Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notes from Katelund

While I was cleaning Katelund's room today, I found a note (look at 2nd picture) that she had written to me it said...

Der Mom
tvat hrts
mi filez

Translation: Dear Mom, That hurts my feelings.

That is her new thing that she says when she gets in trouble. I think she learned it from Cloey. (I can look at Cloey the wrong way and she'll get all upset and say, "Why are you mad at me Mommy?")

I also found another note (1st picture) that said...

I lov you
You ar mi favte.

Translation: I love you Jesus. You are my favorite.

Katelund is just taking off on her writing. She seriously writes notes ALL day long as she sits and sounds out every word she can think of. I LOVE to read what she writes!! One of my very favorite parts of student teaching in Kindergarten was reading what they would write about in their daily journals and seeing how they would sound out the words.

Tonight as I was laying with Katelund in bed, she started to write letters on my palm with her finger. After she was done she whispered, "Mommy I just wrote I love you on your hand." Does Motherhood get any better than that?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Counting my many blessings...

Earlier today, Katelund walked in on me as I was changing clothes. She instantly noticed the big scar on my stomach from my emergency c-section. (I don't have the normal c-section scar, I have a bigger one that starts a little bit below my belly button and runs about 6 inches down). She asked me why it was still there? I told her that it was a scar and that it will be there forever. She instantly corrected me and said, "you mean it will be there until Jesus heals you when He comes again?" Why is that my 5 year old daughter can speak more directly to my heart than anyone else? The tears started to well up in my eyes as my love for her overflowed within me. As I have pondered this thought all day, I have felt so much gratitude! I feel as if my understanding of the Atonement has increased over the last 4 months (today is exactly4 months since Clairisa's death), but I also know that in my mortal mind my understanding and comprehension of the most significant event in all of history is on quite a molecular level. But, I do know that because of that supernal act, I can be healed...we can all be healed. Healed of wounds that may or may not be visible. Wounds that may pierce so deep into our heart that healing is merely impossible without intervention from Deity.

This Thanksgiving, I feel as though my gratitude is deeper than it has ever been. I feel so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I couldn't even begin to imagine what suffering would be like without knowing the Healer. I am so thankful for my children and my husband. Each one of them have and continue to change and refine me in their own unique ways. How thankful I am for family and friends. That sentence has never meant more to me than it does now. During these last 4 months, I have literally been carried upon the wings of so many angels in my life. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude and love for all of the MANY selfless acts of love. As I continually count my many blessings and name them one by one, I am not only surprised but in awe of all that the Lord has done.

One of my favorite songs EVER....

Click here and ENJOY!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lice and Chicken Pox

Last week Katelund came home with a letter from school letting all of the parents know that one of the students in the class has lice. They advised us all to check our child every day for awhile to make sure that they don't get it. Okay, I have to stop here and explain something. I am...well some people (like my family) think I am a little bit of a hypochondriac. I have not only thought that I've had every disease imaginable but I also thought at one point that Katelund had bone cancer b/c she was having growing pains in her legs. I was so convinced that it was more than growing pains that I made the doctor do an x-ray just in case. I have also taken Cloey into the doctor b/c I thought she had a tumor since her nose kept bleeding (I saw something on tv where the guy had bloody noses all the time b/c he had a tumor). Anyways, now that you have a little better understanding of me...back to my story...

So, Katelund was just fine. But, I swear to you the second after I checked her all of the sudden my head started itching like crazy!!! I seriously thought that somehow the lice had gotten on her backback or clothes or something (I don't even know if that is possible) and gotten in my hair. I was for sure that I had lice. Well after checking my head and both of my girls' heads for about 5 days now, I am finally feeling better about the whole thing. I think we all made it through lice-free. :) WHEW!!!

The only problem is that Andrea (my big sis) called me tonight to tell me that she thinks her daughter has chicken pox. Well, here we go. I am itching like crazy!!! I've never had chicken pox. I hope it can't spread through the phone... J/K (after my ditsy post, I decided I better put J/K after that last statement so that nobody wonders if I was really serious) :)

By the way, my friend Destinee (the photographer who took the pics on my last post) is not only great at taking pictures, she is also AMAZING with children and just an awesome person to know!!! If anyone local needs a good here for a link to her business blog.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Reasons to Rejoice

I don't know if it is just me, but has anyone else noticed how doom and gloom everything is on the news and everywhere else? It just seems like there are so many people who are filled with despair, people who are without hope for this great country in which we live and for the current financial and economic situations that we have found ourselves in. I know that times are tough and that there is a full-frontal attack that is going on right now on family and marriage, but why are people feeling so discouraged and disheartened? We know that the war on morals will only continue to get worse. We know that the attacks on family will only get more intense. BUT...we have every reason to rejoice.

