Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Am Really Living!

Lately I have found myself getting a little down about not meeting all my expectations. No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep the house clean all day, the dusting never gets done, and everytime I turn around one of my children needs a change of clothing due to boredom, heat, or other less savory details. My meals are not always delicious, and when they are they are not always healthy, and when they are, they are not always timely.

I seem to go in spurts of getting everything done in one area, while abandoning most of the others. My laundry gets all cleaned, dried, and put away, but the carpets go days without being vaccuumed. I cook every meal in one week with new and healthy recipes, but the bathrooms get cluttered, and the laundry backs up. The dishes go a few days with never sitting in the sink, but the junk mail never gets sorted, and the girls toys get unorganized.

It is so frustrating. IT IS SO FRUSTRATING.

Anyway, I was feeling all caught up in that angsty and disheartening feeling this afternoon when I saw both girls with runny noses and realized it was noon and no one (including Ross) had changed out of PJs yet. Not great.

Then I saw this quote on SugarDoodle.
My mom actually had this quote hanging on her fridge for years, so it brought back good memories when I saw it. I may not be perfect, and there may be supermoms out there shaking their heads at my weak attempts to reach their level, but man, I am really living right now! I am using every moment of my time to love on my kids and make the most out of my portion of The Kingdom of God. It was a comforting thought to think that maybe all the chaos surrounding me right now is not a mark of inadequacy so much as a sign of how enriched my life is.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just a Pause in the Perpetual Motion

A few of my friends have recently done posts with pictures of their kids sleeping. I thought it was a fabulous idea and decided to follow suit.
Those quiet moments watching my babes sleep are so precious to me. Every night I check on them all at least 3 times. I am a light sleeper, and any time I am up, I peek in on each of them to make sure they are ok, kiss their warm dreaming cheeks, and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving to God for letting me have them for a little bit.
I love that they each have a toy snuggled with them. It is a different one each night, but they always need something. Just like I did right up until I married my permanent snuggle buddy. I just wanted to document one of these moments to remember the peace and love of them.
Please don't judge the mismatched bedding. . . :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Ross has been doing some cross-training at work, which has put his department behind on their quota, which has given him the opportunity to get some overtime hours with time and a half pay. That has been nice, but I have missed Ross as he works long hours. This weekend, he got a few hours scheduled on Saturday. We decided to make the most of it, because that's the kind of people we are :)

We left around 7:45 so that I could stop and pick up my first Bountiful Basket. Expect a post about that later. It is awesome! After depositing all the veggies and fruits on ice in a cooler and a large box, we headed to Salt Lake where Ross went to his office and did all manner of important and offical, (and incredibly boring) things, while the kids and I hung out. We watched Beauty and the Beast on my laptop, went and got breakfast off the dollar menu at Burger King, read some books, danced to music on the radio, and played around in the grassy area outside Ross's office building. There are some lovely trees and a stream that runs right by there. It was nice and relaxing. After fulfilling his overtime hours, Ross found Jack napping, me reading, and the girls chasing each other around a tree with sticks. Good times.

We had decided that since we were already going to be in Salt Lake, we would head over to a party my friend Brittany was throwing at her house in Ogden. We still had some time to kill before then, so we went to a Layton theater and got tickets to Despicable Me. We walked around the mall until the movie started.

We liked the movie. It was very cute, and the girls laughed the entire time. Jack liked it as well. Just like Toy Story, he found all the colors mesmerizing and would not sleep the entire time. He was fully alert. He was also a little bit mischieveous. . .

Right during a very quiet spot in the movie, a large toot echoed throughout the theater originating from my baby's bottom. That magnificent rumble was quickly followed by an equally magnificent stench and a puddle of warmth down my leg. The stinker got me. Got me good! I ran to the bathroom to mop us up as best as I could. Jack fared pretty well as I had extra clothing for him. The same could not be said for me, however, as Colonel Mustard baby poopy does not wipe off of denim very well.

After the movie, I was forced to use some of my birthday money (thanks Judy!) to buy a new pair of jeans. Honestly, I needed them anyway. I just really, really, REALLY hate shopping for clothes. Everything is so expensive and finding my size is a pain, and making my husband entertain all my kids while I try and find something I am willing to spend money on makes me feel fidgety and guilty. After a lot of trial and error, I ended up getting some nice jeans and a shirt from Old Navy that were on sale. They are very comfortable and actually fit, and I am glad I got them even if it wasn't the time or place I planned on doing that.

