Earlier this week, Drew was working late.  Dinner was over and cleaned up.  The TV was off.  Michael Buble was playing on the computer.  Jacob was chatting on line.  Joshua and I were reading ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ and all of the other kids were laying around in the family room reading books.  It looked like this:

Joshua read the entire book by himself.  When he finished it, he said, “I can’t believe I read the whole book!!  We need to do a ‘high-five’ for each page!”  So then we had to do 60 high-fives! 

It was just such a nice evening.  So peaceful, so perfect.  Drew came home and we had family home evening and went to bed.  Here is how Josh felt about his success:

Hmmmm….

What do you do with leftover apple crisp (which your family has eaten all of the topping off), a little bit of maple syrup, leftover oatmeal, and last night’s dinner rolls??

Mmmmmmm…….Yummy!!

Whirlwind of a week or two!

OK, so I haven’t posted in a while because things have been really hoppin’ here!  But to fill you in, I’ll recap with a few photos…..

On Oct. 23rd, Saturday, my sweet husband asked me if I would speak in sacrament meeting with him for his High Council assignment.  I said sure, knowing that I could just rework a talk I had given a few years ago and still had on the computer.  The children had ‘primary program’ practice.  (The primary program is done annually in each ward.  It is where the children do most, if not all, of the speaking and singing for the program part of church services.)  While they were there, the big boys and Drew were working, so I gave myself a hair cut.  I just have to do it every once in a while when it is driving me crazy and there just isn’t any money in the budget.

After all the kids got home, I had the thought that I should go and try on the outfit I was thinking of wearing to church.  It fit and looked cute, but I didn’t have any shoes that would work.  “This outfit says ‘boots’,”  I thought.  I haven’t ever had a pair of boots.  But a store popped into my head and I ran off to go and see what they had.  I found a pair that worked perfectly and they were only $30.00!!  I bought them.  Then called my sweetheart so he could tell me to take them back.  I told him what I had purchased and why and that I would take them back, but I really didn’t want to.  We came to a compromise.  I would stay in the grocery budget for the rest of the year, and I could keep the boots.  I had no idea how much I would like boots!!  I love them!!  Here they are:

Sunday, I got up and got dressed and put on my new boots!!  I spoke in church with Drew and then rushed back to our ward to watch our little ones put on their program.  Got home from church and started packing for Alli’s field trip.

Alli & I, and 22 other students and seven other adults, went on a camping field trip for three days.  (Sorry, no photos of that, school policy.)  Anyway, that was a lot of fun.  The first day it rained and poured.  It is an outside classroom experience, by the way.  When dinner was finished and I was still so cold that my toes and fingers were numb, I decided I had better just drink hot water to warm myself up.  Three glasses did the trick and I was warm again.  (No heat in the cabins at night, so it was important that I wasn’t cold when I went to bed.)

We got home from that.  Thursday I caught up with housework, shopping, etc… Drewster was sick (husband).  Friday I was feeling sick too, just a nasty run-down head cold with a cough.  I had known it was coming, but was trying to hold it off as long as possible.  Saturday was a busy day.  We had a funeral @ 10 a.m. with a luncheon, the ward Halloween party from 1-3 (where I was supposed to host a booth), and the big boys wanted to go to another Halloween party that evening which would require a 40 minute car ride, round-trip.  Friday, I knew most of that wasn’t happening for me.  So I called who I needed to call and made arrangements to bow out of all of my responsibilities, except driving the boys to their engagement.  I didn’t even take Halloween photos…..shame on me.

Actually, I forgot……on Friday morning, Darren came home from seminary (early morning scripture study class) and while he was turning out the lights in the building, he ran into the corner of the wall.  I was at the Urgent Care helping Darren get seven stitches in his left eye-brow.  Here is a photo for you:

It was pretty cool right before Halloween!!  Saturday I laid around and rested.  Sunday, I was well enough to manage church.

Monday we were off and running again!!  Two visiting teaching appointments, a forgotten item at school, and loads of laundry.  Drew still wasn’t feeling well and came home at lunch, Monday and Tuesday. 

