Friday, February 16, 2018

Twelve

My Roo is now twelve.  A rite of passage for girls in the LDS church.  She will now enter the Young Women's program and start attending their many activities and events.  Most notably, she will go to Girl's Camp this summer.  I'm excited for this.  I loved Young Women's, and it did me a lot of good.  I have five daughters, so we will be doing Young Women's for a long time.  It's exciting to be starting.  Roo is ready. 

The day before her birthday I read to her the story of her birth.  A crisp February night in southwest Idaho.  A very peaceful home birth.  It was not easy.  She was late and she weight ten and a half pounds.  But I had so much support and the house was filled with good vibes.  Some of those were surely from her; the girl is a peacemaker through and through.  Peace comes as naturally to her as breathing. 

She is still gentle, happy, and content.  She is such a joy to me.  I appreciate her artistic talents.  The world around Roo blooms with beauty.  I don't know how I got graced with such a daughter. 

We gave her some art supplies and some fuzzy blankets.  I know I bought her a bathrobe a few weeks ago, but I cannot find it anywhere.  Sorry about that, Roo. 

She wanted enchiladas for dinner and a chocolate mint cake.  And root beer. 









Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Flu

Boy, do we have the flu at our house.  The kind Dave Barry calls the "Martian Death Flu."  Fevers, chills, body aches, coughs, runny noses, sinus congestion, upset tummies... and it just goes on and on for days.  I've been sick for six days now and while I am finally feeling better I still have a long ways to go.  The kids have missed oodles of school; the Badger is home from work. 

It's been years since I've been this sick from a virus.  I can't really remember the last time I had influenza either.  I seem to recall having a mild case of the swine flu back in the spring of 2009, but for most of my parenting career I have only had colds or stomach viruses, the kind of stuff you get over in three days, max.  Whatever the reason for this is, I am extremely grateful for this blessing.  It's so hard to take care of very tiny children when you're this sick. 

And I'm grateful to be able to be sick in such a warm, comfortable environment, with the full expectation that I will eventually recover.  I feel so very blessed. 

Here's some pictures of what the flu epidemic looks like at our house. 

Kids asleep all over my bed... my youngest SIX wanted to be curled up next to me, so I did lots of snuggling, but sometimes I was so sick I just couldn't take being touched anymore, and I would go lock myself in Bean and Frog's room and take a nap in one of their beds. 


Boy, was I miserable!


Sick Bean snuggling sick Twig:


...with sick Roo on the other end of the couch in a living room filled with toys and dirty tissues and books and stuff...



A huge pot of chicken noodle soup from my angelic visiting teacher-- really hit the spot.  I've eaten very little over the last few days-- nothing sounds good, nothing tastes good, I have to force myself to choke something down-- but this soup was the exception to that.  It was just what we needed.  Funny how she just happened to call me out of the blue on Saturday and found out we were sick and immediately offered to make soup... not a coincidence.  Someone upstairs is looking out for us. 


What happens to your hair after you've been miserably sick in bed for a couple days:


The twins are feeling better now, so there's that. 


And a surprise package came in the mail from Aunt Crocodile and Grandma, with some fun socks and some cute plastic animals!  It was just the thing to cheer us up. 

 
We'll be better soon.  And then I'll pick up all the balls I've dropped and start to move forward again...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Scripture Scouts Revival

Waaaaay back ages ago, when I just had two tiny little boys, we lived in Idaho.  It was only a five hour drive to visit our families in Utah, so we were able to do it fairly often.  On one of these trips, somehow it happened that I was going to have to drive back home with the kids by myself.  I was apprehensive about this.  Just me and two little kiddos in the car all by ourselves for five hours?  Yikes!  (Now, it sounds lovely.  But back then, I was still scared of taking both of them to the grocery store at the same time, so I guess I've come a long ways)

Anyway, I was talking to my sister in law, Aunt Lovely, and I asked her advice on ways to make the trip go more smoothly.  She recommended I go buy a set of Scripture Scouts CDs.  They're a little corny, she said, and the dog character's voice is pretty silly, but they'll keep the kids entertained for the whole drive.

And that's how we got into Scripture Scouts.

