Saturday, January 26, 2013

God's Timing

I have to give a lesson tomorrow in Relief Society and I have been thinking a lot about it. The topic is from General Conference, by President Eyring and the title is "Where is the Pavilion?". So funny story: Last week Friday evening I had this dreadful thought that maybe it was my Sunday to teach Relief Society. I had that 'cartoonish' head cold (runny eyes, sniffles, sneezing etc.) I mentioned earlier and was feeling unenergetic and rather whiny if I am totally honest. I decided to call and find out if I was indeed teaching on Sunday and if so, what lesson as I had lost the card that said which lessons were on which dates. Along with losing the lesson schedule card, I had also lost our conference Ensign (which is what I teach out of) and the ward phone directory. Somehow I ended up finding one of the Relief Society (RS) counselors  number. I called her and learned that she did not have the title of the talk, but gave me the page number in the Ensign (which I did not have ) and told me who the name of the speaker was. I looked on the LDS website and found the conference addresses, and clicked on  the first talk I found by President Eyring. I read through it and decided to sleep on it and prepare the lesson more the next day. The next day was chaotic, with two kids sick, a husband gone for the day and the third child seemed full of mischievous energy. My husband reminded me after he returned home that he had meetings at a church building in one of the small outlying towns and wouldn't be able to help me much get the kids ready for church. At that point we were hoping the sick kids would be better enough to go to church.

 As I finally carved out some time to sit down and peruse the talk again, I had this little voice say "Are you sure this is the right talk?". Worriedly I looked on the website and saw that President Eyring had given two talks, both published rather close together in the Ensign....and I wasn't sure which one I was meant to teach with. By then it was 9:30PM and rather than disrupt anyone in the Relief Society's presidency at that time, I called my mother---remember as she answered in quiet subdued tones that it was 10:30PM her time. Apologizing and almost in tears (although I was sniffing a lot from cold anyway), I explained my worry and she (bless her heart!) located her Ensign in the room where my brother and sister-in-law were sleeping to put my mind at ease. Sure enough, I had been preparing the wrong lesson! I thanked her and swallowing my tired frustration, I began to read the new talk. I read the title and boy did I feel a kinship right away!

 That night Eli was up coughing a lot and I realized that he would not be able to go to church and since Dallin was also dealing with a cold, it would have been silly to drag them both. I didn't have time to ask for someone to sub for me(church was at 9AM) and so I decided to find someone to come babysit Eli and Dallin while I was at church and would have Preston attend church with another family. Morning came too soon but I took some cold medicine, and asked David to help me find someone to take Preston to church before he left for his meeting. Preston fell apart emotionally when he realized he would be the only Westenskow at church and I was still consoling him as I finally got him at the door with our Home Teacher. Then I tried to quickly get our untidy house in decent enough order for the babysitter. Dallin spit up on me after I had gotten my church clothes on, time was running low and I was frantically trying to console a crying baby and get him to nap, change my clothes and sweep the floors which seemed inordinately dirty that morning. I felt as though my blood pressure had risen a bit by the time I was driving to the church building---praying someone would have an Ensign magazine I could borrow since we didn't have a functional printer anad my Ensign magazine was still MIA. I got to church knowing I was late as I slipped into Relief Society...they were finishing up announcements. Almost immediately one of the counselors came to me and said, "We had a mix up, you are supposed to teach next week, not today...but aren't you glad you are prepared?". I didn't see the humor in that very moment (although know it makes me laugh) and embarrassed, I actually I felt tears spring to my eyes as I thought of all the exhaustion, work (and paying a babysitter!) and stress that had gone on to make sure I could get there to teach, but I was also relieved I could go home and tend to my sick kids and hopefully I would find my Ensign magazine by the next Sunday. I had a chance to pay my tithing and then I drove home--- sheepishly and still a little tearfully yet finally seeing the ironic humor of the situation.

