Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The holidays in full swing

This past weekend was so much fun. The second weekend in December we always have our extended family reunion and this year we hosted in Idaho.  Everything went great and we had so much fun catching up with cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Heidi and her kids flew in for the party from Arizona and is was a perfect weekend.  

Sunday things went a little down hill.  Michael started throwing up.  We also were out of power for five hours during the day.  I wrote this on Facebook Monday Morning-

"On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 barfing children, two sore throats, and a million loads of laundry."

It has now gone through five of the six kids.  I have three home today. I have a sore throat, and the aches.  My stomach is a little rumbly but I don't know if that is just from being grossed out by the massive amounts of throw up that have not been making it to a bowl or toilet.  If I don't throw up it will truly be a Christmas Miracle!  

 Nothing like a little holiday sickness to force you to let things go.  So much for making caramels and treats to deliver to neighbors.  Who wants holiday goodies from the sick house?  So, instead I get to stay in my cozy flannel Christmas Pajamas, and that is a rare thing these days.  I didn't go help in Luke's school class, had to cancel babysitting a friends little girl, no gymnastics today, and didn't go to my primary meeting.  Thank goodness I have most of my holiday shopping done!  

Here are some fun shots I found on my camera from the weekend…second cousins hanging out at my house Saturday Afternoon.  

They all played (23 of them) while the Mom's (girl cousins) all just sat and talked for hours. The guys watched the Army/Navy game.  It was a perfect afternoon/evening! 

I found this picture of Chloe and Joshua rocking out.  Not sure who took it, or what was going on, but good work guys.  Having teenagers around is a lot of fun. 

Chloe…did you take this?  I like it!  When we got married all we had on our tree was lights and I thought it was so beautiful.  Every year we added something new….one year beads, the next year bows.  I remember our third Christmas I was babysitting a neighbor girl and she asked me, "Where are all your ornaments?"  I didn't even realized we only had one or two at the time, but who doesn't love their own Christmas Tree, no matter how many ornaments, or lack of ornaments it has.  Growing up I always thought our tree was the most beautiful tree in the world, even when we lived overseas and our tree options were at times pathetic.  I love, love, love Christmas Trees!  

Even if this IS our second tree of the season (remember the first one died) and even if there are already two or three strands of lights that have gone out, grrrrr.  It still is beautiful dark sections and all. It has been fun collecting new things to add each year (usually at post-holiday sales and even garage sales) and we always have the little ornaments we have been given or the kids have made through the years. 

Luke helping me pull out the holiday decor...

He had me recreate the picture…which I felt silly doing.  My sister and I were just discussing shameless selfies in abundance on Instagram.  It is so embarrassing! 

Despite three children at this moment sitting on the couch with bowls in hand, I AM gonna enjoy every minute till Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving Week Recap, Home Teachers and Farts

The kids had the whole week of Thanksgiving off.  It was a pretty relaxing week and went by too fast!  

The  Friday before Annie's Kindergarten Class had a FEAST.  I love that they make time for this kind of stuff.  

 I was pretty impressed with the Feast Table.  

Both Morning Kindergarten Classes...

Annie's Class were all Native Americans, and the other class were Pilgrims. 

Annie's Teacher, Ms. Kirby…or the CHIEF.  

Izzie as a Pilgrim. 

I dug up a picture of me at my Kindergarten Feast.  Can you imagine having candles these days at such an event?  

It was fun being at the school to see the big celebration.  Kindergarten is such a fun time. 

The days leading up to Thanksgiving were spent playing with cousins and friends.  Emmaline was sure nice to come over and entertain these two.  They sure love her.  

Life is always easier when we have Gunnar around to pass the hours.  These three can spend hours and hours together and I don't have to entertain them a bit.  Here they were doing a play for me.  It got a little violent so I told them they needed to go back to the screen writer and re-write the plot.  

Grandma is faithful about getting up and walking each morning.  She tried to recruit all of us on Thanksgiving morning and make it an official Turkey Trot.  All my kids were soundly sleeping, however, and I was not going to wake them.  So, it just ended up being the Pollards, Grandma, and me.  Oh, and Daisy, of course. (PS Nice face, Brett!) 

