Monday, August 11, 2014

Julia's real birthday

Julia's real birthday was pretty lame but mostly by her choice because she insists that her real birthday be celebrated when her Daddy is home. So, since she was turning 7 I couldn't mess with dates like I could when she was little. August 8th was easily "August 10th, or August 12th" to better accommodate our plans when Julia was younger because tiny kids usually don't know or pay attention. But Julia knew this time around that her birthday was indeed on Friday, August 8th-and she knew very well that Dad was gone on his big motorcycle trip.

I wanted to make it special but she didn't want to open presents until Dad was home. She didn't want to even have cake or ice cream. She didn't want to go swimming without Dad. It is really sweet and I didn't know that she cared about Chay being there for her as much as she did. Daddy shows love differently and isn't super affectionate- he can be at times but his effort of showing love is just different than Mom. Daddy is a hard worker, he takes care of things, he makes sure the kid's bikes all work, kills spiders on the walls, fixes the kid's broken bed, makes sure the bedroom window is closed so they don't get wet from the morning sprinklers, he will build Legos with the kids, takes the kids on 4 wheeler rides, checks up on them when they sleep, picks up fallen kids off the floor and puts them back in their beds, makes sure they are warm, - but he isn't very "huggy" and he's not a huge communicator either. Sometimes I wish he would spend more time talking and holding the kids but I just appreciate the other side of Chay so much that I try to just focus on the person he already is and not on what he isn't. But it is totally his idea to paint the kids' toenails sometimes and the kids couldn't be happier.

However he is a big communicator with me and very affectionate with me- ha ha- so I don't get it. He has mentioned before that he was never around a dad much growing up and he doesn't remember talking to his dad ever one-on-one. His dad was gone all the time driving truck when he was younger and then his parents divorced when he was 12. He doesn't use it as an excuse but he just doesn't know how to be a certain kind of dad, because he never had one growing up. So, I think he is doing pretty well.

The kids love Chay no matter what! He is a great Dad. As his wife I suggest he does interviews with the kids and take them places and ask certain questions and he is more than willing. I know it stretches him a little but since he wants to do what is right, he does it. The power of humility. One of Chay's greatest gifts is the gift of humility. He wants to do what is right.

So yesterday for Julia's birthday we wandered around Target because Julia loves toys. She loves to play with them but she is so dang grown up for her age and she is so logical that rarely does she want to actually buy a toy that she sees at the store. She will say, "I really like this doll but I think I will only play with it for a little while and then it will just sit with my other toys at home." Seriously!!! Great thinking Ju Ju! I would love to swap toys around with other parents so toys don't get old- but my other kids couldn't handle that. The best way to buy a toy for Julia is to just surprise her with something.

Cynthia came over yesterday and gave Julia a crochet purse with cute crochet hairbands. It was adorable. We talked forever while the kids played- even though they were all tired, hungry, and cranky. We kicked them outside. Cynthia knows pretty much everything about me because I don't have a mom I guess. She knows the good, the bad, the ugly. I tell her things that most girls only tell their mom- I even brag a little about my kids and our life changes. I guess some people don't have that kind of relationship with their mom but I sure did.

I love hearing Cynthia's stories as well. She is very wise and has such a smart view on life. She is solid. She is a great friend and neighbor and the thought of leaving someday makes me sad.

Everyone needs at least one friend they can feel their self around.

It was time for bed and Julia asked if she could sleep alone with me since Chay was gone. I loved her request. Of course Kenzie and Xander were sad but I put those two in the same bed and asked Kenzie if she would read to Xander. Then I explained to Xander how wonderful it is to sleep with Kenzie. She is soft and super cuddly and once she falls asleep, she rarely moves unlike Julia who is a disaster to sleep with. They giggled. I promised Xander that Kenzie won't push him off the bed in the middle of the night like Julia does. It was funny.

Julia came down with me. She sat in my bed and colored. I tried talking to her but her answers were short but she was just being Julia- kind, interested, to the point. I started reading to her from The Friend and then after the first story she rolled over and tried going to sleep. What??? I wouldn't let her. I kept bugging her and not letting her sleep. I told her she can't fall asleep yet, we just got started on our slumber party. "Too bad, I'm tired now" she would say. So funny that girl. So I scratched her back because it's her favorite thing in the world and I let her look at my Instagram Roll on my phone of all the pictures of the family. It was so fun to see her smile and giggle. She was talking a lot more. Then I started to fall asleep- it was my turn. It was a great little time with Julia. Happy Birthday little girl. I love you!!

Friday, August 08, 2014


Today by noon the mom-o-meter was probably tanking into the negative red. It was just a bad day, you know? I love this picture. Forget it April. 

But at night when I was tucking the girls into bed the girls made me realize that today wasn't so bad after all.

Kenzie and Julia reminded me that I got a lot accomplished today despite feeling very unaccomplished: I paid the bills, I worked on family history for Wanda who is a 90 year old gem in the ward. I cleaned the play room and organized legos. I swept the floor 5 times today. I made quesadillas. Super Mom!!! Ha!

It was just a blah-I-wish-I-could-figure-out-life-but-I-cant kind of day. I am tired and achy from lack of sleep too. Overwhelmed and hard on myself.

The best part of the long day was sitting in bed with Julia and Kenzie at bedtime. Julia turns 7 tomorrow. I loved playing with her hair and talking with her. I get so sad when my kids get older. It used to seriously get to me but I have learned to just let life be- She is so grown up for her age. We talked about what kind of man the girls should marry. We talked about Daddy who is gone for a few days.

Then there was a big spider crawling up the wall and everyone freaked out.

We bored Xander with our girl talk and he fell asleep in .4 seconds and so he missed out on the spider drama but the girls wanted to sleep with me and so since I am single at the moment, I thought it was a great idea! Julia even said as she climbed in my bed, "this is so fun for my birthday to sleep with you Mommy".

Mom-o-meter is looking better. Time to snuggle in bed with my not so little anymore girls. Looking forward to a better day tomorrow. Ju Ju- my cute little Ju Ju is 7! What in the world!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

august 6th 2014

And he's off! Said goodbye to Chay today- he left for 4 days to go on a huge dirt bike adventure up near Stanley, Idaho somewhere. I'm so excited and happy for him. He deserves this all the way. I'm also so happy he is going with my brother Keith. It means a lot to me because my family doesn't really get to spend a lot of time with Chay since we live so far away. I just love that Chay and my brothers have this little huge passion in common. Great way to get Chay and Keith to hang out. Of course I married someone like my brothers! My brothers are my heroes.

I hope no one gets hurt. I sent with Chay a very big first aid kit chuck full of everything possible. I even made sure there was migraine medicine for my brother Keith.

We signed on a second life insurance policy for Chay today before Chay left. :) Covering my bases. I am Chay's wife, not his mom. I can suggest and share my take on things but there is no way I have any business talking him out of what he loves to do. People disagree with me but I tried once up a time and it just wasn't worth it. I knew it was a lost battle before I started and it only caused contention. I loved that he rode motorcycles before we were married and I will love it all during the while.

Now I don't even think twice- go, have fun- take some cool pictures, say a prayer.

What am I going to do with the kids this weekend? hmm Julia's birthday is on Friday but we are waiting for Daddy.

Had all the kids with me tonight for Family History workshop. They played in the nursery. We had a bunch of people show up and I am ever so grateful for The Sabins who came in to save me. There is no way I can help so many people at once. I'm not good at it. Jeff and Cami came and helped several people and it was such a life saver. It is so fun to see people's faces come alive when they see their family tree go back a couple hundred years.

I've been praying for my ward. I pray they will have success and get excited about Family History. I feel so much love for them. Miracles happening all around us all the time.

My house is so totally disgusting right now. Like total disaster. Every room needs to be dejunked- I have neglected my house lately and it shows. Poor April and her messy house. Sounds like a title to a children's book.

Good night.

Oh my gosh, the power just went off. We are having a huge lightening storm outside. Crazy weather. I am sort of scared or more spooked I guess without Chay. I just realized how quiet my house is when nothing is running. The internet won't work and my phone is almost dead. I guess I better go to bed. oh my gosh, Sam just woke up and it's midnight. He is screaming.

Kill me now, Sam just fell asleep and it is 4:30 am. I think something is wrong with him- he is hurting somewhere or something. Longest night of my life. Power came back on around 1:30. The spookiness went away thank goodness.

10:00 am- just woke up. Kids let me sleep while they watched netflix. Sometimes I am so grateful for modern technology and TV!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Maria has 5 children ages ranging from 2 to 14.

She is going through a lot of trials right now. Her mother can function okay but she is slightly mental and has breakdowns often. Her mother's husband who is Maria's step-father who basically raised Maria is dying.

Maria is the only one in her family to help and take care of her Mom and Step-Dad which is taking a lot of time and toll on her as she drives them around to doctor appointments and as she tries to comfort her emotionally unstable mother. Her husband is in some sort of special training for work and he doesn't get home until real late. Her husband's baby brother unexpectedly died a couple weeks ago and her husband had to drive a car down to Texas for a few days.

She has difficult teenagers. Oh teenagers.

In the middle of all this, their suburban died from a bad fuel pump- which costs a pretty penny and they don't have the money to fix it. Suddenly Maria doesn't have a car to haul her kids around to do every day things.

This family is tired.

Maria calls me yesterday and she starts to ask me family history questions. Then I noticed her voice started to quiver. I asked is she was okay and she just started to cry. So I walked over to her house with a box of red potatoes bringing Kenzie so she could take care of her little ones while we talked.

Maria talked about her life and all her problems. I know by default I am a problem solver and I like to fix things but I felt really strong to just listen. I've been praying to become a better listener.

