Sunday, April 25, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Love BYU Women's Conference

This week, I am going to BYU Women's Conference with Rich's sisters, and I can't wait! Here are the top ten reasons why I love Women's Conference:

10. Other people cook all the food.
9. You get to spend all your time with family and friends that you usually never see. (And everyone wears name badges, so when your visiting teaching companion from your freshman ward happens to be there, you remember her name!)
8. You get to attend spiritually uplifting classes and see members of the General Auxilliary Boards, and hear an Apostle speak, all with no children around. In fact, children are not allowed, so you don't even have to feel guilty for leaving them at home.
7. BYU isn't exactly close, which means you get to either drive or fly there, visiting with friends or reading or just relaxing, all without any children around!
6. Did I mention that there is no kitchen so you actually can't do any cooking and must buy all food out? BYU and the surrounding community have a lot of yummy food options.
5. You get to go to the BYU Bookstore. (If I have to explain this, then you mustn't love bookstores, especially the BYU Bookstore, like I do.)
4. You get to attend the Shadow Mountain Music Sampler night in the Marriott Center, which is like going to a free LDS music concert. Also, you can participate in the service night. I never have, but this might be the year! Really, you can do as much, or as little, as you want. (And you guessed it, no children!)
3. You stay up late and talk and laugh and eat snacks and get almost no sleep but have so much fun with people you love who live too far away. (And you can't make the snacks but must purchase them--no cooking allowed!)
2. You get to be back at BYU with its memories and beautiful campus. Everything at BYU is fun. And this only lasts two days. Anyone can get away for two days.
1. You come home motivated and refreshed (and tired). And you feel ready to cook and you love being back with your children again.

So you can see how much fun it is. And you can see why I am so excited. You can still sign up. Here's the link.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Theory vs. Reality

So here is the reality of having children do the laundry for a week.

These are the piles of clean clothes. They are supposed to be neat piles that children can carry back to their rooms.

I am so thankful to be feeling good enough to take it over again!

Friday, April 16, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

This morning, Beth, our seven-year old daughter, asked if she could do her own laundry. A friend came by yesterday to let me rest on the couch while she fed our family lunch and helped get the laundry sorted. I can't lift the laundry basket (and I'm supposed to be taking it easy, remember?) She had the children help her sort. While they were in the laundry room, my friend taught the kids how to run the washer.

I love my washer and dryer. They are a set of those huge front loaders that I got a couple of years ago when our smaller set started putting rust stains on the laundry. I have loved doing laundry ever since, and so I do the laundry for everyone but the teenagers. It never occured to me to teach the 7,8 and 11-year olds to do their own laundry.

Well, last night Josh asked for a laundry basket of his own so he can do his own laundry, and then, this morning, Beth went down and did a load of her own clothes. Amazing!

As I explained in my previous post, I have been ordered to "take it easy" by the doctor--and everyone I know seems to agree except my own family members, who I think at this point are wondering when on earth things are going to get back to normal around here?! Since I have been laying around trying to rest more, I had some time to ponder this strange, but appreciated, request of my children to do laundry, and I realized there is a very practical explanation. It's not because they are concerned about me doing too much or because they have some magnanimous impulse to help more. It's because there is a huge, overflowing basket of dirty clothes in their room, and a bunch more clothes all over their floor that don't fit in the basket. And their favorite clothing items are in that big pile. And they want to wear them. And they are tired of waiting on Mom. So they figure the fastest way to get those clothing items clean is to do the laundry themselves.

It's interesting because it seems to me that, as hard as it is to be unwell, whenever over the years I have been unable to do the work I normally do, like keeping up with the laundry, because I am newly pregnant or just had a baby or have something like this cyst which throws me for a loop physically, my family is forced to pick up the slack. Maybe it's good for Mom to have some things that take her out of the picture now and then.

Now, I'm not saying it's easy. You are supposed to be "taking it easy" and you happen to wander around the house and see all the work left undone. That's enough to make anyone go back to bed. (And it makes you really hope that the nice Relief Society ladies bringing dinner drop it off at the door.) But when Mom is out of the picture, the family eventually gets a little uncomfortable. All those things that are usually just done are not getting done. So they decide to do them, sometimes to be helpful, but more often than not out of self-preservation.

