Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Intentional Living

My thoughts as of late, have been drawn to the New Year that is coming. Not to downgrade the beauty and wonder of Christmastime, by any means...but to have some time to plan and prepare for greatness as a family this next year, so that life doesn't just happen to us. I find myself thinking about what ways I can be intentional as a wife, intentional as a mother, and in what ways we can be intentional as a family this upcoming year! Scripture Study will by my main, personal focus in 2012. I have felt for a little while now, that my area of study needs to be focused on the scriptures. Everyone's life is difficult. Mine is no exception. Every time I think that I need to focus on something else, I am drawn back to gospel learning with my family. It makes perfect sense, really. The only way I will be able to get through the riggers of life, is to anchor myself to The Anchor, Himself! 2012 will be the year of Gospel Learning for my family! I am prayerfully searching for the way and means by which this important work should be accomplished. I so desperately want to be successful in my homeschooling efforts with the children this year! I pray for Heavenly Father's guidance and love as I seek to continually know His will, for what and how to inspire the children, and I know that those answers will come, as I seek to keep myself close to His spirit, and as I seek to become a scholar of the scriptures. That will take a lifetime to accomplish, but I know that every effort I make, will bring me and my family that much closer to knowing Him and His ways. I feel so strongly, that I must find a way of keeping better track of the areas of inspiration for each of our children. This is easier said than done. I don't want to put my family on a conveyor belt, but need to find some way to balance out what they are learning. Much prayer is continually required, for me to know how to do this! I feel a pull, to set aside a few hours on a Saturday morning...to go to a peaceful place, with my scriptures, my pen and a notebook and ask Heavenly Father to just fill up my mind with His will for our family and with the ideas and inspiration as to how to accomplish it. This, I must do...and sometime soon! I know that my problem in the past, has been that I don't stay diligent in my study of His word, and then I lose my way. The first part of our year will likely be chaotic due to a move to a new home, along with the normal doctor's appointments, a couple of upcoming surgeries for some of the children, homeschooling, etc. But I'm going to plan ahead, to overcome the chaos of it all. I think I might plan a booklist for Read-Aloud's this year, as well as a method for morning devotional, gospel study and life skills. I'd like to encourage the children to keep a journal this year, and I'd like to attend some cultural events such as music concerts, museums and maybe incorporate some real nature study this year too! Ramble...ramble...ramble. That's what I do best! LOL :0) This post is more for me than anything, but if any of my readers have any suggestions or insights they'd like to share, I'd be open to them! :0) Lastly, I want to bear my testimony. If there is anything I am learning, it's that life is full of a million different choices. It's full of a million different distractions too, and it's difficult to keep your focus when they get out of hand. I am grateful for a loving and all knowing Father in Heaven. I am grateful for His guidance and wisdom, and for the scriptures. I am so grateful for The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for His perfect love and example! I am so grateful for a living prophet, President Monson, and for great leaders and teachers. I am grateful for Joseph Smith, and for my pioneer heritage. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a Celestial family, and for the opportunity to be a wife and a mother to a wonderful husband and precious children. I am grateful for new beginnings and for the opportunity to start again! It is my prayer that I can receive increased focus, vision and insight for the upcoming year, that I can live intentionally and on purpose, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Facebook Post This Evening and My Testimony of Pioneers and My Family Legacy!

Funnies for today: Ladybug put her underwear on over her jammie pants (which were on over her pull-up) and wore them like that for an hour or two. Luv Bug wanted to know how many months she's been alive, so we sat down to have an impromptu math lesson (the best kind of math lesson in my opinion.) I asked her if she knew how to skip count and she said "Yep! I can skip count by ones!" LOL :0) And all of the children said their favorite part of 17 Miracles was when Albert said "If you see a wolf walkin' around with one eye...that's the one I got!" LOL I loved snuggling with Wiggle as we watched, and I loved that Cuddle Bug said he was a hard worker when he sorted out his own laundry to fold! I loved sweet smelling hugs from my Snug-a-Bug! Oh that Heavenly Father will help them not to grow up too fast, so that I can relish the joys they bring to me as their mother! Oh how I LOVED the movie 17 Miracles! I cried and cried through the whole thing and just sat and watched in awe at the trials and hardships that these amazing Saints of God endured for me! I am so proud of and honored by my pioneer heritage. I have such a desire to help them all receive their temple blessings! That is going to be my New Years Resolution. I want to go to the Temple at least once a month next year! (Twice a month or more would be awesome!) I am so grateful to live in a day when technology allows us to walk in the shoes of those who have gone before us, via the making of wonderful productions such as this movie! The beautiful music and wonderful acting were truly sanctified by our Heavenly Father, for the strengthening and uplifting of our testimonies! As I watched this movie, I just wanted to get to the temple and make sure that all those who are still waiting to receive their own temple endowment and other temple ordinances, get that opportunity. I was especially touched by the sweet couple who never married, but who were waiting to be sealed together in the temple when they reached Zion. He never made it there. He died on the trail and she had him buried in a tree so the wolves wouldn't get him. But President James E. Faust had them sealed to one another in something like 1987. Such a special story! I wonder how many other couples there were with similar circumstances. How blessed I feel, to be living the life I am living. My life is hard. Each of our lives are filled with trials, difficulties and challenges. I am learning to be grateful for each trial. I know that blessings await us not only after the trials but often times in the midst of them. I hope that I can leave a legacy of faith for my children and my children's children and all of my posterity. I hope that through my imperfect example, I can somehow impart to them all, my unwavering love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I want my husband to know of my undying love for him! He truly is my Eternal Companion! We have the beautiful family that we have, because it is our Heavenly Father's will that we be together for eternity. How blessed I am to have each of my children and to be sealed to their father and each of them, as a Celestial family for eternity. I cannot wait to meet these brave and faithful pioneers who sacrificed their all for the building of the Kingdom of God!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning How to Govern Ourselves...Again!

We had a really good FEC and family meeting yesterday! We've been struggling with behavior in our home and family, and we've been trying to re-gain our focus when it comes to Teaching Self-Government. In re-reading Nicholeen's book yesterday (we started with the chapters for a family in "Crisis Mode", to get some important things in place right now), I realized that while we've had a Family Vision statement for a few years now, what was missing for us, is what I've named our "Here and Now Vision Statement!" We brainstormed as a family and have come up with a list of important vision principals that we can live every day, in addition to looking ahead to our Family Vision twenty years from now! Our Here and Now Vision Statement is as follows: The Hansen Family Here and Now Vision Statement: We are the Hansen's and in our family: ~ We love each other ~ We have fun together ~ We're best friends ~ We work together ~ We read and write together ~ We play together ~ We respect ourselves and others ~ We respect our home and personal property ~ We love and know the gospel ~ We speak respectfully, quietly and calmly ~ We have integrity ~ We're honest and trustworthy ~ We're neat, tidy and clean ~ We help each other ~ We're healthy ~ We eat right and exercise ~ We enjoy nature ~ We live simply and within our means ~ We are content and self-disciplined ~ We obey the Commandments and the laws of the land ~ We read the scriptures ~ We choose the right ~ We dress modestly ~ We obey the Word of Wisdom ~ We love and follow our Savior~ We will be printing this and framing it, and reciting it each day, as a family, along with our family mission statement!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One of my FB posts from today. Cuddle Bug: "Mom...can you learn about me, with my L's right now?" He wants me to work on speech with him! SO sweet! :0) Our speech therapist came back today, after maternity leave and he knows he needs some help with his "L's." I NEED to get blogging again! So much to share! Blog ya' later! :0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My FB post today: wishes that telling my children "No" in an opera voice had enough "Wow Factor" or "Shock Factor" to get the point across...but alas....it does not! In other news...in our MTC orientation this morning, we were talking about how missionaries have to know how to eat healthily. Cuddle tells me..."Yeah, my favorite fruits are cherries and oranges and pie!" Ummmmm.....apparently we need further study about food groups! :) We've officially become our own MTC today! (Missionary Training Center.) As you can see from the above Facebook post, it's going swimmingly. :0) I'll keep ya' posted!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Little Sweetheart

Wiggle Bug saw his cardiologist today and his left ventricle is still dilated. The doctor is putting him on meds. to see if we can get the dilation to slow down or possibly stop. This would give him some more time before a possible heart transplant would be needed. I am in shock about those words "heart transplant!" I have cried all day today about the possibility of him needing one in even 10 years. And while we don't know for sure that he does need one, he may. So...keep him in your prayers, will you?! Thank you! :0)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Loved THIS tonight! Dating is such an important topic and one that requires prayer, fasting and common sense! I hope I am ready when the time comes, to be the kind of parent who will encourage my children to be smart and seek and obey wise counsel during their dating years! I am hoping that I can properly and adequately prepare them for their future dating experiences and all that entails! :0)

Monday, August 29, 2011

FB Post this evening! :0)

Josh was singing nonsense words today and I said "You're singing words that don't even exist," to which he replied "But I'm pretending they exist, Mom!" Then...I had asked Lynz to sit at the table and calm down and a few minutes later, she gets up and says "Mom...I'm blue in the face now!" I guess I say that to my other kiddo's a lot...for example "You can whine about folding laundry til' you're blue in the face but it will still be there when your done! I LOVE my kiddo's and their cuteness! :0)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lately

Lately I've been SO super busy planning for our commonwealth school, that I can't see straight! We named it Liber Leaders and it's going to be completely awesome! I am team teaching a Music and Movement class. ( I already affectionately refer to my little 2 and 3 year old students as my M&M's.) I will also be teaching a dance class in the afternoons, as I grew up dancing, competing and performing my whole life. Haven't had my dancin' shoes on in a few years, but I'm excited to do it again! Snug and Luv will be doing Knights of Liberty and Liberty Belle's. Cuddle and Wiggle will be doing Book Play and Fun Phonics together, and Miss Lady will be in my class as a fellow M&M'er!