Soon after we sat down on the couch the neighbor kids came over to play. 3 crazy girls who come from a shaky home where values and morals aren't taught. My first reaction was "no way, go home, Maria is having a stressful day" but Maria kindly let them in. Maria would calmly discipline the girls if they acted inappropriately. Then 3 more neighbor kids came over. They just walked in the house like it was their own. Maria calmly talked to the kids as they ran through the house and pulled out every toy. I was totally surprised how calm Maria was. Then Julia, Xander and Sam came over an hour or so later. It was total chaos and Maria just kept her calm and even fed everyone a snack. I finally said, "You're amazing Maria. I couldn't handle all these kids. I'd go crazy. Man, tell them to all go home, especially if you need a break from all the stress." I really should keep my mouth shut although I have improved over the years. She laughed and said, "Some of these kids don't receive a lot of love in their homes and this is the only place they feel it. So I want them to feel loved and welcomed here." Maria takes them to church on Sundays. She is a saint.

Wow. Heaven Sent. Maria taught me a lot that day. I was too selfish to even notice that. I still can't believe how she processes things. I love Maria. She is a warrior for who she is- to know her background and all the things she's been through as a child and to see her rise to the top and still have a strong testimony of the Gospel is simply amazing. She is such a chosen person because I don't think most turn out like her when they have her kind of life story.

I am so grateful for strong influences in my life like my friend Maria.

Don't want to forget a small moment with Ju Ju

Julia is just plain awesome. She is very comfortable with herself and many times she prefers to play by herself, especially if there are kids she doesn't know well over playing- or if she is way into something else like building something or in her own imaginary world, she wants to be by herself and not be interrupted. She is my only child who never wanted to sleep with me when little and has kind of been just really secure enough to know everything is okay from the very beginning.  After her miserable spout of colic for 3 months she became my best sleeper. She can be super dramatic and can scream really loud but she is generally really calm and observant. She is a thinker and very creative.

Although at nighttime when I am giving kisses she kind of changes a little and just really wants a ton of hugs. She loves being tucked in. She is a lover of soft silky blankets. She loves soft blankets and she is always snuggling up to them and kind of goes crazy because she loves the comfort of them so much. We all giggle at her and her odd obsession. She is known to steal the Sammy's soft blanket all the time- that little snitch.

She is actually a really funny girl and her personality is going to be my favorite thing about her when the kids grow up. She is witty and so smart. I can see us being best friends someday. Totally fun to hang out with, you know what I mean?

Well the other morning Sam was crying and I was still in bed. Julia walks into the room barely holding Sam. He is getting bigger and heavier and I can tell Julia was struggling to hold him. She plops Sam on my bed and then she gets into bed with me and Sam. No way! Julia rarely does this. She grabs my big fluffy down comforter and starts to get all comfortable. I swear, she loves comfortable big blankets- so funny. Anyway and then I put Sam sitting on my lap as I stayed laid down on my back and together we talk to Sammy and make him giggle. We kept trying to make him do things like "point to Ju Ju" "where's Ju Ju?" He is such a cute goofy kid with a melt-your-heart smile with his crazy wild red curly hair. Julia and I were laughing so hard at how cute he was being. Then Sammy got all quiet and he looked at us all seriously and then he let out the biggest sneeze and then he just started to giggle. It was the funniest cutest thing ever. We laid there together for some time just so entertained by Sammy- and then eventually we got hungry and went upstairs. I just really loved that little special time with Julia.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

August 5th 2014

I'm just kind of not with it lately. Summer lazy days with little routine is throwing me off. I like it but I don't.

I sleep in- well we all sleep in until 9 every day. Except for Chay who leaves at 6:50 am which makes me feel sort of guilty but then again he is having a hay day at work. He loves loves his job. That really makes me feel happy for him. He deserves it.

I just stay up late at night because the house is quiet and then like a lazy bum I sleep in. Blessed is me! I have 4 children who have always slept in- and if I could get my act together I could actually sanctify the mornings as my time and make better use of my day verses staying up late and wasting the morning away sleeping.

I woke up to a text from Cami saying the kids in the neighborhood were down at the grassy hill playing soccer. So because I know my kids should run around and enjoy the cooler day, I drag them all out of bed- give them all a granola bar and tell them to run to the grassy hill to play soccer. I told them I would grab Sammy and head on out. I send a mass text to all the ladies in the ward about soccer. Cynthia across the street who fell down her front cement stairs on Sunday and really tore up her legs was limping to her car. I told her to come and to just drive to soccer instead of walk. I like it when she gets out of the house and visits with friends. Her husband is a trucker and is gone all week- she has 2 little boys.

Her car is dead. I jump it with jumper cables and the van. Eventually we get to soccer. The kids played for a couple hours while the moms talked. It was good to blab. Kids played soccer and then got bored- then it went to Red Rover which didn't end well- it never does. Then they climbed this huge grassy hill and rode down the hill in our jogger stroller. Crazy kids.

upon returning home I decided to get this online preschool thing we signed up for up and going- The preschool is for Xander but Julia still isn't reading amazing so she is doing the program as well. She is so logical. I sat and watched her take the tests on the program to determine where she is academically and I noticed that a lot of the math, money, and time questions were kind of tricky for a first grader but I could see her wheels turning and I caught on to what she was doing. It wasn't that she knew all the answers, she just knew what weren't the answers. She is smart enough to figure out what it couldn't be out of logic. It was crazy to watch her think. She was getting them all right because it was multiple choice- I had to tell her to get some wrong so that she can at least be taught the things she was guessing on.

I was so inspired to hold Julia back a year. She was barely 6 when she started kindergarten last year and she excelled pretty well but she is scared to make mistakes when she reads so she refuses to do it. So if I would have put her in K when she was barely 5 she would be entering 2nd grade not reading- NOT GOOD. I might do the same with Xander. He will be young too and watching him today barely figuring out the mouse on the computer let alone doing the preschool stuff, I knew he was still so young. We just started understanding his speech about 2-3 months ago- so first things first.

We had a massive rain storm today. Kenzie and I decided to run from the back door to the front. It was a challenge we gave ourselves. The rain was coming down so hard it hurt. Kenzie started crying. Ha ha. It was fun. Utah always has a few huge summer rain storms. Everything cools off and the air feels so clean but parts of the neighborhood were flooded. Sad.

I went to a meeting with the new Relief Society Presidency. I am on the Enrichment Committee. Today is Taco Tuesday. We usually get Del Taco because for $10 Chay brings home 30 tacos. Tuesdays are busy busy and so we justify making dinner and started a tradition. Ha ha what a lame tradition but the kids think its great. Laughed pretty hard when we watched the Lego Movie for the first time. Taco Tuesday.

Had to run home so Chay could make it to his high councilmen meeting. It is so weird. He is kind of busy but he came home around 9:30 and he was glowing. He could not stop talking about President Anderson and how special and awesome he is. Chay came home and said, "I was just taught by President Anderson for a hour and half and I feel amazing." We do have a powerful stake president. So grateful Chay is getting these neat opportunities to be surrounded by powerful influences. Even Chay's Director at work is a man of integrity and honor- which makes effective leadership.

While Chay was gone I took the kids to pick blackberries at our bishop's house. I knew they would enjoy it. Our sweet old bishop grows food instead of flowers in his front yard. He is always sharing. He was so kind to the kids. Julia was eating them faster than we were picking them. Then the kids pretended Julia was some wild animal and they got a kick out of feeding her blackberries. So funny. Xander stained his clothes along with Sam from the blackberries- stained with great memories I suppose.

We ended the night with a short scripture study because "Satan is going down" in our house. I'll explain later. Julia of course always has deep questions. I love that curious mind of hers. Then off to bed with big kisses and blackberry stained fingers. Julia always jumps in Xander's bed and Xander couldn't be happier.

These kind of days can seem kind of blah until you sit down to write about it. The kids are content with just being kids. They mostly played with Trios and watched the rainstorm. They watched a few shows of "My Little Pony" on Netflix and kind of did whatever. I thought that I might feel guilty for not having a fun filled day but they were content enough. They were home.

May 14th 2014

*another old post I just found. 

*As I was reading this post real quick before I published it I felt like my words sounded sort of cheesy and weird. I wanted to edit it, but then I realized that what I wrote is literally how I felt in the moment and so I left it the way it is. I think it is really important to journal feelings when the moment is fresh. It really captures the real live happenings of each day. I wish I could write every night about each day- because my journal entries would feel more honest to how I was truly feeling at the moment. But then again, I might sound horribly depressing and lost on bad days- so maybe not always a good idea I guess.

Today I woke up anxious for the new day. For some reason I put things off until the last minute sometimes. Today was a big day for Julia because her class was finally going to the Hogle Zoo. She has anticipated this day for a long long time and she builds up upcoming events her mind to be this huge thing. And yes, sometimes she is very disappointed but that's life for Julia. Anyway, got up this morning, packed lunch for 3 kids and rushed around the house for 45 minutes packing wipes, diapers, lunch, rain stuff. I knew it was going to be a big feat for the day- hauling 3 kids to the zoo. Julia, Xander, Sammy. We figured it out.

I am the most happy when I am with my children. I feel complete when we are all together. I love it. I love holding a baby on my hip and holding a child's hand in the other. I love to hear my 8 year old Kenzie ramble about something funny and I love trying new and motivating ways to get Xander to follow rules and be happy-usually.

After we gave kisses to Kenzie and she ran to her class (I still get tiny ounces of almost tears heart skippin happy saddness every single day when I say goodbye to her- she still blows kisses to me and says I love you 10 times when I drop her off for school- and she is naturally sweet and so she is so so so easy to love and miss) after we said goodbye to older sister we got in the van to go to the zoo. I surprised them with the Frozen soundtrack. Oh to see their faces light up!!!! Xander could not stop smiling! We sang so loud to all the songs all the way to the Zoo- downtown Salt Lake.

