Thursday, March 27, 2008


These pictures are of my parents. The reason for posting them besides the fact that I LOVE them dearly is to tell you a little about my mother. She's a fantastic lady! So many good memories growing up in her house and so many humiliating stories from my childhood. She loved nothing better than to embarrass me! (in a good way...) She'd be the one to get on the phone if I happened to be talking to a boy and sing "can you bake a cherry pie? Becky dear oh Becky my?" in her lovely sing-songy voice. Or how about the times she would pick me up at school and start crazy dancing in front of my friends. Oh and all those times she would chase me around the house in her scary way. Ahh the memories, the painful, torturesome memories. As much as I love my mom there is one thing I cannot figure out...(look closely at her pictures) HOW COME HER HAIR IS NOT GRAY YET? I call her a...

fReaK oF nAturE.
(and I say this lovingly)

What the heck? I don't think she would appreciate me divulging her age publicly so I'll just tell you this...she has kids that are 43 years old and younger - you do the math. This woman has NEVER DYED her hair - "too much maintenance" she tells me.

If only I were to be so lucky. (sigh...)


Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Third times a charm, right? I'm still wondering. Stevie has so many endearing qualities and we just love her to pieces. However, this child lives in her own world. She smiles constantly, is SO pleasant to be around and she has her dad wrapped around her finger. BUT...she lives in her own world. Whenever I ask her to do something, she's more than willing to do it...but because (I think I might have mentioned this already) SHE LIVES IN HER OWN WORLD, she rarely gets the job done. For example: I was upstairs in my bedroom with Ben and asked her to get his suction machine out of the car and bring it up to me. "Okay, Mom!" she happily replies and off she goes. 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes - no Stevie. Finally I run downstairs and out the door looking for her and there she is shooting basketballs. "Um Stevie, did you forget to bring me the suction?" I knew the minute she didn't come back that the basketball hoop sucked her in. (she's been shooting almost non-stop since the weather has been above 30 degrees - ice on the driveway still and all) She was not being defiant or delibrate - so how do you get mad at her? I fight this battle CONSTANTLY! I will ask her to do something and unless I stand over her she immediately is drawn to whatever catches her attention. Most of the time it makes me chuckle because she honestly does not mean to defy me. I guess if this is as bad as it gets I will take it. To sum it up from the movie Horton Hears A Who (which is a really cute movie - two thumbs up):
"In MY world there are ponies that eat rainbows and poop butterflies".
That's my Stevie!

Monday, March 24, 2008


One of my favorite things in the whole world are the creations that my children create for me. I have adorned my kitchen windowsill with all of the different collectibles throughout the years. I love to look at them as I stand at the sink and do my dishes. Kayla came home with the mother of all loads the other day. Apparantely in the 6th grade they create what are called "ugly jugs". They are water pitchers made to look really grotesque and hideous. Kayla knows how much I love pigs and so she created an ugly pig for me. I absolutely LOVE it. If you click on the picture you can see it in greater detail. These are my greatest material possesions and I will continue to treasure them as my children get older.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I love it when Steve comes home and engages in the kid's activities with them. Stevie and Kaleb were outside playing "PIG" when their dad drove up and they didn't have to ask twice for him to join them. Of course it gets a little competitive but Kaleb had a little bit of the upper hand with Steve in full gear. Have you ever tried playing "PIG" with snow and ice in your driveway? We lowered the hoop to give them a little bit of an advantage.
If you haven't noticed, we have like FOUR feet of snow still in our yard. Are we the only people left that have this much snow? AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!
FYI: Steve missed this "no-looker" from the side of the shed. Better luck next time honey!
Guess what? When you complain about dinners at my house you better be prepared to suffer. After a bad week of complaining about my meals from my children...I served them what I called, "CHUNKY VOMIT". That's right...if I might quote a favorite saying at my sister-n-law's house, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit". Apparantely my kids have forgotten that we don't throw fits in this house over my dinners! I'm the chef and I'm in charge! Don't mess with me!
In case you are wondering, the meal that I made is a sausage, pasta and spinach dish. It would have looked completely normal if I hadn't blended the spinach. The only reason I did blend it is because Kaleb has an issue with the texture of wilted spinach leaves. It makes him gag. This way I can use spinach and you really don't even taste it. Makes it a lovely green, don't you think so? You can find the recipe on my "WHAT'S FOR DINNER?" blog that I contribute to along with a couple other friends.
I're thinking "what great manners these children have!" Really, I don't mean to brag or anything but I've taught them well. I think my mother would be proud!
To end the night, we participated in our annual Easter egg coloring tradition. After surving their dinner, I brought out a dozen eggs for each of them to color. Of course they had to finish their dinner first before starting the dying process!
If you look closely at Kayla, I'm thinking her belly was not feeling so well. I mean c'mon! Would yours after eating "Chunky Vomit"? Ok, just kidding, she was just bored waiting for her egg to turn color.

Such precision, such artistry. They definitely do not get this from me!

Funny video of the kids playing with Steve.


  • Beautiful flowers, especially daffodils.
  • The color yellow, it makes me feel SO happy inside.
  • Ben's health so that I can be home instead of in the hospital with him.
  • A husband who is FUNNY! He makes me laugh everyday.
  • My van, even though it's old I love that I don't have a car payment.
  • Our mechanic who always makes sure our cars are running and only takes cinnamon rolls as payment.
  • Springtime air. I love smelling the newness of life.
  • Loving children.
  • Daily phone calls to my mom and sisters.
  • My health so I can continue to take care of my family.
  • Our karate instructors who let us barter for our classes.
  • Little pugs who bring such joy to my kiddos.
  • A home to call my own.
  • My membership in the church and the knowledge of the gospel.
  • The true meaning of Easter.
  • My blogging friends and family.
  • The amazing beauty of nature.
  • Food and food storage.
  • A quiet Saturday morning when the kids are still sleeping.
  • Aunt Suzanne and the way that she loves and spoils my kids.
  • The Atonement.
  • Technology that allows Ben to live at home.
  • General Conference - my two favorite weekends of the year.
  • Airplanes that allow me to visit family far away.
  • Being debt free - it is so liberating.
  • Grandparents and the great examples they are for my children.
  • The soldiers that fight for our freedom.
  • My testimony.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I love this picture - it makes me smile because this is "classic" Kaleb. Today he and I traveled up to Dartmouth to have his ear checked out since having his surgery back in December. Last year Kaleb was referred to Dartmouth due to some hearing loss in his left ear. I really didn't think much of it because according to the nurse it was mild. We went in January of 2007 and they confirmed what we already knew. At that point Kaleb was referred to the middle ear clinic at Dartmouth and went to that appointment in March. At that time he had another hearing test and this time it showed progressive hearing loss in his left ear. The doctor did not see any fluid which is usually the cause of hearing loss in about 95% of children. He scheduled a CAT scan in June along with another hearing test. The CAT scan would be able to pick up any abnormalities or even fluid that can't be seen with the naked eye. At that time his hearing loss progressed even more and the CAT scan came back negative. (except for the arachnoid cyst in his left temporal lobe) They had us come back in August for another hearing test. Again his hearing continued to get worse and so we were back in October to discuss exploratory surgery or hearing aids. We opted for the exploratory surgery because we didn't want to just give up and succumb to a hearing aid for the rest of his life. The doctor agreed and felt that Kaleb would be a good canidate for the surgery. We had it done in December and the doctor found that two of his inner ear bones (stapes and incus) were fused together. He cut the stapes out and replaced it with a titanium piece. He did reconstructive surgery and ended up taking some cartilage from the outer part of his ear to fix the inside. He also had to cut a nerve that ran from his tongue right through the middle of where he was working. Thankfully Kaleb never had any effects from him doing that. All went well and the doctor really felt strongly that his hearing would greatly improve after 3 months of healing. Here's where it gets tricky. Four days after Kaleb's surgery he was out caroling with the young men and young women when he got hit by a car. Thankfully he wasn't seriously hurt, but he ended up taking the passenger side mirror off with his face and bruising the whole left side of his body. My first thought (after I knew he would be okay) was what impact this would have on his newly reconstructed ear. We did take him to the doctor but there was nothing he could do because Kaleb still had surgical foam inside his ear - you couldn't see past that. It was a wait and see game and so for three months I have been wondering...
Today was the day to see how things have healed and progressed. Kaleb had his hearing test first and when the audiologist came back she informed me that his hearing has not changed. (my heart dropped) In fact, some of the hearing parts have progressed again. It was SO dissapointing. I was really hoping that things would improve. Deep down inside I think I already knew the answer because he continues to ask "what?" when we talk to him. I'll be sitting next to him in the car and he still does it. Anyway, we moved on to see his ENT doctor and he informed us that things look good inside his ear and there is no way to tell whether or not the accident had any impact on the results. We have decided that he needs to be fitted for a hearing aid (which we did) and then in a year we will go back in surgically to see if there is anything to be repaired. Kaleb was really sad about having to get a hearing aid. He did cheer up a bit when I told him he could pick his own colors. Of course (for those who know him best) he chose the Denver Broncos colors - blue and orange. It was a hard day for me because I had so much hope. I know that in the grand scheme of life that this really is no big deal but it is one of those things that I feel the need to mourn the loss of and then move on. It's an important lesson that I learned early on with Ben. I am sad for Kaleb. I am also thankful that he has so many other working parts on his body. In time he'll learn to adjust with his new apparatus and then life will seem normal again. Until that time, we'll continue to lean on each other a little more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


