Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today is the day my mom was born so I thought it fitting to say a little something...

Where to even start....As I sit here reminiscing on all the little happenings of my life, everyone of them has my mom in it. She was always there...I mean ALWAYS there. She was there when I woke up, there when I went to bed, and always there in between.

I do know in fact, that she wasn't always there...she did have obligations outside of our family. As I parent my own children, I'm becoming increasingly aware that it's not what actually happened, or the reality of a situation, but the memories of my children, and how they interpret those times that they will take with them. So for the record, I remember my mom always being there.

I remember calling home during the cold winter school days because I forgot my shoes and would be completely mortified wearing my snow boots around all day. My mom to the rescue. A forgotten assignment, uniform piece, or practice clothes. My mom to the rescue. When I needed help on a project or mom was there. To this day I still can't write a decent introductory or conclusion paragraph...and to all my teachers...Yes, my mom did it for me :)

I always sat right next to my mom at the dinner table. We had assigned seating, another genius move by my mom. My kids currently squabble every night about who gets to sit next to Daddy. Although, I'm pretty sure it was the fact that I was the youngest and needed the most supervision especially when it came to gagging down my glass of milk. But I'll just keep thinking it was because she liked me best.

She was at every concert, award ceremony, play, and sports game. Even when she let me play Fall Softball and it was October and snowing...there my mom sat through the whole thing.

I can't recall a single event that I was involved in that my mom wasn't right there in the crowd. I'm sure there was one or two, but those aren't my memories. And I also rarely remember getting a no for an answer when I asked her for help of any kind.

However, I did hear the word "no" a lot. I heard it when I asked to go somewhere that my mom wasn't sure was safe. A "no" for dating boys before I was 16. A "no" to staying out past 12:30. A "no" to letting me quit something I had started. A "no" when I thought I did a good enough job, when in fact it was not even close to my best effort. I look back on things now and see that she always knew exactly when to the the reins out and give me some freedom, and when they needed to be pulled back in.

Wise and fair parenting was my mom's greatest strength. I think I was a pretty good kid...didn't get in to too much trouble. I attribute that to all the "No's" I heard. At the time, some of them made me an angry teenager thinking it was obvious that I knew way more than my mom did about life as most teenagers do. I thought I was quite capable of making good decisions completely on my own. I now see, I was a good kid becuase of all the "No's". I am so thankful for them.

Being the youngest I was able to watch all 5 siblings go before me. By the time I moved into the decision making years, I was well aware that there were consequences for every thing I did, be it good or bad. I loved my mom, admired her, and respected her. I didn't obey out of fear, but out of love. I wanted her to be proud of me. It was because she never let me down and I wanted to do the same for her.

My sister, 5 years older than me, were discussing what we were taught. Being that many years apart, our childhood experiences were a bit different...but in the end there were some soild principles that we were both taught. Our best was always good enough, even if it wasn't perfect, and she knew somehow exactly what each of our best's was. We never felt compared to any other sibling...which with 5 there was plenty of comparing that could have occurred. We were encouraged to do what we enjoyed no matter what everyone else was doing. We were taught how to live within our means...she was sure to always make sure that depsite where they were at that moment in life, there was a beginning, and a tough one that they worked very hard for. We were confident with who we were and self esteem was high despite any of our failures. We were made to be hard workers, even if it was something we pumpkins and piano lessons for me :) We learned to take pride in a job well done and not step on anyone else in the process. We have all taken different paths through our early adult years but have all seemed to turn out all right with a solid foundtaion. She has trained us well and now that we are all older, we have not departed from it. At the time we both ended the conversation with, "We have no idea how she did it, but we want to do the same!"

I now think it was because she was there. Always there to overhear, observe, talk, listen with all areas of our life. There were of course a few things that slipped past her and the good children that we are, of course tease her about the now :) But she knew who we were and knew most everything we did.

And now I am raising my own her footsteps. She has shown me how to parent from birth and continues to do so. I'm thankful that she was blessed with the chance and chose to raise 6 children. Every individual child brings different challenges and trials, joys and triumphs. Her experience, wisdom, and knowledge is beyond words. I am abundantly blessed to have and incredible example and resourse right next door :)

Proverbs 17:6 says "Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children." I thank God that he gave me a Mom that I am so proud of. And I pray that I would follow her example so that my children are indeed her crown. That they would love, appreciate, respect, and value me as much as I do my Mom.

