Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 29

Day 29: Turn off your phone, computer, or TV when your child is with you.

Oh my gosh. This has to be the hardest challenge of ever! I suck at this because I am self-admittedly addicted to my phone. Is there a 12 step group for that? Also, I use the computer A LOT! TV isn't even a problem for me at all, so no worries there, but honestly, this was hard! I actually read the challenge wrong and thought I wasn't supposed to use them when my child was with me, not turn them off, so although I didn't turn on the computer or TV all day around my kids, I did use my phone. I did do my best to not use it if they were near and I did pretty good but I guess I still failed at this one. My brain is in my phone so can I use that excuse?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 28/GratiTuesday

 Day 28: Teach your child a new word.

I decided my kids needed to learn an awesome new word. Annyong. If you don't know what it means, you should find out. My kids now know and can share in the awesomeness of this word. Can you tell I've been watching a lot of Arrested Development lately? Actually, the entire series in one week! I laughed so much that it hurt!!

    At the end of the day, I went the extra mile and taught them another new word. Fleeting. As we were driving home tonight we saw an absolutely beautiful sunset. I told my kids to hurry and look since I knew it was fleeting. They were like "huh?!" I explained it and told them to keep looking because it was going fast. Sure enough, by the time we got home not 3 minutes later, it was gone. It reminded me of this quote that I love by Richard Paul Evans. I savor every sunset because I know it's fleeting, just like the time with my little ones here with me,  as well as knowing that it means I survived one more day and I'm one more day closer to being with those babies of mine again.

P.S. I'm super thankful for both Arrested Development and sunsets!!!! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

3 months together, 3 months apart.

Today's the day, the 3 month mark. Today I have officially been without Reese as long as I was with him. It doesn't seem like long to me and yet it seems like forever ago that I held his sweet precious little body in my hand and gazed in awe at how perfect he was. His tiny foot was just a little smaller than the first in the picture above. Teeny, but perfect. I can still picture him just perfectly in my mind and picture just how sweetly his little hand looked resting on the tip of my finger.

With Reese, more than Gabriel, I feel like I have to keep all of my adoration and love, all of my sadness and grief, to myself. I know people wonder how I can be so sad when I only knew him for so little of a time. I know that people expect that I should have moved on from aching for him already (I've actually been told this.) I know it makes people uncomfortable for me to even bring him up and so I don't, for most people....and then I feel guilty because how can I not talk about this perfect little angel of mine...the one I prayed for, ached for, wanted for so long. The one I thought was the greatest gift because of the hope and happiness he gave me and our family when we needed it so badly. Even though he was this tiny baby that I never felt move and I never got to see take a breath, he was my perfect and very loved baby. I will never know what happened to him, why he had to leave this life before he got to live much of it, but I will strive every day to be better so I can hold him again. Like his brother before him, he has changed my life forever.

 I love you, sweet baby Reese. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Mom Challenge....Day 25, 26, & 27

The last few days have been my sickest, so I kinda combined these since I wasn't up to much. 

Day 25: Ask your child's opinion sometime today.

Skylar suggested I read a book she's been reading, Matched. It wasn't Harry Potter (which, honestly, I've never been able to get past book 1), so since, in her opinion, it was "awesome", I decided to give it a go. I've read half of it in two days. It's not too shabby!! 

Today, I was feeling a bit better, so I asked Alexis what she wanted to make for our FHE treat. She wanted brownies and brownies with frosting on them! This girl always has an opinion. We ended up making Frosted Zucchini Brownies. Yum!! God job Lex!

Day 26: Make it a point to encourage your child today.

McKade had his first soccer game of the season on Saturday. Ben's his coach this year. Since I can't go to any of his Wednesday games because of Young Women, I totally planned on being at all of his Saturday games to cheer him on. I didn't make it. Bummer. I tried my best to cheer him from home before the game and after but it still wasn't the same. I hate being sick!! 

Nick hates homework! Do you blame him? He was super bummed to be the first kid that had homework in the house, so while everyone else has been homeworkless, he has had stuff to do since the second day of school. He's been pretty good about it, considering his major dislike of it. Today, he was just was not interested at all. It took some major encouragement to get him through it. We did it!! 

Day 27: Do one thing that is good for your health. Walk 10 minutes, eat a piece of fruit, or get a good night's sleep.

This wouldn't be such a challenge if I hadn't been sick for the last week. Honestly, I'm sick of being sick!! Since I wasn't getting better, I decided I should try changing my diet drastically and see if I could get rid of my diverticulitis flare so I went to strictly liquids. I think it helped, but for the last few days I've been so weak since I wasn't eating any food. I read this was good for my health, but it sure doesn't seem like it since I've been in pain and weak. As for the tips, I did get up and walk around a bit today so I could get kids to piano and dance. It was good to see the world again!! I'm actually not supposed to eat fruit, which I miss, since I eat a ton of it usually.  And sleep? Does getting a good days' sleep count? I slept half the day thanks to a friend who took Alexis this morning. Hopefully I'm on the mend so I can do all of these things again like normal!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 24

Day 24: Do not interrupt your child when he is talking.

