Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Merry Christmas 2008!!!

Today, of course, I am thankful for my Savior. I am so grateful for the peace and joy that Jesus Christ brings to my life. For the love He shows me and those I love. For His atonement that makes it possible for me to repent and live with Him in the eternities. I'm grateful He forgives me. What a wonderful gift Heavenly Father has given to us all! May we all be grateful for our Heavenly Father and our Savior's love.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas:)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wild weather

It's snowing. A lot. I love snow and I really love that it's looking to be a white Christmas. But I'd love snow a lot more if it came after my family was all home and safe. Until my husband gets home tonight, I'll be worrying. And until I hear that my brother's family arrived safely at my SIL's parent's house, I'll be worrying. At the very least, the ferocity of the storm seems to have passed and now we're enjoying the sight of softly falling snow.

This morning was a different story. The storm was blowing in this morning; that means wind. I hate wind. Hate it, hate it, hate it. There are a few reasons we don't live in Wyoming and the wind is number one for me. As it's trash day here, this morning I had to go outside and put the recycling can right side up at least ten times. Bits of trash litter the street and my yard. Adding injury to insult, the last time I placed the recycling a big gust of wind started blowing twigs off my tree and into my face. I covered my head with my arms as I turned back to the house and took a chunk of ice to the shoulder before I got back inside. Grrrrrr.

I tried to get all the necessary errands done before the snow came in. Silly me thinking I could get everything done in a reasonable amount of time:) I came out of the last stop to find slippery conditions and two inches of snow on my van. Oy. One long prayer later and we were all home safe.

Now we have only to get our main man safely home and we can enjoy the snow with some hot chocolate and a Christmas movie!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The older I get and the more people I come across, the more I understand the greatness of what I have. I'm grateful for the guidance, the knowledge, the peace, and the assurance the gospel gives me. What a gift!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

J following our tree off the lot.

This Thursday I am thankful that Christmas trees smell so heavenly. The smell of Christmas trees has to be one of the top five smells on my list. I love it, love it, love it. I'm grateful that this year our tree smells so wonderful. Last year's tree smell was weak and lasted for less than a week and the year before that our tree didn't smell at all! This year's tree seems to keep its smell concentrated in the living room because you get hit by it everytime you walk in. Oh, it's lovely! Come on over and smell our wonderful tree:)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A "don't read this book" recommendation

Alright. I did it. I read the Twilight series. And I have very mixed feelings about it. I really liked the story; it's an amazing story. But I think that this series strays too far into the realm of romance novels to be recommended.

No, there's no sex. I should say, there's no detailed sex; it's strongly implied. And yet the detail that the author goes into with the kissing and stroking is just too much. The first book was bordering on laughable with all the swooning and breath-taking, but as the story went on it just got too steamy. Call me a prude for thinking that reading about a kiss is too much, but there's no denying there was too much lust packed into those kisses. Just as looking at porn is dangerous for men (and women), reading about physical stuff is dangerous for women (and men).

It's a huge bummer because it really is a beautiful love story and the author wrote nothing that I don't feel for my own husband. But reading about those things is not a good idea, especially for these droves of married women who are now fantasizing about and lusting after a fictional character. That's definitely not healthy and it's very disappointing.

Nor is it a good idea for all these young girls who are joining in on the fantasizing. Books like this mess with expectations and reality in a bad way. It's hard to see all these girls out there who are "dying to marry someone just like Edward." It's even harder when they feel like that and they're also seeing their married mother do the same thing.

And so, I'm not joining the throng of Edward-lovers. If you want to read a love story, I recommend Pride and Prejudice. Twilight is too close to a romance novel.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful that I am not raising my boys 100 years ago, even 50 years ago. I am grateful to be in the here and now when access to a washing machine and dryer is fairly easy. A time when laundry detergents are quite good at getting things clean. A time when I have extra linens in the closet and more than a few outfits for each of my children.

Why? Because there is a certain stomach bug that is working it's way through each of my boys and it hit upon W with a vengeance last night. Because of these modern comforts, we were all able to get some sleep last night once W had emptied his stomach and we'd gone through many sheets and pajamas.

Instead of staying up all night scrubbing out linens and hanging them by the fire hoping they would be dry by the time we needed them again I was able to toss everything in the washer, wait up a bit longer, toss everything in the dryer and get some sleep. An extra blessing from having all these things, I was rested enough that when I went in to get the boys this morning I didn't burst a vein in frustration at finding A and his bed covered in the bane of my existence.

I can only imagine the kind of nights mothers used to have when their kids were sick with stomach viruses. I shudder to think of it.

