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Friday, June 13, 2014

Mini Moments

1. Naomi says the cutest things. The other night she was snuggling up to Jake and could hear his heart "beeping" and they had a conversation that went like this:
 Naomi: "Dad, I think it's Jesus trying to talk to you."
Jake: "Oh really?! What do you think He's trying to tell me?"
Naomi: "That you need to tell Dekker he should be nice to his sister!"

2. She loves us all so much. Lately Naomi has been hit by the love bug. She is always telling us she loves us. Lists us and her love for us in prayers, is sad if she's still asleep when Jake leaves for work and doesn't get a kiss goodbye, and even when she's mad at me for not letting her do/have something she'll yell or get mad, but then say, "But I still love you Mom".

3. Fascination with nature. Every morning Naomi goes outside to check on our flowers and plants. Especially our strawberry plants. She loves finding new white flowers or ripe strawberries. And she loves finding and catching ants, lady bugs, rolly pollies, etc. I'm trying to encourage all of this as much as possible by having her help in the garden, and I bought an apple tree, a peach tree, blueberry plant and grape start all to keep her interested. I'm guessing the blueberry plant and grapes won't do so well, even though they are "harty versions for my zone", but it's worth a go.

Friday, June 6, 2014

In Summer!

(nod to Frozen)

1. Great school, good students. I love the teachers at JR Smith. I know Dekker's teacher especially just LOVES Dekker, and all the kids she teaches. Dekker was telling me how she was crying on the last day as they all left. Both kids came home with fantastic final report cards and perfect next year teacher assignments. It's so nice to feel good about where I'm sending my kids each day, who they are with, and all that they are learning.

2. Slumber parties in Dekker's room. Dekker has two twin beds and a full sized futon in his room. When we have lots of guests often the kids all end up piled up in his room. On weekends (I don't let them do it on school nights) Naomi and Josh end up in there a lot of the time too. Naomi was so excited for it to be summer in large part so that she can sleep in Dekker's room. I think it's so cute the way they all go in there and read or tell stories or play games. What a fun memory that will be for all of them.

3. Helper Josh. I love having my kids home for summer, but it is a bit of an adjustment for all of us. We unplugged the xbox and said no electronics (except by special/occasional permission) for the summer. At times it seems like it would be so much easier to just let them veg out- but they really are happier when they get outside and/or use their imagination. When we do get frustrated with each other, or I just get overwhelmed (TJ doesn't like having to share me with the rest of them so much) Josh steps in and helps out. He makes quesadillas, reads stories to the kids, helps clean- or the other day he was reading this book of mine about fun kitchen snacks/activities for kids and the next thing I knew he was making "banana snakes" and "dinosaur footprint sandwiches" for everyone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Did I forget to mention...?

1. Health. Right now we are all pretty healthy! This winter though, we went through a couple doozy stomach bugs, some ear infections, some nasty coughs and headaches. Sometimes you don't appreciate a blessing until you don't have it. I am very thankful for a healthy body though. Especially what I went though in January. Yeah, I didn't much feel like writing about it at the time. Sorry. It was January when I found a suspicious lump in my right breast. Yeah, never a fun thing. I've actually been through this scenario before. Back in college after my mission I found one. I freaked out and went to the doctor, who told me it was a "good find" and they sent me to get an ultra sound (my breasts were "too firm" for a mammogram; wish those days were still here!) The ultra sound showed that I have "fibracious breasts" and the lump, as well as two smaller ones we discovered in the process, were fluid filled an nothing concerning. They told me though, that since I had such lumpy breasts it would be good for me to be familiar with them- so I could spot strange changes. Not long after though, I got married and started having babies, and when you have babies and are nursing, your boobs change A LOT! So self exams kinda went on the back burner. Anyway, in January I was realizing my breasts had been really achy for a while, especially my right. I was doing a self exam when I felt the lump. It was bigger, and in a different spot than the one I'd found back in college. I didn't panic, but since I'd just been talking to Jenny about cancer, and I talked to my mom who told me that her geneticist had told her that her daughters needed to be more cautious (she had and overcame breast cancer at age 59, and we have lots of cancer history in our family,) even though her BRACS test came back negative, I knew I needed to go in and get it checked. My doctor said it was probably just another fluid filled cyst, but again, complimented me on my find and sent me for a mammogram. Unfortunately the mammogram showed it looking like more of a solid mass, so I was immediately sent in for an ultra sound, which also showed a more solid mass. I was referred to Dr. Hart, who is a very cool surgeon in Park City, who deals a lot with this sort of thing. She told me I would need to have a biopsy. Just a few days later, I lay on a gurney, attached to another ultra sound machine, and watched as she drilled into the mass to take several samples. Yeah, wasn't my best day. And then I had to wait. Meanwhile we headed to CA for our Disneyland trip. Luckily though, she called me the evening we got there and told me the results were benign! It was such a relief. Now I just have to go in EVERY year, or even six months for a mammogram. There you have it. My breast lump story.

