A big thanks to Ryan Larsen for his AWESOME photographic abilities!!
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A Few More Family Photos

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Socks–This is the first pair of dress socks I bought for Slim–each of the boys have worn them. Smiley is just about to out grow them. Can you believe they have lasted through 7 boys? Me either. Now, these aren’t the only pair they have had, but still…no one pair of socks should have last through SEVEN BOYS!!!
Holly tree—This is the holly tree from down-under, literally!! When we moved in (March), it was almost as tall as I am. (No wise cracks from you tall people!) We chopped all of the branches off to leave only the stump. Spanky, Scuff, and Drew spent an entire week digging underneath the roots so we could remove the stump. They dug under 7/8 of the tree and removed the roots and the trunk would not budge, even with several of us putting all of our weight into it!!! We think when they poured the cement driveway, they must have poured concrete over the roots. Next, we brought over a friend and his chainsaw and cut
down the tree, leaving only the tiny stump you can see in the photo. (The deck is on top of the stump.) In June or July, we noticed tiny little shoots from the stump. So we drilled holes in the stump and filled them with Borax and removed all of the new growth. In October, when I removed the tomato plants, this is what I found—NEW GROWTH ON THE HOLLY TREE!! This is the most tenacious plant I have ever met!
ME–This is where we tie it all together! I have been ‘Mother’ now for 19 years. Slim is putting in his mission papers this week and receiving the Melchizedek priesthood. I can’t believe we have made it this far. I know we have several more years to go—about 15 until Smiley moves out. But I hope I am as well made as that pair of dress socks and as tenacious as that holly tree. I hope after all of the bad things people do to me or how often they tell me what I am doing isn’t worth my time, or that motherhood isn’t important, I can point to the lives of our children and say, ‘What could have been more important than these? Surely this is where it is at. Look at what they have become and who they are and where they are going. Look at their children….What I did was the most important thing I could have done with my time, my talents, and my energy. And the world just doesn’t realize how important and significant my job is. I’m so grateful the prophets did!!’

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OK–no pictures or names today.  I just had to tell you that yesterday I went into my big boys bathroom to give the little ones a bath–the only place in the house with a tub.  Their toilet was disgusting!!!  I won’t explain, just know it was so dirty and gross.  (There was stuff growing in it!)  I asked them about cleaning it and was told that it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  Wrong!!!  I scrubbed it and scrubbed it and let the boys know that we will be having a bathroom cleaning seminar this week after which we will implement a cleaning schedule assignment sheet and spontaneous bathroom inspections.  ewwww boys!  I’m still disgusted.  These boys had better learn to clean the bathroom and have them clean when they are missionaries.  Gross!  It’s horrible to get past the potty training phase and still have toilet cleaning issues.  Enough complaining.  We’ll just continue our ‘growth and development’ curriculum by learning to clean the bathroom.  Happy Day!

Wow!!! What a Day!!!

He bought me FLOWERS!!!! I went to take the kids to school and found this bouquet on the driver’s seat!! I love flowers and don’t get them very often!! Drew went into work late and my girlfriend watched Smiley today, so we had a couple of morning hours to ourselves. Then I went and helped in Shorty’s classroom, came home and had a quiet lunch and when I picked up Smiley, my friend had put together a breakfast fruit cake that I can put in the oven tomorrow for breakfast. Hooray!! I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a great day, but I feel loved and fluffed!! Thanks Drewster and Linz!!!

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Halloween fun!

Here are the results of our Monday before Halloween Family Home evening. We all carve pumpkins–though the big boys were doing homework instead—and roast pumpkin seeds and have hot chocolate. Now we just have to put them on the porch with their candles inside. Happy Halloween!!

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Dedicated to my Sweet Spouse!!!

Today I read a blog from a young widow. Her husband died a few months ago in a tragic plane accident that left her alone with their three small children, 4, 3, and 2 months old. Her sister is a dear friend of mine. As I have followed their story and thought about the heartache and the adjustments to life without a husband and a father, I just wanted to take a few moments to express my gratitude for the man in my life.

Drew is absolutely amazing! I don’t know what I would do without him! He is my rock. I can do all the things I do because I know he is there, because I know he will love me even if I make mistakes. He emotionally grounds me.

I am so grateful for the leadership he provides in our family. With so many young men to raise and so much testosterone trying to become the man inside that boy body…it is wonderful to have a father who says, ‘Hey! Don’t talk to my wife that way.’ From the very beginning Drew has insisted on family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening. I cannot even imagine having to do all that we have done–the successes and failures, they heartaches and joy—without him. I cannot even fathom trying to face those things alone and to feel the weight and the responsibility of teaching and training our children without his presence and influence.

