Monday, June 30, 2014

June Catch Up

It seems like we've been so busy since we returned from our Nauvoo trip.  Plus our internet hasn't been working reliably so I haven't been able to post on the blog for three weeks.  Nauvoo pictures and stories will be posted later.  Here's my attempt at filling in the rest of the month:

We came home and found our strawberries were ready for picking.  It took us three days to pick everything.  Lily and Annie were really excited about the berries.  Our next door neighbors bought a goat to help keep weeds down.  His name is Gus and Annie really loves him.

Tommy might look sad in the picture but he really loves being in the garden - especially to eat the dirt.  He has been a great helper while Mommy tends the garden.

 Mommy had some health concerns right before leaving for Nauvoo so we had to squeeze in a doctor visit the day before our trip.  Daddy took the kids to the park during Mommy's appointment.  They had a great time playing.  Lily and Annie had their six month dental cleanings.  They both did great and love their new princess tooth brushes.

Here's our first picking of strawberries.  It yielded three batches of jam and two batches of sauce, plus a lot that we ate fresh or gave away to neighbors. 

Our little dirt eater strikes again.  Yuck!  He also likes to help us pick the strawberries.  He sits next to Mommy and takes berries out of the bowls and puts them back in the strawberry bushes - so he's technically "unpicking" the berries.  He also loves to try and eat the berries right out of the bowl before they're washed.

 Saturday June 21 was the Rigby Stampede Days Parade and Rodeo.  We skipped the rodeo, but we made it out to the parade.  We sat with friends from our ward.  Lily and her friend Claire had fun together.  Tommy found a comfy office chair to sit in and just relaxed.  Annie accidentally got pelted with candy thrown from one of the floats, she was too traumatized to enjoy the parade.

We're enjoying our Sunday dinners with Uncle Brady.  One week we had perfect kite flying weather.  Brady and his friend Tyler helped the girls fly kites for almost an hour.....

 .....while Tommy jumped on the trampoline with Mommy and Daddy.

The weather warmed up for a few days.  We put out the pool.  Tommy's buddy Camden, who lives next door, came over for a swim.  They had a great time together in the water. They lasted three hours playing in and out of the water.  It was so fun to see them together.

Then that night we caught a neighbor's dog chewing up the pool.  It was totally popped.  Her owners replaced the pool for us.  We've been waiting for the weather to warm up enough to try it out.

Lily and Annie discovered the fun of putting a sprinkler under the trampoline.  They love to do this every day.

Here's Tommy showing us his messy face at dinnertime.

 Lily's friend Shaeley taught Lily how to ride a two wheel bike.  Lily was so excited about it; she begged Daddy to take the training wheels off of her bike so she could be a "two wheeler" like the other kids.  Daddy wanted to get her some knee pads before letting her be an official "two wheeler".

They worked on it together and by Saturday afternoon she could ride without assistance.  She is so excited.  And she's probably ready for a new bike. Why do kids grow up so fast?

No week would be complete without a dance recital.  Lily and Annie favored us with some selections from Swan Lake Saturday morning.

The baby gate fell down and Daddy had to fix it.  Tommy was so interested in the process.  He sat with Daddy the whole time tried to help.

Another Sunday visit with Uncle Brady.  Tommy looks like a little cub climbing on a giant animal.

The neighbors with the goat also adopted a black lab puppy.  His name is Remington and he loves to spend his days at our house.  He follows Mommy around and sleeps by her feet.  He loves our grass and silly kids.  He is just small enough to squeeze through his fence every morning so he can spend the day with us.  It is so nice to have all the advantages of  a puppy without any of the expenses or disadvantages.  We sure love this little guy. 

That's it for us.  We've been working on the garden and house and trying to get back in the groove of everyday life since our long trip.  Life is finally settling down and we're so excited for the warmer days of summer.

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 08, 2014

Not a lot happened this week.  I tried to keep our schedule free and relaxed since we'll be busy with family and traveling very soon. 

Now that school is out, Lily's friends are home to play all through the day.  We had three playdates this week.  Lily's buddy Claire came over for a tea party.  The princesses dressed in their finest and hosted the party in their playhouse under the stairs.  The menu they ordered included: macaroni, cherry tomatoes, cucmbers, strawberries, and chocolate cake for dessert.  They had a great time - and Mommy was glad to see the chocolate cake go.  Tommy had to stay upstairs with Mommy because he was not invited to dine with the princesses.  He felt like such a big boy eating his noodles and broccoli with a fork all by himself.

The weather has been perfect.  Mommy treated the kids to a snow cone after a long day of errands.  The snow shack even charged us for one cone but split it into two cups, which made sharing easier.  Tommy got lots of bites from his sisters.  They keep asking when we can go back for more.

Annie and Tommy hopped in bed with us for some Sunday morning snuggles.  Love these two so much!

The kids have been asking to ride the mower with Daddy.  Now that he's got the hang of our new one, he let the girls take turns riding this weekend.  The kids were all smiles.  Tommy was interested but still too afraid to actually give it a go.  We're sure he won't let anyone else ride the mower next summer.  Daddy better be ready to give lots of rides.

 Our local grocery store offers free ice cream cones to children under 10.  Tommy devoured his in record time when we went shopping on Saturday.  I wasn't even out of the produce section and the ice cream was all gone!

We got our surprise package from Puna!  The girls love their dress-up nightgowns.  The minute the box was open they ran to put them on and wore them all day long.  Thank you for the fun Puna!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Am I Enough?"

I had a hard weekend with the kids.  Tommy was grumpy...I finally figured out (Monday night) that his one year molars are coming in.  Annie has started asking "Why?" to everything!  And Lily has been emotional because preschool is over and she misses her teacher and friends.  Every time I tried to accomplish something in the house or garden on Saturday, one of the kids needed me.  Sunday morning was a crying festival as we tried to get out the door for choir practice.  Sunday night, Tommy woke me up four times and two times I had to stay up with him trying to comfort him until he fell asleep again.  By Monday morning I was tired of the crying - and ready to cry myself.  I was exhausted from a night of minimal sleep.  I had a whole bunch of errands to run and three cranky kids and a grumpy Mommy to wrangle around town.  By the time Jeremy came home Monday night.  I felt defeated.  I had managed to remain kind and calm with the kids that day but the house was a mess, dinner was not ready, I hadn't showered, no make up, two out of three kids were crying, and I was supposed to plan and give our Family Home Evening lesson for the night.  I cried in his arms and talked about my feelings of failure.  We somehow managed to get through the evening and get the children happily to bed.  

When I could finally get to bed, I prayed my heart out to the Lord and was stilled and comforted by the Spirit.  I woke up ready for a new day today!  This morning a friend of mine posted the following article online and it summed up my recent feelings and experience perfectly.  I wanted to post it here as a reminder to myself; and to show our kids that Mom had bad days.  Too often our blog focuses on just the good memories.  I want our kids to see how I felt in the hard times too, and her words were just perfect.

"Am I Enough"

"This week my husband walks in the door after a long day at work to find: dishes piled in the sink, laundry all over the living room, the beef for dinner still in a frozen block, and me…looking like Frump Queen. He is gracious. And tells me to take a nap. I instantly obey. (Inwardly rejoicing.) And while I am sleeping for 45 minutes, he manages to clean the whole house…while watching our daughter. (A feat I clearly was incapable of accomplishing today. Many days.)

One part of my feels grateful the house is clean. I can relax now, right? But the other (bigger) part of me feels guilty and defeated. He just worked the whole day at his job, and then came home and did mine, too. Isn’t this why I am staying home? 

Every day I have this desire to accomplish something. But every day it feels I accomplish nothing. I try to clean something, but I don’t finish. I want to do a house project, make my space more beautiful, but all those gorgeous pics on Pinterest look like something from another world. Not mine. I leave to buy something, but roam aimlessly around in the store. Nothing to bring home. I try to write, but this little person cries for all of my attention when I sit at the computer. I clip coupons and price match, and still go way over on our budget. Agh. At the end of the day, there’s nothing to show for the last 9 hours of exhausting effort. Of doing what? 

When it feels I didn’t accomplish Super Tidy Housewife, or Spiritual Sage, or Fun Mommy, or Adoring Wife, or Betty Crocker, or the Likeable Friend…when I’m none of those titles, and all the opposites..
I have to wonder: “Am I enough?
I lay my head on the kitchen table, cheek against wood, and cry. I want my days to be of worth. But feel like they are all so: Unsuccessful.

As I lay, frozen, I hear a whisper, my daughter’s whisper:

Dear Momma,
Do you remember the nights you cried on the bathroom floor in the dark? When the pregnancy tests sat negative in the trash can? Remember when my nursery was just a storage room? A place for you and Daddy to throw your junk? Remember how you longed to brush my hair with your fingers, to sing me lullabies, to hold me close? And now I’m here. 
Am I enough?
When there’s dishes in the sink, and your skinny jeans sag from all the bending, and dinner’s ingredients still sit on the shelves of the supermarket, because your days are full, full of me. Am I worth your attention? Am I an accomplishment?
Am I enough?
You kept me safe today Momma, you kept me alive. You kept me fed, and rested. You played with me, and made me laugh. Does that count Momma? Am I one of your goals Momma? Just to be together? Even if no one sees it? Or knows it?
Am I enough?
Tell me Momma, did you think I’d be different? Did you hope I’d be different? Do you see me? I’m right here Momma, the answer to your sobbing prayers. But now that I’m here, is there something else you want Momma, to feel good? Do I make your day count Momma?
Am I enough?

And suddenly, the voice changes. My heart wrenches. The Spirit of God begins to whisper, making the table under my wet cheek feel more like the chest of God. And suddenly I know He’s near.

Do you remember when I said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me?” (Matt. 25:40) “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward?” (Matt. 10:42) Do you not see it here Child? 
All these days you live at home to serve this fragile girl, what you really are doing is serving Me. For whatever you do unto her, you do unto Me. So let me ask you:
Am I enough?
What is My worth to you? In the secret places, where no one sees? Look deeper Dear One.
Can you find Me in this place? In her face?
Every diaper, every clean, dry pair of clothes,
cups of water, Cheerios, all the laughter, every tear,
each soothing whisper in her ear.
In doing so, you so clothe Me, feed Me, hear My cry,
soothe Me with your lullaby.
If all you do is spend your days, yourself, on Me...
Am I enough?"

Her experience of crying at the table and Daddy coming to the rescue was exactly how I felt - minus the 45 minute nap the author got - Monday night.  Now that I'm swimming in three children, the busyness can be dizzying.  I feel like there's never enough of me.  I feel like I am not "accomplishing" anything.  I know I need to slow down and enjoy these days more.  I too often forget the painful years of emptiness I felt before Lily was born as I am swallowed in the fullness of constant work and three children who need me for nearly everything.  I am going to try hard this summer to be more present with my children - especially while they still want me and need me.  I need to spend more time on them - they are enough!

June 01, 2014

On Memorial Day we hosted our first neighborhood party.  We invited every family on the street - 21 households in total.  Including our family, we had nine families attend; I think we had around 50 people.  A lot of neighbors went camping for the weekend so we weren't expecting a huge turnout.  The number of people we had was just about right.  We set up three grills and had everyone bring their own meat to cook.  The trampoline and kiddie pool were a big hit with the little ones.  And the ice cold pop - trying to find ice in our small town on a hot afternoon was a challenge - and watermelon kept everyone cool.  We will probably try doing another one for Labor Day.  It wasn't too much work and it helped us get to know some neighbors we've never met.

Since Memorial Day we have had gorgeous weather!  It is sunny and warm all day long - but not so hot that we're miserable.  The kids are outdoors almost all day and all the neighbor kids love to come and use our pool and trampoline.  So far we've avoided serious sunburn and Tommy is more tan than all the rest of us.  His little hands are so brown.  It is too cute.

Now that the driveway is paved, the kids ride their wiggle cars constantly.  Tommy can even sit on one with Lily for a little while.  Eventually one of them forgets to hold on and Tommy falls off.  Annie is tall enough to ride Lily's bike.  She's pretty proud of that.

Lily graduated from preschool.  She is very sad to say goodbye to her teacher Miss Erin.  The little graduation program was so sweet.  The kids sang some of their favorite songs and taught us about the weather and the days of the week.  Each student was given a hat and a certificate of completion - which was wrapped in a sand bucket with a shovel.

Thank you for a wonderful year Miss Erin.  Lily is so excited for Kindergarten next year!

And now for some big news......we adopted a dog!  Just for the week.  Our next door neighbors went on vacation and we volunteered to dog sit their adorable golden named Rowdy.  He is tons of fun.  We played fetch and checked his food and water for him.  The kids even spent three hours in Rowdy's yard with him one morning just playing with him.  It is nice to have neighbors who share their dogs with us.  Lily is not afraid of dogs anymore and Mommy doesn't have to deal with allergies and keeping our house free of dog hair.

Our other favorite neighbor dog is Scooby Doo.  Actually her name is Lady.  She is the gentlest, kindest dog I have ever known.  She protects all the children on the street and is so good with kids.  She and Annie really dig each other.

We've been working hard on our garden.  Everything is planted.  Most of the transplants have survived and we're anxiously waiting for the seeds to sprout.  We are most excited about our sunflower playhouse we planted.  We set down some big boards for the floor and planted sunflower seeds all around.  Hopefully when the flowers grow up they will be a shady place in the garden for the kids to play.  Lily and Annie planted all the seeds for their house themselves.  Mommy is just hoping enough of them will grow to create the right effect.

 Friday night Mommy went with my friends Christen and Crystal to a Zumba masterclass taught by a Zumba celebrity named Lindsey Taylor.  She stars in quite a few Zumba dvds as well as Latin music videos.  She is a dancer, choreographer, and is the master trainer for all Zumba instructors in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado.  It was crowded and hot in the Zumba studio.  But it was a fun night.  If you look closely you can see parts of me in the photos below.

 I'm on the left.  I have a bright red shirt on.

 That's my blurry profile in the bottom left of the picture.

 My backside is showing in the center-right of this one.  I have the bright red shirt and gray pants on.

Half of me made it into this one.  I'm on the far left again.

It was a tough 90 minute workout.  We were all so tired by the end of class.  Lindsey was so energetic and fun to watch.  Couldn't have asked for a more fun mom's night out!  I love Zumba!

Sunday night Uncle Brady came over for dinner.  The girls wanted to make a chocolate cake for dessert.  Lily helped make the frosting and frosted the cake.  Annie did the sprinkles....lots...of...sprinkles!

To help work off the cake we jumped on the trampoline.  Brady was giving the girls a ride.  They flew so high.  It honestly made Mommy nervous so I had to go inside and not watch for a little while.  I love how crazy their hair looks in these pictures.

Brady brought his friend Madison again this week.  The kids just love her.  Our whole family thinks she's pretty neat.  Tommy was so sad when she left, he cried at the door for her.

That's all for this week.  We are excited for the lazy days of summer to begin.  No more school, gymnastics, dance classes, etc.  Hooray for summer time.