Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!

Several years ago, while Dave was in Iraq, I was Elastagirl for Halloween. Oh, to be like Elastagirl for real! Do you ever have those days where you feel like no matter what you do accomplish, no matter how hard you try, there just is NOT enough of you to go around and there is still so much left undone??? I've had a few of those lately!

Sometimes I look around at others and think, "Gee, so-and-so has got it ALL together. I wish I could be more like so-and-so!" You know what I'm talking about- the person that has an immaculately clean house with a gorgeous well kept yard, a darling and talented brood of perfectly behaved children, money out their ears, and tons of time to serve others. I'm soooo not that girl and sometimes looking at the parts of other people's lives that are readily available to SEE, it can become easy to get down on ourselves and all that we aren't instead of focusing on all that we are and all that we are doing RIGHT!

TOTAL CHANGE OF SUBJECT- (but not, all at the same time, because this has EVERYTHING to do with what I am talking about!) I have an amazing friend that passed away last month. She took her own life. I spoke to her on the phone a few weeks before she died. One of the things that she shared with me was that she had recently started running. RUNNING? Really? Well I was impressed and I still am! In fact, I am inspired.

One of the other things this wonderful friend did often was blog. She had an amazing way with words and they ALWAYS inspired me. She talked a lot about things that were important to her, ways that she is involved in the community, her hopes, her fears, and her children. Something I found out about this friend over the years that I knew her was that she had a very difficult time being honest. You never knew if some of the things that she said were truth or fiction, and, I believe, SHE didn't even know half of the time because she lied SOOO much that she believed her own lies. Yet even that inspired me. Still does. Maybe the reason for her lies was because no matter what she did, she felt she wasn't enough.

And so these days I find myself doing something I never thought that I would do. I have ALWAYS said that you don't have to run to get to heaven. THAT is the TRUTH! Yet I look at my friend who was FAR from being a person you would imagine being a runner and I see the impact that it made in her life, even though it certainly didn't change whether she was happy and still does not change the fact that SOME parts of life were soooooo unbearable that she couldn't face them, not for even one more day, and I say to myself, "If she could do it, I can too."

Now I know what some of you are asking yourselves. How do I know if she was telling the truth? I don't, for sure, but it doesn't matter! She still inspires me! So in honor of Lisa, I've been hitting the treadmill 3 days a week and even though I am a pathetic anemic weakling child, I am running. I am up to a mile without feeling like I am going to DIE- but I'm going to do a 5K sometime soon because I am determined! I'm going to keep running!

Last year I wrote a post that sort of summed up what my life is like. You can find it here! And while my life has changed a little, it's pretty much just as crazy, as I imagine most of your lives are. Days like THAT are EVERY DAY around here. But I do it day in and day out because #1 I thrive on chaos and #2 I don't have a choice and #3 being here with the craZiness is what allows me to be with all of my favorite favorites- my kiddos!

So while there are days that I feel like I get nothing accomplished and when I wonder where my super suit is, it is ALL worth doing! I MIGHT lose my mind somewhere along the way, but perhaps it wasn't worth keeping, anyhow! And I'm going to remember that
While we may not have it all together, together we have it all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Recipe- YUM!

I know, I know... When you are in the middle of getting the guts out of a pumpkin, eating ANYTHING isn't exactly on your mind. But if you've ever tasted roasted pumpkin seeds, somehow you'll find a way to try this recipe!

Recipe is a LOOSE term... This is one of those things where you actually don't measure, you just do! It's sort of hard to screw up if you've spent much time in your kitchen, even if it is just eating... I think you'll all do fine, let me know-

We carved five pumpkins tonight, so there were PLENTY of seeds amongst all the guts! I found out the easiest way to collect them was out of the clean garbage bag we were using to put the guts in. I would grab a handful of guts and shake it gently, then scoop up the loose seeds that were left behind.

Then I threw them in a colander and rinsed them in warm water, picking out whatever stringies I could find as I went. I then put the seeds in some salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. When that was done I drained them and then spread them out on a tin-foil lined baking sheet. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and spread them out so that none are on top of each other. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. While they were still warm, I added a cinnamon and sugar mixture and a little more olive oil, (just to help the cinnamon stick) and stirred them around to coat. Mmmmm- hope you ENJOY as much as I did!

PS- pumpkin seeds are VERY good for you! (olive oil and sugar probably aren't, let's call it a trade-off!)

Little Stay-Cation From The Norm!

Even when there is no school for Dave or the kids, daycare and church responsibilities make it hard for our family to get away for very long. This was the case again when school was out last Thursday and Friday for UEA. That was okay with us, though, because none of us were interested in spending hours in the car or the work of packing and unpacking. In fact, to look at my house today, one can deduct that we weren't much interested in any kind of work at all! Family, Fun, and a bit of a break was all we had on our minds!

