Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Day Like Today...

On days like today I wonder what in the world I am doing!  What have I gotten myself into?  I realize that being a mother always has it's challenges.  I knew that going into it and for the last 10 years it has been reinforced into my mind on a regular basis.  Most days it's okay.  It's just part of life.  Some days though...days like today... I don't even know how to describe what I mean or what exactly makes this day different from others but I think that all you other moms out there can relate to what I am feeling and saying.  On days like today though, I  can hear all those things that were said and hinted to me as I was in the process of bringing all these lovely spirits into the world.  After all, in six and a half years I gave birth to six children adn had a miscarriage.  I was busy.  I can hear the rude comments, see the rolling eyes, and remember all the feelings of hurt from days gone by.  Comments about the number of children or the silent (and sometimes not so silent) counting of my family as we walk by rubs me the wrong way and adds to the frustration I feel.  I think that if all those people who have made all those comments and expressed all those doubts about my sanity and purpose in life could see me today they would be so thrilled to see that they were right!  That also adds to the emotions I carry with me.  Really, it's no one's business but my own (and Michael's).  But, just as little old ladies can't keep from patting a pregnant belly, so well meaning (haha) people can't keep opinions to themselves.  As I said, most days I am fine and I am confident in what I am doing and where I am at.  I know that the children I have, I was supposed to have.  I know the time frame in which I had them was the time frame I was supposed to use.  I knew with each child, when they were supposed to come.  I knew when I was done and I never questioned any of the process.  I had warnings of over doing it, getting to overwhelmed and then it being too late, of hurting my body, of financial stress and even told that my miscarriage was my fault, but I always knew.  These decisions I made (we made) about having children wasn't because I hated using birth control and liked having sex (sorry).  It came through prayer, lots and lots of prayer.  It came through spiritual promptings and comfort.  I fully believe that God is one hundred percent involved in bringing His children to this earth (as long as we allow Him to be).  After all, they are His children.  I fully believe that through God I would know when to and not  to have a child.  He knows me and He knows my capabilities.  He knows my life and the home I would be able to create for His children.  So I turned to Him.  That gave me the strength and comfort to withstand all the other things and go on doing what I knew I should be doing.  But on days like today, I get shaken.  I do get overwhelmed.  I do struggle and those comments and looks come back and haunt me.  So, what do I do?  I go into survival mode!  I think all you moms know that mode.  We go to McDonalds with an indoor playland for lunch and I read my kindle while the kids play.  I eat chocolate and drink Dr. Pepper.  I wear comfy clothes and let the kids watch TV.  I make the most of what I am that day and then hope that tomorrow the cloud has passed and I can step it up a notch.  A day like today, as frustrating as it is, helps me.  It reminds me that I'm not alone.  I didn't get into this all by myself and I don't have to go through it all by myself.  It also reminds me that I don't have to be perfect.  My kids will survive if they have to eat cold cereal for supper and they watch four hours of TV before bedtime.  I will survive and though some days I handle motherhood more gracefully than others, it will all be okay.  I won't ruin my children with one bad day.  I won't ruin my status as mother with one bad day.  I don't have to be perfect and I don't have to make all those people think that I am perfect.  When I was younger, I felt that overwhelming need to prove something to everyone - strangers in the grocery store, people at church, family and friends.  I thought if they saw my weaknesses, my bad days, they too would believe what had been said.  I tried so hard to do everything right - meaning perfect.  Then I would be torn apart as I realized I couldn't live up to what I thought they thought I should be.  Over the years, I have given that up.  Thank goodness!  And I encourage those around me to do the same.  If we all would admit how imperfect we are, if we all admitted to days like today, think of the help and support we could offer each other!  Think of how much happier we would be and  how much easier it would be to get over days like today!  So to all of you reading this - I am having one of those days!  We went to McDonalds for lunch (twice - once just me and the kids and then we went back and met Michael a few hours later).  After our healthy lunch of fast food, I am going to feed them a healthy supper of hotdogs and chips, no vegetables.  We are going to watch a movie tonight, maybe more than one.  We aren't going to bath before bedtime and we probably won't do the dishes either.  My comfy clothes aren't really going to match and I may finish off my bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs with a nice Dr. Pepper.  I may even drink one with caffeine!  (I know rebellious aren't I?)  Then, after the kids go to bed, I am going to sit on the couch, snuggled in a blanket and read until Michael gets home.  I won't fold the laundry or anything else a proper mother and wife would do before going to bed.  And I will be just fine with all of it!  I hope that when you all have one of those days like today that you will do the same!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Grandpa, Maddi (3) and Makenna (2)