After purchasing my new clothing, we went to Logan and enjoyed a night of good food and games with Brittany and Steve at their house with a bunch of their friends. The kids were very good, and we had a lot of fun. We ended the night chatting as we drove home while the kids all slept very soundly in their seats. We had worn them out!

It's funny how such simple components like playing on grass, watching a movie, and seeing good friends can all combine to make a kick-awesome day. I love my life. That is all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Universe's Birthday Gift to Me!

Every year right around my birthday, the Earth throws a nice bash for me by travelling through the debris from a comet which results in the Perseid Meteor Shower. I love it! Ever since learning about it 8 or so years ago in an astronomy class (the one I met Ross in), I have loved it! It never dissappoints.

Last year was the best because I was camping with my family up in the mountains, so there were no lights anywhere to block out the stars and the meteors. This year was almost as good due to the fact that we live in the middle of nowhere, and the moon set about the same time as the sun. We let the girls stay up late with us, and we took some blankets, sleeping bags, and couch cushions out to the park that is in our backyard. It was fun. Here are some pictures to prove it.

Emma saw three on her own, and was so excited about it.

We stayed out for about an hour, and saw about 15. That is one every few minutes. The peak of the show wasn't until just before dawn, and I hear that it was incredible which almost made me regret sleeping in. Almost.
Thanks for the celebration, Universe. I loved it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Little Beauty Secret

"If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts everdy, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."

Roald Dahl- "The Twits"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Soldier Homecoming Video

Somebody sent this video to me on facebook. It really struck a chord with me. (That is a fancy way of saying I bawled my eyes out the entire time.)

It reminded me of the day I introduced Ross to Emma, his first-born child. It was in the Salt Lake City Airport. She was 7 weeks old. We had been living apart for 9 months, and we hadn't seen each other in person for almost 5 months. In the time that had lapsed between that reunion and our last goodbye, I had endured an emergency C-Section, post-partum depression, marital strife, spiritual questioning, and all the ups and downs that come from a new baby, living with family, and longing for affection. Ross had endured loneliness, personal attacks on his beliefs, marital strife, a string of serious seizures, stress about his future- our future, a series of medical tests, and a deep desire to meet his child and comfort his wife. It was rough.

I waited there in front of the escalators in the airport holding Emma Rose in a pink crocheted blanket. I was so giddy, and so nervous. I kept hoping I looked alright and that the waterproof mascara would hold up. (It didn't. I should have just done without for that night.)

When I first saw him coming down the escalator, all I could do was cry and smile in the pained and broken fashion you see so much of in this video. The tears continued to flow as we ran the last few feet between us and just held each other. All I could do was cry.

They were mostly happy tears. Tears of joy at being reunited with my love.

Tears of relief that he was safe.

Tears of happy nervousness, like those butterflies just before a hot date.

But there were other tears mixed in there - - darker tears.

Tears of pain.

Tears of sorrow.

Tears of angst.

Tears of worry and fear.

Tears of anger.

Tears full of deep and bothersome questions.

Will he still love me? Why did this happen to us? What will we do now? Are all those people watching us? How will we reconnect? Are we squishing the baby? Will he be a good father? Will I be a good mother? Why can't I just be happy in this moment instead of terrified? How will this work out? Can he get a job? Should I get a job? When will this heaviness between us lift? Will I still be lonely? Can I really fulfill him like I want/used to?

It was intense. It was one of those pivotol moments in my life that I can't quite pin a tag of either happy or sad on. It lies somewhere in between- or on a different spectrum, maybe.

This video made me weep as I thought back on all that anxiety and pain I felt when my soldier came home. It was so hard, and my soldier was never at war. In a national disaster zone with exposure to deadly bacteria and chemicals- yes. In a foreign country with extreme conditions, deadly insurgents, and daily IED worries- no. Not even close!

I have no idea how those families do it. I can't believe I was so close to being one of those wives. I definitely do not even come close to understanding what lied behind all those expressions and tears in this video, but I think I have at least a teensy bit of a clue. I am awed by them. They are heroes. All of them.

I am grateful there are brave and honorable men and women in this country who are willing to sacrifice so much for us. I am thankful for the families of those soldiers who support and love them even though it breaks them down in so many ways to do so. God bless them all.

