Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Christmas miracle

It was Christmas Eve morning and we arrived at church on time (now that is not the whole of the miracle--but it is quite amazing). As we scurried into our seats, my dear husband leans over and reminds me that he will be sitting on the stand to sing with the choir for the entire program. i tried not to throw a tantrum right there...I am after all the mother. Perhaps as a blessing for not throwing a tantrum...i received this christmas miracle...I sat through that whole meeting! I listened to the beautiful music and even thought some Christmasy thoughts. Of course I also drew endless numbers of trains, hearts and flowers, whispered a Max and Ruby book, played patty cake, played peek-a-boo, tried to quiet the laughing babies after playing peek-a-boo, wiggled and bounced babies, discreetly nursed once, juggled three children on my lap at once, scratched backs...really this meeting is only a little over one hour long! My daughter did take one of the babies out to walk out some wiggles...but I sat through the Christmas Eve service.

For me that is an amazing miracle.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas morning

Christmas morning started at 3:30! I was blissfully unaware of its beginnings. My oldest daughter, 10, woke up to go to the bathroom. As she was walking down the hall our new kitty, fuzzy, ran between her legs and generally scared her almost to death. We had left Fuzzy to roam free, because we didn't like the thought of traping her somewhere all night, or somehow boxing her up. It turns out we are more like PETA than we thought...we spared the cat and scared our child.

Kalani finally caught the kitty and promptly put her outside! Luckily for us, Fuzzy scratched until Kalani let her back in and came to inform me that there was a cat in the house. It was 4:30 when Kalani came into our room, Kalani was very excted to know that fuzzy was not an intruder, but instead a Christmas present. Soon all of the children were up including was 5:30AM. I was worried they would be grumpy, but had underestimated the power of adrenilin and stockings and ofcourse the all entrancing kitty.

We understand their excitement. In the middle of our Christmas Eve preparations, Fuzzy was delivered. Chris and I paused to play with her for...two hours. We snuggled her, fed her treats, showed her around...and generally forgot everything we were supposed to be doing while playing with the kitty. She is beautiful, all black with a small tuft of white on her chest. It does seem amazing that we haven't had a cat before now, especially considering how much our children have begged.

We enjoyed seeing Chris' parents, his sister and children and my brother and his family. It was a busy, wonderful, family day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

bed head

I have found it is very easy to go into great detail on the lack of sleep, quantity of diapers and spit up, lack of alone time and many of the inconveniences of motherhood. It is very difficult to explain how it feels to wake up to this...How could anyone not just instantly fall in love with that face?

I have also what age is bedhead no longer so cute? I know its somewhere between 5 and 30, because it is certainly no longer cute on it the same age that toes are no longer cute...or knees or ears or noses? Do they each have their own cuteness expiration?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

it was the best of was the worst of times

I do not know why we built gingerbread houses. It was definitely not on my agenda, I was talked into it. I see it as definite proof I am not my own woman that I said yes....what was I thinking. I spent one whole afternoon making the gingerbread, cutting it out, baking it, putting it all over my lack of counterspace. Then as per instructions I let it dry overnight. The next day it came time to make the frosting glue, put them together, stand back and let my children take over. Of course that meant the house in front of the three year old ended up in pieces, and the house made for the cousins ended up broken as well. Apparently gingerbread houses are not really suitable for those under the age of four.

At this point I was ready for death by gingerbread...then my son, Raymond, and my three daughters Kalani, Natalie and Lydia sat and decorated their houses for almost two hours. Kalani and Natalie ended up with a garden, with a pumpkin patch, and a path made of smarties. None of our houses qualify forany awards, but boy did those children have fun.

This is all very good, because my house went to pot over those few days. All that baking and cutting and building left very little time for laundry...and there is a lot of laundry when people catch some sort of stomach bug. Tonight we have three children sick, tomorrow is our anniversary...who wants sweet nothings anyway. i'll take a good man who'll clean up throw up and do his own laundry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

fabulous firsts

To break up the monotony of rants and ramblings I will inform you of the new experience I had this weekend. Last Friday I took five children to the grocery store. This would classify as a fear factor event for most people. I was not that worried myself because I have seven children, so really this was a sort of holiday.

The one aspect that needs to be considered along with quanity of children though, that makes this trip not a holiday, is the quality of the children...well really just their ages should suffice. I have children aged 10, 8, 7, 4, 3, 1, and 1. On this trip to the store I was missing the 10 and 8 year old.

