Friday, December 31, 2010

2010's Top Ten

I feel like 2010 is barreling toward its finish with me bumping along behind it still trying to grasp the fact that another year is almost over already.

Seriously, it seems as if the last six years have gone by in the same amount of time that it used to take one year.

Here's a little list of the top ten things that come to my mind when thinking of the year 2010.

In no particular order:

-I got another sister, in other words my brother got married.
-My super cute nephew was born
-I experienced lots of firsts as a wife and mom that I'd like to not repeat (black eyes, stitches, knee surgeries, falls, and lots of general caring for the afflicted).
-Homeschool!
-Celebrated seven glorious years of marriage to Bret
-Lost 15 pounds
-Family summer vacation to a beautiful small mountain town
-Solo road trip to be at a friend's wedding and seeing girls I haven't seen in years
-Being in the temple with my brother
-Making large strides on a personal path of mine

And what about you? What has 2010 been for you?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's been a good week. Christmas was lovely. The last few days have been pretty great, too. Trying to reclaim the house has been taking a long time, but it's coming. We had a big first on Tuesday, too. We took all the boys to the movie theater. It went pretty darn well. The boys didn't even try to get out of their seats and wander around. Al got a bit scared and asked me if we could go home when the villain showed her true colors, but he's glad we stayed.

Like I said, it's been a good week.

I said I'd elaborate from last week's post. I still will, just not in great detail...cuz I'm lazy like that. My older brother had never been to the temple. We all looked forward to the time we could be there together and it looked like we were still a ways off. And then everything took off and there's my brother metaphorically sprinting to the temple with me trying to find a babysitter so Bret and I could catch up. Due to geographical differences, we have yet to get the whole family there at the same time, but how incredible it is to be this much closer. And how special it was to see my brother in the temple.

Last Thursday we trekked south to spend a fun evening with college friends. Traffic was awful, but once we got there we had a grand time. (How did we get so lucky to know so many good people?) We went to a lights display at a golf course. It was really good! We brought all the boys up into the front seat with us and it was so fun to drive around slowly and watch the boys' eyes and see how mesmerized they were. We're going again next Christmas!

That's that for a recap. How about what I'm thankful for today?

Or-gan-i-za-tion.

I love it when things are organized. Sometimes my concept of organization isn't quite textbook, but most of the time the textbooks and I agree. I go between having the urge to just purge my house of anything we haven't used in the last three months and being a pack rat because there may come a time when we really need that holey sock. Currently, I'm somewhere in between. I want to start my spring cleaning now. Kinda hard to do that in the middle of winter.

Maybe it's because the year (what?!?! 2010 just started! how can it be over already???) is ending and I want a fresh, extra organized start. Or maybe it's because the need to organize is burning my eyes and screaming in my ears.

Don't know for sure. I'm thankful to have a fairly organized home and look forward to organizing it even more:)

Happy New Year!!!

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday...but I have no desire to write right now. And the next couple days are packed full of Christmas celebrations, so I have no desire to write then either...

Is it horribly awful to postpone documenting what I'm thankful for until next week?

Just in case it is, here's what I would like to write about- being in the temple with my brother on Tuesday and driving through a lights display tonight with all five of us in the front seat.

There. That ought to do it for now and I can elaborate later:)

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Ah, Thursdays:)

I realized a couple weeks ago, but forgot to share, that the Thankful Thursday that fell on Thanksgiving was also my 100th Thankful Thursday post. Whoa, awesomeness!

What I'm thankful for today-

-imaginative little fellows that call me "Mom."
-that the loss of nap time hasn't been traumatic; when it's time, it's time.
-grocery stores
-layered clothing
-leftovers

Time to go warm up some leftovers here:) What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hallelujah!

I would be remiss, after weeks of "woe me" posts, to not blog about the change in the past few days.

We are getting better. Hallelujah, we are getting better.

There are still lingering coughs and runny noses, and if the boys run around at all they'll cough to the point of throwing up...

But-

Last night I was not awoken by coughing or crying.

I think I've used less than ten kleenex in the last three days.

I haven't turned on the humidifier in two nights (which is good because it was starting to make a funny gurgling sound...).

AND- We have started doing Christmas things with other people!

Sunday night, my in laws came up for dinner and we all went to a beautiful lights display. After we came home and got the boys in bed we drank hot chocolate and chatted around the Christmas tree. It was a lovely evening.

Yesterday I got my hair cut and my boys look clean cut again. My 11 year old nephew spent the day with us. He played with the boys and I got all sorts of things done, though convincing Jonz to do school was not easy and ended in bribing. We went to a live nativity in the evening as a family. The boys were enthralled and it was just cold enough to feel extra Christmas-y without being uncomfortably frigid; not to mention the wonderful way to spend an evening hearing about Jesus. I did some Christmas shopping and watched a movie with my husband. Totally awesome day.

This morning was nothing short of spectacular. The boys woke up quietly and refrained from fighting until I was fully awake. They also breakfasted quietly, allowing me to read my scriptures in peace where I was particularly struck by this verse: "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" Alma 5:26. Bam! The boys were still being good and I had time to pray uninterrupted. We had a nice morning together before heading off to Jonzy's computer class.

The day has certainly not been without stress, but it's beyond refreshing to have multiple pleasant days in a row. I feel more sympathetic, too, after stretches of more difficult days. I feel less likely to judge people harshly as they're probably just having an off day.

I'm going to ride this high for as long as it lasts (and pray it lasts through Christmas;))!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I've decided...

...that the responsibilities associated with owning a home, cars, and other expensive things is sometimes overwhelming.

...that it's not right that my memory was stellar before I had kids when the things I needed to remember and keep straight weren't nearly as vital and now that I really need a good memory, it's gone and I have to rely on calendars, dry erase boards, and scribbles on lost pieces of paper.

...that keeping three kids alive often feels like more than I can handle.

...that I think I'm doing a so-so job in doing more for them than just keeping my three children alive and hope I'm not woefully mistaken.

...that I have a hard time remembering in the moment to see things for the intent behind them instead of judging by actions alone.

...that the older I get the more songs about Jesus make me cry and I'm looking to be in big, embarrassing trouble in as little as five years.

...that raking leaves in December is not fun.

...that being a good teacher for Jonzy comes and goes and I shouldn't feel so bad about the "goes" times because we always get ahead in the "comes" times.

...that coming to decisions about anything is not easy.

...that I really want it to be Christmas already...except I have way to much to do between now and then.

...that I am quite rich when it comes to tender mercies.

...that I will never feel well rested again and most of the time I'm okay with that.

...that my boys need haircuts, three weeks ago.

...that I need a haircut!

...that you've read enough of what I've decided in the past few days for now:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

What to say, what to say...

How to dig past all the junk and focus on gratitude when all I want to do is scream about how I am finished, done, and giving up.

Yes, we are still sick here.

Now, I hate being sick any time. And I hate when my kids and husband are sick, any time of the year.

But for every single one of us to be sick, for weeks and weeks with no end in sight, and at Christmastime when we would much rather be getting out in the winter air with friends and family to celebrate the season than sniffing and coughing and living off of ibuprofen while we go stir crazy at home?

Yeah, that's wearing us all thin.

Each cough I hear from my boys feels like it's taking chip after chip away from my soul.

Chip. Chip. Chip.

I hate it.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

I know this is no big deal. In the grand scheme of things, this matters very little. Things could be so much worse. So before I get even more whiny, I'll drum up some things I am grateful for today.

Ibuprofen
kleenex
portable heaters
kleenex
humidifiers
kleenex
tap water
kleenex
Christmas movies and music
kleenex
strings of tiny lights making my home feel festive
kleenex
antibiotics
kleenex
microwaves
roast beef
crock pots
strong, pleasant smells
five straight hours of sleep

Oh, and kleenex.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fankful Friday

Yesterday was awful.

I was so sick (still am, though on good drugs and finally improving). I spent Wednesday unable to stand for more than a few minutes. Thursday I was able to get around alright, but had no energy left after taking care of bare essentials to even begin to patient with the boys. Whether from lack of attention, or an abundance of bad vibes in the atmosphere, or both, they were in no mood to be patient with me or each other either.

We spent the day super angry at each other and me wishing I could get some more sleep and mad that this Christmas season is turning out to be just as unhealthy as last year's.

Since I would not like to be presented with the Worst Mother of the Year Award, that's all the details to be had here.

Needless to say, but I'm going to anyway- I didn't write a thankful post yesterday.

I'm still on the perturbed side today, mostly from having to make up lost time from the last two days in housework and "behavior modification" in my grumpy boys.

