I would guess there is at least one McDonald’s French Fry in the majority of the cars in America. Maybe one is laying squished under the car seat, or in the crevice next to the front seat, molding because you can’t reach it with either vacuum hose or fingers.

What is the draw?

I really believe that if I didn’t have kids I would rarely visit McDonald’s. But those advertisers know their stuff. They know that parents have a hard time saying “no” to their children’s food delights. They know how to entice our little kiddos, what with the bright yellow arches, catchy commercial music and depictions of children having a blast with Ronald. It seems you can’t have a commercial break on Nick Jr. that doesn’t have a McDonald’s commercial in it.

Ethan and Caleb learned very young about McDonald’s. We were so surprised one day while driving past some big golden arches to hear our then four and three year old boys humming, “Bah da bah, bah, baaaaah!” The theme music at the time on their commercials.

I got thinking about the evil genius today (perhaps evil is a bit harsh, but really, even with their “healthy” selections, is there really anything healthy about McDonald’s? Not in my opinion. I’ve worked there) because as we took a day trip, there were excited exclamations of , “McDonalds!” and “A play place!!” and “Can we go der after our trip?” and “Happy Meals!”

I’m seriously considering banning Nick Jr. and all of it’s kid targeted commercials over here.
The following information is presented according to Summer. I am not a physician, nor do I claim to have any answers. Always seek the advice of a medical professional if you think you are struggling with any ailments

A panic attack is defined as the abrupt onset of intense fear that reaches a peak within a few minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

* a feeling of imminent danger or doom
* the need to escape
* heart palpitations
* sweating
* trembling
* shortness of breath or
a smothering feeling
* a feeling of choking
* chest pain or discomfort
* nausea or abdominal discomfort
* dizziness or lightheadedness
* a sense of things being unreal, depersonalization (like an out of body experience)
* a fear of losing control or “going crazy”
* a fear of dying
* tingling sensation
* chills or heat flush

Panic attacks often occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep, which I've had happen.

There are two aspects of a panic attack. The physical and the emotional. Either one can show up first or they can show up together. Usually, if the physical symptoms present first, then I can keep myself emotionally under control. I can realize that my body is having a panic attack or “fight or flight” response, and therefore not get, well, panicked that something is horribly wrong. That doesn’t always mean I can stop the physical symptoms right away, but I won’t aggravate them further with fear about what could be happening.

When the emotional symptoms present first, it’s a lot harder for me to realize I’m having a panic attack, therefore easier to panic and swirl into a downward spiral of negative thoughts.

I had a beast of a panic attack Wednesday evening, the likes of which I haven’t had for about 18 months. I honestly think it was some depressing thoughts that triggered it this time, due to the book I had just finished, The Giver. I’ve never read that book before and as it unfolded I became more and more horrified at the society that was represented and the things people were doing. I got waaaay to into it you might say and put it down feeling very depressed.

Depressing thought led to depressing thought and somehow I found myself scrutinizing my own behavior, focusing on every negative aspect of my mothering and suddenly things became very wrong. I began crying uncontrollably and feeling an awful sense of doom. I felt intensely depressed and intensely afraid that I would do something to myself because of it. I called a friend to get some perspective but she (well meaning though she was) brought up some things that made me more terrified of what could happen because of the way I was feeling. I was also terrified that I would feel that way forever, become a basket case and not be able to be there for my family. My mind raced through every possible reason why I might be feeling this way so strongly and so suddenly. Not coming up with any answers made me panic even more.

I hung up and sat at the dinner table, sobbing and gasping for breath. That’s when I realized I was shaking badly. And suddenly I knew what was happening. With the knowledge came the will to stop the sobbing, and breath. Slowly, terrorizing warmth spread through my body, but with that I knew, came the peak of the attack. And it began fading away. Leaving me to wonder, why I had been such a mess in the first place.

When you’re in the middle of a panic attack, it is nearly impossible to see clearly, to think clearly, to realize the despair you feel won’t plague you the rest of your life.

