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."


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


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


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


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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

best friends

Julia is suddenly interested in making friends. She is starting to understand that there could be meaningful people in her life besides her family. She loves to listen to Kenzie's "school friends" stories and she is intrigued.

The other day at the park she saw some kids around 10 or 11 years old. She must have gathered the strength on her own to go up to the kids and ask to play with them. I just watched the whole thing play out from a distance. Luckily the kids were nice enough to where she didn't get her feelings hurt. (Julia can be very sensitive.) Julia came running up to me afterwards and said happily, "I made friends." It was cute but I knew they were slightly old for her...but whatever. I was happy for her confidence.

That night she expressed to me that she wanted to make friends. I reminded her that she already has friends from church and the neighborhood and that making friends isn't as hard as she thinks it is.

I always tell the girls that no matter what friends we make in this life the two of them must be best friends. Sorry, no excuses. Best Friends. I won't have it any other way. Julia and Kenzie BFF's.

The next day we went to the park again. A little girl came up to Julia and asked her what her name was. Julia's face lit up. I loved watching this unfold. "I'm Julia" The girl then said, "That's a pretty name. Do you want to play with me?" Julia then said, "sure, what's your name?" "Chloe" Just like that, Julia made a friend...and off they went.

Kenzie who is miss socialite has never worried me if she would make friends or not. All of her quarter report cards from her teacher praise Kenzie for her social skills and for being everyone's friend. I always knew that about Kenzie and that is one of the reasons why I didn't want to homeschool her- because she thrives off of being social and meeting new people. She loves activities where many people are involved.

Kenzie noticed Julia playing with another girl and Kenzie wanted to join the fun but it was obvious Julia and her new friend didn't want anything to do with Kenzie. Kenzie's feelings were hurt and she came running to me in total shock that Julia would rather play with another girl than her. I waited for it to boil over and it didn't really. Kenzie felt like she lost her best friend and made sure Julia knew it. Julia then starts to apologize to Kenzie in the car for playing with someone else. I didn't like Julia apologizing for this...So the drama begins and they are only 5 & 7.

After the park I went down in the laundry room. As I folded towels I called to Kenzie to come help me. I told her that she needed to be happy for Julia and to not make her feel bad for making a new friend. Kenzie had no idea how big of a deal today at the park was for Julia. Kenzie makes friends easily so it was hard to for her to understand. I explained she needed to somehow tell Julia she was happy for her even though her feelings were hurt. Kenzie felt validated for having hurt feelings but her eyes were opened to how Julia was feeling.

Kenzie drew a picture of her and Julia holding hands. She said, "Good job on making friends Julia" and gave her the picture. They hugged it out. Best Friends again....

Now, if and when something like this happens again between the two girls 6 years from now, I am "hoping" the humility, forgiveness, and understanding will still be there. Ha! crossing fingers

drama drama please help mama

I am writing this simple story down so I could possibly use it in the future, if you know what I mean.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


6 weeks. I seem to understand my life better when my baby is around 6 weeks old. The first 6 weeks is just not a good time for me. The first 2 weeks are the absolute worse but 6 weeks rolls around and it seems to be the magic amount of time for me to somehow move forward.

One thing I have learned is to not write about my experience while I am going through it- because I can sound like a real drag. And yes, even though having a newborn can be a physical drag- it is absolutely wonderful as well.

I am enjoying little Samson so much. He is just so so adorable to me. He smells so yummy and I can't get enough of his little noises. His soft warm skin and little hands wrapped around my fingers...Wow, that horrific pregnancy was so well worth it. The number the pregnancy did to my body- and still all worth it.

I don't think I'm one that deals with post partum depression. I don't think so because even though I go through a really rough time after having a newborn, I know that ultimately I have a choice on how I deal with life at the moment- where I know there are some new mothers who literally can't climb out of the darkness on their own.

Arlene. Arlene was my favorite church teacher of all time. She taught institute and she was also a dear friend of my mother. She taught my mom a vital lesson one time and then my mom taught me the same lesson. Arlene told my mother one day, "When I am sad and feeling miserable, I give myself a certain allotted time- usually three days to feel really sorry for myself. I will cry, eat brownies, and sulk around the house. But when the three days are up, it is time to move on and get over it."

Three days wasn't exactly long enough for me but maybe 6 weeks could be...

Lesson learned: for some reason my body decided to go absolutely crazy after giving birth to Samson. My skin on my belly and all the way down to my feet went numb. I kept getting all these infections I couldn't kick on my own. Then came pain. Tender mercy from above- my baby sleeps a good 6 hours at night. When I would wake up in the morning my body felt like it was on fire. My skin felt badly chapped  with pins and needle pokies all over and I could barely walk without shoots of pain shocking me with every step. I think I know what severe all over body arthritis feels like. I knew it was my MS but since I really try to ignore that I even had that diagnosis, I am always so surprised when my body takes me for spin like this. Now as a mother of 4 I can't just stop despite how I feel...I tell myself over and over, "I can still walk and I can still see" (high percentage of MS lose eyesight). I can't just lay down in bed all day hoping to feel better the next day. I still have to chase my 2 year old around, get my 7 year old off to school, make breakfast, make lunch, dinner, change diapers, clean up spills, do laundry so there are clothes to wear, nurse a baby 7 times a day- and that's just the minimum.

