Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finding Joy in the Moment

This morning, Angel was crying as she crawled into bed with me. "What's wrong, Sweetheart?" I asked. "There's nothing fun to look forward to, now that Christmas is over!" She then went on to express the sadness she feels at the 'post-holiday slump' and how she wants more presents to open, more parties to attend, and more fun things to do. I told her that I understood her feelings, and that many adults often have similar sentiments.

And then we started discussing Gratitude - for the beautiful Christmas we had, the bounty we're blessed with all year long, and the blessing we have of a new year, and new things to which we may look forward (such as her upcoming birthday in just 3 weeks!). Overall, though, we spoke of finding joy right now, recognizing all we've been blessed with, and that it is enough. We spoke of people who have "everything" and yet remain miserable, and others who have little but find joy in what they have.

As we spoke, I realized that I was speaking more to myself than to her! How often do I find myself looking forward to graduation, telling myself how much easier life will be when we have a steady income, a home, and are able to live in one place for more than 10 months? How often am I caught up in wanting this great toy for my children or that fancy computer; this nice kitchen gadget or that pretty home decoration, when really, I am SO blessed. I have the love of an amazing husband and incredible children, a home that keeps me warm, more food than I need, my health, my freedom, and my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I pondered these things, I held my eldest daughter close and, with tears in my eyes, realized she teaches me more than I could ever teach her.

I was touched further when, this afternoon during my personal spiritual study my thoughts were fed through my readings...first, when I read "Some of us look forward to a time in the future...but today is part of eternity."(The Influence of Righteous Women by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, September 2009)

This story also really hit home for me:

One year while trying to make it home from a business trip in time for Christmas, the author says, "...[I] hailed a taxi. As we pulled out on the Capital Beltway, the traffic was awful. Everyone was trying to get home for Christmas. I started to lose patience and began fuming and fidgeting...and making suggestions to the driver. Suddenly he turned around, looked me in the eye, and said in a tone of mild rebuke, 'Sir, there is no reason to be upset about a traffic jam.' Then he turned back around. Sensing perhaps that I was a bit miffed, he looked at me again and said, 'Pardon me. But you see, I am from another planet.' 'Very well,' I replied, 'just what planet do you come from?' I will never forget his reply. He turned around again and said in a calm voice, 'I am from Afghanistan, a country devastated by war, and if you had seen the things I have seen - villages bombed, people starving, men and women and children fleeing for their lives, and war and destruction and chaos on every side - you would not worry so much about a mere traffic jam.' " (The Prince of Glory, Elder Bruce D. Porter, Ensign December 2009)

I am so grateful for my children and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, both of which teach me far more than I could ever hope to learn on my own! Although I try to set goals throughout the year, New Year's Day always affords me a 'fresh start,' for which I am grateful. I've been pondering on what resolutions I plan to make for 2010, and "Finding Joy in the Moment" is certainly on the list!

May you have a prosperous new year, full of joy, hope, and peace! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

I'm obviously behind on my game this year....I normally have my Christmas Cards sent out on the day after Thanksgiving (or nearly, at least), but Christmas is tomorrow and I'm just sitting down to write our now! Yikes!

Of course it's due to procastination on my part, but I'm blaming it primarily upon the inability to come up with a good idea. You see, I loathe the typical "look at how wonderfully perfect our family is and read about all the many amazing things we've accomplished this year" letters that seem to go around.**(please see end note) Not that I'm not excited for everyone's prosperity, it just gets a little old after awhile, and I start feeling more like a dean on an admissions committee than a friend interested in how her long-distance friends are faring. So, when the Mr. and I were married, we decided to send out creative, (somewhat) unique letters, to get our point across without bragging all about our wonderful selves (even though we know we're wonderful, of course.) :)

So far, we have tried the following:

2001 - Wrote our own lyrics to the tune of "Good King Wenceslas"
2002 - Listed tidbits starting with the letters in MERRY CHRISTMAS
2003 - Crossword puzzle
2004 - "Quickie" Letter about how not much had changed.....except our impending parenthood!
2005 - A letter in Angel's words
2006 - Calendar of Important Dates that year
2007 - "MasterCard Commercial" style letter; all about our 'numbers' that year (how many miles the Mr. ran, how many diapers I'd changed, etc.)
2008 - A plain-old-boring letter {Sigh.} Bear in mind, though, that my baby was only 1 month old at Christmas, so I was slightly preoccupied.

Unfortunately, this year, thanks to residency essays, primary sharing times and preschool lessons, my creative juices are currently spent. So, without further adieu, here's our Family's 2009 version:

This year we're "Going Green" and sending out e-cards to preserve our environment!


Dear Friends and Family,

This year has been INCREDIBLE!

Investing lots of time and effort in learning the practice of medicine. (The Mr.)
Never wanting to miss a moment with our kids!
Counting our blessings: each other, beautiful children, wonderful family and friends, a great place to live, our health, our educational opportunities....and too many more to list!
Recognizing the Lord's hand in our lives every day!
Enjoying preschool, learning to read, write, and developing a love for learning! (Angel and Grins)
Developing her own little personality while she RUNS around exploring (translation: gets into everything)!!! (Wiggles)
Interviewing for Internal Medicine Residency (The Mr.)
Blogging about our adventures as often as we can. (The Mrs.)
Loving everything about our life!
anticipating what lies ahead (moving, beginning residency, starting a "new chapter" in our lives....)

