Friday, March 8, 2013

Stay At Home Mom

    When Adam was in the first grade I went to a parent teacher conference at the beginning of the school year to meet his teacher and find out what her expectations were for the year. We talked for a few minutes and then she looked me deep in the eyes and said, “You're a stay at home mom aren't you?” I said yes and asked her how she knew. She said that in the first two weeks of school she could guess with a 99% accuracy which children had stay at home moms and which ones didn't. She said that the children raised in day cares were always needy for attention where children with stay at home moms seemed very content with their world and did not need extra attention. This has always stuck with me.
Adam in the 1st grade. I'm glad his teacher
could tell he was well loved and content. 
    I grew up in a home where my mother was home most of the time when I was little but worked full time once we got into school. My mother was an excellent mother. I always felt loved and even when she worked an 8 hour shift and she had to come home to take care of laundry and meals she would still read to us every night. She made sure we knew we were loved and we were her number one priority. I wanted to be a mom like her. She had no choice but to work with eleven children.  I knew it was stressful for her to work and be such a good mother. I didn't think I could do both as well as she could. I will talk more about her amazing example in a future chapter. I wanted to be able to be a stay at home mom full time. I knew being a mother was the most important thing I would ever do and I wanted to do it perfect.
My mother holding me and my twin sister. 
My mother was an amazing mother, the best
    I got my prayers answered and I got to stay home with my children. I married a man who saw how important it was to me and who knew children thrived better with a mother at home. I wanted to be able to go to every game, to see every program, be there for every achievement, first word, first step, first date, take care of them when they were sick, etc. I didn't want to miss anything. There were times when it was hard, very hard. There were times I wished I could run away and get some sleep and some time to myself. Several experiences showed me staying home was the best thing I could do for my children. 
I loved cuddling up and reading books. I would start to read to my smaller
children and soon the older ones would join us. 
Life doesn't get any better than this
Children even need you when they get older
    I watched an interview with a woman on TV. She had married a very wealthy man. She lived in a mansion, had fresh flowers in every room of her house and she had nannies taking care of her children every day so that she could shop in the finest stores and buy all the prettiest fashions. Overnight it all changed for her. Her husband left her and she was penniless because of a prenuptial agreement. She was even homeless for a while. She went from great wealth to nothing. She later married a man who was a garbage collector, a very humble man. They lived in a small house with no fresh flowers and no designer furniture or clothes and she took care of her own children. As long as I live I will remember her tearfully telling how happy she was for the first time in her life. She knew what deep down love was and she grew to know and love her children. She said that being kicked out of the mansion she lived in was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Money doesn't buy happiness.
    I often would take my children to parks and on other outings. Often while we were on our outings there would be a day care group that would be there, whether it was a museum, a park or the zoo, etc. Often the adults would be together talking while the children ran around doing whatever they wanted. I observed more than once a child crying in a corner or out in the sand with no one around. These adult didn't seem to even notice a lot of what was happening. I wanted to hug these lonely sad children and take them home. I knew these workers, even the good loving ones, would never love a child like their own parents should. I felt bad for these children not having a mom there to hug them and tell them everything would be OK. 
We loved going places together
My children drew me sweet pictures and gave me
handfuls of dandelions. 
Look how beautiful I am. I look younger here

I am all dressed up for a night on the
town in this one
    I volunteered a lot at my children's schools. I was helping at school one day when the children were making graham cracker houses. I had a fun time watching them and helping them, especially being there to watch Haley make hers. I had brought my camera and I was taking pictures of Haley and her house when a little boy asked me if I would take a picture of him with his house. I took a picture. He told me that his mom worked and she never came to help at school. I could tell he felt really sad about it. Later that same year I went to field day and watched all my children compete in different events for their gold, silver or bronze medals. A lot of parents came for these events, even taking time off of work to cheer on their children on their big day. I felt bad for the children who didn't have anyone to cheer them on. I remember one little boy in particular who kept telling us he wished his mom or dad could come and watch him. It broke my heart. He ate lunch with us. I was not his mother but I decided that day that I would be his step-in mother for a day. I cheered as loud for him as my own children through the rest of the day. He couldn't wait to run up to me after the event and show me his silver medal. I just kept thinking, “It is your mother or your father you should be showing this to”. I felt sad that his parents had missed out on this time in their sons life.
A graham cracker train we made at home for fun. They are pointing
to the car they each made.

