Monday, November 14, 2011

Smarty pants

Just got back from meeting with Joseph and EmmaLees teachers. Wow. I am so impressed with my children. Neither Ryan nor I were great students. Mostly for lack of trying on both our parts. But my kids all excel and they literally wow me.

Joseph got the highest grade is his class on the state math test. He was the only one to get 100%. His teacher kept saying how wonderful he was. He works hard and gets along well with all the kids.

EmmaLees teacher could not say enough about how helpful and kind she is. EmmaLee works hard and really enjoys school and her teacher. She even feels Emma should be placed in gate.

I know I shouldn't boast but I feel very proud of my little smarties. Mostly I feel humbled. I don't know why I was blessed with such smart kids. I feel they have so much to teach me and for that I am grateful to be their mother. I hope I can do them justice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Why is it so hard to think of what to blog when it has been a long time? Maybe because there is simply to much to blog about. So many goings on in our house hold. To many emotional ups and downs to choose from. Some big events and many small ones I want to remember. Blogging why did you stop being a habit?

Today I want to remember how much I love the small every day parts of motherhood.

Jacob is now potty trained. He has been so easy to potty train. That has been refreshing. He is also out of his crib. This is the longest any of my kids have stayed in a crib. There was no baby to kick him out. The transition for that has been really easy as well. No more diapers and no more cribs.

Joshua loves school, most days. I think he loves being social and playing with his friends. For the first time we have neighborhood friends come over on a regular basis and I love that. Josh loves that his buddy lives so close.

Joseph has really come out of his shell this year. He talks much more and seems much less shy. We were talking yesterday remembering when he would grunt when we asked him a question. No more grunting. He tells me about school and friends. He had a little problem with the neighbor kid and I was impressed with how it was handled. The boy was calling Joseph names and teasing him. EmmaLee and Joseph decided to walk away from him when it occurred. He ended up apologizing and I think have these kinds of trials are good for kids when they are handled well. Life will be full of difficult people. I'm proud he didn't let this one boy talk that way. I'm proud he walked away from the situation.

EmmaLee has been seeking quality time with me. The other night she created a craft project for us to do together. Wish I had taken a picture. She reminds me so much of myself at her age. Loves to make things and chatter with friends. Loves her teacher to pieces.

I love when Sarah sees a need and tries to help. I have been sick in bed all day and she helped the kids get ready for church with being told to do so. She has become my best help in the kitchen, EmmaLee also. They love to cook and have even started making food on their own.

Jared loves to come find quiet moments to just talk we me. I feel loved when he tries to kick the kids out because he wants one on one time with me. I'm glad he feels comfortable sharing things with his momma.

I'm not sure when it happened but my children have started to become very independent. Ultimately that's what any mother wants for her children but it feels strange for me at the same time. With no more baby, no more diapers, and very few night time interruptions I feel freed of constant need and on the one hand I love that. On the other I miss holding a little person so very often. My kids still love hugs and snuggles and I take them appreciatively when they come but it just isn't the same.

I got to spend some beautiful time with a family members new baby this last week. It reminded me of sleepless nights and long days. That time is gone for me. I remember wishing time would speed up so I could... Make dinner, go to the bathroom, or even shower without worrying about that sweet new baby waking up or crying. Wondering when I would ever feel "normal" again not realizing normal is not a real tangible thing.

Normal I have learned is up's and down's. Sad moments sprinkled with unexplainable joy. A life very different and yet so much better then what you had planned. It is realizing that perfection is something to be sought after, yearned for, look forward to, not something to measure and beat yourself up over. Normal is making mistakes, messing up to the point of wanting to quit. Normal is getting up anyway. Itl is realizing this life is a long journey with a huge learning curve excepting and striving to understand everyone is trying to do there best. Normal is seeing that challenges do not define us. It is how we handle them that can create the person we are ultimately meant to be.

Sometimes I feel very normal and I wish and long for extraordinary. I believe that is part of the process as well. It seems our spirits can sense we have amazing greatness inside just longing to become majestic beings and yet this earthly experience requires patience and time. It demands we learn, stretch, grow and become through each individual challenge and triumph.

My BIL Sean reminded me last night that life is meant to be easy. That when we turn to our Savior even the hardest of "normal" challenges can bring great peace and even joy. When we keep Him in the for front of our experiences we can see He has more in store for us then we would happily settle for.

This month of thanksgiving I feel grateful for our hardships. I have learned some very good life lessons I would not have learned otherwise. I feel I am learning a little bit better how to be happy regardless of what life hands us. But mostly I am learning that normal is a pretty amazing process which seems to surpass my wildest expectations.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


Just so I remember. Joshua told me "in my world everyday is mothers day.". He proceeded to tell me he was making me a picture for mothers day. He has been coloring so much and I love to watch my kids color and enjoy life. Maybe I need to have coloring with the kids be on my list of to-do's this week.

Day 7

Jacob has been scary sick with croup. So sick that last night we almost called 911. He could hardly breath and he was scared. Through inspiration we tool him outside into the cold night air and that seemed to make a huge difference for him. Today has been better but he can hardly speak and he still sounds like it is hard to breath.
Right before bedtime Ryan had the kids go lay on the trampoline with Jacob so he could experience the cool night air. We decided to join them and I'm so glad we both slowed down and just enjoyed being with them. We looked at stars and laughed. We tickled and we laughed. We snuggled and laughed. The kids wanted to sleep out there. Man alive I love these little people and my sweet hubby who loves us all.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Days 3 & 4

Last night for family night Ryan and I told the kids stories about out grandparents. I even told them so very old stories of my ancestors. It was neat to see how excited they got. I love these kids.

