Thursday, January 28, 2010

A New Phase in Life

For the first time in over 9 years (and I mean a solid 9 years with no breaks) I am diaper free!  I don't have to carry a diaper bag anymore!  I don't have to carry bottles or sippy cups!  It has been so long since I could just grab my bag and go to the store without first having to load it with milk, diapers and wipes!  I feel so free and liberated!  Now just for safety I do bring pullups to church on Sundays but that's it.  I even made a 7 hour trip to Hendricks, shopping and a few other places yesterday with no accidents.  Huge milestone for me and my family.  So I say let's start the celebration! Bring on the cute bags and purses - I can actually use them now!  Seriously though, our family has reached a new phase.  Though Olivia is still small, we no longer have a baby.  I wondered what this feeling would be like.  I was a little nervous that I would get to this point and think it was time for another one.  But I don't feel that way.  I have always relied on Heavenly Father when it came to my family.  I turned to Him and tried to listen to His promptings.  I knew when I was pregnant with Dillon and wanted to be done, that I had a little girl waiting for me and once she came I would be done.  Two boys later my little girl arrived and I knew that I was done.  My body, though struggling more with each pregnancy, had done it's job and held out to the finish.  It certainly has it's battle scars to prove it.  A broken tail bone from the first delivery, stretch marks, extra weight, wider hips, a hernia and surgery to mention a few.  Our family is complete and now we are beginning to move through all the different stages.  At one point I had two not walking, another I had 3 in diapers (two times actually) and now everyone walks, everyone talks and everyone can go potty! It gives us more freedom to go and as they get older more time.  For example, last year when we would try to go swimming, we could only go for 2 hours.  They didn't open until 1pm and Olivia napped at 3pm.  This year we won't have to be back for naptime because she doesn't nap anymore.  Anyways, as much as I love my babies and watching them grow and change, I am glad that we are getting to explore a new phase of life.  It give us new opportunities and abilities and will be just as wonderful as the last stage - minus the dipaer bag!  So, as I said before, bring on the cute bags and purses, we are ready for them!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy Day

Today we had a busy day, but a fun one.  Our dear friend Orville that worked with Michael on the farm in Astoria turned 91 day.  He is a wonderful man and at 91 still goes to work everyday and works all day long, even in this lovely South Dakota weather.  Well, he loves my homemade bread so we decided to bring him some for his birthday.  I started grinding the wheat before 7 this morning.  After I got the bread all mied and raising, I finished getting the kids ready for school. Then I put the bread in the pans to raise.  While it was raising I did my walking on the treadill.  Then I put it in theoven to bake.  While it was baking I showered and got ready for the day and helped Zee and Olivia get eady.  When the bread was done I called Michael to lethim know there was fresh bread and then I loaded Zeke and Olivia in the car for a quick (hour long) grocery run.  When we got home, I unloaded the car while they took a potty break and then we loaded back up and headed to Astoria.  We didn't even stop eat breakfast.  Thank goodness for granola bars and juice boxes!  We got to Orville's around 11:30, told him happy birthday and gave him the bread.  We visited for a few minutes and then we headed to the Johnsons.  Pam came over too and we ate lunch and the kids played.  A few minutes before we had to leave another wonderful friend came over.  It was fun to see everyone.  A little after 2 I loaded Zeke and Olvia up again and off we went.  We stopped at the school in Hendricks to drop something off, stopped at the vets in Brookings to pay a bill, went to the farm store for a potty break and a snack and got home a few minutes before the other kids got off the bus.  I made supper while the kids cleaned their rooms, we ate, they finished cleaning, Michael went to church, I put the boys to bed at 7 pm and the girls and I watched American Idol.  I am looking forward to bedtime and maybe some popcorn (not in that order) but it was a fun day and I'm really glad we got to see Orville.  He is an amazing man that has lived a long, good life.  You don't find better than him!

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Year Ago...

