Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Beautiful

I am drained and running on empty. It has been such a momentous struggle for me to get through the day lately. Scott has noticed my despair and has done his best to fill in for my lack. At night he quietly asks, "what can I do?" It is strange when these things happen. I don't always understand why it is, that sometimes I feel strong--mighty even under the weight of life and all of it's challenges. And then other times I feel like I am being crushed. It must just be the ebb and flow of life and emotions and challenges. (and maybe hormones?)

Do you remember the lady from the bible? The one with an issue of blood. I think of her so often and see myself in her reach. Wanting so much to be close to her Savior, knowing that even just touching the hem of His robe will bring relief.

Right now it seems like I am reaching but just as I am about to feel the cloth in my hand--I miss. And then the crowd tramples me and I am left behind in the dirt.

Over dramatic? Maybe.

Last night I rehearsed this story to Scott in the dark of our room when AT LAST all the others were asleep. He listened and held onto me like I was his parachute as the plane was going down. Scott is strong and twice my size and so I felt sheltered and safe. Knowing each of the concerns that are pressing on me (because they are pressing on him too) he whispered encouragement and hope into my ear.

But this is the thing. I know that when I am in the dirt, reaching and stretching and yearning to touch that hem and I miss, He STILL knows I was there. He STILL knows that I am trying to get to Him. It is His life and His sacrifice that makes the burdens of life bearable and even beautiful.

The Beautiful...

Grandma Mags b-day. We used or service FHE for celebrating Grandma's 86th birthday. Ella crowned her with a tiara and a plastic martigras necklace. The twins gave her a "birthday fireworks show" that they cleverly came up with using balloons. And Scott and I had a wonderful time visiting with Grandma. I always leave her presence feeling better than when I came.

The FINAL pinewood derby. (Just cant say Scott and I are too sad about this).

But Branson did great and was so cute. I mean could this face just bring you to tears! He came in first in his den and was happy with a root bear from tacobell afterwards. (Pop is such a treat to my kids!)

Ella had a fudgecicle the other day and I just about died laughing at her earnest lick! It was hysterical watching her tongue shoot in and out eating that fudge like it was her last meal on earth. I was sitting next to her with my head on the table cracking up. She would look at me and just keep right on licking like she knew I was laughing at her but she didn't really care. I don't know--it was just so funny to me.

For our fun FHE we used our new waffle cone maker that Seth and Brandi gave us and had ice-cream. It was really good! The kids kept giving Cali the concoctions that they didn't like. She may have had a bit too much to eat that night.

So that poor lady in the story had been reaching for twelve years before she caught hold of that hem and I understand that building a faithful life and soul takes time. I hope I never stop reaching for Him. Sometimes I will miss, sometimes I will just feel the fabric brush by my hand, sometimes I will catch hold with a full and strong grip and other times He will just turn around, part the crowd, lift me to my feet and carry me for awhile.

 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. Luke 8: 48

How I love Him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meet the Children

Dear New Neighborhood,

I'd like you to meet my children. You will be seeing them a lot because they hardly ever watch TV or play video games or sit still or stay inside. They will be barefoot most of the time and on weekends they will have raggedy day old braids and a milk mustache. You should know that I'm OK with that.

These children of mine have been known to make tree houses out of whatever materials they can find and they love to make "stands" and peddle anything from cotton candy to junk from the bottom of the toy box. And who am I to stop them? They can climb fences in their sleep. They play tag in the street with their friends and on any given Saturday or day off school the front drive of my house will be littered with an array of bikes, scooters, helmets, balls, Rollerblades and ramps. You should get use to it.

My children use hot glue guns, hammers, screw drivers, paint and all kinds of tools.They make water balloons and enjoy covering our house with crate paper and crazy homemade decorations. They use sidewalk chalk with reckless abandon.

If it is muddy or rainy or windy they will be the first ones out in it. And since this past weekend covered you in sheets and sheets of pouring rain--which mixed with the mounds of construction dirt and sent rivers of brown water rushing down our streets--they took advantage of it. By 8am these busy, curious, ants in their pants, cant sit still kids, were out and wet and busy building a dam and constructing bridges.

I thought it was fantastic. Maybe it bothered you like the lady at the dentist who burst through the door to tell me all horrified that my kids were climbing a tree!! In the rain!. And what kind of Mother???

So I learned that tree climbing has become outdated and only something reckless mothers allow. Geez.

