Sunday, May 15, 2016

Just another busy mom day

"Wakey, wakey!" is the first happy thing I hear in the morning when my eldest comes in to wake me up. He always has a big smile on his face as he jumps onto my bed to rouse me. "Mommy, it's wakey wakey time!!" I yawn and rub my eyes and force myself out of bed.
My three oldest boys wake up at 6am, but me? I don't open my eyes til 7:30am, a half hour past when my husband has already left for work. I don't particularly like sleeping later than my family; I have big dreams of waking up before the sun rises, running five miles, making breakfast, and having a shower before anyone ever notices that I'm even gone! 
Yet, I sleep in every morning til 7:30am because I have a breastfeeding toddler who wakes me up around 1am, 3am, and 5am to nurse and snuggle. Waking up to nurse makes me tired and I need extra sleep.
Yes, we need to night wean him--he wakes up way too much and he doesn't need the calories milk provides right now, but we keep putting it off because frankly-- night weaning sucks! And getting woken up to nurse 3x a night doesn't suck as much, so night after night I choose the lesser of two evils.  (This makes sense, I promise.)
Luckily we co-sleep, which makes waking up to nurse as easy as rolling over towards the direction of my child and then going back to sleep. Yet for some reason that 5am wake-up-call forces me back into an even deeper sleep where I can't move my exhausted body or wake my tired mind up until I hear those two little words in my ears,"Wakey, wakey!"
So that is how I start my day. And that is how I started my day this past Thursday, which was possibly one of the busiest days of my mothering life! In fact it was so busy that I promised myself to write it all down so that someday when I'm an old lady and I have no small children to watch over, I can remember for the sake of remembering. So here it is:

Zadok woke me up at 7:30am. I had been nursing Malachi who had fallen back to sleep. Micah had already left for work, so it was me and the four boys as usual in the morning. I left Malachi to sleep on our downstairs bed, while I hurried upstairs to make breakfast. All 3  boys were whining from starvation because for some reason they were especially hungry this morning. I plugged in the waffle maker and whipped up some waffles from scratch. I have my recipe memorized: 1 cup whole wheat flour, one cup white flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 eggs. Mix it all together, wait for the green light. Throw it in the waffle pan. Ignore incessant whining. Throw plates and forks and cups and syrup on the table.
Today was the last day for me to collect Scout expo fundraiser money. I quickly sat down to text scout moms about turning in their money. I made quick texting plans to either pick up money from people's houses or arrange to have them drop it off.
 Texting is over, first batch of waffles are done.
Jonah needs me to cut his waffles a certain way with the pizza cutter. "Cut them in squares, with a pile of maple syrup next to it." If I do it the wrong way he won't eat. Feeding 5 year old  Jonah is one of the greatest challenges of my life. So I cut the waffles the right way, thank goodness, and continue with the other boys. Then Odin suddenly remembers he forgot to do his homework so he's hurrying to finish it up in the living room. He says he'll just eat breakfast at school instead. "It's Sausage Pizza, mom. I can pull off the gross sausages." he says.
Zadok has already devoured two waffles and is waiting for more. Little Malachi is still asleep so no waffles for him. It's 8:20am and we have to leave at 8:30am to get there on time. It only takes 2 minutes to get there but Odin likes to be there early to read in his class, and eat sausage breakfast pizza with no sausages on it. 
It's 8:30am and Jonah still isn't done eating, hasn't brushed his teeth, put on shoes, and is complaining that his toe hurts, and Malachi is still asleep. How did it get so late so fast? I have no idea! I make some quick decisions and decide to keep Jonah home from Kindergarten school and then quickly rush Odin over in the van. Zadok the oldest stays home to watch everyone. I quickly drop Odin off until I pick him back up again at 3:25pm. He runs happily into the school and that is that.
I rush home to my 3 little ones. I don't like leaving toddlers home alone, even if their older brother is mature enough to handle it. It just doesn't feel right to me. I unlock the front door and walk in to hear,"Mom!! Come quick, Malachi is dumping alcohol on stuff!" What the?? I rush into the kitchen to find Malachi dumping a bottle of rubbing alcohol that my husband had left on the table, all over onto the pile of waffles I had just cooked, with a big smile on his face, of course. I quickly grabbed the alcohol from him, threw out the waffles, and cooked him some oatmeal for his breakfast. I now had an hour to feed toddler, clean up the breakfast mess, throw in a couple loads of laundry, and get myself ready for the day. 
I quickly got ready. NO shower, but I instead threw on some workout clothes in case I got a chance to go jogging at some point in the day.
At 10am I dropped Malachi off at my neighbors house who said she would watch him during my orthodontist appointment at 10:30am. Chasing Malachi down to get his hair brushed and teeth brushed took several minutes of protesting, yelling, and running away (him, not me), but I finally got it done! I dropped him off at 10am and took Jonah and Zadok with me to the appt. They sat in the waiting room playing Nintendo 3DS's until I was done. While in the appointment my doctor tugged and pulled and yanked at my teeth until they were nice and sore. Then he sent me home with colorful elastics to stretch between my braces. Yay! 
On the way home from the Orthodontist we stopped at the thrift store to buy T-shirts for Malachi. He has gotten so big and has grown out of most of his clothes. I scored big time, finding really cute shirts just his size. One of them even has a truck on it with googly eyes! However, we couldn't leave the store without picking out some other junk we didn't need like a plastic dinosaur grabber, a slap bracelet, a blood pressure kit for Zadok to mess around with and a stuffed Orca for Jonah (which he named Orcy). 
By this time Zadok was starving for lunch. I quickly dropped them off at home with instructions to make some sandwiches, then went and picked up Malachi from Hannah's house. He was happy as usual but ready for lunch and a nap, too. 
We hurried home to make eat sandwiches, chicken patties, mango smoothies, and have milkies. I got Malachi to sleep pretty quickly then hurried back upstairs to finish helping clean up lunch. During Malachi's nap I had to catch up on LLL breastfeeding-help emails from the day before as well as catch up on a few emails in my inbox. I also had to organize the number of boys that would be going to Cub Scout camp this year by calling moms, and reminding them to fill out health forms, because I am Cub Master and that's my job. I also had to count all the money that came in from the scout expo coupons. I also made invitations to hand out for our end-of-season soccer party coming up Saturday. I am the Team Mom for Odin's team thus decided to throw a party this coming Saturday after their final game.

