A New Year and a New Decade

Thursday, December 31, 2009

When I woke up this morning, one of my first thoughts was that it was New Year's Eve. This is suppose to be a big deal right? Not around here. I think the days of ringing in the new year died when our first child was born. EVERYTHING changed then. This thought then caused me to reflect upon the last decade of my life- Darren and I (with no shortage of help from The Lord) brought our 5 children into the world. That in itself, is an awesome feat (considering especially that it is no easy task for me). Our family is complete! Isn't this the day I have been waiting for? We can start living now, right? It is a funny thing- to think that I need to wait for a certain event in order to start living fully. For some of you I know, you are already super fantastic at seizing the moment and you will not be able to relate to what I am saying at all, but this is not for you, it is for me and maybe the few who can relate. I have, of course enjoyed my life so far, but there was always the expectation of another baby and with that comes a natural change, therefore a new game plan. To accept the fact that I will never hold a brand new baby of my own in my arms is a hard thing for me-physically I do, emotionally is where it is tough. But it will eventually have to be accepted....... and with wonder I enter a new decade with my family of 7!
What I wish for the VERY most in my life is balance. Balance is needed in ALL things. Whenever I hear this word, it is always accompanied by an eye roll and a click of my tongue. Balance....... it is a beautiful, peaceful thought, but is it really possible? It must be possible, just as being perfect IS possible, if we are asked to attain it. Maybe if I look at it that way; that it is not something that I will fully achieve tomorrow or even next year, but piece by piece, only then will I be able to belief that I can actually experience any kind of consistent balance in my life.
Forgetting all the mindless activities that vie for our time and attention, there is no shortage of good things left in the world to do. How do we fit them all in? There is no way. So then, how do we choose what will be most beneficial for our lives?
I want to live with purpose, I want to do something great with my life. How grateful I am that I have a whole new decade in front of me to do better, to live more fully, to choose to enjoy more moments, and I hope that God's grace will fill in where I lack (and is it too much to hope for that my children will forget the sometimes too often grumpy mom and remember my more fantastic moments?)

Can't See The Forest For the Trees

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ever heard that expression? That is pretty much my philosophy when it comes to Christmas tree ornaments- you can't see the tree for the ornaments, or so my husband says. I, on the other hand, can't help myself. I think they are so beautiful! Taking them down though is something else altogether!

i love this day!

Boxing day is just one of my favorite days! I love going out with sisters and friends and finding a few treasures for a really great deal. For me it is not about the things, but the energy, the deals and the people I'm with! I had fun this year with my sister-in-law Shannon. We went only 2 places (Superstore & Home Sense- what else do you need), but I found some fun things!

Ingredients for a successful trip:
1. DO NOT take children or a husband (unless he enjoys shopping)
2. Check out the things ahead of time that you would like but wouldn't pay full price for
3. Go with a limit (it is possible to go overboard, you could end up with something that you usually wouldn't ever choose, just because it is a good deal)
4. Go with someone who can be objective, but most of all fun!
5. DO NOT take children or husband
6. DO NOT take children or husband

Have fun!

A Full Heart and a Happy Home

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009! This year we decided, as a family, that we would make all our Christmas gifts, in order to help our children (and ourselves) internalize what the spirit of Christmas is really all about. For us it has been such a wonderful way to spend the Christmas season. Whenever I went to the store for something and saw everyone out shopping for gifts, I felt such relief at the thought that I didn't have to fight crowds and spend more than necessary. Instead, I have seen my children being very creative and thoughtful about what they could make for others. Darren and I have also had such fun making gifts for our family. I felt like I was an elf in Santa's workshop painting and assembling wooden toys for the kids. And they turned out pretty cute! There were not piles and piles of gifts under our tree this year and yet everyone feels special and happy, all busy playing with the few things they did receive. I am grateful for Christmas - I love the music, the lights, the decorations, the food, the friends and family, the shopping (I do like shopping). I am grateful for my husband who is still assembling toys with the boys, grateful that I don't have to figure it out how to, grateful that is a priority to him and grateful that he still has the spirit of a little child. I am grateful for children that have big hearts and think about others, and how they can help, serve and give. I am grateful for my warm safe home this Christmas day. I am grateful!

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Paperwhites and popcorn strings!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just in case you didn't know AISTKWTM stands for 'am I suppose to know what that means?' I keep seeing BTW in e-mail and things - should I know what BTW means? Someone please help me out!

Scent Of Christmas

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I gladly give credit to my dear friend Rachel for this fantastic find.
It is one of my new favorite things.
If you want your home to smell incredibly Christmassy, try this:

Scent Of Christmas
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup whole cloves
2 orange peels
2 sections of lemon
1 quart/4 cups of water
Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer on low.
Add water as needed.
Can be used for days.

