Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring



Playing outside is the best!
Yesterday was Caity's last day of school before spring break and we are pretty excited around here.
Yesterday Caity was throwing things back and forth from the balcony to her friends while Matthew crawled back and forth and stood holding on to the bars hollering, "DADADADA!"
John worked on the car and Johnny raced the wind on his new ninja turtle bike he won at the city easter egg hunt with William chasing after him.







Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Strawberry Wars

We work out!
I basically love when Caity's gets home from school because she knows how to keep the boys busy and entertained in ways outside of my personal abilities and comprehension.  Yesterday while I was making dinner, there was jumping jacks, crunches, and hallway sprints...much to my neighbors' delight, I'm sure! (Yes, he is still wearing the Superman shirt.)
Last night during dinner, it took about ten minutes trying to manipulate William to eat his salad to finally settle on "just the croutons" smothered in dressing. Baby steps. After I got up to wash dishes, Johnny apparently took a bit out Caity's strawberry that "she was saving until the very end" because it was "the only part of the whole dinner that was actually going to taste good." I turned around from the sink and gave Johnny the best mom face I could muster. He said he was sorry to Caity, however; when I turned back around to do dishes, he turned to Caity  and said smugly,  "Just kidding, I'm not sorry at all." I turned back to face him and that mischevious grin, and gave him a good talking-to which provoked and even more sincere apology complete with a pout lip and puppy eyes. Satisfied, I went back to work on the dishes, when I heard whispered behind my back "Just kidding again, not sorry at all... hahaha!" I whipped around to catch him snatching her strawberry again!
Brothers are the worst sometimes, Caity got more strawberries,  and Johnny finished the dishes.
And we all lived happily ever after....until William woke Johnny up this morning via foam sword. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Motivated

Sometimes I kind of want to throw in the towel for the day. You know, go grab a cheeseburger, put the kids down for their naps and watch Fixer Upper for the afternoon drinking a milkshake...like for real, I totally thought about doing that just now.  Then God blessed me with the bigger picture and why I can't give in to that.


Today, I need to finish this homework, so I can go home to these people knowing that I am doing everything on my end as I work to become the woman God needs me to be. I want to be worthy of the blessings given me....particularly: John, Cate, Johnny, William, and Matthew.
Sometimes the only way through is through- you know... you can't go over it, can't go under it, gotta go through it? That's where I'm at right now.
I'm looking through the tunnel seeing a great evening with my family on the other side, but I have to get through this tunnel first.  Bah. I got this.
I   g o t    t h i s.
Pray for me. :)
Seriously though. haha


Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Lie and The Answer

I usually feel it coming a few days out. It starts out feeling like I am speeding down a road and I know at any moment I will hit black ice.  Then I hit it. I spin out of control and I know if I grip the steering wheel and try to redirect it, I will only make the situation worse. So I throw my hands in the air and I let my circumstances direct me because I don't know how to steer myself out of the spin I find myself in.  Soon, I crash in a hole, a dark and deep hole. The car is gone and I'm alone. I'm swallowed in blackness. I don't care. I don't feel. Far above me I see a light to the outside world. The opening is too far to reach. I see life happening and I ache to be a part of it. This makes the blackness seem all the more suffocating. I feel alone. Sometimes I’ll get my head above the surface for a short time before my strength and will power give out, I fall back down. The brief moment is shattered and I am alone in the world my mind created for me.  I watch John and the kids as an outsider and I want to be there but I can't. I go through the motions repeat over and over again: “Just fake it, ‘til you make it.”  Sometimes when I try to explain to people what I am feeling, I feel stupid and dramatic- like I'm making this all up. The answer to all the pain seems simple: just stop it. But I can't. Because I'm trapped. I'm alone. And all I can do is hug my knees and close myself to the physical darkness that I feel closing in on me. But the unfortunate consequence is that I also close out the light. And the joy. And I hate myself....because I can't handle the darkness and now everyone around me suffers along side of me. I close my eyes and I feel God trying to tell me everything I have to hold on to and every thing I have to be happy about and find joy and I want to be that person. But I just....can't. I don't know how to get there.

