Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I learned a few things from my kids on Sunday.

#1 If you wear happy colors on Monday, the week is a bit more cheerful. (
How long has Tony been wearing a bright yellow shirt on Mondays?)

#2 You should hide your bangs when you go to sleep so they don't get ruined by morning. (Anyone get that? Help me out here)

and my favorite:

#3 Being perfect is no fun.

Ok, here's the story... Since I started teaching two years ago, I've been even more behind in anything there is to be behind in than ever before. This is frightening because I've been behind all my life. I decided my older boys needed to learn to do their own laundry. We would have our own laundry days. I would help them but I would no longer have the overwhelming heaps that accumulate with a family of six. I was sure my life would be back to being normally behind instead of over-the-top behind.

Here's a shocker: It's not working so great. Instead of laundry backed up in just one room, there are heaps and heaps in every room. Laundry is taking over the house. We ignore our "day" and wait until we cannot wait any longer and then we all fight for the washer.

So, on Sunday morning, one of my kids (for whom I am still doing laundry) asks for clean underclothes. "Oh, they must be in this pile of clean stuff... Hang on, let me look," I say. But no, there is not one pair of clean shorts for him. The panic turns to dispair as I think of the much rehearsed verse from David O. McKay "No success can compensate for failure in the home." I have failed my family. I mutter outloud as I'm searching for clean boxers, "I've failed! In the most important thing... Who cares if I'm a good teacher. My kid has no clean underwear for church... I bet sister so-and-so has clean underwear on all her children for church. I bet the other sister so-and-so's children don't know what dirty underwear is and the other sister so-and-so's kids have never seen a pile of laundry and don't know what the word "heap" means..." On and on I went with my hopeless, despairing mumblings.

Who knew my oldest son was listening. He said, "It's not that bad, mom. You aren't a failure. Who cares if those people are perfect. That's no fun. I mean, really, do you think it would be any fun to be perfect?" 'Oh sure' I think, 'easy for you to say, your underwear is clean'. I complained that I just can't measure up to all those great moms out there. 'Failure in the home' is written on my forehead. Who can bear to associate with someone who fails in their home? With more wisdom than I give a 14 year old credit for, he said, "If anyone looks down on you for not measuring up, they aren't perfect, are they? That's pride. You can't have pride and be perfect."

Then he was gone.

I stood in between my heap of dirty darks and clean whites with my face as puzzled as the Grinch's when Christmas came just the same.

Having never experienced perfection, I don't know if it's fun or not. I think it would relieve a heap of stress. I continue my quest for perfection, thankful to have amazing children who are my teachers.

I'm happy to say that the following day, Monday, we all wore cheerful colors, everyone had clean laundry put away, we went ice skating and our bangs looked fabulous. Although we are not perfect, we had a perfect day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Candy Cane Ballerina

Louisa has been asking when she can be in a play. To her, that means being on stage with a costume and people clapping. She can't wait for her turn to be in piano recitals or give talks in church. She is so not like the Elison boys. She started taking ballet this year and happily, they were on stage with costumes AND make up for three performances of The Nutcracker. I cannot believe how much she loved the whole experience. In the first performance, she was watching her teacher backstage the whole time and ran into one of her fellow candy canes and the girl behind Lou then ran into her. Domino candy canes. She got to curtsy to the Sugar Plum Fairy and let me tell you, that was the biggest thrill. She started begging me for toe shoes. She knows if she has them, she will magically dance like the Fairy. So, of course, I'm the bad guy. I'm holding her back. SHE could be Clara if it wasn't for her mom...

And I still
am amazed that a girl with all brothers is in ballet shoes instead of cleats. I'm convinced they come from Heaven with those kinds of preferences already established.

Speaking of brothers... Have you ever taken three boys to a ballet? I should say four boys, Blake was there, too.
There is not an ounce of ballet culture or appreciation in these boys. The cool dude in the middle laughed for 90 straight minutes. His hand was cupped over his mouth but an occasional hoot would escape from time to time. Their dad was absolutely no help. In fact, one could say he encouraged his boys to continue their barbaric behavior. Oh and please, when the guy in tights came out to dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy, we hit an all time low on the culture meter.

Next time, I'm sitting on the other side of the theater.

