Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Running on Empty...

Sometimes, as a mother, you get to the end of a day and feel as if you have nothing left to give.  Today was one of those days.  In fact, it has been one of those weeks, and one of those months.  My tank is on empty pretty much physically, mentally, and sometimes spiritually as well.  Sometimes, when I think of all I have to do in a week, I get so overwhelmed that I literally want to curl up in my bed and pretend it will all go away.  It's totally my fault, I admit that.  I try to do too much, and get frustrated when I can't accomplish all that I want to.  I feel like I have to be so many things for so many people...it's so hard to keep up. 
I am the mother of a toddler, who needs to be fed, (literally...the kid won't eat anything, so you have to sit and feed him), changed, read to, nurtured, sang to, and generally just loved to pieces.  He is a night owl, and would stay up all night if I let him.  He gets into our bed most every night, I think because he doesn't get all the attention he needs during the day, and he is making up for lost time.  I don't carry him back to his bed anymore...I snuggle in, and realize that this kid is my last one, and there won't be another opportunity to snuggle up with a toddler.  Pretty soon he will be a teenager, and he won't want me to touch him.
I am the mother of a kindergartener, who is struggling with insecurities, and trying to get my attention in all sorts of ways.  Sometimes it takes her breaking down into tears to get me to stop what I am doing, focus on her and love her.  Sometimes she gets pushed aside, especially at night, when I am tired, and I need to try to get Jack to bed.  Sometimes, no one tucks her in at night, or sings her a song, because by the time I get done with the toddler...she is already asleep, and the moment is gone.  Sometimes, because I am so busy, I am only half listening when she tells me about her day, and when she tries to tell me a joke.  I pretend to laugh, but miss out on some of the joy of the moment because I am focused on other things.
I am the mother of a CRAZY almost 8 year old BOY--who is all BOY, and nothing but BOY!  I struggle to understand him, since I didn't have any brothers growing up, and this is my first try understanding the mind of a young energetic boy.  I fear that I am always getting mad at him, instead of celebrating his uniqueness, and his energy, and the way he makes us all laugh by saying or doing the funniest things at just the right time.  I wish that I could have just a portion of that energy, and maybe I wouldn't be such a grump all the time!  I am feeling the weight of responsibility to make sure that he is ready to be baptized.  Does he really understand what it means?  Have we taught him well enough?
I am the mother of a 10 year old girl, a 5th grader, who struggles with her self image, and her confidence.  I struggle to find ways, and find the time to convince her of her divine nature, and let her know how many gifts and talents she has blessed our family with.  She is a true middle child, and sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  I wish there was more one on one time with her, just her, so she would know how truly loved she is, and how special she is to me.
I am the mother of a 13 year old girl, in junior high--a truly scary place if there ever was one.  The things that kids in junior high struggle with are so much different than they were when I was her age.  I wonder if I have taught her well enough.  I wonder if she will be strong enough to withstand the temptations that will come to her?  I wonder if I could have?  I wonder what is going on in her head--because heaven knows she doesn't really share things with her mother.  It makes for a little worry, and a lot of concern.
I am the mother of a 14 year old, her first year in high school, who is just beginning to come into her own.  She is finally starting, with the help of a beautiful patriarchal blessing, to grasp just a glimpse of her potential--but she is also realizing that Satan works hard to make sure that people like her feel frustrated, and discouraged.  Life is hard, and exhausting, and she is learning that she will have to do hard things.  Dating and driving are just over the horizon--and I feel like it can't be possible that my baby has grown up so fast!
I am the wife of a husband who is amazing in every way.  He is such a hard worker, and has always made sure our needs were met.  I struggle to find ways to show him my appreciation.  It feels like so much of our time is spent on the children, and activities, and church callings, that our relationship gets lost in all of that.  I remember when we were dating, and how it was almost physically painful to say "goodbye" at the end of the night, and how I would lie awake thinking about him, and how I couldn't wait to see him again the next day.  I still look at him and feel so lucky, and so blessed that he would choose me...and I still feel so unworthy of his love.  After 16 years of marriage, I can honestly say my love for him hasn't changed--but sometimes I struggle with finding the time and the energy to SHOW that love in a meaningful way. 
I am the cook, the chauffeur, the scout leader, the blogger, the news junkie.  I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor.  I am a team mom, and a PTO member.  Sometimes, I am someone who tries to be ALL of these--ALL in one day, like today.  And sometimes--like today, my tank is on EMPTY.  Yet, as I sit here and blog, (and have a little pity party for myself) I am reminded of Todd's cousin, who a few weeks ago laid down her 4 month old baby for bed, and 30 minutes later went in to check on him and found him cold, and lifeless.  I am reminded how fragile life really is, and how we never know what might happen next.  I think about each of my children, and my husband and how I would feel if tomorrow, one was taken from me.  In contrast, I have another friend who's daughter is getting married this week, and what a joy it must be for her to know that she has raised her in such a way that she is worthy to enter the temple.  What a glorious day--it is the reason that ALL of this is worth it!  It makes me want to be better.  It makes me want to concentrate more on the JOY of motherhood, and not the DUTY of motherhood.  It makes me want to get up tomorrow, with a new outlook.  Fill up my tank, and start fresh.  Tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Problem with Mary...

