Monday, October 24, 2016
I took a ton of pictures. You're welcome, Mom!
Here we go outside to get started...
The kids are so excited to play!
Roo settles into the leaves...
...and starts writing in her nature journal (another marvelous product from Jenny Phillips!)
Here is Peanut reciting her caterpillar poem she memorized.
Gotta rake up a big leaf pile..
Rolling around in crunchy leaves is so fun...
The light just kept getting more and more golden. So I had to keep snapping pictures.
Frog wanted to rake the leaves off the tree.
Oh, my wonderful Frog!
"October's bright blue weather..."
Yes, I was enjoying myself! I even had my autumn leaf shirt on.
It was just a perfect afternoon.
So, back when Bean was a baby I read a lot of parenting books. One of them said you should really make an effort to never put a negative label on your kids. Never call them mean names, you know? I read that and I thought "of course I will never do that!!!" And for the most part, I haven't. However, I may or may not occasionally refer to the twins as "the monsters." And maybe, just maybe I have called them "the evil twins" once or twice.
I'm just trying to keep it real. Please don't judge.
They are into EVERYTHING. Constantly! While I am cleaning up one mess they are making another. They bite each other and spit out their half-chewed food and empty the garbage. I am pretty used to toddlers by now, but they have taken things to a whole new level. Sometimes I don't handle it very well.
They are also the cutest things I have ever seen in my life.
They are snuggly and giggly and loving and lovable. And we adore them. Of course. When those little arms wrap around your neck all is forgiven.
Some more recent pictures... Here, Twig has rounded up all the toy horses she can find and has carried them back to a remote corner to play with them.
Along comes Leaf with a piece of chocolate zucchini cake.
I wish I could figure out who cut Twig's bangs. No one will confess. It might have been Twig herself. Yikes! It does make it easier to tell them apart though.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Peanut was so excited to have her very own Good and the Beautiful book just like her sisters. She begged me to get started on it right then. So we did.
And I love this book! It is darling! The cute pictures make the activities so engaging. I was using Sandi Queen's Language Lessons for Little Ones to help Peanut learn her letters. I love the fine art and poetry in that book and it is certainly easy to use, but in terms of Peanut learning her letters it just wasn't enough. This new Good and the Beautiful book is just what we needed.
The more I use Jenny Phillips's curriculum, the more I love it. I am so grateful that she had the vision and inspiration to create such a valuable resource for homeschoolers.
Here is Peanut working on the letter clouds activity. Frog is helping her out. They are loving it and so am I.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
When we first arrived here in Kansas I felt so painfully uprooted. I knew I would need time to recover. I have always tried to bloom where I'm planted, but one has to recover from transplant shock before one can bloom.
I remember the first time we moved to Kansas, back in 2008. I really liked it here then. It reminded me so much of Minnesota, where I grew up, only not so cold in the winter (and that was a good thing!) At that time, I thought we would be here permanently and I dove into making it home. I did my best to bloom, I found lots of wonderful people and places and opportunities for my kids, and I was happy. After only being here 19 months, the Badger suddenly lost his job and we moved back to Utah. I was fine with that because Utah is where my family is.
When we came back out here a year and a half ago, it was hard to leave family. I wasn't unhappy about being in Kansas, but I wasn't thrilled either, after everything we had been through.
Last April, after living here for a year, we took a trip to Utah. I was so excited to be there and see my family and hike in the mountains and eat Cafe Rio and all that good Utah stuff. I wondered how I could bear to go back to Kansas at the end of our trip. But, back we went. When we arrived, I felt something unexpected: the sense of poignant relief and comfort you feel when you have come home. Somehow, despite all our floundering and despite the damage we are still healing from, Kansas has become home to me.
There is so much to love here, and I consciously choose to love it. I love the trees, especially the stately oaks. I love the farm fields. I love the sunsets and the moon rises. I love our ward and our neighborhood and the boys' school and the YMCA. I love the stores I shop at, and my proximity to the ones I love best. I love the neat grid of the roads and the slower tempo of traffic. It really is a great place to be, and I am very grateful to be here.
For the first few months we were here I could have easily packed up and left again, going back west. I ached still for our magical little mountain town we left behind, as well as our family in Utah. I still ache for those places somewhat, but choosing to love and enjoy Kansas means I have been driving roots deep into this prairie soil.
