Thursday, December 1, 2016

Collecting the Moments One by One

***This was written November 17th. I have no idea why I didn't post it.***

I love my life!

As I sit in my reading chair listening to the wind whip faded leaves against my windows and the crows calling to one another, gently patting Vince's back as he snuggles in close, content and happy with a full belly, I marvel at my life. How is it that I get to live the life of my dreams? How am I so lucky that I can do exactly what it is that I have always wanted to do?

All growing up, I just wanted to be a mom. I wanted to play with my kids and have a house to take care of and a truly stellar husband to adore. Somehow, I must have been a very good girl because several times every day I catch myself thinking, "I love my life!" I love chasing Beth around and making her laugh. I love the sweet snuggles Vince gives as he is drifting off to sleep. I love that my house is finally mostly clean. I can live with mostly clean because it is so much easier to get all the way clean quickly. 

Nothing noteworthy or very interesting happened today, and I am still so happy to be where I am in life.   Beth makes me laugh all the time, though. She found Vince's bottle of apple juice, and decided she wanted to taste it. Except it was a bottle that had rolled under the couch, so it had been there for a few days. I told her to put it in the sink because if we gave it to Vince, it would get him sick. With her hand on her hip and her head tilted defiantly she retorted, "I'm not sick." in a very offended voice. I told her I knew she wasn't sick but if she drank that old juice she might get sick. I just love the sass that came out of her, though. Like she was offended that I would dare to suggest Vince would get sick drinking from the bottle after she drank from it, completely missing the part where I told her that it was full of germs because it had been sitting beneath the couch for a few days.

My days with the quiet of just my children are numbered because very soon I will be watching my friend's kids again. But that is nice, too, because there will be 2 three year olds, which means double trouble, or they can keep each other busy while I attend to the 8 month old and the 3 month old. And then their 6 year old gets here after school shortly after my kids get home, and they play for an hour before all the kids go home. So there is all of the instant friend thing going on, and it makes me happy to see my children learning and interacting with other kids. Besides, I adore those kids, and they just add to my joy and contentment...

...and chaos, and grey hairs, etc. But I will gladly take it! What a blessing it is that I get these extra kids to come into my home and be friends with my kids, and I get to just laugh with them all the live long day. I am simply spoiled rotten, I tell you!

And I am again reminded of the song Mushaboom by Fiest. Especially the line where she says, "Collecting the moments one by one
Guess that's how the living's done."

Friday, November 18, 2016

Winter Lights

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Winter has begun.

How do I know this? Well, it isn't because of the snow, and it isn't because of the temperature. We have only had a tiny bit of snow, a dusting really. And it has been down right pleasant up until yesterday. It was near the 70's at the beginning of this week, for Pete's sake!

While snow and cold weather are tale tell signs of Winter, the surest and most dependable way to know is the temperature of my feet.

My father came over today and he and I rigged some hooks in the top of the car port, wrapping around and to the front for the extension cord to follow. He then helped me put up our Christmas lights. Now, I am a staunch believer that Christmas and Thanksgiving should be separate, I also believe that it is smart to put the lights up before it gets so frigid that it feels like my fingers will break off because of the cold. I may or may not turn them on, I haven't decided yet. But the point is, Christmas lights are up, and they are pretty, and I was outside for about half an hour helping my dad. When we finished and I came in, I of course had to tackle my kids and use them as giggling, fighting, hand warmers. Because it is important for them to know that I was just out in the cold, hanging up the lights... or safe on the ground and untangling the lights while my dad put them up... while they were cozy in the house. And so, since no one seemed interested in admiring the twinkly icicle lights, I had to attack them and use them to warm up my hands. Quite frankly, I don't get them. I loved running outside to admire the colorful effect of the Christmas lights when I was a kid. I had to see them in full effect, sometimes several times a night, much to my mother's chagrin, what with the running in and out, door slamming, and cold air pushing into the house the second the door was opened. I don't know what is wrong with kids these days.

