We have so many blessings. I've felt worried and overwhelmed quite a bit this week, but after a trip to the temple, the last couple days I've been feeling so extra grateful. So this post will recount a bit of what's been going on with us in the context of what I'm grateful for.
First, I'm so grateful for Jared. He's just so amazingly patient and supportive. He's always willing to do whatever it takes to help me do all the wild things I take on. This week he watched the kids while I ran around helping teachers and meeting with our own kids' teachers at Back to School Night, made smoothies for me and my client (and Jared's good friend) Dave while we went over floor plans on the house I'm helping with, helped me figure out how to get payment from this lady in the Philippines who wants to start a Joy School there and who can't just send a check like everyone else, helped me figure out how to transfer my parent volunteer database to something they can use on the school computers (and he helped me set up the database in the first place a while back), did a bunch of cleaning and kept the kids focused on Saturday jobs, helped deal with Eliza's ongoing middle-of-the night bedwetting incidents, gave me a back rub at the end of a long day, listened to my woes and worries a lot, and suffered through Fiesta Fun (this crappy place with lots of token-operated games) with me since the kids really wanted to go and they'd earned a lot of money on their points this week. And there's way more but I don't want to bore you. What a guy! We went to the temple together yesterday as I looked at him across the way, my heart was so full of love and gratitude for this super handsome, worthy, kind, patient, smart and wonderful man I call my own.
I'm so grateful for the view outside my window each morning - when I wake up at 7am, the red hills are lit up by the sun that has just hit them - they glow in an other-worldly way against the azure blue sky and make my heart glad every single morning. And the view as I stand in the kitchen, passing out food to the kids seated at the bar is really amazing - lava rock with the tired golds and soft olives of the plants poking through the rock, then the red hills, then the blue blue sky - colors varying by time of day and occasionally by some cloud cover. And the sunsets - different colors every night. Last night it POURED with rain and the thunder was so loud it woke us all up a lot of times and the lightening was beautiful. There was a big river in the wash this morning and the kids were so excited. The wash looks so different and the colors are so deep with everything soaking wet. I'm so grateful for the beauty of nature and for the way it's ever-present in this house - and I'm so excited for a little cooler weather so we can get out there hiking again.
Ollie's before and after pictures - his first haircut
Then the twins. I think I've talked about their wild antics so much that I haven't really focused on writing about all the sweet little things they do and say all the time lately. I cut their hair this week and they look so cute and so much more grown up with their new haircuts. Oliver sat so still for his haircut - very interested in the clippers and quite solemn about everything. Si kept saying "All done now, Mommy!" and wanting to get down - but he did a pretty good job staying still. I took them both to Costco this week and with just them and not Eliza or the big kids it was actually fun. Si asked "What's that?" about every single thing in the store and I wasn't in a huge rush which was so nice so I took the time to tell him the answers and to explain to Ollie and Si what a lot of things were and what they were for. They really really wanted to try some dog food that was out at one of the sample tables ( not sure why, really) and we had a good talk about how they are not dogs, they are boys and people. Then they thought it was so fun to play this game where I say, "Are you a dog?" or "Are you a cat" (repeat with any animal) and Si would say "No, I boy! I person!" and Ollie would say, "No, I Alber" (Oliver).
On the way home from Fiesta Fun last night (I'm NOT thankful for that place with all it's broken machines and half-hearted air conditioning and grungy everything!), Isaac lost the little plastic snake he bought with his tickets and was complaining about it - Ollie was sitting next to him and holding his own plastic snake. After some consideration, Ollie handed the snake to Isaac and had the cutest pleased look on his face when Isaac took it and happily said "thanks Little Guy!"
The twins love to help Ashton and Isaac empty or load the dishwasher and I don't think there's anything cuter than seeing the big boys and little boys work together, both parties so proud of themselves and each other as they get the job done. Ash and Ike are great about sweetly explaining to little guys what to do and cheering them on in their efforts and Ollie and Si look like they've just won the lottery when their big brothers help them accomplish something and applaud their little achievements.
At bedtime, Ollie and Si insist on saying their prayers, having me and/or Jared sing them Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Gentle Shepherd and Hushabye (or the "Horsie Song" as they call it) and then they want to be sure to give me and Jared multiple hugs and kisses and really like doing nose kisses and eye kisses (butterfly kisses) and blowing kisses at the end. There's nothing like their little arms around my neck and their sweet kisses on my cheek and their little noses rubbing against mine.
I'm so grateful for Ash and Ike. Ike just walked in and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and said "I love you, Mommy" like he does at least 10 times a day. Often he hugs me right at a bad time and ends up sort of tripping me - but it's all good. And Ashton has become a great little babysitter. On Friday, I took the Dawsons (my clients and good friends) out to look at houses right around here (so I could start to get a sense of what direction they want to go with this new house) and the twins were sleeping so Ashton worked on the computer and listened for the twins (with the phone next to him to call me if they woke up). It worked beautifully. Ashton's great with entertaining the twins and he even took it upon himself to change Si's poopy diaper the other morning and was SO proud of himself that he did it (and he actually did a pretty darn good job). Isaac helped hold up Si's feet and gave Ashton some pointers on what to do (apparently Ike had to remind Ashton to wipe the bum, not the diaper - I guess Ash got a bit mixed up at first and thought he should wipe some poo out of the diaper!). And the boys made cookies together the other day, for the 2nd time - did it totally on their own and they were GOOD cookies. Life is good - I now have kids who can change diapers for me and make cookies for me - on my way to a life of leisure I guess.
There are plenty of bad and sort of bad and just mundane and annoying and worrisome things that also happened this week - but wow, my life is rich and wonderful and I've got the best husband and kids in the world. So I wanted to dedicate this blog to my blessings and set off into the new week with gratitude and optimism and joy.