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.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Skin

When yesterday was all said and done,
we were left with a pile of dirty uniforms and tired, exhausted kids.

It began at 6am.
Usually on a Saturday, that is sleeping in,
but yesterday, it was tough to pull myself out of bed,
and even harder to get the kids moving.
8:30am soccer game,
and the expected/unexpected cleaning of the church assignment at 6:30am.
Of course we want the blessing of participating in that task.
Nevermind it meant a really early morning,
without a dad or older son.
The kids helped 'willingly....because they had to'.
Isn't that life?
"Willingly.....because we have to."
Or is it,
"Willingly, because we want to?"

(Oh....I should mention that writing without rules might be frustrating for some of my cyber friends. Please feel free to correct me when I mess up my punctuation. Thanks)

Corbin is a super cute little dude on the field.
While most of the kids are playing Buffalo Ball,
Corbin is 'getting open.'
I love it.

And the girls each played some very challenging soccer.
Both scored!
Presley has a gift for seeing the whole field.
She knows how to be where the ball is going,
which in her young training is called, "The Scoring Spot."
She played awesome D too.
No one scored while she was guarding the goalie.

I have probably seen Reagan score a hundred times in the last 8 seasons,
but yesterdays goal was my all-time Fav.
She shot from the side line, pretty far away,
and that ball sailed over every players head and hit the back of the net with tremendous force.
She tied the game and sent the motivation straight to the stars.
Way to Go!
I will always remember that goal.

Our kids came home sweaty and tired.
It was a fun day on the fields.

I laid in bed last night so exhausted,
But I couldn't help but replay the significant moments of my week.
For example,
I took one of the minions in for a speech evaluation.
The person who assessed him was a rather hard-nosed, old school kind of woman.
She spent 5 minutes with my little zombie before she came out to get me.
She was frustrated because she couldn't get the child to cooperate and count the blocks.
(He was stacking them.)
After 10 minutes with him,
she began talking about "Oppositional Behavior Disorder" and medication.
We had a little moment where I explained that he is most cooperative when I give him a choice.
I about died laughing inside when she went on to say this:
"The real problem in parenting is that a decade or so ago, 'Experts' gave parents the idea that kids need choices."
She continued,
"In the real world, they aren't going to have choices. They will have to do what they are told."

Ummmm......yah...maybe in prison.

She proceeded to give me a lecture on parenting.
Obviously, I am not getting this very right.
Needless to say, I smiled and thanked her and walked out laughing.
The woman was about as unapproachable as a hungry bear in early spring.
The child wouldn't dance her dance.
I wouldn't either.
Maybe I have "Oppositional Behavior Disorder"?

Is there some kind of medication that will make me follow the rules?? Please.

Well, since I can't think of any,
I suppose I will go on defying the norm.
It would be awesome if more people did the same.

That experience did cause me to stop and ponder about the child's behavior.
Yes. He came out with extra energy.
(He takes after his dad.)
No. There is nothing wrong with that.
More than likely, he will spin circles around "normal" people,
and end up feeling a little ostracized during certain points in his life.
We will probably get angry calls from frustrated teachers.
He might not fit in every where he goes.
So far, of our 9 children, he is exactly as normal as the rest.
And they are amazing kids.
Hard working, happy, service-oriented high achievers.
I love that they don't mess around when it comes to really living.

Here is a funny story:
The scout came home from the campout feeling agitated.
He said this,
"My leaders wouldn't let me use my laser pointer, and I had to put it away.
But then they said no to the sling shot too.
No air soft guns.
No lighters.
No machetes.
I don't think I want to go on any more camp outs."

My response? "Hmmmmmm........"

Zombies #2 and #3 are the reason I know I will survive Zombies #6 and #7.

When I asked Dan what he thought about the woman's 5 minute assessment of our little son he said something like,
"Well that pretty much confirms what we already know."
He reminded me that I don't take that child too many places.
I said, "I have never been able to take boys anywhere."
We laughed.
Some spaces are just a little too confining
so we hold off on those until the boys are ready.

We all have gifts.
It's super frustrating to the people who want to label a gift as a 'disability.'

