Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fall Catch Up

Fall was so beautiful this year. It was amazingly dry and sunny.

 Amelia turned one on NOv 14th. That was the fastest year ever! She had an African animal cake. 
Katie turned 5 on Nov 9th. She has been planning this Hello Kitty cake since the day after her birthday last year. no joke. She begged for me to let her decorate it herself so I let her have at it with minimal help from me. Did a pretty good job huh?

I will post more about each of their birthdays another time. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Time

Katie and Grace had well-child checks on Friday. They each got shots, and were so brave. I was a very proud mama. I told them about how one time when I got shots when i was a little girl, my mom took me home after and made cookies with me to help me feel better. Of course my kiddos thought we should do that too, and I said we could. Unfortunately, we ran out of time on Friday, and then again on Saturday, but finally, on Sunday we got around to it. 

Every Christmas growing up, my mom would make lots of Christmas goodies, including these wreaths. We make them using Rice Krispies and M&Ms now, in place of the corn flakes and little red hots combo we used when I was little. 

It's so fun to bring back traditions from my own childhood and share them with my kiddos. I once read an article about resilience in children and factors that contributed to children's ability to cope with adversity. The number one factor contributing to resiliency was how much family history each child knew. Surprising, huh? The study found that children who knew their roots, you know, things about their parents' childhoods, things about grandpa and grandma, family traditions, and heirlooms, were more likely to cope well than children who had no idea about their family backgrounds. Even children that came from single parent homes or homes that were poverty stricken were more resilient if they had a good understanding of family roots. The researchers found that children develop a sort of anchor, a sense that they are a part of something bigger than just themselves, when they know about who and what makes up their family. And that anchor keeps them grounded when hard times come.

Anyway, I've been trying more to share memories with my kids, and tell them about things that they have in common with me and my parents, and my grandparents. I need to be better about writing them down. That's for sure.

In fact, while I am at it, I should record one more Christmas cookie memory. I don't ever remember taking gifts or cookies around to neighbors or church friends, when I was a little girl. But at some point, I think when I was 13 or 14, my mom asked if we would like to make cookies for different families we knew at church and in the neighborhood. Mom, of course did most of the work, baking up all sorts of treats and cookies. But I remember helping my sisters scoop them onto plates and covering them with plastic wrap, and loading them into the car. We went around caroling, and delivering our goodies while we looked at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. 

I remember thinking that it felt so good to give for once instead of receiving. We had been on the receiving end of things for several years, since my parents had divorced and life had turned upside down. That night really helped me feel like we had something to offer, that we had something to give. We wouldn't always be the ones needing a hand, but we were able to give back a little of the kindness that had been shown to us. And I think that was my favorite Christmas from those growing up years. The Christmas I was able to GIVE.

Albany rarely gets snow, and if we do it's an inch and doesn't last more than an hour or so. So we had to document this very rare snow storm. Katie and Grace ate a sickening amount of snow. I didn't help it by using a jello packet to make "snow cones." Very fun day.

THe snow stayed almost a full week and I was so grateful for it. I love snow, and it made everything feel more Christmassy.

we had to dig our winter things out of the attic where I had stored them all since we never need them.

 isn't he so handsome?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grateful to be Me.

I have a pretty wonderful life. A good, kind husband. Children that make me smile and are oh so lovable. A comfortable home. And a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my life. I wouldn't trade anyone for any part of my life. I have been so richly blessed with the good things in life. And today, especially I am grateful for those things.

I was awake all night long. Let me repeat. ALL>NIGHT>LONG. I had two children in my bed. The 3 year old kept having dreams about fighting with the 5 year old, and would randomly scream out and start thrashing around...which would wake the baby and she would start crying. This went on all night. And to top it all off, I have a lovely case of mastitis, which peaked around 3 am. Fever, chills, aches and pains like you cannot believe. Worst night ever. I didn't fall asleep until after 5 am. It was horrible. 

I texted Justin at 5 am, 8 am his time in Pittsburg and told him to pray for me. Then I texted my mom and told her to move to Oregon so I will have someone to take care of me. Then I finally fell asleep. 

All three girls woke up sometime before 7. I told Katie I was horribly sick, and she would have to make a bed for me on the couch. my girls felt bad for me, and quietly played while I slept on the couch for a little while. Then I got up and tried to make breakfast. Last night after dinner, I mixed up the dry ingredients for whole wheat pancakes so it would be one less thing in the morning to do. This was before my illness set in, and I think it was providence, because had I not done that, my kids would have had to have wheat thins for breakfast, and there weren't very many of those anyway.  

