Monday, December 27, 2010

The Week after Christmas

I have such a love/hate relationship with the week after Christmas. I hate that the magic of Christmas is over. I hate that the excitement and anticipation is gone. But I do love the fact that I can leave my Christmas decorations out for one more week and that it is okay if I listen to Christmas music just a little bit longer.

Our Christmas was wonderful. I was sick (not just pregnant sick, also yucky green stuff coming out of my nose and uncontrollable coughing sick, but I have an AMAZING husband who still made Christmas perfect in every single way. He did everything and so much more. I think I seriously fell in love with him all over again. Not only was everything perfect, but I also received the most incredibly beautiful gift EVER!!! But it was so amazing that it really deserves a post of its very own {coming soon}.

Thanks for all of the well wishes and congratulations on our exciting, yet surprising, news. It took awhile for me to get over the initial shock. I guess you do what you can to plan when the next baby will come, or not come, but in the end it is really out of our hands. Yes, we are absolutely hoping for a little boy this time. But, the odds are definitely not in our favor. :) We have actually talked about not even finding out the sex until he/she is born. But, I'm having a hard time seeing myself actually being able to do that. It does sound kindof exciting though. We'll see. In the mean time, I am just trying to get through the next couple of weeks. As if January isn't depressing enough. Blah. I guess I better come up with some fun ideas for January. Maybe I should make Christmas cards for next year. Last year my excuse was, "oh I'll just send out baby announcements in February." This year my excuse was, "I want to vomit all over everything." So, once Christmas cards from us. What a slacker I am!!!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy your "Week after Christmas" week.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Five is the number of cute little toenails on Katelund's feet that are now painted red.

Five is the number of years that Cloey has blessed my life.

Five is the number of sweet little fingers that Hailey always seems to want to put in my mouth while she is nursing.

Five is the number of inches of snow that I am expecting on Christmas (they are actually only forecasting .5, but hey, a girl can dream right?)

Five is the number of different kinds of wrapping paper I bought.

Five is what time I woke up this morning because I couldn't stop coughing.

Five is my favorite time of the day because that is when Cory comes home and makes everything better.

Five is the number of dollars I have in my wallet right now.

Five is the number of times I woke up last night.

Five is the number of times I have gagged in the last hour....because.....

Five is also the number of children that I will have come July. SURPRISE!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feeling Better [and other random thoughts]

This has been the longest stretch of sickness EVER!!! On Sunday, I thought I was going to die. Okay not really, but I was SO weak and I couldn't keep anything down, not even water. Yesterday when I woke up, I was determined to feel better (mostly because I had things that I needed to get done and I didn't have time to be sick anymore). It was a pretty miserable day, but it's over and today I'm feeling so much better. Unfortunately, Katelund woke up with another fever this morning. But, at least I can take care of her today.

This morning I went and read all the comments on my education posts. I LOVED reading them!!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to express your opinions. This morning I read a post (click here) by my friend Erin who wrote about the importance of having your own opinions and also respecting those of others. I always love to read what she writes, but this time it really hit home with me. Just as Erin pointed out, you can hardly listen to any political views these days without also hearing them slander those who disagree with them. I am DEFINITELY not a political expert by any means, but I do believe that this kind of slander and pride goes against the very core belief of a democracy, the idea that each man has the right to his/her own beliefs and opinions. If you disagree with a political issue stand up and disagree, don't hide behind sarcasm, mockery, and degrading impersonations. The second we start to take that right away, by bullying, persecuting, or slandering, I think we are on a very steep and slippery slope. It is, after all, the idea of coercing and leading with fear that is at the very heart of totalitarianism and dictatorships.

