Monday, February 8, 2016

This Week at Our House # 5

  1. It's February already. You can tell you are getting older when time starts to go quickly. On Monday we moved all of our stuff out of the storage unit. It went pretty fast since we had the majority of our heavy stuff already moved in. John has been running more. He went three miles twice this week. We had talked about losing weight and I decided to quit eating dessert until I lose 25 pounds and he decided to eat what he wants, but to start running. John is a funny combination of fat and very strong. He was kind of happy when Ruth said, "How can someone be so fat and so strong at the same time." But because he is so strong, he can go a lot of time without exercise and then pick it back up without much trouble.
  2. I worked really hard all day on Tuesday to get everything unpacked or stored as fast as possible. I finished all of the boxes and dump runs and thrift store drop offs by Wednesday night. I still need to hang up some pictures and racks for coats coats and jackets. I am surprised at how well we fit, though we did purge a lot more.
  3. Ruth just went to school all week. She seems to be making friends, and her grades are top notch. Ruth has a job interviewed scheduled on Wednesday for Chipotle. Hopefully she will be hired and get back to work.
  4. Kate helped a lot with the moving out, moving in and unpacking, and then back to school work on Wednesday. I think Kate is very,very happy with homeschool. Her favorite part is getting home from early morning seminary and going back to bed for an hour. I think she is really enjoying calculus 2, though, because she has decided to be a math major.
  5. Johnny worked very hard all week. He was the strong guy to move heavy boxes up into the attic. He also went to the dump and did a lot to set up the trampoline. 
  6. Adam worked pretty hard and helped a lot too. He will try and look busy, but he did a better job than usual.
  7. Rachel made herself Susan's official babysitter while we moved our stuff. That is a always a necessity that can be neglected. I'm glad she just stepped up and helped where needed.
  8. Anya had her baptismal interview today. Her baptism is officially scheduled for 3pm this Saturday. 
  9. Joseph actually helped a lot more than I would have expected. We don't expect a 6 year old to do much lifting, but he lifted a lot of the heavy boxes. 
  10. Joshua is getting better at Church. His primary teacher told me that he had trouble his first two weeks here, but now he is doing well. She said, he wouldn't sit in his chair, so she asked him if he needed to be taken out and he said, "No, I will just be good," and then he was. That is a huge improvement. 
  11. We got our dress up clothes out and Arwen has been in little princess heaven. Her favorite color is purple and so her favorite dress is a disney Rapunzel one.
  12. Susan climbed less and got hurt less this week (thankgoodness). I finally got her out of a porta crib and into a regular crib, which seems crazy to me because this is the age most of my kids moved to a regular bed.
This Week's Pictures

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This Week at Our House # 4

  1. We are in full swing homeschooling. John is doing math with Kate and Johnny. I am glad about that. They would have to take it online if he was not. But since he is, they are getting a much more difficult and in depth course. John has been exercising more. Not a ton. But he has been going out for a short run pretty much everyday.
  2. I am enjoying homeschool this time around. I changed things that I needed to make homeschool more suitable to me. I decided to buy all of the necessary workbooks and books, and that has saved me tons of time. In the past I did a lot printing, copying, and checking out books from the library. This is so much easier, better, and nicer for me. And then science, history, and art are all just group lessons. Since Kate and Johnny are in high school. I just bought there books, tell them to read, study, and do the problems, and then I give tests and writing assignments, but they are basically on their own and working very independently.
  3. Ruth had school all week. She still does not have a job. She has special class that her English teacher recommended her for and she is making some nice friends in that class.
  4. Kate and I read Agatha Christie books together. It's fun for her to pass them along to me and fun for me to pass them along to her.
  5. Johnny enjoyed some nicer weather this week. When he disappeared he was disappeared outside having nerf wars with Adam and Joseph.
  6. In the beginning of the school year there were several things John and I were concerned with about Adam. When I prayed about what to do I really felt like he just needed to be homeschooled. Well he is homeschooling and everything is fixing itself much faster than I thought was possible.
  7. Rachel works very slowly, and she apparently hates division. It took her two hours to do 30 simple division problems.
  8. Baptism here is very different from anywhere else we have lived. We have to do the whole thing. They said just pick a date, so we did, but then that turned out to be a bad date and no Bishopric member could attend, so hopefully Anya will be Baptized the second Saturday in February.
  9. Joseph is just looking so much taller and more grown up. He is still a stinker, though. Just a happy one. Joseph is just happy all the day, everyday, nothing seems to ever get him down.
  10. I bought Joshua an alphabet workbook and he completed it in two days.
  11. While I was cleaning a bathroom, Arwen came and asked me what I was doing. I said I am cleaning the bathroom and then I have to wash the floors. Arwen then very casually said, "I hate bathrooms and floors."
  12. Suzy has been falling and tripping and climbing and falling and running in front of the swings and the poor baby is all banged up. But she is still just the cutest thing ever. She is in nursery now and is just so cute there. Her nursery teacher actually came up to say hi to her before Sacrament Meeting started today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This Week at Our House # 3

