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

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Laundress I am NOT!

It should come as a surprise to NO ONE that I HATE (yup, I used the "H" word) doing the laundry.

It is my second-most-hated chore (doing the dishes rings in at number one for me on that front).

That means I would rather scrub toilets or weed gardens or cook (yugh!) than do the laundry.

So, it should come as no surprise (again) that I am annoyed when anything makes my second-most-hated job even more of a chore than it is to start with.

Enter my family.

(Yeah, well it sort of goes without saying that the reason there is so much laundry around here is because there are a boat load of people milling about day and night.  This leaves me with clothes and sheets and towels and rags -- because we have a serious talent for spills and stains -- and coats and jackets and costumes and uniforms and anything else made of fabric to try to keep clean.  Sometimes I think clean is greatly overrated.)

But I'm not referring (exclusively) to the amount of laundry to be cleaned here, I'm talking about the little laundry idiosyncrasies that make the job not only scowl worthy but also cackle inducing.  Like throw your head back and let the wicked witch within screech out a maniacal laugh that has nothing to do with humor kind of cackle inducing.  You know the one I'm talking about.

Take, for example, the fact that I have several members of my family who cannot take off a pair of pants (or often a shirt) without turning the item inside out.  This annoys me to no end.  Why can semi-grown people NOT manage to remove clothing without turning it a way that makes automatic extra work for their kind and loving family laundress (see why I snub the title -- it's a bad attitude all the way around from me).

There are a couple of versions of this horrific problem. 

The first is that only one of the pant legs has been pulled inside-out and the other is hanging around just fine, strutting his stuff for the world ("Look at me, I am just as I should be, aren't I awesome!"). 

When this happens there is nothing to be done but plunge into the offending pant leg and pull it out to match its partner (sometimes muttering under ones breath helps this go a little more smoothly).  I accept this sort of thing from tiny people (the very youngest of the clan) because they are small and their brains can't quite wrap around the idea of laundry or the scourge that dirty clothes create for their mother just yet.  However, when the problem bleeds into bigger people (or should I call them villains) then internal wrath ensues.  Grrrrrr!
Rotten inside-out clothes!

The second version of the pant problem comes up when not one, but both pant legs are dangling wrong side out when I pluck them from the dryer and hold them up for folding.  For a long time, I treated this problem just like the other one and fixed it.  With chagrin.  And vexation.  And wrath.  And then I seethed.  I still fix it for my tiny folk (lucky tiny folk).

Eventually, I decided to take action against the spoiled pant leg issue.  I pleaded with my family to humor me and pull their limbs out of their pants without allowing the pant legs to follow the human legs through causing inside-outage.

But alas, it was all for naught.

Then, one day a couple years ago, everything changed.  After a particularly trying load of seemingly ALL inside out pants (and shirts too), I did the unthinkable.  The little snarky voice from deep within me (ok, its really not all that deep) called out, "What the heck!  How come these silly trouser wearers can't manage to get out of their pants without making more work for you. Why not just fold up the double legged pant puller outers and put them in the baskets and then the offenders can right their own pant wrongs!"

So I did. 

All better!

And you know what, no one died from it. 

In fact, no one even seemed to care. 

When my family members pull their out-turned pants out of their drawers they set them right and wear them and don't say a word to me about it.  Not a single word.

So I didn't go back.  And I don't freak out about the pants so much anymore. 

Who knew that snarky voice inside me could facilitate a happy ending.  Nice job snarky voice.  You saved the day (and the laundress' sanity).  It's a win.  For all of us.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Canine compromise

Let me be honest, if it were entirely up to me we would not have dogs.  That's simply the truth.

Now, I love dogs.  I really do.  I think they are great.

That said, I already have six little hooligans (seriously, I know they aren't really hooligans by any means, but I am a pro at hyperbole).  I am working on raising six small people and adding a baby dog into the mix is not exactly my idea of a good time.