I burned several pancakes as I had to leave them on the griddle while I ran to the bathroom to throw up and cry. Then I finished off the rest of the batter, poured some syrup on them, and let the girls have at it, while I crashed on the couch again. I am not sure how long I slept, but I know it wasn't long enough. 

I was really, really grateful we had leftover spaghetti from yesterday in the fridge, and canned soup that I could manage to heat up for lunch and dinner. Bless canned soup! 

With the help of some heavy dosages of Ibuprofen and rice bags, and lots of water and nursing...I started to feel human again. 

What a day. 

It was one of those days, that makes you so grateful for what you take for granted. So grateful for good kids, supportive husband, and lots of temporal blessings. I am so blessed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

She's 5

This beautiful girl is 5 today. I showed her some pictures today of when she was born, her first year of life, and then each birthday since then. She enjoyed that, but mostly just wanted to get back to playing with her new presents. And can I say that I did a pretty darn good job with presents for her this year, because I did. 

We replaced her beloved "Pinky" that got lost when we moved. I made her a twin sized pinky last year in an effort to be both practical and sentimental, but she still yearned for one that was just like the old Pinky. lucky for us, the original Pinky is a fairly common baby blanket, and we picked up one that only had a difference in the embroidery in the corner. 

The other little bit of luck for us, I went to a garage sale this summer that had all sorts of Hello Kitty stuff for a quarter or two. So I picked up a few things for her birthday and Christmas. She got a stuffed Hello Kitty today, and she has hardly put it down since she opened it. It even took the place of honor, tuckedunder her arm as she went to sleep. Score. 

Grace got the other award for picking out a great present. She got a new big pink ball to replace Katie's that got popped last summer. Do you see a trend here? Anyway, Katie was so thrilled about it. My heart just melted to see the sisterly love. Grace came up with the idea herself, and was so excited to give it to Katie. And the thoughtfulness was not lost on Katie. She really, really appreciated that Gracie picked it out for her to replace the old ball she loved so much. And I will never forget Gracie's happy face as she watched Katie with the new ball. Brought tears to my eyes. 

She got spoiled by aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas. Each present lit up her face, and she has been a busy girl with all her new things. Thanks on her behalf!

We had a quiet birthday...no big friend party. I've decided those are just too much for my kiddos to handle while they are just little. So we invited one friend to lunch, and then had a quiet family party after dinner. Lots of fun, little stress. Best. Idea. Ever. Except there is too much birthday cake left...

Katie had definite plans about that cake by the way. Chocolate on the inside. Pink on the outside. Hello Kitty and of course, candy ornamentation. She wanted to pipe the bow on herself so I outlined it for her, and then she did the rest. She was very pleased with herself. Then she added all the M&Ms. She sure likes to have a hand in decorating her cake. She always tells me she is going to be a baker when she grows up and I wouldn't be surprised. She is always writing up recipes and experimenting in the kitchen.

I love this little girl. She sure does teach me a lot. Pushes me to be better and inspires me to never give up. I wish these years weren't flying by.

I will post pictures of her birthday at another time, when I am not using the old laptop. It's card reader doesn't work.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Date Night

Justin is pretty much the best husband ever. Not because of big things but all the little things he does, and above all who he tries to be. he serves me in a hundred ways...

This week he supported me in my calling at church. He made dinners, did dishes, put kids to bed, and sacrificed a few bike rides (despite the calling of his new road bike) so that I could work on all sorts of things for the YW Night of Excellence Program. Not too mention putting up with me in moments of stress and fatigue and frustration.

He didn't get mad that I left my phone outside in the rain for three days. He just laughed and took it apart, dried it out, and put it back together. And miracle of miracles, it works!

He takes the garbage out, and cleans out the fridge. He vacuums, and cleans the bathrooms because he knows those are jobs I don't really like doing.

He calls to set up appointments because he knows I hate calling people. 

He rubs my neck that is always sore from nursing a baby or sleeping with a 3 year old who keeps having nightmares.

He listens to me and loves me. All of me. THe good, the bad, and the ugly. He's my superman. And pretty much my everything.
sometimes blurry pictures are the best.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Realizing Life

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" 
            -Emily, Our Town by Thorton Wilder

Ever since Amelia was born, I have been in a race against time, it seems. My kids have been growing up so quickly, and my mommy heart just breaks because I can't enjoy it as much as I want to, because it's over so fast. Recently, several events have triggered a near-panicky scramble to enjoy the journey now. 

