Friday, May 29, 2009
I have found that when I feel "bound" by something....a thought, feeling, something I heard, or read, an attitude, a habit, or even by the actions of another, I feel I have to make a decision about whether I want that to be a part of me and a part of my life...or not. I can choose to keep what I feel "bound" by or I can choose to throw it away. This past week, and especially today, I am choosing to throw away something that I have felt bound to for a long time.
Twenty-six years ago, my mother gave birth to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to have life on this earth. For 10 years, my mother raised me, and I have many fond memories from my childhood, but for the remainder she has been "gone" in a sense. When I was fourteen years old, I chose to leave behind me certain parts of my life, and one of them was my mother. She made a choice to put her addictions above the value of her children and she got in over her head. But whenever she was given the chance to get out, she chose to go back to her addictions. She didn't act like a mother anymore and I didn't feel like she was one anymore. As time has gone by, the drugs have truly found a sure grip on her life, and physically her brain has been altered enough now from so many years of use and abuse that I do not think she has the capability anymore to stop. I am not sure she has the capability to ever be a mother. I still had to move on with my life, and from then on, I started to learn what a mother truly was, and what truly defines a mother.
My grandmother, who I have always called "Nanny", is a wonderful mother. She sacrificed much to raise her children, and then to raise me. She gave me time and attention, praise and discipline, words of encouragement and warning, she instilled in me an importance of values and morals, right from wrong, filled me with love and showed me what enduring to the end should be like. She is a mother.
My young women's leaders Jan and Shirlene. They are wonderful mothers. Shirlene was only able to physically give birth to one daughter...but she has been a mother to countless other girls young and older, opening her arms and home to many children. She has, so many times, taken upon herself my own burdens, made them hers, so my load could be lighter. She knew when it was time to teach, and maybe more importantly, time to listen. She taught the truth of the Gospel and bore witness of its power. She has shown through her every action the example of the Savior through her compassion, empathy, gentleness, kindness, consideration, meekness, and love. She is a mother.
Jan. If there is a person who can make you smile, it is her, and laugh too! Jan has stood tall and faithful, even when others looked down upon her, and was always proud to say to people of great importance, "I am a home-maker." The lessons I have learned from her, even as a Beehive, I will always remember. She could move mountains with her ability to testify at home, in a classroom, in Sunday School, of the true power of womanhood and of what women in this world today can accomplish. Time and time again, she encouraged me to remain faithful, to never give up hope, and to make it to the temple, the House of the Lord, to gain my way back to a loving Heavenly Father. The day I went through the temple many mothers were there...even Jan...and what is so strongly impressed upon my soul today is that the example of one woman will vibrate into eternity. She is a mother.
My mother-in-law, DeAnne. If you know what good home-cookin is, well DeAnne will best you, I am sure of that! A sign above their dinner table reads, "Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often," and that is the truth when you visit their home. She gave birth to eight children and has labored her whole life for them. She has sacrificed so many things to give her children what they needed. She never puts herself first and is always thinking of anothers needs before her own. If you don't like rice and you're eating it at her house, she'll make you a potato instead, and if you don't like that, then she'll cook up some chicken, and if there are too many "chewies" in it, then she'll say, "Too bad...better just eat a lot of dessert!" Her greatest joys are not in her own self-fulfillment, but are found in her children and grandchildren. Devoted should be her middle name and Wonderful should be her last name. Russ calls her almost everyday, and that says something to me about her...She is a mother.
Throughout my life I have come to know so many wonderful mothers! They are all in my family, so many friends old and new, and I learn from them everyday. I strive each day to be a little more soft and gentle like Erica, a better teacher like Jeigh, to find humor and joy in ALL the things my children do like Jesy, to be more of an anomaly like Julie, and Jenilyn...you girl have supported me through some tough moments and I am forever touched by your example of being a true friend, if only I could discipline my children like Suzie does, and communicate with them like Ashley, and what about Sydney, who sews all kinds of things for her daughter and home???, I want to be as happy as Cami...and sheesh...if I could even be a little like Cami I think I'd be "twinkled" anyway...and Jenny...just so grateful to have a beautiful daughter and never takes for granted the blessing of bringing a child into this world...there are so many of you who are such examples to me and what a blessing it is to be so unique and yet be such a strength to each other! If only we could see each other for the strengths that we all have and see in our own selves the good that we can contribute, how united and happy we, as mothers, could be!
