Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So Right and Good

This clinches it. This woman is one of my heroes! Good for her!!!

I stole this little video from a blog I found today (I loved the blog's name. It intrigued me). I hope she's okay with me sharing this also. I so agree with Sarah here, and feel like I can relate to her on so many levels.

Wordless Wednesday - Boy in Charge

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Two Favorite Baby Items

First, I need to start this post by declaring that I am WAYYYYY a Huggies mom over any other brand of diapers. My favorite are the "Pure and Natural." Usually, you can find them for $9.99 and then there's the $3 coupon you can get for them, which makes them about the same price as store brand. No, I'm not sharing that because diapers are one of my favorite things, EWWWW! Far from it.

I have two items that I'm LOVING right now. I inherited one of them from a good friend who was moving. I bought her bassinet, and she threw this in with it. I found one similar to it on the Target website. It props her headup just a little bit and the side pads are secured with velcro, so you can adjust them as needed. Not sure why I love it as much as I do. She just seems so comfy and secure as she sleeps.

My other favorite really surprises me that I love it as much as I do, but I think, of all the baby things I've ever owned, it is my all-time fave.

First, the funny story of it....When I was pregnant with T, I kept seeing women carrying their babies in wraps. I wondered, by the looks of them, how these women kept the baby from falling through the bottom, so my curiosity got the better of me. I started searching for one.

First stop...Target. I walked down the aisle that might carry carriers of different kinds, but no luck. As I left the aisle, a woman walked by with her baby boy securely snuggled in a wrap. I walked up to her and asked her where she got it. To be completely honest, the poor baby looked strangely contorted the way he was wrapped in the thing, but she told me that she'd made it and explained all the ways it could be used. She also said that she had n extra one at her house, and if I wanted it, she'd give it to me. Later that day, I met her and bought it from her. I have loved it ever since. She gave me websites where I could learn to wrap it.

I used it tons for T, and now with L, she gets in it and almost immediately falls asleep. One of the school crossing guards teases me that L is never awake. Sometimes I have to grab her out of her bed while she's sleeping because I have to walk the boys to school; she continues to sleep and doesn't wake until I get home and get her unwrapped.

It just cracked me up yesterday as I went up to the school to pick up the boys. One of the male teachers asked me how I kept the baby in the wrap. "Is there velcro or something?" It, honestly, is just one huge, long piece of somewhat stretchy fabric. That's all it is. The fabric is crossed between the baby's legs. The other amazing thing about it is that it is completely comfortable for me--no achy back. My Baby Bjorn still makes me feel like I have to have one hand on the baby, but this kind of wrap let's you carry the baby completely hands-free. She's so secure in there.

It amazes me what we're willing to spend money for--these puppies are expensive, if you ask me. Maybe someday I'll make and sell them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Binding and Casting

It is said that in the last days Satan will be bound and cast into a pit. As with so many things, I don't feel that this'll be a sudden occurence, and I think we'll have a lot more to do with it than it seems. I believe that if Satan is going to be bound, it will be up to us as individuals to bind him in our own lives. This is one of the main reasons we have the Holy Ghost in our lives.

I'm learning to listen to my heart--a continual journey in my life, and for the past few days, it's been aching. I now know what I'm feeling, and I'm choosing to share it here in hopes that if there's anyone else out there who struggles with what I'm struggling with, they will feel encouraged. Forgive me if this is too personal and a taboo subject to broach, but I'm not of any good to anyone if I'm not a real person with weaknesses. Sometimes I wonder if we try to be too perfect in front of others. Sometimes I think we hide the real stuff about ourselves and our lives. Well, I embraced my imperfections years ago, and the last thing I want is for anyone to think I'm perfect--that's just too much pressure to put on a person. I want to be someone who's as real as can be.

Isn't it great that we are taught line upon line? I feel like I'm reaching a new layer in my learning. This is a good thing because it means I have learned the last layer and now can be trusted with the next.

There is an element in our home where Satan thrives. We have been sensitive to all that the media can bring in, so we limit that. In that area, we've bound him, but there's a more difficult arena where we just open the door and invite him to come right in and take a seat. It's easy to only buy DVDs that are family friendly. It's easy to only listen to good music. It's when Satan comes from within us that it becomes more difficult. I can't physically throw out a thing that possesses my attitudes and reactions.

