Friday, December 27, 2013

Bleh.

What is with my body and then end of pregnancy? I am seriously 4 for 4. Although this is a little earlier in the game than my usual end of pregnancy sickness. I had a cold a couple weeks ago... I got better in time for Christmas... and now I'm sick again. It sucks.

Trying to do as little possible. I managed to fold a bunch of clothes.. left them on the couch. Bad idea. Just a few minutes later Nathan was pretending to be some kind of monster and threw all the sorted folded clothes all over the room. I've kind of given up at this point. Bed time is near. The end is in sight.

All in all, for how little supervision my children have had today, the damage was pretty minimal. Plus, besides Nathan's destruction of the laundry, he did take an almost 4 hour nap today so he's still on my nice list.

I'm grateful for Netflix, new toys and kids who are best friends.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

I enjoy being a mom most days of the year. But man I absolutely LOVE being a mom on Christmas. Last night as I was wrapping presents for these three children of mine, and thinking about how by next Christmas there will be an entire other person in our family, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude. I was thinking of friends of mine that I know who struggle with infertility and want children so much, and I thought how hard this holiday must be. Putting up the tree, exchanging gifts, just like last year, yet again with a child. It broke my heart to think of it. I am sure each year you've got to be thinking this is the last year we will be childless, next Christmas we will have a  little baby. And then eventually maybe you even lose that hope. I don't know... but I got all teary eyed imagining that pain.

Then I thought about a friend in the hospital struggling with illness, and can't be home with her family on Christmas.

And another few friends whose husbands are deployed and won't be there with them to see their children's joy on Christmas morning.

And I am just so so grateful for our blessings. For my husband. For our families. For our children. And for the financial blessings we have received this year, that have allowed us to have a wonderful Christmas for our family, plus help a few others in need. It feels so wonderful!

I set my alarm for 5:00 AM to get up and make a nice big breakfast for my family this morning. We had ham, eggs, fruit salad, crescent rolls, orange juice and homemade scones. I have never had a scone before and oh my they were so good! The kids all sat and ate and listened while Aaron read the story of Christ's birth from Luke 2. I was impressed with their patience and somewhat attentiveness. Then, Olivia asked if they could open presents in order from youngest to oldest. I had just asked Aaron the other night if we could please not do an orderly opening of presents and just let the kids go nuts and open everything. He reluctantly agreed, but then when she ASKED for orderly, well how could I say no. So they took turns opening presents and hugging and taking pictures, Opie style. Their reactions were priceless and fantastic.

Although one lesson learned... kids don't really get the whole picture of a gift thing. We ordered a swing set and it will get here TOMORROW... so we printed a picture of it and put it in a box. They were mostly confused, even after we explained that it would be here tomorrow. Fortunately though Santa had us covered. He left a note saying he heard about the swing set not getting there in time and wanted the kids to have something to play on outside.... so he left them a trampoline in the backyard!! And it is a real wonder he was able to put that thing together all by himself, in the dark, after 11:00. Mrs. Clause was in no state to help in her given condition, and so she slept away while poor Santa worked alone, after assembling a couple bikes, a tool bench and a kitchen. That Santa is some guy, I tell ya. And their reactions were just amazing. Squeals and laughter and of course hopping on and lots of jumping.

Some other favorite gifts are Calico Critter families and houses for the girls. Cars, cars and more cars for Nathan. Abigail got Olivia a gumball machine, that you have to actually put money in to get the gum. Olivia thinks this is the most amazing thing ever and loves it. I never realized how LOUD gum is when it is rocking around a plastic gumball machine.

Now it's time to start a delicious Christmas Dinner. Feeling so blessed. I really don't want this day to end! Tomorrow Aaron is back to work, after a week off, and the kids will be on a post Christmas let down, and there is so much cleaning to do! Let's not think about all that yet.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My baby boy is 2!

I seriously love this little boy so much. Like so much. He makes me laugh every day, and he's so sweet, and watching him grow brings so much joy to my soul.

Some unique things about Nathan -- he is obsessed with fuzzy things. He can't say fuzzy, he says "bubby". And he will find any bubby and put it in his little fist and suck his thumb. He will seriously go and open the dryer and try to find some lint in the lint trap if he's needing a little somethin'. None of my other kids have seemed to have this kind of compulsion. Hopefully he will just grow out of it!

