Monday, December 31, 2012

Light No. 52, Year End

I'm ready to start a new year.  I'm excited about the prospects of a clean slate, new beginnings, another chance to do more and be better.

I do feel like finding more light has been a success for me in 2012.  I also realize that in many ways I have not been specific enough about the how of that.  That will be changing for 2013.

I have so much to be thankful for in 2012; we have been blessed.  We have been protected and watched over; all is well.

I have many improvments to make and I'm happy about the new year to begin the new work.  I'm just sure I can do better than I have done in the past.  I'm sure I can take just one more step each day and try a little bit more and be more.  I know I can open my heart more and smile more and love more and share more.  I am excited about my new word for 2013 and excited to grow and improve.

Christmas was a delight; full of so many smiles and hugs and thank you's and perfect little moments.   It will be hard for me to take the white lights down outside; I have loved to see them shining each night reminding me of so many things I have tried to do this past year.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolutionary Challenge 2013

It's time to begin a new year soon, and along with that comes resolutions.  I have loved being a part of this challenge in the past and this year I am giving it a go at being the coordinator.  Please follow this link if you are interested in joining in -- we would LOVE to have you!

Challenge BLOG

I hope you join in.

Happy Christmas Eve

The Snow is falling, the children are tucked in their beds in new pajamas and the excitement is running high.  Lights are shining in our home and all over town.
We have so much to be thankful for.
Happy Christmas Eve.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Ballerina

I had such a great time watching Emma dance her heart out at her mini recital for ballet class.  Emma puts so much energy into everything she does it is easy to become enthusiastic about what she is doing. I love her even more for her creative outfits and her not being hung up on looking perfect.  This girl has fire in her veins and she lights up our life in so many ways.
She also has the loudest wail I have ever heard and has the most creative dodging methods when it comes to cleaning her room or completing chores.  Nevertheless, she brings me joy and I love her! Kurt was worried about missing her performance today but I was able to assure him that with two weeks of no school we will be seeing PLENTY of dance performances around here - complete with tickest and costumes. 

Keep Dancing Emma.

Monday, December 17, 2012

So Proud of my Leader

Last week ( 2 weeks ago now that I am farther behind and finally finishing this post) Christian was recognized at school and received an Outstanding Leadership Award.
He was completely surprised by the award and had no idea he had been nominated.  It was fun to watch his face when they called his name and his fellow students congratulated him.

Afterwards his teacher told me that there was not a question in her mind as to who would receive the award.  Kurt and I are so proud!

Sometimes at home I have to remind him to explempify those same leadership skills but for the most part Christian is an extraordinary young man and we are so blessed to have him.
Thank you, Christian for helping me to feel like I'm doing an ok job of parenting for at least a day! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Light No. 50

Is there only just over a week until Christmas?  I'm trying hard to savor each day and give more hugs and have softer answers and read a lot of Christmas stories.   We are spending time looking at the lights of Christmas on the tree and all over town and the light truly is magical.

This week was a whirlwind once again.  I felt like I spent so much time getting things done away from home that the home really suffered, but I did what needed to be done.  I attended the annual ornament exchange with some dear friends and it was a great fun night.

The weekend was dreamy - as Kurt and I went to Winter Park for the weekend.  Grandma Smith was kind enough to come and take care of the children, along with visits from Aunt Sue and Uncle John.  We are so thankful for their willingness to stay here and help so Kurt and I could have a getaway.  I felt guilty leaving again since I just visited my sister last week.  Once we were gone and in the mountains I began to relax and we had such a fun time going to little shops and antique stores, walking around in the snow, and getting more sleep than either of us has had in a very very long time.  It was somewhat of a challenge to take photos of us together but we managed a few.   (Why do I look so OLD?)

I'm ready for the new year to begin I think.  I know what my word is for next year.  I know what our main goals are and what I need to really focus on.  I know that I have a lot of improvements to make.

I'm looking forward to this upcoming week; feeling renewed and rested and excited about the holiday.  I am more thankful than every for my faith and testimony and many many blessings.  I have a lot to do and a lot to be thankful for.  I have a lot of light to give and will continue to seek.

Sailing on,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Light No. 48 & 49

It's been a great past two weeks.  We are all wrapped up in the joys of Christmas around here.  I love this time of year so much yet it is difficult for Kurt as he works such terrible hours at UPS until after Christmas.

Madeline and Savanna had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a local production of Savior Of The World.   The practices were a very large commitment and very tiring; however the end result was an amazing production and a deepening of their testimonies of Jesus Christ and his divinity.  We went as a family last friday to begin our Christmas festivites with Our Savior in mind.  I am so grateful for many people who gave of their time and talents to make this a reality so we could see it and also so my girls could be a part of it.

We suffered through a good bout of strep throat and I hesitate to report that we are back to good health; all of us.  Please knock on wood for me before Clark coughs!  :)

All of the children got into the dentist and 3 out of the 5 had cavaties.  It makes you feel like a pretty bad mom at that moment.  I have to admit though that some nights flossing and mouthwash is not anywhere close to my priorty list.  I guess I better change that attidue.  And not allow Clark to sneak downstairs for clementines at night anymore.  Or brush teeth again after that.  Who has that kind of energy at 9pm?

