Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Friday, January 31, 2014

Jacob Soccer

Thanks Coach Laura Goughnour and Coach Bailey Daynes for making soccer fun. Jacob is so excited he slept with his soccer socks on tonight so he would be ready in the morning. This from the kid that whined and whined and was very angry that I had even dared sign him up to play.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saudi Culture Prep

Long story short, my Christmas tree is still up and decorated in the living room waiting for my attention. Brian is in Saudi now and we are essentially apart us until June / September. He will visit us Friday this week for a few weeks before he moves permanently and I thought it would be funny to take off the Christmas decor and decorate with red hearts and white snowflakes to surprise him for a wintery valentines say tree. The time and effort of cutting all that paper into fancy shapes had stopped me though. Then a friend told me to ask at school to use the die cutter. For a week I have put off doing it and today I decided was the day. I gathered the paper and got permission to do it and was told to help myself to the work room area.

I took Jacob and a neighbor I was picking up to the room and as I opened the door I startled one if the teaching aides dressed in all white, obviously preparing for prayers. Sita is a wonderful, sweet woman I have bumped shoulders with for three years nearly daily. She gave me a warm smile and asked if I needed the room. I told her I could come back later and she invited me to enter as long as her prayers wouldn't bother me. I felt awkward like I was intruding but came in and got the two kids set down at the table in the very small room and instantly my mind was seized by the opportunity placed before me.

Jacob is a very shy little guy and anything he hasn't seen before really does frighten him. Here we were with Sita and the chance to ask simple Jacob sized questions about Muslim worship and prayer time. I quickly explained to Sita that Jacob was moving to Saudi Arabia so I wanted to have him understand what she was doing and told him that she was going to do her prayers now. She asked a question or two of me and him and proceeded with her prayers. While I began silently working the die cut machine and the children observed her prayer time ritual. 

When she finished a few short minutes later the kids had been perfectly respectful and quiet which was a real surprise because those things are not what either of those two are known for. It was wonderful Jacob could see a friend doing the things he will be surrounded with in short order and I hope that it makes it seem just a little more normal to him knowing he has a friend that does the same thing five times a day in his very own school here in Singapore.

Ben and I had a nice time decorating the valentines tree one afternoon together.

Christmas Gifts to Jesus

I’m packing up the holiday stuff today. We have NEVER had the tree up this long. People who walk into our house are actually taken back to see an enormous tree still up and decorated.
It made me smile to reread our annual gifts to Jesus as I sorted through everything. For the coming year of 2014 we are giving:
Jacob: “be gooder” (not yell or hit)
Madison: “les ProBlems. (Stop! Pooshing)”
Ben: “more time in scripshers” (read daily)
Angie: “a softer voice at home”
Compare to last year:
Jacob: "Don't touch other peoples bodies. Play with friends one at a time so they feel special."
Madison: "PRAY for PeoPLe By NAMe FROM MMZ"
Ben: "be nice to Maddie and Jacob"
Angie: "Show my love by using a quiet, happy voice."
Brian: "Have more patience with my kids"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wendy's Guilt

It isn't very often I eat out these days. Why should I? We pay someone to cook dinner for us every day and the other two meals are really pretty easy to manage then. This Thursday I found myself at the eye doctor without any children in tow and then ran errands that kept me out until noonish when I stopped in Holland Village to back order the kids school pictures from the photographer for the last THREE years.

That's when I saw it. Wendy's. I smelled the french fries the instant I looked up and saw the sign across the parking lot and 4 lanes of traffic. I think I may have just smelled it in my head not my actual nose but it had been a very, very long time since I had partaken of those lovely deep fried salty slices of heaven. I resisted going in as I walked past, I went to the photographer and ordered the kids pictures but on my way home I caved.

I walked into the restaurant and up to the counter asking for a bacon-ator combo. A moist burger loaded with bacon to accompany those fries sounded like heaven. I plopped down my $8 and found a stool to enjoy my feast. No sooner had I sat down than the guilt began.

My head flooded with self loathing thoughts. You can't do this. It's so irresponsible. Too much money. You'd be in trouble if anyone knew you were doing this. NONE of this food is even healthy. You can't afford to be wasting money like this.

It's kind of funny to me that I can go to Burger King or McDonalds without the same emotional reaction. So why the aversion to Wendy's? Well more than fifteen years ago after I had graduated high school and was waiting to go the University in the fall I didn't have a job and wasn't having any great luck finding the perfect one.