....
And now I will get to the filterLESS me.
Last night, I was watching a clip on the Internet of some girls that were doing a dance routine.
I will be honest,
it embarrassed me.
The parents seemed proud to watch their daughter shake her chest and bum.
I wondered what useful purpose that activity holds?
Are we really meant to spend hours upon hours learning something like that?
Does it hold any future value?

Recently when speaking with one of our daughters,
she expressed to me that she feels inadequate by the fact that she doesn't know how to dance.
(Apparently, the popular girls can dance.)
It made me sad to think that this daughter,
with all her abilities,
feels inadequate about something, that in my mind, is such an embarrassment.
Shaking your boobs or bootie is NOT A useful SKILL.
If it happens to be your skill....please know you have other God-given abilities.

Okay....
This is not a knock on dancing.
I think most dancing is beautiful.
I am even amazed by gymnastics and acrobatics.
It takes incredible bravery for people to discipline themselves enough to practice and perfect their craft
AND THEN stand in front of a crowd and confidently show their skill.

And I am not bitter because dancing is not my skill.
If I wanted it, I am quite certain I could learn it.
There is nothing in life that says we only acquire talents in childhood.
I have seen grown adults develop new talents in the arts.
Most of the time, confidence and courage are the keys....not age or raw talent.

Finally this night (or morning depending on how you see it) I would like to say something to my sweet daughters and sons:
You have so much to offer.
Please don't judge yourself by the standards of others.
We cannot please everyone,
but we can please God,
and He is all that matters.

Kindness, virtue, honesty, endurance, service.....are not talents that are regularly recognized.
More than likely, you will not be receiving any awards for success in those areas.
You will, however, be accepted by those who mean the most.
Please, Please, Please learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
Think of Ainsley and Maryn and how sweet they are coming into this life.
It's the ugliness of the world that changes us from who we are meant to be.

Sometimes you might feel like your only choice is to
Compromise
OR
be part of the Nerd Herd.
Please be a nerd.
It's a good thing.
Hopefully the Nerd Herd is full of other kids that are trying to do the right thing.
You could even aspire to become the Head of Nerd Herd.
How cool is that?

I love you sweet minions,
with all your spunk and energy.
I love you when you are "oppositional."
I love you when you are happy or hurting or sad.
I love you especially when you forget yourself and you worry more about what other people think of you.
I love to see you honestly succeed,
because it feels good in the most wholesome way.
I want that for you.
I want that for everyone.
I am so thankful for the blessing I have of being the one to help you through these hard years.

What have I learned about myself recently?

I am an ADHD Nocturnal Chinese Mother of 9 who occasionally goes a little over-the-top and suffers from "Oppositional Behavior Disorder."
I love sports. Who knew?
I have a gift for understanding the language of contracts,
but I cannot scramble eggs.
Depending on my mood, I listen to hymns or Social Distortion.
Apparently, I love to write.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I don't mind wearing the same shirt two days in a row if no one spit up on it or hugged me with peanut butter hands.
I do not enjoy shopping, or trying on clothes.
I prefer gym shoes to high heels.
Someday when I am old, I will play the organ while Dan sings Amazing Grace at someone's funeral.
I feel comfortable in my own skin.
And....
I am a Mormon. (That part was random, eh..like the commercials. Haha)

I wish I had always been as accepting of myself as I am right now.
I hope everyone can find that quiet confidence that comes from knowing who they are and where they came from.
It brings peace.

Well....Today is Sunday.
We leave for church in 3 hours.
I have been awake for 2.
If I work quickly,
we might make it on time :)


Friday, February 24, 2012

SOP's

O kay....

(I must use that word a lot, because sometimes when I am putting Maryn in her carseat, she says "O kay" , just as I am about to say it.

It means, "I'm done with that and on to this." 'This' is usually something difficult.

So this morning it's O kay....
because I've been up since 2:39 am and already accomplished some good things,
but my hardest part of the day is still coming.

