Monday, October 8, 2007

Home as Temple

Quite a few years ago, as a young mother I studied about how homes should be like Temples. I thought and thought...then I went out and bought silk flowers! I wish I were kidding. That wasn't the only change I made in my home, but to this day it still makes me laugh. Yesterday's conference talk renewed my desire to make my home more like a temple. I'm not planning on going silk flower shopping this time, but I am working on plans...

1-the spirit- I need to carefully and prayerfully invite the spirit into my home. I need to keep it there with my thoughts and actions. I need to inspire my children to preserve the spirit of our home. I need to monitor the media in our home, so that it invites the spirit.

2-welcoming-In the temple there are welcoming people smiling everywhere. Helpful people, friendly people, gentle people; I would like to be like that and encourage my children to be the same.

3-order-I had to get to it some time...the temple is orderly. It is clean and keeps a schedule. Most of all it is simple. There are very few things in the temple. There are useful things (chairs and tables and such) carefully placed, and there are beautiful things...that's it. I want to simplify my home...cut out clutter. Order takes effort and discipline.

4-love-There is a high standard associated with the temple. There are requirements to enter, then a certain way things are done inside. All of this is encourage and supported by wonderfully cute grandparents. These kind older people set you up to succeed.

As much as I laugh about those silk flowers from long ago, they still remind me of the temple...they stay in my home for no other reason!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the family-closing of the american mind-rambling thoughts...

Allan Bloom is a professor. When he discusses the student he discusses how a university professor can teach a modern student. As an aside he discusses how the modern student got to be the way he is...not really enjoying reading, or looking to books for wisdom and learning. As he talks about how a modern student became so closed minded to real classical learning he presents his view on the family. Some of his thoughts are:

"Its [meaning the family] base is merely bodily reproduction, but its purpose is the formation of civilized human beings"

"The parents must have knowledge of what has happened in the past, and prescriptions for what ought to be, in order to resist the philistinism or the wickedness of the present."

"The family, however, has to be a sacred unit, believing in the permanence of what it teaches, if it's ritual and ceremony are to express and transmit the wonder of the moral law, which it alone is capable of transmitting and which makes it special in a world devoted to the humanly, all too humanly, useful."

What fascinating thoughts! The third quote has been the focus of my thoughts. Moral law is extremely difficult to transmit without religion. The child or student comes to understand that the moral law can change with opinions and situations and is therefore practically meaningless. When moral law is connected to religion, that law is fixed, unchangeable and therefore powerful. Most religious people understand the concept of a rare exceptions, as those examples exist in most sacred texts; but what power is the moral ideal.

This stabilizing power is the basis of civilization and is best taught in the family! What a powerful thing a family is. That two people can meet and fall in love does not require education. The can marry, have children and become, for all intents and purposes a family. Somewhere along the lines education. Financial principles must be learned and applied, cooking, car maintenance, nursing skills, I frequent wish for drawing skills, along with a slew of other specific parental wisdom. In addition to this practical wisdom, history, science, geography, math, language are all applied in parenthood. Most importantly religious education becomes a necessity. Children come with a multitude of questions, create a multitude of moral dilemmas and demand to know the truth. What an inspiring and very humbling thought to consider a parents role to learn truth and teach a child how to then learn truth for themselves.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

blessed are the peacemakers...

I have spent the last year fascinated by the American Revolution and frustrated by the French Revolution. I have read books, discussed, and thought alot about why these two revolutions were so different. I almost reread all of Les Miserables again, because it's about the French Rvolution and I'll gladly make up excuses to reread that powerful book. I started reading biographies of the leaders of these two revolutions. While reading about the different leaders I started to see themes and catch ideas. some of these thought kept floating around in my head.

John Adams went to France to help Benjamin Franklin with foreign relations during the American Revolution. At that time in Paris 6,000 babies were being given abandoned at church door steps a year. Unfathomable! There aren't similar stats for America, but I'm not sure if there would be 60, at that same time in America. France and America had very different moral climates.

I wondered if morals alone could make the difference. Perhaps. Perhaps they are also connected with another factor. It appears to me that what the French leaders lacked was not charisma, speaking abilities, or education. They also had plenty of national pride. They knew how to rally people to a cause, and how to get things done. What they lacked was a knowledge of how to make peace. They were excellent at making a revolution. They were very effective at geting rid of those in power. They were very poor at knowing what to do once they had power. They did not know the principles of peace or how to inspire a society to keep laws that would make for a peaceful nation.

