Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In the quietness of the night

I wrote this as a quest post on a friends blog a few weeks ago and I really wanted to share it with ya'll. 

When my oldest was a baby I would hold him in my arms and relish in his perfect and innocent little spirit. I would hold him even when I didn’t have too and I would stare into his big brown eyes and think about his spirit so fresh from Heaven. I can remember all these years later how tiny and delicate and magical he was.
In the six years that have followed and with an addition of three more children those moments seem to be so fleeting. There is not a whole lot of time for relishing or staring into big brown eyes. It’s mostly getting up, getting dressed, rushing to and from school, cleaning the house, fixing breakfasts, lunches and dinners, helping with homework, teaching, running errands, running back and forth to practices and games, washing clothes and dishes, folding laundry, cleaning up behind the little tiny hands in my house that love to make messes, mending boo boos and crushed spirits and much, much more.
I try every day to relish the moments and to hold onto my babies for as long as I can. I try to not let fleeting moments pass too quickly and to hold onto their tender little hearts as long as I can. I will admit that some day’s I am not so good at this. Some day’s the day passes in a blur and I know I yelled a bit too much and lost my patience a little too quickly. I know that I did not take the time to answer all the questions that my inquisitive little children asked me. I know that some days I did not put in as much undivided attention to each of them as I should have.
Over the years I have come to cherish and look forward to the wee hours of the night. After the kids are all in bed and asleep and the house is quiet and still I usually find myself in deep reflection. I will walk into my little, beautiful babies rooms and watch them sleeping. Almost instantly I am overcome with a giant swell of emotions. I will admit that most nights I tear up as I peer down at these sleeping angles. It is in those quiet, still moments that I feel the magnitude of my calling as a mother. I can’t help but reflect on all the mistakes I made that day and rejoice in all the amazing moments that I experienced that day.

I look at my oldest and wonder if I spent enough time showing him how much he means to me. I wonder if I asked too much of him or if I am making him grow up too fast. I look at his sweet little face and I know that he is meant for great things. I know that his heart is full of all the love and compassion that any one person can possibly have. I know that he loves me unconditionally and I hope that during that day I did things to deserve that love. I ponder on the talks we had that day and wonder if I spent enough time teaching him. I wonder if I praised him more then I critiqued him.

I look at my 4 year old (who has autism) and wonder if he did okay today. I ache for him and the battle he is fighting every day and I hope with every fiber of my being that I helped ease that battle a little bit that day. I look at his tiny, little, delicate face and wonder if he knows how much I love him. I wonder if he was overwhelmed that day and was confused by his feelings. I wonder if anyone hurt his feelings that day or if anyone went out of their way to be his friend. I tear up thinking about the journey he is on in this life and say a silent prayer to my Father in Heaven that I will be the best mother too him, so that he won’t ever feel like he is on his journey alone.

I shut their door and walk down the hall to our 2 year old's room. Often times I sit down on the floor by his bed and peer at his little body. I watch his chest move up and down as he breathes and think about how his little baby features are just slipping through my fingers. He grows more every day and I just want to hold on to that moment with him forever. I feel my chest tighten as I think about how fleeting these moments are and how before long he will be leaving me to serve a mission, go to school, meet his wife and have his own family. I sometimes scoop him up into my arms and just hold him. I kiss his forehead and take a deep breath, thinking that maybe by doing this I can take it all in and never forget how I feel at that moment.
When he starts to stir I lay him back down and walk to his sister’s room.

 In our babies room I gaze at her sweet little tiny features and realize that she is growing right before my eyes. I hold her tiny baby fingers in mine and marvel at her little baby chub that will all too soon be gone. I peer at her sweet sleeping smile and want to just drink it all in. I want to hold onto this moment forever, to bottle it all up and keep it close to my heart forever. I stare at her and can see her one day, years from now, standing next to her baby’s bed and marveling over the same things. By this time my heart is so full with love that I feel like it may burst.
It’s in these moments that I truly see them as God seems them. I see their spirits and their innocence. I see how precious and tender they are. I see how little they still are and how much they still have to learn and I still have to teach them. I see these tiny little hearts and I want to just hold them and block out all the evil in the world around them. I want to show them all the beauty and all the grace that the world has to offer. I want to take back everything that I did wrong that day. My heart swells beyond the bounds that I ever thought possible and I want to do everything in my power to be the best mom I can be.
The pain is so real, so aching and so beautiful at the same time. It’s the circle of life, our parents did it, we did it, and these little ones that we have stewardship over will one day do it too. I think it’s the hardest, most rewarding part of being a parent. We raise them and watch them grow and then they leave us to forge their way in this world. (I am sure I will be the mom who cries herself to sleep in her kid’s bed for the first few nights {month’s maybe} after each one of my children move out.) It is on that day, in the not so distant future, that we hope and pray that we did everything we could for them. We hope that we taught them and prepared them for this world. We hope that we loved them enough and in the way they needed to be loved and we wish with all of our hearts that they will find all the happiness and joy that this world has to offer.
After I spend a little bit of time with each of my precious angels I walk into my room and I kneel down in prayer. It’s in this moment that I know who I want to be as a mom. It’s in the quietness all around me that the still small voice of the lord can be heard and that the spirit can be felt so strong. It is then in the stillness all around me that I know what the Lord expects of me and need of me. I can truly reflect on all that happened that day and I can commune with the Lord on how to better handle myself the next day. I can feel the beauty of motherhood in every aspect of my life. I know then that this is the most important calling on earth and that I am always blessed by the Lord and he is always is there guiding my hand in his great work of raising children.

