Monday, April 30, 2012

For Sale

Well, it's official.  The sign is up and the house is listed.  Now comes the waiting and hoping and the constant cleaning :)  Right now the market seems good.  There are not as many houses for sale and it seems that some of them are going rather quickly.  Since ours is still in the fix it up mode, we are asking a lot less than most others so that will help to not have competition in the price market.  One thing about Green River is that even if the house is $200,000, it still needs work.  The housing is really expensive here.  The fact that we can ask $139,000 for ours will help us I think.  We will just have to wait and see what happens now.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Think We're Ready!

This has been a busy week.  Michael and I spent the days packing and hauling.  I rented a storage shed last week and this week we have been filling it.  I kind of like the half empty house - it's so much roomier!  We have made a trip to the dump, several trips to the thrift store and even more trips to the storage shed.  We have cleaned - inside and out and done our best to get everything ready.  We signed papers and got everything ready at the real estate office.  We even had time for a little fun.  There was the regular baseball and softball.  Zane also had his pinewood derby this week.  The kids love to watch all the different cars race. Michael and I got to go out on a lunch date and a dinner date!  We celebrated our 12th anniversary Saturday.  He brought me white roses and a card.  Then we got a babysitter and went out to dinner.  It was nice to have some relaxation time with him after all the work we had done during the week.  Today we went to my parents house and celebrated again with dinner and dessert.  Michael headed back to work tonight.  I'm afraid he didn't get the rest he needed this week and will be tired going into this hitch but the knowledge that we only have two more will help.  Maddi had another meltdown after he left tonight.  I feel so bad for her when she struggles.  It's hard to watch your kids hurt.  She hates when Michael leaves.  She asked why we couldn't just leave now.  Unfortunately we have a few things we need to do before we can leave - the main one being to find a house to move in to!  Watching her struggle though shows me how important it is to do this.  This is pain that you can't buy off with the money he is out making.  Nothing I can buy her will take the place of Michael not being here.  His paychecks aren't worth that!  As I have said before, despite the chilly treatment we get from some and the undeserved questioning from others, I know that we have made the right choice.  I know that we are doing the right thing for our family.  The next few weeks will have moments of concern and anxiousness I am sure, but I know that it will all come together the way it is supposed to.  My brother quoted me a scripture the other day when I was talking to him about all that was going on.  It says (in some form or other), "lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt...But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." That is in Matthew.  We are doing our best here on this earth to do the things that will allow us to be a part of the Kingdom of God. We are trying to be righteous.  We are trying to teach our children.  We are trying to strengthen our family.  If we are doing our best to seek Him, He will bless us with all that we need.  I believe that.  I trust in that.  I receive hope from that.  I gain strength from that.  So after all that has happened this week, we are ready in all aspects.  We are ready to put our For Sale sign out front tomorrow and get things rolling!  Our house is ready, our hearts are ready, the kids are ready and hopefully everything else (like the house market) is ready!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I am not perfect although perfection is my goal.  I will never reach it in this life but I hope to live good enough to reach it in the next life.  I will say this though, I try to always do what is right.  Sometimes it is hard.  Sometimes it is painful.  I don't just do things to do them.  I try to pray and study and think things through.  I know I will always fall short in the eyes of some.  I always have and it seems I always will.  To those I want to say this.  You hurt me.  You break my heart.  You know me better than that yet you give me no credit.  Tonight I am hurting.  I am sorry for falling short in your eyes.  I am not, however, sorry for the choices I have made.  I believe with all my heart that what I am doing and the choices I am making are the right ones.  My desires are righteous.  My heart is good.  My intentions are not evil.  I will continue on in faith despite the hurt that I feel, because beneath the hurt I still feel peace in my choices.  No one can say what our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  No one can say what His time frame is.  No one knows what lies in wait for us.  No one can take away the things that I have felt and the knowledge that I have.  I hope that some day you will be able to see me for who I really am.  I hope that you will be able to see into my heart and past the physical body that holds it.  I hope you will understand how desperately I need your love, but also understand that I can't always do what you want me to do to earn it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What a Hitch!