This past tuesday I took the children to school and then had Kurt take me to the airport.  I took two days off and went to stay with my younger sister in Logan UT.  Unfortunately we were only able to see my older sister for a very short time but my younger sister and I had some great and much needed talking, crying, laughing, and shopping together.  It was so great for me to enjoy her company being there by myself and being able to really visit with her.  There is something so encouraging about knowing that someone loves you and is cheering for you to just keep going every day.  She is sunshine in my life and I'm shining much brighter now that I have spent two days with her.  Thanks, Kristen, for allowing me to stay in your lovely home and for taking time off work to be with me.  I love you!  One of my goals for the new year is to get my mom and all of us sisters together for a getaway.  Get your calendars out ladies.

I came home to jump back into life and was impressed with how well Kurt managed without me {which is great because that just means that I should leave more often, right?}  My brothers, sister in law, and mother helped as well and I couldn't have gone without their help.  It is amazing how two nights of uninterrupted sleep and 48 hours away can re-energize you.  I need my patience to be increased ten fold and that didn't happen but I'm working on it.

 Friday evening we enjoyed the church Christmas party and borrowed my older sister's props and idea to do a familiy lip sync to "I love my lips" from Veggie Tales.  It was a hit and we had a fun time perforning it.  The hot chocolate they served was so rich I'm sure it covered calories for a good two days.  It was a fun night for all and we came home with tired but high on sugar children who couldn't be more excited for the remaining of the month.

So as I sit here and reflect on the past two weeks and what is to come this week I feel like life is good; the weather is cold today and I'm happy that it actually feels like December.  I'm frustrated with some issues that I am continuing to struggle through with some children and hope to see resolutions in both soon.  I know that Christmas won't be perfect, because we are not a perfect family and we are a work in progress.  But I feel so at peace with all of the hustle and bustle; I feel like we are having fun yet are focused on what is right.  We are lighting the Christmas candles each night and reading stories and scripture which remind us of what we are truly celebrating.  I am busy but am carefully choosing what I am busy with.  I'm making slight progress with physical therapy and I'll take it.  I hope we are getting one week closer to resolution on the Eurovan and look forward to having two vehicles again.  We are blessed and I can recogize it.  That is light shining for sure!

Sailing On,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful word art

Remember this project?
It's true, I have saved the top to this for over a year now, knowing that I would eventually get around to making a sign out of it like I wanted to.  When Thanksgiving was approaching I realized that I have very little Fall/Thanksgiving decor and decided I would do well to read the word 'thankful' many times a day for several weeks.  I truly do have so many blessings yet I am often wrapped up in the details of life being so daily that I forget to stop all the time and be thankful.  I love how this turned out and I'm glad I picked that word.

This is what I did:
I wrote out the word 'thankful' on heavy cardstock.  Then I went back and traced around my original lines, making the letters thicker.  I cut them out, traced them onto patterned paper, and mod podged them onto the 'canvas'.  I felt like it needed a little bit of a border so I cut out some papers and glued those down around the edge.  That's it!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Clark turned 4!

{Catching Up}

Clark had a great birthday.  We fed him breakfast in bed and he opened a gift before we took the older children to school.  Then he patiently waited all day for his party that night to have family over and open the remaining gifts.  He is such an adorable boy.  He told me that he felt bigger and that his muscles felt different on his birthday.  Awesome.  I adore this boy.

All week he had been telling me how excited he was to go up to the front of primary during church so they could sing to him.  Then on his birthday at church he got shy and didn't want to go up.  He loved the idea of it but not the reality of 100 other children looking at him.

Can you tell how delighted he was with his gifts?  He made this face for a long time and was just so thrilled with everything he was given.  I love a grateful boy!
Because Madeline's birthday was so full of activity, I never had the chance to bake her a cake.  Clark was sweet to share his cake so both he and Madeline could blow out candles together.  Having 3 birthdays in 9 days makes things pretty exciting and I just couldn't squeeze in 3 cakes.  Two out of three isn't bad, right? 
Thank you, Clark -- for making me smile so much.  Thank you for blessing my life and for being so adorable.  I love you and I'm glad your four year old muscles are stronger now. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Light No. 47

I love this time of year.  Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, one where I love being with family and eating delicious food.  Then we turn the corner to the Christmas season, which is my all time favorite.

This past week the joy was a little dampened by sickness; mostly for Emma.  She got sick on Thanksgiving day {poor girl and poor Grandma's carpet} and then spent the next 18 hours getting dehydrated {for lack of a more gruesome description} and then 6 hours at the hospital getting re-dydrated.  That means she, Faye and I also missed the annual trip to the mountains for Christmas tree cutting.  Typically I would have 100 photos of that event and a bucket full of awesome memories.  This year I'm thankful that Madeline and my mom picked out a beautiful tree, Kurt was willing to do it all without my help, and we can live on the memories rather than photos.  I'm thankful that Emma is ok, hopeful that she will return to school tomorrow.  I'm thankful that I listened to my mother voice inside and took her in.  She was in pretty bad shape at the point and would have only gotten more serious from there.  Even after our hospital visit, we have spent the past 3 days nursing her back to herself.  I've never seen Emma lie so still, sleep so much, and be so quiet.  I love the 100% Emma and I'm looking forward to having her back.

