I read a book a couple months ago entitled the "Wednesday Letters". The premise of this book is that the father figure dies and as the children are going through his things they find boxes of letters, one for every Wednesday of their marriage from the father to the mother. While I have no intention of solving familial issues or unlocking mysteries of past skeletons, I do love the idea of a weekly letter and would like to be more consistent in writing to and about my children so someday they can look back and have a record of our ordinary wonderful life together, and so they can be reminded of the things that are most important to me.
This week we've tried again to redouble our efforts to do those things that matter most. Last Sunday was a beautiful fast meeting - full of testimony and spirit. I guess right now is a "high time" where things Spiritual are concerned for me. I hope I'm not the only one that finds myself in peaks and valleys of spirituality, although I strive for consistency. I have loved my scripture study and have been reading from the book, "Stand ye in Holy Places" by Herald B. Lee. It is wonderful.
Just a few days ago we decided we needed a night with just each other and the best place we could think to go was the temple. Having an announcement of the new temple to be built here is wonderful, but doesn't remove the immediate need for us to worship in the temple. We headed to St. George and enjoyed a blissful time doing initiatory work. It has been SO long since I did this work and my Spiritual cup was filled to overflowing.
I felt that same overwhelming spirit today as I taught my beautiful primary class. We discussed covenants. As I prepared our lesson I remembered Grandpa Guymon and how he always said, "I can tie that knot" - regarding the sealing ordinance. I brought some rope and we discussed the covenants we make at baptism. I held up one end of the rope as we discussed what we promise and the other end as we discussed what Heavenly Father promises us. Then we tied the knot. I testified that as we keep our covenants, and God ALWAYS keeps his promises to us, then we can bind Satan so he cannot have power over us. I also reminded my cute class that when we fail to keep our covenants, or when we let our obedience "slip" (like a knot slipping) then the knots are untied and loosened and Satan has more power over us.
What an amazing thing covenants are! I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father is willing to make promises with me - even knowing that I'll break my promises occasionally. The gift of Repentance is so humbling to me, and I want to utilize it more! I have loved the increase in the Spirit that I have felt as I try diligently to read and study and pray and not lose patience with the kids. If only I were "there" in that department. I think the harder I try to be a "good mother" the more I am faced with moments that push me to my limit. I still yell. I still get frustrated. I still have moments where I know I'm doing it wrong - but do it anyway. And yet, I hope I'm getting better. I hope I'm loving more. I hope I'm listening better. Maybe that's what Paul meant when he said, "We hope all things".
And so for my kids, if there is one wish I could have for you it would be that you will MAKE & KEEP SACRED COVENANTS with your Heavenly Father! This has been the source of the greatest joy, the greatest comfort, the greatest peace and the greatest hope of my life.
Monday, April 15, 2013
These are the only pictures on my camera this week. Not impressive, but I guess that's a reflection of our crazy busy life and my determination to be more on top of the meal preparation part of being Mom and Wife. So far, so good. Mornings go so much better when the breakfast is already made the night before or at least in my head. Evenings go so much better when dinner is ready before Daddy gets home and most of the cleanup is done also. Ahh, housewife harmony. It's bliss.
Ksenya recently had a sad incident in which her violin got broken. In an attempt to get enough money to buy a new one we decided to sell these fun little lemon trees that we sprouted from seeds. I was amazed at how many people wanted to buy them and within one day we had sold enough to order her new violin.
Monday, April 1, 2013
For Easter we went out to Grandpa Horse's house for a fun day with Teniah and Kiki. Here is the group before the chaos began. There were SO many eggs this year and it really was a mad dash and each got more than they needed. They were all sweet though, and looked out for each other.
Leisl loved her first hunt and went after a whole one egg. She was cute as can be and thought it was so fun to watch all the bigger kids run around like crazies.
We went on an adventure to take pictures of Grandma Lu the other day. She's "in the market" as it were and as lovely as can be. She's such a fun lady and the herd enjoyed running around SUU with her and making her laugh.
