Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Boy time has whizzed by once again! After my last post, the boys came down with swine flu and then Wes and I got it. Someone was sick for about 5 weeks, I was sick for around three. I haven't been sick like that in years! I'm going to blame it on pregnancy, because it seems like I have a harder time getting well when I get sick while I'm pregnant. And then lucky me, morning sickness hit....hard....during the flu, so I've been pretty much flattened for the last two months. I think next year I need to have Christmas done before Halloween. It seems like things get crazy for us before Thanksgiving and we're left to try and make do. I can't complain, things always turn out beautifully, but I would like to have a little more "down time" and "order" during the holidays.
Thinking back to the craziness of the last few months, my heart just swells with gratitude for my boys. Kolton especially, has really grown into the "big brother" role and helped out so much with Micah. I've sent him countless times to fetch things for me. Both boys have started bringing toys into my room to play with me on the bed or near it. Part of me feels so guilty! These poor little guys are so lonely for Mommy that they resort to playing next to her bed. But it was a learning experience for me as well. I thought a lot about Wes's mom, Johanna, during this whole experience (Wes's mom died right before he turned 7, of stomach cancer). How would it be to be so sick and know that you would only get worse, and during the sickness you needed to fill each child's heart full of so much love that they would remember that Mommy always loved them? How would it be to leave four small boys, all under the age of 7, and your husband and best friend? Every time things got to where I felt I couldn't handle it anymore, my thoughts turned toward Johanna. My heart would fill with such gratitude and joy that my sickness and other challenges means not that death is near, but that there is a new life growing inside of me. That is one incredible blessing!
The boys are so excited about the baby. Especially Kolton. We read in "A Child is Born" almost daily and learn about the things growing and developing on our little baby. (today, it is the size of a lemon and has grown fingernails!) How babies grow and develop in utero never ceases to amaze me. What a miracle! It's been so wonderful to share that miracle with my other two miracles. They are growing up so fast it's almost overwhelming to think about. They were two little babies not very long ago, and now they are definitely two little boys! All boy! And the questions Kolton asks me on a daily basis are unbelievable! They are growing and learning so fast it makes me all the more determined to enjoy every minute of it! I love those little boys so much!
Wes has been pretty amazing too. We knew it would be hard with his schedule and how far away he works, but he does his very best to be here when he's home, and he is. He has never complained, or even teased, my very pregnant, sensitive heart about what doesn't get done. He just constantly makes sure things get done for me so that I can rest. (not that there's been tons of that through the holidays, but still) He is such a good person, and such an amazing support for me. He's always there, and he always cares. A lot. Who could ask for a better husband? I am the luckiest girl in the world. He's my very best friend and with him by my side, I can do anything!

The holidays flew by so quickly I am still catching my breath, but they were sure fun! Through the month we got to drive around and look at Christmas lights, be a "secret elf" to a special friend, make gingerbread houses, visit temple square and even go on a carriage ride courtesy of "Bart" the horse, attend family parties, live nativities, listen to Christmas music and play it at home, teach and learn so much more about the Savior and his gifts for us. Exchange many hugs ans kisses, cook enough to feed an army, play in the snow, and snuggle with mugs of hot chocolate by the Christmas tree. Among many other things. It's amazing how much we can cram in there! But we love every minute of it!

This year for Christmas, Wes got me a king-sized bed, compete with pillows and sheets (thanks mom and dad) and a down comforter. My pregnant self is in sheer bliss. We were the recipients of so many wonderful gifts this year, and hopefully the givers of them as well, but I am so excited about one of Wes's presents that I had to share! I decided this year I am going to teach him how to play the piano. He's always wanted to learn, but really knows nothing about music at this point. How sad to grow up without that amazing beauty and peace and exuberance that only music can bring. So this year, I get to bring it to him, and we are very excited. If he can hang in there for a few months I know he will get hooked. I am so excited to see this part of him unfold, as well as share that part of me with him even more. I love this man so stinkin' much!