In happier news, I'm also grateful for the sounds of Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs filling my home. Beautiful!

Anyone else want to jump on the Thankful Thursday train?

Originally written: December 4, 2008

Defending motherhood

Please excuse the excessive use of capital letters and exclamation points. I'm extremely passionate about all this...

During my reading of today's paper, I came across an article that sucked me in. The title included the words "women's role" and "controversy." Now you're hooked, right?:) So I read it, got very aggravated, and feel the need to respond by writing in this record-keeping blog, and reaching out to my little sphere of influence.

Here's a summary of the article for you (if you want to read the whole thing, email me and I'll send you a link):

-The general president of the LDS Relief Society (that's the Church's organization for women) gave an address on motherhood Oct. 2007.

-One year later there is still much discussion and disagreement on it. Some people are so incensed that they started a website to counter what Sister Beck said.

-A symposium was recently held where one topic discussed was titled: "Mormon Motherhood: Choice or Destiny?" [excuse me while I get some eye-rolling out of my system so I can get on with a mature response]

-Five presenters spoke for over an hour about their beliefs that Sister Beck's talk, and other messages on the same subject by LDS leaders, "narrow the role of women in the church by minimizing the contribution of those who don't have children and stay at home to raise them, whether by choice or through circumstances they can't control." (thoughts to follow on that)

-A question and answer session was held. (and that)

-Things are mentioned about the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" (and that)

-Quotes are given about feelings on motherhood. (and that)

-Ends by quoting one of the commenters and relating the scene that followed in the hallway after the presentation. One woman got up and said, "I'm a mother of five, I'm not a Ph.D. candidate, and that's not in my future. I've always had a very confident sense of self, and I attribute that to being raised in the church. I feel powerful. I don't need anything more than what I do, but I want that mutual respect [that panelists had discussed for those outside traditional LDS roles]." Apparently, several audience members sought her out in the hallway and had a "heated discussion" with the following quote involved, "You're a slave and you don't even know it."

Whaaaaaaat?! I can't express how disappointed I am. And about so many things! Sister Beck is a leader, called of God. Time and effort is much better spent listening to and applying what she says to our lives than getting offended and working against her (and by extension, God). I'm so disappointed that members of the LDS church would willfully and publicly cause such dissension. And mostly, I'm disappointed that SO MANY people are missing the mark. And instead of looking more intently for the mark, they berate others for trying.

Here's what one woman was quoted as saying (she starts by quoting an author that isn't named),
"We are fed up with the myth that it's the most honorable and important thing we do...and if you don't love every second of it, there is something wrong with you. (that's the end of the author quote) Motherhood is prescribed essentially as the only role for women eternally."

First of all, the only people that I have ever heard (or read) say that if you don't love every second of it there is something wrong with you are people who are complaining. NEVER have I heard a leader of the church or any proponent of stay-at-home motherhood say anything remotely like that. Of course you're not going to love every second of it! It's HARD WORK! But nothing worthwhile was ever achieved easily. Secondly, one of the most beautiful things about motherhood is that it is an eternal role. This woman makes it sound like women will only be wiping runny noses and sweeping for eternity.

Next quote, by a different woman:

On Sister Beck's talk: "...once again, women felt they were being handed a script for their lives that they couldn't follow."

On the Proclamation: "[It] gives a woman only one role. The single woman exists in the proclamation only as daughter of heavenly parents waiting to fulfill her destiny...Being a mother is a good and a necessary role, but a good mother must first be a good person, with roles and needs outside that of mother."

One more quote by another woman: "Motherhood really is meaningless unless there is a person being the mother in the first place."

First, God would never give us guidelines for how to return to Him if He didn't think we could do it. Yes, it's hard. But that doesn't mean we can't do it! Yes, there are extenuating circumstances that fall outside the preferred route, but that does not mean that we should stop working toward the ideal!

Second, the Proclamation does not give a woman only one role. Sounds like someone hasn't really read it; or if she did she saw only what she wanted to see. Read it for yourself; it's amazingly enlightening.

Third, I agree that a good mother must first be a good person, but being a good person is not contingent upon having "roles and needs outside that of mother." Yes, motherhood needs a person there in the first place. However, the implication that full-time dedication to being a mother precludes a woman from being a person is false (not to mention insulting). I'm so SO tired of hearing things like this that insinuate that motherhood is confining, suffocating, or destructive to a woman's individuality.