As I drove to the store I mentally planned my coping strategy. I was carrying one baby, the other was in a stroller being pushed by an incredibly motherly 4year old. The 7 year old was generally walking near the cart. The 3 year old was sitting in the cart. He is the x-factor. The most volitle member of our shopping crew.

Unexplicably I deviated from my plan. We were going along fine until we got to the is the mistake I made and plan to learn from...I let the 3 year old out of the cart! From that point on the trip was disastrous. We were technically done and just needed to check out, but between the yogurt and the checkout line the little 3 year old took off. He is obviously healthy-I know this from the speed he maintained through the store. I am obviously not as my loving 7 year old was instantly deputized and sent to retrieve the felon.

There I was at the checkout line with one 4 year old and two one year olds lookings around distractedly. The checker asks me if I have found everything I was looking for. I reply altogether too honestly, "Except for my son". Just then I hear a squeal from the other corner of the store. It appears my deputy has been succesful in apprehending the felon.

Now what am I to do?

I leave the 4 year old and baby in sight at the check out line and race to keep the deputy from using excessive force.

Ah the joys of parenting. I am reminded that I am always just shy of chaos. I am reminded just how grateful I am for my two older girls. Technically the shopping trip can still be considered succesful as I bought everything on my list and with the same children I came in with. Unsurprisingly we had frozen pizza for dinner.

ode to a school teacher...

My husband and I love our Alma Mater. We both graduated from Brigham Young University. It is unique in so many ways...however (isn't "however" just fun to write! You know a lovely rant is coming), we recently received a dvd from my husband's college. He graduated from the David O. McKay School of Education. The dvd was a parenting dvd. I do not appreciate the public education system telling me how to parent. I wrote them a lovely letter. Here it is...

I am disappointed in the new parenting program "You Can Do This". The McKay School of Education continues to worry about political correctness-God is obviously missing from the "You Can Do This" dvd. If BYU can not involve God in teaching and parenting, who can?

The content of the dvd could be discussed further, but I am most concerned at its existence at all--coming from the school of education. It is not the role of public school educators to teach parents how to do their job. The Mckay School of Education must not perpetuate the worldly notion that teachers should fix parents. It is a slippery slope towards a socialist view that the government knows how to parent better than the parent does.

There is plenty to fix in the realm of education. Existing classes on multicultural education and family issues are nice, but they don't address the critical issue that our school system is based on homework. Mom may not speak English or be home to help with homework. Absolutely those family dynamics affect the classroom. The educational system can be changed. BYU's McKay School is the school to lead out in that change.

Surely that should keep the McKay School of Education busy enough.

BYU already has a wonderful school of family life that enobles parenthood and recognizes inspired principles.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

waxing nostalgic

I am trying to avoid a long rant about society and "these kids today" I'll try to be gentle. A chat room I like had a discussion about what age it is appropriate to start waxing one's eyebrows...wait don't look away this is a reasonable chatroom with normal people that are very nice!! It's just that a few of these ladies were saying in all seriousness that 10 is not too young to start waxing your eyebrows if it is affecting your self esteem! UMMMM...are you kidding me? Have you seen a grandma's eyebrows lately? My self esteem is related to my eyebrows? A ten year old should be playing with Barbies not trying to look like maybe that is part of the problem...

this is the long rant part

See how nice I am not to subject you to it all?

Gee back in the good ole days self esteem was based on lasting things like good hard work, service and knowing God loves you.


Monday, December 4, 2006

by Him I see all things

I remember in college happening upon a quote by C.S. Lewis. "I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not that I have seen Him, but that by Him I see all things." This one quote set off frequent ponderings about the sun and the Son. Once in the Hansen planeterium I remember a movie discussing how the sun is the source of all of our power; coal, oil, electricity, all share a single original power source...the sun.

Today my son informed me that I wasn't helping him meet his education goals! He needed to do more sience experiments, perhaps more than one a day. I can see his point he is after all newly 7 and time's a wasting. He chooses an experiment and there we are reading and experimenting with light. Here is the quote for the day "light cannot be seen until it strikes something that reflects it". This seems obvious and basic but the application is limitless. Do I reflect the light of the Son so others can see it? All matter reflects the sun's light, but different material absorb more than others, thus reflecting less. How much do I absorb, and reflect?

There is also a vision principle here. I am sure the Son's light is reflected all around me...and yet too often I am tired or frustrated and I miss it. What we see is dictated by who we are.

the way to my daughter's heart

Friday was tiring. I haven't gone out much in the last year and sometimes my children protest. Friday is the result of a delussional mother giving in to the protestations of naive children. We went to a play group for two hours immediately followed by a two hour homeschool talent show, followed by library time.