As part of the group, we have also started a colloquium for adults, entitled Liber Lads and Ladies! This is by far, one of the things I am most excited about! I know that I am going to learn and grow SO much, from this experience! This will be my first colloquium and I can't wait! We will be meeting once a month, instead of once a week, so this will be more reasonable for my schedule! I can't wait to read, write and discuss it all with our group! Our first book of course, will be A Thomas Jefferson Education, and I am excited to read it again! It's been a while!

I also feel like I've finally arrived, when it comes to having a plan for our learning season, this year! I had decided a few weeks ago, to teach the children about a time period in history, through a study of our ancestors, and then was re-inspired to do that when I watched a short video that Nicholeen Peck had on her site the other day. In doing some family research about Mr.'s side of the family, I have found out that he is related to Anson Call, who was a great supporter and friend to the Prophet Joseph Smith, as well as Brigham Young. I have been reading his autobiography today and just soaking it all in. It's even cooler to realize that he could possibly have known my 6th great grandfather, John Tanner, who was also a friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the church. I have yet to find where their paths may have crossed, IF they crossed at all, but I know circles were smaller in the church back then, and it's a real possibility! I am excited to share some amazing stories, ideas and projects with the children, all inspired by pioneer ancestors on both sides of our family, who really lived and loved the gospel! I'll let you know how our learning season goes, but I can already tell we're onto something good! :0)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Makin' Bread

That's what we'll be doing today...making bread! If I am strong enough, I may even end up getting the wheat grinder down, for some hand-cranked wheat. It's SO HARD to use that thing though! I think it even hurts Mr. Man's hands to use it! We really ought to buy an electric wheat grinder...we just figured we ought to have the one that wasn't dependent on electricity. Who knows...maybe while we're at it, we'll throw in some homemade soft pretzels, some yummy dinner rolls and maybe some hot dog or hamburger buns just for fun! Or...maybe we won't. (That all of a sudden sounds exhausting!)

I am sitting here waiting for kiddo's to get their morning basics done. Why is it SO hard for them to get in gear every morning?? It's starting to drive me just a little bonkers! I have felt strongly prompted to concentrate on spiritual learning for our mornings, but can't seem to get them to complete their morning basics in any normal amount of time! We are really having the hardest time getting our morning routine not to take forever! Ugh! I might have to go back to the drawing board with this one! :0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Drama

Dear Drama~

We can't be friends anymore!

Sincerely,
Me

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I LOVED this quote today! :0)

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me."
Erma Bombeck

Monday, August 1, 2011

Funny Family Night

We are studying and trying to memorize The Living Christ, one small section at a time. (check out Discover the Scriptures for some awesome visuals for this.) Anyway...I always take each section and make a lesson out of it, by asking or explaining about what it all means. We were on the 3rd section today. We talked about how the Savior would teach using parables and some of the people did not understand what He was trying to teach them. To illustrate this point, we talked about the parable of the Talents. I told the story and explained that we should share the gifts Heavenly Father has given, with others and that if we do they will multiply and bless others and ourselves. I used the example of poetry, since I write poetry. That got all of the children excited about poetry and they each wanted to share their poems. So here's what they talked about:

Cuddle: Humpty Dumpty sat on a Fence
Luv: There was an old man who sat on a tree.
Lady: Ladybug Ladybug
Snug: Once there was a cowboy
Wiggle: The Pig that rolled in the mud.

As you can imagine, their poems/stories were FABULOUS and very animated! I told them we could talk more about poetry this week! It should be fun! We had a nice discussion about Jesus Christ and His mission in life! :0)

"Mom...Why You Put Underwear On My Head?"

For starters...I did NOT put underwear on any of our children's heads. But Miss Ladybug did ask me that question this morning. I am still laughing about it. :0) Last night we got a doozy of a rain storm. The sound on the windowpanes was AWESOME! That is...unless you were Ladybug. When it started really raining hard, I knew I better go in to check on her and see how she was handling it, since she hates loud noises. Sure enough, poor thing was laying her little body completely sideways across her pillow, with both hands on her ears and her eyes shut tight. When I tried to pull a hand away she opened her eyes a little startled and said in a loud voice "It too woud(loud) Mom!" and then put her hand back on her ear and closed those eyes tight again. So...I did what any good mom does, I improvised some ear muffs. I went in my room and got my terry cloth hair headband that I use when I'm taking my makeup off. I folded a sock (doubled up) for each ear and then put the headband around her head and Wa-La...instant noise reduction. When the storm stopped and she had fallen asleep, I went in and took the rigging off so whe would be a little more comfortable. It just cracks me up that in the dark of her room she thought I had put a pair of underwear around her head. LOL :0) Ya' gotta' love her!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why We Homeschool

In an effort to remind myself of the very important reasons that I do what I do and that WE do what WE do as a family, (ie. Homeschooling), I am going to list them here: (Bear with me...some of this might not make sense to all of you.) :0)

1. I have a testimony of homeschooling. Not only just a testimony of it, but specifically a testimony of using the principles of Leadership Education, in our home and family life. The Spirit has spoken peace to my soul, about the place where our children should learn and grow each day. I KNOW that they shouldn't be growing up in the care of strangers at the public school. A lot of people feel threatened by this statement, somehow thinking that because I feel that that environment is not right for my children, means that I think it's not right for theirs. I had just such a conversation with a family member recently. As a mother, I believe in doing what you feel is best for your family. I do not think that my home schooling our children, has anything to do with what anyone else chooses to do or not do with theirs. It is the right decision for our family. It is Divinely Inspired for us.

2. The very first reason why we decided to homeschool had everything to do with the fact that it killed me to send my preschooler to school with a bunch of 8th graders every day. It also had everything to do with the fact that I was getting notices sent home involving (I kid you not): 1. A principal in our school district who was found to have inappropriate pictures of children on his computer. 2. An inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student, involving many things including alcohol, etc. 3. The police coming to my child's classroom with "drug-sniffing dogs", to go through their things and look for drugs. (Luckily my son wasn't in his classroom when they came. He's deathly afraid of dogs. The notice came home in his backpack, after the fact. Had I known it was going to happen, I wouldn't have sent him that day.) After receiving these notices, would YOU want to send your child to school??? What kind of parent could answer "Yes" to that question? Top it off with the fact the special needs preschool kept taking my son's special services away (the whole reason he was there), and you have our motivation for homeschooling, in a nutshell! Oh and to top it off even more...I don't approve of what they teach in public schools today. I believe as parents, that Mr. Man and I are the ones who should decide the doctrine our children learn.

3. Our children have quite a few different special needs. Their gift are unique, their challenges are unique, their learning styles are unique and the issues with which they are faced, cause them to be especially innocent and fragile. They could be easily victimized and/or tossed aside. (Our son's special needs were tossed aside when he was in the public school system, and he had a potty accident at least once, when the teachers wouldn't allow him to use the bathroom after repeated asking. That borders on vicitimization if you ask me.) I LOVE that our children get to pursue their passions and interests! I LOVE that they aren't held to some standard of what an education should be. I LOVE the lessons we are learning together!

4. The gospel is EVERYTHING! I have felt time and time again, the inspiration to teach the gospel strongly in our homeschooling efforts. The gospel cannot be found in the public school system. I believe that our children are here to be spiritual leaders and giants! This is part of their mission in this life. I have a great responsibility and stewardship to help our children reach their full potential and accomplish the reasons for which they came here.

5. We enjoy family time together! I cannot imagine being away from our children for 6 hours a day (or more.) How much I would miss! We are tight knit and close family and are SO enjoying growing together! We have fun together, we learn truth together, we talk about difficult subjects together, in an environment that fosters unity and love. Our kiddo's ask LOTS of questions! I can't imagine the ways that our kiddos' characters would be molded and shaped by having strangers give them answers (that I don't even know about) to questions (that I don't even know are being asked.)

6. I think the biggest reason that we have chosen to homeschool, is to preserve freedom! There are so many ways the world can enslave you. It is nice to leave the world at our doorstep, come inside, and learn about the virtues that will help us to stay free in a world that is in bondage. The stories we are telling in our family and the stories (from history and geneology) that we are learning about in our family, are SO inspiring! The ideals our founding fathers courageously fought for, are SO important and applicable to our lives, even and especially today!

I am sure I will think of more reasons! For now, it's nice to remind myself why I chose to do this very difficult and very rewarding and important duty! Homeschooling is a blessing for our family!

What Do You Want For Breakast?

This morning Cuddle Bug and I had the following conversation about breakfast:

I asked him "Do you want Pancakes and Bacon and Eggs or just Bacon and Eggs?"

And what do you think that he said????

"Bacon!"

He is constantly cracking me up with his cute personality! He makes me smile! :0)

He is officially known as the "Bacon Boy" when we go to IHOP...because the waitresses there always know that we order a side of bacon and a side of french fries for everyone to share. This is all requested by Cuddle. Now you can see why we don't go there too often! LOL :0)

Melatonin and Vivid Dreams or Nightmares

So we've been using melatonin to help our kiddo's sleep, for the last little while. I think we'll be stopping that, though. Kiddo's keep waking up with nightmares and for all the greatness about it helping them off to sleep, it certainly isn't helping them sleep soundly. This morning, Cuddle Bug was telling me about a dream he had last night. It went a little something like this:

"Um, Mom...last night I had a bad dream that there was a snake crawling up my leg and I asked you for a knife and I cut his head off!"

