Back in October, when Samuel turned 8, he became a Cub Scout. The nonsense started with the uniform. I was told by the leader that Samuel only needed the shirt, pack badges, neckerchief and slide, that did not go over too well with Doug. He believes that if there’s a uniform, you wear the entire thing … right down to the socks! When they tallied the bill at the Scout Store I wasn’t too convinced, but I have to say that Samuel looks great in his uniform! I know I’m slightly biased, but I don’t care! Samuel went to his first den meeting in November and in December he got his Bobcat and his Wolf. I think maybe we were a little too excited about the program because in January I got called to be a Den Leader!
With 4 boys I knew I’d spend my fair share of time in Scouting, but I didn’t think it would start so soon! I’ve actually loved being a part of the scouting program. I get to keep on top of what Samuel is doing, and I am getting a good understanding of the whole program. Hopefully this will prepare me for, what I can only guess is, the next 15 years of my life!
Here’s the great thing though, there are awards for leaders too! If you know me, you know I’m little competitive, and I love the idea of getting awards at the Roundtable meetings. This excitement may wear off, but it’s been 4 months and I still love it! Plus, it’s a church calling that gives you the Summers off!
We also just participated in our first Pinewood Derby. Samuel didn’t win first, but there was no doubt that he made his own car, and he enjoyed every minute of it!!
This was actually a little over a week ago, but I thought I’d post it now because my dad wanted to see the bike that he helped Samuel get for his birthday. We got William a bike when he turned 5, but we discovered that it’s now way too small. This revelation came about because William decided, a little over a week ago, that he was done with training wheels. One of the things that I love about Doug is that, when William said he was done with training wheels, he went right to the garage and took the training wheels off. We didn’t really have to remove the training wheels because William has grown so much. He ended up learning to ride without training wheels on Samuel’s new bike. I had no idea how many bikes our family would go through, and we’re not even close to done!
So, these are pictures of Samuel’s new birthday bike, and William learning to ride a two wheeler.William picked it up pretty quick, and he wasn’t afraid to get back on the back after he fell. When did my kids get so big?!
I feel like I start every post with, where did the time go! I don’t even really remember Christmas at this point, and I have some other things I want to post about, but this is pretty recent, so hopefully the pictures will jog my memory!
One of the great things about Christmas this year was that Jessica came to stay with us for a couple of weeks. On Christmas Eve we went for our traditional meal of Chinese food. The last year we were in SLC we did a progressive dinner with friends on Christmas eve, but we’re not really within close walking distance of too many of our friends here. Chinese food is yummy, and I don’t have to clean my kitchen! After dinner we went to the Marriott to look at the decorations. We got there just in time for Christmas stories (I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled Doug was!).
Because Christmas was on a Sunday this year, we got to start the day out at church. It was really a wonderful way to help the kids understand the true meaning of the holiday. My absolute favorite thing about church was that we got to sing, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” twice. It’s my favorite carol, and it was like my special holiday treat!
When we got home from church the kids got back into their pajamas and we opened gifts. There were lots of presents from grandpas and grandmas, and a few from mom and dad! Our main gift to the kids this year was an XBox Kinect. I got it at Walmart on Black Friday, and I managed to do it with very little waiting in line, so all in all, it was a success. Of course, the kids haven’t really taken to it … except for the nightly family Zumba workouts!
We had a delicious Christmas dinner and then we packed up for our big road trip the next day. We rented an 8 seater van, and took everyone to Florida. We stopped for a couple of days in Baton Rouge first, and had a lot of fun with cousins. Doug and I did our interviews for the family history project, plus I got to take the kids to see some plantations.
After Baton Rouge we headed to Crestview for a few days to see Mike and Ingrid. We talked about playing some board games, but that never really panned out. I don’t know if Jessica could have handled the fierce Roberts competition!! There were hamster balls though, and a trip to the beach. I always wonder what the hostess is thinking when she sees our huge, crazy group show up and ask for a table for 15!
After a few days in Crestview, we made our way back to Baton Rouge. We spent another night there so that Doug could help his grandfather with some spreadsheet stuff. We made our way back home on New Year’s Eve day. One of the coolest things about the trip was the constant show of fireworks from Houston to San Antonio, We actually made it home right at midnight. It was a little hard to get up for nine o’clock church the next morning, but we made it work!
Alright, it’s not exactly John Steinbeck, but at least I wrote a little something!
I hate that I’ve been looking at that lost post forever! I wanted to write about the other 4 days in detail, but really I just want to move on to the other things that have been going on. What’s kind of lame is that I’m going to combine all the days from the reunion!
