Sunday, December 27, 2015


Xander told us tonight he wanted to serve a mission in Lego Land. That boy melts my heart. He is darling. He had to draw a picture in primary today of things he treasures. He drew a picture of me wearing green because green is my favorite color. He told me this in his sweet kind sincere voice. He is full of kisses and hugs.

The kids have been in bed for a couple hours. Went upstairs to check on things and all 4 of the kids were on the bottom full bunk sleeping sideways on the bed. The boys were fast asleep and Mckenzie and Julia were chatting away like best friends. It made me so happy. Everything about it.

I somehow am a mother of 5 children. My life unfolded into a mother- always knowing from the time I was young I would have children- but my life unfolded into this unexpected surrounding of love, little people, comfort, purpose.

Friday, December 11, 2015


The eyes-They say so much. little but big heart. So kind and gentle. Always thinking of others. The scar. Childhood. Boy.

Xander Chay melts my heart. His smile and tenderness.

Every morning without fail he always says "Do you want to hear my dream, Mom?" He loves to hug and give kisses. He is so gentle with Alice.

 According to his teacher he is obedient and respectful. Mrs. Hansen. She told me that Xander is always cleaning up and helping even though he's not asked. She wishes she could have a whole classroom of Xanders.

Xander at 5. He loves Alice, his big sisters, and singing. He loves to craft, draw, and color. He is tender and wants a lot of love and attention. He is classic for interrupting me when I'm talking to someone else- he just loves to tell me stories. He loves it when I play "Horsey Horsey go to town" with him. Oh how he giggles and laughs.

This picture was taken the first day of Kindergarten at Bravo. Everyday when I drop him off at his classroom door he tells me he loves me over and over. He waves and waves. "I love you Mom. See you soon Mom, I love you. Bye Mom." It's basically the best thing ever.

fall 2015

October Eves

The beauty of fall never gets boring. My goodness. It takes my breath away. And I mean literally and not just figuratively. Or that wasn't meant to be rhetorical or a figure of speech- I mean I sometimes gasp, losing air-. Sucking in air and making a weird noise and not breathing for a quick second because the huge mountains are covered in fire red trees. There is mist hovering above a yellow meadow. Orange, red, yellow, green trees all mixed together- I swear, It makes quite the take-my-breath-away scene. I love it. I really do. I am a sucker for this time of the year.

I took the kids up to Snowbasin ski resort to see the colors of the trees. We met up with Tara and Niels and their cute family and Tiffani and Olivia. The colors weren't nearly as vibrant as they could be but it was still beautiful. I think we missed the colors by a couple weeks. The kids enjoyed hiking around a little until Kenzie tripped and fell and put a big hole in her knee. It was pretty gross. Luckily Uncle Neils had a first aid kit. Kenzie was pretty tough. I played around with the idea of stitches for the rest of the day but I am so sick of medical bills. The wound is healing pretty well and scabbing. I know for a fact my mom would never take me to get stitches in the 80's. We would just have an awesome scar and in fact I do- On my knee. I was 8 years old and I thought I could stand on the middle bar of my bicycle. Didn't succeed.

Our tree has dropped all our leaves and while for some this means an annoying extra chore to do in the fall, I look forward to it. The children have played and played in the big piles of leaves. They have raked them several times and just mess up the piles again. I love our big tree in our backyard. Thank you Heavenly Father for that big strong tree. The tire swing hanging from it's strong branches, the perfect shade it provides in the summer, the fun memories of jumping and playing in its leaves. Perfect. The other day I went out to help put some leaves in bags with the kids. The sun was barely starting to set. The air was crisp. The kids and I played for a long time. We sang and played Ring around the Rosie, London Bridges, Down by the Bay, Down by the banks. It was so fun to hear them giggle and have the time of their life. It was magical. I love spending time with my kids. I try so hard to do it as much as I can. It is a hard balance at trying to get things done around the house, taking care of myself, and spending time with the children. The Lord knows my heart and my good desires.

We have had many crisp cool nights where the kids will play until it's dark. Riding bikes and playing games on the lawn. Cynthia will bring her kids over and everyone will just live in the moment. Being a kid. No worries. Feeling safe, Feeling loved- and hardly a responsibility. oh dear.

Samson is darling and quirky. He kind of just does his own thing. Xander is calm, patient and says the cutest things. I need to remember what he says so I can write them down. He loves spending time with his sisters. Xander is very sensitive and tender. He feels so much for others for a 5 year old. He loves little Alice and sings to her all the time. Gives her kisses. He hurt her accidentally the other day and he cried because he felt so bad for her. So sweet. He is calm and easygoing. I love having him around. I don't want that little boy growing up. I love his soft ways.

The other day I was telling the Primary President, Sister Hall how awesome and kind Xander is. She was highlighting him in Primary and giving him a journal so I thought I had a little chance to brag, right? Sister Hall stopped me and said, "April, you say that about all your children." Ha ha. So I think the world of them. I'm proud to say the least.

We did our traditional "get our pumpkin" night at Black Island Farms. It was hard to wear Alice in the baby carrier and follow the kids around to all the outdoor fun stuff. Climbing huge haybales, the barrel tractor train, big slides, the pig races. I was dying I was so tired but the kids of course loved it. It was really the most perfect fall night. The air was cool but the sun was warm. At the end of the night we got onto the big trailer and the tractor pulled us to the pumpkin patch where we all got out and picked the perfect pumpkin. Kenzie finds hers fast, Julia and Xander are a little more picky, Sam finds the first small one he can carry. Luckily Chay showed up right before this or I think I might have passed out. Wearing Alice, 4 big pumpkins, 2,5,8,9 year olds to look after. Chay to the rescue. The best part is my children's faces. They enjoy this. I can do this. I tried so hard to not be snappy or moody so not to ruin the moment. I'm sure I failed occasionally. But it was the perfect fall night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dearest Children God is Near You

Dearest children, 
God is near you,
Watching o'er you day and night, 
And delights to own and bless you,

If you strive to do what's right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him.

Dearest children, holy angels
Watch your actions night and day,
And they keep a faithful record
Of the good and bad you say.
Cherish virtue! Cherish virtue!
God will bless the pure in heart.

Children, God delights to teach you
By his Holy Spirit's voice.
Quickly heed its holy promptings.
Day by day you'll then rejoice.
Oh, prove faithful, Oh, prove faithful
To your God and Zion's cause.

My prayer every night and throughout the day. Oh cherish virtue my little ones. Quickly heed the Holy Ghost's promptings! Oh Prove Faithful. 

Not sure if I totally agree with the second verse that Holy Angels are keeping record of the good and bad you say- but I feel the heavens rejoice when you keep your covenants,  choose the right and love one another. Ancestors and angels combine for your spiritual journey--for your love of God and for Zion's cause. 

I love you so much Mckenzie, Julia, Xander, Samson, and little Alice.   

Monday, October 19, 2015

lucky stressed out life

5 children now- and no, it doesn't get easier after each one. That is a lie my friends.

It is so hard to journal these days. Alice is now 3 months. She is so loved by us all and although she is better now, the last 3 months were really difficult. She's not the easiest baby- but I am slowly learning how she works.- She's been hard to figure out.

My life is total chaos right now. Just so busy with children and life. I love the littleness of my children. They all have cute stories. Sam is goofy and adorable-

 it's just that it all happens all at once and everyone wants my attention and I so want to be attentive but I don't know how to do it- then I get stressed because dinner is to be made, family home evening needs to be planned, Kenzie needs to practice piano, homework isn't getting done. Ahhhh I just want to hide away from it all at times.

I am just going to jot down some memories and thoughts real quick. I am so tired and Alice is finally asleep. So I can't drag this out.

The other day we took Sam out of the crib because he learned how to climb out of it. It was time to give it to Alice. Sam has never slept well since he learned this new freedom. In fact there are many nights when we will hear Sam in the middle of the night walking around upstairs and Chay and I are too tired to do anything about it. So he will just drink water or get into some chips in the middle of the night. Sometimes we will find him crashed on our bedroom floor fast asleep. Sometimes he climbs into bed with Xander and Kenzie. Yes, that is 3 children in a twin bed. Because Xander insists he sleeps with Mckenzie. It is sweet. I know. But smooshy.

So we got bunk beds. The second set.

Kenzie and I decided to take down the crib and set it up in Alice's room. We were having a really hard time figuring out how to set the crib back up. I was getting really frustrated with myself and upset that I couldn't figure it out or remember how to do it. I didn't want Chay to have to come down and finish it for us because he can do everything and anything. I can't. I wish I could but my brain just can't figure out things right away. It almost makes me cry when I think about it--to be honest. Is there anything Chay can't do better?? He even cooks better than me. Pathetic.

