Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This is John's drawing of his feelings about church on Sunday.
Sundays are not much fun right now for Peter and I either.

Parent Week at BYU

Dad and Linda came up for BYU's Parent Week. There was a Luau they bought three non-refundable tickets for before they found out Lily was supposed to be 2 1/2 hrs. north of here at her best friends Open House the same night. So Peter and I went with dad. I wore a flower in my hair because you know, LUAU and all that you might think that would be appropriate. Apparently, out of the hundreds of people there, I was the only one. Figures.

I'm pretty sure there wasn't anything to even indicate it was a Luau until they did the show. They assured us it was totally appropriate to stare at their hips as that is where the story of the dance is. Man those girls can move! Like the bottom half is separate from the top or something.


This super-deal-swingin'-guru in our ward sent me an email on Saturday for the Thanksgiving Point Cornbelly Cornmaze with coupons for $4 a person vs. the regular $12--only for Saturday. I talked Peter into it and it was awesome! They had all kinds of stuff going on--tractor trikes, pumpkin shooting, face painting, these giant pillow jumping things-- in 3 sizes no less--a campfire, and pig races, etc.

We were there for over 2 hrs. before we even attempted the maze (strangely in the shape of late Larry H. Miller's head--previous owner of the Jazz). Average time is an hour they said. We entered at around 9:30pm and finally took the emergency exit at 10:15. They gave us these papers with questions to clue you into which direction to go once you reached different places--they were absolutely no help at all. Nathaniel insisted he could at least get us to the emergency exit and with his super advanced sense of direction which he didn't inherit from me, he did. He was the hero of the day and we were all glad we didn't have to resort to cannibalism.

If you are in the area I would highly recommend it. Your admission covers everything but food, which they allow you to bring in if you want. If you do go I would recommend steering clear of the where they keep the piglets for the races--the smell is enough to make you actually gag.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


John and Peter sleeping in yesterday

Nathaniel turns 65

Nathaniel was born on the same day as Grandpa Mitchell and with the same name. Grandpa is turning 65 and so Nathaniel is getting letters like this everyday in the mail enticing him to supplement his Medicare. I have seriously considered sending him to one of the free dinners at a nice restaurant where he could hear all about the different options he has available to him. His appetite would for sure get their money's worth.
Definitely has tamed the excitement for him getting mail in his rapidly advancing age--
The good news is that he informs me he is feeling young and chipper at 65. He even mowed the lawn today.
His only fear is that someday he will be getting letters informing him that he is dead. I told him maybe that will help him avoid some taxes.


Rebecca is struggling in school--specifically reading, which we've known, but up to this point we have been eking by. We are hopeful, every year, that this is the year she will get it--that something will click. She has begun third grade and the clicking has yet to happen.
We know what the symptoms are but don't know much else. She does well with math, but is still constantly writing her numbers backwards. It is like we are teaching her things, she learns them, and then it slips out of her brain and we are starting all over again. It gets discouraging for us and for her as all her friends and classmates advance and she does not. Rather, she sometimes actually seems to regress.
Words that she knew in first or second grade constantly seem brand new. Very frustrating and I'm feeling a bit of a failure here. Being a reading addict myself, it is a hard thing to watch my child struggle with this. I thought, because she has had many of the same tendencies as I did at her age she would be like I was and love to read. But looking back I realize that all through these particular years I was medicated. Maybe it made a difference? I don't know. In our brains everything is constantly misfiring, or worse, firing all at once. When a person is fighting to focus on any particular thing, which we clearly see Rebecca fighting with every day, the information isn't being retained.

My dad has this problem. Numbers have always made more sense to him and reading has just not been a strong point. The way his brain works is entirely different than the norm, and the same for Aaron, my brother. Don't ask me why I thought we might not get at least one child who didn't dodge the bullet of my biological mental disaster.
No one who was not present from the moment Rebecca was born could understand what incredible strides she has taken behaviorally and socially. So many of our fears for her have already been eased it has been easy for us to overlook the things that have not improved with time. Time has been our stratagem--just giving her more time. Time time time. More time.
Time is not easing this problem--it is like she is stuck.

As a mom I feel pretty helpless watching her struggle with things when I understand what she must feel like and what she are in for as life gets more complicated. For myself, I take an anti-seizure medication in order to calm down the racing in my mind that otherwise takes over my life, leaving me to expend all my energies just trying to calm it. Simple things like driving, cleaning, or following a conversation become a lot easier when your thoughts are not racing. We haven't done the medication with Rebecca yet--kind of looking at that as a last resort.

We are finally going to have her get some formal testing, which I have been pushing for. We need to understand what it is that is specifically the problem. Why she cannot remember a word she has seen 1000 or more times, why all the letters are mixed up in the word, why she cannot see smaller words within a word, such as "become" or "without." People keep saying, just read, read--the light will come on. So far, not much lighting. What is particularly frustrating is that we know she is smart and can do this. The strange thing is her comprehension is high--just the opposite of what we would be expecting. She understands everything I read to her, she just can't read it herself. We listened to "Life of Pi" on the way home from California this year. No movies, just listening. Rebecca followed it.

