Friday, July 15, 2011

another blogging vacation

Man alive, we have been BUSY here!

We have lots of good things happening, and so many I want to document.  I think at this point though I am going to have to resolve to make a list for "after we're moved and settled" because my head is constantly swimming with overwhelm from all of the things I have on my plate right now.

Yes, you read that right....we are moving!  The official date is in mid-August, but Kolton is starting Kindergarten right after, and we are going to the Croxford family reunion at Bear Lake right before.  In addition to all that craziness, Wes has been picking up extra shifts all over the valley for two reasons: 1) to hopefully aid in his transfer out of his current location and save him some commute time and 2) to have some extra money to save, move with, and supply our new, much larger yard with a few things for the kids (and adults) to play with, and hopefully a used riding mower (we hear that mowing the lawn there with a push mower takes over three hours). 

We are both so grateful that Wes has such a secure, wonderful job that is has been able to get a little flexibility (hopefully) for the next few weeks, and that he is able to get any work hours at all, let alone so many extra.  I don't want to ever take that for granted.  Ever.

That being said, I am a little bit beside myself about what in the world I am going to do to hold this family together and preserve the fun and happy memories and moments of summer while scrambling - on my own - to pack this house, prepare for a vacation, and have an absent (and extremely hardworking and amazing)husband.  Our 7th anniversary is also in the middle of everything, but we opted to put of celebrating until we are a little bit settled and then we will go give ourselves a little break!

Today I've done at least 10 loads of laundry and dealt with three out-of-control-because-the-routine-is-off kids.  I am running out of patience and my energy left days ago.  I am attempting to take a step back and figure out how to take care of myself in the midst of everything so my healing will continue instead of regressing.  I am going to need to be MAJOR organized, disciplined, and committed to making this all work.  I'm definitely motivated, but at the same time I am already burned out.  I am currently at a loss as to how to pull it all together, and definitely open to suggestions!  Wes doesn't have a real day off until we leave for Bear Lake, so depending on him is out.....he is already overextended as well.  I really, really hope I can do all this in a way that will still somehow lend to some margin and rest, and I do think it's possible, but only if I can get it together right away.

I am so overwhelmed I don't even know where to start.  I just want so much to soak up and hold onto what's left of summer.  I'm not ready to send my baby to kindergarten, and I want to make sure there is ample time for spending time together while summer is still around.  For some reason I am having a really hard time getting used to the fact that Kolton will be gone from me five mornings a week in just five short weeks from now.  I don't feel anywhere near ready to let him go.  I just want to be with him and the rest of my sweet family as much as possible until the school year begins.  I don't want him to go to kindergarten off-routine and feeling neglected because Mommy has been busy with moving and Daddy has been busy working.  I want to make sure he knows that he and his brothers are my number one (after Wes of course) and I love them more than anything in the world. 

My mom advised me to get rid of anything extra that might free up some time.  Although I find blogging to be very therapeutic and fun, I also feel very strongly right now (I'm such a genius huh?  ;) that I need to take a little break until I have my feet under me again.  If I throw a post or two up here and there between mid-August, it's because I needed to for my sanity, or even better, maybe I will be able to pull it together if I get a good start on all if this.  But for now, I am excusing myself from the blogging world for a few weeks as I busily and happily prepare for and EMBRACE so many fun and exciting adventures that lay ahead for our family. 

I feel so blessed for the direction things are going.  I can just feel in my bones all the good things coming our way, and I need to make room for them.  I am grateful we found a great home with an awesome yard in the school boundaries we wanted (Kolton and my little brothers, Nathan and Josh, will all be attending kindergarten together), I am so grateful Wes has been able to pick up so many hours at work, and I am excited to take a little more time up at Bear Lake this year and give ourselves a little break in the middle of all the craziness.  I know we will need it and enjoy every minute of it.

So for now, I am signing off.  I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your summer also!  Wish me luck!


