For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cheese Balls!!!!!

I love my little fair headed, sweet voiced boy. Skyler is such a cutie. Several days ago while shopping with the kids Colby and Skyler picked a treat for themselves. A huge tub of no name brand cheese balls. They seemed excited in the store, and even more so when we got home and let them both have a bowl. After a day or two of chomping on cheese balls I put the remainder away.

Fast forward to about three days later. I was sitting here on the computer browsing my usual sites, like I do every morning when Skyler opened the cupboard to look for some food. He found the cheese balls. Now, you would have thought the kid hit the 10 million dollar jackpot by his reaction. He loudly screamed "CHEESE BALLS!" He grabs them out of the cupboard runs over to the cupboard where we keep the bowls, grabs one of those, puts all his treasures down in front of me waiting for me to fill up his bowl. The funniest part was that all the while he was singing, or chanting, "Cheese balls, cheese balls....". I can't remember the last time I saw him that excited over anything, let alone a slimy, cheesy thing shaped like a ball.

I watched this cute kid with a huge smile on my own face. He is so funny, has so much personality and it was all shining brightly that morning. These little kids of mine remind me everyday to not only be thankful for the small things, but to truly enjoy them. Love you cute boy....

Friday, January 21, 2011

I sit here thinking of the most empowering time of my life. I think it comes in moments, not in events. Some moments rob me of everything that I am. Some fill me with hope and a view of things to come that is good. Empowerment. I am trying to think of what that means. I have an idea...but only an idea. What if I were to look it up in the dictionary...what would it say?

For me it means to give something power, strength to push them forward. Forward. What does that mean? We eat everyday, we sleep, we work, we live. What drives us? What empowers us? What drives me?

I know of times in my life where all purpose seemed very clear, where the choices and decisions of my life made sense. And then there's those times where it is all so unclear. Those times when it's painful to just try to decide what to wear, or which chore to attack first. Empowering myself means that those choices don't mean anything in the larger picture.

I find empowerment in the quiet moments. Those moments that 20 years ago I would never have known were coming. A look from my child that says they truly understand. A moment when my husband looks at me with love when that is not what I feel I may deserve in that moment.

There are things that are a part of my life that I expected to be there. A husband, kids, watching my parents grow old, seeing my brothers and sisters bring children into the world. These things are the things I could have foreseen. I expected them to happen, and they did. Maybe the details are not what I expected, but they still are truths. The details...like Kara would only have one child. I saw her with more kids, but that never came to pass, but to see the relationship between her and that one child is magical. Details....like Mark. I never saw him having more than one child and yet he and his wife are expecting again which will make it six for him. Six...never saw that coming. But as he has grown older he has become a better and better father.

The unexpected. The things I never saw coming. In my life I feel there's a lot. Maybe everyone feels this way. I can only speak for myself. I believe I saw the big family, but I never could have foreseen the medical issues. Two children diagnosed with diabetes before they were a year old. The seizures, doc appts and the tears shed for these two children.

But there is the unexpected on a positive note. My family. That it would expand from 3 siblings to six. The sisters that I only vaguely knew about but would later meet. They grew up in a different world than I did. They had such different life experiences than I did. But I found myself sitting in a lawn chair, on a cool evening in Las Vegas talking quietly with one, while my daughter shared precious time with her cousin upstairs. In that moment I felt empowered. I was given the gift of more than what I thought I began with and they have been a gift. New experiences, new friends, new life. I am not sure they will ever know what they mean to me, what they have brought into my life, how they have lifted me up. Maybe they never will. As different as we can be, we are still have the same blood running through our veins. Thrust together by the choices of one woman, brought together by love, acceptance and compassion. They have allowed me to be a part of their lives, which they didn't have to. They have shared their lives with me, their families with me, our mother with me. They are very near and dear to my heart, and time spent with them is empowering.

