Love Lessons

My cute little boy has a favorite friend.  I am sure that many kids have a stuffed animal or other snuggly thing that they tote around for comfort and for friendship.  Well, I want to introduce you to Moo-Moo.  20180530_131512.jpg

Who is Moo-Moo you ask?  Well he is a blanket…but don’t tell my son, he is animate that Moo-Moo is a stuffed animal.  But, well, he is really a blanket.  My mom made this fun cow blanket when I was expecting my little guy.  It was just one of the many that she made, a soft receiving blanket where she crocheted the edges and had a matching burp cloth.  Well, my little guy loved this blanket.  Soon they were inseparable.  Moo-Moo went everywhere with us and became a member of the family.  Although he wasn’t allowed to go outside and play in the mud or ride trikes, he is always around.  He was so loved that his fabric started to wear and the original crochet edge came unraveled.  So my mother-in-law redid the crochet and just a few months ago, Moo-Moo became the proud owner/wearer of patches.  You see in that picture up there, there are two different kinds of cow pattern.  Moo-Moo also has a head.
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It is one of the corners of the blanket that has been shaped a little and put a collar (a.k.a. hair band) around.  Moo-Moo likes to tickle, lick, point, poke, and snuggle with his “head”.  He even talks.  He has his own language and he is from Cow-afornia.  Yep, he is super fun!  I always knew that my little guy loved Moo-Moo, but it has been more evident recently.  As it goes with getting older, and riding scooters and playing outside there always seems to be one of my kids that needs a band aid.  Well, the first thing that happens when my son gets hurt, is “I need Moo-Moo!”

Moo-Moo needs baths too, and after a whirl around in the washer and a spin in the dryer it is always a kissy fest when he is clean.  And my favorite is when my son comes home from school and calls from the bottom of the stairs, “Moo-Moo, oh Moo-Moo! I’m home, I will be there to get you in a minute.”  Moo-Moo is very loved.  I have been thinking about this sweet relationship and although it is not unique to my son (both of my girls have their favorite animals as well), the love that is shown is so pure, sweet, and tender.  Everyday. My son shows great joy and love to Moo-Moo everyday.  I thought about how I share my love with my kids, my husband, and with God.  I need to show more joy and love with everyone.

My favorite quote right now,

“Power comes from love.  Achievement and ability come from love.  We can try to do it on our own or we can really achieve with the Savior- by accepting His love and be being willing to love others in return.” Chieko N. Okazaki

Just think about that.  “Power comes from love.”  Have you ever noticed the difference when you are with people you love and who love you in return.  You act differently, your body language is different, and your ability to open yourself up is different.  There is power in showing love, sharing love, and stating love.   I have been more mindful of that in my life the past few months and have learned a lot about myself and those around me.

Let me just tell you about one thing.  The last day of school for my kids is tomorrow.  I love having my kids at home, but they have all been a tired and excited and just whiny and grumpy because they won’t go to sleep on time and then they wake up super early.  Anyway, I have been thinking about how to show love to them more.  They don’t ever seem to get sick of me, even when I make mistakes.  They are the best examples to me of love, unconditional love.  I sometimes get mad (think peeing on the floor when they are next to the toilet, etc.), sometimes I yell, sometimes I just want them to not get any toys out because the house is clean, sometimes I am impatient, sometimes they don’t like dinner, and sometimes I eat all the chocolate while hiding in the kitchen, but you know what…they still love me, they still give me the best hugs, they still want to snuggle and read a book, they still want to tell me their stories, they still want to give me every picture they create because it is unique and beautiful, and I am grateful for that reminder EVERYDAY!!!!!  (The same goes for my sweet husband, who is patient beyond words with me and still tells me I am beautiful even when my metabolism is going crazy).  I need to remember this more with my relationship with my Savior.  His love for me is unconditional as well.  His love gives me power, even though I block it a lot. He allows me to achieve and gain ability from His love, even though I am just human.  He willingly loves me EVERYDAY!  I need to be willing to do the same.