  1. It was a cold week that ended in the first big storm of the winter on the East Coast. Though, we've gotten more rain than snow. I dragged the family to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to visit the Air and Space museum. John came along and was mostly happy until we got a $100 parking ticket for being a half hour too late to move our car and then he was grumpy, but still drove us through a large traffic jam and a snow storm before handing the driving back over to me.
  2. I had been thinking about how Ruth is the next one to have a birthday, and she will be 18. (Just typing that makes me gasp.) Ruth had Friday of last week through Wednesday off from school and we had only done a bunch of cleaning and unpacking. That is why I made a quick decision to just take off and have a family day, even if it meant driving 4.5 hours there, spending 4.5 hours at a museum, and driving 5.5 hours home. I think it was worth it. We had a really nice time, and we won't all be here next year. 
  3. Ruth had a lot of time off from school. She is applying for jobs and it is hard. The online stuff hardly works. I hope she does get hired soon. She is so good and such a hard worker. I may gasp when I think of Ruth turning 18, but she is more adult now than child, and I am very proud of the adult she has become. Ruth may not have thought the Air and Space Museum was the greatest, but there were a bunch of young men in ties and suit jackets on a field trip there, so she at least had something she liked to look at.
  4. Kate had her first week of homeschool. She works very hard and spends many hours on her studies. I don't think I will ever have to tell Kate to work. Instead, I'll have to tell her to take a break.
  5. Johnny is a very independent homeschooler, and that it nice. He mostly does all of his work without any reminders. He definitely enjoyed the Air and Space museum.
  6. Adam loved the Air and Space Museum. He even read the descriptions of the displays and then would come over to me and tell me about them.
  7. Rachel really quite enjoyed the museum. Her favorite part, though, was the gift shop. Now she is begging to go back to Washington DC to do and see more. I am now having Rachel work more closely with me, so I can help her with reading and math. 
  8. Anya walked or ran like an airplane most of the way through the Air and Space museum. 
  9. Joseph ran as an airplane, but he thought it was fun to crash into his other siblings and be a crashing airplane. Joseph obviously really loved the museum too. He even read some of the description and would tell me about them.
  10. Josh was a cute little airplane through the museum, and he was in little Joshy heaven with all of the things that go. 
  11. Arwen's favorite part of the Air and Space museum was a brass statue of a dog in the boat and gps display. I thought that fit her quite well. 
  12. Suzy was the only kid to have any behavioral issues in the museum. But she is a baby, so she is excused. 
This Week's Pictures

Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding Space for Christopher

We named him Christopher Ezra because he was born so close to Christmas and I know his spirit will help lead us closer to Christ and after Ezra Taft Benson, the prophet who I spent much time studying this last year and feeling his influence and guidance just as we will now have Christopher's influence and guidance.