"Okay...FIRST of all", I said..."You won't ever find me handing you a knife to do anything with." Cuddle then said "No Mom! I was SIX!"

He is the funniest kiddo'! He really does crack me up! Luv was the one that woke up with a nightmare about a snake last night, and I think Cuddle may have created his story...you know...for moral support for her. Yep...I think Melatonin is taking a vacation or a permanent trip "Bye Bye." I've GOT to order more essential oils around here! :0)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take a Hike

I wanna' take a hike. No...I'm not talking about leaving. I'm talking about my desire to be in nature! It was said once at a HIP night not long ago, that one of the best ways to ponder something in life and come up with answers, is to take a walk somewhere and just think (and pray) it out. I really need to do this! Life just requires that, for me, right now. Too bad that it's virtually impossible. Mr. Man's work schedule is not conducive to having a wife that needs a hike right now...and I don't have a single soul that I can completely trust to know anything and everything about our kiddo's and their issues. We've kinda' been living in crisis for the last 2 1/2 months. Mr.'s work schedule only switched to nights, three weeks ago, but even before that, we've had sickness for 2 months straight. Ugh! Miss Lady is still not completely out of the woods with that.

For example...today we had Lady at the ENT's office to check out the hole in her ear drum. He said it's not quite healed and that we need to keep it out of water for at least a month. There goes swim lessons. We went ahead and pulled Wiggle out too, since we're pretty sure that the water is what brought on his illness. (Ah! On no! I just heard a cough...it was Luv Bug! Great!) Anyway...sorry I am rambling and venting but hey...this is kinda' like therapy for me. LOL :0) It's probably the result of having so many things on my mind at one time, that I can't see straight. I think I'll go sit in the middle of my loft, and just think for a while, feel the stillness, hear the hum of the air conditioner, read my scriptures and try to catch some semblance of peace. Maybe I'll go on a mental hike...you know...in my mind. Meditation might be a good thing for me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Invisible Mother

Invisible Mothers
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible - The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more.
"Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?"
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'
I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner,celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built,
and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof?
No one will ever see it.'
And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will
become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

I re-read this again today, and LOVED it once again! It's hard when you run into someone you knew in junior high and high school...when you've been up the night before, til 3:30 a.m. at the ER and your hair has this sort of crispy, crunchy, "I really need to be washed" look to it, and your eyes have 5 million dark circles under them and your body weighs 25 lbs. more than it used to---it's hard not to be sad. But...my goal, is to keep perspective and allow our children the gift of loving it here in our home. I would say that I don't know how I do it...that I don't know how I somehow manage to survive the lack of sleep and the vomit and the diapers and the constantly messy house...but I DO know! I am able to do all of these hard things for 2 reasons: 1. My Heavenly Father blesses me immensely...AND 2. I love and adore my family! So this post today, is a reminder that I am building something remarkable! Though it's hard to see the mosaic when you're down in the midst of it all...someday I will see the masterpiece that He has helped me and blessed me and allowed me the privilege to create. Good things come to those who wait! :0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I LOVED this today!

My dear friend Celeste is such a wonderful example and friend to me! I consider her to be one of my mentors! She wrote a wonderful post on her blog that I would LOVE for everyone to read! It really spoke to me, especially considering the recent drama of health issues that we have been through lately! How grateful I am, for her example and her strength in living the gospel and the principles of TJEd in such a graceful and committed way!

Cuddle Bugs Own Words This Morning

"Mom... I am going to be a minder today!" So cute! Then...he said "I am going to be minder and a minder and a minder every day!" Ya' gotta' love that! :0) Yesterday he worked really hard, to learn how to fold laundry! I was so proud of him and his diligence in sticking with it even though it wasn't easy! Way to go, Cuddle Bug!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finding Our "Normal"

I've spoken to all of our wonderful therapists who come to see our children each week. I've told them that I am planning to just be ready to go, for therapy next week! These ladies really are so wonderful, and this whole experience has helped me to appreciate them all over again! Thank heaven for these truly understanding ladies who come each week to make a small contribution to the lives of our children.

After seeing Lady's immunologist yesterday, and telling him about our not so comical visit to the ER the other night, we seem to finally have a plan for getting her well. He and his nurse, are really understanding, caring and thoughtful. They listen to me...and that means everything. I have it in my mind not to visit a hospital ER ever again, if at all possible. It's much nicer for myself and my kiddo's, to meet with providers who understand the child they are seeing. I am glad we have a game plan for helping Miss Lady get completely over the illness she's been holding onto for so long!

We have our first CoOp leadership meeting tomorrow night. I will not be attending, because I am still a little under the weather and don't want to pass it on. I will hopefully be participating by phone, though. I am excited for this experience for our family, and I am hopeful that this will be just the thing we need, to offer a little fun and support and inspiration for the education of our family! It should be super fun and educational!

I am also excited to start gearing up for the upcoming school year, since this is the first time we've really "taken the summer off." My plan, is to start our structured family learning time for the last 2 weeks of August, and be on our way! The children and I have already decided on a couple of things:

The Book of Virtues: I have been trying to turn their own, individual notebooks into their own Books of Virtue. We will study the virtues listed in this book and how best to apply them in our lives.

The Living Christ: We will be taking one phrase at a time, as a Family Home Evening lesson each week. We will work on memorizing our phrase for the week and learn about the meaning of that statement in our lives.

Family Scripture Study and Prayer: With Snug's upcoming baptism, we will be getting him his own set of scriptures with his name engraved on them, and this is the perfect opportunity to get going on regular family scripture study each day. We've been doing this each evening, so that Mr. Man can be part of this with us. I am hoping to inspire the children to learn to read this way.

Teaching Self Government and Zone Training: We will be working on establishing regular privileges, job training by zone (or area of the home) and reviewing the 4 basic steps to being obedient. (see Nicholeen Peck's website for more wonderful information about this.)

These are the only things I am committing to right now, as I am trying to keep it simple around here. I am learning that less is more, trying to follow that 1% rule.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land completely void of pink eye, respiratory issues, perforated ear drums, etc...there lived a beautiful Mommy and Handsome Daddy who got showers regularly, and a decent amount of sleep each night. They were the parents of 5 beautiful and completely healthy children, who never had to visit hospital emergency rooms (like Lady and I did all night last night), urgent care offices and umpteen-million different doctor's offices. In this beautiful land there was no exhaustion, the laundry and dishes took care of themselves and bathrooms magically scrubbed themselves repeatedly to rid themselves of contagious, sickness inducing germs which could pass from child to child. Hands stayed permanently sanitized, little boys' glasses and AFO's never broke and all the children loved each other IMMENSELY and CONSTANTLY! Then one day...I WOKE UP...and found most of that to be the fairy tale that it is! Oh, but it's fun to dream! :0)

Okay...that may not be funny to you, but it makes me laugh! I've always loved that little quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley which says something to the effect of: You can choose to laugh or choose to cry. I choose to laugh...crying gives me a headache! One of these days, when I stop laughing, I'll tell you the hilarious (not) story of how Lady and I spent the night in the ER, only to be told "We know she has a cough but we don't know why...and that is all. Here are your discharge instructions!" Good times, good times! Makes me want to say "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pink Eyes and Crab Angels

I am pretty sure that Miss Ladybug has the beginnings of Pink Eye. When I first thought this might be occurring today, I told her she needed to camp out in her bed so it wouldn't get passed around. She wasn't happy about that, but did remarkably well today. When Mr. Man got home and she heard the garage closing, she started yelling from her room "Daaaaaaaady! Come see my two pink eyes!" She yelled over and over again! It was pretty hilarious! He hadn't even come in yet, and she'd already yelled it at least 5 or 6 times. Then she said to me "Mooooom! Where Dad?" (yes, she said "where.") When I told her he hadn't come in yet she said "He need to hurry and see my two pink eyes!" She is so funny!

Tonight at dinner (we had take-out chinese, thanks to an excruciating headache on my part), I asked Cuddle Bug if he'd like a Crab Angel. He told me he would, and I gave him one, to which he replied..."Mom, where's the head?" I said "What???" He said "Where's the angel's head?" In about a minute, he had turned it every which way and decided which corner was the head, arms and legs. He is a super silly kiddo'! He's always telling us stuff like: "Hey Mom, I'm a chicken and rice boy!", or "Dad, I'm a fruit salad boy!" When he likes food, it just becomes a part of him! Now I wish Wiggle and Lady could have that kind of attitude about food! :0)

How grateful I am for helpful Snug-a-Bug! He has been such a great helper through all of this! He loves his brothers and sisters and is such a great brother to them! He really does watch over them, which is extra nice when I am also feeling under the weather! What a super great son!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hives now, and what next?? Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

Now Luv has hives. Are you kidding me??? I don't have a clue why or what from. The sickness over here, seems to be never-ending. I can't tell you how many times I've scrubbed bathrooms, sinks, door knobs, etc. We use sanitizer around here, like it's going out of style. Tonight I finally remembered that we have Oregano oil and that's going on everyone's feet! I just don't get it, honestly. This is a real trial for our family! We weren't able to have any Priesthood blessings given today, because the Mr. didn't make it to church. Bless his heart, he was up with the tube feedings last night, and I was up with Luv, giving meds and de-gooking her eyes so they wouldn't crust shut. (Sorry...gross, I know.) The drama of life is never ending lately!