Monday, August 02, 2010

It is Impossible to Overestimate the Influence of Parents Who Understand the Hearts of Their Children

That title came from Robert D. Hales's conference address entitled 'Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation'. When I read that during one of my few quiet moments of the day (which may or may not have been when I locked myself in the restroom for a mommy time-out) that statement struck me with real force.

"It is impossible to overestimate the influence of parents who understand the hearts of their children."

I totally see this daily in my life, and I know that concentrating on it with a more concerted effort will help me be a better mother. I am certain of it. It is such a simple and yet universal statement that applies at every stage of parenthood.

Currently, my stage of mommydom has me overseeing three very different stages of life, and yet this idea of having power in understanding my children is poignant and real in every case.

Emma is in a very informational stage. She is on the cusp of reading and wants so very much to be in charge of almost every situation she is in. I have found it loads easier to have patience with her bossyness when I stop to consider the source of it. She is not ever trying to be mean or undermining. The reality is that she is the oldest and, as a natural consequence of that, found herself in a semi-leadership position at a young age. I get that, having been there myself. It is hard to put aside those tendencies to organize, lead, and create when your parents expect that of you as the elder sibling. That doesn't mean that she doesn't need some tempering at times, but it does keep my temper quiet when I know she is not prone to disrespect.

Understanding this part of her personality has also helped me to be sympathetic to her occasional need for coddling. Emma is pretty mature for her age. She understands and fulfills complicated directions very well, and seldom complains about it because she, like me, gets a high out of fulfilling those kinds of demands. However, I know that sometimes acting beyond her years can wear on her. At those moments, when she begins to have little melt-downs, it has served me well to remember that Little Miss is still a small child and needs snuggles, kisses, and reassuring words just like all the other little girls her age. That can be hard for me as my first reaction is often to tell her to calm down and stop being silly. I don't like whiny children, and have tried to make sure my children know that unneccessary crying is not appropriate or productive. The gift I can give Emma in these situations is to understand when she is whining and needs discipline, and when she is really needing some specialized attention. Our relationship, which I think is pretty strong, hinges on my ability to understand the motives and origins of her actions, and to know how to appropriately respond to them. Elder Hales is right in saying that is very much one of the most influential things in her life.

Sara is in a communicative stage. She is mastering her language and is adding to her vocabulary every day. Her emotions are not nearly as complicated as Emma's- but I know that is coming. I am actually really proud of my little toddler. She is pretty fantastic. She is potty trained and she speaks better than any other 2 year old I have met- including Emma at her age. Her vocabulary is fairly extensive and her sentences are full and comprehensive. . . at least to me. Some people are a bit confused by her brand of toddler vernacular, and I find myself translating sometimes- even for Ross at times. I actually find it a little surprising when other adults don't understand her. Everything she says is so clear to me- because I understand her. She can communicate with me easily the things she needs, wants, dislikes, sees, and is afraid of. The power of regular conversation is incredible, and I have it with my two year old because I understand her. I love that.

Understanding Jack, my sweet almost 2 month baby (by the way- where in the world did those two months go?!) is a simpler, and yet more miraculous thing at this stage. I know my baby. Inside and out. I felt this with my other two, but not nearly as strong. I don't know if I am just better at this new-born thing now, if Jack and I will always have a special bond, or if Heavenly Father is just helping me get through this stage of my life alive by blessing me with a unique facet of interpreting tongues, but I get this kid! I really do. I can tell by his movements, his coos, his grunts, his cries, and his facial expressions exactly what he needs from me. I know when he needs a binky, when he is hungry, when he needs to burp, when he is working on a masterpiece of a diaper, when he wants to be held closer, when he wants his blanket taken off, and so many other things. Somehow, in a way I have never experienced so fully, I understand every nuance of his little spirit. I really understand him, and I credit a great deal of his mellowness to this. He is so much more calm and content than the girls were as babies, and I think that is very much because I understand what he needs to remain so.

"It is impossible to overestimate the influence of parents who understand the hearts of their children."

So true. So very true. I hope I will always be able to understand my children and what they need from me. I hope that I will be able to empathize with them when they make wrong choices by seeing the basis of those decisions. I pray that I will remain as influential in their lives as they grow up by remembering the power of simply understanding them.

Most of all, I am grateful for the profound message Heavenly Father sent to me in a 5 minute break during a very chaotic and demanding day. He is definitely the ultimate example of a parent who understands his children.