Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember what your parents said, James... Try looking at it another way!

Has anyone read the book "James and the Giant Peach?" It's one of my favorites. Remember the part where James is given the back of green, squiggly crocodile tongues and told that they are magic and he starts running with the bag and (if memory serves) he trips and rips the bag and the little green squiggly things fall all over the ground and they start to disappear into the ground and James is frantically trying to get them back but it's too late and pretty soon they are all gone. I remember that part. I remember feeling so sad for James who tried so hard to catch the magic but it was gone.

I feel like James trying to catch those squiggly green things.

My babies are growing up so fast. Emily is almost 16. She wants to drive and talks about college. My older boys are modest about dressing in front of me. They like privacy now. Cameron is starting Kindergarten in the fall. Genny took her first step on Tuesday. I don't want this magical time to be gone.

I am frantically trying to keep up with them. I am pleased and proud with every new step they take yet I become a bit sad too as they move from stage to stage and progress. I am amazed by how these two opposing feelings can both be present within my heart. Grieving over what I am losing and yet delight with what is gained.

James didn't know when he dropped that bag that something wonderful and magical was about to happen in his life. I can't see it yet either. But I know it's there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Well and what are you three dears up to? Up to? Up to? Up to?"

What we've been up to...

Emily received her Patriarchal Blessing last month. It was a wonderful experience hearing the words of the patriarch meant just for her in her life. I'm such a proud mom. She's swimming four days a week for the Bulldog Aquatic Club. It's hard work. She went to Mormon Prom with some friends and had a super great time. And she looked super beautiful. She wore one of Anna's formal dresses from high school. It looked amazing on her.

Christopher swam for West this season. He did great and now he is running on the track team. Running isn't his favorite sport, but he's doing it to get in shape for football season which is fast approaching. So far this school year he's played football, wrestled, swam and done track. What an athlete!

Calvin is playing baseball for the first time. We are finding out that he is super fast. I asked him if he liked baseball as much as football and he stole a look at Dad and whispered, "Maybe." He must really love baseball!

After 3 years of struggling with reading, we have finally discovered the root of Spencer's problem. He has several defects in his eyes. He sees 20/20 but his tracking and convergence are not right. We have had preliminary tests run on him and he goes for further testing and therapy at the end of the month. The therapy should really fix the problem that he has. I am so grateful to a observant teacher and reading specialist for figuring this out.

Cameron, Lizzie and Genny are usually just along for the ride. In the mornings, we do chores together. Ok...Mom does chores and they make more messes. Then we play and watch TV and go to the park and have fun.

We had a very nice Easter spent at Chris' mom's house. On Easter Sunday, I really wanted a nice picture of all the kids in their nice clothes. On the way home from church, I spotted a forsythia bush in an out of the way location and I pulled over because I wanted to take their photo in front of it. Chris and I drove separate that morning and I didn't have my cell phone for some reason so we sat on the side of the road and waited for Chris to drive by and then we would honk and hopefully he would pull over. My plan worked, even though he thought we were a little crazy honking and waving our arms at him. We got the kids out to take the picture and then I realized that Lizzie had been given chocolate candy in nursery for Easter and she decided to be a good sister and share it with Genny. Genny loved the treat very much. It was her first taste of chocolate. She had it all over her face, dress, hair...everywhere. And I was out of wipes. I told Calvin to lick her off. He gave me a weird face but did it. She was mostly clean except for the dress. It doesn't really show too bad in the photos.

My day gets so busy around 2:15. I have to pick up preschoolers and high schoolers and get them home. I drive girls to swimming. I have kids coming home at various times on the bus. I have to pick up from track and go to track meets and baseball games and wherever else. I spend alot of time in the car after 2:15. Usually I don't mind. Some days, it really gets to me. I love Tuesday because there is no preschool and Emily gets a ride to and from swimming. I don't usually have to leave the house until 5:00 to pick up Christopher from track. Tuesday is my favorite day. I love going to playgroup with the babies (Cam, Liz and Gen are the babies) on Thursday. I've noticed lately that I don't fit in to any particular group of women. I'm not just a mom of older kids. I'm not just a toddler mom. I have a wide variety of ages in my house and I don't feel like there are many women out there who are having similar experiences as I am. If they are, I'd like to hear about them!!

I've read some good books lately that I can recommend. Anything by Gary D. Schmidt. "Okay For Now," was my favorite. I read, "The Hunger Games," and loved it and the subsequent books in the series. I don't recommend, "The Stand," by Stephen King. And I don't know if I recommend, "The Handmaids Tale" by Margaret Atwood. It was weird.

