Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sense of Accomplishment

When you live in a house with 8 people, very little that gets "done" stays "done." For example, I could spend an hour straightening and cleaning my kitchen, but within 15 minutes, some little boy would wander through in dire need of a drink of water. He'd take two sips, then leave me with a 3/4 full cup to clean up later.

I could do the laundry, but let's face it moms... that's just a job that's never done. I think the word "cycle" applies very well to laundry. 1. Take dirty laundry to laundry room, 2. Sort, 3. Wash, 4. Dry, 5. Put in a basket and ignore for a week, 6. Fold (but only because you need said basket for the next load), 7. Put clean laundry in drawers, 8. Repeat endlessly for the rest of your life.

And forget scrubbing a toilet. Even though Heather has been diligently trying to teach her boys (and mine) that if they miss, they need to clean it up, in a house with this many people who stand up to pee, it's guaranteed that a toilet will stay clean for no longer than 15 minutes.

But today, I stumbled on a chore that can give me an actual, lasting sense of accomplishment. Once mowed, no one can un-mow a lawn! I don't have to send the kids out there with explicit instructions to not re-grow the grass I just cut. Once Kirk gets home, I don't have to explain, "Well, I did mow the lawn today, but then everybody got home and now you can't even tell." In fact, I'll be able to enjoy the fact that the lawn mowing is complete and does not need to be done again for an ENTIRE WEEK!

Obviously, even the grass grows all on its own, and every chore once done eventually must be done again. But I also don't know of any other chores that can help me work on my suntan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Proud Moment for a Mother

This morning I received this email from the grandmother of the autistic boy mentioned. She wanted me to know that Adam was the "little boy" in the story. I can't say enough how proud I am of Adam.

"AprBreakthrough: My Son and his Church Class posted by Jeremy
On Sunday a very special thing happened in my son’s primary class at church. To date most of the other children have been either indifferent to my son, or have outright feared him. One parent in particular seems to be rather fearful of him, or is at least using him as an excuse to have her son moved to another class.

During his class, one young lady’s hand was touched by my son, and she immediately freaked out and told my wife, who is also their teacher. My wife, frustrated by the treatment of my son’s condition by the previously mentioned parent, decided to huddle the children together and explain autism to them.

She did it in a way that I could not, as I tend to be verbose and in depth when I explain autism. She identified my son’s behaviors and lack of speech, asking the children if they have noticed these things. They each said yes, and she explained that he was unable to speak, and uses touch and face contact as a way to communicate.

She then sent the children out into the hall with the other teacher in pairs, and a little boy grabbed my son’s hand. My son smiled at him, grabbed his hand back, and the little boy was excited! He declared that he had made a friend, and was happy for the rest of the day.
The children are all four years old, so their understanding is limited to their four years of life experience and what their parents have told them. The exciting thing is that they now get it, they understand that my son is not being bad, he is not trying to be disruptive. He is just trying to communicate with a world that is different than his own. If only the parents of these children were in that situation, and were as willing to accept my son for who he is.

What a message for Easter, a time of renewal, Spring, and a focus on those things that bring us closer to each other after the coldseparation of Winter. For me, this was the most memorable Easter I have ever had."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bunny Fluffy Bunny

Ok, this is mostly for Kirk who is in Seattle. You can watch it if you want, but honestly Adam isn't much of a performer, so unless you're his daddy, you'll probably find it pretty boring.

Anyone Up for Camping? *UPDATED

We recently purchased a tent trailer, and I intend to camp LOTS this summer. If you and your family like to camp, let us know if you'd like to join us on one of our trips. Here's the planned dates and tentative locations:

Memorial Weekend: Somewhere Warm (Southern Utah-ish)

**24th of July Weekend: The spot Rachel has picked out for us**

Labor Day Weekend: Somewhere South (maybe Maple Grove)

Even if we don't know each other really well (we just blog-stalk each other), camping is a great way to make friendships, so come join us! We believe in cheap, relaxed, fun for all camping, and we always have a great time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thoughts from the Bathtub

When I'm alone, I have this annoying tendency toward internal dialogue. With Kirk in Seattle, I've had far too much time alone lately. This morning, my inner ramblings woke me up at 6:20. In an attempt to reclaim the rest I should have been getting, I decided to put my mind back to sleep in a hot bath. Instead of slipping into a thoughless abyss like I'd so hoped, I found myself turning toward thoughts of a more eternal nature. My mind finally settled on comtemplating the eternal family, and why it is a conditional blessing rather than a sure thing. There's probably a lot of reasons, but here's the main two to which my mind kept returning.

1) Good parents don't just give their kids everything they want. I've seen too many adults whose parents erred on the side of the easy life, and the results are not good. These adults lack perspective, the ability to set appropriate priorities, and many basic decision making skills that the rest of us picked up through a combination of trial-and-error and good old hard work. Since Heavenly Father is the best parent out there, I believe He understands that something worth having is worth working for.

Take, for example, the college student who knows that regardless of his scholastic performance, Daddy will pick up the bill. I cannot argue that every student in this situation squanders the opportunity; however, many lack the personal incentive to become their best, and many leave college without a single important lesson learned. On the flip side, I cannot argue that every college student who pays his own way graduates with honors. But I do believe such a student learns either the collegiate lessons he paid for, or the harder to learn lessons associated with wasting one's own time or money on a less than stellar effort.

