Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our new adventure (still exhausted)

I took more than a year off of blogging. Not on purpose. It's been a whirlwind few years, and things are quite different.
A week before Christmas 2012 Jake's bosses asked us if we would consider relocating, as they were working on expanding. We were blindsided. Kaysville, we had thought, was to be our permanent home. Sure, I causally had dreamt of living in the country with plenty of land for our children to explore. But I fully intended to stay where I was. A trip to the temple and some earnest prayers confirmed what we already had felt: this move would be good for us.
So here we are, one year later and settled in our new home in Smithfield, Utah. (I use the term loosely...we're still eating on a folding table and our walls are bare.)
Right now I am in the playroom with the youngest three, the ones I used to refer to as 'the babies'. They're not babies anymore. Just last night, I bundled up all 5 kids and they played in the snow until dark. I had cooked dinner in the quiet house and thought back to the frenzied days of freezer meals and crying babies and no sleep and constant mess.
Now Luke runs into the playroom with a blanket on his head' 'oohing' like a ghost. He runs without caution, and immediately trips over a pile of toys, falls down and laughs. Minutes later he falls again, but this time somehow Olivia was at fault so he screams and kicks his feet. Siblings.
Isabelle brings me her Tangled Rapunzel dress. "On." She's talking more and more everyday. She has preschool and speech therapy 4 days a week here, and it shows. She watches Rapunzel almost daily, but jumps up and down and squeals each time I relent to yet another showing.
My grandma says that Olivia has an old soul. She is kind and happy and communicates her feelings with a maturity that is well beyond her years. She fills my days with words like 'I always wanted a mom like you!'. Now she runs up to me, bonking me with the toy in her hand. When I jump and yell 'ouch', she is instantly in tears. I pick her up and she wraps her arms around me, whispering 'mommy I would never hurt you'.
I have grown to appreciate days like this: no pressing tasks pulling at my attention. This much slower lifestyle is a stark contrast to our past years. It peaked last summer as I prepared to list our home instead of playing with the kids. I made an honest effort to organize and dejunk, but nothing could have really prepared me for selling our house. My days and nights were an endless cycle of cleaning, crying and anxiety attacks once we listed it in August. We drove in circles around our neighborhood in our pjs while complete strangers went through our closets, and opened heaven only knows which drawers. By the time it sold in October I was a wreck. My doctor prescribed Xanax, the first anti-anxiety medication I've had to use despite the fact that I've battled it on and off for years.
Change is always hard for me, but most of the changes to our lifestyle recently have been welcomed. Olivia is potty trained, so I only have 2 in diapers. They entertain themselves with toys for long periods of time, feed themselves and sleep through the night. I've started reading again (my favorite pastime), the house is usually suitable for drop-in visitors (we kept the door locked for 2 years) and the bags under my eyes are lightening up.
This is a great place to raise a family, and I have no doubts that we will be happy here. But I miss my friends and shopping at familiar stores and living close to family. I am excited for our future, but leaving our old home while simultaneously leaving the 'baby days' was like lemon juice in a paper cut. That was where I brought new babies home, sat on the back porch and chatted with friends while our small children ran through the yards, and where I grew up as a mom. It's hard to picture what this new phase will look like, but here we are, so bring it on!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm getting old

This past week has not been the best.  I had surgery last Friday.  I'll spare you the details, just some girl stuff that needed fixing.  I had the same surgery 4 years ago, and thought I knew what to expect.  This time, however, it turns out that I'm OLD!  My recovery took longer, and it was harder.  It was discouraging, but I am finally feeling better.  One week is not a long recovery for surgery, so I should be grateful.  Plus, I had a great excuse to stay in my pajamas all day long for a whole week.

There was a lot of tv watching...

And of course what would bed rest be without breakfast in bed?  Jake made me these awesome buttermilk pancakes with fresh strawberry syrup and whipped cream 2 days in a row!  Mmmmm....
Olivia loves all things silky, particularly the care tags on clothing & blankets.  When she spots one, her thumb automatically pops in her mouth and she rubs the material between her fingers.  The day I wore these soft pjs she followed me around like this:

Saturday was probably a big part of the reason my recovery took so long.  My parents had been with me all day, and I was doing great.  I do this after EVERY surgery I have.  Day two I feel great, the anesthesia is still in my system, so I don't stay in bed.  I spent the day hanging out with my parents and my kids, and even went out back and picked up after the kids a little (oops).  Dinner was in the crock pot and the kids were content so they went home to recover from the cousin's camp they had hosted the night before.  Then less than an hour later, I found myself in TONS of pain, with 3 babies screaming and crying and crawling all over me.  I had done too much...and I was in trouble.  I started to panic but instead called Em.  She dropped what she was doing and drove to my house to feed my kids dinner.  Learn from me:  if you have surgery STAY DOWN for at least 3 matter how great you feel. (If not, I hope you have an awesome sister that can come to your rescue at a moments notice.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Here we go again...

