Monday, February 09, 2015

There is beauty all around when there's

Tonight for Family Home Evening we set a goal to show more love to each other—and to try to notice when others are being loving to us—this week. Hopefully that will promote some harmony in our home. We'll see...

We also sat down together at the kitchen table and got valentines ready to send out to our family. Here's the damage we did:

1 birthday card
10 hand-written notes
11+ kid-made valentines*
25 store-bought valentines

...all for 33 relatives. We stuck to great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And I think we even managed to get everything in the appropriate envelopes. As an added bonus I finally sat down and started a spreadsheet to hold everyone's addresses so I can stop asking for them (or hunting them down in old messages) every time I want to mail something. I've been meaning to do this for years now but I only ever think of it at Christmastime and things are always a little too busy at that time of the year to actually do it. But February? February's not so busy.

I totally had time to do it in February. Why didn't I think of that before?

We made a list of everyone on a clipboard before we got started just so that we wouldn't leave anyone out.

"What about Uncle Rod?" Rachel asked.

"We're just going to stick with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins," I said.

"Uncle Rod is our uncle," she said.

"He's Grandpa's brother, which makes him your great-uncle and we don't even want to start listing all those relatives," I said.

"What? He's my great-uncle? I just thought he was my uncle!" she said.

Josie should appreciate that—the joys of being the youngest child. Which generation do they belong to, anyway? (For those who don't know, Josie is younger than our oldest niece and only a couple years older than our next oldest niece so she sometimes finds herself straddling generational lines, wondering where exactly she fits in).

"Why don't we just send one to Uncle Rod?" Rachel suggested.

"Because if we send one to Uncle Rod then someone will say, 'What about Aunt Stacey?' and if we send one to Aunt Stacey then it will be, 'What about Auntie Colleen?' Or Dorothy...or Clark...or Ken...or Bruce...or Linda...or Nicki...or..."

"There's just too many," I said. "Grandma has eight siblings, Naanii has three. Grandpa has four siblings, Bumpa has six. That's twenty-one great-aunts and -uncles, not counting their respective spouses."

"And then there's cousins," Andrew said. "So. Many. Cousins."

"No, this year we'll just focus on these people," I said, indicating the list on the clipboard.

We've done different things in the past and will probably continue to do different things in the future but...what we did this year was what we did this year.

Miriam, Benjamin, and I spent the morning at the library, first for craft time (the planned craft involved both red paint and glitter—I might just be an un-fun person, but who plans these kinds of projects for toddlers/preschoolers?) and then for story time, which included another craft (that we forgot to stick in the envelopes...darn it), so some of our relatives (I think the great-grandparents) got glittery hearts in their envelopes (not because we hate them but because we love them).

Some other kid-made valentines had been crafted in the last week or so when the girls realized that it was February, but when I was getting ready to seal up the envelopes we still had a few without a handmade card so I put the girls to work after they'd finished signing their names 25+ times (and not without much complaining—to think they suggested doing school valentines tonight as well...yeah, right).

Miriam was having trouble cutting out a decent heart shape (even though I made a tracer for her and everything) so I asked Rachel to assist her. She took the heart Miriam had butchered and trimmed it down to a sloppy and very tiny heart.

"Now it's too small!" Miriam wailed.

"Then what do you want me to do?" Rachel growled.

"Use a different paper!" Miriam whined.

"What paper? What? Just tell me—what should I use? Huh? Huh? Huh? WHAT SHOULD I USE?!" Rachel yelled back because clearly this situation warranted yelling (kidding; it didn't).

I had had just about enough of their shenanigans. We're trying to promote harmony here! Can't they just figure it out?!

Oh, by the way, have I mentioned my emotions are way out of control lately? I'm trying really hard to not be a crazy person but sometimes—usually once a day—I snap and all the crazy comes pouring out.

"Rachel, do you have a brain in your head?" I, uh, snapped.

I heard Andrew snort in the bedroom (he thinks my temper is funny, which sometimes doesn't go over well). Rachel and Miriam both turned to stare.

"Use that," I suggested (a little more calmly). "Use your brain to figure out how to make this heart and what to make it of. The paper's right beside you and you're holding scissors in your hand. I really don't understand why you're screaming."

Probably not my best moment (sorry, Rachel), but seriously! Do kids have to fight about everything?

Don't answer that.

We'll just pretend the answer is that they don't have to because we're promoting harmony in our home this week, remember? Harmony.

*I didn't count these but I know there's at least one in each envelope


  1. Maybe you should save the harmony lessons for post pregnancy ;)

    1. Meh. Let's be honest: sometimes the crazy comes out when I'm not pregnant, too.