The general tasks mothers perform make it easy to give in to feelings of confinement or loss of self. This is where we are given the opportunity to grow! Motherhood is so much bigger than keeping kids alive and keeping the house clean. My friend Jordan posted this about how motherhood is not about losing yourself, but finding out who you are in relation to someone else. Read that as well if you would like more enlightenment. Motherhood requires countless sacrifices of the mother. The easy way to look at those sacrifices is to get tired and say that you've lost your sense of self. Thoughts like that just make it harder to keep going. Instead, look at those sacrifices as the fact that you are part of something bigger and more incredible than you could ever be by yourself. Motherhood is such a huge job, it's going to be a huge part of who a woman is.

Lastly, the only people who "narrow the role of women in the church" are those who minimize the influence of stay at home mothers. Church leaders are trying to show us the amazing influence for good that mothers can have if they focus on their families instead of escaping through jobs, hobbies, etc in search of themselves. Sometimes jobs are necessary, and I applaud mothers who appropriately balance necessary employment with their duties as wife and mother. Hobbies are good and can be wonderfully enriching activities. But when a mother lets these things get too high on the priority list when they aren't needed, she is taking away from what her family could be.

I feel incredibly blessed to live the life I do. My husband works hard for our family. He's working even harder these days working full time and going to school for a masters degree. His efforts make it possible for me to focus my time on our sons and our home. I have been blessed with three healthy, happy, incredible sons who bring me more joy in this life than I ever thought possible. These same boys push my mind, body, emotions, and every other part of me to their limits. They have caused me to grow and I have learned so much from being their mother and Bret's wife. I still have so much to learn, and I'm looking forward to it. Sometimes I look forward with trepidation, but I'm confident that whatever I may go through as a mother will bring me closer to my goal of an eternal family. I know that there is immense joy to be found in family. Perhaps I will post on why I know that one of these days, but this is already too long:)

Thanks for reading this all the way through. I really feel like I did not do this justice. I'm at a loss of how to do better. Ultimately, understanding and embracing the role of motherhood, and parenthood in general (father's have just as rough a time as mothers do), requires an understanding of Heavenly Father, His plan, His roles, His will, and principles such as service and self-sacrifice.

Originally written: August 9, 2008

Testimony time; it's a novel

Growing up I received many “happiest awards.” Honestly, the first four years of girls camp I came away with the “Happiest Camper Award.” My fifth year at camp, as a youth leader, I was with the leaders and they were discussing awards. Not really thinking about who I was speaking to I said, “Funny thing- I always get the happiest camper award. Weird.” The leaders said some sarcastic things like, “Well, well. Look’s who isn’t grateful for her awards!” To which I replied, “What? Who said that? No, I just think it’s weird. I mean, FOUR years in a row.” That year, I did not get the happiest camper award and felt bad that they thought I didn’t like being the happiest camper.

Aaaanyway, for much of my life I’ve found it quite easy to take pleasure in life. Since this last pregnancy, though, I’ve been struggling with getting easily discouraged. And I mean EASILY. Perhaps it’s imbalanced hormones…I don’t know, but it stinks. I see other moms doing things with their kids that I’m not doing and have to fight I’m-a-horrible-mom thoughts. I see the bathroom that I promised myself a most faithful promise that I would clean during the day that is still needing to be cleaned when I’m off to bed and I get all sorts of discouraged. The economy is headed to the toilet and I get all sorts of discouraged. I think you get the picture.

At the beginning of summer, I decided I needed some help in the attitude department. I wanted to be Happy Lindsey again. The Lindsey who lets bad stuff just roll off her back. The Lindsey that doesn’t focus on negative things. The Lindsey who her boys remember as a fun, smiley mom instead of the mom with the contorted face of stress and worry. I decided that the answer to my problems was to increase the levels of my spiritual reservoirs, if you will. In essence, I wasn’t having any luck on my own and needed some divine assistance. My husband and I have been consistent in our family prayer, couple prayers morning and night and then personal prayers at night (that’s my horn: toot toot), but I’ve been horrible at starting the day with a personal prayer. “That’s the ticket!” I said and went to work. At first it was rough to remember to pray before things got crazy with kids, but once I started praying first thing after getting up it became a habit. And it worked!...sort of. It’s great to be getting on with, but it isn’t enough for me. Now instead of getting discouraged VERY easily, I was getting discouraged fairly easily.

So I went back to the drawing board. What to do, what to do? And then the spirit hit me over the head, “You need to study your scriptures every day.”

“Ohhhhhhh! Can’t it be something else?!”

