Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Migits


My last post was ambitious.
I wanted to clean that day,
but ended up in a little drama.
My "I don't get angry" self was tested.
I was better though,
although it took me about 2 days until I really felt peace with the situation.
I let myself be distracted.
I wish that never happened.
Life is just too short.

Friday morning was again spent in my favorite place with my favorite husband.
(He will always be my favorite.)
I felt a little anxiety.
We left on a road trip at noon that day.
It was our final big wrestling tournament of the season.
Corbin was super excited.
He l.o.v.e.s. tournaments,
although he didn't wrestle in this one.
He still put on his wrestling shoes and bopped around the arena.
Snow cones and ice cream and funnel cake.
What kid wouldn't love that?
And Colin and Caleb wrestled great.

How to prepare boys to compete?
Well, I had to stop and consider that it would have terrified me.
And then I tried to help them remember where their strength comes from.
Colin was missing a few things before the trip that he needed.
He and Dan were about to tear into the house when I suggested that we stop and say a prayer.
Colin immediately found his missing items.
He knew his prayer was heard.

Friday afternoon was the weigh-in.
Prescott is such a different town than Las Vegas.
It felt relaxing and comfortable.
We had dinner in a non-crowded restaurant,
and the boys were safe to see a movie while Dan and I waited.
We were in walking distance to everything.
We hit the sack early.

Contrast that to our Vegas wrestling trip,
which was loud, crowded and restless....
(Okay, this trip was still restless for me.
Apparently, Ainsley doesn't like hotels.)

This tournament had 1000 wrestlers competing on 14 mats.
There was an awesome Opening Ceremonies.
Do you know what I love most about big sporting events?
The National Anthem.
It always makes me cry.

There is tremendous anxiety until the boys get through their first match.
(Actually, the anxiety comes in waves all day,
but it's solid until that 1st bout is over.
I can barely sit for any match though.)
4.5 minutes feels like eternity when it's your own kid wrestling.

To help,
We read an inspiring story from the scriptures that morning and said good prayers.
It was a good start.
What I noticed most this time was that it took a heavy dose of spiritual strength to get through that day.
Anxiety causes different reactions in different people.
I kept reminding the boys to fight it off.
What they needed most to win was strength in their hearts.

They both had good success.
Next year will be even better.

On the way home, we talked about our upcoming plans.
Football and wrestling,
School and church.
Church.
Yes church.
And Dan reminded me that he would be working the next day.
I could see the relief in his tired eyes,
until I reminded him that we would all be leaving at the same time.
No way he was casually rolling out of bed and driving off into the sunrise.
All our tired kids would be dressed in their best and in the van at 7:15am.
He sighed.
Of course they would be.
And they were,
except it was 7:30am.
The kids were laughing at me when I was saying to the last kid, "Hurry up. We are about to be late."
The older kids all said, "Late for being early. Church starts at 8:00, mom."
(The big boys have to set up chairs and there isn't another way, so we all go early.)

Church was good.
I picked my battles,
and lost a few.
The littles were extra clingy.
Sister Rogers came and sat with me,
and we made it through the whole first hour.
How is it that I ended up with such spirited kids?
In another life, it would have embarrassed me.
Now seeing more of the spectrum,
I appreciate their energy.
I know that they will do great things.

For instance,
I took our midget 4-year-old back to wrestling.
He will be the only one of our boys participating for awhile.
When we started, he wasn't quite ready to learn.
Last night, he did pretty well.
He has the cutest little stance.
It looks very natural for him.

From wrestling, we went over to football practice.
The mighty-mights were running hills behind us.
Cade fell right in line.
They were practicing 'off-sides' drills.
We go on 'hut'.
Cade could wait.
The coaches were making the little dudes run the hill extra when they jumped on anything other than 'hut'.
As our big boys finished, I called over to Cade to walk out.
He said, "No mom. We have 2 more to go."
So we waited for two more rounds.
Cade is going to love tackle football.

Well, I know I had more to write, but it's time to do my chores.
Spring Break has begun,
and yesterday I gathered the kids to decide what our plan was for it.
The weather is amazing here right now.