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

P.S. Since our family has moved, we wanted to be sure you had our new contact information....but write it in pencil since we'll be moving again in May (when the Mr. Graduates and we move anywhere from Hawaii to Maine to anywhere in between.) We'll send an update in March when we learn where that will be, but until then, we wish you PEACE, JOY and the reminder of our Savior and His love for us all....this holiday season and always!

All our love,
The Buchanan Family

**I am in no way implying that "regular" Christmas letters are bad/boring/unappreciated/etc!!! I LOVE hearing from friends and I don't think many of my own personal friends - such as readers of my blog - have bad letters at all! I am just afraid my own Christmas letters would turn into a little brag session if I didn't try to do something different, since I'm so proud of my kids (of course.) So, pardon my annoyance at some Christmas letters - it was certainly not directed at, nor does it apply to - anyone reading this!!! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blogging from Oregon

So, we made it to Oregon, safely, earlier this week. The 12 hour drive was brutal for the last 8 hours or so - partially due to inclement weather, but mostly due to 3 small children that refuse to sleep in the car, even if it's pitch black and midnight. Strange, because I LOVE sleeping in the car. I was begging to sleep in the car. I was so exhausted I could hardly stay awake in the car. Yet, they were pinching, pulling, scratching, spitting, screaming, peeing (in their seats - yes, that actually happened when Grins fell asleep for 3 minutes he woke up crying that he was wetting himself. sigh.) crying, Every time we make the trip we swear it will be the last time...but unfortunately we still have to get back to Utah so we have at least one more drive ahead of us. Fortunately my brother was with us, so technically it was 1 on 1 (1 adult to 1 kid), (although the driver didn't really count) which helped a LOT - thanks Daniel! We will definitely miss his help on the way home!

But, we made it, and since we've been here, we've been having a grand old time. Angel tells me about 5 times each day "I want to move here!" and today she said "Isn't Grandma's house just SO fun?" Selfishly, I admit I love having so many baby sitters at my beck and call....the Mr. and I have gone out almost every night! :) And the kids of course adore their aunts and uncles....last night, Angel woke up in the middle of the night, looked at my sister and said "I love you, Abbie", kissed her, and went back to sleep! Wow!

The Mr. has really been enjoying his interviews, and I've loved being able to attend the dinners with him! I've learned a lot and gained some great advice from some of the residents' spouses!

....well, the babysitters are all gone tonight and the Mr. and I are left to our own devices tonight (scary!) so I'd better wrap this up. Not the most exciting post I know, but you can't win 'em all, right? Pictures to follow when we get home since we forgot our camera cord.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poppysnaps Giveaway

There are SO many great giveaways going on right now! Check out this cute one by Poppysnaps at Savvy Moms Save!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Portrait of "The Mr.": My Husband and Provider

Though I hardly ever watched TV as a child, when I did, one show I enjoyed was "Boy Meets World." In the final season, Cory and Topanga, young newlyweds, move into their first apartment (student housing) which is dirty, bug-infested, with peeling wallpaper and plumbing issues. With trepidation, they try to make the best of their situation, and at one point, when it's dinner time and they realize they have no food, Topanga asks Cory, "Well, what now, my husband and provider?"

I often ask the same thing of the Mr. - jokingly - when we find ourselves stumped about what to do. I still remember when, while engaged to be married, the Mr. and I took our first trip together - riding the Greyhound bus from Portland, OR to SLC, UT. We walked up to the terminal, the Mr. carrying our luggage, me carrying my purse, when I suddenly realized I had NO idea where our bus tickets were! I immediately began panicking when the Mr. calmly pulled them from his pocket. My dad laughed and said "This is him taking care of you - and this is only the beginning." Those words have stuck with me since that moment, and I have never been disappointed at the care my husband has shown me these past 9 years;

When, while running together, I had a sudden pain and could not move another inch, the Mr. (my boyfriend at the time) ran to get someone to help him give me a blessing. The moment I saw his car drive up, the pain began to fade.

When, as a newlywed, I struggled with wondering what my 'purpose' in life was, the Mr. urged me in the direction of PA school, an experience which has blessed my life in many ways.

When, as newlyweds trying to finish school, the Mr. worked day and night - 3 jobs in all - so I could finish my education as quickly as possible.

When, in my first trimester of pregnancy, I had horrible morning sickness, he would hold back my hair and clean up all my messes.

When, throughout my entire pregnancy (and the two that followed!), he gently and lovingly attended to my every need.

When, in the midst of PA school, I had a baby (Angel), he postponed his education to stay home with her to allow me to finish.

When, in the midst of moving, I don't want to lift another box, he lovingly takes care of everything, despite his many other responsibilities.

When, after a long day, I am tired and want some "me" time, he sets aside his studies and plays with the kids so I can shower, nap, or have some free time.

When I'm frustrated, discouraged, disheartened or sad, he gives me a listening ear, offers me a shoulder to cry on, and surrounds me with his loving arms.

These are only a few examples of the many ways in which my husband lovingly cares for me and provides for my every need. I know sometimes we assume that "providing" means earning money and providing shelter, food, clothing....all the things that money can by. But, though my husband is in medical school and temporarily doesn't bring in much income, he provides me, and our family, with SO much more! I honestly could not ask for a better husband and provider!

