Category Archives: James

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

Finding the Joy

Ah the Goof

is

BACK!!

Here I sit with my foot wrapped and propped up. (It’s looking like a sprain and is already feeling better than it did this morning)

Sitting around – especially on a beautiful day – is not much fun, but it gives plenty of time for thinking.

And I found myself thinking about how lucky I am to have such an amazing family and how proud I am of the choices my kids are making.

I first thought of it when James wandered up from the basement in the late morning. He didn’t say anything to me, just walked to the dishwasher and quietly opened it. I thought he was getting a drink when I heard the chink of dishes, but as the chink lasted longer than a few seconds I realized he was quietly unloading the dishwasher. No one had asked him, he just decided to come upstairs and do it for mommy.

And I smiled and thought of all the joys of parenting.

Sometimes we get bogged down in the negatives – I know I do – how hard it is (after all – being a parent is one of the hardest jobs we’ll ever do). And I wondered if I told my kids how much I look up them and how they set amazing examples for me.

Almost every night when I go into Jacob’s room to tell him lights out he’s sitting on his bed reading his scriptures.

Emily frequently goes out of her way to help friends, siblings,  parents, and teachers. I often hear her ask, “Anything I can do to help?”

Even Robert sets an example with his loving hugs and willingness to help pick up toys.

And Dot – I  am often so amazed by my Dot. She seems fearless and is so courageous when it comes to standing for what is right. The other day I picked her up from Stage Band and asked her how her day went.

“Good,” she replied, “but I think my whole science class hates me now.”

I of course asked why and she explained that the class before hers – or maybe it was hers had angered the sub so much that he had walked out. Not having a teacher, Dorothy got up from her seat to report the situation to the office. The class members told her not to go – “We can have a party” they said. But Dot went anyway, informed the office of the situation and a sub was provided for the class.

To me that was pure bravery. That was awesomeness. I am in awe of the courage and example that she set. The youth theme for this year for our church is “Stand Ye in Holy Places and Be Not Moved” – she embodied that to me and I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Sometimes I want to stand on top of a mountain and shout for all to hear

“MY KIDS ARE AWESOME !!!!”

Sure, kids are hard – and I know many stories of how difficult teenagers and preteens can be – but there are SO many joys. It’s worth it. Those moments when you see and hear of your child making the hard choices and doing the right thing – standing up in the face of possible ridicule to do what’s right – standing up for other kids who are being made fun of – not being afraid to live up to their standards and not compromise them. Sure they will make mistakes and maybe they won’t do all of these things all the time – but the moments they do should be celebrated and remembered. I hope I can remember to focus on all the good my kids do and not get bogged down in the negatives of parenting.

There’s so much negative in the world today – we don’t need more. My kids make plenty of mistakes and poor choices and it’s easy to think that’s all they do and then I remind myself that they do just as many good things if I’m paying attention. Most people are eager to point out how hard parenting is, how tiring, how difficult – how awful the dreaded teenage years can be – most people know all these things.

But, how many point out all the joys, the rewards, the pay offs, that come with it? I can’t count how many times I heard the words loaded with negativity “Just wait until their teens” when I talked about how good or hard my young children were. How discouraging those words felt. We don’t need to be told and tell other parents how hard things are – or how hard they may get – I think most of us already have a pretty good idea of the heartaches – just check the news – what we really need to to remind each other of are the things that make parenting joyous.

Let’s not be so eager to point out all the negatives – let’s encourage, lift & celebrate all that our children are and can do. I know I have hard years ahead – what stage in parenting doesn’t? But I know for every battle lost or mistake made there are many battles fought and won.

Celebrate the amazing in your kids!

And who knows – maybe it will give them the courage

to be even more amazing than they already are.

MY KIDS ARE AWESOME!!!

AND YOURS ARE TOO!!!

(I think this calls for an ice cream party – and when asked why, I think I’ll just say “Because you are all AWESOME!!”)

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Jacob, James, 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

The Faces of My Motivation

I’ve been asked sometimes, how do you do it?

How do you keep going?

Stay positive?

Be strong?

I’m not and I don’t. Not all the time at least. I struggle and I cry.

Sometimes I sob.

But, I can’t let myself do that a lot.

I can’t afford it.

I might have lost one precious and amazing daughter,

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but I have five more children who need me to keep it together.

So, when all else fails. When I’m tempted to give in, hide for a week, or turn into a quivering mess and stick my head in the sand for the rest of the month, week, or even year…

These are the glorious faces that keep me going:

Bobert

IMG_0868

Jamesy

IMG_0681

J-Kabob

IMG_0680

Emmy

IMG_0677

Dot

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They are my joy. I look at these photos and my heart swells and thumps and my eyes tear at the beauty in their face and their joy, even amidst the sorrows (these were taken this summer). It shines through and fills me in the darkest moments.

And of course, nothing would be possible without my amazing Husby.

Paul Wagner

He doesn’t mind if I soak his shirts with tears, or snap in frustration after a bad day. He always makes me smile and laugh. He is my hero.

So, the answer is, I do it for them. I do it for Lizy. We can only be together forever if I keep on keeping on. 🙂
Without them, I think this journey would be impossible.
They are amazing and I love them with ALL my heart.

