Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yes, I am excited!

Last night as I was checking out at Walgreens, the cashier sat and stared at me for a couple of seconds and then said (in a very judgmental and not very nice way), "and how old is your baby?" (I was holding Hailey in my arms.) I told her that she was a year old (I should have told her that she was 15 months). She then said, "well....they are going to be pretty close together, don't you think??" At this point, I was fighting back every urge in my body to not just leave my groceries and walk out of the store. But, I took a deep breath and remembered the advice that my friend told me the other day. I then put a smile on my face and said, "Yes they will, and I am very excited." She looked at me very confused and said, "You're excited?" I then reassured her that I was and decided to totally shock her by telling her that in less than 2 months I will have 4 little girls running around and how much fun it will be. She softened up a little and I guess decided that if I was excited about it then it was okay.

I cannot even tell you the kind of looks that I get from people as I walk in somewhere with three girls, one who is very much still a baby (and is small for her age anyways), and a very obvious pregnant belly. It is not like I live in Utah where big families are the norm, I live in a part of the country where a family with three kids is considered a big family. I am really glad that I cannot hear what people are thinking, but sometimes it is as if I can just by the expression on their face. Does it bother me? Somedays. Somedays I look at myself in the mirror with the same expression. But most of the time, I just feel grateful and happy. Years from now when the crazy stage of two little ones close together finally settle down and I have four beautiful girls who will mean everything to me and who will give me beautiful grandchildren, it will all be worth it.

It is all worth it and yes, Mrs. Cashier at Walgreens, I really am excited (and nervous and scared out of my mind) :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Women in the Storm

After the tornado that hit our area a couple of weeks ago, the stories began to be told. Some stories were amazing and heroic, such as the little boy who saved his little baby brother or the teenager who lost his life in order to save his sibling's. But then there were other stories, ones that were tragic and heartbreaking. One such story happened to a little family. The mother, father, and son had all gathered into a little closet because it was the safest room in their house. Once gathered, the mother decided to leave the closet in order to check out the window. While she was out of the closet, a huge tree fell on their house and killed her instantly.
When I first heard this story, my heart just broke for this little family. What a tragic way to lose your mother and wife.

This morning as I was at the church helping with cleaning, I talked for awhile with a man whom I have met before when I was serving in YWs. Their family has not been attending our church for years. Each time that I went to their house or called on the phone, I did not get a very warm response, especially from him. But today it was different, he was different. He was warm and kind and very humble. I asked him how his family was doing and if they had any damage from the storms. He then told me that they didn't have damage from the tornado, but they did from another storm. His family had been ripped apart because of some bad choices that his wife had made. Just as the previous story, it is now just him and his son trying to pick up and move forward.

These stories have so much in common to me. Each of them about a woman who chose to leave her "place of security". Each of them thinking, at least initially, that what they were doing was harmless, but eventually it led to a disaster and a family torn in half. Thankfully, for each of these families there is still hope and a chance for a joyous reunion once again.

There are so many distractions and so many messages being sent to women about what they should or shouldn't be doing with their time and with their role as women, mothers, and wives. The storms and winds of anti-family and anti-Christ doctrines are intense and blowing at an ever-increasing rate. How grateful I am for a living prophet who knows exactly where we should be in order to keep ourselves and our families safe.

My sister-in-law sent me this amazing quote today by Elder Ballard that reminded me of the importance of those small decisions that I make daily, even the decisions of where my heart is and what words are coming from my mouth.

“Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Dear sisters, every one of you who strengthens and protects your family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God.

I have been drawn to an interchange between God the Father and His Elder and Only Begotten Son, who is the ultimate example of living up to one’s premortal promises. When God asked who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved and strengthened and blessed, it was Jesus Christ who said, simply, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abraham 3:27).

Just as the Savior stepped forward to fulfill His divine responsibilities, we have the challenge and responsibility to do likewise. If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the effect when you make such commitments as the following,

‘Father, if you need a woman to rear children in righteousness, Here am I, send me.’

‘If you need a woman to make a house a home filled with love, Here am I, send me.’

‘If you need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, Here am I, send me.’

‘If you need a woman who can resist alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, Here am I, send me.’

‘Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, ‘Here am I, send me.’”

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Ice Cream Solution

For about a month now, we have had the ice cream truck singing its notorious tune through our neighborhood. The second the tune is heard I have screaming little girls who are rushing around trying to gather up enough money to buy their favorite cotton candy ice cream bar. Now as much as I love their excitement, I don't love my children to use their money everyday or eat ice cream every single day. It was starting to become an issue. I decided that they could only get it every once in awhile and then I would try to vaccum or mow the lawn around the time the truck would be coming so that they wouldn't hear it. (I know, I know, what a mean mom I am!!)

But the ultimate solution came on Monday. I had decided to let the girls get ice cream as long as they put it in the freezer and saved it for their family night treat. They excitedly agreed and then went about frantically gathering up their coins. I usually always go out there with them to buy it but this time Cory was home and so he went out (you just never know who is driving those trucks, you know?!) About 3 minutes later, he was calling for me at the door and laughing hysterically. The ice cream man [actually it's a woman] had literally turned the truck off because my girls had all of their pennies dumped out on the driveway as they were each trying to count off 100 pennies. After we laughed about it, we thought for a second (and only a second) that we should go and help them. But, then we thought again. Maybe our girls would be so bad for business because of how long it took them to count out their money that the ice cream truck would just skip by our neighborhood....or maybe the thought was too good to be true...but either way we decided to just let them do it on their own. It would be good for them, and maybe even good for us. :)

It is now Friday. So far this notorious tune, no ice cream, and no pennies. But plenty of screaming and excitement.

Problem solved.

Monday, May 16, 2011

random thoughts and happenings

**So this week was round 2 of church without Cory (he was out of town). After last week's experience, I was a little nervous. But, it went great. I don't know what my problem was last week. I don't know if it was just that I brought more stuff for Hailey, made the girls go to bed earlier on Saturday night, or was just in a better mood myself. Whatever it was, it worked and my girls were amazing. I actually had to teach two lessons yesterday. I teach the 14 and 15 year old Sunday School class, but I was also asked to teach in RS. I have never taught in Relief Society, and I see why now. I'm not so good at it. I can teach children or youth all day long, but adult women who have lots of comments to make? I'm not so good at that. I had prepared WAY too much material and ended up with only 15 minutes to teach. I think I crammed in way too much and had a hard time transitioning from comments, etc, etc. It is just not as easy as it looks. It was way easier teaching at that women's conference than it was to teach a 15 minute RS lesson. I guess if I ever get asked to do it again, I'll just prepare for like 5 minutes and then I'll be good.

**This is the last official week of school. Next week they go to school for one day. Wierd, I know. Katelund has no homework this week and I think I am more excited than she is!!! I love to let my kids come home from school and just play outside until dinner time. That is how it should be.

**I have to drive to Fayetteville to go to court next week because I got a ticket when I was there last month for an expired registration. I have got my tags all registered but there is NO WAY that they will accept a faxed over copy of my new tags. SERIOUSLY??!!! I have to drive 9 hours (with gas at $3.79/gallon) to show up at court and get my ticket dismissed OR I could just pay $186 ($25 for registration fee and the rest in court fees.....WHAT??? I wouldn't even go to court!!!! I'm so irritated about this. I seriously think it is totally dishonest and it makes me furious!!! I have tried talking to court clerks but I seriously think they are the rudest people I have ever talked to on the phone.

**Cory flew out to Florida to help a friend this last weekend. To say thanks, his friend let him borrow his Harley for a while. He is seriously in heaven! Tonight he took me and the girls (obviously not Hailey) on rides around our neighborhood. It was so much fun!!

**Did you know that they now make Crystal Light with caffeine??!! What is up with that? Cory and I have almost completely stopped drinking soda (we decided to give it up as a New Year's Resolution) We do splurge every once in awhile but mostly we just drink water, so Crystal Light has become a favorite thing with us. Recently I noticed they had grape flavored. Since Cory loves grape gatorade, and since it said "energy" on the box, I thought it would be a great thing to buy in the water bottle packets while he has been out working on tornado clean-up. I thought the "energy" must be some new research about grapes being a "super power fruit" or something like that. Nope. About a week later (after falling in love with it and giving my children sips and everything), Cory noticed that it had caffeine in it. Crazy right? Who wants caffeine in their water???? So now we buy the Great Value brand because it doesn't have caffeine.

**I made fruit pizza tonight for our FHE treat. It was SO DELICIOUS!!! I think it is my favorite dessert ever!! There are lots of recipes out there but I just like it simple....1 package sugar cookie dough for the crust, 8 oz fat free cream cheese (fat free is just as good) mixed with 1 cup of powdered sugar for the icing, and cut up strawberries, kiwi, and banana on top. YUMMY!!!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recent phone pics of Hailey

Before you focus your attention on my beautiful baby (who is now 15 months and I guess considered a toddler now), I have a very important question that is just really weighing on my mind this morning.

Why does crunching on ice give me heart burn??!!! It is an obsession I have while pregnant (crunching ice...but not just any that has been sitting in my cup for at least 30 minutes with water and has started the melting process which has made it easier to crunch. It is seriously like my favorite treat ever, and then the second I have my baby the joy of it will be completely gone.)

One of her favorite things to do is to get into the pantry, climb up the shelf, pull down the cereal box, take the bag out, and carry it around with her all over the house while she eats it.

This picture was taken the other day after a walk we went on. It was seriously so hot and humid that day. I tried to get a shot of the back of her head, but she wouldn't hold still long enough. Her hair was completely drenched in the back from sweat.

These pics were taken at Cloey's Mother's Day picnic for school.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Motherhood...It was the Worst of Times and the Best of Times

It is a good thing that I didn't write a Mother's Day post yesterday at about 2 pm. If I had, it probably would've gone something like this...

Dear Whoever Invented Mother's Day,

Why did you even bother?!?!

The Worst Mother of the Day

Fortunately, it ended WAY better than it began. Let me explain...

I think my children were out to get me yesterday. Let me paint you the ugly picture... it is one minute before church is starting, and Katelund is at the end of the pew pouting because she wants one of the lemon heads that she saw in my purse as she was digging through it looking for crayons and I had told her no. Cloey is hyper and all over the chapel saying hi to all of her friends and totally ignoring me when I tell her to quietly sit down on the bench. Hailey is beyond tired since it is right in the middle of nap time and so she is throwing an ear-piercing-screaming fit because I am trying to take the little bag of cereal away from her because church hasn't even started and the cereal is supposed to keep her distracted during the meeting. In the process of me trying to take the bag away, Cloey finally comes over and starts fighting with Katelund because she wants to sit down next to her but her feet are in the way. As I turn to give them the "you better stop fighting right now" look, Hailey pulls the bag away from my grip and the cereal flies all over the aisle. I am trying to calm her down, bend over my huge baby belly to pick cereal up, and control the situation between my daughters who seemed to have it out for each other since the moment they woke up.

Where is Cory you ask? Oh ya, all the men in our ward went to a short 7 o'clock meeting (so they could take the sacrament) and were then divided up into their work crews and sent out to continue the tornado clean-up. Don't get me wrong, I am all about Cory out there working and helping. He has been doing it non-stop for the last 2 weeks and I have been amazed as I have watched him so willingly come home from work and go right back out to work until sunset. He is incredible and I love him for his big heart. But, I'm not going to lie. It wasn't easy to kiss him goodbye knowing that I would be spending most of Mother's Day alone.

The beginning picture I painted you, only got worse as the meeting went on. In fact, at one point, Katelund leaned over to me and said, "I didn't know you were such a mean mom on Mother's Day." I couldn't even say anything back. All I wanted to do was to break down and cry. After about 20 minutes, I took all my girls out into the foyer and did just that...cried. I finally got control, listened to what I could of the rest of the meeting, and then gladly sent my girls off to primary. By the time I was in Relief Society, I was just trying to hold myself together. The RS president asked everyone to scoot in and sit closer to one another. Since I was already near the front and all of my stuff was already being scattered by Hailey, I just stayed where I was. So everyone got up and sat down next to each other....oh wait, except for on my row. No one sat by me. On any other day, I would've cared less. I would've been looking for who needed someone to sit by them. But not yesterday. Yesterday, I needed someone to sit by me. Someone to tell me that it would all be okay. But no one came. About half way through the lesson, Hailey started doing her little excited screams and I think it was bothering the lady in front of me. So I left. I grabbed all of my stuff and made it out the door just in time for me to completely lose it. I was sobbing. All I wanted to do was get my girls and go home. Then my angel came. My sweet friend and visitng teacher was walking down the hallway. She got my girls for me and met me at my car. My other angel, the primary president, came out to my car as well. We buckled everyone in, shut the door, and I just poured my heart out to them. They listened, they laughed, they empathized, and they said all the things that I needed to hear, and even offered to take Katelund and Cloey for a couple of hours so that me and Hailey could take a nap.

Later that afternoon, I got my nap, I got my husband back, I got an amazing pedicure, dinner, and a gift card to Charming Charlies's. My children were sweet again and everything was perfect. I learned something about myself from this Mother's Day (which is why this post has turned into a novel). I learned that I would NEVER want to do this mothering thing alone. First and foremost, I would never want to do it without Cory. He knows exactly what to say and do (after 11 years, he has learned a lot) :) . He seriously completes me in every way (cheesy, but oh so true). Secondly, I could never do it without the support and love of other mothers. I need to know that I am not the only mother who has wanted to lock my children in a room and let them fight it out. I need to know that I am not the only pregnant mother who is wondering what on earth I was thinking and how am I ever going to manage four of them. And I also need to know that at the end of the day, I can still call my own Mommy and know that she will make everything better.

This whole mothering thing is definitely not easy. The title of mother comes with a lot of pain, frustration, sacrifice, disappointment, heartache, and even sorrow. But, there is just nothing in the world that compares to the sweet rewards and compensation that comes in those precious moments when you look into your children's sweet faces and somehow you can see the big picture. It is in those moments that you know it is all worth it. Yesterday those moments didn't come until the end of the day, but oh how they came. They came in moments when I wasn't expecting it. One of those moments came as Cloey was saying our family prayer as she kneeled at her bed. In the middle of the prayer, she began to talk with an English accent like Cory had been doing earlier when he was reading them Harry Potter. I couldln't help but let out a little laugh and an even bigger smile. The other moment came as Katelund told me that the crystal that she got on her field trip reminded her of me because I am always teaching her to be clean and pure like the temple. And the final moment came as I laid Hailey in her bed, kissed her sweet little cheek, and stood there for a couple of seconds as she stared up at me with her angelic little eyes as if she was promising me that it really is all worth it. It is in theses moments when the Spirit permeates my heart and leaves me with an overwhelming amount of love for these little monsters that make huge messes, and yet, always find a way to fill my heart to overflowing.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Trying to not be irritable...

One of the worst things about "pregnant me" is that I get so irritable so easily. I don't know why. Well, I do. I'm sure it has a lot to do with hormones and all that stuff, but it is really annoying. I hate it when I feel irritable, and I really have to fight it like crazy when I'm pregnant. Here are some of the things that have caused me to to be irritable lately....

So I totally went back and deleted my list. It was horrible and I was so embarrassed after I wrote it. So, obviously this post was just what I needed to get over myself.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Yes, I do need to get my roots rehighlighted (now I remember why I hate highlights in my hair) But, that is actually not what I meant by the title. The last week has been really packed and full of many things, so instead of trying to cover it all, I will just give you some of the highlights...the moments that mattered.

*A dinner fireside with Chad Lewis (you know, the BYU football player who played NFL for 7 years and won 2 super bowls and is now the athletics director for BYU?) He came to our town to be the special guest for a BYU alumni group that Cory and I have become involved in. Every year this alumni group earns tens of thousands of dollars for all the students in our stake who go to BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii. This year $32,000 was earned...pretty amazing, right?!! Anyways, there were about 30 guests at the dinner. It was such an INCREDIBLY uplifting experience. Wow, he is such an amazing guy with such an incredibly strong spirit about him. He talked about his experiences in the NFL and how he kept himself from the filth that was all around him. It was very inspiring.

*Attending the Atlanta rededication on Sunday. It was AMAZING!!! I've actually never been part of a temple dedication. I loved it!!! Elder Ballard and President Monson gave such beautiful talks!! They bore testimony with such power and conviction of eternal families. Thankfully, we had some good friends of ours who watched our girls so that Cory and I could go together. It just wouldn't have been the same experience without Cory sitting right next to me. I wish I could go back and re experience the whole thing again.

*Being able to see a community come together in service and love. There is just nothing in the world as wonderful as working side by side with brothers and sisters in and out of the church who come together with a common purpose. National disasters are chaotic and horrible, but the humbling effect it has on a people is so incredible to watch. People are more grateful, humble, kind, and gentle everywhere you go. Yesterday as I waited in the doctor's office, I was so touched by the scene that I witnessed. There was a lady in the room who was sharing her scary experience with the tornado with the lady next to her. As she spoke, everyone in the doctor's office was intently listening in solitude and reverence to each word that came out of her mouth. It was not the normal scene. Usually, there is a room clear full of people who are either talking/texting on their phones, reading a magazine, or working on their computer/other electronic gadget. All of the sudden none of that seemed to matter. What mattered was the story that this sweet old lady had to tell. A story of struggle, humility, gratitude, and answered prayers.

*The death of Bin Laden. I have mixed emotions about this. I am sad for him. Sad at what he did with his life. Sad that he never changed. Sad that he chose to hurt, murder, and torture instead of using all of his wealth and influence for good. I am happy that there is one less wicked person on the earth, but not because I feel like justice has finally come. As they have searched for him for the last ten years, I wanted them to find him so that he would be stopped, not so that they could take his life because he took so many others. There is no possible way that justice could be fulfilled by taking his life. But, I don't worry about that. I know that when he stands before the judgement bar of God, he will be held accountable for the crimes that he committed, as will Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Justice will come for them, just as it will come for each of us. But again, I'm happy. Happy that there is one less wicked man and hopefully hundreds of millions of others who will commit to living with more mercy, love, forgiveness, and hope for mankind.

*And of course I couldn't exclude the moments of motherhood. The small and simple moments each day that give meaning and purpose to my life. The hugs before and after school, the giggles that fill our home, walks to enjoy the blue skies, warm sun, and singing birds, the prayers that unite our family, the singing and testimony that fills our home on family night, and the running stampede that happens each morning as Hailey wakes up and we all fight to be the first one to see her smiling sweet face. And of course, the moment yesterday in the doctor's office when my heart filled with peace as I heard Makayla's heart beat on this 28th week...the week when Clairisa's heart beat stopped. These are all the moments that keep my heart joyfully beating each day.

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