Sunday, September 30, 2012


So I've felt the need to move for a few months, now.  My wife, not so much.  Still, she's been migrating to my point of view.  Change, however, is a problem for my wife.  She recognizes that the only constant in life is change (a view that I actually don't think is true; is not the love of God constant?  or at least constantly increasing?), but doesn't like major life changes.  (Don't tell her that the rate at which we are having children constitutes a major life change every few months.)  At a recent Stake Conference (a gathering of local church congregations), she finally got the revelation that I'd been getting for months.

You see, we don't make major changes in life until we both get the revelation that we should.  It's a rule of ours that helps to avoid conflict between us.

At that Stake Conference, she got it.  She cried.  (Again, she hates change.)  But she faced the future resolutely.  She's a champ.

So where are we moving?  We have no clue. 

You see, the where is as important as the when (of which we also have no definite clue, though we're leaning to "before Thanksgiving," for reasons listed below).  Both are just a shade under the fact that we're actually going to move.

So since it wasn't revealed where or when we're moving, we're using Lincoln, Nebraska as our default.  Anika's mom and dad live there, and they offered about once a week since I graduated from Liberty in June to have us move there.  So our default is to move in with her folks.  I'm still secretly hoping for a job to pop up between now and then, but that's partially because I have this male need to support my family. 

The reasons for the placement of Lincoln for our family are many, but essentially boil down to three.  (1) I want to live closer to family, and Lincoln is both closer to my wife's family and my California family.  (2) We plan on moving West for my career.  This is related to #1, but is important enough to be separate.   I'm in the process of applying for licensure to teach in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, but I'm also open to the idea of teaching basically anywhere I can support a family on a teacher's salary.  I figure I would have had a job if I lived in Arizona, and it would have been at one of the top schools on my list of desirable work locations.  So the pure location of Nebraska (middle of the country) makes it desirable, assuming we don't get a job in the meantime.  (3) We're fans of family-friendly environments.  I don't mean to be offensive, but Buena Vista is not entirely family-friendly.  The LDS community here is great, for the most part.  That said, they're the exception to the norm.  In Lincoln, the LDS community is rather small, but the people seem to be built for families, for the most part. 

So when will we move?  Again, we're looking at before Thanksgiving, since we're looking at moving towards Anika's family.  The earliest we can move is early November (barring a speedy move to a job, which would be just me, most likely).  I'm shooting for that.

So that's the news on our front.

Anyone have any boxes that we could use?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I am a Child of God

John mentioned before that after school can get pretty grumpy.  Analee is tired, the boys are tired, we're tired (the afternoon used to be our down time).  But what he didn't mention is that the mornings are pretty ugly, too.  Either we wake Analee up earlier (earlier than 6:30-6:45) and have her moan and groan and whine through an extremely slow morning routine or we let her wake up on her own/when she hears her brothers being loud and rush through it all.  When it comes down to it, though, she doesn't get to school on time unless we push.  Gentle reminders don't seem to help much and there is only so much you can prepare the night before.  It seems like every morning one of us gets to be the drill sergeant.  Put it all together and our daily schedule looks like this:

dark-7:45 - GO GO Grumpiness GO GO!

morning - we miss Analee 

afternoon - no, seriously, when will Analee come home?

3 - dreaded pick-up (dreaded b/c we have to go to the school)

before dinner - whine, cry, scream, fight, punch, kick, wail, flail, throw things (this involves all the kids, and hopefully no parents)

dinner - if we're lucky Analee doesn't comment on how disgusting dinner looks and how she won't touch it (note, a few months ago the dinner mantra seemed to be "I don't like it-BUT I'll eat it anyways")

bedtime - hopefully no crying, clinging, sobbing etc.

I don't know how people do this.  I can't handle it.


I did want to share something that brought a little peace.

This video soothed a crying baby, a crying two year old and a whining 4 year old in less than 30 seconds. 
My kids that know the words couldn't seem to help but join in.
I cried the first time I saw it.  (no joke)

Whether or not your days have been as crazy/upsetting/stressful etc. as what I've described above, I hope this video brings you not just a little peace, but a lot.

I know that I am a child of God.  He sent me to earth and has a plan for me.  Each of us is a child of God.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I've waited long enough! (How I stopped waiting for my wife to post and just did it myself.)

So after setting up my wife brilliantly for a post on the charter school that failed, we got...nothing.  Not even an "I'll get to it!" from my woman.  Try as I might, I just can't get her to post.  She claims she's "too tired" to post, and she does have a lot going on.  That said, we have a public to entertain with our not-so-great blog, so I'll step in.  Hey, late is better than never, or so I hear!

Analee is starting to waver on her choice to stay in public school.  Mom is definitely wavering.  You see, Babe is just drained when she gets home.  She's cranky and miserable, and when she gets home, her brothers go berserk.  "Let's see what Babe brought us!" they seem to yell.  So they're all over her, her school supplies, her lunch, and anything else she happens to bring home.  ...and she's just so tired that she can't help but snap at them. 