"Oh God , where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covers thy hiding place?" President Eyring reminds us: "In moments of personal anguish, (we) feel that God is far from us. That pavilion that seems to intercept God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are....." As I drove home, I recalled the message of the talk I was supposed to teach and felt a gentle and humorous reminder from the chaos that God was allowing me to remember how those moments feel---when we feel frustrated or unaided (although I had many people help me, husband, mom, RS counselor, babysitter, families to take and bring home Preston) etc often times we are the ones who are not seeing the blessing or the aid because perhaps it is not in the form we expected or looked for. Because of this funny little situation, I was able to feel His love for me, His sense of humor as He knew I would see the funny side in it too. It made me feel closer to my Heavenly Father and in a funny way it even reminded me of my earthly father, who liked playing pranks and how even his death on my birthday seemed a bit like an inside joke we would get to share forever. By the time I reached home, I was chuckling a bit, although still with tears in my eyes and I wanted to say. "I get it---thank you for the reminder. "Thy will, O Lord be done." The Lord's timetable is perfect. If I had not lost my schedule or my ensign, this would never have happened, but in a way it was a funny and sweet reminder that even in these little errands, erroneous or perfect, God wants us to learn and grow. I love that and I plan to.

"Where is the Pavilion?" by President Henry B. Eyring

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Flying By

I used to think that it was just something that old people said "Time is flying!". They always said it so wistfully. It seems that more and more I find myself thinking, if not saying it. I can't believe how fast the weeks fly by. Already the time after I had Dallin seems like a blur (maybe it was all those sleepless nights haha!). I was thinking about when David and I were in college and realized that the people we knew then had children who are now grown up and probably living away from their parents or are at least much older kids--probably in middle and high school. These last 10 years just feel like they have slid along so rapidly, and yet so much has changed and grown and happened. Right now my reality is a blur of preparing meals, feeding and changing Dallin, teaching the boys, teaching/prepping my classes, doing housework. The weekends disappear almost as quickly as they appear on the horizon, lost in a whirlwind of grocery shopping, laundry catch-up, playdates and church callings. Someday I know that this craziness will begin to fade and once again, I will have long leisurely days where some hours crawl by at a snails pace. Somehow though, I know that these are the best days of my life and these chaotic loud days are the ones that my rose-colored memories will be full of. I love that I know that. Just wish I could remind myself during the messy/upset moments.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Love the Bod

You know what is weird? It's is weird that so many of us spend a lot of mental energy, time and money, trying to make our body fit some kind of fantastical version of what we want it to be. Whether it's through diet, makeup, exercise or fashion---so many of us (and I include myself) have been or are painfully dedicated to trying to 'right the wrongs' in physical selves.I'm not saying there is anything wrong with trying to look our best, but there seems to be a fine line from presenting the best version of ourselves and obsessing about what that best version is.

Today, I was taking a shower and when I got out, I thoughtlessly noted that my arms looked thick in the mirror. Me. A fitness instructor. I noted with a bit of annoyance that my arms 'looked' thick? Really? Wow. That is just not right is it? My arms and shoulders are muscular---not defined, but definitely muscular and strong. Why? Not only do I exercise for a living, but I am holding a baby a lot of the day, teaching, holding, moving....and I love that I can! Rather than feel a rush of gratitude for my wonderful shoulders and arms that do SO much, I felt annoyed with their look. Thankfully my mind can take over and slap away the stupid thought before I take it seriously, but it's sad to me that my impulse when I see my body is of a critical nature. I have been given a wonderful body. It's is not gorgeous by definition of popular media as I am short and stocky (as my husband lovingly likes to say). I do not possess unusual colored eyes (they are brown) or long thick eyelashes (seriously, can a person begin to bald in their eyelashes?)or amazing hair (brown and with split ends galore!). I do not have have long legs or a voluptuous chest (AA---and that might be generous) and there is a road map of scars all over my belly reminding me of the three pregnancy's that helped house 3 of my favorite people in the world, my sons. Oh and don't forget the 12 inch scar down my back from when I survived a 68 feet fall. Do you think that anyone would use that description for a heroine in a novel?

Well, luckily I recognize that what I do have is still pretty amazing. I have eyes that see....and can really 'see' those that I love. I have naturally curly hair that is easy to work with (and hides damage well!) and still look like I tried, even when I had just two minutes to do something with my hair. I have a strong body that could carry 3 babies to term while I continued to be as active as I wished. I have stocky legs that never seem too tired to dance and a heart and mind that really truly love life.

Me--8 mos pregnant about to teach Zumba (May 2012)
On top of that (can it get any better?) I also have a lot people to love and who love me back and that just makes everything and everyone beautiful!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cabin Fever: Experiment Time

It's only January 19th and I am wondering how long the boys and I will last before we go cabin nuts!  :) It's not really so bad, but today is one of those days where I think how delightful it would be to have someone else care for my kids so I could nurse my cold by drinking herbal teas/hot chocolate (lots of the latter) and curl up with a good book. Instead the big boys are bouncing off the walls after I let them watch two long movies in succession....Mother of Year, that is me!

David went hunting today (cause it's Saturday and the only day he can really go play in the mountains with a clean conscience) which I totally understand. Normally I would make a fun day for myself and the kids but I happen to have come down with one of those cartoonish colds where I am sneezing constantly with watery eyes and a runny nose. So we are stuck inside as trekking around with 3 kids in the cold sounds like a good way to exhaust myself into a worse cold. So I feel like 'blegh' but am  trying to find the energy to make some kind of deliciousness in the kitchen....what else to do on a cold day when we are stuck inside?

So today I made spaghetti. Spaghetti, along with being one of those words I never seem to spell right is such a fast comfort food to make. I happened to have some fresh basil which was my inspiration for it. I never think it sounds good, but I always end up eating far more that I probably should, and enjoy it heartily. It's also one of those food that I love the day after.

 As I made it I recalled all the messy noodle dishes that Eli was fond of as a baby and so when Dallin woke from his second morning nap (he's been under the weather too) I thought it would be fun to let him try his first pasta lunch. I decided to throw some sauced spaghetti noodles in the blender to chop them up finely. Well as you can imagine I ended up with a nasty looking mess. Some of the pasta was blended into a thick gluey orange paste, while the some of it was simply cut into small pieces. It's looked gross, but Dallin was shrieking about the need for food (did I mention he is 18 1/2 pounds at 6 mos---he isn't starving!). So I dumped the unappetizing mess in a bowl, added a little extra sauce (LOVE Francesco Rinaldis Tomato Basil sauce--I can eat that with a spoon!) and begin to shovel it in. He continued to scream after the first mouthful....then paused and begin to grunt his well known commands to continue to shovel it in. It's hard to keep up with this hungry guy but he loved it! In fact when the bowl was cleaned out, he began to protest loudly....but here is a picture of him before the protesting got too angry:

What can I say? We Westenskows take our food seriously!

Well that is not entirely true. Preston would be happy to eat the same thing most days. You know I virtuously felt that I would NEVER have a  picky child, because I would expose them to a variety of foods at a young age, but apparently some kids just don't care enough about food to care AND if you tell them they 'will have to make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they don't want to eat what I made for dinner'--they are happy to do it! Preston's blood is probably made up of  bits of jam, honey and peanut butter. Gosh, even though he is stubborn, I admire it a little too. He is much to busy with important things like building forts and creating drama for his transformers to act out, then to worry about the fact that he eats a variation of PB&J at least once, sometimes twice a day. 

Eli on the other hand, is a food lover after my own heart. If I ask him to make his bed or clean his room he is like Alexander (and the horrible, no good, very bad day!) crying and lamenting that it is the 'Worst Day EVER!'. It generally takes him about four times as long as Preston to do a chore, because he feels the need to whine and drag his feet, and flop his head around every step of the way. The only time he does not drag his feet about working is when it comes to cooking. He can be in the middle of playing an exciting game and if I ask him to help me cook---he is in the kitchen ready, to peel, chop, pour, etc. at the drop of a hat! Ana, his youngest Aunt found a fabulous Chef outfit for him for a Christmas present...he takes his chef role very seriously as you can see...

