Sunday, July 31, 2011

Polishing Bumpage

I just love good lessons at  church.

Today we had a joint Priesthood, Relief Society lesson on families. There were many good things said, but one comment in particular struck me. A sister shared the idea that as families we are all rough stones, and that as we grow together and interact and learn we help polish each other. 
Her comment immediatly made me think of a popular Joesph Smith quote:

I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force...knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty. (History of the Church, 5:401.)

I thought how families really are like rough rocks all thrown together in our little homes, full of bumping and elbowing, of "he's touching me!".  Sharing rooms and chores and couch cushions. Or as Erma Bomback described her family:

“We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life, sharing diseases and toothpaste. Coveting one another's dessets, hiding shampoo, borrowing money. Locking each other out of our rooms. Inflicting pain and kissing it to heal in the same instant. Loving, laughing defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” 

Figuring it out. Forming those bonds through a closeness that sometimes makes us shove a little. But all of the "bumping" serves a purpose helping us become less selfish, more loving...busting off those rough edges, refining, sculpting, polishing.

It's just a perfect metaphor. 

So next time my boys are wrestling, and shoving, I'll just think  Yup, there's gonna be some bumpage, 
but with enough love tumbling around too, 
hopefully we'll all come out a little smoother.

Sweet wonderful primary teachers, putting up with my kid's crap...literally

We all know Aaron's not a fan of clothes. But Aaron has decided that summer and clothes REALLY  don't mix. And if he's gonna go through all the hassel of removing the clothes his mother annoyingly keeps placing on him, he might as well go to the bathroom in them first....Yup, there's been lots of nakedness, lots of poop, resulting in lots of panic (potty training Aaron was a endeavor that literally took years, and a behavior I'm really not willing to see regress).

We're hoping to chalk it up to a phase. All be it, a very annoying, messy and often embarrassing phase.

Like at church. Yup, middle of his primary lesson, he pooped his pants and then proceeded to try and remove his soiled britches right there on the spot. (In sacrament he'd already taken the opportunity to run up onto the stand during closing prayer, and was about to climb up the half-wally-thing,until he deciede running down the wheel chair ramp looked even funner...I return him to the pew a second too late to catch my baby from falling off the bench, whacking his head and erupting in understandable screams) ...but little did we know, all this is to be eclipsed by the pooping five year old.  Aaron's class actually has two boys on the spectrum (how's that for increasing statistics) so there's three teachers. Two of which are this sweet married couple who I adore, and I count among our blessings every Sunday. they are nothing short of you are about to find out.

The husband often cuddles with Aaron or takes him on little walks if he needs a break. He was the one that brought him to me to clean up.

And instead of going home and complaining with his wife about the 5 year old that isn't even potty trained properly...what does he do?

He goes home and writes me a face book message, telling me good things about Aaron's day:

Hi Chelsea, thanks for rescuing me with Aaron this morning. We are just not prepared for these kind of accidents. :-)
On a more pleasant note. I was very surprised to notice two special things with Aaron today.
First in singing time he is always attentive and follows the actions going on but I have never seen him participate beside pulling my hands to do the actions for the song. This time when we were singing the temple song he made all by himself the "temple sign" (two finger pointing upward looking like a steeple.) 
Another thing I have not seen him do before is lining up his books on the floor. He took each book one by one out of the bag , read the book and laid them down one by one in a straight line on the floor.
Thanks for the opportunity to "borrow" your boy for two hours every Sunday. I really enjoy the experience.

I know one of the harder things parents experience with their kid's autism, is people judging them and their kids. Because they can't SEE autism, they assume things about the "bad" behaviors. I've heard my share of these heart-breaking stories.

Which is why I wanted to share a positive one.
People can learn. People can experience our kids for themselves, and learn to love them.
People can be amazing and surprise you with their patience and their willingness to adapt, include and love.

So to Aaron's dear, sweet, amazing, supportive, flexible and just all around wonderful primary teachers
thank you. For taking the time to love a child that is different.

Even if he poops in your class.

PS prayers for Aaron's potty-training to get back on course are welcomed:)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Things a bit of time away can remind you of...

One good way to start getting up earlier is to be in a different time zone for a week.

I discovered a few things about myself this past week (of which pictures and tales are forthcoming)

1. I need internet. Can live without TV, in fact kinda detest it, but no wifi in our hotel room (as promised) just about did me in!

2. I can and will never live somewhere with real traffic. Driving in DC this past week, in a rental with my mother (the only other more stressed-out driver than me, where do you think I got it?) sitting beside me. I think we both developed ulcers. Two or  more hours to get across a city is just insanity.

