Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grad School or Bust!

I've made my decision!!!  I'm going to apply for the University of Utah's M.Ed in School Counseling program. I went to an orientation on Tuesday, spoke with some of the faculty and I am ready to let the craziness begin.  It will take 2 years of fairly intensive study in order to get credentialed and there is no guarantee of a job on the flip-side, but I think it will be a good fit with my previous work experience, my family, my aspirations, and my personality.  

The plan is this: I have to take the GRE and score fairly well since the program is pretty competitive, papers turned in by Dec. 15th, the Admissions board reviews apps in February, and they let us know if we're accepted into the program by mid-March. Classes begin Summer semester with a 2 week 8a-5p 6 credit Institute, then starting in Fall & continuing in Spring, I would take 3 classes--three nights a week, one night for each class. This repeats during the 2nd year, with classes for Practicum and Internships, both of which may be paid.  They are also looking at implementing Grad Assistantships and Fellowships. Both would be welcome to help pay for this adventure!!

To tell the truth, I'm pretty freaked out.  It's going to be a challenging and stressful, but hopefully worth it in the end. I have been studying for the GRE for a while now. The math is going to kill me.  There's so much I can't remember.  The good news is that even had I taken it 16 years ago when I first graduated with my BA, I found out that I would have been required, most likely, to take it again.  The other good news is that there is no minimum required score, I just have to have it...although the higher the score, the more advantageous it will be for other opportunities like fellowships or whatever, so I want to do well. I'll probably plan to take it Mid-October.  Yikes.

So, I feel better for having made the decision, but now begins the work and the waiting. I hope we can survive the craziness.  My sweetheart Scott is being very supportive and encouraging, as usual.  I'm excited for the possibilities. Wish me luck! And forgive me if I lose it somewhere along the way!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Beware My Mama Bear

Some of you may not know this about me, but I sometimes have a temper and, especially when it comes to my kids, I don't like to put up with people's crap (Sorry, Taylor! She doesn't like that word but it is very appropriate.)  Like today at Taylor's soccer game, for instance. We had to put up with a boat load of it from the Referee.

The first thing that annoyed me was how he came marching onto the field giving orders in a big loud voice and then he handed the LJ flag to a 5-year old boy telling him to watch for balls to go out and offsides. Seriously?  But that was just annoying. It wasn't until the girls were up 8-1 that he really started getting to me. He came up to our coaches and started yelling at them, "This is too much. Tell your girls to back off." Totally inappropriate.  Even if he wanted to spare the other team, he should have handled it differently.

And, excuse me, but what is the point of playing a soccer game if you don't try to score. Just call the game if that is the case. But, hey,  I was still pretty chill, after all, they told us the same thing all last year too. I was hoping this year the girls would actually get to play though, but....nothing Mama Bear worthy yet.

The final straw was after the game. Taylor came up to me crying saying how the Ref had yelled at her, saying something like, "Do you want to be referee? I've been putting up with your *** all day."  Now, I'm okay with a Referee calling a girl on disrespectful behavior. If Taylor was mouthing off, then take her to the coach, tell them that his decisions are final, yellow card her, or something. But don't talk trash to children. When I heard the story from Taylor, I took her over to the Ref. I wanted to hear his side of the story.  I was angry but I was also being a mature adult.  I told him what Taylor told me and asked him what happened. He kind of went off on me, saying that Taylor was telling him that he was calling plays wrong and that he had given her two warnings and it's within his rights to do that.

I agreed that he has the right to warn players, but there was no need to hurt feelings and make children cry. AYSO is supposed to be about learning sportsmanship and having fun.  He called her a liar and was super defensive. I told him I'd be filing a complaint with the league about the whole thing, and he said, "Go ahead. There's the lady right there."

She had been standing behind us the whole time, listening. I said, "You bet I will." And went to her while he marched off to his truck.  I asked her if she could see my point: He shouldn't have the right to abuse his authority over these girls by being disrespectful, especially if he wants to command any respect from them in return. It's supposed to be fun and build girls' confidence!  She told me she'd heard the whole conversation and she'd take it to the Head Official. I thanked her and started heading back to the field, when this Ref came marching back over saying how he'd make it easy for everyone, since "they don't pay me enough to deal with all this **** ****! I quit!" And he slammed his clipboard down and was still ranting when I was out of earshot.  What a great guy!

We had just finished packing up our gear and were headed back to the car when the lady I spoke with and another official, the Head Official I assumed, came up to us and apologized for the creepy refs behavior. I told them I didn't mean to make a big scene but I was upset with how he handled the whole thing.  They agreed that he behaved inappropriately. We've played with AYSO for 4 years now and have never had such an experience.  Usually the refs are great and they help the girls learn how to be better players, which is what they are meant to do.  I hope he really is gone for good! I will feel like I've done my parental duty for the day! Nobody messes with my kids! Grrr.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cricket Is Ours Forever...

...unless I lose her again!!!  We've decided to keep Cricket, which of course, I knew we would. We couldn't bring her home for even a minute and then give her back. She's much too sweet.