The kids voted on many things.
First, we would stay here and lock up the computers and Wii (Netflix) for the next 2 weeks.
They added "100 football passes" to their chore charts.
9:30am was the voted time to have chores finished.
If chores aren't complete by 9:30am, they voted to give a 35 minute grace, after which time, the kid is grounded and becomes Mom's minion for the day.
They agreed to using vinegar as a reminder when a child talks back or using language that is not acceptable.
5 minutes on a hard chair with the scriptures for fighting or disrespect.
And.....if anyone farts on someone else, that person has to go in the closet where the other children have farted and stay there 5 minutes.
(I thought that rule was odd...but the children all agreed, except Corbin)
The children also decided to walk the house and pick up anything that belongs to them.
They said, just throw all the stuff away that gets left out.
It means no one wants it bad enough to pick it up.

I love that the kids are so much like me about this house.
A good day around here involves a large garbage can and a carpet cleaner.

Day 1 was successful.
The kids did their chores and 3 went on a sleepover with Grammie.
3 decided to hang together at the mall for 4 hours.
I was left with the 3 youngest and a quiet afternoon.

Day 2 is not starting as strong, but I think they will perk up.

Well, that's it for this morning.
We've been to the gym and I blogged.
What more do I need to do today?

Oh, the gym.
There was a recent discussion about how women should dress for work outs in public.
One lady posted that she goes looking like a homeless person.
I like it.
That's the new look I'm going for too.
It sounds like a great trend.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6.

I have a quick minute before I turn into Rambo Mom with my side kick Bleach.

This morning, I am changing out of my dress pants and back into work out pants.
I have really been enjoying the 'Working' part of my life.
This morning it was a walk through on a new build.
I love those.
And best of all, that great family will again be in our hood.

In walking through that beautiful new home,
I wondered if there is a chance I can make this house look new again?
I think so.
My home needs that 'new house smell'....and more shelving.

Yesterday, I did my best to follow the spirit.
After my morning prayer, I went to my journal to write down my impressions.
I felt strongly that I should write a note to each of the kids and leave it on their pillows with a treat.
It took me some time, but I wrote them all a heart-felt message.
When they got home, I asked them to make their beds.
They each came back and gave me hug.
They helped in the kitchen and came in to dinner.
(I am making dinner again.)
Our days are never picture perfect, but the overall feeling was good.
We had a great afternoon.

Here's the real key to raising happy kids:
Love Them.
It's not hard here. These kids are amazing.

On busy nights, I spend the day wearing the littles out so they can go to bed early.
Last night was a concert....which was fabuloso.
And football began.
Little peeps can't always sit for concerts or practices.
It's the challenge of raising kids in such a large age spectrum.
Dinner at 4pm and 5:30 bedtime.
Do you know the level of activity that is required for wearing out kids sufficiently enough that they can barely keep their eyes open past 5:30 pm?
It's a lot.
But every kid deserves a good, long, happy day.
Some just end or begin earlier than others.
It's all good.
But I wear myself out pretty well most days.

The big boys l.o.v.e. football.
They mentioned that practice wasn't very challenging.
Apparently wrestling practice is much more demanding.
Colin did say he cramped up on the run.
He said that they take very few water breaks in their 1.5 hour wrestling practice,
and he thought he drank too much because they had so many water breaks at football.
Okay?
It looked pretty grueling to me.

Well, my legs are burning from yesterdays work out,
and the day is long ahead of me.
(Yep...the stairs are a killer today.
As is:
Kneeling to change a diaper...
Holding someone on my lap...
Walking.
Breathing.
What was I thinking?)

Happy Tuesday March 6th.
Tomorrow is Wednesday March 7th.
You know what that means.....
"Change the light bulbs and fix the garage door opener" Day.
I love that day.
It's so cheerful and bright.

Have a good one.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spaces

I have 15 minutes until Curious George ends and my real day begins.
How do I sum up my thoughts in that short of time?

It was a great weekend.
Friday morning began at the usual time of 4am.
Being in the temple is hard that early.
I realized so clearly Friday why I need to be there.
I really do walk out feeling like the world is a good place.
Anything is possible.
It's easy to have the right spirit in such a holy place.
I have been trying to start every day as if I had just come from the temple.

Friday was one of those super busy days.
Dan went down town.
We had a soccer game, pinewood derby and wrestling practice.
The teenager needed rides.
The baby needed fed.
The littles needed entertained.
We divided and conquered.

Here's a funny Corbin story.
He's five. He had wrestling practice.
Changing clothes for practice isn't this 5-year-olds favorite thing.
I did a little Love and Logic on him.
"Do you want to put your clothes before you get in the car or dress from your seat belt?"
He chose 'Seatbelt.'
Okay.
It took him forever like that.
He couldn't get his pants over his shoes.
He kept losing his clothes.
He mentioned that he couldn't find his underwear.
I said, "Son, just wear the same underwear you had on at school."
He said, "Mom, it was pajama day."
I replied, "Okay. You can still wear those underwear."
"Mom, It was PAJAMA DAY. I didn't wear underwear."
Right.
We had to stop back by the house.
Sydney told him he was lucky he didn't get "Pants-ed."

He figured out how to get his underwear over his shoes,
but then he lost the shorts.
We pulled up to the junior high to pick up Colin.
Corbin was looking for his shorts and bent over with his bum in the window as Colin strolled out to the car.
Embarrassing Colin is just really too easy these days,
but I admit, it was funny to see Corbin's Spidey bum in the window.

After 30 minutes in the car,
Corbin was finally dressed for practice.

I put about 70 miles on my car in about 3 hours time.
I did have a moment Friday night when I asked myself if we were just too busy ?
It has been so many months of driving.
I wondered if we were making any progress at all.

Saturday morning began at 3am.
I was on a quest to locate a tiny wrestling shoe so the 5 year old could compete in his last match of the season.
I started in my closet,
and cleaned it until I knew every content that room held.
I then moved out to my bedroom.
(It is the final resting where many miscellaneous objects end up.)
No shoe.
I almost worried, but I kept at it.
I finally found the shoe at the bottom of the last laundry basket.
That was about 6 :30am.
Everyone would be leaving within the hour.
3 ran a 5k.
3 wrestled.
2 had soccer games.

'Wins' were not to be part of the events that day.
As I left the soccer field talking to Dan on the phone,
my peaceful mind thought this:
"A day losing is still better than a day of not playing at all."

Dan and I had been coming and going from different fields and gyms all morning.
The day had been nearly perfectly timed, because we didn't miss anything.
We met up for the last match of the afternoon around 2pm.
Our son was fighting for 3rd or 4th place in the conference.
During the season, he had won and lost,
but only his dominating opponents showed up to the final tournament.

My advice to the boy:
"Lay it all out there. You have nothing to lose."

Dan said something like,
"You CAN do this. Believe in yourself."

The boy barely made it through the first period, fighting off a pin.

Here's a personal story.
I have spent weeks preparing this kid spiritually.
I really believe that when we are outmatched, it's God who strengthens us.
Teaching our sons how to wrestle and win has been this seasons challenge.
They lack the fire and the confidence.
Sydney calls it "righteous fire."
I call it "quiet confidence."
Last week, our son had 2 pretty key wrestling meets.
I did my best to help him prepare.
He lost on Tuesday because he had a bad, angry fire.
He deserved to lose.
It was hard to swallow.
He came back more humble on Thursday.
I said a heartfelt prayer on his behalf,
but I could feel that it was not his time.
He lost that day too.

You have to understand what it feels like to be the mother watching your son wrestle.
Some moms cry and walk out.
I personally feel like being in the room no matter what,
but 'not watching' would be so much easier.
It's really tough.

During the final match on Saturday when I could barely stand it, and my anxiety was through the roof, I prayed for peace for my heart, and strength for my son.
He has worked so hard all season, and he has grown so much.
Learning the discipline of athletics is no easy task.
On top of that, he has been doing his best to mature spiritually.
I asked Heavenly Father to help him be more than he believed was possible.
And in that instance,
I had overwhelming confirmation that this would be his moment.

