Friday, May 29, 2009

Absolute Randomness

Here are some things, in no particular order, that I have been doing/thinking lately:

1. We watched "Marley & Me" last night. Yes, I balled at the end. After it was over I got thinking, wow, that's us. I mean, I'm no Jennifer Aniston (and Jason is obviously way hotter than Owen Wilson), but we got our dogs a few years after we were married - a couple years before we started having kids. I always said that I had to make sure I could keep dogs alive & well before I trusted myself with kids. And now here, we are, working on #3. I imagine our kids will be about the ages of their kids when we will finally have to say goodbye to our sweet dogs. Needless to say, I gave Tundra & Sydney extra loves last night. I always complain about Sydney (she loves to jump up on people and will sometimes bark nonstop), but I sure do love her and Tundra.

2. After taking out the trash last night, I realized how perfect the night was. Clear skies, beautiful stars, perfect temp. So, I made Jason some cocoa & I had some cider & we headed to our deck and sat out there to talk. It was sooo nice. We talked about our dogs, our kids, our home, financial stresses, the 10 lost tribes of Israel, and Obama & his administration. Yes, strange conversations by the end - we had to finally get to bed - but I just love sitting outside enjoying the night w/ my sweetie. is good.

3. We have been loving this "almost-summer" weather. One of my favorite things is to turn on the sprinkler & watch the girls run through, laughing, yelling, giggling. Oh, the simple joys of childhood and summer. I love those girls. We broke out our tiny pool yesterday and you'd think they'd died & gone to heaven. They had so much fun.

4. My entire family was here this week. My sister was in town from Phoenix and my brother has leave from the army. Loved having a picnic in the park with everyone & then watching "New in Town" with them. then yesterday, all the sisters, mom & my grandma went to The Point at the Hunstman Center. Fun, fun. My sister got to sleepover last night, too. I miss her so much & wish she was closer. I am so blessed with the family I have.

5. I've been feeling the baby so much lately. It's fun! Jason even felt her kick last night. We also watched the ultrasound DVD last night. So amazing that this tiny miracle is growing inside me. The past 2 times we have gone to the library, McKinley has picked out new baby books - even though she can't read the titles. She's so excited for her new baby sister.

6. I have to write something about Memorial. Let's just say it was "memorable." We went up to Mapleton Canyon, like we do every year, with my mom's side of the family. This year, we decided we were sleeping over, though - we usually don't. Let's just say that it POURED rain the entire night & was so wet & muddy & cold. Not to mention I got maybe a total of 3 hours of sleep with the girls being up. Hmmm - maybe this is why we never stayed overnight. Other "Memorial Mishaps" this year included Grandma's motorhome overheating, Grandma backing her Jeep into a tree and smashing out her back window, R.B.'s dog, HeyDuke, dying while we were up there, and Cindy's rescued starling bird died as well. Definitely memorable. I'm still doing muddy laundry from the occasion. Monday, we did go to the chuck wagon breakfast, though, and that was fun and had some neighbors over for a BBQ that night.

7. I just finished a couple books - The Last Lecture & Flying Home. The Last Lecture is almost an autobiography. It's about a professor that is dying of pancreatic cancer and he gives his last lecture at the university and includes in it kind of all his life lessons. It was really good. Flying Home was a novel & was a fun read, though I wish it had a few more chapters to continue their lives together. I'm just starting The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. It is going to be a deep one - I'm going to have to focus a bit more.

8. I am just so blessed. There's no doubt about it. I love my Savior, I love my life, I love my husband, I love my kids. I am so thankful to be alive and that I get to have one more day on this earth to enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boy or Girl?

