THE LONGEST POST EVER!

I HAVE BEEN TRYING 2 PUT FAMILY 1ST. I HAVE NOT FOUND THE PROPER BALANCE: I AM 1 WHO NEEDS LOTS OF “ME” TIME (I LIKE BEING ALONE & EMAILING PEOPLE & JOURNALLING).

BUT IN SEARCHING 4 THIS BALANCE, I TRY 2 NOT USE THE COMPUTER WHEN THE KIDS ARE THERE, UNLESS THEY USE IT, WE USE IT 2GETHER, OR THEY WATCH TV. I’VE LEARNED THAT WHAT I’VE MISSED IS STUFF LIKE THE SMALL TALK THAT OCCURS WHEN U DRIVE AROUND, COOK TOGETHER, PLAY A PING PONG GAME, ETC. THE TIMES THAT I JUST SIT THERE & LISTEN (SINCE I CAN’T CHIME IN VOCALLY), SO I USED TO “DISAPPEAR.” SO, WHILE I’VE STARTED ABOUT 4-6 POSTS, I NEVER FINISH THEM! LOL (BUT I RECENTLY HAD LOTS OF “ME” TIME, SO I AM PUTTING THESE ALL 2GETHER, & THIS POST WILL BE SUPER LONG!

SINCE I’M AROUND MORE, I HAVE BEEN HELPING MORE W/HOMEWORK (IT’S GREAT THAT MY DOUBLE VISION CAN NOW BE CONTROLLED WELL ENOUGH 2 READ SOME SMALLER FONTS—IT’S HARD, & TAKES TIME & PATIENCE, BUT IT CAN BE DONE!)

I’VE ALSO BEEN ATTENDING A LOT OF THINGS THAT I WOULD NORMALLY NOT DO. I HAVE CONTINUED 2 BE SUPER UPSET BY PEOPLE “TEMPORARILY” PARKING IN THE HANDICAPPED AREAS (PEOPLE JUST DO NOT LEARN, & I SWEAR I’M GOING 2 DIE 1 DAY WHILE I WAIT IN THE STREET 2 GET IN MY VAN!) BUT I’M HAPPY 2 SAY THAT MY MINISTER (BISHOP) WILL BE PUTTING UP PLAQUES THAT SAY “RESERVED FOR THE DISABLED & THEIR FAMILIES.” (PERSONALLY, I’D LIKE IT IF EVERY LDS WARD CHURCH BUILDING IN THE UNITED STATES HAD THIS PLAQUE!)

ANYWAY, ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT I’VE ATTENDED, & NORMALLY WOULDN’T ATTEND, WAS SOPHIE’S SCHOOL CARNIVAL. LUCKILY, PLACES ARE USUALLY FORCED 2 BE SOMEWHAT ACCESSIBLE, BUT I HAVE GONE 2 THINGS LIKE THIS WHERE IT’S ALMOST PAINFUL 2 GO, BECUZ I FEEL LIKE I HOLD MY FAMILY BACK: THEY CAN’T GO SHORTER WAYS (DUE 2 CURBS), I DON’T DO WELL IN CROWDS, ETC…

BUT JUST AS I WAS DOUBTING THIS NEW PHILOSOPHY OF “FAMILY 1ST” AS MK & SOPH WERE BUSY, & I SAT THERE ALONE WONDERING WHAT I WAS DOING, SOPH FOUND ME, & THANKED ME 4 COMING!

HOW COULD I 4GET? AS THE KIDS GET OLDER, THEY EXPRESS IT LESS, BUT IN THE LAST 7 ½ YEARS, SEVERAL TIMES I’VE EXPEIRIENCED HOW MY KIDS DON’T CARE WHAT I CAN/CAN’T DO, OR HOW THEY SACRIFICE THINGS 4 ME, BUT JUST THAT I’M THERE!

