Category Archives: motherhood

Mother’s Day

Last year on Mother’s Day I did something others might consider crazy. I went to the Bishop of our congregation two weeks in advance and asked him if I could be a speaker in Sacrament Meeting on Mother’s Day. I felt that words needed to be said that addressed the needs, desires and concerns of all women. After much prayer, editing, and definite guidance from the Lord, this is the talk that I gave:

I would like to speak today to the women of the church regardless of your current status as a Mother. First, to those for whom Mother’s day brings much joy. Sticky kisses, homemade gifts, that anxiously-awaited call home from your missionary, or thoughts of your own mother and the sacrifices she made for you. 2 years ago I humorously watched an edible Mother’s day gift made 2 weeks in advance and tucked carefully away in my child’s sock drawer slowly reduce in size. The temptation to eat it rather than save it for Mom was just too great. There is much to be thankful for on Mother’s day. But I wish to speak also to those for whom the words “Mother’s Day” might bring pain.

Perhaps you have recently or even long ago lost your own beloved Mother and yearn for the ability to pick up the phone and call her for advice. Perhaps you struggle with infertility and like one of my dear friends would rather sit out in the car during sacrament mtg than endure yet another Mother’s day talk, or are not yet married and like my dear own sister have tolerated painful comments from others such as “What are you waiting for?” You might wonder if this holiday will ever relate to you and your life situation.

Others may feel pain on Mother’s day related to their children’s actions. Perhaps they have strayed far from the gospel and you doubt your abilities as a mother. Or maybe you just feel that you don’t measure up to those idealistic women presented through word and song on Mother’s day.

Some of you already know that I was not a fan of Mother’s day for many years. In our early marriage as we struggled with fertility issues, Mother’s day was just a reminder to me that I was not yet a mother.

Other times I have struggled as a speaker declared a list of everything their mother had done perfectly and I left feeling “not good enough.” In speaking to many sisters over the years, I found that I was not alone in my feelings. How could a day designed to give joy and honor to women as a whole bring heartache to so many?

And then I read “Are we not all Mothers?” by Sister Sheri Dew who originally gave her talk while she was serving as a counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency. I would like to base much of my talk today on her inspired words.

In my role as a foster parent, I am asked to participate in something called “shared parenting” with the biological parents of the children we foster. It might involve writing letters to them letting them know how their child is doing, sending pictures, or even modeling appropriate parenting skills.

I would submit that our Heavenly Father also participates in “shared parenting” which is resounding evidence of his faith and trust in us. Just as I sometimes have fearfully returned foster children to homes where I feel parenting standards are lacking, our Heavenly Father sends his children down to us to raise even though our parenting abilities don’t come close to measuring up to His. He too writes letters—through the scriptures; sends pictures – more than once as I have knelt in prayer with or concerning my children, he has given me glimpses of personal revelation of who my children really are and what they can become. He also models appropriate parenting which we most clearly can see through the example of the perfect life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Lord stated that his work and his glory are to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39) We have the divine role as daughters of God to participate with Him in this work as he has entrusted us as women with his children.

Sister Sheri Dew stated: “While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity and in effect limit it to that definition, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words or titles they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve ‘the mother of all living’ …and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege and responsibility of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly and definitely that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits, talents and tendencies our Father gave us.”

Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “Men have to have something given to them (namely the priesthood) in mortality to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. They are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.”

“Nevertheless”, Sister Dew continues, “the subject of motherhood is a very tender one, for it evokes some of our greatest joys and heartaches. Some mothers experience pain because of the children they have borne; others feel pain because they do not bear children here. For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable does not negate our nature. Some of us then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved, led, nurtured and mentored.”

In the words of Elder Holland, “We rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.”

Whether that means leading and nurturing in your role as a school teacher, Primary leader or Young Women’s leader, you are fulfilling your role as a mother as you nurture the children and youth of today. I would challenge you today to look around you. Who needs you and your influence? Who needs someone to understand them and believe in them?

I am grateful to all of the Mothers I have had over the years. I am grateful for my own mother who gave birth to me and has nurtured me for many years, but I am grateful to many others as well. Who said you could only have one mother?

I am thankful for:

— A seminary teacher who inspired me to gain a testimony by daily reminding us at the end of our class, “You have to find out for yourself if the gospel is true. You cannot live on borrowed light.”

–for Young Women advisors who had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself. For Sunday school teachers and seminary teachers who came to my high school softball and basketball games and left me feeling loved from their support.

