What Matters Most

What Matters Most
Andie's Baptism

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just when you think you've got it all figured out

So- I've been feeling pretty good about stuff. Susie came home from outdoor school last week- with no voice and with clothes covered in mud and permanent marker, but delighted with her experiences. Now, outdoor school, for those of you who don't know, is one of those 6th grade sleep-away camps that is supposedly educational. Kenny didn't want to go when he was in 6th grade, so he didn't. Susie, of course, did. And had a lovely time.
So, getting ready for this experience was quite a chore. There were lists and more lists of "must have" items. I tried to encourage the packing of items that she/I wouldn't be too upset about if they got ruined. I think, however, that in her mind, packing was less about being practical than about how she would look when she got there. This was clearly evidenced when I asked her if she brought extra shoes. Her answer "Yep, I have my boots, my tennis shoes, a pair of flip flops and my flats." Yeah, flats will come in handy in the mud.
So anyway, with one teenager in the house, and everyone's favorite preteen, the question for me is often "Am I really teaching them all that they need to know?" Last Sunday, my Dad (who happens to be the high- counselor assigned to our ward) gave a talk that I found immensely helpful. The gist of was this- if you want to raise kids who are firmly rooted in the gospel, it is not only church activity that is important, but what they do with the approximately 80 percent of their time that is not taken up with church related activities. He concluded that the only two things that the scriptures emphasize repeatedly is learning to learn, and learning to work. Ergo, while some down time is desirable, a good portion of my children's time ought to be filled with these two types of activities. This got me thinking, and gave us some good fodder for family night on Monday, and all in all, I've been feeling pretty on top of things (getting my laundry done, too!)
They never let you feel that way for long. Susie came in to my room this morning (15 minutes before she needed to be at the bus) and informed me that she has no tennis shoes, because she ruined hers at outdoor school. By ruined, she means got them very wet and muddy. So she threw them away. And the garbage man came yesterday, so they are gone gone. Today she has a jog-a-thon at school. She's wearing flip flops. And this is somehow my fault. Add this to my great list of sins (which includes not getting her a cell-phone).
I suggested that perhaps, she might still have shoes if she had agreed to take an old grubby pair of Kenny's to outdoor school. I suggested that perhaps, we could have washed and dried her tennis shoes before assuming they were ruined and tossing them out. I suggested that, if she had not spent all of her allowance for the last 2 months on tank tops, flip flops (bear in mind that it's been in the 40s here all week), and candy bars, she might be able to buy herself some new shoes. But alas, it fell on deaf ears, and once again, I have been relegated to the status of crappy mother- insightful revelations and laundry notwithstanding.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cleaning the Closet (or the hell that is my life)

So today I decided to do something worthwhile and clean out my downstairs closet. It was a pit. Now it's very clean, but my living room looks like hell. I don't feel like doing anything about it. The screen door keeps falling off. Most of the drawers in my kitchen are broken. In fact, the one with all the utensils in it has a hole in it. No idea how it got there. Probably from one of those times when I tried to open it, but some random utensil was stuck in it, so I yanked and yanked until something gave. Maybe it was a sharp implement that was wedged, because now there is a hole. So the end result of this is that all of the mixing bowls, etc in the cupboard below the drawer have crumbs in them. Because there are crumbs in the drawer. And the drawer has a hole.

This is the story of my life! Now I am sitting here, in my sweats- haven't showered yet- have to leave the house in a half hour to start the never-ending round of running that is my life between 2pm and 9pm. And the living room is still a pit. Not to mention the fact that I haven't done a dang thing in any other room in the house except mess them up more. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to go shower, put on a cute outfit, load the kids in the car, and leave. To heck with the house. At least I'll look cute.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Becoming my Mother

Do your remember swearing you'd never do things the way your mother did? I did. Not the big things- for the most part she was right on. But I remember the silverware drawer. Silverware in our house did not have to match. Nor did it have a specified compartment in the silverware drawer. Knives, forks, spoons, they all happily cohabitated in whatever compartment they happened to get tossed into when my Mom emptied the dishwasher. I swore that in my house, silverware would live in it's appropriate place. And match. And dishes would match. And have specified places in the cabinet. And for many years, they did.

Fast forward 10 years. Wanna see my silverware drawer?Yeah, I know. And trust me, it gets much, much worse.

Here's the lesson learned. Mom wasn't lazy. She was busy. And so am I. I don't always unload the dishwasher myself. In fact, mostly, my kids do. I don't care HOW the dishes are put away anymore. I'm just grateful that they ARE put away. And the silverware? I think it's happier this way.

So, am I really becoming my Mother? You decide:

Here we are- me last week with Colton, and Mom at my age with Jeana.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


So, I want to start a bookclub. I've been in a bookclub. But I stopped going. Not for any particular reason other than I got busy- so I'm not sure why I want to start another one, but I was talking books to the girls in the orthodontist office, and we got all excited, and said we should have a book club, and so there you go. Mainly I want to go out to dinner for my bookclub. But if you know me, you know I love to read, and so I've decided that part of this blog should be books that I have either recently read or love (and wouldn't mind re-reading). So I'll add that.

Busy, busy, busy, today was busy. Mostly because I bought $200 worth of groceries. Yep, that's what it takes to feed my fam. But let me tell you, that many groceries takes a long time to buy and put away. After groceries came gymnastics. Allie and her cousin Maria do gymnastics together. It's really fun to watch 'em flipping out. It seems like a natural choice for Allie- you know, she was the child who walked at 9 months and climbed at 10. Onto the counter- onto the fridge- into the litter box. Didn't matter where. (She was also an "ingester"- maybe because she could reach things she shouldn't be able to- but that's another story). So, after gymnastics, I had to exercise (because I am bound and determined to be hotness itself), and then dinner. Now, all of this seems to sometimes make my kids cranky. I think they would maybe like me better if I just laid around all day. Never mind, I just asked them, and they said no. Anyway, Kenny seems cranky, but that could be because he's surrounded by girls, or he's 13, or whatever. I should qualify that by saying he's surrounded by girls he's related to- which he tends to find annoying.

Back to Allie and climbing- we have actually got a couple of nice climbing trees in our backyard now. I guess that's the advantage of staying in one house for 8 years- the trees have time to grow. So very often now when the kids are in the backyard, I look out, and all I see is the Leland Cypress trees swaying in the breeze. Even if it's not breezy. Peaceful, nonetheless. Okay- that's it for now.

Monday, April 7, 2008

For Jenny

I heard I'm too deep for some of you.:0 Yeah, that's just if you don't hang around me alot and know how shallow I really am. So here's what my life is really all about. My husband thinks we need a coffee table in the family room. So he has something to put his feet on. I said okay, but only if we can get rid of the recliner, because there's already too much crap in the family room. You know, first we had to take out my lovely armoire to make way for a big screen TV- and then you can't have that without a sub-woofer, and all of the many, many other components that go with a state of the art system. Or whatever. If you don't know what a sub-woofer is, I'll just tell you this- it makes it so that you can FEEL the sound from the TV in the upstairs bathroom.

So, back to the recliner/coffee table discussion. It seems to me that if he wants to put his feet up, the recliner should be enough. But I'd actually be happy to get rid of the recliner, because it smells funny. Like chips and feet. Don't ask. There is one other problem- if you move the recliner you can see the permanent marker "art" that Colton decorated the wall behind it with. Nice. It beats boogers on the wall, though. Although I haven't seen too many of those lately. Colton has another way of dealing with them. It goes something like this: I say "Hey Colt, quit picking your nose"- and he says "But my boogers need to hide"- so I say "Well, leave them in your nose then- they can hide in there"- and he says (getting very annoyed with me at this point, like I'm such an idiot because I just don't GET it) "NO!" and pops them into his mouth. Yum. Better there than on my wall.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


So, I've been thinking alot about showers. Could be all the rain lately. April showers, you know...Turn my yard into a soggy mess- not that the kids seem to mind.
And then there are other showers- showers that need to be cleaned- kids in the shower- kids who need to take showers. Long, warm showers that you don't want to get out of....But I digress.

Specifically, I've been thinking about baby showers. You know, those tortuous affairs where grown women are forced to eat baby food or sniff unspecified brown stuff in a diaper (chocolate? one can only hope) in exchange for some hopefully decent food. Yep, you guessed it- I hate shower games. Not that I'm a fan of games in general (unless I'm winning). Another shower tradition I'm not really fond of is the requisite passing around of the gifts. Sure they're cute. Mostly it'll do to just look at them from a distance. Besides, does the mommy-to-be really want our grubby hands all over her new stuff? Doubt it.

So, the other night I attended what was, in my mind, the perfect baby shower. First of all, it was an open house- come when you want, leave when you want. The food was fabulous. The mommy-to-be opened gifts throughout, was appropriately grateful, but didn't make anybody else ooh and ahh. And best of all? No games! Now, no offense to those of you who throw fabulous showers with miniature babies frozen in ice cubes, but to my mind, nothing is better than being able to sit around with a bunch of women and do the two things we all most enjoy anyhow- eating and talking. It was so much fun to just sit around with a group of women, some of whom I see almost daily, some that I hadn't seen in a while, and some that were new to me, and talk- about babies, motherhood, and life in general. I've gotta tell you, it was refreshing.

So that brings us to babies. What do I think of those? They're all right. I guess I oughta think so- I had five. Really like 'em all. Glad they're not babies anymore. It's interesting the stages of life you go through. As I watched the mommy-to-be (my friend Annie- and one of my former Laurels- yikes!)- a week from having her second child- I found my mind wandering to that time in my own life. It was exciting, but kind of lonely sometimes. I remember taking Kenny to K-mart to wander around and have lunch, just so I'd have something to do. I remember spending whole days hanging out with other moms of toddlers, doing nothing but watching our kids play. I remember getting so frustrated with a baby who wouldn't sleep, or potty training, or whatever, that I'd lie face down on the carpet and cry. Was it a simpler time? You betcha. I had to look for places to go. Now I'm guessing I average about 50 miles a day. Would I go back? I don't think so.
People ask me sometimes how I "do it all" with 5 kids. Here's the secret- I don't really. I've just really, really, really, relaxed my standards. Potty training? Thankfully, I'm done. But I'll tell you, I did it differently with the last one, and it never brought me to tears. A kid that won't sleep? Pop 'em in front of SpongeBob and give 'em some candy, and they'll be just as quiet. You learn, you adapt, and most of all, you ENJOY the stage you're at. Because just like these April showers, it won't last for long.