The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Warriors

I know I brag on fb and my blog all the time about my kids. 
I know it is a little obnoxious, actually. 
But there are only two people you can get away with obnoxiously bragging about your kids to.  Well, my mom is dead and my husband is always gone, so people of the internet, I apologize.

That being said...General Conference earlier this month made me totally freaked out that my kids are not ready for what the world is going to throw at them  made me charged up and ready to be a better mom at spiritually preparing my kids. 

(I can't even handle Jackson now commonly using the word butt since he has started public school.)

We started doing better about reading scriptures in the morning and night when we say family prayer.  We also started talking about and memorizing the 13 Articles of Faith or 13 tenets of what we believe in our church.  We've finished the first 2.

It made my heart glow to hear both Jackson, age 5 and Samson, age 3.5, tell me proudly tonight:

1.  We believe in God, the Eternal Father; and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2.  We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

(And yes, they can tell you what transgression means, too.)

(Now, Sam is a little overly-enthusiastic about people being punished...He raises his fist and everything.  We are probably going to have to revisit the loving Heavenly Father discussion and the fact that we have the atonement so we can repent part.)

They may not be ready for battle yet, but the first step in being a warrior of the Lord is understanding what you believe, right?

I'm Mormon

Normally, I read one bedtime book and the boys trade off who gets to pick the book or it is a reward for who gets jammies on and teeth brushed first after getting out of the bathtub.  Tonight, we were a little ahead of schedule, and I was feeling particularly loving-motherish, so I let the boys each pick a book.  After we read the caterpillar-turned-into-a-butterfly story that Sam picked, we read several stories in the My First Book of Mormon Stories book that Jackson picked.  Usually when we read that book, I open it up and read the first few stories and we stop. Tonight, I decided to skip to the last few stories since we don't read those stories as often. 

We read about Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah and their spree of wickedness and call to repentance.  We read about Ammon the Missonary and his protection of the sheep of the Lamanite king.  We read about the People of Ammon burying their weapons and the promise of peace that they made.  We read about the Army of Helaman, whose mothers taught them to trust that Jesus would protect them if they did what was right.  We read about how the Lord protected Samuel the Lamanite from angry people trying to shoot him with arrows as he stood on the city wall and prophesied of the birth of Christ.  We read about the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. We discussed the concept of resurrection.  And then we read about Mormon.

For those who don't know, The Book of Mormon was named after this prophet.  Two hundred years after the resurrected Christ visited Jerusalem and then visited his "other sheep" in the Promised Land, the people of the Promised Land lived in peace.  Then they started to forget his teachings, and began to fight and war with each other.  Mormon became the leader of the people, and tried to teach them to be good, but they would not be called to repentance.  All the prophets since Nephi and his family left Jerusalem had kept records of their people and these records had been passed down through the leaders and prophets of the Lord for about 600 years before the birth of Christ and a little over 400 years after his death until they were in the hands of Mormon.  Mormon read all the records and recorded an abridged version on the Golden Plates.  Then he gave the plates to his son, Moroni, who buried them in the hill Cumorah to preserve them while the warring Lamanite and Nephite peoples destroyed themselves all around him.  The angel "Captain" Moroni, whose statue you will see displayed proudly on our temples, appeared to a young boy named Joseph Smith 1400 years later and told him where to find the golden plates.  Joseph Smith then translated the records (with divine assistance) into what we know as the Book of Mormon, another record of Jesus Christ.

Annnnyway, as I read to my boys about Mormon, it struck me.  In my family, I'm him.  I'm the last Mormon left in the family I grew up in, and it is my duty to pass on to my children what I know to be true and hope that they will find a way to pass it on as well.  Suddenly I got a little scared.  I felt a tremendous burden on my head to raise my children strong in the Gospel, so strong that they can stand against what Satan and the world will throw at them and be unmoved and steadfast in their beliefs, so strong that they will be like the armies of Helaman: righteous young warriors.  I started imagining how afraid and yet how brave Mormon had to be, and I heard a whispering that to strengthen myself, I needed to go read more from his books in the BOM.

