Thursday, September 25, 2014

Never Again

I don't know if this happens to other people but when Scott and I stumble to our room at the end of the day we are completely wiped out. We are the living dead, the team after over time, the pioneers coming in from the plains.

So SO tired.

That being said, Scott and I have never turned away a child who comes to our bed at night. (Seriously, why have we not turned them away??) Whoever comes to the room is always lifted up and allowed to sleep in the prized middle spot that all kids consider the promise land of childhood. Big kids have slept on the floor with one hand reached up onto the bed-side to meet my hand or their huge bodies have stuffed into the limited feet area at the end of the bed. As of NOW our two little girls sleep in our room on the floor every night. EVERY. I wish to say to all future parents, when that baby arrives you will sleep never again.

So Cali and Ella always spend 20 minutes or so in bed with us, getting backs tickled and stories told and faces kissed. Scott and I are nearly in a comatose state at this point. Mostly dead but still giving the last bit of ourselves to accommodate these bedtime necessities of our two little girls. Even if the story is just a mumble of nonsense that, with great effort, I say with my eyes closed and my brain fried out. We always get a few nice pokes in the face that are intended to keep the story rolling.

The other night I had Cali draped across my middle, her soft adorable face was tucked just under my chin. She seemed satisfied with a back tickle that was just my floppy hand occasionally twitching. Ella was on Scott's side getting her legs tickled up and down each side. I heard Ella say to Scott, "Dad, will you snuggle me now?" Then that big wonderful Daddy, rolled over and enveloped that growing girl in his strong arms. In just minutes I could hear the heavy sleepy breathing of all three of them.

I wished I could see the sight of us there in the dark. As common as this is in my life (as annoying as it can be)  that night felt sacred. Like I was experiencing Heaven. My love for those two girls and their Dad overwhelmed me all at once and I cried into Cali's brown head.

It was a moment I tell you. Good thing for those moments because most nights I cry because I am so blasted tired and I STILL have kids in my bed.

Seriously thank the Heavens above for the MOMENTS. You will sleep never again but you will get some MOMENTS and you will proclaim to all that sleep loss...worth it.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

There are three things I never posted about that I will for sure kick my self later on if I don't record.

The Paci
For some dumb reason I decided to deal with Cali's paci addiction at the same exact time that I was dealing with the grief of my Grandpa's passing. Loss all around I guess.

But I knew in my heart it was time and that I need to get tough and do it. Any time that I have had to take away something that brings my kids comfort it just about kills me. Life is tough and I like them to have reprieve, even if that means a big ol paci stuck in the face of a way to big toddler.

Kaden slept with me until he was, I don't know 6 maybe? Brylee sucked her thumb till she was 7, Branson had a paci till he was almost 4, Ella too and now Cali following in the grand tradition.



























She is so cute.

So one early Monday morning while my angel baby was sleeping I snuck in with the scissors and a huge lump in my throat and I snipped off the end of her beloved paci. When she woke up she did exactly as I suspected, she brought me the paci saying, "paci broken, Mama".

I never took Cali's paci away. Just let her hang on to that broken, usless paci for as long as she wanted to but man it was heart braking to see her shuffle around, not able to sit still,  so far out of her comfort zone without that darn paci that she was so accustom to having in her mouth. We swam an extra lot and rocked and tickled and read much more than usual. Bed time went from an easy simple tuck-in to a long snuggle and extended back tickle.

But we made it. Now a few weeks out she can talk about paci's without asking for a new one and she can all big girl style tell me how paci's are for babies.

I am with Cali more than I am with any other member of my family. She is my shadow, my buddy, and my companion for everything I do. I love her so so much. How I ever got along without this sweet little soul in my life I will never know.


























Back To School
This is old news but can I say that I was so happy for the first day of school? Never ever have I looked forward to school starting. I like my kids to be home. But this summer I was so bogged down with building our primary that my house and every other aspect of life was set aside. Not only that but all of my school kids are old pros at this point and so we had very little nerves and just a whole lot of excitement to get back with friends and activities that they had missed over summer. So for us the first day of school 2014 was a good one.

Thank-goodness.










































And my big high-school boy. Man, time comes and goes in one-single-breath.






































Kaden is keeping a tight schedule this year. I get him up for A-hour at 5:30, he and I have scriptures at 6 and then he is off for a very long day of all honors classes and swim team that doesn't usually end until 6pm plus homework after that. What a trooper this boy.

Ella's Birthday
My beautiful Miss Mae turned 7. She is so fun to celebrate because she just eats up all that attention and love. She had all her little girl friends over for a swim.



























