Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Week at Our House #16

  1. One neat thing about this weekly blog is I know exactly how many weeks we are into the year. John is still unemployed, but his company paid us for the second half of March this week. That has been a huge blessing, and will help get us through the rest of April.
  2. I am sure thankful for spring, the warmer weather, the pretty flowers growing and all. I've spent much of this week pondering Easter and the last week of Christ's life. It has been helping me to "live in gratitude" a little better as President Uchdorf counseled in conference two weeks ago. Easter was nice today. The kids are sick, but Grandma funded plenty of candy for an Easter Egg hunt and that made a huge difference for the children. We have also experienced a few other tender mercies. We were able to get the medicine Ruth needed for $50 instead of $90 and Target's candy was on a good sale and we ended up saving $18.
  3. Ruth spent the first half of the week quite ill. I took her to the doctor's on Tuesday. Nothing was determined then, but the doctor was really quite worried. On Wednesday, some lab results came in and we found out that Ruth had a kidney infection. She is doing much, much better. She will have a lot of make-up work. It's hard to miss school when you are in high school.
  4. Kate was sick with a very bad cold and missed school on and off. She is finally feeling better, but will still have some make-up work to do. Kate helped a lot with preparing and setting up the Easter egg hunt for the little kids. She is also my right hand man when it comes to keeping Easter centered on Christ. I really appreciate her good example.
  5. Johnny was a little sick with a cold until Thursday night when he came down with a fever and a bad cough. He is still pretty miserable, though his fever seems to be gone. I do not think he enjoyed Easter much at all. He just wasn't feeling well enough.
  6. Adam got sick and stayed home from school on Thursday and Friday. Though his version of this illness seems to be more stomach based than cold symptoms. He LOVED the Easter Egg hunt and knew all about the Easter Lessons we had and seemed to quite enjoy his Easter holiday.
  7. Rachel has been the kid with the least amount of illness. She stayed home from school with a headache on Monday, but otherwise has been fine. Next to Adam, Rachel was the egg hunter champion this year. Rachel's baptism is coming up on May 3rd. She has been reading her scriptures everyday and is finally seeming to take at least half of our scriptural lessons a little more seriously. 
  8. Anya was well until today on Easter, poor kid. She enjoyed the egg hunt and the Easter lesson and videos, but by the end of the day was feeling pretty crappy. However, she is looking forward to a day off from school even if it is a sick day.
  9. Joseph had a very bad cough most of the week and a fever many of the days. I wanted Joseph to stay down because of his cough, so I did not give him any medicine for his fever. When his fever left (it's been on and off) he spent the week getting into everything or playing outside. I wonder if he is ever going to get out of the "get into everything" stage. It drives me nuts. He plays in the kitchen cupboards, he sneaks into the older kids rooms, he plays in the garage, he gets into the tools, he climbs up into every space, he plays in my closet and the storage closet. You would think by now he would have realized we are not hiding a treasure any where in the house.
  10. Joshua had the fever and cough, but it did not keep him down much. He kept going and playing, and doing just like he always has. Josh didn't do too much egg hunting, but he did enjoy sitting and eating his candy.
  11. Arwen was sick earlier in the week. She still has an awful runny nose, but seems to be doing much better. Arwen was really cute about the Easter egg hunt. She did not bother to try and find any eggs, but she sure loved getting an Easter basket with some candy just for her.
  12. Baby Susan is now 31 weeks along. We are getting closer to the end with just over 2 months to go. Right now I am just looking forward to the end of the school year, then I will start cleaning things out and preparing to meet my new little daughter.
This Week's Pictures
Evidence of Kids

