Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yelling Update

So we are one week into my effort to not yell. I thought I ought to account for my progress. I am happy to say I have done very well. This week I have only come close to yelling twice. Both times as I felt my frustration reach the yelling point I recognized it and took a deep breath. Then I said to the kid who had been ignoring me, "Listen, I am trying really hard not to yell remember? Could you please help me out by being obedient and doing what I have now asked you 5 times to do?"

Then the kid has done whatever I asked and the frustration diffused. I have enjoyed reading the comments on tips to not yell. I think the one about getting on eye level and talking to the kid eye to eye is really good. Sometimes some of those are really hard to do when you have a baby nursing or are in the middle of a diaper change. But I saw that is what Michelle Dugger does to get her little ones to mind. I figure if she can do it with 19 kids or however many she has now, I can do it with the 4 in my home.

Well we will see how week 2 goes. Music has also been a really big help to bring a sweet spirit in our home. I love the power of music. Jon bought a new guitar today. I am excited to be serenaded to every night now. Right honey? My favorites that he sings to me are "the Luckiest" and "Tracks of my Tears." 

We are approaching Valentines day quickly here. One year Jon learned "the Luckiest" on the piano and surprised me by singing it to me. I loved it. What is one of your best Valentines day moments with your honey. I am looking for inspiration.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Typing One Handed

I have had my hands tied up the past couple of days. Sorry if I have been slow getting back to anyone on emails. My hands have been engaged in a most important work. And they have been loving every minute of it. They have been rubbing and patting and soothing and holding. It is their way of giving comfort. And the last couple of days this little guy has needed lots of that.

Mr. Noble woke up on Tuesday not feeling very well. He is cutting a 6th tooth and has a fairly constantly running nose. And he had a rash in his diaper area. But this seemed to be something more. He wasn't crying too much ... unless I put him down. He just wanted to be on my lap all day. He kept laying his head down on me. He hardly ever does that. To me this cuddliness was a sign that he really wasn't feeling good.

So I made an appointment with the doctor. I felt a little silly when she asked what was wrong and the primary symptom was that he was extra snuggley. But then that is so often the tale tale sign with babies.

She checked him out and found an ear infection and a yeast infection. Not so good. But we were glad to know what was hurting and why and how we can get all better.

He already seems to be feeling quite a bit better. I hate having him not feel well, but I have been savoring the time I have had with him laying on me and gaining comfort from my touch. It is a gift to be able to comfort my sweet baby. And I am happy to sacrifice my schedule to do it for this little guy.

The dishes and emails and blog posts and laundry can wait. My hands have been otherwise occupied. For this is the work my hands were meant to do. It is the greatest work any hands can do -- pure service to relieve the suffering of another. It is the work of the mother, the doctor, the nurse, the friend, the good Samaritan, the Savior.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Auction Loose Ends

Hi Everyone!

I have had a couple of loose ends with the Emily Jones Auction come to my attention. If you donated an item and never heard from me about where to send it -- please email me at stephaniewaite @ gmail . com.

If you paid for an item and haven't heard from the donor or seen the item come, please email me as well. I just want to make sure everyone got their items.

The ONLY item that did not get sold was a tutoring session in the Denver area. (Thanks for being willing anyway!)

And in case you didn't see my comment after yours or my email, Yes Erika, the winner of the rag quilt is Bonnie and she did pay and the address I sent you is where her item should be sent.

Thanks again to everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Was in the 3 Boxes

Some of you have been wondering about what was in the 3 box gift my mother had wrapped up for me for Christmas. This may be a month late but here is the beautiful angel garden statue that she gave me.

She is beautiful. Don't you think? It was such a great and touching surprise for my Christmas morning. Thanks so much Mama. I love you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Best Gifts

We are told to seek after the "best gifts" of our Heavenly Father here on Earth. I hope someday to find my heart has become as pure and undefiled as my sweet Sabrina's. 

Today she called a "family council" together. I was curious as to what was so pressing on her mind that she felt the need to gather us in such a formal occasion. We all sat down in the living room and turned the time over to her. 

"I have noticed that there has been a lot of yelling going on around our house," she said sheepishly looking at me. It is true. I have been coming down hard on "clean up after yourself month" and using a raised voice to get the attention of little people who seem to have selective hearing.

"Well I was just thinking," she continued, "that we should not be yelling and that we should play the Camille music instead." 

