Monday, July 22, 2013

Baby, Chores and Cooking

So after 3 years of deciding we were done having kids, Free and I both kept getting a nagging feeling that we weren't done.  After a few months of trying to make this life changing decision, we decided that there was one more waiting to join our family.

The way I found out I was pregnant was that one of the kids leaned into my stomach while cuddling on the couch and I had to run to the bathroom and throw up.  Then I realized..."Am I pregnant?" I tried a pregnancy test and there was a FAINT line that I wasn't even sure if there really was one, or if my mind was playing a trick on me. I decided to wait a day or two, and then as soon as I woke up, I ran to Albertson's got one and hurried back.  There was another faint line but more clear... I was pregnant :)  
See what I am talking about?  
The left round circle indicates if your pregnant and I was all..
" I think I see something, but, not really..."

 March 4th, 2013- 6 weeks
There goes my flat stomach that I finally got back after South Beach Diet :(
... bump already showing

April 16th, 2013- 11 weeks  
     May 8th, 2013-15 weeks

                  BOOM!!July 16th, 2013-26 weeks
         ( I know that is one round tummy!..
and I still have 14 weeks left)

First trimester was the worst out of all pregnancies I have had and had finally recovered around the 19th week. This pregnancy is completely different than my others so I think many people believe we are having a girl.  Possibly, but in my mind it's a boy, and when I talk to the baby it's always, "He" or "Buddy".  So we will see.  ;)

I hit my 27th week and have already started the nesting phase. I think I just know from experience that once this baby comes, I am going to have no desire to get things done. I know I want to enjoy the moments of bonding with this new baby and I need to give it the attention that it needs, and not worry about oil changes, house repairs, dental appointments, etc.  

One thing I am excited about that I've been working on with the kids are chores and teaching them to cook.  They have finally come to terms with chores and that while I am doing dishes, cleaning up after dinner and straightening up the kitchen, that somewhere in the house, something is getting cleaned and put away at the same time.  My 2 hours of cleaning, have now been fit into 30-45 minutes because the kids are now on board and taking responsibility for their mess. What a life saver, and perfect for when this baby comes. 

Along with these family chores, 1 child is assigned as my kitchen helper.  In the past when I attempted to teach them to cook/bake, it was 3 boys fighting about taking turns or who got to pour more, etc.  Because of this I was always shooing kids out of the kitchen and telling them, "no," when they asked to help because I didn't want to deal with their fighting.  So back to the kitchen helper assignment. Now that they know that they will have 1 full week of helping during the month, they don't bother me when I am showing another child how to cook.  The two oldest have been able to make scrambled eggs, cheese crisps, heat soup on the stove top, pancakes, sandwiches, and salads.  They are also responsible for filling up everyone's drinks and serving the prepared plates out (and I teach them to serve others first and then themselves last) It has been a great experience for them and I know it will teach them to be more self sufficient, and when I have my hands full with the baby, they can do more things for themselves, and have that practice and confidence when the time comes.

**My motivation for teaching them to cook was actually not for the new baby, but because I heard on talk radio that the skill of cooking is not being passed down to kids and our next generation is going to have an extreme obesity epidemic. The only cooking skills kids are learning are putting things in the microwave.  I was recently talking to my husband about how I remember when we first were married and I thought making Hamburger Helper and Boxed food was homemade cooking. :) He told me he really made a leap of faith marrying me ;) LOL.  I have come a long ways from then, but luckily I had the desire, time, and willing friends that had experience to teach me how to cook.  So anyways, I took this talk radio announcement to heart and knew that I needed to start that day to teach our kids to cook and be more self-sufficient. Along with teaching how to cook, I am also pointing out the names of the cooking tools and how to use them correctly.  I know that starting now, my kids will have the skills to take good care of themselves and their future families to come. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Uplifting Changes

This past May I had the opportunity to go to a Women's Conference held at BYU.  It was a very inspiring and motivating experience and it was greatly needed.

