Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Images of Life

The most prevalent images in my life right now involve mud. Those of you with boys in your family will likely relate.

Mud (n): The thing I get to wash off the 3rd son repeatedly throughout each day. The thing for which I have some seriously resentful feelings. The thing which can inspire frustration and emotionality in an instant.

But then at night, when I tell Swen about how I had to bathe Lincoln 3 times and change his clothes at least that many, somehow it becomes funny.

Laundry. This is an action verb. Laundry is in constant state of motion, but it somehow manages to be dirty more often than clean. How is that possible? No matter how much time I spend every day trying to rein in the laundry, subdue the laundry, put the laundry in order, IT IS ALWAYS OUT OF CONTROL. I don't appreciate it one bit.

One of the joys of motherhood is finding little images like this:

Children definitely abide here. I find ropes tied around knobs, lengthened by cast off dress ties and bungy cords, stretched across the room. Tablets of paper with love notes carefully drawn, uncapped markers scattered around. Bags full of plastic walnuts, play cell phones, and Mr. Potato Head's lips and arms. Couch cushions and blankets dotting the room, guarding little feet from the hot lava carpet.

If I remember to appreciate the scene before everything is set in order, I see evidence of healthy imaginations at work.


When we were deciding whether to add Maxwell to our family, we were overwhelmed with the feeling that all of our needs would be met. We would be blessed in our decision to increase our family. I have seen evidence of this in so many ways. When I opened the fridge the other day to try to squeeze one more item in, a scripture ran through my head. In my life, the Lord has quite literally "open[ed] ... the windows of heaven, and pour[ed] ... out a blessing, that there [is] not ... room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

This fridge is the largest residential model we could find. And it is totally packed with food. There is not room for even one more little thing. Is that not a huge blessing? We have 19 different kinds of vegetables in that fridge! I can't believe that we have been so blessed with such variety and healthy options. It is a rare boon in the world.


Another favorite image is this:

I love, love, love it when my kids play together. Sometimes it feels like fighting and contention are more common than peace and happiness. But once in a while they achieve a perfect interaction--laughing and cooperating, imagining and building -- and I love it.


I love these shots when people couldn't possibly get closer together. We do that a lot. One of us will be in the bathroom brushing our teeth, then suddenly all 7 of us are squeezed in together. It always makes us laugh when that happens.

Most of all, I absolutely love the next 6 images. I don't mean the snapshots, though I love those too. I mean these faces that meet my eyes every morning, throughout the day, and at night.

P.S. I Tried and Tried and Tried to find a normal picture of Joe. One where he was just sitting and smiling. I think such a thing is purely fictional.

You know those moments when you tell yourself, "I never want to forget this. I gotta burn this image into my brain." Moments like that are almost painful. You so badly want to remember, but it's impossible to truly, fully capture it. I've had so many of those. Just little things, like Swen is holding one of our babies, and I can see a little face peeking over his shoulder. Or my kids learn something new, and they're so proud of themselves. Or we're sharing a quiet, spirit-filled moment together. Or we're all dancing to the music during the closing credits of a movie we've just watched. I love those images. They are heart images. Maybe we'll be able to watch them someday in our life movie. Wouldn't that be the greatest?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In honor of Mother's day, I'm going to try to post a few of my favorite stories and experiences between now and Sunday. Here are two less than ideal mommy moments. I heard the other day that time + tragedy = comedy. I agree completely.

#1Here is a summary of a journal excerpt from December 30, 1999.

I was so frustrated with Isaac tonight. I took him to the mall today and he was pretty ornery because it was his nap time. He fell asleep in the car but didn't sleep for very long once we got home, so he was being a rascal. I was trying to do the budget and he drew on the wall, drew on the budget sheet, poked me in the eye with a pencil, tried to throw our glass plate of Gethsemane at our Christus statue, etc, etc. I was so frustrated.

