Friday, May 24, 2013

Nightmare Stories

Bedtime at our house is a process.  It takes far too long to get the last light out.
Our problem is my kids LOVE to read.  I turn out the light and before long they flip it on and retrieve a book behind the closed door.
My youngest, Abi, won't allow a single bedtime routine left undone.  Sometimes I try to skip the bathroom process (because it takes FOREVER).  It's only sucessful till I get out the door.  She riealzes it was skipped and calls out 
"Mom!  We forgot to potty!" 
The best part of the routine for her (and me) is the bedtime story.  I read one and ONLY one story.
Usually she loves a story so much she asks me to read it again the next night.  This is the case with our current book.

"Those stories are messed up!" Jace commented as I read them out loud.
I was thinking the same thing.
I have a problem with a lot of rhymes.

Old Mother Hubbard- tells of a starving dog.

Humpty Dumpty- death off a wall :0

Ladybug Ladybug:
A house fire and only one child surviving. 

The worst of them all are...

Why do we sing this to our babies?
We're singing about a baby falling out of a tree!
I looked into the origin of this lullaby and learned it had to do with Native Indian mothers hanging their babies in a birch bark cradle from trees to have the wind rock them to sleep.  That sounds a lot more comforting, right?

Did you know these lyrics refer to death?

The first outbreak of the Plague hit England in the 1300's. The symptoms of the plague included a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin (Ring around the rosy). Pockets and pouches were filled with sweet smelling herbs ( or posies) which were carried due to the belief that the disease was transmitted by bad smells. The term "Ashes Ashes" refers to the cremation of the dead bodies! The death rate was over 60% and the plague was only halted by the Great Fire ofLondon in 1666 which killed the rats which carried the disease which was transmitting via water sources.
This is how we view it:
this is how it began:

Hey kids, lets walk into a random house and help ourselves to their loot! ???What??
(kids should be alone in the forest anyway. haha)

This story is REALLY messed up.  It gave me the creeps as I read it a few days ago.  I should have stopped reading when they were lost in the forest and had eaten all the berries.  My 3 year old didn't seem to grasp the idea that a wicked witch kidnaps them, turns them into slaves and locks them up with the plan to cook them!  Horror story!!
Thankfully Gretel tricks the witch and tosses her into the fire first!  What???

I think I will stick to these favorites for bedtime 

**I think I may have written about this before but when I searched for it I didn't find it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Punishments/kindness Mothers Day 2013

"My mom is best at punishment/kindness"

Mothers Day isn't a mothers day without sun and the scent of lilacs.  Today is defiantly Mothers Day!  It’s sunny, warm, and reeks of fresh blossomed flowers.  A perfect day!
Around 9am I woke to the noise of kids scurrying around in their rooms.

While passing Jennica’s room I saw her retrieving something from a hiding place, then found Jace downstairs penning a letter to me. (his second Mother’s Day gift to me)

After the cheers of “Happy Mothers Day!”I was questioned with “What would you like for Breakfast?”

I wasn’t in the mood for breakfast.  Sam and I went out to the Red Iguana last night for dinner and I ate enough to hold me over for a few days.  While walking out of the restaurant I jokingly said, “”too bad tomorrow isn’t fast Sunday.  It would be a breeze.“

Before scripture study everyone pulled out their homemade gifts.  Jennica painted flowers on a matted board with some notes.

Jace did what he has done in past years.  He brought his school made mothers day gift home on Friday.  It wasn’t even 5min inside the house when he announced he had my gift and wanted to give it to me.  I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted.  It was a rock painted white with lady bugs.  I LOVE it.  I’m going to use it as a paper weight.  

Since he gifted it Friday he decided to write me a letter today.  It was funny.  He expressed he was going to miss me when I die- Just like he is going to miss grandma great and grandma Trena.  Then he drew a graveyard.  

Jarom brought home a bag of bath salts that smell so good and has already suggested a few times I take a bath.