The reunion was the p0int of the whole road trip. We needed to be at Rocky Mountain National Park to meet up with all 50 members of my husband’s family for three days of non-stop action and potato sack races. Because the baby was still pretty new at that point, I didn’t do as much visiting as I would have liked, but the kids had an amazing time. The sad thing about family reunions is how it reminds us that we don’t live near any of our family. Our closest family is five hours away. I know that’s not too bad, but it would be great if my kids had cousins to play with on a regular basis.
The biggest kudos of this trip go to my mother and father-in-law who organized the whole thing. It’s a huge task to get this many people in the same place, and not one person was missing! Thanks also go to Bryan and Charlotte who planned a lot of the nitty gritty (including the aforementioned potato sack race!). Samuel and William even made it to Junior Ranger status on this adventure.
The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time. There was still snow up in the mountains, which was a treat for my kids that weren’t born in Utah! It really was a great few days. I should write more, but I really do need to move on! Hopefully I’ll be able to get better caught up!
I wasn’t going to write any more about the talk I gave at church on Sunday, but then a friend suggested that I put it on my blog so that I have it. I don’t have copies of any of my other talks, so I thought it would be an interesting exercise. I’m warning you ahead of time, because it’s long, and you don’t need to feel obligated to read it. It’s mostly for me.
The Talk 2011
When we were living in Salt Lake City, my husband and I had both gone about 4 years without speaking in church. We got called to speak one Sunday, and a few weeks later we found out we were moving to Texas. We have been in this ward a little over 4 years now, and my husband spoke for the first time a few weeks ago. Today it’s my turn. If this somehow turns out to be my good-bye talk, I just want you all to know that we have loved our time in Texas, and in the Sonterra ward!
When brother Heywood called me this week and asked me to speak, he told me the topic was, “What manner of Men or Women Ought Ye to Be?” Then he gave me a reference talk from April’s General Conference. The talk he assigned me is Become as a Little Child, by Sister Jean Stevens. I read the talk, and I had to ask myself if brother Heywood had ever seen my children? Does he really want me talking to all of you about how to become like little children when my experience is with 5 wonderful, but not necessarily reverent kids? There is actually a talk from April conference entitled What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be, but apparently Sister Stevens had a lot to teach me! My husband, who’s all about keeping it real, informed me that I clearly had some things to learn, and that maybe I should humble myself a little bit. Humility isn’t something that you’ll find a lot of at the Roberts’ home. If you want proof of that, just come around when we’re playing Trivial Pursuit.
If I was going to answer the question of What Manner of Woman Ought I to Be, I don’t know if the first thing that would come to my mind would be to act like a little child. It’s probably because I spend all of my time with my own little children. Maybe I’ve stopped appreciating kids for what they really are.
When I think of how I want to be, what manner of woman I want to be, it’s most often in terms of how I want to improve. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I’m raising a family. Now, I want to do it better. I want to be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter and a better friend. I want to be kinder and more patient. I want to have a cleaner house, and I want my kids to have their hair brushed all the time.
I have five children ranging in ages from 7 down to 2 months. There are 4 boys and 1 girl. If I were to ask them how they wanted to improve themselves, I’m pretty sure that I would be met with some blank stares. Two of those blank stares would be because the particular children don’t actually speak, but the other 3 would probably be wondering what I was going on about. Improve what? My kids like themselves, and I don’t think they spend a lot of time worrying about how to be better. They don’t stress about the dirty clothes on the bedroom floor, or the current state of the bathroom. When we were talking about my oldest’s upcoming baptism, we asked him why he wanted to be baptized. His 5 year old brother answered for him, “It’s because he wants to play in that pool!” Clearly no one is stressing about talking with the bishop!
One of the things that I really love about my kids is that they never second guess themselves. They’re still young enough that they don’t question anyone’s motives. They take things at face value. I have a horrible habit of over-analyzing. I always think there’s a deeper meaning behind everything. I’m forever asking my husband what he thinks a certain phrase really meant. I’m not going to speak for my husband and say that it drives him crazy, but if you asked him about our upcoming family reunion, and the conversations that I’ve had with my mother-in-law, I’m pretty sure I know what he’d say.
In her talk, Sister Stevens says, “Our Father in Heaven, in His great wisdom and love, sends His spirit sons and daughters to this earth as children. They come to families as precious gifts with a divine nature and destiny.”
I think this divine nature and destiny are closest to the surface with little children. They’re not embarrassed by their feelings. They’re nothing but feelings. When I tell my kids they’re wonderful, they don’t question that or roll their eyes at me. They usually just tell me that they already know that. What happens to that knowledge as we grow older? Why do we find it so hard to accept the truth of who we are? Why are we so quick to question it?
In Matthew 18 we read, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven… Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).
I had always understood that to mean that we need to get back to the mentality of a little child; that little children are immature and unknowing. That it’s the lack of knowledge or experience that makes it easier for children to be humble. You know how you know everything about kids before you have them.
Now that I get to watch my own children, I can see that the opposite is true. While children don’t necessarily have a lot of experience or maturity, they do have an innate knowledge. They don’t question, because they already know. They know that their Heavenly Father loves them unconditionally. They know that they’re supposed to be happy because that’s what makes sense.
Sister Stevens asks, “What is it we should learn from children? What qualities do they possess and what examples do they demonstrate that can help us in our own spiritual development?”
Then comes her answer: “These precious children of God come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive.”
Just look at how quickly children can make friends with each other. They see someone new at the playground and they go over and ask their name and how old they are. That’s it. That’s the requirement for being a friend. After that, it’s just playing. There’s no wondering, hmm… do they really want to be friends with me?
I can’t speak for anyone but me, but I’ll contrast that with how I am when I meet new people. It goes something like this, they look like nice people, maybe we have kids around the same age, maybe we should invite them over for dinner, but what if someone else has already invited them over for dinner. What if they say no. What if my kids are acting up or heaven forbid someone asks my husband how you make plastic. What if they aren’t really interested in how you make plastic. What if they think I’m shallow because I like to read entertainment magazines when I’m in line at the grocery store. All of this will go through my mind in the time between when a new name gets read into the ward, and when we raise our hands to welcome the person. And so what do I do, probably nothing at all because, I worried myself out of it.
It doesn’t occur to little children that they can’t do something. I think the unquestioning part of children isn’t necessarily that children don’t ask questions. If you’ve ever been around a two year old, you know what I’m talking about. I think it’s that they don’t question themselves, and they don’t question their Heavenly Father. They don’t doubt. They know that if they’ve been promised something by their Heavenly Father, He’ll come through. They know that if they pray, their prayer will be answered.
Something happens to us as we get older and more and more involved in the world. We lose that innocence that children have, and we start to question. We can question people and their motives, we can question ourselves and our abilities, and we can question the Lord. Am I the only one who’s received an answer to a prayer and thought, no, I don’t think that’s right? I don’t think Heavenly Father really understood what I was asking Him.
In Mosiah 3:19, King Benjamin tells us to become like a child – submissive, meek, humble, patient, and full of love. This can be a problem if you’re not trusting, but if you’re like a child and you know that your Heavenly Father wants nothing but the best for you, then it makes more sense. I think as we get older we don’t always believe that we deserve of all the blessings that we’ve been promised. We don’t fully comprehend the Atonement and so we don’t always see how it works for us. Sure, we can see how it works for someone else, but for us personally, maybe we struggle.
Sister Stevens says children provide “examples of some of the childlike qualities we need to develop or rediscover in ourselves in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. They are bright spirits who are untarnished by the world—teachable and full of faith.”
Stevens continues by saying, “There is not a more perfect place to behold our little ones than in our families. Home is a place where we can all learn and grow together. It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christ-like.”
So now maybe instead of worrying all the time about the state of my kids’ hair, or the condition of our bathroom, I’ll worry a little more about the state of me. I won’t question if someone wants to be my friend, I’ll just be a friend and let the rest work itself out.
I have a testimony of many things, but one of the things I know for certain is that Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us. He knows us by name, and He loves us. We all deserve to be loved by Him. He really does want us to be happy… Man is that he might have joy. I certainly have days where I want to pull my hair out, but more often than not, I just have to look at the blessings in my life, look at how things have worked out when I didn’t think they could to know that God has always had a plan for me. That even when I’ve been the one to deviate from the plan, Heavenly Father has found a way to guide me back, because He knows what will truly bring me joy.
I’ve been using Picasa to help me decide what I need to blog about. I figure if I’ve taken some pictures, then it should probably be recorded! I was going to write about Afton’s 2nd birthday, but while I was looking for cute pictures of her, I got distracted by these:
I don’t even know what we were doing that day. Suffice it to say, the boys were interested in kitchen science! I can’t even remember if we actually made something (this is the problem with not blogging consistently!) .
Is anyone else watching this season of Master Chef? Is it only me, or do these people not really seem like “home cooks?”
I’m actually procrastinating the writing of a talk right now. Anyone have any ideas about What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?
