Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to be Loved

On Sunday of last week my kids participated in the Primary program, probably the best Sunday of the year.  The kids take over Sacrament meeting and share what they have learned through song and testimony. This is the only year that all of my children will be in it together. Next year, Raef and Zach are off to Young Men's.  

The program was touching, spiritual, uplifting, and very profound.  I cannot believe how much of an impact it had on me.  It especially struck me even more after I was able to do a session at the temple a few days ago when we were in St. George for RJ's farewell.  RJ is going to serve in the Ft. Collins, Colorado mission and leaves next week.

Anyways, as I was listening to the Primary program, a little girl who was probably 6 or 7 had the line, "I love Jesus because..." and then she had to come up with her own thought.  She said, "I love Jesus because He loves me."


Why do I love Jesus? Well, I love Him because He loves me.  How do I know that He loves me? He lived for me. He died for me. He showed me the way. He did it all for me and I know that even if I was the only person to ever walk this earth, He still would have died for me.  Why do I love Jesus? Why do I love anyone?  Well, really it is because they love me. I love people who show me love. I try to love people that don't show me love, but that is not very easy. But the people that I truly, deeply love and care for are the ones who love me.

What does this mean?  It means that I need to love my children, my husband, my family, my friends. I need to love them by doing things that show love.  It is not in the words I say, but in my actions. My actions show my love.  My kindness and care, my thoughtfulness and availability, my attention: these things show love. And when I do that, when I make love a verb and do my very best and try my best to be like the Master, then I will be loved in return with a profound and eternal lovel.

When I went to the temple, I could see this example clearly set by the Creator of us all. Even when we are recalcitrant, disobedient, unlovable, God sees us for who we really are. He looks on us with kind eyes and an understanding heart...even when we are at our very worst. He still loves us.  Oh, that I can be that way more with my children. I want to see my children the way that God sees me and just love them because they are. 

Then if someone ever asks one of them, "I love my Mom because...", they will be able to confidently fill in that blank and say, "I love my Mom because she loves me!"

They will never doubt the love that I have for them. It will only get bigger and stronger.
"There is no division nor subtraction in the heart-arithmetic of a good mother. There is only addition and multiplication."
-Bess Streeter Aldrich

From the mouth of babes, how grateful I am to be reminded of this simple, yet powerful truth. Love, and you will be loved in return.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Michael Buble Anniversary

It has now been 18 years of wedded bliss.  I can't believe I have been married for 18 years. Rinar wanted to do something special for me and it just so happened that Michael Buble was in town. He really wanted to take me but just couldn't get out of work obligations in California. But he went ahead and got the tickets and surprised me by having my best friend Melanie take me.

I had not a clue what was going on. She came and picked me up. We headed downtown and ate at the Blue Lemon, a delicious little restaurant directly across the street from Temple Square.  And then we headed over to the ESA (Delta Center) for the concert.  Before we went into the building we ate our delicious little tart desserts outside.  Then it was concert time.

Before Michael came out, the warm up act was Naturally 7.  It was an a capella group that mimics musical instruments. They were tremendous. I really enjoyed that a lot. And Michael Buble was even better. He is an amazing performer and does a great job interacting with the crowd.  He makes ya feel special!

We sat in the back, looking straight on. It was neat that he had this circular stage at the back and near the end of the show he worked the back of the arena.  We could see him really good.

It was a lot of fun going with Melanie. I always enjoy hanging out with her.  But it would have been more fun with Rinar.  I am very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catching Up

One of the perks of moving to Utah is that people actually pass through and sometimes stop for a visit. It is awesome. We always had lots of visitors when we lived in Henderson but it got pretty lonely out in the middle of nowhere Reno.  Reno really is not on the way to anything.