We get to the Zoo and I was so ever thankful for the beautiful 58 degrees sunshining weather. It was beautiful and perfect. It was so so exciting to be at the Zoo today. I have been several other times before and I am not a big fan to be honest. Usually it's hot and sweaty and the animals just sleep and hide all day- but today they were all outside. I just about freaked out when I saw the tiger roaring and running around. It was awesome. The kids were excited and the whole day they stayed pretty focused- even Xander enjoyed it despite how tired he became at the end. I love that kid so much. My handsome boy.

I love being with my old soul friend, Julia. She is just real. She asks so many questions but she is so so easy to be around. She is calm and curious. A mom came up to me today and said, My daughter wants to be like Julia." Her kindergarten teacher heard her and said, "everyone loves Julia because she is such a great student" Julia is just my little Ju Ju to me. I think she is pretty great myself. After a long day of walking around, taking breaks, having lunch, 3 trips to the bathroom, we finally conquered the zoo with success. Kenzie didn't know that I bought the Frozen soundtrack and so when we got close to her waiting spot in the pick-up line I turned up the volume really loud and I start to lip sinc to the song "Love is an open door" and I kept pointing to Kenzie and singing. Oh the smile across her face. It was so funny. It was the best way for me to let her know- "your day at school is over, you're with family now, you can be 100% yourself, and you are loved, time to have fun." We jammed out to the CD. Sometimes when I pick up Kenzie and Julia from school Kenzie will say, "so glad to be in the van." One day she came home from school and opened up the front door and said with a sigh, "so glad to be finally home" It was the cutest thing ever. I realized that even though I know she enjoys school, it can be exhausting and I loved how she felt all comfortable being home.

We got home and I made dinner- not a very good one- and then I sat down and practiced a really hard song on the piano with Kenzie. Then we had to go to soccer. She scored a goal!!! That girl is busy but we have the reigns held tight- we keep her home and keep her young the best way we know how. It's great to be 8! The magical number to slowly let go a little and see the choice machine get revved up and put to practice. So far so good!! She is making great choices. I do not worry about Kenzie. She is valiant. Came from Heaven that way! She is extra positive and sees the good in every situation. She always sees the good when I complain. The other day in the car she was quiet and she finally spoke, "Mom, there is a reason for everything, there really is. I didn't want Mrs. Mabbitt for 2nd grade but I think I know why I was supposed to get her." I'm sitting in the driver seat blown away at how she is processing life and learning- and I love it.

Daddy couldn't come to the soccer game because he had a phone interview but Julia and Xander usually roll down the huge hills and/or play in the dirt at the games. Sam just eats the dirt and makes cute faces at everyone. I looked over to find Xander and he was peeing on the cement by the baseball diamonds. I just looked away pretending I didn't see anything.

I am screaming and cheering on Kenzie!!! She is surprising me greatly with her athletic skills. I am not one to push much on her-allowing her to discover what she likes or not on her own. Soccer was something she wanted to try this year and so off we went with it. She is such a fast runner. She scored 5 goals so far this season.

The month of May 2014- Part 1

Old Post- finally finished it. Even my journal is scattered brained. When will I ever figure it all out?

I want to write this as fast as I can because I tend to embellish on things not that important and then I waste my time- and then I realize that I never finished what I really wanted to write about and before I know it, a hour has passed away.

Yesterday I went to ward council to present our ward family history project to the ward. Then I taught the high priests and then I taught the youth in Sunday School- all about family history. I have the lesson in Relief Society next week. I am planning something big and exciting for our ward so many will go to the temple with an ancestor's name when our beautiful new temple opens in October!! It will take a lot of my brain and a lot of time but it is so worth it. I feel peace. Life makes sense. I love that the Lord trusts us with His work even though I depend on Him so much for His help. All. The. Time.

When I am focused on what is right (because at times I drift) this is what I want to do with my life: I want to serve my family and the church with everything I have until I fall over my days out tired but with peace in my life. Nothing else makes sense to me. And yes I have bad days, really bad days, and yes I get discouraged but the Lord somehow helps me carry on and I seem to make it through.

okay Memorial weekend. It started out with tears as Kenzie placed 4th in the Spelling Bee. She mastered all the second grade words at home but since the Spelling Bee went for a long time they had to move to the 3rd grade spelling list and we did not practice that list. She was so upset and I was sick to my stomach. I was so nervous for her but so proud that she placed 4th over the entire 2nd grade. She missed the word "Confess" She left off the last S. Her face broke my heart. I held her in that cafeteria as she sobbed in my arms. Every child who misspelled a word was sobbing in their mom's arms. It was actually slightly disturbing and I wondered if 2nd grade was too young for a spelling Bee until I heard a mom say that her 6th grader cried just as hard as her 2nd grader. Oh, I see. Hmmmm.

But the hardest part of the Spelling B was not Kenzie losing or her only placing 4th. The hardest part was the young boy who misspelled a word and had to sit down but had no one to go sit with because his parents weren't there. He sat all alone at a cafeteria table and buried his head in his arms and cried. Where was his Mom??? Doesn't she know this is a huge ordeal? Doesn't she know that he had to be one of the top 3 spellers in his class to even qualify for this spelling Bee? This little boy was beautiful- super tan with dark eyes. I went up to him and played mom. I told him he was super smart and he did awesome. I tried to comfort as much as a stranger can. He smiled a little. I get emotional every time I think of that little boy all alone who really needed his mommy at that moment. Moms!!! These are pivotal moments!! Be there!!

When I picked Kenzie and Julia up from school that afternoon I decided to make things a little better because I knew Kenzie was having a really bad day. I took them to a garden nursery and had them pick out a vegetable to plant (kids are so easy). Kenzie was excited to grow honey dew (we will see how it will grow) Xander picked out a pumpkin which made me laugh because we have no room in our backyard for a pumpkin plant. I am thinking I will let it spread to the back of the fence and then let it climb up our garden shed or something. Julia wanted honey dew too. We then went to this neighborhood nearby called Heritage Ranch. It is crazy awesome. Everyone in this beautiful neighborhood owns multiple horses. The houses are brand new and gorgeous. They have big training pastures right in the middle of the neighborhood for everyone to use. Every house had a big pasture with stables as well. It was so awesome. I had my own horse when I was a child and I loved riding. Mckenzie loves horses as well. I knew she would love this. We parked our van and pet some horses. I think Kenzie has a real gift of gentleness and animals and children are really drawn to her. Julia for some reason wanted to stay in the car- what 6 year old wants to sit in the car when there are horses to see. Oh Julia. She makes every day so interesting.

After that we went to the old Farr's ice cream shop. It is in the coolest oldest building and it so happens to be across the street from the Ogden Temple. I let everyone choose their favorite ice cream and we sat outside and looked at the temple. We noticed that the eating area we were sitting at had trash everywhere. I asked the kids what would help solve this trash problem. I had them look around. Julia of course "Why don't they have a garbage can out here so we have a place to throw away our napkins?" Bingo. I then got a garbage bag from the car and we picked up the whole eating grass picnic area. It felt good and the kids thought it was so fun. Except Julia, but she was willing. As we were leaving we saw a family throw their garbage on the ground. Wow the kids got upset. Disappointing.

Kenzie was feeling better. I gave her a little eye opening speech. I told her that honestly a Spelling Bee means nothing. It doesn't mean you're not smart, it doesn't mean that you're better or not better than anyone. I told her that accomplishment is fun and it is good to challenge yourself but really all that really matters is that you keep doing your best. Just go through life doing Heavenly Father's will- loving, working hard, doing your best, serving others, keeping the commandments. These things bring the greatest happiness. Not winning a Spelling Bee. But the both of us are determined to do awesome next year and master both 3rd and 4th grade spelling lists. I hate stuff like this- spelling bees. ahhhh yuck, but whatever.

I know Kenzie will still listen to me but she is approaching a time in her life that maybe she won't so much. Taking advantage as much as I can.

We went on an awesome hike Saturday. It was pretty challenging for Xander but he pulled through and did great. He kind of got tired on the way down and then he fell and then he decided he was done being strong and brave. Chay had Sam on his back in a backpack and then when I didn't think I could carry Xander anymore Chay took both boys. We hiked up Waterfall Canyon and we made it to a beautiful waterfall falling 100+ feet. It was so beautiful. I love how that hike is a wait-until-the-end-have-patience-the-prize-comes-after-a-lot-of-work type hike. The kids kept anticipating the waterfall and could not see it, only hear it, until you got to the end of the hike. It was such a sight to see. Great analogy to use in the gospel.

I love where I live. Ogden Utah is beautiful. We are smack up against the huge breathtaking mountains. We have two rivers close by- the canyons are a 5 minute drive from our house. We have 2 big reservoirs 20 minutes away. 3 ski resorts 20-30 minutes drive. There are lots of parks everywhere. I love the Downtown city area and the diverse people. I love the heritage of the city. People used to tell me that Ogden was the armpit of Utah. So not true. I mean, yes, it is ghettoville in some places and downtown neighborhoods can be a little scary but for the most part it's really pretty and it has really grown on me the last couple years. I am proud to say where I live. The mountains here are AMAZING. Poke right up through the clouds almost to heaven. They are green right now and there are spots of white snow still- rocky ridges. I love it.

I will forever call North Idaho and North East Washington my home. I love where I grew up and I wish I could find a way to move there but Chay's career is here in Utah right now and I really can't do much about that. We have looked and looked for opportunities to move home but nothing seems to workout at the moment. I have made a choice to love Northern Utah- we have been here 7 years and I am finally loving it. It's about time. I feel it is important to love every place you go because you never know where God will need you and place you- even if it isn't where you prefer to be.

Sunday Morning I woke up with Julia, Xander, and Sam in my bed with Chay and I. We were so scrunched. But I woke up so incredibly happy because I was surrounded by my kids and Chay- the people I love most. Sure I wasn't comfortable but I'm sort of pass that by now. I want memories of kids snuggling up with me in bed more than memories of a good night's sleep. Those days of full night sleeps are coming and so for now, I will love it. Now if it happened every single night-um, maybe I would start going a little crazy. But I am just relaxed and just used to it for the most part. Baby cries at night, I just throw him in bed with me- nurse him, fall asleep somewhere in there. I don't mind that soft baby skin- no matter what time of the night it is. I have changed.With Kenzie I thought my world was falling apart if I didn't sleep well at night. It was so hard-but now I guess I'm just used to it. It's really not that big of a deal like it used to be.