From the beginning of the American revolution, Americans had a concept of freedom. They checked the English very early in a clear legal way when they felt their rights were being hampered. Americans had a concept of what good governmetn looked like and acted like. Some Americans studied great political thinkers and philosphers to understand what good government could look like. American leaders valued peace over power. When the time came to form a government, there were men in America available who knew how to build peace and wanted to make it last. The constitution was the result of the work of those great minds.

France had a vague sort of notion that what was going on was wrong. They waited far too long to act. They waited until the masses were starving. Hungry people don't think rationally, they think desparately. Hungry people think in the short term. Leaders in France were educated in law, but usually in the sort of law they had just been living. They had grand philosophical ideas, but they also valued personal power. They were seldom able to see into the long term what would be best for France, because they were focused on advancing their own careers. They valued power over peace. Many of the political philosphies they admired were new and few were based on correct principles.

Now back to the 6,000 babies a year...This reflects on the moral state of the people as closely tied with their family life. In my opinion, the best place to learn how to be a peace maker is in the home. France's family life was suffering, America's was flourishing. It is easier to understand peace when home is a haven of peace. It is also easier to understand peace when we seek the Prince of Peace.

As I have studied this, the most hubling aspect is to consider our country today. I love America, but I can hardly say that family life is flourishing in America. I'm not sure if we are morally where France was, but I know we aren't where we once were. We are still desparately in need of peacemakers. Will we have them when we need them?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Freedom Festival

We had a great time this morning at the Freedom Festival. Amazingly we sat through the printing press presentations. We saw a guttenburg press print a Declaration of Independence, saw a replica of the 1700's press like Benjamin Franklin made, that would have been used to print the Declaration of Independence, then we got to sign a copy of the Declaration of Independence!

There was a Celebration of jamestown living museum. Raymond loved the weapons guy, and Natalie stuck by the basket woman for one hour. Both of these situations made me very glad that we came today, when it would be less busy. All of hte children enjoyed the presentations given by an ancestor of pocahantas. Here are Natalie, Becca, Kalani and Lydia with her.

Here is Ben in his Jamestown era hat making a carrot covered face...

This is what the babies loved best (when they were DONE with everything else)It was strategically placed for me, because I was within 10 feet of the Pocahontas presentation (which Raymond listened to 3-4 times) and next to the music stage, where Kalani, Natalie and Lydia sat listening to fiddlers and patriotic music.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Les Mis

We saw Les Miserables last night. What an incredible night. I have so many thoughts, it is really a jumble. Of course that could also related to staying up until 2am talking, the getting up with babies at 5.

Random Thoughts:

Marius is so much more likeable in the play, than in the book. He is a strong character with compassion. His love story with Cossette was much more enjoyable because of that.

The differences between America at the time of their revolution and France at the time of its revolution

America-free, independent, self sufficient, educated, moral

France-debt and poverty, immorality

It has been said that a tipping point in cycles of freedom and captivity is when the people vote themselves money...What are tipping points as far as morality go? how about avoiding the consequences and responsibilities of sex?

The Bishop...what a powerful, but brief scene. As he was on stage I was replaying in my head my favorite bishop stories...just so inspiring. I do wish he had been there when Jean Val Jean died. The man palying him has other parts during the play, which also makes it so the Bishop is not in the curtain call.

How amazing it is that Jean Val Jean gets a standing just struck me that the actor deserved it, but I wonder how many amazing cycle breaking parents there are who definitely deserve a standing ovation.

Javert..really what was up with that death scene, oh the drama. Everyone else died rather quickly except the leader at the barracade, but even his looked so very mild in comparison. With Javert we have swirling, arm reaching drama...

"Bring Him Home" Jean Val Jean so passionately prays, pleads and begs. How selflessly he prays for another man's life, the man who will take his dear daughter from him. Then after that compassionate moving prayer, he is God's wind, He picks up Marius and struggles through the sewer.

"On my Own" Eponine had the best voice of the night. It was sung so beautifully and honestly. She is also a cycle breaker...a woman who has scarcely been loved, is surroundd by poverty and evil, yet she chooses to love.

I may organize this better later....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

inspiring teachers

I have had a few wonderful teachers. I was thinking about one a few weeks ago and wrote her a thank you note. It was surprisingly easy to find her on the web and send it to the school where she works. Her name is Sheryl Lloyd. She was my elementary school music teacher. I can still here her voice describing some songs. I will always remember going with her to a jazz club. I can still see her teaching rhythm and hear the sound she makes when she is voicing a drum. It is amazing how strong and impact an inspiring teacher can have.

Mrs. Crie was my 3rd grade teacher. That was a pivotal year for me as we had just moved. New school, new friends...she was fabulous. I can still hear her reading LIttle House on the Prairie. She had the best voice. She was so interesting we all wanted to be good so she could teach.