Earlier today we Sabrina docked the ipod in the stereo and it started playing music. Two songs in it switched from Christmas music to Camille's lullaby and then on to Calling All Angels and That Glorious Day. The atmosphere in the house noticeably changed almost instantly. That sweet beautiful feeling that filled our home in the weeks and months after Camille's passing was suddenly all around us. We all got quiet as the music played, even the baby. I noticed it at the time. We didn't stop what we were doing. But we did it all with more .... well ... reverence. 

I was so amazed that my sweet eight year old daughter recognized this shift and wanted more of it in our home. I told her how happy I was for her suggestion and her reminder to me to find another way to get my children to obey that is more in keeping with the Spirit that should be in our home.

I will be working on that as my goal for February. But I think I will start that February goal today. I have an idea or two on how to do this but I am open for suggestions. Has anyone found some way to get their kids to listen and obey without having to raise their voice?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mobile Noble

It has been a big week for Mr. Noble. He officially started crawling at Uncle Morgan and Aunt Buffs house last week. He had been close for a while and could move pretty well in a small area by scooting on his bum while sitting up or by laying down and rolling over once and then sitting back up. But last week he started crawling forward.

Now I have to sharpen my "KEEP EYES ON AT ALL TIMES" skills again and temper the paranoia I have about that with ... well with faith I guess. Faith that the Lord will help me. Faith that no child is taken before his or her time if you are living righteously. Faith that Camille's death was in the grand plan of my Father and not something I could have prevented. Faith that if it hadn't been the spa it would have been something else. Faith that it was just her time. Yes, I am going to have to dig deep into that well of faith to help me temper my anxiety this go round.

While I haven't been looking forward to this crawling phase because I knew it would be challenging for me, I am thrilled to see my little man so excited with his new ability. And even as he is just getting crawling going he is already wanting to stand on his own two feet. He will stand up next to the sofa and steady himself. Then he will get this excited, daring look in his eyes and take his hands off the couch. He will look at me as if to say "Look Mom! Look I am standing! Wahoo!" Then he falls onto his bum.

So I guess I am in for a whole new adventure with Mr. Mobile Noble. Oh and there he is calling me from his crib now to let me know he is awake. I am off to get him!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wise Words

This week I read an article in the Mormon Times about a mother who died in a car accident last fall. Her husband had emailed some of his thoughts to the reporter and a good portion of his email was directly quoted in the article. His name is Justin Young and his wife's name is Katie. 

I wanted to share some of what he wrote because I thought he put some of the feelings of grief so well and even though our losses are different I identified with his sentiments. Thank you Justin for sharing your thoughts.

Justin Young wrote, "The refining fire of the Lord is not a pleasant place to be and it takes faith, courage and trust in the Lord that he is shaping you into the person he knows, wants and needs you to be. I consider myself a man of great faith in God and his plan, but I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the greatest faith cannot rescue one from the pangs of grief.

"But I have found that in those moments of deepest sorrow, when my very heart seems to be tearing itself in two, the moments that take me to my knees begging for understanding, peace, love, light, relief ... it is in those moments of humility, left with nothing but a broken heart and contrite spirit, that the greatest lessons of life have been taught and the mysteries of his kingdom are unfolded to view.

"Lessons and teachings that cannot all be shared openly, but cherished privately, and treasured up unto ourselves giving us not the wisdom of man, but the wisdom born of God."

That wisdom, he said, "is forged from the flames of experience and this experience has opened my eyes beyond my own ability to see. And because of this, I believe we should be grateful for the trials we have today because they'll make us who we'll be tomorrow."

Monday, January 18, 2010

True Hope

Saturday I took Ann Marie, Lauren and cousin Stella for a "birthday outing." We went to a salon to get Annie's hair done all fancy (photos to come). Then we went to the mall to get an outfit for her at Gymboree and lunch at Ruby's diner. All in all it was a fun outing with the little girls. 

But one part of the outing has left its mark on me. We walked into Gymboree and my eyes lit upon the most beautiful, dear little dress. It was royal blue and white. The whole collection was blue and white and each piece was just precious. I wanted to buy them ALL. I wanted to buy them for my little bright blue eyed girl. They just screamed Camille. 

You know how you can see a dress and it just looks so "insert the name of your best friend or mother here." Well these just looked so Camille. And here I have a little boy with her eyes but I don't think Jon would appreciate him being put in a dress. I put the dress up to Annie to see if maybe I could get it for one of the other girls but ... it just wasn't right on her. I knew it wouldn't be right on any of the other girls. No, it was a Camille dress.