Tuesday was voting day.  Drew got into the polls @ 7:30 a.m.  I ran the kids to school and then took Darren to have his stitches removed.  That an hour and a half!!  It was quite ridiculous!  They had to butterfly bandage his eye because it hadn’t quite closed yet.  Then we went to get gas and remembered that Drew had the key to our gas cap with him at work.  Drove to get the key.  Then drove Darren out to school.  Then hit the polls at 10:30 a.m. and home by 11.  Drew came home @ lunch and being a poly sci junkie watched all the polls come in until 3 a.m. 🙂   Silly boy.  Guess we all have to have our hobbies!!

Yesterday, we had play group at my house.  Then Alli got an award at school (citizen) so I had to go and see her receive that.  And it was look alike day at school, where you dress up like someone else.  Alli and I dressed alike and the boys dressed alike:

And I didn’t even include the time it took for us to decide how we were voting, an interview with the bishop, choir rehearsal, three long-distance friend phone calls, and talking to my mother, all of which added to the busyness!  Last night, here is what I found to do with all of those vegetables that were getting ready to mold in my refrigerator because I hadn’t had much time to use them:

It was delicious!!!  And today, I made time to post!!  I’ll try to do better this week 🙂  Have a great day!!

Emotional Work

October 13, 2010
My heart is so full today that I just want to cry and cry and cry.  Emotional work is so difficult and time consuming.  I hate the process, but I love the results….kind of like going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned.  I hate sitting in that chair while they scrape around in your mouth and how sore I am after I am finished, but I absolutely love running my tongue around my teeth and how clean and shiny they feel.  That is how I feel about emotional work….so painful, so soul stretching, no time for other things……But the way my heart feels after the process…. Free…..You just can’t pay for that!
Where to begin….
Over the last few weeks I have been realizing how deeply sad I am that my family (parents/siblings) does not participate in the gospel that I love so much.  I knew I was sad about my mother’s and siblings’ levels of participation, but I never even considered that I was sad about my father.  There is deep sadness there.  So much so, that I really struggle to reach into my heart and pull out the emotion.  Forget it coming out on its own!  It is simply too painful….I can’t let it out.  I have to reach in and drag it out.  It is a slow process because I can only handle so much of it at one time.  I do not want it to interfere in normal life.  I do not want it to disrupt the family or the children.  I do not want to be out for a month or a week or even a day so I can truly experience the depth of my sadness.  It is years and years and years of build-up.  Years of heart ache tucked away in a safe place where it will not interfere in normal day to day functioning.
Yet, I have to address it.  These emotions keep me stuck.  They keep me fat because I stuff them way down there and whenever they try to surface, I feed them.  Then I can pretend they are not there.  So for the last few weeks, I have been acknowledging them.  Being sad here and there.  Thinking about how much it bothers me. 
I have recognized some amazing things.  Most of my unconscious beliefs about how the ‘world/family’ should function come from the example and experiences of my home growing up.  That home is far from the perfect model.  The gospel teaches us better ways to manage and cope.  I can apply what I learn and what I know, but my reality of how things should function still isn’t whole.  I am still learning and in the places I am learning, I react/function according to the pattern set for me.  That takes a lot of emotional work and effort to recognize, acknowledge, and try to change, so that I do not pass those things onto my own children.
One of the gifts given to me has been a good self-esteem.  It is a gift.  I did not create it.  I struggle even now with wondering if I’m good enough.  Can I really do it?  I do not always know, but I am usually willing to try.  If I am afraid of failure, which I often am, I wait and plan and learn, so that as I stretch out there my failure will not be so great that I cannot recover.  But I pray a lot to give me the strength to try.  It is also a slow process.  If I had not been given the gift of self-esteem, I would not be able to thrive.  I am.
Many members of my family do not have this gift.  They are struggling.  Part of the gift comes from knowing who I am.  I know that Heavenly Father loves me.  I know I am His daughter.  I know He always is looking out for my best interest.  Even when it is painful and I do not understand the process or its necessity, I know He is in charge and if I am obedient, all things will work for my best growth and development.  I have seen it happen again and again and again, in my own life and the lives of others.
I am so grateful for the Atonement.  Not only because I can be forgiven for my own mistakes, but I can be comforted and healed from the mistakes of others.  I can change who I am or who I have become because of the circumstances surrounding my early development.  I am not a victim.  I am an agent.  I can choose to be happy.  I can choose to forgive.  I can choose to forget.  I can choose to love and to nurture, to build, to create.  I am not bound by the circumstances or feelings created in any instance.  I am free to choose.
I choose life.  I choose love.  I choose happiness.
Here are some fabulous blogs that remind us of what life is about and how to live happily….I read them today.  I feel great joy and happiness knowing these children and my children and one day my grandchildren will have a childhood with happiness and love.

