Saturday, January 30, 2016

Prayers From the Bathroom

I've never been a patient person. But since having children I think I've gotten a little better. In fact, at one point I took pride in being a very patient mom who never yelled at her kids, rarely got upset and didn't lose her temper. However the last few weeks, lets just call it JANUARY (the worst. Am I right?), I've noticed my patience wearing thinner by the day. The littlest things make me upset. I get frustrated with my kids to the point that I feel like I need to leave the room before I throttle them. I've lost all motivation to clean my house. I feels like I'm not getting any "me" time. It seems like my kids were crying nonstop (let's be honest, I have 3 kids under 3. Someone is ALWAYS crying at our house) and I just don't know how to deal with it. Except that I used to deal with it just fine. My husband comes home at the end of the day and I'm crabby with him too. I feel anxious all the time and have a hard time relaxing to fall asleep. It's the worst knowing that things that never used to bother you now get you all up in arms. And I didn't know why, at first.

A while back there was a family home evening lesson at my parents' home about prayer. They discussed the importance of praying, when and how you should pray. And then they drew pictures of themselves praying, or of times they had experienced the power of prayer. Although I wasn't there for the lesson, I heard about it later and I will never forget what my sweet mother drew. It was a picture of the bathroom. We all laughed about it and asked her if that bathroom was because she had prayed for 20+ years that my dad would finish the second bathroom in her house, but she quietly said no. She raised five girls, and when we were growing up my dad travelled extensively for his work. There were years where he was away more than he was home. And so often, my mom was left at home with all of us. The picture of the bathroom, she said, represented her sanctuary. It was the only quiet place in our home where she could go to pray. To shut out the world and spend a few peaceful moments on her knees pleading with her Heavenly Father to help lighten her burden. Just the thought of my beautiful mother in that situation brings tears to my eyes. Tears of gratitude at everything she did (and continues to do) for us, and for a loving Father in Heaven who always answers out prayers. And then some tears in knowing that I need to be better.

My mom's example, set so many years ago, became the perfect answer to my struggles today. "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" - Philippians 4:13. Sometimes life seems hard to bear. Sometimes mopping the floor for the 58th time that day feels like the last straw. And if it was only me, all alone, it very well may be. But I'm not alone. We're not alone. NO ONE is alone. Our Father in Heaven is there. He loves us and He wants so badly to help us. We just have to ask.

Offering prayer invites the Spirit, and the Spirit helps keep me calm and level-headed. When the Spirit is in our home and in my heart, I am an infinitely better mom. I think it's time I start offering prayers from the bathroom.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tales of a Locked-In Mommy

Once upon a time (a couple of days ago), I was home with my sweet little girls. Charlie was having a sleep-over at his cousin's house. It was a weekday, so Forrest was at work. It was almost lunchtime, and Caroline and I were playing downstairs. Juliet woke up from her nap, so I went upstairs to get her. She had a full diaper, so I stayed up to change her. While I was doing that, Care Bear made her way upstairs too and was playing in the hallway for a minute or two before coming in the room and shutting the door. Then she jiggled the door handle and laughed and said "Me me lock it, mommy!" (Remember she calls herself "me me".) I didn't really think anything of it at first. I just thought she probably was struggling to get the door open but it didn't even occur to me that she had actually locked it until I tried the handle and it was indeed locked.
Here's the backstory on the door. When we bought our home and moved in, I noticed that the door to Juliet's room had key lock on the handle. It locked from the inside. I assumed that one of the many keys we'd been given at move-in fit that door. Well when Caroline learned how to work those twist locks on doors, she accidentally locked herself in Juliet's room and couldn't get out. So I searched and searched and tried every key in the house in the door and not a single one fit. So in a panic I called Forrest and he sent me some YouTube videos about how to use a credit card to unlock a door. I tried it and it worked pretty quickly. Then a few months later, Caroline started napping in Juliet's room and was consistently locking herself in, so I turned the doorknob around so it locked from the outside instead. It solved our problem at the time.
Well this time, it created a much BIGGER problem. There I was, in the room with a hungry baby and a toddler who was pleased as punch that she had locked the door, and I had no cell phone on me. No key to the door. Nothing.
My first reaction (after freaking out a little and saying a prayer with Caroline) was to dig in a drawer in the closet and find an old credit card to try my previously learned skill of unlocking the door with a card. But every angle I tried failed. I was on the wrong side of the door.
Next I attempted to pry the door from it's hinges, but I didn't have the right tools and the hinges were extremely tight.
My next move was to open the window and frantically look around, hoping that I would see a neighbor or somebody outside that I could call to for help (in the middle of January in below-freezing conditions).
For nearly an hour I rotated between these three activities in a desperate attempt to get us out of there. Meanwhile Caroline sat laying on the changing table pretending to take a nap, giggling, and saying "Mommy, me me lock it. Don't try it mommy. Door locked." And Juliet played happily, though she was getting fussier and hungrier every minute.
When I finally realized that neither of these three plans was going to work, I started scheming to pull out the window screen, climb out onto the roof and jump to the ground. I think I actually would have done that, too, if I'd had a way to get back into the house. Our front door was locked, back door locked, and although I could have used our code to get into the garage, the interior door to the garage was also locked. My next thought was that I could jump out and run to a neighbors house to borrow their phone to call Forrest, but his cell phone doesn't work in his office building and I don't have his office number memorized. Also the thought of leaving my kids alone in a room on the top floor with the window wide open was terrifying. Let alone the leap I'd have to make from the roof onto the grass below. So I ruled that out.
Finally I came to the realization that there was only one way I was going to get out of that mess. I had to kick the door down. I moved the girls back away from the door and got a little excited that I would actually be able to test my strength against a solid(ish) door. And then I kicked the door in. It took one solid kick to get the door on the other side of the frame, and then another good 2 or 3 kicks to get a gap big enough for me to get all three of us out through.
The whole time I was kicking the girls were just crying. Caroline kept telling me not to break the door, and Juliet had no clue what was going on except that there was a loud noise and Caroline was crying.
Once we finally got out, I called Forrest to tell him my tale. He just laughed and said it's a good thing I'm a she-hulk. Then he came home to take the door off the hinges and make the room accessible again. My dad came later and helped get the doorframe back in place. The door, on the other hand, is unfixable. I tried to be gentle (or at least as "gentle" as you can be when you're breaking down a door) but apparently that didn't help much.

