Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kind Strangers

Today I took the boys to Michaels to pick up something crafty for my Webelos to do for Scouts tonight. I am so not crafty. It was a struggle. I kept wandering around the store looking at things and wondering what you do with them.

I ended up picking up some clear plastic Christmas tree bulbs and some paint. A friend of mine made me one of those about a decade ago and it was cute and sounded fairly simple. We put the paint colors inside and shook them up till it was all covered.

Anyway, it took me quite a while to find and decide on this "art" project. Navigating the narrow aisles of Michaels with a 2.5 year old who is bored and sleep deprived (up twice last night and wouldn't nap today) and an 8 month old who keeps getting poked by the bored and tired 2 year old... do I really need to say more?

Noble kept screaming and crying because I wouldn't let him grab things off the shelves and I kept having to hold his little hand and tell him to tell that hand not to touch the baby. You get the picture right? So as I was looking at some item, some kind woman heard Noble and came up and started talking to him.

He quieted down wondering who this stranger was talking to him. She asked him if that baby was his brother. She told him how lucky he was to have a nice mama. She even asked him to say "I love mama." :) He wouldn't. But he did quiet down. Then she told him to be a good boy for his mama and she winked at me and pushed her cart away.

Her simple act greatly improved Noble's behavior. Maybe it made him notice that other people notice when you are throwing a tantrum in public. I don't know. In any case, I was grateful for the kindness of stranger who made my day just a little bit easier.

Being a mother with young children has made me very sensitive to how hard it is to do this job sometimes. I have had a few times where my kids were melting down and I was surrounded by people who could help (not strangers) and it was obvious that I could use help but no one offered to help. Those experiences have made me promise myself that whenever I can help some mother with lots of young kids being overwhelmed I will.

Maybe someday I will get to be the kind stranger that charms the crazy 2 year old with a few questions and a bit of attention.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Magic

Yesterday I had an errand to run at Lowes. I had Noble with me. I parked the car and went around to get him out. As I was lifting him out of his car seat his eyes got big and wide. In the most excited little 2 year old voice he said, "Is it HIM??? Is it Him???"

Confused, I looked around to see who he was talking about. The parking lot was empty. So I asked Noble, "Who?"

Noble then puffed out his belly and said in his deepest voice, "HO, Ho, Ho!" A smile immediately spread across my face. I had not seen anyone behind me but I had seen an inflatable Santa for the yard.

"Do you mean Santa Claus?" I asked.

"HO, Ho, Ho! Mama! Ho HO HO!" Noble replied.

"Yes that is what Santa says but his name is Santa Claus." I told him.

"No mama. He is Ho ho ho!" he informed me.

I am grateful that Christmas magic (2 year old style) is in my home this year. I LOVE it. This time of year is just so much more magical from the perspective of a 2 year old whose only Christmas wish is for trains from "Ho Ho Ho!"

Monday, November 28, 2011

iPad 2 Giveaway!

You know everyone is grateful for a good giveaway. You can count me into that group for sure! Especially when the giveaway is for something as awesome as a new iPad 2!

Well tonight I was talking to my husband and I mentioned that he should do a giveaway as part of the "GRAND OPENING" of his Phoenix LaptopXchange. Then he tells me he already is doing that. They are giving away an iPad 2!

So to enter the drawing all you have to do is go to the store in Phoenix in the Metrocentre at I-17 and Peoria. The Grand Opening for the store is this Saturday and that is when they will do the drawing. The store is open now. But this Saturday is their kick off party day. But you can be entered in the drawing any time up until the drawing on Saturday.

I am totally wishing I lived in Phoenix because I would be driving over there. They have MacBooks for as low as $500. I love my MacBook Pro that I got there. Typing on it right now. :)

Before you go buy any type of mobile computing device (iPad, laptop, tablet, iPhone) you should check LaptopXchange if you have one in your area. Chances are you will find a much better deal on a refurbished or preowned device at LaptopXchange.

They also will fix cracked screens for all those devices for much cheaper than the Apple store or other places. And unlike other places that ship your computer out to fix it, all the work is done on sight so you get a faster turn around time.