Thursday we slept in a little and stayed in our jammies for a bit. We only had 3 daycare kids so the day was very low key. Dave and I tidied our bedroom a bit and I started on a project for our room that I've been wanting to do for months. Sadly, it still isn't finished but I'm hoping to get to it today. Dave being home made it easier for me to make some Relief Society visits, but we only found one of the sisters on our list at home. We made pizza for dinner and the kids all had gymnastics that evening.

Friday began with some cute kids from the ward arriving- their daddy had surgery just the day before and wasn't doing so well. My kids thought it was great because they each had a playmate for the day! They went home shortly after lunch as did the 2 daycare kids I was watching. We headed out for a little family fun!

We started at the pumpkin patch! Our own garden only produced one pumpkin this year. Kamden was the driving force behind this visit- he's really wanting to decorate for fall! The kids enjoyed searching for the perfect pumpkins and pulling Paxton around the patch in a wagon. We all climbed back on the car and headed off too the next adventure- the zip line at Miller Motorsports Park!

Not much was going on that day- the go-cart track was full, but that's about it. A PERFECT day for us to be there! We went to the cart center and paid for the zip line. Kenz tried and tried to think tall thoughts, but she just wasn't 42 inches! Good thing we brought Grandma to hang out with Kenzington and Paxton. Too bad Grandma couldn't be convinced to join in the fun!

The zip line starts right where it ends! You sit in a ski lift type of chair and wait to be harnessed in behind you. Before you know it you are high in the air looking out over all of Miller Motorsports Park! Almost as quickly as you arrive at the top, you're on your way down at about 40 mph where you safely bounce backward a time or two and you're done! We all enjoyed it, but we all wished it weren't over so quickly! The kids enjoyed the playground for a little while and then we headed off to our next adventure: DI!

Deseret Industries is one of our family's favorite places to be. It's always adventurous to look for a treasure. Everyone seemed to find something they thought was cool- now THIS is the reason my house is always such a wreck! Actually, we rent from DI- it all ends up back there eventually and they have no late fees! ;)

We went to dinner at Apollo Burger where we visited with some friends who happened to come in. Then we stopped on the way home to rent a RedBox movie and headed home to enjoy!

Saturday we had a few loose ends we needed to tie up at home by noon we were headed into Salt Lake to run a few errands and punker around. We parked at the Gateway and meandered through, stopping, of course, at Old Navy and the splash pad. The real goal here was for Paxton to be able to ride Trax which is Salt Lake City's light rail system. Paxton is OBSESSED with trains! We needed to pick up some prints at Costco in West Valley City, so we decided that Dave would drive the car there and the rest of us would take the train. The kids thought it was so much fun! We've ridden Trax lots of times before, but because of where we were going it traveled a bit faster and went up over viaducts and through the "Spaghetti Bowl." None of the kids would stay sitting in one spot! They visited with other passengers and traded seats each time the train slowed down or stopped. Kamden insisted on hanging from the subway handles, even though he wasn't tall enough to reach them! I think other passengers just wished we would get off!

We met up in WVC and went to Costco to pick up our prints. My mom finished her shift at the temple and met us there as well. We did some quick Costco shopping and then headed to one of our favorites for dinner: Bajio! We've missed Bajio since the one in Tooele closed down. My mom headed to Bobby's and we headed on back to Tooele- we had one more fun adventure planned: The stargazing party at Stansbury Park observatory.

We'd never been to the observatory before and came a little unprepared- we thought it would be indoors and it was not. We were cold! We stayed for a little while and then headed to the car to get warm. The kids had entered a drawing for a chance to win a telescope, but they wouldn't be drawing for another half hour. We went to the new grocery store in Stansbury and looked around for a bit. Then we headed back to the observatory for the drawing. I stayed in the car with Paxton and Kenzi and Dave took the bigger kids over. Well it wasn't long before they were headed back to the car carrying not one, but TWO TELESCOPES! I guess it's a good thing we came back!

Our late night still wasn't done- a quick stop at WalMart for donuts (our favorite Sunday Breakfast) and choosing Halloween costumes, then home to tuck the turkeys in bed and finally relax! Although it was late, Dave and I watched "The Switch" with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman that Dave had rented the night before. Cute movie!

Thank GOODNESS that Sunday is a day of rest! Dave spoke in church and did an excellent job. While sometimes Sundays are runaround days for me, this one was actually spent mostly at home with one meeting in the morning and a few quick visits right after church. We had a good UEA weekend and now I'm ready for real life and routines to start again! Onward, ever onward!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Temple Experiences

Yesterday I had the most amazing experience. My mom, who is a worker in the Salt Lake Temple, took me with her to the temple worker's devotional that is held annually in the upper room of the temple. President Henry B. Eyring spoke to us there. The Spirit was SOOOOO strong! I know he is a servant of our Father in Heaven and I enjoyed every minute of listening to him speak.

