Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I was being his mom.

I wasn't really sure what I do when Xander started acting inappropriate in the ward Primary Program today. Everyone was laughing and giggling at how irreverent he was being. I kept hoping a teacher would step in and remind him how he needs to show reverence.

I kept saying to Chay "I'm going up there and taking him out, this is wrong and he needs to learn this isn't right."

Chay didn't want me to make a scene but um...our son was already doing that. He was being very distracting.

Kenzie and Julia started to sing a duet at the microphone and Xander stepped up next to them and started singing just gibberish on the microphone and messing up the whole song!

Many of the parents were just laughing and didn't seem to care that their children and my child were being irreverent. I know it's hard when children are restless but it still doesn't make it right. I am so understanding when children act out and a parent feels hopeless about what to do...but to do nothing and be perfectly okay with it??? um, I don't know.

Well, I do know. I walked right up there and grabbed Xander by the hand and walked him right out of the chapel with a "very fast pace". I sat Xander down on the ground and told him firmly that he was acting inappropriately and very irreverent in Heavenly Father's chapel. I told him it was wrong and that we need to show respect and be quiet so others can hear the program. I told him God loved him no matter what but we can show Him love by being reverent in his house. I was upset and Xander knew it and he should. His eyes filled up with tears. He was so sad.

Was I being too hard on him? I was being his mom, right? I then told Xander we had to go back up to the program and finish so he could say his part. He was starting to act out again and so I had to hold him the entire time and sit with him.

I was pretty sure that most of the ward thought I was over reacting and I needed to relax a little. I felt like parenting needed to take place so my child can learn what is right and what isn't. Especially a 4 year old who is completely capable of understanding what it means to be still and quiet. I went up to some leaders and apologized with Xander for his behavior and they just laughed and said, "oh no worries, he's a hoot!"

I said, "No, it's not appropriate and the way he acted was wrong." I totally caught them off guard and they gave me shock face. They even made me feel like I was too harsh.

As I was walking out of the chapel the Stake Primary President stopped me and said, "I just want you to know that I wish about 7 other parents would have corrected their child's behavior today and that what you did was right. It is so important that our children learn reverence. You did the right thing and you were an example to your ward today."

So, now is the time to figure this naughty boy business out- Xander can be so sweet and kind but man was he a stinker today...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My trip home part 2- Lookout Pass

When I was young and adventurous I drove across the nation and back to pursue a job that I was really horrible at. I only lasted a month and half at the job and although I regret that decision to a degree, I will never forget the landscapes I drove through and the experiences I had in that short little while. From Washington to New Jersey and back again. When I was driving back from New Jersey and I was on my final 100 mile leg to being finally home, I hit Eastern Montana and the top of Northern Idaho on I-90. It was all too familiar since it's a stretch of freeway I've been on many times coming home from Rexburg and Utah throughout my life. Can I tell you that nothing compares to this beauty! The East Coast was gorgeous but there is just something very calm, hidden, underpopulated, majestic, open, green, untouched, and grandeur about Northern Idaho's Panhandle National Forrest. I cried like a baby when I drove home across the country and hit this particular place- granted I was strung out on energy drinks, I had been alone for 3 days, my car broke down in Wisconsin, I had to stay with a random scary family while my car was being fixed, I left Chay in New Jersey, my mom's health was a total mess, and I hadn't slept well in over a week- but other than those things being a contributing factor to my unstable emotions- I cried like a baby when I drove through I-90's beautiful stretch from Montana to Coeur d' alene Idaho. It is home.

So last week when I was driving through I decided to pull over and take a picture of Lookout Pass- the highest point of the National Forrest. It was beautiful because there were clouds sitting on the mountain side, a soft drizzle of rain, the deciduous trees full of fall color mixed with evergreens. I wanted to capture it at least one time with my camera- since usually we pass through there going 70+ miles per hour.

Lookout is really gorgeous and huge- a big valley engulfed with pine trees. This place means to me that home is near. I love it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My big trip home. Part 1

So I went on a trip with my kids.

Without Chay. We were in the car 21 hours total. Hell.

So, the first day I failed as a mom big time and I lost my cool several times and I even broke down in tears in front of my kids because they were fighting so much.

