Monday, March 31, 2014

Sacred Gifts Exhibit

On Saturday we had a little family outing and went down to Provo for the Sacred Gifts Exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. So cool. It was a collection of paintings of Jesus Christ by Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann, and Frans Schwartz. Taking pictures was not allowed, but you can see my favorite part of the exhibit through the entrance way there - the painting Agony in the Garden by Frans Schwartz.
Beautiful. I especially loved the small etchings of that same picture. Made me think and realize once again that before people do or make something big and amazing, there is a lot of planning, practicing, and working through it that happens before hand. I think that is a true principle.
I want to go again without the children (no offense, kids) so we can take more time looking at the paintings and read everything they had displayed by the paintings. The kids were pretty good, but were anxious to get going to something more exciting, like ice cream or bowling. Kids, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity! They didn't get it. Oh well.
The exhibit goes through May 10th and is free, don't miss it!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning to Ride a Bike

When we were playing soccer the other night, after we made the rule "no sticks", Abi kinda lost interest and started begging me to go teach her to ride a bike. I said we would tomorrow. Tomorrow came, and it was raining. So I tried to push it back another day, but Abi wouldn't have it. Ok then, out in the rain we go.
I was happy that there was a way for her to practice that didn't involve me getting wet. I demonstrated one time the practicing procedure: balance on the bike and coast on it down the little driveway and onto the grass. Practice that until you can do it without having to touch your feet onto the ground. Once you got that down, we'll talk about how to pedal. Got it? Ready?
Pretty good Abi! 
Good job. Now do it again.
I got to stay dry in the garage and Abi got to practice riding her bike.
Actually it is Wesley's bike. He didn't want to share, but did. Thanks Wes. I appreciate your sacrifice.
As a reward I gave him some of the seaweed I snacked on as we watched Abi get wet riding in the rain.
Aren't I such a nice mother!
(It's nice to have something to snack on that the kids don't want a bite of!)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Concert Characters

Last night was the Spring Concert for the Jr. High kids. Melodie got ready by getting dressed up in her black concert attire. And for this girl, a change of wardrobe is another opportunity to get in character! Ok, Melodie, don't tell us, let us guess who you are... Are you a librarian?
Like Ann the Librarian's sister or something? No? Ok, let me think...
Ooh, ooh, I know!  You're that Ratatouille guy! Anton Ego!
It's Anton, or his girlfriend or sister, right? Did I guess it? Yes!
Ok, Anton-ette, give me another one. Mel's gotta break character for a moment while she thinks...
Ok, she's got one, prepping herself
And who do we have here? An angry babushka?
Definitely a babushka, oh wait, now you're looking a little more calm and gentle...
Yente the matchmaker! Yup, that's it, I can tell. I win again!
Melodie cracks me up! Here are a few other times that she made me laugh - funny faces, grapes in mouth and glass face. Funny girl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Family Soccer Game

Monday nights are usually when we have Family Home Evening, but lately our Monday evenings have been swamped. This past Monday, for example, I was gone for 3 hours from 4:00-7:00 taking Ethan to his jazz band practice in American Fork. After I walk in the door it's a rush to get dinner on the table, then homework and more music practice after that, then it's suddenly 10:00 pm  and we are begging them to wind things up and head to bed. So while we still did eek in a prayer and a few verses of scriptures, the whole FHE ritual that the kids enjoy and expect didn't happen. Happily yesterday we had dinner a little early and thus it was still light outside and we felt like we had extra time on our hands, yay! So we turned it into our FHE. Activity: Soccer. Lesson: Mosiah 4:14-30 and Corey shared this article (we like to keep out kids ready for what they'll face in the world they live in). Treat: Chocolate Ice cream. 