In the second period, our little 83 pounder spun a move that put him on top and changed the momentum in his favor.
He nearly pinned his opponent.
He fought with tremendous determination.
They went all 3 periods and our son lost by 3 points.
Dan and I both agreed it was his best match ever.

The boy received his 4th place medal,
and I went home with confirmation that all our exhausting days are worth the moments of success.

The children are learning,
and what they do not realize is how much they are teaching us in the process.

Saturday dinner was pizza.
Dan and I haven't been out in weeks,
and we had planned a date,
but I felt impressed to take my soft blanket and favorite pillow down to the couch.
Kids piled all around me and we watch a movie together.
I could tell they didn't even care what movie I chose.
They just wanted to be close.

It was a beautiful day.

And that's how it went around here this weekend.
Over and over again, I saw the hand of the Lord reaching out to help us.

I know these posts are getting very religious,
but honestly, I don't know what I would do without my faith.
Raising kids is completely exhausting.
If I try to do it alone, I feel frustrated.
When I stop to consider that someone else is in charge, and I simply need to trust Him, my days go so much easier.

There have been instances lately when I have felt myself start to lose it a little.
I want to say something that doesn't need said, or react to a situation.
Fortunately, my heart has changed.
I don't want to waste any energy on contention.
I wasn't unhappy before.
Most people who know us well, think we are pretty good at taking the punches as they come,
but I didn't realize how good it feels to really choose to be happy.

That saying, "Come what may and love it" keeps coming to mind.

Dan said the other day,
"You finally understand The Space Between."

That's the space between Action and Reaction.
It's the moment you choose how you will feel,
It's the words you do or don't say,
the place where discipline becomes a success or failure.
It is all the difference to every situation we find ourselves in.
We choose to be happy.

Well, I am past my time.
Dan picked a short and painful leg workout this morning.
Haha....It won't be long before running up and down the stairs becomes a really painful experience.

Happy Monday.
We have a concert tonight,
and
Football starts today.

It is already a good day :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Please leave a message

It was time to change my voicemail.
I repeatedly have people who feel offended if I am not able to answer the phone when they call me.
Believe me, I would,
but with a busy life, it's nearly impossible to take every call that comes through to my phone.
I have nine little peeps who also use my phone.
Between their friends, my friends, school, work, sports and church, my phone gets used.

So I changed my greeting.
My main point, "Please don't take it personally when I am unable to answer."
Most people don't leave a message either,
So I have no idea that anything was needed.

Sydney and Dan laughed at me and I had to re-record a few times until it sounded acceptable.

In the past, I might have been concerned that people feel frustrated with me.
But the new "I don't feel angry program" helps me accept responsibility for the things that are within my circle of influence, and ignore the things that are not within my influence.
If I do not know someone needs something, I cannot help.
And I feel really okay with people owning their frustrations.
Life is just to short to waste feeling upset or angry.

Well, it's Thursday.
Corbin says he is sick.
It's possible.
And today, the 6th grader was flustered and a little late.
His favorite cousin was also late and walked out from her driveway teary-eyed.
I told Caleb to go catch her and walk in together.
I love that they are such good friends.

Sydney and I did a great work out this morning.
36 minutes of cardio with some strength training in between intervals.
I know it's not much yet,
but we are building.

I am so so glad that someone comes home today!
I did my best.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letters To Wednesday

Dear Wednesday,

I love writing to you when I feel happy. Why are people so up and down all the time? Oh right, maybe its just women....or maybe it's just me?? Well, either way, I usually wake up pretty excited. My real problem is that I get tired at night. What will I do when I have teenagers that want to stay up past 8:30pm?

I made amends with Tuesday yesterday. I even cooked dinner with meat and side dishes. (Over the phone, Dan talked me through bar-b-queuing steak.) It was still a busy day, but I felt pretty good about it. I didn't realize it was voting day so I called a friend to get the skinny. We ended up in a political discussion, and by the end, it was determined that I needed to go vote. My vote would cancel out her vote. Hahaha.....we laughed about that.

