Power of one

I have always been a big believer in the "power of one."  One person really can change the world.  Or at least the world of many.

My son, Caleb, is an amazing kid.  He has a really hard time with quitting when things get hard and is really hard on himself.  I've heard SO MANY TIMES, "I'm the slowest kid in my class.  I'll never beat anyone!" or "Reading is just too hard.  I'll never be able to read faster!" or "I just can't do it."  I have tried and tried and tried to encourage, entice, and even bribe him!

Then one day, after the start of the school year, something happened.  He came home sporting a bracelet from his teacher that said, "TEAM GLEASON - NO WHITE FLAGS"  I asked him what it meant.  He said, "well, Mom it means you can never surrender.  Never give up!"  I thought that was cool and left it at that. Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed some changes in my son.  He started saying things like, "Well Mom, I'm not as fast as Anthony yet, but I tried really hard and I was faster than another kid today!"  And he was reading.  Chapter books.  And saying, "It's okay if it takes longer, cause I can do it!"  He would refer to learning more about "No white flags!" from his teacher and if someone in the family said something about quitting - he'd pipe up and say, "Nope!  You can't quit! No white flags!"  I can't even tell you how amazing this transformation has been for this little 7 yr old boy and those of us who are around him.  School has not even been in session a month yet, and already this teacher has had more influence with one motto, than I have the last few years!  Now that in itself is pretty awesome.  But now I'm going to tell you the story behind the motto.

Team Gleason - Caleb's teacher's step-son is Steve Gleason.  He played for the New Orleans Saints until he retired in 2008 and in 2011 was diagnosed with ALS.  I encourage you to read up on his website all about the disease and Team Gleason's motto and what they are doing to help others.  It is inspiring to say the least.

I am saddened by the tragedy of this terminal diagnosis for such a young and healthy man.  I am awed by how many lives he has, and will continue to change.  Just think - every child that Mrs. Gleason (Caleb's teacher) has had in her classroom since this diagnosis has been taught "No white flags!"  Those students take that to their homes and families.  If, like in the case of my child, they take that motto heart, their lives are forever changed FOR THE BETTER! And that is just from one person in one avenue of her life! Think of all the others she has talked to-fellow teachers, friends, neighbors, etc.

The power of one.  How grateful I am for those in this life who are called to a higher calling, or purpose.  Who persevere, who teach by example, who inspire others, who forget about themselves in order to help others.  Oh, if we could all be a little more like them!  The world would change, all because of one.  And just think who the One these people are being like.  So grateful for the ultimate example of charity, sacrifice, and pure love - Jesus Christ.

In case you missed the link earlier, I'm serious.  Read up on this amazing individual and all Team Gleason's efforts!



Words cannot express how touched I am by tonight's broadcast.  If you weren't able to watch it, please do!  All I can add is a heartfelt "amen, and amen!" As well as my testimony that the Savior loves each one of us, and the words of these inspired people testify of that as well.

Relief Society Broadcast


When mommy is sick

I caught whatever nastiness that is going around the kids school and today has been a lay on the couch and put on movies for the babies because I have no energy to do anything else! Of course that means that mommy was laying down, which meant I became the jungle gym. I have to teach Leah to be content with sitting beside me because she can't just sit on my lap. She has to be moving and wiggling and trying to climb on my face. It doesn't help that she isn't feeling great either. So she doesn't even know what she wants most of the time. At one point, I was pulling Leah off my face, Jacob was trying to climb up and ended up elbowing me on the side of my eye while Leah was jumping up and down on my stomach because she was mad about being taken off my face. If I didn't feel so dizzy from congestion I'd just stay on my feet!  :)  there are some sweet moments every day though. I'm so lucky to get to stay home with these kiddos! Jacob came over to feel my head and said, "you sick mom? Aw man! I sorry you no feel good." And he pats my head and goes on to play. So funny.  (the picture doesn't show all the way - so click on it to see the full effect).



I call my mom on average, at least once a day. Oftentimes more. I call to tell her the latest antics of the kids, something funny they said, or to vent frustration. I call for recipes, advice, questions I don't want to Google, cleaning tips, and just general I want to talk chats. I call to cry or for distraction to avoid screaming at one of the kids. My life would be perfect if I could buy some property somewhere and build a home and a dawdi house for my parents. Zane is on board with this idea, too!  Besides my husband, my mom is my best friend.  She is so good about being a sounding board and giving advice, without becoming involved. I love her. I think she needs to never ever die. I only pray my kids feel as much love from me, as I do my mom!



