Loving Arizona and Missing Hawaii

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dinner conversation

Let me just preface this conversation with the thought that Ethan's our intense child and Catherine's our "Tree Hugger"

We're finishing dinner and Ethan yells down the hall: DAD!

I ask him what he needs and he starts asking where Larry is. Finally he tells me he's all done with his dinner. (So he wanted to ask Dad's permission to get down from the table...)

Catherine chimes in: You don't have to only ask your favorite person.

My response: Oh, :( Is dad you're favorite person?

Ethan: ya. (then obviously seeing my hurt from the rejection) You're my favorite too, Mom.

Catherine has to chime in again (of course): I love everyone, all the animals and all the people in the whole world. Even the bad people.

Then my intense boy, can't resist a chance to talk about some kind of serious subject: "ya, but if they try to shoot us, we'll just try to find the shield. but we don't shoot them back."

At least some of the principles of "not hitting back" are sticking, even if it is in some random sort of way.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Everything has always been scheduled and structured - “by the book” in my past deliveries. Arriving to the hospital at 5:20 pm Saturday evening for a scheduled induction, I expected the same type of experience and had just accepted the fact that I was never going to have one of those exciting “crazed-rushing-to-the-hospital-in-labor” experiences. I thought I’d never know what it was like to be in labor without the consistent 2-minutes-apart contractions I knew so well. Little did I know then that my labor this time around would be nothing I expected and everything I’d always hoped for.

We arrived to the hospital at 5:20 pm Saturday evening, September 3rd. The nurses were quick with all the prep work this time around as they had been so overwhelmed with patients that week and we were pushed back 36 hours from our scheduled induction. With how similar this induction was to my induction with Ethan, and how quickly that labor had gone, I was hopeful that our baby girl would be born before midnight.

Dr. Layton came in to see us and decide how to proceed with the induction. Since I hadn't dilated and was still at a station +3... it would have been really hard on my body and baby to start the pitosin right away... it would have made for a really long, hard labor. Instead he decided we would start with a 12 hour time-release Cervidil to prepare my body for labor. Dr. Layton asked when I had last eaten and since my last meal was at 1:30 that afternoon, he told me to go ahead and order some dinner, then they'd start me on the Cervidil and give me an Ambien to sleep through the night. It was starting to sound a little more like a vacation than labor... “order some dinner, take a sleeping pill, have a good night’s sleep...” The time-release disk of Cervidil would be removed at 5 am and pitosin would be started at 6 am.

At this point I was starting to calm down a little knowing we were in for the long haul. "Well! I guess we'll be having this baby tomorrow afternoon sometime..." Everything was now sounding just like my labor experience had been with Catherine.

At 8:15 pm, after dinner and the shift change of nurses, I started the Cervidil and reluctantly took the Ambien. My nurse thought that with the contractions I was already having, the Cervidil would probably jump start my labor. I was a little concerned about taking a sleeping pill right before possibly starting labor.

Larry and I hung out for awhile chatting and watching some shows. At 9:10 pm our baby’s heart rate dropped significantly and my nurse came in and hooked up a bag of saline solution to my IV. Everything was fine. I was already exhausted and pretty uncomfortable, but by the time the Ambien kicked in, I was out. The much needed rest didn’t come that night...nor has it since. :) My contractions were coming faster and stronger. I would wake up with them but was too out of it to communicate anything about it, and Larry would just encourage me to go back to sleep.

Finally by midnight I was in enough pain to communicate something effective about it. Thankfully, my sweetheart was still awake. He had stayed up watching shows on our laptop...so that he would be awake and alert to help me with anything I might need. He called in my night nurse, Dorothy. She is a saint. She was compassionate and calming - exactly what I needed. She handled everything with such ease, especially considering how overwhelmed labor and delivery was not only that night, but the whole week. She came in to look over my contraction history and decided to check to see if I had made any progress. I had dilated one centimeter. Wonderful news to my ears! Remembering my first labor and delivery with Catherine, it was a very, very long ordeal starting an induction without being effaced or dilated, and I expected this labor to be the same. You can imagine my excitement to find I had dilated a centimeter in the first 4 hours when it had taken 12 hours to progress that much with Catherine. Still anticipating a long labor, (afterall, the pitosin wasn’t going to be started for another 6 hours...) Dorothy encouraged me to get some more rest. I explained that I was trying to, but even with the Ambien, i was just in too much pain to sleep. (stubborn body) She offered a muscle relaxant, Stadol, to help me sleep some more. I remembered having that in my early stages of labor with Catherine, and it worked very well for the 45 minutes it lasted. I went ahead with the stadol, and it worked like a charm! I zonked out for 2 hours.

