Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's going on

These four kids looked super cute as we were leaving for church a couple of weeks ago, and we were actually running a bit early so I made them sit for a picture. This is the best I could get.

This is just a quick update for myself for future reference!

Olivia is 6 and about to start first grade next week. Right now she's obsessed with Mario Kart on the Wii-U. It's funny and since we're in the final days of summer vacation I'm letting her live it up. She is really excited for school to start. She doesn't want to take the bus this year, I'm going to drive her and I hope that once she meets some friends she'll want to take the bus and save me from the pick up/drop off line! But I'll be happy to spend the time with her. It feels like she's growing up so fast.

Abigail - 4 years old. Also obsessed with Mario Kart, but I think just because she wants to play with Olivia. She is just Abigail. Sweet, quick to listen, but the laziest of the bunch! When there is a job to do you, you will usually find Abigail hiding somewhere. Or, every once in a while she surprises us all and is the hardest worker. She'll be starting preschool three days a week, the week after next. I am sure she's going to love it. I'm going to miss her! And it's going to be a little crazy driving back and forth all of the time. I'm hoping I'll meet another mom who wants to carpool! But I'm looking forward to the mornings she's at preschool because Eliza will nap, and it will just be me and Nathan!

Nathan - 2.5  He's a funny little guy. He loves to make us laugh, and it's not hard because I laugh at just about everything he says. He's always surprising me with words he knows. He's finally completely potty trained, including naps and overnight! He can also be the biggest grump you've ever seen. A little black rain cloud, really.

Eliza - 6 months. She crawls. She still falls over when she's sitting up for a minute or so. She babbles nonstop. She eats everything in sight. Even things that were out of sight! She loves fruit and veggies. I just give her little pieces of whatever we're eating and she loves it. She sleeps about 12 hours every night. And she has two teeth.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The best way to spend Sacrament Meeting

Today this little cutie needed a nap during church. Lucky for me there aren't too many other nursing moms so I usually have the whole Mother's Lounge to myself. Comfy chair. Sleeping baby. No other kids. Able to hear the talks via some little black boom box. Heavenly. So of course I'm sitting there listening and think, "Hm, I should take a selfie." Don't judge. These moments are so fleeting I just wanted to capture it.

So do you want to know the secrets of my heart? I really don't have many secrets, I'm kind of over-sharer. But here's something you may not know. I feel like in my heart of hearts there is another little baby who just can't wait to be part of this family. Like, I keep telling myself, "NO! It is way too soon, you are nuts if you get pregnant right now." But then myself says things like, "It's not like it's going to get any easier." And then I had this thought that I don't think was really myself, but just that on ultrasound it looked like Eliza had a twin at one point. And from the moment I knew I was pregnant I had this feeling that it was twins. Specifically boy/girl twins. And I keep feeling like this little boy, who didn't get to be Eliza's twin can't wait to be with her again. And then I think that sounds crazy, unless you're Mormon and are super into Saturday's Warrior. Then you're like, "HAVE A BABY! WHY DIDN'T YOU KEEP YOUR PROMISE JIMMY!?"

So I keep praying and thinking about it. I guess if he's going to be the fifth baby in 7 years he better get used to having to wait and learn to be patient with me.

So yeah that's my secret. I have four kids and I want one more. And I still worry a lot about what people think about me. And I know a lot of people think that having that many kids is irresponsible. Or selfish. Or just plain crazy. And sometimes I think that is the biggest thing holding me back. Plus other stupid things. Like I have literally had the thought, "Well the Bravermans had four kids, and those siblings are like the closest siblings I've ever seen, and I want my kids to have that kind of relationship so I should have four kids." YES, the BRAVERMANS. As in, the family from Parenthood. As in a fictional, made up, not real family. So what's crazier? Basing my decision on cheesy mormon movies or NBC soap operas?

And I do worry that my kids don't get enough attention from me. That I'm too worn out from having so many kids that I can't be the best mother I could be if I had less kids. One thing I do not worry about is not having enough money for them. Not because we are so super rich, but because I think people are far more important than things. I don't know anyone who would have rather had more toys than a sibling. Ya know. But maybe I don't think long term. I know once they get older things get a lot more expensive. And then there's college, and weddings and missions.

So is this too personal to share with the world? Sorry. Just thinking outloud. And I'll probably regret it as soon as I hit post.

