Sunday, April 26, 2009

cycle of life

This is Thomas and Lily, the caterpillars.
This is the house where Thomas and Lily live.

These are Thomas and Lily's mothers.

Like all good mothers, they love to watch their children. They spend a lot of time observing, playing, feeding, and doing their best to ensure all is well in their loved one's world.

They have already noticed the changes happening to Thomas and Lily. They are
growing. . .changing. They know that someday, not all that far away, Thomas and Lily will make a wondrous, miraculous transformation. Day by day, these little mothers are witnessing the process of becoming. One day they will awaken to find that the little ones they have tended are ready to embark on a new phase of life. They will be lovely and beautiful creatures, ready to leave their safe little cocoon and all that they know. They will spread their wings and take flight- off to explore the world on their own.

And although it is very exciting for the mothers to think about, it also makes them a little sad.

I think I know just how they feel.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

be of good cheer

I admit it. I've been a class A grouch this week. (Okay, maybe two weeks. Or three). And I've been getting worse by the day. It's not that I haven't tried, for I really thought I was. It's just that I was trying so hard, but still giving in to the little voice in my head. You know, the one that tells me "You're right, miss Kelly. You've really got it hard. You have lots of reasons to be dumpy and grouchy. Go ahead, be miserable. You deserve it." And then, just as quickly, this voice retreats (or maybe it's just mowed down) by a differing voice. This one reminds me how easy I have it. How blessed I am. And how ridiculous it is for me to be so selfishly stuck on my own perceived misery. The battle has been raging.

I was entrenched in the battle this afternoon while Emmy and I were waiting for Ryenne and Kate to finish gymnastics and piano lessons. It was then that Emmy perked up and said, "Lets go see Grandma and Grandpa Great". So contrary to plan, we made a left hand turn right there. And this, my friends, was just what I needed.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Grandpa and Grandma truly are great. While Grandma wasn't home for our visit, we had a lovely chat with Grandpa. I've told Courtney for years that he (and now lucky me) has the perfect grandpa. He is delightful. A farmer and cowboy who grew up driving teams of horses to plow his fields, he has endless stories to tell. He loves to reminisce, and I love to listen to his stories. These stories, sprinkled with an occasional swear world, are part of his charm. But the best part of Grandpa to me is his joy for life. He loves his family. You can't be with him for five minutes without him telling you how blessed he is. How super his family is. And how wonderful his life has been. To talk to Grandpa you think he'd led a charmed life, with no difficulties. Not so. He has just chosen to see it that way.

I'll never forget a story someone once told of Grandpa and his view of life. This person's father, a neighbor, had been changed by a conversation between he and Grandpa. After hearing of a challenge Grandpa had faced with one of his children, in which some had perceived Grandpa had been taken advantage of, this friend had asked him how he planned to deal with it. Wasn't he upset? He never forgot how Grandpa had replied. In a patient, loving voice, Grandpa explained that it just wasn't important. "Life is too short to have problems with the kiddies." And that seems to be his take on life. It's too short to remember the problems.

We were only with Grandpa for 20 minutes or so, but he spent the entire time rocking either Claire or Emmy, telling us all how we had made his day. That his body might be giving away, but no one can take away his family. And to him, there is nothing more precious. It's not just what he says, you know he really means it. But you know, sometimes it's still nice to hear the words. He added in frequent comments like, "Lucky you. You're in the best time of your life". . . "Oh, I know the demand on the mother is great. But the payoffs are priceless". . . "Oh, I've had a wonderful life. . .I couldn't have asked for more." He may have been happy to see us, but it was he who made my day.

Funny how Heavenly Father works. Sometimes he has to work double time on me, and tonight was one of those nights. I ended up going to a stake primary leadership meeting that I came awfully close to ditching. And I was inspired. You know what the theme of the evening was? Be of Good Cheer.