Sam is beyond cute. In my mind I can't think of anything more wonderful and perfect than my Sammy. He has the heartiest laugh. He gets so excited he can't contain himself. He has beautiful curly red hair. He is a huge snuggle baby. He loves to be hugged. He loves to play with my long hair when he gets sleepy. He rubs it all over his face. So adorable. He is 16 months and only scoots across the floor on his bum bum. It is so fun to watch him cruise down the hallway on his butt. He has mastered it pretty well. I am not totally worried yet. I think he will figure out walking eventually. I just love love love that little boy so much. He has a temper but I just know him so well that I don't read into it that much. His temper is actually kind of entertaining to all of us. We just laugh at him. He is a great baby and I just want him to know someday how much we overly enjoyed him as a baby. All the kids love and adore him so much.

The month of May 2014 Part 2

Monday we worked around the house. Chay is a really hard worker. He is always so busy and finishes a ton of things around the house. It is seriously so attractive. I love Chay so much. He makes my heart skip a beat- most of the time. How on earth did I get so dang lucky???? How??? Thank you to any of you angels on the other side who helped orchestrate me finding Chay. Maybe it was my children up in heaven? Who knows. I am so thankful that I served a mission. I knew I had to and I didn't know why. I know now it was so I could come home and meet Chay in Portuguese Class at BYU-Idaho. He was just this goofy kid with messy bed head hair who always wore the same red hooded sweatshirt with little holes in the sleeves. But he radiated goodness and he glowed from head to toe. When he spoke and when he laughed it was like "Is this guy for real?" He didn't have a lick of anything negative or bad about him. He was wholesome. I remember thinking "I don't know if I deserve anyone like this, but I need to marry this man- he is way too good to pass up." He was humble, funny, kind, obedient, tall! He was tall!

He also had no direction in his life. He had no clue what he wanted to do for a profession and he stressed about it for awhile. For some reason I didn't want to care. I just didn't care. I just knew that when I was around him I felt complete peace and I knew he would always be faithful to me and the Lord. I felt so comfortable around him.

Chay is a great Daddy. He takes the kids outside a lot and will give them rides on the 4 wheeler. Chay is really good with Sam and it is so adorable to see them together. On our hike it was priceless to see the girls beg to hold Daddy's hand as they walked down the steep trail.

Friday Chay interviewed for a job. He somehow knew this was the job he really really wanted. We have been doing everything on our part to advance in his career. He earned his masters degree a couple years ago, he certified with his PHR- professional human resources- he was gaining more and more experience in his current job. He was actually shaping out his future and entering a point in his life where he was becoming very qualified to advance to the next thing- whatever that was. Chay started applying and interviewing inside his own company for every opportunity he was qualified for. He asked for promotions. He was constantly being denied and he felt like he wasn't being valued for his work. He would doubt himself and get down and then he would snap out of it and just move forward always looking for better opportunities. He is resilient.

He started to apply for jobs outside his company and he would almost always land an interview and many times he was a final candidate. Far too many times we got our hopes up and then only to find out Chay wasn't selected for the position. We got sick to our stomachs a couple times- I felt like I was going to puke about a couple jobs where we were certain Chay would get it, but didn't. Why? Why?

We just kept being anxiously engaged in this good cause and praying for guidance but continually applying for jobs. Doing our part.

Chay was looking for about a year and then he stepped it up more intensely for about 3 months. We decided that we weren't going to stop until we found the job that was right. We knew we wanted something else then what we currently had. We looked almost nightly. We even applied to jobs in Texas and Alaska. Oregon, Idaho, Washington- We knew we couldn't be picky when we were relying on the Lord to direct us to where we needed to go. People can't expect the Lord's help when they put limits and boundaries on what the Lord can do for them. We have to be willing to put it all out on the table and trust the best thing will happen.

On Friday during Kenzie's Spelling Bee Chay was interviewing for a job as assistant Director of HR of a hospital. Hello, my heart and stomach could only take so much.

2 weeks before the interview Chay made a huge decision. He sold his most favorite thing (besides me)- he sold his dirt bike. We really want to push getting out of debt and pay off student loans. We talked about selling his bike for awhile but it seemed to be that ultimate sacrifice and I was going to stay out of that decision as far as I could. All I told him once was "All or Nothing. Either sell it and never look back or keep it and enjoy it. Nothing in-between." And then one day he sold it. I was so so sad for him. I decided to join and I sold a lot of things around that house that I was holding on to. I also gave up my kitchen fund and put it towards debt as well. I can live with a nasty kitchen. I am still happy even though I have 70's green linoleum going up to the ceiling.

We really wanted the Lord to know that we were willing to sacrifice anything to accomplish our goals and to keep the commandment of getting out of debt. This month we put 5K towards debt! Awesome possum. Dave Ramsey would be so proud. Dave Ramsey has been our little financial adviser. I feel that he is the perfect fit for Chay and I. Simple, easy to understand, motivating- and I love that he is Christian and implements Christian principles into getting out of debt and finances.

During all of this, Chay was preparing for a job interview. We were actually both surprised that he made it to the interview rounds. We were constantly looking for opportunities and since it was in the mindset to apply for a couple jobs a week- Chay happened to run across this specific job and said, "What the heck, why not, right?" I saw the job listing a couple times but I didn't think Chay was qualified. Chay just said, "Why would I not apply for this? It's a director position." I loved his confidence despite all the many times he had been denied. When the hospital called to set up an interview, Chay was so surprised and then he decided right away he was going to get this job. He then decided to call the hospital so he could get a feel for the job he was interviewing for. The secretary mentioned that the Director was in his office and that Chay could just ask him anything he wanted to right then. Chay jumped on the unusual opportunity and the conversation with the Director went great. When Chay interviewed, the Director said that Chay was the only candidate to call and talk to him and the secretary in person before the interview. He also said that he noticed Chay talking and engaging to other employees while waiting for his interview and was very friendly instead of just sitting there checking notes on his phone like the other candidates did- that really impressed the director.

We also got a power suit. We went down to men's warehouse and got him a real suit and decided to keep his $20 suit from Savers in the closet this time. Chay looked great. I mean, really great. :) I don't know what a nice suit does to a man, but he seemed pretty dang confident once he put it on.

The prayers- oh the prayers. Something seemed different about this job. We went to the temple and we fasted. The first interview went awesome. Chay was pretty confident but I was less confident because almost all of his previous interviews went "awesome" and they all seemed to love Chay but never worked out. So I didn't want to get my hopes up. We learned from past experience to never pray to get a job. We learned to pray for faith despite what happens. We learned to pray that those interviewing Chay will feel inspired to do the right thing and that we may remain faithful no matter what. We prayed that we could trust in God's plan for us. Chay prayed that he would say the right thing and the right words would come to his mind.

Chay came in for a second interview and he was introduced to the whole HR team he would be over. He also met with the CEO and VP of the hospital. That night we felt we should get to the temple. We were nervous and anxious and needed to feel peace about everything. We did baptisms for our own family names. I have been bringing family names to the temple because of my calling as family history consultant which makes me feel that it is something I should do and learn how to do. Now I am teaching the whole ward to do it, so we can all come to the temple as a ward and do their own ancestor's work. Pretty exciting. I am teaching a family history class every Sunday and doing a workshop at the church every Wednesday night. I will do 2 mutual activities with the YM and YW and then as a ward we will reserve 2 nights at the new Ogden Temple and have a youth baptism night and an adult session a week later- they have until the end of September to find at least one name! Awesome! It has been hard hard work but I can tell that the members are taking over and their enthusiasm makes it so easy. I just have to teach and sort of motivate- once they start, the spirit of Elijah takes hold of their hearts and helps turn them. So far I have over 30 ward members submitting names to the temple.

Okay, back to Chay.

After we did baptisms we got in the car. We were at the Brigham City Temple in the parking garage. Chay turned on his phone and we noticed he had a voice mail. Who leaves voice mails anymore?? Chay saw that it was from Kelly, the Director. Together we listened to the message and Kelly said, no matter what time it is, please call me back. So we decided to drive out of the garage for better service on Chay's phone and we parked right in front of the temple. We had this perfect view of the Brigham City Temple in all it's grandeur. Chay called back Kelly and we were holding each other's hand so tight. It kind of hurt so I had to let go and just let Chay get through this. We were sitting in his little S10 chevy truck. Kelly offered Chay the job.

But what Kelly said about Chay was so memorable besides this little small miracle of getting the job. Kelly really praised Chay and told him how impressed he was with him. He said that everyone loved Chay when they met him and even the CEO said he was a perfect fit. He said that Chay was a man of high caliber and that he knew from the first time they met on the phone that he was the man for the job. Chay got teary-eyed on the phone. It was sweet but I kept saying under my breath "don't let him hear you cry!" ha ha ha.

So since this is my blog and I can write forever about this neat experience and no one will really appreciate it, not even my children, except for Chay and I. We have been through so much together and we went through some really hard times. I know Chay was stressed for a few years and he worked so hard to become qualified in his field. We never lost sight of our goals. We kept trying to look at the future knowing where we wanted to be someday even though on some days it seemed unlikely. We never imagined we would take such a huge jump so fast and since we see God's hand in this everywhere, we trust that there is a reason. I know for one thing we will be able to serve better and if that is what the Lord wants us to do, we will be ready.

To my children and grandchildren one day- let me explain the formula and where we saw blessings from obedience in all of this:

*God loves His children and will bless them regardless. He is kind and merciful.

*If you work hard and have a goal, the hard times seem bearable...and again, trust God.

