Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Day of Our Life

Good heavens!  Time passes so quickly.  This coming summer will be FIVE years since we moved into this house.  I am shocked.  I really cannot believe that I will turn 35 this summer.  That isn't that old and I am not at all horrified of getting older.  It is more just disbelief that it's actually happening.  How did I end up with six children?  Obviously I bore each of them, but our days are full of activity from the moment we wake up until we go to bed.  It's not all work, and certainly not unpleasant, but there are no dull moments.

Writing on this blog is good for me for many reasons, and one of them is that it makes me stop and reflect and think about what I hope to remember about my child rearing years.  I am afraid if I don't record things, my memories will be gone because I was so busy living.  Tonight I will be making note of what everyone was up to today.  It was a very average day, so here is "a day of our life":

Betsy-- Taught six piano lessons (I am a human metronome). Dressed the three younger kids and demanded that they keep their clothes (including shoes and socks) on all day.  Cannon succeeded only because he couldn't untie his double knotted shoes laces, and Faith failed miserably.  Made sure all four kids practiced their instruments, especially their recital songs for our upcoming piano recital.  Failed to get dinner prepared in a timely manner because we are running low on groceries so I picked up a bag of Arby's roast beef sandwiches.  Drove carpool to get Elinor and her friend to Tae Kwon Do.  My library card is of much more value to me than my debit card.  Just finished reading Flyboys

Abe--  Worked all day to bring home the bacon.  Picked up milk and Elinor from Tae Kwon Do on his way home from work.

Clark-- He is in a Lego mode right now.  He has set up Lego land in the family room with baby gates to guard against Georgie.  He gets his school work done everyday without any urging (Hallelujah!).  Is working feverishly to memorize his recital song (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing).  Is making red and green sugar crystals for Faith's Christmas present.  He insists on remaining in his basement room to sleep rather than retreating to the warmth of an upstairs shared bedroom with the little boys.  His best friend is Taylor.  Basketball practice starts tomorrow night.

Bethany-- Played beautifully in a Christmas violin recital tonight.  Her teacher made Bethany's evening by specifically calling after the recital and saying how well she played.  She got her ballet costume last night and put it on and showed me her dance.  I told her I quite like her how she is right now and she doesn't need to grow any older.  She is intent on defying my wishes.   She reads a lot.  Her piano recital song is all ready to go. Did finish her school work.  Played with Rachel and Kara this afternoon.

Elinor-- Happily went to Tae Kwon Do. Played with Enoch this afternoon.  Does not want to clean her room.  Happily practiced her recital song (O Holy Night). Makes a mean batch of cornbread muffins.  Can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up-- an artist, a scientist, or a chef.  Is campaigning for president of a cousin's club up in Spokane, WA. Wants a bird really bad for Christmas- "Particularly a cockatoo, but a parakeet would be okay".  She is enjoying doing Legos with Clark.

Faith-- She practiced her gymnastics a lot this evening.  Is always the first to volunteer to do her piano practicing.  Her friend Lois came over to play today.  Stays up way too late at night with the big kids.  She cannot wait for it to be Christmas day.

Cannon-- Struggles to eat normal food with the family.  Had a slight allergic reaction to lotion recently.   Covets Clark's Legos.  Is always the first child awake in the morning.  Drew all over his face during church on Sunday-- I was on the stand to play the organ when Clark and Bethany looked at me in alarm.  Clark took him out and cleaned him up.  Since there was nothing I could do, it was very funny.

George-- He is sick and has been for a few days, but I think he is finally bad enough that I really do need to take him to the doctor.  Climbs up on all the chairs and the table.  He has 2 months before he can go to nursery.  (Hip, hip, hooray!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Here Comes Christmas

Cannon was ecstatic to have the honor of placing the star on the tree.
The kids completely took over the job of decorating the Christmas tree.  Good thing I don't have even a trace of OCD.
Grandma Barbara gives each of the kids their own Christmas ornament each year.  It was so delightful listening to the kids as they pulled out each ornament and squealed and oo-ed and ah-ed remembering each year.   
Here's a memory I will treasure in years to come.  We went to Temple Square this evening and my men joyfully sported their Santa hats.
Bethany and Elinor had arms linked throughout the evening.  They decided on the drive down, "to be really nice to each other tonight".  Ahh, music to my mommy ears. 
Side note:  A No-Friend week will work wonders for sibling relationships.
 We've never gone downtown this early in the season before and although the weather was great, it was very crowded. 