We know who is going to win this war. We know that we are on the winning side...the Lord's side. So why should we fear? Moroni, he had reasons to despair and fear. He was all alone, living his life in hiding, as he watched his entire civilization fall. I couldn't even imagine how difficult that must have been. But us? There are thousands even millions of us who are on the winning side. I believe that people are better and stronger than ever. We have the ability to make a difference. Together we can stand immovable on the Lord's side. We can help bear one another's burdens and reach out to those who are suffering (financially, physically, or emotionally). I am so sick of hearing people complain that everything is so horrible b/c Obama is president and now everything is going to fall to pieces. I believe that there is some good in Obama and I believe there are some good men in high places who are still fighting for the right thing.

How thankful I am to live right now. To live in a time where I must take a stand, it is no longer a time where one can just sit on the fence. If we are prepared spiritually and temporally there is no reason to fear. We must rejoice for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must rejoice for a living prophet who stands here on the earth to lead this great army of righteousness. We must rejoice for all that is good. We must rejoice in our Savior, the commander of our army, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and know that He will come again.

We have every reason to rejoice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ditsy Moments

I don't know why, but lately I have had quite a few ditsy moments. I don't know what the deal is. For example, the other day I said to Cory (while looking at the calendar). Oh wow, Cory, Black Friday is actually on Friday this year. He looked at me and said, "seriously?". Yes. I was serious. Totally forgot that Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday.

Yesterday I was dropping off Ashley (I'd been staying with her and her brothers while their mom was out of town) at school. High School (that is an important part of the story). We were talking and laughing about something and then Ashley turns to me and says, "Um, Sister Mann, you went in the wrong lane." Yep, I'd totally turned into the lane that had a BIG RED "DO NOT ENTER" sign. I felt so bad as she walked into school with her coat over her head so nobody would know who was riding with that dumb driver. J/K, she didn't put her coat over her head, but I wouldn't have blamed her if she did.

I showed up for ward council meeting 30 minutes late because somehow I forgot when it started (although I do go to that meeting every month).

We took the youth on a temple trip this last weekend. I drove around FOREVER looking for the Cicis (that was right down the road from the temple) while everyone else was there waiting for us.

I could seriously keep going, but I think I'll spare myself the humiliation.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Boring Games

Sometimes I get so caught up in all of the things that need to be done; cleaning, organizing, cooking, laundry, etc..., that I forget to make time for the most important thing during the day...spending one on one time with Cloey. I had a whole list of household chores that I needed to accomplish today, and by afternoon Cloey was getting sick of falling me around (heaven forbid that she go and play by herself). She just wanted me to play with her. So, I stopped what I was doing and did a puzzle and then played hide and seek (MANY TIMES!!). Then she said, "what should we play now?" I said, "how about if we play the folding clothes game or the put daddy's socks away game?" She looked at me with an "I'm not that stupid Mom" look and said, "No, no boring games like that. Your games are boring."

Amen to that!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

After re-reading my previous post, I felt like I needed those who read my blog but who don't see me regularly, to know that I have found lots of comfort, peace, and joy. I have great hope and I know that this life is but a small moment in the whole scheme of things. Although it hurts badly every once in awhile, it is not always like that. I have felt greater joy, gratitude, empathy, compassion and love than I have ever felt. Thank you so much for all of those who have kept our family in your prayers. The Lord has blessed us greatly with an overwhelming sense of his love and concern for us and all of his children.


Since the beginning of the school year, Katelund has been taking a gymnastics class every Thursday. She loves going and I love going to watch her. One of the first times I took her, I was very surprised to find out that one of the girls in Katelund's class was the daughter of one of the doctors in my OB/GYN group. The first time I saw her there I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should talk to her or not. What if she didn't recognize me. Well she did. She came over and offered her condolences and asked me how I was doing. We talked and cried together for awhile. Ever since then I have only seen her one other time because she usually has her nanny there with her daughter. Well, yesterday she was there again. As we said our hellos and talked briefly, the memories all came flooding back to me.