At 2 am I woke gasping for breath. Anything I had forgotten from my past births came flooding back.  I knew I was in labor.  My body knew just what to do.  I immediately focused on my breathing... I couldn’t help but breathe through the contractions! It was so laborious though that I couldn’t catch my breath enough to yell or scream. Of course at this point, Larry was completely passed out on the couch. He later told me he had just finally gone to sleep at 1:30 am... figuring since I had been out for an hour and a half, he might as well get a little sleep before 6 when the pitosin would start and I’d really need his help. Well, if you know Larry, you know he is nearly impossible to wake. You have to shake him to wake him up...especially when he’s only 30 minutes into it. My efforts to yell over to him were coming out as a very weak whisper. I looked around for something to throw at him, to no avail. I was sitting up at this point, turned to the side and practically ready to fall out of bed. Then I remembered the nurse call button. So, I called, but all I could muster was “I’m in a lot of pain.” The BLING of the nurse answering stirred Larry, but I’m pretty sure he just rolled over and went back to sleep...great. At least I had a wonderful nurse! :)

Dorothy came in and checked my progress again. FOUR CENTIMETERS! And 80% effaced. “You’re in labor, my dear!” The news just kept getting better! All I could think was, “bless you for not telling me I hadn’t progressed because I’d feel like the biggest wimp to ever give birth!”

My labor progressed so quickly after that! I was still amazed that I was really IN LABOR...NO PITOSIN... At this point with all the commotion, Larry sat up, and I told him I was in labor and to go ahead and call my mom and Diana (our dear friend and amazing photographer who captured our birth story for us) to come to the hospital. Of course, he didn’t believe me. “But she hasn’t started the pitosin yet.” No amount of explaining by myself or Dorothy would convince him, but the sweet husband he is, he tried to appease me by going ahead with the phone calls. Thank goodness. I knew it was going to be fast. Dorothy offered to send for the epidural... YES! Please, bring the epidural. Nothing sounded more wonderful at that moment! The anesthesiologist began the procedure for placing the epidural at 2:25 am and was finished and starting the medicine at 2:40 am. I wanted to forego the initial bolster and have a half dose of the epidural. The anesthesiologist compromised at half a bolster and half a drip. This was my first time having a difficult epidural placement and it was MISERABLE. I was in so much pain and progressing so fast, I thought I was going to pass out having to sit so still all hunched over for the 15 minute procedure.

Larry is the best labor coach! He was a saint holding me up and letting me grip his arm... I about severed it during the procedure. I apologized several times for squeezing the life out of his arm, each time explaining that I couldn’t have let go even if I wanted to. I was in a survival mode and I couldn’t have survived any other way. I was dilated 4 cm when the epidural was started, by the time it was finished, I was at a 6...it was count-down time. Larry called Diana to tell her to come on down. He finally believed me that our baby was coming! The anesthesiologist was leaving at 2:45 and gave me the little button that I could push every 15 minutes if I needed more pain relief. My mom arrived at 2:58 am. I’m so glad she was there for Abigail’s birth. It was a wonderful experience and I’m glad I was able to share it with her. I wish I had realized how special it would be to have her there so that I would have invited her for my first 3 births.

I was still in a ton of pain and watching the clock for 3 am when I pushed the button for the first time. I pushed it again at 3:15 and by about 3:30 I was feeling a little more comfortable.

Despite the pain I was in, I felt completely calm. I felt so much strength and confidence as I labored through my contractions. I felt delicately aware of my surroundings and the events happening around me, but my emotions remained unchanged by them.

At 3:32 am Dr Layton came in to break my water. I was dilated 8 cm and still not totally numb. There was only a small gush of water. I am assuming that because I was so close to delivering, my baby’s head came right down and blocked the opening in her amniotic sack. The pressure was becoming more intense, I asked my nurse to check my progress and she said I was dilated 9 1/2 centimeters and waited for a contraction to see if that would push me to a 10. It did. Time to push!

I was a little nervous to start pushing before Dr. Layton came back, but as policies change with each baby, Dorothy explained that she couldn’t call the doctor until I had already pushed once. So, I did...very carefully. :) I was really having a lot of pain along the inside of my left hip and felt like my baby was stuck. I pushed the epidural button one more time...not knowing if it’d make a difference before she was born, but with the pain I was in, it was at least comforting to push the button. :) Dorothy said my baby’s head was a little crooked and stuck on the one side. Suddenly I felt a pop, a gush of fluid and she was crowning. Dorothy was over getting baby’s bed ready... Dr. Layton and Larry were getting suited up in their doctor gowns and gloves.