So let's change the topic...
Unrelated, - Nathan is two and a half now, and poop is the funniest thing in the world to him. Every joke involves poop. I guess we entered this stage that will last the rest of his life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An early morning moment with this girl

The cutest thing ever lately has been Olivia's obsession with this children' bible. She found it when we were cleaning out a closet. She has been slowly coming along in her reading, but hasn't really wanted to do things that are too hard. She doesn't like making mistakes and if she can't do it perfectly, she'd rather not do it. So it's been slow and steady with her reading. And it's funny to me that this is the first book she's pushed herself to read. It is actually pretty long, and has some difficult words, I'd say probably 2nd - 3rd grade level. And she is pushing herself, and sounding things out, and so excited about it. You can kind of see it in her eyes in this picture.
She even wanted to bring it to camp with her today. But I wouldn't let her, mostly because when she is reading it she is leaving everyone else alone, and it's quiet, and I'd like to save that goodness for home thank you very much. 
Every time she finishes another page she marvels over how many pages she's read. And then she looks at how much further she has to go, and thumbs through the pages. And I can just see it. She's falling in love with reading and that makes my heart happy.
Also it has the story of Moses' birth and how his mom put him in a basket and sent him down the river, and the Pharaoh's daughter found him. It ended it there. So I said, "Hey want to hear something really neat that they left out?" She said of course. SoI told her about how Moses' mother got to be his wet nurse. Since I've nursed all her siblings she's well aware of breastfeeding and all that. So when I explained how it worked back then, she literally jumped off the couch and screamed excitedly. She went on and on, "Wow!! She was probably like, oh I'm so sad I'm never going to see my son again!! Wah wah wah... and then poof she got to hold her baby AND FEED HIM! And she was probably like, Moses is that really you? I can't believe it." 
And that made my heart happy.

It's been happy times around here lately. Let's hold on to this feeling.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I liked this.

At church on Sunday someone gave a talk with this quote from Max Lucado,

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?

Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?” 

This has been on my mind lately. I think my relationships already matter the most now. At least I say they do. I feel like they do. But what do my actions show?

When I am around people am I engaging in conversations? Or is my mind elsewhere? I think about calling my brother and sister, but how often do I actually call them? I want to make new friends and get to know people, but it's a lot easier to just stay in my little bubble.

So I'm trying to not just think about creating these relationships, but actually working on them. We can let life happen, or we can make life happen. If you just let life happen, you will look back and wish you did more to grow and develop those relationships. I don't want to let that happen. I want to make people a priority. 

During this season of my life it is difficult. I am busy with the most important relationship I can build, and that is the one with my children. Something we've done as a family that I think might be the one thing I've done right is come up with a family mission statement. It sounds super cheesy, and if my family ever told me we were going to have a family mission, I would undoubtedly laughed in their faces... well when I was a teenager. Which is why I'm glad we started this when they are 5, and think everything is awesome.  Our family mission statement is simple, but it says more than what's on the surface. 

It's a scripture from 3rd John. 

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

And then we defined what truth is for our family. Our truth is, Loving One Another. Our truth is not having any secrets. Our truth is working hard and playing nice. Our truth is repenting. Our truth is respecting people, places and things. Our truth is picking each other up.

These are all things the kids helped come up with. They have ownership of it. And just when I was at my wit's end thinking this was all for naught I overheard a conversation between Olivia and Abigail. Well, it was after 8:30 and they should have been sleeping. But I heard talking and I was about to go in there and bark at them to be quiet and go to sleep. But instead I stopped outside their door and listened. Olivia was praying (I could tell by her voice, it was totally her prayer voice) and she was thanking God for sending her to a good family, and for everything she has. And then she said amen, and then she recited our family mission statement. And then she asked Abigail, "Abigail, how did you walk in truth today?" And they had this cute little conversation. Of course Abigail said something about being good or loving God or something and Olivia was correcting her and telling her, No tell me something like RESPECT! Or something like that. Anyway then the last thing I heard was Olivia say, "And I'm adding another truth, SLEEP!" And then it was quiet. And with my hand still on the doorknob, tears just streamed down my cheeks. This moment was so precious to me. Even though they scream, argue, and drive me absolutely bonkers, they are good. They are so good. And they are mine. And I'm doing my best, and hey, hearing a moment like that makes me feel like I'm not doing too shabby. And that was humbling. And I start too many sentences with "and". My 9th grade English teacher would have none of this. Sorry Mrs. Ensor! 

I'm rambling now because I'm tired, but I like the sound of my fingers clanking away on this keyboard. And words are coming that I think I will like to read again in a few years. 

But yeah, relationships. What is more important? So if we are friends, I'd like to be better friends. And if we aren't friends at all, I would like to be your friend. And if we are family, we should talk more, and talk about more important stuff. And if you're my husband, I love you and our relationship is the most important in my life. I hope we never get to a point in our life where anything is more important than our relationship.

