Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Comptine d'un autre ete

We couldn't be more proud of Mckenzie. The piano makes sense to her and she really enjoys it. She learned this hard song really quick. She was really nervous for the recital and she tends to play fast when she is a little scared- but overall it was great, especially for a 9 year old.

I was really emotional when she played because I remembered the days when I would sit next to her on the piano day in and day out going over her first songs and her first notes. She would get so frustrated and wanted to quit playing. I had to give so many inspirational speeches to this girl to keep her motivated. Ahhhh. "We can do hard things. This is how we learn in life. Mistakes are normal and apart of the learning process. Heavenly Father does not want us to give up. He will help us." Oh and those hard songs she wanted to avoid, I would sit by her on the bench and play them with her and we would play them 10 times each. "One more time, let's do it one more time." She would cry. "You are amazing. You are becoming a great piano player." I would say. While inside I wanted to scream sometimes. Let me remind you that the house was never getting clean. Sam was  walking  scooting around in a diaper to his knees.

Then as Kenzie advanced, I would play the bottom hand and she would play the top hand and then we would switch. She learned rhythm really well this way and so did I! It was a rough couple of years as I wanted to give up too!! It was hard motivating and coming up with new ways to make practice fun. I switched her teacher 3 times so we could find the perfect fit. She still has a lot to learn and a ways to go, but she is over that hump of the unknown impossibilities to anything is possible if I work hard enough at it- especially with piano. She really is developing a wonderful gift. We love music around here.

Here is Chay's comment on Instagram about Kenzie's recital. A proud father without a hint of humility. Love it.

summer is upon us part 2

"Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others." President Gordon B. Hinckley. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

So far so wonderful this blessed summer. Happiness in my heart to have my kids home every day. I love having them around, taking them to exciting places, hearing their stories all day, watch them play together. I love the non rush mornings now where each one wakes up when they want and come into my room and either get in bed with me or give me a big "good morning" hug.

The gift to enjoy motherhood most of the time and to treasure home and family is a learned behavior, a desire I wanted, a prayer in my heart the Lord has answered- and through time, service, and patience, this wonderful gift has been bestowed upon me. It's what I wanted even though I used to not feel it all the time- but I believe that with faith, time, and a desire to change- God can change our very nature. I knew somehow that the children Heavenly Father gave me needed a specific kind of mother- and I have had and still have many days where I feel so inadequate and guilty- but I just keep on praying and believing that I can change- through Christ. I am a lot kinder, more patient, less selfish, more compassionate, and more centered on home and family than I used to be. I am not perfect and I lose it from time to time!! Ha!! But the slow process has been noticeable.

Do I want the children to go away and watch TV sometimes because I just can't handle them anymore? Yes. Do I push them outside with a popsicle so I can think straight and not have to deal with their petty problems and constant nagging? Yes, sometimes. Do I get annoyed and raise my voice from time to time out of frustration? yes. Do I long for nap time so I can assure peace in my world for 2 hours a day? I love my Sammy but I know he is safe in his crib and not causing messes, getting into the fridge and dropping eggs on the floor, not running out into the street, trying to drink all purpose cleaner. Yes, I want the break!!!

But I feel so grateful that I feel more and more linked and tied to my children as they grow- and the desire to pursue a time consuming hobby or to leave the house and make money becomes less and less. I have learned to know and appreciate this small time in my life when my kids are small. They really are so fun and entertaining. Their innocence and their thoughts and words melt my heart. Their easiness to giggle and cry really make the life experience come alive. I love all their emotions. Before I know it, I will suddenly have more "me" time and I will get to focus on other parts of my progress on this earth, but for now- this is what I really want. In the end, spending all this time with my children and strengthening home and family will bring the greatest reward. Despite it being the hardest thing I have ever done- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can do hard things!!!


 My philosophy exactly. Who says a girl should still look perfect by the end of the day? You can't have adventures without getting messy :)

*We have been swimming almost daily at the health club. The kids love love it. I actually love it too once I get this big body into a swimsuit. Ahhh what a feat!!! Hauling 4 kids is a challenge- since 2 of them don't swim at at all. Kenzie and Julia are a little behind because we were basically "swimless" for a couple years due to tubes in everyone's ears except Kenzie. But I figured the more I take them, the more they will learn. This fall I will put them in private lessons since they are booked for the summer.

*We've had some great summer rain so far. We are so blessed by all this rain! Thank you Heavenly Father for providing all this moisture. The best part is the air is still warm- the kids got all muddy in the rain yesterday. Dad pushed them on the tire swing in the middle of the storm. It was so exciting for them. I can't believe how much shelter our tree provides. I love our big tree in the backyard.