There is a woman in our ward who is a great example to me. She is the cheering section for her children. They never, for even a second, doubt that she loves them. Now, to others, this woman is very hard to approach, but she really has it together as far as her family goes. We have a man in our ward who seems like Mr. Rogers. He's gentle and caring to everyone but especially to his family.

In looking at these two examples, I know what I lack. When I was a child, I found a bottle of baby oil in the bathroom. I thought it was water. It was in a really cool little bottle with a pink lid (my favorite color) that had a little tiny hole in the top, so it was fun to squirt. I couldn't resist. I squirted the entire bottle into the sink. As I was attempting to refill it with water from the tap, my mom caught me. Now, please understand that I, even to this day, think my mother was the most perfect mother ever, and this is the only time I remember this happening, but she came unglued. She chastised me heartily for pouring out that bottle of baby oil.

Sometimes, don't we think that our children are out to get us and undo or destroy anything we feel has value or importance?

As this happened, I couldn't help but think that maybe that baby oil was more important to her than I was. I knew in my heart that it wasn't true, but what was she telling me? I quickly learned that I had done a very bad thing, but I think she could have told me in a different way. I now wonder if I had received this message over and over again, what kind of relationship would I have had with her, and what kind of person would I be today?

It has become much more common in our home to react to baby oil.

In the last days, the "love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). "Wax" is such an interesting term. I remember making candles at a church activity when I was a child. It was a long process. The wax had to stay hot and liquid. You dipped the wick into the wax, let the first layer dry and then dipped it again. Layer by layer, it was added on. You had to redip and redip again.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not creating a hard layer on my heart by redipping and redipping again in negativity. Not giving my children the benefit of the doubt; thinking they're out to do dumb things on purpose. In certain ways, I've somewhere forgotten how to walk in their shoes.

I feel, as I hope all who read this feel, that my husband and my children are the best there are. I'm not saying that to brag, but I know that for me, they are the best there could possibly be. I feel that God, Himself, gave them to me out of His love for me. My problem is that I don't tell them nearly often enough. I think I've gotten too hung up in making sure my children are learning from their mistakes. I have to make sure they know where they went wrong and what they did and make sure they know to never let it happen again. How have I let myself be deceived in this way?

I know that when we come to earth, we are each blessed with the light of Christ that helps us know right from wrong. It is our conscience. Do I not trust that this will guide my children as well? I don't need to take that role. My job is to love them unconditionally, to be their cheering section, to have a soft heart toward them, to teach them that they are the best there is, to let them know that we all make mistakes but that I know that they're doing the best they can.

I sometimes think we go to extremes in this, and this is where I feel that I have gone wrong and let the wax start building up. As the wife of an educator, I have heard the frustrations of teachers who have dealt with parents who will defend their children to their dying day--even when the kid is obviously wrong. Case in point, at a local high school, a student was caught plagiarizing. The text they stole the words from was placed right before the mother of this student and the mother chose to defend her son. Isn't it amazing that his words, were the exact same as what was written on the page? "But my son would never do that!" I'm sorry, but FOOLISH! What is she thinking? Having heard multiple stories like this, I refuse to cover my children's sins. When they are wrong, they are wrong.

But this attitude must be tempered with love. I need to draw on all the good that is in them. I need them to know that they are loveable and capable of making good choices. The times when they are wrong are so few adn far between as compared with all the good that they do and are. Isn't my job as their mother to remind them of all of the good that is in them? To remind them that they are children of diety? Shouldn't this be my focus?

One of my problems is that I no longer think like a two-year-old. I have a hard time relating to my little guy. Just like my mom had a hard time relating to me and the baby oil. She wasn't thinking as I was. When my little guy flushes strange things and breaks the toilet, and it costs me a bundle to replace it, I have a hard time thinking as he does. Is that toilet or the expense of it more important than he is? Definitely not, but I don't want him to do it again, so I need to let him know that it was wrong. It's how I do this that adds the wax to my heart or not and builds him or tears him down. I have that choice. This is where I need to reset my perspective. He's not out to get me; he's curious, and I was foolish enough to leave him alone in the bathroom and not guide his curiosity into a better, more easily learned lesson for all of us.

I know that I perform much better around people that I know think a lot of me. I knew that, other than that one incident, my mom thought I was the best there was. I love her for that and want to be all that I can for her. Am I that kind of mother to my children? I want to be.

So, from here on out, I'm going to bind Satan for my family. I am going to draw on all that is good in them and vocalize it. I think about all of their goodness continually, but I'm doing them no service by keeping it to myself. When they make mistakes, I need to remember that I screw up too. I need to be more compassionate toward them and feel sorry for them when they do something wrong. In a loving way, I can sit down with them, put my arm around them, and talk calmly about what needs to be improved as I hope others would do for me when I go wrong.

In the most recent class I took, I read about the subject of family interaction. It shared the idea that each conversation with another person is a new start. This gave me hope. I want my children to feel hope in themselves that even though they make mistakes, they are still good and capable of doing better next time. If I'm driving the lesson home that they aren't any good at any given thing, where is the hope for them in their performance at that thing? My job, as their mother, is to feed them hope through my words and actions toward them. I do not want Satan to have any access to them especially through me. It is my job to bind him. I can start today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Totally Something I Would Do

Z collects funny video clips and commercials. As I recall, this was one of his first. Having been raised amongst a bunch of unruly boys,, I have a naughty side to me that I can't quite control. That must be why I love the lady in this clip so much. I can just see Z and me in our old age in this same scenario--just busting a gut!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swine Flu?

I started this blog as a personal journal. As you can see, I'm doing a pretty lousy job at keeping this goal up. This is kind of how life goes for me. I want to do well then life happens.

One of the things life has dealt us lately is a battle with the flu. We still haven't received test results to know if it's H1N1/Swine flu, but I have a hard time believing it would be anything else. A woke up in the morning, last Thursday, telling me he had a fever. His lips were white. He was struggling to breathe, and his heart was racing. While waiting on hold for a nurse, the area around his mouth started to turn gray. He's had asthma in the past but it's been very mild and manageable. By that evening, he was in the hospital. He was there for two nights as they were trying to get his blood oxygen level to stabilize. He spent those three days on oxygen. It was a scary time. I'm grateful for modern medicine and the priesthood.

During all of this, T decided it was time to potty train. I'm not one to set the clock and tell my kids when to go. I did on my first couple children, but it was just too darn stressful. T is now nearly trained. He's doing a great job. It's just been an interesting time to do this.

So, along with this flu stuff, I've learned that there is no medicine for a child less than a year old. This has had me pretty concerned. L was with A and me through the first part of this ordeal. It ended up that the oldest two kids had pretty good signs that they were experiencing it too--fever, headache, achiness, and the younger boys on either side of A had runny noses, coughs, and congestion (also signs of this flu). Z, who stayed with A in the hospital, started to come down with something similar by Sunday. We've been surrounded by it, but L, DJ and I have had no symptoms at all (I'm knocking on wood as I say this). Hand sanitizer is our constant companion. A keeps it in his pocket at all times. He's the one who doles it out if any of us need it.

My brother's been in town the last few days. His wife told him not to come to our house during his visit. Sad, but true. I totally understand this, but it makes me feel like we have the plague. Ah well, what can you do?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How to Make Friends - A Refresher Course

On the way home from Q's soccer game this evening, A proudly declared that he'd made four new friends at the game. He then shared with me the secrets of his success. For anyone who doesn't remember what it was like to be a first-grader, here's the step-by-step procedure for beginning a life-long friendship:

  • Ask: "Do you want to be friends?"

  • Then ask: "How old are you?"

  • Finally, ask: "What's your name?"

That's all it takes. At least according to my six-year-old.

Here's What's Working at Our House

Every one of my children has reached a point when they haven't wanted to take naps any more. Without fail, this has hit at a time when I need them to nap. I feel like I have tried everything as the years have gone by to extend an afternoon rest time just a few days, weeks, or months more.

With T, this is no exception. A few months before L was born, he decided that naps were for babies, and he was no longer a baby but a big boy. {{Cue internal scream.}} Timing was just lousy.

Along with the idea of never doing for a child what he can do for himself, I firmly believe that we are sent here to use our agency, so children should be given the chance to choose whenever possible and appropriate. As I was trying to figure out just how to get T to continue with nap time for just a little longer, I took this idea into account.

Although L is sleeping through the night fairly consistently (the last five nights)--everybody give it up for L!--T falls apart right around dinner time if he doesn't rest during the day. For this reason, here's what we've found works.