And now I'm really rambling and it's almost tomorrow, and kids will be yelling and screaming and crying because they don't know about how important relationships are yet, and how damaging it can be to bite each other and pull each others hair, so I better get some rest so I can teach them all about it in the morning.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Physical Pain Of Motherhood

So almost everyone knows about the pain of childbirth. We talk about that all the time. But we don't talk much about the pain that follows for the next... 6ish years?  I'm not talking about postpartum cramps, or healing episiotomies.

No, I'm talking about the hair pulling. The biting. The especially painful nipple biting, if you're breastfeeding. The accidental stabbing in the eye with a popsicle stick. The feet that once kicked your ribs from the inside, can cause equal pain by kicking you from the outside as you try to force them into a car seat.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who suffers from these injuries every single freaking day. I don't think my kids are especially violent, and we don't tolerate hitting, or kicking or punching, or biting. But they are kids. And they are learning. Although if you've been in my house you might notice I don't mind lots of physical play with my kids. Ya know, airplane, piggy back rides, and just the general mom jungle gym every time I sit on the floor. And, yes sometimes we even play fight. I should probably learn to just stop these things because someone almost always gets hurt.

Then there's the baby. She's pretty innocent, but those nails will claw your face off. And there may only be one tooth in her mouth but it's razor sharp and can do serious damage when she decides to clamp down. She also has an uncanny way to reach up and grab those tiny hairs on the back of my neck and rip them out.

The toddler, who can at least apologize after he slaps you across the face with Mater-shaped brass knuckles, still manages to inflict injury almost daily. Although no where near as often as the baby. But he still doesn't quite understand where his body ends and mine begins. Giving him a cuddle at night has often ended with his head hitting my chin as he jumped up unexpectedly. Any mother can tell you how wonderful an uppercut to the jaw from a toddler's head feels.

The older two have finally learned somewhat to control their bodies. But I'd be lying if I said it's been years since Olivia caused me physical pain. Although usually it comes from her trying to help and accidentally closing my finger in the van door.

The pain of motherhood certainly begins during pregnancy, but definitely doesn't end with childbirth. It's all very physically taxing. Although I have heard that little kids step on your toes, but big kids step on your heart. And that sounds a lot more painful. So I'll enjoy them, and continue to endure the hair pulling, nipple biting, and eye stabbing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Funny things lately

Olivia, out of the blue walks into my room and asks, "Why doesn't any days of the week start with a 'P'?"
My funny, potty humor comeback was, "I thought every day started with pee." Bahaha..

And darnit every other thing that was in my head when I sat down at the computer has now left my brain.

Although as I type this Olivia is telling me about a website that she sees commercials for every day. "Mom, every day I watch TV I see a commercial for You should check that out."

Abigail's nightmares are as horrifying as ever. Last night she had a bad dream where she fell under a bridge and saw a troll. She described the troll like, "It had crazy purple hair. And a big nose. (Normal so far, right?) And swampy feet... with blood on them. And blood on its hands. And skin on its teeth. And blood dripping from its mouth. And he was looking at something, but then he saw me and he turned real quick and looked at me and was angry." And as I'm writing this she told me "Don't forget it had red glowing eyes." Creepiest troll ever. I swear this child has never been through any traumatic experiences, but I think a child psychologist would argue with me. At least once a day this child mentions death, blood, etc. I thought it was just the age, or a stage but she has been obsessed with death since she could talk, basically.

Nathan likes to argue and sometimes it's really cute (most of the time it's frustrating as heck). It's cute when I tell him he's cute and he replies, "No YOU'RE cute!"

I really need to start writing things down as they are said because my memory stinks!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

As Seen On my Morning Run

This is Yuma:

Yes we have stores and other things that small towns have, but we also have fields. Acres and acres of fields. It's one of my favorite things about Yuma. I love watching the fields turn from dirt to little green sprouts, to rows and rows of recognizable lettuce, and wheat... and some not so recognizable other random plants.

I'm also grateful my baby woke me up at 5:00am this morning because I was able to go for an actual outdoor run before it got too hot. I could have snuggled her and fallen back to sleep, but I always regret it if I try to sneak in a couple more hours of sleep. I never regret getting out of bed and going for a run.

I had these deep thoughts while running the other day. This is my only chance to have a mortal body. One day, and who knows when, I will no longer be able to go for a run, ride a bike, hike a mountain, swim in the ocean, etc, etc. What an awful feeling it would be to no longer have this body, and feel like I wasted my only opportunity to really see what it was capable of. What if I died, and the only thing I ever really did was use my body for my own gratification, like eating Oreo's and laying around mindlessly watching tv, etc.  I don't want to get to the end of my life feeling like I've never really lived. I want to live every moment, not just pass the time! And so for some reason that to me equates to doing Yoga, training to run a half marathon, and basically just trying to carpe the crap out of every diem I'm given.

