Friday, May 31, 2013

Let Go and Accept the Change

I am sitting here with one of my children watching her cry and trying to help her understand.  Sometimes we just have to let things go.  Life is full of changes.  Some are easy.  Some are not.  Changes with friendships are the hardest.  I know.  I have gone through it too.  I hesitate to write about this for many different reasons but yet this is part of life and it is part of what we are going through right now.  This blog is the story of our lives - good and bad - so I will write...

Sometimes, we remember how things used to be and long for those days again.  We hold on to the fun memories and want to relive them day after day.  We have friends that we loved and still love but time has changed the situation and the level of friendship doesn't stay the same.  Kids grow up, people move away (usually us :) ), schools change and friendships don't keep up with it all.  In your heart, though, it is still there and always will be. 

It is hard to communicate sometimes from the mind to the heart.  The mind can see the changing times.  It can understand that both people are changing.  The heart, however, has a harder time.  Our heart wants things to stay the same.  I deal with the same thing.  I try to rationally explain to my heart why things are the way they are but my heart can't understand.  It is hard to let go. 

I tried to point out the things that have come to help replace what is changing - new friends, new opportunities, new experiences.  It is still hard though.  For her, the process has already taken place.  She has made new friends, not to replace the old ones but to add to them.  She has had new opportunities and new experiences, all adding to what she already had.  The hard part is trying to say out loud that things have changed.  She is sad and it is hard to watch.  My heart aches for her and for my friendships that have changed over the years.  The hardest thing I think, is when you know your "best" friend is spending time with some one else and that you are doing the same.  That's when the reality of it all sets in.  I think that's what happened today. 

I wish I could fix it, but I can't. I wish I could stop things from changing, but I can't. It's no one's fault. No one is to blame. It's just part of life. I have many friendships that I still hold dear, but that are no longer what they once were.  My best friend in second grade was Jamie.  Her birthday was just a few days from mine.  My best friend in 4th grade was Amber.  She lived across the street from me.  My best friend in 5th grade was Tishena.  She had red hair like me.  My best friend in 6th grade was Jessica.  She  lived a block away.  My best friend in 9th grade was Melyssa. She was crazy and funny!  My best, longest friend is Sara. We astayed in contact over many years and miles. My best friends in early motherhood were Katie and Monica.  They helped me through those early years. My best friend in Minnesota is Pam.  My days is brighter every time I see her.  My best elderly friends were Esther and Myrtle.  I loved delivering the newspaper to Myrtle and being able to visit with her in her.  There are others too and they all hold a special place in my heart.  After 8th grade I moved from Brookings, SD to Lewisburg, TN.  In Brookings we lived next door to Esther.  She was elderly and over the last four years I had spent many afternoons at her house.  We would visit.  I would help her do things she couldn't do or reach things she couldn't reach.  Sometimes she would have a treat for me.  Sometimes my mom would have me take a meal to her.  I loved her.  When we drove off with our moving van she was out in the driveway waving.  I cried.  I knew I was going to miss her.  I never saw her again but she has always been a special person in my life.

I know these friendships came into my life for a reason. I know they all blessed my life in ways that no one else could.   I know I am a different person because of those friendships.  I know it hurt each time it faded just like it is hurting her right now.  I can't change that.  I can't stop it from happening again.  All I can do is love her while she learns to let go and accept the change.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Today while mowing I noticed that our yard was filled with one of my most favorite aromas - lilacs.  Our lilacs are starting to bloom.  Lilacs are my favorite for three reasons...

First: They smell wonderful and they look pretty.  I would much prefer a handpicked bouquet of lilacs over a handpicked bouquet of dandelions :)  Although I love the thought and effort put into both!

Second: They provide shade and wind blocks in our yard.  We have a row of lilacs are over by our fire pit.  Once the blooms have come and gone, the bushes or trees (whatever they are) provide nice shade and privacy when we are over in that part of the yard.  The kids like them because when it is dark and we are sitting around the fire, they think they can sneak up on us using the bushes as as a blind. I guess they think we won't notice the rustling leaves and branches or the giggles as they "quietly" move through the yard!