It means one more creature to potty train and feed and keep from destroying things and to clean up after and teach to behave and all that good stuff.  This does not scream "Party Time!!" if you ask me.

However, my husband has a deep seeded need to have a dog around.  At first I thought it was just a desire, but the years have taught me that for him it is more than that.  There is something in him that yearns for the companionship of a loyal, four-legged friend.

Our first dog as a family, Moka, was tough on me even though he was a great family dog.  He was AmAzInG with our kids (seriously, incredible) and was a very tidy dog but he was still hard for me.  Because I was the one with him all day I did the bulk of the training and clean up and discipline and all that.  It was a lot of work and sometimes I resented that because it wasn't really something I wanted in the first place.  I did become attached to Moka and was very sad when we had to put him down several years later.

Josh started looking at adds on KSL for dogs almost the day after Moka left us.  He missed his dog.  I didn't want to rush into anything, I was fine without a dog especially after the trauma of losing Moka. But only a couple months later Josh found a couple of black lab mix puppies and brought them home. They were a nightmare for me from the get go.  I realized how good I'd had it with Moka because these two had NO interest in learning or obeying or anything (and believe me, I worked with them to try to mold them into pleasant dogs).  They actually became dangerous to our children and eventually (after a couple of years of unsuccessful work) we had to get rid of them.

Well, once again Josh was lonely and pup-less.  He could not keep himself off of dog sites.  I kept telling him I was not ready and he kept telling me that was ok, he wasn't going to push me into anything.
But the more I watched him light up as he read and the more I saw his eyes solemnly and patiently waiting for me to decide the time was right the more I realized I couldn't make him wait.

I don't need a dog...

...but he does.

So, when our taxes came back I told him it was time to look for real.  You should have seen his face when I rode with him to the home of a sweet couple with some Brittany puppies.  Josh has always been partial to this breed and after the troubles of our last adoption we had learned a lot so we were much more finicky about breeds and backgrounds and everything else.  We met Mom and Dad dog and asked a lot of questions and spent quite a bit of time with the puppies and eventually came home with one.

This is Finn.

He was (by far) the most chill of the litter (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that continues) and he is a Brittany which is what Josh was aching for so here's hoping he is just the right mix for our family.

Josh is thrilled (like, really, really thrilled) and that was what I wanted most from the beginning so it seems like a win for both of us.

Some people may read this and think I am selfish for being unenthusiastic about granting my husband's dreams while other people may read this and think that Josh is selfish for pushing me to do something I don't want to do.  I guess I can see either side of that if I look hard enough.  But the reality of it is that we are both willing to try to help the other person in our relationship be happy.  We want to be the reason that our partner is smiling even if it means a bit of discomfort in the interim.  Everyone has their own limits and our compromise on this issue is not right for everyone else in the world, but it is right for us.

Understand that this chain of events may not be my perfect plan (check, yes, for sure, not my perfect plan).  I can pretty much guarentee there will be days when I whine and complain and bemoan the dog that has entered our life.  I've warned Josh and he promised to take that in his stride.  I may not be uber excited to be back to potty training and nighttime crying and scolding for chewing but, seriously, if it brings this much joy to my favorite person in the world then I am willing to jump in.  (I love you Joshua Kerr.)

And I have to be perfectly frank, it has been super sweet to watch my little crew of children fall in love with this dog.  They are head over heels for him, and the flagrant wag of his tail when they come around tells me he loves them right back.

In time I'm sure I'll become attached to this cuddly creature as well, but while I wait for that moment to come (I don't hate him or anything, but I am reserving judgement for later) I am just going to sit back and enjoy the happiness he's already brought to my family.

Maybe I do owe that little fur ball a thank you.

(But I'm going to save it until he stops pooping on my carpet.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kids and Electronics (the saga continues)

I'm kind of a jerk when it comes to electronics and my children.

Not a  gigantic jerk, but a jerk none the less (just ask my young ones).