3. Levi is cute. I of course new this, but it's good sometimes to isolate your individual relationships with your  kids, so they aren't just a collective "your kids". I loved being just Levi's mom this week. And discovering what a total charmer he is. We rarely went even a few minutes without him capturing a random strangers attention and subsequent heart. From grumpy airline security, to picture taking tourists (yup with the White-house-picture-op only a few feet away, I had people asking me to take pictures of my tubby baby!) they all loved him, and reminded me how much I love him too.

4. My hubby is my home. Canadian cell phones, roaming fees, and the afore mentioned spotty internet connection meant I didn't get to check-in as much as I would have liked. But the few times I did, I was overwhelmed with this total feeling of safety, trust, and comfort, just from hearing his calm, patient voice. Granted this may have been amplified by my free-way frazzled nerves, but nonetheless I realized how much a depend on his steady, even approach to existence. He truly is a ying to my yang: he balances my stressing, my rushing, and my general freaking-outing and over-reacting with perspective, problem-solving, rational thinking, and just a general attitude of       "it'll all be okay", and I missed that, and him, a lot.

And finally: 5. Don't be away from your kids too long... THEY GROW! They are of course always growing but we're so there, so close to it's gradual constancy that it's mostly indiscernible, hence the pencil marks up the kitchen wall. McKye honestly must have hit a grow spurt this week (maybe Grandma Bretzke feeds them better) cuz he looked huge! Seriously his clothes even fit different. His vocab had also grown. Aaron is lossing his "pre-school-ness" and becoming a full fledged little boy! And I'm left reeling, with this overwhelming sense that time is zooming, and their childhoods are racing by at light speed and if I blink they'll be bringing me their kids to babysit while they fly off somewhere to grab some perspective.

Don't worry, one day of filling sippies,changing diapers(while simultaneously fighting the guilt from procrastinating potty-training) and trying to convince McKye he's loving the baby to way too rough, reminds me  "The days are long, but the years are short" (Happiness Project)

And a week away is long enough to remember that, and appreciate it anew. 

A few general thought on moms "Getting away"

I really do espouse some "time away" for moms, but I believe it is very much a quality over quantify issue. Sister Beck warns:"A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence." So true! I've had "times away" inspired of "deceptive messages" and feelings of resentment, entitlement and desperation, where I am just trying to escape. Other times have been purposeful, intentional and deeply rejuvenating, filled with revelation, centering of spirit, recommitment to principles, plans and convenant. Focus. New motivation. And realizations, usually surrounding the intensity of my live for my family and a profound gratiitude for my life--a life, that simply stepping out of it, helps me realize it IS WHAT I WANT. That I in fact like, prefer and would indefinably CHOOSE.  

It's always good to figure out you actually like your life:) Cuz sometimes we forget.

Anne Morrow Linndbergh's "Gifts from the Sea" (a definite MUST read ladies!) puts it best:

Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, soem part of each week, and each day.  How revolutionary that sounds and how impossible of attainment. To many women such a program seems quite out of reach. THey have no extra income to spend on a vacation for themselves [cuz family vacation are so relaxing for the moms orchestrating them!]; no time left over from the weekly drudgery of housework for a day off; no energy after the daily cooking, cleaning and washing for even an hour of creative solitude.Is this then only an economic problem? I do not think so. Every paid worker, no matter where in the economic scale, expects a day off a week and a vacation a year. By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular tie off. They are the great vacationless class. They rarely even complain of their lack, apparently not considering occasional time to themselves as a justifiable need.Herein lies one key to the problem. If women were convinced that a day off or hour of solitude was a reasonable ambition, they would find a way of attaining it. As it is, they feel so unjustified in their demand that they rarely make the attempt.

We just need to attempt. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

May never think of this hymn the same

Done a lot of driving lately. 12 hours to Boise and then back again.  
I like listening to talks while I drive. AC and auxiliary in you are my friends.

I listened to this talk 
He quotes Hymn 129 (about 15 minutes in), but instead of having us think of ourselves and the Lord, he said to think of our children coming to us.
Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When, with a wounded heart, anger, or malice
I draw myself apart searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows?
Where, when I languish?
Where, in my need to know?
Where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
Can we, as loving parents, be the the answer to these needs?
[Do we] answers privately.
[Reach their] reaching.
In [their] Gethsemane, [are we their] friend?
Gentle, the peace [they] finds
For [their] beseeching.
Constant [we must be], and kind.
Love without end.
Pres Benson talk: our young people need love and attention. They need empathy and understanding, not indifference, form mothers and fathers. They need parents time"
"Praise your children more than you correct them," he counseled. "Praise them for even their smallest acheivents...Encourage your children to come to you..with their problems adn questions by listening to them every day."