The boys played while I worked. We have a waterbed in the backyard that they were rolling on as well as jumping on the trampoline, with intermittent stops to play Nintendo.
Malachi woke up around 2pm. We read books, played outside, and had a snack. We picked up Odin and his friend Bradley from school at 3:25pm. Bradley comes home with us on Thursdays to go to scouts with Odin. We got home and I made them food. I heard Odin yelling in the kitchen about how his water tasted disgusting and he swallowed something gross. After some investigation we concluded that Malachi must've dumped alcohol in his cup earlier in the day.We then hurried off to Cub Scouts which started at 4:15pm today for a special fieldtrip. We met the other 14 scouts at the church and Leaders, and carpooled to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. For the next hour 1/2 we walked around the Canyon with a tour of the nature center, and got to pet some cool looking snakes. Did you know it's illegal to kill a snake in the state of Utah? I didn't!
After scouts got over at 5:30pm, we rushed to the soccer fields  for Zadok's soccer game, which started at 5:30pm also. Micah was already there. I quickly dropped off Odin, Bradley, Jonah, and rushed over to the the downtown Rock church to turn in the Scouting  fundraiser money by 6pm. Our pack raised $605, which wasn't too bad!
Next  I grabbed 2 large pizzas and a bread sticks from Little Caesars while I was out, then hurried back to the soccer fields. Zadok's game got over at 5:30 and Odin's game started at 6:30pm. Everyone ate pizza on the grass. Micah went home to build some bee thingy for his beehives before he picks up his next bee colony on Saturday morning.
I watched Odin's soccer game, meanwhile starving because I don't like pizza that much and wanted to eat something healthier so I was waiting til I got home.
At 7pm I realized I was missing the Relief Society activity I had wanted to go to, which started at 7pm. I was supposed to meet my friend there whom I had invited from another ward. 
Odin's game got over at 7:15pm. I rushed the boys home and dropped them off. I quickly texted Bradley's mom to come over and pick up Bradley. I took Malachi with me to the Relief Society meeting as they had childcare provided. I rushed in, dropped off Malachi in the nursery then went into my meeting. To my delight they had veggies and dips and chips and salsa. I happily stuffed my face with yummy food while listening to an amazing Marriage and Family therapist speaker talk about love and marriage and how to get along as families. 
It was a really great meeting and I went home feeling enriched and inspired, instead of exhausted, which was good.
I got home at 8:30pm to find that Micah had gotten Jonah to bed like he does every night. Yay! But the older boys still hadn't taken showers from after their soccer games. I asked them to please shower, then I tucked them in and did my bedtime stories for each of them. Odin likes me to tell him one story every night from my childhood. Zadok likes me to tell him anything funny. 
Now it's 9:15pm and Malachi is still awake and not tired. He usually winds down about 10pm.
I threw him in the bath, brushed his teeth and we lied in bed reading books until he got tired and wanted milkies and sleep. I turned off the light.
At 10:15pm Micah crawled into bed. We were both too tired to talk to each other and both barely muttered goodnight before we conked out. Micah (a high school teacher) had to wake up at 4am the night morning to go on a class fieldtrip  to an amusement park 3 hours north of here.
And that was my Thursday. Somewhere in there I'm sure I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and did my hair, but that's about it. I never got that run or shower  but on a positive note I saved those exciting activities for Friday!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You can take the girl out of the islands......

