Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Seasons Greetings and Reflections

 Sometimes I try real hard to conform and such.  BUT. I can't get it together for the whole Christmas Card situation. Here is my offering, slight as it might be.  I feel incredibly and overwhelmingly grateful to have spent 2012 surrounded by such wonderful people.  2012 has been filled.

Yesterday I was reflecting with my sister and we had the most wonderful conversation about the concepts concerning mourning, compassion, and curiosity.  Sometimes I think we confuse our need to help and be compassionate, selfishly with curiosity.  We look at someone else's trial and feel the need to help.  Sometimes we selfishly feel like we need to know details of someone else's crisis or trial in order to help.  We need to tell our neighbors about someone else's crisis or trial to make OURselves feel better.  2012 gave me the opportunity to see how we mourn with those that mourn. We extend just enough mercy that our curiosity is curtailed.

I watched a clip of Robbie Parker's press conference.  At the end of his sobering offering to the media, he was asked what his last minutes were like with his sweet angel.  I saw his heart pierced with pain from the inappropriateness of that very personal question and in seconds this overflowing mercy he extended to the reporter.  He shared what those last moments of earth life were like for him and Emilie. 2012 taught me that asking any kind of a question in crisis to this dad is inappropriate and not compassionate.  Compassion would never have asked questions.  Compassion would have been a listening ear.  Compassion would have been letting him keep those last moments sacred and for himself. This man knows what mercy is. I have come to gain a better understanding of what quality people I have been blessed to mourn with and be loyal to.  It has taught me the error of my selfish curious ways with a determination that I won't forget what 2012 brought into our lives. I am determined to explore and extend mercy more fully in my life.

For the lighter offering of this Holiday Theme, I will update you on this family of mine.  That good red head got himself some hobbies this year.  It was about time.  Hobbies should never include writing prescriptions and giving neuro exams.

I talked him into this Jeep he had been eyeing and now he fancies himself on finding "parts" for this jeep of his.  I never ever knew that a car could be a hobby. Turns out that jeeps are a lifestyle.  We enjoyed many summer nights with ice cream cones dripping down our faces and the wind blowing in our hair at sunset. I will emit the gory details about how he got a bad deal on one of those Jeep parts and how the fabric top kept hitting back seaters in the head. He has also got himself a bow - think Robin Hood.  Arrows and practice are required for this deal and he has yet to come up with the purpose of it all other than a hobby.

I confess that he gets better with time and am so glad he is mine.  He has played the part of super hero this year filling in the major gaps our year has left us. I can't possibly imagine how another Christmas can come and how I can enjoy it any more with him and then life always surprises me and every year it is possible.

 Grayce - 11. pre-teen and proud of it. the battle is beginning. that picture up top was chosen as "the one" because that good red head of mine looked at it and stated he wanted something with his pre-teen hugging her dad without being asked framed and on the mantle.  She is fun and happiness.  She is tease and attitude. In this family picture, every single item of clothing is from my closet down to the boots. Having a daughter who still boasts the 95% for height will always be a mystery to this short mother.  She has blown us away with her desire and drive to keep at that singing talent and I am quite sure I will pass out from nerves every single time she sings a solo.  She got to record a song in a studio with her voice teacher before he moved away in August.  She sang a duet with him and it was such an honor to watch her with those head phones on with twinkling eyes taking in that studio. She is bound and determined that NYC will be in her future for 2013 and has been diligently saving up money so that she can be included in my annual excursion. By darn, I think she is going to do it.

Easton - 9 the end of this month.  He will always continue to amaze me with his old soul.  He is starting to act more the part of a brother this year by the occasional poke, tease, and torture.  It makes me happy as he was far too behaved for his own good.  He has held his sports torch high by racing to read the sports section of the newspaper every single morning and memorizing every stat over cereal. He has been playing more sports and talking less, which is a good thing for the sanity of those who live with him.  He has loved finally being in the third grade and having permission to spout those times tables he memorized in kindergarten.  At the beginning of the year, he started to read the Book of Mormon in his free time at school and was to 3 Nephi by March.  We were shocked and amazed and inspired to do better at scripture reading.  Our Bishop challenged us to read the Book of Mormon this year and boy howdy, he got on that one all on his own.  His proudest accomplishment is that of the mullet he sports.  I tried to hide it in these pictures but his grandpa McKay teases mercilessly that he is going to get his Young Women's medallion if he doesn't cut it.  He did recently take 3 inches off the mullet and boy is he proud that his is still longer than any of the teachers and priests in the ward.

Ella - 6. This little girl continues to amaze me with her determination and zest for life.  She has blossomed in Kindergarten.  The first day of school she came home and told me that she went to the principals office.  I was mortified and grilled her endlessly about why.  She was telling me it had something to do with her friend and a line of kids and I could not make sense of this.  I stewed about it for days asking her what he said to her and what her teacher said about going there as she told me her teacher had her go there.  Finally I got brave and asked her teacher.  She laughed and said that everyone went to the principals office, they went on a tour of the school.  I have chuckled about this more times than I can count. She is quite the girl.  She is an artist, spending hours on end at the art table she got for her birthday.  We have regular piles of these amazing creations. I was watching her in her classroom the other day and was amazed at the confidence she has around people. I watched her in these little groups and saw all the kids watch what she did and they all followed.  It scared me near to death to recognize her leadership skills and then I eased up a bit as I saw she was making good choices and showing kindness at the same time. she is such a gem in our family.

Rowan -2. Angel. Really.  There are no words to express his light in our family. He is kind and patient.  He heals and glues all of us together with this amazing ability to calm and assure.  If you are having a bad day, come for some Rowan love and he will make you feel pretty important.  He is also sporting a mullet at his brother's request and is proud to tell you about his "muwet hair tut".  He has each one of those siblings on a tight string.  He has taken the lead from Easton and loves all things sports.  His favorite thing to do is watch games.  More recently WSU Basketball games.  Oh how he lights up when we tell him it's game night.  He squeals, he yells "go team" and loves when they score a basket. Walking into the arena sounds like we have a baby pig with us. He gets crazy happy and squeaks to his hearts content. He is amazing as far as watching games.  He will watch an entire game while making someone feel loved and sitting on their lap.  He loves nursery and loves to tell me about the snack every week.  He is blossoming and it is such a privilege to watch.  He melts my heart daily as he wraps those chubby arms around my neck and says "love you mom".  His naps are one of the highlights of his day as he religiously tells me everyday after lunch that he is a tired boy and needs his crib. He is so much like Easton was at this age and I just can't believe DNA could be so similar.


I love this family of mine and feel really blessed to be sharing Christmas with them.  They make me a better person everyday.  They are what life is about. I love being around them and feel like we have reached such a  high point in family life.  Young enough to still love us yet old enough to clean toilets - Hoorah!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a gift idea for you

right after graduate school was finished and we started earning a paycheck, we were faced with a gifting dilema. instead of having a few beans as an offering as a christmas gift to family, we had some actual real money.  we didn't know what to get family.  as the siblings on my side talked, we decided to pool our money for our dad and have it go towards a plane ticket to alaska (my brother lives there and he wanted to get up to see him).  We had a good sum of money from the 6 of us.  it required an envelope to hold it all.  as christmas time drew near, we became aware of a family that was in need.  my brother devin was working at the ogden DI at the time.  on christmas, as we gathered around and exchanged gifts, my dad opened his envelope.  instead of that wad of money was a note that said something to the effect of: "we had money in here to go towards a plane ticket to visit cam.  it was a good amount.  devin told us of a family he worked with. they were in need and we decided that if you taught us anything as kids, it would be that the money needed to go to that family instead. thank you for teaching us the real meaning of christmas."

it was a very touching christmas celebration as we honored my dad and his gift of teaching to us.

every year we try to donate our money we would spend on each other to a good cause.  this year i was feeling empty. as our own little family, we adopt a child from the child abuse utah program (they are in the shelter for christmas) and provide a christmas morning for them.  we were able to help out a good deal with the missionary efforts for our church a few months ago. but there was nothing screaming christmas to me.  it's tricky to get that green light feeling.

today when i woke up and got this email, i knew that this would be our family giving gift this year.  scott was on a flight with rachel a few months ago and felt really inclined to get involved with their families efforts to help send off missionaries for our church in guatemala.  you can read about it HERE.

she talked about a perpetual fund to help the people that they were worshipping with and i was head over heels with this great idea.  feel free to click HERE to read about it.

and sorry for ruining the surprise of your gift mcfarlane's, but i had to pass this on to others looking to do the same thing. merry christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

repeat

we are in that phase with my toddler.  explosive learning is taking place.  words learned often tend to be repeated, repeatedly. as in over and over.  only a mother can appreciate this phase.  while my video on the previous post demonstrates this point, maybe that will give my story credit.

while in the midst of sunday sacrament worship, rowan let it be known that his tummy was sick.  tummy sick, over and over.  within minutes he lead the chorus with melodic tones in his voice ringing out "i'm poopin" over and over.  we are quite past the binky phase and so i desperately stuck my finger in his open jaw - kind of like you would a puppy, to quiet the chorus, all to no avail.  he is no dummy. he saw the rows in front of us and the ones behind us with red faces and giggles leaking out.  he knew his song was first rate with that reaction, and so from our bench the song of praise heard was "i'm poopin, i'm poopin".

sorry bishop.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

standard

there is rarely diversion at my mother's thanksgiving feast.

let me tell you what will happen tomorrow.

