Monday, November 23, 2009

Gerald - 2009

It being the Family Home Evening before Thanksgiving, we did our annual Gerald the Grateful Turkey activity tonight. This year, we got to add another "feather" to Gerald's plumage!

As a humorous sidenote, during our Family Home Evening lesson, we talked about the story of the 10 lepers. I asked McKinley "Do you know what a leper is?" She answered "Yeah.. they run really fast!" It took us a minute, but Jason & I looked at each other & laughed out loud. She thought I meant a leopard :) I just had this strange image in my head of a leper all in bandages, running really, really fast.
So, here's a few of the things our family is grateful for this year (including an expanded version of my own at the bottom):

-The Plan

McKINLEY: (I was so proud of her - she cut the hand out herself & wrote all the items herself - with her dad helping her spell)

-Mom & Dad
-Legs to run
-Pink Blanket

-Momma's milk
-Vibrator Chair

-My Jesus: My relationship with my Savior has grown so much this year. Yes, I have heard all my life that He needs to be my rock, my center, my solace, but it's so easy for me to try and either tackle things myself or lean on other things or people to comfort me or even just distract me. I am learning (and will be life-long learning) that I need to make the relationship with Him THE most important one in my life. It's the ONLY one that can never be taken away. What does that mean? It means I need to go to Him when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am angry, when I am confused, when I need council, when I need direction, when I am thankful. In addition, I need to learn more about Him so that I can grow closer to Him and I can try harder to be like Him. I am reading the Gospels and trying to apply His words and example to my life. When I do these things, I find such peace and happiness. I am SO thankful for my Savior!!

-My Husband: I know I talk about how great he is, but you have NO IDEA. This pregnancy, labor & delivery, and recovery was the hardest I've gone through, and he has been there for me every step of the way. Jason is an absolute angel. At the last prenatal forum, everyone at my birth talked about how amazing Jason was - how he knew what to do, how he never left my side, how his voice kept me grounded as I struggled through the pain. But they didn't stay at my home. They haven't seen this past month how he has let me sleep, taken over the laundry, fixed dinners, and taken care of the kids. No... he is not perfect ladies, but he truly is perfect for me. My love for him, through the trials we have faced this year and learning so much through The Love Dare, has grown tremendously. It's also a bonus that he is completely gorgeous - and that he still plays with my hair at night :)

-My Body: Even with these 20 lbs I still need to lose, I know my body is amazing. It still boggles my mind to think about the miracle that it takes to get pregnant, grow a baby, bring it into the world, and have the rich milk that it takes to help her grow healthy & strong. I look at Kezia's perfect little ears, fingers, toes, nose, etc, and think about how many things could have gone wrong while she was forming in my body, and yet here she is. so beautiful. so perfect. Yes, the recovery was difficult with Kezia. It makes me that much more thankful for when my body works so well. I am thankful for ears that hear the laughter of my girls as they play, eyes that get lost in the deep green emerald oceans of my husband's eyes, a nose that is able to take in all the amazing smells that the upcoming season brings, and a mouth to kiss my family, to express myself, and to taste amazing foods. I am thankful for legs that run, and hands that hold tiny fingers.

-My Children: Yes, there are days... you know the days... BUT I truly find so much joy in my children. Joy in McKinley's never-ending curiosity, in her humorous statements, in her singing, in her laughter. Joy in Ireland's boundless energy, her breathtaking smile and contagious laughter, her drawings, and her love of life. Joy in Kezia's fresh-from-heaven spirit, her beautiful eyes, her beautiful light-red hair, her coos and her hint of a smile. Yes, life with children is so much harder - and SO much better. Jason & I talked about what our dream job would be if money were no object. I honestly cannot say that there is any title I would rather have in this wide, wide world than that of "mommy."

-My Trials: Did I ever even imagine that Jason would be out of a job for all but 2 months of this year? Never. Some days I think it's not fair. I think I sure as heck would love to know the eternal reason for this. Some days, I panic. Most of the time, though, I have felt SO BLESSED. SO taken care of. Yes, I am thankful that we have gone through this trial. I really WOULD like to be able to see all the eternal reasons for this, but I can already see many blessings. My girls have been able to spend almost an entire year with their daddy. How precious! As I mentioned before, it has been such a blessing to have Jason home during the first 4 months of pregnancy sickness, during the last month or so when I was getting no sleep, during the labor & delivery, & this past month while I've been recovering from losing so much blood. Who knows? Maybe I would have done too much without him here & hemorrhaged again. Maybe I would have gotten overwhelmed and succumbed to postpartum depression. I don't know. I can't see the complete eternal picture, but I know it has brought Jason & I closer together. It has brought us closer as a family. It has certainly made us more appreciative of things like food. clothing. shelter. It has made us realize that we can get by with a LOT less than we thought - and still be HAPPY!