Wiggle Bug has a echo-cardiogram tomorrow. Both the Mr. and myself are hoping the he will be home from work in time for me to not have to take the whole brood with me to the children's hospital. I can't do that...there's just no way. I've always said that I will only take my kiddo's to an urgent care or ER if it's absolutely necessary, because it seems that they get more illness there than anything else. I can't take sick kiddo's with me for this appointment tomorrow! To add a little more fun to the mix, Wiggle then has to go back to the children's hospital again later this week, to hear the results and see the doc. This is all precursory to his getting his cleft surgery. Plus...I am pretty sure that Miss Ladybug is headed for ear tube surgery. I've got to call the ENT office tomorrow, and get her seen ASAP for that perforation in her ear drum. Thank heaven for homeschooling! We relish our time together as a family, especially because there are lots of medical issues that pull us away here and there.

These are the days when I think of what Nicholeen Peck's grandma always used to say..."Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" I am ready for us to be healthy and happy and full of energy again! I am ready to learn whatever it is Heavenly Father would like me to learn from these recent trials! I am ready to get back to the swing of life again! Please keep praying for us! Thanks! :0)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Priesthood Intervention

Well...it's official. Now, Luv Bug has Pink Eye. To quote a phrase my sweet sister in law used recently..."For the Love!" (My Mom would say "For the Love of Pete!) LOL! :0) We just can't get this illness to leave us alone. She's got a fever and congestion too, and just feels miserable! The Mr. and I are beside ourselves about this, and I've officially lost my voice from sheer exhaustion. What's a girl to do? Well...I don't know why we've not asked for help from our home teachers before now, but I bawled my eyes out to Mr. Man tonight and told him that we need them to come and give us all blessings! He agreed completely, and now I can't wait for Heavenly Father's blessings to free us from this bondage we've been in. How grateful I am for the Priesthood! I sometimes forget to use it like I should, because it wasn't a real prevalent part of my upbringing. Now, I just pray that THEY don't catch anything! That would not be good! Anyway...if you remember, would you pray for us?! We would be ever so grateful! Thank you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Ladybug!

Okay...so her birthday was technically yesterday, but I am just now getting to blogging about it. I have serious issues with the fact that she has turned 5 years old. She should honestly be turning 3. Her physical age and her developmental age don't match, and it makes me sad that another year has gone by and her age is getting away from her. The Mr. and I keep wondering what this will all look like when she gets older. I mean, when she turns 18 but is more like 16...or what if her development caps off before that??!! We always have little questions in the back of our minds about these things. At any rate, she is truly precious and completely sweet and we ADORE her! She got a toy box with 10 little play sets in it, from us. Things like blocks, a donut tower that helps her learn to judge things by size, a wooden puzzle, a little bead game, a little wooden car, etc. We are planning to get her one more gift this weekend, if we can get her to tell us about one more thing she'd like. She is kind of oblivious to gifts (thanks to her Autism.) She was delighted yesterday when I made her a strawberry (pink) cake with frosting and sprinkles and frozen yogurt to go with it.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Angel Baby! Mommy and Daddy love you SO much! It is an honor to serve you, in all the ways that you need help! You are truly an angel on earth and we are overjoyed that you are ours! Don't ever lose the sweetness that is you! May Heavenly Father continue to watch over and bless and protect you!

Love Always,
Mommy, Daddy, Snug, Luv, Cuddle and Wiggle

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Follow Me Boys (or Snug's first time at Scouts)

I can't believe how fast Snug-a-Bug is growing up. (I am beginning to think that I ought to find a nickname for him that's a little more grown up.) Maybe I will call him Almanzo. (He thinks Almanzo in Little House On The Prairie, rocks!) :0) Anyway... he turned 8 last month, and his baptism will be next month, and he went to scouts tonight for the first time. He had LOTS to tell us about how much fun he had! We are super excited for him! Next week is pack meeting. (I am still learning the "lingo" and what it all means), and he's supposed to bring a collection of 10 things. Don't know what for. But...we'll figure it out. Mr. said he'll either just show them to everyone or maybe also tell them about it. I think he's thinking about bringing some Lego's (Mr.'s suggestion), but my suggestion was for us to go on a nature walk and he can take in some cool things he finds that way. We'll see what "Almanzo" thinks.

P.S. Our family LOVES Follow Me Boys! :0)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

I'll keep this brief because I am exhausted today! :0) The last 2 months have been icky at our house! We've dealt with more illness than we'd like, that's for sure! First it was the stomach flu, which took 2 weeks to make it through our family. This past week has offered an assortment of pink eye, respiratory issues and strider, sinus infections, ear infections and a perforated ear drum, wheezing and coughing, cookie tossing, G-tube dislodging drama! Bless these kiddo's hearts...they all handle these things with so much grace. I am truly in awe of them! They are super strong and precious! Anyway...we've had a pretty "sour" time of it lately. I keep thinking about that little quote about lemons and am working on trying figure out how to turn this all into lemonade. I'll let you know when I figure out a recipe for this kind of success. :0)

In other news...Snug a Bug will get to be baptized in August. He'll also start scouts this week, for the first time! Woo Hoo! Where does the time go? I can't believe how fast he's grown up! We'll keep you posted! :0)

Friday, July 8, 2011

And Then...I am Once Again Reminded

It was a simple moment, really. After feeling discouraged and lost this last little while, I went off to take Cuddle Bug to his dental appointment. (Have I mentioned that he's losing and gaining teeth at a very rapid rate for 5 years old??) We were shown to the dental chair and as Cuddle sat (more like slid repeatedly down the chair), life was put to rights again, in one single moment. In the midst of being a bit naughty and jumping and sliding on the dental chair, Cuddle said "Mom! Look (or as he still says "Wook") outside to see the bird!" I looked and saw the sweetest and most beautiful little bird outside, his beautiful feathers slightly camouflaged against the rocks. I had to take a moment to find him out there. (I seriously think it was some kind of pigeon, but it really was pretty!) I was quick to point out the way the bird moved his head. Cuddle imitated. Then we talked about his cute, orange feet. We sat and watched it for a little while and then it flew away. I LOVED that moment! Here we were, surrounded by kiddo's trying to pick a toy out of the obnoxious toy machine, two or three t.v.'s surrounding us, playing the ever annoying Disney movies of today, and he stopped to notice the bird outside the operatory window. It was a great confidence booster for me! They ARE listening! They ARE seeing the beauty that Heavenly Father has created for them! They ARE learning what I am trying to inspire them to want to learn! It reminded me of the power I have for good, as their mother! It reminded me that even when I feel inadequate and on shaky ground, they still see life as steady and sure. Just like the summer butterfly I once wrote about before, this little bird came into our view, mesmerized us for a few moments and left us forever changed for the better! And I am grateful, for answers to prayers of the heart, that come in the simplest and most beautiful ways. I KNOW that this was one of Heavenly Father's ways of letting me know that He hasn't forgotten me and the concerns and desires of my heart. I am ever grateful that Cuddle and I were able to experience this quiet blessing amidst the chaos of our surroundings. :0)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

So overnight, I've come to the conclusion that this too shall pass. There's not really anything more I can do, about the illness in our home, and Mr.'s work schedule and the season we are in right now. I think it just needs to run it's course. I am going to order some more essential oils, and rely on them more heavily to help our family. We've already started on the path to eating healthier. More fruits and vegetables, less meat, a good balance of whole grains. We haven't, so far, felt the need to switch to a gluten-free/casein free diet or anything. I know that is "all the rage" right now, for lots of people. Every time I have thought about it, I've been reminded of what the Word of Wisdom says, and it just doesn't feel right for our family. We've opted to decrease some things, but not eliminate them all together.

I decided last night, after I went to bed (very late), that I should just wake up this morning and ask the children what they'd like to do today. For those who are well, chores are not optional. I know they'd like to go somewhere and get out of the house for a while. But alas, the babes are too much under the weather for that. I recently went through our Joy Cabinet (closet), and got rid of anything junky or used up, and put a few new things in. It's all organized again, and hopefully it can stay that way for a while, so everyone knows what is really there. I have an inclination to make today a DEAR day. (Drop Everything And Read.) My kids just don't seem to be excited about being read to, lately. I guess I haven't found anything yet, that really inspires them.

I really wanted to focus on teaching them about our family history this year, as part of our focus for learning. The problem right now, has just been my finding the time to go through and find stories that the children could relate to and understand. I have a couple of books from my side of the family, about our geneology, and wanted to include some stories from Mr. Man's side as well. Again, it's all just SO time consuming and I can't ever seem to get more than a few moments of time together, to look into it. Another focus the children did just decide on the other day, is The Book of Virtues. As a treat on occasion, they like to watch an episode of Adventures from the Book of Virtues, a cartoon that plays on BYU.org. (look under the "Family" heading, down at the bottom.) They all decided they would like their very own "Book of Virtues (with a little prompting from me, about character study), and we are in the process of turning some notebooks into "virtue lapbooks" so to speak. This is all part of my trying to get them excited about something. We'll see how long that lasts. For now, I think they just need to play outside. It's been around 115 degrees for that last little while, and I haven't let them outside in a couple of weeks. We desperately need a day trip up to cooler weather. I long for a cool, beautiful, natural environment for the kids to explore in every day.

