Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post Christmas Fun

Yesterday it was a little warmer than it was on Christmas day so the kids ventured out with their new prizes and tried them out.  Zane went around shooting things with his new Exploderz gun.  He and Dillon tried out their new scooters...

They were even nice enough to let the other kids try too.  Zeke only fell off twice.  Luckily he was wearing all his snow clothes  and the roads were snow palcked so it didn't hurt :)
 
Zeke tried out his new Shark Spinner.  It's a knee board.  It didn't work too well on the snow packed roads with him bundled up in all his snow stuff.  We'll have to find an indoor palce for him to try it out.
 

 
 
Maddi and Makenna have spent the last few days on their new kindle fires.  They love them!  They have downloaded facebook, text now, games, music and books.  They got haedphones and cases for them too.  I am hoping that they get lots of good use out of them.  They are excited to take a trip with them this summer and put those car chargers to good use!
 
 
 
Olivia has been enjoying her new kitchen and was especially excited when she got to have a friend over today to play with her.  They have put on make up, dressed up, had their hair and nails done all while listening to princess music :)  Now they are settling down to watch a movie and have some popcorn.
 
 
 
Last night we took the kids to Pizza Hut to use their Bookit coupons and then they went shopping with their Christmas money and gift cards.  The boys got DS games, Olivia got make up in a nice red fake leather case and Kenna bought a few things and Maddi is saving her money to get an electric razor scooter like the boys.
 
This morning I awoke to a make over :)  Olivia jumped in my bed and gave me a make over with her new make up!  I would post a picture but that kind of beauty can not accurately be caught on film :)  Then I got to give her a make over. I got pink blush, pink lipstick and pink eye shadow with black eyeliner.  She got pink blush, black eyeliner with purple eye shadow and silver accent, pink blush and a shiny purple lip gloss. Sounds beautiful doesn't it?
 
So the fun continues for a few more days until it's back to school and routine!  We still have a few days though for more movies, make overs, and game time!

 



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This...


I must say, these last fews days have been wonderful.  It feels like the Christmas I have always dreamed of having.  I don't know what has made this year different.  Maybe it's the fact that we tried to focus on getting along with each other and serving each other more.  Maybe it's the fact that Michael has been able to be around and be at home with us - something we all love!  The days have jsut seemed to peaceful.  The kids have gotten along so well with each other.  They've been sharing and helping and playing together.  We've been able to spend time with friends and enjoy their company.  We've been able to talk to family on the phone and share our fun with them.  Today has been especially nice.  We opened presents this morning and the kids were all so excited about what they got.  I heard them say several times that this was the best Christmas ever!  After presents were opened and breakfast was eaten, the kids spent the rest of the morning and afternoon playing and having fun.  There was no fighting or arguing, everyone had fun and got along.  In the afternoon they went out and played in the snow.  Then we all watched a movie together while the ham and potatoes were cooking. 

It's not that the day had anything spectacular happen or anything.  It was just the peacefulness felt in our home.  We were together, we helped each other, we spent time reading the Christmas story and singing carols. It was just nice. I can't describe it any other way.  With six kids in the house, there are few times when we go an entire day without a squabble or mishap.  There's always something or other going on with some one.  Today though, nothing.  I loved it! I hope for more days like this in the future.  Today though, I will just enjoy it while I can!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RACK'd

This year in our family we are focusing on Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.  I saw this idea on another blog and decided to do it, but change it up a little.  We wanted to teach the children (and ourselves) to look around us and see things that we can do for others and then to do them.  There were some things we planned out and prepared for - like taking treats to our neighbors, the teachers' lounge, the bakery (the kids wanted to give them treats since they give everyone else treats all year long) and their friends at school.  The girls also gave change to the Salvation Army guy and we bought toys to give to the children of military parents (something they were doing locally here).  The other things though were truly random.  The kids have been working on serving their family members throughout the day and their classmates.  Each night when we read our scriptures and have family prayer we name one random act of kindness that we have done that day.  The kids have been doing a pretty good job with it.  Michael and I have also become more aware of things we can do.  There have been things as simple as helping each other zip up coats or holding open the door to doing another's chore or playing a game with some one.  Some nights it has been a struggle for some to come up with something to share but for the most part they have several things that they want to tell us.  It has really helped change the spirit in the home and soften our hearts towards each other. 