A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,
 a golden thread to the meaning of life. 
 ~Isadora James
 Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart - oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape - of your sister.  ~Katherine Mansfield

 I love watching these two darlings.  They are separated by 7 years, 9 months.  But I hope they will always be close.  It's so cute to watch Leah say, "Abby, Abby, Abby!" and run over for Abby to pick her up and Leah will snuggle into her neck with a big smile.  Or when Abby is sitting down, Leah will run over and plop herself onto Ab's lap and make herself comfortable.  Sisters are special, and I'm so blessed to have two sweet girls!


Back on the bandwagon

Zane and I were stupid with our money - I've posted about it previously, but I'll lay bare my soul on this post.  We have paid off debt 2 times in our marriage and you would think that would be it, right?  Oh no!  So much of life is spent saying, "hindsight is 20/20."  Well folks, if there is one thing I am determined to teach my children, it's money.  We were just clueless, no other way to put it.  We totally could have gone through school without student loans, but didn't, because isn't that what you do?  Take out loans?  What do you mean you can pay cash for a car?  What?!? We don't HAVE to have this RIGHT NOW?  :)

Are you ready to croak at the numbers?  Okay.  Here's where I pull back my skin to rub in some salt.  We started out with just about $88K in debt about 2 yrs ago - this is including ALL debt (some people don't count student loans which just doesn't make sense to me - debt is debt).  Last year we were down to $77K.  This year we fell off the bandwagon for a bit, so it wasn't as big of a drop as we could have had, but now we are down to $55K.  It's taken me a while to completely get on the "let's-get-the-hell-out-of-debt-by-any-means-necessary" train, but I finally picked up the computer without prodding from my husband and did our complete updated debt payoff calendar worksheet.  As of right now, we have a payoff date of July 2015.  Our goal is to move that up a couple of months as much as possible,  depending on any extra we get - ie: winning the lottery, tax returns, moving expenses the military pays, etc.  Ok, I'm just teasing about the lottery - we don't play it.  But it'd be pretty awesome!  :)

Blech, right?!?  But here it is.  We are buckling down and doing what we have to.  The kids are having to sacrifice doing as many activities.  But the thing is, I'd rather do it now and be out of debt by the time things really matter!  Here are some links that are helpful to me!

Many have heard of him, but he has some awesome resources that are helpful!  Dave Ramsey
He also has a super helpful monthly budget tool that you can get through the Financial Peace University.  Cash is king!

And, this is my personal favorite helpful tool because I HATE doing my own spreadsheet:

So, this is my accountability post.  If I feel the need to get off the bandwagon, I have to post that I fell and that would stink!  Especially because now you know the nitty gritty details.  :)



Do you ever struggle with prioritizing your life? With so many demands on our time, what is more important? What's your list of good, better, best?

I've been thinking about this a lot as I watch my husband and try and help him figure it out. God has given everything to us, so service to Him is a must. Oftentimes in our church we have callings which give us that opportunity. Sometimes those callings take up a great deal of time.  Zane has taken the role to provide for our family and has responsibilities at work that need to be completed. We are given one body to take care of while here on Earth, so we need to have time to exercise and eat well, and sleep.  We have 5 children that need and crave their father's love and attention. As a wife, I need my husband around. There are things around the house that are his responsibility. Not to mention sometimes it's nice to have friends or just "me time." The list goes on and on.

How do you prioritise good, better, best when all are important and necessary? I know the saying of putting God first and all else will fall into place, but sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes He lets us figure it all out ourselves. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed and tired. I honestly don't know the answers right now. We're muddling through the thick of it. I have no doubt it will work out eventually, because I know our prayers are heard and answered. I know when you are doing the right things, you are guided. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt or frustrate in the meantime.


It's the little things

Life is so much better when I take time to enjoy the simple things. Like being happy I remembered to switch the laundry this morning, instead of being overwhelmed that I have about 8 more loads to do. I'm happy that I did a load of dishes before we left for school this morning, even if I have more waiting their turn. I'm happy I was able to volunteer at the school even if I had to leave before I wanted because Leah was done. And I'm super happy I got to play with these munchkins before their naps because it is a beautiful fall day!! It's the little things in life that make it so full. :)


Super power

If you had a super power, what would it be? 
For a long time, I wished I could fly.  I would fantasize how awesome it would be to just spread my arms and go zooming to the tops of the trees.  I'd watch the birds glide and soar through the air, and feel a little jealousy that I was so limited.