I may not have a "mother" there for me like a mother should be, and the reality is that I probably never will have my mom be my mother, but the blessing in disguise is that True Mothers don't necessarily have to be our biological mothers, they are found everywhere, and I am so thankful to have so many in my life. "Mother" just isn't a title that always gives us certain rights and privileges...."mother" is who we are, what we do, how we treat people...it is BEING something more....DOING....progressing towards something better....living outside ourselves.....it is sacrifice, hard work, laboring side by side with your children, making their joys your own, their sorrows your own, giving and giving and only receiving if it is chocolate or a chocolaty kiss from a gooey toddler!
"Sacrifice is and always has been the essence of motherhood"
It is tragic that my mom made a decision so many years ago and now her life has been stripped of what matters most...Family. Our actions have consequences....that can last for a lifetime...and even for eternity. If there is one thing I can put "out there" then it would be this: There is no trial too difficult that we cannot overcome, and if we put our faith and trust in the Lord, He will lead us through the refiners fire. Honestly, I have struggled more lately than I ever imagined I would...and yet I cannot deny that the Lord's hand has been in my life and the blessings we have received one day will be priceless. I have found strength through the blessing and power from the temple, through the prayers of family and friends and from all of their overwhelming support and encouragement. Life isn't about "me" and "my" happiness....but it is stripping yourself of pride and admitting that this is the Lord's work and glory and we would be nothing without Him. And then comes Happiness in its true form....and it is the journey each of us must take....to discover what brings true happiness.
I think I will be taking my journey for a long time...how about you?
Hey...let's do it together, okay?
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
And...they really DID help clean up the mess! When they agree to have CRAZY FUN, they must agree to be part of the clean-up crew too. Otherwise, the CRAZY FUN turns into a CRAZY mom who is NOT having much FUN at all!
Friday, May 15, 2009
"Anna, why are you out of bed?"
"I woked up mommy."
"You need to go back to bed, okay?"
"Mommy, I scared. I had a dream."
"It's okay Anna, there's nothing to be afraid of. You'll be okay."
"Mommy, will you carry me back to bed?"
"Okay, let's go."
So, I put her back in bed after she decided she needed to go potty first, and then crawled back in bed, hoping to fall asleep quickly! Morning comes all too soon at our house! Only minutes pass by when I hear a blood-curdling scream! My heart literally jumped into my throat, as I jumped out of bed to hear Anna screaming at the top of her lungs,
"Ahhhhhhh, MOMMY, MOMMY, Ahhhhhhhhhh, MOMMY, MOMMY!!"
Shaking, I open her door, and she practically jumps into my arms from her top bunk! She was so scared her whole body was shaking! I tried to calm her down when I noticed Carter was awake. Honestly, I think she woke up everyone in our apartment complex! I put Carter back down in bed and then took Anna out and shut the door. Anna kept saying to me,
"Mommy, I want to sleep with you, okay....can I sleep with you please?"
"Anna, why are you so scared?"
"Mommy, I sawed bugs in my bed! I sawed them, they was crawling all over!" Just for your information, Anna has a terrible fear of bugs and creepy crawly things!
I took her to my room, and was putting a pillow and blanket on the floor for her to sleep on, since our bed is only a full and it is a bit crowded with just me and Russ in it, when I could feel and see Anna on the verge of freaking out again! She was staring at the wall, and with a shaking arm, pointed at the wall above my pillow and said with a shaky voice,
I have no idea what she was seeing, but can only guess that her eyes were playing tricks on her in the dark and when she looked at the wall, it must have looked like things were moving around on it. I have NEVER seen Anna so scared in all her life! She rarely gets scared! So Russ told her to hop in our bed, which she did ever so quickly, and Russ and I both wrapped our arms around her little body! She didn't fall asleep for another hour, tossing and turning, and she kept looking around the room like she was watching for more "bugs"! She finally went to sleep around four in the morning!!