I love you, Sweetheart! Thanks for all you do!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Savvy Moms Save

If you haven't checked out the "Savvy Moms Save" blog, you should right now! :) They have lots of useful info for moms - great gift ideas, money saving tips, etc....and right now is a great time to visit their site, because they are doing the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Want {Another} One!!!!!!!

**WARNING: This post is of a very personal nature.....proceed with caution!**

Call me biased, but I think my children are ADORABLE! They are SO precious, sweet, loving, smart, innocent, and overall amazing. They bring so much more to my life than I ever could have dreamed. I love them more than anything in this world...or any other world, for that matter. But sometimes I feel I'm not enough. They are such incredible children; they deserve an incredible mother - one who can spend ample one-on-one time with each of them individually, while enriching their lives with educational and recreational activities (ie school, field trips, sports, music lessons, dance lessons, etc.), yet ensuring adequate 'down time', while maintaining an immaculate home, cooking healthy (and, if possible, gourmet) meals from scratch every day, keeping them clean, fed, and dressed, and being unfailingly patient and loving with their every new phase/stage. I fall short in so many ways, every day! I feel so inadequate, and sometimes even feel "over my head", that I can't meet the needs of 3 children.

And yet, I want more! I see expectant women and I long for the flutterings of a tiny baby inside my womb. I see women with tiny newborns, and my arms ache for a sweet, tiny one to hold. I watch mothers carry their tiny bundles around and my arms feel empty. Then I watch Wiggles empty every shelf and cupboard in our house for the bazillionth time that day, hear Grins and Angel yelling at each other, and wonder what I'm thinking.

Where is the line between taking a leap of faith/stretching to become more, and over-extending yourself, or just plain irresponsibility? Or between older siblings learning responsibility through caring for younger children, versus having to sacrifice their own childhood for the sake of the family. And why is it such a fine line? I've heard childbearing compared to having just a few moments in a jewelry store - that, if given 5 minutes, wouldn't you run in and grab as much jewelry as you could possibly carry? But then I think, if you're just grabbing so fast that you aren't stopping to notice which jewelry is most valuable, or if you end up getting more than you could ever wear or use, wouldn't it have been better just to take your time and select a few choice pieces?

I realize there are women who are unable to have as many children as they would like...or even any at all. On the other hand, there are women who have more children than they would have chosen....and isn't that equally difficult?

Anyhow, I'm rambling now. I just have a very difficult time discerning when my desires for children stem from my innate "womanly instincts" to nurture or from something far greater, and are a 'whispering' from the Lord. This is just something I've faced from the moment I was married, and, though it's been more than 8 years, I have yet to make sense of it all. Sigh. I suppose I shall face this same dilemma until mother nature takes its toll and it is no longer up to me to decide. Until then, thoughts, anyone?

***DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to offend; I am a strong believer that the bearing and rearing of children is a very private and personal decision between a husband and wife and God. I don't think anyone should ever judge another for the number of children they have, large or small, whether it is the couples' choice or not.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Captivated Candids Giveaway

If you're into giveaways, you'll definitely want to check out the one going on right now Here! Probably the biggest giveaway I've ever seen! If you don't want to enter, no problem, but if you do, make sure you drop my name too! :) Maybe I'll split my winnings with you! :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

My Current Math Problem

Wiggles cutting molars (and screaming all night) +
Angel's stomach flu +
Grins' pent up energy (due to weather too cold to take sick kids out) MINUS the Mr. for 10 days
A slightly frazzled, sleep-deprived, less-than-patient Mommy who still loves her children more than life but appreciates her husband more than ever!

COME HOME SOON, MY LOVE!!!! I know when you're here, you aren't "here" very much, but we'll take whatever we can get! We love and miss you!

Love, Us

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Our American Express Christmas

Fortunately for us, we budgeted $300 for Christmas this year. Unfortunately for us, that's not really gonna cut it due to several unexpected expenses which just happened to pop up:

$1035 - The kids medical bills (medicine, equipment and visits) over the last month (several trips to the pediatrician, no insurance)
$311 - Jon's Dr. bill
$115 - 2 new tires
$110 - an unexpected cell phone bill
$25 - fee for not having cash at a toll booth in San Francisco
$15 - fee for somehow losing a CD we borrowed from the library
Knowing (hoping!) that this is the LAST year we'll be living on an income of $0.............priceless!

***Please do not take this as a complanatory post...while all the facts are, sadly, true, we find that making light of our destitute situation actually makes us laugh, and offers us hope for a brighter financial future..... :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today as I was helping the children with their journals, I decided that if I'm encouraging them to write in their journals every Sunday, I should be writing in mine at least once a week out of principle! So, I'll try to be more regular in my posts. It may be boring but C'est la vie!

This week was fantastic, fun-filled, and super busy! We began with my family coming into town, immediately followed by a luau for our sweet little Wiggles - SO much fun to catch up with some "old" friends and family we haven't seen in ages! That was followed by a trip to the zoo, Thanksgiving with both sides of the family, Black Friday shopping, a visit to This Is The Place for their Candlelight Christmas (Wiggles was TERRIFIED of Father Christmas as you can see in the pic), a Lia Sophia party, dinner with some good friends, and now it's off to New England for the Mr.