THIS SHOULD NOT BE SO HARD 4 ME 2 COMPREHEND: MY SOCIAL SIDE USUALLY INVOLVES PEOPLE JUST BEING NEAR ME, & HANGING OUT (ISN’T THAT THE SAME? OUR CAT, TIGER USED 2 PROVIDE THIS COMPANIONSHIP, BY SITTING BY ME ALL DAY, BUT HE’S GONE NOW–& I REALLY MISS HIM!). SO, LATELY, I HAVE BEEN TEACHING MY DAUGHTER, SOPH, TO DIGITAL SCRAPBOOK—I NOTICED SHE WAS MAKING LOTS OF POWERPOINT PROGRAMS IN A WAY THAT’S A LOT LIKE DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING. IT’S CHALLENGING TO TEACH SOPH (THERE’S SOME NEW TERMS), BUT WHEN SHE GETS IT, SHE CATCHES ON FAST, SO IT’S FUN.

KIDS THESE DAYS JUST INSTINCTIVELY PICK UP ON TECHNOLOGY, & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE COMPANY (ISHE USES A LAPTOP IN THE SAME ROOM, SO WE CAN HANG OUT IN THE SAME ROOM, LISTENING TO MUSIC, W/AN OCCASIONAL JOKE/CONVERSATION).

SOME ARE AWARE THAT MY HUSBAND WAS RECENTLY ASKED TO BE AN EARLY MORNING SEMINARY TEACHER AT CHURCH (HE TEACHES THE 14 & 15 YEAR OLDS ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES AT 6 AM). MANY HAVE ASKED ME HOW IT’S GOING, SO RATHER THAN TYPING THE RESPONSE AGAIN & AGAIN, I DECIDED 2 ANSWER THE QUESTION HERE:

SEMINARY MORNINGS GO REAL WELL. MK ENJOYS TEACHING THE YOUTH, & HE’S GOOD AT IT. ZACH IS IN MK’S CLASS, & I HOPE MK TEACHES ALL MY KIDS! (ONCE THE GIRL’S ARE 12 YEARS OLD, I START TEACHING THEM TOO, SO THE GIRL’S MAY GET “DOUBLE DUTY!” LOL)

JESS IS PRETTY SELF-SUFFICIENT IN THE MORNINGS. BUT JESS CLAIMS THAT SOPH WOULD BE LOST W/O ME! I DON’T DO MUCH, BESIDES REMIND SOPH OF THE TIME, & KEEP HER ON TASK. HERE’S THE LIST I MADE 4 SOPHIE’S MORNING ROUTINE(THE ACTUAL LIST IS MUCH “PRETTIER!”):

6:00-6:30-WAKE AND SHOWER (HANG UP TOWEL)
OR, IF YOU SHOWERED THE NIGHT BEFORE
6:30-6:40—(WAKE AND) GET DRESSED AND PUT CLOTHES IN THE HAMPER OR IN YOUR DRESSER DRAWER
6:40-6:50—CLEAN YOUR ROOM AND CLOSET AND GET YOUR SHOES ON
DAY OF THE WEEK areas of focus
MONDAY–clean the corner under your bookshelf, pick up your clothes
TUESDAY–clean the top of your desk, organize your books, pick up your clothes
WEDNESDAY–clean your closet, pick up your clothes
THURSDAY–clean the bunk bed stairs, general pick-up where needed, pick up your clothes
FRIDAY—clean inside your desk, pick up your clothes
SATURDAY–clean under your window, pick up your clothes, do laundry (sort into piles of white, light, & dark colors first)
6:50-7:00–BRUSH HAIR
7:00-7: 15 –EAT (if you are 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule, you may cook eggs)
7:15-7:20- GET YOUR SCHOOL SNACK AND GATHER YOUR SCHOOL STUFF
7:20-7:30—CLEAN KICHEN, BRUSH TEETH, AND HAVE FAMILY PRAYER (remember to bless those who can’t be there!)
THERE IS NO COMPUTER OR TV. ONCE YOU ARE READY, IF U HAVE ASKED FOR PERMISSION, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO DO COMPUTER, IF THE TIME PERMITS IT.