This week has been enlightening for me.
I realized that I never need to feel angry again.
The more I practice, the easier it gets.
I am still on the, "It's not my problem" kick.
That theory is really holding up.
It does not mean "I don't care."
It just means that I didn't create the issue
and I will help if it is within my circle of influence.
(Dan is always talking about 'my circle of influence'
and how sometimes I forget and then I try to solve the world's problems.)

This week, I added another concept.
It's called S.O.P.'s
Standard Operating Procedures.
I like them!
For example, when the children start asking about sleepovers, I simply refer to the SOP's.
They can't argue policies.
I love policies.
I am safe when I stick to my policies.

The job charts are helping.
Some of the kids are understanding that they can max out their earning potential when they complete all their jobs.
The overall functionality of the home improves when we are all doing our share.

Some of the kids are beginning to bring in some money.
This is good.
We have run into an issue of how much money they should spend.
Some recent events necessitated that a decision be made regarding the spending limit.
Since most money is usually spent on junk (items typically costing less than $10), the number I felt inspired by was 10%.
They can spend 10% of their savings.
(It wasn't determined how often,
but these kids do not usually ask to spend money more than once or twice a month.)
Creating SOP's is a good thing even when it won't come into play for awhile.


So this weekend I am working on my home and business SOP's.

At the home, we are into a new sports season.
If we do not keep a balance, things start to fail.
For example, cleats and sporting equipment needs to belong in a locker.
I also need a 'Uniform Basket' on my dryer.
The van needs emptied every time we use it.
(That's a big one....If people leave stuff in the car, we spend wasted time searching.)

Yesterday I tried something new.
It's called, "Do your homework and chores in silence."
I l.o.v.e.d. that.
The afternoon was so peaceful.

As for the office, we are always updating the SOP's.
Dan mentioned that he needs to find a gifted writer to put it all down on paper.
Right.

Well, SOP's help every business and home.
As long as we do not break our own rules, we should find our world to be a little less complicated.

This weekend has the potential for being awesome.
Since I'm tired, I have to resort to Gatorade and the iPod.

And since it's Friday, I should take a minute and write down some of our cuter moments.
One night when Dan was here,
Cade climbed into my bed and said,
"I wish Dad would go back to work so I can sleep in his bed."

At the end of a long, stinky, fun day last Saturday
Corbin scooped up his dirty soccer uniform and headed to find a hiding place.
We reminded him that the uniform needs washed.
He said, "No Way!"
He wouldn't put it in the laundry pile for fear that it would not come back out again any time soon.
Smart kid.

And I had a moment of inspiration yesterday morning.
I asked everyone to answer the following:
"What is the best part of your life?
What is the worst part of your life?
Currently, what is your biggest need?"

The answers were varied.
You would think we were raising kids everywhere from the Getto to Beverly Hills.

My favorite answer came from Presley.
The best part of her life: Momy and Dady.
There was no worst.
And her biggest need currently: More chores.

haha.

Corbin wanted to break his answers down into categories of Person, Place or Thing.
His best place: Golden Corral, because it's better than McDonald's.
His worst thing is Time out.
His biggest need: If his Buzz Light Year toy could come to life and clean up his room.
He said, "My good life makes me happy, happy."

Some of the others had biggest needs of iPads.
One had a special friend who moved away and she misses her.
Dan needs more time.
I need to finish my Book.

Ahhhh......so many needs.
If there is anything I feel today,
it's that there is Someone who knows our every need.
If we are paying attention,
we will be amazed at the ways our needs our met.

And those are my thoughts this morning before I commence with the lovely task of coating this house in a sanitizing layer of bleach....

Happy Friday.
It's Prince on the iPod and rubber gloves on the hands.....(not really, I don't have any rubber gloves right now. Plus I like the lingering smell of chlorine on my hands all day.)
Today is the day.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Letters to Wednesday

Dear Wednesday,

I only have a minute, and so I am sneaking some time. (Dan is looking for me...hahaha).

Well, it's a good thing that I don't write to Tuesday, because yesterday wasn't my best day. Actually, Tuesday has been quite a bear all month. We have had Running Club races, wrestling tournaments, soccer practices and classes on Tuesday. It's weird saying this to you Wednesday, but I am beginning to think that you look good compared to some of the other days. Saturday has even gotten crazy again lately. Games, camp outs, band practice, parties, parties, parties. Life is moving at a break-neck pace.

