Friday, December 28, 2012

My Santa

A week before Christmas Scott sent me a text.

"What do you want for Christmas?"

I thought it was a down right ridiculous question. I mean, didn't I just get a house?

So I responded,

"I already have everything that I want."

And with that we had ourselves an understanding that we gave each other a house and that would cover us both for Christmas.

But on Christmas Day after the frenzy had cleared and the kids had retreated to different corners and the baby had gone off for a nap, I was handed a gift.

"This is for you."

I shot Scott the, "hey, we had an understanding!" face and then I remembered that President Monson had advised us to be gracious receivers. I was very surprised to open this very lap top that I am writing on this very second.

No one can appreciate a good lap top like I can. I have been suffering--SUFFERING I tell you with a lap top that deserves to go straight to computer he@*! My old lap top thought it was funny to bounce the cursor around the entire page. If I was typing an email, writing a blog post, composing a letter--didn't matter the cursor would randomly bounce from where I needed it, to where I didn't need it. I swear I could hear my lap top making fun of my useless attempts to chase down that evil cursor. Such a heartless bully that old lap top and that mean little cursor was not it's only fault, I could go on.

But I didn't say a word to Scott. I don't think he even knew about the cursor. Although he did know that the old laptop was a piece of junk. What would I have said? Um...I know that we just bought a house and furnished it but I have a humongous cursor problem...would you mind?? But Scott knows I have ambitions and lofty dreams and that sometimes when you are a Mom to 5 kids with ages spanning 13 to 1 those ambitions and lofty dreams keep your sanity burning.

He is as good as it gets.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Past

We are digging out.

May you or your very worst enemy never move during the Christmas season.

Scott and I have seen more of the underside of 24 hours than I ever care to again. (And I had twins for heavens sake!) The hours between 10 pm and 4 am are for sleeping-- not helping Santa, assembling beds, dressers and kitchen tables. (Glory be I have a kitchen table!).

But yesterday the sweetness of our first Christmas in the house we have been dreaming of for years, was truly and very certainly sweet.

After all the Christmas Eve festivities and traditional matching T-shirts it somehow became 1 am. Scott I were sitting across from each other on the floor, we were passing the tape and scissors and wrapping paper back and forth. The I-pad was propped up and at last we were watching the 1st Presidency Christmas devotional that is nearly a month old.

I dripped tears on the gifts in my lap. Finally, finally--amid the chaos of our life lately, I felt peace. A few short hours later I cried again when we gathered all 5 to the bed for testimonies and scriptures. Then we headed down to undo what we had just done. Seriously.

I love Christmas. Even during a move. (Blek!)

12 days of Christmas


PVC pipe--his main request


Friday, December 21, 2012

Where's the Joy?

It was unusually cold here in the desert over the weekend. Rain pored down in dripping rhythms that made me think that Earth herself was weeping over Connecticut and those families whose babies never came home from school on Friday.

So sad.

I have been tearing up ever since. When I got Ella ready for school yesterday....well it's was just too much to think about.

Ordinary days are a gift. It's unearthing to think how fast we forget how good each day of cleaning up and changing diapers and driving car pools really is. Our time with these loaned-out little ones is holy and sacred and sometime--so very brief.

Do you know what it makes me want to do? It just makes me want to love more and find a million ways everyday to be happy. If  evil is going to make a stand-- so is joy.

The day after this horrible incident, our kids were fighting with each other right in the middle of dinner and homework and showers. Scott looked over at me and asked, "where's the joy?" It was as if the sadness of it all,  combined with our own contention and piled up onto his normally steadfast soul.

But...we know where joy is.

Joy is in the manger resting quietly under Mary's watch, beneath the glow of the new star. Joy walked the dusty streets of Galilee and Joy blessed, healed, taught and loved everyone he met. Joy was perfect but joy still suffered the sin, sorrow and pain of all mankind. Joy was hated, whipped, betrayed and killed.

But Joy rose again and Joy lives today. Joy will win in the end and we can help.

Good medicine for sadness is to see all the little things that warm our hearts, all the tender mercies that Heaven literally pours down but we so often miss.  There are so many if we are willing to notice them. I have a few today.

Branson sets out his clothes. I love it because Scott sets out his clothes too, religiously. I can just envision that funny little gene from Scott finding its way into the actual make up of our awesome little man and when I see that neat pile of clothes ready for the next day--I love them both even more.