First, the activity ~ family soccer game in the back yard. It was a lot of fun!
We had some of our own family soccer rules. Such as there is no out of bounds, except for when we had to pause cause the ball went over the fence. We had to make a rule for No sticks, cause Abi thought we should add in some hockey action. Another rule was that no one could take the green ball from Sophi. If they did, she'd start freaking out and then one of us parents couldn't play. We had a total of 3 balls going at the same time.
Do you like Sophi's shoes? Nice.
Last time we had a full family soccer game was in Costa Rica. We were having slight flashbacks as we played and kids complained about a few things, but overall it was a huge improvement. So I decided that if I'm struggling with things not living up to my ideals, I'll just step away and give it 4 years and try again.
The field was a little tough - the ground in the playground area is made of dirt coated with bunch of wood chips, pinecones and pine needles. You don't want to fall on that, it's rough. Hyrum and Joseph both got tackled over there. Abi is behind Ethan here and has got the stick again...
They chose captains and teams and had a game going while I finished cleaning up dinner. Then I joined them and we made it "Kids vs. Parents" ~ the kids are always up for a challenge like that!
Corey and I were able to hold them off pretty well, we're such a good team. And of course my older boys were amazed at my skills, ha. Yeah, I was all about soccer back in the day. Corey has told the kids that I was on the Olympic Development Team and everything, and I gave it all up to be a mom. I was on ODP for one year, but it's not as important as it sounds. But it impresses the kids enough that they feel some reverence and fear when I start coming at them with the ball. Corey said "I don't know who makes the game harder, the big kids (cause they're getting good at soccer) or the little kids (cause we had to be careful not to hit them with the ball or run them over. Lily got a ball shot to the chest. She's okay now)
I was impressed that Lily could run around on the pine needle coated grass without seeming bothered by it all. I can't walk in the backyard without shoes on. I think Sophia is going to be my little soccer star someday, she loves it.
Wesley would like to be into soccer, he just needs a mom that will bite the bullet and add another thing to our life and sign him up to play before it's too late. Sorry Wes, we missed the deadline again, I'll remember to do it this fall, though, I promise! We had various obstacles running around during the game, some of them were children, other things were a hammock, a playhouse, a toy boat, slide, lots of pvc pipes from the ice rink, etc.
Do you see Corey there? His new name is "The Blur!" Bet ya can't catch Dad! Parents won 6-5. One time I kicked the ball toward the open gate and so I just went around the front side of the house and then tried to pass the ball back to Corey over the fence. But I kicked it too high into the neighbor's yard. Still that was the highlight of the game for me. A fun and memorable evening, and that's what FHE is all about.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Typical Sunday

Here's a typical Sunday ~ we spend time reading our scriptures and enjoying family discussion before bedtime. The Tabernacle Choir is usually playing in the background. We enjoy dinner together and sometimes have company, yesterday we did some  (to quote Corey)"service in the Hispanic Community" which involves entertaining our amigos de Uruguay. They like to come over. That's a story for another day. Corey cooked up some steak for them and us. Here's Sophi during prayer at dinner (I've peeked to see her before, it's just precious, I had to get a picture)
The kids usually want Corey to play with them, which will turn into wrestling in the front room or jumping on the trampoline or playing pomp in the backyard. And then there's just the random goofing off after church that the kids do with whatever random thing they happen to stumble upon around the house -
Ethan found some tulle and decided to be Franny from Studio C, funny. 

Joseph can usually be found napping on the couch. The kids took a picture of him. They want to save it for use as blackmail in some future day.
And of course our angel Natalie who I could just watch for hours when's she's quietly playing and exploring the world at 2 feet off the ground.
She'd pick up the pen from the etch a sketch and dangle it and shake it, then move it, hold it, she is living in the now - she is fully present with no expectation or thought or worry about tomorrow or all the stuff there is to do. I want to be more like that. That is how you slow down time, by being fully aware of the present moment.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Today is Ethan's Happy Birthday. He is 12 years old. We made some party cinnamon rolls for breakfast and put on some candles - blow them out! What do you wish for Ethan?
He seemed in a rather sober mood during most of the day and had been for the days leading up to it. He said he was sad that he didn't feel as excited for his birthday this year as he usually is. Notice how reflective he looks...
I told him that it is okay to feel that way, it is probably just part of growing up. As you get older, it does kinda just turn into another day with one or two quiet moments of contentment. He's almost a teenager now. The childhood magic of wishing for toys is gone~ for the next little while, your wish list is going to be made of accessories or cash. And that is okay. 
He got (and was very happy to receive) a killer saxophone case from his dad, money, some clothes, and little Natalie gave him a very special gift, she snuggled up to him and fell asleep on his shoulder. Made his day. :) 
It made him so happy we even got a real smile from him!
Love you Eth! Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Norman Rockwell

Ahh, the wax museum. The day of the 3rd grade Wax Museum is one that lives in many childhood memories. I think so atleast, but I don't know by experience cause we didn't do the wax museum when I was in 3rd grade. Wesley chose to be Normal Rockwell.
Wes is such a cutie. (Oh, he's here hovering over me reading this and just informed me that he doesn't like being called "cutie" or "cute"....) Wes is such a good kid. ("That's better.")
He wasn't being a very good wax statue though...  When we passed by him, the irresistable Natalie made him move as he tried to get her to say "ba-ba-ba-ba!" for him.
Wes is aspiring to be a future artist.
I can't find pictures of the other kids' wax museum experiences, cause they are on film negatives from my previous life before digital when I scrapbooked a little bit. But I can't find the prints, I gotta figure out how to archive and retrieve pictures from 1999-2007... so I don't have those scrapbooked yet. But, for the record, Joseph was Mitt Romney in 2008, since we liked him after his first run for President. Melodie was Sacagawea, along with almost all the other girls in her grade. Apparently Sacagawea is like the only great American that was a woman? Wait, there were a few Betsie Ross's and Amelia Earheats. Anyway, that was Mel in 2009, and then poor Ethan missed his cause we were in Chile. He was sad about it at the time, but this morning he was saying how happy he was that he missed it and didn't have to stand still for so long. And then Hyrum got documented and he was Abraham Lincoln. Fun elementary school memories. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Surrender