-Sleep. Refreshing, renewing, blessed, mind-clearing sleep, soul-cheering sleep. Don't need a lot of elaboration here, but I will sing praises when I am able to get more than a few hours uninterrupted sleep.

WE ARE SO BLESSED! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The dr. says we need to keep Kezia home for 2 full months. Don't know if I'll make it that long - I'm sure missing church.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to do some "extended" personal study, though.
I'm still working on The Love Dare (yes - I missed a few days after the baby came, but I'm still plugging away).
Today's dare is "Love is Faithful"
It talks about the biblical story of Hosea - a man who was called to marry a prostitute. She betrayed him. He still loved her unconditionally.
"This is a true story, but it was used as a picture of God's love for us. He showers His favor on us without measure, though in return we often don't pay attention. At times we have acted shamefully and deemed His love an intrusion, as if it's keeping us from what we really want. We have rejected Him in many ways - and yet He still loves us. He still remains faithful."
This quote and story from Hosea reminds me of the book Redeeming Love. I read it a few months ago. It is a great book - great page-turner, but as a warning, much of it is very sad. Anyway, to know that my Savior loves me is an amazing thing. I am so thankful for that knowledge and really, if there is one thing that I can instill in my daughters, it is to ACCEPT their Savior's love for them into their innermost hearts. This quote also makes me want to try harder to ACKNOWLEDGE all the love that God pours out upon me. I am truly blessed!

Another, amazing quote:
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same."

I am tremendously guilty of this. And so, I made a list of people who have hurt, embarrassed, persecuted, used, or hated me or those I love. And I prayed for help in loving them - unconditionally. It is not an easy thing - especially for a few of those people on my list, but I truly felt God's love & I pray that I can love them and do good to them, period. How can I call myself a disciple of Christ if I'm still holding on to grudges and hatred? (Obviously, this is not a one-time-deal. I will need to KEEP praying for love for these people because pride inevitably tends to creep back in).

The flip side is that I remembered people in my life that I had hurt, embarrassed, etc, and it really brought me down. And so... to all those reading this that I have hurt or offended, I truly, sincerely ask your forgiveness.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birthdays, Hamiltons, Beautiful...

Just a few things to blog about...


Doesn't she make 54 look great? LOVE YOU MOM!

She is a cutie and I had to do a birthday shout-out to her. It amazes me as our nieces edge into the preteen years - wow. Can't believe how fast they've grown!

3. The St. George Hamilton family came to visit us last weekend. We LOVE IT when they come to hang out! Here's a couple pics:

4. I just have to say how much I love my daughter, McKinley. She has been saying "I love you" spontaneously a lot lately. Then this morning at breakfast, she turns to me and says "mom, you're beautiful." It made me want to cry! So sweet! I went to the bathroom afterwards and checked to see if some magical transformation had happened overnight that would make her say that. NOPE! I'm still in full-on "baby-daze" mode - tired face & eyes, bad complexion, frumpy hair, PJs, blah... Somehow my girl was able to see past all that & tell me I'm beautiful. Made my day!

5. I went to my last forum today at my midwife's home. I have been to almost all of the monthly forums where she has all her clients come and we talk and learn and hear birth stories. I was SO thankful to be on the "birth story" side this time. I will miss all these ladies! It's been fun to get to know them and get to be on this home birth ride together. I don't think I ever posted a picture of Sherri. She's so awesome. I will miss seeing her every month, too! (although not enough to want to be pregnant again)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas Ideas

Please see THIS POST.

I'm again lookin' to make some extra Christmas $$.

This year, I'm dropping my prices - $17 for VHS to DVD transfers & $20 for DVD slideshows!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


2 nights ago, I woke up at 4am to feed Kezia.
McKinley then woke up. Thankfully Jason got up with her. Apparently, she had a bad dream...and she needed to go potty. While she was in the bathroom, Ireland's voice piped up. Mommy! Daddy!
I'm - all 3 girls up at 4am. Wow.
Truth be told, life has been a bit difficult the past few days with McKinley & Ireland. Need some examples? Huge water mess in the kitchen, massive play doh mess, pulling leaves off the new plant my mom gave me, ripping paper & leaving it everywhere, getting into the cupboards, pulling out EVERY toy imaginable and leaving it out, screaming, hitting, biting, lying, being defiant, and for some reason McKinley DOES NOT want to go to preschool anymore (after we just paid the money for the month).
As I think through all these things, my 4am brain is wondering why...?
Well, let's see...