Fierce Babe is even creeping into our nights.  Last night, at about 10 (when I should have been LONG asleep but wasn't; more on that below), she came into our bedroom.  "I can't sleep.  Can I stay in here?"  Enter half-hour test of parents trying to get alone time vs. child who wants parent time.  She admitted that she misses us during the day (cue Mom's heart breaking; kid is good!), so we once again reiterated that she doesn't have to go to school.  She thought about it and told us she'd tell us in the morning.

I'm still torn on whether or not I want to see her stay in public school.  I find value in Analee facing others on their terms.  She meets people of different religions than her own, with different customs, and different lifestyles.  She has a great teacher, and Anika wants to bend over backwards for her. 

That said, socially, the school setting isn't helping Analee.  We've raised her to be nice to all people, and she's doing great.  She says "hi" to EVERYBODY, and knows their names.  Still, though, few respond in kind.  One girl, who we thought would be good friends with Babe, has repeatedly told her that she doesn't want to be friends with her. 

Further, I think she can get through 1st grade now, and she might just do that at home.  I'd be peachy with that, honestly.

She's home today.  (It's a "family day," which translates to us being to sick to think about taking her to school.)  We'll see if she goes back to school tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A return to job hunting.

Since the start of the school year, I have put job hunting on the back burner.  It still happened (and happens), mind you, but it just wasn't a priority.  Cleaning house, taking care of the yard, helping with kids, and generally trying to (a) help out and (b) stay out of Anika's way (not an easy combination, let me tell you!).  I've applied for a few jobs, but not many.

One of them is interviewing me tonight.  It's in Arizona.  Do I want it?  Of course.  I'd love to teach entrepreneurship and economics in a middle school setting.  I love the primarily minority class of students.  I love what I think is the pay.  I love it all.  Except the placement.  Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with Arizona; it's closer to folks I love in California, for one.  That said, it's also farther from Anika's family, and we really want to get closer to them.  I would love to have my kids get really close to "Grandma and Grampa" (their names for themselves).  I want my kids to have a relationship with their aunts and uncles.  All of them.  Even if Anika is unsure about the type of relationship that the kids would have with them.  I love family, and find it important.

That said, I also find the ability to not just survive, but grow, to be just as important.  This job would allow such growth. 

There's another job, though only half time, in Iowa that I applied for.  I'm honestly not sure that I don't want it more.  We found a huge home in the same town that is well within our price range.  It's not a big city, like Tucson is.  But it's only half time.

If I get neither, I've been looking for part-time work here in Buena Vista, too.  I found a job that I could take part-time at SVU, but don't know that I want to be one of those people. 

Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with SVU grads/students working on the hill.  I think it's wonderful for SVU grads to have positions on the hill.  That said, I just don't think it's for me.  I don't want to be the guy who graduated and never left.  Even if I get a job in the area, there is and should be (in my opinion) a clear distinction between who I was and who I am.  I rarely go on the hill because of the difference.  I see professors and staff a heck of a lot more off-campus than on-. 

There's a job in Rockbridge County (more accurately Lexington, but it'd be for Rockbridge County Schools...more on them in a bit) that I think would work well with me.  There's another at VMI that I would love.  Ultimately, though, my goal is to teach.  Anything.  Anywhere.

Rockbridge County Schools.  What should I say about them?  Suffice it to say, we're not their greatest fans right now.  I'll let Anika dive into details, but it's enough to say that they rejected the charter for a school to which we wanted to send our kids.  We're not excited.  At all.  We're so unexcited that we've lately talked about moving to Lincoln just to get away from Buena Vista/Rockbridge County and start over again.  We'll see when/if that happens. 

Cue Anika.  Go, woman!  (I love you!)

Thursday, September 6, 2012


John keeps telling me I need to post.
I keep trying to decide what to say.

I have a post started.  The Aftermath II.
A continuation of my struggle with post-partum depression.
It needs to be said.
It will be said.
But not right now.

Right now I need something lighter, softer, kinder.
Something I found in Analee.

Before Analee started school she got a father's blessing.  In it she was told that she would need to learn how to be compassionate towards the other kids.
You see, Analee might not understand her classmates for a few reasons.

1) She loves learning - and is naturally good at it.  She eats it up.
Example-I used to make math worksheets for her, nothing special just addition and subtraction problems in whatever notebook she brought me.  But when Gideon was born I found my hands, literally, full.  I wasn't able to write up a worksheet for her whenever she wanted, so what did she do?  She made them herself.  Cute little boxes for the answers and all.  Not everyone learns quickly and not everyone likes it so much.

2) Analee has masterful control over her emotions.  She always has.  She can mask disappointment and sometimes even switch from sad to happy in mere seconds...frankly, that can be tough for most of us.  She is the epitome of composure.  In fact, most of the time I have to poke and prod to make sure I'm not overlooking some emotion in there-and often I am.  Then put her in a room with other 5 year olds who may not be so self-controlled.

