Friday, December 30, 2016

Almost home... This is what little C says

We are driving home from a fun two days in Houston.  It's late.  We are tied. We are almost home.  Little C just leaned over to V and asked her to smell his shoe.  To diffuse that situation, I asked him which primary sing he wanted to sing.  V suggested the wise man built his house upon a rock.   He replied, "um..Let's smell my shoe."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Let's try this again

Just this morning, I was looking at past blog posts to help a friend going through divorce.  I know it helps to read how it was for me and I blogged fairly regularly at that point.  As I read, I remembered so much of my life.  And, I don't want to forget my life now, so perhaps I will make the blogging thing stick.  Perhaps is the key word.  Especially since we leave for Thanksgiving break in a couple of days and all bets are off.  Maybe now is not the best time to start a new routine.  :)

Life for me is very good.   I have an amazing husband.  I have six kids that are also amazing in every way.  They each test my patience in different ways, but I truly feel blessed to be their Mom.

So, I will attempt to be better at this...someday I won't remember the daily life I enjoy now and I really want to remember.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy 10th Birthday to my J!

Today, my little J turned 10!  He really isn't quite so little any more.  I love him so very much.  I am so grateful that he was sent to be my son.  He has a very loving heart.  He is a wonderful big brother.  He is incredibly intelligent.  He has just discovered that he has a love for music.  I know he was sent to my family for a reason and I cherish all the time we've had together and look forward to decades to come.  I am feeling saddened by the growing up of my children, but I am loving the way they interact with each other.  It is such a blessing to me to see them growing into great friends.

This first picture is J after family prayer this morning (5:45 am).  He opened one present before K and C left for seminary and then he wanted to play for a bit.  It is a snap circuit toy and he loves it!

 What a goofy kid!  120 months of me being his mama!

 His request for lunch today: Wendy's.  We got to take it to school and then eat with him.  This will probably be the last year that I get to do this ON his birthday.  With his birthday on Friday next year (and our school district always has a half day on the last Friday in September), he will not have a standard lunch.  And, then, he goes to middle school.  He probably won't want his Mama there and that's okay.

 After school, J had piano lessons, which he absolutely loves, so he wasn't at all sad to go on his birthday.  His friend lives across the street from the piano teacher and so he got to visit for a few minutes.

 He really didn't want to leave his friend's house, but I told him we had to since I had more birthday stuff to finish.  Little did he know that he would come home to find....
his cousins there!!!!  He was so excited!  He had already said he was having an awesome birthday, but this totally jumped it up a notch!

Here he is doing a scavenger hunt to find his gift.  :)
 And opening said gift.
 And then hanging out with S, his cousin that is also 10.  :)
 And, then we went to the park, taking with us the Wubble (is gift, which is a cross between a ball and a bubble).
 Obviously, this is not J, but I had these three cuties walking in front of me and so I had to take a picture.  Little C, Cousin E, and V holding hands.
 Still playing with that Wubble
 And then, Big C and K came home.  J was so excited to see them.
 And, we had crepes for dinner, per his request.  He loves crepes and we all find them delicious too.
 One of the presents from his parents was a trampoline.  After V got a toddler trampoline and he couldn't jump on it, but wanted to, we decided to give him one too.  :)

His other present from us he already used....he went to the Rangers came on Tuesday with CK and Big C.  We actually bought his ticket back in July when we bought C a ticket for his birthday.  The three of them had so much fun!  And, the Rangers won, so that made it even better.  I am so glad they got to go.

Again, I am also so grateful to have J be my son.  He is a good kid and I am a very blessed Mom.  I love him.  Happy Birthday, J!

Monday, September 19, 2016

And, just like that, V is FOUR!