 This past year I had just felt burnt out as a mom.  Our children were constantly bickering with one another, from the moment they woke up to bed time.  Our oldest (who just turned 7) was talking back, complaining about everything and anything, jealous of his brothers, and just has a hard time with any kind of change with his schedule.  I felt like the kids would walk all over me, trash the house, and by the end of the night I was screaming at them about something because I had just had it. I missed the calm, patient mom I used to be. I was confused how our children were treating each other because my husband and I have a good, strong marriage with kind and loving communication, and we were dumbfounded why our kids had so much attitude, when my husband and I are always so calm and considerate of each other.  When the opportunity came to go to Women's Conference, and my loving husband knowing I was at my wit's end with our children, he encouraged me to go, relax and enjoy myself. I had never left my children before for that long, and actually had a lot of anxiety about leaving.  Once I had gotten off the plane and joined my mother-in-law, I knew I needed this break and was ready to focus on me.

Out of all the classes we had planned to attend, my #1 priority was going to one that was aimed specifically about not being a screaming parent.. It was the very first class out of the weekend full of classes, and the funny thing was, was that the things that were encouraged for us to do, were repeated in many of the classes we ended up going to through out the conference.  It was all simple little things that they said to implement and how much it will help in our lives.

These essentials are:
1. Personal & Family Prayer
2. Personal & Family Scripture Study
3. Weekly Family Home Evening

I heard these and in my head I was all, "check, check, check"  okay, why isn't it working for me?  But then, some true thoughts started coming as the classes kept going, and I started to really look at our family habits and that we weren't truly focused and doing these things full on.

Personal and Family Prayer:
This is something that we do, but I kept hearing (kneeling as a family).  We were saying them around the table, and then of course the kids would argue/whine of who was picked, or someone was peeking, and I just felt separated and miserable... So, the key word in there that I knew we had to change.. "KNEELING" It took some time but we now kneel as a family, and for now it is led by Mom or Dad.  We go around our kneeling family circle and everyone has a chance to say something we could pray about as a family. Then the parent who is saying the prayer, includes the thoughts of everyone into the prayer, and it truly feels as a genuine family prayer.  
Personal and Family Scripture Study
Again, this was something we were doing... but not consistently.  I know that the calling my husband and I share at church (we teach 6-7 year olds) was an inspired calling for us.  We have been working as a team with teaching, and studying that Sunday's lesson and fully understanding these basic principles for ourselves, and then able to discuss it with our children (since they are learning the same lessons in Primary) and sometimes implementing it in our Family Home Evening.(F.H.E.)  I have been keeping our church magazines and scriptures on the table. (with 3 boys it seems like they are always eating, so how convenient that they are in arms length of us the majority of the day) Many times the stories we read, relates back to what my husband and I have been personally studying that week and we can go into more depth and I feel more confident and prepared to teach my children the gospel.

Family Home Evening
Our changes that we have been making to Family Home Evening is having our kids more involved and trying to plan it out better.  Our oldest loves to plan out lessons and we have given him a minute or two with teaching.  Because of his example, our 5 year old started having the desire to teach as well.  While we were reading the "Friend" magazine, he came across something and said he wanted to use it to teach a family home evening lesson.  It was simple and all he had to do was read questions and have us answer them. It was one of my most favorite lessons!  Our goal that we would like to implement is learning primary songs.  Who ever is in charge of the songs, can never think of what song to sing, so we always go with a basic, well known one.  My husband and I have discussed having a list of songs that we want to work on as a family and learn the words and just having it prepared for them better. I think that will be a big help.

I feel, as I am following these basic principles that I was overlooking and not putting my full heart into, has started to heal my family. I have been feeling more promptings and inspiration of what changes I need to make for our family to work together.  The bickering and arguments have decreased tremendously between the boys and I know that following the Lord's counsel is healing our family and helping our boys and their relationships as brothers. The boys are also more calm, and get better control of themselves to listen to my counsel and advice, and not rolling their eyes or complaining, and I feel like they are understanding my role as a parent better, and I feel more appreciated and understood.  I have learned that I need to not go through the motions of everyday life, but to take a step back and look at the things that I need to put my full heart and effort into, and be honest with myself of what am I not truly doing. There is of course much more to work on, and this will be a constant thing to work on, but am grateful for the difference it has made for my family, and how much I(we) needed it.  It's so nice to start feeling like me again, and not the frazzled mom I was a few months ago.