Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today is all I have. I want my kids to know that I love them. I want to smile at them as many times as I can today.

--Michelle Duggar

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teenage drivers...who knew?

I have had people ask me for years if I was looking forward to having a driver. I would always enthusiastically respond yes, but it was a far-off dream. Now it is a reality, and I love it!

There are lots of reason why I love having extra drivers in the family. Of course, there are the obvious benefits, like having Jacob and Katie drive themselves (and Daniel) to seminary and school every day. They run to the store for me when I am out of something and need it right then for the dinner I am in the middle of making. They went out and bought their own school supplies this year. They even did a lot of their own clothes shopping. They drive themselves up to the church for 8:20 am youth choir practice!

All this self-driving saves me tons of time. But there is one benefit that I never expected--I am no longer the only person capable of returning library books!

For years, we have been debtors to the library as I would lose books, miss emails, or simply put off returning books. We have always had to rotate which card we used to check out books based on the one that had the least fines. Not anymore! Now I have drivers who run books back to the library for me the day they are due. Or even before they are due. It's heavenly!

But it gets better. Katie volunteered at the library this summer, so she got our library reading logs for us, picked up extra logs when we lost the first ones she brought us, checked out the next book in a series someone was reading, brought home stacks of easy readers for the little kids, and then returned everything the next time she went. Beautiful!

Now that school is back in session, she is no longer volunteering at the library. But, her soccer practice is right around the corner from the library. Alright!

So now we use the library again. One more reason to love that handy teenage license!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Awkward moments in parenting

Pretty much everyone in our family knows that we are "trying" to have another baby. To be honest, that word "trying" makes me uncomfortable, partly because the implications are a little embarrassing and partly because it causes people to make untrue assumptions. What "trying" means around our house is that we are not using birth control. Unfortunately, our entire life style--having eight children--is a very effective form of birth control. My guess is that people who aren't "trying" are more likely than we are to have a baby in the near future, especially now that we are back to school and fall sports.

Recently, one of my male family members (who shall remain nameless so that I can defend myself against the claim that I tell everyone everything) asked me if a woman ovulates when she is having her period. I spent a little time explaining about the menstrual cycle and how ovulation usually falls 14 days after the beginning of a woman's period.

Then he asked, "When you are ovulating, do you guys try every day to get pregnant?"

Uh. . .

So how would you answer that question?

I'll bet many parents, and probably all dads, would respond with "That's none of your darn business!"

That was my knee jerk reaction, to be honest. But I have a couple of good friends involved in family counseling. They have each explained to me that older children need to understand how the intimate marital relationship is something to look forward to, not be embarrassed about, and that, as they show self-control, they will be able to enjoy all these things later, all with no guilt, if they keep the commandments now.

I saw this as a potential teaching moment. An awkward teaching moment, but a powerful one.

So I was honest. I responded with a big smile, "Well, we don't 'try' every day because we have eight children and and can't seem to get any privacy." Then I explained that most people with smaller families would try every day during that time of the month but that we can still get pregnant because sperm hang around for 3-5 days after intercourse. Which means it really only takes one attempt. Then we talked about the difference between male and female sperm, etc, etc, etc, finally leaving the very personal topic of Rich and I.

Several other family members were in the room, so I took the opportunity to announce how great it is to be married and how they have a wonderful physical relationship to look forward to, made even better if they will show self-control now.

Through the whole exchange, I noticed Rich stayed noticeably absent, hiding out in the kitchen. He was probably thinking, "That's none of their darn business!"

Were these questions motivated by real curiosity, or by raging hormones? Was this just a chance to talk about sex? Probably all of the above. But at least this child felt comfortable enough to talk about it at home. I can guarantee they hear plenty of talk at the school, and it's not about how wonderful married life is!