Grandpa walking Maddi and Makenna to the swimming pool

 Grandpa and Dillon in 2006

Today is my Grandpa Cantrell's birthday.  He would have been 92.  He died almost two years ago.  I know I have blogged about him in the past.  He was very special to me.  I loved his visits when he and Granny would come to see us.  My favorite thing to do was to just sit next to him.  He didn't have to talk to me or pay attention to me.  I just liked to sit with him.  I loved to listen to him talk, even when I had no interest in what he was talking about.  He would always pat my arm or leg and tease about some thing or other.  I loved it.  Just being with him brought such joy.  I loved his wing-tipped shoes.  He wore those for as long as I could remember.  I even got myself a pair when I was older just because they were like his.  As he got older he switched to velcro tennis shoes except when he was dressing up for church or something.  He always had a baseball cap.  He always had peanut M&M's too.  His last few years he changed to just plain peanuts because he was trying to be healthier.  He always had a smile for us but he also made sure that we were respectful and obedient.  He didn't put up with naughtiness :)  We always had tricks of some sort to show Granny and Grandpa - jumping off the diving board, doing Dukes of Hazzard jumps through the car window or riding our bikes like wild men.  They were always very impressed!  Anyways, today my thoughts have been on him and I look forward to some day seeing him again.  I love you, Grandpa!













Our last trip to Nashville

A Night Filled With...

WARNING  WARNING  WARNING!!!  If you have a weak stomach or a keen sense of smell, you may not want to read this post :)  Last night around 11:15 I was sound asleep and dreaming.  Then all of the sudden the light was on.  I thought maybe it was morning but wondered why I was still so tired.  Then I looked at the clock and heard Michael say something about Dillon throwing up and still being asleep.  I got up and about the time I hit our doorway I was greeted by the most awful smell I have ever smelled.  It was sour and rank and so strong. Michael had gotten Dillon in the bathroom helping him change his clothes and clean him up.  I went in to check his bed.  There was a huge pile of puke on the edge of his bed that also ran down the wall and onto the floor.  As I mentioned earlier it was the most awful smelling stuff I have ever smelled.  I got his sheet off his bed, found the pillows and stuffed animals that had also been contaminated and put them all in the bathroom sink.  Then I got several towels and went to work trying to clean the mattress, wall, bed frame and floor.  It was disgusting.  Michael got Dillon all cleaned up and put a new shirt on him.  Then Dillon went into our bedroom while we finished cleaning things up.  I went to work rinsing everything out in the toilet.  Last time I did this I washed everything out in the bathtub.  Big mistake!!  If you do it in the bathtub you have to clean out the chunks with your hands (I warned you).  So I did it in the toilet so I could just flush it all down.  The toilet water is very cold! I got it all washed out, the bathroom wiped down and laundry started.  We made a bed for Dillon on the loveseat and Michael slept on the couch to keep an eye on him during the night.  I went back to bed after spraying air freshener through out the house.  When I went to my room, it had a horrible sour smell.  I checked the bathroom and the bedroom and found nothing.  I decided it was just leftover stench from Dillon's vomit and tried to go back to sleep.  At 3 am I woke to the sound of bath water running.  I wanted to pretend to sleep through it all because I knew that meant there had been another accident of some sort but my guilt got to me and I got up to see what I could do to help.  I went into the bathroom and there was Dillon covered from the waste down in diarrhea.  Poor kid.  It was awful.  This smell out did the last smell and Michael was gagging as he was trying to help clean him up.  He would do a wipe and then have to walk out of the room and then come back in for another wipe.  I took over and immediately realized that at some other time during the night Dillon had another accident and it was dried on his stinky little bum.  There would be no wiping that off!  I took him into my bathroom and had him stand under the shower to soften it so we could get him cleaned up.  That's when I realized what the smell was in my bedroom earlier.  It was him.  He didn't realize he had messed his pants before he threw up during the night.  Michael didn't realize it either when he was cleaning him up.  Anyways...Michael got him all washed off while I once again went to the bathroom and cleaned things out in the toilet.  The water was still very cold.  The smell was so bad that by the time I was done I felt as if I was going to be sick.  I don't know what all he had sitting in his system and how long it had been there but it was horrible!  I cleaned the bathroom and started another load of laundry.  Then back to bed we all went.  The alarm went off this morning and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get out of bed.  I laid there until 7am and finally drug myself out of bed and got the kids up.  The smells from during the night still linger here and there around the house but the overwhelming stench has gone away.  Michael is off to work this morning and the other kids are off to school.  Dillon is, of course, home sick.  He is doing better, sipping 7 up and eating bananas.  I was going to take Zeke and Olivia to story time but that will have to wait until next week.  I was supposed to clean apartments today too, but that won't be happening either.  Hopefully this will pass soon and we will get a good nap in this afternoon!  Sorry for all the lovely descriptions but I did warn you so if you made it this far and you are now sick to your stomach, it's no one's fault but your own!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Truman or Washington?

