Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finding the New Normal

Have you ever heard the phrase that the only constant in life is change? I know that's a completely cliche statement, but I feel like it's true.

One of the key components to dealing this change is figuring out how to go on when one has happened. I'm not necessarily just talking about big changes; I'm referring to any time a change happens and you have to find the new normal.

For example, if your roommate and best friend moves out to go back to school, you have to get used to not having her around every day and being able to talk to her whenever you want. (Yes, I know the phone is a wonderful invention and means you can still talk to her frequently, but it's not the same as living with someone.) And when she moves across the country once she's finished with school, you have to get used to the idea that she's now 2,000 miles away. This change happened awhile ago, and I'm just using it as an example.

Sometimes it could be a change in responsibilities at work which means your time is used differently. It might be a change in church callings, living arrangements or family situation. It could also be a change in relationship with someone to be closer or further apart. Maybe the change was welcome and maybe it wasn't, but you have to learn to accept it and figure out how to proceed.

And when you lose a loved one (yes, you had to know that was coming, and you're not really surprised are you?), you have to learn how to handle life without them. I didn't see my niece on a daily basis, so I haven't had to figure out how to deal with the hole of not seeing her every day. But I have had to accept the idea that she's no longer five and a half hours away and I'll see her the next time I go to my sister's house or she comes here for a doctor's appointment. It's not just figuring out how to deal with not seeing her anymore but also figuring out how to handle all the emotions that her passing has elicited.

It's been a struggle, but I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I'm emerging from my safe little cocoon where I've been residing for the last little while as I've dealt with the emotions of her passing. Now I have to figure out what MY new normal is. This is a different process for me than for my sister who did see her on a daily basis and lost her little girl. My task is more to figure out how this has changed me and how I can deal with those changes. I'd like to say I'm exactly the same as I've always been, but I don't think that would true. I'm still me of course, but this has changed my perspective in a lot of ways and made me think about things differently. To a certain extent it's also caused me to be more cautious where I invest my emotional energy. That's not an entirely bad thing as long as I don't let it make me selfish.

In any case, I'm doing my best to figure out what it is that I want and need and, hopefully, who might be able to help me get that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh the joys of being 4!

Sometimes when you're an adorable four-year-old girl who looks like this (see picture below), life is just much more fun. For example, you can tell fibs and not only be honest about your lying but it's so cute that nobody can actually be mad at you. When you demand to talk to your aunt on the phone, she asks you how your school (meaning pre-school) is going. You tell her "I have to go back tomorrow. It sucks."

And your aunt replies, "But I thought you liked school."

You say, "Well, I'm actually lying. Sometimes I just lie."

But your aunt can't be mad at her cute little Bumblebee for such an innocent offense so she laughs instead, and when she jokingly relates the story to your mom, she just says, "Well at least she's honest about the fact that she's lying."

* As a disclaimer, I'm sure if this was something serious, simply shaking your head and saying it was so cute would not be what would actually transpire. Her daddy would never allow that because we know better, cute girl or not.

If you're four, you also don't have to go to bed in boring old pajamas. No sirree. Instead, you get to wear interesting things like a dance costume, a dress or even your swimming suit.

Oh the joys of being a four year old. :) We love our little Bumblebee.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2010

What do you get when you have 8 kids, 250 plastic eggs and an entire elementary school in which to hide said eggs? A whole lot of fun as you can hopefully see through this photographic journey!

For Easter this year I went to my parents' house in Idaho as did two of my sisters and their families and of course my brother already lives there. My oldest sister has been collecting plastic eggs for about 10 years now. I couldn't believe it when she told me she has about 200. It took the five of us (her, me and her three kids) an hour on Friday night to fill those eggs! But it was all worth it as you can hopefully see below.

Here we are entering the school.

On to hiding the eggs. We didn't hide them throughout the entire school, just in the main entry, gym, library, partway down both halls and in my dad's classroom. It took a whole lot more time to hide the eggs than it did for the children to find them. Yes, I know it's shocking. :)

More egg hiding fun, but this is in the gym.