I realize this will make you think I've lost my mind. But I haven't, I promise. I just really, really, really love my husband. And my husband really, really, really




Meet Denali.

Livy loves her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4th of July

Luke did not love the heat at the parade.

I found these headphones for Izzy to wear during the loud parts.  She wore them until a non-'Tangled' song came on.

Usually we go swimming at my grandparents or at Jake's parents, but swimming was not an option this year with 3 babies.  My family skipped the swimming party to hang out with us instead, aren't they the best? We went to the park and had a BBQ.  At this moment, Anna was inches from jumping into the small stream and my dad is running to grab her.  Somehow this was the only picture I took.  We made homemade ice cream with my hand crank machine, and relaxed.

Fireworks @ Davis High
The kids played with glow sticks, and the fireworks were awesome.  Izzy crawled up to an empty spot behind us and watched by herself.  She is such a funny kid.

Happy Birthday America!  Next year hopefully we'll get to swim.  This was the HOTTEST 4th of July that I can remember, but I'm sure it just felt that way without the usual cool-off in the middle.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Luke's Day

I have been blessed with a few truly great days in my life:  my wedding, the days that each of my kids were born, the days we adopted Isabelle and Luke, and the day we were sealed to Isabelle.  Luke's temple day, however, takes the cake.  It was by far the very best day of my life spiritually, emotionally, and happiness-wise.  Having my entire family, and many of our closest friends in the temple was amazing.  We were sealed by a dear family friend, and he shared sacred insights with us before performing the ordinance.  I tried to prepare myself for the emotions I would feel in the temple...but I still did the 'ugly' cry after it was all said and done.  Relief, happiness and joy all rolled into a few sacred minutes.  After the temple we came to our home for dinner.  Surrounded by loved ones, Jake gave Luke his name and a blessing.  It was just simply an amazing day, and one that I will never forget!  Luke is finally forever where he belongs.  That knowledge brings me more happiness than I know how to handle.

 I didn't pass the word to any of our friends to stay for pictures... so we only have our family outside the temple.
 Our parents have been tremendously supportive through this whole process.  We are blessed!

 3 of my dearest friends, Shelli, Erika & Sarah...just missing Emmaly.  I would not have survived the past year with out them.  They are truly amazing women, and I am blessed to call them my friends.

 Isabelle with my brother's wife, Lacey.  I love this sweet woman!

 Jake's two best friends:  his dad & Jesse.
 Izzy and her grandpa

 Me & Jake's mom
 Izzy & my niece Claire.  She takes care of Izzy when they are together, even though they are the same age.
 I'm glad to see someone fed Luke...I didn't pay much attention to whether or not the babes ate.
Emily & her sweet boy Zach--Luke's future BFF.

Friday, June 22, 2012

You are not special

Today Audrey had to wear make up to ballet class. As we ate dinner I looked at her all done up and pictured her as a teenager. It made me I prepared? Is our relationship and mutual love & respect strong enough to survive those difficult, emotional years? I resolved *again* to be a happier, kinder mother.
Oh how I hate to get frustrated with my kids but it seems to happen way too often. But, as I realized tonight, the days are quickly counting down to the time when all that will matter is how loved I made them feel.  I had a long chat with a good friend today.  We talked about all the things our girls will face in the next few years.  Scary days ahead!
Have you been on I love this graduation speech:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Belated Mother's Day Post

My awesome dad planned a big mother's day dinner for his girls, but we had to stay home at the last minute due to illness.  Big surprise!  Around here, with 3 kids who still stick their fingers in their mouth constantly, we seem to catch everything.  It turned out to be a nice, quiet day.  Jake installed a lighted mirror for me in our master bathroom the night before as my gift.

I love being a mom.  Even with all the ups and downs, the stress, the work and the worry, the joy it brings me is immeasurable.  I have the best mother on the planet too.  She showed me through her example that motherhood is divine.

