Friday, October 14, 2016

September 2016 Calendar

Oh September, I'm so glad you are over.  What an overly-busy, jam-packed, over-scheduled, exhausting-month of non-stop running! Sure there were some special and enjoyable moments, but for the most part I am happy to say goodbye to you, September. Time to move on to the quieter and calmer days of Fall.....well at least until Halloween season hits, with  it's myriad of costumey, candy, trick or treaty- social activities!

Here's the September calendar:

September 1- Sally works on college day! On M,W, and Th I drop Malachi off at pre-school for 2 hours while I work on college.. i.e reading, studying, note-taking, flash cards, and tests, Oh fun!

September 2- My last LLL meeting for a long time. I passed the monthly leading reigns onto my new Co-Leader who will be leading the monthly meetings and enrichments while I focus on school. I did a special ceremony to welcome her as a new Leader. The meeting was bittersweet for me. I have loved leading meetings over the past 8 years, meeting new moms, and creating this community of wonderful mothers, yet I feel it is time for me to move on. I'm still taking helping phone calls, creating awareness, and helping to run the facebook group.  Who knows, maybe I'll be back to leading meetings at a later date in life.

September 3- Took Malachi and Jonah and went on a little road trip up North to see my friend Lacey.  Lacey and her family  moved and I have missed her sorely. Apparently  I took the long, winding way up there and made my kids car sick. On the car ride there Malachi puked everywhere and Jonah felt nauseous. The baptism was beautiful and it was so fun to connect with their family again. We sure miss having them as neighbors! For the ride home we found out the short and quick way, thank goodness.

September 5- Z has soccer practice every Monday evening. His coach seems pretty good, so far. Lots of running, warm-ups, and drills for the boys.

September 6- We bought a three-month family pass to the aquatic center. We now have an established one day a week where our family goes and swims together plus Micah and I take turns swimming laps for exercise.

September 7- O had soccer practise, which turned out to be his last soccer practice for the season (last game ending on Oct. 8th) This coach didn't seem to want to schedule practices so Odin didn't learn too much this time around. I've heard that having soccer practices increases skill level, provides needed exercise, creates camaraderie on a team, and builds confidence in team members, but what do I know...I'm not the head coach. I'm pretty sure if my boys ever play soccer again I or my husband will be coaching them, mostly so we can do things the way we think they need to and should be done.

September 7- Jonah had his walk-a-thon fundraiser at school today. He ran 20 laps! He came home so excited that he ran so many laps! (we forgot to solicit donations from family members, but he had fun running anyways and apparently the school still made lots of money)

September 10-Busy Saturday! Attended a little friend's football game, then O had a soccer game and Z had a soccer game. I sub-coached O's soccer game. (Soccer games are every Saturday until October 8th)

September 15-Micah went to Salt Lake City for a work related conference thingy. I was left alone at home to freak myself out.

September 16-  Tonight we had little friends over and ordered pizza. We invited Jonah's friend Sean over from school. I can never tell if Jonah is enjoying himself or not. He doesn't really like playing with other kids unless they are teenage girls devoting all their time and energy to his playing needs.  I still encourage him to at least pretend he likes to play with other kids his age because he likes the idea of it, just not the real thing. ha ha.

September 20-Took Malachi into the doctor for a physical before he has to go in for dental work next week. He is healthy and happy as a normal healthy and happy two-year old toddler can be! He eats good foods, he drinks plenty water, he breastfeeds good nutritious milk, he runs, he plays, he talks and talks and talks, and has great social skills. We ended up getting a couple vaccines that he needed so that night he was a little feverish and cranky. Yes, we vaccinate our kids! People always assume we don't for whatever reasons or labels  they've decided to create around our family, but I assure you we are pro-vaccine. We've taken the liberty to be choosy and created a vaccine schedule and timeline we feel safe with, but overall we DO vaccinate against debilitating, life-threatening illnesses. (Can you imagine living in a world where everyone decided not to vaccinate? I think we'd all be dead.)

September 22- My Visiting Teachers came to visit. Always a wonderful, uplifting, and inspirational time to connect with like-minded women. I love Nicole and Hannah and am so grateful they are my friends. 

September 24-Took Jonah to a birthday party at the park for a little girl in his class. It was a pirates and princess party. Jonah got his face painted. He wanted a dragon--any color, he said. 

September 27- Malachi's big day for dental work at the hospital. His anaesthesia was set for 9am, which meant he couldn't eat or drink since midnight the night before. He was allowed to have clear liquids like apple juice up to two hours before the drugs, but he didn't want much. Everything went great. Micah took the day off to support us. This is the second toddler I've seen come out of anaesthesia and I'm so grateful that I've been able to offer the breast right away. They are so delusional and out-of-it so having milkies is an instant and familiar comfort. Malachi got two front teeth capped and one filling. This was a result of neglecting his teeth last year when I was too busy trying to figure out how to be a mother of four. GAH!