Right now I am searching for that. Empowerment. I feel lost in many ways, but more alone than anything. I stand in a crowd of amazing people, my children, my siblings, my parents and friends, but I am feeling alone. I will stand in the cold night, watching my breath escape me, realizing that I am small, that I am only one. I can and do influence the lives of so many, but who influences me? I know the impact I can have on my children and friends and family...but who do I look to? I look to Polly, who is so lovingly taking care of her sister. That sister hasn't always made the wisest choices, but right now she needs that kind of love, and Polly gives so freely, wants to be with her and wants to take care of her. No amount of history can take away the bond of a sister, and the love that trumps everything else.

I look to my family, my sisters and brothers. As you overcome your own obstacles in life I gain respect and am empowered by your accomplishments. You help me see beyond myself, beyond my own problems and see the bigger picture. You all live a different life than I do. You make different choices, and for that I love you. Live your life the way you want to live, and I will love you for it. No matter what, no matter when, no matter how, I will always love you and look up to all of you. The way I feel about you is so much bigger than the way I feel about anything else. Nothing else matters....just the love I feel for you. I hope that as I get older, my life unfolds that if there's nothing else I can give people, it's love. You all mean the world to me and always will...no matter what.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

They're coming!!!

As adults we sometimes forget that kids don't know everything. They spend so much time trying to convince us that they do know everything that occasionally I think they do know it all. The other day as I was driving around with Colby and Skyler we had a moment that I will cherish forever...

My children have this thing about graveyards. There is a big one that is on the way to my folks house. Every time we pass it most of the kids hold their breath. They comment on how if you don't you will have bad luck on your birthday. All of this talk about graveyards extends all the way down to Colby. Naturally I assume that the little kids even know what a graveyard is. I now know they don't.

On this particular day I was heading down to the Tech Center to pick up McKenna. On the way there we pass a small graveyard. As we approached it I had to stop at a red light. I glanced over and noticed a funeral party there. I casually made a comment about the people that were there for a funeral. Colby looks over towards the graveyard and promptly yells out "Zombies!!!"
This is how the conversation went from there...
"What Colby?"
"Look mom, there's Zombies in the graveyard!"
I had no idea what he was talking about, but could more or less surmise that he thought any walking being in a graveyard had to be a Zombie.
Me, thinking this was a good mommy teaching moment took the opportunity to gently explain funerals and the people that go to them.
"Honey, those aren't Zombies, those are people that are at a funeral. One of their family or friends has died and that's where they are burying them. They are there to say goodbye."
"A dead person is buried there????"
"Well, sweetie, that's what a graveyard is....it's where we bury our dead people."
"There's lots of dead people there???"
This only amplified his fear at this point. You should have seen the look on his face and the urgency in his voice. He was genuinely terrified at this point.
"OH MY GOSH....they're Zombies and they are coming this way!"
I glanced over again and sure enough the funeral was over and the people were starting to wander back to their cars. Their cars just happened to be in the direction that we were.
"Mooooom, they are coming...the Zombies!"
At this point I could no longer stifle my laughs. He was leaning all the way forward in his seat belt, as close to me as he could get and whispering softly but urgently. As though he would be heard by the Zombies, that were surely on their way to get us.
"Hurry mom, they aaaaaaaare coming...."

I had no idea that he didn't know what a graveyard truly was. His idea of a graveyard wasn't something I had taught him with softness and kindness. It was the accumulation of ideas brought about by his siblings and their torture methods, way too many episodes of Goosebumps and a few too many times watching Thriller. I don't mean to laugh at my child's fears, but it was just so dang funny....poor kid. He might always have a fear of graveyards now...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

That's gross!

Kids. My kids have brought me to my own childhood again, and I have to admit that I am allowing them to drag me down with them. Abby's birthday is today. I got her a game called Totally Gross. It's supposed to be a science game that you can learn from, but as I sat here playing on the computer I was listening to their game and even Jon couldn't hold back the laughter when one of the questions went something like this..."How does a Buzzard protect itself? With farts that sound like gunshots or with projectile vomiting?" I was laughing, pretty hard. Trying to imagine farts that sounded like gunshots was just downright hilarious. I guess that's the irreverence in me speaking.