The stake primary president talked of perspective. She related a talk given by Elder Richard G. Scott, who spoke of a small pebble. He said that when we pick up a small pebble and hold it right up to our eye, it takes in our entire vision. It blocks everything in our view and we see only the pebble. But once we pull it away, our view is opened up. While we can still see that pebble, it is only a small part of our vision. This is the same with the challenges in our lives. When we focus and dwell on those challenges, in essence, holding them right up to our eye, it is all we can see. It blocks us from seeing the beautiful blessings and good things in our life. With Heavenly Father's help, we can learn to remove that pebble from the forefront. He can teach us how to grow and learn how to better manage that pebble. It may still affect our life, but it doesn't have to determine it.

I better understand two things tonight. One is that I have been holding a pebble right in front of my vision, keeping me from enjoying the many, many blessings I have been given. The other is that my Father in Heaven knows me. He loves me and is aware of my struggles. And he helped me make some important detours today because He knew I needed those lessons. In all actuality, it was really He who made my day.

So for the past few hours, I've tried to move that pebble out of the forefront. And I've seen good things. . .

The tulips blooming by my front walkway. Tulips are my favorite flower, and this year I finally have them in my yard! Yellow and pink! It feels nothing short of a miracle. Glorious springtime!

Ryenne has made me laugh at least twice in the past two days. Yesterday I told her that we really needed to get her piano practicing done. I think my exact words were, "You haven't touched the piano in a month". She looked at me, reached out and touched the piano with the tip of her finger. "There," she said. Sassy, I know, but I loved it. The other time was today. She was telling me how nice Sarah's mom was and how nice Emma's mom was. So I asked, "So how about Ryenne's mom? Is she very nice? " To which she smiled and replied, "Well she is most of the time. But there are times when I really wonder." I loved her fun, sassy manner. (Now don't get me wrong, sassy is not always fun.) But it made me think that despite all the growing pains we are starting to experience, this age is a lot of fun!

And the list is growing. . .

I almost can't wait to wake up in the morning. I can't imagine what it will be like to view the world without a rock in my eye.

Monday, April 20, 2009

single moms

I've come to a conclusion. Single moms deserve a halo.

Courtney has been gone every week but one since the first part of February. I've lost track of how many weeks that is, but it stinks. I don't like this arrangement at all. I know this sounds like I'm just feeling sorry for myself (and I am), but it reinforces something I've thought many, many times. Single moms (or dads, for that matter) have a really tough job.

I get to look forward to Saturday and Sunday. And believe me, I do. It's not long enough for my liking, but it is the brightest spot of my week. I like having him around. Don't get me wrong, I love my little people. But it's sure nice having a cute boy in the house. I laugh more when he's here, and life in general seems a little more manageable. I've thought many, many times how difficult and overwhelming it would feel to really be doing this on my own.

I give a gigantic hats off and a fervent prayer for single parents. They've got a tough job.

PS. I have to give another shout-out. A few months ago, a friend recommended a CD called "Miracle Music", which helps tackle the morning/evening routines. It's been a great thing for me. It comes with 2 separate CD's filled with music and instructions for both a morning schedule, and an evening schedule. For example, the morning music wakes them up, has them make their beds, get dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, eat, clear dishes, and do an act of kindness (which is any little chore I assign them). The music is great, and the kids really move. It's taken so much of the nagging out of getting everyone ready for the day and the house is staying much tidier. We don't do it everyday, but I really have liked it. If you're interested, the website is I'm sure you could make your own, but I liked that it wasn't my voice and I just didn't have the time to put something together. Anyway, it's made my life easier!

"hoppy" birthday ryenne!

Ryenne, you were so excited that your birthday fell on Easter this year! But your Daddy and I are having a hard time with the fact that our baby girl is 9 years old. Where has the time gone?

You are becoming such a beautiful, kind girl. We have loved watching you grow and interact with all of the beautiful things in your world. You have always had a special knack for capturing and enjoying beauty in everything around you. We hope you will always continue to take time for nature and to enjoy the many wonders Heavenly Father has created for you. You are your very happiest when you are outside, smelling the flowers and chasing butterflies. And did you know that some of our happiest moments are watching you? We love you so much!