This last week, I have been wondering where Christopher fits into my life. He is my baby, yet he is not here. He is part of my family, yet I am the only one who ever had a physical connection to him. My husband and some of the children have had a spiritual connection to him. We feel like he is a part of our family. I am grateful that he is very much a part of who we are and while I think that will fade over time, I am glad that the rest of my family has accepted his life, birth, and death.When I say we have four boys, one of the kids will correct me and say we have five.

We have two unique aspects to our big family that little Christopher has and would have kept. First, my kids have come in an unusual and complete pattern. There has been born a girl, a girl, a boy, a boy, a girl, a girl, a boy, a boy, a girl, a girl, and now a boy who will not be joining us in this life. Second, our birthdays are spread through out the year. Our biggest gap left to fill was the 2.5 months between Rachel's birthday at the beginning of April and Susan's birthday in the middle of June. Christopher was due to be born on May 11th, perfectly filling in that gap. I know it is a little thing and a silly thing, but I mourn not having that spot filled. I think that little aspect of the pregnancy that I was personally excited about will make mid May all the more bitter for now.

Even before I knew I was having a stillborn, I had a conversation with John about the possibility. I knew then, that I would not tell people that I have 11 children if he were to die. I knew I would not want to explain that I have 10 living and one that only made it to 21 weeks gestation. Yet he was born. I had labor. I held him. I had to fill out a death certificate for him and find a way to take care of his dead little body to satisfy legal requirements. His short life, his birth, and death were very much like the birth of my living children-- the connection I had to his body and his spirit were very tangible.

I want to honor him, but I do not want to have to explain his part in our family more than I already have. I want to let it rest, and go on, while allowing the little bit I had of his life to linger in my heart.

My friend Cheryl, made the picture of footprints in the sand at the beach with his name and birthdate on it. She printed it and sent a framed copy to me. I have put that on the mantle next to our large family photo. I am grateful to have that display of his part in our lives. I feel like it puts him where he is-- a part of our family, but not here with us in this life. I have a homemade blanket and some clothes he was wrapped in. I have 2 precious necklaces sent to me from some dear friends and one other homemade blanket that I have placed in a keepsake box next to his urn. I have decided that there is one more way I want to honor him. I am going to add him to the sidebar of this blog where I keep the current portraits of all of my other children. I thought I would not do that, but I find that as time goes on, I want him there, and I think he wants me to put him there.

From the very, very beginning, I felt Christopher's spirit. He spoke to me from time to time. I had a very tangible spiritual connection with him. The month before I got pregnant, he came to me and told me it was his turn and he was that little boy I had been waiting for. Of course, we were in the midst of the beginning of the most difficult time of our life. We were selling our home. John's job had not paid him anything for months. We did not have enough food, or at least not as much as we are used to eating. It did not make sense to have a baby. But I knew from my scripture reading that Heavenly Father does not worry about those things. The Lord gave Lehi and Sariah, Jacob and Joseph while they were on an 8 year journey through the wilderness, and in such danger for their lives, they did not even dare to start a fire to cook their meat. So I did not hesitate. If Lehi was gifted two righteous sons in his circumstances, I shouldn't complain or begrudge a child in our much more prosperous circumstances.

The pregnancy continued to be a part of our most difficult time. We sold our house and moved not really knowing what would happen. We spent two of our hardest months ever living at my families desperately hoping for a change and having one thing after another fall through. For the first time since I was 20, I struggled with depression. (I was much better at it this time around, but I knew what it was.) For the first time ever, I had to worry about depression in my children.

And then, near the end of those two hard months, things suddenly and unexpectedly turned around. John did not get a job, but we were very kindly offered a home. Through inspiration two weeks earlier, I got us a vacation home on the beach for Christmas. The beach was healing and necessary and just what we needed to prepare us for the loss of Christopher.

When I was 19 weeks along in the pregnancy and felt concern because my once obviously growing belly was not really growing anymore, I would often hear Christopher's voice in my head saying, "It's okay, mom. I am here." While I was giving birth to his dead body, I heard those same words.