Sam purchased a tanning pass to a local salon. 

 My white skin needs major color. 

I doubt having a pool in the backyard is even enough to tan my skin.  It has been YEARS since I’ve carried a tan.  For some reason it’s not as easy as it was in high school.

I wore a bracelet jennica made for me a few years ago for mothers day and she was moved that I still had it and that I wanted to wear it.  It’s made out of buttons.  So cute!

Sam made pasta dinner (yum!) Right now I've locked myself in my room to blog.  This is one of my favorite things to do but don't get around to it often enough.

I love Mothers Day.  I can’t remember one that wasn’t bright and sunny or went without homemade love notes from my kids
I remember being little and bringing home letters and gifts for my mom.  Mothers Day is also a special day for kids.  Expressing love and offering a gift to their mother is the best part of the day.  What child doesn't want to please their mother?  I still want to please my mother with kind words and freshly picked flowers (weeds)
Mothers are the best when they are also a best friend.  
My mom is mine.
I think I'm half way there in having Jennica being my best friend. Kindness follows pretty quickly from punishing. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Playing again

This weekend is Conference. It’s been one of my favorites. 

A little nugget of wisdom offered stung a little.  When my litter of kids were all young, trips to the park never lacked.
Bike rides through town and story time at the library were part of routine.  My life was their life.  I loved to be outside so outside was our playground.
Catching fireflies, watering the garden and bubble baths were the best way to end a day.  
I loved that season of life!
Quickly that time passed and soon we were running around town in the car to various events.  As my kids became more self reliant I, myself, began to discover my own talents and hobbies.
As they out grew the playground apparently I did too
One by one they became school age and  my litter diminished. Soon it was just me and the youngest duck.  He happily followed me around and enjoyed the one on one. 

Today I have a 3 year old at home who follows me with a bounce in her step.  She loves playing with the older kids and gets very excited when they return from school.  My time at home now does not resemble anything to what it was before.  Instead I am cleaning or working on my passions.
Last November during a visit in Utah we drove pass a fast food restaurant with an inside play place.  
“Mom!”  She yelled from the backseat with delight.
“Inside Playground?!!?”
We didn’t see places like this back home so her observation was full of wonder also.
It was then I realized the youngest Hobi didn’t get enough “play time” out side.  I’ve never taken her to play groups like I hosted a billion times before.  I don’t pack a lunch for a nature walk with her either.  My child is a hermit, because of ME.

Now Spring is here and we are excited about being outside.  Bikes are tuned up, and basketballs are bouncing on the court.  Announcing a visit to the playground hasn’t even crossed my mind.  Instead Abi chases the older kids on their bikes like a puppy dog.  She hops around the basketball court escaping many bongs to the head.

Last week my heart stung as I passed a playground for the billionth time and she happily announced “Playground!!” Like she always does.  It’s not a whine, it’s pure delight that she has spotted a playground. (the same one every time we leave the house.)
I felt very strongly that I need to slow down and make room for her.
With this tugging at my heart, a speaker in Conference spoke of this very thing.  Turn off distractions and be there for your children.
I love being a mom.  I love little children.  I outgrew the playground prematurely.  
It’s time to stop and smell the flowers again.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Fairytale life!

Before I married, I envisioned my married life to be similar to the traditional small town life I grew up in.  I saw buying a house, living in a friendly neighborhood (decorated with sidewalks and mailboxes), having kids, and visiting relatives during Holidays as part of the whole experience.  
Well, that scenario didn’t take place.  We took a very different path.  We never bought a house, instead we moved  to the opposite end of the Country-which most the time didn’t have side walked neighborhoods or even mailboxes on the street!
So, we adopted Grandparents and family all along the way and made due with sharing walls, stairwells, laundry machines, and elevators with strangers.

