Thursday, January 26, 2012

True Enduring Love

I had never been loved by a man before Leif walked into my life and quite literally rescued me from a whirlwind of confusion and unmet love.

Looking back I am in awe at how Father in Heaven knows our life's plan so intricately. He was easing Leif into my life long before I even took notice. Helping me gain just enough trust and attraction to him to give me the courage to call him. Looking back I remember sitting next to him in Sacrament meeting and feeling so safe, so at home. That feeling only grew as we fell in love. Eventually it was a tangible warmth that filled my soul. Just to be with him. Leif was the life breath to my heart. So long my heart  had been still that I learned to live without it. When he walked into my life the wall around my very being crumbled allowing him entrance. As if it knew he was finally home and there was no need to protect. I will never be able to express the miracle his love worked upon my soul. As I write, the tears fall down my cheeks with a deep understanding of the gift he is to me.

When we were dating Leif loaned me a book. I don't remember the door that it unlocked within my heart but I remember sobbing as I read. Leif walked in while I was crying and he scooped me up into his strong and healing arms. I will never forget the feeling of peace that surrounded me during that moment. Warmth, love, healing, Christ like peace. I knew he was who Father had saved for me. He was the man I dared not dream about. One with perfect acceptance. To feel such peace was intoxicating for me. I had never in my entire life felt the healing that Leif brought. Just by being him. He still renews my soul when he enters the home. There is just something about him that completes me.

I am grateful that Leif has never felt so desolate as I have felt. I think my need for him has been somewhat baffling for him throughout the years.  As our life has progressed and the good the bad and the ugly have entered onto the stage, there are dark nights when I cry to him in frustration because I feel that he could go on with his life without me. He assures me in his faith-filled way that we shouldn't worry about the possible days ahead of separation. He tells me that he will miss me very much. But the struggle comes when I can't feel his words any more then he can feel the ache within my soul. There is something there. Something personal within us that is ours alone to work through. Love can only heal so much before it is Christ's love that is required to make up the rest.

Yesterday Leif came home from work with dinner, dessert, and flowers. Need I ask for any more proof of his love? Why then, do I? The night before last, Leif worked with the boys and unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it. And that was only one of the many many things he had done that day. Need I ask for any more proof of his love? Why then, do I?  This morning Leif made pancakes for us after he had taken Jakob to school. Need I ask for any more proof of his love? Why then, do I?  I am not left cold and alone within our cozy bedroom at night... Need I ask for any more proof of his love? Why then, do I? 

Why do I expect Leif to read my mind? Why do I compare our life to that of a fictional novel? Why am I  tempted to always want more. Why?

The answer is simple. Someone hates this gift that we have been given. Someone wants to destroy this eternal love that I have been given. The Adversary hates our love! It is I who needs to take on this fight. And fight I will!  True enduring love is ever changing.  Sometimes it is a tangible warmth within the soul. Sometimes it is a giving of your all for the other. Sometimes it is a belief that it will get better and a fight to win it back. Just as the seasons change with the warmth of the sun and the chill of the winds so it is with a true enduring love. Always look for the sun within the season. For it is the Son who endureth in all things.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jakob's Special Trip With Mama and Papa: Aviation Nation Air Show

We try to take the boys on a little trip alone with us every few months or so. In November 2011 we surprised Jakob with a trip to his first Air Show and WOW was it Great!  We used the money from our family Disney Land jar to make the trip. That made it extra special because Jakob helped earn the money by gathering and selling the eggs.

Jakob knew we were going somewhere together for a day but we wouldn't tell him where we were going. We left really early in the morning and drove to Las Vegas (Nellis Air Force Base.) We listened to music and ate treats along the way. Jakob REALLY wanted to know where we were going. But I'm glad we kept it a secret. Because when he saw the Air Force uniforms he went crazy with excitement and knew just what was happening. It was The Best!

We spent the whole day going through the booths and watching the show. It was the first Air Show any of us had been to and it was AWESOME! The Thunderbirds were AmAzInG!  We loved it!! We look forward to going again some day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who Am I?

I decided to update my profile description. This is what I've had written for the last year or so.

I am a husband loving, children focusing, time scheduling, 1000 square foot living, home schooling, ever praying, too much chocolate eating, friend listening, exercise trying, wellness seeking, wife of one full time working - ever schooling, mother of three who are very much living and two who are heaven living.
I most often answer to, Mama!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Now That Jakob's in School

Jakob's been going to the big school for a couple of weeks now... or is it three weeks? Either way, he isn't home all day long. You know what the very best part is? Jakob and I only have about 4 hours in the day where we might end up arguing. That might sound strange. But WOW, he and I can really push each other's buttons. Now there are even days where there is very little contention to speak of. Seriously, So Nice!!