Last week I finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The books reminded me in many ways of George Orwell's book 1984. The books were very well written and a very fast-pace read, but they were more than that. The characters were gruesome, disturbing, and yet,heart warming and heroic. There were moments where I hated the book and wondered why I was still reading, and then other times when I loved it. I definitely would recommend them but with a caution. Go into it knowing that there are parts (especially in Book 3) that are violent. The books spoke to me on such a deeper level though. It made me so grateful for the country in which we are so blessed to live, but it also made me realize that the freedoms we enjoy are ones that we should still be constantly fighting for. The form of government that is depicted in the books, reminded both Cory and I of the government that exist today in North Korea. My heart just breaks for the people of North Korea. How did they get to where they are today? Really, how does any country go from one of democracy and freedom to one filled with oppression and fear? I don't know. All I know is it makes me want to be a greater fighter of freedom and a greater advocate of humanity and civility. It makes me want to be a more charitable neighbor, a better mother, and a more devoted disciple. For in the end, the government shall be upon His shoulders and He shall rule and reign as King of Kings. Oh, how I look forward to that day.

Okay, one more thing.......are you ready for this?? Nope, I'm not ready to tell. Maybe tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a day!

It all started on Sunday night after our dinner guests left. Cloey ran to the bathroom and threw up and then the fever came about 10 minutes later. The fever has come and gone for the last three days. Cory and I have been suffering through a horrible head cold this week. Katelund's fever began around 11 today and Hailey coughed all through the night last night and woke up this morning with her eyes glued shut and dried green junk all over her nose. So.......I spent the day at the doctor's office (it is SO not fun to have three sick children at the doctor's office!!). I came home with the following diagnosis...
Hailey has pink eye in both eyes and an ear infection.
Katelund has a urinary tract infection.
Cloey has the flu.
Four hours later, I'm still waiting for the pharmacy to have the prescriptions ready, I have three miserable little girls (and husband...and me too, but oh wait, I can't be sick or who would take care of everyone else!!???), and all I want to do is relax in a bubble bath and finish my book! I really hope tomorrow is a better day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why am I not blogging?

Because I am obsessed with the birthday present my sisters sent me....the Hunger Games series. Have you read them? They are addicting, suspenseful, and totally worth the 10 hours that I will have spent reading them over the last week!! Half a book to go and then I will come back to reality.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Education Part II

Either I only have 2 people that read my blog these days or there are only 2 people who have an opinion on education. Seriously, doesn't anyone else have anything to say?

Tonya, I think you are absolutely right. It is definitely not the teacher's fault. They are just doing what they have been told to do. In fact, did you know that recent studies show that over 50% of all new teachers will quit within their first five years of teaching? When I started teaching in Texas and was immersed into a real classroom, I was so glad that I was teaching Kindergarten. I was shocked to see the kind of pressure and stress that the older grades had to put on their students in order to get a certain percentage of them to pass the test so that the school would get funding and the teachers would get their bonus. It really is not fair to the teachers, or the children. For so long, I blamed it on the government. I blamed it on the government program No Child Left Behind. But, it really isn't the government's fault. In my opinion, they shouldn't be so involved in education, but the problem is that we, as a country, have forced them to get involved. We force them to get involve as the drop out rates have hit a dangerously high level. We have forced them to get involved as the standards have become lower and lower in schools because the teachers are no longer just teachers teaching math, science, and english, they are also standing in as mentors and confidants teaching students what they are not being taught in their homes by their own parents.

What children are not getting in their own homes, the schools are having to make up for. So, really when it comes down to is our fault. And when I say "our" I mean every one of us. We can all do more. We can do more to teach our own children. We can do more to encourage education and family in our communities. We can do more in our children's schools. We can do more within our own homes to foster a love for reading and learning. It just fascinates me how in Pakistan the terrorist blow up girls schools. They feel SO threatened by Greg Mortenson, who is "fighting terrorist one school at a time" because they know that if the girls are given an opportunity to be educated then they will not allow their sons to join the terrorist groups (culturally, they must get permission from their mothers in order to do so). In this example, as in so many others, education could change everything, and in turn, save a nation.

