Wednesday, March 27, 2013


That Ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing ye might have life through His name. John 20:31

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


It's really hard to practice different camera settings when your only available subject WILL NOT HOLD STILL.

Will not look up.

Will not take orders.

After one cute smile...

And one glance up...

I decided to just let her look down and document those lashes.

Mmmmm, delicious.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back at It

It's happening again like it happens every time. The sun starts to sink on Sunday night--Sunday night after a good break from it all--and my heart sinks right along with it. When the kids are home, surrounding me on all sides and everywhere I look, things are not perfect. There are major messes and tons of noise. Always a few fits and fights but life just feels--good. It feels right and I like it.

So tomorrow we give our life back to school and homework and schedules but we are also taking time each day to talk about Easter and about the Savior. I made daily handouts for the kids explaining what Jesus was doing on each day of Holy week and some scriptures for them to look up on their own. There is nothing I want more for my kids than for them to know their Savior, to love Him and believe that He is real. I am excited to talk to them all week about sacred, holy, amazing, wonderful EASTER!

I also got to do a photo shoot of Scott's brothers family. I have known Spencer since he was a little boy and now he finds himself in the exact kid situation that Scott and I had. A toddler and a set of baby twins! Of course I love watching this family since it brings back lots of memories. When Scott and I did family pictures when our twins were six months old the photographer only got one decent shot. ONE. And now I totally understand why. It was tough!

We got a few good ones so we'll call it a success! I still have so much to learn.

I am logging this whole 2 week Spring Break in as one of our best. It was so nice and I am so thankful for the break and for all the goodness we smashed into it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On Being Unbusy

An afternoon nap with Ella

We are nearing the end of our two week spring break. It has been a good one. I think it felt especially good to me because last spring break Cali was just barely one year old and still napping twice a day and the spring break before that she was a newborn. Having big kids PLUS babies is a unique parenting challenge that I really struggle with.

But I did pretty good this time mixing all-day adventures, that required missed naps, with days at home. We have such good neighbors and so even on our days at home the kids were happy running from house to house with friends.

I took the kids to a fun pool today-more like a mini water park if you ask me. I chased Cali around and watched the kids having a ball and I thought about this:

“Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life. -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

I see this all around me but is it embarrassing to admit?--I am not really that busy.  I'm just not. The other day I was on a Moms website and I came across a whole system related to helping you get your emails and phone calls under control. I had to laugh at myself a little because my only thought was, "I must not be that important because I don't have that many emails or phone calls to deal with."

Sure I have a busy day now and then but for the most part I reserve my time and energy for these 5 growing souls in my home. It was pretty awesome that during the 2 week break I...

took them hiking
took them to the lake
took them swimming twice
built a "water park" in our drive way
had friends over
had a cousin sleep over
went to the park
sat by the tub and snapped pics of my bathing beauties Cali and Ella
made homemade snowcone flavoring
made fun breakfast meals like German pancakes and Cinnamon rolls
made cookies twice
played out in the street with neighbors till the sun went down (many times)
napped one whole afternoon away with Cali and Ella
Colored and colored more with Ella

Pretty sweet right? Not being busy meant that I got to pack a whole lot of good times into my short two week break with my kids. Not being that busy meant that we slept in and took naps and watch the sun go down. Not being that busy meant that I got to see the way Kaden and Branson STILL like to make-up little battles and turn them into an action movie with their IPods. Not being that busy meant that me and the girls took lots of walks and made lots of good food.

I am sure that my lack of busyness relates heavily to not being very talented, or educated or employable or needed by very many people outside my 4 walls. I guess I'm OK with that. And maybe my "badge of honor" is the lack of all those things.

This is what President Uchtdorf said about the kind of life Christ lived.

"When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time. If we fail to give our best personal self and undivided time to those who are truly important to us, one day we will regret it. Let us resolve to cherish those we love by spending meaningful time with them, doing things together, and cultivating treasured memories.”

I stink at a whole lot of things but in this one spot--the spot of giving my time to my family--I think I am doing alright.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Break Week One

Hello Blog, I miss you. But the children are home from school and so, I am busy. So far we have been hiking in the Santan mountains, played our hearts out with the neighbor kids and took our new friends up to the lake to share a little bit of our "best day ever" place with them. We also spent a day playing in the hose out front and a day swimming with the cousins...Arizona is just plain confused, she is cold and rainy one day and producing record heat the next, must be a hormonal imbalance, poor girl.

