Friday, June 29, 2012

What's Your Mission of Choice?

My kids have definitely been affected by the full time missionaries lately.  My brother is on a mission in Guatemala and I have cousins on missions around the world.  My husband also happens to be serving in our church as the ward mission leader, so the full time elders are showing up at our house AT LEAST once or twice a week for meetings, discussions, or dropping off reports.   Probably about a year ago, Tyson was taking money he found without asking and when he got in trouble for it, he was crushed and said, "But I was saving that money for my mission!" 

We  get weekly emails from my cousin who happens to be in Madagascar right now.  Deaton has sent home pictures of himself with spiders, snakes, chameleons, lemurs, dogs, this fish, etc.  Whenever he sends pictures and his mom forwards them to me, I show my kids, because I know they love this kind of stuff.  They think Deaton actually caught this fish in the photo.  Haha. 

Tyson is especially fascinated by bugs and animals, and so he eats up things we hear from Madagascar.  Deaton has probably one of the most difficult missions in the entire world--it's a successful mission and people are joining the faith in droves, but it's a great sacrifice for our elders in that part of the world.  We pray for his safety and even though it would MAYBE be cool to see a Nile Crocodile, we're glad he hasn't come across one, yet, becuase he probably wouldn't live to tell the tale...unless the 20+ foot croc was already dead like in the pic my husband found on the Net this week:

Yesterday I took my kids to the craft store for a free craft.  Each week they study countries from around the world and make a project.  Yesterday's project happened to be a flag and a rainstick in honor of Madagascar.  We told the people there that my cousin is on a mission there right now and shared some of his stories.  Well, much to my surprise, Tyson and I ended up with this conversation:

Tyson (whispering): Can I go on my mission to Madagascar?
Me: That's where you want to go?
Tyson:  Yeah.  I want to go there because of all the bugs and animals.
Me (thinking he missed the entire purpose of why we have missionaries): Do you know why people even go on missions?
Tyson:  To teach other people about the gospel. 
Me: You're right--missions are about teaching people about Jesus. Do you know there are other missions that have lots of bugs and animals?
Tyson:  Well, I want to go where the MOST bugs and animals are, so that's why I want to go to Madagascar. 
Me:  That would be neat, and I'm really happy that you want to go on a mission to share the gospel.
Tyson:  But, is it okay if I go when I'm just a little bit older?
Me:  Um, yes--you'd better be a LOT older.  You're not even aloud to go until you're 19.
Tyson:  Like when I'm a teenager?
Me:  Like when you're almost done being a teenager.

 Haha! He cracks me up. Honestly, I think sending your son to Madagascar would take an extreme amount of faith.  All missions take faith, but I really admire Deaton and his mom and family for their faith and their examples.  I'm also grateful that my kids have such wonderful examples to look up to and to emulate.  I hope all my sons will demonstrate that sort of faith by serving missions--even if it is in a remote land, all the way across the earth, in the jungles of Madagascar.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When Your Heart Grows

It was just a year ago.

We were chatting on the phone.

"Are you pregnant, yet?"

"No.  Are you?!"


For months we had both been trying to get pregnant--me with my 3rd, and Erin with her 1st.  We thought it would be so cool if we could have kids at the same time.  But then there came the dreaded moment when Erin found out she in fact did have indometriosis and I didn't have the heart to tell her I had a positive pregnancy test.  My heart just sank because I wanted for her to be expecting a baby first, and now we didn't know how much longer it would take for her.  I finally worked up the courage and told her and, bless her heart, she was SO NICE.

And she was happy for me.

But I knew what it was like to be in her shoes.

As weeks went by and I got sicker she was nice but sometimes I could kind of hear in her voice, "Okay, Deej, just suck-it-up.  Being pregnant can't be that bad."  And then I added what I thought she was probably thinking, "At least you ARE pregnant."

Then we had our Girl's trip to DC and Erin had an extra dose of fiestiness...and so did I.  But then came the wonderful realization after the trip in November, when Mike and Erin announced that they were expecting, and she was due ON MY BIRTHDAY.  How special was that?  And we laughed at our trip.  We were both pregnant together and we didn't even know it.  No wonder we were so fiesty. : )

And then came Christmas, and we rubbed each other's bellies, and I talked to her tummy, and she talked to mine.  Never in my life had I been so excited to be expecting AT THE SAME EXACT TIME as someone else.  It's a totally cool and special thing to be expecting at the same time as friends, but I've waited for YEARS to be able to be expecting at the same time as my sister.  It was so neat.  And we took our first belly pictures.

