Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wonderful Women in my Life!

I have felt such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude this last month for the women in my life. I don't even want to start to list of amazing aunts, sisters, friends, neighbors that influence me for good because I'm sure I'd somehow miss someone, but I do want to highlight the two most obvious women during this month, my grandmother June Brewer Bell and my mother Karen Harris Bell.

My grandmother, June, was an amazing women that I respect and love so dearly. She passed away just shortly ago and although her passing was a gift to her and her last tiring years, it was still painful and sad to see her physically leave us. Due to my own mother's passing I've learned how fragile life really is as well as the importance of the here and now, not tomorrow. As a result of this, I tried really hard to include my grandmother June in our life the last few years of hers. Even though it was at times difficult to find time to visit or have her over to our house, I can't express enough how much I wish I would have found even more time and am so grateful that I did find the time I did to spend with such a gem of wisdom and love.

Grandma June holding Bevan (2 months old) in March 2009
Grandma June w/ Brigden (3) in March 2009

When Grandma's health was well enough we would have her over for weekly dinner. One of these occassions fell upon Brigden's birthday. I called her only a few hours before to inform her that we would be casually celebrating his birthday while she was here, but she was under no obligation to get him a present or anything, just merely come and be with us. Well, in traditional Grandma June style she showed up with a wrapped present. The typical style of hers was not that she had a present, but the actual present. Brigden excitedly opened the present to find a ziploc bag of random treats and goodies that Grandma had accumulated from her pantry including: large colored marshmallows, crackers, chocolate bars, and pretzels. The best part about it was that they were all bunched together in this ziploc and presented in such a Grandma June style, i.e. cookies in a bucket. I wondered what Brigden would think as he saw the ziploc bag of random worn goodies, but he was so ecstatic and delighted and I was relieved for his graciousness. She was so thoughtful and always trying to make sure others were happy and felt loved by her.

Grandma June had such a love for people and the gospel. I loved my many conversations with her these last few years. She had such wisdom, peace, and such a grounded testimony of Christ. There is almost nothing better than to talk with someone who just "gets it" and doesn't fuss with the rest of life's unnecessary fluff.

When I was a little girl we would visit Grandma weekly and each trip we would take I would pass a curio containing a pair of blue porcelain ballet slippers. I'm not quite sure why she had them, but I do know that I loved looking at them. I looked at them for years and as I grew with each visit I wished more and more that they were mine. Well, one day, she somehow found out about my wishes. I don't know if I just plain asked for them, which wouldn't surprise myself and many others, or if my mother told her, but as soon as Grandma found out, she took them out and gave them to me. I've cherished them ever since and to this day am so impressed at her kindness and charity.

As a child, I didn't quite understand what a peaceful person she was because to me she was just quiet, but now as I've grown and become a mother and a spouse, I'm amazed at her peaceful demeanor and patient personality. What an example to her family and I. I love this woman and am so greatful to have known her.

One of my favorite memories of her was when she was saying goodbye to one of my siblings a day or so before she passed and she said, "Don't worry, I'll tell your mother hello for all of you!"

Which brings me to my mother......It's so hard to find the words. Today is the 3rd year anniversary of her passing. It's been an interesting journey, a difficult one, but a very growing one. I miss her dearly! I miss her wisdom, her friendship, her undying love, her knowledge, and her testimony!

I miss just talking to her. I miss having someone to lean on. I don't know that I've ever felt more alone then during these last 3 years because of her absence and my trials. When she passed, I knew it would be difficult to spend the rest of my earthly life without her, but I could never have known to what extent. I didn't realize how much I would miss her strength, especially when I am weak, which is extremely more often then people believe or realize. I miss her love and zest for life, even though she was most quoted saying, "Life sucks and then you die." She knew how to bring humor to difficult situations and laugh things off.

I miss her. I miss her. I miss her.

Mom with Halen(2) in 2004.

I love her. I love her. I love her.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alien Robotic Transformers & Spiritual Promptings

Within the last few months because of wonderful lessons and general conference talks, I've felt like I really need to not only live the gospel, but share the gospel with others. While I've always had a desire to share the gospel, I daily feel so overwhelmed in merely trying to accomplish the basic tasks like reading my scriptures, doing the dishes, attending to my children and husband, etc. Well, as I mentioned, a few weeks ago a wonderful Relief Society Lesson drew the last straw that broke the camel's back for me and my so called desire. I knew I had to make a change and actually do something with my good-for-nothing "intentions!"

I put the task of buying some Books of Mormon at the Distribution Center on my "to do" list and finally days or weeks later I did it. I had to tell myself, "it doesn't matter that I had to keep rewriting "buy Book of Mormon" on my list each time I started a new list and threw away the old one. What mattered was, I actually stopped one day, walked into the store with my children and purchased the books, no more intentions, just progress!

Ok, so now I had to do something with these Books of Mormon. Hmmm? I had already decided that I would give one to a neighbor friend of mine whom I had recently befriended and learned of his troubling life situation. In our few discussions it became apparent to me that he needed the companionship of the gospel, as if anyone out there doesn't, and I wanted to be the one to give him the knowledge to be able to gain it in his life. Well, wanting to do it and actually doing it (again that naughty word "intentions") are two different things.

As I listened to the Conference Talks I realized how grateful I am for the gospel and The Spirit in my life and how selfish I was being by not just marching over to my new friend's home and sharing with him what I treasured so greatly. It seemed so silly to me because I don't hesitate near as much to share recipes, shopping ideas, gardening tips, children (play dates), etc. so why in the world would I hesitate so greatly to share what means the most to me? Well, maybe besides or equal to the children? Because it's just plain scary and intimidating, that's why!

So over the last few weeks I spent a little bit of time here and there highlighting the sections in the Book of Mormon that I felt were appropriate for my friend as well as part of the beautifully written Ensign focusing only on Jesus Christ which came out last March. Once this was done I placed the Book and magazine on my kitchen counter because I knew it would sit there until I disposed of it, i.e. gave it to my neighbor. It sat there for a few days and then I had had it (the craving to be clutter-free finally got the best of me) and after finding myself child free for a moment, decided this was it. The time had arrived.

But then all of a sudden, thoughts and questions entered my head so quickly I couldn't even answer them;

"What if he doesn't want to hear what I have to say?"
"He lives in Utah, he's probably already heard all about us Mormons."
"What is he doesn't even believe in Jesus Christ, then what do I say?"
"Is he going to think I'm pushy and crazy?"
"I really like this guy as a neighbor and my kids really like his, what if he treats me differently after I give him these books?"
"Is he going to try and bash with me?"
"What do I even say to start the conversation?"
"How am I going to turn a random uninvited knock on his door into a spiritual experience?"
"Ahhh...I'm scared."

Finally, I told myself. This is ridiculous. I asked myself, "Do you believe this?" "Yes, with all my heart!" "Do you truly believe this book contains the truth and everyone should be so blessed as to read it sooner, if not later?" "Yes!" "How could you have gotten through life over the last recent years without the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ?" I couldn't, well I would have, but I wouldn't have managed with such faith and happiness without the gospel. "Ok, then don't worry about the details of the conversation. Say a prayer and Just Do It!"

One of my favorite movies of all times is "Transformers", the first one. I love the part where two of the main characters are trying to decide if they should get into BumbleBee, his car, after realizing that he, Bumblebee, is not just a car, but a live alien robotic transformer. They only have seconds to decide because the Evil Deceptacon Transformers are chasing them. The main character tells her to get in with him and she wants to refuse and says, "Why? Are you crazy?" He then turns to her, reaches out his hand and says, "Because 50 years from now when you look back on your life don't you want to be able to say you got in?" She then jumps in the car and the story continues excitingly.