If I were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire & I polled the audience, you all would have helped me win! The majority is right - we're having another GIRL!
We just got back from the ultrasound. I'll tell you, the minute I got to see my baby on the screen, it took my breath away & I knew that if it was a boy or girl, if it only had 2 fingers or one arm, no matter what, I was in love with this baby. I seriously could have just sat in there & watched her move around all night. Thankfully, everything looks great - all 10 fingers & 10 toes and she's right on track for her due date. The girls had a great time watching their new baby sister on the screen & we are all excited to come up with names and think about welcoming another sister into our home.
If you're wondering how Jason is taking this, he is fantastic - such a great daddy. I asked him how he would feel if he never got a son. He said he would be fine and he knows, just like I mentioned in my last post, that there is specific reasons why God chooses certain genders for certain families. Although, he did comment on drama & wedding costs :) Now...if I can just train him on fixing hair because it's hard enough to fix my own & my girls hair in the morning - especially on Sundays!

As a funny sidenote, McKinley was talking to Jason's sister on the phone & she asked her if she thought it looked like a baby in my tummy. McKinley said "No - I think it looked like a kangaroo!" I thought that was pretty funny because she kind of did look like a kangaroo- her legs were up and she was all scrunched in there. Maybe we'll have to start calling her our little "roo" :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thoughts on Gender

This was going to be titled "thoughts on sex"... but I thought it might attract the wrong attention :)
I have found it humorous & interesting that most people have voted for "girl" on my poll. It makes me wonder why? In fact I know one of the votes for "boy" was my sister, so... that leaves the rest of you.
I have been asked & I will be completely honest... I would love a baby boy! HOWEVER, I am PRETTY sure that God doesn't just draw genders out of a hat randomly - girl, girl, girl - boy, girl, boy - boy, boy, boy...

The proclamation on the family states: "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."
I know that He has a plan for our family and that includes not just where we live, where we work, how many people are in our family, but the genders of the members of our family as well. Maybe I wouldn't be able to handle a boy? That is very possible! Maybe it would be too much financially at this point to buy boy stuff since we are all set in the girl dept. I don't know?

I have an absolute testimony as to the joys of sisterhood and I will be so excited if my girls have another sister to share that with as well.
I will admit that I am completely excited & anxious to find out !I'm really not sure I could ever be one of those people to wait. We scheduled our ultrasound for tomorrow, so let's all hope this baby cooperates!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Here's to 9 years!

Today (as of 7:40am - I know, yikes!) Jason & I will have been married for 9 wonderful years.

Last night, as we were eating ice cream after FHE, we watched our wedding video with the girls. McKinley got a real kick out of it and was having a hard time guessing who everyone was in the pictures because we all looked so young. My baby sister Trisha was in the video on our wedding day - only 11 years old. Now she's been married for a year! My NIECE is now 11! Yes, now that makes me feel a bit old.

So much has happened in 9 years - getting our undergrads from the U, moving to Park City, working, having our first baby, changing jobs, moving to the Salt Lake Valley, adding another beautiful baby to the brood, going back to school, looking forward to this new baby...
and it will never end!
I would say our love hasn't changed, either, but that's not true. I watched that video with our true innocent, excited newlywed bliss and remembered back. It WAS exciting. And it was sometimes difficult, too. I think it was a lot of immaturity and maybe some hormones from birth control, but I think there were a lot of tears those first couple years. Once we moved to Park City, we got into the stage where we were just both working and living and being comfortable with each other. Now we're in the more chaotic stage of trying to raise little children. The hardest part is spending QUALITY 1-on-1 time together - time to talk, time to dream, time to love. Our love and our relationship has grown and deepened. I love to just watch him sometimes -watch him talk about things he loves & is excited about (even if I don't get them at all), watch him play with our children, watch him honor his priesthood.
Jason is so good at trying to make me feel loved. I'm not always so good at accepting it -especially lately. I am so thankful for him in my life. We were very close to not getting married, but every day I grateful that we ended up together - he is such a great husband and dad. I look forward to the years and changes ahead.

I love you sweetheart. I thank my Heavenly Father for you EVERY day. Thanks for putting up with me - especially these past few sick, grouchy months.

