Thursday, October 31, 2013


And before I knew it, it was the day before Halloween. I decide that our only window for carving pumpkins was right after school on Wednesday. Between bus drop off at 3:30 and needing to be at he church with the cotton candy machine set up and with all the kids plus 2 neighbor girls in their costumes by 5:30.

So right before the kids got home, I rolled their pumpkins out to the sunny patch of grass in our back yard. I set out the carving tools and left Cali sleeping in her bed. Cali has no fears or inhibitions so her and knives don't mix well.

It felt so so so good to have a relaxed, no fuss carving session, where I was not saving Cali's life and fingers every second. The 3 big kids are good to go on their own (finally!) and so I helped Ella and took pictures. There were no tears which I would be willing to say was a first for our family. Believe it!

Everyone was happy with how their Jack-o-lanterns turned out which is a miracle for my perfectionist boys. A Halloween Miracle. Amen.

The sun was just right and I didn't hate the whole thing.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Life

Lately I have had that feeling of being lonely even though I am never alone. I know that days and weeks of discouragement are a part of life and so, I don't let it bother me or send me into a panic. I am good with just letting the valley's come and being patient while I work and wait for a new summit to appear. And then I can make that thrilling climb out and enjoy the view from the top even more.

Life is so good in so many ways and there is so much to always be thankful for.

Yesterday I read the Elizabeth Smart book. All afternoon and once the kids were in bed I devoured that book. And this is what I came away thinking.

Wow! My life is stinking awesome.

Here is a bit of that awesomeness from October.

Ella LOVES shoes more than any-THING! My floor is ALWAYS piled in stacks of shoes as she tries them all on, waltzes around the yard and then goes onto the next pair. The mess is annoying but the pretend is fabulous.

Cali and I went down to the school to watch Ella do her 1/4 mile fun run. I loved watching that determine little Kindergartener run her heart out. She was the first girl to cross the finish line.

And Cali was a stinker and didn't hold still for 2 seconds, plus she found the mud puddles and crossed over the caution tape that was around the new winter grass. But MAN is she always the star of the show down at the school. Especially with Brylee's friends.
Then B saved me and took her to the playground. (I'm saved, oh I am saved! just like Woody)
Back to Ella's race. I just loved that little face and she was soooo excited that I came. I just don't get down there as much as I used to.
And here she is huffing and puffing after the race. Hilarious.
Brylee stayed at the finish line until every kid had crossed. So Brylee! She has such a gift for making others feel good.
Over October Break we had many meals like this. I love having a yard again! And I love Arizona weather from October to April.
As the pool water cooled the kids started building these contraptions. Instead of swimming they floated.
So after launching a full scale attack it has now been more than a week since we have seen or caught any of those dirty rotten mice. But just as they were clearing up Brylee put her hand down on a scorpion as she was scampering up the stairs. The stupid thing stung her bad.  Branson our knight in gymnastics clothes came and killed it and put it in a cup so that I could see what kind it was. A little later I saw this and thought it was so funny. Punctuation matters people, punctuation matters.
And lastly, Branson had his first scout campout last weekend. I was so relieved that the Deacons were going to and that Branson would have a big brother watching out for him. I didn't worry one bit. He was in good hands.
I have two nights ahead of me of costumes, makeup, cotton candy and gum stuck in Cali's hair. Wish me luck and I hope you LOVE this quote as much as I do. So GOOD!
 I want you to be proud you are a woman. I want you to feel the reality of what that means, to know who you truly are. You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny.  That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make. There could never be a greater authentication of your dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him. Be a woman of Christ. Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God. He needs you. This Church needs you. The world needs you. A woman’s abiding trust in God and unfailing devotion to things of the Spirit have always been an anchor when the wind and the waves of life were fiercest.
Jeffery R Holland

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Confession and a Commitment

One of the reasons I don't blog as much as I used to is because I have developed a little problem. Well its actually a huge problem and I have delt with it my whole life but never as bad as it is now.

I don't sleep well.

And lately I don't sleep at all.

Sure I dose in and out during the night but I am always conscious of the time and I am always conscious that I am not fully asleep. You could ask me a question at any point during the night and I could answer you the first time totally coherent. I wake up at the slightest movement or sound and I mean the slightest. I can hear Cali let out a sigh in her room down the hall with her floor fan blowing.  Some nights I sleep slightly better but on those nights I have crazy and stressful dreams. Those stupid dreams make me feel even less rested than before I went to bed.

I feel so very run down. And feeling run down leads to feeling overwhelmed by regular life and that feeling leads to being fully depressed.

I have tried over the counter sleep aids but I don't like the way they make me feel and besides that they don't really work all that well.

Not sleeping is a vicious cycle. When you don't sleep, you don't get up and exercise. When you don't get up and exercise for a long time you feel even more tired and run down. When you feel tired and run down you try to sleep and then when you cant....

and on and on.

This graph is pretty true.

Here I will say that I don't ever drink caffeine, not a drop and I have never even once tried an energy drink or anything like it to stay awake. But there is this weird phenomenon that I do feel like I can sleep during the day. When I am driving especially. Sometimes when Cali goes down for a nap, I cant resist the temptation to join her, and I usually have little trouble falling asleep during the day.

But at night it feels so hard. The worst side effect to sleeplessness is that you stop living and doing so much that you love. All of a sudden volunteering in my kids classrooms feels like an overwhelming task. Going grocery shopping seems like I am being asked to hike out of the canyon while pushing a overflowing shopping cart with a 2 year old in it. Having my niece and nephew here last week was Mt. Everest. You feel sad more, small matters bug you more and motivation blows out the window like a flutter of dandelion puffs.