I think their favorite thing has been taking candy canes to everyone at school.  We divided the candy canes up into cups for each classroom and put a note on each one saying that they had been RACK'd.  Then one night when Dillon had practice at the school they took the cups and set them in front of the principal's office so when she got to school the next morning she found them.  The kids did a pretty good job keeping it a secret.  Olivia was the only one that spilled the beans :)  She did good until they started talking in class about what an act of kindness is and then she told them that's what we did!  It was fun for them to see the reactions of their classmates and listen to them try to figure out who it was from.  The preschool teacher told me her class thought it was from Santa, God, or some one they didn't know!  I subbed in the fourth grade class that afternoon and some of the boys were trying to get the attention of one of the janitors.  He was out shoveling the walk and the boys wanted to do a random act of kindness and give him a candy cane because he was working so hard. 

I'm not trying to brag or anything, I just wanted to share our story with everyone because it has done so much good for us.  With six kids so close in age there are times that I think the fighting and arguing and tattling will never stop!  Doing this and helping them be aware of their family members in a different way has really helped that.  Yes, we still have our moments where I need to send everyone to their opposite corners, but it has been better.  The older kids have included the younger kids.  The younger kids have "allowed" the older kids to play with them :) (that has been Olivia's act of kindness several times).  We talk about serving and it's importance.  It has taught them that there are so many different ways to serve each other.  We, of course, tie it back to the Savior and our reason of celebrating this wonderful season.  He came to this earth as a baby.  He spent His whole life in service and then He gave His life for us.  We are taught to follow His example and so we serve and love others.  In John it says, "A new commandment I give uto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  If we can love those around us and serve them, our hearts will be open, our lives will be full and we will be helping to make our world a better place.

Another blessing that has come from this is being able to notice kindness shown to us.  We are so blessed with so many wonderful friends.  There have been so many kind things done for us.  An offer to buy all the kids new winter coats, birthday rides in a golf cart, letting the kids be in on a cousins picture with the star quarterback even though they weren't his cousins, offers for help with snow removal, phone calls, treats, invitations for Christmas Eve, hugs on the street... so many things.  It has opened our eyes to all the blessings we have and made us more grateful for the acts of service shown to us.  I am so glad that we decided to do this and that the kids have so willingly and excitedly (not sure that is a word) done this.  It has added more meaning to Christmas for us this year and has brought us closer together as a family. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Wrote This For You

Monday the kids had a snow day so I let them all sleep in.  Olivia had gotten up earlier than the others so I was in the living room with her playing Garbage (she was mercilessly winning).  Dillon came upstairs with a paper in his hand.  "Here, I wrote this for you."  I guess he had woken up that morning and decided to write me a love note.  Here is what it said:

Dear Mom,
     I love you even when you are mean to us. You are a really good cook and you are really nice. And when I get hurt you make me feel better. You are a good teacher and you are really fun. You are a good reader and don't hurt people. You are the best cook and you make things look neat.  Sorry about my handwriting I don't really write neat. I hope you can be my teacher sometime. You make good projects. You are a good writer and a good driver.

                                                                   Love,
                                                                  Dillon

Then he gave me a hug and a kiss.  Now, I know this letter was meant to be a good letter that showed me that he loved me, but the first line seriously made me cry.  See, for all of you out there that call me Wonder Woman and Super Mom and all those other things, that is so not true.  I am a far cry from any of that.  Everyone seems to think that if you have six kids you are patient and loving and kind.  I try to be all of that, but I am not - especially patient!