They may have more scrapes, more bruises and more splinters than the other kids that prefer TV and video games and some of your residence may wonder why their mother didn't tell them to wear shoes. You will catch them from time to time creating different kinds of rolling contraptions, rigged together with rope. But, New Neighborhood, before you judge too much you should know that I am never far away. I always know where each of my kids are. When my children are out on these neighborhood adventures I am not taking a nap, a pedicure, a lunch date. I am not on Facebook or Pintrest or instagraham or twiter or any of it. I am probably in the kitchen or on the front porch, or out in the street yelling "car!" I might be folding a load of wash or putting a baby down for a nap but I am accessible and available.

My kids will wear out your side walks and trails and monkey bars and swings. They will play in your gutters and dig in your dirt and climb your trees. But somehow, I feel like all your newness and freshness and never really been played in beforeness cant wait for all the fun.

So now you are acquainted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Love with a Tornado

Man! I just don't know why it is so hard for me to get a blog post written.

Oh actually I do.

She has brown hair, she is teeny tiny, her eyes are as blue as a monsoon sky and her name is Cali.

She is the same reason I haven't gotten a single thing hung on my walls. She is the reason I haven't finished Brylee's desk project or any other project for that matter.

She is a tornado disguised as a nice spring breeze.

Make-up. Trash cans. Toilet paper. Mud. Bags of chips from the pantry. Markers left laying around by Ella. Cups of milk and half eaten bowls of cereal forgotten by the big kids. And the shampoo from the tubs are her specialties-- just to name a few.

She can climb on any counter and she can open any door. I should be excused from all of my duties as a human being until she is grown. I am being beat to a pulp by her toddlerness. In fact, I don't think it's even a fair fight, she is fresh and full of energy and since this is my 5th opponent in the ring, I am worn completely out. I give you the evidence and this in no way tells the complete story.

I rest my case.

And then....just as I was about to give up on my life entirely and surrender to a fate of constant mess patrol and fit managing-- Cali fell off a chair at Grandma's and hit her head. With in seconds of falling she had a HUGE bump that looked like a golf ball had lodged just under the skin on her forehead. (think David and Goliath).  It was after 9 at night and I was so concerned about putting her to bed. All my frustrations that come from having a mess making toddler combined with a teenager and everything in between disappeared and I remembered as I looked at the horrifying bump on her head that I DON'T CARE ABOUT ALL THAT. Sure, I'm exhausted. Sure, I need a break now and then from the weight of responsibility that I carry. But messes mean that I have a healthy active baby that I adore. I feel devastated to even think about life without her.

I gave Cali a long warm bath that night and rocked her longer than usual, determine to enjoy every single day that I get to spend with her.

How I love my little tornado.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Broken Bones and a Little Hero

Friday morning Cali and I had a hot shower. Ella was buried deep in My Little Ponies and tiny little plastic brushes-- so she was occupied. After drying off and dressing (including socks) and brushing our hair I scooped up Cali while singing "Once There was a Snowman" and took one step off our stairs.

Except my socked foot never really caught hold of that step and I instantly felt my entire body lift off the floor. I was falling and all I could do was grip my baby and wait for impact. I landed hard on the right side of my back, the same side that I was still holding Cali on. I could NOT breath.

I let go of my screaming baby and crawled from my crumpled pile on the stairs to the top where I stayed for the next 30 minutes.

When I could get air again, I text my (on his way to becoming a doctor) brother and asked him what broken ribs would feel like and what they would require to fix. Oh-the-pain.

I had just spent a good 20 minutes on Sunday morning laughing my head off at Kaden who had slid down the stairs on a hurried scamper to not be late for church and now I had done the same thing only I was holding another human being AND I hurt myself. Not to mention Scott who tripped over that last step for the first three mornings of living here.


We are clearly not stair people.

So I hobbled my way through Friday coming to full on tears a few times at the inconvenience and the gripping pain. By night I was barely hanging on. Branson, who has a gift for sensing hurt in others, was constantly at my side. Helping me balance, getting me whatever I needed and when I couldn't take it anymore--helping me into bed.

I had some weird reaction to the pain that night and had started to shake. Branson crawled in bed beside me and tucked my blankets in and rubbed my arm. In the dark I could hear him sniffling. I asked him what was wrong but he would only answer, "nothing."

He gripped my hand tighter and sniffled a little longer and then got up to sneak out. In the morning I found that Branson had done all of the dinner dishes and picked up all the laundry from the bedrooms.

There are so many days that I question my ability to Mother Branson in the way that he needs. He has a one in a million personality and is very strong willed. He does things and says things that take parenting from hard to daunting. But every now and then throughout his life, I have been given the chance to see him the way Heaven sees him. I get a glimpse on these special days of what he really is and what he can really become.

