2008: Max Hall and a BYU cheerleader
2009: A sheriff and a ladybug
2010: Woody and Tinkerbell
2011:A Power Ranger, supergirl and a duck
2012: An angry bird, a witch and Nemo/ladybug
2013: A ninja, a mermaid, Tinkerbell, and a football
As with all my other 3-year-olds, Isabelle joined a preschool co-op this year to get a taste of what's in store. She adores the socialization once a week, and I relish in the 2.5 hours of solo time with Sawyer. We have four adorable girls in her group, which makes it almost feel more like princess training than preschool! If anyone knows where I can get a box of just pink crayons, let me know.
Our first week to host was the letter "D." We had a dinosaur theme and made counting stegosauruses. I didn't get a picture of them, but the spikes were clothespins, and each clothespin had a number on it. We used them to play some counting games. We also read "Oh, Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?" and colored some dinosaur tracing pages.
A month or two ago I had a chance to use my college education. It doesn't happen much these days. It was strange to me to think how I spent 5 years studying a field that I hardly ever approach anymore. I was rusty and a bit lacking in confidence, but it stirred a part of my brain that hasn't been used in awhile. And I kind of liked it.
It made me think about the skills I use most these days. Of all the talents and proficiencies I worked so hard to developed, which are the ones that I actually call on regularly? Reading music and playing the piano, for sure. That one gets used all the time. Photography is a big one, both for personal and business use. Parenting learned through observation and on the job training. No question there. But what about multivariable calculus? Cell biology? SQL? What about all the things I spent hours studying and cramming to pass the test and get the A? Could I even pass those classes now? Does it matter? Do I care?
I wonder what I would do if I could back to my 14-year-old self. Would I do it all again? How much of my 18 years of education is benefiting me now? Would I focus my energy on more "practical" skills? Once upon a time I was the "smart girl." It was part of my identity. I wasn't popular or cute or athletic, but I rocked standardized tests and I felt satisfaction and worth in knowing that was one of my gifts. But what good does that do me now? Now I'm mom, wife, friend, neighbor. My intelligence is probably questioned by some of those who call me those names. SAT and ACT scores mean nothing when they once meant everything. Trying to call them up as some badge of honor for past accomplishments just means that I have nothing to show for myself in the 14 years since I took them.
It's not that I don't value education. I actually can't think of many things I value more than education (although they do exist). But my definition of education is shifting. The most important thing to learn is how to learn. And the most important characteristic to develop is to never stop learning. I didn't waste all those years and money simply because I don't run a statistical analysis on a daily basis. True, my grammar and vocabulary have suffered after having a toddler-aged child in the house for 6 straight years. My writing is atrocious and even my math skills (which have always been my strong suite) are pretty pathetic. But I take comfort in the fact that I am learning new things. This year I learned to bake bread. Small, but it's something. I learned that I can teach kids to play the piano, and I am learning new ways to help them progress. I've learned that there is more than one way to be a good friend, and that service is not an act, but a way of life.
So was it worth it? All those years of classes and tests and suffering through public education and then paying for private universities? All so I could learn most of life's lessons on my own when it was all said and done? I think so. I sure hope so.
Last week I went to the doctor because my face had gone numb. It was the strangest sensation. It was just the left side, and it included my cheek, temple, mouth, and tongue. It was as though someone had drawn a line right down the center of my face and then taken the feeling out of the left side. I walked around for 2 weeks feeling like I had just come out of having dental work done. When it started getting worse, I went to see my doctor and found out I had Bell's Palsy. Since Bell's Palsy doesn't have a clearly defined cause, he started me on a steroid and anti-viral medicine as a shotgun approach to hopefully clear up whatever had caused it. Within 24 hours the numbness had almost completely gone away. Now I feel totally normal and the story is pretty much over except for one thing-- the steroid (Prednisone) gives me insomnia. I wake up every morning between 2 and 4 am and can't go back to sleep. So here I am on my fourth night of no sleep, and I decided that rather than lie in bed and think about how I'm not sleeping I would get up and put my active mind to work.
Once again I've neglected a post because I have no pictures to go with it. Back in July, Jeff and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. We were in Utah at the time and Jeff actually spent our entire anniversary working, but that was ok because our trip to New York a few weeks earlier had been the real celebration. This is what I wrote the day of our anniversary:
Today marks a decade of marriage for Jeff and I. I've come to realize that anniversaries do not fall into the same category as birthdays or holidays. They are not something that just happen every year regardless of what we do. With each anniversary I feel a sense of victory and accomplishment, similar to the feeling of running a race or getting through a challenging class. Even great marriages are hard work, and ours is no exception, but I have learned and grown so much in the process. I could never have done it without the person who's been there with me through thick and thin and ups and downs. My partner and better half has been my coach, my teacher, my inspiration, and my support through it all. We make a pretty good team and I don't ever take him for granted. Ten years has seen 5 states, 10 moves, 4 kids, 3 degrees, 5 jobs, dozens of burnt dinners, countless laughs, and daily prayers thanking my Creator for the man I am fortunate to call mine.