For your cake, you appropriately chose an Easter bunny cake. We thought it turned out pretty cute! For your birthday, your Dad thought you would love some things for gardening. You were given gardening boots, gloves, and a hook to hang a flower basket outside your window. We can't wait to see the beautful flowers you pick out! Grandma and Grandpa C gave you a beautiful hummingbird feeder to hang on the hook so you can watch the birds right outside your window!

Grandma and Grandpa J gave you the cutest outfit for Spring, and guess what? It was even pink! And you have loved the "Operation" game Grandma T and Grandpa L gave you!

Emmy was so excited to give you one of her favorite bears. She wrapped it up just for you!

And even the Easter Bunny had to wish you a Happy Birthday! He left a note hiding in your basket!
Lucky for you, all the cousins came to play and eat dinner before heading to Grandma C and Bop's house for the Croney cousin Easter hunt. You were so excited to have them come you spent hours cleaning your room and making it look just right! You also pitched in and spent the morning tidying up the house so they could come. (The Easter morning festivities had created quite the mess!)
Ryenne, we sure love you. Thank you for the big help you are around the house and with your sisters. We know that we sometimes expect a lot from you since you are the oldest. Thank you for being patient with us and for always trying to do what is right and be a good example for Emmy, Kate, and Claire.
Our little Ryenne Ashleigh, you will always have a special place in our hearts.
Happy Birthday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Well, another Easter has come and gone. We are, of course, happy to note that the Easter Bunny has not been hit by the recession. Therefore, there was plenty of candy to go around. (And some to spare!)
Saturday we headed to Fielding bright and early for the annual Fielding Easter hunt. As always, the kids had a great time. What's not to love when there is candy and cousins combined in an all day affair?

Following the town hunt, we gathered at Grandpa and Grandma J for their Easter egg hunt. Ready, set, go!The kids each found their special, sparkly egg with their very own $1.o0! Then, even the parents got to hunt (wrestle) for their sparkly $5.00 egg. What a deal!
Easter hunting, uncle style. . .
All that Easter egg hunting wore Grandma and Claire right out.
Saturday night we had a great time with the other W girls coloring Easter eggs.
Easter Morning the girls found a houseful of booty left by the infamous Easter bunny.
[Note to bunny: the baskets were found much too easily. Please be a bit trickier next year.]

The most sickening part was when Courtney weighed Kate's basket, which tipped the scales at more than 7 lbs. Now that's a lot of hyperactivity waiting to happen.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. What a lovely holiday.

those darn misquitoes. . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

just thinking. . .

I'm completely aware by now that family life has it's moments. High moments. . .low moments. And all of the moments in between that make it interesting. And to be honest, I'm grateful for them all.

I'm not sure that I'm really in a "low" moment right now, but I've been thinking. Just trying to assess how I'm doing at this job. And that gives me a lot to think about. . .

Am I doing good enough? I try to tell myself that I'm probably doing better than I think- you know, a mothering "pep talk". But I have my doubts. What if I'm actually doing worse than I think? That could be a problem.

And what about time? As in, how's the best way to spend it? Especially now that I'm not only responsible for how I spend my time, but also for how I spend the girls' time. This is tricky business. I feel like they have so little time. School takes such a big chunk. And then what? Do I insist on homework, reading, practicing, chores. . .etc, etc? All the things we're told we should be doing? Or do I let them be kids and play? Forget the routine, the structure? It seems they have a lot of it. On one hand, I worry that I'm not teaching them the tools, the "stick-to-it"ness that they'll need to succeed in such a demanding world. On the other hand, they're kids! What good is success if you've never been able to stop and smell the roses a little? I want them to be able to achieve and feel confident in school. But I also want them to run, to laugh, to create. Sometimes it just seems there's not time for both. I don't like that. And I wonder if I'm making the right choices.

I wonder about all the nitty gritty details of my parenting. Lately it seems like we have way too much fighting, unkind words, and impatience. Am I the cause of all this? Is it a reflection of the way I handle problems? That makes me shudder. It's terrifying to think what I may be passing on as a result of my weaknesses. Courtney reminds me that it is partly the age, and even normal. But I don't want it to be normal. Which brings me to my other question: do I make too big a deal of everything?

