Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Parting is such sweet sorrow!" or "Breaking up is hard to do."

I've started a new diet. Again. (But it's not really a diet. Isn't that what they're all supposed to say?) It's strict. This is my 3rd day following it, and I plan to follow it very strictly for the next 39 days, then re-evaluate where I stand. Basically I'm allowed to eat chicken, a piece of celery, and for desert a small piece of cardboard. Per day. (The cardboard is actually quite divine.) Okay it's not that bad, and actually with my new best friends basil and garlic, it's going better than I thought. Today my mind feels more clear, and my body feels lighter. My reflection in the mirror hasn't changed a smidge, but I feel 40 lbs lighter, so it seems like a step in the right direction. (Just don't bring cookies over!)

Yesterday was not as cheerful. Yesterday was day 2 with no sugar. Sugar has been my drug of choice a constant friend and companion for me. I missed my dear friend fiercely and the breakup was one of my toughest ever! Sugar was such a loyal companion. She helped me through trials, and kissed away my tears, celebrated with me when things were terrific and consoled me when things weren't. She always knew exactly what I needed and provided just that in every situation.

Our first days apart I felt as though I were cast into a scary world with no one to hold my hand. I was feeling emotions and feelings that I haven't had to deal with since the last time I gave up sugar. for a long time. I was feeling such amazing anger (I'm never angry.) and abandonment, and confusion. It honestly felt like every aspect of my life was going to just fall apart. Like Anne of Green Gables, I was in the "depths of despair." I also had a really bad headache. In the evening I longed to dive into Helam's bowl of macaroni with a longing that would rival that in any lusty novel. (You think Edward wanted Bella's blood. ha. He had nothing on this. lol.)

By this point my family didn't want to be around me any more than I wanted to be around them and their sugar eating selves so I ran away. So to keep my kitchen intact resolve strong I went to the library. Alone. I enjoyed my time at the library and got only books for me - all fiction books and strictly to take my mind off food. for enjoyment. As I got to the check out kiosk and put my books on the table I realized they were all sugar. Books with the intellectual nutritional value of maybe "Sweet Valley High" back in the day. I realized I was trading one form of sugar and no value consumption for another. I'm going to be okay with that for a while. Hopefully soon I'll be able to stand on my own two feet and walk without my crutches. (HOW do normal people DO it?!) For now, baby steps, and apparently a fluff transfer from my body to my brain.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poop or Chocolate?

I think one of my favorite movie scenes ever is from Baby Mama. (You can see it HERE from 1:20-1:27) This kid comes out with brown all over his hands, the mom sees him and asks a couple of times, "Is that Chocolate or Poop?" then she licks the hand and says, "It's Chocolate." and the childless sister responds, "WHAT if that had been poop?!"

Now that the holidays are over, I keep finding stray brown fingerprints and little hand marks all over my walls, tables, cupboards, refrigerator, etc. Luckily, it's all chocolate. I hope I've found it all, but I'm pretty sure I haven't.

(These are the culprits.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Woman I Am.

I found this picture and poem and it touched my heart and soul. First off, in the picture, the mom isn't tall and slender and gorgeous. The kids remind me of my own, close in age and the same gender. I want to frame this. The poem touched me because it describes me so perfectly. After reading it, I realized that I really am okay with who I am and where I am. I'm really grateful to be me and to see the person I'm turning into. Am I everything and everyone I hoped I would be, no. In some ways, I think it would be good to remember those goals and dreams, and still make some of them happen. In other ways, who I am is better than who I dreamed I'd be. I think with the "Woman I Am" holding hands with "The Girl That I Used To Be," I can become a truly fantastic me. (And so can everyone else. ;) )

Lest We Forget

She came tonight as I sat alone

The girl that I used to be. . .

And she gazed at me with her earnest eye

And questioned reproachfully:

"Have you forgotten the many plans

And hopes that I had for you?

The great career, the splendid fame

All the wonderful things to do?"

"Where is the mansion of stately height

With all of its gardens rare?

The silken robes that I dreamed for you

And the jewels in your hair?"

And as she spoke, I was very sad,

For I wanted her pleased with me . . .

This slender girl from the shadowy past

The girl that I used to be.