So, I was eager to get the children back to school, and back on a schedule--you know, so I could get organized!  Ummm...ya, not my best idea if you know what I mean!  I just got done filling in my new calendar (you know--because I'm SO organized)--with all the STUFF going on this month, and when I got done, I looked at it and thought, "I AM OUT OF MY FREAKING MIND!" 
 Funny thing is, that same day, I got a call from a lady over at the booster's club for volleyball, and she's like, "I was looking through my papers, and it looks like you're one of the only stay at home moms that I have--could you be our team mom this year...I really need someone with a little extra TIME!"  I refrained from laughing hysterically until AFTER I got off the phone--but I just think it's so funny when working moms think that stay at home moms have so much "extra" time on their hands.  Well--some might, but I have this thing called a "two year old" that takes up most of that extra time--and then there's the 5 year old with dance and gymnastics class, the 8 year old with soccer practice/games & Cub Scouts, the 10 year old with dance & cheer classes & piano, activitiy days, the 13 year old with gymnastics & cheer classes & piano, & YW, the 14 year old with volleyball, piano, honors classes, YW, etc., ME driving them around to all this junk--plus Cub Scouts and Activities Committee callings, not to mention hubby with YM callings and campouts every month!  I might be the most horrible team mom they have ever had--but I volunteered anyway (it's a sickness--getting in over my head constantly).  Anyway, this week I have been feeling stressed--and I thought of this post from last year & enjoyed reading it again.  I thought you might enjoy it too...

Okay, so my sisters, my mom, and I went to Women's Conference last year and we went to this class on how to get organized. I'm sitting there listening to this woman go on and on from her well organized outline--bored to tears--looking at her neat little lists that she keeps and all of the chore charts she's lovingly made, and how she keeps her house sparkling clean with her cleaning schedule, etc., etc., etc... You get it. And all the while I'm thinking, are you kidding me--people actually do this???

Then, the lady that was teaching the second half of the class stands up. Not only does she not have a powerpoint presentation, she just has one paper of notes in front of her. She proceeds to tell us that when they called her to ask her to speak on this subject, she almost fell over laughing. Then, when she told her friends about it, they laughed as well. She told us she had no idea how someone as unorganized and scatterbrained as herself was supposed to give a talk on how to get organized.

She proceeded to compare organization to the story about Mary and Martha in the scriptures. She said it was really easy to tell who was a Martha and who was a Mary. If Mary and Martha both receive the same assignment--decorating tables for the ward Christmas party--they would go about it in completely different ways...

Martha would get right on the assignment--after all it is October, and Christmas is right around the corner. She would send around sign up sheets the next week to see who has a creche they would like to display. Of course she would bring her creche as an example--she knows right where it is in her beautifully organized box of Christmas decorations. She would follow up weekly with those who volunteered, to make sure they didn't forget. She would lovingly wash and iron each tablecloth with care and weeks before the event she would be ready to carefully decorate each table. She does a beautiful job, and the tables turn out lovely.

