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

Resilience



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.

Resilience.

*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.




Wednesday, January 01, 2014

strong 1

I made it through the day. My head is pounding and I feel very tired and slightly sick to my stomach.

I knew this would be coming so I was sort of prepared.

Off to bed I go.

right in the thick of it

etsy shop leesaralou
Because lately I have been obsessed with organizing my home, (no, I'm not pregnant) I made the whole family sit around the table on Sunday and put together all the kid's puzzles so we could throw away the ones that were missing pieces. It ended up being a really fun memory. Loved that Chay was so into finishing his 100 piece Fairy puzzle. It seems that putting together puzzles makes for really strange and humorous conversations. The girls had a throw down singing competition at one part of the puzzle marathon- Frozen. They love the music from the new movie Frozen. So right now in their life, including Xander, the songs from that movie are literally everything to them when it comes to expressing their musical abilities. They sing so loud with such emotion.

The goofyness was out of control on Sunday and everyone was just giggly. I don't know if it's because we feel sort of trapped inside because it's winter and we really have no place to go or what- but the house was full of laughter and sillyness and I loved it. I can't believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by all these certain people- especially children. It is a great time of my life.

I panic sometimes when I think of life passing too quickly, especially my kids- but I know I won't have any major regrets, I know I am spending time with them, I know I have treasured many many moments- I am living right in the thick of it and loving most of it.

I really do hate however how these sweet sincere older ladies will come up to me at the store and say things like, "They grow up so fast" or "I would do anything to have them little again" or "I don't know where life has gone" or "just wait until they're teenagers and you'll miss them being little".

First of all it gives me a little bit of anxiety when older people say stuff like this because all of the sudden I feel my kids will be 20 years old when I wake up the next day and I will somehow wonder where the last 15 years went. Second of all, those kind of remarks put this artificial doubt in my mind that I am somehow not loving being a mother to these adorable kids. I then realize it must be the older mothers who have some sort of regret who always say those kind of things to young moms. I feel like their words are their own sorrowful thoughts of their past or something. It's like they feel this need to warn young moms that their future happiness is in danger. (I'm laughing while I write this because I know this isn't always the case and that I'm being dramatic, but I like to play it out in my mind for moment that it is the case, so I'll go with it)

The other day this sweet bent old lady with good intentions noticed me at the store with my kids. She came up to me with certainty she was going to say something so prophetic and wise. I am now prepared for these encounters but on this particular day I wasn't in the mood. "Try to enjoy it my dear." She said, "They're only small once. You will miss it one day and would do anything to have them small again." Ahhh okay, never heard that before! I just smiled and said out of frustration, "I do enjoy it. I enjoy every single moment of it (white lie) and I will never have any regrets (white lie again). Each age of my children's life will be exciting to me and I don't worry about if I am spending enough time with them or not, because I am." She kind of didn't know what to say or she thought I was weird because she just slightly smiled and said, "ok, dear". I started to laugh at how I acted and I couldn't wait to go home and tell Chay. Life.

The other day I got my guitar off the wall. Lately it has become nothing more than just decoration in our front room. The kids quickly flocked around Mom and all wanted to play it and Xander kept strumming the strings while I played and it was getting a little annoying. So we decided to play a game where I play a tune and make up the words of a song and then I stop singing and the next person has to make up lyrics. Oh my gosh it was funny. We laughed to hard. Kenzie was impressive and she could hear her own melody with the chords I was playing. Her words consisted of rainbows and unicorns and how much she loves her siblings. Xander sang about chopping off heads and poop, Julia started to sing with her sweet voice but something sucked the confidence out of her and she started to whine about how she hates singing in front of people. (I have heard Julia sing in her own time and place- usually when she thinks no one is listening and she has a beautiful voice for a 6 year old). Daddy was on his phone in the corner chair just laughing at the situation.

 Maybe this is why I was supposed to love music and learn to play piano and guitar- maybe it was for my family and that's it. The memories and love I share through music for my family are not performing for audiences obviously but more for bedtime, singing babies to sleep, playing songs on the guitar about chopping off heads and poop, singing around a fire, playing Christmas music on the piano, helping Kenzie figure out a hard song at the piano, trying to teach Kenzie and Julia how to harmonize the song Kumbaya while I curl their hair in the morning, singing "I love to see the Temple" a million times at Xander's request before he falls asleep. I'm pretty sure all these memories will put a greater worth on my love for music more than anything when I look back on life. Music brings people together!...even if the quality of it is questionable. :)

Dates with my kids. Yesterday just Xander and I went to the ENT to get his wedged-in-with-wax tubes removed from his ears. It was just the two of us. We had fun until he screamed bloody murder when they poked his ear drum. And the fun is officially over-  I wished I understood him more. I know it is building a wall that I so desperately want to take down. He gets so so so frustrated with his speech. He is learning more and more every day- but I only get about 60% of what he says but I find him alientating himself and doing his own thing. He will try to explain something to us but after the second try he does this anger groan and walks off. Oh my heart. It will come, it will come. When we do understand what he says, he gets the most adorable grin across his face and we finally both connect with each other- it's the best feeling!

Samson. I can't get over how fun this baby is! He loves touch. I pick him up and he immediately swings his arms around my neck and holds on tight. He holds on so passionately. He grabs my face and pulls his face towards mine and nuzzles. He loves to hold on to hair when someone holds him. He will softly touch my mouth, cheeks and nose. He weighed the most out of all my babies when he was born but he is the smallest baby growth wise. He will be a year next month and it feels like I still have a 6 month old. He is only 18 pounds. Kenzie and Julia weighed that at 3 months. He doesn't want to crawl. He just sits there and plays with toys. THANK YOU!!!! I am not ready for a mover yet. Sammy we love you. Cute cute baby. Especially at night when all the kids are asleep and Daddy and I get to spend some quality time together with you- Sam comes out of his shell once he realizes that he has no one to compete with for attention and he gets so animated and loud! He giggles and screams- most of our video footage of Sam is late at night when everyone is asleep. It's too adorable. I love babies. I love having babies in the home- their sweet sweet spirit seems to calm down many situations that would normally play out different- when everyone is bickering and raising their voices, there's Sam just smiling sucking on his fist- it kind of puts things at ease real fast.

ok, well I am thankful that I woke up at 6:30 to write this. I have a hard time figuring out a good time to write in a journal or to blog. But I somehow moseyed my way into the room with the computer and just started writing- which is a miracle that I didn't get sucked into Facebook or Pinterest. ok, I hear the kids starting to make noises upstairs. Another day begins.

 





Tuesday, December 31, 2013

strong

I feel really blessed. I love my life. I really do. I mean it sucks sometimes obviously and I have my lows and I think I might just drown at any minute- but I love my family, my friends, my faith- my heart is full and I couldn't be more grateful.

Chay and my kids make me smile. I spend a lot of time with them and it really fills any void I think I might be feeling. Nothing makes more sense to me than being a wife and mom. So that is what I do. Those amazing mothers who can pull off anything extra in their lives, I stand in AH! My brain and heart can't seem to find room for anything extra besides mommyhood and serving in the church. Maybe in another season of life...like when I'm 50!

2014!!!!

I like New Year's resolutions. I think people should always set goals- realistic ones, unrealistic- funny ones. Who cares if the majority of us don't keep them. To me they signify hope. So I like them.

Today I have hope.

Today I ache all over. I have been downing Ibuprofen daily for the past month. My head is pounding. My joints ache. I am tired. The stairs seems daunting. I have weight to lose. Crossroads, tipping point- whatever you call it, I might be facing a time in my life that determines how the rest of my life concerning health will play out.

I like to do things for the experience. I will say yes or volunteer to do things just for the experience. Why not?

So tomorrow I start an experience that I trust in.  But tonight, I reflect on hope- because I think it's the first vital step to trying something hard with God on your side.


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I am so so imperfect and I fail at so many things but I know I can love and I can be a mom who is present, around, and who cares. I can do that.

Xander was up all night puking. I so desperately wanted to sleep but the alarm clock went off. Is it really already 6:45. Time to get Kenzie ready for school. She is singing some opera song as she braids her hair. She makes me smile as I dig through the fridge to find something to make her for breakfast and to pack her lunch. She is so independent now and my heart skips a beat when she glances my way. She looks older and older every day. In the back of my mind I think "I should have Kenzie make her own lunch, yes, I should, she is responsible enough." I realize quickly however that she is such a free spirit and gets sidetracked easily so I would have to wake her up even earlier. That's ok. I can make her lunch.

I go into the girl's room and find Julia asleep in Kenzie's bed. I giggle. I am reminded of last night's fight between the two girls. Ugly exchanges were made between the two. Kenzie's feelings were of course hurt and she wanted to snuggle with me to fall asleep. I told her I couldn't because I had to put Xander and Sam to sleep. I then mentioned she could snuggle with her sister. Both their eyes got huge- What? Kenzie said, "She's the reason why I'm crying." I just said, "so what, the perfect time to forgive and love one another is right now." Julia then asked Kenzie if she wanted her to come sleep with her so she could have someone to snuggle with. It was the sweetest thing ever. They fell asleep together. Kenzie told me in her room that morning that it made her feel happy to have Julia sleep with her. She even said she isn't mad at her anymore. I told her to count her blessings because Julia doesn't like to share beds and likes her own space- Julia did that all for you you, Kenzie. Just then Julia is awoken and oh boy. She wakes up screaming and throwing her legs. Mad to be awake. Good Morning Julia!

I take Kenzie to school. She is for some reason having a hard time going poop. Her first day I rescued her from the embarrassment of staying in the bathroom longer than she's supposed to and/or telling her brand new teacher. Kenzie then tells me before I drop her off that she has to go poop but can't. I again take her to the bathroom. She figures things out. I give her big kisses. We always exchange "I love you's". She's my big little girl. I love her so much.

Time to get Julia ready for the day. She has afternoon kindergarten. The first week of school she seemed to love it. I was surprised. I was preparing for a catastrophe. Today however during her homework she had her first meltdown. Her teacher corrected the way she holds a pencil the day before and now she has lost all confidence in writing. The tears rolled down her cheeks as she mentions how she also didn't like the drawing of her self portrait she drew in class. I told her it was beautiful. I have no clue where this self doubt comes from. She then went off about how she hates kindergarten, hates the sand that gets in her shoes at recess, hates how she always has to do what the teacher wants, and hates how the teacher reads books she isn't interested in.

Then she said the heartbreaking words "I want to be with Kenzie, why can't I be with Kenzie at school?"

 My heart starts to race because no mother wants their child to be sad and miserable at school. She begged me this morning if she could stay home. My mind was racing all over for the right thing to say. I kept saying all this nice mushy stuff about how wonderful she was and smart and talented and she just kept crying these big sincere alligator tears and pushing me away. She then grabbed her homework and was about to crinkle up her homework before I snatched it away from her and saved it. She was starting to get angry. Finally the mushy comfortable praises from me came to an end. It was entirely ineffective. "Stop it right now Julia!" I raised my voice. "You are choosing to act like this and I won't have it. You will go to the corner if you continue this." I then went on about happiness being a choice and sometimes we won't always like school but too bad, we go anyway and we make a choice to make the best of it, to not get offended, make a choice to like our drawings at school, make a choice to let things go. She started to listen I think and the tears stopped. Xander was trying to get my attention the whole time and he started to cry. I gave him a granola bar and took Julia into her room and rocked her in the big ugly chair that I keep telling myself I need to get rid of. I decided not to say anything more. I was so hoping it was just a moment of kindergarten freak out. We read a couple books together. She finally said, "I will go to school, but I don't like it!" ok then.

For hating so many things about Kindergarten, as her mother I was loving her strong opinions. She was so detailed. She knew exactly what she didn't like about school. It was sort of refreshing to hear. So thank you for at least expressing yourself well Julia. It could be so much harder if you were crying mixed with bad behavior and I didn't have a clue what was bothering you.

Julia is a frequent topic of my prayers.

I realized that I wanted to clean the kitchen before it was time to go to school but I had spent most of the morning talking, holding, hugging and reading to Julia. Her heart was finally calm before we left for school. I gave everyone apple slices and had them sit in the car 15 minutes before we left. I hurried and emptied the dishwasher and loaded it in silence while they were in the hot car. They survived.

How moms get anything done around the house is beyond me. I feel like I am writing this blog out of pure rebellion as I let the children watch TV just so I can sit at the computer and think straight without interruptions.