If you are headed over to get in the drawing, take any old laptops or other mobile computing devices with you. They will buy them from you and safely remove your information for you. You can get a little extra Christmas cash or get a trade in value for something else in the store if you like. It is the "green" way to get rid of your old mobile computing devices and they PAY you for them! Win win!

So if you live anywhere near Phoenix, head on over with your old laptop, iPhone, or iPad and get in the drawing for a new iPad 2 and see if you can score some extra Christmas cash! Tell your friends! Spread the word! I mean who isn't grateful for a great giveaway?

Here is the Phoenix Store information:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Temple

Last night Jonathan and I went to the temple. It felt like a cold drink after running. I was so thirsty for the spiritual power and strength and peace I get by attending the temple and participating in the work we do there.

The temple has helped me through some low points of my life. I am grateful for the "home" away from home that it is for me and the sealing powers at work within its walls.

I love and am forever grateful for Temples.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Single Births

Growing up as the older sister of identical twins, I always thought twins were awesome. They certainly got lots of attention. I loved having twin younger brothers. I even took them as my "show and tell" one year in school.

Then as I got older and got married and began my own family I experienced the joys of morning sickness. Suddenly the idea of twins seemed so appealing. Half the sick time for twice the prize. Then my sister had twins.

My parents were on a mission so I packed my 2 girls in the car and drove up from California to "play grandma" for them. My last night there I told my sister to sleep through the night and I would do the boys myself so she could get some rest. I slept 1.5 hours that night. I no longer wanted twins. :)

Since then, both my brother Darren and Jonathan's brother Aaron have had twins (about a week apart). Those sets of twins are now just over 19 months. My brother Darren and his incredible wife Nikki stopped by tonight on their way home from Utah. I listened to their stories of trying to travel and get some sleep with 2 little ones in port-a-cribs and messed up sleep schedules. Once again, a distinct feeling of gratitude for my single births came over me.

I am grateful to have had my kids one at a time and to be able to enjoy the wonders of each different age category at one time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Lights

As I watched my neighbors putting up Christmas lights and see more lights around as I drive down the street, I am grateful for the simple reminder of the Light of Christ that Christmas lights are to me.

At this time of year, even the city lights that normally remind me of the glitz and allure of "Las Vegas," at this time turn my thoughts instead to a giant display of Christmas lights. And I smile inside remembering Him.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


To me, Thanksgiving is all about three things: Gratitude, Family, and great Food. My Thanksgiving day was just FILLED with those things.

I took a tip from the Family Volley and made "thanksgiving rolls." She suggested writing down things we are thankful for on paper and baking the slips of paper in the rolls. Then at the table you pull the paper out like a fortune from a cookie and guess who said they were thankful for that item. It was a great activity and it focused all of our minds on our blessings. Plus the kids LOVED trying to figure out who said which thing.

I busted out the china and stemware to host my parents, my Uncle Dave and Aunt Sharon from Idaho and my sister Lesli's family for a mid day meal. It is the first time in years I have hosted an event that was "china worthy." It was so fun to eat fancy and appreciate the beautiful things we got for our wedding.

Later in the day we took some of our food and headed over to the Waites for another round of Thanksgiving goodness. We were delighted by a talent show by the grandchildren. Jon's brother Nathan and his family were in town from Colorado so it was great to spend a bit of time with them too.

I tried to go lighter on my meal this year. I put less sugar in my yams and made my cranberry sauce with maple syrup and orange zest. I also omitted a few traditional things that just put us over the top food wise. All in all it was just a great meal and best of all I didn't feel sick at the end of it like I ate too much. I am looking forward to leftovers. :)

I am grateful for all that filled my Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We recently went to visit my brothers' and their families in Southern California. While there, my sister in law Elizabeth took some family photos for us. 

I am so grateful for her doing this for us. I am grateful for the miracle of photography. So often when I am missing this little girl:
I look down and see this little boy:
and I am grateful beyond words for him...
and for her...
and the photos I have that preserve my memories.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The last two days my boys have both taken naps at the same time. It has been beautiful. I am so grateful for the naps I have gotten to take along with them. :) Sleep really is a beautiful thing isn't it?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Sitting around my family dinner table growing up or when the five "kids" were all young single adults often found us in deep discussions. So when all of my siblings got together for my dad's 75th birthday party, we once again were plunged into a deep discussion about the role of the Atonement in our lives.

