Saturday, June 25, 2011

3 Months Baby

I have been needing to post about this little yummy, snuggly lump of love. We blessed him at home on June 5th. He is a blessing to us every day in every way. I mean seriously, he is the best baby. He just is so chill and loving. I am grateful everyday for his easy disposition and his love of snuggling.

Here he is in his blessing day outfit. He looked so cute in it.

He was a little less thrilled to be put into the 100 year old blessing dress that was made for the blessing of his namesake, McKay Christensen, Jon's grandfather. Not to fun trying to get his arms and all through the long sleeves of the delicate dress but he made it and then settled down for the blessing.

The girls all love to take care of Harrison. This is the first baby we have had that Lauren has all out loved. She loves Camille and Noble but she has had a bit of sibling rivalry with them. She says Harrison is her best friend. She adores him.

We recently took our first trip with Harrison to the cabin. We had fun with our friends the Kunz up there. Harrison and I spent the majority of our time chilling in the cabin. Annie likes to make Harrison smile.

He does have a pretty cute smile these days and he loves to talk to people and make all those cute cooing baby noises. Harrison is three months old now.  I can't believe how quickly the time is going. The further along we get the more I think this will be my last baby and I just am really savoring every moment of him.

What a sweet and savory little dessert he is.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 20 - A House of Order

Night time has always brought out a deeper thinking more serious side of me. I find myself there tonight. Friends have just left the "Dance" party. We had a good time and good conversation and yummy treats. Now I find myself tired but reluctant to give myself up to sleep just yet.

I am enjoying the peace here in my home in this quiet hour or stillness. Such moments are precious to mothers of young children. The sound track to our lives is often loud and chaotic with crying children, tantrums, whining, excited yells and unrestrained laughter. Stillness is a rare thing for mothers of young ones. And so is "order."

Little by little I am "putting my house in order." And order brings me peace. I have felt a disquietude in my soul  for some time as various areas of my home have collected junk and become cluttered the last 9 or 10 months. Now I finally feel I am in a place where I can tackle some of these junk areas and put them in order once more.

These jobs are our "family chores" that we have done each afternoon while Noble and Harrison nap. We pick one small but messy area and put it in order. I have loved standing back and admiring the results. I had Annie go take some photos of our work thus far:

 Here is our summer schedule all printed up on our newly cleaned of metal magnet board.

 Previously we couldn't even see the floor of this closet under the staircase. Now it is all neatly organized with a shelf for each holiday's decorations and a place for Family Home Evening materials and "mom's special things" box and family games. Each space is labeled and neatly organized. I can't tell you how much peace and joy I get knowing this space is so such order.

One of two "Pencil Drawers" that we organized. This is the kids pencil drawer with their flash cards and pencils and notebooks. The other is mine with the pens and computer papers.

 Another place that gets to quickly trashed! This is the closet right next to our door to our garage. This is where things get thrown when we get home or when we are cleaning up quickly. Now it is an organized space with all the kids and my craft stuff and a space for our church materials too. We even found we had an empty shelf after getting rid of all the junk!

 We traded rooms and closets for Sabrina and Lauren. Now Sabrina sleeps in with Noble and has her own closet. Lauren and Annie share a room. When Harrison gets older we will move Noble back in with him and Sabrina will have her own room. I was glad to clear out the closet and give her a space all to herself.
I found lots of fun things shoved in the linen closet when we cleaned it out. It looks pretty bare in this photo because all my towels were in the laundry at the time. But all the toys and treasures were removed and it left plenty of room for our linens.

Going through this process has made me reflect on the "junk" areas of my soul. How many of those do I need to "clean out" and "put in order?" One baby step at a time we can all make things a bit more ordered in our lives. One day at a time we can choose to do one of those things we have been feeling the need to do to make our lives more ordered. Maybe it is our diet or exercise or how we use our free time or how we speak to our children... whatever area of our life needs "putting in order." If we break it down into a small enough portion we can tackle it little by little until it is an area that brings us peace and joy in our souls.

What do you want to "put in order?"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemon and Strawberry Truffles

What have I been doing this morning??? Making some lemon and some strawberry truffles for So You Think You Can Dance tonight. Party at my house at 8:30!