P.S. If you haven't heard the song that's playing, LISTEN! It's a new favorite & perfect for today. Love you babe!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gifts to My Children

Mother's Day... it sure has a different meaning when you're a mom. I always say having kids makes life much more difficult... and much better.

I am so thankful for my girls who gave me the amazing, beautiful, incredible title of "mom" or "momma" as I'm most often called. I remember being in the hospital after having McKinley, just seriously amazed that they were going to let me walk out of that place with this tiny baby - that the world, and more importantly my Heavenly Father - trusted me to take care of her and teach her and love her and help her grow into a capable, faithful, strong woman.

I have a friend who gives her children gifts on Mother's Day because they, after all, are the ones who made her a mother. I would like to give my children gifts as well, but since our budget is pretty tight this year, I would like to give them gifts of myself.
I thought about my last post - about the mothers in my life and the good qualities I hope that they "pass on to me." And now I am brought to think about some characteristics of myself (or characteristics I need to work on) that I want to pass on to my children. And some qualities I want to do away with.

So, my children, here is a list of qualities I promise to work on getting, improving, and losing. You are certainly choice spirits whom I love so dearly - and you deserve the best mom you can have. This is a small list, and there are many more to add, but hopefully by this time next year, I will have gotten better at these.


-Service. Sure, I want to take my kids to Disneyland like everybody else, but what I'd REALLY like to do (when they're a bit older) is take them to a 3rd world country to help those in need - and give us all a reality check about how blessed we are. Of course, this is on a larger scale, but I'd like weekly and daily to have my kids help me serve others - that they can LOVE to serve.

-Contentment. This kind of goes with the one above, but I really don't want spoiled kids, and if that means getting rid of most of our toys, so be it. We recently got rid of our TV and hope to keep it that way. I hope it helps with the feeling of contentment with what we have, and not a constant feeling that we never have enough.

-Healthy living. I hope I pass on my love of exercising to them and the joy, stress relief, and therapy that can be found by just having a really good work out. I am far from perfect on this, but I also want to pass on a love of eating right - of loving fruits & veggies - of wanting to eat right.

-The Right Priorities. I hope that as my children watch me, they will tell you that my priorities are #1- my relationship with my Savior, #2 - my husband, my children, and family, #3 - helping others, #4 - everything else. Obviously, taking care of myself is very important, too, because it's hard to take care of others when you aren't healthy physically or spiritually.

-Gratitude. I want my children to be able to be filled with gratitude every day for all they have - even their trials. I want them to be able to find God's miracles every day of their lives and feel his love for them. I want them to express gratitude to God for His mercies and gratitude for everyone in their lives that makes a difference. I need to do so much better at teaching this.

-Virtue. In this world, it is going to be VERY difficult to have a virtuous child, but I truly want my kids to be pure and innocent - shunning filth and staying clean and worthy of the Holy Ghost.

-Loving God.
This is one that I put last, but is obviously the most important. I want my children do what they do in life because they love Heavenly Father & Jesus. I want them to go to church because they love God, not because their friends are there, or a cute boy is there. I want them to pay their tithing because they love God, not because their parents make them. This is going to be difficult FOR SURE, but it is the goal.


-Negativity. I admit I can be negative - I tend to worry about things more than I should. I really don't want to pass that on to my kids. Here's my resolve to trust God more and LET GO of the fear and negativity - to use my happy voice and find positive all around me - and play WITH my kids more.

-Not REALLY Listening. I have a tenancy - especially when my husband or children are talking to me - to half-listen. To think about the 4 or 5 things I need to do after that conversation. I want to FOCUS on them - help them know that they are important to me and what they have to say is important to me. I want to be more sympathetic and listen with my heart.