One of the things that made the experience neat for me was that we went up one of the not often seen spiral staircases. Another thing that made the experience neat was that they opened the round windows which run along the top center of the temple. The music from both the choir and congregation was amazing and I think it would have been neat to be outside the temple and hear that music coming from within.

Often times it is difficult from inside the temple to envision where you are in comparison to the outside of the temple, but those windows made it easy for us and we could still see them open as we drove away. Then we rushed home to get the kids ready for church because Dave was at guard and we knew we would only have a few hours to do that in.

Just the day before, on Saturday, I spent the day thinking about the temple in a different way. I did a Super Saturday temple picture project with a ward in Spanish Fork. My brother Brian came and helped with the projects, which was neat for many of the ladies because he is also the photographer! His other amazing photos can be seen here! We managed to help finish 42 framed photos of the temple that day! I LOVE knowing that there will be 42 more walls with a really neat picture of the temple hanging on them!

This weekend underlined something else for me: I have an amazing daughter and an amazing husband! Dave and I somehow managed to overbook things- he had guard and I had the temple pictures and the devotional. Dave worked hard to help make sure I had everything ready for Saturday and Boston babysat all weekend long. I'm so proud of her!

Now if only we all had a weekend to recuperate from the business of the weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never Ceases to Amaze Me!

There are lots of times, with my calling, when I wonder about all the stuff I don't manage to take care of. About all the stuff I don't know about and about all the ways I could have done more if only I had more time.

There are days when I think they got the wrong girl. There are LOTS of ladies in my ward that have more talents, more abilities, and more time available to serve others than I do. And then I remember that when hands were laid upon my head and I was set apart as the Relief Society President of my ward that promises were made. I was promised that if I did my best I would be made equal to what was required of me. If I do my best, that's enough!

It seems that often when preparing for a lesson or a talk that I find myself wishing I had more time to prepare. I've had the topic on my mind all week and have been seeking help and guidance from the Lord about the matter, but time to sit still and listen and study and prepare has not really been something I've found.

But I've found myself in this situation often enough that I have learned to trust the Lord and the Spirit to make up the difference. And they do. And I am grateful.

I Stand All Amazed!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Highlights From General Conference

I LOVE General Conference. Usually. This year, the first session found me a bit grumpy for no really good reason, but grumpy all the same. I think if I'd not had a late night the night before I may have done better. Goodness! I repented before the second session and got a lot more out of it. Today I find myself going back through and listening to some of my favorites all over again.

In the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Ian S. Ardern spoke to us on using our time wisely. There were some obvious puns at those addicted to social media and video games, including some specifics directed at "Facebook" and "Angry Birds." Ultimately, the overall point was that our time should be spent best caring for and serving one another and serving the Lord, not going from one time wasting activity to another. What a great talk! Well worth listening to. And I LOVED that it felt so relevant to TODAY!

Elder Robert D. Hales spoke to us from his chair, apparently recovering from some health problems. He looked so different! That kind gentle voice and sweet smile shown through an obviously older and very different looking face. I'm not sure what health problems he's been encountering, but I appreciated his talk about waiting upon the Lord. He spoke of trials, especially trials of the righteous, being a test of our hope and trust in the Lord. He said that if we will continue forward in patience until we are perfected, our afflictions will work together for our good. I dare say he knows a thing or two about what he was speaking on! My favorite quote from this talk was, "Often we pray to have patience, but we want it right now." Yes, the irony of it all!

Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson spoke to us many times throughout this conference- arriving late to the Saturday morning session and speaking to us only briefly with high security ever near him. He announced several new temples to be built, including one in Paris France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Columbia, Star Valley Wyoming, and for the Provo Tabernacle which burnt down last year to be restored and to become an additional temple in Provo Utah! How Exciting! Our prophet joked and smiled with conference goers throughout his talks- we got to see a bit of his fun personality. He is so neat!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke to us Sunday afternoon on the importance of knowing Christ and doing his will, not merely doing things in his name. I found myself vowing to do better at knowing Christ and what Christ would have me do to serve my family and those around me. I have often forgotten to seek revelation when acting in Christ's name as I serve in my calling. I'm going to do better!

My favorite talk was given by Matthew O. Richardson on being REAL parents, leaders, teachers, and missionaries by teaching BY the Spirit, not in front of or behind the Spirit, but BY the Spirit. I had never thought of the word BY to mean next to, but Elder Richardson helped me think of it in that way. This talk helped me to realize that we are NEVER effective teachers, even when it is not a gospel topic, if we do not seek the guidance of the Spirit to know what to say and do to teach. I am especially excited to implement what I learned from this talk to the challenges and teaching moments I encounter as a parent. I'm so grateful for the insights gained from this talk!