But I tangent. My feet, however, are another story. You see, I have been inside for a good hour and a half. I have wool socks on, slippers, and a heavy flannel blanket wrapped around my legs and feet. I have made dinner, standing in front of the heater, and I made cocoa, hoping it would warm me from the inside out. Were I to remove all of the wrappings from my feet, as Jeffrey stated today, "When compared to the farthest asteroids in the Kepler belt, your feet would are still colder."


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rules and Traditions


I am so excited as the weatherman has been promising snow for tomorrow! Granted, it isn't supposed to stick, but it will fall, and that is my favorite part about snow anyway. To see it lazily fluttering down, like a shredded pillow, blanketing everything in sight. Granted, it might snow when we are all asleep, but to wake up in the morning to that glow that comes only after a fresh snow fall will be so exciting!

We have been busily getting ready for Thanksgiving and Faye's birthday. Yesterday we had an early Family Home Evening and the kids and I talked about traditions we want to do. Keith looked very afronted when he shouted out, "Hey! We already have a tradition. We always watch Star Wars on Thanksgiving!"

Truth be told, last year was the first time we ever did that, but sure, we can do that as a family. I discovered a game online that I am excited to play with the kids called Run Turkey, Run! More about that later. We made strips of paper and all wrote down 5 things on it. I am going to transfer those lists of gratitude to parchment paper and bake them into the crescent rolls. It will be like a fortune cookie but with a roll, and gratitude. During dinner we will then have to guess whose it is. 

When we finished coming up with our traditions we want to do this year, we moved on to family rules. In the past I have tried to implement rules here and there, but they never seemed to stick. That is not to say that we didn't have rules, but we didn't have anything concrete, or something that the kids could see. So, I let them make the rules.

  • Kind Voices. We want to always keep our voices calm and use kind words to each other so that we can invite the Spirit into our home. When this rule is broken, the guilty party has to go sit on the deck for 10 minutes. Parents are included in this and all rules, with the exception of shouting out warnings for danger.
  • No slamming doors. This will keep our bodies safe, and the house nice. When this is violated, the slammer must gently open and close (fully) the door 50 times.
  • We are all responsible for our own stuff. By keeping track of our own things, this will help our house to stay clean, Mom to stay sane, and invite the Spirit. When stuff is left out, if Mom has to pick it up, she gets to keep it for a month. If it is forgotten about, it goes to the DI.
  • Keep limbs to ourselves. That means no kicking, pinching, hitting, etc. This one was mostly for Faye because when she gets mad she kicks Keith in the crotch. Ouch! When this is violated, the attacker has to do a chore from the person they are attacking. The victim gets to chose the choose that the attacker has to do.
  • No Murmuring. This is my favorite because Keith, my biggest complainer, came up with this one. We will not complain or murmur about life. If one is caught murmuring, they will sit at the table and fill a whole page in the gratitude journal, not repeating anything. I hope that this will help them to look for blessings and to learn to see the silver lining of things.
Seriously, are those not awesome chores that my kids came up with? I am so proud of them! And my house has been surprisingly clean since then. I know, I know. One day isn't a fair trial, but it has been glorious! And, I haven't raised my voice at the kids in about 4 days. I am loving this magic of a clean house! If only I had thought of it years  ago. Sigh. Meanwhile I have so much more time to do what I love best, and that is to play with the kids. I have really been cherishing my time with Vince and Beth. I should be cleaning or, baking, or studying. Instead I sit on the floor with them and we tickle Vince. We read stories. We talk. We play games. And when we are finished, I realize that I was where I was supposed to be all along. Beth has now begun to tell Keith and Faye about "Beth and Mommy time," making the two of them very jealous. And then I remind them that I hygge with them and Beth is usually asleep by that time, so it all evens out.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Creating Hygge

At night, when the homework is done, and the kids are in their pajamas and ready to turn in for the night, we like to hygge. (I know I have mentioned it before, but for reference, you can read my post on it here.) Sometimes it is hard though. I know the kids love it, but sometimes it is hard to tear myself from whatever I am doing, and prolong bedtime even a little bit, when I am so tired and longing for my bed. Every time I send the children to bed when they have requested we hygge, I feel so bad, and then it eats at me, and I end up getting less done anyway, so I might as well have just hygged with them. It is a conundrum that I have been pondering for quite some time now, actually.

