Monday, November 28, 2016

Winter 2015

It has been snowing so gloriously. The kids played in the snow yesterday. I was in a bad mood all morning but once we finally got all the kids dressed with their boots and their gloves- hats and coats zipped and we got outside- it was so therapeutic to be in the crisp air. I shoveled my driveway and Cynthia came over to help. Then we did hers. The kids made a snowman in Cynthia's backyard and then one in the front. Mckenzie was so proud of them. She is so kind and patient. She is 10 now. Sad sad. but she is such a young 10 so I will take it. She is free, kind, innocent, and loving. She did however get my wrath a little bit earlier that day because she forgot her snow boots at school for the entire Christmas break.  She is very forgetful and I need to just have more patience as she tries to get better at remembering things. Hopefully with time it will all come together. She just likes to have fun and play and so she forgets about everything else besides the very moment she is in. Truth be told, she is adorable and such an amazing daughter and sister. I have to pinch myself sometimes when I am with her, she is too good to be true. She will eventually start to remember things. She's amazing.

Back to the snow. It has been a huge blessing to see so much moisture. I kind of get emotional. We have been praying for snow. Utah is in a drought.

Gary our neighbor got the snowblower up and going and he was drenching the kids with snow. Julia loved and it laughed so hard. Pure happiness right there.

Julia's baptism and life in 2015

Alice is cute. She smiles often. She kind of does her own thing. I would call her independent I think. She rarely enjoys being held in but loves to be held out to look around. No, she isn't super cuddly. But she is so darling. Every now and then she will give me her version of love. She will coo and make cute noises as she sucks on my cheek. Chay has been enjoying her so much. I love playing with Alice and grabbing her chubby legs and doing everything I possibly can to get a giggle out of her. Lately she has been lying on her back playing with her toes. I am in heaven. I am living the dream. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a wonderful husband and little children. I love that my house is filled with little noises, little feet, little giggles. Is it hard somedays? You better believe it. But I can't express enough how lucky I am. So blessed.

Samson fell asleep on my lap today during church. His mouth was open and he sort of snored with his deep breaths. I cherished it to be honest. Right now in his life he loves his pirate ship Bucky. He also holds a little stuffed cat named Leona.

I know these days will pass before I know it. I want my children to know, that even though there have been hard days, I never wanted it to go fast. I never wished away their childhood so I could do something for myself. I know right now that I am doing the most important most fulfilling thing I could possibly do with my life. I am not perfect at it and I wish I could enjoy keeping the house clean but I love my children and I love spending time with them.

Xander and I went for a walk one snowy morning when everyone was asleep. It was really quiet outside. We had a heavy bag of clothes to give to our neighbor friend, Maria. It was just one of those moments that I don't want to forget. That is why I am writing it down. Hand in hand we walked as we talked.

Whenever I drop Xander off at Bravo for Kindergarten he says goodbye and I love you over and over again. We keep saying it to each other until I am no longer in his eyesight. It makes my heart skip a beat every single day. "I love you Mommy! I love you. Goodbye. Bye Mom. I love you Mommy." "I love you too Xander. I will see you real soon. Bye. I love you."  Oh my sweet Xander. His Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hansen adores him too. Xander is mild tempered and quiet. He likes to help out and clean the classroom so he quickly caught the love of his teacher. He is coming home almost daily with prizes for good choices. Helping clean up when no one else was listening, for being kind and respectful. He has a huge heart for a 5 year old. He makes me so proud.

What I want to write about: Julia's baptism, Christmas

Julia turned 8 this year right after Alice was born. She is spunky, witty, smart. She is brutally honest at times and I'm trying to teach her some tact but she is seriously so fun to be around. I love the way she thinks. Her birthday was sort of a blur because I was trying to recuperate after Alice's birth. Her baptism was special and simple. She was so excited. What I remember the most was how Kenzie kept her arm around her when they sat in the chapel before the baptism. Kenzie was her cheerleader. I remember how organized Julia was and how she made sure she packed everything she needed without my help. She was beaming all over the place. She knew in her heart that she was doing the right thing. I remember Chay getting emotional when he was blessing her and giving her the gift of the Holy Ghost. After the baptism we blessed Alice. It was a memorable mom day to see her children basked in so much goodness, righteousness, and light. I live such a beautiful meaningful life. I love you Julia Kaye. You're so observative. Your soft ivory skin and thick dark dark hair.

Julia loves the snow! We want to get her into snowboarding. She will come home from school and we will all run into the home to get warm and she will stay outside and walk through the front and backyard playing around in the snow. Julia loves to play. She is eight but still loves toys 3 and 4 year olds play with. She has a wild imagination and can play by herself with her legos or with for hours with Xander.