Dipping in the white chocolate.

I am trying Strawberry and I experimented by putting fresh strawberries in the mix. They are rather moist and a bit harder to coat with the chocolate but much more flavorful I think.

Sabrina helped me with some. Can you tell which?

I did a revival of the Lemon for my friend Emily who is coming tonight for the first time (she hasn't been able to come because her husband has been serving our country in Afghanistan. Thank you! I'll be sending her home with extras for her hubby who got home last week. Yeah!

Notice the empty spots where some big giant man around here snuck one or two -- just doing quality control I am sure ;).

Enjoy dance tonight and if you live around here and know where I live come try a truffle!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Surviving Father's Day

Saturday night as I knelt beside my bed at around midnight, my nightly prayer sounded something like this: "Lord please, Please, PLEASE give me the strength to get through tomorrow. Please help me have the strength to physically accomplish all I need to do and to make it through the day."

Last week was our first full week out of school. We got home from the cabin on Monday and began our summer routine on Tuesday. The summer schedule had to be tweaked a few times but it has been working very well. The kids were excited to start it. We have had very little fighting and no need for me to tell the kids they have to do this chore or that activity.

However, for me the summer means me being very involved with my kids ALL day. I love that but it is physically exhausting. I also forgot to work into my schedule the "mom" things that I usually do when the kids are at school (like grocery shop and run errands and do laundry.) So with Jon working from dawn till after the kids go to bed I have been working extra hard to get all my stuff in while juggling the 5 kids.

By Friday I was pretty tired. I took all 5 kids to the library and then we ditched the family chore for that day and just read for a couple hours while Noble had his nap and I lined up a babysitter for the evening so I could go out with Jon. We then went swimming at a friends house and on my way over Jon called and said he may have to cancel our date. My dad had called and asked him to go to the cabin to put up some sandbags to prevent the flooding from washing away the driveway. This threw my for a loop. (I completely spaced the girls viola and violin lessons.)

Jon ended up leaving for the cabin with my dad around dinner time. I still went out that night just so I would have a break. But that left me alone for Saturday (my day to catch up and have help.) So Saturday morning (after being up twice with Harrison) I laid in my bed till around 7 a.m. while Annie got Noble up. I heard him moving a chair downstairs as I laid in bed. By the time I got downstairs I couldn't see a chair out of place. So I got everyone ready and we all headed to the "makeup" violin lesson.

While the girls were in their lesson, I took the three littler kids to Walmart to grocery shop. Not the most fun activity with tired boys. By the time we got home... I was spent. As we walked in the door my kids went to go feed the gold fish we were "fish sitting" for our neighbor. I heard yells and screams.

I looked over and there was the chair. Noble had fed the fish that morning... with the whole big full can of fish food. The water was now fish food slime. Amazingly the fish were still alive. I jumped into action to save the fish (I couldn't let the fish die on my watch!) As I cleaned the fish slime out of the bowl and got the fish settled the phone was ringing and the door bell was ringing. Kids were running to see who was here and neighbors were wanting to play and I was just trying to keep the little ones in the house and the fish alive. It was a scene of such mass chaos that I just have to laugh thinking back on it.

I finally gave up and let the neighbor come in the house so the door would be shut while I cleaned the stuck on fish flakes off the chair and table and floor all around where Noble spilled them. Then I fed lunch to the kids and got Noble down to bed. Next I got our groceries put away and started making dessert for our father's day dinner for my dad. By the time my dessert was done it was about time to head to my sister's for swimming and the dinner. I packed all my kids and the swim suits and their towels and goggles and pjs and underwear and hair bands and my side dish and dessert in the car and headed over. (that alone took 30 minutes.)

At my sister's we had a good time. The kids swam and we had a great dinner. The men showed up and hour and a half into the party. We headed home around 8. Back at home we got the boys to bed and I set the girls to sorting laundry and I called my friend Catherine to go walking with me. Luckily she agreed to walk with me and be my "body guard" as we walked from 9-10 p.m.

The walk was just what I needed. It put me back in good spirits and gave me the energy I needed to prepare my Relief Society lesson for the next day. I finished my lesson around 11:30 and headed up to bed.

