Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Just Said What?

This evening as we were getting ready to eat dinner outside on the patio, I yelled to Luke, "Please get Cousin Ricky's skull off of the picnic table." As soon as the words came out, I couldn't help but ask myself if I had really just said that.

Indeed I had.

I was referring to one of the 6 cow skulls Luke was gifted by our bishop (leader of our local church congregation) last Sunday that was subsequently being stored on our outdoor picnic area.

I know, I know. Bishops are supposed to give counsel, advice, and spiritual guidance, not cow skulls. But bishop's giving away cow skulls is not my point.

My point?
There are so many things I say to my children that I never could have imagined ever saying. I'm sure that in 13 years of motherhood, I could come up with a pretty exhaustive list, but it's late and so in addition to the aforementioned "Please remove the skull" comment, here are a few things I can't believe I have had to say.

  • While sitting in a church meeting, saying to a child of mine, "No! You can NOT take off your clothes."
  • "No, I won't hold the chicken for you."
  • "Please get your underwear off of your head."
  • "We don't melt crayons in the car."
  • "Please hold onto *it* while you are pee-ing."
  • "Yes, you can have ice cream for breakfast."
  • "Just shove it under your bed for now."
  • "We don't store boogers on our foreheads."
  • "Who put a cup-full of rocks in the freezer?"
  • "Yes. I'll have the goats to school by 2:30pm."
  • While driving in the car together, hollering to the back-seat, "Does Drew have clothes on?"
  • "Sorry, but we don't take bags of chips into the bathroom with us while we go potty."

And I know as a fact, I could never have imagined this: having photo after photo of a child conducting his own singing with a pencil, wearing just underwear and sunglasses. (Not to mention the fact I have no idea who took the photos!)

Sometimes I feel like motherhood is just one surprise after another.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Words

We are now in the 3rd week of summer vacation. I have mixed feelings about having my children home all day every day. I am forever in a state of "doing". If it isn't reminding a child to practice their music, it's reminding a child to wear clothes when they go outside. If I'm not doing the 43rd load of laundry for the day, I'm asking a child to please not keep fish from a nearby pond inside my kitchen.

I'm tired and I'm exhausted and we're not even half way through the summer.

But then last Friday, Luke volunteered to fix lunch (and clean it up) for everyone. His announcement? "I'm going to cook everyone a sandwich. What flavor do you each want?"

He was dead serious.

He thinks fixing a sandwich is the same as cooking one. And when he asks which flavor you want he's asking if you want peanut butter and jam, or ham and cheese.

I sat back and smiled and reminded myself there ARE some joyful moments of motherhood.

So what if Luke doesn't know the correct vocabulary for food preparation when he's 10 years old. While 10, he can drive a piece of machinery. (And he drives the neighbor's truck when they are hauling hay.)

I'm sure Luke will get through life just fine. 
Even if he does cook flavored sandwiches.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All In a Day's Work

I went to bed very late on Tuesday night, and had to wake up early Wednesday morning to take Luke and his goat, Lily somewhere. It wasn't exactly the way I wanted to start out my morning, but I'm a mom and sometimes I don't get my first choice of activities.

Fortunately, my rushed and busy morning slowed down somewhat when my BFF and her boys decided to come and do nothing for the day. Well, our boys were busy fishing, riding bikes on bike jumps, playing outside, and devouring a whole bag of candy left over from a birthday party, but Melanie and I chose to sit outside in the sun and catch up on our lives since summer began.

Much to mine and Melanie's delight, Megan opted to stay inside and bake something delicious. Of course Megan can't ever quite stay focused on one task without about 315 interruptions. Wednesday was no different.

As bad luck would have it, Melanie and I switched our chairs to the driveway rather than the back patio to keep a more watchful eye on the little boys. As such, Megan walked through the garage about 297 times to either inform us of her baking progress, ask our opinion on the baking process, or to tell us such things as the sky being blue. (Actually, to Megan's credit, there were far fewer interruptions than typically.)

I'm not sure the exact course of events that ended in a trip to the ER a few minutes later, but Megan came out to tell/ask us who knows what and the next thing she is laying down on the dirty garage floor writhing in pain. Now, I have to tell you that I've never been a mother to jump up immediately to attend to an injured child. Especially my girls. They have a tendency to, well let's put it this way, they could probably both be very successful in drama and theater.

Except after a couple of seconds I could tell she was probably really hurt and instantly thought it was probably another sprained toe (she's done that more than once!). Except out of her mouth blurted, "Mom, help me. I have a nail in my foot."

My natural-mother-bear-save-my-child-reaction obviously doesn't cover nails in feet as I turned immediately to Melanie and said, "Go look at it."

