Friday, March 28, 2014

Chase Away the Blue's





































This picture was taken almost a full year ago. I was struggling at the time with heavy feelings of discouragement that I had to work to over come everyday. Sometimes every hour. I am so thankful for inspire words of inspired leaders that helped me so much. Each night Scott and I listen to conference, Priesthood, Relief Society and Young Women meeting talks. I love them. So its no wonder I am so looking forward to this weekend when I will get to take Brylee to the general Women's meeting of our church. There is always so much wonderful guidance and inspired counsel to soak up and discouragement to chase away. I cant wait!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Choose This Day


Our family is still feeling all the goodness that came from the open house, celebration and dedication of the Gilbert Temple. We bring it up everyday and I get the feeling that we will be talking about these historic events for the rest of our lives.

On the day of the cultural celebration, I would be lying if I said that we weren't all praying that it wouldn't rain. We were. There was a 90% chance of rain that day and if it hadn't rained you better bet we would be proclaiming miracle!  That's what Mormons do you know, we give credit to God always. We see the miracles where others may just see coincidence. But after holding off all day it DID rain just as the prophet was seated and the celebration was starting. For me the miracle wasn't in the rain or not in the rain. The miracle was in the way the youth handled the rain. They didn't pout, they didn't complain, they didn't falter one bit. They sang and they danced joyfully and powerfully in the rain for their prophet, for their temple and for their God.

The cold and the rain only gave them a chance to prove that they can do hard things happily and well. I loved it to say the least. My sister in law was able to capture an awesome video of Kaden from that night. This song was the last song of the celebration. Kaden was cold to the very center. He was shaking and shivering and moving around just to keep from freezing. But he sang and he did it with such devotion that I can not watch without just crying. You can see the rain coming down in sideways sheets and you can see how wet these kids were but you can also see their goodness shinning through it.

Kaden will never be the same again. In our family when we talk about the Temple we proclaim miracle! Because it really is.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Old Friends





































I don't like staying up late and I am not very good at it. But once a month I sacrifice sleep to see these girls...


























How I love them. When we are together hours pass in a blink. By the time we say good-bye it's usually the wee hours of the morning. True friends are hard to come by and I am so thankful for these dear friends that have been a part of my life for so long.

Sleep deprivation has nothing on that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Break and a Holy Week Lessons Link

I loved spring break. Other than a quick trip to the cabin at the start we did almost nothing. I sure love nothing. And by nothing I mean, pj's all day, friends over to play, sleeping in, reading, watching movies, making cookies, going barefoot, swimming in the pool and swinging in the hammock. It just felt so good to be off the schedule, forget what day it is and not do anyone's hair for a few days. Bliss I tell you. And the weather! It is so beautiful here in Spring. The sky is a bright blue, the air smells like orange blossoms and there is a cool breeze but warmth enough to toast your skin just a bit. Oh man its good!

My brother and I went hiking Friday morning. I love a good challenging hike and even though we got off trail for a while (which truthfully scared the heck out of me) it was awesome to be outside and up in the mountain.


 
 
 
 

And now we are back at it for the next 9 weeks. It's like summiting a peak and we are almost there.
 
With Easter just around the corner I thought I would link my Easter lessons from last year. To do a whole week of lessons for my family takes a lot of prep work. I have learned that these things go a lot smoother when I am prepared way ahead of time. There is a handout for everyday of Holy week so I have to be all done and ready by the 14th. Here is the link: Holy Week. It is worth the prep, I promise.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am so thankful for Spring and for Easter, for beautiful weather, for healthy happy children, for a body that lets me take care of them, enjoy them and climb mountains once in a while. Life is good and all that goodness comes from a loving Savior. I am so excited to get ready for Easter and to teach my kids all about it.
 
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ella and Fud Ex


Scott captured a hilarious conversation with Ella the other night.

I give you Ella's explanation of "Fud Ex".


And if anyone ever says anything to her about this she will burst into hysterical tears so I wouldn't dare.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Smell Like Dirt

We are on Spring break and it feels glorious. We spent the weekend up at the cabin and now I am ready for open days of PJ's, late breakfasts, swimming in our brisk pool, swinging in the hammock and staying up. It just feels SO good to be free from the grip of a tight schedule for a while. My house looks like a camping bomb has struck at close range but it is worth it and I always look forward to the "attack" style cleaning that I get to do when school starts up again. Today I am so thankful for Spring and its generosity in giving my children back to me for a spell.















































“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Friday, March 14, 2014

God's Work


I spend a big chunk of my time cleaning and doing repetitive chores. Usually with Cali by my side or even all the kids around me. Even though it is exhausting, hard work I so love keeping my home and enjoying the peace of a clean organized space. I like taking pictures of my house when she is at her best because I am proud of the work I have accomplished and because it sure doesn't take long for all the craziness of family life to turn everything upside down again. Floors get sticky, crumbs and dust find their way into every nook, fingerprints cover every surface. But that's OK because that's the way its supposed to be.

When I feel weighed down by the work of it all I like to think of this.

