Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Feeling Better

OK, sorry that last entry was a downer. Things are so much better today. I was sort of in a downward spiral for a while but with the schedule back to normal this week (the boys had 1/2 days of school last week which meant I never got a minute of quiet time while the twins were napping...) and the twins totally going to the potty on their own today with no accidents so far (first day ever), things are definitely feeling "up." I don't know what happened but the twins really seem to be getting it. And the last couple days the big kids have really been helpful and have been getting along great and we really seem to be in a better place - at least for now. We're planning some little excursions for Spring Break next week and that should help us all feel better. And I'm stepping up my babysitting-finding efforts.

I know when things get bad that they will get better. I have a great husband and wonderful kids. I always know this. But sometimes bad things happen and downward spirals start and it's so hard to stop them once they get going! We're all so interconnected and dependent on each other in the little world of our family that one bad thing that affects one person ends up affecting everyone. And when lots of small and big bad things happen to a lot of different people at once, the effects can be quite crazy as bad moods and bad actions and impatience and frustration and worries compound and build on each other.

So, just wanted to say we're OK. And we're working to be more OK more often.

Here are a few more tidbits on positive things about the kids:

Ashton's really struggled with being adequately challenged on his English days at school and hasn't really been doing well because he's bored and thinks some assignments aren't worthy of his time or effort. So we've been working on that and giving him extra work to challenge him. He's been writing these great little essays on random topics I assign him or that he makes up. Here's one of of his latest (based on this new toy microscope he bought with his hard-earned money). I wish you could see it in his own handwriting - but no scanner - but this is typed in exactly as he wrote it:
Super Power Microscopes
Super Power Microscopes (SPM's) are useful for sientists. They help see very very closely. SPMs are very fun to use. I lik to look at crystals in my SPM. SPMs help you learn, too. They help you know what things look like up close. I have learned a lot more thanks to my SPM. I read in a book that SPMs help you see better. You look and focus into a SPM's lens and then it helps you see. Do you know what lens are? Lens are disc-shaped pieses of glass that help you look more close or more far back. here is an object you can do to learn more about lens: you will need:
one plastic learn spoon
one silver spoon
1. look at the silver spoon. You are upside down!
2. now look at hte clear spoon. the bump should be facing you.
3. put the siver spoon behind the clear spoon
4. Now you are bigger
5. this is how lens work

I am glad I hav an SPM.

I love getting glimpses into Ashton's brain.

Isaac is the most friendly kid - he's very socially conscious and really seems to get what's going on and get how people are feeling. When we had Ashton's Cub Scout Blue and Gold dinner last week and the Bishop was dishing up food for people, Isaac looked him right in the eye, smiled and said "Hi Bishop!" So many kids (including our other kids) seem pretty oblivious to anything happening above their eye-level and don't really talk much to adults - but Ike's different. And Ollie's picking up on it. Usually the less social of the twins, Ollie's suddenly taken it upon himself to say "hi" to everyone in stores as we walk up and down the aisles. It's pretty cute - and he gets a lot of "hi's" back which really makes him happy.

Eliza is really into understanding the nuances of words lately. She'll come ask me things like "Mommy, what's the difference between struggles and problems" and I really have to think to answer her. And she picks up this funny teenagerish, almost Valley Girlish way of talking when she and her little friend Olivia are together - it's so funny to hear them giggling and chatting together. I don't know where they get this stuff - neither has any big sisters or watches shows with teenage girls. Eliza is so helpful and so sweet so much of the time.

Silas has this funny thing he does where he walks up to me or Jared and says "I miling" and does this funny cheesy grin. It took us a while to realize he was saying "I'm smiling." My favorite thing is when I'm laying next to Si to help him fall asleep for a nap and he puts his little arm around my neck and falls asleep that way - it melts my heart and wipes away all his naughtiness from earlier that day.

I've got a couple new favorite parts of the day that have helped carry me through the last couple hard weeks. One is family prayer in the morning where we all kneel together and Jared and I take turns praying over our family. The kids have really grown attached to this new tradition and I love peeking at them in the prayer, sometimes catching a little sheepish grin from someone else peeking, sometimes seeing eyes scrunched shut and arms tightly folded, sometimes seeing a little hug or squeeze from one kid to the next. I love the feeling of kneeling together and really praying for specific things for each member of the family and feeling that the Lord is really listening.

My other favorite thing is reading to the kids at bedtime. I've been trying to get the kids to bed early enough to really listen to all the things they always want to tell me at bedtime rather than telling them to save their stuff for another time since it's already past bedtime and I'm already DONE being a mom for the day. And along with listening to them, I've been reading them a chapter or two of The Tale of Despareaux which is such a great book, well-written and full of themes and moments that offer great opportunity for discussion and empathy. I love reading with my kids and I love that they love it so much. I always feel great about life when I'm teaching the kids about something or reading them something and they're totally into it and I feel like I'm in the right place at the right time doing something really important and really fun.

So anyway - just had to write about lots of good stuff to help balance out all the bad stuff in my last post!

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