Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt

 This is an annual event that Hershey puts on - free Easter Eggs with Kisses and Reeses in them - better than jelly beans in my opinion.  We had fun and it was freezing.  There was only a light dusting of snow, but the wind was pretty chilly.

 Lily really wanted to come get a picture with the bunny...but couldn't bring herself to do it last minute.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Good Reminder - no matter our age

Excerpt from this talk.
My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:  You are loved.  You are dear to your heavenly parents.  The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.  He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
I'm the littlest in this picture - the cute clown
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.
More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.
I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service. Sisters, trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful.
It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.
I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Spring

Spring is here - just without the warmth and flowers and stuff.  (I know complaining won't help).  We did have fun jumping in puddles.  But I'm going crazy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Some Highlights

Lily had crazy hair day at school and wore her sweater backwards.  She loved it.  Its so great to see how excited kids get about small things.
I needed a nap the other day and tried to let the girls have quiet time on the living room floor so they wouldn't wake up David.  It went ok for half an hour, which is pretty good.

Here's what she was looking at to give some context of the video

 This the the 121st drawing of a Mommy Humpback and Baby Humpback whale.  I kept this one because Lily drew it for Suzy, and Suzy really liked that there were dots on it.

Suzy has been a sunbeam for 3 months now, but before she was these were her nursery leaders.  Suzy loved Brother Muleck.  Every time we walked into sacrament meeting, she'd find him and then hide behind the pew or behind our back while pointing and giggling.  They're such a nice couple and we had them over for dinner tonight.  Jon asked him about his beard, and then I said, "Do you get asked things like that a lot."  He responded, "I think people don't really know what to ask."  I guess he's going to do a fundraiser in a while - when they hit a certain dollar amount he'll shave and donate it to a medical clinic in the area.

And the girls are getting better at actually helping to clean.  I love it - though this was their first day vacuuming.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not fair!

Not my proudest Mom I thought I'd share it because I love these pictures.  Here's the story:  I was trying to get one good picture of each kid...just as a matter of making sure we have some high resolution ones of them periodically.  Lily was having a snack of some chex though...and that's not really conducive to getting a good shot.  I finally said, "Lily, you can smile and keep the chex, or not smile and I'll take the chex away."  I know...abuse of power right - and Lily totally caught on.  With indignance she said, "Mom!  That is not a nice choice.  If you say no chex for smile, then I'm not going to smile."  I felt silly, but got these great pictures.

The one above is my favorite.  Ah man - I laugh every time.

Realizing I'd been pretty silly and feeling thoroughly rebuked, I changed my tactic.  I said, while looking through the lense, "Hey Lily - what does a blue whale eat?  Do they eat...fruit?"  She thought that was hilarious:

Questions, Questions from kids

Every kid asks a lot of questions.  I'm not sure if Lily asks more than usual, but I do think that Jon has helped cultivate her curiosity and desire to find an answer that makes sense.  Here are some...that I can remember.  (Her question is in italics, my answers in normal type).
Mom, Is Heaven in Utah?  No (with a smile).  Then, how far away is heaven?  Um...that's a good question.  I don't know.

Mom, what does a toot look like?  You mean, like when you toot and it smells bad?  Yes, can you show me what it looks like on your phone? (she was not being silly, but in complete sincerity)  Well, a toot is gas, so you don't see it.  Gas? (puzzled) How do I have gas inside of me?  I think this is a good question for Daddy.  (I realized her only other exposure to the word "gas" is when we put it in the car, and had no idea how to explain that).

Mom, how can you walk on a planet?  You have to go up in the rocket and wear a space suit so you can breathe.  And so you don't fall down?  Well, its more just so you can breathe I think.  Oh.  I want to go to a purple planet someday and walk on it with you and David and Suzy and Daddy. 

When Lily asks the same question over and over, it usually means that she didn't understand the first answer but wants to understand.  She's asked us a lot lately about counting - Jon helped her count to 100 on our drive to the temple last Saturday.  Today while we were going to visit Jon as work, she asked:

Lily: Mom, when is the end of counting?  
Lauren: I don't know how to explain that to you in a way that you'll understand.   
Suzy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
Lily: (talking to Suzy) No!  That's not the end of counting.  It just keeps going and going and never stops!

Another tricky thing for Lily right now is when there are rules, laws, and exceptions.  She's been asking us a lot about jail and what it is - and we were trying to explain it as a long time out for when someone makes a very bad choice.  Then I realized that she had played a game with a friend where they put her in "jail" so we were going way over board.  But, its too late, and she's confused.
When we were in Harrisburg visiting Jon today, there were some police signs up blocking a stairway outside.  "Hazard: snow and ice.  Do not walk" was the sign, but all the snow and ice have melted.  So - right after we'd told Lily we'd go a different way and told her why, someone walked around the sign and used the stair case.  We weren't sure what to tell her in answer to all her questions and she ended up dropping it - until we passed that same path in the car while driving home.  We had the same conversation - she's just trying to figure everything out.  Suzy's role is really funny too.  Suzy isn't asking questions yet, but she is listening to all the conversations.  She usually will throw in a comment at the end.  Today after the second talk about the blocked pathway, Suzy said, "But we want to be special, so we took the sign down and put them back up."  I don't know what she meant, we didn't take anything down and up.  But...ok.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What about angry?

