Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Mother

Spending time with my mom this summer was truly a blessing. I haven't been able to spend much time with her since having babies of my own because we have lived far away for most of my married life. And the few times we have been together, I've had to share her with lots of other siblings and their kids, so the "alone time" I had with my mom this summer was priceless. 

I came home a better person for having been around her for nearly a week. My mom is such a special person. So giving and loving and always serving. While I was there, each morning my mom was up early headed to help a friend who had a broken ankle before she headed off to work. And each night, she would go to the same friend's house to help with evening chores. She had been doing this daily routine for 2 weeks and will be doing it for another 6 weeks. Not to mention the shopping and errand running she does for her injured friend. 

That is just a drop in the bucket compared to all her years of service and kindness to others. It is hard to be around someone as selfless as she is without it rubbing off on you. 

I feel so blessed to have her as my mother. There aren't words for how truly special she is. There is no other person like her. 
The kids picking raspberries off of Granny's bushes. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


I had the loveliest vacation to MT. I have been yearning for my home state and home town for awhile now, and decided we never would get there if I waited for Justin to have enough vacation time. Another trip or family reunion or wedding eats up his vacation time, and Montana gets pushed back.
I couldn't stand it any longer, and I got to planning my MT trip. The kids and I headed out early one morning and made great time until Spokane. After that we hit traffic, bad weather, construction, and a freeway closure due to a wreck. We still made it in one day, and I was happy to be home.
We visited my job from high school and college summer days where my younger sister now works. Grace and Amelia helped her get her work done. 

Next we attended the Pioneer Day picnic at the church I attended while growing up.
Sunday we attended church services which my kids were horrible for most of it. They were so tired and worn out and being in a new church environment made them nervous and shy. 
I came out of the church to find Katie's dress and shoes in a pile on the ground while she was up in a tree. Luckily she had on an undershirt and a pair of leggings. 

Monday I took the kids to Clarks Park. When I was growing up, it was the best park. Mostly because of the two giant slides and the cowboy swings which are double sided swings so two people can ride in them. The giant slides were deemed unsafe years ago and removed, but the cowboy swings were still there. My kids loved them just as I knew they would! 
Then we drove to Bozeman to go to Museum of the Rockies where my brother Logan and his son Connor, my sister Toni and her husband Robbin, and my sister in law Elise with her new baby Aubrey,  met us. They all live in Billings, and I am so happy they came over to see us. We looked at dinosaurs and Pompeii relics and saw a planetarium show. The kids enjoyed it all, but really enjoyed their time with catching up with family the most. 

I was so happy to meet Baby Aubrey. She is tiny and precious. I love her already! Henry was dying to hold her. He loves babies so much.

Grace couldn't get enough of her either. She kept sneaking little kisses and cried on the way back to Butte because we had to leave sweet baby Aubrey.

Tuesday we went to a ghost town called Bannack. It was once the territorial Capitol of MT, and now a complete ghost town. I loved sharing this place with my kids. I have find memories of making candles and playing old fashioned games there during their Annual Bannack Days. The kids loved checking out all the empty buildings and running up the boardwalk. 

Katie met a rattlesnake near this jail. Nearly scared her out of her wits which is saying something because she's not afraid of much. Gave my mama's heart quite a scare too. 

The hotel or this schoolhouse was their favorite part of the ghost town. They loved playing school inside. 
They couldn't get enough to of this merry go round in front of the school. They keep begging me to take them back so they can ride on the merry go round again.

We went straight to Crystal Park from Bannack. Just as we neared the park it started to drizzle rain, and then I saw something worse than rain. The parking lot was roped off! This was the top priority stop in MT! We came all the way from Oregon to dig crystals! I couldn't believe it. I saw some cars parked just outside the park as we drove away, and it looked like there were people digging for crystals just outside the fenced area. The rain really started coming down, and I didn't know what to do. Should I ask these people if it was ok to dig down here since the park was closed? It was pouring and my kids wouldn't enjoy it a ways in a down pour. But it could just be s short storm, the wind was pretty strong and could just blow the storm away just as quickly as it had brought it. 

 So I pulled over and asked the girls what they wanted to do. We could go home to Granny's or turn around and ask about digging, and if it was ok, find a place to wait out the thunder storm. They voted to stay and wait out the storm. I turned around and pulled up to the people frantically packing up their cars to get out of the thunder storm. 
They said it was allowed to dig in this area and so we pulled away to find a place to wait out the storm.
 And Katie took this picture of a deer that we passed right before the rain started in.

