Wednesday, December 7, 2016


this morning i was abruptly woken up at 5am by some very eager children. they were excited it was my birthday.
i went to work opening my presents. they found this exciting. i was amazed at all i received.
then they got to work on chores and got dress for school. Jeff grabbed some breakfast... donuts and burritos.
after doing our advents, Jeff left and i took the kids to school. then i took a little drive to find a good family photo shot.
soon baby James got hungry. i stopped at a park to feed him and was proud of myself for staying calm with the impatient kiddos in the car.
when i got back home, the house was a disaster. i took time to tidy it up and checked my facebook love notes. it was nice to get messages and texts and phone calls from so many people, and i reflected on one person in particular who made a point NOT to wish me a happy birthday. its funny, isn't it? how love can be poured out on you by so many, but just one person hates the crap out of you and it bugs you? it made me ponder on where my heart is.
then, for lunch, Trini came over with Costa Vida and she chatted with me. it was grand to have adult conversation and Trini is such a grand gal. she helped me load up kids in the car and then i picked up the school kids and took everyone to the park.
it was a grand time. i enjoyed it.
then we were off to the food bank to follow Moroni's challenge and feed the hungry, like Jesus.
when i came home, Jeff watched kids while i showered and then my mom brought over dinner! we all ate and everyone sang to me before we enjoyed the ice cream cake!
then i sped off to go teach with the new sister missionaries in our ward. this was a very humbling experience. for so many reasons. but most of all, it made me realize how important it is to have your own relationship with God. its so important not to give others the power over that relationship. throughout life people WILL offend you. YOU will offend others. but you just have to keep your personal relationship with God strong. keep going. keep trying. do your best. be close to God. align yourself with Him.
i came home with a heavy heart... pondering on all i had felt.
and i am thankful... so very thankful for a great day like today. thankful for so many people who showed such great love to me... no matter how little i deserved it. and i feel hopeful that i can become a better person this year.
Coleen made me these from our sparkling cider at thanksgiving!

Tabitha drew this great picture

Elaine sent me this grand box of greatness

Jeff got me a game i have always wanted!!

Jeff made me this infinity of the words to his valentine song he wrote me and framed it

Jeff got me an ice cream cake! my favorite! all they had were super hero ones, so he picked superman because he knows that i love superman more than batman. 

my mom got me this AMAZING to-do list pad. i am a nerd.

i got gift cards!!

Jeff got me this bad boy!
i can't even pick a favorite gift... along with the notes and messages and hugs... i was spoiled!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

advents 4,5,6

so... sunday was not my favorite, but still had some positives.
good parts:

  • jeff felt loved
  • got family pics
  • sang and harmonized with Colleen
  • i felt loved that people came to the blessing
  • James fit his outfit
  • James got a lovely blessing
  • James didn't cry
  • walter sat by me during a movie after church and i felt so overwhelmed with love that i almost burst! how did i get so blessed? how worth it everything in life felt in that moment, and how silly any fears or worries felt.
  • felt my dad's presence.
  • jeff made a yummy dinner that his mom used to make: cheesy potatoes and sausage
  • i had hot chocolate.
bad parts:
  • i didn't feel like i really 'worshipped God' today.
  • i didn't fast.
  • i HATED my testimony that i gave in sacrament mtg. it was so stupid! i seriously need to stop getting up there because i keep embarrassing myself!
  • we had a big family fight when trying to watch the devotional.
  • i broke the couch when i sat down to nurse James.
then came Monday.
it was my last day with Jeff before he headed back to work. he helped me get out the door in the morning and then stayed home with the babes while i ran some errands, got lab work done for James (he passed!), and did some christmas shopping (wish i was done...). it was a horrendous day and i spent the whole day rushing around like a psycho and nursing a baby every half hour. i was able to surprise a sick friend with her favorite soda- and she couldn't figure out who the anonymous gift giver was!! family night was fine. had a little lesson (sally added a THIRD ADVENT to our life! good grief.) and then played don't eat pete. perhaps the best part of the day was after we picked up kids from school and everyone rode bikes and jumped rope in the front. seriously one of the best moments for our family.

today was... um... humbling.
Jeff left for work and we barely made it to school at a decent time, though evelynn was late for tutoring. i am not feeling very good- i think i have a clogged duct and i have a sore throat and some sharp headaches, along with some body aches. my period just will not leave me... and so i spent the day surviving. the baby seemed to nurse non-stop and i tried to take a nap, but the kids interrupted me a lot. Jeff came home and tried to be helpful but i felt super stressed and annoyed by the fact that i just sit all day and feed a baby- while my house and life get crazier and crazier! Jeff bathed all the kids for me, and i bathed James earlier in the day. i wanted to really get my act together so that my birthday rocks tomorrow, but it looks more like i am going to just sit around. mostly... more than anything, i REALLY hope i get sleep tonight. wish me luck. hopefully i can read my scriptures better this year... ugh. so many things i want to improve.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

