Tag Archives: parenthood

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

The Continuing Adventures of the Plunger Avenger

About four years ago (wow, that was a long time) I wrote this post about one of my many superhero identities.  This is a post of the continuing adventures of the Plunger Avenger as she branches out from the toilet to the general vicinity of the bathroom.

When the toilet is in crisis who comes to the rescue? THE PLUNGER AVENGER! She is fierce, she is fearless, she can wield a plunger like no other. She can take down ninjas with one swift suction to the face.

Someone flush multiple toothbrushes down the toilet? Call the Plunger Avenger!

Hair bands, elastics, scrunchies? Call the Plunger Avenger!

Perhaps you snuck some forbidden treats from the cupboard and wish to hide the evidence. Did the thick plastic wrappers get stuck part way? Have no fear, call the Plunger Avenger, and for a fee (namely chocolate) you might be able to buy her silence.

Ever tried flushing a pair of child’s sunglasses down the toilet that have lost their lenses? That one is a bit trickier and will often take the Plunger Avenger’s sidekick to defeat – the Snake is a good one, or sometimes it calls for the Wrench Master (for toilet removal).

The Plunger Avenger is on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week and has just one request: KEEP THE BATHROOM DOOR CLOSED!!!  The toilet has many dastardly capabilities, it can hide unwanted broccoli (my kids haven’t done this to my knowledge, nor did I, but I am sure someone somewhere has), send fish and squirrels to a watery grave, or steal your most prized possessions.  Avert this and all other tragedies and CLOSE THE DOOR!!

As the Plunger Avenger I would like to share this disastrous foray into the bathroom that had nothing to do with the toilet today and would have been avoided altogether if THE DOOR HAD BEEN CLOSED.

It started with an open door, beckoning the two-year-old to the mysteries of the bathroom and beyond. A vortex that sucks toddlers, squirrels, and other curious creatures in and spits them out only after they have undergone hideous transformations.

James was such a victim. The Plunger Avenger did not become aware of the situation until it was too late and the little tyke staggered out, screams tearing from his young little lungs, his eyes squinched shut as great gobs of goo oozed down the side of his face.  He staggered toward her, a strange sort of alien being, slimy and smelling of coconut, his arms outstretched with pitiful wails of “owie!”

The Plunger Avenger knew right away he was a victim of the evil villain Sham Poo, which the older girls keep locked away tight in a bottle lest he escapes and attacks the younger children. He’s quite dangerous and, as is prone to do, went right for the young boy’s head and eyes, depositing gobs and gobs of his viscuous goo all over his head. It slumped over his left eye and trailed down his cheek. The boy’s attempts to wipe it way, only made it foam and rubbed it in.

The Plunger Avenger had to act fast to defeat Sham Poo. The worst was already done, but she knew she had to wash away his gooey slime. She sent her PAT (Plunger Avenger in Training) to trap Sham Poo back in his bottle and CLOSE THE BATHROOM DOOR, while she snatched the little screaming James into her arms and dashed at super sonic speed into her bathroom with the removable shower head.

The boy’s eyes were shut tight, and his cries began to ease and he thought perhaps he could open his eyes, but to no avail, the goo was still there and great cries of  “owie!” permeated the premesis.  He tried this a few times until he decided it was better to keep them closed for good.

The PA turned the shower on and began to rinse the goo away. It was thick and coated the boy’s head, face and shirt. She rinsed for well over five minutes, leaving the boy gasping as she sprayed water time and time again in his face. Finally he was stripped down and completely clean, if still smelling of the evil Sham Poo’s coconut scent. She rinsed his eyes for nigh on fifteen minutes before leaving the screaming little soul to peace.

After much consolation and coaxing the little boy opened his red little eyes to a world of wonder. The Sham Poo’s goo had left its mark and would sting for quite some time, but he had the Plunger Avenger to cling to for comfort solace.

As a reminder to all who dare tresspass into the deadly vortex that is the bathroom, just SHUT THE DOOR and let the  evil within alone.


Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Humor, James

There’s my house, Mr. Policeman

It’s hard to believe its November already, and that I have a brand new Jacob adventure!

I was rotating between cleaning, writing, and playing with the boys yesterday morning. It’s NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) again and I am trying to get into full swing of getting my newest book written (nothing has happened yet with the queries and such of the others, but writing is fun – so who cares if I don’t ever get published, I’ll just have fun writing anyway 😉 ). I wasn’t expecting anyone so I hadn’t bothered to do my hair yet or put my bra on. I was in my comfy sweats just working, typing, and playing away.