Back track, 2016 years ago today, Jesus Christ lay in a physical dark hole, similar to my mental one. It was a tomb closed off from the world by a large rock. He suffered sorrow and pain to his death. But darkness and death could not keep Him. He rose from the grave, from the darkness, from the pain... and He lived. Originally, I titled this post "The Truth," because these are true feelings I experience at times, and it took courage admitting it. But immediately, I realized the darkness and the hard feelings were "The Lie." It is the lie Satan would have me cling to. It's the same lie that he wanted people to believe when Christ was crucified. That all hope was lost, and that the Savior would not rise from the dark tomb in which he was buried. But Christ didn't come to this earth to die and remain in darkness.
He came to live. He came to bring light.
And so did I. 
And through Christ, I can.  
He can roll away "my stone" and reach His hand down and raise me to light.
"Forget Me Not" by Annie Henrie

I don't experience depression all the time. Sometimes it lasts weeks, sometimes it only lasts a day or two, sometimes there are long intermissions between and sometimes it feels like I can't get away, ever.  I don't want people feeling pity for me here.  I chose to come to this Earth and I knew I would experience infirmities.  I love that I get to experience this life, and I don't want people to pity me because at times it is hard.  It's like watching someone run a marathon and half way through you see them looking tired and worn out- you don't shout, "Oh I'm sorry!  I don't know how you do it!" You say, "You got this! Keep pushing through! It's going to be worth it in the end!"  This life is surely going to be worth it, the good times and the bad times.
This post isn't about my struggle with depression though, it is about the answer- it is about how through Jesus Christ I know I can overcome it.
The atonement of Jesus Christ means to me: I don't have to be alone. That despite of myself, I can find peace in the darkness of my hole.  Sometimes I feel Him lift me completely out. Other times I just feel Him there, experiencing the pain with me, and those times that is exactly what I need as I navigate through, strengthening my tools to battle "the demon." I am grateful to have His comfort and encouragement. I know I am allowing Christ's influence in my life when "the lows" aren't really low, but I feel them pushing me and making me stronger. And despite the clouds, I can feel the light on the horizon. This hope is all because of my Savior. He brings me peace, companionship, hope and redemption.

I know Christ lives, and because of Him, I can live too.
He is the answer, He is the way, He is the light and He is the life.
I pray that as I turn to him, I too can find a "new life," away from darkness.
A life woven with peace, joy, love, and Him. A life repaired and made whole through Jesus Christ.
As Jesus Christ gave his life for me, I pray I can give my life to Him.
The love of Jesus Christ is the answer, as we seek it, embrace it, share it, and make it the lens in which we view the world, we can overcome any darkness within us and any darkness that arises externally in our world.
This is what Easter means to me.
May your's be bright and full of His love.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Matthew Crawls!

On St. Patrick's Day, Matthew crawled!!
This wasn't the best/longest crawl, but I love that he is snorting the whole way. His snort cracks us up. 
Ever since that day, it has been so much fun witnessing this little boy's adventures around our apartment. Usually it is Johnny whizzing past, then William thumping after him, then a break and Matthew snorting on his merry way trying to keep up. 
Crawling babies are the best.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

St. Patty's Day

I read a facebook post the other day about how St. Patrick's Day isn't as simple as it used to be, so I feel like I should start this post out by saying: this is exactly what St. Patrick's Day used to be for me a little girl! And I loved it. And I have loved carrying the tradition on with my family. It is completely doable and fun. 
I love every excuse to celebrate anything.  You know that. haha.
Some people do more and that is great, some do less and that is great too.
BUT I am going to take a minute to talk about our day!
At our house, the leprechaun comes in the night and we can see his foot prints leading from the door to the table and after he does a jig on our table, he leaves a bag of gold (or green) goodies at each person's place. This year he also left some Lucky Charms because he must have known I wasn't feeling green pancakes that morning. :)  William and Johnny danced along the foot prints and thought it was so cool.
We made a green smoothie (spinach, milk, canned peaches and bananas) and John started telling the kids some story that tied into Black Pete from Christmas some how...I don't know...but he sure got the kids worked up.
That tricky leprechaun, sneakin in our house!
I am hitting myself for not getting a picture of it, but Caity (unbeknownst to me) made a trap from a toilet paper roll cut on the outside like a ladder and colored green, with a note taped that said, "Caity's secret place for green things and gold!" I'm surprised she didn't catch a leprechaun- what an awesome trap, am I right?

The table.

Our centerpiece!
Those candies lasted about ten seconds. Caity ate one, Johnny ate one. William ate the rest.
I'm sure he was a bundle of energy by the time Hannah showed up to babysit!

St. Patrick's Day is Hannah's birthday, so we had a little celebration for her with green cupcakes and everything! We just love her!