We visited the Church History Museum before seeing the lights.  They have such a great children's exhibit.  The girls enjoyed dressing up.
Cannon and Faith did a little fishing as well.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, and I feel I have thoroughly enjoyed the season, I am ready to enjoy the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Highlights 2011

Making cutie little turkeys with 9 little helpers.  They turned out as well as possible!
Long distance cousins getting to dress up and play for hours on end.
Cousins who had a whole lot less conflict than they did last year!
Getting to talk for hours with my sister while we puttered around the kitchen getting the Thanksgiving meal ready. 
Later on in the afternoon the menfolk watched the babyfolk so Brig and I could do some yoga together.
Creating the PERFECT dinner rolls. 
We aimed to eat at 1:00.  And I don't want to brag or anything, but we said the prayer at 1:03.  It was one of my finest cooking moments.
I will not have to cook for at least the next 3 days. 
Cannon didn't actually eat any Thanksgiving dinner.  But he did go around picking the candy corns out of everyone's candy turkeys.
Playing a card game after dinner.  We three outlaw girls ganged up on sheriff Abe.
Heading downtown to swim at Little America-- the hotel where Brig and Dev are staying.
Enjoying the blessings of family.
It was a wonderfully enjoyable, uncomplicated, stress free Thanksgiving.  I am now ready to turn my attention to the next holiday-- now that Thanksgiving is done.  

And may I just end by getting on my soap box and declaring it is shameful and despicable that so many stores are opening for shopping on Thanksgiving Day. 
THANKSGIVING DAY, people!  Come on!  It is a day to celebrate what we're thankful for-- not a day to think about all the other things we want to get.  Grrr. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In anticipation of Thanksgiving Day tomorrow here is my list of 100 things (in no particular order) I am thankful for.

1.  My husband- Abraham 
2.  My children--Clark, Bethany, Elinor, Tessa, Faith, Cannon, George
3.  Jesus Christ
4.  Good friends for my children
5.  My piano students
6.  Good books to read
7.  Good health for my family and me
8.  Functioning cars
9.  Freedom to home school my children
10.  Clean sheets
11.  Lots of new socks for all my people
12.  Christmas lights
13.  Christmas music
14.  Netflix
15.  My red chair
16.  Time to exercise in the morning
17.  Scriptures
18.  A wonderful ward family
19.  Loving, forgiving in-laws
20.  My sister
21.  Pumpkin pie
22.  Book club friends
23.  Foot rubs from Abe
24.  My piano
25.  Kisses from Georgie
26.  Aunt Allison
27.  Grandma Barbara
28.  English period dramas
29.  My calling at church- Primary president
30.  A functioning washer and dryer
31.  Children who sleep through the night
32.  My furnace
33.  My water heater
34.  Friends from high school
35.  Friends from college
36.  Blogging
37.  Sister- in-laws to learn from
38.  Movie theater popcorn
39.  A very comfortable bed
40.  Rocky Mountain Chocolate's chocolate caramel apples
41.  Dates with Abe
42.  Weekly waste management services
43.  The right to vote
44.  The library
45.  Nice neighbors
46.  My cottonwood tree
47.  Changing seasons
48.  My crockpot
49.  Dove Dark Chocolate--even though I have cut back
50.  Cannon's curly hair
51.  No sign of braces in my children's future
52.  A house that comfortably suites my family
53.  A friend to walk with in the morning
54.  Mentors for my children
55.  Faith's ability to find anything in the house
56.  Listening to my children play music
57.  Math-U-See curriculum
58.  Make-up
59.  My computer
60.  Good hair genes
61.  Deals-to-Meals
62.  Deseret Industries
63.  Temples
64.  My mom
65.  Cannon has calmed down lately
66.  Elinor loving Tae Kwon Do
67.  My wheat grinder
68.  My Bosch mixer
69.  Vicks Vapo Rub
70.  Watching Faith do gymnastics
71.  Spending Thanksgiving with my sister's family
72.  Nice family pictures
73.  Showtunes Saturday Night on KOSY 106.5
75.  My closet has stayed clean for 3 months
76.  Toothpaste
77.  My Aunts and Uncles
78.  Holiday traditions
79.  Reading aloud to my children
80.  The prophet
81.  Bunk beds
82.  A handwritten cookbook from my mom
83.  The postal service
84.  Legos
85.  A family tradition of military service
86.  Watching Bethany dance ballet
87.  Contact lenses
88.  Abe's job
89.  Grandpa Cannon taking my kids fishing
90.  Book Club kids
91.  Primary songs
92.  Living in Utah
93.  My whole family is coming to Utah for Christmas
94.  My double oven
95.  My vacuum cleaner
96.  Aveeno lotion
97.  Hand-me-down clothes for my younger children
98.  A big kitchen table
99.  Pillows
100.  I get to go to bed now