About mid morning I flipped a show on for the boys, they seemed very interested, so I felt safe in disapearing into the bathroom for a few minutes in order to do a little cleaning. I never heard the door open, and the fact that it was unusually quiet meant the boys were ingrained in their show.

I finished what I was doing and went to play with the boys again, I had been in there maybe about 5 minutes or so. Partway down the hall I heard the front door open. “Whose at the door?” I asked myself out loud and sped up a little wondering if Jacob was playing with the door. A second later I collided with the little rapscallion.

“Police here!”

“What? The police?” I ask, very confused. Why would the police be here?

“Yeah! Police here!” He was very excited.

I went to the front door and sure enough there were two policemen waiting patiently one my front step. “Hello?” I asked rather tenatively.

“Hello mam, we recieved a call from a concerned neighbor who saw your son down at street x.”

I felt the color drop out of my face as I looked at my energetic four-year-old who was peering out the window in facination at the police car. “Street x?” I asked. My mind was racing. It wasn’t a very busy street, but busy enough and a good 2 blocks away.

“Yes mam. And when we arrived he was running back and forth across the road.”

“I had slipped into the bathroom for a few minutes to do a little cleaning, I never even heard the door open. We have a lock up high on it, he must have undone it.” I was panicked then, trying to figure out what is going to happen. I look down as James toddles into my legs. To my dismay he had stripped out of his pajamas and found a purple marker. He had beautiful streaks running all up and down his chest and tummy. I pick him up and realize, with much humiliation, that I am standing there conversing with police officers in ratty sweats, messy hair and no bra! Jacob is bouncing around me try to talk to “Mr. Policeman!” And I am feeling like a guilty criminal. We talked some more and they suggested childproof locks, and I explained, I’m sure in desperation, that our houdini boy could undo them all.

The other police officer pipes up and says. “You have four children don’t you?”

“Five actually.”

“That’s right, I was here last month for the 911 hang-up call.” *(More on that call after the post).

I think I would have fainted if it weren’t for his amused smile. “I have a son like yours. We put locks on the doors he figured them out. I put high locks on the doors, he started going out the windows.”

Ah empathy. Perhaps I wasn’t going to be hauled away as the bad mother of the year after all. They proceeded to assure me that all was well. They just had to report that a neighbor called in and the little boy had been returned. No DHS or anything would be notified. As they left, and Jacob was energetically waving the first police officer (not the father of the escaping boy) looks at me and says, “Try to have a good rest of the day, mam.”

I managed a week smile and thank you. Went inside, scolded my Jacob, burst into tears and began looking for chocolate. Sigh. It’s a wonder I’m not gray yet. And from now on, I will be sure my bra is firmly in place no matter how empty of a day I am planning to have and dress James in only clothes that button up from behind (maybe I’ll just put his pajamas on backwards).

I can see the humor in it now…. I think….

*So, Back when I wrote about the retreat I mentioned that there had been a 911 call in my absence. Our oldest was on babysitter duty and Paul had slipped out for a little while to help a friend move into their house. While he was gone Jacob dialed 911 and then hung up. The police, of course, came over to the house. Our oldest was super smart, asking who was there through the door and being very grown-up and all. Everything was fine and she handled it very well. She explained what had happened, gave their names and birthdays, and asked a few times if we were in trouble because Jacob had accidentally dialled 911. They assured her everything was fine and we never heard anything more.


Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Parenting

Alive and Posting

Back to posting – I have missed it actually – and I have to apologize for horribly neglecting my friends and their blogs. I was catching up today and it has been fun to see what everyone has been up to while I have had my head buried in writing.

So, I figured today would make a good random post day –


We are still potty training Jacob – why are boys SO much harder than girls? *sigh*


James is a hoot and a half – he is walking everywhere now on those adorable shaky one-year-old legs. He also likes to sing! It is the cutest thing ever. Because of space restrictions in the house he is still in a crib in our bedroom. We are awakened in the morning by “Hi”s, waves, and cute soft little singing. We love it!


Dorothy sang in a school talent show – in front of a ton of people – all by herself and she was even on pitch, and you could understand what she was singing! Go Dorothy – not to mention the courage that had to take. She is also playing the piano non-stop. 🙂


Elizabeth played the piano in the same talent show and did really well – she has tons of courage too.


