My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Monday, January 23, 2017

Busy day

A couple of days ago Eli climbed in my bed early in the morning.  He was being pretty still, but I could tell the wheels in his head were turning.  Pretty soon he let out a sigh.

"I have lots to do today."

Oh yeah?  What do you have planned? I wondered

"I have to build dis sing (this thing) with my legos," which he went on to describe in detail.

He also described a "sing" to tape on his leg that would hold his sword.

Before long he decided to get up and get working.

I love how his mind is always working!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Moments of Joy

This Christmas season I have been making a conscious effort to find moments of real joy amid all the hustle and bustle.

On Monday I went shopping (at the dollar store) with Eli to pick out his gifts for everyone.  It was so sweet to watch how much thought he put into each gift!  He really wanted to find something that each sibling would really love.

On the way over he told me he knew for sure what to get for Savannah.   He was planning on picking out some "kafume," also known as "girl smell" that she could spray on herself.  I agreed that perfume was a good choice for Savannah.  But as we were walking down the beauty products aisle (or island, as he calls it) he spotted some lip balm that really grabbed his attention.  "I can get DIS for Savannah AND Becca, because it's really for girls!"

He decided on band-aids for Caleb "because he always gets hurt, but he doesn't even cry!"

Each of the gifts he picked was equally as thoughtful. He searched until he found something he was excited to give.  I couldn't stop smiling the whole time.  I am so glad I still have a five year old!  And especially one as fun as Eli!

Yesterday was full of the joy of Christmas baking.

We made LOTS of cookies, and spent the evening caroling and delivering.  The caroling was especially successful this year.  We pulled a trailer full of kids behind the car, which alleviated all the fighting that happens while getting in and out of the car.  And as we drove I could hear everyone singing together at the top of their lungs, laughing, and enjoying each other.  That sound especially warmed my heart because I had to really put my foot down and insist that this was an important family activity.  Even though a couple of them had really tried to get out of this outing, they still chose to participate with good attitudes, and it ended up being a great bonding time.

I did have a moment of sadness when I realized that I will have no girls living at home with me next Christmas.  And the girls have been my allies when it comes to keeping traditions alive!  The boys (at least the older ones) seem to fight against them.  I need my girls!!

In this last general conference, Elder Russell M Nelson gave a talk about JOY that spoke straight to my heart.  One of the things he said was "Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God's power into our lives."  As I have looked for moments of joy, I have felt an increase of the Spirit in our home.  And an increase of the Spirit makes for a happier home for sure!  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Eli is 5!

Savannah was walking by Eli's door at 5:45 am and she heard  him talking to himself.  "Today is my birthday!  Today is my birthday!"

So began the most anticipated day in Eli's life to this point.

The first wonderful thing of the day was going to preschool.  Eli got to choose a treat for the class, and take in a giant poster "All About Me." (Special thanks to the lady at Walmart that gave him a birthday sticker which he chose to wear smack dab in the middle of his forehead.)

After asking approximately 8 million times "How much more minutes until Peter Piper Pizza?" the moment finally arrived!  Devin and Nettie joined us for the party.  Eli was actually shaking with excitement at one point as he came to get more tokens!

All the siblings pitched in the tickets they earned so Eli could get a really great prize.  He had 2,700 tickets to spend!  We were trying to point out all of the wonderful options, and the first thing he chose was a little plastic snake!

When the tokens were all gone, we could focus on gifts.  Eli genuinely loved every gift he received, squealing with joy each time he opened one.

He got a hunting vest and a nerf gun, camouflage sunglasses, new jeans, Legos handed down from Simon, and a baby book of himself from Jeff and I.

 Some things I really love about Eli:
-His enthusiasm for life!  He is so animated and excited about pretty much everything!
-His determination. Once he sets his mind to something, he really sticks with it.  He has been focused on hunting, for example, for MONTHS now!  He never gets discouraged!
-He is responsible.  He loves having things that he owns, and he takes good care of his special things.
-His silly use of pronouns. i.e. "Dat is mine toy!" or "Her is mine friend."

I had envisioned a cute cake in the shape of a number 5, but Eli really wanted a dinosaur cake.  This was my compromise.  A volcano cake with dinosaurs stuck to the sides.

About an hour after tucked him into bed, Eli came out hunting.  It was hard to be mad at this cute face!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Eli!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sisters trip

Last month my sister Kathy planned a fabulous sisters trip for us.  We went to San Diego and stayed at Capri by the Sea- the place we went for many consecutive summers as teenagers.  It is literally right on the beach, and we kept the window open to enjoy the cool breeze and sound of the waves.

We were pretty happy to be together!

We have some pretty dedicated healthy eaters amongst us, so the food was mostly high quality, fancy, organic and delicious! (This picture was the one exception to that.)  Honestly, my favorite part of get-aways without kids is the break from food preparation.

We decided for old time's sake that it was important that we go boogie boarding.  The water was freezing, but by golly, we played in it!  We didn't last nearly as long as we used to, and it may have been more trouble than it was worth, but we've still got it!  We can ride waves just as well as any of our kids!

Feeling proud:

And maybe just a little worn out:

On Sunday we sang in Kathy's ward before we headed home.  I sure do love those sisters and mom of mine! There is something about being with siblings that brings out the most relaxed, silly side of us all.  But we also had some moments where we talked about really meaningful spiritual things.  I love those women, and draw strength from each of their strengths.

Best of all, I came home feeling rejuvenated and even more grateful for my own family.  Thanks for the great time, sisters!  Let's do it again next year!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

My privilege

I've just returned from raking the sandbox in the park.  Last night I took the little boys to the park to celebrate the "beautiful wedder" (weather, as per Eli.)  Eli had gotten a little plastic "poison dart frog" from preschool, and he really wanted to play with it at the park.  I knew (having been through similar scenarios MANY times before) that the frog would get lost forever in the sand, but Eli would not believe me.  He insisted he would be able to see it just fine.  So he climbed to the top of the play structure and threw the frog into the sand for a "body slam." (I seem to use quotation marks a lot when talking about Eli, don't I?)

Of course, no matter how hard we all looked, the frog was gone.  I promised we could return when it was light to try again.  So the first question he asked when he stumbled out of bed this morning was "Can we go right now to look for my frog?"  We took a rake back to the park.  We found a lot of cat poop, but alas, no frog.

Last night around midnight, Simon came stumbling into my room, really upset by a nightmare.  He said he felt too insecure to go back to his own room. I made a cozy bed for him on the floor next to my bed, and he fell right back to sleep.  Much faster than I did.

My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning.  I had to get up extra early to allow time to change the gauze on Caleb's back.  He was riding (standing up) on an old mattress, being pulled by a friend driving a car around the dirt lot behind us.  Was there any question how that would end???  But the poor guy can hardly move now, and he needed his bandages changed in time to get to school.  So I was up at 5:30.

This is after 3 days of healing

So I am feeling a little tired today, but mostly really blessed.  What a privilege it is to be a mother!  I am so grateful that I get to be the one to be here, in the moments that are so important to these sweet children.  I wouldn't trade that privilege for anything in the world.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Yesterday at church Eli snuggled in to me, nestling his face into my armpit.  After a deep breath, he pulled my head down so he could whisper in my ear.

"You smell like berries.  And I LOVE berries!"

Ha!  Could be worse, right?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to school 2016

At the beginning of the summer we had some simple rules:

Keep your "zone" clean all day
"Brain work" before play
Healthy food before treats
One hour of video game time

Nothing too grandiose there.  I know from experience not to aim too high in the summer.

But by the end of the summer we had sunk so. very. low.  Here was our one goal:

Try to make it one hour, at some point during the day, without media.  That's it.  And oh! the anguish!  The weeping and wailing during that one hour of torture!

Needless to say, I was READY for school to start again!  We always stagger school start dates, so here they are in order of when they started back.

These two head off at 6:10 every morning for "A hour." Usually at 6:09 Savannah is telling Caleb she's going to leave without him if he doesn't hurry, and Caleb is finishing packing up his 5 PB&J sandwiches.   I like to get myself up at 6:00 so I can at least send them off with a "Have a great day!"

Eli has been counting down for MONTHS until he could start preschool with Miss Becky!  His cousin Emmett is in his class, as well as a couple of neighbors.  There was not one ounce of hesitation or nervousness as he charged off to his first day of school!  That boy is ready to take on the world!

Jonah is a sixth grader this year, but we're doing school online.  I kept him at home second semester of last year, and he really thrived.  This year we are stepping up our structure by doing online school, but it still feels nice and relaxed.  AND he can take breaks to play basketball between every lesson!

JOSH IS IN HIGH SCHOOL THIS YEAR!!!  It seems impossible to me, but it's true.  He is at ALA, so he doesn't get to be with Savannah and Caleb, but I love ALA so much more than the public high school.  Josh has some great friends there, and great teachers.  I think it's going to be a good year!

My little Simon is in second grade.  He couldn't figure out why I was walking him up to the school this morning. He said he could probably find where his new class lines up by himself.  So I snapped a quick picture, and he headed off to the playground, happy and confident!

And I can't stand to leave Becca out of this post, even if she hasn't gone back to school yet!  She has been home with us off and on this summer.  Working full days in Thatcher for a couple of weeks, then home for a couple of weeks.  Happily, she was home to celebrate her birthday yesterday.  This girl is such a ray of sunshine! She is thoughtful, kind, inclusive, and happy.  I could't possibly be happier or more proud of who she has become in these 19 years!  We have to move her back into her apartment in Thatcher this week, but we sure have loved having her here! (Even if we had to clear out a little space for her "bedroom" in our storage room)

My days are busy.  My brain is scattered in a million directions.  My body is always tired. My wallet is stretched (a little) thin.  But my heart is filled to overflowing!  I can't get over how good life is right now!  I'm in the middle of one of those little "bubbles" where everything feels so perfect and so fulfilling.  I know that life is like a roller coaster, and there will be hard times coming again, but right now Jeff and I keep talking about how wonderful this moment in time is for us.

I am grateful for moments.