Summer Fun

Yesterday was a buuuusy day from the time I got up until the time I fell asleep (almost on the couch!) So tired.

It started with the fact that I completely forgot that most of the kids had a dentist check up at 8am, which John reminded me of at about 1:30am. So I got up at 6:30, got ready, made the kids breakfast, made them all wake up, eat, get dressed, and got them out the door… 15 minutes after their appointment was supposed to begin. Thankfully, it’s really close by!

We did the dentist appointment for 5 of the kids from 8:25ish-10am. Then I went across the street to the store, grabbed some food for a picnic, and rushed back home.

Next, dropped off most of the kids at home and told them to get their swimsuits on as fast as they could. Caitlin and Ethan stayed there and helped with Vaiden, Taevia, Phalin, Tahlia and Paxton. While they did that, I took Jordan to work real quick.

Got back, packed the last few things for the lake and got them all back into the car. Drove over to the Grandparent Pendergrass’s house and we headed out to the lake!

The lake wasn’t busy at all which was really nice! All of the kids had a ton of fun swimming, building sand castles, and rowing in their cousins canoe. That was my favorite part too. At one point I had Theia, Tazden, Paxton, Tahlia, and Phalin in the canoe at one time. I rowed them out to the buoy so they could touch it and rowed them back to shore… at least 10-15 times. Caitlin read a book most of the time, but she came with us which is the most important part!

I’m so glad their grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins could all go. It’s so nice to get to know their (our) family better and to be able to spend time with them doing something that all of the kids enjoy.

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After the lake, we went home to change then I brought most of the kids over to their grandparent’s house to play with their cousins for a little longer. We finally got home for the night about 10pm. All of the kids went to bed and then so did !!

Long day but a good day. I’m looking forward to many more! The only thing that would have made it better is if John were here with us.

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Tears of Joy

Going back and forth between houses is never easy for kids. I’m so glad Taevia, Tahlia, and Theia enjoy the time that they spend at their dads house. I know they miss him and like being over there. This time, when Taevia got back – before bed – she said that she wished she was back at her dads house. I asked her why and she said “because dads house is fun.” She was very upset and crying. I sat there for a second just thinking. She doesn’t always do well with bedtime and her being tired stresses her out even more. We had already been talking about why she was originally upset. 15 minutes before she said it was because the boys are mean to her. (They had been in the past a little bit but we’ve talked to her and them about it and all of them are getting way better with each other. They hadn’t been mean at all that day. I think she’s just holding onto the previous stuff)

I was starting to get frustrated because it was feeling like she was just cycling through things to be upset about to get her to stay out of bed.

So I sat and just thought about it all for a minute.

This is what I told her –

“Sometimes… people are mean in this life. Sometimes, it is our job to be the good example and show them love. You are going to meet people in life who will not be nice to you. You need to be strong. You are strong. It is not my job as your mother to make life fun. We will have lots of fun times together. But my job, as your mom, is to make sure you grow into a woman who is kind, who loves God, and loves her family. Not only are you my daughter, you are a daughter of God. That makes you a goddess. That makes you royalty. You have to stand tall and stand firm and show others the way to kindness. I promise we will have fun together but my job as your mom is to make sure you grow into this strong woman who loves God and loves her family.”

The next thing she said was “I’ve never cried tears of joy before!”

Oh my daughter. You teach me so much. Our kids need to hear these things. They need to hear that sometimes life is hard but we can stand tall and stand firm and our faith will pull us through. I’m so thankful that I paused instead of allowing myself to just get frustrated and make her go to bed.

After that, she went right to bed and slept through the night.

Parenthood isn’t easy but it is oh so worth it. I’m so glad she chose me to be her mother. I can’t wait to find out what else she has to teach me.

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my beautiful Taevia

CTR and Summer

 

I used to think that CTR rings, necklaces, WWJD bracelets, etc were silly. I don’t particularly like crosses as jewelry… but that’s a whole ‘nother post for another day. I used to think these types of jewelry were silly. Why? Because why would someone need that except to be flashy? To be trendy? I didn’t get why anyone would need jewelry to show they loved Christ. Wouldn’t that just be something you needed to feel and not flash around to everyone else?

CTR stands for Choose The Right. It’s something that was designed for kids to help them to remember to choose the right, make good choices, and follow Christ. Except ever since I’ve come back to church I’ve felt like I needed a CTR ring. It’s taken me nearly a year to buy one. Part of that reason was I still felt like it was silly.