Michael is coming home tonight (actually early tomorrow morning).  It has been a crazy hitch!  When Michael left two weeks ago I was so discouraged and frustrated. We were hoping with the interviews that Michael had gone to that we would have some answers about jobs before he left again.  We didn't.  I was in a really bad mood that day.  Here we were, him leaving again, the kids sad and me left to do it alone.  It wasn't what I was hoping for.  We had been fasting and praying.  We knew that this isn't what we were supposed to keep doing, but the options we were hoping for hadn't come about as of yet.  What's more, one of the jobs Michael had decided he probably wouldn't take even if they offered it to him.  Well, a week went by and nothing.  Our spirits were down.  The next week, I started filling out applications for other places around here.  I figured that I needed to do everything I should and take advantage of all the opportunities out there.  Tuesday things started coming together.  SDSU called and offered him the job. The next day Olsen Custom Farms called and offered him a job (our secret desire all along).  Michael turned down SDSU and accepted with Olsen's on Wednesday.  Thursday our real estate agents came to look at the house and let us know what we needed to do to get it on the market.  Friday I rented a storage unit so we could empty out all our non-essentials into it.  I also started collecting boxes.  This weekend we have started going through the kids rooms and getting rid of a lot and packing the rest, except for a few things.  It has been a whirlwind hitch!  I am so excited for Michael to come home and be a part of it!  He will love to see the kids' excitement and I will love having him be able to help pack and haul things!  Our spirits have been lifted.  What started out as one more hitch in a never ending pattern, turned into a joyful answer to prayers!  We feel so blessed.  Michael only has two more hitches to go.  It will be so much easier to say goodbye knowing that there is an end in sight and in the very near future we will not have to do this anymore!  There is still a lot to do between now and then.  We have to clear out our house, get it sold (cross your fingers for that to happen) and find a place there to live in, but we know it will all work out.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Starting to Feel Official

When all this job stuff came about at the beginning of the week it seemed kind of unreal. I wasn't sure how to take it all in. I was excited. I felt like our prayers had been answered. But at the same time, I could hardly believe it was happening! As the week has progressed and we got more details of the job and when we would start, it started feeling a little more real. Today pushed it all the way there! Our real estate agents came over to look at the house. We are using the same ones we bought it from since we know them and they know the house. They checked out what we had done for improvements, asked a few questions, and left me feeling relieved. They are extremely confident that we can sell the house with no problems. They told us we didn't need to do any more work on the house ( big relief). They told us we could for sure sell it for a profit (nice bonus since we've only owned for 6 months). They also told us that we were one of the few houses in this price range so there wouldn't be a lot of competition. Since we can sell it for well below what others are selling theirs for we have a nice advantage. The one thing we have to do though is declutter! Six kids take up a lot of space. We have to pack everything but the essentials and get it out of the house. They would like for us to get it all done next week so they can put it on the market that next Monday. Guess what Michael and I are going to be doing next week? Packing, organizing, throwing things away and hauling stuff off. Then, once it's on the market, we have to be ready at all times to show it. It will be crazy to keep the house show ready all the time, but it will be worth it if we can get it sold before we go to Minnesota. Anyways, now it feels official. Now I know it is really happening!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Just Have to Say...

I am not a verbal person, in that I don't like to speak my mind or talk about emotional things directly to people.  I get nervous and flustered and worried that I might offend.  So instead, I write.  It not only allows me to say what I want to say, but it relieves stress for me as well.  So here goes....

I just want to express what is in my heart and on my mind.  I feel like, with some, I have been made to be the bad guy in this whole job and moving situation - like I am doing something wrong or out to hurt some one.  I'm not! I am trying to do what is best for my family!  As much as I would like to I can't make everyone happy.  I just can't!  I have to do what is best for me and my family and I can't worry about anything else.  I know this move comes as hard news to some and I feel horrible about that.  If I could, I would take it all away but I can't.  There are hard things for me too.  We are leaving good schools, family, some of us are leaving good friends, I am leaving the first house we ever owned and while it wasn't the nicest of homes, it was mine and I enjoyed making plans for how I wanted it to be.  BUT, we are doing what we feel is best for our family.  There is great joy in this decision.  I feel guilty about those that may be hurt.  I am not trying to abandon or anything else like that.  I am sorry if I am happy about it but I can't help it.  This is an answer to our prayers.  This is what we have been waiting for.  Not only are we going back to a place that we never wanted to leave in the first place, to people that we never wanted to leave, but we are going to a place that will allow Michael to be back home with us.  Michael's mom pout it perfectly the other night, right now he is a visitor in his own home.  It is so true!  Now he will be able to be in our lives on a daily basis.  There will be no more putting little kids to bed crying because they miss their daddy, no more breakdowns by older ones who need daddy there, no more sad Sunday nights as we stand at the door and tell him goodbye for two weeks.  Our family will be back together.  That is what is most important to us and if it means we have to leave here then that is what we will do.

