Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I am so lucky to have two of my nieces over today. These are the three youngest cousins. V is loving having kids to play with. I am loving playing Guess Who And reading books. I am so blessed that we live close to each other.

Look at T bounce in that second picture!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In some ways, she is sooooooooooooo like me!

For those of you that know us - and even if you have just seen our pictures - K really doesn't look anything like me.  She is pretty much all her dad.  She even has a lot of her dad's personality too.  Pretty cool. 

But, every once in a while, I see her exhibiting characteristics of me.  This one is fun:  She is so sentimental.  And, she remembers things. 

As an example, this is her one year to the day from when she changed schools and started her new school.  She remembered what she wore and how it felt.  She wore the same clothes and thought a lot about what happened last year when she switched.

It was a tough move for her.  She had great friends at her old school and it was hard to leave.

But, she is an amazing girl and she is tough.  She persevered through the hard and horrible times and now LOVES her school and LOVES her friends.  She is thriving.  I am so proud of her.  I am blessed to be her Mom.  I love talking with her and hanging out with her.  She has matured so much and she is so much fun.  I can't imagine my life without her, nor do I want to.  I love her very much.  I know she is nervous to begin high school next year, but she will thrive there as well, I am sure.  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Catch Up: March 9 - March 12, 2013

 Back in early March, we took a trip to St. Louis.  A was in a play and it was a blessing to us that the performance happened to be on the first weekend of our Spring Break.  We took the opportunity and drove up. We had to wait for C to come home from Camp G. so we left very early on Saturday morning (like 2-3).

We were nervous for how V would do in the car.  She did better than expected.  Way better than expected.  She hates the car and we were so worried.  But, in the end, we were so blessed.  Other than a huge blow out that we had to change in a rinky-dink gas station bathroom (thank goodness K was there and could help), we didn't have any problems.

We went straight to the church where A was performing.  She knew we were coming, but her excitement to see us there was awesome!  :)  I am so glad that we could support her. 

 Afterwards, even though we were dead tired from being up all day (since early morning) and we had early church with the time change, we went with her to Red Robin with most members of her cast
 We loved it.  We loved being together.
 Sunday was great!  We got to spend the day together, playing games, eating, and just being together.  It was great.  I was so impressed with how the kids all woke up and got ready even on very little sleep.  It was impressive!
 C brought his silly glasses I sent him to Camp G.  Doesn't A look great?!?
 We self-timered the picture.  It turned out okay.  It is our family and I love them all so much!

On Monday, A had school and CK had work.  Since it was Spring Break for K, C, and J, I knew we had to do something fun.  We ended up going to the mall.  It was lightly snowing and cold so anything outdoors would NOT have worked.
 I gave them a budget of $20.  They took pictures in a photo booth, we ate pretzels...

 ...we played air hockey...

 ...we ate shakes at a soda fountain...

 ...and we went back to the hotel.  V looks so happy here!
We ended the weekend having dinner with A and leaving EARLY Tuesday morning for home.  So worth it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Crying It Out

Ay Ay Ay.  V is crying.  Herself to sleep.  It is time.

Everyone kind of has a different view of what is appropriate with teaching your children how to sleep.  I actually was sold on training her from birth on with the sleep-eat-play routine, but with all her eating issues, that didn't work.  We had to feed her as much as possible and she often fell asleep eating.

But, with K and C, I had a pediatrician that was huge on letting your babies cry it out.  When K was five months old, we began.  As a young mom, I just did what I was told and let her cry.  It worked.  45 minutes the first night.  20 the second.  Less than 5 every night after.  And she was happier.  It was good.

With V, her growing issues, the shape of our house, and (I hate to admit this...) she probably is a little spoiled being the youngest of so many...we have rocked her to sleep and sometimes even nursed her to sleep.  But, it isn't really working any more.  She is so tired sometimes and just will not succumb and allow herself to fall asleep.

So....she is crying herself to sleep.  It breaks this Mama's heart.  I hate that she feels abandoned.  I hate that she is mad and/or scared.  But...I know she will be better with the ability to fall asleep.  I wonder if this is how our Heavenly Father feels when He has to let us go through hard things where we feel abandoned or alone or mad or scared.  He knows that we will be better.  He knows that it will improve our life.  And He probably hates that we feels so abandoned and scared, but He loves us enough to let us go through it.

Update (4/23/13):  She has now had three naps and two nights.  The naps she has cried for less than five minutes each time, including no crying at all this morning (a little whining, but no crying).  The first night she cried for about 16 minutes, the second about 12.  She is getting this and she is sleeping so much better.  She is happier getting enough sleep (aren't we all?!?).  It is working REALLY well for her.  I am a happy Mama.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blessed again: such great friends!!!

