Saturday, February 23, 2013

A breath of fresh air!

Monday morning my spontaneity was challenged for the second time in lest than a week! The first time was earlier in the week when my friend Jacqui told me that she had vouchers for The Leonardo in Salt Lake that had to be used that week. Josh and I planned a trip, and then I saw that the time we were going to go, the museum was closed for a private party. I called a couple of friends, told them I had free tickets if they wanted to go, and we all dropped our plans, headed to Salt Lake, and had ourselves a day with the girls!
The second time was when My Mother-in-law called Monday morning and asked if we wanted to head to Hardware Ranch for the day! We had been there 3 years before. (To see that trip, click here.) I remembered loving it, and my memories served me right! It ended up being a terrific day! We had a picnic in the parking lot! See those little dots in the back ground? Those are all Elk! The State decided that it would be better to feed the Elk and keep them in the Mts. then to let them go down to the farms and get in trouble. 

I couldn't get my darling 6-year-old to give me a darling look! What happened to this little boy? The one in the red coat was from the last time we went! He was 3.

So you get to take a sleigh ride into the field where they feed the Elk. You get to get really close to these amazing animals. We LOVED it! Turner had 100 questions! It was great!
Here is the Crew! Max is my most cooperative kid when it comes to photos. Thank goodness for the cooperative kid!

This was Max last time we went! He was 21-months!
Cooper had a little accident with a big pile of ice. Poor kid. He, of course, still winked at me when I was trying to take a picture of it! Love this happy little boy!
I love where spontaneity takes me!In this case, it took me to a place where I could breath! I need  to get out in the fresh air more during the winter!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Really dreaming

What are your REAL dreams? I had a magnet on my fridge for a long time that stated: "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" I think it came from the book "Who Moved My Cheese." By Spencer Johnson. The magnet has been relocated by my computer where I can look at it often as I prepare lessons for my kids or write. But really, it is such a different question than "what would you like to do." When most people ask us that, we answer with something in the realms of possibility. For instance, when Josh asks me what I want to do on any given weekend, I usually answer with something like, "Get caught up on cleaning the house," or "go on a date." I don't say, "take a cruise to the Mediterranean " Which is really what I would like to do.
My parents have been fantastic about teaching us kids to follow our dreams. (In fact I think it is my mom that gave me the above mentioned magnet!) I never remember once them telling me that I couldn't do something. In fact they always said, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.
So I have often wondered why I feel so stuck in my life sometimes. I don't mean that I feel stuck being a mom. I love my kids, but I do have goals and aspirations outside of my family. Yet I have a hard time sometimes believing that I can accomplish them.
I don't feel this way when it comes to my husband though. I think that he should peruse all of his goals and aspirations. The hard thing for him, is having those goals. So a couple of weeks ago, I posed the question to him, "if we won a $500,000,000 lottery jackpot, (which we don't play so it won't happen) what would you do? I don't mean, how would you spend the money, what would you do with your life? You have always told me that you would still need to work, but if you had $500,000,000 and you could work anywhere you wanted, where would it be? If we had that kind of money, you could get any education you wanted, and apply to anywhere you wanted. If you didn't get the job, you could apply over and over and over again until you did get the job, because we would be fine while we waited for you to get the job.
Without a moments hesitation he replied that he would work for Lego as a master builder. My husband has a little Lego studio in the basement, where the bricks and pieces are categorized by kind of brick. He would be an amazing Lego Master Builder! He has been fascinated by the work of Nathan Sawaya who was a lawyer turned Lego artist.
So when I came home Friday and told him that My friend Christal had told me there was a free Nathan Sawaya exibit at the Kimball Arts Center in Park City, the next words out of his mouth were, "look and see what time it opens tomorrow."
We packed up the kids, and made an afternoon out of it!
This is one of Mr. Sawaya's more famous pieces. 

Nathan Sawaya self portrait. 
I found his work to be inspirational,  thought provoking, and very profound. 
I love this photo because Turner always covers his eyes when Josh and I kiss :)

The writer

You may have noticed a few (hundred) pictures of this piece. It was my favorite, because I dream of being a writer someday. Today I will settle for the outlet of my blog.
It was inspirational for all of us. I asked Josh if he would be interested in doing something similar. His only reply? "I don't have enough Legos!" We started a Lego blog a long time ago where I could post some of his work, yet I haven't really followed through. How do you inspire those you love to follow their dreams?
If you want to see more pictures from the exhibit click here to go our Lego blog!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My kids are growing up . . . and I’m okay! Part I