So here I am. All these women around me are pursuing all these "extras" in their lives to contribute more to the household income or chasing a hobby as an outlet to mothering. Some are amazing photographers or learning to be one (something I would love), or they are ultra creative and sell their stuff on Etsy, some decorate cakes, realtors, or marathon runners (don't envy the running part), or some women have jobs they find fulfilling- and then there is me on bad days and my body can only do so much and perspective is shoved quickly into my face and I have to literally choose to focus on what is the most important. Everything else goes out the door- real fast.

2 choices: 1. feel sorry for myself and lay on the couch all day (trust me, I have those days) 2. focus on what I can do and focus on what's the most important.

I find myself saying, "If anything I can at least read a book to Julia." or "I can sit down and color with the kids." I can do those things. I have to talk myself into doing the simplest tasks- most valuable tasks- my hurting seems to direct my attention to the one thing I know has the most value, a mother. "I can ask Kenzie to help me make dinner" "I know I can give lot's of kisses right now to Xander." "I can praise Kenzie for her song on the piano." "I can build a castle out of the Trios with Xander." When you can't do it all and can do only a little, you do what matters. This I have learned.

The days have been beautiful lately- perfect spring weather. Sunny spring days like these don't happen very often so no matter what, we go to the park. The park we always end up going to has a 1/2 mile path around it. On this particular day I was in so much pain the tips of my ears even hurt. Everything was throbbing but I was so happy to see the kids play play play in the sun. Kenzie and Xander ran right to the volleyball sand with their shovels and buckets. Julia who doesn't like sand in her shoes wanted to go on a walk with me around the path. How could I turn down such an offer? I was hoping to never get up off the park bench where I could just watch the kids and ignore the pain...but Julia looking at me with those dark eyes, I couldn't resist. "I can walk a 1/2 mile with Julia."

I told her I couldn't go fast. "That's ok Mommy, we'll walk slow together." With Julia's hand on top of mine, we push the stroller and walk together around the path. We had a great conversation and because of the "extra" time we had due to our speed, I was able to answer so many of Julia's questions. It was a priceless time together I will always treasure.

Today I am feeling better. I feel completely different which is why this disease is so frustrating. I don't want to deal with this anymore. There has got to be an answer- something more than what I am already doing to help how I feel at times. I have a choice here...

anyway, better get going on the day- today is Chay's birthday. He is 32. Love that man.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Samson Taylor Clark

Sunday night on February 3rd I decided to be irresponsible and watch a documentary that didn't get over until midnight. The documentary was on entrepreneurship and about these people from all over the world who came to the United States to chase the American Dream. I dragged my big body into bed and tried to tell half asleep Chay all about the documentary. He tried with all his effort, bless his heart, to listen to me ramble about entrepreneurs but he is just too sleepy. We both drift off into dreamland. One and a half hours later my eyes pop open due to an all too familiar pain. A contraction.

I was so excited yet so afraid of the long long night/day ahead of me. I get out of bed an hour later after many sleep attempts fail miserably. My contractions were not close together but they were painful enough that I couldn't sleep very well. I go to the bathroom because that is what pregnant ladies do at night. Well come to find out I was bleeding. I call my doctor and I woke him up from a deep deep sleep. He sounded drunk to be honest and he was mumbling horribly but he did manage to tell me to go the hospital and make sure everything was ok. 

It was now 2:30 AM. I call my forever sweet neighbor Cynthia who is a miracle in my life. She answered the phone so chirpy. She has been anticipating this very phone call for a couple weeks now and she was ready. She would be over in 15 minutes to stay with the kids. Cynthia was more ready than I was...I was walking around the house trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. Between contractions I try to pack a bag but my mind was gone. I did manage to remember my phone charger and a change of clothes for me and my toothbrush but everything else important that didn't get packed was very much missed 12 hours from then.

By the time I pack sort of and Cynthia is comfortable on the couch, Xander wakes up. His senses just knew something was up. He started to freak out moments before us leaving for the hospital. We then had to wake up Kenzie, who is a natural peacemaker and comforter to Xander. She was excited Mommy was having a baby and so she went into extra mother mode and took over in the "Xander" department. He went into instant ease with her around and Chay and I were able to leave the house knowing Xander would be ok. Our sweet Mckenzie. She is still so young and yet she is already very willingly taking on the oldest sibling responsibilities. Kenzie, Xander, and Cynthia turned on Netflix around 3ish in the morning and Chay and I left to go have a baby boy. 