When the little ones went to bed I tool the time to teach the older two how to use and I was thrilled with how excited they got. They were asking all kinds of questions and looking up census records. They were even fighting over who got to do it next.

I am such a believer that part of understanding who you are is understanding where you came from. Amazing people came before me and have so much wisdom to offer if I will just let them. I wish I had time to sit and read every story and memorize it all so that is was deep in my heart

Today my poor Joshua was sick. He has croup and he just sounds so sad. Normally when my kids are watching tv cause they are sick and that is all they can do I like to get things done because they are...well...entertained. Today I sat and rubbed his back instead. I would stop to turn the page of the book I was reading and he would ask so sweetly if I would keep doing it. I'm grateful for this 31 day project. Otherwise I would have missed out on some of these experiences.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Day 2

Today we watched conference from the comfort of our home. I woke up feeling excited and ready to hear answers to my prayers, which seemed to come rather quickly.

During the break between sessions I was going to go take a nap but then Jacob and Josh wanted me to play cars with them. I think in the past I would have just gone to my nap. Then the older kids turned on home videos and it was so fun to watch those with them. I would have missed out on that had I not taken the time to slow down today.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

31 Days of Slowing Down

Sometimes, ok a lot of time, at the end of the day I wish I had spent more quality time just being with the kids. I feel like I am so busy doing I forget to really engage with the little people. Some of my kids demand it and so they get it. Others are so easy going I think they slip through the cracks a little bit.

I have decided to spend the next 31 days doing something. That was vague on purpose. I am going to make an effort to slow down in some way or another and really be here for my kids. My thought is that something, no matter how small, is more then nothing.

Tonight Ryan, Jared, and Sarah are all gone at outside activities. After we put the kids to bed I taught her to make friendship bracelets. Nothing major. Just one on one time with my arts and crafts girl doing something I knew she would love. I want her to always feel comfortable talking with me and like hanging out with me. I love this sweet girl.

This year she has really started to love reading and has decided to take on the Harry Potter books much to the delight of her older siblings who love them so much! She loves her teacher and told me she has been trying really hard not to be so chatty. I always had that problem, I guess I still do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My schedule

Every once in a while I think my life feels kinda crazy. I know one day I will wish I had all my little people around me like I do now. So I want to document my everyday craziness.

5:25 wake up, pray, get ready for gym
5:40-6:30 gym time
6:45 shower
7 family scripture reading and family prayer
7:30 take middle school kids to school and pick up carpool
7:50-8:15 help elementary kid get ready for school
8:15 eat breakfast & start laundry
8:30 start to clean up from breakfast
9 take Ryan to work. (miss our second car)
9:20 depends on the day. Either run errands or do housework.
10:30 school work with Joshua
11:10 Josh and Jacob eat lunch and pack snack for Joshua.
11:30 leave to pick up carpool then take to K
11:50 pick up Ryan for lunch
12:45 Jacob and I go down for nap
1:15 mommy time. This is when I will get things done that are just easier when kids are not around. Every once in awhile I will read. Wish I did that more often
2:25 middle school kids get home
2:30 they have a snack and start on homework
3:35 elementary kids get home
3:40 snack and homework
4ish I start with dinner prep
5:15 Ryan gets home and we have dinner
6 dinner clean up.
6:20 kids do their jobs.
7 family prayer
7:05 reading with the boys
7:30 little boys to bed
7:30 girls to their rooms to read
8 girls lights out.
8:30 Jared goes to bed
8:30 down time, Ryan and I get to hang out.
9:30 lights out for me. I have become an old person since I have to wake up so early.

After writing all that down I realize things really are not to bad right now. Sarah just finished her travel Bball team and piano is on hold. Now next month with 4 kids starting Bball things will get a little crazy again.

Big to nuff?

Everyday I drive the middle school kids to school. Jacob rides with me. He is always so excited when we pick up our carpool. He makes them laugh on most days. It is a delightful drive... Until we drop them off. He asks me, "Am I big to nuff?" and when I have to tell him he is not yet big enough to go to school he feels sad. But he seems to get over it pretty quickly.
Then I get home and help the elementary kids get ready. They like to walk to school so Jacob doesn't seem to make a big deal about them leaving.
When we take Joshua to school Jacob grabs his back pack and declares "I'm big to nuff now." I don't say anything because I need him to get into the car in a cooperative mood. We pick up the neighbor kid and off to school. The boys jump out and realization hits that another day has come and he does not get to go to school. Melt down. Serious screaming and crying. I feel bad for the kid. He doesn't realize that he still has 3 more years before he gets to go to school.
And then I think it might be me the one who cries when they are all in school.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I thought I should document this

Every morning, well most mornings, we sit down together and read scriptures. This is such a vital time for us as a family. We take time to study God's words for us, we pray together, we love each other. I believe it brings us closer together.

The other day when Jacob was actually paying attention I felt compelled to get out my Snap and take a picture. I think this picture will stick with me when they are all grown and gone.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

We are now into the swing of school. With three different start times it can feel a little hectic. I imagine next year will be even crazier with seminary, high school, middle, and elementary school. The first few days were a filled with excitement and a few tears. Long days at school are hard when you are used to lazy summer days.

Jared got his classes switched so now he is with all of his friends.

Sarah is being very picky about her friends and I could not be more proud of her. She wants to make sure her circle of friends are good kids. Today she told me she thinks she might have made a best friend.

EmmaLee has the best teacher ever. I meet her tonight at back to school night and she really is so perfect for her.

Joseph, who I was most worried about, has made a bunch of friends. 2 of which we just found out live on our street and then have been over here playing every day since. The one boy Jack has a little brother Nick in Joshua's class so he has been over a couple times as well.

