Friday, January 15, 2010

Lowering My Expectations

It's the only way I'm going to survive.

I've always found joy in accomplishing a lot in a day. I love to make lists and am happiest when I can get everything on that list crossed off.

I distinctly remember a break down I had when Abigail was a newborn. I make pies. So, one day I decided to make an apple pie. Halfway through the process Abigail started screaming and I wasn't able to make the pie. Doesn't seem like a big deal, but for me, it was. I no longer had a say in what I did and when I did it. I was completely at her mercy. And for someone who wants to get everything accomplished on the list, that can be very hard.

Abbie was one of my harder babies. Connor, Emily and Holly have all been relatively easy and by a month I felt more or less like I could do what I did before. Holly even slept through the night from the beginning. What more could you need?

Raising Grant is taking me back to my days with Abbie. He really isn't that hard. But adding him to trying to raise four other kids is proving harder than I had expected. Once again, I no longer have a say in what I am able to get done or how much sleep I will get. I am completely at his mercy.

And that is why I have lowered all expectations for myself. Because I want to be completely at his mercy. I want to hold him when he needs it (which is lots and lots!!) and wake up with him when he is hungry. And if I expect myself to make pies, keep a clean house, lose weight, exercise, take care of others-you get the point-then he becomes a burden rather than a joy.

So for now, I'm going to be content with the extra pounds. I'm happy when breakfast dishes are done by lunch and if they are still there by dinner, no worries. As for the rest of the house-there will be a time when my house will stay clean for more than a few hours. Now is not that time. I'll do what I can. I want to fulfill my calling and help others when I can, but if Grant and my four other kids need me, then that is where my attentions will be. I'm not trying to volunteer in the kids classes all the time and am happy that I only have a handful of piano students.

There are so many things I look forward to being able to put on my list again. But for now, I'm going to spend my days holding my little miracle and realizing just how lucky I am.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celebrating with Snow and Cupcakes

My sisters and I always celebrate my mom's birthday. It's a fabulous excuse to make and eat a cake. But even more than that, it gives us a chance to talk about my mom to our kids and keep her memory alive. We watch the short video that we have from her life and share with our kids who Grandma Ardie is.

This year my dad was going to join Stephanie and I for dinner at Red Robin and cupcakes at my place. I was sitting on the couch with Grant in the afternoon when I noticed it was snowing!!! That's always a really big deal around here. It wasn't even in the forecast. After a few hours of snow we knew it probably wasn't best for my dad to drive down. The kids were in heaven with all the snow but we were sad that my dad wouldn't be able to join us. We were even more sad that it took Rick FIVE hours to get home from work. Crazy!!

Stephanie had already made the most amazing filled chocolate cupcakes so her family braved the storm to come over. They only had to help push a few people on their way over. Things get crazy around here with even the littlest bit of snow.

Those of us who made it loved talking about Grandma Ardie, watching her video and eating our cupcakes. Especially this little one. She knows how to enjoy a cupcake!

Baby's First Smiles

These videos are dedicated to my sisters.

To Stephanie: Even though you are only minutes away, you have yet to time your visits so that you can see Grant smile. Hopefully you'll see it in person soon. You have been looking forward to it almost as much as I have!

To Heather: Even though you are half a world away, you can still take part in the 'firsts' of Grant's life. You have always been my kids number one fan.

Nothing melts your heart like a babies first smile. I love it!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happiest Day of the Year

I love Christmas. It really is the happiest day of the year for me. Nothing like having traditions to look forward to and enjoy. One of our favorites is singing at a rest home on Christmas Eve. This year the Andrus and Bake families joined us. Between the three families we provided lots of happy kids and an awesome program. I really think it brightened their day as it did ours!

Another tradition is acting out the nativity. This year was going to be extra special because we had our own baby boy to be Jesus in our nativity. I was looking forward to it. I hosted a Christmas Eve dinner with dear friends. I was grateful that Grant slept through the dinner so I could enjoy being with them. Of course, he woke up moments before he was to take the stage. By the time we laid him in the cradle there was no calming him down. Connor had been a stubborn Joseph and the combination was not at all what I had envisioned. I spent the rest of the time trying to calm Grant down and trying even harder to be patient with Connor. The whole thing was a good reminder that things don't always work out just as you plan. And that's ok.

Holly decided to take Grant's place when he was no longer interested. But really she was acting out the angel. My dad didn't think she was very well cast as the angel. I think he was right.

I hadn't planned on ending the night rockin' out to "Orange Burrito" but I wouldn't have had it any other way. If you can't have the perfect nativity, "Orange Burrito" is the next best thing.

After friends went home the kids helped clean up and put on their new Christmas PJ's-another happy tradition. They were anxious to get to bed so that Christmas and the magic that comes with it could finally come.
Opening presents is always a happy thing.

The girls got new dolls.
Connor got his legos.
Holly got just a bit more attitude.
And we all got to hang out in our PJ's, eating and doing whatever we wanted.
Cleaning wasn't something I wanted to do, so the house remained a disaster all day, just as it should.
We didn't get out of our PJ's the following day either. On Sunday we no longer had a choice so we put on our new Sunday best and ventured outdoors.
I still couldn't give up on my nativity so I made the kids dress up again in an attempt to get it right. Still no luck. I was almost in tears by the end of the night because of the constant bickering and the kids went to bed an hour early. My patience was gone. I guess this group isn't made to put on the perfect nativity. I'm good with that. They make me happy a million other ways.

And we did get one perfect picture out of it all.

Twinkling Stars

Kids can be such a delight. Wanted to get some live footage for Heather. Here are the kids at their best.