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Filed under Bobert, Child loss, Children, Dot, Em, Family, Gratitude, Jacob, James, Lizy

All I want(ed) for Christmas is (was) a Toilet Seat

Ah!

What a lovely Christmas we had!

And birthday too, as James turned 4 two days after. I will write about that later though.

We had our traditional re-enactment of the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve – which turns out more COMEDY than seriousness – but I think they still get the message of the true meaning of Christmas.

See Below:

2011 Christmas Collage 1

First Jacob looks like he’s doing some sort of crazy bizarre thing.

Then Dad is giving him a talking to while James looks like he’s about to pounce on Emily.

Finally they all manage a quick smile.

Then Dad insists that Mom hop in the picture and Jacob spreads his angel wings.

So that is reminiscent of the whole evening – as you can see here:

2011 Christmas Collage 2

I think that the idea of Jacob as the angel was amusing in and of itself as he tends to CAUSE (and get into) the MOST trouble

After we sent them off to bed “Santa” came…

2011 Christmas Collage 3

2011 Christmas Collage 4

Christmas morning dawned with EXCITEMENT and FUN

 

2011 Christmas Collage 5

The boys LOVED the quilts that I managed to throw together in five days

(silly me, thinking that I had plenty of time…)

And Dad loved his presents, apparantly….

2011 Christmas Collage 7

But the FUNNIEST moment of the days was when…

The kids opened up their brand new toilet seat!

2011 Christmas Collage 6

So, the story…

A few days before Christmas the toilet seat in the kids’ bathroom broke. While Paul and I were out Christmas shopping we bought a new one.

That night, as we went through our stash and tallied things up, we pulled the toilet seat from the pile.

“What if,”  my husband suggested, “we give it to the kids for Christmas.”

“Oh, that would be a riot!” I exclaimed.

So we did, and it was.

Though Dot had to ask,

“Is it clean?”

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Filed under Bobert, Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Humor, Jacob, James, Lizy

Slaying Monsters

James loves to do battle.

He’s great a playing dead – tongue hanging out and all.

He will frequently don his batman costume (mask and cape – most frequently WITHOUT anything else on. Just a pull-up, batman mask, and cape – SO funny), ninja costume, spiderman costume, or anything else that is battle worthy.

We try to stress to him that he can’t pretend to kill family members – just invisible monsters.

The other day he went through the house to some very grand sound effects.

“I kill you!”

“I kill you too!”

“And you!”

After a while he appeared in our bedroom with a very proud strut.

“All the monsters are dead.”

I chuckled, and Dad asked, “Did you get ALL the monsters, James?”

“Yes.” He gave a solid nod of the head accompanied by his trademark thumbs-up sign to confirm it.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

James looked thoughtful for a moment.

Dad looked at him. “It’s okay. If you see another monster, give it a hug and a kiss and you’ll scare it away.”

Without missing a beat, James flings himself at Dad, gave him a huge hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.

“Am I a monster?”

“Yes!”

That is one smart boy. Muahahahahahahahahahahaha 😀

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Filed under Children, Humor, James

Can I Clean my Room?

Yesterday morning after I’d hugged and kissed my kids and sent them off to school James came up and said,

“I need clean my room.”

I smiled in shock. What kid actually wants to clean???

I gave him a little head pat and said, “Yes you do.” I didn’t really think he meant it – he is only three after all.

He grabbed my hand and tugged. “You help me?”

The list of things to do was very, very long. Besides he shared a room with Jacob and wouldn’t it be better to wait so he helped to? So I replied, “Why don’t we wait until Jacob is home.”

He tugged more insistently. “No, we need do it right now.”

I looked into his earnest little eyes. He was sincere. He meant it. For whatever reason he felt he just had to have a sparkling clean room.

So I agreed.

It wasn’t too bad and he helped the WHOLE time. He never complained, in fact for the first fifteen minutes he insisted we sing the clean-up song NONSTOP.

You know the one –

Clean up, Clean up, everybody every where,

Clean up, Clean up, everybody do your share.

Of course, at one point someone in my family changed the second line to:

Clean up, Cleanup, even in your underwear.

It’s been a real stretch to sing it right ever since….

Anyway, we finally finished and my little boy was very happy.

I didn’t think anything more of it until later that day.

His sisters were trying to clean their room because a friend was coming over.  (we have a rule (well, a few actually): no friends in your bedroom if it’s messy – we are flexible to a degree but not if the room is a complete disaster) They were fighting A LOT.

James came up to me and said,

“My friends happy because my room clean.”

It took me a minute to realize what he meant. “James, did you clean your room because you wanted a friend to come over?”

“Yes. Mommy, I have a friend come now?”

“Who’s your friend?”

He thought long and hard. Finally I asked, “What about someone in your primary class? Do you have a friend in primary.”

“Yes. My teacher is my friend.”

So I went to the phone and called his teacher. It will be a while, but James has friends coming to see his clean room next week.

He is SO excited.

And I am so grateful I set my to do list aside.

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Filed under Children, Every Day Life, James, Parenting