Sleeping in with the kids has been a dream. And eating breakfast when ever we feel like it has been so wonderful. It feels absolutely heavenly to have the kids home, be off the schedule and FREE for a spell.

We kicked off Spring Break with a trip to Tucson for Branson's last meet. I loved how Kaden and Brylee cheered Branson on. Every time he was up they would get their IPods and record his event, Kaden even compiled each clip into a video montage. I also love Branson's poker face, he shows absolutely no emotion when he is competing and even during the awards...I don't know how he does it.

I did not love trying to keep Little Bitty from running out onto the mats, it was exhausting keeping that girl happy during the 5 hour meet.

Now for the down side...We had a great time driving out to Tucson. It was rainy and cold and I always like the feeling of having everyone together in the car. On the way Kaden made a "trailer" of our journey using Scott's phone. He was quite the directer, giving is instructions and cues like, "Mom pull your gum out really slow like you are bored." And "Dad act like you are really frustrated.". He even included the huge, beautiful and totally complete rainbow that we saw, it was amazing.

Just after we got done laughing at Kaden's video and as we were getting right into the heart of Tucson, Kaden took his seat belt off and leaned from his spot in the back seat into the front to get something. I was driving and as soon as Kaden did that,  I saw red and blue lights coming from the unmarked police car behind me.

I pulled over and the grouchy policeman gave me two seat belt tickets (one for Kaden and one because Branson only had a lap belt and not a shoulder belt) and then he asked me to come to his car where he proceeded to tell me how bad of a Mother I am because I should not be letting my children out of their seat belts and how great of a parent he is because he would never. The lecture went on and on so long that I started to tear up. I am not used to being talked to so rudely, I guess. It was shocking to tell the truth.

Kaden and Branson felt horrible and Scott was about to go all "knight in shining armor" on the guy, poor Scott was so ticked! But what that mean old policeman should know is, we did not let him ruin our trip and within minutes we were back to cheerful and excited about our weekend. Rest assured that when I send in  my seat belt fine there will be a letter of complaint attached and and apology requested  demanded.

What a stinker.

So onward into week two of spring break! Hope the second is as good as the first...minus the ticket. Boo.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Getting Through This

The other day after school I was watching my friends three kids, the neighbor friends had started to come over and things around here were just in a general state of happy chaos. Around 5:30 I thought, "you know I should be on top of things and get that chicken for the salad all cooked and ready for tonight." So I turned the oven on and slid a tray of chicken into bake, patting myself on the back for being so awesome.

A few seconds later my friend came to the door to get her kiddos and Cali and Ella and I walked them out. Ella quickly spotted friends down the street and was off to play. I said good-bye and let my "squirming, desperate to get down and play, but has no regard for her personal safety-two year old", down to play. I followed her up the side walk and had a great time chit-chatting with my wonderful neighbors, yelling "car!" at all the right times.

Later-much, much later while still out in the street Brylee asked me if she could take her new friend into our house. I said sure and continued visiting and chasing Cali and yelling "car!"

In a few minutes Brylee came running out yelling to me that something was burning.

I picked up Cali and ran for home, still STILL unsure what in all the world could be burning. Half way into the garage....Have Mercy....I remembered.

The smoke was pretty bad, the smell was even worse, the astonishment at my own stupidity though--took the cake. Doors were opened and fans turned on and everything was fine and good. Except me.

Then last night while Scott was gone at mutual, I helped the little girls clean up their room, gave them a bath and dressed them in clean jammies. Then I patted myself on the back for being so awesome even though I was bone tired and alone. A minute later I was folding clothes in the laundry room when I saw Cali run by completely naked. The little squirt had undressed herself. Normally I get right on it and put that diaper right back on. But this time I let it go while I finished folding.

When I came out I smelled something-and it wasn't cupcakes.

Oh the horror. My sweet Little had taken the opportunity of a free bum and pooped all over the carpet. I threw her back in the tub and assessed the situation with Ella right there at my side. (she loves gross stuff). I got the disinfectant and paper towels and carpet cleaner and went to work.

Ella sighed and said, "Mom, how are we going to get through this?"  More of a statement than a question. I took her question as true and living sediment to my general state of mind. She had open the flood gates!...

How AM I going to get through this?!! I have to do this all again tomorrow and for a thousand days after that. How AM I going to ever EVER learn to do all the physical tasks of motherhood, all the emotional, all the spiritual, all the mental -and all the poo clean-up with a very imperfect, unfinished and flawed personality AND very little help. I am NOT going to get through this, I QUIT!