-The scriptures & praying. I do read the scriptures, but I'm not so good at the studying, pondering, and applying part. I want to LOVE to read - to be able to share insights with my children and get excited about applying principles to my life and my families life. I want to memorize scriptures that will help me be a better mom and help us be a better family. As far as praying, I do pray. We do pray as a family, but I want to do more spontaneous praying - when we hear about someone in need or we have lost something or we are having a hard day, I want to be able to fall to our knees as a family and say a sincere prayer. This should be a regular occurrence, since these things happen daily.

-Not always taking care of myself: I want my children to be able to look at me and know that I care about this temple He has given me - clean, clear skin, healthy body, eating things that are good for me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mothers in my life

Being a mom makes you appreciate so much more the mothers in your own life. I've thought about the qualities of the mothers in my life, and I truly hope that even a portion of them have rubbed off on me. Here's a few that came to mind (though of course this list is nowhere complete).

My Mom
-Creativity: My mom is basically the MacGyver of all moms. She can rig up a TV/VCR combo in a minivan with bungee cords and a trash can that will withstand the journey from Salt Lake to New York and back. She can do wonders with fishing line and Christmas tree branches, and how can one forget the amazing, creative poems that awaited me, my sisters, and our unsuspecting dates at the doorstep. Seriously, that woman can rhyme!
-Planning: While it does drive some of us crazy when she sends out plans for our summer family reunion in January, this quality is an important one and I'm so glad my mom passed it on to me (although maybe not in as potent of quantity)

-Humility: My mom is amazing at taking any criticism and asks for it on a regular basis. She apologizes when she's wrong and isn't one for taking credit. She also is a VERY cute, hip grandma, but isn't vain about it. I hope to do better at learning from her on this characteristic.

-Outgoing: My mom has always had a gift with reaching out to others. She can really talk to anyone about just about anything. I used to hate this growing up. She could sit and gab with the store clerk that she just met about whatever. She organized a temple group when I was in middle school and high school and she took us to the temple every Tuesday. She has been & continues to be a part of many groups and organizations. She truly has a way with people to make them feel loved & at ease. I need to watch her more closely & try to emulate this.

-Energetic: TV? Not my mom! I really never remember her ever watching much TV. I am my mom now on this one - I could just as well do without ANY TVs in our home and be just as happy. The thing is that she would always have better ideas for us to do - and she was an active mom - and now she is an active grandma.

-Optimistic: My mom has problems with neck pain and headache pain to name just a couple, but even if she's in pain, when I call & ask how she is, she says something like "Well, I'm just getting over this migraine, but I will feel fantastic soon! Thanks for asking!" She is so optimistic and is great at seeing the bright side.

-Unselfish: This is true in many senses, but right now the specific example that comes to mind is her pregnancies. Four times she went through the nightmare of basically living by the toilet - throwing up all the time and being miserable. Then, later on in pregnancy, she had problems with leg clots, so she had to wear special nylons and she couldn't do much. Really, she sacrificed so much to bring children into this world. This year, ESPECIALLY, my love goes out to her for this unselfish act of love on my behalf.

-Engaged: I read somewhere that once a girl reaches 13, only like 40% of them go to their moms with their concerns, questions, and issues. Kids rely more on their friends, and parents basically give up on communication. Not my mom! Even through those years when I would barely respond to any of her questions about my life, SHE KEPT ASKING! And she asked (lovingly and caringly) until she got answers. Through notes in my school lunch, 1-on-1 talks, and dates she showed me that she cared about me & wasn't about to give up. And it never changed! All through high school, college, marriage, kids, etc, she never disengaged. She has always shown me that she cares about me and my life. This is one quality I hope I hold on to - even when my kids get older.

Christ-like Love: I never questioned if my mom loved me - even when I did or said horrible things - like throwing fits when she'd fix my hair, vandalizing our home and car, sneaking out at night... she wasn't always happy with me, but she LOVED me. And she loved all my siblings. And she loved the people in our ward. And she loved strangers. She just loved, unconditionally. Her testimony of the church and of our Savior isn't something she just shares in a fast & testimony meeting once in a while, she LIVES IT.