So just remember, Power-comes-from-Love

p.s. Moo-Moo gave his permission to be photographed and included in this post.

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Two for One Time

Okay, I wrote this post in early December and I totally forgot to post it.  So I am going to post it (pretend it is still December) and then tack on my next post.  It is going to be a little long, but I hope you will stick around til the end! So two for one, aren’t you excited!

#1-Winter is Here

Fall is usually my favorite time of year.  I love how the trees magically change color and how everything looks at us from a different eye.  I love the mountain dashed with brilliant colors and the weather changing to cool down. But this year has felt different. This year I just feel like everything is dying and I don’t like the barren trees.  It makes me feel exposed I guess and I am really not looking forward to driving in the snow. I haven’t been looking forward to the change of the leaves, I have dreaded the chill of winter coming and have missed the green grass and flowers in delicate colors.  A Sarah McLachlan song keeps rolling through my head;

“The winter here is cold and bitter
It’s chilled us to the bone
I haven’t seen the sun for weeks
Too long, too far from home.”

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I guess I have just not been ready to be freezing all the time and never be able to get warm.  I also had a hard time sending my kids off to school this fall.  I love my kiddos and it is hard to not spend more time with them and to hear their laughter and see them all play together.  Now, the nights are full of homework, piano practice and reading minutes.  My kids complain about not having time to “just play” and I am totally with them.  So, I am not ready for this year to be gone.  Where did the year go anyway?  I feel like it was just April, but it is December.  Seriously, time does go faster when you are older.  I just want time to slow down a little.  I want to continue to enjoy snuggles with all of my kids before they don’t hug me or they are bigger than me.

So now I am trying to get into the Christmas spirit but I keep dragging my feet, pretending that it is Spring.

One thing for sure is that I realize I like all the seasons for different reasons.  I don’t really have a favorite anymore, but I am sure looking forward to spring!

#2 Shine On

I play the piano, I don’t claim to be the best piano player but I can mostly hold my own when I have some time to practice.  A couple of weeks ago I played the piano for a musical number at church.  I was pretty excited they asked me to, because it was all the men in a family I think the world of.  So, the music was brought over and I was like..yep, lots of practice time for this one! It has always been a challenge to get all the practice time I need with my kids.  It was hard though to get through all 11 pages of the piece in one sitting without one child needing help, or someone screaming, or you know just life here!  It was a beautiful song though and it was a fun challenge to up my game for this quartet, because they are all amazingly good singers.

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When I accompany anyone or any group my goal is to go unnoticed and have the singer(s) be center stage.  Basically I am letting them shine!  When I was preparing this last time it just reminded me that accompanying people is a lot like life.  There are many people behind the scenes helping us shine and look good.  Do we thank those people enough?  Do you think about those people?  Do you thank them for their “practice” time.  It is a lot like being a parent!  But my mind also turned to my Savior.  He is always there behind the scenes for me.  He has put in a lot of work for me, and continues to always uplift, inspire and strengthen me.  What a blessing to have just had the Christmas Season upon us.

Our Christmas was simple and relaxed and we did a lot to help focus not just ourselves, but our children toward Christ.  Did you remember Christ at Christmas?  I hope you thought about how that little baby born long ago is not a baby anymore, but is your brother and friend and is doing His best to make you shine.  Look for those people that help you and allow you to shine, thank them.  Then, look for people that you can help and let them shine!

 

 

 

Blessed with Earthly Angels and a Big Mama Bear

The past couple of weeks we have been especially blessed.  We have had two different packages left on our door step, one specifically for our kids (so full of little toys and things the box wasn’t even closed all the way) and another one for the kids and us, as parents (Little People Nativity and some Christmas cash).  I can’t even tell you what these few things have meant to me.  Remember my post about not feeling like I matter, well receiving these unknown gifts made my heart burn.  It was a tender reminder to me, that someone out there was thinking of our family.  I have no idea who gave us those gifts, but the greatest gift they really gave, was love.  It wasn’t about the gifts really for me, it was the joy that entered our home when our kids especially felt SPECIAL LOVE for them.  I didn’t feel like we were worthy of such gifts, but the gift of love and joy are true gifts from a Heavenly Father that loves us.  What a blessing to see this happen in our own home.  Then this week, some special new friends, have picked our family to do the 12 days of Christmas to.  I have no idea who it is, but our kids look forward to it every night.

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To say that I don’t feel blessed, would be a lie.  How blessed I feel by “earthy angels” who have shared love and joy in our home and continue to do so.  What a blessing!  I hope you are looking for the blessings in your life and in ways to be a blessing to those around you.

With all that said though, there is more.  Some days I feel like I’ve got this parenting thing down, but other days I feel like a complete failure.  I felt like this week has been a dismal failure.  Maybe, it is way too many failures that have culminated.  They have been complaining about EVERYTHING and one kid has even started the “I never get to do what I want to do…”.  The other huge struggle this week…eating dinner.

We have been working on breaking our kids’ habit of being picky eaters.  We have introduced a lot of new food along with new rules for dinner.  One rule is they have to try 5 bites of whatever is new.  They don’t have to LIKE it, but they have to EAT it.  Well, tonight it was all out war.  I was excited to eat dinner until the complaining started before I even sat down.  I love cooking, I love baking, and it is hard to hear complaining before I even reach the dinner table.  Ugh.  This challenge of introducing new things etc., is not for the weak in spirit and consistency is the key, but tonight I snapped.  I made my 4-year-old sit at the table until he ate a carrot and a potato (it was like ¼ of each).  He did not like that.  He sat there for a long time, with 3 bathroom breaks and lots of complaining.  I finally let him leave, but he will be eating said food at breakfast and lunch if he hasn’t finished (and dinner is leftovers).  Maybe I am too mean of a parent, but I am trying to show him that I will follow through and his complaining is not going to make his food go away.  But, that doesn’t mean that I feel great about it.  I feel like a total failure.  Why can’t we just sit down for Sunday dinner, have a great conversation about what we learned about at church, and enjoy being together.  Someday..

I feel like sometimes I don’t know how to be a mom, I don’t know how to teach them certain things, and I just hope that I am doing something right, because I feel like I am ruining them. With all that said though, I want the best for them.  I want them to be able to be good people and good kids and respectable.  I want to see what they are passionate about and what drives them. I love to see them create and imagine and grow and I marvel at all their little brains can do and learn in so short of a time.  I want to be a close knit family, I want my kids to be each others best friends and to enjoy life together.  I want them all to know that I will fight for them.  I want to share, tell, and sink love deep in their hearts from their mom.  I don’t want them to question at all that I love them, and I just hope that all my failures and shortcomings I will somehow be able to teach them to love and serve and care for each other and for those around them.  I want them to be the people reaching out, like people have been reaching out to our family, instead for greedy gift hoarders.  For Christmas I want our home to be a place of peace and a place where all love more.

Just a homemaker

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In the Fall last year I went to get my haircut.  Not a big deal, right?  Well, I went to a salon I had only been to once, but I REALLY needed my hair cut, I had a coupon, and a few minutes without my kids.  So I sat down, explained what I wanted done with my hair and the hairstylist starts cutting.  Being the introvert that I am, I wasn’t exactly chatty and the hairstylist looked like she was having a long day.  But I attempted to start up a conversation.  Turns out that she had an outpatient surgery that day and was working her second job of the day, so she was tired.  Well, she asked what I did.  My response was, “I am just a homemaker.”

Now, before I proceed, in my head I was running through this amazing dialogue about a response that I would love to here after I state that I am a stay at home mom.  The purely magical response would be, “You’re not just a homemaker, you definitely do a ton.”  Followed by a great conversation on motherhood and the joys and difficulties of the hardest job on earth.  On another side note, a couple of years ago I saw this blurb on a social media site that was interviewing people for an unnamed job.  It showed the interviewer Skyping with potential applicants and telling them a little more about “the job.”  They were told they would never have a day off, there was no sick time or leave offered, they had to work every holiday, and they would always be on call.  Most of the people were totally appalled and many asked if that was legal.  Then the interviewer told them what “the job” was, it was the job of a mother.  All of the applicants smiled and it ended with all of them saying a big thank you to their own moms.

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Well, my dreaming response was cut short with the response of the hair stylist, “Oh, well did you do any thing before, or did you do anything else with your life?” Truthfully I wanted to jump up and scream, but that would not have been good.  So I swallowed my pain, hurt, and angst and told her what my job “used” to be.  I asked her about having kids and then my heart hurt.  Yes, she has kids but in so many words, let someone else take care of them and put them to bed because she preferred that.  I am not trying to talk bad about this hairstylist and I definitely don’t know her situation at all, but it sure has made me think a lot since that night.

I love being a homemaker.  I remember when I was 7 months pregnant with my third baby and was trying to tie a quilt on the floor, my back was screaming, my other two kiddos (ages 4 and 2) were running around probably hitting something they weren’t suppose to, but being so happy.  I remember sending my cute husband a text, “I love being domestic!”  Haha, that makes me laugh.  But I really do enjoy being home, taking care of my home, and enjoying my time with my kids while they are little.  With that said, we have definitely had to make some sacrifices for the opportunity to be a stay at home mom.  There are too many to even talk about, but I am so grateful for a husband that is a strong supporter of family.

One of my favorite things on motherhood especially, is from Elder Neil Andersen.  He gave a talk about having children and how they will ultimately bless your life.  Read this little blurb: “Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: ‘[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.’ She then adds: ‘Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.’ Now I am not totally saying that every minute of being a homemaker is glorious and perfect or that my children are perfectly obedient.  But being a mom is definitely what God has given me time for right now.  It is an amazing experience that has blessed my life in so many ways.  I love when my kids are all clean in their jammies and we are reading scripture stories or the last Winnie the Pooh book, then every one lays down and I sing them songs.  It is a cherished time for me and I hope it is something that they will remember.

When I was little, I loved to read, and I loved when my mom read to me.  I don’t know if my mom just got sick of me asking for bed time stories or if she was just tired and wanted to go to bed herself, but she recorded many tapes of her reading stories.  I took one of those tapes to college with me.  It was those little things that meant so much, that I want to instill in my kids.  We have long since digitized those old cassette tapes and now have a play list for our kids with both of their Grandmas, one Grandpa, one set of Great-grandparents, and Scott and me reading stories. I am so grateful for those small things.  Many times I find myself reflecting on all the crazy things I put my mom through and you know what, she still loves me.  I hope that as the years continue, that my kids will know how much I am grateful for this time to be their mom and what a blessing it is to be with them. I want them to know also, how much I rely on God to get me through some days.  I pray that they will pray for that help when they need it.

This past week my oldest started 1st grade.  Seriously, it has been hard.  I miss her and I miss all the kids playing together.  The first day, Jake (my 4 year old) and I were wandering around the house because we didn’t quite know what to do without Jenna.  Jake keep asking when Jenna was coming home, and the first time he asked she had not even been gone for an hour.  Tessa, my 2 year old, was confused when Jenna didn’t come back home with us after we dropped Jenna off at school.  “Where’s Jenna?” and I would have to remind her.  Jenna on the other hand, said she missed us but I think she was doing just great and having a wonderful time in first grade.  It is definitely an adjustment for all of us to have her gone.  The sad thing is, is that this week was early out so she hasn’t even been gone for as long as she usually will be!  My mother heart aches, but is exciting for her as well in her new adventure.

Since that Fall, I have often thought about changing my response when people ask me what I do.  But, you know what, I have the best job right now.  I am a wife and a mom with a family that loves me.  Julie B. Beck said what I know is true, “When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.”   Why would I want to change my response?  Now, I say that I am lucky enough to stay at home with my kids, because I really do feel lucky.  I am blessed to “JUST” be a homemaker.