This week's highlight: Today at church, I taught our Primary Sharing Time about "preparing to be Moms and Dads". We discussed how, even though "we" (meaning the children) may be young, and being a mom or dad seems so far away, there are so many things we can do right now to prepare - such as developing our own testimonies, learning how to share, forgive, help, teach, etc. and so on. One of the scenarios we discussed went something like "Your baby sister wants your mom to hold her but your mom is making dinner. What could you do to practice being helpful?" This evening, as we were eating dinner, Wiggles was throwing a fit, wanting me to hold her. I said "Girl, can you give me 5 minutes to eat please?" Angel immediately excused herself from the table, took Wiggles into the living room and entertained her while I finished eating. Such a small act but it meant so much to me that 1) she was so eager and willing to help and 2) she had actually been listening in primary and was trying to implement what she had learned. :) She is SUCH a little sweetheart! I love that girl!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tracy Aviary

Earlier this month, we took a little trip to the Tracy Aviary (or, as Grins call is, "the "Univa" - that V word where the birds live"). Although it was quite chilly, we enjoyed ourselves immensely! The kids just could not get enough of the birds! We were even lucky enough to watch the pelicans eat, which was incredible! And, though I enjoy bird-watching, I was having fun just watching my little kiddos! I love their enthusiasm and love of living creatures!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thank You.....

Some kind-hearted soul anonymously left a plate of scrumptious banana muffins on our door earlier this week. Since I was still 'cleansing', I enjoyed them vicariously as my children eagerly scarfed them down. They looked and smelled heavenly! I questioned various friends and neighbors as to who our 'muffin donor' was, but have been unable to track our mysterious friend down. Then, my paranoia began creeping in....were they left by a stranger? Were they safe to eat, or would my children suddenly come down with food poisoning or, worse, death? Was I a bad mother for not 'tracking down' the source of the muffins before allowing my children to devour them? Or were they perhaps intended for someone else, and left on our step by mistake? Fortunately, days later, my children are in glorious health (despite an unfortunate lingering case of croup which began before the muffin delivery), so my paranoia has died down, for the most part. And the muffins have been appreciated. So, muffin friend, if you are reading this, Thank You for your kindness. We're sorry we can't thank you in person, and we want you to know that your thoughtfulness has not gone unnoticed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Going Raw....

So, for those of you who don't know, I am coming to the close of my first "master cleanse". For the past 10 days, I've been consuming nothing but a mixture of fresh lemon juice, whole maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. At times it was very difficult to overcome some very intense cravings for food, but it's been liberating to realize that I do have more self control than I realized, and be able to see my goal through! I won't make the claim of "tons of energy" or "feeling better than ever before" I've heard some attribute to the cleanse, but I feel better than I expected to, considering I haven't eaten for 10 days!

Now that I'm returning to "food" I am making a goal to eat only (well, mostly) whole, raw, unrefined foods....whole wheat, raw sugar, etc, etc. We've already switched to whole wheat flour for most of our cooking, but I'm looking for more recipes to expand our menu. Any suggestions are appreciated!

And, if you want my advice on the Master Cleanse, give it a shot! I think it's definitely worth trying out! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free Christmas Card Giveaway!

"Your Card Bakery" (The Blog) is hosting a Free Christmas Card Giveaway! You heard it...FREE Christmas cards! They have some incredibly artistic, unique and adorable Christmas Card designs - and so many different styles that there is definitely at least one (or ten!) you'll want as your family's Christmas card this year!

Check them out here, or by clicking the button at the bottom of my sidebar.

But hurry; the giveaway ends tomorrow (Sunday, Nov 15th) at midnight!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wiggles!

My sweet little baby,

How can it be that you are one year old already?! I know it sounds cliche, but it seems only yesterday I was looking down into your precious little eyes for the first time. I simply can't believe how fast you've grown! And yet, I can't imagine my life without you!

You are SUCH a mover! If I couldn't tell by how much you moved in the womb, you have certainly lived up to your nickname "Wiggles" from the moment you were born! You are constantly on the go and the only time you are still is when you're sleeping! And yet, you are a very good snuggler too! You are so curious about everything; constantly opening cupboards, emptying shelves, bookcases and baskets faster than the rest of us can straighten up! You have the cutest little "one-leg spider-monkey" crawl, which is surprisingly fast, but now that you've learned to walk you insist on walking everywhere. And now that you've learned to point, you insist on getting what you're pointing to.

You are SO friendly! Your first word was "Hi!" and you say it to everyone, everywhere! When I'm carrying you you'll crane your neck so that your face is directly in front of mine, so you can say "Hi!" until I respond. Sometimes you'll even crawl/walk across the room, just to say it to me! You love picking up phones and saying "Hi" too. It's the sweetest little thing! You also love clapping your hands while shouting "Yay!", and you say "Weee!" everytime you swing or slide.

Speaking of slides, you are fearless - way more than either of your siblings at this age! You love going down the slide, and you very quickly figured out how to climb the stairs, sit yourself at the top of the slide, and then scoot yourself off the edge - all by yourself! Before you could even walk! You never tire of it, and I have to drag you kicking and screaming away from the slide when park time is over. It is so cute!

You are so easy-going! Your older brother and sister often lack patience with you grabbing their toys, etc, and as a result you're sometimes "picked on" - but you take everything in stride! When you cry it's brief and soon you're back to your happy, smiley little self!

You love babbling and, just like your body, your mouth rarely slows down! You love being part of the conversation and often interrupt the conversations of others to make sure your 'piece' is heard!

You love playing with balls, stuffed animals, and little people! And you love reading books! You have figured out how to climb up on the chair, right next to the bookshelf, pull a book down (well, usually the entire shelf of books), and sit down and read, just like your older siblings often do. It's the most adorable thing ever (even though I have to put the books on the shelf about 50 times a day - but you're worth it!) You love your older siblings and want to do everything they do!

