Monday, April 13, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Family life in full force

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

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

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

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

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

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

The house is full of noise and life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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