Monday, August 26, 2013

It Never Gets Easier...

Here I am, the sappy mom on the first day of school. I comfort myself knowing that at least I wasn't the only one. I saw the tears well up and trickle down your faces. The tears we all held onto until we found our way back to the car. I saw how we all sent texts to Grandmas and Grandpas and husbands and fathers.

Simply put it just never gets easier to let your kids grow up. All the anxious thoughts running through our minds. Will they make new friends, will they like their teacher, or are the other kids going to make fun of them? Will they listen, will they enjoy learning, or will it be too hard? Different concerns for different kids, but it's always hardest for me when I send a new kindergartener, which I did today.

It's not all bad. We loved school shopping...mostly, we loved buying fun foods for lunches, and we liked visiting the classrooms and meeting the teachers.  Today reminded me of a small section in my book Family Ever After. Enjoy.

"Sometimes trusting and helping our loved ones succeed and rise to the occasion means that we must take action to prepare them and then give up some control and begin to trust in their abilities. I am always teasing my children that they need to stop growing up because I will miss them too much. It is exciting for me to watch them learn new things and see their personalities and talents develop, but there is always a part of me that wants to safely hide them in bubble wrap to preserve the sweetness of their childhood. This security can be appealing, but in reality it is both impossible and absurd. I ache inside when my children make poor choices, get made fun of, or fail. But if I don’t let them go, and support them along the way, they will never rise to the occasion of life.

I have realized my children’s lives are a constant repeat of that first day I dropped them off to kindergarten. It was exciting and scary for both of us. For the first time, I had to undo the bubble wrap because if I let it remain, it would inhibit their growth. With a tear rolling down my cheek, I hoped that both my and their preparation would be enough to succeed, enough to help them fit in, and enough for them to be happy. Hopefully, the love and care we present to our families will prepare them to succeed individually and as a whole. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Today's Sweet Moments

My sick and sleeping child (who broke her arm Saturday)

In life’s crazy sometimes I find it best to focus on the sweet moments. Today is one of those days.

Sweet moment #1- Two of my kids are gone swimming and two are asleep. What?!

Sweet moment #2- I get to clean my house in peace and no one is messing it up.

Sweet moment #3- My husband took an extra round of puke clean up last night so I could sleep a wee bit longer. I’m a lucky gal.

Sweet moment #4- I got to wash my laundry in a large capacity washer and dryer and it goes so much faster than it used to.

The mountain of Laundry that didn't take all day to wash!

Sweet moment #5- I got to see my husband mid-day. We were just signing life insurance papers but it’s always a treat to see him before 6pm.

Sweet moment #6- I renewed my life insurance policy and in the case of my demise my children will be well taken care of.

Sweet moment #7- My sick child couldn’t find her shoes so her older brother took off his new school shoes and put them on her and walked barefoot. (This one was extra sweet)

Sweet moment #8- Our friends invited us to dinner this week and that is one less meal to make and round of dishes that I don’t have to clean up.

First time chocolate chip cookies (They really are pretty good)

Sweet moment #9- I took some more junk to Utah’s version of goodwill. Ahhhh! It feels like I have more room to live!

Sweet moment #10- Daniel made cookies all by himself for the first time. They were a bit gooey so we ate the chocolate chips out of the first batch and then thickened up the rest of the dough. It’s always fun when my kids try new things

Sweet moment #11- When I walk in the door my kids come running and cheering –MOM!!! I loved to be loved.

Life has been extra busy. I think it’s just that time of year. When I just stop and notice the good things it keeps me peaceful, happier, and more content. It makes me realize all the good things I have. Try it. Sit down and write down ten sweet moments from your own life today. It seems like the more I write, the more I remember. I’m pretty sure it will lift your spirits! It did mine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life, Love, and Labor

“Breathe. Just Breathe. You can do it. Relax a bit. This won’t last forever. Come on, breathe.”
This is me talking myself through life…with kids.

“Mom, I need a sack lunch for my picnic,” “mom we don’t have anything to eat,” “Mom I can’t find my swimming suit.”

“Just Breathe.”