Did. Done. Good.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 23

Day 23: Replace sarcasm with kindness.

Well, I'm still stuck in bed and not feeling too much like being sarcastic anyway, so it wasn't much of a problem for me today. Normally, sarcasm is something I am fond of. I was actually glad when my kids started realizing what sarcasm was and when they were capable of dishing the sarcasm banter back. I don't mean using it in a mean way, but in a funny and teasing way. I honestly wish there was a sarcastic font because I know people don't understand when the written word is dripping with sarcasm and I've been greatly mistaken many a time because of that.

Anyway, as much as I wasn't in the mood for sarcasm today and was just honestly being kind to my kids all day, I couldn't help but want to tease the heck out of Skylar when she got a phone call.....from a boy!! Yes, a cute boy who is new in her class and asked for her number the other day. Is it beginning? I hope not! I'm just hoping she was taking my advice on being super friendly to this new kid, who is a friend of a friend.  Still, when she came to me, flushed beet red, asking if she could go to his house I wanted so badly to say something in teasing or to be sarcastic, but I didn't because I knew at that moment, as nervous as she was about this whole thing, she just needed kindness. It worked good because she was able to go to a new friend's house, have fun, and not feel funny about it. There's definitely a place and a time for sarcasm and it just happened to work out that kindness was more important today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 22

Day 22: How do you want your child to remember you? Be that mom today.

Well, today was not a good day. I've been stuck in bed for most of it, feeling lousy from a stupid flare up of my diverticulitis (the old person disease I have that is similar to appendicitis! Ouch!). Ugh. Needless to say, this is not how I want my kids to remember the sickly mom.  Luckily, or not so luckily, Little Miss Alexis was not feeling so hot herself today. She was a little feverish again and so with the two of us feeling less than chipper we had a movie day. I guess, in a way, it was nice since we have been so busy lately that we haven't had a lazy laying around day. We got to cuddle all day long and if she remembers that I cuddled with her a lot when she didn't feel well, well, then I guess I'm glad I was that mom today.

And now, I'm caught up with blogging!

Mom Challenge....Day 21

Day 21: Forgive yourself when you mess up.

Oh man, this is something I guess I need to do more often because I struggle with it since I mess up so often. I'm really trying to just not mess up as much and this challenge has helped me with it. I guess I need to forgive myself when I do, because of course I'm bound to mess up, and knowing me, that will be A LOT!!

 Yesterday, I was having a majorly tough day sending the kids off on their first day of school. I hate sending them and want them here so we can do fun things and make good memories. The first day of school is always hard for me, but this year it was especially hard again, knowing that soon my little Lex will be in Joy school, and once again, I'll be all alone, instead of having the anticipation of a sweet baby here soon to fill my time and aching arms. I was trying to keep a good attitude but then Alexis started crying about missing her brothers and sister at school and I just kind of lost it. I wish so badly that her baby brothers were here to keep her company. I wish she had the baby she so wants herself. I hate that she's the "youngest child" when she's not. The rest of the day I was kind of a sobby mess.

    I had an appointment with my therapist and I cried the whole way there, the whole time there, and the whole way back. When I was at the therapist I told her how awful I felt for failing my kids.....both my living kids and my little ones in heaven. I hate how much the loss of my babies has made my heart ache so badly and that I've been so depressed about it. I hate that I've changed from the mom my kids used to know. I know I'm still a fun mom, but it's not as natural as it used to be. There's always our babies missing. I hate that they have the loss of their brothers to live with their whole life. I've grown up missing a sister all of my life. I know it hurts. I hate that my body failed my little ones. I know that their plan was to only come here for a short time, but I still feel a responsibility to have gotten them here safely. There's still plenty of guilt in that that maybe I did something wrong. Even with Gabriel's death being a cord accident and my blood tests from Reese's death coming back perfectly normal, I still feel like I failed them. I hate knowing that they can see me and that they know how sad I am. I know that they would want me to be happy. I feel guilty for messing up all of my kids' lives. My therapist said I need to forgive myself because none of this is my fault. Grief is normal and she thinks I'm actually doing great because I'm facing it head on. Grief is even normal for kids to see and feel themselves, although most are lucky enough to never have to. She thinks I'm doing well there let them know that it's okay to be sad our babies aren't here and that we can still love them and talk about them. Still, I can't help but feel so awful about all of this. Blah. I definitely didn't forgive myself for messing up yesterday, but I hope that some day I might be able to.