I had been hired for a part time day job at a law firm downtown and worked 4 hours a day but that wasn't enough to foot the bill for college. After a few weeks, my dad, not being pleased with my lackadaisical efforts to find more work hours came up with a new plan to help me earn money. My new job was finding a job. I was to get up by 7am and be out of the house by 8am. My job was finding a job. He didn't care where I went to apply but unless I was dropping off a job application or going to an interview I wasn't allowed to drive the car. I couldn't come home until after 5pm. Every day.

It took two weeks or so to find a workable job situation and I had to negotiate both with employers AND my dad. Since I was already committed from 1pm-5pm it was tricky finding another job. Eventually I was hired to start at 4:30am and an office supply store changing price tags and glorious stuff like that. I worked until 11:30am.

I was not allowed to use the car to get to the law firm for work at 1pm so had to walk out to the bus and take it into town. Now that I had another job I was hoping my dad would let me drive because I was being responsible. Nope. Because the city buses didn't begin running until 5:00am, after I already had to be at work, I could use the family car to drive to work the first job. BUT because the bus was working when I got off at 11:30 I had to change clothes and catch the bus from 21st South to downtown. (After work finished at 5pm I took the 5:30pm bus back to the car and drove the rest of the way home.)

The timing of the bus after job #1 generally put me arriving hot and sweaty and about 45 minutes early for job #2. They didn't want me working extra time at the law firm, so I couldn't show up early. I just had to kill time for 45 minutes every day of the week in the terrible awful desert heat of the city with no where to go (and still arrive looking well put together an professional for the next gig).

My stop downtown on bus #35 was right across the street from Wendy's. And it was lunch time. And I was hungry. Everyday. And no one was watching me. So I started to get a spicy chicken sandwich really, really often. Every time the air conditioning and wonderful aroma lured me into those glass doors my heart would pound just a little harder. What if my parents found out I ate out? Would I get in trouble? What if I can't afford tuition second semester because I ate it in the form of spicy chicken sandwiches?

It was my fault I didn't have a scholarship in the end. I did all the forms and applications. Got the recommendation letters, wrote the essays, everything. Scholarship applications were due Jan 28. I found the envelope on my desk, sealed shut, stamped and ready to go on Feb 28. I was desperate. I got scholarships at the colleges I hadn't ended up choosing to attend. I was "good enough" to earn one. I was just late. I called and asked if they could do anything at all. Nope. Tough out of luck. So I kept silent about my mistake. What good would it do anyway. I'd just get yelled at. Better to just tell the truth, "I didn't get any scholarships." That was 100% true. My mistake. My problem to fix.

Was I eating my tuition on those scorching summer days in a cool Wendy's with a pounding heart. I felt guilty every time I went into that nice, cool restaurant. Eventually I resolved to only go in once a week. But then I found a sandwich shop downstairs from the law firm and then the ice cream shop one building over. Oh it was a rough summer of self deprivation. All the things I wanted and had to chose not to have. I had to make the choice to stop eating my tuition money (and books and fees groceries and all the other things you need to live in college).

I hope each one of my kids is faced with good problems as they grow up like I was. And some day they will tell me where they can't eat without feeling guilty like I do at Wendy's.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Was That?

We had lunch today at a play place for a birthday party. I told the kids it was quesadillas for lunch. Served them up and had one myself though just a nibble. It tasted perfectly fine but later I found potent was pizza. That's REALLY sad when a person cannot tell the difference between a pizza and a quesadilla. Time to up the quality. Kinda hilarious if you ask me. I'm sure a part of it just lost in culture between what an American and a Singaporean would expect. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ashlyn Trickery

“Mom can we watch a movie?”


“YEAH!!!!” all three big kids run to the TV.

“WAIT! You guys have to work together to get Ashlyn in her bed for a nap first.”

“Ashlyn, do you want to take a nap?”

“Do you want to have a binkie?”

“Come on Ashlyn you can sleep.”

“I suggest you trick her.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just everyone leave her and go upstairs. She will follow.”

“Let’s go upstairs!”
Ashlyn screams, “YEAH!” and runs up the stairs.