Dorothy looked over at me and said, “Go ahead and keep pushing with the contractions.” Still a little reserved about pushing since no one was there to catch her, I thought about it for a few seconds, and then, throwing all caution to the wind, I thought, “well, OK! Here she comes!” The next contraction I felt coming on was a big one. My baby was finally in position and I knew this was it. Something inside of me just took charge. I pushed for real and immediately delivered her head. Everything felt like slow motion though I’m sure it was only a matter of seconds. The only one who saw was Larry. When I looked up, Dr. Layton was turned around answering Larry who had just asked him if he was standing in a good place to help with the delivery. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he turned back around. His eyes popped out of his head and he started waving his arms and saying, “Stop! Don’t push!” He was so amazing under pressure. He dove forward ready to catch our little babe, and I could see him, in a matter of moments, mentally go through the delivery process up to the point we were at with her head already being delivered. Realizing that his part had passed...he looked up at Larry and said, “well, I guess you’re up!” Dr. Layton showed Larry where to place his hands on her head and with a little push down and up she came right out into her Daddy’s arms. The best, most touching part was how he held her up and looked up at me and smiled with tears in his eyes.

Then he handed her to me.

She was born Sunday, September 4th at 3:54 am. I love that she arrived in her Daddy’s hands and that he was the one to place her in my arms. Nothing was forced or planned or technical. It was as if no one else existed but Larry and I and our baby...the three of us working together, in a quiet room, in the middle of the night, to accomplish this miracle of birth. It was the most amazing experience and felt just as it should be.

From the moment she was born she was instantly calmed in my arms and by my voice. I love that she knows me and finds her greatest comfort in my arms.

I was able to hold her in complete bliss for the first 15 to 20 minutes of her life.

Then she was weighed and measured, had her first immunization and was cleaned up.

Then I was able to nurse her for the first time. After that, she had her first bath by the most tender-hearted surgical tech who came to the labor and delivery floor to offer assistance and volunteered to give our baby her first bath. It was endearing to see this big tough man being so gentle with our tiny peanut.

He was bragging to the nurses that all the babies love his baths and they never cry for him...
our baby wasn’t so sure about that. :)

But it all ended well.

Soon enough, she was all bundled up and we were heading to recovery...just as the sun came up.

It was the dawn of a beautiful new day!

We are so thankful she is here and healthy and strong. She is an answer to countless prayers and she is truly a joy...our little Abigail Joy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011
born at 3:54 am
6 pounds, 1 ounce ~ 18 1/2 inches

Thanks again to our good friend, Diana, for photographing Abigail's birth story.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What is your most treasured blessing?

Most everyone I know and love are experiencing difficult times. Whether the challenges be financial, emotional, physical or social, one thing is certain, we can always find comfort and perspective through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My greatest comfort in time of trial is to remember what I treasure most in this life: my husband and my children, and then to remind myself that there is no power on earth that can take them from me. No matter what challenges may come, I find comfort in knowing I am sealed to my husband and children for all eternity and will be with them as long as I keep the covenants I made at the time Larry and I were sealed together in the temple of our Lord.

In Primary, the children learn at a very early age that a covenant is a two-way promise made between us and Heavenly Father. We promise to keep the commandments he has given us and he promises blessings associated with that covenant such as being together with Him, our Savior, Jesus Christ, our husband or wife and children through all eternity as is promised in the covenant we make when we are sealed as husband and wife in the temple.

This blessing of eternal marriage (marriage that does not end at death but continues on forever) and eternal family has been in the forefront of my mind with the recent birth of our baby, Abigail Joy. How grateful I am for my wonderful husband who loves, supports, sustains and sacrifices for our family through all of our ups and downs in life. How grateful I am for each of our precious children who, with each birth, have multiplied the love we share in our marriage and family. We are taking part in the greatest joy our Father in Heaven has: FAMILY, and we strive each day to keep the covenants we have made that we might always enjoy that blessing of being together forever in the joy and peace of the Lord.

I am grateful for the encouraging and comforting words of Elder Robert D. Hales, one of the Lord's apostles on the earth today. As I logged onto lds.org today, I saw a beautiful picture of a family with the title: "A Little Heaven on Earth." I wanted to read more so I clicked on that link, and read the following article:
"A Little Heaven on Earth."

It was very inspiring to me. I learned many things I can do to strengthen and better myself, so that I can "...stand strong, strengthen [my husband and children]..." and "...have true happiness and find the joy of a celestial marriage with a little heaven on earth..."

My most treasured blessing:
My Family Can Be Together Forever.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I remember growing up reading a stitchery that my mom made... it hung on the hall wall outside my bedroom and I walked by it a lot... I read it a lot...

Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow,
for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

I didn't totally grasp the meaning at the time, but now, as a mother of soon to be 4, and my first little baby just starting kindergarten... I most definitely do!