"My a plea to save the children, "President Hinckley has said. "Too many walk in pain and fear, in loneliness and despair. Children need sunlight...They need kindness and refreshment and affection. Every home, regardless of the cost of the hom, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation."
One more quote I may have shared in the past but I just LOVE it.
"It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather…
I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized." ---Haim Ginott, Educator
One quick application example: 
Mckye is in a yelling phase, which can easily dry up my patience reserves and "escalate" emotions very quickly. 
I think it was that same talk above that suggested trying to say what you wish your child had said,                             in a tone you wish they'd used.
POP-swiggle!!!! POOOOOOOOP-Swigggggglllllee! He screams.
"Oh, popsicle please mommy." I use my best primary president voice.
He's pretty good at figuring out he'd better "try again" (this may be becoming our family when I burst into the bedroom this morning where my unwitting husband is enjoying a Sunday sleep-in and I loose it on him, having been up with Aaron again since 4 am...til I realize my poor hubby has no idea what's happening--he was, afterall, asleep. "Try again?" I say sheepishly as I apologize and instead content communicate my desire to have him get up and bath the boys and get them in church clothes,  which he, of course,willingly does).
Oooo, tangent! Anyways. It's pretty simply. And even if it's NOT effecting McKye's level of respect (which I do think it is) it's totally reminding me of the respect I need to show, if I expect it of my kids. 
Time to return to actual parenting instead of just writing about it.
Bottom line: the world'll be tough enough to our kids. They need us to be tender. To be on their side, at their best and at their worst. They need to be able to "turn to us" for peace and solace, and usually a little snuggle.

Some weeks I just live for the 3rd hour of church.

Summer is to the year, as Saturday is to the week. 
Busy. Full of expectations. Lots to do, and fun to be had, and your exhausted by the end, even though it's suppose to be your "break".
Cram it all in!

I keep telling people, I went out the door to go to the Canada day Parade and the next time I turned around July was half over!
Our summer thus far has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Week in Idaho (pictures to come). 
Wicked in Calgary. 
Baby shower for my sister and cousin (more pictures to come).
Teach Relief Society. 

Off to Washngton DC next week. A mission companion of mine, who I adore,  is geting married.  My mom served her mission there, so we always said we'd go together. And we actually are! ( I'm pretty good at just imagining trips and thinking how nice they'd be but not actually going, so I'm proud of myself). I've never been and she hasn't been back in over 40 years. Obviously, more pictures to come with that too.

I miss writing. 
I guess if a picture is worth a thousand words, I've written tons!
No I miss writing, writing. 

I've been thinking lots. Listening to lots of conference and BYU stuff while I traveled. Probably could have wrote hundred posts...instead I was too busy procrastinating laundry! (traveling is hard work for moms!)

I love teaching. I love preparing. I end up drowning in quotes and talks and ideas and experiences on whatever topic I'm teaching and then I just pray like the dickens that it'll somehow make sense and that I'll use the right pieces to make the Spirit strong.

Today's lesson was on Family Responsibilities. I know, whopper of a subject right!!!!

I really wanted to emphasize that we are all part of God's family and that the goal in any family role is to try and be like our Heavenly Father. 

Elder Ballard put it so well when he said,  "A mother's nurturing love arouses in children, from their earliest days on earth, an awakening of the memories of of love and goodness they experienced in their premortal existence. Because our mothers love us, we learn, or more accurately remember, that God loves us." (link to whole talk)

God knows what it's like to love His family and watch them decrease their own potential for peace and happiness through their agency.

As I tried to piece together the lesson two scriptural examples came to mind. 

First, Jacob 5, which we often relate to missionary work. I thought about Heavenly Father pruning and digging and dunning (yup parenting can have a lot of dun in it) doing everything He could for His vineyard ie the house of Israel, ie His Family. And then I thought how after all His efforts, He stands back and says, "What could I have done more?" (Granted, neurotic mothers could come up with lots more "I could haves"). But in a sense He's saying. I did my job. Did I save the whole vineyard no, but I did all that I could. Elder Ballard said "Be of good cheer. God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failures unless you give up."

I thought next of the Savior's voice to the Nephites. (3 Nephi 10)

How oft HAVE I gathered you?

How oft WOULD I have gathered you?

How oft WILL I gather you?

I thought how right now my little ones are in my arms all the time. How I HAVE them.
How one day they be teenagers, and even if I WOULD love to hug em all the time, they're gonna want space. And then I thought how parenting never ends and that I WILL always want to gather them to me and to the Lord.

The Lord will never stop wanting and trying to draw us to Him. 

I realize over and over again THAT is all I want. I want to love and be like the Lord, adn I want the people I love to love and be like Him too.

A work of salvation. 

We participate in God's work. 
We know that we are involved in God’s work every day, and that changes everything. It changes the way we think. It changes our decisions. It changes the way we dress. It changes the way we talk. It changes the way we live. We have the responsibility and the challenge from the prophet to believe deeply and actively in the family. We will need to do that in order to preserve our families. That means we have to be intentional about everything we do. Our life is not just happenstance. We know where we are going and what we have to do.
GO listen to this AMAZING talk by Sister Beck, I go back to it again and again!