At school some leprechauns came and played a trick on her class during recess, and left treats for all the students.  It was so funny hearing all about her and her classmates trying to get the bottom of it all. I love this age she is in.

For dinner, we had spinich fettecine with a green basil sauce, grapes, green beans, green rolls, salad and green jello because apparently green jello is what Mormons do best, I hear. 

It was a fun day and a great way to lift our spirits while it was cloudy, windy, and cold outside!

(Also, I can't help but think about this holiday and flashback to when I was younger and my brother David and I snuck in a marathon on TV of the (edited) horror film, "Leprechaun." I never viewed the holiday exactly the same again, nor will I ever overcome my fear of pogo sticks.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

William on Saturday

Saturday morning after his bath, William came galloping down the hall earnestly pulling at his skeleton pajama pants that were stuck mid-leg. As soon as he saw me, he stopped in his tracks. He smiled his shy, sheepish smile and whispered, "bones?" He looked so hopeful, and his little toddler body looked so cute in those fitted jammies I couldn't say no. So instead I said, "Are you a keleton today!?" (because once you have a toddler you start mispronouncing everything, I swear)
 And he said "YEAH! And I 'elp dad on CAAR!"
And as soon as the velcro was tightened on his little size 7 shoes, he took off yelling, "NONNY! I 'ELP (breath) DAD!"
So. William spent up his Saturday running around our parking lot in tennis shoes, skeleton pajamas and a mickey mouse hoodie complete with ears. And his momma just watched on thinking he was the cutest two year old there ever was. Sometimes he would come back up to the balcony and stick he foot through the railing and say, "Mom! 'ELP! I faw-oe! (fall)"
When he wasn't chasing Johnny on his bike, he was mimicking his dad working on the car. 
When John would sigh, William would sigh.
When John would squat or crouch, William would squat or crouch,
When John grabbed a tool to tighten a bolt, William grabbed a tool and started pounding the car.
I love that he loves his dad.
(Because I kinda do too!) :)




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Prayer at a Time

This morning I knelt by my bed and prayed. I know, I know, I need to do that every morning...but sometimes before I know it, it's three in the afternoon and it just hasn't happened yet. In seminary, Sister Goodrich taught us to always have a prayer in our heart, and heaven knows I try to do that...but not often enough do I find myself on my knees in delibrite prayer to God. 
I heard little footsteps come in my room, stop and turn back around, and soon after when I walked down the hall, I saw Johnny praying in his room and Caity praying in hers.
It struck me like a profound back of bricks, my actions do speak loudly to those kids.
I can't even tell you how different my day was, immediately I didn't recognize the cause, but I know as I look over my day, it was touched by God. My heart was softened, my ears heard His whisperings and my eyes saw the tender mercies of the Lord. 
Prayer is an amazing thing.
What a great gift we have to be able to communicate to our Father in Heaven!
On the last leg of our daily back-and-forth-walking exhibitions, our little group "hit a wall." 
The wind was blowing SO hard, we were all freezing, 3/5 of us were injured and we were just so ready to get home. Blankets were blowing and I was chasing, kids that weren't screaming were whining, none of us could feel our fingertips and the house was still about a half mile away. 
Ahead of us, I saw Caity pull into a little cove between buildings, I assumed to get a break from the wind. I caught sight of her just in time to see that 7 year old girl hop up from her knees, square her shoulders and with her chin up, she grabbed her bike and started encouraging Johnny.  She snuck into that cove to say a secret prayer for our family. Her faith strengthened me. 
I know this scene seems so theatrical, and big deal, it was a walk in the cold- but you had to be there, it was hard- and really, I felt for that last leg we were ministered to by heaven because of Caity's prayer. 
Bless her sincere faithful heart.



When we got home, it was amazing the peace that I felt watching all my kids help eachother and play together- I mean seriously, it was nothing short of a miracle. I watched Caity and Johnny put their own needs and complaints aside to help me calm down the younger two. Johnny shared the cookies he made in preschool and Caity (who was starving since school) didn't talk once about a snack until everyone else was taken care of.



