I am in love with my life lately. I love my kids. I love my husband. We have a home. We eat healthy food. We laugh a lot, hug a lot, read our scriptures, say our prayers, work together, learn together, and play together. There is something about having a fourth child that has forced me to be a better me and to give up so many of my old, stand-by excuses that were resulting in me feeling greater anxiety over what wasn't getting done and a lack of satisfaction over how little was getting done. I pour out my thanks to God every single day for this little Oskar man because he is my refiner's fire and the purification process feels oh. so. good. I feel successful in all but a couple areas of life (exercise being one of those, consistent family dinner being another) and that daily sense of accomplishment in homemaking is more rewarding and motivating than anything I've ever experienced before. It makes me giddy.
After God, I also have my mother to thank for this phenomenon. She was amazing in helping me to transition gently into being a mother of four. Three wasn't earth-shattering for me. I was fine with three because of the huge gap (3.5 years) between my youngest and the new baby (Karsten). Soren and Anders were older and were fairly independent, so focusing on Karsten wasn't difficult. Now, however, I've got two older boys who are needing me to facilitate learning and a toddler who just needs me to love on him all day long (which I absolutely love to do - I mean, who can resist his little rainbow eyes when he's giggling and begging to be tickled over and over?! Not I!). And, of course, our new little love bug, Oskar, who is the smiliest, happiest, most easy-going baby ever. Oh how I adore him, too! Then there's the house and the cooking, church responsibilities, sports, and friends. It's nuts how busy life gets as your kids get older! But without my mom to help my household and me stay functional, I think I would have died. My kids have always been willing workers, but while she was here after Oskar was born, my mom got them on a schedule. Scheduling is not my strong suit. She had them waking up every morning to a delicious breakfast of hot cereal and fruit. She read scriptures to them while they ate, then sent them off to brush teeth, get dressed, and make beds. Then they reported back to her and she showed them their lists of chores on the whiteboard. And she had them doing everything! She showed them how to clean toilets and bathrooms, sweep and mop floors, dust, vacuum, etc. You name it, they did it. She also taught them how to swim, cooked for us, held Oskar when he was fussy and when I needed a shower, and watched all seven Harry Potter movies with the older boys. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank her enough for what she did for our family. We have carried on with much of what she implemented. I haven't cleaned a bathroom since she left, but you better believe my bathrooms are clean! These boys will do anything and do it willingly. Sometimes I get a "why do I have to do that one?" But once they understand that complaining won't change the fact that it needs to be done and they need to do it, they just dig right in. I love them. I love my mom. I love, love, love my life.
Another exciting thing is that Dan and I are trying to live and parent more deliberately. We are trying to have more purpose in our life, to act rather than be acted upon. We don't want to float through life and wonder if we should have done more. We recognize the importance of having a schedule and are working to fine tune one that works for us. We've never, ever been good at scheduling. We are talking more about what the boys need to learn from us and going ahead with some of the ideas we think are really important, like being financially responsible. Dan is building banks with (and for) each of the boys. They will have a compartment for tithing (10% of earnings), savings (20% of earnings), and spending (all the rest). The boys will be able to do extra chores to earn money rather than have an allowance, but once they've put away their tithing and savings, the rest is theirs to spend however they like. I'm so excited about this since Soren has been asking me a lot lately what he can do to earn some money. (He wants to buy supplies to build a go-cart).
I know this post is all over the place and probably just dripping with cheese, but I cannot explain how wonderful it feels to be able to be on top of life and sometimes even feel ahead of it. I wake up before my kids now, get showered and dressed, and commune with my Heavenly Father. I start my day AHEAD of the mess and never let it get out of hand. My house is always tidy, if not clean, and my kids are learning the value of hard work. We've also started back up with homeschool and after a week and a half I can honestly say that I am SO EXCITED about this year. This is MY year, I tell you what. We are LOVING this! Life is just so, so good.
I probably sound like I'm on drugs or something.
Just imagine if junkies could experience the feeling of euphoria that comes with achieving goals, being productive, and living deliberately! We are SOOOOOO blessed and I'm shouting it from the rooftops because I. AM. IN. LOVE. WITH. MY. LIFE! And I just can't help myself.
Now I'd better go knock on wood so Murphy's law will pass me by.