The long and short of the discussion came down to how completely dependent we are on the Savior and His infinite sacrifice to have hope of salvation. He paid the debt for us. I am grateful beyond expression for His grace and mercy and the infinite Atonement he performed.

There is no "repaying" Him. But I will work my whole life to become more like Him, to follow Him as closely as I can. He has purchased me and I am His. I only hope my works can be expressions of gratitude for that incomparable gift of Grace he offers me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

my body

I am grateful for my body. I am grateful that I can see and hear and smell and touch and feel the beautiful creations of this world. I am so thankful for good health. It is a blessing beyond measure.

I am also grateful that I have officially lost my pregnancy weight from Noble and Harrison! Now if I can just maintain through the holidays then for the new year I will make a goal to lose the 5 lbs I gained through my first 4 pregnancies. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family and Friends and Family Friends

Tonight we celebrated my dad's 75th birthday. My three brothers surprised my dad by coming in town for his party. We had a marvelous time with friends old and new and an amazing abundance of incredible food prepared by our good friend Chris Herrin of Bread and Butter Restaurant.

My tummy is so full. My heart is even fuller. I am so grateful for the family I was born into and the wonderful community of friends my parents cultivated to be a part of my life. It was wonderful to see so many of these dear people tonight.

I hope that the friendships Jonathan and I are cultivating will be as rewarding for our children as they grow up as so many of my parents friends have been to me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trail Blazers

Today my brother and his family are staying with us. I watched 3 of his kids and two of mine for a good part of the day. That means an almost 10 year old boy, a 5 year old girl, two 2 year old boys and my 7 1/2 month old boy.

The morning was fairly chill and when it came to nap time, both the 2 year olds were tired but neither would go to sleep. I gave them a good long "rest" in their respective sleep places but neither ever actually fell asleep. So upon giving up on them taking a nap I decided they needed an outing. Since I don't have enough car seats to drive them all somewhere I decided we would walk to the new park near my house.

I put the baby in the Bjorn and grabbed the wagon. I put on 5 pairs of shoes and headed off on the dirt trail in the mountains behind my house to go up and down the hills and to the park.

On the way there everyone walked on their own (well except Harrison of course) and was in good spirits. Berkeley pulled the empty wagon for me. The weather was great and it was fun. We got to the park and everyone had fun.

By the time we were done playing, my no nappers were melting. They were tired. They didn't want to walk or rather hike. It was mostly uphill to get home. So I put the 2 year olds in the wagon and with the baby on my chest I pulled the wagon as Berk pushed. The 5 year old was a trooper. She really wanted to ride in the wagon with the little guys but she hiked like a pro instead.

So as I pulled and Berk pushed that wagon, I thought of my pioneer ancestors pulling their handcarts. Some said in their lowest moments they felt the angels pushing them on. I thought of them in that moment and I felt great gratitude. Gratitude for their endless sacrifices day after day to blaze a trail of faith for me to follow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We got school photos yesterday. Annie was complaining about a freckle she doesn't like on her face and how she wants it to be gone. I told her how much I loved her tiny little freckle because it makes her unique. Sometimes our imperfections (when they are not the sinful kind) make us even more precious because they make us unique.

I am grateful for my little Annie's freckle, and all the moles, dimples, freckles and other "irregular" marks on my children and husband that make them uniquely beautiful creations of God.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Each morning this month I have been having our family go around and say one thing we are thankful for after we say our morning prayers. It is just another little way that I am attempting to teach my children to think more "thankfully."

Ann Marie started the first day being grateful for January. Being that January is her birthday month I figured that made sense. Day two she was grateful for February. You can guess what day three's gratitude pick was. Well it may seem strange to be thankful for a "month," but I am honestly thankful for November today.

I love how November helps me refocus my thoughts on gratitude. I love the effects of Thanksgiving affect my children. Lauren has been painting a hand turkey for every member of the family and getting really mad at me for not decorating for Thanksgiving. She is very insistent that we not just skip to Christmas. I appreciate her vigilance in the matter. She is keeping us all focused on Thanksgiving.

Yesterday she told me she was thankful for Pilgrims. I am glad she is learning good things at school so she can come home and teach me everything she learns.