So when all is said and done a Cabin Fever filled Saturday is at least interesting. I recognize that before I know it my boys will never spend a Saturday with me as they will be too busy with more important things and staying in watching Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, eating spaghetti and bowls of cereal (not in the same meal) and building forts out of cushions and pillows behind the couch will be distant memories. As Dallin screamed in my face about the smallness of his lunch and my head felt like it was blowing up from all the hit me that this time of my life will fly by and my cuddly baby boy Dallin will turn into a busy young man far too large to cuddle in my arms. And my big boys will only be checking in with the occasional phone call from their new grown-up adventures. But for now I have a sticky kitchen floor , energetic creative boys clamoring for my attention and really the happiest lot in life!

So I am to help Eli write me a note (so far he has "Dear Mom, I hope next time we watch a movie we...."how will this end?) and summon the energy to make some pumpkin bread. I know I shouldn't have sugar but it sounds so yummy. That is why I love that I workout for a living. Gotta 'Liv' a little. ;) 

PS the note ended with "...we can watch this.." and the note was wrapped around a star wars movie....something to look forward to with my little men!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Insomnia Ramblings

It's 3:23 AM as I start this blog. Why am I starting a blog? Mainly because I want to write in my journal, but I am too lazy to find a pen and somehow I have this idea that maybe I will organize family pictures better if I have somewhere to organize them.  I always intend to print them, but aside form a few select pictures around Christmas time, it never happens.

The fascinating thing about insomnia is that my mind lights up like a twig burning--slowly building up to a bonfire! I have so many ideas in my mind of things I want to do and should do and how I should time things so I get everything done in a timely fashion. I know I will hit a wall and my bonfire will turn into a smouldering heap of ashes soon, but it won't be for a bit. ;)

The electricity went out at 1AM-ish and because we have our kids addicted to sleeping with white noise and nightlights, when the power goes out there are tears. So, candles must be rounded up and soothing words must be said. After doing the regular electricity-out rounds, I just laid there thinking about the fact that we are having a family come stay with us this Sunday---what do I want to make for food, where should everyone sleep, and how am I going to get the house in good enough condition by then?

I also began thinking about my new class, a Cross Training class that I am in love with right now. I was tensing my muscles to see if any of them felt sore---nope, not yet. Too bad. They were so sore after the first class, but that is another something to be amazed with--how fast my body will adapt to whatever I throw at it. What a wonderful thing! The bad thing about starting a new class is that aside from trying to find the time frame to fit it in, I usually want to spend massive amounts of hours researching and making a stellar class. However as a mom of three little boys, it just doesn't happen like that.

I remind myself all the time that there is a time and a season and this is just not the season of my life where I am going to spend massive amount of hours doing any one thing. I am okay with that though.
Boys---when they were tiny, so much work-- but I miss them!
It's interesting to look at myself as mother now compared to when I first had Preston and Eli. I lump them together, because I had them close together in my early 20's. I turned 23 a week and half after Eli was born. I was so high strung and trying to be impressive in every aspect. I wanted to have my kids on a very strict sleeping/eating schedule to 'free up' my time, but it ended up really kind of chaining me down more than ever as I forced myself to stick to that schedule. I wanted to be impressive as a homemaker and tried to learn to make lots of things from scratch. I don't regret that really cause at least I have a few well-practiced things in the arsenal so my family doesn't starve, but my goodness--I was on such a mission to prove something! Am I still like that?

Now, I realize that people who know me will love me even if I don't get the perfect little Christmas presents out to everyone and have gourmet snacks/meals whenever they visit (I am exaggerating--don't really know what gourmet things entail). I am realizing how much money/time I wasted trying to be impressive. It's embarrassing and yet gratifying to see that I can see where I was and hope I have changed for the better.

So, something I have been thinking about lately (aside from how much I have been neglecting my friends--guilt all around!) is how much I love my boys and how fast they are growing! I am going to be one of those annoying Mom's for a second who brags about her brilliant children.


 First up is Preston. What a fantastic big brother! He is so helpful and even though he delights in teasing his younger brother, Eli (who didn't enjoying teasing siblings though?) he is quick to help, defend and love both his little brothers. He is so funny too--sometimes I have to turn my face way from him cause he'll make some smart-aleck remark that is just down-right funny! Sometimes he catches the smile in my eyes before I can hide it and he starts laughing. I think we will be good friends when he grows up. I love that I am his mother. Last night we were watching a show called American Pickers, about these people who go around the country looking through people's old junk and finding 'rusty gold' or treasures to restore or clean up, or sell as its for a profit. I teased Preston that it would be a dream job for him! That boy LOVES to create things out of the stuff most of us want to throw away. An old cereal or diaper box are new ships and bridges in his eyes. Ordinary paper can be duct taped around his bed to make a kind of curtain (yes, this is what is there now) and a taped on clipboard is the wooden doorway to this covert little play area. I know it's not really important, but can I gloat about how handsome Preston is too? He has such beautiful blue eyes, with long dark eyelashes (lucky he didn't get my short stubby ones!) and the prettiest skin and lips. He is a pretty boy--just won't say it to his face.

Then there is my little Mexican, Eli--who isn't really so little anymore. He is around 65 lbs already at 6 years old! Blows my mind. I remember when I would pick each of the boys up by the ankle and could hold them up. Now just having them snuggle on my lap is enough. And Eli is so quick! He learns and remembers things so quickly. I am proud to say that he has quickly gained ground in math (I am homeschooling the boys this year--gulp!) and he has matched his big brother in his math skills. I throw out a problem sometimes and he usually is the first to figure out the answer. Math is going to be a strong thing for him I think. Except for his quickness at math, he reminds me a lot of myself in his social-ness. He just loves people. He can't stand to be alone which is too bad because poor Preston really enjoys working alone on projects. Eli usually ends up causing trouble while his brother is trying to work on something--just to be included. "Love me, hate me, don't ignore me" seems to be his motto. Eli's love of cooking and food is so fun for me! I have to admit, this kid is not a very eager worker generally. Getting him to do his daily chores is like pulling teeth--however, if I ask him to help me chop something up or measure out ingredients---he is all over it! Eli has these dark gorgeous eyes---I love them . His expressive face can go from dark and stormy to winningly charming in moments. The other night we were reading scriptures and he began to sob when we were talking about the second coming of Christ. When we finally got him to talk to us about why he was so upset, it was because he was afraid not all of our family would make it to heaven and he just loved everyone so much he didn't want that to happen. We made a family promise that we would all do our best to keep the commandments and help each other to make good choices. He has reminded me since then that we really need to write that promise down so we don't forget. He is a very thoughtful amazing, amazing, little boy!

Both my big boys are very sensitive. Preston tears up and cries during emotional, touching scenes in movies and if he hears about something sad he has a hard time containing his emotions, usually asking the speaker to 'stop talking about it please!'. Eli isn't emotional like that, but instead he usually over-thinks and worries about things in his mind. It's late at night that he comes to me to talk about something he is worried or afraid of and if there are tears it is because of a fear or worry that have to do with his family on a large scale. I feel fortunate to have such sweet, sensitive (although often loud and unruly!) little men in my family.

Then there is Dallin! What a fun little guy. I am enjoying being a mother of an infant this time so much more than the other two. I know that doesn't sound very nice or fair, but it is just the way it is. Maybe 5 more years of life experience helped me to be in a better place. I love learning new things about this little guy and wondering what it all means in terms of who he will become. He seems to really love being around people. He is pretty easy going as long as he is in the hub of the action. When he left alone in a room (except in his bedroom for naptime/bedtime) he cries within a couple of minutes and if you return to the room--not even talking to him or anything, he calms right down. He is such a smiley guy too--he laughs and smiles so much. And this boy can eat! He thinks he should get to taste anything we are putting into our mouths and he is just barely 6 months old! Unlike the first two babies I was so strict with, he has tried a LOT of variety in food

Ok....David is a awake now (to go hunting) and telling me I should go back to bed. He doesn't get insomnia like I do and doesn't understand the futility of just laying there. So I will probably put my hands down (doesn't sound as poetic as putting down a pen does it?) and use them to pick up a book to read instead. A 4AM mini breakfast is starting to sound tempting.

I hope I can keep up in here. I can write so much more. I know I will always keep and pen/paper journal but this is a fun quick way to get some things down.
"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero."