The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Tuesday, December 6, 2011]

My Girl


I went to visit Morgan Thanksgiving weekend. A few days after I returned home, I opened my camera app to find about two dozen pictures of Morgie! I am attaching a few of her stunning self portraits.

[Sunday, November 6, 2011]

Being Happy Now


Today's Relief Society lesson was on President Uchtdorf's forget-me-not talk. One of the things that was discussed was the importance of being happy now. I thought back about seven years, when I learned that lesson. I cried as I shared what I learned with Laynie--one of those interpreter sidebars. ;)

For four years, I was a nanny for the best child on earth: Morgan. For the last year, I also took care of the sweetest, easiest baby: Carson. I loved them dearly. (Still do.) However, I was getting rather burned out. Young mothers know this feeling. Breaking up fights, teaching kindness, settings limits--raising kids really takes it out of you. The days seem to drag, one turning into the next in a blur of hungry tummies and poopy bottoms.

I worked all day, and I hid down in my little apartment in the evenings. Spending your days with a four-year-old and a one-year-old can be exhausting.

And then I went back to school to finish my education.

Going back to school was the right decision, but it turned out to be more difficult than I expected. That first semester, I cried so often for the children I had left behind. Two thousand miles away! I remember sitting in the temple one time, just sobbing. I was really missing "my" children that day. Sometimes it seemed physically painful to be apart from them. I realized that I had made a huge mistake.

When Morgan would want to be with me in the evening, her parents would tell her, no, Annie needs to rest. When Carson would try to get through the gate to come downstairs, his parents would stop him. I appreciated their thoughtfulness.

I realized that I had not made the most of my time with the children. Walking around the BYU campus, sitting in class, or in my room at my mother's house, Morgan was often on my mind. I would have given anything to have an hour with her.

I had gone back to school in January, and I went back in April to take care of Morgan and Carson again. I stayed for the summer and enjoyed my time there so much. And me tell you, I made the most of the time with them. When Morgan's parents began to tell her no, it is Annie's rest time, I would tell them to let her come to me. I allowed the kids unrestricted access to me.

That summer was one of the best times in my life. I had learned the secret of happiness: enjoy was you have. Enjoy the people and places for what they are. Do not spend your time thinking about tomorrow or wishing things were different.

Nothing had changed about the children. The tummies were just as hungry, the bottoms were just as poopy, and the fights were just as frequent. But somehow the days did not seem so long. Or I enjoyed their length. Despite the challenges, I enjoyed every day.

And that is how I learned to be happy now.

[Friday, October 28, 2011]

Slow But Steady


I hope she'll win the race!

Laynie continues to make very slow but steady progress with her listening skills. Apparently she rocked the difficult word list she has been working on for the last 4-5 weeks in therapy; she got every word correctly on the first try. Wow!

Even bigger wow, upon arriving on the first floor of the tower building and leaving the elevator, she wondered, "Was the last word that elevator said 'lobby'?" That elevator says which floor you are on, and on the first floor, it says, "This is the first floor and main lobby."

[Sunday, October 9, 2011]

Great Sabbath Morning!


I had a fantastic time at church today. My dear friend, Cindy, came to see Laynie speak and me sing (as part of an octet... not a solo), and it was so fun having her there.

And Laynie did an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G job with her talk. Her topic was faith, hope, and charity; she ended up focusing mostly on hope. Truly wonderful.

[Wednesday, September 28, 2011]

She Understood!


On Sunday, my home teacher was here. We talked for a long time, and then he was ready to share the message. He asked if Laynie would like to come downstairs and hear it. She was upstairs working on her talk, which she will give the week after General Conference. I said that I thought Laynie would love that.

I yelled, "Laynie!"

Nothing. But I knew that she was still, listening.

I yelled again, "Laynie!"

She called back, "What?"

I said, "Come down!"

She came downstairs.

I figured that she had just understood from context that I must want to see her, so she should come downstairs. But I was wrong! After the bishop left, I told Laynie I was impressed that she had heard her name, that she knew I wasn't just talking to the bishop. She said, "Yeah, I heard you say, 'Laynie, come down.'"

I said yes, but you could have gotten that from context. She replied that I could have said, "I'm finished," or "He's gone." Good point. But she knew the exact words that I had said. She said she just heard it. What a good listener.

They're Worth It


Sometimes the days feel so long. Kids to see, notes to write, meetings to attend, emails to read, parents to pacify... It's impossible to get it all done. Today I had a meeting and was late seeing all my Head Start students. I went to the first center and found that my kids were doing fine. Except for one--the teacher wanted to tell me her concerns about him. Darn, I thought he was going to be an easy one. 

I ran home to grab a quick lunch (nice that both Head Start centers are about 5 minutes from my home) and did not want to go back out. Of course, I had to. I went to the other Head Start center.

Went to the first class. My boy was doing great! Needed some help to use words not his hands to solve problems.. but he's three. And learning English: he speaks another language at home. I went to the other classroom to see my twins. 

I had worked with them last year, when they weren't really talking or forming relationships with people. They used to sit together, stoney expressions on their little faces. It was like pulling teeth to get them to play with other kids, and they used to torture the special educator by refusing to look at her or talk to her.

Today they jumped up, waving and begging me to sit with them. One of them ran over to hug me. She was stuck to me like glue the whole time I was there--holding my hand, wanting to hold both of my hands. When we sat down to pop bubble wrap (preschool rocks), she leaned in, trying to get my to put my arm around her.

The twins and I chatted together while we popped our bubbles. They were using complete sentences, asking questions, making comments, and generally behaving like typical four-year-olds. We danced together during music time, making a big circle with the other girls who wanted to partake of our awesomeness.

The class went outside to play. I wrote my notes to the twins' mom, letting her know how they did today. I walked by the playground to leave, yelling goodbye to the twins. The one ran to me full barrel and hugged my legs so that I couldn't walk. She looked at me and pleaded, "Don't go! Don't go!"

We all know the pay is crappy; I'm on a teacher's salary. But the real pay is in love. Awww....

[Tuesday, September 27, 2011]

Bad Blogger


Yes, yes, I'm a very bad blogger. Well, I've been busy.

I'm looking forward to General Conference. So, so much. Which reminds me, I need to upgrade my Fios package to include BYU TV...

Ugh, it's going to cost $10/mo for a while, then $20/mo. I already pay so much for Verizon. I'll have to think about it. Conference is online with ASL interpretation or in the stake center with closed captions. Laynie likes closed captions better... would be nice to have it at home. I'm sure we could go to someone's house, but ours is best. Besides, I'm not sure everyone likes to watch all the sessions, like I do. Saturday Conference is the best!

Work is good. I feel like I'm always catching up, but I love all my kids.

Church is GREAT. Have I said that I love my ward?

I guess I don't have much to say. That's probably why I haven't blogged.