So that is what I will do.  Although my mentor in all things spiritual and motherly has now left this earth to go live with her beloved Heavenly Father, I know she is still with me, and I know He is, too.  It IS a great responsibility.  It is for all of us moms of this generation because the world is so evil and the system of unity that the Lord set up to help us on our journey, the family, is broken down more and more everyday.  But if I need help, I am not alone.  I am never alone.  I have the ability to ask for help and receive it when I need it, and I have the scriptures to search for answers. I also have support systems in the strong family I married into, and my church family.  No, I am far from alone.

Questions about anything I wrote?  You can go to for your own answers.  :)

Ally turns one!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One weekend in September

We went as a family to a Saginaw High School football game for the first time, and learned everyone can stay up past their respective bedtimes...except Ally.  Oy Vey!!

Then I worked on Ally's one year birthday present. I restored an old play kitchen/kids cupboard that was once mine. As a little girl, this cupboard served a play kitchen, a dollhouse, a bookshelf, etc. It wa much loved. And you could tell when I brough it home with me. I don't have any before pictures, sadly, but the transformation is amazing. I am quite pleased with myself. The entire shelf was a bleach white color, the trim around the upper doors were Pepto pink, as was the decorative piece on top. I sanded it down completely, restained it with Minwax Walnut, then gave it two coats of Olympic Avocado that I had leftover from when I painted the downstairs bathroom when we first moved in. After I painted it, I sanded it down to make it look as worn as it really is, and to add character. Then I changed out the knobs from white glass (some were chipped) to these transparent light pink glass knobs that I LOVE! Last, I used liquid starch to wallpaper the back of the whole shelf with fabric. (The best thing about using liquid starch is that if I decide to change the fabric to match new decor in Ally's room, the fabric peels right off easily, and I can switch it out for new fabric. Even the fabric comes out unharmed after one rinse through the washing machine.)

I took pictures while the starch was still wet, so the fabric looks cloudy and shadowed in these pictures.  Now that it is dry, you can't see the places where I stopped painting through the fabric.  I shoudl take new pictures, and some better close-ups of the detail, but I'm too lazy.  So...What do you all think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Race for the Cure

I haven't posted much about my mom's death.  It is still so hard to write about in detail.  I don't like getting emotional, especially when it serves no purpose, so I just avoid it.  I don't bottle it up or anything; I do talk about her with my family and cry sometimes, but I can't talk about it with just anyone, not in detail anyway.  It is almost like it does her a disservce if you didn't know her and know how wonderful she really was.  Everyone loved her.


LOVED. her.

On Saturday, I came to Tulsa to be a part of Race for the Cure.  It was something we all used to do together, as a family.  It had become a sort of tradition.  A couple of years ago, I ran the 5K, too, for the first time, and we all got hot pink wigs.  It was fun.

Last year at RFTC time, I was a few weeks from delivery with Ally, Megan was too busy with her new salon, and I don't know what Conor was doing, but my mom went alone.  She was still healthy then, and none of us knew how little time we had left with her or I believe we all would have been there, no matter what. 

Race for the Cure stirred up a lot of emotions for me this year.  I started a team in her honor, Team M&M.  Well, actually it was for her and her good friend Margo McLea, who died a few months after my mom did.

Tonight I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, remembering random things about my mom, and reflecting on how many people came to Race for the Cure in honor of these two wonderful ladies.  I remembered a phone conversation I had with my mom a few weeks before she passed.  She hadn't yet started hospice care, but she was a few days, maybe a week from it, and she knew it.  Margo had just been re-diagnosed, and she had come to see my mom.  Her future was grim, and she knew she would be following my mom into hospice care shortly.  My mom talked to Margo about what would probably begin to happen to her, which systems were shutting down, and what drugs had brought her the most comfort in the end.

She told me about this visit, "I think the Lord wanted me to hang on so that I could prepare Margo and be there for her through this before I passed."  I just cried.  I said, "Mom, only you would be thinking of service when you are on your death bed, barely able to manage your own pain and comfort levels."

One Sunday at some point shortly before this incident, her stake president and her bishop showed up at her door during the time her ward was supposed to be meeting.  They had come to give her a blessing.  Her blessing told her that she was such a beloved child of God, that he would grant unto her the time she would pass.  He would allow her to choose for the benefit of her loved ones on this side of the veil and the other.

