is. She is carefree. She is thoughtless and selfish. She is not thinking of nap times, meal times, out-grown school shoes, or love notes in her hubbie's lunch. She is thinking of the beach. She is listening to the ocean and drinking Brazilian lemonade. She is wearing cut off shorts and a bikini because she doesn't have a saggy post baby body. (this is how we know it is not the Real Me) She is flying First Class because money is no object in her made up world. She is sleeping on the long flight because no one is there to interrupt her sleep.

In my fantasy this is where it ends. I have never actually seen this Katie getting off the plane in the tropical sunshine. I have never heard her blunder through the Portuguese she picked up on the flight down. I have never even seen the fabulous hotel that she will own there (to support her new carefree life). It ends with uninterrupted sleep because that is where it just gets too obvious that it is all a dream.

And honestly, it isn't even a good dream.

A good dream is getting a call from my sweet hubbie in the middle of the day telling me to get ready because he is coming home from the office to send me out. No, he didn't send me to Brazil. He sent me to Southcenter. But an afternoon alone felt like a tropical escape. An afternoon of shopping by myself, eating out quietly, buying "frivolous things" as I was directed by him to do so, forgetting about coupons and sales, and not even considering what the kids would eat, or who has a runny nose, or if the laundry was getting done.

By the time I got home from my Get A Way, my kids missed me. They cheered when I walked in the door. My man was glowing with "yep, I just scored big time and my wifie is smiling again" all over his face. My laundry was done, my house was clean, my kids were going to bed. I guess if I did go to Brazil they might just survive with out me. But I would be lost without them.

The reason my Brazil Dream ends sleeping on the plane is that somewhere over South America I realize how happy I really am here. Right here with a snotty nose rubbing my baggy shirt that hides my baby rolls. Right here with nap times, grumpy times, and snuggle times. Right here with a husband who thinks of me and my needs. A husband that is trying his best everyday to make our family and our marriage the dream come true we thought it would be. A life that is not perfect, or even easy, but it is wonderful and mine.



Who wouldn't want to be waken up from a deep sleep to a life like that?


Monday, August 15, 2011

One of My Many Talents

I thought I would tell you all about one of many talents that also gets me in trouble.

Most Talents aren't Trouble Makers. Those are the talents I don't posses. You know the obvious talents like playing the violin. Singing. (ok, I can carry a tune- but I am not sure it is up there as one of my real talents) Sports. Math. Dancing. Don't get me wrong here, I love to dance. I just don't do it well. (I always thought I did because I went dancing with others who could dance well and I watched them and thought I was doing what they did - yeah, I don't think so.)

First Talent: the ability to see someone else and assume I look the same.

This doesn't just happen when dancing. This is a problem at clothing stores when the cute 19 year old girl helps me pick out jeans and I say I like the ones she has on and assume we are the same size. She is nice enough to pretend I fit into a Size 2 and then grabs my real size "just in case". It is also a problem when I am telling someone I am a Hair Stylist (or at least I was in my past life) and then thinking that my hair looks so good that she will wish I was still doing hair. (when the truth is that my roots are an embarrassment to my trade) My sister has called it our Reverse Anorexia. You know, girls who look in the mirror and see fat when they are skinny? I look in the mirror and see Sexy/Good Dancer/Tall/Brunette/Brazilian - when in all actuality I am none of those things.

Second Talent: the "gift of gab".

I have discovered that is the politically correct way of saying "talks too much".
I have had people instinctively fluff their pillow and turn the other way on an airplane when I have taken my seat. They fake sleep because they can feel that I am a talker. I had a chiropractor laugh uncomfortably at my jokes today because I would not shut up - even while getting my back cracked in two. (p.s. not my regular chiropractor- he has endured years of those corny jokes) I have heard that deep nasal rumble from the other side of the bed right when I am getting to the good part of my story.
Growing up my report cards would have little comments written next to the grades. (this is where my first talent comes in handy- "what, mom, you see a 'c-'? I see an 'A+'!") Inevitably the comment that would follow whatever grade was given would be "Katie is a pleasure to have in class. Talks excessively in class." That's right, I was fun, but man I talked a lot. And this would be written next to every single grade, in every single class, at every single level of my entire academic career!

This brings me to my last real talent. This one gets me in the most trouble of all.

Last Talent: the talent of exaggeration.