During breakfast, I talked to her about it, and had to explain that there were no bugs in her room. She wouldn't go in her room without me, and she would not even go near her bed! I climbed up and inspected it all and told her there was nothing there. I talked with her about what her imagination can do and how our eyes do not work very well at night, so sometimes we see things that are not really there. All that she was seeing was probably shadows. That seemed to ease her fears a lot. I am afraid, though, that she is going to have a hard time going to bed tonight. I might have to leave the door open and the hall light on, or I think we might encounter another screaming child during the night again!!!
I definitely do not miss those days when I was little and my imagination went wild at night and scared me more often than not! Any ideas as to how you calmed your child's nightmares/fears at night???
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I decided that Carter was showing all the signs of being ready for potty training, so I told myself yesterday, "Hey, what the heck am I waiting for, I am going to just start potty training him NOW!" So...I put him in his underoos, bought some Pull-Ups, and here we go! The amazing thing about Carter is he has amazing bladder control! He stayed dry all morning long, but the hard part was he also didn't go pee once on the potty! (I am going to have to start offering him lots of yummy drinks to push along the process!) Then he had nap time, and woke up wet, and then stayed dry for hours before he finally had an accident, which I was expecting. Once he had the accident, we hurried to the potty, he sat on it, wiped his bum, then said "Bye pee" and flushed the potty. We put on him dry under wear, and then kept "practicing" by going back to the potty as many times as we could, to help him remember the pattern of what to do when he gets the urge to go.
This morning, I was expecting he would have a poopie coming. He ALWAYS has a poopie in the morning, about the time he finishes eating breakfast. So, I kept watching for the signs, and when it seemed like he had to go, I told him, "Carter, quick, run to the potty and go poop!" So he did, and went his first poop in the potty! He was so excited and afterwards lifted his arms up above his head and said, "YESS!!" I had him give me a high five, and then we got Anna and showed her. Afterwards, Carter kept coming back into the bathroom to keep looking at his poop! He was very impressed!
Anyway, I am hoping he catches on quickly. If any of you have ideas as to how you potty trained your boys, I would LOVE to hear about them all! I am just so glad Carter is not resisting and has never felt any fear of the potty and actually enjoys sitting on the potty and going "pee"!! Potty training is definitely not my most favorite thing to do, and I actually dread it! But afterwards, it is so worth all the efforts!!! Good luck to all of you who are potty training too!!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
We got Anna and Carter a new bunk bed. They were VERY excited about it. Carter kept crawling on his bunk and covering up with the blankets and saying, "Nigh nigh!" They have done really well in the beds since then and even though we have nights where Carter has fallen out of bed and starts crying, Anna sleeps right through it now....and visa versa....though Anna hasn't fallen out of her bed when she starts crying in the night! It's usually because of some strange thing like her hair is in her eyes, she lost her bear, she needs her soft (silky) blanket, or like one time at 4 am she woke up crying and told me she forgot to give me a hug and a kiss. I think at times her dreams get mixed in with reality and she can't decipher the difference when she's only half awake!
Cute little guy....he now climbs up on Anna's bunk every night and tries to sleep with her! And there have been a few times where he climbed up, stood up, put his foot on the railing, and then jumped off barely in time for me to catch him! Yeah...have you ever had your heart stop for a moment??? Not so pleasant!
Anna is just my little cutie bug....learning so much, becoming a bit sassy too, but in general she is such a great girl! Her year of being three has been much nicer to us than her year of being two!!! Whew...some days I think we barely survived her "terrible twos"!!! Ha ha!
Anna loves her "Bubby" so much that when she is lovin on him, helping him, or playing with him, she bites her bottom lip as if restraining herself from squeezing so hard she pops his little head off! It is so funny to see! They are becoming such great friends and Carter already adores Anna!
