Monday, October 22, 2012

A Saturday for Branson

Branson was gone this weekend on a horse riding trip with my parents. Anytime and every time that one of my kids is away from me, I become filled with angst. I don't like it one bit and I feel all together best when all of my kids are with me, sleeping under the same roof and most likely in the same bed.

I missed the boy and I was thrilled to see his shadow come sleeking down the stairs last night around 9pm. My Branson guy is good, good, good. But he is hard, hard, hard. He doesn't watch TV. He doesn't play the computer or video games. He needs almost no down time and becomes quickly and easily irritated when things aren't hopping. He needs something to do nearly every single second of the day. But wrapped up in that little boy spirit is an amazing power to do good in the world. I have seen it happen and I have felt it way down in all the deep parts of my heart-- he was meant for big things. He was meant for lifting others up and using all that determine energy and boundless spirit to produce goodness. I am certain of it.

But in the meantime...we refine, we pray for help and we LOVE. Two and half years ago, Scott and I needed answers, we needed to know what would help our man in his need for nearly constant moving. We signed him up for gymnastics and never looked back. I have to remind myself of that answer to our heartfelt prayers every time I see the enormous gym bill. IKE!

Gymnastics, of course, has not solved every struggle and it has not made things magically better for Branson but it is one piece of the puzzle that we are always working to piece together.

So it's no wonder that when we attended his first meet last Saturday I had to fight tears at that handsome little face, those determine expressions that I know so well and the good old happiness I could see in his heart from across the gym.

Second place overall in a gym full of boys is not too shabby. It was a good day. How I love my Branseyboy. Sniff, sniff. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pretty Little Ella

I took Ella over to Josh and Emily's little farm and took her picture. She turned 5 a whole 2 months ago and it was overdue. She was so delicious, I could have eaten her whole. I loved her so much with each click of the lens. I love her eyes that are blue on the edges and green in the middle. I love that she was wearing her huge black spider ring, letting that hilarious interest in grody things show through. She is a beauty inside and out. I'm so glad hat she is mine.

Sometimes, I just cant believe that the world thinks "beauty " looks like celebrities. Even super young girls chase after some crazy fake image they see on TV, as the standard for pretty and attractive. I want my girls to know that pretty is NOT on TV. Pretty is kindness and goodness and gratitude, if you want to be pretty, start there and the rest will come easy.

I watched this yesterday and felt so blessed to have daughters! Everything I want them to know and believe about themselves is in there! Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Beautiful Vistas

My heart has been heavy and achy. I cant seem to get through a day lately with out feeling weepy and sorry for myself. When life comes to one of these unavoidable lows it is best for me to just keep my mouth (and my blog) quiet and look for the light that is most likely just over the next hill.

My short list of complaints and heart aches is so small next to my tower of blessings, but I am certain that Heaven still cares about my sorrows anyway. I never feel that the things that trouble me are an annoyance to my Heaven Father, actually I know that He cares very much and is there to hear me sob my soul out to Him whenever I need to.

Living in someone elses house and constantly feeling "in the way" and displaced is one thing. Desperately missing my old life and ward family and home is another. But what really takes a little discouragement and inconvenience into full blown trial is when all of that is added to working through forgiveness and acceptance. And then all of that is added to laying awake at night worrying about a child that has slipped back into old frustrating habits and then all of that is added to the regular challenge of keeping up with life's demands.

This morning I was sleepless by 4am so at 5, I got up and locked myself in the shower knowing that I had a good 30 minutes that I could disappear from life and be alone. There is no better place to sort out the mess than in the shower. Right?

I was once promised in a blessing that I would be able to retain information and recall it to my mind when it was needed. I can not say how many times that blessing has played out in my life. While I prayed and thanked and asked for help, bits and pieces of something that President Hinckley had said started dripping into my heart. I looked it up as soon as I could get to it.

“Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” 
Gordon B. Hinckley

I thought of all the "beautiful vistas" in my life, there are so many. First and most of all, I know where to turn for help and hope and guidance. I know that I have a Savior that already over came this fallen world and all that it dishes out to us, in Him there is always hope for a softer heart, for a mended soul and for the courage and ability to make it to the next vista or thrilling burst of speed. I am so thankful for Him!

My most recent beautiful vistas....

My Mom's horses paid a visit to the back yard when the sun was just right. I loved that the kids rode bareback and barefoot.

Visiting the museum, panning for gold, digging up dinosaur bones and following it all up with a picnic in the park.

I got to be there when this beautiful family went from temporary to eternal. (Dear Jaren and Alexa, You are both wonderful examples and have over come so much already! Your day at the temple was amazing and I loved being there. I cant wait to watch your family grow and thrive in the gospel. That sweet baby Wyatt is one lucky cowboy. Love you both!)

And to add to my "best day ever" list we spent our last day of October break at my favorite spot on the lake. The kids made mud pies like mud pies could spread world peace, they took rides on the paddle boat, pretended to be ninjas with the long willows and visited with friends in the shallows while the sun set her glow glimmering on the water.


Now if those aren't beautiful vistas, I'm just not sure what is.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dinner for Seven and Some Pot

This is the story about how the husband and I accidental took the children for dinner at a marijuana joint.

It all started when I decided that I wanted my free piano refinished before the new house is done. For weeks now I have been back and forthing with Heather. Heather is a super-duper nice and amazingly talented ASU art student that is going to be using her gifts to take my piano from old and ugly to one of a kind!  Heather is one of those cool gals that can rock a teeny tiny diamond nose ring and make it believably respectable.

So at last the day came to meet up with Heather and finalize our piano refinishing plans. So excited!

And then I go and decide that this here visit with Heather can be a family outing. Brilliant right?

Appointment time 6:30 pm.

4 of the kids and I load up from home. And when I say "load up" what I mean is... spend a good 20 minutes rounding up, packing up and buckling up before pulling out. 20 more minutes later the 4 kids plus me meet up with Scott and the 5th child, we combine ourselves into one car and head for the given cross roads of the art studio.

Almost immediately there were cries and sobs from the back seat of absolute desperate starvation. And I mean desperate. These kids might as well have been fresh off the planes, having crossed the entire US on foot in search of religious freedom.

Still we pressed on throwing back promises of food as soon as we finished with Heather. Scott and I proceeded to have an in depth conversation over the tortured sobs from behind us, which caused us to drive clean past our destination. The suffering and starving of the children increased substantially after a U-turn and an explanation as to why we were going back. Oh the suffering!

It was dark by now and our search for the studio became increasingly difficult. Darkened strip malls and confusing directions was all I had. We had driven and U-turned and searched and nothing! The number to the studio was only giving me the after hours recording and so I called my Mom at home and had her pull up my email hoping she could find an alternative number. No luck.

While I was on the phone, giving step by step instructions to Mother, Scott pulled into a McDonalds drive through and then put the car in reverse and changed his mind. I could NOT hear a blasted thing over the wailing of my emaciated children. By the way, have you ever backed out of a fast food drive-through?

I give Scott the evil eye that says, "get us to the nearest food place now, or else!" But see, my husband had skipped lunch and he has a strict rule of healthy dinner when he has had no lunch. So here I was, buried in Scott's I-phone attempting to use the ridiculous device to retrieve the information that may at some point, lead us to Heather. And so I  followed him blindly out of the car and through a dark parking lot to a little shop in the corner that appeared to be selling sub sandwiches and soup.

At this point the only thing that I noticed was that Kaden, the little twerp,  had NO SHOES! I could have lost my ability to respirate.

I was still on the phone when Scott led us into the little shop but when we entered I had a very clear feeling of..

"What in the???"

But I was busy. With one hand on the phone and a baby in the other I was attempting to keep track of the starving children while Scott ordered. FINALLY, I find the information and hang up the phone. I take one good look around. The kids and Scott were stuffing their faces and now I know that we are completely and entirely OUT OF PLACE. I see signs on the wall that say, "Flying High" and flags draped off the ceiling depicting a seven lobed leaf. I see a mural on the wall of tribal people with smokey joints squeezed between their fingers. I read the slogan, "toasted" subs, with the quotation marks suspiciously around only the toasted part.

I look Scott dead in the face and say,

"Do you know where we are?"

To which he says,

"Yes, I do." Without so much as looking up from his plate.

Now we were getting stares and I got this Motherly force rushing through my soul like a freight train. In seconds I had wrapped up the sandwiches, corralled my kids and got us the heck out of there.

I am certain that this was a first, not only for us but for the legalized-drug slash soup and sandwich shop as well.

We found the hidden art studio that was so hidden there is no way on earth one would find it with out step by step help. I love Heathers plan for the piano and I think I love Heather too.

Arrival time: 7:52pm.

My piano is going to be awesome.

And that is the story of how Scott and I took our conservative little family of seven to dinner at a Marijuana place.

We really did.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Good Squeezer

Ella: Mom, I hate it when you and Dad do that thing.

Me: What thing?

Ella: Kissing on the lips, it's disgusting.

Me: Well when you grow up and have a husband I bet you are going to kiss him on the lips.

Ella: No I wont.

Me: What are you going to do when your husband tries to kiss you on the lips?

Ella: Run away.

Ella: But I am going to grow up and get a baby because I want a baby, but I don't want to squeeze her out cause that hurts. But I am a good squeezer. And I am going to name her Ludgee.

Me (holding down a burst of hysteria at the "good squeezer" part) : Woah! This is new, I thought you didn't want to grow up?

Ella: Because I want a ring like yours.

Me: So you want a ring and a baby but you don't want to kiss on the lips?

Ella: No way that's disgusting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vacation Over

Here at the beach, the ocean and the sunshine combine their centripetal powers and pull every living ounce of energy out of my children. Tonight the kids left the waves of the ocean and went straight into the heat of the jacuzzi.

After baths and clean pajamas and soup for dinner, I watched all of them succumb to sleep in just minutes. Long legs draped over the edge of the couch, smashed cheeks propped up by little hands and sunburned shoulders shrugged up to their ears under the quilts. I sat by them before rearranging their heavy bodies and wondered what I wanted them to remember about this week by the sea.

I just want them to take these sandy, sunny, breezy days and seal them up in a jar for safe keeping. They will need them someday, I am sure of it. There is nothing like leaving the cares of daily life behind and setting out for a few days of magic.

We are home now. I never finished my post and just like that--POW--vacation over. And the magic has dissolved into a heap of dirty laundry. Vacation is full of some of the same things that regular life is filled with. A few fights. A few fits like the one where Ella laid herself on the floor right in front of the check out line at Blimpies. A few mishaps and small injuries and lost towels but all that regular life stuff is a lot less aggravating when your feet are buried in warm sand and the salty ocean breeze is gently wafting your hair from off the top of your coconut shoulders. Ahhh, magic I tell you.

And you should know that I learned that my little Cali was appropriately named. Tiny as she may be that giant sprawling ocean, set there at the edge of the world did not scare her a bit. She ran, time and time again, head on into the waves. Mama had to be on her game!

There was no book reading or long beachy naps for me-- but there was life saving. Not to mention...snack providing, meal making, sand filled diaper changing, towel finding, hair braiding, sunblocking, and castle building. And even though I found myself entirely exhausted by the end of the week, I could not be more thankful for the chance to do it.

I don't know what it is, but more than ever before I can just feel the love of Heaven working right along with me, teaching me to cherish these busy, service filled days--whether they are vacation days or laundry days. (Most are laundry days to be sure).

There will plenty of time for book reading.