Friday, December 19, 2014

FFF #45 Nurturing the Individual

So I don't know if you noticed, but each of the people who live at my house, and at your house, are individuals.  They are unique.  Their thoughts and feelings about the world are different than yours or mine or their siblings.  Their fears and concerns, they are different too.
Yes, there are 'normal adolescent' behaviors, most growing babies and children reach the same milestones within a given time frame, but that doesn't mean their perception of life and the world around them is the same as their peers or other children of that age.

I probably spent over an hour last night with my Sun, discussing her fears and concerns about growing up.  She doesn't want to.  She is doing all she can to avoid it.  This entire week she has been upset because she recognizes that in about six months she will be in high school.  "High school is for the big kids!" she told me.  "And now, I am going to be one of the big kids.  I don't wanna be!"

That is so entirely different from me or any of her brothers.  I couldn't grow up fast enough.  Bring it on!!!  I wanted to be an adult!  Now that I am an adult, I would really like to be a teenager again.  I don't want to have little babies again, or go through childbirth again, or raise toddlers again, (just because those things were really hard for me).  But I loved being a teenager and playing basketball, volleyball, participating in band and playing my trumpet---I loved those things. 

I love other things about motherhood that I did not have as a teenager.  I love the relationship I have with my teenagers and my adult children.  I love being able to drive where I want and when I want, though as a mother I spend most of my driving time shuttling people to and from their activities and not my activities!  I love having a relationship with my spouse---someone I can always count on, even when I don't think I can.  He is always there.  He always love me---even if I don't feel that.

Yesterday, he had a work party where they had a gift exchange.  I looked all week for a gift for that party.  Nothing I picked out would work.  Finally, the night before the party, Drew went out all over town looking for his gift.  He came home with something but it wasn't what he wanted.  The morning of, he asked me to wrap it.  Sure.  Because I have nothing else to do at 7 in the morning.
Well, I was willing to help him out.  And I wasn't being passive-aggressive.  I intended to wrap his gift.  I brought it in the kitchen and set it down as I pulled some breakfast together for the crew.  Then I heard a crash!  I turned around and there was Drew's gift, in pieces on the ground.  I broke it.  It fell off of where I had placed it.

I went in to tell Drew.  With a long face and droopy countenance, I informed him that I had just broken his gift.  He looked at me for a minute and started laughing and said, "I guess you get to go shopping today.  Here is what I really was looking for, and I just need it by 11."  He continued laughing the rest of the morning, even though I felt horrible.

I am grateful he loves ME and not things (including money)!  He is learning how to nurture me and I am learning to nurture him and together we are learning how to nurture our people.  Each one teaches us something new and each one requires us to stretch and learn and grow because they are all so different.

The trick is helping each one feel loved and learn from their mistakes and improve who they are and how they manage themselves and their responsibilities.  We are all going to make mistakes, even as adults!  And when we do, if we are big enough people to admit that and take our lumps and apologize to the people we have hurt, including our children and our spouse, then we are becoming the right kind of people indeed!

So there is my soap box for the week!

Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays!  I will, even though my big boys are not home!  Maybe we'll even have photos :-)



Friday, December 12, 2014

FFF #44---I thought it would settle down.

Remember last week when I told you life was just crazy at our house?  Well, I thought we were at the tip top for how stressed out things were and what was going on.  I was wrong.
On Monday of last week, Slim told us that he thought things weren't heading in the right direction and he thought he should scrap his life plans and go a different direction.  We were shocked, but it is his life and we want him to be happy and successful in that happiness.  The entire week, he struggled with whether or not to take his last LSAT (I guess you can only take it three times within five years and this would have been his third time).  Every time he tried to prepare to take his LSAT, he was grouchy, irritable and stressed.  When he discussed doing something else (which I will save for later because it is still in the works), he was light and excited and buoyant.  His personality was like night and day as he discussed and debated between the two options.

Finally, Thursday before the test, he decided that he didn't like law and hasn't ever liked it and he isn't really good at it.  So he withdrew from his last LSAT.  At this point, he still has been accepted to law school and has a place for the fall if he wants it, but he does not need to make that decision until around March or April when he would have to start putting money towards school.
Then, Saturday afternoon, he told his father and I that he felt like he needed to move and move next week, like out of the state.  Seriously?  You have no money and no job.  But, as my son is becoming quite adept at listening to the Spirit, and as he has been following those thoughts and promptings and counseling with the Lord throughout the steps, things are falling into place.  I won't post this until Friday, but I am writing on Tuesday morning.  Slim is leaving tomorrow!