In fact, in the first week or so would comment to us that this kid wasn't acting the way she should or that kid wasn't coloring inside the lines-he was scribbling, you shouldn't do that.  At first we'd try to temper these somewhat accusatory comments about other kids (it really is okay if someone scribbles on their paper).  I could tell that she just didn't comprehend why someone would behave differently from her.  Soon after she stopped accusing and started asking - why did this kid not listen to the teacher or why did that kid make a bad choice.

One day she told me a little boy had been crying and she went over to him.  Are you proud of me for sitting next to him and asking if he was okay? 

Today John picked her up from school.  When she got in the car he said he could see the wheels in her head turning (aren't those cool moments?).
Daddy, why does such n' such boy act mean sometimes and nice sometimes?
She went on to tell John some of the mean things the boy did.  John asked her if she told the teacher.
No, I don't think he was that bad.

I have to say, I'm really proud of her for that.  People (especially kids, but all of us are guilty) get caught up in 'fairness', which is oftentimes translated as mercy for me and justice for everyone else.  I mean, how often do we get annoyed by someone driving too fast or too slow or one thing they said just one time. We excuse ourselves saying "I'm tired" or "I've been really stressed", but rarely do we give others the benefit of the doubt.  Truly, think of the last time you were shocked or annoyed or offended, did you think of how the other person was feeling?  If you're like me, the answer was no. 

And yet, my 5 year old is started to learn differently.  She put aside her need for rules and fairness in exchange for compassion.  I am seriously touched by her emotional generosity and hope to become as generous. 

Am I proud of you?  Yes, my dear, very, very proud.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Parade

So Monday was our annual Buena Vista Labor Day parade, which is also known as the "kickoff of the political season."  No, seriously, it deserves the quotation marks.  In our dinky town (though it's actually a city), big political names came to pay us a visit.  And shake hands.  And march roughly a mile down the main street in BV.  ...and speak at the park, though we thankfully missed that.  (More on that in just a bit.)  Oh, and the parade had a few other goodies, too!

First off, I shook hands with Bob Goodlatte.  Of the political guys at the parade, I relate to him better than most.  I won't vote for him, but I don't think he'll lose, no matter how much of a fight he has on his hands.  Why won't I vote for him if I think he's doing a good job?  He's one of the things I see wrong with our system.  In my view, we shouldn't have career politicians.  Goodlatte is just that.  I just can't support career politicians.

Which brings me to Virginia's Senate race.  With Senator Jim Webb (D) retiring, the race is down to two career politicians: George Allen (D) and career politician Tim Kaine (D).  I saw Kaine, but might have missed Allen, because I read that he was there.  Once I shook Goodlatte's hand, I decided to hide behind my camera and just click away so I didn't have to shake anybody else's hand.  I'm not voting for either of these two, either.  This is one of the toughest races in the US, and I hope they both lose.

The good sides of this parade were the actual BV-oriented parts.  SVU was fantastic.  Parry McCluer's marching band was fabulous.  For both, even my little girl got ecstatic.  Seeing VMI's bagpipes was awesome.  Though the flags didn't lead the parade (?), seeing the focus of the cadets was amazing.  My American-ness was touched to see it.

On to more pictures!  (Can anybody believe that I've become the picture guy?!?)

 This is all-too-familiar for Labor Day.
 As is this.  Politicians buy votes by giving people candy.  We let our kids have the candy.  I won't be giving them my vote.

 Still brings a tingle.  Amazing sight.

 Why do cute girls go to parades?  Because they're invited, of course.  This is Miss Virginia, I think.

 This is Miss Junior Teen Virginia, or something like that.  That makes her, what...8? 

 The adopted symbol of Buena Vista: three old grouches.
 Analee: "I know some of them!"
 Buena Vista has American Indians?!?  Who knew?!?
 Obligatory cheer squad.
 Doesn't Ms. SVU seem happy?

 Poor guy got stuck at the end.
 Babe showing off her haul.  Or some of it.
They're glad to be home.

I'm generally a pretty politically-minded guy, but I'm glad to have missed the political speeches.  I just don't think anybody could have swayed my opinion, and looking at the divisions in town, I doubt many, if any, ended up swayed.  I'd rather spend the holiday with my family.

I was out before the fireworks started that night.  A good end to a long day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long enough!

This post is for pictures of Babe going to school for the first time.

Before that, though, an update on our schooling situation.  We're going to stick with public schools for the time being, but we're also going to supplement with out own teaching (as the public school isn't teaching her anything at this point).  Anika wrote a letter to the school outlining our problems with the way things were handled, and hopefully we can change the policy accordingly.  Even if it's a paper given to parents before the first day of school that they can choose to sign to give permission for any type of check on kids' health (which we would have gladly signed), we hope to get parent permission to be a part of BVCPS's future.

On to the pictures!

OK, so there are technically two first days.  You read about the false start.  That's the upper pictures.  The lower ones are her actual first day.