*Pay your tithing! Just do it. I have too many stories from others and myself that prove the Lord will bless those who pay tithing. It is also a way to show gratitude and love to Heavenly Father for all He has blessed us with even though we don't have to ever "earn" his love because He loves us regardless, but we grow and we love the Lord more when we serve him- just like you learn to love others around you more when you serve them. Eternal Principle.

*Pay your Fast Offerings- help the poor eat. It is our duty to help the poor.

*A few general conferences ago President Thomas S. Monson asked that we start donating to the ward mission fund. I took that as a commandment. I didn't want to question, I just wanted to follow. I knew it was a good thing and that many missionaries can't afford to serve a mission. So we just started to pay it, out of obedience. Didn't really think about it but as I reflect certain blessings it has been confirmed to me that we have been blessed for doing so.

*Going to the Temple. It's a pretty awesome place. I wish the world could feel that peace. I know you can feel peace in prayer and in nature- but the work that is performed and the time you spend there in the service for others- the quietness, everyone dressed in white, the instruction we receive- it really is the ultimatum platform for peace. It's the real deal. Go to the temple. Your lives will be blessed.

*Family History- powerful. I am so tender lately. I feel Heavenly Father's Love through the Holy Ghost so much more now since I have been immersed in doing Family History- even with helping others do theirs. I know that as we help our ancestors, they will in return help us.

*Family Home Evenings, Family Prayer, Family Scripture study- We aren't perfect at this but we are forever trying. It's because my name is Chaos. But we plow through and we make the best of it. At least we are instilling in our children's hearts a habit that we always pray together, we read scriptures daily, we have family home evening- despite how effective it really might be sometimes.

*Get out of debt. Our prayers most often went kind of like this. "Heavenly Father we really want to get out of debt. Please help us find ways to increase our income so that we can put everything extra down on debt. We want to keep this commandment and we don't want to be in bondage to anything anymore. Help Chay find a job that pays more, or be with him and his manager when Chay asks for a promotion." Those kind of words would come out of our mouths when we prayed together.
So when Chay got this job, we kept our promise and we are putting everything down on debt until it is gone. Never again.

So there- a few of the things we did that merited blessings from on high. I feel impressed to share them so they might be of strength to my posterity someday who might be going through some similar life situations. Or whoever. I know this blog is public for now but I don't think that many people read it- it has turned terribly boring for the better.

good night

Thursday, July 31, 2014

walking in the rain

Summer is crazy when it comes to getting your kids to sleep before 10 PM! We try our best but we are tricked by the forever long days with sunlight until 9:30 at night.

The other night the kids were ready for bed and it was 10 o'clock. The weather has been wonderfully odd for July with light rain showers off and on, clouded overcast, and temperatures at least 25 degrees cooler. I wanted to go for a walk after the kids were asleep. Well I wanted to go running with Chay but he kind of gave me the look that I was too slow. I knew the look so I clued in real fast. Kenzie overheard our conversation and she kindly asked me if she could come with me.

Everything inside of me was saying "NO." It was super late and it was dark outside and Kenzie is only 8 years old. But why not? Why not? She is growing up and understands a lot and she is suddenly craving alone time with me and Dad. I kind of felt the push to be with her alone that night without all the kids hanging around. She has been a lot more opinionated lately and has been having these crazy outburst of emotional surges where she feels life is so unfair. She will beg for something and if I say no she will sort of freak out and if I don't handle the situation well she will freak out even worse. It doesn't happen a lot but I sense that she is trying to feel validated. This is all new to me. I have never experienced a child growing up and who suddenly has a strong opinion about certain things. She is as sweet as ever but I can tell that little things are going on in that developing mind and that little body of hers. So I am glad the Holy Ghost told me to take Kenzie with me on that walk. I told her to go get her running shoes on.

We started to run a little but she just ate her third bowl of soup 30 minutes before (she is starving all the time lately) and so Kenzie got a terrible side ache. We ended up just walking around the neighborhood. It started to sprinkle and it felt so good. Off to the northwest was a distant lightening storm. It was pretty much perfect. We held hands and walked around the neighborhood together and talked.

 I like to listen to the Mormon Channel on my phone in the morning sometimes when I am hurting and don't want to move yet and get out of bed. One day I listened to 1 part of a series on Communication With The Family. It suggested that when you have one-on-ones with a child that you make sure to just listen as long as you can and let the child just talk about everything and anything so the child feels safe with her feelings and don't pass any judgement on them. So I practiced not saying much and Kenzie just rambled off about stories from school, church, friends, cousins. She asked why a certain friend doesn't come to church very often. She also said that she is excited for school to start and can't wait to be with her friends again.

When she said she wanted to go back to school it kind of stung a little. She has never said that before. Summer and being home with family has always been her ideal choice. I know it is selfish of me but it is hard to see her change. I know outside friendships are crucial to growing up and developing problem solving skills- especially in the social realm but it is still hard for mommy. For some reason Kenzie doesn't want to play dolls as much with Julia and it makes Julia sad. I don't know why Kenzie is suddenly changing. I feel like just 2 months ago she was all about dolls and princesses and imagining. She does every now and then but it seems like she is looking for more.

I will take these new steps and changes with gratitude and I will try to be so excited for her as she slowly leaves little childhood. Wow the inspiration and revelation in the church to not baptize until a child is 8 years old is pretty much perfectly and heavenly designed. Something happens at 8. A child really knows between right and wrong at 8. It also proves that a child must have a testimony and strong faith by 8 because their brain and thought processing switches.

They go from obeying and soaking in all the truth as a little child leaning and trusting every word that comes out of their parent's mouth then switching to asking questions, doubting, figuring things out on their own, wondering why, having their own ideas, looking to influences outside the home, making their own choices- all this emerges when they are around 8 years old-

And as parents we should honor this new and exciting change and not take it as a threat to their role as parent. Let the person grow- Motto to myself "don't be defensive to growth" I have to tell myself this because I sort of get all crazy when Kenzie questions my authority. I am her Mom and there will always be rules but I feel that I and other parents get carried away with separating and placing the child below us as we stand 10 feet higher above them. (Like Mr. President Business, Ha Ha) Then as parents we easily fall into "unrighteous dominion" as we struggle to keep control and uphold this role that we have created in our heads as these "good" parents who feel they always have to be in charge, always have the last say, always be right. I think unrighteous dominion can hinder progression in a child and ultimately a person's skills to rely on the Holy Ghost and make choices for themselves. It is a fine line. A very fine line I am discovering to balance rules and expectations from parents versus allowing a child to think, feel, and decide for themselves especially when you know that child is making a poor decision. That is why parents need to pray every day. Ha. Because it is hard! So incredibly hard!

So um, I totally get off on tangents at times. So Back to my story about Kenzie and I walking in the rain..

Kenzie talked and I practiced listening. Listening allowed her to feel respected and so she wanted to learn from me. She then would ask questions that allowed me to say how I felt. It was so good. I thanked Heavenly Father over and over for that night together. I was also thankful that even though Kenzie is growing up and moving on to other things, she still highly preferred we hold hands the entire walk and then I knew she is still so so young and I loved it.

We loved getting wet together from the rain. She is such a sweet beautiful girl. It was like she could sense how I was feeling, or she just knows her mom really well but she said that night, "Mom, I am really excited to make new friends and go back to school but I will always treasure my family." It was so kind. She then asked me to teach her where north, east, west, and south were. :)

So we stopped in the middle of the street and I taught her. I told her that Utah is a perfect place to learn because we are blessed with these huge mountains off to the east and for the most part no matter where you are in the valley, the mountains will be to the east. We then thought of a million acronyms for the directions. Never Eat Soggy Waffles, Never Eat Soggy Watermelon, Never Eat Shredded Wheat- the usuals.

We got home from our walk around midnight. Chay was still out running. Crazy Clarks. The next morning Kenzie woke up and gave me the biggest hug and said, "Mom, last night was the best night ever."

I have been trying all summer to make their summer fun and memorable. We have been going places and doing a bunch of fun things and not once have I had a response like that from Kenzie.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

trying to be better at "writing it down"

Julia and Xander have been wanting to sleep together at night. So I let them. I love how all three kids are in the same room. I put all the toys, a big art table, and all the clothes in one room and all the beds in another. The room with the beds is above Sammy's bedroom which is in the basement. Since my house is old and loud and the wood floors through the house is the sub floor- it sounds like a herd of elephants whenever someone is jumping around or just moving upstairs. The kids never go into the bedroom where the beds are during the day, which makes nap time beautiful and possible for Sam downstairs. I think it was an ingenious idea if I so say so myself. :)

My neighbor gave me a huge old church 8 foot table. It is pretty beat up but I put it in the play room against a wall and put #10 cans all along the table filled with the essentials. I am so Mormon. Cans filled with Markers, crayons, tape, glue, scissors, rulers, stapler. There is a shelf with scrap paper and drawing pads. They sit at that table for hours creating and doing whatever. Julia loves to draw and color right now. She loves to spend time alone doing her thing. Coloring, drawing, building. She is safe with herself and loves alone time. But she also loves to play with her toys with Kenzie. Julia is just a hands on play player. She loves toys and loves to play with them. Loves to go over to people houses and see what toys they have.

Mckenzie has been growing up lately. She isn't into playing with imaginative play as much with Julia. It makes me so sad at times to see her move on to older things. Julia is right behind her but seems to still love love love to play with dolls and animals. So Julia asked and asked Kenzie one day to play with her and she kept saying no. So from that day on, Xander and Julia have become very close playmates. They have been going at it for 2 whole days. When I tell them to stop playing so we can leave or eat, they get upset. They build houses and all types of things out of Trios and K'nex and then play with them with horses and dolls. I love that Xander and Julia are so close. Trust me they have their moments where they are ready to kill each other but this summer has been so good for those two.