One year ago yesterday we moved to Sioux Falls. One year ago tomorrow was the kids first day of school at Tri-Valley.  A lot has happened during that year, some fun, some not so fun.  One thing as stayed the same though.  We still miss Hendricks!  I moved a lot growing up and I guess I taught myself not to get attached.  I made friends and went through all the motions but I knew we would leave so I never let things get permanent.  To me moving was a lot like rearranging the furniture.  It was a fresh start and something to do to pass the time.  When we were in a place too long I started feeling antsy and ready to move on.  This was even the case after I got married and when the girls were small.  I made good friends along the way.  Most of them I lost contact with after a little while.  In fact, only one from my childhood is still a part of my life.  After all, I have moved to 27 different towns and 38 or more houses (not counting my mission in Ireland).   I am only 34.  Anyways, Hendricks was a different story.  I could actually see my children growing up there.  I think they could see it too. Despite the problems that went on there, Hendricks had become my home.  I had found friends that would last a life time.  My children had found the same.  Were there things there we didn't like?  Yes.  Did Hendricks have it's own problems?  Yes, every town does.  But the good out weighed the bad (except for the job situation).  Does Sioux Falls have good?  Yes.  Are there things here that we enjoy that we didn't have access to in Hendricks?  Yes.  But despite all that Sioux Falls has to offer, Hendricks is where our hearts still are.  For the first time in my life, I didn't feel the need to rearrange the furniture (only the job).  I had found a home.  I know this probably all sounds silly.  Get over it, I know.  It's been a year and it's time to move on.  Easier said than done.  I know this is where we belong right now  Why, I'm not sure.  So I will keep doing what I need to do to make this a good experience  but my heart will always be in Hendricks with all those wonderful people that I have the privilege of calling my friends. 

I wrote this for a very dear friend and I feel it applicable to this post.  It may be corny, but it does come from my heart:)

If home is where the heart is as the saying goes
Then my home is right next to you where ever you may go
For through the years with each passing day
Our friendship has blossomed like flowers in May
Each phone call, each hug, each wave on the street
Has filled my heart with a friendship so deep.
You won my heart through your acts of love
Many times you were an answer sent from above.
And though we are now separated by many lonely miles
My heart is still lifted, your friendship brings a smile
So if home is where the heart is then truly mine will be
Next to yours forever, friends for eternity.

I will alway consider my time in Hendricks a very special gift from my Father in Heaven.  Not everyone has a chance to live in such a place with so many wonderful people.  It gave me something I had never had before and changed me in many ways.  I will forever be grateful for all that Hendricks gave to me and my family.

I a kindergarterner

Dillon, now 5, has some very good insights and explanations for things.  Here are a few of his most recent ones:

The other day he had a substitute teacher.  When I asked him where his teacher was he said, "I think maybe she was teaching some substitute kids."  Makes perfect sense to me!

Zane was talking about his favorite thing to do on the playground.
Zane:  I think it's being chased by girls.  They chase us everyday.
Dillon:  I think they chase him because they like the color of his jacket.

I hope that's why they chase him!

He has many more reasons for things but these were two of my faorites and as you can tell, he has it all figured out!

No School

School has been called off again today.  Since starting up again in January, we have had 4 snow days, 2 early outs and 2 late starts.  Crazy!  If this South Dakota winter doesn't let up we will end up with year round school this year!  We do have 5 snow days built in to our school year, but I think we have used them all now.  Now we will have to start using our built  in vacaton days and then add on to the end of the year.  The kids are going crazy and I am going crazy:)  Except for church yesterday, I have not left the house for a week now.  Today we have a wind advisory, up to 40mph winds throughout the day with some blowing snow. The sun is supposed to be out tomorrow, but cold.  I will gladly welcome the sunny, light winded, cold day!  I think the kids will too.  You know they have missed alot of school when THEY start complaining about having another snow day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Fun Continues...

Well, Olivia's little leaks seem to have finally stopped.  Thank goodness!  However, we are finding other ways of having fun around the house.  This morning I went downstairs to get something from the storage room and discovered that our biggest shelf had fallen down.  There were metal cans everywhere!  I dug out the shelves, put them back up and reloaded them, separating them into two instead of just one big shelf.  As I came out I saw Zeke hammering the wall.  I guess the boys had somehow found a huge nail and decided it needed to be in the wall.  They had all taken turns trying to pound it in.  Their little plastic hammer got it in half way before I discovered it.  Unfortunately they aren't the best at aiming and there is a mark or two around the nail from missed hits.  They are now on the couch in time out while I think of an appropriate consequence.  Michael is working.  With all the rain and slush we got last night the ranch is a mess.  One of the workers slid off the road by the entrance so off he went.  Hopefully we won't find anymore "fun" things to do!  Kids!  Gotta love 'em!

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Day Updated

Well, we made it part way through the morning before Olivia started up again.  It's not quite as bad as yesterday but it's still not good.  So we ate a little lunch, read stories until she went to sleep on the couch and then Zeke and I also headed to the bedroom for naptime.  It's been a long time since I took a nap and I loved it!  I didn't keep my do nothing day either. There's just too much to do to not do anything at all.  I am sticking to my no cooking thing though, except for popcorn for those whose tummies are okay.  We are having leftovers for supper.  Although I may have to make bread too because we have eaten almost all of the batch I made Wednesday.  Anyways, that's the update for the day! Now the other kids will be home soon and the fun will continue:)

A New Day!

