We had the unique opportunity a while ago to help take care of a beautiful baby girl. She was a sweetheart and the children looked forward to snuggling with her. Baby girl was abandoned by her mother and her father was really struggling in his role as a father. We were "5th string" babysitters in a vast support system, every possible and available resource was made to help both the father and sweet baby girl.
Rock took particular interest in baby girl's well being and was constantly asking questions about her mother and father. I quickly realized that he felt a connection to her as he was facing some of his own "demons". He understands that he was not abandoned. His birth mother loved him and making the choice she did was perhaps the hardest thing she has ever done, but in his young mind he is having a hard time not feeling abandoned. He can't understand why she wouldn't choose him. He can't see the sacrifice, he sometimes only feels the pain. He is sure his birth mother is dead for that would be the only conceivable reason to not be in contact with him.
Now a year later Rock will still occasionally ask about this sweet baby, if I've heard any news and if her mother ever decided to come back. He also asks me other questions, "Mom, what if I left the church would you still love me?"
"Mom, what if I ended up in prison would you still love me?"
"If I were to walk away and never return would you still love me?"
"If I died today would you cry and miss me?
I feel the tears well up in my eyes, as I try to control my emotions and lovingly tell him that I will always love him, no matter what. I'm his mother and that's what mother's do. I remind him that his birth mother loves him even though she made the choice to place him for adoption because she is still his birth mother and that's what mother's do. When he lets me I give him huge hugs, when he doesn't I pray that the tenderness on my face will be enough, because I'm his mother and that's what mother's do.
I love you son. I will always be there for you, especially when times get rough.
A little after school art time. While I'm drawing this for my first assignment in an art class I am taking:
the littles were busy with their own art project. We love working together.
Ellie was only interested when Loaf would drop a marker and even then she finally ended up on the penny rug for a little nap.
All these photos were not taken on the same day, but this represents a basic day or rather one variation of a day.
Bedtime for the little guys is a roller coaster of fun, including one last drink and quick breaks to the bathroom. One night John was sitting outside the boys door to catch any offending escape artists and Brick heard the rustling of movement. Not knowing that John was outside his door he yells (in his darling high pitched voice, I know it doesn't match his huge body), "Show yourself and you shall not be harmed!"
Can't tell you how much I adore that he used the word "shall"!
Being a big brother has its advantages some days. I looked out the window to find Tank having a great time in the new creative use of the plasma cars. As the little boys came in they were excitedly telling me about how fast they got Tank going, how he crashed, and all the marvelous adventures they had together. I suppose being a little brother is a pretty great thing as well.
We might be the worst scouting parents ever! Not only are we clueless as to the program and what is required, I have yet to sew the patches on to the boys' shirts. I have also failed at getting the boys to scouts each week. Not for lack of thought and scheduled planning. After a few frustrating weeks I set not one, but two alarms on the phone calendar to remind me to take the boys to scouts. I'm hoping that will give me added mommy points if I can remember to get them there for they love going to scouts.
Gus' garden is producing with leaps and bounds. I love eating the fresh produce. I don't love canning the extra however my girls (and John of course) have stepped up and pitched in. John and I were able to get away one weekend last month and came home to find not only everyone alive and well, but pesto was made from all the basil, the remaining peaches were peeled and frozen, and beautiful cans of tomatoes lined the kitchen counter. It was amazing. I don't know how I lucked out having such wonderful children, but I am so thankful.
One of their friends was shocked when Gus mentioned that she had played "ghost in the graveyard" for the first time the other night. When questioned my girls all shrugged and said, "We don't play night games, we are homemakers." They were teasing and sincere all at the same time. I think a little fear of the dark has also played a key role in staying home after dark.
"Dash, you need to get to bed. You are always the last one to wake up in the mornings."
"No. One morning I was the first, but I'm too little to get my own food. I don't know how so I had to lay on the couch like this and go back to sleep."
Not sure why this little tidbit of a conversation tickled me, perhaps it was his smile and the twinkle in his eye as he resolved to be too little to take care of himself. Whatever it was I didn't want to forget it.
A few images I just found on the little girls camera. I need to check it more often, they have some gems on those memory cards. I adore seeing their perspective and what they find interesting. Their composition is very interesting and it's such a pleasure to have them share a hobby with me. Munch even asked yesterday, "Mom, will you teach me about photography? I want to learn to shoot."
After years on the road, I finally got back one of my projects from 7-gypsies. I created it when the little boys were tiny and it's fun to look back and remember moments spent creating this family history spinner. I have no idea where to put it or what I'm going to do with it, so it sits on the counter here in the computer room. I know I should tell these sweet little hands to not touch as a could of photos have been ripped off their hooks, but it makes me so happy to watch her sit and look at the pictures of those family members who have gone before her. Generations are being linked as one of the children will ask about the people in the photos. Stories are shared about their lives, I might have to do more of that here for the children. It's important for them to know where they come from and the debts that have been paid for their lives. This is the reason I write, so they will remember and so their children and grandchildren will know who we are and what we stood for.