I am actually naturally drawn to politics. Just before bed last night, I texted Dan to tell him I feel like I would like to go to Law School. He said I would be good at it. I told him it was a pipe dream :) That does sound like fun though. I think that means that my mid-life crisis is back on again! (It had been temporarily suspended twice with the arrivals of Maryn and Ainsley.)

Sydney is home today. It's been fun to have her here the past 2 days. I am not sure what's on the schedule except she veto-ed the 'steak for breakfast' plan. Later we will babysit Uncle Keith. I watched him briefly yesterday too. (That is where we got the idea about steak.) I asked him if he wanted steak or salmon for dinner. He smiled really big. But then I didn't know which one he wanted so I had to guess. I might have guessed wrong because he didn't eat much. The kids questioned whether feeding steak to a guy with dentures is a great idea? Well, tonight is salmon night.

Wrestling season is winding down and Dan's head has already left the mat and moved onto football. I told him not to be distracting to our sons. They have some key tournaments yet remaining. And then.....we will move on to full contact hitting again. The girls and Corbin are loving soccer. The weather is absolutely amazing right now. Sitting on the sidelines is such a peaceful time. We are back into Pat's Run training too. I love spring!! So much fun stuff to do outside. It's pretty hard to want to stay indoors.

Oh Wednesday, guess what? Dan and I finally came to a great understanding. An issue arose. Dan explained yet again about the 'Hierarchy of Command.' For some reason we keep having this conversation. Today we had a meeting of the minds. I said something like, "This discussion will get easier when you realize I AM the top of the hierarchy, and I SEND directives down the chain of command." Dan laughed. Of course I am.

Well, Wednesday, I am pretty happy about you today. If I work really hard, I still have a shot at impressing Dan when he gets home. My other alternative is 'barely surviving' in which case he feels guilty and I get sympathy attention. All attention is good attention, eh?

Today is your day, Wednesday. I hope I still like you at 8:30pm tonight.

Exuberantly yours,
Me

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

green

This morning I woke up at 4am with a need to clean.
Sooooo I got Dan up.
He started matching up the socks,
and I made some checklists.
(The church has checklists for cleaning. The kids liked it.)

It was a start.
We didn't finish our cleaning,
But we went to the gym.
I've been missing that place.

When we got home,
Dan made eggs and I poured the juice.
It was pea green.

Why is the orange juice green?

Why is there a quart jar on the counter set up resembling a science experiment filled with water and sprinkles?

hmmmm......

Yesterday Dan got into trouble.
He was on duty for receiving the kids after school.
(They play him like a pawn.)
I think I finally put an end to that practice.

When one of the kids asked if she could play at a friends house across town on a week day, the answer was, "No."
(Dan had called to ask me.)

When I got home, I found that friend and our kid at the park across the street.
They simply reversed the situation and convinced both unsuspecting parents that "No" for playing at the friends house means "Yes" to the friend playing here.

In clear language I told Dan not to make any more decisions regarding the children.
Hahaha.
He agreed.

The friend was invited in to help the child do her chores.
They stuffed everything out of sight and went back out to play.

I went back into the room and emptied the baskets, cleared under the bed and scooped out the closet until there was quite a pile in the middle of the room.
REDO.

I really mean it guys.
Without being angry, I was clear to the kids.....and the friend.
It's a bummer when our consequences are on the negative side of life.

This morning, the kids were more than willing to do their chores without complaining before they left for school.
I never got angry or felt like yelling at any of them.
How cool is that?

The parenting teacher told us that kids want boundaries and that they need freedom.
I think it's true.


Monday, February 27, 2012

break through

Guess what?
I Did It!
I finally really let go of my anxiety over things that I cannot control.