Mary, on the other hand would handle this differently. She gets the assignment in October--but thinks, Christmas is so far away, and I really don't have time to worry about this now, I have to make my child's Halloween costume for the school carnival--which is tomorrow. October, then November come and go with several projects to keep Mary's mind from even thinking about the Christmas party. Finally, 3 days before the party, it dawns on Mary that she doesn't even have a Sunday left to gather creches for the centerpieces, she will have to start calling people... Now Mary KNOWS not to call Martha, or anyone like Martha in her ward. They would be completely annoyed at having to do something at the last minute, and at her not being prepared ahead of time for this event. So she calls other Mary's in the ward that she knows, and when she falls short on the number of creches that she needs, she calls family members, even though they live 30 min. away. (Not all of her family members are Mary's--but family members have to help you anyway--they are related to you). Mary drives all over town to find the creches she needs the day of the party, then spends an hour digging through her own Christmas stuff--(which she just threw into a random box last year because she was in a hurry) to find hers. She hangs the tablecloths in the bathroom to steam them while she showers an hour before the event is to start. Then she shows up at the church, and throws the tablecloths on the tables and is lucky not to break any creches in the mad dash to get them on the tables before Martha shows up to the party--(15 minutes early of course)! She does a beautiful job--and the tables turn out lovely.  (Even though Mary is very sweaty, and has to go in the bathroom and towel off and take a sedative before the party starts).

Okay, so at this point in the talk, I am rolling on the floor--and so are my sisters and my mom (they are ALL Marthas--but they KNOW who the Mary in our family is!)  FINALLY--here is someone who is like me! You see, Martha can't understand why everyone can't just do things like Martha does. And trust me when I say--I have TRIED so many times to be Martha! Mary would LOVE to be like Martha! I have read books, taken classes, printed out lists, and charts from the internet--you name it--and I just can't make it work--it's just NOT my personality! The point that this woman was trying to make, which I appreciated, was that the outcome was the same. As long as you are able to get things done--it doesn't much matter how you get to that point, as long as there is a good outcome.  And let's face it--we all know people like Mary, and we NEED people like Mary when something needs to be done or thrown together at the last minute!

The problem with Mary, however, is that when you wait until the last minute to get things done--your life is just plain STRESSFUL!!! I have a million things to do tomorrow--(well, today now), and now that the day is almost here, I am sitting here blogging because the level of anxiety I am feeling is not allowing for much sleep! I always have these days where I feel like my heart might jump out of my chest because I'm feeling so anxious--(isn't there medication for that??). The other problem with Mary--is that when she's feeling anxious and stressed about something--she might have a tendency to take it out on her family--especially her husband. So honey, I'm sorry. I know it's hard for you to understand how my crazy mind works--and how time and time again I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get things done! I know living with me is crazy, and unpredictable, and chaotic a lot of the time--and I appreciate you so much for putting up with my craziness! I couldn't do this without you!

For those of you who are Mary's--welcome to the club! This was some advice for you at the end of the talk:
1. Write important stuff down on your hand--that way it won't get lost.
2. ALWAYS PUT YOUR KEYS IN THE SAME PLACE!!!
I have already blogged about that one! http://6krazkids.blogspot.com/2008/04/frustration.html
For those of you who are Martha's--please have some compassion on us Mary's--we are truly doing the best we can!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crazy???...You Betcha!...

Last week, in a moment of delusion at the store, I decided to buy Jack a few packages of underwear when they were buy one get one free.  He's 2 1/2--which is a fine age to start potty training--but potty training is definitely NOT my favorite thing!  If you have any secrets--or suggestions--please share!  I'm in a hurry to be able to say NO MORE DIAPERS--EVER!  Wish us luck...we will need it (can you tell)!

First Day of School--2010!...

