Weekend Warriors

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jim planned a 6 am service project for our family Saturday morning.  Our kids are early risers... we all are so it wasn't a big deal to be up at that time.  Our goal and hope as parents is to teach our children the gift of serving others.  I take them with me when I make dinner for people, or go on visits to other women I know.  Jim takes Luke with him as much as possible when he's serving others too.  I say Luke because it is usually men stuff so girls opt to stay home.

Service is a gift in so many ways.  For me, it softens my heart, helps me see beyond myself.  I feel so grateful to the person/people who allow me to serve them.  It is a sacred privilege, one I love to participate in.  Jim is the same way.  He's more service oriented than me.  It's just who he is.  

Jim and I realized our kids learn by observing so we do our best to serve and teach our children about it.  Saturday morning was no different.  The kids were chatty and excited, especially as we pulled up to QT for donuts before our project.  Once we arrived at the house, it was a different story.  

Smiles were gone, groans started coming and flinging of rakes were seen from my peripheral vision.  It took encouraging but we finally finished.  Tayler was over it by the end.  She never makes me guess how she's feeling.  I love that little scowl face of hers!  The kids were champs overall. (Please notice the water shoes and socks Taytay is sporting. She loves to wear them every day.)

Let's pause and take a minute to talk about the guy below.  I wish words could describe how amazing he is and how much I love him every single day.  I watched him in awe at this service project knowing he had a full day of work ahead of him.  He got a call at 4 am with a house that needed to be packed out (all things packed out of the house) due to a flood.  His company is a restoration/emergency stuff.  So he'd been up since 4 am.  He already worked 60 plus hours the past week.  It's our busy season.  And his priority was spending time with the kids in the morning helping others.  I mean... come on... what an amazing Dad!  He was sweating and sneezing a lot when we pulled away at 7:15 am.  I just looked at him and felt an overwhelming tug on my heart thinking I can't believe he is my husband.  I can't believe I literally married the man of my dreams and the father to our children that I always prayed for.  I don't need to say he drives me nuts sometimes because that goes without saying... we're married for Pete's sake so yeah... that happens... but it is fleeting.   Every night I thank God he is my husband forever.

The rest of the day I was home with kids, playing and so forth.  We had our weekly date night.  We just went to dinner and were home a couple hours later.  Our sitter was so cute, the kids were upset we came back early.  Jim had early meetings, like 6 am early, on Sunday so he went to bed early.  When he has those meetings which is every other week, we usually have a short date night.  

Sunday was great.  I had a wonderful scripture study all in Alma 29:1-4.  I talk about scriptures a lot because they are a huge part of my life.  It's through the scriptures that God speaks to me.  It's how I know we are meant to adopt.  Anyone who wants to know a question, just needs to ask God in sincerity and then turn to His words.  He will answer you.  
Every.  Single.  Time. 
Jesus Christ taught, "The Holy Ghost... shall teach you all things 
and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26

I feel like I need to say sorry if I'm preachy... I honestly don't mean to be.  But I'm showing who I am and this is me.  Anyone who knows me.... 
I mean, really knows me, knows I love studying the scriptures.  

On a lighter note:  Tayler dressed herself as usual for church.  I believe it's important for a child's self esteem to choose their own clothes and feel confident in what they're wearing.  The result often leaves me cringing/chuckling but whatever.... it is what it is.  I have the same rule for hair styles.  The girls can pick their hair style too.  This might bite me in the bum when they're teenagers.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  

Bridget felt winter tights were a good option while Tayler went with the socks OVER the black leggings with her sandals.  I was shocked she didn't wear her water shoes like she does everywhere.  

I just laugh and thought I'm glad she's coming to church with a smile this week.  

This is a gem from a year ago... All her design and She OWNED IT! 

Adoption Profile is UP!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Whew... I've been sitting at my computer for hours.  Yesterday it was four hours and today it's been three.  I've done some other adoption stuff throughout the week as well.  Let me tell you... It is no easy task putting together THREE different adoption profiles, but it is well worth it!