You know what the next best thing about not home schooling full time is? My precious JJ has started to hug and snuggle me more. It's like we finally have a chance to get to know each other without interruption. Precious Times!

And you know what else? My sweet Caleb is officially potty trained. It happened in one day. It was like he recognized that it was his turn to grow up. His turn to shine. Amazing!

And finally, one more thing I love, I get to take naps again! So Wonderful!!

Do I Regret Home Schooling?
I've made it sound like I regret the last three months and past years of home schooling. But I Don't! I just appreciate the moment I'm in right now. Jakob's teacher commented to me the other day that she can see a unique difference between Jakob and his classmates. I won't try to pinpoint what it is. But it's good. He just has a different perspective on life and the world around him because we've been able to focus on things differently then they do at school. A;so, I would never have the respect and appreciation for his teachers that I have now if I hadn't home schooled. It is incredibly hard work and I can't thank Jakob's teacher enough for her dedication and love. I feel very blessed!

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Grade Home School Martin Luther King Jr. Lesson Ideas

Jakob (7) is a sponge when it comes to history. He LOVES it! His preferred way of learning history is through media. With that said, this is what we did this morning to celebrate the amazing Martin Luther King Jr.

I began our day by reading from the scriptures Matthew 22:39 "Love thy neighbor as thyself." We talked about the fact that Heavenly Father has commanded us to treat all of His children with love and respect and that He considers all if His children to be our "neighbor."

From there I asked Jakob to name a few people in our country's history who was heroic enough to have a holiday named after them. I started the list with George Washington. He then named Columbus. I then introduced the name of Martin Luther King Jr. I pulled up google images and googled Martin Luther King Jr. of course it pulled up several photos. I asked Jakob to tell me what made MLK's face different from mine. He told me that he was African American. I was impressed that he knew that. He followed up his statement with asking "what makes him African and American?"

Because Jakob loves history and war history in particular, to answer his question we went back in time a while and talked about slavery, the civil war, and president Lincoln. We have a world time line on our wall so I was able to talk to him and have a visual to show how even though slavery was stopped, the hate lasted for generations all the way into Jakob's grandparent's generation.

This led us to talk about what life was like for African American's (and all people of color) in the 1950's -60's. This is where we brought in the media:

National shows a short informative video about Martin Luther King Jr. and life for the African American people during his lifetime. Click HERE for the video. also shows a good video about MLK: HERE

Jakob picked up on the fact that MLK was assassinated. He really wanted to know about that. So I pulled up YouTube. We watched CBS' Walter Cronkite's report of MLK's assassination.

From there I introduced Jakob to Martin Luther King's famous speech "I Have a Dream." We watched the whole speech. It was actually too long for Jakob and the most famous part was toward the end of the speech. So I would recommend the shortened version for younger children.

The final activity in our day was to memorize a line from MLK's speech. We memorized the following:
"I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."  Jakob will recite it to his Big School class on Tuesday.

To help inspire Jakob and recognize that he is old enough to take this message to heart and even memorize it, we watched this clip of a school class reciting the speech on the steps of the Washington Memorial.

Overall, I would say this was a day to remember and ponder for days to come. I think Jakob plans to ask his grandparents what they remember about the days of Martin Luther King Jr's mission of freedom and peace. I would be interested to hear their thoughts as well.

We didn't get to this art project. But I liked the idea: Friendship Ring.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A Lovely Birthday!

I had such a wonderful birthday this weekend! My birthday (33rd) was Saturday but Leif and I ran away Friday afternoon for a fabulous evening together, no little ones! Thank you grandma and grandpa for watching our wild little bunch! We went to the Breaking Dawn movie, then to dinner, and then to the Sherlock Holmes movie. It was late by the time we drove all the way home. But it was so nice to be together without anything to do but be together.

Saturday was great because we were able to take care of a few bigger house projects (like take the Christmas tree down.) Then we were able to visit with a dear friend in the afternoon. That evening Leif came home after work with his arms loaded with the fixings for French Bread Pizza and Salad, Ultimate fudge brownies, and Peanut Butter Panic ice cream. HEAVENLY! After we put the kids to bed we enjoyed a special evening reading together. Leif surprised me earlier in the week by following through with an idea I gave him a long time ago of how we could explore each other's interests even more. I suggested that we each choose a book that we really enjoy that we think our spouse could tolerate and exchange these books with each other. Leif made me feel extra loved by following through with this idea first without any prodding on my end. I gave him Towers of Brierly by Anita Stansfield. Bless his heart, it's a Romantic LDS Fiction. I tried to find one with enough suspense and mystery to keep him from getting too bored. We sat together and read our books late into the night. So late in fact that we pulled out the cold pizza and had another round of dinner. I felt like we were in hotel together just us. It was that fun!;)

We did wake up in the morning though, and we were not in a hotel! We still had our precious boys to take care of and get off to church. But oh how nice it was to have so much special time with Leif. It was truly a Lovely birthday! Thank you my Love and thank you everyone else who called, wrote, or texted to wish me a happy birthday. It was Wonderful!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

A Great Big Hug! - Caleb's Potty Trained

Two mornings ago I was changing Caleb's diaper first thing in the morning and I had the thought come to me to send him in to go potty on the toilet. So I did.