To keep perspective, I try to ask myself often what it is I'm focused on and where my attention is... and so I ask you, dear young mothers:

Are your children hanging at your legs as you try to make the bed, wash the laundry or dishes... fix dinner? Are you typing on the computer as your children are whimpering at your knee with a toy in hand?

Is this the time of your life??

Are you worn out? Exhausted? Just trying to "get there"?

Are you sitting on the floor playing with your children... dressing the dolls, reading books, playing cars or rolling the ball?

Is this incessant whining and crying just to drive you crazy or is it because you are missing an opportunity now that will never be there for you again?

Are you saying "just a minute" all day while your child wants to ask you questions and play... as you try to wash those last few dishes or put a couple of papers or toys away... does the park have to wait until later or tomorrow because that errand is so pressing?

3, 4 or 5 years down the road from now when you are finally organized and your life "is in order" are you going to look around your ankles to find that your young ones don't want to play with you anymore...? They'd rather play with their friends, and they spend half of their waking hours with a new teacher... a school teacher... rather than their mother teacher they've had from birth... don't miss out on what is yours for such a short time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

since we have the time...

Anyone want to guess how big this little girl will be?? Or what day she will be born??

My first: 5 lbs, 7 oz, 20 inches and 2 1/2 weeks early

My second: 6 lbs, 13 oz, 19 inches and 4 days early

My third: 6 lbs, 12 oz, 20 inches and 2 1/2 weeks early

anyone think we might actually have a "7-pound-er" this time?? Probably not, but you never know!

still pregnant...

Still pregnant... not much news other than my ultrasounds on my leg Monday showed that I don't have any blood clots in my deep veins (deep vein thrombosis). That is VERY good news! Now we're just hoping that this little girl will be born soon enough before my veins get any worse.

Other than the pain and the waiting game, things are going very well... we don't have near the complications we have had in the past and our baby, though still very tiny is doing well... healthy and strong.

We feel so blessed and loved by so many wonderful friends and family members. Thank you, thank you, to all who have helped and been praying for us. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you, let me assure you that this is exactly what Christ taught when he admonished us to bear one another's burdens. Our load has definitely felt lighter through your love and service. We also have felt that extra strength on days when we just didn't know how we'd make it through. My Nana says, sometimes you just have to focus on making it through the next few minutes, and then once you do, you go from there.

We are very excited and feel very blessed to have this little girl coming to our family. We know she's worth every sacrifice. We will definitely keep you posted as soon as we have anything exciting to share!

Thank you again! We love you and are grateful for you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How does it feel to be told you CANNOT be on bedrest?

relieving, exhausting, overwhelming... all at the same time.

So what does it mean, really?

Everything's still the same... all the same risks, all the same problems... just that being on bed rest is potentially more life threatening to me than not being on bed rest. doesn't that sound nice? The veins in my leg are so bad that just resting for a day and a half brought on what we are hoping is just an infection in one of my veins and not a clot. The pain from it makes it difficult to walk...pretty bad alone, but on top of everything else... can anyone say scream, cry, throw up and pass out all at the same time??

I have felt very calm in my heart all along about this baby. I feel she will be just fine. I know she's Heavenly Father's daughter, and he is watching over her. My biggest fear has been developing a blood clot and all the repercussions that come with that... complications it adds to delivery, the threat it is to my life and also my baby's. not to mention the way it may alter the rest of my life. I have done everything I can to try and prevent this situation throughout this pregnancy... so no matter how exhausted or awful I feel, I still force myself to get those impossible hose on each day and get out of bed, no matter how painful... and get moving.

maybe you can imagine my anxiety over being put on bed rest? So, here I am hobbling around the house... trying to keep my blood flowing through the contractions and the pain in my leg, the exhaustion and nausea... just keep moving, moving, moving... and whether it puts me into labor, or brings on my pre-eclampsia necessary for induction... chances are this little girl is coming soon, and we're praying I last until then and that by then, she'll be just fine.

a long 24 hours

well, more like a long last few days.

