Wednesday, April 25, 2018

But then it's all worth it.

Bottom of the 4th (only 4 innings in 8u softball) and Lady Leopards are trailing 0 to 2. Bases are loaded. Abigail, whose batting average is currently 0 is up to bat. She watches 3 balls pass her, with cheers of "Good eye!" rallying her on. But then she misses two coach pitches. She steps out of the batter box and takes a few deep breaths. Steps back in and taps home plate with her bat. The coach lobs her a nice easy one and Abigail knocks it out of the park! Okay more like a grounder to the outfield but it rolled really far and it was a home run! Grand slam! 

And that makes it all worth it. She will remember that moment the rest of her life. I ended up bawling my eyes out as the crowd all cheered like crazy. It was awesome.

Monday, April 23, 2018

I am a homebody. My favorite place in the world is my bed. When plans are canceled and I can just stay home my entire body sighs with relief. This is my happiest place. So I really limit things we do. But softball is a mandatory childhood experience, according to my husband. So this time of year is just the worst. Okay maybe not the worst, but good golly I spend a lot of time at the ball field. Which is fine, it's fine. Actually the games can be pretty fun and I love cheering for my kids and it turns out Nathan is actually pretty good, so that makes it even more fun. Lugging 6 kids to a ball game that doesn't start until past bedtime, to watch your kid sit on the bench is kind of infuriating, but I digress. And the girls aren't bad, they're just older and haven't been playing as long as some of the other girls on their teams so they kind of get thrown in center field or stuck on the bench. We're also getting to the end of the school year which means different ceremonies coming up. Preschool graduation, kindergarten graduation, piano recitals, and Olivia was selected to read a poem she wrote a school art show.  All good things, but so busy. So today while Aaron has a day off, and took the little girls out to lunch and the baby is sleeping, I'm sitting here writing and relaxing.

They filmed a food truck show for food network in Yuma this weekend. We happened to be in Sams Club while the contestants were zooming around the checkout line followed by a camera man. Abigail wanted to be on TV so we chased after them, but I do not think this will be her big break. However the guys were super friendly and took a picture with her.

 Eliza is the biggest worry wart. All of my kids went through this phase around this age, so I should be used to it, but it is exhausting. In this picture Eliza is stressing about some red lights she can glowing in the sky (airplanes) and if Daddy and Nathan are OK, and what if I can't find the way home. This is a big one for her. She constantly worries in the car that we are going to get lost, or transport to another world. I don't even know where she comes up with that one. We have never gotten lost and certainly haven't transported to any other worlds.
Her relationship with Nora is my favorite though. They are so cute together and I'm really grateful for most of my time with them. Dressing them up matchy-matchy also adds to my fun. Called Nora a copycat the other day because she was mimicking Eliza, and she replied with "Meow Meow!" So she's understanding a lot more lately and adding new words to her vocabulary every day. "Go! Car! Shoes!" have probably replaced "mama" as the most commonly used words. She loves to be out and on the go. Which kind of sucks for her, if you read my first paragraph. Good thing she has a daddy who loves her and will literally load her up in the car for a drive around the block, just because she asked. (over and over and over but still)

Monday, April 16, 2018

So my first class of the day canceled, so I have 30 minutes to myself this morning. I could be productive and go make kids lunches or clean something, but I've been trying to write here more often and this seemed like the perfect time. 

We go back to court for Matthew soon. His dad is doing really well. It makes you feel like a crummy person to find yourself wishing he would mess up. We just love this little guy so much and he feels so much like part of our family, it will be hard for everyone when he's not with us anymore. Eliza got him out of his pack n play and carried him to her bed, where her and Nora proceeded to cover him in kisses, making him giggle his little head off. It was adorable.  

Life with these kids is simultaneously overwhelmingly wonderful and at times just overwhelming. Moments when I'm carrying Nora on my hip, and Matthew in the infant carrier, or times when they both of their bowels decide today's the day to act like they're preparing for their first colonoscopy. (I think my maximum was 7 poopie diapers in one day.) These are times I wonder how the heck I'm doing this. Like what even is my life? But then moments like above just make it all worth it. "Picture the Thanksgiving table in 20 years" has become a bit of my mantra when times get hard. 

And now I have to give a whole little section to this hilarious face. This girl. My Eliza Jane. She is so funny. 99% of my daily laughter comes from her. I wish I could think of some examples off the top of my head, but about everything that comes out of her mouth is some level of ridiculous. She knows and loves it too. Like her mama, she absolutely loves making people laugh. She's as smart as they come, but my favorite thing about Eliza is her blunt honesty. She is a kid so she might try to do something sneaky here and there, but she always tells on herself. She's always quick to apologize and take full responsibility for it. It's not uncommon to hear her say, "I'm sorry I did that. It's my fault! I'll clean it up (or insert whatever action to make it right)." I am not sure where she gets this from, as none of my other kids seem to have this ability, but I sure hope she keeps it forever.
Aaron and I are taking the church's self reliance class together. I am pretty sure I wrote about when I took alone almost a year ago. I am so excited to be taking it with Aaron, even if it means a few late nights for the kids. It was really life changing the first time around, so I'm super excited to see where we end up 12 weeks from now.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday Thoughts

My kids are loud.

My back hurts.

Aaron is working a lot this week.

And all I want is a moment of peace to reflect on the meaning of easter and my relationship with Jesus Christ.

So I'm locked in my room while the littlest two are napping, and the other 4 are playing a game (very loudly of course).

My testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ waxes and wanes like the moon. Some moments I swear I know He lived, and He lives as sure I know anything else. These are my full moon moments. I am just full of spine tingling reassurance that this is REAL. He is real. The Atonement happened for me. I can use the Atonement in my life to help me deal with everything from grief to keeping my patience when my kids are being their loud selves. Sometimes I remember that, and know that. Other times, my testimony is like that little sliver of a moon hanging in the sky. I try teach my kids about the importance of Jesus Christ but my words feel hollow. I try to pray but my mind wanders. How could someone who lived over 2,000 years ago really know me? How does it even work? And as these thoughts spiral to darkness about everything in life, I cling to that little sliver of my testimony. I remind myself of times where I knew. And I wait because I know as long as I keep doing the right things my testimony will grow again. Sometimes I feel guilty that this is how I am. That I am always questioning everything. The one part of my testimony that never goes away, that is always there is my knowledge that Heavenly Father loves me. In fact sometimes I even think he loves me the most. It is easy for me to never question this because I have evidence of it everywhere I look.
       This moon analogy has been playing around in my brain for years. But this is the first time I'm putting words on paper (so to speak) about it. And as I write I realize something deeper. The moon never changes in its size. A full moon only appears so because of our position when we're looking at it. Perhaps the times my testimony feels like sliver is because of my position of where I'm looking at it. A position of annoyance and anger at my children, or a slothful scripture study habit, or not doing all the other things I know are important to the Heavenly Father of whose love I am so certain.
        This weekend is also general conference. It is so hard to listen between the shushing of children and trying so hard to listen and feel but oh my heck can't they just be quiet for ONE talk?! Aaron is working all weekend so I'm watching alone. Some of the thoughts I had while watching this morning was that I want to be like President Eyering's wife. He shared how she was always acting on the promptings she received to serve others. And that skill was developed in her along with charity, the pure love of Christ. As one attribute grows, so does the other. I am okay in this area, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
           I am going to try to remember my position as I ponder my testimony. I desire to be a pillar of spiritual strength for my children. I want my life to be lived as a testimony that Christ lived. I want to feel his grace for my children. I want them to know He loves them, because of the way I love them. I want them to know as certain as I do that Heavenly Father loves them so much.
       I also want my kids to be quiet for like an hour. Maybe two. And for my back to stop hurting. But one thing at a time.

Friday, March 30, 2018

13 years ago today

Thirteen years ago today I had a date with a boy from institute. I was 20 years old, far from home, and just trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had my eye on this guy who sat behind me. He was funny and smart and insightful. There was just something about him that drew me to him. The few minutes we had to talk before we had to run off to our next class never seemed like enough time.

Then he finally did it. He told me he wanted to ask me to go out with him to see the Easter pageant but I had been running off so fast lately that he didn't have a chance. So stumbling awkwardly over my words I told him well, we should definitely still go out and do something. We exchanged numbers and went on our way. I ended up calling him 2 hours later and asking him to go out the very next day. I was so worried about how desperate this must have made me seem. I felt like I wasn't playing the game correctly.

But 13 years ago was that very first date. We went out with my roommate and her boyfriend. Dinner, then a movie. But we had a couple of hours to kill before the movie started so we walked around and got to know each other better. The conversation flowing just as easily as I had always imagined it would. And then when the movie was over and Aaron was bringing me home, it still didn't seem like enough time. I made a comment about how many stars there were out here in Arizona. He told me that sometime we should go to Sauguaro Lake and then I'd really see some stars. It was probably close to 11 at this point but I wasn't tired. "Lets go!"   "Now?" "Yes!" I grabbed his hand and started towards his truck with him looking at me like I was crazy. That absolutely has not changed in 13 years. And off we went, to look at the stars and continue talking. I remember it just felt so comfortable.  That also hasn't changed.

Now here we are, 5 biological kids, 3 foster kids, 6 moves (twice across the country) one career change, and countless other happy and occassional sad, frequently overwhelmed moments later. Thirteen years sounds like a long time, but also not. I remember the summer before my 13th birthday, I was walking with my best friend Cathy. We were talking about how weird it was that we were both about to become teenagers. We dramatically talked about how we felt like we were leaving our childhoods behind. I mean, we knew we weren't grown ups, but we definitely the change. The shift from being a kid, to the beginning of womanhood. We would laugh at this conversation for years later. When we were 18, laughing as we again said, "Well now we really are leaving our childhood behind." But as I've gotten even older I feel more impressed than embarrassed at our young 12 year old selves. Yes 13 is still a child, but we were right. Things were changing. The changes didn't seem to happen so fast when we were 18, but looking back now, it really was all in a blink of an eye.
        So as my relationship with my husband becomes a teenager, I wonder what lies ahead for us. We are done having babies, so we really are entering a new stage of life together. The kids are growing up, and before long it will no longer be diaper changes and story times, but curfews and college applications. On one hand that is scary as heck, but on the other I can not wait. I long for the days that it's just Aaron and I again. I know I'll miss this, and I don't want to rush it, but I am also so grateful for the effort Aaron and I make to stay connected. So that when we do reach that stage we don't look at each other one day and ask, "Who are you?" 
       Well I am not sure how to end this. I'm trying to write more just for the sake of writing. Do you listen to the podcast, A Way With Words? I was inspired by last week's episode to just write. And an anniversary post seemed fitting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Our first set of stitches and Mexico

So I really used to be so good at keeping track and writing stuff here. And then I've added more and more and kids and this has become less and less of a priority. But I LOVE being able to win an argument with Aaron about when or how something happened. So I need catch up because who knows when we'll be arguing about how old Abigail was when she busted her lip. Or whatever. 

