Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Good Book

I have this book sitting on my nightstand.  It's a big fiction book that I have started, but I haven't gotten very far into it.  It looks really good.  Every time I go in my bedroom, it stares at me, calling me to it.  It is almost June, and I am feeling that pull.  The same one I feel every year.  That desire to delve into Summer Reading.  To sit outside under a tree and escape into a good book for hours.  It's almost a need, like how I need to eat.  I need to read.

And yet I have these kids.  These little boys with all of their energy and excitement for life who desire attention.  The nerve of them!  It's like a conspiracy.  They seem to do all they can to keep me from reading.

Occasionally, when I notice my kids playing happily for a time, I try pulling out my book.  I never get more than a half a page at a time before they need something.  It's frustrating, and it seems to increase my desire to curl up with a book.

However, I came across this children's book that we picked up from the library a while ago called Emily and Albert, by Jan Ormerod.  There's a little chapter about Albert, who is sitting under a blanket, happily reading a book.  His friend, Emily, is more unhappily playing in the same room, trying to convince Albert to play with her.  He spends his time trying to convince her that he would rather not be doing anything else but read his really good book.

At this point, Emily says my favorite line of the book, "I don't think it can be a good book if it makes others feel lonely while you are reading it."

Then of course, they end up snuggling up to read the book together.

This sums up my reading life perfectly.  This is the reason I show up to book club having not read the month's book.  This is the reason I check out 40 children's books from the library with every visit.  This is the reason that when I pull out my book, I usually end up with a lap full of boys and books.  This is the reason we snuggle up for hours, happily reading stories together.

So, my poor, sad book on my nightstand, I'm sorry that you have to wait.  I will get to you eventually.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Parable of the Mud Puddle

A few weeks ago in church, a speaker related a story that went something like this:

Think of ourselves as family members all living in a big, beautiful, clean, white house.  Our Father has given us the run of the grounds.  We are allowed to go anywhere we want, learn anything we want, do anything we want...except for one place.  There is a mud puddle just outside the front door.  Our only rule is that we are to avoid the mud puddle.

And of course, with all that is offered to us, we all choose to immediately dive head first into the mud puddle.  So, now, we are all covered in mud, having our fun and enjoying ourselves.

The big kicker is that Dad has provided our older brother for us.  He is standing outside the house at all times with a water hose, ready to hose any of us down whenever we decide we don't want to be muddy anymore.  If we want to be cleaned off, all we have to do is ask to be hosed down.  Any time.

I thought it was such a simple analogy for our lives.  We are offered so much peace and happiness, opportunities to learn, to serve, and to grow, if we live the commandments and try our best to be like Jesus.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and safe.  Yet with all my knowledge about the happiness I am offered, I make choices on a daily basis that stunt my spiritual growth.  I'm tired, so I skip reading the scriptures tonight.  I'm busy, so I don't do my visiting teaching.  I'm distracted, so I don't act on that prompting.  Etc.  I could go on all day about the things I don't do.

I see it with my own children every day.  We have rules set to keep them safe, yet they choose to test their limits, stretch their boundaries...see how far they can go before they break a rule, break something, hurt someone, or get hurt themselves.  It's infinitely frustrating for us as parents to know for a fact what is good for them, and to see them choose what will hurt them.  I can imagine how Heavenly Father feels watching us all blunder through our lives here on Earth.  How frustrating for Him!

Yet how loving and patient He is!  We do have our Savior available for us at all times, waiting with open arms to heal our wounds and help us be clean.  That is truly generous parenting.

And then, despite all of this, we all decide to jump right back into the mud puddle.

Gunner was sitting next to me, listening to every word.  Sometimes I forget that he pays attention.  His response to everyone diving into the mud puddle:
"Naughty little boys."

Cracked me up in the middle of sacrament meeting.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gunner's Life on a Race Track

I think my little boy is so lucky.  He has an incredible imagination.  It's so vivid that he has a hard time separating reality from the imaginary (so much so that he can't really watch movies or cartoons because they scare him), but that's something he'll learn with time.

Anyone who knows Gunner knows that he's a car kid.  Some kids love monster trucks.  Some love dinosaurs.  With Gunner, it has always been cars.  He has had a car in his hands at almost all times since he was 16 months old.

The one movie he will watch...repeatedly...over and over and the original Disney Cars movie.  Not Cars 2.  Just Cars 1.  Over and over.  He loves it.  And as much as I tire of listening to it on in the background, I don't mind him watching it because he gathers up his little "Eye Cars" (as opposed to the matchbox cars that don't have eyes) and he plays along with them as he watches.  He reenacts the races in the movie.  I think it's very cute.

