Friday, January 30, 2009

Definitely more of a grim reaper...

I came across this quote today, and it immediately caused me pause:

At the end of the day, think not on the harvest that you reaped, but the seeds that you sowed. -Robert Louis Stephenson

I recall a kinder more open minded me who used to remember to pray for other people at the beginning and end of each day. I even tried to spend time actually thinking of who I could help and how I could meet the need of another. I was once a sow-er.

but lately, I realize my prayers are "please help us with...and please bless us with ..." right now I look around for my kids to help me, my husband to help me, my friends to help me-geeze, I've thought I could use all the help i could get.

I've been reaping.

and others have been sowing kindness and mercy into my life. They've given smiles, sweat and encouragement to a discouraged little me. The harvest has been bountiful indeed-but its been a harvest, not a planting of goodness from my heart to another's, and I'm sad about that truth.

Selling a house in uncertain economic conditions is nerve-racking. Thinking about buying a new house in a great location with great schools and proximity to a new job and to our good old family is also a bit of a mind boggler. Seeing the end from this new beginning is pretty impossible; and I've never been one for things which have an "open" end.

But it doesn't mean I can't get back to trying to sow. That truth that when you lose yourself you actually find yourself and when you spend so much time trying to find yourself (or just keep hold of yourself) you lose yourself? Well, there's a good reason that truth is scripture.

So, I'm going to work hard to repent of the reaping. I"m going to try and do a little sowing, and see if the knots in my back and the pit in my stomach don't start to subside just a little.

Just thought I should publicly repent and say thanks for the bountiful harvest I've enjoyed over the past few emotion filled weeks. I'll try harder friends and family; to sow help and love and appreciation. sorry.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Once upon a time there were 4 children
Who needed a place of calm and rest
Places of rest and calm were found in the homes of cousins, aunts and uncles
and the children grew
and their mother grew too
and with much pain and sacrifice
that mother came to see
that some of her children needed to belong to the families they'd been loved by
and that those families would have sorrow and pain without her children
and that her children would have sorrow and pain without those loving families
so she, out of the greatest kind of mothering love there is
gave two of those children to two of those families.

One of those families is mine. And her daughter is my daughter, Molly.
One of those families is my parents'. And her son is my parents' new son.
Not new, in a way, because they've loved him and nurtured him for more than 4 years.
but new, in a way, because on Teusday a judge gave him their last name, and made him my newest brother.

So, my parents, who are grandparents, are new parents again.
congratulations to them. And congratulations to their boy, my little brother Alex.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I sent the kids off to school.
they walk you know.
As I was getting the other kids ready to go to their schools (the middle schooler goes after the elementary school kids and the pre school kids go after the middle schooler)
the elementary school kids came back home.
Because school had been closed
due to bad weather.

So i sent my children
to walk to school
in weather that was so bad
that school was closed.

Great parenting in action...

We watched Horton Hears a Who
and I spent a lot of time on the computer while the kids played with toys upstairs
We had "get smart time" which was time devoted to making ourselves smarter for a while (as in doing book reports, extra credit and math facts for a while)
Then we cleaned house
and went to the bookstore where a few of my children blew their allowance

home for dinner, baths 30 minutes of tv (tv DOES NOT HAPPEN on school nights in this house, this is a BIG DEAL!)

mom time before bed
then bed
now I am back at the computer, but finishing now so I can go to bed

maybe tomorrow I'll drive the kids
that way if they cancel school again, at least I'll have the comfort of knowing that I hadn't sent them out in the cancellation-worthy weather.

An unexpected day
how was yours?

Keepin' it Real folks...

So as I swept floors and ordered my older children to turn on just the right lights and set out the real flowers (which may I just interject that our budget cannot continue to afford) "just in case" someone wanted to look at our house while we were at church
(pregnant pause here)

the little girls put on their own Sunday shoes and stockings.

I did not realize which Sunday shoes and stockings they had put on until we were unloading the kids in the church parking lot.

Apparently stride rite and stripes is the new reverent for Sacrament meeting. And I hadn't realized that it is actually o.k. to wear white after Labor Day as long as that white is a pair of summer sandals worn with NO stockings in the middle of winter...

oh, and no one came into the house while we were worshiping in stride rite and summer sandals.
sigh, and happy Tuesday to you all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A shout out to our very cool cousin

Hey Grace!

I just want you to know one thing.
My kids can't wait to live near you again!

oh, I guess I want you to know two things;

They want to live near you
not because you wear cool clothes (which you do)
not because you have a cool ipod (which you do)
not because you are a wicked awesome oldest sister (which you are)
and not because you are a wicked awesome violin player (you are that too!)

They want to live near you because

You are nice
You are fun
You are kind
You are bright

I just wanted you to know...

(I think that is more than two things, can you forgive me?)
Auntie Kate

A piece of humble pie

I'm serving it up to myself. As I pondered my proud words concerning Mason's scout award I realized one very important thing;

My scout conversion? Happened pretty much AFTER Mason earned most of those merit badges. The parent who was the behind the scenes reason why Mason is almost an Eagle?

Definately not me, but instead it is JOHN, whose name was not even connected to Mason's big deal in yesterday's post.

John is the reason Mason has the right troop number stuck to the sleeve of his shirt.
John is the reason Mason has all his merit badges stuck to the sash on his chest.
John is the reason Mason has most of the uniform, gear and equipment necessary for a scout.
John is the reason most of the merit badges get finished, because John is the one who has compiled the 500,000 page check list of all the requirements for all the merit badges, courts of honor, camping excursions and service projects that must take place before Mason can be an Eagle.

It's all John my friends; very little of me. But, now that I've "come to see the light" I bet I'll not have to squirm quite so much when they call me up to stand next to my scout as he pins me with one of those really cool "you did a lot of the work, we know" pins they give the boys to give to their moms. Until now I've always known that it was John who deserved to get stuck with those beauties.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Trail to Eagle Update...

Clear last summer I posted about Mason's advancement toward Eagle scout.

Have I mentioned that I have been recently converted to the scouting program? Well, I have.

Lots of baggage from my youth unloaded (why can't girls go to scout camp? how come we spend so much money for my brother to have a cool scout uniform but no money gets spent for me to have an awesome school uniform -gerbeau jeans-...?). I am new in the gospel of merit badges and scout camps.

Not that this hasn't been a long time coming. When John hiked more than 150 miles with a bunch of scouts in Boise I could see how it changed the lives of those boys. I wanted that for my own son someday. A strong and good man (bunch of men, actually) who would help him stay straight and fly right, and take him from our home and let him live in the great outdoors without getting him lost or killed.

I have wanted that. And now we have it. And I am converted.

This program can make men out of boys. And not just men who can make rope swings out of twine. Men who understand that integrity is not out of date and that honor is worth earning, and keeping.

So enough about my conversion. It's Mason I want to celebrate.
On Teusday Mason received the rank of Life Scout. This is one rank away from becoming an Eagle. It is a hard earned honor. I'm proud of him (and me) for the efforts made to gain it.

Continue with us on the trail to his eagle. Almost to the peak!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome back friend...

She's back. A friend who has been through the depths and is still climbing her way out of them. Thanks for sharing the journey back to the peaks you lovely, lovely soul. I'll think of you as I retreat to my closet; the place where I go to pray and cry (almost as many times a day as you right now, though for reasons much less justified...). My children gathered 'round your words and spoke of your strength and perseverance as they went about the work of their young lives. Thank you for giving us reasons to exert faith,to hope in behalf of others, and the blessing of praying for someone we love whom we have never met.

Missing you already

Thanks for coming to see us Mom and Dad. We miss you already. Molly is asking when we will be going to your house (its our turn to go to their house NOW mom!) and Lucy insisted all day yesterday that you were "just at their work..." and you'd be back in time for dinner. Thank heaven for the power of distraction-we whisked her off to Mason's court of honor (Look for details tomorrow on the trail to eagle update!) and somehow avoided major "lack of grandparent" disappointment.

