Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day has always been a pretty cool day in my book.

In the first part, I get to celebrate the men and women in my life (and that's a lot) who have served our country, and given me a place where I can live and be and write nonsense on the internet and be happy. Thank you soldiers and families!!!

In the second part, on May 25, 1998, Memorial Day, a pretty memorable thing happened. My daugher, the Bug, was born.

12 years old, and I can't believe the young woman she has become.

I love her so much!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blog TItle

There's NoWhere Else on Earth I'd Rather Be...

Truer words were never spoken by me
except when speaking of my husband, children and home.

And yet, I work 40 hours a week at a job that takes me away from my home.

I like it.

I'm good at it.

I make a decent living.

I dislike not being at home, but it was a good fit for my family.


Mom and I, once again, attended BYU Womens Conference in Provo Utah.

I was an emotional wreck almost the whole time.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Women's Conference.

I love my mom.

I dislike being told something I already know, and don't know how to get away from.

Most of the conference talked about being righteous mothers and wives.

Expected... I knew it was coming.

To have the General Relief Society Presdient say, very publicly, that the "swing shift" is the most important shift of the day, when speaking in terms of "mom's hours." I lost it completely... 16,000 women in the Marriott Center and I am feeling this horrific sense of guilt.

Basically, it comes down to the hours between school ending and bedtime are
the most important hours a mother has for raising her children.

Those are the exact hours that I am at the job for which I am most financially compensated.

My family requires the income, especially since My Hero is back at school.

And yet, I KNOW that I am not supposed to be doing this anymore. I have been rationalizing for too long, and something has to change.


I am revisiting Substitute Teaching.

I am renewing my teaching license in June, then submitting applications to surrounding school districts.

I am shopping for private health insurance.

I am working TONS to save up for the first two months of Substitute Teaching. I want to have enough set aside to cover bills in case I don't get called to teach, even though I will probably stay at my present job for at least a month after school starts, to make sure we have enough.

I was reading today in the Book of Mormon where Nephi says "I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the things which he hath commanded them."

I have not been this peaceful in a really long time. I know that I am taking the right steps. I just wish that I could see what is next.

My cousin, Heath, said the strangest thing this weekend.

He said, if you ever want to hear true laughter, tell God your plans.

I realized, after thinking about it, that I spend a lot of time telling God my plans, instead of listening to the plans He has for me.

I'm sure His plans will take me to a place where "There is no place on earth I would rather be!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Mrs. C

Dear Mrs. C,

You probably don't remember me, but I remember you.

22 years after learning from you, I look at my daughter, almost 12 years old, and just completing sixth grade, and I remember you. I remember that my teacher in 6th grade truly cared about me as a person. Having taught sixth graders, I know it is difficult to deal with the hormones, etc., and you had 30 of us everyday.

Walking through the grocery store today, and spying Down the Long Hills on the book rack, I remember you. I learned to love Louis L'Amour in sixth grade, and to this day, some of the books I re-read are his. I bought the book, since I haven't read it since 6th grade, and plan on reading it to my daughters on a road trip over the weekend.

I attend Renaissance fairs, and I remember you. I remember dressing up in an costuming from the middle ages and asking people to kiss a frog, because that was my contribution to the fair. I remember going to Clinkerdaggers for dinner because I made the honor roll with 2 other girls. It was amazing! I still love all things mid-ages and renaissance (I even studied French throughout high school and college).

To this day, I cannot listen to Sorcerer's Apprentice without imagining black lights and gravestones, and I remember you. I learned so much about performance from your example. You were so good to not just support, but to encourage, our creative outlets.

My children and I take history walks throughout our town, and I remember you. The exercise, learning opportunities, and quality visiting time, are true highlights of my life, and I learned this trick from following you all around Fairbanks.

I attend Science Olympiad competitions for my daughter, and I remember you. I remember how you couldn't just have us open a textbook, read a chapter, outline, and answer the questions at the back. NoNO. We had to build something, or play with something, or live something.

I attended a stage production of The Phantom Tollbooth and I remember you. I remember scrambling through my locker trying to find something tangible to define tangible so I could come to class.

I currently work of the Gallup Poll, and I remember you. I remember passing out that crazy survey and then inputting the data to see the results. Now I do it everyday, and I love it!

I remember that I always wanted to be a teacher, but how I didn't realize what kind of teacher I wanted to be until I watched you. I learned that teaching is not something you do from textbooks. It is something that you give to the world from your heart.

For all these things I've learned, and for the better person I have become as a result of these lesson, I thank you for being my favorite teacher.

Know that you are remembered, that your work is noticed, and that you are appreciated.

With all the gratitude I can send,

Shannon H.

(Fort Wainwright Middle School 6th grade class of 1988-1989)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today was a red-letter date.

(I am trying to be more positive in my life. I have to say 3 nice things before I can complain. This is gonna take awhile.)

1) I got to eat at VENUE for dinner. SO YUMMY!!!
2) I vacuumed my living room (this is an amazing feat and I'm glad that it happened!).
3) I found a fabulous bridal fair for Ivory Hill to participate in!

So, I had to make alternate plans for tomorrow night's girls' night because I may have to stay late at work. I am going to try to work around this snafu, but we will have to see.

1) If I do need to stay at work, I get off at 9pm, rather than the 11pm I usually work.
2) I got Ivory Hill booked at a venue in Wichita, Kansas, that offered him pay, a place to stay, and food. Pretty awesome, I think!!!
3) SoBe Lifewaters are very delicious. I especially like the fuji apple and pear flavor.

I forget that school is stressful. DJ has a test on Saturday I did not know about. He also has so many assignments that he can't keep up with them all. I feel badly for him because he is starting to get stressed out. He is no fun stressed.