He loves to follow his sisters around and tries to play with them. A lot of times he just wants whatever they have and will pull their hair, or hit them to get it. But finally that is being replaced by them just all playing nicely together. Tonight they were all running around playing tag and even though he didn't get it, he just loved running with them.

Here are his first two years in pictures.






























Sunday, December 15, 2013

Confession: I forgot baby Jesus

We had our ward Christmas party on Friday night. The Relief Society was in charge of putting it together and I had the responsibility of bringing a doll for Baby Jesus, overseeing the photo booth, and helping make some salt dough for nativities we were making.

Well the day of the party I decided the photo booth definitely needed props. Originally it was just going to be pictures in front of a Christmas backdrop, but how fun is that? So I spent most of the day trying to put together cute props on sticks. With the help of my lovely three children this simple task only took about 3 hours. And I only burned myself twice with the hot glue gun. And I only swore at my printer for not communicating properly with my computer once. After all was said and done I was pretty please with my cute props, all hot glued on sticks because ya know that's the cool thing these days, right?

Then I emailed the play dough lady and asked if she needed me to make any more dough. She replied quickly that yes, indeed she did need about 4 more batches. So, again with the assistance of my lovely little helpers, cooking up some salt dough is just no problem. What could possibly go wrong with a 5, 4, and almost 2 year old and 4 cups of flour and water? Just use your imagination, and you will get a good picture of what my kitchen looked like by the end of mixing all that together. And of course they had to play with it to make sure it was good. And don't forget the paper scraps, glue mess, and cotton balls that were every where from the photo booth mess, that I didn't have time to clean up before starting the play dough.

And then I loaded it all into the car. The props. The costumes for the Nativity. The play dough. The kids. And then we left. Never once did it enter my mind that I was supposed to bring the doll to be Baby Jesus, like we had decided at the meeting a week ago.

We arrived at the party, and the person who was supposed to do the photo booth ended up not making it. So my props sat unused under the table.

And more people brought play dough than originally anticipated. So my play dough sat unused in a plastic bag on a chair.

And then it was time to get the kids ready for the Nativity. We quickly assigned parts and helped the children into their costumes. As I was helping Mary and Joseph into their costumes, I looked around for a doll. And then it dawned on me. I forgot baby Jesus!

I had spent so much time and energy on minor things that really ended up being of no importance, that I forgot the one most important thing. How can you have a nativity at a church without a baby Jesus? (Fortunately it all worked out. A new mom was willing to let us use her sweet new baby... plus there was a doll from the nursery, so yeah don't worry I didn't ruin the party.)

The metaphor is not lost on me. It is so easy to get caught up in all these things that really don't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Not just at Christmas time, but always. We find time to do whatever nonsensical thing that seems vitally important at the time (PHOTO BOOTH PROPS!), but do we take time to say our prayers? Or call our grandma? Or help our neighbor?

I realize I had plenty of excuses to forget the doll. And I'm not really beating myself up over it or anything. In fact my mother-in-law pointed out the symbolism to me, as I was explaining my frustration. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to write this little story down. I always strive to put Christ first in my life, but obviously I sometimes fall short. This story serves as a good reminder that those things that seem important at the time will often end up under the table, forgotten. But when we remember to do the truly important things, lives change. Differences are made that though they seem small and intangible, add up to great things.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Word Pictures

Abigail started this cute little dance class... and I forget about it every Friday until we have to rush out the door to barely make it on time. Usually with stuff that happens every week it's on my mind the night before, I wake up with a plan, and it goes rather smoothly. But for some reason I haven't gotten this class to stick in my head. I always forget! And today was her last class and they had a little recital. I was planning on going and running a bunch of errands this morning, and as I was slowly getting everyone ready for that, all of a sudden it dawned on.. DANCE CLASS!  It was 9:20, dance class starts at 10, and is about 15 minutes away. Just enough time to brush hair, find shoes, and put on dance costume, and run out the door like a crazy lady.