Joshua thinks Kindergarten is ok. He says his teacher is boring and kinda gets mad at them sometimes. He is learning the girls don't want to play with him and that was hard at first since he is used to playing with his girl cousins. But now he has made a bunch a guy friends.

Jacob and I have enjoyed some leisurely time together once Josh goes to school. We pick up Ryan from work, have lunch together, read stories and take naps.

I miss them while the are gone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My children are no longer babies. In fact I will never have my own baby again. Maybe this is why we still call my 2 and 1/2 year old baby. As they get older I am noticing a new pattern of entitlement. I'm not sure why teenage-hood seems to bring this on but I want to be more armed and ready to tackle it.

So when I heard about this book I was super excited. Here is the link if you want to order it.

Once it is in my hands I will be spending time on my sofa marking up it's lovely pages.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


This summer has been a different one for me. We didn't go on any amazing trips. No real vacations minus a very quick trip weekend trip for Sarah's Bball tournament. We didn't make a bucket list or anything with a wow factor. We didn't get together much with friends.

We did spend a lot of time at the beach and the pool. We did have family come stay with us. We did redo the girls room and hang out together at home a bunch.

About two weeks ago I was having a hard week and feeling very ready for the kids to go back to school. They were fighting a lot and I felt they needed a break from each othe. Then today hit and I now have a huge knot in my stomach. Am I ready for them to be gone? Am I prepared to have my fifth child in kindergarten? Will he do ok with being told what to do? Is Sarah going to transition ok to middle school?Will Joseph's new teacher be understanding about his condition? Will Emma make good friends? Will Jared be ok even though all his good church friends have a different lunch period then him?

Man being a mom leads to all kinds of worry and concern. And there really is nothing I can do about any of this except trust in God. Trust that He knows their needs and even their wants and that He will give them what is the very best for them. And that He will give me the guidance I need so that I may be the very best parent for them.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Do you ever have an idea that blooms so rapidly in your head you feel you need to write a book about it? This happens every once in awhile to me. It is as if Heavenly Father opens my mind to understand a concept and then puts experiences in my path to then understand them. About 5 years ago I experienced this for the first time that I can remember.

I began to understand so deeply the love our God has for women and how the world is doing all it can to tear them down. The more I pondered on the subject the deeper I felt about it. A story plot began to grow in my mind. I began to see a glimpse into my purpose. And then life hit me and it hit me hard. It seemed as though the women I was closest to were struggling in ways I didn't know how to help. Then we had physical trials and financial trials and life was just hard for a little while.

I was in survival mode and I seemed to lose that glimmer of light I had into my purpose. Now several years later I feel it knocking at my door and for some reason it frightens me. Will I be able to do hard things? Will my written words have the strength and power to entice change? Will I be able to portray all that I feel in my heart? Will I be able to get over my fears and plug forward?

As I type that I want to shoot yes. I want to fight for this. I want to be the conduit of change for women who struggle understanding their worth by sharing the words God places into my mind. So if you read this I ask that you pray for me to have the strength to press on and the power to give hope to the hopeless and strength for the weak.

The idea that has been flowing to me from many directions is simple. I call it the divine power of purpose. All of us here on earth are given talents and gifts. As we learn to identify what those gifts are we can find greater meaning and purpose in our every day living. As we strengthen what we have already been given a by product of that will be
1. We will find joy in sharing those gifts. Isn't it true that it is much more enjoyable to do something you are good at opposed to something you feel like a failure at?
2. Our life will take on greater purpose because we will understand we are doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do and by so doing we will feel a closer connection to our Maker.
3.We will understand how to better serve those around us in a way that brings not only us fulfillment but them as well. When you run across a person who is so passionate about a topic you can't help but be inspired and want to improve yourself in the process.
4.We will no longer feel the need to compare ourselves to others because we will see our unique gifts in the grand picture much like colors in a rainbow, all are needed to give the rainbow it's unique beauty.

Let me share an example. I like to talk to people and understand their stories. When I was younger people would tell me all about their problems, sometimes more then my young heart could handle. Listening then helping came easy to me and so I just assumed it was easy for everyone.

As I got older I began to see this was something Heavenly Father had given me so that I could help people. I began to seek inspiration when helping. Now when a girlfriend comes to me and, through this gift, I am able to help them I have feel as though I am on cloud nine. That is because I am doing what I was designed to do. Not what Jenny or Jack were meant to do but what I was meant to do. I began to feel my life has purpose and I feel a closeness to Divinity. This kind of service is natural for me because it is what I am meant to do.

I want to help women find joy and meaning in everyday service by using the gifts they have been given. Then finding peace in knowing their offering is not only accepted but pleasing to the Lord.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wrapping paper fun and potty training

Sometimes I remember when I only had one child. I was much more strict with my children and I think there was a lot I didn't let them do. I feel one of the blessings of having a larger family is that as a parent you learn to relax a little and hopefully enjoy a little more.

My first reaction when I heard that Jacob had gotten into a very large roll of wrapping paper was to laugh. The older kids wanted to get after him but once they saw my response they joined in. They unrolled it and made it into a snow man carpet. They danced and laughed and enjoyed each other. I am reminding myself about this tonight because it feels as though they have been fighting all day.

For some reason I think my little man running around in his buzz unders is so cute. Thursday we bought him his own lighting mcqueen potty that vrooms when you flush, new unders, and treats. I taped a ton of baggies to the back of the bathroom door. Each baggie has things like 2 m&m's, a starburst, a few stickers etc. Whenever he goes in the potty he gets a treat. So far he is doing pretty good. Of course he has had a few accidents but that is what I am expecting so again yay for being the 6th child. I am way more relaxed about the whole thing.

I think it helps that he is so stinking cute! Look at that face!