Major life change? (new baby) - CHECK
Lack of routine? CHECK
Being cooped up in the house? CHECK
Lack of exercise? CHECK
Too much TV? CHECK
Too much candy? CHECK
Lack of scriptures in the morning? CHECK
Mommy that's tired/impatient/grumpy? CHECK-DOUBLE-CHECK

Yes, I know with a new baby some of these things are to be expected, but next week hopefully we'll work on them so that our home is a more loving, peaceful place to be.

As I climbed back into bed after all 3 girls had been put back down, I realized that it's not so bad. 10-15 years from now, we might be getting different middle-of-the-night wake-up calls. So...for now I'll take the innocent ones and cherish the time when they're small :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Good Grief

Most of you know the story of our friends, the Jacksons, if you have read my blog for very long. Their beautiful little girl, Lucy, died last year in a choking accident. I have posted about them HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Their blog has been an inspiration to so many people as they have gone through (and continue to go through) their journey of grief. They are wonderful people and have worked to set up a site to help all people who have suffered a loss - it's called A Good Grief. I have posted the link on the right and you can also find it here:

Please check it out! Send it to anyone you know who has suffered loss. They can share their story and gain insight and healing through reading other stories of loss and healing. She's even going to have guest writers - like NiNie and Cjane.

It takes pretty amazing people to experience that kind of loss and be able to use it to help others for good. I look forward to reading and learning from this new website. Great job Molly - Love ya!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

October Slideshow, Videos, & kids stuff

Below is the monthly slideshow, along with a couple cute videos and the kids sayings. Enjoy!

October Slideshow

Ring Around the Rosies w/ Grandma & Grandpa Potts

McKinley practicing her primary finger play

McKINLEY: McKinley continues to be our inquisitive 4-year-old – always asking questions. Here’s some other things she’s been up to:
- One day McKinley was on a big Spanish word kick. She wanted to know the Spanish word for EVERYthing! Good thing her daddy knows Spanish. She stumped him, though, when she wanted to know the Spanish word for “panties.” (yeah….let’s hope daddy didn’t learn that one on his mission ;)
-McKinley is becoming more aware every day of our financial situation. One day she prayed “Please help the money to come back – lots and lots of money!”
-McKinley still loves her birthday and was talking about it a lot this month. We were watching the video slideshow I made from her birthday party & she said “Mom – can I skidoo into there - PLEASE?” (If you don’t know what “skidoo” is, you need to watch more Blues Clues.
-Another prayer from McKinley “And please bless Satan to be nice… and please bless mommy’s baby to get here for Christmas.”
-McKinley’s latest antic has been saying “No Thanks!” in her sweetest voice. It’s great that she’s learning how to be polite, but most of the time she uses it when mommy says something like “time to get ready for bed!” and she’ll say “No Thanks!”
-McKinley & Ireland were playing outside and McKinley came in and said “Mooooom – Ireland is ready for her nap!”
-Now that McKinley is 4, she wants to tell EVERYone, but she is a little shy, so when we’ll be talking to someone she doesn’t know, she will whisper in mom’s ear over & over “Mom, tell them that I am 4!”
-Another thing that McKinley has been saying a lot “Mom – I can’t wait till I’m a mommy!” mom said “Why?” McKinley says “So that I can use sharp knives!”
-McKinley & Ireland like to take the mattress off McKinley’s bed, strip the blankets and sheets off, and use it as a slide.
-McKinley was asking more details questions about how the doctor gets the baby out of mommy. We kind of sidestepped the answer.
-Mommy usually has the breadmaker going when we’re at church so that there’s fresh bread when we get home. She made homemade bread on a weekday and when McKinley came in, she said “Mom – what are you doing? It’s not Sunday!”
-McKinley’s favorite color this month is pink, pink, pink
-McKinley has been doing a lot of whispering into mom or dad’s ears – especially when there’s people over that she doesn’t know very well.
-McKinley’s prayer the other day: “Please bless that Ireland will marry Sam and I will marry Jack – because I love him”
-McKinley came in from playing outside – she was so excited - “Mom!! I am SO proud of Tundra! He dug up my treasure – my shovel – in the sandbox! I’m so proud of him!”
-McKinley has LOVED her new baby sister and especially loves to wash her hands so she can hold her and talk to her and sing to her. She is mom’s big helper and will get diapers, wipes or burp cloths whenever we ask her to – and she likes to help give Kezia’s baths, too. At first she didn’t like the name Kezia & would call her Trianna instead, but she’s warming up to the name.

