Tuesday, May 06, 2014

We are the Jenkins

In our family we try to encourage our kids to know what kind of people they want to be. We talk to them about different virtues and traits they want to possess in their life and then try to give them examples of how they can be those kind of people.

Our little family gets together every Monday night (or at least once a week, sometimes not on Monday if Noah is working) and we teach a lesson to our children about a wide array of things, always centered around Christian based topics. We call this Family Home Evening (FHE). We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints (sometimes people refer to us as lds or mormons) and so usually our topics are about something that is centered around our Religion. This past year we have been working on different virtues as part of our FHE, we have talked about being kind, loving, trust worthy, hard working, and different things like that.

This past weekend I went to a Mothering retreat that was put on by a wonderful group called Power of Moms (go here to see the website). I got SOOOOO many great ideas, and so much information on how to be a great mom and hopefully I can share a lot of what I learned and thoughts that I had, on here. One of the things that I heard that really stood out to me was about an idea called a Family Culture. The idea of a Family Culture is to create fun/meaningful traditions in our families. Something they said was, "The feeling in the home is what really matters." There are so many cultures out there like the internet, worldly, and social cultures that want to pull our kids in all different directions, so its important that we have given then a great Family Culture so that they have strong roots. They talked about how children want to feel a part of something, that's often why kids gravitate into not so great social cultural groups. Its our jobs as parents to give them a place where they do belong, where they can say, "WOW!!! This is my family! I am so lucky that I get to be a part of it." I was pretty excited that we already do so many things that are part of a Family Culture but I also realized I could do so much more. I have a lot more I want to say about the idea of Family Culture's, so stay tuned.
(I got to meet one of my mothering heroes at the retreat, Linda Eyre. I heard her speak at a Time out for Women years ago and just fell in love with her and went out and bought a bunch of her books and now my night stand is covered in the Eyres books. I was little bit star stuck and I totally cried when I got to talk to her. This was seriously one of my top life moments.)

One mom stood up during the conference and said that her family has a Family Creed. They set up a few traits that they want to become, in their family and every night at dinner they go around the table and talk about how they were one of those particular traits that day. I absolutely LOVED that idea and that night Noah and I talked about this idea and how we wanted to cater it to our family. We decided that we would sit down with the kids and come up with a list of things that they thought we should be. So Sunday night during our "meeting of the minds" session, (something I learned from Linda and Richard Eyre years ago, that has made a huge impact for good in my marriage and life as a mom! Ill do a post about that soon too) at dinner we asked the kids who they thought that the Jenkins should be. They gave us lots of GREAT ideas, I was very impressed and realized that they really do listen to me when I am talking to them about the kind of people they should be. I was actually getting a bit teary eyed when I was writing down their answers because they were pretty perfect.

This is their list (totally made by them with zero help from Noah and me.)

-Listen to others
-Go to church
-Don't listen to mean people
-Help other people
-Don't do bad things
-Don't say mean words

After they came up with their list we helped guide them into combining up some of these things and narrowing down our list to 5 things, that way it was easy to remember. We decided that all of our list could fit into these 5 groups

The Jenkins are....
1. Courageous
2. Respectful
3. Serve others
4. Honest
5. Righteous

So every night at dinner we are now going to talk about how we were a Jenkins that day. We hope that this will help the kids understand the kind of people they want to be and that it will help learn to see how there are opportunities around them everyday for them to be virtuous people.

I am typing this list up so that we can all see it on a regular basis. We also decided that we wanted to point out to the kids at different times during the day when we "Caught them" being a Jenkins, so that they could start to see how often they were being great kids. I think its important to not only teach our kids virtues and noble characteristics but to also show them how we have chances to really be those kinds of people every day. Landon hit a golf ball into our neighbors yard and without me even reminding him to knock on their door instead of jumping the fence, he went to their front door and knock and asked if he could get his ball back. I told him how proud I was of him for being so Respectful and Courageous. I told him that he showed respect to the neighbors by knocking on their door and showed courage by going up to their door and knocking in the first place. He got a big smile on his face and said, "I know mom! That's because I am a Jenkins and Jenkins are Respectful and Courageous." It made my heart swell so big for my sweet boy. It made me really proud at that moment to be a Jenkins and to be his mom, and I could tell that he was proud to be a Jenkins too.