John gives the boys "tuck tucks" at night. As he tucks the boys into bed each night after reading and praying with them, he gives them kisses and says, "tuck tuck" (something I think his parents did for him as a small boy). Now "tuck tucks" are not just a regular gentle movie version of a bedtime routine. "Tuck tucks" at our house involve tickling (for instance ant man tucks are filled with little ants running up and down the bed) and vigorous bed shaking (the super hero tucks are quite animated). Laughter can be heard throughout the house as the squeals of delight come from their bedrooms. It's glorious.
Now Rock thinks he is too big for tucks. He will tolerate a kiss, adores the books John reads to them, but the tucks are just a little too much. One night John recounted that as he asked Rock if he wanted a tuck Rock replied, "Only if you want to be impaled by a sharp object." There is nothing quite like a little boy.
Rock came to us and asked about a family in our neighborhood whose parents have recently divorced. He expressed his concern about how such a great family like that could be experiencing this and if the parents could be getting a divorce how can we be sure we won't eventually get a divorce. He asked hard questions, questions he thought a great deal about.
I reassured him as best as I could that John and I were happy and not planning on getting a divorce. I tease John sometimes that if we get a divorce I'm moving in with him. Rock didn't think it was funny, "this is serious mom." I then told him about the caliber of man his father is. I told him of the dedication and devotion he has to the Lord and how these qualities alone gave me peace that he would love and cherish me for all eternity. I don't know if he was satisfied with the answer, but it brings me peace and hope.
Besides who else will let me add a couple of bouquets of lovely flowers to our shopping cart and smile when I tell people that John brought me the beautiful flowers. He's wonderful that way. Some days he comes home to learn he has given me flowers. He gives me a kiss and smiles. In John's defense, he surprises me with flowers far more often than I surprise him. I'm in love with an amazing man.
"Say the word temple. Say it quietly and reverently. Say it over and over again. Temple. Temple. Temple. Add the word holy. Holy Temple. Say it as though it were capitalized, no matter where it appears in the sentence.
"Temple. One other word is equal in importance to a Latter-day Saint. Home. Put the words holy temple and home together, and you have described the house of the Lord!
"May God grant that we may be worthy to enter there and receive the fulness of the blessings of His priesthood." (President Boyd K. Packer, "The Temple, the Priesthood," Ensign, May 1993, 20-21)
This week will be brought to you entirely by my phone camera. I certainly capture more snapshots with it these days. Quick moments when I can whip it out of my pocket. I would have missed this great vacuum kiss if I had to run into the other room to grab the big camera. The quality isn't great, but for the quick moments, I'm a huge fan. Watch our for Dash and Brick, they give really great kisses.
Loaf helped me choose birthday balloons to leave on Arnold's car, nothing says love like polka dots (her favorite, that's my girl) and tinker bell. It's fun to have a couple hours a day just Loaf and I to run errands or just hang out. This time won't last long as she is quickly growing up and will be off before I know it with her own adventures, but for now she is my buddy and I love having her.
Ellie is our carpool buddy. She likes being in the car seats so she can see what's happening as we drive around town. She loves it when the boys climb in and she hops on their laps giving lots of kisses. Her wagging tail is usually thumping Loaf in the face as she sits in the middle of the two boys. Hearing the giggles and squeals of delight from the littles is wonderful each day.
Ellie and I have a love/hate relationship. Mostly love, but some days I'm ready to find her a new home. However she is growing on me and we are keeping her for at least today as I write this. She adores when the children come home and wags her tail so hard that her whole back end swings from side to side, affectionately termed "the bum wag". Not to be confused with just the regular tail wag.
Her particular favorite is Gus, so much so that I often call Ellie a traitor because I spend more time with her in the day and care for her needs. That of course is the life of a mother.
Loaf's hair is so wonderful everyone loves to play with her curls and giggle at the crazy way in which it ends up after pig tails. Loaf of course loves to have her pictures taken through the whole process, a good head rub is also an added bonus. Her brothers recently cut a huge chunk of her hair out so all her long curls are gone. It might be confusing as I post old pictures with curls mixed up with her short sassy do.
I love the start of school, not because the children all go away that part makes me a little sad. I love the excitement of new classes, new or renewed friendships, the thrill of learning. I remember being a little giddy at a new fresh box of crayons. The possibilities were endless. We love our new teachers for the year. It will be a marvelous year.