After making sure they know they are dirty rotten stink bombs for ruining my life I then revert to always assuming it's my fault for their behavior and I keep trying to figure out what I can do different.

Before we left on the trip, I made a specific attempt to make the travels fun. I bought fun books, brand new markers, crayons, new small toys, bingo, and traveling games. I gave each child a bag for all their traveling stuff. It was all organized and perfect.

It lasted 20 minutes.

The complaining, pinching. fighting began and I could hardly stand it. Let's just say, I didn't use "soft voice" and I was the biggest hypocrite in the world as I yelled at my kids to be quiet and get along for 4 hours.

So at midway point to Coeur d alene, Idaho we stopped for the night in beautiful Salmon, Idaho. I was exhausted and worn out and so was little Sammy. The kids were wired and jumped from bed to bed in our hotel room. I had to practically force them to bath and shower- but once they got in the tub they were happy and somewhat cooperative. I forgot to pack underwear for me and Xander. Lovely. Xander ended up wearing a pair of Julia's panties. Unfortunately her panties didn't work for me. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even pass my calves.

All of my good mommy resources were emptied and dried out and I just needed them to go to sleep so I could somewhat function the next day. They were rambunctious and crazy- and although I usually play off of their craziness- I just wasn't feeling it that night. I threatened them with their life and eventually the three fell asleep. I had to push their bed against the wall and make them sleep sideways for a more comfortable night's sleep. Hotels freak me out and I always wonder when I move the bed I am going to find a cut off limb from a body some murderer tried to hide.

Sam decided to be playful and restless until 3 in the morning. He wasn't used to his sleeping arrangements. At home he is a champion sleeper but not this dreadful night. I finally put him on the floor with a blanket and ignored him. I didn't even care if he walked around the room, I just needed sleep. I woke up at 4 in the morning and saw he was crashed on the floor. It was not a good night for me nor Sam. But once daylight hit we were greeted with this beautiful surprise out our back deck of our hotel room. It put everyone in a great mood- for a little while anyway.

We woke up and ate a huge breakfast. The minute we packed and got in the car, the bickering started again. It made my blood boil. My kids don't fight with each other too often and so it was driving me crazy. They started teasing each other and blaming one another for lost crayons and markers. Their small toys and things would fall in between their booster seats and into cracks of the car seat or in other words, the dark abyss of nothingness to be lost forever. It was a nightmare.

So right in the middle of one of their fights I told everyone to get out of the car besides Sam of course. I told them they can't come with me and they needed stay at the hotel until I returned from my trip because of their bad choices. I got in my van and took off. I was livid. I went around the corner so they couldn't see me and I parked and waited for about 15 long long minutes. They just stood in the parking lot under a street light. It was Salmon, Idaho for one thing which is a really small safe town and I just needed to evaluate the situation and I even contemplated if I should just grab the kids and go home. I was a mess. I was so upset at everything. Why am I doing this? Why doesn't Chay come with me? Why am I being so selfish? Why can't I be a better mother and get my act together? Why don't my children listen to me? Where did I go wrong?

I turned around and went back to my kids. Tough Julia was sobbing in tears. Kenzie was holding on to Xander to comfort him. They were dead quiet when I pulled up to them. In total silence I rearranged the seats in the car, moved luggage around and separated everyone. They all got in the car and didn't say a word. They were convinced that I had left them at the hotel forever.

I then took them to the river walk area in Salmon and let them run like crazy. We crossed a bunch of bridges and walked in and out of beautiful fall trees along the river bank. It was gorgeous.

Let's just say the car ride to Coeur d alene was completely different. Don't know if I handled it right, but I loved the results. Possible therapy later?

The drive was absolutely stunning as we followed the winding Salmon river for many miles with pops of gold trees everywhere. It looked like a scene right out of a movie- old barns everywhere, run down fences, horses, the river, aspens, cottonwoods, maples on fire with color, huge pine tree covered mountains in the short distance- magical. I'm not kidding. It made the drive so worth it. It almost seemed fake- like a green screen. I just didn't know how to handle all the beauty I was seeing. If I didn't have a load full of children and I didn't have a schedule to meet, I think I would feel obligated to stop and just sit for awhile and stare forever. I wish I could have. I wish I would have snapped a ton of pictures because that is all one can do really.

