Sunday, December 29, 2013

memories and glimpses

After Tanner was born, when we were trying to decide if we should have another baby, what finally pushed me to have Sadie was one thing, really. I would picture our family, our future family, and it seemed incomplete. It was crazy and chaotic at the moment, but when I looked ahead 20 years I just knew someone was missing. I wondered if that someone was Macie but ultimately this little glimpse is what made me want that one more.

The image I would see of our future family was always at Christmas. A perfect, cute little Christmas. When I think of Christmases growing up I have such vivid memories. My siblings and I would make a tent with blankets and sheets each Christmas Eve, often spending a large part of the day perfecting it. We would sleep in there, and my older brother and I would try to stay up all night. I think once we did it, by watching some ridiculous black and white movie on TV that was the only option back in the olden days. :) Another memory/tradition was going to the Los Angeles temple on Christmas Eve. Also, on Christmas morning we took turns opening presents. The stockings were always EXPLODING with tons and tons of goodies--scissors and pens and gum being some of my favorites.

I struggle discovering and establishing traditions for my own family. We are working on it. This year my parents and little brother were here for Christmas. Luckily, Adam was a lifesaver and helped the kids build a tent in the boys' room. (We won't talk about which ONE child actually ended up sleeping in there - hint: it wasn't Adam), but it was really cool. I think that might be a tradition that continues on. Christmas morning is always so magical for me, because while the kids are looking around and checking out gifts with stars in their eyes, I am watching their faces trying to soak it all in and remember it forever.

This Christmas we tried to simplify it just a little bit. Which doesn't really work out when you consider all the gifts other people give...but it was fun to watch it all. I just love Christmas. And I can't wait for future Christmases, especially the ones I have pictured in my mind.

The tent^^^

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

not to be forgotten

Some noteworthy items:

How Sadie, when she wants something, gets in my face and nods her head and smiles until I figure out what she wants. (Way way better than screaming, I must say.)
How Christmas magic is alive and well. Watching my kids get soo, so excited about buying a gift for one of their siblings is just the best. (They each happened to draw the name of the person just younger, which works out so perfectly.)
How December is relatively NOT busy. A first, maybe a last, and definitely welcome!
How Sadie is taking 5-6 steps and claps for herself anytime she does it.
How Sadie is sleeping well (relatively speaking, of course). Too bad Tanner isn't!
All the Christmas lights!
That this is one of three months during the year that work is "slow" for Spencer.
Being awake at 1 am is easier when the tree is all lit up. Trying to convince myself...

(I am not a huge fan of colored tree lights, I think I have finally decided...)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

of epic proportions

I remember how the first few years of marriage, all of our "vacations" were to see family. And while that is a great thing, something oh so important, we decided several years ago that our family needed our own "vacations" (I use that word loosely, because WE don't do "vacations"...but anyway...).

We knew months ago that we were going to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. I still have 4 living grandparents, and it has been years since we have seen them. I want my kids to know how cool it is to have so many great-grandparents; I never had that. But thinking of driving that far with Sadie was giving me anxiety. Spencer's solution was to pile into the motorhome. $$$. Then his adventurous side kicked in and he planned a whole trip and came to me for approval. After a lot of convincing, we were on our way.

Our kids get the whole week of Thanksgiving off, so we pulled them out early the Thursday before and took off. Our goal was to get to Barstow to sleep in a Flying J parking lot (the only FREE part of this entire trip). We made it and it wasn't too bad. We celebrated our anniversary the next morning by eating at Denny's. We lead a glamorous life, I'm telling you. 11 years baby.

Then we were off to Williams, AZ. Unfortunately we were headed to a few days of bad weather. Fortunately, we were prepared because we were watching weather like crazy people. We made it to Williams with enough time to swim in the hotel/RV park's pool/hot tub and then it was time to tell the kids the surprise we had been teasing them with. Spencer had booked tickets to go on the Grand Canyon Railway's Polar Express train. The boys were especially excited. And what better way to spend our anniversary?

I'm telling you, this was really cool. The "waiters" were dressed like the ones in the movie, they served hot chocolate and cookies (some of the best cookies I have tasted, actually), they read us the book, and we went to the North Pole where we could see Santa waving to us. Santa boarded the back of the train and made his way up to our car. We were in the first car so we had to sing Christmas carols for a LOOONG time. I was frustrated with a baby who was being horrible, but when Santa walked in and my kids got to talk to him for a minute it was just magical. They each got a bell. I thought Tanner had died and gone to heaven.

We walked back to the motorhome in the light rain, sad we couldn't explore the town of Williams because it looked really cool. We made plans to come back a few days later.

The next morning it was snowing quite a bit. We checked the radar and saw a gap so we packed up real fast and took off on the hour drive into the Grand Canyon. Right as we got there it started snowing again, and there was quite a bit of snow on the ground already. The trailer campground where we were staying was pretty empty (imagine that). After getting set up we decided to go out and freeze. And freeze we did! The canyon was so foggy that we couldn't really see anything, but we did happen upon elk all over the place.