I got a lot of sweet notes from my children
    My husband had a big work party at one of his co-worker's homes. The house was a huge fancy house decorated with the finest of everything and the biggest and best in entertainment. They had rented an inflated jumpy castle for the kids to play in and most of us adults talked while we ate a lot of delicious catered food. This house was very fancy and I knew both parents worked to be able to afford it all. The women all ended up in one room talking while the men were looking at a fancy car outside. The woman who lived in the house where we had the party had very little patience with her children and she joked about how she was happy they would be back in day-care on Monday. She said she was anxious to get back to her own adult world at work. From there the conversation turned to which day-care was the best one. All these women discussed day-cares for quite a while, the cost, which ones were better etc. I looked around at all the fancy things in this house and I felt so sad. I wished these women knew, like the garbage collectors wife, that happiness could not be found in a big screen TV and the corporate world but in these little children who could fill ever hole in their parent's soul with their smiles and hugs if they let them. I looked around at the great number of their possessions and felt sorry for this woman to the very depth of my soul. I went home to my humble home with so much less materially and felt like the wealthiest woman alive. I had 6 children who gave me tight hugs all day every day, children to read stories to, who wrote me notes about how I was the best mom in the world. I have not traveled to foreign lands, I have never been on a cruise or on a fancy vacation. I have never had expensive cars or huge TVs but my children have been raised to know I will be there cheering them on in everything they do. The walls of my well-worn home are filled with laughter and love and children who know they are the most important thing there is in my life.   
What more could I want than this. Motherhood is the best job on earth. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013


    I have often heard the saying, “Into everyone's life a little rain must fall”. Rain falls on all of us. We sometimes hate rain when it soaks us in unrelenting sheets of wet and cold. But without rain the flowers wouldn't grow. So rain it will, on all of us. My hope with the rain is that there will always come growth along with it. It was no exception with my oldest son Adam. In fact the rain came even before he was born.
    Winn and I got married as poor college students. I quit school to work and Winn worked and went to school. With the costs of school, apartment rent, food, etc, we decided to wait until after Winn graduated to have children. We had the perfect plan. Until....after two months of marriage, I decided I desperately wanted a baby. I could not stop thinking about it. I told Winn I had faith that everything would be OK if we had a baby while he was still in school. I felt peaceful with that thought. Winn resisted but eventually weakened to my sad eyes and my deep desire to be a Mother. After being married for 5 months I became pregnant. I was very excited.
    Then the rain started. I got morning sickness to the extreme and I threw up at even the smell of food. I threw up all day. I couldn't keep anything down. It was rough. I even found myself cleaning throw-up out of the carpet at the store I worked at, on my hands and knees, with customers looking on in pity. I threw up so often that I was light-headed all the time and I passed out a few times. I was losing weight instead of gaining it like I was supposed to. I prayed in my daily prayers for 2 things, that the times I passed out I would not hurt this baby in my fall and that the baby would get enough nourishment to grow and develop the way that he should. I survived the pregnancy but in the end I only gained 4 pounds instead of the 30 my doctor recommended. I lost a lot of weight but the baby grew well, although he was 2 weeks late. The 9 and a half months was brutal but I knew it would be worth it.
Thanksgiving and I'm overdo, hoping for the baby to come soon.
    My water broke one night and we went to the hospital. I was in labor all day but I was not progressing, even with an IV to help speed things up. They prepped me for a c-section because there is a risk to the baby once the water breaks, if labor does not progress after a long period of time. We prayed surgery would not be necessary because we had no insurance or enough money for a surgery. At the last minute my body went to work and I was able to have him in the traditional way. We welcomed a healthy baby boy and we named him Adam. Winn had to sell his motorcycle to pay the hospital bill. I considered this a big blessing because Winn drove too fast and kept crashing and hurting himself. I got a discount on the delivery at the hospital where my mother and I worked labor and delivery. I also got a discount from the doctor, who knew my mother and I. Winn got government grant money when we needed it most. We were blessed and I knew my prayers had been answered and we were supposed to have this baby boy in our lives at this time. He was a fun baby. He added a lot to our lives and made us want to be better people because we loved him so much.
Adam's Dad deeply loved his little boy
He had a smile that melted our hearts
This is what we got to wake up to every morning
4 generations
Winn graduated and we didn't starve to death