So I purchased items for Annie in her favorite color green. And I got some essentials for Noble. Then I left the store and finished our outing. On the drive home from California that night with all my family asleep in the car I let the emotions come. 

I even thought about going ahead and buying the dress in a size 2 and putting it in my "hope" chest. Right now it is filled with Camille's things. I thought perhaps I could put it in there as a true "hope" piece. I can hope the second coming happens in my life time right? I can hope that this little dress will survive all the destruction that proceeds it. But then do I really want to get hopes up for something that very well may not happen in my life? 

The practical side of me won out. It is just a thing. I am sure there will be beautiful clothes in the millennium for me to put on my sweet blue eyed girl. I'll be fine. 

So I pulled myself together, there in the darkness of the desert. And the lump in my throat subsided. I wiped the tears from my face and marveled at how much less deep the pain is for me now than it was for me a year and a half ago, or even a year ago. It took a while of letting my feelings come to the surface before the tears came. And when they came they were few. Then I felt a little guilty. It is a natural thing -- this guilt over healing -- not logical but natural.

And then, there in the car in the darkness of the night, I felt a wave of joy rush over me. It was not my joy. It was hers. It was her joy that my pain is subsiding. It was her joy in being where she is. And it swept away the guilt and made me happy. And I felt as if all was right in the universe. Our family felt whole with me and Jon and our four charges in the car and our angel girl keeping us connected to the eternal joy that awaits us with true Hope. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ann Marie Day

Happy Birthday to my little Ann Marie. She is 7 today. She came into the world screaming and has gotten more pleasant to be around every year she has been alive. She is now one of the best cleaners, cookers, helpers, workers, readers, students or daughters you could ever meet. In honor of her birthday her dad wrote up an incident that happened with her the other week at church when I was home with a sick Mr. Noble.

One fairly recent Sunday Stephanie stayed home with the baby when he was sick. That left me on full time Dad duty for church. While I was pondering deep religious subjects during Sacrament Meeting (eyes closed), Sabrina said to me rather frantically, “Annie just threw her mittens across the church!!”  I looked over to see Annie standing up and looking – no, GLARING, at something or someone behind us.  It was pretty packed and I didn’t know who she was looking at so I quickly pulled her back into her seat and muttered something about being reverent.             
As I was walking around the hallway after Sacrament meeting, one of the guys in our ward stopped me and we had the following dialogue:
“Hey – which one of your daughters has the arm?!?” 
“Which one of your daughters threw that bullet in church?”
“Oh, that must have been Annie – did you see what happened?”
“Well the [family name removed] boy was sitting 4-5 rows back, making faces at Annie.  She just cocked her hand back and threw a perfect shot right at him, mitten flying across the church.”
I laughed and thought: well, she has a future in baseball.  The funny thing is that Ann Marie and this boy were bugging each other at the Christmas party just a week or two before the occurrence.  I think as part of the playful bugging one of the boy’s brothers recited some poem involving Ann Marie, this boy, a tree and kissing.  Stephanie and I explained to her that boys sometimes show they like girls by being annoying and bugging girls and girls sometimes show they like boys by being annoying right back. We let her know the best response was to ignore this boy and he would probably stop. But somehow I don't think this little girl is going to be very good at ignoring boys anytime soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kid Quote of the Day

Sabrina came home from school on Friday telling me that she finished her next level of math minute. These are timed math tests. She has been doing flash cards at home trying to get better at this. She hates being timed.

So she told me she finished her timed test on Friday but because it was Friday she didn't get to bring it home yet. I kept asking her if she REALLY did it, since I told her if she could finish it this week I would take her for a scoop of ice cream.

Last night we took her for her scoop of ice cream. Today I was teasing her about how she better have really done it and not been kidding me. Annie said, "Hey Mom, I know how you can know. Just ask her some of those math questions and see if she knows them."

Then Sabrina butted in with, "No Annie that won't work. I have to SEE them! I am a virtual person!"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Few Scattered Thoughts

I am tired. I have been pretty exhausted at the end (who am I kidding... by 2 pm) of every day this week. I am not sure if it is just getting back into the routine after the holidays or the lack of sleep with teething Noble is catching up to me. But I want to record a few thoughts of the day.

1) Can Of Worms - A Sign of Healing:

I knew I was opening a can of worms with my last post. I know full well that the Health Care Debate is rather heated. That is part of the reason I have stayed on the sidelines. But I felt ready to open that can and see how I felt about the worms.