We have a couple of new things still in the works. We are pursuing our 6th adoption of a baby girl, who is missing from our family. We'll keep you updated about that. We are also going to be pursuing (hopefully in the next 4-6 months) the purchase of some land, and the building of a new home, that we can stay in forever. This will eventually provide a more natural environment for the kids to explore and play in. We'll keep you updated about this as well.

All in all...I've decided not to fight the season we are in right now. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As an old country song used to say "Sometimes you're the windshield...sometimes you're the bug." I don't really know how that transition from "bug" to "windshield" is going to go...but I am sure it will happen eventually.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still Stuck and Discouraged

Have you ever felt like you've lost your groove? Has your mind ever been so overcome with a "To Do" list 5 miles long, that you can't get everything straight? This is me, lately. I feel like I am flying solely on "Necessity Mode." I am taking care of kiddo's, hubby, sickness, meals, bath times and doctor's appointments, and everything else is just suffering right now. I kid you not, every time we get well and go back to church from a weekend spent at home recovering...our youngest two kiddo's get sick. About a month ago, we got the stomach flu at our house. It started with our sweet, little Wiggle and literally went through every person in our family, over the course of about two weeks or so. THEN...we had a good week or two at church. THEN...we went to church this past week...and Wiggle got Pink Eye and sinus trouble and a fever and a sore throat. It makes me want to cry. Lady now has the sinus issues, along with myself. I think I just got it because I am worn out and exhausting myself. I don't understand what this season of life means right now. I have always considered myself a year round homeschooling mom. So...I've been stressing myself out, trying to make sure the kiddo's are not bored and that they are learning what they'd like to learn. The problem is, that I haven't had adequate time or attention for inspiring them the way I'd like to right now. I am just tired and discouraged about how best to inspire them. I need to spend time reading my scriptures. I am just SO exhausted. It seems there is always something going on...some fire that I have to put out. Life is just hectic right now. It's mainly our health. Mr. Man has been working nights. I was telling a friend about that today and she asked how long. I was ready to tell her "for the last month." I was shocked when Mr. said it's only been this past week. We've literally been passing like "ships in the night" and we are both pretty much walking zombies when we see each other. It's just wearing us both out. Miss Ladybug had her blood taken yet again last week. They are testing her titers for her Hypogammaglobulinemia (say THAT 5 times fast) that she has. It's a fancy word for a type of immune disorder, and we are supposed to hear tomorrow, if we're going to have to start IVIG therapy. (Intra-Venous ImunnoGlobulin therapy.) Basically, it would involve us giving her injections every day. As if her life isn't hard enough. THAT also makes me want to cry. SO...would ya' mind offering a prayer or two for our family?! :0) We are SO COMPLETELY blessed, but could use a few extra prayers right now! Thanks!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Structured Family Learning Time

It's AMAZING what you learn when you stop and listen every once in a while! In this case, I have stopped to listen to The Closet Mastery Program (very slowly, mind you) that Mary Ann Johnson, "The Closet Coach" developed! I am learning a TON and it has been SUCH a good re-evaluation of priorities for me! It's truly amazing how distractions or other pressing matters, like to sneak in on our Structured Family Learning Time. We had come up with our "hours of operation", a while back. BUT...although most people have honored those hours, I haven't necessarily honored them the way I should. This has more to do with, calls from doctor's offices, than it does with calls from anyone else. So...I am really concentrating on our Structured Family Learning Time this week, and I'm going to re-vamp our "Hours of Operation" and then...I am going to stick to them! I especially want to work on being really present in the lives of our children! Oh, I'm here all right...every day and every moment of the day, pretty much. But somehow, I've still not been present enough in our kiddo's lives. We used to have a pretty good schedule going, for how our day would go each day. The kiddo's thrived this way for a while, but then if started to feel too structured and too rigid. So I did what lots of other moms have probably done, I threw our nice, little structure, COMPLETELY OUT THE WINDOW. Nothing's been real great ever since, and struggle though I might, I haven't been able to get us back on solid ground. That is, til now! I am bound and determined that we are going to get a solid structure going for our structured family learning time, so the children know what to expect when, each day! I'll keep you posted and let you know how it goes! I'll settle for nothing less than success, and as I am learning from Mary Ann Johnson, if something breaks in the process, instead of giving up completely, I'll just fix it! :0)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Morning Funny

Me: "Ladybug...why does your hair look so messy?" (and btw we're talkin' MESSY!)

Lady: "Betuz I was seeping!"

Me: "Who took your hair out of that ponytail?"

Lady: "Wiggle!"

Me: "Wow! From across the room?"

Lady: "Yeah...I need my hairbots!" (hairbox--that holds all her hair stuff.) :0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Special Birthday and Unscripted, Imaginary Play WITH...railroad signs.

Today is a VERY special day at our house! Mr. Snug has turned 8 years old today! He is extremely excited for a few really fun things coming up! 1. Going to Red Robin for his birthday dinner. 2. Starting swimming lessons this weekend. (Late to be learning how to swim, I know.) :0) 3. And last but not least, getting baptized soon! We are super proud of him and all he's learned and accomplished in his life! He is a really great kiddo' and fits perfectly into our family!

We love you oodles, Snug-a-Bug! We are excited for all of the learning and growth ahead of you and are proud of the good boy you are becoming! We know that you will continue to be a force for good in the world! Happy Birthday Buddy! We hope your wishes comes true!

Love,
Dad, Mom, Luv, Cuddle, Wiggle and Lady



Yep...that's right folks. I said railroad signs! Luv is playing right now. She is sitting on the floor, here in the loft and using a couple of her brother's railroad signs from his train set, as people. She's built a block tower and seems to be acting out a story involving a prince and a princess! "Hop down from the tower, into the wagon to your prince!", she says. And then...they smooch! When I raised my eyebrows at her as she looked my way, she said "Mom! They JUST got married!" "Okay, I am SO glad!" I said with a smile. I LOVE that she understands the very important truth and importance of marriage and incorporates it into her play! She makes me smile! :0)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Even MORE about scheduling...cuz I'm still workin' on this! :0)

We went on a fabulous trip to Half Price Books this past Saturday! I LOVE this store and haven't been there for a while, so we stocked up on some things we had been needing, wanting and looking for. Some of the goodies that I found...

The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (I'd always heard a lot about this book)

Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola (Found on Simply Charlotte Mason website)

Janice VanCleave's Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects (This is Fab!)

So all three of these books are seriously answers to prayer for me! They each speak to a need we have in our family, or something that I have felt really prompted to spend more time and attention on for us!

The Well Trained Mind ~ though I just barely started reading it last night, I can tell that it's going to help me in my own studies IMMENSELY!

Pocketful of Pinecones is written in story form and is about Nature Study and how a homeschooling mother inspires her children to learn through Nature Notebooking or journaling. I am LOVING this!

And...Janice VanCleave's book about science is SO FABULOUS because we tried to do something called "I Wonder" time, in our kidschool, not long ago. This book is all about chemistry, physics and biology but is phrased in the form of "I Wonder" questions. Now...we really can do "I Wonder" time as a family, and not feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants about where to find our information! I am completely stoked about this one!

There's only one thing missing...some sort of resource for studying the Founding Fathers, the Flag, etc. I am on the hunt for a free or inexpensive resource to help us stay focused and organized about patriotic studies. I'll let ya' know what I come up with or find! Feel free to offer any ideas or suggestions about this! Thanks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

More About Scheduling

These are some of my brainstorming thoughts, that I wanted to get down before I forget them:

Threefold Family Focus: Truth, Joy and Sweetness (The Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves), great classic read-aloud

Family Mission Statement and Family Vision: Posted on our wall (recite more often)

Patriotism Focus: The Founding Fathers, The Pledge of Allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner and understanding about the symbolism and meaning of our nation's flag

Gospel Focus: Family History, FHE, Flannel Board Scripture Study and timeline, Gospel Standards, The Living Christ

Family Logistics: Sunday FEC, Quarterly Family Vision Meeting, Job Training, Teaching Self Government, The Closet Mastery Program, Leadership Education Family Builders Group, Friday Co/Op, Play Day Co/Op, never ending medical appointments, Re-visit the Reminder Wall and decide whether it stays or goes

You Not Them: Scripture Study and Scripture Journal, Prayer and quiet time alone, The Gathering Project (or is this too much right now???)