A couple of months ago, as Corey was working on the ice rink, he started a conversation with our neighbor's maid who comes and helps them clean once (twice?) a week. He is a lover of all things Latino so they had a chat. Then, with a sweet desire to help me manage all that is our busy life, he mentioned to Maria that I could use some help. He brought her over and I was caught off guard and tried to nicely be agreeable while not showing too much the fact that I didn't want a maid even though I know I could use one. We had a maid in Costa Rica, and that was okay, cause I knew it would be short term cause we were only going to be there for 3 months. That lady, Shirley, was nice, and it was nice to have help, but I didn't love it and would have happily let her stop, but she could use the work and I didn't want to be a tightwad. It was okay and good things came of it, for example she taught me how to make pico de gallo and frijoles. :)

Anyway, so Maria... she came over and assessed our home and I agreed to let her come over in two weeks time to try it out on January 14th. When that day came I cleaned most the day and did a good job staying on task. I didn't really know what I'd have her do, I hoped she'd just decide whatever she wanted and would do her thing and I'd go bide my time in my bedroom nursing Natalie or something until she left. She was supposed to come over at 3:00, but she didn't. Maybe it was 3:30? Is she just late? Then I thought I had the time wrong, maybe it was at 4? But then I secretly began praying that she would forget or something and not show up, cause I really don't want a maid. I want help, but I don't want a maid. I kept cleaning and kept praying that no maid would come. And she didn't. And she didn't even call or anything which was great cause I didn't want to have her reschedule. And I didn't say anything to Corey and he didn't seem to remember but did enjoy the clean house. A few days later, when I went to try out the ice rink, I felt caught off guard again when I saw her, but we said hi and I was pleased she didn't say anything about not showing up that day. And then last week I was over there again while Maria was there and this time she apologized for not coming over, she's just really busy with clients right now. "No problem, totally ok...." 

Am I weird that I'm resistant to having help from a maid? I think I could do a one time cleaning from a maid service, but I don't want a regular maid in our family's life schedule. Part of it is cause I want to clean and I like to clean (I mean really, my favorite show is Mission Organization), plus I feel like it is my responsibility and I like to do it and find it very fulfilling when I am able to stay on top of it. Downside there is I find it very depressing and discouraging when I can't stay on top of it, and I must admit that most of the time I'm feeling like I'm just barely keeping my head above water. Yes, "I pray when..." my house is a mess. I pray for someone to come rescue me or for God to please grant me the energy and ability to clean and manage it all. I'm right there with this mother...
So, my house has been in a mess the past little while and the idea of getting help from a maid is trying to get my attention from the back of my brain. The job chart we just started is going okay, but kids are getting stickers for music and homework more than cleaning, sigh. Part of me thinks my inability to get past start up mode in cleaning is nothing big or unusual, that's just how life is when you got all these fun and awesome kids. And I'm probably just in a little slump, which said slump is just the regular wave crash that is the lot in life on Venus from whence I come. Little bit from Venus, little bit from Triple Whammy and a lot from the 100+ little messed like this that I seem to stumble upon in every room and corner of this blessed house.
So, when I and my house are both a wreck and I need to send out an s.o.s., I first go to the Man upstairs.
As I prayed for deliverance again this week, I had a thought to call a friend, Aubrey. I did and left a message. When she returned my call, after shooting the breeze, I sheepishly asked if she wanted to be Maid friends, "...Cause I'm about to wave the white flag here and need to hire a maid or something... but if ~you want to come over and be a maid for me for a little while, then I could come to your house and be your maid, too!  And we could talk while we clean! Won't that be fun! " She was sweet and laughed at my suggestion and thankfully she said yes. We set a time - Thursday after our kids get home from kindergarten. Today she came over with her kiddos and the kids played while the two of us together whipped this ship into shape in just over an hour. Yes, a heaven sent angel, even if I did have to call to set up the time. :)

Of course there is still much to be done, but oh what a sigh of relief and I told her thank you thank you over and over again for taking me up on my suggestion. And I thanked the Lord. I am glad I hit bottom and that now it seems that life and light have returned into my attitude and my home until the next wave crash cycles around again. Aubrey said it best today~
"Never underestimate the power of two more hands!"

She would hold the baby for a bit while I gathered toys and swept, then we set her down while we vacuumed picked up. 4 hands are better than 2. Four mother hands that want to clean and enjoy restoring order and achieving it. That's the problem right there, I clean but never achieve it long enough to feel like I actually did it. I clean and then there are little hands that are following right behind me messing it up ~ but with two of us cleaning, we were too fast and the kids couldn't keep up, ha! So they gave up and went outside to play. Point - Mothers! And so my house is clean, I didn't have to pay a maid, I didn't have to have a stranger in my house, I got to have a friend over and we laughed and talked and cleaned and it was a win win win. We're going to do her house next week. :) Anyone else want to be maid friends?
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