What? You didn't know that could be a talent? Then you probably did not know it is hereditary. I got the gift from my mother. (actually my dad is really good at it, but he learned it from my mom) I think everyone in my family has this talent. Some of us don't even know it. I have even heard rules and directions on How to Properly Exaggerate. I think the rule is that whatever you are trying to emphasize needs to be multiplied to the 4th power. (I said that like I even remember what those math terms mean-- I just know you have to make it extreme) For example: Someone who is not talented at exaggerating might say they are "hungry enough to eat a cow". (amateur) A Nelson would say we are "hungry enough to eat two bison" (because all of you Math Geeks know that two bison are a cow to the 4th power). You can't say that you could "eat a cow" because that does seem doable. I have been pretty hungry. And I am capable of eating a lot. So the only way to exaggerate is to make it so extreme there is no room for confusion. Maybe one of you would see an attractive person. You would probably describe him as "good looking" but if exaggeration was your talent it would sound more like "that was the best looking person I have ever witnessed in the flesh".

Don't be jealous of my talents. I am sure you are all good at something...
And besides, this is about how my Talents get me in Trouble.

Take this incident with my back. How does someone with a talent for exaggeration handle all of this?

First off- when I tell my husband of the piercing pain I feel in my back. Do I say "it hurts"? Of course not, I have to equate it to giving birth to Quadruplets with spiky heads. When I get to the Chiropractor and they give me a questionnaire to "rate my pain" I think it is an 8 out of 10, but that won't do, what I need is a 16 out of 10! But I don't want him to think I am being a baby- so do I go the other way? And rate it -3 out of 10?
Then when I get home in my excruciating pain (oh yeah, I was on major pain meds when I got home and the pain was practically non-existent- there I go again- An Exaggeration Within an Exaggeration! the pain has never been "non-existent" that is my way of saying "less painful than before") which to the 4th degree means "excruciating". I decide to mention casually in my Blog that my "back is broken". (because a hurt S.I. joint and a Bulging Disc are actually equivalent to paralysis if you have my talent)

This is when the trouble starts. Emails, Texts, Phone Calls, Singing Telegrams (ok, for those of you who have not figured this out- the telegrams is an exaggeration) all come flooding in with concerns on how I broke my back!

How do I respond to all of this?
Is the pain a 16 out of 10 or -3? Am I on my death bed, or ready to go play tennis? (as if I know how to play tennis) Do I need dinners or can I just whip up Thanksgiving on my own tonight?

Do I even know how to give a straight answer?

So- to apologize for the confusion and to brag about my amazing talents and to help you understand future posts- remember this simple rule: EVERYTHING x FOUR.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You get what you deserve...

I just finished reading a talk in the General Conference Ensign. (apparently when your back is hurt and your family is out on fun walks without you - you have more time to read articles entitled "As Many as I love, I Rebuke and Chasten"....) I remember this talk from General Conference, but it really hit me today.

Maybe because recently I have found myself thinking this thought "they will get what they deserve" or "what goes around comes around" or whatever horribly judgemental thing we tell ourselves when we see someone "get away with" something that we perceive as wrong. Is there some cruel human part of me that hopes that others who do things that seem mean, hurtful, dishonest, or evil will get some type of "pay back" for those actions? And is that what I think is on God's agenda? As if He does not have better things to do than go after the people who are hurting others and punish them. Does He?

After reading this article I realized He definitely does. Going after the rest of us.

I love the example He gives of the followers of Alma who "established a Zion community in Helam but then were brought into bondage. They did not deserve their suffering - quite the contrary - but the record says:
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten His people: yea, He trieth their patience and their faith.
Nevertheless - whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was was with this people." (Mosiah 23:21-22

(P.S. My spell check is loving all of these putteth and trieth and other fun words!)

Here it is. The answer to my most difficult questions right in front of me. "why me?"
Why when JT is working so hard is he not accepted? Why have I watched us move up on wait list only to be denied? Why do I hear his colleagues saying in shock that they wrote him good letters of recommendations, that he is the top choice and even they are not being heard? Why - when we are doing all that we should do - why are we not being blessed?

But in reading this article I realize that God is not out looking for those who "deserve" it so that He can "let them have it". He is looking for those who "deserve" it, and chastening us. So that when I am ready, he can "let me have it". All of it.

The other story Elder Christofferson shared was about President Hugh B. Nibley. (It is just too good to paraphrase)

"He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:

“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”

Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:

“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.

“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …

“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”5


I remember hearing this for the first time in April and wanting to cry for the sad little tree.