“Mom, Jackson ripped my birthday paper (tears, lots of tears).” “Mom, GET ME A DRINK!” “Mom, you care about my shoes more than me” (“Not so” I say, “or I wouldn’t have bought you the shoes. Now take them off and don’t wear them until school starts.”)

Keep Breathing, just one day at a time.

The lawn needs to be mowed. We need to de-junk. The laundry needs to be washed and folded. The swimming pool needs to be rinsed so the kids can play in it.

You can do this, it won’t last forever.

“Mom Jackson’s pouring out the gasoline for the lawn mower!!!” “Mom, he is being so mean!” “Mom, why can’t I go play at Emma’s? (More tears).”

Just Breathe. Be patient

The kids need school clothes. I need to email the publisher. It’s Julia’s birthday tomorrow. I need to register the kids for school

One task at a time. One at a time. Just Breathe

Why are the holly bushes painted white? Why is the curtain rod bent? Why is there cereal on the carpet?

My mother gave me wise counsel years ago when I was worried about the pain of labor and delivery for my first child. She kind of smiled and with hidden laughter she revealed life’s truths. “Michelle” she said, “it’s not labor and delivery you need to worry about it’s the rest of their life that’s going to be really hard.”

Just Breathe I tell myself. Mom was right.

So how do we do it?

One hug at a time, one load of laundry, one batch of dishes.


One broken dish at a time, one bed time story, one more poopy diaper to change.


One tender heart to heal, one wide eyed child to soothe, one kiss for that skinned chin.

Breathe. Enjoy it. It won’t last forever.

One creative picture hanging on the fridge, one silly dance with your kids in the living room, one ice cream date at a time.

Breathe. Enjoy it. It’s going faster than you planned.

One two-year old to quietly snuggle, one hour to make beaded necklaces, one afternoon at the water park, one child to love.

Just breathe.

When you deliver a baby the pain is out of this world. You are sweating, cursing, pushing, and giving your all. Labor is miserable, but what you get is so wonderful. You put your life on the line to bring this sweet baby into the world and there is nothing more worth it. The rest of your life with kids may not be so physically painful but aren’t you doing the same thing? Aren’t you working hard, sweating, pushing your kids, cursing under your breath (some days), and willingly giving up a bit of your own life for your children?

Just keep breathing. Don’t give up.

That’s what being a mom is about. It is about doing hard things, sacrifice, and patience. It’s about enjoying the little things, taking extra breaths when necessary, and loving something more than yourself.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Four Little Monkeys...

As I was trying to finish up an important phone call, I could hear the oh so familiar Indian dance being pounded on the piano. I’m not sure, but it might have been monkeys. I headed into the closest quiet room available to finish my phone conversation only to find myself surrounded in a whirlwind of stuff. The carpet barely peeked out from under the clothes, papers, legos, books, toy food, and likely some real rotting food somewhere. Definitely Monkeys. I walked out in hopes of finding a safer refuge only to discover my two year old strutting around in his birthday suit. What happened to his clothes? I’m guessing the monkeys swiped them. I chased him down as my feet crunched on popcorn. Apparently someone tried to pop popcorn but left prematurely, allowing the lid to wiggle off and the popcorn to explode all over the kitchen. How it got to the dining room I couldn’t say and I how I didn’t notice, well all I have to say is, it must have been the monkeys.
After the wee one was re-clothed I headed to the kitchen to make lunch but the candy from the parade was sprinkled across my floor. I’m sure if I followed the empty wrappers it would have led me to the monkeys. Discouraged at the mayhem I headed to the bathroom. Somehow the monkeys beat me to it. I was greeted by the water holes of Africa with lions, tigers, and dinosaurs all bathing around my sink. My venture lead me through the family room only to discover that the game cupboard was open and the games had been thrown through the air and scattered. Dice, play money, fake bed bugs (gross), game boards and cards decorated the entire floor. Can you just picture the monkeys and all the fun they must have had? I decided then and there that something needed to be done. Those monkeys needed a mom. I turned off the phone, got off the computer and something amazing happened. The monkeys appeared out of our jungle. I made them some lunch, put the itty bitty monkey down for a nap, and gave the other monkeys some much needed attention.

One day my monkeys will be grown and gone, and as much as I will savor my quiet clean home I’m pretty sure I’ll miss them.