But to combat that, here are some things I'm thankful for today:

medicine
sleep
appliances that help me make meals quickly and with little effort
indoor plumbing
mine and Bret's early Christmas present to ourselves
energy to stand up and accomplish something today
health insurance
that no one is throwing up (knock on wood)
snow
our furnace and fireplace
Al and Goose playing nicely together for at least five consecutive minutes
Christmas music
Christmas movies
Christmas decorations
macaroni and cheese

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's the biggest gratitude day of the year!!

You'd think I'd plan something majorly awesome to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on my blog.


You'd think that...and you'd be mistaken.

I was far too busy enjoying time with family today to get on the computer and do a grand post.

And I'm far too worn out tonight to attempt anything.

Today I am thankful for Jesus Christ. I am so looking forward to the oh-so-close Christmas season. A time of year when for an entire month so many people are thinking more (even if it's just a little more) about the Savior. Such things create a great energy and it just feels like the whole world is a happier in December.

I'm so excited:)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you take some time to count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Music

I love music.

I especially love music in the kitchen.

And today's post is dedicated to my under-the-cupboard cd player/radio and my awesome husband who bought and installed it for me (then dismantled and installed it again when we moved:)).

If you were ever thinking of getting one- you totally should.

It doesn't take up any counter space and you get quality music sound right in your kitchen to enhance your baking-cooking-cleaning activities.

I'm doing all my Thanksgiving baking today and having music is making it so much fun!...in spite of the back pain from standing in the kitchen all day.

I LOVE music.

And I love that I get to listen to music in the kitchen.

What are you thankful for today??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sisters know

Disclaimer: I am not pregnant, nor am I trying to become so. The experience I will relate later hasn't happened for at least eight months.

As such, I figure this is the best time to ask a question I've been wondering for some years now. I'm hesitant to ask this question. Mostly because I don't want anyone who reads this and knows me in real life to start speculating on my reproductive conditions, hence the disclaimer.

This isn't a graphic question- more of a feeling question, but I don't think any men would quite understand this. Let me save you some time, male readers, this might be utterly too female for you:)

A woman in my ward recently read us a poem at our last RS meeting. She wrote it about her experience breaking her arm and how the women in the Relief Society took care of her. Her last line was, "Sisters know." I love that.

So when these memories popped into my head last week and I desired to know if other women have ever experienced the same thing, I hemmed and hawed about actually asking. But then, "Sisters know" popped into my head and I'm just gonna ask!

Enough beating about the bush for you?

Yeah. Me, too!!

Have you ever-

Taken a pregnancy test and while waiting those two minutes prayed for it to be negative, while longing for it to be positive? Or taken a test, prayed and prayed and prayed it was negative, only to feel so sad when it does come up negative?

I have and it kinda boggles me and make complete sense all at the same time.

(Motherhood seems to mean never feeling one emotion at a time; there must always be at least two battling each other.)

I've only ever taken the test once with that feeling. But there's been at least four times when I was on the brink of taking that test and the natural answer showed up. All five times I battled the competing thoughts of "please, let me be pregnant" and "please, no more pregnancies yet."

Have you ever felt like that? And if you have, why do you think that is?

All I can come up with is that once that possibility is planted in a woman's brain, that there is a child growing inside of her, she's in love. And no amount of "I can't handle another baby" will lessen that.

And how does this tie into gratitude? Well, I am so thankful that it is inherent in me (and I suspect women in general) to love a child so deeply before I even meet them face to face. Sometimes I feel silly for loving something and "losing" it when it never even existed. In the end, though, I am so blessed to know that aspect of motherhood; that instant, deep love.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Family History

This past week I revisited an "issue" I have.

Sometimes, I feel gypped in the grandma department.

I have three women in my past who (whom?) I call Grandma.

The woman in my family that I best consider in every essence of the word, "Grandma," died when I was 13, before I was old enough to really be cognizant of other people's personalities. I know we lived with them when I was quite young, but Grandma K appears in only one of the few memories I have of the time in that house. There are snippets of memories with her from more recent times in my life, but nothing that tells me who she was. The ways I know her best are by the things she made for me and the stories I hear about her (which I decided last week are not sufficient, I want more).

I've never met my other grandmother. She died when my mom was a teenager. However, I feel a strong connection to this woman I never met. A feeling like, even though I've never seen her, she's been here the whole time.

I have a third woman in the mix. My Grandpa B remarried before I was born. I grew up calling her Grandma. I considered her my grandmother, even though we share no blood. I think I still do. She's the grandmother I have the clearest memories of. She died only a couple years ago. I learned a lot after she died. Every once in a while I think about what I've learned, like last week. And it led me to some refreshed gratitude, which is why I'm blogging about it:)

Here's the thing. My Grandpa and Grandma married after her son was grown and most of his children were, too. I rarely saw Grandma when I was growing up. They'd split up for family visits. Grandpa would come to visit and Grandma would go visit her son and his family. When I did see her, she was always nice. I especially remember the time when I brought boyfriend-Bret to a family function at Grandpa's house. She pulled me aside at one point with bright eyes and a wide smile and whispered, "He's such a nice boy. Grandpa and I like him very much." It was sweet:)

Then the funeral. Grandma's son has four sons of his own and one daughter. His daughter spoke during the funeral and mentioned how Grandma would hold her face and say, "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, you are my only granddaughter."

I'll admit. I was shocked. So much so, that my laughter response was triggered. One of those, "hahaha! Oh wait...you're serious!" My mom scoffed and put her arm around me while I tried to rationalize in my head. "Sure, I guess maybe she could just be talking about blood-wise. Then she really does have just one granddaughter...but did she really think that? I always considered her Grandma...should I not have? What was I to her? What were my cousins to her?...Really?!?!"

Some conversation with a cousin who grew up living quite close to Grandma and Grandpa confirmed that, yes, we weren't really considered her grandchildren. Now, let me interject- she was a good woman and I'm positive that she loved us on some level.

And I've realized it kind of went both ways. I didn't cry when I found out she had died. I cried at the funeral when they closed the casket for the last time and I watched her son say goodbye and I thought, "how awful to have to say goodbye to your mom and close that lid until who-knows-when!" I didn't really cry because she was gone and I've since realized that I pretty much just felt she was a nice elderly woman in my life.

Still. It kinda stings.

And so began my feelings of gypped-ness. I realized (shame it took me 24ish years to realize this) that of the three women I call Grandma, I only really got to spend fleeting time with one who fulfilled the role and I really didn't don't know any of them.

BUT!

Thanks to family history, I can get to know my grandmothers better even though they aren't here anymore.

I have pictures. Pictures of smiles, laughter, hard work, family gatherings, etc.

I have dolls and things that were made just for me.

I have stories shared by relatives who knew them.

And I have a testimony that one day I'll be able to see them, talk with them, and spend time with them.

So, yes, I still feel like I've been gypped of what I've missed with my grandmothers. But I will be forever grateful for the family history that has been shared with me. I may not know them well, but I know enough of them and of what awaits us after death to feel like they are a part of my life; women who have gone before me and are cheering me on to the finish line.

And in the meantime, I have two of the most remarkable grandpas ever:)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Will the near midnight postings never end?!?!

I am a fan of the Thanksgiving season.

I love that there is a holiday completely devoted to gratitude...although it's been somewhat eclipsed by gluttony and football.

Pity that so many people miss how awesome this time of year can be.

One thing I dislike seeing every year is the onslaught of Christmas as soon as Halloween is over.

I totally understand. Christmas. Is. Awesome. But if we're going to start so early, how about we flop Halloween and Thanksgiving so that the glanced over holiday is Halloween?

All that said...I started to long for Christmas today. I was doing laundry and the Charlie Brown Christmas movie theme song popped into my head and I got sooooo excited for the ever nearing official kick off to the Howser Christmas season. It will be here on Saturday:)

I love Thanksgiving. And part of what I love about it is the anticipation-for-but-not-going-to-start-juuuust-yet Christmas celebrations. Delayed gratification has its perks!

This week I will focus even more on celebrating and being thankful with loved ones.

But in the back of my head I might just be humming Christmas music:)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In the knick of time

Or is it "nick of time?"

Anyway, 11:59 pm still counts:)

Given that I've been posting in the ending hours of the day for the past four days, can you get a feel for how things have been going?

Busy, busy, busy! My computer is missing me and I'm afraid to face my neglected email inboxes. Or is it inboxi???

Today was a fantastic day!! Last night and today I got to experience Time Out for Women with my sister in law. I'm already trying to figure out how to get next year's event planned and executed:)

I got home and was whisked off to drop the kids off with Bret's sister while we went to dinner with his parents. Then I was surprised with a trip to the theater where we got to see the latest Harry Potter movie!!!! We had some trouble getting to the theater in time and ended up in the front row on the end. Even with the awful angle, it was a great movie!