I will make holiday salad:

Butter Lettuce (a must and a luxury)
Good Season's Italian Dressing (Follow all directions on the package but use Balsamic Vinegar instead of regular vinegar)

On your beautiful butter lettuce greens, top with the following:
grapefruit segments (you can buy pre-segmented grapefruit at costco in the cold section in little cups)
avocado sliced into small square chunks
whole, fresh raspberries
shrimp - tail off, deveined, thawed and cut up into about 3 pieces per shrimp. remember to always buy frozen shrimp in utah or states where you are not close to a freshwater body.
nut of your choice- you can sugar pecans, do sliced almonds but i usually stick to salted cashews
gorgonzola or blue cheese,  we have also used swiss shredded

Layer those beautiful, colorful toppings on your butter greens and I promise you will feel holiday oozing out every pour of your little body!

And my mother will make turkey in a pot.  Once we tried this recipe, we can't go back to the big bird.  It seems sac-religious on Thanksgiving, but give it a try and you will also convert.

Turkey in a Pot:
1 boneless Turkey breast (3-4 pounds) {this time of year at costco they sell a boneless, seasoned, fresh turkey breast in the cold section- not frozen.  they only carry them for a few weeks. i have 9 in my freezer. they are wonderful gems. about $11 per breast and that will serve my family of 6 w/ leftovers. run! their time is almost done}
1 can (16 oz.) whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 TBSP cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1/4 c cold water
1/4 tsp browning sauce-optional ( i have never used it)

Place turkey, skin side up in 5quart slow cooker. ( i tried the oven once and it failed miserably) Combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, apple juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, cinnamon, cloves and allspice; pour over turkey. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees.

Remove turkey to cutting board; keep warm. Strain cooking juices. In a saucepan, combine flour and water until smooth, gradually stirring in strained juices.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in browning sauce if desired. Serve gravy with sliced turkey.

It always happens that two weeks before the event my mother seems open to suggestion.  She will make you think you can make the sweet potato souffle, rolls, or other big ticket items.  Days before, she will relinquish your assignment and tell you to bring a pie.  I will get my standard salad and appetizer assignment. It happens every darn year.  Then, my husband will fight for the right to do dishes.  They will fight and he will grab a spatula out of her hand and send her to bed for three days as she has done every single thing.  She will rally shortly so we can go on our thanksgiving walk to which only a few of us will go on. We will come home and snuggle up to "It's a Wonderful Life, and Holiday Inn". Scott and my kids will retreat to the basement to watch their shows and we will rouse for sandwiches as the sun sets. so completely predictable and so utterly wonderful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

In my effort to make your day happy, I felt so inclined to pass on my favorite pie recipes!

One of my best friends Brooke passed this pie recipe on to me.  It is a superb apple pie, which I didn't know I needed in my life.

Brooke's Apple Pie

Yield 2 Pies

4 c. flour
1 3/4 c veg. shortening
1 TB sugar
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cold cold water
2 t. salt
mix dry ingredients in a bowl. mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Combine ingredients. ( i use my hands to mix pie dough. if it gets over mixed it won't be flaky. you can better gauge with your hands when it is incorporated)
Roll into a ball in wax paper (or whatever you have on hand, i have used a lg. plastic baggie) for 15 minutes in the fridge.

Yield 2 pie crusts (if cooking only pie crust cook at 350 degrees from 15-20 minutes. if cooking with pie filling, directions to follow)

Apple Pie filling
5-7 tart apples (granny smith's work best)
slice and dice to your taste ( i personally like smaller pieces of apples in my pie )

mix together:
1/2 c sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
coat apples once you have mixed the sugar and cinnamon.

topping:

1/3 c sugar
3/4 c. flour
6 TB butter at room temperature

mix together with a pastry blender or fork.

Assembly:

Roll our your pie crust (2). Put in pie tins. Pour coated apples in crust. Sprinkle topping over apples.

Cook at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until apples are soft.

And, for my favorite Thanksgiving pie, Lisa's Razzleberry fits the bill.  I dated Lisa's little brother in high school and dreamed about this pie for years after the break up.  I finally got the courage to ask her for the recipe.  She ever so kindly obliged and I will be forever grateful.  I can attest to eating much of Lisa's amazing food.  She is a wonderful person and a fantastic cook! Thanks Lisa!

I have to tell you that this recipe yields 5 pies.  They can be frozen and taken out and baked as needed (which is my favorite thing about this recipe!!).


Hope you all stuff your faces to the brim!  My cute redhead joined a biggest looser competition at work and lost 18 pounds in preparation for the Holidays.  He was bound and determined to win.  I don't know if you have ever met my husband, but his definition of overweight is 165 pounds.  He was able to get down to the 140's so he could enjoy the holidays without guilt.  I told him that the last week of the competition he was going to have to amputate a leg to win.  He somehow pulled off loosing 4 pounds, sadly he did not win, but he is determined to enjoy the holidays!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

glimpses

today i had a whole load of things to get done.  one of them not included was recovering from a UTI. well, i guess i had one.  the PA here told me all of the symptoms i had for a week probably wouldn't go away unless i had an antibiotic.  turns out, 24 hours into the antibiotic, he was right. who knew they could be so mean? sheesh. one of the items was taking my pre-teen to the doctor for her immunizations so she can enter the junior high next year.  i was dreading this more than the UTI. she recently had a plethora of blood work done that about did her father in.  she has been diagnosed with anxiety and these needles didn't help the situation...at all.

so, i head into the doctors office with three kids.  easton was off to an indoor soccer game that scott was off early enough for to take him to. i almost felt like a normal family where the father has some flexibility to help with those kids he made. almost, except the part where the pediatrician was behind and we had to miss the whole game entirely.  but a whole circus unfolded in the office that i would like to recount.

grayce is sent to the back office to take a teen mental health survey in which she had to be alone in a room to take.  after she comes out, we waited an hour.  in eleven years of taking my kids to the best pediatrician in the whole world we have never waited that long- so i took it in stride.

rowan has this thing that happens every time we enter the dr's office.  every. time. he loads his pants.  every.time.  and usually if i change him straight away, he will do it again. so i left it thinking after the hour wait, we were the next ones up. turns out it was a crazy afternoon at the dr.s office.  grayce is told her shots will be first as you have to be watched for 15 minutes after one.  she starts bawling and howling like a wild animal.  i am shocked and am holding in my giggles.  ella is relentlessly making fun of her. relentlessly. calling her a baby and all.  finally, two nurses hold her down.  i keep reminding her that these are the same nurses that gave her her baby shots and that they loved her. it didn't help.

once calm, ella told me my breath smelled like poop loud enough for the whole office to hear. it was embarassing. i told her she needed to use the restroom.  she was scaling the walls with her shoes and teasing grayce non stop, it was a clue.  after a few minutes of her not being back, i run out to check on her.  she has locked the door and can't get out.  she has alerted the nurse and she is trying to get it open.  this has never happened before. ella is no dummy, but can't for the life of her remember how she locked it despite our instructions on how to get out.  finally, after 10 minutes the nurse finds the key and a life of toiletry is rescued. she was so worried her kindergarten teacher would never know she was living in the toilet.

the only thing that saved us after two hours of waiting was watching rowan's lapse of accents.  we had hung out with our aussie family members the night before and we can only believe that he was influenced pretty heavily by 9 folks talking so strangely! our entertainment came from asking him to say - ah popped it! over and over again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

early snow

last week the wasatch mountains were thrust into a week long winter fury. school closures because of the snow. it was three mornings waking up to falling snow.  because we are nestled right against a beautiful canyon, it seems our snow count is a little higher. we can be fully immersed into what seems to be a total white out, yet driving a few minutes down the road the clouds are thin and the snow is light. so, in our little world, it seemed like january's storm like weather was thrust upon us.