Then I decided that teleporting would be even more awesome.  Forget the journey - just get to where you want to be in a blink of an eye!  Yep.  That would be my super power of choice.

Now I've decided I'd like to duplicate myself.  One self to do dishes and laundry, one self to clean the house, another to run errands, another to go to work, and I'd just get to play with my kids.  Or when my kids have 5 different activities at the same time I could just split myself and go to all so I didn't have to pick and choose.

But in reality, I may just have to settle for hiring someone else to do my dishes and laundry.  Oh wait...that's still a fantasy, and that's what you have children for, right?  ;)  In the meantime, guess I'll get off my duff and do it myself. :)


Food and missionaries

Caleb gave the lesson last night in family home evening. He decided he wanted to talk about food and missionaries. I wasn't sure how those two topics would tie in together, but whatever. He told us we needed to eat good foods and less sugar and then he talked about missionaries. When I asked what missionaries do, Michael replied, "they go to people's houses and eat their food!" Hahaha! After a few more comments on missionaries going to eat at people's houses, Caleb did share that they teach people about Jesus Christ too. And then they get fed. :) lol. So there you have it. Missionaries and food do go together.


On a personal note

I mentioned previously that I had a hysterectomy this year, so I thought today I would get a little personal and tell the story.

Family planning can be a hot topic - it's an extremely personal, moral, and private choice.  I believe it is a decision that should be made between a husband, wife, and God.  Zane and I have been incredibly blessed with fertility.  We never had to try to get pregnant.  We had to try to NOT get pregnant.  Hormonal birth control was not an option for my body - it made me crazy and sick.  Even a small amount of hormones could throw me out of whack.  After this last pregnancy I realized my body just couldn't handle anymore.  5 pregnancies in 8 years took its toll both physically and mentally.  So Zane and I decided we needed to do something permanent to prevent any more pregnancies.  Zane had his appointment scheduled and was all ready to go when I just felt SO wrong about it!  I just kept thinking, "what if something happens to me and he remarries?  That's just not fair to deny his next wife the opportunity to have children."  So I freaked out, he cancelled, and I scheduled my appt to get my tubes tied.  I figured even if something happened to Zane, even if I did remarry, it still wouldn't change the fact that my body couldn't easily handle being pregnant again - let alone my mental state.  So last June I went in and had my tubes tied and the doctor convinced me that I should go ahead and have an ablation at the same time.  I felt apprehensive about that part of the procedure, but decided to ignore it and get it over with (worst decision ever).

Even though I felt like it was ok to be done with kids, I still grieved at the loss.  I regretted it.  I was angry and blamed Zane.  I felt like I didn't know what purpose I had anymore.  It was awful.  I worried I had made the wrong choice.  Then time went on and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and came to peace with my decision.  Fast forward a few months: starting in November I started to feel pretty yucky, by December I thought maybe I had mono and was having a lot pain in my lower abdomen/back.  January hit and I had Zane take me to the hospital one day because I was in so much pain throughout my abdomen and I knew it couldn't be my appendix since that was taken out already.  After a barrage of tests and being doped up on pain pills (and having to immediately wean Leah because of all the meds and radiation) they narrowed down what was going on.  1) I had a tear in my intestinal lining, 2) My pancreatic enzymes levels were over 4,000 (high normal is about 130) and I had an awesome case of pancreatitis, and 3) I needed to have a hysterectomy.  When I was talking to the surgeon it was SO hard not to be angry.  The gynecologist I had seen for my tubal had recommended the ablation as a preventative measure to not have a hysterectomy and now I was finding out that because I shouldn't have ever been a candidate for the ablation - I had to have one.  The position of my uterus made it so the scar tissue didn't go as deep as it needed to, and therefore I was bleeding behind the scarring and there wasn't anywhere for it to go, thus all the pain in the lower back.

