Wednesday, July 30, 2014

answers



Life can be difficult when you have six children, are 35 weeks pregnant with your 7th, you are trying to change the families diet to get rid of 2 of your children's skin issues, your husband works nights and has to be asleep during the day, and you have to fit in homeschool, cooking, and cleaning, all in the same day just to do it again the next.

This morning I knew I was going to have a long day. So I put on my brave shirt. Yes, I have a designated brave shirt. It's red and says in white letters, "It's not easy being me, but someone has to do it." We have been trying to clear up my boys skin. They have eczema. Some days it's worse than others, but it NEVER goes away. We have been told by doctors that "they will probably outgrow it" or "just keep applying the lotion every day and it will be fine." Only the lotion that is prescribed is full of steroids and has turned my 7 year old's beautiful hands glossy and puffy. I refuse to believe that this is just something he will have to live with. My wonderful brother and her husband turned me onto the idea that it could be food triggered.

This week we took both my 7 and 4 year old to get an allergy screening. They took 2 vials of blood from each of them. Neither one cried and they were both very brave. Hopefully we will get the results this week, but in the mean time I am trying to avoid anything that could trigger an outbreak. Apparently that is basically EVERY type of food minus leeks and new potatoes. (yes I know there are others, but it just FEELS like I have to avoid everything). I haven't been purchasing groceries like normal because our normal foods are things that my boys could possibly be allergic to. So I go grocery shopping each day for our meals for the next. Yes, it's a pain in the butt, but if it makes the inflammation in their skin decrease then it is worth it.

My poor sweet husband has been giving his all at work right now. He is a mechanic on the night shift. Not only that, he has had some serious back pain and we don't have a good bed. He doesn't sleep well on a good day, let alone on a day when the kids are running rampant and wake him up several times because they are loud. He only stays at this job because we have to make money, and he feels like there isn't another job out their that will use his specific skills, not break his back, pay him at least the same amount he is getting now, AND take him off nights. His main concern right now is getting a paycheck so we can buy food and pay the bills. And he will do it till it kills him. So anything else has fallen by the wayside.

Lately my little brother has been mowing our lawn for us, just out of the goodness of his heart, to keep my husband from hurting his back even more, and to keep me from having to do it while pregnant. I have been so grateful for his help. But he has a life too, and just got a job. He hardly has any time to himself anymore, let alone to come a half hour out of his way to mow my lawn. The last time he came, he was sick. You could see physical drain on his face. He was totally willing to mow, but I couldn't let him. He had already mowed my sister's lawn and brought the mower back to me. I told him not to worry about it. Then every time we thought my husband could do it, something came up. It had now been an entire month since we had mowed. There were spots in the yard that came up past my knees.

When I'm pregnant, I don't handle heat. If the sun is out, I don't want to be outside for more than 10 minutes. Anything more than that and I risk feeling like passing out. Today, it was cloudy. Cloudy and cool. It's been in the lower 70's. And I knew, if I had a chance to get the lawn mowed, it was today. We put Daddy to bed in the morning, then all of us ate breakfast. I puttered around our disaster of a house for a while, and made sure to hydrate myself. Then I put the 1 and 2 year olds down for a nap. Big breath, now I have to clean the yard before I can mow it. Bending over, when you have a basketball sized lump in the way, is not easy. I got the front yard done, with the help of the kids, then pulled out the mower. Easy right, just like walking.....while you push a stroller through the amazon.

Big breath, yep, it needs to be done. Just do it and it will be over with. Mower starts up easy enough, then I begin. The whole time I'm thinking to myself, 'You really shouldn't be doing this. But seriously, who else is going to do it. That's why you put on your brave shirt, remember?' I start mowing the lawn, one strip at a time. After about 5 passes, I stop and take a breather for a bit. 'No big deal. Just take your time. It isn't hot, it's just work, work that has to be done.' Then I wonder how many of my neighbors are watching me with my pregnant belly thinking, "She must be crazy" or "Finally, someone is mowing that horrible lawn" or "Poor girl, too bad she has to mow that lawn by herself" Then I start wondering, if anyone is watching me thinking that they should come help. Yep, that's what should happen, someone should see this crazy pregnant woman mowing her lawn and say, "you shouldn't be doing that" then take over.