I'm grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I'm grateful to be able to hear from the living prophet of the Lord and know of the Lord's will for HIS church and His children. And now on to LIVING it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Swim Baby Swim!

This summer we had one of those life altering challenges with one of our children. One that caught us a little more than off-guard and brought us to our knees. It was one of those experiences you never want to have as a parent, yet I am grateful for all that our family learned in going through it and I am grateful for the graces of God that got us through. I've felt for a while that I needed to share the experiences here. So here goes:

A neighbor child showed our son porn. Our son who is 8. I'm not talking a photo of someone in a bathing suit. Full on porn. I felt like someone threw my newborn baby into a fast moving river without a life jacket.

Kamden did the right thing- he came home and told us right away. He was VERY upset. We talked about it. We prayed together. We sought out wholesome activities to get his mind off of it. We went and talked to the neighbor child's grandparents. We gave our son some ideas of things to do if it crept back into his thoughts.

The neighbor child is 7. He's a good kid. I'm not sure how he came to believe that this behavior was appropriate, but nobody ever would have guessed that he'd be showing such things to my child. His grandparents were apologetic, but casual about the entire thing. They were sure the kids had just seen an icon with a swimsuit model or something on it. They acknowledged that the boys were "too young" for porn and promised to keep an eye on things in the future. I don't think anyone is ever old enough to ruin their life.

A few days later we discovered that Kamden's original offense to what was shown to him had turned into curiosity. It was one of those moments when it's just too quiet and you know without anyone but the Spirit saying that something is wrong somewhere. Then you listen a little harder and you even know WHAT is wrong and right where the trouble is. We discovered our son, in his bedroom with his ipad. He had been googling the word "strip," a word he NEVER would have been typing into google without a few pointers from the neighbor child. Let me tell you, pornography is NOT hard to find, especially if you go looking for it. He had found it. He knew that what he was doing was wrong, but he'd been curious enough to do it anyway. That just goes to tell you how addictive and powerful pornography can be.

I went upstairs to get Dave. I needed him to share this one with me. I felt like my son's life was at stake if we did not get to the bottom of this problem and prevent it from happening again and again. We prayed for help and guidance from the Lord on how to handle this one. Then we took a deep breath and went to Kamden's room to talk it out.

We had conversations with Kamden about the promises he had made at his baptism. We talked about the Holy Ghost and making good choices. One of the things that Kamden said next will stick with me for the rest of my lifetime. He said, "Mom, the Holy Ghost whispers, and Satan is REALLY LOUD!" Boy, he's right.

I felt the Spirit lead us into the next part of the conversation. We'd just started babysitting a baby. I asked Kamden to tell me what some of the things we could do for the baby if he is upset. We made a list of them: feed him a bottle, change his diaper, burp him, put him down for a nap. I asked Kamden what we should do if we had done all of those things and the baby is still crying or still upset. The answer was simple: do them all again! Then we made a list of things that our Father in Heaven has asked us to do. On the list went all the Sunday School answers: read our scriptures, say our prayers, go to church, have family home evening, pay our tithing. Then we made a list of things we should NOT do. Haaah! The first thing Kamden said to put on the don't do list was "look at porn"- giggling. Also on the list were things like tell lies, cheat, steal, be unkind, and (this one made me laugh!) eat in the living room! (Cute boy!)

Now here's the lesson: When you are doing the things that you are SUPPOSED to be doing, it is infinitely easier to avoid the things you are NOT SUPPOSED to be doing. Not only that, but when you are doing the things you are supposed to be doing, it is MUCH EASIER to hear the whispers of the Holy Ghost well above any enticing of Satan. It is the truth. Now back to the part about caring for the baby- our personal worship habits help us care for ourselves the way we care for a baby. When we are done praying and reading our scriptures, especially if we are having a hard time with something, we just do it all again!

We talked more about baptismal covenants and repentance. We helped our son set some goals. We talked about the Sacrament and it's importance. We took away some privileges, including the use of his I-pad. We discussed some of the consequences that could come from what he was doing. We reminded our son that we love him very much and that we want for him to have a good and righteous and happy life. Then we brought him upstairs to be with the rest of the family and to find ways to occupy his mind so that the disgusting images he'd been looking at earlier wouldn't continue to be something he thought about.

We went back to visit with our neighbors. We knew that this time, it had been our own child's bad judgement, but we wanted to let them know what specifically had gone on because we knew our son had learned this from their grandson. This could help them keep him safer, too. They were again apologetic and we all set out to make our homes safer places. We went home and made every electronic device in our home a fortress against anything that is not right and true! Or so we thought...

Throughout the week we went out of our way to talk with Kamden about the problem and see how he was doing with his repentance process. At first we tried to keep it between him, us, and the Lord, but as time went on we discovered that he wanted to talk about it. At family home evening we hit the topic hard. Kamden shared that he wished someone else was having the same problem so that he could help them stop.

