Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Christmas Poem (ish)

Twas the night before Christmas and cousins arrived,
The shocking thing only that Mom had survived.
The presents were wrapped, at least mostly, by then
And Momma was striving for Christmas-y zen.
The laundry was done; the house was quite clean
It really was such a picturesque scene--
As long as the closets and fridge were unseen.

Along with the cousins came uncles and aunts,
Grammy and Papa and Nana in pants:)
We sat down and feasted, then feasted some more
On roast and potatoes, and fresh rolls galore!
The salad was scrumptious, risotto divine
Fresh fruit was included so kids did not whine.

Then after dinner, with costumes on kids
We hopped into cars, headed off to the skids.
Not skids exactly-- I needed a rhyme--
We went to see old folks with plenty of time
On their hands, all alone on this Christmas Eve night.
To share with them music and scripture and Light.

Alas, Momma neglected her camera to bring
To capture the family who'd gone there to sing.
But each of the singers will not soon forget
The faces of those who beheld our small set
And sang along with us when they knew the tune
We knew that we'd come not a moment too soon.

Then home to new jammies and cookies set out
With milk and a note, then to bed with no pout.
For each child wondered, "Is it really true
That Santa will wait for my sleep to ensue
Before he leaves presents and stockings for me?"
Their parents assured them that thus it would be.

The poor parents bustled and bustled until
They at last went to bed with their hearts all a-thrill
At the thought of their kidlets' next morning reaction.
They restlessly tossed, tho fatigued, with distraction
Till six-thirty came and the children all raced
To see what in their stockings that Old Elf had placed.

M&Ms, toothbrush, and gyroscope too
Hexbugs and sunglasses, legwarmers blue
Candy canes, Legos, a little girl doll
Bakugan, Pez, oh, I can't name it all!
They stuffed in their mouths as much candy as fit
While we waited for grandparents over to get:)

Then we went to the tree, all the gifts to unwrap
My readers have no need to get a recap
Of each little thing, but with love we exchanged
Gifts with each other; no one was short-changed.
Then the Dads made us breakfast-- again we were stuffed
And Mommy remarked that her eyes weren't puffed.

She'd managed to make it through Christmas this year
Without ever shedding a melt-downy tear--
That is, if you ONLY count Christmas Day morn
For meltdowns are common at Christmas, we warn.
Perhaps she did freak out a few times before
But nothing like she'd done in Christmas of yore.

And next year she swears to go simpler, my dear,
In order to spread out that Christmas-y cheer
To soak it all up with her kidlets and kin
And not let the stress and consumer-ness win;
But she's said that before-- she is prone to forget
And overdo Christmas for many years yet.

Hope you had a merry, melt-down free Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas at our house means Christmas Cookies! Here we are making a family favorite. Click here for the recipe.

Margaret helped from her favorite location-- strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn, swiping at cookie dough and candy.

Later that day, we went over to Nana's for more baking. Bronwen helped us clean up after dipping the macaroons.

Today is Christmas Eve. We still have our sugar cookies to roll out and bake before I put the roast in. I guess I'd better get off the computer and back to the kitchen.

Hope your day is merry!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Under Construction

I've been playing this morning with changing the look of my blog. With a house to clean, laundry to fold, a baby to nurse, cookies and candies to make, there's no time like the present for changing my template!:)

I've really neglected my blog lately, but I just got a new camera and am determined to revisit one of my favorite hobbies-- writing on this little blog. New post coming soon with our Christmas preparations and updated photos. I hope you're having a marvelous lead-up to the holiday!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peace at Christmas?

Most people will tell you that the Christmas season is their favorite time of year. The beautiful lights and decorations, the festive music playing everywhere, the parties, the food, the presents, the time spent with family—indeed, there is something magical about Christmastime.

For some of us, particularly mothers, Christmas is also the busiest time of year. We make lists and check them twice, then three times. We fuss about the decorations and lights; we schedule the parties we want to throw and those we want to attend; we bake more than any other time of year for events at church, school, and work, for our neighbors and friends; we plan, shop for, and wrap countless gifts; we plan activities for our families to soak up the season; we do something special for those less fortunate. All this service to our family and others should be richly fulfilling, and yet we often end up feeling exhausted and let down (and a little relieved) when the season wraps up. That’s not what Christmas should be about. There is no peace in the running ragged that I catch myself doing in December in an attempt to do it all.

Today I wanted to focus on bringing peace to our season of celebration. The angels who sang at the birth of Jesus proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14) Centuries before His coming, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). And during His earthly ministry, Christ taught his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace” (John 16:33).