Mom Challenge....Day 20

Day 20: Today's focus: patience

You know what the worst part of a trip is? Coming home!! Add to that getting home at 1:30 in the am, an already planned trip to 7 Peaks with the friends, the fact that it's the last day before school starts, a super messy car fresh from vacation filled with junk and what-nots, and a pile of laundry that seems like it will never go away, and patience isn't the first virtue that comes to mind! But I tried and I did pretty good.

We had planned to go to 7 Peaks early in the morning and when we got home late, that got put off a bit. We were honestly scrambling to just get through breakfast, into our swimsuits, and get laundry going, and we ended up being plenty late. I kept wanting to get mad, but this challenge was right on my mind and patience won. Instead of leaving the house all crazy and frustrated, we left late, but happy to be able to spend one last day of summer squeezing out some more fun time together.

After we got home it was crazy again because Alexis felt feverish so we had to hurry and get her down for a nap, then clean out the car, do more laundry, and get us all showered and presentable for back-to-school night. Then after that we were rushing to get through dinner, FHE, back-to-school Priesthood blessings, and getting the kids in bed on time. It was one of those rush rush days where losing your cool seemed to be right on the horizon because there was so much to be impatient about, but I was proud of myself for getting through it without losing it. Thank heavens this challenge reminded me to be patient!!

Mom Challenge....Day 19

Day 19: Teach your child one thing he can do on his own today.

I've got a kid who just happens to be my oldest kid and she's kind of got a learned helplessness thing about her. This is totally my fault because I've always been there to do things for her but I've been trying lately to really help her see that she can do a lot of things herself, especially since she's almost 11 and when I was 11 I was already babysitting up a storm and hence, pretty responsible. The thing is that she is majorly capable of doing anything but she doesn't want to try sometimes so we've been really working on it.

On this day, we were heading home from our short, but sweet, vacation. We had been hoping to be all packed up before going to church in the morning, but didn't get to it, so we were running behind. Ben was loading the car and I was trying my best to get everything packed and cleaned up. This was actually a great opportunity for her to learn to do some things on her own. I put her in charge of the kids, packing away all of their stuff into the car, getting everyone's water cups filled with ice (by using an "old fashioned" ice cube tray), and making lunch for the family. She wasn't too excited about it, but she did it! Way to go Sky!! Next time maybe I'll put her in charge of all the packing and cleaning up!

Mom Challenge....Day 18

Day 18: Laugh with your child today.

    Well, this is an easy one. We like to laugh around here. Even when there doesn't seem like anything in the world to smile about, there's always something to laugh about.

   On this day we were up in Island Park hanging out by the river. We started the day out fishing, which my kids love, even when we never catch anything. I think it was pretty amusing for my kids to watch me attempt to fish since I am horrible at it. The bad part is that I come from a family of very avid and very skilled fishermen and yet I suck!! We all got a lot of laughs out of how bad I was. Maybe not Ben as much because he had to untangle all the messes I made. Sorry babe!

   Later on we went on a float trip down the river. The kids were having a blast jumping out into the river and playing around in it, but when Nicky, our little fish, actually fell in on accident, he wasn't too pleased. He was less than thrilled about being submerged in a deep spot, coming up freezing, and losing the oar. Ben had to rescue the oar and that was funny to watch. I told Nick that him falling in would be something we would all remember and that he'd be laughing about it in no time. After warming up a bit, he was. 
We had a really fun day with lots to laugh about....not just laughing at each other. I love laughing with my family.

Mom Challenge....Day 17

Day 17.....Who is a mom you admire? What quality of hers can you live out today?

I had to think about this one, because I have so many moms that I admire and all for different reasons. This day we were actually away on a trip to Yellowstone. It was actually a crazy day and I had woken up at 4 am so that we could get up there. So, needless to say, I was EXHAUSTED the entire day, but I was insistent that we still have fun. Sometimes I'm a little too insistent though and I go too far (Ben is thinking right now....sometimes?!?). Okay, often I go too insisting on a thousand pictures or that we do one more activity kind of things. I have a friend that is incredibly chill in her parenting skills and knowing that I was pooped beyond reason and that my family was also, I decided I'd take her chill attitude that day.

  I wasn't great at it. I still forced my kids to take too many pictures, but hey, we were in Yellowstone!! However, I decided I didn't need to push them with everything. When they didn't want to go on every nature hike, I didn't push it. When they started complaining about having to walk on the ones we did, I encouraged them, but I was easy going about it. When my kids begged for ice cream all day, I gave them an incentive to earn it...but I was relaxed about it and tried to make it fun. I have to admit that the ice cream was one of the greatest parts of the trip because it was rewarded because of their good attitudes. Plus, who know Buffalo Chip ice cream was so dang yummy?! I never thought I'd say that about something called buffalo chip....ewww!

Mom Challenge.....Day 16

Late, once again. This is a combo of being out of town, being exhausted, being sick, the internet being wacky, and just having no desire to blog at all. However, I'm still working on my daily mommy challenges! Now, back to blogging about them. 

