Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Roadblocks and Blessings

I have a white board hanging in my kitchen where I write down everything I need to remember for the week: things like buy Odin soccer shoes, or pick up ice packs for lunches, or bake cookies Mollasses Gingerbread stars for book club. Yesterday as I was jotting things down I wrote down the word Blessings with a big star next to it. However, when I looked back at the white-board later on I didn't remember writing the word blessings nor did I remember why I wrote it down?? 
This is kind of how my mind has been working lately with school starting this past week. It's been a little hectic and my thoughts have been all over the place. Many times this week I have walked into a bedroom only to completely forget why I walked in there in the first place. 
So I decided that even though I don't remember why I wrote down the word *Blessings next to *soccer practice Wednesday or *buy granola bars, I've  decided that I probably need the reminder to look for more blessings in my life! It's easy to get so busy and forget all the little things we are blessed with, especially when life gets hectic during the first week of getting kids back to school. In fact, this week has been pretty stressful and overwhelming at times, which means remembering my blessings is even more important than ever right now.

There have been some definite roadblocks to my week! With all 3 older boys going to school, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for myself as far as pick ups and drop offs go. With one of our boys going to a different school we had planned for him to ride the bus both to and from school, which would  free me up to take the other boys to school without too much driving all over town.  The bus pickup and drop off is right behind our house, and I couldn't think of a better plan!

But, of course sometimes the best plans fail. The first three days I was able to stick with our plan until his bus schedule changed on us. Instead of an 8am pickup they switched it to 7am. and there is no way he would be up and ready (and willing) to take a 7am bus to school. So here I am now scurrying everyone out the door at 8am to get him to his school, then get the other boys to their school by 8:35am, then my littlest to pre-school at 9am. The hustle and bustle is a little crazy and chaotic! To make matters worse, one school is 8 minutes in one direction, while the other school is 5 minutes in the other direction. So, once I drive 8 minutes to the one school, I then have to turn around and drive 8 minutes plus 5 more minutes to the other school. Luckily, Mally's little pre-school is right by our house, so I can drop him off on the way home from dropping off the other boys. 
Let's not forget the road construction either! The usual ways I take my boys to both schools are being blocked by road work, construction, and waiting. I've had to tack on more time to get the boys out the door in order to make it on time. Yesterday we were caught in construction traffic for 15 minutes. Z was late to school and the other boys were freaking out that they would be late, too. (well, mostly just Odin) I finally figured out some good alternate routes to both schools that wouldn't take too much longer but geeeesh!: I am spent and tired by the time I get home at 9am.


My boys love school. They are thriving there. Z comes home with these bright sparkles in his eyes as he tells me about all the interesting/amazing/perplexing things he learns. His music teacher is from Taiwan. He's reading a biography on Geronimo. Multiplication comes easy to him. He loves math and reading. He's making new friends. Someone invited him to a Nerf gun party on Saturday. He likes to catch the bus home. Z is being blessed at his new school. 
O loves his school. His teacher is bubbly and smiley and encourages him to keep trying when he fails at something. He loves his friends. He loves art class and assemblies.
He sees his brother J at recess and they play a little bit. J's teacher really loves him. She's the same teacher he had for Kindergarten. She is working hard at helping him to be more sociable and happy  because J struggles with feeling optimistic at home and at school. He's kind of a "the glass is always half empty" kind of guy. We're working on helping him see the good in himself and life around him. School gives him the challenges he needs to grow in those areas. This teacher is a blessing to our family. 
M started pre-school today. I'm not really a send-your-two-year-old-to-pre-school kind of mother, but I had to set aside some time for me to study for my college classes. Thus M will spend 6 hours a week at my neighbor and friend's in-home pre-school. He loved his first day! They painted and ate watermelon and played outside. This pre-school is a blessing that was sent to me when I didn't know what else to do.
So all this running around in the morning to get my kids to school? Totally worth it. It's a blessing to get to spend more time with them in the car as we drive here and there. They are hilarious and always make me laugh in the car.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going back to college. It's still pretty surreal to me, which means I haven't really talked about it much to my peers around me. It hasn't really sunk in that I'm going to be spending big chunks of my time thinking and working towards my college degree. The past few months I've been slowly pulling away from many of the things I've been involved with to make room for college brain. I've handed over much of my La Leche League responsibilities to my new co-Leader. I've also pulled back from little  things here and there like being in Moms Club or being Admin for my ward's facebook group, or helping plan my book club. They are just little things, but my brain adds up all these little things until it's too full and I have mental breakdowns. No mental breakdowns for me, please. I need as much brain space as I can get!