Third:  Memories.  When Michael and I lived in Idaho I had two wonderful friends.  We all had kids the same age.  We all lived clear out in the middle of nowhere but all within a mile or two of each other.  We would get together on a regular basis and let our kids play while we solved the problems of the world or discussed the best brand of diapers to prevent leaking :)  It was so nice, especially during this time of my life, to have such a network of support.  One of them had lilacs in her yard and the smell reminds me of those play dates and conversations.  These two ladies - Katie and Monica - will never know how much they helped me and strengthened me.  I always had some one I could turn to and I knew they would know exactly what I was going through.  They loved me even when I was covered in bodily fluids from the babies and hadn't combed my hair in days.  They loved me even though they knew I was impatient at times with my kids or fed them cereal for all three meals if the day had been particularly difficult.  They would take my kids so I could go to town by myself!  A rare gift when you are a mother of young children.  I haven't seen them for years.  They moved, I moved, then I moved again, and then again, etc...  I still love them and I always will.  Each year when the lilacs bloom, I think of these two wonderful people and I get quite homesick for days gone by and I am overcome with gratitude for the blessings that they were in my life. 

Mud, Rocks and Worms

Our big project this summer is to remove all the rocks in our yard.  While at some point I am sure they looked really nice, it is time to get rid of them.  There are so many!  They are around the house, the driveway and most of the trees.  It's not just one layer either.  It is layer upon layer upon layer!  So far we have the front of the house done and one and a half trees. 
The little rocks we just load in a bucket and go dump out in our pile.  The bigger rocks we have to carry one or two at a time.  Thankfully we have some friends who have wanted the bigger ones for their lake home and they have come with a trailer to help haul them off.  Picking rock with ten people goes much faster than when it is just us!  When it is just me it takes forever.  Sometimes the kids get bored enough that they will come help for a short period of time.  Sometimes I don't give them the option and they have to come help me for a while :)  Lucky for them it has rained almost every day so our rock picking time has been very minimal!

One of the perks for them is finding all the worms!  They love digging through the dirt looking for rocks and finding a big fat worm instead!
They try to find safe places to move them so they don't get hurt while we are digging for the rocks.  Usually they end up getting side tracked and forget they are looking for rocks and just start looking for worms.  I think this will be the story of our summer - mud, rocks and worms...

Monday, May 27, 2013


In our church when kids turn 12 they "graduate" from primary (the little kids Sunday School classes) and get to go into the youth programs (age 12 - 18).  At this time they are each given a booklet called "For the Strength of Youth".  It can be used as a guide for them in how to choose good friends and entertainment, being honest, having integrity, making good choices, it gives them dating guidelines, talks about being healthy - physically and emotionally, talks about the importance of observing the Sabbath day, using good language, etc... It is a resource for them to turn to and have with them when they need it.

One of the sections talks about gratitude and it's importance.  It says:

"The Lord wants you to have a spirit of gratitude in all you do and say. Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Gratitude will turn your heart to the Lord and help you recognize His influence and blessings in your life. Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you."

Through our recent struggles, gratitude has been on my mind a great deal.  Then yesterday our home teacher came (in our church the men are assigned families that they are to look out for and teach.  They go to their homes once a month with a spiritual message.  They also provide help or get help if the family is in need of anything.  It is a way for us to all be able to help and look out for each other) and his message was also on gratitude.  He brought a jar with some coins and challenged us to fill the jar.  As we go through our days, think of things we are thankful for and put a coin in the jar. Then when he comes next month we can show him how full our jar is and how many blessings we had been given through out the month.

Last night we talked about it even more.  We talked about why it was important to show gratitude, not just to others, but to our Heavenly Father.  He has given us everything.  As the quote above says, the more we express gratitude, the more we will discover that we have so very much!  We talked to the kids about how life will be hard sometimes.  We will have to move, we may have friends get mad at us, we may lose jobs or a house, we may get hurt or lose some one we love, there will always be struggles.  Through all of that, if we can remember what we do have, we will have strength to continue on.  Our hearts will have more peace and comfort and we will be able to feel the blessings in our lives.

After we talked about it, we let the kids think of some things they were thankful for.  It started out with general things - the earth, trees, a house, cars, etc.  Then they got a little more personal.  One child mentioned that they were grateful that Michael and Dillon made it back home safely from Idaho. One mentioned that they were thankful for their teacher this last year.  One mentioned she was thankful to get to spend time with her best friend this summer.  One mentioned that he was thankful he was athletic. One was thankful for their glasses.  I finally had to stop them because it was time to get ready for bed!  I was so happy to see that they were catching on and seeing the little things as blessings too. 

I was asked yesterday how I get through the long days with kids and trying to get them what they need and where they need to be and what I do to get through the hard times like we have recently been going through.  My answer was, I remember the trade offs, the blessings.  I have been blessed with 6 beautiful, healthy children who at times drive me crazy but who I love very much and can't imagine life without.
I am so thankful to have Michael home and part of our family again.  I know some families go for a long time with their mothers or fathers having to be gone for work and they are fine.  For my family it didn't work.  I am so thankful to be together again.  There are so many little things - new friends, coaching, subbing, s'mores, campfires, walks to the bakery or the park, planting peas in the flower bed.  Being able to see the blessings and not the difficult things help so much.  Sometimes it is hard, but there are always blessings there to be found.  Sometimes we have to search a little harder but underneath the struggles they are there.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Little Princess Turns 6!