Of course I was inches behind Melanie and within seconds couldn't help but look myself. It was sort of a big, fat nail and we looked at each other in kind of a shocked and dazed "What do we do?" kind of way. Weren't we just sitting on the driveway gossiping about nothing, while waiting for a delicious cookie-dough-brownie-topped-filled with oreo dessert?

The long and short of it, was we knew we shouldn't pull the nail out ourselves, and after a call to the pediatrician, I headed to the local emergency room. Megan was near hysterics the whole time, crying out how scared she was of stitches, needles and any sort of medical procedure. Oh, she was crying because of pain too.

A few antibiotics, some antiseptic ointments and some bandages were about the only treatments needed. (Thank goodness her immunizations are current and I didn't have to put up with the added drama of a tetanus shot!)

**Warning-don't look if you're squirmish. It's sorta disgusting. (The dirty foot and the inserted nail.)**
Don't you just love that her apron never got taken off?! The doctors and nurses wished we had brought some of the baked treats with us, but at this point we were just hoping someone at home had removed them from the oven on time.
We could blame a nail left on the floor in the garage to any number of the seven people that reside in our house. We've narrowed it down a little bit though. Mike cleans up after himself and doesn't leave his materials out. I'm too busy driving goats places or children to emergency rooms to use nails for a project. Megan prefers baking and sewing to hammering and nailing. Ellie would much rather be playing school or painting finger-nails to using any kind of tools. Joshua, well yeah he could be guilty. Luke, well yeah, he could be too. Drew-yep-even the 3 year old may be guilty, as he spent the first part of the week carrying around a small tool bag filled with all sorts of things that may or may not have resembled the nail in Megan's foot.

Not that we're pointing fingers or anything. But we have had more than one discussion on not leaving out nails, and other potentially dangerous objects. We ought to discuss the importance of shoes too. Although the ER doctor said if you do step on a nail, doing it barefoot is much better than doing it with shoes on. (Too much added bacteria and germs.) So maybe we won't have the barefoot discussion after all.

Late Wednesday night I talked to my mother-in-law about my day beginning with transporting goats, interspersed with a nail in the foot ER visit. (At this point in the evening, I was not yet aware that it would end with an 11:07pm visit into my three year old's room to tell him to quit shining a flashlight in his brothers' faces.)

Referring to goats and nails in feet, I lamented to my mother-in-law, "This was not in my job description." Her experienced reply said, "It was. It is just in the fine print that nobody reads."

Warning to all you younger mothers with fewer and younger children--there is a fine print.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dad's Day

I love Father's Day. I wish as much pomp and circumstance was given to Father's Day as there is to Mother's Day, but that isn't the case. It seems the excuse as to Father's Day vs Mother's Day is because there are so many "dead-beat", "loser", and "absentee" fathers out there. I get that. I do. But you know what, there are still plenty of deadbeat, loser and absentee mothers floating around out there too, but that doesn't mean we skip the fanfare of Mother's Day.

In many church congregations, a small token gift is passed out to mothers (and women over 18) each Mother's Day. Of the people I talk to, few church congregations do the same on Father's Day. I love that my ward (church congregation) does. I love that they pass out king size Snickers to all the dads. (Even if Mike declines to share it with me.)

I love Father's Day. Perhaps it's because I have a good and decent dad, and because my husband is a good and decent dad too.

Last week I broke my promise to quit doing anything related to crafts (remember Drew's Hot Wheels floor-mat?), and hand made a gift for my dad. Of course I copied the idea from a combination of websites, and switched it around a little. I made a little book, "52 things I'll always remember about my dad"
I filled it with everything from quirky personality traits my dad has, to funny memories and loving sentiments.  
About 2-3 years ago, I decided that I wanted Mother's Day and Father's Day in my family to be less about giving presents, and more about recognizing the days for what they should mean. Shower me with presents on my birthday, but on Mother's Day-I want my children to let me know what it means to them that I'm their mother. They do the same thing for Mike on Father's Day. (Every year, I've told them they can even include what they don't like about us as their mothers/fathers, but they've never taken me up on the offer!)

Mike is less bothered about presents, and requests the same thing of the children every year, "Just be good and nice."  But I know he certainly does love the handwritten notes and cards too. I mean who can't love a note that says, "I am very glad that you came to life."
I love good dads. There are a lot of them out there. I'm glad to know two of the best.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Party That Wasn't a Party

I have found myself surrounded by some of my favorite people the last few days. Both of my younger brothers and their families came into town. Oh so fun!! I love my parents and all, but it sure is nice to have my siblings and their wives around once in a while. I wish I had had my camera with me more, but I didn't. Oh well.

One night, we babysat Lucy while Casey and Cindy (and my parents) went to a wedding reception. James and Kristin opted to come eat dinner with us and before long, everyone (except Casey) ended up sitting out on our back porch until the mosquitoes closed the party.