I've got so much more to write, but two sweet little angel boys are on my bed with a Candyland game, so I guess that's my cue. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas filled with many blessings and miracles and much joy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Bun in the Oven....and Some Ramblings

Wes and I are now expecting the fifth member of our family on June 21, 2010. We are very excited and can't believe it! We have been so blessed to be able to grow our family. Wish us luck as we embark on this pregnancy during the busiest time of our married lives, Wes and I each building a business, raising our two beautiful, sweet boys, taking care of our home and dogs, Wes's extra hours working to pay off debt and build his business, and now we are coming into the holidays. I was feeling a little guilty about feeling so tired so early, but now that I am typing I see how much it really is in addition to the regular day-to-day stuff. I am going to have to work hard to be faithful with my prenatal yoga. It has always given me so much strength, peace, and relaxation during a time where my body feels so different and there are so many stresses and unknowns. For me, yoga gets me through my pregnancy more than any craving(although I have been eating guacamole like crazy!), especially the sciatic nerve and round ligament pain. knock on wood, I never seem to get too terribly sick (believe me, I still get sick, but not like some unlucky women who puke all day every day until the baby comes, I definitely feel better for the most part, after the first part.), but I am in a lot of pain most of the time instead. Honestly, for me, that's probably better anyway.

For now, I am in my quiet house. Wes is still at work, the boys are in bed after a full day or fun and work mixed together. I am getting ready to go do a lia sophia show (and pay a much-needed visit) to my good friend, Michelle, up in Idaho Falls, all by myself. (I don't know if that's ever happened since we've been married.) My mind always seems to be too tired for racing from one thought to the other lately, but I do feel thoughtful. I feel so busy, and I miss m husband. We've been so busy it's our time alone together that's been lacking the most. And I miss him. A lot. He is such a strength to me. He is my love, my best friend. It's times like these, when things get hard, that my love grows for him so much (along with ever other time in our lives). He is such an amazing person. So happy, so giving, so positive. So into his wife and his family. He is such a hard worker. He has more humility and integrity than anyone I know. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed at the fact that we get to be together forever. I have so much hard work to do to be anywhere near as good as he is. How did I get so lucky?

I feel often that the Lord has got something very special in store for our family. We have been showered with so many blessings, and my heart is just constantly so full of gratitude and love and awe. I feel Him there with us all the time, in everything we are doing. Often I wonder what it is He will have us do. Right now it feels like something big is going to happen (although maybe that's because we are about to have another baby...?). I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family, to have the blessing of the gospel in my life, and to have the blessing and privilege if staying at home to be a full-time mommy to my sweet boys who bring me so much joy. I feel how important that job is every single minute of every single day. I hope I raise these boys up to be men like Wes. That's a pretty tall order, but from what I can tell so far, they are pretty incredible people too. It's such a humbling thing to be a mom, and realize that you are supposed to be teaching these incredible little people to be joyful, independent, loving individuals when they already seem to be teaching me so much more than I could ever teach them. I love being a Mommy, and I hope and pray every day that I do a better job than the day before, and that I've made my family, on earth and in heaven, proud of me.

I've been thinking a lot about goals lately. I like to set goals in the fall as well as at the turn of the new year. This time it's been so hard. It seems like there are so many important things going on in our lives right now that it's hard to choose what's most important to work on. For starters I really think we need to get ourselves, alone and together, to the temple a lot more often. I would also love some ideas of how to make my gospel study at home on Sundays more meaningful (Since Wes is in primary, I have to stay home with the boys every single week, and I miss that peaceful little lift I get from church). Any ideas are welcome. I also think right now it's so very important to serve others, and be a good friend. There are so many people I want to reach out to. I also need o find mo ways to cut corners at home so that our time together as a family is quality time, since there's been so little of it lately. My heart just feels so full of excitement and joy and contentment when we are all together. I love my little family so much!

Well, I guess that's all for now. There is still so much to do before I take off. I just wanted to put some thoughts down for now while they are still fresh in my mind.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Do You Think?

I was just curious what everyone's thoughts were on this link. Our family started a tradition of a yearly "major" - a topic we really want to focus on and learn a lot about for the upcoming year. It's been so fun and informative, and truly a blessing as well. Although studying it more in depth than normal (which is a lot, because this has always been an area of interest for me), particularly nutrition and natural healing, has made me realize how little I know, and how much more I want to learn.

This focus for the year has truly been at a time of utmost need. Many of you know, and many of you don't know, that I have struggled with my health for about 5 years now, the most being probably over the past year, starting right before I had emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor off my ovary (along with part of that ovary), and continuing through very recently. I will not say that I am "cured" yet, but I will say that I feel better now than I have felt in a long time, and I have gained the blessing and gift of so much knowledge that I may not have otherwise pursued.

Nutrition has become such an important part of our lives. I'm not going to say we eat perfectly every day, but we are eating much healthier overall. The hardest part is finding FRESH foods, which is still a struggle, and has made our garden that much more important of an asset. I have always wanted my own backyard hobby farm, and now more than ever that is a goal and dream of mine for so many reasons.

