Saturday, April 9, 2016

a heavy load, it seems

It's one o'clock in the morning and I should be sleeping, but not tonight.

Nothing is really very wrong at all, but it is one of those days where life feels a bit overwhelming.  When all the little things seem like big things, all piled up and making with me feel like I don't have much of a say in any of it.  And because I know deep down that everything is mostly okay and I have so much to be thankful for, I am left looking at myself and thinking I am a bit silly- because I know that my load is a pretty darn easy load in comparison to so many others.

Mostly, I'm probably just a bit tired and discouraged which always makes things look bigger than they are.

This week was spring break.  Courtney was working out of town for the week, and with the kids having a full 4 days out of school I put my whole heart into trying to make it fun and memorable. A trip to the park, kite flying, a great walk one evening, and a few days in the city with a fun hotel stay. Nothing monumental, but I really tried to be present, you know?  Days 1-4 went so well, but day 5 was a little rough.  I came down with a little stomach bug, got frustrated and lost my cool trying to enlist help around the house, spent 3+ hours at the ER with Sam after he stuck himself with Court's epi-pen, and then ended the day with what feels like a mounting disagreement/discipline situation.  Why is it that one day out of five makes me feel like I'm failing?

This parenting stuff can be pretty hard sometimes.  I sure wish I was better at it.  Slower to anger, quicker to see the good.  It's a slow march I'm making toward becoming the person I'd like to be, and nothing makes that more apparent than when I slip up with the ones I love.

For me, I think it is the lack of control.  It's funny, I never thought of myself as being a control freak 'til I became a parent.  It is obvious to me now how much I struggle with it.  It's so easy to speak of agency and all of it's virtues when everyone is doing that which is agreeable.  But when those choices are contrary to what I have in mind, I find my weaknesses making a grand showing.

A few weeks ago, I read the statement "Real growth cannot happen without real freedom."  It struck a chord, and today has reminded me that I have a long way to go in understanding agency in relation to parenting and family life. Lots of prayers needed on this front, that's for sure.

But, tomorrow is a new day and I'm sure it will all seem sunshiney-er in the morning (I made up that word just now).  That's the thing.  There is always something good in every day- even today.  I can think back on the things Sam said that made me laugh- for instance, when the monitor at the hospital kept going off and we told him we couldn't make it stop.  He told us matter-of-factly that all you need to do to fix a computer is to push X a couple of times.  Kate won her first soccer game of the season, which I think she was a little nervous about.  Physically- I'm feeling much better than I was this afternoon.  Sam's ER visit was perfectly smooth-sailing- and hopefully a lesson was learned.  Everyone is sleeping, safe and sound and healthy.  And tomorrow we'll start fresh and try again.  This really is A Time To Be Happy.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Time is flying by.

I've heard it said of parenting that "the days are long, but the years are short".  I look back at the younger years and remember the truth of that.  I recall the long days, waiting 'til daddy got home from work.  I loved those days, but there was an endless feel to them.

My days don't feel long anymore.  Right now, it seems as though the days are short and so are the years.  These are days of waking up early and sending kiddos off in phases.  First the older two, trading advice on outfit choices, swapping sandals and jewelry, trying new hair styles.  Prayers, afterschool activity updates, and they're off.  Next, wake the younger two girls.  Breakfast, hair, talking Claire into a jacket, and too often a hurried reading of the baggy books that didn't get read the day before.  Once again- prayers, "Choose the right and Be Kind!" and waving through the doorway as they climb on the bus.  By this time, Sam is sometimes awake and sometimes still sleeping.  If he's still asleep, I peek in on him.  He has taken to sleeping on a castoff crib mattress on the floor between Emmy and Claire's bed.  He is sleeping much better now he has roommates.  I walk into the older girls quiet rooms, stepping over the tossed-on-the-floor clothing (the obvious losers of that particular days fashion show).  I turn out lights, raise the blinds, and shut the door for the day.

I like our busily quiet mornings.  I tackle my list for the day.  Sam watches a show or plays while I do a barre workout, we tidy the house, throw in some laundry, and if I'm on my game, start something for dinner.  There are dishes to be done, rooms that need cleaning, and a house that gets straightened in preparation for the whirlwind that arrives in a few hours as the girls start arriving from school.  Most mornings include a call to Grandpa from Mr. Sam, in hopes he can "go to work".  Now that the weather is warming up, there is grass to be mowed, flowers to be planted, and weeds to pull.

