Tuesday, September 13

School's in, Fun's over!

When I laid out what needed to happen tonight, Easton melted down. Clean up dinner?! Shower?! AND do homework?! The waterworks began.

He is in full-blown mourning for summer! Then he wailed that he wanted to move back to Virginia. Ryan and I tried to keep our chuckling to a minimum, but we lost it when he finally said what was really bothering him - he wanted to go to a place where he didn't have to go to school or do anything he didn't want to! {Virginia seems to epitomize that to him - he was 4 when we moved here.} He's actually having a great time at school and having McKay there just adds to the fun -- it's just that his days are no longer his own. Being cut off from electronics practically overnight has also been harsh on him - no time for cartoons, movies, and video games that were my safety net this summer while nesting and then being in that hazy newborn sleep deprived state.

I'm feeling the same angst though. My days are not my own to do with as I really please. Ryan had a rough day at work and as we swapped woes, I told him that although I've got great job security, most of the time I don't want the job. I nurse 1-2 hours of every three while getting antsy about the stuff needing doing around the house. When I get a chance to tackle the chores, I get frustrated that I'm living in the movie Groundhog's Day, picking up the same messes over and over. I get to be the meany enforcing rules, schedules, chores, and eating of healthy food before treats are considered. My life is good. Real good.

A friend called to check on me last week and it was just the sort of upbeat chat I needed. She's the mother of 9 children and with the beginning of school, our hearts and minds were in the same place. Each afternoon/evening we and our kids were losing it! Contention reigned at home and us moms were wracking our wee brains and pleading for divine intervention!

We both had lost our tempers with our toddler daughters that week. The kind where it's a wake up call. We began swapping impressions of what we thought might help and it was so great to have come up with many of the same things! It simply boiled down to elements that require a daily plan with big picture goals and not so much the fly-by-my-seat survival mode I'm in.

For both of us, calming instrumental and classical music was on our list. Finding a moment to give each child some one-on-one time or to play together. More regular scripture study was in there - it centers me and helps me keep my big picture goals on the horizon even though the high wears off too quickly and my heart is "pricked" all the faster when I falter. Having a solid meal plan with our week's schedule in mind and an evening schedule for everyone to see might help. My friend and I could feel the adversary pulling at us, helping us find fault with others, encouraging our impatience, and feeling too worn out to put forth effort for the things that matter most: making home a haven from the world, teaching our kids the gospel and the value of work and contributing to the family and home. I was soooo striking out on almost all those fronts daily!

Ryan suggested that we might need a sticker/reward chart of some sort to help the boys track their level of helpfulness in deed and attitude. The video games were taken away a couple weeks ago and that hasn't seemed to remedy anything. McKay is totally in chart check-off mode right now with the Primary scripture reading chart and it feeds his competitive nature. He's sure to remind us each day and keep us on it.

On another note, my dad emailed each of us kids his conversion story yesterday - 8 pages! It's so awesome!!! I used part of it for our Family Home Evening lesson last night. Essentially, after a few years of dipping his toe in to see what the Mormon faith was because of a certain blonde beauty, he finally dove into the Bible and Book Of Mormon and began to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ and then the truthfulness of the restored gospel. He experimented with the principles he was learning - prayer, the Word of Wisdom, not swearing. To accept the gospel and be baptized was no small feat, considering he hadn't been raised in any faith and first had to determine if there really was a God. But once he gained a testimony, he took the next step toward baptism. A year later, he and my mom were sealed in the Cardston Alberta Canada temple - married for time and all eternity.

Brooks' wedding, August 2008

Almost 37 years later, they've raised ten children and sacrificed much of themselves to help us understand and live what we believe. My testimony was first rooted in years of observation of people like my parents who earnestly strived to live the gospel -- "By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20.). Then I too began to love the scriptures and understand that Heavenly Father has a plan of happiness for us. That families are eternal and that . . .
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Raising kids ain't for the faint of heart! It's hard work! I never imagined my days so full that I'd lack time to sit down and just "be", have such disjointed conversations, forget to eat so regularly, lose my temper so fast with someone I love so much, or that it'd be so difficult to use the bathroom without intruders or being needed.

Big picture - life is good and I am blessed. Big picture goals - sometimes brutally hard but totally worth it. The school year has begun, but I'm finding my homework much more demanding and important than I ever imagined!