 Izzy's latest obsession:  hats
 Abby, after splash mountain
 Audrey outside of the Rainforest Cafe
 Olivia's signature scowl

 Izzy snuggling up to Abby while she reads
My little Lucas man

Friday, June 8, 2012


I promise to blog soon about our wonderful sealing day.  (Waiting on pics)

But for now, we are pretty excited around here about summer.  I get nervous about having all 5 kids home...bored...teasing...fighting...whining...

To kick it all off, we started with our Annual Backyard Slip N' Slide party on the last day of school.  The moms sit & visit, the kids run around and play.  We ate a billion chocolate chip cookies & scotcheroos, and drank a few gallons of lemonade & water.  (Audrey had a wicked stomachache later.)

Then we went to a swim party & BBQ with some friends.  Grilled chicken, fresh veggies, and homemade root beer ice cream.  Fun stuff.

We have survived the first week...but I'll be honest and say that it didn't go very well.  It will take me a while to adjust to the new schedules, and figure out how to evenly divide my time between the older kids and the babies when they're all home at once.  I definitely enjoy the time as a family, but there are kinks to work out.  This week was extra crazy because I had three 12 hour days in a row, I had to get my freezer meals finished (I'm in a freezer meal group now), and we had two separate stressful/sad situations happening (outside of our home) to people we love.

All I can say is that I'm glad this week is over...and I'm ready to settle in to the lazy days of summer.  Eating every meal on the back patio, late night visits with the neighbors while the kids run around, picnics, barbecues, swimming, Lagoon, fireworks, a trip to the lake, and all that jazz.

In other news, Olivia has graduated to the big girl swing...doesn't she look so grown-up?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Busy, Busy

Yes, we are still alive.  It has been a crazy spring.  Crazy, but good.  I wish I had more time to blog, but I have to be picky about what I do with my days and hours.

If I had time back in March, I would have told you about our surprise trip to Disneyland.  The big girls had a blast.  Izzy loved every single bit of it.  Olivia, however, HATED just about every single minute. She danced during Playhouse Disney, and giggled on Winnie the Pooh.  Other than that, she cried...she screamed...she whined...she threw fits...unless I was holding her.  Oh, and the hotel.  She loved being in the hotel room, which was awesome since we spent about 5 minutes there before we fell asleep each night and then we'd wake back up and drag her right back to that horrible, awful place.

Luke was invited to stay in Utah with his cousin and future best buddie Zack.  Thank heavens for my sister Em, we would never have survived the trip with all 3 babies in tow.  He had fun:

Then I would have told you how my not-so-little Audrey turned 7.  We had a small surprise party for her, grandparents only since it's an 'odd' year.  Her dad took her to Boondocks while Abby and I set up.  It was a great day.

Then I would have told you how my little man turned one.  He is growing fast, and keeps me extra busy.  Wow, boys!  So different from girls.  I'm having a blast with that little guy though!  Currently his favorite past time is running in his walker full speed down our hallway on the wood floor, crashing at said speed into the wall, and then laughing hysterically.  We can usually find him easily, because wherever he is playing he makes lots of noise.  Love my little Lukey-boy!

Then I definitely would have shared with you how my amazing mother graduated from college with her teaching degree!  She starts next fall as an elementary teacher.  Going back to school while balancing work, wife-ly duties, mother duties and grandma was hard work.  I'm so proud!

But most of all...I would have told you about the best news our family has ever EVER received.  We are FINALLY able to finalize Luke's adoption, and--most importantly--take him to the temple!  It has been a very, very rocky adoption, and the longest year of my life.  His birthmom first asked us to adopt him on Valentine's day last year, 2011.  But she changed her mind, and he was born a few weeks later, on April 7.  We rode a terrible, awful roller coaster with her for 5 months...she would call and say she wanted us to have him, then we wouldn't hear anything for weeks.  Then she'd text us, then nothing again for weeks.  She did finally sign the papers...but one week later we found ourselves in court, now battling the birthfather.  He was blindsided by the adoption, which we felt sympathy for...but he's a drug addict with no job.  His mom supplied the funds for the attorney, until she met us.  Then she realized that taking Luke from our loving home was something she could not do to her little grandson.  His first 5 months had been rocky, and she was grateful she no longer had to spend sleepless nights worrying if he was being properly cared for.  Then, even though they had dropped the case, the judge refused to dismiss it until the birthfather signed relinquishment papers.  He (the birthfather), for reasons we don't understand, (he didn't really want custody...just didn't want to admit it maybe?) refused to sign until only recently.  The day he signed papers, one week before Luke's birthday, was surreal.  It was hard to believe that our more-than-a-year-long battle was finally over.  Jake and I were both giddy to the point of pure silliness.  We giggled all day.  It was kind of embarrassing.  Jake called later in the day to tell me that he was sure the sky was bluer than it had been all year.  I kind of felt like those allergy commercials where they take away the 'fog' and then the picture is clear.  I suddenly felt like doing the things I had once enjoyed but had forgotten, because I finally was able to feel true happiness again.  I cried everyday since last Valentines day, and now that he signed those blasted papers, I've cried everyday since.  I can't help it.  I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father, and I'm so grateful Luke will now be ours for eternity.  If we had lost the court case, that would have been goodbye forever.  Although the court battle had dwindled, we knew that at any moment they could decide to pick it back up, and there was a chance that they would have won.  Losing him without the promise of eternal blessings would have drove me completely crazy, and I'm not being one bit sarcastic.  I feared, not only of losing him, but that the repercussions of the loss would destroy me as a person beyond repair.

