Happy Valentines Day!

16 Feb


The Scooter Pies are 18 months old!  Where has the time gone? Stinkin’ cute little cheesers 

In another year and a half, they will be 3 years old!  Life will be so different then!

Zeke (wearing orange) weighs 23 pounds and 13 oz and is about 31 inches tall.  (The nurse wasn’t very careful, so I don’t trust this measurement.)

Skeeter (wearing blue) weighs 25 pounds 5 oz and is about 32 inches tall.

I have moved them into size 2T shirts because suddenly all their 18-month shirt sleeves were about 2 inches short.  They are still wearing size 18-month pants because they have skinny little bums.

I am excited for spring to come so we can spend many more hours a day outside.  The Scooter Pies have already learned way too much about things like Nintendo wii and tablets and smart phones.  I want them to learn about bugs and sticks and dirt and rocks.

We went to the park last week, and they didn’t even try to eat the gravel! yay!!! This summer is going to be fun.

This is Good Time Management

16 Feb

Blueberry Pie got his driver’s license!

My daily life has changed so much.  No longer do I have to pick him up from seminary and drive him to school.  No longer do I have to pick him up from school and drive him to swim practice or life guard duty at the YMCA.  No longer do I have to drive him to Academic Bowl or basketball games or football games or Wednesday night activities.

I literally have 2 hours a day (or more) to get things done at home that I used to spend in the car.  I suspect I will listen to less audio books and home school & mothering podcasts.  But I am spending more time on my scripture study, my home school preparation, actual home school lessons, my laundry, and my blogging.

Its a sweet deal to suddenly be handed 2 new hours a day.

 

Book Journal!

5 Feb


I’ve occasionally thought that it would be nice if I kept a list of the books I have read in a notebook or something, but who has time for one more thing?

However, a couple of years ago I started using our state’s online library.  And let me just say, it was LIFE CHANGING!!  When I have a nursing baby and a bunch of toddlers running around, it is the best thing ever to be able to “check out” an e-book or audio book to read.  When I’ve finished a book, I can just “return” it and instantly check out a new one, without ever having to take small children to the library.

**Chorus of Angels Singing**

Also, when I have limited hands because one is holding a baby, or two, it is so much easier to hold my iPhone than a paperback!  and I can turn the pages with my thumb! Audio books aren’t my favorite, but it sure is nice to listen to something intelligent while I’m driving, or folding laundry, or cleaning the kitchen.

Back to the point: the Overdrive Online Library app has a history tab, and I discovered that I absolutely LOVE to look back at the books I read. It isn’t just nice, it is a huge happy boost for me.  It makes me feel like I accomplished something.  I smile about the books I enjoyed and even like to see the books I abandoned and remember why.

Last week I listened to this cool podcast from “What Should I Read Next?” in which different women shared how they keep track of the books they read. Some use Excel spreadsheets, some have a bookmark that they write on, some keep notebooks, bullet journals, or use smartphone apps.

After listening to all the great ideas, I printed out the reading journal that is offered free on Modern Mrs. Darcy (I had to give her my email address- a fair trade) I printed it at home, but took it to FedEx to be cut in half and spiral bound. They only charged $3 to do that for me.

This year I am making a thoughtful effort to put back into my life beautiful things.  Things that make me happy.  Things that may not be practical, but give me such a boost that I know they are worth while.  This reading journal is one of those things.

I also downloaded the “Library Thing” app to catalog the books I own. Its free. I already wish it had a feature where I could add notes about each book (like if I’ve loaned it to someone), but at least when I am at the book store, I’ll be able to check and see if I own Wind in the Willows already or not.  The handy bit is that it has a bar code scanner, so many of my books, I can just scan and the phone adds them into my library without my having to type anything.  So that is sweet.  Another bonus is that it is counting my books for me.  512 so far, but I haven’t scanned the kid’s picture books yet….

Don’t Tell Me I’m Awesome

22 Jan

`The internet is full of mommy blogs and internet articles to tell all us moms that we are awesome and amazing and super—even if our 4 year old isn’t potty trained yet, our house has a crunchy floor, and we haven’t done laundry or mopped the floor in living memory.

I had twins a year and a half ago.  They made babies # 8 and 9 for me.  I know how to make bread and I know how to sew.  I cook from scratch, and my family is pretty happy to eat the food I cook unless I commit the awful sin of not chopping the onions finely enough.  I am not awesome because I do these things.  My mom taught me how to do them, and so I can do them, much like any other woman out there who does what she learned from her mother and tries her best to be a good mother to her own children.

I love to teach and I like to make pretty things and read books about interesting ideas.  I like to share about what I am excited about.  Usually the response I get is

“Wow, you are amazing, I could never do that.”

“You are a super mom.”

This pretty much makes me feel like a shmuck.  I wasn’t sharing because I was seeking praise.  I was sharing because I was excited.  I want to hear about what other people excited about. I want them to be excited about what I’m excited about.  Instead, I’m stuck all by my self in a time-out called “You are Awesome.”

Sometimes I share about the struggles that I have.

I get the same responses.

“You are a super mom.”

“I could never do what you do.”

“You are so patient.”

“You are awesome.”

Sometimes I want to argue with people.  I want to tell them that they could do what I do—

which is do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

I want to tell them that I’m not patient; I’m just too tired to fight battles that aren’t worth fighting. Or I’ve realized that some things aren’t important enough to get mad about.

“God gave those twins to you instead of me because I couldn’t handle them, but you can.”

Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

I think God helps me deal with what life throws at me.  Just like God helps others deal with what life throws them.

Besides, I don’t want to be told that I’m super mom.   I was looking for connection, maybe even asking for help.  But instead I am again isolated by the assumption that I can be patted on the back and told I’m awesome and that this will magically help me feel happy and not exhausted.  Is it too much to ask to let me join the ranks of normal mom and have normal mom friends?

Next time you have a friend who shares what she is excited about, instead of telling her she is amazing, say “That’s cool.  I’d like to try it, could you show me how?” Or  “Neat! Here is this cool thing that I am excited about.”

Next time your friend mentions her struggles, maybe she doesn’t need to be told how far superior she is to all the other humans.  How no one can match her.  Maybe she doesn’t feel awesome and telling her she is awesome will just make her feel the gap more.

Maybe she just needs a friend beside her, to know she isn’t alone, a few laughs about how life is crazy, and a salted-caramel-truffle blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Word for 2017

12 Jan

I really love new beginnings. There is so much hope in a fresh start.

In December, I was thinking that my word for the year would be

DIRECTION

To help me remember not to focus on where I am or how far I am from perfection, but instead to just keep moving in the right direction.  So that’s definitely part of what I want to keep my focus on this year.

But then another word crossed my path and repeated itself several times and I know that it is what I really need to work on this year.

REMEMBRANCE

As we raise our children we teach them the remembrances of our culture.  I don’t mean we make them memorize facts and dates and state capitols.  I mean we teach them what we have learned as humans over the last 4000 years (plus or minus) .  We read to them our Mother Goose Rhymes and our fairy tales and folk tales.  We teach them folk songs.  We tell them the stories of our family members who lived and died.  We tell them how our family lived and how they died.

All these remembrances create an anchor for our children that tethers them to the past.  In the rushing ever changing river of now, they have a safety.  Their present and future have meaning because they can see it in the context of the past.  They can overcome hardship because they know that in our family we have had hard times before, and we overcame them.  Without a tether to the past, there is only the present.  The past and future have no meaning, and we are tossed about by each new meme on facebook.  We are touched or aghast or amused, but in the end it all means nothing if we have no tie to the past or responsibility to the future.

Jesus Christ broke bread and gave of it to his disciples and said, “This do in remembrance of me.”

He gave us an anchor, a tether that keeps us connected in the rushing river of life.  Through the power of his grace we overcome the trials large and small of life.  We can also overcome our own selves.  We are reborn in Christ and become his children as we take His name upon us.  This is why his name is “The Very Eternal Father.”  Thus remembrance of Him is remembrance of family.

Remembrance isn’t just remembering.  It is also doing.  We don’t remembrance.  We do things in remembrance of.  I know this has deeper significance than I can articulate right now.  It is something I want to spend a lot of time studying and thinking on this year.  I am looking forward to the learning.

 

Christmas Eve

24 Dec


I like the part of Christmas Eve where “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse”. 

( not quite there yet this year.) 

 Then I lie still and remember the magic I felt when I was young and anticipate the kids’ excitement in the morning. Sometimes I sneak to a window and open it a crack and smell the frosty cold air and check the starry sky (just in case Santa is flying over.) 