Carter thinks it is so much fun to sit on Anna's lap! I often hear them giggling from the other room, and come in to find Carter on Anna's lap with the both of them laughing for no real reason except for the pure joy of finding pleasure in all the little things in life!
Anna loves to play computer games now and will ask me, "Mommy, tan I pway a puter dame? Jus doe to dot com, otay??" It is weird to think that the world she is growing up in really is so much different than the world I grew up in! One day, Russ and I just marveled at the differences in phones from when we were little up to now! If Carter saw a phone from 1983, I am sure he would barely realize what it was....after all, it couldn't fit in his pocket, play music, have pictures on the screen.....well, it didn't even have a screen! And what in world would it be doing attached to the wall, with a long swirly cord attached!
Monday, May 11, 2009
1. Anna started preschool! Very MERRY indeed! She started last Monday, and has LOVED every minute of it! No kidding, she actually WANTS to go, asks me everyday, every hour, every minute when she has "tool". Today, after I picked her up she excitedly asked me, "I wonner what we donna learn nex time, momma!!?" Anna goes to school and needs no pushing, shoving, convincing, tempting with special treats or prizes, she just walks right in with her teachers and does not think another thing about me until I come back! Can I just say that it is WONDERFUL! I don't feel a bit sad that she is growing up, but I feel so much happiness and excitement to watch her reach milestone after milestone, and I am just so excited for more and more to come! How FUN to be able to watch your children grow up!!! So fun!!!
2. Russ is back to school and as busy as EVER! He wakes up VERY early in the morning to do homework and is gone by 7:30, and then we usually do not see him again until dinner-time! He is working so hard and I am so proud of him and his new found commitment to his studies. Just so you all know, he has decided to do the engineering program here at BYU-I and then after he finishes that, he will decide if he wants to go on and get his masters degree. What a roller coaster ride we have been on concerning Russ and his college experience!! We have faced so many obstacles, sometimes feeling very discouraged, but the Lord has been gently guiding us and prompting us here and there and we just cannot deny that this is where we are supposed to be right now and doing what the Lord wants us to do.
3. We are the official guardians of my little brother Ben!!! That statement in and of itself has added years to my so-called actual 26 years of life I have lived! Inside, I feel like I should be 46 instead! While we were in court, the judge said some things that touched me and helped give me the strength and fortitude to go back home and try to be the "mother" that Ben needs me to be. I have struggled on and off with this new change in our lives. I still feel much resentment towards my mother because her decisions she makes are still affecting me and my life and the life of my children and husband too. To me, it feels maddening to feel like I am the mother trying to teach my "child" who happens to be my mother. But, I cannot deny that Ben has been a blessing for our family, and we will gladly keep him for as long as we can.
4. So, yes, I turned 26 years old on April 26!!! It was a weird birthday for me...it just felt weird to be 26! I had the best birthday ever!!! My sister-in-law took me out and we got pedicures and then went to lunch at Bajios, where I had the BEST chicken nachos in all of Rexburg...hmmm, with a mango salsa! I was happy to come back to find that my children missed me VERY much while I was gone! What a good feeling to be missed, especially by those you love the most! Earlier that week, Russ took me to Idaho Falls with the kids, and I got to buy myself quite a few new clothes! We had lunch there and we all had fun just being together. The week AFTER my birthday, Russ took me to Wingers, where we indulged ourselves to the max and then finished off with a big slice of their famous pie! YUM! My husband loves me! Oh....and I got a haircut, bought a new purse with the money from my mother-in-law....got these awesome white high heel shoes from my two AWESOME sister-in-laws.... Wasn't I spoiled?
*A special thanks to Jan....she has not forgotten my birthday since I was a beehive of hers in Young Womens! And people wonder how I grew up not having a mother.....it's because I DID have a mother....actually quite a few mothers.....and Jan was one of them. Thanks "mom" you really are the best!