So we get to spend the next month preparing for the temple and the massive celebration we have planned for afterwards.  I'm so excited, I just might rent a plane to write it in the sky that day.  Nothing seems adequate!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I can't fly a plane

Have you seen Bee movie?  There's a part in it that has gotten stuck in my head.  The leading lady and her bee friend are flying in a plane when the pilot is knocked unconscious.  The girl takes over the controls, and seems to fly successfully for a bit.  Another accident happens, and the plane loses the 'autopilot' feature.  They start to fall, and the girl throws her hands in the air and exclaims, "Apparently I CANNOT fly a plane!"
Too often, I get myself into ridiculous situations where I have made commitments that are impossible with the demands of my current situation.
"Sure, I'll be there at 9:00am sharp!  With all three kids in tow, perfectly primped and dressed, myself included."
Yeah, right.  8:54am hits and I am scrambling with wet hair and 3 naked babies.  I find myself muttering, 'Apparently, I cannot fly a plane.'
(bath time for the babies, who are quickly becoming not-babies)

Why do I set my expectations for myself so high?  When I make appointments, why am I not honest...and ask for an appointment sometime around noon?  Why do I tell myself I can clean the whole house in a single day, or ever think I will stay on top of the laundry?
I think we all want to believe that we can do it all.  Of course she couldn't fly the plane, and of course I can't do 4 hours of work in under 2.
One of Isabelle's therapist also visits my friend's daughter.  She told me the other day that the therapist said to her, "Sarah makes imperfect look so good!  When I show up, she may be in her pj's.  The house may be a mess, but her kids are loved and she's like, come on in!"
Yikes.  I'm think she meant it as a compliment, but it was a reality check for me.  I'm definitely living an imperfect life right now.  The house is usually a mess, and I rarely make it out of my pjs. (I shower...but who wants to wear jeans and a nice shirt while they spend most of the time on the floor?  Pj's go better with my lifestyle.)  My kids, however, are definitely loved.
(Isabelle & the always-naked Olivia enjoying some ice cream)

It's exhausting, and somedays I think I may lose my mind forever.  I've started to worry that I'm getting arthritis.  My body aches so much at night that I have a hard time falling asleep.  I was complaining to my mom the other day and she said, "Someday, you will look back and you will see how hard this time of your life is.  You will wonder how you ever survived!"  Things like that make me feel better, sometimes I take for granted how crazy things are.  (thank heavens for moms that understand)
I'm reading 'I am a Mother' by Jane Clayson Johnson again.  I love it.  It reminds me again why I chose this life, and why I wouldn't change a thing about it.  No, I can't afford a nanny.  But I get to be the one who loves and cares for my kids each day.  No, I can't afford a maid or any help with the housework for that matter.  But it teaches my kids about hard work.
(Crazy Sunday afternoon dance party)
So, I can't fly a plane.  But I'm happy with exactly what I can do:  be a mom.  I get to be a mom.  When I fall into bed at night, sometimes in tears, I am overwhelmed by how much I love my kids.  I say to Jake almost daily, "I know there are plenty of moms who love their kids as much as I do, but no one loves their kids more than I love mine."  I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father trusted me with their little souls.  And there is my answer:  I'm hard on myself because I want the absolute best for them.  I want them to grow up happy, strong, confident, with a firm foundation in the gospel.  That takes a lot of work, sometimes it requires more than I have to give.  I want them to have it all, but I have to trust in Heavenly Father's choice to send them to me (all at once, I may add) with all of my shortcomings and know that if I work my hardest it will be enough.