2. Conversation about smoking. Tonight as we were finishing up dinner Dekker asked Jake if he smokes. A very random question. Jake and I were both kinda thrown off guard- the answer is NO, but it question kinda came out of nowhere. So I decided to ask him more questions. Why did he ask? Does he know anyone who smokes? Does he think smoking is good or bad? Why is it bad? He knew, it was bad but couldn't tell me why. So we talked about it from a spiritual aspect, and then from the physical perspective. And then talked about, if people know all of those bad things, why do they do it (usually peer pressure), and then the addictive nature of it. It was a really good conversation. He said that he's decided he won't ever smoke. Again, a reminder that there are so many lessons to teach as a parent.

3. Dance moves. Tonight, while Jake was doing the dishes, he turned on some music. TJ came in the kitchen and started to "bust a move". It was pretty jerky and a little off beat- but so stinkin' cute. I love toddlers' dancing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Being sensitive

1. Non-fasting Fast Sunday. This Sunday was "Fast Sunday". At our church the first Sunday of the month is set aside for members to fast. We offer the money we save on the meals we fast to those who are in need. The empty stomachs, or humility, that come with fasting help us feel closer to the spirit and focus our prayers and thoughts to a meaning or purpose on that day. On Fast Sunday there are no prepared talks for our general meeting- instead, members who feel prompted, may stand and share their testimonies impromptu with the congregation. Well, since we have church at 9am every Sunday, I am usually rushing to make sure everyone, including myself, is ready for church on time. MOST of the time I end up forgetting to feed myself breakfast, or an unpurposeful fast, even on the non fast Sundays. Then after we get to church I realize I'm starving and that my stomach is grumbling- so this last Sunday after I finished getting some cereal for TJ, I spotted a muffin in the pantry left over from soccer game treats the day before. I grabbed it and started to eat, so proud of myself for remembering to feed myself. I carried it into the closet with me when getting my shoes, and bumped into Jake, who reminded me it was Fast Sunday! ARG! Oh well. So I went to church feeling bad that I was not participating in the fast (As a side note- I find it really hard to fast when I'm pregnant or nursing, which has been most of the last 10 years, so I've been working hard at getting back into a full, purposeful fast this last year). The Lord must have forgiven me though, because despite my non-fasting state I felt the spirit so much this Sunday. Jake even asked me twice if I was OK, or why I was crying (I get teary-eyed when I'm feeling the Spirit sometimes). I really did come home with my "lamp full". I love Sundays like that.

2. Jake had to tell me he saw a bad image today. After the kids were in bed we were talking and he proceeded to tell me he saw something that he wished he hadn't. When I asked why/how he told me that it was a complete accident, but that it left him feeling horrible, especially because he'd been trying to show two other employees something on the computer, and so had inadvertently exposed them to it as well. He said that he closed it as quickly as he could, and pulled them each aside later to apologize. Obviously this was very unintentional, but I'm SO THANKFUL I have a husband who is sensitive enough to feel bad when he sees something he knows is inappropriate, even when on accident, and that he feels it necessary to apologize and confess it. It led to a great conversation between us about how we can avoid pornography when possible, how we SHOULD be sensitive to it's various forms, how to talk about it with each other and with our kids, and how to increase protections against it for us and our family. I love him!