The other blessing that has recently come into our lives because of our study and also because of my best friend who cares about me and has hated seeing me so sick, has been a wellness drink called "Mona Vie." Celest and Todd (our friends) stayed up late talking to me about it and some of the miracles they have seen happen when people take this juice. (I'm not calling this "miracle juice" like some people will, but I am more of the opinion that or bodies are nutritionally deficient to some degree or another no matter what we do, and the closer we can get our bodies to the optimum level of nutrition, the better our bodies will be able to heal, and the healthier we will be.) I can tell you a plethora of stories I have heard firsthand from people, but I won't. At this point, since we are still learning so much about this amazing product, I've decided to share with you what it's done for me so far (coupled with cutting back on meat and dairy considerably, but not completely).

In three weeks, my asthma has improved dramatically. (I was told this was probably the first thing that would improve because the body will heal itself from the most recent ailment first, and then move on to the next thing, and so on and so forth.) I have reduced the amount of steroid in my inhaler to half my normal amount. I haven't had to use my rescue inhaler to sleep. I haven't had to use it to groom or play with my dogs, or be outside. I have been able to be active and move more than I've been able to in a year! I'm almost to the point where I can do just about any exercise I want again, which is huge for me because that part's been the biggest struggle for me throughout this whole ordeal. I have started to be able to smell things a little better (my nose was so swollen inside from allergies at my last two doctor appointments) and I haven't had to take my allergy meds in a couple weeks. I'm sleeping better because I'm breathing better, thus I have more energy the next day, and need less sleep than before because I'm not constantly waking up gasping for air. My menstrual cycle came on the "regular" day for the first time since taking birth control pills when we first were married five years ago. I have so much more energy it's not even funny! I rarely get that afternoon "drag" like I did before. I used to fall asleep when I was putting the boys down for a nap, and then be too tired to get anything done while they were sleeping. But now I feel fresh all day long. It's so nice!

Anyway, I won't keep rambling on, but I will continue to share changes in my health as we continue to learn more about nutrition, drink our Mona Vie, and continue to make healthier choices. One of the next things on my list is taking whole food supplements instead of vitamins. Bedtime being at the optimal healing time (10pm-2am aka 10-6) is number one for me right now. Unfortunately it also seems to be the most challenging.

I feel so blessed we are learning so much about our health this year. It has truly changed my life so far in too many ways to count. I have really struggled going through this trial of a lack of health but truly have been given so many precious gifts because of it. Knowledge, passion, empathy for others, gratitude, faith, among others. I feel so very blessed that we have the Word of Wisdom as our guide and the promises and blessing that come with it. Our bodies are so connected spiritually, mentally, and physically. So many spiritual blessings have come from improving our health in addition to the knowledge and physical blessings we have experienced so far.

But that's anther post for another day. I've rambled on enough for now.

But please do me a favor. Read the article, share your opinion, share your knowledge. I want to learn more! Let the debate begin......

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're Back....Almost

Hey everyone, it's been a long, long time since I blogged. And I was behind before that. Our laptop broke and we've been living life with no computer.

Just an iPod touch for over 2 1/2 months.

Yes, pain in the rear. The things we all do to save money right?

Well, in light of a couple new businesses Wes and I are getting involved in, and the inability to document our lives, print much-needed Joyschool and other Eyre articles, and difficulty budgeting without excel or billpay, we finally decided it was time.

The week before, Micah got into the digital camera and dropped it.


It's broken too.

So now we are the happy-but-four-hundred-bucks-poorer owners of a new laptop.

Windows Vista stinks.

But we have a working computer, so it's all good.

Now we have to figure out how to extract all the important files from our old computer and camera and put them on the new computer.

I guess a camera is the next on the replacement list.

So for now I guess I can't catch up or post pictures until further notice. But I'm going to try to journal and update as best I can while we are working hard to catch up with our lovely new expenses. When we figure out how to move the pictures I haven't posted onto this computer, I will have to post little "catch-ups" here and there.

Oh well.

I feel blessed to have a way to pay for "life." We are so blessed and lucky that Wes' field of work is still booming. And even more blessed for the other new business opportunities that have crossed our paths. I will explain more later. It's so exciting!

By the way, Oliver got hit by a car last night.

Lucky for us, he is still alive, and much stronger than last night. But boy howdy was that ever expensive, and I don't think it's over quite yet.

I think it's time for us to consider pet health insurance.

I used to see those pamphlets and laugh that people would do that.

I guess I got humbled.

On a lighter note, we've been extremely busy with many new changes and goals and ambitions. Don't get me wrong, life is so good right now, just really hard, busy, and difficult to get organized and work out the glitches.

