Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Do We Ever Answer?"

Tyson is a really funny dad.  He makes our house turn from a pack of puppies to a pack of wolves.  They roll around and push each other and he throws them onto the couches as they giggle and squeal and go running back for more.  But they all know he is the alpha and the boss.  Ok, I am the boss and they all know that, but still.  Anyways, he snuggles with them sometimes and has cute little conversations with them one on one and takes them on outings, it is really cute.  But most of the time he isn't gushy.  You know, emotional, sensitive, that type of thing.

But there is one time of day that he always is.

That is when he tucks them in AFTER they fall asleep.

So tonight, we are pretty sure they are asleep because 1- it is after 9 and 2- it is quiet.  Number 2 makes it far more likely.  Tyson goes in there, walks over to Peter, tells him how cute he is and how much he loves him.  Then to Josh and Andrew, telling both of them what sweet kids they are and how he loves their personalities and all the things they do.  Then he turns around.

And there peering through the slats of his bunk bed are Caleb's little eyes.

Tyson: "Oh man, Caleb, you caught me!"
Caleb: "What do you mean?"
Tyson: "Did you know I talk to you guys every night after you go to sleep?"
Caleb: "Um, no."
Tyson: "Yeah, I tell you guys stories, or I just tell you I love you, or I talk to you about the future and what I hope for you. And I have kept it a secret for nine years and you caught me!"
Caleb: "Well, do we ever answer?"

This made Tyson laugh because of course that would be what he would wonder.  That never occured to me though, or Tyson I don't think.  But according to Tyson, they do sometimes.  One time they even responded something about alligator feet.

That just makes me want to get that app that records what you say in your sleep.  I bet it would be really interesting.  Isn't there an app for that?  I think someone told me there was once.  Anyways, it is really important to talk to your kids, whether they are sleeping or not.  But make sure you tell them you love them all the time, anytime.  Nobody can be told or shown that enough, especially your child.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Never Give Up

My oldest son just ran for the position of Treasurer at school.  I never really understood what my mom meant when she said "It is way harder for me than it is for you," that is until now.  I have been so worried about if he would get votes, if he would win and how he would handle it when he found out.

I was so proud of him, he wanted to run all on his own.  He went and got the paperwork he needed and he picked what he wanted to run for and everything.  It was awesome.  He even made his own advertising.  Seriously, talk about proud mama.

Then he came home yesterday and told me, "You know who won?"
Me: "Did you?"
Him: "No."

I expected tears, frustration, pouting for days.  I was a royal mess on the inside, I hurt so bad for him.  But he just wrinkled his little nose and told me who won and that he was sad and frustrated it was mostly girls elected because that wasn't fair.  I got a laugh out of that one.  White males, the neglected majority for sure.

But he took it like a champ.  And then he said, "next year, I am going to run again, or maybe I will run for Vice President."  And when Tyson got home, they bonded for a few minutes on how it feels to run for something and work hard, and someone else gets elected, and then you get back and try again.  What an amazing example Tyson has set for our boys.  You don't stop trying.

And then today Josh proudly told me he had been selected to be his class representative.  He was really happy and proud, as he should be.  I am so grateful the Lord helps to keep us strong and then rewards us, maybe not in the way we expect, but the blessings surely come.  And I am so thankful for my son's example of not giving up.

That Picture on the Wall

Have you ever had something around you for so long, you kind of forget it exists?  Like you walk by that picture in your house so many times that you don't even know it is there.  But if it goes missing it is like there is a vast hole in your universe, but you aren't even sure why for a minute?  Sometimes I wonder if I get like that about my Tyson.  He is always there, well, technically, he is gone a lot, but his presence is a sure thing.  I know he will come home everyday.  I know he loves me.  I count on him for so much.

But do I really notice him?

So I am sitting here, on the couch opposite from him, and I am looking at him and thinking, "I haven't REALLY looked at him in a long time."  I mean, don't get me wrong, I check the guy out on a regular basis, I hooked a good one.  But I haven't studied him in a long time, really enjoyed who he is, wondered what he is thinking or how he thinks.

I think it is good for us to take a step back every now and again, or every day if we can, and enjoy all the things that surround us.  Enjoy that view out your window, even if it is just of a dirt lot.  Appreciate your flooring, because at least you have a floor and it holds up your feet every day.  But especially take a few minutes to appreciate the people in your life.

I get it, they aren't perfect.  Your coworkers may drive you batty, your roommate may snore, your kid may throw tantrums or constantly stain every article of clothing you own, and your spouse may know your flaws and quirks so well they know just how to get under your skin.  But man, those people are wonderful aren't they?  How empty and off-center your life would be without them.