I was also inspired by my 7th grade algebra teacher. He would make up word problems using our slightly altered names. Our favorite was Miffany Todell. He loved math so much it was intriguing...I couldn't help but look for what there was to love. He made up a series of math problems for us to solve, apply to measurements which would direct us to a certain spot on campus. If we found the right spot, and dug, we found the answers to the math test. He also had this amazing way of making it sound cool to not have been kissed yet, and to wait to date. I don't remember how he did that. Mr. Huyett...what a guy.

My physics teacher was Mr. Harvey. Teaching Physics, the last class of the day, to a bunch of seniors could present a challenge. I don't know of anyone who ever ditched his class. He was fascinating. He loved Physics. He would come in some days and cancel the lecture because he just HAD to share something he just learned. I can still remember one of those spontaneous lectures in my mind. He also had great demonstrations and visuals. I will always remember the endorsement letter her wrote for me. What a guy who took time out for his students.

Not exactly a teacher...but my favorite coach in high school was absolutely Ken Bauman. He loved basketball. He had us diagramming plays and taking the sport seriously. He would get frustrated but had incredible self control. He was such a great example, and so caring. He really got to know us and got us inspired to play because we wanted to play better for him.

After thinking about these teachers it occurred to the course of my public school education I had almost 50 different teachers...and here are 5 that inspired me. I had some other good teachers, and some that were fun...but to me an inspiring teacher is different. An inspiring teacher is passionate about their subject. They are still learning about their subject themselves, because they love it. They share what they learn, because they just can't help it. They inspire me to want to learn on my own. Less than 10% of my teachers fit in that category...

Out of curiosity I polled two message boards...asking how many of their teachers were inspiring. I wasn't implying that the rest of the teachers were bad, but truly inspiring. By far most people replied 3-5 of their teachers were inspiring. Right about what I had and jut under 10 %.. I found this very sad. WHY? Why aren't more teachers inspiring? Is it that they don't get to choose their own curriculum? Is it class size? Is it the principal? Is it how teachers are trained. One person said she didn't think i should expect a majority of teachers to be inspiring...maybe..but not even 15%? One woman (a teacher) said every single one of her teachers was inspiring. She was really a little frustrated with my poll and felt I was attacking teachers. When I asked about her teachers she mentioned things like...oh this teacher had a really pretty bulletin board, this teacher wrote this note to my parents once that made me feel good...ummm perhaps we are inspired by different things.

I can't imagine anything more important in the education of a child, than to have a teacher so excited about learning that they can't help but share. I wonder if it would be different if we changed how we trained teachers. Instead of learning new bulletin board techniques and how to deal with discipline problems; what if we focused on just how fascinating math, English, Reading, Writing, and science can be. What if our teachers left teacher training with a story they can't wait to share about a mathematician, or a science experiment that taught them something new. What if they found a new favorite poem and just couldn't wait to memorize it and recite it for their class. What if they heard a new piece of music, or rediscovered an old would it change school if our teachers were like that. How can we encourage that?

While you are trying to solve America's education problems, think back on your favorite teachers and write them a note...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Manna of motherhood

I was reading about the parting of the Red Sea this morning and thinking about the drama of such a scene. I can't really say I've had that dramatic a miracle in my own life. I have felt miraculous happenings around the birth of my babies and at certain times in my life I have felt the saving influence of the atonement. These are miracles to me. The miracles in my life correlate more closely with the forty years in the wilderness than the dramatic day at the red sea.

I say that because in the daily tasks of motherhood, I have been aided daily by the Savior. I am reminded of a journal entry I made a few months ago...

I am home from church tending my sick babies. Watching Elder Oaks recent conference talk, “He will heal the heavy laden” I am reminded of the help I have received in caring for my children. Elder Oaks said “If your prayers and the power of the priesthood are not enough to heal you of your burden, the atonement of Christ will surely give you the power to bear it”. I have felt that power even in the simple acts of having enough strength to stay awake through the day and take care of my children's’ needs. I was not healed, my children were not instantly healed, yet despite the minuscule amount of sleep I was living on, I was living and functioning enough to mother my children. For me this was a miracle. Perhaps because this miracle is difficult to detect, there was not dry land, where water once stood, or lingering seagulls to notice, I found myself frequently tempted to mentally retain the burden Christ had already physically lightened. I was feeling able to care for my children, but still fearful and lonely in the process. How long would this last? Would I have strength tomorrow? Would I not get much outside help even a person to talk with? My loneliness is real and difficult. For some reason instead of going again to Christ for assistance I would instead use my burden to draw people to me, the very burden which had already been lightened by the Savior! I would mentally take it back. I would talk with people about my struggles with my sick baby and caring for my 6 other young children, all on little sleep and with a husband working diligently and necessarily so, on a new job. Doesn’t that sound impressive? In a way I was bragging for for accomplishing what the Lord was doing , fishing for assistance when it was already being given. I was implying I needed more help than the Lord is giving.