Marriage takes work

I've been thinking a lot about marriage and how like anything worth doing its worth doing right and it takes time. Its not easy but its so worth it. Its not always grand and "perfect" but its worth all of it, the good, the bad and the ups and downs. I have found a few quotes on pinterest lately that I wanted to share. 

Marriage takes a lot of mutual tolerance and patience. It also takes a lot of humility and forgiveness. I love my husband so much and every day with him is a new adventure. I am blessed to call him mine and me his but this loving relationship is not without its hard work.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

All The judging....Stop it!

This is a topic that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately and today I had an eye opening moment and I figured it was time to share with you my thoughts on the subject of judging others. 

We recently moved to a new state and through the process of moving I made myself a promise,  I promised myself that I would be myself. I know it sounds like kind of funny thing to promise yourself, but I have realized over the years that I have tried to put on a "face" of put together. I realized when I was 24 and my husband was in Iraq with the military leaving me home alone with 2 children for 8 months, that I could not continue to act like I had it all together, because I didn't. I realized that it really does take a village to raise a child. I realized that no one should have to do it alone. 

Mosiah 18:21 says:  And he commanded them that there should be no acontention one with another, but that they should look forward with bone eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts cknit together in unity and in love one towards another.

We are taught in the scriptures that we should be knit together and that we should look forward with one eye. We are all in this together and when we put on a face of togetherness especially when we are falling apart we are not knitting together. As a single mom with 2 small kids and a kidney disease I learned very quickly that I could not do it alone. I had partial kidney failure due to an over enlarged kidney stone that the doctors failed to catch when I went to the ER one morning. I woke up in the middle of the night bleeding heavily and in intense pain and so I called 911 and spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital and even after that I was on doctor ordered bed rest for almost 7 weeks after that. Noah was not able to come home from his deployment and I was left to do it alone (which was impossible) or ask for help.

I asked for help and the outpouring of love was indescribable. I don't think that my children and I could have survived those 10 weeks if it had not been for the amazing women around me. I had never been so helpless in my life and had never been more discouraged. I learned in that time that we are sent here to work together and to be united, so why is it that we fight that so much?

Why is it that instead of working together to lift each other up that we often push each other down instead?

Why do we hide our pains and our struggles?

Why do we judge others when we KNOW that everyone is going through hard things?

When my son was diagnosed with Autism we were told by family members that we should keep it a secret and not tell people. I was outraged by this. Why do we have to keep things a secret? Why can't we all share our trials and help each other? I have learned that usually when I am going through a trial that someone around me probably has too and can really help me through it. I have also learned that there are others around me who are suffering from the same trials I have once suffered through. I often wonder how many counselors and therapists would still have jobs if we all felt open enough to talk to our friends about our problems. I'm not down playing what counselors do but I think that some people often go to them to talk about problems that might not be there if they felt that they could openly talk to others around them and admit their flaws, weakness, struggles and pain. We can all help each other. If we could just stop trying to hide it all we might realize that we are not alone in anything we go through. 

So now to the point, why do we do this? Why do we keep it all inside? Why do we never let on that we are anything less then perfect? 

Its simply because we are afraid of the judgement's of others.

Today (Oct. 2nd) I took my kids to Antelope Island and we played in the sand and in the water. Needless to say, Tayton, the two year old, got soaking wet and covered in sand. I was not prepared for this. We originally were just going to walk around the beach but decided to play in the water too. I had to strip all of Tayton's clothes off of him as well as his sand covered shoes. On our way home we decided to go out to lunch. We got out of the car and went inside the fast food restaurant. Yep I took my 2 year old into the restaurant in just his diaper. I was shocked at how many dirty looks I got and how rude several people were to me. I'm a good mom. I took my kids to play at the beach and now I'm taking them to get happy meals. My son got wet and covered in sand and so instead of making him keep it on him I let him run around in just a diaper. None of those people knew my story. I would have much rather taken my son in his diaper to get a happy meal then gone home and fed him something less fun just because people were giving me dirty looks. Why do we judge each other so much? 

Judging other people and keeping our problems hidden inside is not good for anyone.