Today as I went to go pick Lauren up from school, I heard Noble in the back seat say, "I am ankful fer Annie." It took me a minute to understand what he had said. Then I realized my 2 year old was saying he was thankful for his sister. I said "me too." Then he said he was thankful for Sabrina. I told him I was thankful for Sabrina too. He went on to say he was thankful for every other member of our family, cars, trains, school, and paints.

It was the sweetest conversation. I am so grateful for November and the gift of gratitude it gives me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Sometimes I feel like girls get a bad rap. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the pity in someones voice when they find out I have four daughters. This was especially true when I only had the four girls.

People think immediately of weddings, the cost of all the clothing and accessories, and the raging PMS. And admittedly, I am not to that stage yet. But on days like to today, I am grateful to have daughters. Today I was making dinner for 4 families. Every time I got something going, Noble somehow got his "helping" hands into it and made more work for me.

First he "helped" unwrap the butter for me that I had laid out to soften for my cookies. He kept trying to "season" my bread dough with fists full of salt. I made a fresh pizza sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and put it in a measuring cup on the island to wait till I needed it. Noble thought it was a smoothie and tried to drink it. He apparently didn't like it so he threw it in the sink. Well, mostly in the sink. About a third of it ended up all over my cupboards and floor and him.

He kept trying to eat my pizza dough and he did eat quite a bit of my cookie dough. I felt like I was trying to play keep away with him all day while taking care of the baby and making this big dinner.

So this afternoon when my girls got home ... sigh ... I felt incredible gratitude for them. Sabrina took Noble upstairs to play with him - away from the baby and the kitchen. Lauren took Harrison for a ride in circles on the recliner. And Annie came over to see if she could help me make dinner.

Now I am sure there will be times when my boys are great helps too. And I am grateful for the joy they bring me now in the cute littleness. But today ... I am SO grateful for my girls who just brought me so much sanity today.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I am grateful for opportunities to serve others. It makes me feel good. It makes me happy. Remember the year I did the fundraiser auction for Emily Jones? Well one of my readers, Mindy, remembered. Now she has a former seminary student, Bryce, who has joined the army and is headed off to Afghanistan. Before he leaves, he has one wish ... to get a headstone for his mothers grave.

His mother lost her battle with cancer on March 25, 2011 (my Harrison's birthday.) The kids had to take out a loan to pay the funeral cost. I know from my own experience that these are about $10K-$15K. They haven't been able to get her a headstone. You'd be surprised how special this "final" gift can be for those of us left behind.

My reader Mindy wants to help. So she is holding an auction similar to the one I did for Emily. You can go over to her site HERE and see if there is anything that tickles your fancy and help someone at the same time. Or if you want to donate something you can contact her at runaholic{at}gmail{dot}com to see if she is still accepting items to auction off.

Spread the word. Let's do a bit of service to show our gratitude for all we have in this season of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Land of Freedom

I am grateful to live in a country that ensures my freedom to believe, speak, write, and live according to dictates of my own conscious. What an amazing blessing. I am grateful to live in a land where my government works diligently to protect me from harms both domestic and international.

America is far from a perfect country. Her people are human after all. Her leaders... are men and women ... some good and some have fallen to the temptations of power and position. But I am grateful for the divine providence that helped inspire the founding fathers to construct a constitution and bill of rights that would stand the test of time and create a republic that grants enormous freedom to all her citizens.

God bless America. I am grateful for her.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This morning as we drove to swimming lessons, I got an earful from my girls about who got more of this or less of that. It got me thinking about how preprogramed we all are about the need for things to be fair and just. And that led me to think of how the Savior teaches us to love so much that fair and just matter less than love and compassion.

And so I told my children that for the rest of the ride I wanted them to be quiet and listen to me as I expressed my thoughts on the subject. It turned out to be a very sweet teaching moment about how "unfair" it was that the Savior suffered for all our sins and how He did it because He loved us so much.

I enjoyed the exercise in thinking through the subject as I talked to them and I appreciated the teaching opportunity it became. I am grateful to be able to teach profound truths to my children so that they may find greater happiness in this life. I am grateful for the critical foundational truths my parents taught me in my youth so that I would know where to turn to find the answers to any of life's questions I may need at any given time.