–Visiting teachers who used to think that I would not want them as my visiting teachers because they were from my mother’s generation and yet as a young mother I so appreciated their example, their love for me, and most especially their wisdom.

I am thankful for women in this very ward who have loved, nurtured, and taught my children. Who have attended my children’s: dance performances, gone to football games to watch the band perform, sewed a wedding dress for my daughter, struggled in a sign language class because she was in the Primary Presidency and wanted to be able to converse with my son. Those efforts have not gone unnoticed. It may not take a village to raise a child, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a ward family to do so.

If you are not yet married or do not have children, the Lord may have a different timetable for your life, but you ARE a mother in Zion. My sister has often nurtured my children much better than I as not a birthday or holiday goes by without a package in the mail or a visit from her letting them know that they are special to her.

Last, if the children you have borne cause you pain on this Mother’s day, please know that your Heavenly Father is aware of your situation and recognizes you as a valiant mother. Eve was glad after the fall realizing that without it she would never have had children. Yet imagine her anguish and sorrow over one son who killed another. Our children have their free agency. 1/3 of our Heavenly Father’s children chose not to keep their first estate in the premortal existence as they chose to follow Satan instead of our Father’s plan. Yet we would NEVER doubt our Heavenly Father’s parenting skills. The Lord is aware of your children. He knows them, he loves them. They were his before they were ever yours and he will never give up on them. As it says in Isaiah 9:12, “His hand is stretched out still.”

As an aside to those who see others’ children make unwise choices and say, “My children would never do that,” you probably ought not to say it in front of any witnesses. If you have never struggled with any choices that your children made you are probably the mother of a newborn.

As Sister Dew so aptly stated, “As daughters of our Heavenly Father and as daughters of Eve, we are ALL mothers in Israel and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility and the privilege to love and help lead the rising generation. How will our young women learn to live as women of God unless they see what women of God look like, meaning what we wear, watch, and read; how we fill our time and our minds; how we face temptation and uncertainty; where we find true joy; and why modesty and femininity are hallmarks of righteous women? Every one of us has an overarching obligation to model righteous womanhood because our youth may not see it anywhere else. ”

Elder Holland declared, “You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you. [As mothers and women] yours is the work of salvation and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been. Rely on him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope. You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well.”

May we rise to the challenge that the Lord has placed before us. May we recognize our sacred role and stewardship that our Father has entrusted us with as mothers in Zion and may we always remember that regardless of our current mortal circumstances, that we are ALL mothers for it is a divinely appointed, and eternal role.


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Filed under Family, Holidays, motherhood, Parenting, Religion

Adoption always comes from loss

When I first felt led to adoption, all I could think of was how wonderful it would be to add a new child to our family. As I looked at photos of children needing families, I envisioned them sitting with us at our dinner table, playing at the park, opening gifts on Christmas morning, and sleeping peacefully in their new beds. Of course I knew that they would have difficulties transitioning to a new home and environment, but I had read stacks of books on adoption, and subscribed to a few adoption magazines so I felt ready to tackle any mountains that the trail of adoption put in our path.

As any parent will tell you, however, reading it and knowing it in your head is not the same as living it. I’m not sure that even reading every single book printed on the topic of adoption adequately prepares you for the day that your child says, “My Mom must not have loved me or she wouldn’t have given me away.” Or, “I guess to my first Mom I was just a piece of junk. If she really loved me, she would have kept me.” Yes, I have heard both of those, and the pain that comes from the heart of the child expressing those words can be overwhelming. Watching feelings of despair wash over a child because their birth parents abandoned them can leave a parent feeling helpless.

Sometimes no amount of reassurance of “Your mother loved you, but could not take care of you”, is enough. Sometimes there are no easy answers. I know my children were supposed to come to my family, but where does that leave the role of birthparents in their lives?

Fostering has added yet another dimension to the biological parent issue in our home. One of my foster daughter’s parents are still in her life as reunification is the current goal on her caseplan, although it will now only be with one parent as the other has made no progress and it is recommended that her rights be severed.

My other four year old will never again live with her bio parents as their rights have already been severed. She will move in exactly two weeks clear across the country to live with a cousin. That will add yet another dimension of pain and loss to the children in our home because she has been their sister in every sense of the word for 22 months now.
Now that I am on the other side of the coin as I watch them leave, I have gained more empathy for my children’s birth parents. I see not only my adoptive children’s pain, but I catch a glimpse of their biological parents’ pain as well. Yes, some made a conscious choice of drugs over their children, but I do not know what caused some of my children’s mothers to have to leave them and never return. Was it poverty? Inability to care for medical needs? A desire that their child have a better life than they could provide?

