Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Went to the Pumpkin Patch

It was parent/teacher conference week this past week and our school district felt that it would be wise to have the students all have four day weekends so teachers could have enough time to meet with all the parents. Really?!?! Is there no other time to do this, like 2am or something?? Does it really seem like a great idea to ask parents to raise their own children?

At any rate, I got to have all five children home Thursday and Friday and I have to say they were remarkably well behaved. Liam's girlfriend (her job is to come twice a week and help him keep his hearing aids in), Kassidi, also happened to be off on Friday so I called to see if she'd like to come help me survive taking all the kids to the pumpkin patch. Being the amazingly sweet girl she is, she accepted the offer.

We started by taking the kids to Pizza Street for lunch. It's a pizza buffet, so the kids were delighted that they could choose whatever flavor they wanted. I was stunned to see Liam pack away plate after plate of fetuccini alfredo. Go Liam!! Things were going really well until the ice cream machine ran out of chocolate. At that point, I felt the need to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Considering the fact that we were in public, I opted to hold back and instead quietly worked on a vanilla cone. Let the record show that I was crying inside, though.

The pumpkin patch was great!! It's in the same town where Byron works, but I would never have found it without my GPS. We arrived, unloaded and headed to the entrance to pay to get in. I was pretty impressed with the fact that none of my five children were hit by oncoming traffic as we attempted to get inside the gate. Honestly, trying to take them anywhere is like herding cats except that herding cats is much less painful.

The kids headed straight for the hay bail maze. It was a cute little town thing where kids could go in and get lost. I encouraged them to get lost frequently, but they kept finding their way out. Figures. At any rate, they had a good time.

From there, we came to the petting zoo. CJ was just sure he witnessed the rooster laying an egg. I didn't have the heart to tell him that wasn't a rooster because he was so delighted to discover that "eggs come from rooster butts". Aiden spent his time trying to distract a bully horse so that a hungry donkey could dine on some most delicious corn. Rachel was working on a plot to adopt a kitten while Drezden meowed at said kitten and Liam attempted to eat anything he could find on the ground.

From there, we moved on to the play area which consisted of several John Deer tractors in kids' sizes and giant sand boxes full of corn. I think this was the area we spent the majority of our time in. Liam really liked filling bins with corn and listening to it shake. Kassidi said she liked how the corn felt between her toes. Really? I felt like it just sort of got stuck between my toes and felt downright weird. Anyway, I digress. The kids really enjoyed spending time burying each other, jumping in, and just generally playing with the corn. If I'd known corn would be so exciting, I would have saved a whole lot of money on toys over the years. I'll consider that a lesson learned.

Outside of the play area were these big crank machines could be used to pull the corn off the cobs. The kids LOVED doing this. Even Liam figured out how to do it. There were buckets and buckets full of corn everywhere. I'm guessing that's where they got the corn for those giant sandboxes. I couldn't believe how hard the kids worked at these silly machines. They had to find the ears of corn on the stalks, put them into the machine, and then crank it. There was a lot of effort involved. I've got to somehow figure out how to get them to put that much effort into things like putting dishes in the sink and flushing the toilets.

After the corn machine, we spent some time on the giant tire swings made from old tractor tires, then on slides made from irrigation tubing, and finally on the train ride. Before leaving, we chose our pumpkin. It's a lovely pumpkin, too. We're supposed to carve it with Kassidi's family and some other families from the ward tomorrow, but it's just such a pretty pumpkin that I can't bring myself to carve it. I think I'll go try to find an ugly one in the morning.

All in all, it was a great day. I'm grateful to Kassidi for helping me out. Just having another human being taller than my kneecaps there to help me made the day much more enjoyable. Maybe I'll be willing to venture out and try other fun things again in the future. I'm not saying the near future, but probably sometime before they all graduate college.

Memo To Aiden

Dear Aiden:
While I understand that you know everything there is to know about life since you are a whopping ten years of age, allow me to share with you a few important tips for life. Consider it a little tool to help you survive until your 11th birthday.
First, let's talk about the "cool guy" grin you feel the need to put on your face every single time I take a picture of you. You're a handsome kid. Really. You are. Why do you need to do that weird grin that makes you look like half of your face is paralyzed? You know that saying that suggests that your face could potentially freeze when you're making a less than attractive look? Let's just assume that is the truth and not do that anymore.
Now let's move on to your hygeine habits. You are not allergic to water. Showers really are your friend. They make you feel all...well...clean. Clean is good. Really. It is. Dirty results in things like body odor, fleas, ticks, and the bubonic plague. I understand that you live a very busy life, but I'm going to need you to make room in your daily (or weekly at the very least) schedule for a shower. If not, I'll be forced to do what I did tonight and "help" you shower. I don't particularly care that you still have your clothes on. A little extra shampoo goes right through your clothes and causes you to get moderately clean. Also, showering with your clothes on leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling because I know you're finally changing your underwear. (That's another thing we need to talk about later.)
Okay, I think those two big tips are probably a good start for now. I look forward to more attractive photos of a less stinky you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm Practicing Patience

I usually like to write about the funny things that happen in our lives (and trust me when I tell you there are many). Tonight I want to take the time to remember the feelings I have as I'm humbled to realize I need more patience, especially with my precious children.

Sometimes we get caught in the rut of day to day living and schedules so much so that we forget to just enjoy the beautiful young spirits we're blessed with. I think that's what has been happening with me. Byron is busy and often traveling with work leaving me to take care of the kids on my own for a week or so at a time. The kids have school, doctors, specialists, etc. that I need to keep track of. To maintain a sense of control, I have a set schedule.

Tonight I was reminded that the schedule is meaningless unless I make room in it to just love my children. So, I'm practicing patience. This is my new goal. This is my purpose. I will take time every single day to spend quality time with each individual child listening to them share what's on their minds, play a game that interests them, giggle with them, hug them a little longer, and just remember what an amazing treasure each of them is. All this will happen without worry about some self-imposed schedule.

Patience. Forgetting one's schedule in exchange for time to enjoy the amazing blessings in life. That's what I want. It's what I'm going to work on.