    We moved to Arizona after Winn graduated and lived in Phoenix and then Tucson. Adam was a fun little boy. We had mostly happy days but there was some rain. The tough times Adam went through he handled very well. Because it was so hot, reaching 118 degrees while we lived there, he was forever taking off his clothes. I don't blame him. I wished a few times I could have done it myself. One of the tough times happened when he ran into the neighbor's yard and grabbed a cactus. A lot of people had cactus gardens instead of flower gardens because they grew better in the Arizona heat. The horrible thing about the cholla cactus he grabbed was that it has hooks on the ends so when they go into your skin you can't pull them back out. They hook inside your skin like a fish hook in a fish. If you try to pull them the skin pulls with it and they just can't be pulled out. My husband, who was watching Adam, grabbed him and also got some cactus in him. Adam kept rubbing his sore hands on his stomach embedding more in his stomach. It was a long miserable ordeal. Most of the quills had to be trimmed to the surface of the skin because they could not be pulled out. They got infected and were sore for a long time. We felt really bad for Adam as he tried to recover. Winn had a rough time too.
We added a daughter while we lived in Arizona
Kids and cactus don't mix
    We had a lot of bugs of all kinds In Arizona, another thing to keep Adam safe from. We had taranchulas, beetles with huge pincers, black widows, scorpions, etc. Adam loved being outside and spent a lot of time exploring and playing in the dirt. He got covered in fire-ant bites quite a few times, which left welts all up his legs. Another time while crawling he almost grabbed a huge beetle that could have done some serious damage. The scorpions were the same color as our carpet. He had a lot of close calls with those, which are harder on children. I stepped on one one evening with my bare foot and jumped back just as its stinger stuck forward for my leg. Black widows were everywhere. I got bitten by one and my arm swelled up twice its size with red streaks. It was hard to keep this crawling baby safe from harm in the land of plentiful bugs. The only good thing was that he grew up not afraid of harmless bugs and he would catch cockroaches by the dozens in our house and go throw them outside. We would bug bomb our house but in no time the bugs would all move back in. 
    It was a miracle he was never bitten by anything besides the ants. Another miracle happened when I was busy doing dishes in the house and Adam had been busy playing with toys in his room. I got a sudden panicky feeling and ran out to our washroom, directed by a Heavenly force that helped me know something was wrong and where to go. I found Adam, who had climbed up on some bricks and was about to drink some Clorox bleach he had knocked off the shelf. It made me thankful I prayed for his safety every day.
Adam and his sister Katie. They both hated wearing
clothes when it was so hot.
Stretching with this Dad
    We moved to Colorado when Adam was 4 years old. He had more bad things that happened to him here. His best friend hit him hard accidentally in the face with a golf club just missing his eye.

     Another time Brett was riding his bike and fell and cut open his chin. It was a big cut and he was bleeding all over. Adam was there to help him in the house. I had a new baby who was asleep at the time and other children who had been throwing up all morning. I knew Brett needed stitches and I couldn't find a babysitter. I knelt and prayed for help. I called up Pauline Jensen and asked her if any of her daughters could watch my children. She told me they couldn't but she would be right over. She was the answer to my prayer. Brett got his chin sewed up and I didn't have to worry over my sick children. Pauline is one of my heroes. I was also thankful Adam was there to help out. Another time I was at a friend's house and our children were playing with each other. All of a sudden we heard screaming and we rushed in to find Adam on the ground with blood spurting out of the back of his head like a drinking fountain. Adam and his friend had been wrestling and Adam fell into the corner of their brick fireplace, breaking the bricks and cutting open the back of his head. My friend wanted to call an ambulance. We lived so close to my doctor's office I felt like I could drive him there faster than an ambulance could get here. My friend watched my children and I took Adam to our doctor's office. He was holding a towel on his head. His blood soaked through the towel. It started to rain outside. I got him out of the car and he was so weak from loss of blood that he couldn't stand up. I picked him up and ran inside with him. We were both covered in blood. My doctor's office was locked when I got there. I prayed and felt I should go to the pharmacy in the same building. I went down there. We were a sight, soaked from the rain, my shirt covered in blood and this weak pale boy bleeding from his head. The pharmacist called for emergency help. It happened to be the office building's annual party so all the offices had shut down for a couple of hours. The doctor came immediately and cleaned pieces of broken brick out of his head and had a hard time sewing him up because he was bleeding so much he could not see to sew him up because the blood kept pooling up. Adam was kept for a while and given a lot of fluids to make sure he didn't need a blood transfusion. He had a bad headache for a few days and slept a lot.
Smiles before they got really sick. I have already written about our family's
ordeal with chicken pox in my first chapter. I felt bad when I was in the
 hospital with Brett and Adam didn't get as much attention when he had
them so bad in his eye lids. 
He is very flexible. Maybe this is why he never broke any bones.
    Like I have said in my previous chapters, our children have been through a lot. I feel like it does make them tough kids, gives them compassion for others going through hard times and it gives us their parents a chance to see the depth of our love for each one of our children. Fear for that child makes us access just how much that child means to us and how horrible life would be without them. I am thankful for Adam. He showed a lot of calm and bravery in the things that happened to him. At the time, when he was still a child I had no idea what other big events would happen in his life that would affect all of us and make us even more grateful for him. I will save that for one of my next chapter.
Adam was very sweet with his grandpa who had Alzheimers 
I am also grateful for the love he showed for his younger
brothers and sisters
Rocking Haley when she is sick
Adam was always the cool brother the other kids wanted to be like