one of the harder Easter eggs to find

Resting on the floor because they had to get up early for the Easter egg hunt

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Week at Our House # 15

  1. John had one job interview. I think we are going to open up the job search to include a move. Neither of us want to move, but John needs a stable job.
  2. I had a lot of UFI and political stuff this past week. We had a media training seminar given by Alliance Defending Freedom on Friday. It was very interesting. I think I have been given an opportunity to put some new great skills to use as well as deciding that I would be happy never to be interviewed by the media.
  3. Ruth had a fun week until Friday. She got out of school early to come to the media training with me and part way through developed a fever and has been feeling pretty sick since then. I hope it is nothing too bad. I worry more about the older ones with a fever than I do with the younger ones.
  4. Kate came with me to the media training, but has been down with a bad cold since then. Ruth and Kate do not seem to have the same thing, but it could be.
  5. Johnny was a big help around the house all week long. He has even kept up with his homework and had his research paper ready to turn in on time. Johnny helped his Uncle Jeremy a couple of days this week with roofing. I think that was a pretty awesome opportunity to serve.
  6. Adam had a fun scouts activity on Thursday-- the highlight of his week. He is so sweet and hugs me and sits by me all the time. Adam is really good about getting his homework done too, unless it is a big project. But it is nice to have one kid that I do not have to nag on a regular basis about homework.
  7. Rachel has to be nagged to do her homework. She loves school, but hates homework. Rachel did not get in on the lottery for Legacy Prep so she is once again on the siblings waiting list. I am expecting she is pretty high, so we are praying that she gets in and on the same school schedule as the other elementary school kids.
  8. Anya's reading has improved substantially. She is reading faster and better and could even follow along with the hymns at church today. I think this makes her one of our earliest readers.
  9. Joseph did get into Legacy Prep on the lottery. I have to get him registered early this week. He will be a young kindergartener, but I feel pretty good about sending him and letting him join the ranks of the school kids at the end of August.
  10. Joshua's interests have expanded from cars, trucks, and trains to the Avengers. He says he is Captain America!
  11. Arwen is getting into everything. She pushes chairs around and climbs into high places to get to things. Fortunately she seems to have great balance and coordination, though pulling everything out all the time isn't my favorite toddler activity.
  12. I have made it to that 3rd trimester slump. I am feeling tired like I did in the first trimester and it is getting harder to move around or roll over in bed. I had my midwife's appointment on Monday. I am doing a homebirth and it is all paid for. I am very grateful for that decision. I have never had a homebirth, but we knew that John's job was not stable and we could be left with no health insurance at a moment's notice. Since that has happened, it is nice to know that all of the baby care, labor and delivery and continued OB appointments are taken care of and paid in full.
This Weeks Picture

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Week at Our House # 14

  1. We sure had a week full!!! John found 3 more jobs that fit his abilities well. They are all out of state and work from home jobs. I really hope he gets one of those. That would be such a blessing for him to be able to work at home and would put several hundred dollars back in our pocket from gas.
  2. I had a busy week. The kids were on Spring Break. Rachel and Ruth had Monday and Tuesday off and the Legacy Prep kids had the whole week off. My kids surprised me. I offered to take them to do things and all they wanted to do was stay home, relax, play, and hang out. I am gratefully astonished for my easy to please over vacation kids. Wednesday, I went to BYU to man a UFI booth at an event there. That was a great opportunity for UFI and has made it possible to expand the intern program. I loved seeing Laura Bunker and Rose Marie Murray, and I got to meet another UFI wonder, Linda Ash. Kate came along with me and we had a great time spending the day together and getting the shopping done afterwards. I am keenly aware that I could lose my children by spending too much time trying to save other families. I pretty much always take a child with me when I go and do UFI things and it has been well spent one on one time.Thursday was dear little Rachel's 8th birthday. I brought treats to her class, had all the kids pick out a little treat to wrap for her and made a fancy dinner. I love that little girl with all my heart. I can't believe she is 8! On Friday, I cleaned the whole house and got us ready for General Conference. Saturday we baked, snacked, and listened to some amazing conference talks. I did some driving picking up Ruth's friend who has never heard General Conference before. The kids were all really good. Between the 2nd session and Priesthood session, I got to meet Kathryn Skaggs from a Well Behaved Mormon Woman blog!! She is just as amazing in life as she is online. I would love to sit and talk to her for hours! And today between sessions of conference our sweet Calico cat, Sakura had 6 beautiful kittens! I loved Elder Bednar's talk the most today and President Uchdorf gave me a lot to work on. We are very blessed to have so many wonderful family and friends and opportunities to serve.
  3. Ruth had Monday and Tuesday off. I LOVE having her around and talking to her and having her do things with me. I love that Ruth invited her friend over to listen to General Conference. Ruth has a job interview at In and Out Burger tomorrow. I hope she gets the job. It will be fast paced and a bit challenging, but she will be blessed to work and save money for college and a mission. I hate this and I love this. I love that she is growing and experiencing new things, but I hate that we will lose so much more time with her.
  4. Kate LOVED having a week to lay around. She spent one day on homework and the rest of the time either going out with me, playing legos with the boys, or watching her favorite movies. She needed the break. There is now a 7 week stretch of no vacation and then the 9th grade will be over for Kate.
  5. Johnny played legos, computer games, wii games, babysat a bunch, did no homework, helped finish another 1,000 piece puzzle, ate lots of food (I think he is growing), and happily did everything I asked him to do. He was a delight to have at home this week.
  6. Adam played as much wii as we would let him. When I told him to get dressed, he would change into clean pajamas. Adam took lots of good notes during conference and listened attentively to all but the last session.
  7. Rachel had her 8th birthday!!! I can't believe my baby is 8. Now we must have her spend time in our room at night teaching her about baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She gets baptized the first week of May. I look forward to spending that talking and teaching time with her, just as I did the other 4 kids ahead of her. She is a good girl and has learned to help and work a lot this last year. She has begun combing her hair and taking care of herself. My mother sent her an American Girl Doll for her birthday, so now she has a big responsibility to take good care of her nice things.
  8. Anya loved her much needed spring break. Now it is back to school and the race to the end of kindergarten.
  9. Joseph went with me on many errands this week and took a lot of time to just talk and ask questions. He also spent plenty of time trying to get out of chores, wrestling his brothers, and playing outside as the weather permitted. Joseph is very, very excited about the kittens. I am worried about keeping them safe from my 3 youngest kids.
  10. Josh pooped his pants almost daily, but started taking himself pee for the first time. He is by far my hardest kid to potty train. Maybe in 6 months down the road, I can say, "Josh is potty trained."
  11. Arwen was so cute looking at the new baby kitties. She is just cute anyway. I love to watch her play and set up her toys. 
  12. Susan is moving around. I am still dead tired with the pregnancy, but am grateful that I have not had the hip and leg pains that I had the last 2 pregnancies. I suspect they will come at some point, but I am enjoying that moving doesn't particularly hurt yet.
This Week's Pictures
Getting to meet Kathryn Skaggs