We ended up at a campground a mile or two up the road where the storm was not as bad, only a little sprinkle. We decided we would look for a few crystals while we waited since we were in crystal country anyway. And lo and behold, we found quite a few just sitting on top of the ground! The girls were so excited! 
I didn't get a picture of the girls digging, dang it, but I did get a picture of the wild flowers that were all around us.
 After the storm stopped, we headed back to the park, and started to dig as the sky cleared to magnificent bright blue. 

They got right to work searching the ground and digging here and there. They would get so excited when they found one. They especially loved when two deer came to keep us company while we looked for crystals. We didn't stay too long since Henry decided he was done, and kept trying to drag me back to the van. But we stayed long enough for the girls to fill the old plastic icecream buckets my mom had given them to collect their crystals in. 
They were so dirty, but loved every minute of it. 
This was the very best day ever! I treasured sharing these places with my kiddos. Seeing them fall in love with MT made my heart bubble over. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Daddy Day

My kids are lucky to have Mr. Fix It for a Dad. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm drowning!

The kids declared all out war on me today. Not intentionally. Bless their little hearts. 
Nevertheless I cleaned up more poop today than I hope to ever have to clean up ever again. And it was not just one child! 
I also cleaned several puddles of pee and other substances (and no one is currently potty training!) 

Not too mention a completely dumped out box of crackers onto a newly mopped and swept floor. 

I also had to superglue a child's fingernail back on. And explain why she was not going to die if she was missing a fingernail, it would eventually grow back ifthe  superglue didn't work. 

Rescued a toddler from killing himself 963 times

Endured 364 trantrums from a three year old who self diagnosed herself with non-functioning limbs and refused to walk or lift anything for a good portion of the day. 

The same three year old also shoved a wad of tissue completely up inside her nose so high I couldn't see it so I didn't completely believe it was in there, and even though I told her to try blowing it out she wouldn't try but just kept screaming and wailing like it was the end of the world. Of course if Daddy comes home and suggests blowing it, she calms down right away and does it! 

Stopped a toddler from eating used toilet paper out of the toilet not once but twice, and yes, there was poop involved. 

Battled with a 7 year old who refuses to take baths more than once or twice a year. 

Add in all the little bickering fights between kids and complaining, whining and normal messes and a crazy amount of laundry and you have my day. ONE DAY. All this in one day. I am very tired. 

I am drowning in children and have forgotten how to float...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

An Adventure

A couple weeks ago I decided to take the kids for a walk. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful afternoon! 
However only a couple blocks away, the wind picked up and I saw dark, billowy clouds moving in quickly though they were still far away. 
"We better head back, kids. It looks like it's going to storm." 

"Ah man! We just started!"
"Just a few more minutes, mom!" 
"Pleeeeeease mom!" 

I took another look at the clouds... Maybe it will just blow over... Maybe it won't come this far...

"Ok just a few more minutes"

We walked onto the kids' favorite woodsy area so they could climb trees and look for cool sticks. 

The wind kept pushing clouds closer, faster and faster. And before we knew it, we were in a down pour. The girls started screaming and racing around looking for better cover. I tried to get Henry back into the stroller and pull the rain cover up and over, but he was scared and wanted me to hold him. 

Quickly the woods turned into a squishy, muddy hole with the trees not providing much cover from the rain shower.

What to do? 
Even if we ran the whole way, we would be drenched and Henry wouldn't go in the stroller so I would have to carry him. 
We couldn't stay because we were already getting drenched and the kids were getting cold and muddier by the second. Henry had mud all the way up both legs and the girls weren't much cleaner. 

I called Justin hoping he hadn't silenced his phone when he laid down for a nap. 

When he picked up, he didn't give me a chance to say anything. "I'm on my way. Just around the corner."

My hero had been awakened by the sound of the rain, and checked my location on the iPad, and jumped in the van to come rescue us. 

We were all covered in mud and dripping wet, but it had been a fun adventure nonetheless. The best days end with the most dirt, right? 

Strawberry season is my favorite season!

Strawberry picking is always a fun tradition for this Oregon family! 
Henry looks like he just hit the jackpot with that field of glorious dirt stretched out before him. 
He also thought picking strawberries aka binging on strawberries straight from the plant was the best thing that he had ever done in his short life. I was surprised he wasn't sick after the insane amount of strawberries he consumed. It was impossible to keep him from eating them.  I finally had to take him on a walk across the farm so he would stop gorging on them. 

Oh Henry boy!

This is how Henry likes to wake me up in the morning. Mmmmwa! 

Daddy daughter date

Every once and a awhile Justin and I take each kid on a one on one date. Last week Justin took Amelia on a bike ride. 
She was quite adamant that we find her bike shirt for her to wear on her bike date with Dad. 
Why can't we keep her like this forever?! She is so stinking adorable!