I am really struggling emotionally!!  His decision is so sudden and happening so quickly that I have had no time to process.  I am sad that he is leaving because I know when he leaves this time, he won't be coming back.  He is moving out forever!  I went through this once, when he left for college after his mission.  I thought then that he wouldn't be coming back.  I was worried I would struggle with his return, because though I love him dearly, he is just a little high maintenance and sometimes he causes me stress.  But I love him dearly and he has been so much fun to have at the house!!  The relationships he has built with his younger siblings has been priceless!!  He and Shorty were close before, but now he is close with all of the littler generation at our house.  He loves them all and they love him!!  As you can probably guess and see, I am not the only one struggling.  Drew is sad and all of the children are sad.  I need to tell Spike.  I don't think he knows yet.
He is licking her nose!
In fact, just yesterday Sun said to me, "Wait, you mean Slim is MOVING to..........?  Not just visiting for Christmas?"

"Yes.  That is what we have been talking about all weekend!."

"Why didn't anyone tell me??"

So today, I will get to help her manage her emotions.  So since she didn't pick up on it, I suppose I had better make sure the rest of the littles who are here know so we can deal with the drama all at once.
Had to include this cheesy Flynn smolder!

Anyway, I have really, really enjoyed having my boy home.  I am also sad because I really really wanted some of the big guys home for Christmas and now I will have none of them here!  So that makes me sad too.  I think I have just needed to write all this down so I will actually cry, because I still have not done that yet.  I am so retarded sometimes!!
Last night, we had all Slim's buddies over to hang out and say their farewells.  Today will be packing and purchasing travel tickets.  And tomorrow he'll be gone.  And then maybe I will cry all weekend.  The bad thing about loving them so much is how sad you are when they leave!
Sun's going to sing her first solo in church on Sunday, in Slim's young adult ward, because Slim was in charge of the program for that Sunday and he isn't even going to be there to hear her sing.  I am sad about that too.  Now I really need to decorate for Christmas, before I am too sad to do it.  Life is really crazy sometimes.  And just when you think it is at its craziest, the crazy escalates!

I just had a brilliant thought!  I need to take photos of Slim with each of the littles.....that will help each of them!  If I get that done, I'll post them with this blog.  If it posts without photos, just know that we had a huge storm here Wednesday and my power might be out!!  :-)  I have to prepare for that today too.  Love you friends!
And this is how I am managing the day.
 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LOOK!!!

I got a new phone....which has a camera!!!  (And internet!!!)  So I can post photos!  These aren't anything special.  I was just messing around with it, but check it out!




And they loaded incredibly fast!!  Technology is so cool!  And yes, the entire family room is messed up because the ping pong table is still in the family room.  The missionaries are jealous (I mean my missionaries, the ones who live here when they are home).  I haven't decided if I LOVE that our house is flexible and changes for us to enjoy it and have fun or if I HATE it because it can't really stay 'clean' if the furniture is always is disarray.  But whatever!  It is what it is and my children love that we move stuff out of the way and rearrange things to play ping pong, build forts, put up a tent, watch a movie, have a picnic dinner on the floor....the house is in a constant state of flux (not with walls and flooring like in the house I grew up in) but with furniture, so we can play.

Anyway, have a great day!


Friday, December 5, 2014

FFF #43--December Craziness!

I have been swimming in craziness this week, and stressed.  I thought if I laid it all out there I might understand why I am stuffing my feelings and feeling crazy.  So here goes.
Spike has been sick.  He has been extra clingy and whiny, though he is sleeping alright, and he plays.  So then I forget that he is sick until he coughs or sneezes or I have to wipe his nose.  But he isn't eating well, which is contributing to his whining.  Last night I was just finished with him even though I hadn't been home a lot of the day.  That is probably why he has been extra needy, especially yesterday.

I spoke with both Spanky and Sport yesterday about finals, dating, not being home for Christmas, work, and generally their lives.  They are both feeling stressed because finals are coming up and all of their college work is due soon (major papers and projects, etc...).  They needed some Mom support.