'Yeah right! No one is going to do that. Just face the facts, it needs to be done, and you are the only one who can do it right now.' I keep pressing on. All the while yelling at my kids to stay away from the grass blowing out the side of the mower. Luckily they found a frog so most of them stayed occupied. I keep going, line by line up my lawn. 'It wouldn't have been so bad had I decided to do this 2 weeks ago....when the grass would actually fit under the mower....wait, where are the kids?' I'm starting to see some progress with the lawn, at least if I pooped out people would know that I started it. I look in the back yard and my boys are there with a neighbor kid making a habitat for their little frog. 'At least they aren't trying to play in the grass coming out of the mower.'

Then I look up. The neighborhood boy's Grandpa is walking up the street. I figure he is just here to check on his grandson, I motion to him that his grandson is in the back, then he says something that I can't hear. I turn off the mower, "Would you like me to finish that for you? How about you just let me do the rest, you look like you were struggling with it a bit." Apparently I was stressed out. I almost immediately flooded with tears. I held them back long enough to turn over the mower, and thank him. I walked in the house and just as I shut the door, I leaned against the wall and sobbed. This guy didn't have to do that. As I sank to the floor crying I realized that I have been way more stressed than I was letting myself believe. I didn't know HOW stressed until I was offered help.

He didn't have to do it. I didn't ask for help. I could have finished it on my own and been just fine. I didn't even know his name when he began to mow the lawn, but he did it out of love for a neighbor. He had no idea what I have been dealing with this week, all he knew was that this pregnant woman was mowing her lawn for some reason, and probably shouldn't do it herself. It is so heartening to know that there are people out their who care for others. For no other reason than it is the right thing to do. After he was done with the lawn I thanked him again and all the kids came out at the same time asking for something from me. He looks at me and says, "you really do have your hands full." I don't think he knew I had 6 kids until today. He knew I had at least three, but when he saw all six he glimpsed a bit into my daily life. You could tell he was tired from mowing. Our lawn is not the easiest to do, but his eyes looked as if to say, it's better that I'm tired than this mom who is overwhelmed. I am so grateful, for this kind and generous man. He took time out of his day just to keep me from overworking myself. He was an answer to a silent prayer.

Just remember, when you are out and about, people do things for a number of reasons. Even if they look like they are handling things on the outside, they may be close to tears on the inside. Never be afraid to step up and help. Don't let them tell you no either, they will say no out of pride, but they still need help, and you may just be their answer to prayer.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?

I want to shout it to the world. You are BEAUTIFUL! I know so many people who aren't happy with their body type. Not just women either. Just regular people. They all want to change something about themselves. People, you don't get it. You are beautiful.

My mother is one of the most fantastic people I know. She is always selfless, kind, and loving to EVERYONE. If she can help, she does. She is the most beautiful person I know. People tell me all the time that I look just like her. I love it. How could I not want to look like the most perfect person I know. I have always known my mother is beautiful. But the funny thing is....she didn't. And I didn't find that out until a year or so ago. We were casually talking about life and she says to me, "I've never really thought of myself as pretty." It floored me. Not only is my mom more than pretty, she is beautiful. I never knew that she didn't feel that way while I was growing up. She was always good to not beat up on her self image around her family, but inside she didn't feel beautiful. Mom, I want you to know, you are beautiful! And I love you!

My mother has always been there for me. One day I was having a meltdown (I have six children and I am pregnant with our 7th....melt downs happen), she gently took my crying face in her hands and smiled. "I know this is silly, but you are so beautiful." And she hugged me, and let me poor my irrational frustrations onto her. She said it was silly because I was crying. Why would she call me beautiful when I felt anything but beautiful at that moment. It's because at that moment she understood what beauty is. Beauty is the pure love of Christ. And when you love someone, they are always beautiful.

I have a daughter, and one more daughter on the way. I am constantly worried about how I can keep them from feeling bad about their own self image. I brought this up to my older sister who has daughters of her own. We made a pact. No matter what, when we talk about our bodies we won't be down on ourselves. We won't talk about wanting to loose weight. We can talk about wanting to be strong. Wanting to have more energy than before. Wanting to feel better. But it isn't about the flat stomach, it's about being healthy. I don't know anyone like my sister. She knows about making your body strong. No she isn't a body builder. She is someone who found out that life is too short. Last year she almost died. During her recovery she pushed herself to become strong again, for her children, for her husband, and for herself. You can read her story here. My older sister is beautiful, my older sister is strong. And I am so glad she is still here to teach me more about loving life. I love you!

My two little sisters, that I am still blessed to have on this earth. Are some of the most beautiful people I know. And sadly, I know for a fact that they have both wished something about themselves was different at one time or another. The one just younger than me has always been the pretty one. She is the first one of us girls who actually enjoyed wearing nice clothes and taking pride in the way that she looked. Every time I see her I am stunned. She is so beautiful. Her smile is infectious. She isn't one for confrontation. Everyone who knows her says that she is one of the kindest people they have ever met. She came over one day to sit and chat. She hadn't showered and her hair was in a messy bun, she said she felt gross. I told her she looked fine. Did she believe me...no. But my dear sweet sister I love you, you are stunning, you are gorgeous, you are BEAUTIFUL. And I have always been jealous of how you always radiate beauty.

My littlest sister, she is so smart, and she LOVES games. You can tell when she loves something because her eyes get this beautiful shimmer and she beams with happiness. Last week when I saw her I couldn't believe my eyes. She isn't just a little kid anymore. She is a beautiful young woman. Her hair wasn't done, and it was a bit of a curly mess, but she was stunning. My little sister is growing up, and she is growing up with class. Someone who knows my sister was trying to remember my name, they couldn't remember it and they just said, "hi older Lilly." It isn't hard to see, my littlest sister, me, and my mom all look remarkably alike. Out of all the things people have said to me, that was one of the biggest complements I have been told. I was an older version of my sweet sister. I am so happy to be likened to you. I love you. You are Beautiful, you are smart, you are kind. And NEVER let anyone make you think of yourself as anything less.

In this day and age it is so hard to not get caught up in the hype. "People who are thinner are the most beautiful," "Try this diet," "if you aren't shaped like a pencil you aren't beautiful," "Wear this cream it will make you look younger," "if you don't wear this brand you are worth less than those who do." It's time for the P.R. people who are selling us this garbage to take a hike. Everyone, the beautiful that you are searching for isn't in a diet. The most beautiful people I know, are always the kindest people I know. You want to find the beautiful you? Look outwards. Look past the mirror to the person next door. When you show others love your beauty will radiate from you. Even if you don't see it in yourself yet, I promise, others do. You are smart, you are beautiful, and you are worth it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Budget Family Home Evening

Ok, so this next Monday we have been talking. It is time to do our budget, but we want to get the boys in on it. But we knew we couldn't go into to much detail because our oldest is only seven. But what we do know is that we can teach them the simple concept of living within their means.

We decided to go with a vending machine idea. Since we don't want to drag all six of our kids out of the house JUST to use an overpriced vending machine, we are going to create our own. We are going to have things priced from five cents to a dollar twenty five. Our kids LOVE candy bars, and we are going to tempt them with a king size snickers in the dollar twenty five slot. But the problem is, they only get a dollar. There will be some candies that are tiny that only cost five cents, but nothing as big, and as shiny as that king size snickers.

There are a few ways this lesson can go. All of the kids are disappointed they cant afford the snicker bar, but they all buy other candy that is within their dollar limit. Or, one boy decides to be nice and give away some of his money so his brother can have the snicker, then be disappointed because he started with the same money but ended up with less. Or two boys can pitch in together, get the snicker bar, and any other candy they can afford and split it all even down the middle.

I kinda wonder what choices they will make. I will keep you updated with what happens on Monday.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First Lesson with Life of Fred: Apples




Can I just say, I LOVE this book? I admit, when I was reading it by myself I wasn't too sure about it. It seemed maybe to move a little slow. I started by reading the first chapter to my boys ages seven, six, and five. I had never read it before. It wasn't fantastic. The boys weren't in the mode to listen and were antsy to get outside.

Today, however, I was prepared. Last night I read all the way to chapter eight so that I would know the story line in my head. I had decided to let the boys draw Fred and whatever else they heard about in the story as they were listening. I had my white board, they had their notebooks, and we all sat in a circle. I drew key points of the story on the whiteboard in the middle and they took notes in picture form as they were listening. Then when it came time for questions they just wrote their answers in their books. Reading the chapters before hand helped me move the story along and I was also able to get some props from the story for the boys to look at while I was reading.

All in all, with squirly boys I still got through four chapters in one sitting. I know they actually absorbed the information because every time they pass me I ask them another question from our reading today. They always get it right. The chapters are really short and you can do one chapter in a short amount of time, which is fantastic for boys who are ready to be outside doing things. They go outside or go play for half an hour and can come back for ten minutes to listen to a story and then go play again.

Also, I love that the drawing of Fred is so simple. Even my three and a half year old was able to draw a pretty good representation of Fred. And they each drew Fred doing things that he had done in his story. All in all I'm hoping that as we use these books they will grow to enjoy them even more. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dirt/Soil Crossword

Today we are doing Science and it is going to get DIRTY. Yep today we are talking about dirt. Among other things we will be doing here is a Word Search I drew up. Feel free to use it. We are spending the majority of the day on dirt and rotting things. The Boys should love it. Here is the crossword and the Answer Key I drew up. It took for freaking ever, so I hope someone else can use it. Update tomorrow on our Science Dirt Day.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Letter

Though I know everyone's letter to santa posts are in jest, all I see EVERY time is people talking about gifts that they want. What about the gifts they have already been given? The first gift of Christmas was a child. A Child given to the world from our creator and Heavenly Father. That child was our eldest brother, and His only begotten son. How many of us parents could do that? Give our oldest child for the good of the rest of our children? Christ volunteered to be our redeemer. Christmas is in celebration of his gift to us, his life. What more could we put on a list, then that which was already given?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fan Fight, letter sounds edition

Oh my word, that was serious fun. Days like today make me freaking love homeschool. It didn't start off that way. We have decided to dedicate each day of the week to two subjects so we can focus and internalize our subjects for the day. Our hardest subjects are Language Arts and Math, as they traditionally require a lot of writing. I have four elementary boys who detest sitting still. Naturally, Language Arts and Math are our hardest subjects. Im fairly new at this homeschooling thing so when I have a win like today it is TOTALLY worth celebrating.

Today was not a good start. We had scripture study before breakfast...and the kids were WAY too wiggly. Lots of Mom and Dad yelling at kids to be quiet, real spiritual lesson. : / Then we had breakfast, more fighting over who got what bowl, and so and so got more cereal than I did. I make them all rinse their bowls and put them in the dishwasher. While I continue to load the dishwasher and start it, the boys are playing with the fans they made yesterday. [We just accordion folded card stock and put stickers around one end to keep it together to make a fan.] I could not get them to put the stupid things away. We had to study letter sounds and practice our reading. That isn't exactly a high energy thing to do. The boys were driving me nuts so I sent them each to a corner in the room with their fans. Then the wheels started turning.

Ok, here are the rules. You each have to answer my question. When you get the question right you may either bring an arm up [arm your self], bring an arm down for a hit, or move one step in any direction. If you answer wrong you do not move. The object of the game is to get one hit in on someone else and to not get hit yourself. If you go in for a hit and miss, then you will have to use one move to re arm yourself.” 

For the fun of it, anyone who got hit was no longer eligible to be the winner, but they could keep answering questions and get other people out. [I think being out was actually more fun because no one was after you, they were all just trying to avoid you.]

Then I would give them a letter and they had to tell me what sound it made. For the older boys I would give them a sound and they had to tell me each possible letter it could be, or combination of letters it might be. They played it for an HOUR. And, we were whacking each other with paper fans so there really was no harm done. They loved it. YAY! We actually got our entire lesson in with me asking the questions to each kid. Yeah...I'm going to be using this same game again for other questions or weekend review. The boys even got me to play a round. When it was my turn to move, they would each take turns asking me questions about whatever they wanted. I got all the questions right, but they moved better than I did, and I was the first one hit in that game. I know this game wouldn't work for some households, but it worked WONDERS for us today so I thought I would share. Happy Homeschooling!