IRELAND: Ireland is our BALL OF ENERGY! She is completely non-stop and full of life.
-One of the cute things Ireland has been saying after she gets ready in the morning “Mom – Ready to go. It’s a beautiful day!” (comes from a Signing Time song)
-Another (annoyingly) cute thing she does is when she does something bad, like hitting or drawing on the walls, and she can tell mom is mad, she will come over and say “hugs, mom, hugs” and give her hugs.
-Ireland has started singing in nursery, but there is no “low volume.” She screams the songs and doesn’t really have a tune. We are working on that.
-We love it when Ireland says “tell me a story!”
-At the Hoffman’s party, she and Jack Evanson were fighting over a toy and I hear her say to him “use your inside voice!” (she knows that phrase pretty well since she hears it about 50 times a day!)
-Mom found McKinley & Ireland in the baby’s room one day. They had gotten into all the birth equipment stuff – opened everything and shoved the rubber gloves down their shirts like they were pregnant.
-Ireland is getting really good at her shapes. She still can’t remember squares very good, but is getting better. What’s cute, though, is when you ask her what shape a heart is and she will say “LOVE.”
-One day Ireland decided she wasn’t Ireland any more. She came to mom & said “Mom – I’m a doggy! Ruff, ruff!”
-If you asked Ireland a question a month ago, her way of saying yes was repeating what you said, but now she’s just constantly saying “yeah!”
-Ireland amazes us with her full sentences and memory. We were driving and she said “I want ice cream like we had yesterday!”
-Ireland came in from paying outside and was crying. Mom asked what happened. Ireland said “McKinley hit me!” Then she marched back outside and yelled “McKinley – go in time out! GO IN TIME OUT!”
-Ireland LOVES the new baby. Maybe a bit too much. We REALLY have to watch her around the baby or she will lay on her or poke her everywhere. She talks so sweet to her, though, and is so cute. She has a hard time when the baby’s in the swing, though – and wants to push her or stop her. One time she had pushed her so hard, she fell over on her head! It was a bit scary, but she was OK.

KEZIA: We are so happy to have our sweet Kezia join our family this month!
-Her entire birth story is on our blog, but the short story is that Heidi went into labor (after Sherri stripped her membranes) about 2pm and Kezia was born at 9:34pm. There were some scares with an elevated heart rate from the baby, and hemorrhaging after the birth, but Sherri handled everything really well and Jason also gave 2 blessings. In the end, we are just so thankful she is here & healthy.
-Kezia seems to generally prefer her vibrating chair over her cradle – just like McKinley – although we’re trying to get her to sleep in her cradle more.
-We’re not sure about the binki. She doesn’t usually take it easily, but once she does really take it, she will hang on to it throughout the night.
-Currently, she’s waking 3 times at night – at about 2am, 4am, and 5am. She’s on a pretty good nap schedule right now during the day – with eating, awake time, and sleeping. She has been happier with this and generally pretty content with the world.
-She went in to her first doctor visit at 2 days and Dr. Daynes says she looks perfect (which we are SO thankful for because we had some worries about a heart murmur).
-She is nursing very well and we hope by her 2 week visit she will be back to her birth weight!
-She has BEAUTIFUL blonde/red hair & we’re hoping she keeps it!
-Her umbilical cord fell off at 5 days.
-She is very attentive and works very hard at turning her head and focusing on where a sound is coming from. She loves mommy & daddy’s voices!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

This year wasn't quite as "Halloween-y" as in years past due to the baby, but we still had fun carving pumpkins and dressing up. Here's some fun pictures:

My friend Lisa let us borrow this costume. Have you ever seen anything so ADORABLE?? Seriously, this was the cutest costume ever - and she didn't even need a coat. Thanks Lisa!

I had to get a shot of the back. I wish I had a video of how she looked when she was running & the elephant behind would just bounce around. It was hilarious!

McKinley was Sleeping Beauty - courtesy of cousin Tiarra. I had more grandiose plans for her hair, but she was still a cutie and loved twirling around and looking so pretty.

Kezia the tiny, cute bunny. Can you see the light red hair? I'm holding my breath that she'll keep it - I'd LOVE a little red-head!

She even had a little bunny-tail in back.

Ready to go!

Had to include this picture because Ireland's face just makes me crack up!!

The girls with their pumpkins

Our family - all 5 of us!!