As I drove home I couldn't help but go back in time as I remembered. I think about Clairisa every single day, but I try to forget some of the more traumatic details of that day...Saturday, July 26th. It was a Saturday that will forever be etched in my memory. A day where my worst fear became a reality. Friday night had been a horrible night. I had been having contractions every five minutes and I had a horrific pain in my back all night long. I kept calling the nurse but there was not a whole lot she could do for me. I was already taking the maximum dose of the procartia they were giving me to relax my uterus (it was very irritated b/c of where the placenta was located...which is why I was having pain and contractions). Anyways, it was a very long night and by the time the morning came, I was very tired and upset because I was just not feeling very good. I called Cory crying and he told me to hold tight because he was going to make me an omlet (Cory's omlets are AMAZINGLY delicious) and be up there with me as soon as he was done making it and after he bathed the girls. As we were getting off the phone, my favorite nurse, Tammy, came in to monitor Clairisa's heartbeat (a routine that was done for an hour every morning and for another hour in the evening). They normally don't monitor the baby's heartbeat so much while you're in the high risk maternal unit, but Clairisa had an arrhythmic heartbeat so they watched it closely. Her heartbeat would be between 140-180 (it was usually always in the 150s) but then it would drop really low for a couple of beats and then go back to normal. They said it was very normal and nothing to worry about but they still wanted to watch it closely. So while Tammy was monitoring it everything was great until the last 15 minutes. Her heartbeat dropped and wasn't coming up. We thought that she had just moved b/c when the monitor can't find the heartbeat it just stays where it was or goes to my heartbeat. Anyways, after a couple of minutes, we both started to feel a little anxious. She went out to call the doctor, but he just happened to be in the hallway at that very moment (this doctor was known for coming very late in the day to do his checkups, but for some reason he had felt impressed to do things differently that day). He came in with the ultrasound machine and by the time she was on the screen her heartbeat was very weak.

As much as I want to, I will never forget the next 15 minutes. When he said the words "we need to take her out now!", I can't even begin to tell you how scared I was. I was trying to call Cory but he wasn't answering (he was giving the girls a bath and didn't hear his phone) which made me panic even more. Once I was in the O.R. they were still trying to find her heartbeat just in case it bounced back up. At one point, the nurse got all excited b/c she said she'd found the heartbeat at 150. The doctor ran over and then said, "No, it's Melissa's heartbeat." It was such a surreal experience. I had a lot of things going through my mind, but honestly I never thought I would really lose her. By the time the doctor got her out and handed her to the pediatrician, her heart had stopped beating. My mom actually asked the doctor at one of my check-up appointments when her heart had stopped beating, but he said he didn't know. By the time he'd gotten to her it was very faint and then gone.

The biopsy of my placenta showed that there was an abruption, which means that my placenta had torn off of the uterus wall just a little bit...but enough to cause Clairisa to lose too much blood. Had it happened on Friday night when I was experiencing so much pain? I don't know. But I do know the Lord was in control. It was all in his hands. I know that with all of my heart. But, as I flash back on the previous experience, I feel my heart trembling within me as I think about what could have been. I miss her. I miss her everyday. Traumatic experiences really change a person. I feel like in many ways I feel more gratitude and love, but in other ways, I feel like I just want to run and hide and pretend like it never happened. It is hard to remember the details. To remember when they told me she had not made it. To remember holding her for the first and last time. To remember giving her to the nurse and watching her lay her little body in a box that I would never be able to open again. To remember waking up on Sunday morning and crying in agony because it really hadn't just been a bad dream. To remember attending my own child's funeral.

It hurts, but remembering is part of healing.

{Thank you to my friend, Laura C., who spent so much time with me yesterday while I was visiting teaching to just let me remember.}

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

My mom was asked to teach a class at her enrichment about gratitiude. I asked her for a copy of it b/c it was SO GOOD (she read it to me over the phone)!!! I won't post the whole thing....but I just had to share the first part.

"When Sister Hilton called and asked me if I would teach a class about gratitude and how to teach it to children, I called my daughter Melissa to ask her how she teaches her daughters about gratitude. She told me this story. She has been trying to teach her two daughters Katelund and Cloey to be more grateful so when they start complaining or showing ingratitude she will remind them to be grateful by saying to them “you do not have an attitude of gratitude”. After several reminders over several days, on one particular occasion when Katelund was being ungrateful Melissa said “Katelund you do not have an attitude of gratitude!” Katelund tired of being reminded said, “Mommy, I hate attitude of gratitude!”

Obviously that didn’t work!

As I’ve been pondering gratitude and what it is, I’ve decided that even though the phrase attitude of gratitude is catchy, gratitude is more than an attitude; I like to think of it as having “a grateful heart”.

