Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dishes Don't Have Feelings.

I absolutely LOVE being a mom! But sometimes it is A LOT of work!! It can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually  draining! And having my children so close together has made it necessary for me to be the best I can. However, I am constantly trying to find ways to be that much better at it. Being a mom has stretched me and strengthened me in so many ways. I want to share with you a little bit of our experience and hopefully it will give you courage to do what you need to do and be for your family.

Before we got married we thought we'd have 5 or 6 kids. I came from a family of 14 kids (7 boys and 7 girls) and my husband came from a family of 7. So 5 or 6 sounded good to us. And that's a REALLY BIG number right now in the world's eyes. My husband just took Chelsea to Disneyland and when she was being interviewed by "Crush" she said there were 5 kids in her family. And there was an audible gasp from the crowd... But, we absolutely love having a lot of little kids running around.

Anyway, when we got married we knew we wanted to start having a family right away. But, we didn't get pregnant for 7 months and then had a miscarriage. We were discouraged but hopeful. And then we got pregnant 2 weeks after our miscarriage (Miracle #1). We loved being parents. We would both want to hold the baby all the time and were so happy to start our little family.

When Chelsea was 6 months old we got a very distinct nudging that we should start praying about having another baby. I was still nursing and hadn't had a period yet so we thought that it would be a couple months down the road before we got pregnant. Needless to say, we got pregnant immediately, AND with TWINS!!! We were SOOO surprised! We would have our children 15 months and twins, 52 seconds apart. At this point, we knew we wanted to have at least 3 kids so we trusted in Heavenly Father and prayed that He would help us be the best parents we could be to these little ones.

During this time I came across a blog post about someone who had a large family who wanted to encourage other moms to have more kids. It's called, "Why Most Families Have 2 Children." My favorite part of the article is: 
"You see, there are lessons in the school of motherhood. With each child, you are promoted. God chips away at us, and refines us, and makes us beautiful." 
When I read that it resonated with me so deeply! I knew I wanted more children. I wanted to become a better person. Better able to serve and help those around me. Somehow I felt like I had more time to serve and help others with three children than I did when I just had one child. I at least had more of a desire to do that. I think as we grow closer to God our focus turns outward. I desire everyday to help my children's life to become meaningful. I want to do the extra things to help them feel special.


Since then, we've had one miscarriage and two more boys! The twins and Easton are 2 1/2 years apart and Easton and Jameson are 12 months apart. It's just crazy how life goes! Not many people know this, but we didn't find out we were expecting with our 5th until we were 20 weeks along!!! I didn't get sick, I was still nursing, so it wasn't until I felt him move that we finally but two and two together!!!! We were surprised then, too! Jameson is now 7 months old and we are surviving. Not everyday goes perfectly and there are times I feel like I am split into too many directions but here are few things that have helped me along the way:

1. My husband. Use him as a support. Not just to help around the house and changing diapers, but as an emotional support. I once read that one of the greatest indicators of postpartum depression was how much the husband and wife communicated about the day to day. How many diapers? Who spit up when? How long the baby slept? Etc. These things may not be the most interesting things of life but when you have a newborn they are everything in your life and they are important to you. When your husband shows that they are important to him, too, somehow it helps. Also, just the other day I was feeling overwhelmed, my Jaime was sick and was just fussy all day, when I felt like I was at a breaking point I called Michael and told him, "I just feel overwhelmed." Somehow just him knowing that helped me not feel so stressed.

2. Schedules. Now, these schedules are not hard and fast. And somedays they are completely different. But I like to look for "landmarks" in my day. When we get up in the morning we have breakfast, then on our best days, I have my kids go say their prayers and make their beds. Then we get ready, etc. Then we let life happen. Then at about noon I make lunch and at 12:30pm I put the boys down for naps and the girls have "calm-a-palooza" or calm-time. This gives me about an hour to an hour and a half every day, in the middle of the day, to decompress and get some things done, usually on the computer (bills, emails, etc.). But, sometimes I take a nap, too!  The rest of the day goes on, life happens, and then we get ready for dinner around 5 o'clock. I usually get dinner started and in the oven, then we straighten the house. I've noticed that we don't play a lot after dinner so it stays clean until the next day. But that leads me to my next idea.

3. Dishes don't have feelings. I genuinely strive to do my dishes every day (this is more out of necessity than anything!!! we go through so many dishes in one day). But, there are some days I have to remind myself that dishes don't have feelings, computers don't have feelings, toys don't care if they are put away, but your children have feelings and they care if you are "there." Learning (and I'm still learning) to be selfless with my time is one of the ultimate ways to become like the Savior, to truly give of yourself to someone else. But, when if you HAVE to get something done?

4. Include your children. There are some days I just want a clean house or I have company coming, so the girls and I spend all day cleaning! And it is so much fun! They love to be my little helpers. We turn on fun music and just go to town! There was also one day I wanted to make my twins a birthday slideshow, it was going to take a while and a lot of my attention so instead of busying up my children while I got it done I let them sit by me and we had a great time talking about all the memories from the past year. It took me longer to finish but we were creating memories and remembering memories at the same time.