Our boy has always had a fascination with fire. Every time they have some kind of a fire safety bit at school, he comes home and talks about one part that really bothers him. It's the part where they tell the kids not to try to save other family members, but just to get themselves out. Kamden always talks about how he loves his baby brother Paxton soooo much and that he would rescue him from a fire even if it meant that he himself didn't make it out. I've never really discouraged that line of thinking. I guess I figured the chances of our house burning down were not huge and that it was sweet to hear him talk of his love for his baby brother. But with this talk about wanting someone else to have the same problem, I brought up a different point.

Wouldn't it be better to prevent a fire on our home to begin with??? That's why we don't play with matches and we make good decisions that help to keep our home safe. I explained to Kamden that it would be better if he could help PREVENT others from having problems with pornography. If they never started, they wouldn't need help to stop. This DEFINITELY made sense to him. We went and posted some links to church videos about avoiding pornography on Facebook. Kamden was so proud of himself.

Saturday afternoon Boston and Kenzington and I all went to run some errands. Dave and the boys were at home. Dave was in our room catching up on some grades or something and Holden and Kamden were watching a show in the family room. Kamden logged onto our dinosaur desktop computer and found access to pornography again. Holden saw what he was doing and told Dave. Dave put an end to it. I found out as I returned home later.

Wow. Just nominate me for mother-of-the-year right now! What a crappy parent I am! I hadn't even THOUGHT about the crappy computer sitting there! After all, it was out in the open where everyone could see it and the thing BARELY RAN! Seriously, it takes an HOUR just to boot it up! But none of that mattered. Our boy had done so well for 6 days and now he was starting the repentance process over. My boy's life was flashing before my eyes. I felt so helpless as a parent! And I was angry. I was angry because I felt like so much had been taken away. I felt like my child was drowning and I couldn't do anything about it. For the first time in my life I felt like Satan's power was stronger than good.

For a minute! And then we snapped out of it and did what any good parents would have done- we took the dinosaur dust gathering computer outside and took a baseball bat to it! The entire family got in on it, taking some of the frustrations of all that had been taken away from our boy out on this poor innocent ancient device. I think Kamden enjoyed it the most. And then he went right on repenting.

I learned something about the atonement that week. I learned that it means something different to Kamden than it means to me. I learned that having children means I need it even more than I ever realized before- I'm counting on it to help my family be whole in the eternities! And I learned that I don't get to decide when the repentance process is over for Kamden- only he does. He felt like the Saturday set-back was part of the process for him, a part of the process that underlined that he wanted to be clean and never do it again.

He'd been looking forward to Sunday all week long. He wanted to take the Sacrament. He wanted to be clean. We all wanted that, too. As we sat in Sacrament meeting that Sunday afternoon, the bread and water tasted better than ever before. Kamden, upon taking the water, said, "I'm clean!" Realizing it was testimony week, a minute later her leaned over and said, "I want to bear my testimony, and I know JUST what to say." It was a minute or two into the Bishop's testimony that I realized what he MIGHT say. Oh no! I explained in a hurried whisper that he could share that repentance was important to him without sharing EVERYTHING. I told him that some of the kids in the room didn't know about some of the things that he did and their parents would probably like to keep it that way. He reassured me that he wouldn't say anything too much and that I didn't need to worry. The second the Bishop finished his testimony, my boy bolted to the pulpit.

Well you can't teach your child to listen to the Spirit and then tell him that he can only listen to the Spirit if it doesn't make you feel like an idiot or shrink in your seat during Sacrament meeting! My boy shared a sweet, honest, beautiful testimony that had the attention of EVERYONE in the room. He shared it all. He shared what he learned. He shared how good it was to be clean. He shared that he'd slipped up again the day before. He shared that he'd used a baseball bat to destroy the dinosaur computer. He shared that his parents loved him. He shared that he wanted to be good and do what was right. He shared the Spirit.

While I held my breath through every word out of my son's mouth that day I was also sooooo proud of him. He didn't care what others thought of him. He cared about preventing others from going through what he'd gone through. I know there were adults in the room that re-examined their lives at that very moment. I know there were conversations had in homes in the days and weeks to come. I know that while their were a few gasps, that none of that mattered. My boy and my family were better because of the experience.

It's been a few months. Things that we learned from that experience have helped us through other experiences. Our son has worked really hard to stay clean. He did have another slip-up when my mom left her I-pad laying on our couch, which was a learning experience all over again. He's met with our Bishop and we've done even more to strengthen the walls of our fortress for what is right and good. But Kamden understands the atonement better than many kids his age and he has done really well.

We've worked harder to remember our prayers and our scripture study. We've worked harder to have the Sacrament mean something to each of us EVERY week, even when we haven't done something huge. We've tried, despite Satan's best efforts, to invite and feel the Spirit in our home. Satan still has an influence here, more often than we'd like him to. But we're determined that Satan won't win.