It snowed so much that night. Being Sunday, we found out about the Grand Canyon branch and went to church. And low and behold, when we came out from church the sun was out! We decided to drive around a little and I am so glad - it was gorgeous out! The Grand Canyon is amazing and beautiful. Other than Sadie crying a lot of the whole time, it was really fun. I can tell you one thing the federal government does RIGHT - national parks. This was our second national park this year (4th overall. i think).

The kids also finished their junior ranger stuff and got sworn in after the ranger told them all about California condors (there are 73 in the Grand Canyon).

We had one more day, and it was gorgeous. We hiked (not far - too scary with little kids) and went to more look-outs. Spencer also took the big kids to see the movie at the visitor's center.


By the end, I was grateful for kids who sometimes sleep well, hot showers, and good food.

On our way to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving we stopped in Williams and walked around. Cutest town! I am pretty sure (and so are many others) that it was the inspiration for Radiator Springs. Tanner agrees with me. Williams was the last town to be bypassed by I-40.

Then it was on to Hoover Dam. Spencer has FOREVER wanted to take the dam tour. I finally obliged and almost DIED a slow death of boredom but he was happy. The new bridge is pretty cool too.

I was so happy to have 6 of us out of 250 square feet (motorhome) and into real beds in my grandma's house. More to come...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stand in holy places

This year's YW theme was perhaps my favorite ever. We took the theme and ran with it for YW in excellence last week. We have started in the last year giving the girls more opportunities to speak (to shine, really).

Each of the girls brought a pair of shoes and talked about how they stand in holy places. We heard about Trek, modesty, sports teams, the temple, etc. I was so moved by the strength and courage of these girls and when it was my turn I told them how much better they are than I ever was. 

Like I said, the whole theme was shoes. I talked about not letting your testimony go "flat." Sometimes flats are comfortable, but there are times we need to push ourselves a little. ( I am one to talk.)

Our wonderful secretary made the most incredible high heel cupcakes. She saves our bacon a lot, I am telling you. Danielle (1st counselor) had her baby girl the night before, and had to miss. But her baby is stinking cute so all is forgiven.
Such a fabulous night!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

a birthday

First birthdays are so fun. Perhaps my favorite. The babies don't care at all...until you let them have some cake.

We call Sadie our piggy for lots of reasons. She is no longer a chunk but let's just say that sometimes I feel like she is a piggy in a mud bath... So I decided to do this pig pen cake based on others I have seen online.

I love how it turned out! I made the pink pigs two days prior, as they needed time to harden. The cake was made of two standard 8 inch cakes, with chocolate frosting and lots and lots of kit kats around the outside.

Sadie just watched us as we sang to her and she ate her cake with two fingers, very slowly. At the end she finally got a little bit messy. Perhaps the best part of the day for her was getting 4 balloons to play with. Or getting a peppermint milkshake from Chick-Fil-A. She was happy and pleasant the entire day and I am just so thankful for this little girl.

I love birthdays!

Friday, November 8, 2013

To my baby


You get to be my baby forever. Because you are the youngest, this is how I imagine I will refer to you, even when you are a teenager. And when you are an adult. I wonder how much it will bother you and how much you will like it.

Today you are ONE. A year already! When you are happy (not as often as I'd like), you have the most FUN personality. You get in front of me and grin your big 6-tooth grin. You yell and smile, practically begging me to mimic you. That game could go on forever. The other day when the doctor asked me if you clapped yet, you started clapping for her! I love when other people see how smart you are.

I am wondering if you have an ear infection. You haven't had one yet. Stay tuned...

You are a horrible sleeper. (What else is new?) Good thing you are cute.

Your siblings ADORE you. And vice versa. I love when you see them running to you across the playground - you pretty much jump out of your skin. And you finally like your dad. Oh thank you for liking your dad.

We made the nursing thing last 10 1/2 months. That was the very most I could muster. You like to pinch and scratch my neck, and I got mastitis 3 times with you. So, DONE. Hallelujah. I'm still sad about it deep down.

I love love love your hair. And your eyes. It is fun to get stopped every day by strangers who want to stare at you and admire you. It's my favorite. Unless we are in a rush.

Happy Birthday little lady. We made it.

(Just so I have it down: 20 lbs 5 oz and 29.5 inches long
3 words: Hiiii, dada, mama)

Monday, October 28, 2013

our weekend in pictures


(Tanner was still feeling pretty awful - worst stomach bug ever)

I do need to say something about Macie's birthday. I want to remember that it was a crazy day, but when I left to pick up the kids from school I told Spencer to cut the "M" in the pumpkin and when I got back 25 minutes later it was DONE and ready (he was working from home and was super distracted so he won major points for actually hearing me and doing what I asked). It was a gorgeous day with a slight breeze, and as we released the balloons (3 pink and two purple with polka dots) we could see them for about 7 minutes in the sky. That was really fun. Also, my dear friend Danielle supplied the cupcakes...what a lifesaver she is.