The other day the 3 of them Kenzie, Julia, and Xander were making up some story and they just talked about this story and what was happening and what each character did. They wouldn't stop talking about it and they were laughing when someone changed the story line or came up with a problem that needed to be solved. They were so invested in this type of imaginary play that Chay and I couldn't get them to be quiet. They talked the entire time during dinner. Chay and I said to each other that we could leave the house for an hour and they wouldn't even notice.

We have now lived in our little home for 9 years. We call it the Clark Cottage sometimes. We thought we wouldn't live here long when we first bought it but it quickly became home. Chay only made $14 dollars an hour when we first moved here and I didn't work because I was a mother. We now love our neighborhood and our little house payment. I know we could afford a bigger home but we are at a weird crossroad in our lives. Chay's next step in his career could take us anywhere and so we don't want to buy yet because we don't know where we're going!  We thought we were going to Idaho Falls last year but as a final candidate, the hospital decided to go with someone else for the director position. The guy was 20 years older than Chay. Then again another opportunity in Bountiful. Chay had all the powerful references, the experience, the know-how, the great interview- and they decided not to hire Chay. It was a slap in the face but we somehow knew that if something that should have been 100% his but he still didn't get it, it must mean we weren't supposed to be at that hospital. Where do we belong?? Where is the Clark Family supposed to settle? Where is that perfect job for Chay?? Is it here in Utah?? We question yet we trust God is and will always take care of us. I really wish I could live closer to my family. And this cute little house really drives me crazy some days. It is small and we are getting tight. It still needs a lot of work. I'm not too excited about the area and Kenzie and Julia growing up in a ward that doesn't have a strong youth program. I also want my kids to have best friends and a strong church unity and my kids don't have any close friends yet. Where are we supposed to go?? I will tell you, I love love my neighbor and friend, Cynthia. She will be the hardest to leave. I thank Heavenly Father often for her. I came to this place to meet her.

With God anything is possible. He takes any situation and circumstance and makes it meaningful and purposeful- we just have to have enough faith to see what He has planned for us.

Alice was blessed on the same day as Julia's baptism. Grateful Chay was able to administer to them both. Oh the love I have for my dear family- my children. Thank you Heavenly Father for giving me this life and for trusting me with these beautiful souls.

( Shortly after this post was written Chay was asked by our Stake President to be the bishop of our ward. This is why Chay couldn't get the jobs he was qualified for and why we couldn't figure out if we should move or not. After 6 months of being Bishop, Chay was offered the HR director job at Ogden Regional- the hospital only 3 minutes from our house. The Lord is knew exactly what He was doing with us. )

January-Feb 2016

Okay so Alice has the biggest warmest smile on the planet. We love love love her. She is starting to get curious with her hands and rolling over on her stomach. She is beautiful and we are all so in love with her. Xander is smitten by her and treats her with love and lots of kisses.

We have been getting so much snow this winter!! such a blessing to dry drought stricken Utah. Julia and I went on our own Sunday walk this morning just the two of us. She loves snow. We put on our snow boots and together we walked NOT on the shoveled sidewalks but on the high banks of snow piles created by snowblowers and shovelers. It was such a workout. It was so fun. Then we walked to the grassy hill that isn't so grassy. At least 2-3 feet of snow. We played tag in the tennis courts. Julia leaped over the tennis net and then fell right into the snow. She was freezing but laughing. I then put her hands into my coat sleeves to warm her up and we giggled most of the way home. It was perfect. I felt like a kid again- playing in the snow with her. A memory I don't want to forget.

Xander and I made muffins together yesterday. We wanted to surprise the girls with an afternoon snack. He also had a substitute the other day for Bravo Kindergarten. As I picked up Xander from the classroom, the substitute pulled me aside and told me that Xander is the kindest most sweetest boy. She said the kids were extra rowdy and naughty today because she wasn't their real teacher but Xander was obedient and quiet the entire time. The next day Xander's real teacher said that the substitute even wrote in her text how wonderful Xander was.

Kenzie taught Family Home Evening. She read the scripture in Romans 8:16  "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" Then we talked about being daughters and sons of a Heavenly King. She had us all make crowns and then it just got funny. Mine turned out really weird and they were making jokes about it looking like Ramsey's hat on Prince of Egypt and I know- I know that reading this- it doesn't appear to be funny but it just was during the moment and everyone was laughing pretty hard. Kenzie also made baby Alice a crown and of course Chancho. Family is great. 

