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

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.

Monday, June 27, 2016


This guy makes me laugh so many times a day!

He has some serious opinions about his clothing, and he likes to dress himself.  Obviously.

He won't wear shorts unless he's swimming.  His first choice to wear is the high-water gray jeans that were great on him last year.  If he can't find those, he'll wear any other pair of long pants, but NO SHORTS.  Even in the 115 degree weather!  Crazy kid.

He's also obsessed with tank tops.  He has two that he alternates, and it's a sad day if they both happen to be in the laundry.  

He likes them because they show off his muscles, which he's super proud of!  He will gladly flex for anyone who asks, and he can't understand why others don't feel the same.  He follows Caleb in particular around,  begging him to "pull up your sleeves and show me your muscles!  Please Caleb! Please!"

A couple other random Eli-isms:

"Mom if I get stomped on by an elephant, then my dreams will be crushed.  Because my dreams are inside of me.  Do you know dat?"

The other day he was trying to call his friend Cayden a hypocrite, but he couldn't quite get the insult right.  He kept accusing him of being a hippy quick.  Cayden was duly offended.  "I don't know what a hippy quick is, but I know it's mean!"  Later in the afternoon hippy quick had morphed into cricket hop.  HA! Even meaner!

I don't know what I would do without my silly little Eli!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another driver

This happened today:

Caleb got his drivers permit!  We were both pretty pleasantly surprised that he passed the test the first time- since he had never actually read the manual.  He drove us home and did a great job!

He also started working for my brother in law Doug this summer.  He rides along with the AC technicians and helps where he's needed.  Hopefully he is paying close attention so that someday he will have the skills to be a tech himself.  The long hours in the heat have been taking a toll on him though.  After his second day of work he came home and fell asleep at 3:00 in the afternoon.  I could NOT get him to wake up until 9:00 the next morning!  Poor guy!

In other news:
Eli has started including this phrase in all of his prayers:  "Please bless dat nothing may accidentally fall upon us."  I'm pretty sure it's taken from the more popular "Please bless that no harm or accident may fall upon us."  Ha!  What will I do when I don't have silly little ones around anymore? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

For me to remember

Just some random things I don't want to forget:

Eli got mad at me the other day when we were out in the back yard.  He stormed into the house and locked the door.  Savannah sent me this picture from behind enemy lines.  He built a barricade and said "I'm mad at Mom, so I'm never letting her in!"  Ha!

Speaking of Eli... he has been OBSESSED lately with "crapping" (trapping) birds.  He really wants to "eat some bird meat."   He has spent literally hours trying to figure out how to lure and trap birds so he can kill them.  These are two of his carefully thought out traps:

A nest, complete with play-dough eggs, so a bird will want to come sit on them.

He waited all morning for a bird to wander in there.

He has been stuck on this bird hunting kick for months.  But the other day we were driving somewhere, and I guess the wheels in his head were turning.  He said, very slowly, "Mom, if I crap a bird and it's a mommy, den it won't go back to his nest to take care of da baby birds."  I confirmed that he was right.  "Mom, I'm not going to crap birds anymore.  I'm going to hunt BUNNIES!"

Side note:  Simon was pretty happy to lose his two front teeth.  Especially since Nettie paid him $10 to let her pull one of them out.  That's WAY more than he gets from the tooth fairy!

Simon has gotten up to share his testimony in church for the last two months.  He wanted to get up again this month, but I wanted to make sure his reasons were sincere. (As opposed to... just wanting to get up there so he could hear himself in the microphone.)  I asked him why he wanted to bear his testimony.  His response: "I know that when we bear our testimony, it gets stronger.  And that's one of my goals."  So sweet and mature.  He got up there and said "I like to bear my testimony.  I know the Church is true.  I know that if we never set goals, then we won't get any better."

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And a Jonah story:

Today he was talking about being one of the best basketball players at school.  I was assuming it was going to be a story about how great he was, but it took a really sweet turn.    He said one of the best things about being really good at basketball is that it makes you one of the cool guys.  And then you can use that to help other kids.  "Like, the ones that nobody ever pays much attention to.  If you start to be friends with them, then other people will think they're cool too."  He named several kids that he had done that with, "and now they all have plenty of friends."  What a kind hearted boy he is!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Eli. And his imagination.

I love my little Eli and his HUGE imagination!

Lately one of his favorite games has been playing "Going to da beach."  He takes his chair outside, along with a blanket and umbrella.  He always brings a cup of water with a straw, and packs himself a snack.

He's usually content to go to the beach by himself, but the other day he decided to take some (imaginary) animals with him.  He had a giraffe, a cow, a horse, and a whole herd of goats!  He kept coming in to get bowls for water and grass to feed them.

After a while, though, he came in really upset.  "Mom! The daddy goat stepped on my toe, and now it really hurts!"  His mind had made it real enough to bring tears to his eyes!

In HEAVEN!  Holding puppies at Aunt Kami's house

He has a little stuffed "baby puppy" named Fubsy that goes everywhere with him.  Sadly, Fubsy had been missing for about two weeks.  I found him recently while folding laundry, and called Eli in excitedly to show him.  He was, as predicted, SUPER excited.  He hugged Fubsy and spun around and around saying "I can't believe it!"  After a minute, he started to worry that it was too good to be true.  "Wait, Mom.  Are we in a gweam? (translation dream)?"  When I told him that no, this wasn't a dream, he turned back to Fubsy.  "Fubsy!  It's not a gweam!!"

This packing job really struck my funny bone.  He packed his own suitcase to go to Thatcher.  These are, apparently,  all the most important things to take along.  Fubsy is the little black dog on the right.

One of our favorite pastimes- cuddling on the hammock after the kids leave for school

I keep trying to get Eli to promise that he will stay 4 forever.  He just laughs and says that he's going to grow up and be a dad.   I can't imagine life without a little one around the house!  I guess it is bound to happen at some point.  Heaven knows I don't have the energy that I used to.

But in the meantime, I'm enjoying every day that I have with this loving, enthusiastic, imaginative boy.  I'm so grateful that he's mine!