I'm going to have to keep a close eye on her though. She's tricky. I left her home while I went to work on Wednesday. She hasn't been happy in the bathroom, so I blocked off the kitchen and left the screen door open so she'd be able to get out the dog door. I checked all the gaps under the gates to make sure she couldn't get out anywhere and when all was Puppy-proofed, I headed out for the day.

I worried a bit, mostly envisioning her being used as a chew toy by Blackberry, but I was surprised. I came home and found no dead bodies, in fact, no puppy at all. I looked everywhere--under furniture, in closets, in the trampoline pit, under bushes. But she was nowhere to be found. I couldn't believe she'd disappeared.  I started going door-to-door to the neighbors hoping that someone had seen her wandering during the afternoon and took her in, but no one had seen her.

I knocked on the last door on the street and while I was talking to Jocelyn and Bro. Webb, here she came running around the corner of the Lund's house. You can't imagine how happy and relieved I was.  Especially that she was found before the girls came home from school, because if the truth be told, I was more worried about having to face their tears than anything else.

It turned out that the side gate was actually unlatched even though I had checked it and she somehow must have squeezed through.  Little Stinker.  I have no idea how long she was wandering around. We will make sure to check and double check from now on.  Or I'll just carry her around in my pocket from now on.  :)

I honestly can't believe how much I love this little pup. After Blackberry, I thought I was so over dogs, but she is so much more my speed. Sweet, snuggly, and small.  I love BB too, but it has been a lot of work to get there.  Cricket has been easy.  I'm glad we brought her home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I can't believe we got suckered into it again! Our friends the Terry's had two litters they were selling today and Taylor turned on the Persuasion Skills, promising everything in the book. I made a deal with Julie and we've got her on a trial run until Monday.

But she sure is cute! The girls are calling her Cricket or Kiki for short. She's an 8 week old purebred Shihtzu puppy and we love her already!

Blackberry is tolerating her and making sure we don't forget him by whining, barking and doing tricks. Hopefully, he'll get used to her soon.

She doesn't shed, so it looks like Scott will do okay with her too. In fact, she sneezed while he was holding her so maybe she's allergic to him! :)

Wish us luck! We're going to need it! Puppies and babies. The Lord sure makes our memories short otherwise why would we ever do any of it twice? :)
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Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember 9/11

I sat Taylor down in front of the TV to do her hair for kindergarten. The TV was on NBC from news the night before and Matt Lauer was talking about a plane hitting the 1st tower and postulating about whether it was an accident or not. I called Scott thinking he'd have the scoop on the internet but he hadn't heard anything about it and hung up to do some searching. I watched as the 2nd tower was struck and remember thinking that I just needed to stay calm and get Taylor off to school so that I could give this insanity my full attention. She left and as it became clearer that the destruction was intentional, I remember crying.

I cried as I watched the smoke column skyward and people plummet out of windows. I cried as the buildings crumbled. I cried as the emergency workers ran toward the chaos and others fled. I cried as people searched frantically for loved ones and as the wall of missing people grew. It seemed like I cried for weeks as the acts of heroism and stories of survival were documented. It seemed like I would cry forever.

But like everyone else in the country, I was also filled with an amazing sense of patriotism and love for my fellow man. I was so proud to see people stepping up to find ways to serve and help make a difference. I was inspired by my own little girl who, after learning about what had happened, went door to door asking for coins to donate to the families of the fallen. She gathered about $5.00-a fortune to a 5 year old- and we sent it to New York. It seemed like all hearts were softened and the tragedy was yielding to something great.

It makes me cry even now, eight years later, to remember the lives lost and the horror of that day, but I hope that we can all remember the camaraderie we felt and the empowerment that filled us as we realized our potential to some degree. It's easy to lose sight of that when we get bogged down in the minutia of every day life, but it's that very craziness that should remind us how lucky we are. We are alive, we are free, we are blessed. That's what I try to remember.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Strongly Worded Letter

I just found out at work today that the Washington County School District has decided to allow students access to YouTube on school computers.  As a parent, and as a computer lab aide, I am not very happy about this.  I didn't realize this at first, but YouTube does not police their site very well and there are all kinds of inappropriate subject matter for kids to explore--all kinds of foul language, mature themes and porn to name just a few--especially if they are unsupervised for any length of time. And the way YouTube works, kids can be looking at completely innocent sites and in the sidebar these things pop-up as suggested or related content and once they've seen it, it can't be taken back.

I understand that there is also a lot of really great stuff on there and that teachers may want to show videos that correlate to lesson plans, but it is not worth risking children's innocence for the convenience of the few teachers who might use this technology.  I am planning to write an email to our district Tech Director and ask him to put YouTube back on the blocked content list.  YouTube is blocked in my home, and I certainly don't want it to be available in my kids' schools either.  If you would like to send an email too, let me know and I will send you the Tech Director's email address.

I'd also like to figure out what could be done about the LDS Church's YouTube channel.  It bothers me, and others I know, that the Church supports YouTube when they are so lax about keeping their site clean.  It seems to me that the Church certainly has the brainpower and the resources to post their videos through some alternative source that can be more carefully monitored.  I'm just saying.