4a-I also share the same birthday with my niece Rylei, and she had a party in Idaho Falls at a pizza place, where I got myself along with Anna and Carter, COMPLETELY LOST! Honestly, I will get lost on a full blown blazed trail....serious....I will! So, along with my party, we went to Rylei's....where we arrived hours late, but still had fun, made it back to Rexburg, where then I had to help Anna and Carter get over a spring cold with the nebulizer and a lot of albuteral!
5. We have had some frequent visitors lately....the missionaries! Ben told Russ a few weeks back that he really wanted to be baptized. We have talked to him since, about this decision, not wanting him to be baptized just because we are, or because he thinks we want him to. We REALLY wanted it to be solely HIS decision. He has been praying every night, and he told us he feels really good about it, and that he knows the Lord wants him to be baptized. It has been fun to have the missionaries in our home. They are awesome, and we are excited to see Ben start to grow spiritually and show his faith. He will be a strength to all of those around him.
So....Ben is very busy! He comes home from school, does ALL of his homework, reads for at least 15 minutes, then we have to study and talk about the lessons he is learning from the missionaries, Ben is ALWAYS wanting to help cook this or do that, and is good at being a little stinker in between as well! There are times when I feel like Anna listens better than Ben does, and he is already pulling the gripes like, "Well, I wish I was back in Twin because my MOM wouldn't ground me like that." and "Sure...just make my life miserable" when he finds out that we really DO follow through with what we say we are going to do if he disobeys or misbehaves! A few weeks ago, Ben threatened two girls at school, and told them he was going to bring a knife to school and stab them with it. The girls told their parents, and the parents called the principle. He called me. I never imagined I would have to deal with things like this, and then Russ and I trying to figure out how to best handle the situation. Ben is still paying the consequences for that decision he made at school, and for the sake of all of us, I truly hope he has learned his lesson and does not repeat it again! Thanks to Rob and Suzie Owens...you guys have been such a great help to us already. I have appreciated so much, Rob, your knowledge, guidance, and advice.
6. Mother's Day and Russ's Birthday: all on the same day, May 10!!! We had fun sharing the day together, and I was more than happy to spend a great portion of Mother's Day baking banana cream pies and lemon sour cream pies for Russ! He has gone through some huge transformations this past year and I have to say that I married to best man ever. He has sacrificed so much for me, made such huge efforts to support me and help me, and for that I am eternally grateful. We have gone through a lot together, and have fought some hard battles, at times with each other, and many times with our own selves. I don't think that many can really understand or truly appreciate the experiences Russ and I have had together, but we are so thankful to those who have remained supportive in words, thoughts and deeds. Thank you for your prayers, hope, faith, and guidance. We have many faults, and sometimes it is easier to see someones weaknesses than to see them for their strengths. We are so blessed to have family who have lifted us up instead of bringing us down.
7. We live blocks away from the temple. I get to see it almost daily, and no matter how many times I drive by, I am amazed by its beauty. Having a temple nearby just adds another measure of peace to my life that I have not felt before. I am trying to go as often as I can, and have felt a sustaining power of greater strength and faith given to me when I go.
"I love to see the temple, I'll go inside someday, I'll covenant with my Father, I'll promise to obey. For the temple is a holy place where we are sealed together, As a child of God, I've learned this truth, A family is forever." Never has this song meant more to me than it does now.
8. Being the primary secretary, Sundays are quite busy, but I have found a wonderful added pleasure from being a part of the primary presidency. We try to meet weekly, and as busy as our lives already seem to be, we manage to meet nonetheless, and come out of our meetings so glad we were there. The women I work with are so great, and I feel a close kinship to them. They are all older than me and most of their children are quite older than mine, but we have developed a friendship that has been so rewarding to me.
9. Gotta love all of those late night trips to the grocery store, after the kids are in bed, to get this and that and an indulgence here and there of chocolate or a bag of licorice or cookies I just couldn't resist!
10. And you would think that I could find the time to start training for the Teton Dam race I am planning on running in as well as the Pocatello Marathon race that comes later too, but darn-it, I just can't figure out why I am too tired to get out of bed in the morning to go running!!!
Maybe if I wouldn't stay up so late at night blogging, hmmmm???