1) Mom can watch Hailey and Katie on Saturday. I love that my family is so close.
2) I can get a lot of computer work done at Gallup because I have a new toy. It gives me more time at home to be home.
3) I got my new toy for free!!!

I have a confession to make. I lost my daughter's girl's camp form. This is what happens when I need to clean my house, car, purse...

1) I got to hang out with 8 of the most awesome 8-11 year old girls ever!!!!
2) I found both DVDs I needed for tomorrow within 2 minutes of looking.
3) MY BEST NEWS OF THE DAY: I got a workout this morning. I walked with my super-good friend (who patiently listens to my issues) and then went to work out with my trainer who decided that today would be the day to change up my routine. SHE MADE ME WORK. I hurt, I sweat, and I couldn't feel my arms for about an hour afterwards, but I feel so good today!!!

"Excercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."

Shauna - You made my day!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Stack

How tall is yours?

By stacks, I mean the pile of paperwork that must be gone through to run a household. Such a stack might include bills, children's school papers, advertisements, including catalogs, for things I do not need, but cannot live without, and receipts from my wallet (recently cleaned out) that I may or may not need come next taxing period.

It gets higher everytime I turn around.

I promise... these stacks are like bunnies.

Nonetheless, go through them, I must.

So here I sit, at work, sorting through the stack that took 2 bags to get here.

(For those of you who personally know me, you know that these are not cute little clutch bags. NONO.. I use the big, heavy, industrial sized canvas totes. These things should replace rucksacks for soldiers, except for the bright orange color and the gerber daisies embroidered on the side. That could pose a problem for camoflage...)

I digress...

At the bottom of the stack, I find the General Conference edition of the Ensign for May. It strikes me that the foundation of everything in my life is my Savior, Jesus Christ. with His help, I can do anything. He is the center of everything, and he understands all of the stress that my stack fires my way. At the end of the day, though, His words, through His prophets, sustain me. They shoulder the yoke of my burden, and they help me along.

I opened the pages of the magazine, and was drawn to an address given by President Thomas S. Monson called Preperation Brings Blessings. The title alone gave me the peace and comfort I needed after going through my stack. I realized that I am truly blessed.

Thanks to my Heavenly Father!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Concert Etiquette for Kids and the Parents who Love them!

"Shannon's guide to Taking Children to Performances."

These are not official rules, just MY OPINIONS, but may help parents, children, performers and theatre staff have a more pleasant experience.

  1. Know your children. – Each child is different. Ages, temperaments, attitudes, bladders and sleeping patterns can affect a theatre-going experience. In this day and age, I would recommend "practice sessions" with video recordings in your own home, followed by "dress rehearsals" at movie theatres with kid-friendly movies. The following behaviors are appropriate for a concert hall. Ironically, some adults still struggle with these behaviors:
    1. Quietly sit still 1-2 hours while watching performance, with no food or drink.
    2. Use a whisper voice only when performance is not active (i.e. breaks between songs, act changes, etc.)
    3. Hold bladder 1-2 hours (It is not okay to put a child in a diaper or pull up, have the child poop, but wait 45 minutes until intermission or conclusion to change. That behavior really stinks.)
    4. Use a public bathroom facility.
    5. Dress appropriately for the event.
    6. Turn off electronic equipment, including cell phones, cameras, video games, etc.
    7. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY! It distracts the performers, and wreaks havoc on the thousands of dollars they have spent on their lighting design.
  2. Know the venue. – Before you take your children to an event at the venue of choice, attend an event yourself.
    1. Take a stop watch. – Time how long it takes you to get from turning the car on to when you sit down in your seat in the theatre. Plan to park in about the same place. Also, time how long it takes you from the point you stand up after the performance until you walk in your door.
    2. Find the seats you will be sitting in with your children.
    3. Locate the nearest exits, bathrooms, etc. If you "know the drill" it goes more smoothly when your children are with you.
    4. Whenever possible, take your children on a "practice run". Most family-friendly venues, when asked nicely, will allow you to come in during lobby hours and go into the theatre to show your children what to expect. A quick walk-through only takes about 15 minutes, but saves a lot of stress the night of when you add thousands of strangers, lighting and noise changes, and an awkward time of day (most performances take place very close to bedtime).
  3. Know the performance. – Do your homework!
    1. Read the description of the event presented by the ticket office.
    2. Look up the event online. Read the descriptions. If you feel uncertain about the event DON'T BUY THE TICKET. It's better to be safe than sorry.
    3. Show your children the pictures, and read them the website information.
  4. The day of the performance:
    1. Call the theatre and ask for the run-time of the show. If the show and drive time are going to keep your children up more than an hour after their normal bedtime, consider short naps earlier in the day.
    2. Prepare outfits early, and have them ready for changing pre-departure, post-eating. Remember that many theatres are kept chilly because the bright stage lights produce heat, and cause theatres to warm up. Light layers are best.
    3. Pack your bag. Include diapers and wipes (if your children use them) and a small penlight. Remember that theatres do not like food brought in, even if it is "just a water bottle and some cheerios." NO FOOD! If you are looking at a drive-home time of greater than 20 minutes, consider taking pajamas along to change into after the show. These can be left in the car, and greatly help when children fall asleep in the car.
    4. Take the length of time it took you to get to the theatre (from 2a above), add 15 minutes, and plan to leave that many minutes before the show starts.
    5. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE LUXURY OF VALET SERVICE. That $20+ tip may be worth it after the show when you are carrying sleeping, or cranky, children out to the car.
    6. USE THE BATHROOM WHEN YOU GET TO THE THEATRE! Even if the children went right before you left the house, atmospheric differences affect bladder control.
    7. Have a great time!