Monday, July 11, 2011


Here are a few favorites from our trip to Thanksgiving Point gardens a few weeks ago.  We love that is heaven on earth.  Really.

rare moment

Me and my boys.  I love being a mommy!

saddle up!

A few months back, Wes and I bounced around a few ideas of how to get me on a was something a few doctors recommended for healing.  Being the horse-lover I am, I was gung-ho over the idea, and Wes was in too.  He was happy I'd found something I wanted to do for me - like his volleyball.  Happy parents make happy kids, right?

Well, I found a gal out here that is a horse trainer and teaches lessons on the side.  She is fabulous, and has been teaching me a lot about horse care, tacking up, etc. so that when we get some horses a few years down the road, we will be prepared and ready for that big step.

I love horses. I love riding.  Right now, it is definitely where I want to be.  I get a good workout, and I get my spirit fed.  I love the human-animal connection, and I find riding to be very therapeutic.  I look forward to my next encounter just as I am leaving my last.  The days I am riding are the best days for me....I LOVE it.

When I found this horse gal, Kolton decided he wanted in on it.  Wes and I talked and decided he was old enough, and that it might be good for him to find something that's challenging and confidence building.  (I also read a fabulous article, here, and we are definitely going to be implementing some of these strategies into it as well.)  The instructor told us that we could pop him up after my lesson and see how he did.

He did great!

He loved it.  It's kind of overwhelming to see my little baby on that big horse, but my heart just swells with pride at the way he faced his fears (over such a big horse) and hopped right on and showed that horse who was boss!

This is Cass:
He's a sweetheart.  And here is Kolton.  I love that smile!
 This is his second week.....getting a little more comfortable.
 He loves to untack the horse.  He particularly likes hosing the horse off afterwards.
 Kolton now is obsessed with horses.  Here he is at Wheeler Farm.
I'm glad that  I have a little buddy to share my love of horses with.  Hopefully the horse bug will spread through the rest of the family, but for now I am content having something special to share with my big boy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

landon - my cute new nephew

There really are not a whole lot of things more sweet than babies.
 And this little guy is no exception.
 I am a sucker for baby bellies and baby feet.  Don't you just want to kiss them?  I do.
 He's starting to show me a little smile...

 I also love all his hair!  So soft and touchable....I don't think any of us can keep our hand off of it!


 This little moment floods me with memories of Kolton and Micah.  It is SO busy having two that close together!  But so fun.  And they were best buddies from the start.  I think these two will be also.
So glad I had the oppotunity to sneak some pictures of this little cutie!  We love him so much!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

my little buddies

I love being a mommy.  I love the challenges and the rewards and everything in-between.  I love how all three of my little boys are so VERY different and so very much them and no one else.

I often wonder why they were sent to me.....of all the mommies in the world, these three little spirits were sent to me.  What is it that I am capable and supposed to teach them?  What are they going supposed to teach me?  Will I do my Heavenly Father proud?  Will I let Him down?  Will I send them off into the world in a way that strengthens them and helps them to be happy, confident, content, faithful, giving, kind, strong individuals, all in their own way?

I often wonder - how?

It's an amazing thing to be a mother, but it is also often overwhelming.  Especially when three boys are all so different.  I feel like I never know if I am doing them right sometimes.  It's scary, exhausting, frustrating, and at times, lonely.

But then I see this:
 or this:
 or this:
....and then I am flooded with gratitude and love, and a confirmation that I am doing my best, and that my best is good enough.  I love being a mommy more than anything else in the world (except for maybe being a wife, but that's another post for another day), and for all the tough moments and rough patches, there are hundreds more moments of laughter and love and sweetness that could never come from anything else.  Being a mom has made me a much better person.  It makes me see the good in the everyday, mundane things that I do all the time.  It helps me find the sweet moments of joy tucked away inside days of folding laundry, changing poopey diapers, and scrubbing the kitchen floor.  I receive kisses and hugs.  I get to kiss "owies" better, read bedtime stories, hear my boys giggling, witness and help them discover the world and all that's in it.  Even just now my son, Kolton, poked his head through the door to hand me a "flower" (aka morning glory weed) he found outside.  And then I begin to think that maybe, just maybe, I will be able to raise these boys right.