Grandma Tew
-Technically Savvy: While other people her age (she turns 80 this year!) shy away from anything technology, she embraces it! That woman has more technical gadgets than I do! She is a scanning, cropping, scrapbooking queen. Seriously. While other people's journals and life stories may have one or two pictures, hers is filled (electronically) with scans of photos, memorabilia, awards, and other great stuff. It makes reading so much more fun. She is amazing!

-Craftiness: This is one area that I REALLY need to work on taking from her. Maybe she'll teach me a 1-on-1 crocheting class. She makes the most beautiful blankets, quilts, afghans, cross-stitch, etc. She keeps saying her hands are getting worse & she'll have to stop, but she keeps going & it is such a sacrifice of love that each of my children have something hand-made from their GG Tew (not to mention countless other grandchildren & great-grandchildren that have benefited from her handiwork).
-Genealogical pursuits: She has such a love (and a gift) for genealogy. She has a HUGE chart - like it would fill your entire wall - with generations & generations of ancestors. For Christmas last year, she spent so much time and effort to make amazing, professional-looking, personalized packets for each family with all the documentation of how we are related to John & Prisciilla from the Mayflower.

-Strength through trial: My grandma lost her son in a terrible accident when he was 5 years old. 2 of her daughters had brain tumors. Both survived (one of them being my mom), but my aunt (having more hardships of her own) hasn't done well and my grandma has taken care of her - even now that she's in her 50s. She has kept the faith, though, and is a great example to me. She went on a mission with my grandpa and serves diligently in the church. She has a great testimony of the plan of salvation & I know she'll be worthy to live with her son again one day.

-Generosity: It would fill this entire blog to list all the generous things she has done & given, but to name a few - she let us stay in her basement apartment free of charge (we helped her around her house) for the first 3 years of our marriage. That one act of love gave us enough money for a large down-payment on our Park City home & enough to be debt-free in this home! She also has let each one of my sisters stay in her basement apartment at different times in our lives. She will never know the full blessing of that basement apartment. And then little things - like giving us money to spend in Phoenix and a wonderful meal - and sending Easter cards. She has so many grandchildren & great-grandchildren, but she makes sure we each feel special. Love you grandma!

Grandma Potts (passed away when I was 16, but still very much shaped my life)

-Determination: Some would unknowingly call this Irish stubbornness, but I would prefer to look at the benefits. She knew what she wanted & she worked hard to get it. I love my grandma for that.

-Good food: She made yummy breakfasts, memorable and delicious Thanksgiving dinners, and always had grapes, 7-up, and a candy jar that never emptied :)

-Cleanliness: She was to the extreme, but this is definitely not a quality I automatically inherited. She always had an orderly house. Always. Even after all 4 or 5 of us had been there for hours, it was as clean as when we came. She picked up constantly. Everything was clean and tidy.

-Love: We always felt loved at Grandma Potts' home. The never-ending treats, smiles, hugs, laughter, reading of books, watching the Disney channel, and cuddles left us knowing that we were never a burden - she always loved having us over.

Grandma Devenish (Jason's mom)

-Optimism: Even when faced with cancer, she was optimistic and amazing. She had & still has such a great attitude.

-Craftiness: She has made the most beautiful blankets for my girls. The pink quilt she made for McKinley is her very favorite blanket & it's the only one she sleeps with most nights. They are truly gifts of love and sacrifice.

-Good food: Her spaghetti & meat sauce is the yummiest! I didn't even like frog-eye salad till I tried hers. Even while camping, she comes up with the best stuff. No doubt about it, she is a great cook!

-Cleanliness: Another gift of hers that I hope to one day emulate. Her house is so clean all the time - and yet, she is so generous to let the grand kids play with all the toys and doesn't get stressed out when we kind of take over the place.