          I know everyone develops at their own rate. My motto is, “don’t compare yourself to others, grow in your own way, in your own time.” Yet sometimes as much as my mind believes this saying, my heart longs for me to really believe it. It may have been years of public schooling, where children are constantly compared to a standard, have goals to meet, and contrasted to their peers. It may be because I am 5th of 7 kids, and despite my parents best efforts to not compare us to each other, I still compared myself to my siblings. Maybe it is just part of human nature. A part of human nature that I believe God wants us to overcome.
           Despite my best efforts, I still struggle to not compare myself to others. And worst of all? It is a struggle to not compare my children to other children. I have one child in particular that just isn’t like other children his age. He is different. He dances to the beat of his own drum. He probably could have an official diagnosis, and if he was in public school I could have an IEP for him—I am sure. He isn’t the hardest kid I have ever dealt with, but he isn’t what I would call easy. My friend came over the other day, and in the course of our conversation his behavior came up. She later admitted that she was trying to figure out how to tell me that he isn’t a neurotypical child.  
Due to his differences, he has a hard time with friends. They don’t understand why he acts the way he does. In most cases he is typical though, just sometimes he isn’t. Unfortunately he is typical in the fact that he wants friends. He wants to be liked. He has a hard time when he is misunderstood. These all sound like normal human experiences . . . right??
          And then I homeschool him on top of this! People wonder why I don’t just send him to public school so he can be socialized. Unfortunately for him, I went to a public school where just because you spent all day with kids your own age, it didn’t mean you automatically fit in. I went to a school where if you were different at home, you were probably still different at school. The only difference is hopefully at home it isn’t thrown in your face that you aren’t “typical.”
          Then kids his age started losing teeth. It is so hard to not compare! I knew that he was still in the normal range for tooth loss, but he didn’t understand why everyone at church had lost teeth and he hadn’t. Well, a couple of months ago he bit on a pencil eraser and his two bottom teeth started wiggling loose. After constant wiggling for quite a while, a few weeks ago, his dad pulled out one of the bottom teeth. He really wanted my grandma to do it (she pays $1 if you let her pull it.) But it was a Friday night, and I was worried that it was going to swallow it in his sleep! Later my dad (whom is a dentist) tells me that it is near impossible for a tooth to just fall out in the night. In reality we could have waited.

           Josh pulled the tooth out. It bled a little. He was so proud he called both sets of grandparents. I felt so excited for him. A whole new world of losing teeth, and growing up was all his to have. He didn’t view it the same way. After the excitement of calling his grandparents wore off, he started bawling. What I thought would be a rite of passage for him, was nothing but another step in his overall hatred of growing up. He begged me to put it back into his mouth. He declared that he didn’t want to grow up. He then was so upset because he wasn’t ready to grow up. He didn’t know which way to go. My little boy was so worried about choosing the wrong path in life. at.the.age.of.six. He is sweet, he is tender, why in the world would I want him to be neurotypical? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

A pricking of my heart

   Yesterday was fast Sunday for my congregation. This is an opportunity for those in the congregation that wish to, to share their testimonies. When my bishop announced the rest of the time was for the congregation to share their testimony, a strange, but familiar feeling pierced my heart. In the scriptures they talk about being pricked in their hearts and then asking what they should do.  (Acts 2:37) It is a feeling that causes a person to jump into action. For me it was an intense stabbing of my heart. I looked at the clock. There was a young man leaving on a mission and a dear sister who had a miraculous surgery, I knew their families would want to take up the rest of the time. What right did I have to share my testimony?
The thing was, I didn’t just have an impression to bear my testimony, I had a distinct stabbing in my heart and a story that I was supposed to share. Not a recent story, a story that had happened to me 15 years earlier. I tried to push away this feeling, but the more I tried, the more I knew that someone in the congregation needed to hear the story I was being impressed to share. I found a break and made a bee line for the pulpit. A few steps up the aisle and I felt a little hand in mine, my six year old had come to accompany me to the pulpit. His presence reminded me that I need to follow my impressions, for you never know whose life you might have the opportunity to touch. So the story I needed to share, was this:
               When I was 19 years old, I was home with my parents during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was attending the local singles branch where my father happened to be the singles branch president at the time. For Relief Society (RS) one night, we gathered at my friend’s home for an activity. My friend lived out of town, deep in the forest. My dad had offered to take me to RS, but had dropped me off and went to do some errands. When I arrived, I was instructed to sit on the front lawn and to be quiet. They were playing some beautiful music. It was soft, calming, and made it easy to be still, even among my dear friends. There were no other instructions given at this point. After sitting on the lawn for a while, I noticed that some of my friends were being taken away. Someone would come, extend their hand, and invite them to go behind the house. My anticipation built, I wondered what could be going on at the back of the house.
               My turn finally came. One of my dear friends since childhood came, and offered her silent hand to me. She led me to the back of the house, and I could see the beginning of a rope trail through the woods. I had a feeling that this was a faith walk. I had done these before. Once she put a blindfold on me, I knew it was a faith walk. The point of a faith walk was to represent our earth life where we can’t see God, but if we follow his path, we will make it back to him again. There are many variations of this, but I had never been on one exactly like this one. As my dear friend placed my blind hand on the rope, she put a raw egg in my other hand. She whispered that this was to represent what was most precious to me.
               I started on the path, thinking about what was most precious to me. Was it my family? My faith? As I walked along, I realized that this was NOTHING like the faith walks I had been on, for this walk was actually hard. The rope wasn’t just tied to one tree after another. It went high up in the air, so high I could barely touch it, it went so low to the ground that I was crawling. There were boulders to climb over and branches touching my face. At one point, I smacked my head right into a very sturdy, low hanging branch. I fell down, and realized that I was bleeding. I wanted so bad to give up at that point. I wanted to throw my blindfold off and walk away from the whole thing. I am so glad that I didn’t.
               Shortly after finding the rope again, I made it to the end. Before I could pull off my blindfold, there were two strong arms that grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. Without being able to see, I knew that hug. I knew those arms. I knew that smell. I knew those tears that dripped on my forehead. It was my dad. As the branch president, he was playing the role of our Father in Heaven, welcoming us home. Yet, because he was actually my dad, I had such a profound realization. I was so happy to be in my father’s arms. I was tired, bleeding, crying, and exhausted when I made it to my dad. I know that when we make it to the end of this journey of life, we will know our Father waiting for us on the other side. We will know His touch. We will know His embrace. We will know Him. After our trying journey, our eternal beings will know that we are finally home.
“Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar his face is to us.” –Ezra Taft Benson

My cute kiddos!