I started feeling really sick and experiencing a lot of abdominal pain starting Thursday morning this week. I finally went into the doctor's office later that afternoon and the only conclusion that we came to was that I was experiencing early labor, but it wasn't causing me to dilate or progress in anyway toward birth, so not to worry about it too much unless it got worse. Thursday was shot. I was exhausted from all of the pain. Friday was a little better and by Saturday morning, I felt almost back to my usual pregnant self. However, Saturday night, it hit again, and this time harder than the first. I thought I was just sick... like with a stomach ache, and tried walking around the block, soaking in warm bath, curling up in a little ball on my knees and elbows... nothing seemed to provide much if any relief. After about 5 hours, the pain became so intense that I started vomiting. I vomited for a couple of hours until there was nothing left to vomit. Finally we decided to head into the OB triage to see what was going on. I was thinking... maybe food poisoning? Maybe the flu? Who would have guessed... LABOR... contractions every 3 minutes. So, that's what that pain was! The only odd thing about it is that it wasn't making me progress. So, after an bag of saline through the IV, a shot of Tribultylene and a shot of zofran, I was on my way home again...just as the sun came up... still in a lot of pain, but a little more relaxed to where I could actually give into the exhaustion and sleep for a couple of hours. My relief was short lived because at 8 am, it all started again. This prodromal labor, as they call it comes on so suddenly and so strong! And the worst part, there's no relief. At least if it was real labor and I was progressing and getting ready to deliver, there would be an end in sight, and options for pain management... like... EPIDURAL! but not with this vicious attack. The nurse described my next couple of weeks to a month that I have to look forward to as "you feel like you just want to murder someone, but there's nothing we can do about it." great. The rest of my day has been a fog.

I'm trying to keep an optimistic perspective. I remember when I was so sick with morning sickness that I was shaking and couldn't get out of bed, I thought... I can't do this for another 10 plus weeks... like I did with Noah. But I survived, and it didn't last as long as I was worried about. At that point I still had 32 weeks to go. Now I have 4 1/2 or less. perspective. and knowing that the end result will be the sweetest baby girl I can imagine in my arms makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

such a character!

Ethan is such a character! He always keeps us on our toes and giggling. Today he was making thank you cards for all of his friends that came to his Batman birthday party... He wanted to write BATMAN on all of the cards...

Me: "I'll show you how to write it..."

Ethan: feeling like he doesn't need mom's help... he already knows... "Is it P-R-A-N-C?"

um. no.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

mommy of the year award... right here!

nothing could be farther from the truth.

disclaimer: not for the weak stomachs...

SO... we bought a minivan... yup! We finally took the plunge. We love it. It's a wonderful van and everything we were hoping for... just hard to stomach such a big loan... but no matter how we'd try... there's no way we can fit our 4th child into our 5 passenger sedan. no.can.do.

The van is beautiful... big, but beautiful and although, might i say, it's big... it drives just like a car AND is definitely not as intimidating as driving my in-laws giant SUV... that sealed the deal for me on a minivan. :)

SO... you're wondering about the "weak stomach" part?

well, Everything inside and out on that van is pristine... that's what you get, AND what you pay for when you buy a used car from a dealer... all but one part... there's something sticky inside one of the door pockets... too deep to see but you'll find it if you stick your hand in there and rummage around...
I did.

Well... turns out it wasn't just a small little melted gummy bear or fruit snack... I have no idea what it was, actually, has the consistency of gum and the smell of gum, but looks more like a fruit snack or gummy bear... I have scrubbed and scrubbed, dug and peeled, and haven't gotten it all out yet...
Since I was washing my rags at the same time, I thought I'd give it a whirl and throw add it to the wash. WELL... long story short, I got some big chunks off and didn't want to rinse them down the bathroom sink... so I found a small disposable plastic cup out on the counter... the ones the kids use when they are brushing their teeth or want a quick drink... and i just tossed the gross chunk of blue in there...

I'm sure you can guess what happened...


I forgot to throw it out.

came across the same cup and chunk in the bathroom hours later... this time with water remnants in it... much to my horror, my sweet Catherine unknowingly took a drink from "mom's yucky cup" as Ethan would call it.

"Catherine did it, mom. Not me. I promise."

I apologized over and over again and decided we needed to say a prayer to ask Heavenly Father to protect Catherine from whatever disgusting goo she ingested.

Ethan to the rescue! He wanted to say the prayer:

"...please bless Catherine to not get sick from the yucky cup that she drank... And please bless Catherine not to drink out of Mommy's yucky cup anymore... and please bless us to be quiet while Noah's sleeping..."

Mother of the Year AWARD: goes to anyone who wants to buy someone's car and pull their unidentifiable sticky melted mess out of the door, throw it in a cup and give it to their 5-year-old to drink. Exactly.

okay, okay. so maybe it's not a big deal to any of you, but seriously, would you want to buy a car and then proceed to drink the goo that was melted into the pocket of it from only Heaven knows where??

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

happy through and through

I have often wondered at the endless activities that parents indulge their children in. "They're just so bored," or "They'll drive me crazy if they're at home all day," or "We just have to get out of the house everyday," or, "We just have to have SOMETHING to do everyday," are a few of the many reasons I hear from parents when they talk about their days. Paid-activities or free, structured or not, in or out of the house, I have always felt that a child who is constantly stimulated will never find that inner peace and confidence that only comes from knowing who they are and what they love and what makes them happy as they mature and take steps toward independence.