My Favorite Time of Year!!

Yes!!!  I love the fall!  One of the reasons I love it so much is because it is time for General Conference!!  I love hearing the prophets speak!  I am always anxious to hear what they have felt inspired to speak to us about and my mouth is watering to sink my teeth into new instructions and feast upon the Spirit those meetings always bring.

This last weekend was General Relief Society Meeting.  That meeting and the General Young Women Broadcast that happens in March, are my personal favorites, probably because they always speak to the heart of women.  I love being reminded that I am a Daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me so very much, that my spiritual gifts and my feminine nature are unique and celebrated.  And that the Lord is counting on me to use those gifts and talents to bless the lives of others.  I always feel so motivated!  This past weekend was no different!

President Monson told this story:

A woman by the name of Mary Bartels had a home directly across the street from the entrance to a hospital clinic. Her family lived on the main floor and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.
One evening a truly awful-looking old man came to the door asking if there was room for him to stay the night. He was stooped and shriveled, and his face was lopsided from swelling—red and raw. He said he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. “I guess it’s my face,” he said. “I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says it could possibly improve after more treatments.” He indicated he’d be happy to sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. As she talked with him, Mary realized this little old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. Although her rooms were filled, she told him to wait in the chair and she’d find him a place to sleep.
At bedtime Mary’s husband set up a camp cot for the man. When she checked in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and he was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, he asked if he could return the next time he had a treatment. “I won’t put you out a bit,” he promised. “I can sleep fine in a chair.” Mary assured him he was welcome to come again.
In the several years he went for treatments and stayed in Mary’s home, the old man, who was a fisherman by trade, always had gifts of seafood or vegetables from his garden. Other times he sent packages in the mail.
When Mary received these thoughtful gifts, she often thought of a comment her next-door neighbor made after the disfigured, stooped old man had left Mary’s home that first morning. “Did you keep that awful-looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose customers by putting up such people.”
Mary knew that maybe they had lost customers once or twice, but she thought, “Oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.”
After the man passed away, Mary was visiting with a friend who had a greenhouse. As she looked at her friend’s flowers, she noticed a beautiful golden chrysanthemum but was puzzled that it was growing in a dented, old, rusty bucket. Her friend explained, “I ran short of pots, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, until I can put it out in the garden.”
Mary smiled as she imagined just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the little old man. “He won’t mind starting in this small, misshapen body.” But that was long ago, and in God’s garden how tall this lovely soul must stand!3
Appearances can be so deceiving, such a poor measure of a person. Admonished the Savior, “Judge not according to the appearance.”4

I loved it!  So often there are so many kind-hearted, good, good people who we never venture to know because we judge their initial appearance.  I am so grateful the Lord looketh on the heart.  I try to remember that as I interact with people.

I have a similar plant to the one in the above story.  When we moved in, the tenants before us left several large, full cans of garbage.  We dumped most of them, but didn’t get around to a few.  There is this one plant growing in the top of one of them……it looks like this:

I have tried several times to uproot the plant and transplant it to a ‘better spot of ground’.  Each time, the transplant dies and the garbage can looks like this.  It is a beautiful plant.  And I really like it.  But I would really like to throw away the can.

Sometimes people are like that.  Such beautiful, beautiful souls in such ordinary, maybe ugly containers. 

I cannot wait until Saturday, to hear more gems of wisdom!!

A Little Smile…..

Our little Smiley is so precise.  He likes everything a certain way, his way.  To him, his way is logical and therefore it must be the only way, because it is the most logical.  It reminds me of someone else…..hmmmm.  Some of you may know who that is.

Anyway, I walked into the kitchen the other day to find this:

These are Smiley’s alphabet beads from kindergarten. 
They are all in the top of the flour bucket, so neatly tucked into the indentation of the lid.

It just brought a smile to my face.  He is so much like his father.  Watching him grow helps me imagine what Drew must have been like as a little child.

Smiley and I had this conversation yesterday too. 
Me:  How was your day today?
Smiley:  Well, one thing bad happened.
Me:  Really?  What?
Smiley:  Well, I didn’t come in from recess when the bell rang.  So next recess, I had to sit out for five minutes.
Me:  Oh, that is too bad.  Didn’t you hear the bell ring?
Smiley:  Ya’, I heard it.  I just didn’t want to come in.
Me:  Hmmm.  Well, I guess now you know when the bell rings you had better come in, huh?
Smiley:  Yep.  When the bell rings, I have to come right in.
My thoughts:  Oh sweet, Smiley!!  Some hard lessons coming ahead!

