Keeping my head above water

I have a teenager as of tomorrow.

This brand-new 13yo is supposed to hike Havasupai next week for youth conference. I'm already stressing about what the heck to pack for her to eat for 2 days of hiking. Since she eats, well, junk all the time and no one's going to get up and make her pancakes every morning. Beef jerky? Fruit cups? Trail mix? Top ramen? Ummm... she won't eat any of that. What else is light, protein, non-perishable??

A is plugging her way through 7th grade. She's in an advanced math class that is VERY challenging and fast paced. End of quarter is this week I think. We'll see if she gets at least the B she needs to remain in the class. N has been helping her with her math homework most nights. She just screams at me and I barely remember any algebra to help her anyway. She has made a lot of progress lately and seems to be understanding more though. She is enjoying band a lot. Her first concert is tomorrow night.

I really wish she talked to me. It is such a chore most days for her to even be in the same room with me. Piano/cleaning her room/brushing her teeth? SUCH DRAMA.  She says all I ever do is tell her what to do. Which is true, I guess. Because it takes 8 times of me telling/asking/reminding to do something for it actually to happen. SO of course most things turn into a fight/threat.

My middle daughter turned 11 last week. She's so great. Doing amazing in school. Helpful at home. Actually listens and absorbs stuff at church and activity days.  The fighting/screaming with her sister is regular. They pretty much wear the same size clothes now so there is A LOT OF DRAMA when someone wants to wear something in the other girl's closet.

M has got her team together for Battle of the Books. Problem is I don't think any of them are the dedicated readers that Allison's team was when she did it. Hopefully they can all get through MOST of the 4 books. First battle is in ONE MONTH. I've already slugged through more of the reading than M has.

My son is struggling in school. I do not know how to deal with this. This is new for me, since anything related to school has always been cake for both my girls.   His handwriting is atrocious. He is SO SLOW at everything he does. He is below the class average in phonograms, spelling, everything. His teacher wants him to do phonogram tutoring after school but I CANNOT make him stay an extra half hour after he's been there all day. The kid needs a break.  He needs to be outside. I know he should be in a sport right now but I can't fathom having time for practices when it takes SO LONG to do homework every day. Behavior is ok at the moment. But he does bring home a lot of "WHY ME" sheets when he gets in trouble... it's always for dumb stuff, talking in line, throwing things, turning around in his desk, not listening to instructions.

I just bought phonogram flash cards this morning. We're going to have M drill with him instead of him going to tutoring. We'll see if he's game for that. He better be, after $22 worth of flashcards!

On a bright note, he is getting an A in math. And he's doing very well in music. A few times just this last week he's actually sat down and played through all his songs and done his flashcards ON HIS OWN without me sitting right next to him. This is a first in 2.5 years of Let's Play Music.

Every evening it seems is jam packed with stuff to do, mutual, music, activity days, homework, me trying to put something edible together, trying to get everybody to clean up and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Everyone is too distracted by devices to get anything done. Screen time is KILLING US and causing strain on our family. I'd say let's just pitch all of the devices except I'm too attached to my phone too.

Next week is fall break. I want to go somewhere (free) while A is going to be gone. I'll at least take M & J hiking if nothing else and get that boy outside to get dirty!

We are trying to get a family picture scheduled but can't get all the Carters in one place at one time. I think I'll just jave to bite the bullet and hire someone to take our photos, at least. It's been 3 years since we've had pics taken. (together, I mean. last year's "MERRY" project doesn't count)

I'm going to be FORTY in two months. Ummm. Yeah. I need a spectacular girls trip for my birthday I think. Cha ching, if only I could afford my life...

Does anyone else ever feel that? I don't think we "live large" by any stretch. We barely travel, or go to the movies, or eat out... my kids aren't in expensive activities, I don't buy name brand anything, all our technology and devices are ancient, we only pay for one phone line... yet I'm scraping the bottom of the account every week.  Our house and pool and my car are all too expensive.

My kids keep asking what Halloween costumes we're going to get this year. I keep telling them whatever's cheap and simple, and preferably already in the house.

And Christmas is a mere 12 weeks away!

I want 4 trees planted in my side yard for Christmas. Lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime. I have wanted them for three years. I figure this is more attainable than the new kitchen I want. I would also love a year's supply of chocolate shakeology, new running shoes, a new bumper for my car I screwed up and jet skis. No biggie. Oh, and a new kitchen. And still have money in my savings account.  #dreamalittledreamwithme


It's already April? No foolin?