Christ offers us peace if we will but turn unto Him. We often think of turning to the Lord for peace during times of trial and suffering, but we can and should look to Him every day for peace in our lives.

In my own life, I have seen a direct correlation between me making the effort to seek the Lord’s guidance and spirit through prayer and scripture study and the peace I experience in my daily activities.

Galations 5 teaches: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . .” As a mother, I desperately need those things in my life, and yet when life gets hectic, the simple acts of calling on the Lord and seeking to know His will are sometimes neglected. Instead, I race from one thing to the next, snapping at my husband and children because I feel overwhelmed with all I have to accomplish. Later, when I find myself on my knees, begging for the Lord’s assistance as I struggle to cope with my day, he gently reminds me that I rushed up and out that morning, plunging right into my to-do list and responsibilities without first seeking Him. Again. Why must we learn the same lessons over and over?

Christ has said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelations 3:20). Are we too busy to hear him knocking? We believe in Him, but are we opening the door and letting him in to sup with us?

In these final days leading up to Christmas, I want to challenge myself and each of us to set time aside each day to ponder the great gift of our Savior; to read of His birth, His life, and His marvelous atonement; and to pray to our Heavenly Father, offering thanks for the gift of His Son. Then, we will have his peace in our hearts. Then we will be better able to give of ourselves to our family and friends. We will be better equipped to choose wisely how we spend our precious time and energy. We will feel true joy, happiness, and peace that can come only from the Savior of the World. As Christ taught His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27).

I know that He lives and loves us. I know that He desperately wants to give us the peace that He promises, that our hearts may no more be troubled. I know that He is the Savior of the world, without whom all would be lost. I am so grateful for His willing sacrifice so that we might have eternal life; and that, though I stumble and make mistakes constantly, He continues to stand at the door and knock for me.

Monday, December 14, 2009


We've been studying medieval China, Japan, and Korea the past couple of weeks and today for our writing time, I decided to introduce the boys to haiku. It happens to be the oldest form of poetry still in use today, dating back from the 13th century. If you're not familiar with haiku, here are the rules:
  • 3 lines, with 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables
  • non-rhyming
  • The theme is always nature
Here's what we came up with:

Blazing Desert
by Kimball T.

Hot is the sun, bright.
Scorching is this desert heat--
Bones lay all around.

by Henry T.

Brown squirrel scurries,
Nuts and berries in his mouth--
Prepares for the snow.

Winter's Eve
by Michal T.

Bitter wind blowing.
Darkness falling, chills the bones.
Trees bend, shivering.

Now it's your turn! It doesn't have to take a long time to write haiku. We'd love to hear yours.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Top Ten

Today, I have many things to be thankful for. Here are my top ten:

1.My husband, who shows me in quiet ways every day how much he loves me.

2.My little brood, for whom my heart swells. They are my refiner's fire, but also my greatest treasure. I couldn't be more grateful to be a mother.

3.My testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and of His truth restored on the earth. This precious knowledge gives me perspective and understanding of who I am, why I am here, and where I am going. This, in turn, guides my daily decisions, and blesses my life immensely.

4. My parents, who filled my childhood up with love, faith, music, good books, and accountability. They will forever influence me for good.

5. Jared's parents, who loved me from the moment they met me, even though it took me a while to learn how to be a good daughter-in-law. I love them immensely.

6. Our siblings, who share with us the laughter, sorrow, rejoicing, and mourning in our lives. They are our best friends. And they have beautiful children! (Sad that the only photo I find of my sibs together without searching high and low is this one, taken about 25 years ago. Yes, I am the hottie in the thick glasses.)

7. A comfortable home in a safe neighborhood of our choosing. It may have old, gnarly carpet, but it gives us warmth from the cold, a roof over our heads, and a haven from the world.

8. A strong, healthy body. Lately, I have been appreciating this more, as well as feeling responsibility to take better care of it. I am loving this website that is helping me reach my goals.

9. Good books to read and the opportunities for knowledge and education available to me. I am grateful for the freedom to educate my children and to learn along with them on the journey.

10. A wonderful network of friends, both local and long-distance (and some even virtual), who support, inspire, and love me. I'd go crazy without you. And I really need to take more pictures of you!

This list is woefully inadequate when I consider how truly blessed I am, but I am going to sign off now and go enjoy my family, rather than spend longer listing blessings and digging up the perfect photos.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Need a Sponsor!

