Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love My Babies

I've been following the tender story of the Pack family.  They were involved in a tragic auto accident that snuffed out the life of their sweet 18-month-old little boy.  Mom and Dad are still in the hospital, trying to grieve and recover from their own serious injuries.  My heart breaks for them.

I wish I had a magic wand sometimes.  I can't change what has happened - in my life or anyone else's.  But tonight, I will give my babies an extra hug, or two, or three.  I will sneak into their room when they are sleeping and stroke their still-fine baby hair heads.  I will say an extra prayer over their crib, asking the Lord to please watch over them, and help me be the very bestest Mommy I possibly can for them.  I am so thankful for my babies - and for each of my children.  Thank you, God.  I have been so richly blessed to have my quiver full.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Come Depressed, Leave Refreshed

I did some travelling recently.  I was reluctant to leave home, but I'm glad I went.  Sunday morning found us in Salt Lake City, where we stopped in at Temple Square and watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's weekly broadcast of Music and Spoken Word.  It was amazing.

I love the organ.  I love its deep, throaty rumbles that can vibrate you out of your seat.  I love the slight disharmony of using a 5/8 pipe.  I love the high delicate flute.  I love, love, love the horns.  I went to college on an organ scholarship.  That's not such a big deal - what high school kid learns how to play the organ?  I'm sure all three of us across the country got organ scholarships.  I loved playing and performing (and even the practicing most days).  So it was a thrill to see and hear such a grand organ, and the choir was wonderful, too.  It filled my bucket.

The theme of the program was "Come depressed, leave refreshed."  Yes, and yes.  So glad I could go.  Still battling the blues, but any drops in my nearly-empty bucket are appreciated and oh, so refreshing.  If you ever get the chance, go.  

Refreshed, me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stomach Flu

I know I said I was going to write about the happy things that come my way.  Stomach flu wouldn't seem to fit this category, hmmm?

A few days ago, one of the twins came down with a minor case of diarrhea.  I've seen it misspelled "dire rear," and I think that fits nicely, doesn't it?  Of course, it didn't take long for the other twin to get it as well.  Not a big deal, just a few extra diaper changes.  Then one of the older boys started throwing up.  Then another.  And now the girl is at it, too.  It doesn't look like it's anything worse than a 24-hour bug, but it's never fun to be feeling terrible.

I've put little Angel to bed five times now, and have had to do a complete change of bed linens and pajamas four times.  She cries, and says her tummy hurts, then that her nose hurts (yes, the vomit goes up her nose), and her mouth hurts (tastes nasty!).  As I smooth on clean sheets, I feel grateful that we have a washer and a dryer.  In our house.  And they work.  I help her pull on clean pajamas and I am glad that we have enough clothing.  A sweet aunt brought over a bag of hand-me-downs just today with more pajamas.  What great timing!  I put her head on the pillow and smooth her hair, damp with tears, and I am glad we have her.

My Mama heart is filled with love by doing these acts of needed service.  I've enjoyed settling the big boys on the couch as they stay home from school, and getting to visit with them during the day.  Somehow it seems different than helping them when they whine and mope.  Today, I feel a bit of the Divine in my motherhood.  As I soothe each child, I say a little prayer of thanks to Heaven for letting me have these sweet children, even if only for a little while.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Never on Sunday

We watched the Rose Parade (Live from sunny Pasadena!) a few weeks ago in our pajamas.  It was fun to see the elaborate floats, and fun to hear some of the all-natural materials they are made of.  Crushed rice and hayseed, folks!  I think the floats are better for me than my breakfast cereal is.  I love the marching bands.  There is just something about seeing the all-in-step marching and hearing the foot-tapping music that gets my head nodding and my fingers waving.  The babies were dancing, bobbing their heads from side to side and trying feebly to jump.  So cute.

I did a bit of research on the parade and found out that they have a "Never on Sunday" policy.  When the first of January falls on a Sunday (as it did this year), the parade is postponed until Monday.  It had something to do with not spooking the horses tied at the churches' hitching posts during Sunday services in the late 1800s.  Some might think it is antiquated, but I like it.  It makes me feel good about standing up for what you believe in.