Last night, in the middle of the night, I woke to Olivia coughing and choking in her bed.  She couldn't get her breath.  It scared me.  She has had croup many times and it has resulted in several trips to the ER.  All I could do was lay there with her propped on pillows and pray that she didn't need to go there.  I had to be up at 5:30 to take the two older girls to school by 6:30 for their much anticipated trip.  I had three others that would be sleeping.  How would I get her to the ER and get the girls to school and take care of the other three too.  So I lay there from 2:30 to 4:00 hoping that she would settle down.  She did and for that I am grateful.  What if she didn't though?  What would I have done?  How could I have done it all by myself?  Michael was gone and all the responsibility was mine.  I never did go back to sleep last night.  The worry from Olivia, the stress from having to deal with it alone, and the responsibility of getting everyone where they needed to go kept me from sleep for the rest of the night.  I realize that there are people who do it alone all the time.  I know that, but I have the opportunity to not have to do that anymore.  I have the opportunity to have my husband back home with me and nothing is going to make me want anything else.

So if you have taken this move as a personal offense, please don't.  Please understand me and what I have gone through, what Michael has gone through and what our children have gone through.  Please don't be mad at me and make me feel guilty over a decision that should be bringing me joy. You may think that there will be holes left where we were, but the Lord will fill those holes.  He always has and He always will.  Life is full of change and challenges, but He is always there to help us over the bumps.  I refuse to be sad over this move. I refuse to let others push their feelings on me and smother the joy that I am feeling.  I refuse to let anything get in the way of my family being together.  I have loved many aspects of living here.  I have met many new people and made friends who will forever be in my heart.  My children have had many wonderful experiences here, but I am ready to have my husband back and our family life the way it was meant to spent - together.

Ready to Go!

This morning the girls got up early (one as early as 4am) and got ready to head to Teton Science School for three days.  They were really excited to go.  It is a really neat experience for the kids.  They get to go out in nature and study science and all sorts of things.  A lot of hands on experiences that they don't get other places.  All the GATE kids grades 4 - 8 get the opportunity to go.  They do fundraisers for it and spend a lot of time preparing for it.  Here are a few pictures of them this morning:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

News on the Job Front

Well, things have finally come together for us!  The last few weeks have been kind of a roller coaster but we finally have the answers and blessings that we have been looking for.  Michael is taking a job with Olsen Custom Farms in Hendricks, MN.  They are wonderful friends of ours and Michael is excited to be a part of their operation.  As soon as we got the news today we both felt like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders.  The stress just seemed to melt away and I was filled with excitement and joy!  The kids will get to have their horses again and do 4-H.  They will have freedom to roam and play.  We will get to have Michael back home with us.  Our family will be back together!  After I talked to Michael I went to my room and cried as I kneeled down and thanked my Heavenly Father for this blessing.  There is still a lot to be worked out - where we will live, what we will do with this house we bought 6 months ago, and things like that - but I don't even feel worried about it.  I know this is an answer to our prayers and fasting and I know that everything will work out.  It may not all go smooth and it may not all be easy, but it will work out.

There will be hard parts of leaving too.  We have friends and family that we will miss.  I will miss the schools here that provide wonderful opportunities for the kids.  But, I can't feel sad about our decision because we know it is best for us right now.  I don't know why things happen the way they do or why they happen when they do.  I just know that when we feel it is right (or wrong) we need to follow those promptings.  Michael and I have moved a lot since being married.  Our children have moved a lot.  It's a hard thing to do.  I hate it as much now as I did when I was younger.  We are ready to settle down and stop going from place to place.  We are ready to make a home for ourselves and our children.  This opportunity feels like it will be one that will allow that.

Anyways, that is the news.  More plans will come in the following days and in a few months we will be heading out to our new home!

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Day...

Somedays I just like to write down my day so that when I go to bed completely exhausted, I know why.  There are days that I feel like I go 100 mph but get nothing done all day long.  Today is one of those days.  Unfortunately, I was so tired when I got up this morning that I could hardly function.  After I got the kids off to school I went back to bed. I never do that, but this morning I did.  I slept until 10am!  I would've slept longer but I have so much to do that I had to drag myself out of bed and try to start functioning.  Because I know that today is going to be a crazy day and that I will look around the house at the end of the day and wonder what happened and why I got nothing done, I decided today will be a day that I write it all down.  This is my schedule for today...
6:30am - get Maddi up and off to school
7:30am - get the other kids up and ready for school
8:15am - back to bed :)
10 am - breakfast for me and Olivia, get ready for the day
11 am - clean my mom's house
1 pm - lunch and a trip to Rock Springs to get paperwork from the doctor
3 pm - Maddi home from school
3:30 pm - Maddi piano lessons
3:45pm - other kids home from school
4 pm - Dillon piano lessons
4:30pm - Makenna - piano lessons, pick up Dillon, take Zane and Jon to baseball practice, then drop off Dillon at baseball practice
5 pm - pick up Makenna from piano
6 pm - take Zeke and Olivia to ball practice
6:30pm - pick up Dillon from practice, then get Zane and Jon, drop Jon off
7 pm - pick up Zeke and Olivia
7:30 - 9pm - home work, piano practice, reading and bathing
9 pm - bedtime!