Darla has decided that Ksenya's ipod is really hers. She has used her mad skills to convince Ksenya to let her play with it at bedtime (so that she's quiet and her big sisters can sleep). Many nights I'll go in to turn off the lights and find my 2-year-old playing a matching game on the ipod. She is very smart and knows her way around the technology.
Recently, her sister showed her how to listen to music. Darla LOVES music and loves to dance and sing to it. It's so funny to watch her jiving out. The other day I caught her like this, just beebopping away and I wanted to see what music she was listening to. "Angels we have heard on high" was the track playing and she was very distressed when I tried to 'listen' with her. What a sweet silly girl.
Monday, March 25, 2013
It's your very first birthday, a year old - it's true, and this little poem is all about you!
You are easy to smile and giggle and laugh. You like to be chased and crawl very fast.
You occasionally bite with your mouthful of teeth, you snuggle with Mommy and love Uncle Heath.
You're learning to walk but won't try when we look, you hold your own bottle, your toys and your book.
You're sweeter than honey your bright as a star, if there's one spoiled baby in our house - You ARE!
We love you Baby Leisl - Happy Birthday.
I have finally wrapped my heart around scouting. For the longest time I thought it was "extra". Like "good for you - your son's an Eagle Scout, bonus points".
I've recently had an education. For the last 3 years my husband has tried to change my heart towards scouting. It is the activity arm of the Priesthood. The church spends a LOT of money to be a part of the BSA, Pres. Monson himself is still a scouter. It must be important. Then he taught me about what scouting does for a young man. Not just how to tie knots, lots of camping and amazing survival skills, but honor, dignity, integrity, and a lot of other really cool things I want my sons to BE.
Last year I was having a baby. Weird. It doesn't seem like an entire year has gone, but here she is in living proof that she's not a baby anymore. She's all over the house, she has a whole mouth full of teeth (4 as of her birthday and another sprouted a week later, the sixth is peeking through).
Someday when you're a man I hope you will treasure this picture. I hope you will remember that though Daddy and I are hard on you, we are only that way because we know just how amazingly capable you are. Did you know that we talk about you at night after you're in bed? While you are reading (which you always are), we sit on the couch and marvel at how smart and kind and creative you are. We laugh at the ramps you're building in the back yard to race your pine wood derby car on. We are amazed at the sheer volume of reading you do and the way you can recall tiny details from each story. We share the random facts that you've shared with us through the day. Something about centrifugal force or the temperature on mars or a silly laffy taffy joke you heard and remembered.
We agree that we're so proud of you for what a great helper you are when we're working and how diligently you are trying to be tough and not cry like a little girl when you get hurt. We comment about how careful you are to be clean and true and reverent and "do your best" and we pray together that you'll always strive for these things.
Someday Kabe you'll have a girlfriend, a job, a car, a group of friends, and maybe even an attitude about what kind of parents you got. When that day comes I hope you'll remember that we are doing our best for our amazing boy and forgive us for our mistakes. You see, we love you more than you'll know until you have your own little boy. I imagine you'll be a lot like your Daddy and you might just be a little hard on your first-born son. On that day, when you're measuring to make sure your tie fits him just right, you'll understand how amazing you are in our eyes.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post - just made me laugh.
Mommyhood should be accompanied with a 12 week course (every 12 weeks). At least a detailed manual or something (I'm thinking along the lines of when they cover the dog in peanut butter do this ____ or when they pee on their sister say this ____). Though my Mommy experience has been lacking in formal training, yesterday I had a very poignant lesson I don't want to forget.
It was Leisl's first birthday. Don't ask me why first birthdays are hard for me. Probably because in my heart I think they should be special, but because the birthday baby is oblivious I don't go out of my way to do anything exceptionally celebratory and so I feel lame. I'm also an emotional mess because it marks a very real passage of my baby from infanthood to toddlerhood and I'm never ready for this milestone. Ever. Kabe's first birthday was a terrible day too, one I'll always remember.