Well, he went right in and used the potty. I decided because of his enthusiasm I would pull out his new Thomas the Tank Engine undies. He was thrilled to put them on and he's used the potty ever since. AMAZING!!!! He even took his diaper off this morning all by himself and pooped in his potty seat we have in his bedroom for that exact purpose.

WOW!! I feel so blessed not to have this big step as a battle! Truly Blessed!

Things that may have helped make things easier:
  • We purchased a potty seat that has steps and handles that sits over the big toilet seat. The potty seat has a big enough hole so he doesn't feel like he's going to go on the seat. I really like that! Great help!
  • We purchased a cool potty chair to go in his bedroom so he could use it and not have to run to the bathroom a million times during nap and bedtime. VERY Helpful!! 
  • I gave Caleb a cup of juice to keep in the bathroom and he took a drink of juice every time he went to sit on the potty the first day of training. This helped him need to go several times that day so he could get the logic down. I also slipped in a couple of chewy fiber bites as a potty treat once to help that process along too.
  • I gave him a Jelly Belly for a Pee Pee treat, Raisins for a Great Try treat, and a square of Chocolate for a Poo Poo treat. Good motivators for the first day.
Caleb is Three years and nine months. I don't recommend fighting kids about potty training. Especially boys. 
From Foto Friday January

Monday, January 02, 2012

Now What!?

Well Jakob starts school tomorrow. Now What? Up to this point my days have been filled with Wild boys whom I've tried to calm down enough to teach and in the meantime tried to keep the house from caving in. So much of our subject material throughout the day has been at a First Grade level. Now I have to switch gears and go back to focusing on Preschool and Potty Training. And I just might have enough time to keep my house tidy AND organized. What a Dream... And to think that I will be able to take the little boys to the Preschool Library hour without dragging Jakob along and having him steal the show, bless his little smarty pants heart!;) And the thought of visiting with my friends without my sweet Radar ears to add his two scents into the conversation. Get ready girls, time for our afternoon lunches again!! Anyone up for walking to pick up the kids after school? Let me know!!

I will miss my Jakob on occasion I'm sure. But the whole decision to send him back to the Big School started when he went on a road trip with G&G Baron for several days. I was in total shock by how refreshingly wonderful it was to be able to sit on the floor and play with my little boys and read books at their level. And then I felt the joy of Jakob's return home and I realized that it was time to send him out of the nest for a time and allow everyone to feel that excitement and refreshment on a daily basis.

I've set out his clothes, packed his supply box with a little Lunch Box Love Note, and set out the Morning Devotional book for us to read before he leaves for the day. All is well!

Life is a journey of change and a lesson taught through change. I have worried about making this change, especially in the middle of the school year. But sometimes the most important step in the journey is recognizing when it's time to take the next turn. It's time...

Home School Month in Review December

This month was ALL Christmas and a little bit of everything else. We were also sick the entire month which meant we watched A Lot of movies. Here's what we did and enjoyed the most!

TRADITIONS: We had three traditions we followed each day/night or started this month. However when I think about it there are many more. But here are three I'll share.

First Tradition: We give each of the kids a new Christmas book every year on the day that we decorate the Christmas tree. This year we gave them:
Jakob: Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer. It is absolutely adorable!
J.J.: Room for a Little One a Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell. This was a sweet story. We also found that it share a legend that we hadn't heard before but recognized more and more as we watched several Christmas movies.
Caleb: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Such a precious story. Caleb asked me to read this over and over again.

Second (new) Tradition: Advent Storybook 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas by Antonie Schneider. Every night we read a story from this book. It was a Wonderful way to keep us focused on Christ's love and a way to count down the days.