We were blessed to go to the funeral of Joey. I am always amazed how LDS funerals manage to uplift and bring peace. Sometimes my heart feels so full I can't seem to find words to explain how I feel. Tonight seems to be one of those moments. So instead I will leave you with these sweet pictures of Joey's brothers with my nephews.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hope among sorrow

Today is one of those days were sadness fills me to my very core and I am not sure how to even come to grips. A couple days ago I got reading a blog, about some one I did not even know. The mom died in child birth leaving behind 3 children plus the baby who only lived a very short time. The post was written by the husband. Tears poured because I could not imagine how I or Ryan would try to pick up the pieces and go on after such a devastating lose.

Today at lunch Ryan and I got to talking about the "what-if's" But it is still so hard to comprehend, the thought of losing anyone that you love. And then it happens.

Shortly after Ryan went back to work he called me with news that a family member had committed suicide. My first thoughts were numbness and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My empathy instantly went to the persons mother. I felt such an overwhelming feeling of love for her and prayers have gone through my mind all day. Then I think about his father, his siblings, his family, his friends. All are left to try and cope without him. Where is comfort to be found?

In times of sadness like this, the overwhelming kind, the only answer can come through our Savior. Does that me know one will feel sadness? Of course not. But the hope is that through Him, at first, the pain can be slightly less. That through Him there is hope to be found. That while sadness is all one can feel there is hope that one day light will come again. That one day a person begans to notice the pain a little less and the brightness and warmth a little more. That as we turn to Him in our sorrow we find someone who understands when no one else can and in a one only He can.

So tonight as my Joshua screams during prayers and the older kids fight I thank my Father in Heaven for children who grace my home with chaos and noise and laughter and joy. I hold them a little tighter and I try to turn my own sorrow into hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Best cake ever

Today I decided to turn my project 365 blog from last year into my cake adventure blog. I just barely posted a recipe I tried tonight that was to die for. Lemon coconut cake with lemon curd filling and coconut cream frosting. The blog address is

Sunday, May 08, 2011

What a wonderful mothers day it has been so far. The kids and Ryan made me blueberry waffles with strawberries on top and a smoothie and served it to me in bed. The kids all drew me wonderful pictures (star wars naturally) and wrote me sweet notes. (one even says your a mom worth fighting for) I am grateful for these sweet precious people Heavenly Father blessed me with. I am not sure why I got so lucky but lucky I sure am!

Make it a great day,

Monday, April 25, 2011

The other cake

After I made this I thought how pretty it would be as a wedding cake in all white. It was super easy and super fast.

Fun cakes

I got to make two cakes for a church event last week. I could do whatever I wanted and I had fun being creative. I am in my happy place when I make cakes. (this excludes wedding cakes)
These little owls make me happy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Saturday

It is tradition for the kids to enjoy easter Saturday at Grandma Chapmans. We each bring 12 eggs per child filled with little goodies. The bigger kids hide them in the yard and then we let the little ones go. They are only allowed to get 12 to keep it fair and the kids really look forward to this fun time with cousins and family.

Getting all of these kids to look at the camera was harder then expected. They are such fun little buddies.

I love this picture of Josh enjoying his goods.

I must confess that I do not like to dye Easter eggs. Dye and small children just doesn't make sense to me. Soooo thankful for Grandma for letting Emma Dye to her hearts content and she really did enjoy herself. She is definitively a girl after my own heart and enjoys all forms of creativity.

Then once the kids have truly enjoyed their candy we make massive amounts of egg salad, make it into sandwiches, and cut it up into little squares. The kids don't eat to much since they are usually sick from all the candy but it is fun anyway.

This year was a little busy for us since Jared had a camp-out and triathlon that morning and Sarah had a Basketball tournament in the afternoon.

Easter though was so nice and mellow. I got to teach a wonderful Sunday school lesson about the Resurrection and the atonement and it really helped me to think about the true meaning of Easter.

Then we took naps, woke up and made a salad, then headed over to Grandma and Grandpas. So nice to not have to make a big dinner. Some years I want to some years I really don't. This year I really didn't. We enjoyed a nice visit with Ryan's family and I feel so blessed to have them in my life.

Vegan chocolate goodness

I found vegan chocolate chips at our local grocery store. I have been on a mission to find treats Joseph can have that taste really good so that he doesn't feel like he is missing out.

Cake pops. Seriously one of the yummiest things I have ever made. SO simple and so moist. I am not a huge cake fan but this is so yum.
cake mix
egg whites
frosting that matches your cake mix flavor
sticks that you can get at Micheals
chocolate chips

Certain brands sell non dairy cake mixes (you just have to search the ingredients for them)
I have used lemon, chocolate, and german chocolate, and red velvet.

I make the cake mix according to package directions except I use 4 egg whites instead of 3 eggs (I can't eat egg yolks)

I then pour it into a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave for 10-12 minutes at 70% power. Why you ask in the microwave? So much faster. Usually their is one hot spot and I simply don't use that part in the mix.

I then stick the good parts (if some of it is slightly gooey no worries) into my kitchen aid and crumble it up.

Then I add about half a container of frosting. again I read labels and use nondairy frosting. I used lemon with the lemon cake, chocolate with the red velvet but cream cheese would be good if you could eat it, I have also mixed peanut butter with chocolate frosting for a yummy peanut butter one, and my favorite is the coconut caramel frosting used for german chocolate cake.

Once the mixture sticks to its self you have the right consistence. If you try to roll it into a ball and it doesn't stick or keep its shape add a little more frosting.

Roll out the mixture into balls and then stick them into the freezer for a quick cool.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time on 50% power. Stir after each 30 secs until melted.

Dip your stick into the chocolate then into the ball. Make sure you push it all the way down. Then stick it back into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Now that your cake will stay on the stick remelt your chocolate the same way you did before. Then dip your cake ball into the mixture and tap off any extra.

