Monday, April 28, 2008

Family Home Evening

I have to admit that our family home evenings with the kids at these ages can be down-right disasterous. I'll put a ton of work into a special lesson or activity, (and a treat of course) only to have it end with all the kids crying in tandem. There are moments when I just look at Jon and say under my breath, "What's the point?"

But we keep on persevering, week after week, because I whole-heartedly believe the prophet Spencer W. Kimball, when he promised that, "Regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in Heaven. It is my promise that great blessings will come to all who consienciously plan and hold weekly family home evenings."

I also am inspired to keep trying when I think about the Chinese bamboo tree analogy by Stephen Covey. "After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years, except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!" He goes on to compare that to family life, and that we work and invest time and effort to nurture, and build relationships and that sometimes we don't see any results for weeks, months, or years, but that finally that "fifth year" comes. And it makes all that effort worth it.

Our FHE tonight was crazy as usual, but great. I thought I'd post a video clip of the kids singing. Celeste and Benny are trying to sing the second verse of 'I am a child of God', but then Charity was feeling left out, so she steals the show. Jon and I laughed ourselves sick!! She's such a sweetie. :)

Gigantic FUN!

My weekend started out pretty crappy. I stepped on a rusty nail while helping to build our new fence, and had to get a tetanus shot. :(, Charity spilled milk all over the carpet, and it seemed like the kids were fighting all morning. It was starting to feel like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, until... we went to the circus! (Although Jon pointed out that we wouldn't have to leave the house to do that. ;)) To be perfectly honest, I think I was probably more excited than the kids were. I LOVE getting out and being together as a family and taking the kids fun places. We had such a great time! Here are a few pics from our adventurous afternoon:

Celeste and Benny were totally into it! They loved every minute of it.

Charity loved it too!

Jacob on the other hand... wasn't exactly impressed.

But the very best part of the day was getting to ride an elephant!! I think the kids will still be talking about this day for quite some time. By the end of the day, I had totally forgotten about my rotten morning. It's amazing how having kids has made life so much more enjoyable!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Child of God

We've taught the kids from before they could even talk that we are all children of God, and that we need to treat one another accordingly. But I didn't really think it was sinking in, particularly with Benny, since he rarely seems to pay attention when we have those discussions. (Plus, we occasionally catch him stepping on an unfortunate ant after repeatedly telling him that God made animals too). But I was pleasantly surprised today. I overheard him and Charity playing together in the play room. Then Charity hit Benny and he started crying. So I went in to deal with it, but I decided to peek around the corner to see how Benny would react. I figured he'd do what any 3 year-old boy would do and whack her back! But to my surprise, I heard him say, "Charity, we don't hurt each other! I'm your brother, and Jesus made me special!" He said it with no hesitation and with such confidence that it totally made my day. Maybe it's sinking in afterall!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tornado Alley

I don't understand how these kids can COMPLETELY trash the house in a matter of hours! I was feeling great yesterday... I spent almost the entire day cleaning and organizing the house and I even took Jon through on a special tour to see all my accomplishments. ;) And then we let out the "beasts" this morning and in a few hours it seriously looked like a tornado went through the place! Although I guess it could have been worse...

Here's what happened the day after Celeste's ladybug birthday party. I made these cakes for her, and then the leftover frosting was left out on the countertop which we soon realized was a big mistake because the kids got into it (duh!) and here was the result... brace yourself... this is UNBELIEVABLE!

I warned you! ;) When I came upon this disaster I wanted to burst into tears, but Jon and I ended up just laughing our heads off in disbelief and whipping out the camera to capture the moment.

Deep down, I really do know that this job as a homemaker is truly the most important thing I could be doing right now but it's hard to feel that way sometimes when I'm on my hands and knees, with my hair thrown up in a bun, still in my workout clothes, trying to scrub kool-aid out of the carpet. Anyway, so on days like this, when I'm feeling completely exhausted, unappreciated, and mundane, surrounded by burp rags and dirty diapers, I reread my favorite quotes from our church about motherhood to remind me that it's all worth it. I'll share a few in case any one else has days like this:

"Motherhood is near to divinity, and is the hightest and holiest service to be assumed by mankind." -J. Reuben Clark Jr.

"She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come... long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God. In her high duty and service to humanity... she is co-partner with the Creator himself" -David O. McKay

"If it so be that you should labor all your days... and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy." D&C 18:15

And I think about how Christ commanded us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked... and who does that more than a mother?

So after I'm reminded of these truths, I feel like I can clean up all the messes with dignity, and remember what a blessing it is to take upon myself the sacred calling of motherhood.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools!

Jon and I love this holiday. In fact, we love this holiday so much we celebrate it year-round. It helps keep things spontaneous and interesting around here (as if 4 kids 4 and under isn't interesting enough). We have this realistic fake spider and this really freaky bobble-head that we take turns hiding for each other. (I know, it's soooo bizarre). The head of the bobble-head fell off, so instead of throwing it away, it became a weird way to have a laugh and amuse each other! This head has been hidden in the craziest places- in my underwear drawer, in my shoes, even in my cereal bowl!! But we save our extra-creative gags for April Fools. The only rules are that the pranks have to be harmless and FUN!

A few of the pranks of the past include...

-lemon juice in a 7-up bottle

-saran wrap over the toilet in the middle of the night

-a rubber-band tied to the spray nozzle pointed directly at the person using the faucet

-a fake fly in an ice cube

-the clock moved forward a couple hours

-a bucket of cold water dumped on each other while relaxing in the shower

I know... it's a wonder we're still together! But this year, I thought I'd include the kids since they're getting old enough to enjoy it with us. So I surprised them all at dinner with a more delicious version of the hamburger made with york peppermint patties and Nilla wafers. The kids were thrilled! I got this idea from the Family Fun website if anyone is interested. They're super easy and yummy too!


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