I am grateful for Truth.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Internet

I have spent a good deal of time scouring the Internet for good deals on Christmas presents tonight. I can't imagine having to do Christmas shopping the old fashion way with 5 kids. I can barely manage grocery shopping and that doesn't include the crowds unless you go to Costco.

I know the Internet also has some serious down sides because of the open door to everything both good and bad that it brings to your fingertips. And sometimes I want to curse it when I think of how readily available it makes damaging materials to people who would seek them out, or just stumble upon them.

But tonight, I am very grateful for the technology we have at our fingertips in computers and the internet. These new technologies are powerful and it is up to us to use the power they give us for good.

Tonight I found much good in doing some Christmas shopping. And everyday I find enormous good in the community I have found through this blog, and the relationships I am able to maintain despite distance.

So Thank You to Al Gore! :-)
(or whoever really invented the Internet)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fruits of My Labor

 In photo booth words appear as if in a mirror I guess. 

I am grateful that even when motherhood seems like a never ending cycle of sameness, once in a while you get to see all your consistent efforts producing some fruits.

Tonight Annie made a present for Santa. She put some candy in it for Santa and some for Mrs. C too. She also included a letter with her wish list on it. I was touched that she would think to give a gift to Santa rather than just sending the normal Gimme list.

Here is what her letter to Santa said with original spelling and punctuation:

Dear Santa,
We are running low on money so I might have expensive things on my list. Here it is, #1. a kareoky machine, #2 Wii Games, #3 a spy kit, #4 a detective kit, #5 any kind of American doll furniture, (Including a bed.) #6 some teaching tools to play with, #7 an ipad, #8 a dounut making kit, #8 And 6 dounuts with it from Krispy Kreme, #9 An officul gide, (Poptropica) #10 A ride with you to see the sights (But only for 9 minutes.)

Thank you Santa!
Love from,

P.S. Please tell Mrs. Claus that I said hello!
She also drew a cute picture of a present all wrapped up with a tag "To Annie from Santa." I just love this girl and her wishes and dreams both big and small.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Great Neighbors

Tonight I am thankful for great neighbors. I went to our HOA meeting tonight. My neighbors elected me to be on the board. I hope I can find a good balance between doing what is best for the community as a whole and being lenient and merciful to those who have specific concerns.

For the most part, I have wonderful neighbors who are helpful to me and tolerant of me and all my crazy crew. I am grateful beyond words for both my neighbor friends who help me and give me sanity on my crazy days and for my silent and keep to themselves neighbors who tolerate our craziness.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Phoenix Store Open!

If you live in Phoenix, head on over the Metrocenter at I-17 and Peoria and visit my brother in law Stephen at LaptopXchange. He is lonely ;). He is open Monday - Saturday 10am - 7pm. He will hook you up with a great deal on a new laptop. He has some sweet Apples in there and great tablets too. Do a little early Christmas shopping!

You can see the photos of the new store on Facebook HERE:

Check out two of my little girls Annie and Lauren in one of their commercials. Watch Lauren rolling her eyes!

I am grateful my husband is gainfully employed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What I Did...

So after I saw Noble and laughed for a minute thoughts began racing through my mind. What are we going to do? I asked Jon. His very predictable response was, "He is 2! Who cares what he wears. Let's go!"

Now part of me agreed with Jonathan. It was more important to be THERE than to be appropriately dressed. But there was that other prideful part of me that I try not to listen to telling me how mortified I would feel walking in with my 2 year old in camo pjs. Mother of the Year here remember??? Awesome.

But it was 11:01 when we arrived. By now probably 11:03. Church starts at 11 prompt. Even though home is only a 3 minute drive there is still the unbuckling and finding the clothes and getting them on a very tired little boy. (Daylight savings time was that morning and his normal nap starts at 11 and so it was like noon to him.) Oh and there would be finding socks in the sock bin too.

We are usually done with the sacrament by 20 after. I knew if I turned right around I would miss the sacrament. That is just not something I wanted to do. You see when I was 17 I lived in a small town in Spain as a foreign exchange student. I didn't get to go to church for about 2 months. The closest church was like 30 miles away and my host family didn't see a need to drive me to church.

I really missed having the opportunity to renew my baptismal covenants each week. I felt that loss more keenly than I can possibly convey with words. While there I made a personal and solemn promise to my Heavenly Father that I would never again miss taking the sacrament if I could help it. I just would not take for granted the blessing it is to be so close and have that opportunity to be clean again each week.

In the 19 years since then I have only once missed taking the sacrament for reasons other than normal legitimate things like sickness or new baby or sick kid. It was when I was in college. I just was tired and I slept through it. I felt so bad. I knew better. Really, I felt as bad as if I had committed some major sin. I repented of that mistake and doubly vowed it would never happen again.

So with that background, I was not about to miss taking the sacrament because of my pride about what my kid was or wasn't wearing. And sending Jon home... that wouldn't not have happened. (I think he secretly wishes he could get away with wearing Camo PJs to church.)

So I swallowed my pride and began searching the car for lost shoes. It is not uncommon to find random lost shoes in my car. I managed to find a pair of Noble's old Croc's in the back row. Score!

I got Noble out and as we entered the church building with everyone all dressed up my embarrassment creeped up on me. So I picked Noble up and wrapped my coat around him to hide his PJs and we walked into sacrament meeting. (They had just finished the opening prayer and were starting the sacrament hymn.)

Luckily no one gasped or even gave me a surprised or funny look as Noble settled into our pew. I was a little surprised by that. I expected a few giggles. But our ward is awesome and not judgmental.

As we got through the sacrament hymn I found Noble being a bit harder to keep reverent than normal. Part of that was likely the time change and no nap. But I do think kids act better when they are dressed up. So I pulled out the new Friend magazine I brought to entertain Noble and sat him on my lap to look for Jesus in it.

One of the first articles we turned to caught my eye. It was all about a boy who was having a hard time being reverent until he got a new church shirt that looked like his dad's and then his "reverent" shirt helped him to be reverent in church just like dad. I read part of this to Noble and pointed out how all the men had ties on and white shirts.

Noble was telling me the colors of all the ties he saw. I asked him if he wanted to go home and get his tie on. He said he did. So as soon as the sacrament was over, he and I left Jonathan with the baby and the girls and went to go get his church clothes. He was excited to get his church pants and shirt and tie and shoes.

It took us about 20 minutes round trip. I was sad to miss some of the testimonies. There was a really good spirit in the meeting when we returned and I would like to have heard some of the other testimonies referenced. I am not sure whether it was more important to stay and be spiritual fed or take Noble home and teach him about how are clothes show our respect and help remind us to be reverent. But I ended up going with plan B.

I did get a really good laugh out of the experience and I will definitely be more careful to make sure EVERYONE is getting or being gotten ready from now on. :)

And my gratitude thought -- I am grateful to live 3 minutes from a church where I can go on Sunday and renew my baptismal covenants and once again be made clean and recommit to live the Lord's commandments and remember my Savior. That really is huge and I feel incredibly blessed in that way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Church Clothes"

This morning as we started getting everyone ready for church, I thought, "I am going to put Harrison in real church clothes today." You see normally Harrison wears a nice pair of pajamas to church. He is just a baby and it is easy for him to wear some comfy footed pjs. But it has been cold and he is getting bigger. So this morning, I thought I would put him in this nice cool weather 6-12 month outfit on him.

I got him all dressed to the nines. He looked so darn cute in his little church outfit. I gave him to Jonathan, who had just finished getting all spiffed up himself, and went to go get ready for church. I took 20 minutes or so getting myself dressed up and ready for church, then I heard Jon downstairs, "Time to get in the car and go!"

The kids all rushed downstairs. I made a few last minute tweaks to my outfit and headed down stairs too. Jon was grabbing last minute things. "The kids are all in the car. I got the baby in the car but he is crying so let's hurry." I grabbed the church bag with our Friend magazines and some crayons for Noble and jumped in the car to do my make up.

I finished my make up on the 3 minute commute to church. We pulled into church and parked. Doors to the minivan opened and we started piling out. This is how cute my baby looked with his Daddy in their big boy "Church Clothes."

SO cute huh?!

Then I went to go get Noble unbuckled from his car seat. Here is what I found:

I guess we both forgot to get Noble dressed. I assumed Jon was doing that while I got dressed. He assumed I had done it since I actually got the baby dressed. In the end, when Jon yelled for the kids to pile in the car, they did, including Noble, in his Army Guy Pajamas ... no shoes. He piled in the car. Annie buckled him up. Jon and I never looked all the way in the back to check his clothes.

Jon and I laughed so hard. Camo Pjs for Church! Awesome!

Today I am thankful for clothes. I am not the "best dressed" person in my ward, or street, or house. Truth is I wouldn't be surprised or offended if someone turned me into "What not to Wear." I just don't or haven't shopped for clothes for myself in a really long time. But I am grateful for the clothes I do have. They keep me warm. They cover my body. And a few of them are even somewhat cute. I am grateful to have them. I guess I should also say I am grateful for my sister since about 50-75% of my clothes are hand me downs from her (most of the cute ones.)

p.s. I am a little curious. What would you have done if you had been me this morning?
A) Taken him to church in the pjs. No biggie. He is only 2.
B) Gone to take the sacrament then taken him home and changed him into church clothes.
C) Take him home to change him after sacrament meeting.
D) Turn right around and change him then come back.

Be honest. You can make your comment anon if you wish. I am really curious about what others would have done. I will tell you what I did after I read a few of your comments.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


How do I choose just one thing to write about in my list of that for which I am grateful? So many things run through my mind. But I am only going to pick one to note tonight. As I have been thinking of my friends who just had their mother pass away just a few short weeks ago, I think tonight I will say I am grateful for mothers.

I am grateful to have the wonderful mother I do have. I beyond indebted to her for all she has taught me and sacrificed for me and physically and emotionally done to bare and raise me and continue to nurture and guide me in my adult life. I still need my mother. I am not sure there will ever be a time in my life that I won't feel like I need her anymore. Even after she is one day gone, I am sure I will still feel like I need her guidance and wisdom and reassurance. I am grateful to have her still with me and in the same city where I can see her often. I am grateful she has good health and is active and able. She is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

I am grateful for a loving and kind and wonderful mother in law. I am so grateful for her example and service and love for me and my family. I am grateful for her sacrifice and work to raise my husband and prepare such a wonderful young man for his life as a husband and father. I am grateful for her good health and all that she does to still care for us and all her children.

I am grateful to be alive and be able to be a mother to my children. Thinking and hearing about my friend's family trying to get along day by day without her now, I just am so grateful to be here and be healthy and able to fill my role as mother to my family.

I am grateful for good mothers everywhere who love and sacrifice and serve their children. For those of you who are doing it now, everyday, preparing your children to be stable, well loved, responsible, virtuous friends and potential future mates for my own children.

I am grateful for mothers who mother deliberately.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Noble is 2 ½ and his speech is improving daily. Tonight I had an interesting conversation with him. I was putting him to bed and asking him who loved him the most. As usual he kept saying “EEa.” That is his name for Sabrina. I kept saying “NO! Mama!” and he would laugh and laugh.

Then I told him I wanted to tell him a story. We often point to pictures of Camille and he knows the pictures are “Camille” but we haven’t really told him much about where she is or what happened. So tonight I told him that before he was born he had a big sister named Camille. She was a little baby girl and we all loved her. One very sad day a bad thing happened and Camille got hurt and she died. Mommy was very sad and she cried all the day long every day. Then one day a baby got into mama’s tummy. The baby grew and grew and then finally it came out.  This baby made Mama happy again. That baby was Noble. That is why Mama loves Noble more than anyone else does, because Noble made Mama happy again.

I am grateful for Noble. For the balm of Gilead he is to my soul. For his joy and love and LIFE. I have no doubt that he knows Camille and was meant to follow her into this family. I can feel the connection between them as if it were a tangible thing. I am grateful to have him to hold and squeeze and love. I feel as if by doing so am I am also holding and squeezing and loving her too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am thankful for Jonathan. I am thankful that he is ambitious and driven and strong headed and highly intelligent and full of integrity and humble and spiritual and patient with me and funny and loving.

He is not a perfect man. But he is a perfect fit for me. Our imperfections and faults are ones we can handle while we work to improve them. He is so patient with me in mine. He is endlessly giving and loving to me.

I feel blessed to be sealed to him for all eternity as his spouse. I still often thank my Heavenly Father for the miracle He performed to bring us together and turn Jonathan's heart to me.