Poor cat was so big with all those babies

Fruit cars for Josh

Ruth and her friend watching General Conference

Listening to General Conference

sustaining the Prophet

Our conference notes. This kept the kids listening well.

The kids make beds to listen to conference

Anya's notes

Finished another 1,000 piece puzzle

6 babies born today

Monday, March 31, 2014

This Week at Our House #13

  1. Well John is back in full swing looking for a job. We only got paid for half the month of March. We pray that the job search will go quickly this time. Also, this week, John's sister Margaret had her baby stillborn at 20 weeks gestation. So if you do not mind sending some prayers her way. Her whole family is heart broken at the loss of their little son and brother.
  2. Since my bout with pneumonia, I have been much more serious about getting enough rest. I am still going to bed late and getting up early, but I am making naptime a priority. My children and my husband have also been much more serious about helping around the house and helping with the little kids too. None of us want me to be sick ever again.
  3. Ruth had a fun week of school. She comes home from school and tells me all about her days adventures. She's a pretty happy 16 year old. Ruth is now looking for a job now too.
  4. Kate, as usual, had tons of homework as well as 3 tests and 3 major research papers. She is now on spring break for the whole week, but still has plenty of homework.
  5. Johnny did all of his homework and his research paper. On the day his research paper was due, he said, "Wow! I have everything ready for school."
  6. Adam's class did a performance of Aladdin. He played Jafar. Adam did a really good job. While most of the kids sounding like they were reading their lines, Adam and a couple others kids really acted out their parts. I think Adam has a hidden talent for acting, but he hates to sing.
  7. Rachel had an animal extravaganza in her class. Everyone in her class has been working really hard on these animal reports. Then they made little foam animals, painted them and made 3-D backgrounds. All of the parents were invited to come to the classroom to see their kids projects, hear them sing, and eat cookies. Rachel did her report on house cats. She made several cats and did an excellent job writing out her report. I was impressed.
  8. Anya is very excited to be on spring break this week. She is just plain old tired of school, the school schedule and homework. Personally, I think they give too much work to the little kindergarten kids. Anya has done great. She is reading and she is halfway through the first grade math curriculum, but she just wants to play.
  9. As the weather has warmed and the sun is shining later, Joseph has been a delightful little boy!
  10. Josh hates potty training. But I am making him. He is wearing underwear everyday, even when we leave the house. Sometimes this is terrible, and I really have to be the potty nazi mom to make this work, but I doubt he is just going to do this pleasantly on his own sometime later. He is already 3+. My new rule is that if he poops his pants, he cannot have chocolate milk for the next 24 hours. We are now on day 2 of no chocolate milk. I am hoping this will get through to my stubborn little 3 year old.
  11. Arwen has been talking to us in a fake baby language. It is so funny to have her come up and tell us something very seriously and have no idea what she is saying. Arwen is 20 months.
  12. Susan is moving around plenty and I am looking more and more pregnant. I look forward to meeting this little one in another 3 months.
This Week's Pictures

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Reality of the Holy Ghost and the Devil

Several years ago my husband and I were living in a third story 700 square foot apartment with three young children in the middle of Toronto, Ont., Canada. The apartment had all sorts of issues. All of the walls that faced the outside of the building grew black mold. The windows were not insulated correctly so on the cold days (of which there were many) water would condense on the windows and they would be soaked. The apartment was uncomfortably small. We had no dishwasher, and I had to go the the laundry mat with my 3 young children every week to wash our clothes. If we had a vomit mess or a potty mess, I would bag up the items and await laundry mat day. The building stank of rotten food and the kids really had no place to play. I was not happy in Toronto.

One day, after we had lived in this apartment for about a year I thought, "If you do not pay your tithing, then you could afford a nice apartment with a dishwasher." I sat down in despair."Why am I so bad? Why couldn't I just be good and do what is right without complaint?" Then as clear as my thoughts about not paying tithing, I had these words enter my head, "You are not bad. You are being tempted by the devil. Satan is real."