Swim Baby Swim!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Randomness

Yesterday was one of those days with Paxton- the boy was just on a roll. Such a little turkey through Sacrament Meeting. The highlight of his Paxton-ness was when he dumped an entire bag of colored marshmallows on the family room floor. Oh my goodness he is sooooooo very two!

Holden's baptism preview was last night. I can't believe my boy is going to be 8 in a few months! He was so excited about the evening. When he first got the invitation, he just kept re-reading it. He pointed the word refreshments out to me a few different times. And I think he was excited to have his mom and dad to himself. He's sure a cute boy and he tries so hard to be good.

With school starting there has been a lot of daycare turn-over at my house. I suddenly find myself with 6 two year olds a couple of days every week. I'm full to the brim a lot of the time. They sure are fun though and they play together nicely, most of the time. Every year I worry for just a moment about whether the kids will get along well and whether I'll generated enough income to make daycare worthwhile. Then I tell myself to just trust Heavenly Father and it will all work out and it does! I'm so blessed.

Paxton is learning to talk better and better. He still doesn't finish lots of his words, but he's consistently using his versions of them and he's stringing things together and communicating his wants and needs pretty well.

The kids, except Paxton are all in gymnastics classes together on Thursday nights. They are all enjoying it and have learned a lot. Kamden struggles a little bit- he's never been incredibly physical, but he's come a long way. Holden has potential to be a little gymnast!

Boston just got a part in the school play so we'll see less and less of her in the upcoming months. She's enjoying junior high and is making lots of new friends. She was invited to her first boy-girl party the other night, good thing it was Tyson's party- he's such a good kid and I trust his parents. She had a really good time. She's growing up way to fast!

Dave and I just celebrated fourteen years together- gee I feel old! He sure is my better half! I'm the lucky one for sure!

There is talk of him possibly going to Japan for a few weeks in January with National Guard and talk of Kosovo in a few years for a longer term mission. I guess we'll just see what life brings.

I guess I better go bake bread and get caught up on housework.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Lists These Days

I am done with school for now. I got my associates degree, which was the goal for now, and it's time to go back to being a wife and mother full time and getting my life back in focus. We're all trying to find the new norm around here and get back into some habits and break some others. There's one thing that seems inevitable in life: CHANGE

Some of the lists around here have changed a bit.
  • Housework has finally MADE the list! Not to say I didn't do any before, but I just might get on top of it and stay on top of it now!
  • HOMEWORK is NOWHERE on ANYONE'S list for now!
  • The kids each have their own lists-AND they are actually completing them!
  • PACKING lists are not just junk that comes inside orders from vinyl/clockpart suppliers- Boston is preparing for her trip to DC and Dave is off on his trip to Croatia. Let's just hope they are also good at UNPACKING when all is said and done!
  • Grocery lists are a once a month thing again. HOORAY!
  • YARD WORK is not only on the list these days, but doable somewhere in between rainstorms! What wacky weather we've walloped through!
  • We have a little bit of a list of things we want to do this summer, but we aren't planning to go very far or do very much
  • Somehow, soaking in a HOT TUB got added to the list! I am yet to achieve it as the tub will be delivered tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to that one!
I don't have any funny kid quotes to add here right now cuz I haven't taken the time to jot any down, but here's a thought for the day, care of my amazing Uncle Daryl who is the closest thing on the planet to my Old Weird Dad:
"Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way!"
On to my list for today which includes baking bread, cleaning up a bit, and spreading out LOTS of dirt all over my back yard. Never a dull moment. Much as I HATE some of the daily grind that makes up a bit of life, I am grateful to have more time to do it all in these days. Life is good! I am so blessed!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training!

Some people dread potty training. I actually look forward to it. I know it sounds strange, but I do! With all that is going on in my life, I worried about when to work it in with Paxton. He's been warming up to the idea for a while now, using the potty before baths and randomly when he wants to be a big kid. A few weeks ago, even though life is crazy, we bought some cute little boy unders: a package of Thomas the Tank Engine and a package of Disney themes. I gotta say there is just something about teeny little hineys in underwear that just makes you want to pinch them! The funniest thing is that my little guy wanted to wear all 12 pair at the same time! He still occasionally wants to wear more than one pair and I've caught him actually hugging his clean underwear when we're taking them out of the dryer! What a boy!

Let me just say there is more than one right way to potty train children. My method takes longer than many others... I start my kiddos YOUNG- Paxton is just barely 2 years old! But it works well for us and has them trained long before many kids their age are getting started. I give them lots of opportunities to use the potty and I cheer for them when they do what I want them to there. I view accidents as part of the process and don't let them bother me.