So yes those were my deep thoughts at 5:30 this morning. Now trying to live it, while also raising four small kids who try my patience every minute of the day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Three Daughters

Look at these girls!

It is overwhelming to me that I have been trusted to raise these three beautiful little women.

I used to think raising a baby was hard. But I've learned it really doesn't get easier. In fact I kind of prefer the, "Just keep them alive - while they are trying to kill themselves" stage, to raising children who will soon be teenagers and you have to teach them about life, and you're constantly worried you are screwing them up stage.

I do enjoy it. It is amazing when they do these cute little things that make you realize you are doing something right. And not being needed for every single moment of their day is nice too. The moment a child can get out of bed and go to the bathroom and put themselves back to bed, is a game changer. And when that same child can wake up in the morning, turn on the tv, and make themselves a bowl of cereal... well Mom gets to enjoy freedom she hasn't seen in 6.5 years. There's also the plus side of having cheap labor. Although any parent can tell you, getting a child to do a simple task like putting away their clothes is ten thousand times harder than just doing it yourself. But of course you can't. Because no one wants to raise entitled, bratty children who never learned how to work. So instead of just doing it yourself, you nag, bribe, cajole, bend over backwards, to get your kids to do their chores. I am lucky though. There are times when Olivia randomly decides she's going to clean the toy closet. Or clean her whole room. Or do the dishes... all on her own. Of course these times usually coincide with bed time, but I am okay with that. If you're not tired, I always have a job for you.

Anyway I'm just rambling and not sure where I'm going with these thoughts. Aaron has been working a lot. We had Emily stay with us for a couple of weeks. Then we went to the family reunion in Heber, which was so much fun. Now we have less than a month until school starts, and since we've already spent countless hours with cousins, swimming, playing, hiking, I'm kind of okay with spending the next three weeks with video games and tv.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A post for my mom!

Pretty sure my mom is the only one still checking this blog... I have been busy and occupying myself with a million other things, that when I do have free time I don't think to blog. I also don't have the running thoughts in my head on what a great story this would be for my blog like I did at one point in my life. Funny things have happened and my kids have said hilarious things, but again I don't really remember them! I need to start writing it down as it happens.

Let's see what to write about... I'll check my phone for pictures to remind me of what life has been all about lately.

I try to wake up and run/walk at least 3 mornings a week. Every once in a while these munchkins are up super early so they join me, so we can get some fresh air before it gets unbearably hot.

This girl loves food. So far she's had peas and sweet potatoes. Definitely prefers sweet potatoes! That bottom picture is after I nursed her, then she downed an entire jar of sweet potatoes and was ready for a nice food coma.

I got my hair and I kind of love it. Aaron's Aunt Teresa is The Best. She seriously is amazing.

We had a really, really fun week up in Mesa where we got to spend a lot of time with cousins. We went to this awesome park and the kids had a blast.

This girl. She is so funny. I wish I could remember some of the hilarious things she's said lately but my mind is drawing a blank. She is the sweetest thing, and then out of no where will say these really dark things... like while playing video games, "I"m going to crush your soul and burn your heart!" ... o.O  Should I be worried? I'm not. I'm pretty sure she does it because we can't help but crack up. Maybe if she wasn't the sweetest child in the world I'd be worried, but it's Abigail.

Nathan has had a huge fear of his room and the dark and bad guys lately. Yeah bed time's been fun. And if this blog isn't already full of enough reasons for you to know what an imperfect mom I am, let me tell ya... last night the only thing that finally got him to go to sleep was to tell him if he went to sleep and slept all night without crying and screaming, I'd give him a dollar for the ice cream man in the morning. I am PAYING my child to sleep! There is definitely something wrong with this. But it worked, so I'll probably do it again.

Olivia had a random bout of puking last week. That was great. And I think the lack of our normal routine and all this traveling, and I honestly don't know what... but she has been a pretty whiny little stinker lately. Trying my best to be patient and figure out what she needs, but I'm kind of sort of, definitely counting down the days until August 4th.

Aaron has been working a ton. Lots of over time the past few weeks, and we miss him a lot. We feel so blessed though. It's crazy to see where we were this time last year compared to now. So glad all our sacrifice and hard work is now paying off.

And I've been working out and reading, and just trying to make myself a better person all around. Turning 30 in 3 months is doing things to my brain. I wouldn't call it a crisis, but I might be freaking out a little bit.