These were thoughts not words mind you, the task was too intense to even speak, so Ella and I-we worked until it was done and I kept my pity to myself. Because the truth is, I wont ever learn. I will always just be learn-ing and making mistakes and burning dinner and forgetting. But hopefully, I will get to do this for a thousand more days and a thousand more after that. I get to keep trying to get it right. There are  those horrible moments when I really truly think, "get me out of here, this is no fun, sick of it, done, too much, too hard, too long." BUT THEY PASS. They are just lies that the tired, selfish side of me tries to blurt out in the middle of a crisis when I am weak. I am STRONG, I LOVE my job-MY HARD, SELFLESS job. What a gift these plain old ordinary days are, when I get to burn dinners because we were playing in the orangey sunset and clean up grody messes because I have healthy active children.

There is NO ONE luckier than me and I WILL get through this motherhood gig one hour, and one mess, and one cray busy exhausting task at a time.

And someday when my house is quiet and clean and empty-I will cry and wonder just where the time went.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My First Girl

I have all these busy, rambunctious, determine kids, right? Right? I love each of them with a devotion that has, really, no words. They are fun and amazing and completely exhausting. And my Girl, My Brylee, also has a very determine heart and soul. But she, of all my kids, is easy in almost every aspect of an "easy kid", if there is such a thing.

She has always put her self to bed with no need for even a reminder or a request from me. She is kind hearted way down deep and she loves to be obedient and helpful. She isn't perfect and as I have started to notice signs of impending change in her, I have also noticed some more sensitive emotions and more weepy tears appearing out of nowhere. Which makes me panic...just a little.

The other day just as Brylee was hopping out of the car to head into school her back pack turned over and spilled into the parking lot. A load of papers and folders splattered everywhere and Brylee burst into tears. We pulled over and cleaned it up while she sputtered out a tearful confession.

"Mom, I have all these papers in my bag because you never came to parent-teacher conference. I stayed in from recess to get them all ready for you."

Cue: The weight of the world landing smack on my guilty heart.

The week of "student led" parent teacher conferences was an awful week for me, Cali was sick, I had tons of workers coming to the house, I was meeting up with a friend that was in the middle of a major crisis, I was making an invitation for my RS assignment and you know...all the rest of the stuff that still has to happen.

I emailed the twins teacher and asked how they were doing. And was told what I already knew, straight A's, awesome kids, doing great.

In my mind I checked off "Parent Teacher Conferences" with out a second thought. I never talked to Brylee about it, I never explained anything, I didn't even know that she was thinking about it or looking forward to it. I felt like such a loser! My poor girl. I could not get the image of her working through recess just to make me proud of her work out of my head. Bad Mom!

When she got home that day, we went through her paper work and I apologized for my mistake. Later that week she was sweet enough to be a patient model while I practiced camera settings and lighting. Never complained, never begged me to hurry up, never even stopped smiling.

This will surely not be my last Motherly mistake but I am so thankful for a sweet girl that can forgive quickly and who is tightly wrapped around heart. I love that girl, heart and soul.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mud Day

The first day of playing in the hose each year always comes in March. March! When so much of the country is still wearing gloves and hoping for a few more snow days. Saturday was our first hose day. Which turned into mud day....

And then brace yourself because mud day turned into wallow in it like a pig day...

Cali was in the zone! The girl never even smiled, it was like the world around her disappeared and it was just her and her mud. Mud heaven if you will.

Welcome to March!

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Piano Man

Kaden does nothing more than he plays the piano. Night and day, rain or shine, sick or well. He is drawn to those pearly keys and loves to zone out the world and pound out music. We often get to hear Branson yell out over the sound of the piano, "Kaden! Stop! I cant stand it anymore!" So supportive.

Yesterday morning when Kaden left for school he asked for a Tylenol and told me that he had a headache. When he got home in the afternoon he went straight for the piano, played for a while and then collapsed onto the couch. He stayed there all day except for two separate visits to my big tub for a warm bath. He is not feeling well and stayed snuggled under my covers while I did the morning routine with the others.

But you better believe that when he did come down for a few minutes it was only to play the piano and then he was back in bed.

I'm sad that he is sick but there is something weird in me that enjoys him being home, tucked safely into my bed with no desire to go anywhere else. (except to the piano bench) It's kinda nice.

I just love that kid.