Welcome, little one!

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What a blessing to welcome our new baby to the family! His big brothers are helpful and attentive–there is a stampede of little feet running to him when he cries. I have an altered sense of time and proportion: my two-year-old seems gigantic and. despite the slow simplicity of my day focused on nursing, rocking, & diaper changing, it seems that time is racing. Could it be that the earth is spinning faster now, or its orbit has shortened since I was first a mother in my twenties?

All the boys got out their baby books (each album admittedly thinner as  you go down the line) and we looked back to the special photos and memories surrounding the birth of each child. How could 16 years have passed so fast? I want to cherish every minute of this.

Why I like my kids

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Well, there are lots of reasons–they are probably similar to the reasons you like yours!
1. They help me see the world freshly. When I take walks with my kids, they pause to notice details I otherwise would have missed. A young child’s perspective is not schooled by common or pervading thought.

2. They stimulate my creativity every day. Each day brings new challenges in family life. Ongoing development and complex family dynamics (made up of multiple wills and personalities) necessitate constant adaption. Then there are the pretend games, the projects, and nightly ritual of bedtime stories. My younger kids say, “tell me a story from your mouth” (meaning a made up one). I often let them choose elements of the story. The other night the conglomerate request was to make up a story about a bear, an elephant, 3 crabs & some talking bananas on skateboards! They perfectly model the creative process; they prolifically build towers, write stories, compose songs, & paint pictures with pure enjoyment and seeming little effort..

3. They require me to care more about people than things. It’s a matter of survival–if I broke with every dish, cried over every spill, became a mess with every mess, life would feel way too dramatic!

4. They invite introspection. They are my Zen masters, my sages on the mountain. Why? Without even trying, they hold up mirrors that help me see my weaknesses and they say true things (that maybe I didn’t want so much to hear!) I have to take a lot of deep breaths.

5. They necessitate hard work. This actually is a good thing. Though I don’t make it a practice to wait on people, sometimes it feels like I haven’t sat down a minute before another need arises. I had to laugh when I saw an article about how sitting for long periods shortens your life.(http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/24/sitting.shorten.life/) Who would have known that all those requests are blessings in disguise!

6. They give purpose to my efforts. How would it be to have no one to cook for, no one to surprise, no one to remember details about and for, no one to cart around? When they’ve all grown up, I will feel lost.

7. They are each special and unique. It is amazing how each child is so different in terms of preferences, personality, and gifts. They each contribute to the family in a needed and important way.

8. They remind me how to play. As an adult, it’s easy to get way too serious. As a six-year-old, one of my sons once took down the family calendar and wrote “HAVE FUN” on several random days of the year. I thought, “Oh yeah. I’ve forgotten to do that for a while!” After playing a pretend game, running around outside, laughing together, the day feels so much brighter.

9. They inspire me to be better. Though I’m often the one persuading them to share, to help, to forgive, suddenly they will display surprising generosity or grace. Though I’m the one trying to emulate and teach important principles, sometimes my kids understand and live them better than I do.

10. They like me back (usually). When they’re little, they don’t even want me to leave long enough to go to the bathroom. They like my lap the best and fight over it. When I get home they run and hug me and yell “Mommy!” They draw me pictures and leave notes on my pillow. When they are older, it’s less overt, but the bonds are still there.

Awaiting baby

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Today I got out the old storage bin labeled “infant” and separated out the smallest outfits–those wearable through the hottest days of summer. It felt like a connecting ritual to wash and prepare this first clothing.  When the time came, my 2, 4 and 7-year-old boys eagerly helped fold. We carefully carried the toppling piles upstairs and placed them under the bassinet. I rocked for a few minutes in my new wooden rocking chair. Though this is my eighth baby, I’ve never owned a rocking chair before–this was my singular purchase. In most cases, despite what the media portrays, little is truly needed to welcome a baby into this world. I look forward once again to holding, rocking, nursing, and singing lullabies to a precious, tiny soul..

A Following

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Who do you follow and who follows you? I will say at the outset that the “following” I care most about is following God in my day to day decisions and actions. I also care about the homegrown “following” I receive: my two-year-old wanting to be held, my four-year-old inviting me to play a game, my older boys suddenly wanting to share details of their day. These I will not trade to build a virtual audience, so my posts may be spotty. Bear with me–I’m trying to navigate life!
Better than Facebook: being written in the “Book of Life.”

Better than Linkedin: the enduring connection we each have to God and the human family.

Better than Tweets: the whispering of God’s spirit and inspiration.

Better than Instagram: sweet memories that imprint on our minds and hearts as we share time with those we love.

Why faithful? Why nurturing?

 

FAITHFUL
A few years ago I ran across an old book entitled “Precious Bible Promises” by an 18th century English pastor named Samuel Clark. Through his study of the bible, he compiled a list of promises God has made to those who live faithfully. His scholarship inspired me–I was reminded how careful scripture study uncovers gems for daily living. I scanned through his list and added a few from my own reading of the bible and other faith literature. Here are some of my favorite biblical promises afforded by faithfulness:

1. guidance (Isaiah 30:21)

2. peace & joy  (Romans 14:17)

3. the “refreshing” afforded by repentance (Acts 3:19)

4. closeness with God (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63)

Sometimes promises aren’t fulfilled immediately or in the ways we expect, but I know God does bless us for choosing to be faithful. As parents (and just navigating life in general) we need all the promises we can get!

NURTURING
As parents, our job is to help provide an environment conducive to growth. That doesn’t always mean softness and ease, but the right amount of challenge, guidance, nourishment, and support. It takes wisdom, experience, observation, stepping in, stepping back, dedication, and patience. As parents we are growing while our children grow. Nothing is static; everything is changing & organic. Luckily, growth is a natural process that is programmed into each of us and we learn from both positive and negative experiences. Still, as a mother, I’d like to contribute in positive ways when possible! In this blog, I explore the topic of nurturing in the applied, day-to-day sense.