You may balk at my hesitation to do what God was telling me to do, especially since I asked Him for the help. But here’s the thing: I’ve tried to establish a habit of daily scripture study MANY times. I’ve never been able to stick with it. Now, any time I think of trying to figure out how to best go about such daily study the spirit always needles me with, “If you just get up before the boys do and study then…”

Nooooooooo!!!!! I. Love. My. Sleep. Love it. Crave it. Neeeeeed it. I am of the opinion that people should not have to get out of bed before 8 am. A and W are finally complying with that opinion. I don’t want to give up that precious morning sleep! But when did anything worthwhile ever come easily and without some sacrifice?

And so I took the matter back to God and said, "Okay. You’ve told me this is what I need to do. You’ve had leaders tell me this is what I need to do. And now I’ve got even more motivation to do it. If this is really truly what you want me to do, then I’m gonna need to see the improvements VERY clearly. I know that I’ll flake on this unless I really see how it improves me. Soooo, I’m going to give it two weeks and then reevaluate after that. Deal? Deal."

My husband says, “So, you gave God an ultimatum?” Well….yeah, yeah I did. BUT, I figure (since I did it because He and I both know how flaky I can be when it comes to scripture study and I just want to be clear on attributing blessings in my life to scripture study so as to keep up the motivation and testimony building) that we’re square. Had I said, “Bless me…or else!” I think things would be going differently.

And where are we today? Why we are two weeks and a day into daily scripture study and here’s what I’ve got to say: “Scriptures! Where have you been all my life?!...oh. Yeah.”

Confession: At the start of the two weeks I planned to rise an hour before the boys, study, and get ready for the day. Most days I’m actually only getting up 15 minutes before the boys and studying. I’m still having a rough time getting out of bed in a timely fashion. One of these days I will have established the habit of getting up with enough time to study AND shower and get dressed before the boys start calling. But for now, baby steps, baby steps:)

Here’s what daily scripture study has added to my life: For 15 days I have been almost constantly reminded of the sweet little things in life that give me so much joy (namely, how amazing my sons and my husband are). I notice all sorts of little things that make me SO happy! In 15 days I have not compared myself to another mother. In 15 days I have only lost my patience twice. Ah, you thought I was going to say that patience oozes out my ears since I started daily scripture study, didn’t you?! Well, life can’t be perfect; but I have noticed an increase of patience:)

I think I’m getting a happy attitude back. I still have a long way to go and the “habit” is not really habit yet though it seems more likely to stay this time. But I’m extremely pleased with the changes of the past couple weeks. I wonder if I’ll ever really learn this lesson: God knows what He’s talkin’ about. If He says we’ll be blessed for doing something, even though it sounds and is hard, we will be.

So study those scriptures; it's amazing:)

Originally written: October 15, 2008

You learn something new everyday

I have three children. Count ‘em: one, two, three. All boys. That should make me some kind of motherhood pro, right? Or maybe a mothering boys pro since I don’t know what it’s like to have a daughter. My oldest is only three so I don’t have too much experience under my belt. But still, it seems that having three young children would make me the kind of mom who spews fantastic pieces of wisdom to any other mothers with little ones who have questions. I should be a pro, but I’m not. In my defense, the last two boys did come at the same time. So instead of going through the stages three separate times, garnishing all sorts of ideas from successes and failures we had, I’m doing two at a time and often forgetting what works for which boy. That said, I am not a pro and am finding that I’ve got a long way to go.

Both of the times we welcomed babies into our family, I was thrown for a loop. Twins really smacked me in the face. I blame the majority of how hard the smack was on hormones, but the rest is credited to the fact that new babies are just plain hard to care for.

Before J was born, I had it all planned out. I was going to fit a baby into my life and go on with business as usual except I would have a cute and constant companion. J humbled me to the dust. I started to feel like I had a handle on life again and I went back to school. Again, I had it all planned out. And once again: humbled to the dust. After a many months together, life with a child became normal to me as I stopped recalling what days were like pre-J. We were jivin’ well together:).

When A and W came- crash! bang! kapowee! I try not to remember why exactly those days were so hard. When I start to think about the first weeks and months it’s a blur of tears and “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” Then I stop thinking about that and try to remember the fun times instead. We started to settle into a feeling of normal around the time A and W were three months old. But a small part of me was still trying to grasp for some sense of normal; I couldn't seem to make that last step out of survival mode.

Thankfully for me, there are other moms out there who seem like they have the pro thing down. Two years ago I was blessed to have a friend put in my life that has shared her wisdom with me and really helped me correct my perspective on a number of occasions. She had her fourth baby about four or five months after my boys were born. When I first visited her family about a week after the birth, I was surprised at how mellow she seemed. Everything was running so smoothly in their home. She only looked slightly tired. So I asked, “Wow, have you gotten back to normal?” She replied, “We’re still trying to find our new normal.”

