Candy Days

The kids got glow in the dark necklaces at trunk or treat! I love those things! I stole them after they fell asleep, hid them in my pajama sleeve, and then surprised Nathan with them after he turned lights out when we finished our prayers!

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It was really funny.

Less funny was Thursday morning, when I took Six for a CT Scan, and my head nearly exploded. We are testing her to see if she qualifies for a cochlear implant, and they got me too close to the machine! I knew I couldn’t go in the room, but just being in the waiting room made my head hurt and sound do weird things! It was bizarre! I was very glad to get out of there, for sure.

Six was glad, too, because while visiting a friend in the hospital, the chaplains found us and they gave her a giant balloon!

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When Nathan’s sister and her family came over, they brought Nathan’s childhood book of Punnery. I used to like that sister, but it was a necessary rite of passage into the Christensen family. He read puns until he cried laughing!

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Today, while I finished work, Alicia’s husband Adam trimmed all our bushes in the backyard! I cried when I saw them, because even if I had time there is no way I am strong enough anymore (yet) to do what he did. I was so grateful!

Before:

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After:

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Nathan and I were so grateful, and it was such a lovely afternoon to spend even just a moment feeling the fresh outside air!

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We chose tonight for feeding the missionaries, so that we could make sure they got a good candy supply. I filled their bucket with the candy our kids got at trunk or treat, and we taped a picture of the “gleaning” from Naomi and Ruth on the front to make it more missionary-ish for the sisters.

(Ignore the photobomber!)

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Our costume was “Family Circus”, and Nathan was a ringmaster and I was a monkey, Six a zebra, Five a Cheetah, Three a dinosaur, Toddler a Giraffe, and the baby was a mad kitten):

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The only thing more fun than five preschoolers just so happens to be five preschoolers fighting for candy.

Good times, this family life.

Shampoo Heads

“Are you afraid you will die if you sit still?”

I gasp, and blink back tears so as not to be betrayed.

This isn’t therapy, I want to say.  This is a job interview.

But I know better, because the only way to be a good counselor is to have good self-care, and to add the ministry layer to it with this chaplaincy work forces my hand and causes me to step up the whole integrated-being concept.

My answer doesn’t matter so much as how quickly I can respond, according to Jung, and how smoothly I can slip into brutally-honest-with-myself mode is more significant than the actual content.

I really am okay, though I am grateful for so many to be concerned about me.  I need the reminders, and far more help than I know how to ask for, and am not yet entirely well.  The work, though?  Working is what I love, and helping people is the ministry I have been given.  It is true that working is one way to keep me alive, and it is also true that to work now, very hard, in finding ways to help others, only counts as gratitude for so many who have helped me.

My VA phone interview call went really well, and I am super excited.  They have three different schedules, so Nathan and I will be able to pick what best works for our family and my job.  It’s a little more than an hour away to drive, but only for a certain number of weeks, and no different than driving to Bartlesville from Tulsa before we finally moved.

Will it be a crazy couple of months?  It will, of course.  I will be in three graduate schools at once, which probably means I will be getting up at 4am everyday instead of just twice a week.  I will be working more Saturdays, either to do my paperwork for my job or to cover shifts at the hospital.  I will be locked to a pager again on weekends, which I had hoped never to have to do again, but is necessary once again for a short season.

But our life is already crazy, and somethings won’t change much.  The gas money for driving will be covered by the stipend I will get, even if that won’t leave anything extra as a paycheck.  The scholarships for school cover my classes (but not my books).  I will still do the laundry and finish my Hebrew homework on the nights Nathan is at symphony rehearsal anyway, and he will still make frito chili pie or pick up tacos on the nights I work late same as now.  I will still have five preschool heads to wash on bath night.

There are things we will sacrifice: weekends away at the cabin (but Silver Dollar City won’t be free for us next year, anyway), meeting up for lunchtime most days, and Friday afternoons off for rest time together before weekend children.

There are things I will miss sometimes: pancakes on Saturday mornings, quiet weekends without interruption, and sleep.

Residency does that to a family, and it is a hard thing.  Many of my doctor friends have endured it far longer, and that plays into our choices of scheduling my program at the VA.  Really, what it comes down to, is how long we want our lives to be disrupted like that.  I could work 60 hours a week and get it done quickly, for example, but it would completely destroy our family life and I could not keep my other job that I love.  I could work just four hours a week, and our family be disrupted by this process for several years.  These are not good options!  We will choose a program in between, that balances both our quality of family life and how long it takes for us to endure this season of schedule (and distance) disruption.