Well Wednesday, I continue to make marginal progress with my new parenting skills. Sometimes I forget things. For example, I wanted Cade to pick up some toys. My auto-mind said, "Give two choices." I half-wittedly said, "Cade, do you want to pick up your toys or do you want me to?" Stupid. I actually wanted him to pick them up.

Another bad moment: The family will forever remember 8:17am when I reverted back to my drill sergeantness. And then there was the ride to church (I never got angry about that though). And Monday night dish time. That was not good. Maybe I am having more bad moments than good?? I doubt it. We have lots of good moments here.

Yesterday was a good, hard day. We had some important sporting events, and usually, I go to great lengths to be prepared. I tried something new with the older kids. I reminded them what we do the days prior to competing and I let them choose their actions. It was killing me. I knew they had not eaten properly and were not nearly hydrated enough. I knew that they had a day off Monday to really get ready for their week, but they chose to spend too much time playing. They all paid for that yesterday. One had a sobbing moment when she cramped up during a race. She was sad to realize that she was not sufficiently prepared to race. Another child fought through a hard loss on the mat. Having the right spirit would have given him the advantage.

We did have one really awesome moment yesterday though. One of our little girls took 1st in her grade. She raced her heart out. I was so happy for her success. Interestingly enough, she is also the only kid who has succeeded with this new parenting approach. She likes organization and understands consequences. It's been a joy to watch her excel. Way to go Little Minion!

Well, Dan quit looking for me. That could be bad. Until next week....when we rack up our losses and wins.....this is me signing off.

Encouragingly yours,
Me

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 16, 2012


Hammie passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Thursday.

Colin had been especially anxious this week leading up to that.
I knew he would be in first thing that morning to check on Hammie,
so I put on some calming music and worked in my room.
He cried.
It's rare when a 13 year old boy will be comforted by hymns about Christ.

He sat on my bed a long time.

One of the best things I ever learned early in marriage was how to cut hair.
In his sadness, Colin asked for a haircut
And so I stopped what I was doing and gave that attention.
He was quiet.
I talked to him about the feelings that tend to accompany loss.
There is guilt
and sadness
and anger
and blaming.
Sometimes we do not exactly know what to do with those feelings.
I told him that when we can't find a place for those emotions,
we leave them with our Savior.
In Him, we find our peace.

A few weeks ago, we had a service for the Zombie fish.
It was funny.
Yesterday, no one felt like laughing.
We gathered the children before leaving for school and said a soft pray
We thanked Heavenly Father for our blessings and the knowledge we have that we lived before we came here and if we do our very best, we live together again when we are finished here.
The morning was serene.
The children left here tearfully.

Colin wanted to bury his pet.
We went next door to Grandma's for a little box.
When we told her about Hammie, she cried too.
She found a perfect box for Colin.
I gathered the shovels and headed to the spot in the yard that I thought would be best.
It was the kind of day where only hymns would do,
so we listened quietly as we dug.
It sparked a memory of a talk I had hear in Conference a few years ago.
I found it on my phone.
There is a difference when we 'hear' a talk, and when we really 'listen' with the spirit.
The message was penetrating.
President Monson has an amazing way of making life's lessons real.
I realized that the act of burial serves a necessary purpose in healing from loss.

Colin finished the digging as President Monson concluded his talk.
Colin laid his little pet to rest.
He covered his small area with orbies and ran back inside for a Valentine's rose.
We said a final prayer and asked that the spot be protected.

The remainder of the day was good.
We picked up Kevin from the vet.
Colin eventually went to school although he was apprehensive.
He had a wrestling tournament last evening.
I took the opportunity to help him understand that he would probably do very well in his match because he was so close to the spirit that day.
In those times, we find tremendous clarity and strength.
Turns out, he did great and pinned his opponent in the first round.
Dan said he was extremely focused.

The hard moments of week ended peacefully.