{{{{{{ WHOA!- Let me insert here that I have definitely done things WRONG in the past when it comes to potty training. I'm on child #5 of my OWN children and have potty trained 5 or more daycare children as well. I've learned a lot along the way, and while every kid is different, the #1 best thing you can do to help your kid succeed is to decide right now NOT to let accidents bother you. Negative attention is still attention and will increase the behavior it is associated with. The #1 way to have your child NOT be as successful is to get upset over any accident. Decide right now that accidents are part of the process and help your child learn. Let the natural consequence be the ONLY consequence! }}}}}

Now back to what I was saying... I don't believe in using pull-ups or even padded underwear because these actually inhibit the learning process- they prevent natural consequences! Just regular "tidy-whitie" type of underwear. If I'm in a situation where it's okay for my child to not wear pants over top of the underwear that's even better. I still use diapers for nap-time and bed-time until we're well into it and my child is waking up dry.

Initially I'm the one who is potty trained. When starting with such a young child, that's how it is. But slowly and surely the kiddo takes over to where they are doing it with less and less assistance.

My little guy has accidents often- at least one a day which is good! He's learning what happens when he needs the bathroom and doesn't do it in the toilet. Usually he wets a little, stops himself from wetting more and takes his unders off. He's learning to control when he goes and he's indicating to me what's going on. We run to the bathroom and he finishes in the toilet! He's never had a #2 accident- only ever taken me by the hand to the bathroom and done it there. He's doing great!

Last night my 12 year old daughter Boston babysat younger sibs while Dave took Kamden to an appointment and I was at class. She asked Paxton often if he needed to go and he said no each time she asked. Then suddenly he had no unders on and she asked him where they were. He took her by the hand to the laundry room and opened the front-loading washer for her. There they were! Funny kid! She cheered for him and encouraged him to try more often. He stayed clean and dry the rest of the night.

Many believe that potty training, especially with boys, is something to be saved until age 3 or until the child is "ready." Every kid is different and what works well with one would backfire big time with another. My method sometimes takes longer than others, but works best for my family and kiddos.

So why do I look forward to it and start it so young? Because potty training is one way to spend more quality time with my son. It's when his language begins to explode, like it is now with Paxton. It's an excuse to see the wheels turning in his brain and learn even more about his personality and what he likes, dislikes, and what drives him. Not paying for diapers is just a fringe benefit to seeing my baby turn into a little boy. And crazy as my life is right now, I'm not going to put HIS life on hold.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just thinking outloud!

Paxton will be 2 in just a few days. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? It seems like it was only yesterday that I held him in my arms for the first time, grateful that he was here and healthy and so happy that things didn't go another way. He's such a little tornado-turkey and we are lucky to have him in our family.

School is going well, but my heart isn't in it. I am just wanting to be done and spend my time being a momma and enjoying my kids. I'm anxious for the semester to end and to be done with it all for a while. I'm blessed to have had the experience of attending and grateful for the knowledge gained, but anxious to get back to focusing on what is MOST important- being a wife and mother. I'll have my associates when the semester is through and that is enough for me for now. I may take a class here or there online, we'll see.

We announced to the kids that we'll take a trip to Disneyland mid April. They are as excited as can be! Kenzington is fascinated with the idea!

It's been a rough couple of weeks with Kamden. Something seems to be "off" with him. We took him off Intuniv, a medication he has been on for ADD in an effort to fix things. He seems to be doing better. I wish I could find that boy's easy button- I would have pushed it a long time ago! I love being his mother and I'm grateful he is a member of our family. I love HIM- he brings so much to our family and I can't imagine life without him. I just wish he didn't have to struggle with things the way he does. He WANTS to be a good kid, but has a hard time making good choices. Part of me wants to go "camp" at Primary Children's Medical Center and get some things sorted out, but I don't know how practical that is. I'm grateful for a Father In Heaven that I can turn to when I'm wishing for an instruction manual on that boy!

Spring has sprung! Angie and Brian brought their families to visit Mom yesterday and it was nice to be able to be outside and enjoy nice weather. The kids flew kites and rode bikes and just enjoyed the outside. Paxton wants to spend every minute in the backyard! He's already had lots of tears this morning when I haven't wanted to take him out. This just might be the summer that he begins to practically live out there and we hose him off before bed each night! Better Paxton-proof the yard a bit so he can run wild out there!

Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of my Daddy's death. I miss that man so much! I hope he can see my kiddos and what we are up to. I hope he gets a glimpse often of what he's raised me to be. I hope he see what we're up to and is PROUD of us. Miss you Daddy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ramblings and a kid quote or 2!

This last week I had some opportunities to think about what is most important in life. Not that we don't always have such opportunities, but you know, sometimes we get caught in a bit of a spiritual inversion and can't clearly see the most important things that are right there in front of us. If we can find a way to take opportunity to rise above the smog of life we are often stuck in and blow that inversion out- the aerial view can be really enlightening as to where we are, where we want to be, and even the best route of getting there.

