Sunday, November 4, 2012

How is this possible?

     I have been in complete denial for 2 months now.  And I realized it's because I'm grieving.  You know how there are 5 stages of grief?  And they can all come in a different order.  I have accepted the fact that I'm "grieving" over the loss of my daughter's "childhood," so I guess that's at least a good step.  But I still feel like I'm stuck in the denial stage.  It isn't possible that my little girl has turned 12, because I swear it was just yesterday that she looked like this:   

     This precious little girl made me a mother.  She took all the selfishness out of me, and made me focus outside of myself for the first time in my life.  She has definitely tested my limits a few times over the last 12 years, and most of the time I feel extremely inadequate to be responsible for raising her and teaching her the proper way to live.  But there have been moments when I have been overcome with an overwhelming sense of love for her.  Like right after she was born and the doctor handed her to me to hold for the first time.  Words cannot even describe the love I felt for her the very first time I saw her and held her in my arms. 
     Our Sunday School lesson a few weeks ago was about 3 Nephi Chapter 17, where Christ visits the Nephites and blesses the little children.  We were discussing the fact that Jesus wept because his joy was full.  This chapter in the Book of Mormon took on a whole new meaning for me, because I immediately thought of the birth of my first child, and how I wept because my joy was so full.  Jesus knew those little children, just as he knows each of us, and just as we know our own children.  And that chapter is so sacred that many things could not even be written.  It was interesting that the main thing I was focused on during the whole lesson was my oldest child.  The one with the sweet spirit and the strong testimony, despite her mother's inadequacies.  
     Turning 12 is a pretty big deal for a Latter-day Saint girl.  She has now graduated from Primary, and attends Young Women instead.  She goes to Mutual every Wednesday night, and this past Friday, she went on a trip with the youth in the ward to the open house of the newly renovated Boise Temple.  I'm still wondering when this whirlwind of my daughter becoming a woman is going to slow down and come into focus in my brain.  Because like I said, I am in denial.  So it has taken me two months to post a birthday picture, but here is my first step in accepting reality:
      Happy (very belated) Birthday to the most beautiful Young Woman in the world!  Your mother loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend; until, of course, you become a mother yourself. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Your Birthday!

My little man, Ikes

     Today my little Bubba turned 10.  Seems like just yesterday he was born, and now he's half way out the door! He is a joy to have in our home and we are so grateful to have a boy in between our girls.  Izaak is a peacemaker and rarely has a bad day.  He wakes up in the morning with a smile on his face, and usually goes to sleep again with another smile.  We are so grateful that our "difficult" baby turned out to be such a great kid!  He is daddy's little buddy and mommy's little helper.  And we hope and pray that he will never outgrow his adoration for us.  He loves hunting, fishing, football, and baseball.  We love this kid and know that he is growing up to be a fine young man.

Some interesting conversations while driving in the car with Ikes:
Ikes: "Hey mom, what's growing in that field?"
Mom: "It's wheat."
Ikes: "What???!!!  Isn't that illegal???!!!"
Mom: "It's not WEED.  It's WHEAT, Silly Boy."
Ikes: "Whew.  That would be a lotta weed."  

Ikes: "Hey mom, why does this part of your arm jiggle?"  He grabs the relief society fat on my arm while asking, and then proceeds to jiggle it.  Then he grabs his own arm where there is no relief society fat and says, "Mine doesn't jiggle."
Mom:  "Please don't ever do that again while I'm driving."  And then I laughed so hard I almost peed. 

We love you, Ikes! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby Belle!

Let's face it, my "baby" is no longer a baby. She will always be the baby in our family, but she is growing up waaaaay too fast. Today she turned 6 and I am wondering where in the world the last 6 years went?! Yes, turning 5 is significant because a child starts kindergarten, but 6 means 1st grade and all day school. I was OK with sending her to kindergarten, because hey, she's only there for 2 or 3 hours and it isn't much different than sending her to preschool for 2 or 3 hours. I get to pick her up in the middle of the day, and I still get one-on-one time with her. But Fall will eventually come around this year and she will be in school ALL DAY LONG. And that just makes me an old lady whose kids are all in school.
After trying for several years to have another baby, we finally had her. She fills our home with joy and laughter, and it is a pleasure to be her mommy. At this point, it is hard to remember what life was like in our home before she was born. She still likes to hold my hand, sit on my lap, and have me lay in bed with her when I tuck her in at night. And I look at her and realize that she will soon be too big and too cool (like the other 2) to do those things. At what point does a child stop wanting to hold their mom's hand while walking down the street? And at what point do they stop smiling when mom shows up at their school? I've realized I don't have much "baby" time left with her. And it makes me want to cry.
Belle was born at a special time for us, and as a baby, she spent some time with Great-Grandma Kathryn before she passed away. As Belle had just begun her journey on Earth, Grandma was just ending her journey here. I will never forget the moment I was crying over the death of my grandmother while I rocked my peaceful sleeping baby.
Belle brought a peaceful feeling into our home that really helped us as a family to overcome some difficulties and trials we were facing that year. Having a new child born into your family can really make you think about what is most important in this life. She sort of put things in perspective for us, and she doesn't even know it. I hope and pray that I can convey to her throughout her life how incredibly special she is to me.
I love you, Baby Belle. No matter what, you'll always be (one of) my baby girl(s).

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Now that it is March, it has finally snowed. It'll be gone in 6 hours, but it did actually snow. Not enough snow to plow, though. Just enough for it to be annoying (for me), and fun (for the kids and the dogs). It is supposed to get up to 50 degrees today, so I believe our snow playing days are over. Like they always say, "If you don't like the weather in Idaho, just wait 5 minutes!"
And yes, those are cows in my back yard. We have moved, and now we live in the center of "dairy-ville." But we didn't play with the cows in the snow, just the dogs. The cows were watching with envy, though.

Friday, January 6, 2012

About Sisters and Children and Husbands and Dogs

For those of you who do not know, my sister, Brittany, is an aspiring author. She wrote a book this year. Really, a book. I'd tell you about it, but all I know it that it's a book. She hasn't divulged any more information. It probably has characters and a plot, but I wouldn't know. Anyway, one of the cool things about my sister is that she posts on her blog on a regular basis; so lucky for me, I don't have to wait clear until the book is published to figure out what is going on in her head. I just read her blog, and my "sister cup" feels a little more full. She has a fantastic way with words and makes me both laugh until I practically pee my pants, and cry until I can't see straight (usually both in the same post).
This week she posted an experience that I have cut and pasted for all of you to read as well. Keep in mind as you read it that I read this post (and cried for an hour afterward) following the first hectic morning of going back-to-school-after-Christmas-break-hellishness. I had a pretty big dispute with my 11-year-old that morning - over nothing important really. Can't even remember what it was about now, and it's only been 4 days.
As I read it, our family was also only about 3 weeks past barely saving our puppy from Parvo. May seem like no big deal to some, but for us, it was a pretty big deal. Even the vet thought the dog was dead, but somehow she made it through.
So when I got to work Tuesday morning this week, the first email I saw was one from my sweet hubby saying that he loved me and he sent me the link from Britt's post. (Who knew he read her blog???) I guess it was his way of subtly telling me to chill in the mornings.
So here is a little taste of my big sister, Brittany. (You can read more of her cool posts by clicking on the Shawn & Brittany blog link). Be sure to have your tissues on hand!

Puttin' Things In Perspective

Have you seen that billboard? The one that says, "Pets are children too. Don't abandon them." It's right there outside of Las Vegas as you head south on the I-15.

It always makes me laugh because, really? Pets are children? Um, no. I mean, sure there are some similarities, especially when it comes to their manners. But, I don't feed my dog at the table and I don't leave my six year locked in a kennel for hours at a time while I'm out running errands. My kids also figured out that whole don't-pee-on-the-carpet thing, whereas the dog, eh, not so much.

This past Sunday, though, I dreaded seeing it. Guilt ate away any attempt at derisive laughter I could muster when we passed it eight hours into our twelve hour drive home from Utah to California.

By that time it had been nearly twenty-four hours since we'd seen Lola.

Aka: the stupid dog.

For on the eve of the New Year--and also of our departure--she had run away into the wilderness surrounding my parents' home. A wilderness full of coyotes, at least one wolf, and other various and assundry wildlife, but still an area she thought would be safer than the front yard where we were letting off fireworks.

We looked for her for an hour after we noticed her absence, searching with flashlights in the freezing cold, calling her name until we were too frozen to stay out any longer. The next morning we expanded our search area and put off our departure time by three hours, but without any luck. So we put three crying girls in the car and drove away, sans dog.

And now, as another cold night approached without any sign of Lola, there was the billboard staring down at me with its accusatory words. I had abandoned my "child" to the wolves, coyotes, and owls after only a three hour search. What kind of pet parent was I?

And what about all those times I had called her dummy? or stupid? Instead of appreciating her loyalty, I had complained about her always being underfoot. Instead of relishing the fact I had something who would never outgrow cuddling, I pushed her off of my lap.