This has been my look all week long.  No makeup, hair up and drinking a CAFFEINE-FREE drink from Sonic....WAAAA!  I decided to quit drinking Crystal Light energy.  Can I just say I LOVE THE STUFF!!  It's so delicious and refreshing.  It's my little treat in the day....my "happy mommy juice" and now I've shut the valve off... What am I thinking?!  Anyway, I've been clean 5 days.  It hasn't been too bad except I just want it so dang bad!  That's what tells me I have issues, I want it too much.  Thankfully, I haven't been too crabby nor had crazy headaches.  In this picture I'm drinking water and I've just finished my profile.

I'm not a sit-down-at-the-computer type of person.  I do when I study my scriptures in the morning but not much after that.  It's been challenging putting myself on Facebook and even writing in this blog.  I usually keep my life private but now I need to open it to all the world.  The hope is for an expectant parent to see us and know we're meant to be the adoptive parents of her child.

Another side effect I've noticed while working on adoption profiles is the guilt I feel not spending with my children.  It's summer time, play time, work time, snuggle, swim and eat popsicles time.  The guilt is real too.  I prayed Monday morning asking for the guilt to leave so I could work on my profiles.  One profile is being mailing to people.  One will be an email and one is on Adoption.com.  Thankfully, my prayer was answered and I could do it this week.  And still spend time with my kids.  What didn't happen was any laundry, real chores besides room clean ups, or a homemade dinner.  But something had to give.  I have my priorities... children!

Tender Mercy today.  I was praying for help because I really really really wanted some of my "happy mommy juice" and I asked for help.  A couple hours later my neighbor knocks on my door.  She hands me a packet of a prenatal multi-vitamin.  It's sparkling Cranberry/Raspberry flavored.  She was thinking of me and knows I'm off the sauce.  She thought I might like it.

I ripped that baby open, poured it into a tall glass of ice water and chugged.  It was GREAT!  And I felt so good!  It is all natural, stimulant free and sweetened with Stevia.  I said another prayer when she left. Although my neighbor handed it to me, I knew the Lord brought that tender mercy of packet just for me.

After drinking the vitamins, I loaded up my kids with a new found vigor and we played at my sister's oasis of a pool for hours.  A wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon.

It's the little things in life that bring the joy.  The challenge is to look for them.


Cousin Party

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cousin Sleep over was a party mania!  My brother Whit and his lovely wife Margaret went to Disneyland for two days.  I was happy to have his kids for the weekend.  Brook, my sister also enlisted her time and service to the cause.

Our day started at 6 am when the cousins arrived but I only documented the madness after a couple Diet Cokes at dinner.... :)
Dinner at our favorite restaurant Mi Amigos'

Tayler wears sweats when it's 114 degrees.  What? 

Pool races

Evening Summer swimming with my siblings are my favorite childhood memories.
I hope it's the same for this crew <3

Cheers to Root beer floats! But I was secretly stoked bedtime was approaching!

5 girls tucked into bed. Check!

Fort built and 3 boys snug inside.  Check! And good night!

Morning Chores... notice the smiles!

Wall washer

Avery Candland vacuuming 

Maisy Baby sweeping.  She's the youngest cousin in Mesa so we call her the baby. 
 Which she loathes! 

Cave time for the boys :)

Birthday cards for homeless children.

Me.  The End.  
(except I thought I was totally alone only to find this picture later on!) 

Summer Days Revamped: Part 2

Feels like 3 months ago I wrote last but it's only been 3 weeks.  Time is so peculiar to me.  Fast when I want it slow and slow when I want it fast.

First couple weeks our schedule was rockin'!  But then last week I had a late night, by late I mean I stayed up until Midnight and the thought of my 6 am alarm was more than I could bare.  I then had another late night and no alarm day.  This happened for about 4 days and suddenly my "perfect" schedule unraveled.  But I noticed something on the days of unraveling... my kids came into me each morning and asked what their chores were.  THAT NEVER HAPPENS!  An expectation began and they knew chores were expected.  I've yet to jump back in as the chore manager though.  

