Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kristin "FSL"

The first sister-in-law to enter into my world was Kristin. Kristin is not only awesome because she was willing to marry my brother, but because she was already my friend.

I first met Kristin in jr. high when she moved into town from California. She seemed cool, but I didn't really get to know her until later at Bonneville High when we had some classes together. I'm not exactly sure when it was that we hit it off so well, but I have a lot of memories of the two of us being in Mr. Aragon's math class. He couldn't ever get her last name (Fryer) right. That's why I started using the nickname Freer. I also know for sure that she was in my AP American History class because she is the reason I passed the test and got college credit. No, it wasn't because I sat next to her and looked off of her answer card (I'm sure if I had, I would have gotten a better score). It was because the night before the test she and I sat at a table at our friend Braden's house and went through the entire history of the United States. She remembered everything that we had been taught, I mean EVERYTHING. There were a few things that she brought up that I swear I had never even heard about. But, her last minute tutoring did the trick. She not only helped me, but our entire class. When we walked into the library to take our test Mary Anne Moore was wearing the shirt that featured Rosie the Riveter. I announced to everyone that Kristin had taught me who that was. I was pretty surprised when the icon was the answer to one of the questions. Everyone was grateful for Kristin that day. I guess that Mr. Edwards deserves part of the cred, but without her memory, I would have been hurting.

I've heard people talk about how much they hated high school. I loved it and I think it is because I had friends like Kristin. We had a blast everywhere we went. I remember driving to Provo for some kind of sporting event (I'm sure she would remember which) and decorating the car. We wore our spirit skirts and played our music loud. While we were in Provo we met up with a couple of guys that we knew who lived out there and then got stuck in traffic and didn't get home until very, very late. I know that Kristin's mom was a little worried when she started hanging out with me. She didn't know how worried she should have been because I led her straight to my big bro.

We would always laugh and sing along to the songs on the radio. We would listen to the Shakira tape that Matt sent us from Mexico. The more I got to know her, the more I thought that she would be a perfect addition to our family. I knew that Matt would love her and I did my best to convince her that she would love him too. I would refer to her as FSL (Future Sister-in-Law). Sometimes she would hang out with me and Jill and people always thought that we were already sisters.

During our senior year Kristin and I would skip class and go to Carl's Jr. This was probably also the reason that I gained about 20 pounds. We would always get a Famous Star, onion rings, and a chocolate chip cookie. It was fun for me to have such a good buddy to hang out with. It reminds me a little of Anne of Green Gables (which, by the way, Kristin does not like) because she would always dream of having a really close friend. I had a couple of friends like that and they are still close friends today. But, it's even better with Kristin because we are friends and family.

All of our friends used to go to restaurants after games and stuff, and it seemed like when it came time to pay, nobody ever had any money but Kristin. She was so awesome because she would just pay and she didn't even seem to care that everybody took advantage of her generosity. I learned a lot from that example. I remember when the school was selling these neat stadium blankets with the BHS logo and we both decided that we would save up money to buy one.
Kristin, me and Emily - notice she's got the blanket.
Sisters 4 Ever!
Then one day I found a little envelope in my locker. It was some money and a note from Kristin that said that the yearbook teacher had bought her a blanket so she gave me the money that she had saved for hers. I was blown away by how nice that was. I'm sure that I would have eventually raised the money that I needed and otherwise forgotten about it by now, but I'll never foget the gesture because it made me feel so loved. That's still the kind of person that Kristin is. She's always got these dried mangos and whenever I go to their house I eat all of them. The last time I went over there she had a bag of them that she had bought for me to take home because she knew that I loved them so much.

When Matt got home it was great to see that my plans worked out. Once they were married I got to have my friend at all the family parties, and when we went camping. It is especially fun for me to be so close to their kids. Ethan, Joanna and Ginny are so awesome. I think that Kristin is a great mom. It was great when we were both pregnant and she had the experience to answer all of my questions. One night we stayed up late talking about everything I would need to know about going into labor. It reminded me of the night she prepped me for our history test. All her knowledge helped me out more than she'll ever know.

Adult Advice

I never have really thought about it much before, but I order kids around a lot. I'm sure that I've always done it, but it was amplified by my year of teaching 7th and 8th grade English. I just got into the habit of shushing kids and telling them to sit down whether they were in school or not. I couldn't even walk into a mall.