Bean and Fish and Roo and Rabbit grew up on them.  They drove the Badger nuts (the dog's voice is hard to take at first) but I was hooked on the way they explained the Gospel in such simple, child-friendly terms.  I can think of so many times over the years that I have been grateful for Scripture Scouts.  One time I was about to completely blow up at the boys over some big mess they'd made when Bean started singing "you can laugh instead of getting mad" and it diffused my anger.  I have fond memories of young Fish sitting in his room playing with his Legos and singing, "Oh, how I'd like to be a father, and raise up a growing family..."  I loved hearing little Rabbit singing "Nothing's too hard for the Lord... if He has a job that he wants me to do, it's not hard for me and the Lord."  I can often be heard singing, "don't beat up on your brother 'cause it's mean, mean, mean!"  And so on.

The CDs got more and more scratched as the years went on, and finally it got to the point where they were pretty much ruined.  I kept thinking I should get new ones, but you know how it is with everything going on.

Finally, I recently bought digital copies of all of them, and now we are introducing the younger kids to the fun of Scripture Scouts.  We are experiencing a Scripture Scouts revival at our house, and it makes me happy.  I love it that it's usually Bean that turns them on for the little kids, because he loved them so much when he was little.  They are the perfect thing to have playing on Sundays while the kids play with toys.

I even heard the Badger say the other day that he kind of likes them now too.


Friday, February 2, 2018

February Begins

See, I told you.  January went by in a blink. 

Maybe it's because I have kids at nearly every stage of the spectrum-- from high school to preschool.  I am managing life on so many fronts that it is just going by in a blur. 

I'm also really tired.  But it's a good tired.  A grateful tired. 

Let's see... what's been going on lately?  Let's take a look at the photos on my phone. 

One really cold morning when the Badger was off work we popped popcorn, lit a cozy fire, and roasted things over said fire.  The kids thought it was the best day ever. 



Yay for homeschool!  I love times like these when we have the flexibility to adapt our schedule and do something fun and different.  

I also love times like these.  Sleeping twins for the win!


Oh, those twins!  They barely made the cutoff to be in Sunbeams at church this year instead of nursery, and I worried about that.  Were they ready?  Yes, they're ready.  They figured out the routine right away and now they march right into that Primary room and plop down on those little chairs. 


Unless they fall asleep in Sacrament meeting.  We have the 1:00 time slot at church this year.  



Our Relief Society put together this totally epic cake decorating class at a local bakery.  I learned a lot!  Like, freeze your cake before you start frosting it to reduce the amount of crumbs.  And always pull your spatula toward you as you're spreading the frosting. 


In addition to all the stages of childhood I'm managing, I'm also trying to do a little bit more for me-- all those things I have set on the shelf for years now.  Since I don't have babies anymore, this seems possible and exciting.  I have to remind myself that this is a careful balance.  I still need to focus on and enjoy my small people while they are still small.  I have a little bit of time now, and it's good that I take it (and figure out how to not feel guilty about it). but I don't want to rush too quickly into the next phase of my life and miss out on so much of my last chance to mother little ones. 

So I spend time going to the Temple. 



And then I ask myself, what things did I always want to do with my three year olds that I haven't done yet?  Always before I could say, "Well, I'll do that with the next kid.  Now this is my last chance with three year olds.  What about a five year old boy?  This is my last five year old boy.  What stories do I need to read him?  I understand now why when my mom comes to visit what she wants to do most is read to the kids. 

It's hard to see day by day as you're dealing with the fussing and fighting how your actions gently shape their character.  One of the nice things about having older ones and younger ones at the same time is that I can see how they're turning out and how much easier it is to train those branches of character while they're small.  I think I understand better how important it is to parent intentionally while they are young.  I also worry that I'm maybe not doing as good a job with the younger ones because I'm busy on so many different fronts and because I sometimes forget they don't know what I already taught the older ones.  Also I rely on the older ones to help so much with the younger ones, so I am not always the one shaping character.  Also they watch more videos than I think they should. 

Isn't that how it goes though?  The older kids get parents who don't know what they're doing and who, in all their parenting idealism, are pretty strict.  The younger kids get parents who are wise and experienced and much more lax, but who are busy and distracted.  It's an interesting tradeoff. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Goal to Read

When I was a kid, I was always reading.  I devoured books.  I was a fast reader, so I devoured books quickly.  I read mostly fiction, and once I'd get into a book I would have a hard time putting it down.  I drove my 5th grade teacher crazy because I'd be reading a book under the table but still be aware enough of what was going on that if she called on my I could answer her question correctly and then go back to reading my book. 

My favorite thing to do at home with my siblings was sit around in the living room reading-- each reading our own book silently to ourselves, and if, when we laughed at something amusing, we knew that one of the others had already read that book, we would read a short snatch aloud so they could remember and share in our laughter. 