Time to Think…..

So this is what the sky looks like today.  It looks like this most days.  But wait, the sun is peeking through the clouds….no, just a hole in the cloud cover.  It’s gone now.

Anyway, my sweet husband took a few days off of work last week–a surprise.  I didn’t know he was taking off any and I found out about each one individually–the night before, the morning of, and the night before.  Each day was enjoyable to do something different than I had planned.  By the third day, I didn’t feel like my life was on a ‘bullet’ train anymore.  I had forgotten how much I just love to hang out with Drew.

Over the last several weeks, we have watched three different ‘Pride and Prejudice’s, and two ‘Sense and Sensibility’s.  I have walked along the beach.  Had a few days without the children at home, and had some evenings without them here.  This week, I am helping a family prepare for a funeral and another family prepare for a wedding.  Also, one of my best friends has had a baby, another is fighting her husband’s cancer…….while my own children are in school, at college and on a mission.  And today I taught young mothers of the value and absolute importance their current ‘family station’ plays in society and in the eyes of the Lord. 

I feel like I have had a crash course in mortality —so many emotions, so many different directions.  Happy, sad, gratitude, loss, being overwhelmed, tranquility, peace, hope, despair, stress, love, joy……all over the place.  I’m not sure what the point is exactly, except that through it all I have felt the Lord’s guidance and love.  I have seen Him work miracles in the lives of my family and friends.  I have seen them grow in their abilities to manage the stress and circumstances in their lives.  Their characters have been altered for the better.  They are stronger, more courageous, kinder, more nurturing, more empathetic.  They have become more patient as the works of the Lord have manifested themselves in their lives.

It is amazing to me that just as we come to a place where we feel like the Lord has given us all that we can possibly handle, we are sure that our bucket of trials is overflowing, and we cannot endure any more, that is when He seems to step in and take over and His works are made visible.  It never happens before then.  We are pushed beyond our ability (we think), way beyond our desire and we desperately need assistance.  Pushed to the point of begging for relief and answers, that we reach deep into our soul and really seek after the will of the Lord—-that is when the answers start coming, or the help, or the relief.

Don’t you wish we would come to that place of desiring His will before that place??  And yet, for most of us, I think we almost have to go there before we are so willing to give up self and really, honestly and truly seek His will above our own.  It is so easy to forget when things are going well and life is good.  Why do we forget??  Why?

I certainly do not enjoy the trials of mortality, and yet I can see their benefit in the lives around me and in my own.  I grow so much because of my own experience.  A dear friend once called those places in our lives, ‘times of compressed spiritual growth.’  I really like that phrase.  It seems to capture it all, doesn’t it? 

So as you ponder the benefits and growth you have had from your ‘times of compressed spiritual growth,’ here is one of my little tiny gifts that reminds me that Heavenly Father loves me.

I love the beach!!  And I love sand dollars!!  I have never found a whole one on the beach any time I have ever been—not one!!  Well, while Drew and I were walking together along the shore on one of his days off, I found one.  (not pictured here because I broke it while I was cleaning the sand off of it at home)  Anyway, it was cute and little.  Then I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to find one for each of the kids.  (I didn’t plan on giving it to them.  I just wanted to find one for each of them.)  Well, during our walk on the beach, I found SIX!!  Six whole sand dollars!!!  It wasn’t until I was walking home that I was gently reminded that I had wanted to find one for each of the children, and I have six children at home.  Wow, really??  You even answer those little silly prayers?  Thank you!!  Thanks!

Speedy’s Gnarly Finger!!

Well–guess where we were two nights ago??  Think hard…..maybe the title gives you a clue…..

Yep!  The ER!!  My lovely sweet fifth son wanted to sew.  We were just beginning to use the sewing machine.  He was working with some scrap material and I had given him basic guidelines (so I thought).  I needed to go and pick up Scuff from school and  was going to leave Speedy sewing.  So as I was walking out the door, I thought, well, what is the worst thing that could happen to him?  I guess he might sew his finger………’Speedy, what are you going to do if you sew that through your finger?’

Speedy, “I don’t know?”