Well, after wiping a little bum all day, cleaning up several messes (one of which was splattered all over the bathroom floor) and being thrown up on (meat and rice) we were finally able to put the kids to bed and start all over again today!  So far so good.  I am hoping that is the end of it for all of us.  However, after feeling a little yucky myself I have decided that today is officially do nothing day!  Nothing as in anything productive.  There will be no getting dressed, if you do get dressed you can not match (Olivia and Zeke are the masters of this:).  No exercising, no cooking (except popcorn), and only the necessities of cleaning.  You don't even have to brush your hair if you don't want to!  I know by noon I will be tired of this declaration, or at least parts of it, but for now it's what we are going by.  Should any of the leaking problems start occurring again today we will just all go to bed and wait for tomorrow to come!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Floaties in the Bathtub

Poor little Olivia has had diarrhea all day.  She has done a very good job of not having any accidents despite her frequent need to go to the bathroom.  During lunch she fnally had one and was quite upset about it.  It got her sundress dirty (yes, she is wearing a sundress even with the looming ice and snow storm) ran down her legs and into her sandals (they went with the dress, what can I say?).  Well, I got her a bubble bath and put her in only a few minutes later for her to get out to go to the bathroom again.  When she was done I put her back in and she asked to have her hair washed.  While rinsing her hair, I noticed that under the bubbles were very suspicious looking floaties.  Yuck!  I stood her up, pulled the plug and turned on the shower.  She started crying but I had to hold her under there to make sure we washed all the "floaties" out of her hair and off of the rest of her.  Poor little thing.  It didn't seem to dampen her mood though.  She went and put on some brightly colored striped shorts with a cute little shirt with bright flowers on it (it actually matches) and now she is playing with the boys.  I got the lucky job of cleaning the underwear, sandals, bathtub and bath toys!

There's always time

Sometimes life gets going and we get all caught up in the moment and then realize all that we missed along the way.  We get so busy that we don't think there is enough time to do all that we want or need to do.  Yes, sometimes we have to cut out some things to stay sane or to be able to get all the big important things done, but there is always time for the little things.  And sometimes the little things end up being more important than the big things. We may not be able to do it the way we wanted to do it but we can still do it.  My life has been touched in so many ways by people taking the time to do the little things.  Just recently my sister put a nice post on my faebook page.  It ended up being something I needed on a bad day.  My mother-in-law sent me an e-mail with a wonderful message that gave me strength to get through things I was struggling with.  Michael's grandma made a phone call just to make sure we were okay because she hadn't heard from me in a few days.  It doesn't take long.  Our emails may not be as in depth as we wanted them to be or our phone conversations as long, but the message is still loud and clear.  We can let some one know that we are thinking of them and care about them and it won't take away fom our busy schedule or ruin plan of events.  I my not have enough time to sit on the couch and watch a whole movie with my kids but I can sit and snuggle with them for a few minutes.  I can hold them and tell them I love them.  I may not be able to go over to a friends house and visit but I can call them and see how they are.  I may not be able to make a 5 course meal or my neighbor but I can take them a Papa Murphys pizza and a batch of cookies.  The list goes on and on.  We never know when we are going to be the answer to someone's prayer.  If we don't take time to do the small thing, the things that seem unimportant or maybe even silly, we may be missing out on some great opportunities.  Not only could we be helping others, but we could also be helping ourselves and enriching our own lives.  It doesn't take long.  Friendships can be strengthened, new ones can be made, families can become more united.  As I said before, my life has been touched many times from both giving these simple acts and receiving them.  I have discovered that there is always time for something, even when we think we are busy.  It's easy to get caught up in life and let it slip away.  I know I do it.  I start a week with grat intentions and before I know it, the week is over and the oporunities for that week are gone.  I am trying to do better though and I am trying to find time for those little things, they really do end up being more important than the big things.  The things I remember in life come from those little moments.  My grandparents lived in Nashville and we rarely did:)  Each year they would make a trip to come see us.  The things I remember most about them is just sitting on the couch next to them, play rhythm-maree, having them cheer as we did our Dukes of Hazard impressions in and out of the car windows (something we perfected as we delivered papers.  We would dive in, do a roll across the back seat, grab the next stack of papers from my dad and jump out the other window.) and having them come to the pool and watch us do tricks.  Little things.  My kids are the same way.  They remember walks with grandmas, phone calls on specials days and little surprises in the mail.  Little things.  Little things that change us and help us grow.  I sure hope as my kids get older and my life gets busier that I can remember these little things and make sure I do some everyday.  There's always time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little Scavenger