So gently arising, I took her hand,

And guided her up the stair

Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay

So innocent, sweet and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,

And precious they are to me,

That silken robe is my motherhood

Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,

And the only career I know

Is serving each day in these sheltering walls

For the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,

She smiled through her tears at me,

And I saw that the woman that I am now

Pleased the girl that I used to be.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Getting It"

A special privilege in motherhood is witnessing that moment when your child "gets it." You can almost see a spark. There is a metamorphosis when all of the sudden there is understanding, they've learned something new, and will never to return to their previous state. That's very exciting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I've had so many people ask me about homeschooling lately that I thought I'd just put some of my thoughts here. (At 9:30, in my pajamas, hanging out with my kids who are also still in their pajamas, the day after most kids started school again after a beautiful vacation time home with their family.)

First let me start off saying, I was never EVER going to be a homeschooling mom. I had SO many things I thought were not great about it, most based on stereotypes. I also don't think that homeschooling is the only or best option for all children at all times and in all situations. I feel that mother's are uniquely qualified to know intuitively what is best for their children, and if they act on the feelings they are given, will be doing what that child need at the time they need it. Sariah (our oldest and so far only "school aged" child) has been in charter school, public school and homeschool. Each has their own set of pros and cons, and I won't be listing all of those here, I'll just share some of my favorite things about homeschooling and some of maybe the struggles I've personally had with it. I'll try to keep it short(ish), but I think we all know how successful I won't be at that.

Some of my favorite things:
Sleeping in. Seriously. An extra 30 minute to an hour of sleep in the morning makes a HUGE difference for me and my kids. It's also nice to not start our days looking for that paper we were supposed to sign, or finish up that last bit of homework and rush her out to school with both of us a bit frazzled and remind her to, "Have a great day!"

Seeing the best of my children. When Sariah was going to school, I feel like we didn't really get to see each other at our best. Most of our interactions were when we were still tired and grumpy in the morning (we both really need our sleep) and then she'd go to school and finally be awake enough to be in a great mood. Then she'd have a pretty great day, and about the time she'd start getting tired and grumpy again is when school gets over, when she'd come home and have a little sister and homework to deal with, and I'd be tired and grumpy and have to help her get her homework done. We never really fought with each other, but I think being tired and the stress of the requirements to be both punctual and successful at school kept us from enjoying being together as much as we could have. In contrast, now mornings start when we want to wake up, we usually stay in pajamas until something compelling requires us to dress, and our days are full of learning, fun, and family. I can see that she is a lot happier and more confident which brings me to one of my next favorite things.

Confidence, Creativity, and Contentment Let me start this out by saying my daughter is AWESOME. She seriously is so talented in SO many areas it's kind of unjustly disgusting. lol. She has an amazing singing voice. She is very creative, and her artistic abilities blow my mind. She is so great at such a young age. She writes really fun and funny stories, makes neat little gifts for people, and is able to come up with a lot of ways to entertain her younger brother and sister who absolutely adore her. Another thing I noticed a couple weeks ago was how confident she is. She got to sing a solo of Silent Night at our ward Christmas party. (That alone, awesome. So brave.) She started singing in a key that was VERY high. At first I felt so bad for her, and was just kind of expecting it to go bad. She went through the first verse (really high) and NAILED every note. Except 1 near the end. When she cracked instead of getting upset or embarrassed she just grinned her crooked grin and kept going. She did the next 2 verses in a more reasonable key and it was really nice to hear what an extensive vocal range she had. After she was done, she just kind of laughed about it, and explained to me what she was thinking when she realized how high she started, and told me about how happy she was with her performance. She also told me about how one of the other girls her age was bossing her around in the bathroom at the church and how she stood up for herself, and they were still friends afterwards, but she wasn't about to stop her own happiness because this other girl told her to. I was SO happy for her and couldn't help but contrast that to the version of her I knew when she was going to school. Without going to far into it, dealing with other little girls is hard. It's amazing how young girl drama starts. I also noticed her comparing herself to others and she would usually compare others best qualities with her own shortcomings. (Doesn't that sound familiar? I still struggle so much with this even today.) Now she is a confident girl who really thinks of herself as amazing and able to do anything, but also thinks of others the same way.