That's not the only gross thing in my home though. Kids are earthy creatures and it tends to seep from their pores at times. Bodily noises, smells and habits. With nine kids I have to admit I have seen just about everything there is to see. Kids that have fallen asleep in their own vomit, blow out diapers that make a grown man weep, snot that reaches from the tip of the nose to the floor...and I could keep going. There's also the words that would make Satan cringe, habits that no child should ever form and a love for bugs that only little boys can develop.

When you enter my home you might be able to see and hear some of the grossness going on. My son and his friend have topics of conversation that require me and Jon to intervene. We have to gently remind them that there is a time and place for such conversations, and usually they require an adult to be involved. You might leave the house with mud and leaves on yours shoes...Did you hear that? You might leave with those things on your feet. My kids regularly track things in the house that are not meant to be in the house. They really are not meant to be on the bottom of shoes either, but they end up there non the less. Most of the time I choose not even to ask where they were playing that got those items there in the first place. What I don't know won't hurt me.

I live in the idea that they will grow. They may learn to clean up after themselves, keep the bugs outside and grow out of the dirty habits. If not then I can cling to the hope that they will move away and continue their grossness in their own homes. They will have to understand that I may not come to visit very often if they do that, but I will always love them. And perhaps always laugh at them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The thing about their feet

It has come to my attention after having nine children and living with a man for 15 years that people are pretty particular when it comes to their feet. Even me.

Isaac had the funniest thing as a little guy about his feet. They always had to be covered. When he was three we bought him some loafers. There were two pair in the box, a white pair and a black pair. The funny thing was he had to have one of each color on his feet or he refused to wear any at all. I have a few photos of him sporting his black and white attire and it still makes me laugh. But to this day he wanders the house in socks, or wears his shoes right up until bedtime. His feet are the softest feet I have ever felt, but they also are the stinkiest feet ever. Always having them covered lends to that I guess.

Some folks walk around flaunting their feet like they are God's gift to pedi-style while others hide them, even when going to see a podiatrist. "Can't you just look at this diagram of my foot and get the the idea?" My daughters adorn their toes with rings, nail polish and ankle bracelets, but they are still just feet. Toes for balance, rough bottoms for durability and long funny look to them for walking purposes. Polly hates it when anyone touches her feet and Jon loves it if I will be willing to give him a foot rub (which has only happened a few times in our marriage. I have this thing with germs and in my mind the foot carries a lot of them!). Everyone has their thing.

Colby refuses to wear socks which makes his shoes really stinky. It takes me a long time to ingrain into each child's head that if you don't take the time to put on socks your shoes will come to stink soon and bad. Most of them have this concept down, but Colby still doesn't care. He just doesn't want to bother with finding two socks that match. I think my laundry abilities might have something to do with that....

My feet? My feet aren't ugly by any means, but they certainly aren't very pretty either. My toes are long and funny looking, my heals are dry (because of the refusal to wear shoes), and they just look like feet. I don't have much of a foot aversion or fetish, but I do have my hang ups. Just like everyone else. I hate shoes. I don't wear them unless I absolutely have to. Every pair of my socks has holes in them and it drives Jon mad. He believes that in the 14 years we have been married he has had to fund more than a thousand dollars towards my sock fund. I don't think it's that extreme...but it might be close.

You don't hear much about people's hand hang ups, or knee hang ups...but the foot...there are more than a few things people love about them, or hate about them. I think the funniest part about that though is how often do you really look at a persons feet? I couldn't even tell you what shoes my kids wore to school today. I am usually looking at their faces to see if they got all the breakfast off of them, or out of their teeth. The feet? As long as their covered in the winter I usually just don't give a darn.