James is blessed

today James put on his brothers' blessing outfit and was given a name and a blessing from his dad at church. standing in the circle were Bishop Peterson, Brother Wright, Brother Hawker, Elder Grunland, Eric, and Elliott.

in the blessing he was told:

  • Heavenly Father blesses you with strength to do with power what the Lord places before you 
  • you are called to lead before men, to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth
  • blesses you with health and a keen understanding of the gospel and a love for all mankind.
  • you will have a strong sense of duty
  • He will provide you with all that you need
  • you will have magnificent spiritual blessings, a posterity and a place among the saints of God
Colleen and her family came and some of the Jarvis' and Grammy. 
both Jeff and I bore our testimonies and so did Miriam and John.
everyone adored you. it was a pretty special day. 
and i felt my dad's presence there.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

advent 3

today's advent was really hard for me.
i struggle with pessimism and negativity.
my "seeing the good" lasted one round of naming one quality per person in my family and then i was grumpy the remainder of the day.
i did, however, go shopping for some new clothes and was quite proud of all i got for only $35.
we made it to the ward party tonight, and it went fine.
then Jeff and i spent our evening talking about our future dreams.... which should help me fall asleep tonight, regardless of whether they come to fruition or not.

kids in jammies ready for the xmas party... watching the grinch

James all snuggled up by the tree and enjoying the lights...

Friday, December 2, 2016

Family History Friday #46

What are some of the life lessons that you have learned and would like to pass on to your descendants?

there really isn't anything i could say that will make my kids avoid learning their own life lessons, which inevitably is more powerful than just hearing it from me... but for the sake of answering this question...

i have learned that there is great value in going to the Lord. 
so often i turn to social media to ask questions. so often i blab to a friend or family member or blog about something... when i should have just gone to the Lord and asked. perhaps i would not have received an immediate answer, which is often why i don't go to Him because i want a quick fix... but there is such value in study and prayer and pondering... and you just can't go wrong when you approach the Lord first and foremost. parenting problem? go to the Lord. money or dinner issue? go to the Lord. how to spend my day? go to the Lord.  church calling drama? GO TO THE LORD. i realize that He has given us good friends and guides that we can turn to for help as well, but there is never harm in going to Him first. i could have avoided great embarrassment if i would follow this more in my life!

support and love and gentle kindness is a crowning virtue.
when dealing with frustrating people, responding with anger and frustration makes things MUCH MUCH worse. validate others' feelings even if you don't agree with them. allow them to feel how they feel. step away until you can be generous with charity. don't give up on relationships and work hard at them.

always ask yourself what you can do better.
i have found, especially as a wife, that when i am being critical of my spouse, its much better to step back and ask myself what i could do better. and on that note... please don't give up on your spouse. please take time to see the good in them. your marriage is worth saving. it is worth every effort. it can be the most rewarding and wonderful relationship and is worth the challenge and hardship. it is an ETERNAL journey and you have to be patient with yourself and your spouse... but please don't throw it away. do not buy into the lie that you 'married the wrong person'... the fact is that you married them. and you are not perfect- don't put yourself above your spouse- you have things to learn. be patient. keep trying. be teachable. 

gossip is the worst. DON'T EVER DO IT.
always talk about others as if they were RIGHT THERE BESIDE YOU. if you wouldn't say it to their face then you should not say it at all. this goes for social media, too. yes, there will be times when you just need to vent to someone... and those moments should be carefully guarded with only a special person. keep a prayer in your heart that you can learn to love the person you are venting about. venting to Heavenly Father is very effective and can be very healing. EVERYONE is a child of God.