When I got home from the restaurant I shook off the clothes and laid them on the porch because I was in a hurry to get the little two down for a nap. As soon as I did this I have a thought flicker into my mind, "What if someone comes over to visit and they see those sand covered clothes sitting on my porch?" The thought left as soon as it entered and I chuckled to myself, "really?" I thought, "who cares? If they do care then does it really even matter anyway?"  This is when the promise I made to myself came into my mind again. Leaving those clothes on the porch till I have time to take care of them is me being myself. Taking the clothes in and cleaning them up when I didn't really have time just because I was worried about the judgement of others was not me being myself. 

Imagine if we just all stopped judging, because really, we all have problems and trials and judging each other because of those things does not do anyone any good. The judgments hurt, they don't help. If you judge others especially when you don't know whats going on with them you can hurt them even worse and make their pain even more unbearable.  Its sad that we hide who we really are and are afraid to just be ourselves because we are afraid people won't like us or will judge us because of this. God made us all different. God celebrates those difference and so should we. We should celebrate it and support each other, not judge each other. Judgments ruin friendships and relationships. Judgments place unneeded burdens on others and destroys people spirits. Judgments make us hide our true selves and make us rethink things like leaving our child sand ridden clothes on the porch. Judgments make us feel weak, they give a bar for us to measure ourselves against and sadly in the end we will never measure up to that bar because the bar of perfection is just unattainable for anyone in this life. But unfortunately we still hold up and raise that bar to measure others knowing full well that they won't measure up and pretending that we do. How does this help any of us?

What if we all wore signs? These signs would tell the world what we are going through! Would you still judge them then? If you knew all the pain they felt would you jump to rash judgments? Probably not! But the better question is, why does it matter if you know their pain or not? We should not judge, no matter what! We can't help raise each other up and when we are pushing them down so hard with our judgments. We can't unite together and knit ourselves in love and unity when we are treating others like their best if never enough. 

We should always hold each others hand, lean on each other and support each other. We are all on this hard, joyous journey together and no one needs anyone judging them because of their own journey. Lets stop the judging and start the supporting and loving. Lets starting listening to others and doing our best to lend ourselves fully unto others when they need us the most. Let us simple let the facades slip away and let our true selves shine through, because we are all beautiful and all worth it. Stop judging and stop hiding, the world needs you for who you are. God made you to be you, not to hide behind an air of perfection so that you could protect yourselves from the harsh critics of the world. 

The following quote sums it up nicely:

“I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment. Of course, we know this is wrong.” “This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon, When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm—please apply the 
following: Stop it!”- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My week in review

The past two weeks have been all sorts of crazy up in here. 
Here is the review, now I know your are going to want to be jealous, cause my life is just so stinking great, but try to hold it all in. (I think the tooth paste and chocolate incidents puts me over the top for pure amazingness.) 

Two Saturdays ago at Landon's soccer game he ran up with another boy on his team to kick the ball into the goal, it just so happened that the goalie was coming at the same time too and totally grabbed it as both boys were going to kick it. One of them (not sure which, Landon thinks it was him and the goalie thought it was the other boy) kicked her finger and ended up breaking it (I found this out on Monday on the way to school). The goalie was a little girl in Landon's church class and so I was able to call her mom and tell her how sorry we were when we found out. The little girl was happy because she got a pink cast. I guess all is great when you are 6 years old. 

Tayton has been extra crazy, naughty. There are many fun adventures with him this week. 
First off he loved getting into the tooth paste...... I did not love cleaning it up. 
But I can with much pleasure say that I laughed about it and gave him a big tooth pasty kiss. He is just so darn cute, how could I resist.

Aowyn has learned that she can sit at the window and watch her brothers play outside, so this is her new favorite spot to be. She will sit there and giggle and clap, its precious.

We do not really buy much for our kids except on their birthdays and Christmas. They earn an allowance for cleaning every week and have to buy their own things, we feel like this teaches them ownership. (go here to learn more about that). Anyway Landon ruined his last belt and really needed a new one and so he bought one all on his own with out us even suggesting it. I think my favorite part is that he rolls it up to store it, just like his daddy. 

The boys had a friend over and they played school for a few hours. It was super cute until I realized in the end that when the neighbor "taught" school that he used a permanent marker on the board instead of a white board marker. Boy howdy was that thing a pain in the butt to clean off.

Life was just slightly crazy with family in town so my poor counter looked like this for the better part of a week. If you have read my posts before you will know how much I HATE bars. (the candy on the right side of the counter was all of our conference stuff.)

The laundry looked like this for several days. I think my favorite part is the sock hanging from the picture rack......

The two middle kiddos decided that they wanted to decorate the floor with stickers. 
They also decided that it was not much fun when they had to clean it up.