This is my sweet Kayla. She is my oldest child and is about to embark upon her teenage years come August. So far she has been SO easy, I'll continue to cross my fingers. Kayla is the peacemaker in our home. She loves to bake, listen to Harry Potter, can never get enough hugs and is a Daddy's girl through and through. Not a day goes by where she does not beg us for a little baby. She will be a wonderful mother some day as she loves to nurture little children. I appreciate the way that she can laugh at herself as she is constantly falling down. I love the way the she is so naive and I hope she'll stay that way for a long time. Kayla is very loving and no matter what kind of mood I am in, she always has a hug and a kiss for me. I LOVE this girl!


I wanted to share this story with you because it has some lessons in it that we all can learn from. This picture is of my beautiful neice, Moriah, whom I love and adore. I can't help but think of her whenever I read this story.


I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed..." I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, a nd later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores. And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems to like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Ben's favorite nurse, Laura Cogswell
Do you ever feel like you live your life in a car? I do! This week has been especially bad as I have already made 2 Dartmouth trips in 3 days with one more to go on Friday. (round trip to Dartmouth is 140 miles) On the flip side I am extremely grateful to have such a wonderful hospital in driving distance. Monday Ben had an appointment with his Endocronologist to check on his "hypothyroidism" which went great. He carefully watches his weight and height growth and is so amazed at how well he is growing. I tell him it's all the love that we squeeze into him! (smile) Tuesday I took Stevie up to have an ultrasound on her kidney's and bladder per the urologist. Everything is normal from that standpoint so we were happy. Ben had blood work as you can see from the pictures to check his T-4 levels. (has to do with his hypothyroidism) I am spoiled as I will only let his favorite nurse draw his blood - Laura is the only one that can draw from his veins or fingers. She's fantastic and we love her!!! How blessed we are to have such an awesome facility with amazing doctors, nurses and staff.