So, I'm not joining the PTA anytime soon, or volunteering to coach soccer. No extra callings at church (not that I've had any offers) or big projects to finish. I am keeping life simple and as stress-free as possible. Going back to college has been a huge blessing. It's all been paid for through federal grants. My husband knows the ins and outs of my University and can help me. It's all online so I have freedom and flexibility in my classes. I am excited about my major! (BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, Teacher's College, with plans to teach Elementary school) 

My husband is a huge blessing to me. He just works so hard all the time to take care of our family. I couldn't do all the things I do without his love and support.

Well, it's time to say goodnight. Maybe tomorrow I will remember why I wrote *Blessings on my kitchen white-board. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Love Makes a Home

I really love our home and I'm really happy we live here. 
I put my kids down to bed at 9:30pm tonight and was left alone with a very quiet house and a thoughtful mind. My husband and eldest son are out of town on a camping trek for a few days, which has made the house even quieter than usual. 
In this quiet home tonight I have felt an overwhelming joy and happiness for where I live. Not specifically for Southern Utah, but for the inside walls of my home. Micah and I have worked really hard these past two 1/2  years to make our home a special place for our family and I can feel the strength of those efforts emanating throughout the walls of our home. 

Each room has been carefully considered for our needs. Everything has a purpose and function here for the use and benefit of our family; each toy we've purchased for our children, each piece of furniture we've acquired for our use, each appliance we've chosen, each spoon, fork, and plate we've brought into our home plays a special part in our family life.
I love walking through our home at the end of the day to see what trails of living our children have left behind for the day. Odin has left a huge mess of googley eyes, popscicle sticks, cotton balls, and hot glue on the kitchen table. I don't know what he was up to, but it looks exciting! Malachi's new birthday toys are all over the carpet, proof that he loves to play like a toddler! And Jonah's little phone( Micah's old broken phone) is plugged into the wall where he left it. I know he will wake up eager to check on his hatching eggs in Dragon City. Zadok's room is neat and tidy because he rarely goes in there. He spends most of his time out in the living areas playing with his brothers. Micah and I have all the necessities we need to raise a family, which is nice. We don't want for much and are happy with keeping stuff down to a minimum. We have just what we need and it feels good.

I like to sit on the living room couch and soak in the happiness of  my colorful walls. I've painted each wall in my living room a different color-perriwinkle, sunny squash, and well, the burnt orange was already here when we moved in. My hallway is green. The TV room is bright yellow. I painted the extra bedroom blue. The bathroom got painted teal and pink when I was pregnant with Malachi. I haven't attempted the downstairs, yet, but I have some ideas. The bold, bright colors brighten my surroundings and make me feel even more at home.

I love my home. I love that my husband has a big garden out back and has planted fruit trees, raspberries, and grapes! I love that we gather eggs from our chickens each day and that next year we'll get honey from our honey slaves bees. 
I love that we have a huge backyard. Our dogs just turned three years old this month. They're a pain the ass but I've learned to love them. I love our firepit, trampoline, sand pit,  bouncy horse, and big apricot tree to climb. We've had many backyard BBQ's and parties within the fun walls of our fun yard.

I love raising my children in this home. I hope that their memories will be as happy as mine someday, looking back on life in this happy little abode.