So 5 minutes into our first softball practice of the season, Abigail got hit in the face with a ball. They were just playing catch! The girl must have rifled it at her. I didn't see, because I was still filling out the contact information for the coach. We had literally just started. Abigail comes running to me, blood just absolutely everywhere and it is split just right in half. The coach confirmed what I already knew, stitches. So I call urgent care and they tell me because of her age and the location I needed to go to the hospital. So I try to think clearly. Of course Aaron is at work. I have 6 kids, the oldest is 10, the youngest is 7 months, and one of them is bleeding profusely from the mouth. Not exactly my happy place. And of course my bestie is out of town. So I start wracking my brain of people I can call. And I am so grateful for a wonderful ward and amazing people who will literally drop everything and come to my rescue. A good friend Rachel came with her family and watched my littles while Abigail and I ran off to get stitched up. By this point Abigail isn't crying anymore, she's just begging me to not take her the hospital. She's terrified of the emergency room. We call uncle Douger to help calm her down and talk her through what to expect. She was feeling a bit better as we entered the ER. In triage she told the nurse her pain was a 4, on a scale of 1-10. A 4! She is tough as nails, this kid. Then the nurse told us it would be upwards to 4-5 hours to wait. FOUR TO FIVE HOURS in the ER during flu season, with my child bleeding. Needless to say, I was not all too thrilled with this situation. So I started wracking my brain about who I knew who could possibly help us. I decided to text our dentist. I felt bad because I know he's really busy, and another dentist friend had told me it was probably best to stay at the ER, but I am SO SO SO grateful I texted him. He met me at the office 30 minutes later, and Abigail was so excited because she loves her dentist. She got to play on the Nintendo Switch, and watch a movie, and Dr. Kempton is so skilled with that novacaine that she really thought he was just putting a "bubble" in her mouth. He had done about 5 stitches when she asked, "When are you going to start the stitches?" He laughed and told her he was almost done.  He was so impressed with her injury that he recorded it with his personal cell phone. Her lip tore right in half, so you could see her labial artery. He said it was nothing shy of a miracle that that artery was still intact. It was split all around it, but somehow it stayed put. So he sewed us up and sent us on our way. He is seriously amazing. And Abigail was not scarred for life by some scary PA at the hospital stitching her up. 

Then the very next day, not even 24 hours later we were in the car for Mexico. And the picture of me and Nora pretty much sum up how the trip was for me. Thought I did get a few moments of solitude here and there. I feel so alive and connected at the beach. It is good for my soul to return often. However, maybe not with so many kids. But I do love my in-laws beach house and how secluded it is. It's just a haven for kids to run and play. They were able to spend hours each morning hunting for sea creatures, and we only saw one other family on the entire beach. It is amazing. Even if it was absolutely exhausting for me.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nathan is 6 and Eliza is 4!

We are in the birthday half of the year (a birthday a month from October to March, pretty much) and my kids are growing so fast.

Nathan is doing really well in school. He is so smart and learning to read and loves math. He's bored in school and I know this because his teacher asked me if he has a medical problem because he asks to use the bathroom 4 times an hour during class. He loved when I substitute at his school and get to pop in and see him in class. He likes to ride his bike and scooter and if he's not doing that he's playing on his DS. He loves to do good and be good. He lives to follow the rules and I just love that about him. I really do have such good kids.

That said, Eliza is my wild card. She is also good, but man is she something else. She will tell you like it is, no matter what. Her vocabulary far exceeds her four years. She loves baby Matthew more than anything and loves to carry him around and hold him. She is still obsessed with unicorns and her "night nights". She gets her feelings hurt easily, but forgives just as easily. She is trying so hard to learn to read and I'm trying so hard to teach her. With 6 kids it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But there is something very rewarding about being her preschool teacher. She has learned to write her name and I love seeing her proudly writing her name and knowing I taught her that! She wrote her aunt a letter today and she was able to sound out some of the words herself. She is so smart and we just love having her in our family.

I am wanting to get the kids involved in some extracurricular activities but I hate having places to be. I feel guilty about this and keep saying tomorrow I'll look into it, but honestly it never happens because mostly I hate trying to find shoes for everyone to leave the house.

So we mostly go to school, hang out, and play.

We rented a cotton candy machine and invited Eliza's friends over for her birthday party. On her actual birthday I took all my kids to the mall in El Centro to ride the train and carasoul. This is small town living at its worst... driving an hour for that thrill! Still makes me laugh.