So it was a real treat to have Leslie, Greg, and their four adorable tots visit us for a few hours. They had gone to Vegas and were heading back to Canada. Luckily for us, Draper is right on the way.  The kids played and we were able to catch up after all these years. I was fortunate to meet Leslie when she was a newlywed to Greg and started coming to the Sunset Ward. I spoke at her baptism and we served in the Primary presidency together. I think she is about the nicest, sweetest, most genuine woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  I am very blessed to call them my friends. She had Caleigh two weeks before Eli was born. And all of her other kids are just about the same age as my little ones.

There they are back together again. What a cute couple!

We were also able to celebrate the end of the football season for the Corner Canyon gray team. Coach Jeff and all the boys were a positive influence on Raef. It was a great season for him and he has really grown. He loves football more than ever.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Newborn Pictures

Thank you to the fabulous Justin B. for these beautiful photographs of my darling Noelle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Way To Go!

Eli finished up his soccer season last weekend and got this cute little trophy. He was so proud of this trophy. He carried it around all day and showed every person who was in his path.  It is the best trophy ever made! When I tucked him in that night, sure enough the trophy was right next to him.  Eli is very proud of his trophy. And actually, they really did win it because they won all of their games and tied the two they didn't win, or as Eli would say, they copied.  

Way to go, Eli!

And speaking of cool stuff, Caleb S. got baptized. I have known this kid from in the womb. I met his mom Melanie when she walked into my nursery class 8 months pregnant with him to drop off her oldest kid Halle.  And I have seen him grow up. Now look at this boy. He is 8 and baptized.  Wow, time is really flying by. He is such a neat kid and we love him so much.

Way to go, Caleb!

That night, we went to a Halloween party at Jordan and Bubba's house.  They really went the extra mile. They made their main floor into a haunted house and it was pretty spooky, I have to say. Then the party was in the basement. We played games and visited. It was a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up Halloween. 

Way to go, Jordan!

And this past week I went the extra mile with school. I took all of my kids on a little field trip to study erosion and weathering. This is a section the boys are working on for Earth science.  I figured we could observe everything in their book by going up Big Cottonwood Canyon a bit. Sure enough, we stopped a few miles up the road at this place and were able to observe rust, lichen, and general weathering.  There was even an educational sign that talked about weathering with those particular rocks the kids were climbing on. My kids learned something AND we got out of the house.

Way to go, me!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Abhor Helicopter Moms

Every once in a while the public playground becomes a very unpleasant place for me. And no, it is not because one of my kids is acting up or being naughty, whiny, or generally obnoxious.

Nope, I am talking about the dreaded helicopter mom.  Especially when her looming, torrential back wind gets into my air space.  But needless to say, when there is a helicopter mom in the vicinity, you will surely get sucked in and then it just totally sucks.

Today was a helicopter day at McDonald's. After a lovely morning of watching a movie with some neighborhood friends, we decided to grab some lunch next door.  I was looking forward to this. A nice lunch, getting to know my new friend Katie, while our kids happily played.

It didn't last.  Helicopter grandma was hovering.

At first she came over to report that Katie's son Landon hit his head. It was an accident, thank goodness! But she kept going on and on and on, relaying every frickin' minute detail about how he hit his head. You would have thought that Landon had suffered a level 3 brain concussion and needed a medi-vac. Jeez, lady. Give it a rest. Landon was sitting there, as calm a palm tree on a tropical beach, listening to this lady rant (albeit nicely) about his poor little head.  He was looking at her like she was looney, but whatever.  Finally, the grandma-copter left. I should have just left then. I should have known what was coming.

But sure enough, about 15 minutes later she was back asking whose kid was wearing the blue shirt. Of course, it was mine.  Raef had done something to her precious grandkid and she was going to let me have it, to make sure I would parent him correctly.  Raef is pretty darn tall, Raef is clumsy, but he has the sweetest disposition and wouldn't hurt a fly. You should see the way he coddles Noelle.  A gentle giant.

First grandma-copter informs me that the playground is for kids under 12.  I tell her that he is 11!  Then she said he was being mean because he scared her grandson.  Oh, boo hoo. Poor little thing.  CALL THE POH-LICE! So grandma-copter, you mean to tell me that he was acting like an 11 year-old?!?! For shame. How dare he. The nerve of that kid. And there was a possibility that Raef had bumped him.

Oh golly.

I started packing up our stuff to leave.  And then I could just feel it all welling up inside of me. I wasn't going to take it anymore.  I told her that things happen.  {gasp!}  Kids get hurt. {gasp} Maybe she needs to relax a bit. {gasp} 

Her response was that she has 10 kids.  I said I had six.  But apparently I am not allowed to have an opinion or any input because I don't have 10 kids.  I guess you need 10 to be an expert and get up in everyone else's face and parse out unsolicited parenting advice.

Now that I have had time to think about why the helicopter mom ruins my park day I think I have had some insight.  

They bother me because they expect everything to be perfect. They expect all kids to robotic, perfect little specimens.  They hover over their own children and in the mean time reek a line of destruction for all the other imperfect children at the playground. And then they come at you like hell fire and damnation when you aren't expecting the same things out of your own kids.

Well, I think it is crap. I want my kid to climb UP the slide.  They learn to think out of the box. I want them to get owies and boo boos. They learn to overcome adversity and to be forgiving. I want them to learn how to play with others on their own without me smoothing the waters for them. They learn how to live in this world as a grown person. I want them to live their own lives and find out who they are.  I cannot do that for them and I refuse to, anyways.

How can they learn anything if I am constantly hovering, telling them what to do every single step of the way?

Helicopter moms want their kids to behave perfectly, don't want their kids to ever feel any pain, and they want to make sure all the other moms at the park see that they are great moms.

Get over yourselves! Sit your butt down on a bench, open up a book, and mind your own freakin' business. Let junior live a little. Make sure he doesn't run into the street. Make sure he doesn't get kidnapped. And then shut your mouth and let the kids play.

Set the helicopter down for an hour or two. I am getting tired of the wind.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Halloween

It's a tradition. Every year on our front porch. Look at my kids ready to go do some trunk-or-treating at the church.

For some reason Eli decided to be a vampire.  I made him a cape and put on some scary make-up. He was contented with the outcome and thought he was about the scariest thing walking the earth.  He was happy...I was happy.

Harry wanted to be a pirate. I wanted to make an original costume for him but just ran out of time. So we pulled this out of the costume box, Raef's old pirate get up from many years ago. And Harry absolutely refused to wear any sort of make-up. I really wanted to do a pencil mustache, but he would have none of it. I think that is about the cleanest, happiest and most innocent pirate you will ever see.

Julia really made my life easy by picking out a costume from our dress-up box.  Every day it was a new costume. At one point, she even wanted to be Spiderman. But alas, it was a doggie in the end. Plus, this gave her a great way of showing off her newly manicured nails.  Julia was a lucky girl because my sister Heather came to town for a few days and decided to take Julia to a manicure salon.  My girl was in heaven.  She got her hands and feet done and was super excited about it.

This was by far my most difficult costume to pull together. Only because of the fact that Zach is very determined and single-minded. He was the ultimate nag.  Grrr...  It was probably good though, because he kept me on task, albeit begrudgingly.  In the end, he was super happy with Batman Beyond and my ears were glad of the reprieve.

And Raef was Caesar. Jamie gave this to him and my life was easy because of it. Noelle was a pumpkin thanks to the kind women in my ward who came to my baby shower.  Raef is holding our little pumpkin.

On Halloween night, Rinar took them all out and only 20 minutes later they were back. Julia was tired and done.  I guess she was pleased with her little haul of candy.  But the boys went out for round two and came back with quite a bit.  Then Rinar took Raef and Zach out for round three. Needless to say, they were carrying a couple of heavy Halloween pillowcases.  

Even though I put practically no effort into this holiday, all the kids seemed to have oodles of fun. Halloween 2013 was a success. And I am glad it is over.
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