I am so grateful for the plan!!! Children need, deserve, and have a right to two parents—mother and father! Family Science literature is just now beginning to understand what fathers do for developing emotional stability in children and families.

My heart goes out to you Shelly!! Hang in there. We will all be praying for you. Today may we forget the little squabbles and be ever grateful that we do not have to face Shelly’s trials. Let us all show our appreciation for those we love, because we just don’t know what tomorrow will bring and if they’ll be here for us to tell them then.

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Life is flying by…..

Wow!! It has been forever since I have posted. I’m going to try to be a little better about keeping things posted! Here is life in a nutshell. We moved to a new house in March with a new ward. Slim is off to college. Can’t believe I’m old enough to have a child that old. Spanky is a senior this year, Scuff a sophmore. Sport turns 14 in January—I cannot believe my oldest ones are almost 14 and up! Amazing! Speedy is 10, Sun is 8, Shorty 6, and Smiley 4. Next year, everyone will be in school. I’m currently serving as the RS President, which is keeping me plenty busy with the children. Drew has received many new responsibilities at work, keeping him busy and he is serving as the Sunday School President and the scout committee member responsible for advancement and Duty to God. And yes, Scuff is taller than Drew now. As the third child, he is quite happy to be the tallest!!

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We’re in cement!!

Amazing!!! Our backyard needed to have some drainage pipes put in and in order to do so, they had to break up the cement and send the down spouts into the ground and connect them to the pipes. When they put the cement back, we wrote our names in it. It was a lot of fun!! Cement is difficult to write in! (You can see Smiley’s feet in the photo–he needed to see what I was doing with the camera. And he was NOT happy that we did not put ‘Buzz, the Kitty’s’ name in the cement.)

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The Gift

April 24, 2009 Well—here I am–just me and the paper. Here I am free. I can say what I want. The paper will not judge the thoughts and feelings of my heart. It will not tell me what I should or should not do, what I should or should not say, what I should or should not be. It is just me and the paper—the words I put on the paper to mirror the images and feelings deep in my heart. How I long to share those things with others—long to share the innermost parts of my heart. I want to share them with my husband and with my children, with my parents and my siblings, my friends and relatives. Isn’t that the desire within most of us, to share all of ourselves, completely?

I hesitate because I do not always feel safe. I do not feel accepted or ok to be who I am inside. Not everyone understands. Others feel hurt or offended by the secret thoughts in my heart—-not because I think badly of them but because of their own interpretations of what my thoughts mean about them or to them. I really wish we could share those things with one another and just love each other for who we are inside. I do not need to agree with you and you do not need to agree with me. But can we look past our own thoughts, into the heart of another and see and feel of the nobility within them?

I have had that gift for a little while. I have a dear friend. She makes me better than I am. She listens to the whole inside me without judgment, without condemnation. She asks me to think about things in context, to see how others might have felt about my behavior, words, or thoughts. She reminds me of the divine within others. She helps me see the BIG picture, reminds me of eternity, and gives me vision that I may manage the small stuff. How grateful I am for her perspective, for her counsel, for her confidence in my ability to do and be better, to give and love more, and cry for and demand less.

She is moving across the country and I feel so sad that I think my heart is going to break. I don’t want her to leave. I rely on her. I am safe. I am loved. I am celebrated!! Oh that all of my relationships were like that! Because of the wonderful gift our friendship has been, I know it is possible to have that in other relationships. I want that with my spouse, my children, my parents, my grandchildren….It must be a little like how we will feel toward each other in eternity—always helping and supportive, able to think and evaluate, ever loving and moving each other forward.

I am trying so hard to appreciate the gift, the years of our friendship, our time together and our growth, instead of focusing on the fact that she won’t be here with me everyday. How can I show my gratitude for a relationship that most never have in a lifetime instead of whining because it cannot continue forever?

I can look and build that kind of relationship with others. When I feel judgmental or condescending, I can remind myself of my friend. I can see the divine within her and see that others have that too. I can cut them more slack. I can be more patient, more loving, more forgiving. I can reach out more and look in less. When I think others should be more kind and more understanding, I can see if I am offering them the same gifts.

My time is up. I have to continue to live for today and take the opportunities given to me in this time and sphere. I need to recognize the beautiful gifts given, the people, places, and seasons where I have influence and enjoy those who influence me.

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