You are so precious to me, my sweet little girl! You mean more to me than anything else in the world, and I love you more than I ever thought possible. Thank you for your patience as I learn to juggle three children and as a result sometimes neglect you. Thank you for your smiles and wet, open-mouthed kisses. Thank you for your snuggles and the sweet spirit you bring to our family! Oh, that you would stay like this forever!!!!

We love you, Wiggles!

Your Mommy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Food Storage Analyzer

Lately I've been feeling the need to be more prepared for natural disasters, etc. We have 72 hour kits but they are quite old (meaning I probably wouldn't want to eat the food inside even if I WAS starving). And we have a little bit of food storage but we just don't have room for much at all. So, I was so excited when I found out about an awesome thing called the "Food Storage Analyzer" - where you input your family member's ages, it calculates your family's caloric need, and then you input all the food you have in your pantry right now, and it tells you how long your food will feed your family. Isn't that amazing? I found out that, if I needed to, I could actually feed my family for much longer than I thought, so it made me feel a little better about my whole no-space food storage situation. You should totally check it out - it's free, it only takes a few minutes, and you can even win a $10 gift card for doing so! Just click the link at the bottom of this post for more info.

Gift Card Giveaway

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Forgive the poor quality of my cell phone photo, but I LOVE this picture - Angel's arm around Grins' shoulder, the staged scared looks on their faces - it's just too much!

The kids ADORE the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point. If it weren't so far away and so ridiculously expensive, we would definitely go more often....but maybe the novelty is what keeps it exciting. I love my kids' enthusiasm for learning...I only hope it rubs off on me!

Monday, November 02, 2009


I am so delighted with my childrens' love of reading. Although I no longer read (for pleasure) nearly as much as I used to, simply due to lack of time, reading is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I remember, as a child, curling up on the couch with a good book, and getting lost in it's pages; completely losing track of time as I devoured every word, interrupted only by chores and mealtimes. Ah, the joys and freedoms of youth. These days, my reading has taken on a completely different nature. That is, I read the same books over and over and over again. To and with my children. Fortunately there are a great many books we read and love, so that at least we have some variety. And I SO enjoy reading with my children that I don't mind the repetition. But we have finally entered a new phase of reading....that of chapter books.

The Mr. was so excited when, a few months ago, I suggested he begin reading a few chapters to Angel and Grins each night. This brings back fond memories of his youth as well. So we took a trip to one of our happiest places on earth - the library - to see what we could come up with. It was somewhat difficult, though, to figure out what books were interesting/age-appropriate/etc. for our children. I know you can (almost) never go wrong with a "classic" so we started there....

We started with "Heidi" but for some reason the children quickly lost interest, so that one only lasted a few nights. So we moved onto some of our own childhood favorites. We read BFG but it required quite a bit of editing. James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, though not "classics", were both big hits. Now we're nearly through "The Boxcar Children" which the children are devouring ("Just ONE more chapter, PLEASE!!!!?") So, my fellow book-lovers, I need your recommendations. What books have your 3-5 year olds loved? We're heading to the library in a few days and I would love any input!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Best Wishes for an Incredible Halloween....from our family to yours!

Friday, October 30, 2009

What does 11 months look like?

~Spider crawling (left knee, right foot) everywhere at the speed of light
~Holding up your hand and saying "Ha-ee" to anyone and everyone you see, repeatedly
~Endlessly giggling at your silly big brother
~Mystified by snow - and eating it every chance you can get (and anything else you can get into your mouth!)
~Handing people items, and wanting them given back to you immediately (to the frustration of your older siblings)
~Emptying any cupboard and/or shelf within your reach
~Standing on tiptoes to reach the tops of tables and shelves, so you can empty them too
~Craning your neck around to look directly at the person holding you (usually Mom)
~Wanting to be involved in everything your older brother and sister are!
~Loving snuggles, but wanting plenty of independent time, too!
~Crawling across the room just to say "Ha-ee" to Mom, then crawling back to finish emptying the toy box you were working on
~Taking a few cautious steps here and there - but prefering your "spider monkey crawl" because it's so much faster
~Never sitting still - busy every minute!

Wiggles, you are BEAUTIFUL! We love you SO much, and you have brought such joy, love and laughter to our home! How did we ever get by without you?!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We aim to please...

I normally try to refrain from sharing our family's 'private' moments, but I definitely want to jot this one down before it's forgotten in the archives of family laughs.

Grins has become quite proficient at using the toilet on his own (he's been toilet-trained for quite a while but until recently required assistance.) The other day, however, I heard him crying in the bathroom, and calling out to me. Concerned, I immediately ran to see what he needed,and was surprised to find him sitting on the toilet with water in his eyes and all over his face, crying.

"What happened, Grins?"

"I got potty in my eyes!"

Taken completely aback, I paused, tried not to laugh and said "What? How?"

"I was trying to watch the potty come out and it squirted me!" he said, angrily.