I think that so often we are caught up with things that are truly not important. Things that essentially will not matter tomorrow, next week, or a year from now. Things that we think will make our daily lives better, or at least make them APPEAR better to those around us. Things that truly do not make a difference toward what life truly is about. We've often lost sight of WHAT life is about! Our time, talent, and energy is often consumed either in doing things that do not matter, OR not consumed on anything- just wasted away to nothing by our complete inactivity.

Now there are many activities that we HAVE to do that are also unproductive toward what life is all about. May I just say they are easier done cheerfully than begrudgingly. They are part of the journey, we may as well enjoy them.

Okay- I'm not sure who left this microphone on, but I'm stepping down from the step-stool I climbed on to reach it and sneaking off the stage quietly...

So, I'm a week and a day into the semester and so far so good. It did help that yesterday was a holiday! All that's really taken place so far is those first days of class when the teacher and syllabus scare you out of your mind. On to those second days which will take place this week- you know, the ones where you realize that you are already behind and the real WORK begins. Wish me luck!

And now, the real reason you've been reading thus far: The KID QUOTES OF THE DAY!
  • We often purchase donuts on Saturday night to eat for breakfast on Sunday Morning. This last Saturday, the store had already sold all of their boxed dozens which left me scouring the remnants of the case for anything worthwhile. We ended up with "bars" instead of traditional donuts. Kenzington, upon seeing these said, "Daddy, these donuts don't have any holes in them!" A few minutes later after discovering that hers was cream-filled she announced that "someone took the holes and filled them up with ice-cream!
  • Last night I overheard Kenzington, who wasn't eating her dinner long after most of the family had left the table saying something about Heavenly Father coming down from outer-space and telling her she needed to eat her dinner or He was going to "spank her bum!" I sorta giggled and made a mental note that we had some clear topics for future family home evening lessons just as Holden announced to her that Heavenly Father doesn't live in outer space and then asked, "Mom, isn't Jesus the one that controls the weather?" Gotta love kids. The FHE list just got longer!
Onward, ever Onward! Here we go!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Ready To Take The Plunge!

Have you ever participated in a Polar Bear Swim? You know, you see them on the news sometimes and it's when a group of people get together to go for an outdoor swim in ridiculously freezing temperatures. I have never understood what might lead a person to participate in such an event other than perhaps peer pressure or wanting to be a part of something crazy. Yet right now I find myself with, what I imagine anyway, those people must feel just before the plunge. I am about to start another Semester of school. I know it's going to be a lot to deal with and I don't feel very protected against the elements in front of me, but it's time to dive in anyway and I guess there's no turning back now. Here we go!

Life has been good. REALLY CRAZY, but good. As always, I am overwhelmed with the countless blessings in my life that have allowed me to somehow keep up with it all. Here's a list of a few of them:
  • My Handsome Husband- I love you Sir! I know it is often stressful around here, but we're a pretty dynamic duo and with you by my side, we somehow manage to be able to take on the world. I don't know what I would do without you! Love you!
  • Boston Danielle- I look at you, sis, and I'm the proudest mom ever! You're pretty responsible and helpful for a twelve year old. I know sometimes it's hard on you to have life be so crazy around here, but you've been super tough and a super big help. I love ya!
  • Mom- When I first suggested you should move here, I thought it was to help you. Now I know first hand it was to help me. I know sometimes it feels like we need to make an appointment with each other in order to find time to catch up. But I love that you are usually just downstairs and that you are always willing to weed vinyl, watch kiddos, or make the occasional pancakes and eggies. You're still one of my heroes! Love you!
  • TIVO- When I have reached the rare moment when I need to sit still and chill, you have those couple of shows that can make me LAUGH like nothing else ready to go for me. When it's time for bed and it's long past 10, I can count on you to show me the 10 o'clock news and let me skip the commercials so I can turn my brain off and sleep. I'm a better mom because of you! Love ya!
  • The Mormon Channel- Thanks for inspiring me, uplifting me, and helping me think outside of my house! I will forever be a better person because of you. I can only stomach so much Mo-Tab, but you never take it personal when I flip to LDS radio for a few to get me through.
  • The LORD- You are always finding ways to make me equal to the call! My best really wouldn't be anywhere close to good enough, but you really do make up the difference as we go, not just all at the end. I'm so grateful for the promptings you send my way. You trust me with a lot and I'm grateful for opportunities to be the messenger sometimes and help spread your love and service to others. I love you!
Guess what- I'm realizing I AM more protected against the elements in front of me than I thought. So here I go! I'm taking a deep breath, pulling a "not so sure about this" face, and I'm going to jump in.

Is it okay if I don't get my hmm-hmms wet yet?