Slim is not feeling well and stressed because he is trying to decide if he is taking his last LSAT on Saturday.  He has been trying to study and prepare for weeks.  The closer it gets to Saturday, the more stressed out he is and the more his head hurts.  He is trying to make big decisions about what he should be doing with his life and what it is going to look like for the next little while.  It is causing him significant stress.  So even though he is not asking me for help in making that decision, he is grouchy and physically needy because he doesn't feel well and is stressed out.

Sun is grouchy and unmotivated because she has procrastinated her homework for months.  The semester ends on December 19th, but her work has to be done by the 12th so we can order her finals.  When she is stressed and overwhelmed, she just quits working.  It is like moving molasses in the snow to get her working when she is in that place.  She hides and reads her books instead of doing homework.  I feel like every time I turn around I am trying to find her and help her get moving.  She kind of needs me to sit down and hold her hand to help her push through the wall of her attitude.  It is exhausting!!  Also, her play is scheduled for January 9th with two weeks of Christmas break so the rehearsal schedule and intensity at the moment is in our faces.
Add to that basketball season starts.  Speedy made his school team, with a wonky practice schedule that I am not always aware of.  Yesterday I thought he would be home to babysit for Sun's rehearsal but he had practice.  Half an hour before we had to leave, I didn't know if I would have a babysitter or have to take the little guys with me.  Speedy ended up skipping practice, for which I was grateful, but stressed until I figured that whole thingy out.  Shorty has tryouts on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

We also had dinner guests for Slim's birthday on Monday (another turkey dinner with a ping pong tournament in the family room----the table STILL sitting in my family room---FYI).  We have dinner guests scheduled for Friday with a missionary lesson.  And did I mention it is my month for sharing time in Primary?  I keep forgetting to get that ready and my house is trashed.  And Drew has extra bishop work because of tithing settlement and we have some singing assignments for church.  Yep........I can kind of see why I am feeling a little stressed out.  Did I mention that I have been sick too?

I haven't even gotten out my Christmas decorations yet.  It just feels like more than I can manage right now, but I know if I will just do it, I will relax a little more and enjoy the season.  And I need to turn on some Christmas music and watch my Christmas movies.  That will help too.  But with all there is to do, I have not felt like I have time to pull out the decorations, sit down and watch a movie, or even listen to special music.  I think that is where I will start.  I can clean and listen to Christmas music.  Then when things are cleaner, I will feel like there is space for Christmas (maybe once the ping pong table is out of the family room!!)  OK that has to go.  My family will not be happy.
So here is how I handled that stress.  I said my prayers and read my scriptures.  I took a shower, because I hadn't had one in two days.  When I got out, I put on something that made me feel happy, powerful, and confident.  It wasn't something that I would wear if I were presenting something at work, just normal comfortable clothing, but something that made me feel like I could conquer the day.  I put on make-up and did my hair, even if it only took five minutes.  While in the shower, I realized the most important thing I could do that day was help Slim feel confident in making his decision and help him to see how his behavior has changed based on what his plans were.  Slim and I spent only about an hour together, but through that time, he made some significant decisions and discoveries that helped him make his decision.  Once the decision was made, his attitude was softened and brightened.  I bought laundry soap and an easily prepared dinner, so those responsibilities weren't weighing on me.  I assigned one of the children to make dinner and another one to comfort Spike.  I took Sun to class and relaxed for the two hours we were there.

When I got home, I threw my diet out the window and just ate what I had one of the kids make because making something, even little for myself seemed too much work for the day.  I thanked Heavenly Father that my cell phone is out of commission for the day because it is fewer people to get a hold of me.  Today I will do better with my eating and take Spike Spike to the doctor.  Then I will turn on Christmas music, clean my house, and pull out the decorations.  Yea for December!! :-)



Friday, November 28, 2014

FFF#42 Post Turkey Day thoughts (AKA Black Friday).

First and foremost...........I am not a black Friday kind of girl.  Sure, I like a bargain.  However, we do not spend inordinate amounts of money on Christmas.  We just can't and I'm really glad that we can't.  I do not want to participate in the commercialism of the season.  I want to remember that I celebrate the Christmas season to rejoice in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!  I want to remember to be thankful, to love other people and to recognize the blessings we have and express that gratitude through our service to others.