Dear Land of Nod,

Do you need a mommy blogger to help you with your advertising? I would be so happy to have you as a sponsor. It would be easy for me to go on and on about your quality children's furniture, your cute little names for things, and your stylish new baby gifts and gear. But the real reason I want some free swag in exchange for my endorsement? I want oodles of your toys under our Christmas tree this year.

The only thing I can't gush about is your prices, which could be a bit more budget-friendly for this mother to five. And yet, unlike so many toys in the big box stores, these aren't made of poisonous, lead-laden plastic and paint. They don't light up or make arcade noises. These toys don't talk back to your kids, allowing them to use their own (gasp) imaginations and to invent their own dialogue. They don't have any heavily merchandised characters that induce my children to swear their loyalty to a movie or brand. And that may save me some money in the long run!

So, just in case you had me in mind for such a gig, I'm attaching my wish list for Christmas. If Santa could come early in the form of a gigantic gift card from your lovely store, I would really appreciate it. Until then, I will try to be content with a few of the less budget-killing items and watch for a sale.

For my boys:

"Do you hear what I hear?" is just the kind of eavesdropping device my little Harriet-the-Spy wannabe would flip over!

And it coordinates perfectly with this "Secret Agent kit", an item which happens to be on Kimball's rather extensive wish list this year. (I wonder where he gets it?)

My little nephews would be over the moon to get this fire engine or "If I had a hammer and workbench" from Aunt Michal.

For my Girls:

"Thank heaven for little girl dolls" and coordinating pillow pals are sweet, indestructible, modest, and don't push my girls into the teeny-bopper stage too soon. Can I just grumble for a moment about how much I hate most of the dolls out there for little girls? Grumble grumble.

Cutest little "Starter house perfect for first time owners". Love it. Too bad the family and all the furniture are sold separately. This Santa's helper wants them all.

One of the many accessories that I love to go with the kitchen at the top. We might end up with the cookie set, but sadly, we'll have to make do with our plastic hand-me-down kitchen without an LON sponsorship.:)

This stylish stacker is perfect for the baby who already inherited everything from her older sibs. As is the vanilla flavored teething ring (not pictured). What a great idea.

These adorable blocks almost make me want to sit down and stack them up. And there were several other equally beautiful block sets.

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to educational toys and games for all ages. I think Bronwen may get a few of these under the tree to keep her busier during "school time".

In short, please have your people call my people. On second thought, you'd better email me. The background noise of my life is too chaotic for any official phone calls! I'm sure that we can arrange a mutually satisfactory situation! I'll brag all about your wonderful toys and furniture, and you'll send me one of everything! Deal?

Friday, November 13, 2009


Do you get a lump in your throat when you check on your kids at night after they've fallen asleep? I am always over- whelmed with feelings of love and gratitude. Here are our kids crashed out at the hotel last weekend.

A wise person once said, "Don't sweat the small stuff". I am convinced that this is much easier said than done.

I know how to handle the big stuff without losing my cool. My son may have an autistic meltdown in a very public place, and I can be soothing and resourceful. My husband or I are asked to do something overwhelming for church and I handle it with aplomb (and lots of prayer). Financial trials? Not worth freaking out over.

If I can handle these tough situations and more, why is it that finding my daughter digging through my purse with an entire pack of gum in her mouth threatens to send me over the edge? Everyone simultaneously shouting out their "order" for "more milk, please," "can I have a sandwich?" "I don't like cheese!" and "I need to go tinkle NOW" feels like more than I can bear. And if you ever see on the six o'clock news that I have gone postal, it will probably be because I tripped on my kids' shoes in the middle of the floor one too many times!

I know that I need to just relax and not let the little, everyday annoyances get to me. I envy people who seem to have such a zen-like quality to their mothering. And I pray many times a day for patience and clarity of thought as I care for these precious little ones. If I can just remember that my kids are my priority over a clean house, personal space, and peace & quiet, then we will all be better off. (Although please tell me that there is a way to have both! At least sometimes!)

Recently, my friend, Morgan from One More Moore, shared a quote on her blog:
"Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best.--Ezra Taft Benson

I loved the quote, but even more, I loved what Morgan said: "On the most challenging of days, I am most certain that if all I have to give is that, I can do it."

That gave me food for thought. I think that on my most challeng -ing of days, my children's sense of love and well-being is not on my mind at all. I'm all about survival, about getting through all the things that have to be done. If anything, I find myself resenting when they need me ("Don't they realize how much I have to do today?") I want a paradigm shift so that I truly have the sense that the most important thing I can do each day is to make sure that my kids know that they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. Let everything else fall where it may, and don't sweat the small stuff.

How do you keep the right perspective in your mothering? Please share with me!!!!