It is not okay in the way I wanted it to be, and Christopher is not here in the way I wanted him to be here, but he is a part of who we are as a family. He is our angel, and I know he will be here influencing us and watching over us.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

This Week at Our House #2

  1. Not much happened this week, which is probably a good thing. John applied to jobs and may be negotiating some more contract work. We quite like the part of North Carolina we ended up renting in, and are hoping to find stuff to keep us here. It is the perfect combination of out in the country with just enough of the stores and restaurants we like and need within minimal driving distance. 
  2. I really like our new area. The yard is 3 times bigger than our North Salt Lake yard and I just love the distance it puts between us and our neighbors and I love the room to move around in within our own yard. We drove to Charlotte to get the rest of our stuff from my parents house, to buy some cheap-o bunk beds at Ikea, and to return books to the schools. I enjoyed seeing my mother and sisters and am very happy that they are now within driving distance. It's between 4 and 4.5 hours. After being a 3 to 4 day drive away, this is really, really nice. We also went to our storage unit and got more of our stuff. It's nice to have silverware and some other kitchen stuff now. I am still missing my mixing bowls and 9x13 glass pans. But we should be emptying out the storage unit within another 2 weeks. 
  3. Ruth took finals this week. She only has one more semester before she graduates. She has the next 3 days off in which time she will be applying for jobs. I hope she gets one quickly. She likes working and she needs to save for college.
  4. Kate took her finals too and now she will be coming home to finish high school as a homeschooler. We will be happy to have her around all day. Kate will be trying to get an after school job too.
  5. Johnny did well with his schooling this week and did everything I asked him to do. I had him write a 3 page single spaced research paper on the history of communism. He complained that was impossibly too long. In the end, he wrote 5.5 pages single spaced no problem.
  6. Adam is reading and enjoying it! He is reading at night before going to sleep and he is reading for school without a fight. He has finished two books in 8 days! 
  7. Rachel had a bit of trouble getting all of her school work done one day. the next day, she had to do double the work and work sitting at the tables. The day after that, she woke up early and completed all of her work before 11am. Hopefully she will continue with that.
  8. Anya is doing well with homeschool. She seems to really like to write, and she usually gets her work done in a reasonable amount of time. 
  9. Joseph always gets right to work and finishes it quickly so he can go and play. He is easy to teach. I am glad he had the time in school that he had because he would never sit long enough to teach anything to before kindergarten. 
  10. Josh had his 5th birthday today. We are working on getting him to dress himself and take care of all of his bathroom needs. It's hard to believe he is 5 already. I often think of how desperately I wanted to be done having children once he was born, and now I am just so glad that I am not done and will likely still have more.
  11. Arwen is a sunbeam now and doing just great with that transition. Arwen loves her toys and her books and playing quietly all day. She likes me to read to her. She likes learning her alphabet. I am wondering if she is a bit far sighted because she has trouble drawing and writing things, but can say them and recognize them pretty easily. I will hopefully be able to get that checked soon.
  12. Susan went to nursery for the first time today. She did really well and her leaders seemed to think she's as cute as we do. Susan loves to sing and sings all day long. She loves it when someone plays the piano and will always try and join them.
This Week's Pictures

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Our blond, spunky, sweet, car-loving, train-loving, lego-loving, chocolate milk obesessing boy, who happens to be a really good artist turned 5 today! That kid makes messes, makes us laugh, grosses us out, laughs, cries, smiles, hugs, snuggles, and kisses a ton! We love our little Joshua a ton! He says the craziest and cutest things. This week alone, he has said

"Are we done with this house yet. I want to go back to MY HOUSE!"

"For my birthday I want fruit snacks and chocolate milk because those are my favorite food."

"I take the stuff out of my ears and put it in my nose so then it will turn into boogers."

When I asked him if he ran around in circles during primary he said, "They won't let me. They won't let anyone."