Friday, April 27, 2012
Do NOT let the angelic face fool you. Do Not get memorized by the soft kissable cheeks. Do NOT drift off into the blue pools of heaven in her eyes. Do NOT let the gorgeous, kissable- mouth draw you into a euphoric state of baby intoxication. Do NOT get hypnotized by her perfectly soulful smell. Do NOT turn your back on this child. In one week's time she has,
Dumped a bowl of cereal off of the table.
Emptied the girls dresser 46 times.
Squeezed out the toothpaste.
Played in the toilet.
Pasted herself with back yard mud.
Ripped up a piece of homework.
Eaten a starburst clean through the wrapper.
Gotten her hair all glued into her boogers.
Helped herself to the bunny food.
And consumed a stick of lipgloss.
If you need something destroyed she rents cheap.
(But MAN do I love my little 16 pound destructo girl.)
Thursday, April 26, 2012
About two hours later he came in the house with eyes red from tears, a swollen nose that had doubled in size and a shirt soaked in blood. He was followed by a familiar group of his friends- all with a tad bit of suspiciousness smeared about their faces.
I assessed the situation and quickly cut in front of the little, male entourage and said,
"Hey guys, why don't you all wait out side while I talk to Branson."
Out they went and then I reached for Bransons hand and escorted him to my room where I ran a bath and helped him to get in. When he was relaxed and calming down, I put an ice pack on his nose and asked for the whole story from the beginning. It was a classic childhood tale...
Branson: Hey I can do a back flip at gymnastics.
Friends: No you cant.
B: Yes huh, on the bouncy floor at gymnastics I can.
Friends: Then do it.
B: No, I need the bouncy floor.
This conversation repeated itself a few times until one of the friends, (who happened to be brandishing an air-soft gun) said,
"If you don't, I am going to shoot you with this gun."
Whereupon, Branson used his stellar 9 year old decision making skills and went for the back tuck...landing square on his cute little nose.
Blood spattered everywhere, the friend with the gun was quickly tattled on and punished and then the shamed little troop of man boys, had escorted the bleeding child home.
I sat next to the tub running my fingers through Branson's brown hair. My soul was swelling up with love and concern for him and I wanted to say the right things-to teach the right lessons. I said a quick prayer for guidance and then I asked him questions like,
"What did your heart tell you to do?"
"Will you listen to your friends next time or your heart?"
I so wish that my rambunctious, social, high energy little man didn't have to learn things the hard way, but for some reason he does. I can only hope that he is learning some of these lessons young when the consequences are as small as a bruised nose and a stained T-shirt.
And you should know that before the sun went down, he was back out in the street playing in the hose with his friends.
I tell you what that boy is something else.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Today we had watermelon out on the lawn, courtesy of our kind neighbors. I have never seen a child be as protective of something as Cali was of her piece. Mama Bears have nothing on this chick! Didn't bother her a bit that it was getting covered in grass blades and dirt particles, she was happy as hog...
I thought it was hysterical. When she got her slice back, she slurped it and chewed on it until she literally tipped over, drunken with the sweet red nectar...
I also enjoyed listening to Ella and friend Dallin, "play" Clue....
I amused myself by watching Cali smash her face up to the back window...
Last Saturday morning the twins decided to get out a sewing project before the sun came up. I was fixing breakfast, answering the doorbell to neighbor children, trying to find cooking utensils in my mostly packed kitchen, attempting to keep Cali off of the counter where she is sure to cause herself bodily harm and the twins were there in my face, asking me about whip stitches and end knots.
I was trying my best to answer and demonstrate and ooh and ahh at their work but i was really just wishing-for crying out loud-that they would save the sewing for another time.
They persisted and when things calmed down a bit, I actually had a good time with it.
Tonight Branson received his Bear award at scouts. He is a bit disheveled because he totally fought the bear and won!
The packing and moving is coming along and just the other day after serving dinner, I said to the kids,
"Can you believe we have lived here all of your lives and now we are down to our last few days?"
They all started complaining about moving and leaving their friends, so after reassuring them that they will still have plenty of chances to see their friends I told them that this decision had not been made lightly. I explained that we had prayed and fasted for more than a year about this choice and we were sure this was what is best for our family. Kaden, who is the most against moving responded by saying,
"Well, now that I know you prayed about it, I feel a lot better."
Really! How could the kid not know this?! It made me realize that as obvious as I think my faith is to them, maybe sometimes it isn't and I should be sharing it with them even more often.
The kids have done fantastic in school this year.