We got him cleaned up and things were back to normal in no time, but as I shared it with the Mr. later that night we both had a very long laugh. I think I've laughed more since having kids than in all my previous adult years combined.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Snow of the Season

Autumn seemed much too short this year. It seems the leaves scarcely had time to change colors and begin falling when, suddenly, the temperature dropped and I could almost taste the impending snow. The children were, of course, delighted when the first flakes of snow started to appear. Before you could say "look outside!" they were donning hats, gloves, boots and snowpants, and taking a stool to the door to unlock the chain (my latest attempt at keeping them from leaving without my knowledge) and free themselves from the warm confines of our apartment to the blistery cold outside. I begrudingly dressed Wiggles and myself (no small feat, since she lives up to her name, especially while being dressed!) and headed out the door. I must admit that, despite my wistfull longing for a longer autumn, watching the children gleefully run around scooping up snow, making snowmen and snow angels, and screaming "THANK YOU JESUS" while looking heavenward did manage to lift my spirits. And it was beautiful; The snowflakes falling, the white blanket covering the earth, and, most of all, my children dancing.

**Later that day, once we were back inside, Angel asked if we could send a Thank You card to Jesus and Heavenly Father for the "beautiful gift of snow". I smiled and told her that was so thoughtful, but asked how she thought we might deliver it, since no mailman I know of ventures quite that far. She paused for a moment, and then said "We could send it up in a balloon." She was so sincere that, though I'm opposed to the sending up of balloons due to environmental reasons, at that moment I nearly considered it! I think I managed to talk her into "praying" the Thank You message instead...

All I Want for Christmas...

While driving home from the "happiest place on earth" (otherwise known as COSTCO; I seriously love that place even much more than Disneyland, don't you?!) the other day, I mentioned a few of my 'wish list' items to the Mr, which started the wheels spinning in the childrens' heads.

Soon, Angel informed us that, for Christmas, she wants "A baby doll" because, despite the fact that she already has 17 (I kid you not!), her 'family' won't be complete without another. (Move over, Mrs. Duggar!) We asked Grins what he was wishing for and he said "A newborn baby boy doll".


I mean, he loves to play dolls, paint his nails and dress up nearly as much as his sister (no lie) but he's never asked for his OWN dolls/nailpolish/tutus; he's always been content using hers while getting CARS and TRAINS and DINOSAURS - not to mention a SWORD - as his gifts of choice. So we were momentarily surprised, but we went with it.

Oh, that would be nice Grins.


What would you name your baby boy doll?

Actually, I want a REAL baby boy. Not a dolly. A real boy.

You want a baby brother?

Yeah. I want that the most, more than anything.

Ummmmm.....PLEASE tell me we aren't going to reenact "Miracle on 34th Street" this year.... I mean, I'd be fine if the Jolly Old St. Nick hooked us up with a new house, but I sincerely hope Grins won't be sitting on Santa's lap saying "All I want for Christmas is a baby brother. Please??!" I'd hate for him to realize Santa's a farce so early on in his childhood career!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coming soon....

Pictures. And posts. I promise.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



My lack of posting lately has been due to my: (multiple choice; choose as many as apply. Answers posted in comment section)

a) playing travel agent and booking the Mr.'s many (11 and counting) residency interview trips (airline, hotel, rental car, etc.) - I'm becoming quite savvy on bing travel, let me tell you

b) wistfully kissing my baby goodbye as she works on walking, talking, asserting her independence, making her opinion (well) known, pushing out teeth, emptying the cupboards a bazillion times a day.... (where DID that baby gate go??!!)

c) sitting on the couch, watching soap operas, and eating bon-bons (that's what "stay-at-home moms" do, right?)

d) trying to create fun, learning activities to keep Angel and Grins entertained and busy every day

e) feeling pleased with the progress Angel's made in her reading and writing capabilities but occassionally realizing how much easier it was to shelter her before she could read (Mommy, what does s-e-x-y mean?)

f) trying to fit in exercise and personal meditation/study

g) cutting Grins' hair and trying to 'fix' it every other day, since he has very fine, straight hair (difficult to cut and still look nice) and he entertains a very intense phobia of anyone (including me, but especially anyone other than me) coming near him with scissors and/or clippers

h) trying to keep up on laundry, healthy meals, home cleanliness, etc.

i) being constantly amazed at how sweet my little Grins is!

j) planning lessons and field trips for Angel and Grins' preschool

k) trying to keep the ward Primary running smoothly (fortunately not on my own!)

l) getting ready for Halloween

m) trying to save $$ whilst keeping the family fed and clothed

n) needing to get family pictures done!

o) trying to come up with new/exciting Family Home Evening lessons which teach the concepts we currently need to learn (you can only say "Listen to your parents" and "Be nice to your siblings" so many ways before the kids realize you're teaching the same lesson over and over!)

p) chauffering the kids to dentist and doctor appointments (and offering emotional support for Grins' intense fear of opening his mouth to a white-gloved stranger)

q) speaking of intense fear, trying to remember to get Grins to use the restroom before we run errands so we don't have to deal with his even more intense fear of automatic flushing toilets

r) LOVING how well Grins and Angel are getting along now - arguments are increasingly less frequent, and giggles are INCREASINGLY more infectious!

s) shopping for Christmas

t) trying to supress my own laughter at their antics while reminding the children to take the silliness down a notch (during such times as dinner and family devotional)

u) loving the opportunity to be home with my children, nurturing them, loving them, and watching them grow right before my eyes

v) procrastinating putting together Christmas cards because I still need the "perfect" idea

w) spending hours (literally! it's too addictive!) every night snuggling Angel and Grins, because they are just so precious and I never want to forget how tightly they cling to me, nor how delicate their sweet little bodies feel inside my arms

x) trying to teach kids the value of serving others through weekly "service" activities (mailing cards, delivering treats, feeding the needy, visiting sick/elderly) and loving watching them gain a testimony and appreciation of how rewarding it can be

y) laughing at the many, many silly/funny/cute things they come up with!! (stay tuned for a coming post on that!)

z) working on an e-newsletter for the Medical Student Alliance each month - and then re-doing it when my computer changes it all (I am SO not mac-savvy!)