The hospital is luckily only 5 minutes away. The contractions intensified dramatically in those little 5 minutes. Chay dropped me off at an entrance and he went to go park. Well it was an entrance that is closed and locked after hours but there happened to be a nurse who walked by and saw me, an agonizing pregnant lady in labor, trying to get in the doors. The nurse quickly put me in a wheelchair and up I went to labor and delivery. 

We arrived at the hospital around 3:30 and the contractions were suddenly out of control painful. The hospital makes everything hurt worse. I was tired and weak and I had no desire to take on the birth journey without an epidural. I already did that twice in my life and right then in the painful moments of each contraction, I literally begged for the anesthesiologist, bewildered that I actually wanted to go natural at an earlier time in my life. So weird how things change. I was starting to get mad that the anesthesiologist was busy helping some other girl in labor. I was being irrational. 

By the time my bottom half was numb and I was smiling again because the epidural kicked in, I was pushing 9 centimeters- 30 minutes later, beautiful baby enters the world and just like that...just like that. He is here. 

4:45 Monday morning- the quickest labor of mine by far...

They hand Samson to me all bloody and covered in white stuff. Skin to skin and I am in tears...he is perfect. He is screaming and I am smiling. They eventually take him off of me and weigh him. 9 pounds and 6 ounces. He is 22 inches long. He finally calms down and he starts to make this low humming sound. He hums for the next 8 hours! So funny I make sure they take him to the nursery after a little while so I could sleep. 
He was so loud. Adorable but loud.

Chay left so Cynthia could return to her family and to take Kenzie to school. She was on a new baby rush- she had been up since 3 in the morning but wanted to go to school and tell the world she had a new baby brother. I spent the day alone and slept when I could and held my new baby as much as possible. 

I kept getting asked from hospital staff what the name of our new son was. I didn't know. Chay was busy with kids at home and so I spent most of my stay alone. I decided to go home early from the hospital. My bed was so uncomfortable. Plus my brother and wife were dropping off my nephew Taylor at the MTC and were spending the night at my house. They were coming from North Idaho. I really wanted to see them and be there. As I was packing up to leave the hospital, Chay and I quickly decided to name our boy Samson. It sounded good. I then gave him the middle name Taylor after my amazing nephew Taylor. He was set apart as a missionary the day Samson was born. Taylor is the oldest child of the oldest sibling (Keith) and Samson is the youngest of the youngest (Me). They are 19 years apart. When Taylor hugged his mother goodbye at the MTC in Provo he said, "I promise to return in honor Mom." And that is why Samson was given the middle name Taylor. Powerhouse! 

Samson is now 4 weeks old. The horrid first few weeks are behind me now and so now I can truly say I am enjoying having a new little baby. Jaundice, cracked nipples, mastitis, healing- almost all behind me. Chay's mom came for a week and her little visit was so needed. She brought food and she cleaned like crazy- she spent time with Julia and took Kenzie to school and picked her up. She made dinner. It was so touching to see her give so much of her time. I know she is one busy lady and to devote a week for me and the family meant a lot to me. That woman never stops I swear. 

We were also served dinner by so many in the ward and family. People kept bringing dinners was so nice and kind. There are so many wonderful people in my life. I am lucky lucky.   

 I am completely smitten by this little baby. I am enjoying him so much more than I normally remember when having a newborn. His little noises and soft warm smelly skin. The cute facial expressions and the quick movements of hands and feet. Oh so precious and perfect. I am a lot more calm now than I was with my first couple. Little cries don't bother me and I know how to soothe and comfort better than I did. I can tell the difference between gas, hunger, and tired. I love to snuggle with him in bed and fall asleep together. It's a wonderful time to slow down and hold a baby for the bigger portion of the day and to just soak it all in. Nothing is getting accomplished around the house much and I am so so tired of course...but it's all just a wonderful thing. Eventually I will have to start getting on some sort of know, like get dressed and out of my pajamas...but until then I will just focus on this right now in my life. 

It is so sweet to see Chay with baby Samson. The other night I was laying in bed asleep with Samson but Samson was wide awake. Chay comes in and notices the situation. He picks up Samson and takes him into the other room waking me up just enough to tell me he's going to hang out with the baby- keep him company since he's wide awake. 

Xander is crazy right now. He doesn't show any anger towards the baby and is in fact really sweet towards Samson- but he's just out of control and super emotional when it comes to anything else. He is difficult but I swear, he's such a great kid besides his tantrums and stubbornness...he is somehow solid- half of his frustrations are with himself because he can't talk and he wants to communicate so badly. We hardly understand him and it must be so hard for him. I actually remember feeling this way my first couple months in Brasil.    

 So bittersweet this time in my the new addition to the family yet I feel super anxious with life's new changes. But all that can be in another post...I want to be positive for the moment. I seriously feel so blessed right now.