It's Offical

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am old.
I am not sure when it happened,
But it did.
Picture this:
The kids are sitting at the counter, making Christmas cards. They are using stamps and ink. Emma takes a stamp in her hand and stamps a paper while saying, "STAMP, that's what I like doing, pretending that I am a librarian, checking out books. STAMP, that's what you use to do in the olden days you know!"
I am pretty sure she learned that from this book that we are reading. 
It is CUTE!

Accepting The Oyster

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"There are other shells to help me, to put in the row on my desk. Here is one I picked up yesterday. Not rare; there are many of them on the beach and yet each one is individual. You will never find two alike. Each is fitted and formed by its own life and struggle to survive. It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back. Sprawling and uneven, it has the irregularity of something growing. It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition after another to hold its teeming life - here a sleeping porch for the children, and there a veranda for the play-pen; here a garage for the extra car and there a shed for the bicycles. It amuses me because it seems so much like my life at the moment, like most women's lives in the middle years of marriage. It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and, in its living state firmly embedded on its rock.
Yes, I believe that the oyster shell is a good one to express the middle years of marriage. It suggests the struggle of life itself. The oyster has fought to have that place on the rock to which it has fitted itself perfectly and to which it clings tenaciously. So most couples in the growing years of marriage struggle to achieve a place in the world. It is a physical and material battle first of all, for a home, for children. In the midst of such a life there is not much time to sit facing one another over the breakfast table. In these years one recognizes the truth of Saint-Exupery's line: "Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking outward in the same direction; they are working outward. (Observe the steady encroachment of the oyster bed over the rock.) Here one forms ties, roots, a firm base. (Try and pry an oyster from its ledge!) Here one makes oneself part of the community of men, of human society.
Here the bonds of marriage are formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web fashioned is love. Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts: of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language too; a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. In the oyster stage of marriage, romantic love is only one of the many bonds that make up the intricate and enduring web that two people have built together.
I am very fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly. It is slate-colored and unsymmetrical. Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional. I make fun of its knobbiness. Sometimes I resent its burdens and excrescences. But its tireless adaptability and tenacity draw my astonished admiration and sometimes even my tears. It is comfortable in its familiarity, its homeliness, like old garden gloves which have been moulded themselves perfectly to the shape of my hand. I do not like to put it down. I will not want to leave it." 

Anne Morrow Lindberg: Gift From The Sea

This is one of my favorite books. I relate to Anne through her words. She lived and raised 5 children (after tragically losing her first son) in the 1930's. Yet her words still apply to me a woman raising her five children in the 21st century. They are timeless. I have, at times in my life, not fully excepted all the parts of my oyster shell. The chaos and clutter that come with raising a large family. It is not always pretty or peaceful, but it is beautiful in a different way. I love the symbolism of the oyster shell, how it looks, how it clings to the rock for its place in this world, how a marriage changes; becomes something so much stronger through the journey; the exhaustion that comes from simply living for something of value and integrity, while the relentless waves of the world crash upon us, making it that much harder to keep the strength to hold on. And yet it's those trials and tests that strengthen us and give us cause to build a firm foundation. This is the way things are for now, this is the way it is suppose to be and I know I will miss it when later this stage is over. I hope to learn to love all the knobbiness of my oyster shell.

i love this

Saturday, December 5, 2009

“To help another human being reach one’s celestial potential is part of the divine mission of woman. As mother, teacher, or nurturing saint, she molds living clay to the shape of her hopes. In partnership with God, her divine mission is to help spirits live and souls be lifted. This is the measure of her creation. It is ennobling, edifying, and exalting” (“Woman—Of Infinite Worth,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 22) Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

What To Do First!?

Friday, November 27, 2009

We are off to Victoria today (without children) in celebration of our anniversary, thanks to our wonderful sister-in-law Julianne, for the WHOLE DAY!!! Whatever will I do without kids crawling all over me (this is the usual circumstance when I am trying to blog). I am so excited. I better go get ready!

Happy Anniversary Darren

Thursday, November 26, 2009

He is half part of a blessed man
left to be finished by such a she
and she a fair divided excellence
whose fullness of perfection lies in him

William Shakespeare

  5 children and 12 years later, 
there is still no one I rather be with! 

The Life Of a Homeschool Mom

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who reads The Lady Of Shalott to her older children while sitting on the edge of the tub in the bathroom, while bathing her 1 year old baby because her diaper is leaking and there are no more in the house, because she didn't want to take 5 kids to Walmart to buy diapers. Instead she would've rather risked it, hoping that the one she put on her hours earlier would some how last unreasonably long while she waits for her husband to come home, just to send him back out again to get a new box of diapers, as the other little kids happily wander in, undress, and hop into the tub with the baby. Who does? A homeschool mom!