September 28-Took all 3 older kids to the dentist. No cavities! Dentist told me "your kids have some of the cleanest teeth I've ever seen." (See, I am doing some things right!)

September 30- Got my eyebrows waxed after letting them grow out for 2 months. I just wanted to see how bushy and wild they would get after plucking them consistently for the past 20 years. It was a fun experiment. Never again. 
September 30th evening- Pack Meeting in the Jackson's backyard. Each Den did a skit, plus awards and at the end we made smores over our fire-pit. It was a lot of fun and reminded me once again why we bought this funky house with the BIG backyard.

Pictures to come of September activites. Please Check back later! I haven't uploaded them from my phone, yet, which takes a few minutes. (A few minutes I don't really have but will pretend I have while I ignore my kids while they eat all the granola bars and ransack the house.) 

**Insert Computer instead of phone:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Braces, flossing, cleaning, expanders, aesthetics, rubberbands!

It's almost been a year since I got these braces on my teeth (Nov 2)! I can't believe how time flies! I've gotten into a pretty easy schedule with taking care of my teeth everyday. At first it was hard because I hated cleaning them. It felt like it took so much more time that I didn't have but now I've got it down to a science. 
At home I use a Water Pik for flossing. I seriously don't know what I would do without that thing. It blasts a stream of water in between in each of my teeth instead of flossing with string. This saves time and effort in getting all the food debris out of my braces after each meal, as well as in between each tooth. I also carry around in my purse packets of Interdental brushes for cleaning out any food that gets stuck in my braces while I'm away from home.
The things I hated the most about having braces at first was eating in front of other people and then having food stuck in my teeth. Both of those things were just awkward and gross to me in the beginning. 
The most hard thing, however, was having that palatal expander on the roof of my mouth. Food was constantly getting stuck in it, I couldn't swallow pills very easily, and it felt huge and bulky. Fortunately they were able to take that out after 4 months and replace it with a thin, metal retaining wire. I think the wire comes out in another few more months.

The purpose of the expander was to provide space for my tooth to come down however my orthodontist always likes to remind me of ALL  benefits I get from having an expander and braces, besides just the new tooth. He says he's not only fixing my adult tooth that never came down as a child, he's rounding out my smile, making my mouth more symmetrical, straightening out all my teeth, and giving me an overall more aesthetic appearance.  So, I guess in another year or so I'll also have a new smile! This wasn't something I always longed for in my adult life, but I'm not one to turn down improvements. 

So here we are NOW at 10 months:
My upper tooth is coming down a lot faster than we expected. The expected range for it's appearance was between 6 months to 5 years and it came down just 5 1/2 months after the surgery was done and the chain was attached to it. I'm feeling pretty awesome!
Also, they have been working at straightening out my bottom teeth as an added bonus. That tooth on the bottom that looks a little crooked used to be shoved behind the other teeth while they were crowded in front of it. They've been slowly making room so they could pull it forward to be with the others. It feels really weird in my mouth.

Anyways, this stuff is really fascinating to me. It's amazing the technology we have to actually move rock-hard enamel around in our mouths and to restructure the entire shape of our smiles. 
My only problem right now is that I'm running out of color options for my braces. I go in every 2 weeks to get my wires moved around and my teeth yanked on and my rubber bands  changed. My favorite color combo tends to be light pink and dark pink because it matches my gums but I've also done pink and green, rainbow colors, purple and blue, and then solids like all pink, all black, all pearl, all clear, all white, and now all yellow.
I used to take suggestions from my kids but I think they're losing interest. My niece Waimea suggested I do light pink and lime green so I did that for her last June:
June 2016
Perhaps I'll just start dressing my braces for the seasons. haha. Fall colors for Fall, Black and Orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, etc. 
I know, I know, these are such hard decisions to make in life. 

Aloha for now and have a Happy Saturday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A lovely day for Cops

Something unexplainable happened last night that I may never have the answers to. I keep going over and over the scenes in my head trying to make sense of it all, with no luck.
It had been a long afternoon alone with my 4 boys, with my husband out of town for a conference. I was feeling very exhausted so by 9pm I made sure all 3 of my older children were tucked away in their beds. I had to skip all the usual bed time routines for each child, and instead did one, big Goodnight, I love you call out to everyone within hearing distance. All of our bedrooms are in close proximity to each other so saying one grand GOODNIGHT for the night was going to have to work. I was too pooped. 

Lastly, I went down the hall to my bedroom with my toddler. We snuggled up in our big bed, read a few books, and then I nursed him to sleep. All those comfy, snugly, relaxing hormones surged through my body as I watched my last child slip into happy dream-land. At last, the house was quiet! Hallelujah. And it was only 9:15pm. I had the entire rest of the night to lay in bed and watch reruns of Gilmore Girls (because that's all I really felt like doing). 

As I turned on my phone and pulled the blankets up over my shoulders I remembered that I forgot to make sure the doors were locked upstairs. "Oh well, I thought,"Micah will be home soon enough. He's only a couple hours away and he can lock the doors when he comes in." I wasn't too worried about it. After all, we live in a pretty safe neighborhood with wonderful neighbors and if someone came in I would hear them," I reasoned.
So I turned off all the lights, turned on my little hand-held screen in front of my face, and became completely immersed in the world of Stars Hollow. After one episode I decided I was ready for sleep, but I had a few things I wanted to check on the web first.

As I was google-searching something, I looked up just in time to see someone walking past my open bedroom door. It was a tall person. A man. But it was very dark so I couldn't make out who it was. This person silently walked past my door then up the stairs, coming from the direction of my boy's rooms. I immediately thought, "Oh! Micah is home already!" Then I angrily thought,"But why wouldn't he tell me? And why would he be sneaking through the house like this scaring the crap out of me??" I started yelling up the stairs for him, with no answer. Complete silence. I then realized that there was no way that couldv'e been Micah. He still had more driving to do and there was no physically possible way he'd be home by now. So of course I figured it must be my oldest son going upstairs to get water or maybe he's sleep-walking. He does that sometimes and we usually have to just turn him around back to his bed. He never remembers in the morning. However, he's not exactly a tall man, but with the darkness and the shadows maybe I mistook him for one? 
But, when I looked into his bedroom I found him fast asleep, right where I'd left him an hour earlier. I quickly checked my other boy's room and found them fast asleep, too.  

That's when I started shaking with fear. It seemed to me that someone strange was in my house and I was going to have to do something about it. I tried to stop and reason with myself for a moment, afterall I didn't want to act rashly and make any stupid decisions.
 First of all, perhaps it was a trick on my eyes. One time I thought I saw a giant tarantula on the wall and it wasn't really there. Or maybe it was from watching too much tiny screen in the darkness of my room. Maybe I had transferred  an image into my house that wasn't really there. Could I have imagined a tall, dark figure walking past my bedroom? Is that possible? Perhaps if I had been watching a horror movie (which I never ever ever do) I could've imagined myself into a frenzy like this, but I was watching Gilmore Girls for goodness sakes!
Or maybe......there was someone lurking in my house and they wanted to hurt me or my children. 
This last thought pushed me into action. I rationalized that when it comes to the safety of my family, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Micah and I have a plan for if we think there's an intruder in the house. I can't go into detail but It involves guns and positioning and actively waiting. I never thought I'd have to put this plan into action, until now. I stopped shaking so I could do it properly. Then I called 911. I told the emergency response people that I suspected an intruder in my home. Then I waited. I didn't dare go upstairs where I thought he must be. I didn't dare move away from my position.
The 911 operator stayed with me on the phone until they got there. She said there would be a knock on the door and If I felt safe enough I could go answer it. 
I heard the knock, but I didn't feel safe. However, I didn't know what else to do. Just sit there and wait? Wait for the cop to break in and find me in my position? I went upstairs. 
Going upstairs to answer that door was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I mean, I knew that when I went upstairs I would find a police officer at my door (or 5) but I didn't want to leave my children downstairs alone, and I didn't want to find anyone waiting for me between my bedroom and the front door.

I opened the front door to find the entire small-town police force. I guess they take these phone calls seriously, which is comforting and amazing to me. I told them to come in immediately and check every room in my house, which they did. We walked from room to room so I could see for myself that there was nobody here. 
They checked all my windows. No evidence of a break in. We walked around checking for missing valuables. Everything was there. 
Miraculously my children stayed asleep the entire time, which was good. I didn't want them to wake up to find a houseful of policemen in our home to scare the pants off of them.

Finally after we had reasoned that there was no one in my house, no evidence of a break-in, and no valuables missing, we concluded that there could  only be 3 explanations:
1. My son had been sleepwalking and I didn't see him turn around at the stairway and go back to his bed.
2. Since I might have left the doors unlocked, perhaps someone came in the house then quickly left when they saw I was home. 
3. I imagined the entire thing.

I said goodbye to the nice policemen and went back to my room. I was still really freaked out about the entire thing and knew I wouldn't be able to go to sleep until my husband came home. I couldn't stop rethinking over and over the scene in my head of the person walking past my doorway. Then I kept scaring myself even more by thinking that the cops hadn't checked the house good enough and he was probably hiding under the couch or behind a closet door. Any moment he was going to come down those stairs with a giant machete yelling, "Sucka! I got you now!" 

I knew it wasn't my son sleepwalking. When I went to his room to check on him he was tucked under his blankets exactly how I left him. And I knew it wasn't my imagination. I looked up and I saw what I saw. I saw a person walking. My imagination would not have prompted me to hold a gun (which I hate)  in my hands and call the police to assist me.
However, it's really hard for me to imagine that someone would come quietly into my home, walk around, and leave without taking anything. Not that we have any valuables, but I'm sure there's a few things here and there that could be pawned off.