The reason I interject my own story with a scene from the movie, "Transformers" is because at that moment in time, as I'm looking out my window to see if my neighbor is home, those words came into my head. "When I look back on my life, days, weeks, months, years from now, don't I want to be able to say; I did it. I gave my friend what mattered most to me?"

Well, that was it. I didn't have any more excuses. I said my prayer and walked out the door, book, magazine, and faith in hand and heart!

I knocked on his door and he approached with a smile. We greeted and then I asked him if he had a minute I could share something with him. He was very gratious and came out to sit on his steps with me. I explained to him that something he had said to me a few days ago as we were chatting in front of our houses had really stayed with me. So much that I had really thought about my own current trials and the benefits of the gospel for me in my trials. The conversation contnued including a brief discussion of his familiarity with the LDS faith as well as his religious beliefs. I further explained why I had brought the book and magazine to him and highlighted parts as well. I even read some of it to him right then and there and expressed my feelings, i.e. testimony in the very book and gospel. I didn't formalize anything. I just merely explained how Jesus Christ and His gospel has given me peace in my life during times of trials and I wanted him to have the same peace in his life.

He was very gratious and accepting. Whether or not he wanted to know more, I don't know. I do know however, that he was grateful for my sincerity as well as my desire to show I cared about him and his situation. He was truly touched and it felt great to be able to share with him what has touched me most in my life! The conversation ended with casualties and much gratitude from him towards my efforts to care for his well being and then I was on my way back home.

It was over. I had done it. I can now say that I did it and it wasn't even as scary as I had made it out to be. What is strange to me as well is that all of those fears are coming from a return missionary. Someone who did this for 18 months every day! Every day! But this was my neighbor, someone that I cared about and had to say see each day hereafter. It was somehow different, but just as important.

As I walked home, I wondered what he would do with the materials I had given him. If he would actually read them? But even with all my questions, I felt at peace. I knew that I had done my part and at that instant that was what mattered. Whether I was planting a seed or about to watch the work bear fruit in his life was unknown to me. I was just grateful I could now look back and say hypothetically, "I got in that alien robotic transformer car!" I gave my friend what matters to me most; my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ! And surprisingly, I can't wait to do it again.

It's a good thing I bought multiple copies of The Book of Mormon because who knows when I'll make it back to the Distribution Center again with kids in tow.

Sugar Bugs, 21, Resurrection, Nice Roads, and Manners

These are the latest random stories and quotes from our little family.

A few months ago, as we were getting in the car Harris asked if he needed to put his seatbelt on and I replied;
“Yes, we are heading on the main road.”

To which Brigden replied; “No mom, it’s a nice road!”

A few nights ago when I was tucking Halen and Harris into bed, we had the following conversation:
Halen: "Mom, I love you."
Mom: "I love you too."
Halen: "I love you three!"
Harris: "I love you four!"
Halen: "I love you five!"
Harris: "I love you a hundred!"
Halen: "I love you a million!"
Harris: "Well,...(as if he's pulling out the big guns now)..
I love you 21!"

21...huh? That's more than a million? Well, aparantly he thinks so and after listening to his giggle after he said it, he was quite confident he had won the battle of love for his mother by trumping Halen's million with 21! Just don't tell anybody that this is the child of a math teacher because that math teacher didn't say anything about it, but to reply; "Thank you. I love you too!"

A month or so ago, before Bevan had teeth (she now has 2 cute little bottom teeth), Brigden was quite shocked and worried when he came upon her toothless mouth one day and immediately yelled, in shock and horror;

"Mom, Bevan doesn't have any teeth! The sugar bugs ate them!"
He was quite worried and I had to then explain that she hadn't had any teeth available yet for the sugar bugs to eat, but when she gets them, teeth that is, we'll be sure to brush them so the sugar bugs won't eat them.
Brigden has been technically potty trained since December of last year, 2008, but he has an occassional relapse from time to time because he just doesn't want to stop playing to go to the bathroom. Right now it's a matter of convincing him that even though his pants are closer in proximity than the bathroom, the toilet is a much better location. As a result of these relapses, lately we are working hard to praise him in having dry pants so whenver the occassion arrises, we congratulate him, trying to keep things positive. Something else to note is that Brigden is a serious "manners" child. He was born saying "Please, Thank You, and Your Welcome!" Yes, of course, we taught him when to say them, but we rarely have to remind him to do so, it is just ingrained in his system. He reminds me a lot of my brother Cardin who seems to know all the rules for proper manners. Anyway, because of his innate talent for proper manners, sometimes it's just awkward hearing a 3 year old be so polite and courteous. (Just remember, however, I did say sometimes!)
Yesterday, he walked out of the bathroom and after acknowledging his pants were dry and he had managed to take the time to stop playing and use the restroom, I congratulated him by saying;
"Brigden, way to keep your pants dry!"
To which he nonschalantly replied with a shrug of his shoulders; "Your Welcome"
Ummm? Did I say thank you? Nope, but in his perfectly mannered world I guess it's all the same!
A few months ago, the kids and I were on our way to celebrate my brother Kevin's birthday in Logan. During our travel there Brigden asked who we were visiting and I replied,
"Kevin, my brother who came back from his mission a year ago."
To which Brigden replied, "Oh, just like Jesus!"
Unsure of his comparison, I asked, "How is that Brigden?
He confidently replied, "Cuz Jesus came back to life too!"
I just can't decide if I should tell Kevin that apparently going on a mission doesn't mean you serve for 2 years, it means you die for 2 years and then come back to life when your time is up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quotes of the Day!

Brigden (3) says with a tone of amazement and discovery:
"Mom, look, my mouth is sharp, it can cut right through this cuuukie!"

Said just like cookie monster on sesame street says, "cookie!"

Harris (5): "Mom, does Jesus live in the heavens?"
Mom: "Yes."
Halen (7): "He lives in the clouds."
Harris: "Yeah, and in the mountains."
Halen: "You've gone camping in the mountains before."
Harris: "Yeah, I have."

Umm? We weren't even talking about Jesus when this conversation started and somehow we
didn't even end the conversation talking about Jesus either! Interesting!

Halen: "Bevan (8 mo.), you and I are going to be best friends when you grow up."

Famous last words from a girl who will someday wonder why her little sister has to tag along with her everywhere she goes.

Harris: "Mom will Dad let me shoot his air soft gun
when I go duck hunting with him next time he goes?"
Mom: "Yes"
Harris replied very seriously: "For Real?"

Did he really expect me to say, "for pretend?"

Halen (speaking of Bevan to Harris who is holding Bevan):
"Be careful with her because I really love her."

Ummm. And he doesn't?

Mom: "Brigden you really need to do all of your 'going to the bathroom' at one time when you are getting ready for bed instead of 'going two or three times' before bed each night."
Brigden (3): "No, I don't Mom! I go two times each night."

Hmmm. Gone are the days of Sweet Brigden.

Harris: "Why is there so much water in this watermelon?"
Without a moments hesitation Halen replies: "It is what makes it so sweet."

Wow, I didn't even know that. It seems we may have a 'know it all' on our hands.

In the background in the morning, as I was going about my duties and Brigden was playing with his cars, the tv was broadcasting a BYU devotional speaker. When the speaker finished, he closed with a final "Amen" to which Brigden pokes his head up from what he was doing and nonschalantly says, "Amen" and then returns to his cars as if nothing had ever happened. He heard me giggle and looked up at me to realize his "Amen" being the cause of my giggle, and then smiled a large grin, so proud of himself and sure of his charm and appeal.

And finally, Halen and Harris just found out they will be acting out a fire drill this coming Friday at their elementary school and both are very worried about it. So worried, in fact that this was part of Halen's prayer this evening:

"Please bless that I won't be scared in the fire drill this Friday and Harris won't either, if he decides he's not too scared to go to school that day."
I know there are more, but I forget them so quickly. How fun to see their little minds work so hard and grow so much each day and give us these lovely and quirky thoughts and words!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Just moments after feeling the weight of my frustration of life shining through in my children's behavior, i.e. "When Mom isn't happy, ain't nobody happy!", I realized it was once again time to flip that frown upside down! At the time I was doing Halen's hair and I thought we should sing a song. Singing always makes me happy! Always! Then seeing Brigden in the room I recognized if we sang his favorite song we could for sure get a group effort in participation. I asked them both to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with me and explained that it would help us to turn our frowns upside down and help us to be happy. Brigden was shy and timid at first, but Halen being the typical good sport, jumped right in. As we started singing I felt so much better, but then a great surprise came; harmony. I love harmony. I think I love it so much because I am an alto and I just love hearing the harmony and melody work together and knowing I can be a part of that great combination of sounds. At this time I didn't even know that anyone had ever written a harmony part for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but aparantly it didn't matter because there was now one being sung.
When Halen was as young as 6 months old she would sing as we traveled in the car. I thought it was odd and asked my mom once if that was normal for such a young baby. She told me it was definitely possible, but most likely that Halen was a singer at heart. I found this to be very true as I've had more children and none of them have shown any of the desire to sing that she has. She loves to sing and loves to harmonize.
As I listened to her specifically pick out notes to harmonize in the song as we sang, it brought so much joy to my heart! I was smiling, I was happy and she is talented! I'm sure there are plenty of 7 year olds out there that can do what she does, but just hearing her pick out her own harmony and find the joy in doing so, and doing it right (not just thinking she's doing it right) was wonderful! It made the switch I needed in my attitude!
We sang the song another 5 times, just enjoying singing together and listening to the harmony and melody and both loved every minute of it! What fun! Happy Day!


So, unfortunately there is no humor nor wonderful moments in this post. I just need to write/vent about my current feelings. I know that times are financially tough for lots of people right now and unfortunately we are to be included in that group. Dave hasn't had a stable earning job for almost 2 years and I'm almost in shock. I remember the feeling 2 years ago as the process was beginning and the intense feeling of fear I felt as I realized what could come, or more appropriately said, not come in the coming days, weeks, and months. I'll say one thing is for sure, at that time, I didn't think "years" was to be included in that last sentence. Was I ever wrong?
My parents have spoken occassionally of their "trying poor days" throughout my youth and I've listened attentively and amazed at the lessons they learned from their experiences as well as the things they had to do to survive. Most of the time my listening consisted of thoughts that left as quick as they came and included thoughts like, "Wow!" or "Really?"
The reason I bring this up now is because those same words pass through my mind each time we are faced with another obstacle in our quest to find a stable income. We just can't seem to catch a break and each time we think we will, something will happen that will lead me to say, "Wow!" "Really?" It's almost humorous. Well, really it becomes so because if I don't laugh, I'll just end up falling to the ground in monster tears like a 2 year old who didn't get the toy he wanted, but including the fear of a 2 year old who worries about the monster under their bed when they go to sleep. Serious fear! The kind of fear that you just don't understand until you really encounter it. Where will the money come from? Where and how will we find a job? How many times do we need to try a new job until we can find one that works? Why? When? How?
It may seem we are struggling with having faith and yes at times, we most definitely are. We're learning truly what faith means? I'm amazed at how I've learned that faith is not just believing that things will happen for you, but more importantly believing that somehow, homeless or not, we will be alright eternally no matter what happens to us temporally.
I know that people say, "Money doesn't bring happiness," but I also know that it makes it easier because without money, you must fight for happiness. It is a decision every single day to be happy for it would seem, what is there to be happy for? You have no idea how that bill will be paid, what you'll say to that bill collector when they call, how your children will be taken care of in their needs, or if your neighbors will kindly withhold judgement as they look at your dirt filled baren yard for the 3rd year.
I know these are not the kinds of things that an average post will contain, but at the moment, I am in reality and this is the raw truth of my reality! I've listened to so many people talk about how hard the pioneers had it traveling across the plains to Utah and seriously as I look back over the last 4 years of my life I feel like I might as well be on those plains. I do think they struggled, but I almost want to shout at the top of the mountains to all those that are suffering and say, "Yes, This is hard. It's really hard and just like the pioneers!" I know so many people struggling with life right now with not only finances, but also health, marriage, religion, family, etc. I am amazed at what seems a heightened level of difficulty in life for so many. I'm not sure if it's just that I'm more aware now than I was 4 or so years ago, but the last few years have really seem to hit a lot of people hard.
Honestly, I'm tired. I'm worried, and I'm struggling to find that smile, but, of course, I'll keep trying, I'll read my scriptures to give me that daily boost of faith and perserverance, but I just want myself to know when I read this journal entry years from now and hopefully read having forgotten how truly difficult this trial was; This is hard! There must be a wonderful place in the heavens above that going through this makes it all worth it, but for now, this is just my reality!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Are you Quilting Kidding Me?

A few years ago I caught a small quilting bug and bought some matching fabric and a pattern. I dug through many patterns until I finally found one I liked, not being very attracted to most quilting styles, and took my purchase home. The sad part was that I lost all motivation when I sat down and begun. I hadn't even really looked at the pattern so that wasn't what scared me, it was just that I had no desire to do it.

I have a dear friend who loves to quilt and figured maybe I was missing out on something, but soon realized that this wasn't the time and place for me to begin quilting. I just didn't have it in me. Well, after showing my pattern to some other quilting friends, I learned that there was good reason for me not to quilt that pattern, or at least to start quilting with that pattern because it was a very difficult one. After learning this I just chalked it all up to a learning experience and threw my pattern and material in a bag in a closet, very deep in the closet.

Quite some time later I found it while cleaning out the closet and mentioned it to my dear friend; Cynthia. She graciously said she would quilt it for me because I still really wanted the finish product, but was now intimidated by the difficulty of the task. Well, I just received it in the mail Friday and I knew immediately what it was when I saw her handwriting on the box. I jumped up and screamed, "Dave, it's the quilt." He cheered me on, "Open it! Open it! Let's see!" I pulled it out and was in complete shock. It was/is beautiful! I just sat and looked at it for a good 15 minutes just amazed at how so many sections were so different and this is one of the reasons it was such a difficult pattern.

I had already decorated my baby room to match these colors, but was just missing the crib baby blanket and today for the first time I got to put Bevan down for her nap with her new baby blanket/quilt. It is so beautiful and I am so grateful for a dear friend in Cynthia that she would spend so much time to do something so special for me. As I told her on the phone, "I feel so spoiled!" Isn't it just beautiful! I'm so blessed to have her as is she to have her quilting skills!

Cynthia and I have been friends ever since my days in Park City and it's been great because she and I have been able to maintain a great relationship regardless of the distance. She is just like a sister to me and I love her dearly! I'm so happy to be able to have a quilt made by her in my possession because that is what makes it so very special to me!

All this quilt talk reminded me of another very special quilt in my home. When my mother was diagnosed with Cancer my sweet sister in law; Julie wanted to make a quilt for my mom and indirectly me when my mother was no longer able to enjoy it. The colors she had me pick were ones that matched my mother's bedroom set and personality perfectly. I now have the quilt and feel so warm physically and emotionally when using it. I'm starting to understand the quilt thing.

This is a quilt my mother and I made together for my wedding. It's pretty simple, but it holds great love and memories for me and my family because of it's origin.

This is a quilt I made for Dave while we were dating. It's quite the story. I didn't think we were headed anywhere as a couple so I didn't want to spend money on him for Christmas. As a result, I opted to make him a quilt out of inexpensive fabric for a Christmas present because I just couldn't not give him anything. Little did I know that we would end up getting married and this quick-sew inexpensive quilt would become my husband's favorite "blanky" in my home. Dave and I laugh a lot over that quilt and how clueless I was at the time I made it for him. Good memories.

This is not my favorite looking blanket (not really a quilt), but it has such great meaning to me that it had to be included. When I was on my mission, my companion and I met and taught an amazing man named Mario. He was baptized after our discussions and gave us gifts to show his gratitude. I received this blanket. It always reminds me of my mission days and I just love to have it around because of that and it's great warmth. The picture on it, ummm... I could do without, but really who cares what a blanket looks like if you can baptize somebody, right?

This last blanket was given to me by my wittle sister; Megan. She was so excited to pick out my color choices and give this to me as her own instigated birthday present for me. I just love to think of her each time I see it. What a sweetheart for a sister! It's become my running blanket that I use after my runs to keep warm. It's so fun to get a "hug" from Megan after each run!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've alive and well

I had an interesting experience this morning as I began a conversation with a stranger and ended it with a friend. This gentlemen and I spent a few moments discussing our shared current struggle of unemployment in this slow economy. One of the neatest parts of the conversation was our shared love of God regardless and because of our situations. He shared how his 5 children had struggled through the summer given there were no funds for anything extracurricular. He also shared how scary it was to not know how to make ends meet, but how grateful he was that at least he had a roof over his head and food on his table. We both shared how we had individually come to the conclusion of the importance of waking up each day with a smile and faith. At the end of the conversation and after discussing of the burn of the refiner's fire during great trials like this, my heart was very warm and I was humbled at what a wonderful person and spirit this gentleman was. We both wished each other well and went out separate ways.
When I got in my car the radio automatically came on and this was the song...."I'm alive" w/ Kenny Chesney and The Dave Mathews Band.
It was so perfectly timed and I enjoyed every minute of it as I dwelled on my gratitude for my life, my family, the fulfillment of my basic needs, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and for the great organization that it is. And lastly, I'm so grateful for trials which humble me more and more and more and more and more....

Halen & Soccer FUN!

Halen played her first soccer game this year last Saturday and not only did she have a blast, so did her mother, her uncle Corbin, and her cousin Niki. Niki are on the same team and Corbin is their coach. I asked Corbin before the game if he was having fun and he replied, "Sure." He wasn't very enthusiastic because he had been doing all the logistics of getting the team put together, practices, etc. and hadn't really had any FUN yet, but after the game his answer was completely different as he walked over to me and said, "Wow! That was fun!" to which I agreed!
Niki was amazing. She scored at least 4 goals and was such a power house when she wanted to be. It's fun to watch the kids give it their all and then be just pooped and want to sit on the side lines after only a few minutes of running. There are 4 time periods each 10 minutes long and surprisingly, it's a long 10 minutes.

Halen sat out the first session and then when it was her turn to go in she was quite nervous, as is Halen's first inclination with anything. She went out there and after 4 or 5 minutes came out due to an injury, she was kicked in the leg. After asking her how she was doing she started crying in frustration because the "girls were pushing her" and she didn't like it. I had to explain the aggressive nature of soccer and that she just needed to tough it out. She said she would try it again and the next session was amazingly different. As soon as she gets her confidence in check, she's a real determined little girl. She started working her way through the pack and finding that ball as shown here:

She surprised even me with her determination and focus on the ball. I figured she'd do all right and have fun, but I had no idea she had such focus. She not only played excellent on offense, but was one of the only girls to return with the ball and opposing players on defense. She even scored a goal and assisted another one.

It was so much fun to watch her enjoy herself and play so well. I don't know about her, but Corbin and I can't wait for the next game!

Banana Bread & Thank Thee

Brigden loves his banana bread, just like his mother! The kid can eat at least 4-5 slices of banana bread in one sitting, it's just amazing. Anytime he sees or hears "banana bread" he is all over it and begging instantly for some. I absolutely LOVE banana bread and could eat it every day as well, so there's no question where he gets it from. Here he is chowing down on his 5th slice.

Over the years as our children have learned to pray, I've noticed their personality come out in their praying style. Brigden has only been praying on his own for a little while now, but he has definitely taken to his own style. Here is the prayer he gave just this morning at breakfast.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank thee for this day.

Thank thee for our food.

Thank thee for my light saber.

Thank thee for my Lightning McQueen Car.

Thank thee for Halen and Bevan and Harris and Daddy and Mommy and Halen and me and Bevan and Daddy and Mommy and Harris and Bevan and me and Halen, etc.

Thank thee for my cousins.

Thank thee for my teacher.

Thank thee for my toys.

Thank thee for my friends.

Thank thee for this day.

Thank thee for our house.

Jesus Christ, Amen.

It may seem that this prayer I've just written was a lot of "Thank Thee's" but the truth is that is all Brigden says in his prayers. It is so fun to listen to him pray because he is so positive and not to say that we shouldn't all need things and include "Please bless'" but Brigden's prayers are a great example to me of being grateful. Sadly, we even have to cut him off sometimes because his list is too long. Maybe that isn't right, but it is reality. He is such an optimistic joy to have around!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weighed, W-e-i-g-h-ed!

Halen and I have been practicing her spelling words this week in preparation for her weekly spelling test and one of the words is 'weighed.' Occassionally when she doesn't know what the word is I'll use it in a sentence to help her recognize the correct word. This was the case with 'weighed' when I said it the first time and she gave me a blank look so I said, "I weighed 100 lbs."

Now, this is so far from the truth and mostly because given my muscular body type I can't remember the last time I weighed 100. I think in elementary school I went straight from 70 lbs to 120 lbs or maybe that was jr high. I have no idea, but what Halen said next was just heaven sent;

"Oh, Mom, you don't weigh that much."

I just giggled inside because how untrue that statement was, but how adorable that she sincerely thought I couldn't weigh such a big number. Little does she know, I love the innocence of youth sometimes!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

As of Late...

Bevan has had a lot of first these last few days. She has sat up for the first time, crawled for the first time, and we found one new tooth and another one just peeking through the surface. Wow! Teeth, sitting, and crawling all at once. That makes for easy documentation of her monumental moments. I can't express enough how much we all love having her around. She has such a great giggle and is such a cheerful child!

In the past I have told my children one of the reasons we need to brush our teeth is to get rid of the "sugar bugs" in our mouth and on our teeth. Therefore, occassionally after they brush their teeth they open wide and ask if there are any more sugar bugs in their mouth. This morning, after Brigden was flossing, and having a difficult time doing so because the floss kept getting stuck in between his back teeth, he said, "Ughh! Those potato bugs are tough." Just yesterday when Halen opened a belated birthday present and was super shocked to find it contained many Hannah Montana items, Brigden said, "What the...!" It is something Halen says all the time and there has never been a question of whether or not another word should come next or not because the next word isn't said in our home to begin with, but it is a funny thing to hear a 3 year old say it. He's quite the drama boy!

Harris has been extremely thrilled lately to have a brand new pair of tennis shoes. He's been so concerned about his new shoes that he has instituted a few rules for himself; no running in water and dirt, check them for "stickies" whenever he comes in the house, and keep them looking as new as possible. Honestly, I'm impressed that he's even trying because I'm sure the day will quickly come as a normal boy that those new shoes no longer looking new. The one downside to his new tennis shoes is that they have shoelaces and he hasn't ever had to tie his shoes before. Well, after 2 days of asking Mom to tie his shoes each time he put them on, Harris was done with that. He is an extremely self-motivated independent child. There is nothing he can't do, at least that's what he thinks. So after failing at teaching himself how to tie his shoes, which he really believed he could figure out on his own, he asked me to help him. I figured I would have to show him quite a few different times when we put his shoes on over the next few days, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I showed him in detail once on each shoe and then had him practice once on each shoe and then that was it. He did it perfectly from then on showing me how he had done it each time. I was in shock! It always amazes me what Harris can accomplish when he puts his mind to it. Especially considering what he will not do when he does not want to do it. He has amazing mind power!

Halen wasn't feeling well yesterday because of a light fever so she, the other kids, and I enjoyed a nice quiet day at home together. At first, I was really worried they would just fight all day because they were bored and couldn't play with friends, being sick, but again, I was wrong. (There seems to be a consistency here?) They played together with their capes and dolls in the morning and then after quiet time continued to play very well together. One of the biggest shockers of the day for me was that Halen played all by herself in her room for at least 3 hours. When I would check on her, because this was not normal, she was very content and about her business playing with her dolls and her dollhouse. That dollhouse has been one of the best purchases Dave and I have ever made together for our family! Later that night when I asked her what she played she went on to tell me for at least 15 minutes about each doll, including their role; daughter, mother, father, etc. and their hair. I almost fell asleep hearing about all the different hair styles of the dolls, but delighted in how excited she was about the entire thing. She and I have started a new tradition of actually talking on her bed before she goes to bed. We usually talk after school, but she also loves it when we talk before she goes to bed. In the past I've started our conversation by asking her, "What were 5 good things about your day?" to help her focus on the positive of some really bad days. As a result, she asks me each night, "Aren't you going to ask me what was good about my day?" I just love this new tradition of ours because I find that she loves talking to me and as I look back on my days as a daughter, I, too, loved talking to my mother. I hope that if we keep this up she'll continue to talk to me and there will never grow a barrier between us when she gets older and wants to become more private. I love our little time together and the other benefit is that I am now trying to put them to bed sooner so that I can enjoy that time with each of them and then they go to sleep better, having had 'down time' to relax them and prep them for sleeping. Another benefit is that it makes for less time fighting with each other as children. What a joy to have good quality time with my family!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sisters Forever, Hopefully Friends!

Halen (7) and younger sister Bevan (7 mo)

I just love that Halen and Bevan have each other. Growing up it was sometimes hard for me to get along with my 5 year younger sister Brynn, but my relationship with her now is one of my most cherished relationships. I adore her and our understanding of one another and especially now with my mother's passing, I need her more than ever. I love that my daughters will have each other and am so excited to see their love towards one another grow in the future.

Halen already loves having Bevan around and is very helpful in taking care of her. She loves playing with Bevan and holding her. She probably holds her the most, but Harris is a close second place.

The other ironic thing is how different they look. Many people think they look alike, but in actuality they seem to look alike because of their similarities in coloring. They both have light eye color as well as skin and hair, but their distinct features are so different. Halen is a blonde version of me, Mandolin, and Bevan is pure 100% Dave. It'll be fun to see Bevan as she gets older and their differences in looks become more apparent.

Bevan at 7 Months

What a pure joy Bevan has been in our life! She is now eating rice cereal, peaches, pears, beans, bananas, etc. She loves attention, as all babies, but thrives on watching. She has to always be sat up on your lap so she can see what's going on around her. She is a pretty content baby as long as there is something going on around her to watch. Just yesterday for Labor day I was able to lay her on a blanket for at least an hour and she was just happy to watch the other babies on the blanket with her or the people nearby.

This not to say she isn't a normal baby since she does her fair share of fussiness, but all in all, she is a pleasure to have around and we are so happy that she has been added to our family. She brings a smile to the faces of all whom enter the room.

She is very easily pleased. The weirdest thing about her would just have to be how ridiculously similar her looks are to those of her father. It shouldn't be a surprise, but the exactness of her facial expressions to his is just crazy! Many times she'll make looks and I'll just get a weird sensation because I'll feel as if I'm looking at Dave, but know somewhere deep inside, I'm not, I'm looking at Bevan. Then again, there are some looks that she makes that you wouldn't normally see Dave make and it's strange to see a Dave face making those looks on her face. For example; we don't usually see Dave make a yearning face for someone to pick him up, but we know when Bevan makes it, she's his daughter! (It would be a funny sight to see on Dave though, wouldn't it?)

She is easily pleased and very happy to be held. Whenever someone gives her attention she ducks her head down as if she is embarrased and then lifts her head up and reaches out wide for them to pick her up. She is loving peek a boo and water. She just sat up for the first time a few days ago and is about to crawl. She already scoots backwards, but is now rocking back and forth on her knees getting ready to take that first crawl forward.

Her eyes are probably the most piercing thing about her. Everybody comments on them and I agree, they are mesmerizing. When I look at them they seem to lock me into some kind of trance. What a beautiful blue! And her hair is still a white blonde just like Dave's when he was a baby. Halen and Harris were both blonde, but Harris was the only one to be just as white blonde as Bevan. So fun to see the differences in all of our children.
Oh how blessed we are, we love our beautiful Bevan!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Halen Turns 7!

This year was the year for Halen to enjoy a friend birthday party. She chose to do a Hannah Montana Birthday party and have all her friends watch the new Hannah Montana movie together at her party. I loved the idea as well; less work and she received the movie as one of her presents. It was also fun to have a long list of friends to invite to her party because we had seating for many to watch the movie. Of course, not everyone was able to attend, but she was blessed enough to enjoy her birthday party with 12 friends. They were so much fun to watch watching the movie and during one dancing part. I video'd them all dancing and it was so cute. I just wanted to jump in and do it with them. I fear I'll be one of those moms that are just not cool because they want to be with the kids and not the "Mom."

Who would have thought that decorating her own birthday cake would have turned out to be such a great thing for both us, me less stress, and Halen all the creativity rights she wanted. She was thrilled to decorate her own cake this year! She chose to put a present on top of it with lots of sprinkles. It was such a fun thing for her to do and such a great relief because I wasn't up for decorating a cake given her planned birthday party with friends was enough work for me.

Halen was very grateful for her many presents; including a Hannah Montana doll, the Hannah Montana movie, a new jacket, microphones for the xbox, jewelry, and a new pony. This must be why she loves birthdays so much. Presents!!!

It's so great to look back on her life and feel so grateful for her presence in our home and hearts! I have loved each year of her life in mine and am so excited for many more to come. She is a blessing in our home and growing so quickly!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Halen's First Day of 2nd Grade

Halen on her first day of 2nd grade. Ummmm. Are you kidding me? She is supposed to be almost 7, but seriously after I looked at this picture when I took it I wanted to cry because I can already see myself taking the picture of her on her first day of junior high or high school. I know I shouldn't say these things, but I'm going to. She is beautiful. I'm shocked at her beauty. I wish I had had such beauty as a young girl. I say this not to beg for compliments or pity, but merely to state the facts. I was so much more awkward looking and I'm already worried about the boys with this girl. I've got to keep her humble! Wish me luck!

Not only is she beautiful in my eyes, but she is a pure gem. She is such a helper and sensitive person. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter, the oldest, and my friend. I just adore her.
She was so nervous to go back to school, as always with Halen, because she wanted to make sure she would have friends and like her classmates and her teacher. This is just her nature. She struggles with fear, fear of everything! It took at least a week for her, after many discussions, to remember that this is how she feels every year and somehow it always works out after the first few days of school.

Of course, after the first day the fear was no longer present and she was back to normal, wanting to play with friends and excited for the next day. I love to hear her stories of who she played with at recess and get the goods from the after school chat we share each day. I remember doing the same thing with my mother and now hold those few moments as so precious. I always try to ask her questions that will stimulate great answers instead of yes and no so I can get the real stories from the long day away from me. She is always so great to share and we have such a special bond. I am so blessed. Even after the first day of school she came home and gave me a great big hug because she had missed me so much. It was a long first day without Halen at home and I missed her just as much.

She is making new friends as well as enjoying the same old best friends and things are working out real well for her so far this year. She, too, is loving having Harris to play with at recess and in the same hallway. They are such great friends at times. What a blessing! I loved being able to have my brothers with me at school. It was like having a little piece of home away from home with me at all times.

She is such a great student and very responsible. She sometimes struggles with doing all of her homework because the desire to play with friends after school is so great, but what child doesn't? We love our Halen!

Harris First Day of Kindergarten

Wow. How quick the time flies by and how grown up out little boy has become.
Harris(5) has been so excited to get to go to Halen's school and on Halen's bus this entire last summer he could barely believe the day was here. It was really frustrating because he was able to go see his classroom the first day of school, but then because of assessment appointments he wasn't actually able to attend school until a week later. It was a very long week. He was thrilled to find out that his classroom is right across the hallway from Halen and that they get to share the same last recess of the day.
Harris has grown a lot in the last few months. I wondered if he would be ready for Kindergarten and be able to listen to his teacher, but according to reports from other mothers as well as his preschool teacher, Harris is a very responsible obedient child. I don't always get to see this side of him at home, but it makes me happy to know that he has such a side and is showing it to others, and especially his leaders, educational and religious.
I've been very impressed with how much he really does educationally know because he doesn't always seem to show an interest. It's strange how he just seems to have a knack for remembering things even though he doesn't act like he would nor does he put in the time to reep the rewards. He reminds me of his father who is just smart by birth and can get away with not doing homework because he can remember things without it.
After his first few days, I asked him to make a goal of making new friends and each day he would come home and report on his progress. One day he said, "Mom, I made a new friend and we played at recess, but I forgot to ask him his name. I'll ask him tomorrow." Then the next day he said, "Mom, I made another new friend, but forgot to ask him his name too. I'll ask him tomorrow." Aparantly, names are unimportant, but who cares when you can play together right?
We're so proud of him and his growth lately! He is really blossoming and is ready to go. He did great on his assessment. He is a sweetheart and a hard worker and will do very well at school!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Brigden's First Day of Preschool

Brigden (3) has been waiting for this first day of preschool for years. He has watched his bigger brother and sister head out the door each day during the school year and begged to "go to school too." Well, the day has finally arrived. He was so excited that he picked out his shirt all by himself and made sure to wear his soccer shirt. He was also so excited to wear his very own Spiderman backpack and wanted it on in the picture. You'll also notice his sandals are on the wrong feet, just like the independent child wanted.

I am so thrilled he gets to go to school now for his sake and for mine. I am loving the extra time with him, Harris, and Halen all gone for at least a little bit during the week, but I do also miss them, just a little bit. His preschool teacher asked him to bring his name with items on each letter of his name that started with that same letter. We had so much fun making it that we wanted to take a picture of it and it now is stuck to the door of his room. He is very bright and I can tell is already going to excel in school because it is just his personality style, very maticulous and inquisitive. He is already working on writing his name and knows lots of letters all by himself. He shows me whenever he finds a "B" wherever we go.

Oh, how we love Brigden and with those dimples, how could you not. He is a jewel!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We met our goal and more!

This is the story of my first 1/2 marathon which I am so grateful for in my book of life. I am also very grateful for my sweet husband who supports me and allows me to steal his mornings so I can prepare for such an event by running each day, my sweet children who give me great smiles as they ask me, "Mom did you win the race again?", and my sister Megan who sacrificed her weekend so I could leave the little rugrats and spend the day racing in Logan. Here are the little ones and I after returning home that day with the sign Kevin made me for the race.

Brigden (3), Harris (5), Mandolin, Bevan (almost 7 months,) and Halen (almost 7)

And this is the story:
My sweet adorable cousin, Tiffanie, and I have taken up running together this last summer and we both just love it, almost as much as we love being together bright and early in the mornings. After we finished running on the same Ragnar Team for the Wasatch Back in June, we realized we needed a goal to keep us going and decided the Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon was it! It was scheduled for Aug 29th in Logan and we shaped our runs around this goal. Three weeks before the 1/2 marathon we ran a 10K together to give us good practice and measurement as to where we really were in our running abilities. We were both very excited to find that although we weren't major competitors, we didn't finish last and met our timing goal. After finishing the 10K we upped our runs a major notch and ran a total of 34 miles the next week as well as the week after that which included a 10 mile run and a 12 mile run. Well, that was it. We were ready. We knew we wouldn't compete, or come close to being amazing runners, but our only goal was to finish without walking.

Well, to say, the least....We did it and loved every minute of it! Here we are at the finish line just after we finished.

This next picture shows the pure exhaustion on my face that Tiff and I felt at the end of the race. It wasn't because of the length of the race, but because of our last 1 mile choices. As Tiff and I had only made a goal to finish the race without walking, we had never discussed "pushing it" at any time. When the last mile came upon us we came upon a lot of participants walking. It was really hard to see so many walking because all you really wanted to do was to walk yourself at that point, but it was then that I reminded Tiff and I of our goal: No walking! Soon after our rededication to our goal we turned the last corner and could see the finish line afar. It was a little misleading because it seemed closer than it was by the blur of people, but what Tiff and I both didn't realize was that the crowds of people were lined up before the finish line, not after, hence our confusion in assuming the finish was closer than actuality. At our excitement to end the race, Tiff turns to me and asks, "Do you want to push it?" My heart raced because I really wanted to and was so excited at the opportunity to start becoming the real athlete I want to be and remember being years ago. I told her as soon as we passed a landmark a few feet ahead so I could mentally prepare myself. The landmark came and we were off and I mean "Off!" We started sprinting. How? After running 12 miles did we start sprinting? Most likely, adrenaline and pure persistence, but wow, did we ever sprint! It seemed like the first few sprints were faster then each one thereafter, but we kept at it. We were passing people like crazy and it felt so great considering how many people had passed us along the way. My heart was racing and I could barely breath, but we just kept pushing! It felt great and horrible all at the same time! I knew we could't stop and give in until we crossed the finish line and since I was struggling I started cheering Tiff on, "Go Tiff!" I knew if she stopped I'd stop and watching her by my side sprint with all she had was keeping me going. I just kept cheering for her, "You can do it! Tiff!" I'm sure she was surprised at my nonstop cheering, but it was all I could do to keep my mind off the ridiculous pain and fatigue I was feeling. I swear that last mile was just as long mentally as the other 12 put together. Well, this is the look on my face immediately after we crossed the finish. Exhaustion! and "Are you kidding me?"

One of the best parts of our run was as we were in our dead sprints approaching the finish line we both were shocked to death, almost literally, by my sweet brother Kevin. He had come to cheer us on at the finish line and not only cheer us on, but give all other spectators a show as well. Here is the look on my face as I realize that the freakishly loud voice cheering is actually in support of Tiff and I, as well as that the person in that ridiculous outfit is my brother. Don't worry, the outfit is coming up next.

Kevin had attended an 80's party the night before and had taken the "dress up" requirements for the 80's party quite literally! He figured his outfit was perfect for the crazy fun of supporting his sister and cousin in their first 1/2 marathon, but quite a few spectators didn't quite agree. He got quite a few interesting looks as well as laughs and giggles at the amazing outfit. What was ironic to me was not the outfit, but how good his legs looked in it. This picture just does not do his legs justice. I was left jealous and wishing my legs looked so good! We told him that he truly belonged at a Ragnar Relay in this kind of an outfit, not a prim and proper small town 1/2 marathon gathering.

This entire event was such a wonderful occassion in my life. I have loved being a mother and a wife and watching my life change in support of these new roles of mine, but I have also in the mean time lost who I really am. It is a daily struggle to do all I should do as well as remember who I am while doing these things. Running has become a passion for me because it has given me back me! I love taking care of my body and enjoying the energy and physical results during the day because of my hard work and sacrifice. I don't think I've enjoyed any of my babies as much as I have Bevan and not because of her, but because of me. I am so happy with who I am and have so much energy because of my activity level that it has made all the difference in the world. I have loved being able to have a goal and accomplish it. I love this new part of me or at least this rediscovered part of me. I am a person and I am loving being so again!

I especially love spending time with Tiffanie. I love sharing and listening with her during our runs. It's such a pleasure to chat and bond as we run and to have each other to keep our minds off our gruelling runs. Running has become a great blessing in my life at a time when I really need an out from the heavy stresses. It gives me a daily escape from the weight of stress on my emotions and moods. I'm sure the extra endorphins from the physical activity are a major help as well! Anyhow, yay! for us, we did it and more!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brigden's Big Ideas

Brigden, we are learning, is a very imaginative and creative child. He loves to play by himself with his CARS and can do so for hours. He doesn't need much outer stimulation to be happy because he just creates it for himself.
Brigden (3 1/2) giving Bevan (6 mo) a ride in the jeep.

Most of the things he says and does bring a huge smile to our faces because he is so adorable. Dave has appropriately nicknamed him "Precious." He even runs in a precious/adorable way so we also like to call him "Prancy Pants." It would seem that he should be a girl with the nicknames that we've given him, but when you see the miscevious glimmer in his eye, the deep adorable dimples in his cheeks, and the constant grin on his face, there's no questioning his "Precious" personality.

Lately, one of his favorite things to do is to run up to Dave or I and dramatically say, "Mom/Dad, I have a big idea today!" To which, we are wondering what it could be, assuming it is something new and innovative, so we reply, "What?" "It's Cars!" We're not quite sure what that means or if he really knows what it means to have a big idea, but he's very proud of the fact that he thought of Cars at that moment so we go along with it. "What about cars?" "Lightning McQueen Cars, Mom/Dad!" "Wow, that's great." We will go through this conversation frequently during the week and usually right as he's going to bed.

Currently he is sleeping in the crib again because his mind just doesn't slow down enough when he goes to bed in the same room with anyone else and he ends up staying up for hours jumping on his bed or talking. Both Halen and Harris will complain of how he won't stop talking. He'd much rather play and have fun than go to sleep. Therefore, we had to move him back into the crib so he wouldn't have any choice but to focus on sleeping in a room all by himself. Each night as we put him to bed he climbs on a chair, for easier access, steps on the top of the crib railing and then jumps into the bed. Halen and Harris would have just climbed carefully into the crib, but no, Brigden has to make it FUN! This is Brigden's personality; Making everything FUN!

I am tiring of finding ways to make chores and tasks fun to get him to accomplish them. I don't completely agree with the idea, but sometimes it's just easier to conform and make his task a competitive race so he'll do it than it is to enforce with pure disciplinary parenting.

The worst part about being Brigden's parent is that he is such a charmer! Each time we try to discipline him and speak seriously, looking straight into his eyes, he just giggles and laughs. It's very difficult to get him to concentrate or care about the topic at hand. He loves to laugh, play, and have FUN!

Each time Brigden gets physically hurt he says, "I hurt my feelings." I'm not sure how he picked this one up, but we just love hearing him be so "precious" that we have yet to inform him that it's really not his feelings that are hurt, but his body.
He is going to preschool this year and is so excited to be able to go to school like his other brother and sister. He loves his backpack and carries it everywhere he can.

Although he is difficult to discipline because of his happy personality, he is a wonderful joy to have around. Everyone remarks on his happy disposition and his charming dimples. He warms the heart of everyone and anyone he meets as well as his parents. We love him dearly and are so grateful to have him in our family.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Skilled Sweet Hubby!

One of our many projects over the last home renovation has been the garage. We are almost finished with it's remodeling and one of our last projects in doing so is for Dave to build shelves for the last wall. He's already spent many hours building beautiful shelves on the other 2 shelves. The shelves he's working on currently will hold our food and food storage since we don't have a pantry in our kitchen. I am so excited to have it done because it will allow me to hold a lot more food storage than previously. In our discussions of the perfect shelving unit we've discussed the pros and cons of a rolling can system. I would love to have one, but I need to store so much more than just cans so given the very little space Dave and I decided to just do shelves. Dave knew how much I wanted a rolling can system and so in his sleepness nights he dreamed up a way for me to have both. How sweet that was of him to figure out how to make me happy, regardless of the extra work.
His plan is to have a rolling system behind the shelving unit and has figured out the perfect way to do it. He is so maticulous in his planning and building and always comes out with a beautiful finished project. Here is the beginning of the project. You can notice the slanted wood pieces that will allow the cans to roll downward.
It's funny, but when we were young and getting married I never would have imagined that my husband to be would be so incredibly handy. It amazes me the skills he has and the confidence he utilizes to accomplish so many projects. In our entire home renovation he has done everything, except properly hook up the furnace. Everything! He is amazing and so talented. I am so grateful for his skills and his abilities. What a blessing he has been to our wallet. We never could have accomplished so much without his talents and his hard work ethic. I love him dearly!

Saturday is a Special Day!

Saturday is a special day.
It's the day we get ready for Sunday;
We clean the house, and we shop at the store,
So we won't have to work until Monday.
We clean our clothes, and we shine our shoes.
And we call it our get-the-work done day.
Then we trim our nails, and we shampoo our hair,
So we can be ready for Sunday!

Seriously, I sung this song countless times as a child in primary, but took a break for many years from it's teachings. This is not to say, however, that Saturday was not a work day because it has always been just that, but it's been so much of a work day that I've forgotten to make it a "work to be prepared for Sunday" day. Well, after much fun last week, I found myself supporting Dave in his desirous chore list and not knowing what to do with myself. It was then that the lyrics to this primary song came into my head. In the past I've used Monday as a day to clean the house and prepare for the week, as well as pick up from the weekend. As I went through the words of the song I realized that maybe my Monday activities should happen on Saturday so I can truly relax in a clean organized home on Sunday and not feel the itch to get stuff done while trying to truly relax and enjoy the Sabbath.
Well, I went for it. I cleaned all day Saturday, bathed the kids, and had the house clean and ready for Sunday. It made a huge difference in my attitude Sunday morning. Instead of instantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I walked into a messy or unkept kitchen, I felt relaxed and relieved that everything was already in it's place and no work to be done. We had a great family home evening, not rushed as happens too often, and plenty of time to get ready for church as well as just enjoy being together for the day. I even sat down to watch a little golf with Dave, which never happens, but because I felt relaxed enough with myself, I could relax with him how he relaxes. Another huge benefit was that my house was ready to accept company without me last minute stressing on prepping the house for their arrival.
It was a wonderful Sunday and I owe it all to primary. "Saturday is a Special Day!" and I've learned that it is just as important as Sunday because without it, Sunday could not be as Special for me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Few Favorite Things!

Dave and I are always looking for better ways to simplify and streamline our life. It's just our personalities. This is why I've recently come upon another one of my favorite things, but first, you must know that one thing I hate to do most is fold socks! I mean hate! I don't really enjoy doing laundry, but I HATE finding, matching, folding, and putting away socks! I love summer just because there are fewer socks to fold.
Well, one day a light went off in my head. I know this is not a new idea, but it was for sure new to me. I realized that those laundry mesh bags can not only be used for delicate items, but also items that you don't want to separate, like.....SOCKS! So, I tried it. At first I was sure it wouldn't work because the socks wouldn't get clean enough, thinking of my sons dirty socks, as they were washed in the laundry mesh bags, but I was wrong. They did! The other great thing was the mesh bags I bought are large enough that you can fit quite a few pair of socks in them at a time. So here is where my crazy neurotic organizational side comes in. I labeled each bag with the child's name and instructed them to put their dirty socks in these bags from now on. Then when the laundry is collected, so is the bag and the socks never separate. I swear it's like a dream come true. I know some people enjoy a good book, but seriously a good organizational tactic can take me so much farther and in such a shorter amount of time than any book can.
Here are Brigden's and Harris' sock bags hanging on the edge of their hamper.

Here is Halen's sock bag labeled with her name.

I've also decided to do the same with my socks and delicate items and just love that I can now find my little running socks easily in the clean laundry basket. I'm sure you'll notice that there isn't a bag for Dave and honestly there never will be. Some things you can't change, no matter how glorious of an idea it is. I can barely get Dave to unroll his socks after he wears them, let alone require him to put them in a mesh laundry bag. This is just reality! The difference is it's a lot easier to match and fold the socks of one person than it is the socks of 6 people.

Another thing that has made my life lately is outfits. I've started putting the kids clothing into outfits after doing the laundry and then they just have to go pick an outfit each day. Amazingly, not only has it taken less time in the mornings to get ready because they already have matched outfits to choose from, but it has significantly cut down on the wash I have to do each week. I love this new outfit thing.

And the last favorite thing of mine is something that Dave and I have been looking forward to buying for months. Silly, but true....a tuna fish can drainer. Dave just about cries each time he has to drain a tuna fish can and is unable to do so completely, meaning leaving the tuna as waterless as possible. Well, I had heard of a tuna fish can drainer months ago and have searched stores over and over for one, but to no avail. Just last week I was in the store and the angels sang as I noticed......"No way... A Tuna Fish Can Drainer!" I did it. I found one. I couldn't wait to come home and tell Dave. When I showed it to him, I think I was more excited than he was, but I also had to remind myself that he is a man of very little expression and therefore his little expression was equally comparable to my great expression. Anyhow, we are now the proud owners of a Tuna Fish Can Drainer. It really does make a difference in your can draining.

Monday, August 10, 2009

10K, 34, and Counting

Ever since I began really running in training for the Ragnar Relay, I've caught the bug, as runners would say. I love running and I love even more having something to train for. So my cousin Tiffanie and I decided we needed to sign up for some races to keep us going. One of these races was a 10K for South Weber City Days. The Richard Bouchard Memorial Race. The race took place this last Saturday.
Tiffanie and I had been training or at least trying to run in preparation for this race for weeks. Our goal was basically to finish, not necessarily to win or place. Well, we did just that. We didn't have to stop and walk once and we pushed ourselves pretty well the first 2 miles and then enjoyed the last 4 and some. It was my first actual individual race and I was very proud of myself for completing it. I'd always figured a 5K was as much as I would be able to do, but surprised myself by being able to do a 10K. I can't express how excited I am to have this one under my running belt and am so looking forward to the 1/2 marathon Tiff and I have signed up for in Logan (Top of Utah) in a few weeks.
The other benefit to a good running week last week was the number of miles I was able to total for the week. Last year, when I started to gain a running passion within myself, I set a goal to run as many miles as my age in one week. At the time it was 33 and I accomplished just that. It overwhelmed me because I wasn't in as good of running shape back then, but I did it nonetheless. This year I had in the back of my mind the idea of running 34 in one week, but just kept putting it off because I wasn't sure if I really wanted to make that a personal tradition or not (recognizing, of course, the idea that each birthday adds a year and therefore another mile).
Well, in preparation for the 10K, I actually accomplished this age-mile goal. I am now 34 and last week I ran 34 miles. I'm so excited that I was able to do it and just love the idea of keeping up with it again next year. I love this new hobby of mine. It makes me feel so good inside and I love having something to work towards, besides one of the greatest perks is getting to spend time with my friends and family, especially my aunt Kristen, her daughters Tiff and Tasha, Kristen's fun friends, and any other sucker I can get to run with me at the wee hours of the morning.

Mini Me!

Bevan is now 6 months old and wow, as everyone knows, time does fly! She is finally getting some fat onto her body and doesn't look like such a skeleton anymore. Her blue eyes are the first thing everybody notices and also how much she looks like Dave. I pulled out a picture of Dave as a baby and it's amazing how similar they are. I don't know why I say it's amazing since she is his child, but it's just so fun to see such similarities! They have the same of almost everything. She is his "mini me."

She is now eating solid foods and loving them. She is a great eater. She is also a great sleeper and sleeps through the night and has a few long naps during the day. She goes to sleep so great at home. After I lay her down she will always roll over onto her tummy. She loves to sleep on her tummy with her binky in her mouth, which she is actually better at chewing on and playing with than sucking on, and then she'll just go to sleep when she's ready. She is a wonderful baby which makes me wonder if she'll show us her true trouble colors later in her toddler years. Probably!

Her grin is as wide as can be and I just love to see her light up like this. She is easily amused and thank goodness because her brothers and sister do some pretty interesting things that make her laugh, but make me worried. She is generally a very happy baby. This could be very indicative of her "mini me" persona taking after Dave. Dave is a generally very happy person!

Dave as a baby, sometime in his first year. Bevan makes this same look, I just don't have a picture to show it. It is so fun to see the look of him in her!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Grandma Beth Martini

Last Sunday Dave's Grandma; Beth McPherson Martini passed away after a wonderfully blessed long life, the last 13 years of it without her sweetheart; Edward "Whitey" Martini. When the news first came we were initially excited because she spent the last 4-5 years of her life in pain dealing with an aging body and mind. As the immediate days passed we slowly became more and more sad as we remembered her influence in our lives. Dave was very blessed to have grandparents who loved him and welcomed him into their home.

Even though it is very common where we live, it is something we might take for granted and Dave and I are grateful that Whitey and Beth were such great parents and examples to their two boys; Ed and Robert, and other children and grandchildren. In turn, Ed, their son and Dave's father, was a wonderful father. We're so happy that they are now able to enjoy each other; Whitey, Beth, and Ed.

Our little family, but not feeling so little anymore.

Mandolin, Bevan (6 months), Dave

Halen (6), Brigden (3), and Harris (5)

What a beautiful moment! I asked the children to sit down by the flowers as we arrived at the funeral home. Then I asked Halen to put her arms around Brigden and immediately all three lifted up their arms and tried to wrap them all around each other. Ok, so maybe all the hours of preparation to get them dressed up was worth this wonderful moment!

The majority of the Ed & Marlene Family

The Ed & Marlene Martini Family: Alicia, Jan, Marlene, Brian, Dave, & Stephen. Ed passed in 2002 and Nathan was unable to attend.

Whitey & Beth's son Robert & his wife Dixie. We love her caramel popcorn and Dave has very fond memories of camping with them throughout his youth. They are of the few people that Dave will play cards with.

The Robert & Dixie Martini family

Even though funerals and passings are difficult, and especially because Dave and I have both lost a parent already, I'm growing to love them because they remind me of the promises of the hereafter! I look forward to passing someday and being with my mother and other family members. I did, however, say "someday" though because for right now I am very happy where I am!