I am a great faker though and I have a pretty strong amount of will power, I can force myself to do almost anything and so I have. But I am not taking this sitting down. I will fight back and figure this out, I have to get my life back!

Medication is not on my list of options so I have cleared my "to do" list until this is resolved. I have one task. Learn to sleep!

(Yeah right, I have about a million tasks but "learn to sleep" just moved up to the top of the list).


Friday, October 18, 2013

House of Mouse? Over My Dead Body

My life is over.

I am putting this house up for sale.

You think I am kidding.

Last Friday night our old friends the Raymonds and the Goeckeritz came over for a BBQ. Our combined 16 children hadn't seen each other in a while and it was time to get together. A few days earlier Brylee had come in screaming and panting and freaking completely out that she had seen a mouse or "something with a tail." I literally ignored her completely and just said, it was probably a gecko.

So back to the BBQ. In the middle of dinner we hear the shrieks of little boys screaming,

"I saw it!! There it goes!! Get it!! A mouse! A mouse!!"

All the moms grabbed the bare foot little babies and screamed like little girls and stood on chairs. Scott grabbed a broom and Tim took off his giant flip flop. And there ensued the most hysterical game of chase I have ever witnessed. A pack of boys and 3 grown men chasing that stupid, lightening fast little sucker around the yard. At one point in the jumble Tim stepped on the hose spraying Scott right in the face. At long last after a good 5 minutes of the mouse having the upper hand Scott wacked it with the broom, threw it in the fire pit and pounded his chest like a gorilla. Tim and Lafe and him laughed like they had just had the time of their lives. OF THEIR LIVES!

Haha, I thought. How funny we had a mouse in our back yard. Yeah that's real great, glad we could provide such an entertaining night.

Since then our traps have caught 6 more!!!!

So like I said, I am out of here. I told Scott, it's me or the mice, let me know when they are gone and I will come home.

You think I am kidding.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shark Attack

This was fuuu-N-EEE!

It all started while I was taking a  baby sitting shift of my sister in laws 4 kids while they spent a week together in Hawaii. Well it was more like 9 days but whose counting. ( jealous!)

Ella has a little boy cousin who is her age named Beau. They are darn cute together and I really cant think of a time that they have been mean to each other although I am sure it has happened. Beau got a little scrape on his knee and I mean magnifying glass little. But as it is with 6 year olds this was an emergency and he neeeeeded a bandaid. I sent Ella upstairs with the injured little man and told her to show him where the bandiads are. I couldn't do it I had like 20 other kids running around my house. You don't want to turn your back on that business!

When they came back down the steps Beau said vey seriously to me,

"Don't worry Julz, we didn't use those shark attack bandaids that you have."

I little confused I said,


Then Ella explained,

'Yeah Mom, you know those huge bandiads that you have incase we get our arm chomped off by a shark?"

Raised eyebrows waiting for a response from me,

"Um the big bandaids?"

"Yes Mom, we didn't use those because those are for shark attacks."

Then the pair went back outside to play leaving me laughing my guts out on the couch.

You never can be too careful you know.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September by the Sea

Ever since Scott and I got married we have spent the last week of September by the sea. In 2004, realizing that our family was growing pretty fast and not wanting to chance it on Scott's parents over stuffed condo, we took a bit of our hard earned savings and purchased our own week. That way no matter how hot the summer has been and no matter how high the homework has piled up and no matter how many cousins are cramming into Grandma's condo we still have September by the sea. It was a good decision. (The teachers hate it).  We throw homework to the side and dig in the sand for a few days. I love the chance to have no schedule for a week. It gives me so many of those happy moments where I can just look around at all my kids having fun and relaxing and not worrying about where we have to be and what needs to get done. The answer at the beach is nowhere and nothing. Ahh, feels good.

For the first time in a long time, (it seems) we made it to the beach without a flat tire or a car accident or a delay because of scout camp or a swim meet or things like that. The kids call it The Curse. I am glad that this time, The Curse did not strike.

On our first night there,  some kids in another condo were screaming and running around and playing. I was just telling Scott how much I love that sound when an old man came out of another condo. He yelled at the top of his lungs,

"Where are your parents! Be quiet!"

And then he marched back into his condo and slammed the door so hard that the whole building shuttered.

As long as I live may I never ever become a grouchy old lady that hates the sound of happy children.

Such a shame. And I felt sorry for that old guy and his quiet grouchy life, life could be so much happier for him.

So now we have homework up to the rafters and I spent the whole day Monday doing load after load of sand filled laundry. and Tuesday night at a photo shoot and about 2 and half hours stocking back up at the grocery store.

It was totally worth it.

On our last day Scott and I decided last minute to spend the day at the SanDiego Zoo. We had such a fun day together. I am always impressed (and thankful) for how well Scot and I work together. It doesn't seem to matter what the outing is we can manage the heat, the snacks, the bathroom breaks, the tantrums, the lines, keeping track, pushing strollers and lugging stuff...bring it on,  we will have fun no matter what. And we did!

My photo shoot of my cute brothers and their cute families.

We also got a new niece and a new nephew while we were gone that we cant wait to meet!

I am so thankful for September by the Sea. I am so thankful for new babies. I am so thankful for healthy, happy, good kids. I am so thankful for a husband who loves adventure and fun and can handle all the inconveniences of hauling around a load of kids. I am thankful for the problems and struggles and challenges that arise that make the good days that much more beautiful.  I am so thankful for a loving God that created an amazing world for us to enjoy. I am so thankful for sandy toes, coppery, sunkissed skin and cold cheeks fresh from a shivery ocean.

Life is good even back home with my laundry and chores.