I told myself all the way to the fabric store, 
"Sally, it's time to expand your tastes. You don't live in the tropics anymore. So today, when you pick out your new tablecloth fabric you must go for something more "mainland." How about some cacti, or western flowers, or barn animals?" #fail

Monday, May 9, 2016

Brothers and Dragons

Our ten year old "Z" is downstairs right now telling our 5 year old "J" bedtime stories. Meanwhile I'm up here with my heart melting through the floor. 
About a month ago I sat down and had a heart to heart talk with my Z-boy about his relationship with his brother whom he doesn't always get along with. It seems like out of all 4 of our little boys, those two are always butting heads and arguing about this and that. Unfortunately, the older brother is often belittling and criticizing the little brother. And to retaliate the little brother is often physically attacking and whining at the big brother. Both of these behaviours had to stop. 
I sat Z down and explained that the family relationships in our lives are more important than anything else. I needed Z to know that having 3 brothers to be your lifelong best friends is just about the coolest thing you could ever have in life. "You don't want to ruin that, or jeopardize it in any way, I explained. "The way you treat your brother right now, will likely effect both of your relationships the rest of your lives."
We sat down and wrote down some goals to work on concerning how he treats his little brother. (Well, mostly I wrote them down and hoped he was absorbing it all.)
Things like: 
1. If you're not interested in what he's saying just smile and nod your head. Please refrain from correcting or criticizing.
2. If he's being annoying, go into another room, instead of being annoying back.
3. If he physically attacks you, don't punch back.
4. Try to find something you have in common and build on that commonality.

Now I don't know if this little talk worked on him, but I do know that over the past month we have seen a huge change in these two boy's relationship. It has been really awesome! 
Z has turned into this overly-dedicated, nurturing, loving big brother, and J has turned into this completely kind, adoring little brother who admires everything Z says and does. 

They play on the trampoline the minute J comes home from school. (Z homeschools and J goes to Kindergarten) They spend all their time together making up stories about dragons. In fact, J has taken on the character of Z's pet dragon named Flare. Z takes care of Flare and trains him to do all sorts of cool tricks. Z helps flare care for his stuffed red dragon named Crescent. Crescent is Flare's favorite toy, so Z watches Crescent while Flare is at school. Z also helps Flare when he has a hard time. For instance, when Flare won't eat his chicken dinner, Z reminds him that he's an omnivore and can eat chicken! (This has been hugely helpful to me!). When Flare is slow getting into the car, Z helps him get his shoes on and helps him get ready. (Also hugely helpful to ME!) Z has been playing games with Flare,reading dragon books to Flare, and teaching him the arts and secrets to training dragons. And now lately, Z has been coming downstairs and telling Flare bedtime stories about dragons. 

Z definitely found a common denominator to build upon- the love for all things magical, make-believe, and fantasy! I think these two have more in common than they realize and have really been building on these similarities this past month. I love to see them bonding like this, especially since Z started homeschooling again since this past February. Bonding with his 5 year old brother is a great thing to do since his 8 year old little brother is gone all day in school whom has always been his closest buddy.

I am so grateful for Z and his mature response to a real problem. He has gone over and beyond what I expected. I suspect dragons and magic will be a common theme throughout their lives as they grow up together as friends......or dragon and trainer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Bee Man

My husband has taken up a new hobby: beekeeping. This past April 23rd was the big day where he picked up his first colony of bees to bring home to the hive. There were over 10,000 of them locked in a wooden bee box. The queen was inside an itty bitty cage within the bee box because she carries the pheromones that attract all the other bees and make them stay together.
I don't know much about beekeeping, but have learned so much from watching my husband these past weeks.
He is a dedicated, careful beekeeper who is taking pride in his hives.
He built these beehive condos from scratch following a pattern he researched online. He has been teaching our children (and their friends) all about the inner workings of beehives and the honey-making process. It is fascinating!