I would so miss how Tyson talks to himself or teases me for hoarding my candy and/or eating it so quickly no one else can.  I know I am really lucky that I have a husband that endlessly cherishes me and wants to make me happy.

Tyson, don't worry, I don't think you are just some artwork on the walls and I really do notice you.  I just don't stare at you enough and I know I don't appreciate you enough.  So thank you and I love you, crazy amounts.

I would say sorry for the ramblings, but I'm pretty sure you are used to that now.  So I'm not sorry.  I really like my husband, I want the world to know it, and I hope you all take a few extra minutes to think about and be grateful for the people in your life today.

Friday, September 2, 2016

"They did not cease to praise the Lord"

There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a man named Jared and his brother and their families and friends.  Everyone else around them was quite wicked, so the Lord commands them to leave and travel for a long time.  Then they get to the sea and the Lord tells them to build boats...well barges.  They were like really big, hollow, wooden footballs, basically.  They had no way to steer, they just trusted the Lord to get them to the land He promised to take them to.

The Lord also commanded them to take lots of food, water and animals on these boats.  Can you imagine?  You are stuck in a totally enclosed wooden room, tossed all around by the waves?  I'm sure I would throw up.  Like I pretty much guarantee it.  And all those animals, I bet they did too.  At least for sure they pooped.  I know what it is like to be in an enclosed space with a poopy toddler, I can imagine a ton of poopy cows, birds and people.  Gross.  So gross.

Most of the time, they couldn't go get a breath of fresh air.  They couldn't go for a walk to their neighbor's house.  They couldn't go to the grocery store.  There was no local library to give them a reprieve from cabin fever.  Talk about feeling trapped.

And yet, get this, they were happy!  They were constantly praising the Lord, so grateful that He was taking care of them.  That He loved them, saved them from the wicked people, gave them a way to escape and was taking them to an amazing land.  They thanked Him for the little things.

"And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord."  -Ether 6:9

For some reason it really hit me today, just how incredible these people were.  I could be like that.  I could.  But I complain about the stupidest things.  "Man, I really wish I could have a milkshake without gaining weight," and "I am so tired of picking up all these toys that so many people have been so kind to give us," and "I wish I didn't have to do the dishes yet again today, even though that means I have been blessed with food to eat, dishes to wash, running water, my own sink, a healthy body that can stand and wash them."  Oh yeah, I could totally be like the people of Jared's time.

We read this story today as a family and I was shocked with the realization of how uneasy that journey must have been.  It lasted for a whole YEAR, did I mention that?  A year!  And how good and gracious they were to God.

I think I have a lot more praising to do, and a lot less complaining.  So I'm praying for help with that tonight.

Click HERE if you want to read the full chapter.  Maybe it will hit you like it hit me.  God is good...all the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cavemen and Swimsuits

It amazes me just how much little people are actually communicating with us without ever using words.  By watching them and listening to them, we really see and understand so much more than we think we will.  I often tend to get distracted with the busy-ness of the day to day and forget about just listening.

My little Peter, who just turned one last month, is very a cave man sort of way.  He takes after his big brother Matthew in that department.  There is a lot of grunting and growling and hand motions.  Quite adorable, but I often forget just how intelligent he is.  Just because a person doesn't talk, doesn't mean they aren't smart.  Peter tries to talk to me all the time, nudges and grunting and pulling at my clothes.  SO much pulling on my clothes.  I have to wear tight waisted things or I loose my pants.  For real.  Not that the tight waisted thing is difficult or anything, haha, but that is beside the point.  And I digress.

So Peter, he is in the pull everything out of drawers and cupboards phase of life.  Like, constantly.  I keep reminding myself that this phase really doesn't last long, but all the cleaning up of every piece of tupperware, canned good, cookie sheet, and plastic utensil I own about every hour gets really exhausting after a few weeks, you know?  So him pulling stuff out of drawers, doesn't really raise any red flags for me.

Well, over the past few days, he has been pulling his swim suit out of his dresser and bringing it to me.  Over and over again.  He did it again this afternoon and this is how it went:

Me: (kind of only half paying attention) "Oh Peter, thanks, can you go put that back?"
He grunts and sits and tries to stick his feet in the feet holes.
Me: "You're cute Peter, but you need to go put that back, we aren't go swimming."
The older boys come in, "Oh Peter!  You are so cute!  You want to go swimming?"
He gets a big smile and starts clapping.
"Mom, Peter wants to go swimming!"
Me: (being sarcastic) "Oh yeah, guys, I'm sure that is what he is trying to say."