Sprinkle with sprinkles or drizzle with peanut butter or chocolate. This is the fun part. Be creative. I stuck them into a rectangle styrofoam piece I got at the craft store to dry so that they would still look good.

Here is another treat I made.
Vegan Peanut butter cups. But I made them for Joseph for Easter so I used Easter molds. They were molds I got with my jello to be used as jello jigglers which made them perfect for what I was doing
Vegan chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
1/4 cup crushed up pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Spray molds with non stick spray. With small paint brush, coat inside top cup evenly with about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate to about 1/8-inch thickness, bringing coating almost to top of mold, but not over edge. freeze cups.
  3. In saucepan combine coconut oil and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted only a couple of minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and pecans. Pour filling into each chocolate cup. return to freezer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon melted chocolate on top of filling (you may need to remelt the chocolate); spread to cover. Freeze until firm (about 2 hours) carefully peel off from molds. Store refrigerated.
I am eating one know and oh so good!! I miss those yummy resses peanut butter cups and this is such a great vegan alternative.

I am not rereading my post so I hope it all makes sense

Cousin Lucas's birthday party

I think this is one of the kids favorite parties they have ever been to. Pony rides, chasing chickens, goats oh my. I turned my back to take a picture and Jacob had climbed under the gate to be with the pony. He had such a good time and it was so fun to watch.

EmmaLee's Spring choir

Emma had such a fun time singing in her school choir. She even got a solo and did such a good job. She was very nervous because during her final practice she forgot her words. Together we prayed that she would remember her words and when time came she sung her little heart out and did great!

Early Marriage

I got pregnant when we first got married. I was so sick that I would throw up several times a day and some days I didn't get out of bed. I remember sitting in the back bedroom when Ryan made dinner cause I couldn't smell it with out throwing up. I look back and wonder how we managed to get to know each other but some how we did.
I remember when I was going through labor that Ryan and I were so connected on such a spiritual level that just hearing his voice would calm me down. He would walk me through each contraction and it is one of my favorite memories.
I also remember being very nervous about changing Jared's diapers that I would wake up Ryan in the middle of the night after each feeding (why I called them feedings I am not sure) Jared has been an early riser since he was first born and I was not used to that. Little did I know he would be setting a tone for the rest of the children.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Favorite memories

As a child I loved to climb high up in trees and hang from branches. I must have been real young when I started doing this because it was before I ever went to school. But I kept doing it for many years. I remember finding solace in those trees. We had the perfect tree in our front yard that just asked to be climbed.

I was given free reign of the neighborhood and some of my best fun was in exploring my neighborhood. We had frogs and tadpoles to play with and try to catch. We would bring them home sometimes and I don't remember my mom ever having a hard time with this.

We would ride our bikes and try to get lost. We would save our nickels and dimes to buy the 5 cent candies at 7-11. I would bury my toys in the sand box buy our house and then later go back and find them. I would swing on the swings at the school, it was just across the street from my house. The swings always helped me to feel at peace with my world. I remember even as a teenager walking to the school to go swing. I even remember as a teenager writing poetry at the elementary school late one night when I just needed to get out of my house.

I loved to play barbies and hold tea parties on my skateboard. I was kind of a tom boy but I loved girlie things also. I remember only wearing dresses in kindergarten because I didn't want anyone to think I was a boy with my short bob haircut that my mom and sister thought was so cute which I hated. I think that is why I grew my hair so long when I was a teenager.

During the summer my brother Clark and I lived at the pool. I don't know when I learned to swim but I don't remember not knowing how. I started the swim team when I was 7 and I stayed on it until I was 16 or 17. Swimming was my life. I remember we would go to the pool with out my mom and the life guards would let me even though I really was to young. They knew I could swim well. My nick name on my swim team was Cruzin Susan. I one most of my races growing up so I always thought this was because I was so fast I was cruzin. I did not find out until one my last awards banquet that it was because I would swim so casually during practice I looked like I was just slowly cruzin along.

My parents both came to every sing one of my very long swim meets. I remember my dad yelling and screaming for my to "Go Susan Go!" I always loved that they were their to support me.

We always had cats growing up and I would dress our cat Murray up in my doll clothes and try to take him out in my little strawberry shortcake buggy for walks. He did not love this but I sure did.

When I was in primary at church one Sunday they sung the song John the Baptist. I remember feeling the spirit so strong it made me cry and I knew what we sang about was true.

I loved to sing and I would often sing while out on my walks. I would make up songs and sing my heart out. I had high hopes that one day someone would over hear me and they would make me famous. I love childlike hopes and dreams. I also believed I would be in the Olympics one day.

My mom worked nights at a law firm and every once in awhile she would let me come along. I bet I drove her crazy but she never acted like it. I would bring a pillow and sleep on a couch they had their I believe. I remember her coworker had a junk drawer full of yummy treats and she would let me have some.

My parents loved me and I always knew it! I hope my children feel the same from me.

How Ryan and I meet

When I was getting ready to go to college I had decided to simply go to the local community college in Irvine. Why? My grades were not the best and I didn't think I would get accepted anywhere. I had enrolled and was ready to accept that path.

Near the beginning of summer my mom and I drove up to Utah to visit with my extended family who lives there. On the way home we drove through Southern Utah and from the freeway we saw signs for Dixie college. My mom and I both felt like we should stop and take a look at the college. It was not something I was planning or expecting but it was such a strong feeling. As we looked around we got ourselves to the admin building and grabbed all the paperwork I needed to enroll.