I think electronics are great and they definitely have a place in our household, but we do like to keep them tucked in a fair amount of the time around here.  I think it is important for children to be outside and to explore and to use their imaginations.  I think it is important that they talk to people and interact with other human beings one on one.  I love it when they are bored because then I know something good is coming next.

So, forever and ever we have restricted TV time at our house (4:30 - 6pm each day...although we do make some occasional exceptions for holidays or when we have visitors and need the kids engaged elsewhere or when I'm too sick to care that day or something -- after all, we're normal...ish).

We also have video game restrictions.  Originally there were no video games allowed on school days but we have adjusted to a 5 minute turn on an educational game per day because some of the kids teachers required Spelling City or Hooda Math (or Hooda.net) time each week. We also allow some extra video game turns when we have friends over.

On weekends (Fridays and Saturdays because no video games allowed on Sundays) the kids each get a 30 minute turn (which doesn't sound like much, but there are six of them so the amount of time spent gaming adds up fast).  We have dollar store timers stationed at the computer and Wii (and, of course, timer apps on our tablet) so that kids can keep track of their time.

Well, a couple of weeks ago we started a new chapter in this electronics adventure.

Bryce had been saving his money and we gave him permission to purchase an Ipod from my brother. I know branching out into personal electronic devices has been on the cusp of our family's happy little valley for a while, but we finally decided to let Bryce bring it in.  It was a tough decision for me. I kind of been anti personal electronics for my kids.  I don't feel obligated to provide my kids with phones or tablets or the like(let me insert here that I'm not trying to call out parents who have a different view on this than I do, I seriously mean no judgement on anyone else -- families can be different and still both be right for their members -- I am not worried about what everyone else does, I am only concerned with what I feel is best for my little brood which will likely be different from what someone else finds is right for their family).  I would rather my kidlets are not  tied too tightly to these devices.

However, Josh and I decided it is probably good that we allow Bryce the chance to learn to responsibly manage something like this while we are still strong forces in his life instead of letting him fall in and drown in electronic freedom when he is more on his own (I'm not saying this is the right answer for everyone, but it is what we feel right about for our family right now).

Anyway, so Bryce has had his Ipod for a couple weeks and (no surprise) has looked for every opportunity to use it for everything.  He uses the calculator for homework, reads scriptures from the LDS app each night at family scripture reading, takes notes on the memo board, updates his calendar, sets reminder alarms...and plays video games.

That's where the trouble came in.  He started thinking that any time he wasn't anxiously engaged in something else, that was a great excuse to pull out his Ipod and play games.  We found him fastened to the tiny screen time and time again.

And time and time again we warned him that he needed to set some limits or else we were going to have to help him do that and he probably wouldn't like our way.

There was always this, "Yeah, you're right, I'll do that, Mom," response, but nothing seemed to be changing

So, the other day when we hadn't seen the boy in a while and then discovered him neck deep in a two and a half hour jaunt to the land of gaming we decided that was it.  I took his Ipod and said "enough" with the understanding that he would not get it back until we had some written limits in play.  He was assigned to list some appropriate restrictions and consequences for wandering out of their boundaries and his dad and I would do the same and then together we would work out a contract which we would all sign and be bound to.

It took him a while, but he did.  And we did (it didn't take us very long).  Then we hashed it out and came to our contract (I'll be honest, we are more happy about the outcome than he is, but that's ok).  We have some time and place limits (no Ipod at school, for example) and decided to cut his link to the home wifi (although we will reconnect occasionally for updates and to add new apps, but pocket internet connections seemed like a bad plan for a 13 year old).  We did concede to a longer daily game turn than Josh and I originally wanted, but we traded TV time for games for him so I guess it is ok.  We all agreed to enforce a 9:00 check in time.  The Ipod charger stays in our room and the device must sit with Josh and I all night so no late night escapades are going on.  Also, he must let us know the password and login or else he loses it altogether (not that we plan to be on it all the time, but so we could get on if we were concerned for some reason -- this is not a new idea to him, we do the same thing with our kids' email accounts -- no deep expectation of secrecy when living in your parents' home).  That's the gist of it, you get the idea. (I'd love to hear any other rules that work well for your family, we are new to this and are still working to figure it all out.)