Claire arrives just before lunch, hungry and sometimes a little grouchy tired from her big morning away.  We eat lunch, chat about the day, and she and Sam often head somewhere to play.  Lately, they are into catching pet worms (although Claire insists no worm will ever match-up to last weeks "Lucy" in terms of friendliness.  RIP Lucy.)  On a good day, Claire talks me into making cookies with her.  Since making cookies is one of my favorite things to do, that happens pretty often.

Emmy comes next, and is always greeted with enthusiasm by the littles because she comes up with such fun activities for them to play.  School is her favorite, but no matter the itinerary, it almost always involves her teaching them something.

Kate follows shortly after- unless she stays after for math club, to work on History Fair, or lately, to practice soccer with Ashley.  It is snacks, homework, and then reading.  Lots of reading.  I usually have to cut it short in favor of a few chores getting done :).  

Ryenne is mostly gone: to work, practice, after school activities or with friends every chance she gets.  It feels strange to have her off and away so often, becoming so awfully independent.  Of course, this all involves a lot of driving around and picking up and dropping off, which makes me almost ready to send her off in a car before long.  Almost, but not quite.

Games, practices, homework, efforts to motivate kiddos to clean rooms that will be messy again by morning.  After school snacks and playing referee for the days disagreements.  Chatting with cheerful kids on good days and cheering up disgruntled kiddos on the not-so-good-days.  "Happys and sads" around the dinner table.

Showers and notes signed and books read and pajamas.  Scriptures and prayers if we are doing it the way we should, which of course, isn't every night but hopefully enough nights to make a difference.  Bedtime stories and bedtime kisses and if I'm being honest, bedtime battles.  Checking texts on teenage cell phones and often, following up with discussions about such things.  Long gone are the days of kids being in bed by 8.  (These older kids have stamina, I tell you.)

Finally I climb into bed, tired but mostly happy.  Weary from a full day and wondering if I'm doing it right.  Already making lists for the day ahead and saying quiet prayers and wondering about this child or that child and hoping they're getting everything they need from me.  Puzzling over what it is that I can do to be kinder, more patient, and create stronger relationships that will get our little family over the bumps that lie ahead.  Feeling thankful for this little family of mine and for a job that stretches me more than I ever imagined.

These are short days. . . filled with people who I love the best and who grow me the most.  And I wouldn't trade a thing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

a flower for mom

wo-jo family reunion. . .bear lake

Cole and Julie were in charge of last year's Wo-Jo reunion and it turned out to be so much fun.  We met up (with the exception of Josh & Kendra) in Bear Lake at a super fun cabin for a few days of fun.  The kids look forward to our family reunions all year long, which is no surprise because it is always non-stop family fun!  

Some of the highlights were seeing Minetonka cave, swimming at the pool, and of course spending a few afternoons at the lake.  We had a huge tube to pull everyone behind the boat, which led to Courtney doing his very best to get everyone off the tube!  Those of us waiting on the beach could hear the laughter all the way from out on the water!  It was lots of fun!  We ended the weekend with a stop for Raspberry shakes (because, how can you not?) and said our goodbyes.  Already looking forward to this summer!

ogden temple open house

county fair fun

Sadly, we lost all the pictures from the fair that were on my phone, so we only have a few from Courtney's. 
I'm so behind, I can hardly remember anything about that week!  I do remember it was super cold- which was strange because we are usually dying of heat stroke in the lamb barn and this year we nearly froze!  It rained a lot during the days too.  It was just a strange year.  

We did venture over to an antique tractor display one afternoon, and the kids were especially impressed with this pink tractor!

Of course, Claire and Sam were part of the Pee Wee lead, which is kind of a pain in my you-know-what each year but always turns out to be a lot of fun.  And if I must say so myself, we've had some pretty good kid/lamb costumes over the years.  This year was pretty darn funny, but unfortunately we don't have any good pictures.  Claire and Sam were vintage bathing beauties, and the lamb was in scuba attire (complete with scuba fins which were hilarious).  Sam decided he was done with his goggles about two minutes into it, and the flowers had mostly fallen off Claire's swimming cap by the time this picture was taken, but you get the idea.  When they judge asked Claire about her costume, she said "We want to go swimming 'baaaaaaa'd'".   They won, of course :).

Aaaaaaand another year bites the dust.  

the day miss claire went to work with daddy