That has been the question around our house for the last week or so.  When we moved here almost two months ago the kids started school at Truman Elementary.  It seems to be a good school and the kids have all made friends and are enjoying it.  Two weeks ago we moved across town.  Now we live in the Washington school district.  I had originally planned on keeping them in Truman at least until the end of the year.  Once we got here though, my thoughts and plans started changing.  I talked to Michael about it and my parents (they are more familiar with all the schools and personnel) and I talked to the kids about it.  Some wanted to switch, some didn't.  Truman is over three miles away (I know, big deal).  Washington is across the back yard.  Life would be so much easier if they could just walk through the back yard and get to school instead of having to load everyone up and take them across town.  Plus, when some one is sick, do you leave them at home alone or make them get up and go in the car.  Not a fun choice either way.  After much thought and consideration, we decided to switch schools.  I hate to put the kids through that transition again so quickly, but I feel it will be better in the long run.  They will meet kids in the neighborhood, they will be able to walk or ride bikes to school (a dream they all have) and I won't have to worry about hauling everyone everyday.  With Michael gone so much now, I have the bulk of the responsibility at home so I have to simplify life so it works for all of us.  Anyways, They will finish out the week at Truman and then on Monday they will go to Washington.  I hope and pray that they find friends quickly and that the transition goes smoothly for them!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

6 Red Roses and 1 White Rose

That's what my dad gets for my mom pretty much every Valentine's Day.  She loves it.  It represents her children.  The six red roses are for those of us still living.  The one white rose is for Katie who died about 39 years ago.  That has become her symbol in all of dad's floral arrangements.  The white rose is Katie.  Last night when we were over there for piano lessons I was looking at the beautiful flowers on her table.  They were more beautiful because I knew the meaning of them.  Then I started looking at the single white rose.  It was so white and pure.  Katie died when she was 2 years old.  In our church, we believe that we were sent to the earth for two reasons.  One was to get a physical body so we could be like our Father in Heaven.  The other was to be tested and tried.  We needed to show Heavenly Father that we were willing to be obedient and follow Him even when it was hard.  In our church we are baptized at the age of eight years old.  We believe that is when a child is old enough to really know right from wrong and be accountable for their actions.  If a child dies before the age of eight we believe that they were perfect and needed no testing.  They were pure, righteous spirits from our Heavenly Father and only needed to come and get a body or help some one else.  We also believe this about the special people here on this earth who have mental handicaps and things like that.  We all know these special spirits who, through their disabilities and illnesses are able to touch those around them and change lives for the good.  Katie was one of those special spirits.  She came to earth for a short time, but the affects of her little life are still changing people.  As I stared at that pure, white rose and thought of Katie, my heart was touched.  How blessed we are to have her as part of our family.  How blessed we are to have, through her, been brought to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How blessed we were as I and three of my brothers served missions in Ireland, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala and Honduras and spread that gospel to all those who would listen.  How blessed we are to know that even though right now we are a red rose, filled with shortcomings and mistakes, we can someday through the blood of Christ become a white rose too.  That we can be pure and clean and ready to enter in to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  Yesterday was a day to express love and appreciation to those we love.  What greater love have we been shown than the life that our Brother, Jesus Christ, gave for us?  There is no greater love.  There is no greater gift.  As I looked at Katie's white rose, it gave me more determination to give thanks to my Savior and my Heavenly Father by becoming more obedient, more submissive, meek and humble.  To stay on my knees when I stumble while at the same time standing up and being a light to those around me.  I hope that at the end of all this, when my time comes to stand before God and be judged, that I, along with the rest of my family, will be able to stand next to Katie and be made pure and clean and become a white rose too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Looooove Day!