I LET SOPH TRY 2 GET HERSELF UP, BUT BY 6:15, I MAKE SURE SHE GETS UP, & THEN SHE’S PRETTY SELF-SUFFICIANT FROM THERE ON OUT, NOW. (IT HELPS THAT MK IS NOT LIKE THE “USUAL MOM,” SO THE KIDS HAVE BEEN GETTING UP & GETTING READY ALONE 4 YEARS!) DIFFERENCE IS THAT SOPH SHOWERS, & IS READY ON TIME OR EARLY NOW, INSTEAD OF LATE! (BECUZ I KEEP ON TOP OF HER, & REMIND HER OF THE TIME, & ASK IF SHE’S THERE ON THE LIST.) BUT B4 I MADE THE LIST, I OBSERVED HER FOR 2 DAYS, SO I COULD ESTIMATE HOW MUCH TIME SHE NEEDED, IN ORDER 2 COMPLETE A TASK. USUALLY, AFTER SHE FINISHES A TASK, SHE REPORTS 2 ME (LIKE I SMELL HER BREATH, SEE HER HAIR BRUSHED, ETC.–I EAT W/HER–I CAN USUALLY FEED MYSELF MEALS, IF FOOD IS READY 4 ME, & KEEP HER ON TASK, SO SHE DOESN’T STARE IN THE FRIDGE FOR 5 MIN.)

IN ADDITION, I AM TRYING 2 TALK, NOT SIGN, IN THE MORNINGS (AT TIMES, I IMAGINE MY HANDS ARE CUT OFF!), BECUZ SIGNING SERIOUSLY SLOWS THINGS DOWN! SOPHIE IS AMAZING AT UNDERSTANDING ME! THERE ARE SEVERAL CONSONANTS I JUST CAN’T SAY, YET SHE MANAGES 2 STILL FIGURE ME OUT!

UNFORTUNATELY, I SEEM 2 HAVE “SPEAKING CYCLES/PHASES.” SO SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS—1 DAY, I’M AT ABOUT A “7,” ON A 10 POINT SCALE, BUT BY NEXT WEEK, I COULD BE AT A “3.” IT’S SCARY 2 GO 2 BED AT NIGHT, ESP. AFTER A “GOOD TALKING DAY,” BECUZ I NEVER KNOW IF I’LL BE ABLE 2 TALK THE SAME THE NEXT DAY! & IT’S SO FRUSTRATING, BECUZ WHEN OTHERS HAVE SEEN ME ON A GOOD DAY, I FEEL EXPECTED 2 ALWAYS TALK WELL, & I JUST CAN’T ON A “BAD” DAY!

IT TENDS 2 BE HARDER WHEN, (AMIDST OTHER REASONS) I’M TIRED–& I HAVEN’T BEEN SLEEPING WELL. BUT MOSTLY, I REALLY NEED 2 BE AROUND OTHERS, INVOLVED IN CASUAL CONVERSATIONS, ON OCCASION, WHERE THERE’S NO PRESSURE 2 TALK, BUT IT GETS ME TALKING! YET INTERESTINLY, SINCE THE LAST CALLING B4 MY STROKE WAS AS THE PRIMARY CHORISTER, THE PRIMARY SONGS ARE THE EASIEST 4 ME 2 “SING” ALONG TO, HERE & THERE, & IS A GREAT PRACTICE 4 MY SPEECH, THOUGH NOTHING BEATS JUST BEING WITH OTHERS, & TALKING!

MY “TIRED HOUR” IS 3 PM, & I FALL DOWNHILL. & I’M NOT SURE WHY, BUT MY HARDEST IS IF I LEAVE MY HOUSE. I’M GETTING BETTER AT MY MOM’S, & SOMETIMES MY CHURCH–BECUZ I’M AT THEM THE MOST– BUT I’M QUIET OR SILENT ELSEWHERE.