Day 16: Picture what you want your child to be like in 25 years. Mother with that in mind today.

In 25 years Skylar will be my age now....36. Crazy!!

In 25 years Nickolas will be 33.

In 25 years McKade will be 31.

In 25 years Alexis will be 28.

So I started this day out asking my kids what they thought they would be doing in 25 years:

Skylar wants to be a dancer.

Nick wants to be a zookeeper.

McKade wants to marry Abigail. Have I mentioned this boy is in love?

Alexis wants to be a mommy.

Skylar & Nick both added in that they want to be moms and dads too but are kind of in that stage of not wanting to even go there because boys/girls are icky still. I guess they'll have to figure that all out by then. I was glad they wanted to be parents though. I know what a gift it is to be their mom and I hope with all of my heart that they can have that joy too.

I started thinking about where they'll be in 25 years with all of the goals they have. If there's one thing I know about my kids is that they are all passionate about the things they love. I hope that they maintain the drive that they have now to achieve their goals. I also hope that I can be the kind of mom that supports their dreams. I honestly believe that they will go far and I can't wait to see them do great things (even if I want them to stay little!).

"When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments: tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become." ~ Louis Pasteur

However, I also know from my own experience that things don't go as planned. Ben and I both have had to make compromises in our lives due to our circumstances and we're not exactly where we want to be. Overall, we're content with our life, but of course we have regrets and dreams we've never had the opportunity to achieve. I hope my kid don't ever have to have regrets. I know life will hit them. I know that our kids will face hurt and disappointments. I couldn't help but think which one of my kids will have to face the loss of a child, the loss of a spouse through death or divorce, or which one might go astray and face the loss of their faith. Those are all things I would never wish on them as their mother, but I know, realistically, that they are going to face something hard in their lives. I hope that I will be the kind of mom that will prepare them for those days by teaching them to be strong and instilling faith in them that will help them to get through those hard things. I love my kids and never want to see them hurt but since I know that's impossible I just want to be the kind of mom that will be there to wipe away their tears, hold their hand, and let them know that they will always, no matter what, be loved by their momma.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mom Challenge.....Day 15

Ugh. So tired of blogging everyday!!

Day 15: Be firm when needed, not harsh.

Well, I did pretty good with this all day long....and believe me, it was a LONG day. However, right at the very end of the day when my head was pounding and I was just waiting for the moment that the kiddos' little mouths were nice and quiet for the night, I told them they could eat a little of Gabriel's birthday cake....not my best idea of the day. Alexis wanted to see the cake  and with her being exhausted beyond reason, she wasn't about to wait for help from me, so down came the cake. I luckily caught it with my busted hand just seconds before it smashed to the floor, even though it didn't stop the crumbs and frosting from getting all over the floor and then the rest of the kids running to step in them so that they could see. Ugh! Needless to say, I was a little harsh in that moment....and the time for bed became as much as I tried, I didn't meet this challenge today. Oops!! I love my kids, but sometimes bedtime is the sweetest moment of the day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 14/GratiTuesday

Day 14: Remember that being a mother is a gift.

  Honestly, I have always felt this from the beginning. Getting my babies here in the first place was not super easy. Ben didn't just have to look at me for me to get pregnant. We worked for quite a while to get Skylar here and when I say worked, I mean it. Infertility is not easy stuff. We were majorly blessed to have the next four babies just come with ease....but then Gabriel didn't get to stay....and once again we were on the infertility roller coaster....resulting in two more losses and heartache beyond words. I know, with all of my heart, what a gift motherhood is and it is one of the greatest gifts I've been given.

    Today was also a good day to remember this as I was able to meet up with a friend of mine that I haven't seen in 20 years. We were good friends in junior high and then I went to a different high school and although we stayed in touch for a few years, eventually we lost contact. She's had some of the same challenges as I have although hers have been so much harder. Her only pregnancy came with a lot of work too...and ended in losing her baby boy at 21 weeks almost 8 years ago. She has since been blessed to adopt 3 adorable kiddos and she truly treasures them. She has helped me probably more than anyone in this whole thing because she gets it, yet she's survived it. I swear I text her almost every day for help to get me through all of the tough moments. It was so good to finally see her after all of this time and after all she's done for me! She is a wonderful mom and I know she truly treasures it!

    I don't think you have to had gone through all of this stuff to remember that being a mother is a gift, but I do know that the most of the women I've met that have truly had to work to get their babies here and the ones that have had to say goodbye have a deep understanding of just how precious it is. It's not something that I take for granted because I know how hard it is to ache for the gift of motherhood on both ends.