And it is amazing. I literally stand in awe at his gifts. And I am so thankful that Heaven chose me to be his Mom.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday Night

Last week the kids and I decided on a new plan for Family Home Evenings this year. Each month we will do a spiritual FHE, a fitness FHE, a fun FHE and a service FHE. I thought their ideas were fantastic and it gave Scott and I a direction for planning out our Monday nights.

Last night was our big kick off. We gave each of the kids a cork board and Scott talked to them about how goals should be something visual. He had stacks of pictures for them to go through and cut out to add to their board. Each of them put a picture of Christ in the center and then all other things come after that. All of them put a picture of our family, Brylee put Missy Franklin with her gold metal, Branson added one of Alex Nadour, Kaden put up a missionary and a guitar. They all wanted one of the temple and of the scriptures. Scott also bought each of them a side table lamp that we renamed the "scripture lamps" so that every night when they see them it will remind them to read their scriptures.  I am also going to get them each a picture of an all A's report card (a little brain washing never hurt, right?)

Scott gave each of them a picture of the good Samaritan and talked to them about serving a loving each other. We watched a video of the parable and then the kids pinned up their picture. I think it will be a great reminder for them to treat each other with love. Will it work 100%?.....not a chance.

We went over our new fabulous calendar and we had chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. It wasn't a perfect evening, (remember the strong willed, face paced souls we have here!) But it was good and I think they will remember it.

I know I will.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Plan to Save the World

My kids were singing the back to school blues this morning. And I have SO much housework awaiting me. (Don't feel sorry for me, it's my favorite kind of work.)

The last few days of break proved to be the best and I was reminded of a good lesson that I have been letting slip. Big time. My kids LOVE to have a plan. On Saturday at breakfast I told the kids what chores we were going to do, and that when it was all done we would head to the rock wall and then to dinner. It worked wonders for them. Having a focus, a plan and a reward seemed to be key.

We had a great time at the rock wall. And a super fun time out to eat.

who knew it was free night at Freestone!? Face painting was a hit!

It was like inspiration hit Scott and I square in the heart. We need a plan! So on Sunday Scott and I spent TWO hours calendaring. We scheduled January out to the T. We have our FHE's ready. We have our date nights planned, we have our half-day-of-school days planned, we have our temple day ready, we have everything on there and I just cant say how AWESOME it is. At one point Scott looked at me and said,

"Mark my words...there will be an effort to thwart this."

It made me tear up a bit because I knew it was true. But I responded by saying, "Mark my words, I wont let it."

I am sure we will need to make adjustments but I can look at my beautiful calendar and see what things are my priority and then--see everything else. I would have never thought something as simple as planning would give me such hope.

At 4 o'clock it was time to head out to dinner at Grandma's. The keys were no where to be found. "Already!" I thought. MAN! We looked for an hour. Moods were turning rotten and empty "Fast Sunday" tummies were growling. I needed those keys! Every plan we have will not work with out them! Grrr.

After a fruitless search we loaded up in Scott's truck and left. As we pulled out I made everyone pray together for help finding the keys. After the prayer Brylee said, "Mom I think they are in Dad's closet, maybe on the top shelf or something where no one looked." In my mind I thought. "Oh Brother!" First of all I had searched Scott's closet, second--on the top shelf??? who would throw keys up on the top shelf of a closet?

We had a wonderful dinner at Grandma's and when we got home I headed straight to Scott's closet. I climbed up and checked the top shelf and saw nothing. For the next 20 minutes Scott and I continued to pull the house apart. At last I heard Scott yell from up stairs that he had them! I couldn't wait to see where they were. After church Scott had put his suit in a suit bag, zipped it up and hung it in his closet, he had already checked it once, but upon checking it a second time he found the keys deep in his suit pocket.

Brylee my sweet faithful girl had pointed us in the right direction.

I know as good as anyone that even the best laid plans can go skidding off the edge of a cliff in point 2 seconds. Keys get lost, things come up and kids decide to throw-up or blow out a diaper just as you are heading out the door.

BUT WE HAVE A PLAN! And I am so excited!

“I believe good plans are the best way to maximize fun, avoid disaster, and just possibly, save the world."
― Katherine Hannigan 

Sounds good to me! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hard Kids and my Bared Heart

Sometimes when it is nap time I clean. Sometimes I do the wash, sometimes I leave a big kid here and run errands. Nap time is like gold. Today I just want to ignore all that and sit here and write. I like doing that.

