Thursday, February 19, 2015

rusty.

there are moments that are smaller than family vacations. smaller than landmark events. these moments are the most precious to me, and the ones that i find are the easiest to forget.
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moments when the kids are all playing a simple game. moments when we laugh, but we couldn't explain exactly why.
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 photo treefeb20156of22_zps4a96c4d0.jpg photo treefeb20154of22_zps6980056e.jpg photo treefeb20153of22_zpsdda83c74.jpglately Ossi has been adding subtle commentary to our conversations. after someone is done talking he might say, "daaang, boy!" or "tell me, what?" in a high-pitched squeak.  his comments are totally unrelated to whatever we say, so they spin the whole tone of what we're conveying. it creates a furnace of comedy around everything we do.  photo treefeb20159of22_zpse8bf7150.jpg photo treefeb20152of22_zps6cc9bccd.jpg photo treefeb20158of22_zpscd639f1a.jpg
these little moments are treasures, tiny bursts of joy that bring purpose to our life. we might be doing productive things like reading together, or working in the garden, but we might also be just watching a movie together or laying in bed in the morning. wherever we are, there are these little treasures.
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the day we walked the tree roots liam had a bubble gum face. earlier he'd learned how to blow big bubbles and then he realized that his face was still covered in gum, now encrusted with dirt. just watching him giggle as he tried to get it off was one of those moments. those precious flecks of gold.
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i never want to forget to collect those little flecks in pursuit of less-worthy lucre.
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i mean, look at this face. my little finn commands the universe with this face. i'm feeling pure glee.
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i'm so rusty with my camera. my charger has been broken for a month and i'm running on empty batteries. this situation is an appropriate metaphor for my own need to reflect and readjust attitudes to be able to recognize, reverence, and retain those little moments. camera or no camera, we can't let this gold pass by unnoticed.
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life of riley.

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A million kisses.

A common occurrence: Evy, sitting in the hallway covering herself with lotion and then asking you to help her rub it in. An even more common occurrence: Evy suddenly squirting lotion all over my arm while I'm doing my school work. Last night she went around and gave each of her brothers a foot rub while we read together.
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I've never known a kid to be so expressive and aware of her own will and needs, while maintaining a tenderness and flexibility for the needs of others. She is touched with a skill for sensitive communication and intuition that I believe is part of her eternal nature.  I am amazed at the different talents and blessings that each child brings to our home.
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Just so, each personality brings a new dimension of challenge to the family. We see glimpses of stubbornness that for now make us sigh, but might later present great obstacles in our responsibility to teach and care for our Evy. This week she had such a high fever that she started to shudder and break out in a rash. We cycled the same scenario each time she needed to take medicine, her stubborn refusal, her eventual consent, the miserable process of consumption, and then almost immediate physical relief of symptoms.
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We tried not to laugh as we came near her mouth with the medicine and she snaked her body away yelling, "it's too close, it's too close!" Each time Matt and I locked eyes we just had to kiss out of joint understanding of the task we have to be partners in parenting our children.

I could kiss him and kiss him, a kiss for every weakness, a kiss for every strength. A kiss for every obstacle, a kiss for every blessing. A million kisses for every dynamic trait of each child we made together. And a million prayers of gratitude.

cough syrup and buckets by beds.

 photo feb2015small6of14_zpse410354c.jpgWhat a beautiful week. My school work is piled high and behind schedule. Matthew's desk is probably piled as high at work. The first and second grade homework and assignments will come pouring in when they go back to school, and we'll go through a struggle to get everyone into the old routine. The Burden of Disease in our household is high. photo feb2015small5of14_zps2d5aca79.jpg photo feb2015small4of14_zps92ed5587.jpg
But we've never been closer. We finished reading The Book of Mormon together, and also had time to read the second book in a new favorite series as a family. Anyone whose love language is quality time is feeling very content. Those who crave acts of service have been sufficiently filled. The babies who desire physical touch have been snuggled to capacity and the resulting kind words and moments to share gratitude have toped off the words-of-affirmation tanks. Grandparents have swooped in to bring meals and valentines prizes, filling the need for gifts as an expression of love. We might be short on energy, but there's no lack of love in this house.
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We look to be on the mend. I hope that we can resist the distractions that would keep us from consistently showing love in all the ways that we can.
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"And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved. [Also] blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble." (Alma 32:13, 16)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

you don't know everything, but you know enough.

Ossi has been badgering me about jump-rope for heart. The kid desperately wants to donate.

"I don't care about helping people, I just want the prize," he admits openly.

Tonight I attempted to walk him through the logic of giving, purchasing, navigating charities, and acting from particular motivations. These such lessons are an off-the-cuff sum of knowledge I've picked up somewhere, current topics of study in my online classes, and pure inspiration from a loving God.

