Category Archives: Children

I opened an Etsy shop!

I never thought that when I started painting little wooden figures & chess sets that I would end up selling any – let alone open an etsy shop! What started as a way to make Christmas happen has become something fun to do on the side for other people. Sometimes it can be a bit of a juggling act – taking the time to paint (one figure will take usually 1-2 hours to do – more if it’s highly detailed), work on my writing (and yes, I am still going & making progress! woohoo!), & of course, above all else, being a mom & wife and all that great stuff.

It also took more than a little bit of courage – it’s a bit daunting deciding to open your own shop – no matter how little it might be & I had to learn about things I never thought I would (like sales tax, heh). But I decided that it doesn’t matter if it is an epic flop – I don’t want to become world famous  – I just want to share something fun with others. So, swing on by & take a look – favorite my shop (it makes my heart glow when people do that) & like my shop’s FB page.

Here’s to having a little courage!

Woodnplaytime

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Woodnplaytime Facebook Page

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Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Getting Crafty, Hobby

Two Boys, a Man, and a Prayer

I was in between running errands. Home just fifteen minutes before running off to do the next thing when my doorbell dinged. Twice. I was annoyed. Partially because double dings always feel so impatient. I reminded myself that this was most likely no fault to the person at the door, but when I looked through the window and saw an older man I didn’t recognize the irritation came back. I yanked the door open fully prepared to tell the man we didn’t want any and go about my business.

He spoke before I could utter a word. “You have two boys, right? Jacob and James.”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I have something for them. Did they tell you about what happened yesterday when I was looking for my cat?”

“They mentioned it.”

He then proceeded to tell me a story. A story of two boys, a man, and a prayer.

He and his wife had lost their cat. They had been searching for four days. He was near our yard looking when the boys got off the bus. He told them he was looking for his cat and asked if they had seen him around. The boys said no and helped look for a while. After a bit they paused to rest, the man’s knees were bothering him. Jacob whispered in James’ ear.

“What are you two plotting?” The man asked with a laugh.

They laughed, whispered a bit more and then asked, “Can you kneel?”

“Yes,” he replied, “I can.”

“We want to say a prayer for your cat,” the boys said.

The three of them knelt on the grass and one of the boys prayed and asked for the cat, Biscuit, to be able to safely return home. After the prayer they stood and one of the boys looked at the man. “We prayed. God will help and your cat will come home now.”

The man looked at me, very emotional. “Our cat came home last night. He had gotten trapped in a neighbor’s basement area.”

He then proceeded to hand me an envelope for each boy. “I really appreciate the prayer they said with me. You have very fine boys.”

When my boys got home, I told them the man had come by and had left something for them and that his cat had been returned. Immediately my two boys knelt down to pray and thank Heavenly Father for the return of Biscuit, the man’s cat.

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Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Miracles, Religion

Kid’s Proverbs

I was going through files tonight on my computer, deleting nonsense or unneeded files, organizing stray files into folders, etc, when I came across this gem & boy did it give me a great laugh!

Apparently, in January of 2009 I did an activity with my girls where I gave them the first half of a proverb and let them come up with the rest. The results were rather hilarious – especially six years later. At the time, Lizy would have been 9, Dot 8, & Em 6. The first line is the given line, the second is what my kids gave me 😀 Some are wise, some are endearing, a couple are right (or pretty close), and a bunch are just plain funny! I didn’t change anything – just copy and pasted (so comments in paranthesis are what I wrote 6 years ago)

1. Don’t change horses
Until they grow up (Emily)

2. Strike while the
Bees are gone from the hive (Dorothy)

3. It’s always darkest before
The light comes up (Elizabeth)

4. Never underestimate the power of
God (Emily)

5. You can lead a horse to water but
Not to a lake with sharks in it (Dorothy)

6. Don’t bite the hand that
Is alive (Elizabeth)

7. No news is
Until morning – we only get news when it’s morning (Emily)

8. A miss is as good as a
Hit (Dorothy)

9. You can’t teach an old dog new
Tricks (Elizabeth – she didn’t know that is really the answer)

10. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll
Get dirty (Emily)

11. Love all, trust
Heavenly Father (Dorothy)

12. The pen is mightier than the
Eraser or a pencil (Elziabeth)

13. An idle mind is
Blank (Emily)

14. Where there’s smoke there’s
A fire – not always though (Dorothy)

15. Happy the bride who
Marries the groom (Elizabeth)

16. A penny saved is
Saving money (Emily)

17. Two’s company, three’s
Trouble (Elizbeth)

18. Don’t put off till tomorrow what
Is rotten (Dorothy)

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
I’ll cry with you (Emily)

20. There are none so blind as
One who can’t see (Dorothy)

21. Children should be seen and not
Hid (Elizabeth)

22. If at first you don’t succeed
Try to do it again (Emily)

23. You get out of something only what you
Need (Dorothy)

24. When the blind lead the blind
You fall (Elizabeth)

25. A bird in the hand
can fly away (Emily)

26. Better late than
kicked out of school (Dorothy)

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Humor, Lizy, Things Kids Say

When Words Fail

Little James sat at the table they other day drawing a picture while I did the dishes.