You know what's even worse?

I joked about her running away or being eaten. I said those things out loud, forgetting everything I had learned from reading half of The Secret about sending things out into the Universe. If you send out a thought to the Universe, It just might comply. And It doesn't always get black humor, so you best be careful what you throw out there.

And those Pets Are Children people must be doing all right, because there were two more of those billboards that I had never seen before, pointing their doggy paws at me. I tried to console myself that at least I had been feeding her left-over turkey and ham for the past few days. Mostly because we were out of dog food and I was too lazy to drive into town for more. But also because she liked it.

Then it occurred to me that my plying her with meaty treats made her an even tastier morsel for whatever animal had got her.

Perhaps I sound a little callous about my dog's demise, but I really did feel very sad and guilty about not finding her. And for not being more responsible and thinking to lock her up before the fireworks, knowing how skittish she is and all.

But then I remembered something...

Four years ago on a similar New Year's Day, my friend Jenny, while on vacation in Utah, had to say an unexpected good-bye to her four year old boy after he was involved in a fatal sledding accident. She started the New Year in 2008 by putting a little casket with Russell's body in it on an airplane and flying home; her life completely changed.

Kind of puts the loss of a dog in perspective, doesn't it?

When I remembered it was the anniversary of Russell's death I started thinking about a lot of other things. Like how I would feel if it were one of my children I had lost instead of the dog. Would I be regretting I hadn't appreciated them more? stopped to hold them when they needed it? looked for the positive side of their "faults"?

I thought about that a lot. I thought about it through the next day as we still didn't have any word about our dog and I became even more certain she hadn't survived two nights out in the wild. And I thought about how much my perspective had changed when I found out Russell died. Suddenly the little things I got angry with my kids over didn't seem nearly as important as appreciating the time I had with them. The fact that no one is immune to loss hit hard and I resolved to remember that and treat my loved ones accordingly.

But then I did something Jenny can never do.

I forgot.

I forgot that things can change in an instant and without warning. I forgot that we can't determine how long we'll have a child. Or a spouse. Or a parent. Or any loved one.

I forgot that life is fragile.

So my New Year's resolution this year is this: To put things into perspective.

I will hold the things close that matter and let go of the things that don't.

And you know what happened after I made that resolution?

I got a call from my parents that my dog had been found. (Stupid dog).

But her rescue and the kindness of my parents' neighbors is a story for another blogpost.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Things I've Learned and / or Experienced Lately

So lately I have had some pretty awesome things, plus some not-so-awesome things going on, so I thought I would share:

* I've experienced my baby girl turning 11. She sang in her final Primary Program in Church, and I cried. Just like I cried during her first Primary Program when she was 3. Next summer she will be a Young Woman and I'm not real sure where my little baby went.
* I've experienced Halloween with kids who are getting older. And one of them (the boy) actually said, "I don't really want to go Trick-or-Treating." What???!!! Who???!!! What did you say??!!!
* I've experienced a Thanksgiving full of things I should express more gratitude for on a daily basis. I've realized how truly blessed I really am.
* I've experienced Wii Bowling with my dad. IT WAS AWESOME!!! The best part was when Belle told him, "Look Papa! Your Wii Guy looks just like you with only some gray hair on the sides and he's bald on the top!" (Picture her hands waiving next to her ears, and then circling around the top of her head as she says this).
* I've played "beauty shop" with my mom. We also stayed up late laughing and crying with each other. It was great.
* I've had to let my youngest go to Kindergarten. Even though I wish I could stop time and keep her little forever!
* I've learned that Flag Football really kinda sucks. But my son learned a lesson by not quitting even though he really wanted to. We promised him that next year he will get to play contact football instead of weenie football. (No offense to those of you who put the program together this year. You did a great job, we had a wonderful coach, it just wasn't for us).
* I've learned what the word "Parvo" means. (Apparently everyone in the world knows what this word means... but me!) And I wish I could go back 1 week to when I didn't know. It's a really, really bad thing!
* We (as a family) have made a commitment to keep the spirit of Christ in Christmas. We are focusing on being kind to one another and remembering the real reason for the season. December seems to be going well... so far. We have been reading uplifting Christmas stories every night before bed, and trying not to let Christmas stress us out, but rather lift us up!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I have a problem with perfection. I always want things to be perfect... and they never are.
Enough said.
My lovely sister is visiting my parents in Paradise (Avon) for about a month this summer. She happily volunteered to keep my children in Paradise (Avon) for a few days. Bless her little heart. And bless my mother's heart, too, because it is her house that will suffer the consequences. So my lovely little monkeys have been gone for a full week now. At first the silence was enjoyable, then strange, then eerily strange, and now the silence is annoying.
Everything seems to be perfect. All the beds are made, all the laundry is DONE, the dishes are clean, the toilet is clean, the floors are swept / mopped, the carpet has been vacuumed, and there are no traces of messy hands anywhere. So it appears to be perfect. (Someone PLEASE stop by unannounced for once while the house looks this good!!!)
J.R. and I have enjoyed some much-needed alone time together, and it has been great, but I miss them terribly! Is all the perfection in this house worth the loneliness? Not hardly. I think I'll take the messes and enjoy them from now on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I hate Wal-Mart. And before you start yelling, "Don't be a hater!" in your best Mexican accent, please realize that I hate Wal-Mart for personal reasons. Because I'm selfish. And if you know what I do for a living, you will begin to sympathize with my selfishness.
I don't hate Wal-Mart because they run all the "Mom & Pop's" stores out of business, and I don't hate Wal-Mart because of the way they treat their employees, or because I can't get out of there without spending less than $100, or blah blah blah blah blah. I hate Wal-Mart because I HAVE to go there. And I don't like to have to go there.
I live in a small town, and it is inevitable that every time I go there, I WILL run into someone I would rather not run into.
I only go to Wal-Mart if I ABSOLUTELY have to! For instance, they sell my favorite tortillas... that have saved my marriage! (Tortilla Land uncooked flour tortillas - if you haven't tried them, you should. They saved a poor gringa like me from utter destruction in a world where, apparently every Mexican wife should know how to make homemade tortillas... Just like Wela's!) Not only does Wal-Mart sells these bad boys, but they sell them in an 18 pack for the same price as the 12 pack at other competitor's stores. I have no choice but to have to go there.
OK, so that's really the only reason why I would HAVE to go to Wal-Mart. We need tortillas? Crap, I guess I have to go to Wal-Mart. The following reasons come in a close 2nd after the tortillas: I can buy a shload of dog food for $10 bucks. Enough said. Oh, and I can buy a bottle of the generic Zantac for $4 bucks. Ah crap, and sometimes, in my weaken state, I will answer the nurse with, "Wal-Mart," when she asks, "What pharmacy should I call this prescription into for you?" I always, ALWAYS regret that one! Why can't I ever think straight during a doctor visit with a sick, whiny child???!!!
I went to Wal-Mart on Saturday night around 6:00 so that I could be a good Mormon wife/mother and use Saturday as my "Special day... the day we get ready for Sunday!" And I immediately regretted it. Don't get me wrong, I ran into some people that I like, My cousin's husband & their 2 oldest "kids," for example. (However, when I walked away from them, I realized how old I really am because I used to babysit those 2 when I was in college, and now THEY are old enough to be too old and too cool to babysit anymore).
And then I ran into it Brother "R" who is always smiling. (Who smiles that much?!) The same Brother "R" who I ran into in a different grocery store 3 days ago. And he asks, "Have you seen my wife?" And this is my train of thought... Ha ha, sucker, that is the very reason I came by myself without the hubby & kids this evening... but you work at the jail right??? And you'rein the bishopric? Keep this guy on your good side, Amber, keep this guy on your good side. Oh man, his wife looks just like Sister "H," so if I have seen her, would I even be able to make a positive identification??? So I answer with the truth, "Sorry, I haven't. When I'm in this store, I really try not to look up at anyone. Otherwise I run into people who don't want to see me. I try to get in and out, unnoticed." He laughed because he does know what I do for a living, and I think he sympathized momentarily. He walked away, and I walked toward the pet section for the fantastic dog food, and then I momentarily made eye contact with a friendly, familiar face, and smiled. Then continued walking... then realized that was Sister "R."
Throughout the course of the shopping spree, I "saw" three individuals who would probably rather not have seen me, but I just kept walking anyway. And it was a nice breath of fresh air to look up and see Uncle Al & Aunt Kathy behind me in the check-out line. Ah... there ARE good people in this town!

DISCLAIMER: I love my small town & I live here on purpose. Just because some situations can be a little awkward for me at times, does not mean that I hate this town. I will buy my favorite tortillas if it kills me! Oh yeah, and I love my job, too!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas
& best wishes in the new year.

