Saturday, December 31, 2011


I thought this might be a good post to end the year on. I lost the girls yesterday. If anyone reading has ever toyed with the thought of me being not the greatest mom, let me just confirm it for you. Although, I will counter that with my children are pretty stinking happy about life when they aren't whining.

We have a place here called the Montshire museum. It's a children's science museum and a lot of fun for kids, especially when it's so cold outside. Yesterday I took the girls to said museum. Usually when we go, the crowds are relatively small. But since it's Christmas break there were a lot more people there. I did OK on the first floor keeping track of them, but once we got to the second floor, I lost Cora. I looked around and could not find her anywhere, while I was still trying to get Katie and Sydney to stay with me. A woman who had seen me downstairs asked if I was "looking for the one in the pink shirt?" I said yes and she had just seen her head down a staircase around the corner. I found her, got them back together for a few minutes, then Katie wanted to look at some birds' nests. In the minute and thirty seconds we did that I lost Sydney. I nearly ran around the entire second floor with no luck. Katie had since sat down at a work bench where they were starting a group activity. Suddenly I hear over the loud speaker, "We have a little girl in a purple shirt and pink pants looking for her mom at the front desk." So I tell Kate to stay at the bench, grab Cora, and head down another set of stairs to retrieve Sydney. She didn't even notice she was lost, and was not too pleased with me bringing her back up the stairs. Within those two minutes Katie had left the bench and was running around looking for me. So I decided that was it, tied them all to the stroller, and home we went.

Let me tell you why I love my kids. I love that they are so confident. They are almost fearless about anything (except for the twins when I first deliberately leave them with someone else). All three of them absolutely love to learn about EVERYTHING hands on. This means they need to climb, touch, taste, smell, take apart, bang, and question anything. Katie asks why about the smallest to the most serious things. My children are relentless when it comes to getting answers and are determined to find their way through things, or around, or over, or under them. Music, nature, stories, the body, playing - everything is so exciting for them and they love to laugh, be happy, and be a part of everything.

Now let me tell you why I cry so much. All of the above good qualities make for some very intense days. There is NOTHING in this house that is not a magical thing to discover for them - including the oven, their dad's desk, the pantry, the sink, toilet, dressers, couches, salt for the sidewalk, mud puddles, tools, bum cream, wipes, you get the idea. So while I'm trying to help one understand why it's not OK to pull things out of the fridge I have another one getting things out of Jeremy's desk and the other one is trying to smear bum cream all over herself and the house. Not one of them prefers to listen to their mother over discovering whatever it is they see, regardless of ensuing consequences. I can be as consistent, respectful, and patient as possible, and that does not stop them from running three different directions, fearlessly into woods, fields, puddles, crowds, stairs, or parking lots on a repeated basis. I am so grateful they are who they are and can do all they do, but sometimes I'd love a little shock collar, or be able to wave a wand like in the Harry Potter books to block them from going somewhere. Or I'd put a spell on them that if they got too far away from me (such as at the museum), they'd start flashing and a siren noise would emanate from them until they came back to me. I suppose this is to teach me organization and how to grow eyes in the back of my head.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Pics

This was some time shortly after Katie got her glasses. She suddenly discovered there is a bag of hair things for her that I never get out because I just don't think about it. We had a good time doing her hair while I was doing mine for Jeremy's work Christmas party.
She's adorable, band-aid, glasses, hair things, and all.

Over our three Christmases here we have inherited a large amount of little girl Christmas dresses. Even two of the same one, go figure. I'm not complaining. I had them in different dresses each week this month. I think they liked getting so dressed up.

We had a sunny day here (the snow has not stuck yet) and I was determined to go for a hike. I had a good chat with them pre-hike about how it can be a lot of fun if everyone listens, but because there are three of them I cannot help anyone who's throwing a tantrum. Well, only a few hundred yards into our little hike Cora started a melt-down. I just walked away with Katie and Sydney, then Katie stops and says, " Mom, we can't leave Cora. Wait right here and I'll go get her." So there went my little tantrum queen to quiet her little sister, grab her hand and gently bring her back to us. Katie was determined to keep us together. I told her she's a good hiking buddy and she said, "No, I'm not. I'm a girl." That, too. It was so nice to feel the sunshine!

We started to decorate the tree with everyone, then quickly realized that was not so smart. After we put the twins to bed we had Katie help us and she LOVED putting the ornaments on the tree. Too bad it got tipped over twice over the next two days. That's OK, I figured it was only twice for the whole time the tree was up. Someone suggested something to me though, we may just go with home-made ornaments each year, like from paper, foil, and food, until we don't have to worry so much about it tipping over. If I can just remember to make the time for it next year.

Since Christmas Eve was a Saturday this year we had Jeremy home with us and decided to spend the morning at the Joseph Smith Birthplace. They have a stable set up there with two sheep and a donkey named Annie. The girls had a lot of fun petting them. The sister missionary there was so kind. She brought us in for left-over cake. We started talking and she had served a mission with her husband in Argentina. I told her I'd noticed the Argentine nativity they had there because I'd served in Argentina as well. She looked at me and said, "It's yours." She felt it would do our family more good than hers now and really wanted us to have it. I was so touched by her kindness. It made for a very nice start to Christmas Eve.