See before Camille's death I had no problem delving into wormy cans and digging around in them. I love debating issues. I am an attorney for goodness sake. After Camille's death I was so emotionally fragile that I could not go near "worms" of any kind. I just couldn't handle it. I tried to stay as far away from controversy as possible. I didn't want any type of debate. I just needed love.

So it has been interesting to me to see all the comments on my last post and note that I feel fine sifting through them. I have found many of the comments rather enlightening. I think it is good to get perspectives on what health care is like in other countries. I also have appreciated some of the quotes shared. I still am not sure what the path is I fully endorse but I think everyone should have health insurance. The problem is that in the real world there are many who cannot get it or cannot afford it.

Take me for example. I am a healthy 35 year old non smoking, non drinking, physically fit woman who has only been to the hospital for pregnancy reasons. But I have very mild asthma so I have to have an inhaler. I don't use it very much but every once in a while I need it. The cheapest health insurance we could find for me is almost $500 a month. Now I am insured. But that is because my husband makes enough money to pay for the insurance.

What of the family where a person has a history of high blood pressure of some other pre existing condition? What of the person between jobs or who is struggling just to put a roof over head and food on the table. Surely shelter and food are more important priorities than insurance.

There needs to be an affordable solution.

See - nice to be able to dig into the worms a bit and not feel emotionally fragile about it. Healing. Definitely healing.

2) Lauren and I were running lots of errands today. Here is one of our conversations:

Lauren: I want Grandma and Nana to be little girls.
Mama: When they are in heaven they get to be younger again.
Lauren: How do you know that?
Mama: Heavenly Father tells us so.
Lauren: He can't do that!
Mama: Sure He can. He tells the prophet and the prophet tells us.
Lauren: HA HA HA hee hee hee! Mama ... You are Hi. LAR. ious!!! You are Hilarious Mama!

Apparently we need a family home evening on how Heavenly Father reveals truths to his children. Hmmm.

3) Tonight driving home from my last errand with all the kids in the car (minus Noble who was asleep at home with Dad) I got told all about how I am the meanest mom in the universe. I guess that is what telling kids they have to go to bed when the get home at 8:30 p.m. makes me. :) I also apparently NEVER do anything. I never do any house work or anything.

Geez I wonder how I got so tired then.

Before the kids got in bed. Sabrina broke down in tears, hugging me and sobbing. "I am so sorry Mama! I am so sorry that I said those things in the car." She is such a tender hearted little girl. It is a gift.

4) Noble -- He may drool like a puppy but he eats like a horse.

So many people in the last week have commented on his eyes. "What blue eyes! They are so pretty. Who else in your family has them?" He is getting bigger (probably because of all that food he is eating. Every time I get baby food at the grocery store they ask me how many babies I am buying for or how this should last me a month. No just one baby and just for a week or so.) And as he gets bigger he reminds us more of his sister. "His sister Camille. That's who else had these eyes."

This morning for breakfast he ate 2 Gerber tubs of baby food and a full large cereal bowl of rice and oatmeal cereal mixed with the left over smoothie Jon made. Then he ate a handful of Cheerios. Where is he putting it all?

5) I have put a thought about every other kid so I better add one about Ann Marie. Today we went to violin lessons. She did awesome. She learned how to shift. After playing for a while she said her back was feeling sore. So she did the downward facing dog. Then she did another yoga move. Then another. Each move was perfect. The teacher was so impressed. "Her yoga positions are really good." Hmmm. "Yeah," I replied. "Not sure where she learned them. I have never done yoga before." I think she was making the moves up as she went.

Okay Now I am thinking I better get up to bed. Goodnight y'all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Health Care Reform

As our nation is undergoing a great debate on health care, I have been sitting on the sidelines without really forming a solid opinion on the issue. I am not sure what the right answer is in the matter. But on Christmas Eve a long time family friend of ours, Garth Abbott, was diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of breast cancer.

This form of cancer requires timely treatment in the form of aggressive chemo and radiation therapy as well as surgery. Garth and his family are ready to battle this condition head on. There is one big problem. Garth is currently uninsured. I always thought we still gave medical care to uninsured people but apparently we don't. We will treat the symptoms of the uninsured but not the root problems.

So apparently Garth can not get the chemo, radiation, and surgery he needs without showing he can pay for them.

His daughter in law is holding an auction to raise money for his treatment. I have a link to her blog on the sidebar of my blog. There are some really great things up for auction and it is worth checking out.