The girls have a new temporary principal at their school – the coolest thing is that she was my 7th and 8h grade teacher for social studies and language arts. She was the teacher that encouraged me in writing. 🙂


Emily was beaned in the head by a rather large toy – right in the forehead. Thankfully I could just butterfly it and didn’t have to take her in to have it stitched. Man, head wounds bleed a TON.


Paul spent a week in Mexico in the Yucatan in January and had a marvelous time while I stayed home and had fun with the kids – we really did have fun too. (I’m not saying it wasn’t tough sometimes – because it really was – and I might have been just a little bit jealous)


Paul and I got to escape for a weekend (just a couple weekends ago) BY OURSELVES!!! Well, with friends, but without kids. It was SO much fun, and we got to ride a carousel too – coolest thing ever.


I tweaked my Belinda book some more, and I think I am ready to send out another wave of queries. It’s kind of fun. And, I have the opportunity to attend a writer’s conference in Utah in April – very excited about that. My goal is to have The Forbidden Fairytale cleaned up and submission ready by then.


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Jacob, James, Lizy, Love and Marriage, Writing

A couple of Quick funny (and extrememly cute) kid things

Emily to Elizabeth:

 “Elizabeth, you will be the first mommy to have babies.”

So, the question I have is, what have the rest of us had??? 🙂 heh


Jacob found a flashlight. Within a couple of seconds he discovered how to turn it on.  “Light!” he exclaimed as he looked into the end of the flashlight. Then he pointed the light up. He looked up and began hopping up and down in excitement to see the light on the ceiling. As he looked and jumped he moved, and gradually began turning in circles, all the while trying to follow the light on the ceiling and pointing with his other hand.

“Look mom! Look mom! Light!”

After a minute he got dizzy and began stumbling around.  His hand with he flashlight lowered and he got confused.  Stumbling around the room, dizzy from turning in circles, look for where the light went. Then he would spot it on the wall and get excited all over again, and without thinking would aim the flashlight up again.  Another search ensued, followed by more spinning frenzy and excited exclamations of, “Look mom! Look Mom!”

 I sat quietly and giggled – it was better than watching a puppy chase a laser light on the floor.  Since then He has figured out that the light shines where you point it, but that hasn’t doused his excitement at all.  If I ever need a laugh, I just hand Jacob a flashlight and watch him for a while.  Before long I will be rolling in laughter.


Teaching Jacob to say the names of his sisters:

Mom and Dad: Say Emily

Jacob: Em-olly

Mom and Dad: Say Dorothy – Dor-o-thy

Jacob: Orfy

Mom and Dad: Say Elizabeth – E-liz-a-beth

Jacob: Ister – we have yet to decide if he is giving up on the long name and going with “Sister” or if he is attempting the cherished nickname of “Lizard”  Either way it is hilarious and adorably cute.


After we have family prayer in the evening our nightly routine is to share hugs and kisses all around.  The kids have started kissing my tummy and saying night night to Junior.  Jacob came up to me the other day and pointed to my tummy.


“Yes, Mommy has a baby in her tummy.”

He waves to my tummy, “Hi baby!”  Then leans over and kisses it.  This has now become a ritual that takes place numerous times a day.  I wonder how surprised he will be when the baby is on the outside… 

 I am also waiting for one of the kids to ask if the baby got in my tummy because I ate it… I wouldn’t put it past them at some point. 🙂


Every once in a while I let Jacob watch Sesame Street if I have things I need to get done in the morning. This morning was one of those mornings as I worked on laundry and what not.  Over the music introducing Elmo’s World at the end I hear this, “Yay! Woohoo!” followed by happy clapping and a cheery “Hi orfy” as Elmo says to say hello to his fish Dorothy.  I can’t exactly explain why, but the “Yay! Woohoo!” just sent me into fits of giggles.


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


Weekly Anamnesis #3

I sit surrounded by glass walls.
Pain and fear exposed
Agony bared for all to see.

I cling desperately to hope,
Fearing my world shattered
And my son ripped from me.

Optimism besieged by thorns
Pricking and piercing the tender flesh.
Trust and reliance put in God and Miracles.

Faith and prayer is not in vain
My arms enfold him in walls of love
Joy bursts forth, gratitude proclaimed.

-J.H. Schmidt

Some background might be insightful or appreciated and can be found here.


Filed under Anamnesis, Children, Heart, Parenting, Poetry, Writing