Yesterday was Olivia's birthday!  She has  been waiting for it to come since Zeke had his back in January!  She was so excited for the day to finally come.  She was the first one awake and opened presents as soon as everyone else got up.  Her hula hoop wasn't wrapped so she tried that out while she was waiting :)

Now that everyone is up and dressed, let the fun begin!

After we opened presents and had breakfast we did our morning run.  We ended the run at the bakery and I treated everyone to doughnuts for Olivia's birthday.  It was a cool rainy morning so they were excited to get to go in and pick out something yummy! Then I took Olivia to town.  She wanted to use some of her birthday money to put a purple streak in her hair.  Then we got ice cream with her birthday coupon and headed home.  She got to pick what we had for supper so we were all treated to a delicious dinner of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese!  Then we watched a movie together and ended the evening with cake and ice cream.  She wanted a two layer chocolate cake with pink frosting.
We are so thankful for this little princess that finished off our family.  She is a little ball of I don't know what but it makes me happy :)  She is 100% girl with an extremely tough side that no one wants to mess with!  Her smile melts my heart and her snuggles make my day.  She is such a blessing and I can't imagine our family with out her!  I love you Princess Olivia!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Piano Recital

Maddi and Makenna had their piano recital last night.  They both had their pieces memorized and did a great job playing.  They also got certificates for doing Guild.  That is a piano judging.  The kids have to have all their pieces memorized and they play in front of a judge and get scored according to different skills.  Maddi did five pieces and Makenna did three.  They both did excellent and earned a blue star.  Here are a few pictures from tonight:

Now we will take the summer off and start again in the fall!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Awards Ceremony

Today I got to go to the awards ceremony at the elementary school.   It was fun to see all the accomplishments that the school kids made throughout the year.  I was especially proud of my own kids and what they did.  Now I will proceed to brag about them :)

Olivia got an award for meeting her reading goals each month.  She also got a fitness award and a good conduct award.

Zeke got his fitness award and an award for meeting his reading goals throughout the year.  His class didn't get to come up and get their picture taken so I don't have one of him...
Dillon got several awards.  He got the Citizenship award for 3rd grade.  Two 3rd graders were chosen by the teacher.  It is for excellence in the classroom, being a leader, being respectful and being an overall good person.  He also got the fitness award and the good conduct award.  He also got an award for getting 150 AR points.  Those are reading points.  Each book you read, you take a test.  You are given a score according to how many answers were correct.  150 is a big number for a 3rd grader!

Zane got AR awards and his fitness award.  He also got 1st place in the Poppy Poster contest for 4th and 5th graders in Astoria and Hendricks.  It is a poster that all the kids drew for Veterans.  It had to have a poppy flower on it and then some sort of theme about veterans.  They also had to give it a title.  Since he took first his poster will go to the state level competition.
Makenna got her fitness award and good conduct award.  She also got recognized for making it into Honor's Choir.  She also won second in the Poppy Poster contest and second in the essay contest.  She was one of the top three readers in the school she had almost 500 AR points.  She was top in her class.  She got a cup full of prizes and gift certificates.  She also got the Academic Excellence award for 5th grade along with another girl.

Maddi got a few more awards today too.  She got 3rd place in the Poppy Poster contest, 3rd place in the essay contest and 2nd place in the poetry contest.  She also was in the top three readers of the school coming in 2nd with almost 700 AR points.  She got a basket full of goodies and gift certificates. 

All of the kids have grown so much during this school year - not just academically.  Dillon was baptized on his 8th birthday.  Maddi joined the older youth group at church when she turned 12.  Maddi and Makenna have both taken piano lessons this year.  Zane has taken an interest in shooting his bow.  Dillon and Zeke also gave piano a try and did really well with it.  They have all tried new sports.  Maddi played volleyball even though it was not her favorite sport.  Makenna did volleyball and basketball for the first time.  Zane and Dillon did football and basketball for the first time as an organized sport.  Zeke has become an excellent helper at home and even got brave enough to have his own bedroom in the basement and he doesn't even need a nightlight :)  Olivia has come out of her shell and learned to make friends and not be so shy.  They are all learning and growing so much.  It is so fun to see them change and grow.  They are growing into such beautiful (and handsome) people - inside and out!  I love them all so much and I am so proud of them all!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