On a broader note, this situation has solidified at least one opinion for me in the great Health Care Debate -- We ought to be able, in this modern era to find a way to treat all people for their medical needs.  I am still not sure what we must do, but I have moved into the "Something must be done" camp.

Advice on How to Help a Struggling Friend

I got an email from a woman whose friend has lost a child about a year ago and who has stopped coming to church. She asked for my advice. I thought the advice I gave her may be useful to more of you out there so I am including an edited copy of my email to her below. I edited it so it would be anonymous as to who the recipient and person of interest in the email are. 

I also wanted to share some thoughts from Elder Holland to my fellow angel mothers who are struggling to go to church. I will include those, which were not part of my email, below in a different font.

Now my email:

I am not exactly sure how to advise you. I wish I knew the right thing to say to these mothers that would be the "balm of Gilead" that would heal their souls and bring them back to church. Unfortunately I don't think any mortal can do that. 

What I can tell you is to just love her. Tell her you love her and give her a hug EVERY time you see her - EVEN if it is uncomfortable for you or her or both. It will get easier. Just mean it and do it. I have one girl who does this for me. She and I were acquaintances when my daughter died and now she is one of my closest friends and one of the few I feel okay opening up to now - 18 months later- when I have a really down time.

Also, you should know that your friend's not coming to church - while it is not the easiest path through grief in my view - is not uncommon. MANY many people who have lost a child go through a period of anger and many of them direct that anger at God or people at church. Many are easily offended and there are so many things people at church say (unknowingly) that can be taken offensively or that can hurt. It can be anything from any faith promoting story to direct comments of judgement from some misguided individual.

I am not saying your friend has had those experiences. I don't know if she has. But many on the angel blog have. Most have had issue with something said to them by priesthood leaders that has been hurtful to them. It is a hard thing for both parties. It is hard to be the wounded soul who has to grow thick skin very quickly where there is a gaping open wound. It is also hard to be the guide who want to help and yet can't seem to touch the person without wounding them.

I have pretty thick skin to begin with. I am not easily offended. I have had thing said to me by family and strangers that most in my shoes would consider highly offensive. Most of the time I am able to shrug it off knowing the person only meant to help. The couple of times I have been offended I have worked through my feelings and gotten over it. Because I know this is MY problem. I am the one wounded and sensitive. I cannot expect everyone else to know how to treat me. At least not unless I tell them directly.

What seems to help me the most and I feel this is universal and totally safe for all wounded souls, is love and confidence. I told my mother that I needed her to tell me I was a good mother. It sounds silly but I NEED to hear her say that and often - even if she thinks I know it - I need to be reminded. 

There is a sense of failure that comes from losing a child. It devastates your self image as a mother. No matter how they died, there is a sense that you failed to keep them alive. That is built into your DNA - Keep them alive. To fail at that, even if it was out of your hands or you know it was God's will for them to go at this time, is devastating. 

So be patient with your friend. The Lord knows her and loves her. He is the only one who can give her that Balm of Gilead and heal her soul. And He can only do that when she is ready to receive it. She has to be done with the anger and ready to turn her heart and her hurt over to the Lord. She has to build that trust up again in Him.

Right now the best any of us can do for your friend is just love her and and show confidence in her that she will find her way through grief. And we can pray that she will find the Lord somewhere along the way.

Now for my fellow angel mothers, please read this excerpt from a talk by Elder Holland that appeared in the May 2004 Liahona. The talk was entitled, "Abide in me."

Christ said, “I am the true vine, and … ye are the branches.” 2 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” 3
“Abide in me” is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but “abide” is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered “permaneced en mi.” Like the English verb “abide,” permanecer means “to remain, to stay,” but even gringos like me can hear the root cognate there of “permanence.” The sense of this then is “stay—but stay forever.” That is the call of the gospel message to Chileans and everyone else in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you, and we will help each other be strong to the very end.
“He who picks up one end of the stick, picks up the other,” my marvelous mission president taught in his very first message to us. 4 And that is the way it is supposed to be when we join this, the true and living Church of the true and living God. When we join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we board the Good Ship Zion and sail with her wherever she goes until she comes into that millennial port. We stay in the boat, through squalls and stills, through storms and sunburn, because that is the only way to the promised land. This Church is the Lord’s vehicle for crucial doctrines, ordinances, covenants, and keys that are essential to exaltation, and one cannot be fully faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ without striving to be faithful in the Church, which is its earthly institutional manifestation. To new convert and longtime member alike, we declare in the spirit of Nephi’s powerful valedictory exhortation: “Ye have entered in by the gate; … [but] now, … after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; … press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, … and endure to the end, behold, thus … ye shall have eternal life.” 5
Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” 6 I testify that that is God’s truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to “abide” in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever. For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us. May we never fail it nor fail Him I pray in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I pray that each of us will have the courage necessary to follow the counsel of Elder Holland and stay in the "Good Ship Zion" even through this most difficult and scary storm and even though there may be fellow sailors who make the trip even more difficult. It is not easy sometimes to stay in the boat. Sometimes it seems it would be better or safer to just abandon ship. But for our spiritual health it is best to stay in the boat and make it to our "promised land" where our children are waiting. May we all arrive there safely together. My love to you all and prayers that we may all survive the spiritual storms of our lives.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You Know Your Kids Were Listening When...