All in all our Christmas was super simple. We were able to visit with friends, go to church, sing some songs, call all of our family, but best of all we were able to just be together. The girls favorite things were the candy canes and suckers in their stockings! Jeremy and I got socks. We are living the good life. Actually, we really are. I love it. It's intense, it was a choice, and I would not have chosen anything else.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Letter

Dear All,

Do you remember living at home and your parents getting the Christmas letter from friends and family? Some were hilarious, some were short and sweet, and some were an enormous list of accomplishments (like one child acing astro-physics, another being an accomplished musician, while the whole family does humanitarian work in Vietnam and vacations in Paris, then still have time for who knows what else). I swear no one's life is really perfect, and I tend to error on the brutally honest end, but here goes our family version of the "Christmas letter."

This year we probably changed enough diapers to fill half a land fill, though we can happily report that Katie has been potty trained for almost a year, at least during the day (night time is another story). Most of our time goes to work for Jeremy (and studying), then feeding, changing, cleaning, loving, playing with, feeding again, and chasing our girls, with occasional vomit clean up (though not as much as the year before!). Highlights of this year included a trip to DC, Jeremy and I going to Vegas for a couple of days for a conference while my mom watched the girls, Pele killing some chickens and me getting thrown out of court by the judge because I had the girls with me, we planted a garden with our neighbors that we fought desperately for and in the end it was overcome by mold (though we still had a good harvest), I started getting out more and more with the girls which included some trips to Vermont, Lake Winnipesauki, and Hampton Beach, my awesome neighbor gave me two days I needed to get to Newport Beach to see my friend get married, we learned how to can applesauce, Jeremy fixed the lawnmower and the toilet, I auditioned for and got into the Handel Society, Jeremy was offered and accepted a fellowship position here, we took a long trip to Utah to visit family, Katie got stitches while we were there, then glasses when we got back, all three of the girls can go through, around, or over our three gates in the house, open the fridge, oven, and toilet, and we have counted ourselves very lucky that we have two very reliable cars for the snowy weather. We have had many, many tears from all of the girls in this house (that includes me) as we work our way through tantrums, sleep deprivation, destructo-kids, the bi-weekly colds, and trying to make our grocery budget work. It has been through continuous little miracles of the Lord, the mercy and generosity of others, that we have been able to keep going. Life is so precious, but not easy.

I have never been given such an opportunity to learn compassion and understanding before for so many different types of people. Parenting three toddlers seems to do that to you. I suddenly understand how people may lose their patience so easily, burst into tears over anything, and how different limitations give people a completely different life than what they had planned. Basically, I have been learning how often we just can't judge, that we don't know what's going on. I have been learning the power of endurance, hope, patience, faith, forgiveness, and how much we all need the Savior's Atonement. Christmas has grown more and more meaningful to me as I think of the wonder and amazement of God's Son coming to earth to give us all another chance, hope for all of our trials, a higher purpose, healing, and peace. There are so many hurts both my own and of others close and not so close I wish I could do something for. But all I can do is love them and trust the Lord. Turning my heart to Him really does lift burdens and gives light into parts of life that may feel so dark. So in this Christmas note to everyone, I am hoping, not that you have a perfect year, but that the joys that come are deeper, the trials you overcome give strength and perspective, you draw closer to the Savior, and that you get the chance to walk outside somewhere and appreciate this beautiful world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I've Never Heard it Explained so Well

My sister sent me a copy of this in an e-mail. I laughed, and was so glad someone could put into words what this is like. I am so grateful to the many friends who have never even hinted at what the lady writing in says and feels. But sometimes it does feel like I have to justify my existence to the rest of the world, so I really wanted to post this. This was an article in the Washington Post. I didn't have a date on it, but it's legit.

Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, not time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids); What’d you do today? Her: Park, play group….
OK, I’ve talked to parents. I don’t get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners …. I do all those things, too. I guess what I’m asking is: What is a typical day and why don’t moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I’m feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won’t my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest (“my life is so much harder than yours”)? What’s the deal? I’ve got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks have the same questions.
-Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy. You’re funny. Or, you’re lying about having friends with kids.
Or, you’re taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven’t personally been in the same room with them.
I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.
So, because it’s validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired, or bored, any one of which produces checkout-line screaming.
It’s needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It’s constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It’s constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It’s resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone’s long-term expense.
It’s doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything – language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.
It’s also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn’t judge you, complain about you or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself.

Tell Me About It is written by Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post.

And I would add, two arms for THREE kids, and when I have those ten minutes (when is that?) I can hardly remember my name, let alone where my phone is or what were the things I meant to do today besides feed everyone?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Poor little Katie. Or adorable little Katie. So our little girl developed strabismas. In easier terms - lazy eye. Kids are naturally farsighted and some of them try to compensate by going cross-eyed. I probably mixed some of that up, but what Katie has is supposed to be pretty correctable with glasses. So she got these yesterday. The frames are rubber with a band around the back to keep it on her head. She's done really well with keeping them on. She does rip them off when she's throwing a fit, but then she yells, "Mommy! My glasses are off! I need my glasses on!" So we'll see how this goes.

The Messiah

Last Wednesday was our concert. The Handel Society has been an awesome group to be a part of. Our concert sold out!! We had a wonderful orchestra, soloists, and audience. I loved it. I'd never sang the entire Messiah all the way through. It is so powerful and moving. I'm glad it was how our family's Christmas season started out.