That was when I said my prayer. I knew how tired I was and how tired I would be the next morning at 5 am when Noble woke up. I knew how hard it would be to get up and make the breakfast in bed the girls had planned for Jon. I knew how hard it would be to make the coconut truffles I wanted to make for my lesson and how much I would not want to clean my kitchen afterward. And so I prayed.

And the next morning, I did all that. I got up. I made the waffles, and coconut truffles. I cleaned up all the cooking mess in the kitchen from the past 2 days. I got me and half the kids ready for church. (Jon stayed home with Annie and Noble who were a bit sick.) I went to church and did my lesson. Then I came home and exhaled.

I thought of how I really had felt "helped" to make it through the day. And I said a prayer of thanks. Then I got my "side dishes" together and headed to my in-laws for another father's day celebration dinner. It was fun (even though I fell asleep nursing Harrison for a few minutes.) We left around 6 and got halfway through the 30 minute freeway drive home before we heard serious SCREAMING in the back seat.  Annie and Sabrina unbuckled and jumped out of their seats screaming. "What in the world???" I thought.

Lauren was throwing up ... a lot. The last 15 minutes of that drive were ... less than pleasant. The hour after we got home while I cleaned up all the puke was also ... very much less than pleasant. The whole time I just kept praying I would not puke too. And my prayers were answered. I didn't.

If you are still reading... you are a really faithful reader. Thanks. This is a really long post about a really hard week/weekend. But I wanted to record it because I felt "helped." I think it is important to record times when you feel powerful answers to prayers so you remember them. Moral of the story ... Pray. He answers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Answer to a Couple Questions

I have a couple of questions from comments to answer and I don't really want to type them into a comment so I am putting them up here.

First, someone asked how we pronounce Saby. :) It is with a short a sound Like Savvy only with a B sound instead of the V sound or Abbey only with a S sound at the beginning. Make sense? Sabrina called herself Saby when she was really young. So it has been one of our nicknames for her. Her others are Beeta (that is what Lauren and Annie called her) and Noble now calls her "Ina" they way it sounds in Sabrina.

Second - To Angie about the miscarriage question in the comments on the last post. This is for you. There is no official doctrine about what happens with miscarriages. I have heard a wide variety of theories and beliefs. I personally believe that still born children will be kids that are raised in the millennium just as Camille will be. Early miscarriages, however, I am less sure about.

I will tell you that in my experience with knowing Sabrina was waiting to come to our home. I knew it was Sabrina that I sensed because I had a picture of her come to my mind and a feeling for her personality. I know now that it was Sabrina. The impression I had was that SHE was the spirit waiting to come to our home. Whether that first baby was her or some other spirit I don't know.  But I knew that SHE (that happy curly blond haired girl) was happy waiting to come to our home. I knew she was going to have to wait for a while too because I had timed my pregnancy to make it so I would have the baby just after I took the Bar Exam. I miscarried at around 10 weeks and the way things worked out it seemed best if I waited till after I took the Bar Exam to get pregnant again. So it would delay me becoming a mother for a good 9 months to a year. But if she was happy to wait. I would be too.

I too wonder about if that first pregnancy was perhaps a different spirit and Sabrina was shown to me to give me the hope and promise of blessings to come. I just don't know. But I just read a REALLY wonderful article in the Mormon Times that felt "right" when I read it. You should go read it HERE. I really loved that article and it made me feel really good about have been pregnant 9 times and given birth to 6 kids.

I hope that article gives you some insight. I wish I could give you more. What I do know is that Jesus Christ will restore our losses in one way or another. Whether that means we get to have that child that we miscarried but we just have to wait and it will be the next kid we have or if we get that child in the Millennium or we will be made more holy for our willingness to try... that I don't know. But I have faith that we will be satisfied by how we are "compensated" for our heartaches.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


As parents, one of the things we desire is that our children be happy. We do all we can as we raise them to teach them how to live in such a way that they will find happiness in this life. We teach them not to be mean so they will have friends ... so they will be happy. We feed them and clothe them and give them their needs and many of their wants ... so they will be happy. We try to protect them from harms and accidents ... so they will stay happy.