It seems so hard to believe that she is four!  I am excited for this next year.  I have always really enjoyed my children at age four (only partially because 4 is my very favorite number!).  I am excited to see her grow and develop.  She is a light in our family.  She loves all her siblings and family.  She also loves going to church and with childlike (for she is indeed, a child) faith, she believes with all her little heart in Jesus Christ.  She is strong-willed and somewhat mischievious, but that keeps us on our toes.  She is also very kind hearted and spends a lot of time trying to help her family members.  She loves to be active (jump, run, somersalt, dance (although her dancing skills come from CK and, ride her tricycle, and so forth)!  She loves to laugh and make believe.  She is fun!  I am so grateful that she is mine and I can claim her forever!  :)

A funny story about her.  I always put streamers up on the kids' doors for their birthdays (one streamer per year old).  She was so worried about this and kept telling me last night to remember to put streamers on her door.  She said, "Then I will wake up and be like 'woah!' and be so surprised!"  It is funny that she thought she would be surprised when she took much time to remind me!  BTW...I did, indeed, put up streamers overnight.

 Of course, she chose donuts for her breakfast!
 Her big gift from us was this toddler trampoline.  It is designed for up to 60 pounds and awesome!  I love the handle and I love that she will have somewhere to use her energy.  I am frequently asking her to stop jumping on the couches or the beds.  Hopefully this will give her somewhere to jump instead.  So far, it has been a good gift!
 Her Grandparents K gave her a new baby doll that she loves.  :)

She requested Daniel Tiger for her cake.  It took a bit of time, but it turned out okay.  I was almost done actually when the bag with the stripe color burst while I was using it and I had to redo part of it. A little frustrating, but it turned out okay.  :)

So, I have more photos that haven't uploaded yet, but I am worried that if I don't post this, I won't, so here you have it...part of V's special day!

(This was her blessing day - November 2012)
It has been a while since she gained her claim to fame as the first baby born at her hospital.  Pretty cool.  But, she has grown a lot!  I sure love her!

Monday, August 29, 2016

First Day of School 2016

Last Monday, August 22, 2016, school began for K, C, and J.  A started a week and a half before.  7th grade seems to be going well for her. 

 Here is J.  He began 4th grade.  As you can tell, he was not at all excited.  School isn't really his thing.  He does well, but he doesn't enjoy it.  That afternoon, however, when he got off the bus, he quickly said, "School was AWESOME!" and we haven't had major complaining since.  Phew!  Thank goodness for amazing teachers.
 He still wanted his dad and I to show up and take him to school.  We walked him in and left him with his class in the gym.  He is really growing and it is fun to see him really coming into his own.
C is a sophomore.  He is in marching band, as well as jazz band.  He really enjoys school and I am so very proud of him.  He is working hard at becoming better and better and he truly is.  I am impressed with him every day.  I love that I get a front seat in watching him mature.  Unrelated to school, he was sustained Sunday as Teachers Quorum President.  :)  He will do well and he will listen to the Spirit and do what he needs to do.  

And, finally, there is K.  She is a SENIOR.  Oh, how my Mommy-Heart aches.  I am so proud of her, however.  She is smart.  She is confident.  She is friendly.  She is dedicated.  She is spiritual.  She is just amazing!  A friend of hers posted a picture with her kindergarten picture and I loved it, so I copied the idea.  I cried.  I cannot believe my little girl has grown into such a mature young woman.  Again, I have been privileged to have a front row seat.  Benefits of being mom, I guess.  And, over the last week, I have seen the maturity continue.  She is getting ready to be on her own.  This is amazing to watch and, again, I am so proud of her!

And..I have to add the classic "First Day of School Cookies."  I have been making this recipe for years.  And, I only make them on the first day of school.  I invite friends over and we spend the morning cooking together instead of missing our children.  I love it.

And, the tradition continues...we head to Orange Leaf for a first day of school treat.  Oh, wow, I love these kiddos.

There has been a lot going on in the week that has passed since the first day of school.  Hopefully I will be able to catch up on that soon.  I just know that while we have many things demanding our money (like repairing a leak that created a hole in our kitchen ceiling), we are very blessed.  I love my husband.  I love my children.  I love my ward family.  I love the life I have been given.  I will work each day to cherish it for I am so very blessed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What has happened to me?