I do not lie to T; I just simply say that it's quiet time. With this announcement come choices. He can have reading time, play time, or nap time. If he chooses reading time, I haul the big crate of books in his room. I read him one and leave the rest for him. The only rule is that he must return whatever he's not reading to the bin. If he wants play time, we go down to the toy closet, I give him a bin and tell him to fill it with whatever toys he wants to play with during quiet time. We then take the bin to his room, and I read him a book. Same rule about returning toys to the bin as with the books. If he wants nap time, I read a book to him, he prays and I sing him a song.

No matter what he chooses, I read him a book, he prays, I sing. When I leave the room, I ask him if he wants the door open. If he says yes, I remind him that it's quiet time and that he needs to be very quiet so L can sleep. So far, without fail, he's changed his mind to have the door closed, so he can be loud. I also tell him, before I leave that if at any point he gets tired, he can climb into his bed and go to sleep, "but you don't have to."

Since starting this technique, I have found him sleeping in his bed all covered up and comfy each day for the last two weeks. I also need to add here that I try very hard to fill T's mornings with lots of up and moving activities. Yesterday, for example, we went to the zoo. He practically stumbled out of there by the time we were done; needless to say, he didn't need toys or books. Yesterday, he chose to make it a nap day.

Quite honestly, I don't care if he sleeps. I figure when the day comes that he's really not tired, I'll find him awake, but so far, so good.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I've Seen Angels

I met the man he speaks of in the beginning of this song. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store. I had L strapped on my front in her sling and was trying to get a cart. It looked stuck, which is often the case, but before I could even tug on it to see if this was true, a very tall, thin, stooped backed old man with a very large smile appeared out of nowhere. He said, "Let me get that for you." He pulled it out and took a step back. T then started asking to ride in the back of the cart, and I explained that he needed to ride in the seat if he was going to get in the cart. The man stepped forward again as he saw T start to go to climb up the cart and said, "Let me help you there, young man."

He seemed so old and frail and I wanted to stop what I knew was about to happen, but without hesitation, the old man lifted T into the seat. I fastened the buckle. T was very quiet, almost reverent, during this entire encounter. The man took a step back again, and it seemed almost as an after thought, he stepped forward again and kissed T on the forehead. Then, I turned and went into the store; I didn't see him again.

Yes, I believe there are angels among us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I read part of Mosiah 3 today. I only got through a few verses before it was time to get moving, but it was fascinating. I love using

I try very hard, when I read, to liken what I'm reading to myself.

This morning, I read about the coming of Jesus Christ. It says He came "with power" (vs. 5). I really got to pondering this thought. I have never regarded this little baby born in Bethlehem as being born "with power." I mean, of course He was, but I never thought about that before. He had it all there. His potential was endless.

So, I got to thinking that in terms of these little people (and not so little people) that dwell in this madhouse. Who are we? What potential do we hold. What abilities did God bless us with from before our births, and are we living up to them?

As I read on, it spoke of His life spent blessing the lives of others. It spoke of Him casting out the "evil spirits" from people's souls. I pondered on His obedience to His Father. These things made me realize more about human potential.

Everyone we meet every minute of every day has a God-given potential. To tap into this potential, we must connect with Him who gave it to us. The more we connect and are obedient to Him, the more we will uncover, and as we continue in this way, it will become part of who we are. As we serve others, we are connecting.

Then I got to thinking about the "evil spirit" part. We all have them. They are the things we allow to take us away from Him. They are the things that keep us from being obedient. They are the things that I use as excuses for skipping out on scripture reading or attending the temple or avoiding my visiting teaching. If we can rid ourselves, or better yet, ask Him to help us overcome them, we will find part of our potential.

So, the big question for the day, what am I going to do to bring my potential out? What can I overcome now to draw closer to God and what He wants me to be?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quiet Time


leads to...


Which leads to spending more one-on-one time with...


Monday, September 7, 2009

Never Do For a Child...

...what a child can do for himself.

This has been my credo from the beginning. For that reason, I have never made a school lunch. Should I be ashamed of myself for this? I have taught my children how to do for themselves in this area. I think, had they experienced my school lunches, they would thank me for this--I am very uncreative (is that a word?) in this area.

When our oldest went off to first grade, I posted a list on the inside of the cupboard that holds most of the food in our home. It had listed breads, proteins, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, desserts and drinks that are kept on hand for their use. They could choose from the list, they just had to make sure that each area was represented. I have had to learn to step back and be okay with whatever strange combination they come up with.