It was as if all the lights went on in my head and heavenly choirs sang “Hallelujah!” NEW normal! This was what I needed. It’s amazing what this little phrase did to help me accept how life was going to be. Of course I couldn't get back to “normal;” I had two new people in my life that necessitated a new way of going about business. It still took a few more months to feel like we had achieved our new normal, but the process of getting there was much less frustrating. And I think it came a lot faster than it would have without the realization that we needed to find a new normal way of life. Understanding has a knack for driving out frustration and hastening the arrival of peace.

This post was inspired by MamaBlogga's August Group Writing Project.
To learn more and participate yourself, go

Originally written: August 19, 2008

Genetics 101

In an effort to spread understanding so that maybe complete strangers will stop asking me silly questions, I'd like to teach all y'all just a few things about the genetics involved with twins.

Identical twins are the SAME gender. Boy/girl twins are fraternal (unless of course you want to get crazy technical and talk about near-identical twins, but that's for Genetics 201 and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves).

Identical twins come from one fertilized egg that split into two. Fraternal twins are two separate eggs fertilized by two separate sperm.Identical twins don't have to share a sac or placenta. It is possible for them to have their own if they split within the first three days of conception.

Fraternal twins tend to be caused by the mother's genetics, but can also be the result of fertility treatments or even a complete fluke. Identical twins are always a complete fluke.Twins "running" in the husband's family does not mean he and his wife are more likely to have twins. However, should such a couple have a daughter, she could be more likely to have twins.

It is possible to not know what type of twins one has. The only ways you can know for certain are to test their DNA (expensive!), the twins are a boy and a girl, or they shared a placenta and/or sac in utero.

I know I'm forgetting something, but it's late and I'm not thinking straight. If I remember more, I'll update this post. I realize that most of you already knew most or all of the above information. I also realize that most of you are probably not the type of people to ask silly genetics questions of complete strangers. But this is the only place I know where to start without having to make and print out pamphlets to hand out when someone asks me a question. So thanks for listening:)

Clarification: I don't mind being asked questions by complete strangers who are merely curious. I really don't have the time to stop and answer all of them, though. I'd much rather get my errands done and get home. Plus, if I start to answer questions they start to ask more and the questions get more and more personal. I'm not into letting a total stranger know the complete story of A and W or my medical history. We need our privacy just as much as the lady over there with three kids. I really don't mind being asked questions by family or friends; in fact, I welcome them. So I hope I didn't scare anybody off from asking me any questions related to twins or anything for that matter. If I know you, I'm more than happy to answer any questions. Bring 'em on.

Originally written: August 1, 2008

Am I trendy?

With all the celebrities having twins out there, I sometimes feel like I'm taking part in a trend...weird. I don’t like looking like I'm trying to be like celebrities...

Anyway, here are some answers I wish I could give to twins questions and comments that I don’t for fear of offending or looking stupid for not answering the way that’s expected. For the curious ones out there, I'll include the real answers to the questions in parentheses.

"Are they twins?"
Who? Oh! These babies? I don't know. I found this stroller in the parking lot and just wanted to try out the steering. Oh my, I didn't know there were babies in it until you pointed.

"Do twins run in your family?"
Not yet, but if they're anything like their brother then they'll be running all over the place soon.(sort of...about three generations back and a couple branches to the left)

"Are they natural?"
No, they're a blend of special synthetic materials we bought on ebay.

"How do you tell them apart?"
Well, they're really too young to understand what we're saying so we just have to move them away from each other when they get too close.
(we cut A’s hair shorter than we cut W’s.)

"Boy do you have your hands full!"
Better than empty!

"I'm so glad they're yours and not mine."
Yeah, that makes five of us.

"Are they all yours?"
Um…yeeeeah. Yeah, they're mine…right. Um, if you see a couple guys in uniform come in here could you just say that you didn't see me? They'll try to convince you that they're police officers looking for a kidnapper, but that's totally a lie. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

"Wow, lucky you! Done in one go. Oh…you’ve got another one, too."
Yeah, we're going to try to repopulate Siberia. Did you know that thousands of years ago there used to be a huge, prosperous civilization there? I wonder what happened to them…Anyway, we want to claim it for our own, but first we need the manpower and what better way than homegrown, eh?
(We'll have as many children as is right for our family, thankyouverymuch)

Originally written: August 28, 2008