I love the part where she's talks about problems facing the family, pornography etc and she says with so much emotion and pleading, "The powerful feeling that has been coming over me is,
"Sisters fight--fight sisters."

We fight by teaching and loving and serving. And NEVER giving up.

Connecting ourselves to the Lord and then pointing those we love to Him also.

I think that is why I love Relief Society so much. We connect to one another as we share how we have connected to and relied upon our Savior,  Jesus Christ.

Near the end of the lesson, it said

"A loving and happy family does not happen by accident"

Pres. Kimball prophesied (as quoted by Julie B beck in that talk you better listen to!)

"The time will come when only those who believe deeply and activity in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of gathering evil around us."

I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the way it's doctrines and many resources support me in my efforts to purposefully raise my family in truth and light...and LOVE.

PS I'm also grateful for clear drying glue, as this morning McKye smeared my whole lesson with a purple glue stick, which I was really frustrated with, until a sister in the mother's lounge shared with me how their 3 year old dumped a Costco-sized bottle of nesquik on their carpet before church.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The other country

After such a fun Canada Day
we thought we'd just do a little country hoping 
and found ourselves in 
the great US of A of 
the great 4th of July!
So here's some of our red, white & blue memories:

Parade in Rexburg Idaho

Not quite as happy as at Canada day, his patriotism must have been feeling conflicted;)
We attended the parade with a local celebrity!!! Ben's cousin Nathan is the "Nate" of
Nate and Tony at the movies
fabulous family friendly movie reviews, highly recommended!

Nathan''s wife Amy (love her!) and their oldest  Michael...
again check out McKye's "I'm a Canadian" pout!
Compared to his picture with the Canadian flag this is a little half-hearted.

Staring to get into it( musta had a few candies)

One of Aaron's hidden talents? Flag waving!

Always nice to have benny around. 

Amy and my Michelin man Levi.

Amy and Nathan's youngest, Xander.

Free hotdogs!  Basically America with ketchup and mustard on it.

Our fam (well me Ben and parts of our sons noggins)

Ben was talking away from the curb, so McKye decided to drag his little lawn chair  over and set it up right in the middle of the sidewalk. 

We headed to Idaho Falls to save a spot for fireworks, right by the temple, which mcKye pointed out continually.

Killing time in the car with the AC

They closed down the street,  so we could play.

;keeping the kids awake... it's root beer!
No really, I swear, it's root beer!
Playing American!

Chewing on a stick? so American?

Sun's setting...almost time.

McKye enjoying the fireworks ( after we moved from the spot we'd saved for hours, only to realize we were being blocked by a tree...and ben is wearing his church shirt, because Aaron decided to throw up, on Ben and then fall asleep through the fireworks

And no actual fireworks photos, to hard.

Stay tuned for the rest of our fun times in Idaho.

PS I have tons of more writing/thoughts posts...oodles of little notes here and there about quotes, talks and ideas I want to explore and share. But for now you'll just have to put up with my summer time photo taking!

Monday, July 11, 2011

O Canada!

So, those of you on facebook saw these a while a go. I'm still figuring that particular duplication out.

Canada Day. I'm a little patriotic, not gonna lie. Well, I;m sentimental, and one of the things I get sentimental about is my country. 

I love our flag ( as will be obvious as you scroll down to the my photos).

 I love our anthem. (Seriously, not very political , but if anyone ever tried to get the lyrics to O Canada changed, I'd be stormin' parliament!) In fact, I CAN NOT sing O Canada without gettign emotional.

I love how it is basically a prayer
"God keep this land, glorious and free"
 and a pledge
"O Canada, we stand on guard for thee."
Almost a covenant. 
Yup, I love it.

And I love taking pictures too:)

What's with the face?

No really...

This is the defintion of "parade" for aaron, sit in the stroller and eat a sucker
 (no hoarding of candy, just contentment with one sucker)

Doesn't he just look like he's contemplating the greatness of our nation?

Our pack horse AKA my brother Sam

What great shirt EH? His Awesome sister made it for him when he was on his mission.

Aaron knowns all his signs! I was showing my mom how if we sang his little preschool song, he'd try and make the letters sound and make the sign. I stopped around "g" but he kept going...the whole alphabet with no prompts from anyone...kinda amazing!

Mountains AND slides. Awesome.

just chillin (8 months, sitting in a lawn chair, rokin' his 4T overalls)

McKye does everything  (including throwing rocks) with 100% exuberance.

Levi meeting his newest cousin Kamber Rose.

My beautiful nieces.

Shaylene holding the "baby"

Oh Krista, this is such a Krista face. 

Every time I'd try and take Mckye picture, he'd pull the hat down, little stinker!