Yesterday while perusing Amazon, looking for suitable birthday gifts for Faye, I stumbled across several books written for the express purpose of hyggelig. I decided I would buy one for my kindle and read it so I could up my game. The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg. I wanted to focus on this now, specifically because the holidays are coming and I want to up my cozy-childhood-memory-game for the kids.

I have always sought after the Norman Rockwell type of life. Just very cozy, nostalgic, and connected with people. Which makes complete sense why I have been so drawn to hygge! This book, though, has been absolutely fantastic! I have been reading it while rocking Vince to sleep during the day, and I have been absolutely enthralled. It isn't really teaching anything new, but there are some insights that I have been drawing from it that are just making me be able to re-evaluate my life, and organize it the way my soul has been longing for me to do. My house has been a disaster lately, and when I look at the mess I shudder and go do something else because it is overwhelming and I just don't want to deal with it. And so the mess gets bigger. And the vicious cycle spirals down until I am drowning in a sea of dirty dishes and laundry. Which makes me feel like I don't have time to play with my kids, and then the guilt eats at me because I feel like I should be more present with them and do more to help them in school, and emotionally, and... and... and...

So, while I was ignoring the mess and feeding the baby last night, I read a passage that changed everything. I mean everything!

"When we hygge we make a conscious decision to find joy in the simple things... It's about surrounding ourselves with everything we love and treasuring the moment... We intentionally enjoy the domestic and personal aspects of life, rather than rushing through them just to make it through the day's tasks."

And right there, the light bulb went on. I have been going through my day resenting the messes that I feel like I am forever cleaning up. I grumble about having to clean the bathroom again, after the kids swear up and down that they cleaned it, even though the evidence clearly screams otherwise. I am tired of teaching Keith every week how to wash the pee off the toilet when he claims that he doesn't ever get any on the toilet, or that he already cleaned it up. And the girls' clothes that carpet their floor, despite my constant vigilance of trying to keep it cleaned up! Ugh! It is so hard!

Now, though, that is not what I see or think. I see this gorgeous house that is exactly what we prayed for and looked for, for nearly 3 years. I see how blessed we are to live here, and have all the conveniences that make life easier. But more than that, I see the opportunity I have here. I am so blessed and lucky to stay home with the kids. I have this rare situation where I can devote all of my time to them, and help them have an easier time of things. I can make this house a real home. A place of safety and joy and comfort. I can create an ambiance that is welcoming and warm and calming. When I clean, it isn't just picking up messes for ungrateful little slob monsters, it is helping the house be ready for them to get home from school and welcome them. It is creating an area where I can feel available to spend the time with them that both of us crave. And when the house is already clean, it is a lot easier to help them pick up their stuff because they can clearly see that theirs is the only mess around.

I have begun today, and already I have noticed a whole lot less stress in my life. Granted it hasn't even been 24 hours, but it has been less, and I have been able to clean, and I have been able to play with the kids, and help them with homework, and there seems to be so much less clutter in the house and in our lives. It is fantastic!

I jumped on the trampoline with Beth for a while, until I remembered that our lunch was probably burning on the stove. It wasn't. It was close, but it wasn't quite burned yet. After lunch she and I read stories. Vince woke up and he chased us around on the floor as we flew about, putting things away. I learned that it is time to pull out the baby gate. I didn't think I would need to quite so soon, but that boy is everywhere and I had to run and pull him away from the top of the stairs three times today! But then I got to rock him in my arms, watching his eyes flutter as he fought sleep. I got to just sit, doing nothing but gazing at him as he lay in my arms, so comfortable and happy. I got to create the ultimate hygge for that little boy. It was glorious. And then both he and Beth were asleep and I had 5 whole minutes to myself before the carpool showed up. The big kids got home from school and we visited about how their day went. We then sat down and did their math homework. They played while I cooked dinner. Then we did the spelling words and reading portion of the homework. And then they got ready for bed. Never has it flowed so smoothly before, and I think half of the reason is because of my tranquility, and half because of the hygge. I am sold on this idea, I tell you. Sold! And so proud of my Danish heritage right now. Bring on the snow and the cold winter temperatures, I am ready for it!