Looking back on those conversations... oh, so many... fills me with humility and gratitude for the education I have and the background of moral standards that have come from trying to follow the Savior.
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So I held up a toy. "Let's say you have $50 and you want this toy. You can buy it at jump-rope for heart for the full $50 or you can buy it at a store for $20 and keep the change. What would you choose?" Ossi tried to change the parameters of the situation to make the question simpler and more advantageous; "Let's say that jump-rope for heart gives me the change. Let's say the store has the wrong toy." No. No.

He chose the jump-rope for heart toy, but reminded me with force that it's not because he cares about "old" people. This is where inspiration comes in...

"Ossi, do you want to donate to jump-rope for heart because you want people to see you donating?" Yes. He thought maybe he could make people at school like him more.

So we turned to the scriptures and read (while he hid his head under his pillow and complained). We read the scriptures found in Matthew 6, but not the ones that are probably the most applicable. That chapter specifically talks about not donating to charity just to be seen (verses 1-4), but we ended up reading about treasure on earth and treasure in Heaven (verse 19-21).

Of course, all four of the kids were listening. Because Ossi was still under his blanket I asked Liam to explain a little. I asked him, "do you think it's more important to get things or help people?" I heard two little voices respond, "help people." Finn had chimed in with Liam. Then Evy said, "what about me?" I asked her and she quickly responded, "I would want to help people." Ossi groaned in frustration that his three-year-old sister had just answered so confidently.

Some times I feel like we live in a black and white world like in "The Giver" and Ossi is the only one who can see in color. He comprehends joy the other kids can't understand because they've not felt it, and he knows pain in a way that they don't. He sees the complications of the world, but lacks the life experience to analyze the paths and choose. Moral codes are so easy to accept for the three and so difficult for him.

He came out from under the blanket. "This is too much to process," he said. I was proud that he found the words for his frustration. All I could do was walk over and scoop him up. Turning down his covers I found a pair of black pants and a black shirt that he'd stashed (he'd been planning to break into people's houses and see that no kid ever gets coal in their stocking for being bad). I sighed. And I just hugged the little guy. I said if he ever needed some help to decide if what he was intending to do was a good idea or not, he could run his idea by me and I'd help him process. Then I made the bedtime-kiss rounds.



Ossi, you don't know everything, but you know enough. Enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. You have a good heart and  in time the weaknesses you face will become your greatest strengths. I believe in you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

twins.

sometimes these two fight.
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and sometimes they coordinate their outfits.
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i don't know whether to eat them up like a couple of skittles, or trap them and take them to animal control.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

quick to forget.

The worst parenting moment.

Is when.

You hear your voice lecturing your child.

And you realize you are a total hypocrite.
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Worst.

So, last night I talked at them and talked at them, respect-this, obey-that, gratitude-if-you-please... Until I said the words, "you guys are so quick to forget what we've done for you."

The words stopped mid-air, flipped around, and cut me through the middle.
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At the moment I was talking about the time I'd spent earlier cutting holes in boxes to transform all of their stuffed animals into box-trolls. I was thinking, "I did that for you, can't you just obey when I ask you to brush your teeth?" Then I remembered that I forgot.
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The kids had done extra chores around the house to help me to have the time to do that with them.

Actually, the kids had been super obedient and helpful all day.
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At the root of my forgetfulness about their contributions is an even greater problem. I am starting to forget the source of my blessings. I am starting to forget that my blessings are blessings. My kids have moments of forgetfulness and entitlement, to be sure. Are they the apples? Am I the tree?

After that horrible outburst of unchanneled discipline, Matthew and I turned to the scriptures and were able to regain the Spirit. We prayed as a family and read these words...

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (Doc and Cov 130:20-21).

and

"Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:3)

and

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; But the seventh day, the sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Mosiah 13:16-20)   photo topostsarahsbap1of13_zps0757e568.jpg
Those scriptures may seem like they had nothing to do with the problems we are facing... but when we turn to the scriptures, Heavenly Father can dig past the surface of the problems we are facing and convey to us the core interventions we should apply.

At the same time, the scriptures can bring the proper spirit so that God can speak to our hearts and give us guidance, just for us.

"Write things down, Megan. You are quickly forgetting what I have done for you. If you stop being thankful for your children, they don't really belong to you."

Oh, my heart.

 As painful as it is, I am grateful for the correction of the Lord that pulls me out of that selfish place.

welcome, cousin.

Ian is here! His brave, wonderful mama is doing well and he is just heavenly. He was born a couple of weeks early (January 30th) by cesarean (he was breech) and he weighed 9 lbs 10 oz! Big boy! We adore him already. I was so blessed to be able to be there and witness those first moments when Katie fell in love and the sweet smiles of a thrilled grandma.
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Mom was pacing the halls in a ball of nerves before the surgery.
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The kids think he's a cutie and they all want to hold him. The kids watched as they gave him a shot... well Ossi hid his head under a pillow. Finn's face was so pained for Ian when he got poked. Evy gave Ian a few concerned glances regarding the reigning title of "baby," but generally speaking, she was pretty enamored. We just can't wait to get to know him in the days, weeks, months and years to come! Welcome to the family, cousin.
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