We must be cautious and wise, but also bold and obedient.

It is always an adventure, this life we have been given.

And I have been given life, so I really would like to live it as fully as possible.

Maybe that has always been my prayer, and maybe that is why my life has unfolded as it has.

I was once told in a blessing that Heavenly Father knows we can only progress through experience, and that He knows how much I want to progress (and how far yet I have to go), and so He has granted me so many experiences in so short a time so that I can indeed progress, and progress quickly.

He has brought me so far, it is true.  I know it is true.

Did you know that when Salt Lake first called about the chaplaincy, that he said we would be seeing our area authority later, so to talk more about it with them then?  And that we laughed and said no, that we were on vacation, but that we knew him and so could send an email.  And that as soon as we hung up the phone, we sat down to lunch, and said our prayers for our food, and then looked up and Elder Southward was at the table across from us, eating lunch with his family?  It was unreal!  We were so delighted to see them, and it felt like a miracle in the moment.  Also creepy.  But wonderful!

We did start our interviews this week with the church, besides the job interviews.  The initial interview with Salt Lake had to do with my education, and work experience, and our finances, and Nathan’s work, and our children, and things like that.  The bishop interview questions were intense, like temple recommends except also about if we abstain from pornography, and the nature and quality of our marriage relationship, and if we are capable and worthy of representing the Church and ministering to the people and helping people of other faiths.  Gulp.  Our stake president tonight pointed out that all the questions were for both of us, none of them just about me.  All of them were about us together, and how this was a calling for both of us, and how I could not have done it without Nathan, and how the Lord planned it this way and we got married at exactly the right time.

This is true.

I love Nathan with more than just a sappy love, and more than just a best friend love.  He is a part of me, not in an enmeshed way, but in a completion way.  I love not just that I got married, but that it was him I got to marry.  We are helpmeets, and work hard together in all things, from working to children to dishes to laundry.

Tonight I folded and hung up and put away seven loads of kid laundry.

I totally get credit for that.

But only because it was Nathan who kept the laundry going from washer to dryer all day long while he was working at home.

Because he loves me, and because he is committed to this relationship and to our family.

And then, when he went off to symphony, and I finally got all the kids fed and clean and into bed, I had several amazing hours of quiet that I could hide and do anything.

But I love him, and I am committed to this relationship and to our family.

So I did dishes, and laundry, and homework while it wasn’t taking time away from anyone.

Because one of the things we know is true is that love is a verb, and if love is true, then service will be real.

“The most difficult thing for us seems to be to give of ourselves, to do away with selfishness. If we really love someone, nothing is a hardship.”
~ N. Eldon Tanner, Conference Report, 4/67, pg. 104.

Service used to be really, really hard for me.  I knew what to do, and that it was the right thing to do, but I murmured and cried and had such very weak muscles.  It was my mother I was trying to serve, back when she lived with me, and it was painful and hard because I could not do it well as I knew I should.  But trying made me love her more than ever, and trying even more built muscles that now make it possible to do what I do for Nathan and these kids.

So really, the answer is that my mom gets the credit for everything, naturally.

As she should.

So it seems a natural thing, that if I finally learned how to serve my family, even if just barely and even if imperfectly, that now the Lord would call me to learn how to serve others, too.

Some of my favorite friends are people who are gifted at serving, and I think that’s why I had to get this calling while they get to continue being awesome: because they are already good at it, and I have to do the work to learn.

But it is the most important thing to learn, how to love others, and so I know it is time for me to go to school in chaplaincy world:

“A man who is full of the love of God is not content with blessing his family only,
but thinks about all of the people in the world,
anxious to bless the whole human race.”
~ Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 227.

I probably don’t have much to offer the whole human race.

But I am really good at shampooing toddler heads.

And I can do that, one head at a time, just like we do one name at the temple at a time.

So that makes it sacred, right?

Except maybe it’s a good thing I am about to find myself in the circumstance of learning some compassion, real quick, because with the way I scrub those heads, my kids probably think they will die if they don’t sit still.

New Job

Guess who is the newest member of the ER team?

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I told them I love my job I already have, and don’t really want a second job, but that I need extra (non-billing) hours for my medical bills and to get on staff for my chaplaincy training later. I was just up front and honest about it, and they think I am a perfect fit for their weekend on call shifts that no one else wants (because it is weekends, and because weekends are crazy)! I will take it!

I will be mostly working the ER, CCU, and some in the tower as needed, doing emergency assessments and admits/referrals.

Naturally, I told them all about Daybreak when he said they have trouble finding good mental health care for kids.