And then later that night Scott and I got to take her to dinner and lucky for us a waffle truck was parked near by so we kept up the party with a waffle dessert. YUM.

Ella is the spice of life I tell you. Last night her and I did her reading homework  together in my bed. Now here is where I will say that this little piece by Jen Hatmaker is pretty much how I usually feel about reading homework at bed time. I especially like the "one click away from becoming the scary under the bed Mom." Because seriously what Mother whose husband is usually gone till... all day long,  isn't one click away from something awful by bed time? Like this,

"Yesterday Remy brought her books to me at bedtime – an hour notable for its propensity to incite rage and trauma – and chirped, “We need to read for 20 minutes!” and a little part of my soul died.

“No, we don’t have to read tonight.”
“YES WE DO!!! MRS. BURKE SAID!!! WE HAAAAVE TO!!!”
“We already read.”
“NO WE DIDN’T!!! YOU ARE FAKING ME, MOM?”
“When I talk to you during the day, that’s like reading. You have to listen to the words I am saying and then make sense of them. It’s really hard work for you. It’s called auditory reading. We’ve been practicing all day. I’ll write the minutes down in your log.”

My friend Glennon described nighttime reading like this: “The little one wants to ‘help read’ her book. So, let’s see. It takes her about six minutes to sound out each word, and so if the book is one hundred words, well, I don’t specialize in math but I am telling you that I am stuck in that room FOREVER. It feels like I will be reading that book with Amma until I die.”

UNTIL WE DIE. Children should not be allowed to learn to read until they are already good at it. And why do we have to do this at bedtime when I’m one click away from becoming that scary under-the-bed-mother in “Mama” (GO TO BED OR I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO DIE AND THEN HAUNT YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AS A TERRIFYING CLOWN). I know having an emerging reader is exciting.  Because of the reading! And the literacy! But at the end of the school year, when I’ve logged approximately 688 million hours with such gripping plots like The mother and the brother went to the store, which takes 12 minutes to decode, then I have to look at the ceiling and sing hymns in my brain to get through it."

Well that is not how I felt last night. The stars aligned and Cali fell under some kind of magic spell and had fallen asleep. Miracle. So Ella and her freshly shampooed hair snuggled next to me and we read...SHE READ...The Foot Book. Ella struggles in reading she really really heart breakingly does. So when that little Miss mastered all of those simple words and looked at me like she had won the academy of reading award we had A MOMENT. And thank-goodness for those precious moments when chiors of angels sing and tears brim in your Mama eyes becasue your baby just felt GREAT about herself.

That is good stuff. Ella is good stuff and I love all of her 7 year oldself.


























Family life is so hard and so exhausting. I am actually stunned at the level of exhaustion I feel at the end of each day but I am certain in the center of all this is where I belong. It is lonely at times and oh so hard but it is worth all the work because it is God's work. In Primary we sing this beautiful little song that runs through my head all week.

"God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be, this is how He shares His love, for the family is of God."

Can I get an amen?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Heaven

How grateful I am for long weekends. Last Wednesday I sat down to return emails and work on Sharing Time and it hit me that the upcoming long weekend would be the only time that Kaden could get away from swim team and school work for the foreseeable future. Scott is also in his busy season so family time has all but vanished for us and it is breaking my heart.

I called Scott and TOLD him to be ready to leave for the weekend by Friday after work. I dropped off my finished Sharing Time lesson, got a load of snacks at the store, packed us up and by late Friday we were headed North.

Even though it always takes my sweet dears a little while to settle in and stop saying things like, "stop looking at me", "you are breathing too loud", "scoot over"...even though it still felt so good to have us ALL together and isolated for a spell.

My Mom works in Show Low on the weekdays so her place would be vacant for the weekend so we took advantage and moved our selves right in. The next day we drove the road to Sunrise and had a wonderful time doing the activities there.



























 The ski lift was just amazing. So beautiful and peaceful.


























Riding horses was my favorite thing of the whole weekend. Cali has cowgirl genes in her and she loved it. She stuck out her bottom lip and cried when it was time to get off. The whole ride I was thinking of my Grandpa and all the times riding horses with him when I was growing up. He was there with us that day...I know for sure.








































Tube rides!



































Sunrise has a lift jump that the big kids loved. They land on a huge inflated cushion. So fun!









































And now I am depressed. We need more family time. I am reassessing our life and trying to see what to cut out and where I can fit in little trips, board games and more dinners together. My time with them is short and I have to do better. I loved having this weekend away.

It was my kind of Heaven.