Sunday, June 26, 2011

Peter vs. The Big Hill

Friday was the Ward Campout.  Since we don't camp we just went up for the evening, went home to sleep, and went back up for breakfast in the morning.  The kids had tons of fun.  Jim and I not so much since we spent the evening chasing Peter and Jacob.

The big event of the evening was Peter losing the battle with the big hill.  The big kids were all trekking up the hillside.  It was steep and had no real path but that didn't stop them.  Peter did not want to miss out on the fun so he followed.  Jim stayed at the bottom and kept calling after Peter for him to come back. Being 3 years old he did not listen.  Peter kept going higher and higher.  Eventually he did decide to turn around but he wanted to run down - it didn't go well.  He ended up sliding on his face for a bit and getting nice and scratched up.

As I have thought about the incident I couldn't help but notice how much I act like Peter at times.   I am bound and determined to do something that I know I shouldn't.  Once I finally decide to listen and turn around it doesn't exactly go smoothly - more often than not I stumble and fall.  

Take for instance the other night.  I was trying to teach Allison how to sweep the floor.  I allowed her stubbornness to get under my skin.  I know better than that.  Once I get frustrated with a child I have a hard time being rational and end up loosing my temper big time - this was no exception.  As soon as she started to give me grief it was as if I stood at the bottom of the hill. Instead of walking away I plowed on up - big mistake. I should have explained the task one more time and walked away and asked Jim to finish up with her but no.... By the time I realized how bad the situation was I was way up the hill.  I turned around but it was too late and I fell big time.  It was not pretty. The simple task of teaching her how to sweep the floor became a total disaster.  I was yelling, she was crying and Jim was watching in awe of the horrible mess I had made. 

I really need to learn to listen to the advice I give my children and not go up the big hill.

Loaded Questions

After over 15 years of marriage Jim has gotten quite good at dealing with loaded questions.  Tonight it was -

"Is my butt really this big?"  As I held up a pair of jean shorts.

He replied very diplomatically that "No - see the fabric wraps around your body so your pants look much larger flat than your body is in reality"

I couldn't help but laugh.  He says he loves me even though I ask him loaded questions.

Sadly I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  These are really my jeans and my butt fills them so it must be rather large.

It is past time to diet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Old Clothes = New Clothes

I purchased new shorts for the boys a few weeks ago and yet Andrew still is wearing his shorts that are way too small for him.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and take away the shorts that I don't want him to wear any longer - problem solved.  Now he has no choice but to wear the new shorts.  SIDE NOTE - As it turns out Tim had claimed all the new longer shorts for himself so Andrew didn't have anything but the old shorts to wear.  I have fixed that.

Now that I was looking at a pile of 4 pairs of big boy shorts I got to thinking (never a good thing) that Peter needs new shorts.  With a family of 6 kids someone is always out growing their clothes.  While the big boys shorts would be way too big for Peter it still gave me an idea.

I turned Andrew's out grown shorts into great shorts for Peter.  An hour or so later I have 4 pairs of little boys shorts that have plenty of growing room.  I will post a full tutorial of how I did it later.  It was way easy.

I love the satisfaction that being thrifty gives me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Holding Hands at Bedtime

Bedtime with the little boys is an adventure.  They sleep in the back end of our very large masterbedroom closet but it is a closet afterall so their beds are pretty close together.  At first it worked great but as they have gotten more accustomed to sleeping in the same space (I can't exactly call it a room) they have gotten more crazy.  

Jim or I always sit with them until they go to sleep but there is still the throwing of blankets, the talking to each other or even better the intentional rolling out of bed by Peter quickly followed by the taking of Jacobs pacifier - that one never goes over well.

In an effort to keep them more under control we now sit between their beds and read the scriptures to them until they are asleep.  Peter and I often hold hands while I read.  It is the sweetest thing.  If he is holding my hand he can't be too wiggly.  It works like a charm and Peter doesn't feel like he is being contained.  Jacob will stand up and ask to hold my hand - it never last very long but nor does he feel left out.

When I open my scriptures Peter asks me to "Read Jesus Mom".  I love that he is learning at such a young age that the scriptures teach about Christ.  If I stop reading before he is asleep he is sad and asks to have more scriptures read to him.  I honestly think I could read just about anything to them but it is a great way for me to be sure that I am reading my scriptures every day.  I have never read from the scriptures for as long each day or as consistently as I am doing now.  I love it when my children provide the catalyst for me to do better.

When the older four kids were little we read to them as they went to bed too.  They have gotten a little too old for that now.  Some nights when they are talking and carrying on I think maybe we need to do it again to keep them calm and quiet.  Somehow I don't think that Tim or Andrew would be too fond of me holding their hands as they went to sleep.  It might work as a threat.  I can hear it now - "Boys if you don't stop wrestling and go to sleep I am going to come in there and hold your hands while I read to you"  I think the silence would be deafening.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sounds of Dad making Pancakes

I am sick today.  Really really sick.  Stomach troubles, head ache, all over body aches, dizzy, chills - it is not pretty.

