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!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

We're going for a treat as a family tonight and I AM EXCITED! Though it's a little on the expensive side for everyone to go pick their favorite flavor at a shop instead of buying a carton at the store, it will make for some fun memories and pictures! After all...we've been trying to write our own family story and we've decided we're all about 2 things:

1. Truth
2. Joy

Yep...tonight we'll bask in some honest to goodness JOY! (I particularly LOVE the Duggar family definition of JOY...it means to put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last!) What story is your family writing together?! :0)

Monday, May 2, 2011

From the Mouths of Angels

Naptime is over. Everyone is awake, with the exception of Cuddle Bug who is still snoozin'. Miss Ladybug walked up to me at my desk and pointed to the picture of Jesus that hangs in front of me and started a wonderful, little conversation about Him. She asked a few times, why He was crucified and then said "I like Him in our house." We talked a little about it and then I asked her "Do you love Him?" She said "Yeah...He lives by me." She is SO precious...and I have no doubt that the Savior lives right by her everyday! What a very profound thing for her to say! I am quite sure the veil is very thin for her, and that she remembers sitting on His knee in heaven before she came here. I am also sure, that she hears His sweet whispers to her, through the Spirit. How very blessed we are, to be surrounded by angels! :0)