Needless to say it had been a LONG day, full of yelling, fighting, whining, crying, and MESSES! From get up till get down I had been cleaning up messes, yelling at the kids to clean up messes, begging the kids to put away messes and in general, hiding from messes. Everyone was cranky (most of all me). The guilt of being a bad mom escalated into pretending not to care I was a bad mom, into going out of my way to do the witchy thing because I was already a 'bad mom'.
Tyler called about 6 O'clock. "Hi Hon, how are you?"
"Yes, except (insert inner moan from my husband who's about to be unloaded on) I feel like a slave, no-one around here cares that I spend every minute of my day cleaning up their crap and I feel like we are living in a pig-sty and I just can't feel happy in a dirty house which means I'm ornery and I've been yelling and doing the mommy-freak-out all day and I don't like myself when I'm mean to the kids and they certainly don't like me and I'm sure they wish they could have a different mother who had time to do fun things with them but this one doesn't because she is always cleaning up their crap and I'm just sick of it and they won't stop fighting and I'm not helping because my attitude sucks today and I want to run away and it's not fair and it's all my fault!!!" (all said in one horrendous breathe).
"Well, there need to be natural consequences and you do not need to pick up their messes."
"Thanks, maybe you should talk to them about it at family night tonight (classic Mommy passing the buck), I've got to go, something is burning in the oven."
The rest of the evening continued much this way. There was a mountain of laundry to fold. I tried putting on some church music thinking it would help. It sort of kind of almost did for a minute, then I needed the computer (our only source of media in the house these days) for something so the music got turned off. Daddy was an hour late for dinner. Dinner was burned and gross. I was emotionally spent and feeling like an utter failure. It was bedtime and we hadn't even cleaned up dinner yet.
Time for family home evening. On nights like this why do we even try? Oh yeah, so we don't have to try and fit it in later in our crazy week. We sit down. I sit on the opposite end of the room from where I usually do. I want to distance myself from family night. The birthday baby is crying. I want to cry with her. Deep breathe.
Daddy conducts for me because I'm not in the mood even though it's my turn. As we go through the opening song, prayer, article of faith, testimony, family business, my heart is not in it. I'm irritated with everything. I go into the other room to make a bottle so Leisl will be quiet. I realize it's Darla's turn to teach the lesson. That's code for Mommy's turn. I don't have anything prepared but a lecture/whine-fest. I grab my scriptures because last week when it was Leisl's turn I challenged our family to open the scriptures at every family night.
I turn to the topical guide. I see the word Home. I hear the words to the song, "Home can be a heaven on earth" in my head.
I inwardly scoff.
It's Darla's turn. She brings her cute little chubby self over to me. She knows I'll help her "teach her wesson". I say the words in her ear and she repeats them in her cute 2-year-old voice.
"In ow house we feew wots of fings. We feew mad, we feew sad, we feew tie-owed (yes this is how Mommy is feeling) we feew happy and 'cited (wishful thinking), and sometimes we can feew duh spiwit (my heart starts to soften)."
I tell the kids that Pres. Hinkley told us that there are two places on earth we can feel the spirit stronger than anywhere else . . . where do you think those two places are"
Darla calls on Kabe, "the temple and the church".
We talk about the temple, "it is Heavenly Father's house, it is clean and quiet and beautiful. We always use our most reverent voice in the temple and always think the best of others.
The other place is not the church. It's a place where we should always feel loved, and safe, and accepted. A place where we can be ourselves and bear our hearts and do the things we love to do."
Brigham has a blank look on his face - today has been particularly hard for him. "Where is this other place?"
The room is quiet. The big kids know the answer but today has made them question the description I just gave. From my lap Darla interrupts without any prompting from me, "Ows Home".
This is when I start to cry.