So, funny story. Once, when he was in second grade, I went on a field trip with my oldest son. We both packed our own lunches. I had pb&j, a string cheese, baby carrots, an apple and a water bottle. He had the most amazing lunch. I couldn't believe it and begged for a trade. He told me that next time I went with him, he'd make my lunch too.

When our kids enter first grade, they are so excited to make lunch. It's been a very funny thing to see.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This Girl....

Went to Young Women for her first time today!
Happy 12th birthday, D.J.!!!

Jogging my Memory

This is the tongue of my six year old. Can you see that big ol' nasty looking sore? This has been our most recent adventure in illnesses.

Three of our boys have complained of sores in their mouths. Having experienced a similar illness with our oldest child when she was about three, I didn't worry much and was just happily letting things run their course.

A good friend who reads my blog, contacted me after reading a couple posts ago about the sores and call to tell me that she didn't think it was what I thought it was and gave me her idea on it. I appreciated her call from California and made an appointment with the doctor.

This appointment ended up being of little help (but this is the topic of an entire post in and of itself). The doctor said it was just a virus that needed to run its course. With the other two boys, it did. With A, it just keeps getting worse day after day.

At this point, it seems fairly clear to me that he's going to miss his first day of school. This will break his heart. He can't wait to wear the super heroes shirt he got. His new Nikes will have to wait until a few days after. All of those sharp new pencils will sit in his backpack for a few extra days and his glue sticks will keep their caps on.

In order to assist with the healing of this sore, I was reminded of my childhood. Whenever we had a canker sore or a cold sore, my dad would get out a Q-tip and the small, green bottle of Campho-Phenique. I found some at Rite Aid yesterday and brought it home. I opened it and took a whiff. Wow! It was my childhood all over again. I could taste it just by smelling it. If you've ever smelled it, it is very distinctive. There is really no smell like it. I think that without the memories it brought, the smell would be awful, but because of the memories it evoked, it was a long lost smell--almost a pleasant smell.

The box says "for external use only." I thought twice about applying it to his tongue, but then realized that my dad, who is now nearly 82 years old has used it on multiple occasions and has led a very healthy life. It always reached its desired effect. So, A is now experiencing what I did as a child. I'm hoping it will help him. Not only that, but maybe someday smells such as this will bring good feelings into his heart after he's grown and out living on his own.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bittersweet September

Summer vacation is just right. Any longer, and I think "madhouse" wouldn't even begin to sum up our home. The kids are tired of each other, and the drone of my voice has become part of the scenery in my children's brains. I honestly detest being ignored. It, to me, is the utmost in disrespect, so needless to say, I'm ready for them to return to school. By spring break in March, I'll be ready for them to return home again and will begin making summer plans, and in effect, create the paper chain to countdown to summer vacation again. This happens every year.

Once upon a time, my husband was a teacher. He was home during summer; well, kind of. He would always get a non-teaching related job, but when he was home, he was home--no grading, no student problems hanging heavy on his mind. It was really nice. The pay was not so good, but we only had two children, and we didnt' know any different; we were just happy to have income. I guess you could say that it is comparable to a school administrators pay with six children (we now have seven). HaHa! It all works; still happy to have income.

My husband isn't the kind of guy who stresses. He just handles it all. You know opposites attract, so in a way, I guess you could say that I compensate for his lack. August and September are notoriously a bit more difficult on our family. He's gone A LOT.

Every year, school here always starts the day after Labor Day. This year is the latest it could possibly be--September 8th. It's kind of like being in church when the meeting goes a little long. Every kid in the chapel has an internal clock that knows the meeting was supposed to be over three minutes ago, so they get antsy--the crying, whining and basic misbehavior starts up. That's how our summer has become. It's starting to rot on the vine; the fun is over. The school clothes and supplies are purchased weeks ago. The rule at our house is that school clothes are just that--they are meant to be worn on or after the first day of school and not before. They are excited for so many reasons.

On the other hand, I'm sad to see them go back. They have all been so helpful. I have had the extra pairs of hands that I've needed whenever I needed them. I'm sure I'll feel like I'm swinging on the trapeze without a net once they're gone during the day. I know I'm going to have to slow down and not plan on getting too much done around here until I can figure out just how far I can jump. The greatest blessing in all of this is the fact that I've had the acclimating months of this new baby with an enormous network of help. She is an extremely easy baby. To be honest, I will miss them when they're gone all day, but I feel like I'm ready, and so are they.

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