this early snow was all the talk.  all over the local radio, news, and newspaper.  it was the ticker at the bottom of the screen on three days worth of newscasts, and the first item of conversation exchanged between friends and neighbors.  there may have been in years past, a light snow or some cold weather before the great day of candy giving and gathering, but nothing like this that i can remember.

soon, my winter packing and de-junking was on display with no warning.  snowballs had to be thrown and igloos had to be assembled.  the routine of boot fittings, glove fetching, hat finding, and sledding took shape.  we made due with boots too small, gloves not sufficient, and scarves not warm enough.  it happened so fast that i felt like i didn't have time to sufficiently send my kids out into the winter world. on one of the days of winter play i noticed that mismatched outer gear was making me feel insufficient but was lost on my kids.
they were immersed in the early snow.

on the third day of early snow, i started getting the "depths of winter" gloom, the "we've had soup three nights in a row" feeling, and it felt like the early snow was robbing me of something. i could only think of the things i wouldn't be able to do now if things kept up as they were.  we couldn't have our thanksgiving walk in weather like this, and what about our last picnic of the season where we watch "to kill a mockingbird", and it's no fun to be bundled like an eskimo on halloween, or where are my days of autumn sun and warmth and walks in the afternoon.  i started cursing the early snow. i had put up with early snow long enough.
 
i had a moment mid way thru this early snow.  it was one of those moments where the hustle of my life was quiet for just a moment, my heart was soft, and my ears were still.  i could hear this lesson, i could feel this idea, i could grasp this concept of early snow.  i thought about the significance of early snow.  in my life, i have had many times of this early snow.  something happened so significant that i simply wasn't ready for.  surely, god is in the early snow somehow.  even though boots were too small, gloves were mismatched, and coats were only covering 3/4 of their arms, we all pulled thru the early snow.  that early snow has been replaced this week with perfect autumn weather.  we stepped out yesterday to bask in the warm sun and leaves on the ground. we were able to resume our regular life.  the news no longer gravitating to the early snow, in fact, long forgotten for most and remembered by only a few - that news was clear last week after all.

for days after this lesson, i have immersed myself in the early snow so many times i have had in my life. it seems early snow will never leave and as though it has robbed you of something.  i am really grateful that god is in the early snow.  he's made it up by quickly replacing that snow for warm fall days that help me forget the desperation and only the joy of that sun on my skin.

yes.  that was what the early snow brought at this house.


Friday, October 19, 2012

healing...

yesterday that sweet sassafrass ella turned 6. 6! Where has the time gone so quickly? and today, my little baby boy turns 2. my goodness.

the other day I was having a moment. i was knee deep in laundry and somehow thoughts of how good our life is slowly took over.  it seems ironic that at this time they would do this.  the house was a disaster, laundry was behind, and the kids were being fussy. fussy at me, fussy with their jobs, fussy with food.  a perfectly normal day really.

i thought about how ella's birth and first few years really threw me for a spin. i have had to take some time to recover from the intensity and give myself some credit for getting thru it.  also, give myself credit for having another baby after her.  the thought suddenly rushed into my heart so overwhelmingly of how sad i would be without having rowan in our family.  his first year was rough, but once we were able to sort through all of his health issues and resolve them, he has turned into this glue for our family.  he is laid back, sweet, funny and so loving.  i think of what he has done for each of us in our family and i am overwhelmed with his solid purpose for us.  he has healed us.  ella has further developed this ability to nurture with him around.  she can take anything in need and throw herself completely into it, little row taught her how to do that.  he helped direct her abounding energy for life into good purposes.  he lets her love and dote on him all day, soaking in and needing everything she gives to him.  easton has finally found not only another male to add to his sometimes lonely cause, but also another ball lover.  these two boys could drive anyone to drink with their love of balls. both of my boys have very obsessive personalities when it comes to sports. who knows where it comes from. my favorite thing to see it both the boys on the couch watching a game together, or better yet, when we go to games together.  rowan will sit for an entire soccer game of easton's cheering "go EE" or "almost", or "tick ball". grayce has found a little puppet to command and lug around.  she is trying to teach him new things constantly, always making sure to give us the rundown and play by play of every strand of hair involved.

Rowan is love.  he has brought our family together in a way that heavenly father knew we needed. he has a way of making you feel so loved, and so important.  he is so much like easton was at his age, with grayce's looks down to the ears.  he is always keeping us laughing too.  the other day i was changing his diaper and he pointed to his nether region and whispered "my butt".  certainly the youngest child of 3 older siblings with their influences abounding:)

i love this baby. i love how he has healed our family and added to the completeness of us. happy birthday rowan - we love you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

how he made it up to me

this weekend, with the riveting announcement at general conference about a new age limit for missionaries, i had a full circle moment.  the announcement was incredibly inspired and i was laughing at the press conference held afterwards when one reporter from the salt lake tribune asked jeffrey r. holland if they had thought about how this would impact sports across the state.  he was laughing right along with me.  sometimes we miss the big picture, she obviously did as she came back swinging from his laughter.

scott found himself in chicago for the week, gathering with neurosurgeons across the country, talking about important neurosurgeon things.  he was one of the few pa's and for sure the only one without a suit and tie.   we both laughed, conference was an excuse to be without a suit and tie for one weekend.  ah, well.  when i told him about the new age for missionaries, he confided to me that his biggest regret was that i was never able to serve. he said it was selfish for him to keep me from that mission i really wanted to serve.  his persuasive lips kept me from opening that chapter in my life, gladly i might add.

the truth be told, there was a day. six months before i fell for that good redhead, i hit that point where i felt it. i don't know if all mormons reach that cultivating moment in life before they get married or if it was unique to me.  but i found myself completely uninterested in my college course, bone dry in the dating department (that's what happens when you call off a wedding 10 days before the big day), and in the dreary rocky mountain winter months.  i was taking multiple institute classes, working full time and going to school.  whatever the have and have not's of this period, it led to a really wonderful experience for me.

my scripture study was so incredibly intense, and honestly, my heart was pretty broken and contrite after turning marriage away to a really great on paper guy.  i was in a very teachable moment in time.  looking to the future i wanted to see where i was going.  those sweet warm feelings of truth had always been present in my life but they seemed to be intensifying.  one night as my study of scripture in the new testament led me to feel that man jesus christ, i could feel that redeeming love.  i could feel a second of gethsemane and really knew it was an individual moment in time. i could feel that momentary despair of the empty tomb only to be filled immediately with the joy of that empty tomb declaring that he lives.  i could feel the truth and reality of every single thing that had ever been presented to me.  i came to know of the importance of organized religion and the restoration of christ's true church that he organized when he lived on the earth.  i could feel the wonder of the nephites as he descended and gathered and taught them as a resurrected being. it was so real and so tangible.  i knew and instantly i wanted to leave every present comfort and tell people everywhere.  more specifically a place that the lord would call me to.  it was something i didn't quite know what to do with.  instantly, i started saving money and figuring out how much it would cost to be gone for 18 months. i would be able to start mission papers in march.  this was around january/february.  the momentum was building inside of me and soon i was brave enough to tell a few people.  unfortunately, i was met with negative reaction from friends and family alike.  it really hampered my green light feeling.  interestingly, scott was the only one who was supportive. the only one.  and then, something about that friendship turning into something deeper.

i don't regret for one second marrying him instead of going on a mission.  i had a baby by the time i would have come home from a mission and i wouldn't trade her or the hair that put on my chest. as i talked to scott this weekend, he has really carried this guilt with him and i admit to filling with some envy for 19 year old mormon girls.  like maybe an hour of real wanting to turn the clock back.  we have always said we would work hard in our marriage to pay things off and serve a mission as soon as we could.  scott always promised to make that up to me.  i pondered how i would have been different if i would have served, what would i have gained.  and in one sweet moment, i knew how it was made it up to me.

when scott applied for his graduate program, he had all his schools picked out. every single one. and as an afterthought asked me if there was anywhere i would want to live in the country.  immediately i responded with connecticut.  that's where martha stewart lived after all and her infamy from her jail cell had my attention. i didn't even know where it was on a map but it sounded lovely and for sure i knew it was in new england.  he found that Yale was there and as a favor to me, applied. we both laughed about it and i thought how noble he was to apply to an ivy league school to appease his wife.  well, the rest of the story is known.  i pondered that experience of leaving every comfort i had and for the first time in my life, leaving the rocky mountains to live somewhere else. i had the chance to serve with and for good people, i learned how to get along with others because i made a lot of mistakes interacting with so many different types of people. i missed my family more than words can say and yet i learned how to live without family down the street. i learned how to be a wife and a mother.  i learned how to stand tall and how to ask for forgiveness.  i learned about the beauty of being unique in a religious setting. i learned about sacrifice and about that famous field being white and ready to harvest.  i learned how to love my brothers and sisters in and outside of the confines of our designated place of worship.  the lord made missing a chance to serve a mission as a nineteen year old up to me in those two years.  i gained insight into the atonement that i never would have had we never left our rocky mountains. it was a wonderful weekend and i love how he makes things up to us in his mercy and understanding.