Until I went to dairy queen for ice cream with the little ones the other day. The older kids were having parties at school and the tiny ones were feeling left out – ice cream fixes everything, right?! Our cashier was a woman a little older than me. She looked like she might have had a rough past (absolutely no judgement here, just a simple observation), she had a tattoo on the back of her hand (again… never gonna get judgement for tattoos from me!) and she had a CTR ring on. I almost said and I wanted to say “Wow! I’m so proud of you!” This was literally the first thought that came to my mind. And I was a little taken aback by my own thoughts. I also wanted to ask her to be Facebook friends with me but I’m still trying to figure out how weird I can be about religion with people. lol No seriously, I am definitely that weird in general with people and make friends pretty easily wherever I go but I still feel a little awkward talking about religion with people I don’t know, don’t know well, or even people from my past that knew me when I wasn’t active in the church. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to offend people or make people feel awkward about it. I’m slowly getting over this but it really has been a struggle. Silly, I know.

Anyways, my next thought illuminated as to why that was my first thought and reaction to seeing her CTR ring. These rings aren’t just to remind us. They are a statement of our values. An outward statement of our beliefs. My next thought was “you need one”.

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So I got one today. It’s these little things that show others (and ourselves) who we really are. It shows the world who we are striving to be. It shows our Father that we are willing to stand and say, Yes, Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

And that’s why I’ll probably be treating this ring just like my wedding rings and it won’t be coming off.

Step by step just like line by line, we learn and grow.

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Today was the last day of school for these kids! Summer is officially here!

We went to the park to play after school although I didn’t get very many pictures since everyone was running around in opposite directions!

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After the park, we decided to go celebrate National Donut Day.

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I’m sorry if you ever get stuck waiting in line around us…
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love these kids!

Then we had pizza and movie night to celebrate the beginning of summer. I’m actually looking forward to not having to worry about school for a few months. I think this will give us all a chance to learn to work together, to get along a little better (a mama can hope!) and create some good family habits before the next school year begins.

Memorial Day

I think I let the kids stay up late too many days this weekend. I had some super cranky kids on my hands today. We’re going to have to figure out an appropriate summer bedtime soon because some of these kids still need plenty of sleep to be happy little people!

Live and learn.

I am super proud of Ethan. He was nearly done cleaning his room today (which he shares with 3 of his brothers. Which is also how they want it. I offered Ethan and Vaiden their own room downstairs but they didn’t like that idea, so sharing it is!) Anyways, he was nearly done cleaning the boys room and I noticed the neighbor having some trouble with something big over the fence in his back yard. I commented to Ethan that it looked like he needed help and he should go offer to help him. He immediately put his shoes on and went to offer some help. Well it turned out that the neighbor was trying to remove a stump and was planning on using some black powder to do it. Ethan was all over that! He ended up staying out there for about an hour helping to dig and move stuff around. He did get $10 in the end so it was a win – win in his book. Explosives and got paid!

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I snuck outside to snap a photo. So proud of him for just jumping in to help!

After Ethan was done helping the neighbor, we ate lunch and I made 9 of the kids get into the car. We drove 45 minutes to go to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

I haven’t really done anything for Memorial Day in the past. However, this Memorial Day – I am married to a Veteran. My husband served in the Army for 20 years. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that he survived those 20 years. Because I am so thankful, I am even more aware that there are many others who do not have their loved ones with them today because of the sacrifices that they made.

John‬ ‭15:13‬ says Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Christ gave His life for us that we may be saved and brought home to our Father again.

But it can be easy to forget that we have men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for God, country, their families and friends and so much more today. This isn’t a story book or a history lesson. This is life today.

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None of the pictures the guy took for us turned out with everyone cooperating lol

While we were there, I asked the kids if they knew what Memorial Day was for. We talked about why all of these people died. Phalin all of a sudden said “My dad was in the Army! But he didn’t die” I responded with “Yes! And that is why we are here to say thank you.”

I gave each of the kids 3 little flags and told them to go find a gravestone with no flowers or tokens that have been left and give them a flag. We walked through reading names and talking about where they had been stationed.

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Some of the kids were confused as to why we would go if we didn’t know anyone there. I explained that it was more important that we are thankful for everyone – not just those we know. In Gods eyes, every one of us are family.

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I love watching each of their personalities. How they respond to things, how far they’re willing to wander off, who wanted to talk and ask questions, who placed all of their flags then came back to get me to show me where they placed them. All of these little things show me a glimpse into who they are and it’s so so fun.

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My tiny dude

We got home, did a few chores around the house, kids played, ate dinner and then we did a few sparklers and pop-its. The kids had way more fun with them than I expected and I was lighting sparklers one after the other and didn’t get any pictures of it. But they had fun – I promise!

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throwing pop-its

I honestly never imagined that I’d be a mother to so many. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, I yelled at them to stop yelling (irony) and fighting in the car on the drive back. But those little things, those momentary fights, arguments, growing pains, boundary pushing, etc. Those are moments. They pass. This awe at watching them grow, these glimpses into their personalities and potential, this love that grows day by day and minute by minute. That will never pass or fade. This is what I want to focus on. What I want them to remember.

I want them to remember to love each other. To love the people around them. To love strangers. To be thankful. I want them to remember that I love them. And if we can accomplish these things, we’ll be good.

And just so you know it’s not all rainbows over here – bedtime was crazy. Just like every other family. 😉

Thankful

What I left out of Friday’s catch up post was that I was feeling stressed and a little overwhelmed that day/night. When I woke up on Saturday the kids were already arguing and fighting. I had to separate a few of them more than once, make kids hug, talk about how we should be speaking to each other nicely, and one had to go in a timeout to cool herself off. This was just the morning. It hadn’t even hit 10am yet.

Now here’s where I should probably tell you that I’m a horrible homebody. I don’t like being stuck in the house for too long. It makes feel almost claustrophobic. And when kids are fighting, it just makes that feeling even worse. So my next thought was “I need out of this house!” I kid you not, not ten minutes later, my dad texted me saying a coworker of his had tickets to the color festival that she couldn’t use and asked if I would like them.

Now get this – I actually had the audacity to think “Do I really want to take the kids out of the house today?” And then my next thought was “Are you kidding me?! You just said this is what you needed and you got it. Take it.” So I thanked my dad, thanked his coworker and thanked my Father.

You might not think that God would care about little details like this. But He does. He so does. Our happiness is incredibly important to him! Even through our trials, through our tests of faith, through any hardships, He doesn’t want us to be miserable. There are so many instances in the scriptures where it talks about the righteous praising and thanking God all day long. Don’t think for one second that those people never had any trials. It’s that they thanked God regardless of those trials.

So we got out of the house. I felt better. The kids chilled out. Life is good.

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Alma 7:23 – And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

So thankful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to know exactly what I need when I need it. And so thankful for a father who obviously listens to the Father.

 

 

Catch Up

Have you ever heard a song that’s really catchy but then you’re like… wait, I’m not too sure about this. We’ve all heard at least one, right? I never really expected to hear and react this way to a Christian one. But every time the song God’s Not Dead by Newsboys comes on the radio or through my pandora… I don’t know. I feel like they’ve got it all wrong. The songs chorus goes like this –

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Maybe I’m just reading too much into a song but every time I hear this my thought is “His Spirit lives in all of us, but God is ALIVE. He truly lives. He does not only live within us. He is not an abstract idea. He is not just a feeling. He is all, in all, and lives.

So of course my logical brain can’t just “get over it” and I usually end up skipping this song on my pandora list. What can I say… I’m strange.

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I kinda skipped Friday’s day. It was busy. Mornings always start out crazy trying to get 6 of the kids out the door. This picture above is part of breakfast on Friday. Theia cried because I put a piece of strawberry in her mouth. Yep. That’s it. This little girl cracks me up. And Tazdens face. He doesn’t get it. lol

It was a day of laundry, reading, and kids getting out of school early. That night, the boys wanted me to watch a movie with them. I’ve figured out that they not only want me to watch a movie with them, but they really want me to watch it with them. They even go as far as trying to make me choose what movie we’ll watch so I will sit and stay and watch it through to the end. I figured this out a while ago so I don’t choose the movie, but I do sit and stay and watch it with them. We watched a Goosebumps movie. And yes, I watched the whole thing.

Then Theia woke up. Right after the movie ended. Good timing, little one! She wanted to cuddle so I ended up falling asleep with her. This is why Friday got skipped. I fell asleep.

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We did set up the pool that day though! The kids are loving it. I love that they want to be outside more often with it there. You know, because the playstation is still missing.

I’m going to have to remember to try and write every day. Even remembering things 24 hours ago can be difficult when things are so busy all the time! So hopefully (no promises) there won’t be too many catch up days in the future.