When she got into the hospice care home she wanted to go to, another good friend came to help our family move her and a few things over.  At this point, she was in and out of coherent thought, and was known to say some random, strange things at times.  When they were wheeling her out, she told the friend, "Oh, I'm only going to be there for 3 days."  Her friend later told me, "I thought she looked pretty good for starting hospice care and so I told her, 'Oh, I don't know, Mollie, you might be there longer than that.'

She moved into the hospice care home that afternoon and died almost exactly 3 days later.

This time of year is also hard for me because Ally will be 1 year old in 3 weeks.  I think it will always be a bittersweet memory because it was really the last time I got to spend time with my mom where she was really healthy.  When she was here, she said she considered it a miracle to be able to be there for Ally's birth.  We noticed while she was here that she was having trouble breathing and was getting worn out easily.  Her eye was doing some strange things, and so we sent her home as soon as we could with orders to go see her doctor at once.  In November, she was put on oxygen.  By Thanksgiving, she wasn't leaving the house much, and she had lost a lot of weight.  When I came to visit that month, Megan and I wheeled her around Kohl's so she could get some new clothes that fit and were comfortable.

She came to Allen, TX, for our extended family Christmas, but she wasn't feeling well at all.  She was pretty much on oxygen 24-7 at that point.

In the months to follow, she just got worse and worse quickly, and I often reflect how quickly she deteriorated.  It seemed like one day, she was with me, in my house, helping me after I had Ally (and truth be told, driving me a little crazy, lol) and we laughed and enjoyed each other's company, and she somehow set up some shows on the BYU channel to DVR while she was here that still record over and over on our DVR, and we can't figure out how to stop them because she did it the wrong way, haha...and the next day she was so sick she could hardly talk and we were sitting over a pile of her stuff as she told Megan and I the stories of things she acquired in her life and who she wanted to have them. 

It is such a mystery how you can lose someone so quickly.  Someone so bright and so much a part of your life, and then they are just gone.  And sometimes it seems like they were just a dream.

My family has changed so much in the 5 months since she left us.  That is, perhaps, the greatest tragedy.  She held us all together.  We want to hang on to each other, but without her as our commonality, we don't quite know how we fit together.  I am the odd man out now.  I am the wierd one.  I am too old-fashioned, they think.  I am judgemental, they say.  Maybe I am.  I'd like to think there is such a thing as righteous judgement.  The kind of judgement you have to use when other people's actions are beginning to affect you.  And your family. 

In my mother's house, my brother now smokes pot in his room.  In my mother's house, my sister's new boyfriend now spends the night 5 nights a week, with her young daughters upstairs.  In my mother's house, my dad knowingly lets this happen.  It isn't my mother's house anymore, and I don't feel "safe" there anymore.

Sometimes I want to let distance come between us and just accept that I have my own family now and I need to focus on them.  I want to.  It would be easier.

Then I hear my mother whispering to me not to do that.  I'm all they've got now.  All that is left of the standards that she raised us by.  The values that made her her.  Even if they don't know it or don't want it or think I'm the wierdest person ever, they need me.  And maybe I can do some good. Maybe something I say or do will have an impact.  I don't know.  Right now it feels like a losing battle.

Family Hike

One of our favorite places to spend time as a family is Eagle Mountain Park just about 5 miles north of our house near Eagle Mountain Lake.  We love to hike through the trails and have a picnic.  Last week we hiked all the way down to the lake and let the kids take off their clothes and play in the sand and water in their underwear (not pictured, haha).

I will be sad when we move away from Fort Worth.  I feel like there are a lot of family-oriented places to spend time for free or reasonable prices.  I wonder if our next adventures will be so sweet.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

Yesterday I ran out of milk and we are low on fresh produce.  I intended on stopping by the store after a birthday party we went to yesterday, but it was pouring on us, and I didn't feel like dealing with the grocery store and all three kids in the pouring rain.  This morning when I remembered we had no milk, I thought briefly about making a quick trip sometime today...

On the way to church today (at 11am) Jackson asked me why we weren't going to the Y.  (We typically go every morning M-F, and most Saturdays.)  I told him it was because today is Sunday, and the Lord commanded us to keep the Sabbath Day holy, so we don't go to businesses to shop or exercise or play with friends on Sunday, among other things.  Then I remembered my fleeting thought and felt a little guilty.

Then our Relief Society lesson in the third hour of church was about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and Ruth Garrett mentioned how a lot of people don't realize it is one of the Ten Commandments.
Apparently someone wants me to work a little harder to keep the Sabbath Day holy. 

My mom used to say we only break the Sabbath if "our ox is in a ditch."  I knew that scripture reference came from the Savior's answer to someone accusing him of working on Sunday by doing service, but I didn't know the scripture reference (Luke 14:5) and wanted more backstory, so I looked it up and then found this blog post. 

It is an interesting discussion on the Mormon viewpoint of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  I particularly liked one comment that said, "It's okay to rescue your ox from the ditch on the Sabbath, as long as you don't spend all Saturday night pushing it in!"  haha, really!!  So many things can be avoided if we PLAN to keep the Sabbath day holy!!

Anyway, I'm off to make some powdered milk to get us through the day.  I may have pushed my ox in the ditch, but he'll have to stay there for a day while I keep the Sabbath Day holy.  ;)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Super Nachos

This meal has become part of our regular monthly rotation around here.  It was inspired by an appetizer we ate at a fancy Mexican restaurant a few months ago on vacation in San Antonio.  It gets 5 stars of yummy noises at dinnertime from my crew, and it is a nice break from traditional cooking for me, so being the extremely generous and incredibly humble soul we all know I am (hehe), I thought I'd share.

Disclaimer:  These are not nachos made by Supermom, they aren't super low in fat or calories, and I can't promise they will give you super powers, but if you are looking for a "Super-EASY" meal that even kids (or at least mine) will eat, this is the one!  It is the perfect throw-together-what-is-in-your-pantry/food storage meal. Think:  7ish-layer bean dip already on chips, baked so the cheese is melty.  Mmmmmm...*insert salivation here*

1.  Grab a cookie sheet and line it with foil.  I'm not really sure why I do that, but it works, and it makes for easy clean-up, so...yeah.  Be like Nike and just do it.

2. Lay down a layer of tortilla chips.  Just the big ones.  Not the crumbs.  You want to be able to pick up these big guys once they are loaded.

3.  Spread about a half a can of refried beans on top of the chips with a spoon.  It is okay if it comes off in big clumps on the chips.  You will then smash/spread it down more with the back of the spoon.

4.  Add either ground beef, seasoned with taco seasoning, OR leftover chicken breast, shredded with two forks, OR pop open a can of chunk chicken.  If you use chicken, you will sprinkle the taco seasoning over the chicken layer on your refried-beaned chips.

5.  Add a layer of shredded cheese.  Be generous.  This is where the melty goodness comes in.  Mmmmm...oh, don't get me started again!

6.  Sprinkle some chopped green onions and chopped fresh tomatoes on top.  My kids hate both, but they don't even taste them on these nachos, so they ate them without complaint.  If you want, you could even insert them UNDER the cheese and hide them.  Score one for Mom!

Stick them in the oven at 350 until the cheese reaches desired melti-ness.  :P

Optional toppings to stick in anywhere you want or post-baking:  black olives, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeno peppers (if your kids have been particularly rotten that day)  (just kidding)  (maybe...)


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

I found this recipe on one of the blogs I follow and I adapted it a little to suit my family's tastes.  It calls for canned black beans, but we love my recipe for black beans (that I actually got from a friends' blog many years ago) and the flavors meld really well in the burritos or even just in a bowl with the rice and chicken and extras at the end, so I make my own homemade black beans with it.  Unfortunately, I just add things to taste on the beans, but here goes...

Black Beans:
Beans take a while, so before you do anything, start the beans.  I just use plain ol' Great Value dry black beans in a bag.  I use about half a bag.  You can do a quick soak to soften them, following the directions on the back of the bag, or you can soak the beans overnight, which is what I usually do.  Then rinse them the next day.

After you rinse your beans, set them to boiling in about 6 cups of chicken broth (or 6 cups of water and 6 tsp of chicken bouillon).  Then saute green onion, bell pepper, and carrots all diced up in a little oil.  Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic salt.  I just pretty much do this to taste and add more as it cooks when I feel it needs it.  I have no idea how much of everything I actually put in.  I also add a splash of OJ to give it a little citrus flavor (start with a small splash, you can add more later if you need to.)

Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes, then cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for about 3 hours or until desired tenderness of the beans.  My advice is to keep an eye on your beans.  Many times I have forgotten about them and too much liquid boiled off and we were left with nasty burned beans that we could not eat.  Sometimes you have to add a bit more chicken broth or another splash of OJ to keep enough liquid on your beans.

Cilantro Lime Chicken:
4 medium chicken breasts
3 tsp olive oil
3 tsp cilantro (I used dried, but it probably would be even better with fresh, I just didn't have any.)
3 tsp lime juice from concentrate (or freshly squeezed, but again I didn't have any.)

I just put the chicken breasts in my crockpot with about a cup of water and a tsp of chicken bouillon and let it cook a couple of hours on high until till tender.  Then I pulled out the chicken, shredded it, added the above ingredients, tossed it, and let the flavors meld for a few minutes.

Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp cilantro
1 1/2 tsp lime juice from concentrate

Boil rice in water with chicken bouillon, when it is ready mix in the other ingredients.

For the kids, I made burritos on a flour tortilla with a little rice, a little chicken mix, a spoonful of black beans, sour cream to taste, shredded cheese, and lettuce.

Ben doesn't care for rice so he just mixed chicken and black beans with lettuce, sour cream, cheese and salsa.

You could also do guacamole, but I hate it and it just adds more calories, so I never make it.

Enjoy!!  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guilt and Sadness

I still haven't blogged about my mother's passing.  I just can't do it.  I'm doing okay on a day-to-day basis.  I stay busy and get engrossed in life and don't really miss her till the kids go to bed, and I'm recapping the day in my mind and all my mixed feelings about my life and my family are coming to the forefront.  Things I would share with her.  And I can't. 

There are many people I could call and talk to.  And I do.  I have great, wonderful, amazing friends.  They have really been here for me when I need to vent or cry at 2 am or some such nonsense, but there just isn't anyone like your mom. 

In summary, I guess I just don't want to rehash the emotional week it was the week I had to write her obituary and pick out pictures for her memorial and read old letters I wrote her as a kid and find old love poems she and my dad wrote back and forth.  It just hurts.  It just makes it too real.

Meanwhile, I have come back to my life to find that although I thought I was keeping up with my responsibilities as a mom myself, I have done just that.  And only that.  In the time I have been preoccupied with MY mom, my children have continued to grow.  I feel as though I have missed the first 7 months of Ally's life.  I fed her, diapered her, rocked her, loved her, and all that, but I didn't SEE her or document her.  Now she has two teeth and she crawls and has this adorable personality and I have somehow missed how that came to be.  It makes me so sad.  I realized I have NO professional pictures of her.  Ever.  I have taken a few, and even took some that turned out passably professional, but monthly?  nope.  milestones?  nope.  And I can't get that time back.  I feel such immense guilt.  What will I say to her when she is older and asks about what she was like as a baby?  I may not remember much.  I was going through other stuff.  That is so not fair to Ally.  Especially for someone she won't even remember.  (Okay, that last thought really hurt me to type.)

And Sam.  His 3rd birthday is next week and I just don't have it in me to throw a party for him.  I'm still healing.  I'm still focusing on keeping my head above water.  But then I think about how I have thown two full-fledged parties for Jackson and have yet to throw anything other than a family party for Sam.  He wants a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party.  And I have been compiling a list of ideas, but the execution is just not happening.  I haven't sent out any invitations or anything.  Today is Friday and his birthday is next Tuesday.  Would it be totally horrible if I just did a little birthday cake on his birthday and then waited like 3 weeks for his actual party?  Until we get home from our annual family camping trip to Woody Woods and until his good friend gets home from vacation in mid-June?  I think I am going to.  Meanwhile, I may be able to scrape up some energy and motivation and stop this silly pity-party.