I felt at such peace about the whole thing and I was excited to start this new journey. My mom had all of the same feelings so I just new this was right for me. But on the drive home fear began to creep in. I was so afraid my dad would not think it was a good idea. This school was going to cost much more since I was from out of state. But my dad being the wonderful man he is also felt like it would be a good thing for me.

Once I got to school I was scared and I was shy. I did not have amazing relationships with my roommates but they were nice. I decided to tryout for the institute choir which was such a great experience for me. It was their that I meant Rachelle. She was a life changing friend for me. She helped me to understand my worth as a daughter of God. She helped me to be stronger then I was and I will always thank her for that.

I feel like she is what I needed to prepare myself to meet Ryan. We had so much fun that year. I dated some nice guys but nobody amazing. I enjoyed great friendships. I loved it so much I decided to stay in St. George during the summer. I got a fun job teaching swim lessons to little kids. Before summer I had dated a return missionary. I liked him and brought him home to meet my parents. At one point we casually looked at wedding rings.

When I got back from my trip we broke up. It was one of the weirdest yet neat break ups I had ever had. We both just felt like we should break up. There really wasn't a reason except dating him no longer felt right. (In hind sight I am sure glad I did not marry this man) This was in May and I started dating Ryan in August. Had I stayed in that relationship I would not have been available for Ryan.

I am not sure when but some time during the summer Ryan moved into our ward and became our apartments home teacher. I did not notice him at this time. He had taught in our home but I didn't remember him. I had my eyes on the institute president. I don't remember his name I just remember I thought he was good looking. Circumstances brought us together and I found out that he was a rather dull person with whom I could not talk to. I think it was the next Sunday Ryan called on my during his class in church. I wondered how he knew my name???

The next day my friend Danae was talking about this cute tall boy from our ward named Ryan. I had no idea who she was talking. She suggested we go to his smoothie shop so I could see who she was talking about. From the moment I saw him I was filled with butterflies and I didn't even say a word to him. I hung back and felt very timid.

That night we had our ward FHE activity. We pulled taffy. I remember trying to be close to him. We started to talk and I remember being intrigued that he tried to make a liahona out of taffy. I was not versed in scriptures and I was embarrassed when I did not know what a liahona was until he reminded me. I learned from this that he knew the scriptures and knew them well.

Sometime this week he invited my dorm room to go swimming at his pool. I made my best friend Lisa come with me. Ryan and I flirted and laughed and got to know each other a little bit better. We even raced in the pool and I got a bad leg cramp. He massaged it and this later became a joke amongst his brothers.

Throughout this week I made reasons to see Ryan. I remember one day going to get a smoothie. Another day I went to the nail place next to his shop hoping I would see him. I chickened out and didn't go in to see him. I was sick one day and had him come over for a blessing, (he was my home teacher.) Finally I got all my friends together for a get together just so I could invite him along with out asking him on a date.

We got along rather well and I just felt really comfortable with him. Even when a guy friend of mine kept trying to get my attention even though I was noticeably very interested in Ryan. My friend Becca, who was engaged, invited Ryan and I along for a double date the next night. Um yes please! Ryan took me home that night and he walked me to my door. He gave me a wonderful and sweet hug. He pulled back and I got butterflies in my stomach. I didn't know if he was going to kiss me but I was pretty sure I wanted him to. He said to me instead, "Be patient with me, I'm slow." We said goodbye. I walked into my apartment, shut the door and sunk to the floor. I was on cloud nine.

He made me feel special. So the next night, Saturday, we headed out to some hot springs to meet our friends. We had a good talk and just had fun swimming together. Our friends never showed up and we decided to go back to his apartment and watch a movie I think it was Tommy Boy. It was stupid but we laughed. Then we sat there not saying anything. I was just enjoying the moment and enjoying being with him. I finally asked him what he was thinking and he answer, "That I want to kiss you." Which he then did.

Sparks flew and I felt wonderful with him. Later that night we were talking and his brothers came in. I remember he quickly jumped away from me and that made his brothers think we were making out. That was a hard one to live down. I enjoyed the banter of younger brothers since I was not used to this.

Then came the hardest day. On Sunday Ryan avoided me. He did not talk to me and he did not return my phone calls. If this had been any other boy I would not have been worried. I remember calling Rachelle and telling her how worried I was because with Ryan things just felt different. It kind of scared me to feel so much for this man I hardly even knew.

The next day at ward FHE he was there but did not talk to me. It was so weird. I finally told him I wanted to talk and we went with some friends to frozen yogurt. He was a little stand-offish but still held my hand under the table. I believe we drove to his house after this. He explained to me that he got really scared after we connected so quickly. We had such an amazing talk that night.

As we hugged goodbye we pulled back and just stared into each others eyes. I knew at that moment that this is the man I would spend the rest of forever with. I just knew. It was such a strong overpowering feeling and it hit me all of a sudden like a ton of bricks. I started to cry and then Ryan said, "It's amazing how you can just now." So with nothing more then that we both new we were now much more then the moment we were living.

I guess we kind of looked at each other like we were engaged at this point. I had never even told him I loved him yet I knew I did. It was like my spirit and his remembered each other and promises we made before this earth life. We saw each other basically every day since.

The coming Saturday my cousin was getting married in Utah and my family was going to be there. My Mom, Dad, and sister drove up to St. George and we drove up to the wedding together. Ryan and I in one car and them in another. We picked out a ring together from a family friend of his. Once we got the ring he knelt down right there and proposed. There was some band playing outside the store so when I said yes he didn't hear me.