Granted that sometimes we have to do things that make them unhappy (like give them medicine or discipline them or make them clean things etc.) But even things things that cause temporary unhappiness are attempts to increase the chances of greater long term happiness for them.

I too want happiness for my children. Last night after I wrote my post, I went up to bed. I knelt down to say my prayers and during my prayers I had a faint but distinct impression. It was of Camille's happiness. I had the impression that she was happy - deeply and fully happy.

Many, many years ago I had a miscarriage with my very first pregnancy. I had been bleeding for almost a week when I had an impression that the baby that was going to come to our family was a very happy spirit. I felt that if she were happy even though she would have to wait longer to come to Earth, why should I be sad? That miscarriage was not sad for me after that. I knew there was a very happy spirit waiting to come to our home and if she was happy to wait, I should be happy to wait for her. And I was. What a happy blessing Sabrina was to wait for.

So last night when I had that impression of Camille's happiness, I had that same question come to my mind. If she is happy waiting, why should I be sad? She is not only happy, she is out of all danger. There is no worry that she will ever be hurt - no worry that she will be ever screw up her life, no worry that she will ever be ... unhappy.

And so I decided to be happy for her happiness. And ... I am.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011

What would my heart print look like if I could just take it out and smash it into this screen? Words... they never seem to be able to do all I want them to do. There must be some better form of communication in the next life. I look forward to that. I imagine it. I imagine seeing my Savior again and in one instant He will know all my thoughts and feelings and I will know His love more completely than I ever have before.

I look forward to a day when the time for "explaining" your feelings will end because perhaps we can communicate feelings directly without the need for language or words and its limits. Sometimes I just wish I could let others feel what I am feeling for a few minutes so they could better understand me. Sometimes I wish I could feel how someone else is feeling so I would know exactly how to treat them or how to best help them.

I feel this way with my children often. I often wonder what it is like to be them and what I am like as a mother through their young eyes. I wonder what their life experience feels like and how similar or dissimilar it is from my own. I hope one day I will no longer have to wonder but I can know because they can directly share those feelings with me spirit to spirit.

I wonder what Camille's experiences are like now. I wonder how this separation feels to her. I wonder if she knows how I am feeling at any given time. Right now... I miss her.  I want to be with her. I want to share my heart with her. I want feel her heart's expressions in my own.

That's a lot of wishing, wants and wonderings. I know. Reality is that we don't always get what we wish for. Often we must wait for our wants. And sometimes we are supposed to be left to wonder.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 Years

June 13 today. Three years ago I enjoyed the last morning and early afternoon I would have with all four of my little girls. I remember Camille waking up unconsolably sad. She kept crying and screaming and it seemed nothing I did would soothe her. This was atypical for her. It worried me. I wondered if she might be in pain or sick.

Finally in desperation I gave her a sugar cookie with pink frosting. It was not the best breakfast in the world, I admit, but it made her happy. I was glad to have found something that would stop her worrisome cry. The rest of the day she was her normal self.

Later that morning she snuck into the pantry and climbed the step stool. She called and called for me. I finally got a minute to stick my head in and see what she was up to. She was so proud of herself. She looked at me with her big smile and stamped her foot down on the top step where she stood. I called to Jonathan. He came over to see. I said "that is our little girl right there Jonathan." She was so delighted to have us there noticing her big accomplishment.

I made homemade macaroni and cheese for the kids. She loved it. I put her in her high chair to eat some while I went to chase Lauren down to change her stinky diaper.

Minutes later my whole world came crashing down and my life and my family changed forever.

Three years later, I am so grateful that it is three years later. I am so grateful that I am not hurting as badly as I was three years ago. Does it still hurt? Yes. yes. But it is not the searing debilitating pain that it was three years ago.

I am so grateful for the joyful ways my life has changed in the past three years. I am grateful for my two sons who have been added to my family. I am grateful for the wonderful ways my girls have grown and developed as people. I am so very grateful for the deeper, richer, and even more purposeful relationship I have with my husband. There is not doubt to either of us that we are stronger as a couple now because of this trial.