May 3 was a big day at our house. It was the day we welcomed Charles Patrick to our family. As baby deliveries go, this one was par for the course. I showed up at the hospital at 7:00am, got some pitocin, got myself a magical epidural, and the baby was born around 10:00am. Because all my Texas babies have been born quickly, there was one exciting moment where the nurse called the doctor’s office and he had to literally run across the street. That was the exact moment when Doug decided he should take a bathroom break! I love it when the doctors and nurses yell at my husband for his ridiculous timing! Nothing like holding a baby in to accommodate someone’s bladder! (Was that too much information?!)
The birth itself went very smoothly, so it doesn’t require a lot of commentary, besides, I don’t want to make you all jealous with my awesome birth experience. I’ll just say, no pain does not mean no gain!
Baby Charles was pretty much perfect. He was a week early and weighed in at a very healthy 8lb. 40z. He was very alert from the beginning. He had a full head of black hair, and all of his fingers and toes were accounted for.
We stayed at the hospital for just one night, because even though they have cable tv, I still prefer my own bed. Also, I was at a new hospital that doesn’t deliver a lot of babies, which means that they don’t fully staff their nurser. What does that mean for me? I had to keep the baby in the room all night. Well, I can do that at home, and no one’s waking me up every few hours to check my temperature! The one nice thing about no nursery is that they didn’t take the baby anywhere after he was born. They did the first bath in the room. So, normally where the baby is gone for a couple of hours, he was with us the entire time.
This really was a wonderful experience for our family. Obviously I’m not writing everything here. Suffice it to say, we are very happy.
I leave you with a witty Dougism. I had an appointment with my doctor on May 2nd, and that’s where he told me that I could deliver the baby on the 3rd. I was so excited because I was done being pregnant. I called Doug from the parking lot and told him. His response? “That’s not really a good day for me. Can we make it Wednesday instead?”
p.s. A special thanks to my dad who watched the other 4 kids while we were at the hospital.
I know you’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been, and I want to tell you! I have lots of things to post (actually, I probably only have about three things to post), and I’m starting with my little sister’s month-long visit. We were very fortunate to have my little sister, Jessica come nanny for us this Summer before she headed off to her freshman year at BYU.
The boys had so much fun with Jessica every day. She played Mario with them and helped them build their train tracks. Probably the biggest help to me were the daily visits to the pool. The boys got so much stronger this year, and that was because we went to the pool every day that we could. I could only go to the pool so much because I had someone to help me watch the kids.She was a huge help to me, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she won’t have a better job next Summer. She’s been gone less than a week, but the house feels much emptier!
Thanks Jessica! We all miss you here.
This is our third year doing swimming lessons with Miss Joni. This year Ben joined his brothers and as an added bonus, the lessons took place at our neighborhood pool which meant there was lots of shade and plenty of chairs!
I think this was probably Samuel’s big year. I don’t know how much William advanced. Ben had a lot of fun, but we’re clearly not done with the lessons! Samuel might qualify for swim team next year, or we might just consider swimming a fun activity. The key is to go to the pool every day to practice. We’re usually about three times a week, but we might have to step it up a bit!
Since the 4th fell on a Sunday this year we got to celebrate all week-end long, finishing at a neighbor’s pool party on Monday.
We were determined not to spend another Saturday sitting around the house so we looked to find out what was going on around town. The only problem was the non-stop rain we had been receiving all week. The weather led to the cancellation of the church breakfast, so we had to improvise. We found a fourth of July festival in Schertz. You know it’s a great day at the fair when everyone is crying in the mini van!!
We did a few rides, got a snow cone and bought some kettle corn to take home. We thought about getting lunch, but we’d had our fill of Schertz by this point so we went for some wings.
On Sunday we had church, and one of the funnest things for me was listening to Samuel sing along to “America the Beautiful.” Sunday night we went to the mall parking lot to watch the fireworks from Six Flags. Thanks to Dixie and Alex we had a great spot. They got there nice and early, and my boys had their first experience sitting on top of a mini-van! (This required a few phone calls to Doug, who was home with the younger two, two make sure everything was safe!) This was a great show. The only problem was the half an hour it took to get out of the parking lot!
On Monday we made an early morning visit to Mr. Cheese, and then a friend had a pool party in the afternoon. Is it just me, or are those things sometimes more stressful than fun? Watching 4 kids with varying degrees of swim ability is a little scary for me.
All in all, we had a nice holiday week-end. More often than not we’ve been out of the country for the 4th of July, so it was nice to just kick back and relax this year.