Emphasis on the loooove :)  The kids were so excited for Valentine's Day to come.  We spent several evenings last week with the school kids making their boxes to take to school.  We spent one afternoon so Zeke and Olivia could decorate sacks (they were feelings left out).  We spent Saturday afternoon writing on cards and taping candy to each one.  The kids trying to secretive and making two extra - one for me and one for Michael.  We decorated cookies Saturday and Sunday and made a plate to take to Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Spencer.  We also made fried pies to take to them.  Today I am making more because all this giving away depleted Michael's stock pile :)  Zeke and Olivia just finished their very exciting party.  They opened their sacks, ate all their hershey kisses, drank some juice they got to pick out at the store and had a heart dhaped sandwich for lunch.  That was most exciting for Zeke because turning the sandwich into a heart cut all the crust off so he didn't have to!  Next we are going to town and they will get to sit nice and quiet while I get my haircut (yeah right).  Then we will get the kids from school, go to the park with the dog, practice piano and do homework and then head out for a romantic dinner at McDonalds (with and indoor playland)!  Michael is working today so I won't see him until 10:30 tonight.  I may as well make it a fun day for the kids.  I can think of better places to eat at, but for kids, McDonalds is as good as it gets!  Then we will have piano lessons and some Valentine cupcakes.  Hopefully they will all come off their sugar high before bedtime and all will be back to normal by tomorrow!  Again, yeah right!

I am, though, very grateful for all those I have to love in my life.  Michael is my true love and I am very lucky and blessed to have him as my husband.  He works hard and does his best to take care of us.  Though his new job requires him to be gone a lot more,when he is home, he makes sure he is a part of us and our days.  My children are next on my love list.  Some days I want to send them to a boarding school, but most days I can't get enough of them.  They are funny, kind, creative, spiritual, thoughtful, helpful, beautiful, precious and I love them with all my heart.  There are so many others to love - grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends - I could go on all day describing each person and why I love them and how they have blessed and changed my life.  They are in Minnesota, Tennessee, Colorado, Canada, Idaho, South Dakota, South Africa, Utah, Japan, Ireland, England, Wyoming, California, and more.

So, to all of you whom I love and cherish - Happy Looooove Day!  I love you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Single Mom

I am three days in (two and a half actually) to my nine days as a single mom.  It's really not as bad as I thought it would be.  Michael's new job has taken some getting used to.  I can only talk to him on his lunch break and that's only if he calls me since I don't know when he will be taking his lunch break.  I do miss my random conversations with him.  Luckily I have a dog now and I can have random conversations with him.  Then I can interpret his noises as the answers I was looking for and do whatever it is that I want where as I don't have as much freedom to interpret Michael's answers.  There are times, however, that it is frustrating.  Like when the kids have activities to go to.  I don't get to just load up the one kid with the activity and drop him/her off.  I have to load up all the kids and take them all.  It's okay usually, but sometimes they don't want to go and I don't want to take them!  There's also the many hours by myself.  I get a little bit of time (30 minutes) at night while Michael is eating and getting ready for bed that I can follow him around and tell him all the things I have saved up for that day.  There is also an hour or so in the mornings that he is home but I am busy helping Dillon with piano, getting breakfast ready and trying to make sure everyone is ready to go to school.  That cuts in to any conversation time I might would have with Michael.  I miss it.  I love his days off.  Even if I have nothing to say to him I like having him there just in case I do have something I want to say.  I miss him most in the evenings.  When I am trying to get things settled down for the day or when I wish I could jump in the car and run to the store or to get my hair cut and not have to bring every one with me.  Eventually he will be going to a two week on one week off schedule and that will be even more adjusting.  Some of those two weeks he won't come home at all.  I am looking forward to nicer weather so that when that happens I can go on adventures with the kids.  Zeke is already planning a 10 day trip to California.  Why?  Because he's never been there and he wants to go.  I told him maybe...probably not for ten days but maybe for a few.  That satisfied his needs and he is getting excited for it.  Between dance, piano, cleaning apartments, moving, errands, birthday parties, church activities and everything else I get run a little ragged at times.  I am not trying to complain or throw a pity party.  I am very grateful for his job and the opportunities it will give us.  It is a blessing that we never imagined we would have.  It makes me all the more grateful when Michael is around.  The help that he gives me on his days off are great.  The conversations are wonderful.  His company is the best.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finally!!