As a family we have been reading the scriptures in the mornings before school for a couple of years now. Some mornings I feel I am talking to myself as I read and they get ready or eat breakfast. But then once in a while I get evidence that maybe something is sinking in.

Me at about 6:30 p.m. tonight: "Man I am SO tired. Geez! I am tired."

Lauren (age 4): "Me too! I can verily verily rock (on the rocking chair)."

Then yesterday in the car on the way home from school:

Ann Marie holding up a sight word certificate: "Look Mom! I passed off all the sight words."

Me: "Great job Annie. I bet that was pretty easy huh? Didn't you know all of them the first time they tested you?"

Annie: "Well yeah. Except I had to do list 7 over and over because I kept saying 'unto' instead of 'into.'"

For the record: "Verily, verily I say unto you" is in the LDS standard works (Bible, Book or Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) 398 times. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Clean Up After Yourself Month

I have officially declared January "Clean Up After Yourself Month" in my house. I like New Year's Resolutions and all but I often find a year too long a time frame for my goals. Instead this year I am going to do 12 goals, one each month. All the while I am going to try to maintain the good habits I have made from previous resolutions.

So January's goal is to teach my family to clean up after themselves. This is not easy. It is hard to teach something you are not really good at yourself. :) So we had a family council and talked about how this month we are going to ALL try to clean up after ourselves. 

We all agreed that we want to live in a happy cheerful home and not a crying, whining, yelling home. So all of us are going to remind each other to pick up after ourselves in a cheerful way.  We are simply going to say "So and so, remember, clean up after yourself month" and point out what has been left out.

If there is crying and whining in response the person crying or whining or refusing to clean up after him or herself gets a strike. Three strikes and you are out. Those who stay "in" get a family date at the end of the month. Those who get out will have to stay home with the meanest babysitter I can find. 

I started us off by cleaning the main living areas today. And all day we have had no crying or whining when people have been reminded to pick up their shoes or backpacks or dishes. I have even heard some kids remind each other that it is clean up after yourself month. I love it. And right after dinner, in her most important sounding voice, Lauren "reminded" me of our goal and pointed to the dinner mess on the tables. I smiled and told her I would get on it as soon as people finished eating.

I really hope this month will improve my families tendency to take off a shirt and toss it wherever and leave shoes all over and leave dishes on the table. 

I am not sure what next month's goal will be yet. I guess we will see how this month goes. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Make Some Noise!

"Kids like to make noise." That is the thought that came into my mind as I listened to Lauren pounding on Jonathan's keyboard to hear each different sound it could make. Meanwhile in the adjacent bathroom Sabrina and Ann Marie are taking a bath and laughing and playing with each other ... loudly. Jonathan is laying on the floor at the foot of our bed and I am on our bed watching Lauren experimentally pound away.

Kids like to make noise and right in that moment there was quite a bit of noise - even with Noble sleeping. I imagined how loud it would be if he were awake and either crying or "talking." I don't always do well with a lot of noise. Sometimes I think it is going to drive me crazy.

Then I thought about the days before Jonathan and I had children. I imagined us there with no children. Just the two of us laying on the bed and the floor. "How boring," I thought. I am amazed that together Jon and I have built up this little noise making crew. And then I felt grateful for the noise. It fills my life. Even the crying. Sometimes when Noble is crying and I feel I am going to go crazy I remind myself how desperately I wanted to hear Camille cry in the hospital. Then I am thankful for the crying.

Today I welcome the noise. The pounding, the playing, the laughter, and the tears. It is the soundtrack to a mother's life. I will have plenty of quiet years in the future. But for now I am enjoying the life represented by the noise.