BACK IN JAN., I HAD A SPEECH THERAPIST COME & INTRODUCE A PROGRAM THAT REALLY HELPED, BUT SOON AFTER, SHE HAD A FAMILY CRISIS. SHE TRIED 2 STILL COME, BUT COULDN’T, SO I GOT SOME COMPUTER SPEECH PROGRAMS (FROM BUNGALOW), WHICH HAVE REALLY HELPED! (HOWEVER, WHEN MY COMPUTER CRASHED, I BROKE MY PRACTICE ROUTINE, & I CAN’T GET BACK INTO THE HABIT, ESP. WHEN IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE “ME” OR FAMILY TIME!) I NO LONGER HAVE A LIST OF WORDS I CAN SAY: I JUST TRY 2 SAY ANYTHING, WHENEVER I CAN, & IF IT SOUNDS BAD, I SIGN IT. BUT IF I LIMIT TO “YES,” “NO,” & 5 WORDS OR LESS PHRASES, I CAN VOCALLY SPEAK AN ENTIRE CONVERSATION, IF IT’S A “GOOD” DAY. I CAN’T EXPLAIN THE JOY I FEEL WHEN OUT OF NO WHERE, I ASK 4 HELP, & SOME1 COMES, OR I ASK 4 WATER, & I GET IT, OR I ENTER A ROOM & HAVE 2 BE ACKNOWLEDGED, BECUZ I SAID “GOOD MORNING!”

WHILE THERE’S 1000’S OF THINGS THAT I SAY, NOT ALWAYS CARING IF I’M UNDERSTOOD. IF I DO CARE, YET I WASN’T UNDERSTOOD, I SIGN OR WRITE IT OUT (I PRACTICE MY HANDWRITING SO MUCH, I USE MOTOR MEMORY & CAN EVEN WRITE W/O SEEING!). BUT I TALK A LOT 2 MYSELF! 4 EX., B4 I COULD TALK MORE, I SEEMED SO PATIENT AS I STARED AT MY COMPUTER & WAITED! NOW, I VOCALIZE WHAT I WAS ALWAYS THINKING: “ANY DAY NOW!” I DON’T CARE IF I’M UNDERSTOOD WHEN I SAY IT, & I DON’T WANT 2 SPELL IT AFTERWARDS—BECUZ IF MY VOCALIZING THINGS LIKE THAT NEED ME 2 SIGN WHAT I JUST THOUGHT B4, THEN IT TAKES UP TIME (THAT I DON’T WANT TO USE UP), CAUSING ME 2 NOT TRY SAYING THINGS (& I LIKE TRYING STUFF–SOMETIMES IT SURPRISES ME WHAT WORKS!) SO I JUST WAVE MY HAND AS IF 2 SAY “NEVER MIND,” OR PEOPLE ASK IF I NEED 2 TELL THEM IT.

THOUGH I DON’T HAVE A SPEECH THERAPIST, SOPH OFTEN IS MY BEST SPEECH THERAPIST, W/O KNOWING IT. SHE OFTEN EXPECTS ME 2 REPEAT THINGS SHE SAYS, MAKES LISTS OF NONSENSE WORDS 4 ME 2 SAY, THAT FOCUS ON LETTERS THAT I NEED 2 PRACTICE, SINGS W/ME (HARD 2 BELIEVE THAT IT STARTED W/ME SINGING “OLD MCDONALD” IN MUSIC THERAPY: I SANG “EIEIO” & “MOO”), & STRETCHES MY VOCAL CHORDS, BY ALWAYS MAKING ME LAUGH. OR SOMETIMES WE PLAY A GAME: SOPHIE HAS HAD ME SAYING NUMBERS & COLORS IN A GAME, & SHE CLOSED HER EYES, & I DIDN’T MOVE UNTIL SHE GUESSED IT, OR ONCE WE PLAYED CANDY LAND,I WOULD DRAW A CARD, & HAD 2 SAY THE COLORS. & AS I POINTED OUT, WE HAVE FOUND THAT SINGING PRIMARY SONGS IS A GREAT WAY FOR ME TO WORK ON MY SPEECH, SO SOPH HAS ME SING W/HER!
SPEAKING OF SINGING, I DO HAVE A MUSIC THERAPIST. WE HAVE FOCUSED ON MY SIGNING & BREATHING. ODDLY, LAYING DOWN, I CAN SOMEHOW KEEP AIR FROM ESCAPING OUT OF MY NOSE, & SAY LETTERS LIKE “K,” “F,” & “S.” BUT IF I HAVE EVEN THE SMALLEST INCLINE & FIGHT GRAVITY, OR “SQUISH” MY DIAPHRAGM, I CAN ONLY SAY THOSE LETTERS IF I PLUG MY NOSE!

THEN A WHILE AGO, I WAS VISITING AT MY SISTER’S HOUSE, & I WAS ALONE (THE PEOPLE THERE WERE IN ANOTHER ROOM & BUSY), SO I OPENED UP A ZIPLOC BAG, TOOK OUT A ROLL TO EAT, & RESEALED THE ZIPLOC, REMOVING THE AIR! DON’T KNOW IF I CAN REPEAT THAT 1 (I HAVE TRIED BEFORE 2 OPEN ZIPLOCS WITH MY TEETH & MY HAND, BUT I USUALLY SLOBBER TOO MUCH! LOL)

I DID SO WELL, I DECIDED 2 SEE IF I COULD UNSCREW THE CAP ON A TUB OF PRETZELS & GET AT THE PRETZELS…I DIDN’T WANT ANY PRETZELS, BUT IF I HAD WANTED ANY, I COULD’VE HAD 1!

THEN, ON OCT. 4TH THERE WAS A KNIFE & A LOAF OF BANANA BREAD IN MY REACH, & MY CLOTHING WAS ALREADY PROTECTED (I’D HAD SOME BREAD, BUT WANTED MORE, BUT NO1 WAS THERE). BUT KNIVES TOTALLY FREAK ME OUT, SO THOUGH I HAVE FIGURED (FOR A WHILE NOW) THAT I COULD CUT MYSELF A PIECE OF BANANA BREAD, I’VE NEVER DONE IT… BUT THIS TIME I DID IT, W/O CUTTING MYSELF! IT WASN’T A GREAT CUT, BUT I WAS SURPRISED AT HOW WELL I DID, & NO MATTER HOW IT’S CUT, IT TASTES THE SAME!

EITHER FOOD MOTIVATES ME, OR THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT BEING ALONE…I’LL GO WITH THE LATER, SINCE I RECENTLY LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT, BUT WAS STILL MOTIVATED & DOING NEW THINGS!

SOMETIMES I AM TOO CONFIDENT IN MY ABILITIES (SINCE I COULD DO IT B4, I ACTUALLY ENVISION MYSELF STILL DOING IT!), & SOMETIMES I AM NOT AWARE OF WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF…BUT MK INSTILLS FAITH IN ME THEN, BECUZ HE KNOWS THE MOST OF WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF (OBVIOUSLY), & ENCOURAGES ME 2 DO IT. I THINK MK REALIZES I CAN DO STUFF, BUT NOT ALWAYS 2 THE DEGREE THAT I DO SOME THINGS. PLUS, I SEEM 2 WORK AT A HIGHER LEVEL WHEN ALONE…MAYBE IT’S “SURVIVAL MODE?” OR MAYBE I’VE HAD MORE CHANCES 2 PRACTICE, LIKE IN THERAPY, & NOT REALIZED THAT I’VE BEEN CAPABLE QUITE A WHILE…? THEN, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHOSE REACTIONS INSPIRE ME 2 DO MORE/TRY AGAIN!

I BELIEVE AS I BECOME MORE CAPABLE, MK LEAVES ME ALONE MORE (EVEN IF IT’S JUST DIFFERENT FLOORS OF THE HOUSE, WHERE HE’S JUST A RING AWAY—I HAVE A DOORBELL ON MY CHAIR, WHERE THE # OF RINGS, CALLS CERTAIN PEOPLE). & BEING ALONE MEANS I AM PROVIDED W/MORE OPPORTUNITIES 2 BE MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT. IT’S EASY 2 LET OTHERS DO STUFF, & SOMETIMES I END UP NEEDING HELP (THOUGH I’M 2 STUBBORN 2 ASK 4 HELP), BUT WHEN I’M ALONE, I’M FORCED 2 FIND NEW WAYS 2 ACCOMPLISH A TASK, IF THERE’S A POSSIBILITY (LIKE I CAN’T EVEN TRY 2 WALK YET, & THAT IS NOT A CURRENT POSSIBILITY, SO OTHERS HELP W/THE STEPS I NEED 2 MAKE IT A POSSIBILITY, & 4 NOW, MOVE ME). BUT THERE’S SOME THINGS MK JUST EXPECTS ME 2 DO, & IT MOTIVATES MY PERSONAL FAITH & CONFIDENCE, & I DO IT (LIKE WHEN I STARTED OPENING DOORS A WHILE AGO, IT ALL STARTED WHEN MK HAD LOCKED HIMSELF OUT OF THE FRONT DOOR, & THOUGH THAT DOOR IS HEAVIER, HE HAD NO DOUBT THAT I’D LET HIM IN, WHICH I DID!)

LASTLY, I AM VERY FORTUNATE . SOMETIMES, MK’S TALENTS SEEM LIKE THEY WERE GOD GIVEN 2 DO WHAT HE NEEDS 2 DO, 4 ME AS WELL. JUST A FEW EXAMPLES:

HE’S A VERY TALENTED WOODWORKER, WHICH HAS HELPED HIM MAKE THINGS PERSONALLY ADAPTED 2 ME, & HELPED ME ACCOMPLISH MORE, & BE MORE INDEPENDENT. THINGS CAN BE A HALLOWEEN COSTUME, MY KEYGUARD, MY COMPUTER DESK…U NAME IT!
HE’S VERY ARTISTIC, CREATIVE, ETC. HE MAKES AMAZING BIRTHDAY CAKES (I USED 2 DECORATE CAKES, & I’D BE DISAPPOINTED IF THIS STOPPED), HELPS W/SCHOOL PROJECTS (STUFF I THOUGHT I’D DO), HE ALSO MAKES MOVIES 4 ME . IN AUGUST, MY HUSBAND MADE THIS VIDEO TO INTRODUCE ME TO ALL THE NEW TEENAGE GIRLS I WOULD TEACH AT CHURCH. IT HAS PICTURES OF ME, ME SINGING AT BYU (I AM THE SOPRANO/HIGH VOICE THE FIRST 3 VERSES, & THE MELODY/SOLO ON THE FOURTH VERSE), & I INTRODUCE MYSELF (FROM A RECORDING I MADE AT 11 YEARS OLD. I THOUGHT U MAY ENJOY IT:

4 comments

  1. Jenny, I *LOVE* that video!! What a treasure. I feel like I know you so much better just from watching it. What a great post this was.

  2. JEN!!!! Thanks for that update! I love hearing from you and hearing how you are doing! Plus that video was the greatest thing ever! It was such a flash back and sweet moment to hear you sing again!

    I LOVE YOU,
    JO

  3. Jenny…Ijust found you in the Yacktman financial information..
    Your dad was our Bishop in Chicago, Jim and I send our love to you and your family… Steven is our son’s friend (Scott) He also sends his love.
    I hope to get a chance to talk with you more. What a fantastic young lady you are. Do you remember the pillow you made me…..years ago. Hoping this gets to you.. give your family our love… Carron Parker 801-664-8281 2334 S River Road, #5, St George, Ut 84790

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