Mixed in with all that will be laundry, making supper and eating supper, exercise hopefully and all the other little things that have to be done.  That's my day today whether I like it or not! Somedays I have control over the schedule but today is not the case, it has been decided for me! So I'd better quit blogging and get to work!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The love of My Life

This week Michael and I will be celebrating our 12th anniversary.  Each year when our anniversary comes around, I can't help but think about all that we have been through.  Michael and I met during potato harvest in October of 1999.  He was driving tractor and I was delivering meals to all the workers.  It was dark and cold and that is about all there is to that night.  After potato harvest I moved to work in the office at the potato packing plant.  Michael ended up there after beet harvest.  We talked some in passing and but not much more than that.  I was teased a lot about him because he was the only english speaking single guy that worked there.  Shortly after the new year we went on our first date.  From there it is all history.  We were together every day after that.  There was just something there that I couldn't describe, but I knew.  I like to think he felt the same!  After just one week of dating we were talking about marriage.  By the end of the first month we had bought a ring.  A few weeks after that he gave it to me.  We were married April 28, 2000.  We faced a lot of challenges during those short months.  We had many people against us.  Some told Michael he had no right to date me and that he was ruining my life.  I was told he was just using me and he would eventually leave me.  Because we weren't getting married the way some had planned for us to be married we received opposition there too, some of it even came from family.  The trials that we faced pulled us together and brought us closer.  Our love for each other grew stronger.  By the end of that year, we were blessed with our first child. Over the last 12 years we have moved across country 4 different times.  We have been faced with financial difficulties, family problems, deaths of loved ones, a miscarriage and so many other struggles that families face as they learn and grow together.  We have also been extremely blessed.  We were allowed to have 6 healthy children, many wonderful friends, food to eat, jobs when needed and so many other blessings.  Over the years, the most important thing to Michael and I has always been to be together.  I remember when Maddi was a baby he had to go on a business trip to Texas. It was the first time that we had ever gone a day without being together.  It was so hard for both of us.  Since then there have been many times when he has had to be gone and each time it is still hard.  We have faced so many challenges together, ones that would have torn others apart, but they have only made us closer.  As we come to this anniversary, we still struggle with being apart.  As mentioned in other posts, Michael's job requires him to be gone two out of every three weeks.  Most days we get to talk to him on the phone for a few minutes, but there are days when we don't even get that.  It is hard!  Some people think that it is because I can't handle doing it all by myself.  That is not true.  I can do it by myself!  I do it every day by myself!  What makes it hard is that I miss Michael.  I don't like being away from him.  People I talk to tell me it will get easier and that I will get used to it.  Well,  it doesn't and I won't!  Michael is everything to me.  There have been so many times over the last 12 years when he has been the only person in my life that I could go to.  There have been so many circumstances where all we had was each other.  We have been each other's best friends (and sometimes only friends).  We have lifted each other when others have tried to tear us down.  We have grown together when others tried to rip us apart.  We have strengthened each other when it was all too much to bear and we didn't know if we could continue.  There is no better, safer feeling than when he is holding me in his arms.  All my troubles melt away for that moment.  When he is gone I miss him.  It's just that plain and simple.  The last 12 years have been full of life and all that it has to offer - the good and the bad.  I am so thankful that I have been able to share it with Michael.  He truly is the love of my life and each new day with him is a blessing for which I will always be grateful.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Michael Zane Cowboy Christiansen!

Yesterday was Zane's 9th birthday.  It was kind of a bust, but we tried to have a little fun amidst the craziness.  Michael was working so we had a little celebration before he left.  He has been working in an area that doesn't have reception so he was not able to talk to Zane yesterday.  He did get a short phone call in this morning though.  I went and ate lunch with him at school.  I brought Subway for us because I wanted nothing to do with school nachos!!  After school I spent the afternoon getting Olivia and Makenna ready for their dance pictures and then taking them back and forth to the photo shoot.  Then Zane had his first baseball practice and spent two hours there.  I had promised him that we could go out to eat and he picked Applebees.  So we loaded up at 8 last night and headed to Rock Springs for dinner.  He wanted to go to Applebees because they sing to you there and give you cake and ice cream!  First thing he told the waiter when she came to our table was that it was his birthday!  After dinner we ran to Walmart to get ice cream and headed home.  It was 10 before we got home and he got to open his presents.  By that time, everyone was tired and no one wanted cake or ice cream so we went to bed.  This afternoon we finally sang "Happy Birthday" to him and had his cake!  Poor kid! He didn't seem to mind and was a good sport through all of it.  Zane is such a blessing to us and we are so thankful to have him in our family and a part of our lives.  He is 100% boy!  He loves getting dirty, fixing things, playing sports, riding bikes, playing jokes and being loud!  And he's good at all of it :)  Happy Birthday Cowboy!  We love you!