What an incredible day:) Great times with great people!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What can I say?

It's been a crazy coupla days. And here I am, six minutes to midnight, squeezing under the wire.

Given the time, here's another short list of what I'm thankful for today.

-Fellow women
-the sanctity of life
-chocolate
-Sisters!
-The Plan of Salvation
-A living prophet
-warm coats
-cough medicine
-to finally be feeling like this sickness is on its way out
-sweet smiles from sweet sons
-homemade spaghetti sauce

What are yooooou thankful for?:)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Once again the day has gotten away from me and I am required to keep it short and simple.

Today I am thankful for the simple mom things I get to do. I was going to say "homeschool mom things," but realized that would be silly because lots of moms do these things without homeschooling.

I recently made some laminated worksheets to help Jonz practice writing numbers. He gets particularly frustrated writing numbers and this makes it fun for him. He likes being able to erase so easily and do it over. It's delightful to see him enjoy something I made to help his education along.

We also colored and cut out turkeys and scarecrows today in honor of the season. I simply printed some stuff out and colored with him. He was so proud of his crayon and scissor ("I did it caaaarrefully.") skills and we have a beautifully decorated and festive closet door now.

And I love the feeling of seeing a completed something slide out of the laminator and seeing the smiles and giddiness from my boys whenever we do something slightly out of the ordinary.

I love these simple little things that result in the biggest perks in my life.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Showers

I had a superb idea for a post today. But I lack the time and brain power to post it. I'm exhausted and sick of coughing.

I want a hot, steamy shower to calm my lungs and throat.

How thankful I am for hot, steamy showers:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A nice place to live

I have a long wooden sign that sits on a ledge in my house. It reads, "A nice place to live."

I had to buy it when I saw it last year. It was pretty beat up though so they gave me 50% off when I got to the register. Meant to be:)

Doesn't look beat up to me though, just that sanded-edges-rustic thing going on.

I haven't left my house since Saturday morning. Between a busy day on Saturday and falling ill Sunday through...still, I haven't been out.

As I get ready to put the kids to bed, the thought keeps coming to mind, "I've been here since the weekend. I've got to get out and run some sort of errand tonight."

I don't know why that thought keeps coming. I have no desire to leave in my current condition. I do have some of my energy restored, but I don't feel up to getting into normal clothes and going out in the dark cold night to do something that could just as well wait for another time. I'm still sick, after all.

I don't want to leave.

And part of me thinks that's strange after three plus days in the same place. I do love a change of scenery.

So why am I not dying to get out of here?

I think it's because I've got a nice place to live.

I love my home.

I am super thankful that I have such a nice place to live. A place that doesn't feel like a cage after three or four straight days inside.

Home can be a Heaven on Earth even when one is sick:)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sick days

I am thankful for sick days.

Not necessarily the "sick" part. That's no fun at all. And honestly, I'd rather just be healthy and have normal days.

But if I'm doomed to be sick, I'm glad that occasionally a sick day comes along with it.

Days like today when I melted out of bed and down the stairs trying to get there before the kids did any damage, put cereal and bananas on the table for them, turned on a movie, and crashed on the couch.

I'm thankful for easily prepared meals like cereal and pb&js. I'm thankful for a television and lovely collection of kids and family movies. And Nyquil.

These things made it possible for me to have a sick day on the couch. Sure I'd have to get up to "fix" meals or chase down a misbehaving boy. But for the most part, the kids played around the couch and watched movies while I was down for the count.

It was nice. As nice as anything can be when you feel awful:)

Niceties notwithstanding, I'm beyond ready to be done being sick.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For pity's sake

I've been sick for the better part of a month. Attacked by different colds, or perhaps different forms of the same cold.

Head cold. Sore throat and stuffy nose. Chest cold. Junked up throat and cough. And now today I've moved back to head cold.

The good news is I think I coughed so much last night that whatever was bugging my throat last week is finally gone. Yay.

But it made room for this current ailment.

Thanks to my wonderful husband, though, I got to sleep until 9:30 this morning. So did the Jonzter, who is also sick.

It was awesome!

I would very much like to just spend the whole day in bed. For that matter, I'd like to be healthy and at church right now.

But no go. Moms who get sick don't really get sick days. It's my own darn fault. The only reason I got out of bed this morning was to get dinner in the crock pot. And the only reason I did that was because I announced yesterday what Sunday dinner would be and I didn't want to shoot down that expectation, especially when I'm fully capable of getting out of bed- sick or not. And once I'm out of bed, no sense going back when I can conceivably take care of things.

I suppose this is just a really long way of saying-

I'm thankful that even though I've not been at peak health for a month, I haven't been put out of commission. *knock on wood*

I just have to keep reminding myself of that since a box of kleenex is suddenly my best friend:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Families and Independence

Family gatherings are delightful.

I love getting together with family. I love playing together and talking together.

I adore family gatherings. Especially since Bret is so awesome about doing the dishes when there's a bunch of people over. I might not like it so much if there was a pile of dishes to do once everyone was gone.

On the flip side I also love doing special things with my little nuclear family. Sometimes I wish that we could celebrate holidays or birthdays with just the five of us.

It occurs to me though, that perhaps the way to have my cake and eat it to would be to create our own family traditions separate from special occasions. Then we could do special things together as a family while still enjoying the traditional larger gatherings and celebrations with extended family...I ought to put more thought into that.

I love having family close by. And I love having space and being free to be our own family, too.

It's a good life:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A steady diet

This week I've been on a steady diet of ibuprofen.

Okay, maybe not a diet of it. But I've taken two every day this week. And if you knew me well that's unheard of. I don't like taking meds. I save my consumption of pain killers for when I really can't stand it anymore.

But this week I've had this headache attack. Every afternoon for the past five days it hits. And it hurts. And I'm left feeling sluggish and slightly nauseated until the ibuprofen kicks in.

Not fun.

But hooray for the drugs that take the edge off and let me get back to work.

I suspect that I would have been just another child death had I lived a hundredish years or more ago. Guess how grateful I am for modern medicine...L-O-T-S, lots:)

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Celebrating the day formerly known as Armistice Day

Also known as- Happy Veterans Day!!!

I learned today that Veterans Day has only existed since the 1954. It used to be Armistice Day and celebrated the WWI vets and end of The War to End All Wars. Someone in Kansas (holla!) campaigned in 1953 for it to be changed and honor ALL veterans. Congress and President Eisenhower agreed in '54.

You learn something new everyday:)

I took my boys to the local Veterans Day parade today. I had hoped to take them to a ceremony after, but no go. We'll make more of a day of it when they're older. I love going to the Veterans Day parade. It's not super crowded and full of annoying things like fast food restaurant ads. It's a small, sweet parade full of veterans, American Legion members, color guards, flags, bands and bagpipers, and motorcycle riders. It's small enough that you can shout out a "thank you" and they'll look right at you and wave and smile, some even say "you're welcome.":)

I am so thankful for the brave men in my family who have fought to protect people of this nation and others. Both my grandfathers are WWII vets. My dad served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and my uncle in the Air Force. I hear I have WWI and Civil War veterans in my ancestry, too! What an amazing heritage to have and teach my boys about.

What I am even more thankful for is that they all lived through those wars.

I usually get teary during Veterans Day parades. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't today! Except for that one time...I had bent down to take care of one of the boys and got back up to resume clapping and cheering in time to see the "Gold Star Mothers" car going by. With everything in me I wanted to shout out a thank you. I couldn't. My throat had closed up.

I can only imagine how awful it would be to see my sons off to war and not get them back. Or my husband. Or my father. Or my brother. And then to rarely see any tokens of gratitude from those who benefit from that sacrifice.

No thank you.

I am so thankful we have a holiday devoted to honoring our veterans. I wish we made a bigger deal of it, though.

I hope you get a chance to thank a veteran today:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Changes

I love change...while despising some changes.

I love and hate to move, house-wise.

I love changing temperatures. Especially when there's a cold day followed immediately by a warm day. Or sunshiny day followed by a blizzard day (preferably a weekend day).

I love to rearrange furniture.

I love getting new sisters in law.

But I do not appreciate changes to the daily routine. Like getting sick. Or having to work school around a last minute schedule change.

And so today I am thankful for the cold weather with the occasional big snowflake coming down, the desk I just cleaned (again), my husband being home early (that's pretty much the only daily routine change I like), and I nice, normal, busy day.

What about you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Truth

Satan is a jerk. I'd like to shake some people by the shoulders for falling for some of his tricky ways. I just wish it were possible to shake sense into people.

