...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

...KicKin It...

 Yesterday our boys started their indoor soccer season.  We haven't done indoor soccer before so this was new to us (we are old pros at outdoor soccer, but have never ventured indoors).  At first our oldest was sort of upset that there was no grass on the indoor "field," but he is learning to make do.

Josh was not able to coach either team this year because of his part time job.  He is having a really hard time with that and kind of going through withdrawals.  (Honestly, it is sort of funny to watch as he is itching to tell the players something but has to keep his mouth shut).

Both boys did well (they are having a hard time adjusting to the surface with much less friction and large tennis ball as a soccer ball).  They each had a chance to play goalie for a bit and both had a couple shots on goal (although neither actually scored...actually neither of their teams scored at all...yup, they got skunked).  The boys had lots of fun, Josh got a headache from all the strategies and helpful hints that were stifled inside his brain, and I tried to keep balance.  That's how I roll.

These little terrors did not really love the game.  We made them come to cheer on their brother, but they were pretty bored.  So, we got creative and piled all of our coats up and they jumped on them and tunneled through them and imagined themselves in all kinds of precarious situations.  They were actually really good.  I was very pleased.

P.S. The girls were taking walks together and were not available for pictures.

I am so grateful for this big group of little ones that I get to spend my life with.  They make me happy...better than that, they bring me joy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Holding Grudges

I read a book this week that was interesting (it's called "Impractical Grace"...it was not bad).  The book was about showing grace to the people in our lives meaning handing out good to others no matter what they hand back to us.

At one point it talked about holding grudges against people who have wronged us and it shared a quote that I really loved.

"Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die from it."

I really love that.  It is so true.  Holding a grudge is a poison in our own soul that hurts us but doesn't really do much damage to the other person.  It causes us to shrivel and wretch and doesn't do us any good.

I think my kids (and probably kids in general) are great examples of handling problems with other people.  They can blow things off, even offensive and cruel things, and be best friends with a tormentor within minutes.  It amazes me.

They are like this with me too.  There are times that I lose my temper or don't behave like a good mom ought to behave and when I go to them and apologize and ask for their forgiveness they grant it almost without any thought and then they completely let it go.  They don't hold my mistakes over my head,"Mom, remember that time when you..." or whatever.  They just let things go and their souls are free.

I want to be more like that.  I don't want to poison my soul just so I can remember why I dislike someone.  I don't think that means every person has to be my favorite, but I don't need to hold on to those grudges and make sure they are carefully shelved in alphabetical order.  I need to let them go and dump that poison down the drain.

Something for me to work on. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You may want to dodge my rant...

One thing that greatly concerns me about the world today is the lack of personal responsibility that a lot of people seem to feel.  Many people, especially young people, seem to have developed a sense of entitlement and a love of the "blame game." 

You regularly hear phrases like "I deserve this..." or "it's their fault that I..." and I think it does no good.

Lately, one place that I have seen this happening is with our education system.  Granted, there is much room for improvement in our public schools.  However, look where they have come from, we are definitely improving.
I have been hearing on the news about a group of parents who believe teachers are not doing enough to educate children.  They seem to want to abdicate all responsibility for their kid's education and force all of the blame on teachers for everything their kids can't do or don't know.

I think, overall, we have amazing teachers in our public schools.  There are, of course, exceptions to that, but in the grand scheme I think teachers want to help children and want to improve the world.

Maybe my feelings stem from the fact that my husband is a high school teacher.  I know how hard he works to find ways to help his students understand concepts and how he is constantly trying to improve his lesson plans. 

First day of school 2010
I also see a lot of teens and parents who seem to believe that students "deserve" to pass a class no matter what.  Josh regularly comes home frustrated with students who have turned in no homework, have failed tests, and then come to him upset that they aren't passing the class.  He gets calls from parents asking him to bump their children's grades even though the kids rarely show up for class and pay little or no attention when they are there. 

I just don't think this is right.  I don't claim to be perfect in this venue, but I strongly believe that it is MY responsibility to educate my children.  I feel like schools are an important tool in my arsenal, but when it really comes down to it, it is MY job to teach my kids. 

Now, that doesn't mean I am going to have nightly history lessons and morning math quizzes, but it does mean that I do my best to stay involved in what is going on in my kid's classrooms.  We work on homework together, we talk about school and I do what I can to spend some time in the classroom each year. 

Most of all, I try to support the teachers my kids have.  I try to stand behind the things they ask of my children and encourage my kids to treat them with respect.  They have a difficult, but incredibly important job, and they are working for the most precious people on Earth.  They deserve my respect as well.

I guess what I am saying is I hope more parents will choose to take some responsibility in raising and educating their children instead of passing the buck entirely to teachers.  When it comes to EVERYTHING related to their kids, parents should be on the front lines, not lingering in the background waiting for someone else to step up and fight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

 I LOOOVE this holiday (he he he).  I know people say it is all commercial and created by greeting card companies (not true, Shakespeare even referenced Valentine's Day in Hamlet), but I think it is fun.

Yes, I am all for recognizing the people that you love all year long, but it is fabulous to have a whole day dedicated to making people you care about feel special. 

So, we made valentines and took them to some friends.  We had heart shaped pancakes for breakfast and we even secretly snuck to Josh's high
school and doorbell ditched his classroom.  When I was young that was how Valentine's Day worked.  You left a secret valentine on the porch then knocked and ran away.  Oh, the good old days.

Valentine's Day also marks Josh's and my "And-a-Half" anniversary every year so we got to celebrate that (we were married August 14 so February 14 is literally six months from our anniversary).