Jennifer and her four girls.  The fact that I made them stop in front of this house and take a picture was not by chance.  However, I will spare Abigail further humiliation.  (Also, take note, NO SNOW!  The weather this week was amazing!  It got up to almost 60F.  Hard to believe after this week of record freezing temperatures.)

We made it to Grandma and Grandpa's just in time for dinner.  Yum, I can smell it now. 

The "older" kids table. 

The Adults and the littles.  

I love this picture of the three little girls that day. 

Grandma always has fun crafts to keep the kids busy post-dinner.  This must be a Grandmother thing, Nana is always prepared with such activities for the kids too.  They love it and we love it because we can relax and talk with the adults.  

Sophie is concentrating hard. 

Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House we go! (This is how they went, holding onto the side of the car and telling us to go faster.  Notice no coats…I am not kidding.  It was practically CA weather!)

 We dropped in at our neighbors and friends house (The Webbs) for some pie, and then headed back to Grandma's for games and relaxing.  We watched the movie "42-The Jackie Robinson Story".  It was really good!  

Poor Grandma worked her tail off for two days preparing the dinner, and just like that it was over and then she probably cleaned up for two days.  We are so thankful for a fun day and a yummy feast! 

 We also missed all our family on both sides that were not with us.  We reminisced about past Thanksgivings spent in Las Vegas (both at Cade's and then at Uncle Doug's Wedding on the Strip), Arizona, at Nana's, in our old home in California, at Bear Lake, and in Salt Lake.  No matter where we are, we LOVE Thanksgiving!   

Next thing up on the agenda?  Take down the last of the Fall Decorations.  

It always make me sad cause I am weird like that.  Thank goodness we have Christmas to put up!  

While I cleaned and maintained the house with usually about eight kids running around,  these kids got pretty warn out from all their playing.   It was a nice break when they sat down to watch a movie and maybe even fall asleep.  (I think when Isabelle did this was actually the ONLY time, that's why I had to document it.)

Even though I love holidays, I love a nice Monday following a holiday to start putting the house back together.  SO much to do before Christmas hits, the following three weeks of kids in school are PRECIOUS!  

And, I leave you with one final picture.  I just love it….especially Isabelle's face and Sophie's giggle. 

Oh, and one more thing.  I had to let so much go this past weekend I could not even document it all.  And, I can't say I did the best job on my let go attitude.  A few quick things-

-Friday on the way out the door to the Ward Christmas Party we ran out to find a flat tire on our Suburban, our other car had died, and the roads were too terrible for the van.  We were about 35 minutes late for the party and the person we told we would give a ride gave up and got a ride without us.

-The next day it was discovered that HALF of the Christmas Tree had died.  Seriously, the top half was going brown.  I am telling you, live Christmas trees are NOT for the faint of heart. Ryan and Joshua had to take the whole thing down, load it back on top of the car (they said to get a refund we had to have the actual tree) and then drive about 12 miles back to the lot.  They had JUST enough time to get a new tree and rush back because we had had a Christmas Concert we were attending up in Rexburg. About the time I expected them home I received a call from Ryan, they had somehow locked the keys in the car while it was RUNNING.  Grandpa came to the rescue since I was scrambling getting all the kids ready for the Concert.  He drove some keys down to Ryan.  With some fast driving on icy roads, we made it to the concert on time.  Some yelling and gripping on my part might have taken place. BUT, we did have a WONDERFUL time!

-The Home Teacher wanted to come on Sunday.  I should have said it wasn't a good day.  Joshua was sick, we had tree stuff everywhere, and I just knew right after Church it would make for a chaotic visit. My premonitions were right.  First,  Michael "accidentally" farted while sitting next to the Home Teacher and it was so bad it could not be ignored.  Second, Luke and Annie were climbing every where and had to be asked to sit down about fifty times and that fifty is not an exaggeration. Last, but not least, Ryan FELL ASLEEP while the home teacher was talking. As in talking to him.  Like, laid down on his side, closed his eyes, and was out.  The HT looks at me, and then we both look back at Ryan, and we are like, "I guess he was tired."  So it was just me kicking it and talking and complete chaos everywhere.   We hit the jackpot as far as Home Teachers go, so I don't think we scared him off.

Let's just say I am recommitting to LET IT GO, come what may…farts on Home Teachers and all.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Report on Letting it Go

Today I had a few things that might have normally caused my blood pressure to sky rocket…just a little.  But I wanted to report that I really tried to LET IT GO!  I decided I would report on how I did because it gives me some accountability if I have to document how I reacted.

  I will share just a couple…

James had one of his mornings and would not get up for school so he missed the bus.  When I have to take him and Joshua to school it seriously sets me back an hour in the morning.  If they catch the bus, they are gone by like 810 and I have until usually 900 until Sophie wakes up, so for almost an hour I can hurry and get things cleaned up and start my day. (The little kids are long gone by this point too so I have NO kids for that hour.)  If  I take the older boys to school I don't get back until 900 and by then Sophie is up and I don't get that precious little hour that I love so much.

But, guess what?  I let it go!  I used the time taking them to school to help Joshua study for his Spanish Test and I even got to feel like a pro with my awesome Spanish Skills.  He ended up getting an A, and I was happy about that.  I was able to talk to James and send him off to school on a positive note.  Hurray all around.

Dinnertime is usually kind of chaotic but tonight I had told some neighbors that are moving that they could either come over for dinner or I would bring it to them.  She ended up deciding to have me bring it over, but what I had planned on making didn't travel well.  I decided to make something totally different  last minute and with my crazy small oven, things were a little behind.  I rushed all the food into the car and was trying to call Ryan because he was in town and I needed him to meet me there.  He wasn't answering his phone.  I looked down to text him as I was driving out the garage in a hurry.  The boys had put the garbage bins too close to the car and so I tried to kind of swerve the car while holding a hot tray of food and trying to call Ryan.  SMACK.  I hit the side mirror.  It was pretty loud.

I just had to laugh.  The cracked mirror SO fits our junky van that I love.  You can't tell very well in this picture, but our ENTIRE wind shield is cracked.  This car has some serious cosmetic problems.  The mirror just adds more to the beauty. I had to just let it go. I had icy roads to cover and hot food to deliver!  I didn't get stressed that everything was going wrong.  (I condensed the story above, there had been more complications before the smack.)  I just let it go and drove fast as possible without being dangerous on icy roads in a minivan. 

Earlier in the day, these two cuties played for quite a while.  I did have one instance where I got to practice letting it go.  I had JUST mopped the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.   I left the girls in the kitchen with a little lunch I made them.  These two are really good girls, and I love having a friend for Annie over to keep her busy in the afternoon.  They are usually very tidy and don't even make big messes when playing.  However, this time when I came back they had somehow had a throwing contest and EVERY piece of their lunch was hurled across the kitchen.  Even a cup of chocolate milk had been aimed for the sink I believe and there was chocolate milk dripping from the ceiling, on the blinds, and the windows.  This is NOT typical behavior from them.  I didn't even let it phase me. I told them they had to clean it up, which they did, and I did the finishing touches and was done with it.  Let that craziness go right out the door.  

I must have been a pretty good girl with all that letting things go stuff because I just peeked downstairs and look who came tonight….St Nicholas.  All our shoes were full of sweet treats. 

I can't wait until morning to see everyone's faces! And I can't wait to see what "opportunities" tomorrow holds for me to practice my new mantra!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Let it Go

A week or so ago a friend from my High School days in Kansas posted this picture on Instagram, or maybe it was Facebook, either way...

With this caption:

"Trying to implement my favorite ee cummings poem as my holiday season mantra.#everyonehasanopinion #family"

I think I could just say, Amen, and call it a post.  However the hashtags would be different on mine. They would be more like this....


I decided "LET IT GO" was going to become my Holiday Season Mantra too.  Let me tell you, there was a time when I did not need this banner.  No one needed to tell me to "Let it Go" because I let everything go!  I was EASY GOING.  Really people, I was.  I think I let a little TOO MUCH go!  Ha ha.  Now I thought that as life goes on, our weaknesses can become strengths-not the other way around!  I thought having a house full of children helps you to "let it go" a little more.  Not the case here.

This week I had a bit of a wake up call from a couple different kids, because if you are trying to sleep, even if metaphorically, kids will be the first to wake you up.

One of my sons asked me why I had kids.  He then proceeded to tell me he wasn't sure if I could handle the job.  Nothing like a boost of mom-self confidence for your child to tell you that in all seriousness. He then mentioned how I seemed frustrated all the time.

