Friday, October 26, 2012

Holiday Traditions

Hey! I LOVE the holiday season. I think I love it in an almost unhealthy way. There may be some subconscious madness to the fact that we have had both our kids during the holidays: MORE FUN!! (K..not really...I kind of hate that my kids birthdays will forever me mired by bigger holidays.)

This year I feel a sort of crazed urgency to squeeze all the good times I can out of the next few months. I think its because Eli is really starting to get things and I can't help but feed his almost tangible excitement over things like pumpkin carving, hanging Halloween lights, talking about Christmas and Santa and planning his birthday party together. I should hold back and teach him a little decorum but decorum has never really been my wheel-house.

With all that said I'm trying to instigate some sort of Garfield family traditions. Its harder that I thought. I always assumed traditions just come organically, like they always felt growing up, but I realize now that may have been because I was getting the end of my parent's child-rearing career and they had things down by then. We do all the regular stuff but I'm having a hard time making things really unique for our family.

What are some good ideas for traditions you all have? What are some things that work and don't work when it comes to prepping kids for the holidays? Go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Telephone Line Through Time

My mom is an amazing lady. I love her more than I could ever express. Sometimes though, because 43 years separates us, I forget that she was once a young mom like me raising a big family, dealing with all the same struggles and trials that come with it.

Today I was up in Bountiful for a visit with my folks. Yesterday was their 53rd wedding anniversary and they had brought out some old photo albums and journals to peruse. I was flipping through an old journal of my mom's and looked at the date. It was from February of 1983.

I'm the youngest of 7 children. There are almost 6 years that separate me from my closest sibling. I have always wondered about the reaction my mom had when she found out she was expecting another baby when I'm sure she thought she was done. I read the following exert from her journal in February:

"I guess I haven't mentioned something very important. I haven't talked about it here because honestly I don't know how I feel about it. Heavenly Father has decided to bless our family with another baby. I really did feel like our family was complete with six, but I think the Lord has other plans for us. I can't really get my head around the fact that we're having another baby."

As I read on about how my mother was enduring intense nausea with the pregnancy, and how she was coping with the emotions of being pregnant while mothering a range of children from ages 6-22, I couldn't help but tear up a bit. My emotional reaction was in no way related to my mom's trepidation about having another child. I understand now what that really meant for her. She was older, and I think her and my dad were looking forward to a little calmer life. Having another baby meant starting over, it meant dealing with a newborn, a two-year old, potty training and kindergarten, all things I think she thought she had left behind. 

The rest of the journal posts were upbeat and cheerful. I was 13 days over due and I think that was probably the hardest part of things for my mom, who is very organized and had a large family to take care of. 

It made me think a lot about my little family. What lies in store for us? What will be the big events of our lives that will someday be looked at by our children and grandchildren as monumental? What photos will they love and laugh at? What hair styles will they mock and then eventually revamp? Taking care of Eli and Sammy is exhausting but it hit me today more than ever before that we are creating a legacy. We are making stories and creating moments that will be shared and talked about for years to come. I hope we can make a good start for our little group. 

Looking back at my mother's reactions to finding out she was expecting another baby really made me feel a closeness to her I hadn't ever felt. She was just like me once; tirelessly working day in and day out to make sure her little group was well taken care of. She talked in her journal of late night and early morning feedings, of diapering issues, of colic and baby clothes and it just made me feel so close to her. Not just close to her now but close to her then. Legacy and history does that. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Dan and I just watched this video. If you have a few minutes to watch I highly recommend it. I haven't been so inspired in a long time.

I keep thinking, "How can I make a difference in the world? How can I help other people out especially when I'm so so busy with my own little family?". It's women like this that really answer the question so just go out and do something! I want my boys to grow up knowing that there are other people in the world, people whom we can serve and help. My mom was so wonderful at teaching her kids that. I remember so many nights when dinner was late because she was out taking someone else a meal first. I want to make my home a place of service just like that.

Tonight Eli and I were talking before he went to bed. I cuddled him and told him how much I loved him. I felt, like I have so many times, a wave of love and happiness flow over me. I wanted to spend hours laying there in his bed with him giggling and talking. I realize that I am so blessed with all I have. I wish there were more opportunities for me to help others feel that same happiness.

Anyway...holy heavy-handed blog post Batman! I just feel so happy tonight, and watching this little video made me realize just how much good there is to do in the world.