My first thoughts to not pay my tithing came from Satan. The devil was tempting me just as he had our Savior 2000 years before (Matt 4:1-11). My final thoughts that I was not bad and that I was just being tempted came from the Holy Ghost. That was a turning point for me.

As a teenager, if I had realized that some things that I thought were temptations from the devil, I would have done things differently. I just thought that I was always bad. I often tried to work against the bad person that  I knew I was. I read my scriptures and married in the Temple and tried to do things right, but deep down inside, I thought that I was just a bad person and that there was no hope for me. My experience in Toronto changed that.

I began to understand why all of my primary teachers and young women leaders always said, "You are a child of God." Because I am a child of God, and so are all of the people on the earth. My potential was to be like God-- to be good. Bad thoughts and ideas that I had were temptations. They were not me. They did not define me unless I acted on them. I was granted more power that day. Recognizing that the devil is real gave me power over the thoughts that I would listen to. Recognizing that the devil was real, helped me to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni 7: 16-17 helps to explain how we can know the difference between the temptations of the devil and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost:

" 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him."

If I think: I should pay my tithing; I should do my visiting teaching; I need to read my scriptures; I need to forgive; I am a child of God; I can be patient with my children, then, I can know that it is from God. I am being persuaded to do good things. If I think, I don't need to go to church today, the prophet is wrong and I can think differently because he is trying to take away my agency; I have to write an angry reply to someone who is wrong on the internet; I am just a bad mom and there is no hope, then I can know that is from the devil and his followers.

Satan is real. He is just as real as Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Satan and his followers are there persuading us to let go of the iron rod and remove us from the influence of the Holy Ghost. Satan wants us to be miserable. God wants us to be happy. If we want happiness, it is very important to judge righteous judgements and be wary of which voice we are giving our attention to.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

This Week at Our House #12

  1. I was back into my normal schedule this week and happy to ease the burden that John had carried for the last week and a half. John is looking for a new job again. Blah, we knew it would happen as the place he works at is not stable.
  2. Feeling well is such a blessing!! I will take chores and wiping bums any day over spending time feeling sick in bed. Thanks to the internet, I have some really great friends that bless my life a lot. It is great to be a part of some really amazing women doing some really amazing things.
  3. Ruth turned 16!!!!! I can't believe my baby can date and get a drivers licence and a whole bunch of things. Ruth is good and kind and conscientious. She treats everyone so kindly. Ruth has the potential to do great things in this life.
  4. Kate, of course, has been swamped with homework! She has 2 big research papers plus all of her math and it keeps her very, very busy. We are in the process of registering her for high school next year and she wanted to take 3 AP courses. We said no. Kate is going to take AP calculus next year as a 10th grader. I think that and honors chemistry is enough for a girl who will just be turning 15! She is definitely ambitious and hard working but needs to be reined in some too so that she can have fun and enjoy life.
  5. Johnny purposely did not turn in parts of his English assignment. I got an email from his teacher. Johnny had to eat beans. He hates that so much, that he begged me to let him clean all 3 bathrooms and wash all the floors instead. Too bad for him, I had already done those chores earlier in the week to make Saturday fun for Ruth's birthday. Lots of people told me not to follow through with such a harsh punishment. I knew I'd be a bad mom if my threats were worthless, so yes, I followed through and Johnny gagged down beans.
  6. Adam has had stomach aches all winter. I started giving him zantac and that seems to have cured his problem for now. I am hoping to find a less medicated long term solution for him. I am interested in essential oils, but just have not had the money to really get started on it.
  7. Rachel is just so cute and sweet most of the time. She is adoring Ruth right now, which I love. I got to do the final Meet the Masters lesson in her class. I like seeing Rachel among all of her friends.
  8. Anya is only in kindergarten but really doesn't like school because of homework. I miss the good old days when homework didn't start until kids were in like the 2nd or 3rd grade. It is just too much for the littlest ones. And frankly, I hate it too. 
  9. Joseph is loving the spring weather and getting all of his energy out. He has been an easy sweet little boy this last week. He was such an easy baby and sweet 2 year old. I am hoping that is coming back.
  10. Josh is being the troubled toddler now. He won't potty train, though I am forcing it as he is over 3 years old now. He keeps clawing the faces of his siblings when they bother him, and he keeps playing in the sinks and getting water on everything. 
  11. Arwen has been getting into things a bunch too. She keeps playing the silverware drawer. This bugs me as I do not want baby hands all over our eating utensils, but she is determined!
  12. I am 27 weeks along and just entering my 3rd trimester! I usually find the last 6 weeks of pregnancy the hardest, so I intend to enjoy the easier part while I'll still there.
This Week's Pictures