I talk about how our home didn't feel like heaven today. I tell them how sorry I am for the way I behaved, how I drove the spirit out of our home. I promise them that I'll do better, try harder to invite the spirit. I tell them how badly I WANT the spirit to be here, how much I want our home to be like heaven.
Then I ask a question, "Can I make our home a heaven?"
They all nod their heads vigorously. A happy Mom means a happy home. I have that much power here, they trust me that much.
"No I can't. Daddy and I can't, Ksenya and Brigham can't, Kabe and Ayvri can't. We ALL have to work to invite the Spirit to make our home a heaven. It only takes one person to drive him out, but it takes ALL of us to invite him in".
Suddenly I realize, our house feels different. Gone are the feelings of anger and frustration and resentment. I don't want to run away and hide, I just want to sit there and stare into their amazing faces. They forgive me. My Heavenly Father forgives me. He knew I'd have this day. He knew I needed this lesson.
There may not be a manual for Mommyhood, but the Savior, through His infinite atonement has given us the answers we need to every problem. They are in the principles of the gospel, they are in the words of the prophets, they are in the counsel and support of a loving husband and they are given to us in our hour of need when we finally humble ourselves and ask for direction from the Spirit.
Today will be better. It may not be perfect. It may not be heaven. But it will be better as we diligently focus on inviting the spirit into our home.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Last weekend I went "away". For 29 hours I wasn't with my kids or my husband. I learned a lot, one of the most impressive lessons of the weekend was this:
I LOVE BEING THE MOM!
I like being the one that wakes them up in the morning, the one that helps them get dressed. I like making their breakfast and washing their dirty faces. I enjoy telling them goodbye as they march out the door and hugging them hello when they march back in.
Side-note. On my birthday the kids were guessing how old I am. Brig is determined that I'm 39. I guess for 39 I feel pretty good! When I got home from my weekend I was literally attacked with affection from all of them. They had decorated my bed with drawings and "presents" and were so sweet and cute. What a blessed Mommy I am (and the Daddy had dinner on the table when I got here and spent the evening just talking with me, the best part yet. As much as I love being a Mom, I love being his wife even more - it's a lot easier too).
Ksenya has been getting ready for her next orchestra concert. She is playing a song from Tangled and has really improved so very much since her last concert. She has been working pretty hard and has better technique than I do. What fun to have her set such a good example for the other kids and really start to enjoy playing.
Sunday we got a call from Papa Horse that there were baby goats that weren't doing so well. He was really sick and needed a little help getting them to eat. We went right out and I instantly fell in love. But these babies weren't happy and Mama goat wasn't doing her job.
Friday was Dr. Seuss day at school. Ayvri got to wear her pajamas and eat green eggs and Kabe got to make Ooblek. Ksenya came home a little disappointed that she hadn't had a lot of time to celebrate at school so we decided to have a little fun at home. We made a whole pan of ooblek and enjoyed making quite a mess - then we all changed into our pajamas and read stories for the rest of the afternoon. That's my kind of party!
Darla got this new outfit from Grandma and when I put it on her she said, "Mom look! I soo pretty." She makes me laugh and loves being girlified.
When we moved into our new house there wasn't room for Tyler's Graduation present - a gigantic TV that we bought 3 years ago. In our space saving heaven we measured and measured and measured again and there is just absolutely. no. room.
Kabe is officially a Cub Scout. He has been working his little heart out to complete the requirements in his book and at the last Blue and Gold Banquet he received his Bobcat and a couple of belt loops.
We were working on a project and I needed a long braided yarn piece. I tried braiding it by hand but it was too long and kept getting tied in knots. We decided to try and make it into a game. We tied each of the strands to the three big kids feet and let Brigham hold the end. Then they had to step over and under and dance the braid.
It was a great lesson in patience and an exercise in cooperation and when it was over I think they understood the concept of the braid we were making and I had the necessary supplies for my project. I don't know if we'll do it again soon, but it was definitely worth doing once.