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Isn't It About Time

I am a mother.  It is what I do all day.  It is my job.

And in my line of work, TIME is my stock-in-trade.  Time is what I have to work with to mother my children. Like everyone else, I get 24 hours a day to invest where I see fit. 

Here are a few of the places I choose to allot my time:
Sleeping, eating, cooking, laundry, school work with kids, house cleaning, family reading aloud, fulfilling church callings, blogging, spending time with Abe, talking with children, snuggling little ones, changing diapers, bathing children, grocery shopping, exercising, talking with friends, trips to the library, personal reading, disciplining children, doing girls' hair, attending book clubs, teaching piano lessons, planning birthday parties, clothing my people, reminding children to practice.

I could go on, but you probably get the idea.  I have way more things to do than I can possibly actually accomplish at the same time.  I like to imagine that everything sits on a vertical conveyer belt.  Eventually every important thing will make it's way to the top of the conveyer belt and then I'll get to it. No need to panic, every needful thing will get taken care of.  It might just have to wait a little while. 

Just as someone can overextend themselves financially and have more obligations to meet than they have money to go around, I'm afraid I may be overextended with my time.  Some things are taking a lot longer to make it to the top of the conveyer belt.  Cleaning my bathrooms, for example.  Bathing my children does not happen quite as frequently as I would like it too.  I would love to have more time for reading, more time with friends, more time to devote to my calling, a cleaner house, neatly folded and put away laundry. 

I think I am in Mom Debt.  I have been putting off several "mom bills" for too long.  Most of them have to do with cleaning and organizing my house.  I need to spend some of my time putting things back in order.  But you see, it's not like I've been sitting on my bon-bon eating bon-bons all day.  I am busy working all day.  I feel like I am investing my 24 hours very wisely.  But I just don't seem to be able to keep up with the desired pace of my conveyer belt.

Which leads me to the question-- Is that actually a problem?

It feels uncomfortable to me-- that is, it feels uncomfortable to me to not be able to get done everything I'd like to when I want to.  But I am an optimist.  I feel very sure that I am doing the things God would have me do right now.  That being the case, I feel confident that if I work hard, with his help, I will be able to accomplish every needful thing in a reasonable time frame.  Also, I'm a big believer in continually working at a hard thing and then that thing becoming an easy thing.  Figuring out how to manage all of my time obligations is something I believe I can get better at.  I am okay to struggle for a while at times with the discomfort of not having everything under control, while I stretch myself in order to get stronger and wiser.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Save the Leaves

We have a big beautiful cottonwood tree in our front yard.  I have told you before how much I love this tree.  In the summer it is so full and lush with green leaves.  A child can hide in that tree and I could not find them if they didn't want to be found.  And then, glorious Autumn arrives and all those beautiful leaves turn brown and yellow and they blanket my front yard. 
I love to walk across my crunchy leaves.  It is such a satisfying sound.  That sound signifies the coming of good things-- Thanksgiving and Christmas.  More than anything I love to hear children running around in leaves and watch them gather great armfuls of leaves to throw at each other.
Nobody gets hurt when they wrestle each other to the ground because there is a layer of cushion-ey, crunchy leaves.
But sometimes the wind blows my leaves.  I should think everyone would be thrilled to share in my joy of leaves.

But they are not.