Friday, August 31, 2012

when you go thru a learning spell in life

you have to document it.  you know, this is my place.  this little blog here is my space that i have been completely me in.  i don't punctuate, capitalize or always use proper english protocol too often because i loose the excitement of my story telling ways if i have to take time to think about miss smith from third grade and how she would have wanted me to do it.  putting pictures up would be helpful, and sometimes i do, but it mostly intimidates me.  this space has been all about words for me.  it has given some creative voice to that dominant right side brain of mine (left handedness rules!).

this leads me to acknowledge the immense happiness the relationships i have gained thru blogging have brought me. i have loved getting to know how the other side lives, even if it is seemingly ordinary and mundane.

this recent challenge i have been given has no doubt been hard, but the overwhelming kindness i have received has been so incredibly humbling.  like that day when emily ballard showed up at my house with boxes full of costco happiness. it had been so long since i had trekked to costco and she knew just what to buy. and then she swooped in and took my kids for hours on end. hours on end.  the strange part about all of this is that very rarely have i been able to lay down to get relief.  having a panic attack in bed is an oxymoron,  aching bones hurt when you lay on them, and heart flutters/palpitations get worse when you lay down. so, i was quite mystified as to what i should do while emily had my kids.  scott ended up being home (a rare night) and for a few hours we talked and were still.  we connected and talked about how hard this has been and how we are going to get thru it.

or how about when my friends, the ebbert's, decided to visit me for an entire day on their vacation where they had mounds of family to fit in and we got their whole first day plus a date night.  we were greeted with a box full of sunshine and rainbows she put together for me. it included all kinds of brightly colored treats and a sweet note. their time with us helped me forget about the fact that i had had a migraine that morning and had to miss ella's first soccer game. i was able to glean from their goodness for a whole day and know that i am going to be okay.  all is not lost.

or that time my mother took time out of her incredibly packed life to take my kids for me for the night.  she took them to the park, to get slurpees, and to do all kinds of other grandma activities. she gave them that attention and love i have had to work harder to do the past few months.

or when my friend saren was at my house the other night and took me aside, looked me in the eye and told me that she had been worried about me and really praying for me. it was so deeply sincere and kind and i could feel that concern and compassion from her.

or when my cousin kalee drove all the way from provo with three little kids to visit me for the day.  and how she didn't judge me when i pulled out a take and bake pizza for lunch. she talked to me all day and helped me relive our wonderful memories at yale that we shared together. and when she heard how much my little grayce loved to cooked, she sent her a cookbook in the mail that detailed 101 things to do with a cake mix. (our waistlines will never be the same!)

or that time when i opened my mailbox, and my friend kate sent me a family fun night box.  it was filled with beautifully packaged ice cream sundae toppings, a sweet note, and a movie to watch as a family. because that was an over the top thoughtful thing to do for someone you have come to know better thru blogging, especially when she lives clear across the country. and we had a family fun night. let me tell you.  and the whole time, i thought about how someone's deliberate kindness made that night a little more special.  knowing that somebody took the time realize that when you are in survival mode, family fun nights are a little trickier to come by.

or the time when my cousin billie jean (i have always longed for a name that MJ sang about) in london sent me a sweet message about feeling better and how i have been in her prayers.  she then proceeded to remind me of the long line of females in our family that have suffered for generations with thyroid dysfunction, migraines, blood disease, anxiety, auto immune disorders, and arthritis.  i think of my dad's grandma who was in bed for 18 years with thyroid disorders, migraines, and arthritis.  i was overwhelmed with that thought today.  18 years.  modern medicine has come so far, as has the age of information.  at my fingertips i can research all kinds of things and pray for guidance that i can know what to do to be a functioning mother again.  and thru finding a few things and sharing that info, get overwhelming emails from others saying that they have been on the same path and think this might help them as well.

at the end of the day, i have come to realize with this and so many other things in life, that a very kind and loving heavenly father drives that car of life if we let him.  sometimes i try to backseat drive.  i try to do everything to control the situation and to control the outcome.  the truth is, i can twist myself up in knots trying to control my life, that action heeds no progress.  the progress is achieved when i  take my proper seat in the car, realizing that i can't control a lot of things or feel guilty about them ( i often times try to convince myself that i did something or ate something to cause my health problems). i have to realize that even if i try to grab the wheel when i see that car of life going somewhere i don't like, it won't change the course, it will only change the ride i take.  and you know, i want a good ride.  i want a ride where i can enjoy where i travel, and what i see out my window. i don't want to become obsessed that the inside of the car is less than appealing or old, but that the car is taking me where i need to be with a really amazing driver and some pretty amazing stops and passengers along the way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

my heart hurts

when school starts.  we work so darn hard to build those summer relationships and then poof - all gone! school starts and our time together is reduced and turned into routine and balance. i sure love summer nights looking at stars, and lazy mornings with cartoons and late bowls of cereal . it's all necessary but so sad.

today ella started kindergarten.  she was thrilled and i was that parent holding back the tears.  she has needed me so much that i was just resigned to being her sidekick for life.  it was a startling thought that the county wanted her for a few hours everyday and there was nothing i could do about it.  sigh.  she was thrilled to walk into that classroom and had the displeasure of lugging me behind.  she could have gone in by herself and been fine.

there was a sparkle in her eye that was so confident and so ready. she is ready.  it's what i keep repeating today every time those tears welled up.

also, while all things random might as well come up - i think this article changed my health.  i am not joking one ounce. and it actually started with this article i found on pinterest that lead me to it.  i have been diligent about researching every single darn aspect of thyroid dysfunction as i am pretty convinced that this and some hormonal issues have been my problem.  i have found great success with the magnesium oil.  it is itchy at first, but my heart flutters, palpitations, and chest pains were gone the first few applications.  also, i was having at least one panic attack each day (over nothing, just suddenly feeling like i couldn't breath and crazy nervous), those dissipated the first few days i started using it.  i use the magnesium powder throughout the day in a huge cup of water that i sip on.  i have found i have to really, really dilute mine. i can now wait 3-4 hours in between meals and have been able to keep a steady weight. my metabolism had gone into overtime and i was eating enough for my entire family all before breakfast and losing weight. it was disturbing on many levels.
the best part of this find is the amazing sleep.  i was sleeping for 7-8 hours but waking up every half hour or so.  since i started using all of these, i am sleeping a solid 6-8 hours and wide awake when i do come to.  i experimented with scott, having him take a drink before bed of the powder.  the nights we didn't use it, he tossed and turned all night.  i think i just may have convinced my western medicine husband of something alternative, maybe......only maybe.  also, i have been using this supplement as i have had migraines weekly since they put the nexplanon rod in my arm.  i have still been having weekly migraines, but the endurance has been cut in half.  like saturday for instance, ella had an early soccer game.  half-way thru getting ready i noticed that i couldn't see myself in the mirror anymore.  pretty soon the black lights came on and i was running for a fiorocet to lessen the blow.  in about 45 minutes my vision was back and the head pain was gone.  i only suffered migraine hangover for a few hours.  no slurred speech, numb limbs or porcelin throne worshipping.
 i thought i would pass on this info as something that has helped me get back to "a new normal".  i have grocery shopped without a day to recover for almost a month, been able to keep up with a normal cleaning schedule and make dinner more consistently.  this is progress and i am feeling like i might almost be up for a trip to my favorite city this fall.  my fingers are crossed, nyc baby!