I have been working for years to improve on my patience and kindness.  While I have improved, this letter let me know that I have still have work to do :)  I yell at my kids when I get overwhelmed and frustrated with them.  I tell them at times that they are no longer allowed to call my name for the rest of the night when all I have heard for hours is "Mom, mom, mom, MOM!"  There are many times that I have had to go to my children and apologize for my behavior and then gone to bed crying because of my feelings of failure for that day.  There have been times when I have just had to remove myself (and not always gracefully) from the room which in turn has left my kids sad.  Some days I just don't "feel the love".

I get so upset with myself when I fall short and I hope and pray that what I have heard is true - that children are given strengths for their parents weaknesses and that as long as I do my best my kids will be okay.  I cling to that some days because I know that my weaknesses have overpowered the rest of me.  I hope that my children look back on life and remember happy things and not just a tired, grumpy mom.  I love my children with all my heart and I hope that my shortcomings don't break their hearts.

I'm not perfect, I'm not a super mom or wonder woman.  Some days I wonder why God thought I could handle being responsible for six of His children!  I feel very inadequate.  I try to involve the Lord in all my dealings with my family, but I know I fall short in that too.  Sometimes, I just take over and that's not always pretty!

I know the purpose of Dillon's letter was not to make me feel bad and point out the fact that sometimes he thinks I am mean to him.  I know it was to express his love and tell me all the nice things he thinks about me.  I love the letter and the funny little things like "you are a good reader and you don't hurt people".  He has always been a very special boy to me that holds a very special place in my heart.  From the time he was born, he has been that way.  We have a very close bond that has grown stronger over the years and I'm glad that he can love me through my meanness.  It was just a wake up call, I guess, that I still have a ways to go....

Friday, December 7, 2012

Maddi Turns 12!

I know - I'm a few weeks behind... I think it has taken me this long to realize I have a 12  year old!  I'm not sure I am ready for this stage of life but I guess ready or not here it comes!  Maddi tuned 12 on the 21st of last month.  She was so excited for this birthday to come.  I think the biggest reason for her excitement was that she graduated from Primary and now gets to go to Youg Women.  For those of you who don't know, primary is our church's Sunday school class for all the kids under the age of 12.  Young Womens is a Sunday school type class for girls ages 12 -18.  Now she gets to go to church acitivitied every Wednesday night.  Some weeks it's just the girls who get together and some weeks they combine with the boys and do things.  She also gets to go to Stake activities every few months.  That is an acitivity that includes all boys and girls ages 12 -18 from towns all around in SD and MN.  They usually meet in Sioux Falls and enjoy a fun day together.  Anyways, she's excited to get to go with the older kids now!

She had a fun day celebrating.  She took chocolate covered cookie dough balls to school for a treat.  They had an early out that day so she was excited for that too.  She wanted baked potatoes for supper and a marble cake with green frosting for dessert.  She had also been wanting her hair colored so we did that the night before like we had done for Makenna.

 
She loves the new color and I think it look pretty cute too!  She also opened presents and seemed to be pleased with what she got.
She was excited to see 12 candles on her cake and if you look in the background you will see Kenna helping to blow out the candles :)



Maddi, too, has had a lot of changes this year.  We moved at the end of the school year and while she was excited to get to be closer to old friends, she was sad to leave her Wyoming friends behind and also her grandparents.  At the end of the summer, she faced another change with going to a new school without the friends she had planned on being with. It was tough but it didn't take long for her jump right in with both feet.  She has made friends and gotten involved and seems to be loving it.  She was on the volleyball team and they ended up 3rd in their tournament.  Now she is playing basketball and loves it!  She had speaking and solo parts in the school Christmas concert last week.  In church she earned her Faith in God award before leaivng Primary.  She is taking piano lessons.  She has over 400 AR points in her reading at school and is aiming to break the school record of around 1000 points! 

It is fun to watch her grow.  I am nervous about all that the teenage years will bring but I am excited to see her learn and progress.  She is a beautiful girl with so many wonderful qualitites and talents.  I am so proud of her and who she is becoming.  I remember when we first found out we were having a little girl.  We couldn't wait for her to get here.  She has always been such a good little girl and now she is changing into a beautiful young woman.  The joy we felt the day she was born is still felt each day.