And oh, how those roots want to settle in permanently! To be able to say, "yes, we are from Kansas, we have lived there for years." To see all my children grow up and graduate from Plumfield. To have years and years worth of pictures of the kids at the same pumpkin patch, at the same Fourth of July parade. I really, really want to be done moving around. I want stability and tradition and a geographic anchor for the family and I am fine with that being right here.
Will we stay here? I don't know. But I can't worry about what tomorrow will bring. For now, Kansas is home and I am happy here.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
I have been called mom for nearly 16 years now and sometimes it still feels weird. What? Me? A mom? I feel like I just graduated from college.
It's especially weird coming from my teenagers because I feel like one of them myself, and yet they are rolling their eyes and saying "oh, MOM" in that voice that says "stop being so lame." And that's me. Me!
I hear "Mom?" approximately 85,000 times per day. When I am not weary I remember what a beautiful sound that is. I am very aware of some who ache to be called Mom, and that makes me very grateful.
Bean, Fish, Roo, and Frog call me Mom. The Rabbit calls me Mama and Peanut calls me Mother in the sweetest little voice. "Mother?" I need to get a recording of that. I will miss it someday.
I love being Mom, Mama, and Mother even though I don't feel old enough or experienced enough. It's the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Sunday, September 4, 2016
It's kind of freaky to think about, because I know that the way I see myself is a bit different than how they see me. And they sometimes see things that I wish they wouldn't: embarrassing things or things I don't like about myself. I wonder what they will remember years from now. "Remember how Mom was always scratching her nose?" I have hayfever. My nose itches a lot. I don't like it, but there you go. "Remember how Mom used to get so impatient with us?" Sigh. I am not as good of a mother as I would like to be. But hopefully they will also say "Remember how Mom always apologized after she got grumpy with us?" Because I usually do. I hope they appreciate that.
There are a lot of things I hope they see about me, that I hope they will remember someday.
I hope they see that I am totally in love with the beauties of this amazing, fascinating world we live on. There's a quote by Marjory Hinckley where she says that if you have intellectual curiosity, the world will always be your pumpkin, full of magic and wonder. Yes, yes, yes, that's me!
I hope they understand that my family is the best thing that ever happened to me and that I completely adore each of them. I am just amazed at the priceless jewel that is each one of my children and the fact that I am lucky enough to have eight of them just thrills me to death.
I hope they have no doubts about my faith in Jesus Christ, and my love of His gospel. I hope they see me doing all I can to serve Him and keep the covenants I have made with Him.
They see me do a lot of things, some of which matter a lot and others that matter less, some that I want to do and some that I have to do. I hope they understand that music affects me profoundly and that I cherish each experience I have to sing in a choir or play the piano. I hope they know that growing things in the garden is a soothing and nourishing experience to my soul. I hope they understand that I have a powerful drive to create and that I find deep satisfaction in making beautiful, useful, or tasty things with my hands. I hope they know that although I struggle with spending too much time using technology, I deliberately choose to do good, uplifting things with that technology.
I hope they remember me as a proactive person. I have faults and weaknesses, but I try to improve myself and I hope they see that.
As I think about this, I think about not only my children, but their children and their children after them. There will come a point where those descendents will not have known me in their earthly life, but they will have me inside them, and when they will find out about what I was like, they will say, "Wow, me too!" That is just an amazing thought, isn't it?
Someday, there may be a great-great grandson who also talks to the moon. A great-great-great granddaughter who collects blue and white china (maybe even has some of mine!) Maybe there will be a little boy generations from now who just loves to collect acorns. Think of me, little one. Acorns are my favorite. I am right there with you.
Wow. Here I am, insignificant little me, here in my little house with my eight little children running around making messes, and I'm caught up in these exhausting days trying to teach them and make them into good humans and that's my whole world right now, and I forget where this all leads. Time will pass and my children will grow up and someday they will be not just parents but grandparents... great-grandparents... my influence will spread outward like ripples on a pond. That's really something to ponder....
Hymn 291 "Turn Your Hearts," verse four:
Turn in love to all your children
Generations yet to be
May your deeds of gospel giving
Temple service, righteous living
Bless them all eternally