Jonathan is my partner, my love, my teacher, my support, and my very best and closest friend. I am grateful for Jonathan.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Between the Bread and Laundry

Bread and Laundry. Those were the two great accomplishments of the day. I made 7 loaves of homemade 100% whole wheat bread with flour I ground myself just prior to making the bread. I finished washing and sorted and folded a literal mountain of laundry. All told I am sure it was 10 loads worth, though I will admit I lost count.

But those gigantic tasks are not the what I want to remember about this day. I want to remember how cute Lauren did her hair tonight after her shower with a low side ponytail and a little bow up by her temple. I want to remember her telling me that on Saturday after Dad gets up she wants to get an hour with me just to snuggle because she "never" gets time with me.

I want to remember my Ann Marie standing next to Lauren as she told her tale of woe, nodding with drama and flair. I want to remember the play she wrote, complete with stage directions, and asked me to type up so she and her sisters could preform it. I want to remember her grumpy face in the car when I was tickling her arm and telling her not to laugh no matter what.

I want to remember the sound of my son Noble saying "sorry mama!" when ever he does something wrong. The way he says it sounds so much older and so nonchalant. Like "get over it Mama." I love that he says it so readily and without prompting. I want to remember his speech getting so clear and distinct. I want to remember his sentences coming together correctly for the first time and the first time he uses new and big words.

I want to remember watching Sabrina walk out of school and not hearing me calling out to her from my car to wave hello as she headed to her ride to piano and I picked up Lauren to go to dance. I want to remember how engrossed she was in her book, that she just kept on walking, nose in the book, straight ahead without hearing me call her at all. I want to remember spying on her through the window at the end of her piano lesson with her back straight and her hands making lovely music.

I want to remember my little Harrison learning to scoot forward and getting up on hands and knees in an almost crawl. I want to remember his cute smile with spread out teeth and smiling eyes. I want to remember the way he grabs my hair on the back of my head when I hold him on my hip. I want to remember the look on his face at his first bite of mashed potatoes tonight at dinner.

Years will pass and there will always be laundry to wash and sort and fold. I will keep making my bread for years to come. But these miracles living in my house ... they will grow and change and then leave. I want to remember them ... as they are TODAY ... in all their little quirks and cuteness. I want to remember the magic that happens between the bread and laundry.

Tonight I am thankful for this blog and for all those who read it. This blog has been such a tool to help me heal when I have been hurting. And you readers have kept me writing even when I haven't been hurting. The writing keeps me present in my motherhood while creating a history as well. So thank you. Thank you for your prayers and support and love and understanding and thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Motherhood Chapter 24: Teaching Gratitude

With the commencement of November, I have turned my thoughts to gratitude. As I mentioned in my previous post, I will be adding a bit of gratitude on my blog every day this month. This morning, I decided to include my family in the endeavor as I sat the family down for our morning devotional minute.

Each morning after morning prayers, each member of our family is going to note something they are grateful for. It has to be a different thing than they have said yet this month. I hope this will help turn the thoughts of my children even more toward the blessings they have been given.

Gratitude is such an important lesson to teach our children. I am curious about the ways different people teach their children this important virtue. I will share a few things I have started at my home. But I do not profess to be any sort of expert on this subject. Frankly, I am sure I could use the tips more than others. I would like my children to increase in their gratitude. I would like them to think of gratitude more naturally, on their own.

So, PLEASE share your comments on how you teach your children gratitude.

One simple way I have tried with Noble is to point out things I have done for him and ask him to thank me. For example, after I change his diaper I will say something like, "Isn't it nice to be clean Noble? Wasn't that nice of Mommy to change your diaper for you? Can you tell Mommy thank you?"

Noble always tells me thank you. I wish I had done this with all my kids. I feel like it has made Noble just a bit more gratitude minded.

Other than this one simple tip, I can only say that we have family home evening meetings on this subject. We express gratitude in our prayers. I try to remind the kids to express gratitude for thing people give them or do for them like any normal parent does.

Let me know if you have any tips for me. I am sure I will be "grateful" for them.

Tonight I am grateful for the change in me that made me hug Noble when I was mad that he broke my cup instead of grab him in a mean way. I owe that to Camille. Thank you.