I have been pondering this since Sunday.  I don't feel older, but, all of a sudden, my body is shaped differently.  And, I don't like it.  I guess I just don't want to admit that middle age is indeed here.  It is true that I am a couple of pounds heavier than I was a month or two ago (but only a couple!), all my weight is sitting differently.  And, like I said, I do not like it.  I am growing a belly and a muffin top.  WOW!  Truly, I am coming to realize that my body will never be the same as it was.  I guess I have always known that this would happen.  I just thought that somehow I would FEEL older too.  Nope.  I think I am still 25 or something.  No, I know I am not 25, but I don't really feel inside older than that.  Yet, my next birthday will bring me to 40!  What happened?

And, today I had an experience that made it real.  I have a new friend that just recently moved into our ward.  Yesterday, there was a huge area that lost power FOR HOURS (I did not know about this actually because I am not on Facebook any longer....but after yesterday I am reconsidering).  Late last night, we discovered that one of the many families that lost power was this young couple and their 8 month old baby girl.  We invited them to come sleep at our house where we had air conditioning.  They did.  It worked out perfectly because C is gone and his room is the "guest room" and Mom K left recently and so I'd just washed the guest sheets and towels.  It took us minutes to prepare the guest room.  I loved having them here, knowing that they were out of the heat finally.  Yet, as much as I loved loved loved them being here, I did notice a difference.  I have a 17 year old.  I am closer to being old enough to be her mom than to be her peer.  So, I have indeed aged.

The cool thing about this aging thing is seeing the multitudes of blessings I have received throughout my life.  I have an amazing life.  I love it!  I feel my aging body.  Whether MS fatigue or life fatigue or both, I am not as energetic as I once was, but my life is absolutely amazing!!  I am blessed.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

5 years!

Today marks five years since I married this amazing man.  I am humbled by the way my life has turned out so wonderfully.  He treats me as if I was the most amazing woman on the planet.  He selflessly looks out for my every need.  He ALWAYS puts me first.  I feel so loved and taken care of.  I am blessed beyond measure.  God has really taken care of me and all of those tears of sorrow have truly turned into tears of joy.

Five years have been very busy.  We have had three pregnancies, one a miscarriage, and thus two wonderful children.  We bought a new home.  He changed jobs.  Our original four children have sure grown up.  He makes me laugh every day and he finds joy in my quirks and silliness.  We have a great life.

This weekend I planned a fun anniversary getaway to surprise him.  It turned out wonderfully.

First, my dear sister took J, V, and Little C overnight last night.  Then, I drove and he didn't know where we were going.  I turned north and we drove to Oklahoma.  :)  We stopped and ate dinner.  Then, we headed to our hotel, checked in, and hurriedly changed our clothes.  We then left and went to the temple to do some sealings.  What a great experience!  We had a few family names that we had the joy of performing.  I love the temple.

We then got to go back to the hotel and play a few games and head to bed and sleep without any children waking us up!!!  Wowzee!

 This morning,  we ate the so-so hotel breakfast and then of we went to go to "zip line" over some falls and ravine.  It was a little more of an amusement park ride experience then I expected, but the zip line was awesome and the tandem seat was perfect for an anniversary!  We rode it three times!

 The owner of the zip line told us of a local barbecue place that was yummy so we tried it and, yes, it was delicious!!!  We had such great food and so much of it too!  I don't always like BBQ, but I did this time and I was glad we went.

Finally, we stopped by an outlet mall on the way home.  I have gone there many times since I moved to Texas.  It was always crowded and hard to find a place to park.  Definitely there were over 100 stores that operated there.  But, it has been 5-6 years since I last went.  They are down to three stores that are still open.  It was sad to see it so run down.

Everything today and yesterday was fun with CK.  I enjoy all the time we were able to spend together.  Happy Anniversary to us!!  I am so very happy!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

And then there were (well, will be) three....

My heart is a little full this afternoon.  By this time tomorrow, we will be down from six kids to three kids, at least for a time.  I feel it.  My Mommy-Heart aches.  I am not cut out for my kids leaving the nest, of that, I am certain!  If a few days makes my heart ache......

Anyway, A left to go to her other home on Tuesday.  I am so grateful that she has another home where she is loved and where she loves being, but I do still miss her a lot.  In fact, every time I sleep (night or nap), I awaken thinking I need to go find A and do something together, but then I remember the time has come for her to go to her other home.