I know this seems so cheesy and insignificant, but today was a reminder that God is in the details and if we look we can see His hand.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Morning

Monday morning looked Like:
"Can that really be the alarm? It's still dark outside, my clock only says 5:30am." Daylight Savings. Gets me every time. 
William running full speed into our room with crazy hair and sleepy eyes, "NONNY! I AWAKE!"
There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Chick and Totally Uncool, Mom while I was sandwiched between two boys on my bed.
Caity's purple plaid dress and leggings laid out on her floor with perfect precision.
A snorting baby eating oranges, green beans and cheerios.
Warm oatmeal, cold toes. 
"Two braids into one? That's what I was hoping for, Mom!"
Two loads of weekend laundry.
Walking, no, running to Caity's school through the construction zone and talking about FHE lesson plans. A really REALLY great good-bye hug from Caity.
Coming home and starting the dishwasher, turning off the TV, and telling those boys to go play something.
Cars. 
Legos.
Lego houses for cars.
Kind of crawling, kind of flopping forward.
Getting mad at little brothers for messing up everything.
9:00am brownies because hello, it is Monday afterall.
A nice text that made me smile.
More trying to crawl. lots of squeals. (Think coyote in distress...what? Your husband doesn't have that app on his phone? Hmmm, odd.)
Monster Match Game.
Switch Laundry
Emails from John.
Disney I spy. More Cuddles.
More Brownies.
Dance Party to "Music Around the World."
Ninja Turtle Puzzles.
Finally getting Matthew to fall asleep.
Bathtime.
Naked bums running up and down my hallway.

Grabbing my leg and pulling me to make him a bagel with cream cheese.

(I love how William copies Johnny, haha)

Today I thought, "Wow, what a great day it has been so far!" Really, nothing had changed but my focus had and it made all the difference. Today as I tried to look outward, I found a more peaceful feeling inward. Mondays aren't always so bad, I suppose. 
Here's some pictures from the weekend:

Coloring after church.

Matthew fell asleep on the job again.


John was on the phone with Brittany...anyone who knows those two knows how exhausting it is to listen to their conversations, they were comparing who had better taste in books and something about graduation...I don't know, I zone out and wonder: 1) What happened to my sweet husband as he relentlessly teases his sister. 2) Why Brit hasn't hung up yet. I know it's like their secret sibling love language or something...but yeah, it was picture worthy, haha.


My brother Matt came to visit! 







Friday, March 11, 2016

Snoring in the Kitchen

After a good serving of pear/zucchini/green beans (yum) (not really) Matthew decided it was as good time as any to take a nap!

It was a long day full of adventures, I'm ready to crash myself! 

Hooray for the weekend! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Happy List and Baby Book Clubs


Things that make me happy:
Long walks without meltdowns.
Girl Scout Cookies.
Conquering the urge to buy those dang cookies.
Realizing that because of Christ, I am never alone.
Spending time with my sister.
My nieces and nephews.
How good I feel when I straighten my hair.
William hugging my leg.
Brisk, morning air.
Finding a "new" scripture that I swear I had never read before.
Understanding what I am learning.
Hearing John say he's on his way home.
Drives.
Creamy Chicken Soup.
Homemade cookies.
Seeing the Jensens on campus.
Thursday afternoons.
When my phone vibrates because I met my "steps walked" goal.
Pretty kitchens. Pretty houses.
A clean house.
A good book when you are about 2/3 the way through. 
Finding someone who shares a favorite book.
Talking to John.
Looking back on my life the last almost-decade and realizing how far we have come together.
Prayer.
Smiles.
Eden came over for a play date, and her and Matthew got all sophisticated and had a book discussion.

This girl was so cute with the books and kept hitting different parts of the picture and telling Matthew all about it.

Cousins are fun, I wish all the rest of them weren't so spread out! 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Packin' Dem Cheeks and Stackin' Dem Blocks

 There are few things I enjoy  more than eating....babies are one of those things, so maybe that contributes to my obsession with watching babies eat.  It is just so cute! The chunky risks, the clumsy fine motor skills, the excitement and engaging conversation...I just love it.
Matthew basically hates baby food, I think it is too liquid-y for him, if I add green beans to puried squash, he seems to like that, basically I think he needs to feel that he's actually eating something. I don't think he'll be much of a "soup person." Not to mention, he likes feeding himself over being fed.
So, excuse the loooong video, but I just couldn't bring myself to cut it down because I find every second so darn entertaining from the urgent grasps at an orange slice (despite having seriously three already packed in his cheeks), to imitating my words, to the little giggles and snorts at the end. His mom can't get enough of this video.


However, I recognize, not all of you are his mother...so here is the reader's digest version:


Did I mention, this boy SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!? Hallelujah!
Bless him. And please let it be a new "thing"...not counting on it, haha.