*I love all the time the kids are spending with each other. School really separates the siblings. They are getting along really well- little fights here and there but that is usually because they are tired, hungry or hot. Mckenzie does Julia's hair in the morning. Julia loves having her hair played with. Me too!! I saw Kenzie scratching Julia's back just because Julia loves it. It was really sweet. Julia also has a huge heart and plays with Xander a lot. They play well together but I also think she is just a really kind person and wants her brother to be happy.

*Kenzie and Xander built a "shade" fort in our front yard. It was creative. I'm sure our neighbors were kindly waiting for the mess to be picked up. It was pretty redneck looking. Old towels and blankets stretched over an old card table.

*Tons of bike rides around the neighborhood. A lot of scraped up knees and elbows, itchy mosquito bites, and sun kissed skin. Love the freckles.

*Even though we go to a nice outdoor pool at the health club, Chay decided to fill up our kiddy pool one afternoon and guess who played the most in it? Kenzie, our 9 year old. Ha. They all played in it. Dad put it in front of the slide.

*I taught Kenzie how to use the washing machine the other day. I'm just worried she will wash a stained shirt without spraying it first and putting it in the dryer- Letting go of laundry is hard for me. But I am trying to not be a control freak so my kids can learn the skill as well. I have never sorted kids clothes by color. Just throw their dirty clothes all in together- besides their nice nice clothes- which are very few- they all wear second hand, hand me downs anyway.

*Terrace Days- once a year the city celebrates itself. Blow up Bouncy houses, a climbing wall, vendors. Fried Pickles!!! SO GOOD!!! We lost Samson for 10 minutes- it felt like an hour. My heart sank. I could not find him for so long. Chay got the police. I was screaming his name but everything was so loud. A couple nice people started helping me. We finally found him way out in the middle of a baseball field far away from us. Oh my heart. Oh my heart. His head was buried in his small hands and stream of tears were coming down his face. Oh I just couldn't stop crying for the longest time. What a nightmare. I love that kid so much and to see him so scared and alone broke my heart.

*We watched a big firework show that night. It was awesome. The kids loved it. Julia was being her worrisome self again thinking the world was going to catch on fire or we were going to get hit by the fireworks. Dad pretended to be hit and she freaked out. Julia just likes to worry for some reason. She is always concerned about something. She was a wreck when we lost Sam.

*Oh and the climbing wall. My kid's favorite. Especially Julia. She scaled it like spider man. They love the challenge besides Xander- he kind of follows the girls around and so when he got up pretty high he got scared. But I told him to finish it until he got to the top!! He did. He was so proud of himself for accomplishing something so great, even though he was super apprehensive about the whole thing. Xander has really improved on riding his bike. He loves it. I can't believe he will be 5 next month. How exciting to see my beautiful boy grow up and learn.

*The kids decided this was going to be the slumber party summer. They took off the mattresses from the bunk bed and laid them down next to each other on the floor to make a king. They sleep together every night. They are up their giggling for the longest time. They like to tease Julia and steal her silky pink blanky. But it's fun tease, I think. Anyway- I've decided to just let it be for the summer. They still have to "make" the bed in the morning but it just gets jumped on and ruined by midday anyway. Chay decided to join them the other night and he fell asleep with them. Mckenzie who is a snuggler loved it and kept talking about it the next morning.

*Scripture study is getting a little weak as a family. Now it's a quick verse with a small explanation and kisses good night since bedtime suddenly went from 7:30 to 10:00 pm. The cool nights that don't get dark until 9 are so tempting to enjoy. We have a goal to read the entire book of mormon by the time Julia gets baptized this fall. I am determined to make scripture study more meaningful again. We usually gather around the table and I try to have a coloring sheet for them to color or they need to draw what we're talking about. I ask millions of questions so they stay focused. It's hard work. But I really do feel the blessings and protection that come from meaningful scripture study. It is our duty as parents that our children learn to love and know the scriptures- so we keep on plowing through. But some days it is hard!!
Brushstrokes on a canvas. David A. Bednar I Love this talk, some of our FHE etc are like he described. Hopefully my kids will remember that we had it consistently. Mary
*I want to be better at Family Home Evenings too. I am kind of scattered brained about life and so I don't prepare very well. Since our children are not very busy yet and our life isn't chaotic like some families, I kind of lean on the idea that we do a lot together as a family- but I want more spiritual and gospel learning centered family home evenings. I got on Pinterest looking for new ideas for a quick lesson, and then I just felt inspired to have Mckenzie teach the lesson. She grabbed the Friend Magazine, and I kid you not- she gave the best lesson. She was an amazing teacher. She asked good questions, she had 2 activities- the kids listened to her better than they do with Chay and I. She shared neat stories and even bore her testimony at the end. It was so wonderful to see my daughter act so grown up and to see a talent developing. On my to-do list is to write her a little note and tell her how much I enjoyed her lesson. No greater joy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer is upon us Part 1