I love picturing President Nibley shaking his fists at Heaven. Maybe because it is something I think I have done in the last two years. I have asked Why we have been led down this path, why we have completely changed careers and direction? Why someone so qualified as JT can be overlooked? President Nibley knew it was because the Gardener had a better plan in store. I am not sure at what point it all became clear to him. I look forward to that moment when we can look back and say "ah, that is why it happened this way"

For now, I am able to see that Heavenly Father does give us what we deserve. Not because "what goes around, come around" but because I deserve the chance to be pruned back so that I can grow. I deserve the miracle that the people of Alma felt when their burdens were lifted and they were finally delivered. I deserve the opportunity to put my faith in Him and let it be tested. JT deserves an opportunity to prove himself and his capabilities. He deserves the chance to fight for something he wants and loves and not give up when it doesn't go the way he planned.

We are being blessed. Not in the ways we expected. But we do get what we deserve - or at least what Heavenly Father knows we need.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the Pain in My Tooth

As one of my Not So 90 Day Goals (yes, I just said Not So 90 Day Goals, because our group decided that we wanted our goals to end with the summer, so instead of doing a full 90 days we are doing not so many--- "Not So 90 Day Goals") I am keeping a Daily Tender Mercies Journal. I first heard about it in a talk given by President Eyring in the October 2007 General Conference. He shared this experience that has always stuck out to me about a prompting he received.


"I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family... I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done."


I was so impressed with this story. Partly because it was the Dad of the home doing this, not the Mom. I know a lot of Moms who blog, or journal about their kids and their lives. But the idea of a Dad writing down the Tender Mercies he had witnessed for his kids future benefit really touched me.

Hint: To all of you Dads/Husbands out there who read my blog... crickets chirping... (ok, so maybe the only male who reads this is my own Man) if you start now- you would have 9 months of this to give to your Cute Wifie for Mother's Day and she would give you a big kiss and maybe cry and you would win big points at Girl's Night when she brags to her friends about the sweet Journal you made her and you might even get mentioned on my Blog for being that awesome... just an idea.

That brings me to Today's Tender Mercy... which start out as a Pain in my Tooth!
A few months ago Fresh-Out-of-Dental-School-Dentist determined I had a cavity that needed filling. This is my first cavity in well over a decade -almost two! A few days after the filling was done I was in a ton of pain and could no longer eat Peanut Butter M&M's. So I went back in for him to fix it. Which he did. Then a week later I was in pain again. So I went back in for him to fix it. Then a week later I was in pain again. Are you feeling like you have read the same sentence three times? By this point- I am angry. Not only am I unable to eat P.B. M&M's without pain (you will note that I did not give them up- just endured the pain) but I have to keep taking time to go back to the Dentist! Why can my Massage Therapist never mess up? I wouldn't mind going back for a massage every week till she "gets it right". But the Dentist? Every other week? And all he did - besides numb me, shoot me, drill me, and fill me - is give me a lousy Jamba Juice card "for my inconvenience". I wanted to get mad and complain. But the problem is- he is really nice, and young and I am bad at confrontation so I don't knot how to confront him. (Most of you know I have only two settings: Happy/Nice or Very Very Angry/Mean. No in between)

So today I went in. Again. He "fixed" it. Again. And I was mad. Again.

Then tonight, when I sat down to write in my Tender Mercies Journal, I thought of him. (and how I am angry but too scared to go Crazy Very Very Angry Katie on him) I asked myself what had happened today to show me that Heavenly Father loves me, or that I am blessed. And you know what thought came to my mind?

The time I was on my mission in Madagascar and I chipped my tooth drinking out of a glass bottle of Passion Soda (which is my favorite beverage of all time and is making me drool and tear up just thinking about) (by the way- in a 3rd World Country- it is probably best to never drink form the bottle...P.S. who likes my back to back parenthesis? I do.) There I was- in Madagascar with a broken tooth. My companion laughed at the idea of us finding a "dentist" to work on it. So I went to my make up bag, pulled out my nail file and took matters into my own hands. (who knew they would teach my Dentistry in Beauty School?)