Stevie waiting for her ultrasound results

Monday, March 17, 2008


Happy St. Patty's Day to everyone!!!
We celebrated with a very green breakfast, green toilet water and a leprachaun kiss on the nose before heading off to school. We ended the day with an Irish FHE. Check out the video below. (I claim no relation to this family - HA!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I have the most crazy kids...never a dull moment in our home! I happened to be laying on the bed after scriptures and prayer when my daughter decided to "try on" my hair. Have you ever had this experience at your house? I thought not! It was the funniest thing...we were all laughing hysterically. Of course we had to bribe Kaleb to try on my hair because he's a little more reserved when it comes to being the one laughed at. Steve actually had his picture taken with my hair but did not allow me to post it because he claims he looked like, (and I quote) "a fat 70's rock star" Even Ben was dragged into this hairy mess. Ah the joy of a child's giggle...

BENJAMIN who's feelin' the look? My kids want to know who looks the most suave in mom's hair???

Cast your VOTES!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Mom and Kaleb eating lunch together. (Kayla's picture didn't come out)

Today was "Eat with your Middle School Child" day and I have to admit, I came away feeling very happy. This has been planned now for about a month and so occasionally the topic has come up with other Middle School Parents. I always like to ask if other parents are going and most of them said no because their child didn't want them to come. I was surprised at the number of parents that were unwelcome by their child. Feeling a little insecure at that point I asked both Kayla and Kaleb separately if they wanted me to come today. Both eagerly said yes. I knew that they would be very dissapointed had I not shown up. Maybe I only have a few years left before they turn me away, maybe they never will, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying being "needed" by my children.


Monday, March 10, 2008


For FHE tonight I made a menu in french with 18 items on it and had my family each choose 6 things from the menu. Because no one in my family knows french, they were in for a surprise. Included on the menu were chicken, pasta, various vegetables, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, plates, utensils, cups, etc. So...if they did not choose wisely, they were served without a plate, right on the table. Some got dessert first, others had just vegetables. I divided the dinner into 3 different courses, so eventually they got their whole meal - just in a mixed up, scrambled way. (don't worry, I cleaned the table really well before putting their food on it.) We had such a blast and I'm sure the kids will be begging to do it again real soon.

Kaleb was not too happy to have his vegetables first...
Kayla did not pick a plate or utensils so she had to eat from the table...
Steve was lacking a plate, but atleast he got a fork...
2nd course made Kaleb very happy because he got his dessert...
Stevie was left with no plate to eat her dinner...
3rd course Steve and Stevie both did not order a cup so I had to serve their juice on a plate - that was interesting...

For the FHE activity, dad gave rides to the three older children...

Sunday, March 9, 2008


'The Brave Little Soul'

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, 'Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?'God paused for a moment and replied, 'Little Soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts.' The little soul was confused. 'What do you mean,' he asked. 'God replied, 'Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone.'The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, 'The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle - for the good of all humanity.'Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, 'I am brave; let me go!! I would love to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!!'God smiled and said, 'You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.'God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, 'Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.'Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys - some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. People checked a website and sent notes of encouragement. People made and brought meals to the family of the suffering. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased ......
(By John Alessi)

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Disclaimer: all in fun

Most of you are parents out there...ever wonder if you'll ever get this parenting thing down? Well, I hate to put most of you to shame but I have - atleast with my fourth child. Poor Kayla, she's had it the roughest being the oldest child. I just hope the damage isn't too great. The parenting thing seems to get a little easier with each child. Don't get me wrong, my older three are great kids, but the mistakes I've made are pretty evident. Then Ben came along and so far I'm batting a thousand. He makes me feel like I finally have this parenting thing down perfectly. I don't know if you can boast the same, but my has child never talked back to me, lets me hug and kiss him as much as I want, (poor Ben) doesn't lie to me, never fights with his brother or sisters, thinks I'm the best thing on this planet, always keeps his room in order, never tells me that I'm the meanest mom in the whole world and always does what I ask of him. I can be jealous, I would be. If you're interested, I'd be happy to share some of my perfected parenting skills for those of you who are still in the amateur if only I could just get him to smile for the camera!