"You are doing God's work.  You are doing it wonderfully well.  He is blessing you, and He will bless you, even--no especially--when your days and your nights may be most challenging.  Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master's garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and weep over their responsibility as mothers, 'Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole'.  And it will make your children whole as well."
Because she is a Mother, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alphabet Wall

I am not a decorator.  Even after spending hours online, and many trips to the fabric store, I still could not come up with a color scheme for the baby girls' room.  I finally committed to go to the fabric store and buy the first fabric that I liked.  I settled on a gray and coral/red.  I made matching quilts, and painted the walls.  Much to my husbands surprise (NOT), I hate it.  I end up disliking most of my DIY decorating projects, so when I told him that I thought it was ugly he just laughed at me.  But not the 'oh that's so funny' kind of laugh, it was more like 'I'm laughing because she makes me crazy'.  It's too bright, it hurts my eyes.  But, I don't have the energy to change it, so I'm trying to make the best of it.  I want need to add some wall stuff to break up gray.  I had a bunch of fabric scraps left from the I hit Pinterest for some ideas.  (I'm an addict, right along with the rest of America)
I found several alphabet wall hangings.  Bingo.  Then I remembered THIS post I saw a while back.  Apparently, you can iron fabric to your walls using Wonder-Under.  Double bingo.
I set out to create my simple, fabric alphabet wall art.  Holy Moly it was so hard.  First, I decided on my layout.  (using inspiration from one of the wall hangings I had found)  I measured, multiplied, chose fonts, and created each letter in Photoshop.  IT TOOK ALL DAY.  Half way through, I regretted my decision...but it was too late to turn back.  I had already put so much work into it, now I just had to cut the letters out & put them on the wall.  Easy peasy?  WRONG.  That part took another 3 hours.  
But, after all that hard work, it did turn out pretty cute.  Here's the reason for the post:  after all the hours it took to create the files of letters, it would be a waste not to share.'s the tutorial, along with the files you need to create the letters yourself.

Wonder-Under (iron-on sticky stuff that makes your material stick to other's magical)
Material scraps  (if you are buying new, get 7" of 4 different fabrics)
Letter Patterns:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (click each one & print them out at 100%)

Trace all of the letters onto the Wonder-Under.  Each document has several letters, overlapping.
Trace them individually, NOT OVERLAPPED.  Only mark on the paper side.  The shiny stuff is the glue, and you don't want marker or pencil on that part.

Cut out the letters, but leave space...don't cut them out on the lines yet.

Divide them up into baggies like this:

#1:  A, K, e, o, i, r, X  (this was my main color)
#2: B, g, m, n, P, S 
#3:  d, f, L, H, U, Y, v, Z
#4:  c, j, Q, w  (this should be an accent color...I used white 'cause I'm creative like that.)

Divide them up even more if you are using a bigger variety of material.

Each baggie is meant to be used on a different material.  Iron onto the WRONG side.  (Now you see why the letters are flipped backward.)  Don't remove the paper backing yet!

I cut them out as I needed them, I thought that was easier than shuffling through a stack of letters.  Cut each letter out along the lines, THEN remove the paper.  I adjusted the letters quite a bit, but kept the height & width the same.  I added thickness to certain lines, and adjusted the curve of some.  I took a little off my Q's tail because I thought it looked funny.

I drew a square on my wall that was 24" X 32".  I wanted the subway art look.  You can arrange them however you want, of course.  It's your house.

Iron them onto the wall.  I didn't take a picture of the actual ironing...I'm not that talented.  However, I did take some nice, grainy iPhone pictures for you as I went:

I started with the corners, and made sure they were touching the lines to give it a nice squared-up look.  Or, technically, a rectangled-up look.

Then I filled in the top & bottom:

I held up surrounding letters to make sure I spaced them correctly before ironing each letter.  For example: I held up the P & K with the L, before I ironed the L into place.

By now it was 5:45pm and we usually eat at 5:30.  The kids were ornery and neglected...Jake was working late.  But, I pressed on...(no pun intended)


So, what do you think?  Was it worth my WHOLE stinking day?  I think not.  But, I actually do like how this project turned out...and that's saying a lot.

On a side note, I am also loving the shelves that Abby & I built for their room too.  I followed the tutorial found here.