3. Teaching respectful speech. Dekker is in first grade, and learning all kinds of "cool" things from friends at school. Lately he has started practicing he slang, phrases, or tone with us at home. I guess it's funny some times- but lately it's become a bit much. In fact, I know he doesn't mean to, but he's started to sound very disrespectful to us in some of the things he says. It's not anything really bad, but he'll say "REALLY, Mom?!" with this incredulous tone, or "WOW!" in a sort of, "I can't believe you just said/did that" sort of way. Jake's corrected him a couple times lately, saying "Don't talk to us that way." But tonight Jake stopped to really try and explain it to him. Dekker confessed he didn't understand what it meant to be "disrespectful". Jake took the time to help him understand that the WAY we talk to people demonstrates how we see, or feel towards someone, and how how sarcasm or jokes that may be OK with friends, shouldn't be used towards parents or people you respect or look up to. Dekker got it, and said that he really wants to do better, and we can correct him when we hear him do it inappropriately. There are so many lessons to teach as a parent. I hope we get through to them on lessons such as these. Some times it's the little things that matter most.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

1. Park weather. Today Stacey invited us to meet her and her girls at the park for a picnic. Liz Came with her two girls too. I ha Bryn with me (Naomi's preschool friend). It was beautiful! Then after dinner I suggested we walk to the park as a family- so off we went. It was so nice!

2. Family coming to the neighborhood. Rick and Jen and their cute kiddos are moving to Heber. We didn't really even push it on them. When they were here for spring break they were mostly looking in the North Dalt Lake area since they thought they had to be within a certain distance of the hospital. I think the good school JR Smith, and especially the cleaner air (especially with Jen's increases cancer risk) swayed them to the area when Rick got approval. So I went and looked at a couple more homes and videoed them, and after a lot of back and forth on one, they finally came to terms! If all goes well they should close June 9th and move in around the 23rd. It will be fun to have family so close. I've even requested Dekker and McKyla be in the same class!

3. An amazing baseball coach! Jake was so disappointed with Josh's coach and program last year- but this year we somehow lucked out and got the best coach. He's an older man who loves the game. They've practiced 5 times this last week an he set up a batting cage on his property with a machine pitch and everything. It's awesome!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

General Conference and Spring Break

1. General Conference. It was just what I needed. Spiritually uplifting, inspiring, and an excuse to relax at home for a weekend. I only require my kids to sit through one entire session. They are, after all, 2 hours long each. Most of Saturday they were doing other things, but did come and listen to bits here and there. Sunday I created key word treat jars. Put different treats with different key words (prophet, temple, prayer, etc) and if they heard the word they could go and get the treat from that jar. I've done coloring packets and things in the past, and I don't know if it's just that my kids are getting older- but this worked really well. They were really listening and at least knew some of the key concepts that were talked about. The overall takeaways for me were about loving communication, kindness, while standing up for truth and righteousness. One of my favorite talks was by Elder Teh, titled, "Where Your Treasure Is" When he spoke of visiting earthquake and typhoon victims in the Philippines. He said that as they visited people who were living out of tents in meager situations and asked how they people were, over and over again the response was, "We are OK". It just reminded me to keep things in perspective and remember how blessed I am.

2. Beautiful spring break weather. Last year for spring break I planned a "staycation" and had some fun activities I wanted to do with the kids each day. However the weather was so cold and/or wet it really messed up most of my plans. Most of the kid's friends were gone on trips to warmer locations, and so we couldn't even arrange many playdates. I remember thinking, "Next year we've got to plan on going somewhere." However, since we'd gone to Colorado for New Years, Disneyland in January, Jake to Mexico in February, and Jake and I to the Virgin Islands in March, Jake really didn't feel like he could take too much more time off. We still thought we might do a long weekend in Moab or something, but then we found out that Jake's brother and his family had spring break the same week and were coming down, and then his mom and grandma decided to come for a couple days too. So we decided we'd stick around here again. The weather was beautiful the whole week this time though!!! This week the weather isn't as nice again, but I'm so glad it cooperated to give us a nice enjoyable spring break!