And now the standard it set because the other kids all know what is going on and know that they can expect something similar in their lives in due time. 

I don't know how it will work out.  I doubt this will be the last conflict we will have in this arena.  I imagine this is a battle we will fight again and again and again.  But I'm willing to fight because it is important to me. I am also willing to compromise because I want my children to learn and grow and part of being able to do that means letting them make choices that aren't always my favorite.

Someday (maybe) we will venture into the land of cell phones, but not today.

For now, the battle of the Ipod is epic enough.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines for School

Today is the day of our school Valentine's Day celebrations.  The kids are thrilled and have been working on their Valentine's creations for the last few days.  

I think they did great work.

Ellie begged for Valentine hair so we put this little number together (after which Aubrey decided it was cool and had me do hers in a similar way)

Three of the kids did need boxes for class and this is what they came up with this year.  I really like to watch them be creative.  

Aubrey's Crush Can

Parker's hoop-it-up-and-drop-in-the-hole box.

Gavin's personally designed Pac Man piece.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blond joke from a fellow blond

Last night we were telling blond jokes around the dinner table (I love a good blond joke).

Aubrey told one I hadn't heard before and I thought I'd share it.

Here goes:

A young blond was in trouble financially and desperately needed money.  She decided the only way she could come up with the needed funds was to kidnap a child from the local park and use the money to settle her debts.

She wrote up a note that read, "Leave $10,000 under the slide or you will never see your child again," and headed out.

So, she found a wealthy looking child on the playground, waited until no one was looking and then carried him into the bushes where she pinned the note on his jacket and then sent him back to play.

She went home hopeful.

The next evening she came back to the park, looked under the slide and sure enough there was a bag with $10,000 in it and a note which read, "I can't believe you could be so cruel.  How could you do this to a fellow blond!"


I got a chuckle out of it.  If you have a good blond joke I can share with my kids, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The drama of curlers

On Saturday night we put curlers in Ellie's hair to sleep on so her hair would be curly and cute for church on Sunday.  She was fine with this plan...until the curlers were actually engaged.  Then she DIED!

Why?  Was it the uncomfortable feel or the awkward idea of sleeping on curlers?


She was bothered because she looked silly with curlers on her head.

She threw a tantrum.  Like a knock down, drag out, flailing and all the like type tantrum.

I might have been sympathetic if it hadn't been for the tantrum.  But when someone behaves like that in our house I am much less likely to give in (I am not in the business of rewarding obnoxious behavior by caving to a tantrum).  Our little pixie refused to talk to us or calm down at all.  So, Ellie was eventually sent to bed in tears.

When we went in to talk to her a little while later we found a tiny girl on the very precipice of sleep (one great thing about crying is it tends to wear out our small ones) but we also found a couple of other surprises.

Ellie had put a blanket over her head so that the curlers would be covered and no one could see them (that's what she told us when we asked).

She also set up this little number to block her bedroom mirror so that she wouldn't have to see herself.  

Oh my gosh, we laughed!  What a miniature nutcase/diva.

Everything changed the next morning when we took the curlers out and she got to see her hair all curly and cute for church.  Now she is a convert and told me she wants to put curlers in her hair every week for Sunday.

Silly little pixie.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dentist jealousy

I went to the dentist this week for a six month check-up.

That morning while I was prepping things so I'd be ready to go the kids asked what I would be doing that day.  I told them I was headed to the dentist.

They were jealous.