I love you. I'm so glad I belong to you. My life is rich and good because of the way you raised me. Your testimony of God's love and Christ's reality and atonement are sustaining powers in my life. Your example to my children is eternal. You are some of those angels spoken of here who are at times sent directly from heaven to remind me that I am not alone nor my family forgotten in this great big universe we live in.

see you soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Molly goes toothless...

On Thursday night MOlly stood up on the kitchen chair (expressly without permission!). As she "baaa-ed" at our dog Coop (this is a sound we were taught to make at him when we'd really rather make the sound "NO" but because I make the sound "NO" to my children so much-too much-we needed a new noise so as not to confuse the dog when he needed to know he was doing something that caused his owner to mean "NO") she fell backward, and I thought that I had for certain heard the chair crack into bits. I yelled "NO" at Molly (and a few other things, like "are you o.k.?"; but I was yelling so the compassion couldn't come through...and like "we don't stand on chairs! how many times must I tell you dear child? only again, I was yelling so it just sounded like "I'm mad at you kid" instead of constructive teaching).

Turns out the cracking sound was Molly's canine tooth.

So we had our first dental emergency. We called our dentist. she knew the tooth had to go. We made the appointment first thing Friday morning. With all the kids out of school we trudged Molly to the dentist for "happy air" (which terrifies me by the way) and the dentist's not so gentle yank of Molly's tooth. Gap. Blood. Faint little smiles from my brave little girl. Dentist reported that she was awesome.

She could not suck from a straw or eat real food for the day, and off to lunch we went.

Molly ate, again with faint smile and two separate spoons a lovely chocolate milk shake.

Lesson for Molly? Don't stand on chairs, stools, tables or counters cause this could happen again. Lesson for Mom? Don't yell. It rarely makes things better and most of the time it just makes things so much worse. Molly's tooth would still have been cracked if my reaction had been softer, but I would have felt like uber super mom instead of stupid mean mom if I had sent compassion instead of anger in her fall.

compassion instead of anger when they fall. Pretty good lesson for me huh?

Friday, January 16, 2009


This is where we were exactly one year ago (I know for sure because iphoto can show you your pictures by DATE, one more reason owning an Apple makes you cool. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Mr. Steve Jobs.).

At a museum.
With our Grandma.
In South Africa.
Getting ready to move.

So today, as we get ready to move (nope, no bites on the house yet, just showing a little faith), and with a Grandma in tow (only not the same Grandma. Hi to Grandma G., we miss you! Welcome to Grandma Noodle, so glad you and Pappa Field could come visit Texas one last time!) we will go to a museum. Just not the same museum as last year.

But a museum
with a Grandma.
in Texas.
Getting ready to move.

We'll take pictures of our museum trip and share a few with you here, as well as a review of the museum itself.
And hopefully while we are away from our house just the right family will be brought by their realtor to see it, and decide to buy it, and we will then be officially

Moving forward.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My kids on Real Estate

Molly; "Our house is PERFECT mom, I wanna keep it!"
Porter; when I said his name as he dropped his jacket on the entry floor "oops, sorry mom, I remember now that this isn't our house any more, not really..."
Lucy; "canI eat at the car again mom?" Seems our automobile (or the local subway restaurant) is our most usual feeding spot at the moment (keeps the kitchen counters clean, ya know?)

The oldest three? They've been through this enough to pretty much know the drill. Mom is cranky if she sees dust, crumbs or-especially-stuff lying around. To keep mom happy we keep the stuff out of the way...Real Estate Experts I tell ya.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I'm great at setting goals, but I'm not great at measuring my progress or getting to "completion". Because of this I shy away from the whole New Year's resolution thing. A few years ago I made this great scrapbook with motivational quotes and measurable monthly check-in pages for each goal I set, I kept it on my night stand so I'd look at it regularly, and still by March I dropped off-the goals weren't measured from then on and I have this great book full of goals I was a third of the way to completing...