Last night it was a beautiful summer night and the girls being in school just seems so wrong. School is weird. I know it is necessary and I know they belong to an amazing school but it just kind of brings out these mood swings that just weren't present during summer. I know structure is good- but the sun is still up way past 8 and so I just let them play last night. They wanted to play Pirates in the backyard and Xander was more than excited to be with his sisters. Then we saw neighbors outside and we all talked and laughed until 9:30. The girls still needed showers. Xander likes to get in the showers with the girls and then a simple task turns into a big play session. The kids didn't crash until 10:00 pm. Ha! Kenzie was a zombie for the first 20 minutes of waking up. But she is generally a really happy person most of the time so she doesn't let things bother her like I do. She was up singing and playing with the cat at 6:45 AM. I always have to get on her case about staying focused and getting her morning duties done. She is in another world. After breakfast she got out a piece of paper and started drawing a game for Julia to play while she was at school. Kenzie's hair wasn't done, teeth not brushed, no shoes and we had to leave in 10 minutes. But she was off in her little land of drawing and making something nice for someone else.

On the way to school Julia asked if we could roll down the windows. Our AC in our van broke a month ago and it so happens to be the hottest summer on record or almost. In fact if today is over 95 degrees then we will tie the record in 1965. We roll down the windows and julia sticks her hands out the windows- she begs for me to turn up the radio. She loves music. She loves to be alone and doing her own thing. Kenzie was playing pick-a-boo with Sam and telling Xander a story. I decided to take in the moment and just be grateful for what I was surrounded by.

The air conditioning in the van broke, the AC at home broke, our computer laptop went dead all within a month. It's a joke. Trying to stay positive and look for the good...and this morning being with my kids was good and being with them made me realized I was one of the richest in the world. I am so so lucky.

100_2532


Found this picture of the girls today and had to laugh. This explains their personalities so well.

This is a random post but I'm journaling- that is all that matters.



   

Saturday, April 13, 2013

bullet points of small memories

I have a list of little things that happen with the family that make me happy. No dates- but all happened in the last couple months or so. I'm obviously not in the business of gaining readers and probably more so in the business of losing readers to this blog. So unless you're totally in love with my kids and care deeply about the Clark household, this post won't be all that exciting--but my kids one day will appreciate it.


  • Julia playing in the north shade for some time looked at me and said, "My hands need to play in the sunshine and get warm. My fingers need sunshine." It was adorable.
  • Kenzie finished writing something while riding in the backseat of the car. She looked up and said, "I just wrote something powerful." I was very curious to what could be so powerful...plus I giggled inside with her use of words. "I just wrote about forgiving Clayton for breaking my remote control car. Everything is going to be ok now." Forgiveness is POWERFUL. 
  • Waking up Sunday morning to the smell of breakfast. Chay woke up all the kids and was feeding them breakfast and even had the Mormon Tabernacle Choir playing on the iPod. No, it wasn't a dream. 
  • Chay holding 2 week old Samson in one arm and attempting to fix a motorcycle with the other. 
  • Chay doing everything in his cooing power to make Samson smile. It is priceless. Samson's smile and Chay being Daddy. 
  • Spending 4 hours at the children's museum The Tree House with the kids. We sat in the art garden for the majority of the time making and coloring books. There wasn't any rush to be anywhere and Samson was still in my belly. I could tell the girls were just loving the fact that mom was just as excited  to make a book as they were. I loved that day. 
  • Daddy and Grandpa Tomblin swimming with the kids at the hotel pool. My dad was trying to catch them in the pool and they were giggling so hard despite how cold they were. Their bottom lips were all shivering. Childhood. Love it. 
  • Julia congratulating Kenzie on her drawings, "wow, Kenzie is so good at drawing."
  • Kenzie making a potion outside and being so excited about it. Metal bucket, water, soap, grass clippings, dirt, rocks. Xander helped of course.  
  • Xander's wordless mumble prayers. hmmm mhhh mhmmmm hmmm it's funny  because his voice fluctuates exactly like someone praying with real words...hard to describe in writing. When he doesn't want to go to sleep, Xander's prayers will carry on forever- smarty smart. 
  • I warm up rice bags for the kids at bedtime. Julia especially loves her rice bag. She is a sucker for soft blankies and anything warm and snugly. She keeps stealing Samson's silky blanket and always laughs when I discover her as the thief. 
  • We went to the library one afternoon and ended up staying there forever. We played with all the "in house" games and educational toys for a long time. I don't remember the library being such a fun place when I was kid. They have really improved. Our favorite library is the downtown library which has more games and books- you have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke to enter the building and you pass at least 2 homeless people begging for money- but its a great cheap place for kids. I'm still looking to buy those cool magnet things we played with forever.
  • All 3 kids still take a bath together once in awhile. Today was a warm spring day but warm still means 60 degree weather- well they were playing in the front yard with the hose believe it or not. They came in freezing and they all jumped in the hot bathtub. Squeezed tightly but they still fit- They loved all the bubbles and were making "moostaches" with the bubbles. Xander loves to play with his sisters. It's the cutest thing ever when he says "Ju Ju" 
  • Went on a walk down by the river and found a trail that led to a sun dial. Some boy scout must have made it for his Eagle. It looked like an Eagle Project to me- it was really cool and Kenzie was intrigued. It really worked. 
  • We have been park hopping lately. I am amazed at how many parks are in Utah. Everywhere. We decided to try a new one out that is kind of far from our house- close to the canyon. It was a cool place but punks had left graffiti on the toys. I caught Kenzie reading and sounding out the "F" word. She had no clue what that word even was. I calmly said, "You have never heard that word and guess what, it's a bad bad word...I wouldn't say it out loud if I were you." She was confused why someone would write a bad word and now she can't get it out of her head. I told her it would leave her head eventually. It did. The kids were exceptionally playful that day and they giggled and laughed so hard as they played some made up game on the slides. I love Kenzie and Julia's relationship- for the most part. They really were meant to be together on earth in their younger years. I know, I know- the worst has yet to come, but their personalities really mesh well. 
  • Julia and Kenzie like to play a game in the car. One day while driving I heard Julia ask Kenzie if she wanted to play "that" game again. She said sure and then silence. I kept looking back at the girls and they were just staring out their windows saying nothing. "Are you going to play the game?" I asked. "We are mom, I just did a flip" said Kenzie. They pretend they're on a snowboard and they do jumps and tricks on the snowbanks and snow piles on the side of the road we are passing in the car. LOVE THAT!   
  • Old Maid with the girls is hilarious. That game is really funny with dramatic personalities. It is seriously so funny when someone gets stuck with the old maid and even funnier as a mom to see the worst poker faces ever. We played a little Uno too...and lately it's been Memory. I know the box on Memory says its for 3 year olds but man, it's challenging for even me. Kenzie is a poor sport and she will cry when she doesn't find a match. Drama. One minute they are laughing and the next someone is crying. 
  • Ju Ju is a coloring freak. She can color for hours. Really? You still want to color after all this time? 
  • Kenzie is a little chef. She surprised me the other day with a salad- chopped romaine, chopped carrots, tomatoes, celery, crunched up tortilla chips with a little ranch and salsa. It was seriously so good. 
  • Xander loves outside. He is always asking me to come outside and play with him. Sometimes I will just stop doing whatever I think needs to be done and I will push the kids on the tire swing. The iconic tire swing- a childhood embedded memory. Flying high in that thing will be a memory the kids will remember as a symbol of their "decent" childhood. I just know it. Dad can push them so high and it's just a good way to smile. Get on the tire swing and all your troubles go away. 
  • Xander has this cute contagious smile and giggle. He loves Diego and Dora. I would too if I were a 2 year old. Dora can get Xander to talk more than I can. Go Dora. Que Buena! Xander doesn't say much of anything but he is so involved with what is going on around here. I need more one on one with that kid. He loves 2 books. Goldilocks and the Three Bears and this train car book called "I'm Fast". Everything depends on his mood so even the things he loves the most like singing nursery songs or reading books, he will refuse to do when his pride is eating him alive. Other than that he is great. :) He makes friends very easily. I remember being pregnant with Samson and Xander would run his cars up and down my big belly making his car noises. He would then kiss my belly (the baby) goodnight. He loves loves Samson and hasn't taken out any life-changing-frustrations on him. He is always asking to hold Samson.  
  • Went to the Train Expo with the kids. Wow there are some crazy train lovers out there. People really like one thing that much? Julia loved the humongous lego display. It was really cool. Scenes from Lord of the Rings all in Legos. Awesome. Julia just kept staring and staring. She loves to build and create with Trios, Legos, and blocks. Engineer???
  • Chay read the girls a barbie book tonight. Wow was he struggling. He kept saying in Portuguese how annoying the book was. 
  • Kenzie will be baptized this December. We have a family goal to help Kenzie read the entire Book of Mormon before she gets baptized. We printed out a chart for her to mark. So far we aren't looking too hot at meeting our goal. We might have to bring the Book of Mormon with us in the car aaand to the store, the bathroom, swimming lessons. We are behind to say the least.  
  •  Chay took Julia on a hike this morning with the Elders. It's a big hike- Waterfall Canyon. It is still April so Chay packed snow boots for Ju Ju. We will see how much Chay ends up carrying Julia...it will be an awesome work-out for Chay. I so wish I could have gone this morning. Newborn, coughing  kids and freezing temperatures with a steep incline up a mountain don't really mix. Someday, someday. 
  • I asked Kenzie what she wanted to be when she grows up. She responded "A mother. I just want to hold babies all day." I validated her answer obviously but I threw in the importance of education and said, "what if your husband dies and you need to work for money to feed your kids?" She responded, "I will find a step dad real fast." Funny. 
  • Julia's faith that prayers will always be answered. I catch her praying about everything. Lost crayons, toys, baby Samson, Kenzie at school, Xander's speech. Julia is a deep thinker and even though she appears to not be paying attention to scripture study- she is and she always has the most thought out answers to our questions about spiritual things. She has so much hope in the return of Christ- she gets almost upset that He hasn't come yet. When is Jesus going to get here!!!!? I know how you feel sweetheart. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