Schedules

I am up thinking. Ladybug's feeding pump beeped at me, and now I have some things on my mind that need pondering for a moment. What are ya' gonna' do, right?! I have to take a quiet moment where I can get it! :0)

I have been really struggling to make sense of our schedule lately, and to get us back to something good like it used to be. We used to get up every morning and focus immediately on a routine involving morning learning and devotional. I loved this for a while, but eventually found that it threw us into a daily routine that felt a little too rigid and structured. I think we just took that "All or Nothing" mentality a bit and I felt like the kiddos' play and free time fell to the wayside too much and that they weren't learning to work the way they needed to and then when too many things became all-important, nothing was. Fast forward to now and it seems once again, like we've gone in an "extreme" direction. In an effort to balance everything a bit more, we lost our groove for a great learning experience! What is a mother to do? So many options and so many ways to foster greatness or throw a road block in our day! It is really mind boggling! And...here's an aside for you: An outside family member keeps mentioning to me, that life is often unfair for our children, because there are those who struggle with medical issues and then there are those who lose out on opportunities because one or more kiddo's are sick or compromised in some way and so the family can't do this or that. This statement makes me sad. I try very hard, to give our children the opportunities that I feel prompted they need! But I also feel that as a family, we need to stick together! I know there are valuable lessons that each child is learning, when one of the children needs extra care or keeps us from going here or there. This family member has insinuated that our other children are going to resent me, for not allowing them more opportunities, because of family circumstances. I sure hope that's not the case, but I feel strongly, that our family dynamic was divinely designed and that we need to stick together and support and serve one another! I wish sometimes, that people would keep their comments to themselves, about their outside view of our life. I am doing the best I know how, and I know that the Savior will make up the difference for each of us! Or maybe...I just need a thicker skin! :0)

So... I think this all boils down to allowing too many of the "non-essentials" to become too important. (This, by the way, is quite easy to do, in any family!) We've all heard that saying about how if everything in life is important than nothing is. This completely sums up how I am feeling lately, and we just HAVE to get back to those absolute essentials for our lives and our days. I am sad to admit that our Family Home Evenings have really suffered recently. I even have a little FHE in a Jar, and yet we can't seem to be consistent with FHE. I know my family really needs this! I think I struggle most, in trying to plan a lesson, organize who will do what (or rather just stick to what our FHE Wheel tells us,) make sure there's a treat (I actually think this is a really important part of it), and then carry through with all of it, even when Mr. isn't home from work. (Have I mentioned how insane his unpredictable work schedule is driving us all, including him, lately? Ugh...that's totally for another post!) :0)

It's SO hard to find and then KEEP balance and harmony? Why does this have to be SO difficult? I'll answer my own question...it's that darn satan and his overwhelming desire to get in our way and take the sweetness from our lives! I imagine it like this... life is joyfully proceeding and harmony and balance abound, BUT WAIT! The adversary can't have THAT going on, so he throws stones in the road to trip us, and puts roadblocks out to hedge up our way! It is amazing to me at the simplicity of his job, sometimes, and how easily he sneaks in to throw us off course! It's another one of those things that is MAKIN' ME CRAZY! (Do I really need more craziness? I am quite sure I've got plenty of that to share! Anyone want some, I am full!) :0) Guess what else has fallen by the wayside? FEC! (Family Executive Council meetings.) How do ya' like them cookies? This fabulous, weekly planning tool that brought so much harmony to our lives, has been completely non-existent lately. Goodness...there is SO MUCH TO DO! I can't ever seem to keep it straight! I focus my attention over here, and then something behind me falls apart. I turn to fix THAT, and then that other thing goes "Bye-Bye!" I have determined that Heavenly Father is an amazing, Master Juggler! I plan to ask Him for some private, juggling lessons! I am quite sure He knows all about this sort of predicament I am in! He always keeps things together so beautifully--I think I just need to ask Him again, to be my tutor through all of this! Will I ever get it all together? I really hope so! As of right now, my kids are going to grow up with a very sure understanding that their mama was a bit cuckoo! Goodness me, I HOPE they don't just have memories of all the places I was lacking as a mother, when they grow up! I've really got to get it together better! Any suggestions about how to KEEP it together once I GET it together? :0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I LOVE this blog!

Check out this post HERE! Her real name is Shannon, from what I gather, but she goes by The ReadHeaded Hostess. She is a seminary teacher and shares some wonderful handouts and information, including a FABULOUS idea for something called a scripture journal! Check it out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wiggle's Next (and hopefully last) Surgery

We are off today, to visit Wiggle's Cranial Surgeon. This doctor drives me bonkers! He never listens to me! I have been trying to get him to realize that Wiggle really DOES have a sub-muccosal (involving muscle) cleft palate, and he would never do anything about trying to really find out for sure. I finally pushed hard enough, and about a week and a half ago, Wiggle and I went and saw this doctor's nurse practitioner, to see about it. We're talkin' about a camera down the nose and everything! She and I geared up for some cookie tossin', but Wiggle was a champ and kept his cookies down. In the end, we all stood there with sweaty, disposable gowns on, for no reason. BUT...she did find that he has a cleft, and even got some crazy video of what is happening inside his head, when he talks. Anywho...I have officially decided that the medical profession really likes to waste your time and money! TODAY....we will see the doctor, so he can confirm that Wiggle does in fact have the cleft, that the nurse practitioner already showed me on video...and today the doctor is supposed to explain the surgery to me, and then we are supposed to schedule it. This will be Wiggle's 3rd surgery since coming into our care. (I believe it will make something like his 6th total surgery in his life.) As a mother, it's very difficult to realize how much Wiggle has had to endure without the love and care we now give him. Since he didn't come to us til' he was three years old, he's really been through a lot, without us. That is something that I know Heavenly Father will make up for us, in the next life. Wiggle is so brave! He's everlastingly happy most of the time, and he entertains us! He has struggled to eat his whole life, and as part of the many good things this surgery will do for him, we are hoping that it helps him talk and eat better! We will keep you posted! Please start praying for him! Surgeries like this, always make Mama nervous! Thanks! :0)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summertime Love in the Family

I read THIS WONDERFUL BLOG POST today! My friend Rachel is such an inspiration to so many! I admire her SO much! She offers so much encouragement to woman and families! The outside world wants to degrade the sacred role of womanhood and motherhood. Rachel is the most inspiring person I know, at helping us as woman to embrace and relish in our divine roles as women! I can't read her blog without learning, growing and smiling! I hope you enjoy reading this today, and finding new ways to foster some summertime love in your homes and families! We must be vigilant in protecting against the powers of satan, in our minds and hearts and homes. May Heavenly Father bless us as we seek His will and His light! This is my prayer! In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

1. The Road Not Taken


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20


I have LOVED this poem ever since I heard it as a child! I found a delightful version of it in the form of a children's story book, at Savers! (Have I told you how much I LOVE Savers?) This poem sums up my life!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Attack of the Stomach Flu

Well we completely missed the HIP Retreat. We are glad we didn't go. Not because we wouldn't have loved it (Boy would we have LOVED it!)....but because we would have had to throw our tent away, with everything we've been dealing with lately. You get the picture. It has taken almost exactly 2 weeks for a 24 hour flu bug to get all the way through our family. (And the Mr. hasn't had it yet. I pray it passes him by!) That's not the kind of record I want our family to be achieving, let me tell ya'! I had it Thursday night and Friday too, and I was grateful the Mr. was here to take good care of everyone including me, while I was down and out for a bit. We are ever grateful for him and his love and service and stewardship for our family! He is our protector, that's for sure...even from attacks of the stomach flu! :0)

We all love you very much, Mr. Man! Thank you for always saving the day (or the 2 weeks!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Children Lose Teeth in Odd Ways

Cuddle Bug is only 5, but already has a history of losing teeth much sooner than he should, by about a year. He lost his first tooth when he was four. He's now at it again! :0) His upper front tooth has been hanging on by the strongest thread EVER, for 2 or 3 weeks now. It cracks me up! it's quite loose and though it's a tooth he shouldn't lose til' he's more like 7 or 8, he has allowed me to wiggle it silly to try and get it out, and still...nothing. It hangs lower than all of his other teeth now, and was loosened by his older brother who thought that when he saw Cuddle with his wooden toy cowboy gun in his mouth, he'd just yank it out. I told them both never to do that again! (No toys in the mouth and no yanking things out of someone else's mouth.) LOL :0)

Today Cuddle and Wiggle had an altercation of sorts. I don't know why or what it was about, but Wiggle decided to bonk Cuddle in the face with his own face, and has now lost his first tooth in the process. Incidentally, that tooth has it's own story. Wiggle was born with it. It's called a natal tooth and has involvement in part of the features that helped to diagnose his genetic disorder. So...now we have a new toothless grin at our house. While the toothless grins are adorable, I DO wish the boys would find less barbaric means of helping each other achieve them! :0)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Random Thinking

I just read on one of my new favorite blogs, that May 20th is Eliza Dolittle day. Okay...do you know how fabulous that is??? The Mr. and I were married on that day, and I ADORE My Fair Lady! I have often listed it as my one of my all-time favorite musicals! Ask the Mr., and he'll tell you that every so often I get "Wouldn't it be Loverly" stuck in my head,and sing it endlessly with my own very interesting accent! Either that or "Just you wait Enry Iggins, just you wait!" I find it truly delightful that our anniversary is on Eliza Dolittle day! :0)

I am awake listening to the stillness of a snoozing hubby and 5 little sleepyheads down the hall. I am exhausted but must take advantage, at least for a few moments, of the quiet opportunity to ponder and pray for their futures. I feel inspired to teach them about very little, right now, and that is weird and yet simply wonderful to me, all at the same time. I keep telling you how I just feel inspired to teach them the gospel and that's it. Well, today another aspect was added. I was watching Glenn Beck's news show (a recording from Friday's) and it was a review of something Glenn Beck used to do on his show, called Founder's Fridays. I found the information exhilarating and awe inspiring and realized that I MUST teach our children about freedom and the founding fathers! They are going to need to understand all they can about the gospel and freedom, if they are to carry out their missions in this life. To be honest, their missions frighten me. I fear for their safety and protection in the fulfillment of those missions, and yet I also realize that they are blessed with an extra measure of Heavenly Father's blessings, because of the special circumstances into which they've been born. I have been stifled by a sense of overwhelming duty and responsibility which I have to them. I can no longer afford to be fearful or stifled. I must act. So tonight, I pray. I wish that I were better at using quiet moments for prayer and reflection! These quiet moments come so infrequently. But I also know that Heavenly Father hears the pleadings of my heart throughout our busy days, and I know that He will answer my prayers and help me to understand the course of action I should take for the rearing and upbringing of these precious spirits with which He has entrusted me and the Mr. So...I pray to know His will and I pray for the strength and tenacity to stick to what I feel inspired to do. Life changes a lot, but I can no longer afford to let life changes throw us off course. In this world of the TJEd Core Phase, I often wonder how to make a plan to stick to, while simultaneously not structuring our content. It seems to me, that there are some things, such as scripture study and devotionals, which must be structured in some way. I have been pretty good at flying by the seat of my pants for some things, but no longer feel like this is the correct approach for our homeschooling efforts. The trick is to find a common ground between too much structure and not enough. Hmmm...it boggles the mind. Time to pray and listen! Please offer any suggestions or observations you will! I need all the help I can get! :0)

We're Gonna' FREEEEEEEZE!

