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!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-- Doheny Beach

Look closely-- a wave just took off someone's trunks!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Superhuman Smeller

Recently it has come to my attention that Bronwen has the nose of a blood-hound. She complains about smells before I even notice them (like the over-scented air freshener in a public bathroom or the needs-an-air-freshener scent of her brothers' bedroom.) If I approach her while eating something or immediately after, she always notices and usually is dead-on in her assumption of what I've been eating: "I smell peanut M&Ms!" Busted.

I've been researching (again) Sensory Processing Disorder lately in regards to a couple of my kids. (I'll write a post all about it soon, as so many people have sensory issues these days and don't even recognize it. But that's for another day.)

Last weekend we took a family road trip to Southern California and while Jared was driving, I was filling out a checklist on my kids, determining which areas of sensory input are issues for them. Perhaps this made me more aware of it, but Bronwen's superhuman smeller was cracking us up the entire way to Dana Point.

We were driving along, talking to each other, while the kids were watching Pinocchio, headphones glued to their ears, not making a peep. All of a sudden, Bronwen starts screaming as if she's in agony. After about a minute, her shrieks were finally intelligible. She was saying, "somebody goed stinky in the car!" (No, her grammar isn't perfect yet:) We realized that we were passing a huge cattle farm and indeed, there was a strong smell. But she noticed it before most of us and reacted strongly.

Later, we had to rearrange bodies in the car so that I could sit by Margaret and calm her down when she was THROUGH with being in the carseat. This put one of her brothers directly next to Bronwen, and her complaint? "He's smelling me with his breath!" This wasn't just the typical case of "he's breathing my air" or "she's looking out my window," Bronwen didn't want him near her because she could smell his breath from the next seat over (no one else noticed it at all.)

As the ride wore on and on, she began exhibiting signs that she would benefit from a nap. We pulled out her blanket and encouraged her to go to sleep. Bronwen insisted (by crying and whining) that she couldn't sleep with her shoes on, so I helped her get them off. Instead of this rectifying the situation, she now had something new to cry about: her feet were stinky and how could she sleep with such smelly feet? Sigh. She finally overcame her hardship and drifted off, much to the relief of everyone else in the car.

I foresee her father using this to his advantage when Bronwen is old enough to date. His meet-the-date "interview" with her beaus will involve feeding them raw onions or better yet, he may tell them that she loves cologne! They won't last the evening!

This ultra-sensitive smelling power could be crippling in some situations (like in the fragrances section of the department store,) but I intend to find a way for it to be an advantage to her. Perhaps she has a future as a truffle-hunter. Maybe she can check airplanes for otherwise undetectable peanut fragments before those with heinous allergies board. Or check for poison by smelling all the food and drink of the president or royalty or paranoid celebrity before they eat it. I'm sure that pays well.

Do your kids have any super-human abilities?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Wrap-Up

I know that by now everyone is OVER Halloween, but I just haven't been able to come up for air until now and I wanted to post.

My kids' adorable costumes are courtesy of their amazing Nana. She made Ian's a couple of years ago for Kimball and all the others she made in the two weeks before Halloween. (She made two other grandkids' costumes and hunted down the desired Batman for another as well.)

This little angel just got passed around at our party until she finally conked out on my friend, Sandy, for about an hour. (And no, I didn't wear a costume. I wear orange and black on Halloween. I have too many other costumes to worry about that night!)

The boys made their "spook alley" this year into Snape's dungeon office, with potions and spooky ingredients everywhere and something brewing in the big black cauldron. Aunt Becky showed up dressed as Ginny Weasley, so she fit right in!

Our party was lots of fun and benefited greatly from our new backyard. We did have a few too many kids on the trampoline all night long, but I haven't been contacted by anyone's attorney about it, so all's well. There was plenty of chili, hot dogs, rootbeer, and chocolate. I wish that I'd had my camera out more, but here are a few shots of those who haunted our house that night:

This little witch didn't make it over that night-- we missed you, Livvy!
If you had stayed till the end, you would have seen Jared pull out his bag of hairpieces and try them out on some of our guests. (Did anyone get a picture of Jared's costume? Because I'm a bad wife and didn't take one. Oops!)

If only Rich (on the right, above,) had worn the puffy pumpkin costume with green tights (like he did to the church trunk-or-treat), the party would have been perfect. Oh well, maybe next year!