Once we got back to my parents he asked my dads permission and of course he said yes. So one week from our official first date we were engaged. We were originally thinking of getting married in the middle of December but we kept moving the date because my roommate was getting married and I didn't want to get married on the same day. Our bishop had advised to never push the date back only push it forward. I would change the date then she would change the date. Finally after pushing the date to 2 and 1/2 months away I realized we couldn't push it any closer. (she ended up getting married on the same day as us anyway)

I had no idea who the man I was marrying really was. Had I known I would have done things even quicker. He has proven to be the most amazing man I have ever meet. He loves me so fully and completely. He is spiritual beyond what I could have imagined. He is strong and smart and determined. He expects greatness and I love that about him. I am a better person because he is by my side.

I do not think everyone should marry this quickly but for us it was perfect.

General conference

I have always wanted to go to our churches general conference which is held semi annually in Salt Lake City. Our Prophet and other apostles speak to the members of our church and we usually view it on TV or the Internet. Even from a young age I can remember being in awe that we could hear from our prophet.

I have wanted to take our whole family to see conference once they are all over the age of 8. But then I realized that is still 6 years away and Jared will almost be ready to leave on his mission. Sarah had the same desire to go. Every conference she would ask me when we could go so when my sister told me she had two extra tickets we jumped on the occasion.

Laura, Calvin, Sarah and I took a quick trip up driving all day Friday and we stayed with my Uncle Bruce and Aunt Carol. They really are amazing people and it was such a pleasure to visit with them. We woke up early Saturday and Sarah's excitement was infectious.

From the moment we walked into the conference center the Spirit of God filled my heart. There was something so amazing about being in a room with so many people who are all there to be filled with the word of God. We were all united in our faith and our desire to be better people.

As we waited for it to began we watched the apostles come in at different times and greet each other. They were all so loving and warm and tender to one another. The would hug or shake hands or even nudge each other in a loving fashion. When the prophet walked into this huge conference center, seating 21,000 people, everyone stood up in respect of the sweet wonderful man.

What a beautiful way to start the meeting. Oh yeah, before this the Mormon tabernacle choir was practicing and hearing them in person was so amazing. A spiritual experience indeed.

Being at this meeting was like God was speaking straight to me. The personal messages for me were said to my very bones. I have been struggling with the desire to change but not knowing how to for some time and I feel like I know have the power to be more of what my Father in Heaven wants of me.

Sarah also had an amazing experience and watching her take pages of notes was touching. During the middle of the conference we all sang together, I Know That My Redeemer Lives. To have that many people bare testimony in song all together was something difficult to put into words. Tears streamed down my face. I wonder if this is what it feels like to sing with the angels on high. Something I will not soon forget.

Another added bonus was getting to talk with my mom's brother and wife about my mom's side of the family. I gained a lot of understanding about my family. Then on the drive home we stopped in Las Vegas and talked more with my parents about my family history. I learned more about the people who came before. I got a glimpse into why I am the way I am. I wanted so much more then I was given which made me want to write down some of my own history so that my children and grandchildren can maybe have some of the answers I wish I had.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday musings

Do you ever just get thinking? The kind of deep thinking that can't really be resolved?

I ran across this site yesterday and I have been thinking about it ever since. I relate to this family. They have 6 beautiful children that are all still young. I can not imagine what my life would be like if I had a trial like that? How do you do your mothering when you are sick and know that your life is going to be cut short? How do you decide where to put forth your effort when you have so little energy and life left to give?

It just makes me feel a little sad. I don't know how you would handle knowing you won't be there to raise your little people. I can imagine you would want your husband to remarry but you would worry if the new wife would love your husband they way he needs to be loved our love your children the way you would?

SO then I got to wondering, am I really living? And I think the answer at the moment is... not really. I want to live with more purpose.

This lead me to wonder what my dreams are? What am I working towards for the long haul?

Big dreams-
See all of my children in the temple!
Raise hard working loving children.
Save for and then buy our forever house.
Be the kind of mother my children can be proud of.
See the world with my husband.
Run a marathon.
Write a book to help women find happiness in the journey

Then I started to think a little more simply and wondered what small things do I want to do?

Little dreams-
Start swimming again
Keep my home looking nice with good food always available
Teach Joshua to read
Create/craft more with the kids
Plan my lessons for church before Saturday
Blog/journal more
Write stories from my life, from my parents lives, from my grandparents lives
Exercise greater discipline

Its just a start but at least it is a step in the right direction. Baby steps and are still steps forward.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A burden lifted and a sigh of peace

I have struggled with IBS for 7 years now. Probably longer but during my pregnancy with Joseph things seemed to get much worse. Almost a year after I had him I was in pain every day. It was pain I could manage but not enjoyable by any means. Once I realized, with the help of divine guidance, that what I ate was causing me problems I was thrilled. I quickly changed my diet and felt much better. I was so grateful to find relief I did not mind what I lost. Going with out animal protein seemed like a small price to pay.

A couple years ago my symptoms had changed and some of the foods I could once eat I no longer could. I seemed to have more pain then before for reasons I could not always tell. This lead me to seek for answers and after several tests the Dr's concluded that they believe I have IBS.

When I finally excepted there was nothing to be done but continue to watch what I eat and to mange my stress I went through a period of frustration and anger. I was mad this was a problem I will always have. I was upset that I could not eat what others could eat. I was sick of the same old foods. I was tired of not getting to eat the foods I wanted. All the complaining I did only caused me greater pain. I emotionally felt a huge burden with no end in sight. I was kicking against the pricks so to speak.

Then I finally came to the point where I began to again really except that this was my lot in life. I was not sure if it was just to strengthen me or whether it was to help keep me healthy so I could enjoy a long life. I started to again rely on my Savior to help me endure this burden. To submit to it with humility.

Over the past several months I have noticed Joseph has had an increase in stomach pains. His stomach hurts to the point that at times he would not want to eat dinner or even a special treat. He has been constipated for months and I was worried about him. I talked with his dr and she thinks he might have IBS. My first thought was one of relief. Now we can start to help him because we know what it is that is bothering him.

