Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day is Free Solids Day

It's been a butt kicker of a week. On top of "the usual",  I was getting ready for and celebrating Elizabeth's birthday, making a photo book of my sister's funeral services for my mom and her four children to arrive by Mother's Day (it made it! yay me!), wandering around our new property during crucial after school hours with landscape architects for like 3-1/2 hours, and getting things ready for my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and her children to stay with us the night before the funeral services for Uncle Brent yesterday. (I wrote about him back here.)

Did I mention Brandon was out of town with his brothers waterskiing at Lake Mead? (They flew in Saturday morning for the funeral.) While it's always hard to do the single mom thang (hats off to those who do it every day), I really am glad he went on that trip. It was a reward of sorts after a 40 week weight loss/other personal goal challenge they've been doing together. Even better, it was the first time all 6 brothers (and Dad) took a trip alone together. 18-year-old Brent was only 1 when Brandon and I go married, so instead of growing up with his brothers (the next oldest was 12 when he was born), he grew up having family reunions with in-laws and babies. Since he'll be leaving on a two year mission this summer, they decided to do this all brothers trip with him. I really hope they continue the tradition!

All good stuff and all totally worth it, but anytime you throw an "extra" into an already busy week (and I had more than one "extra" this week) it does make for a bit of insanity. (And MUCH less blogging! I am truly starting to wonder if I will ever be able to blog regularly again! My contact person at Deseret News sent me this link a few days ago, and it reconfirmed what I am always trying to be cognizant of anyway: being a hands free mom.There are only so many hours in a day that can be spent on the computer/ipad/phone without really neglecting something.)

So after an emotionally exhausting day at the funeral, taking Brandon's parents by our new house and then to the airport, going to Brandon's office together to help out a patient of his who was having some troubles (I had to go along and be in the room since it wasn't during office hours--a legal thing) and finally opening Elizabeth's birthday presents from the day before when Brandon wasn't home, we fell into a deep, deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep sleep.

And woke up to Mother's Day! (That was a really long and really boring preface to my main post.)

I love Mother's Day! And I have really really loved it since learning to let go of crazy expectations and choosing instead to focus on how blessed I am to be the mother of four healthy, beautiful children that I love to pieces.

Still, I do have some expectations. Like not having to cook or clean, having a little time to myself, and getting a corsage to wear to church. (Is that so prissy and weird? But it didn't happen this year anyway for all the reasons mentioned above which is fine. Remember: lower your expectations, increase your satisfaction.) I've also learned how to just ask for what I want if it's really important to me. I've found if I do this in a happy/grateful/of-course-you-understand-and-want-to-grant-all-my-wishes-because-I-know-how-much-you-love-me kind of way, my family really is happy to oblige. Try it! (I posted a little about this on Deseret News over a week ago.)

Here's how my day went down:

Early this morning Brandon and I were hoping to have a quiet moment alone together since we both went to bed so exhausted (and between Brandon's early work mornings, our early riser Elizabeth, and our teenager who will NOT go to bed before 11:00 on any given night, we have very few quiet moments alone together at home), but for some inexplicable reason Rachael woke up early, came down the hall, pressed her mouth to the crack of our bedroom door and started yelling "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" We both just busted up laughing because it was SO MURPHY'S LAW on a Mother's Day morning!

So I got out of bed and took a walk up nearby Traverse Mountain. It was early enough that there were lots of birds and crickets singing, the air was perfectly cool, and the sun was warm coming over the mountains. (I'm so excited to be able to exercise outside in the early mornings again. I can't wait for school to let out!) While walking, I thought about the words spoken by Uncle Brent's children at his funeral which led me to think about what I wanted for both myself and my kids in this whole mothering journey. The answer was one and the same: more pure, unadulterated joy.

I took this iphone pic about halfway up:
Brandon was worried about not making me breakfast because he was pulling together some last minute remarks on motherhood for church later that afternoon, but I reminded him that I was not his mother and that our children were old enough to cook, so he got them on it. When I came back from my walk, Brandon was doing this . . .
the little girls were doing this (Hullabaloo) . . .
(I just love "no screens Sunday"--every Sunday--when the kids wake up and turn on their imagination/curiosity instead of a screen! I highly recommend it.)
 and Kate had done this . . .
(It's one of my favorite breakfasts: Ezekial bread or English muffin--toasted, of course-- with apricot Simply Fruit and scrambled parmesan eggs. I put the eggs on top of the toast and eat it open faced. Mmmmmmm..... Kate did a fantastic job!)

and this drizzled-with-honey fruit salad:
Then Will got in on the action and started telling me he would give me unlimited free "solids" all day long. A "solid" (from what I can tell) is a favor of sorts that you pay back later, only I won't have to pay any of these back since it's Mother's Day. He also explained to me that when someone asks you for a solid, you have to do it or the world will fall apart. (Huh?) Make of that what you will, I just know the rest of the day I was saying, "Will! Do me a solid and pick up the playroom. Will! Do me a solid and go get my camera! Will! Do me a solid and massage my back!" It was kind of fun. What was HYSTERICAL (to me, anyway) was Will's response to all my requests. "Yes, Your Hiney." Right before I took this picture, I had been sitting in this chair (I called it my plastic throne) while eating my breakfast, bossing Kate and Will around:
Shortly after, Rachael appeared out of nowhere, right in my face, hair a mess, still in her nighty and wearing a necklace from the dark recesses of our family history that says "Kate" in block letters. She said, "We're tirsty owls," as she and Elizabeth went to find the cookies and cream straws I gave Elizabeth with her presents yesterday. I guess Elizabeth was feeling generous, because all four kids ended up slugging down some milk together:

Another highlight of the morning:
This game of "Calapickle" is a favorite whenever the sleeping bags come out, which they had when the cousins were over the night before. Basically, you burrow down into a sleeping bag, become a "calapickle" (Rachael's ever evolving word for "caterpillar" . . . first it was calapitter), then run into each other until someone starts to cry. Yeah, that's pretty much how it always ends:
I don't know why I like to remember these random little details of our lives so much. Well, I do, because on days like today--the day after the funeral of someone who really knew how to live every moment of his life with joy, love and gratitude, and the day I wear rose colored glasses and actually end up seeing things as they really are (I have such a great life!)--I feel so much joy in the simple things. The simple little things that are really the big things.

Eventually we got cleaned up and went to church where Brandon gave his beautiful remarks (really, beautiful--I'm a lucky girl) and all the women 18 and older were treated to a lovely program and treats. I went a little comatose in the afternoon, Brandon made some dinner in the evening, and everyone gave me their homemade poems/pictures/drawings, etc. shortly after. That's my absolute favorite part of Mother's Day. The homemade gifts from my children are the absolute best! (Will's poem was "Shel Silverstein style" he told me. Maybe I'll post it later.)

Fading now, and have a big week ahead. Will end with a link to my Deseret News post sharing readers' favorite Mother's Day memories, and you can try to enjoy these two videos of Rachael singing to me at pre-school and church today, but I know it will never be as precious to anyone but me!

One last thing from today. Rachael probably told me about 50 times that she loved. And after I told her she looked like an angel in her white church dress she started calling me her "Angel Mom". She just couldn't be any sweeter!

I'll have to save "Ode to Jacque" (my own angel mother) for another day. Typing with eyes closed now . . . couldn't do her justice.

Love you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day to all!

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