It was kind of a sign of forgiveness for me. I just couldn't believe God gave this beautiful world to everyone, even people like me who spent the day before and the morning growling and yelling at their kids. I knew God loved me and all his children so much, despite all of our many weaknesses.

Here are some pictures of us walking around Salmon for an hour or so. I wish I could have more photography skills because this place is a photographer's dream. I do love my camera even though I don't use it to its potential. Maybe someday when I have more time to think straight I will take some classes. Beautiful Salmon and beautiful children- even though I wanted to strangle my beautiful children an hour earlier. I do love them dearly. I really do. That's why I care so much.

I like bridges. Can you tell?

I love this picture so much- explains my children's behavior quite well on the drive- Xander, sensitive. Kenzie, emotions all over the place. Julia, sneaky, tricky, cute, wearing my sweater. Sam, whiny and grouchy.

Kenzie is so photogenic it makes me sick. She looks good in every picture. She is so darling.

and then there is unpredictable-funny-witty-adorable JuJu

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Grateful to be 35

Tomorrow I turn 35. It's a beautiful age- beautiful because I am blessed with little ones, my marriage is strong going on 11 years, my testimony of the Gospel is solid, I seem to find joy in the small things, I see purpose and understand more of what God is doing with me- so many years it has taken to accomplish little steps of improvements. Everyone grows differently and some catch on faster than others. I'm pretty convinced I'm the slowest learner when it comes to life lessons. I just don't get it at first and then the Lord gives me all these experiences so I will hopefully learn. It's a slow process but I love my 35 year old self over my 25 year old self any day- even though I was pretty cute at 25, I will take this growth and love for life and treasure it- and it's exciting that I have many more years ahead of me to continue to figure things out. Thank You Heavenly Father for being patient.

The entire journey so far has made up who I am. The awful years of confusion, bad mistakes, not knowing who I was, being raised in my family, forgiveness, obedience, listening to the Spirit and making good choices, serving a mission, finding Chay and marrying him, buying a house when we shouldn't have, losing my mom, becoming friends with certain people, getting my feelings hurt, small accomplishments, bearing children, big life changes- all of it has served a purpose. I'll own it. Grateful to be 35.

One of my birthday wishes was to hike around Snowbasin Ski Resort and see all the colors of Fall. It is a favorite thing of mine and really makes me feel alive and so blessed by a kind and wondeful Heavenly Father who has created such a beautiful place for me to live. All the colors of Fall are just a kind gift from God- purely for our enjoyments. Here are some pictures we took. Heaven on earth.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I trust this.

Beautiful Fall how I love you!!!

*Kenzie age 8: "Today I am working hard on controlling my temper." I love it. She is so great. But as sweet as honey she can be, she does have quite the sting!

*Xander and preschool- so I don't put my kids in pre-school. I don't care if other parents do it, I'm not against it at all I just feel that it is unnecessary for my particular children who seem to be just fine without it. Both of my girls are great students in school and well behaved. They are not lacking any social skills whatsoever. So why spend the $$?

Xander however is 4 and is just learning to speak the poor kid. His ears were so messed up for so long. I realized awhile back that Xander and I haven't had a lot of alone time. So we enrolled him in this online preschool called Upstart. We sit down together and do it every day. This school year has been magical as the girls are gone during the day and it's just Xander and I. Well, Sam is here of course but he is just a goofy toddler who throws everything and giggles when he slams kitchen drawers. Xander follows me around the house and asks questions and wants to do chores that are too tricky for a 4 year old. It can get a little bothersome and I have to count to 10 sometimes. But I have really had the chance to get to know Xander better and it's been a huge blessing.

Together we do Upstart online preschool everyday for 20 minutes, color family home evening lessons, perler beads, playing ball outside, go to the park, cook, go to all the stores, sometimes I will sit and watch Ninjago with him. Sometimes he watches Ninjago by himself so I can get things done :) I love 4 year olds. Xander is a beautiful kid with such a unique personality. He loves music and he loves to sing. He sings all the time and is right on tune.

*The other day we all went to the park while Dad was at the Priesthood session. I have lost 50 pounds since Sam was born 21 months ago and I feel strong and in shape. I was able to play with my kids the entire time and we had a blast. We played "Force Field" and I was "it" and tried to chase the kids. It was amazing how I could just run up the twirly slide and jump down the stairs with little effort. I felt very grateful. It was a beautiful evening at the park. The sun was setting and there was a strip of sunlight beaming down on the grass in the trees. We had to "touch" the last sunny spot on the grass as the sun was setting. We watched the sun set down over the mountains to the west. I loved every moment. These are the moments that make me the most happy. I try to convince myself that other certain things will make me feel fulfilled but at the end of the day (ha, literally!) what makes me feel like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and maxing out on the life experience is spending quality time with my little children.

Matthew 6:21-22 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be."

*Yesterday we went for a walk to Kenzie's music studio. It was beautiful outside and all the colors of fall are upon us. I was holding hands with Kenzie and Xander- Julia was pushing Sam in the stroller and one of the kids decided to start singing primary songs. They all started singing and so did I. Could I be in a more perfect moment? The huge mountains laced in red, the sun shining at our backs, 70 degree weather, walking, my children close singing songs about Heavenly Father's plan. We all felt safe and at peace. This is the dream. This is the dream.

Now let me remember this moment when everyone is fighting and screaming at each other :)

*Walking Dates- about 3 times a week Chay and I will tuck the kids in bed and wait for them to fall asleep. We then lock the doors and go for a walk around the neighborhood for an hour or so. It has turned into something we both look forward to. I get to hold Chay's hand and we just talk and talk about everything. Chay really opens up and shares all about his work which I love to hear. We talk about the kids, callings, goals, life. We have had some pretty awesome nights with lightening and thunder going off in the distance, bright starry nights, misty rain- a couple weeks ago we walked for an hour under our huge umbrella as it rained hard. It was so perfect. I love our walks. Chay is gone a lot and we don't see each other very often. He is busy with career and his calling. These walks have been good and exactly what we need to stay connected. We also decided to exercise together in the morning which doesn't allow a lot of talking but we're together and we're doing something productive- and we can feel on many levels the importance of spending this time together taking care of our bodies. I really have so many blessings. I have to remember all the good that surrounds me when life gets tricky. I can get down so easily and it can really get to me for awhile but I am thankful for the spiritual and trusting training I have acquired that I pull out of somewhere "This too shall pass." "It will go away soon." "It's not so bad." "We will figure it out." "There has to be a solution." "Heavenly Father wants me to be happy." "This is a moment for me to learn and grow." Sometimes I am telling myself these things as I slump over my bed in tears. It is never easy. I just have to make a choice regardless.

*Chay is living the suit life. He learned quickly that his new job's dress code was formal businessman. His Director at work sets the standard and always jokes "short sleeves, short career" Ha. Whatever. He looks so good every morning as he leaves the door in one of his suits. He has to wear one almost every day and plus his calling requires it too. The funny thing is he then gets into his little chevy S10 pickup that has over 200,000 miles and has a Fox Sticker on the back window. He still flips 4 wheelers and motorcycles on the side- I cringe at the thought of him loading a 4 wheeler in the back of his truck after work in his nice clothes but what can you do? Nothing will stop him so oh well. He will always love finding a good deal and reselling no matter what.

Today Chay is going out to eat for the umpteenth time with co-workers . His life is so different than mine. He gets all dressed up and classy. He is referred to as "Boss" by several people. He makes big important decisions and is respected by many. He conducts big meetings and is always brainstorming with big wigs on how to make a hospital run better. I wear yoga pants and t-shirts on most days because I stay home. I change poopy diapers, make a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, sing songs, read books, fold a lot of laundry and clean a lot of sticky gross bathrooms. Sometimes I go in to my bedroom and hide from my kids because I don't want to deal with life. I then think about Family Home Evening and the kid's big project due at school. I think about groceries and dinner. I listen to the girls tell me endless stories about school and what "so and so" said and what this kid did at school. I motivate kids to practice piano, to play outside, to do homework. I coordinate family scripture study. I brush hair and scrub stinky feet every night. It can be hard at times. But I wouldn't want it any other way- well maybe a maid would be nice- but I am entirely convinced deep down inside- even during those tiny little moments when I get sort of jealous of Chay's life, I am convinced that my work is just as if not more important than Chay's job. I know it- my job has eternal rewards. If not now, it will all make sense one day. I trust this.