Usually he looks happy and chipper, but this day he looked sad and as I tried to engage him in conversation his voice sounded sad.

I frowned.

It wasn’t typical for happy-go-lucky James to be sounding sad.

“Hey, James,” I said, drying my hands on a nearby towel. “Are you okay? You seem sad.”

His blue eyes filled with tears. “Mommy, what if you die? I don’t want you to die.”

My heart plummeted. These moments are so hard. There’s no good answer. He knows that someone can die unexpectedly. A simple, mommy won’t die for a really long time, is not going to be enough.

“Oh, honey,” I said and gathered him in my arms. “Everything will be okay.”

“Why didn’t you die when you were young like Lizy?”

I looked at his earnest little face. This was going to take some explaining. I picked him up and carried him to the big green “snuggle” chair.  “Well,” I explained, “Heavenly Father needed me to stay here on Earth so all I could meet Daddy and all of you kids could be born.”

Tears spilled down his cheeks. “Why did Lizy have to die?”

I sighed. It’s so hard to find explanations to questions I don’t truly have the answer to. I looked at him and his eyes held so much faith, so much hope. “I don’t know,” I said. “I just know that Heavenly Father wouldn’t have took her home if he didn’t have something really important for her to do.”

He nodded and we talked a bit more. Once he was happy and cheery again I sent him off to play, went upstairs, and cried. Not only tears of sorrow, but tears of gratitude for the knowledge of eternal families.

There are some things that are just next to impossible to explain. Some things that break your heart. I wish such things didn’t have to trouble those so young. But, I am so grateful for a knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. I am so grateful that in these moments even though I can’t explain or promise that I won’t die anytime soon, I can promise that I know families will be together forever. That we will see Lizy again in time. I am so grateful for a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that not only did he suffer for our sins in the garden of Gethsamane, but for our sorrows and heart aches – all pains and things we would suffer. He truly loves us and understands all that we go through and in and through Him I have found peace and comfort time and time again. I rejoice in the knowledge that He lives! and because He lives we will all overcome death and be resurrected and be with our families again for eternity. What joy – what incredible joy – even in these times of deepest and hardest sorrow. I feel the truth of it in my soul and when I feel my faith strained, the hope kicks in, and I feel the comfort of His love as I plead for strength to keep going.

I have a favorite hymn – it’s always been a favorite – but more so now than ever:

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

In those impossible moments when words fail and I am trying to console a sobbing child, explain something that has no answer, or feel my own heart weakening with a desire to just quit – at least for a little while, I think on these words and I pick up and keep on keeping on. I lean on Christ for strength and he fills in the gaps when I know I am no where near enough.

So, to my little James, to my Dot, Em, Jacob, & Bobert – I know it’s hard. I know it feels impossible sometimes. And I know we all feel sad. There may be many hard times yet to come. I don’t know the whys and I can’t pretend to know what the future will bring. But I do know that know matter what we comes our way, Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ will be with us every step of the journey to help us through and when our steps falter because it feels like too much or too impossible, they will carry us. And someday, some very glorious day, however far in the future it may be, we will be all together again.

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Filed under Child loss, Children, Grief, James, Lizy

Love At Home

I love summer.

I love being with my kids all summer.

But, I always know when it’s time for school to start –

it’s not a yearning for them to be away

or a desire for a mommy break

it might be a little of a desire to have a cleaner house

or a more set schedule

but what it really is

is a realization that the kids are fighting nearly non-stop and need a break from each other!

The last couple weeks have been rough. REALLY rough.

And not just on the fighting kid front – a number of other things have thrown their hats in the ring that have made me rotate between wanting tear my hair out and sob non-stop or laugh insanely at the total wackiness of life.

Let’s say, I’ve laughed a lot – or at least tried.

Anyway, the other day I remember hearing someone somewhere say that in order to raise happy healthy children their parents need to tell them they are loved on a daily basis.

I agree with that – and my husby and I make sure we tell them (& we tell each other) numerous times a day how much we love them. But, I wasn’t convinced that it was helping much on the happiness level – especially when listening to the 5-year-old howl because the 8-year-old won’t stop staring at him – as though his eyes were burning a hole into his forehead and sucking out his brains!

But then, last night when one daughter was having a really rough time with one son it hit me.

I might tell them I love them all the time – but are they telling each other?

I hear constant barbs and mean words tossed about among occasional kind phrases, but after listening for a while it hit me in the gut that they don’t tell each other “I love you.”  At least, not very often. Could those three little words really make that much of a difference coming from a sibbling?

I decided to test it out. I snagged my 13-year-old and whispered a few moments with her about my plan and challenged her to be sure each day to tell every one of her siblings “I love you” and I encouraged her to use their names in the phrase too. I asked her to try it out on her brother whom she was struggling with at the time and see what happened.