In planning and pondering about our upcoming HIP Retreat for our homeschooling community, I have been thinking about EVERY little detail. (I hope I am not missing something!) My parents were camping this weekend, in the vicinity of where the retreat will be. I was surprised to get a call from my mom, last night, saying they had come home a day early because it was 53 degrees at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, with quite a strong wind blowing. Hmmm...not the news I want to hear. We froze our toes off last year! There was not a whole lot we could do to get warm enough at night last year, and we just put all the kids in-between the Mr. and I, and hoped they stayed warm enough to sleep comfortably. Kids are amazing and can sleep almost anywhere, so they seemed to be fine, but the Mr. and I didn't get a wink of sleep at night while we were there. I suppose it was the combination of the bitter cold, the terribly uncomfortable air mattress (which was not made for 2 adults and 5 kids), the occasional rock or two in the back, from not digging them all up before we pitched camp, and the amazing ability little kids have, to put their foot in JUST that right spot, so as to make sleep impossible for you. :0) Does it sound like I am complaining??? I promise that's not the intent! We still had a blast last year! Which is why, I am trying to be strategic about this year's experience, so it will be even better!

I am a list-maker, in an unusual sort of way. I don't normally write my lists out for everything (usually grocery shopping.) But I guess because of what I call "Mommy Brain", my mind likes to keep this running list of things that are super important and above all else, MUST be remembered on any family adventure. First and foremost on my mind, is the "FREEEEEZING" part. We took every blanket we had last year, and it didn't begin to scratch the surface of trying to keep us warm. How I WISH we had some denim quilts. I am just going to have to get some quilt frames and learn to make some! In the meantime...wish us luck on our adventure! We are off to find some more warmth today, to take with us! :0)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I LOVE Sundays!

Truth be told, Sunday's really are a hard day of the week for our family! We have church early in the morning and with the usual added measure of drama that naturally occurs in our family circumstances, Sunday's are challenging for us. Mornings at our house usually involve all the fun of gastrointestinal issues, diaper changes, G-tubes, baths (again!), and lots of hair products, etc. But we try, and are rewarded greatly for our efforts! Today was no exception! The children have fallen into the groove of getting down to breakfast, dressing themselves, helping each other get hair products gathered, shoes, socks, you name it. Snug and Luv in particular, are such great helpers!

We arrived late to church, which happens more than we would like. We missed the Sacrament today. (I was very sad about that!) Our lesson in Sunday School however, was brilliant in every way, and I enjoyed the conversation in the class. Our instructor brought in a fig leaf and a fig, and told us about the parable of the fig tree. It relates to hypocrisy. (I was not familiar with this parable, which makes me feel the need to study my scriptures better. It is found in Matthew around Matt. 21 or 22, I believe.) We also talked about how there were some people who tried to tempt the Lord or trick him, by their questions. It was such an intriguing discussion. Anyway...I thoroughly enjoyed her lesson today! Discussions like these, ignite my spirit and are so invigorating!

Next, we had a combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting today, taught by our bishop, about marriage. What a great discussion that was! He spoke to us about trials and asked us to share some of the strengths of our marriage, with the class. I shared that while it's hard for me because I know that I don't take all the responsibilities upon myself that I should, that the Mr. and I share the load, and that we also dream about the future together. (We have strived more, to fulfill our roles in our family, and that has brought blessings, however, with the special needs in our home, we rely on each other to help in our respective responsibilities frequently.) Some other people shared the importance of a sense of humor and good communication, trust and ground rules, etc. The list went on and on. It was a good little discussion and prompted further discussion between Mr. Man and I. I could sense the great love that our bishop has for our ward family, and also the great responsibility he feels to each of us. He told us that there are over 600 members of our ward. We are the largest ward in our stake. This, I did not know. Wow! I cannot imagine the difficulty of his responsibilities. Such service, that he and his family provide to us!
I am grateful that Mr. Man and I have recently renewed our commitment to attend the temple together! We had a lovely time at the temple on our anniversary, and enjoyed hearing the words of truth there again. We have set a realistic goal of attending the temple once a month together. I am grateful to be dreaming with him, about the possibility of building our own home together, and designing it modestly, for the needs of our family! I am grateful for the idea that our home can be a temple and that we can keep the world away.

I LOVE Sundays, and have been trying to remind myself that it is the start of my week instead of the end of it. I am trying to remember to keep things simple and to be an example of humility, love, kindness and charity to our children. I love this gospel! I am ever grateful to my mother, for taking my sister and I to church each Sunday, by herself, so that I could have the strong testimony I have today. I am grateful that Heavenly Father created this day and then showed us by example how we should act on this day. He rested. He gives us an opportunity each week, to rest from our labors and cares, to ponder and pray and to re-commit ourselves to serve Him through the coming week!

I am grateful to a wonderful husband who is an exceptional father to our children. He whispered to me today, that he feels a little out of place when he talks to other guys either at church or at work. Most of them talk about sports and know all the players names. The Mr. commented that he doesn't know all their names, because he doesn't watch t.v. and doesn't follow those kinds of things. I sensed a twinge of a longing to fit in, from him and leaned over to whisper in his ear, "You may not know a lot about sports or other things that most guys talk about, but you are an exceptional husband and father, and I would be willing to bet that you excel more than they do in those areas!" He then commented about that one of the assets in our marriage and family, is that we are trying to build an environment where love and learning can flourish. How true and how important that is! How I love my Mr. Man! He sacrifices a lot, to be the knight in shining armor, that he is to me and our children. We are SO blessed to have him! His service to our family is priceless and I and the children feel honored and blessed that he loves us so much! I am grateful that Sundays can remind us of these blessings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How A Squished Bird On My Car Turned Out to Be Refreshing

No...I am NOT kidding about the squished bird on my car. For some reason, freeways and I don't ever mesh well. I always get hit in the windshield with something. Usually it's rocks. Today it was a bird on the grill of the car. YUCK and YIKES and DOUBLE YUCK! And just for good measure.."Ewwwwwwww gross!" Add to that, the fact that I had no choice but to leave it stuck to my car for pretty much the whole day, and you've got one really cooked bird! (See the afore mentioned descriptive words to describe this situation.) :0) 2 car washes later and it's still not quite gone. The Mr. will be my rescuer and clean up the rest of it. (I hope!) :0) Boy, am I glad about that!

It's funny how these kinds of situations have been defining my day recently. A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning up dinner after a day that was just crazy and as I picked up the bag of grated Parmesan cheese, to put it away, I grabbed the wrong end and dumped it on the floor. Thus...that day became known as a "Cheesy Floor Day", because it described quite accurately, the kind of day I had been having. Today is no different. I have had just the sort of day you would call a "Squished Bird Stuck To My Car", kind of day. Drivers were rude to me on the road, I got lost 3 or 4 times, I was running late for important doctor's appointment for Wiggle, only to wait in their waiting area past the time of our appointment. And the squished bird just summed it all up. THEN...I stopped at the store on the way home with Wiggle and we ran in for some things. In the checkout, he was being impatient and wiggly and whiny and kept getting into my purse. When I asked him to stop getting in my purse, he didn't want to mind and so I told him to please fold his arms in his lap and have a time out for a moment. When he started to talk back and whine again, I looked at him and just said "I know you are tired but you need to be respectful, please." The cashier said "Well, that's quite refreshing! I have heard parents tell their children to behave but it's great to hear a parent ask their child to be respectful!" He said "There need to be more parents in this world like you!" That made my day! And THAT'S how a "Squished Bird Day" became refreshing! The End

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Drivin' and Learnin'

Yesterday, we went for a drive for the afternoon! I just LOVE doing stuff like that as a family! It reminds me of being a kid, when we would go for drives on Sunday afternoons. We have been starting to look for property that we could purchase that either has a home already on it, (which would work well for our family) or that has no home on it, in which case we'd build one. It's fun to dream, but the Mr. and I are trying to be very prayerful about it all. We have some big ideas and plans for our future (nothing gigantic...just big) which will help us to continue to be self sufficient, provide our family with the environment we desire for our homeschooling and family lifestyle circumstances, and which will help us to start better planning for our future and the future of each of our kiddo's! It's fun and exciting to think about each of our futures and what we can do now to help them be the best they can be down the road!