The two little's share everything food related. I am so grateful that Tayton loves to share with Aowyn so much. Its not so fun to clean up but super fun to watch. This time it was ice cream and of course Aowyn was in heaven.

Landon has officially learned to read and he is pretty good at it too. I am so proud of him. I don't think he could be more proud of himself either.

This beautiful girl has been getting all over the place, not only has she graduated from the zombie drag to the army crawl but she can also scoot herself across the floor on her bum, very quickly I might add.

She also really like to hang out under the table and chairs and any small space that she can easily wiggle her way into.

I bake the kids after school snacks 2-3 times a week and this last week I tried a new recipe. It was for some pudding and cake batter cookies and holy cow were they amazing!! I think they are my new favorite cookie. The best part in you can change out the sprinkles for anything, chocolate chips, white chocolate and macadamia nuts, holiday sprinkles. ANYTHING!!! I'll have to share the recipe soon.

WARNING: this part is kind of gross. 
I totally lost my pinkie toe toenail. It was so weird and random. I feel like an old lady now that I am missing a toe nail. 

Again, hanging out under the table and chairs.

This little guy got into some chocolate and had a ball. He could not get the package open so he pushed it out with his teeth and made a HUGE mess.

I was cleaning chocolate up for days. About 3 days later Noah called me into the master closet and showed him this, because Tayton had told him, "wook dis, dad. Wook!" 
More chocolate..... on the wall and in my shoes.

Thankfully it did not get on my clothes. 
He did however have a ton of fun cleaning it all up.

Most Friday nights we do family movie and pizza nights. I think we have a picture of all 3 of the littles doing this at one point or another. Landon had not cleaned up his pizza and Aowyn took her chance to dig in. (I still have not gotten all of the pizza out of that outfit.)

Braddoc has been putting EVERYTHING in his mouth lately.

These two have been bonding like crazy. Its wonderful.

Noah's closet shelving just ripped right out of wall one night. The whole thing fell right down with a huge crash. When the maintenance guys came to fix us they told us that the reason it fell was because the shelf was not made to hold a ton of weight! Wow! Really? A closet is not meant to hold a ton of weight, well that's just great since the master closet is teeny tiny. I said as much to the maintenance guys and they told me that they have this problem a lot because the shelf is just straight into the sheet rock and there is nothing there to support it. The sheet rock is super flimsy, a friend of mine says they are our "paper houses" and she is so very right.

After I put Aowyn to bed one night I came back out to find these three cuties chilling together on the couch, I'm not gonna lie it made me cry a little bit.

Aowyn's costume came in the mail!! Oh happy day. I love it!

Tayton decided that he was going to go down the stairs while he had a little crawl through tube over his head, needless to say he fell right down the stairs and got some serious road rash. His forehead is all banged up and he refuses to take the bandaid off. He also got a nice rash under his nose.

The little Miss has been sick and super cranky, she does not ever want me to put her down. 
There has been a lot of crying going on around here.

Needless to say since she has been sick the house has gone to pot. Its just been kind of crazy around here. Crazy I tell yah!

I did manage to accomplish two things in Aowyn's room the day before she got sick.
I got her flowers up and I got her shelf finished and hung as well. 

We have gone through a whole bag of apples the last few days and I have been finding the deadly remains of them all over the house. I told Noah we needed to buy an apple tree with as fast as we go through apples.

The big thing on my to do list has been the garage. 
As you can see I have yet to actually do anything with it.
Actually I had done stuff with it, I've been adding to the mess.
I don't even want to think about this room right now, but maybe if I show off to yall the mess that is in there you will hold me accountable for doing something about it.
Yes, so now you see the disaster that is my garage.
(truthfully we can't find the hardware to build the shelves so we have nowhere for the stuff to go yet.)

Pudding has been my nemesis lately. Tayton plays in it all the dang time. 
Here is Jake hanging out with some pudding pants.

Tayton now knows how to undress himself and he has had a total ball doing it all day long. Thankfully he has not taken off his diaper, just his pants and shirt. 

I have introduced these two to Harry Potter. We have had a harry potter marathon. They watched one and then two and now three. This is the last one they get to watch for awhile because after this they get a bit scary and rated PG-13 instead of PG. 
They are LOVING it. Landon is a bit obsessed and I have found a wand making tutorial on pinterest so I think I'm making them some for Christmas. I am pretty stocked that they are loving Harry Potter so much. They have seen the first one before and loved it, but now they love it even more since they have seen the second and third.

Landon brought home his end of the quarter test and he got 100%. I am so proud of how hard he has been working and how well he has been doing. It was one of those tests that has the little stop sign on the end of the page that tells you to stop and wait for the teacher. Apparently he had to read the whole test himself and answer the questions. Love this kid. 

Survived another week. 
It just keeps getting crazier and crazier up in this joint. 
And I love every minute of it.
(I may not love it in the moment but I can for sure smile later.)