Friday, June 17, 2016

Bonfire and Exploring.

Last weekend, we had a bonfire with our friends, the Wards. They are headed to Moscow, Idaho this summer for grad school and I'm basically jealous until I think about doing grad school again and I change my mind. I do miss Moscow, Idaho though! 
Their family's dry farm was amazingly beautiful and I fell in love with Idaho all over again.
I told myself about a month ago the only way my kids are going to love Eastern Idaho the way I came to, is experiencing it the way I did. It has been so much fun exploring this area of outdoors together!








Caity showing us the way.



I spy three little climbers...

She was looking for a reading spot.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mondays, Picnics, and a Walker

I started this week with a bad case of the Mondays. The last few Mondays have been successful enough that I really thought I was past this nonsense, but Monday I woke up and it took about five minutes for me to realize this week's Monday would not come easy.  It is hard to put down exactly what made it so difficult. Perhaps it was that I left my house messy Sunday night? Perhaps I didn't get enough sleep? Perhaps it was because I didn't get a full Sunday service in because of sick kids? I don't know, but when I rolled out of the bed Monday morning, it was from the wrong side of it.  The kids were also in a weird funk and couldn't focus, complained, goofed around instead of getting their charts done, etc.  There was a lot of kids crying and mom snapping. Every step took a significant amount of effort. The temptation kept hitting me like waves: just quit for today. Go to the store, buy junk food, put the kids in front of the TV and try again tomorrow. But I didn't quit. I kept thinking things like, "If I just get this done, I'll get in the groove and it will all come easy..." or "Once we go to the park, we'll all click again..." but every time those markers came, it was still hard...but I kept on pushing through.  I pushed through the first library tantrum and after naps when we walked back, I pushed through the second. I pushed through the McDonalds temptation and made fajitas for dinner. I pushed through the justifiable 7:00pm bed time so we could have family night. I pushed through begging John to stay home from where he needed to go at night and pushed through all the kids coming out in turns needing something until they finally fell asleep at 10:00 pm. (10:00- really??) I woke up Tuesday and guess what? Still didn't want to do it. I kept telling myself  "Keep on Keeping." Now that I share it with you, I don't really know what it means but I guess for me in times where I think I can't take another step it means to keep on keeping up with the person I am trying to become because evenutally the weight I feel will be lifted and it will be so nice to be at a place that I can keep on keeping what I am doing and keep on keeping where I am heading- you know, keep on creating that light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't get to the end of the tunnel until Wednesday afternoon- and let me tell you, it was worth pushing through and keeping up, because the light felt that much brighter!
Wednesday afternoon was full of bike races and a picnic in their secret hide out behind the dumpster. Watching them play with neighbor kids takes me back to my own summer days as a girl- I relived that feeling for freedom and moment-enjoying sensation as I watched them from the deck reading my book.


In other news, this little guy is walking more than crawling now. This is the first time I have felt a sense of loss- oh my goodness! I won't get to see him crawl anymore! He's growing up so fast! I am excited for him, he's going to rock the toddling world.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Caityisms

Every day when John gets home from work, Caity asks him: " So Dad, how's crime in the city?"  When she was talking to Brittany the other day and Brit asked if John got a summer vacation she said, "no, he doesn't have a summer vacation, there's a lot of crime in the city in the summer, you know!"

Caity is really into 100.7 my fm. She listens to the radio station while she plays legos. Whenever a certain Bruno Mars' song comes on she says, "ugh! I hate this song, it's SO dramatic! Yes you shoulda bought me flowers, shoulda held my hand, but ya didn't! Stop being so dramatic and let me be happy with my new love. Oh brother, dah-ra-ma!"  Our little critic! When I read this, it sounds like she is saying it really bratty, which isn't the case, but it very exasperated, and I guess I love her critique so much because I find the song pretty whiney myself!

When she was talking to her Aunt Becky the other day, Rebecca asked her if she was having a good day to which Caity responded, "No, today has been a bad day. Firsy, my pretzels weren't salty enough, then my friends didn't want to play until later, and I had to walk to and from school outside and now all my brothers want to go outside to play. It's exhausting being seven."  I can only imagine.


After reading Goddess Girls, Caity has had an interest in Greek Mythology. We checked out national geographic's Junior Greek Mythology book. When I was walking past her room I heard her say to herself, "Wow, these people are a mess!" She loves telling me all the stories and it is fun that she is picking up on all the irony "everyone is in love with everyone, and related to everyone and jealous of everyone and tricking everyone....what.a.mess."

The other day in family prayer, I prayed that Caity would have a better attitude, afterword she murmered, "Well, that wasn't embarrassing or anything."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Splash Pad

Let me tell you one of my very favorite things about my life right: we live walking distance to the splash pad!  It is has been so much fun. Because we can see it from our front door we do daily crowd control checks and head over when it doesn't resemble an ant hill.

I love going because something about playing in the water in the sunshine wears kids out so fast!