This weekend was the longest weekend I can remember.  Michael was really sick all weekend and we were trying to move.  Olivia also got really sick and just barely missed a trip to the ER with croup.  It was kind of scary.  She slept out on the couch with Michael Friday night, both of them sick as dogs.  Around 2:30 she settled down.  Saturday morning we started moving.  Thank goodness my brother stayed in town to help.  I felt bad that he missed a weekend with his family but we were so thankful to have his help.  We also had two others from church show up.  The weather started out okay but them it started snowing and blowing.  Since it got so nasty we just had them help with the things that we couldn't get on our own and then let them go home.  That afternoon it cleared up some so Michael and I went back and got another load.  I dropped the kids off at my parents house and Spencer came back and helped us unload.  By that time we were wiped out.  Michael was so sick he could hardly stand up straight.  We put beds together and then Michael stayed home to rest while I went to my parents to eat supper with the kids.  They stayed and watched a movie so I came back home and unpacked.  Michael went to bed.  On top of Michael and Olivia being so sick we also had Zeke and Maddi sick.  Makenna had been sick on Thursday.  The rest were okay.  Sunday I went with the kids (except Olivia) to church.  It was a nice day.  There were a lot of nice people there.  Monday it was back to school.  Michael was feeling somewhat better.  We went back to our old house and got some more things.  Then we spent a lot of the day unpacking.  After school we went to Rock Springs to get a few things and take the kids out to dinner.  They had gotten free kids meals from Wingers and had been waiting for Michael to be home to go with them.  Tuesday we finished at the other house and worked some more at our new house.  Tuesday afternoon Michael stayed home with Zeke and Olivia and waited for the Direct TV guy to show up and hook up our TV.  I went to Rock Springs and got our new dog.  He is a 3 year old beagle named Jack.  The kids live him.  I do too.  He rarely barks.  and does really well with the kids.  They even had him ride in the car with us today to take them to school.  Today Michael is back to work for nine days.  Everyone is on the mend.  I am still trying to get everything put away and get it looking more like a house than a garbage dump.  Things are coming along but it will still be a little while.  This morning I spent forever outside trying to get a dog house up to the front of the house.  There was one down in the back yard (when I say down, I mean it.  The yard slopes so that the back of the house is a walk out basement.)  Anyways, this house was solid wood and so heavy I couldn't lift it - at all!  I was determined to get it up the driveway though.  I pushed it over the snow, ice, dirt and rocks and finally got it up on our driveway.  Occasionally it would get stuck on something.  I would have to go to the front, put my arms in the door, squat down so my elbows were resting on my knees and lift up onto my toes to get the house up high enough to get over the rock or whatever was in the way.  I'm sure the neighbors had quite the show if they were watching.  If they were watching I could have used the help!  Anyways, I got it so now Jack has a house up front so we can put him outside when it's not too cold.  Michael will have a fit when he sees what I did.  I was quite proud of myself and ate a few Cadbury mini eggs in celebration of my big accomplishment!  So that was my weekend. I am now single mom for nine days but I look forward to the five days off!  It will be a long weekend for the kids too so we will be able to spend some time together.  Things are finally going to settle down and we will feel like we are here to stay.  It is nice to have that in the future!  I signed four of the kids up for baseball last night.  That will start in April.  Another thing for them to look forward to.  So, all is well with the Christiansens and now we can relax and begin to enjoy our new home.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maddi

Well, Maddi had her final testing this morning for GATE (Gifted and Talented).  She passed with flying colors!  I am so proud of her.  She will get to start Monday.  She will be so excited when she finds out.  She said both of the girls (Maddi and Makenna) are exceptional girls and they are so excited to have them in the district.  The  one who gave Maddi her test this morning said she is a really hard worker and did a great job.  Getting into GATE also means that Maddi will get to go to Jackson Hole this spring on a 4 day retreat.  It will be a great experience for her.  She has a couple friends that are going as well so that will make it that much more fun.  Anyways, happy day at our house today and I am one proud Mama!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Cold Day in...

Haha!  It's freezing today!  There was so much I needed to do after having two sick (not really, more fake sick) boys home yesterday but I couldn't bring myself to go anywhere!  The wind chills are down in the negative 30's and the real temp hasn't reached 0 yet.  We spent the day inside.  I packed a few things and ate a lot of chocolate.  It made me happy until I had to enter it all in on my food log.  Now I have to eat lettuce the rest of the day!  Michael was glad that his work was in the shop today.  Tomorrow's temps will be similar and then it will start to warm up (meaning it will get above zero instead of staying below).  Hopefully it will warm up enough to get things moved this weekend.  If we ever have to move in the winter again I am going to go on strike!  In Hawaii!