That's right, everyone.  I have some strange ones living here.  My kids LOOOOVE the dentist.  Weirdos! They honestly get excited to have their teeth cleaned and x-rays taken and get antsy when it has been a while since they've visited the white coated tooth man (well, ours is a man anyway).  I know, most kids dread the dentist.  Not my munchkins.  Also they hate Jello and love Broccoli.


I love those nutcases.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

David and Goliath and kindergarten

I read a book the other day called "David and Goliath."  It was an intriguing and thought provoking read (it did get a bit redundant in spots, but who am I to judge).

The premise of this work is that David, the much smaller and seriously less skilled opponent militarily, was seen as the extreme underdog even though he possessed bright, neon-flashing skills like speed, agility, quick thought and faith (not to mention acute stone/sling ability).  These talents should have exposed him as a formidable threat, but people were too focused on the hulking mass of a man strutting his stuff to think beyond big muscles and impressive sword play (and how often do we do this in our lives -- hone in on whatever big plus is on the side of one option and therefore ignore or underrate the less flamboyant pluses of the other option entirely).

Additionally, because David was wise enough not to be hobbled by the pre-conceived concept of the one-on-one battle (namely, sidling up to the other bloke and whopping him with your sword whilst trying to avoid his whops in return) the odds in the fight were tipped and the balance of power fell at David's feet.  This book then applies these concepts to modern life in a very tantalizing display of out of the box thinking.  I rather enjoyed it.

The point of this post is not really so much about biblical heroes. Some of the concepts explored by the author of this book just accidentally fell in line with my own long-held opinions.  While I am not prone to extreme bouts of bucking the system (I actually like rules and structure), I am also not known to simply give in and play a certain way just because someone tells me I have to.

I particularly identify with this concept lately when it comes to views on education.

Yup, that's right, I just leaped from sword wielding tyrants straight down to kindergarten -- that's how I roll.

Education is incredibly important to me.  It always has been.  I was a very good student.  I did well in school and I LOVED it.  I love learning.  I love exploring.  School helped me to do that.  I hope for the same for my children.

But I don't see the job of bringing up intelligent youngsters the same way many people do.  In this battle, I don't fight in a conventional way.

You see, I am not one to worry very much about overall school test scores or student aptitude or number of academic geniuses who emerge from a particular institution of learning. I just don't care very much about those things.

Now, I didn't start out that way.  At first I dove into research and rankings and teacher accolades and national merit and the like.  I looked at public schools, charter schools and private schools trying to decide what would be best for my little learners.

But, the more I searched and probed, the closer I looked, the more I began to see that schools of all sorts turned out amazing, intelligent, talented students (and the other kind too, even the best schools had percentages of drop outs and failing grades).  I started paying closer attention to brilliant, successful people who I know and found that while some of them came from elite educational backgrounds, others came from your ma and pa, run of the mill public schools.

I mulled that over for a while and eventually (after much thought and more reading and research) came to the conclusion that I  was going to be the one to educate my children.

Now, you are likely wondering why my children attend our local public school if that is my view; let me explain that a bit so you don't misunderstand me.  I had no notions of becoming a home schooling parent. There were too many portions of attending school that I felt my children needed and I just couldn't provide here at home.  But here's the thing.  I took my children's education into my hands and laid that burden on my back and to this day I take full responsibility for it.  I don't expect the school system to educate my children. I see the schools and teachers as a tool in my arsenal when it comes to educating my kids.  They are arrows in MY quiver.  I refuse to give up the power of being the overseer of my children's education.

That said, I am not so blind as to think classrooms and teachers and principals don't matter at all.  I spend time in our school and get to know the teachers.  I do think there is something for my little ones to learn even by being a classroom with a teacher who is not the favorite ever (not a teacher who is mean or incompetent, mind you, but one who is fine just not the favorite -- after all, not every neighbor or co-worker or manager will be the favorite and you still have to work with them).

But I don't just leave my children to drift with the tide when it comes to teachers either.  I am not afraid to meet with principals over concerns and problems and have pushed for adjustments when necessary.  That is MY job as the Lord of Education for my children. I keep a thumb on the pulse of all things learning.