Yesterday I picked apricots. Our friend invited us over to pick her tree. It was an old tree and the apricots were at least 20 feet high. I got on an old rickety ladder and held a garden hoe in my hand and tried not to fall. I was so determined to get all the apricots I could. It reminded me of the summer before when Cynthia and I got free Cherries and I was climbing all over the tree way up high trying to get as many cherries as I could. I love it- it's the riskiest thing I've done for a long time. Mom's with small children don't get out much. Ha. The apricots were past good eating and were ready to be made into jam. That kind of stuff overwhelms me and ideally I wished I could have froze the apricots fresh but they were smooshy. And since I'm in a constant battle with trying to eliminate food loaded with sugar from my life, I can never fully commit to making homemade jam. Sorry kids. I know, I am weird. I will buy jam at the store for your peanut butter sandwiches but I will probably never slave over a hot stove in the middle of a scorching summer to make and can homemade jam. Not worth it to me. But I absolutely love being physical and picking apricots and whatever fruit from a tree. Now that is fun to me. So I gave all my apricots to my neighbor Cynthia and she gave me a jar of apricot jam. Worked out great.

During Family Home Evening I asked Xander what he thought the word fortify meant? He responded by counting 4,5,6? So cute. We built a wall out of mega blocks and talked about Captain Moroni's command to protect the cities by fortifying the walls. We explained how bad choices made our walls weak and righteous choices make them strong. Sam was Satan supposedly because he destroyed our wall in 2 minutes when we weren't looking!

The Lord really listens and cares about the small things. People probably thought I was crazy as I kept moving Kenzie around from piano teacher to piano teacher. I must have appeared to Kenzie as weak and indecisive as I kept giving up on her teachers and moving her around. For some reason her piano playing isn't taken lightly and I just feel this outside force to keep her going in the right direction with piano. If there was something that didn't feel right, I looked elsewhere. She is now taking Piano Lessons from Bravo Academy. It feels right. She has a teacher named Mr. Ferrington. He is so wonderful and I love him. He praises Kenzie all the time and sees everything good she does. The other day he told her, "I am honored to be your teacher. You amaze me." Love it! The academy is organized and gives her the perfect amount of incentive to keep her pushing along. Granted, we work hard together at home too. Kenzie always gets a little intimidated by her new assignments. The first few days I have to push push push to get her to attack the song with confidence. Then the rest of the week she practices like crazy all on her own and masters her song. Sometimes I have to sit by the piano with her for an hour or more encouraging and helping her figure out the songs. She can do hard things!!! She is learning the keys and what sounds good together and she is starting to make up her own music. My heart rejoices when I hear her creating. I feel like we have both worked so hard on her piano, that I rejoice in her successes and her growth right along with her!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I am resilient. I figured that out about me this past week. I put a name to it. I am resilient. I do get down at times but I somehow climb out with renewed strength. I never give up even when I have failed a gazillion times. I like that about me.

thoughts/brainstorm of mine

No matter what,
there is always hope.
It's never too late.
There's always a way.
It can be done.
Eventually it will get better.
God will provide the means.
Never too old to learn and
never too young to understand.
I will get through this.
I know there's a solution.
The Lord will compensate.
The Lord will bless me.
This too shall pass.
Tired is for later.
Figure it out.
I am strong.
I am resilient.

Spiritually resilient to become strong and seek the Lord's help when doubt sneaks in.
Physically resilient to never accept poor health and to treat the body like a temple.
Emotionally resilient to look at discouragement in the face and know it hinders progression.
Find a solution, trust.
Victory not victim.


*We are working on a Clark Family Mission Statement and the word "Resilience" hit me with a thump to the heart. I was talking about it with my sister in laws last week and then I just knew, I just knew, resilience has to be one the main words- to the theme of our family.

Wow April, this feels so right.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

strong 62

It has been 62 days since I attempted my new change. It has been the best new year's resolution and best kept new year's resolution yet.

I have lost 32 pounds so far and I feel amazing. I feel strong. I feel like doing everything and I am MS symptom free. That overwhelming tiredness is gone.

It also helped that I was in a weight loss challenge with my sister in laws. It kept me motivated on days when I wasn't in the mood.

A lot of people have asked me what I am doing and so I thought I would share. Just a heads up- I wasn't perfect all the time and I had days where I screwed up my diet royally. I would just try to jump right back on board the next day. If you think I'm nuts and have gone A-wall then, good! I love being a tradition and culture breaker! The biggest difference I have made in my health is when I stopped listening to what everyone thought and broke away from what the FDA recommends- or Grandma- and then started listening and studying and figuring things out on my own.

I went 95% vegan. I cut out all animal products on most days. Anything and everything animal- dairy, eggs, fish, cheese, meat, chicken. Every now and then I would have a small bite of chicken, cheese, or an egg but from all my studying and learning, I know for me, vegan is the way to go. I really started to study out in my mind what eating meat "sparingly" really means--and I think I've got it down now. Sparingly is key.

I cut out all sugars- mostly. Even high sugar fruits like bananas, pineapples- if I did eat high sugar fruits it was on an empty stomach so it wouldn't be a sugar acidic overload. My fruits I eat freely are lemons, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, avocados, bell peppers. On Sundays I would eat something sugary like a cookie or once pumpkin cheese cake. I could tell my body didn't know what to do with it and I felt puffy and bloated afterwards.

I went gluten free. Another thing I have played and practiced with for many years. I just can't do wheat. It just clogs me up and is too heavy for my system. In my opinion wheat is the number one weight gainer grain. I lose weight quickly once I say goodbye to bread. It is great for famine, filling empty bellies, and for comfort. Wheat and potatoes could solve world hunger if we could learn to distribute it better. I think wheat is a culture thing and isn't supposed to be eaten at every meal like most Americans do. But bread is sure good. I love it and I can't stop eating it once I start. I then feel gross and so so so tired after eating it. It takes me awhile to detox from bread.

I ate well over 2500 calories a day. Instead of heavy carbs, I ate quinoa, some oats, brown rice, organic corn. Brown rice and corn are actually not alkaline but it doesn't seem to affect my body like wheat does. I want to improve and venture out with buckwheat, chia, millet, and almond flour but I was too nervous during the weight loss challenge to experiment. I am a believer in good healthy oils. Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil. I ate hemp seed hearts everyday which is very high calorie and is high in protein. I also got some of my protein from edamame, quinoa and nuts. I ate an avocado everyday, well I would try.

My meals were mostly vegetables in all their variety. 3/4 of my plate was vegetables. I would sauté stuff, have hummus, salsa, organic chips- but I tried to get full off of the good stuff. 

My biggest meal or meals of the day were between 11:00 and 3:00. I don't think your biggest meal should be breakfast, it should be lunch. A heavy breakfast is torture to my metabolism and I start dragging the rest of the day. My big carb meals were always before 3 and for the rest of the day it was just salads and light stuff.

I quit eating by 6 at night if I could. I wasn't always perfect but I tried to be done by 6. I feel good in the mornings when I've been fasting for awhile. Fasting is really good for the body and mind. I have a super clear mind when I fast.

I drank a gallon of lemon water and/or green drink every day. Again, not always, but my goal was to drink 32 oz in the morning, 32 oz by lunch, 32 oz when the girls got home from school, and 32 oz before bed. water water water, Hydration. So important. My green drink is green tea free of course. It is just vegetables, grasses, and low sugar fruit in powder form.

Insanity. I bought the Insanity videos because simply they are amazing and I haven't found a harder work-out yet. There are 8 DVD's plus other DVD's that I haven't even done before but the first 4 are about 40 minutes long and those are my favorite. They are interval training videos where your heart peaks and then slows down and then peaks again for the entire work-out. Of what I read, interval cardio is the best fat blasting workout.

 My favorite part of Insanity is how I feel the rest of the day- like seriously 15 years old again. Giddy, happy, tons of energy, jumping around and getting tons done. When I do the hour long Insanity work outs with the other 4 DVD's I actually feel wasted all day and don't have that skip to my step. I think I actually burned more calories through out the day by doing the short videos in the morning than I did with the hour long work-outs because I did more during the day and had more energy to accomplish more. I think I will do the short videos in the morning so I have a good day and maybe 3 times a week do the hour long ones at night so I can just go to bed afterwards. Insanity makes you SWEAT like crazy. I drip in sweat the whole time and I believe sweating is so incredibly healthy for the body.

My biggest weakness in the challenge was food journaling. Something I hate because I don't count calories or worry about portions but it was part of the challenge and so I had to do it. I lost probably 20 points over the course of the challenge because I didn't food journal.

So there you have it. It worked amazingly well and I hope to feel this great for...well for the rest of my life would be nice!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

strong 12

Going strong. I feel amazing. My poop is green and I feel alive and strong. The cravings are gone. In fact I love that I actually feel hunger pains from a low blood sugar system I've created. When I was eating heavy carbs and sugar my blood sugar and insulin spiked and crashed quickly and I craved everything- especially sugar. Before I always "felt" like eating something even though I wasn't even hungry- now I actually feel hunger pains which reminds me to eat. Sugar doesn't really seem tempting anymore. My thoughts have changed and I don't seem to focused on my next meal- I feel like I am understanding my body a little bit more. I know I will want to crash one of these days- but that's ok. For right now, I feel great.

I did have some potatoes today. In this competition with my sister-n-laws we get a free day to eat something sweet. So I decided to have a few potatoes pieces in this soup I made for the family. They are so yummy when you don't eat them very often.

ok, time to make dinner for the sister missionaries. Should I serve them chopped kale? Ha! I was a missionary once, I know the value of a good unhealthy fulfilling meal on the mission.

Monday, January 06, 2014

strong 5,6

5 conquered Sunday- I am already down 6 pounds. Water weight is what I call it- I always lose 6-10 lbs the first week. I feel energetic and content. I still crave the good stuff. Chay made his awesome panko chicken strips and they looked awesome- but I just kept reminding myself that I am seeking health not temporal satisfaction.