There are opportunities in our life every day to make the right choice, to choose to be a certain kind of person, and I want to make sure that my children go out into the world knowing how to be men and women of virtue. I want them to learn at a young age how important it is to be God Fearing people who always choose the right. I have talked to them for years about Choosing the Right, but I think really our job as parents is to do more then just tell them to Choose the Right, but to teach them daily about HOW to choose the right and to point out opportunities that they have on a daily basis where they have to make the decision to choose the better path. I also think its important for them to see how those experiences can help shape them and help them to see the opportunities even when we are not there to point them out. I am excited about this new little piece of Family Culture that we have decided to implement in our family.

 (the kids wanted to play in the sprinkler so I told them to go get their swim suits on and I asked them to help Aowyn. The boys came back down all ready to go but Aowyn was not with them. I asked them if they helped her and they said no. I went in to check on her and she was headed outside in just some shorts {that she was not in before}, It was the most adorable thing. Apparently she thought girls wore the same type of swimming gear as boys. After I was done laughing I took her upstairs and showed her what girls wear.)

Monday, May 05, 2014


A few weeks ago, shortly after we put the kids to bed I hear Aowyn coughing but to me it sounded more like a throw up cough then just a cough. Noah went upstairs to check on her and right before he opened the door I heard her soft sweet tiny voice cry out, "Dada!" It broke my heart. He opened the door and she was standing there with throw up all over her face and in her hair. He took her into the bathroom and put her in the bath where she was crying the whole time. I changed out the sheets on her bed and held her downstairs in my arms, with her cuddled up under her towel. I put some oil on her to help her with her cough and she just layed there so soft and sweet. 

We put her to bed in our bed and Noah asked me if I wanted to lay down with her, just then she walked up behind him and said, "Mama?" So of course I couldn't say no to my sweet girl. I layed in bed with her and she grabbed my hand and held it in hers, she laced her tiny little fingers in mine and I rubbed her hand. She rested her head on mine and fell asleep. After about 5 minutes she sat up and leaned over to me, I grabbed the bowl and my poor baby threw up again. After she was done Noah asked her if she wanted a blessing and she sweetly said, "Yes!" in her adorable baby girl voice. So he gave her a blessing and when he was done, she looked at him, pointed at me and said, "Mama". I have been hurting a lot still since my surgery and she has been trying so hard to take care of me. So Noah gave me a blessing too, which was much needed. He went back over to her to talk to her and she pointed at him and said, "Dada!" And put both of her hands on his head. It was so sweet!

After that she rolled over and reached behind her to grab my hand. I put my hand over her little body and felt her soft sweet breathing making my hand rise up and down. She wrapped her hand in mine again and this time she was rubbing my hand, I nestled my face into her sweet smelling hair and she rubbed her tiny little foot along my leg. It was one of the most beautiful times Ive had as a mom. I really just was enjoying laying there with her, marveling at how I got so lucky to have such a sweet little girl. I felt so bad for her and how sick she was feeling but so blessed at the same time to get to have such a sweet moment with my daughter. It was something that makes motherhood so very special, sometimes we just need to stop and take in the beauty of what is right there in front of us. Such a simple beautiful moment that I am ashamed to say I would have missed had I thought of checking facebook while I lay there in bed with her. 

After a few minutes of just watching her drift off to sleep, I too closed my eyes and just took in how beautiful I felt. I just felt so much peace and thanked Heavenly Father that I was able to be there in that moment, that I was able to be a mom, and that I was able to be there in that bed at that moment creating a beautiful memory with my sweet girl. I always want my children to know I am there for them, I never want them to doubt that or to think that anything is more important to me then they are. I never want them to ever feel anything but love and safety when they are in my arms. I want them to feel at peace and drift off to sleep knowing that nothing in the world can harm them. There are so many things in this world that can distract us and our children from the things that are right and special and sacred. I dont want to miss one moment of there delicatness. I dont want to miss any of the small, sweet details of their lives, they are my babies and I am their mother and those are the most important things in my life (aside from my sweet husband and the gospel of Jesus Christ, its all part of the same thing for me). 

