Mar 31, 2012

Potential

Do you know what you are capable of becoming or being? Do you have a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed?

 I have been dwelling a lot on the word potential in the last few days. It all started with someone posting a video on Facebook from the website mormon.org. I rarely click on links on Facebook...I am not sure why I rarely do that...I guess its because of the time it takes and the resolve I have to be able to declare that I only scroll quickly through my Facebook news feed but at this particular moment it was late at night and it was "me" time and it intrigued me and it was posted by my dear friend Laurie Stoker so I clicked on it. It was a video from mormon.org about a woman who lives in New York City, it was her talking about her life, her struggles, her joys and it ended with her declarations of who she was including that she was a Mormon. I was hooked. I have no idea how many of these profiles there are on mormon.org. but I could not stop watching them. I think I watched fifty of them.....she admitted sheepishly to her blog readers :) I am a Mormon but I fear that that may be about all I have in common with these people. Video after video... accomplished person after accomplished person... Mormon after Mormon....these people all realized their potential and reveled in it and it exuded from them in every way. I confess I started feeling inadequate at about video number 37. I found myself wondering what would my mormon.org video say about me?

 I am 43 and about five minutes ago I looked up the word potential in the dictionary for the first time in my life. I am 43 and I think when I was ten I thought when I was 43 I would be a famous singer :) I am 43 and I do not know what I want to be when I grow up. I am 43 and I have a latent excellence or ability that has definitely not been developed because...gasp...I do not even know what it is :) I do love to dabble in things....gardening...hiking...traveling...blogging...piano playing....thrift store shopping...connecting...being hard on myself...reading...running...staring at nature...singing along with the radio...driving to fast...riding roller coasters....but there is yet to be a sign of excellence in any of these areas :) My life is filled with incredible longing as I observe the world around me. I feel inspired by everything I see and yet here I am doing nothing? I want to make difference with all my might. These people in these videos all found out how to make a difference they all seem to never have been afraid of anything that would stand in the way of their becoming...they all have determination...they all know who they are....they know what they are capable of becoming or being. I wonder how you get that? They know what is important to them. They know what they can and can not do. Some of them are famous like the lead singer to The Killers or former newscasters like Jane Clayson others are pretty basic normal people. 

Do you want to know what the antonyms of potential are? Helpless, impossible, lacking and unpromising....yeah brutal huh? I have got figure out what I am capable of becoming or being because those antonyms are not going to sound so good at my funeral...are they? :) How embarrassing....well at least I won't be there to hear them :) Sigh...hang in there guys this reading my blog thing will be much more fun when Mr. Realization appears and slaps me out of the silly who am I phase :)

Mar 29, 2012

Adding And Subtracting.

What do you know about Math? I will bet you a thousand, million, kazillion dollars that you know more than me. My earliest memories of math involve me, my dad, the kitchen table, some exasperation and definitely tears. I promise, I truly did want to understand math with all of my might. But my brain could not wrap itself around it. How do people just look at numbers and just know things? How is it that I can remember someones birthday and phone numbers forever and ever but I can not remember the rules of divisibility? Honestly, I did not even know there were rules for divisibility until about three weeks ago. And now that I know they exist I think I have to name drop them all the time so bear with me. Why do I happen to know about them now? Because Jennifer is trying to do hard things. And Math easily falls into the hard things category. I am 43 and I have discovered that now is a good time to do something with my life.....no, having seven kids and doing laundry every single day for the last 23 years did not count as doing something with my life :) Becoming what I want to be when I grow up that just may count as doing something with my life. I won't really know for sure until I actually do it :) So... ever so slowly, I signed up for a math class with BYU Independent study. It is a free math class that I am pretty sure monkeys could do but I need to do it. I need confidence. I need to finish. I need to say hi-ya to my little old life as I strike an awesome karate chop pose....before I do Math :)

 I was so happy when I spent an hour the other morning carefully reading every word of my first math lesson, in 24 years, on the rules of divisibility. After reading I went on the web to find a website with practice problems and I practiced and practiced and then ever so carefully I went back to the independent study website and took my first quiz and only missed one!! I felt so powerful :) All those years of sitting in math class chatting with my friends and longing to understand what was going on. All those tests I thought I did well on and alas...not so much doing well :) All those times I could not for the life of me figure out how much fabric I needed for a project. All those times I could not figure out how much older or younger a guy was than me :) JK  All those times I have to agonize over how much my tip is going to be :)

 So that first part of my class was easy but the second part is proving to be harder....prime and composite numbers...yeah, I am struggling with these guys. I have read the information over and over and I went online to read even more about these two trouble makers, Mr.Prime and Mrs.Composite. I must ask the question does it truly matter if I know if a number is prime or composite? Those of us that struggle with Math love to ask questions like these it makes us feel better :)

Mar 26, 2012

Owning Chicks.

