October 31, 2017

Moss Halloween 2017

I love my gang.

Today, I started crying as I took a picture of Drew during the costume parade at the elementary school. 
The custom here in Tully is that the Seniors dress-up and march in the elementary school costume parade. Drew and his friends were lucky charms. 
On the way out, I held up the parade for 20 seconds while I snapped a few pictures. When Todd mentioned that I was holding up the line, I told him this was the last Halloween EVER that I was ever going to take his picture at. 

Oh man, that just stabbed my heart. 

Today was hectic and loaded with mom-guilt for me. For 20 years I have really celebrated these dumb holidays and this year it was a bit thrown together. No themed Halloween lunch (like I've done in years past). No beef stew with mashed potato ghost and pea eyes. 

Leah wanted to be a wizard from Hogwarts. She ended up being pretty happy with her black ninja/the if costume even if she told me it "wasn't a real costume." 

I had cute accessories for all my little bandits. But, the masks were annoying, the hats were SO ITCHY, the tool belt was too big, and the dollar signs were peeling off the money bags. Even Todd complained about wearing a black hat as we walked around the neighborhood. 

Honestly, this was a really nice Halloween. We only went trick or treating to one nearby neighborhood, our two closest neighbors, and their piano teacher.

The kids really were SO exited tonight. And, that's why we do what we do,
I am tired. Good night.

Sassy Teen? Pray!

(I wrote this last summer but debated whether or not I should post it. Today, I just am. It's real. My kids are sassy and I love them still. A lot. I'm sassy and imperfect as I deal with them. And, God loves me still. This is life.) 

Here is my trick for dealing with teenagers (or toddlers) who are brats sometimes.

We currently have four teenagers and five daughters. They are all really great kids, but as a sassy mother I have created kids who are also sassy at times. 

Each child has their own individual strengths and weaknesses, but any child will, at times, talk back or respond harshly. In my experience, the more sensitive a child is, the more defensive they become when they sense displeasure. The kids who have the highest, happiest highs also have the lowest, crankiest lows. I LOVE these sensitive kids because I am one.

I don't always handle bratty kids well. There have been (too many) times when I have slapped the mouth of a rude child who was yelling at me. It is almost instinctive. I don't believe acting like a tantruming child yourself is the best way to handle a child who is hurting. But, I am as quick to apologize afterwards as they are and I think that, at least I hope, that my parenting failures mix in with my parenting successes.

A rude retort is not the best response to a rude child. Learned that the hard way too.

So, what works?


For my younger kids, a hug works better than a lecture.

Usually sassy little kids are tired or hungry.

Sassy teens usually have something else they are worried about. I would guess it relates to their self worth, feeling overwhelmed with life, or friend troubles.

When words don't work well and your teenager needs a hug but is too proud to accept one, PRAY for them with your whole soul (in your mind), and ask them questions instead of giving them answers.  

I used hypnobabies to help me through my natural childbirth with Eve. I loved that they told me what to think when my natural reaction was to panic.

Prayer is the way that you can listen to a teen say things that are harsh and unkind without saying things harsh and unkind back. Prayer gives you power AND calls down the power of heaven to bless, comfort, and teach your child. 

It is easy to see the loud, sassy teenager. It takes help and divine perspective to see the eternal and inherently good being  that is learning to navigate physical and emotional ups and downs of mortal life. 

Prayer works. 
Being a mom is the hardest, best thing I have ever done. 
Good thing I have the first few kids as guinea pigs so that I can have things all figured out by the time we get to our second shift of teenagers. 

October 30, 2017

It's like riding a bike

On Monday, my classes start at 1 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. It's a long day. When I got home, Ellie said she had picked out costumes for her 4 younger siblings. 

She's great.

I'm trying to be more disciplined with this blog journal, kneeling daily prayer, personal and family scriptures. Two for two! 

I'm skipping my class tomorrow so I can watch the Halloween parade at my kids' school.

Here is a small thought from Jakob's letter this week:

I hope you all have a great week this week. Stay safe. Ration your candy a little bit, and look for ways God is blessing you. If you happen to feel like He isn’t there, or that He doesn’t really care, I encourage you to pray and ask Him if He is there. I promise each one of you, that if you will ask him he will answer. There have been times when I felt like he wasn’t there. That no matter how much I prayed, or how much I believed he would answer my prayers, he just wasn’t. I had a friend show me recently a scripture that I wish that I would have found then. It is in 1 Nephi 21:15-16. It says,

15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

I know that no matter how much you feel like God wouldn’t want you. Like you're pocket lint and all you're good for is to be thrown away. I know that God is next to you. He is waiting, with his hand outstretched, saying, “Please take my hand. Allow me to help you. Accept the gift that I am trying to give to you”. If you will ask God with an honest intent to know, He will answer you. I promise you this.

One of my best friends from married student housing at BYU, ran into Jakob at Winco today. She knew him when he was one AND she has a son named Todd. I love that!! He's in good hands. Thanks Utah! 

Life is good my friends. 