How lucky I am!! I have two dear friends with birthdays today. One moved and lives sooooooo far away (miss you, L!). M's birthday is also today. T, K, M, and I were able to meet on a moment's notice. It was so fun! I love and look up to each of these women.

And I found out that V loves refried beans!

I am so blessed. The four of us live in three different wards now, but I so love that we can maintain this beautiful friendship we share. I am indeed one of the lucky ones. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From here

My little girl is growing up. She likes her bassinet a lot, but she really has gotten too big. We are transitioning her to the crib. She slept there all night last night!

How I love her! I am so blessed!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

I have some of the greatest friends in the world!

I have great friends.  I have been truly blessed.  Today is J's birthday and she drove out our way to see us.  A and J and I (along with V) got to go to lunch today.  How I love these ladies. I am so blessed.  So very blessed.  These two have been among my angels through all the heartache.  These two flew out to be at our wedding.  These two are amazing.  I am so blessed.  Happy Birthday, J!  Thanks for being born!

Set your course

Last night we were able to attend a fireside with C. It was great. They talked about scouting and missionary service. It was amazing to see all these young men and the great potential they had within them. The Spirit of the Lord is strong with them. The future of the world and the Church is in good hands.

I love C and his righteous desires. He is an incredible young man that I am proud to call my son! I am so blessed!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Girl Time

CK and C and J are at a campout tonight.  K invited a friend from our old neighborhood and school over.  It is so fun to have just S and K and V and I here.  I am so glad that S and K are still good friends even thought we moved a year ago.  They are both really good girls that make good choices and strive to choose what is right and influence their friends to do the same. 

We have been pretty laid back tonight.  We ate at my favorite place (Freebirds!), then the girls played Harry Potter SceneIt and are watching The Hobbit and eating popcorn.  I love evenings like this.

I sure do miss CK though.  As a family, we have had a very busy week and every night CK and I have been going different directions.  All the things we did were good and most were only for this week, but I do miss my time with him.  I am so glad that I cherish time with him so much.  I am so glad that our marriage is so strong and that we thrive together.

On a little side note, I have to sing praises to our ex-spouses.  They both love the kids tremendously and it shows by them always putting the kids first.  A's mom is always so willing to arrange A's schedule to allow us to see her both here and there as much as possible.  XDH is always striving to do what is best for K, C, and J as well.  Tonight all of them were scheduled to be with him, but, knowing that C and J both wanted to camp (and that it would help C with scout requirements), he graciously gave them this opportunity tonight.  Then, knowing K cherishes her time with friends, he volunteered to allow her this time to be with friends tonight.  I am so grateful to both of them for their love and care of the children we share.

I am so blessed.  I am so happy.  I love my life.  I love my family.  I love all the opportunities that I have been given.  I am blessed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It Won't Be Long Now

So, it is a little difficult to judge the distance....I tried, but cameras just don't always do it justice.

The burp rag on the floor in front is where V started out.  She was drinking her bottle.  I was sitting near her working on some cub scout stuff.  It was fun to watch her maneuver her way across the floor.  I did not touch her at all.  As you can see, she ended up under the swing.  After the pictures were taken, she kept going all the way under the swing and to the wall, then she couldn't figure out how to get out.

WOW!  She is more mobile today than she was yesterday and more mobile this week than last.  She is trying to figure out how to crawl, but right now just rolls, scoots, and pivots.

I am scared.  I am not ready for a crawler.  I am hoping it takes her a while to get it down.  I am not prepared.  The whole, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" applies to this as well.  I am scared.  I have four older kids and a house that has never been child proofed.  I am certain there will be many messes made by her in the next few months.

She is growing so fast in other ways as well.  At the moment, she is upstairs "napping" in her crib, instead of her bassinet in our room.  I say "napping" but I can hear her chatting over the monitor.  This is her first experience in her crib.  (It is so far away from our room that I kind of put it off!  No other kids were in my room past about 1 month, but I had bedrooms for them next door to mine, instead of forever away.  This house was not designed for infants!)

She is babbling up a storm.  She is stringing sounds together now and we frequently hear "Mama" and "Dada," but I am sure she doesn't know yet what she is saying.  It is fun, though!

She also has some swollen gums...signifying teeth are on the way.  Might still be a while, but they are there and coming.

Wow!  I love her!  I cherish each milestone, even if I complain about her mobility.  I am so blessed!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2nd Half of Spring Break: March 13-15, 2013

So...I am slowly catching up! I am really trying to blog every day and so far it has been working.  :)  It makes me happy since I can see myself improving and being able to stick to making thing at a time.  Back in November I started writing daily in my journal.  Writing once a week just wasn't cutting it.  Frequently, I would have so much to say that a 10 minute opportunity on a Sunday afternoon wasn't enough, so I wouldn't even write.  Because of that, I have been working at writing daily in my journal.

