Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Relaxing Sunday

It's that time of year where the primary kids are practicing for the Sacrament Meeting presentation.  After waking up early for a church meeting and then 3 hours of church (which we love, but it's tiring), we like to have a relaxing day.  Tony went to a scout meeting, but other than that, we just relaxed as a family.  My kids love to dress up and play pretend when it's rainy outside. 

 I got to read from one of my favorite books, A Quiet Heart, by Patricia Holland.  Tony took a nap and we ended the evening with a family movie, "The Work and the Glory.  It was nice to have such a relaxing family day.

Most times when I sit down or lay down, there are tiny people that must be with/on me.  I'm not complaining--I love my life.  I tried to get a picture with all four kids snuggling with me at the same time but it was a blurry mess.

Silly faces are a must!

Pumpkin Patch 2015

We ventured out to a pumpkin patch with some friends last weekend.  We started with a corn maze.  You were supposed to stay on the path and punch your cards when you made it to the numbered stations.  I had a baby on my shoulders most of the time.  Jase and Evelyn did wander off into the corn at one point.  Tiny rascals.

Then we went to choose pumpkins.

Photo OPP!

Then we went back to our house for pizza and Halloween snack mix, playing and chatting.  It was a great Saturday!

Go Be a Mother!

I like reading blogs because it's easier than sitting down with books (which I love too).  Blog posts are short and entertaining and/or informative.  I follow blogs on a myriad of subjects including parenting.  This blog post really resonated with me because the writer had faced the prospect of losing her husband.  Her story is here and here:

"I've been thinking lately, I started this blog with the intention of researching and studying and praying and learning how to be a better parent. I wanted to make a community of LDS parents who could encourage each other and inspire each other. I still think that will happen one day with this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. But as I look at the blog, I realize that I haven't been personal on it very often. I have tried to research and write posts that are informative for all of us. But I want you guys to know me. To know that I'm not a perfect parent by any means. To know some of the trials I've been through and why this blog is so important to me. So today I'm going to write a bit, on a personal note, about a time in my life where I didn't know if I would be able to continue being a mother.

This is my precious family. We are doing Family Home Evening and my youngest daughter ( the one bending over in the lower left hand corner ) was in charge. The activity she chose was to build temples out of marshmallows and toothpicks :) We laughed a lot! See that handsome man looking at the camera ? That's my husband of 15 years. We've known each other since we were both 14. That's a long time. I've loved him for 20 years now. When we were both 25, and we had three gorgeous babies under the age of 4..... Keith began having terrible migraines. We were both scared, something like this had never happened to him before. He made an appointment with our doctor who said, just to be on the safe side, he wanted to do an MRI of Keith's brain. So on a friday, they did the MRI. We knew that we would get results monday or tuesday. For the weekend , Keith was just supposed to rest up and take the migraine medication that he had been prescribed.

Around 6 pm that night, Keith got a phone call. We were outside enjoying the beautiful evening in our backyard, pushing the kids in their little baby swings on the swing set. He walked away a bit and when he returned he had a look on his face that I will never forget. Something was very wrong. We took the kids inside, got their baths, lotion, jammies, bedtime stories, prayers and then put them in their beds. We sat on the front porch for a bit. Finally , he was ready to tell me about the phone call.
That was Dr Evans on the phone, he told me. Why would Dr Evans call us at 6 pm on a friday ????
They've found a large mass in my brain, I have to go to St Louis monday. Just like that, life changed.

To make a very long, scary story somewhat shorter ~ The mass they found was in a terrible spot. They gave Keith 2 weeks. 2 Weeks to live. They would attempt surgery in 2 weeks, they had much to discuss and prepare for, with multiple surgeons that they were calling in, and that is why it would be 2 weeks. They needed time to prepare. They weren't giving us much hope , even with the surgery. But for now, he had 2 weeks to live. Life just stops. All of the sudden, I couldn't get enough pictures of him with the kids. I started thinking about things like finances and how to support 3 babies , alone. We discussed funeral arrangements. I didn't cry. Not once. It was like I was in full on crisis mode. 2 weeks. It's not long enough when you are trying to figure out how to say goodbye.

We were blessed. After an emergency trip to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and lots of blessings and prayers, my husband is very alive. He's just fine. He's a miracle.