Way to go, Rose Parade!  (And thanks for the 76 Trombones!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I was tucking little Miss Angel in to bed the other night.  It's getting to be quite a routine she demands!  She was hyper from the late hour, and was resisting my efforts to calm and quiet her.  In a smooth voice, I started telling her what the other kids were doing.  "Alec is sleeping in his bed, and David is getting his pajamas on, and Chris is already in his bed, just like you are in your bed."  I went on, "And Grandma is in her  bed, and Grandpa is in his bed, sleeping and snoring."  I paused.  "Do you know what snoring is?"

"No," she answered.  She was talking now, not whining.  A good sign.

"Snoring is when you sound like this while you are sleeping," I explained, and did a short impression of a cartoon snore.

Angel though about this for a moment, and then said, "I don't haf any snores."  She loudly sniffed through her nose to show me that there were, indeed, none there.  "Nope," she proclaimed in her best authoritative three-year-old voice, "no snores.  Because I am not noisy.  Prob'ly Gramma wakes up and says, 'Grandpa!  Be quiet!'  But I am not noisy when I'm sleep."

And she settled down, her dear head nestled into her soft pink pillow, ready to spend the night - quietly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Year's Resolution

And while I'm thinking about things I ought to be doing this year, I ought to address the dreaded New Year's Resolution.  Once the Christmas tree is down, and the floor vacuumed of fake pine tree needles (which sure don't smell as nice), we think of the whole next year.  Funny how normally we can take a day or two, or a week at a time.  But in January, we somehow think that we can take on an entire year - and plan it!  No wonder we have so many failing marks on our resolutions report card.

In the past, I've done all kinds of things - I suppose we all have.  I've made lists of resolutions.  I've made 5 goals, one for each finger.  I've made graduated goals to add on to each month.  I've made a goal to not have any goals.  Heck, I've even made lists of resolutions for everyone around me to keep!  And they all work about the same: good for a while, and then... not so good.  I suppose making goals and striving to accomplish things can only make us better people in the long run, though.

Do read this wonderful article about finding real joy.  It is so lovely!

This year, I'll concentrate on the single word: JOY.  Christmas is such a reverent, magical time for me, and I suppose it is the joy that wiggles down deep into our hearts that makes us feel so... wonderfully Christmasy.  I was thinking of focusing on "happy", but all too often I just don't feel happy.  Maybe I could do "happier", but I want more than that.  I want the peaceful heart, give my troubles to the Lord, "I can maintain a smoother life even when everything around me is falling apart" kind of happy.  I think that is joy.

The kids picked the word "Feast" to focus on this year.  I think, while grinning a little bit, that it is inspired by our always-hungry teen-aged boys.  I can never seem to feed them quite enough.  But I think there are some fun overtones to the term, helping us remember to make the most of all the good things we have.

I'll give updates as to how our focus words go this year.  Now, I ought to go see how I can put them up so we don't forget.

This Year, I'm Gonna...

I should write more.  I think we can all say that "I should (insert ANYTHING!) more."  And afterwards, we sigh and think poorly of ourselves.  So I'm actually gonna do something about it.

I have so many happy things and blessings happening all the time.  I really do.  I forget about the good things when I get down and discouraged, and think that just because I'm feeling black, the rest of my life is the same way.

SO... this year, I am going to write EVERY DAY (edited to add: every day that I remember!) about the little happinesses that come my way.  A blessing, funny words from my little angels, tender mercies, something beautiful... these things are all around me.  Join me as I start on this new year, recording the wonderful moments that come by - and may have otherwise passed, unnoticed.  But not this year!

My eyes are peeled and my heart is open.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mom Shower

I got a shower this morning.  No, that should be in capital letters.  I GOT A SHOWER THIS MORNNG!  Showering wasn't always an event worthy of shouting.  I used to be able to maintain proper personal hygiene on a regular basis with a minimum of fanfare.  But then I beame a mother.  I could get in the shower just fine while the baby was sleeping, but I couldn't turn on the water because then I wouldn't be able to hear if the little bundle woke up and started to cry, Heaven forbid.  I finally figured out that if I pulled the basinette into the bathroom (it had wheels, after all), I could peek in on the slumbering babe every few seconds.  They breathe better that way - the moms anyway.  And it gets more involved with each addition to the family.

Now that I have given birth to eight children (did I really say that out loud?), a mom shower is a rare luxury indeed.  I try to sneak one in late at night, when I am exhausted enough to be in danger of drowning whilst standing upright.  But today, I showered in broad daylight.  With children around.  And I was clean!  I felt so accomplished.

