Wednesday, March 10, 2010

capturing the uncapturable

snaps from breakfast: I bought myself a griddle last week and i might love it as much as i love my children. we are a breakfast family. it is my favorite time of the day. and one of the best perks of having a self-employed husband is getting to eat breakfast with "daddy" every morning.

Oh, I just hate trying to "catch up" on the blog after an absence. I'd almost rather not blog than be sporadic and vague. But I just can't give up on this little blog -- I get waaaay too much joy reading back through the archives. It is honestly one of my life's greatest joys (not hyperbole) to go back and read about the funny things Henry was saying/doing a year ago, the things I was thinking about/working on, the way Nate and I were loving each other. I am.

And I have so much to say that I hardly know what to write. Some of the heaviest/most important issues of our life right now are things that I don't really want to write about, but I hate to frost over them. Tonight I'm more inclined towards sharing than frosting, so...

We took a huge leap of faith moving out to Oregon. Huge. Sometimes when I really think about it, all I can do is blink hard and breathe deep. Too much contemplation just breeds anxiety. So I find myself trying to come to a better understanding of faith - the kind of faith that changes behavior and relieves anxiety.

I spoke in church just before we left Plano about "Hope through the atonement" - which is maybe the most delicious of all the gospel doctrines, to me. One thing I came to understand in the piecing together of that talk is that it becomes easier to have hope in the atonement, that is, in God's ability to perform His promises, when we are able to look back on our own lives and see that He has done it before. And I can certainly look back on my life and see how and where God has performed His promises. And so, even though my breath catches in my chest when I look up at the mountain we're standing at the foot of, I have enough of a history with the Lord to believe that He is aware of us. And this isn't the first peak we've attempted to summit.

I read this quote from Patricia Holland the other day and felt like she was speaking my heart:

The Lord reveals his secrets to the meek, for they are "easy to be entreated" (Alma 7:23). Indeed, I have come to realize that my own personal promptings from the Lord most often occur when I have been brought down into the depths of humility and suddenly feel a lot less confident in my own ability and much more dependent upon the Lord. He certainly uses my pain as his megaphone for an otherwise dull ear. I am beginning to see that the very experiences I would have chosen to run away from at the time have really been the major motivational turning points in my life.

I can already feel this process shaping me in ways that are hard to define and even harder to speak of because, of course, I am still Emily - clumsy and stumbling, weak and inexperienced. But things are changing, I think. I mean, I know they are. I can feel it more than I can explain it. This is a growing season. The humility and near-desperate dependence must give the Lord more to work with. I wonder what we might learn. What me might grow into as a family. And I get a little bit excited about the possibilities.

In more day-to-day family news:

I had gotten to feeling like I was kind of a neat mom last week - just thinking I had a few things figured out. And then this week happened. And Lily gets out of her bed 900 times a day when I'm trying to put her down for naps/bed. And Henry's been unusually whiney. And I feel like my kids ask for candy way too many times a day. (I hate candy!) And we've all been a little irritable and restless. And it's made me feel like I'm way back at the mothering starting-line. Which is fine because, relatively speaking, that is exactly where I am. So I've been thinking more and reading more and praying more...and hopefully we'll be back to homeostasis around here soon.

These days I'm thinking a lot about Henry's upcoming birthday (5 already!) and the possibility of giving him his first real party. With friends. I'm not a fanfare and fuss kind of person (at all), so this completely intimidates me. But I think he really wants a party. And I love him so crazily that I'll throw a party if that's what his 5-year-old heart desires.

I'm also thinking a lot about kindergarten, how it's approaching much too quickly. And how I'm just not sure if we're ready for it. I am trying to figure out if my anxieties about it are just a factor of my own sentimentality (not wanting to let go of the no-school, no-structure era of life that I've loved so dearly) or if they are indication that an alternative to public school might be better for our family (ie homeschool). I'm not sure yet. This is something I am praying about very seriously. And thinking about at least hourly. I can see very compelling reasons for both (homeschool and public school) - I just want to do what's best for our family.

The other day Henry went to Simon's house for a playdate and I got to spend 3 hours with Lily. It was the best ever. I feel like I am peeling back the layers of her personality every day. She is just an indescribable little peanut -- endlessly curious, opinionated, sweet, perceptive, tender, sassy and so, so funny.