In other news...Miss Ladybug had an x-ray taken, last week, of her digestive tract and was found to have moderate build up in her intestines. As you may remember, she has Gastroparesis, which means her digestive tract doesn't move and this causes constipation, vomiting and a feeling of fullness which means that she really doesn't ever feel like eating anything. (Sorry for those of you who are a little grossed out by some of these details.) :0) Anyway...let's just say that a Miralax clean out (which I have had the grand opportunity of helping Wiggle through a few times before), is not quite the party any of us would like it to be! It definitely gives new meaning to the term "Party Pooper!" We are unfortunately unable to attend church this week, due to this clean out taking place. I still marvel though, at her grace and sweetness through all of the unpleasant things she deals with in her little life. She is the very definition of meekness--the act of possessing quiet strength. She has accepted the challenges in her young life, with astounding courage and clarity. Do I think she understands why her life is full of these struggles? I know that her Spirit does, in her own small way. Do I think she knows that her life could be different than it is. No. Her body is challenged and broken in so many ways, and yet I am quite sure that she doesn't feel broken. She is just a girl on a mission from her Father in Heaven, and she's got lots to do while she's here. That gives me an incredible amount of peace! And I know that though she is considered one of the least in this world, she will be one of the greatest in the next! I can't wait to be tutored by her in the eternities. I am certainly blessed by all she is teaching me now!

Friday, May 20, 2011

11 Years

Eleven years ago today, the Mr. and I were married in the Mesa Temple! That was the start of the best days of my life and I am SO glad that I married him. He is the perfect companion for me and we really do compliment each other well! He loves the Lord and wants to do what is right, and he loves me and our 5 (soon to be 6) wonderful and amazing kiddo's! I am so grateful that I get to share my life through the eternities with my Mr. and our children! I am so grateful for temples and the fact that our family has been sealed together for eternity! It has been so neat to get to take our children to be sealed in the temple after each adoption! They have a love and understanding for the temple, that I did not have at their age! What a very special tradition and legacy for our family! It is my dream, that when the children receive their own endowment, that we can go to the temple together for each of their adoption anniversaries, to celebrate their coming into our family. Mr. Man and I are attending the temple today, for the first time in a long while! We are grateful for the opportunity to go, and feel of the Spirit there and hear important truths again! Temple attendance is SO important and such a strength to families!

Dear Mr. Amazing~

I love you so much! You have been a joy and blessing in my life and I know I married the right guy for me and our family! Thank you for your love and wisdom, for your support and guidance, for your strength and sacrifice for us! You are the perfect husband and father for me and the children and you make us all extremely happy! Thank you for working so hard to be our provider and for giving so much of yourself in the cause of fatherhood. Thank you for always loving me and treating me with tenderness. Thank you for graciously helping me through emotional situations and for your understanding and caring nature. Thank you for sharing your ideas with me and for allowing me to share mine with you, and thank you for entertaining so many of my crazy ideas and qwerky ways. Thank you for being my biggest supporter and for validating my feelings and concerns and for always listening to me and how I feel about certain situations...particularly those regarding my feelings about what is best for the children! I love you, Mr.! (Don't I wish I could just write your name in here!) You are my knight in shining armor, my soldier, my friend and my eternal companion! I am so grateful that I have you!

Love Always
Your,
Me

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New

Is it still Spring??? In our neck of the woods, we usually define our seasons in terms of "Hot" or "Hotter." (With a short time of "Cool" mixed in!) :0) I love new seasons...no matter when those seasons change. Life for our family, doesn't usually follow the changing of the seasons of nature, rather, we live life at our own speed and pace and it changes as it will. Sometimes I LOVE that! Sometimes, not so much! LOL :0) What I am loving about right now, is that there is some "New" in the air! No, I am not talking about a new car or a new hairstyle or a new outfit. I am talking about new ideas and paradigm shifts (which seem to always occur for me. Sometimes I get a little dizzy!) :0) I am talking about being enlightened and receiving answers to prayers both uttered and pondered, and getting one step closer to feeling like we are on OUR way to where WE need to go!

It used to scare me to think about traveling on life's journey all by our lonesome. But the really great part is, that while we are definitely not on anyone else's path, we have the peace of knowing lots of other families and friends who are headed to the same place as we are! They just have to take their own path to get there! Belonging to a community of like-minded families is the COOLEST thing ever! There has been no judgement or criticism, just love and support! Principles are cool like that! They provide a framework that can be built upon in so many beautiful, inspiring and tailored ways. For me, this new place we are building has been through a few re-model's along the way. Conveyor belt ideas that were tossed away, seem to always have a way of sneaking into our new "color scheme." And sometimes, they have a pretty tricky way of trying to match the new "paint samples" we've chosen. (No thanks to the adversary.) Before you know it, you realize someone or something else is doing some interior decorating at your family's expense! And I'm talking EXPENSIVE! My goodness, it's cost me sleepless nights and confusion, headaches ( from banging my head on walls that didn't want to come down), and some sweat (from trying to stay on that darn conveyor belt) and tears from sheer exhaustion and overwhelm. My oh my! Ugh! (You get the picture!) LOL :0)

I am learning that life is all about movement! I used to get so down on myself about situations where I'd feel like I had it all figured out and then some element of our situation would change even slightly, and flip it all upside down again. I am learning to give myself permission to go with the flow of life. I am learning that I CANNOT COMPLICATE things. I HAVE TO KEEP IT SIMPLE! I am learning about THE 1% Principle and that I can't do everything at once! I am learning to cast off the opinions and expectations of the outside world and trust what I know is right. It's a process. I learn every day. The best part is, I think I am finally starting to listen and not fight it so much. While the world around me, wants to rush at the speed of chaos, I am drawn back to simpler times. I have such a pull toward learning about the early saints of the church. It pulls at me so strongly. I know that I have a great responsibility to help our children LOVE that kind of world and shun the chaotic world of today. I know that my most important responsibility is to teach them to know and love the gospel of Jesus Christ and to live it with purity and simplicity. It's about time that this old world gets back to basics and simpler times. I have realized that I can't and shouldn't feel obligated to teach our children about everything. How could I? I have to focus on the right 1%, one thing at a time. I have to think in a new way! (Speaking of new...we are pursuing the adoption of our last little one! I'll keep you posted!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Figuring It Out

I have found myself really pondering that "box", that I spoke of a few posts back. You know... the one I felt like we've been living in as of late. The box that has been holding us back a bit. The box that has made us feel limited and caged, so to speak. I am slowly starting to figure out what was making me feel that way. It involves too little personal revelation and spiritual prompting from the Lord, and too much thinking that things HAVE to be a certain way, despite taking into account, personal family dynamics. I have purged things and then put some of them back. I have pushed ideas out of my head and then invited some of them back in. In short, I have tried too hard, to "over-headgate" our lives. Is there such thing, you ask??? :0) Yes...there is. LOL The Mr. and I, have realized that we've currently closed all the headgates that need closing for our family. We had closed too many, and had to open a couple of them back up. The neat part is, that we are opening them in ways that still provide the environment we want to create in our family and home. (For example, we've realized that our kiddo's are not yet at a point where they will get "bored enough to pick up a book and beg to read." Our kiddo's need a few more creative art supplies, besides just crayons and notebooks, if we want them to learn about the possibilities of creativity, and we've realized that books with pictures are not only okay, but necessary for our family right now.) :0) I am just figuring out how OUR kids need to be inspired, and just trying to stick to that. It's exciting to finally feel like we are climbing out of that box. I am going to slowly start going through The Closet Mastery program by Mary Ann Johnson, and I really feel like that's the avenue I need to follow right now. I think the Headgates article and Q and A's really helped our family get headed where we want to go, and now it's time to really tailor our learning environment to the unique circumstances of our family. It's time to get inspired again! I really feel like we headgated our inspiration right out the door. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely still LOVE the Headgate article by Brian and Kerri Tibbets! She is AMAZING! I have just had to really ponder the differences between her family and ours, and then seek guidance from Heavenly Father about how to proceed for our family. THIS is precisely why I LOVE that Leadership Education is principle based! EVERY home and family will apply those principles in different ways and we just have to find what works for us! I am glad that we are finally figuring it out! :0)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This Really Spoke to Me Today

I read THIS today, and nodded my head through most of what I read! Having some children who have been drug, alcohol and cigarette smoke exposed, brings about issues and challenges that are tough to work through sometimes! (Not to mention other issues of a genetic or hereditary nature, from their birth parents and families.) I am especially grateful to be homeschooling our children, and softening life experiences for them, that require more care and concern, more softness and understanding than the outside world is capable of giving them. As you read the post above, pay particular attention to the letter written from the perspective of a child who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I am quite sure that at least two of our children have been affected by the use of alcohol by their birth mothers, while in utero. Three of our children have static encepholopathy--also known as cerebral palsy. I loved how this letter described why mother's of kiddo's with these issues, are seen by others as overprotective and paranoid. I have been treated this way many times, by others. It's not an easy road to walk, but it's one that I must walk nonetheless. My children need me to watch over and protect them. I have a motherly stewardship over them, that outsiders or even well meaning individuals will never have. I am grateful that as spirit children in heaven, they were so eager to receive a body, that they jumped for joy, at the opportunities to receive the bodies they have, fully knowing that these bodies would be broken in ways that are not obviously noticeable to others. Talk about a mission! Their mission is more difficult than I could imagine, and yet they walk through life each day, with an incredible amount of grace and patience with their lives and with me. I have had wonderful discussions with our kiddo's about the choices their birth parents made (good and bad), and how those choices have affected their lives (good and bad.) I am grateful to be a part of stopping the cycle that many of their birth parents were part of, and to be teaching our children love and empathy for their birth parents, while also discussing the first-hand examples in their own lives, of why drugs and alcohol are bad and wrong. I just thought I'd share some of my thoughts about this today, as it just spoke very strongly to me. Thank you to my friend Heather, for sharing this with me. It went straight to my heart!