So, when a person hasn't posted on their blog for 2 full years, where should they start? Let's just say we have plenty of catching up to do! Many things have happened & the little monkeys are growing up waaaaay too fast! You know you're in trouble when your kids only want electronics for Christmas & a simple baby doll just won't do! But we love them still the same & are enjoying this journey through life with them. Sometimes my kids says the darndest things & I think, "that would be really funny to post on my blog." And then I never do! So I know this is redundant, but I have some new years resolutions I would like to keep, and one of them is to be a better blogger. It will help me remember the cute things in life. (Plus, I put our blog address at the bottom of our Christmas letter, so I should probably at least post something!) Stay tuned for wonderful things this year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, we hope you all had a fabulous Christmas. Despite all the stress beforehand, the day always seems to come and go, and it always seems to work out perfectly! Hope you all enjoyed the lumps of coal you got from Santa! We know our kids all did!
One of the most fun things this year was that Papa Bruce & Grandma June did the "12 days of Christmas" for us. So we got to open one present every day for 12 days! It was so much fun! We especially enjoyed the gift where we put a piece of straw into baby Jesus' manger when we did service for someone else. What a fun gift! Thanks so much!

We always get Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve! This year they came from Papa Jesse & Granny Crystal. Not so "Chrstmas-e," but we liked them better than the lame-o red & white ones we get every year anyway! We had fun spending Christmas with them and were happy to eat the yummy turkey Granny made (oh, and the pumpkin pies, too)!

The two of us on Christmas day. Thanks for making our Christmas wonderful this year, honey! I love you to the moon & back!

We took some pictures of the kids in an attempt to send out Christmas cards with a cute picture. This was one of them. But then I read something (a blog possibly) that my cousin (Shandy possibly) wrote about hating it when people send out Christmas cards with only pictures of the kids on them. They want to see the parents, too, dang-it! So I got so frustrated & mad that I didn't send out any cards! Ha ha ha! Just kidding, I didn't get that far this year with sending out cards and all. In fact, I barely downloaded the pictures from my camera. I guess people will just have to read my blog instead (yes, both of you).

Monday, December 22, 2008

We Survived!

We officially survived most of December! We somehow made it through finals week, moving (again), the stress of finding new jobs, holiday shopping, and starting over in a new ward! However, we haven't managed to send out any Christmas cards yet, so you will have to forgive us, please. It just isn't gonna happen this year. Sorry to those of you who are anxiously anticipating a fabulous card from us. We did manage to get some cute pictures of the kids, though. They will be posted soon. If you are looking for our new address, send us an email or call and we would be happy to give it to you! Love you all and hope your holiday season is filled with love and joy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Give Thanks...

Here are a few of the things I am most THANKFUL for:
- A wonderful family (including parents, in-laws, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, etc.)
- My loving husband who I love and adore (especially his cute smile)
- My beautiful Taylor who is such a great example to those around her
- My Darling Izaak who is such a big helper
- My adorable Isabelle who brings so much joy to our home
- A warm bed to sleep in
- Plenty of food to eat on Thanksgiving
- Good friends
- A wonderful visiting teacher who continues to call me even though I moved
- And especially Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lived and died for us, and is the reason for the season we are all beginning to celebrate

I have so much to be Thankful for! I hope everyone else is as blessed as my family is!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Taylor had a Birthday... Shout HOORAY!!!

So our little Taylor turned 8 in August. Can you believe my baby is already this big??? So Daddy decided that she deserved something "very nice" for her birthday, and he found this cute little kitty for her. She absolutely loves this cat and was very attached to her the moment we got her. The morning of her birthday we woke her up and said we had a surprise for her and didn't tell her what. So we drove her to some random house clear over in the next town, and all the while she was wondering what in the heck we were doing! She didn't have any idea until she knocked on the door and saw the lady there with the kitty for her. What a great surprise! She named her "Fluffy" and we all kinda like her.

And who can turn 8 without receiving a little "Scripture Power???!!!" Needless to say, she was thrilled!!!

School is now in session...

So I know that school started waaaay back in August... but I just have to post our 1st day of school pics! They both look so grown up!

Ikes on his 1st day of 1st grade. He was very excited and especially surprised that he got to stay at school for the WHOLE day... AND eat lunch there! YIPPEE!!!

Tay-Tay on her 1st day of 2nd grade. She was like an old pro... all set and ready to go!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We've Moved!

Sorry to all of you faithful blog followers of mine (well, both of you)! Life has been crazy, crazy busy and my blog has been neglected. We have recently made some major life changes and we have moved! To those of you who know us and love us, feel free to email us and we will give you our new contact information. I will have to catch up on the blog another day when my computer is cooperating and letting me download pictures! Still haven't posted 1st day of school pics, and now my kids have had another 1st day in another school! UGHH!!!