25 January 2012

Wage a war against discouragement

Six hours into this work day and I'm feeling like I chose the wrong career. This feeling is not new--evidenced by the pages of frustrations recorded over the years in my journal, this feeling is a frequent visitor. Potty training failures, trying to dry laundry with a dryer held together by duct tape, hearing my name spoken a minimum of 100 times just this morning, and rushing the three littles into their clothes and to the school to cheer on the oldest in a battle of books competition, only to hear "why did you even come, mom?" are just a few of the items contributing to this today.

I know that discouragement is a strategy of He who wishes to see us fail, and sadly, it is effective in accomplishing what He desires: that is, to make us feel angry, depressed, selfish and irritable and like our lives are horrible.

I also know that this is just not true. My life is wonderful, and I am thrilled and blessed each day with the family and things that surround me. So, today and in the days to come, in my moments of selfishness, when all I want to do is lace up my Sauconys, turn up my ipod and run away, I will remember that I did not choose this job to bask in my selfishness and wish for more moments to do only what I want. I chose it, though I didn't know it at the time, to learn about that essential attribute of godliness: UN-selfishness.

Today and everyday I will wage a war on discouragement. I will choose to believe the words and feelings poured into my soul during my moments of scripture reading and meditation that this work is so important, that I am loved, that I am forgiven, and that my failures will be made strengths. I will choose to believe the words of living prophets when they tell me to "be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. . .these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him."

I will accept that many more days like this are up ahead, but I will dig deep, pray hard and win.

13 January 2012

Spending Freeze

Perhaps like some of you, we overspent a little this Christmas, and decided to put ourselves on a spending freeze for the final two weeks of our fiscal month. For us, spending freeze=staying out of all stores, restaurants, and buying nothing that wasn't absolutely essential, so we didn't stop buying milk or gas.

We are now two days away from being able to spend money again, and, although, at the beginning of this, I was so sick of stores because of all the shopping done at Christmas, I'm at the point where I could use a good trip to Target. I think having a shopping fast was good for me in several different ways. I have never been so resourceful in my meal making as I have these past two weeks. We don't eat out a lot, but we definitely do a trip to Costco or Taco Bell for lunch or dinner here and there, and I am missing the convenience of that. I love to cook, but 16 days in a row with no help can make you dream of a gut-buster Costco food court hot dog merely for the fact that someone else cooked it and we can throw away the mess when we're done.

In other news, I am more than a little obsessed with this caramel corn/moose munch recipe. I made at least 4 batches to give away to neighbors at Christmas, but since then it has been made about 4 more times just to eat. I have made it with and without chocolate and can shamelessly sit and eat almost the whole batch all myself. The difference with this and other caramel corns that I have made is the honey. It adds a whole new layer of flavor that is unique and addicting.

05 January 2012

This little guy

is officially 6, almost 7 months old. His cute little mug hasn't been seen a lot on this blog, since his arrival has made my life so much more full and busy than even I imagined, but he has been growing and is loved on every single day by all of his big brothers in their own special ways.

Around here, he is mostly just called baby, as Thomas just seems like a big name for such a little person. He'll eventually grow into his name, but for now, we like baby.

I'm discovering the joy of having older children and young children growing up in the same house, and the love and concern the older ones have for the little ones. It brings me so much happiness to watch their interactions and expressions of love and adoration.

04 January 2012

Handmade Christmas

During the month of December, our boys turned into little elves for each other, as we followed the tradition found last year here. This is such a fun tradition, and one that I can see us doing for years to come because the planning, the making and the giving is so much fun for Jeff and me and the kids. I love the one-on-one time and the secrets we keep as we come up with ideas and go about making them together. The kids open these gifts from each other on Christmas Eve, and they are just thrilled to see what the other one has made for them. I look forward to when the two littles are older, and can participate as well.

James's handmade gifts:
For Owen: decoupaged a box, where he stores all his special "stuff" (pokemon cards, lego sets, gum, silly bands, you get the idea),
For Henry: made an elmo bank from a peanut butter bottle.
For Thomas: sewed this cute little snowman stuffed animal.

Owen's handmade gifts:
For James: freezer-paper stenciled him an Oregon Ducks t-shirt
For Henry: Using this fun technique, made him a bag to take to the library

Henry, being a little craft challenged at age 2, picked out new toothbrushes for his older brothers and was thrilled about it.

I also love to wrap a handmade item for the boys and put it under the tree. This year, James got a new bag for his piano books, and Owen got a bag to hold the loose legos that usually end up all over the floor anytime they get used. This is a pretty great tutorial, if you have legos or any small toys that need a home. Next year I hope to make the little boys something as well. I just ran out of time.

I also did a little post-Christmas sewing for some things that Santa brought. My boys love to do lego sets, and they love to keep them together, but ziploc bags and boxes just haven't been working. So I made a few of these bags for the sets and the instructions, and a padded bag for their new ipods.

 We stayed home for Christmas this year, and had my oldest sister, Alisa, to visit. Although we missed all the family we normally see, it was very relaxing and pleasant to be on our own schedule and not have to make that LONG drive to Utah.
Happy New Year!