-Strength: Even through 3 divorces, she was always the kind of mom that Jason could look to and find strength, love, and wisdom. And that was while working full-time and raising 2 other siblings. She is a great mom & a great grandma! (she also produced an amazing, handsome, wonderful son!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Newsletter & Slideshow

Hey, I'm on time this month. Hooray for me! Here's our story from April:

McKinley: Here’s what our bundle of energy has been up to this month:

-We were in line at Ross & all the sudden McKinley says (rather loudly) “Mom – look at that boy! He has earrings!” Mom tried to shush her & tell her it was OK, but she said “But mom – only GIRLS are supposed to have earrings!” After that we had a little talk about using our quiet voices if she has questions about the way others look.
-We were on the freeway & drove past a huge mound of dirt. McKinley got excited, pointed & said “Look dad – it’s a volcano!”
-We were listening to “This little light of mine” on our stereo and McKinley said “But mom, I can’t let my light shine. It’s too bright!”
-McKinley’s prayer “…and please bless mommy. She has heartburn a lot and is puking a lot because she has a baby in her tummy.”
-Mom asked McKinley one day why she was so beautiful. She said “Because I’m a lady.”
-McKinley was pretty disappointed that we weren’t able to catch the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. She said “maybe if we blow bubbles, he’ll come back!”
-While we were eating dinner one night, McKinley came over to mom, put her hand on her shoulder and said “Mom – I hope you don’t puke that up.”
-For FHE we were singing Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam & putting our hands in the air. McKinley stopped the song & said “Mom – the baby in your tummy has to do the actions, too!”
-McKinley was saying the prayer one morning & was taking a while, so mom helped with “Thank you for the snow.” McKinley repeated “thank you for the snow…(and added) to melt”
-McKinley’s latest thing is telling “secrets.” She doesn’t like to say things out loud, but wants to whisper them (loudly) in your ear.
-McKinley still LOVES to read - probably her favorite book for the past few months has been her pink princess books with all of the classic Disney stories in it. We read it almost every night for bedtime. She LOVES the “Rescue Mice” story.
-McKinley still says “I love you” a lot. One day she said I love you & mom said I love you back. McKinley asked “Always & forever?”

Ireland: Our little girl never ceases to amaze us! Here’s what Ireland has been up to:
-After you give her something, she will often say “Thank you!” And before you can respond she says “welcome!”
-Ireland has been really picky with what she eats this past month. She has pushed most plates away with a “I don’t want it!” and we have to let her pick her cereal each morning or she won’t eat it.
-Ireland still loves ring around the rosies and when she’s in the mood, she’ll just take your hands, start spinning & saying “ashes, ashes!”
-Ireland has been big into assigning everything to everyone lately. She’ll point to something & say “Mommy’s cup” or “Daddy’s hat” or “Kinley’s shoes”
-Ireland is still a shoe maniac. On any given afternoon, you will find approximately 7-10 pairs of various kinds and sizes of shoes strewn throughout the house. She doesn’t stay in one pair for more than a few minutes before she’s looking for another pair to try on.
-Ireland has figured out how to get a cup, get the stool, and get water from the fridge. The problem is that she doesn’t stop there. She likes to get LOTS of water & dump it into other cups – usually on the carpet – and we have lots of big, wet messes. We’ve been locking the water more, but it’s hard for McKinley to unlock.
-Ireland is just like her sister & can’t wait to go somewhere & she get’s REALLY upset if someone leaves without her (especially her daddy). The other day, she brought daddy his shoes, mommy her shoes, and said “let’s go!”
-Ireland has amazed & surprised us with what she knows. She brings us letters from our Word Whammer on the fridge and actually knows probably 5 or 6 of the letters without us helping her. She also loves to point at the letters on our keyboard.
-Ireland is starting to learn colors and can sing most of the alphabet and still loves to count to 3.
-Ireland has been really whiney lately & we’re not sure why – especially in the afternoons. She’s been going to bed pretty early because she just won’t calm down, but then she’s been getting up at 6:30am!