It's important to have days where there is "nothing to do" so that my children can clear their minds and let their own creative juices flow. Over the last year or two we have gradually weaned our children off of television and movies. We haven't had television service in our home for the last couple of years and I think it is one of the top reasons our family bonds have grown so much stronger. Of course my older children still LOVE to watch a movie, and they do a couple of times a week, but they know now that it's a special treat, and not just a "babysitter" when mom needs to get something done.

There was a time in my life where I did have my children in several activities each week, and the TV was on for several hours of the day (whether they were intently watching it or not) but I began to notice that if my children watched TV first thing in the morning... whether cartoons or a movie or something educational, they were sure to fall apart and have temper tantrums that day... and though that will still happen from time to time, the tantrums were much more frequent on the days they watched TV. So, gradually, I began to wean them from television and movies. Later, I began to wean them from many of the extracurricular activities they were involved in. I had to wean myself too, because as all moms know, social events and activities for children add to the social life of the mother as well... :)

This has allowed for a lot more "play" time. By play time, I don't mean structured activities, on the contrary, this is the undirected time where my children can invent and daydream. They discover what their own interests and talents are... not the popular trends, and they discover an inner peace and joy as they begin to develop their own unique talents. They develop confidence as they discover they can choose to be happy and they can choose to do things that will make them happy, rather than waiting for someone else to come along and entertain them and make them "happy."

At times I have wondered if I am doing the right thing for my children choosing not to indulge them in preschool, music, dance, gymnastics, and other sporting events year-round -- because I do believe those are wonderful, enriching, rewarding activities. But then I remember that motherhood... just being with my children and mothering them, is the highest and noblest of all things a person can ever do. And I find even more comfort and reassurance as I listen to the words of the prophet and general authorities of Christ's church...

"Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy...Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list...Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives...It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice...If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most." - President Deiter F. Uchtdorf

"As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all...Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best. When the Lord told us to seek learning, He said, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118; emphasis added)...Family experts have warned against what they call “the overscheduling of children.” In the last generation children are far busier and families spend far less time together. Among many measures of this disturbing trend are the reports that structured sports time has doubled, but children’s free time has declined by 12 hours per week, and unstructured outdoor activities have fallen by 50 percent...The First Presidency has called on parents “to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles. … The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place … in … this God-given responsibility.” The First Presidency has declared that “however worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all." -Julie B. Beck

Today I was reading about what really makes children happy or not, and I was interested in what Edward Hallowell had to say. He's a psychiatrist and author of The Childhood roots of adult happiness. He explains that children need to develop inner tools they can rely on throughout life and that over-indulged children -- whether showered with toys or shielded from emotional discomfort -- are more likely to grow into teenagers who are bored, cynical, and joyless. "The best predictors of happiness are internal, not external."

Though it's very difficult to not follow the trends of today's society and to not be a part of all of the social events happening around me, I am happy that I have chosen to allow my children the time to be home...to play and imagine with their toys...to create and dream and find joy in who they are and what they love about life. I know they are building a sure foundation that will not fail them as friends or popularity comes and goes throughout their lives. I see joy, contentment, confidence and peace in their lives, and I know their happiness comes from within and is lasting rather than fleeting with each activity. And though we are not free from tantrums, tears and trials... we are growing stronger each day individually and thus, as a family as we have chosen to spend more time learning, growing and playing together rather than apart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

my angel

did you know i have an angel?

she's the sunshine in my darkest hour.

this is for her:

Friday, June 3, 2011

THREE! it's the magic number!

On our way home from swimming lessons today, Ethan was telling about some guy with horns who was a bad guy with "Dark" Vader as he calls him... but "Dark Vader doesn't have horns..." and then something about cutting off hands... and then he gave him the sword...

I'm thinking to myself... HAS THIS KID SEEN THE MOVIE?!! GREAT! who showed him the movie?? he wouldn't just think those things up on his own... that's too coincidental...

Hey Ethan, have you seen that movie before with Darth Vader?
NO. Just dad's that he showed me on the computer...

and i remember that Larry told me he showed him a scene with the light sabers...
but really, cutting off hands? Great. Thanks, babe.

so i decide to change the subject...