After we scrubbed those sticky arms and cheeks, we headed over to play blocks in Caity's room with the boys. (Yeah, we need to clean up our mess before she gets home or else we'll be in big trouble, haha)
Also, can I just point out Superman shirt is going on day 7!? I have him change when we go into public so people at least think I don't let my kids wear the same dirty clothes every day, but as soon as we get home, off goes the polo shirt, on goes Superman.
Johnny was pretty proud of this tower.


I love watching these three!


Matthew is obsessed with William. William has been into coloring lately and is getting better at recognizing "lines" on the coloring page. He is so methodical and still while he colors and it gives me a chance just to watch and enjoy him.


Matthew's reaction when William left the room. It stopped as soon as he came back!


And seriously: this concentration face? 


And later, they moved on to legos.

So I was trying to get Johnny to show us around the house he made out blocks....fail. Then I tried to get him to describe the special powers his shirt has...also fail. However, I love watching Matthew squirm around!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One Car Family

For a couple of weeks, we are a one car family. (wah, wah, first world problems, I know.)
Since John works thirty minutes away, that means from 7:30am to 5:30pm, I am a no-car family.
Monday was my first day and boy-howdy, was there a lot of walking. In the morning, walk Caity to school, consider walking to the store to get pasta then see the rain and decide rice would do the trick, later walk Johnny to school, walk back to pick up Caity from school then turn around to walk and pick up Johnny from school.  (Caity's school is about a mile and a half from Johnny's, so not terrible, but not entirely convenient either if you know what I mean.)
The distances take about twice as long to cover because there is this little two year old with me that insists walking along the curb, picking up rocks and power punching the front of the stroller in his super-hero stance. I thought it would be a good idea to stop into Deseret Book to look at pictures of Jesus with William. Wasn't a good idea. Any form of reverence that was previously there, no longer existed as we entered the store. haha.
In between pick ups we walk through the park. We had a lot of fun playing. Caity and William were the cutest. Not only is each child different, but each of their relationships are different. Caity is adored by each of her brothers, and it is well deserved. She is so gentle and attentive to them.
All the while, Matthew kept anxiously waiting for me too give a comedic gasp at him so he could burst in a fit of giggles.
Walking takes longer, but after a morning of being inside, it sure was nice to have a reason to get out and enjoy the world.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Weekend Stuff

It seems like the first warm(ish) Saturday of year, John is always stuck working on some car project, and this year was no different. 
He was fixing the head gasket on our Toyota that I call "Tumble Weed" because of the transformers logo on its trunk and tumble weed kind of sounds like Bumble Bee and I feel I am the most creative person in the world when I think about it...the name has yet to catch on though, haha. Anyway, I am grateful for John and the sacrifices he makes watching countless youtube videos learning how to do this stuff. THEN, getting covered in oil and grease and mud and ice and blood all while trying to get the job done with sub-par tools. He is amazing.

While Dad was busy, the boys set to work as collecting rocks. (Yes Johnny is STILL wearing that Superman shirt...) It was all fun and games until I heard Johnny exclaim to William: "Now let's throw them at that white truck!" (Insert: Mom intervention here.)

We went to the park and enjoyed the sunshine. When I was taking this picture, Johnny whispered, "I'm really freaking out here!" and when he jumped down he sang, "Turtles in a half shell, turtle power!"

Matthew kept cozy and warm for the most part watching from the car seat. I loved seeing his little head pop up and he kept waiting to get a glimpse of his brothers.

Johnny wanted to see if his baby brother liked the swings.


HE DID! Babies and swings are the absolute best.

William could seriously swing for hours at a time.


The boys went up and down slide about fifty times, crawling over eachother, pushing each other, laughing and saying "Wow look at me!" the whole time.

Saturday night, we watched "The Good Dinosaur," my dad sent it to us.  Caity has been working hard at her school reading program to earn enough personal pizza certificates from Pizza Hut for her and her brothers, so we cashed those in and had a great time! Johnny was so excited to be like Kevin from Home Alone and have a whole cheese pizza to himself.  Please note all Caity's dolls lined up to watch the movie. :)

The kids went on a bike ride with John around the park, I was going to to go, but my tire was flat. Johnny was sorely disappointed with me!


William loves riding on the back of John's bike, He kept looking back at me while they road off and giving me a thumbs up sign, haha. What fun those kids are!

We went on a couple drives house dreaming and also had Shaylee, Kevin and Eden over for dinner on Sunday, it was a great weekend with a promising summer ahead!




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