Well anyway Kenzie suggested we pray. So we did. Right after we said, "Amen" I clicked the crib into place. It was such an amazing answer to prayer. So instant. Kenzie and I really could feel help so quickly after that prayer was said. It was really neat. But then I realized I had built the crib around me and I was standing inside, stuck. It was pretty funny.

Samson is the cutest most darling 2 1/2 year old ever. He is one child I refuse to let grow up. I can't stand the fact that this adorableness and happiness will fade into a 6 or 7 year old someday. I know, there is nothing I can do about it and growing up is good. Sam is just an interesting character. He always says hi to whoever he sees. He has a hearty to die for laugh. He is mischievous and stubborn. But he is so funny. Sometimes he will pretend to be asleep in his carseat and so I try to carefully take him out to not wake him and then he will just smile with his eyes closed and starts to giggle. It makes me laugh so hard. Little faker. So funny.

Xander is at Bravo Music academy kindergarten. He had a hard time at first saying goodbye for the first couple weeks. His eyes would get glossy with tears and he would hug me 10 times saying he loves me over and over again. So sweet. He really is sweet. Tender and kind. He now loves going to school. He is full of stories and loves to talk. I remember when he didn't talk forever- almost 3 1/2 and still not saying much and then all of the sudden- whoa! He is very concerned about people and he is very loving. He found out a friend in his class was having a birthday and he didn't forget the date. His best friend at school he says. Duncan. Xander drew him a picture and gave him starbursts for his birthday. So proud of Xander. We walk to school almost everyday and Xander rides his little yellow and black bike. Chay put Fox stickers all over it. I love watching little Xander peddle his bike with his oversized back pack on. His favorite stuff animal "Slush" is hanging from his backpack. I love that kid so much. Cutest 5 year old alive. He loves to draw now. Legos and Trios. He really follows his sisters around and craves their attention. He is so lucky- the girls are so lucky-I'm so lucky- so lucky to all have each other.

now to remember that, when I feel I might just lose it-

Friday, October 09, 2015

Voice blogging from my phone

I can't believe how cute little Alice is. She is always smiling and it melts my heart.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Baby Alice

Baby Alice. July 29, 2015 3:39 PM 7 pounds 7 ounces 21 inches long. 

You came into the world screaming. It's always a nice sound to hear a hearty cry coming from your seconds old newborn. The midwife immediately handed me to you and you were covered in blood and vernix- All wrinkly and perfect. I put you next to my chest skin to skin and held you for the longest time. You finally stopped crying. Meanwhile, your big sister Kenzie was given the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. Mckenzie wanted to be with me for the birth. She was so excited to come to the hospital with me. Julia who is afraid of seeing pain, blood, or anything she can't control, decided to stay home. The kids all went to Cynthia's house. Luckily I went into labor in the morning time. 

Mckenzie walked the halls with me at the hospital as I labored. We would count how many minutes between each contraction. We held hands the entire time. Mckenzie was so patient and also such a strength. There were a lot of empty rooms in the wing where we were walking. Every time we would pass an empty room, Kenzie and I would walk in and I would do 30 squats to speed up labor. You see, Dear Alice, you were swimming in a huge amniotic sac full of too much fluid and because of this, you never stayed put and refused to get into the correct birthing position. A couple days before your birth, you were breech and then you were sideways. The doctors discussed having a C-Section if you weren't in the right position. For some reason I was so against the idea of cutting my stomach open. I was afraid of the healing process afterwards mostly. So I didn't lay down once during my labor until the midwife, Kathy Mark, broke my water. She felt your head downwards and she broke my water so your head would engage in the right position and you wouldn't move. It worked. I did squats to keep your head down and to speed up labor. 

I went from a 2 to a 9 centimeters in about 4 hours. 

I prayed so hard that you would flip into the right position. Many prayed and fasted as well. I put your name into the temple. It really was a miracle and answer to prayer to discover that you were flipped head down on the day I went into labor. 

It was a great labor and birth. I should have refused the epidural at the end because I was a 9 when I got it. I was just being weak and afraid of pain and I figured why not?  But it was still very painful and I could feel most of it. 

I was so relieved to know that this awful pregnancy was over. I was so happy to hold you, Alice. Newborns are so precious. So tiny for such a small period of time. You made the cutest noises and grunts. You were seriously the cutest little newborn. perfectly shaped head. I was kind of in denial about the rest of my life. I just pretended everything paused and I could focus on you. You were a great nurser at the hospital. You opened your eyes right after you were born. Very alert. Your Dad was so proud. He recorded a lot of your birth on my phone. I was so happy to have your Dad and Mckenzie with me. I couldn't wait for Julia, Xander and Sam to meet you. 

Sam was a little unsure. He thought you were a doll the first time he saw you- and when you moved your hands and legs a little, he screamed out of fear. He actually adjusted pretty well to not being the baby anymore. He loved you very early on. He was always gentle and sweet with you. So was Xander. Xander is very kind and soft with you. He sings to you often. He calls you "Baby Alice" all the time. He often says how much he loves you and then kisses your feet. Julia and Mckenzie can't get enough of you. A constant wanting to hold you and touch you. They are your little second mommies. They will always take care of you, I just know it. You are so so loved my little girl. You came into a family that will always cherish you. 

The outpouring realization of how fortunate you are just came to me. Born into the world during the very last days before Christ comes again. You were born into a home with a mother and father who are married and who love each other. You were also born into a home where the gospel is taught and where Heavenly Father and Jesus is at the center of the home. You were born into the United States of America where despite how much it has disappointedly changed since it's foundation, it is still for the time being, the greatest country on earth, watched over by God himself. You were born into a home with a father who can provide for you and make sure all your temporal needs are met. You have me, your mother, who fails often but continues to give it my all to make sure you feel loved, learn to work, learn to love the Lord, and to discover your strengths and talents. You have a big family of siblings who care about you and always will. You have been handed a treasure trove of blessings. Remember to always be grateful my new daughter. 

You were blessed on September 5th, 2015. The same day your sister Julia was baptised. It was a very special day for you two. Your dad was especially tender that day. In your baby blessing your father said you were born on earth and came into our family for a divine purpose. Remember that. Your father also said in your blessing that your two sisters will be your example. No pressure Kenzie and Julia. 

Deciding to get pregnant with you was as a difficult choice. I could easily be done with Sam and I could continue to focus on my health and family. I was 35 and knew I was getting older but I felt really strongly that we needed to have another child because it really isn't about me, it's about doing what's right. Logic and many opinions would speak to me saying:  "stop having children, start living your life, your house is too small, you're going to be 40 when your youngest is in kindergarten, it's going to be hard on your health, it's too expensive to raise children, it's too stressful and hard to have more." But really in the end, it's not about what I think is best, but what the Lord sees is best. I want to do His will not mine. I am so happy I obeyed the small promptings. Now I have you. Alice. A blessing in our lives with a "divine purpose". Couldn't be happier. Now if you would just stop crying and get over this colic thing you got going on. We want our sleep and our sanity back please. 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Comptine d'un autre ete

We couldn't be more proud of Mckenzie. The piano makes sense to her and she really enjoys it. She learned this hard song really quick. She was really nervous for the recital and she tends to play fast when she is a little scared- but overall it was great, especially for a 9 year old.

I was really emotional when she played because I remembered the days when I would sit next to her on the piano day in and day out going over her first songs and her first notes. She would get so frustrated and wanted to quit playing. I had to give so many inspirational speeches to this girl to keep her motivated. Ahhhh. "We can do hard things. This is how we learn in life. Mistakes are normal and apart of the learning process. Heavenly Father does not want us to give up. He will help us." Oh and those hard songs she wanted to avoid, I would sit by her on the bench and play them with her and we would play them 10 times each. "One more time, let's do it one more time." She would cry. "You are amazing. You are becoming a great piano player." I would say. While inside I wanted to scream sometimes. Let me remind you that the house was never getting clean. Sam was  walking  scooting around in a diaper to his knees.

Then as Kenzie advanced, I would play the bottom hand and she would play the top hand and then we would switch. She learned rhythm really well this way and so did I! It was a rough couple of years as I wanted to give up too!! It was hard motivating and coming up with new ways to make practice fun. I switched her teacher 3 times so we could find the perfect fit. She still has a lot to learn and a ways to go, but she is over that hump of the unknown impossibilities to anything is possible if I work hard enough at it- especially with piano. She really is developing a wonderful gift. We love music around here.