so this year for New Years I'm going to try and take it slow, and here are the things I'm going to be resolute about doing...
I'm going to try and stop whining. Instead I'm going to work to see that a merciful Lord works in our family's daily life; and I'm going to record his workings in my daily diary. Just like we read here last week, I'm not going to sleep before I write, and I'll find something everyday. I've been consistant so far-and ya know what? Once I've started looking, it hasn't been too hard to see small and simple ways the Lord has been kind toward me and mine...
This year I'm going to work to develop my creativity. This will mostly be an exercise in better writing skills as I plan to write our adoption story from beginning to end with all the life lessons I can still remember peppered in between. The Laptop Christmas was to that end, and I won't let John be sorry he forked out the cash for me to have mobile word processing, I plan to use it to record one the greatest miracles of my lifetime (next to, of course, the miracle that sir John is still working to be my knight in shining armor despite the fact that my first resolution eludes to the fact that I am a perpetual whiner...)
This year I'm going to run another one of these. Or two of them...and I'm signed up for the SL city half marathon (all for you Erin Bailey) and will even step into the murky waters of the pond in Rexburg for the RUSH triathlon if my Boise girls are up for the girl's weekend (Erin, you are so invited). Yep, I'm getting back on the fitness bandwagon. Been off of it since about last November and my temperment, my pant size and my general outlook has suffered for it. Fitness in 09. Definately
I'm going to smile more. My smile muscles have been in serious atrophy this year. Time to work them out, as often as I can. Having John NOT on the road will aid in that as he is my personal joker-but episodes of the Office and Pushing Daisies will help. I'm also going to actually play the Wii with my kids instead of send them upstairs to play it without me while I sit in front of this here machine instead. Smile lines, bring them on!
And I'm going to play with them lots more this year. With our house on the market there is a daily scrubbing ritual going on here, but when the scrubbing is over, I"m going to the zoo and the library and the park and the back yard with these darling daughters. They are my last little ones, and they are not so little any more. I'm missing them for all the moving and all the teenagers and I'm done with missing them. Yesterday we went on a walk and then we ate lunchables in our car (so the kitchen would stay clean) and it was the best way I've spent a Monday in a very long time. More of those days to come, even with boxes and movers and new houses in the forecast. Sisters-prepare to play with us when we hit a neighborhood near you! There is nothing like mothering with the children of your friends and family watching-we are always at our best in front of others.

So there they are; the resolutions for '09. Manageable? Yes. Measurable? sure. certainly worthwhile. Here's to me becoming more and better in this coming new year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I keep my promises (it just sometimes takes me a while)...

I told Porter today, after screaming at him for getting bread crumbs on the perfectly clean kitchen table (and I mean PERFECTLY clean) that he now lives in a magazine house. That is the kind of house that is so clean and shiny it looks like it belongs in the pages of a magazine. It stinks to live in such a house, because in such a house you cannot really LIVE. Poor Porter, that he has to do things like use plates and hide his toothbrush...

Poor Porter's mom, that she now walks around her house and scratches tiny (TINY I say) drops of paint off of wood floors, and she has a Mr. Clean Magic eraser tucked behind one ear and a container of clorox wipes stuck in her apron pocket...

my cleaning skills on steroids. My mothering skills on the rocks. Pray for a quick sale!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Coming Up (with the words "our house is up for sale"written way too frequently throughout, sorry

This week you can look for posts on the following topics
1. what our house looks like when it is up for sale (side note; it will be an exercise in showing you a home that looks perfect 24/7 which involves a lot of screaming on my part and staying up late to fluff pillows and mop floors. I HATE, I repeat HATE having a house up for sale...)
2. What I look like when our house is up for sale (these will be visual images not suitable for children, as my face, when our house is up for sale, is consistently frightening and terrifying to small souls-I look like a witch in every sense of the word, sour pucker on the lips, erratically twitching eyes and fingers and usually I wear all black because I am mourning the fact that my house is up for sale.)
3. On the brighter and better side, a post on this year's RESOLUTIONS and how I'm going to try and keep them
4. A check-in on how our kids are doing after a week back to school and a mother who is selling the family abode...

all posts should be coming to you live from this;
Merry Christmas to me!

Have a happy Monday. In preparation for the RESOLUTIONS post, read spiritual enlightenment here

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jenna's work

Dishes! Jenna did more dishes during her 10 day stay than I've done in a month...she was always looking for what to wash next, and now she knows my kitchen as well or better than I do...
entertaining children! Jenna held my little girls, chatted and played and did hair for my big girls, played video games with my boys and board games with my husband. She was willing and ready at any moment to step in so I could breath easy...
Quiet observer. Jenna is of a nature to watch. She doesn't demand a great deal of attention when she is with us. She observes and steps in to help where she sees she can be needed. This quality in her makes her seem shy to others. But to me, I see her as one who isn't looking for the spotlight but instead wants to bring light to others through her service. Being one who seems to sickly crave the spotlight, I really admire this quality in my Jennagirl.
Family member. Jenna was willing to be a Graham for the time she was here. She knelt with us for family prayer, joined us for our family night and generally was a wonderful example of an obedient daughter. Always asking "is there something I can do for you?", she showed my children through her example that being a family member means pitching in and helping the family. Thanks for that lesson Jenna!
Present Wrapper! Jenna single handedly wrapped nearly every present under our tree this year. The kids and I helped a tiny bit; but Jenna made the packages beautiful and artistically enjoyable to look at. Various ribbons and papers. Lovely tags. She was our gift decorating and beautify-ing expert. Without her John and I would have been up into the wee hours of Christmas morning slapping paper on the children's gifts. With her, the week prior to Christmas was joyful and calm-with her carefully packaging and setting each gift under the Christmas tree. She even kept me on task at times, reminding me of little gifts I had not yet purchased or created for my children.

These are only a few of the duties Jenna quietly took on at our house this holiday season. Remember, we are moving...Jenna thinned closets, organized our pantry, cleaned little children's bedrooms, and presented beautifully staged bookshelves throughout the house. She helped me chose paint colors, furniture and bedding. She was the voice of reason (don't buy the cheap one unless you love it. But if you love it you should get the cheap one...) and a voice of calm ("I can't believe I'm moving again! I can't stand moving!" says I. "Just calm down. You've done it before and it always turns out o.k., and just think; you are coming closer to me, you'll be fine so just keep going forward." says she).

Do you see why I cried for an hour after she left yesterday? I cannot give a reason why this beautiful and gifted teenager would want to spend her holidays in our crazy and chaotic house, but I feel it such a blessing to have had our Jenna with us. We are coming closer to you Jenna. You are always welcome in our home-you've seen more than any other person who is not my blood what a crazy, imperfect bunch of Grahams we are; and you love us anyway. You are a welcome member of this family any time my friend.

Any time at all.

She did it!

This dear Friend

Wrote this terrific book

About 2 years ago my friend, Supermom DeAnne Flynn, had a bunch of wonderful women over for a birthday lunch. I was lucky enough to be among the guests, and as I sat amid the greatness in the room the conversation turned (as it so often does among mothers) to our children, and how we navigate their needs in this very complicated world. DeAnne seemed to lead the discussion, and being the super journalist she is trained to be, she held an open interview right there; asking all sorts of questions and gathering all kinds of perspective about how tied up in knots we as mothers can become as we try to know which things to encourage our kids to pursue and which things to encourage our kids to let be.

And she said as we discussed, "ya know, I really want to write a book about this, because I think a lot of parents are suffering from this concept of helping their kids develop their talents, and instead they get caught in a talent trap."

And that desire to write a book worked in her, and then guess know what? She wrote the book.

And she got it published

And it is full to common sense information and good advice. Even a paragraph of my advice is sprinkled in with her words of wisdom.

You can read it and get a lot from it. And you can let me know what you think of it here once you're done.

But more than plug DeAnne's book, I want to sing DeAnne's praises. 'Cause she did what she set out to do. She didn't just start, she didn't just stew, she sat down and researched and interviewed and wrote and read and edited and asked others to edit and in the end...

She did it. And I'm proud of her for it. Way to go you super mom! Way to go you super journalist! Thanks for finishing, and for sharing what you learned with the rest of us.