I don't understand why everyone is in such a hurry to remove and dispose of such fabulous, free, and natural fall decor.  I know that they ought not to stay covering the lawn all winter, as it would be bad for the grass.  But why bother raking until all the leaves are off the trees?  Why can't we all enjoy the look and sound of leaves for a while?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A snap shot of Faith.
She is 5. 
She goes to gymnastics twice a week and then stands on her head at home for several hours each day.
She can still find anything for anyone anywhere in the house.  She has a gift.
She likes to play games on the computer, but doesn't get to very often because she has three older siblings.  On this particular evening the older siblings were all away from home so it was her chance.
We just got out the bin of bigger sized clothes for Cannon that used to be Clark's.  Faith immediately laid claim to the Finding Nemo jammies. 
She is diligently practicing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" for her upcoming piano recital.
She is most definitely not the squeaky wheel of this house.  For which I am exceedingly grateful today.

This week was our younger kids' book club.  We read The Door in the Wall, in which the main character learns to whittle.  We had thirteen 8-11 year olds, so whittling of actual wood was not an option.  We carved soap instead.  This proved to be the cleanest, but at the same time, the messiest of any book club activities we've attempted.  However, this is a really charming and cooperative group of kids, so it worked out just fine.
But even messier than that many kids carving soap at my kitchen table was Clark and Taylor making the scones for our snack.  Messy, but very yummy.  Not at all healthy, but very yummy.
Generally speaking, the boys and girls of this age group MUST stay segregated.  I like that Elinor has never heard of that rule.  She is usually happily situated amongst the boys.
She is so refreshing.
Georgie loves, loves, loves it when lots of kids come over to play.  The kids took to the front yard to play games at the end of book club.  He was thrilled with the leaves.
It does my heart good to see children of all ages playing together and bigger kids happily helping with younger kids.  How healthy for both sides.
The kids started playing a game called "Ninja Destruction".  I'd never seen this one before but it was so funny to watch them.  They take turns trying to touch each other with fast ninja moves.
It involved some imposing ninja poses.
And some not so imposing poses.
These kids look like they are having so much fun playing all these games they have.  I want to have a birthday party for myself this year and invite all my adult friends over for night games at a park!  Why should the kids get to have all the fun?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This One is For Me

There are times when I have several ideas for blog posts that I can't wait to sit down and write about.   I have more ideas than I have time to write.

And then there are times like right now.  I desperately want to write, because I enjoy it so much, but I don't feel like I have much to say.  At times like this I find it best to just start writing.  A stream of consciousness, if you will.  Sometimes I write for Grandmas and Grandpas.  Sometimes for my friends, or for my children to read someday.  Tonight, I write for me.

Today was our Primary Sacrament Meeting at church.  This is the one week of the year that the Primary children present a program of what they've learned about this year.  They each have a speaking part at the microphone and they sing about 8 songs.  As the Primary president it was my responsibility to write the program and make sure it all ran smoothly.  And I am extremely happy to report that it went very well.  The children sang out nice and loud, nobody had stage fright, there were no tears, and no one threw up.  Success!  I enjoy this calling so much.   I love the kids and we have wonderful teachers and music leaders.  I have been the Primary president for almost 3 years, and I don't know how much longer I will have the calling.  But I think it will be a very sad day for me when it is time to move on.

Cannon seems to have turned a corner lately in his behavior.  He has seriously calmed down.  He is bordering on a reasonable human being!  I voluntarily and happily took him to the library yesterday with no stroller.  I let him walk on his own two feet and look for books of interest to him.  He didn't pull down stacks of books.  He didn't yell and scream like a madman.  I think we've made it to the end of the tunnel of his more challenging baby and toddler days.  Oh, happy day!  Perhaps he has been gradually improving, but I think I was rather traumatized for a while and so I couldn't notice it.  He really is quite charming and loving lately.  Tonight he told Abe, "Dad, You're my best Dad ever!"  He has stopped wreaking havoc with Clark's Lego creations.   Clark frequently tells me how much he loves Cannon and how glad he is that we had him.  Nice for a mom to hear things like that.

Elinor has had her staples removed from her head.  In hindsight, I really should have taken her to the Insta-care rather than the emergency room, but I saw blood and I panicked.  We haven't seen the bill yet and consequently I live in fear of my mailbox.  Blah.