I feel kind of like a chicken with its head cut off, but in a good way.

I will post more about it later though because our two adorable little boys came into the room and told me they're hungry. One is soaking wet. The other is eating the endpieces of bread that we'd saved for the ducks.

Boys will be boys.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DC Trip - Day Two - Petting Zoo

On day two of our DC trip we decided to head out to this darling little petting zoo in Virginia (a state we LOVED by the way. Maybe one day we'll explore moving there....) This was the first thing we saw when we walked in the gate. It reminded me of the old Hogle Zoo.Isn't this little guy adorable?! We sure got a kick out of watching his antics. Boy oh boy was he a busy little guy!
Kolton LOVED feeding the animals. He especially loved giving them the bottles. Is this kid ready to be a big brother again or what? (no, that is not an announcement, just an observation) He loves animals almost as much as Mommy!This is what Micah wanted to do the whole time. He just kept running back to this little merry-go-round, over and over again. What a cutie pie!
Kolton rather enjoyed it too. He waved every time he passed us.
After walking around for a bit, we decided to do the little zoo hay ride. We hopped on the trailer and they drove us through this big open area with a lot of different kind of animals, all roaming free together. It was fun!

This is a baby bison. I can't remember how much they said he weighed, but eight hundred pounds sticks out in my head for some reason. He had a long black tongue and he stuck it out way far to get any food because his mouth was so huge. This ostrich followed us the entire time. We all thought he was pretty funny following us like a puppy dog!
I forgot what they called these guys. But apparently they originated out of Egypt and were the first cows ever domesticated. They were HUGE. And the picture does not do their horns justice. They were very thick and I think he said they were six feet wide....I can't remember. But this one was a baby. There was another one that was even bigger, but my pictures of him aren't too wonderful. The camels were a favorite for all of us. They have the longest eyelashes!
Here's our little buddy again. The boys laughed until they cried when we finally gave him some food. They thought the way he ate was hilarious.
Exploring the rest of the zoo was fun too....
It was do gorgeous and green there! The water was absolutely breathtaking. The boys loved that there were ducks and turtles in the pond. It was so exciting for them to see the little turtles' heads popped up all over the pond, waiting to see of we had any snacks for them.
The boys really got into the sandbox too! It was so fun watching them play together!
We couldn't get Kolton to open his eyes; the sun was in his face, but this was too cute to pass by!
After we left the zoo, the boys crashed in the car for two hours! Wes and I drove around a few Virginia neighborhoods before heading back to our hotel. Driving around anywhere out there was such a treat with all the green. We rather enjoyed the longer drives to get from here to there. All in all, the second day of our DC adventure was a huge success!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

DC Trip - Day One

I keep putting off posting anything about this trip because it's a little overwhelming to me. And I'm not too happy about how my pictures turned out. (I couldn't figure out how to turn my flash off and it bleached out many a picture.) But it was such a fun trip and we truly fell in love with all the greenery of the East. This was one of the first trips our family has taken by ourselves, and the first time the boys ever rode on and airplane.

Boy oh boy were we rushing to get there. We got to the airport in okay time, but didn't realize that economy parking would be so darn crowded! We drove around for a half hour or so looking for a parking spot. Once we found one, we had to lug the boys, the stroller, the car seats, and 6 suitcases, a diaper bag, and more to the shuttle, which arrived right after we parked. It was crazy! Wes had to take two trips and he ran to catch the bus.

We decided on the way that it was a must to have a Skycap help us. Once we got there, our flight was so close to leaving that he couldn't check us in! We ran as fast as we could with all our stuff and all the security checks. Our big suitcase was 8 pounds overweight as well, so we had to shift a few things around.

We barely made it! We got to the gate and it was like the movies. The people at the gate knew who we were and got us right on the plane. Phew! Now we could stop and catch a breath!

Our flight left on time and went off without a hitch. I don't remember for certain, but I think we arrived in DC twenty minutes early as well.

The real lifesaver of the flight was these handy little TVs on the back of each seat. Between
cartoons and the DVDs we brought, we were set, and the boys stayed occupied the entire time. I was absolutely stunned. I wish they were this good at church.....
When I see happy faces like this of travelling families I never believe them. Now I do, because lucky for us, this is how it really was. I'm excited to travel more often now that I know we can survive it!