We even hid them on the door handles like this.

Release the hounds! Or, I guess more accurately it's release the children.

Look high, look low, look. . . in front of your face? KK almost missed these eggs so I gave him just a slight nudge.

I know this isn't such a great picture, but I love how it looks like the Diva is trying to pull Z-man back. She was the most aggressive of the children and it looked like she got the most eggs for her trouble.

Here's Z-man finding eggs hidden in the folded up bleachers.

Ahh Bumblebee. She was so cute finding her eggs. Albert had to help her with that one because we were tricky trickster and hid it way up high.

The Gamer holds up his very full sack of eggs.

Unfortunately we did have one slight incident. KK and Bumblebee collided as they were running into/out of the gym. She was upset but ended up being okay.

Here's the whole gang once the hunt was over. Not too bad huh.

Let the bartering begin. Of course one mustn't get stuck with candy one doesn't really want so why not find an unsuspecting cousin to trade with. Mind you, none of this candy was the icky kind; they just had preferences for what they liked best.

The Diva was all about the mini M&Ms.

KK liked the Butterfingers.

The Gamer was pretty excited to collect Milky Ways.

Trust me when I say I know that Easter is definitely about much more than Easter egg hunts; in fact, the hunts are only a tiny portion of its true meaning. But, it's still fun to be able to do something like this.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My day with the fam

So this week I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my sister and her family. It was the kids' spring break so they came to Salt Lake for a couple of days. I was able to take Tuesday off to spend with them. We had a lovely day, as you'll see below, even if my camera died so I wasn't able to photograph most of it. :( That's what I get for forgetting to charge my battery I suppose. Dang it!

Anyway, here's a pictographic (I think I might have just made that word up) journal of our time together. Enjoy!

It started Monday afternoon when I met the family shortly after they arrived in Salt Lake City. I didn't get to tour the Beehive House with them because, alas, I was held up at work, but I met them shortly afterwards. Then I got to take the boys on TRAX (which they thought was super cool) to see "How to Train Your Dragon" which is delightful!!! I loved it and would highly recommend it! We had a sleepover at my house and everything. It was grand. This is the picture taken just after they got to Salt Lake. What a great-looking family. :)

I must secretly be the evil taskmaster aunt or something because A was so tired that he curled up in the chair, literally, and fell asleep. (Or I learned that he'd stayed up super late the night before which is why he was so tired.) I did have to wake him up to get him downstairs though because he's just a little too heavy for me to carry.

S was quite tired too, although he didn't fall asleep in the chair.

P just wanted to avoid my camera, hence the sassy look on his face, but I'm so nice that I took his picture anyway. :)

The next day we took the kids to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy. It was lots of fun! They have done a great job with building it up. Here's A by the jellyfish, although you can't see them.

Here's Mommy with P and S, but I can't remember what was in this cage. Sorry! And I apologize for not having nicknames for them already, but it's late, and I'm tired so the initials will have to do.
Here's our cousin with his sister's little boy and of course my sister and her kids by the sting ray touch pool. Don't worry--the stings have been removed so it's okay to touch them. A loved it! I wish I had gotten a picture of him petting them, but, alas, I did not.

Here's P at the touching station. I can't remember which critter this was, just that it felt like a pencil when you touched it.

Here's N with his C and A by our P and S looking into the shark tank. It has three different types of sharks. I was hoping I caught the leopard shark swimming by, but I did not.

Oh my word! That penguin is so big that it's almost as tall as S!

Not sure what was so funny but something J's dad said made them both laugh. This is during our lunch at Chuck-a-Rama, which was Ashley's favorite place. We went there in honor of her.

As you can see, it was a full but fun two days. I'm so grateful that C and J decided to come down here and even more grateful that I had the chance to hang out with them. G'night everyone!