We were coming home from some place and the newspaper was on the front seat of the car. I adore that Rock was completely enthralled in the rising cost of university tuition and the presidential debate. Later that night John asked Rock if he could vote who he would vote for. Without a second thought he said, "Dad, when the choice is between the two major parties is it really a choice? They are just puppets." When John was recounting the conversation he laughed and said, "That's my boy!"
We've done a little decorating, Loaf's room became a fairy princess wonderland with twinkly lights, this lovely fairy tent that Fred made her and paper lanterns. She walked in and gasped, "My tangled room." From the Disney movie Tangled.
Finally got some furniture in the music room. Love, love, love the stripes. The pillows are script and vintage French. I decorate the same way I scrapbook. This could be my favorite room in the house.
Gus' garden was spectacular this year. She and John grew and yielded more than we could consume. Loaf's favorite treat was fresh carrots dug from the garden. Gus would pick them and Loaf would eat them whole. They were sweet little tender carrots and it was delightful to see the greens sticking out of her mouth every day. She is a big helper.
In a moment of weakness I cut all my hair off. The change is fun, but it surprisingly is more upkeep to have short hair. I don't know how long it will last. When I walked in the door a boy who will remain nameless, but goes by the pseudonym of Rock, said, "Hmmm. You kind of look like you have clown hair now." Lovely. Thankfully my hair grows really fast.
I've been thinking a great deal about my family lately. There are things I adore and things that put me over the edge and lately I've been dwelling on the edge things, like my adorable toddler who sneaks out of the house when I turn my back for 5 seconds. Thankfully we have great neighbors that look out for her.
I've been wondering why it is I can't pull myself together to blog or create consistent scripture time. I currently blame Ellie. She's a puppy and is demanding of my time. It could also be the crazy dejunking phase I am in right now. Nothing is safe and it's so liberating cleaning out cupboards, eliminating items that I have been saving for years... just in case.
Some days my life feels like a battle, with demands that I can't meet and the perfect image of who I need to be. I want to curl up in a ball and quit other days, but I then I look around and acknowledge where these feelings are coming from. I put one foot in front of the other and start the fight once again.
I needed a little quiet time last night and had this background in my sketch book. As I listened so some lovely music I started to create, a basic need for me. It's simple, but I needed a visual reminder of who I am fighting against and what I am fighting for.
Today also happens to be the beginning of the Family Proclamation Celebration (actually it might have started yesterday). Lots of good stuff to read: Jocelyn of We Talk of Christ, Stephanie of Diapers & Divinity, Montse of Chocolate on my Cranium and Middle-aged Mormon Man. There might even be some give-aways. I get to participate towards the end of the month on Stephanie's blog, I'm excited to share some thought about family, because I really do love them even on days when it's hard to show it.
"I don't even know what I'm going to look like when I grow up." He yelled this at me, one day in frustration.
There are so many things I take for granted about my childhood, knowing that I would look like my parents is one of them. I never noticed how much people tell my children, "You have your father's coloring or your mother's features." Perhaps it was just too much for Tank that day and he had to let out some frustration over things he can't yet understand.
We don't know what Tank will look like when he grows up, but we do know that he is a brilliant little boy with the capacity to do anything he wants in life. He is strong and smart, a hard worker when he wants to be. He is still a little boy, even if his body indicates otherwise. Tank has an amazing way with people and is the most laid back person you will ever meet. I can't wait to see the kind of man he grows into, kind and compassionate. Besides with that smile he is sure to charm everyone he meets.
So handsome boy, I don't know what you will look like when you grow up and I refuse to introduce you as my adopted son. I don't introduce your sister's as my biological daughters (another conversation the other day). You are my son, you are beautiful and I love you dearly!
"Neither Satan nor any other power can weaken or destroy your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. That is why Satan is so intently focused on tempting you to make decisions that will undermine your character. Satan is an accomplished master at making devastating choices appear attractive, even reasonable. So be careful. At this critical time of life you will be faced with many choices. The decisions you will make will profoundly affect life now and for eternity. Make them wisely and prayerfully."
(Elder Richard G. Scott, "To Live Well", BYU Devotional April 21, 2011)
This is my Guelita, my maternal grandmother. She is lovely and perhaps one of the most amazing people you will ever meet.
One day she was sitting in her bedroom and in walked her baby sister, Naela. They had not seen one another in many years and Naela's visit was a surprise. I wish I had remembered my camera when we walked into Guelita's room. Her expression was of pure joy. It was beautiful and tender.
On the last day of her visit I finally remembered to bring the camera over. I wanted to document their final moments. I wanted to remember who they are today.
Like all sisters, they sat and talked, laughed, a song was even sung. An errant hair was removed from a jacket and time stood still as these two darling friends tried to find the words to say good bye. They have experienced so much in their lives. Guelita is 91 and Naela is