Here's the thing, I believe education is much more than simply gathering pieces of knowledge to sort neatly into a card catalog to access later.  I think, more important than learning all the bits of stuff available to shove into a brain, is learning HOW to think and that is where I especially refuse to surrender my control.

I send my children to school to be taught, but no matter what goes on in the classroom I do my best to actually educate them.

That means it is my duty to be sure they know how to learn, how to think, how to research, how to find answers, how to ask intelligent questions, how to wonder, how to see outside the lines.

And that means I have to take advantage of opportunities to prick their little brains and get them pondering in any way that I can.  Part of that means sending them to an organized house of learning each day, but another part of it must go beyond well that.

So, when my kids find a concept that interests them, I push it.  I ask them hard questions, questions they won't know the answers to, questions I don't know the answers to and then I expect them to figure it out.  I encourage them to write un-required reports or create unnecessary power point presentations (Gavin loves to do this and then take them to school so other students can learn the things he has learned...his teacher is great about indulging this habit).

We play spelling games while we are in the car together and we classify it as "fun."  Everyone loves to be given a word they've never heard before then exult when they manage to spell it correctly.  We also make up math story problems and try to stump each other.  When we are at the grocery store I ask the kids how much it would cost to buy 4 of something at a certain price or ask them to figure out how much tax will be on an item.  Super fun!

I insist that my children take piano lessons and then we talk about the construction of chords and how we can use a musical blueprint to create a melody or harmony.  We read poetry (the kids often whine about that unless the poet is Shel Silverstein, but we do it anyway).  We talk about the formula for sentences and I challenge my children to find grammar and spelling mistakes in the books they read (oh, the look of triumph on their faces when they come show me one).

And oh do we read.  I require my children to read any book turned movie before they are allowed to see the film.  I'm a jerk like that. (Not necessarily the entire series, but at least the first volume.)

I am one of those moms who invests in worksheets to do over the summer.  Sometimes the worksheets are word puzzles or logic problems because for me this is less about learning new concepts or staying fresh and more about teaching the idea that we don't take a break from using our brains.

I never answer the question "what does that word mean" because I love to watch little ones delve into a dictionary to find the answer (yes, an actual dictionary with paper pages).  If my children are learning about a theory or idea and they want to go deeper than their class I think that is great and I pull everyone in so we can explore it together (you would be surprised how much physics and math a six year old can understand if given the chance).  We classify rocks we find on hikes, we do strange experiments, we analyze dirt and insects, we indulge our interest in teeth or skin (or sex, as you have read about before).  I answer a lot of questions with, "I don't know, what do you think?" and I love to ask the kids why.

(As a side note, there will always be more learning opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of.  Don't bother trying to grab them all.  My kids have mastered the "Mom, that's enough" eye roll for just such occasions.  Also, sometimes I am lazy or just don't feel like it and I leave a learning moment hanging without yanking it down.  No one is perfect at this.  However, latch onto some of the chances to engage your child's brainwaves and be a force in their education in the ways that you can.  You will miss stuff, you will  make a fool of yourself sometimes.  But you will be there and that is what counts most.)

I WANT my kids to ask a million questions (yes, I'm honest enough to admit this drives me crazy sometimes so I'm not always as patient with it as I should be).

I WANT my kids to wonder how things work and why people do the things they do.

I WANT my kids to think for themselves no matter what anyone else says.

Am I trying to raise a brood of geniuses?  Absolutely not (although I'm fine if that's the outcome we stumble upon).

I don't care one whit whether they grow up to be mechanical engineers or very capable auto mechanics or creative gardeners.  I want them to be happy in their chosen field just like I am in mine (I never wanted to be anything more than I wanted to be a mom and am grateful for the chance I have to explore and grow in this venue).

I want them to see and question and grow and those are things it is difficult to glean from a classroom.

So, the point.