Friday, August 10, 2012

my retirement plan

as i have mentioned here previously, my 3rd child has had an official status change from hella to ella.  once we eliminated milk and a few other things from her diet, her fussiness has changed substantially.  we have made some other good strides in the health department with her and feel like things are getting under control. (no morning vomit sessions since march, this is a record for us) anyway.   it has been like watching a summer blockbuster as her impulse control has gotten so much better.  we have seen this person emerge and i'm telling you what, i have no need to invest in anything but her for retirement.

she has discovered the joy of earning a dollar.  her favorite thing to do is jobs.  i was not paying up to her standards and soon she flew the coop on any extra job i could offer her and took to the streets.  well, the sidewalks really. and if i was being truly honest, it started with doors.  she took to the neighbors doors.  selling.  selling anything she could pack in to the old red wagon i rescued from my grandparents house.  at first it was rocks gently bathed in fresh picked grass.  she had to learn her selling points quick and also, her negotiating skills.  for the month of june, she trudged up and down the cul-de-sac with her wagon of rocks and grass, pointing out all of the strong points a rock has to offer.  when asked how much it cost she would reply for free or for a quarter.

after many a jar full of quarters, she took to pictures.  drawing all day long, getting her inventory volumes up high enough to cover the refrigerators of the whole neighborhood.  after this venture, i had to squash the door to door solicitation.  you can sell from the sidewalk only was the newly implemented strategy.  i personally was hoping the city wasn't driving by too often because for sure they would make us get a home business license.  apparently she is hard to resist.

my kids jumped on the duct tape bandwagon. quick, fast.  and the flower duct tape pen soon consumed summer days and the selling took over summer nights.  orders were placed and soon there was a wait list for the duct tape inventory. ella took her sisters lead and became the head salesman.  while grayce bustled away making the "flowers" ella took to yelling in the streets, peddling the inventory.

her voice is something not to be missed.  as in it's impossible to miss the demand in her voice.  one evening some good women came to visit and wish me happy birthday thoughts.  the visit was soon interrupted by a voice outside.  "for your motha, for your fatha, for your sista.  buy a ring now!" over and over at the top of her large lungs were things shouted with enthusiasm.  the yelling grew so loud, the visit came to a halt and we all had tears running down our faces we were laughing so hard.  she was all alone out there, an umbrella over her head and a nifty red table just her size with all of her prized inventory before her, and a small chair to rest her bones on.  after the shouting continued for the better part of an hour, soon we had a line of cars waiting for a duct tape flower.  she had quarters coming out her ears.

in between each venture, we had to set rules and boundaries.  five dollars for a rock probably won't heed much income dear, you need to have reasonable prices. so she decided to have a line set when asked about pricing - for free or for a dollar.  that has become her price.  for anything.  for the rings she made out of toilet paper last week, the duct tape "puppet" she made to sell, and the strange looking weapons she made from duct tape that she claimed were jewelry ( i swear they were "brass knuckles" duct tape style).

we headed to the utah favorite bear lake for a week of relaxation at a fabulous beach house one of scott's colleagues generously offered us.  once we hit the beach and she saw the swarms of people on the beach, she was so sad we hadn't brought duct tape, lemonade or anything to sell.  look at all the people she was exclaiming.  what a missed opportunity!! i told her we were on a vacation, we didn't need to work, there was plenty of that at home.

a few days in to our vacation, she took to the beach looking for valuable shells.  she was on that beach from morning to evening.  quickly making friends with the neighbors and everyone parked around our beach station.  she was scouring for big shells, lizards, anything to make a buck.  one day i was helping her in the bathroom when she took note of some lovely seashells on the back of the toilet.  think pottery barn, urban outfitters, z gallerie for this beach house, unreal.  something you would see on tv but never dream of being able to stay in.  she caressed and obsessed over these shells, wondering if they had gathered those from the beach.  on our drive home, a horrified older sister made an accusation that made these experienced parents laugh silly.  "ella,  you did NOT find that shell on the beach!!!"  the shell had been neatly tucked away in her pocket, her pining heart now satisfied.  she had a shell the size of her hand, and oh what money that would bring!!!  now of course we laughed when she wasn't looking so she knew the serious nature of thievery. when she was told she needed to go up with dad to his office and take the shell back and apologize, a bit of an anxiety attack came on.  she turned red and couldn't breath, she was screaming and pleading protest. gratefully, this was not our first child with an unattainable expectation level hanging over her head and we were able to compromise. she would let dad take the shell to work with him, and she would write her very best i'm sorry card and promise to never commit acts of theft ever again.

she is so determined.  her life is a blur, she wakes up with plans, goes to bed with plans.  the world is right in her little palm.  she was at primary children's the other day (for her stomach) and the dr. was asking her about herself and her family.  the conversation was beyond hilarious.  she had no idea the ages of her siblings or when their birthdays were, no idea what they liked to do and frankly, it took prodding for her to tell dr. patel their names.  and it hit me - here is my retirement plan.  this is what a successful CEO must have.  crazy drive with the whatever it takes to fire and hire people, the focus to get things done, and the energy that three healthy people have, but not a care in the world about people's details that don't concern her!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the wonder a little time provides

i sat at the allergist office on tuesday full of curiosity and anticipation.  skin testing, they told me, was a part of the visit.  it was a visit for rowan.  i thought back to only six months previous, sitting in the same office with this tragically sick little boy.  we had been referred to the allergist by our pediatrician after a good amount of hives came after a small bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. that coupled with chronic diarrhea and covered in dry awful skin rashes he thought it would be a good idea to get some attention by a specialist.

the first day we went had been scheduled for months, and when it finally arrived, rowan was in the clutches of a miserable stomach bug.  he was dehydrated, tired, and miserable.  they sent me for blood work to determine how severe the allergies were. i was also given some great tips for the miserable eczema covering his body all the time. (1/2 c of table salt in the tub, who knew?!?!?!)  it was a visit that makes me cringe every time i think about it.

everyone around us was aware of his chronic misery.  someone referred us to a local chiropractor who dealt with food allergies, no adjustments, using the NAET system.  i was incredibly skeptical. so was my western medicine husband. so was my western medicine husband. so was my, well, you get the idea.  leaving the allergist's office that first day i was disheartened knowing that the blood work would do nothing but help us eliminate food.  a life of elimination. when we got the blood work back the allergies were so extensive that his diet was essentially fruit, vegetables, rice milk and meat. no wheat, milk, peanuts, eggs, pistachios, pine nuts, or soy.   i felt backed into a corner.  in desperation, i vowed to try this vodoo knowing it couldn't hurt.  i heard miracle stories with this system, people who were deathly allergic to peanuts now ate them everyday, ADHD suffers cured, celiacs no more.

we gave it a go.  it is rough, eliminating foods for 25 hours after being hooked to a napoleon dynamite time machine to tell what allergies you have.  amazingly, the test results the chiropractor gave me were the same as the results from the blood work.  for multiple visits, we went in for this crazy, hokey system.  crazy, hokey.  three times a week for months.

i am proud to report that after doing the skin tests yesterday, we were told my son could eat peanuts.  the skin test showed no measurable allergic reaction to anything his blood work showed.  nothing.  there were two small skiffs to peanuts and pine nuts.  nothing of note she said.  we are on a slow integration plan to reintroduce all of these things with an epi pen close by.  he is a different boy. six months ago, he was chronically miserable, bouts of diarrhea all day, bleeding and cracked eczema covering his body. he had no interest in food and trying to get him to drink was torture. his weight was falling off the charts and he was chronically sick.  today, his personality shines. he waves at strangers, makes his way to strangers benches during sacrament so visit, EATS THINGS CONTAINING MILK WITH NO STOMACH AGONY, snuck into his sisters room and ate a snickers with no trace of hives or breathing difficulties. has crackers without a bleeding, cracked rash. eats a scrambled egg without diarrhea for a week.

as i walked out of the office, not having to schedule another visit, i thought about what a difference 6 months makes.  i feel incredibly grateful that i took a chance on something out of the norm.  it has literally changed the way our family works and also, it has saved my sanity. i applied it to my own health, knowing that in six months, my life just might resemble normal and i got a tingly feeling inside.  after that little experience, i have re-evaluated all that i am doing to get better.  it seems like it is a ripple effect of things prescribed that are supposed to be helping my that are making my life miserable. the rod in my arm is supposed to help within 5-6 months, but then i started a visit from aunt flo that has lasted 5 weeks, courtesy of the nexplanon rod. so ibuprofen was recommended to help slow me down.  even though i warned that it wreaks havoc on my stomach no matter how much food i eat, i had to do that before they would give estrogen to slow me down.  the ibuprofen (200 mg) once daily killed me and now i am dealing with a miserable reflux stomach that causes some rotten nights and feeding times. once they finally gave me the estrogen, it has caused miserable migraine symptoms, all. the. time.  done. i am done.  i am going off all the garbage and listening to what my body tells me.  we get so involved in prescribing sometimes that it is forgotten how miserable the side effects can be.  and the anxiety. i can't even give sufficient credit to the anxiety.  scott was gone for three days on the pioneer trek with no cell phone service and i thought they were going to have to admit me.  the anxiety that all of the side effects are causing is putting me into a straight jacket, literally and figuratively.  it is rotten to live life wondering how sick you are going to be when you wake up.  and for the record, i have tried natural methods.  i have tried chiropractors, a natural hormone clinic, vitamins for regulation of hormones, natural thyroid booster.  i guess it takes time to get better and time is something i can do, i have no choice.!.

i have had multiple priesthood blessings and they all contain they same phrase about "time to heal" and "with time my body will return to normal".  time requires patience and patience recognizes gethsemane where this pain was already born.  this misery is an opportunity to make personal for me the most crucial moment in history, the atonement.  thru the atonement of jesus christ we are made whole.  it is a daily process that refines.  i am grateful for it, truly.  i have had to accept help with humility that i didn't know i possessed.  but sometimes, a body can't maintain 4 kids and go and get the milk and bread you have been out of for 5 days. you have to humble yourself and accept when someone able bodied can do it for you.  patience is a virtue and by darn, one that i am going to have whether i like it or not........