Then it hits me, he has been bringing me his suit a lot lately. Does he really understand that his suit means swimming?  Does he want to go swimming?  Why wouldn't he?  He loves the pool and literally tries to drink the water the whole time.  The little guy has been trying to talk to me for days and I haven't been listening.

Totally adorable, right?

Life is full of moments of trying to progress and get better.  It is amazing how many times my little ones teach me lessons over and over again.  Let's take a few more moments in the day to try to listen to the people we love and what they are trying to tell us.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"If you think you should do it, just go for it."

Camping is not something that is natural for me to do.  I am not a girly girl, but I am also not a "let's build a fire or jump onto a Harley" kind of girl either.  I am a thoughtful, quirky, smart, sentimental, highly emotional, weird kind of girl.  So when I think of fun things to do, the romanticized version of camping in my head says oh, camping would be fun.  But then the rational, intelligent side says "camping with 5 small children?  Heck no."

However, when those 5 kids are boys and they are dying to go camping and pester you often about it AND you have a husband that loves to go camping and do things outdoors (who also has a romanticized view of camping mind you...especially when it comes to children), you finally cave and say "sure, let's go camping."  I did however have a freak out about the week long thing and said, "two nights man, that is all I can do."

note Peter is asleep in this picture
For the last three days and two nights, that is what we did.  And of course, the 10 person tent we bought so we could have enough room for all these rambuncious kids of ours and the TONS of stuff we had to take to accommodate and feed them, did not show up in time.  You read that right, the tent, it didn't come.  So we have this 4 person tent we got way back when we first got married.  And that is what we took.  Thankfully, we have been blessed with really awesome friends that let us borrow their little tent too.  So we had two little tents.

I tried really hard not to think too much about it.  Two tents?  I was going to let my little kids sleep in a separate tent than me?  But if I started thinking about it, then my mind would go wild with imaginings of evil people creeping through the woods and stealing my children who slept totally unguarded in their own tent.  Does your mind wander like that?  Well, mine does.  So I had to constantly shut that off.  Not to mention I just knew I would have to unzip my tent, climb over to their tent and help them over and over again all night long, because all us moms know that is just how it is going to play out, right?  Your children will suddenly not know how to go pee by themselves or unzip a tent or even sleep by themselves.  I just knew it was going to be such a horrible experience.  But I thought, whatever, I love my handsome hubby so much, and he puts up with all kinds of crap for me.  So we are going to do this and we are going to be happy and he will not know that I am dreading beyond dreading this.  I had to stay positive if it killed me.  I didn't want to ruin everything. If you think happy thoughts, happy moments will come right?

So we got to the campground in our very tightly packed car.  Like you open the door and sleeping bags puff out and camping chairs go rolling to the dirt, kind of packed.  It was awesome.  Oh and almost before we get there we pass by a few acres that have been logged, so there are just stumps of trees everywhere.  Josh and Caleb were like "Whoa!  This is crazy!  Do you see this?"  I think they knew it had been logged, but then in a bizarre moment of silence so Tyson and I actually heard this, Matthew whispers quietly and in awe "Beavers..."

And Peter woke up for this can tell Tyson and I thought it was pretty funny
I don't know if those are moments that you just have to be there for, or have to hear his adorable little voice, but man, Tyson and I were DYING.  And still three days later all I have to say is "beavers" and we just start cracking up again.

Ok.  So camping.  We stayed at an awesome place called Twin Lakes State Park.  I guess the place used to have segregated camping, one lake for whites and the other lake for colored.  But when they wanted to get rid of that, they made one lake into a conference center place with quiet boating and the other lake for swimming and camping.  It brings everyone together.  I like that kind of history.  People should be together, having fun together.  And the lake was amazing!  There was these neat floating toys and the lake was pretty shallow so even Peter could walk out a little ways and play with the toys.  Seriously, it was so much fun.  It was fun to play in the sand and build castles and bury little Peter's toes.  He didn't like that so much though.  He just wanted to eat every grain of sand he could.  Believe me, the poor kid has had some pretty...shall we say exfoliating?  Maybe abrasive is a better term, poopy diapers for the last day or so.  It is so sad.  I guess you learn young you have to be careful what you eat.