So I completely forgot the camera, and my phone wouldn't take pictures. So for my memory's sake, she was adorable. She had on her pink Sleeping beauty dress from Halloween. I braided her hair. And she was distracted and playing with her little wand thing more than actual dancing. But it was so cute. Then the teacher let Olivia and Nathan join them for a freeze dance. It was adorable.

Abigail can't do a flip. She wants to so badly, it's hilarious and cute. She kept trying, but only getting half way there then falling over. When I asked her if she wanted me to sign her up for the next course of dance class she said yes, because she still doesn't know how to do a flip! I thought it was sweet she didn't want to give up until she mastered the somersault. She's got rolling down though.

I'm not sure if we will do the next session because this baby is due right when it starts, and if I can barely remember to bring her NOW, I don't even want to know what life is going to be like in a few weeks! Plus she's starting softball and preschool in January. I guess we'll have to work on the flips on our own time.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Week of Compassion

So I set out to try to develop more compassion this week.

Honestly, I feel like I have been LESS compassionate the more I try. I have screamed more at my kids this week than probably any other in their lives. Why does that happen? I have prayed for compassion, and have been studying the scriptures and the internet to learn more about compassion. And I've tried to do some acts of compassion every day.

I have learned a lot about compassion. Let's start with the definition. The literal definition, broken down from Latin. "To suffer with", "co-suffer". That surprised me. Further into the definition and you learn it's empathy in action.

I was able to witness a beautiful example of compassion between my sweet daughters. We went to McDonald's for dinner before the Water Tower Lighting. On the way to the lighting, Abigail dropped her little McDonald's toy out the window. Both girls begged me to please stop so they could get the toy. Well for one, we were running late and Olivia was going to perform, and two, it was a pretty busy road and didn't particularly think the 50 cent toy was worth risking our lives for. So I told them no, which led to much crying. And I was surprised to see Olivia was also crying. Genuinely heartbroken for her sister's loss. She reached over and tried to hug Abigail, and then said, "Here Abigail, it's okay. You can have my toy."

That to me is the perfect example of compassion. Genuinely feeling someone's suffering, to the point where it moves you to action. Compassion makes you do things.

There was a lot of information from Hindu scripture and philosophers. They have three separate types of compassion. I liked thinking about each one and how they all work together.  

Three most common terms are daya, karuna,and anukampa.

Daya -  as the virtuous desire to mitigate the sorrow and difficulties of others by putting forth whatever effort necessary. Daya (compassion) is not kripa (pity) in Hinduism, or feeling sorry for the sufferer, because that is marred with condescension; compassion is feeling one with the sufferer. Compassion is the basis for ahimsa, a core virtue in Hindu philosophy.

Karuna, another word for compassion in Hindu philosophy, means placing one's mind in other's favor, thereby seeking to understand the other from their perspective.

Anukampa, yet another word for compassion, refers to one's state after one has observed and understood the pain and suffering in other. 

And now this is a real essay, since I just plagiarized Wikipedia. At least let me cite my source, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion.

Another thing that came to my mind was compassion in my marriage. And particularly this thought keeps swirling around in my mind, "Compassion, not competition". How easy it is to compare our days and our situations and get into this passive aggressive argument about who has it worse. We both end up feeling unappreciated, and angry. I mean, I deal with THREE children who make no sense! They throw fits about english muffins, and poop on stuff! I am pregnant! Isn't that like the ultimate trump card? Like no matter what you had to deal with today, at least no one was kicking your ribs FROM THE INSIDE! But if I take time to think about how hard it has to be to be on your feet for 10 straight hours, deal with coworkers who aren't getting along, and get yelled by angry people who are mad at you for nothing you did... I can feel compassion. I mean, yes I clean a lot of poop, and deal with a lot of nonsense, but really I can put on the tv and plop myself in front of the computer for a little while every day. I get blessed nap time, where I can do whatever I want for at least an hour or two. But I'm getting back into competition mode. It's not about how easy or hard my day is. It's about feeling what my husband is feeling. Being sensitive to what he's saying and thinking about how he feels. It doesn't matter what happened to me that day. Compassion is about the other person. Understand them, and serving them.