Black Friday with all of the it's early morning shopping and standing in line and the brawls at the checkout line scream to me some of the problems in our society.  We are so hip on getting a bargain, that in our greed and desire for self-satisfaction we trample other people, bring little children with us when they should be in bed, and get rid of any Christian virtues we may have been trying to work on the rest of the year.  Ya'......NO THANK YOU!  I will stay home and enjoy my family and pay for the things I really want to purchase as gifts for my loved ones.

But this post wasn't about black Friday.  It just happens to fall on that day.
I have been struggling this year because I'm sad that I don't get to spend the holidays the way I did as a kid.  When I was younger, we would all gather at my Aunt Janelle's house.  All of the families, cousins, aunt, and uncles, grandparents, would bring parts of the Thanksgiving feast.  Then we would gather the day of, hang out with one another while the odds and ends were put together and then we would eat this amazing feast and visit some more.  I loved going to Janelle's house because it was the one time during the year when I saw people who I didn't usually see.  They loved me.  I knew they loved me.  They asked me about my life and my interests.  I loved mingling with them and hearing about their lives and their children.  It seemed the one time when I felt like people really cared and they weren't so caught up in their own lives.  (Child's perspective, remember).

I finally acknowledged recently that I really miss those times and seeing all of those people.  Thanksgiving, to me, means the gathering of family, and for me the emphasis is for the children.

When I finally let myself feel sad for all of those years of unmet Thanksgiving desires, I realized also, that the Thanksgiving times I remembered, no longer exist, with those people.  I love them.  I miss them.  Most of them are still living.  But most of them are also the grandparents and great-grandparents.  Their children are gathering with their families and inviting those grandparents.  And me with my parents?  Well, my parents are divorced and both remarried.  The children are all struggling with their relationships with the parents and with each other to some degree.  And the bigger and most significant part, is that none of those people (my parents, siblings, and their children) are interested in discussing the spiritual aspects of the holidays.

When I was a child, when we gathered, we came together with people who were like minded in their desires to be living the gospel.  I went from a home where I was cared for, but not necessarily taught the gospel to a place where more people were more nurturing and interacting with the children.  If I tried to be doing the same things, my children today would be going from a home where the gospel is taught, sought after, and discussed, to a home where people don't want to talk about it and their behavior reflects that.  It would not be a nurturing environment for my crew.  That is alright.  We don't always have to gain something by participating.  But in our case, we wouldn't be able to give anything either because those people are not interested in changing their lives or learning how to live after the manner of happiness.  So to try to continue those things would actually be harming to my children.  The holidays would be filled with contention instead of love and peace, which they have now, with only our family.

So, do you want to hear my amazing Thanksgiving story that shows Heavenly Father loves me??

As these things were coming to my consciousness, I decided that it was super important to me to have a beautiful table for Thanksgiving day.  I read some other blogs and saw the cool things they were doing for their tables and thought about what I would like to do for ours.  I recognized that I didn't have the money they did to do the things they did.  But I found some very cool placemats at Target for $3.00!!  (Giant turkeys you could color with a wordsearch.)  I told Drew that I was going to go and get material for a table cloth.   But I would check Walmart first to see if they had anything that would be cheaper than material at JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon.  As I was digging in the cupboard to find the coupon, I came across some amazing material with scarecrows all over it!  (People give me material and I don't always remember what they have given me.)  I took the material and laid it across the table.  There was plenty to cover the table with a little extra.  It was wide enough to cover the table top, but not enough to go over the edges.  Then I found another piece of material that would work as the edges and there was just the perfect amount for that.  I threw both materials into the washing machine.
kind of like these

The next day I ironed them and fixed my serger (just oiled it really).  Then I made the table cloth and eight napkins!  It was so cool!!  I felt so happy and so very loved.  Really, silly, I know!  But I didn't have to spend any money!!  I had it all at home.  I just had to do a little bit of work!  Then Sun and I made place cards for our Thanksgiving feast and she set the table with our beautiful green IKEA dishes and I found a vase in the cupboard that matched for the center piece.  It was so cool!  Sorry no photos!  Someday, we'll figure that out also :-)
not this fancy
Anyway, I just wanted to share my story and let you know that I love the holidays and that Heavenly Father loves me too and cares about silly things that are important to us!  He loves you too!!

On the brighter side of things, we have been potty training for one week and one day now and things are going amazing!!!  Spike Spike has figured it out.  We have had a few hurdles, but nothing horrible or unmanageable.  Yea!!!

Have a great weekend!!