This summer I was blessed to be able to go to North Carolina and spend 3 weeks with my daughter Melissa and her family. They live in a partially built out neighborhood. One day I took my two granddaughters, Katelund and Cloey for a walk through the undeveloped part of the neighborhood. We walked along the street past vacant lots filled with weeds. As we were walking, Katelund said, “OH Grandma look at this beautiful flower! She saw the flowers in a vacant lot filled with weeds. Katelund may not have understood the catchy phrase, attitude of gratitude, but she is learning to have a grateful heart.

In this past General Conference President Monson quoting a well known author said,” Both abundance and lack of abundance exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend….when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present … we experience heaven on earth.”

When I heard that quote in conference I thought of my little grand-daughter who saw the flowers in a vacant lot filled with weeds."

Later on in her class, she recited the following poem...

I Am Thankful for… by Nancie J. Carmody

I am thankful for ….

…The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

…The taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.

…A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

…Dirty dishes in the sink because it means I have enough to eat.

…My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

…The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

…All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

…My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

…The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

…The piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

…The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.

…Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans and Bishops

Last night I was explaining to Katelund what Veterans Day was all about. I told her that it is a day where we think about and give thanks to all of those men and women who have or who are currently serving our country and making our world a safer place.

Well today while we were driving in the car, Katelund and Cloey were in the backseat fighting like crazy (their favorite past time in the car) and I was desperately trying to distract them by pointing out all of the beautiful trees and mountains around us. As we were approaching the Bishop's house, I told them to tell me when they saw Bishop's house. Then I told Katelund that maybe she should say a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for the beautiful world He made for us and for our Bishop who works so hard. So we all fold our arms (well, not me b/c I was driving) and Katelund says her prayer. She said, "Thank you so much for the beautiful earth that we live on and thank you for our Bishop and all that he does to serve our country and world." It was so sweet, but I think she confused the role of a Bishop and a veteran. Although, I guess when you think about it, Bishops really do make our country and our world a better place.
So thank you Veterans and thank you Bishops!


Yesterday Cloey spilled her water all over the counter. When I went into the kitchen to see what had happened, I kindof panicked b/c there was some stuff on the counter (like my phone, Cory's batteries to his airplane, and some bags that I needed to return) that I didn't want to get wet. I was expressing my frustration out loud (never a good idea) and Katelund very sweetly said to me, "Mommy, I think you've forgotten your patience."

Always a Race!!

Last night we took a family trip to Walmart. (sounds fun, huh?) After we got the three things that we'd gone for, we went to the front of the store to wait in line. We went to the lines that were "20 items or less". For each of the lines that were open, there were about four people in line already and I swear some of the people had at least 21 items. Anyways, so Cory chose a line and I chose a line. I thought for sure that the line I chose was going to be the fastest one. Well, we waited and waited and it was really looking like I was going to win, but it was close....too close. By this point, Cory and I's competitive sides were very apparent. I was actually getting nervous. Cloey was cheering my side on and Katelund was cheering Cory's side (that is always how it goes). always happens like this....something went wrong and the cashier in MY LINE had to call for a manager. WHY??? It always happens to my lines. In fact, it happened at the bank just last week. But the bigger question is...why do I care? Why does it always have to be a race? I think it is something my dad ingrained in me. He would always say, "Everything is a race." I was pretty upset but then....oh wasn't over. I had taken the cart over to Cory's aisle (only b/c he was the one with the money and I thought the race was over), but then the manager came over to the cashier right as it was our turn. He had to take some cash out of the register. In the end, it was a dead tie. I couldn't have been more happy (that's actually a lie, I would've been happier if I'd have won). :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Look

If you have read my blog for awhile, you have probably noticed that I have an obsession with change. I cannot keep my blog looking the same way for more than a month (if that). I have changed my color, layout, pictures, title, etc. over and over again. What can I say? I just like change. I just get sick of looking at the same colors and design. I am one of those people who LOVE and live for change. I guess that is why I loved teaching Kindergarten and being the primary music leader. I always had to think of new ways to teach the same things. I get excited about and am constantly looking for new ideas and new ways to liven things up. I have even gone so far as using the Bernstein Bear book, "The Spooky Old Tree", to teach my laurels about morality and chastity.

Anyways, back to the reason why I have written this post. My sister (in all her creative genius) created a new look for my blog (as you can see). Of course, I absolutely love it. I told her to surprise me. After she completed it she showed it to her husband, Ryan, and he said, "it is very Melissa". I totally agree. When I called her to thank her she told me that the only stipulation is that I have to leave it be for at least one month. I think I can do it. :) So here's to my new look and to the best big sister in the whole world!!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Book for Baby Riley

Today I went to my friend's baby shower. I made a board book for her (if you like this book, you should see the ones my sister Andrea here). I've posted a few of the pages below...