So I scheduled the surgery for the end of March.  Whoa - talk about painful.  When they say you'll be down for 6-8 weeks, that is no joke!  There were many days of complete tears of frustration.  I remember at one point, my blood pressure was extremely low (There were complications with the surgery and I had lost an incredible amount of blood) so I had to make sure I was hydrating.  But my pancreatitis flared up and the only thing you can do is to stop eating and drinking until it goes away.  I had to eat something because of the pain pills, I had to drink because of the blood pressure, and yet I was in so much pain because of the pancreatitis I couldn't and I had spent so much time in the hospital already I refused to go back.  So I just cried.  It was pretty pathetic.  And my mom and Zane were rockstars!  Zane was able to take off so much work (yay for military emergency leave) and my mom? Seriously, my mom took care of my kids for 2 weeks in January, took the two babies back with her for another 2 weeks, came back in March for another 3 weeks - she's earned her spot in Heaven for sure!

Time has passed, scars have healed, and it's so nice not to be in constant pain.  My hormones have leveled out and I feel a new lease on life!  I didn't realize how much pregnancy and nursing messed with my head!  There have been highs and lows.  I got sad the other day looking at Leah - she's 18 months and I felt a loss at the knowledge that I will never again have another baby.  On the other hand, Leah got into a supply of monthly things and spread them all over the bathroom floor and when I looked at them, I did a little happy dance knowing I'd never have to use them or worry about that ever again!  :)  As for the regret - it's passed, and I feel a relief in knowing I can concentrate on the 5 blessings I've been given and truly be a MOM.  I have been operating on half cylinders for so long I forgot what it was like to be able to really be engaged in my kids.

I think that is definitely something you have to consider in family planning.  It's not about financially supporting the kids - with the exception of if you have the ability to provide the necessities for them (college, sports, clubs, etc I believe should be considered extras).  But are you able to mother the children you already have if you add any more?  Is it right to not be able to be a mother to your other children if being pregnant is going to force you to be on bedrest the entire pregnancy?  Like I said, SUPER personal decision that can only be made between you, your spouse, and God.  I feel comfortable with our choice, but it's not for everyone!


Early morning ponderings

This morning I woke up, rolled over, and gazed at the man laying next to me.  As he lay there sleeping, I couldn't help but think of our life together.  Marriage is an interesting thing.  There's a comfort of the known and a strength in facing the unknown.  There's the monotony of the same, and safety of stability.  There's the surprise of discovery of another aspect of the other person or ourself who we thought we knew so well.  It's the unspoken conversation you have in a glance.  The shared joy and heartache of life's seemingly unending obstacles.  The vulnerability of baring your heart, body, and soul and giving all to someone who could ultimately crush you with that power, but trusting they won't.  The frustration and annoyance of dealing with one another's faults and idiosyncrasies.
I will be completely honest.  There are times when I have been all too tempted to call it quits.  To say it's not worth it.  I'm better without him.  He doesn't deserve me.  Or he deserves better.  The temptation of the idea there has to be something/someone better.

But looking at the man who is laying next to me, I see my choice.  I chose this man.  I chose this life.  And I choose to love it more with each passing day.  With that thought in mind, I snuggled into his side and smiled as he automatically adjusted in his sleep to encircle me in his arms - just as he's done so many times before, and I feel blessed.


Prayer rocks

I have been struggling the last couple of weeks with motivation, desire and just fighting off plain laziness.  I don't really know what the term is for it.  It seems like depression, only I don't feel unhappy - just blah.  Thursday it finally came to me that the only solution was to pray.  So I did.  I prayed for motivation to do the things I needed and wanted.  I prayed I would be able to kick myself back up to the surface of my life.  I prayed for whatever it was I needed to get myself back on track.

Heavenly Father answered my prayers.  I know it.  You know what the kick was?  Dealing with the antics of my toddlers yesterday.  It was a massively taxing day!  But you know - I made it through without losing it on my kids.  I even laughed.  I got some cleaning done that I have been needing to do that I have been trying to work up the umph to do.  And today?  Because I did it yesterday, I could do it again today.  And tomorrow?  I did it today - so I'll be able to do it tomorrow.

Prayer works people.  Even when the answer we get may kick our bums for a bit.  I just don't recommend praying for patience.  :)


Mischief, thy name is JACOB

It's probably a good thing I thought to start blogging again as a form of journaling.  Today is going down in the books, and it's only noon.

First off, I am going to say, I was supposed to have my visiting teachers come over today, but canceled on them because I needed to run some errands and wanted to get some cleaning done this morning.  I should have known better.

I just finished the dishes and went into the other room to see Jacob - his arms, legs, hands, and feet colored and covered in something...not sure what it was, I went into my room to investigate and what did I find?  RED AND GREEN PAINT ALL OVER THE TAN CARPET.  Like the entire bottle of red paint.  Big gobs of red and green paint interspersed with little foot and hand prints.  I wasn't mad.  It literally took my breath away and I could do nothing but laugh.  I called my mom and Zane to show them on the camera.  It was an EPIC kind of special mess.
Have I ever mentioned one of the best purchases a parent can ever make is a good carpet cleaning machine?  I'll have to go over it again, but there is only a little bit of a pink stain right where the largest blob of red was.  I am pretty pleased about that!  Meanwhile, since I had my carpet cleaning things out, I figured I may as well shampoo the front room because the area rug has been driving me nuts and it wouldn't take too long.  Luckily, nothing too disastrous happened while I was doing that except the playroom got a bit destroyed and Leah found the Sunday bag of coloring from the closet and dumped it out all over.  No biggie.  Now it was lunchtime - we got through that alright (though I will plug in here that we have a new favorite: tortillas with sundried tomato hummus and spinach - yum!) and I mentioned that we could go get a bath since they were still covered in paint/markers and I needed to scrub the tub anyway since it turned pink from all the water I dumped out from the carpet cleaner.  So they run off while I finish picking up lunch and I hear the bath going.  I go into the bathroom to find Leah - completely dressed with her diaper on sitting in the tub while it's filling, and Jacob running out naked saying he's grabbing some toys.  Okay.  So I check the water, get Leah undressed and I was walking out into the hall to grab a washcloth when I see Jacob just finish peeing INTO the tub of legos.  I don't even have time to say something when he's skipping past me saying, "Mom, there's pee!" and runs into the bathtub.  At this point I am just walking back with my jaw slack thinking, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"  I pick up the phone and call my Mom who immediately answered saying, "What's Jacob done now?"  Needless to say we had a huge laugh with tears running down my cheeks because what else can I do?  This is Jacob.  This is the child that just last Saturday got into a permanent marker and colored ALL OVER himself, my tan couches, carpet, curtains, and walls in the 5 minutes I was in the other room.  
 So this is me.  Shaking my head, rolling my eyes, sighing, with a grin on my face because I can't help but love this rascal.  And I'm really glad his dad will be back in town tonight.  Because I think I am going to go out.  By myself.  But probably not.  Because I've missed my hubby.  *sigh* Now I have to run go do a few things during the rest of this naptime.  Maybe even shower.  And pray that I can laugh at the rest of the misadventures today.

Holy Hannah, we're up and rolling!

My sister happened to mention that I haven't written on this blog in over a year and I figured it was about time to get it up and at 'em again.  How to summarize what has happened the last 15 months?  Ummm...LIFE.  :)
Leah is now an 18 month old walking, talking, climbing, crazy, toddler.

Jacob turned 3 in August and the best way to describe him is hilariously crazy kid.  It's super funny to watch him interact with his siblings.  All I know is, we are going to have our hands full with these last 2 babies!  They certainly keep me on my toes.

Michael is in kindergarten now and still my sensitive soul.  He can be a brute with his brothers, but will also sit and tickle my arms or play with my hair and tell me "Mom - you're bootiful."

Caleb is my on-the-go guy.  He still loves horses (as do all the kids) and is always on the move - with the exception of when the tv is on - then he is glued and in another zone.  :)  He's liking 2nd grade so far.

Abby is my right-hand man.  I love that she is so responsible and willing to help.  She's an avid reader (like her mama) and is really enjoying 4th grade.

Zane was promoted to Captain this year and we'll be here for one more year, then it's off to new adventures somewhere else.  It's strange to be in the same house for this long.  I kind of don't know what to do with myself!  :)  He's been gone quite a bit, but we'll still take it over the hours he was working in Idaho/Utah!  The Army has been a HUGE blessing this year especially because he was able to take off so much time to while I was ill and recovering.

Which leads to me - we discovered that I have issues with my digestive system and so it's been a year of pain and experimenting with food to find out what works and doesn't.  Really, it would be easier if we all just became vegetarians, but we haven't made that leap yet.  I spent quite a bit of time in the hospital with that and recovering, then had to have a hysterectomy which is another post in and of itself.   But for now, I'm happy that things are looking up and it's nice to have more energy and less sickness to be a mom and wife!

I'll go into more detail on things as time goes on, but I figured I'd go ahead and start with a quick re-introduction into our lives.  And in case you were wondering, the photos are courtesy of the amazingly talented Hollie Hanson, of www.cherry-tree-photography.com  If you are in Utah, give her a ring!