3. Company for Spring Break. Like I mentioned, we ended up having family here most the week. Monday I took the kids to see Muppets Most wanted, which I had promised them I'd do (I figured it was a safe promise, cause it's something we could do even if the weather was bad), but then we had family here Monday night to Friday morning. They got to play with cousins, we went to the zoo, we took them swimming at the Kamas pool and we helped Rick's family look for homes. I even got to go with the ladies to swim in the crater which I haven't done for years. Friday they all left. Naomi and TJ went to play at Ferguson's in the afternoon so Jake and I could go to Park City Mountain Resort with Josh and Dekker. We had a fun time snowboarind (Dex skiing) with them. Then Friday night we had the Kearns family (who were in town also during their Washington spring break) over for dinner and they stayed the night before heading home the next day. It was a great spring break!

4. New couches. I also talked Jake into letting me buy a new sectional for downstairs. I've been wanting to for a while (we moved the other one upstairs and the OLD couches downstairs to make sure I liked the other sectional upstairs before replacing the old couches). Rick had said he really wanted to do a movie night in our new "theater room" and watch The Hobbit pt 2. I convinced Jake that it would be a lot more comfortable for everyone if we had a sectional that would seat a lot of people better, and that we could use our existing 1 year same as cash credit at RC Willey to get something. So I went to the RC Willey Outlet and found the perfect L shaped sectional on Monday (after I took the kids to the movie) and then Jake somehow fit it in his truck and brought it home, and when Rick got here he helped him move it in:)


Friday, April 4, 2014

my voice (updated)

I decided to respond to Kjerstin's email where she said she was not going to post my, or my mom's comments. I simply said it was her blog and she could do what she like, but I thought that censoring our comments contradicted the last two paragraphs of her post.

I saw today that she did in fact post both my, and my mom's comments. That made me very happy. Listening to all the voices and opinions out there can be exhausting, but it is important to try. Especially when we have established an opinion or voice on a specific topic, or if we are asked to be part of a conversation, it's important to step up and participate both on the speaking and listening side.

I think that's what I learned from all of this. I often shy away from such conversations because I don't like conflict. It is how we learn though. So it's important.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Because I have a voice too

I have an awesome niece named Kjerstin. Seriously. This girl could speak in complete sentences when she was two. She's always had spunk. Finished high school early, went on to college, and then got accepted to her Master Program of choice in journalism. Amazing, right? She's always had a lot to say and she's not afraid to speak her mind. Though I love her to pieces, we do disagree on a few social issues. I remember I responded to one thing a long time back, and later wished I'd said it better or not at all. Since then, I mostly keep quiet. In fact, with FaceBook being everyone's soapbox lately, I've chosen to keep quiet about a lot of things. I don't know if that's good or bad, but its what I've had to do. Anyway, she posted something on her blog the other day that I just could not ignore. At the end of her post she asked for openness and intelligent conversation. In the best way I could, I tried to respond. Apparently my mom did too, because later we both got an email saying she was choosing not to post or respond to either of our comments and she was bothered we both referenced her personal background. I was hurt. I spent a lot of time really trying to consider her words and tried to respond to them respectfully and honestly. Don't I deserve to have my voice heard too? I'm tired of biting my tongue just because I believe differently than someone else.

Here's the link to her post: http://kjerstinwood.com/2014/04/01/something-that-needs-to-be-said/#respond  (Where you can also see some of her other works that I feel better demonstrate her skill with words)

And here is my response. Just so I don't feel so censored.

Kjerstin,
It’s late and I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I kept thinking about your post, and I felt I needed to reply.
I want to start off by saying you are a smart girl and I can tell this/these are subjects that are very sensitive and personal to you. I want you to know that I re-read and really thought about what you’ve said. I’ve tried to read and really “listen” to your opinions. I hope you will do the same for me. Thank you for an opportunity to engage in intelligent conversation.
I want to only speak to your thoughts on the “pro-life” “pro-choice” subject. Here you have interwoven it with the subject of “marriage equality”. I see them as two very different subjects that should be treated as such. I do feel that often us “religious” folk are seen as hard-headed and lumped into a very conservative category who all think alike. I’d like you to reconsider that assumption. I for one admit that my opinions regarding same-sex marriage are greatly influenced by religious beliefs- but do try to remember that when it comes to political context. While I would say I’m conservative in my views on that subject, my views on the abortion issue are undecided and in the middle, can I tell you why? Maybe I have some thoughts you haven’t yet heard or thought of… if you have already heard these thoughts, at least know that by engaging me in this conversation you’ve forced me to take some time to really think about an issue, that for most of us is easier to just sidestep.
I don’t criticize those who choose to defend a life they believe has begun in the womb. They’ve helped give voice to the voiceless. Having been pregnant and carried life, I also believe that a spirit is attached to life long before birth. I also believe though, that man cannot thwart God’s plans. If He has spirits He wants to send to this earth, I’m pretty sure He will find a way to do it. So are they really taking away a life??? Tough question. But I also see flaw in your argument that we are taking away a woman’s “life” by not permitting abortion. As you have alluded, a person of 20-30 years has experienced/owned more “life” than a fetus. That’s because much of “life” is experience, and much experience an growth happens when we go through and survive difficult things.
I don’t believe that today, in the U.S., anyone can claim a true lack of financial means or education to birth a child. To raise a child, maybe. But to birth a child, no. I know here in Utah, a woman can go to a hospital, have a baby, place the baby with the state and leave. Free of charge. I know from living in south Texas, that man illegal citizens come to give birth to babies in U.S. hospitals because they will not be denied care. Remember what I said about life and learning coming through experience? Carrying and birthing a child under less-desirable circumstances is certainly a learning experience. A hard one. But it is one that I guarantee will teach and give life to the mother- not take it away. I think your mom would agree to that. Pregnancy and motherhood change life, but they don’t take it away. If a woman feels unprepared to support and raise a child, she can give that child up for adoption. I remember very well the tears of a family member who was on a waiting list to adopt when she found out your mom was no longer considering the option of adopting. I’m in NO WAY condemning your mom’s choice to keep you. As you said, everyone has different aspects of life that influence their choices. I just want to point out by legalizing abortion, many mothers continue to look past the CHOICE of adoption. So many young mothers think that their babies will go unwanted. That is NOT true. I have MANY friends on waiting lists to adopt right now! By “choosing” abortion, they are sidestepping any “life” or learning they will gain by accepting responsibility for getting pregnant. If you don’t want to have a baby, don’t get pregnant! (Rape I see as a difficult exception.)
I know. Right now you’re thinking, “didn’t she say she’s on the fence/middle of this argument?! Sounds like she’s pretty pro-life to me!”
Where I think your best argument lies is simply in the fear of someone feeling so afraid of the “life” that will change if they carry a child, that they choose a scary place and/or means to end it anyway. I don’t pretend to think I can convince everyone there is merit in accepting the responsibility of pregnancy- even when proclaiming the benefits of the adoption choice. I really don’t feel the government should have the right to penalize/imprison someone for choosing to abort their baby. I also don’t think the government should be in the business of financially supporting (through government insurance and buildings) the practice that simply eliminates responsibility for one’s choice. And the government WILL be in that business if it is legalized. That probably sounds very judgmental; that I would expect someone to take responsibility for their unwanted pregnancy. But it’s my guess that the reason they would consider an abortion is because they’re already fearful of judgment and the consequences their choice will bring! If we could just keep from judging others on their opinions and choices it would make everyone’s life easier. Doesn’t that last sentence agree with what you’re saying?
See, we do agree on something. :)
Love,
Your Aunt Jaime

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jake is gone for a few days.

1. I miss him fiercely. The kids do too. This is both good and bad. Bad, because right now we are sad he's not here. Dekker randomly states that he misses Dad. Josh can't wait to call and tell him about wrestling practice. Naomi says she misses him when she's sad and wants his sympathy. Even TJ searches for him in the mornings when he wakes up. I miss anticipating him walking through the garage doors at nights and being able to tell him about my day and have me tell him about his. It's good though, because it means we love him and he's an important part of our every day lives. How sad it would be if we didn't notice/miss him when he's gone.

2. Easy dinners. When Dad's away though, I don't stress over a nice dinner. Make-your-own pizzas, pastas, and waffles will do. Certainly not a diet that we should stick to long term- but it's nice to take a break from more labor intensive and kid whining meals.

3.  A bit more "me time". I want to be clear. I miss having Jake around. I do. But, if I haven't unloaded (or maybe it just finally got loaded and is still running even) the dishwasher before dinner and pull out paper plates instead- I don't feel so bad. Not that Jake is a taskmaster. He works hard though, and is a good provider to our family. So I work hard to make sure the home is welcoming when he gets home. I'm not the perfect housewife, but I try to have things in decent order. So when he's gone, I loosen up a bit. Right now our bed isn't made and I haven't done my hair or make-up. I'll happily return to that when he's on his way home- but I'll take a break for a couple days! ;)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A great compliment

One of the best compliments someone can give to me as a mom is a compliment to one of my kids. I think it's interested that though I don't post too frequently any more, one of my last posts was after a parent teacher interaction. Tonight I am writing again after having been to a parent teacher conference!

Last night I met with Dekker's teacher- who had nothing but good things to say about him. She said that while some teachers don't take the time at third quarter to meet with parent of those kids who are doing well, she wanted to "celebrate Dekker" with me. She pulled out his recent assessment sheet to show that he literally had scored the maximum points in every category. She said she also appreciates his smile and kindness in class!

Josh's teacher hasn't requested a time to meet with me, but had said we could stop by during her open hours on Thursday (tonight). Since I was already there though, I thought I'd swing by her room and see if she had a minute. She welcomes me right in, saying she happened to have a no show and quickly pulled out Josh's reports. Again, she had only good things to say. She said that though he is at the top of his class academically, he doesn't act as if he is better or above the others or what they are learning. She complimented his ability to stay engaged in class and look for opportunities to learn. She also said she's amazed that he takes the time to compliment and encourage others around him.

You'll have to excuse me for bragging about my boys. It really is the greatest compliment to me. Not that I feel I am the cause for all they're strengths. I was not a poor student, but especially early on, I was not particularly exceptional either. I encourage good study habits and require homework before play, but I'm not spending extra time with them on assignments usually, and I only briefly supervise or review their work before they take it to turn in. Yet, I love that parent teacher conferences are a joy, not a worry. It makes me so happy, even though I'm pretty sure it has little TJ nothing to do with me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Overwhelmed, yet overwhelmed.

Yesterday was not what I would call a "good day". Mostly because I felt that I was not succeeding at anything. I was feeling overwhelmed by all my tasks/roles and felt that while I was trying to keep up, I hadn't really fulfilled any of them the way I'd wanted to that day. I think part of this is because I just recently started a 120 hour online course as a prerequisite to taking the exam to get my real estate agent license. I've thought about doing this for a VERY long time, but since Jake's brother and sister will be moving here at the end of June, I thought it'd be good motivation to get it done so that I can help them buy a home. That means I need to get in my 120 hours pretty quick. I set the goal to put in 2-3 hours each day. I thought that was very reasonable. Turns out though, that I'm a pretty busy gal, and squeezing those in hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be. Honestly, even before starting the licensing course I was feeling pressed for time. I'm a mom to four kids, a wife, a chef, a taxi, a financial clerk, a teacher, a volunteer, a health advisor, and more!

Funny thing though, even though I'm overwhelmed by all I "have to do", I'm also overwhelmed by the blessings that surround me!!! When I feel tired or overwhelmed, I just have to remind myself how lucky I am that this is my life. Remind myself that being involved in and surrounded by so many GOOD THINGS is a pretty good "challenge" to have.

In other words, yes, I am both overwhelmed by all that I "have to do" and overwhelmed by all that I HAVE!!!

1. I'm getting my Real Estate license. Even though it's been harder than I though, it feels so good to be studying something again, and doing something I'm excited about and interested in. And I'm so happy that I can do something like this because I want to. While it's nice to know I'll have this new title/skill under my belt, it's also nice to know that I don't HAVE to dedicate tons of time and energy into if I don't want to. In other words, I'm glad I'm doing this because I WANT to not because I NEED to.

2. TJ's loves. All my kids have been sweet and pretty snuggly- but TJ beats them all. I love the constant hugs, kisses, pats on the backs, and head on my shoulder moment. Seriously- all the time people are telling me how much they adore his affectionate personality. I think I could sell the joy this kid gives with his loves!

3. Perspective through scriptures. I was reading about the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon the other night. I was thinking about their journey to the promised land as a parable to our journey through life. I love that The Lord gives us instructions (what type of ship) at times, and requires us to find answers (lights in the boats) at other times. But ultimately, He does give us lights and safety for our journey. He knows the seas may get rough- but he is watching over us always.