Happy Birthday Mom...We Love You!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Boys and Dirt

There is nothing like a brother, is there?

Brotherly....Love? I can't quite tell!

Pretty sure they snatched the camera and took a few shots of what boys deem picture worthy...

And let's not forget....
They do think daddy's "truck" is pretty cool, but, they do mention how they miss his 'racecar." They've been brainwashed and their dad happily takes all the credit. It's wrong folks...just plain wrong. But what's a girl to do??

Anyway, while the boys were out fooling around...the girls were doing some real work. Getting our garden ready for the year. As always, it was the first week of June. Pretty late as MN standards go. We never know just how soon the winter will return so it's best to get the earliest head start you can!!

I have to interject here just for a minute with a funnion from today. While Deb and I were neck deep into our card game...the kids were just milling around the kitchen, hovering over us. I told them they better get outside and enjoy the weather because it's going to snow soon. The kids all gasped and I heard a "what????" "did you say snow???" "like how soon mom???" Deb and I quietly giggled with a "Well you never know how soon it just might be! Don't waste the day now!!" It worked, out they went :)

So back to the garden. Deb came up with a new plan for us. Square Foot Gardening. She claimed that we could get all we needed in a fraction of the space, with a fraction of the work! Sounds great, right?

So RDub kindly built us the garden boxes. Then I made Nathan (and 4 kids) trapse around 2 stores with many flatbed carts getting all our supplies. He was a good sport...and he got to buy a power tool for himself....I didn't hear him complaining too much :) Does a weed whipper count? The kids call it a weed whapper. Whip, Whap....let's call the whole thing off....

Then we had to mix all the ingredients that filled the 5 flatbed cards...with shovels, on a tarp, in the wind, with water, 4 kids, all while starting at 4pm on a Sunday evening....seriously the times we pick to do major gardening projects!

One of the ingredients was vermiculite. Anyone....anyone??? Does anyone know what that is? Well we didn't really, until I googled it of course. So where does one buy this...vermiculite? Certainly a garden center would know!! After all, they are in the business of horticulture. We called one store and I got a very young girl who answered us with, 'Uuuummmmm, I don't know, let me go ask." I then called another, "No, we don't carry that." And another, "We don't carry it, and you can't use that in MN." Seriously....looks like we were on our own. It was found on one website so we ordered it up. When I went to the customer service counter to pick it up, the lady pulled the order up, and then a stare and then a, "And......what actually is that?" It seems Amazon's #1 selling book had only made it into Deb's hands and entirely missed the rest of the state.

Here's the magic, no weeds, no work, highly productive garden boxes. We'll see how they live up to their hype....

We finally got them all filled up thanks to Quaid who was a huge help the whole way through!!! We had been mixing all the "stuff" on the tarp with a shovel, and then transported it shovel by shovel to the boxes.

So on the last box Quaid says to me, "Mom, I have an idea but I don't think you'll like it." At this point Deb and I were a bit over the shoveling and figured any suggestion might be a good one...even coming from a 7 year old. "Why don't we just dump the bags in the box and then mix it around in there so we don't have to walk back and forth carrying it." Deb and I shamefully look at eachother, kicking ourselves that we had not thought of that on box #2, and for the fact that we had been shown up by a 7 year old...."That's a GREAT idea Quaid!!" We now had to take our self-proclaimed garden expert hats off and throw them to the wind.
We finally got everything planted...even with a little day light to spare. Now, we'll wait to see what actually comes up!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You said what?

There are so many times in the day the kids say or do something and I think, "I should put that on the blog." And then life happens instead of the blog and they are lost forever. But today the blog is happening instead of life...a little conversation in the car last night...

N: "Kids, you're making too much laundry for your mom. There's no reason you need to change clothes 4 times a day."

(Amen Honey! What a great topic of conversation!!!)

Kids: (while talking amongst themselves) "Yeah Dad." (More talking between them) "Yes, dad....okay dad....."

N: "So if your clothes are clean and not extremely dirty you can put them in a pile on the floor and wear them again the next day...Okay?"

(Silence from the kids)

N: "Okay? Did you hear what I said?"

Kids: (more talking, NOT to Nathan)

N: (in a slightly louder voice) "Did you hear what I said?"