After our flight, and for the rest of the week, we had the blessing and wonder of driving through this:
We were in awe of the pure beauty of Maryland and Virginia. I could never get used to all the green. It was absolutely breathtaking!
Ashley's parents (my new sis-in-law) invited us over for pizza that night, so off we went to their house straight from the airport. Another plus was that the rental car place had extra vans, so they upgraded us for free. Boy oh boy did that extra space some in ever so handy! Plus, the boys slept pretty darn well in there. It was so comfy and roomy.
I wish I'd gotten some pictures of the Archibalds' house. It is beautiful. But it was hard to photograph because of all the surrounding trees. It had a big, long driveway we went down to get there. That was so nice because once we got out of the car we were far away from the street. Such a nice way to ease a tired, travelling mommy's mind.
The trees there were equally breathtaking. I think I drove Margaret (Ashley's mom) crazy with all my questions of what plants and trees were called and what they planted and what was existing and so on and so forth. The picture below was a tree she couldn't name, but I loved it. The tree behind it is a huge magnolia tree.
The boys thought they'd died and gone to heaven. The weather was perfect, they got pizza for dinner, and they had unlimited space (4+acres) to just run around in. And run they did. They ran and ran and ran. They collected sticks, ran, jumped on the trampoline, ran, played ball, ran, hunted for bugs, ran, rolled in the grass, and ran. They loved it. It was so fun to be out of town and have nothing to do but just play with and enjoy them. Man oh man did they ever sleep good that night!
I love the looks of pure joy they had on their faces. Their eyes, their whole faces just lit up and stayed lit. The whole time. It was heavenly.

We had such a fun night. It was really fun to finally meet Ashley's family. I was so happy with the way that day turned out. I was prepared for the worst and we were blessed with such a great start to our vacation. Stay tuned for the rest of our trip!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Favorite Blog to Stalk

I am completely obsessed with the Eyres. I've talked about them before, but if you somehow missed it they are amazing! I frequent their website and read every book I can get my hands on. I also have enjoyed reading a few of their blogs (I told you....obsessed!). My favorites are Linda and Richard's blog, and their three daughter's blogs. One of their daughter, Shawni Eyre Pothier, is my kindred spirit. She speaks straight to my heart with every post.

I can't keep hogging her all to myself anymore. I have to share. She's getting too good for me to keep a secret anymore.

She's posted some pretty amazing and useful links lately. Shawni is a very talented photographer and recently posted her five best photography tips. You can see some of her pictures and read some of her tips at and a YouTube video of her talking about her photo tips (and her amazing new book she wrote with her mom) at

But my all-time favorite post ever so far she's written is this one:
It's all about surrendering to motherhood. It's very moving and positive. It really inspired me to get going on a couple things I've been wanting to do lately. It also gave me a much needed lift and reassurance that I'm doing the right thing when I choose to eliminate things out of my life that take me too far from my family. She's such a great writer. And I love Iris Krasnow too! (see? kindred spirits)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Newest Additions - In the Fur

I haven't had a chance yet to formally introduce the newest additions to the Stewart clan.

This is Tucker. Or "Twilight's Mister Big Stuff" which may be the more fitting name for him.
He's an American Cocker Spaniel. He's a little darling who thinks Kleenexes are the greatest thing since playing fetch. But a good ol' squirt bottle seems to be doing the trick just fine. He's definitely a busier, more mischievous puppy than Chance ever was or ever will be. But he's got big, baby doll brown eyes that melt our hearts and keep us patient while he learns the ropes around here and uses my garden as his personal digging area, snack bar, and cozy bed. But all in all, he is learning, and we will be fencing in the garden anyway. He loves to play, and he "sings" along when music plays, he walks great on a leash, and offers all the love and snuggles we could ever ask for. He's going to keep me pretty busy for awhile, but he's got the "it" factor that make a great dog. And I can't wait until he's old enough to do agility. He's a fast lil' guy! He definitely gives Chance a run for his money when we are playing fetch with them!