So much can be done and learned when we silence the world and just enjoy the beauty that is right there in front of us. The peace and the comfort and the beauty that is part of Gods natural plan for us. The rest of it falls by the wayside, it doesn't really matter when we just stop and look at the great miracles of life that are right there in front of us, these sacred little miracles of life that are put in our care as parents. They don't need much from us, they just need our love, our support, our safety and our presence.

This little lady is so full so sass and spunk. I just love it!! She is perfect. Im not sure where she got the kissy faces from (probably because we kiss a ton) but now she tells me to do it all the time, it cracks me up. I don't know what I would do with out her and her sweet little spirit, she keeps me grounded and teaches me so much about love and patience, she is going to be a great mommy one day and Im so excited to get to be a part of her life.

Treasures on earth

Ive been thinking a lot about my life in general. Ive been thinking about what I think the most important things in my life are and about who I really want to be. How do I measure my own success in life and how does that lead me to act on a daily basis? (thats for another post all together.) Something that really has been a no brainer to me is that my Family, my husband and my children are really the most important things in my life. They are my treasures.

 President Hinckley said: 

"God bless you, dear friends. Do not trade your birthright as a mother for some bauble of passing value. Let your first interest be in your home. The baby you hold in your arms will grow quickly as the sunrise and the sunset of the rushing days. I hope that when that occurs you will not be led to exclaim as did King Lear, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!” (King Lear, I, iv, 312). Rather, I hope that you will have every reason to be proud concerning your children, to have love for them, to have faith in them, to see them grow in righteousness and virtue before the Lord, to see them become useful and productive members of society. If with all you have done there is an occasional failure, you can still say, “At least I did the very best of which I was capable. I tried as hard as I knew how. I let nothing stand in the way of my role as a mother.” Failures will be few under such circumstances." 

My children are my most priceless treasure. No amount of wealth or gold or success in my life will ever compare to how much my success as their mother means to me. The love that they have for me is endless, the only person that can change that, is me. I never want to lose their love, I always want to be worthy of it, to deserve every single bit of love they have for me. Children forgive so easily and love so unconditionally, I hope that I always deserve their forgiveness and their unconditional love.

Matthew 6:19, 20 says  19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves atreasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves bbreak through and steal:
 20 But lay up for yourselves atreasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor bsteal:
These are my treasures that neither moth nor rust can corrupt. The world will try its hardest to corrupt them, but If I take care of them and treat them with love and kindness, if I nurture them and protect them and do everything to treasure them then I will have them as my children forever. 

It pains me too look at the world and to see so many moms treasuring those things of worldly value, I want to hold them and plead with them to look at their precious children, who are right in front of them, those precious children who are their life and greatest reward. I wish they could see that their greastest success lies with their children. I ache to see them missing out on so much happiness simply because they can not see the great gift that has been given to them. The world tells us to look to it for validation, gratification and happiness. The Lord knows better then this and tells us to look to our children, to look into our homes and at our most sacred relationships. This is where the treasures lie, this is where the true validation, gratification and happiness can be found.

I am so honored to be called a mother, to have 4 beautiful little spirits looking to me to hold their hand and guide them through life.

Lead me 
Guide me
Walk beside me
Help me find the way
Teach me all that I must know, to live with him (Heavenly Father) someday

Such a beautiful and simple message. In that short little chorus to one of my childhood hymns is laid all the knowledge and power that the world has to offer.  Lead our children by our example, Guide our children by helping them navigate their way on the path of righteousness through a world of sin, and Walk beside them, holding their hand and taking each step along the way with them. It is our sacred and noble jobs as mothers to show them the way back to their Heavenly home. These little fresh from God spirits, are our jewels that God has given us in this life. And like any jewel we must keep is close to us, treasure its great value and protect it. 

Family pictures from 2012

These pictures were taken by my WONDERFULLY talented friend Mary Anne.