5. And then sometimes it is okay to let your children "be entertained." When I first had children I would be so worried that they were watching too many movies, etc. But, at times it made it so we had a happy home. And we could all enjoy each other. And I could get some important things done. I usually turn on a Baby Einstein or Disney Junior while I'm making dinner. They aren't thinking about how hungry they are and I'm able to remember how many cups of flour I've added to the French Bread.

6. Lower your expectations for a little while. Buy paper plates. Let the dishes stay stacked in the sink. Do your best with the laundry. What I keep learning time and time again is that people are the most important and it's all going to be okay.

Anyway, I don't know if any of that is helpful. But, here's a little bit of what I'm learning. And it may spark some ideas for you as you figure out what is best for your family.. Also, if you have any specific questions, let me know.

Love, Jenny
jennylgib@gmail.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

We had a baby!

Announcing the arrival of Michael Easton Gibbons:

9 lbs. 3 oz. 22 inches long

Wait a just a little second... That was 5 MONTHS AGO!!! You've got to be kidding me, right? I didn't know that going from 3 children to 4 would make our days, weeks, and months fly by! Our Easton-boy or Captain E-O as Michael likes to call him (still not quite sure where that's from) is an absolute angel. He came to earth with the greatest capacity to love! I'm pretty sure he was meant to be sent to another family but he and Heavenly Father knew we needed him. He has brought so much joy to our lives. The girls love him so much, too.

There hasn't really been a whole lot that is new with us. Michael is still teaching the 14/15-year-olds in Sunday School and working his tail off at Platinum (he has such a cool job). And I am still with the YW (I LOVE IT!!!). Huge accomplishment for me this week, though: I got caught up with the dishes! Woot! That was huge for me. I did it all while jamming along to Celine Dion. My girls were having a blast being Divas, too! Lily even went to grab her TuTu while she sang and danced. I love having girls. I'm getting ready to record a few songs in the studio. Wow, now that I've said it I hope I stick to it! It's been a goal of mine for a long time and my sweet husband even "gave" that to me as a gift for Christmas a year ago. I've had a hard time finding songs I like and sound good singing but feel like I've nailed a few down. Oh, this isn't for anything commercial, just for some demo stuff and maybe put on a website to advertise for voice lessons someday.

My next big project, though, is moving in to our house. Oh yes, we've lived here for almost 2 years but now I want to really decorate and finish some projects we've started. And just ORGANIZE!!! We still have quite a few boxes to go through of memory things (those always take me so long because I want to look at everything). Anyhoo, I'm gonna make myself some To-Do lists and Get some things DONE. Since I've been sleeping the past 5 months or wait, not sleeping because I've had a newborn which means I'm always sleepy. He's sleeping much better now and I have tons of motivation in me to help our house feel more like our home and like the Temple. Until next time, adios.

Our attempt at getting a family picture on New Year's Eve: "we are a happy family!"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"I'm Super Lucie...Let Me Zoom!"


(photography by: Jena Marie Christensen)
It wasn't quite bedtime after we finished baths, lotion, and jammies this evening for the girls so I thought it would be fun to play out on our front lawn for a few minutes to get all our extra wiggles and giggles out. Chelsea walked out first and was so proud she "listened first time." Lucie saw that she was carrying two toy fairies in her hand and wanted to bring "just one toy" out with her. So, she went inside and grabbed a stuffed toy monkey that can velcro his hands around your neck. I offered to help Lucie get him attached, but she said she could do it herself and she did. Lily came out with Daddy and was happy to run up and down the hill singing at the top of her lungs, no toy needed. Anyway. Michael and I took the girls around back to see our growing garden, which isn't as successful as last year due to pregnancy (lack of attention); however, we have some pumpkins growing! Which we are all really excited about. After taking a few minutes to examine our masterpiece we started heading back to the front yard. I grabbed Lucie and Lily's hands in order to guide them to the front yard. After a few seconds Lily ran ahead but Lucie was still struggling to come so I kept holding her hand. After another moment or two (picture Lucie with a stuffed monkey attached around the back of her neck) Lucie exclaimed emphatically, "Mom, I'm SUPER LUCIE, Let Me Zoom!" I dropped her hand so quick (laughing hysterically) and let her zoom and zoom she did. (There are so many things I am taking home from that statement as her mother: need for independence and confidence from me among them! I love you, Lucie!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Face Painting the Island