Decorating the tree. Joy mixed with fights over who gets to put up what. Seriously. Some body help us over here!

Kaden and his ever lovin homework. Kaden will literally work on one sentence for a full 15 minutes, trying to make it sound just how he wants it to. Yesterday he told his teacher that he really doesn't like writing papers because it takes him so long. (Have mercy does it ever!) Her response was, "But Kaden your papers are always the best."

Yesterday I got a text from Brylee's teacher letting me know that she had been crying all morning. I picked her up and we talked and then she spent the rest of the day lounging on the couch. It was just good to have her close. She is light, and joy and hope all in one.

Cali wears the green too too all day.

Ella my Little-got to put the star on top. Then she threw a fit during most of family night. She finally let up when she noticed me sobbing my way through the story of small pine with the big kids. She crawled up into my lap and calmed down just in time to hear how Small Pine sacrificed his dream of being the queens Christmas tree in order to show love to those in need. Then this morning I caught her organising the books, when she came to "Why Christmas trees aren't perfect" she placed that one aside and said to herself, "this is Mama's favorite."

If there is anything I know for sure it is that God loves His children. He sent Joy to prove it.

Joy to the World
The Lord is come!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

All Time Favorite

My all time favorite Christmas book is...

Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by  Richard Schneider.

It is so good and so beautifully illustrated. I cry every time I read it to the kids. The only exception is that there is a part at the end when the wise Queen gets angry. Even though she quickly changes I still always omit the line where she gets up set. I still love it though and so do my kids. Pull up the tissue box and enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Bundle of Things & Gift Ideas

A few things I don't want to forget.

I was putting together a step stool for Ella to use in her new bathroom the other day. She was very excited. She held the tools and handed me the screws and when I pulled out the little pamphlet to look over the instructions she said,  "Mom those are the destructions." So funny. So cute. She had her dance recitle too, I sure love that little pixy!

Cali J is talking like crazy! I love this stage where she will repeat her word over and over and over a million times until I acknowledge her. It's the best when she puts her soft little hand on my cheek and turns my face to look at hers while she says something. She also wore the little blue dress that Grandma Mag made her to Thanksgiving dinner. It is so darling!

We celebrated Kaden's birthday and I don't think I ever posted about it. He went shooting with my brothers, dirt bike riding with Scott and more of my brothers and he and Scott and I went out to dinner. He is a good boy, I sure like him a lot.

Kaden is also, finally wrapping up some HUGE school projects and I am SO thankful to be heading straight into Christmas Break. Dear school projects, I hope that someday I can learn to love you but for now you are the very bain of my existence. I will say however, that we did learn some fascinating things about Nikola Tesla.

Branson had his inter squad meet a few weeks ago. It was awesome. I love watching him.

Brylee is taking a break from swimming for the holidays. BEST DECISION EVER. We all needed a break from swim team 5 days a week plus meets. Aycarramba!

All 4 of our school kids sang in the school Christmas concert last night. I love that we go to a school where Christmas hymns are learned and preformed without even a second thought. I also love it that I am an expert at still enjoying myself even though Cali never held still for even 1 second, she ran away twice into the crowded gym and she spilled a WHOLE cup of hot chocolate into my lap. I watched the entire concert with a soggy, chocolatey lap and about froze solid walking to the car afterward. Good times!

Scott was called to be a Priest Quorum advisor to the 25 and growing Priest in our ward. He will love it! I cant say I'm not a little jealous, working with the youth is so cool.

Laughed my head off the other day when I found a "gift for your spouse" idea. It was a magnet that said, "Everyday I fall in love with you more and more. Well not everyday, yesterday you were pretty annoying." Don't know why but I laughed the whole day about that one.

Our house is still in chaos but we'll get there. I will sure be glad when the giant window across from our shower is covered in more than taped up brown paper. It has fallen down a few times so the whole time I am in the shower I have one eye on it. If that baby fell down at the wrong time, we'd be making bear naked eye contact with the construction workers on the roof next door.

Here are a few of my gift ideas.

 1. Nothing with batteries if you can avoid it. Go for blocks, magnets, legos, circuits, sewing kits, craft supplies and wood and nails instead. (Did I say wood and nails? Yes! Branson gets a box of wood, a box of nails and a hammer every year. Keeps them busy and lets them come up with their own projects.) A hot glue gun and a box of Popsicle sticks is awesome too.

2. Pogo sticks, scooters, bikes, ramps, fishing poles, roller blades, trampolines, tether ball poles and anything else for outside gets a BIG yes!

3. Electronics. NO. Unless its a reader or a music player. We got Brylee a karaoke machine last year and it is awesome!

4. My all time favorite is audiobooks. I LOVE my collection of audiobooks. These can work magic on a long car ride. You get total silence and I swear you can almost hear their imaginations running wild. Plus sharing an audiobook together will ensue some fantastic discussions.

I cant wait to share a few more ideas but they will have to be for next year or else I will give away too many surprises!

Happy giving and may peace be with you if your kid has a giant project due this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Lesson from Jared's Brother

I learned so much at church yesterday. It was just one of those days that almost everything that was said fit into my life somewhere. My sweet Branson is always on my mind. He seems to struggle more than my others and I worry. Scott or I have individual time with him each night. We talk, read Scriptures and pray with him. This is way more of a challenge than it sounds like. There is always so much to do, messes to clean up, homework to finish and sometimes I really dont want to give up that time.  But he needs it and it is just one small bit of the work we do for him.

I love the story of the brother of Jared and the barges, I thought I knew all the lessons in it but yesterday I found another. Awesome!

When the brother of Jared realized that there would be no light in the barges while they were crossing the entire ocean he took his problem to the Lord and the Lord just said, "well what do you want me to do?"

22. And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
23. And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.

 After that Jared came up with an idea and went to work. He climbed a high mountain, found some rocks, molten them and made sure they were clear and transparent.

 1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount which they called the mount Shelem because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount.

I bet all of that work took a long time. I bet there was way more involved in it than what it seems like when we read that one verse.

After he had done the work he took the rocks back to the Lord and asked Him to touch them that they would shine.

4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.
5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

And it was then that I learned, my mind opened up and I felt hope and assurance.  We have a problem. I keep asking the Lord for a solution but yesterday I realized that I already have the solution. It's work and it's love and it takes time. There are exceedingly high mountains to climb and rocks to molten. All the different things that Scott and I do to help our sweet man are work! But when we've done all of that work we can take it all back to the Lord and ask Him to touch it.

When Relief Society was over I had Cali under one arm and my huge over stuffed church bag in the other. Ella was handing me her papers from class and her shoes. Branson came down the hall and without a word peeled my bag from my shoulder and carried it out for me. He is so good , I love him so much and someday when my work of raising him and loving him and teaching him is over, the Lord will touch his life and it will shine forth in the darkness for others to follow.

I'm certain of it.
I love the scriptures! I love the gospel,  it is all so simple but so full of hope and so true that it makes the burden of life bearable and even beautiful.

I am so blessed to have it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Home at Last

 We are home at last.

There is paper taped up in the windows.

There are painters and workers here everyday.

The faucet in the tub doesn't work.

We just got hooked up to the Internet.

The backyard is nothing but dirt.

We have NO furniture.

The kids are sleeping on air mattresses.

The garage is packed full of unopened boxes.

And do you know what?

We don't care.

It is already so SO much more than I deserve. I am overwhelmed by the blessing of it all. I cant wait to make this space what it already is in my mind. A gathering, learning, growing, celebrating, loving place, where my children can grow up and where their friends can come and where family can gather. I can see in my my mind a future of holidays and birthdays and graduations and showers and parties and family nights and blessings and thousands of good old ordinary days. I can even see in these walls a place to come and hide when we are sad and things are going wrong because if home is anything to me it is refuge and solace.

How I love my husband who has worked and planned for five long years for this day. How I love my 5 kiddos who this is all for anyway and who have already filled the house with laughter and running and (fighting). How I love my parents who gave us a home for 6 full months. How I love my Heavenly Father who knows us perfectly even when we all the people around don't know us at all. How I love our view and how it reminds me everyday of Eternity and what really matters.

I cant wait to share it all.

"In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities. . . .

"We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes."

It feels so good to be home.

first night mess

Kaden prepping the bubbly
breaking in the tub

Front of the only spots that doesn't look like...the next picture