And, tomorrow K and C leave with XDH to go to Guatemala!!!!  WOO HOO!!!  It should be a great trip and I am so excited for them!  My heart is aching in another way, however.  From the time I was pregnant with K, I dreamed of taking my children to Guatemala, to see where they are from and to experience that land myself.  I even suggested to XDH that we plan to take them around the time they graduate from high school.   So, we tentatively planned that.  Then, we got divorced.  His family has decided to take the kids as a family when they are near graduation (I think this was an independent thought from my earlier one...just great minds think alike!).  This will be trip #2.  The older cousins went a few years ago.  In an odd way, I feel like Guatemala is my country too.  Not like the United States, but Guatemalans taught me Spanish (In fact, some native speakers when they hear me speak Spanish ask if I am Guatemalan because I guess I gained their accent when I learned Spanish from them!) and they also taught me to love their homeland.  My heart aches to be there and visit and learn.

But, I am super duper zuper excited for K and C!  They will have experiences in the next ten days that will last a lifetime.  They will make memories that will stay with them forever.  This is a personal trip as well as a tourist trip, so they will see extended family and they will also visit Tikal and Antigua and other touristy sites.  What an amazing thing to do at 17 and 15!  It will truly be incredible.  I am already excited for all the memories, pictures, and stories that they will return with!

I am also worry a little.  I hope for their safety and I will be praying for them probably hourly.  I feel they will be okay, but I am very grateful for their large group.  They should be just fine.

So, for the next ten days (after I drop off XDH, K, and C at the airport in the morning), J will be the oldest.  I think it will be great.  We will do fun things together.  We will work together.  We will love each other.  I am excited for my time with him.  He is such a great kid that I love.  We won't be in a foreign country, but we will enjoy our time together (and with CK, V, and Little C).  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Another Goodbye

Well, really two goodbyes.  I so hate goodbyes.  I have to remember the old quote, "The pain now is part of the happiness then."  Goodbyes would not be difficult if I didn't love people so much. 

In this case, it is my A.  She went back to her other home today, after being with us for almost three weeks.  Honestly, I thought that this goodbye would be easier (not easy, but easi-ER).  Nope.  I think it was even more difficult.  I am so grateful that I get to be one of her moms.  She is an amazing 12-year-old.  She is beautiful.  She is charismatic and makes friends everywhere she goes.  She is quick to think about others (for instance she was my literal shoulder to lean on when the heat made me unbalanced at the baseball game that we attended as a family).  She is obsessed with lip balm of all brands.  She loves to make movies, even product reviews (usually lip balm) and she does a great job.  And, I will miss her so very much!

And, I also had to say goodbye to one of my moms (my mother-in-law).  She was able to come visit us for a few days.  It was absolutely wonderful!  She is a woman that I admire and desire to work to become like her.  She is so loving and unselfish.  She keeps herself strong and healthy.  She loves being with her grandkids and supports them in every way she can.  I will miss her a lot.

We have been very busy the few days that Mom was here.  We crammed a lot into our visit and it was a great time! She was here Thursday - this morning.

Thursday:  We had a family party where we teamed up to fill a backpack for needy school children, visited Buccees, went to Cabellas, and finally ate dinner at Pie 5.

Friday:  We had family pictures together and went out to dinner at Mooyah's.

Saturday:  The three older children went to do baptisms at the temple.  CK and I and mom were able to go with them.

Sunday:  Church.  :)

Monday:  We went to Main Event.  It was soooooooooooo fun!  I expected the kids to have fun, but I was surprised with how much fun I had!  I discovered that I love laser tag!  We just all had a blast.

I love my life.  I have such a great life.  I hate these goodbyes, but I do have a great life.  I cannot complain.  Or, at least I shouldn't complain.  Sometimes I catch myself complaining, but I really shouldn't.  My health is relatively good, I have an awesome family, I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a home, I always have food to eat, I have a car to drive, I live in a free country (although the whole election thing really scares me), and I just have a wonderful life.

Speaking of a wonderful life, I have officially planned CK and I's anniversary date this weekend.  I think I have it perfectly planned and I am soooooooooooooo excited.  5 years and I am more in love with him still every day.  :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's about time!