So as I sat with my Journal I realized it isn't so bad to have to go back to the Dentist over and over and over again. At least I have Fresh-Out-of-Dental-School-Dentist to go to. It is better than taking matters into my own hands. Thanks Heavenly Father, for helping me to appreciate the Pain in my Tooth.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Parenting Regrets

We started out the day excited to make Strawberry Jam. We headed out in search of the last berries of the season (because that is the way we roll, unlike my mom who got us out early picking our own berries). After what felt like a scavenger hunt for berries we ended up with a flat of giant strawberries and a half flat of beautiful raspberries. I could almost taste the strawberry jam in my Swedish Pancakes and the Raspberry Sauce drizzled over my White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. I could see me and my kids in our aprons hovering over the sink of washed berries. I could see myself pretending not to notice them sneaking berries into their mouths even though Blake's berry smeared cheeks would give it away.

It would be a wonderful day full of laughter, finger licks, and memories...

Until we pulled into our driveway. In the moment it took me to get out of my seat and round the car to scoop up the berries from the passenger seat my visions were shattered.

It was chaos. (ok, maybe not chaos, but I like the dramatic affect of that word) Riley was yelling, Blake was frantic and I was in shock.

"Mom!! Blake spilled the Blackberries!!!" (she meant Raspberries but the guy selling us the strawberries saw them and kept asking if they were blackberries, I used my amazing Spanish to spell out Raspberries for him - I am pretty proud of myself)

As I opened the door I found Blake kneeling on the dividing console between the front seats, up to his elbows in smushed berries. We have asked him before to not climb into the front seat, but Riley had hopped up to check her Lip Gloss in the review mirror (I don't know where she learned that...) and Blake had followed after her. Somehow, I am still not sure, he managed to knock the Half Flat of Raspberries all over the entire front of the car. He was frantically trying to pick them up, but the berries just squished in his pudgy little hands making raspberry juice all over the driver's seat.

I lost it.

The next thing I knew I was shouting. Kids were being hurled into the house to sit on the stairs in Time Out. As I stood surveying the mess that somehow covered the steering wheel, console, both front seats and the carpet on the ground (how could one half flat cover so much??) the anger grew. I saw the $15 dollars I had just spent on the berries, I saw the berry juice oozing, I saw the carpets staining, and felt my blood pressure rising. By now, the kids are all wailing inside the house. I am not sure if they were trying to wake up JT to come to their defense (but after working last night- he was pretty out of it) or to see if I would take pity on their sobs.

I tried to channel my Mother. I pictured her standing over a freshly baked cake that she had spent hours decorating to be an exact replica of the Boy Scout Emblem for my brother's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. She was staring at a broken water balloon that we had thrown over her cake and had somehow come down right on her cake. (why were even throwing water balloons in the house? good question.) That same anger was boiling under her skin.

But she didn't yell. She calmly told us and our friends to get out of the kitchen and go home. Actually I think it was more of a warning.

I pictured her coming home from a day of selling her crafts at a bazaar to a house that we flooded when we filled the tub for an Apple Bobbing Contest at my Halloween Party. And when I say filled the tub, I mean we forgot we were filling the tub and it ran over and all the way down the hall before we remembered. Again, no yelling.

I even picture her finding me, as an adult in beauty school, trying to clean up hot wax I had spilled on her living room carpet, where my sister-in-law and I thought it would be a good place to wax her eyebrows... Again, no yelling.

As these scenarios flashed through my mind I knew there was only one thing I could do. Go back into the house where my little children were sobbing on the stairs in time out- and yell some more!!

What is wrong with me? Why did it feel so good just to yell?! That is not what I saw as a child. Or what I want my kids to remember from "the Great Day we made Strawberry Jam". And yet, I did.

After about an hour the car was clean. To my surprise (and embarrassment) I got most of the raspberries out of the carpet and the little cracks and crevices. The kids were eager to help. Especially Blake.

Looking back at "the Great Day we made Strawberry Jam" I keep thinking of my parenting regrets.

That I yelled (not just raised my voice- but full on yelled) at my small children for an accident.

That I failed at the goal of all children: "to be better than our own parents".

That I missed a chance to snuggle and ask forgiveness from a frightened sad child.

and maybe most of all:

That I did not take a picture.
Because what was tragic, and frustrating, and horrible today-- would make a funny blog post tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

well, now that's embarrassing

You know the time you read my blog about how I am living my dreams of traveling and helping others who are less fortunate? The one where I was so excited to try to speak Spanish and spend a week in Bolivia?

Oh, what? You don't really read or remember my Blog posts? Oh, well, now that's embarrassing for me also.

So- those of you who DO read this Blog from time to time and were really excited for me and my adventure... we have some bad news.

We are not going after all. It is so hard to go from telling the world that I am excited to do something to turn around and say-- "well, actually...."

But as we prepared for it- something just did not feel right. I worried and prayed and tried to figure it out. I tried to rationalize the feelings and continue as planned. But the more I did that- the sicker I felt. We did not feel true peace about the whole thing until we firmly decided not to go.

We don't really know why. It is frustrating when you get a prompting and never know why. I hope that there is a reason. And I hope that it becomes clear to us. But for now- we will go with our gut and just stay home.

On the happier side-- JT did find out he is #1 on the Wait List for Rochester University. So I guess there is still the chance that someone will drop out and we will be headed off on an adventure to New York... Keep your fingers crossed. :)

(and that would be a really good reason not to go to Bolivia)

Friday, June 24, 2011

It was the BEST of times....

It was the best of times, It was the worst of times...

Charles Dickens really nailed it when he wrote those words. I recently reread A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. We read it in High School (but I was slacking off and just skimmed it) and it was my best friend's favorite book (or so I thought until this afternoon) and so I decided I would see what the fuss was all about and reread it. I loved it. It may be one of my new FAVORITES! It has everything - suspense, romance, deceit, and real vocabulary words that you can't find in the young adult section of the library that I have been reading lately! lol

But this is not a book review. This is a life review

Aforementioned "best friend" (that is right, in honor of Dickens I used a fabulous word like aforementioned) came to visit today. Lisa and I have known each other since 6th grade. And by our Senior year of High School we were pretty much inseparable - until the day she left for BYU. I was devastated. And to make it worse her roommate was none other than Ashlee Riding (whose HS boyfriend played Baseball with my HS boyfriend and I was under the assumption that she was a bit snobby...) But soon they were having the best time in Provo while I was struggling to keep things on track in Washington. (that's right, Ashlee was stealing my Bestie!! I think we are still fighting over her today!) So - I packed up my car and moved to Provo (I was planning on attending Beauty School in UT, but ended up moving back here). For the next few months I did EVERYTHING with Lisa and her roommates. It was a good time for me to sort out where I wanted my life to go.

I think we could have applied Dickens' phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" to that Freshman year in Provo. I think we each went through our own struggles and faced some of our own demons. But we had each other. (and dances at "the Wilk" to take our minds off of things) But that Phrase might be even more true TODAY.

I REALLY thought that ALL my PROBLEMS would be OVER when I got married. In fact Lisa and Ashlee both got married about 6 years before I got around to it, and I envied them. I thought that Life was HARD for those of us who were single- still LOOKING for "the One" But today- after everyone left my house to go to their own families (instead of staying up all night in the dorm room) I realized that LIFE IS STILL HARD!

It is a DIFFERENT kind of HARD now. We each have our own struggles. And are still facing our own demons. And yet- it felt WONDERFUL to be together again. It DID feel like THE BEST OF TIMES! Their "big kids" were thoughtful and patient with my little kids. We still like eating brownies right out of the pan! Although I think we use to eat Ashlee's Jello Cake out of the pan back then. We still talk about the same things... although instead of Dances at the Wilk it is Zumba or Yoga at the Gym! We still LAUGH and LOVE EACH OTHER. (even though we don't just live to two blocks away)

And EVEN THOUGH we have struggles (some REALLY HARD struggles) I think we can still smile and say it might be the WORST of times- but it really is STILL the BEST of TIMES when we are together!

Right HERE I should insert an awesome picture of us all with our arms around each other back when we were kids. But you know me better than that...

So you will just have to picture two REALLY CUTE BLONDS who look almost IDENTICAL (to the point that Blake could not tell them apart today!) and then me. (wah wah)

And you'll have to think of YOUR OWN BESTIES (I just heard that phrase the other night and now I can not stop using it! I thought BFF was good, but Bestie?! it's awesome!) and think of how you survive your Best and Worst times together, and then get sentimental and call them and tell them you love them and were thinking about them because some girl with a blog was blubbering about her friends and it made you miss yours. (By the way, Ashlee, I said think of YOUR OWN bestie-- not mine! JK I think I have decided we can both SHARE Lisa... since I don't think I will win that one)

ANYWAYS -- Really do love you both, Lisa and Ashlee. You are both women I have ALWAYS admired and loved and been grateful to be friends with. I don't think I would be where I am today without friends like you that have seen me through some of my WORST of times and my personal demons and continued to love me.

It IS the BEST of Times.