I find it interesting that in the scripture “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for I am meek and lowly of heart, learn of me and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I felt I had done the fist part. I recognized that Christ was not going to heal my baby at this time, or somehow lessen my child caring duties, but instead was going to strengthen me to care for my own children. I had found strength and rest in that way. I recognized days when I should have collapsed, but instead had been able to simply care for my children. However, I had not continued by taking his yoke upon me and learning of him. I had accepted the physical support and rest, but not yet the mental and spiritual rest to my soul. That second rest requires additional mental effort-faith and learning. Part of the learning may be to become meek and lowly of heart as the Savior reminds us he is. This humility will keep us from assuming we know better than the Lord how we need to be succored. As if we, the patient, were writing our own prescription and not surprisingly it is a quick easy fix that would no longer necessitate visits to our healer. Hoping to get on with our lives we would avoid the one who gave His life to give us eternal life?

I wonder if this is similar to why the children of Israel grew tired of Manna? That has always fascinated me. I have a good or bad habit of putting myself in the place of the struggling people in the scriptures...perhaps I just identify with them more. I have struggled to understand the children of Israel in their wanderings and miraculous blessings. They were let by a pillar of fire and daily fed by the hand of God, yet they doubted and grumbled. They gathered manna daily and accepted the physical nourishment it gave. Yet they did not seek the aid that would have granted them grace and gratitude amidst their forty year struggle. They continually bucked against gathering daily and became critical of the nurturing food they wasn't the kind of help they wanted, nor granted in the way they desired.

Isn't this exactly what I do sometimes? Beg for blessings, than criticize them when they arrive, for being not something enough...the height of ingratitude.

The thing I'm frequently bucking against is not unlike the daily gathering of manna..I sometimes wish for something more than the daily strength I am given. The children of Israel wanted variety in their nourishing gift, and sometimes I do as well. I also notice that I quickly forget to do my daily gathering of scripture study, despite the brightness of the pillar that leads me when I do.

Friday, May 4, 2007

PBS Mormon Documentary

Well, I watched it. I found the history fairly well done. Obviously polygamy needs to be discussed. Obviously the Mountain Meadows Massacre should be discussed, it is a truly tragic event.

I will never understand why the best source of information would be an excommunicated member. One woman tells in detail how she was excommunicated for teaching doctrines that contradict church teachings...yet she is quoted explaining church doctrine and the most sacred experiences available to church members. A man explains that his excommunication ended his he really sure that it wasn't the homosexual affair he had? Would his wife had been fine with that, if he hadn't been excommunicated?

I was most mystified by the dancing comment...Mormons value dancing above education. Where in the world was that from?

I would have loved to see the docuentarian use our artwork, or at least more neutral artwork. A very dark picture of Jesus in reds and blacks, with music in a minor key....this is the background for Joseph Smith's first vision? The wording of the vision was fairly accurate, so why the slant on the art?

My favorite part of the whole documentary was an Evangelical minister. He obviously does not believe what I believe, yet he was very respectful. Wonderful!

Perhaps it could have been called Perspectives on did show different perspectives.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

a day in the life...a very random day at that

I wake up shortly before 6, check my email and start to exercise. My dear son Raymond wakes up and the questions begin. My favorite question during exercise..."Mom why are you still exercising, your stomach is just like it was before the babies" He then runs away and doesn't understand why I am trying to kiss him.

We actually read our scriptures to relative quiet...assuming car and pony noises are "relatively" quiet.

I feed everyone breakfast while Chris takes off to work.

I sneak in a shower...the babies come and find me.

Ben the 3 year old decides that he prefers the living room floor to the toilet or the diaper...I think I need another shower.

Raymond greets me with the many keys are there on a flute. I wish desparately our computer were back from the shop so I could google. How did parents deal with curious children without google? I call BYU info, figuring their computer department has my computer for a rediculously long time, maybe they can work for me...naw. I all a musical neighbor and she googles it, but we are still in discussion. How about the holes that are not necessarily keys? I try to distract Raymond with discussion of Piano's being a string instrument while the organ is a wind intrument...he doesn't get distracted easily.

Snack time...ants on a log. Raymond the peanut butter the log, or the celery?