I read this ridiculously stupid article just now. An open marriage leading to deeper trust and communication in marriage? Right. And all candy tastes like broccoli, 2+2=73, and gravity is a figment of the imagination. And whoever coined the phrase "open marriage" was a moron.

Wait.

That last one's true. Seriously. Did he/she not even look up the definition of marriage before that? Actually, that person was probably surprisingly clever and used it in a disgusting way. Sickens me. Not only open marriage in theory and practice, but with the subtle twisting of language that leads to justification of horrible things.

Here are some truthful things to read about marriage.

It's a divine institution.

Marriage is as easy as 1,2,3; not "something's wrong in our marriage...let's bring random people into this cuz that will make it more exciting and all better."

Or how 'bout this? "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife..." Genesis 2:24

I'm so thankful for truth. I'm grateful to have this light to shine on things I see, hear, and read; such a bright light that most of Satan's tricks are glaringly obvious. I hope to continue studying truth and making that light shine brighter for me. Now...how to get others to use this light...?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rainy days

Rainy days are beautiful.

I don't think I could handle living in a place where it rained all the time. But the occasional rainy day is delightful.

Clouds hang low on everything. The air outside smells wonderful. I can wear a comfortable hoodie all day long. My kids get excited about simple things like carrying an umbrella and wearing boots. Warm dinners taste more delicious on chilly, rainy days.

Granted, if I had to spend a rainy day outside, I don't think I would like them so much. But as I have a lovely warm and dry house, these days are wonderful.

It's the simple things:)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A day of rest

Sundays.

Sundays are wonderful. I will be forever grateful that God instituted a day of rest.

Not that they feel as restful as I would hope.

There's a certain kind of stress that I feel on Sundays that I don't often feel throughout the rest of my life. Getting ready for church is stressful.

There are few places in my family's life that we have to be somewhere at a certain time. So getting everyone ready and out the door so we can get to church on time is a struggle that we are not really used to...even though we go through it most every week of every year.

Despite that, I still love Sundays. I love going to church. I love fellowshipping with people in the ward. I love singing together. I love the sacrament! I love teaching my boys about the sacrament. I love Sunday dinners. I love Sunday evenings, especially when we have someone over or are visiting family or friends. I love that Sundays can recharge me for the rest of the week.

Sundays are special. I wonder why so many people are so quick to give up their Sundays to normal activities of the week. This day of rest is a gift and you won't find me returning it any time soon:)

What about you? Do you think Sundays are restful?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baptism

I got to see my eight year old third cousins (yes, that does sound distant, but we're still cousins:)) be baptized today.

It was beautiful.

It was spiritual.

It was awesome.

I felt slightly teary pretty much the whole time. They asked me to say the closing prayer. I thought I could do it when I agreed to it a couple days ago. But who was I kidding? You know how I am.

I got four words into it.

Four words..."Oh flip." (Seriously. Had those words pass through my brain while praying) And I cried the rest of the prayer. But I didn't make any ridiculous noises. That's something.

I am thankful for family and specifically today, to know this family. I am thankful for baptism and other ordinances that God has given us to teach us as we make promises with Him.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleanliness is next to-

Today I am thankful that my boys have reached the age that they don't want me around all the time, but still think I'm totally awesome and make sure they know where I am every three minutes.

Don't worry, the motherly requirement to keep an eye and/or ear on them at all times is still in effect.

Confusion aside, what does this mean?

It means I can deep clean my kitchen while they make messes elsewhere in the house and interrupt me often, but still let me get something done.

Still confused? Me, too:)

How's this- all week long the boys have wanted my complete and undivided attention. Constantly. And when they didn't get it, there was much acting out. Factoring in that I have three children who wanted this at the same time and there were always at least two boys behaving in ways they have been taught not to.

But today? Today they want me to be in whichever room they are not. This means they can run up to me at any point and tell me what awesome thing they are currently doing and run out again. This also means I can be in the kitchen, conveniently placed in the "center" of the house, and clean, clean, clean while pausing to say, "That's amazing!" or to break up yet another fight.

My kitchen is a happy place today. Spots are coming off the walls, the sink is shining, the window is clear, the dust and grime is gone from many a surface, and 1/3 of my kitchen is looking new again.

Sadly, it looks as though it may be too big of a job to finish today. I still have the bar to clean, the cupboard doors to wash, two more walls to wipe down, and the microwave, the fridge, and the floor to tackle. Not to mention the fact that I need to dust the ledges above the fridge and cupboards and I should clean the inside of the oven.

But even a partly deep cleaned kitchen makes me happy. And the chicken pot pie my sister in law made for us, thereby saving me time making dinner tonight, gets me all the closer to having a feel-good kitchen.

Thanks, boys, for playing together. Now if you could just stop the fighting, it'd be a perfect day. And wouldn't you know it, that cued another screaming match. Time for a nap, another blessing from heaven:)

What are you thankful for this awesome Thanksgiving season?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Under the wire!

There's still time:)

I am thankful for energy, of which I had none today.

It was a very long day. The likes of which I would not like to repeat, but probably will.

Lots of fun sprinkled throughout the day, though. Just not the energy to enjoy it. And staying up this late is not good for energy tomorrow. I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I voted

I love getting to wear my "I voted" sticker on election days.

Not so long ago (as ages go) I would not have had the option to vote. If I lived in another country, odds are I still would not have that option what with being female and all.

I enjoy being a girl. Since I live here and now, I can be a girl AND vote.

Awesome!

There are people who would like for that opportunity to be taken away from me.

Sometimes, I would like to give them a good slap across the face.

But that would not be a very Christian thing to do.

Therein lies our problem.

They don't want me to vote because I am religious. I shouldn't slap them across the face because I am religious and subscribe to the "turn the other cheek" belief.

"Now, that's what you call ironic."

People who define the term separation of church and state in the extreme-not-what-it-means way, would have me not vote because my religious beliefs lead me to support things they'd like to see dead and vote against things they think the world would be better off with. They see that as a church infiltration of state.

First off, separation of church and state is a paraphrased statement from the great Thomas Jefferson and is not in the US Constitution.

Technicalities aside, it does not mean any person with any belief that was found in any church is not allowed to have said belief affect their vote. I sure wish people would stop defining it that way.

Because, by golly, I LOVE to vote! I'd hate to be barred from it because of my beliefs or my gender or anything about me. That would be totally against the idea of voting!

"Let's hear what the people want us to do, but only the men. Who think only this certain way, we don't want religion making a mess of things. And they must have this certain type of job to vote. And make this much money. And own this much property. Yes, that will give us a clear picture of what we should do."

Reeee-diculous. And yet, it's been seen many times in this ol' world of ours.

I'm so thankful to live in a time and place where I am allowed to vote. It's very exhilarating...even when candidates win elections I'd rather they lose and propositions pass that I'd rather not. Voting is such a great privilege.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

America's favorite pastime

You might wonder why today's post is not about voting. If that is the case, don't worry; I'm very grateful for the opportunity to vote and will be posting about such tomorrow:)

But today? Today it's about baseball. I married a second generation Giants' fan and am currently raising generation three.

Last night the Giants won the World Series. I watched the exciting game with my husband, uninterested sons, parents in law, and brother in law and his girlfriend.

I've almost always like baseball. I remember going to a few professional games as a kid and enjoying them. I never really tried to understand more than the basics though and such led to a teenage dislike of watching baseball, though I always enjoyed playing. I even considered joining the high school softball team, but the girls on the team and the annoyingly large ball they played with led me to stick to only soccer.

Annnnyway, in college (the one year that I wasn't married), after some observation, I decided that I did not want to marry a sports fanatic. I liked my Sundays to be sports-free and my guys to care more about going on a date with me than watching the game (of which there was ALWAYS one to be found on tv). But then, I also wanted to find a man who would enjoy playing sports. What's a girl to do?!?

I found the perfect combination in Bret. He'd play soccer with me on the weekends and come to my intramural games if he could. He found enjoyment in sports without feeling the need to watch every game. We'd go to school basketball, volleyball, and football games and have all sorts of fun. But he would do his homework instead of watch a game. He'd plan a date that did not involve sitting in his apartment to cheer on an obscure team on the other side of the country. He loved baseball. But most importantly, he clearly showed me that his love of the Lord was greater than his love of baseball.

Long story short, we're married and I recommend baseball fans as good marriage partners:) In the last seven years I've really come to appreciate baseball myself. I'll never be into all the stats, know the players and their positions on every team, or understand all the rules. But this is a sport that I can get behind. A sport I can feel good about my boys playing.

I love the pace of baseball. I love the suspense. I love the finesse. I love that pitchers will bean a batter for doing something stupid. I love that there are extremely few professional players that I would classify as "thugs." Lots of family men play baseball. I love the moment after a batter gets a hit before they drop the bat and sprint. I love watching an outfielder line up under a fly ball and wondering if he'll catch it or not. I love watching infielders fancy work in getting the ball there in time for an out. I love going with my family to the local minor league games. I love that there is actually a definable season, unlike the basketball season which seems to never end. Baseball is a great sport.

Though society seems to be gravitating toward the more stupid forms of entertainment, I hope baseball will always be America's favorite pastime.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's the tops

Top Ten Reasons being a parent of young children is awesome.

10. Holidays become magical again.

9. You are forced to put someone else's needs before yours. And let's face it, that's good for everyone.

8. You suddenly have superhuman emotive powers. Never before have you been able to feel six unrelated emotions at the exact same time!

7. Soft cheeks you can smother with kisses any time you want.

6. For a handful of years, a few people think you are the most amazing person ever.

5. You regularly hear awesome things from little mouths. Like a two year old tugging on the neck of his shirt complaining, "Look! My paper!" (translation: help, my tag is bugging me). Or a young mind refusing to call them blueberries because they are obviously "purpleberries."

4. Everything is cuter in smaller sizes. Socks, shoes, clothes, toys, dishes, hands and feet, etc. Surrounded by cuteness, sometimes cluttered with it;)

3. Praises are sung to you for simple things. Serve chicken nuggets for dinner and you are the hero of the day. However, serve something you spent an hour in the kitchen making and be met with "yuck!"s, "gross!"es, and "disgusting!"s (which is especially shocking coming from a two year old, albeit surprisingly cute). Best to stick with the simple!

2. A miraculously changed perspective. Quiet evenings become sacred. An uninterrupted sleep becomes a treasure. Trivial things are seen for what they are. Your spouse becomes even more amazing. You find yourself praying for forgiveness for all those parents you've previously judged as inept. The world is simultaneously brighter and scarier.

1. Your hardest days are made easier when waist-high heads crash into your stomach, little arms hug your leg, shining eyes looking up at you, and a sweet voice says, "I luh loo," before running off again.

It's November! Thanksgiving season is here. 'Tis the season for giving thanks:) So I'm going to post gratitude-esque posts everyday through Thanksgiving.

How about you? What's in your top ten awesome things about being a parent?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday! Who's feeling fulfilled?

I had a fairly good week, especially if I'm allowed to just throw Thursday out of the equation.

Monday and Tuesday were great school days. The kind where everything just flows, Jonzy's brain clicks on everything-even the things he's been struggling on, and we breeze through multiple lessons in each subject and get ahead of schedule.

Wes and I were pretty sick on Monday, but after everyone slept until 8:25!!!! on Tuesday morning we were all happy. Tuesday was the best day this week. The house was clean. School went well. The boys screamed at each other so much less than they have been lately; smiles and sunshine all around while it stormed outside.

Wednesday we started to falter a bit. And yesterday...it's a good thing we got ahead during the week because I had zilch in the patience department.

Today is looking good so far except that there's already too much on the schedule that I'm afraid won't get done in time. And we're off!

Hope you all had a fulfilling week!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

"I'm not happy, Bob. Not happy."

Movie, anyone?

It's time to focus on some gratitude! Once again presented in list form.

-Eyes. My boys' eyes. All eight of them:)
-hot apple cider with cinnamon
-a working furnace
-blankets
-snow
-cold air...outside
-my totally awesome van
-homeschooling
-cute Halloween and fall decorations
-clouds that hang low on the mountains so you can see the peaks over the top of them. Gorgeous!
-spots of bright blue sky among puffy black, gray, and purple storm clouds
-marriage covenants
-a deep conviction about marriage no matter what I hear about divorce
-nieces and nephews
-SF Giants baseball loving family
-pumpkins
-apple dumplings...time to make some more
-co-op awesomeness
-friends
-being privileged to know so many amazing people
-sleeeeeeeeeeeep
-quiet nights with Bret
-hymns

What are you thankful for today?????????????????????????????

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Soap and I are good friends. My hands are dry to prove it.

It gets my hands clean after changing diapers or cooking food (not at the same time!).

It cleans up my dirt-loving-constantly-sweaty boys.

It cleans the hands of my little fellow who played with the dirt clods by the pond the ducks and geese frequent. And you know what follows wherever birds are...With a good, soapy scrubbing I don't have to cringe when he puts his fingers in his mouth. Unless of course he puts his fingers in his mouth before I can wash them, as happened today. Yuck.

Soap cleans my dishes so we can eat off them again and again.

It makes me feel refreshed and clean after a shower.

Soap is pretty darn awesome and I don't think it gets its fair share of praise.

I love you, Soap! Thanks for all you do for me!

I am thankful for soap today. And frozen lasagna; which is currently in the oven soon to be eaten as part of an easy delicious dinner after a busy day.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bad timing

Last month I opened the mailbox and found a couple magazines that I had not subscribed to. I thought perhaps the postwoman had put them in the wrong box, but nope- there was my name on the front sticker.

It was two issues of a womens mag; a how to be a Barbie kind of thing. One proclaimed the secret to sexy thighs was inside and the other how to get sexy abs. I joked to Bret that they probably had a goal to work the word sexy into every cover. He said it was probably true.

I am not a fan of magazines, they're usually full of mindless garble that I just don't have time to read. I hoped it was just a one time publicity stunt to try to get me hooked on the magazine and pay for a subscription.

Today I opened the mailbox to find another issue. Great.

Bad timing.

I have been struggling lately in trying to overcome my personal temptations and be happy. Today was a huge internal war. The last thing I wanted was one more thing to fall on my plate that I didn't ask for but now had to deal with. This was definitely not something I wanted to deal with ever, let alone today. I was upset with the magazine company before I even pulled the thing out of my mailbox.

And when I did pull it out- what should one of the large teasers on the front be but "sexual confessions!" Now it was also a trashy magazine that they wanted me to bring into my house:/

I was so upset that I sent the boys outside to play so I could immediately figure out how I could cancel this stupid business. I opened up the issue to try to find a customer service number. Didn't see anything in the first few pages, so I flipped to the middle where the subscription cards were to see if there was any info there...Only to be distracted by big red words reading "55% watch porn every week."

Filthin' foul filth! Are they kidding me?!?!

I read half a paragraph underneath for some sort of explanation, only to read, "So don't sweat it [if your man is into porn]. Glimpsing at porn a couple times a week is normal."

Gah!

That's when my eye was caught by the picture in the middle of the page.

GAH!

I slammed the thing shut, wondering how to find a number without having to open it again, and started yelling at the magazine for containing trash. That's when curious Jonz came back inside to ask what I was yelling about. I told him that I was upset that someone had sent me a magazine that had bad things in it and he went back outside.

I finally was brave enough to try again and found a teeny tiny customer service number to call and also a "tell us what you think" email address. While I was on hold, the "tell us" thing had me wanting to tell them what poor taste it was to write about porn being an okay thing and there were probably women who would read that and think, "oh...okay." I decided not to because I didn't want them to have my email address and end up getting more publicity stunts. As I was hanging up the phone after a successful cancellation (turns out the subscription was a "gift" from a website I shopped at), Jonz came back inside and said, "It's not good to put bad things in magazines, huh?"

"No, it certainly isn't," I replied. And then he said, "You should tell them," and walked back outside leaving me stunned. Yes. I should tell them. So I did. Thanks for giving me the guts, Jonzy boy:)

And so I opened up my email and sat there for a long time trying to come up with a way to word things professionally and to the point. I started out just being matter of fact and pointing out that it was not okay to conclude that just because lots of people do something that it's normal and okay; and that they shouldn't print false conclusions like that. But by the end of my 10-15 sentence email, I was tired of beating about the bush, sick of wasting time, and beyond fed up with the situation. So I told them that- printing such things in a magazine sought after by weak-minded women is shameful, to say the least.

My only excuse...bad timing.

Maybe I would have been nicer about it on a different day.

Maybe.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feeling Fulfilled

It's Friday again. And you know what that means around here:)

I didn't accomplish all that much from my list every day this week. But I did make extra efforts in the patience department. The results were not as great as I would have liked, but I put that down to my boys combining their three drives for independence into one formidable foe. So it's been a fair week;)

As it stands right now, my nearly-three-year-old-twins are really doing their nearly-three-year-old duty to test every boundary over and over and over and over and over again. It's grating on my nerves. I can handle this kind of business remarkably well (that's my horn- toot toot!) until about 5 pm. Five to 8 pm are trying hours. And darn it, if I can make it to bedtime without wanting to throw someone out the window then we've survived the day alright.

But.

Bedtime has become an issue around these parts.

Jonz does fairly well. He's usually good about falling asleep when it's bedtime. Al and Goose on the other hand...currently those boys are toeing the how-much-you-wanna-bet-til-Mom-flips-out line. They think they're hilarious. Jonzy's giggles don't help the matter. Currently, Jonz is sawing logs and the twinners are "whispering" (classic two year old whispering is SO loud!) and jumping off beds. Lights out was 90 minutes ago. It's driving me bananas; as it has every other night in recent history.

Why, boys? Why must you test my patience so on the very week I've determined to be more patient??? Haven't you discovered yet that no matter what you do the bedtime boundary is 20 feet thick and you just can't get through it?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for peace.

I don't always feel it, but it comes if I ask for it and I cultivate the environment for it.

That punk Satan tries to drive it away. Shamefully, I sometimes follow. The past few days I've tried to better recognize his efforts and I've been shocked at how often he tries...and even more shocked at how often he succeeds, not always in driving away peace, but in leading me to think about going down paths that will not end peacefully.

Jerk.

He is out there. He is actively pursuing me and my family.

I am so thankful to have access to peace during this war that I am determined to win.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's time for FFF

Feeling Fulfilled Friday has arrived again!

And this week...hmmmm...

I've come to the conclusion that patience is my most fulfilling attribute.

When I'm on top of the patience game, boy do I feel fulfilled and like I can do this thing called motherhood with some degree of success.

When I struggle with patience, it seems that the fulfillment found by doing other things found on my list is fleeting at best.

I have discovered that patience is the hinge on which all this fulfillment business swings for me.

I knocked all sorts of things off my list this week. And it felt great to get those things done and experienced. But at the end of the day, I am still left feeling like hitting my head against the wall while chanting failure, failure, failure with each smack. My patience fuse has been so short this week...pretty much for two weeks.

I'll keep working toward fulfillment by doing the things I feel fulfilled doing, but I think to get that lasting feeling I'm going to have to focus mostly on patience.

And as my son screams behind me, I'm not quite sure I can do this...but if I couldn't, I wouldn't be here would I?;)

Don't forget to check out MamaBlogga for more FFF fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm going to keep it simple today.

I'm thankful for my dvd player, one speaker television, and vast collection of movies.

Bret's going to be gone on business trips this month. I get particularly lonely at night. Once the kids are in bed and I've gone through my email inbox, I really enjoy putting on a movie on those nights he's gone. I hardly turn up the volume and turn on the subtitles. When I'm lord of the fort, I like to be able to hear my kids breathing. Not sure why, but I get scared if I don't hear them peacefully breathing and rolling around. The layout of our house lets me watch a quiet movie downstairs while still being able to hear them upstairs in their bedroom. When Bret's gone, all I want to do at night is watch a movie (after we've caught up on the phone, of course:)).

So, thank you dvd player, one speaker television, and vast collection of movies. You've provided me a nice way to relax at the end of a busy day and face a lonesome night.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, October 4, 2010

What is it with moms and lists?

Why does making a list make me feel like I'm better organized? What is it about seeing things in list form that helps goals seem more attainable? Hmmmm....

It's not the full list, but here are some things that make me tick; that really make me feel fulfilled:

Lindsey's To Do Fulfill List

-Swallow the desire to yell and successfully use a quiet voice
-A clean kitchen (whether I was the one who cleaned or not;))
-Clean laundry folded neatly in drawers
-Prepare and enjoy a healthy meal with my family
-Read for fun at the end of a productive day
-Shower and girl up;)
-Wake up before boys, study scriptures and pray, pray, pray!
-Help Jonzy learn about someone/something in the scriptures and figuratively jump for joy when he mentions it at another time
-Choose to do/not do something that results in kicking Satan and his minions further from our home and family
-Not just teach, but enjoy school time
-Mop
-Get everyone out of pajamas by 10 am
-Memorize a verse from a hymn
-Continue in consistency; they'll learn to say please eventually!

I don't cross everything off my list everyday, but it's a grand start I think:)

Check out MamaBlogga's list, too.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday- Line upon line

"Line upon line. Precept on precept. That is how he lifts us. That is how he teaches his childreeeeen."

Stuck in your head now, isn't it;)

Of the many things parenthood has given me, one of my top fives is a greater understanding of my relationship with my Father in heaven.

As I lay in bed last night, failing to fall asleep so thinking instead, I had some fun thinking about my sweet boys and the silly faces they make. As usually happens when I think about them in the peace and quiet of their absence, I started to mentally kick myself for all the times I've lost my patience with them.

My thoughts turned to Heavenly Father. How is it possible that He is so patient with me?! There are so many things that I make mistakes on over and over and over again. When similar situations happen with my kids, I get fed up pretty darn fast.

"I JUST told you not to do that or you'd get hurt! Now you're hurt! Why don't you listen to me?!"

If anyone has the right to say that, it's Him.

Or how about, "You KNOW that's not okay. So why did you do it????"

How am I any different than my boys in my behavior? I'm not. Sure, the things I mess up on are very different from the issues they have, but I've learned most of the precepts that the boys are just beginning to internalize. We are on different levels, but we're still in the same process.

Heavenly Father is continually forgiving, understanding, and merciful when I biff it. He's never yelled at me or lost patience with me. I have felt chastised and I have needed to repent, but I've never felt any anger from him. What I have felt is love. And I believe that's more effective, motivational, and persuasive than anything.

If He can be so patient with me when I mess up on bigger issues, then why can't I emulate that and be patient when a little fellow I took part in creating screams that it's his turn for the scooter or whines about not getting a treat or jumps on the furniture necessitating the 10,000th reminder that that is not okay only to be followed by someone continuing to jump, fall, and hit his head less than two minutes later?

I am determined to be more like Him. I have certainly progressed over the years, but I can still do so much better. He is patient with me and that has shown me how to be patient with the children He's entrusted to me.

I'm so grateful to have that perfect example of parenthood and to be walking this path with Him.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blessed.

It's that time of year.

General Conference time!

And as a member of the Relief Society, I get a "warm up" the week before Conference. Tonight was the General Relief Society meeting.

It was incredible. In.cred.i.ble. And I wasn't even there; I was watching it being broadcast in a stake center with my mom.

I started getting teary before it even started. They had the live feed going while people were still arriving at the Conference Center. I saw the back of Elder Hales head as he went to his seat and I immediately was filled to the brim with a sense of love and appreciation for him and all that he does for the Church members, for Jesus, and for Heavenly Father. He and all the other apostles are amazing men who I have come to love very much. In those few moments the Spirit bore testimony to me that the work he does is not for himself or for any worldly glory; he's called of God to be a witness of Jesus Christ.

So yes, started the meeting off on a great note:)

Then we sang, "Count Your Blessings." Good heavens, did I really have to start crying before the opening prayer was even offered?!?! We later sang, "More Holiness Give Me," and I've determined that my next big project will be to memorize hymns so I can sing them whenever I want and have that spiritual lift (good music really lifts me up and none more so than the hymns of Zion:)).

One of my biggest impressions during the beginning was of sadness for the millions of people who don't have the blessings of being in an organized religion (most especially the one I'm in;)). I receive so much strength and joy when I'm gathered together with other members. When we sing together. When we pray together. When we learn together. When we worship together. And when I can be a part of a worldwide gathering at Conference time...WOW:) I'm so sad that "religion" is being added to the list of society's taboo words. Following the tenants of a religion now carries with it the connotation of slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth! The blessings that so many are denying themselves simply because they feel themselves too enlightened to be "tied down" by a religion! It's very sad to me.

I am also determined to be a better visiting teacher, to really try to build a friendship with the sisters I get to visit.

And President Monson? Oh, how I love him! I get all teary just thinking about him and how amazing he is. I am so thankful for a prophet. I am going to try to remember what he taught tonight and pray for help to live it every day. I've made much progress over the last eight years in the judging others department, but I still have a long way to go.

What a beautiful night it was for such an amazing meeting of sisters. I feel so blessed tonight to be part of this Church and part of the most wonderful women's organization ever:)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feeling Fulfilled

It's Feeling Fulfilled Friday, again!

It's been a...week. Not too shabby, but not very close to what I'd like it to have been. Why must life be like an old time rail journey? I sure wish I didn't feel like I was always taking one step forward and five steps back.

I tell you what though, I feel a major sense of accomplishment today. As of this afternoon, Jonz and I have officially made it to our first school vacation! We've been doing school for six weeks and we've made it to our first week break. Not exactly sure why, but I feel like this is a big success:)

And even though we won't be doing our normal, everyday lessons at home-we've still got school stuff next week. There's co-op and a field trip to the zoo planned. Yee-haw!