And-and-and, this will get me familiar with the hospital and staff for when I do my chaplaincy hours later, for which I have my VA phone interview later today and my stake president interview tonight.

It is so exciting!

Temple Talk

When I am trying to prepare a talk, especially one about the temple or other sacred things, it is very difficult for me to stay in my body.

What I mean to say, is that there are some things that can only be learned Spirit to spirit.

And it is one thing for me to lay in the crisp air, pondering in the sunshine underneath clouds and amongst the rain of autumn leaves floating down around me, or to sit in holy spaces full of lights and white and gold, and to be filled with layers of knowledge that carry me away into visions of love unfolding.

It is an entirely different thing to try and capture it in words, to try and pin down butterfly-like visions that flit about and carry me on bolted wings, or to pick through postcards for entire essays.

It is nearly impossible, you see, because to write and type uses fingers, and to try to speak of what I know uses words far too confining.

And I know so little.

But what I know is of spirit-nature, and not of temporal-nature, and so writing what I know becomes painful as I squeeze my spirit back into my body in order to record the words to say, and I feel pulled away to soak in more, but must stay in my skin enough to stay alive.

My life, though, comes from Spirit things, while my work is to testify of them.  The words come in eons of visions, and the clock ticks little.  Things to share get squeezed on a page, and all the time is gone.  I try to bridge the worlds with fasting legs and a prayerful heart, knowing it is only my mind-spirit that can live in both places, until later.

Until later, when my body – now both fresh and decaying – is made new and eternal.

I had to write about writing because my bones were on fire, and there are things I cannot say but only invite you to see.

Pick a day to fast, so your body can make room for more things of spirit-nature.

Carve out time to pray, knowing he is shaping you, every day.

Wake early, or steal a quiet afternoon, or sit under the stars and read to prepare yourself and invite the Spirit that is our teacher:

Psalm 24:3-5

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Isaiah 2:1-3

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Haggai 1:6-8

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

¶Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.

Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.

John 5:25

25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

1 Peter 4:6

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

D&C 132:15-17

15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.

16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

2 Nephi 12:2-3

And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

D&C 124:25-28

25 And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar.

26 And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them: Come ye, with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and bring the box tree, and the fir tree, and the pine tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth;

27 And with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth; and build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein.

28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

D&C 128:18

18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

D&C 131:1-4

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

Exodus 28:2-3, 35-36, 40-43

2  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

35  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

36 ¶And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holiness to the Lord.

40 ¶And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.

41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

4And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

4And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Exodus 29:4-9, 43-46

And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.

And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:

And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.

Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.

And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.

And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.

43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.

44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office.

45 ¶And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.

46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.

Isaiah 22:21-25

21  And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

2And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.

24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.

25 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it.

Also recommended:

1 Kings 5-9

Ezra 3-6

Ezekiel 40-46

And go to the temple: slowly, and quietly, and carefully.

Temple Ordinances: Ancient and Modern will be presented
at the Tulsa, Oklahoma Stake Center
in Bartlesville on Sunday, 9 November at 7pm.

Halloween FHE

This will only make sense in Emily World, but let me share. Besides their individual morning readings, our family morning reading has been in the Old Testament. The kids just finished the Noah’s ark story, and have been very excited to be animals for Halloween. We normally make all our costumes, but this year were given costumes by the foster agency that helps is so much with providing for the kids.

And, since we were able to find a circus man costume for Nathan, we decided that would be our family costume this year: a circus. It’s fitting enough, and the kids all got to be animals!

Six = Zebra
Five = Cheetah
Three = Dinosaur
Toddler = Giraffe
Baby = Kitten

It’s not your ordinary circus, mind you, but we aren’t an ordinary family:

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The Bayles family joined us for our family adventures, and were sweet enough to dress up with the kids!

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Nathan’s parents also came over, along with his sister and her family!

Nathan’s mom was the “fancy trapeze artist lady”, even though Five kept calling her “angry bird”.

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Nathan’s dad’s costume was hilarious. Five kept calling him a clown, but the costume was genius. He wore brown socks and hunter style brown crocs, with white pants and a white shirt and a white wig – and an owl tie. He was a brown owl in a white tree! I laughed so hard! It was awesome!

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After a fun time playing and chasing and enjoying our costume party, the costumes came off for dinner. We had been talking about the Sukkot holiday a few weeks ago, and are reading King Benjamin’s speech in Mosiah for family evening scriptures. So we made a “tabernacle” in the living room tonight, hanging a sheet up over us, and putting the kids picnic table under it. We used it as our “circus big top”, but then after, we talked again about how the Israelites lived and ate and slept in their tabernacles during the Feast, and how our Israeli friends (and others, but they just know the Israel ones) still build tabernacles for Sukkot.