Then there came Erin's morning sickness and suddenly she KNEW how bad it is to be pregnant.  And she would ask me how I was feeling all the time, and she would cry with me, and she would validate my feelings, because she KNEW what it was like to be in my shoes.

And there were wonderful moments when I'd be surprised with messages:  "Your baby is the size of a mango."  And hers was a kidney bean. 

And she remembered when my doctor appointments were and called me for updates, "Are you dilated?!" 

Then there was her shower, and she finally looked pregnant, and I looked ridiculously pregnant, and neither of us could bend over very well.  She was proud of her ability to pick things up by doing squats, though.
But we were so happy to have a party for her.  And our husbands were in the Grand Canyon.  And we played a joke on Mitch and sent him a picture mail of my friend Merri's infant baby, and Erin told Mike we had a crazy night.  The joke didn't last very long, but we thought it was hilarious.  Her shower was a huge success and I just wanted her to have the world and have everything she needed for her baby, and we both HOPED that I would have the baby while she was still here.

But she flew home on Sunday, and I had my baby on Monday.

Then came 6 weeks of a 3-kids-vortex for me, and an increase of anxiety and check-ups for her.  Mike was worried about being packed and ready, and they needed the gift cards mailed from the shower so they could shop, and they had funny birthing class stories.

And then yesterday came the lump in all of our throats when we heard her water broke and she was driving to the hospital.  "Do you think this is the real thing?"  She had to quit talking because the contractions were so strong. 

And I told Miles that his cousin was being born and he totally smiled at me--not a coincidence! 

And this is the clincher for me.  Erin asked us to pray for her, and so we did.  What's funny is that I prayed that this would be an amazing experience for her, and that she would feel love in a way she's never felt it before--which is a given, and not even a necessary thing to pray for since that's EXACTLY what happens when you have your own kids.  All of a sudden a whole new world of love opens for you and it's precious, and you love your parents more, and you realize how they feel about you and it's a feeling you could have never imagined.  But what happened for me is that today, when my nephew was born, I felt love in a way I've never even felt it before.  When I got married, I married into being an aunt, and I adore my nieces and nephews and love all of them.  But for the first time in my life, one of my own siblings has had a child.  Someone I grew up sharing memories with--holding hands as we fell asleep in bed, getting in trouble with for being up too late.  Someone I've spent my whole life growing up with is now a mom!  And I feel like I'm an aunt for the very first time.  And it's so special!  I have felt such sheer joy for my sister all day.  I also feel like all this time something has been hidden from me, like there was a compartment of my heart I never knew existed, but now it's opened.  And I can see the world in a way that I never even imagined, and it's beautiful.

"How does it feel to be a mom?" I asked her this morning.

"It's amazing," she answered.

And that's how it feels to be an aunt, too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

When You're a Girl, Your Favorite Color Must be Pink...

Emmett is CONVINCED that my favorite color is pink.  I'm the only girl in the house, so naturally I get everything that constitutes as a "girl color"--pink plates, pink clothes, the inherent longing for anything in a commercial for girl toys that seem to have obscene amounts of pink.  Never in my life have I adored the color pink, but it's hard to tell Emmett that.  I don't want to shatter the way he sees the world, you know?  

There was a day that I was absolutely anti-pink.  Seeing the color actually made my stomach turn.  My drive to despise was fueled by the understanding that every other girl in the world loved any and every shade of the color pink.  I needed to define myself by loving a different color--such as neon green.  As I've grown up, however, I've developed a better appreciation for pink, so when Emmett looked in the mirror a couple Sundays ago and realized that his little rosy cheeks were pink and announced, "Hey!  My cheeks are pink.  Pink is Mom's FAVWIT!"  I said, "Yes, it is--especially when it's on you!"  There are few things more irresistible in this world than little, chapped, rosy pink cheeks on a toddler.  It makes you want to pinch and kiss those cute little p-i-n-k cheeks.  Looks like pink is going to be my color of choice for a while.

 Blurry photos are compliments of Emmett--not bad for a 2 year old, actually.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do You Need a Laugh Today?

I am a fearless mother of 3 (that's not the funny part, quit laughing). 