We have done some moving of kids and offices in our house. Chris had his office in the basement toy room. I laugh even typing that sentence. You can imagine how much work he got done in the toy room office. Not too much. We toyed with many solutions but finally decided to move his office to his mother's basement where his dad used to have an office. It worked perfectly. All his stuff went over there and he has a nice, quiet place to work and think.

When he took his stuff out of the toy room, we put up an Expedit. This is the boys dresser now with bins for all of their clothes. Chris and I installed a closet bar for their shirts. It's a great walk in closet/toy room. The bunk beds have been ordered and as soon as we get them up, we will disassemble their room upstairs. They will have a nice little mancave in the basement complete with TV, Wii, Xbox and leather reclining couch. They have a bathroom, too. It's a great set up for them. Emily will be moving into their old bedroom on the first floor. We need to paint it and repair some wall dings first. Lizzie is going to have Emily's old room and Genny will be on her own too. All the girls get their own rooms. This really gave us more life out of our tiny little house. If and when we have another baby, we have space for him/her now too. That is not an announcement!!

Anna and I are going to plant our garden this week. She's been growing seeds in her house for a month and they need to go into the ground!

This is reading like a traditional Christmas letter. Sorry about that. Just wanted to keep my faithful readers informed on our lives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's my porcelain Udder Buddy

My house has cut-out hearts and I don't care.

I'm confessing it to the world.

Any of you who have been to my house already know it but I need the rest of the world to know.

Why the need for this confession? A few years ago, I went to a RS conference and took a decorating class. The teacher, who was extremely well-meaning, had a list of decorating don'ts. I'm fairly certain that my house broke each rule. It was an eye-opening experience for me. It was the first time that I realized that my house decorations are out-of-date. I started to feel really mad at the teacher. And terribly embarrassed by what was in my house.

I came home from the event and walked around my house. I looked from one wooden shelf with cut-out hearts (Don't #1) to another. I looked at hunter green and country blue (Don't). I looked at out-dated rafia (don't) and needlepoint and hats and wreaths. And I felt bad about my stuff.

I decided I would make some decorating changes. I started with my bathroom. In the bathroom for decorations, I have a hat hanging on the wall. I have some painted hearts hanging on two ribbons, one gray and one blue. And a tiny wooden shelf with a blue heart on it. I took down the hat. And the hearts. And the shelf.

I put the stuff on my bed and went back into the bathroom. I tried to imagine what else I could put on the walls in place of the things I had taken down. I stared at my treasures hastily tossed on the bed. I felt the tears welling in my eyes and I hurried to lovingly place my things back where they belonged. The hat, made by Anna at Girl Scouts, given to me as a gift from my sweet sister. It had to go back up. The painted hearts hanging on two ribbons. I chose the ribbons for my mom. She bought the hearts somewhere. Probably ordered them from a Home Interiors catalog because when she got them she was too weak to go out. She sent me to the store with my dad and told me to pick out a ribbon to go with the hearts. Something that would go with the blue in the hearts but also the gray of the bathroom trim. I stood in the store in front of the ribbons for a long time. I didn't know which color to buy. So I bought blue and gray. I took them to her and she declared them perfect and put them together with the hearts and hung them on the bathroom wall. The shelf was made by my grandpa and painted by hand by my aunts. Taking these things down, for me, was like taking the people they represented right out of my life.

The things on my walls and in my home represent love. The needlepoint design on my wall that my mom did. Her fingers touched that thread. Part of her is in that picture. The picture cut out from the Ensign of Emma Smith playing with her children that Chris gave to me because he said it reminded him of me with our children. It's framed and hanging over my desk reminding me of the good that I do each day. The artwork that my children and my sister have done over the years is placed around. A shelf full of Wades collected for me by my dad. Framed art from Carol, each picture she chose has special meaning for me. Hansen Statues and Willow Tree mothers (headed and headless) mingle with dollar store "Mom" plaques. Things I had in my room as a child, things from our first apartment, things that were my grandmother's...I could go on and on.

In my mind I am walking around each room in my home and I am seeing everything I have as decoration and everything has a special meaning for me. Taking it down is like taking down a piece of me. And to what end? So my house is updated? I don't care. It's my house. It's my home where I want to sit and feel the safety and love it affords me each day.

So come on over and look at my stuff. I welcome you with open arms. And cut-out hearts.
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