Johnny and Caity jump right in to action.  Caity seems more confident at the splash park then at a regular park for some reason, maybe because she is so water adventurous? Anyway, she always makes friends pretty quickly and it is fun to watch.  Johnny also likes pushing himself to try new things like going face first down the slide- he was pretty excited about that one!  In between slides he always comes back to his towel to lay out and it cracks me up. We have gone five times, and four of those times I find girls coming up to his towel giggling and complimenting his swimsuit, asking if he wants to chase them, or saying they like how he slides down the slide. He just lays there with his hands behind his head and in full seriousness and says, "Thanks, I am shark." They and giggle while I'm one towel over like, "Sorry girls, he's taken by his mama!"  

It has taken, and is taking William a long time to open up to the water park. He tends to walk around the play toy pulling up his shorts (see above.)  It takes a lot of work to get him even to try the baby fountains out.  The other day he actually climbed up the toy though- which was huge!  Him and I have fun karate kicking the fountains



Then there is Matthew, my cute chunky water baby! Gah, I love that boy! He loves playing at the fountain. We will also sit at the end of the slide sometimes so he can splash and try to drink the gross water. 
It is so fun living so close to the splash pad....this summer it turning out to be a good one!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Matthew Walking and Crazy Kids

So, a few weeks ago Mr. Matthew started pushing himself up and walking five steps before he would plop down. None of my other kids did that unail at least their first birthday, so I was hesitant to call it walking with Matthew. Last night while we were babysitting he was just walking everywhere, he would walk, balance himself, walk some more, plop down, get himself up and keep in walking!  He is the cutest because he laughs the whole time and I love it.
This is the first video I have of it, he doesn't start walking until half way through though.
Gosh, I love that silly boy.
Speaking of silly.....found this video that makes me kind of laugh, bit I don't km now how to cut it down...so here ya go:


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Picnics and Water

Yesterday evening on our way to Wal Mart, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the sweetest expression on Caity's face. She radiated "contentment." For me in the driver's seat, that was the biggest pay check. It gives me hope that my effort and love for them may somehow make up for all the mistakes I make and inadequacies they have to deal with.  I love them so much and in Caity's face I saw that she felt the realoty of my love and found security in that.
Yesterday was a good day.  After our morning routine, we took our oatmeal and had a picnic at the splash park since at 9:00  AM it was 75 degrees (What??) I even got William to actually play on the big toy this time which was a huge accomplishment. We got home and showered, changed into dry clothes and walked back to park for a lunch picnic. 
(In the bath!)

We ran into some friends and the kids had a lot of fun playing hide and go seek in the big trees, we had sugh a good time....even though I spent the majority of it corraling a very eager-to-snatch-everyone's-food-Matthew while I coerced William with  spoonfuls  of peaches: "Try-it! Try-it! Try-it! Yaaaay! You did it! Now swal-low! Swal-low! Swal-low! Yaaaay!" I know- probably annoying to anyone close to me, but it is the only way I have figured out how to get him to try food, so I'm sticking with it.
We came home and put Matthew down for a nap and played together in Caity and William's room. While Caity set up her doll school and Johnny made a flying gun tower out of legoes, I read aloud, "From the Mixed up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler." After an afternoon of playing we made our way to Walmart for grocery shopping where I tried to snap a picture of Caity's sweet smile only to have her say, "Mom, this is so embarressing." What?? She's only seven, moms don't embarress seven year olds...do they? 
Thank goodness to William, who was exteremely excited for me to take his picture!
I ended the night being able to go on a bike ride with John looking at houses. It was so nice and peaceful, and the perfect end to a warm day.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sooooodaaaaa!

Monday night was good. 
We had a day full of Summer time adventures like signing up for the reading program at the library and a picnic at the park. Late afternoon was a little exhausting, but by the time John came home I gave myself a pat on the back that we made it through the day.  While the meatloaf was in the oven, William, Matthew and I played with blocks, Johnny colored "lots of really great pictures that we'll probably want to put them all on the wall." Caity was staying busy making an "I love the USA" banner in her room which she recommended I post a picture on pinterest to give other moms an idea of what to do. 
For family night we learned about repentence and being born again like Alma the Younger. We had a great discussion and it was kind of fun. Then we played hide and go seek and not to brag but I am the best hider. For dessert we had root beer floats. William about lost his mind, "SOOOOOODAAAAAA!" as he stomped from foot to foot.  He is obsessed and had been asking for root beer all day, then when I pulled out the ice cream it brought everything wonderful in his life full circle and he was the happiest the toddler in the world in that moment. John and I put the kids to bed and did a little working out, cleaning up, and then we both crashed.
Nothing spectacular, but all in all another great day.
Caity teaching Johnny how to make bat teeth and coloring a butterfly for each sibling.








Monday, June 6, 2016

Bath Time

They are going to love me for posting this someday.




(Matthew's face!!)