It's now been almost 7 months since my car accident. I've been through treatments by the chiropractor, myopractor, massage therapist, and most recently several weeks of physical therapy.  Julie, the PT from Verve Wellness, was great. She understood that I am an ACTIVE person and encouraged me to do/try everything still.  She was familiar with all the exercises I do at Crossfit, and didn't chastise me when I came in sore from this or that, etc. Her diagnosis was that I had TOO MUCH mobility in my lower back, from the accident and throughout all the many manipulations and adjustments I've had since. So, her plan was to stabilize my core and glute muscles through a series of exercises to keep those discs and everything where they should be. It's weird to think that such small movements make such a difference! I not 100% back to where I was before the accident, but I have made vast improvement since January.  For a while she was putting Kenisio (sp?) tape on my back which held everything in place. Amazing stuff! Who knew? It enabled me to lift, jump, and run (a little) without hurting. I haven't really gotten back to running yet, partly because I've been lazy, partly because I'm already doing 3+ crossfit workouts a week, partly because I keep hurting myself in other dumb ways...

Last month I went snow skiing - twice! That was a real test on my back - and yes, though I came home with many many bruises on my legs and hips, my lower back didn't hurt any more than usual. Sitting on the drive to and from Flagstaff was way worse than actually skiing!  Also went trampolining at Jumpstreet. I wish that place was across the street and I could go every day. Such a great ab workout. Also, huge test for my back - which I passed.

Now - my dilemma is this: I still have my medical claim open. I wanted to "be 100% better" before I even thought about closing it but realistically my injury isn't keeping me from doing anything anymore. My issue is sitting! Darnit! Hurts to drive more than a few minutes. Sitting through three hours of church is totally uncomfortable. Still. UGH. But what do I do? I don't know what other providers to see or if I should just keep doing the PT exercises and "hope" that everything will work itself out eventually... my husband asks me "how realistic" it is for me to be 100% again, but I think it's totally unfair if I'm not - right??

In other news:
I have gotten the remodeling bug lately big time! We finally hired a crew in March to come in and build a built-in bookshelf at the end of the hall, and do our baseboards (let's face it, I never would have finished them) and we're getting shutters on two windows this week. Hooray for progress! I also sold our playset, making our backyard look super empty, and sold our beast of our entertainment center last month (that we weren't using anymore). YES, I love Craigslist. I also bought a rug for our family room downstairs, which I wasn't sure about but since it was super cheap it's really growing on me! Next on the horizon: designing my new kitchen (If I could only remember where I planted that money tree!)

My identity was stolen a couple of weeks ago - awesome! They opened a charge account at Nordstrom and went $3800 worth of crazy in one day. They also got a hold of my Home Depot account, my Kohls account and my Sears accounts and also charged a ton on those. I'm walking though all the fraud stuff this week. Everything has a hold on it and I have cancelled and/or put holds on all my store cards. I think it will be my policy from now on not to open those anymore... (but I HAVE to have Home Depot and Kohls for all the discounts... am I right??) What a pain. Need to file a police report and send back all these affidavits to the companies.

I pulled a muscle in my rotator cuff a week ago doing something - probably pullups or pushups - and have been hurting since. Spent the weekend on the couch icing it on and off. Good times, when you can't hardly put a shirt on or do your hair... good thing I rarely do my hair...

I got called to be WARD CAMP DIRECTOR! Took me a while to get used to the idea, but I'm excited now. Theme is BOOT camp .   "Building Our Own Testimonies" so I'm trying to brainstorm pink camo and military drill ideas/ cadences/etc. So A and I will be going together in June!

Kids are doing well. I've had them all in a parkour class for the last few weeks which they think is super cool.  We spent Spring Break traipsing all over the place - we pulled them out of school the Fri before break and took them up to SnoBowl for a ski lesson. J did pretty well, the girls were pretty frustrated. It was the middle of March so the snow kind of sucked, but I figure they at least got an intro to skiing.  After recovering all day, N and I went to the Rattlers game on Saturday. The fun began on Monday when we played with SoPho friends, did lunch with Daddy, and went to Jumpstreet that night, on Tuesday we did doctor appointments, Wednesday we went to the Aquarium, Thursday we did a quick hike and went to the Phx Zoo, Friday we went to Enchanted Island with the Malones and then had dentist appointments, and then on Saturday we went on a big hike in the McDowell mountains with M and J. A didn't want to go because she said she was too tired. Yeah, you think? Me too after that week! I couldn't wait to get them all back to school on Monday so I could take a nap!