Warning:  Doing chores every day for an hour is so painful as the mother.  It's so much easier if I do it myself but I can't.  So instead apparently I've stopped all together.  Also not an ideal parenting technique.  I'm writing this to recommit myself.  The chores are for them and me.  Last week we washed the walls and baseboards in my kitchen, cleaned out the garage and picked up over 100 pieces of trash in the backyard.  We've organized the playroom, vacuumed and cleaned out the shoe cupboard, closets, and drawers.  It's exhausting!! 

Anyway... I'm back on the chores again as of this morning.  

I try and have us focus on service throughout the week too.  This week we went to Feed My Starving Children in Mesa It's again, work for me as the mom to manage but worth it!  My children walk away learning how 6200 children die every day from starvation.  They pack healthy food for the children and walk away with a sense of purpose.  Children 5 and older can pack food.  Music plays and people are shouting cheers when they've completed a box.  This time we packed 9 boxes of food, last time it was 3 so my kids were thrilled about that.  www.fmsc.org  

 My brother Whit came with his kids Ethan (8) and Pemmy (6.5) 

Left: Tayler and Briget
Right: Pemmy wearing her favorite outfit :)

Whit and I below                                                                             Ethan and Luke best friends

Summer Days Revamped

Friday, June 5, 2015

This summer we've decided to do things differently.  Well... I've decided since I'm the one who stays home with the kids all day.  The first two weeks of summer wasn't off to a great start.  Lots of bickering, "I'm bored" comments, and high expectations of activities that I was to provide.

Then it all changed.... Jim and I went to serve with our church youth group dressing up like pioneers for 3 days and "trekking" 18 miles.  I came away from the experience with a renewed sense of purpose as a mother.... to teach my children the value of work, or at least attempt too.

So the new Summer began....

The morning starts at 6 am for me for personal study time until 7
Breakfast from 7 to 7:30 where the kids make their own breakfast and I help facilitate but ultimately have them do as much as possible.
7:30 Family scripture study and prayers and Cleanup rooms
8:00 One hour of family chores (Jim leaves after scriptures)
9:00 Free time until lunch (personal time for me like yoga, and get ready time)
10:00 Snack Time
11:30 Lunch which I make the same for all of them and then the kitchen closes for 2 hours.
12:00  Another small family room and kitchen pick up and more free time to spend together
2-3 Snack time
4:30 Reading for a half hour
5:00  Help with dinner prep
5:30-7:00  Dinner and Clean up (this varies due to Jim's schedule)
7:00 Get ready for bed, read stories, hugs, kisses, prayers
7:30 Bedtime  ( My kids are funny and notice how they go to sleep when the sun is still out and it's out when they wake up ;) )

Chores range from washing walls, windows, toilets, showers, tubs, to cleaning out under beds, tops of cluttered dressers, folding laundry, and vacuuming.  Lots of vacuuming!  We've done this schedule for one week.  I do not bribe my children with toys or money, I just say it's what we do every day before we play.  If a child is being difficult... ahem, like today... I simply said, "It's your choice, if you don't work, you won't play at all today."  She wisely worked and had extra chores for her disagreeable attitude (code for tantrum).

Can I say what a difference it has made in our home??? Holy Smokes! I had no idea, being so structured would bring peace to our home.  I was VERY structured when the twins and Taytay were babies... I had no choice.  But somehow I let that go.

Thanks to the people from 1856 who knew what hard work really was, I felt a bit inspired to bring that back into my life.  Only a much smaller scale since our lives are so cushioned.  But I'm still grateful for the change in our home and the overall feeling of more happiness and peace.

 I'm well aware this isn't for most people and their households, but for us, it works.  It's who I am and it's good for any birth mother to know how we run as a family. Well... this week anyway... LOL!

Cheers to Summer Days <3
The twins with our beloved neighbors Eva and Russell 

Much love,