I'm not always sad.  Yesterday I felt her all day.  She kept telling me to call my sister over and over and I was doing other things, avoiding calling Meg because I have her daughter Ella, and so I have been talking to her a lot lately. I think she is getting sick of seeing my name on her phone.  Finally I got this overwhelming kick-in-the-pants heart swelling and I HAD to call Meg.  Turns out she had had a rough day yesterday and five minutes before I called, she had picked up mom's cancer blanket, took a deep breath, and said aloud, "I love you, Mom."  For the first time, she felt my Mom there with her and heard her say, "I love you, too, Meg."  Hearing that story made me cry.  She still watches over us.  She still wants us to look out for each other.  We are trying to. Wwe are all trying to keep it together. 

Mother's Day was hard.  A little.  Not as bad as I thought it would be.  Ben was really good to me, and did a lot for me all day.  Plus, he took me out last Friday to see a movie I have been wanting to see for some time.  That was fun.  We almost never get to go on dates just us anymore.  On actual Mother's Day, Sam had strep throat (and so did Ally and I, but we never had many symptoms), so we had to keep a close eye on him because Sat night he had spiked a fever of 103.5.  Ally sat up in her crib completely on her own for the first time and has been doing that ever since.  It was adorable to see her turn around and see me come in and break out in this huge smile with her little head up above the crib railing.  (But we will be moving that crib mattress down now...)  On a sidenote, just this week she also has been trying to crawl on her toes in down dog position.  She can't really move like that, so she just resembles a baby trying to do yoga.  It makes me giggle every time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Miss You, Third Grade!

It dawned on me this evening that I have lived in this house for 5 years next month.  That means it has been FIVE YEARS since I taught public school.  I really miss it sometimes.  I really loved my third graders, and I REALLY loved my co-workers.  I miss HAVING co-workers.  There are days I really would love to sit in a teacher's lounge and VENT!  I guess that's why I am such an avid fb-er.

I did love my preschoolers, too, (Well, honestly, there were a couple last year that REALLY stressed me out...), but I LOVED LOVED LOVED teaching third grade.  It is the perfect age in my opinion.  Still excited about school, but old enough to tie their own shoes and button their own jackets (among other things) but not yet too old to still be intimidated by my stern voice and teacher death-look.

And darn it, I was a good teacher!  I connected with it!  I lived for it!  I was consumed by it!  I thought about kids individually and what might work for them all the time.  I thought up fun activities that might work to teach certain parts of our curriculum all the time.  I still do, and those ideas just get wasted...*sigh*  One day, I will get back in the classroom. 

I love teaching my own kids, of course, and preschool playgroup, but it just isn't the same as that full-class dynamic of third graders. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So many reasons, but my favorite is...

I am a pretty spiritual person most of the time, but what I am NOT is emotional.  Because of this, I have a hard time sharing my spiritual side with just anybody because things get all...mushy and uncomfortable.  ;)  I'm not the best member missionary because of that.  I wish I were more like my sweet Mom, with my testimony on my sleeve.  Everyone who meets her for even 5 minutes has grown spiritually just a little bit.  Gosh, I love my Mom so much, but that is a different blog post.  for another day.  when I can handle crying all night long into my pillow.  NOT tonight.

Now that my tangent is over, let me steer this back to my original thought...

Last night I was getting into bed, tired, as usual, from a long single mom day with the kids.  (Ben is on night shift Sun-Thurs at the hospital all month and we have only been seeing him about 45 minutes when he wakes up before he has to leave for work again.)  I was thinking about what I wanted to say in my quick prayer before I passed out, but I was really tired and ready for bed, so I was planning on just getting in and saying one in bed while laying down.  LA-ZY, I know, but you know you do it sometimes, too. 

Anyway, a thought suddenly came to me that I really needed to get on my knees to say this prayer.  You can guess what my reaction to that thought was.  Phblllllleeeeeeept!!  :P  However, the thought was so strong that I reluctantly did as I was told and kneeled by the side of my bed. 

The "quick" prayer I had planned turned into me pouring my heart out about so many things that have been on my mind lately.  Even things I hadn't thought to pray about yet.  When I finished some 10 minutes later, and I did finally get into bed, I was just completley wrapped up in the best feeling. 

I felt warm, happy, blanketed in peace, like I was glowing from the inside out. 
I felt loved.
I KNEW He heard my prayer, and I KNEW He prompted me to get down and get it all out so He could help me and comfort me and let me feel loved.  Because that is what I really needed.  To be heard.  And to know I am loved. 