We didn't plan on adding two right away, more like one right away, then later add the other. But due to the growing vole issues and our Chance's gentleness towards them, we decided we had to push up the "cat" thing since we'd tried everything else. I think since our fence is right on the "natural vegetation" (more like hideous landscaping) out here, it's something we will deal with the whole time we live out here. Especially since they have found the carrots and potatoes in my garden, and even some of my strawberries, to be so scrumptious. Everyone I talked to seemed to only have success with cats. We finally decided we'd had enough and gave in. When I went to pick up Chance from the vet after our trip, there were some rescued kittens there. The vet said they were found in abandoned garage. I resisted until I saw two little boys giggling and delighted over this darling black and white swirly thing. Then my heart melted. I called Wes. His heart melted. So we came home that day with not only Chance but Oliver too, the newest addition...
I've never had a cat before. But boy howdy are they ever fun! He is so cute with the boys. He gets mauled all day and just eats it all up. He's carried around and chased and teased and purrs the whole time. He comes running to the door when we get home, jumps on on our laps for snuggles and cute little kitty kisses, and even sits patiently when I clip his nails and bathe him. We love watching him jump on grocery bags and chase his favorite green, sparkly ball. He adds so much to our family. I never knew how loveable kitties could be. Now I truly can't imagine a home without one!
Kolton loves Oliver so much! Well, actually both boys do. But it's hard to photograph Micah with him because he's usually trying to pick him up by his tail, chasing him, squirting him with water, etc. I can't believe the poor kitty keeps coming back for more! It's been a huge relief to have some fun entertainment around for the boys! He sure keeps them occupied for hours.
You may think all these little guys are a lot of work. They sure are! But they are worth every minute and keep us laughing. Chance is tickled pink to have another dog around, and so are we. There really is nothing like a Cocker Spaniel, and we are so excited to finally have another cheerful, merry, cocker bouncing around our house, keeping us laughing every day. And we are so glad we decided to give a cat a chance too, because boy are they fun! (now all he needs to do is grow bigger and kill me some voles!)
Welcome to the Stewart home little furballs. We love you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Memorial Day

Our Memorial Day weekend was a bit slower than usual this year. But it was a welcome change of pace after our trip in DC, the new puppy and kitten, the usual summer craziness to put in the yard, and more sickness. It was nice to have a pretty relaxing weekend together.

I don't remember doing anything Friday or Saturday worth mentioning. Wes was working, and everyone was recovering from a nasty sinus infection. I think we took it easy. We may have gone to the kiddie pool or something, but I don't remember.

Sunday we went to Wes' mom, Johanna's grave. She died of stomach cancer when my sweet Wes was only 6 years old. I think of her often, and I love to hear about what she was like. After all, half my husband's genes came from her. Boy oh boy is she ever missed. I am excited for the day I will finally meet her.

Some years we go there and visit and pretty much feel like we're there talking to ourselves. Some years she's there. She was definitely there this year. I think we were both overcome with emotion. The other interesting thing for me was Wes talking about going to the cemetery all the time as a young boy. I figured his dad would have, but I had just never really thought about things from his perspective. Being mostly women that talk about things, I always picture being so sick and leaving four little children to grow up without me. I can't imagine how heartbreaking and difficult that would be! But thinking about being the one who stays here on earth, expected to pick up the pieces and move on, is equally gut wrenching in my book. Where would you even begin to live again after losing your best friend? How would you take care of your children, be their pillar of strength in such a trying time? How do you move on? Man oh man I hope I never have to find out! But I was glad I got to think of it all from a new a different perspective. I can't even imagine how your faith would grow going through something like that. I feel so blessed to have such a strong testimony of the gospel and the Plan of Salvation. I'm equally glad I share those two things with my husband and best friend, and that we were married in the temple for time and all eternity. What a comforting thought. What a blessing.

I wonder how many of our kids grandma Johanna is playing with while we are growing our family?

Monday Wes decided he wanted to play in another volleyball tournament. I wasn't too happy about it, since we had decided that our new family tradition for Memorial Day was going to be going to Lagoon together, but it turned out okay. The boys are really young anyway, so one more year of all-day volleyball doesn't hurt too much, right? Anyway, Wes took off early that morning, and we moseyed on over as soon as we were fed, napped, and ready. Shortly after we got there, Wes and his partner (forgot his name) totally crushes the other team in the finals and took first place! I was so proud. And boy howdy is he sexy when he's playing volleyball! Wes played so well, and he's been jonesenin' for first for awhile, so he was delighted! He won a nice outdoor volleyball, a t-shirt, and a camping chair. Way to go, Babe! Love you!

After we left, we headed over to the Northmoor pool to meet my family there. It was so cold and windy that we sure as heck didn't feel like swimming, but Kolton did. Man oh man that kid is a diehard! After swimming we headed to my parents' house to play games. Wes and I were so tuckered out by that point that we sat down on the couch and crashed. Slept the party away. Bummer. But it was nice to relax. Off we went home after that and slept like babies. That was probably one of the best parts. I guess that officially makes us a boring married couple right? Oh well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mothers' Day

I haven't had a chance yet to blog about my wonderful Mothers' Day. But I haven't forgotten it. It was busy, but wonderful.

Don't you just love belonging to that wonderful club we call "being a mom?"

I know I sure do.