For the first time ever, I ventured out to brave the world alone with my 3 children.  I didn't have my husband to help me, nor my in-laws, nor my siblings. With courage, we entered the Public Library and in record time checked out books for the children to participate in the summer reading program.  There were no mishaps, no lost children, no fits.  I was Super Mom and my children were PERFECT, but before we left the building my two-year old needed to use the restroom.  "No problem, this will be easy," I thought and we marched into the bathroom, wheeling the stroller and all.  Much to my surprise the restroom was empty...but that should have been my first warning sign.  As we strolled deeper into the bathroom, my eye caught a red sign with yellow wording, "Out of Order", and it was sitting ON A URINAL.  At this moment I slow the stroller to a stop and begin to turn around when in walks a grown man.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a stranger.  It was my high school friend, Rob, who I haven't seen for years, and I begin laughing.

Me:  Oh!  Hi!
Rob (double-take, and recognition):  Oh my gosh, hi!
Me: Imagine meeting you here!
Rob:  What are you doing?
Me:  Is this the Men's bathroom?
Rob: Um, yes.

In walks another man.

Me:  Well if it makes you feel better, I do have a boy with me.
Rob:  So, maybe we can talk outside the bathrooms when he's done.
Me:  Yeah, that sounds good. 

As I wheeled my children into the bustling Women's bathroom, I checked the signs again just to make sure.  I could have SWORN that I was entering the women's bathroom the first time, but sure enough, clear as day there was a man's drawing on that side.  I must suffer from bathroom-sign-dyslexia, though, because I just gave my friend Rob, and his wife something to laugh about the rest of the summer.  As we were talking outside the bathrooms I told them my baby was 5 weeks old and I thought we'd venture out today do try the summer reading program and see if we could handle going places with 3 kids, but clearly I must not be ready to handle such adventures if I can't even walk into the right bathroom. 

Although it was mortifying--there is a blessing to recognize here: At least I didn't WALK IN on my friend.  Thank Heaven those urinals were out of order and that I was 30 seconds AHEAD of the men.  *Whew!*

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lemonade Made the Day

 Tyson has been doing extra chores to earn money, such as vacuuming out my car and difficult things like that for a 4-year old to do.  For a long time he's been wanting to have a Lemonade Stand.  It's been months that we've been talking about it.  Mitchell started making a stand, but never finished it the way he had originally planned it to be and then I had the baby and Mitchell worked every Saturday in May and was out of town for one of them.  Finally he was home for the 1st Saturday since we had the baby and he decided the stand he was working on was good as is and after we went swimming, they made FRESH lemonade and he got the boys all set up for their lemonade stand.
 They were so darling!  I was actually getting choked up watching them "live the dream".  Things like this are really what life is about.  And moments like this make me LOVE the summer time with my family!
 Mitch added the finishing touches.  He said it's all about presentation.  : )
 And then came the waiting....
 And waiting....
 When a car would drive by the kids got all excited and Tyson waved at EVERY single one.
 And when the cars would drive on by without stopping he made this cute little face and watched the cars longingly as they kept driving.

We ended up having a great experience.  Before the stand was even fully set up, the first customer came by and asked Tyson how much the lemonade was.  "FIVE DOLLARS!" he asserted.  We were all laughing.  Looks like he's very confident in his product.  We told him that he needed to change the price, though, and she said, "Well, here's a quarter for each of you."  The neighbors across the street EACH bought a cup of lemonade, and so did the neighbor next door, and several people stopped by.  One teenage girl just stopped by and gave them a dollar and didn't drink any lemonade, and one kind little old lady gave them $2 because she hadn't seen a lemonade stand like that since she was that age...which means it's been a REALLY long time.  I honestly don't know how she's gone that long without seeing a lemonade stand.  : )  And our favorite customer came by--some nice, older, generous gentleman in a BIG truck.  He stopped and drank two cups on the spot and gave the boys $10.  He didn't want change and he called them budding entrepeneurs as he drove off.  I loved it!  The boys rolled in a whopping $17.50 and were able to have enough to buy the Lego toys they've been dreaming of.
 The day wore them all out, though, and everyone at the mall ooh-ed and ah-ed over our baby and his brother asleep in the stroller.  It really made me feel good that everyone kept telling us how cute our kids were, haha!  Some teenage girls exclaimed, "That's so cute!  Take a picture!"

We showed up to the Lego store prepared to buy the Avengers Legos with Hawk-eye and his bow & arrow.  But the store presented too many amazing options and Tyson changed his mind when he found dinosaur legos, and Emmett was a happy camper with his fire-man lego set because he understood that all the other ones he kept grabbing were too much money.

So much for getting my kids to work more--my $ earning chores don't earn them anywhere near as much money per hour.  Tyson is ready to sit at his lemonade stand for the rest of the summer.  We had such a great time!