Friday, July 6, 2012

i love how strong we are

that was the first line in the card scott gave me this morning.

because i have been incredibly emotional lately, i had to take a few minutes to gather myself and read the rest of the card.  it was one of those cards that was written just for us.  it was very sweet and tender.  i have thought about these years we have spent together, taking life on.  what a wonderful ride we are one.  what challenges and opportunities we have faced.  i love that red head.  these last few months especially, have seemed to be incredibly challenging.  scott has been there for me and pulled the extra slack my poor health has left in its wake.  he is kind, patient and the best part about him is how easily he forgets.  while i'm not talking about the year he forgot our anniversary (i was never upset about it, we were moving across the country and he was on 48 hour OB/GYN rotations) i'm talking about what used to drive me nuts early on in our marriage that i have now come to appreciate.

early on in our marriage, he tried hard to pay attention to the 1,244,355 details i would give him on a daily basis that only a woman can give, but when asked for specific recall, he usually failed miserably.  he couldn't recall many details of childhood and often couldn't remember why so and so was bugging me because of the list of injustices they had caused me.  my immature self did not appreciate this angel like quality, yet i have always been drawn to his kindness and compassion to every person he meets.

this year i have realized to a great magnitude why our marriage works so well. it's because he forgets. he doesn't remember when i ruined dinner, or when i wasted money on something he saw as silly.  he doesn't remember when someone wronged him, or made a cruel joke at his expense.  he forgets when the kids act out and misbehave.  every second of his life is lived with this renewal, or better yet, a fresh start.  there are no bad things in his world. nothing bad that can't be forgotten and started fresh and clean.  how i admire and love that about him.  it has been such an anchor for me to watch and admire thru these many years. he lives life with no grudges and what a wonderful life he lives.

he has given me a large amount of optimism the past few months, never loosing sight of important things.  there have been many tears of frustration, exhaustion, and anxiety on my part, and he has been ever stalwart with kind hopeful words. how i love him. i love our life.  and when a man as good as that eyes a jeep for a very long time, why, you say happy anniversary dear!  and you watch with a thrill as he bounces around in his new (to him) jeep, dreaming of many summer nights with the top off and hair flying around.  i told him to throw practicality out the door, and for once, do something wonderful for himself.  while it took an awful lot of convincing, tonight, we are heading to a japanese fusion restaurant, riding in that jeep of his.  oh, how good it is to be married to a man who forgets...


















                                                                                    

Sunday, June 17, 2012

summation - if that's a word

i've turned into a monthly post kind of a gal which made me think that these posts should be called a summation.  then i thought that probably isn't a word so i took to wikipedia.  it is real, only it's a term used for math - a long version of sum. so these posts are a life summation.  how bout that?

this past month it seems life has pointed out exactly how old my children are getting which in turn makes me feel old.  the only year 3 of my kids will be in elementary together is coming up soon.  how did i grow to have THREE kids in school? i tell ella repeatedly that she cannot go to kindergarten.  she is my baby and cannot grow up.  i am feeling so lonely already.  she has grown leaps and bounds these past few months.  she is tough and kind and i love her until my heart aches.  she has taken up to hanging out with some grand kids of our neighbor who runs a "farm". his property borders ours and there are cherry trees to climb and eat from, strawberries to eat as you collect, and horses to feed with baby kittens to look after as well.  the ring around the tub at night is something for the record books.  no longer are we in a dress phase only but now there are not enough jeans for her closet. jeans, jeans, jeans, everyday jeans. don't be fooled because ella the woman is still in full force.  nails painted, jewelery adorned, and fancy things still are demanded daily. that temper is calming down and a wonderful, independent girl is coming out and it is a beautiful thing to see.

scott and i realized that it has been years since easton has played with toys.  he will put together a lego star wars toy every christmas to appease us, but he is 8 going on 25.  really.  he went to goblin valley with scott and the teachers in the ward for a few days and scott said that they boys played try to stump east(PN). they couldn't. i don't think there is one more sports fact for him to memorize.  we used to have a no sports talk on sunday to give me one days rest from something i have no clue about, but tonight i suggested a no talking rule period.  he has come up with non sport facts about sports players that he tries to squeeze in often. like, mom, labron james loves to read, maybe we should send him a book of mormon.  we are mourning our toy playing little boy and trying to embrace this mature adult trapped in a little boys body. he is kind and aware of so many things that seem beyond a boy going into 3rd grade.  he is my sweet boy.

grayce is going to be a sixth grader.  this hurts my heart.  i feel like i am in the front of a ride at disneyland that is scary and i want to turn around.  i am putting on a brave face and trying to think of all of those wonderful things that come with growing up but there are some tears held back often.  i have loved having daughters around. because scott and i had no experience with sisters it has been trial and error but it has been a good adventure too.  i have absolutely loved seeing grayce develop her beautiful voice the past two years.  she has been able to sing in so many venues (solos) and it has been so amazing to watch her perform such a variety of different classic music.  i never tire of that voice and the calmness she musters in such large groups to do what she loves.  she finally got her own room as we chopped the toy room in half and put up a wall to make a smaller playroom and a bedroom for her.  we now have 4 bedrooms and it feels like we have really arrived in life, really! (so silly)

little rowan.  well, he's not so little anymore.  just today he had to be taken from sabbath worship because he wouldn't stop biting and head butting me.  he has a streak of boy that easton had at this age.  i remember many times easton scratching someones face into bloody oblivion with the most innocent look on his face, over and over.  i remember having to glove his hands and tie them to his waist once to get thru a double stroller ride.  he turned out okay so i keep telling myself better trouble now then later, right?   he never tires of the reaction he gets when he launches his meal across the room or throws a large object at someones head.  mostly poor ella, but oh how he adores her.  lellalella is his favorite word and he follows her around with hopeless adoration all day long.  he is such a snuggle bug - i love little boys.  there is something so magical about them. really, i can't describe why it is different to love a little boy, but it is so sweet and so calming to me.  i am preparing for life with a two year old which means there might be ease with some things, but the mental battle is just being waged.

that redhead is eyebrow deep in church summer commitments and i often hoorah that we are at the four year mark being in the bishopric.  summers take on new meaning when you are to attend girls camp, teachers camp, youth conference and so on.  we are sneaking some summer adventures in there somehow but i am ready for a husband soon!  he has fallen in love with neurosurgery and his job seems like a dream most days.  he is best friends with his surgeon and loves waking up everyday.

i am on the mend.  it has been a very slow process filled with lots of blood work and even more hard days.  there is still no firm diagnosis other then some hormonal imbalances but it is getting better, little at a time.  i have taken the desperate route after being told that there is nothing significantly wrong with me after loads of blood work.  i am seeing two different chiropractors, taking two different approaches to getting better.  i have hope. there is this part deep inside that feels hopeful that life is soon going to return to a manageable way.  i have such empathy for people who battle chronic illness realizing that mine is hopefully temporary.  life can be so hard! i'm beyond glad for sweet faces to make days easier!