Besides, I am experiencing a bit of a nap time miracle. It is Christmas Break, all 5 of my children are home with me. You should know that I do not have docile children. My children don't do puzzles, they don't play video games, or board games, they don't watch TV. They wrestle, run wild in the house, come up with crazy messy projects, play loud music and preform gymnastics routines in the kitchen and over the back of the couch. They are always begging for a friend, a cousin, an outing, a cooking lesson. And, I'm sorry to admit, if things are not hopping with one or more of the above mentioned then they have no choice but to fight or tease the ever loving sanity out of each other or the little ones. But right now, things are relatively quiet, hence my nap time miracle, we'll see how long it lasts.

Laying in the dark the other night, with earnest tears,  I begged Scott for answers. "Is this what it is like in all families?", "Did I cause this or were they just born like this?" Questions I have had pounding in my heart for a long time now. I feel like I handled the pandemonium fairly well until the year that I was pregnant with Cali. Things just went to a whole new level that year and now I go to bed aching with exhaustion and questioning my ability to mother such busy, rambunctious, strong willed children. A lot of days I feel paralyzed from making plans or instigating routines because I am just in "managing" mode. Running from this fight, to that mess, to a project over there or a fit in the other room. It's hard.

A story to illustrate if I may. A few days after Christmas Scott and I took the kids to a big store to pick out a Christmas tree for next year. My curious, busy children bounced from one end of the place to the other and I could hardly concentrate on the reason we came in the first place. Frazzled and worn out we corralled everyone and went to check out. Ella was loudly and forcefully looking for something in one of the carts. She pulled herself up on the side of the cart as high as she could which tipped the entire cart and all of the contents over. The crash made an incredibly loud noise and workers and shoppers came running. I was humiliated. I was sweaty. I was sad that a simple outing was so stressful.

Sure, someday we may laugh at seeing Ella all sprawled out screaming her head off, next to the tipped over cart but believe me, in the moment it wasn't funny at all. Especially after everything else that we had dealt with on our little outing.

I know we can shape and nurture and guide but I also know that we have personalities long before we are born. For some reason Heaven thought it was a good idea to send us 5 out of 5 blazing hot and high paced souls.

Scott answered my tearful plea that night in the dark with nothing more than a, "I know, we have hard kids, it's our challenge." And they are hard. But they are brilliant and ambitious and determine. I have watched my boys sit in the dirt at the cabin placing rocks in specific locations creating a "flow" for the hose water running from the lawn. That is what I do. I direct the flow (or the rushing flood waters in our case) of their busy little souls and it is exhausting, treacherous work that has brought me to tears and bent me to my knees many times these past few years.

And yet I am fiercely devoted to them. The little stinkers.

Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” -Debra Ginsberg

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Boy

I took Kaden out for a picture shoot. He turned 13 in November and I am in love with him. He has so many wonderful ambitions, he is smart and caring and fun. And oh boy he is handsome. At least his Mom thinks so.

Be still my heart...

But remember for every one child that I manage to get showered and dressed, I have a few that are still in their PJ's at 4pm. So sue me.

And of course, I could never have an outing with out a fit. They go with me wherever I go, always and forever.

This was sweet though...

Thanks for being a good sport Kaden, I'm sure glad you're mine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Glad You Are Here

Oh 2012, I will not really miss you. You have been annoying and frustrating and sad and challenging. I wont miss your moving boxes, your packing and your waiting, waiting, waiting. I wont miss your broken families and your "life in the balance" phone calls. I wont miss your late nights of decision making and your days that were sometimes filled with nothing but overwhelming difficulties.

But I will miss your 1 year old's smooth kissable cheeks and your big-kid turned teenager's new found love of music. Your ten year old twins that filled you with gymnastics and swimming. And I will for sure miss your little 5 year old that spent your days playing her heart out and discovering letters.

2012, you taught me that when life is at it's hardest the love of Heaven is at it's fullest. Thank-you for that.

And as for you 2013, I suggest you don't turn your back on this one...
She is like a stealth jet. Beautiful and amazing but sneaky and powerful. She is always a covert operation under way. In seconds toilet paper rolls can empty, cups of milk can be spilled off the counter and paint can be smeared to the far reaches of the kitchen. Keep an eye on that one I tell you.

And these guys...

They are bound and determine to take every single one of your 365 days and use them to grow up! Just this morning on your first day I hugged Kaden and whispered, "this is the year that you will get taller than me."

And 2013-- you really are that year.

You will also be the year that our house hold becomes diaper free for the first time since the 90's. The 90's!

You will take us on trips, give us piles of homework, hand us challenges and grief and frustration, you will give us new friends and new neighbors. You will open a temple just down our street. I hope you will be gentle and I hope your days and weeks, that will race by in a flash, will be good ones where testimonies grow, memories store up and good is accomplished.

Most of all I hope you will write stories.

All of them. The sad ones and the happy ones and all the ordinary ones in between.

2013, I'm sure glad your here.