     Of course, like every mom, I have my days where I just want to run and hide for a few minutes or maybe even go to the bathroom once without anyone needing me, or get a completely hot shower because no one has come into the room and let all the hot air out just to see what I was doing (yes, it's a daily occurrence!!). But I'm so thankful for all of those things because it means I have children that want me and need me just as much as I do them. I am so thankful for my Ben who helped give me my kids and eternally grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that made that all possible. On the days that I feel so unloved, even by Him, I know that, in reality, I am loved very much to have been given the greatest gift I could've ever wished for....the gift of being a mother.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mom Challenge.....Day 13

Day 13: Do not criticize your child today.

Today my kids were crazy!! Crazy I tell ya. Loud, obnoxious, annoying, goofy, when we added in hanging with friends they were even more crazy! So, this was a challenge for sure!!! But I think I did okay. I actually started criticizing my fashionista, Skylar, for not ever wearing some shorts all summer that she insisted I buy for her. She tends to do this a lot so it is something I'm always getting on her case about. Then I stopped. Cold. I realized that her feelings were more important than a pair of shorts that someone is going to absolutely love as hand me downs since they are so new. Gotta love this challenge. It's really making me think about the things I say to my kids and the way I treat them. I'm hoping every day that I'm getting better!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mom Challenge...Day 11

Day 11: Tell your child, "I'm so glad you are my son/daughter."

  I'm not sure if I used to do this all of the time, but I do now, especially after losing two of my kids. I tell my kids all of the time that I'm so lucky to have them....although I'm sure I should tell them even more than I do...but it's true. I made an extra effort to tell them all at least three times today. I have some pretty awesome kids. I'm glad they chose me to be their mom even if I fall short so very often. I truly feel blessed to have the 6 amazing kids that I do!!

Mom Challenge....Day 10

Day 10: Today's mom focus: Joy

Well, this is a day late because I did just this yesterday....focused on joy. I've really been trying to get myself out and about and let the kids have lots of fun in the couple of weeks left of summer since the beginning of their summer was less than fun. We've been checking off our summer bucket list and just staying busy with lots of fun things. Friday was by far our craziest day yet and filled with lots of fun and checking three things off the list!

We began the day meeting my friend, Kris, and her kids at Wheeler Farm. I met Kris through this here bloggy. She's a baby loss mom too. Our stories are similar....we both lost our 5th babies, both boys, at 19 weeks, both due to cord accidents. Kris has also had some early losses as well. She has been such a big help to me through getting through some hard days. She lives over an hour north so we don't see each other often but I am truly thankful that our babies brought us together. Our kids are all about the same age so they get along really well. In fact, I was so surprised how instantly they just began playing so great together even though they hadn't seen each other in awhile. We had a fun time walking around the farm that I grew up going to as a kid. I love that it's free! We saw horses, goats, cows, and decided we're so glad we don't have to smell them every day!
   Besides seeing my friend, I was also able to share in her joy by snuggling on her sweet rainbow baby, Sam. Sam is 8 weeks old and was born just 3 weeks after my little Reese. He was the first newborn I've held since losing Reese. It was honestly such a joy to hold him. It's amazing how you forget how little those fresh newborns are, especially when you usually stay away from them because of they make your heart ache. Since my last two babies were itsy bitsy I just looked at his little hands and feet and loved them and remembered my own sweet babies and how their tiny hands and feet were so much tinier, but still just as perfect. I called Alexis over to look at him. She is obsessed with babies but doesn't have too many opportunities around them. It was so sweet to see her with him. It was so sweet to hold him. It felt so good. Honestly, I think I need a job where I can just hold babies all day long. Of course, I wouldn't want their moms there, because I really can't hold the tears back. I always feel that moms of rainbow babies will get that and so rainbow babies are still the only babies I've held since losing Gabriel. I know that I have good friends that would understand, but I really struggle knowing how to even ask to hold their babies because it's such an emotional thing for me. I almost always cry. However, I only choked up for a second holding little Sam. I just had one second of thinking that in just a few months it would've been so different for me to have my own little Reese so fresh and new in my arms....and now that is gone. I just held him and felt such happiness for my friend, Kris, and her sweet kids, that have been through so much and now have the reward of that precious baby to hold all of the time in this help to fill their emptiness that was left when they lost their little Luke. I asked Kris all sorts of questions about how much it has healed their family to have Sam there, although they will always feel that Luke is missing. It gave me even more desire and hope to have that someday. I haven't dared even ask for it again, but I hope that Heavenly Father will bless us with another baby to help heal our hearts too. Thank you, Kris, for allowing me to snuggle on your sweet Sam for a little while! It was so good for my heart to hold him!!

After we left Wheeler Farm hot, tired, and very dirty, we headed on over to the waterpark that I grew up going to, Raging Waters...which is actually 7 Peaks now so we could get in free with our Pass of All Passes!! I don't think much has changed there since I was a kid and that was fun to think of good memories I made there. The weather was kind of iffy early but was perfect when we got there and we just had such a blast!! It wasn't nearly as crowded as the Provo 7 Peaks so we were able to go on a lot of the rides and then just have fun in all of the waterfalls and little pools all over. Ben was able to come meet us after work for a bit before the clouds rolled in the weather suddenly went crazy and they kicked everyone out. We still had fun while it lasted!
     There was this moment when Nick, Alexis, and I were in the wave pool and Nick was trying really hard to make some swimming goals so Lex and I were just watching him and hugging because we were a little cold. I just held my sweet Lex and smelled in her hair and cuddled on her little body that is growing way too fast and felt so much joy. That is one thing that I feel that I've been able to feel so much earlier this time...the joy. When Gabriel died, those moments were always intertwined with the pain, but now I've learned to just let all of the joy come and just love it while it lasts, because I know it won't, but I cherish it while it does.
      Afterwards we grabbed some dinner and headed to the #1 on my summer bucket list....going to the drive-in!! Oh how I miss having drive-in theaters down in Provo!! When I was single and then when Ben and I were first married it was like a weekly thing for us to do during the summer! Since Provo's drive-ins are all shut down we haven't been to see one since we've had kids so my poor kids have never had the experience of going to the drive-in. So this summer I wanted to take them for sure! Of course, you can't go see a movie there that would be so much better in a theater because drive-ins are notorious for their poor quality, but that's just what we did because we hadn't had the chance to see Brave yet. It was really good and the kids loved it! I think they loved it even more that we could see it from the back of the car. It's just so much fun to go to a drive-in!!

   Once again, as I sat there, watching the movie and holding my honey's hand, I was filled with joy. I am so blessed to have the opportunities I do. I am so blessed to have the husband I do that supports me even when I plan a crazy busy day that starts in the morning and ends well past midnight. I am so blessed to have the four children I have here on earth to hold in my arms and to have such fun times with and make memories with to last a lifetime. I am so blessed to have two babies in heaven that are still such a part of my life and will be mine to raise in the future where there won't be any pain, just joy. I am so blessed to have the joys I do, and even though some days the hurt takes over, those blessings are always there, so the true joy always is too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 9

Day 9: Picture yourself at your child's age. Try to remember how you felt. 

This wasn't too easy, except for with Skylar, since she's older and I can remember being 10. It's a little different though because we have such a different upbringing....she's the oldest of the family and I'm the youngest. I started really thinking about how the last few years have been full of such trials for our family and how even though we haven't shared everything with Skylar, there is so much that she's had to be aware of at such a young age. In that way we are similar. When I thought about when I was 10 I realized that I was going through some major family trials too. One of them was my dad going through having a brain tumor removed. That was a very scary thing for me. I'm sure I was sheltered from a lot of the things going on because I was the youngest, but it was a hard time in my life, not knowing if my dad was going to be okay and not knowing what the future held for our family. I think Skylar must feel the same with the things we're going through. I'm sure it's very scary for her. With Skylar being the oldest, she tends to take on a lot of responsibility for the other kids when we're having a hard time, even if she's not aware of everything going on. She's pretty receptive and inquisitive by nature, so keeping things from her is almost a challenge.

   I remember when we told Skylar that we were pregnant with Reese. The other kids were really excited. Skylar was really hesitant. She smiled and said she was happy, but she was worried. She knows that just because someone is pregnant it doesn't mean that the baby will live. That's a sad reality for my kids. She really struggled when Reese died, but she also stepped up and helped out a lot when I couldn't. Sometimes I feel so guilty knowing that she's had to shoulder the burden of responsibility, but I also see how much she's growing into this amazing girl and thinking outside of herself. I know that these trials will help contribute to the person she will become and the compassion she's learning will strengthen her character. Having been through challenges myself when I was young, I know that they shaped who I am. I learned many valuable lessons and I know that Skylar will too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 8

 Day 8....Calculate how many weekends are still left until your child graduates from high school.

I was told there wouldn't be any math on this test....ugh! Okay, here goes my best shot:

Skylar: 402 weekends

Nick:  506 weekends

McKade: 610 weekends

Alexis: 766 weekends

Wow! That seems like so many but so few at the same time.

For my other two babies there won't be any more weekends, any first days of school, any last days of school, or high school graduations. Sigh. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The last little while sweet friends have posted this picture of this beautiful statue on my Facebook wall. It's not a new's a year or so old, so I've seen it before but I've always loved it. It was commissioned by a group of mothers who have had stillborn babies. I absolutely love it because I know, without a doubt, that my babies are there for me at times like this. I've felt them. I don't share those special and sacred moments, but there's been so many that I can't deny them either. This statue brings me such peace. I only wish I had a copy of it.

    I guess it's been cycling around...and when my thoughtful friends have seen it, they've thought of me....even if no one has the words to say to me. I'm just thankful that someone is thinking of me. Thank you to my sweet thoughtful friends that remember that although I might be able to fake a smile, because that's what is expected of me, I feel like this on the inside. Thank you for remembering that my babies are real, that they exist still, that they count, that they're here, regardless of the fact that they're not, regardless of the fact that you never saw them. To acknowledge them shows true friendship. You'll never understand how just remembering me for a moment touches my heart when it feels so broken. I am so very thankful for this.