Monday, May 21, 2012

i need two more legs and 3 more pair of hands.

while having babies and raising kids can sometimes be overlooked as routine and ordinary, i submit that everyday feels anything but the aforementioned.

there are days i long for being the mother of 2.  i had it all under control, i knew exactly where the train was taking me, i felt so satisfied, so fulfilled. i loved living away from the mother ship hubble of mormon judgement and experiencing life as a little independent family on our own.  it was so good, so right and dang it, so much easier that yesterday was.  while we were definitely under stress concerning money (lack of), school, and time constraints, i felt like we were somehow mentally more free from the stress life has on our heaping buffet plates right now.  yesterday was the sabbath and anymore it is a day we simply get thru.  scott's meetings start before kids are up and my meetings fall somewhere in the middle.  then 4 kids must look presentable and well cared for before church begins.  there is no time for tantrums, disagreements, or general sleepiness the teasing summer nights bring that call us out of our bed longer than normal.  i grit my teeth and get thru sharing time hoping rowan has stopped screaming in nursery and that no one has accidentally fed him anything containing peanuts, eggs, wheat, food colorings, cheese, pistachios, and on and on.  i worry that easton is giving me smart alec remarks when i am asking questions about sacred things. grayce is abnormally tired sitting with her class and it seems puberty has taken my sweet girl and put her in the middle of a raging hormone battle. she cries more now than she did as an infant. ella is thriving in primary (finally!!) but it seems there are not enough hours to plan for all of the things that can cause upheaval on a sunday.  there are so many needs and yet i can hardly make it thru an "ordinary day" without feeling overwhelmed.  three weeks ago i went home midway thru sabbath worship feeling unwell. i was quite sure i was getting a migraine but hadn't had one for so long i couldn't remember.  i went home to a dark house, ate a little something and took a nap.  when i woke up it felt as though i woke up in a new body.   my hands and feet were in pain i had never felt before. my head had this general pounding to it that wouldn't let up. my brain was so foggy. at church i thought it was odd i could not remember names of folks i had known for 12+ years. and not the "where is that in my brain" it was the i don't even know where to pull it from.  to make a long and frustrating week short, i ended up going in to be tested for multiple auto immune disorders and other things. it seemed like a classic flare up of some auto immune disorder. suddenly carrying rowan up the stairs became impossible as did walking and using my hands.  i noticed that after rowan was born i had joints in my fingers start to swell. it happened to 4 joints in an 18 month time period.  after i had ella, i had some miserable arthritis in my back but it was determined it was from the pregnancy that taxed my frame so severely. i really didn't think too much of the joints although i knew it was abnormal.

waiting for the test results was the longest weekend of my life.  i wondered what the test results would be and what my new life might be like.  i knew that i was experiencing some hormonal issues as my body had such a hard time after i stopped nursing rowan.  things were feeling off.

when the doctor called me we were relieved to hear that nothing showing any sign of auto immune problems came back positive, nor did any sign of inflammation with joints or signs of arthritis.  my hormone levels were off but because i experience aura migraines, my risk for heart attack, stroke and so on is elevated bringing those levels up with pills.  he told me that most likely i was suffering from premenstrual syndrome, severely, and that i was probably experiencing fluctuating calcium levels.  i went in and had a nexplanon put in under my arm and have been chomping tums like they are going out of style.  the nexplanon is a form of birth control (the only one i can have) that is a small rod that they shoot in your skin under your arm.  it basically stops female function for three years. this was done so that my body can stabilize the hormones on its own.

but....

it feels really wimpy when i tell scott that i couldn't even dress and bath the kids because my hands were hurting so bad, you know dear, it's the PMS. (and apparently the severe PMS mimics auto immune disorders) he will come home to mass chaos, all with a smile, while i blame it on what feels to be a made up thing.  then i skipped calcium for 2 days because i was able to almost function the whole day! i was subsequently in bed for the next two days trying to get my calcium levels up.

my house has gone to the dogs while i am waiting for things to stabilize.   all of those ordinary things that used to seem so routine seem so overwhelming now.  and i want to cry - a lot.  i only cry at the pulpit, never ever over anything else but death. ever.  i am just not programmed to get emotional like that, i go into survival mode not panic mode.  i want to cry because the local wingers went out of business and one night i needed 2 wings from the joint. i want to cry because i had a girls night out and just couldn't seem to recover from getting in bed past 10:00. i want to cry because i miss my husband and sometimes wish he would take up alcohol to get out of half of his time commitments. but then the line comes into my head that this life is the time for man to prepare to meet god.  somehow, i think when i meet god, it wouldn't mean as much if i didn't know him.  it just might not mean as much if my thoughts weren't directed to him thru the happy parts of my day in gratitude and the low points of ordinary chaos. whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we will one day meet god and that is the thought that seems to make my heavy heart a little bit lighter thru the bits of trial that will soon lift. in the mean time, that time of communion with god might often be heard from my lips to be asking for two more legs to go 4 different directions with my kids and 3 more pair of hands to hold their faces all at once.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

spring break, literally.

spring break is always exciting and intoxicating to me.  i get to have my kids home for a week and we get every hope up for the summer to come.  we feel the laziness of the days and the flowing summer routine starts to shape up.  playing until dark, dinner eaten outside, a fun activity here and there and no strict schedule.

it was wonderful but a bit exciting as well.  we went on our first venture to the kangaroo zoo.  i am not a normal mother. you know this by now.  i would be more likely to take my kids to a park all day and let them explore versus taking them to a structured play area.  there are so many things i fear at public play places.  mostly poop.  i have seen what can happen at home from rowdy play and i just can't be responsible for other mothers diapering.  it makes me so nervous.  i worry about the germs and what not.  so, it was with no real shock that ella turned up with a rotten case of the true blue croup.  my kids have had coughs that come and go that resemble the croup, but the full blown screaming for air and sounding like a vacuum cleaner for days.  right as that happened, easton was holding his hand funny one night and that prompted us to get x-rays within 24 hours. last month grayce complained her foot hurt and after a while we took her in.  turns out the bone was chipped on her foot and thank goodness she didn't need surgery.  so, over spring break we had croup, a broken hand, a walking boot and sunday night were awoken to a burning fevered ella.  she was sent to the hospital for x-rays as she had pneumonia last month and they wanted to make sure she was unlucky in contracting a second virus and not a complication from the wicked croup.  throw in some allergies and it was a spring break i am hoping is not indicative of our summer.  the doctor was truthful in telling me we should watch ella closely because she has had a very rough year. we need to watch the fevers.  of course i turned into a ball of nerves because no one else got croup but it turns out rowan woke up with the fever this morning. i have never ever been so glad to have someone else get the germs! really.  he woke up with a scream at 5:45 am and i rejoiced to scott that he had the fever!!!!  ella is on her way to recovery and the fever only lasted 24 hours.  but it will be a spring break we won't soon forget.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

it's vulgar, i know. my mother is disappointed in me

but my kids hands smell like butt.

this was disturbing to me on many levels.  the smell on their hands, grayce and easton specifically, was reason for me to call a major news corporation to investigate.  this could be why they have been the bearers of the vomits so many times this year.  i was pouring over the reasons i should feel guilty over their smelly hands and then decided that i would take the approach of the french parents i have been hearing all about.  i identify with the french and their methods.  my kids are generally well behaved in public.  i don't find myself tearing my hair out at home with their behavior, but i have found a look has developed with the birth of my third.  it could be that the third one tilts the dynamic of the entire balance of one adult for every child.  i have found that generally, two children are the honeymooning phase of parenting.  being outnumbered can cause a plethora of problems.  mainly, there are not enough hours in the day to gently or patiently discipline.  the third one at our house gets parented with the look.  i always try to tell myself when a disciplinary situation presents itself that anger is not an option.  getting mad at my kids does nothing but deplete my emotional and mental reserves.  so, the look has been born.  i can get away with the look or raising my hand to count and my kids shape up, usually.

this has come in handy especially as the butt smell has come to light.  i can flare my nostrils real large and unnatural looking and the kids head to the bathroom.  i hope that by the first sentence of this post you won't think poorly of me.  just today grayce tried telling easton that his uncasted arm smelled like butt.  she was given the look.  do as i say not as i uh,er do-say.  my kids can't say butt because i was not allowed to say butt.  even when i was telling my mother about the smell i felt guilty telling her it smelled like butt.  i fear telling her that the smell of bum bum wouldn't get the same response.

the good news came to me as i was sitting with my 5th grade daughter at her maturation program.  that's right.  the county stepped in to tell my daughter about her changing body.  two summers ago i gave my daughter the american girl body book to read.  we read and skimmed together but she mostly took the lead on educating herself with her nose in the book and a large pillow in front to block any nosy siblings from her education.  i didn't stop to think about an eight year old reading unfamiliar terms and what kind of pronunciation she would come up with.  i discovered my error at the program.  i will let you use your imagination but she leaned over to me twice to clarify the names of certain things.  one thing she needed clarification on was what she thought was a state named after a female part.  she wondered why they would name the female anatomy after the state of virginia.  also, she thought the term public hair was what it was called because everyone has it.   i thought i would be kicked out by the teachers i was laughing so hard.  but, the real reason for this side note is because the school nurse explained to us in great detail that at the age when change starts, it causes the glands all over the body to produce a white thick film that has major odor.  i was aware of under arms being a problem, but apparently it can cause a horrific smell anywhere the glands are located.  my kids have actually had chaffed hands because of the look i give that ques the washing.  it was of great relief to me to know that they were not dipping their hands in a bucket of butt, in fact, their glands were to blame.