This was after I got after the kids for their not listening for the millionth time and leaving their stuff out eternally, and fighting one too many times for the day.  STOP already I said!!!!!  Frustrated would be an UNDERSTATEMENT!!!!!!!

Then I was tucking in my daughter and she said, "Mom, you always teach us nice things, but then you don't always act nice, sometimes you are mean.  But, it's okay, even if you are mean I still like you.  I will always like you."

First, can we tape that part about you always liking me even when I am mean so I can play it back for you when you are 15?  Second, ouch number two in one week.

I asked her and the son that said the first statement this, "When Mom wants you to do something, and you are not listening to me, or when I want you to STOP something, and you don't listen..how would you like me to tell you in a nice way, so you don't feel like I am stressed and mean?"   My daughter gave me a suggestion, and we did a role play, all the while my son was listening.  Then he jumped in, "Ya, that is NOT going to work. If you are that nice no one is going to listen to you."  See, I told you so!   I explained how at school there are rules for the school to maintain order and learning, and that at home we have to have rules too.  They then gave me ideas their teachers use....

"Hands on Top means Stop." 
 (All the kids put their hands on their head and stop.)

"One, two, three- eyes on me."  

You get the idea.  Anyway, I am going to try and be more PATIENT, and KIND when I discipline. A LONG time ago, before I even had kids, I remember seeing on Oprah something about "Do your eyes light up when your child walks in the room?"   I have ALWAYS tried to stop what I am doing and have my "eyes light up"  when I first see them in the morning, or after school, or whenever.  I think I do pretty good with the little ones on this.  However, I am afraid my eyes have not been lighting up when my older ones walk in the room and they can tell.  Sometimes I ask them how their day was and meanwhile, I am mentally running through my daily task list.  I am stressed and I think that is what shows in my eyes instead of excitement and gratitude.  The whole "eyes light up" thing was just for your children but I think it would be such a great thing to do with your spouse.  I think if I looked up at Ryan with some big ol' bright eyes he might ask me if I am on something!  

So, I am going to try this season to LET IT GO....and just ENJOY this wonderful season of my life.  I am doing what I want to be doing, and what I have always wanted to do.  This is my time, and so I need to just let the unimportant things go.  And I might even have to let a little of what I think are important things go.  Because they might be important, but they are not essential.  

What?  Sophie just dumped an entire Sam's Club size contained of crackers on the floor while someone was supposed to be watching her?   Let it go.    

I walk in the boys bathroom and see that flushing is just not something that is going to happen anytime soon around here on a regular basis.  Neither is aiming.  Let it go.  

The kids hate the meal I cooked.  It's not personal.  Let it go.  

I didn't get to make every friend and acquittance the perfect Christmas gift.  Let it go.  

I didn't get to serve everyone I wanted to at Church.  I didn't volunteer for this or that at school.  The Lord knows I am doing my best, and no one is complaining I don't do more.  It is only me that cares.  So let it go.  

I am up two pounds on the scale.  Let it go. 

I just cleaned out the car and vacuumed it and somehow there is already several odd shoes floating around, crushed crackers, and a spilled soda.  Let it go.  

My garage is a mess.  Let it go. 

No one made their bed before school.  Let it go.  

Someone hurts my feelings.  Let it go, they most likely didn't mean it.  

We don't have Christmas Lights up outside.  Let it go. 

I didn't get everyone's hair styled and done perfectly before leaving the house.  Let it go. 

The kids want to help with the baking and so the cookies are a little hard and don't look pretty.  Let it go. 

My spouse doesn't like to clean in his spare time.  A. He doesn't have a lot of spare time.  B.  Who does? Let it go. 

I didn't get to every single tradition I wanted to do this season.  Let it go.  Keep the Focus on Christ and what is important, and that's all that matters, not the latest do it yourself project on Pinterest. 

I will not be the only one trying to LET IT GO.  I told the kids, since they have been fighting a lot it seems, that they need to practice letting things go and forgiving each other.  

Pretty soon, when I tell them to go make their bed, I can see them saying, "Mom, let it go, seriously, focus on what matters!"  So I better be careful about my new slogan.  :)