Maybe like me, they had no choice. Maybe like me, their government made the decision for them. My government decided that “blood relations” means family even though these relatives are virtual strangers. Basically, “blood is thicker than water” or more honestly, “shared blood means more than the strong and loving attachment you have to your foster family”. Maybe their government made the choice for them by telling them a second child would cost them thousands of dollars in fines, so it would be best to abandon the disabled child in order to try again without any financial penalties.

I don’t know, but as I prepare my foster daughter to leave our home, my heart aches with an intensity that I have not felt before. Her new adoptive parents–from our limited conversations–only see the happy side so far. They are still in the “Opening presents on Christmas morning and sleeping in new beds” mode I was in over 10 years ago. They reassure me all will be well, that she will be loved, that she will be happy. So far, they refuse to see the painful side; the loss that is involved in leaving not only bio parents behind, but the home and family she has had for the past 22 months. They refuse to believe that she will grieve.I know this is true for parents who have had a miscarriage or lost a child. Saying a prayer for you and thinking of you too. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness/Remembrance Day:

They don’t understand that I will be praying for her day and night and wondering if she is sleeping well or crying herself to sleep. They don’t know of the night terrors she had when she first arrived here, nor do they want to hear about them. I worry she will have them all over again and wonder if they will know how to handle them. And as I worry…as I have sleepless nights, my empathy and appreciation for my children’s biological parents deepens. Sometimes it is in pain that our greatest life lessons are learned.

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Filed under Adoption, keeping connections, motherhood, Parenting

Missing my missionary

12-3-2007-1121We really love the missionaries we have serving here in Arizona, but sometimes being around them makes me miss my son who is serving a mission in Texas. I wiped continuous tears during a baptism on Saturday just thinking of my son doing the same work.

I write him every week and we share our deepest thoughts about families, God, Christ, missionary work, trials in life, etc., but they aren’t funny things that show up here like the hilarious things my younger kids often say. I am really missing him tonight for some reason and since I can’t pick up the phone and call him, I will blog about him instead.


I need to share more of my older kids on this blog since I realized after Nicole made a beautiful scrapbook for me of my blog for a Christmas gift that it consists 99% of my younger kids.

Tonight’s entry is dedicated to Taylor. He’s a kid who nearly drove me crazy as a young boy.
Refused to stay in time out, was stubborn as the day is long, and once when I put him in his room for a timeout the kids said, “Mom, Taylor is watching TV!” No, that would be impossible since he was in his bedroom…or so I thought. Silly me for thinking he would have stayed put. Instead, the dear little one had removed his screen from his window, crawled out the window and come around the back yard to watch TV through our sliding glass door in the family room.


With the girls when they were young, all I had to do was threaten to remove a privilege or a favorite toy, and they were quick to obey. With Taylor, however, I could say, “Clean your bedroom or you won’t be able to go to: _____. Insert anything here that one would think would inspire him to get busy; soccer game, baseball game, Cub Scouts, it didn’t matter. His all too often reply? “I don’t care, I didn’t want to go anyway.” It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go to Cub Scouts or soccer. He did, and he loved them both, but he wasn’t going to show it, and he would dig in his heels and miss both activities. Cut off your nose to spite your face? The phrase, I am convinced, was invented just for him. His early years on more than one occasion made me mutter under my breath, “I hope you have a child just like you someday!”


He tends to be pretty ADHD, but has thankfully been able to make it through life without meds. One of his middle school teachers told him one time when he wouldn’t shut up, “Taylor, you are like a fart in a skillet!” I didn’t know whether to be offended for her talking to my son that way, or agree with her.

In spite of our challenges, however, Taylor has always had a sweet and sensitive spirit. scan0022
He loved it as a young boy when we would sit and sing songs together, and after one night of singing as a family in harmony by the light of the fire in the fireplace, he said that he loved the way that felt and wanted to do it again. If he watched a touching movie, he was always the first to be wiping away tears,


and he always looked out for and was kind to the underdog.

His sensitivity has carried him far in life as he has grown and also brought him a wealth of friends. He was voted class speaker at both his junior high and high school graduations,  with Kelseyand if you mention his name to almost anyone from his high school, they will say, “Taylor? Yeah, I knew him. He’s a good kid!”