This morning I made bread.  While it was cooling I came into the bedroom to get ready to workout.  When I came back into the kitchen I found the top of one of my loaves almost completely picked off.  Apparently Olivia was hungry and couldn't wait for it to cool so I could slice it.  Se admitted to it with a big grin and asked for a piece of bread with butter.  I had to take a picture first!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pride in my children

We spent the morning today going through our clothes and toys and trying to organize things a little more.  One of the reasons we did this is because we heard of a family in Yankton that needed some help.  It is a single mom with 2 little children.  She had to have surgery on both of her wrists and as a result they didn't really get much of a Christmas.  In fact they don't have much of anything at all we are told.  She tried to get a loan from the bank to help them get by but wasn't able to.  Anyways, we talked to the kids about it and they went through their stuff. The boys found race cars and tracks for the little boy and the girls found a doll and some stuffed animals for the girl.  Dillon picked out one is his pairs of shoes to give to the little boy and we went through all the clothes finding things that they didn't wear that they could give to this family.  As a result of it all, we came up with a huge black garbage sack plus a smaller one full of stuff for them.  They each gave something and I was so proud to see their eagerness and willingess to give.  It made me feel so good.  It is another testimony that children are filled with the light of Christ.  There is a reason why Christ called the little chidren to Him while He was on earth and why we are told to be like a little child.  There is nothing on earth so precious and today I am so proud of mine:)


Today I had the wonderful blessing of having to go out and buy storage shelves.  Why is that a blessing?  Well, because last night we got a phone call from a couple in our church.  He has been called to be a mission president and they will be leaving sometime in June.  They are putting their house up for sale next month and are trying to clean it out and get rid of stuff.  As a result they were looking for a family to give all thier food storage to.  They thought we might would be able to use it.  Holy cow!  They have so much food storage!  They have flour, sugar, milk, wheat, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, apples, juice mix, carrots, onions, pudding mix, hot chocolate, and tons of it!  We are taught  have a years supply of food. We had a little storage but not a lot.  It seems on our tight budget if I do buy extra for the storage, I usually end up needing it later and it never stays there for long.  Anyways,I bought a shelving unit that has 5 shelves on it.  Its 30 inches long and can hold the big storage cans 2 high, 2 deep and 6 long.  It's full and there is still over twice that much more to get.  What a huge blessing!  It is stuff that we need and we use.  They are also giving us 2 50 gallon water storage containers and a bunk bed.  I am so thankful they thought of us for all of this.  I have had a rough few days filled with frustration and self pity.  Having this happen reminded me that my Heavenly Father is mindful of me and my family and He will take care of us if we try to do what is right and follow the teachings of Jesus. WooHoo for storage shelves!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Glasses

I got my new glasses the other day.  I picked out red ones.   Not normally what I go for, but I thought it would be fun.  Lots of people have commented on them and unless they are lying to me, they seem to be a hit!  Olivia likes them and has dug out Makenna's old red ones so she can be like mommy!  Anyways, just one of the small changes I am making...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day Fun

Inspired by Zeke's new cape and lightsaber gun, all the kids decided to dress up (as what I'm not sure) and fight the bad guys.  Nothing like being bored and stuck in the house for 3 days!  I think Dillon's is my favorite.  He is the Incredible Hulk Cowboy - green fuzzy cowboy hat, bandana, and a gun holster!

Is there any room yet?

Last night was a long night.  We went to bed late to start off.  The kids didn't have school today so we stayed up late boxing, bowling and playing tennis.  Then around 2 am I heard Olivia calling for Daddy.  She stopped after a few minutes and I got up to go to the bathroom.  Just as I layed back down again I felt something at the foot of the bed.   I looked up and all I saw was a Dora blanket walking towards me!  Olivia had put the blanket on her head and somehow found her way into my room.  I picked her up and put her in bed with us (usually I don't but she has had a few rough nights).  She likes to sleep in between us and eventually she ended up with her feet on the pillow laying on top of the covers and she slept that way the rest of the night.  Around 6:15 Zeke came in and said he had a bad dream.  I told him to go get his alligator that he sleeps with (we got it when he was having nightmares about alligators eating him.  It giggles when you push it's hand and it has helped him sleep better).  He said he couldn't find it.  I told him our bed as full and that he would just have to go to back to his wn bed. A few minutes later I see the bathroom light go on and hear someone going potty.  Then the light goes off, then on, then off, then on, then off again.  Footsteps in the hall, a thump, then Zeke by my bed again saying he hit his toe on something.  Off he goes back to bed.  A few minutes later here he is again saying he can't find his bed.  I couldn't get up because of how Olivia was sleeping on me so I told him to make sure he was in the right bedroom  I reminded him that he had made his bed into a tent so it would be behind the blanket.  Off he goes back to bed.  A few minutes later, he's back "Is there any room yet Mommy?"  It was 6:40.  Michael got up to go to work so Zeke took his spot and went to sleep.  Michael came back home a little after 7 and Olivia woke up and went into the living room with him.  As soon as she got out of bed, he scooted over and put his arm around my neck and snuggled right up agais me.  Sometimes he just melts my heart!  Well, it is 10 am and Zeke is still sleeping.  He must have had a rough night because he never sleeps this long!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Zeke!