Strings And Sealing Wax And Other Fancy Stuff

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When I was a child and I heard the song, 'Puff the Magic Dragon', I used to wonder what sealing wax was. I thought that it must be some sort of wax on ceilings, what else could it be? In my very young age, that made perfect sense, now just what in the world was it ACTUALLY? Although I learned long ago what it was, I never had reason to use it............ until now! Along with our medieval unit that we are doing with our homeschool group, we discussed the ways they communicated. The kids each made a feather quill and wrote a letter on parchment paper and sealed them up with ribbon and sealing wax. It was very fun and it makes a letter look VERY IMPORTANT!

Nya Is 1

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nya turned 1 today. We LOVE this baby. I have the fondest memories of this time last year. I thank God every day that He knew we needed Nya in our lives. Happy 1st birthday, Baby!

Cookies And Castles

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Today we made chocolate chip cookies and finished up our castles using finds from our recycling. If my children have taught me anything it is that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I love them for that, they find amazement in something I dismiss as garbage. Also, we are reading 'The Castle Corona', by Sharon Creech and we read chapter's 9, 10, 11 and 12 today while building treasures and eating our treats.

Making cookies with my Ginger Snap and my Tater Tot

Our family castle: we all helped build this one

Emma's castle: complete with a bridge from one princess tower to another

Bergen's castle: complete with moving portcullis

The Age Of Innocence

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It is so wonderful to me that Tate can, one minute, be trying on his sister's clips and in the very next, be playing with his trucks!

Man Power

My guys LOVE to help. I try really hard to remember that although it would be faster without little helper's, if I always say no, there will come a day when they are not there asking. So I accept and they are so happy. I love these little men of mine!


I have a habit of 'shopping' when I go to my mom's house. She has so much stuff that she doesn't always use or need or even have room for. So I shop! It drives Darren crazy (in a funny kind of way). He calls it stealing. The way I figure it is, it is always here if she wants it back, I never tack without asking and if my mom doesn't mind, why not! This is my latest find.  I love to use things for reasons other than what they were meant for. I think this dish is meant to serve food in, but I thought it would be cute to use it for the little things on my desk.

Holy Fruit Flies, Batman!

So, like I mentioned in another post, we have fruit flies, EVERY YEAR! I have tried in vain to rid my house of them (and I am pretty tidy). Yesterday while all of our family was over for Thanksgiving dinner, my sister-in-law, Tracey said, "So do you know how to get rid of fruit flies?" and I said, "No, do tell me please!" She said to put out a little dish of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. So this morning I did just that. I will not post a picture, but I will tell you 1 hour later when I went back to check, I was more than surprised- it worked disgustingly amazingly well!! I could not believe it. Thank you Tracey. 

Sunday Naps, A Thing Of The Past

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Naps have got to be VERY, VERY close to the top of my 'favorite things to do' list. I am sad to report that I almost never get to enjoy this pass time anymore. But every once in a while, on a Sunday afternoon, Darren will say "Why don't you go for a nap". I don't need to be told twice. Tate, who no longer takes regular naps, will come and join me. I am not one who enjoys sleeping with kids, but I LOVE this. He goes right to sleep and does not move, at all! I love seeing his sweet face when I wake up, I love that boy!

There's A Frog In My....Uh Brain?

Today Bergen was reminding me that I had, yet again, forgotten to get the sleeping bags out of my closet before I put Nya down for a nap (yes, she sleeps in your closet) so that they could slide down the stairs in them - one of my favorite childhood activities! I told him that he was right and that I was sorry and then I asked him, "do you know what my brain is like sometimes?" I was about to answer, "like a colander", when Emma says, "pond sludge!" Ouch...................but true enough.

Fast Sunday

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This morning was fast Sunday- next week being General Conference. Noelle is now 9 and I have never felt the need to 'tell' her that she should probably think about fasting. She sees us fast every month and asks us lots of questions, but has never fasted herself. This morning she came up to me and said that she is going to fast today and that she got her tithing all ready to go. I felt so excited for her and I thought that maybe she would fast until lunch and I was o.k. with that- it is a start. She asked if she could go to church early with Darren, he was called to be the Elder's Quorum President last Sunday and now goes for the early morning meetings. Shortly after they left I noticed her sandwich bag of tithing on the bathroom counter and expected a call. Two minutes later Darren called and asked if I could bring it with me when I came later. Noelle sat during Darren's meeting drawing and reading her scriptures. Later she filled out her form and handed her tithing in with pleasure and she fasted until 6 p.m. and NEVER said a word of complaint. It has been one of those days, for me as a parent, that is so rewarding- seeing your children willing do the things we try so hard to teach them. I am so grateful for the example of little children and for these seemingly small successes that keep me going as a parent and fill me with hope.

An Apple A Day

Friday, September 25, 2009

There was NO taking this apple from this baby!

The Whipping Boy

We finished another novel today, entitled 'The Whipping Boy'. It goes along with our medieval theme this semester. Funny little book, great moral.