My sister, Melinda, and I had been trying to figure out what to give my mom for quite a while. We knew she loved the brunch we did at Gardner Village last year (one of the best - highly, highly recommended), but we weren't sure how we'd pull it off with all the kiddos. Finally, we decided (along with cute Jesse) that we would bring that brunch to her. We cooked up a storm for most of Saturday night and Sunday morning. We made everything from ham and cheesy potatoes to Norwegian pancakes and chocolate fondue. We cooked tons and tons of food! Whew!
But it turned out so delicious, and so special. It was such a fun way to start Mothers' Day. I actually enjoyed cooking all that food, even more than I thought I would. Now I get why people love to cook on Thanksgiving. And boy howdy was my mom surprised. I can't believe she had no idea. The poor woman went to church without having eaten any breakfast.....

After brunch was over, we headed to Wes' uncle Pieter's house for the annual Wouden family Mothers' Day potluck. It was so fun! Wes and I actually fot to play a little volleyball together. We hardly ever get to play at the same time like that. It was fun! And of course always fun to enjoy the good food and even better company. We don't get to see the Woudens enough. They are such a fun and loving family.

My thoughtful, sweet hubby got me a darling window box and hose holder for Mothers' Day. I will post pictures when we've got everything rigged up on the house. It seriously is the cutest window box ever! I'm so excited to fill it with flowers! I've wanted one ever since we moved into our house. How fun to finally get one. :)

But for me, my two favorite parts of Mothers' Day are cards and just being together. I think most moms would agree that a few words of appreciation and love can go a long way. My mom started this new tradition where she writes us letters in Mothers' Day. I so wanted to start that this year but ran out of time since we left for DC two days later and I was scrambling around trying to get us ready. (Pictures of our trip to come, I've had some techmical difficulties.) I think it's a really special tradition and one I will definitely do next year. My mom always thinks of the most thoughful things and makes me (and everyone else) feel like a million bucks. I don't know how she does it sometimes, but what a great example of a mother's love she has set for me!
I just thought I'd give a little shout out to every mom who reads this. You are amazing! The things you do every day, the words you say, the hugs and kisses, the endless prayers and faith, the time and energy you put into what you do is just incredible. There aren't many jobs as difficult as this one, but definitely none are more memorable, special, and rewarding. How blessed your children are to have you on their side! I'm sure they all know that you love them no matter what they do, and that you'll always be there. There is nothing more magical than a "Mommy's kiss" in one way or another to make things better. We are so powerful. ;) Thank you for your wonderful, devoted, Christlike example of love and charity. You make a difference in the world more than you'll ever realize.

I was listening to a John Bytheway CD the other day. He was talking about different Book of Mormon characters and their attitudes. When he came to the Stripling Warriors he stressed over and over how important a role these boys' mothers played in preparing them for such a battle. In the scpitures it mentions the mothers several times. It is always a good reminder for me to think about that, or even go back and read it (and the many other parts in the scriptures that mentions moms) and realize what a noble and holy calling being a mom is. There is really nothing else more important (except maybe being a good wife, but I think you have to go hand in hand to do either the right way) than raising great children in such a daunting, scary world. It's so amazing to me that just about every dynamic, accomplished person in our history credits his/her mother to helping them become who they are. What an incredible thought! Linda Eyre says in all her books that being a mother is like being a gardner. We are raising all these different kinds of seeds into beautiful, strong flowers. Every seed needs a different mix of fertilizer, water, sunshine, and care to grow up to be the beautiful flower they are. What a neat analogy! Boy oh boy I have noticed me two little "seeds" are very different! But the other part that awes me is how I love them the same. What a blessing that is!

I could go on and on at how amazing it is to me that we are blessed with such an incredible and special responsibilty. But just know that what you do every day, whether acknowledged or not, doesn't go unnoticed. Your kids (and this means me too, Mom) think you are the greatest thing in the world. I bet they want to be just like you when they grow up. :) What a pleasure and a blessing to be a member of the neatest club in the world.

Moms, you truly are angels on earth!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Micah's Birthday Party

We had a little birthday party for Micah recently. It was so fun! We had our families over, and it was fun to see everyone again. Micah sure had a ball.....

Here is the cake I made for Micah. I took him to the store and let him pick out his own cake. I was sure he's pick a ball. But he saw Elmo and was in love. It was funny because we don't have tv, and we don't watch much tv, and I'm pretty sure he has no idea who Elmo is. He saw the mold and started growling like a monster. He's so funny! Anyway, I thought it turned out pretty cute. Much easier to frost than Lightning McQueen. :)

Here's cute little Abby playing with the ribbons on the presents. She did this most of the night. Boy howdy were they fascinating!