and don't worry, scotty is hard at work developing hand odor eliminator that will make us our millions.  just think of it, apply hand odor eliminator and then cover with handerpants...........


i am not pregnant

the last post has left me with quizzical glances from family and friends alike.  for that reason i would like to say that although i did take a pregnancy test, it was negative.  there was no intent or expectation that it would be positive but i had reason to be suspicious.  and i also must mention that i would not be needing prozac if i was pregnant.  me, of all people, the girl who was told that i would be lucky to be pregnant once in my lifetime, would rejoice at such a surprise!

on another unrelated note, i have been having the most wonderful sabbath days lately.  i, for no logical reason, was called to serve in our primary presidency.  i was told by a couple of people that logic did not put me there but a really strong feeling that i needed to be in there.  i had the chance to serve as the primary president in new haven and had the most choice experience while doing it.  but, i do have to say, it was VASTLY different there.  here, we have function.  people follow the rules and have real live meetings.  there are forms to be filled out, programs to be run off, serious stuff.  we have a secretary that makes endless lists of classes and changes and scout lists. oh mercy, scouts.  it happens that i have been put over scouts and it is a confirmation to me that i lack humility.  right now i would say that i love what scouting does for my sweet little 8 year old.  in the same breath i would say that i do not love that the scout  program in general feels it necessary to hold a meeting if someone needs to sneeze.  it is time consuming madness.  i feel like my eyes each have holes poked in the sides of them and i just can't see properly.  i don't quite get it.

but, my favorite part of primary is sharing time.  oh, i love spending 15 minutes every week with the kids to tell them about the gospel.  i am not a flowery person, i don't do games, i don't laminate or coloring.  but, how i love to tell.  i love to gather those kids around (my own included) and tell them about those wonderful things that pricked my heart at their age.  i love that sacred primary room and i tear up thinking about all of the wonderful things that happen in that room.  all the tender feelings felt by kids week after week that add that line upon line to their testimonies.  a couple of months ago the topic was to teach the kids about our prophet.  i prayed all week that i would know what to share with them.  i read and skimmed over a few things and after all of that i had the impression that they might enjoy hearing some stories from president monson's book about his life. i loved reading it myself and thought heidi swinton did a remarkable job.  i gathered a few stories about his childhood that i thought would be appealing to all of the kids.

i was reading one story in particular about president monson making the primary president cry because he was being so rowdy with his friends.  it then talks about how years later he visits her in the hospital and finds her memory gone and mind fading.  he is reassured by the other people around her that she wouldn't know who he was.  he continued to feed her and gently speak about her kindness to him.  with the visit coming to an end, she looked up at him and said, "i know you, you are tommy monson my primary boy. oh how i love you."  i of course was teary and let those sweet faces know how much i loved them.  one boy, our "lively" spirit of the bunch, really identified with the story and piped up saying "you mean a kid like me could end up being a prophet?".  i looked him square in the eye and emphatically replied "YES!".  i have thought about that experience many times.  maybe sharing that story was just for ethan, but maybe it was more for me.  his statement  bore testimony to me that it was an ordinary boy that the lord preserved and raised up to be a man of god.  tommy monson was a regular boy, filled with ordinary acts and extraordinary choices. he is a prophet of god preserved to do his work.

 that is why i love primary.  i am quite sure that these opportunities could be given a million of excuses as to why they couldn't perform these callings.  i have come to find out that although the task may seem inconvenient, the rewards are for us.  my testimony has grown vastly as i meet with these kids every week.  it is hard to make it on time with 4 little kids to get ready and a husband at meetings all day long, but i would never ever trade the opportunity.  it is such a blessing to see what the lord will let us become when we have faith and follow!                                                      



Sunday, April 1, 2012

while i'm not world's best holiday mom....

...i put on a mean april fool's day this year.  i hope heaven is full of laughing because there is nothing better to me that having a good laugh.  it compares to a good meal in my book.

this year we invited some guests over for a "sundee dinner" (that was the title of my email invitation). little did they know that my kids and i had been working all weekend on an april fools dinner. first off, the kids greeted our guests in robes while some of the kids were in the background making puking noises.  "didn't you get the message, we have the vomits".

for our first course at dinner, we had clear glasses with jello and fruit with a straw for effect when we told them it was fruit punch.  we served cupcakes and double layered cake for dinner which was meatloaf with mashed potatoes for frosting.  i put globs of blue dough in the rolls so it looked like moldy rolls, and for dessert, well we did what any experienced april fooler would do.  we bought loads of sponges, some brown RIT clothing dye and a package of frosting.  we dyed the sponges, dried them off and frosted them with the most delicious fudge frosting.  they really look legit.  the kids had planned out who would be served first for the brownies.  after our guests realized there were no brownies, they were confused when we told them we had some baked potatoes for dessert (ice cream rolled in cinnamon and sugar with honey butter atop).

perhaps the funniest moment of the meal came when my mother announced that grandma helen was pregnant (she's embarking on her 94th bday this year)! my mother was quite pleased with her quick whit, as was grandma.  we had a wonderful night of laughter.

all in all it was a great foolers holiday.  we may or may not have gotten carried away when we thought of the best humored people in our neighborhood to take sponge brownies to.  we had sweet ella use that magic voice, go up to the porch and say - "here bishop, we made this brownie just for you".  or "here Lorrin, we made a new recipe and thought you would love it".  i think my kids might have dribbled a bit they were laughing so hard.  then when we got home they were thinking of all the things these people might do to get us back, including and not limited to, scott's name on our weekly church program being listed as Sister Scott McKay as punishment from the bishop.  then, feeling guilt, they all resolved that we would make them our infamous s'mores brownies for family night tomorrow night as a peace offering.

i for one appreciate a funny little april fools joke.........but not the one where i had to take a pregnancy test today.

Friday, March 30, 2012

blogging is dead.

does anyone else feel that way? no, yes?

every time i write something on this blog lately, i am surely blasted away with exactly the opposite of what i was writing about.  call it humble pie or maybe a good confirmation that the lord has a sense of humor.

case in point.
a recent post of mine included my ease into the world of vomiting.  yes, i proclaimed loud and clear that i don't get quite so upset when vomit flies at my house.  i am an experienced mother and it doesn't frazzle me as much as it used to.  the next post was regarding the violence with which the stomach bug has hit us this year. all four kids went thru 6, count them, SIX rounds of vomiting bugs this winter.

example number 2.

i took it upon myself to make any mother who does not place priority on getting showered and ready every morning feel awesome when i wrote about how it is my rock.  it still is.  but my trade off is that i take a walk with the kids in the afternoons instead of going to the gym everyday.  i don't need intense workouts or whatever else other mothers do. and, i don't shop. not unless i have to. and, i don't craft. but, i was feeling frustrated with my morning routine of getting ready after the kids left for school, so i switched that up and have it done before they wake up.  it has made a HUGE difference.  the entire pregnancy with little rowan and the past year and a half i have longed for the day when i could do that.  i have been just hoping for that glorious morning when i wasn't exhausted from nights on end with pregnancy woes, or baby screaming all night.

also, i wrote recently about how if you EVER see me in my jammies at dinnertime, you need to call the relief society to bring me dinner because something must be terribly wrong.  rowan somehow got hold of that post and instead of calling the relief society at dinner time, he called the police.  the number 9 to be exact.  this is an offense punishable by having an officer come to your house and lecture the child about not playing with the phone.  i was not feeling up to par and decided i needed desperately to try and sneak some naps in during the day to get over whatever bug was ailing me.  i had myself all talked into it because i had not taken one sick day during all of the misery this winter has brought. i cancelled appointments, served leftovers from sunday dinner all day and laid down as much as possible.  it was totally awesome to have a man in uniform talk to me about the dangers of an infant dialing 9 on the phone. like, awesome. disaster house, kids in pajamas at 5:00pm, and a remodeling project strewn all about my house right there for the officer to see.  and don't worry, i have already received multiple calls about receiving the mother of the year this year;)

so, blogging just might be dead around these parts for a while until i am sufficiently humbled into writing decent blog posts.