All in all, it was a wonderful day.

The only downer was the Ellie got a case of pneumonia for Valentine's Day.  Not the best treat ever, but what do you do.  Poor kid.

Still, it was a wonderful day.  Hope that yours was fabulous too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Disaster in its cutest form

We have a two year old...

...only she forgot to turn two before she actually became a two year old.

Our youngest sprite has been a cyclone of smiling destruction lately.  She gibbers happily (she refuses to say any actual words) as she climbs on everything and tears the house apart bit by bit.  She hauls chairs or empty toy boxes to whatever she can't reach and manages to scramble her way up to everything she isn't supposed to touch. 

This is the disappointed face of a little girl just pulled off the kitchen counter.
Now, she is the sixth child so our house is relatively baby proof, but we really are running low on space that is at least four feet in the air.  As a bonus, she has figured out how to open doors so NOTHING is safe anymore.

She was also blessed with the gift of stealth (whatever fairy bestowed that little blessing deserves a kick in the pants) so we often don't hear what she is doing until disaster strikes.  Entire bags of cereal dumped on the floor, shattered dishes from the sink, cds and dvds deposited in the toilet, shampoo bottles emptied onto the carpet...it has been fun at our house.

Thankfully she is adorable (when she isn't wreaking havoc) so we'll keep her around...for now.  Growing up is definitely an adventure.  I'm awfully glad that I get to share it with these little people.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Aubrey came home from school last week with a joke.

Q: "How do you make Lady Gaga cry?"
A: "Poke her face....(Poker Face)."

We all chuckled.

Then this joke really took hold.

Now every child tells it over and over in varying forms...sometimes it is "How do you make Spiderman cry?"...sometimes it is "Poke her belly."  Weird.  Honestly, it isn't really very funny anymore.  Except when our three year old tellsit.  Then I laugh.

This is just the way of jokes in our house.  They are appreciated, then excessively retold, then abused, then they quietly die...and good riddance by the time we get there.

I love kids and jokes (for real, it is always entertaining).  Ah, good times.

Friday, February 4, 2011

To a better life...

Yesterday, a sweet woman that I have known for many years passed away. 

She lived up the street from me.  I walked up to her house as the ambulance was pulling away, trying to stay out of the way, but desperately wanting to know if everything was alright.

It wasn't.

Bertha was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where she was pronounced dead.  She was 62 years old and it just happened to be her wedding anniversary.

This was the kind of quiet person who makes the world sparkle a bit just by being on it.  Bertha taught primary for about a gazillion and eight years and she was incredible.  She ADORED her primary children and regularly sent home laminated puppets or activities that would reinforce what they had learned.

When she stopped teaching primary she brought several large boxes of these adorable handouts to me.  I was thrilled and went to work creating family home evening kits centered around the handouts.  I ended up with more than 80 different lessons and was able to take kits to nearly a dozen other families as well because Bertha had so many copies of things.  Because of Bertha, dozens of families were able to bring the gospel into a more central place in their homes.  Her devotion blessed the lives of countless people through generations.

But it wasn't just that.  Bertha was just a loving person.  Any time I ran into her at the store or on a walk she stopped to talk about her latest photography project, quilting idea or scrap booking page.  She made hundreds of beautiful items for friends and neighbors over the years.  Her face wasn't big enough to contain her smile as she bragged about the lives of her children and grandchildren, and that is just the way it should be. 

Bertha is the kind of person who let the love of God shine through her.  She wasn't famous.  She didn't win many prestigious awards.  But she was a beautiful lady and she will be missed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Birthdays Galore

Yesterday I finished a project that has been hanging over my head for over a month.  At the beginning of every new year I make 30 something birthday cards so that Josh and I can send one to each of our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews for their birthday. 

I actually do like making cards, but I don't love making 30+ of the same card yet I am too lazy to dream up a different design for every person so I am stuck in a quandary.

Pretend like the picture isn't sideways, I don't know
why it is doing that.
I have a 12 slot accordion file and I plunk the birthday for each month into their slot and then send them all at the beginning of the month.  I am sure this is somewhat bothersome if your birthday is, oh, say, the 28th of the month ("Wow, a birthday card 26 days early...hmmm.") but I can't remember to send the cards every week.  I end up forgetting and then I feel bad and I do NOT need more guilt in my life. 

So, that brings me to this project.  I have put it off and put it off until finally January completely vanished (thank goodness there are no January birthdays in our family).  But Huzzah!!  Now it is done, and I am glad for that.  It makes me feel good to take at least one moment every year to remember each family member individually and let them know how grateful we are for them. 

So (close your eyes family members) here is the finished product. (Nothing fancy, but they'll do).  It is nice to have everything ready to go for the rest of the year.  Here's to many happy birthdays this year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Boogie Fever and other Random Cuteness

It is almost embarrassing to me when people ask me what I have been up to lately.  I pretty much never have anything to say.  The things we do here at home don't seem to merit a conversation highlight.  I would sound stupid if I responded, "Well, I've been changing diapers and reading stories and chauffeuring children and working on cub scout requirements..." you get the idea.

So, most of the time I just say "Oh, you know, the same old thing.  How about you?"

That is not to say that I consider my life dull or unimportant.  I have the best life there is.  It just isn't very flashy or exotic.  Then again, neither am I, so we match pretty nicely.

I like spending my days with my kids even if it doesn't warrant oohs and aaahs from a waiting crowd (except when they're screaming and fighting and then I might like spending my days in the closet better) (just kidding). 

I can't seem to get enough of the same old thing.

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