This is the only decent picture I got if Micah unwrapping presents. He wasn't really into the whole present thing much at all. We finally let all the kids pick a present to open for him and show him. Everyone loved that idea. Micah would glance up at most of the gift, and then continue to be occupied with whatever it was he was doing. But all that changed when we lit the candles on the cake and sang.....I loved the way his sweet little face lit up with the candles and singing. (Actually, one of the presents we got him was a pretend birthday cake with pretend candles. Singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing the "candles" is a several-times-a-day occurrence at our house lol.)

He did finally begin playing with his gifts once the candles were over. He loved them all (thanks everyone!) Here he is with cute Jason playing ball of course.
Thanks everyone who came. It means so much to us and the boys. And thanks for your wonderful gifts. We love you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Sweet Boy is 2....

Micah turned 2 last month. I can't believe a month has already gone by. I didn't want to miss the chance to celebrate my little Micah and how much we all love him. So here goes....
I found out I was pregnant with Micah when I had just had baby Kolton a few months earlier. Although the thought of having two little ones was a little overwhelming, we were absolutely tickled. Wes and his younger brother are 15 months apart, and we always wanted to have 2 kids close together like that, so it was a welcome surprise. Here is Micah with his Poppy (my dad). Since we were in Utah this time around, my parents were able to be there when he was born. Being pregnant with Micah was so different than being pregnant with Kolton. Kolton never quit moving. Ever. Micah hardly moved at all. I felt him move maybe 10 times or less during that pregnancy. I never really got used to it. But I did sleep a little better because of it. But now I realize that children are different from the moment they are conceived. Micah is such a mellow, easygoing kid. He definitely has 2-year-old energy. But not like Kolton. Here he is being initiated into the crew of kids right from the start. He was such a trooper. He's the best kids of all the kids at sharing. I think it's a combination of that sweet personality and learning to share from day one. I went into early labor with him at 35 1/2 weeks. Luckily, they were able to stop the labor and he stayed put until I was 39 weeks. My labor with him was so much better! I was an 8 1/2 when I got to the hospital and definitely feeling it. But they quickly gave me a spinal so I wouldn't have to wait for the epidural to kick in and I was able to relax and enjoy giving birth rather than screaming through it like I did with Kolton. He came out in 2 contractions an hour and a half after we arrived at the hospital. He was 8 lbs. 2 oz. He had even more hair than Kolton. The nurses loved him, he was so good-natured. They loved playing with his hair and took every opportunity to take him so they could play with it and style it. So lucky for him, he got extra good care because he was so adorable. :) Here's Micah and Kolton's first meeting. How sweet...I feel bad because I don't remember as much with Micah. It was all such a blur. Wes was still in school, we moved to our house, and I had a one-year-old. But I also think part of that was that he just went along with whatever was going on. He was just happy being with everyone, observing everything going on around him.
He has such a sweet, precious smile. It melts my heart every time.He loved sleeping on his tummy. Still does. Except now he creeps up to the corner of the crib.His first haircut. I was so sad to see all his long hair go. But Wes didn't like it and after all, he isn't a girl. best friend, Celest, came over and gave him a baby mohawk.
Micah took so long to walk. He just liked being carried everywhere. He liked being the baby. He still does, I think. He was 17 1/2 months when he first started walking. This is his first birthday party. He loved the ribbons and bows on all the presents. They tasted pretty darn good.Mmmm....cake ain't so bad either.Micah is a little thumbsucker. Gets that from Mommy (I sucked mine until the fourth grade) He sure loves that cute little thumb!Here he is sitting in the stroller at one of Wes' volleyball tourneys. He's always such a good sport about it. He really likes to be out in the sunshine.
More of that adorable smile I love.

Where there's a ball, Micah will be there also....
Micah is Wes' twin. I had to laugh when I saw this picture. My two handsome boys.
I can't even begin to describe how much we love and enjoy this sweet, precious spirit. He adds so much life and joy into our home. I love hearing his squeals of delight when he wakes up every morning. I love the way he has to kiss everyone he meets. I love the way he snuggles when I tuck him in bed at night, and how he blows kisses every chance he gets. And candles. One of his favorite things to do is pretend to blow out candles. All the time. Seriously. It's hilarious. He also has a hidden talent. He can whistle. Yup. He's been able to whistle for months. I still have to laugh when I see it! He's such a little jewel. I love his bog heart and the way he hugs, kisses, shares, and genuinely cares and loves others. Especially Kolton. They are definitely brothers and best friends. We are all so blessed to have this sweet little bundle of joy in our home. Happy Birthday Micah! We love you!


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