We are reading Summer of the Monkeys. In this particular section Jimbo the Chimpanzee gets the boy drunk...he feels disgustingly sick. We look up the words sober, chimpanzee and hydrophobia (did you know Rabies is sometimes called hydrophobia because the animals get so sick the stop wanting to drink?)

Raymond interupts our reading to ask about the difference between a mule and a donkey...

LUNCH and chores (surprisingly painless)and NAPS!

The children watch a short show while I read...Those who love by Irving Stone. It is a fascinating book about Abigail and John Adams. It stimulates a thought..In around 1785 there were about 6000 abandoned babies a year in Paris. How does that happen? At a lecture I attended they suggested a tipping point in government is when the people vote themselves money. I wonder what some tipping points in morality are? I also wonder again at the differences between the American revolution and the French Revolution. I discover that Ben tried to use the whole bottle of soap to wash his hands, and his belly and legs and the chair. Miraculously his face is still very dirty. I throw him in the shower...he screams because he has hydrophobia...or because he'd rather not take a shower.

The babies wake up and all deep thought is drowned out by crying. We all go outside and enjoy the beautiful day.

Dinner is later than expected, which is normal. It is also vastly underappretiated.

I get all the children to bed, except Becca who is having personal difficulties in that area.

Natalie snuggles our cat fuzzy while I read to her for her night.

Chris comes homes and devours the dinner, then changes and runs out to play basketball.

QUIET!! I do dishes and here I sit...ahhh

Now I can google all those questions, as well as the word for the day from yesterday in a black hole video "spagetification"???

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter children

Here are a few pitures form Easter weekend. As always I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are a few...
This is our cousin Michael sharing his piano time with Susan. She kept climbing up holding onto his jeans.
Rebecca and Susan were slow and careful egg gatherers.
The other children were quick and careful egg gatherers.

Here is the loot.

Susan settled into Uncle Bob's lap, which was a sweet and sticky experience for him!

cute children comments

For some reason I have yet to determine, the cute children comments go in spurts. We'll go for weeks with normal, hum drum discussion. Then WHAMMY a few days of great comments. In the last week I can think of three comments that must be remembered. The first is from Raymond, the 7 year old. He always has a zillion questions and is always thinking. Here is a glimpse at what he was thinking for this moment...he walked out of the bathroom and said "Mom, when I grow up, some people will call me a fish, but I still won't have gills."

That's it! No explanation, no context, no background...the mind reels.

Now two darling comments from Ben the 3 year old. He climbed on my lap, put his arms around me and said, "Mom, you are my smooching thing!" Then he kissed my nose.

The next one is really a conversation. I don't know what the background for this is, but somehow the 5 year old, Lydia, got the idea to ask Ben, 3, who he wants to live by when he grows up. She obviously wanted to convince him that she should be the obvious choice...

Lydia "Ben, who do you want to live by when you grow up? Because I've always been.."
At which point Ben interupts to say "Jesus! I want to live by Jesus"
Lydia responds "You could live bythe church."
Ben says "I think I'll live by the Temple"

Just plain cute!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sisters weekend

All of Chris' sisters were in town this weekend to see Dad. What a gift that all of his children have been able to see him in the last two weeks. Here are some pictures from the gathering.

Natalie and Grandma snuggling.

Katie, Cindy, Chris, Tami and Mom all gather around Dad.

Grovers visiting Dad: Dalynne, Diana, Debbie, Aunt Barbara, and Darylann

A Grief Observed

Last Monday, with another trip to the hospital, my father in-law was given "hours, days, or maybe weeks" to live. Two months seem such a luxury in comparison with the constant spectre of death that now looms.

In this context I read A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis. This is a very personal book of his reflections after his wife died. His questions and wanderings are so honest and sincere...and painful.

He asks about what really happens to our loved ones who die. If they are to go to a place where they are happy, does that mean they don't miss us? If they are happy all of the time...that would be quite a transition. What exactly happens? Where are they?

He also asks the age old question of why suffering and pain exist. Is God loving and good? How does a loving and good God allow so much suffering? How different is it to trust in a God, when you know very well He will allow suffering and pain. This is a challenge. In the Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis detailed very thoroughly why there is pain...simply put if we are capable of loving and feeling love we must also be capable of hurting and feeling pain. That book is so neat and philosophical, so long as you yourself, or a loved one is not in pain. A Grief Observed is just that...pain and how the knowledge of how great pain we can feel changes how we feel about God.

For whatever reason depression and pain separate us from God, yet can also bring us closer to God. In the moment of the depression or pain no matter how close God really is, the person can seldom feel God's love. I remember saying to myself in the midst of ppd "I know God said He will bless me...I am therefore being blessed whether I know it or not." or "this is happiness whether I feel it or not" or "around me there is evidence of the Holy Spirit, so it is here, I just can't feel it."