Here is Chay's comment on Instagram about Kenzie's recital. A proud father without a hint of humility. Love it.

summer is upon us part 2

"Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others." President Gordon B. Hinckley. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

So far so wonderful this blessed summer. Happiness in my heart to have my kids home every day. I love having them around, taking them to exciting places, hearing their stories all day, watch them play together. I love the non rush mornings now where each one wakes up when they want and come into my room and either get in bed with me or give me a big "good morning" hug.

The gift to enjoy motherhood most of the time and to treasure home and family is a learned behavior, a desire I wanted, a prayer in my heart the Lord has answered- and through time, service, and patience, this wonderful gift has been bestowed upon me. It's what I wanted even though I used to not feel it all the time- but I believe that with faith, time, and a desire to change- God can change our very nature. I knew somehow that the children Heavenly Father gave me needed a specific kind of mother- and I have had and still have many days where I feel so inadequate and guilty- but I just keep on praying and believing that I can change- through Christ. I am a lot kinder, more patient, less selfish, more compassionate, and more centered on home and family than I used to be. I am not perfect and I lose it from time to time!! Ha!! But the slow process has been noticeable.

Do I want the children to go away and watch TV sometimes because I just can't handle them anymore? Yes. Do I push them outside with a popsicle so I can think straight and not have to deal with their petty problems and constant nagging? Yes, sometimes. Do I get annoyed and raise my voice from time to time out of frustration? yes. Do I long for nap time so I can assure peace in my world for 2 hours a day? I love my Sammy but I know he is safe in his crib and not causing messes, getting into the fridge and dropping eggs on the floor, not running out into the street, trying to drink all purpose cleaner. Yes, I want the break!!!

But I feel so grateful that I feel more and more linked and tied to my children as they grow- and the desire to pursue a time consuming hobby or to leave the house and make money becomes less and less. I have learned to know and appreciate this small time in my life when my kids are small. They really are so fun and entertaining. Their innocence and their thoughts and words melt my heart. Their easiness to giggle and cry really make the life experience come alive. I love all their emotions. Before I know it, I will suddenly have more "me" time and I will get to focus on other parts of my progress on this earth, but for now- this is what I really want. In the end, spending all this time with my children and strengthening home and family will bring the greatest reward. Despite it being the hardest thing I have ever done- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can do hard things!!!


 My philosophy exactly. Who says a girl should still look perfect by the end of the day? You can't have adventures without getting messy :)

*We have been swimming almost daily at the health club. The kids love love it. I actually love it too once I get this big body into a swimsuit. Ahhh what a feat!!! Hauling 4 kids is a challenge- since 2 of them don't swim at at all. Kenzie and Julia are a little behind because we were basically "swimless" for a couple years due to tubes in everyone's ears except Kenzie. But I figured the more I take them, the more they will learn. This fall I will put them in private lessons since they are booked for the summer.

*We've had some great summer rain so far. We are so blessed by all this rain! Thank you Heavenly Father for providing all this moisture. The best part is the air is still warm- the kids got all muddy in the rain yesterday. Dad pushed them on the tire swing in the middle of the storm. It was so exciting for them. I can't believe how much shelter our tree provides. I love our big tree in the backyard.

*I love all the time the kids are spending with each other. School really separates the siblings. They are getting along really well- little fights here and there but that is usually because they are tired, hungry or hot. Mckenzie does Julia's hair in the morning. Julia loves having her hair played with. Me too!! I saw Kenzie scratching Julia's back just because Julia loves it. It was really sweet. Julia also has a huge heart and plays with Xander a lot. They play well together but I also think she is just a really kind person and wants her brother to be happy.

*Kenzie and Xander built a "shade" fort in our front yard. It was creative. I'm sure our neighbors were kindly waiting for the mess to be picked up. It was pretty redneck looking. Old towels and blankets stretched over an old card table.

*Tons of bike rides around the neighborhood. A lot of scraped up knees and elbows, itchy mosquito bites, and sun kissed skin. Love the freckles.

*Even though we go to a nice outdoor pool at the health club, Chay decided to fill up our kiddy pool one afternoon and guess who played the most in it? Kenzie, our 9 year old. Ha. They all played in it. Dad put it in front of the slide.

*I taught Kenzie how to use the washing machine the other day. I'm just worried she will wash a stained shirt without spraying it first and putting it in the dryer- Letting go of laundry is hard for me. But I am trying to not be a control freak so my kids can learn the skill as well. I have never sorted kids clothes by color. Just throw their dirty clothes all in together- besides their nice nice clothes- which are very few- they all wear second hand, hand me downs anyway.

*Terrace Days- once a year the city celebrates itself. Blow up Bouncy houses, a climbing wall, vendors. Fried Pickles!!! SO GOOD!!! We lost Samson for 10 minutes- it felt like an hour. My heart sank. I could not find him for so long. Chay got the police. I was screaming his name but everything was so loud. A couple nice people started helping me. We finally found him way out in the middle of a baseball field far away from us. Oh my heart. Oh my heart. His head was buried in his small hands and stream of tears were coming down his face. Oh I just couldn't stop crying for the longest time. What a nightmare. I love that kid so much and to see him so scared and alone broke my heart.

*We watched a big firework show that night. It was awesome. The kids loved it. Julia was being her worrisome self again thinking the world was going to catch on fire or we were going to get hit by the fireworks. Dad pretended to be hit and she freaked out. Julia just likes to worry for some reason. She is always concerned about something. She was a wreck when we lost Sam.

*Oh and the climbing wall. My kid's favorite. Especially Julia. She scaled it like spider man. They love the challenge besides Xander- he kind of follows the girls around and so when he got up pretty high he got scared. But I told him to finish it until he got to the top!! He did. He was so proud of himself for accomplishing something so great, even though he was super apprehensive about the whole thing. Xander has really improved on riding his bike. He loves it. I can't believe he will be 5 next month. How exciting to see my beautiful boy grow up and learn.

*The kids decided this was going to be the slumber party summer. They took off the mattresses from the bunk bed and laid them down next to each other on the floor to make a king. They sleep together every night. They are up their giggling for the longest time. They like to tease Julia and steal her silky pink blanky. But it's fun tease, I think. Anyway- I've decided to just let it be for the summer. They still have to "make" the bed in the morning but it just gets jumped on and ruined by midday anyway. Chay decided to join them the other night and he fell asleep with them. Mckenzie who is a snuggler loved it and kept talking about it the next morning.

*Scripture study is getting a little weak as a family. Now it's a quick verse with a small explanation and kisses good night since bedtime suddenly went from 7:30 to 10:00 pm. The cool nights that don't get dark until 9 are so tempting to enjoy. We have a goal to read the entire book of mormon by the time Julia gets baptized this fall. I am determined to make scripture study more meaningful again. We usually gather around the table and I try to have a coloring sheet for them to color or they need to draw what we're talking about. I ask millions of questions so they stay focused. It's hard work. But I really do feel the blessings and protection that come from meaningful scripture study. It is our duty as parents that our children learn to love and know the scriptures- so we keep on plowing through. But some days it is hard!!
Brushstrokes on a canvas. David A. Bednar I Love this talk, some of our FHE etc are like he described. Hopefully my kids will remember that we had it consistently. Mary
*I want to be better at Family Home Evenings too. I am kind of scattered brained about life and so I don't prepare very well. Since our children are not very busy yet and our life isn't chaotic like some families, I kind of lean on the idea that we do a lot together as a family- but I want more spiritual and gospel learning centered family home evenings. I got on Pinterest looking for new ideas for a quick lesson, and then I just felt inspired to have Mckenzie teach the lesson. She grabbed the Friend Magazine, and I kid you not- she gave the best lesson. She was an amazing teacher. She asked good questions, she had 2 activities- the kids listened to her better than they do with Chay and I. She shared neat stories and even bore her testimony at the end. It was so wonderful to see my daughter act so grown up and to see a talent developing. On my to-do list is to write her a little note and tell her how much I enjoyed her lesson. No greater joy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer is upon us Part 1

So I shouldn't be sitting here very long. When I sit, blood pulls in my vulva and causes my varicose veins to hurt like crazy. How did you like that?? Ha. Also my feet and ankles begin to swell and by the end of the day, my feet have grown an extra size in all directions. I'm not kidding. I have to buy size 10 shoes for my last 2 months of my pregnancy because my feet get so big and fat. I retain water really bad in the legs, feet, and ankles. I have written countless blog entries about how much I hate being pregnant but decided to never publish them. But to wrap it up- it's the worst time in my life, physically. Which turns into emotionally. I do not feel good rarely ever, I hurt and ache, I swell, I am moody, I do not feel attractive, I get very depressed, every bone, joint seems to inflame, I gain a ton of weight. I get these horrible round ligament pains in the sides of my stomach that are very sharp and intense for about 5 minutes. I can't even move when they strike. I also get that sciatica nerve pain in my right butt cheek which makes it difficult to walk. I can't breathe very well so I feel winded, and I am tired beyond tired. ha ha ha so there you have it. Sounds lovely doesn't it. Dear Daughters, please don't let this scare you away.