Over the past 2 weeks the kids had gotten rather behind on quite a bit of school work, but we pulled a late night the other night to get caught up on things.  The evening reminded me of when I was in the 4th grade and got behind in some school work.  I remember crying to my parents about how hard it was and how "I was never going to get it all done and I couldn't do it!"
Funny to now be on the other side of it and to realize that it was no harder for me to have to do the work than for my parents to sit with me and insist that it be done.  I didn't enjoy the evening of catch-up any more than the kids did.

Operation: Get in Shape Girl is still in full swing.  I am working hard exercising 6 days a week.  I am probably driving my family a little crazy.  I think Abe is getting tired of my updates, but I am quite enjoying myself.  It is remarkable how quickly you can gain strength and improve your fitness.  I feel so much stronger in just the last couple of months of focused exercise.  I don't know that I look that much different yet, but I feel great.  I look forward to my time to exercise and really enjoy the stability of mind those lovely endorphins provide.

As I mentioned before, George is now walking.  He has been kind of sick lately with a cold, which I believe is contributing to his already picky appetite.  But he is pretty much living on bananas, cheese sticks, and spagettios.  I figure there could be worse combinations.

Now that the weather has turned cold and will remain cold for the next 800 months, I found we were having a major sock shortage.  Where did all the socks go?  They were here in the house in May, but by October I could only match about 6 pair of kid socks.  That lasts for about a day.  I broke down yesterday and stocked up on stockings.

Ha, ha, ha!  Stocked up on stockings.  I like that.
Anyway.  Socks are not cheap.  But the girls have been reveling in how soft and comfortable their new socks are.  Ahhh- so easily pleased.

Well, this post is even worse than I anticipated.  I hoped that once I got writing I might have something profound to say.  Needless to say-- I don't.  Oh, well.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

King George

 Georgie learned how to walk tonight!!!!
He is a little over 15 months old, so it is time.  Although we've had a few babies walk several months later than that.  We're feeling like he's on the quick side!
We were all in the family room when he took his first steps.  The whole family burst out in cheering and applause for him.  He loved it and joined in the clapping for himself.  What a delightful family memory of all of us cheering him on.
Here is some of it that Abe video-ed.  I understand that this clip might not be thrilling to everyone and be warned there are several squealing girls involved.

George is a very happy little guy these days.
We love him so much!
And what is not to love with that big grin?  I think he may inherit his daddy's cheerful demeanor and enthusiasm for life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We Need a Plan

I had a glorious night's sleep last night and woke up with the realization that besides one baptism I needed to attend, I had nothing on the calendar.  In fact, nobody had anything on the docket.  A free Saturday.   How lovely. 

No, wait.  This will not be lovely.

A day with absolutely nothing going on, no obligations to be anywhere would be lovely for Abe and me.  I can think of lots of projects I would do with such a block of free time.  But the kids were not going to be content to play quietly and feed themselves while I did those projects.  The kids will trash the house, eat masses of Halloween candy, and fight, and whine.  We needed a plan.   Because of football and soccer games that took up several hours of every Saturday this Fall, it had been a while since we needed to come up with our own plan for a Saturday.  I was a little nervous-- but it turned out to be a fabulous, freezing cold, fall day.
The first snowfall of the season.  It wasn't terribly impressive, but combined with Christmas music now playing on the radio, it did set the stage for the upcoming holidays!!
We went down to the Monte L. Bean museum at BYU.  We love this museum for several reasons, but what keeps us returning so frequently is that it is free. 
I was very happy for Georgie, Cannon, and Faith to get to go to the museum.  This museum never fails to impress big kids and little kids, alike.
Bethany and Elinor took copious notes throughout the museum.  How scholarly of them.
While we were in Utah County we stopped in to visit Abe's brother's family.  Philip and Katie live in Orem and they treated us to a BBQ.  There is something empowering about having a BBQ on the first snowfall day of the season.  It's like you are saying, summer and nice weather might be over, but we're still going to have a good time and enjoy life.  Take that, Old Man Winter!
The last event of our plan today was a friend late night for everybody.  The kids each called a couple of friends and they seem to have all had a fun night. 
The 8 year-old sect is particularly giggly, but darling.
Clark put on a reptile show for a very interested audience.  Can he get a job at the Bean Museum?
The bigger girls made a treat for the younger girls.
I think the boys just tried to stay away from the masses of girls. 
And as it turned out, by having a big group of kids keeping each other entertained, I was able to do some of my projects after all.