The other thing about his love of cars is that he has decided that any and all cars that have a spoiler on the back are Race Cars.  That '98 Pontiac Grand Am with the spoiler...that's a race car!  That Oldsmobile Alero...race car.  The Nissan Altima we rented while in Idaho was extra special because he was "so excited to ride in a real race car!" It's a bonus if the cars happen to be red or yellow.  It makes driving down our city streets pretty exciting.  He's very good at pointing out all the race cars on our roads.  I think it's a fun game to play while we're running errands, and Hobbes and I play along with him every day.

But even I couldn't hold back the laughter when he spotted this...
Race Bus!!!

It's awesome in so many ways.  He's a lucky little kid to live life on a race track.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

My Whirlwind in an Epistle

I have been missing from real life, and it feels like a whirlwind.  My vacation with the boys was awesome.  Almost three weeks of fun which utterly exhausted my boys.  Here is a rundown of our last three weeks:

Flying with two kids:
Not as bad as I had feared.  They were great!  I cannot emphasize the awesomeness of my kids enough on those traveling days.  They amazed me, and I'm so grateful.  We were prepared for every event.  They each had their own little backpack filled with provisions.  They were really just super excited to be in an airport and see all those Big Planes!  An airport is like a dream land for little boys!  We rode every escalator and watched the planes from the windows.  Going through security kind of freaked them out.  They weren't all that willing to give up their jackets, backpacks and shoes (although kids under 12 don't have to take off their shoes anymore).  I payed out the nose for airport food, but keeping the kids happy was worth every penny.  I handed out snacks like a vending machine.

My favorite moments:
#1. We put Hobbes on a leash, which turned out to be a brilliant idea.  We just attached a strap to his backpack so that he had a bit of freedom, but he could never be more than three feet away from me.  He actually really liked it.  He could hold me hand if he wanted to, but he didn't have to.  And I loved knowing exactly where he was at all times.  There was one time that he didn't want to be on a leash, and his reaction surprised me.  Instead of throwing a fit (like Gunner would have done), he just lay down on the floor and refused to move.

#2. Hobbes was getting very tired of sitting still and being quiet near the end of the second flight on our way to UT.  He took off his seat belt and informed me that he was done.  Knowing that the Fasten Seatbelt Sign was on and that we still had a good 30 minutes of flying left, I said to him (with enthusiasm), "I'll give you a lollipop if you sit down!"  It worked.  He sat down.  Child Bribery is a parentin technique I can really get behind.  I'm such a good mom.

The Vacation:
We stayed with my sister for a week and my parents for week.  Gunner was reunited with his cousins, and he played and played and played with them.  And the boys loved being with their grandparents.  They were so happy to be with them.  It actually makes me feel incredibly guilty for living so far away from them.  They just love them so much.  And I love that.

While we were there, we saw some good friends from our medical school days, my former neighbor Kalie and her brand new gorgeous baby, my favorite cousin, some high school friends I haven't seen for ten years, and a couple of college friends, one of whom I haven't seen for 12 years (So great to see you all!!!).  It was so fun, although I have to admit that with facebook and blogs, it didn't feel like it had been that long, which is nice.  I hung out with my family, hugged and hugged my nieces and nephew, and had an great time.

The Trip Home...
Was exciting because our neck of the woods was experiencing a blizzard!!! (13 inches of snow on May 2.  What?!), and we couldn't actually get home.  The highway was closed for part of the day due to whiteout conditions, so Spiff couldn't drive up to the city to pick us up from the airport.  We made some calls and ended up staying with some good friends, who then drove us home the next morning because Spiff was on call and unavailable to help.  I'm so grateful because at that point we really just wanted to be home.

And then...
both of my boy were horribly sick all weekend.  Gunner complained of a headache and developed a fever.  Hobbes had/has a double ear infection and was hitting high temperatures for three days.    Basically, I spent Friday, Sat. and Sunday sitting on the couch holding sick kids during the day, while Spiff was on call again, and while no one in the family slept at night.  My poor Hobbes was so miserable.  He would sit by me, and his head hurt so bad that he would take my hand and put it on his face...on his cheek, or on his hear, or covering his eyes.  We got him to the doctor on Monday morning, got some meds, and he is thankfully feeling much better.

So now I'm digging out.  I feel like Spiff who dug our driveway out of 13 inches of wet, heavy, slushy snow the other day.  I finally unpacked today.  I did some laundry.  I can move freely since I don't have children plastered to me at all times, so I can start thinking about catching up on paperwork and bills, making our friend's birthday cake, and putting in some miles for our family's IronMay challenge.

Also, did I mention that it is finally Spring?!  Well, it is.  The snow melted and the grass underneath it was green!  We have new plants growing in our yard.  There is yard work to do!  We went to the park today and played.  For hours.  It was warm and wonderful and the boys wore themselves out.  The sun feels so sweet.