1) desperately needing to upload and organize pictures on my camera/computer so I can resume posting our 'exciting adventures' (I loathe posting without a pic!)

2) calling my mom almost daily because I miss her and cherish her knowledge and sage wisdom, and sometimes just hearing her voice is enough

3) wondering what I ever did to deserve three incredible children who are blossoming into such amazing people despite my feeble attempts at parenting

4) wishing I did more - yet wanting to "simplify" - and occasionally beating myself up over it - but learning to be happy and find a delicate balance between enough and too much

5) blogging (occasionally) so I can remember the days which turn to weeks and months which will someday be a blur of years, but remain precious memories I want to preserve

6) thanking the Lord, every day, for my incredible life.

And the Winner Is....

Nichole Seiler!!! Yeah, Nichole! (Insert applause here). Hope you and Jake enjoy the show! Please give me your email address (post in a comment or message me on Facebook) and I'll email you the tickets.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


So, to reward all of all my faithful readers (yes, all 2 of you) :) I am offering the following giveaway:

2 Free Tickets to a night of Theatre:

Title: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
Utah Shakespearean Festival
351 W. Center Street
Cedar City, UT

Date: 10/15/2009 (THIS THURSDAY EVENING)
Curtain Time: 07:30 PM

How awesome does that sound? All you have to do is leave me a comment, letting me know you're interested, and I will randomly select a winner. Since I only have 5 followers, your chances are VERY good- much better than on some of those famous blogs with thousands of readers. :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Handsome!

Dear Mr. Love-of-mine,
Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I don't care HOW old you are, you will always be my only true love (aside from the children you've given me, of course..) :) Thank you for all that you are. You have done amazing things with these past 30-something years, and I know the trend will continue!

Thank you for your integrity. For your honesty. For your goodness. Thank you for your charity. Your patience. Your faith, and perseverance. You are such an incredible example to me, of devotion to the Savior, of undying faith, hard work and dilligence. You have always inspired me to be more kind, more loving, more patient.

Thank you for the amazing Husband you are! You've treated me like a queen these past 8+ years; they have truly been the best 8 years of my life! You are SO loving, so concerned with my welfare, so patient, and so kind. And so good at keeping the spark alive after all these kids, all this time, and all that you are involved in!

Thank you for being a fantastic Father to our little treasures! I knew from the moment I met you, that you would be an incredible father, and you have never let me down! I love that you love our children as much as I do, and always have their best interest at heart.

Well, there is MUCH more I could say, but our little lovelies are needing my IMMEDIATE attention for reasons I'd better not share on your birthday....some things are better left unsaid. :)

I love you, !

Love Always,


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I need ideas!

So, I know I'm a complete dork, but I love dressing my kids up for Halloween in something that goes together. I just think it adds to the effect when there's more than one person. Angel and Grins, for example have been:

Salt & Pepper Shakers
A Flower and a Bee
Raggedy Anne and Andy
A Prince and a Knight (Angel's idea, of course, but Grins loved the sword!)

Now that we have 3 kids, though, things are getting a bit trickier. I need a really good idea for a "threesome" they can do for Halloween. I've thought of the 3 Stooges or the 3 Musketeers but those just don't seem cute for kids (and they wouldn't even know what they were). And the 3 little pigs or 3 bears might work - but aren't super exciting. Any brilliant ideas out there? If you can come up with a winner, I'll give you a whole bag of Halloween candy to use any way you want - you can pass it out on Halloween and save yourself a few bucks, or you can hoard it all to yourself and I won't tell a soul. :)

So, give 'em to me!!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to keep up...Don't dance so fast!

Sometimes I feel like I'm on top of the world. I feel like I'm succeeding in my most important roles as wife and mother when my house is clean, the laundry is all folded and put away, I'm helping the Mr. by taking care of things he doesn't have time for, I'm spending quality one-on-one time with each child every day and do learning lessons and activities with them daily, and educational field trips weekly, I'm fixing healthy and tasty meals for my family, I'm perfectly organized and caught up in all of my meal planning, coupon clipping, church calling, service organization, etc responsibilities, my to-do list is completely crossed off, I'm exercising daily, my children never watch TV, I never lose my temper, and, occasionally, I work part-time to bring in income.

Other days, or, recently, weeks, I feel as though the world is caving in on me. No matter how much time I spend cleaning and straightening the house, there is ALWAYS more to do. Before I'm finished folding clean laundry, the dirty hampers are full. It's half an hour before dinnertime and I'm looking through the fridge trying to find something half-way edible to through together for dinner because I can't remember the last time I planned my meals, or even went grocery shopping for that matter. I put Wiggles down for a nap and before I'm even done putting the other two down, she's awake again. I try to take a shower but some catastrophe pulls me out before the shampoo's even rinsed from my hair. I try rising before my children for some peace/quiet/meditation in the morning, but no matter how early I'm up, at least one of them always decides to join me! I find myself snapping at my children, sometimes for very small infractions. As soon as I cross one thing off my to-do list, I have 5 more things to add.Once in a while I even let my kids watch SuperWhy just to be able to 'do my duty' or shave my legs in peace.