Meeting with a specialist today. I started out this year going in the first week to start squeaking the wheel first thing. She has a young and ambitious teacher--one of the things I love about Utah--and I think we are moving in the right direction.

I made the decision shortly after the kids started school (first 2 days maybe?) to quit school (taking an online class) and dropped all of my classes a couple of days into the semester--after I had my financial aid, bought the books, met with the advisor... (My timing on the whole decision making process isn't great.) I just didn't want to look back in the future and wonder if I wasn't plugged in enough to help her. If nothing else, I can provide her with structure.
When I met with BYU to see what this was going to mean for future ambitions they were very supportive, even a little pushy. Can you take just night classes? Can you just forfeit the semester and start back up in the winter? Nope. Once I made the decision it was an easy one and kind of a surprise to everyone, including my husband. He was just like the school and tried to get me to rethink it --except I know was secretly delighted to have a full time wife again:)
So that's Rebecca. Then, there is John, which none of us can figure out...but that worry is for another day. For now, we are hoping he just needs time. Lots of time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Utah State Fair

Slideshow removed--can't figure out how to turn off annoying music--

Went to the fair this weekend. The animals are always a hit with the kids. Nathaniel was pretty sure it was the most boring thing he had ever done in his life. I could challenge that one, but I didn't.
We caught some of the hypnotist act, but the people who go to the fair are always the most fascinating thing to watch. Still, it didn't compare with the specimens at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield.
Peter informed me first thing in the morning that it was National Talk Like a Pirate Day, then proceeded to read me some pretty racy pirate come-ons. I told him that was nonsense and there could be no such thing. Turns out I was wrong as we saw a number of people wearing their pirate gear yesterday. Weird.

Peter's pics of backyard sunset

Monday, September 14, 2009

Veggie Garden

(As you can see by this sad arrangement,
we are experts over here in the Mitchell home)

We planted our first official Utah garden this spring--only one plot--right in the middle of the grass. We have an unfortunate amount of grass, but don't blame us, a sadistic lover-of-lawn-mowing and water-wasting did the landscaping long before we moved in.

We started with squash, zucchini, rhubarb, and lots of tomatoes.
Now our kitchen looks like this:

My neighbor tells me that in Utah if a person leaves the car door unlocked they can wake up to seats full of zucchini, and somehow that doesn't seem that unrealistic to me. I love sitting on my porch watching the neighbors try and pawn it off onto each other, door to door missionary style.

Every time I make dinner Peter is nagging me--"Can we put zucchini in this?? Can you use the squash? How about fried zucchini?" Most of the time the answer is no, as in, no-we-really-don't-want-to-eat-any-more-zucchini-so-stop-asking, but when I can use it I do and then I'm proud of myself. By virtue of Murphy's Law Peter is usually gone for these meals.

It makes me sad to think of all the times the rest of the year when I actually buy squash. I guess we are always wanting what we don't already have, like those people in Tuscon that want real grass--(Hi Jay and Mel!!)
Guess I'll browse the recipe sites for more recipes today because Peter is coming home tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

creating memories

We've been exploring our area a bit lately and have seen some different things here in Utah for the first time. This picture is of Antelope Island, which is kind of like a very, very salty beach with lots of buffalo.

You can float very easily in this dense mineral water. The kids wondered why I didn't want to get in, but I was thinking about what it would feel like once I got out--stinging and miserable dried up salt skin. Kids later agreed it was a one time experience not likely to be repeated.

Here is some of the models in the Ogden Train Museum, which I am not going to lie, wasn't that exciting. But we did find just the right town to move into here above. Oh-- and I also got yelled at for touching a display by the old woman guarding the classic car collection. I just had to know what was in the red box--turns out it was the battery.
Totally worth it.

Gotta love the miniature Indians, which you can't see very well in this picture. You know some grown-up train fanatics were living out their childhood fantasy when they were building this thing.

Trains are super exciting!!

Here we are on a family fishing adventure where we once again didn't even get a single bite. Nobody even cared though because the kids just had fun.

All John cared about was the worms. He brought them home to play with and they are now sitting in my fridge, two weeks later, probably dead. Haven't checked.

Maybe she is pretending to reel something in?

Locker drama

Nathaniel ended up with a bottom locker this year. He is about 5'10". The person above him, a girl who comes up to his chest at best, was literally jumping to get her backpack out of her locker. I saw that there was a pretty clear solution to this problem, so I call the office to see if they can switch. The office lady says, "Oh yes, I think we saw him today crawling on the floor trying to get his locker open." (his locker is right across from the office). They said they would contact the girl above him and the next day they were switched.
I asked Nathaniel if he thanked the girl for switching with him. He rolls his eyes and verbatim this is what he says: "Mom, I never talk to girls."
At first I was annoyed and tried to argue with him about developing good social skills early in life. But it didn't take me long to see the flip side, which of course is that I don't have to worry about girls yet. I'll take that any day over the alternative.