The first day of school came way too quickly this year, although I was READY, and I think the kids were too!  I think they are just as anxious to get back to a schedule as I am after a summer full of chaos.  Fun--but chaos none the less!  The thing that none of us were ready for?  Waking up EARLY!  Ugh.  In Gilbert the school schedule is such that High School goes earliest, then Jr. High, then Elementary.  Crazy, if you ask me!  These poor teenagers who stay up late...(as ALL teens do) have to get up at the crack of dawn to make it to school.  I haven't even gotten a chance to get a picture of Emie--I tried the first day as she walked out the door at 6 a.m. for A-hour, but my camera wouldn't work, wouldn't you know it!  The second day, I missed her.  Friday, she had to leave the house at 4:30 a.m. for a 5 a.m. practice for V-ball tryouts--and YAY she made the team!  The bad news is that this 5 a.m. practice will be her reality for the next few months--I guess they think that going on 4 hours of sleep to practice, 7 hours of classes, and then another practice builds character!  It will teach her that she can do HARD things though--which is a good lesson!  Anyway, long story short--I don't even have a picture of Emie starting high school--which I'm sad about--but when she wears the same outfit in a week or two I'm gonna take that picture & we'll pretend it was her first day pic!
Erin is in the 8th grade this year--and I know she'll have a ton of FUN--that's what she's all about!
Abby is in the 5th grade this year--she was a little apprehensive, but after the first day she decided it was going to be a great year!  YAY for great teachers!
Josh is starting 2nd grade this year in a room FULL of girls--I think the ratio of girls to boys in his classroom is like 3 to 1--pretty good if you're a little FLIRT like he is!  He's gonna love it!
Ashlie started KINDERGARTEN!  She was SO excited!  Her teacher is sweet, and so fun, and Ashlie has loved her first couple of days!  She was so cute--too bad it's SO freakin' HOT outside that she was a sweaty mess by the time she actually got into class!  I think she's going to LOVE it!
Jack has been so funny for the last few days, when I take the kids to school he dutifully goes and gets his backpack & puts it on for the ride.  When we drop the kids off--he CRIES and CRIES and CRIES because he "want to go to schoooooool"!  Then, when we come home he walks around and whines because no one is here to entertain him!  I think he'll fall into the routine after a few weeks & hopefully we'll have a LOT of fun together this year--just me and my ONE child left at home!  Hallelujah!!!!
Here's to a GREAT school year!  2010--PLEASE be good to us!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Makin JAM!...

I got together with a few of my Sis-in Laws this last week to bottle some apricots & make some JAM!  I seriously haven't bottled fruit in like 10 years!  I think I remember now why I haven't bottled fruit in like 10 years!  Man, it is hard, HOT work--and in July, sitting in a kitchen with 3 huge boiling pots of water is like sitting in a place where I NEVER hope to visit!  We took 2 days to bottle over 100 jars of apricots, and almost 100 jars of jam!  It was actually super fun to spend time with my sister in laws who I just LOVE--and my mother in law who is the fruit lady extraordinare who showed us the ropes in her huge amazing new kitchen!  We laughed, and talked, and sweated it out together!  The worst thing?  I really thought that I would at least lose a few pounds from all the sweating I was doing in that HOT kitchen--but I actually gained a few pounds from not going to work out for two days & eating nothing but pizza and junk food for two days.  Canning fruit is not really good for losing weight!  Oh well--now I just have to get around to making some yummy homemade bread to eat all that jam with!  It will have to wait till school starts!
Aren't they PRETTY!  I know--it's just JAM--but c'mon--we worked HARD for it!  Just call me Betty Crocker!  =)

Roosevelt with the Alexanders!...

We had the opportunity to go to the lake one last time before summer's end with my sister Kimbie and her family.  We had such a great time, even though we got a flat tire on the way down & didn't get there and eat dinner until 9:00!  Todd is such a stud--he jacked our car up & changed the tire without even taking the boat off.  Emie and I watched him do it just in case...but I really would hope I don't ever have to do that..I have a feeling it would be more like a comedy show to watch me & the girls change a tire!  Mark & Debbie let us stay at the houseboat again--and it was a TON of fun!  I even got up the nerve to jump off the top of the houseboat (it's 3 stories up!)  I only tried it twice though, and both times water shot up my nose and seriously ended up giving me the worst headache ever!  Those kids are crazy--they jumped off it like 1000 times! Also, I mentioned "tube wars" in an earlier post--but I just thought it was tying two tubes onto the boat at the same time...NOPE...  Actually, you tie the tubes on and then CRAZY people jump back and forth from one tube to another trying to knock each other off...thus the name.  Yeah, it was pretty much NUTS--especially with Todd & Erin on there who are CRAZY!  Luckily--no one broke anything! Thanks guys for a fun time!

Lunch with the GIRLS...

Katie & I took Erin & Kami to their 8th grade registration--and what would an occasion be without having LUNCH as well! We use every opportunity we can to BOND with our children you know--it's not always about the food! PF Changs was delicious, and are these girls adorable or what?
We LoOooVe YoU GiRLiEs!

At the Lake with Uncle Dave...

More pictures from the lake.  We got a new tube--since tube wars were SO fun at Lake Powell, and we need another way to hurt people at the lake!  We took Uncle Dave & kids to try this baby out!  The verdict?  I'll pass--it jarred my back & I had a MAJOR wipeout that really hurt!  The rest of the kids, Todd and David--well?  They LOVED it!  (I am really a wimp at heart you know!)  Check out some of these pics!
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