A graduate!

Maple Lawn Preschool was such a wonderful fit for Gracie! It was bittersweet watching her graduation ceremony. 

Grace is quite broken hearted that preschool is over. But I know she will love getting to go to school with friends from church and our neighborhood in the fall. 

She has blossomed this year, and really grown up so much. 
Her teacher read off a few facts about grace at preschool. 

Age:5 years old
Favorite thing to do at school: play with friends
Favorite part of school: play area
What she wants to be when she grows up: singer
Biggest hero: Joseph Smith

A picture is worth a thousand words


Thank you Katie for creeping me out and giving me nightmares for the rest of my life. I needed 72 of these images in my life. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Did you ever read the kids' mystery series about Cam Jansen? Cam is really a nickname, short for "camera" and she is called that because she has a photographic memory. When she wants remember a scene, she just says "Click!" and she stores it away in her photographic memory. 

I like to do the same thing with day to day life. I don't say "click," and solve mysteries with my memories, but rather I try to grasp the gift of ordinary moments. Like when I am busy getting my kitchen chores done, and the children are busily playing underfoot. Click. Or when the children are piled on Justin, competing for his attention. Click! Or when Amelia is snuggled up to me, giggling at a book. Click! 

Pausing long enough to "click" the ordinary into my long term memory allows me to really appreciate this beautiful, rich, and very blessed life I live. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I love these little people I have underfoot. In a few, very short years, they will be grown, and I will miss their giggles and shenanigAns... and constantly being underfoot. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Henry Boy

I snapped this the other day to help me remember how utterly adorable this little boy is. I had to be really quick to get this picture because although he will play with  this little fool house forever, he never stays still for two minutes together. He LOVES this thing. He puts the little people in and out of the doorways and Windows jabbering in his unintelligible baby talk. Usually with his tongue sticking out. I love that he already pretends and plays by himself. I could just eat him up. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Meltdown Mommy

Sometimes you have to have a little meltdown to unload all the emotions of frustration, impatience, sadness, inadequacy, and fear that come with being a parent. Just meltdown a little and move on. Don't look back, just move on. And things will work out just like they should. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Inspector Gadget

I introduced the children to Inspector Gadget. The love love love it. Even Henry comes running when he hears the theme song. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Working myself out of a job...

Today, I got up the courage to ask Grace if she would like to go to a half day kindergarten at a different school across town in the fall, or if she would like to go to full day kindergarten at the same school as Katie. 

She didn't hesitate at all, "Full day with Katie."
I think a part of me shriveled up and died. 

I may or may not have started crying.

I am going to start working on figuring out how to stop time. If fall never comes, we don't have to face kindergarten, right? 

Friday, February 12, 2016

On mothering

I think the greatest privilege I have is being a wife and a mother. 

There are so many things I enjoy about being a mother. The way it makes me stretch, the aha moments, the contentment, the peace, the hardness of it, and the pure, raw joy. 

The following is a list of my favorite parts of being a mom:
1. Witnesses from start to finish the real growth that happens sometimes imperceptibly and sometimes in bounds. 

2. Holding a 2 year old's hand while going for walk.

3. Snuggling a newborn

4. Captivating my children with a song or story for the first time

5. Soothing a very sad child and making it all better just by listening and holding.

6. Seeing their faith in God grow

7. Watching them finally take off with reading!

8. Hearing them pray with real intent

9. Being Brave and showing kindness

10. Watching them stand up for what is right even if and when their friends choose otherwise.

11. The artwork. Oh how I love children's artwork.

12. The pure and untainted love.

13. Baking for them and with them

14. Sewing them clothes whether it's a costume or an outfit for school or mending a torn shirt, I love sewing for my family. 

15. Making my home a peaceful place for them to be. I used to dread housework, but now I quite look forward to it because I love making a tidy home for kids to be happy in. I am still not very good at keeping things tidy, but I try.

16. Reading to them. I love sharing a book with them

17.sining them lullabies

18. Watching them serve each other

19. Overhearing a three year old wrapped in a world of imagination

20. Teaching them the gospel

Friday, January 1, 2016

A new year....

I pick a motto at the start of each new year. Last year's motto was "dig down deep, And do hard things!" And boy, did that motto carry me through some tough days.

This year I have chosen "Love More"

Love is so often the answer and so often not used. I need to learn this lesson! Use more love! So often I think I need to discipline my kids more or be more organized or be smarter or whatever! But really I just need to be able to love more. 

In everything. With everyone. Because Christ loves. And because His love wins every time.