There was no fancy dinner, no prepared dessert and no planned activities. It all started with my kids in the wading pool and a few chairs on the patio. But by the end we had experienced such things as pony rides in the back yard, dish soap on the trampoline, ice cream sandwiches, three naked toddlers in the pool, then those same three naked toddlers in the tub.

I love, love, LOVE these people...
I don't think I could have planned an evening that ended up being as fun, relaxing, and good. And I've planned a fair number. 

Here's to more spontaneous, unplanned summer evenings.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Day Camp I Wasn't In Charge of But Exhausted Me Anyway

A couple of months ago, Megan decided she wanted to host a day camp for some young girls in our neighborhood. Megan always has lots of good ideas, but many times they are too lofty and complicated. Mike and I initially thought the day camp idea would be the same way, but told her to show us a "business plan" and we would consider it.

The "business plan" she put together must have worked, because her day camp has now come and gone. I have to say, she did a fabulous job. She charged a very low fee (mainly to help with costs), and opted to use it as a Young Women Personal Progress project instead of as a money making project. After her mother's encouraging, Megan limited the camp to 6 girls, plus Ellie.

She started out the day with the girls making "camp shirts" I loved the title she added to hers!

She had the girls singing and dancing, and Megan didn't even roll her eyes (or tell me to be quiet) when I grabbed a nearby ruler and began singing loudly to the music of Annie and Aladdin. The little girls thought it was hilarious, Megan and Ellie simply tolerated it.

I contributed very little in the way of advice to this thing. I was amazed at her organization to get 7 little girls involved in cooking projects and craft projects.

Heck, she even had an organized way of applying mosquito repellent for the outdoor-movie! The siblings were invited to the out-door movie. Due to the age of the attending children, much to Megan's disgust (and disappointment) we started it about 30 minutes before it actually got dark.

 The 2-day camp was rounded out with glo-stick bracelets on the trampoline. Except I'm really not a photographer, so this is as good as those photos get.
At the end of the two days, most of the mothers told her she should charge far more money next time. Of course, now her lofty and complicated ideas are already brewing for next year. I'm not quite ready to talk about the next one yet, even if she presents a business plan.
If she could only be so organized, responsible and kind in all areas of her life....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Me! A Hero?

Last Friday I got around to filing away my children's school papers from this year. I keep very few of their papers throughout the year, and even still get rid of a few by the first week of summer when I go to file them in their individual boxes. I prefer to keep "personal" type papers; the "all about me" and journaling papers they write. I don't keep every report card and every art project they do.

I don't have everything I ever did in school, and I've never given it a second thought. I'm hoping my children will feel the same.

Back to Friday. As I was organizing the files, Megan brought down a small stack of papers from her bedroom she had brought home on the last day of school. She began going through them to see what to keep and what to discard. I was working on my own piles, when suddenly one of her paper's caught my eye. It was a short essay they had to write on "My Hero." And look who she wrote about?!?
Yours Truly.

It made my day. Especially, as we had had a morning that I'm quite certain would have not caused her to write such an essay about me just then. Of course it went into the "keeper" pile. And even re-reading it now, with all of its junior-highish grammar and handwriting, it makes me smile.

Reading this essay makes me realize that despite the drill-sergeant side of my personality that I feel comes out way too much, I must not be quite so bad after all.

A reminder I NEEDED by the end of the first week of summer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ellie's Special Day

Considering the rough start we had to Saturday morning with Luke's emergency barber shop trip, it turned out to be a lovely day.

Well if you don't count the song I sang to Ellie when she woke up.

Saturday morning, Ellie climbed into bed with me and I began singing a song I learned years ago, "This is my day, my baptism day, life in God's kingdom begins in this way." Instead of any type of tender or spiritual moment, Ellie looked up at me with kind of a rude look and said the same thing at the same time as Mike hollered from the hall (I really think he had a legitimate reason to go downstairs and wasn't leaving the room simply because of my singing), "Did you just make that song up?"

 I didn't waste my time with the second or third verse.

Back to the special-ness of the day.
In our church, baptism is performed by a man who holds the priesthood, which Mormons believe to be the power to act in God's name. Fortunately for Ellie, she was able to be baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Mike. I love that at my children's baptisms, Mike gets to be "the star of the show." It seems mothers always get more of the limelight when their children have major events happen, and I love that baptism is a special moment between Mike and the children.

As I greeted Ellie at the top of the baptismal font, her dripping wet, I hugged her as close to me as I could. (Without getting my white blouse wet!) We believe baptism to be a covenant to take upon us Jesus Christ's name and to keep his commandments--a covenant I know is of eternal consequence. Baptism is a simple, yet vital step to eternity, and I was touched by the spirit as I held Ellie close to me fresh out of the water.

