I made macaroni salad this morning. As I was boiling the pasta I remembered that I needed to add hard boiled eggs as well. Then I had an epiphany-- why not add the eggs to the boiling pasta? How genius is that? I would normally get out two pots-- one for the pasta and one for the eggs-- instead one pot worked for both.
Yes, two of the eggs cracked when I gently placed them in the boiling water because they were cold, but they were fine.
The salad turned out great too.
So, why did I start my blog post with this little story?
Well, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't blogged in a while. Sure I have thrown up some pictures and called it a post, but I haven't really taken the time to sit down and write.
Honestly, my heart has just not been in it.
Oh don't get me wrong. I have thought about writing many times, but I have remained hesitant for the most part.
What can I say?
Do you want to hear the good stuff? The bad stuff too?
A little of both?
I can tell you about the time I found one of my kids covered in poop-- while on vacation. The floor, toilet, toilet paper dispenser, wall-- you name it-- everything was covered.
It was a nightmare.
My mother-in-law helped me to clean it up, bless her heart.
Just the other day something very similar happened.
I wish I was the kind of Mom who could just laugh at the whole mess. Or at least bite my tongue. That would be nice.
Or I can tell you about the moments where I caught a glimpse of some of the older kids hanging out with each other.
Or when Caleb took six of his siblings to the community pool just so they could all use the high dive.
Or how about when Jonny got stung while we were on vacation. Or just a few days ago... again. I swear that boy is a bee magnet. We have an Epi-pen just in case, but we haven't had to use it yet. Praise the Lord-- right? Instead his foot swelled up like a balloon.
But I'll take that any day over him having trouble breathing.
And what about when Adam and I went car shopping a few months ago. The 2nd day and 13th hour into car shopping we found ourselves test driving a little red car... until it broke down. The owner of the little car lot was not with us-- talk about making memories. We shared a soda in the parking lot of a liquor store while we waited for someone to come and jump the battery. Let's just say that we didn't test drive any more cars on that lot.
Thankfully, a few days later Caleb saw a car for sale while driving down the freeway. It was a great price and checked out with our mechanic, so Adam bought it-- his very own car-- a 1996 metallic green Ford Thunderbird.
How cool is that?
I also had a crown replaced a few weeks ago. I probably received fifteen or so shots of Novocain. And then some more when it began to wear off before the dentist was done. My left jaw was in pain for three weeks.
I can also share about the every day battles I have with the kids about chores, electronics, modesty, and not succumbing to the desires of this world. This alone is hard, and something most people just don't understand.
It's a constant war.
Not so much with my kids, but against the world.
The world has its own morals, standards, and emphasizes-- "If it feels good..." "What is it going to hurt..." "It's just part of the American dream."
Our kids are bombarded with billboards, covers of magazines in the doctor's office, the internet, movies, tv shows, etc.
Life seems to be a constant comparison.
"What is she wearing?"
"Why does he get to do that?"
"He has that."
"At least I'm not watching that."
John and I want more for our kids.
We want them to grow up yearning for something more fulfilling, wholesome, and fruitful than what most of today's world has to offer. At the same time, we want to have balance as to not push our children away.
This alone is a full time job.
We were watching one of the Love Comes Softly movies and one of the girls commented on how beautiful the women looked even though they were covered from the neck down in pioneer garb. That is because their natural beauty was not overshadowed by their cleavage, skin, or provocative dress. At least that is the conclusion we drew.
Balance that with the girls wanting to "fit in", "dress cute", and "be in style" and you can see the challenge.
Another challenge is helping our children who are transitioning into adulthood. For most of them this includes getting a driver's license, graduating high school, getting a job, and moving onto college. For a few, the path is looking very different.
Today I took Sveta to get her identification card at the DMV. All was good until an elderly man asked Sveta if she was getting her picture taken for her driver's license.
She didn't really know what to say, and though I tried to answer the best I could, I realized that most people just don't understand.
It's not that people are being mean, because this elderly man didn't have a mean bone in his body, but it's just that it looks like she should be driving and doing all the things that kids her age are supposed to be doing-- and she's not.
Because she can't.
Oh how I wish for her with all my heart that she could, but how can you do something that you can't comprehend?
But we move forward and focus on what she can do.
She recently applied for her first real job.
Caleb helped her to fill out the application.
John had countless practice interviews with her.
She had her interview along with three of her sisters.
If nothing comes of it, at least she was able to experience filling out an application and going on an interview.
If I were to be as real as real can get I would tell you the struggles we continue to have with one particular child. Just when I think things are turning a corner, I hit a brick wall. If we have zero expectations then life is good, but as you all know, life does not work like that.
These struggles go above and beyond the normal parenting stuff. Back talk-- I can handle. The occasional lie-- bring it on. The junk food sneaking-- even I remember doing it as a kid.
What's hard is constant disobedience-- which I call living in opposite land.
To have a child do one thing when they know you are watching but the complete opposite the second you turn around is exhausting. Praying, hoping that today will be a turning point only to realize that the only way things will get better is for you to change. At first worrying what the school will think of your parenting because of how your child behaves only to find comfort that the school sees the same exact behaviors and you indeed are not crazy.
It's hard folks. And so often no matter what I do, I have this huge feeling of failure.
I pretend to hide it well, but it's there.
What's worse is that Satan takes that and runs. He makes me feel like I am the only one.
It's a tough subject... I surprised myself that I actually shared.
I would also tell you how hard it is to help a child rise above their emotional immaturity. This past year has been a real eye opener as to how emotions can keep a child stuck in a certain place unable to move on. They physically get older but emotionally they stay the same. We desperately want to help them grow up, but they just aren't ready. We are delicately addressing this especially with the start of the new school year, so I am encouraged. Making it through the rest of the summer however, will be interesting to say the least.
On the other hand, there have been just as many smiles as there has been trials.
Oliver is potty training. He is not afraid of the toilet. He loves to use the potty. He will go pee and poo in the potty no problem. The catch-- he has not quite figured out that he needs to walk to the toilet when he feels the urge. So, it's a hit or miss. If we don't catch every time he needs to go, he will wet his diaper. Still, at just three years old, I think this is a good start.
Since we are on the topic of Oliver, I can also happily share that he no longer sleeps in a crib. He sleeps in the room that he shares with his brothers. Yay!
Another smile is with Nolan. Early on in the summer he was a bear. He was throwing a tantrum at every nap time and every time out. The tantrums were loud and ugly. There were times I was pretty loud and ugly myself. I thought I tried everything short of pulling my hair out. You don't know how many times I wanted to just give in to him and let him up or avoid the nap altogether. Instead, I kept telling him that until he stopped acting that way, I would randomly put him to bed to "practice" how nap time should be. One day we practiced 7 or 8 times. Each time I talked to him at the level I know he understands. Pretty soon he was just being extra noisy/rambunctious really early in the morning. It was then that I would take him into bed with me and snuggle with him till we fell back asleep. One day, and I can't even really pin point it, things just changed with him. The tantrums pretty much stopped-- not 100% but close. And Nolan began showing more affection to both John and me. I'm not sure if it was the consistency, the added cuddling or a mixture of all three, but whatever the case, it certainly makes me smile. Just this past Sunday he made sure to kiss the both of us goodbye as he went to his Sunday school class.
I think that is pretty neat.
Thank you to a blog reader named Peggy who took the time to email me today.
It was very thoughtful and encouraging.