Here he is placing the wooden bars in the hive. This is where the honeycombs will hang down.

Here is the bee box full of 10.000 + bees that Micah picked up from the bee seller:
 Here is Micah extracting the queen from the box of bees.
The Queen bee in her little cage.
Here he is dumping the swarm into their new home. The Queen will stay in her little cage until she eats her way out. Micah stopped up the exit with a marshmallow.

This is on Day 8. Micah went to go check on the bees and found that they had made combs.

This is Day 11. The bees have been busily making many combs in the hive. Jonah and his friend were excited to see so many bees!

 This is really fun for our family! I'm excited for when Micah will begin stealing harvesting the honey from the honeycombs. We will soon have all the local, delicious, honey of our dreams. Mmmmmmm

**Several years ago I purchased a children's book called The Bee Man which talks all about the process of harvesting honey from bees. We've been reading it to our kids all this time as a favorite bedtime story, but I never thought we'd have a Bee Man of our very own!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

More Spiritual, Less Material

After every General Conference, I go back and slowly re-read all of the talks before the next General Conference six months later. Well, actually I blast them on my blue-tooth speaker in the kitchen while I'm doing dishes. My family knows that when mom is scrubbing pots and pans and listening to prophetic council, they don't bother me. It is my special time to listen, reflect, ponder, absorb the spirit, plus get my kitchen shiny and clean. I am a multitasker by nature, so this works for me!
This past week I listened to the April 2016 talk by Elder Hallstrom called "I am a Child of God," and I haven't stopped thinking about it. I wanted to share a few things that have touched my soul from this talk.
In his talk, Elder Hallstrom tells about a recent trip he took with Elder Bednar to Liberia to visit with the African Latter-Day-Saints. Liberia was the sixth country they visited and one that has been plagued with poverty, political instability, and civil wars. They got to meet with 4100 members on a hot a humid Sunday afternoon in the city of Monrovia. Their intent was to teach and testify of Jesus Christ and to sing and worship with the people that met there. During the meeting Elder Hallstrom and Elder Bednar were blown away by the dedication and spiritual nature of the Saints they met with! These Saints would recite scriptures word for word! That is amazing to me!! These Saints also knew the hymns by heart, verse for verse. In fact, he said, "When a speaker quoted a scripture, the members would say the verse aloud. It did not matter-short scripture or long; the entire congregation responded in unison." When Elder Bednar asked the Saints if they knew the seventh verse of "How Firm a Foundation" they roared in unison, "YES!" I mean, who knows the seventh verse of How Firm a Foundation by heart?? I certainly don't and I've been singing that hymn for years! He said that there was a level of conviction he had never heard before as all 4100 voices sang in unison on that day!
I wish I could've been there! I wish I could've seen those people's faces and heard those beautiful voices. I can feel their love for Christ and dedication to Christ all the way over here, and I am grateful for all of them for this example to me.
Elder Hallstrom then says,
"In one of the most remarkable spiritual events of my life, I was taught a profound lesson that day. We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God. The Saints in Liberia have little materially, and yet they seem to have everything spiritually. What we witnessed that day in Monrovia was a group of sons and daughters of God who knew it!"
This made me think about how distracted I get in my own life, and how these distractions can so easily disconnect me with my Heavenly Father. There are so many times I sit down to relax on the couch, or nurse my baby, or even sit down with intentions to read scriptures, but end up scrolling through facebook, or watching the next episode of the latest TV show I'm addicted to. I miss out on so many moments where I could be spiritually edified and uplifted. I know this weakness about myself very well, yet I refuse to do anything about it! Day after day I let myself get distracted. I know that I can do so much better. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I could do so much better for the welfare of my own sanity, happiness, and blessings.
The Saints in Liberia don't have a lot of material things, yet they are rich in spiritual things because they are less distracted. They spend their time pondering and memorizing the words of the Lord, singing hymns and learning the songs by heart. This is a powerful lesson I have taken away from this talk. I need to be more mindful of my daily distractions so I can keep my connection with God as strong as it needs to be..
My goal this week is to fill my spiritual cup FIRST, before I become distracted by other things.