answered prayer


My house is almost quiet. 9:14 and the kids are finally winding down.

Besides Xander of course who has turned into the devil child...no seriously. Devil child. :)

Love him dearly but I have never experienced anything quite like this before. He isn't taking all of life's changes very well. Baby brother, bye bye binki, bye bye bedroom- slam slam slam and just like that he is a whole new kid. Mean, malicious, violent, screamer.

His tantrums have escalated to a new scary wow. I am trying to be patient yet consistent with him and doing all I can to not cave in to what he wants despite his screaming and kicking. I sit at the computer to avoid his screams and just pin random stuff to Pinterest trying to ignore his out-of-controlness. Xander won't let me hold him and console him- he will just throw punches or turn away but if I leave the room he screams even louder. So I just let him scream it out with him right next to me...I try to stay calm but my blood is boiling. I know I am stressed because I run my fingers through my bangs and hair on top of my head- that is what I do when I am tired and stressed.

Xander suddenly won't obey, won't stay close at the store. He refuses to do anything I suggest or say- reverse psychology worked really well for about a week until he caught on to what I was doing.

Xander refuses to sleep. His naptime yesterday was just an awful experience. He was so incredibly tired and I knew it. He becomes a 4:00-in-the-afternoon nightmare if he doesn't get a nap in. I understand that napping isn't easy without beloved binky but he needs to nap regardless. I didn't force him to sleep but I did force him to stay in his room. He ended up kicking me in the eye. After a hour and half of screaming stubborness he finally gave up and fell asleep. I was with him most of the time. I was so confused as to what to do. I just cried I felt so helpless and inexperienced. My heart ached for Xander. He is obviously going through some rough times as is his mother.

Neat Story: During one of Xander's outbreaks I broke down. I cried like a toddler, feeling so discouraged and confused that my biggest problem right at the moment was not a needy newborn but my two year old.

I prayed...to God but to my mom also hoping she could hear somehow-

I said "Mom, I miss you and I need your help. Please if it's possible help me or at least help calm my son somehow. I don't know what to do and I am going crazy."

Later that day I get a message on Facebook from one of my mom's best friends Melody. I haven't spoken with her for almost 2 1/2 years. She wrote, "April, had a lady come in to make a cake order today with her daughter. The mother reminded me of your mother so much I got teary eyed. I miss my friend! I'm sure you miss her terribly. I wanted to come see you today but ran out of time. I thought maybe your mother wanted me to say hello or give you a hug!"

I guess everything is going to be ok- has to be after experiencing that neat tender mercy. WOW. My heart skipped when I read her message. Prayer was heard, prayer was answered. It's all going to be ok somehow.

For the record, Xander was remarkably better today- no meltdowns from him or me. Progress.



Xander with his favorite thing in the world- "the B"...and now no more. I miss it almost as much as he does.

Monday, March 25, 2013

church callings

Daddy and Xander splash pad 2012


Chay has been teaching the 9 and 10 year old kids at church for the past year and half...maybe longer. He was released from that calling a couple weeks ago.

He is a wonderful teacher and took his calling to teach them very seriously. Every Sunday morning he was looking around the house for some kind of prop to use as an object lesson to teach his kids about the gospel. He had very good control of the class which is hard to do being the majority of his students were rambunctious boys but he claims the girls can be just as noisy.

I have sat in a couple of his lessons and he really knows how to engage the kids. He helps them learn principles in a fun way. He asks really good questions and he knows how to keep the kids laughing yet learning at the same time. He is amazing.

A couple months ago it was fast and testimony Sunday and he challenged his class to share their testimony in Sacrament Meeting. Almost all of the kids in his class got up to share their testimony. He is a powerful influence to those kids.

Chay is now in the Elder's quorum presidency. He still visits his primary class for a few seconds every Sunday. He pokes his head in the classroom and says hello. They tell him they miss him all the time. Yesterday at church he brought them all candy. Chay really loves those kids. That's what happens when you serve.

He home teaches a couple families with little children and he is so good at including the kids when he teaches the lesson to the families.

Just thought I would write this down- something wonderful to know about Chay.

I was released from my calling as well last week. I have been teaching Sunday School Gospel Doctrine for the past 3 1/2 years. It has been a really fun challenging calling for me and I have grown to love the people in my class. When I first got the calling I would cry almost every Sunday after I taught. It was so hard. It got a little easier as time went by but then again...not really. I just kept on trying to trust that God would qualify me for the job. I just kept on trying to do my best. I really did witness a lot of miracles teaching that class.

But I will admit it felt pretty good on Sunday to wake up in the morning and have nothing to worry about besides getting the family ready for church- which is stressful enough.   




Sunday, March 24, 2013

I can make bread

So it's a miracle and basically the equivalent of running a marathon.

I can make bread.



Ok back story- because I love back story... so Vera was my old widow neighbor friend. She lost her husband in the 80's. Her only daughter and grandchildren live in Georgia. I noticed right away how this old lady wasn't letting her age stop her from anything. She mowed her own lawn and changed her own oil. She had an immaculate yard and kept her lawn perfectly green without a sprinkler system. She would come outside every 2 hours and move her hose and sprinkler around. She never had one dead dry spot anywhere on her lawn.

I loved Vera. She was so articulate with her words when she spoke. The girls and I would go over to her house ever so often and bring her dinner or just talk to her when she was outside on her bench. The first time I went to visit her she quickly invited us in. I told her I felt impressed to come visit. She looked at me and said, "Funny you mention that- I was just on my knees praying and contemplating what to do with my life, I'm so lonely you know, and here you are." It was fun visiting with her. She was a scripture scholar and at one time was an amazing gospel doctrine teacher. She was legally blind by the time she turned 80 so on her table were her scriptures and a huge magnifying glass. She was an avid reader despite her eyesight.

Vera died last spring. Her daughter was cleaning out the house and I came over to visit and tell her daughter how much I loved Vera. Sharon, Vera's daughter told me I could have anything I wanted in the house because she couldn't take anything home to Georgia with her. There on the kitchen counter was a kitchen aid mixer. "Can I have the mixer? Oh my gosh I promise I will try to make homemade bread with it." Sharon just laughed. "Take it."

White+kitchenaid+mixer


Ok, long introduction to my making bread- but I just love that my kitchen aid is Vera's...and that it was free. Added bonus.

In the last month or so I have attempted to make homemade bread. Loaf after loaf and every attempt was just wrong. My bread wouldn't rise, it was harder than rock, too heavy, tasted bitter, soggy, too heavy for my mixer to knead. The best part is that Julia would be sitting at the table and watch me every day struggle over this homemade bread dilemma. She would ask the funniest questions, "Mom, is your bread going to look scary like it did yesterday?" Or "Are you trying again Mom?"  every day Chay would come home to some "science project" homemade bread. Is it really this hard? I so wish I could call my mom and get the scoop on making bread. My mom's bread was delicious and I only remember eating it and never once making it. My mom was a domestic queen but she didn't like her children in the kitchen believe it or not. We would cut up vegetables to help her out ever so often but the big stuff was left for her to perfect. She loved to bake, that woman.

Well after Tiffani, my sister in law, suggested her favorite bread recipe which is found in a book she gave me a few years back, I decided to give it another try. The book is called Set for Life. The Bread Gods must be happy with me, because after so many attempts finally I can make delicious yummy perfect 100% whole wheat bread. I used some tricks mentioned in the book with little tweaks and oh my gosh, seriously, amazing soft fluffy moist bread. So amazing I can't stop eating it. I cut myself a slice and eat it. It's so good and I can't believe I made it, so I eat another piece to make sure it's as good as the last piece. Yep April it's just as good as the last piece. It's the real deal. Julia of course has been with me through it all and so now I have convinced her that because of her my bread is turning out so good. She's good luck. She always tells me when I start making it, "Mom, you're going to make the best bread ever...because I am here."

The recipe!!! Perfect 2 loaf recipe for a kitchen Aid mixer. Kitchen Aids are not Bosches- so the batches have to be small or or your dough will climb out of the bowl when kneading.

In mixer bowl mix together:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 TB yeast
1/4 cup gluten
2 TB dough enhancer
6 TB powdered milk

Add:

2 TB lemon juice
2 cups hot water
* cover bowl with rag and let it sponge for 10 minutes

Turn on oven to 170 degrees

Add:

3 TB honey
3 TB oil
2 tsp salt

Turn on mixer with dough hook
Add 3 more cups whole wheat flour and let machine knead dough for 10 minutes

Divide dough into 2 equal balls, form into 2 loaves and place in greased bread pans

Place the bread pans with loaves in the oven covered with rag and turn off your oven. Let them rise to almost double- about 25 minutes.

Take off rag and leave them in the oven. Do not take them out. Set your oven to bake 350 degrees and set your timer for 33-35 minutes. When the timer goes off, your bread is done. Take it out of the pans immediately and let them cool on cookie rack... and just like that, you will be a bread super star.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

binky

Big dentist appointment for the kids- zero cavities!!! They must all have Chay's teeth. I was so happy for them. I love love our pediatric dentist. Xander did amazing which surprised me. He had tons of support from Kenzie during the X-rays and so he was happy go lucky the whole time. Kenzie is a gem to have around when it comes to dealing with Xander's anxieties. Julia was just adorable all around talking and asking a million questions to the hygienists and dentist. She was exited all day to go and even wore a pretty necklace hoping someone in the office would notice. The cute boy dental hygienist noticed. 

We have been sort of prepping Xander lately for the big binky bye bye. We weren't exactly sure when but knew it was coming.

Today the dentist told me it had to go as soon as possible. I made sure the dentist himself told Xander so he could be the bad guy and not me.

Xander knew exactly what happened today at the dentist. He knew his binky, his best friend, his number one source for comfort was gone for good. He kept saying "no" at the dentist. I was so sad for him.

He cried non stop at Costco and in the car. He wanted his B even more because he knew he couldn't have it. Kind of like going on a diet and suddenly wanting chocolate because you know you can't. I continued to explain to him why he couldn't have his pacifier anymore. I was trying to be super kind and super attentive. I worked overtime to make him giggle. I held him as much as I could at Costco reassuring him everything's going to be ok.

Xander and I were both worried at bedtime about the binky being gone. He got into his bed and made the saddest face on earth. He was brave and didn't cry. I was so sad for him because I know how much he loves that thing. He started to whimper just a little and I asked if he wanted Dad to give him a blessing to help him sleep without his binky. He nodded, sat up in bed, bowed his head, and folded his arms. Chay and I start to cry. We just love that kid, you know? Chay blessed him that he would feel loved and comforted. He blessed him that he would learn how to talk soon as well. After the blessing I lay down with Xander and only a few shuffles and turns and...sleep. He fell asleep!!! Thank you Heavenly Father for that little gift tonight. I know the night is not over and it could get interesting as the night moves on...but still, Xander fell asleep. We know it's at least possible the boy can sleep without a binky. :)

Chay opened up to me tonight how stressed he is about life. He shared all his concerns and worries with me. He tries not to get discouraged but he has had some disappointing blows in the past couple years that leave him confused about what to do. I just love him so much that my heart just aches for him and for the load he carries. He is a wonderful person. He loves his family. He wants to succeed and provide a good life for his children. Tonight as I watched Chay place his hands on his son's head and give him a blessing over a silly binky, I knew and felt what real happiness is. I love and cherish the memories we are building as a family in our simple home. I love how the gospel of Jesus Christ can make anyone and any family happy despite their circumstances.

We will see how "happy" this little guy is tomorrow- day 2 without beloved Binky...or how "happy" mommy and daddy are on day 2 without beloved Binky.