A is a fully fledged young woman now, and loves going to mutual every week and being with the older kids at church. Now if we could just remember all those firesides - we keep forgetting them because we're just not in youth-schedule-mode! She is such a tweenager with all the attitude and defiance that comes with it. She is fully addicted to her phone, and most of the time disappears- she goes and hides away in her room so she can play on it. She has a hard time keeping her room clean. She has an even harder time practicing piano. It is a struggle every day, and most weeks she only ends up with a couple practices before it's time for her weekly lesson - she's SUPPOSED to be doing 30 minutes a day!  She is a spectacular student and gets all As. Her last battle for Battle of the Books went great - her team answered every question they got correctly, but couldn't make up for the first battle where they biffed it, so it was a good run, but we won't be going to district. As of last week she has BRACES! Her mouth has been in a lot of pain this week. Good thing she's good at taking pills, makes it easy to pop Ibuprofen. A will be going on a TREK with Grandma and Grandpa Carter's stake at the end of May, which I think I'm more excited about than she is. I've been trying to get her out hiking to prepare her, but she's way resistant to it!  A week after trek, she'll be going to her first Girl's Camp at LoMia! So excited.

M is such a good egg. She keeps her room perfectly clean. She loves to eat healthy food and be organized and is also a straight-A student. She puts a lot of pressure on herself at times, though, and has episodes of tantrums and crying and feeling sorry for herself when she gets overwhelmed. This almost always happens late at night. I try to be very careful of her bedtime, because she so needs her sleep. We rarely plan for her to be far from home after 7. She's had a loose tooth bugging her for more than three weeks now, poor girl. She also struggles with practicing piano but does a little better than A. She loves to create cute outfits and hairstyles and coordinate accessories with everything she wears. She's addicted to Disney shows on the Ipad, and can often be found laying on her bed with screen on lap.

J is my superhero! He had such a hard time last semester with school (and behavior at school) that we had actually considered transferring him. He's like a different kid now. Something clicked when he went back in January and he has had a record of good behavior since then. I think part of it was him getting a new soccer ball for Christmas (dumb little thing, but it enables him to run so much at recess that I think he gets his wiggles out!) Partly I think he's just a little older and more mature now too.  : )  He's also been way more motivated to practice his Let's Play Music each week - hooray! We try and sit down before and after school M, T, W and get them all done. Some weeks we get all five in. He's doing well at the piano playing, even if he still doesn't want to sing the songs. This kid is also keeping his room perfectly clean the last couple of months. YAY.  He went through the winter season of soccer and now he's in T-ball. Which his mom thinks is super cool, but will probably never happen again/ he prefers soccer. It was awesome in his first game last week - his first ball at bat and he hits a HOME RUN. Totally cool. Wish I'd had it on video.
He takes his soccer ball to school EVERY DAY. He's actually been through THREE balls in the last 12 months/ the most recent one popped and gave up the ghost over the weekend... wish it had held out a little bit longer so we could wait til his birthday to replace it!  His favorite new thing is Power Rangers. UGH, so painful to watch, and even listen to. I was going to buy him a power ranger dress up costume over the weekend but it was the "old" style costume, and apparently there's new Rangers now... gag me


Stevie and his TV

We entered a Dr. Seuss poem contest this week.  Unfortunately I got carried away with the story and the length, so I'm sure we won't win, as they only wanted a 3-stanza poem. I had to abridge it for the entry form so it wasn't nearly as cute. Oh well. The contest was sponsored by a bookstore, hence the subject matter....   Here's our poem in its entirety.

On a polka-dotted couch
Sat a little boy named Stevie,
Who never left his house
He was always watching TV.

His mom said Go! Go! Run outside!
It's such a beautiful day!
His friends said, We have many toys!
With us you should come play!

But Stevie sat, and sat some more.
His eyes glued to a screen.
Pictures and shows would come and go
So many adventures to be seen.

One day, however, there was a glitch.
The electricity went out!
Stevie's TV would not work!
So he began to pout.

He would not go or run outside.
He would not go and play.
He would not play with friends or toys
He would NOT enjoy this day!

His eyes were off the screen for once.
Instead they were on the clock!
He watched the hours slowly pass
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock.

Finally his eyes began to wander
From the clock to the shelf of books.
He thought, well, what have I got to lose?
I guess I'll take a look.

He picked up a book, and blew off the dust.
And opened the cover just a crack.
Suddenly his mind came alive with a thought ...
His stories and pictures were back!

Imagination started stirring in Stevie's head
Adventures he'd never dreamed!
Suddenly his stories were coming alive.
So much better than on a screen!

Now instead of dusty books,
The dust is on the TV.
Stevie is playing and pretending each day
Reading books has made it easy!