Category Archives: One Step

One Step Report #49

Ouch.  It was hard to type that number.

Earlier in the year I felt excited as my report numbers got higher, feeling a little bit amazed at myself for not missing a single week. The last month or so has been different, for I feel unprepared to have the year end.  In many ways I have accomplished a lot, but there is so much more I had hoped to do in 2010.

This week’s report should really be titled “Adventures in Mothering”, for that pretty much sums things up.  Every one of my children have thrown some curve balls this week.  First came the boy who said he was sick when it was time to go to school (but who, of course, wasn’t.  How did I forget the rule we have for him that you only stay home from school if you’re running a fever or have already thrown up?).  There really isn’t a way to add up time spent holding an ornery, teething baby or the number of minutes spent in the bathroom with a charming two year old.  You’ve heard about Little Mister Mischief, who was at it again today with homemade play dough colored with red kool aid smashed into my carpet.  His generous sister, who received it at Church, didn’t think about what would happen when she shared it.  We’ve had an eight year old in almost constant emotional meltdown and a six year old in eternal whining mode.    We’ve had light bulbs smashed, a free-standing chalk board (which I love) destroyed, glass broken,  messes made, falls down stairs, fights, lost shoes, you name it.  It’s been a wild week.  I’m not even going to start on the hours of headaches brought on by my very-frustrating-right-now-but-full-of-long-term-potential-if-I-don’t-kill-him-first teenager.  (Did you like that one?)  And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, my husband will confirm the truth of the list.  I am exhausted. And all this while I’m supposed to be getting a million things done.

The first week of December felt so full of the spirit and my heart was so optimistic for the month.  This week has squashed it somewhat.  My children have made so many withdrawals without many moments of peace and calm that I’m feeling like a well that’s gone dry.  You have NO IDEA how sincerely I am CRAVING SOME QUIET.  I’m going to find a way to make the coming week better, much better, than this has been.

And so here we are.  Because we’re traveling for Christmas, have another birthday to celebrate before we go and a wedding I’m helping with this weekend, I feel like my drop-dead day for Christmas, and even for the year, is Friday.  Many things have already been dropped from my list, but some I can’t bear to let go of yet.  Man oh man, I’ve got a lot to do!  I’m praying (quite earnestly) for children who aren’t in pain, aren’t interested in playing with powder, and who aren’t in the mood to fight.  Hmmm, I wonder what my chances are on that one.

And so here we go.  This week’s total:  101 steps recorded.  I’m not going to go back and count how many of them were cleaning up broken, stained or powder-covered things.  I’m pretty sure I’ll cry if I do.

Highlights:

1.  I’m not at all responsible for this, but my baby learned how to crawl down the stairs this week.  Hooray for her!  All too often she will follow the big kids upstairs only to have them all parade back down a few minutes later.  If no one notices she wants to come down, she simply finds things she can carry and starts dropping them from the upstairs landing down into the entry way.  The items get bigger and heavier until she gets someone’s attention.  Early in the week she found a piece of a revolver that Grandpa Harrison had engraved and given to my oldest, which she promptly dropped.  Oh, were we glad that no one was near when that one came down!  Both she and her Mommy are happy that she can now just follow the kids back down to join the party.  No more raining random items from upstairs!

2.  Somehow, in spite of moments like this, the house is relatively clean.  Because pretty much all I did this week was clean up random messes.

3.  I found some cool glass dishes at the thrift store.  I’m excited to use them, but I think I’d better quit going there, because I really don’t need any more dishes.  Even if they’re vintage, and beautiful, and super cheap.  Yep, I’d better quit.  But I did pick up another dictionary which will be put to good use.

4.  Thanks to the convenience of ebay, I was able to find a replacement Mary for this nativity.

5.  On Thursday I picked up a few hundred pounds of food and many boxes of #10 cans for a dry pack canning activity I was responsible for on Saturday morning (because December isn’t busy enough?!).  My space shuttle van was totally packed with stuff.

6.  I’ve been kind of a slacker in the breakfast department for a while, so this week I did a better job of cooking breakfasts that my family really like  (egg, ham & cheese on bagels being one of the school day favorites).

7.  This was a week when 90 percent of the things I did were addressed, not because I wanted to do them, but because it was my duty to do them.    I wanted to be working on other things, like Christmas preparations.  Because I felt so buried in daily life I battled discouragement a lot this week.  I cried a few times, and once I locked myself in my office so I wouldn’t light into a child I was pretty upset with.  But there were also many times when I blinked back the tears and went to work.  I didn’t get to anything that was important to me personally, but I kept my word and met my obligations.  At least I can feel good about that.

8.  Tonight I climbed in bed with my twelve year old (who was totally annoyed with me and not afraid to show it) and we talked. I helped her with some things and we ended up laughing really hard together.  It felt good.

And so the week is done.  I am grateful for my Heavenly Father who gave us the gift of his Son.  There might be hope for me yet, thanks to Him.

Have a great week!
Jennifer

One Step Report #48

If it is true that the sky is the daily bread of the eyes, I’m feasting each day around 5 pm.  The one thing I can say about clouds is that they’re great material for sunsets.   I think I’m going to post more often about our gray skies in Utah so that the sun can come out.  This week we  had three days with some sun!  I must say that on this subject I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong.

The first magical days of December have come and gone, providing rich learning experiences for my heart.  We’ve begun our evening readings of Christmas stories and have spent time snuggling in the glow of white Christmas lights.   I’m trying to savor it all and squash the part of me that lists over and over again the things I haven’t yet done.  There is this sense of urgency, not just because the Christmas holiday is coming quickly but also because the year is ending.  There are still so many things I wanted to accomplish.