Tights and Party Drinks

After writing my post about how Cloey's world is coming to an end b/c it is too cold to wear skirts everyday, my sweet sister-in-law (Amber) sent me a package in the mail that included a whole bunch of sweet little of them being a couple of different color tights for Cloey. Thank you Aunt Amber!!! I think you are now Cloey's favorite person. Life can now go on.
My little school girl. I can't believe how grown-up she is getting. It is so funny because I swear all that she does when she is at home is play school, draw pictures, or write letters and words. It is so fun and adorable!!!
Katelund had the day off of school a while back and so she decided to surprise me and make up her own recipe. She called it her "party drink" It consists of; half and half, sugar, apple bites (she literally took an apple, bit off a piece, and threw it in), olives, marshmallows, and pineapple. I told her that she had to drink it to make sure she liked it. She took a sip and said, "YUMMY". I guess it was too yummy to drink anymore. It ended up going down the drain a couple of hours later. She was very proud of her new recipe. She even made up a recipe card that listed all of the ingredients. SO CUTE!!!

One of Cloey's favorite poses. Sorry the picture is kinda funky. Cory was playing with it on his Apple photo program.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I saw this idea on someone else's blog, and I loved it. Not only is it the month of Thanksgiving but it is also just a good thing to post about things we're thankful for.

Today (and everyday) I am so thankful for music. To me, there is just nothing more calming, joyful, inspirational, mesmerizing, and rejuvenating than a good song. I have always loved music. I have been in choirs since I was a little girl. Not that I have a great voice, but there is just something incredible about singing in a choir. It gives me chills and makes my heart soar (only if it is a good choir, which fortunately I was always a part of good choirs. But, more than I love to sing, I LOVE to listen to other people sing, especially when they are REALLY good. More often than not, it brings me to tears.

I also love to listen to good music in my home. If I find a CD that I love I will listen to it over and over again all day long. One of my very favorite CDs is the Josh Grobin Christmas CD. Yes, I have already started listening to it. I know that it is not Christmas time yet and I should be focusing on Thanksgiving, but I can't think of anything that I am more thankful for than Christ, so really it is perfect. I also love the song "Bleeding Love" (it brings me to tears these days though b/c it reminds me of Clairisa). Another one of my favorites is "Freckles" by Natasha Bedingfield. One of my all-time favorites is "Oh My Soul Hungered" from the Book of Mormon soundtrack. I could go on and on. What is your favorite song?

Click here to hear a GREAT song!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Oh How Lovely Was the Morning

This morning I went on a run before Cory had to leave for work. I didn't go my usual route, I decided to go the other direction. Everything was perfect. The trees were breath-taking with all of their multi-colored leaves, the air was crisp, cold, and fresh, and the sky was the most beautiful blue without a cloud in the sky. On my way back home, I was running up a hill with my music blaring and feeling great. As I got to the point where it leveled out, I stopped dead in my tracks.

It was the most beautiful scene. I can't even put it into words for you. There was not a house to be found. The road was lined on both sides with the most amazingly tall and beautiful trees . Their bright yellow, red, and orange leaves were falling down everywhere in the breeze and the sun was shining through the branches. I was completely in awe!! On my music, I turned on the song, "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning" (one of my favorites). I started walking and I just wept as I soaked in all of the beauty around me. As I listened to the words of the song, my heart burned within me as I felt the Spirit testify once again to me that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

During our Women's Conference this last weekend, one of the speakers (one of my favorites) was "Inkmom". My favorite line in her talk was, "If He [God] made everything, then why shouldn't we see Him in everything." This morning I definitely did.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One of my new favorite recipes!!! (Thanks Kim)

Baked Potato Soup

2 medium potatoes

2 tbls butter

1cup diced white onion

2 tbls flour

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

¼ cup cornstarch

1 ½ cups instant mashed potatoes

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp pepper

½ tsp basil

1/8 tsp thyme

1 cup half and half


½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup crumbled bacon

2 green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 and bake potatoes 1 hour or until done. Remove from oven and cool.

As potatoes cool, prepare soup by melting butter in large sauce pan. Sauté white onions until light brown. Add flour and stir to make a roux.

Add broth, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes, and spices to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out contents. Discard skins. Chop potato into ½ inch chunks. Add chopped potato and half and half to soup. Bring to boil. Reduce and simmer for 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and garnish tops. Serves 6 – 8.

I felt like this post may com ascross as offensive so I decided to just erase it.

I think that we are all just doing the very best that we can and in voting we should vote for whomever we feel will do the best job not only for us individually, but also for our great country.

God bless America!!

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