I have made multiple attempts at daily blogging again, but this one so far has been sticking.  I am doing it in the afternoon before the big kids get home from school.  It would be great to say I could do this while V napped, but she is a horrible nap taker and usually she is cheerfully (or sometimes NOT cheerfully) by my side while I type.  (She does sleep great through the night!)

So...Here is a flashback to Spring Break.  We did our annual Spring Break budget, but since I didn't blog daily, I don't remember how much everything cost.  They used it all up and they used it well.

We were driving back from St. Louis on Tuesday (March 12).

Wednesday (March 13th), we went and saw "Wreck it Ralph" at the dollar theater.  Interesting experience.  V cried every time I took her in the theater.  She was fine in the hall.  I didn't see much of the movie.  J hates movies.  Every movie in the world scares him.  He is still shaking after watching "The Lorax" months ago.  We convinced him to join us and that it wouldn't be too scary (K had already seen it).  Nope.  He was super duper scared.  When V finally fell asleep, I went in for the last ten minutes or so.  J was rocking on his chair saying something like, "I knew I shouldn't have come.  I want to go home."  Over and over and over.  I thought he was super loud, but K and C didn't hear him so I hope we didn't disturb too many other families.

Thursday, March 14, we got breakfast and went to the park.  This has been a tradition for years and years.  This Spring Break was colder than most and we were cold while we ate, but it was still fun.

 I love the above picture.  I was able to capture all three of them doing different things, but in the same picture.  How fun!  :)

That night, we had my nieces and nephew come play and spend the night.  It was super fun.  They all slept in the loft/game room together and it was great to have them all.  I love each one of them.

The rest of Friday (the 15th), I already posted about here.  We had such a great time!  Spring Break was awesome!

I look at these pictures and I realize just how blessed I am.  I am lucky to be able to be a stay-at-home Mom.  I am blessed that I am able to do things like the Spring Break budget.  So blessed.  So very blessed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I am generally very genuinely content with my life.  I have such a great life.  Truly it is great!

Last night, however, I was feeling a tad down.  Our home is basic.  We have enough for all the essentials, but not anything extra.  I was feeling a little inferior to others (comparison!  Root of all evil!).  I was feeling that I was inadequate at taking care of my home and self in the desired ways.  It always comes down to two things:  time and money.  You either have one, the other, or neither, but I think it is rare to have both.

As I did my Book of Mormon scripture study this morning, however, I read some quotes from President James E. Faust, from the October 1998 General Conference:

"President Heber J. Grant put it in context when he said: “Prosperity comes to those who observe the law of tithing. When I say prosperity I am not thinking of it in terms of dollars and cents alone. … What I count as real prosperity … is the growth in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same. That is prosperity of the truest kind.” 

Sister Yaeko Seki experienced part of this precious promise. She writes:

“My family and I were spending a day at the Japan Alps National Park . … I was pregnant with our fourth child and was feeling rather tired, so I lay down under the trees. … I began thinking about our financial problems. My heart became overwhelmed, and I burst into tears. ‘Lord, we are full-tithe payers. We have sacrificed so much. When will the windows of heaven open unto us and our burdens be lightened?’

“I prayed with all my heart. Then I turned to watch my husband and children playing and laughing together. … Suddenly, the Spirit testified to me that my blessings were abundant and that my family was the greatest blessing Heavenly Father could give me.” "

 I felt so humbled.  I am indeed prosperous.  I don't have a fancy home.  I don't have a ton of clothes.  I don't have the ability to purchase whatever I desire.  I don't have a perfectly tidy and neat home.  I don't have it all together.  I just keep plodding along day by day.  We always have enough.  We are so blessed that we have food, a home, the ability to see A frequently, and many luxuries of life as well. 

Indeed, I am soooooooooo prosperous.  Look at the above picture. I have a wonderful family.  I am prosperous.  I am sitting here, homemade baby food simmering on the stove, dinner in the Crock-Pot, windows open, V playing next to me, crayons and papers from J covering the window seat, K and C's report cards on my desk, laundry in both the washer and dryer, etc..  Look at how prosperous I am!!!!  I am so blessed and I feel so humbled that the Lord would bless me with this reassurance IMMEDIATELY after my own weak pondering last night.  God is good.  I am blessed.  I am prosperous.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Spring Break with A

We were very blessed to have A here for her Spring Break.  Since I have gotten behind on blogging...the dates she was here were March 21- March 30, 2013.

She came in late Thursday night.  Oh my!  The kids were all so excited to see each other!  J and A are seriously like two peas in a pod.  They are so much alike and they just love each other to pieces.  They can play pretend together all day long.  Here they are when they first got to see each other again:  so happy!