As I look at my children, I am so thankful for the kind people they have become.
My new teenage son is becoming the man is father is.
Dan is good in every way.
He loves God and his family
and works hard to protect those things which matter most.

What will I remember best about this week?
Of course, little Hammie.
I will also remember Sydney's quote from Grandma,
"Loving pets prepares us for loving people."
And I cannot forget the hug from Dan in the church parking lot as we were passing each other in and out of various Wednesday night activities.
Our friend noticed that hug and asked, "How long has it been since you saw Dan last...a few days?"
No....just an hour.
He told me that guys like Dan make other guys look bad.
We laughed.
Maybe sometimes.

Well, I need to move on to the rest of the day.
I am heading over to give Uncle Keith a haircut.
Tomorrow is Corbin's very first soccer game.
We are pretty excited for that.

Today is Friday.
And These are the days.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Letters to Wednesday

Dear Wednesday,

With a million ways to spend my time today, I really just feel like writing. The kids are napping and the house is quiet. You will be a busy day, and I am determined to go to bed with peace tonight. That requires a significant effort, and I do not exactly feel up for the task.

Well, Wednesday, what is the latest, you ask? My mom is helping Uncle Keith get stronger. He can walk a little now. That is really impressive. She is amazing at making people well. Uncle Keith is in the best hands possible.

This week has not been good for our little Hamster. I am at times blessed with thoughts of what to do and how to do it. When the little guy looked to be nearing the end, I remembered what I have learned in the past. We make people or pets as comfortable as possible. For a furry hamster, I thought to offer food and water. He really cannot eat, and he only barely lifts his head to sip from his little water bottle. Picture me talking sweetly to a tiny little ball of fur and gently waking him and patiently waiting while he drinks. Then he lays his head back down and sleeps again. Yesterday, I moved his habitat into my bedroom and covered it with a blanket. The kids visit him. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and wondered if he was still with us. I knew if I checked and he had died, I wouldn't sleep all night. I got up anyway and offered him water. I didn't sleep regardless.

I tried to estimate how many times I have been up during the long hours of the night. I remembered my longest nights: Sydney and Reagan's deliveries. Cade was my longest night ever. It was the closest I had ever felt to God. I thought about the night my Grandfather passed. That was a drive to the west side in the middle of the night and one of my saddest and peaceful memories. I remembered taking care of sick kids or time in hospital rooms through the midnight hours. How many times have I felt that frightening loneliness and searched for answers or peace or strength? Too many to name. How many more times will I be there again? As many as the Lord sees fit.

As is normal, my mind raced and would not turn off for sleep. I finally wrapped Dan around me and fell back to sleep again. He doesn't know how comforting he is for me. I love when he is home.

Wednesday, today is your day, but I can't promise much. I am really just staying upstairs and keeping the house quiet. We have an evening of activities to occupy our time. It feels like a good day to stay inside.

Sullenly yours,
Me

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DowN

Well, it's been a roller coaster.
The hamster has taken another down turn.
I am so sad for the little guy.
He isn't really eating or drinking anymore.
It seems like he will not survive the day.
Death is such a remarkable experience,
even for hamsters.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday

On Friday morning, I began my work.
About half way into it, I had a thought.
(On Fridays, I don't ignore my thoughts.)
The thought was, "Plan a party for the kids."
So I did.
And yesterday we had about 40 kids here.
The theme was 'Hunger Games.'
If you haven't read the books, it won't make any sense.

It's tough to come up with a theme that is appropriate for both the 13 year old boy and 10 year old girl.
Hunger Games was acceptable to both.
We had a Prep Area where the girls did hair and makeup.
And a District Banner painting station.
And then the training stations: Archery, Sling Shot, Air Soft Gun, Marshmellow Gun.
It ended in a huge Air Soft Gun War,
with all the big kids running around shooting each other.

Hungers Games ideas are endless.
I offered to serve Rabbit Stew.
Reagan almost agreed.
We could have given parachute party favors with small hard loaves of bread and a side of goat cheese.
(No one consented to that idea.)
Instead we served vegis, chips, pizza and cake.
(It was killing me.)
I really wanted a President Snow Pinata.
(Couldn't find one.)
We did a Reaping and sorted kids into Districts.
The boys shot each other welty.
The girls painted and played.
The little ones wandered around having a blast.
We had the usual disdainful glances from passing neighbors who somehow seemed annoyed.
(Picture massive amounts of kids running around with weapons.)