I don't know why there is so much pain, or how God stands it. It doesn't make sense to me that there are no tears in the very least God would be crying.
I've often wondered if Go felt somehow separated from Jesus when Jesus was born to Mary. Did god also feel reunited to Christ by his death on the cross? Were there really no tears or sorrow at either of those moments?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring is like a box of chocolates

Spring in never know what you're going to get. Last week we had a warm day. (What I mean is a warm day for Utah being in the 50s...had I been in California and it was in the 50s I would have curled up with a book and a blanket.)

We walked to the park with a few neighbors to enjoy the sunny weather. Here are a few pictures of our fun...Rebecca
Maren and Lydia

Sunday with Kelly brothers

What a great day! We drove to Pleasant Grove to go to church with Chris' brothers and family. The twins had their first experience with nursery, and thus Chris and I had our first experience with sitting through a lesson, first in a long time...

Here are some pictures of after church...

Uncle Bob shares his pictures with Ben and Lydia..

Susan tries on her daddy's shoes

Steven, Melody and Tyler Drew

Grandpa playing cards with Nick, Michelle, and Steven

Did you notice that when you say the name Tyler Drew, your lips pucker and you are all ready to smooch him?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My dear father in law

I have been grateful for my in laws many a time. The tradition comedic image of terrifying in laws just never applied to me and mine. They have been wonderful to me and it has been a pleasure to love them.

My father in law has had a lot of struggles. Eleven years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease that averages ten years from diagnosis to death. Two years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, then in the middle of radiation treatment, he fell down the stairs in their home and broke his neck. He partially severed his spinal cord...millimeters from total paralysis. He worked through recovery and therapy to gain some use of his arms and legs...every movement was a hard fought gain. He still is mostly paralysed. Between the Parkinson's and his neck injury we tease him that he is like Michael J Fox and Christopher other words "He's short, but he can fly!" A more practical application is, his card playing skills aren't what they used to be. He still plays, with the unique box cut card holder creation, but its different than the cut throat competitive experience of old.

Along with all those things as a part of his regular care he has had recurring UTIs which have resulted in hospitalizations resulting from sepsis. The infection in his blood has now reached the lining in his heart. The Internet describes these as vegetative growths, the Dr. in all of his wisdom identified them as goobers. The practical prognosis..two months to live.

There are treatments for endocarditis, the official name for infected heart lining goobers, are difficult. There are antibiotics..or a microbiotic, that can help if the infection is not advanced. Dad's infection is advanced. The other option is open heart surgery. Dad is just not a good candidate for that...we all agree.

So where does that leave us? With a two months (or less as the Dr. reminds us-if the goober breaks off and causes a stroke!) to love and care for dad and mom. Two months to take pictures and make memories. Two months.

how to wean twins...

Goodness I have nursed and weaned five babies before. I do have a few coping skills. I have employed variations on the cut out nursings, stretch out nursings and cold turkey methods. I do have some mothering skills. Right??

As with everything else twins...many of my mothering skills don't exactly apply.

First the cut out the least favorite nursing method. Although I hadn't really noticed it before, Susan and Rebecca have different favorite nursings. Rebecca is an evening and all-night nurser. Susan is a morning nurser...well at least that leaves me with a few day time nursings to cut out. I know how to do that, spread the nursing time out and...DISTRACTION! We take more baths, go on walks-when it isn't snowy, play,sing, read books and I hold them standing up instead of in nursing position....A blessing of weaning so late, is the food options. They are excellent with sippy cups and I frequently offer their favorite foods: avocado and frozen blueberries.

Now what? cold turkey couldn't be too bad from here right? I mean they are almost 18 months old and eat lots of different things. They are sippy cup pros and it really is only 3 or 4 nursings...

It feels like my body has somehow developed the potential to make gallons of milk, and I am now storing it all! I have tried hot showers, lot of liquids, rest, massage...I have taught my children to hug me from behind, my husband doesn't need teaching anymore, I carry my babies WAY on the side, and hold them with pillows in front of me.

Of course I also smell like coleslaw. I have read various places that cabbage leaves help with engorgement. It is my personal experience that THEY DO! Of course I feel a little odd cutting up cabbage leaves and stuffing them in my bra, but hey desperate times call for desperate measures (I wonder if whoever said that knew how it would be applied?)

We are now 48 hours from our last nursing. We have had some bumps in the road. Lucky for me only Becca woke in the night-so I only had one grumpy baby to rock, bounce, sing to , distract etc. During the day, I do sometimes find myself pacing around with two babies to hold (just ask my laundry room what kind of effect that is having on my housekeeping). I expected all of that.

I haven't really had time to mourn, like I normally do. I've been too busy with the process. As with so often the case with my raising twins, I'm too tired to feel much of the emotions involved...too busy living them. I am grateful to have been able to nurse so long. I'm grateful to my sister...who nursed two sets of twins longer than I have (once again i am left to ask HOW did she do that?). I'm grateful to my neighbor for all of her support. I'm grateful to my friend cindy for her wise advice to boost my supply. I'm grateful for my husband-who somehow rides all the emotions and just ignores all the bad ones, sends me to bed early, and gets me lots of water to drink. He supports me very well.

Although I have weaned all of my other children at younger ages than this, these ladies seem so young still. The more children I have, the younger they seem! It wil be interesting to see how the next phase of our relationship develops. I know I will soon be out of pain, not having to constantly distract, and past the back breaking constant carrying. Really I will...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valenines food

We had fun with our food this year. I learned from a felow homechooler. She put pancake batter in a squeeze bottle to make shapes:
of course heart shaped pizza has been a favorite for years!



Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Mom in the hat

Today was generally awful. I am so tired, tred of sick, whiny children. Between the twins and I one of us had a ten minute nap...and it wasn't me. I dragged all seven to a visiting teaching interview at church, and that was the turn around in the day. I'm not sure what even made me go. I didn't want to, I hadn't showered, my babies were still sniffly (though not sick enough to sleep as poorly as of late). Somehow, just that 15 minutes talking with some women about anything but stinky diaper was just wonderful. My partner thinks we are doing okay.

Back at home...dinner. My homemade chili was a big hit, but only with me. Perhaps that was the brownies at the meeting. The lack of interest in dinner, means I spend more time cleaning people up then eating. Fine. Its bedtime anyway.

To get my 3 year old down I help him take apart his whole train track and bring it which point he entirely forgets it. We read PB Bears Birthday Party, as he tries to keep his droopy eyes open. Just as I'm about to call out to my 7 year old son to tell him he may miss his bedtime story, he appears in the doorway. We read until artoo deto and threepio go their separate ways.

The final piece of the puzzle is the 5 year old...always tricky. Which story will she choose, how long will it be, and will I tell it correctly? She chooses the Cat in the Hat comes back...with a few minor revisions. She would like to take the place of both children and I am the Cat. I was pretty happy with the mom eating cake in the tub, that actually sounded blissful...until the cleaning part started. Then the Mom in the hat needed help. So from under the hat on my head, come my children...apparently I have 26 and they make HUGE messes!! Their cleaning techniques did not surprise me, I've seen that before. I did feel 26 was a tad excessive, but my 5 year old disagreed. It was then I realized why the Mom in the Hat is so darned relaxed and happy...the VOOOM! That's it. The missing ingredient in my life is voom!

So now fast forward...bedtime take two is succesful and both babies are asleep. All the dishes are done, and my husband comes home. Exactly how do I explain in the five minutes he has until basketball that I had an awful day but with some cake in the tub and voom I'd be just fine, and doesn't he want some chili?

Why does he look at me funny when I try to explain these things??

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Dish duty

Dishes...on a good daythey are ever present. On a bad day they can take over parts of the kitchen, often being carried throughout the house. I have never been a stellar housekeeper and since the twins have been born it just hasn't gotten better. Early on I would set the timer for my 15 minute morning kitchen cleanup and always find myself otherwise involved when the timer went off. It wasn't that I was easily distracted, or that i had run out of dishes to clean or counter to wipe...I was normally nursing, changing a diaper or in general mothering. I couldn't even clean for a lousy 15 minutes!

Now that the infancy days with twins are over, there are new challenges...

challenges like, keeping them from falling off the table, getting into the bathroom, or coloring on every book we own. Generally now I can scrape out 15 minutes, as log as I allow for a mess somewhere else. The biggest challenge has always been between books, babies and otherwords ME. Am I disciplined enough to put down a book, stop playing with the children, get off the computer and clean? Frequently I have help, constantly I have interuptions and I have mess makers active in atleast two other rooms at all times. It still comes down to me getting up more times than I sit down to nurse or change a diaper, starting more times than I am stopped by requests and cleaning repeatedly the same messes. Of course there is also good deal of suprvising, reminding, following up and quality control...also known as chores for the children.

I am frequently reminded that the only way to reduce the workload, is to reduce the number of smiles, the hugs, books, snuggles, and smooches...unthinkble.

why I homeschool...