I was on top of the world.  If my day starts like this (nevermind that it was 10 AM already), I can accomplish anything!  Of course, I didn't have any clean pants to get into - I hadn't been anticipating that I would get to sneak in some personal time there.  But clean and happy and motivated, in my dirty jeans, I came forth to survey the world to tackle.  I can take on anything!

The first thing I found was this:

Evidently, no one had informed Georgie that a play ball is not food.  He had taken two dozen bites out of it, exposing its soft white innards, just like an tasty apple.  The half-million chewed-up bits of ball were strewn across the babies' room, and I'm sure we will find more in the diapers.  He just looked up at me, with those lovely innocent eyes, and I couldn't help but love him.  Aww.  What a cutie.

As I cleaned up the plastic and foam bits, the house became quiet.  Bad sign.  Very bad sign.  I ran down the hallway to find this (the faint-of-heart may want to avert their eyes.):


Little Miss Angel is potty-training, and doing quite well.  I suppose she just wants to share in her newfound excitement, for she often, in her flight to the bathroom, leaves the door open.  Wide open.  Inviting trouble.  And here comes trouble, crawling fast on four dimpled arms and four pudgy legs.  She "went potty" and the Twinfants went for the toilet paper.  I know exactly how much paper they went through, for I put out a new roll just this morning.  What fun!

(Sigh)  Coming out of the shower, I felt as thought I were on top of the world.  Unfortunately, that was as good as the day got.  It's a good thing I enjoyed it!

(Just for the record, I did have older children who were supposed to be watching the little ones while I was in the shower.  I was not being negligent and leaving them for extended periods of time or anything bad.  :-)  )

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Want, I Want

Yesterday, it was the Angel making all the demands.  Today she is on a more even keel.  I think having a good night's sleep helps a lot (for me, too!), as well as more positive one-on-one time and a new reward system.  She gets a "happy ticket" when she is being cheerful, when she is able to calm down a potential tantrum (I will wipe away mine tears), or when she does something by herself that she is capable of (going to the bathroom, picking up her clothes).  She's been collecting her happy tickets in a little purse, and I've let her redeem them for little goodies throughout the day.  I love to ee her happy face!

Now it's Alec's turn to have a case of Iwantitis.  He is taking a computer programming class his senior year, and we agreed to let him take a laptop to school.  He insisted that it had to be one particular laptop, because the smaller one simply would not do.  Today, he came home and informed me that he needed the other laptop instead.  I smiled and asked him why.  He blustered on for a moment, using lots of words I don't know.  I continued smiling and nodding my head in my "don't let them know you don't know" fashion.  At last, I finally derived that the bigger laptop has a shorter battery and dies halfway through class.  Really?  That's it?  After all the postulating that it had a much superior whatsit and the processing do-hicky is faster?  I can wrap my mind around battery life.  Take it!  Take the smaller laptop!  It doesn't make any difference to me.  Electronics now have teenager DNA in them, so I'm nearly obsolete anyway.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Packing Up Christmas

We started packing Christmas away today.  I used to get all stressed out by Christmas decorations, and I couldn't wait to have all the clutter cleaned up before New Years.  I don't think I have that much energy any more.  I did have a Christmas clutter epiphany this year - but I think I'll save that for another post.  Today, we just took the ornaments off the tree.

I held the box and the baggies, and the boys gave me the ornaments to carefully wrap and pack.  The silver glass balls from Grandma go back in the cubbies in their box.  The bead icicles I made when Alec was a baby are laid carefully in a large baggie.  Old fashioned wooden elves nestle together, safely away from the glittery ornaments. Snowmen, angels, and musical instruments each get their own bag.  The biggest bag goes for the ornaments brought home each year in mid-December, a child's face beaming happily on the proud face of each one.

It could be a Norman Rockwell-esque experience, with the lights and the nostalgia and the last of the Christmas carols playing softly in the background.  Instead, our winter evening was punctuated with, "Careful!  That one is breakable!" and "Whoa Mom, I'm gonna pass out here!  I think one of the babies is stinky." and "No, put that back in!" and "Quick! Close the box before they unroll the tinsel again!" and "Please do not sit on the box!"

They are all in bed, angelic in slumber.  I am left with the carols and the lights on the bare tree.  Now the wave of nostalgia and melancholy hits me.  Was I too busy with the presents and the doings of the season that I forgot to Christmas?  <sigh>