These feelings were even harder for me, because at one time a few years ago, despair and panic attacks did plague every day. My only respite was sleep, my only focus, survival. Somehow I got through. But I pray to God I never have to go through that again.

Five and a half years. That’s how long we’ve been out here, in graduate school.
Thousands of miles away from family, our kids hardly even know their relatives. The last time we saw them was 2 1/2 years ago, when Ethan was 4 and Caleb was 3.

In some ways, I love being far away from my family. There are lots of things, of a stressful nature happening constantly. And it’s good to be distanced from it. But at other times I’m sad about it.

Like when I think of my littlest sister, who I use to dream of driving around to the mall with her friends as she got older, and us dying our hair together and maybe even me being her confidante. She was only 10 when we moved away, and she’s growing up without me around. Her most crucial years and I’m missing them.

Or like when I think of my mom, who has always been my good friend and who I’ve only grown closer to and developed more respect for as I’ve become a mother myself. I wish she could see her grandkids whenever she wanted.

Or like when I think of my littlest brother. I hear he’s six foot two now. But I wouldn’t let that go to his head of course. He’s still my little brother.

For as much as I love my family, and want my children to be near them and really know them, I don’t have any desire to move back to where they are right now. And it doesn’t all revolve around family issues. The culture in Utah is… well, when you’re a Mormon who has lived most of your life in Utah, it’s easy to confuse the culture and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been so refreshing to separate the culture from the gospel and gain a better perspective of the simplicity of the Church’s teachings. I really don’t want my kids to grow up in Utah for that reason among others. I want them to have more clarity than I did. To not waver in their testimonies of the gospel because of the unkindness or poor examples of members they will inevitably meet who don’t fully live what they claim to believe in. Of course this happens in all religions. And could happen even outside of Utah, but it’s a worry for me all the same.

But I don’t even know when Hubby will graduate or where we’ll move.

We started out on the same page, neither of us having any desire to go back to Utah. But absence has made his heart grow fonder. And he would like to live near his family again. So I’ve been pondering my feelings since I figure the possibility of moving to Utah may come into play in the near future. He’s been told he’ll graduate this year. Yet there is still no end in sight…
It’s simply adorable,  when you tell your four year old son he is adorable and he says in reply,
“I not adowable, I Cayub!”

It’s simply adorable, when Ethan scarfs his dinner without complaint and flex’s his arm muscles, commenting that they’re bigger already.

It’s simply adorable, when Vanessa scrambles toward the piano every time someone starts playing, so she can play too.
Tonight hubby and I were chuckling as we remembered some moments in Ethan's toddlerhood. We came out to the living room one morning to find melted ice cream puddles on the carpet and cars covered in ice cream. A three year old Ethan wearing only a diaper was sitting in one of the puddles, holding a truck. When we asked why in the world he had made such a mess he said, “I jus wanted to dwive my twucks fwoo da ice cweam.”

Perfectly logical don’t you think?

Another time when Ethan was the same age, Hubby found our white laundry strewn on the floor covered in Carribean Jerk sauce. Yes, Ethan had invaded the fridge, unscrewed the lid on the bottle and poured the dark brown sauce all over the whites just for fun. What prompted him to do so, we’ll never know. We were a bit upset about that one then. But we laughed heartily about it tonight.

I’ll try to remember these sorts of moments so I can keep my temper under better control when the next crazy thing happens. Because I’ll either be laughing about it in the future, or I’ll have forgotten it altogether, which means it likely wasn’t important enough to get mad about in the first place.

Ethan's favorite expressions:

“Holy vanilly cow!!”
“What da barnacles?!?”
“What da flippin’ heck?!?!?”

I definitely know where he picked up on the last phrase. And I believe the second one can be attributed to a talking yellow sponge. The first however? No idea. But it cracks me up every time he uses it, which is a lot.
Caleb doesn’t really use any out of the ordinary expressions, but he does say things that make my heart melt. Like last week, he formed a little heart with his two index fingers and thumbs and said to me, “Mommy, you make my heart happy,” in his high pitched voice.

Yeah, I really don’t want this kid to grow up. He makes my heart happy.