He has wanted to serve a mission for as long as I can remember, and from the time he was about 15, he didn’t think he could wait four more years to be old enough to go. He really wanted to serve a foreign mission, but when he was called to Texas, within an hour or so of opening his mission call, he said, “It feels right…it feels like a well fitting suit”, and knew that it was the Lord’s will that he serve the people in Texas. 12-3-2007-0691From the experiences he has had, it has been confirmed to us over the past year that Texas was exactly the place that the Lord needed him to be.

elder-white-biesinger-stevensonHe’s a wonderful missionary now, who has dedicated his life for the past year to serving his Heavenly Father. He has 11 more months to go and wishes that he had much longer because he loves missionary work and loves the people with whom he is working. Y’all has become a permanent part of his vocabulary.

108_00051When I see how much he has grown and matured over the past year and how much he loves the Lord and the people he is serving, all the past challenges when he was a young child fade away and I am blessed with the reward of seeing what an incredible young man he has become. Once again the words come to mind but this time in a positive light, “I hope you have a child just like you someday.”

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Filed under ADHD, motherhood, Parenting, Religion

Power to the Family

If you know me well at all, you know that I am a Laura Ingraham fan. As in die hard. As in don’t call me between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon because I will be listening to her show. I’m hoping for a podcast subscription for Christmas so I can listen to her whenever I want. laura

After having said that, I’m embarrassed to admit that I finally went and bought her book, Power to the People. I originally borrowed it from the library, but agreed with so much of what she said that I wanted to underline every other sentence; somehow I don’t think the library would have looked kindly on me doing that to their copy.

In her first chapter, “Power to the Family”, she mentions how large families in America are now frowned upon, and how ironic it is when others look at large families and say, “How selfish!” She mentions,

“These days, having such a large family earns you strange glances, shocked reactions, and castigations from environmentalists and anti-population growth wackos. Somehow, ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ is considered self-indulgent by those who put a high value on attaining a certain lifestyle. (These people consider it selfish for adults to devote themselves to supporting a large family, but it is apparently unselfish to spend your money on a lifestyle made up of frequent and exotic vacations, state-of-the-art gadgets, spa treatments, golf lessons, club memberships, boarding schools, and fancy summer camps. If you can follow that logic, please explain it to me.)”

As a mother of seven and hopefully a few more via foster care, I have heard it all.

  • You have how many children???
  • How could you possibly give each child the attention they need?
  • How do you afford it?
  • Do you ever get any time for yourself?
  • How can you possible have a family that size in a small home?
  • If your family wasn’t so big, you could afford a larger home. (Ok, someone needs to explain the logic to me on that one. If my family was smaller, why would I need a larger home?)
  • Don’t you know how babies are made? (I particularly enjoy this one since 3 of my children are clearly adopted. Either that, or others think I get around quite a bit.) Just to encourage their incredulity, I inform nosy busy-bodies that my 7 children have 4 different fathers!

My all time favorite, however, is :

  • “Isn’t adoption expensive? I could never afford it!”

This comment usually comes from a person who is driving a $50K SUV. My favorite reply? “It costs a whole lot less than that car you’re driving.”

Most of these comments don’t bother me that much. Their life, their business; my life, my business. Not only that, they don’t know what they’re missing. As my son in Texas said, “I love big families! More siblings to spend eternity with!” 🙂 Please don’t think I’m judging you if your family is smaller than mine. Everyone has their own path in life to follow. You may be single or have only one child, and that may be what is best for you and your life, or perhaps is the plan that God has chosen for you at this time whether you are thrilled with the idea  or not.

I admit to being bothered recently, however by the comment of a friend. She asked me why on earth I would be interested in having any more children and when I told her that I was following the Lord’s plan for my life, her reply was, “Just tell the Lord ‘no’ “. In my life, that is not an option. I have seen starving and dying children in Haiti. I’ve seen orphanages filled with 500 children in China. That is no way to live, and so when God asked me to make a difference for the orphans in the world, I gladly answered His call. I’ve found when I submit my will to His, that I am happier, life is better, and I have a joy that only following His plan for my life can bring. To be honest, I was shocked when she said what she did, because having returned from a third world country as a missionary, I thought her heart would be changed; that she would have a stronger desire to leave the world a little bit better than she found it. Among the adoptive community, I have yet to see a parent who has been to a third world country who didn’t wish they could “bring them all home.” People claim adoption is an addiction. I disagree. I think it draws families again and again because they see that they truly can change the world one life at a time.

So what is wrong with having a large family? Other than the nonsense of global warming and using up the earth’s resources, (I believe, and science shows there truly is enough and to spare if utilized correctly), why does a large family bother others?

Laura Ingraham states:

The modern mind does not view families as the fundamental building block of a free society but rather a threat to individual liberty. That’s because service to others is viewed as enslaving, while service to self is the highest ideal. We know the opposite is true…

…families are actually quite liberating. The stronger your family is, the more independent you can be. A family that sticks together and helps each other is more likely to survive economic downturns, less likely to need government-provided health care, and less likely to need day care. Its children will be better prepared for school, and its grandparents will be better prepared for retirement. At every stage of life, its members will have more freedom — and be less dependent on government or other large institutions — than people who lack family support. So if we really want to empower the average person, the best thing we can do is strengthen families.

Large families, small families…it doesn’t matter as long as we are focused on strengthening family relationships. As I have seen traditional family values wane in popularity, I would add that to empower not only the average person, but also America, the best thing we can do is strengthen the home and family.

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Filed under Adoption, Family, motherhood

Dear Chinese Birthmother

Dear Birthmother of my son,
With technology today, contact with others on the other side of the world is just a mouse click away. I wish it were so with you, but I have no way of contacting you because I do not know who you are. Today is our son’s birthday, and because you left him with a note stating such, I am sure that somewhere today in China, your thoughts most likely turned to him…a son you could not keep.

I am confident it was a decision that caused much grief and pain as no Mother-heart could care for a child for the first couple of years of his life and then be asked to relinquish him without so much as a backward glance. Did you make the decision on your own, or was it one that was forced upon you? I have read of Chinese women who 10 and 15 years later speak of the day that they were forced to relinquish their child. They cannot finish speaking as they talk about it because their pain causes them to dissolve into sobs.

Thank you for loving him enough to leave his birthdate pinned to him. He lost so much with the loss of his parents and family, but that small bit of information is a part of his identity that no one can ever take away. I pray that his birthdate and the location where he was found might someday lead us to you, but that may be a wish that won’t be granted in this life.

I wish you could see him today. I am blessed to have photos of him at the age of 2 that another parent adopting from his orphanage took over 10 years ago. Because of this gift, we will never have to wonder what he looked like when he was young. I wish I could return the favor and share with you what he looks like today. Here are some photos, and perhaps someday through some miracle, you will be able to see them. He has a dimple on his right cheek and a face that truly lights up when he smiles. I often wonder if he got that from you.

He is doing remarkably well in school, and learning English at a rapid pace. I bet you could never imagine on the day that you relinquished him that he would end up in America. Perhaps you wonder if he is still out there close by in China. Last night, as he gleefully opened birthday presents, I thought of how he told me he only got cake in the orphanage for his birthday. There was no money for gifts, and when I sent gifts ahead before we arrived in China to adopt him, he said they were taken away. He was only allowed to pose with them for a photo and then told that because he would have a family, he needed to give them up to other children who would remain behind. He is a kind and forgiving boy, however, and took the loss in stride.

Our son is an obedient boy and a very hard worker. Last year, he won the President’s Award at his school for a child who has excelled in school despite challenges. His certificate is signed by the president of the United States. Having to conquer the English language is not an easy task for someone who spoke Chinese the first 11 years of his life, but his teacher told me that he was the hardest worker in her class. You would be proud.

His medical issues have been resolved, and you’ll be pleased to know that he is healthy and happy. He is very slight in stature, and often when I see a Chinese man who is also slight in build, I wonder if his Chinese father is built the same way. He doesn’t like being so small, and is quick to share with others that he can pull his share of the load. He chooses the heaviest bags of groceries to carry in from the store, and then flexes his muscles for me saying, “Mama, I strong boy!”

The Olympics is happening in Beijing right now, and he is happy to cheer for athletes from both the United States and China. Just as he is a boy with two mothers, he will grow up as a boy with two countries. He has asked me if China is bad when he has heard stories on the news that don’t always paint China in a positive light. We have focused on all that is good in China and how he can be proud that he is from a country with such a rich and varied history.

However, it is most likely the lack of your civil rights–the one child policy– that led to his relinquishment and adoption. He and I have not yet discussed that in depth, but questions have surfaced on occasion. I worry what that governmental policy has done to his self esteem. He saw a baby once who had been left at the orphanage gates who died a few days later. He told me how sad that made him, and told me “That baby’s parents no want her, just like my parents no want me.” I told him nothing could be further from the truth. Some tell me I cannot know that. I can, because I too have a mother-heart that loves.

Adoptive parents often only focus on the joy they have in gaining a son or daughter. There is no denying, however, the pain and loss that are also a part of adoption. In order to gain his present family, he had to lose his first one. To have me as his mother, he had to lose you. At night sometimes when I kneel down to pray for all of my children, know that I pray for you as well. I pray that your heart may have peace, that God might speak to your heart somehow to let you know that he is doing well. I pray that I am raising him in a manner of which you would approve.

If not in this life, then in the next, I know I will meet you someday. I will give you an accounting of my stewardship as his second mother, and pray that we can compare notes someday. You can tell me what he was like when he was born and when he first learned to crawl, or got his first tooth. I, in turn, will share with you his life from age 11 on. Please know wherever you are, that he is loved. I thank you that in those first few years of his life, you taught him how to love. People have told me it is a miracle that he can, given that he spent so many years in an orphanage. I have no doubt, however, that it was his early years with you that gave him the love and confidence he needed to be able to bond with another family.

Thank you for the gift of our precious son.


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Off to Scout Camp

Because Ben was still in school when our Scout troop went off to camp the first week of June, he was unable to attend. So, tomorrow he and Jeff will be heading up the mountain near here for another Scout camp; just the two of them. To say he is excited would be an understatement. He spent all day yesterday packing, unpacking and repacking. I’d like to think I have made an impact on my boys since he actually was packing 5 different pair of long pants for the week. Jeff is always adamant that they only need one pair of long pants for nighttime, and a few pairs of shorts. I have tried to tell him that not every boy wants to put on the same dirty pair of pants each night, but he just shakes his head at me. I guess it’s a guy thing. I’m not afraid to get dirty while camping, but I do appreciate a clean pair of clothes to put on each morning.

You have to know a bit of background. When Jeff was a boy, his mom could send him out to play and within 30 minutes his pants could be black. His brothers would return with maybe a smudge or two, but Jeff looked like he had rolled in the mud. Even now at 50, he still wipes his hands on his pants. He tells me that’s what he figures pants were made for…so you don’t have to wipe your hands on your bare legs.

He and Taylor laughed last year when I packed a plethora of shorts and pants for both Caleb and Ben. “Boys don’t change their clothes at Scout camp!”, Taylor informed me. “Well, maybe you didn’t, but these boys will!”, I replied. I was wrong. They came home with most of their clothes unworn, but smelly from putting their dirty clothes back in with the clean ones so the whole kit and kaboodle had to be washed anyway. They also didn’t brush their teeth the entire week. Dirty clothes I can live with. Unbrushed teeth? UGH! Both they and Jeff got murmurings and grumblings from me for at least a week on oral hygiene and who would be paying the next dental bills for cavities.

This year, I am happy to say (probably to avoid the wrath of Mom), Caleb brushed his teeth while at camp. I have my fingers crossed that Ben will as well. If all goes well, he might even wear more than one pair of pants.

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Lost tooth

Micheline has lost her 4th tooth. She came to me yesterday with a rubber band around it and said, “Mom, pull on this,” and tried to put my hand on the rubber band. I squeamishly declined the offer and suggested she finish off the job herself since it was just barely hanging. 10 minutes later she appeared with the tooth in hand and happily announced that she thought the tooth fairy should bring her $10.00. After all, she had to do all the work herself. “I just twisted and twisted it around and around, Mom, until it came out!”

Needless to say, the tooth fairy is getting old and forgetful. She forgot to come last night, so Micheline took a quarter and a dime from my change cup. I told her if she would be patient, the tooth fairy would probably come tonight and bring her a dollar. She informed me that the tooth fairy clearly needed helpers. After all, if she was late, she obviously couldn’t be keeping up with the job.

This isn’t the first time the tooth fairy has been late to our house. Sometimes she has come while the kids are eating breakfast. With one of Caleb’s teeth (which in my defense he never told me he lost–he pulled it out at school) she didn’t come for two whole weeks. He finally came to me and asked why she never showed up. I guess that lazy fairy was off on a vacation to Hawaii. What a slacker…I guess she needs to find new helpers as I clearly am not keeping up with the job either.

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