Andrew loved the water.  I swear that little thing was meant to be a fish.  He had no fears walking out until it was up to his neck.  I had to watch him like a hawk.  He wasn't interested in having floaties, he just wanted to be one with the water.  It is was adorable.  That's what I need to do when he is having a rough day, just put him in the bath tub with an inch of water and some rubber duckies.  He is so happy in the water, maybe it will save both our sanity's.

Matthew loved to watch people play, especially if they were jumping in the water.  He is my adventurous little being.  You can see it in his eyes, he wants to do brave and scary things.  He is however very white, and be is I mean was.  Now he is very red.  I did put sunscreen on him I swear.

Caleb had floaties on the whole time and swam like mad.  And by swim I mean puppy dog paddled and what he calls "bobbing."  It was so stinking cute.  He had goggles plastered on his forehead and one strap was loose and flapping up and down and reminded me of a bug with an antennae.  But he was all over the lake, I am so proud of him for being so daring.

Joshua is getting so tall and so much like a teenager.  He would run and splash in the water and jump all over the toys.  He would help Peter and Andrew all the time.  He made quite the intense sand castle and both he and Caleb were obsessed with the Loch Ness monster (Tyson introduced them to the story of the creature) and so sure this lake had a monster too.

I know this is a lot of information to read, especially after so little blogging for so long.  But Tyson and I had a long talk about all the things we want to do, and I so need to be writing more.  So even if I get distracted yet again and don't write often, at least I will write about this trip.  If you don't want to read all this, don't feel bad, I totally understand.  It is mostly just for me and Tyson to remember and the boys to laugh about later.

Okay, so swimming was really fun.  We went on a really simple hike around the lake too.  It was extremely beautiful and we even saw tiny little frogs and lots of poison ivy (Tyson was teaching me about how to spot it).  They have made the trail system really nice.  There were little boardwalks and bridges.  Seriously, it was great.

I am so grateful Tyson built all the fires.  Having a pyromaniac for a husband is such a blessing.  My one match fire skills from girls camp would probably make us starve.  I did however provide delicious tin foil dinners the first night and a yummy mountain man breakfast the next morning.  I have a few skills that come in handy.  Basically what I did the rest of the time was wrangle Peter and keep him away from the fire, away from the woods, away from the hundreds of rocks he put in his mouth, away from any food, cups, soda bottles, roasting sticks, etc, etc, within his reach that were on the table.  It was beyond exhausting.  I did try to keep him in the pack n play which kind of worked, but he screamed.  I tried the hiking backpack, he was ok as long as he liked the food I gave him, until he fell over.  That wasn't so good.  I tried to hold him but of course he wanted to be held for about 10 seconds and then he would wiggle and squirm until I set him down again.  Seriously, I am so tired just from following that kid around.  He did however LOVE to hit this metal pole with a stick over and over again.  Thank heavens for easy entertainment right?  Oh and did I mention he didn't nap there?  He just screamed.  And since we were in a campground with other campers, screaming really isn't an option.  So yeah, no napping.  Except for the hike where he fell asleep for about half an hour.  And other 10 minute cat naps.  Yeah he was real fun.

Oh and that first night, he slept with us.  Thank the wonderful people that created air mattresses, and for Tyson for bringing it.  I would have died without it.  So Peter slept with Tyson and I.  I say slept loosely because (and I kid you not) from about midnight to 4:30am the first night Peter rolled around between us, hitting our faces, sitting on our heads, sticking his feet on our face, snowplowing our bodies.  Seriously, it was crazy.  How do you people out there co-sleep?  I just can't fathom doing such a thing.  But maybe other people have normal humans for children that sleep.  But it actually was really cute too.  I mean, Tyson and I were wasted, don't get me wrong.  But how do you get mad at a little person when they are quiet and just rolling around being so cute and pudgy?  It was kind of wonderful in a horribly exhausting way.  I think I might actually miss it a little bit.

The older three boys slept awesome in their own little tent.  They didn't tell us until we were packing up there were a few "accidents" during the night.  How they could possibly have any more pee in them, I don't know.  They peed like 700 times each day.  I kid. you. not.  And it wasn't like it was a little bit of pee.  It was TONS every time!  Sorry, but seriously, how did they do it?

Oh, and on other gross topics, I was on my period too.  Maybe that is too much information for you, but you just have to understand, this camping thing was not for the faint of heart.  However, I recognize the Lord's infinite goodness and mercy for me at the same time and at least the rougher part of that time for me was already over.  So really I am very lucky.

