Friday, August 29, 2008

It's hard to be a grown-up...

In college. My first week as a college student is complete. Right before school started I reevaluated what I was trying to do versus what my priorities are. I was extremely stressed out about the pre-calculus class and the load I was taking on even before classes started. I took a deep breath and thought really hard about my goals and my kids and it wasn't so hard to come to a decision. I dropped two classes, the classes I was taking online, which I hate. I dropped the calculus and signed up for the math a level below it. Now I knew that making this decision means that I won't graduate in 2011. But on the other hand it gives the children a higher chance of survival by me not killing them in some stress-induced rage.

It also means that I won't graduate in 2012, either. All signs indicate that we will move in 2011. So I will go to Austin Peay until I am done with my generals, which I can do in four easy semesters. The last year we are here I won't go to school at all while I wait until we move to the next post. Hopefully at the next post I will be able to graduate. Also, the last year we are here Dan should be deployed again so not going to school that year just makes things easier.

Here is my point, though, about being a grown-up in college. Somewhere, somehow along the line I did grow up and now college kids bug me.

In every single one of my classes the kids start to clean up their stuff to leave five minutes before class is over. It is loud, distracting, and totally rude to the professor who is still trying to teach. In my Anatomy/Physiology class which has at least 50 people in it, it is the worst. The professor lectures right up until the end and people are all shuffling their things and it's hard to concentrate on the material. Don't they want to know what he is saying, don't they take notes? I seriously thought about shushing them today but that would violate my goal of staying low-key.

As I am trudging around campus the first day of school with my gimpy back, I was looking for a comfortable place to study during the two-hour break I have between classes. Which I love, I get so much work done and it frees me from having to do homework at home when I need to focus on the kids. I found some cushy seating in the student center and set up camp. It was so loud in there. All these boys playing pool and cussing at each other. A whole mess of flirting and disgusting behavior going on. And all I could think about was don't they have studying to do? Why do they have to be so loud?

Grandma that I am now, I scouted a new location with comfy seating in the library where at least it is a little more quiet.

This is all so surreal to me. I feel like I should go outside and yell at some kids to stay off my lawn. I was one of those obnoxious kids once, talking all loud, flirting, and making a general spectacle of myself. Now the kids who have taken my place are annoying and clueless to me. I always thought of myself as somewhat cool. This adult thinking is not on the list of what's cool. And I don't care, when did that happen?

Is this what my mid-life crisis is going to feel like?

I am almost positive that I am older than one of my professors. My lab instructor, I would be shocked to learn that she is older than me, it's so weird.

Last thing on an unrelated subject. I got a new lemon cake to try again with my birthday cake. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today I turn thirty. It's too big a number to just use numerals, it must be spelled out so that everyone can feel the weight of the number.

My name is Cristtin, college sophmore, mother to three, and I am thirty.

Deep Breath...

The fates have conspired against me to make sure that I never forget my thirtieth birthday.

Let's start with Thursday, a friend called, some neighborhood teenagers had lit her thrash can on fire. She had a puddle of plastic at the end of her driveway. Like most of my Army friends, her husband is not home. She needed some tools and some help to try and get this thing off her driveway. I headed over to her house and we tried to scrape, break, and pry this thing of the concrete. We just about have it up, I have been prying it up to get some leverage so she could scrape more junk. I bend over and just heft this thing up so it will start to come up. On the second lift, my back said, "Oh yeah, I'm done." I felt my lower back just contract and implode on itself. I spent the rest of the day in bed pretty much just a lump.

I wasn't able to get into my doctor so I had to go to the urgent care clinic on post Friday morning. That took about four hours. But I did get a wonderful cocktail of drugs that have kept me pretty happy since then, even through the pain.

Friday night, went out with my sister Jenny, who had come for super-fun girl's day on Saturday. We were out about two hours when the sitter calls, "Um, Bug threw up." All I could think to ask was did he make it to the toilet? He did so we didn't really rush home.

Saturday, on the other hand, did go smoothly. I had a couple friends unable to find sitters, so there were just the three of us on our trip to Nashville. Pedicures, lunch at PF Changs, and then a little shopping before it was time to head back to pick up the kids from Super Saturday. That night Jenny and I were wiped, we both were ready for bed incredibly early. I started to conk out around 9 p.m., I think the drugs are starting to build up in my system and am getting more dopey.

The big day, I wake up this morning and it hits like a ton of bricks on my chest. I am thirty.

I was going to not go to church today and just blame the back, but Bug had a talk in Primary. There was no water-pressure in the building, so they were going to let us go home early. My back was killing me from the chairs and pews that I was sitting in. Then all of a sudden the pressure was back so church is back on. I guess I must have looked really bad today because I was asked by two separate people what was wrong with me. I was so doped up that I was having trouble focusing.

Church eventually did end so I went home to get ready for the Sister missionaries to come over for dinner because I didn't want all that cake and ice cream on my hands. Turns out I didn't need to worry about that...

That would be my birthday cake. It is a lemon cake, in case you might be wondering. Did you know that if you put a cake in the oven and then walk away and it ends up baking for about two hours this happens? Well, I do. Now. The sisters thought I had baked a chocolate cake and were really surprised to find that it was in fact supposed to be yellow. We got along just fine with my birthday ice cream.

All in all I am very pleased with my birthday. This is the stuff of good stories and I am sure to not forget it. I would much rather things be memorable than go off without a hitch and just forget all about it because it was so normal.

The one thing I could've done without is the back strain. Like I needed a reminder about how much older I am than the majority of my fellow classmates. I know, let's add a cane to the picture. On Friday, I went to the college to pick up the rest of my books and they were doing some sort of Freshman tour. There were these infants every where. I was thinking about my mortality when it hit me that the average college Freshman is closer in age to my oldest son than they are to me. They were even born in the same decade, the 90's.

Born in the 90's? While they were getting potty-trained, I was freaking out about Cobain's death. While they were riding their first tricycles, I was tearing up the road in my Ford Escort. When they started kindergarten, I was learning all the rules of streaking in the middle of the night with my best friends. I will stop this line of thought now.

Speaking of best friends. My BFF stopped by my house on her move across the country. Lisa has been my best friend for almost half my life now. We became friends at Girl's camp the summer I turned 16. I was so happy to see her even if it was just for the one night.

So I better go to bed, it's a school night, after all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quick Summer Wrap Up

Anyone remember how much I was freaking out about surviving the summer? Well, it would appear that I did survive. And even more surprising the children did too. With me starting school next week and my super awesome birthday girls day out this Saturday, if I don't get these pics out right now they aren't getting out. And there were a couple of cool things that happened toward the end there that I felt like sharing. Whether or not any of you care. I'll be sending this post and pics along to Dan, since he can't read this anymore, so I know at least one person cares.


DD's first swim meet and the thing I was actually a little more excited about, all their new swim gear. DD wore a swim cap for the first time. And Punx wore Jammers, it was The cutest thing he has worn, I think since he was in a onesie.

See their events written in permanent marker on their arms? Man, I love swimming. Punx wouldn't scrub his arm in the shower later that day, he wanted it to stay for as long as possible. DD scrubbed her arm pink.

Here is DD diving into the pool. See off to the right of the picture, you can see the girl is already in the pool. She has great reaction time, huh? After every race she would look at me and ask, "Did I win?"

Punx getting ready for one of his races or getting ready to pick his nose, not sure. He won his heat for the 25 yard backstroke, I was so proud. He ended up taking fifth overall in that event. He DQ'ed from the breaststroke again, so did DD. I will have to admit that made me a little proud, too. I was never any good at breatstroke. Maybe they'll be flyers like their momma.

On to their last day of gymnastics.

Bug practicing some jumps.

DD was nailing her headstands on the first class.

Punx on the balance beam.

And then our trip to Louisville to see my sister, Kaarina. My other sister, Jenny and I went to Louisville for two days to see her. She was going to Louisville for business. I hadn't see Kaarina in about two years. If only my one other sister could've been there all four of us girls could have been together.

All the kids at the science museum. It was a really cool place.

Then all of us at the Hard Rock Cafe, it was my first time at a Hard Rock. And all three of us girls by the river. Sorry about the eyes, Kaarina, the other picture you were talking so your mouth look all funky.

So that's basically got us to the end of summer. And now the kids are in school. Bug starts full time when I do. It's off to another year.

One last thing. Dan comes home for R&R in less than two months. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Here! It's Here!

I was going to do a long newsy post about surviving summer and the last few things we did that I didn't get around to posting about. Very wordy, lots of pictures. Seeing my sister from Idaho that I haven't seen in a couple years. DD's first swim meet. The kids finishing up gymnastics. The kids first day of school. Putting my baby on the bus for the first time...

blah, blah, blah...All that went out the door at 2:15 p.m. central standard time by an unexpected ding dong.

I got a new toy.

The Kindle. A Kindle. My kindle, my own, my precious. I have been begging Dan for one for my birthday and lookey lookey, he listened. He was not wanting to spend the money but I finally hit him with unassailable logic. I was in love and would most likely end up getting one, one way or another. It was in his best interest to get it for me now. It will save him money. It saves him whatever he would've spent on another birthday present that I may or may not like.