This continued into my adult life.  When I got married, I think I about drove the Badger nuts with my constant reading.  He was blown away by how many books I read and I know there were times when he just wanted me to put down my book and talk to him.  At those times I sometimes wished that he would just go get a book and submerge himself deep in it so we could sit and read together!  Sometimes he did, and I loved that. 

As my family grew, my opportunities to read lessened.  That was a bit of an adjustment.  Still, though, I could read.  Especially while nursing a baby.  I gradually tapered back on fiction, however, because it was too hard to pull myself out of it and I couldn't just ignore my kids while I spent several hours finishing my book.  They did need to eat.   And be supervised.  So I started reading a lot more non-fiction because that was much easier to put down.  I read some great stuff that has really helped me over the years: books on parenting, relationships, religion, etc. 

Enter the smart phone.  And Facebook.  And Pinterest.  Etc.  Even more compelling and addicting than books.  One day you wake up and realize that you never read books anymore, just memes and an occasional short web article.  My older kids remember a mom with her nose buried deep in a book, which at least was a good example to them of literacy.  My younger kids might only remember a mom glued to a screen if I don't do something about this. 

This has been on my mind for the last few years.  When the twins were little, it was tough.  I was doing lots of nursing, lots of middle of the night rocking, and the smart phone was just perfect-- a small, glowing screen in that dark room, easier to hold and manage than a book with pages that need to be turned.  You can pick it up when you have a minute, like when you really didn't want to sit down just then but the baby insists on nursing.  You can read a few Facebook posts or flip through a few pictures on Pinterest, and put it down again.  It doesn't require much brain power.  Oh, and it's highly addictive! 

There's all these books around me and I keep thinking that I read them because I identify as a READING PERSON.  But I don't.  I have quite a pile of excellent books that have been sitting there for months or years and I just... well, it's just so much easier to pick up that phone. 

But I am fighting this.  I am fighting to control this technology monster that wants to take over my life, home, and family.  I've done a lot to improve the quality of my screen time.  I don't have any games on my phone, and I don't play any online games on the computer.  I rarely watch videos on Youtube or Amazon Prime or whatever.  I've unfollowed just about everyone on Facebook so that my feed is very short and contains only things from people I am very close to... why should I spend my precious, precious time, which is already spread pretty thin, on reading about what an acquaintance of mine from three wards ago ate for breakfast?  I don't get on Pinterest much anymore... it's kind of all the same stuff after awhile. But even with all that, I still struggle with spending too much time on my phone. 

I am trying though.  I really am. 

And one of the things I am doing is returning to books.  Real, paper books. 

One of my New Year's resolutions is to spend time reading real books each day. 

I can do this now.  I no longer have nurselings.  I have children who can help.  I am not up in the night as much with babies.  I have pockets of time when I can read, when I can choose to pick up a book instead of my phone. 

It's been wonderful so far. 

I have so many books to read!  I went through my personal bookshelf and I can't believe how many books I have there that I haven't read, that I really want to read, that I just kept thinking "one of these days..." Well, now is the time. 

Recently I read "Kisses for Katie," by Katie Davis.  I loved it so much I quickly got the sequel from the library, "Daring to Hope."  Highly recommended. 

Another thing I am doing is joining a book club.  Our Relief Society here has one, and I have always wanted to go, but I didn't feel like I could get away, with everything going on at my house.  Now that the twins are older, though, I think I can do this, and I'm excited.  I know I really need the social interaction and the mental stimulation.  I am a reader, and there is a good book club, so I should be there, right? 

I am really thinking about the legacy I want to leave my children.  It needs to include a love for good literature, a thirst for true knowledge, an enjoyment of a good story, a savoring of the feel and smell of a paper book in the hands.  So that is what I need to be modeling to them.  And it shouldn't be hard.  After all, I've had lots of practice in years past.  I just need to pick back up where I left off. 


Friday, January 19, 2018

Leaf's Drawing

Leaf has some early-blooming artistic skills that are fascinating me.  I've never seen a child this age draw with the precision and detail that she does.  Look at this fascinating picture she created.  I find stuff like this on pieces of paper everywhere lately.  I think it's wonderful. 




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cute Twins

Once in a blue moon they are dressed in coordinating outfits with clean faces and neatly-done hair.  This time, they even stood still and smiled at the same time.  Hooray!