Like I said in the beginning, something unexplainable happened last night that I may never have the answers to. 
What I do know, however, is that I proved to myself that when I am put in a position to protect my children, I'm not going to be messed with. Intruders beware. 

Rewind to yesterday morning: I got my first speeding ticket in close to twenty years. I was barreling down the road trying to get my kids to school on time, not paying any attention to the speed limit. I was going 45 in a 25 zone. Whoops! The policeman who pulled me over was not very happy with me. And I was not very happy with the policeman for citing a nice mama with a clean driving record who was accidentally going over the speed limit on a busy school morning. A big fat warning would've been enough to put me in my place! Instead, I have to go to court, do traffic school, watch my insurance go up, and wear the crown of shame on my head for being a supposed reckless driver. I was feeling pretty irritated with those darn cops, until of course they all showed up at my house in my desparate time of need.

Oh yesterday! I am so glad you are over. It was not a lovely day. Not a lovely day at all!
 But, I guess it was a lovely day for cops. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

August 2016 Calendar

August 1-Micah and Zadok headed out to hike Kings Peak, the tallest mountain peak in Utah. They planned to be gone for 5-6 days.

August 3- Grammie Barb Stokes flew in from Seattle for a visit.  We picked her up from the St.George shuttle at 7pm where she had come from Las Vegas airport. The boys hadn't seen her in over a year! before we picked her up we went to the St. George Children's museum. 
When we got home from St. george Micah and Zadok were already back from their trip. They didn't feel good about making the trek up to the top with Micah's hurt shoulder and some fires nearby,  so they camped a little then came home. 

August 4- Malachi fell down and hit his head really hard. Nobody saw it happen, but we knew something was wrong when he kept throwing up and acting strangely out of character. Micah took him to the ER while I ran Cub Scout Pack Meeting. Grammie Barb helped with the pack meeting activity of putting jokes together, and also helped with the boys. We had a fun Pack Meeting playing games and also a glow-in-the-dark-glow-stick dance party. Malachi turned out okay. No major head trauma or brain damage, thank goodness. 

August 5- La Leche League monthly support meeting. 

August 6- I ran the Parowan Half Marathon. I'm still waiting for them to put the results online. I think I ran it in about 2 1/2 hours. There was a lot of downhill and I ended up having a really sore foot the next few days after the race. I went to instacare and had some x-rays done to see if it was broken bones, but it was just tendinitis. I got some crutches at the thrift store and stayed off it for a couple days. I'm fine now, but no more downhill races--too hard on the body. Overall, the race was fun. My favorite part was looking at all the beautiful scenery while listening to my ipod for 2 1/2 hours straight!

August 8- Back to school night for Zadok. We got to meet his teacher and see his classroom. Exciting!

August 9-Grammie Barb left. We took her to St. George to catch her shuttle back to vegas to catch her plane back to Seattle. It was a fun week full of activities! We: went to see Mary Poppins at the Shakespear theatre, went to the lake on the hill, drove up to Yankee Meadows,  went to my half marathon, ate at Applebees (not really our kind of restaurant but we had a gift card), walked the Bristlecone Pine Trail, and had lots of fun down-time to play at the house. 

August 12- Birthday party at the Chavez home. Baby turned 1 with a Monster Truck themed party. I sewed him a Monster Truck pillowcase with a new pillow inside, and threw in a couple monster truck toys. The food was fantastic and we had a lot of fun visiting. I really like the Chavez family--some of my new favorite peoples around here. 

August 15- End of summer water-party at our backyard with friends. 

August 16- BACK TO SCHOOL: Odin (3rd grade), Jonah (1st grade), and Micah (teacher) !

August 17- Took Malachi to the dentist. He has 3 decayed teeth that need capped. Boo!
Odin's first soccer practice for the season at the Wilson's house.
Back to school night for O and J.

August 18-Grandma Sandy came up to visit!
Took dinner to a family in the ward that had a baby. 

August 19-Started my period after 26 months of no period. Sorry if that's Too much information but it was on my calendar so I had to include it. That's the longest break I've ever had while breastfeeding and it was reeeeeealllllly nice, by the way.

August 20-Odin's first soccer game. The "Polar Bears."
Sandy watched the boys so we could go out on a date that evening . First we ate Thai food then we attended the wedding reception for our friend's son and new bride. I was asked to make Cherry cheesecake Cakes, which I'd never made before. I thought they turned out pretty delicious but you can't really go wrong with a cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped cream combo. By the way the Green Papaya Salad at the Thai restuarant was awful. Note to self: do not order that again.

August 21- Grandma Sandy left back to California with Aaron and the gang who had dropped her off and then picked her back up on their way back from Northern Utah. We had a fun week hanging out and talking, went to the Green Show, watched Odin's soccer game, ate some Mexiacan food, went to church, went to the river, and got Jonah hooked on online puzzles. 

August 22- Zadok's first soccer practice. His coach seems pretty good and willing to teach them technique and new skills. Z is so excited for soccer season to begin!

August 23-Heritage Park group book club meeting at the Jackson's house. We discussed the Book "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli. I made gingerbread stars with cream cheese frosting for refreshments. Great book! I loved the powerful message of non-conformity and being true to your uniquness. 

August 24- Malachi's first day of Pre-school, which is more like 3 days a week at our friend's house doing awesome stuff while I work on college. When I said goodbye to him he said "Bye mom!" and happily ran to  look at the caterpillars. I never could've done that with my other three shy, anxious, and attached boys. See? The timing is right to go back to school. 

August 25-Braces appointment. They attached a bracket to my descending tooth to help pull it forward and down into place! I'm making major progress here! They also attached a bracket to my lower tooth and are pulling it forward to be with the others. 

August 29,30,31- School, college, soccer practices, repeat, repeat and repeat.

And now here's some pictures not exactly  in order of events:
Micah and Z heading out on their camping trip:

Hiking along the Bristlecome Pine Trail:

Malachi at the St. George Children's Museum:

Parowan Half Marathon:

Lake on the Hill:

First Days of School:
 Not really Malachi's first day of school but he needed a photo by the tree:

Jonah doing morning work sometime the first week of school:

Mom and Sally at Mary Poppins. It was practically perfect in every way!

Odin and his Lake weed from Yankee Meadows. He still has some of it in his bedroom:

Z and one of our dogs Brownie who needs daily hugs and affection:

Personal Mission to Graduation

        August 22nd was my first day of (online college) class and it was tough. Not because the content was hard or I lacked understanding of the course material, but because in between studying I was hurrily dropping off kids, picking up kids, going to the orthodontist, making lunch, eating lunch, feeding lunch to Malachi, getting said toddler down for a nap, washing dishes, tidying up the house, and lastly, taking care of my own personal needs. When I went to college ten years ago, I only had to consider the last thing on that list. I honestly don't know how I'm going to do this, yet something inside still tells me I can and I should. I've been doing some pretty serious soul searching lately about why I chose to go back to school to earn my degree. Looking back the past several months I knew I needed a change but I didn't know what it was that I was going to change. Then suddenly it hit me one day that NOW was the time to go back to college. After that, everything fell into place to get me started on my way. I feel that the gentle whisperings of the Holy Spirit started planting these ideas into my head, gently nudging me towards new ideas about the future and new pathways for my life. First it was "You need to go back to school", then it was,"You need to go into teaching children," then it was,"I'm going to help you do this," and now it's,"Hang in there, it's going to be a wild ride but I'll still be here to help you."  These are the thoughts I hang onto when I start to doubt myself. I need the guidance of the spirit in my life and I am so grateful for it!
Within my college program there is a Student Success Center designed to help students on their goals towards graduation. One of the suggestions on their blog is to develop a personal mission statement as to why you are following the path you are on.  I thought I would do this little question exercise to help me.
From the Student Success blog:
"Going to school is not easy, but it is worth it. There is no doubt you have personal reasons for why you are going to school to earn your degree. After all, having a mission is critical to success. Articulate your personal mission by answering the following questions:"

Why am I going back to school?

Because I want to finish what I started ten years ago. Because I love learning and will enjoy the classes I am taking. Because college can be enriching, exciting, and invigorating to the mind and soul, and I want to experience all of that again. Because I want a career that I will love and enjoy and finishing college is the only path to that goal for me. Because going back to school feels right. Because teaching children in a school setting feels like the next logical step in my life. 

Why is this the time for me to go back to school?
Good question. Because I feel in my heart of hearts that it is right. Because the spirit has told me it is right. Because my boys are at an age where they are more independent and able to do more things on their own, thus I have more free time to work on college. Because I am at a place in life where I feel more responsible and more capable of managing my time and energy to make this work.

If I start to feel overwhelmed, why should I stick with it and stay on track to graduation?

Because this is what I am making time for in my life right now and I can do this! The time is now! I have worked hard to downsize any outside responsibilities to make it possible for me to do this. I have put graduating college at the tippy top of my priority list and I know if I stick to my plan, I won't fail. 
 I can envision my life as a teacher. I can visualize my personal teaching philosophies and the positive impact I'll make on the school I work at. I can visualize my classroom, my students, and my busy, happy  life as a mom and a teacher.

**Refer to your personal mission statement often during your degree program to remain motivated. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Roadblocks and Blessings

I have a white board hanging in my kitchen where I write down everything I need to remember for the week: things like buy Odin soccer shoes, or pick up ice packs for lunches, or bake cookies Mollasses Gingerbread stars for book club. Yesterday as I was jotting things down I wrote down the word Blessings with a big star next to it. However, when I looked back at the white-board later on I didn't remember writing the word blessings nor did I remember why I wrote it down?? 
This is kind of how my mind has been working lately with school starting this past week. It's been a little hectic and my thoughts have been all over the place. Many times this week I have walked into a bedroom only to completely forget why I walked in there in the first place. 
So I decided that even though I don't remember why I wrote down the word *Blessings next to *soccer practice Wednesday or *buy granola bars, I've  decided that I probably need the reminder to look for more blessings in my life! It's easy to get so busy and forget all the little things we are blessed with, especially when life gets hectic during the first week of getting kids back to school. In fact, this week has been pretty stressful and overwhelming at times, which means remembering my blessings is even more important than ever right now.

There have been some definite roadblocks to my week! With all 3 older boys going to school, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for myself as far as pick ups and drop offs go. With one of our boys going to a different school we had planned for him to ride the bus both to and from school, which would  free me up to take the other boys to school without too much driving all over town.  The bus pickup and drop off is right behind our house, and I couldn't think of a better plan!

But, of course sometimes the best plans fail. The first three days I was able to stick with our plan until his bus schedule changed on us. Instead of an 8am pickup they switched it to 7am. and there is no way he would be up and ready (and willing) to take a 7am bus to school. So here I am now scurrying everyone out the door at 8am to get him to his school, then get the other boys to their school by 8:35am, then my littlest to pre-school at 9am. The hustle and bustle is a little crazy and chaotic! To make matters worse, one school is 8 minutes in one direction, while the other school is 5 minutes in the other direction. So, once I drive 8 minutes to the one school, I then have to turn around and drive 8 minutes plus 5 more minutes to the other school. Luckily, Mally's little pre-school is right by our house, so I can drop him off on the way home from dropping off the other boys. 
Let's not forget the road construction either! The usual ways I take my boys to both schools are being blocked by road work, construction, and waiting. I've had to tack on more time to get the boys out the door in order to make it on time. Yesterday we were caught in construction traffic for 15 minutes. Z was late to school and the other boys were freaking out that they would be late, too. (well, mostly just Odin) I finally figured out some good alternate routes to both schools that wouldn't take too much longer but geeeesh!: I am spent and tired by the time I get home at 9am.


My boys love school. They are thriving there. Z comes home with these bright sparkles in his eyes as he tells me about all the interesting/amazing/perplexing things he learns. His music teacher is from Taiwan. He's reading a biography on Geronimo. Multiplication comes easy to him. He loves math and reading. He's making new friends. Someone invited him to a Nerf gun party on Saturday. He likes to catch the bus home. Z is being blessed at his new school. 
O loves his school. His teacher is bubbly and smiley and encourages him to keep trying when he fails at something. He loves his friends. He loves art class and assemblies.
He sees his brother J at recess and they play a little bit. J's teacher really loves him. She's the same teacher he had for Kindergarten. She is working hard at helping him to be more sociable and happy  because J struggles with feeling optimistic at home and at school. He's kind of a "the glass is always half empty" kind of guy. We're working on helping him see the good in himself and life around him. School gives him the challenges he needs to grow in those areas. This teacher is a blessing to our family. 
M started pre-school today. I'm not really a send-your-two-year-old-to-pre-school kind of mother, but I had to set aside some time for me to study for my college classes. Thus M will spend 6 hours a week at my neighbor and friend's in-home pre-school. He loved his first day! They painted and ate watermelon and played outside. This pre-school is a blessing that was sent to me when I didn't know what else to do.
So all this running around in the morning to get my kids to school? Totally worth it. It's a blessing to get to spend more time with them in the car as we drive here and there. They are hilarious and always make me laugh in the car.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going back to college. It's still pretty surreal to me, which means I haven't really talked about it much to my peers around me. It hasn't really sunk in that I'm going to be spending big chunks of my time thinking and working towards my college degree. The past few months I've been slowly pulling away from many of the things I've been involved with to make room for college brain. I've handed over much of my La Leche League responsibilities to my new co-Leader. I've also pulled back from little  things here and there like being in Moms Club or being Admin for my ward's facebook group, or helping plan my book club. They are just little things, but my brain adds up all these little things until it's too full and I have mental breakdowns. No mental breakdowns for me, please. I need as much brain space as I can get!

So, I'm not joining the PTA anytime soon, or volunteering to coach soccer. No extra callings at church (not that I've had any offers) or big projects to finish. I am keeping life simple and as stress-free as possible. Going back to college has been a huge blessing. It's all been paid for through federal grants. My husband knows the ins and outs of my University and can help me. It's all online so I have freedom and flexibility in my classes. I am excited about my major! (BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, Teacher's College, with plans to teach Elementary school) 

My husband is a huge blessing to me. He just works so hard all the time to take care of our family. I couldn't do all the things I do without his love and support.

Well, it's time to say goodnight. Maybe tomorrow I will remember why I wrote *Blessings on my kitchen white-board. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Love Makes a Home

I really love our home and I'm really happy we live here. 
I put my kids down to bed at 9:30pm tonight and was left alone with a very quiet house and a thoughtful mind. My husband and eldest son are out of town on a camping trek for a few days, which has made the house even quieter than usual. 
In this quiet home tonight I have felt an overwhelming joy and happiness for where I live. Not specifically for Southern Utah, but for the inside walls of my home. Micah and I have worked really hard these past two 1/2  years to make our home a special place for our family and I can feel the strength of those efforts emanating throughout the walls of our home. 

Each room has been carefully considered for our needs. Everything has a purpose and function here for the use and benefit of our family; each toy we've purchased for our children, each piece of furniture we've acquired for our use, each appliance we've chosen, each spoon, fork, and plate we've brought into our home plays a special part in our family life.
I love walking through our home at the end of the day to see what trails of living our children have left behind for the day. Odin has left a huge mess of googley eyes, popscicle sticks, cotton balls, and hot glue on the kitchen table. I don't know what he was up to, but it looks exciting! Malachi's new birthday toys are all over the carpet, proof that he loves to play like a toddler! And Jonah's little phone( Micah's old broken phone) is plugged into the wall where he left it. I know he will wake up eager to check on his hatching eggs in Dragon City. Zadok's room is neat and tidy because he rarely goes in there. He spends most of his time out in the living areas playing with his brothers. Micah and I have all the necessities we need to raise a family, which is nice. We don't want for much and are happy with keeping stuff down to a minimum. We have just what we need and it feels good.

I like to sit on the living room couch and soak in the happiness of  my colorful walls. I've painted each wall in my living room a different color-perriwinkle, sunny squash, and well, the burnt orange was already here when we moved in. My hallway is green. The TV room is bright yellow. I painted the extra bedroom blue. The bathroom got painted teal and pink when I was pregnant with Malachi. I haven't attempted the downstairs, yet, but I have some ideas. The bold, bright colors brighten my surroundings and make me feel even more at home.

I love my home. I love that my husband has a big garden out back and has planted fruit trees, raspberries, and grapes! I love that we gather eggs from our chickens each day and that next year we'll get honey from our honey slaves bees. 
I love that we have a huge backyard. Our dogs just turned three years old this month. They're a pain the ass but I've learned to love them. I love our firepit, trampoline, sand pit,  bouncy horse, and big apricot tree to climb. We've had many backyard BBQ's and parties within the fun walls of our fun yard.

I love raising my children in this home. I hope that their memories will be as happy as mine someday, looking back on life in this happy little abode.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 2016 Calendar

Here's the July low-down, before I throw the July page away.

-held my monthly La Leche League Support meeting on the first day of the month!

-Attended the luau of a friend. It was a blast of fun and homesickness all in one. 

-4th of July! Hiked down into Taylor's Creek in Kolob Canyon with 3 out of 4 of my boys. Odin and Micah took a trip up to Antelope Island where they camped for 3 days and went to Lagoon.

-Attended a birthday pool party for Odin's friend Rulon. Sad to see their family move, but it was fun to hang out one last time.

-Held a Mom's club playdate at my house. It was my first but probably my last. Nothing wrong with Mom's Club, I just don't see myself getting very involved in the Club in the future.

-Did some local sight-seeing up to Navajo Lake, Duck Creek, and the ice cave. The lake was cold and windy. The boys liked playing in the little creek at Duck Creek.

-Attended a Relief Society activity where we colored ABC books and made beaded lizard toys to give to refugees.

-Met with my LLL Leader Applicant and went over her Preview of Mother's Questions. Excited to be training a new LLL Leader for Cedar City!

-Spent the day at Zion National Park with Jordan and her family. Took the shuttle to our favorite spot in the Virgin river then Jordan took us to jump off the rock in Pine Creek. Odin jumped 16 times. We found Froggywogs (half frog, half polliwog) and Jonah discovered that they could play dead when you picked them up.

-I got to substitute as the Primary Singing leader one Sunday. I taught the primary kids The HandCart Song, which was a lot of fun.

-Had a big backyard party for Malachi's 2nd birthday, including slip n slide bouncy castle, lots of food and lots of  friends. I prepared a big pot of chili, rice, watermelon, grapes, chips, candies, hot dogs, and pretzels. Micah baked cupcakes and made the cake! We blasted reggae music and partied for hours. It was a train party and Malachi wore a special shirt that said,"Choo Choo I'm 2!"

-I babysat Payzlee a few more times before our neighbors moved. Sad week, sad day. We helped them load the moving truck. I got pizzas and Gatorades for the moving party, then we waved goodbye.

-I substituted the CTR 5A Primary Class at church. I asked the kids what thing they could do to be kind to others and one boy yelled out,"BE NICE!" But I thought he yelled out PEANUTS! We had a good laugh.