I am grateful for the acute appreciation losing Camille has given me for each of my children. I truly do appreciate them every minute. Even when Noble is tired and on a path of destruction through the house or the older girls are being disobedient or fighting or sick or otherwise being naughty. Even when I am up at night with Harrison so many times I have lost count or I am being thrown up on, yelled at, hit, or pooped on. Even in those less than lovely moments of motherhood, I appreciate and value and thank God for my children and that I am privileged to be their mother.

I have been riding waves of emotion this weekend. My heart is feeling the high tide of the season. I haven't yet had a big cry but I have felt one building. It is like those days when you can feel the storm in the air but no rain has fallen yet. I will let it come when it does. It will come and it will go and I will move forward into yet another year in my life as an angel's mother.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 19 - Lighting the Way

I have had some things on my mind lately about testimony. By testimony I mean the conviction one has to his or her spiritual beliefs that is given to them from a heavenly source. You see I have a very strong and firmly planted testimony of God and his Son Jesus Christ, of the reality of their existence and their love for us. My testimony of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is rock solid. I simply have had personal experience with both the cleansing and the healing power of the Atonement that have made my belief unshakable.

I also have an equally firm and deep testimony of the reality of the First Vision when Joseph Smith prayed to know which church to join and was answered with a personal visitation by God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I have felt a powerful witness from the Spirit of the Lord that this did in reality take place as Joseph said it did on more than one occasion. I have also felt that same witness that the Book of Mormon is a true book of scripture and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's restored church on the Earth today.

But my thoughts on testimony lately have been about how frustrating it is not to be able to GIVE a testimony to someone. All you can do is bare your testimony or share what you believe and why. But sharing your beliefs does not mean that those with whom you share will believe as you do. Testimonies don't come that way. They only really come when people feel God telling them what is true. And for that to come they have to be seeking and open to feeling.

Still God can let people feel that what someone is saying is true when they are hearing it or reading it. I know that. And more than anything, I want so much for my children to know for themselves the truths I know. So tonight before bedtime we held our own little "testimony" meeting.

I began by telling the girls (we had already put a rambunctious Noble to bed) about the parable of the 10 virgins and how in reading it I always felt like the 5 with oil should have shared. Then I explained that in that parable the oil represents something that the 5 virgins COULDN'T give to the others. One thing it can represent is a testimony. After explaining what a testimony is I explained that it is like the oil in the lamp because it really does "light your way" through the world.

I told them that I had lots of that kind of oil in my lamp because I was REALLY old :) and had been gathering it over many years. They on the other hand were young and may not have as much oil of their own yet. I emphasized how important it is to gather your own oil and told them that while they are gathering their own "testimony" oil that they should walk in the light of mine.

Then I told them what I knew to be true and how that knowledge came to me. I shared highly personal spiritual experiences with them and the room was thick with the Spirit. After I was done, I invited each of them to share what they believed and asked them why they believed those things. I wanted to know if they were just parroting what I had said or if they had some basis for believing the things they said other that just believing me.

The younger girls went first and mostly it was simply a time for them to share a time they got an answer to a prayer. Then Sabrina got up. She almost could not speak. She was feeling the Spirit speaking to her right then and she shared a very short but powerful witness of what it was telling her. Jonathan concluded our little meeting with his own witness of the things he knew to be true.

It was one of the most choice experiences I have had with my girls. For hours afterward, Lauren kept talking about how much she loved sharing our testimonies together because it felt so good inside. In her own 5 year old way she too was feeling the Spirit whispering to her soul the peace and happiness of Truth being taught to her soul and the familiar ring it had. She spoke many truths in these hours after our meeting, some profound and others quite funny (like that she wanted to keep sharing testimonies forever because ... "well because I like to talk.") Annie too showed in her own way that she felt the change in the spiritual atmosphere. She may not have been as "verbal" as Lauren or as teary as Sabrina but her demeanor changed and love was just oozing out of her.

In our modern times with so many distractions around us all the time, it is easy to forget how important it is to share our knowledge and beliefs on the things most important in life with our children. Whatever YOUR beliefs are, whatever knowledge you have gained that has been most beneficial to your life, share it with your children. Find a time. Make a time. And light the way for them as much as you can but sharing what you believe and know to be true. You may find the experience to be one of the highlights of your parenting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fun things to do...