Last night, Jon and I were at an appointment with our therapist - Ron.  Its been a couple months since our last visit, so we drove through an hour of snowy weather to get there (it usually only takes 30 minutes).  Anyway, I've had this experience a few times.  I'll be sitting in my chair, and Ron says something to Jon and me which totally doesn't make any sense to me.  I used to think, "He doesn't know what he's talking about."  But a few months later, I'd learn what he'd been trying to say, and think, "Wow, I'm so glad that I understand this now.  I'm so grateful for these new tools that Jon and I have.  I guess Ron was right."  
Right now, I'm still in the, "huh?" stage because we were talking and Ron said, "Anger is neither good or bad."  What?  What?  He then explained it this way.
Discomfort, distress, frustration, anger - they're all the same emotion.  They are different volumes of the same emotion.  So - I'm asking myself, does that mean its ok to get angry?  No one would say its wrong to feel discomfort.  Here comes in the syntax problem.  I think that I'm conditioned to say, "get angry" because I've associated the emotion of anger with an unrighteous action (hitting the wall, yelling, etc).  But, as Jon and I were talking on the way home and breaking this down, we started thinking that the anger isn't telling us to do those unrighteous things.  The anger is only saying, "i feel angry," and we feel so uncomfortable with our own anger, that we tell ourselves to try to take control of the situation by doing something about it (like hitting the table, yelling, etc) which I understand as "getting angry."  But what about feeling angry?  Is there really anything wrong with the feeling of anger?  I guess - maybe there isn't.  Ron said, "It's when we attach that anger to power - telling yourself 'I shouldn't feel this way,' that there is a problem."  So...when I'm feeling angry and I my self-talk is, "If I were a really good Mom, I wouldn't feel angry," then I try to use what power I do have to make it stop and to make it stop now - because I want to be a good Mom.  I guess I'm trying to change the external factors, thinking that will make the anger stop, instead of just letting it be there.  That is why I'll snap at the kids when I've asked them to do something and they keep ignoring me.  At first, it kinda bugs me (discomfort) and with each time I keep asking them, its more uncomfortable, but I can still handle it.  Then it gets up to anger and I'm desperate so I yell - like putting the burden of my anger on them, expecting them to make it stop if only they would...x, y or z.  One thing I haven't thought about too much is that anger is an "out of control" feeling for me.  I'm usually not angry if I know what to do - that's why this book has helped out my parenting a lot.  But when I'm out of juice and I don't know what to do...that is when I feel angry, because I'm stuck.

As I was trying to understand this, I asked, "So...what do you do when you're angry?"  Ron answered, "I welcome it."  (I'm thinking: I responded, "What does that look like?"  Ron said, "Let me tell you a story.  I was at a conference for therapists with David Burns (he wrote "Feeling Good") and he was saying how he's written all these books on how to be a therapist, but he realized that if you don't have an alliance with your client - you can't help them and use all the techniques I've been teaching through my books.  You have to build that alliance.  One common issue that comes up is that people will come in and be angry.  They'll be angry with their spouse or with a situation or even with you because they feel like the therapy isn't helping.  What do you do?  We started doing role plays and rating each other, as therapists, on how well we did at handling the situation.  And what we found was this: The patient would come in and say, 'I'm so angry about...whatever is was,' and then the therapist would respond, 'I can see that this is really frustrating for you.'  We found that all of us were really bad at identifying with a person who was angry - we were sending the message, 'Don't be angry...just be frustrated.  Just bring that emotion down.'  What that did was leave the client alone with their anger and lose that opportunity to build the alliance.  They say they're angry - I say their frustrated - and they have no one to be with them in their anger.  This is a really difficult problem."  

I'm going out on a limb here, but I wonder if we are responsible for our emotions - or just for what we do with those emotions?  I often feel like a big two year old, totally amazed at the depth and variety of my feelings and not knowing what to do with them.  The answer I keep getting is to not fight them, to just let the emotions come.  I'm not sure if you can call depression an emotion - but even that seems to go better if I just let it come, and focus on enduring it, rather than making it go away.  Maybe its kind of like being on a rough sea - the waves are coming and they're huge and its not our job to make them stop - just to ride them.  I don't know...

Meanwhile, its doing the freezing rain thing over here.  As someone who grew up on the west coast, its always crazy to me.  
 There's a quarter inch of ice on everything that wasn't salted.  

 So I think we'll be inside, in pajamas and reading books / watching TV / quilting all day.  Kinda nice in some ways right?