As I said, I’ve had some wonderful learning experiences, but I’m saving them for another post.   This week’s report:  90 steps.

Highlights:

1.  We celebrated our son’s 10th birthday on Monday.  He is a gem and we love him so much.

2.  I attended a funeral on Thursday for a good man.  My heart aches as I watch his family try to decide how to begin the task of living without him.  I walked away from that day thinking to myself, “I have a husband.  I should never complain about anything again.”  So why am I such a wimp sometimes?

3.  Thanksgiving decorations were put away and Christmas items made their appearance.  We’re planning to travel during the holidays so the topic of a tree caused some debate.  My husband wanted to skip it entirely to make room in the budget for other things and to ensure that we don’t have a dried out tree in our home while we’re gone.  I can’t imagine snuggling with the kids reading Christmas stories without a tree in the room.  So we compromised.  I bought a very cheap, small, artificial tree that will fill in for our traditional fresh tree this year.  (My extended family might disown me for this.)  None of us are impressed with the tree as it really is a very sorry stand-in for the experience of cutting our own, but it did help that I promised the children that the artificial tree can live in the toy room as their own little tree next year.  I loved the enthusiasm of my little ones as they quickly ran for pillows and blankets to camp out under the tree mid-day.  Whatever will we do when we don’t have little ones in our home someday?

4.  A friend kindly came over and snapped some pictures of our family on Saturday.  I needed something for our Christmas cards (which are behind schedule AGAIN this year).  Let’s just say that it was an adventure.

5.  On Saturday afternoon my husband and I were privileged to attend a sealing ceremony for some friends whose adopted child was sealed to them for eternity.  It was precious, and in addition to being there we had a special personal experience with a complete stranger who won us over with her kindness and enthusiasm.   Just one more reminder that God really does know who I am.

6.  I am really trying to relax and enjoy  this holiday season, whatever it brings.  I tried to mentally note the times when we simply laughed.  It feels so good to laugh.  Why don’t I do it more often?

7.  Try as I do to help everyone have good experiences, there are more of these moments than I’d like.  They make me feel a little sad.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming to be responsible for the emotional and physical well-being of so many people.

8.  I bought my son a 500 piece puzzle for his birthday.  While I’ve decided he would have enjoyed a 300 piece puzzle more, it was fun today to sit down several times and work on it with my oldest children.

9.  I tried something new with white Christmas lights in my kitchen this year and I LOVE it.  They’re definitely staying up for the entire winter.  We’re having way too much fun with them.

I’m grateful to be alive, grateful we have each other, grateful for my Savior.  I love this time of year.  Life is good, very good.

Have a great week!

Jennifer

One Step Report #47

Well, here we are near the end of November, poised on the edge of the Christmas hustle and bustle.  We awoke this morning to several inches of snow.  It’s nice to get enough snow for a beautiful wintry scene although a bitter, driving wind has since scattered it from the trees.  My boys spent much of their day shoveling for neighbors, an elderly couple and some single women in our neighborhood.  It’s nice to have them out serving.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend and am struggling with the idea of getting back in the swing of things tomorrow morning.  Can’t I just keep my kids home like this until January?   I have loved the slow pace and the freedom to do whatever we want.  I really want this Christmas season to be calm and nourishing to our hearts.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but I’m certainly going to try.

This week’s report:  89 steps.
Highlights:

1.  I spent a great deal of time with this little cutie, helping her master the use of the bathroom.  I’m happy to say that in 8 days she has had only four accidents, day or night.  She’s sleeping in her cute little underwear and doing a great job.  I’m very proud of her.

2.  I got most of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.  I am NOT a Black Friday shopper.

3.  Because we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I got a lot of little housekeeping things done.  You know, cleaning out this drawer, hanging that thing, etc.

4.  I chose the paint color I’m using to refinish my dining room chairs.  I hope they turn out how I want them to.

5.  Something happened today that tugged at my daughter’s heart.  As I watched, I remembered the same thing happening to me when I was her age.  I remembered how I felt.  It was good to relive those feelings and I hope it helped me respond well to her expression of disappointment.

6.  Still teething, my youngest has had a tough week.  She had a terrible night a day or two ago and I ended up holding her for almost 4 hours.  I feel sorry for her pain and hope that these molars will come in quickly so we can have our happy little girl back.

7.  Yesterday I got my Christmas cards designed.  Now I only need to make 150 of them, and convince my family to get our picture taken together.  Sound fun? (And yes, I know this should have been done a month ago.  Oh well.)

8.  On Friday night I attended a bridal shower for an amazing young woman.  It’s been such a pleasure to watch her grow up.  I came home with a heart full of memories and feelings about my own journey through the stage she’s now in.  Lots to think about.

9.  I figured out how to make something that I’m really excited about, and am hoping to steal a few minutes to complete it.

Tonight we enjoyed a feeling of calm and relaxation as a family, something we relish in this brief season without sports schedules eating up our time.  In fact, it’s a feeling we’ve had a lot over the past 4 days.  I’m trying not to think about the countless tasks that will hit this week.  They’ll still be there in the morning.

I hope that your Thanksgiving holiday was a fantastic one and wish you well in all your activities and plans for December.  I can hardly believe I have only one month left in this One Step journey of mine.   Doesn’t it seem like we just welcomed the year 2010?  It’s hard to believe it will soon belong to the past.

Have a great week!

Jennifer

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