The twins have breezed through, acing everything they try and even though it has been a long, treacherous road for Kaden (that we are STILL walking, barf!) he has done amazing. It has taken a huge amount of dedication on my part too! So after having him pose for his picture, I wanted to say,
"My turn to hold the dang certificate!"
Man this parenting stuff makes me tired.
(and happy and thankful and mad and confused and joyful and satisfied and and and and...)
There you have it all caught up for now, Ella is awaiting her nightly back tickle. What a life that girl has!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
If you turn the word "housekeeping" around it becomes keeping- a -house. If you turn the title of Housekeeper around it becomes the keeper-of- the- house, I think that sounds better and more sophisticated. I love being the keeper of the house. I consider it sacred privilege.
My older sister suffers from a severe mental illness that has prevented her in many ways,from taking care of her home. And over the last 15 years I have seen her and her family suffer because of this. So even though keeping a house is darn hard work that is never done- it is truly a gift to have the ability and the opportunity to be the chief keeper of the house and to take on this sacred responsibility. To be the one that gets to partner with our Heavenly Father in creating and maintaining a bit of Heaven on Earth for our families- is holy.
I don't always love housekeeping, I get sick of it too, but the right perspective helps so much.
I base almost all of my housekeeping beliefs and practices off this one quote from Sister Hinckley,
“Your home is your own private temple. Keep it clean. Create a feeling of order and spirituality. Your home can be beautiful without being elaborate or expensive. As you create a home don’t get distracted with a lot of things that have no meaning for either you or your family. Have joy in your home.”
Notice how she put "spirituality" and "order " in the same sentence…there is a link.
I have believed for a long time that there is a spiritual aspect to housekeeping and homemaking. Heavenly Father is the master Housekeeper. He was the one who created this earthly home for his children. Making sure that it was an environment where we could thrive and learn and live. And as women, we get to do that for our families. Lucky us!
We have been taught by our church leaders that the spirit of the Lord can be felt freely when we are in a place of cleanliness and order. Our church buildings and temples are the perfect example of this. They are always beautifully maintained and kept.
President Hinckley said,
"You are housekeepers. That doesn’t sound like much, does it? But what a job it is to keep a house clean and tidy! We are people who believe in cleanliness, order, beauty, and respectability.”
It is a universal thing! People choose clean spaces over chaotic spaces. And it has nothing to do with money, it only has to do with order. Guess what the ONE THING is that makes keeping a house impossible. The ONE THING that if you get control of, you can make keeping your house a whole lot simpler.
The same goes for your kids school papers. I use a file box size Rubbermaid container with a lid- one for each kid...when it’s full...no more, or take something out. Be selective with this because you only get one for all their years of school.
Sometimes your kids especially the young ones will bring home some gigantic art project that is bigger than your house…take a picture and let it go.
One more note about clothing. If you intend to store clothes that a child has grown out of, so that a younger sibling can use them, I have some advice for you. One: Keep them in small bins. If you stuff every baby girl item from new born to 5T in one bin, it will be hard to get to, you will forget what you have and it will be difficult to retrieve the clothes you need, when you need them. Which in turn means it will be easier to go out and buy more than to find the old ones and WHAM-O, more stuff! Small bins kept right in the child's closet who is going to use them, will help. The bins will be easy to get to and because you are using small bins you wont save more than you need. Remember that all clothes that go into storage come out looking worse! Elastic waste bands rot, colors fade and stains become more prominent. So BE SELECTIVE about what you keep for hand-me-downs. Last thing...when you are all finished with a certain bin of clothing and you give it away or donate it...consider giving the bin as well, why? Because what do we do with a empty bin? We fill it. Be glad that you have an empty shelf and let the bin go. This is the top shelf in my girls room.
The next rule addresses shopping, gift giving and getting and, accepting "free" stuff that your neighbor is getting rid of.
It is The Interrogation rule.
Be very protective of your home. Remember what Sister Hinckley said, your home is your own private temple and everything needs to prove itself worthy of being there. Be fiercely protective of your home. Be as strict with items as you would with a live-in roommate.
Consider each and every item as being guilty unless proven innocent. Everything is a suspect and needs to be interrogated. Toys are a huge culprit.
Are you just clutter?
Are you going to get played with once and then forgotten?
Are you cheap and easily broken?
Will you steal away my child’s creativity and desire to be outside?
Do you need batteries which will end up costing me more money over time?
Do we already have something similar to you at home?
Will you take up precious space?
Protect your temple. This will really help you limit the stuff in your home.