Baseball Season Has Begun

This week was the official beginning of baseball.  We started Monday.  Zeke and Olivia play for the Storm.  They are doing tee ball this year.

Dillon is in the pitching machine league.  This will be his first year doing that.  He plays for the Pirates.  His coach from last year is his coach again this year.  He loves baseball so he is really excited to start playing!

Zane is playing in the minor league.  My brother is his coach.  He plays for the Twins.  This is his first year in the minors.  He really enjoys baseball too and will have fun this season playing with the older kids.

Maddi has decided to give softball a try this year.  She will be starting soon.  We will be at the ball field pretty much every night of the week (except Sundays) for the next two months.  The boys and Olivia will have all their games here in town,  Maddi will not.  She plays a lot in Rock Springs.  Between ball and dance iIt will be crazy busy for all of us but the kids will be having fun. I'm glad they get the opportunity to do things like this.  Hopefully I will be able to get everyone where they need to go!  One against six is not fair teams! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Twins... Sort Of

This week we were able to have cousins over for a few days while their mom and dad went on a mini vacation for their anniversary.  The kids seemed to have a lot of fun together - especially on the days there was no school.  We did a lot of scooter riding, bike riding, car racing, sword fighting, sidewalk drawing, and any other thing you can think of!  When they all went back to school Wednesday, the two little girls were left at home with me.  I had shopping to do so I loaded up the girls and away we went!  We started it off with a lunch date at none other than McDonalds (with an indoor playland)!  Where else would two little girls want to go for lunch?  Then we did our shopping.  When we got to Walmart I told the girls they could help me pick out clothes for their soon-to-be-born cousin, baby Emma.  Well, we got slightly sidetracked :)  These girls are shoppers let me tell you!  They somehow found clothes that were their size and got lost in trying to find skirts, leggings, shirts, dresses, whatever!  It was so fun to watch them!  I ended up letting them each pick out an outfit.  They wanted matching shirts - white with polka dots.  Then Olivia picked out a purple skirt to match the purple polka dots and Kelsey picked out a pink skirt to match the pink polka dots.  Once we got their stuff picked out we refocused and found a couple outfits for the baby too!  When we got home they had to put on their "twin" outifts.  They thought it was so fun to match.  They even switched names with each other!  Today, they insisted on wearing the same clothes again so they could match for one more day.
Aren't they the cutest little twinners ever!?  They did have matching headbands too but didn't keep them in too long!  We didn't want the boys (Kelsey's boys as she called them) to feel bad so I let Kelsey pick out hotwheels cars for her brothers.  Not quite the same but they didn't seem to mind!  New cars just made the car racing all that much more exciting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

He Always Keeps His Word

"If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it.  We can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved..., because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right, to bear us up. And He always keeps His word."  - Henry B. Eyring

I have been thinking a lot lately about life and all it's twists and turns.  I know my trials pale in comparison to others.  I know some people would love to only have to deal with the things I deal with.  At the same time, even though others may breeze through my life with no problems, they are my trials and they are hard for me.  It amazes me how different each and every ones trials are so different.  I had a roommate in college who was falling apart because her parents wouldn't allow her to have her car at college and they wouldn't send her more money for more clothes.  It seriously was a challenge for her.  I would have loved to have those problems!  The things she was challenged with would have been easy for me to bear and the things I was challenged with would have been easy for her to bear.  We were different people in need of learning different things and we had experiences in accordance to what we needed.  

One thing I have found in all my different situations that remains the same is how faith affects them.  No matter what we are being faced with, if we have faith, things will go better, we will learn more and the pain will be easier to bear.  It doesn't mean it will be easier, it just means that we will be able to feel added strength as we endure it.  I love the quote at the beginning of this blog.  We can find blessings at all points in our life, whether we are struggling or sailing through, there are blessings waiting for us if we have faith.  The gospel does shape us and guide us if we allow it to.  I know there are so many things in my life I wouldn't be able to do if it weren't for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit to teach me and guide me.  Each day I face things that I can't do alone.  Each day I recognize things that happened that were beyond my abilities.  I can be lead and guided if I turn to the Lord, have faith in Him and follow His Spirit.  My favorite part of the quote is the end.  " We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved..., because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right, to bear us up. And He always keeps His word."  Can you picture that?  Angels on our left and right, lifting us up?  What a beautiful thought that is!  What a wonderful knowledge to know that we are never alone.  He does send angels to help us.  He always loves us and He always keeps his word!

Right now is a real struggle for me.  My days are long and lonely.  My stress levels high and my responsibilities overwhelming.  There are days when I wake up and wonder how I will get it all done.  Each night I go to bed tired and exhausted but with the realization that I had made it through and I had accomplished all that needed to be accomplished.  It is a humbling feeling because I know that I didn't do it all with y own strength.  When I was a new missionary in Ireland, I remember how my feet used to hurt so bad.  We walked everywhere all day long and it had gotten to where my feet were in so much pain.  At nights they would be swollen and sore.  In the morning when I first stood up pain would shoot through my feet and up my legs.  It was horrible.  I remember praying and expressing my pain to my Heavenly Father, reminding Him that I was doing His work and asking Him to take the pain away. The pain, however, remained.  One night after saying my prayers and hobbling into bed the realization came to me through the spirit, no the pain had not been taken away but I had been given the strength each day to get through it.  Each day I was given the strength to get out of bed, do my missionary work and return home safely.  It was a very overwhelming realization and it has been a lesson that I have never forgotten and that I have seen replayed over and over many times in my life.  Though I struggle each day, I know that each day I am being helped beyond my capabilities.  For that, I am grateful.

I am so thankful for the help that I have in my life.  It ranges from kind acts from others to a few quiet minutes at the end of the day. No matter what it is though, I realize that it is a blessing from above and that I am not forgotten and left alone.  He has promised me this and He always keeps His word.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Meeting With the Garbage Can

This morning the kids were outside riding bikes and scooters.  Dillon was down the street riding his bike when his chain fell off.  I guess he looked down to see what was going on and ended up running into a garbage can.  He knocked the garbage can over and cracked it with his head.

The back end of his bike popped up and he fell off hitting his head on the street.  He came in with a little head ache!  I have no ice in my house or ice packs  but we improvised.  Personally I can think of no better ice pack!

He's a tough little cookie though.  A couple tylenol, a few minutes on the couch and he is downstairs wrestling with the other boys!

Monday, April 9, 2012


This morning our cousins came over to spend a few days with us.  My kids have been so excited for them to come.  They played ALL day long.  This morning when it was cool outside they played inside but by midmorning they were all outside on scooters and bikes all up and down the street.  After lunch I put the two little girls in the stroller and the other kids jumped on their scooters and we headed to the park.  We played on the playground and rode scooters in the skate park.  After an hour or so we headed back home, dropped off the scooters and stroller and walked to McDonalds for ice cream and drinks.  It was a pretty warm day out and I thought it would be a fun treat for the kids.  They played on the playland a little and enjoyed ice cream and soda before heading back home.  In the evening we went to baseball practice (two different ones). The kids who weren't playing baseball played in the parks.  Then it was back home for supper and back out until dark.  We ended the day with brownies and a movie.  After the movie and toothbrushing, we settled down to read scriptures and say prayers.  Olivia was next to me on the couch.  After sitting still for about three seconds this is what she looked like:

Totally crashed! Can you tell she played hard today?! I love days like today though.  Full of busy fun. It's a nice break from the routines, homework, and early bedtimes.  They are already making plans for tomorrow's fun.  At one point our front yard had 13 kids in it (nine of whom were mine).  It is so fun to look out the window and watch them play!  Tonight all their cheeks were pink from the sun (sorry, not one of those that freaks out with sunscreen. I use it, but not regularly).  I love it!  To me it is the look of healthy children enjoying life! Now the house it totally quiet, all nine kids are quiet and sleeping.  I love that too :)


Well, Michael had his interviews with South Dakota State last week.  It was something we were looking forward to and honestly hoping for.  Things went well and they talked good, but there was an underlying sense that Michael had that there was more to it.  He had been warned by a few to be careful of the job so that added to the issues at hand.  Also the job wouldn't necessarily allow for him to do any part time work to supplement the income.  That would've been a huge need had we taken the job.  It was disappointing for him to go back to work this hitch and not have any more answers to the situation (other than no).  We were hoping to see an end in sight.  It is hard to have him leave and not how long we are going to have to deal with it all.  Yesterday was a very hard day for both of us.  I spent part of the day in tears, part in silence, part yelling (I think my kids preferred the silence), part sad and most of it frustrated.  Michael was struggling too although he isn't as verbal about it as I am.  He did express his feelings and it made me hurt inside for him.  He is a lot like his father, silent, so it's hard to know exactly how things are affecting him.  Yesterday he let me in a little and it made me sad.  He wants change as badly as I do.  It was hard to walk away from this job that we thought would allow us more time together but we had to do what we felt was best and SDSU wasn't it. So we will walk away in hopes that there is something better waiting for us.  In the meantime he will do his job in North Dakota and I will do mine here at home...

Easter Photos

It isn't very often that all my kids are clean at the same time!  There is usually at least one that is covered in dirt or peanut butter or both!  To six kids who love to be outside playing, staying clean is not an option.  So I had to take advantage of my short window of cleanliness yesterday morning and take pictures!  Not only were they clean, but they were also wearing nice clothes - a combination that also doesn't happen all that often (at least not with ALL of them).  I even made Michael participate - although if you look at the photos, he is in the same position in all of them - we just moved in and out of the pictures :)

 Michael and the boys
 Michael and the girls
Michael and me
 me and the girls
 me and the boys
all the kiddos!

They clean up pretty good don't they!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Look What Grew!!

Last night before the kids went to bed we planted jelly beans.  We found a clear cup and put a little sugar in the bottom of it.  Then we put in a few jelly beans and covered them with a little more sugar and left it on the tablet to see what would grow.  This morning when we came into the kitchen we discovered this:
The kids were so excited to see this in the middle of the table!  What a fun surprise!  Who knew jelly beans were magic?!  We will definitely be doing this again next year!

A "Hike" and a Hunt

Yesterday we went on a "hike" as the kids called it.  Really it was more of a walk through some tall grass and brush next to the river.  It was a beautiful day so we decided to be out and enjoy it.  We went down to Scotts Bottom and found a trail to wander down.  When we got there, there was a family hiding eggs in the bushes and grass getting ready for an egg hunt.  The kids got really excited when they saw it until we told them it was not for them!  We went on our little walk through the woods discovering all sorts of fun things.  Some one had started piling up logs to look like a house, some one else had built a stick teepee with a fire pit.  We found a rock that looked like a heart.  Zeke found lots of rocks to add to his collection and we found some really soft sand (the highlight for Olivia).  When we got back to our starting point we noticed that the egg hunt was over - the bushes had been cleaned out!  However, we noticed an egg still laying in a clump of tall grass.  Zane got it and it was full of candy!  Then the hunt was on!  The kids spread out looking for missed eggs.  Amazingly each kid walked away with at least one egg full of candy!  What a great bonus to end on!  The kids want to go back next week and see if they can find any more eggs...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wild Horses

Today is kind of cold and windy so we decided to take the kids on the Wild Horse Loop. It's a bumpy dirt road that goes on for miles through sage brush and rocks with the occasional horse herd. This time we did luck out and towards the beginning of the drive we saw some right off the side of the road.

Now, when some people hear the name Green River, they think green and beautiful.  Green River is not green.  I personally prefer scenery of green and trees, however, every area has it's own beauty.  Though Green River is mostly shades of brown, it has it's beauty.  Here is what we saw from the top of the horse loop.

Not bad for the Wyoming desert huh?! We ended the trip with ice cream sundaes at Arctic Circle! Yum!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lack of Sleep

Last night I did not sleep well.  I went to bed with my mind running a million different directions and woke up at 3am doing the same.  I'm not sure what all was going on.  I wasn't really focusing on one thing in particular.  I didn't necessarily feel stressed or upset about anything - just had a lot on my mind.  Most of it has to do with this whole job/moving situation we are in right now.  I hate moving.  We moved so much growing up.  I hated having to go to a new place and make new friends.  I was very shy and unsure and it was like torture.  I am still that way.  When we moved her just over a year ago I was hoping that it would be our last.  We have moved a lot since being married and I was tired of it,  I didn't want my kids to go through the same stress that I did and I didn't want to go through the stress of it anymore either.  Then we bought a house 6 months ago and I thought that was something that would ground us here.  Then, before Christmas, things at work started changing for Michael.  What has resulted is him being gone for two weeks and home for one.  It has been really hard.  On all of us.  He by chance found a job opening at a college in South Dakota and applied for it. Not really thinking much about it we continued on.  Then he got a call from them. Today he is there interviewing for the position.  We were excited about the prospects of moving back to South Dakota.  We love it there.  However, before interviews started yesterday evening he was warned by several to be careful of the job and that there were things going on that weren't on the up and up.  Kind of put a damper on the whole precess.  During all this time we also had a friend of ours approach us about the possibility of working for them.  A thought that also excited us.  We love this family and they would be excellent people to work for and it would put us back in a place that we love. The kids were super excited about this opportunity. That is still in the works with possibilities, but nothing concrete yet.  Then my thoughts turned to leaving here.  We have a house that we purchased only 6 months ago.  It needs some work before it is ready to go on the market.  That thought is overwhelming.  The kids have opportunities here with the schools that they don't have elsewhere. Makenna has a dear friend here.  They are inseparable. It breaks my heart to think of how hard it will be for her to leave.  I love (for the most part) being able to be near family.  It has been so nice for the kids to get to know their extended family and I have loved having my sister-in-law here.  I would miss that terribly.  But I miss Michael terribly and he is very unhappy here.  His happiness also counts for something.  I believe it is very important. Anyways, all these thoughts were running through my head as I lay there in bed.  Overwhelming at times, sad at times, confusing, frustrating, yet at the same time peaceful.  While I get worked up and don't handle these things well, I also know that Heavenly Father will take care of us.  He knows what our hearts desire.  He knows the importance of Michael being able to be a part of our everyday family life.  He will take care of us.  He will provide.  I don't know exactly when and how, but I know that He will.  I will keep doing what I am doing and provide the best environment for my family while Michael is away.  It's all I can do.  At some point, He will bring Michael home to us.  For that underlying peace I am grateful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