Last October before Tatiana's birthday she declared she wanted two things for her birthday:

 To quit piano lessons...nice try.
 And to get baby chicks.....nice try number two :)

 At that point in my life I could not fathom adding chicks to the list of people/mammals that would watch me cry and struggle :) so I did not make all her birthday wishes come true last year. I just could not muster the strength. But little did the Baird family know that Tatiana had successfully planted the baby chick idea in her mom's mind. This idea waited patiently in my little old muddled mind for all of November, December, and January, finally, sometime in February I discovered I was actually feeling a little more like myself and got the notion to read about the joys of owning chickens.

 So one evening in February Tatiana and I sat on my bed with the laptop and we read, and read ALL about owning chickens. I was surprised to discover that the more I read, the more owning chickens actually felt do-able. So I found myself declaring we would do it. I gleefully ordered a catalog that you can order baby chicks from. As we waited for that catalog I started to notice references to chickens in every book I read...yep, skimmed over the chicken parts in stories before now :) I called my sister who has owned chickens. I cornered people at church who were rumored to have had chickens. I most definitely googled chickens. I got magazines from the library that made a reference to chicken on the front cover...yes, there are magazines that have the word chicken on the front cover no, not Glamour or Vogue, or The Atlantic Monthly other kinds of magazines :) I stuffed myself full of information on chickens and chicken coops.

As I delved into the chicken owners world a few things immediately caught my attention. First off, if you own chickens you must sign a paper stating that you vow to always refer to your chickens as "the girls." I smiled over and over as I read article after article and blog after blog telling me what sort of nesting boxes "the girls" liked and what sort of perches "the girls" liked. And what to do if "the girls" pick on one of their own. Second thing that caught my eye was the details on many of these chicken coops. Some of them have nicer houses than I do. There are some seriously spoiled chickens out there :)


When the Murray McMurray poultry catalog arrived I was very impressed with it's glossy appearance and how thick it was. All catalogs arriving in our home have to pass my glossy test and my thickness test. I immediately sat down to look at it. I got lots of great information from the catalog about taking care of baby chicks and how hard it is to determine a baby chicks sex, but one piece of information stopped me in my tracks and that was the fact that you needed a minimum order of 25 chicks to order from Murray McMurray. TWENTY FIVE chicks was not the number I had planned on owning. We had already decided that six chicks would be perfect for the Baird family. Five for us and one for our Neighbor Sarah. I was momentarily stopped in my chicken planning tracks with this information but somehow I recovered and discovered that our local feed store would order chicks for you and then you could order the exact amount you wanted because they could combine them with other orders that were under 25. Perfect! Disappointing the Baird children... like I always keep doing... was averted :)

I got on the "baby chick order form mailing list" at the feed store way back in February and finally last week the order form to order chicks arrived in my mail box. I must come clean and confess that I am so silly that I was also on the "call when the order forms arrive in the store list" so I had already driven to the Feedstore to pick up the order form that also came a few days later in the mail.....yes, this is very typical Jennifer so do not be alarmed that I have two order forms for baby chicks.  Now that I had the magical form I knew what kind of chicks they were offering me and how much money they were. Baby chicks are cheep :) The most expensive chick was $3.75. I know, I know I have to pay for their feed and build them a coop but I still love that they are basically cheep :)

I, once again, gathered Tatiana, we got the laptop, and we started googling chickens so that we could figure out what kind we wanted to order. The first one we googled was Buff Orpington. The name is enough for this chicken to be on my list of one I must own. It sounds so regal :) Yes, chickens can be regal. We first checked out their google images then we read about them. I immediately felt like I was adopting children. There were pictures and then there was information. Right down to their personalities. According to the Backyard Chickens website Buff Orpingtons are the "Scarlet Johannsons of the chicken world" they are beautiful, with a nice personality. What? :) Barred Rocks are steady and reliable and excellent winter/summer brown egg layers. I continued to sort through the descriptions of Americauna's, White Leghorns and Production Reds finding out who behaves if they are in a coop all the time. Who prefers to roam the yard. Who is moody. Who is smart. Who is plucky. Who is docile. Who gets broody. Who lays brown eggs......seriously, I wish I could have chosen my kids personalities and likes and dislikes like I am choosing my baby chicks.

Tatiana chose a Buff Orpington and Natalie chose a Americana which will lay us colored eggs and has a "fun" personality. And I chose a Barred Rock, another Buff Orpington and a White Leghorn even though the rumor on the web is that they can be nervous :) I guess laying eggs could make you nervous :)

The chicks will arrive the second week of May. They need a brooder, food, water, bedding, and a light for the first several weeks and then they can be moved into their coop.

I am in the process of negotiating about our chicken coop with the husband. Since he grew up on a farm and had chickens on that farm I have my work cut out for me convincing him that weeks of reading qualifies me to say what the chicken coop should be like.

I am excited to have the chicken adventure. Their manure is the best in the land. Yes, I googled it and chicken poop is the best for your garden...cow is second :) They will give us eggs. Food is good. They will provide jobs for the kids. And apparently some entertainment will also be in store :)

Mar 3, 2012

The Mittens, Hats, Scarves and Boots in My Past :)

Whenever it has snowed in the past 24 years and I have to get out our box of snow gear and supervise while everyone digs through it looking for hats, scarves, mittens or gloves I find myself going down memory lane.

In the Fall of 1986 I started college at BYU in Provo, Utah. It did not snow in remarkable enough amounts in Washington State for me to have owned all of the essential snow items. So a big part of getting ready for living in Utah was gathering all the winter gear... scarf, hat, mittens, long dress coat, and snow boots were all on my list.


 I bought my scarf at the BYU bookstore and it was the best color blue ever and it came with matching gloves in the exact same best color blue ever. I had never owned a matching scarf and gloves before and oh how matching makes me happy. I had this blue scarf and gloves until about 6 years ago when my girls got big enough to borrow from me and promptly lost the gloves at a school somewhere in Lawrence, Kansas. Thankfully the scarf is still residing with me. I wonder if it misses the gloves? I had another set that consisted of a hat and mittens..no scarf. My Grandma who lived in Utah had bought me this set when I started college. This set was very sturdy yet pretty and I also loved it. The mittens from this set have survived simply because of the fact that they are mittens. You see for some reason I did not raise the Baird children to "get" the joy of wearing mittens :) They like their fingers all separated into their own designated spots AKA gloves. But they did manage to lose the hat that matched the mittens. I am still sad about this missing hat. It is the hat that made me a believer in the joy of wearing a hat in the snow.

 My awesome Utah Grandma also helped me purchase my dress coat which was black with flecks of red and oh how that coat made all my dreams come true. I have no idea how I ended up thinking I needed a long wool dress coat and how I entangled my Grandma in my plan. I do wish I could remember the story. Did I ask her for it or did she offer? How many coats did I look at before choosing this one? I long for the details. I do remember how I felt when I wore it...that glorious, on top of the world feeling will never disappear :) I remember her taking pictures of me wearing it standing on her driveway in Ogden, Utah. I had never owned anything so beautiful as that coat. As I got married and started being pregnant all the time I ended up despairing and giving the coat away not realizing that someday I would not be pregnant all the time and once again be the right size to fit into that coat.

 Before my parents went back to Washington and left me at college I have a memory of us traipsing...yes, traipsing... through the University Mall in Orem looking for snow boots. I wish I could remember the discussions we had and how I ended up with the boots I ended up with. Every single time I have put them on since then I have wondered what compelled me to purchase them? I do not hate them, don't get me wrong I have faithfully worn them but I have never been quite sure how I ended up with pistachio colored snow boots. It is so not like me to have boots this color. They are Colorado brand boots. They are extremely heavy duty. They supported my ankles in a most awesome way so that I could run and run and run in snow after I threw a snowball. They took forever to lace up. They made awesome designs in the snow with the treads on the bottom. I wore them hiking up in the mountains with boys at BYU. I wore them in the snow when my kids were little and because my shoe size is a kids size two all of my girls have worn these snow boots at some time or another. These boots are 26 years old and they have seen Utah snow, Kansas snow, Indiana snow, New Jersey snow, and Massachusetts snow. On Wednesday this week when I was helping my nine year old Natalie lace them up so she could go play in the aforementioned Massachusetts snow one of the shoe laces broke. I stared at it in disbelief. The boots I used to lace up to run out and play in the snow at midnight at BYU were...gasp... mortal. I have no doubt that I will never be able to find pistachio colored shoelaces again.