Summer is here and I am choosing to love it and it is really working. I mean, I always love summer, but it's just a little tricky with a huge bulging belly and all the pains, fatigue, and aches that come with pregnancy. But I love love having my children home. It has been so wonderful to be with my girls all day. Oh how I have missed them. Xander couldn't be happier to have his sisters around every single day.

okay Summer 2015 how will I make you meaningful and positive for the kids as I go through this dreaded time of pregnancy????

I really do find joy in simple things. I love when the kids are just riding their bikes all over the street and the weather is perfect. Julia was on her bike pretending to be a zombie the other night and Mckenzie and Xander were laughing so hard I thought they were going to wreck at any minute.

We roasted marshmallows and s'mores the other night. That is always nostalgic and exiting for everyone. Even though I secretly hate s'mores. Kids running around with long hot sticky metal sticks in the dark. The mom never getting a break as each kid and husband always asking for a marshmallow, then a hershey, then help roasting, then someone is crying.

The kids all have a morning to-do/chore list that keeps them focused which helps with the small quarrels. I'm teaching piano to Julia and she is such a "check-off" girl that once she knows what she is supposed to do and there is a plan in place, she thrives. We made her a cute binder with a bunch of weekly practice sheets. I found a really easy piano book series that is so easy to understand and so easy to teach from too. She has found new confidence in the piano and practices a lot. Mckenzie is just so naturally good that she rarely executes her practicing the way she should and yet she continues to see piano as part of her that seems to grow and improve as she grows and improves in everything else. The piano is Kenzie's friend. So two girls, two different personalities that will both most likely succeed.

I started out the summer with a trip to Target. We made summer school pencil boxes with brand new markers, crayons, glue, pencils, erasers and such. They had so much fun organizing and putting it all together. I have three cubbies in this armoire in their bedroom- so Kenzie, Julia, and Xander all have their own space for work books, summer work packets, and their new pencil boxes. They also have a reading folder. One side is the library summer reading program and the other side is their book reports I make them do for each book. They have to turn in some type of reading log when school starts again in August. bla bla blah

But the fun part is just having the kids around. We ride bikes (I walk) to school lunch almost every day. Thank you government for blowing tax dollar money on such silly programs- our family totally takes advantage of it. My kids love to get on their bikes and ride to the elementary school by our house and eat free food. I'm all for it. Do you know that by law, the lunch workers have to throw out all the food that is left over after lunch??? I asked the lady one time if she could put it in a plastic garbage bag and set it nicely in the dumpster and I will come get it after lunch is over and she acted like I was asking her to be an accomplice to a murder.

Julia and I went on a small date yesterday morning. She was beaming with excitement even though we went to lame places- I ran some errands. But we did take all her change and put it in the change machine at the bank. I take each kid to do this by themselves. 40% goes to savings/mission, 10% tithing, and 50% goes to fun spending. Kenzie has a money binder that is working out pretty well. On the inside pocket she has her ledger where she keeps track of all her money coming in and out. Then she has 4 zipper plastic binder envelopes. Each labeled- Earnings, Savings, Tithing, and, Fun. The Fun one is actually a pencil bag inside a plastic binder envelope so she can take it out and take it shopping with her. She always has these big ideas of getting a tablet but isn't patient enough. She spent $12 dollars the other day on Pokemon cards and afterwards she told me it wasn't a smart purchase and a waste of money. She is learning!!! Xander and I went to the bank a couple weeks ago and we counted his heavy mission coin bank. $111 dollars!! Wow all those coins really adds up!! He is only 4 and doesn't entirely understand so the whole thing went to savings besides 10% for tithing- he just wants to hand the bishop something on Sunday. Oh Xander. cute cute handsome boy.

Anyway so Julia and I went to the store to get milk. I bought her a cute juice. We went to the library and got her more Magic Tree House books. Just last summer she could barely read and it was so frustrating to her and what do you know?? She is doing just fine. It really is so liberating to her. Julia always says thank you to me for everything and it is very sincere. She is a remarkable person with a huge heart.

So far this summer we have:

*rode bikes through sprinklers for an hour (Sam didn't ride a bike, but he was screaming with delight)
*lot's of lazy tire swing moments (my favorite to watch the kids out the window swaying back & forth)
*S'mores by the fire
*Dad took them to Nickelcade- a ghetto arcade in town and the kids are still talking about it
*swimming at the health club swimming pool- so hard to do alone with 4 kids and big belly.
*piano recital- Kenzie did so good! Kids loved the free cookies afterwards
*Walk by the river to collect rocks.
*many trips to the library. Julia and Xander love the magnetic shape toys
* I bought a drawing book at Savers the other day and I love to sit with the kids and attempt drawing with them.
*eat lots of watermelon- $5 a watermelon gets expensive but nothing quenches my thirst better.
*Kids all took a shower together the other night- the sounds of laughter brightened up the house. They have to shower after they run through sprinklers because our secondary water is nasty death water.
*I asked the kids to fold socks downstairs and I don't know what happened but it turned into this big party. They were laughing so hard over something. Surprisingly, a lot of socks got folded.
*Kenzie woke up early one morning. She was cold and so I put my huge cardigan sweater on her. We sat outside together and enjoyed the early quiet morning. She is so easy to snuggle. She ended up telling me all about a book she is reading.
*Kenzie and Dad woke up before work and fixed her 2 flat tires on her bike.
*Kids ride their bikes to school lunch and then play at the playground for an hour or so afterwards.
*Julia did a trial run art class. Not sure what to think but it was a BIG deal for her. Everything new is so scary for her.

It is June 9th and so far we have had beautiful weather. All through May it rained almost every day and it has made the mountains green and lush. The mountains take my breath away. The mornings are beautiful and quiet. The weather hasn't been too hot. I mean, I'm dying at 80 degrees but I can tell the sun and having the kids home has lifted my mood. I am hopeful again after 7 months of a hard depressing pregnancy and yet now I enter the last part where I blow up to be a whale, I retain water, aches and pains, rolling out of bed, and picking up anything off the floor is a chore. But I don't want to wish this summer away. I have 4 exciting beautiful children who look forward to each day and each adventure and so I am going to suck it up and plow through until little baby girl comes in August. It will all be worth it.

Samson is quite literally the cutest thing on the planet to me. His crazy wild red hair and his full on personality with so much excitement and curiosity. He is all boy-in love with anything with wheels and yet sensitive where he loves to cuddle and play with my hair. He wants to go outside the minute he wakes up. He is my first child to actually get into things and make a ton of messes. I find him in the bathroom filling up cups of water and dumping it on the floor for fun. He reaches into the shower and grabs shampoo and conditioner bottles and empties them all over the tub. He will come into my room and take just one of my shoes and he will walk off with it- still can't find some of them. So he is busy. He got into our cat's liter box and I came into the laundry room to find liter all over the floor with chunks of dried up cat poop everywhere. It was a sandbox to him. The other day he was so sad that I was taking a shower so I let him get in with me. He loved it. He loved it so much he decided to poop. The yummy smells of a shower quickly went away. But I just love 2 year olds. They start to gain an idea of what they want and what they like and yet they are still a baby. I love how they start to talk a little in their own language. My favorite part is waking Sam up or picking him up from his crib. Just that cute snuggle, messy hair, sleepy face. He always always gives me the biggest longest hugs. He is generally a very happy go lucky kid who is easily pleased. He loves to say hi to everyone and he loves Daddy. Screams his name and runs out to him when he pulls up in the driveway. First kid to do that. I love you Sammy. Oh seriously so enjoyable. Love love love.

Monday, April 13, 2015


The best children's books in the history of children's books.

Yesterday after church the kids played the entire day- their creative minds were going crazy and they laughed so hard for hours. It was such a delightful thing to hear. Chay and I kept talking about it. "Oh my gosh they are still laughing so hard." "What are they playing that is so funny?" First Julia and Xander were playing with dolls and action figures and their box of "small stuff" in our make shift playroom and Kenzie came in the room after making cookies and she made them laugh so hard about something. They laughed and giggled for hours. Then they went outside and started making up something else- something to do with an evil witch with magical powers, a king, and queen. Who knows. But I had to drag them inside to feed them dinner and at dinner time and scripture time they kept wanting to draw what they were playing outside.

When it was bedtime I told them not to stay up too late but they all wanted Kenzie to read her book "The Haunted Museum" to them. This morning I went into their room and they were all asleep together on a twin bed. All the way to school Julia, Xander, and Kenzie could not stop talking about the book. I think the book kind of scared Xander and he mentioned after we dropped off the girls that he was so happy to sleep with both of his sisters.

Also on the way to school as we were waiting in the drop off line, Julia openly started comparing and contrasting her first grade teacher to her kindergarten teacher. I thought what she said was very wise and intelligent. She started off by saying that her Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Bever was always kind and positive and Mrs. Wagster her first grade teacher is always yelling and punishing the kids. She said that the kids in Mrs. Bever's class were always good and never in trouble and the kids in her class this year in first grade are always getting in trouble. I could see the wheels in her head turning and she started to form an opinion- a wise opinion. She said, "Mom, all the kids felt so good with Mrs. Bever and she always said nice things to us. Even when someone was naughty she was nice. Our classroom was always quiet. Mrs. Wagster makes us feel bad. She is always yelling. I wish she would say nicer things to us. The kids in our class are naughty all the time and it makes Mrs. Wagster get mad a lot. I think nicer and positive teachers have better kids in the class."

BOOM!! Loved her conclusion she came to as she thought out loud. I told her the same principle applies to every relationship we have in life- family, school, work, church. Praise builds, criticism kills.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Family life in full force

What is my main motivation for writing? Well, it's for my children, grandchildren, posterity-

It is the year 2015 and Chay and I are in our mid thirty's and drowning in typical family life. Chay is working hard as a new Assistant Director of St. Mark's Hospital and is doing all he can to keep moving, keep improving upwards. It was a big change for us financially although we don't really see it because we are trying to be faithful to the commandment of getting out of debt and so we are trusting in the Lord and paying off as much as we can. I know the Lord will bless those who obey and put Him first. We have seen many miracles and blessings- small and simple I suppose, but huge to us. We look for the miracles, not wait for them.

Chay still drives a big commute and he is working more hours each day as his role seems to be more important than his last job. I know the long hours are part of the job and timing in our lives. I now have to worry less about Chay because I know he enjoys work and he feels like he is going somewhere. It was rough there for a couple years seeing Chay not feeling he was progressing.

Chay is such a busy hard working guy. I honestly did not know I married someone so wonderful when I did. I mean, I knew he was a great person and I loved being with him but I didn't know his potential as a leader. I didn't know about his consistency and endurance in life as continually doing what is right- He has hard blows in life, but he is so so resilient. At the end of the day, he is always smiling about something, finding hope in something, keeping busy, looking forward. He is loyal and obedient.

Family life is in full force. School, church, work, activities here and there. I do all I can to maintain some kind of consistency as the mother who is always there to support, lead, help, drive, listen, and hug when life goes bananas. I am not perfect at it and trust me the hours 3:00 to bedtime seem to test my patience as everyone is coming home, doing homework, dinner, piano, activity days, high council- but by choice my kids really aren't nearly as busy as some families.

We are all squished together in this little home of ours. Our first home. We could barely afford the house payment when we moved here 8 years ago. We only had Mckenzie and I was pregnant with Julia. A lot has changed in the past 8 years- we have added 3 1/2 more children for one thing. When it was just 3 of us, we didn't even go downstairs unless it was to watch TV at night. Now we are bulging at the seams of every room. I kind of love it, kind of hate it. I love that Kenzie, Julia, and Xander share a room. I love that I know where my kids are and what they're doing at all times of the day. I love how each room is full of memories. I love that big homes don't equate happiness- and that the best feelings of security and love can be felt in any size of living space. Dinner time is complete chaos as I attempt over and over to make it "meaningful" with half-way decent meals (not all the time) but there is always someone getting up to get something, someone crying, someone spilling their drink, or getting ketchup on their white shirt. I rarely sit down and enjoy the meal as I am getting up to get a rag, a forgotten cup, clean up a spill, salt, something out of the fridge. Chay struggles with patience but we somehow make it through. We always ask the children the same questions and they seem to love it and look forward to it. "What is the best thing that happened today? What is the worst thing that happened today?" Anything goes and it's always interesting to see their perspective.

The house is full of noise and life.

Right now in my life I kind of spin circles as I try to keep up on things around the house and with busy little boys. I am in my 2nd trimester and finally after a long horrible first 4 months, I am starting to feel better. So liberating!! I have energy again and I haven't thrown up for a few weeks now. Wow that was depressing. My life was so dark and miserable there for awhile. I could barely function and yet I had to because of the demands of being a mother. It was discouraging.

I am the mother. I sometimes think I am watching my life from a distance- like a TV show and that I am in awe as to everything I do and feel- but still feel I am 18 and not ready for motherhood yet. Ha. It's really trippy to be right in the thick of a life that only seemed unreal and so far away a few years ago. I wake up in the morning super achy from being pregnant and unhealthy and yet I have to just tell myself "Keep moving April, keep moving, I need to pack lunches, make breakfast, tell the kids I love them, make sure they say prayers, wake up Xander, wake up Sam and change his diaper, get Kenzie on the piano for 30 minutes, sign homework binders, make sure teeth get brushed and faces washed and out the door in time for school. When the girls are at school I get to spend the day with the boys.

Xander is such an interesting sweet boy who has a huge heart. He is always concerned about me, the baby, the girls at school. He has always been entertained by big sisters and so he sometimes struggles with finding things to do. We have craft projects that come in the mail that we do together. We do preschool, we do stuff around the house. I have been so tired and sick this pregnancy and so many times I will leave Xander alone while he colors or does Perler Bead projects so I can nap.

The other day I asked Xander if I could take a nap while Sam naps and he could do perler beads. I woke up from my nap an hour later and he was in my bed with me fast asleep holding my hand. Sweetest thing ever. He woke up and asked if I felt better. He then said, "Mommy, the baby grows when you sleep, and I wanted the baby to grow." What a little man!!! He is a handsome soft spirited kind boy. He is not all rough and tough, but fragile and mellow. He does like to play and pretend, but he's a thinker. When he puts his hand in mine when we go for a walk, my heart leaps a little. My sweet little 4 year old. I treasure our time together.

My heart sank when I had to rush him to emergency 3 weeks ago. He jabbed a piece of trim through his cheek while going down the slide outside. He came inside to show me and fat was coming out of the wound. He had 9 stitches. The wound was very deep and wide. Oh I hope it heals and goes away with time. It make me sad to see his sweet little face get so hurt and cut up. It was an emotional day for all of us. Chay wasn't home yet from work and I had all 4 kids with me at the doctors. Sam was getting into everything in the doctor's office. Julia was so so worried and cried more than Xander did. She was so dramatic with Xander's situation. I had to hold Xander down as the doctor put the Novocain needle into his cheek. Oh it was horrible. He was brave and the doctor was super impressed at how relatively calm Xander was. But oh boy did he scream. At night we now add another thing to our routine, I put a special essential oil ointment on Xander's cheek to help reduce scaring. It's a big scar. Let's say you're reading this 20 years from now Xander. Can you see the scar still? Please tell me "barely". Just so you know, I had to pin you down three times a day to put ointment on that scar and you fought me every single time for a month straight.

Xander learned how to ride a bike yesterday. Totally surprised me. He is just this calm boy who can sit for hours crafting or coloring. He just made a decision yesterday morning and he never looked back. Chay was up at 7 am out working on a motorcycle ( I love how I married a busy hard working husband). Xander walked outside and said, "Dad, it's time you take off my training wheels on my bike, I want to learn today." When I finally rolled out of bed and made it upstairs, I looked outside and my little 4 year old was riding a bike on his own. What????

Sam is the cutest thing on this earth. Oh my gosh. LOVE. He just melts my heart. He has this full head of crazy red auburn hair. He tries to talk all day and his gibberish makes me giggle no matter what kind of mood I am in. He is so different from Xander but I think it will be a good combination. Sam is an outside boy. Loves cars, 4 wheelers- he loves balls. We have had this toy basketball hoop in our backyard since Kenzie was 2 and none of our kids have ever really played with it- I have wanted to get rid of it several times but what do you know, Sam loves it. Sam loves to eat and begs to eat all the time. He is so interesting. He hates nursery and the nursery leaders won't let him cry so they always come find me and give him back to me- so still at age 2 I have to haul him to my classes. He has the best giggle of all time and all of us tease him or try to make him laugh all day. Wow he is surrounded by love and people. He loves to "pray". We always say "time for prayer" and he will fold his arms and bow his head. TO DIE FOR. Nap time is still going strong and I look forward to it every day! I rock him to sleep and he loves loves my long hair. He puts his binky in and he grabs my hair and rubs it all over his face until he falls asleep. It is absolutely adorable. I love love my little Sammy. Incredible big light in our family. Moody and stubborn but so fun. I discovered a whole box of tampons today opened with tampons pulled apart all over my bathroom floor. I had to laugh. Sam Sam Sammy. Tonight he ran around with his shirt off just screaming and laughing for no apparent reason- just excited about the warm night. The kids rode bikes in the street until it was dark and then played some more in the backyard since our playground has wired in lights. It was a magical warm spring night.

Julia- she will be a swan someday. She has this intriguing beauty that is made up of wit, charm, sensitivity, humor, art, and exactness. She is full of questions yet is concerned with everything being just right. She has gorgeous soft flawless olive yet fair skin. Thick beautiful dark dark brown hair. Her eyes are dark. She hates feeling unsure and so she doesn't like new things at first, change, or unfamiliar places. She adapts a lot better than she used to. She is only 7 but she is an old soul and I love being with her and talking to her. She understands a lot. Things make sense. She does cry when she is less than perfect in some things or she gets emotional when she is confronted or criticized by a teacher or someone outside the family. Today we were tardy for school because Mom and Dad accidentally slept in. ooops. She cried when the teacher gave her a tardy. Julia is an amazing artist who loves to draw. Because she has an older sister who is cute and has progressed with piano and has seemed to be first in many things- I fear that Julia will compare herself to Kenzie- but it doesn't seem to matter. So many people will tell Kenzie how beautiful she is right in front of Julia without ever thinking about Julia. It makes me sad, but it doesn't seem to bother Julia. I hope this continues on- Julia is beautiful and she will be a catch someday to the lucky man who gets her. She is so kind to Xander and spends a lot of time making Samson laugh. She loves to play outside when it's her idea and she can get these huge bursts of energy and she will be crazy and it is so entertaining. A couple days ago she decided to jump off the pegs on Kenzie's bike while Kenzie was still peddling. She landed right on her knees hard on the street. She jumped right up in shock with the pain. She said, '"I'll be okay, I'll be okay" and then her eyes filled with tears. Her first reaction really showed how strong she is mentally. She is very mysterious to me yet she is quite open about her feelings when its her choice. I wish her teachers could see the real Julia. She is the perfect student but so quiet and obedient that I don't think they ever see Julia shine like I do. Julia gets ready very fast in the morning. I never have to worry about her being irresponsible or not doing what she's supposed to be doing. She never forgets about important things or dates. She is a great side kick for her sister Kenzie, who can adorably and sometimes irritatingly forget and lose things.

Kenzie is this natural beauty who is so soft and kind that she draws everyone in. She touches my hand and I melt. She loves touch too. If I give her a random hug she will melt. She needs it- she has this soft long brown hair, perfect spread of freckles across her upper cheeks and nose. She has a beautiful smile. She is naturally very kind and aware of everyone around her. She is very talented at the piano. It comes easy for her. She has a very hearty laugh and has a great personality. She is transitioning right now to a different stage of life. She is more sensitive and emotional. She suddenly has a harder time sharing and little things annoy her at times- but not all the time. I know she is growing up and although it makes me sad, I look forward to her growing up. She is so fun to be around. She bore the most beautiful testimony last testimony meeting. She went up all on her own and shared an experience about how she felt the Holy Ghost. It was incredible to witness. I feel like the pressures of the world are hard on her right now. She feels stressed with school and piano. She even tells me that she feels rushed and that there isn't enough time in the day to be a kid anymore. It makes me so sad. I want her to go outside and play and I usually let her but then she gets stressed with homework and life. I try to do all I can to help her relax and sometimes we don't always practice piano- I don't want a stressed out kid. I want her to love life and enjoy the moments. I even wrote a letter to the teacher expressing my concerns. I am trying so hard as her mother not to make her feel rushed or bad for not doing what she should be doing all the time. Yesterday I let her watch some TV when she came home so she could relax but when I told her to turn it off after awhile she started crying that she made a bad choice and wasted her time watching TV and not doing homework. I thought I was doing her a good thing- She will be happier in the summer. She is amazing.

She chipped her two front teeth last week at recess. She hit a soccer goal post. It was so sad for her and for me. Her teeth came in so beautiful and perfect. She has such a dynamite smile with teeth from her Dad- that Clark Smile. I was at home cleaning the kitchen when the school called me. I was able to get down to her in 10 minutes. When I saw her in the waiting room she started to cry again and I cried with her. I was so happy I could be there for her. She was my first priority and she knew it. The dentist fixed her teeth with bonding. They look slightly different and it made me sad at first. It's going to be okay. At least she has friends at school, at least we have good dentists, at least she was running around having fun and not worried about life when it happened. I wasn't handling it very well inside however. I was upset. Julia found out from friends that Kenzie chipped her two front teeth and oh man was Julia worried about her sister. She takes on this mother role when someone is hurt.

The night Kenzie chipped her teeth in my bed I cried forever. I don't know why- I just couldn't handle the emotions of the day and having my daughter hurt and physically scarred bugged me. I had to pray really hard to get the feeling of uneasiness away. I couldn't believe I was having another child and that I had even more to worry about. Xander's cheek split open, Kenzie's teeth was a lot to take on- not even including the unknown future coming ahead of me: if one of my kids will have a hard time in school, when they have hurt feelings, if they will struggle with testimony, may have feelings of not being good enough, if they have bad friends- ahhhh I felt so overwhelmed with all the pain and trials I was going to go through by just having children and loving them with so much of me. It hurt.

That is why I love prayer. God really took it all away the next morning. My worried heart was calm. Having experiences like this reaffirms I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real. All the aches and pains in my heart of being a mom went all away and I had some kind of renewed strength. I'm sure it will return, but I can always pray. The Lord is watching over my family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

being rich

We have never had a whole lot of extra money for the past 11 years of marriage. Chay didn't even know what he was getting into when he happened to land his internship in HR at a hospital when Kenzie was only 6 months old. From there we kept trying to get the next best job. Chay earned his Masters and certified in PHR because it seemed like a good idea. Through this time we got a paper route for 3 years and I watched my nephew for a couple years. We haven't traveled, not even once besides seeing family and maybe a night or two of camping. Chay and I have never spent a night away together because it was hard to budget and plan on someone to watch our kids overnight or we had a newborn and/or I'm nursing (I nurse my babies for a long long time and I don't regret it at all).

We drive older cars and get clothes usually from a thrift store. Our house is small with a quaint backyard. We have continued to always go to church and work hard at our callings. We have made friends with amazing neighbors. We make it to the temple often and we make our little family first in our lives. Everyday is about the kids and their learning, their growing testimonies, their happiness. We start and end each day with family prayer. We read our scriptures at bedtime as a family despite the chaos- with at least one child crying about something and at least one child if not all not paying attention.

Chay and I always live for the kid's bedtime so we can spend time alone without distractions. We sometimes go on walks at night or sit up on the roof of our house. In the mornings we used to run together. At night we sometimes talk ourselves to sleep in bed as we talk about our exhausting life and our future.

 My kids have never been to Disneyland but we go on hikes and walks together. Dad swinging them around in circles by their arms or throwing them in the air makes them smile and giggle just as much as Magic Mountain would anyway. We take them to cheap fun places. Splash pads and parks. Messy picnics and rock collecting by the river. We play in the backyard and go on bike rides. No life isn't always bliss and yes there have been boring days, hard days, and long days. Yes there is contention in the home sometimes and maybe doors and cupboards get slammed once in a while... and yes parents are about to lose it or even do from time to time- and of course I dwell on the thoughts of having a bigger house and going on trips and buying nicer things. I still long for a new kitchen and I almost get grumpy every time I have to cook a meal in my avocado 1970 kitchen- that's falling apart. We have all been sick, ill, hurt, depressed, and achy. And of course we have made poor choices along the way and have felt bouts of misery and opposition. We have felt the pains of repentance and the release of forgiveness. And yes the piles of laundry, messes, and dishes get annoying...And yes, there have been many tears and sadness...

But can I just say, I am living a beautiful rich life. I am experiencing it all--the emotions of life all felt, all endured. I am happy. Chay is happy and the children are happy. We live a life of peace. We have no special formula besides we never give up, we get back on track when we fall off, we look to Christ as the source of real peace, we keep on trying and never stop believing. The joys and the struggles have made it what it is. The waiting and hoping make life come alive and become more real. We are not artificially stimulated with stuff and things that don't last eternally, we are righteously blessed as we endure to the end, serve God, and wait patiently for His blessings.

This is Happiness.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

powerful women

She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers...
Wishing I could be more like this today...
and yesterday, and the day before yesterday and probably tomorrow. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I was being his mom.

I wasn't really sure what I do when Xander started acting inappropriate in the ward Primary Program today. Everyone was laughing and giggling at how irreverent he was being. I kept hoping a teacher would step in and remind him how he needs to show reverence.

I kept saying to Chay "I'm going up there and taking him out, this is wrong and he needs to learn this isn't right."

Chay didn't want me to make a scene but um...our son was already doing that. He was being very distracting.

Kenzie and Julia started to sing a duet at the microphone and Xander stepped up next to them and started singing just gibberish on the microphone and messing up the whole song!

Many of the parents were just laughing and didn't seem to care that their children and my child were being irreverent. I know it's hard when children are restless but it still doesn't make it right. I am so understanding when children act out and a parent feels hopeless about what to do...but to do nothing and be perfectly okay with it??? um, I don't know.

Well, I do know. I walked right up there and grabbed Xander by the hand and walked him right out of the chapel with a "very fast pace". I sat Xander down on the ground and told him firmly that he was acting inappropriately and very irreverent in Heavenly Father's chapel. I told him it was wrong and that we need to show respect and be quiet so others can hear the program. I told him God loved him no matter what but we can show Him love by being reverent in his house. I was upset and Xander knew it and he should. His eyes filled up with tears. He was so sad.

Was I being too hard on him? I was being his mom, right? I then told Xander we had to go back up to the program and finish so he could say his part. He was starting to act out again and so I had to hold him the entire time and sit with him.

I was pretty sure that most of the ward thought I was over reacting and I needed to relax a little. I felt like parenting needed to take place so my child can learn what is right and what isn't. Especially a 4 year old who is completely capable of understanding what it means to be still and quiet. I went up to some leaders and apologized with Xander for his behavior and they just laughed and said, "oh no worries, he's a hoot!"

I said, "No, it's not appropriate and the way he acted was wrong." I totally caught them off guard and they gave me shock face. They even made me feel like I was too harsh.

As I was walking out of the chapel the Stake Primary President stopped me and said, "I just want you to know that I wish about 7 other parents would have corrected their child's behavior today and that what you did was right. It is so important that our children learn reverence. You did the right thing and you were an example to your ward today."

So, now is the time to figure this naughty boy business out- Xander can be so sweet and kind but man was he a stinker today...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My trip home part 2- Lookout Pass

When I was young and adventurous I drove across the nation and back to pursue a job that I was really horrible at. I only lasted a month and half at the job and although I regret that decision to a degree, I will never forget the landscapes I drove through and the experiences I had in that short little while. From Washington to New Jersey and back again. When I was driving back from New Jersey and I was on my final 100 mile leg to being finally home, I hit Eastern Montana and the top of Northern Idaho on I-90. It was all too familiar since it's a stretch of freeway I've been on many times coming home from Rexburg and Utah throughout my life. Can I tell you that nothing compares to this beauty! The East Coast was gorgeous but there is just something very calm, hidden, underpopulated, majestic, open, green, untouched, and grandeur about Northern Idaho's Panhandle National Forrest. I cried like a baby when I drove home across the country and hit this particular place- granted I was strung out on energy drinks, I had been alone for 3 days, my car broke down in Wisconsin, I had to stay with a random scary family while my car was being fixed, I left Chay in New Jersey, my mom's health was a total mess, and I hadn't slept well in over a week- but other than those things being a contributing factor to my unstable emotions- I cried like a baby when I drove through I-90's beautiful stretch from Montana to Coeur d' alene Idaho. It is home.

So last week when I was driving through I decided to pull over and take a picture of Lookout Pass- the highest point of the National Forrest. It was beautiful because there were clouds sitting on the mountain side, a soft drizzle of rain, the deciduous trees full of fall color mixed with evergreens. I wanted to capture it at least one time with my camera- since usually we pass through there going 70+ miles per hour.

Lookout is really gorgeous and huge- a big valley engulfed with pine trees. This place means to me that home is near. I love it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My big trip home. Part 1

So I went on a trip with my kids.

Without Chay. We were in the car 21 hours total. Hell.

So, the first day I failed as a mom big time and I lost my cool several times and I even broke down in tears in front of my kids because they were fighting so much.

After making sure they know they are dirty rotten stink bombs for ruining my life I then revert to always assuming it's my fault for their behavior and I keep trying to figure out what I can do different.

Before we left on the trip, I made a specific attempt to make the travels fun. I bought fun books, brand new markers, crayons, new small toys, bingo, and traveling games. I gave each child a bag for all their traveling stuff. It was all organized and perfect.

It lasted 20 minutes.

The complaining, pinching. fighting began and I could hardly stand it. Let's just say, I didn't use "soft voice" and I was the biggest hypocrite in the world as I yelled at my kids to be quiet and get along for 4 hours.

So at midway point to Coeur d alene, Idaho we stopped for the night in beautiful Salmon, Idaho. I was exhausted and worn out and so was little Sammy. The kids were wired and jumped from bed to bed in our hotel room. I had to practically force them to bath and shower- but once they got in the tub they were happy and somewhat cooperative. I forgot to pack underwear for me and Xander. Lovely. Xander ended up wearing a pair of Julia's panties. Unfortunately her panties didn't work for me. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even pass my calves.

All of my good mommy resources were emptied and dried out and I just needed them to go to sleep so I could somewhat function the next day. They were rambunctious and crazy- and although I usually play off of their craziness- I just wasn't feeling it that night. I threatened them with their life and eventually the three fell asleep. I had to push their bed against the wall and make them sleep sideways for a more comfortable night's sleep. Hotels freak me out and I always wonder when I move the bed I am going to find a cut off limb from a body some murderer tried to hide.

Sam decided to be playful and restless until 3 in the morning. He wasn't used to his sleeping arrangements. At home he is a champion sleeper but not this dreadful night. I finally put him on the floor with a blanket and ignored him. I didn't even care if he walked around the room, I just needed sleep. I woke up at 4 in the morning and saw he was crashed on the floor. It was not a good night for me nor Sam. But once daylight hit we were greeted with this beautiful surprise out our back deck of our hotel room. It put everyone in a great mood- for a little while anyway.

We woke up and ate a huge breakfast. The minute we packed and got in the car, the bickering started again. It made my blood boil. My kids don't fight with each other too often and so it was driving me crazy. They started teasing each other and blaming one another for lost crayons and markers. Their small toys and things would fall in between their booster seats and into cracks of the car seat or in other words, the dark abyss of nothingness to be lost forever. It was a nightmare.

So right in the middle of one of their fights I told everyone to get out of the car besides Sam of course. I told them they can't come with me and they needed stay at the hotel until I returned from my trip because of their bad choices. I got in my van and took off. I was livid. I went around the corner so they couldn't see me and I parked and waited for about 15 long long minutes. They just stood in the parking lot under a street light. It was Salmon, Idaho for one thing which is a really small safe town and I just needed to evaluate the situation and I even contemplated if I should just grab the kids and go home. I was a mess. I was so upset at everything. Why am I doing this? Why doesn't Chay come with me? Why am I being so selfish? Why can't I be a better mother and get my act together? Why don't my children listen to me? Where did I go wrong?

I turned around and went back to my kids. Tough Julia was sobbing in tears. Kenzie was holding on to Xander to comfort him. They were dead quiet when I pulled up to them. In total silence I rearranged the seats in the car, moved luggage around and separated everyone. They all got in the car and didn't say a word. They were convinced that I had left them at the hotel forever.

I then took them to the river walk area in Salmon and let them run like crazy. We crossed a bunch of bridges and walked in and out of beautiful fall trees along the river bank. It was gorgeous.

Let's just say the car ride to Coeur d alene was completely different. Don't know if I handled it right, but I loved the results. Possible therapy later?

The drive was absolutely stunning as we followed the winding Salmon river for many miles with pops of gold trees everywhere. It looked like a scene right out of a movie- old barns everywhere, run down fences, horses, the river, aspens, cottonwoods, maples on fire with color, huge pine tree covered mountains in the short distance- magical. I'm not kidding. It made the drive so worth it. It almost seemed fake- like a green screen. I just didn't know how to handle all the beauty I was seeing. If I didn't have a load full of children and I didn't have a schedule to meet, I think I would feel obligated to stop and just sit for awhile and stare forever. I wish I could have. I wish I would have snapped a ton of pictures because that is all one can do really.

It was kind of a sign of forgiveness for me. I just couldn't believe God gave this beautiful world to everyone, even people like me who spent the day before and the morning growling and yelling at their kids. I knew God loved me and all his children so much, despite all of our many weaknesses.

Here are some pictures of us walking around Salmon for an hour or so. I wish I could have more photography skills because this place is a photographer's dream. I do love my camera even though I don't use it to its potential. Maybe someday when I have more time to think straight I will take some classes. Beautiful Salmon and beautiful children- even though I wanted to strangle my beautiful children an hour earlier. I do love them dearly. I really do. That's why I care so much.

I like bridges. Can you tell?

I love this picture so much- explains my children's behavior quite well on the drive- Xander, sensitive. Kenzie, emotions all over the place. Julia, sneaky, tricky, cute, wearing my sweater. Sam, whiny and grouchy.

Kenzie is so photogenic it makes me sick. She looks good in every picture. She is so darling.

and then there is unpredictable-funny-witty-adorable JuJu

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Grateful to be 35

Tomorrow I turn 35. It's a beautiful age- beautiful because I am blessed with little ones, my marriage is strong going on 11 years, my testimony of the Gospel is solid, I seem to find joy in the small things, I see purpose and understand more of what God is doing with me- so many years it has taken to accomplish little steps of improvements. Everyone grows differently and some catch on faster than others. I'm pretty convinced I'm the slowest learner when it comes to life lessons. I just don't get it at first and then the Lord gives me all these experiences so I will hopefully learn. It's a slow process but I love my 35 year old self over my 25 year old self any day- even though I was pretty cute at 25, I will take this growth and love for life and treasure it- and it's exciting that I have many more years ahead of me to continue to figure things out. Thank You Heavenly Father for being patient.

The entire journey so far has made up who I am. The awful years of confusion, bad mistakes, not knowing who I was, being raised in my family, forgiveness, obedience, listening to the Spirit and making good choices, serving a mission, finding Chay and marrying him, buying a house when we shouldn't have, losing my mom, becoming friends with certain people, getting my feelings hurt, small accomplishments, bearing children, big life changes- all of it has served a purpose. I'll own it. Grateful to be 35.

One of my birthday wishes was to hike around Snowbasin Ski Resort and see all the colors of Fall. It is a favorite thing of mine and really makes me feel alive and so blessed by a kind and wondeful Heavenly Father who has created such a beautiful place for me to live. All the colors of Fall are just a kind gift from God- purely for our enjoyments. Here are some pictures we took. Heaven on earth.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I trust this.

Beautiful Fall how I love you!!!

*Kenzie age 8: "Today I am working hard on controlling my temper." I love it. She is so great. But as sweet as honey she can be, she does have quite the sting!

*Xander and preschool- so I don't put my kids in pre-school. I don't care if other parents do it, I'm not against it at all I just feel that it is unnecessary for my particular children who seem to be just fine without it. Both of my girls are great students in school and well behaved. They are not lacking any social skills whatsoever. So why spend the $$?

Xander however is 4 and is just learning to speak the poor kid. His ears were so messed up for so long. I realized awhile back that Xander and I haven't had a lot of alone time. So we enrolled him in this online preschool called Upstart. We sit down together and do it every day. This school year has been magical as the girls are gone during the day and it's just Xander and I. Well, Sam is here of course but he is just a goofy toddler who throws everything and giggles when he slams kitchen drawers. Xander follows me around the house and asks questions and wants to do chores that are too tricky for a 4 year old. It can get a little bothersome and I have to count to 10 sometimes. But I have really had the chance to get to know Xander better and it's been a huge blessing.

Together we do Upstart online preschool everyday for 20 minutes, color family home evening lessons, perler beads, playing ball outside, go to the park, cook, go to all the stores, sometimes I will sit and watch Ninjago with him. Sometimes he watches Ninjago by himself so I can get things done :) I love 4 year olds. Xander is a beautiful kid with such a unique personality. He loves music and he loves to sing. He sings all the time and is right on tune.

*The other day we all went to the park while Dad was at the Priesthood session. I have lost 50 pounds since Sam was born 21 months ago and I feel strong and in shape. I was able to play with my kids the entire time and we had a blast. We played "Force Field" and I was "it" and tried to chase the kids. It was amazing how I could just run up the twirly slide and jump down the stairs with little effort. I felt very grateful. It was a beautiful evening at the park. The sun was setting and there was a strip of sunlight beaming down on the grass in the trees. We had to "touch" the last sunny spot on the grass as the sun was setting. We watched the sun set down over the mountains to the west. I loved every moment. These are the moments that make me the most happy. I try to convince myself that other certain things will make me feel fulfilled but at the end of the day (ha, literally!) what makes me feel like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and maxing out on the life experience is spending quality time with my little children.

Matthew 6:21-22 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be."

*Yesterday we went for a walk to Kenzie's music studio. It was beautiful outside and all the colors of fall are upon us. I was holding hands with Kenzie and Xander- Julia was pushing Sam in the stroller and one of the kids decided to start singing primary songs. They all started singing and so did I. Could I be in a more perfect moment? The huge mountains laced in red, the sun shining at our backs, 70 degree weather, walking, my children close singing songs about Heavenly Father's plan. We all felt safe and at peace. This is the dream. This is the dream.

Now let me remember this moment when everyone is fighting and screaming at each other :)

*Walking Dates- about 3 times a week Chay and I will tuck the kids in bed and wait for them to fall asleep. We then lock the doors and go for a walk around the neighborhood for an hour or so. It has turned into something we both look forward to. I get to hold Chay's hand and we just talk and talk about everything. Chay really opens up and shares all about his work which I love to hear. We talk about the kids, callings, goals, life. We have had some pretty awesome nights with lightening and thunder going off in the distance, bright starry nights, misty rain- a couple weeks ago we walked for an hour under our huge umbrella as it rained hard. It was so perfect. I love our walks. Chay is gone a lot and we don't see each other very often. He is busy with career and his calling. These walks have been good and exactly what we need to stay connected. We also decided to exercise together in the morning which doesn't allow a lot of talking but we're together and we're doing something productive- and we can feel on many levels the importance of spending this time together taking care of our bodies. I really have so many blessings. I have to remember all the good that surrounds me when life gets tricky. I can get down so easily and it can really get to me for awhile but I am thankful for the spiritual and trusting training I have acquired that I pull out of somewhere "This too shall pass." "It will go away soon." "It's not so bad." "We will figure it out." "There has to be a solution." "Heavenly Father wants me to be happy." "This is a moment for me to learn and grow." Sometimes I am telling myself these things as I slump over my bed in tears. It is never easy. I just have to make a choice regardless.

*Chay is living the suit life. He learned quickly that his new job's dress code was formal businessman. His Director at work sets the standard and always jokes "short sleeves, short career" Ha. Whatever. He looks so good every morning as he leaves the door in one of his suits. He has to wear one almost every day and plus his calling requires it too. The funny thing is he then gets into his little chevy S10 pickup that has over 200,000 miles and has a Fox Sticker on the back window. He still flips 4 wheelers and motorcycles on the side- I cringe at the thought of him loading a 4 wheeler in the back of his truck after work in his nice clothes but what can you do? Nothing will stop him so oh well. He will always love finding a good deal and reselling no matter what.

Today Chay is going out to eat for the umpteenth time with co-workers . His life is so different than mine. He gets all dressed up and classy. He is referred to as "Boss" by several people. He makes big important decisions and is respected by many. He conducts big meetings and is always brainstorming with big wigs on how to make a hospital run better. I wear yoga pants and t-shirts on most days because I stay home. I change poopy diapers, make a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, sing songs, read books, fold a lot of laundry and clean a lot of sticky gross bathrooms. Sometimes I go in to my bedroom and hide from my kids because I don't want to deal with life. I then think about Family Home Evening and the kid's big project due at school. I think about groceries and dinner. I listen to the girls tell me endless stories about school and what "so and so" said and what this kid did at school. I motivate kids to practice piano, to play outside, to do homework. I coordinate family scripture study. I brush hair and scrub stinky feet every night. It can be hard at times. But I wouldn't want it any other way- well maybe a maid would be nice- but I am entirely convinced deep down inside- even during those tiny little moments when I get sort of jealous of Chay's life, I am convinced that my work is just as if not more important than Chay's job. I know it- my job has eternal rewards. If not now, it will all make sense one day. I trust this.