Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Showed Up

As fun as yesterday was, today was a lot of work. Jeremy was on call, which meant I was on my own at church. Between it being in the middle of their naps now (from 1-4pm), it was 5 degrees outside, and I knew I'd be wrestling all three kids during the Sacrament Meeting, I was tempted to stay home. But I didn't. I can remember a teacher somewhere saying at least half of what we do to be faithful in the gospel is to just show up. Well, we showed up.

A friend who has mercifully come to our house usually twice a month to just talk with me or help with the girls came and sat with us only 5 minutes in. She helped with Katie while I tried to get the girls to realize they were OK to just SIT on my lap. My friend ended up taking Katie back to sit with her family and another friend sat by me to help with the girls. They didn't want anyone else to hold them but me. Not that they wanted to sit still by any means, they just had to be touching me or have me touching them. I was in much better humor this time around and laughed a lot. But the rest of the three hour block was still a bit ridiculous. Katie was brought to me twice so she could use the bathroom (I'm so proud of how well she's doing!) and both times I would leave two screaming babies in the arms of someone else while I took her to the bathroom. As I stood outside of Relief Society for the last part of church a friend talked to me about how it's hard to not just stay home when you have to do it alone.

I thought about that. There are so many women in our ward that regularly bring their kids to church alone. Whether it's an unsupportive spouse, health reasons, stake callings, or, as is the case with most of us, husbands working, we still come. Week after week I watch as we take turns helping each other or sympathetically - more like empathetically - staring in amazement and listening supportively as we all strive to remember why we do this, why we come. Then I also see those who come completely alone - no spouse or kids - and how much they need love and support and we all reach out to each other.

The truth is it would be easier to stay home than come to church every Sunday. It would be easier to not worry about what we listen to, watch, or wear. For me it would be easier to work and pay for a nanny than it is to stay home (fortunately, Jeremy's income and insurance are enough I don't have to). But I can't. I know what I believe. I know what's important to me. Easier doesn't mean happier. I choose the things I do because I have faith in a God who keeps his promises, who answers prayers, who can see the whole picture, who loves me eternally and wants me to have lasting happiness and peace. These little daily sacrifices are hard, but they are shaping me and helping me become a more compassionate, more patient, and better person. As hard as it is to have all three of them so dependent on me day in and day out, it's those moments that are shaping their lives, their faith and understanding, their picture of what love is and who they are. I cannot give that away, it will never come back. I go to church every Sunday because my girls need to know that when I make a commitment to our God I will stand by it and not change my mind because it's harder than it used to be. I see what those other awesome moms are also doing. They are modeling and teaching that there is more to them and their lives than their own personal comfort. They are willing to make those tiny sacrifices to show their faith and commitment. It's not to show anyone else than their God, their family, and themselves, but now that I strive to do it too, I see it.

I had no idea that my faith would be so tested as a mother. And there are so many other ways as well. But for today I am happy to say: I showed up.

Dream Big

Yesterday, with Jeremy home and all of us in a good mood, we decided to have a big family outing. Where would a family of 5 (three being under the age of three) with no money go in sub zero temperatures in a small town you ask? Well, besides our bi-weekly trip to the dump (anyone who has not been here needs to count their blessings if their trash is picked up by the city), we ventured out to the Home Depot!

Knowing we'll have to sell this most beloved house (I am not being sarcastic, I adore our century-old house) in a year or two, I'm betting on needing to replace the carpet before we get there. I've never shopped for carpet, cabinets, or anything, so we thought we'd just go to dream. We got our fill from the carpet guy, then wandered through wood floor samples (which make fabulous wood blocks for bored children), cabinet and counter displays, new ovens, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. I tell you what, I was blown away. I didn't know there was so much you could do to a home. Let alone the range of prices and varieties for each thing. We were probably only there for an hour before our little brood began to fidget and fuss, and we walked out of there with stars in our eyes of someday doing some big project on a future home.

Home we went and carried on with the rest of our Saturday. However, when it came time to start cleaning and I spent a bit too much time pulling things out of our carpet and almost hand feeding it to our decrepit vacuum cleaner, we both realized the first home-improvement project we should really be saving for is a working vacuum cleaner. We are dreamin' big.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Do I Want to Remember About Today?