So, a couple of days ago I was feeling a little down and a tad overwhelmed.  I remembered that earlier this year there was an article that was life-changing for me at the time and I remembered that I had blogged about it.  So, I went back and looked it up (from January) and, as I read, I could hear the real me in the posts.  I realized yet again that I need to keep up this blog.

So, today, I am "locked" out of my downstairs level.  Not really locked out, but I had the carpets cleaned today.  They look absolutely amazing and it was supposed to be a quick dry, 2-4 hours, but it has been five and they are still quite wet.  I don't want to tarnish the wonderful carpet, so I am choosing to keep the kids and I off of it until probably until tomorrow morning.  Luckily, we have a very big home (over 3500 sf), so being upstairs isn't a big deal.  The only thing missing is a kitchen.  All the kids' rooms and a bathroom are upstairs.  We also have a media room and a loft upstairs, so plenty of space to play.  It's all good.

A fun blessing with having the downstairs "closed" is that we all went out earlier.  We also picked up C from his band thing at the high school and then off we went to Cici's.  This is NOT my first choice of a place to eat, but all six kids like it or love it.  So, not one complained, which is an amazing feat in and of itself!  And, it was better than I remember it.  So, it was definitely a $35 win.  :)  It really seems that one of the children is frustrated with me or mad at me at every given moment.  So, this was a huge blessing and big win!

This is an incredibly busy week.  Most are, actually, but there are a few that aren't.  And, there are some that rack up the busy points.  This is one of those weeks.  I can make it through.  The interesting thing is that in Sacrament Meeting at church yesterday, I was inspired to reread the Mary and Martha account from the New Testament and remember to "choose that good part."  With this very busy week, I can easily be caught in the thick of thin things.  So, I am really working on letting the less-important things go while I focus on the most important things.  I hope I can do a good job!

I was thinking about all that I need to say to catch up on this blog. way to put months of dozens, no, hundreds, of activities on here!

But, it is good to be back, at least for a moment.  I am blessed.  I hope I never forget just how blessed I am....such as I brought diapers and wipes upstairs with me....stinky diaper, here I come!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

One of my sets of parents

I am one of the luckiest people ever.  I have three sets of amazing parents.  My parents, my in-laws, and my former in-laws.  With divorce, I could have lost these parents and lost this family, but I am so very blessed that I didn't.  They kept me as their daughter and sister.  I kept them as my family.  I love them all so much.  I love how they can love XDH with all their hearts and love me so much too.  They are all great examples to me and I am so very blessed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

General Conference April 2016

Okay, so now it has been almost a month since April General Conference.  I began this post the Monday after conference ended.  Didn't finish it.  But, this is such an incredible treasure to me that I am going to finish as much as I can now.  

My whole family loves General Conference.  Even V, who is 3, counted down the days to General Conference, although I sincerely doubt that she even had any clue what it was.  I love gathering my family around to hear the words of modern prophets.  I feel that the world is in such turmoil...politics, natural disasters, new moral issues, and so forth, that I am so grateful I have a place to turn to be grounded and at peace.  I am grateful my children can feel this grounding also.  It is such a blessing to me.

This time, I did not order the pictures via calling or via session in which they spoke.  I only order them via where they are located around our living room (I guess I was a lazy picture was easier).

So, we begin with President Eyring:
CK:  "It is our responsibility to be fertile ground for the seed to grow."
Me:  "Feeling the closeness of the Savior depends on each of us."
C:  "If we humble ourselves and listen to the talks, we will hear what we need."
J:  "Nurish (nourish) the seed."

Elder Rasband:
CK:  "Be a light in the growing darkness."
Me:  "The apostles are no strangers to the challenges/problems of today's youth."
K:  "Questions are an indication of a further desire to learn." and "When we reach out, we are powerful."
C:  "Listen to and stand with the prophets."
J:  "The profets (prophets) are true."

Elder Holland:
CK:  "Don't give up when life doesn't meet your expectations.  The Lord blesses those who want to improve."
Me:  "Every day will be magnificent - God wants it to be."
K:  "The devil tries to convince us that we will never progress." and "We get credit for trying." and "Heaven is cheering me on!"
C:  "Love God and try your best even after you make mistakes and tomorrow and the future will be better than today."
J:  "Try to keep your faith - get stronger."