I feel like our baby could come any day! Although, my doctor thinks I'll make it to my due date or thereafter (which I am so grateful I'm bracing myself for that). So, I wanted to make sure to tell you of our happenings of the past couple weeks before my life was not my own for a little bit. First, Michael and his bro-bies were asked to serenade the crowd for their sister Megan's ward party and we were lucky enough to tag along. It was a great party! So much good food and fun stuff to do. The girls loved getting their faces painted (pictured above). Chelsea wanted to be "circus" (clown), Lucie wanted to be a "big one lion" and Lily wanted to be a "Kitty Cat" They loved it so much Lily was pretending to paint her face in the car the other day (two weeks after the party-she's my little creative bug). Our next adventure was surviving without Mimi and Papa (Michael's parents who live a half mile from us) for a week and a half while they celebrated their 30th Anniversary. They went to Texas (where Michael's dad served his mission) and then to Florida for some fun and relaxation. Needless to say we are happy to have them back and loved hearing about their travels and tender mercies. We also got to spend some much needed family time in Island Park, Idaho at my Gram's cabin with my family! We live about an hour north of my parents and sometimes it might was well be a state away, we don't see them near enough so we were grateful to spend the weekend with them. We love them so much. And the girls can't get enough of their Miche and Grandpapa! Oh, boy. We could spend weeks up there it is so nice and relaxing AND the girls just loved it.  We came home late on a Saturday night and then spent the next morning finishing up preparing for our Sunday Lesson. I am now a Laurel Advisor in the YWs and I was asked to teach about Marriage and Family to the combined YW and I thought who better to teach with me than my beloved husband. He is amazing! He brings so much love and insight into our marriage. I currently only have a few classes left of my degree in Family Studies and I feel like when I discuss what I'm learning with him he already has the knowledge and wisdom of my tenured professors and truly understands of the beauty of marriage and family. I love him so much and am so grateful for his patience with me (and his willingness to step in these last few weeks of pregnancy - he is currently grocery shopping for me - thank heavens!).

Here are a few pictures from our fabulous trip. Our cabin is located right on Moose Creek so as soon as we got there we got swimming suits on the girls and jumped right in (for a few minutes at least, it was FREEZING):

Chelsea loved the cold water - she even walked across the creek all by herself! (to give you an idea of how cold it was I could barely put my toes in for a few seconds before feeling like I was going to freeze them off)

Lily's signature Kissy Face.

Lucie was braver than I thought she would be! She was loving the water.

Showing Off their Lot from the Candy Store! It's my one time a year I get myself a bag full of TOOSTIE ROLLS!

Big Springs! These girls were loving the outdoors. We went on this little gem of a hike and saw a muskrat.


Gotta love OLD FAITHFUL!





Thanks for taking time today to come and read this (all 3 of you). We love being a family! Michael and I attended the temple together this morning  and were reminded of how blessed we are to live in such a wonderful place and to have the opportunity to learn and grow together and to someday live together forever for all eternity. We love each other and our girls so much and can't wait for our little baby boy to join our forever family (12 more days until my due date . . . so excited!).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mommy! + a little R&B soul

So, one of the many perks to being married to a music maniac who happens to work at a recording studio are birthday presents like this (it makes me cry every time, so sweet and thoughtful and not to mention, super hip, too!):


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Traditiooon...tradition!


What a fun day! We woke up and got ready early so we could drive my sweetheart to work just in case we needed the car AND it turns out we did...to go to the park! We have an elementary school close to our home that has the perfect playground for our girls; complete with tunnel slides, tunnels, bumpy slides, bridges, you name it! It is by far my favorite playground in Bountiful. We had a blast! On our way home we noticed some water activities going on at our church across from our house and I had forgotten today was Primary Water Party Day (my girls were sick last Sunday so I missed the reminder)! So we hurried inside, put on swimsuits and had ourselves a splash-filled time, complete with popsicles! I love my ward so much. Seriously, some of the dearest people you will ever meet! And such good kids and friends for my girls, they love to go to nursery and primary to play with their friends. After that we had ourselves some PB&Honey sandwiches, grapes, and milk for lunch and I put the girls down for naps. I was ready to relax for a few minutes when I noticed the twins playing in their room, I thought to let them play for a minute to see if they would settle down... BAD IDEA! After a minute or so I went to check on them and as I got closer to their room I could smell something rank. Not only was this awful smell all over the carpet, beds, blankets and toys, but they had managed to paint a masterpiece on the wall x 2. They were having a ball! So I put them in the bath while I tried to clean up a little bit, wash their blankets, etc. Needless to say, we are getting closer to being completely potty-trained, but not quite there yet (if we survive potty-training twins, I'm pretty sure my husband will take me to France). The girls got settled after their bath and had a nap and I then took a nap, grateful to have that behind us and also grateful my husband had come home for lunch who helped immensely.

Tonight I had a sweet experience while sharing with my girls one of my favorite meals (Potato Soup) and Chelsea helping me do the dishes. Somehow having these girls want to be like their mother helps me want to always be my best self. While the dinner was cooking Chelsea stood on a little stool next to me and washed everything she could easily put her hands on and stayed helping until the dishwasher was loaded and started, she even got to press the button (her favorite part). And then after I made the dinner, it was so sweet to see these girls eating and enjoying a food that I love so much! It made me think how important it is to share my traditions and loves with my children, as well as sharing experiences, like doing the dishes, with them. Although it was such a simple task and usually mundane, having Chelsea help me today made it so worth while and enjoyable.

Chelsea: "Highest Tower" Lego Champion

Lucie: "Special Headband" Champion

Lily: "Super Hugs & Kisses" Champion

Jenny: "Found the perfect curtains for my kitchen" Champion

Michael: "Plays the guitar & sings like a maniac" Champion *swoon*

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The girls and their sweet Daddy!

The day after my birthday Michael took us up to Pineview Reservoir
and we just swam and built sandcastles!