-Jonah turned 6! And Grandpa Bill came to town! We ate at Ihop, then had his birthday party, then went camping. We camped at Sunglow one night, then at Capitol Reef for 2 more nights. My Dad's bother Harold and wife Kay met us. We hiked the Capitol Gorge Hike. Zadok and Micah hiked through something called the Frying pan. Yikes.

-I forgot to pay the water bill again

-I got my braces tightened again and my tooth yanked down. My impacted tooth is descending very quickly. You can see the tip of it descending into my gums. So exciting!

-July 31- Sunday, day of rest and rejuvenation.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Keep the Fire Burning

I love to compare my testimony to a burning fire!

Years ago, when I was working in wilderness therapy with at-risk youth we would use to use fire as a metaphor to teach them how powerful they could be in making their own life decisions. Having a fire out in the darkness of the woods has so many implications about how to keep a light burning bright in your own soul, I don't even know where to begin!

For starters, fire is a source of warmth and heat. You need it to stay warm and to survive the cold, dark nights. When it's dark and cold out everyone gravitates towards the fire as a source of comfort. The heat from the fire brings security and peace of mind as you let the warmth penetrate your body and calm your tired and weary thoughts.

Fire is also necessary to survival! Without fire we couldn't cook our food or boil our water for drinking. Keeping the flame burning bright takes a lot of effort, but that effort makes all the difference between starving or thriving out in the wilderness.

People not only gravitate towards fire for warmth and survival, but also because of it's beauty. Have you ever sat around a bonfire and just stared at the bouncing flames and dancing shadows created by the fire? This simple, beautiful show of nature draws us in and mesmerizes our hearts and minds. We become calm and trance-like as we sit and ponder the importance and awesomeness of our own lives.

Getting a fire started is a lot of hard work! First you need to collect all the ingredients to ignite the flame and keep it going. You need kindling, such as small sticks, dry leaves, or bark. Once you ignite the kindling you have to nurture it by blowing on it and adding more kindling as needed. This part is so fragile and susceptible to failure! You have to take special care not to smother the fire as you carefully help the flames to spread and ignite each other. This part can be frustrating and tiring if you don't have the patience or not enough kindling. Next you need larger sticks to put on top of the kindling to get the fire to grow stronger in your fire pit. As the fire spreads and grows you need to keep adding bigger sticks and logs to help it grow brighter, hotter, and more powerful. Finally, once you have a big, bright, strong, powerful fire, you can relax and let it serve you. It's a lot easier to maintain a fire once it is burning bright, but be careful not to ignore it and let the flames go out, or you have to start all over again.

Doesn't this apply to our testimonies in such a perfect way? Our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ are like a big, bright, strong, powerful light in our lives! They provide us with peace, comfort, security, and warmth in a world filled with a lot of darkness and confusion. A strong testimony calms our tired minds and weary thoughts and allows us to feel the love and comfort of our Savior. Our testimonies help us to survive and thrive in a world that teaches us so many conflicting principles. When we have the light of Christ in our hearts we know who we are and where we are heading. We don't have to question our faith because we know where to turn for truth and light. Even on the darkest, coldest nights of life, our Savior's light penetrates our souls and reminds us of the beauty we carry within us. People gravitate towards our testimonies because of the shining examples we set. With our lights burning so bright we pull others into the gospel truths, allowing them to feel the goodness of the Savior in their own lives.

Sometimes when life gets hard, overly busy, or too distracted, and the answers we need don't come easily, we ignore our testimonies. We don't nurture them as closely as we should, allowing the flames to die out and the light to diminish. We smother them with our doubts and our fears, till there is nothing left but a pile of burnt sticks and blinding smoke.

It's hard work to build up our testimonies again! We have to keep nurturing them! We can't ignore them! We have to keep them alive if we want to reap all the benefits of having this strength and power in our lives. We have to keep feeding the flames of our testimonies by actively seeking the things that will help them to grow! We have to collect the ingredients to ignite our spiritual fires and use them to keep the flame of our belief burning bright. The ingredients are all around us, simple and perfect: Saying our daily prayers, studying the scriptures, attending church and especially taking the sacrament, honoring our baptismal covenants, and applying gospel principles to our everyday lives.

If we keep doing these things, our testimonies grow more powerful with truth and light. If we ignore them or push them aside, our testimonies start to smolder and die out. There will be a lot of smoke, but no flame.

Oh how I love this metaphor! It has reminded me again and again how powerful my testimony can be when I take the time and effort to nurture it! It reminds me that I have the power within me to keep the light of Christ as light or as dim as I want it to be. That strength is entirely in my hands as I wake up each day and make decisions for myself and my family. If I want to walk through my day as a big, bright, strong, shining light for myself and others to benefit from, then I may do so by nurturing and feeding my testimony. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and the light I receive from living and following His gospel.

*The rest of this post can be read on Saints and Sisters, a blog for LDS Women. Haven't joined yet? Come see for yourself the love and camaraderie we've created on this tribe!