Curriculum I think one of the most fun things about homeschooling is the various and vast world of curriculum. Whatever you can dream of, it's out there. I love being able to use teaching tools and styles that I enjoy and that work best for my kids. I like being able to time things in a way that fits with my kids. Sariah made the 4th grade deadline by about 2 1/2 weeks. Had I not been induced a little early, she could be in 3rd grade. For most subjects it doesn't matter a bit, for example, she was light years ahead of her peers in reading. For math, I find that about 4 months made a HUGE difference. Some of the stuff that she was just beating herself up over, and feeling like a failure because she wasn't "getting it" was the same stuff she was laughing about how easy it was just a few months later (after a break). Kids learn at different times and speeds and it's unfair to expect them to all learn the same stuff on the same timetable, making those who don't learn as quick feel like failures when it is NOT the child who is a failure, but the system of teaching them. (I've got more on that, but not right now. ha.) I also LOVE being able to quickly go over the topics that are boring for both of us. (Because seriously. WHO needs a 2 week module on penguins?!) We make sure they get the pertinent information, and move on. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes a couple minutes while we're setting the table. I also love that when something so thoroughly captures their interest, we can spend the whole day on it, or longer. (Because I'm not 100% confident in my own abilities yet, a really easy option is to print out the grade curriculum standards for your state (or one with higher standards) and make a checklist, and check things off when they learn them. Then you can be confident they aren't "falling behind" if that is important to you. Right now it's still important to me.) There are SO many resources out there and so much support for homeschoolers that I find a bigger problem is sorting through all the mountains of available awesomeness and choose what is best and most pertinent to our child or family at that time.

Some of the best advice given to me about homeschooling was, "There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families who do it." Whatever works best for your family is the "right" way to homeschool.

3 of my favorite websites about homeschooling are

lovetolearn.net which is a great website that helps you discover what you personally want out of homeschooling, and how to go about doing it. I felt like it kind of gave me the reigns and the permission to homeschool my way.

ldshomeschoolinginca.org There is a lot of information about homeschooling, some LDS quotes about homeschooling, but my favorite part of this website is the link for Virtual Field Trips. Very very cool. Lots and lots of links to lots and lots of cool places that you can visit without having to put the kids in the car and drive anywhere. (SO my kind of field trip.)

schoolofabraham.com This website has a lot of links to stuff for a more classical education. It also has a lot of other lds quotes and links. When I visit this website, I truly feel like I'm in a partnership with God in the raising of my children, and I often find the links to answers or inspiration I need in that sacred calling.

For us, it was a matter of choosing between "good, better, and best." I love what Elder Dallin H Oaks said in his October 2007 General Conference address, "We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives."......"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families." That's what it really boils down to. My favorite thing about homeschooling.

FAMILY With homeschooling, I feel I have the freedom to do what is best for my family. When we were doing the traditional schooling system, I felt like our lives, our family, and in truth our existence revolved around the school schedule. We didn't have time to spend time enjoying each other, playing together, learning together and loving together, because we were so busy getting to school on time, getting homework done for school the next day, and getting the kids bathed and to bed on time so that they could be ready for the next day of school. Though it does work for some people, it was not a "best" for us. Homeschooling has allowed us the freedom to center our lives around Christ and the Family.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I really love New Years! It's like a fresh piece of paper just waiting for me to write on it! What magic will I create when my ink touches the parchment? I love the anticipation and every year I'm convinced that this will be the year where I will become skinny, I will probably learn a new language, I will read and reread any and all the classics, maybe write a bestseller of my own, and I'll start and most likely perfect a new creative skill and either draw pictures of all my friends and or their children for nice personal gifts, start calligraphy and make sweet sentimental gifts for people, I have my card box full to write personalized thank you cards to basically everyone I come in contact with from the person who spoke on Sunday to the grocer who was friendly. I completely fall in love with the person I can become in less than a year's time. Seriously, I could be awesome.

I think part of the excitement is that I really could do all these things. I think seeing my inner potential is exhilarating and frightening. The part that fills me with melancholy is that I never end up doing these things. They somehow fall by the wayside, and go to the land of lost dreams and intentions and possibilities. The loss of these possibilities stings a bit.

My whole life I've been blessed to be surrounded by absolutely amazing people to whom I would never measure up. I've always felt that if I could do something awesome, someone would recognize the something special inside of me, and somehow some of their magic would wear off on me and somehow suddenly I would transform into someone as awesome as basically everyone around me.

I think what needs to happen is I need to see the absolutely amazing in myself. This year I need to find a way to reconnect with me, and establish a relationship with the Giver of life and light. I need to come to a point where what matters to Him is what matters most to me. I need to accept myself and my family when I feel others don't, and be okay with that. I need to realize that I am enough and finally realize that I am someone special. I think I have an amazing talent for seeing the great in everyone around me but myself. I can see how the gospel and the Atonement and prayer and the Holy Ghost etc. will work for anyone except me. I am blessed and grateful to have a firm testimony in the Savior, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, I just don't have a testimony of my value to any of it, or anything really, and this year, that is what I need to improve.

Anyway, so that is that. If you have any insights or experiences on how to go about actually doing that, I'd really love to hear them either in comments or in a personal email to tenisewertman at gmail dot com.

On second thought, maybe that bestselling novel isn't such a bad idea...