I really hope we'll stay friends 'cause I think she's going to be really neat. A few mornings ago she woke up, climbed out of her bed very quietly, sneaked into her daddy's office, grabbed the red and the blue white board markers and colored all over two pieces of paper in her bedroom. I couldn't believe she only colored on the paper. (And a tiny bit on her pajamas :) And that she made her little masterpiece while the rest of us were sound asleep! She made her wakefulness known a few minutes later when she grabbed a pair of heels from my closet and clacked around in my bathroom. I've got to get a little tent to put over her crib -- she could get into serious (dangerous!) mischief while the rest of us slumber away! Most mornings, though, we all know she's awake when she makes her wishes for milk known unequivocally by putting her face an inch away from Henry's and shouting, "BA-BA!" He just burrows his head under his covers and waits for me to intervene.

Henry is such a cheerful, helpful boy. He is so sweet to his sister - so sweet. (And she can be a real pill.) The other day I asked him to play with her for a few minutes while I had a shower. While I was undressing and getting in, I heard him gently entreat her to the playroom, "c'mon Lily, do you want to get your babies? We can push them in the stroller..." In that moment, motherhood was better than I ever imagined it would be. It's not always like that of course (see above), but with Henry, those moments are pretty frequent. There's just something special about his heart - very tender and dear.

And he's such a willing helper. He cleans up the playroom (with help and coaxing), puts away his clean laundry, helps tidy up around the house, and this morning, he eagerly cleaned the toilet (glory!) and wiped up the floors in both bathrooms with Clorox wipes. This (teaching my children to work) is something I've been particularly mindful of it brings a lot of satisfaction to see him pitch in. Occasionally we get a defiant or teary protest, but for the most part, he's glad to help out. I really couldn't have asked for a nicer boy to learn the ropes of motherhood with.

Well, there are more thoughts, but they'll have to wait. Hopefully it won't be so long between posts from now on...

p.s. someone I want to introduce you to:

Friends, meet our pet fish:

his name is

...wait for it...

Henry :)


  1. 2 things: I love the quote- thank you, And we're homeschooling (not because I've always wanted to, but because we've felt it's so right.) that's all.

  2. Your new life looks ideal, even if it has been stressful.

    She really is a peanut.

  3. Lily already looks different. If I had a penny for every time I feel smug about being an amazing mom, and then the next day having all you know what break loose, I'd be a rich woman! :) Parenting is a big fat slice of humble pie sometimes. You're so thoughtful and insightful, great to hear an update on our favorite little family in Oregon! ;)

  4. I so enjoy reading about your life. Thank you for taking the time to share it. It is a gift, not only to be able to live your life once, but to savor it again in the written word. I know exactly how you feel about having something to go back and read about years later. It is an unintentional gift to ourselves. I'm often so surprised with what I wrote!

    Humility...isn't it something we should all really pray for more of?

  5. I would never criticize people who homeschool, but I just wanted to tell you that parental anxiety notwithstanding, we LOVE kindergarten in this house. Every one of my kids has had a wonderful experience there (half days), and I have loved it for them. Also, as much as I miss the unstructured days of ten years ago, I think I'm a better woman when I have the stress that school schedules provide. Maybe it's just me, but I'm more productive and even a little less moody. Just my two cents. Big decisions -- good luck.

  6. Em, I LOVE how you always capture the mothering thoughts on my mind and probably what every mother feels at some time or another. You have such a gift for writing and you are such an example! Thanks for always sharing your thoughts. I love reading your blog(s). Can you call me? I have a potential client for Nate that is fairly large and may open up other commercial accounts. My home phone is 281.392.5576.

  7. Oh Em! I feel like were sitting across from each other on my worn leather couch while I listen to you share your thoughtful and always uplifting experiences as a mother while our little one's romp and play. That's how you write. You make me feel like I'm right there with you. Except I'm not. We're hundreds, no thousands of miles away and I can't squeeze Lily and run my fingers through that hair! **sniff, sniff** Miss you!

  8. What a beautiful post, Emily! Love you so much.

  9. So many things I want to comment on! Like the faith and humility topic (and the hardness and wonderfulness of both those topics) and the semi sick feeling about kindergarten (just went yesterday to register Lucy. Was totally overwhelmed. Can see the the benefits but came home and had another home schooling conversation. HARD DECISIONS!) Oh, and I should say how darling all the scooter pictures are - how darling ALL these pictures are! And how I just can't wait to meet you (and someday ever your sweet children!) in real life!

    And I died about Henry. (The fish.) Oh how I did!

  10. Good luck with the homeschooling decision - some books we've liked are the Well Trained Mind and A Thomas Jefferson Education. I think both are good to read to give you ideas with whichever path you choose.

    I love the pictures. Your kids are so sweet!