 This picture is one of my very favorites ever.  Two of my girls.  So beautiful.  V spit up on A almost immediately after this picture and A had to change her clothes last minute right before church.  :(

 My sister and her family love to see A too.  They invited us up to their home for a super yummy dinner.  This picture has all nine of my parents' grandkids in one place.  We keep telling them they should move to Texas!
And...of course (for those that wanted to)....the silly face picture!

 Then, on Monday (March 25), A and I walked in to see this:  look what Dad did!  But, V loved it!  It almost made me want to buy another tomato cage and hang toys off of it.  V thought it was so much fun!
 A and I surprised J and went to eat lunch with him early in the week.  I am so glad we did, since I got super duper sick later in the week.  Monday I already felt pretty bad, but I thought it would be just a little cold, so I was up and doing. 
 V took this picture of herself.  I think it is fun to see her in the mirror with the camera.
 Tuesday, Dad and I took A and V out for pizza.  I had had A make a list of things she wanted to accomplish for her Spring Break.  I promised her we would do at least the top five.  Pizza was one of them.  I think we did the top Nine or so.  It worked well since it gave us both something to focus on.

Here is V in her high chair.  She is such a big girl.
 One of our family goals this year was to do something outdoors together as a family every other week.  We do it on Thursdays.  This Thursday, A got to choose.  They ended up going to the park.  I was pretty sick and didn't join them, but sent K with my camera to document it. 
 Also on Thursday, A and the Easter Bunny made an appearance in our home.  He "brought" eggs for Dad and I to hide.  Since he doesn't usually get invited, this was a special experience in J's life.  I thought A's role in it would be obvious, but it wasn't and J ran around saying, "He came!  He came!  The Easter Bunny came!"  It was pretty cute.

 Since there wasn't any school on Friday, J and A finally got to sleep in the tent that they made earlier in the week.  I wouldn't let them when J had to go to school, but Thursday they got to be together.  I am so grateful that we had Friday off.  It is hard for all the kids to spend time together and this gave us an unexpected family day.  I am so grateful.
 As part of that unexpected family day, we took the kids to IHOP for brunch.  So did a million other families on Good Friday.  We did have to wait a while, but all the kids were good sports and waiting wasn't too bad.
 We also went as a family Friday afternoon and toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  Pretty cool.

Friday night, A and K, C, and J had to say good-bye before K, C, and J went to their dad's.  It was hard.  I am so glad that they love each other.  I am so glad for the relationships they share.  But...those great relationships is precisely what makes it difficult to say good-bye.  It is so tough.

Below is A saying good-bye to V Saturday morning.  I intentionally took the picture where you could not see the anguish and the tears on A's face.  It is enough to know they were there.  A and I both cried too.  I am so grateful that she loves me as one of her moms.  I love her just as much as the children I have birthed.  I am lucky indeed.  I am so glad that I like A's mom.  It would be nearly impossible to send her back without the knowledge that she is loved and taken care of there also.

Our family is NOT ideal.  We do not have the traditional (and best) family with a mom and dad and all their kids living under one roof.  Nope.  That is not what we have.  But, we do have a family with a mom and dad that are sealed in the temple of God, that love each other and each one of their children with a fierce love, and that pray for each other and all five children daily.  We do have a family with three daughters and two sons that love each other unconditionally, that would do anything to help each other, and that do not worry about the differences in last names.  We do have a family where the mom and dad teach their children about Jesus Christ, about right and wrong, and about repentance and forgiveness.  Truly, we do not have the ideal, but truly we are so very blessed!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Conference Weekend

We are so very blessed to listen to the words of the prophets and apostles within the walls of our own home.  I love Conference.  I look forward to it every year.  I love learning how I can do better, be inspired to keep going with life, and reaffirming my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

CK is so good at taking his turn with V.  I think he has her more than his fair share and I so appreciate not only his love of her, but his love of me by taking her.  Here he is putting her to sleep.

 This is my gorgeous K.  She is gorgeous no matter what.  I am grateful for the influence she has on her siblings and her parents and the joy she brings into our home.  We wear our Sunday clothes on Sunday, even conference...but K decided to put short on under her dress to be a little more comfortable and less worried about modesty.  I think it was a smart move.
 C is so much fun.  He is a great note-taker and is really inspiring with the tidbits the he picks up from each talk.  I am so grateful that he is a part of our home.  I am excited for him to be able to receive the Priesthood in three months.  He is ready.  He is worthy.  He is respectful.  It is time.
 And, our little J.  Here he is building temples out of his smarties.  He loves temples.  He loves the hymn, "Did You Think to Pray?"  He loves listening to words about the Savior, particularly, "If it be possible, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."

I am so grateful that we can listen to the prophets in our own home.  I feel so blessed to live in such a day when the technology is so readily available.  I need that strength to bring peace and happiness to my life.  I hope I can share with others who yearn for this joy.  I am so blessed.  So blessed indeed!  :)