I apologize for yesterday's post. As soon as I hit "publish", I was annoyed with myself for being so cranky about nothing, really. Everyone is struggling with back to school woes, and I am fully aware that my woes are minuscule compared to what some of my friends and family are going through right now. When I look at my life through a worldview lens, I am downright disgusted with myself for being such a wuss. Anyone else haunted by that image of the young refugee who washed up on shore? If you need a big club over the head with a firm dose of reality, that image will do it. Oh. My. Land. I can't even imagine what life is like right now for so many Syrian mothers and fathers.
I come from a position of privilege and I am fully aware of that. Yes, my house is overflowing and busy with children, but they are a tremendous blessing. Five amazing blessings that I chose to love and care for. Yes, I ran out of milk yesterday and had to drive thirty minutes to get Zoe's soccer stuff to her, but I was able to replace that milk and I have a car to retrieve my children's forgotten items for them. Yes, I forgot the sling to carry Harriet in on our trip to Costco, but I have a mom who is retired and lives a mere ten minutes away who was willing to drop everything to help me out. Not to mention, I have a loving husband who supports my decision to stay home and raise our children even though that decision has tightened our budget far more than we initially imagined. So, I am going to stop whining about my burden of lilies, I am going to put my big girl panties on and I am going to get 'er done! I can do this. I have done hard things before. I'm a fighter and I never give up!
Anyhoo . . .
On Sunday, Shenanigans Inc. had their annual Back to School Feast. This year we invited Zoe's friend Kenzie to join us. I had to do something to thank him for giving me a selfie stick! Oh, yes, you can all thank Kenzie for fueling my Instagram addiction and for making me even more obnoxious than I already am on social media. This year's menu consisted of honey garlic chicken wings, rice and salad. My observant and borderline ungrateful children complained that I forgot to include an appetizer . . . next year, I promise. For dessert, I made vanilla cupcakes topped with lemon buttercream icing . . . they were delicious! I was concerned that I would never be able to pull this meal off this year thanks to the two-under-two crew, but Mr. Level-Headed, Zoe and Kenzie all helped out. While I nursed and tended to the two babies the evening before, Mr. Level-Headed made the wings and Zoe and Kenzie frosted and decorated the cupcakes. The next time you see Zoe ask her how she feels about chocolate sprinkles . . . tee hee! All I can tell you is that Zoe has strong feelings about how cupcakes should be decorated and a very low tolerance for anything outside of her ideal and very limited margins of acceptance. Gosh, I love that girl!
Like other years, this year's dinner had a theme that I mindfully and prayerfully chose according to the needs of our family. Unlike other years, I only took one picture of our dinner:
I think it sums up our dinner nicely, though - it was a yummy, laid-back affair . . . tee hee.
This year's theme was service. My family amazed me this summer with their willingness to step up to help me after Harriet's birth. Zoe did all of our laundry this summer and the boys cleaned all of the dishes and were in charge of loading and emptying the dishwasher. Now that they are all back to school and I have taken on these chores once again, I realize what a tremendous service they did for our family this summer. So . . . I decided that this year we need to make a more concentrated effort to look outside of our family for opportunities to help others:
Perhaps when we come face to face with our maker, we will not be asked, "How many positions did you hold?", but rather, "How many people did you help?". In reality, you cannot love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.
-Thomas S. Monson
It is far too easy to become overly-consumed with your own life and your own trials (ahh . . . hello, I am the queen of this!), and so I want to instill in my children that the best way to deal with your own burdens is to help someone else lift theirs.
After dinner, we all watched this video about a tremendous and touching example of service.
Then, while everyone played a game of Monopoly, I took my tired, two-under-two crew for a walk. Once they were asleep, the Monopoly game was done and Zoe's skyping session with her good friend, Hannah, who went off to BYU last week, was finished, we all headed outside for our first bonfire of the summer. Yes, I did say the first, and so the kids finally got to burn last year's school work and roast marshmallows. It was a fabulous evening and I am so grateful to have a such a wonderful crew of people in my life.
. . . and a Selfie Stick!