As my family began to grow older (and bigger) my heart ached for what seemed to be my fairytale scenario.
Sam's success provided wonderful opportunity for our family with each move we made. Looking back, I can see the Lords hand has been in each accomplishment.  I
 knew we were where we needed to be, but feeling like a fish out of water, I wondered how long it would be before I felt "at home"   I wasn’t in a place filled with memories of my childhood or family traditions.  
The Lord always comforts me by sending great friends and opportunities to feel valued. 
Recently, He has shown me again, He is aware of my desires.
Last year (almost to the date) a series of events took placed that gave us a gentle shove toward Utah.    
 We took the bait and here I am walking into my fairytale life near family.

 This weekend we bought our first home!!! 
Gone are the high rise apartments, small spaces, and Landlords!  
I’m in denial. 
Is this just a dream?  
It totally is!  
I’ve been dreaming of this day for 14 years.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No good very BAD day!

No good very BAD day!! (And it's only noon)

Went back to bed after sending KidS off to school.
Missed several phone calls from my second-grader inviting me to attend "Special visitor day" at 9:15 (it was 10am)
My alarm reminds me i am   Jennica's "very special visitor" at 10:15. 

Again, its 10am. I am 20min from school and last night she requested I show up wearing jeans and a nice shirt with my hair done and make-up...really?  As if I wear my sweats all day with messy hair!  I only do that Mon-Sat!!!  I look in the mirror and see I am NOTHING close to that and I'm already late!  I do my best 

I quickly obey all driving laws (wink wink) and make it to school in record time and park in the bus zone along with 20 other people. 
I missed jennica's event but meet her in the hall along with jace and beg forgiveness.  As I'm doing this jarom walks by heading to his "special visitor" activity. (I wasn't invited -he thought it was lame-but heck, I was there so to make myself feel better i asked if i could stay.) 
While playing BINGO the loud speaker requests the driver parked in the bus zone is blocking the kindergarten busses from arriving. Move your car!  Knowing i wasn't the only one parked there I embarrassingly slip out the gym expecting to be among others.  When I get to my car it's the ONLY one there!!  Like a big elephant blocking the busses!! 
Can it get any worse?!  Holding back the "I'm a looser tears" I return to my 5th grader to finish our BINGO game....then I lost!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New kid on the block-Sunday version

Today was our 1st Sunday attending our new Ward in Utah.
These days we are having a lot of "1st times."

"1st Time" experiences can be ugly, especially when your going to be surrounded with your audience for some time.

Being the "new" family at church is tricky.
I think each Ward has their own set of unspoken rules.
Everyone knows the front row is occupied by the same family each sunday.
It's their VIP award for daring to sit there.  They don't have to place bags to save their place.  It's there waiting for them and no one takes it.

When a newbie arrives and messes things up... they are starting off on the wrong foot.

I can't tell if today was a success or a flop.
Having Abi pee all over the gym floor and my lap didn't feel like a good omen.

*I'm not positive on the date of this post.  I am posting it months after writing it and it had no date.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stranger at Home

Sixteen years ago I left my hometown.  
I was an 18 year old girl ready for change! 

Last week I returned to find change moved in when I moved out.

 A visit to the Christiansen’s brought us to Hurricane, (the place where the majority of my life experiences and memories were created) but this wasn’t the town I remembered.

Spotted here and there I recognized buildings and houses that triggered memories but for the more part I was a stranger in my hometown.  
This visit, I viewed Hurricane through a different lens.  I understand today how little I knew then, but still yearned for that youthfulness.  

Nothing was the same.  Houses seemed smaller than I remembered them, the schools I attended were not the schools I saw and the streets my friends and I ruled were replaced by strangers.
Those friends, that life, and this town aren’t mine anymore.

I felt sad as we drove away.   
I felt as if  my memories and relationships didn’t really exist.  

I wondered if car racing through the streets, high school sports,  or missed curfews ever happened- 
then I looked at Sam and remembered they did.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

all boxed up


I spent the weekend in St. George visiting Mom and Grandma Great.
While I was there mom pulled out a large box with my name on it   Opening it I found letters and things from long long ago.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to dig deeper.

 My kids (and Sam) jumped to the box eager to see my boxed up past. 
We found cassett tapes (and of course I had to explain what they were!), misclanious pictures and trinkets I had kept.  

But the golden nugget was my diary from elementary and letters I collected after high school!  
They had a great time reading about my 4th grade crush and letters from other "boys".
It seems like a lifetime ago.

Now they tease me. :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

My moment of fame?

This weekend Sam and I attended a benefit dinner for Rising Star Outreach 

I am so excited I got to attend this one for 2 reasons.

First, I always miss their events because head quarters are in Provo, Utah.
This time I moved to Utah one week before the event!

The second reason I was excited to go was because they showed my video I made from my first trip to work with the leprosy afflicted in India.

But it doesn't end there!  The singer/songwriter of the song I used, Bianca Merkley, was there and performed live during my video!!  How cool is that?

She sounded great too!

        Bianca Merkley!
I was excited to wear my Indian clothes, until I saw this picture!  Is it cliche to say these clothes make me look fat!!?  I'm so bummed about the turn out.  My hair!?!  What?  I've seen better days.  I looked so much better in my mind.  :)

Sally Read, President of Rising Star Outreach.  

I got started with this organization because of Sally!  I was her visiting teacher in New Canaan (before she became the Pres.)  You can read about that here.

I am so happy I live closer to this organization.  Working with them is so uplifting!
So, who wants to go to India with me??

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Feeling LOVED

Today I was given a farewell gift.
It was a book filled with notes written from the ladies at Church.  I wanted to read them without being interrupted so I waited till after the kids were in bed.

In a quiet moment I re-opened the book.
Page after page my "love tank" was filled.  By the end I was in tears.  
Women I have known for a short period of time and those whom I have known for many many years, took time to write me a small note.  I will treasure those notes forever.

The word has been out that we are leaving for the past 5 months.  Our initial plan was to be gone in December.  Those months leading up to December several people approached me and/or Sam and said such nice things about us and how we will be missed.  Having this repeated several times I turned to Sam and joked "we should fake a move in the future just to hear people tell us how wonderful we are."
It feels good to hear those things.  

As I sat in the afterglow of  kind words I wished all of them could know how meaningful it was for me to read them.  In my reality, I am hanging by a thread most days and looking to THEM for inspiration. 

My Church and several in the New Canaan Community have been "family" out here.  This is where my kids grew up and this is where I grew a lot. 

I am so touched when I get a kind note.

I keep them all.

Next week I step into a whole new world.  I'm scared.  I'm sad, but I do feel loved.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Sunday Bubble"

We all made it!  I sighed as I plopped into my seat.
Surly something was overlooked. 
Each child was properly dressed, I examined, except one wearing “play shoes” in lieu of the one  “missing” church shoe!

Church starts at 9am.  That's a good 2 hours later than our weekday wake up call for school.  On those days one child at a time is sent out the door armed with completed homework, packed lunches and full tummies.

On this day, it doesn’t matter what time church starts...I am always rushed.  This morning Sam woke me saying “It’s 8 o’clock.”  in a flat line tone.  Perhaps dreading the same course of events lay ahead as I did.

We have 4 sleeping kids and 1 hour to be seated at church. (with a 15min drive to the church building)
I don’t jump out of bed.  Instead, I slowly make my way to the bathroom dreading the race I’m about to embark in.

This happened last week.
 The exact scenario.  
I bribed all the kids with “Double Dessert” if they were ready for church before me.

It worked.

Today I took another stab at it.

65 minuets later I slipped into the back of the chapel, counting my ducks while Sam parked the car.  

I’m missing one!

He shows up (with Sam) shooting me his angry eyes.
“Why do you always leave me?”  He asks still hurt from the time he had to call home after I left him at church for an hour in December. * 

I replay our entrance into the building and remember seeing him run down the hall for the drinking fountain.

He’s right.  I did walk away without him. (...again)

Once we are all seated I take a few minutes to regroup and realize where I am.  
For the next hour I get to s-i-t.  
I get to sit and do
n-o-t-h-i-n-g but enjoy the spirit filled meeting.

That is until Abi climbs on my lap and announces she’s hungry.  I scramble for my church bag being careful that her little feet don’t snag my nylons, like they do every week (which are NOT childproof or cheap!!)
I try to return to the meeting when a little one says he needs to blow his nose, then a different child asks for a drawing book.  Next I’m explaining how a quiet game is played, removing Abi’s feet from the chair in front of us which is causing a toddler to scream, and I’m bending over like an ostrich searching for lost items under the chairs.  

Another child whispers to me with puppy dog eyes, he’s hungry.  That’s when I realize none of us ate breakfast.
I sneak half a bagel from Abi’s stash and hand it over.
I notice I’m not the only one handing out zip-locks filled with cheerios and other grab-and-go snacks. This eases my guilt.. a little.

The toddler in front of us see’s the exchange and eyes my bag. She helps herself to the abandoned cheerio bag which sends Abi after it shaking her head screaming“No!”

I turn to the right side of our row.  There sits Sam.

He is comfortably sitting, scriptures open, and eyes on the speaker.  I call this the “Sunday Bubble”  

I try to pass Abi to him but she prefers my lap.

My experience at church is so different from Sam’s and we sit less than 6 inches apart.  This isn't because Sam is unwilling to help, rather the kids just choose me.(except when it comes to gum.  Dad always has gum.)
 The Sunday Bubble favors him.

Have you ever watched what really goes on with other families during that hour meeting?

Mothers carry in huge bags full of treats, coloring books, and toys with one hand and an infant attached to a car seat in another- while balancing a diaper bag over her shoulder marching a litter of kids into a pew.  It's like entering a war zone.

These kids carry the power to pop the “Sunday Bubble” and apparently Mom’s “Sunday Bubble” is easier to pop than dad’s.

I like to watch what happens to a family when a mother goes out into the hall with a child.
Some fathers sit completely oblivious to the family war going on next to him or he watches with no clue how to manage it in the middle of a crowd.
The best is when the smaller one see their mother exit and they bolt after her as if she is abandoning them-even if it means crawling over their dad to follow her.

I remember a phase when I spent more time in the halls with a baby than I did in a class.  All the fuss to get there didn't seem worth it at times.  It would have been much more pleasant for me to stay at home so the kids wouldn't miss a nap.
  One Sunday a "grandma" approached me with a smile and said, "doing the hallway babysitting again?"  I half hearted joked, "I don't know why I even come."
She came back with, "The reason you keep coming back is because your creating a tradition for your family.  It starts now, while they are small."
I loved that nugget of wisdom and have returned to it for strength many times.

 I’ve managed to survive sacrament for 12 consecutive  years without a “Sunday Bubble” 
I’ve come to church armed with some pretty cool powers though.
When my kids were young I pulled out my octopus arms and worked magic to protect Sam’s “Sunday Bubble” from popping.

Now that they are older I have new trick that protects the "Sunday Bubble" of those around us .
 I have the “Mom Stare!” 
I can hold up 1 finger and they get the message to change their behavior.
If I hold up 2 they know they’re walking a fine line for trouble.
If I hold up 3 they know they’ve “struck out” and they will go without dessert.  

I don’t wear a  “Sunday Bubble” yet, but I can make a mad dash to church wearing bags over my shoulders, kids on my lap with torn nylons...therefore, I am a “Bubble Maker" building a strong foundation for my family!! 

*(In my defense to Jace's abandoment- Sam and I drove different cars to church that Sunday.  I thought he left with Sam and Sam thought he left with me and Jace thought we were at Choir Practice.  He played with his friends till everyone went home and then he realized we weren't there. )