When I was in high school a friend of mine and I made a list of all the fun things to do in Las Vegas so that when we were bored we could go down the list and pick something to do that day. I am taking the same idea and molding it to my family now. I have made a list of fun activities for my kids and I to do together this summer. Some of activities require me to be a part of them. Others they can do on their own. I am hoping have the list printed out by their daily schedule will save me from hearing "I'm bored" too many times this summer. Here is my list so far, please give me more ideas in the comments if you have them.

Make Lemonade
Go to Library – pick a book from the library website
Movie Night
Go on a walk
Go on a bike ride
Water balloon fight
Water snake in backyard
Hike in the mountains
Splash parks
Leid discovery museum
Go to Michaels and pick a craft to do
Make barettes with flowers
Roller skating
City pool
Make homemade ice cream
Wash the car
Make playdoh
Plant flowers
Side walk chalk
Write letters to pen pals
Make forts
Put together a puzzle
Play a board game
Fashion show
Get slurpees
Write a story book
Sew a craft
Go swimming
Water gun fight
Free movies
Wii active game
Make popsicles or pudding pops

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer is Coming

I have been making my summer plans today. I have a few pieces of the puzzle to figure out before I finish our daily schedules but I think we are looking at a pretty fun Summer if it all works out.

The weather here has been so incredibly nice - a full 20 degrees below where it was this time last year. We have been enjoying every minute of it.

Dance party is at my house tomorrow night at 8:30 come if you can. I will be making mint Oreo truffles. Yum.

I am looking forward to a loosely structured summer with flexibility to sleep in or take a nap as needed. But we will still be reading and learning and moving. I will give you a peek at our rough draft of a daily schedule. I will have a schedule for each day of the week printed up and somethings will be moved to make room for piano lessons, swimming lessons, viola and violin lessons, art classes, weekly trips to the library and maybe a zumba class I might try to persuade Sabrina and Annie to take with me. ;)

But here is what I have so far:

Morning Chores: MUST BE DONE BY 10 A.M. if finished before you get free time.
Upstairs: Morning Prayers – Potty – Shower – Get Dressed – Brush Hair
Clean Room – Make Bed

Eat Breakfast - Brush Teeth
Read Scriptures as a Family – Family Prayer
Clean up Breakfast mess
Unload Dishwasher

10:00 am Sabrina Practice Piano – Annie Typing – Lauren Practice Dance
10:30 am Sabrina Practice Typing – Annie Practice Piano – Lauren Computer
11:00 am Sabrina Practice Viola – Free time Annie and Lauren
11:30 am Annie Practice Violin – Free time Sabrina and Lauren
12:00 pm Lunch
12:30 pm Noble Nap – Family Chore
2:30 pm Reading Hour
3:30 pm Exercise (Wii – Swim - pilates - treadmill)
4:00 pm Cooking Class (make dinner)
5:00 pm Eat Dinner
5:30 pm Math Facts Quiz Annie and Sabrina / Sight word quiz Lauren
6:00 pm Free time
7:30 pm Clean up downstairs kitchen and family room
8:00 pm Ready for bed
8:30 pm Lights out

I also have started a list of fun things to do in our "free time." I will post it in one of my upcoming posts. What do you have planned for summer? 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oreo Truffles Move Over

Last week I made Oreo truffles for my SYTYCD Party. This week I made Lemon Ones. Ummm Yummm. I got some really nice lemon creme sandwich cookies. They were made with real lemons. I mixed 2 packages of these cookies crumbled in a food processor with 12 ozs. of cream cheese softened. I balled them and coated them in white chocolate with little sprinkles on top.

They are simply delicious. I totally recommend trying them. Next week I am trying mint Oreos.

Tonight the kids were all playing the street with the neighbor kids. We adults were out there chatting. The kids had water guns out and one of the dads was joining in the water fight. There were so many smiles, screams, giggles and a few tears from those who decided getting wet wasn't so fun. It was one of those nights when the air is the perfect temperature and all the world seems right. It was one of those nights that make up childhood memories.

Tonight I am grateful for lemon truffles, water guns, great neighbors, and unusually temperate weather here in Las Vegas. Can it really be June already? Happy days everyone.