After that time in our lives, as soon as the doctors gave the OK , saying he was fine, he was safe, he would be around for a long time, I fell apart. I was so strong during the actual crisis, so very strong. As soon as they said he would live, I fell apart. I had a mental breakdown basically. Suddenly I was terrified to let him out of my sight. I would cry and cry when it was time for him to go to work. I felt like I couldn't survive. I fell into the deepest darkest depression and my anxiety was absolutely through the roof. Keith took ME to Dr. Evans this time... instead of the other way around. Dr Evans realized that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It would take some time and a lot of work on my part, but I could get through it. I began taking medicine. I started seeing a counselor, sometimes every single day, when it got to the point where I didn't want to live with the fear and anxiety that racked my entire soul. I laid in bed 24 hours a day. Sleeping away my fears. I couldn't even handle having the kids in the room with me, I was so terrified that I might disappoint them, or make them sad, I didn't want them to see mommy like this! Keith was able to take FMLA from work and he became both mommy and daddy for 6 weeks. 6 weeks I was completely unable to function. I couldn't hardly even handle it if Keith went to the grocery store. I would cry and hang onto his legs and say, what if you die ? The thought of it paralyzed me.

One day, while laying in bed, sleeping, dreaming, I dreamt of heaven. I was sitting in a beautiful room ~ it looked like the celestial room in the Nauvoo Temple. I was sitting beside a beautiful older woman. She smiled at me, and said do you know who I am ? I looked in her eyes and said yes! It was Sister Marjorie Hinckley.

 Oh how I loved her! I had just finished reading one of her books, and I had fallen even more in love with her. In my dream I smiled, I laughed! Yes I know you! She patted my leg, and said, " well then go be a mother."  I woke up. It was like I was a new person. I knew that I couldn't live like that anymore. My children needed me. I needed to go be a mother. It wasn't magic, I still had to work hard, I still had times where I needed to lie down and pray and pray. I continued the medication, I am still on that medication to this day, because I don't want to take any chances! I had to work very hard, but I had a goal, I knew that Heavenly Father was thinking of me, loving me, and knowing that if anything in this entire world could bring me out of the anxiety ridden cycle I was in ~ it would be my children and my love of being a mother.

I know some people might say it's silly, but after reading her books, and struggling so much and praying so very hard, begging my Father in Heaven to help me somehow, having that dream, and the sweet cozy feelings that came with it, it was just so special. Do I feel like I saw a vision and that I was truly transported to heaven ? Not really, I feel like I had a lovely dream and it reminded me of my mission in this life, motherhood. It made me feel happy and that I was loved. That feeling can come from many things, a wonderful dream, a Scripture that jumps out at us and we know it is exactly what we needed, an answer to a prayer, or someone just smiling at us and reminding us to be happy. We can be that answer to a prayer to other people ! Just smile! :)

Now, I want to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Sister Hinckley. But first, I want to tell you, please read her books. You will fall in love with her too. You will love her beautiful personality.

One of the quotes that really resonated with me, during that time, and after she told me ' Go Be a Mother!' was this one :

     " Whenever possible say yes! They are only children once."

Isn't that the truth ? I have tried that now, for the past 9 years. Yes it's been 9 long years since the whole brain tumor/ break down. Guess what... it works. My kids are amazing. I'm not saying they're amazing because I say yes whenever possible... but I know that it sure is a great thing. It really is. You should try it :)

Another quote that I love by Sister Hinckley is this one :

     " Be a mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the environment surrounding them."

First of all, that is the truth also! What a wonderful goal to have as parents! Secondly, I love how she says " Be a mother" ..... that is what she said to me... go be a mother! I love it. How I love her!!!! And how I love you. All of you reading this. I'm praying for you. We all go through trials, and sometimes we need some extra help getting through them. I pray that you get that help, and you will, if you just ask your Father in Heaven and have faith. ~ JL

                           ( aren't they darling ?? I just love them! Now, go be mothers and fathers! )

What kinds of neat spiritual experiences have you had, that made you want to be a better parent ?
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~"

While our stories are vastly different, they're similar too.  There were a few times after Tony's accident that I worried about him getting home but no real anxiety.  And thankfully I have a deep understanding that miracles happen and that God is real.  While I know this, I also know that bad things can happen.  I don't wait for a perfecdt time in life.  Life is perfecdt now and while I have dreams, my dream of being a wife and mother with a wonderful home and family is being lived out each day.  Because things don't always work out the way we want and because there are bumps along life's journey, I'm so grateful that there is a loving Heavenly Father who answers our prayers in personal ways to help us feel of His love.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Furry Ninja

Jet is crazy, playful and fun, a sneaky like a ninja...and crazy...  

Exhibit A

He followed me into the bathroom and when I turned to wash my hands...

Exhibit B

He's inside the bag I use to store box tops.  I'm the box top coordinator for the elementary school's PTA.  I count them after the kids are asleep but I have to shut Jet in the room with Tony because he likes to jump on my piles and make it difficult.  Last night, he just cuddled up in the bag.  Crazy cat.

Friday, October 23, 2015

White Belts and an Orange Belt

We are a Tae Kwon Do family.  Ryan and I are taking the class together with our friends.  It's a lot of fun. Max is an orange belt with his friend right after us.  

This picture was on the last night of our first session.  We got to break boards.  On Tuesday we did it with plastic boards that have a division in the middle and they fit back together like a puzzle.  Last night we broke real boards.  They gave my friend and I (the adults) thicker boards.  They use softer wood for these boards, but we broke them on the first try.  It was kind of cool.  Both Ryan and I earned stripes on our belt.  Here he's demonstrating a front kick and holding the pieces of the board he broke.  He was so proud! :)

Fall Leaves

We decided to take a walk in the fall leaves and pick up books at the library.  Max had chain issues on the way and I was proud of him for getting it fixed all by himself.

Then away we went.  

We climb this hill to get to the library.  It's a good climb, you can't see all of it in this picture.  We call it the, "I think I can" hill.  I love taking moments like this to teach my kids that they can do hard things.  On the way back Max got a flat so he had to walk it the rest of the way.  We found a path we'd never seen before and discovered a new route home, through the back of the high school.  It was perfect because we met our friends for a park playdate before heading home.

Kid Swaps

Every Thursday the kids get to play with their fun friends, Myles and Cami.  Us moms take turn volunteering at the kids' schools.  I love being in the school and seeing the kids.  I've had a few kids tell me that they wished their moms could come to the school.  It's a privilege to me that I get to stay home with the kids and volunteer in the school.  Where else would I get to dive under a table during an earthquake drill?

On the opposite weeks, we have these cuties come and play.  Jase and Evelyn get very excited when they get to come over.

Fun With Friends

The weather has been so nice so we've been walking to pick up the boys from school.  This means we usually stop at the park and get more friend time!  

Tyler picked a flower for Evelyn.  So sweet!

Jase, Evelyn and I like to spend time outside too.  We invited a friend over and went to the library.  Then we walked to the park and played in the leaves.

Jase and Edi are swinging like big kids.  All of them kept saying, "Higher, Higher"

Here they are defending their castle from the "bad guys".

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Asking Mom and Dad

Just a little glance into mom and dad's heads.


Most recent book you enjoyed:  Stealing Air:  A fun family book we listened to on our road trip about three boys who build an airplane.

Most recent move you enjoyed:  The Martian

Fun Memory from this past week:  Taking the family to hang with work friends at Zeek's Pizza.

Something you're looking forward to this week:  Temple Date Night on Friday!


Most recent book you enjoyed:  Think Big

Most recent move you enjoyed:  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  This is definitely a sad story--WWII, but it's so well done.

Fun Memory from this past week:  Seeing Ryan and his friend Lily get so excited to see their primary teacher on the screen at church.  She was asked to give the closing prayer at stake conference and we were watching it broadcast to our church building.  You would have thought she was a celebrity.

Something you're looking forward to this week:  temple date night with Tony and maybe a family hike this weekend if Tony doesn't work.

Sunday Moments

Stake Conference was awesome today.   I've got to remember the Hokey Pokey. ; )

We did our regular seaplane watching.

I just love these faces so much!

Tried a filter for the first time in instagram.

After naptime/quiet time, we went for a walk/bike ride.  Since daddy needed to rest, we just rode to the nearby park and then older two had a blast zooming down the hills on their bikes.  Fall is beautiful!

We saw a small airplane in final approach to Renton airport and then right after I took this picture, I saw a Jumbo jet flying over it either in final approach or taking off from Sea-Tac airport.  We love seeing all of the planes.