Mom Challenge.....Day 7

Day 7: Leave a sweet note for them.

This was fun. I wrote a little note for all of the kiddos and left them on their pillows. It was cute to see them see their note and read it and see a smile spread across their face. Nick came and gave me one of his giant hugs that I just love! I sometimes leave notes in lunches for my big kids but haven't for the ones at home since they can't read. I think I underestimated what a note could do to bring out a smile. Alexis might not be able to read but she recognizes her name and when Skylar read her note to her she smiled big, even though she's been feeling lousy today. I'm glad I could do something to make her smile. I know this is something I'll do again!!

As for my sweet angel boys, I wrote them notes too. My therapist has actually been asking me to do this for little Reese for awhile. I just haven't felt up to it. When Gabriel died I would write to him often and that helped. I haven't written to him in a long time and so it was good. He's been on my mind so much lately as his birthday is approaching this week, along with all of the painful reminders that it brings. My heart aches as that milestone is hitting again. But it's also been okay too. It's hard to explain, but I am at peace with his death now. I will still miss him every single moment of the rest of my life, but I know he's where he's supposed to be. I know that he's here too. I know he helps me every single day. I know he is part of the tender mercies that the Lord sends me.
With Reese, I'm not at peace. I'm still just trying to survive and honestly, I haven't had the energy or desire yet to write those words to him. In so many ways his death has been so much harder than Gabriel's and yet I don't feel like I've been allowed to grieve or talk about him by so many because no one will talk to me, no one knows what to say. I've kept a lot of my thoughts inside. It's been like a crushing weight on my heart but I just didn't feel like I could do actually get some of those dark painful feelings down on paper. It was time to take that challenge and write to him and let him know that as much as my heart hurts that he's not here, as hard as it is to go through this again, how truly unfair this seems, that I am thankful that he came for the short time he did because he brought me true happiness for the first time in so long. It was healing and I'm glad I did it.

I love all of you my sweet babies....Skylar, Nick, Kade, Alexis, Gabriel, and Reese! Thank you for letting me be your momma!!

Mom Challenge....Day 6

Aw, man. We got home late tonight....but I'm squeezing it in!!

Day 6: Bake, make, or buy them their favorite food.

Well, I'm not much of a baker but the other day I did bake my kiddos some chocolate banana bread, which is my specialty and all of my kids' favorite, so they started off the day with that since we still had a few pieces left. Then they were told that that was the end of the goodies for the day since we had planned to check off Skylar's summer bucket list item #1 by having ice cream for dinner!! Yep, just ice cream. I mean, can it get any better than that? So for dinner we headed up to Culver's to get them shakes. I ate something different since ice cream and I don't get along and we were all happy. They were very, very happy!! I know it's the worst thing ever to feed your kids for dinner, but it's become a tradition to let the kids have ice cream for dinner once a year and I figure that if I feed them healthy food the other 364 days of the year they'll be just look at their smiles....soooo worth it!!!  I'm pretty sure it's their favorite meal of the year!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mom Challenge.....Day 5

Day 5: Tell yourself, "He's only ___ years old. He's still a child." Then treat him that way.

Okay, so I have mixed feelings about this. I think that too often people don't give kids the credit they deserve and have low expectations of them just because they are kids. Kids are actually pretty amazing little people and have the potential to do so much!! I know that often I push my kids and expect a lot of them because I know they are capable of doing everything I expect, but I admit that sometimes I expect a lot for them being kids.

Today I made an effort to give them some lee-way and remember that they are still little. This started this morning with my two littles being crazy during breakfast when we were in a hurry to get to church on time. Since it was Fast Sunday the big kids (who always fast a meal since they've been baptized) were resisting temptation and staying as far away from the kitchen as they could so the little ones were just playing around without the reminders to just eat from their examples. I wanted to get mad at them because they were taking FOREVER to eat their breakfast but then I remembered that they are little and don't care about the clock. Instead I took our timer approach and made them race to finish eating which helped when they were playing a game. Kids might not get clocks but they get games. They did it and we made it to church on time!

 At church, a cute boy in our ward got up and bore his testimony about how his mom (my awesome friend) wouldn't let him color because he was old enough to listen because he'd been baptized.  He said at first he didn't think it was fair but then he realized that he was so thankful that he had been baptized. I loved that testimony and how it related to my challenge of the day. What an amazing blessing it is for these young kids to be able to make the decision to be baptized and then be able to live the gospel at just 8 years old. I know that I expect more of my big kids, Skylar and Nick, just because I know that they have been baptized and have the Holy Ghost to help them make decisions.