So many children value nothing because they have everything. Think of our grandparents they had one or two treasured play things and that is it.
No matter how good you get at the interrogation rule, things will always, ALWAYS be coming into your home. It comes from school, work, birthday parties, grandparents, scouts, church activities and every where else. So you have to MAKE SURE that things are always, ALWAYS going out.
There are a bunch of good methods for doing this that can be googled pretty easy. 40 bags in 40 days is a good jump start if you haven't done it in a while. Do some research and find one that works for you. Every few weeks (2 or 3), I do a good thorough cleaning of my kids rooms. They clean their rooms on a regular basis but lets face it...once in a while we've got to get in there too. I always take a trash bag with me. Throw out broken toys, forgotten trinkets and games with missing parts. Donate toys and toys they don't play with. I promise you that the bottom of your toy box as some junk! Get the junk out of the trunk and move on..it feels SO good! And dont forget...Children who have everything value NOTHING!
When we start to do these things, we turn a "project" into a "habit" and it just becomes part of who we are and how we run our life. You can do it, we all can! Say no at the store, no to free stuff and no to more, more, more. Joy can be found in housework becasue it is a service to your family and service always brings joy. Sure the kids and the husbands need to help...but thats a post for another day. And remember, a little gratitude goes a long way, it really is a privilege to keep a home. Here's my last thoughts on the topic...
I am grateful for house work. It means I have a house. I am grateful that my floors need sweeping…it means my kids and their friends are running in and out while they play. I am grateful there are dirty dishes to be washed…it means my family is not going hungry. I’m grateful for dirty laundry… it means my family has clothes to wear… it means my kids are healthy enough to get dirty… it means I have a washer and dryer…I am grateful for little hand prints on my windows…it means I have children. I am grateful that with my able body, I get to scrub and fold and wash. I am grateful to be the keeper of the house…it means that I am blessed.
Have Joy in your home! Good Luck!
Friday, April 20, 2012
My nephew, little PepperJack. He is cute and squishy and I would stuff him in my bag and take him home with me, if his parents would stop objecting to the idea.
My own little Little. She is at the perfect age for smothering in kisses...and I do.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Last night, when the boys were still at football, I rushed around putting the last of the clean clothes away and straightening up my bathroom that looked like a bomb had hit it. Earlier in the day, I had scrubbed down the kitchen and mopped the floors. I had just plugged in the vacuum to finish things off when I heard a not good sound coming from the kitchen. I walked in there to find that Brylee had picked up a full bottle of Gatorade from off the kitchen counter and thinking it had a lid on -she SHOOK IT. Purple Gatorade splattered my entire kitchen. It was dripping off the ceiling. It was sprayed up the refrigerator. It was running down the wall and soaking the tile. I quickly ordered her, Ella and the neighbor girl out back before I said something I would regret. I spent the next hour trying to clean up the impossible mess. I am sure that in the light of the day, I will find more splatters and more drips, only this time they will be all dried up and stuck.
The floor was still wet from being remopped when the football kids started coming in from practice. There wasn't much I could do and soon the floor was printed with the smudges of dirty feet and dirty cleats. Then Scott, upon seeing no dinner and thinking himself to be helpful said,
"why don't we have burritos tonight, they're easy."
To which I snapped...
"Easy for who? The one who gets to make them and clean them up or for the rest of you that get to eat it?"
Then he said, "OK, I'll pick something up."
Then of course I said,
Even though I wasn't that sorry because with the sweat from all my work still beading on my forehead, I felt fully justified. So I filled him in on the fun time I had cleaning up a volcanic eruption of Gatorade. After having cleaned up the regular kitchen messes and the messes in all the rest of the house and washing, folding and putting away, 6 loads of wash. Not to mention, although I did, the care and feeding of 5 dependant souls.
We had a grocery store, rotisserie chicken for dinner.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Nothing has gone right yet today. And while I should be up getting the 100's of things done that need getting done, I had to sit and regroup for a second after a disastrous morning. So why not write? Clears my head don't you know.
I have a big huge post about moving in the works. Every time I pack up a closet or a cupboard, I drip tears into my lap and then I turn to my place of comfort at the computer, to let all those emotions out of my soul. I have so loved my little home of 12 years and closing this chapter is both heart wrenching and thrilling at the same exact time. At least the house will technically still be ours...and that helps...if only just a bit.
But today like most days, I get to spend my time with these two...
They are busy and funny and leave me entirely pooped at the end of the day. Trying to get things accomplished while mothering- is an ongoing challenge but somehow we seem to mix the two together in the constant stirring of life with all of it's duties and pleasures and struggles. Maybe in the next life laundry will do it's self while I play with my babies. But what good company my two little beauties are and I am so lucky that they are mine.
Happy Monday. Second best day of the week you know.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Then you saw me crying and climbed up the slide to save me. I was still scared but you were very brave.
When I was all rescued and safe, I felt sad about my sparkly wings. They still are pretty but they didn't work to fly. So you helped me and I got to fly. My wings flapped just like I like them to, maybe you noticed them.
That's when I smiled so big and pretty, because you were my hero and you helped me to fly. The End
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I love a simple egg hunt that only takes minimal preparation but still produces a whole lot off happy smiles.
I love that even my big kids still like dying or painting Easter eggs and I like that Scott goes around on Sunday morning talking about the Easter Bunny like they were old college room mates. I love that Kaden and Branson roll their awfully mature eyes at him and I love that Brylee plays right into it and that Ella full-on believes with her whole heart and soul that a big, life size, furry bunny comes hopping into our house each year to leave her a basket of treats and a new dress for church. How he knows her size so well, I'll never know. Good taste too.
Most of all I love telling my kids, (one of which kept calling Good Friday...Lucky Friday) That Good Friday, with all of it's pain and suffering and betrayal was indeed good. I love teaching them that the One and Only person that could and would save us- did and that Easter is the best most beautiful part of the gospel. It makes families forever and it makes death only temporary and it takes all our mistakes and shortcomings and lackings and repairs them whole again. It also makes all of our trials, sicknesses, sorrows, fears and grief shared and known perfectly by a perfect Older Brother.
How I love Him for it.
Hope your Easter was a happy one!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Just the other night one of my boys was working himself into a real frustration. He was starting to sweat and talk louder and rant and be irrational. I have seen this escalation before, a simple injustice of home life turns an other wise decent child into a full blown terrorist. There is a part of me that urges a quick end to these sorts of things. The "knock it off, your grounded, get your red hot rear-end into bed and keep it there" sort of end.
Instead, I quarantined the little man into a separate room and started in on my motherly efforts. Nothing seemed to be working and I think at one point, I even saw a double stream of steam start to shoot out of the kids' ears. He was mad and did not care for my attempts at distraction, at soothing, at love.
So this is when you pray. Fast and quick.
It was nearing 9pm and it was dark out. The boy and I were both in our pajamas.
A bike ride! I nearly yelled the prompted answer out as soon as the idea fell from heaven into my heart. In an instant I saw the anger leave my frustrated guy like a black smoke being dissipated by a fresh evening breeze. We snuck ourselves from the bedroom out into the garage trying not to alert the rest of our family who was busy finishing up scripture study. We slipped our bare feet into flip flops and then we took off on a brisk ride around the shadowy neighborhood. We laughed and talked and raced. Then when our trail led us back to our own lighted house, we parked in the driveway and used the front porch bench to prolong our time together. There was a tender childhood apology and many "I sure love you a whole lot" chances. Then we parked our bikes and I tucked my boy into bed.
Spent and completely depleted down to the last of my energy, I collapsed into bed. But it was that warm, reassuring, confident tired that feels so good. So I'll take it.
Any day. And everyday.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Scott and Kaden had a wonderful 3 days up at conference together. I just cant say how thankful I am that they got to go. Scott and I didn't have a chance to talk about the trip until early Monday morning. The house was still and quiet and Scott's emotions were full while he told me about their experiences and shared with me his feelings for our first boy. They had an unforgettable time.
The weird thing is that Kaden seemed to come home with a post vacation attitude. The next morning he didn't want to go to school, didn't want to do homework and didn't really want to be all that nice. It was sad. But sure enough he showed up at my bedside last night and squeezed my hand until it fell sleepily to his side.
At 2:30 today, just before the bus came home, I prayed for a softened heart and for insight into what my boy needs. I spent the afternoon with Kaden by my side. We finished a bunch of homework, we peeled the dinner potatoes, Kaden told me all about the "whose on First" joke that they learned about in History and then we ran an errand to the store. I tried a cute little pair of sandals on Cali and then I put them back. Kaden, asked if he could use his own money to buy them for her. He held the doors for me and carried in the milk when we got home. I reached over to him in the car and held his hand. I told him that he was one of my very best friends and that I love being his Mom. At home he offered a piece of his own gum to Ella and her two little friends.
I felt like Kaden's heart was telling mine, "this is who I really am Mom, try to see this me even when it's hard.
But today...it was easy.
How I love my Kaden boy.