I know, this post is probably entirely inappropriate, BUT I love bath time. In the summer the water literally turns a brownish color and we have to empty out the water and refill the tub. I feel like I can judge how much fun they had during the day based on how dirty they are! They get to scrub their tan arms and their white back-sides and they see how much water they can get out of the bath tub "accidently." They play with motorcycles and slide their little bums back and forth on the bottom of slippery bath tub. Their favorite part is when I wash their feet, because I kind of massage the soap into their foot. I'll do the first foot, drop it in the water, then they'll raise their second foot and afterwards, I'll plop it in the water, then suddenly Johnny has a third foot, then a fourth...until I'm like "What the heck!? Are you an octopus!?" And he thinks he is the funniest person ever and he can't stop laughing.
When all is said and done and their shivering little bodies are wrapped in towels and they smell like lavendar baby shampoo I decide it's time to bribe them with story time so they will cuddle with me.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Meeting Dad for Lunch

Today started out very early...as in John was out the door by 5:30 am and minutes later all the kids were up and ready to simultaneously spread terror and joy throughout my day. My body woke up in the mood for donuts and I was THIS close to going to the grocery store to grab them, it was Friday after all, I didn't even KNOW it was National Donut Day...I didn't even know that was a thing! Oh my heavens, it's like my biological holiday instinct totally kicked in knowing this was a special day I would not want to miss. Donuts love me. However, I resisted and attempted to make bread pudding instead, which ended with Matthew eating the bread and the kids eating the pudding. You win some, you lose some.
ANYWAY...
I called John around 9:00 am and said, "For real, it's 5:00 some where! We miss you!...yadda yadda, grateful for how hard you work...yadda yadda but we miss your face! blah blah, etc." We agreed that us coming to visit him for his lunch was just what the doctor ordered.
I packed up the stroller and the kids' bikes and we met John, then walked the loop around the waterfalls that Idaho Falls is named for. It was so nice enjoying the beautiful river and the warm day.








We all loved to see John and break up the day a little bit. 
When we got home, the kids and I headed for the splash park- it was a failed attempt and we survived maybe 15 minutes before we decided to just go home and have a snack.
(Yes, I carry both Matthew and William the whole way because William is just that slow at walking.Yes, they basically weigh the same.)
After our snack and ice-cream, the kids went to the grass area next to our apartment and played some hybrid of basketball and quidditch while Matthew and I looked on from the deck. 
Soon dad came home, and we all took turns throwing the balls to the top of the roof to see where they would land. John took Master Wills on motorcycle ride and I took the rest of the kids on a van ride, because who would ride a motorcycle when they could ride in a van, am I right??
Hooray for the weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Perspective.

It is funny, I was looking at past blog posts and realized all I'd have to do is replace the names and my life is basically repeating itself- except Johnny is the Caity, William is the Johnny, and Matthew is the William. 

Sometimes the monotony of my everyday life gets to me. Sometimes it feels like endless cleaning, sorting, cooking, separating, responding... Sometimes I realize I literally had not one minute to myself (yes, I am including showers and bathroom time in there...William learned how to unlock doors.) Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard I try to perfect the routine around the house, it fails miserably. Sometimes I focus on that. I focus on the day in-day out, repetitive, underappreciated contributions I try to make to my family. 

After a few days of mulling these negative feelings around in my mind, I thought of different solutions. I began looking into Master's programs so I could become a therapist or teach, I looked into a couple of agencies that needed assistance in areas that coincided with my schooling and I was excited about. However, I felt a strong impression that neither of these paths was right for me right now. It is the same impression from the Holy Ghost that has yet to steer me wrong. So, although I felt confident that being home full time was what I needed to be doing, I also felt confused and overwhelmed with what that entailed and I started letting those frustrations rain on my parade.

I finally had a break through today.  I felt a wave of impressions representing every thing I love about staying home with my kids. I love when I can sense something is wrong with one of my children before they even realize it, and I love praying it out, then guiding that child in the right direction. I love that I get to use that mother's intuition. I thought about how nice it is to be needed by them. Every morning I go through mental goals I would like to accomplish with each child and every night I evaluate how successful we were in our progress.  They range from more practical things like helping William pronounce words better to more emotional things like making sure Johnny isn't feeling forgotten as the (semi) middle child. There are little moments in my every day that are hard to describe- little smiles, chunky arms, slobbery kisses, silly giggles...that really warm me to the core. Even though they are insignificant...I know they are what matters because they are products of time spent with my children. I am basically failing daily in the million and one ways I feel I should have a grip on by now, but I know as I turn to God I can succeed in the areas HE needs me to...and in turn find the joy and fulfillment I seek.

It occurred to me today that tasks of my daily life I struggle with are just a temporary mundane part of this season, that I was confusing with my identity as a stay at home mom- but really, in time the laundry, cleaning, cooking....will be less imposing and urgent as my kids grow older and take on more responsibilities. At the same time my role as a mother and nurturer will remain strong and needed.  

Today God showed me the light at the end of this sometimes dark tunnel. He taught me that the light I am seeking, and reaching towards, is created through my every day interactions with these children.

Eventually I won't smell like spit up, I won't blow most of my budget on diapers, I won't be scrubbing banana from the carpet. However, I will always have that opportunity to pray for my children, to guide them to their Father in heaven, to encourage them, to mourn with them, to teach them, to be humbled by them, and to enjoy them. 
How grateful I am for that realization today.

How grateful I am to be a mother, and to be present.
Here's to creating those moments that brighten the light at the end of the tunnel!

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