I feel like, as mothers, we have the greatest responsibility to promote and encourage a love of learning. When you think of the Stripling Warriors, you always think of their "mothers who knew". We must be those same kind of mothers. Mothers who know that education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Mothers who know that the most important classroom is the one within our own homes.

Just recently, President Obama said that the drop out rate is becoming a "national crisis". I think that if we were to just do a little more in our own homes and community, then we could make a change, even if it's a small one, in our little corner of the world. I believe that as we all do a little more and take this crisis as seriously as we should, then in turn, we could literally save our own nation.

Monday, December 06, 2010

My Soap Box....Education Part I

I mentioned in a previous post how my sister, Andrea, has gone back to school to get her degree in elementary ed. Since I REALLY miss being in college (seriously, I do...there is no sarcasm in that statement), I told my sister that I wanted to read her papers and that I'd love to help her with research, writing, editing, or anything else that she might want some help with (not that she can't do it on her own...she is just so busy and I LOVE to write papers). Anyways, just recently she called me and told me that she was writing a paper on standardized testing and that she needed more. So I went to work...and oh man did she wake a sleeping giant. I had forgotten how passionately I felt about standardized testing, No Child Left Behind, etc. I researched and researched and called everyone I knew (okay, not everyone) and told them all about my feelings on the subject. It is one of those subjects that you probably do not want to engage me in unless you are ready for some long-winded passion (another one of those subjects is the UFC fighting). I had decided against blogging about it because part of my feelings have to do with politics and I learned awhile back that it is probably not a good idea to express political views on a blog unless you want some serious debate. But, the more I've thought about this, the more that I've realized that if I don't speak out, then I am no different than the person who could care less about education in America. I do care. I not only care, but I am deeply concerned. Below is just a little portion of what I sent my sister.

...In this same article that was quoted above, Henry lists 12 reasons why high stakes tests are failing our kids. Over and over again the point is brought out that standardized testing focuses on lower level thinking skills. While the higher level skills of creativity, whole analysis, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and complex reasoning are being pushed aside in order to focus on the rote memorization and multiple choice questions that "will be on the test". I wonder how many creative geniuses are being shut down or how many innovative ideas will never surface because of the way our children are being taught. Education is a life long process. It is the very foundation upon which our country rests and it is the pivotal point upon which our children's future will be determined. How can we teach our children the value of continuing and loving education if the excitement and endless possibilities of learning are being diluted and stifled with standardized testing? Yes, there must be accountability. But when did the solution to accountability turn into a high stakes test where a student's future and current capacity rest on the multiple choice answers of A,B,C, or D?

What are your opinions? If you don't have any, you may want to read this article.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Goodbye 20's...Hello 30!

This was the last picture taken of me as a 29 year old. Before I begin to tell you about how I feel being 30, I have to clarify one thing. I am NOT a Yankee fan. I am a Rangers fan. But, I don't have a Rangers hat and my sweet friend Austyn sent this hat to me after she moved to NYC. So, I am a fan of NYC and my friend Austyn, but definitely NOT a Yankee fan. Whew. I feel much better.

On to being 30.....I am loving it!! Really! I thought it would be hard, but I was so wrong. It's probably because I am still on a high from my AMAZING birthday party last night. Seriously, it was the best birthday party I have ever had in my life...thanks to my INCREDIBLE (and incredibly beautiful) friend Kristi. Wow, does she know how to throw a party! Are you just dying to know what we did?

First I have to explain something. So, remember how much I love and adore my Grandpa Black who passed away a couple years ago? Well, one of the things that he would always do is record in his journal on his birthday about the miles that he either biked, ran, or swam that day. I love this tradition because I just can't think of a better way to celebrate life. To me, there is just nothing better than the euphoria I feel after finishing a race or a really long bike ride (maybe not so much a swim since the last experience I had in a swim meet was really quite embarrassing....but,that's a whole other story for another time).

With that being said, my friend Kristi wanted to plan a party for me where we did something that I loved. After talking it over (while we sipped away on DELICIOUS hot chocolate from Starbucks), she came up with a plan. She organized a private spin class (with an AMAZING teacher) for me and 15 of my favorite girlfriends. Then, afterwards, we would go enjoy some delicious salad, pizza, bruschetta, and cake from a local favorite pizza joint. The spin class was the most amazing workout ever, especially because I shared it with such great company. We sweated together, cheered together, and cried out in pain together :). The instructor even had me go up to the front between each song and do push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc. I know this sounds like torture, but it wasn't! It was so much fun and I LOVED the whole night!!! There is nothing better than enjoying pizza and birthday cake after an intense workout. I came home last night with legs that felt like jelly, a whole car full of gifts, and left over birthday cake and brushetta to be enjoyed for breakfast. I brought everything in, kissed all three of my sleeping beauties, and then laid awake in bed as I thought about how completely spoiled I had been. I feel so blessed to have the friends that I do. They are each so incredibly talented and amazing in their own ways and they bring so much joy to my life!!!!! I frequently express my gratitude and love for my family but today I want to give thanks for my friends. For all the friends that I have had over the years who have brightened my days and enriched my life. Friends truly are one of God's greatest gifts.

So here's to the big 3-0!!!! And here's to a day of celebrating with my VERY favorite people (I am so going to beat Cory in tennis today!).

I'll post pics as soon as I get them. My friend Jessica was the photographer (since she's 8 months pregnant and we didn't want her to go into labor last night). She also shot some video, which I'm a little nervous about watching.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


These are kindof random pictures, but each of them are significant to me in their own way. The first picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day. Cory was super organized this year and made a job chart so that everyone had their particular assignments on Thanksgiving Day. I was in charge of the veggie tray, pecan pie, and setting the table. Can I just say how much I love how we do Thanksgiving??!!! Cory's Dad does the turkey and gravy. Mom does the mashed potatoes, rolls, and our festive drink. Logan does the ham. Becca does the sweet potatoes and apple crisp. Cory does the stuffing, vinegar shrimp, and then helps with the turkey. The reason I love it so much is because it is not overwhelming for anyone. We make our shopping list together, grocery shop together, and go to the annual turkey bowl together. (I am not one of those wives who stay home and cook while my husband is out having fun on Thanksgiving.) I run my own turkey trot 5k around the track and the girls have the time of their life running around playing. Anyways, back to the picture....since I was in charge of table setting, I had Katelund be in charge of the center piece. She took this assignment VERY seriously! I told her to go outside with a basket, gather stuff she could use, and then arrange it in the three little glass dishes. She did a great job and LOVED every minute of it.

The second and third pictures are of my sweet little helper. Hailey LOVES to help me with laundry. She is at such a fun stage! I just can't get enough of her.

The fourth picture was taken the other night when I went to tell Katelund to turn her lamp off. She loves to read in her bed at night. She also is REALLY loving the book that is shown in the picture. It is a book that answers all sorts of questions that kids might have about their bodies. I LOVE this book!!!! Katelund has decided that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up, which I can totally see. She loves learning about plants, animals, people, etc. It is so cute to see her developing into her own little grown up person.

The last picture is of a recent book that I ordered from Deseret Book. It is AMAZING!!!! Seriously, one of the best Christmas books ever. It is meant to be read before Christmas. I would HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!!! If you are looking for ways to enrich the Christmas season, I also HIGHLY recommend listening to this. It was a BYU Education Week talk that was given last year by Susan Easton Black (love her!!!). It is called "The Road to Bethlehem -The Birth of Jesus". It is kinda long (50 min) but totally worth every minute!!!

Last but not least, my 30th birthday is just days away. My friend Kristi has planned the BEST birthday party ever!!! I promise I'll blog all about it and post pics.

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