Compassion for my children... I think this is the area I need the most help. I keep in touch with a friend, Ashley from NJ (well we met in NJ, not that she's from NJ, but whatever this information is not important) via facebook and our blogs. She frequently mentions in her writing how hard it must be to be a little kid. How hard it must be to do all that growing, and to not have words for your emotions, and just how truly hard it is to grow up! I can tell she genuinely feels compassion for her children when they are tired, or grumpy, or even throwing a fit. I rarely ever think about how it feels to be 4. If I do, I'm usually thinking it must be pretty nice! Ya know, how we look back at childhood and how carefree it was. Well of course 4 year olds are not worrying about how to pay the bills, but they do have concerns and fears that are very real to them. Losing that McDonald's toy to Abigail, was like the equivalent of me losing my wallet, or something else valuable. Their little bodies and minds are going through so much. I'm sure it is stressful for them. I need to be better about putting myself in their minds, and thinking about how it feels to be that age.

Of course I was doing this to help grow closer to the Savior and that I can say has truly happened. I mean is there a greater example of "co-suffering" than the Atonement? Although I really can't completely wrap my mind around it, I know that somehow He knows me. And He knows my heart, and my suffering. And I know he's felt it. And He didn't just feel it, but He did something about it. He went let Himself be beaten and nailed to a cross and suffered a horrible death, so that I might live. So that the Plan of Salvation could move forward, and we could all return to live with our Father in heaven again. One thing I have never completely understood is why it had to happen that way. I am still not completely sure I get it. How does Christ dying help me? Why did the plan have to involve this sacrifice? Why can't repentance happen without it? I can still say sorry and try harder to be better. Why isn't that enough? I don't really have answers to these questions, but I have faith. I have faith that for whatever reason that was the Plan and the only way. And so I am grateful someone was willing to be that sacrifice. Someone who was the only option because he was the only Begotten. I am grateful for Christ's example of compassion, when he suffered in Gethsemane and then was crucified, for me.

No one has asked me to go that far in my compassion. All I need to do is see those around me and reach out and help however I can.

Peaceful.

Yesterday's post was pretty whiny. I need to balance that.

Abigail came into our room at 4:00AM because she "had a bad dweam, and couldn't stop finking about it". So she ended up in our bed. Which really doesn't bother us, because she is the best little bed sharer. She is still as a statue and out like a light. And she'll let you cuddle her, which she never does during the day. So truth be told, even though it's becoming more of a habit (as in about once a week, almost) I truly don't mind.

Except today I couldn't fall back to sleep. My throat hurts, and I'm uncomfortable, and my mind just started going with things I needed to do. After trying to settle my mind, and find a comfortable position for over 40 minutes, I finally decided to just get up.

It's amazing how peaceful the world is at 4:45AM. At least my world.

A dog begins barking next door to us, every single night around bed time. It just started this week, but it's been every single night since, probably last Saturday or maybe longer. I get my kids into bed, I make myself my bath, which has also become a habit, and as soon as I lay there ready to relax, without fail this dumb dog starts barking his head off. The noise just never stops! I started crying the other night because I just wanted silence. To hear absolutely nothing for 10 minutes! Oh that just sounded like heaven. And this dog continues to bark until well after I have fallen asleep. Sometimes there's a few minutes of a break, but it's almost nonstop.  But right now... there is no dog barking. There are no children talking/whining/crying/fighting/yelling. There are no airplanes. No ice cream man music. No television. The soft hum of my refrigerator, and the occasional sound of our heat kicking on. Blissful, I tell you!

So I have a minute to update you on my compassion week.

I think I will give it it's own post.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How am I supposed to have patience for this??

Olivia literally just threw an all out fit, crying and screaming because it's called an "English Muffin".

"IT'S NOT EVEN A MUFFIN!" She wailed.

I sent her to her room to cry about it, because... seriously?!

My patience is very thin these days and I hate it. Nathan wants to watch videos of trains and garbage trucks all day long on YouTube. If I even think about sitting down near the computer, he hops up on the chair and points and says, "Choochoos!" And then doesn't leave me alone until we watch some choochoos. The only way I'm writing this right now is because he is distracted by his one other love.. playing in the sink. I wouldn't even mind the choochoos so much if it wasn't for the fact that after watching it for about 20 seconds he clicks on another video. And then another. And another. Never completely finishing an entire 2 minute clip. Why that drives me insane, I don't know, but it does.