Today my little Zekie boy turns 4!  I can't believe how fast time goes.  He is such a special blessing in our lives and brings such a sweet spirit to our home.  I can't imagine life without him.  It as been so fun to be able to spend more time with him this year while the older kids are at school.  We have been able to spend a lot of one on one time together and we have gone on some fun adventures with Olivia!  Happy Birthday Super Zeke!

Your happy giggle brings joy to my heart
Your great big smile is contagious to all.
Your spirit is strong; you’re wise beyond your years.
You’re so aware even though you are small.

You take everything in, always learning and growing,
Asking questions nonstop to help you understand.
As I watch you change and evolve, I change too
I learn so much as we walk together hand in hand.

Your joy, your kindness, your soft gentle heart
Your hugs and kisses and “I love you’s”
Your big imagination, funny stories and facts
Are all part of you, my little boy blue

You changed my life; I’ll never be the same
You bring love to my heart and joy to my day
I thank heaven each day for the gift that is you
Little boy blue, I love you more than words can say.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


 I don't know if you're like me or not but when something hard comes along I feel like I have to be strong and not let others know that I am suffering.  I don't want them to see me cry.  I guess I don't want them to see my weaknesses.  I feel like I need to be the one taking care of everyone else when inside I want to curl up in a ball and sob.  Over the past year I have had friends of mine who have had huge trials.  One lost a daughter, one lost a husband, one is going through her second round of stage 2 breast cancer.  She is a mother of 4 and only my age.  I marvel at their strength, yet I am aware that they too, handle trials like I do, trying to be strong for everyone else.  I have learned that at some point we have to let go.  We have to feel just like everyone else does.  We have to let go of our perceived strength and be cared for by others.  It is part of the healing process.  One thing I am thankful for as I contemplate all of this, is my knowledge of the Savior.  Yes, He came and suffered for our sins, taking upon Himself the sins of all the world.  But He did more than that.  He felt our sorrows, our pain and disappointments, our depressions and sadness.  He is the only One who knows exactly how we feel because He has felt it all.  Along with His sufferings for our sins, he also felt our emotions.  This knowledge has helped me to turn to Him in these times.  If I can't let go of my pain in front of others because I need to be strong for them, I can let go of it in front of Him because He has already been strong for me. 

A conversation I had with friends this last week brought all of this to the forefront of my mind and I finally had to sit down and write about it.  It may not be one of my greatest pieces of poetry but it is certainly filled with gratitude for my Savior and relief at the opportunity I have to always turn to Him for love, comfort and strength.  I hope as you read it that you can feel what I am trying to say and know that Jesus Christ is always there with strength beyond compare to lift us up and carry us on our way.

With tears in her eyes, my little girl came to me today, hurt by friends who had been untrue.

So I held her close and whispered in her ear, "It's okay, go ahead and cry. I'll be strong for you."

A friend so dear and kind to all came to me today, weak from the illness, unsure of what to do.
So I held her close and whispered in her ear, "It's okay, go ahead and cry. I'll be strong for you."

A brother with a sweet little family came to me today, laid off from his job and scared by the news.
So I held him close and whispered in his ear, "It's okay, go ahead and cry. I'll be strong for you."

At home all alone in the quiet of my room I suffered in silence at the loss in my life, needing strength in order to continue.
Then out of the silence I felt warm, loving arms and heard a gentle whisper in my ear,
"It's okay, go ahead and cry. You don't need to always be strong. Let go of your pain here in my arms. I'll now be strong for you."

"I suffered in the Garden and again on the cross. I've felt all this for you.
So let me hold you close to me," He whispered in my ear, "It's okay, go ahead and cry. I'll be strong for you."