I am not alone.  I have the power of faith and prayer and Heavenly Father on my side.  I feel Him there, always, guiding me to the next important steps on this daunting and overwhelming task of raising children.  He won't let me down.  I have the love swelling from my heart, the love that miraculously grows stronger with each passing day.  I feel peace knowing with a surety that I will always love my children, no matter what.  They are my treasures in this life, and they know it.  When I surrender to the fact that all I can do is my best, I realize that by best is already more than I ever dreamed I was capable of, and that being a mommy is already better than I ever imagined.

happy fathers' day....a little late

I know it's late, but I just couldn't let the opportunity to brag about this guy pass me by:

Fathers' Day was like Mothers' Day this year.....quite simple and almost nonexistent.  Wes had to work, so we just hung out at home when he got home.  We had a yummy "guy dinner" of spare ribs, baked potatoes, and asparagus, and we just relaxed and enjoyed being together as a family.  I made Wes, my dad, and Lee (Wes' dad) all t-shirts, which turned out great!  All in all, I'm glad it's not so simple every year, but this year, I think it was just what Wes needed (and the rest of us).  It's been a little crazy here with trying to find a home, working extra hours, trying to continue recovering, and just living life.  It's nice sometimes to have a little time to just be.

I love Wes.  And I don't know of too many children who love their Daddy as much as our boys love Wes.  He is such an incredible father.  He's a "jump-right-in-and-get-involved" kind of guy.  He's always there to support, play, snuggle, teach, and lead.  He keeps us all laughing and makes as all feel like a million bucks to be around him.  He is a great big ball of positive energy who inspires all around him with his humble and quiet way of demonstrating love and enthusiasm for life and all that's in it.  He's such a kind, sensitive person who is always giving to everyone around him.  I feel so inadequate, but so proud to be his wife I thank my lucky stars every day that we get to share eternity together as best friends.  Love you, Babe.
You see the way Jonah is looking at Wes?  That is the way all the boys look at him.  Total admiration and excitement.  They light up when he is around, and he continues to give them more and more reasons to radiate joy and happiness when he is around.
There's that sweet look again.  There's no Daddy around quite like Wes.  Thank you, Babe.  Thanks for being a great "Team Stewart" captain: a diaper changing, "owie" kissing, fun-loving, hard working, selflessly serving, love-giving dad.  I couldn't ask for a better example for our boys of what it is to be a good man, a Christlike person, and an amazing husband.  I love you more than words can ever say, and you have made our lives happier, more fulfilling, and full of joy than I ever thought possible.  Thank you for all you do and are...I could never have known how much better than my dreams you are, and I feel so blessed to have you as the father of our children.  Thank you for being better than I ever imagined.  Thank you for loving me and our children.  Thanks for taking such great care of've provided for us not only by what you do at work each day, but also by the "in the trenches" work you do from the minute you walk in the door each night.  I love you for that.  I feel like your ability to give and give and give is really a big part of what makes our family so wonderful and so close.  It inspires me.

We love you, Babe.  We hope you really do know that we think you are the:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

back on the ice

Yesterday I did something that I hadn't done in over 9 years.

It felt good.

Really, really good.

I went ice skating.

"What's the big deal?" you ask?  Well, figure skating was my life for about 5 or 6 years, up until my parents went through a tight financial time and I had to give it up.

At the time, it was devastating for me.  It was especially hard because one of my fellow skaters went to school with me, and I got to hear all about everything I was missing all the time.  I was happy for her, but it was hard to hear about all the skating I was missing and that I loved so deeply.  Being on the ice was therapeutic for me, and I felt a little lost without it sometimes.

But in hindsight, I am grateful it happened.  Figure skating was not good for my self-esteem.  For many reasons I won't go into, I never felt more ugly, self-conscious, and low as I did when I was into figure skating.  I loved it, but it didn't always love me back.  But I am grateful I got the opportunity to do it and for the things it did teach me.  There was a lot more positive experience in it for me than there was negative.  I am only saying that when the time came for me to quit, it was for the best.  I didn't feel bad all the time or anything, but I was definitely entering a stage in my life where the times when I was struggling with loving myself could have gotten much deeper and much worse.  They could have been better too, who knows?  but these are the things I remind myself about when I feel the pangs of pain from giving up something I loved so deeply.

Skating taught me that there are things in life worth getting up early for (I got up before school and practiced).  I learned to work hard at things (like jumps) that were challenging and darn near impossible sometimes.  I learned that the harder something is to accomplish, the bigger and sweeter the feeling of accomplishment is when I keep at it and finally achieve.

I also had some of my major bonding time with my dad in my life.  My dad faithfully came with me every morning to practices, watched attentively, and critiqued my jumps, spins, and moves.  He really taught me to pay attention to detail and to put in the extra work it sometimes takes to do things the right way, because in the long run it ends up being less work when you don't have to go back and fix a problem.  I felt the love and support from both of my parents, but seriously, what dad do you know that would learn to enjoy his daughter's figure skating?  (He didn't have any boys at the time, and this was about as close to sports as he could get haha.)  But he did, and it's stuck with me all these years, and it's made me a better person because of it.  I know from his own example that you can grow to love something because someone you love does. 

Anyway, yesterday I got a sitter for the boys, grabbed my old skates, and headed to the rink for a public skate.  When I arrived, there were these three darling little old men who were also lacing up their figure skates.  Two out of the three were ex-competitors, the other was a man who grew up in Minnesota and skated his entire life because that's what everybody did.  It felt a little weird to be hanging out with three old guys, but I was grateful for the company and encouragement as I took my first wobbly strides.

It started to come back fast.  Obviously I can't jump as high, am not as flexible, and get a little overly dizzy on the spins, but I was amazed still at what my body could remember without much effort.  It was really fun and definitely soul-feeding.  Those cravings of physical self-expression and dancing that had been trapped inside for the past nine years came racing out and I felt like I was home.

It only lasted about 45 minutes (I'd mixed up the times for when the public skate started), but as I sit here today with a swollen, bruised ankle (forgot I used to wear ankle pads...oops!) I realize it was enough for my first time back.  I had fun doing something a little girly for a change - that doesn't happen very often when you live in a house full of boys.

I'm not sure when I will go back....I'd love to go often.  Skating is a stress relief for me....I can release all my worries and pain when I skate.  I have time to think.  I have time to focus on other things that take my mind off my worries, and I get a good feeling of accomplishment when I do something right that I've been working on.  I get "in the zone" for sure.  And man alive I haven't sweat that much since I had to give up kettlebells!  It is a killer workout, and one that you don't notice how much work you are doing or how hard your heart is pumping until you stop.  The coolness of the rink makes it easy to ignore how your body is heating up.  I love it!

But, the closest rink is 40 minutes from home, and I just don't think I can justify doing it solely for a workout.  Wes thinks I should think about it because it's therapeutic, and it could be very healing for me while that is the focus.  Plus, exercise is never a bad thing, especially since now the doctor has not only given me the go-ahead, but he is recommending it in this part of my healing and probably from now on.  Wes thinks if it's good exercise and I'm releasing stress, then why not?

I will probably drop by here and there, and I will have a ball when I do.  And I am really glad I took the time yesterday to take care of my needs and do something I enjoyed for a little while.  When I arrived home I was ready to tackle the rest of my day with a much lighter mood and much less effort (you know how everything is harder on burnout).  And my mind is definitely partly on the ice today as I think about what kind of exercise I will fit into my day today.  I feel so grateful to have a body that's healing and have the experiences and wisdom that I've gained from going through the challenges I have this year.  The things I have learned (and some I am still learning) have been and are going to be really good for me and our family.
All in all, it was good to be back!


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