We took a play break after dinner to bob for apples, and more laughing, oh so funny! Five tried so hard, but Nathan showed him how it’s done!

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We cleaned up, then, while the kids got on pajamas, and then had our family scripture study from Mosiah. It takes so long now that the kids can read so much but are still so new to reading, but I was grateful to our guests for being so patient. The kids really can read so many words now!

We finished with dessert: carmel apples, gluten free chocolate torte, and Rice Krispie oatmeal no bake delicious somethings. It was all so yummy!

I loved, loved, loved our grown-up visit after bedtime, catching up with family and sharing about the chaplaincy stuff and talking with grown-ups! We stayed up too late, but it has been so long since a family visit, and I was so glad to just sit and rest with them and visit.

I am ready for a new week after the crazy one we had last week, even if this week will be its own wild experience with Five’s visit Wednesday morning and Halloween invading everything.

We had so much fun tonight!

Paper Pail

The kids played hard today, and I tried to work hard.  I wanted to write today, to work on some talks I have coming up, but it was not a words kind of day.  Once I realized this, I stopped fighting myself at the keyboard and freed myself through physical labor.  I cleaned up the foster care storage room, which has been a mess since we had four kids come all at once, two of them different age babies, and all of them needing clothes.  Then I cleaned up our food storage room, which was still lined with small grocery sacks full of clothes from the clean laundry, as I had pulled summer clothes as the kids wore them.  I got those sacks labeled and thrown into the foster care storage closet, and the food storage room was much better.  I just need to put together the elliptical machine we were given, but that was not a project for working while five kids are running around.

We put the girls down for naps first, and Nathan took the boys for hair cuts.  We finally got permission for Three to get his hair cut, which is a big deal.  In Oklahoma, biological parents retain hair cutting rights until all rights are terminated.  So no matter how long their hair gets, we can’t cut it all – not even a trim – without consent from the biological parents.  It goes back to the Native American issues, so common in our state, but applies to all foster kids in our state.  That’s why Five had curls all the way down his back for the first six months he lived with us.

When the boys got back, we put them down for naps.  The timing worked out perfectly because the boys usually only sleep half the time as the girls, which means they mostly woke up all at once.  They woke in a much better mood than they did this morning, so the afternoon was much easier and more fun.  I was grateful, and spent time outside with them working on the garage while they played.

Our garage has been a mess.  We moved in the middle of January, and then it was too cold to finish unpacking out there, and then our kids changed when it warmed up, and then cancer happened, and then our kids changed again.  Today was the first time I was able to work out there in a long time.  It looks much better, and we are much closer to the final bits of unpacking.  Mostly it is a lot of garage-work to be a foster parent, because the beds are changing all the time, the size clothes are changing all the time, and the baby furniture comes in and out and back in again.  We have a good system down, and I try to keep it organized, but some days it would feel nice, I think to just leave it all on the curb and let people carry the whole lot of it away.

Speaking of being carried away, a sibling (that had been placed with a different relative for different reasons we can’t discuss right now) of one our foster kids got picked up this weekend.  We are contracted to keep siblings together whenever possible, so as soon as we heard they were being investigated we began to prepare for this other child.  However, when we prayed and pondered and talked about it, the same as we do with every child they call us about, we got a very clear “no”.

I know you think we take in too many foster kids, but you really have no idea how many times or how often we say no.

But this one surprised us because we already have one of the siblings.

But “no” was the answer, and more specifically, we got “danger” when asking about it.

So that’s what we said when we called back the worker, and let them know we had prayed and talked about it, and that we felt that we should not take the sibling after all, but also that we felt we had been warned of danger, and so for them to also please be careful (even though we understand that is their job every day).

They were kind about it, and know that it is ultimately our choice and our limit setting, and so they respected that and accepted our denial.  It does mean they might move the sibling we have so that both children can be placed together, but we will see what happens.  It was important to us, though, to follow through on the promptings and be wary and wise when instructed to be careful – and say no when that is the answer we received.

Besides that, Three will be leaving in two weeks, we think.  He is a cutie, and easy as anything most days.  He has been fun to have most of the time.  We will miss him, but we are glad he has tons of family where he is going, and we know he needs to go home with them.

We will miss his funny H-filled conversations, though, as his speech is so bad that every syllable starts with H.  Nathan can do a really hilarious impression if you ask him!
After all that, the day had gone so well that Nathan made his famous BBQ brisket nachos for the kids, and we had a picnic outside!  The nachos have brisket, black beans, corn, some hidden invisible vegetables, and cheese, and he bakes them in the oven.