First off, all of Katie's friends are starting kindergarten, and as I watched my friends put their kids on buses headed for school, I felt a lump rising in my throat. Next fall, it will be Katie's turn. And suddenly, I was so so so grateful she wasn't on that bus this fall. I only have one year with my little girl left before the great school journey begins. Now every time I see the school bus stop at our corner, I almost feel like it's the grim reaper. Seriously. It fills my heart with dread.

The second event is heart breaking. Our friends from BYU-Idaho days lost their little girl in an accident several weeks ago. As I have watched them deal with the almost unbearable amount of grief and sorrow, I have realized how much I take for granted. My little babies will not be here with me forever, so I've got to enjoy them now. All the every day things. Every minute, every minute.

Little Amelia darling is so big now. Yesterday I sat behind a woman holding a precious newborn, and I felt that longing for a soft little bundle. I don't know that I have ever really experienced that. I know most women are baby crazy, but I never really have been. I like babies, but I've never lost my senses about them. Until now. I think it's because I've realized that this phase of child bearing and rearing doesn't last forever, in fact, it will be over before I know it.

And Amelia is such a sweet baby. And I've enjoyed nursing her, and cuddling her, and teaching her new tricks. And most of all, I love just sitting and watching her. All her little movements. I love watching something catch her interest, and seeing those little eyebrows go up. I even enjoy her little temper flares that are ridiculously dramatic for one so little still. I am in love with her, and I am desperately trying my best to soak up every moment I have with her.

And Grace, since when does she say "That's not my kind of thing, Mom" or since when did she get big enough to be in dance? She is such a sweetheart. Such a loving, tender heart. We watched a movie not too long ago about an orphan boy. When the mom left the baby on the doorstep of the orphanage, Gracie bursts into tears, and still does if she remembers anything about that movie. I love hearing her pretend with her dolls and toys. Nothing is cuter than hearing her little voices that she makes up for her dolls. And when she tells me about her imaginary friend, Audrey, I nearly die. She's been telling me that Audrey and her family had to move to the stinky cheese woods. Don't ask me where she got that from because I have no idea.

Katie...I can hardly talk about Katie, because I feel like someone has stolen my little girl away from me and in her place is a big girl who astounds me with her knowledge and her ever thinking little brain. I love that girl of mine. She is smart, and I have never known any human being that tries as hard as she does. She sets her mind on something, and she will accomplish that. I adore that about her. Whether it's reading, tumbling, or riding her bike, she tries over and over and over again until she gets it. She teaches herself all sorts of things because of her persistence. So grateful she has that quality. And soooo grateful I have this next year with her. 

The every day moments are worth everything. I've been whipping out my camera to catch my girls snuggled on the couch together or playing in the backyard. I want to realize life while I am living it. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Just Ordinary Times

 Katie realized today for the first time that everyone in her primary class is starting kindergarten this week...everyone that is except her. A few tears on both our parts, and we were past it. Thankfully, one of her friends from dance class is starting next year at the same school as well, and they will be in tumbling together this fall. That was a very consoling thought to her. SHe is so anxious to go to school and learn more. 

Grace is hilarious these days. She has an imaginary friend named Audrey. Sometimes Audrey lives in Africa, and sometimes she lives with her Grandma very far away. Most of the time Audrey is so sick, she has to stay at the hospital.

 Amelia feels left out if she isn't in the same room as Katie and Grace while they are playing. She will crawl around after them, following them from room to room. She loves being one of group.
We took a trip to Washington to see Mt. St. Helens National Volcano Monument. It was really neat to see something you've heard about your whole life. BEAUTIFUL place. Katie hated being up so high. I think we traumatized her from our trip to Glacier this summer. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

She's Three

Somebody had a birthday...

this beautiful girlie is lucky she isn't the baby because I would spoil her rotten. I love her so much! She has such a special little spirit. She is one of the most giving, kindhearted little souls you'll ever meet. SHe also has a lot of spunk which comes in handy when dealing with siblings. 

Singing, painting, drawing,
pretending, barbies, baby dolls,
all things princess,
tutus, ballerinas, Curious George, Corduroy, 
German Pancakes, brownies,
cheetos, chips of any variety,
"spicy crackers"
"calling all Gracies, calling all Gracies"
"My Home's in MT"
zippity ay sippity ay
scrub the dishes 
lives in swimsuit with the purple ruffle

3 sillies

 a little carriage ride...