Third (new) Tradition: I made a 12 days of Christmas Nativity Scene Countdown this year. Every day (or so) we would color, cut out, and hang up the appropriate pieces to our nativity. This was a great way to cover several school subjects in one activity during a very busy month. I google-imaged what I needed and made them into a document. I made a simple stable with a star above it and a manger in the hay before we got started. Here is a list of the pieces:
12 Angels 
11 Sheppard 
10 mice
9 cats
8 chickens
7 cows
6 sheep
5 donkeys
4 Camels 
3 wise men 
2 parents 
1 baby 

BOOKS: We read several other wonderful books throughout the month. Here they are:
  • Luke Chapter 2 King James Version Holy Bible
  • No Room at the Inn by Jean M. Malone an ALL ABOARD READING Level 2
  • The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
  • The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke
  • The Dinosaurs Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  • The Tale of Three Trees, a Traditional Folktale Retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
  • Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack
  • Lifted (My patriotic and music loving boys LOVED this! We all did. I Bawled through the whole thing. However I didn't know the rating until it was over. It had a mother struggling with drug addiction and it did show her using them. My kids were Clueless and I just taught them that she was putting harmful things into her body and that was that.) 
Sight Word Flash Cards

  • We piled in the car for our annual Christmas Lights Drive. We brought treats along and some Christmas music and we had a wonderful time as we drove around looking at everyone's lights and ended the trip with the amazing choreographed lights to music show put on by a family in Kanab. Such a sweet tradition! 
  • We decorated a Ginger Bread House together this year. It turned out really cute and wasn't too frustrating of a process. I frosted the boys put the candy on. We quickly realized we had to divide the house so each boy had his own side to decorate. After that it was Great!
  • We let the boys stay up later then usual one night to help us make special soap for our family Christmas gifts. We made special soaps with yummy Essential Oils and special herbal teas mixed in for exfoliant and scent. Fun Stuff! 
  • We were able to participate in our Town Light Parade this year. We rode in the Fire Truck as Leif drove. We  had a great time except when Caleb thought Santa was going to come into the truck and sit with him and Jakob (instead of on the top of the truck) Caleb went Ballistic! I have never heard him so hysterical . Poor Kid! 
Dinosaurs and Fossils,  Civil War and Slavery (Abraham Lincoln), Post War Era to Present (Martin Luther King), Tolerance, Classic Literature: The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

For the Record: Changes Taking Place in the New Year

Written December 14, 2011:
We have a lot going on behind the scenes of every day life. I thought I'd share a few.

The Semester was Successful:
I have finished this semester of school and I gratefully passed both classes with good grades. I enjoy the added knowledge the classes give me. But I am hoping to put my classes on hold for a few years.

Jakob Will Start Public School Again, Home School Part Time:
After a lot of prayer, pondering, and discussion we've decided to enroll Jakob into the "Big School" starting in January so that I can focus more attention on the little boys. Caleb's wonderful preschool teacher won't be able to continue teaching into the new year. So this is more reason for me to make more time for Caleb. Now that the decision is made I'm really looking forward to it.

Caleb will be four years old in about three months. He has just recently started talking in sentences. Now that he's finally talking we can work on helping him with the speech problems that he has. We are working on determining if the problem is simply a delay or if there are other things involved.

When it comes to Home School we will still have home school on Fridays as the Public School here is only Monday-Thursday. This will give Jakob the chance to finish his BJU Press Math program and all of us time to  learn about the subjects I planned for the home school year. I will miss the good times together. But Home Schooling is VERY intense and I can't help but be relieved by the decision. I do worry about where Jakob will be in his class academically. I know he'll be fine with everything. But I worry that we didn't get far enough along with reading and phonics. But no use stewing over what I can't change now... Right? He's a really smart kid and will learn quickly. That brings me a lot of comfort!

Big Plans for Leif's Schooling:
A little while back, out of the blue, Leif and I started feeling like we needed to re-look at our plans for his Nursing School. To make a long story short we've decided to have Leif apply to Northern Arizona University's Accelerated Nursing Program. This program is only a one year program that gives Leif a Bachelors in Nursing. The program at the local community college is a two year program that gives Leif an Associates degree which means Leif will have to add another year of nursing in order to get his Bachelors (which is required for his end Nurse Anesthetist goal.)  The thought of being into a nursing career within a year compared to three years is too wonderful to give up at this point in our lives.

The NAU program is in Flagstaff AZ. This means that Leif will have to move there and we will stay behind. This is why we have always thrown out the idea before now. But I feel okay about the option now. It will be incredibly hard. But the thought of moving forward is too great to give up. The application deadline is in January and we will know if he's been accepted by March. The program is very competitive but Leif is a highly qualified candidate. He took the Nursing Entrance Exam for NAU and the average score for the students accepted into the program is 70%, Leif got an 89%.  Leif is also an EMT and will be an advanced EMT before the program starts. He is also a volunteer fire fighter in our community. Leif graduated with honors from NAU with his first Bachelors degree. With all of his high qualifications I am able to put the decision fully in the Lord's hands.
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