I made it home and tried to gather myself, while my twins made up for distracted nursing time.

Finally up from the nursing chair I discover it is time to make dinner. In the world wind that is dinner preparation in my familiy I don't remember sitting down until almost everyone was almost done eating. As I sat down to a delicious slice of homemade pizza covered with peppers I ask my 8 year old, one of the cheif protestors, if she had had a good day. "Not unless I get seconds " she says.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Number the Stars

I am always amazed with positive stories connected to World War II. I found The Hiding Place astounding, I enjoyed the Diary of Anne Frank, and Viktor Frankyl. Now Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is understated. It is about youth and courage. I have never heard about Denmarks role during the war. I had never heard that although Denmark surrendered, they destoryed their own Navy, so the third Reich could not use it. They also quietly smuggled most of their 7000 jew out of the country to Sweden! The virtue of that country to do what is right, protecting the Jewish people before it was even concentration camps were known and understood. It astounds me that a majority of the citizenship was willing to help or atleast remain quiet. Jewish people were their neighbors, friends and countrymen first, and not discriminated against becuase of their religion. If we could some how bottle this up and spread it around...what wonders there would be in the world! How did this country become that way? What would happen in America if we could see each other as friends and neighbors and Americans first...and whatever -ite or -ism you are or choose is secondary!

The Lord of the Rings

I normally try to write something after reading a book. It is generally a reflection of the thoughts I had while reading. For a few days after reading The Lord of the Rings I struggled with what I would write. There was almost too much in the book to pick one subject or theme. The more time I thought about it the more i kept coming back to one character...Samwise. What an amazing hobbit! What a devoted friend. His choice to stay with his master, even after experiencing increasing danger, is a selfless one. He must have bit his tongue constantly while Frodo learned or spoke when overtaken by the rings power. When others lost control, he let it role right off of his back. He was focused on the mission, even when he could have easily gotten distracted, which is how he snuck away with Frodo at the falls of Beruna. His dedication to resuce Frodo when he was captured is overwelming. All this without much thanks or least not verbal. Sam was definitely an actor, not a reactor.

I make come bak to this and think of one hundred things to add...but for now this is it...Tolkein writes for 1000 plus pages and I see one good friend.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

funeral memories..a love story

Shellie and Robbie met in a backyard at a bonfire. Although they only saw each other for a few moments that first night it left butterflies in her stomach and a determination in his mind. He begged, cajoled and pleaded until four months later he got her phone number. On their first date they went to the comedy club, held hands and shared one of what would be many electric kisses. He had a great smile and a disarming dimple. Their second date, Shellie knew she better keep her feet on the ground. They went to chuckie cheese with her four boys-he passed with flying colors. On their third date they talked about marriage...not theirs necesarily. They were married in March of 2001, December of the same year Riley was born. Robbie never once left home without kissing Shellie. Shellie worked as a manicurist in their home, and one day as she was with a client, she called out to Robbie. the client was sure Robbie had gone, Shellie was sure he had not. Finally Shellie said, "he hasn't kissed me yet, he hasn't left." A few minutes later Robbie walked in, kissed her and left. "Now he is gone" Shellie said. They were the coolst couple they knew. Everyone noticed their unique relationship. Her father in law thanked her for making his son so happy. Her sister in law said she was the love of his life and made him whole. Just five years after their marriage Robbie died suddenly of a heart attack, in the arms of his loving wife.

His stepson said he could not have asked for a better stepfather, then promised he would take care of Robbie's wife...this from a teenager. What a man

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 21

One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was to capture a "day in the life" every once in a while. Although today doesn't seem typical, I'm sick for example, there were still memories I wanted to capture.

1am Susan and Becca (1yo twins) wake up-Susan is snuffly and struggles to breath and nurse so I sit up in teh rocking chair with her. Both babies fall asleep in our bed-I don't. I drift in and out of sleep until...

4:30 In comes Benjamin (3yo) saying "I wanna watch a show" and "I'm too tired". I choose the second option and convince him to come in bed. This is why we have a king sized bed and this is also what makes this a non-typical day...

7:30 The older children have woken up and the girls are waiting for the babies to wake up. I get up and start breakfast.

8am family devotional in which the older children read scriptures about Moroni building walls around cities and digging moats...we discuss how that would NOT be a good thing to do around our house.