"The demands on her were many and her tasks often repetitive and mundane, yet underneath it all was a beautiful serenity, a sense of being about God’s work. As with the Savior, she was ennobled by blessing others through service and sacrifice. She was love personified."
 Elder D. Todd Christofferson

"A sense of being about Gods work."  All it takes is a little faith that motherhood and homemaking is Gods work and then you feel that you are doing the holiest work on earth and it is all worth it--a thousand times over. 








































Thursday, March 13, 2014

Midnight Caregiver

Cali is a really good sleeper. She sleeps in her own bed and almost always sleeps through the night without a problem. Tuesday night she cried at 11pm. I held her for a minute, gave her a drink and tucked her back in. At midnight I heard her cry again only this time she stopped before I even made it down the hall to her bedroom. Then at 1 she cried again. The poor baby was sick for sure.

























I picked her up and brought her to my bed where she cried and cried and cried all. night. long. At 5am she was exhausted and finally fell back asleep. I was up at 6 to get the others going and to cancel my commitment to Ella's fieldtrip. Clearly Cali would need me to be with her and not out with the kindergarteners.

In the light of the morning I gave Ella the option of staying home with me and as I was explaining how sick Cali was Branson came in and said,

"I know Mom, I laid with her when she cried at midnight and I came down stairs to fill her sippy cup, I went back to my bed when she was asleep. Oh and I think she has a fever because she felt hot."

The he walked out of my room and finished getting ready for school.

If only there were words to say how special that boy is.

I am so thankful for that sweet little caregiving personality he was blessed with that has blessed my life a million times over.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Invention of Fun

My dad goes out of his way to be a good grandpa. Occasionally I get a phone call from him asking me what Saturday my kids have open and then he cooks up these crazy ideas and plans to give the older grand-kids a good time. Oh how my kids look forward to these outings. Grandpa lets them do things that I never would so for them its a real party.

Soda, treats, hot dogs, motorcycles and any other crazy thing you can think of.

My kids always come home exhausted, full of sugar, beat up from all the fun, sunburned and completely thrilled with the memories they made and the adventure they had.

This past Saturday my kids got to have one of these exciting outings with Grandpa. My Dad built a sled out of plywood, added an old toilet to the top and then pulled the kids around the desert. They of course thought it was an ingenious invention and loved every minute of it.





































They also rode on the sled standing up, a little dirt surfing if you will.

This is the kind of fun that I learned to have growing up. We didn't take many vacations, we didn't go out to the movies or to restaurants more than one or two times in my whole childhood we had to invent fun. We rigged up hoses to everything you can imagine to keep cool in the summer, we built contraptions, made mud pies in the gutters, used aloe vera plants as "money" and "medicine" and  figs straight off the tree for "potions" and "cooking shows". We played outside, climbed trees and turned plastic wadding pools, lawn sprinklers and construction tarps into back yard water parks. The irrigation ditch was our ocean. My brothers have built all kinds of things from scraps all in the name of adventure and cheap fun. My Dad is the king of this kind of entertainment. There is this legendary story about when he and his 5 brothers built a "roller coaster" out of orange crates and ropes in their back yard tree and then sent their baby brother down it first. What happened next is what my kids would now call an "epic fail."

And if you ask me, playing that way, with nothing but what you can scrap up in the yard is a dying skill. Kids shouldn't have to pay for fun, they should invent fun.

Thanks Dad!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Masterpiece






































Yesterday as I started my fast I kept thinking of Scott. I have a huge list of things I could fast over but I decided that my fast this time would just be a simple fast of gratitude for my husband. I was so young when Scott and I fell in love, only 18. I look back now and think that I really didn't have a clue what I was getting into.

I only knew that I thought he was handsome and good and I felt sure that he loved the Lord. We have grown up together now. Everyday hasn't been perfect or blissful and there have been tears and struggles at times but as the years pass I can see us refining and shaping and really becoming something of a masterpiece.

So many of our dear friends and family have had their hearts broken in marriage. I ache for them. And I am so thankful for that eighteen year old decision to marry Scott and for the decision we have made everyday since to stick together.

And it doesn't hurt that he is still so handsome and that he does the dishes religiously and better than I ever would.

How I love him.

Friday, March 7, 2014

POW-WOW and some Happiness

And so that's it, I am totally fed up with our morning routine and we are going to do an over hall. The kids better watch out because I am about to go drill sergeant on them. Not really but maybe. I am formulating a plan of action and have already scheduled a little family pow-wow for Sunday night wherein these sweet little children of mine are going to be informed of the NEW morning schedule. I feel like I should do an evil cackle right now. BUT I am not evil I am only determine to give them a better start. My goal is for me to NOT be giving ANY reminders. I might just spiral into a fit of insanity if I have to hear my self saying the same things morning after morning, 50 times over for each kid again. No more my friends. My kids are so lucky that they have a Mom who is going to lovingly teach them the life skill of getting up, fed and ready without the help of another human. I will still be cooking them breakfast and participating in scriptures but the rest, I am signing off on. They should thank me.

And now for the happiness. Even with the frustrations and the growing pains of family life there is so much good and FUN and wonderful, don't you think?

Brylee has been reading the Nancy Drew series, so classic.





































Oh and she is an amazing big sister. (Even when Cali cant seem to keep her pants pulled up).




































Kaden loves the piano and he is getting quite good. I will never get tired of hearing him play (well except Maple Leaf Rag, done with that one!).




































Kaden also loves the temple. The temple has been open for members to come do work there for 3 days, two of those days Kaden has been there doing baptisms. Its like a magnet to him and he just cant stay away. Be still my heart.





































One of the best things about Arizona this time of year is the hot air balloons. Almost every afternoon we see hot air balloons floating near our neighborhood, sometimes they get really close. Scott and I took a hot air balloon ride the day we were engaged so I have a bit of a soft spot for them.





































Cali looks completely disheveled by the end of the day. Sometimes by the half way point. She loves to climb and run and ride her little wiggle car. Most days I try to find some time to take her out front and let her play. (I like how you can tell by her giant scrape in these pictures how rough and tumble this girl is.)

Can someone tell this girls Mom that its time for the paci to go?

 









































I was just snapping pictures thinking how cute and fun Cali is and then...she licked.




































And let me tell you she was proud of that little lick mark telling me over and over that it was an "apple". Wow.

Everyday after school Ella runs up stairs and changes into some sort of eccentric dress up outfit. She gathers a few toys and then spends about an hour out back playing and pretending. A lot of the time she holds a notebook and pen and crosses her legs like she is an important secretary or something. It's pretty awesome.





































Branson is getting ready for his state meet and spends most days down at the gym. I love the time we spend together in the car. He divulges so much of his heart during those drives. The other day he told me that even when he is not at gymnastics, he is thinking about gymnastics. He loves it.




































I have one week to get the morning routine whipped into shape before we are off for spring break. And then we get to set the morning routine, and all routine for that matter, to the side and be free for a spell! I cant wait!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rough Start


This morning I thought I might completely lose it with my kids. One never made it into scriptures, one cried because the snap on her shorts wasn't cooperating, one woke up with her hair stuck to her snot, one complained about breakfast, all of them lazed around like getting ready for school was the equivalent of summiting Everest. There were fights over someone's elbow touching someone else's, fights over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, an argument concerning a hair cut, a realization that some homework wasn't done which was followed by a freak out and there were plenty of crummy attitudes to top it all off. When they all left, the house looked like WWII.

Man. I am exhausted at 7:56 am. Not a good sign.

This is hilarious because its true.




































Good thing there's always tomorrow and good thing they are so cute.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When the Sky Opened

You know how sometimes people glow with goodness and happiness and peace? Somehow they get a golden beauty that is unexplainable.

I have seen it in the swollen exhausted faces of women who have just given birth. I have found it in the wrinkles and the years of Scott's Grandma's face. I have for sure seen it in toddlers and babies. I can see it in the service worn expressions of President Monson. I even saw it in my friend's face when she unexpectedly lost her husband during her 5th pregnancy. And Saturday night I saw it in the soaking wet smiles of 12,000 teenagers as they celebrated the opening of the Temple in the pouring rain. To see all those kids sacrifice comfort and convenience to be there was amazing. One of my favorite parts was at the beginning when the kids were standing all together in the rain cheering their hearts out for the Prophet. Not for a celebrity or for a rock star but for their beloved Prophet who they adore.






















I think there is a chance that could be Kaden...maybe?






















































My younger four kids and I were huddled together on the couch watching the broadcast as the sky opened up and poured down on them. It was an unbelievably beautiful sight to see and hear. Somehow the rain only added to the power that was already there. Maybe its because I live so close, maybe its because Kaden and Scott were down at the park participating and maybe its because I love the Gilbert Temple with all my heart but I just sobbed at the sight of it all.

When it was all over I waited with my camera to hear the garage go up. I ran out side to greet them. They were so wet and so cold but they were so happy.






































The next day Kaden turned on the computer and pulled his chair up close so he could watch the whole celebration start to finish. I was in and out taking care of other things but I came in and stood behind him at the very end when all the kids gathered on the field with their title of liberty's and sang Armies of Helaman. Kaden's back was toward me but I could see from the side that big teenager tears were streaming down his cheeks. This was a big deal to Kaden. Late Saturday night after a warm bath he had sat in between Scott and I in our bed. We scrolled through Scott's pictures and videos, we cried and laughed and talked about our blessings and we prayed together. Heaven was not far.



























Monday morning I realized that Scott still had a bag of rain soaked clothes that the boys had left in his truck. I told him not to forget to bring them in so that I could get them all washed. He replied with a half serious smile that he wanted to leave them there a little longer so he could hang on to the feelings of the night. This was a big deal to him also.

It was awesome to be able to take Kaden and the twins to the dedication Sunday morning and to drive home past the temple knowing that it is completely finished and it has been dedicated to the Lord.





































In his talk at the celebration President Eyring said to the kids,

Someday you will bring your children to this spot and tell them of the things that happened here tonight.

I am certain they will, it was pretty amazing.

And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. D&C 133:29