   Nevertheless, my kids are still kids (thank heavens!!) and so I tried really hard to remember that when Skylar wanted to play Barbies with Alexis instead of helping me with dinner and Nick forgot to use the bathroom before we went to the cemetery to visit my grandparents (my grandma was buried a year ago today)....that they are kids! I'm so thankful to still have kids!! I know these moments will go fast and I hope to remember this more often and enjoy every single second of my kids doing kid things.

Mom Challenge....Day 4

Day 4: Kiss your child while they are asleep.

Well, this one started wee in the hours of the night since we were camping.  Ben and I always stay out by the campfire after our kids settle down so when I climbed back in I was able to smooch them all while they were sleeping. This is something that I do almost nightly for the boys but not my girls. The girls sleep with the door closed and opening it wakes them up so I don't usually sneak in and kiss my lightly sleeping princesses. The boys are usually dead to the world when they are sleeping (hence I could pain their nails for St. Patty's Day tricks) so they usually get all the smooches I can muster before I go to bed each night. It was nice to have my girls there so easily accessible!

However, since it was the night before Day 4 I kind of didn't think it counted so I decided I need to do it again once we were home and they were actually snuggled in their beds. Sneaking in on the boys was easy, as usual, except for the fact that Nick was sleeping crazy, like usual, and I had to climb the bunkbed ladder just so I could kiss his leg because it was all I could reach. When I went into the girls' room Skylar sat up. I don't think she was awake because she just laid back down and I was able to smooch her. Little Lex was spread eagle on her bed and wasn't phased at all. Maybe I should start sneaking in there more often! There is nothing like seeing your sweet kids so peaceful in sleep. I love late night smooches on my beautiful sleeping kids!!

Mom Challenge....Day 3

See? Blogging every day is the big challenge! We went camping this weekend, hence this and Day 4 are late.

Day 3: Hug your child three times today

This one was easy. We're huggers around here. Actually the morning started out with lots of snuggling and hugging my sweet Alexis who climbed in bed with me bright and early. I love that she's a cuddler. Honestly, hugging that tiny body of hers is one of the things I cherish the most. I savor every single second of her tiny hands while they are still little enough to fit in mine because I know just how quickly these days of having a little one in my arms are fading. 

  The hugs for the other kids also quickly added up as the day went on. Since it was on my mind though I think I made a bigger effort to make hugs a part of everything we encountered in the day. There was this time Nick and Skylar were arguing over something dumb and both looking to me to take a side. I just looked at both of them and gave them a hug and then made each other hug it out. They ended up just laughing and whatever they were arguing about just went away. Hugs are so healing and helpful!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mom Challenge....Day 2

Day 2: Go the whole day without yelling at your children

Oh man, what a challenge! Sadly enough, I'm kind of a yeller and I hate that. It's not always in anger, but I tend to yell through the house about getting jobs done, rounding everyone up, and such. It's something I've been trying to get better about but this challenge made me really think about it today....and I did good. I only raised my voice one time because I had asked one of my children to come do their job about 3 times with no response while the TV was on, so in my defense, I wasn't sure if said child had actually heard me, but still, since I was trying so hard, it bothered me when I did it....especially when said child also accused me of yelling. Yep, guilty! I noticed that day went a lot smoother just by not yelling. My kids were actually more responsive to me when I talked to them, face to face, which I think is because they just tune the yelling out. Our house tends to be pretty noisy, you know, because as cute and innocent as my children may appear, they are also really loud! Maybe that's from the yelling, eh? Anyway, I think this challenge is now going to be an every day thing!! I love this it's time to use it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 Day Mom Challenge....Day 1

I've decided to do a 30 Day Mom Challenge. Being a mom is my most favorite thing and I want to be the best I can be so I thought I'd try this. I'm going off a list and there's a lot of things on the list that I already do, but some are new, and I feel like there's always room for improvement. I also decided that I'd blog about it so I could report on how it goes. That might actually be the real challenge as I know blogging every day is definitely not easy....especially when I'm trying to be a good mom!! Anyway, here goes:

Day 1: Ask "What is one thing we can do together this month?"

Well, this one was easy. We actually made a list back in May of things we wanted to do this summer. Everyone got to weigh in on what they wanted to do. We had such big plans for an awesome summer and then we lost Reese and everything kind of came to a halt for awhile.  But we're working on that list again! Although I doubt we'll get everything crossed off with the short time we have left, we're going strong and trying!! I keep asking the kiddos what their absolute musts are. Today's answers were:

Skylar-Ice cream for dinner
Nick-Hogle Zoo
Alexis-The purple slide at 7 Peaks (but absolutely NOT Cave In which we went down yesterday and crashed hard on when we lost our tube! Yes, there was blood from both us!!)

I can't say that I'm too excited for Skylar's top choice because since I can't eat ice cream I'm totally left out, but maybe I can sneak a nibble and everything else is doable for sure!! We've got some fun time together coming up!