Then I close the window and look at the stars a little longer and think about the new star that shone down on a little stable in Bethlehem. For me, Christmas is about feeling awe and wonder at the Love of God, that He sent His Son to us, for us. I wish for you my friends to feel that wonder in your hearts tonight with me. 

🎄🎄🎄Joyous Christmas and Much Love to you all.

❤️

Glow Worm

Mad Organist on the Loose

21 Dec


I participated in a Christmas Choir this year.  We practiced for about 2 months before the concert.  The music was VERY ambitious. Our conductor was so encouraging and so much fun.  The energy he put into every rehearsal and preparing practice materials was astounding.  He wrote 3 of the pieces we performed himself and arranged another.  The music he wrote was absolutely beautiful. We are super lucky to have him living in our little corner of the world.  

  Five weeks before the concert, our conductor mentioned that he was still looking for an organist to accompany the choir for the final number.  None of the usual organists in our area were available.  So being me and wanting to help so much that I forgot my own limitations–why is it that my desire to rescue so far exceeds my ability?  I offered to work on the piece–warning the conductor that I haven’t had very much experience with organ beyond a 1 semester class that I took in college.  

I went through all kinds roller coasters of despair and hope as I practiced.  The piece was really beyond my ability.  But I practiced every day–our church is unlocked every morning for Early Morning Seminary, so I would practice during that time rather than have to pester someone about borrowing a key to the building.

Because I am homeschooling, it was possible to do this.  My 11 and 12 year olds could take care of the babies if they woke up while I was gone practicing.  

I did borrow a key over Thanksgiving break.  Those days I practiced more hours.  Pumpkin Pie practiced with me, pushing the stops and working the crescendo pedal because my feet were both busy with the pedal pedals.  I have to admit that from Thanksgiving up to the concert day, our homeschool routine suffered some (a lot) because this organ piece pulled so much of my mental energy.  I said lots of prayers along the lines of, “please let me make no horrible song stopping mistakes.”  “Please let me play it during the concert the way I just ran through it this last time.”  I did not pray for zero mistakes because I felt like that was asking too much. I know that my performance on piano or organ is never quite as good at the concerts as what I can can do practicing.  Seriously, it’s like I go blind from stress.  Music that I have perfected to auto pilot so that my fingers can just do their thing independently of my brain, that’s what I can do for the performance.  Everything else flies out the window.  Pretty much my mind abandons me under high musical anxiety. This anxiety is always highest when I am accompanying because: 

    A-if I mess up, I could mess up everyone.

     B-I have to keep up with the choir, no wiggle room to slow down if I need to.  No going back to fix a mistake.

     C- The accompaniment is the support, not the star.  If I make too big of a deal out of my part, then I’m hogging the glory that rightfully belongs to the main performer(s). Sadly, reminding myself of my relative unimportance doesn’t lessen my anxiety because I know that good support is important, bad support can be devastating, and I start worrying about worrying too much.  Yeah.  Mad. 

The concert day arrived much too quickly.  My three oldest sang with me.  My sister babysat the babies so that my husband could come enjoy the concert.  

As a choir, we sang the best we had ever sung the music. (That can happen with singing, it can be better than practice because of synergy and energy and sudden unity that hasn’t happened before.)

The final number came and Pumpkin Pie and I scuttled over to the organ.  The singing was strong.  I made many many mistakes, even on bits that were easy, but none of them were awful showstoppers.  The final bars were not as good as I had hoped and much below what I knew was possible.  Someday I hope that all the yoga I’m doing will help me to find a way to calm my mind when I’m under stress so that I don’t freeze up so badly.

All the audience were so kind.  So many people said how good it was and how incredible the organ sounded.

I am full of relief and pleased that everyone sincerely enjoyed the concert and especially commented how awesome my organ work was.

At the same time, I am embarrassed by so much praise of my playing, especially when I made so many mistakes, and especially when I was the accompaniment–that whole supposed to be awesome yet invisible support thing.

And I’m really worried that people have an exaggerated idea of my abilities now– they seem to think I can just sit down and play anything because I could play one piece that I spent weeks and weeks working on.  

I loved the practices.  I loved making more time for myself and music in my life.  I loved preparing for Christmas in a way that kept my joy in what Christ did for me In the forefront of my mind.  

And I am really glad that the concert is done and over with!!