Chay and Kenzie have had the opportunity to spend some one on one time together these last couple months and it makes me so happy- and it makes Kenzie even happier. He took her ice skating- just the two of them. She loved loved it and still after several weeks later- is still talking about it. Chay also took her to Burley just the two of them to visit Grandpa Clark. She got to ride in Chay's truck. I wasn't there so maybe Chay should write about it, but I know it meant a lot to Mckenzie. 

I went to the school's art Festival on Friday. I don't know if I have something maybe wrong with me- but I swear my kids are nothing but perfect. Even with all their apparent weaknesses and insecurities, they are just the best. Julia was dressed as Elenore Rosevelt for her class presentation. She wore a fur coat and hat. She was excited the morning of- I put her hair in a bun and let her borrow some of my pearl necklaces. Kenzie and Julia sang so well with the choir. Kenzie is so happy and confident. She sings with a smile on her face. Julia, I can tell really loved the songs she was singing but was a little shy. Plus her fur scarf kept falling off. The art presentation was amazing- of course my girls had amazing art pieces. They both love to draw so much. I don't know why? I think it's because I have always had art supplies readily available. Always tin cans full of pencils, color crayons, paper, scissors- Kenzie and Julia are in art at Bravo. I know they both love it. 

Summer 2016

Last night Mckenzie, Xander, and I laid out in the back of Dad's truck while everyone else slept. It was close to 11 o'clock. It was the perfect night. The air was cool which is a little rare for Utah- it was all a little nostalgic to be honest. Laying under the stars on a summer night- reminded me of when I was younger and didn't have so much to worry about. Xander asked me if I have ever seen a shooting star before. "Yes! Many times!" I realized it has been awhile since I have actually star gazed. As a child we would sleep out on the trampoline with friends and watch the night sky as we talked- or at girls camp we would lay out on the beach and watch for shooting stars. I need to take Xander somewhere far from the city so he can see more stars. I downloaded the coolest app so we could point to the stars and see what their names were. We found Mars and Saturn too. Mckenzie and Xander were so excited. Perfect.

Summer 2016 has been absolutely wonderful so far. I love love having my kids home.

 Jumping on the trampoline with a sprinkler, popsicles, swimming, late nights riding bikes, playing basketball on the street, 4 wheel rides, Lagoon, Day Camp at camp Kiesel- everyday is exciting for my kids and that is why they are so enjoyable. They really do find joy in simple things and I'm so grateful for that. The Air show from the Air Force base was going on yesterday. I know we should have gone maybe but since we only live a few miles from the base, we were able to see quite a bit from our home. The kids didn't complain. Chay made a make-shift shade tent out of a tarp. We looked so ghetto- but the kids all watched the planes and ate their 102 popsicles.

The kids did swimming lessons and they loved them. Everyone but Samson and Alice of course. I take them to a beautiful pool downtown Ogden- it's close to the mountains. They have really improved with swimming. Julia even placed in her heat during the competition races. It was so exciting to see her swim. I mean really swim! Julia is turning into a brown beauty with her endless tan olive skin. Mckenzie and Xander are splashed with freckles and sunburn. But they are all adorable to me and have summer written all over them- late nights, messy hair, sandals, happy.

We have been potty training Samson this week. Sort of a nightmare sort of okay. He is pooping 65% of the time in the toilet. He still poops in his underwear sometimes which is the grossest thing on earth. Sometimes he tries to go to the toilet but doesn't make it. I of course show frustration and sometimes even yell. Sammy just looks at me and says "I'm sorry mommy and he starts to cry" It is so heartbreaking and I give him a big hug and say I'm sorry. Hopefully he will catch on. He seems to be taking longer than the other 3. Mckenzie has been the best helper with Sam. She has encouraged him to go in the toilet and she loves helping him. She really has a gift of helping others. She enjoys it. She could be a teacher or a nurse easily. Hopefully she is a mother first, of course. Sam is beyond adorable and he is full of words now. He talks and talks and with his sweet tiny voice- it is the best thing to hear. Sometimes I just place those perfect cheeks in my hand and just beg for the memory of him as a three year old to be embedded in my mind and heart forever.

I don't know how things will work but sometimes I hope we will have perfect memory of our children when they were little when we're in heaven. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

Although change of subject sort of- we did take Samson's tonsils out about a month ago and that was a living hell for about 8 days. He was MISERABLE. I lost it a few times because he refused to take the pain medicine because it hurt him to swallow it- but once the medicine was inside him, he felt better. Oh it was horrible. He cried many tears, couldn't sleep, and he hardly ate or drank anything. Luckily that is all gone and away and we made it through. The Clarks can make it through anything- with the Lord on our side, we are resilient and hopeful. Easier to say once it's over, but I'm practicing when I'm in the thick of it. I can take tonsil pain over other types of pain any day.