In the last few weeks there have been several poignant reminders as to why I homeschool. The first, of this batch of reminders was last week. My 10 year old daughter had finished all of her library books and library day was a full 24 hours away. "There's nothing to read" she moaned, while standing between two full bookshelves. "How about my Shakespeare" I said, offering the closest book to me. She took it, my Shakespeare library, mega volume of all of his works. Half an hour later I walk by and notice she chose to read Hamlet.

Last Friday we got new math textbooks. The children had been wanting something and I decided to try getting books through our school district. That required me actually visiting our local elementary school for the first time. Although that was an education, the real homeschool moment didn't come until later. That night I went to check on everyone and turn out the lights...taking a moment to look at my peaceful, sleeping children. My oldest three were curled up snugly in their beds, pencils in hand...they had fallen asleep with their math books. I guess love of learning is still alive and well.

One of my standard reasons for enjoying homeschool has always been time. Time to read, paint, explore, love, and be. Well this week my children have spent that extra time with clay. We did a science experiment involving clay, then they asked if they could play with it...5 hours later they were still playing with clay. They were mostly making birds and nests the first day. Striped nests that looked like they had popped out of a Dr. Seuss book. Day 2 brought another 6 hours of clay...including a hard fought discussion on whether to go to homeschool play day or stay home and play clay. Day 2 was birds and snakes. Day 3 started the flowers, baskets and dinosaurs and finally a mom smart enough to take some pictures...

There was also the revolutionary war discussion comparing Kings and Presidents, the discussion of time and the definition of an eon and reading pioneer journals. But none of that really "counts" because rarely did they fit the image my school district personnel described to me as on task learning time. Instead they were on the couch, or in the kitchen...just my children and I.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

to lovers

Fifteen years ago today my husband and I first told each other "I love you". What we were thinking I'll never know, we had known each other a little less than two weeks. That we were attracted to each other was obvious, that we had a lot in common was clear, that we could love each other...possible. At the time it meant such things as, I think about you constantly, I think about spending my life with you, you have a lot of qualities I admire and you are really handsome.

I have long felt that love is not a place you fall, not something that hits you, and definitely not something that is done to you. You do not walk down the road and suddenly "fall in love". That would be describing attraction. Now attraction doesn't have to be merely physical. I was never attracted to people solely on looks, their character was always so dominant in my eyes I couldn't see handsome in an immoral person. I like attraction, it is a wonderful part of relationships, but it doesn't have near the staying power of love.

Love is a verb. That should be clear from the context the sentence "I love you", love is obviously a verb. Grammatically and ideally, what we mean when we say "I love you" is that that we are capable of and choosing to be loving towards someone. I'm not talking about the starry eyed things...I'm thinking more of a classic definition of love: "charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily povoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; Charity never faileth;" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Now that doesn't seem to connect remotely with this concept of romance that is peddled by the world. Really what is it that people want though...don't they want that kindness, understanding and patience in relationships? How would marriage change if people really loved the people they "love"?

Perhaps what we mean in those romantic relationships when we say "I love you" is "You are the person I want to love". Or perhaps we mean "I'm attracted to you and can love you". "You are the person I am going to learn how to love with " Now those phrases don"t appear in movies, and would sound rather awkward to say, but are quite a bit more honest. Perhaps there are people out there who are practiced and well versed in love, so that when they reach a marriagable age they are really ready to love. For me, I'm afraid I still have a lot to learn about love. Too often I see the man I love as heap of isn'ts. He isn't something enough, doesn't whatever as much as he should...yet no where in the definition of love is it dependent on what the object of love does or is. Our ultimate example of love, Jesus Christ, doesn't wait until we are something enough to love us. His greatest example of love, was surrounded by sleeping apostles, Judas' betrayal, cruelty of soldiers, the denial of Peter...yet he still loved.

This concept of love is humbling when all it takes for me is a wrong word on the wrong day and I get snappy.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the "lovers" in the world, went around actually loving people? Truely giving to them, helping them, listening, being patient, being kind and supportive. How ironic that instead we call people lovers when they are taking from each other and focusing on selfish pleasure...yet as long as they are attracted to each other it's all good.

Here's to true lovers of the world, and especially my dear husband...he happily drives a 15 passenger van, he rotates the laundry on a regualr basis, he eats burned food, he doesn't respond to my moody tirades, he humors my ever changing interests, he changes poopy diapers and the litter box, he works every day so I can stay home, he listens to me, he is patient as I struggle along in my role as homemaker, he is ever supportive in my desire to be a mother and he loves me.

I'm not exactly sure what we knew 15 years ago. In so many ways i feel like I somehow got lucky, or Heavenly Father was watching out for me in my innocence and ignorance. However it worked out...we love each other far more now.

Sunday, January 7, 2007


I finished our year in review and published it on our family blog ...