Even though Heavenly Father does expect us to work for our blessings, He is fair. He has given us a clear road map to follow to obtain the blessings like having an eternal family. Just as a person who has caused several accidents does not deserve to receive discounted insurance rates, a person who has chosen to ignore the spiritual road map does not qualify for the attached blessings. But here is where Heavenly Father's plan differs from the system of natural rewards and consequences here on Earth.

Our Savior volunteered to make up for the extra. Imagine a student with a C average showing up to interview at Harvard. He explains that he tried his hardest all throughout school. He completed all his assignments, studied hard for his tests, and even completed any available extra credit. Still, the C average was the best he could do. Now imagine the admissions office smiling at the student and explaining that they understood. Fortunately, there was a very exceptional student who had scored so highly on the entrance tests that he was willing to make up the difference. Obviously, that just wouldn't happen. For the most part here on Earth, you get what you worked for. But in the Plan of Happiness, the Savior made the greatest sacrifice so that if our best truly is a C average, we will still be able to receive the blessings the Lord has in store for us.

Wow. This is getting long! If you're still with me, here comes #2.

2) Heavenly Father has prepared a place for each of us in the hereafter in which we will be happy and comfortable. After the final judgement, there is no "hell" where any of us are going to rot in eternal torment. Instead, Heavenly Father has prepared three kingdoms, each of which are better than what we have here on earth, and each of which will surround its inhabitants with peace and happiness. Which kindgom will become our eternal dwelling depends on the progress we made here on Earth.

A McDonald's fry cook would not be qualified to be a high-ranking officer in a major company. A car mechanic still in his greasy work clothes would not feel comfortable in an elite restaurant. A high school drop out would not be able to keep up in a graduate program at an acclaimed school. Life takes preparation. So does the afterlife.

After the final judgement, the Lord will justly decide which kingdom we have earned. Whichever kingdom we have earned is also the kingdom in which we will be most comfortable. The Lord will not set us up to spend an eternity feeling like we are walking on white carpet with muddy shoes. If we want to be a part of the Celestial Kingdom where we have the blessing of an eternal family, the steps of preparation have been clearly outlined. When we follow them, we become clean, and we become the type of person who will be happy and comfortable in the Celestial Kingdom.

Again, though, there is the amazing redeeming power of the Savior. If we want to be in the Celestial Kingdom, but there is still a bit of mud on our shoes, we can turn to Him. He has already suffered for our sins, and He is there to redeem us.

I have a testimony of the Lord's plan. I believe that it is fair and appropriate for us to be required to work for the blessing of an eternal family. I believe that achieving this blessing is possible by following the steps the Lord has revealed through the scriptures and through the prophets. I believe that Heavenly Father is a kind and loving father who is ready and waiting to reward us if we will just try to deserve it.

I hope nobody felt like this was preachy. It's just what I was feeling this morning, and I just had to share.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Marley & Me

Last night, I finally had the chance to watch the highly acclaimed "Marley and Me." Maybe it was just too hyped, because though I enjoyed it, I didn't find it to be the great movie that I've heard so much about.

I was talking to Kirk (who is in Seattle for 3 weeks for work) about it and trying to explain why I felt it was lacking and finally came to this conclusion:

If I want to immerse myself in a story about an in-love couple whose easily resolved issues include things like exhausting days with the kids, unrest at a job, or trying to balance personal happiness with doing what's best for the family, all I have to do is look around! The characters in the movie had a strong, happy marriage, good children, a good dog, and relatively small challenges. I watch movies for an exciting escape from my life. This movie was in so many ways just my life.

So now I say thank you to:
  • My wonderful husband who, like Owen Wilson's character, always works hard but also always wants just a little bit more than he has. It keeps life interesting, and I married him because of his drive to always be a little better.
  • My amazing kids who keep me so busy but for whom I'd do anything.
  • My ex-dog Sam who was there for me during the hardest parts of my life so far. Sorry, Sam, that we just couldn't handle your allergies. We miss you.
  • My new dog, Sadie, who is shaping up to be that family dog we've always wanted. As soon as one of the boys relaxes on the couch to watch a little TV, she has to be right there with them. If the boys are outside playing, she'll whine at the door until she is outside with them. We've only had her a short while, but she loves our family.
  • The producers of "Marley & Me" for helping me to appreciate the wonderful life I have.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Owe You

I've been such a crappy blogger all year that I figured I owed everybody year in review post to catch up on all the things I've missed. I'll try to keep it brief, but be sure to read to the very end to make sure you are aware of our biggest news.

Adam's cake for his 4th birthday:
A beautifully foggy January morning. Too bad it was garbage day.

Free breakfast at Denny's. It took us 3 hours round trip, but we had a blast, and we made the Channel 4 news. Maybe I'll post that video someday.

Our dog Sadie thinks that Heather's ponytail is a wild animal that needs to be killed. She attacks it on a regular basis.
President's Day Bowling (gotta love those government holidays!) Note that Adam was beating me up until the 9th frame.
87 for the not-quite-two year old! But I did lots better, too. It's sad to say that 103 is a great game for me.
Alex's 2nd birthday cake. He loves the song "Little Bunny Foo Foo," so that was the theme, including the field mice.
The best part about my recent trip to Boise: watching my Grandpa Nelson (who turned 80 last August) rough house with my boys. It was hard to tell who was having more fun.
I'll try to keep up a little better. We'll see. Oh, and if you didn't know yet, we're expecting baby #3 on October 11th. Well, by October 11th. Since Adam was so big, I get the luxury of being induced a week early, so expect little baby Fife sometime in early October. I have a cute little 10-week ultrasound that I was going to post 2 1/2 weeks ago, but I never got around to scanning it. Sorry.