Also, the kids got hair cuts. All of them. It was completely spontaneous, and the girls love their hair. Keith, not so much. I think it just takes him a while to get used to things sometimes. At one point in time, though, all 3 of those kids had the same hair. 

It was amazing. And year to date, his is my favorite hair style he has ever had. I think we are going to do it like this from now on. But the boy has so much hair! It was more than the girls' hair combined! 

But he sure is handsome now!

And Vince is cute in the kitchen sink bathtub. 

That is all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Delusions and Blessings

Tuesday November 8th. It is election day. In an effort to calm my nerves, I decided to attempt a blog post.
So, going back to my previous post or two, Faye had a scary high fever. It went down like this.

Monday Faye had a slight temperature so I didn't send her to school. But she acted fine all day. She played and goofed off and made me question the fever that I had read. But she was home from school, so we took advantage of it. We played beauty parlor. We straightened her hair, which she loves. It is a shame, actually, because she has such beautiful curls, but everyone always wants what they can't have, I suppose. I was the same way when I was little. Once her hair was straightened, I decided to really spoil her and whipped out my makeup. Christmas morning, I tell you what! She loved being pampered and loved on.

Tuesday she was fine. She hadn't had a fever since early Monday morning, so I sent her to school. Tuesdays are our busy days, after school we have a dance class, and then immediately after, another dance class, scouts, and on that particular Tuesday, I had our Women's Mid-week activity right after that. So I ran around like crazy, dropping kids off, picking kids up, etc. When I got Faye, she said she wasn't feeling well. Her fever had returned. It was 101.3. It wasn't bad, but it was a fever so I told her to lay down, I would be home in an hour, and then I hurried to the activity that I was helping put on. I did a lot of rushing around. When I finally got home, my first item of business was to check on Faye. Her fever was 103.5 by this point. I was shocked that it had climbed so high so quickly. I immediately set about trying to help her fever go down. I began messaging my friend Jessica who is a pharmacist assistant and has lots of experience and knowledge of mixing medications. I gave Faye some Tylenol and watched anxiously as her temperature slowly began to climb.

When her fever reached 104 the poor girl was delirious. She was laying on my bed and crying that she was too high, could I please help her down. I was holding her and she was shaking from fear. As I contemplated what to do next, she got worse, looking around wildly and clutching the bed in terror. I decided to take her to the hospital because frankly, I was scared. Jeffrey stayed with the other kids and I headed to the hospital. I scooped my girl off my bed and headed down the hall, Faye was absolutely frantic with fear. She clung to my neck, her legs wrapped tight around my waist, crying that I was going too fast, and why were we so high?  We wrapped her in blankets and I headed out. And then I had an idea. I was going to go to my parent's house first. They live across from the hospital, so it made sense. I drove and Faye insisted I hold her hand. She said I was too far away, and she needed me close. When we got just outside of my parent's neighborhood, Faye started throwing up. It was 11:30 at night, I called my dad and told him I was almost there, and asked him if he could give Faye a priesthood blessing. He did. My mom then insisted that we give her a bath. I poured a warm bath for her and she climbed in, whimpering that the water was so cold. I put a towel on her in the water, and she laid there for a little bit, shivering but laughing and beginning to go back to her normal chippy self. She said she was hungry and asked my mom to make her a smoothie. I told her we could come back the next day for one, but my mother, the angel that she is, made Faye a smoothie, as requested. And then, because she was doing so well, we went back home.

I took her temperature when we got home. It was 101.2. I was so relieved and felt so humbled. How God blesses us! What a wonderful blessing it was for her fever to go down like that, so quickly, so much. And then she went to sleep, and slept so well all that night.
I took her to the doctor the next morning and we discovered that she had strep. And then, my wonderful doctor prescribed a double dose of amoxicillin, knowing that if one of my children had strep, it would only be a matter of time before another caught it. Which was wise because by Friday, Beth caught it. She too, got a temperature of 103.5, but luckily her fever responded to the Tylenol and went down.

I cannot express enough how wonderful it is that we are now, finally well.  What a wonderful thing health is!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Light, Heat and Pee but not necessarily in that order.

This morning I woke up to a cold house.

This is wonderful! We have not had to turn our heater on yet, and it was exciting to hear the rumble of the heater and the smell of the first heat of the season. I don't know why I love that smell so much, but I do! It just makes me warm and feel comforted and safe. I looked at the clock, and it was just turning 4. Jeffrey moaned as he rolled out of bed, sleep heavy on his eyes. He zombie walked into the bathroom to begin getting ready for work, and I crept into the hall to look at the thermostat. It was 61 degrees in our house. Perfectly cold and time to turn on the heater! I flipped the switch, and then sprung back into my cozy blankets, blissfully listening to the heater spring to life, knowing that the children would wake up to a warm house. I shut out the sounds of Jeffrey lumbering around, trying to shake the tiredness from his body, and I fell back asleep! What a glorious time we live in, though. With just the flip of a tiny switch we can have heat in our otherwise cold invaded homes.

When real morning came, Vince woke up first, no surprise there. He hasn't been sleeping at nights. He wakes up nearly every hour and wants to eat. I think he is teething, but those darn teeth just wont break through, making both of us miserable through the night. I wake him up and try to soothe him back to sleep, but more and more often I am finding myself in bed with him snuggling in close, not eating, just breathing in my comforting scent and cozily sleeping. I fall into a fitful sleep because sleeping on my side is not natural for me, and wake up an hour later to take him back to his bed. If I am lucky, I can get him in his crib and sneak out and get to sleep for an hour more. Sometimes, though, I am not so lucky and he wakes up the moment I step away from his crib. I springs into crawling position and is trying to pull himself up before I can even get to the door. Because he does that now. He now crawls and pulls himself up to standing. I fed Vince, didn't fall asleep doing so, and carefully carried him to his room, laid him in his crib, and sneaked out of his room. As I was closing the door, my hand slipped on the know, making a loud crashing sound, and waking him up again. I pick him up, rubbed his back, and within a minute, I dared to lay him down again. This time it worked. I tiptoed back to my room, crawled into my bed, and prayed that Jeffrey wouldn't accidentally wake him while he was getting ready for work, and that he would actually sleep more than half an hour to an hour. My prayer was answered! Vince slept for 3 hours, and I was so grateful because that is longer than I have been getting lately. It was 7, and I got him up, brought him to my room and began to feed him. He lay close to me, smiling and playing, not eating. He would grin at me, and then I would watch in the dim light of dawn as his eyes would slowly close and he would fall back to sleep with the happy little smile still on his face. I kissed his chubby cheeks and played with him as I heard the girls get up. We snuggled close for a bit more while I listened to Keith and Faye getting ready for school. I sighed when the clock read 7:50.  We would have to leave soon, and that meant I had to get up and get dressed. The commotion of the morning had thoroughly awakened Vince by now, so I flipped him on his back and began to play with him. I was singing the Beatles Good Morning song while I took his diaper off to put a new, clean one on. I leaned in to sing "Good morning, good morning," and as I leaned in, he decided to play target practice. He peed right into my mouth and then giggled, as if fully aware of what he had just done! It was disgusting! Luckily it was only a little. Keith and Faye heard me sputtering and came running as they heard me exclaim, "Ugh! Yuck! Oh my goodness, that is disgusting!!!" I think I made their morning. They laughed about it all the way to school. Little boys, I tell you what!

And so, our day began. After dropping off the Littles and I ran to the store for lights because yesterday I decided to be little Sally Homemaker and I installed a chandelier in my dining room!

Up 'till now, we have only had 1 naked bulb pitifully doing its best to give light, but it was meager and drove me crazy. I hated it. I had been looking for 3 years now for a new light, but could never settle on one I liked. I was too picky. And then! I went to the DI and found exactly what I wanted! It sat in my house for a week, and then yesterday, while the Littles were napping and the big kids were still at school, I watched a couple of Youtube videos, and then installed it. My dining room is gloriously lit now! It has 8 bulbs to share the load instead of that one pitiful little thing that was there before. I only have 6 lights in right now, but I am so happy with the amount of light shining in my kitchen and dining areas! Soon, I will also have a light in my living room instead of that horrid gaping hole, and I couldn't be happier!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Farewell, October

Well, October has come and gone. It was a glorious month, full of birthdays, the golden glow of Autumn, and oh so much spooky fun!

We have been making pumpkin everything, from fudge, to pies, to spice cake and everything in between.

Tonight for dinner we are going to have pumpkin pasta and I am so excited for it! I love those savory pumpkin dishes oh so much!

I have been feeling so happy lately! We finally have health back in our house. It was sketchy for a bit. Beth and Vince had Rotavirus, Vince got Scarlet Fever and an ear infection. Faye and Beth got Strep Throat, and it was so scary! More about that later. Vince got Croup, and I had a cold for half of that. We were basically out of commission for 2 months there. Of course, that didn't stop us from the fun times we have this whole month.

I cannot express enough how heavenly it has been watching the leaves slowly change color, and then suddenly all the leaves were a brilliant gold! Then to see them lazily flutter to the ground, the tree gradually becoming bald, and again, suddenly I look out my window and there are only a handful of leaves left, clinging for the memories and warmth of summer.

Beth, Vince and I went for a hike earlier this season. We went to Skull Crack Rock, and the air and sights and sounds were indescribable. Later, the kids and I went to a Nature Center. Keith was there for his school field trip, and we met him, and while the other kids went home, we got to go and explore, and play, and best of all, picnic! That is another place I love. It is a bit of heaven in the middle of a city.

For my Keith's birthday, all he wanted was to stay home, eat pizza, and play video games. Such a teenage boy already, and he is only 9! As much as I hate that, it is what he wanted, so it is what he got.

For my birthday, we went to the Island and explored. We were closer to the bison than I had ever been, and we saw some coyotes closer than I have ever seen them. We saw three of them chase down some antelope, and it was a little bit frightening and rather fascinating! We didn't know there were coyotes on the Island! For dinner that night, we gave the kids pizza and Jeffrey and I got take away Thai food. He had never really had it and declared it tolerable. I loved it, and the kids devoured the leftovers. I am happy that there is now something other than Chinese and Indian food that I can get Jeffrey to eat, although the Thai will probably take more coaxing than the Indian. I was hoping the Thai food would be a good compromise since I hate Chinese food and he loves it so much, but I don't think it quite worked to replace the Chinese food. I guess he really loves his salt.

And then Halloween.

Keith has been growing his hair out since last year so he could be Link. I think he pulled it off. His hair was exactly what his costume needed, and he looked amazing! My favorite part was that he was able to compile his costume from things we had around the house and the only thing we had to buy was his hat. Which he asked for for his birthday.

Faye also had an easy to compile costume and all we had to buy was the hat. I loved buying the hat because it is a warm winter hat and she can use it for years to come! She went as Wendy from Gravity Falls, and looked just like her, after the red hair spray.

Beth had a difficult time making up her mind as to what she wanted to be. Her preferences ranged from a cup, a frog, a witch, and everything in between.

She finally settled on a witch, but she was quick to specify that she was a good witch!

Funny story about Faye in that picture. She has recently decided that it is cool to go unnoticed. She will try to blend into the background, just to see what people will do. It is really odd and interesting to watch my bubbly, vivacious, outgoing daughter suddenly try to keep a low profile.

Vince went as both King Kong (a cute little monkey costume and he carried around a toy helicopter) and a pumpkin. Both were darling, and I couldn't love that squishy little boy more! I only wish I had gotten a picture of him in those costumes, but sadly, I didn't think of it at the time.

I am so blessed and so in love with my role as a mother! I loved last month, and usually I am a little sad to clean up the Halloween decorations, but today I have been doing so and am rather excited! Each month has so much to offer, and it is just wonderful preparing and celebrating for each and every little thing!