I didn't have anything quick to fix for breakfast for the kids (out of bread and out of cereal) so I managed to mix together the pancake batter and Jim cooked them.  He has very little experience cooking not that he wouldn't try I just don't let him.

Here are a few things that came out of his motuth as he cooked -

oh no
that one is too big
is that done yet?
the center is undercooked - what do I do?
with a healthy springkling of sighs and moans

I have decided that if I want to start my day with a little humor I need to ask Jim to make pancakes.  He really did a great job.  What that man wouldn't do for me - including vacuuming.  He is teaching our sons well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Books + Food = Happiness

Jim loves books.  I think his love for me comes close to his love for books.  I know that if he had to choose me or the books it would be me but ....  The anguish would be intense. 

We had the opportunity to go out on a date today.  We had a late lunch/early dinner and then we went to the library.  Being with Jim in an environment surrounded with books always makes me happy.  Jim is not the only book lover in this relationship.  I love books as well I just don't manage to find/make as much time for reading books as he does.  We often complain to each other that there are so many books to read and so little time.   We spent a lot of our early dating years browsing used books stores so it makes me feel a bit nostalgic and young again to be with Jim in book heavy surroundings

I love watching him browse books.  He gets lost in the pages as he decides if a particular book is going to be worth his time.  I on the otherhand pick up books willy nilly and decide after I get home if I really want to read it.  If Jim takes the time to check out a book there is a 90% chance that he will read it.  When I check out a book there is only about a 20% or less chance that I will read it.

On today's trip to the libray Jim got 7 books and they are all about 300+ pages long.  To him that is a short book.  A book has to be in the 700-800 page range to be considered long.  He will probably have read most of them in the next 2 weeks.  That is not including the 3-4 books that he owns that he is trying to get through at any given time.  We go to the library so much that we pay for a Provo Library card because the Springville Library is lacking in book selection.

In addition to books we both love to eat.  Despite how full we were from our meal our date wasn't complete until we stopped for a treat at the Provo Bakery.  If you have never been you need to.  No donut, cookie, or pastry will ever be the same once you have tasted the best.

Food then  Books then More Food = One very happy couple.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chips Provide Natural Consequences

I love natural consequences - here is what happened:

I got the chips out to give the kids a snack and discovered that the can of BBQ Lay's Stax was almost gone when it should have been about half full. I asked Allison if she had snuck some last night while I was putting the little boys to bed. The guilt was evident on her face immediately.  With less than one serving of BBQ chips I asked who wanted it. Andrew and Allison both wanted it.Since Allison apparently had her serving last night I gave it to Andrew.You would have thought that Allison's world had come to an end with the weeping and wailing that erupted from her.  She seriously asked why she didn't get the last serving because she asked first - completely in denial of how her actions effected this situation.

The result of all this :

She was sad. Not so much about her choices - more about that fact that she didn't get the type of chip she wanted - I am working on that with her. I was thrilled that there was a perfect natural consequence to her actions. I find my job as a parent is easier when there are natural consequences.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pancakes are a Burden

Kathryn came down this morning and asks what is for breakfast.  Upon finding out that it was fresh hot pancakes she was sorely disappointed. 

 "Mom, why do we have pancakes for breakfast?  Why can't we have something else?"  It seems that no matter what I make I can't win.  If we have oatmeal Allison is unhappy.  If we have cream of wheat Andrew is unhappy.  If I make pancakes too many days in a row Kathryn is unhappy.  Depending on their mood the little boys will boycott breakfast (or any other meal for that matter).  I try to be a good mother and fix the kids a hot breakfast every day.  Not only is it better for them but it is way cheaper than cold cereal. 

As a kid it seems like we ate hot cereal every day for breakfast.  I know it wasn't quite that often but there wasn't a whole lot of variety.  I confess I do make pancakes a lot.  I can make them start to finish in about 15 min. Of all the breakfast choices the kids complain about pancakes the least.  But I think I better try for a little more variety or else my kids will whine later in life that all I ever made for breakfast was pancakes.  As if having pancakes every day is a burden.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sharing My Skills

I have a love hate relationship with my sewing machine due to the number of year I spent sewing for a living.  Even though we sold the business over 8 months ago I still sew very little.  It is not that I can't come up with projects to work on.  I tend to drag my feet doing any sewing for my family or home.  I just can't seem to make the time.  It is always at the bottom of my list.

This week I have had 3 sewing project to do for friends and have devoured each of them.  I have had so much fun.  None of them have been very time consuming - an average of 30 min each.  My favorite was to cut 7 pairs of little girls jeans into shorts for the summer.  It was so satisfying to see this cute stack of cuffed jean shorts all ready for summer fun finished on my sewing table.