Hey, Ethan! Are you so excited for your batman birthday party?

but I just don't want to be four because I like being three.
Being 4 could be lots of fun, Ethan.
But I just like being a little boy.
Well, you'll still be a little boy when you're four... you won't be as big as Catherine or as me or daddy...
But I just don't want to be 4
Okay, that's fine. you don't have to have a birthday
WELL... (the NOTORIOUS negotiator shines again...)
I just want to have a three again and again and again...
(aka: I still want to party! I just want to celebrate my third birthday over and over again)

E: Let's give them a bear with a 3 on it...
Me: Oh, give your friends an invitation with a 3 on it so that they know you're still three?
E: but they'll say, you can't be 3 still... and I'll tell them, yes I can because I like being 3

So, tell the Stevens when we go there that I'm still 3

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


What was your favorite thing about swimming lessons, Catherine?
The water. I just love to be in the water! That's why I always ask to go swimming at Grandma and Grandpa Reeves' house. But grandma and Grandpa Cattin don't have a pool. They just have grass...
but they don't know if they're gonna keep their grass or not... cause Grandpa always trims the grass down all the way until it's dirt.

Catherine: Mom, tonight when we take Penny on a walk... can I hold the leash and walk Penny?
Me: Sure.
Catherine: And Ethan can ride his bike and Noah can sit in the stroller...
I can SEE it, Mom! Like.. sometimes when I'm thinking of something, I can see it with my eyes... haha. Oh, now it's gone.

Friday, May 27, 2011


7 months ago, we almost lost our third child to an anaphylactic reaction to a scorpion sting and now in about 3 months we will be having our 4th child. I'm so glad that our little boy's life was spared, and I'm thankful that we have this sweet baby girl coming to our family... I am reminded again and again just how delicate and precious life is. For the Lord giveth and He also taketh away.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

catherine caught a bug...

catherine has been really wanting to catch a bug over the last couple of days...

she had some pieces of food yesterday in a cup trying to catch a fly outside... this morning she found a poor little helpless bug in our house...

Ethan came in awhile after they had caught it and were carrying it around outside in the cup...
"Mom, can I have a watermelon?"

What for, Ethan?

For the bug... it died, but if we give it some watermelon, it can come back to life...
well, the watermelon isn't going to bring it back to life...

Well, can i just have some watermelon for it?

Catherine... it's not dead mom, it's just sleeping. It's just that it's little poky things popped off when I pinched it to pick it up...

poor bug

big boy talking!

Noah's vocabulary has boomed since turing 2!

when I asked him if he'd like some milk this morning, rather than his usual "no" that really means "yes" he actually answered "Ya."

This morning when he ran into me with the vacuum I asked him to say "sorry mama." and he did! "Sorry Mama!"

When I suggested, "Let's go to the park." He echoed, "go park!"

When I told the kids it was time to go, and everyone started cheering YAY! Noah chimed in, "YAY!"

He just walked in from the garage and said, "Let's GO!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do you love the way kids' minds work?

Catherine, "I love healthy food, mom. I like vegetables, but not the slimy ones like squash or zucchini...but I like all the plants and animals we eat... and milk that comes from the cows... and all the vitamins in there... but they must be tiny pieces because I can't see them, and they must be white..."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

hide and seek

Catherine, Ethan and Noah are playing hide and go seek... Catherine and Noah hid first... Ethan was counting...



Sunday, May 1, 2011


Ever since my microbiology class, my hubby has said I've never been the same....thank you, Dr. Goodwill.

Well, my new awareness of bacteria and it's amazing replicating abilities weren't life-changing until the birth of my first daughter. It's funny how we are as humans... I'm not sure if it would be considered selflessness, laziness or just plain weakness... but I am a lot more lax and unconcerned when it comes to germs invading my own personal space. On the contrary, if they even come within a mile of my beloved child, there's no amount of soap and hot water, Clorox or other disinfecting/sanitizing agent that will satisfy my nerves.

Sometimes I relax a little bit, trying not to "over-react" and I don't make my child wash their hands if they touched the public bathroom wall, and I actually let them turn off their own water, touch the inside of the sink (gasp, I know.) or open the door themselves (all speaking of public restrooms of course) without making them wash again. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who worries about these types of things... I'm really baring all here.)

Then, I have moments like the other night when my son starts vomiting at my sister-in-law's wedding reception, and scooping him and as much of his vomit up as possible, I take him into the nice little public restroom down the hall, plop him and his germs all over the counter and proceed to retrieve paper towels from the dispenser... vomit still on my hands... yes...now contaminating the paper towel dispenser... strip him down piling his vomit covered suit into the sink... now contaminating the inside of the sink... and when all is said and done... I did wipe up my mess, but just paper towels and water... you know? and I thought, looking at the counter, sinks, paper towel dispenser, this is EXACTLY why I am careful about everything any of us touch in a public restroom... and yes, these same disgusting germs could be anywhere outside of the restroom as well, but that IS the most common place to encounter them.

SO, sorry, babe. back to strict hygiene. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

baby's kicking... i love it!


We couldn't be happier! Catherine can't wait for her baby sister! Noah and Ethan are ecstatic too! The boys are loving all over my belly already and we all can't wait to meet her!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Much Simpler Time...