General Conference Weekend

This weekend we were privilaged to watch General Conference.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a semi annual conference that is televised world wide.  It goes for Saturday and Sunday.  The leaders of our church teach us about the Savior and His gospel.  It is a wonderful weekend in many respects.  I usually try to find things for the kids to do to help them be able to sit and watch and learn.  This year we did ties.  For every speaker I gave each of the kids a tie.  They were supposed to color the tie to match the speakers tie.  Then on the back side they wrote the speakers name and something that they spoke about. I was surprised by how well they liked it!  Even Olivia stayed on task!  We also made treats and in between sessions (there are four - 2 each day) we spent time playing out side and enjoying the beautiful weather.

There were many things that touched me over the weekend.  One was a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland.  He said "It is never to late so long as the Master of the Vineyard says there is time."  He was talking about repentance and changing our lives.  There is time and a way for each of us, no matter how horrible we think we are, to change and repent and turn to the Savior.  His arms are open and ready for us to turn to Him.  I love that.  As a mother my weaknesses are thrown out in front of me constantly.  I am very aware of my shortcomings and am often overwhelmed with all that I need to do to become like my Savior and be the kind of person that I know I need to be.  This gave me the reassurance that I can still change and that the Savior still loves me.

Another quote was from Elder Soares.  He said, "You cannot be right by doing wrong and you cannot be wrong by doing right."  Sometimes the world says that right is wrong and wrong is right.  It makes it hard when we are trying our best to do right and the world is telling us we are wrong or stupid for doing what we are doing.  This is reassurance that in the Lord's eye right is still right and wrong is still wrong.

The last one was a quote from M. Russell Ballard.  He said "Remove all of your fear with faith."  I love that!  It is hard to do though.  There are so many things that I get worried about or stressed out about.  If I would just relax and put my faith in Christ, all would be well.  I like to have control though and faith doesn't mean control.  When we have faith, we put our trust and our hearts into the Lord's hands and do things according to His will, not ours. I have a hard time with that though.  I do know, however, that the times that I DO do this, it works out much better and with much less stress and worry!

As I said, there were many more things that touched me but these stuck out to me.  One other thing that made me smile was this:
Zeke wrote this during one of the sessions, "I love conference". He sounded it out himself and wrote it by himself.  Then we put it on the piano for everyone to see :)

This is the other thing he wrote. "I love mom and dad and the kids."  Once again, sounded out and written by him :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Creations

This weekend, since it was conference weekend, we decided to try out a few new recipes.  The first one we tried was pop tarts.  Some of my kids LOVE pop tarts.  I can't stand them, but I thought it would be fun to try home made ones.  I found a recipe on my new favorite website, Pinterest, and tried them.  I used puff pastry instead of pie dough and they turned out really good!  I would even eat them!

Our second creation was also one I found on Pinterest.  It was orange rolls shaped like Bunnies!  I made this one for me.  Dillon and Olivia helped roll out the dough and make the bunnies.  Makenna was the only one besides me who liked them so I ended up giving half of them away.  

Don't they look cute!  I won't tell you how many I ate :) We tried a few other recipes too and have ingredients to try a few more over spring break this week.  I love trying new recipes and I have found a lot on Pinterest that I love! Baking and cooking are my stress relievers.  It helps me relax and it makes others happy!  I love it!

the King and I

This last weekend was the showing of the high school's play "The King and I".  Makenna was one of the princesses.  They have been practicing for several months.  It was fun to finally see the finished product.  Makenna seems to really like it out on stage.  She did a great job playing her part and learning all the songs.  I think she has found a new pursuit in life!  Here are a few pictures of her...

following her mother on stage to meet her father the King
singing as they exit the stage
Makenna with her best friend Laura.  They were so excited when they found out they both made it!
Makenna all ready and waiting for show time!