She looked rather dubious – after all, this was some crazy Mom scheme- but being a good sport she gave it a try – it was even heart felt! Her brother looked a little surprised. I encouraged him with a whispered “what do you say when someone says ‘I love you’?”

A little smile played around his lips, and he said, “I love you too.”

The grin on the 13-year-old was amazing. The 8-year-old was beaming and neither remembered why they were so angry in the first place.

Then she tried it on her sister who had the same surprised reaction. Again, I gave the gentle prompting and the love was recipocated with grins from bother girls.

This was too good to pass up! I challenged all the kids to tell each of their siblings “I Love You” every day.

On the way home from Stake Conference as the 2 older boys were going at it, I reminded them of the three most important words they could ever hear or say. Before I knew it they were giggling and tossing back and forth numerous “I love you”s to each other.

I can feel a difference.

It’s only been a couple days, but the feeling in our home has completely changed.

There has always been love in our home – but now it is being more fully expressed by our children – and that is making all the difference. There are still squabbles and fights – but at least they know they are loved by each other.

The greatest gift a family can give to each other is love.

It’s not enough for just the parents to express their love on a regular basis to each other and their children  – or for the children to express their love for their parents. To truly have love at home, they need to express it to each other too – every day.  I feel so blessed to have that little nugget of wisdom. It seems so simple – yet it is making such a blessed difference in our home.

There is truly beauty all around when there is love *expressed* at home! 😀

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Filed under Children, Parenting

A Bit about James

Each of our children has had a very distinct personality:

Lizy was the quiet one who had a goofy streak and a temper.

Dot is the social, strong willed, nutty one.

Emily is the sweet bubbly, always smiling one.

Jacob is the class clown goofball type.

Robert is still a little young to know for sure, but he tends to be a little more on the serious side  – though he can giggle with the best of them.

But, James is the ultimate

Ham!

Throw him on a slice of bread with swiss cheese and you could just gobble him up.

He loves making you laugh, and he knows just how to do it.

He was the one who started the underwear ninjas at our house among the boys – he came bounding out of his room with his underwear on his head pearing out one hole. He struck his most serious ninja pose and said:

“I am a ninja.”

And I dissolved into laughter

(at least the underwear was clean).

Jacob soon followed suit and soon both boys were running around as underwear ninjas.

Last spring just before he [finally] potty trained, I changed his pull-up one morning and sent him off to the bathroom before putting a clean one on. As he went, he wiggled his wee little naked bum all the way to the bathroom, singing:

“Shake your booty.”

“Shake your booty.”

I giggled.

A lot!

He has this funny thing with clothes. (though he’s finally starting grow out of it now that he’s in underwear). He will wear all the shirts in his drawer – at once – and

NO PANTS! 

One morning I was talking with a neighbor in the driveway and he came running out with nothing on but a cape and his diaper – oh, and socks on his hand. He zoomed around us a few times as I tried not to be mortified before dissapearing inside the house. My neighbor patted me on the shoulder, laughing, and said,

“It’s ok. He’s a boy.”

He rolls, tumbles, dives, climbs and has the goofiest, cheesiest grin and faces. His please face would put all puppy dogs to shame. And his pirate roar would make everyone tremble.

And he’s my Glue.

I nicknamed him that because he just sticks to me – the ultimate snuggler and in these months since Lizy, I am even more grateful for those snuggles. He’ll scootch right up to me and say

“I am your glue.” 

So, that is James in a nutshell:

my Ham & Cheese sandwich.

All of my kids are amazing and I am so blessed to be their mom. 😀

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Filed under Bobert, Children, Em, Humor, Jacob, James, Lizy

To a Special Dot, Love Lizy

Lizy loved to write. She’d often write little poems about all sorts of things.

One day, a couple months after Lizy passed away, we were cleaning up the basement and found a folded up piece of paper. “To a Special Dot” was written on the outside.

Dot had been a having a rough day. Missing Lizy and difficulties with siblings, and she was feeling rather down.

A funny look came over her face and she opened up the note.

“To Dot
Even though the sadness rings
It is all so fun to sing
with a loving sister
even with the blisters
The sun will always cheer
the sadness. Can you hear?
Singing through the rafters
is the trio singing sisters.
Love,
Lizy

Cheer up! I will always love you!

I will always love you
In rain or shine
With old or new
with lemon or lime
with love no one is gone
with love you’re happy
I love you, Dorothy. ”

It was like a little message from Lizy sent from Heaven. Dot doesn’t remember ever seeing it before and we thought it must have gotten lost in the couch before she got to read it.

Receiving it when she did, was a miracle. The words carried more impact than Lizy could have ever imagined when she wrote them. Dorothy cried as she read it and marveled that she found it when she most needed a Lizy hug.

And I was so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed her with finding that note when she needed it most. And that Lizy was thoughtful and loving enough to write it in the first place.

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Filed under Child loss, Children, Dot, Lizy, Miracles, Writing