So I shouldn't be sitting here very long. When I sit, blood pulls in my vulva and causes my varicose veins to hurt like crazy. How did you like that?? Ha. Also my feet and ankles begin to swell and by the end of the day, my feet have grown an extra size in all directions. I'm not kidding. I have to buy size 10 shoes for my last 2 months of my pregnancy because my feet get so big and fat. I retain water really bad in the legs, feet, and ankles. I have written countless blog entries about how much I hate being pregnant but decided to never publish them. But to wrap it up- it's the worst time in my life, physically. Which turns into emotionally. I do not feel good rarely ever, I hurt and ache, I swell, I am moody, I do not feel attractive, I get very depressed, every bone, joint seems to inflame, I gain a ton of weight. I get these horrible round ligament pains in the sides of my stomach that are very sharp and intense for about 5 minutes. I can't even move when they strike. I also get that sciatica nerve pain in my right butt cheek which makes it difficult to walk. I can't breathe very well so I feel winded, and I am tired beyond tired. ha ha ha so there you have it. Sounds lovely doesn't it. Dear Daughters, please don't let this scare you away.

Summer is here and I am choosing to love it and it is really working. I mean, I always love summer, but it's just a little tricky with a huge bulging belly and all the pains, fatigue, and aches that come with pregnancy. But I love love having my children home. It has been so wonderful to be with my girls all day. Oh how I have missed them. Xander couldn't be happier to have his sisters around every single day.

okay Summer 2015 how will I make you meaningful and positive for the kids as I go through this dreaded time of pregnancy????

I really do find joy in simple things. I love when the kids are just riding their bikes all over the street and the weather is perfect. Julia was on her bike pretending to be a zombie the other night and Mckenzie and Xander were laughing so hard I thought they were going to wreck at any minute.

We roasted marshmallows and s'mores the other night. That is always nostalgic and exiting for everyone. Even though I secretly hate s'mores. Kids running around with long hot sticky metal sticks in the dark. The mom never getting a break as each kid and husband always asking for a marshmallow, then a hershey, then help roasting, then someone is crying.

The kids all have a morning to-do/chore list that keeps them focused which helps with the small quarrels. I'm teaching piano to Julia and she is such a "check-off" girl that once she knows what she is supposed to do and there is a plan in place, she thrives. We made her a cute binder with a bunch of weekly practice sheets. I found a really easy piano book series that is so easy to understand and so easy to teach from too. She has found new confidence in the piano and practices a lot. Mckenzie is just so naturally good that she rarely executes her practicing the way she should and yet she continues to see piano as part of her that seems to grow and improve as she grows and improves in everything else. The piano is Kenzie's friend. So two girls, two different personalities that will both most likely succeed.

I started out the summer with a trip to Target. We made summer school pencil boxes with brand new markers, crayons, glue, pencils, erasers and such. They had so much fun organizing and putting it all together. I have three cubbies in this armoire in their bedroom- so Kenzie, Julia, and Xander all have their own space for work books, summer work packets, and their new pencil boxes. They also have a reading folder. One side is the library summer reading program and the other side is their book reports I make them do for each book. They have to turn in some type of reading log when school starts again in August. bla bla blah

But the fun part is just having the kids around. We ride bikes (I walk) to school lunch almost every day. Thank you government for blowing tax dollar money on such silly programs- our family totally takes advantage of it. My kids love to get on their bikes and ride to the elementary school by our house and eat free food. I'm all for it. Do you know that by law, the lunch workers have to throw out all the food that is left over after lunch??? I asked the lady one time if she could put it in a plastic garbage bag and set it nicely in the dumpster and I will come get it after lunch is over and she acted like I was asking her to be an accomplice to a murder.