Early on, I came to the decision that for me and my family, I was going to pay less attention to the big, flashy honors of any one particular institute of learning and would instead take on the less glittery task of making sure my children knew how to think and research and explore so they could learn anything no matter the situation they were in.

I know my view is not the only one, or the most popular one, when it come to choosing a school.  I believe every family has to come to their own theme when it comes to education and if your family has chosen to pursue a different avenue (a charter school or a private school or has moved to get into a particular public school or if you choose to home school) good for you!  To me, there really isn't a wrong answer


by choosing a particularly amazing school you then feel free to ignore the importance of being deeply involved in your children's education.  This is not something you can put off onto someone else.

Kids may have incredible teachers (and every school has some incredible teachers), but let's be honest -- no matter how great that teacher is, no matter how much they adore their students and desire to engage and excite their pupils, they are still doing a job when they show up at school each day (this said by the wife of an amazingly dedicated teacher, mind you).  They are still relieved to go home at the end of the day.  They are still happy to take a break from work for the weekend.  They may be exceptional at their job, but they are not you (please, don't misunderstand, teachers are very important, they do help shape our children, but they aren't our children's parents and we can't expect them to be).

There is NO ONE who can replace YOU as the supreme educator of YOUR child.

Don't be blinded by the flashy muscles of a hefty, Goliath-like institute of learning so much that you ignore or fail to see the importance of your own David-like role.  When people talk about education it may be the facade of a school and not your face that comes to mind, but that doesn't make you any less powerful.

It is socially acceptable to pluck out the latest, greatest, most incredible educational starlet and plant your child into the middle of it -- and I am not saying that is the wrong thing to do. That is for you to decide. What I am saying is that if your perspective for educational excellence in your youngsters focuses entirely on a school -- if you are sitting back blithely expecting someone else to educate your little ones -- then you are missing a much more commanding piece of the view.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ellie waves good-bye

First off, SuperBowl outcome -- NOT AWESOME!  We have a house full of Broncos fans (although, personally I am not a Broncos fan, but I am a huge Peyton Manning fan and at the moment those come out to just about the same thing.)

We recorded the game to watch it on Monday as a family, but I think we will just skip that idea.  Sounds like it was pretty painful for those of us on the Bronco side.  Oh well.

On to happier things.

Every morning Ellie stations herself at the door as her siblings head off to school and waves to them.  It is adorable and I love it.  

First, she waves her little "I love you" sign to Bryce as he trundles out to his car pool.  Later she waves to the rest of the crew as they schlep down the sidewalk on their way to be educated.  

It is nice to see these moments when my kids love each other.  Sometimes with all the screaming and fighting I forget that (ok, they don't scream and fight all the time, but those slivers of sigh-inducing grumpiness do crop up pretty regularly around here).

Glimpses of  the love my kidlets have for each other do pop up at unexpected moments and I am grateful for those specks of caring.  Last night as we drove home from a family event I turned around to see Parker allowing Ellie to lay her head on his lap (an action that could just as easily incite screaming as love) and he gently played with her hair.  While at church Gavin quietly handed a rubber frog he had been playing with over to Parker when he noticed Parker was looking for one.  At home, Bryce voluntarily split a treat he had been given six ways so that everyone could have a bite.  None of these actions was ground breaking or life altering, but I still loved seeing them.

These unscripted moments of love are a beautiful thing to a mother.  Especially because they are juxtaposed against many other moments of yelling and tormenting and harassing and impatience and rudeness and the like.

I need to be better at focusing on these sweet tidbits and remembering that my kids really do adore each other...even if it is a near death match around here at other times.  Maybe my focus on the good will encourage my little ones to give up on the nastiness that sometimes creeps in here.


Well, a girl can dream.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lovely Lilies

Now my lilies are blooming.  I love them.

They are so much nicer than the grey/white chill of everything outside.

Thank you, Joshua.  I'm glad you are stuck with me.

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