Carin, “Well, at least call me on the cell phone.”

I wasn’t four blocks from the house when Sport calls and says, “Speedy just sewed through his finger!!”  And I can hear Speedy wailing in the background.  I get home and Speedy is stuck in the machine, which is still turned on, light and all.  I unplug the machine.  Loosen the needle, lift up the pressure foot, cut the bobbin thread.  Speedy is indeed stuck in the machine.  I try to wiggle him loose which causes more pain, realize he is still attached to the top thread, cut that.  Oh my goodness.  The needle is completely through his finger.  Wow!

I call the pediatrician.  It isn’t bleeding much because the needle is in it!!  They say bring him in right now.  OK.  I call Drew and tell him he has to pick up Scuff because we are going to the Dr.  Drew tells me that I should just pull it out……..Don’t you remember first aid???  You don’t remove protruding objects!!

The Dr. takes one look at him and says, you are going to have to take that to the ER.  We don’t have the tools here for removal and we don’t have enough sedating power, and I’m worried he went right through the bone.

We head to the ER where we wait 4 1/2 hours to see the dr. there.  They took x-rays, gave him an antibiotic, and pain meds.  He did stick it through the bone.  Then when we were finally being seen, they numbed up his hand good, had a nurse hold up a towel so Speedy couldn’t see what was going on, and yanked it out with the pliers!!

I’m not quite sure why Speedy always picks the busiest day in ER to have trauma….last time I took him to ER we waited for five hours to have someone stitch up his head.  By the time they looked at us, his head had healed over and they said he didn’t need stitches.  Well now he has a scar in his head where no hair grows!

Anyway, I thought you’d like to see the pictures…are you ready???  X-rays too??  Don’t scroll down any further if you don’t want to look.

OK I cannot figure out how to transfer the x-rays to a photo document.  Right now they are in a word document…..I wonder if I can just copy and paste….I’ll try that…..hang on…….

Alright, I still can’t figure it out.  Sorry, no x-rays on the blog.  (I’ll email it to those of you medical people who really want to see it!!)

Speedy is doing much, much better.  Recovery so far is going well.  Sewing lessons are on hold, but when they resume, there will be no sewing without mother right there!

New Music

Well friends,
I have been feeling in a total jazz mood lately!  You may not know it but that is a huge part of me.  I played the trumpet in high school and a little bit of college–marching band, symphonic band, pep band and of course–JAZZ band!  Anyway, Sport introduced me to Michael Buble and I am hooked!  So this first song on the play list is absolutely incredible!!  The best trumpet song ever!!  Listen closely to the trumpets and the brass particularly the high notes and the syncopation (close to my heart because I played first chair).  Our rehearsals were during zero period and when I struggled in the morning to reach the high notes, my director made me stand on a chair so I could reach them.  I did!  Anyway, fun memories and still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the music!

Departures……

Well…
Today was the day.  Spanky left for BYU—
off to college.  It is such a bitter sweet day, like when Slim left for Brazil.  There really isn’t any other place I would want them to be!  They are doing what they are supposed to be doing and going where they are supposed to be going.  They are becoming who they are supposed to become.

And yet, I know they will not be the same when they come home.  I will miss them.  All the things they do around the house, all of the things they do with and for me, those things will remind me that they are not here….  
not here for me to talk to every day, not here to hold and love and tease, not here to discuss and learn and grow with.  No one told me in the fine print of parenting that I would give my heart to these people and that even when they were doing everything they should be doing, all of those things that make parents proud, that my heart would be ripped out and writhing on the floor because they leave.  Such a paradox–totally happy and totally sad, all at the same time.

Spanky wasn’t the only one to leave today.  Scuff and Sport left for trek.  They will only be gone for a few days, instead of months or years.  But how quiet the house is with only half of our children here.  It is an omen of things to come.  Quiet, quiet, quiet…….  Those older sisters would tell me the day would come when the house would be quiet and I would long for these days again–all the hustle and bustle of family.  I knew they were right and at the same time, I really didn’t believe it would ever happen.  Yet, every once in a while, here it is.  It will be right in my face as school begins and everyone is away for a few hours every day.

I love being a mother….love my job…..love my people.  I just hope I can give the younger ones the time and attention the older ones have had, especially since I miss them so much!

We will miss you Spanky!
We are proud of you!!  
Congratulations!
Love Mom and Dad!