We have entered the stage of pregnancy where I don't even think about how often the tv is on. Or how many fruit snacks have been consumed. Or how many times I have screamed, "STOP IT!" at the top of my lungs. I swear no one listens until I am a screaming lunatic.

And I'm tired. But I can never sleep. Well that's not true. I feel like if I could lay down in my bed right now, I'd be out like a light. But as soon as it's night time, and the kids are actually all asleep and the house is cleaned up... I am wide awake.

35 weeks tomorrow. Imagine if I had this baby early? Another 3 weeks of pregnancy sounds SO much better than 6. Perhaps it will be a Christmas miracle!




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Thoughts While I Can't Sleep

     In church on Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on a Christ centered Christmas. It touched me and I left the meeting with a desire to really try to focus on Christ this holiday season, and not get too caught up in all the stresses of decorations, presents, parties, etc. Of course there has to be some of that, but in my heart I tried to think of ways we could draw closer to our Savior, while also enjoying all the fun of the season. 
       So yesterday we set out to Home Depot to get a Christmas Tree and lights for our house, and a Nativity to put in the front yard as part of the Christmas decorations. We found the trees, we found the lights, but could not find a nativity. I asked an employee, who was working in their seasonal department where I could find a nativity. She stared at me blankly, then said, "I'm sorry this is going to sound stupid, but what's that?" I thought maybe she didn't hear me correctly. "A Nativity...." She replied, "Yeah, I don't know what that is." So I explained, "Ya know, like statues of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus."  "Oh alright, alright, here ya go." She said as she led me to a box that contained a beautiful nativity to put under a tree. I asked if there was one that could go outside. She said, "I'm pretty sure you could put this outside and it would be fine." Well gee lady, I'm sure I could, but the figures were about 12 inches, and it wasn't exactly what I had in mind!
         I looked around at the holiday displays and was getting angrier and angrier. I mean they had a pig with a Santa hat! A peacock! Any cartoon character from Spongebob to Big Bird! But no where could I find a baby Jesus!
        Now I understand many people who aren't Christian celebrate Christmas just because it's fun. I also understand that you can trace all these holidays we Christians celebrate back to some pagan holiday, and Christ wasn't even really born in December if you look at history and blah blah blah.  But it makes my heart sad that more people than not feel this way about Christmas. It makes me think about how they kicked prayer out of schools, and mentioning religion in anyway is "offensive" and people make a big stink about it. And now we're kicking Jesus out of his own holiday, and replacing him with Spongebob. 
        I don't know. I feel like reserving a month of the year to focus on the greatest gift the world was ever given is a great thing. And I can't change the world and direction things seem to be going. But I can do what I can in my life and for my family to try to make this time more about the Savior and less about pigs in Santa hats.
        Step one was teaching my children what the word Nativity meant. Just in case they ever end up Home Depot employees some day!
        Step two ... I decided personally I'm going to try to work on developing more Christ like attributes. Each week I'm picking a different attribute and focusing on building that throughout the week. This week's attribute is compassion. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanksgiving

I went through heck to get my girls matching outfits for Thanksgiving and I didn't even get a picture of them together!! We went up to Mesa for a quick visit for Thanksgiving. Wednesday night we went out to dinner with most of Aaron's siblings and parents. It was delicious and fun. Then on Thanksgiving we went to Great Grandpa Opie's. The kids had a BLAST which was so fun to see. Love knowing they are making awesome memories and I get to just sit and talk to other adults. I spent the day feeling so grateful for all these blessings, and even though kids require so much energy, they really do bring so much joy.









Abigail's Birthday

This cute girl turned 4.. oh you know like a month ago. I posted about it a bit, but here are some pictures from her fun party in Mesa, and her presents at our house on her actual birthday.

Pinanta Aftermath ... Having a Nov. 1st Birthday = great use of Halloween Candy!

Singing Happy Birthday



Thank you Aunt Becky for the awesome cake! Abigail asked for a chocolate cake with M&M's on it. I'd say Becky nailed it.




She asked me for a cake that was really a giant cookie. I made this cookie cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting... SOOOO good!

And Nathan showing me his hand. While not wearing pants. Just because.