September 11, 2012

we are there!

visiting the redwoods.
we kept taking pictures next to the BIGGEST tree and then finding one that was bigger.
so fun!!  just look at that cute crew of kids!  i love them.
i'm out of a bloggy habit and it is hard to return.
i have SO MUCH to show and tell you about our summer that it is overwhelming to me.
i have 3 sleeping girls and 20 minutes before i need to pick up the rest of my kids from school.
anna and ellie started elementary school yesterday.
jakob and drew started middle school today.
and, leah starts kindergarten tomorrow!
i was ready for school to come.
i love school.
yet, my eyes filled with tears as i dropped them off yesterday.
another year... my babies are growing up.
i LOVE those kids.
we like trees.
1. Take a Trip!
last week we went on our last family trip before school starts.
i have decided a few things.
First, family trips are IMPORTANT.
you must plan time to ENJOY life together.
important, essential, DON'T LET LIFE PASS without PLANNING FUN!!
Second, you don't have to travel far or spend tons of money to have a great time.
you might see pictures of families traveling to india and think that you need that kind of money to have a good time.
that is wrong.
this world is BEAUTIFUL.
there are fun things right outside your door.
every land is unique.  every state is unique, every town in unique.
i would suggest ASKING around, compiling a list of neat things in your town and PLANNING some day trips.
some of my favorite days are days we are enjoying the land we live in.
(and, we have lived in 4 states since we've been married-- they have been different but ALL equally interesting!)
Third, whatever you are doing-- ENJOY IT!
as a young mother, i learned wise advice from my neighbor.
she said, "Just think of it as taking a TRIP not as taking a VACATION."
if you think trip- it will be a fun experience.
if you think vacation- you will feel robbed.
i agree.
TRIPS are full of adventure, laughter, tired kids, packing, unpacking, washing and great memories.
VACATIONS are boring.  :)
this is our cabin in the trees! staying in a tree house was SO fun!
2.  We ARE there!
my kids are used to driving long distances.
this recent trip was a short (4 hour) drive.
a few times they asked, "Are we there yet?  Are these the redwoods?"
i would always say with excitement, "YES!! WE ARE THERE!!"
they would laugh.
as we traveled and sang and quarreled and stopped to go potty and laughed together, i kept saying...
"THIS IS IT!!  Our family trip!!  WE ARE THERE!"

3.  Just practicing.
i LOVE spending time with my family.
today, they are young and i get to teach them to be people i want to hang out with when i'm older.
i get to teach them how to be good mothers and fathers as they interact with their younger siblings.
while they are young, i get to love them so much that they will WANT to hang out with me when i am old.
i get to enjoy their individuality and help them develop their gifts and talents.
i heard once that kindness, respect, honesty, hard work, faith, repentance, forgiveness, love... these are attributes that can not be taught in Sunday School class.
they are attributes that one does not learn by hearing a preacher (or parent) preach to you.
the qualities that i really want my children to learn, take PRACTICE.
i am so thankful that we get to practice EVERY DAY!!
30 minutes of piano a day might produce an efficient pianist in a few years.
how many days of reminding my children to brush their teeth will produce adults with good hygiene?
how many rehearsed, "i'm sorry i did..., i forgive you for doing..., i love you.  i will never do it again"s will it take for my children to resolve conflict quickly and kindly?
how many times do i have to say "use your utensils" before i will trust they have excellent manners on their first date?
i'm grateful for our daily practice!!

4.  We are BLESSED.
our cup isn't half full, it is at least 3/4 full!
really, it is.
life is SO good.
i don't know what it is exactly (perhaps it is the fact that my house is SHINY CLEAN right now?) that has put this thought so strongly in my soul.
we are blessed and we should thank the Lord with all of our soul.
i like this shot where i can't see what is going on behind me!  
in my last post, i wrote about listening to meg johnson-- a young girl who is paralyzed.
i really think that has opened my eyes a bit to feeling SO grateful for my body.
we are two beings-- an eternal soul and a physical body.
our body is just our earthly CAR.
it is a great blessing and a trial.
the trial part means it is a tool to help our Spirits learn.
i am grateful for my trusty body.
we have learned a lot together, and hopefully we have many more years as travelling companions.
i love that ellie still wants to hold my hands when we walk.
in fact, i love that my hands are almost NEVER empty!
I know that our Father in Heaven designed FAMILIES to teach us all that we need to know to return to live with Him again.
Our bodies are great gifts from Heaven, and great trials that will help make us stronger.
(Not sure why i'm writing that in there, but i just feel it so strongly.)
This life is NOT a vacation.  It is designed as a trip!
it is not supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be a great experience.
"all these things shall be for your good and shall give thee experience."
i've missed you this summer!


beckyjune said...

LOVE this, Jen, and what a FUN family trip! We have been doing lots of that and love the time together in the car and visiting fun new places. Those pictures of the kids on the tree are awesome! What a great bunch of kids you have.

Lanette said...

Looks like SO MUCH FUN! It's like a kids' much to explore and see and touch and smell and listen to. What an adventure!!

Oh, and the green of your sandals looks awesome with that fuscia-y nail polish!

Hope Leah has a GREAT first day of kindergarten!!

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