Chay has the kids tonight. He took them to the drive-in theatre to watch a movie. Alice would have cried the whole time, so I stayed home. I know they are so excited and happy right now. They love being in the back of Dad's truck and being with Daddy. Summer really is magical.

Today Julia had 3 cavities filled. Just her and I went to the dentist. I love being with her. She is so easy to talk to. She is real. funny. witty. smart. logical. but she is not relaxed when it comes to anything to do with change. She was starting to freak out about the dentist but I know she was loving alone time with me. I kept teasing her not to worry, the needle was only a foot long. It made her laugh. Julia acts grown up but she is still 8. Loves toys and loves to pretend still. She will love toys forever. She loves stuff. I bought her a shake afterwards for her numb mouth. Came home and Kenzie and Xander were cleaning the whole house. The kitchen was spotless. I asked where Sam was and Kenzie had put him to sleep!! Yes!! Clark Power! She helped him go potty, fed everyone, and took cake of Alice. Dang!! I love that!

He will take care of us

I live a beautiful life. I really do. It kind of makes my heart swell when I think about it. I feel so incredibly blessed.

This happiness I feel is so different. It is peaceful and protected. 

Can I say that it comes from sacrificing and putting the Lord first? Yes. Clearly. It is because of Him. All because of Him. 

Santa Christmas 2016

It is 3 AM and my little Ju Ju is sound asleep next to me with her soft pink blanket wrapped around her. Ever since she was a baby, she has slept with a silky blankie.

Last night was one the hardest mother nights I've had in a long time. We were getting out all the Christmas decorations and she found the letter she wrote to Santa last year on Christmas Eve. She stared at it for a long time and then said "This looks just like Dad's handwriting" I tried to ignore her but she kept asking about it over and over again. She was really concerned. I just said, "Hey, let's be quiet now, let's keep the magic of Christmas alive for the younger ones." I regret saying that a 100 times over.

Tears welled up and she walked around the house. She came up to me and asked if Santa was Dad. Xander was in the room and I just gave her a hug. All I said was, "Oh Ju Ju, I love you" Huge tears came to her eyes and she said in the sweetest most concerned voice "Don't tell me, don't tell me, I don't want to know, please tell he is real, Santa is real, I know it." And she began to cry really hard. So obviously I couldn't hold the emotion in. I felt like the magic of childhood was suddenly robbed from my little girl.

I have been crying off and on all night. It was the most heart wrenching experience. Julia continued to cry off and on the rest of the night- a soft cry with silent tears. She was heartbroken and so was I. I kept hugging her over and over again and told her, "In this house, no matter what, we believe in Santa." It helped her but we both knew it was over.

I never expected it to be so dramatic. Kenzie who is almost 11 has decided to keep it magical. She told me last year, "Mom, I don't want to stop believing in Santa, because when I do, the magic ends." And so Kenzie has made a decision to not dwell on it and has become almost oblivious to even the thought of him not being real.

Julia is very different. She is a deep thinker. Her world of faith in Santa just flipped upside down and it crushed her. Yet Julia is still very young at heart. She loves to imagine, pretend. She loves dress-up and talking to her dolls. She is 9 1/2. She is childhood.

Julia for the rest of the night started to connect the dots and she asked if it was me who bought her the art case Santa left her. She cried some more. She was seriously mourning and so was I.

I do not remember discovering the truth about Santa being so difficult. I have no memory of it at all. It must have been a healthy transition. Chay told me he discovered presents hidden in the closet when he was kid and that's how he found out.

I asked Julia if she wanted to sleep with me last night. We talked and held hands until we both fell asleep. I try so hard to not get sad about my kids growing up. I really do cherish most of my days as a mother of young children. I know I am living my very best days. I know that growing up is part of the plan and there is nothing I can do to stop time from passing- all I can do is make the best of the time I have. I have very few regrets as a mother because I know I have given it my all despite my many mistakes. But I will tell you, last night, as I held my little crushed 9 year old in my arms, as she discovered Santa wasn't real, brought the same tears as a mother seeing her child walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. It hurts and stings to the chest. A part of childhood lost forever.

Here is a letter I read to Julia:

How to tell your kids the truth about Santa, so sweet and perfect. Hopefully don't need this for awhile.: