Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being Still In the Busyness

This summer has been anything but still. We have been on the go 24/7. As the days quickly go by, I wonder where all the time is going. School is only a month and a half away, Katelund's baptism is right around the corner, and Makayla Claire will be here in three short weeks. In all the busyness, I am so thankful for the moments that I have had this week to just be still.

I have been still as I have sat outside alone on the driveway just to watch the magic of a summer night as the fireflies dance around and as the warm gentle breeze blows the lush green leaves on our trees. I have been still as I have laid in bed just a little bit longer wrapped up in Cory's arms as we enjoyed a moment alone while the sun made its way over the horizon. I have been still as I have snuggled up with my girls and read books with them on a rainy afternoon. I have been still as I held Hailey in my arms the other night and rocked her to sleep. I have been still as I read scriptures last night to the girls and got all emotional as the Spirit bore witness to me once again of the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon.

These moments of being still have reminded me of what summer is all about, what life is all about. Doctor appointments, dentist appointments, swim team, grocery shopping, visiting teaching, service opportunities, play dates...all these things are important and good, but moments of stillness when I remember who I am and who I want to become, who my children are, in my eyes and in the Lord's, it is then that I remember how important it is to just be still and know that He is God. And when I remember that, somehow the stillness seems to stay in my heart, even through all the busyness.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

Okay, seriously this is the BEST video ever...and it even uses my favorite quote!!! Love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Tasha for letting me know about it.


Today is the big 32 for my oldest sister Andrea (the one in the middle). If you were to meet me and my two sisters you would realize pretty quickly that we are all VERY different from each other. We have completely different personalities and different opinions and ideas, and yet, we are still great friends. I couldn't imagine my life without my sisters. They are both AMAZING and I'm really not just saying this to be nice or to sound humble, but they outshine me MAJORLY!!! They run circles around me when it comes to smarts and talents. Andrea is very much like my Dad and Katie is very much like my mom. So where did I come from? Not sure. :) But, nonetheless, I feel so completely BLESSED to be surrounded by such an incredible family.

For Andrea's birthday shout out, I had to do something that fit her which meant that I had to keep it simple. No long cheesy letters or anything like that, instead I am going to list 32 words that come to my mind when I think of her.

Here I go....

1. analytical
2. planner
3. organizer
4. creative
5. inventive
6. practical
7. realist
8. thoughtful
9. loyal
10. honest
11. beautiful
12. dependable
13. overachiever
14. smart
15. logical
16. fun
17. humorous
18. compassionate
19. charitable
20. merciful
21. leader
22. trustworthy
23. integrity
24. inspiring
25. determined
26. independent
27. sensible
28. precise
29. loving
30. genuine
31. talented
32. AMAZING!!!!!!

Whew, that was really hard for me to not expound on each one.

Love you big sister, you mean the world to me!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Birthday Shout Outs

June is seriously the month of birthdays and celebrating. All in the same week is Amber's birthday, my mom's birthday, my youngest sister, Katie's birthday, and my oldest sister, Andrea's birthday, and then to top it all of at the end of the week is Father's Day. Crazy, right? I'm not sure I'd want to spend my birthday delivering a baby, but I've never heard my mom mention a word of complaint. I guess it is like the ultimate gift, but the process to get it? Not so much of a celebration. :)

So here is my birthday shout-out to my wonderful mother and little sister, Katie who share a birthday today!!!!

B....beautiful. I have always thought that my mom was beautiful. She always looks like she just stepped out of a salon. But, she is also incredibly beautiful on the inside.

E...exact. Whatever she says is what she does. She is a genuine person and the most loyal friend anyone could ever have. She is exact in her obedience and honesty. She doesn't waver or sit on the fence about things. She knows what is right and she lives exactly in line with those values. She is the perfect example to me of someone with integrity.

C...capable. One of the things I love about my mom is that she is seriously super woman. She can do anything. I love when she comes to my home to visit or help out after a baby because I know that everything will run in perfect order. She is also one of the cleanest people I know. She keeps her home in immaculate condition AND she can fix almost everything ( I SO did not inherit this from her!!!).

K...kind. She has such a huge heart. Once you are her friend, you are her friend for life. Not only is she kind to her friends but also to strangers, and to those who are unkind to her or her daughters. One of the greatest lessons my mom taught me as a teenager was how to forgive and love somebody who definitely did not show any love in return.

Y...yearning. She is always yearning to be better and do better in every aspect of her life. She constantly yearns to be a better mother, daughter, sister, wife, and friend. I LOVE this about her!


K...Kind. No, there are not a lot of K adjectives, but I couldn't think of a better one to describe Katie...even if I already used it for my mom. She is kind to not only people but also to animals. She was always the animal lover in our home. She was always wanting to adopt/rescue any stray dog that passed by our house.

A...aligned. She is and always was aligned with the teachings of the gospel and with the rules and expectations of my parents. I can't even think of one time that Katie did something to disappoint my parents. She was and continues to be such a great example to me.

T...talented. Oh my how talented this girl is!! I love to listen to her play the viola. She has had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities to share her talent with others. She played with the traveling BYU orchestra and she has also had the chance to play with operas, special recitals, elite orchestra groups, etc.

I...intelligent. Not only is she talented but she is also very smart. Getting into the music program at BYU, and graduating from it, is NOT an easy thing. she has always been a very good student and has always made really good choices.

E...extra miler. One of the things that I LOVE about Katie is her desire to go the extra mile. Growing up, I always remember Katie going above and beyond on every single assignment she was given at school. She would be asked to write a one page paper and she would end up with five pages and then have her paper bound. She was always doing things like this. I'm sure her teachers loved her... I know we all did.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Birthday Shout Out

The above picture was taken a couple of years ago when I went out to Las Vegas (without any children) to spend some time with my sister-in-law, Amber. We had SO MUCH FUN!!! We spent a day at a spa where we exercised, swam, got massages, soaked in the hot tub, and then let out some major sweat in the sauna. It was such a great day. The whole visit was one that I'll always cherish. You see, Amber and I go way back to high school. Before there was Cory, there was Amber. She was my best friend. One of the greatest friends I have ever had. When I married Cory, not only did my dream come true of marrying him, but also the dream of having my best friend as my sister.

So for her 29th birthday I am going to list the top 29 things she has taught me through the years....
29. how to love licorice
28. how to highlight hair
27. how to drive a standard (well, maybe not successfully)
26. how to jet ski in her cul-de-sac (don't even ask)
25. how to work on Harry Hines
24. how to cliff jump at Possum Kingdom
23. how to sneak around with a secret boyfriend (and your parents still think you were perfect...LOL!!)
24. how to eat the biggest hamburger EVER!
23. how to put some serious food down and yet stay a size 0 (okay, so I haven't actually accomplished this one on my own)
22. how to love Olive Garden
21. how to be the most loyal friend ever
20. how to buy matching clothes with your best friend (what dorks we were!)
19. how to fix the problem of a sheer yellow dress at youth conference (need I say more?)
18. how to "like" a guy from Garland just because I want you to double date with me (remember Tyler?)
17. how to talk back to a policeman after getting pulled over on our way home from EFY
16. how to always have a spare key on hand just in case I locked myself out of my car AGAIN
15. how to sneak off campus just to go to lunch with me (man, you were a naughty girl)
14. how to be the most loyal friend ever
13. how to make me laugh until I pee
12. how to love your family (you are the most incredible sister EVER!!!)
11. how to honor your parents
10. how to do hard things (like the triathalon you did this year)
9. how to work hard and follow your dreams (swimming all those years and then swimming for BYU)
8. how to serve others so willingly
7. how to be thoughtful (you are always doing and thinking of things to do for others)
6. how to throw a party
5. how to make and create the cutest things ever
4. how to inspire others
3. how to forgive
2. how to comfort and sustain others
1. how to overcome ( just name one)

I love you Amber, Happy Birthday!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Have you heard this song?

Click here to listen to one of my new favorite songs. My little sister, Katie, is an AMAZING viola player (she just graduated from BYU as a music major)!! This song totally reminds me of her. I could listen to it over and over. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A "Keeping it Real" Post

I once had someone ask me how I find the time to blog. Well, I make the time. I do it when Hailey is sleeping and my girls are occupied (or when they're in school) because I have found that blogging has become a creative outlet for me, a way for me to express myself through words. I don't blog for comments (although I love to read them) and I don't blog to just record events, trips, or birthdays. I blog to tell a story, to tell a story about who I am so that one day my children will go back and read about who I was as a mother and what things mattered the most to me. In telling my story, I try to keep it as real as possible. It is easy to create an image of yourself through social media, to create somebody that maybe you would like to be or that you would like others to see you as. I hope that in my writing that my girls, and anyone else who may read my words, will know that I struggled. I want them to know that I had bad days and hard times and that life was not always easy. I want them to know that I had many many weaknesses and shortcomings but that I was always trying to be and do better. That is all any of us can do, because obviously perfection is not only a life-long process, but also requires lots of mercy and grace by a loving and perfect Savior.

With that being I am going to do a "keeping it real" post.

Being pregnant with my fifth baby has not been easy for me. I have struggled with a lot of different things, emotionally and physically. But mostly, I have just felt fear. I have been afraid of many things; what others may think, how I am going handle one more teenage girl, how we can afford another child, how can I give the attention that my older girls need when I have two babies to care for, and to top it all off I continue to have nightmares about another one of my children dying. I have fought against a lot of feelings of inadequacy, fear, and feeling completely overwhelmed and under qualified. For some women, four children is no big deal. They could handle twelve children and still look amazing all the time and have a perfectly organized and clean home. I know many of those women, in fact, I am friends with way too many of those women. :) I am very aware of my own limitations, which is why I have struggled with these feelings.

Yesterday, in my morning prayers I prayed that these feelings would leave me and be replaced with feelings of excitement, anticipation, and joy. Then I went on with my day. At the swimming pool I was confronted by two women (who I didn't know) who wanted to know why on earth I would want to have another baby and how was I going to handle two so close together. As I assured them that I really was excited, I prayed once again in my heart that what I was saying could really be completely honest and true. Later that day my prayer was answered in a very simple, yet miraculous way.

I ran into the grocery store really quickly to grab a couple of things. I was in a hurry so I really wasn't focusing on anything or anyone, just the need to get in and out. As I was walking up to the u scan line, I was caught off guard. There at the checkout line was a mother with a brand new baby. He was crying. I could tell that she was flustered and in a hurry to pay and get out of the store. As I heard that brand new little baby cry, something happened inside of me. All of the sudden I was fighting back emotions that I had yearned to feel. I wanted to just sit there and listen to him cry. His crying was my answer. I know that sounds really weird and it seems weird to even type it out, but in that moment I received exactly what I had been asking for. The excitement, anticipation, and overwhelming joy rushed into my heart. The mother left before I did. I quickly rushed out of the store and found her in the parking lot. I don't know why, but I just needed to thank her. To thank her for being in the store at that exact moment with her hungry precious little baby boy. I told her a little about what I had experienced as I heard her baby's cry. I'm sure that she thought I was crazy, but I didn't even care. I just had to share my experience with someone. The amazing thing is that those feelings have stayed with me. I wish I could say that the fear is completely gone but it's not. It may not be for a couple of years. :) But, I can deal with those feelings a lot better when I feel the joy and excitement that is growing within me. And for now, that is all I need.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Summer Plans

There is a reason that we took our summer vacation the two days after the girls were out of school. It is because our summer is packed full! Not only are we gearing up for another little baby girl next month, we are also spending everyday at the pool for swim team practice. We decided that since we were going to be up there everyday anyways, that we would just go ahead and buy a summer membership to the pool and spend even more time there. I just can't think of a better way to spend the record-breaking hot and humid Southern summer days.

We started off the summer with a great family night were we all made summer goals and set down some rules, assignments, and expectations. So far, it has gone well. I had some ideas that were probably a little too big and I have had to simplify a little (I am so exhausted by the end of the day, I am just doing the most essential things right now). So here are some of our summer goals/expectations for the girls...

1. S.O.S (scriptures over screen time). A lady in our ward made this up for her kids, and I LOVED it!! Each morning the girls have to read from their scriptures (me or Katelund read to Cloey out of a Book of Mormon reader), say their prayers, and have their room and bathroom clean before they can go to swim team or get on the computer, turn on cartoons, etc. It has worked out GREAT!!! The habit has been made and they don't even have to be reminded anymore.

2. We have a family goal to not let a day go by this summer without having family scripture study before bed. Family prayers are easy for us, it is the family scripture study that sometimes gets neglected in our home.

3. D.E.A.R everyday at 1 pm. (Drop Everything and Read). We are going to the library every Thursday so the girls have new books to read. I LOVE this time of day!!!! For every one hundred pages that the girls read on their own to me (we keep track with jars, skewers (1 for every 10 pages), and toothpicks (1 for every page up to ten....working on those 1st grade math skills at the same time), they get to take a trip to the dollar store and pick out a prize.

4. As far as chores go, they are responsible for helping as needed. They fold clothes, switch over laundry, do the dishes, sweep the floors, take the trash out, etc. If I were really good, I would do what my friend Melanie does (click here to be totally amazed!). Maybe next summer.

5 Incorporate math skills whenever and wherever the car, at mealtimes, in random conversations, etc. Math has never been a strong area for me, so I'm determined to help my girls feel more confident in it than I ever did. Katelund and I are working on memorizing multiplication and Cloey and I are working on addition and subtraction. I initially was going to spend time with them individually everyday doing math together (making up worksheets, fun projects, etc) but, it has only happened a couple of days. It is one of those big ideas that has been simplified (that seems to happen a lot in my life lately).

Between chasing Hailey around, driving to and from swim team practice, the library, the park, the pool, maintaining a somewhat clean/organized home, and being completely exhausted carrying around a baby in my belly, I am just trying to enjoy my summer and more importantly, enjoy my sweet little girls who are growing up way too quickly.

Cloey loves to go around the house and take pictures with my phone. She took this one yesterday and I just had to post it, even though it is blurry and not very good, because it gives you an idea of how I look these days...pregnant with a baby on my hip. :)

Here is one she took of my baby belly.

Here are the girls during D.E.A.R time one day.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

May Catch-up

May went by so quickly! It was full of end-of-school parties, doctor appointments, the best date ever, a day at the carnival, and it ended with a bang...a vacation to Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach deserves its own those pics will be coming shortly, but meanwhile, here are some other pic updates.

I just had to include these adorable pictures of Hailey in her baby doll's crib rocking her and her baby. She LOVES her baby dolls.

Hailey LOVES to climb up anything and everything. I was totally shocked the other week when I found her up on the counter after I left the kitchen for like 1 minute. She is fast and fearless and definitely keeping me on my toes.

My sweet friend dropped off these beautiful gladiolas because she knows how much I LOVE them!! I think they are so beautiful and elegant. I seriously wish I could grow them in my yard year round so that I could always have a fresh cut bouquet on my kitchen table.

Hailey's favorite part of the carnival....cotton candy.

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