Before Ellie was confirmed, she sang a solo. It was her first time performing in front of a group, and she did a beautiful job singing, "I Wonder When He Comes Again." Of course Mike and I were on the front row, mere inches from her and we had both tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. It was a rare glimpse to a side of Ellie we don't often see.

(I'm not sure why this particular picture was in such a small size--somebody sent it to me.)

I wish I had gotten a group photo of the 59 family members and friends that were with Ellie to support her on her special day. Instead we made a list, and that will have to do. I also wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to get the ice cream out for the said 59 people that we would have chosen a better location for our photos that didn't have a house in the background.

After Ellie's Baptism Service, she requested we serve ice cream "with lots of things to put on top." That we did--we had more candy and topping choices than we really needed--but it was a special occasion, after all.
(There were even more topping choices than you see here!)

I'm pretty sure Joshua and Drew regretted their unsupervised candy inhaling decisions as they both had tummy aches later on.

There are few days in our chaotic and rushed life that seem to radiate goodness and calmness. But this was indeed one of them. What a special day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

(Not Cute) Polka Dots

I've asked myself the same question several times since my friend  Kari asked me it originally late Friday night, "Megan is such a responsible girl, whatever possessed her to do such a thing?"

Let me give a little background to the question.

Last Thursday night, Luke got tired of waiting around for Mike to give him a haircut and while Mike worked outside in the yard, Luke gave himself a haircut. Really, no big deal at all. When your typical hair cut consists of a few swipes of the hair clippers, it isn't too difficult. It did require some touching up by Mike later on, but for the most part, Luke did a great job being self-sufficient. (If you don't count the hair all over my bathroom rug.)

Somehow though, (this is where it all gets kind of blurry for me and Mike) Megan and Luke thought it would be fun to let her and her friends put "Nair" (hair removal cream) in his hair on the last day of school. So I guess Thursday night, Megan and Luke made some sort of plan for Friday afternoon. Unbeknownst to Mike and me.

Although, I must interject-Mike claims at some point he declared, "No! I don't think that is a good idea."

On Friday evening while Mike and I (and even my parents) were getting ready for our large neighborhood scone party we host every year, I was "aware" that Luke was walking around with "lotion" circles on his head, but it just didn't seem to process. The act of getting ready to feed 65+ people scones out of dutch ovens on our driveway was forefront in my mind. Not lotion headed boys.

I honestly can't really remember exactly what happened next. I think I went into a state of shock when Luke removed his blue baseball cap and exclaimed, "Look what Megan did to me?"


All I could think about was the fact that 18 hours later Luke was due to stand up in front of a largish crowd in a church meeting to say the opening prayer at Ellie's baptism. Not to mention the nice family photo I was hoping to get of the special occasion.

Back to the polka dot hairdo.
Hmm yea.
We didn't quite know what to do.

My brother in California summed it up pretty well in his response to the picture text my mother sent him, "YIKES!"

There really wasn't any time to deal with the polka dots right then and there. People were showing up on our driveway expecting hot scones and so Luke tried to discreetly keep a hat on his head for the duration of the scone party. Unfortunately, word kept getting out to more and more people, and who didn't want to catch a glimpse of such a sight?

Oh boy! An already short buzz cut, with a few completely bald to the skin polka dots decorating his head, made for lots of tempted fingers to touch it. Luke put a quick stop to that after the first few "rubs", as his skin was getting slightly irritated from the mixture of Nair, bald skin, and curious hands.
Where was Megan in all this?
Behind the scenes. A little bit in shock herself that her idea of a little funny joke had gone slightly awry. Not to mention quite embarrassed that this wasn't just a little family incident, but one that  50+ neighbors were well aware of too.

The next morning, when Luke entered my bedroom, I lifted my head from my pillow disappointed to realize the polka dot head wasn't a bad dream. Instead, after an extremely late night and a sleeping late morning, I realized we had about four hours to not only get ready for another party of 50+ family members/friend joining us for a post-baptism celebration, but we had to fit in some time to do something with his head.

My dear brother James came to the rescue. To make a long story short, James took Luke to a local barber shop and Luke was given an old fashioned shave. Megan will be receiving a bill for the barber's fee. I think she is expecting to charge Luke for half of the bill.
Luke's head is now very bald. Not to mention, very white. Hats and sunscreen will be a must for several days.
We still keep wondering exactly what both Megan AND Luke were thinking? And Mike has asked the children over and over what exactly they thought he meant when he said, "No! I don't think that is a good idea." 

My cousin, RJ is about the only one that has proven to be on Megan's side, and declared Megan and Luke even when reminding us of the yellow snow incident.

Polka dot heads.
Yellow snow.
Megan and Luke.
Heaven help us all.


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