Julia and I went on a small date yesterday morning. She was beaming with excitement even though we went to lame places- I ran some errands. But we did take all her change and put it in the change machine at the bank. I take each kid to do this by themselves. 40% goes to savings/mission, 10% tithing, and 50% goes to fun spending. Kenzie has a money binder that is working out pretty well. On the inside pocket she has her ledger where she keeps track of all her money coming in and out. Then she has 4 zipper plastic binder envelopes. Each labeled- Earnings, Savings, Tithing, and, Fun. The Fun one is actually a pencil bag inside a plastic binder envelope so she can take it out and take it shopping with her. She always has these big ideas of getting a tablet but isn't patient enough. She spent $12 dollars the other day on Pokemon cards and afterwards she told me it wasn't a smart purchase and a waste of money. She is learning!!! Xander and I went to the bank a couple weeks ago and we counted his heavy mission coin bank. $111 dollars!! Wow all those coins really adds up!! He is only 4 and doesn't entirely understand so the whole thing went to savings besides 10% for tithing- he just wants to hand the bishop something on Sunday. Oh Xander. cute cute handsome boy.

Anyway so Julia and I went to the store to get milk. I bought her a cute juice. We went to the library and got her more Magic Tree House books. Just last summer she could barely read and it was so frustrating to her and what do you know?? She is doing just fine. It really is so liberating to her. Julia always says thank you to me for everything and it is very sincere. She is a remarkable person with a huge heart.

So far this summer we have:

*rode bikes through sprinklers for an hour (Sam didn't ride a bike, but he was screaming with delight)
*lot's of lazy tire swing moments (my favorite to watch the kids out the window swaying back & forth)
*S'mores by the fire
*Dad took them to Nickelcade- a ghetto arcade in town and the kids are still talking about it
*swimming at the health club swimming pool- so hard to do alone with 4 kids and big belly.
*piano recital- Kenzie did so good! Kids loved the free cookies afterwards
*Walk by the river to collect rocks.
*many trips to the library. Julia and Xander love the magnetic shape toys
* I bought a drawing book at Savers the other day and I love to sit with the kids and attempt drawing with them.
*eat lots of watermelon- $5 a watermelon gets expensive but nothing quenches my thirst better.
*Kids all took a shower together the other night- the sounds of laughter brightened up the house. They have to shower after they run through sprinklers because our secondary water is nasty death water.
*I asked the kids to fold socks downstairs and I don't know what happened but it turned into this big party. They were laughing so hard over something. Surprisingly, a lot of socks got folded.
*Kenzie woke up early one morning. She was cold and so I put my huge cardigan sweater on her. We sat outside together and enjoyed the early quiet morning. She is so easy to snuggle. She ended up telling me all about a book she is reading.
*Kenzie and Dad woke up before work and fixed her 2 flat tires on her bike.
*Kids ride their bikes to school lunch and then play at the playground for an hour or so afterwards.
*Julia did a trial run art class. Not sure what to think but it was a BIG deal for her. Everything new is so scary for her.

It is June 9th and so far we have had beautiful weather. All through May it rained almost every day and it has made the mountains green and lush. The mountains take my breath away. The mornings are beautiful and quiet. The weather hasn't been too hot. I mean, I'm dying at 80 degrees but I can tell the sun and having the kids home has lifted my mood. I am hopeful again after 7 months of a hard depressing pregnancy and yet now I enter the last part where I blow up to be a whale, I retain water, aches and pains, rolling out of bed, and picking up anything off the floor is a chore. But I don't want to wish this summer away. I have 4 exciting beautiful children who look forward to each day and each adventure and so I am going to suck it up and plow through until little baby girl comes in August. It will all be worth it.

Samson is quite literally the cutest thing on the planet to me. His crazy wild red hair and his full on personality with so much excitement and curiosity. He is all boy-in love with anything with wheels and yet sensitive where he loves to cuddle and play with my hair. He wants to go outside the minute he wakes up. He is my first child to actually get into things and make a ton of messes. I find him in the bathroom filling up cups of water and dumping it on the floor for fun. He reaches into the shower and grabs shampoo and conditioner bottles and empties them all over the tub. He will come into my room and take just one of my shoes and he will walk off with it- still can't find some of them. So he is busy. He got into our cat's liter box and I came into the laundry room to find liter all over the floor with chunks of dried up cat poop everywhere. It was a sandbox to him. The other day he was so sad that I was taking a shower so I let him get in with me. He loved it. He loved it so much he decided to poop. The yummy smells of a shower quickly went away. But I just love 2 year olds. They start to gain an idea of what they want and what they like and yet they are still a baby. I love how they start to talk a little in their own language. My favorite part is waking Sam up or picking him up from his crib. Just that cute snuggle, messy hair, sleepy face. He always always gives me the biggest longest hugs. He is generally a very happy go lucky kid who is easily pleased. He loves to say hi to everyone and he loves Daddy. Screams his name and runs out to him when he pulls up in the driveway. First kid to do that. I love you Sammy. Oh seriously so enjoyable. Love love love.