In addition, I've become painfully aware that I don't laugh enough. Which makes me sad, because I want nothing more than for the girls to know that I enjoy them. That they make me smile. I want them to remember my laugh. But somehow I get so caught up in managing our family life that I'm forgetting to be present. To slow down. To listen. And to laugh.
I'm afraid that part of me is always thinking ahead and planning what needs to be done next. Above all, I really, really want to laugh more.

Whew. This sounds like I'm a candidate for therapy. Maybe it's the rain (seriously, it's been raining for three straight days). Maybe I'm just needing a little sunshine and blue sky.

Then again, maybe it's just motherhood? All of the wondering, doubting, learning, hoping, praying. It's not just the kids who are growing around here. And I think that's the wonder of it all. Life offers us an unending opportunity for growth.

My mom once shared a great piece of wisdom. (She's good at that). During one of my early parenting dilemmas, she told me that as a mother, there will be times when everyone acts so naughty that you begin to despair you are doing anything right at all. Then, just about the time you decide you are a complete failure, everything turns around and the children appear almost angelic. For a time, she told me, things will begin to be so peaceful that you begin to pride yourself on your sheer wisdom and outstanding parenting abilities. But, about the time you decide to author your own parenting book, all heck will break loose and you'll wonder what you did to create such a mess.

What truth! I'm only 9 years into this business and I'm definitely seeing a cycle here.

I guess that's the secret. Or one of them, anyway. If I can just remember while I'm in the thick of it all that things will turn around, that it will begin to look up. That the grumbling and the bickering and the second-guessing is only a moment. A little moment in what can be a wonderful cycle of wonder and learning and laughter and joy.

Which reminds me. Tonight I was feeling exhausted and a bit discouraged as I buoyed myself up for another round of herding everyone to bed, and I wondered if I could do it all again tomorrow. And then I glanced up to see my three little girls perched close together on the piano bench, teaching each other a little song. I heard them laugh, their heads bent close together. They were enjoying each other. And I couldn't help but feel lucky to have witnessed such a magical moment. And to have had the peace of mind to notice that it was indeed, magical.

And in that little moment, I thanked my Father in Heaven for Motherhood.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So I introduced Claire to a sippy cup today. . .

. . .and she's totally got it all figured out.

making it through the drop

At our little elementary school, the day before Spring Break means one thing: the egg drop! The girls have been contemplating a plan for this years egg ever since their failed attempt last year. After throwing around quite literally (quite literally- their Dad usually makes a few pretty good pitches with the test egg) they came to a decision. Insulation. And duck tape, of course.
After all the egg packages are dropped from the airplane, the pilot "wiggles it's wings" and we all wave goodbye. Then comes the moment of anticipation while we wait to see if our little egg survived. . .

Look at that. . .all safe and sound!

busy little girl

Emmy tells us she's expecting. Since she already has a new baby, she'll be a busy little gal. Not to say that she won't be a good mommy, but. . .

our cosmic anniversary

Last weekend was our 11th anniversary. Seriously. The years are happily flyin' by. Uncle Josh and Grandpa J stepped up to be babysitters, and so we decided to head to the local bowling alley for some stiff competition and a gourmet dinner. We had a lovely ham pizza (they were out of pineapple), which we ate on french fry trays (they were out of plates too). Best of all, we laughed a lot. What a hot date.

We were very excited to find out that it was cosmic bowling night too. Could it get any better? We played 5 games (one to warm up), and felt very flashy in our glow-in-the-dark duds and slick shoes. Unfortunately for me, even with a 15 pt. handicap, Courtney kicked my pants. (With a combined total of 502 smashing my 424). So, I'm thinking I know what he does all those evenings in Moab and Delta. Perhaps T&L has a secret bowling league?
We had to snap a few pictures of ourselves to remember the occasion. What a handsome couple. If only we could get ourselves in the picture!

I read a quote a few days ago. It said something like this, "Love isn't simply gazing into each others eyes. It is standing together and looking in the same direction." I liked that.
Here's to another fantastic eleven years. . .