But then later that day I allowed doubt and fear to overcome me. I cried for my sweet boy. I was filled with empathy because I to well understood what this meant for him. I worried for how this might effect him. I worried he will feel left out when he couldn't eat the things others could. I worried about the pain he might have to deal with over his life.

I have been praying to know how to help him. Each person with IBS has different food triggers and I am not sure what his are yet. We have started by taking him off of all dairy as that is the most common trigger. Today I made a choice to add fasting to my prayer.

The lesson I taught today was all about Matthew 11:28-30. As I taught my lesson I again realized my deep need to be yoked with my Savior. To allow him to help carry my burden that it may be made light. As I was preparing for this lesson on Friday I was given this idea. I gave one boy, a wrestler, several encyclopedias. I asked him how long he could carry this burden. He said a couple minutes, maybe. Then I asked him, "If I offered you a tool that would make carrying these burdens easy would you take it?" I then gave him a rolling suitcase to put them all in. He was so cute. He walked around the room with his books. I asked him if he could carry them all day long now and he said, "oh yeah." Then he said, "This is fun."

Our Savior is that tool. When we allow Him to help us carry our burdens they can be light and even fun. It wasn't until I was teaching that I realized how much this applied to my sweet Joseph and the burden of IBS. The spirit testified to me of how much I need my Savior and that as I rely on Him all things are possible.

As if this beautiful lesson was not enough I was given even more. During our next class the lesson was the perfect compliment to Matthew 11:28-30. What I learned there I will forever hold dear to my heart. The past 7 years of trial and error with IBS made me understand the way our bodies work with much greater clarity. So much so that when my son complained of stomach aches I had some ideas what might be the problem. I learned how to alter meals excluding foods that cause troubles. It is something I can do now with very little effort.

Because of all that I have suffered I can save my son much of the pain I have had to endure. I can teach him because I already know and understand. Because I have been there I can understand what he is going through more fully. I can fight for his health and well being because I know it so well. I understand what it feels like to go for periods of time with no stomach pain and to feel such gratitude when those times come. I would go through it all again so that I could learn all I needed to learn to help my son.

Wouldn't we all do that as mothers? Take the pain so our children don't have to? This new perspective has made my burden light. My Savior changed my very thoughts so that I could find peace among this trial. So that I could even find joy (or "Fun" as my student said) in the journey.

Someone brought us chocolate covered strawberries tonight and Joseph was very said that he could not have any. I took it as a challenge to see what I could make for him that he would enjoy just as much if not more. I had bought him some soy chocolate and peanut butter ice cream the other day for occasions such as this. We melted PB and poured it over the top. He smiled so big to realize he got this special treat that no one else did. I would say he might have even thought it was fun.

So for tonight, I will sleep easier. I will rest more peacefully. I am yoked with my dear Savior in this burden. I pray that I may continue to seek him in my life and throughout all of my trials.

I leave you with this cute picture from Valentines. Now here is to finding even better treats then candy covered chocolate cupcakes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday Joseph

For Josephs birthday this year he wanted to have a chef party with only a few friends. Wow- it so much easier to throw a party for only a few kids!!!!

I let them decorate their own cupcakes that they could take home. i had feed them so much junk they didn't even want to eat the cake I made so we sung happy birthday with Josephs cupcake. He loved that!
He loved his presents!

We played a game called oh waiter where they had to dress up like a chef and carry their tray. So funny these kids.
We made marshmallow guns and of course the boys enjoyed that.
There is his Pizza cake made out of white chocolate and fruit roll ups.
Here they had to catch popcorn thrown from above in their popcorn boxes.
The kids all seemed to have a great time. At one point we heard a little boy say, "Joseph you are my best friend ever!" Made my heart happy!

For his actual birthday I made green pasta (per Josephs request) with french fries. Fancy meal but he loved it.

In case you can't tell that is a chef hat on top of the cake.

Joseph is such a wonderful little boy. This school year he has grown so much. He reads so comfortably now and he enjoys doing his math. He loves to read to us and I love to listen. He got to play Bball this year and it was so fun to watch him play. The peewee division is my favorite. They don't really care if they win. They don't always realize they are playing a game. By the end Joseph knew his position and he knew to keep his hands up. I love watching him become a little person and not just a child.

He is still a more quiet boy. He likes to listen and take in the world around him. Often I can tell what is going on in his mind by the expressions on his face. I love the sweet smile that tells me he is pleased or the happy grin he gets when something is funny. Then there is the somber face when he is unsure. Or the contemplative face when he is trying to figure something out. The one that breaks my heart is his hurt face. It does not come often but when it does I know something serious has hurt him and I know a big hug is in order!
I love the way he loves me with snuggles and a smile. I can always tell by the look on his face that I am his mother and he loves me dearly.
Joseph, Thank you fro being a part of our family and for making our home a better place because of it!


Blue lily is one of my favorite photographers. I happened upon their photo blog when I first got really into photography. They live in Temecula and I have become a total blog lurker. They feel like celebrities to me. One time they offered a giveaway to win a free photo shoot. You had to facebook them to be entered into the contest. I did because I would love a session from them.

About a month ago they posted on facebook they needed preteen models. I jumped on that and sent them pictures of Jared and Sarah. When I got the email back that said yes they wanted to use my children I was so excited. They were putting on a workshop to teach others how to do what they do. They needed models to help teach how to do an indoor session and to help build these peoples portfolio. The plus for me is that I will get copies of the pictures they take! So excited!

On the way to the workshop I felt a little nervous to meet these people who I look up to in the photo world. They were great and I totally want to attend one of their workshops in the future.

I snapped these pictures outside after they were done.
How cute are these two!!! I love them.