Let me clarify with a story:

Dan was a 17 year-old leaving to college out of state.
Lots of his friends went together.
They shared dorms and dorm rooms.
For most, it was their first experience away from home.
F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

Dan had a really good time that year, albeit, most freshmen he knew struggled.
There were some exceptions.
His best friend Derick, for example, didn't stay up late the night before a big exam.
He did his homework.
"Frisbee" was not the most important activity on any given day.
He wasn't the guy ordering Pizza to the dorm rooms on Fast Sunday.
He attended is church meetings, his classes, and managed to get good grades.....because he wanted to.

My first year of college was much the same.
I was excited to be there.
I was really fortunate because my sister worked at the school.
(She loves school.)
She sent me to a counselor and we planned out an educational path.
I followed it and got a degree.
I loved college.
I was there because I wanted to be.

I came from a big family with many needs.
I didn't pop up on the Parental Radar all that often,
and really, I just liked doing well.
I admit that I had some lonely years where I wondered if anyone was really paying attention.

My greatest detriment was the fact that I struggled with procrastination.
(I liked Gilligan's Island and Dukes of Hazard too.)
And I was a fairly shy child that didn't ask for much.
I could have had straight A's, but I settled for mediocre.

Dan says he was a classic underachiever,
and in his early college days, he didn't know what to do with so much freedom.
He settled for mediocre too.
By all accounts, both of us should have had full-ride scholarships to the college of our choosing.

How does this relate to my 'letting go of anxiety' breakthrough?

Fast Forward 17 years from our beginning together.
Wade through years of pregnancies, toddlers, elementary school kids, homes, cars, jobs, family, And.....The Laundry!

This morning, I did it.
I went into the laundry room where a large pile of clothes had accumulated.
I sorted out all the clothes that should be washed by the older kids.
Their dirty laundry was placed back into the basket and carried back to their bedrooms to await yet another laundry day.

This is a big break through for me.
In the past, the laundry days have not held up.
The laundry piles until I can't stand it,
and then I gather it and do it all by myself.

Today, I circled the older kids for a little conversation,
And let them know that I would NOT be doing their laundry.
NO. MATTER. WHAT.
If they run out of clothes, I suggested they go next door to Grandmas and ask if they can pay her some money to use her machine.
(Caleb actually did that.)

What does laundry and college have to do with my anxiety breakthrough?

Let me continue......

I also told the older kids about another new practice.
I will no longer be checking their grades online.
It's been helpful for me to micromanage but not very empowering for the kids.
When the grades are bad, they need only wait until I get angry about it.
They never need to 'feel' anything about their grades.
But when I remove my emotions from the situation, the kids actually have to feel their successes or failures all on their own.
I really do want them to do their own thinking.

The other night when one of the kids was wanting to see a movie that I thought might not be the best choice, I said, "Well, that's between you and the Lord."

What a liberating phrase to believe in.....

I know that even our older kids are not very old yet,
but so far, they are pretty good.

What do grades, laundry and movies have to do with my anxiety breakthrough?

I finally believe that the older children who have been taught are capable of being good, responsible, contributing members of society.

My anxiety is swallowed up in the hope that they will succeed.

As for all the other things I tend to worry about,
I am really trying to follow the same approach of not getting emotionally involved.
We make the best decisions for the moment we are in....and then move forward.
It doesn't always work out, but it's good either way.

I am developing some dangerous control.
There is very little that is penetrating lately or breaking me down.

I might lose it when I haven't slept well, or I feel headachy,
but for the most part I continually ask myself,
"Do I really need to get angry about this?"
Usually the answer is, "No."

Ahhhh....this is freedom.

To my minions:
You know how much I value good grades.
I know you are smart enough.
We do our best to provide the kind of home where you can succeed if you choose to.
Please know that I love you and I will help you.
Never be afraid to ask.
Even if I am not able to fix your problem, please know that I feel sad when you struggle.

If you want straight A's, it's possible.
Being a Champion is well within your reach.
Becoming the person God intended you to be will bring you tremendous joy in this life.
Please don't be too hard on yourselves when you aren't able to accomplish all that you hope to.
The options are endless when you put your whole heart into whatever you are doing,
whether it be education, music, sports, religion or anything else.

I love you.