We did have rules:
Shoot below the waist.
Try not to hit anyone small.
No human barriers for protection.

Well, it was a homemade kind of redneck fun party.
The archery had the biggest draw.
Corbin is a good shot. Who knew?

Colin had something spiritually important Sunday, so we ended the party early (6pm).
And we took Colin with us to eat so we could spend some time talking with him in preparation for his Sunday.
It was a perfect day.

Today was another great day.
Dan was with us.
The kids were content.
We had a memorable experience with our son and daughter.
It's now time for bed.
Cross my fingers that we sleep all night.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday

Tuesday was our birthday day.
It was a great, busy day.
Sydney taught art masterpiece.
Cade had preschool.
4 kids had a running club race.
Colin had a wrestling tournament.
Sydney had class.
Reagan had practice.
Presley had practice and a concert.
We took the 2 birthday kids for dinner after all the little peeps fell asleep.

It's rare that we have days like that with so much going on,
and I was so glad that Dan had traded shifts and could be with us that day.

Wednesday this week was not my best.
Everyone needs a little break,
and mine is sleep....if I'm lucky.

Last night, I was sitting a soccer cuddling Ainsley.
Dan was kicking a ball around with Presley.
Corbin, Cade and Maryn were running around the sidelines.
Reagan was doing drills with her team.
Sydney was at guitar practice.
Colin and Caleb had a very rare night when there was nothing on the schedule for them.
They rounded up a few boys for an airsoft gun war.
The weather was absolutely perfect,
and I didn't have a care in the world.
I felt guilty for sitting and enjoying every second of that peaceful night.

Some moments are unforgettable.

This morning, Dan dragged me out of bed again at 4:30am.
He was completely dressed in his suit.
I quickly threw on a dress and brushed through my hair.
I was a little grumpy driving down to the temple.
It was a good morning to be in my favorite place.
I know I've said this before, but people pay big money for peace.
It comes so easily for me if I am just willing to stop for a minute and be in the right places.

As usual, we left the temple with all the faith in the world.
Dan is indestructible.
I think the world is full of good people.
Our perspective is clear and encouraging.

I always wonder what kind of person I would be without the temple in my life.
Every week it helps me remember my purpose here.

The kids struggled a little this morning.
2 weeks ago, I wiped the slate clean with the laundry for them.
I made it easy.
Every piece of clothing was clean and put away.
I have resisted the strong temptation to walk around and collect their clothes and wash them.
Today, they are running out of clothes.
Their laundry days are not for a few more days.
I know they will figure out what to do to get through the next few days until they have the privilege of using the machines.

Slowly, we are learning here.
It's been a challenge to adopt new language.
Dan is happy, because I am not barking orders.
I have heard my fair share of complaints from my little zombies.
The kids are not used to my 'sweet' voice.
I'm not used to it either.
I admit it is forced at times,
but it's better to maintain my dignity.

If there is something I would say to my sweet minions today, it is this:
I love you to pieces.
You are doing a great job.
Don't be hard on yourselves.
Just give your very best, honest effort.

I looked in on Hammie this morning.
He is perking up a bit I think.
I have a new theory about his injury.
His little paw had been enormously swollen.
In the people world, it was a wound that would have needed lanced.
I think the little guy naturally lanced his wound.
He still has a paw. He even uses it.
He's not completely well, but he is giving it his best effort.
If only people had the determination of hamsters.
I am proud of the little furball.

And on that note, I have a million things to do today.
Dan went to work, because it was a good thing to do.
I would normally protest, except that I know that when we are together, we have a tendency to distract each other.
If he had to choose between working Friday or Saturday, we felt today would be better.
We can play tomorrow when everyone is home together.

Happy Friday.
The iPhone is blasting music and we are ready to Rambo this day.