I guess that I know that I boss young people, but what I've recently realized is that I rarely follow the same code of conduct that I expect of them. For example, last week Ethan and I were jumping on the trampoline trying to pop a regular-sized water balloon that Matt and Jill had filled with water. We couldn't seem to break it and it was really hot so I went inside and got a popsicle. There I was bouncing up and down dripping melted popsicle all over everything, trying to dodge a volleyball sized water bomb. The balloon finally popped and we were soaked. I jumped off into the grass and looked down to see that my shirt was covered with little red speckles. If Ethan had even thought of trying to get near the tramp with a popsicle I wouldn't have stood for it. I would have told him that it was going to get everything sticky and that he could choke on it. I didn't choke, but I did get everything, and everyone, really sticky.

It was kind of like that with my students. They would be covertly (they thought) talking and trying to write notes to each other during the lesson and I would lecture them about respect. Then, later that day I would be in a faculty meeting whispering, and giggling with Brandon and our other teacher friends. The only difference between my bad behavior, and that of the students is that I wasn't even trying to hide it.

The more I think about it, the worse it gets. For example, when we were camping I told Ethan that he couldn't have any more cookies because they were going to make his tummy hurt. I'm sure I said it while in the process of reaching for another cookie for myself. I was awake half the night listening to the protests of my own digestive system which was trying to deal with the variety of sweets and junk food that I had dumped on it.

I don't know what it is about getting older that made me think that the kid rules no longer applied to me. I eat as much candy as I want. I stay up late, go outside barefoot, pick my nose, and sometimes I say a cuss word, and I do it without a single worry that I'll be reprimanded.

I know I'd be a lot better off if I just followed some of the high expectations that I put on children. I would eat more vegetables, spend more time outside excercising, get all of my chores done before playing, and treat everyone as if they were friends.

I think that I'm always bossing kids around because I don't think they are developmentally ready to make good choices for themselves. I wonder if I'll ever be developmentally ready to make good choices for myself.

In the mean time I will still warn poor little Ethan about the ill effects of too much sugar, and try to take a little of my own advice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bills, Bills, and More Bills

As we walked in the door this afternoon there were three medical bills. I added it to the same pile that I put the other bazillion bills that we've gotten since Rocky's birth. The annoying thing about all those bills is that I am never quite sure which ones we are supposed to pay, and which ones are just there to torment me. Luckily, even though we don't have recycling here in East Layton, my mom has a nifty blue bin where I can give final rest to this immense waste of resources. Unfortunately, before they can be ground up and turned into more junk mail, we have to pay them. Brandon usually takes care of deciphering the actual amount owed. He says that since I had to deal with the whole pregnancy and labor that he will take care of the paper work. I'm glad because whenever I see how much things cost I start feeling guilty. While I was in labor I felt absolutely sure that I wanted that epidural, but a month later, when I received the bill, I wondered why I hadn't just bit the bullet and suffered my way through. Of course, reading a bill, while in my own home completely out of pain, is a little bit of a different environment. I've heard a lot of women who choose natural birth because they feel that it is safer for the baby, or that they want to "really" experience labor. I admire women like that, but if I ever chose to go natural it would be because I'm too cheap to pay for the pain killer. Hopefully by the time I'm in that situation again we will have better insurance.
The bills only got worse once the baby was actually here. I'm fine with whatever it costs to take care of her immunizations and all the tests they gave her to make sure she was healthy, but there are plenty of other things that have been sucking our savings dollar by dollar. For example, every time I take her to the pediatrician we have a $20 co-pay. Well, because my baby did not gain weight for the first month of her life I had to return three more times for weight checks. This meant that I would go into the office and pay twenty bucks to have the "official" scale make me feel even more concerned than I already did. The doctor would then tell me that I needed to make sure that Rocky gained more weight and could I bring her back next week? By the last weight check the nurses recognized me. We all cheered when she finally passed.
Whenever I start getting frustrated about our health care system mess I have to stop and look at my little girl. I don't care if the co-pay was a thousand dollars, she would be worth every single cent.

(Don't tell my insurance company that I said that.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rock Star


The annual Isaacson family camp-out was again a success. It is hard to believe how much a couple of days in the woods can shape a person's life. For those of you who do not get to participate in this type of ritual, I will share a few tidbits of knowledge that I've accumulated throuhgout the years.

** Huge Mexican marshmallows are really gross and have no business at a campfire.

** Little Smokies are great to roast as are Peeps and Starbursts.

** It is not a good idea to tube from Causey to Pine View.

** It's not camping unless you play President.

** Babies can be good campers

** Cousins can be your best friends.

I love the Isaacson family. I have very fond memories of camping with my grandparents and I think that is why I look so forward to this mini-trip every year. We are usually only camping for a day or two, but during that short time I find myself re-connecting with people I have loved since I was small. Now I am happy to take my baby girl and let her have the same opportunity.