Okay, what other information can I share with you that I am sure you are dying to know about this trip?  Oh that's right, yesterday evening, we walk over to the office of the campground to buy some ice because ours has melted and milk needs to be kept cold you know.  So we are leaving and the park ranger says, "Oh, if the storm gets bad tonight, just head to the bathrooms."  I instantly think, that makes sense, they are permanent fixtures and will keep us dry.  Wait a second, storm?!  Are you kidding me?!"

So we get back, have hot dogs, s'mores, start packing stuff up and getting the kids ready for bed.  And then we hear it, the thunder that rolls and shakes your insides it is so deep.  So we pack up everything into the car and then hunker down in our separate tents.  Yes, I was freaking out about my three little guys in their own tent during a thunderstorm.  But there was no way we were all going to fit in our 4 person tent that had a pack n play and an air mattress in it.  There was no room.  So I thought.

The rain starts and it wasn't so bad at first.  The thunder and lightning were insane though.  The whole sky would light up and then an ear splitting crack would follow with the rumble that would just keep going.  Thankfully our kids aren't scared of storms, they love them.  Tyson yelled over to them "the angels are bowling in Heaven!" and they loved that even more.  Especially Andrew.  He kept telling us Heaven loves us to let us hear it.  Cuteness.

But then the rain started to really come down.  And if anyone has gone camping in the rain and not had it leak, I don't know how you did because tents don't really seem water proof fully, no matter what they advertise.  The tent the boys were in for sure wasn't because they suddenly start yelling, "everything is wet, there is water everywhere!"  So Tyson jumps out to pull the kids over to our tent and I fold up the pack n play, and getting everything out of the tent that we absolutely don't need.  Tyson and I make a pretty amazing team because without even saying anything, he is carting that stuff to the car while at the same time moving the kids and their stuff to our tent.  I am drying them off and getting them in and situated.

Not the perfect situation.  7 people crammed in that tent, it was tight.  But the wind wasn't really blowing which made the humidity insane, but hardly any water got in our tent because of it.  And the storm hit when we had had warning and it wasn't in the middle of the night.  Seriously, so many tender mercies.  I'm pretty glad the storm came.  We all got to sleep together, we eat trail mix and m&ms, I told them a bedtime story (something I never do) about a badger named Matthew that went on an adventure to find a special healing berry and met some friends along the way (a hyper squirrel named Andrew, a cool toad named Peter, a bossy bunny named Josh, and a high-pitched chickadee named Caleb).  And bizarrely enough it was the best night's sleep I have had in a long time.

I am not saying camping with little kids is amazing and I'm not really recommending it.  But we had a great time, we made a lot of fun memories.  We lost our tempers several times and I almost packed up and drove everyone home at least once.  But we laughed a lot and had a lot of good talks.  We ate good food and we ate a lot of junk.  We also tried the avalanche challenge (16 scoops of ice cream, 1 cup of candy, 1 cup of chocolate syrup, a half gallon of whip cream and 12 cherries) as a family.  We made a pretty good dent, but man we were sick of ice cream.

I had a friend (okay, she has no clue who I am, but she is a role model for me: Emily @thefreckledfox) post on her instagram a few months ago, "If you think you should, just go for it."  I think that is a pretty good motto.  Life can totally change in a minute and you don't want to look back and regret the things you didn't do.  So I am glad we went camping, I am glad we spent time together as a family.  And I am posting this insanely large post so I don't forget about all the fun we had.  And so I remind myself to keep doing things I feel I should do.  Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm Going to Cut You Off!

Have you ever gotten addicted to a show without intending to?  Well, that happens to me, not all the time, but often enough.  It is really fun when you get addicted with a friend or family member because then you get to bond with that person or people.  That is what has been happening here at our house.

Our summer routine has been actually really nice thus far.  We do our chores (I finally enlisted the boys to have daily chores, like 7 each, it is SO nice), hang out, read, then watch Heartland.  I know, it is kind of a cheesy, dramatic show, but we really like it.  Especially because of the horses.  Riding and showing horses is in my blood. I have never done much riding except when I was little, but some things just make your heart beat extra fast, you know?  Horses do that for me.  Apparently for the boys too.

So anyways, we were watching a show this morning and this teenage daughter is having a fight with her mom and threatens to move out.  The mom says, "If you move out, be prepared to be cut off.  No allowance.  No credit cards."

Little Andrew looks up at me with the most horrified and sad look in his eyes.

"Mama, that mom going to cut her up!"

I just about died.  Poor little thing.  When you are two and learning how to speak, phrases like being cut off only translate literally.  

Speaking of Heartland, it is time to go watch another.  :)