Sometimes, knowing the wide range of people who read this I don't get as personal as I'd like. I want this to be a better history of our family. Maybe we will end up going private as well. But I will start with what are the things I want to remember about this week of our family life?

We started out the week taking Pele to the vet. She started limping Friday night when we brought her in. I checker her out and couldn't find anything, and her appetite dramatically changed the next morning. So Monday she went in, it sounded like Lyme disease, but the lab work came back negative. I have some anti-inflammatories for her, but she's still limping a lot and we don't really know what to do for her. She doesn't seem to notice it, she still just wants to run in the snow. But, just as I felt with Sydney's stomach weirdness last fall and with her breathing issues two weeks ago, it's hard for me to seek the medical help when we end with more questions than answers. She goes back to the vet in two weeks and I hope we can figure something out by then.

We all are now recovered from one of the worst colds I've had in a long time. No matter which decongestant I tried it didn't change a thing. We all got better just in time for Sydney and Cora's birthday. They're a year old now. It's unbelievable. I was so focused on just making it to x amount of weeks, then to six months. Now they're at a year and sleeping through the night (most nights). They are both walking. They love playing with Jeremy, Katie, Pele, and I. They growl and roll their tongue. I am constantly so happy with all of them and so overwhelmed at how much is demanded of me every day. I don't know what I'll do when they're in bigger car seats. I currently take all three to the store by putting Katie in the seat in the cart, one of their carseats goes in the cart, and I have one strapped to my chest. When they're out of those seats I may be in trouble. All three girls will be in Nursery together this year. Those poor people. My children are loud! As for what we did for their birthday, I made jello and stuck a candle in it. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I know they won't remember it right now, they got plenty of presents for Christmas and from family, so we were fine with no gifts.

We were so happy to have Jeremy home for the weekend! New month means new rotation and we're back to a better call schedule. Church was a little rough though. Better put, we almost killed our children. It was ward conference and our first family going to afternoon church (the girls and Jeremy stayed home sick last week). Well, because everyone was tired we were spinning in circles. Poopy diapers, trips to the bathroom, singing Christmas songs when no one was singing, throwing fits, shouting things to anyone near by, falling on faces, and fits in the isle - it's one of those things you can't understand unless you've done it. Then our Sunday School lesson was on teaching your children by example and we were both wondering how we could not kill them. Yet we survived. We got them to bed that night and I just cried. I love them. They're beautiful. There's nothing else I want to do, but what I wouldn't give sometimes to have a couple of hours to myself that wouldn't be used to make dinner or clean the house. Or to have a reliable babysitter who doesn't charge $12 an hour so Jeremy and I could go snowshoeing.

And for whatever reason, after balling my eyes out I felt so much better this morning. We had fun again. Katie loves to just sing anything - LOUD. She puts two hats on her head and tells me she's an elf. Then she will give something to Sydney or Cora and run over and tell me "I'm choosing to be a angel. I shared with her. I'm a angel." She wants to help me make anything in the kitchen and always wants to read stories. I wish I could take her on winter wonderland adventures, but as long as I have two other babies we are very limited in our outings. As everyone loves to remind me, I will look back on this and miss it. There are definitely things I will miss. Sydney, Cora, and Katie love to be held, rocked, and sang to. I love how quickly they give their love and smiles. I love watching Sydney and Cora play tug-of-war with things - a plastic cup to a stuffed animal to a cookie cutter. I love how our family home evenings last about 2 and a half minutes - including the song, prayer, scripture, and lesson. But Katie loves them and we look at each other knowing we're doing all we can.

I have an incredible husband who teaches me so much about patience, endurance, hard work, and love. He laughed so hard when he was playing with the girls tonight. They would tackle him, then he'd tickle them and they would squeal and giggle. It was a beautiful sight. I'm so glad Sundays are important to him. I'm glad he likes what I cook and that he's so determined to do things well. He is a miracle in my life.

As for me, I feel like I'm relearning how to reach out to people. I never thought it would become so difficult to do when I became a mother, but I really have to work at it. I am seeking to learn from so many women who each know things about mothering that have helped and guided me.

We are going to have a great year. It may be just as insane as the last as we go through Fellowship applications, three toddlers, and a currently gimpy dog, but I can't help but feel things will keep getting better.