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He even got out the Root Beer, which made the kids squeal with delight because we never have sodas in the house, so they knew it was a real treat.  But they had a really rough morning, and such a great afternoon, we really wanted to reward them for fixing their day and making better choices.  We all have rough starts on some days, and all make mistakes, but it takes a lot of courage and hard work to really fix a bad day and turn it into a good one.  They did it, and we were proud of them!

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Not only that, but bath time went so well – except for Six asking for “six sideways braids”, which nearly killed me and is not too fancy, but I tried my best – that the Five and Six, who are now “the big kids”, got to stay up for a movie and oreos!  It was another surprise from Nathan, who had been saving them for something special.  Five has bath issues because before he came to us, he had only been rinsed off in the Flying J shower once in a while, and Six has bath issues because her hair is so much work, but neither of them fussed at all, and they helped clean up from supper and all the kids’ rooms!  I was so proud of them!  I also thought it was sweet that Nathan had worked to find gluten free oreos for Five (that I didn’t have to spend the afternoon making from scratch).

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It was a super fun day, and my body is exhausted.  It is the most exercise, besides walking, I have had since surgery.  I really lifted and carried and moved heavy stuff while working in the garage, and my whimpy body can feel it!  But it is a good kind of pain, I told Nathan, and I grunted at him for effect.  I got a lot done that has been needing done, but was at the bottom of the list when you are still trying to clothe kids or manage all those appointments that come with having newbie-babies.

We would not have made it through this week without so much help from friends.  Someone took care of groceries, someone sat with our kids while they were sleeping last night so that we could visit with Nathan’s sister, someone brought us the leftovers from the “veggie market” taken to daycares in town, and Nathan vacuumed the kids’ rooms when the kids cleaned them up and then scampered back outside to play.  I got the house dusted, and the floors swept, and the kitchen clean (again), and all that kid-laundry finished (again, again, again, again).  My crockpot for after church tomorrow is ready, and all the kids are clean (for the time being) so that tomorrow morning before church won’t be so hard.  My car is loaded up with things for Goodwill on Monday morning, and we even got toys sorted through that someone had given us, so we can pass on what is nice but doesn’t fit our home or kids, toss out what is trash, and clean up what will be Christmas – which is always hard to predict because we don’t actually know who will be here.  Last year we got Keyssie the week before Christmas!  That was some crazy scrambling, especially for me and Nathan, who pretty much won’t enter a store between Halloween and Valentine’s if we can help it.

One of the good things about getting so much done in the garage today was noticing how much easier it was to go through my mom’s things.  When I would run across something of hers before, it was almost debilitating.  Today it just made me smile, or else I was able to recognize it was something that was just okay to let go.  I did not need to hold on to things just because they were hers, not today.

I also found the trash can my father made me when I was a baby, decorated in the wrapping from my mother’s baby shower for me!  Of all the treasures to discover, how sweet is that?  Now we will have a new diaper pail in the girls’ room, for which all the kids will be grateful since they have to be our runners if we are holding a baby upside down!

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Now Nathan and I both have our Primary calling materials ready for tomorrow, and I did the last round of diaper changes while he ran to see his sister quickly and drop some things off over there, so now all is quiet and we can settle in for date night.  It’s his pick, so that means a movie night and he has picked “The Monuments Men”.  It’s about men who go rescue art from the Nazis, and return it to their owners?  He promises it’s a movie about helping Jews, so I will love it.  We will see. But it’s amazing because it’s based on a true story, and one of the guys in real life goes to the ward where Nathan’s sister goes.

My reading this morning was in Mosiah 6:

And it came to pass that king Mosiah did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe his judgments and his statutes, and did keep his commandments in all things whatsoever he commanded him.

And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things. And there was no contention among all his people for the space of three years.

Follow the example of the Savior, be obedient, keep the commandments, work really hard, and be nice enough to squelch (or not start) contention.  That was the message today.  I tried.

Naked Puppies

In addition to mysterious groceries this week, we also received a coupon for getting the dogs groomed. The poor neglect puppies had not been groomed since before I got sick, and while normally I can do their hair cuts, it had been too long for me to be able to get through the matted hairs.

They feel much better now, and are prancing around!

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I love to see them happy.

They are the last pieces I have of my mom.

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But not for long, as my mother’s princess is dying, and weighs almost nothing, and it is all so very sad.

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But we love her, and are trying to take care of her, but mostly she just misses my mom. And so do we.