God is your best friend. 
go to church EVERY WEEK without fail. study your lessons. worship throughout the week. keep your covenants and take the sacrament seriously. GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH!!! believe it. live it. remember Him always. repent every day. let him carry your burdens and lift your voice high in gratitude to him every day of your life. 

avoid hatred. 
if you feel hatred creeping upon you... fix it immediately. ask yourself questions until you can find a way to not feel that way anymore. its poison. 

take time for your children.
one on one time is of more worth than gold. let people know you value them and take time for them individually.

doing hard things is GOOD.
failure is okay. being happy for others is okay. challenges and tests are okay. all of these things bring GROWTH. do your best and trust God.

don't ever judge parents.
do they have one kid? twenty kids? it doesn't matter. ITS THE HARDEST JOB EVER. everyone is doing the best they can. support them. pray for them. help them. love them. do not condemn them. judge not that ye be not judged.

hygiene is good.
yes, its not the end of the world if you don't have makeup on every second of the day or your hair curled... but take time to shower, brush your teeth, and wear deodorant. don't exhaust yourself trying to look like a super model, but at least try to look your best when you can. you don't have to wear fancy clothes or spend lots of money... but you're never fully dressed without a SMILE.

and... thats all for now.

advent 2

this morning the kids were excited to find moroni on the stable roof of our nativity. he looked rather regal up there, i must say. Jeff quizzed the children on my deceased father and his deceased mother... and it lit up my heart to hear my children answer correctly. it also made my heart sad that Jeff's mom and my dad aren't here to enjoy their grandchildren. i have no doubt they are smiling down on us, though. listening to Jeff talk about his mom made my heart happy, too... just thinking about what a personality she had and how awkward i felt when i first joined the family. sometimes it really bugs me that i take myself and life so seriously... and i see the value of Jeff's side. we also added a shepherd to our tree.

last night i let baby James enjoy the tree... he lasted for an hour and i got some shut eye :)
for some odd reason i had a lazy start to my day and it just kept going on like that... i found myself eager to cave in to Jeff's cravings. after he got my car's oil and air fixed, i took James to the lab and picked up some In-n-Out burger for lunch. next i quickly fell asleep on the couch while the kids watched a couple of movies. when i woke up, i made a list of things i admired about my mom (via the morning challenge from moroni) and then we loaded up the kids and grabbed the school children to head to our favorite park. it was FREEZING cold.

when we we finished at the park, Jeff had another desire: Macayos. we ate there a tad bit chaotically, and then made it over to DQ for dessert. we came home and snuggled up as a family to watch a Christmas movie.

my favorite part of today stems from yesterday. when i took the kids to the library for "fun van" the parenting class topic was 'self esteem' and we played a game called 'name three things you like about yourself'... and it made me all sorts of contemplative.
so today i asked my kids and husband what THEY like about themselves. it was awesome:

Jeff: incredibly handsome, amazing voice, and very intelligent
Evelynn: i sound like a chipmunk, i run fast, and i love christmastime!
Sally: that i have a mom and dad, i have a baby brother, and brothers and sisters!!!

another great quote from today?
we were driving by a school and i said, "what school is that?"
Charlie says, "its probably a high school..."
i said, "no... high schools do not have playgrounds."
Sally says, "what?! no playground? thats... so..... so sad!"

also? i got my first christmas card in the mail today and it made me SO FREAKING HAPPY!!!
i love getting christmas cards in the mail.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Advent 1

this year Jeff and I are trying a new approach to advent. mostly because we can't keep up with past years... we have a newborn! life is busy! and we still want to keep the spirit of Christmas in our home... so we are replacing Everett the Elf on the Shelf with Moroni on the Mantle. he is helping our family do 25 days of service, via they are doing the "light the world" advent calendar. and we are also doing the 25 days of christ for devotional- which focuses on scriptures and we hang an ornament each day.

it was a bit rocky, today, though. the kids were sad that Everett was leaving and no one seemed too enthusiastic to do the service challenge for the day. i just didn't serve anyone or do any good and i felt really bad about it. i cried actually. it makes me feel like my life is not aligned with God if i can't carve out time to serve people. i feel like i am failing as a parent because my kids aren't catching the vision of service. but Jeff said we will do better tomorrow and affirmed that we are doing the right thing to focus on Christ and service. i hope he is right.

i did take the kids to library time today, while Jeff was at home with the electrician... trying to figure out the "no heat" situation we are facing right now in our house. i hope it gets resolved sooner than later.

when kids got home from school today we all decorated the house and tree. the kids were very excited and had a pretty good time. but then things got crazy and the baby was needy and we had a late dinner and cranky kids and so we threw on Miracle on 34th Street to regain some sanity and get everyone fed.

oh may tomorrow be better. i hope. my calendar is done and the chore chart changed. Jeff and I planned things out and had a good long talk... so hopefully we can be a team and really help each other. and i REALLY hope i get some good sleep tonight.

now i am off to kiss my kiddos one last time tonight because my heart is hurting for so many people who are hurting from loss of loved ones and difficult circumstances. i feel like i am so blessed and yet really failing at showing my gratitude for my blessings. i really hope tomorrow i repent and do better at being a wife and mother and follower of Christ.