6- I made 4 loaves of wheat bread today for the family and I didn't have one slice. I am so incredibly proud of myself. It smelled wonderful but I decided to just appreciate the smell. I will definitely have to have bread baking in the oven when we show our house when we move someday. So inviting...

I don't tell many people what I am doing because they choose not to understand it and the crazy remarks come flying- but our good Brazilian friend came over and I told him I had been Vegan, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, white-rice-free, potato free, processed food-free for 5 days and he just looked at me and asked what do I even eat? There are so many things to eat!!! You just have to be creative. I told him about my chickpea curry I had the night before, cucumber hummus sandwiches, spaghetti squash drizzled in avocado oil and pepper- food has come alive again for me and it is fun to take all these plant based foods that we usually rarely eat and make it my main dish. I have these Anthropoligie bowls that I love but never use but I told the kids that I am going to use them when I eat magic food. I use them everyday now. Makes me happy.

I feel amazing. I feel energetic and excited. Today I started a health fitness competition with my sister-n-laws and other people. I exercised for the first time in a long time. It felt good. I had so much energy. I was able to take on so much with strength and patience. So this is what normal people feel like? Is this why their house is always clean and they accomplish so much? Because today I said to myself, "If I felt like this everyday I would have a clean house...and I would be an entirely new mom" I like those thoughts.

Ok well off to bed I go-

little moments and thoughts

This morning started out sad. I had to take Kenzie back to school. I have loved having the kids home for break. In the van I popped in the CD the primary handed out with all the primary songs for 2014. Oh my gosh!!! All my favorite songs! They are going to learn "I stand all amazed" as well! Beautiful. I felt so much peace. Kenzie was singing along. I started to cry. I told Kenzie I felt the spirit- music does that to me. It was just an awesome moment. So I might just have to trade my favorite radio station for the primary cd- at least when the kids are in the car :) so worth it!! I will have to make sure to thank the Primary presidency for this awesome awesome idea!

I love picking up the kids from school. Julia is always looking anxiously. I love seeing them wave. I wave back with so much excitement. I see them so small waiting by the fence- they just had a big day dealing with friends and learning new things and I know how it feels to see mom's van pulling around the corner in the pick-up line. I asked what their favorite part of going back to school was and Kenzie said, "lunch" and Julia said "when you picked us up" That bad, huh? They don't love love school- I think Kenzie enjoys it, because she is just an enjoyable person- but they rather be at home. I know that will probably change once they start making closer friends outside the family.

The music from Frozen is overtaking our house. The kids have memorized all the songs just by watching clips on youtube. They sang a song tonight for Grandma and Grandpa Ramsey. I will say, it is always always in my head and I can't help to belt out the songs too from time to time.

Tonight from family home evening we shut off every light in the house and lit a candle that Kenzie made for me at school for Christmas. We asked the kids to come out of their room- oh they thought it was so cool. We put the candle on the kitchen table and we sang "Teach me to Walk". We talked about light, Christ, the Holy Ghost all under candle light. Usually Family nights are chaotic but this one seemed to not be as boring or something because they participated a lot and stayed focused. Even Xander- Chay taught about the Holy Ghost and Kenzie receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost when she is baptized. Xander thought we were talking about a real ghost and he started to get scared- well the lights were all off and we kept saying the word, "Ghost"  it makes sense.

Today Xander finally went back to taking a mid-day nap. He hasn't napped for 2 weeks during the break. We read some Look and Find book together and we both fell asleep. I woke up an hour later. Oh, yes, I remember one of the few things I like about kids being in school, Mom can take a nap while the little ones nap. I am so so excited about having Xander all day next year. He needs more one on one with me. He is such a funny kid. Can't understand half of what he says- but he sure tries.

Today is my brother Bryon's birthday. I love my brother so much. I don't even know where he lives or where he is. I know he's probably making poor choices or whatever- but I don't care. My love for him is the same. I love him so much. I knew I would cry if I started typing about him. Bryon has a good heart. I cherish our sweet memories together.

ok, well I am trying really hard to write more in my blog. I want to capture little moments and thoughts I don't want to forget. I think I will now go to bed and get warm.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Christmas break 2

5 bottles of antibiotics, a nebulizer, and a suction machine. Bronchitis, pink eye, hand foot mouth disease, ear infections, sinus infections, stomach flu (Xander and Mommy). Aaaand that is why none of you got treats from the Clarks, or any presents in the mail. It was more than I could handle. It all was manifesting itself before Christmas and it is finally going away. AHHHH So much coughing!! We met our deductible and our maximum on our health insurance so we made a huge trip to the Doctor. All 4 were seen and treated.

So no, we're not inactive from church and we really do like our friends and family, but we just needed to stay away from everyone because we're highly contagious.

*Scripture study last night went really well mainly because Mckenzie asked if she could braid my hair. Um, Yes! I read while she braided away. Normally I expect the kids to either sit still or draw what we're talking about- but all rules are out the door if you want to play with Mommy's hair.

We are finishing up the Book of Mormon- trying so hard to get it done before her baptism on February 1st. She stayed up way late the other night and read several chapters by flashlight. I wasn't sure how the comprehension was going but the next day she went off about stories she read. well, alright.

*The Pom Pom store. So each child has a jar. The girls have bigger ones. When they do their morning chores, help around the house, play the piano, or I catch them being good I give them a pom pom. It's those fuzzy little colorful balls from the dollar store. Each Pom Pom is worth a nickle. I have a Pom Pom store with little prizes that have pom pom price tags on each item. At the end of the week at Family Council we count poms poms. We put a money value on them just so they can pay tithing and put some in savings but the rest they can buy something out of the store or trade all the remaining pom poms in for money and save up for something big- a trip with mom or dad to the real store and get whatever they saved for. The pom pom store works awesome for Xander and is half in half with Julia. Kenzie already has saved enough the past month and half to buy a rainbow loom.

I have a clipboard for each child with several clothespins clipped on one side. Written on the clothespins are the things I expect for them to do that day. When the chore is finished, they move the clothespins to the other side of clipboard- on the other side of the clothespin it's the chore/verb in the past tense. Practiced, made bed, and so forth.

Sounds pretty awesome and it is- but it's rocky. It was really bumpy at first as we tried to work out the kinks and I almost lost the children's excitement because it wasn't organized. Plus I'm a scatter brain from time to time so I forget to reinforce and sometimes it is late going to bed at night so I forget to hand out pom poms. Other times I frankly don't have it in me to care about the pom poms and so it will die off for a couple days. Other times I lose it and go crazy mom on them and threatened to take out 20 pom poms for fighting, it usually works but I really didn't want this to be a negative thing. Sitting outside or sitting in the corner should be their punishments. I don't want those fuzzy cute happy balls to be associated with anything too sad...but oh its tempting. Once I was being a bad mom (just once) and I said to Julia that I was going to take out some pom poms if she didn't stop what she was doing. Well, obviously that was the wrong thing to say to Julia because she just took out the balls and started throwing them all over the room "FINE! Take the stupid balls!!" Oh precious child of mine. She will be the type that will have the most delicious bowl of ice cream in front of her and she won't eat it out of pride. May this all turn to strengths someday.

Julia spelled her name wrong in this notebook she earned from the pom pom store. It was the end of the world in the Clark home for about 2 hours. I did all I could as her mother. Nothing worked. She had to sit on her top bunk and just figure out everything on her own. She finally got over it and she was back to being Julia- fun and creative. But oh boy. How I love that huge spirit. How could I be so lucky to know and raise someone that is so unique and beautiful.

Julia loves Legos. She got some for Christmas. It's a Daddy Julia thing. It has been great for those two. Chay loves to build Legos and Trios with the kids. He will sit and watch cartoons with them and I can hear him giggling right along with the kids. That's my man.

On New Year's Eve we were pretty lame. Kenzie might be 8 but she still doesn't understand the excitement of the year rolling over to the next at midnight. So asleep they were at midnight and asleep they'll always be until they actually want to stay up. That night we had a family night and we did our annual gift to the Savior. It was a tradition my Mom started when I was a teenager. We opened up the gift that stays wrapped all year and placed on my bookshelf in the piano room. Inside the box were our written gifts to the Savior from the year before and the old ones from previous years. It was fun to see how handwriting has improved. Fun to see how we try to improve on the same things every year- visiting teaching, home teaching, temple attendance, scripture reading, health- our hearts are good, right?

My favorite part of the night was when we went around and bore our testimonies. Some shared stories of how they helped others and some were real testimonies. It was neat and it was good practice.

Last night there was a snow storm and so the air is cleaner. What is up with this place? I read on the news that we should consider wearing masks when we walk outside???? I'M NOT A FAN!!! Drives me crazy. I feel like we're living in the middle of a mini natural disaster, or downtown Hong Kong.

Chay took the kids on a 4 wheeling ride and to play on the hill by our house. It took us 20 minutes to get 3 kids ready in their snow gear. Hard work. I told them that I am locking the door and they can't come in for at least an hour to make it worth putting all those layers of snow clothes on.

Do you think there's room for Sam? 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

strong 2,3,4

Day 2 I was tired again but it wasn't a yucky bloated tired- just a "change" tired. I had a hard time moving around. Tired to the bones tired. My headache was really bad the first day and all through the night but today it is gone. 2nd day at night while working at the health club I started sweating everywhere. Detox? It felt good. I know sweating is so good for me.

Day 3 My back pain went away and I was in a good mood. I was craving everything under the sun. Chay told me that everyday I stick to eating alkaline he will give me a back rub. I am running into troubles with being creative on what to eat. I am not as prepared as I would like to be. I still have to make family dinner because I am the mom, but I don't eat what I make and it's hard. I have to remember that I am stronger than my weaknesses.

I don't like the word "self-control" all that much because I see so many people trying to accomplish hard things without God and many times fail because they forget who really is in control- but I know if I change my thought processes around and I look at things differently, I know that the "things" we give up to accomplish a goal aren't really as important as the natural man says they are. It's all in our mind. When I say "things", I don't mean jeopardizing relationships, I mean silly things that seem to have so much significance in our lives- like chocolate and bacon in my case. It can actually be harder to be nice sometimes than to refuse bacon anyway.

I like the word "surrender" better than self-control. Handing it over to God and let Him help with the battle. Plus when we succeed along the way we tend to be more humble. "Look what I did all on my own, look what huge thing I did. I am so amazing."  verses "Thank you for all the help Lord and for giving me the strength I needed to get through this. I couldn't have done it with out you."

My health is in the Lord's hands. I know it must be done with God's help to fulfill all that I need to do in this life. And if I die in a car accident at 38 then at least I was obedient to promptings and that's all that is expected of me.

Day 4 I woke up at 6:30 wanting to wake up even though I went to bed past midnight. I never want to wake up. I feel energetic and silly. I have been dancing and singing around the kitchen all morning making the kids laugh. I wasn't sluggish like I usually am. I have a huge zit on my face. Hello, wrinkles and zits don't go together! I am thinking it's the slow detoxing.

The night before I started this whole experiment, I bought a gallon of Tillamook's Huckleberry Mountain Ice cream. Why or why???  It now stares at me every time I open the freezer....CONQUER!!!

Master your fears, stay the course and watch the beauty of of life unfold for you- love this quote.

Christmas traditions and a tired mommy

Christmas Break.

I love any kind of break.

Okay, so the kids have been home for almost 2 weeks and it is going by way too fast. I love having them home and I love the not having to rush them. No early mornings or rigid schedules. I swear elementary school should start at 9:30 and be done by 2.

We have done a lot of crafts and hanging out.

 I have been cleaning like crazy. We did a bunch of Christmasy things the first part of the break. Church party- I was in charge of the ward Primary Nativity (part of the ward Christmas party)- Chay, bless his heart had to go find a broken down stable and fix it in the freezing temperatures.

He had to haul it to the church and set it up on the stage. Here is a picture of the stable the night before when we were starting to decorate. Huge and really heavy. We got rid of it after the party. No thank you. Next year we will find something more simple. We gathered costumes and had a nativity rehearsal the night before the party. We were in dire need of a manger so I pulled up my sleeves and decided to make one myself out of the pile of wood stacked outside on our porch. This is not my thing to work with tools and to build something out of wood, but I have always wanted to learn. Well it took a lot of brain power to figure out angles. My neighbor Bill came over when he saw me pulling out the miter saw. He was concerned :) but he helped me figure it all out. Turned out great. Chay was so impressed.

Kenzie was Mary for the Nativity. The kids were all strung out on sugar and it was a little crazy. They all sang "The Nativity Song" in the primary song book. I played the piano for the primary rehearsal and I was quite happy with myself for being able to play the piano without sabotaging the song. The skit ended up adorable. I am trying really hard to set traditions in the ward- one being a yearly Nativity. We can forget Santa for just a little while and focus more on things that have more substance- and I think there will be more vivid memories when the kids grow up of them being on stage in costume acting out the Nativity in front of many people instead of sitting on Santa's lap. I like Santa and all and he was at the party but we didn't want him to be the focus.

As a family we went to a city parade (those types of things always stresses me out- big crowds bleh) and we went to this place that displayed hundreds of Nativities from all over the world. It was so awesome. The girls and I were in love. I found Xander laying down on the floor right in the middle of all the tables just looking up at the lights on the ceiling. I guess he wasn't as interested. At the end of the Nativity tour, there was a dress-up Nativity for kids. My three were the angels. We should have stuck Samson in the manger. We were tired.

Kenzie finally sat on Santa's lap. It was time to face her 8 years of Santa fears. I am serious, 8 years. I have a picture when she is barely a one year old and she is screaming her head off. She has always hid and cried when it was her turn to sit on his lap. I figured she better at least sit on his lap once while she still believes in him, right? Good Job Mckenzie!!!

Right when Christmas break started Chay was at the tail-end of interviewing for a job. It was the perfect job and a great career move. We prayed so hard. They loved Chay and we were almost 100% certain he would get the job. They kept calling him back for more and more interviews and they even gave him a tour of the place. But they decided to go with the other candidate at the end. When Chay told me I thought he was joking. He wasn't. I started to dry heave I was so sick about it. I cried really hard for 2 hours straight. I was so mad and confused. I felt so sad for Chay.

Lesson learned: Just because you are doing everything right, does not mean things will always go right. I also don't think God cares as much as we think He does about jobs and careers. He just wants us to be faithful I guess. Although I would love to serve more and go on missions someday and get 4 kids out on missions- and pay off my silly student loan for crying out loud- so divine help in the money department would be nice. I know Chay has done so much to further his career. He works for a great company already. I know we will be blessed. I guess we will just have to keep working hard and waiting for that next big job.

So during the long 2 weeks of interviews and the anxiety of it all, I decided to focus on Christmas more to keep my mind off of things. I wanted to do a 12 days of Christmas for a family. I know a special family I met through Kenzie's school and from a city soccer league. The mom and I became friends quickly and I found out she lives close to us. I knew I wanted to do the 12 days of Christmas for her and her family.

I loved the idea of giving a Nativity away and each night give a piece of the manger scene. I found a cute poem that goes with each piece of the nativity on Pinterest. Of Course. (You know, my mom would have written the poem herself if she was me because Pinterest didn't exist. I thought long and hard about how some parts of the tech world are sucking out the creativity in me, and so next year I am determined to write the nativity poem myself.) Well anyway, I searched long and hard for a nativity set that was in my $12-15 price range that had all the characters- shepherds, angels, animals, mary, baby Jesus, Joseph, wise men. It is so hard to find one with everyone! Nowhere to be found. I couldn't even find a nativity in most places. I was hauling Xander and Sam around with me to every store in town. We kept saying to each other as we pushed the shopping cart through the aisles of Christmas decorations, "Where is baby Jesus? This is His birthday and we can't even find Him. With all these Christmas decorations and no baby Jesus." Xander jumped on board so fast, he wanted to find baby Jesus too. A few places had nativities but not in the price range I wanted or they only had a few of the characters.

The same day we found out Chay didn't get the job, I found a nativity on KSL. With swollen eyes and feeling so forgotten I decided to check a couple more places. I got on KSL and found the perfect Nativity with every character and even a stable. I called the lady knowing my chances of the Nativity not being sold already were pretty slim. She was so nice and she said, "You know what? I thought it would sell in 30 minutes but it never did, it's been online for 10 days!"  She was selling it for $10! I reluctantly asked Chay in all his misery if he could possibly swing by Kaysville and pick up this manger scene for me. He did and he was even willing. Heart of Gold that man has. The nativity was HUGE! It made me feel gratitude in my heart despite the major let down earlier that day.

Delivering each night was kind of a pain. The family's house was in a super inconvenient location and having something to do every night became more like a chore, especially to Chay. The kids loved it but it was harder than we thought it would be. The family doesn't have a doorbell and they have this huge metal cage like screen door in front of their front door. One night I borrowed a friend of a friend of a friend's phone and sent a text to the family that said

It's Christmas time and we love you so
but there's one thing you might not know
we dropped off a surprise at 7 o'clock
but there's no doorbell and you can't hear us knock.

we eventually just dropped off stuff knowing they wouldn't get it until morning...

But it was good- and I think it will get better through the years. It's all about the experience. One night I dropped off the package and I knocked really hard on the window. I booked it so dang fast and ran through another yard- full of snow. Chay came and picked me up and I was just laughing. That was so fun! I need more stuff like this in my life. Reminds me of younger years when my mom would have me always deliver the secret packages.

One tradition that I love doing with the kids is driving around until we find an outdoor manger scene lit up in someone's front yard. We stop and sing Silent Night. It always ends up being a sweet moment no matter what, even if Daddy disagrees :) What would Christmas be like without women and patient men???

I performed 2 times over the Christmas season. Once for the stake and once for the ward. I played and sang a song I wrote about Mary. I had the melody and tune for a couple years but couldn't figure out the right words until I was pregnant with Sam. Then one day it came. I really love the song and I feel so comfortable at the piano singing. Especially when I don't have to read music! It was just something I wanted to do. Now will Faith Hill buy my song for 1 million dollars please!

I sang for the ward- I sang a really pretty version of The First Noel. As I was singing I turned my music to the next page and the music wasn't there. I freaked out. I kept looking and looking and in the meantime I just started making up my own words. A person can only sing about how nice the shepherds are for so long...I just laughed and turned to Rachel the pianist and told her I had to stop. I told the congregation I lost my music and I need to stop making up words. They all laughed and it quickly put my nerves to ease. I love laughter. So I started again once I organized my music and found all the sheets and it turned out great the second time. My ward knows me so well- I have embarrassed myself enough over the years- what is one more thing, I mean seriously.

Christmas Eve we attempted to do the Christmas Story in Luke 2. Everyone was sick and ornery. We had the kids dress up but it ended up being a fiasco. That night I felt a little discouraged that the night wasn't "neater". Then I noticed Kenzie's letter to Santa. She left him a scripture. I cried. I cried probably because I was tired, emotional, and just wanted to sleep forever- but it was very touching and gave me hope that my kids are catching on to the real meaning of Christmas despite imperfect parents and total chaos.

When the kids went to sleep the "Elves" painted their fingernails. One of the Elves was naughty and got fingernail polish on Julia's new pajamas. But it's something so sweet Chay Santa does every year. Xander even got his nails painted- can't leave him out.  

I could tell Christmas morning I was so done. We were all sick. Everyone was coughing and wiping their noses. The kids woke up to their Santa presents. They were all so happy with what they got. The next day or the day after that the tree went outside and I took down all the decorations. I just needed a new start. Farewell Christmas 2013.