(To give the kids a little break here, they did just get done eating out and each had their own balloon in the car...can you blame them for being a little distracted?)

Kids: "Oh! Yes dad, okay dad!"

N: "What did I say?"

A: "If our clothes aren't too dirty or too clean, or too extremely dangerous...wear them again the next day."

Good. I'm glad we got that taken care of.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Isn't this the cutest face you've ever seen??? It's even cuter when it's not covered in food! This is my beautiful niece that I get the pleasure of caring for 3 days a week! She is loved by all in our family!!
This is the face of 4 year old vs. 7 month old! I think Jentzen did a great job...and she didn't seem to mind!
And to finish 'er off....Keira handled her quite nicely. It's amazing what the little ones can do if you just give them a chance!!

But sometimes things are best left to the adults...
A little better.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Big 6

The Birthday Girl!

Ava turned 6 today!! I can still remember Ava as a newborn...and now 6 years later, she's a fine little lady.

She is caring and compassionate to others, always thinking of others wants and needs. Well almost always, she is still a normal kid :) Giving up something of hers if someone else really wants it is no big deal to her. I remember when Quaid would be bummed if he was losing a game....Ava would slip her matches or points to Quaid so he wouldn't feel bad....even if that meant she had none. She's always willing to give up her color of bowl or cup to her little sister or brother. Are my kids the only ones who fight over what color of bowl or plate they eat with?? It's always amazing to me what things seem like the end of the world to a child!!

Ava loves to play ball, get dirty, and ride bikes with her brothers. But hair bows, nail polish, and sparkly pink things are also an equal love of hers. She loves being a little mother, always wanting to handle situations. Listening to her is always a good gauge of what I sound like as a parent...the good and the bad :) She despises brushing her hair and despite making sure her clothes "look good on her" she's perfectly comfortable with leaving the house with a rats nest on her head! Knowing every little detail of everyone's life in our house is a necessity, not much slides past her. If I'm missing anything...Ava knows where it is....unless she is the one that misplaced it...then it's lost forever :)

She is learning to be a bit sneaky and work the system with mom a little bit to get what she wants always making sure to sound so sweet and if she's doing me a favor....which can be a good quality if groomed correctly....oh the pressures of a parent!!

I love having real conversations with her. I love to hear her opinion of life and her understanding of things that happen. Her facial expressions light up a room and also show everything on her sleeve. The girl will be a terrible poker player some day!

Ava is the glue in our family...always making sure every one has what they need, helping when I need help, and will do anything for her siblings. I can picture her being the one they all run to and depend on.
Quaid and Jentzen both colored Ava birthday pictures and wrapped them up and gave them to her. It was the cutest thing. Jentzen was so excited to see Ava open his picture!!

We love you Ava and can't wait to see what your next year brings!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The kids were making paper hearts. Quaid quickly discovered if you turn it upside down, it sort of looks like a hat....a pirate hat.

And not just a pirate wearing a hat, but a pirate wearing spiderman pajamas, with a cape, telescope, and a sword, who's about to attack an intruding 2 year old. He's all boy.

And who can resist a little man with chocolate on his nose?
And then there's this little flower....
That was made for her mama for Mother's Day by this beautiful flower...

The more I look at these pictures, the more they don't look like my children at all....what's with the's obvious I have no idea what I'm doing with a camera, but that's okay. If you squint, turn the lights down low, while standing on one foot, and turning your head to the right...they look EXACTLY like my kids! Good Luck!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Laundry vs. Fun

I looked out the window one day to find this...

Evidentally it's not a fort unless every single towel in my linen closet is used.

Me: (as we were leaving the house shortly after that creation), "Ava, when are you going to pick up those towels?"

A: "We'll do it tonight."

Me: "You're not going to be home tonight, you're staying over at grandma's."

A: "Oh yeah, well then we'll do it tomorrow."

Me: "It's supposed to to rain tomorrow."

A: (eyes rolling in frustration) "Well then we'll just do it the next day!"

Me: "But they'll be all wet."

A: (a super eye roll) "Well, we'll just wait till they're dry then!!!"

It's times like these when I hear the words of my wise mom echoing in my mind, "Be thankful you have a child and he has the ability to do that!" She said that to me very early on in my parenting journey when I was at wits end with just one child back in the day.

How true is that! It is always a good reminder!

Is it worth the laundry...totally! They had hours of fun!