To top it off, I called Swen at 6:05 and he said he was leaving work in 10 minutes. I was already out of patience and strength because of the pregnancy and Isaac, but I really wanted to have a good dinner. I forced myself to make some chicken fajitas. 20 minutes later, I called to make sure Swen was gone, and he said he was leaving in 2 minutes. The fajitas were almost done, but I thought to myself that it was okay if they sat for a few minutes before Swen got home. I rushed to finish all the garnishes and to set the table with Isaac hanging on me the whole time.

25 minutes later, Swen called to say he was just leaving work. I went to stir the fajitas, and started crying because they were already overdone and Swen wouldn't be home for another 25 minutes. To top off the whole situation, Isaac was hanging on me crying or when he wasn't doing that, he was trying to climb on the table or pull the place settings off.

I had to keep reminding myself that motherhood is worth it. Swen finally came home, and right as we were sitting down, our downstairs neighbors called to ask what smelled so good. Swen invited them up and I started bawling because of everything that had piled up. Dinner actually turned out okay, in spite of the embarrassment caused by the puffy eyes.

Swen left to go home teaching at 9:00, and I got Isaac ready for bed. In the middle of his prayer, Isaac leaned over and zuberted my arm. I couldn't stop laughing! I finally gained control, finished the prayer, and leaned over to adjust the sound spa. Isaac came over and gave me a big kiss on the cheek, then 3 on the lips. Then he gave me a big hug and went right to bed without crying. Isaac seemed to know I needed some cheering up tonight. Mothering is certainly a mixed bag!

#2: May-ish, 2010

After having Maxwell, most of the time I felt like I had totally lost control! When I sat down to nurse him, I would cringe to think of the 4 other children's' ability to make 4 separate messes--and there wasn't a thing I could do about it while I was stuck in that chair. When Maxwell was about 1 month old, Alyssa and Lincoln had made a huge mess during craft time. They had cut advertisements into tiny shreds which covered the kitchen floor. I told them they needed to clean up the mess while I went upstairs to feed Max. He was a slow eater, and I accidentally fell asleep while he ate. Something awoke me a while later and I descended the stairs with trepidation. I believe I screamed when I saw what awaited me there. Alyssa and Lincoln were up on the bar stools, giggling with delight while they dropped light bulbs on the floor and watched them shatter. The floor was littered with mounds of hair and broken eggshells, along with the paper shreds from before. I groaned as I realized they had discovered what fun an overfull trashcan can be. The hair from yesterday's haircuts, the burned out light bulbs we had replaced last night, and our cast off food had provided them with some great entertainment! I called Swen and told him I was done mothering for the day, and I was ready for him to come home from work RIGHT NOW!!! By the time he got home, all was good with the world again. And I was left with the feeling, as I often am after these experiences, that I really wish I would have taken a picture instead of getting mad!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Do!

After getting brown, then browner, and browner, and browner with each child... I am now blonde again! AND I have layers. It's good. One piece of good news is that the weave covers the gray. The other piece of good news is that since my haircut 5 days ago, I have fixed my hair *4* of those days! It's a miracle. I have also worked out twice. I'm a new woman!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CAT-aclysmic Changes

I am not a pet person. Never have been. We had 2 dogs growing up--first a cockapoo, then a rottweiler. Butch and Roxie. I petted them collectively about 10 times. A few years ago, I consented to letting my kids get some fish. I was thinking with my wicked little laugh (Wah, hah, hah, haa) that I was totally tricking them. They would think they were getting a "real" pet and be satisfied. In a few weeks, the fish would die and--wallah! No more begging. Well, after a few weeks, the fish indeed passed into a new and better place. I still ended up getting the raw end of the deal, though. Their nagging died along with the fish, but so did their desire to clean up pet messes. The tank sat. And sat. And sat. And I nagged. And nagged. And nagged. FINALLY, when the tank looked brown and disgusting, they started to fear that the tank was contaminating the air in their room. Concern for their very lives motivated Joseph to clean the tank. The problem is, he carried it a few feet and tripped. It's now like slow motion in my mind....NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO. All of the bacteria infested water, hundreds of dirty little pebbles, and the fish poo remnants sploshed out onto the carpet. As we sponged, picked, sucked, and scrubbed, I informed the kids that my pet days were OFFICIALLY over. For good.