Everyone burst out laughing. I was right.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ratings Are In

December 19, 2013

Gina has gone home to visit her family in Tacloban City, or what's left of it anyway. Because she is gone I'm back on duty and cooked dinner tonight. Just for fun I asked how I did for my first night of cooking. Madison said it wasn't my first night cooking. I used to cook before Gina was here but she doesn't think I've cooked a single thing in THREE years. Oh brother. Totally NOT true. Gina does dinner only. Brian and I do everything else. I make cakes and cookies, breakfast muffins and coffee cakes, cheesecake and pumpkin pies, mashed potato and rolls.

Luckily Ben ranked me a two thumbs up and realized I have done some cooking in the last 21 months since we hired Gina.

Sleep Troubles and Brian's Surgery

I was a very wise wife to not encourage Brian to get the surgery until all the babies were mostly done  with middle of the night wake up stuff. I have tried for at least ten years to get him to have his sleep troubles checked out by a doctor. About two years ago while pregnant with Ashlyn I decided to lay off. If he didn't care enough to go then I was going to capitalize on his night time awareness just one last time with this baby coming along in a few months.

I didn't mention going to a doctor for about a year and a half. Score. He helped with Ashlyn just like all three other kids. I did all the feedings but he did most of the middle of the night baby rocking for a few reasons. First because he's awesome and a totally involved dad. Second he can sleep perfectly well sitting up in a soft rocking chair (or couch or floor or kitchen chair) because he gets such bad sleep he's is exhausted. Third he can fall asleep within two minutes no matter where he is, what time of day it is or what is going on around him, it is seriously just like flipping a light switch. This is not good in business meetings, driving or at church when your wife is going nuts with four rowdy kids.

With the impending move to Saudi Arabia always on my mind I realized that I ought to start pressuring him again because it isn't something he can do while living in Saudi Arabia. Moving without doing anything would only guarantee another three plus years of bad sleep and physical exhaustion. I also wanted to check out LASIK for myself and get a final answer once and for all so I could either do it or let it go forever. (Doc says no on LASIK by the way.)

I got an appointment for a LASIK assessment and asked Brian to come along because I didn't want to make big health and big money decisions without his buy in. He arranged to go in to work late one Friday so he could join me. That week I went to yoga on Thursday morning and yet another friend had had the nasal surgery and couldn't say enough about how it had changed her life. She had energy, she slept well, she could breath. We talked a long time after yoga and she sent me the doctors phone number. I called Brian at work right away. The ENT doctor was in the same building as my LASIK appointment just three floors away. I asked if I could arrange an appointment for the same time as mine and if he didn't have to take any extra time off work would he be willing to see the doctor. He agreed, though there seemed to be a little reluctance in his voice still. I was pretty sure he only agreed to get me to shut up. I uttered a quick prayer that they could squeeze him in and called the doctors office and that started the ball rolling. Twenty four hours later we had a diagnosis of how to spend half of all our money. He did the overnight sleep study that night and at our Saturday morning consult we found out how to spend the rest of our money. So thankful we have insurance to reimburse us!

The ENT scope and sleep study revealed a bunch of things. He had a deviated septum shaped more like an S than the straight line it should have been, his uvula was so long that it rested on his tongue (explaining the feeling he said he always has that something is stuck on the back of his throat and he can't get it off), enlarged tonsils, enlarged adenoids and a few other things. The sleep study revealed that he wakes up 97 times during the night because he stops breathing. Scary. The doctor said he would fix seven things while he was under general anesthesia.

Because he couldn't take work off during plant start up he waited about a month before scheduling his surgery. He had all the work done on Monday December 23. It made for a very toned down Christmas break for sure. No trips. No awesome food. No anything wild or crazy away from the house. The procedure was outpatient. Checked in the hospital at about 8am and left around 4pm. Surgery took just about an hour and I did not like seeing him come out of the anesthesia. He was so weak and disoriented, it made me tear up to see him like that. He had his uvula taken out, tonsils lasered, nose straightened, the back of his mouth sliced and stitched open to expand the opening and a few other things.  

About the time he was ready to check out to go home the nurse asked us, two white people with American accents, "Don't you celebrate Christmas?" We replied in the affirmative. "Then why did you do this NOW? You will have a bad Christmas." We had to laugh and explain it was very unfortunate timing but that he had to work before now and that in three weeks he was moving to Saudi Arabia. Not much window of opportunity for it to happen. 