President Monson:
CK:  "The choices we make will determine if we reach our goal."
Me:  "Choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong."
K:  "Our choices (all of them) determine if we reach our goal." and "The path we follow in this life determines our destination in the next life."
C:  "Small choices can have a big impact." and "Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong."
J:  "More telples (temples)."

Elder Stevenson:
CK:  "Priesthood keys unlock the vehicle that will take us back to the presence of God."
Me:  "Never ever do we have to question again, 'Where are the keys?'"
C:  "Prepare for mission, go to the temple, find names of ancestors, go forward with faith."
J:  "Do not ask where are the keys."

Elder Christofferson:
CK:  "The most essential of a father's responsibilities is to turn the hearts of his children to Heavenly Father."
Me:  "Fathers are unique and irreplaceable."
K:  "Fathers are unique and irreplaceable." and "Make up your mind to honor your father."
C:  "Prepare to be a father by honoring your parents, being righteous, serving others."
J:  "Fathers are good - not just moms."

Elder Cook:
CK:  "The temple is a place of tranquility and peace in a tumultuous world."
Me:  "See yourself in the temple."
K:  "There is nothing the Lord could do to help us that He hasn't done."
C:  "Strive to always be worthy of a temple recommend, because the temple is a place of refuge."
J:  "Prepare yourself for the temple."

CK:  "Combined with prayer, family councils invite the Savior to our presence."
Me:  "Family councils provide ways to strengthen, protect, and nurture cherished relationships."
K:  "Councils are the Lord's way." and "With His help, we can improve."
C:  "Family time brings love and blessings and helps protect our family from distractions and evil."
J:  "Listen to Jesus - famly (family) bonding time is asetrl (essential)."

Elder Anderson:
CK:  "Do all we can to strengthen the love of the Savior in all we do."
Me:  "A child's spiritual DNA is perfect, even if their earthly situation isn't ideal."
K:  "It is vital to embrace other youth."
C:  "Do whatever you can to help children/youth to church and support those who don't have support at home."
J:  "Jesus knows you."

Elder Oaks:
CK:  "Without opposition, there would be no growth."
Me:  "Oppositions further our growth towards what our Heavenly Father would have us become."
K:  "Opposition is inevitable and even necessary." and "Some things can only be learned by faith."
C:  "Our ultimate test is to have faith that making righteous choices is better for us in the long run."
J:  "Opicishon (opposition) shows how faithful you are."

President Nelson spoke in the Priesthood session, so we did not watch together as a family and do our notes.  :)

Elder Renlund:
CK:  "We need to develop the desire to stop causing God grief.  He 'owes' us nothing."
Me:  "Sacrament = indispensable to a spiritual foundation."
K:  "He did this just for me." and "Because of the Atonement, all will be right."
C:  "By partaking of the sacrament, you will feel God's nearness and become closer to Him."
J:  "Jesus loves you."

Elder Bednar:
CK:  "Ordinances invite spiritual purpose and power our lives."
Me:  "Prepare conscientiously for the sacrament."
K:  "Baptism is worthless if you do not know its meaning." and "Ordinances should impact every aspect of discipleship." and "The feeling of baptism can be ongoing." and "The plan IS rigorous." 
C:  "Prepare to take the sacrament with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and we can receive forgiveness."

Elder Hales:
CK:  "Don't let personal feelings overpower the promptings of the Spirit."
Me:  "Seeking the Holy Ghost in minor decisions trivializes the Holy Ghost.  We have agency."
K:  "We can continually feel the Holy Ghost." and "The Holy Ghost helps us discern false prophets."
C:  "To receive personal revelation, study out your questions, then pray to the Lord with a decision to see if it is right."
J:  "The Holy Ghost is real.  Do not forsake him."

President Uctdorf:
CK:  "A lost sheep is worthy of rescue because it is loved by the shepherd."
Me:  "Obedience = process by which we discover what we are truly made of."
K:  "What matters to Him is that I am His child and that He loves me." and "There's nothing good unless you do it."
J:  "Your faith can be rebuilt."