And so, my point is that if there were only one reason to pray regularly (which, of course, there isn't), and even if you knew nothing you asked for would actually come to pass and bless your life (which of course, it does, if it is His will) THAT would be the one. 

I ask you:
Who doesn't want to feel loved? 
Who doesn't want to KNOW that even though YOU don't know how, it WILL all work out!?
Who doesn't want to feel like they are not alone in this harsh and scary life? 
That somebody else sees everything you are going through and hurts right along with you and is just waiting, hoping you'll get down on your knees and open up your heart.

And so, my friends, in a world where everyone is looking for a quick and easy way to feel good - a pill, a drug, a drink, a person - I challenge you to try this one.  If you don't pray at all for whatever reason, or just don't pray regularly, or feel silly doing so, just trrrrrrrryyyy it.  What could it hurt, right?  I'm betting you get that same warm, peaceful feeling I got.  I'm not hating that.  :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oh, the Joys of Little Boys

Little Boy #1 (solemnly):  Mama, I dropped my waffle, but I did NOT eat it off the floor.
Me:  Oh, good!
Little Boy #1 (proudly):  See!  I catched it with my feet! 

Me:  Go wash your face with a wet paper towel in the bathroom, please.
Little Boy #2 goes into the bathroom, gets a paper towel and starts to wipe his face.
Me:  No, you have to get it wet first or it won't clean anything off your face.
Little Boy #2 wipes snotty nose and holds up paper towel triumphantly:  See!  It's wet!

*groan*  Well, germs build immunity, right?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Half-Birthday

(This was actually taken a few weeks ago.  I haven't taken any pics in a while.  Bad mama, I know...)

In 6 months, she has outgrown...
  • Size Newborn, 1 and 2 diapers
  • her pacifier
  • 4 oz bottles
  • sleeping in the pack and play in our room
  • open bottom sleeping gowns
  • her vibrating seat
  • the swing
  • playing on her back
  • me nursing her
And she has grown into/started...
  • Size 3 diapers
  • sleeping in her own bed
  • sleeping all night
  • 3 1-2 hour naps a day
  • playing on her tummy
  • sitting up
  • smiling
  • laughing
  • reaching
  • babbling ("dada" is her newest intelligible babble fav)
  • formula
  • solid foods & rice cereal

They really do grow up so fast!  Ally's sweet, happy shining little personality is so fun to watch develop.  She continues to be the easiest, most laid back baby of all three Blake babies.  We all just love playing and snuggling with her, and can't remember what our life was like without her.  :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Guess which Blake boy has not had an accident in his big-boy underwear, even at naptime, in more than 2 weeks!?
This handsome (2.83-year-old) fella! 
(The mark under his nose is a little scrape from falling off the swings at Aunt Alicia's last weekend.)

Now we have two boys fully potty trained!
(in less than a year)

Sam started asking to wear big boy underwear last summer, but he still had frequent accidents till early Fall.  Starting in Fall, he began to hold it for long periods of time, but unless I reminded him, he wouldn't ever go, and would eventually have an accident.  In December, he started pooping on the potty regularly, and finally, in the last month, he is now doing both ALL on his own! 
No fighting, no fits, no reminders, no accidents.
No more potty drama for this mama.

And I am happy to say that after potty training Landon, Sophia, Alexis, Dori, Xander, Archer, Santi, Jackson and Sam, I am really excited that the next little one to potty train (Allyson) won't be for quite a while!

Spring Break Hike

All you need in life is Play-Doh...

But if you don't have Play-Doh, hiking is fun, too. 
"Hey, look at that!  That's where we live!"

Especially with a friend!
Since we were hiking with Daddy, we had to stop for a hunter's education moment. 
Deer tracks.

Stair steps.

Stopped and checked out the local wildlife.
And couldn't resist scaring it off the logs. 
"Come on, Mom.  We're boys!"

Exploring and climbing during lunch break.

...And after

Apparently, you are never too old to climb a tree.
This one loved the adventure!
This one not so much...

This one was content to stay on the ground and watch.
Trees are so fun to play on.

or with.

The view of the lake from the top of the hill.
The happy hikers.
The girls of the group. 
One of us is totally worn out. 
Okay, okay, two of us.