I've got great kids

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Motherhood: Spinning Plates

You know, lately, I have been feeling like as a mother I have all these plates spinning (one for each child, one for my marriage, one for church, one for housework, etc....) and most of the time I feel like I can keep two, maybe three plates spinning, but the rest keep falling and breaking. And lately, I have been a monster to my children which is unacceptable.
So last night I looked up this video to watch an actual plate spinner work his magic. This is what I have gleaned from watching a master:
1. he has a plan
2. he has practiced and probably continues to practice. He didn't become a master in a day or even in a week.
3. the plates don't all get attention simultaneously
4. the plates don't get spun once, and expected to stay up on their own. they get a little nudge to keep going repeatedly
5. he keeps them spinning by gentle, controlled movements, not by wildy flailing around or being rough.
6. he keeps a smile on his face
7.he expects wobbling and doesn't get frustrated. just addresses the wobbling object and moves on.

So to keep my plates spinning:
1. I need to take more time to plan out my day, my month, my methods
2. I need to be patient with myself, and keep practicing being a good mom, wife, etc.
3. I can't meet everyone's needs at once.
4. I need to expect to help a child over and over again, to revisit finances often, to nurture my marriage regularly, daily effort to strengthen my testimony, etc.
5. I need to be gentle, kind, loving. Being rough, loud, demanding, or angry doesn't not keep plates spinning
6. A smile makes everything go smoother
7. I shouldn't get frustrated by my faults, my kids faults, or even situations. Just expects bumps in the road, address the problem, and move past the issue. focus on what can be done, not what is happening or what happened.

How do you keep your plates spinning?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Days

Best Friends!

Loves Blueberries 

Good Morning Sunshine

Pioneer Day (Have you ever seen such a cute pioneer in your life?)

First Sippy Cup

Such a happy girl

Monday, July 22, 2013

Teething Times

Baby is teething and will not sleep. THis rough on mom which is threfore rough on the other children because I send them to their rooms for long periods of quiet time so that I can "help" Baby get some much needed sleep.
Usually kids sneak out of said quiet time after they get bored, and they get themselves into trouble like raiding the frozen blueberries or flooding the bathroom.
THen mom has a meltdown, and tries to think happy thoughts so she doesn't go buy cages to lock up her children in.
The End.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A New Beginning

I wash dishes when it is dark
and I am tired
I hang up tutus and
scattered dress-up attire
I gather up scattered socks and underwear
and kiss the brows of those
who left them everywhere

I tuck tired toes and elbows
back underneath
their quilts
and beloved blankies

I wipe away crumbs and
sweep up the dirt
I cry bitter tears for harsh words said
and time ill-spent
I push away fears
of failing them

And then my own mother's words
come back to me
washing over me, so soothingly.
"Each day, each hour, each minute
Is a New Beginning."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


This might be a little of a picture overload because I haven't been very good about putting up pictures of the girls and updating on their wonderful little lives.

Katie did dance lessons this spring, and LOVED it (surprise, surprise). She is so talented. I am pretty sure she was the BEST dance there. And I'm not just biased (okay, maybe I am just a little bit.)

Gracie was very disappointed that dance lessons were just for big girls (3 and older). She watched on the sidelines and practiced every step and memorized every song.

 kindred spirits if there ever was such a thing

I don't think any of us love on this baby quite as much as Katie does. she can't focus on anything if Amelia is in the room. Boy, does she love on her all the time.

my little darlings
(the only half way decent picture of all of them)

sometimes a girl just needs a frog


I had to document Grace enjoying her German Pancakes. She asks for German Pancakes EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.  I kid you not. I don't make them for her every morning, but probably 3 times a week, I give in.

I made this dress out of a really cute shirt and a pair of leggings. I really liked how it turned out. She's grown into it more now.

Birthday/Mother's Day Extravaganza. So spoiled. Cookies and Cream cake. YUM

Amelia thinks she is really funny, hilarious in fact, when she rolls under the coffee table.

me and my handsome man on my birthday

beautiful girl

forever picking flowers.

just enjoying movie night treats

yes, you are right. There is something wrong with this picture. Those eyebrows are darker and thicker than normal...someone got into makeup. I laughed myself silly over this one. Pictures don't do it justice... but not bad for a 4 year old and a first try.

new bedtime entertainment. Katie discovered she could make shadow puppets when her lamp was turned on. Of course she didn't know that's what they were called when she discovered her new ability.

all tuckered out.

two little snuggle bugs.

no comment

again, no comment

we learned about the water cycle and snow today for preschool, (yes, a swimsuit is the dress code for our preschool, rain or shine). then we made an indoor snowman (shaving cream and baking soda)

G for Grace of course.
sometimes big sisters have to practice their handwriting on your face (and makeup skills too). Grace actually was pretty proud of her "makeup"