Anyone not familiar with what this is? To a person who reads two or three books a week this is the best invention since the printing press.

An electronic book reader. The Kindle has the capacity to hold 200 books. With simple memory cards like you use in your digital camera your library stash can be as big as your real one. And to download a book is often more than half the price. All books 9.99 or less. A normal best-seller hardback book is $25, after 25 books, my kindle has paid for itself.

And it has a built in Oxford dictionary, access to Wikipedia, and can download books wirelessly without ever paying for any sort of internet or contract. Amazon pays for what they call the whispernet and it uses the cellphone internet so connection is every where you get cell coverage.

No doubt to any of you I could go on and on about how great this thing is but it has given me a true dilemma.

Which book do I get first? This is a decision of momentous weight. I will forever remember this. Fiction, nonfiction? Thriller, sci-fi, fantasy? Each book says something about the reader. I can't just get something I want to read and call it a day. This matters.

And yes, I did the same thing to my ipod. I sat there with a large stack of CD's agonizing over what would go in first. It was John Mayer followed immediately by Jack Johnson.

I think I need to take a chill. Curling up with a good book always relaxes me. Argh!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chicken sans head

It's been a few months since I had a meltdown, right? So it's time. I'm entitled to one now, ok?

Entitled or not, I am having one. I won't bore you with my whole to-do list just my top two.

The kids start school on Friday. I start school about two weeks after that. I am taking seventeen credits. One of my classes is Pre-Calculus. It has been six years since I went to school. Longer since I took college algebra. But to graduate in the time before we move, I have to take Pre-Calc right now. So I have been studying everyday from a textbook that is the math level just below the class I am about to take, as a refresher. Want to know what doing Algebra everyday for hours on end of your own volition does to your will to live? No, you don't.

So, I am freaking out. I don't know how I am going to handle this class and the unknown is my enemy. Once school starts and I am in motion things will be better. I can get a tutor, meet with academic advising, have options. Right now my option is calling my Dad and asking him to please go over functions with me and please explain their purpose. And could you kindly tell me why they exist in the first place?

Also, there is something wrong with the computer so I got an external hard drive to save all my files and am going to attempt a reboot to see if I can fix the problem that way. I found a trojan horse on the computer a few weeks ago and removed it but I think that there must be something else that the scans are not picking up. Just the thought of being without my computer sends me in to hyper-ventilate mode. But if I can't fix it, looks like I am going to have to suck it up and take it to Chuck after all. Just for them to look at it is going to be like $200, man.

I will be pretty scare for the next little while. And a pretty bad blog reader, too. I just opened up my email and had 45 messages and my google reader had 73 posts. It is time for me to focus on the freak-out. I pretty much deleted all the emails and am just going to clear the reader.

Because I need to get back to my Algebra. Is it bad if your brain feels squishy?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday to-do list

I've got everything done on my to-do list today and it's only nine p.m. so that still means I'll get a couple good hours of veg time in now that the kids are in bed. There is nothing I love more than days that are in the extremes. Extremely lazy or extremely productive and today was one of those miraculous days where it felt like I accomplished both so I wanted to give the results.

Pick-up the children from their first sleep-over (all of them)

Watch four kids all day

Clean the kitchen and floor

Take all seven kids out for some sprinkler time

Pay the bills

And read Breaking Dawn

The last one on the list was obviously my top priority so it got the majority of my attention today. Oh man, it was so excellent. I am very satisfied with the whole thing. There are always those couple things here and there that you wish were in a last book, but she can't make all these totally insane uber-fans happy. For this book I had two firsts. One, an actual audible reaction to something that happened in the story. Two, when my friends and I went to the book party last night at midnight we totally geeked out. I even made a T-Shirt. We all wore T-Shirts... pledge our allegiance to our sides. They had those iron-ons that came in the special edition of Eclipse that I didn't even know existed. I just made mine. Team Jacob was across my back. Not to say anything about the character Bella, it's just a personal connection. If I had to personally choose one I would choose Jacob. It's a tough personal choice that every girl has to make. Not saying anything bad about Edward, he is wonderful. But I am a sucker for a sense of humor and the over protective thing would bug me.

So you can see what my totally geeked out shirt says.

I even won a book, from winning a trivia contest the book store was doing at the party. It's not a book I've ever heard of but I am not one to ever turn down free book.

I can't wait to hear how any one who has read the book liked it, or like in my case was really surprised by some of the stuff and loved it.

Although I hate it when a series comes to an end, it makes me so sad.