I got a little carried away and made a skirt from the lower legs that I cut off for the little sister. My girls are getting too big to be excited about the things that I make them and there is just something adorable about small clothes.

For me it is sometimes more gratifying to serve people who don't live in my house.  I know that is a bad attitude but it is true.  I serve my family all day every day and it is nice to do something for friends occasionally.  It has been a real joy to share my skills with others this week.  It may have even awakened in me the desire to sew for my family.  The list of projects is already starting to form in my head and I am getting excited about doing it.

Oldest vs. Youngest

In the battle of wills against the oldest vs. the youngest the little ones always win. I love how Tim (my oldest) doesn't stand a chance to the wishes of his little brothers.  He is 13 and is all about being cool but when it comes to the little boys he is putty in their hands.  I love their relationship.  When Jacob (or Peter for that matter) is upset at me they will ask for Tim.  He occasionally complains about having to help with his two much younger siblings but I know that he finds satisfaction from helping them to be happy.

This is a perfect illustration of the power of a little brother to make Tim act silly.  He had so much fun playing with these silicone cake molds and making Jacob laugh.  It is really the simple things in life the bring me the greatest joys.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Daily Roller Coaster

I love roller coasters at amusement parks but I don't like them in my life and yet can't seem to avoid them. It seems like most days have their ups and downs.  The good things that happen and the bad things that happen.  I know it is all part of life and highly unavoidable but some days I would prefer smooth sailing. 

The high today was playing with my little boys.  I took photos of them while I tickled their little pudgy bellies.  I love their laughter.  It always makes me happy.

The low today was finding almost $200 less than expected in my bank account thanks to a stupid company.  I now have to deal with the hassle of disputing the charges and making do with less money than I thought.  ARGGGGG!

In the end no big deal really just part of the roller coaster of life.  I need to learn to not let the ups and downs effect me so much because at the end of the day it doesn't really matter.  Life is good and I treasure each day and the opportunity I have to learn and grow.  Some days I would just like fewer opportunities.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Allison was at a friend's house playing.  The friend's mom was mashing strawberries with a mashing tool by hand and mentioned how hard it was (it was the mother's first time making jam).  Allison mentioned that I always put the berries in the blender.  The mother took her advice.  I later got a phone call from this mother asking other questions.  I thought it was a little random that of all people in the neighborhood she would call me but I understood later after Allison filled me in on her mashing tip. 

 It struck me how much Allison knew about the making of jam.  I have had her help a few times but never in a "watch carefully because I am going to teach you" sort of way.  I underestimate how much my children learn by simply watching. 

I tend to shoo the kids out of the kitchen because I can't stand the extra bodies in my way.  But at the same time I want them to learn to cook.  I need to be better about letting them watch and participate in the preparation of meals.  So my goal for the week is to let each of the big kids help prepare one meal.  If they each help in the kitchen once a week they will gradually over time learn basic kitchen skills without it ever being a big production for me.  In theory it will work great.....but in reality......I don't know.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Love in the Temple

We went to the Temple last night.  It is one of my favorite things to do.  We try to go together as a couple once a month and then we each go on our own at least once more each month.  We go to the Temple so we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Provo, Utah Temple

Last night I was struck by the amount of love that is shown in the Temple.  I was able to sit next to an elderly mother and her daughter (who was not all that young herself).  The daughter leaned over to her mom a few times and expressed how happy she was to be there with her.  My favorite was hearing them express their love to each other.  It just melted my heart.  I also had the privileged of observing a handicapped sister and the joy she felt at being in the Temple.  The others near her tenderly cared for her needs in the most loving way possible.  Everywhere you turn you see couples holding hands. 

Then there is the love that is not seen but implied. I know that two of the sisters in attendance were there without their husbands but it is because of the love of their husbands that they were able to come by themselves while their husbands took care of the kids at home. Their husbands understand their needs to refuel spiritually (and to have a break from the children).  Love unseen but still present.

While we were there our children were at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  They were lovingly fed dinner, played with, and the little ones were comforted when sad. The love my parents express to me and my children each time we go to the Temple is heartwarming.  I appreciate their willingness to love and nurture our children while we are serving and showing our love to the Savior.

The Temple to me is many things but for me yesterday it was all about love.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Graham Crackers and Frosting

Simple food like this makes me a bit nostalgic.  As a kid my mom would make graham crackers spread with leftover frosting.  It is best the next day because the graham cracker gets a little soft but eaten immediately is almost as good.  It was always a good day when it showed up in our sack lunch. 

I made these today as a treat for our family outing.  The weather was beautiful so we decided to go to Bridal Veil Falls.  We parked at Nunns campground and walked on the trail to the waterfall and a ways beyond.  The kids loved seeing the roaring river.  We ended the outing playing on the playground.

 We also had plenty of tree climbing for the big kids.  

We were gone for all of 2.5 hours but the kids had a blast.