9am I am not the only one with a cold...this isn't technically a homeschool day. Both Kalani and Natalie have colds and stay in their pajamas all day. I mention this because this is one of those quiet learning days in which it is blatantly obvous to me that texbooks and desks aren't necessarily the best facilitators of knowledge. The children listen to Peter Pan on tape. I feel gipped that I have never read this book before and amazed at the story. Raymond (7) is reading an illustrated dictionary of mathematics and decides to use the tangrams to make some of the shapes. Much of the morning Natalie (8) and he work with tangrams while listening to the story. Other children join in for various amounts of time. We discuss geometry, names for polygons (not pronounce pol-ya-gons as originally thought by Raymond), various traingles, and quilting.

Meanwhile Lydia (4) has jsut started her phonics workbooks. We use Explode the Code ( ). She started yesterday and is on page 20. I end up bribing her to stop when I know she is tired and isn't being careful.

Somewhere in here I do two loads of laundry and make bread-bread and honeybutter is that part is completely normal!

The babies nap in the afternoon (simultaneous napping is considered bliss!), I play trains with Ben (3), during which my older daughters answers the phone and I miss an important message because she says I am busy! I read The Return of the King until Pippin and Merry unite and decide the Lord of the Rings is too long of a series to e all in one HUGE book...and much too tempting to read.

5pm dinner is begun, chores are begun, whining has begun, two loads of laudry are folde and put away. Unfortunately they are not the same two that were washed...but atleast we are no more behind then we were at the beginning of the day.

The children evidiently have a strange condition. When i mentioned chores they were all far too sick to pitch in, but are now playing a loud gme of tag through the house...i feel better about enforcing the chores.

6:30 an extravagant meal of spaghetti and meatballs begins...we discuss the differences between Disney and the real Peter Pan-the main difference they all brought up is that in the disney version Wendy is the first one of the the book it is the boys. We are split on which way we like it...(wendy or boys first)...but all prefer the book to the show. We also discuss planets and the sun (this was Raymonds doing) I ask him the difference between planets adn the sun and he immediately replies that the sun produces its own light...i think to myself that i better start reading what he is reading before he thinks I am really stupid. We also discuss the tragedy of the evening: once again we are denied books at the dinner table. Natalie (8) says this is worse than being grounded for a week. Poor child.

After dinner the girls dressed up and danced...Raymond asked if he could dance too with a prop (a sword). The girls swirl and Raymond and Ben end up collapsing on the bean bag in what can only be wrestling.

7:30 YIPPEE the dinner dishes are done before bedtime...this is not normal adn should in no way be construed as such...what is normal is baby bird and bedtime. I dose the children up with echinachia-which they all love. They stand around with their mouths open, which is why I call it baby bird. Bedtime was relatively easy, except in the shuffle susan fell down five steps.

Ben and Raymond's bedtime story was about volcanoes. Lydia wanted me to sing songs she made up herself-always a challenge.

8pm Kalani's night-we are reading "Growing Up" by Brad Wilcox. although she has already had "the talk", I want to make sure I didn't miss anything and that she understands it a little better. As we read the first page, she interupts and says, ya but how does the sperm get in there...thats what I want to know" I am reminded of why we are usng a book, relieved she doesn't know more, and happy she is interested...we skip ahead and read together. After a bit on birth we turn to Susan and Kalani says "Is that the way it was Susan?" To which Susan shakes her head no and laughs.

8:45 Chris comes home!!! We finish up Kalani's night, Lydia interupts for the third time, natalie comes up to defend herself from whatever Lydia is going to say.

9:15 I go to the bathroom by myself!!! I am quickly discovered and there is much crying at the door..then silence. I would have been happier with the crying, Chris hears splashing and discovers two babies playing in the other bathroom.

9:30 bedtime for newly washed babies!

I deserve or love and serve

This must be a weakness for me because I think I have learned this lesson a few times already. My first poignant memory would be as a mother of two young children. I was nursing one while rocking the other early on a Sunday morning. I grew more and more frustrated that my husband was peacefully sleeping in the other room. He finally woke up, we got ready for church and all the while I steamed. We walked into church for choir practice..we were late and that was obviously his fault. What song was the choir singing. "As I have love you, love one another." Mentally I froze..I noted that they didn't sing..."as much as you feel justified love one another". That one moment has led to a lot of pondering.

I didn't learn quickly. It was only a drop in the bucket. I hadn't learned it enough to have love continually overflowing from my heart.

As a mother of seven children I have frequently been told that my hands must be full. My favorite reply is "you should see my heart!" I love the image of having a heart bulging with love. I have wondered more lately if there are not unused parts of our hearts just as there are unused parts of our brains. Perhaps these unused portions of our hearts can only be accessed when our hearts are pure, or without offense or anger. If we would choose to not give any place in our hearts for offense or anger just imagine how much room there would be for love. Too often I fear I am lulled into a calm security and then a palteau in which I become more worried about how much I am being loved, instead of how I can love those around me. It is true that I need to take care of myself, watch what I eat, exercise and in general try to take care of my health...unfortunately this sometimes turns to looking out for me.

Yesterday morning I was feeling down. I have been sick, my babies have been sick, I have gotten very little sleep. The weekend went by and I did not have a nap. Feeling frustrated and unloved I trudged through the morning, trying to rouse myself with house work, and mentally trying to shove the feeling of offense away. Then I recieved a phone call. My friends husband had died the night before of a heart attack. He was not even 40. My biggest worries were a couple of colds and a lack of sleep..

I have recently read a book called Left to Tell by Immaculee Iibagizia. This faithhful woman survived the Rwandan holocost by living in a 4ft by 6ft bathroom for 91 days-with six other women. During that time she overheard men telling of how they had killed her brother. Her mother, father and two brothers were all killed. She seems to have every reason to be angry, resentful, offended and seeking revenge. Miraculously she spent her time praying and learning English. I wonder how many times I have spent time and energy and heart space being offended even for "good reason". What could I have learned in that time? Immaculee now has a husband and two children whom she loves. She has not forgotten her family or friends. She felt she could mourn them more truely by loving then by hating. She has moved onward and upward, breaking a cycle of hate with the power of her love. "A soft Answer turneth away wrath" Proverbs 3:5.

"As I have loved you, love one another." What a simple, powerful, challenging phrase. How grateful I am that Christ doesn't love as much as He is justified, but instead loves unconditionally. I can visualize Him praying very succinctly in the Garden of Gethsemene, then talking a few step toward the cross, then he could freely turn back and glibbly saying-"that's about as much as you deserve." Logically I realize the falacy of wanting what I deserve. I am grateful heavenly Father's plan is not based solely on justice and fairness. Instead Christ prayed and died because His heart was overflowing with an amazingly complete love for each of us.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the joy of work

I had grandiose thoughts of beginning my blog with a beautiful sermon on inspiring I want to be an inspired mother, a mother who inspires her children, and who inspire motherhood in others. However my inspiration for the day revolves around a much more mundane topic; the joy of work. Yes this is what you can look forward to...pages and pages on the joys of scrubbing kitchen floors and changing diapers. Well probably, but don't run away too quickly. Perhaps I should explain.

Today in church we were discussing the importance of menial, mundane, sweat producing work. It occured to me that God must really love work. This should not come to any Bible reader as a shock. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden were given work "for thy sake". Specifically Adam was told "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." Genesis 3:18. Eve was told "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children". The word sorrow is from a Hebrew root word meaning very hard work...I don't know that sadness was meant to be implied. I believe this was not punishment without a purpose, but instead a consequence with meaning. There are definite lessons we can learn from dirt and children. The law of the sower is one example; sow wheat, care for it, you get wheat. Tell your children a thousand times to wait a minute, mommy is get a two year old constantly telling you to wait a minute, while they line up rocks or follow worms. Perhaps this leads to another lesson... patience.

God thinks so much of work he felt it should be a priority for his prophets. He didn't have them talk about it nearly so much as he had them actually work. Noah built a boat. It wasn't small or random in design. It was hard work. He wasn't supposed to hire other people to do it so he could go preach; he worked. God chose not to just miraculously deliver a boat ready made. Moses climbed mountains and led the children of Israel for forty years-involving much practical work as well as a lot of walking around. God requires a lot of work to build and to serve in Temples. Enoch built a city, Isaiah wrote without a wordprocessor-can you imagine getting poetry right without an editing function? Many altars were built, people moved, all miracles generally required physical effort, not the least of which was prayer.

The greatest example of work is found in the Garden of Gethsemene. Christ sweat great drops of blood from every pore, for us. "For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Moses 1:39.

Heavenly Father is much more likely to strengthen us to bear a challenge rather than miraculously remove it.

And I am much more likely to keep writing forever rather than get to the what is the point? "And the Lord said: Go to work" Ether 2:16.