You may think that six weeks not so much to feel accomplished about; it does seem silly to me, too. But after experiencing these last six weeks- I feel like shouting from the rooftops, "We did it! Look how far we are!"

And I am very ready for this weekend:)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well, Thursday, it's a darn good thing you alliterate well with thankful.

Lately, Thursdays have become incredibly and insanely busy. It's been very nice to pause and post here about blessings.

Today I am thankful for flexibility. There are a couple "responsibilities" I have that are flexible enough that I can say, "...nope! Not gonna do that today," and it's fine!

Like kindergarten soccer. I love soccer. I love kids. Put 'em together...and I mostly love it;) Years and years ago, Bret would tell me that I should be a little kids' soccer coach. I have never felt confident enough in my abilities to try it. But a month ago, as I was taking a shower after filling out Jonzy's soccer registration I suddenly thought, "I should volunteer to be a soccer coach." And then I laughed (out loud!) at myself for having such a thought, considering how busy we've gotten lately. But it kept coming back until I realized that maybe it wasn't my idea and I should consider it. So I considered it and settled on volunteering to be an assistant coach so I could help, but still be free to go to weddings or RS activities, etc.

You may have gathered, I am not an assistant coach. I am the one and only coach; one who has no assistant. Turns out too many kids were signed up and not enough volunteers were to be found for coaching, so they automatically bumped me up to coach and sent me on a guilt trip- you know, a "for the kids" thing. That got me.

I try to be a good coach. I have fun with the kids while also trying to teach good sportsmanship and concentration. I try to keep the parents informed. I hold practice. But this week- no thanks. I'm taking a break. No practice tonight! Freedom! We're having fun with Grandma and Grandpa K tonight!

As you can tell, I'm very refreshed by this.

I am also thankful that "Beauty and the Beast" is finally being re-released on DVD next month. It's the little things:)

And I'm thankful that it will soon be Sunday, a day of r.e.s.t.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sharing is good for the soul.

My children may not truly understand that or believe it yet, but I tell them anyway:) And every so often I remember to do it myself.

This weekend I was blessed to attend the wedding of a high school friend. I had a hard time coming up with a gift for her and her new husband. I finally decided on a two part gift, one part being a copy of the Family Proclamation. I wavered back and forth on whether or not to give something so special to me when the likelihood of it being discarded without a second glance was high. Then Chocolate on my Cranium posted what the weekly blog hop subjects would be in the up-coming Family Celebration. This week's would be "Sharing the Proclamation." Mere days after the wedding.

Ummm, can you say, "Lindsey- SHARE IT!" any louder?

I got the heavenly hint and included it in the gift with a little explanation in the card about why it was helpful and special to me and how I thought it could be helpful and special to them.

I packed the gift with everything else and went on my merry way to the next state over.

The wedding took place in a beautiful Baptist church. The pastor gave them a little marriage advice before pronouncing them man and wife. I LOVED what he said. I remember thinking, "I wonder if someone is writing this down for them? This is great advice!" Then I realized I'd read everything he was saying before, it was so familiar. And it hit me- I have exactly the same advice written down for them already and it's wrapped up in my car! This pastor is teaching principles in the Proclamation."

I know they still may throw the copy of the Proclamation away without reading it, or even after reading it. But sitting there in that ceremony, having my testimony strengthened about what I knew and the importance of what I was sharing was priceless.

It's also wonderful to know that other religions are teaching truths about the family.

So, go share that Proclamation! It honestly is good for the soul:)

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Protected by thy Might!"

Happy Constitution Day!!!!

"Happy is that people whose God is the Lord."
Psalm 144:15

:)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

As always, there is much to be thankful for today.

My super awesome husband is the subject of most of my gratitude today. He is going to take the household wheel for THREE days. School, soccer game, meals, church, everything. All so I can go enjoy a weekend with friends in the next state over, one of whom is getting married! I was planning on just leaving super early on Saturday, make the wedding, go to church Sunday morning and then come home. He told me I should leave Friday morning instead so I can spend more time with the best friend a girl could ask for-Molly. Isn't he amazing? Yes. Yes he is:)

I'm grateful for the awesome co-op we're a part of. The kids are great, the moms are great, today's lessons were great.

I'm thankful my hair actually did what I asked it to today.

I'm grateful for my sweet sweet boys who cope quite well with these occasional crazy-busy days.

I'm thankful for Thankful Thursday.

I'm grateful for my scriptures. They're amazing and no matter how much I read them I always learn something new.

I'm thankful for showers. Oh how thankful I am that I have a the means available to get squeaky clean whenever I find the time (which I wish I could find more often).

I'm grateful to know that the constant whining stage won't last forever. Sure Jonz still whines, but with much consistency from Mom and Dad he's much better about it. Al and Goose however have entered the perpetual whiny stage. This too shall pass, this too shall pass...

I'm thankful for food. And I think it's time to satiate my hunger and get back to my to-do list so maybe I'll be able to have enough time to sleep tonight.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Tree in PICTURES

When I first saw the subject for the weekly blog hops for the Family Celebration, I saw this week's and thought, "Well that's one I won't be participating in." It's about family inspired crafts.

I am not a crafty person. I have dabbled a bit more than usual in the art this last year than I have in years past. I have some final results I really like and ideas for more, but many of my projects remain unfinished. I didn't think I had anything to contribute to this blog hop.

But then it hit me. I did have a craft to offer. At least I think it counts as a craft:) It didn't require any skills with paint, pens, mod podge, or glitter. It's a project that's taken me four years and I am on the cusp of finishing it.

It started when we bought our first home four years ago. Finally we had some really wall space to work with. And for the first time ever, we had a family room. Being the family sciences major and family enthusiast that I am, I wanted to have a family theme for our family room. I was struck with the brilliant (I don't think it was mine, so I can call it brilliant:)) idea to devote an entire wall to a family tree in pictures. I thought pictures would be a great way for my then one year old son to start getting to know his relatives and ancestors.

And so I put out the call to my family and Bret's for pictures. I had a few already in my own collection. Some family responded with not just the one picture I asked for, but packets of amazing pictures! Other pictures have proven more difficult to get a hold of. I still lack one necessary picture.

I didn't want to try to put the collection on the wall until I had all the pictures. That way I could play with different arrangements on the floor before committing to something more permanent on the wall. That and I ended up having twins just over a year later. The project came to a halt. But I did happen across a clearance of large metal letters that seemed like a good addition to the as-yet-non-existent family wall, so I bought the two letters representing our family names.

And then we moved! And the house we bought was so much easier to decorate than our first. Michael's and Robert's became my most favorite stores. I had been planning on placing all the pictures in individual frames. But one day, while perusing the Michael's weekly flier I spied a collage frame that jumped from the page yelling, "I'm perfect for your family tree project! Buy me!!" After I got over the shock of being yelled at by an inanimate object, I measured the wall to make sure they'd fit then went and bought four of the frames (on sale for $3.99 each! I love Michael's frame sales!!). Collages meant I could hang the pictures I already had without having to wait for the rest! Yay!

Then, with the help of my husband, a tape measure, a pencil, and a hammer and nails this was hung on our wall:

Our family picture is in the middle. Under the H is Bret's nuclear family then his parents' and grandparents' families in the frame of the left. The right is the same for my side of the family. The frames with our grandparents' pictures even lend themselves to the branching style of family trees you normally see. In the 5X7 slots I put a tree picture with family names and the pictures of our parents' families, then branching off from that I put the pictures of our grandparents' families.


Here's a closer shot of my family frame:

We both come from families of six. I put a picture of our families when we were little tykes; a picture of our families now- spouses, kids, and all; and separate pictures of our parents and our three siblings. The unfilled spot will be taken up by a picture of trees and our family name, which I have yet to make.

The further back in generations we went, the harder it was to find pictures. For most of the last generation I sought pictures for, I ended up photoshopping (after a tutorial from Bret) together a picture of the parents with a picture of the children. Like so:

Don't you just love old pictures? Well, I do! Especially when I know who is in them. My grandparent's made for cute kids. We have good genes in our family;)

So there you have it! A family tree in pictures.

The boys love it. They'll stand on the couch and point to people the know, excitedly shouting out names while I tell them about the time they met Mommy's grandpa or the last time we saw Daddy's grandmother or a far-away uncle. It's so fun to see them excited about our family! Bret gets into it, too. He'll show the wall to people who come over and talk about his Australian, Indonesian, and Dutch roots. You don't have to go far in his family before you get out of the country!

Now to just get the last family picture and make that last name picture...Then I can finally take down the "work in progress" sign:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feeling Fulfilled Friday

Yes, I blogged about this weeks ago...I haven't remembered to document my efforts until this week.

Head over to MamaBlogga for more FFF details.