We rounded out the weekend with two Halloween parties and our last time (in 2013) at Great America. Perfect weekend.

Friday, October 25, 2013

a re-post

Yesterday wasn't my favorite day. My adorable 3 year old threw up on and off all day, so I didn't get the preparations for Macie's birthday done. So, before I went to bed (I think I slept 3 hours two nights ago) I decided to read blog archives from when she passed away.

5 years is a long time. Time DOES heal, but it also causes one to forget. I didn't put too many details on this blog, but I wrote pretty much every detail possible in the days and weeks following her death, and for that I am so grateful, as a lot has faded. As much as experiencing great sorrow is something you wouldn't wish on anybody, it has made happy times so much more joyous. I think I started to FEEL a lot more 5 years ago when I was forced to face some really tough emotions. Macie changed me, permanently.

Here is the re-post from October 2008 - one of just two blog posts Spencer has written. And I am so glad he did. It gave me just the boost that I needed. (Here's to hoping for healthy bodies in the coming days...):


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Blessings

Cheri and I wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and kind words during this difficult time. We've been overwhelmed with the love we have felt both from family and friends, but more importantly from our Heavenly Father. Over the past few days, we can't help but think of the many blessings large and small that we have witnessed. The hospital room where we stayed literally became heaven on earth and we are eternally grateful for the choice experiences we had there. There are not enough words to describe nor list all that we are thankful for from wonderful nurses/doctors/volunteers at the hospital to Cheri's Mom dropping everything to come to our aid, to a loving Bishop and Relief Society President who have gone above and beyond, to our wonderful family all over the country pouring out their love and support. The most important blessing we feel thankful for is Macie choosing to be part of our Family. We are honored and humbled by her.

Macie really is our angel. She was so perfect in every way and we know that she will be always be with us. We will be having a graveside service for her on Thursday and although we know that will be a hard day for us, we know that our separation from her will be temporary. A few scriptures/quotes have given us comfort:

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (JST, Matthew 19:14)

"The Lord takes away many, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man and the sorrows and evils of the world. They are too pure, too lovely, to live on earth. Therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning, we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil and we shall soon have them again." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 196-197).

"...that the mother who laid her little child, being deprived of the privilege and satisfaction of raising it up to manhood or womanhood would, after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure, and even more that it would have been possible to have in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of the stature of [her] spirit..." (as quoted in Gospel Doctrine, p. 454).

Very fitting for us is that Macie will be buried in a cemetery called "Pioneer Cemetery" and will be with other little angels like herself who went before their families and like Pioneers of old paved the way for others to follow. Our family hopes and prays to live our life worthy to join our precious Macie in the highest degree of Celestial glory.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

nearing the end?

Remember when people used to blog?

I think the time for this blog to wrap up might be near. I get sick of it, I don't have time for it (or I choose not to have time for it), and I feel like other forms of social media are more instananeous and fun, and slightly more private.

But then I see my kids (the two who read) lounging on a couch, reading our old blog books. I see this quite often. And they laugh and we talk and reminisce...and I just don't see how I can stop.

I think I am nearing the end of writing for other people to read. As of this moment I am planning to keep doing it, less frequently, so I can keep printing them out. Maybe going private? My first two kids have baby books and my last two don't. I feel like our blog/blog books sorta make up for that. My scrapbooking has gone by the wayside as nowadays PTA, Young Women, growing children, and other things take up the time that I used to have for that stuff.

Maybe I will finish off 2013. And then if you are interested at all, you'll have to be my facebook friend or follow me on Instagram. Which...REALLY, that isn't asking a lot I don't think. Right?

This season of life is so fun. I am just wanting to so badly to be wrapped up in it as much as possible because I won't get it back. And I LOVE IT. The joy of having kids is not at all overrated.

For now, here are some fun pictures of my big kids as they wrap up their soccer season.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

pushing buttons

There is a special spot in my heart for this boy.
There always will be. Even though he has told me twice that I have a big bum.

His cute face and platinum blonde hair just get me. His long eyelashes and cute voice... I adore him.

Last week he was sitting by me holding my phone and smiled as he said, "Mom, I like to push buttons." I smiled at the irony and have thought about that a lot since then. He does sometimes push my buttons. All my kids do. But I am so happy and wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

I have worked hard the last two weeks to be more present in their lives. I pretty much play with Sadie and Tanner all day. I have halted doing most extracurricular things, or things for myself that I used to. Sadie loves (loves!) to be out in the dirt so I let her crawl all over the front yard getting as dirty as possible. She also enjoys crawling all over me so I am always on the floor. Tanner loves to read books so we are doing more of that. The simple things that just get harder with more going on and more kids.

It's ok if you push my buttons sometimes, little buddy. When you aren't around to push them as much I will miss it so much!

And here I am with my cute baby. And both of us doing the Sadie bull face. I think she is pretty awesome.