Now I'll admit this is a very, very slow process. And a child's effort is often still a child's effort, which means you have to overlook some of the things they don't do the right way when they try to help. But I love the idea that something so long-term as children learning life skills that they will keep forever comes in the midst of what is really a short-term trial. Because I can't do it, they suddenly have the motivation to do it themselves, and they learn some pretty important things in the process.

This process has been especially painful to me when I have been newly pregnant and am thoroughly sick and exhausted, with no energy or desire to do anything. The house falls apart, and I feel terribly discouraged. But eventually, slowly, everyone helps more. Amazing, afterwards, my fatigue and sickness go away but they get to keep what they gained. They are a little more capable and a little more knowledgeable about how to do some important things like cook, clean and care for themselves.

Often, it 's hard in the swirling of life to slow down and teach. But when life forces you to slow down, then you sometimes have no other choice but to teach (or to have a good friend teach.) In this way, I have taught children to cook while sitting at the table with my head laying on my arms. In this way, I also have taught children to change diapers and do dishes and how to do a good job picking up a room. I have even taught a child to mow the lawn while resting in a lawn chair watching nearby. And apparently, in this way, I am now teaching children to do their own laundry.

That's what I mean by the title "No pain, no gain."

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taking It Easy

I have been out of commission because I had surgery last week. What looked to be two ovarian cysts turned out to be one very large, twisted cyst up near my fallopian tube. I didn't lose the ovary or the fallopian tube, and I came home the same day. Great news! It was a less complicated surgery than expected, and I figured I would be back to normal in no time. My doctor, on the other hand, warned me to "take it easy" for two weeks in order to have a good recovery. She emphasized this to me three different times.

Last week, it was no problem to take it easy. For the first two days, I felt so lousy that I was only pain-free when laying flat on my back in bed. Then, my mother-in-law came for the next few days. I could lay on my side and get up more and more, but if I ventured out of bed for too long, it caught up to me pretty quickly, and I would stumble back to my room. Over the weekend, Rich was home and I was able to lay around some more.

Today, I face the first day of my second week of "taking it easy." This morning I took a look at our schedule for the rest of the week. Here it is:

5:30 pick up twins from track
7 pm Book Club (optional but they are discussing Amazing Grace which I loved)
7:30 pm Joshua Boy Scout Board of Review
8 pm Daniel basketball tryouts. Rich has been asked to stay and help rank boys.

3:30 pm Jacob and Katie track meet
4 pm Daniel track meet
4 pm Beth soccer clinic
7 pm Relief Society Weekday meeting

5 pm Scoutmaster Review for Josh (wrong order, I know--don't ask)
5:30 pm pick up Jacob and Katie from track
6 pm Daniel basketball game
7 pm Scouts/Youth night at the church which includes Rich, who is a Wolf Den Leader
7:15 pm Drive Daniel up to the church after his basketball game

4 pm YCL meeting for Katie
4 pm Deacon's Quorum campout drop-off for Josh and Daniel
5 pm pick up Jacob from track
5:30 pm Jacob Teacher's Quorum service project, tentative

Of course, I didn't list all the other daily items like homeschooling, doing laundry and dishes, and supervising children as they do their chores. And I forgot to mention that Rich just started a full-time project that keeps him away until 6 pm every night.

So here's my question. Does it count as taking it "easy" when you have to figure out how to get three children to two different locations on different sides of town at the same time? Is it taking it "easy" to have a son involved in two sports at once? How about if you didn't allow him to play two sports but you found out at the last minute that he is going to play off-season basketball and that the team did not miss registration, which is why you let him run track instead? Am I taking it easy if I have to skip the fun, relaxing things that would allow me to sit down and visit with friends, like book club and Relief Society, and instead spend my time driving children from one place to another? Is it considered taking it easy when I am at home taking care of little children by myself while Rich is off doing Scouts or helping with basketball? Yah, I don't think so either.

So I guess I am done "taking it easy." I'm not complaining. I am grateful for all the help we received, and I love our big, busy family. I just hope my doctor doesn't find out!