A few months ago, a stray cat started hanging around. He was the neighborhood cat. McKenna called him Rosebud, Tessa called him Socks, and my kids named him Boots. He was constantly catching mice and leaving them as gifts under cars and by front doors. Several people on at least two streets fed him. An old couch sat in our garage waiting for a dump run, and he decided it was a comfy spot to catnap. I was so grateful for all of the mice he was catching I allowed him the privilege of sleeping on our holey couch. I even petted him a few times (running straight inside afterward to scrub my arms and change my clothes).

One night, I noticed he was in our garage when it was time to lock up. He looked cozy, so I decided it wouldn't hurt for him to have a sleepover. Then my kids started praying for him: "We're so thankful for our cat boots, and that he catches mice..." Oh bother. Now, I'm afraid he's become a permanent fixture. The other day I bought my first bag of cat food. I now feed Boots 2X a day. When our couch went to the dump, I sacrificed one of our soft blankets for a cat bed. I make sure to let him out first think in the morning, and I open the garage a crack during the day so he can come and go freely.

Last week, when a neighbor girl asked if we had taken our cat to the vet yet, I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I have definitely not hit that level of commitment yet. But with the changes I've made in the last few months, who's to say.

He's a smart little cat with a festive sense of humor. Just look at where he left his gift for us this morning.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Church Responds to HRC Petition

Church Responds to HRC Petition

Friday, October 1, 2010

Please remove last name!

Hi, Readers! If you happen to have a link to our blog which contains our last name, would you please remove it? I've tried to keep our identifying information out of the blog, but noticed that our last name is listed on a few connecting blogs. THANKS!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Important Family News

TOP 10

1. We have finally documented our enlarged family of 7. (Thanks Lexie!)

2. Maxwell has been growing like a milkweed. He is almost 6 months old and full of fun energy.

3. Swen and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.

4. Our annual camping trip was a huge success, in spite of me having sinusitis and bronchitis (talk about nasty). We had a great time touring Flaming Gorge Dam, swimming, exploring, listening to books on tape, and eating yummy food. Two bonuses to being sick while camping are: first, I couldn't smell the bathrooms at all. And second, I couldn't taste the s'mores, so I had celery for dessert instead. I lost 8 lbs. over the course of the 8 weeks I was sick. There is a silver lining to all trials, folks.

5. Ike caught about 847 fish @ Flaming Gorge, enjoyed his first week-long Boy Scout camp, and he started Jr. High. His mom was a wreck on the first day, but he was his usual nonplussed self.

6. Lincoln ate a giant marshmallow that was almost as big as his head. He loves to help me while the 3 biggest kids are at school. He makes me laugh every day.

7. After waiting her WHOLE life, Alyssa started Kindergarten. We now have daily conversations in which I try to convince her that she loves it and she has to go or I'll get in big trouble (and she wouldn't want that, would she?).

8. After I spotted this photo on the cover of an important gossip magazine, Swen was forced to admit to a hidden life as a secret service agent.

9. Joe has launched a duel career as a professional wrestler and comedian. His pseudonym is "Flawless Diamond," as the shirt suggests. He has to keep a low profile, because the kids in his fifth grade class know him as an extra smart, extra nice kid. In spite of his busy lifestyle, he finds time to be helpful in the kitchen and with Max.

10. And last, but certainly not least, we have finally upgraded our couches. Nothing too fancy for our expert destruction artists. We got this baby off KSL for $125! When the arm of our old couch ripped and Swen applied the packing tape, I drew the line. It already looked embarrassingly bad, but packing tape? Seriously, honey. I know we've learned that nothing lovely lasts in our home, but we have to maintain at least a minimum level of dignity, right?