Christmas pictures part 2

Louisa with her Hannah Montana wig on.

Louisa with her fluffy pen

All the presents under the Christmas tree. Notice the Who tree. (We wanted a real tree this year. The kids all loved the little ones. I think they felt sorry for them. Then they didn't want to cut the top off. It was straight for about 5 minutes. Each day it looked more and more whoville-ish) (Nice baseball jammies, too)

Jonah is helping Anthony pull the paper off of his present.

Nate with his new ukulele

(Louisa wearing the outfit Aunt Mary Louise sent. She always loves the new pink clothes that come in the mail)

(Nate helped with this post. My comments are in ( ). )

Friday, December 26, 2008

225, 315 who's counting?

Leave it to my friend Cheryl to point out that I am not 225. My kids are not doing so great with the new math stuff. When Jonah threw out a number, I was too taken back to even check his work. So I guess I'm really 315...

Yesterday 225 sounded old. Today it sounds like a spring chicken.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas pictures

Guitar for Tony

Is this seriously a Hannah Montana wig?

Jonah painted this in art last year. Blake got it framed for him for Christmas. It is a keeper!

Nate with his new book. He has not put down his ukulele. I don't know when he'll stop to read.

I think this is what he really wanted.


Christmas is winding down. Two kids and one dad are snoring. The other two are quietly playing with new treasures. I left my camera at my mom's house when we went there to play in the snow yesterday. Nutcracker pictures are coming soon...

I can't stop thinking about my blessings. This has been the whitest Christmas I have ever experienced. It started snowing late last night and didn't stop all night. Snow was falling as we woke up to delighted and eager sounds of our kids. I'm grateful for our warm beds, our health, our faith, our extended family, our friends. I'm grateful for our freedom, our jobs, our home, our four-wheel drive (seriously, this San Francisco girl is a wreck driving in the snow without it).

But mostly, I'm thankful for my kids. They teach me. They inspire me. They are fun! We have had a great time together these last two days. I don't like the fighting. I do love the laughter.

I can't help but be mindful of those who do not have warm beds or healthy children or jobs or freedom. I think of those who are so challenged by the snow they cannot see the beauty. I want to teach my kids to be mindful of them also and to realize we are blessed.

So, of course, I mention this to them and say we should clean out our house and find things others can use. We have so much. Louisa screaming and sobbing, "NO!!! I want all my stuff!!!"

Not to be one to compare my children...

When Jonah was that same age, he said, "They can have my pooh bear blanket." I wanted to say, "No, lets pick stuff we don't use" but I let him take his favorite blanket that he had never slept without in his six years of life. He gave it up and missed it for at least a year but understood that it went to keep someone else warm. Why is that hard for my little girl to understand?

Because she is a spoiled princess? probably. I always thought I would have a Laura Ingalls not a Nellie Olesen.

I'm braiding her hair tomorrow.

I didn't say everything was perfect, but we did have a wonderful Christmas. Oh, and my lovely children reminded me that my birthday is coming up. They were excited to figure out my age in dog years. 225. I was fine with my 40-something age until they did the math...

When was the last time you figured out your age in dog years? Yeah, that's right, it's ugly.

One more blessing to count. I'm grateful I'm not a 225 year old canine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Card has a beautiful winter scene Blake painted but then sold because we are too exhausted to even think about putting all four of our kids together long enough to take a picture. Too dangerous. So it says to get the update from this amazing blog. Trouble is, while it is amazing, there is nothing very updated. Not even Halloween... So if you have come for updated photos and videos, I won't encourage you to hold your breath, but I will promise they are coming. All I have to do is take Nate to orchestra, pick up Tony from band, drop him off at piano lessons, get Jonah off to scouts, take Lou to get her Nutcracker pictures taken (she's a candy cane), make sure they all do their homework, figure out what is for dinner, finish a couple of heaps of laundry, grade 145 Science tests, pick up Nate from orchestra, remember Jonah is at scouts (does he have the treat today??? ahhh!!!) and then I'll be back to update this amazing blog.

My people have not yet received their Christmas cards (I can't bring myself to lick the nasty envelopes). Blake's people should have theirs and probably already come and gone thinking there is nothing amazing here.

Amazing is coming. soon.