We were just looking through some old pictures tonight from our days living in Hawaii. It's amazing how much has changed in the last 4 years. We long for Hawaii and feel blessed to have had the chance to experience living there. We have so many great memories from those days.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


"Life is not a race--but indeed a journey. Be honest. work hard. Be choosy. Say "thank you," "I love you," and "great job" to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Let your handshake mean more than a pen and paper. Love your life and what you've been given; it is not accidental--search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself--plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you've been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment." -Bonnie Mohr

Saturday, March 12, 2011

making life sweeter

I just love the things my children say. They keep life lighter and sweeter.

Awhile back:

Ethan, "I ate it all gone. Now you can't have a bite. But it's okay if you're sad."

Me, (trying to understand) "Oh, I was going to have a bite but you ate it all, so now I can feel sad if I want to?"

Ethan, "Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ate it!"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

drop by drop

Yesterday our Stake Relief Society put on an amazing brunch to celebrate the up-coming birthday of the Relief Society organization. The breakfast was delicious but nothing could compare in any way to the production of the Ten Virgins. Amazing, touching, inspiring... They did a fabulous job and I am forever grateful to them for all of their efforts and months of practicing. A parable that I understood on the surface but never really had a personal connection with is now very personal to me. I identified with so many of the different women portraying the 10 virgins... their struggles and strengths, their weaknesses and mistakes... How I long to be more like the calm woman who finds balance in the most important things in life and the one who constantly lifts the hands that hang down and strengthens the feeble knees. How I wish I was less like the woman who scurries about frantically working all day but feeling as though she never accomplishes anything.

My late grandmother used to counsel me when I was a teenager... how I wish I would have listened more!!! A reoccurring theme I often heard was how I could be, accomplish or become whatever I wanted to. She often talked about the power of our minds and how sending good thoughts or vibes out into the universe would bring good back to us. Though not of the same faith, I have gleaned so much wisdom from her experiences. I understand more now than I did 15 years ago and see the parallel in a parable that I've known for as long as I can remember. It's the parable of the mustard seed found in the book of Alma in The Book of Mormon. As I was thinking about the characteristics I so desire in some of the women portrayed in the Ten Virgins production, I would start to get a sinking feeling that I was so far from achieving that; it was nearly hopeless. Then the whisperings of the Holy Ghost would remind me that it all starts with a thought... a mere desire to believe... and become.... drop by drop... I know we can all become the great Women and Men that our Heavenly Father sees in us as we come to Him often and allow His spirit to fill our hearts and lives.


I really love our ward. I love that our Primary is so huge. It's always exciting! There's always something to keep us busy and on our toes! Today I presented sharing time. It was a lot of fun. The lesson was on how the commandments help us follow Heavenly Father's plan for us and that brings us happiness. The children had an opportunity to share a commandment they thought of and how that makes us happy. I had chosen several children from the Primary and they were starting to share in the microphone which commandment they had chosen and why it makes them happy to keep that commandment. During the middle of it, Ethan came walking up to the podium. I thought maybe he was just coming up to see me... but it turned out he had something to share, and he shared "go to the temple." It was so sweet. It just melted my heart. He turned to go sit down but I directed him over to get his bean to put it in the jar. I feel like I'm always running out of time during sharing time. My main struggle is that I'm not a very good judge of time and how long something will take, or how much time has passed. I skipped the last half of the sharing time I had planned because I didn't want to cut into singing time (as I often do... feel bad about that). The senior sharing time is always much more productive and I had a better idea of how to get to everything that i wanted to. We were able to get to the part of them making a banner of what they pledge or promise to do as a class to follow Heavenly Father's plan for us. They wrote down several commandments on their banner as a class and then one child from each class brought it to the front to share. I was really touched and inspired to hear them share the commandments that they planned to keep together as a class. I invited them to keep their banners in their binders so that they could remind each other each week of the promise they had made. I'm really grateful for Primary. It inspires me to be better and to be as our Savior invites, "as a little child."

After church while getting ready for lunch, We had an interesting conversation with Ethan... then again, Ethan's conversations are always interesting...

How was your class today, Ethan?
It was a little...long. Did you see that? You know.
But did you like your class? Don't you like your teachers?
What did you like about it?
Because my teachers were talking nice, not stupid.
Uh oh.
(little smirk... wanting a reaction)
Why'd you say uh, oh?
Oh, because Ethan said a word that wasn't very nice.
What word was it?
Stupid, but... (so nonchalant)
(then with conviction) I was saying they were talking nice!

Friday, February 25, 2011

moving out already??

"I'm moving to Hawaii. Did you know, Dad?"
"Oh, you are? When?"
"When I'm a mom."