Sometimes it takes a day like Mother's Day for me to step back from the daily drudgeries like laundry and cleaning bathrooms (my two least favorite pastimes) and realize what an absolute treasure I have right in front of me, all the time.
Of course I always love my family, but sometimes I get so tired of being the mess cleaner-upper, the referee for the children's spats, the doer-of-most-things-relating-to-a-smooth-running-household person (at times with very limited success), that I forget to stop and take a good, appreciative look at the incredible blessings that my children and my husband bring into my life.
Thanks to these sweet little darlings, my life is filled with things to do, places to go, and a constant source of joy, learning (as in how much I still don't know and what is really important), and character development (my mom used to say sometimes, with a twinkle in her eye, "If you pray for patience God will send you kids.").
Throughout my life I'd always been pretty confident in my ability to tackle whatever challenge lay before me...but now that I have 3 adorable, rambunctious, vibrant personalities to watch over, love, and teach, I realize that have a LONG way to go before I'm on that I-know-what-I'm-doing plateau again...and something tells me I'll probably never be there again! Experience has a way of letting us know that life is anything but static, and the over-confidence of youth tends to give way to the humble reality of understanding that there is a much greater purpose beyond oneself.
As I watch my children grow (when in the world did Eliza get so old? I still think of her as a 3 year old, and I vividly remember when she was Hazel's age) I become ever more grateful for the blessings they bring into my life.
Eliza can be such a sweet, caring, and tender little person. Sometimes, after I have tucked a little note inside her lunchbox for her to read at school, she comes home and makes a note for me that repeats what I had written on her note, plus some other endearing little things from her. She tucks the note away in my bag or vanity mirror, and waits excitedly for me to find it. I treasure those notes, and am so touched that she makes them for me.
It's so fun to watch her sense of humor develop. Just this evening, as I was browsing through the tons of photos that I had taken today of the family, while urging Eliza to go upstairs and get her pajamas on, she started giving me the "Laaaaaazy eye" (see the movie Fievel Goes West to know what that's all about). It was so random and funny that I just started cracking up, which made her do the same thing for the next half an hour, all the while giggling incessantly. We had a fun time of it, and she got to delay bedtime for 30 minutes, which she thought was quite nice too.
Being a mother means being able to see the world through a child's eyes all over again. It's so fun to see and hear how the kids perceive what is happening around them. Hyrum has been saying the funniest things lately about concepts relating to language.
For example, one morning I told him that I've got to stop letting him sleep in because he can't fall asleep at night and he stays up way too late, which makes him sleep in again the following morning. He replied, "Okay Mom, tomorrow I'm going to sleep out."
Another time, Hyrum overheard me telling Steve that Eliza had had another meltdown that day. He helpfully chimed in that he wasn't going to have a meltdown; he was going to melt up. It sounds perfectly logical, doesn't it?
Hyrum loves to laugh, play Tickle Tackle (a family favorite consisting of wrestling and tickling all at once), and strives to keep up with his older sister as much as possible. He is such a sweetie, and it just melts my heart when he throws his arms around me and gives me a big, sloppy kiss. It makes my day.
Hazel's fascination with everything around her helps me to remember the incredible variety and beauty of the things on this earth. She notices the tiniest bug and the smallest speck of a leaf caught in an invisible spider's web. Her expressions are priceless; whenever she sees something of interest she points, raises her eyebrows and purses her lips into an O with a quick intake of breath and then a big exclamation of "Ooooh!"
This particular knitted-eyebrows version of the "Oooh!" expression is also a common occurence as of late. It appears at very random times, so I can't really tell what is so perplexing, but it's funny to see!
...And here we have the tongue-escaping-the-mouth expression, just because. Perhaps she's pretending to be a lizard or a frog or something. It's fun to speculate what goes on in that little head of hers.
Not much speculation necessary to figure out what she's thinking/feeling here! I had been chasing after her for about 10 minutes trying to get a really good shot of her, and she was done with the camera business. All she wanted to do was go down the slide, and every time I raised the camera to my face her smiles turned to an instant scowl.
This expression should amuse my family quite a bit, considering that it's an exact reproduction of a sour expression on my face when I was about Eliza's age during an attempted family photo session. Nearly every single shot that day was marred by my moody facial contortions. Ahhh, the justice of the cycle of life...
This is a true picture of how Hazel is most of the time...perpetually in motion! That kid is FAST, and getting a good picture of her requires sprinting ahead of her, turning around and readjusting focus and exposure in a fraction of a second. If I have to make an adjustment because of a change in the lighting conditions, forget it. She's already past me and headed for the road so she can take a walk(run) down the street. She is, by far, the most difficult child I have ever tried to photograph.
Which is why I so rarely succeed in getting a portrait-style photo of her, but hey - these are more accurate portrayals of my little whirlwind anyway!
I can't imagine what it would be like without any of my children, I love them so much. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but my life is complete because of their precious spirits and the abundant blessings that they bring into my life.
I'm also very grateful for my husband Steve, because he puts up with a lot of drama in our house. Dealing with a strong-willed wife and 3 strong-willed children is no walk in the park, and I'm grateful for his patience. I love you, hon!
Hyrum adores his Daddy, can you tell? I love this shot of "the boys". Being outnumbered by girls makes it necessary for the men of the house to stick together once in awhile.
Steve helped the kids give me the nicest Mother's Day breakfast this morning. Eliza and Hyrum really wanted to make breakfast in bed for me, so they let me sleep in and Daddy made a HUGE breakfast for me!
We had pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes, all from scratch. Wow! That is quite an accomplishment considering that he had 3 kids underfoot and does not normally make those kinds of things. They brought up the morning feast on a big tray with cranberry juice and a little pitcher of syrup. Such service!
They had also each made me a lovely Mother's Day card, which warmed the cockles of my heart (what are cockles, anyway?). That, in conjunction with the "day off" Steve provided for me to work on some projects at home yesterday afternoon (he took the two older kids away to an aviation museum while Hazel took a blessedly long nap) made for the best Mother's Day I have ever had!
Thanks, honey, you're wonderful.
After realizing that Steve and I hadn't had our pictures taken together, portrait style, since getting married, I decided to try and stage a few with the tripod today.
The wind was making my hair all goofy, but some of them still turned out alright.
Hazel was taking a much-needed nap during phase 1 of the photo shoot, which is why she isn't in these pics...although realistically, she probably wouldn't have held still long enough to get a decent shot anyway!
Okay, you've got to be sick of seeing these pictures by now, so here I am saying HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you amazing and inspiring mothers out there, including my own dear Mom. Thanks, Mom, for being such a patient mother and for teaching me so much.
As Grandparents, she and my dad can never get enough pictures of the kids because we have been living far away from G & G for most of our married lives. So these are for you, and anyone else who isn't sick of seeing our faces over and over again!
I have lots of projects nearing completion, and a couple more tutorials on the back burner that are waiting their turn to come about, so check back in soon!