Here she is in all her glory.

On the bright side, though, I felt like a Bona Fide Special Agent. You can call me Annie Walker, if you'd like.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 Favorites

Every year at Christmas the girls in my family do a "favorite things" gift exchange. We all pick a favorite thing of ours and buy 5 of them and then everyone gets one of every favorite thing. I LOVE this tradition. It's so fun to be introduced to new things, and I always love what everyone else gives!
As I was thinking of what to give as my favorite thing, I thought about all of the things I feel like I can't live without. Many of them aren't gift-able, but I'll share my favorites anyway!
  1. Amazon Prime. This is without a doubt my favorite invention of all time. Free 2-day shipping on nearly any item you could imagine? Generally I can't find items on Amazon at a better price than I could in the store, AND I don't have to go shopping at odd hours when my husband is home with the kids or drag the kids along with me. Wins all around!
  2. Netflix. I don't get a ton of adult interaction around here, so watching TV helps me feel more like a real person and less like a 2-year old. I have rules for myself that I don't watch TV (or get on social media etc.) when my kids are awake, but during naptime my favorite thing to do is watch a show on the laptop while I clean up the first half of the days' messes. It does seem kind of funny that we pay extra for Netflix when Prime comes with instant streaming too.. but I prefer the shows that Netflix offers, and their interface is simpler too.
  3. Macey's Anywhere Online Shopping. My life changed drastically for the better once I learned about this new grocery shopping option. I go online, select the foods that I want to buy and pay for it, and then select a pick-up time for later that day (or another day if you want it) and then I drive to the store, text them when I arrive, and they bring my groceries to me and load them in the car. SERIOUSLY?! This is a game changer, folks. Never again will I drag 3 screaming children through the aisles of a grocery store by myself. Best. Invention. Ever.
  4. LUSH body bar. This is what I ended up gifting, because it fit our price range and it was the easiest thing to give to other people. I actually hadn't ever tried one, or even heard of them, until just before Christmas when a friend suggested them. But oh man, are they awesome! They smell fantastic and make awesome massagers. Just walking into that LUSH store, I wanted to buy nearly everything I saw!
  5. Zap Cloth. My sister gifted this as her favorite thing, and it instantly became a favorite of mine too! It's a large square cloth that is free of any cleaners, chemicals, or anything else (it's literally just a cloth), but it cleans just about anything without leaving any streaks or residue. I've used it on my counters, walls, mirrors, glass, kitchen table and leather couches and it has worked wonders. I just get it wet, ring it out, and wipe away. Honestly, I don't even use Windex on my mirrors or windows anymore, just the wet Zap Cloth! I've already washed it about 3-4 times because I use it that often. My sister said hers has lasted over a year, and they're only $6! Super awesome chemical free way to clean.
  6. Ameo Essential Oils and Diffuser. This was a Christmas gift as well, and I love it! I love that you can diffuse straight from the bottle and it makes your house smell SOOOO good. Also, when Juliet was sick a few weeks ago I was able to put some oils in the diffuser and put it in her room all night to help her sleep a little better.
  7. Fleece Lined Leggings. So warm, so cozy, and they look cute too! With my 3 littles I spend so much time on the ground playing that I've worn holes in the knees of most of my favorite jeans (boo!), so leggings with a long tunic are my new everyday clothes.
  8. Kodiak Pancake Mix. We buy the huge box at Costco. Whole wheat, just add water. It's a simple, super fast meal that my kids love and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Also, it's good for you! We serve them with frozen blueberries on top and pure maple syrup so I feel good about what my kids are eating, and it's made completely from things I have on-hand. This is my go-to meal when I don't have anything planned ahead of time.
  9. Family Yearbooks. A friend mentioned a while ago how she makes family yearbooks with pictures and stories from the year and prints them in hardback to keep on their bookshelves. I loved the idea, so I started doing something similar. I've used Shutterfly, and I have been happy with their quality and they always have good promotions going. My first yearbook I made covered the years 2007-2012, the year Forrest and I met up until the year before the twins were born. Next I made one for 2013, which was the year Charlie and Caroline were born. I've been working on my next book, which I think will include both 2014-2015. I love looking back at photographs and journals and remembering everything that happened, and I think my kids will love these books as they grow up just as much as I will!
Though I hate to end on an odd number, I think that pretty well sums up my favorites of 2015. Hope you find something new that you can love as much as I do!