This week was a pretty darn good week as far as my feeling fulfilled goes. I didn't do the best job today:/; yesterday was the peak of the week.

Best, most fulfilling thing of Thursday: making my boys laugh. We had a laughter filled day on Thursday and it was awesome! Few things make me feel so fulfilled as making my boys laugh. None of that fake laugh stuff. I'm talking about really deep, from-the-gut, spontaneous laughter.

It was beautiful.

Now I've just got to keep working to make days like Thursday a regular occurrence:)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Oh my. It's Thursday already.

I tell you what, I sure feel like a headless chicken these last few weeks. And yet...oddly put together.

Life has changed dramatically. The Jonzter started school. And since we homeschool-days are full of lessons and nights are full of preparation. He's also part of a study for early education software for a locally-based company- two days a week, two hour commitment each time. We started a co-op this month. One morning a week, plus prep for my teaching responsibilities. I'm about to start coaching Jonzy's very first soccer team- two games a week and I haven't decided about practice yet (thankfully, it's a short season). Bret and I have drastically changed our eating habits. I'm trying to exercise every day, but really only succeeding about 3-4 times a week.

Then there's the ever present three small children I love to care for, husband I'd like to spend more time with and maybe occasionally get to go on dates with, meals to prepare, house to maintain, family and personal scripture study to accomplish, church callings to fulfill, errands to run, blog posts I'd like to read (like the awesome Family Celebration posts here and here) and write, things I'd like to ponder on longer than five minutes, books I'd like to read, etc.

I really do want there to be extra hours in the day!

Lately, I've started to stress more when I realize that my life is only going to get busier. So I try not to think about that.

But I am super thankful, that things are all working out so far. The only times I feel overbooked is when I'm trying to fall asleep;) The days are running along and feel very full. I feel like I should be majorly stressed about everything there is to do. But I'm not. So grateful for the peace I feel that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I'm certainly not accomplishing everything I want to...and even some things I need to (...when WAS the last time I mopped???).

I am thankful for my life. The whole busy, crazy, nigh-unto-headless-chicken life. Without this life I wouldn't have my amazing family. And I'm not willing to trade them for anything!

What are you thankful for???

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I was there

I don't like having my picture taken. Add to that that I am usually the one behind the camera and if someone needs a picture of me, they're in trouble.

But...I don't want to be forgotten as the generations press on. I want my children, my grandchildren, and posterity through the ages to know that I was here, that I loved, and that my family enjoyed each other. That I took on the challenge of heeding prophets' counsel as a mother. The Family Proclamation tells us that, "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children." Selfish as it may be, I want my posterity to know that I was here and that I nurtured my children. I'm know there are ways to know that besides seeing pictures. Pictures seem to make it more real, though.

Thankfully, there are some pictures with me. My favorite though, are the ones where I am slightly obscured, but you can still tell I'm there. Photographic evidence that I am a mother.

That I tried to bring organization to chaos:)

That I taught.

That I supported.

That I protected.

That I loved it. Alright, so they may just have to trust me that I loved it;)

But it's the truth.

I know.

I was there!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The D word

No, not that D word.

The other one that Bret and I are not allowed to speak- divorce.

Okay, so we can say it, but we decided long before we were married that divorce would never be an option for us. Bret tries to be gallant and tell me that if he ever turns into an axe murderer that I should leave him. Harhar:/ In the unlikely event that THAT ever happens, I think I would have bigger things to worry about. And divorce would still not be an option.

That's how important I know marriage is. Here is what else I think-

Marriage is not just about mutual support and companionship. It's about building a family; an eternal family. Should something as awesome and special as an eternal family be easy to get??
This is a quote I use often, but only because it fits so often. Thomas Paine wrote, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods..."

Marriage is a proving ground. Can we stick through it, the thick AND the thin, and become more like Christ? Capable of having an eternal family? Marriage is a fantastic place to learn, practice, and live Christlike qualities like forgiveness, humility, patience, altruism, LOVE, generosity, service, sacrifice, etc. Why throw that opportunity away on silly little things like, "We fell out of love" or "I need to find out who I am" (side note: you'll do better finding yourself if you stay married and work on your relationship with your spouse!). Or even huge things like, "He/she cheated on me." Working through trials to marriage makes us into better, stronger souls and gives an even greater understanding of Christ's atonement.

Sure, there are times when divorce is necessary. I'm not going to recommend to anyone that they stay in a marriage where they're being beaten nightly. That said, marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. I've seen a couple of (and if I've seen them in my little world it means there are probably lots more) instances where a person has tried to justify their divorce to me when it is glaringly obvious that those two should not have married in the first place. And in both instances, I believe they could have worked things out, even as bad as it was.

I have also seen a couple instances where in the eyes of the world the wife would have had every right to leave her husband without any guilt or regret. But she didn't. And both marriages became something enviable, beautiful, and awesome. To think of what they would have missed out on is sad, to say the least. How joyful to know that they didn't:)

Don't even get me started on what divorce does to children.

But back to the good stuff:) What does taking the divorce option out do for a marriage?

It gives it MAJOR security!
I don't have to worry that Bret's going to skip out on me when the going gets rough just because it would be easier to pay child support and alimony than live with me and three wild monkeys-I-mean-boys. Bret doesn't have to worry that I'm going to throw in the towel one day and leave for a simpler-instant-gratification kind of life. When a couple knows that they're going to have to work through the rough times it takes a huge stress out of each struggle. At the very least you know there will be light at the end of the tunnel, not questions about whether or not your marriage will survive on top of everything else.

It increases love, love, love!
How can you not love someone who is going to stick by you even when you've not been the nicest person in the world? After you've made it through a trench, how can you not turn around and be so grateful to your spouse for the support? For being your faithful companion? The potential for love to grow between husband and wife is boundless! Don't limit it with the option of divorce!

Some may say (and have), "Well that's all fine for you. You and Bret are fantastic together." To which I say, "Yes we are;) But it's not because we're just lucky that way. We found some awesome keys to success that we use to our advantage." Divorce has never and will never be an option. That has been so freeing in our marriage. Which sounds slightly counter-intuitive, but it seems like the best things are.

We also take this passage of The Family: A Proclamation to the World very seriously:

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other..."

A solemn responsibility. Not "a passing fancy" or "when it's convenient." Solemn. Responsibility.

This is serious business.

But I tell you what. When a couple takes marriage seriously, puts in the effort to think more of the other than themselves: how the fantastic-ness flows! The love abounds like nothing I could ever have imagined. Marriage. Is. Awesome.

(We are not good self portrait takers which turned to our advantage here as we had to keep trying for the right shot:))

So I say, "Just say NO to divorce."

But I think my dad says it best when he simply says, "If the grass looks greener on the other side...water your grass."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Celebrating Family

If you haven't looked into the Family Celebration posts yet...even though I've told you how awesome it is;)...you can't miss this one:

Mawwiage **Spoiler alert: secrets to happy marriage revealed.**

Seriously. It's everything important and awesome about marriage all rolled into one easy to read post.

Divorce is not an option. Rip that page out of your options book and burn it. You might be amazed at how much your marriage improves!

But what I love most in the post was what was said about God being part of marriage. I firmly believe that marriage is made up of three- a husband, a wife, and God. When things are going great between husband and wife, Heavenly Father lifts them up together. When things aren't so great, what better support can a spouse have than Heavenly Father's? Where will anyone find someone who will sustain them through marital struggles better than God? After all, he did ordain the institution. He knows how beneficial it is and he'll be right there with us the whole way through!

I love families! I love that I can be a part of this month long celebration!

Thankful Thursday

Things Lindsey is thankful for today:

The Family Celebration! It's a great way to start the day except I only seem to have time lately to read through the post and not add much to discussion myself. *sigh* How to find extra time...

Molly! Molly is visiting and that is something to be extremely thankful for. By the end of this month we'll have seen each other FOUR times this year! That hasn't happened since I graduated from high school and moved away...eight years ago. FOUR times:) I get to go see her again in just a couple weeks and I'm super excited!!!

All my boys' kissable cheeks.

The way Jonzy's eyes lit up when I told him Bret would set up the tent and we'd camp outside tomorrow night.

Seeing my mom for lunch.

The breeze outside. It's a bit warm, but the breeze makes it so pleasant to be outside.

Homeschool flexibility.

Strawberries.

Bret. I wish he was here instead of at a city council meeting, but it sure is fun to think about him!

The scriptures. Or as my brother calls them, the sticks. They're absolutely amazingly wonderful!

What are you thankful for today??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FAMILY celebration time!!

It's September!!!

I don't have any posts yet; they're still churning around in my head.

But click on the buttons on my sidebar and go start in on the fun!!

Happy Family month:)