Friday, February 21, 2014

Sold! (The Michigan Edition)

We closed on the sale of our home in Michigan today.  I've never been so happy NOT to be a homeowner anymore! (OK, lies, I was this happy back in 2011.  But then, this was not a huge hit to our bank account, so yeah, maybe I'm even more happy!)

I'll admit, there was a sad moment this morning when I was reminded of all that we left behind in Midland.  Selling our home is sort of the final nail in the coffin of our lives there.  We are (sadly) not going back.  There is no "Just kidding! We're not living in Illinois!"  We live here, and only here, now.

But that sadness was quickly overshadowed by the joy of NOT MAKING A MORTGAGE PAYMENT ANYMORE!  Think of it - we will have money leftover after we pay the bills!  Actual money!  Enough that we could actually buy something we want, and not just the things we need.  It makes me giddy.  A burden has been lifted.

I know what you're all thinking: "So, are you going to buy again?"  Not anytime soon.  Not for a very VERY long time.  Honestly, we probably should hold off on buying a home until we want to move.  That seems to be the way this works.  Buy a house, be forced to move.   I'm over the whole home ownership thing.  We're happy here in our little townhome.  We have plenty of space for our family, we don't have to shovel snow, we don't have to pay for any repairs.  Life is good here.

Sorry, Illinois.  You aren't getting my money in real estate taxes.  At least not for a while.  I'm beating you at your little game.  I avoid toll roads, use the library like a boss, and don't send my kid to all day kindergarten.  Shannon 4, Illinois 0.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Back in November, I was called to be the Mia Maid adviser in the Young Women program.  And a couple months later I was put in as a counselor in the YW Presidency (January, to be precise.  Right after I had made all these goals for the new year.  Like blogging.  There went all my time!).  There is a word that has been floating through my mind since November: inadequate.

I have never felt inadequate for a calling before.  I think I'm pretty lucky to have made it this far, actually.  I have spent a number of years in music and Relief Society callings.  I did a couple stints in nursery back in Michigan, which were challenging, but I certainly didn't feel inadequate.  Working with the youth is a whole new ball game, and I don't have a clue how to play.

A little fact about me: I'm an introvert.  I like to think that I've gotten over being "shy," but I am intimidated by large groups of people.  I'd rather stay home and read a book than go to a party.  I enjoy being social, but with like 3 people instead of 20.  This means that I find it really difficult to get to know these girls.  There isn't much time for one-on-one interaction, and if there were, who would rather spend time with their leader than their peers?  Maybe that's just me, feeling "old and busted," but maybe not.  And if you don't know the girls very well, you can't help them.  It's hard to teach lessons on Sunday, to know what their struggles are, to know about their triumphs.  It's just hard. 

Let's add in the fact that I haven't been involved in the Young Women's Program in, oh, 14 years.  Since I was a young woman myself. Everything has changed.  Personal Progress is completely different, and I have no idea how it works.  There is the new curriculum.  There are activities and temple trips and camp (!) and all sorts of things I don't have a clue about.  I have no idea what is going on - and I'm supposed to be in charge! 

And finally: I feel a bit like the loser leader.  I'm not into fashion, or decorating, or hair and makeup.  I'm a frumpy lady, who likes to read.  I feel pretty different from the other leaders.  And then I wonder why on earth I'm here, and feel like I have nothing to offer.

 I keep telling myself to give it time.  In a couple of months I'll know the girls better, and then a lot of things will fall into place.  It feels a lot like going back to high school, and I wasn't exactly confident in high school.  I need to remember that I'm not a teenager again, I'm a grown up.  A confident, happy grown-up, with loads of life experience under my belt, a family I adore, and a solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because that's what it's all about - it's all about sharing my testimony with these girls to help strengthen theirs.  And the more I think about that, the more I think, "I can do this."

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'm only running a month behind here.  Could be worse.

We actually had a very fun new year, which is rare for the mother of small children.  Actually, let's be honest: it's rare for the Mormon.  There, I said it.  I remember vividly New Years Eve, 1999.  I headed downtown with friends, ready for a fabulous night out, and it was somewhat less than fabulous.  In fact, there was a moment when we all agreed that this would be much more fun if we were drunk.  Not because we wanted to get drunk, but because it was that disappointing.  Such is the life of a Mormon - have to find good, clean fun, even when the bad, dirty fun looks more appealing. 

(Maybe I shouldn't have just admitted all that, but I did.)  (Oh hey, I also like being a Mormon.  In fact, I love it. But it's not always kicks and giggles, know what I mean?)

Anyway.  This is all to say that generally, I find New Years Eve to be a lame holiday.  But this year Julia claimed it to be the BEST DAY OF HER LIFE.  That is pretty high praise.  But I think it was fully warranted.  Tell me if you agree.

Our "eve" started out in the middle of the day, with the library's Noon Years Eve.  What a great idea!  We had an adapted version of Stone Soup (New Years Soup), in which everyone brings something (love, success, good health, etc) to put in the pot. They had a "Book Drop" as the clock struck 12.  We toasted with apple juice.  We wrote things we were thankful for in the year past (a new job! a great library!) and things we hope for in the year to come ("to see a leprechaun!" "a new baby!" [poor girls will both be disappointed]).  We even spun the library wheel.  It was magical.  And the biggest surprise of the day was when Julia won a prize in the Make Your Own Hat contest by wearing her Hello Kitty winter hat - 3rd place in the Book Character category - a bit of a stretch, but we'll take it. 

I opened the prize envelope to find a coupon for a free ice cream cone at McDonald's...that expires on 12/31/13.  So guess where we went for lunch??  Between going out to lunch, getting ice cream afterwards, and playing in the Playplace, I had 2 very happy, very tired kids.  Which is great for the afternoon of Dec 31.  We headed home for a nap.

But wait!  There's more!  In the evening, we headed over to the church, where the Aurora Spanish ward hosted a big old party, complete with multiple pinatas, authentic Mexican food (the tamales were EXCELLENT), balloons, music, and dancing.  We all had a wonderful time.  However, by around 11:15, Ella was so done.    We went and sat by the bishop's office together for a few minutes, and I think she was on the verge of a total meltdown, so we made the executive decision to head home.  Julia was persuaded when we told her we'd have a countdown and toast at home. 

We came home, got everyone in their PJs, and discovered that it was 11:50.  Nobody was going to make it 10 more minutes.  Somehow, Clark's watch suddenly said it was 11:59.  A New Years Miracle!   We counted down, toasted with water in fancy glasses, and crashed.  But did I mention, the girls slept in their play tent?!  What could be better!

New Years Day we held the 2nd Annual Blockburger TV Marathon, wherein we let the girls watch a boatload of television on this day, and this day only.  Everyone was in heaven.  Not much more needs to be said about that. 

So there you have it.  2013 went out with a bang!