PS....Zombies if you are reading this....www.myjobchart.com. It will help you stay on task. Plus, it means money :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

sleepless

By 8pm tonight, I was done.
Dan took over.
I can't remember how many days in a row I have been in this house with little or no break.
Ainsley has slept the last few nights which is a blessing.
Before that, she had been eating every 3 hours around the clock.
She hasn't taken a bottle in weeks.

I had/have an ear infection from being sick.
(I think it was a punishment for teasing Dan about his hearing.
Well, actually, it wasn't really teasing.
I've felt frustrated with his hearing,
mostly because I believe it's selective.
Maybe we are getting old,
but I refuse to believe that.)

Am I cranky?

I was sleeping, but the baby was fussy, so I got up and now I'm up.
It's kind of creepy in the middle of the night all alone here.

How do I shake my crabby-patty-ness?
Usually I try to remember all the gifts in my life or at least a few....

Ok. 1. Dan. He feeds me. I might starve otherwise. Plus he's funny.
2. The children. They love cheese. I love cheese. Sometimes we have chips with cheese. Sometimes it's with salsa.
3. The Terminator of all Spot Bots. You save me every day.

I am sure I can think of more, but the nocturnal kitten is motoring around the keyboard attacking me so I will be brief.

I meant to write the other day, but things get moving pretty fast around here sometimes.

I was thinking about a few people so much lately:

My friend who was the first to give to the Eagle Project. (Colin loves her forever) Why are you on my mind lately? How's the little peanut?

And my friend who lost her father-in-law. I hope you are finding peace.

And our sweet lady who makes the best beans. I had some for lunch yesterday. I always think of you. I hope you are well. We don't see you as often as we would like.

Well....I might try to sleep again.
It's not so smart to stay up all night.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Letters to Wednesday

Dear Wednesday,

You broke my will this week. Thanks.

Defeatedly yours,
Me

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feb 7.

February 7th is always a good memory for me.

13 years ago, our first son was born on a Sunday at 4:23pm.
And 10 years ago, Reagan came into the world on the exact same day at 4:31am.
It was a Thursday.
I still see their tiny faces.
I am thankful this year to have sweet Ainsley to remind me what it felt like to hold them as babies.
And in Maryn I remember our daughters when they were small.
Corbin and Cade are at fun ages where everything is amazing.
I know I will miss these exhausting days.

Happy Birthday to my Colin and Reagan.
You have become my friends.
It's a privilege to be your mother.
I love you forever.

Monday, February 6, 2012

immediate

Well, little Hammie is hanging in for now.

We had a good weekend.
The new parenting tools are effective and exhausting.

For example:
"I love you too much to argue with you."
It does shut down the whining.
And when it feels like nothing else is working and the whining/arguing/nagging is continuing,
I have no choice but to charge money.
$1 per minute.

It's just as hard for me to hold my tongue as it is for the kids.
But it's better not to say anything hurtful or contentious.

To my zombies with bank accounts that are a little less than they were before,
believe me when I tell you that I want you to keep every dollar you make.
Please try hard not to talk back. I will too.

For the most part, we have a pretty casual home.
These kids are especially good, so we rarely run into many major conflicts,
but keeping up with all that's required is tough sometimes.
And the distractions are many.
Remember our motto:
Work Hard, Play Hard.

For a little while, we will put our focus back on the work hard.

Little minions:
Agendas are extremely effective.
Every day, Dad and I write down a list of things we need to do that day.
Every week, we look at the calendar together, and plan out our time.
I promise if you do this, your minds will remember all the important things and your work will get finished on time, and there will still be time left over for the fun.

You can try dad's approach too which is,
"Plan your fun and work hard to make it possible."

We were on a good role and then woke up Sunday morning to sick kids.
Bummer.

So Corbin is still home today.
He is the cutest little dude.
This week, he starts soccer.
We can't wait to see him play.

And this week Reagan turns double digits.
When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she replied "New shin guards."
She such a happy girl.

And also this week Colin becomes a teenager.
We are happy to see him make so much progress in his short life.

This is a good week to be a mom.

So our goal for the next 14 days (since it takes that long to create a habit):
To act immediately on the promptings we receive.