5 days...

On Tuesday I was attempting to get to know a new lady at church. I asked her about school starting and she informed me, "Oh I decided to homeschool this year." I quickly responded, "I have nothing in common with you" and walked away.

K - I really didn't say that but I thought it and I am still thinking it.

Oh school - how I love thee - let me count the ways:

1. STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE - I love that once school starts the clock has meaning again. Right now we float in an endless time loop of eat, park, swim, sleep, eat, park, swim, sleep... it's exhausting and I am ready for daily routine. 

2. Math, reading, art, physical activity, and friends that all magically happen without me running around like a crazy lady. I don't have to entertain* the masses anymore.

3. Sibling breaks - my kids are so sick of each other and I am so sick of them being sick of each other. We all love each other more when we can have a few moments without that person breathing down our necks.

4. Endless afternoon eating will stop... well, Perry will still try but at least we won't be burning through entire loaves of bread every time one person says the word, "toast."

5. Excitement - my kids love school. They come home thrilled on most days. I can't wait to hear all the awesomeness that this year will bring.

6. Weekends - right now our weekends are a mix of go-go-go/traveling/and on some occasions way too much togetherness. I look forward to regular date nights, productive Saturdays, and restful Sundays again.

7. The house will stay cleaner... summers are really hard on my house and I kind of hate it.

8. Projects - my list is long and my paintbrush is ready! With only two kids at home and Perry at preschool on occasion, I will have all the time in the world... not really but I can dream!

9. More water consumption will occur at school - if I have to hear the words "I need a drink" one more time...

10. And the #1 reason is I WILL NOT HAVE TO TELL 5 DIFFERENT PEOPLE "THE PLAN" EVERY 10 MINUTES! The other day before heading to work, Blake asked me what I was going to do that day and it almost brought me to tears. My kids want to know every intricate detail of every day this summer... it is bizarre and annoying and I don't know how to break the cycle of them asking a billion questions about each activity (i.e. which park? with who? what are we going to eat? when will we come home?) I am all about doing things with my kids I just don't want to have to discuss the details prior to doing it.

*I entertain my kids more than I should - I don't know why I do... it's a generational thing and I try not to but if I don't entertain them then they just bicker endlessly which is the one thing worse than having to entertain them. (I should clear the girls of this - they get along really well and play great when left to their own devices but my two boys are just on each other all day long so Fielding going to school full day sounds a bit like heaven to me.)


Weaver party...

Blake's cousins, Jana and Christopher, came for the weekend with their 4 kids. It was a party for all involved. Here is the top 10 from their visit:

10. Endless arts and crafts by the big girls.

9. Legos - Legos - Legos... we could barely get the boys to do much of anything else.

8. Homemade snow cones!

7. Boise river float with half the population of Boise.

6. Yummy BBQ at Tim and Jo's. (These two were so similar - it was fun to see them together).

5. Homemade ice cream!

4. A few meltdowns - with that many kids it was bound to happen.

3. Games!!! We welcome any and every one to our house but are particularly fond of you if you like games!

2. Water balloon fun.

1. A final spin on the tire swing with all nine kids before the Weaver's said adios.

It was a kid party weekend and this is how Perry felt about it coming to an end.


Going halfsies...

Half frozen water balloons and the forgotten halves of popsicles.

Half swept floors and half eaten halves of toast.

Half marathon aspirations and half the energy needed to do it.

Half the laundry dirty, half unfolded, half scattered on the floor - or would that be thirds?

Having to field half a dozen requests for food on regular half hour intervals.

Half the kids at grandmas - the other half at a friends.

Half of half of half of printed blog book complete - do I have to do the rest?

Half full - half empty... doesn't matter... Perry just spilled it.

Half on the table and half on the rug.

8 and a half days until the first half day of school... why is not a whole?


Kids and running...

(This one is for you Kristen.)

I ran my first non-school sponsored running event when I was 18... 
Paisley ran her first at 18 months...

From that first moment of putting on a bib number/getting a medal to now - running is just something our kids have no choice but to do.

Their grandpa runs, their aunts run, their uncles run, their mom runs, and heaven knows their dad RUNS.

So here is how our kids have got to the level of running that they are at:

*Start them young. Paisley was in kindergarten when she ran her first 5k. Little legs are impressive and although it might not be pretty - most school-agers should be able to "run" a 5k.

*Start small. If you are worried about how they will do - there are numerous 1 mile or shorter kid runs. A lot of time they are tacked on to bigger runs and aren't advertised directly as fun runs but start looking and you will find a suitable distance. 

*Use the term "run" loosely. Sometimes our kids walk, bike, skip, or get carried during races. We still tell them they ran and that they did great! As they get older they are better at legitimately "running" the whole thing.

*My kids are active - very active... we don't do any real running specific training with them. On occasion, Paisley has joined me for a run now that she is older but most of their fitness just comes from chasing chickens. During the school year, our school does have a fantastic running program were the kids earn prizes for laps at lunch recess... this has definitely improved Paisley and Fielding's running ability - Cosie not so much because she would rather play with friends.

*Running swag is a major motivational boost. My kids love the stuff that comes with races - they love the free chapstick, water bottles, shirts, medals, and numbers. Just yesterday, Fielding and Cosie got ribbons in the mail for placing 1st and 2nd at the fun run last week and it was pure elation! Once your kids realize that they get tangible items along with the "I just did something hard feeling of greatness" than they will soon be hooked.

*Be prepared for tears. Running hurts - your kid will cry at some point - it's okay. They will forgive you and be happy when they finished. I do the same thing when I run so I totally get it.

*Display their hard work. Hang their medals in the room. Have them wear their shirts and brag to all your friends about how awesome your kid did at their race in front of them. My favorite race memorabilia is the bib numbers that I have wallpapered our garage with. About once a week, I overhear the kids, as we are pulling out of the garage, discuss which number was theirs and what race it was.

*Set an example. You want your kids to run - you got to run... on some level... it doesn't have to be crazy but show them that you are working hard for your fitness as well.


RODS triathalon...

 One of our Summer goals was for the kids to run a race. I was having trouble finding one on an open weekend that had a fun spin (color/bubble/etc.) until I saw an advertisement for the RODS youth triathlon. That was something we hadn't done yet and the price was right... so I signed Paisley up.

And Fielding and Cosette for the 1 mile fun run - they weren't quite ready for the swim length - next year though!

Paisley was super excited for this new challenge.

Until she finished her 3 up and back laps (150 yards) and realized "Oh man - this is hard!"

The 5k bike ride went a bit better for her.

And the 1k run would have been nothing but she is recovering from a bad cold and her coughing fits gave her bad side aches.

She got through it and collapsed in tears - not happy at her mom with the camera. I wish she had felt 100% - it was a good experience but would have been better if she felt better.

Cosie rocked her mile.

As well as Fielding... the wait for the kiddie run to start about did him in though... and his mom who he was hanging all over in the heat.

The Y does such a good job on their events.

Good price complete with shirts, hats, water bottles, medals, numbers, and post-race snacks.

This event was also great because it was an all abilities race which was a good thing to show my kids that those with limits are usually far less limited then we think.

Very inspiring!

The whole thing got Blake and I thinking - a triathlon might just have to be one of our next events. And I got to get my kids swimming laps in preparation for next year - such a fun event.



As of today, Blake is pushing 40...

But in reality it is like he is pushing 90 because he choose beets for his birthday meal... yuck, I don't know what to do with this old man. I chopped them outside on our art table because there is no way I was letting those things touch my white countertops.
 I guess the only thing to do is spend the afternoon making beet puns - 

My heart beets for you.
Beets me why - but I do love you.
These beets can't be beet.

Anyways, I had high hopes of a fun 35 post... but Blake got a new game, Feast for Odin, so got to go see if I can BEET the birthday boy at his own game.


Final wishes...

Edited: I had lots of people ask me about my stance on embalming... I updated that section to include my reasoning against it just because of the interest I had in the topic. 

The other day Blake asked me what I was reading. I sheepishly showed him the cover:

Then he asked a few days later. And I refused to the show him the cover:

He eventually got a glimpse at it and shaking his head said, "You have issues."

I said "I know."

But the good news is that because I have read so many of these types of books, I actually know the correct terminology for what my issues are... I am a thanatophiliac - one who has an obsession with death. Not to be confused with a necromaniac - one who is obsessed with corpses/the dead body or necrophiliac - which is kind of the same thing but involves a sexual undertone... ewww.

So anyways I like death. I like to think about it. I like to know all the morbid details about it. I like to understand how people and cultures approach death. I like reading about it as a way to make something that is natural/unavoidable to become more natural/unavoidable to talk about. I find it fascinating that a big part of our life is often ignored because of the fears (personal/cultural) that have developed about death.

So I will keep reading my death books and I will keep asking innocent acquaintances, "Do you have a will?" Because seriously - you need a will. Write one today - even if it isn't legally binding - just put something down... then go get it notarized... and hand it off to a trusted relative or two so that they know it exists upon your demise. DO IT PLEASE... right now, stop reading... do it. But anyways, back to my death obsession.

Shortly after my brother's death, Blake and I wrote a will. This is mainly if something were to happen to both of us so that our kids get cared for in the way we want them to. At the time, I also wanted to plan out my funeral because really the last event in my honor should have "my stamp" on it... but I also understand that funerals are for the living so maybe I should let the living decide - so I didn't. But I kept thinking about it, especially as my knowledge of the death industry increased and my opinions become stronger and stronger.

And then in The Whole Death Catalog, the author makes the argument that having your final wishes written out isn't narcissistic at all. That it can often make life easier for the survivors as they are in the depths of grief... and if they really don't have the energy to carry out the death details you custom tailored that they just won't... because you are dead and can't argue.

Then he provided a checklist and I got to writing. And then I am a freak so I decided to share it with all you unsuspecting blog readers... because maybe it will get you thinking that some things, especially when it comes to your death, you may want to have a say on too.

So here goes - Cyndi's final wishes:

*Please donate my organs. Any that could be of use would be fine by me. I considered donating my entire body to science at one point but I like the idea of my family being able to visit my final resting place - which sometimes isn't possible for years if you donate your entire corpse. And then I read about how often cadavers are used to teach cosmetic surgeons how to do facelifts and the nobility of it was a bit ruined for me.

*I want to be buried in the Cloverdale Memorial Garden as close to Talmage/Boston as possible. I am not completely opposed to cremation but if possible I would prefer a traditional burial.

*I want my coffin to look like this:

 Seriously, please Blake just build one. It is allowed - if you aren't around or too old/gray then just hire someone... it will be thousands cheaper and I know you like cheap. But seriously,  I would feel ridiculous showing up to my funeral in something like this:

Even dead...

*Do not embalm me - I will haunt you if you do. I don't care if you do or don't do a viewing but if you do - find a place that holds bodies in refrigeration and do it quick. I would prefer cremation to embalming if by chance I die far from home or it is deemed, for some unforeseen reason, necessary to postpone my burial.

Because people asked... this is why I am anti-embalming. First off I know the details of how it is done and it is a procedure that is very defiling to the body and serves no function but cosmetic. I don't plan on getting plastic surgery in real life so I don't really care for it in the afterlife. It is expensive and as long as the funeral home has refrigeration capability unnecessary as long as you are buried within a couple of days. No state legally requires it which is something that up until a few years ago funeral homes often misrepresented. Embalming came about as a way to ship bodies home from war without them decaying in the process. In our modern age, I think it is overdone and maintained out of tradition that has no justifiable reason (except good money for the one doing it). As a last act for my body I want it to naturally decay not be pumped full of chemicals - chemicals that have proven to be unsafe to the ones doing the procedure and harmful to the environment. I get that if you want a "traditional funeral" embalming might be necessary - I don't want that and would like to be buried as soon as you can part with my cold dead body.

*My funeral... oh this is a hard one. I have very strong opinions on what I want my funeral to be like but I also understand that funerals are for the living and my say... well, I am dead so I don't get much say. If I got to pick - this is how it would be. I would have a traditional wake - in my home - with me tucked away in a corner in a simple casket as people came and went, ate and chatted, and with no formal service of any kind. This would happen quickly after my death and without any fanfare. That is it - that is all I want. But I can already see Blake squirming - you want your dead body in our house... you have issues

So if you just can't handle my corpse in the living room then do it graveside and keep the guest list small. It must be brief, closed casket, and do not sing any of the following songs - Each Life that Touches Us For Good or Be still My Soul (This is Talmage's song). I wouldn't mind Come thou Font or I Lived in Heaven. And a guy playing Amazing Grace on bagpipes would be pretty sweet as well. 

I can still see you rolling your eyes Blake... why do you have to do everything different? So if a traditional Mormon funeral has to occur, make sure the funeral potatoes are extra cheesy and you already know that the following phrase is forbidden:

She never complained. (This is a bold face lie - which is what I think every time I hear it at a funeral.)

*My grave marker is up to you - you are the ones that will have to see it. Keep it simple - no graphics of any kind but if you are feeling like sprucing things up you can always engrave my hot cookie recipe on the back like Kay did with her fudge:

I'm just kidding - please don't. But I am not kidding about the embalming - please don't.