6th Grade Graduation

Tonight we got to go watch Maddi graduate from 6th grade.  Kind of crazy thinking that she is already old enough to be in Jr. High next year.  Time has gone so quickly!  She is excited to move out of the elementary school and on to the high school.  Tomorrow they get to go and check everything out at the high school and maybe meet some teachers.  Here are a few pictures from tonight...
Maddi walking in

Maddi and some of the girls doing a clap song

Maddi with the other 6th grade Honor's Choir

Getting her diploma

2013 Deubrook Elementary 6th Grade Class!
It has been a fun year at Deubrook for not only Maddi, but all the kids.  We are so thankful for such a good school for the kids to be involved in.  We look forward to future years at Dolphins!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mommy! Mommy!

A few years ago when my kids were all younger I wrote this poem around Mother's Day.

Mommy! Mommy! I need my cup so I can have a drink!
Mommy! Mommy! Does this match, what do you think?
Mommy! Mommy! I'm hungry, I really need a snack!
Mommy! Mommy! Have you seen my school backpack?
Mommy! Mommy! Watch me do this really cool trick!
Mommy! Mommy! Where is my favorite brown stick?
Mommy! Mommy! There's something stinky over there!
Mommy! Mommy! Can you get this gum out of my hair?
Mommy! Mommy! I lost my boot somewhere in the hay shed!
Mommy Mommy! Will you check for coyotes under my bed?
Mommy! Mommy! I want to sit next to you on the couch tonight!
Mommy! Mommy! Will you snuggle me up before you turn out the light?
Mommy! Mommy! I love you!  You're the best mom ever!
Mommy! Mommy! Can we be best buddies forever and ever?
Mommy! Mommy! I need a kiss good night!  Oh and
Mommy! Mommy! One more thing, don't let the bed bugs bite!

The years have gone by and the kids are all older.  My youngest is now almost to the age that my oldest was at the time I wrote this.  There are still demands, maybe not filling sippy cups and looking for coyotes under the bed, but we still have those Mommy! Mommy! days.  Some of my children do a better job (on certain days) of reminding me that motherhood requires patience and lots of love and forgiving.  Some of my children do a good job of reminding me about unconditional love and enjoying the simple things in life.  All of my children help keep me focused on what is really important in life - that is being together.  There are days that if I didn't have the knowledge that families last beyond this life into the next, it would be really hard to continue on in patience and love.  Those days are really hard!  But the fact that I know that we are a family that can be together forever, I am able to continue on listening to the chants of Mommy! Mommy! and make it through the day!

I love my children!  This morning I was greeted by homemade cards and gifts, along with a little chocolate :)  I love their excitement as they give me what they have made.  Some came from school for which I thank the teachers for being so thoughtful.  Some came from promptings from Michael when I wasn't listening.  Some though, came straight from them - pictures of me and them holding hands or riding a long-necked T-Rex.

I know I have said this before, but before I left on my mission to Ireland, I was having an interview with one of my church leaders.  He told me that while serving a mission nothing would bring me more joy and nothing would be harder than this service except motherhood.  During my mission I thought of that quite often and I thought he was wrong!  There was nothing that could outdo the joy or be harder than what I was experiencing in Ireland as  missionary!  Then I became a mother and I immediately knew that what he had said five years earlier was 100% true.  Motherhood has brought me greater joy than anything in this life.  It has also been the absolute hardest thing I have ever done.  I am so thankful for the chance I have to be a mother of six beautiful children.  Even on the Mommy! Mommy! days

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Children's Museum

Thursday I got to go with Olivia and her class to the Children's Museum in Brookings. 

She was so excited to go and I was so glad that I got to go along with her.  We had 5 kindergartners in our group and about 4 hours to explore.  We climbed clouds...

Went grocery shopping...

Played in the water...

and the sand...
We played in trees...
played house...

and danced with hoops...
We also cooked in a cafe, gave the weather report on TV, worked in the post office, fixed cars, and built with giant blocks...

We saw a huge dinosaur mama and her baby, painted on the wall, read stories, played with a giant Lite Brite set and played instruments.  We sat in a teepee and built a house and took a ride on a conveyor belt.  We also planted flours and carrots, gathered eggs from the chicken coupe and so much more.  It was such a fun day!  I am so thankful again, that I get to have these moments with my kids!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

And The Winner Is....

Tonight we had our own little wrestling pit going on in the living room.  It was Michael against Maddi, Dillon, Zane and Zeke.  It started off like this...
Then we had a little back and forth like this...

Then one last failed attempt from the kids...
And it ended like this...
And the winner is... Daddy!  As usual!
And Olivia slept through it all like this...