The recovery has been, from the observers perspective, not so terrible. But it hasn't been fun either. I suppose it is basically what we expected. A very, very sore throat. Tired body, foggy head and blocked sinus. He has to do salt water flushes many many many times every day in both nostrils to clean out everything. Then it drips back out unexpectedly which understandably makes him nuts. We now think there must be secret pockets in all our heads that hold stuff like that. He has had nothing but very soft soups for two weeks and one more to go before he can try real food again. Swallowing has been terrible so eating has been no fun at all. About day eight I could see that his usual happy self had worn down. He just looked so depressed. He felt plain rotten and there was nothing he could do about it. Now, at fourteen days later he is back at work again and seems to be mostly back to his old self.

In the end, the up side is that in just two weeks he sleeps through EVERYTHING now. I have been up with Ashlyn many nights in the last week. He did get up tonight with Ashlyn but it does appear that his good sleeping means I'm on night duty solo from here on out. So glad he was an insomniac for the first 15 years of marriage and more importantly the first 9.5 years we had kids. He did a lot of crying kiddie nights for me. 

Now it's my turn to wake up and on this particular night I can't fall back to sleep after Ashlyn has been asleep for hours now. That's the main reason it was so nice having Brian do nights. If I wake up after four hours sleep I can't get my body to go back to sleep. Ashlyn woke up at 1:30am tonight. Screamed until 2:30 (after Brian finally got her breakfast downstairs). At 3:00 I caved and got on Facebook because I couldn't sleep. Now it's after 4am. It's gonna be a long day with 4 kids on winter break today with a very tired mama. The good news is after 3 hours awake I can usually fall asleep again. So I will try to count 9.5 years of sleep blessings and be grateful for the surgery that has hopefully helped Brian finally see what it means to have a good nights sleep like the rest of us in the world get.

Sunday at Our House

This morning we did awesome! It was Sunday. Everyone was up when we expected them to be. I even MADE breakfast instead of the kids getting their own cereal. I made French toast. Just as I was ready to eat one I realized it was Fast Sunday. So I fed the little people and skipped breakfast.

With an average amount of consternation and frustration we got everyone dressed with shoes and then loaded in the car with seatbelts. As we headed toward the freeway Ben casually mentioned, "I thought we started church two hours later this week." DOH!! Brian turned us around and we went back home to hang out for two more hours until it was time to leave for real.

At church we are in that awful place where it's time to teach Ashlyn that she has to stay with us in the pew for the WHOLE meeting and not be catered to and taken in and out for snacks and wiggles.

Frankly the entire chapel was LOUD today. The kids in the congregation were so loud that I honestly couldn't hear the speakers a fair amount of the time (maybe the microphone was too soft). I was getting incredibly frustrated and wanted to tell a couple very old kids in benches nearby to zip it. First - listen, don't talk. Second - if you have to talk then whisper, don't have full volume long discussions about the games you are both playing on ipads during services. And then the thought occurred to me that the tables would be turned VERY soon.

As I try to teach Ashlyn to be quiet we are making a distraction as well, but we are moving from a congregation of 300ish people and 80 primary aged kids to a congregation of 50 total people with 9 kids (4 will be ours). WE will be the noisy rotten family everyone else wants to leave the room very soon. Hopefully that will help me be patient next time I'm fed up with the noise.

On a more funny note today I was telling full volume Ashlyn to "Shhhh" but getting no response. It was reminiscent of another time about eight years ago. Ben was having the same noise trouble during sacrament meeting. After a few weeks of frustration I realized that the poor kid didn't know what "shhhh" even meant. Neither does Ashlyn. I had to tutor Ben midweek and I guess we will have to tutor Ashlyn just the same. I don't recall having to teach Madison or Jacob about it.

Since shhhh wasn't working I tried demonstrating a whisper. I would show her a fish in the book and whisper fish in her ear then ask her to say fish. She would mimic my quiet whisper. But it was a mistake to tell her what that was. As soon as I told her to whisper, trying to make the connection in her head, she would light up with a huge smile and WHISTLE. "NO!! Shhhh!" was all I could say but she didn't understand shhhh as I mentioned so it was all lost on her. She was just a happy, go lucky whistler in the middle of the chapel. I guess I've got some work to do.

Tonight she also learned a new phrase and has used it a lot. "More candy."

I was trying to type this blog post tonight and family scripture time came along. Not wanting to have yet another post left in draft mode, I cheated. I tried to quietly type while they read on the couches. When Brian announced it was prayer time Ashlyn scolded me, "Prayer Mommy!" and folded her arms to show me what to do.