Would I trade my life? Never. Not even for a moment. Do the "goods" outweigh the "bads"? A million times over. But lately I'm just wishing I could get back on top of my game. I blame my 'being behind' on our recent big move - but let's be honest, we've been moved in for 2 weeks now. Life must go on! Besides, we'll probably be moving again in just 10 short months, so I can't let moving spin my life out of control.

So, this quote really hit home when I read it today.

"You can have the utmost assurance that your power will be multiplied many times by the Lord. All he asks is that you give your best effort and your whole heart. Do it cheerfully and with the prayer of faith. You will feel at some times, perhaps at many times, that you cannot do all you feel you must...The forces arrayed against you will try not only to frustrate your work but to bring you down...Your obedience to the commandments, your desire to do His will, and your asking in faith will determine how clearly the Master can guide you by answers to your prayers...He chose you..The Lord knows you...He has prepared a way so that He could issue your call." (Elder Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2002)

Forgive the lengthiness of this post, but I love these 2 poems/thoughts as well:
(Author unknown, and I apologize for the plagery - wish I had put it into words so well!)

Some houses try to hide the fact
that children shelter there;
Ours boasts it quite openly...
the signs are everywhere.
For smears are on the windows,
little smudges on the door;
I guess I should apologize
for the toys strewn on the floor,
But I sat down with the children
we played, laughed and read,
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
their eyes will shine instead.
For when I'm forced to choose
the one job or the other
It's good to be a housewife
but I'd rather be a mother!

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain lapping on the gruond?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight
Or gazed at the un into the fading night?
You'd better slow down - don't dance so fast!
Time is short; the music won't last

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask "How are you?" do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chore running through your head?
You'd better slow down - don't dance so fast!
Time is short; the music won't last.

Ever told your child "We'll do it tomorrow"
And, in your haste, not seen his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die
'Cause you never had time to call and say "hi"?
You'd better slow down - don't dance so fast!
Time is short; the music won't last.

When you run so fast to getsomewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day
It's like an unopened gift thrown away..
Life's not a race - please, take it slower;
Hear the music before the song is over!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're recovering

Don't expect any posts for awhile - Angel is recovering from surgery which means lots of TLC for her, and lots of attention for the other two who are beginning to feel neglected....wish us luck! :)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Grins!

Dear Grins,
Wow, my son! I can't believe you are 3 years old already! Where has the time gone? I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on you, just seconds after you were born, as though it were yesterday. And now, here you are, a little man. You hold such a special place in my heart! I love you more than words can say.

I LOVE how sweet you are! You are always SO concerned with how others feel, regardless of how they are treating you! Whenever I punish your older sister for being mean to you, you are quick to forgive, and want to go sit with her in time-out, give her the toy she was trying to grab from you, or give her "loves" to cheer her up, when just seconds before she was hitting you. You are the perfect example of 'turning the other cheek' and I learn so much about charity and unconditional love just by watching you.

You are such a lover boy. You love snuggles, kisses, and loves. You will often pause throughout the day, during story time, play time, or anytime, just to give me a kiss. It melts my heart. And every night when I tuck you in, you say "I want you to lay with me!" How can I resist? You are sensitive and sometimes take a little while warming up to things and people, but once you do, you love them fiercely! Your nursery teacher, Krystina, for example. You adore her, and I get the impression the feeling is mutual! You also have many favorites that you cling to:

Favorite color: green
Favorite book: Shortcut (Donald Crews)
Favorite loveys: Puppy, Teddy, Blankie and Magic Blankie (Magic because 'he' protects you from bad guys)

I LOVE your sensitivity! It is so sweet and endearing, and sometimes it also makes me laugh. Automatic flush toilets, for instance, are one of your current 'sensitive spots'. You REFUSE to use the restroom if there is - or even if you THINK there MIGHT BE an automatic flusher. You would honestly rather wet your pants than go in a restroom where the toilet will flush on its own. At least you will finally look to see whether a toilet has a handle, than just avoid going in altogether as you were doing for awhile! :) You are so funny! I love it!

With all your sensitivity, you are definitely all boy! You LOVE trains, tractors, trucks, cars - and have recently discovered the field of swords and 'beating the bad guys' (usually the Lamanites). Since we don't have any weapons in our home, you've become quite proficient at turning anything and everything into a sword - from baseball bats to sticks to hangers? You are so creative! And SO playful! You are ALWAYS laughing, and I rarely see you without a smile on your face! You can make a game out of anything, and you have the most infectious laugh of anyone I know! I smile everytime I think about you!

You have excellent manners - several other mothers have commented to me how much they love that you clear your plate, say 'please' and 'thank you', cover your mouth, etc. all without prompting! You hold the door for me, often ask if you can help me carry are the perfect little gentleman! You are also an EXCELLENT listener - I rarely have to repeat myself when asking you to do things; you are very obedient and I LOVE IT! :)

Sweet boy, I feel SO blessed to be your mother! I don't know WHAT I did to deserve such a special little boy. I feel like you are my little ray of sunlight whenever I am down. You teach me so much more than I could ever teach you. I am so grateful to have you in my life, and for the blessing and honor it is to be your mother. I only hope I can live up to such a noble calling.

I love you, my son. Happy Birthday!