October 29, 2017

Journaling The Home Stretch

I got pretty sick last week. There was an afternoon I thought I had the mumps (it is going around SU). I don't have mumps and I'm finally feeling better! Yay!!
I made these posters for our interfaith Christmas Festival of Nativities. It was really hard for me to do, I'm using programs I've never used before. But, I'm learning and remembering skills I used to have. It feels good and stretching.
Eve begged to come to the band concert with Todd and me. She hugged Drew the moment she saw him. What would it have been like at age six to have a brother who is a Senior? 
They love him. 
We all love him. 
Oh, how we will miss him.
I LOVE school because I could NEVER give my children all that they get by the good people they are continually surrounded by.
Bad picture, lovely girls.
Eve just didn't make it all the way through the concert. (She is an angel.)
Neither did Todd.
Statistics is HARD. It is also surprisingly addicting and fun. This problem is wrong.  I divided by a standard deviation of 10 but the SD was something like 4.063 or something. I can't remember but I fixed it. My life is blessed because I have good friends that FaceTime me and help me with my homework. 
CONFESSION: My mom, my husband, and my little kids cleaned my barn ALL DAY Saturday and I did homework ALL DAY. I barely left my bedroom. I did not allow myself to feel guilty about this, I just focused, and it felt SO good to feel prepared for this next week. 
Anna and Ellie both had parties they wanted to go to on Saturday night. I told them they could not go unless they were completely caught up on their seminary lessons. Ellie was 30 lessons behind (or something like that.) They are doing online seminary. Worked well for my boys who woke up at 5 a.m. every day. Doesn't work so well for my girls who wake up at 7a.m. to leave by 7:30 a.m.

Yes, I let Ellie stay home sick on Friday to catch-up. I think I did the right thing. She feels so much happier with seminary completed and with a clean room. They both had fun at their parties Saturday night.

Things I take from my kids during church sacrament meeting...
Love those letters.
Leah sneaks and folds her program into origami planes, cootie catchers, and whatever else she thinks of. I don't really mind, but she IS eleven years old. I always ask her to stop if I see her, I think this helps her keep her folding small and unnoticeable. 

Guests were sitting right in front of us in our small church meeting today.

When I tried to take the chicken Leah was flinging around, she didn't want to give it to me. I insisted. I whispered, "Give it to me now, please. That's one. Two. Three." She was still arguing. I laughed at myself saying "Three. I said three. I'm serious now." 

She said "fine!" Too loud. And gave it to me. Really, I didn't think these little things were too distracting. But, we spend enough time arguing about dumb small toys and I never have to worry about big distractions. I guess my church philosophy is that if I draw my line ahead of what I really do think is too loud for church, they never get there. 

My kids are pretty good during church. We have no toys or books, but I do give them a piece of gum or a mint halfway through. Sometimes I give Eve or Ben a pen and a program. The teenagers are harder than toddlers because they tease the toddlers and make them scream. 

We take a whole row at church. I ALWAYS wanted that.

I love sitting with my kids and watching Todd on the stand.

Today I taught all the 12-18 youth second hour and then taught 12+ third hour (a Stake PA Just Serve presentation).
A mom from Midvale texted me this picture of Jakob and his companion at church today. Her daughter, Sister Johnson (pictured on the plaque), is serving here in the Utica, NY mission. I can't wait to see her and text a picture back to her mom! 
Isn't he adorable?
Man, I miss his face.
I miss his JOY. He brings joy. 
Oh, I love that kid. 
Can you believe TWO moms from Midvale texted me pictures this week?
He doesn't feel that far away when I see pictures. Look at those good, good young men. God bless them. 

Be kind to the missionaries you see.
Listen to the message they have to share.
I thought this was a funny costume for Todd and I to wear at a couples party. 😂


But, I'm NOT kidding that Halloween is on Tuesday and I still do not have costumes for my kids. I'm thinking 
Not too hard.
I have already decided that all black will work if I can't find black and white stripes at Walmart tomorrow. 

I've got this.

Oh friends. We went to a fireside tonight about journaling and I am committed to journaling again. I do write a private journal at times. But I think I miss this space, to think and record.

I almost sent Ben to bed early tonight because he was running laps in my living room, I sent him to count to ten on the bench, and he did not listen. I dressed him in is green and white pjs and he stood with his hands on his hips pleading not to go to bed. "Please Mom," he said in his calm, sweetest voice, "I will count for you. How many? One? Two? Three? I will do that. No problem mom." I said twenty. He said. "Okay, that's fine mom," and he went down to the bench. Ellie was beside me cracking up. 

I love that my kids love little kids.

My mom has been staying with us. I can't even tell you how nice it is to have her folding my laundry, caring for my kids when I'm gone, cooking dinner, and working in my yard. She amazes me. She does so much. There is nobody in the world that tries harder.

It has been such a blessing to have her here. And, it has been hard having her here too. I'm snotty sometimes. I'm also protective and defensive. Her ways are often different than mine. 

Honestly, I want to figure out how to live with my mom. I want to learn how to listen without feeling defensive and how to speak without being offensive. 

It is good to learn these lessons. 
Grad school, grandma, Halloween, missions-- I guess the theme of my life right now is that life is good, even as it stretches us.

I'm not quite sure why I am someone who is always stretching. I do know that there is joy in the journey.

Thanks for listening to my deep thoughts on a Sunday evening. 

Good night. 

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