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving day is the walk after we eat.  I love watching everyone walking, talking, taking it all in, and of course the boys throwing the football.  The weather was beautiful and the people delightful.

My parents provided an amazing meal - only taking a spoonful of each option and my plate was overflowing.  They always make us feel so at home there and I love them so much.

Now thanksgiving is a memory and I see christmas lights all over town.  I hear music in the stores and I'm happy about it.  I feel like I'm in a good place to really focus on the memories and feeling of Christmas this year.  I hope to end the year with a lot of light shining; burning little holes of precious memories right into our hearts and reminding us that family matters, God matters, and serving others matters.

Sailing On,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for our many many blessings.  I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Light No. 46

I'm in the whirlwind.  
We celebrated three birthdays within 9 days.   Fun and wild. 

I have much to be thankful for.   I'm happy with the time I spent slowing down when I was able to, spending time with my family, and making a sincere effort to give more hugs and offer more words of praise.  

I'm thankful for the lessons I learned from friends who stayed with us over the weekend and for the happiness they brought with them to our home.  

I'm finding light everywhere; most often in the hope of believing that we will endure, that we will move towards a deeper understanding, that we will learn, grow and become better.  

I'm frustrated that the van situation is still not resolved.  I dealt with some personal health issues that reminded me how short life is.  I'm happy to report I have been sneaking creative time in and it is helping me to calm down and breathe deeply.  I love the Colorado sunshine and feel so blessed to live in a place where I see so much of the sun.  

Sailing On, 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

12 Years Old

Twelve is a big celebration.  Madeline was thrilled that she had reached the age of ear piecercing!  She was the happiest girl on her birthday night.  I was expecting some type of reaction from her when she got her ears pierced but she just sat there and didn't move or make any expressions then said after the second ear was pierced "that one hurt more".  And that was it.  Now her eyes and her smile and her ears are sparkling.

She enjoyed breakfast in bed and then was off to school.  I was stuck without a car so I felt bad that I could not take her out to lunch; especially since her friends were all gone sick and she was left alone!  After school she was able to attend the temple with her dad and perform baptisms there.  It was a great experience.  Then we were off to the mall for the earrings and peppermint milk shakes with Grandma and her friend Lexi.  Back home again and opening gifts.

I love Madeline so much and I am so happy that she is twelve.  She is thrilled.  She was spoiled rotten with gifts from grandparents and friends and us.
Have I really been a mother for 12 years?  That's wild. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Light No. 45

We sailed through another week.  Baby Faye turned ONE YEAR OLD. That was a very very fast year.  She loved being the center of attention and having everyone around her handing her gifts.  She was pretty upset that we wouldn't allow her to touch the flame on the candle and loved making a mess of eating cake.

We located a Eurovan and Kurt drove it back from Kansas City.  Without a working heater.  In a snow storm.  The drama continues...

I'm falling behind on things at a time of year when I can't afford to fall behind.  I'm trying to remind myself what matters most.  I'm trying to remember how light works and how I need more of it and how I can be a light and what it feels like to have our burdens made light.

Sailing On,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photo Favorite

Somebody turns 1 year old today. We love her to the moon and back.  Isn't she adorable?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Light No. 44

I need to get out of this habit of putting off my post until monday but the idea of climbing into bed and catching that extra hour of sleep (because all of my children slept HORRIBLY on saturday night) was much too tempting.

And now it's wednesday morning and I'm finally sitting down to finish this.  Again.

The days move on and I'm swallowed up in all of it; constantly running a race I wonder if I can finish each day.  With every step I take I'm fighting desperately to catch up; gain ground in any area.

The weather is wonderful, soccer season is over for a few months, scouts has begun, and I have three birthdays to celebrate in November.   My baby has decided she is finished nursing and while I'm happy to have a little more control of my body back I miss her snuggles and falling asleep on me.

Will I ever feel at home in the time that we use for this life?  I want it to speed up or slow down; stop altogether or just skip entire days.  My heart is heavy as I trudge on this week, hoping I can find some reasons to smile under the laundry piles or candy wrappers.  Right now I'm too discouraged by the outcome of the election and the messy house to have much hope.  I'm off to get grounded again and open all the windows so I have as much light as possible today.

Sailing On,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Photo Favorite

I couldn't choose just one.
because she is gorgeous.

and she bites everything.
and laughs.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

The children have now been on a sugar high for nearly a week.  I tried really hard to find reasons to like Halloween and then I realized that I still just don't like it.  But I played along and now everyone has obscenely large bags of candy and are very proud about that.

The weather yesterday was over 70 degrees and with a beautiful sunset trick-or-treating was comfortable.  I even took Faye out for a little while with the other children because it was such a beautiful night.  Madeline went with some friends so I didn't see her for most of the evening.
Savanna spent a good deal of time on painting her face and enjoyed being Frankenstein's Bride.  

These two were just adorable.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Light No. 43

Here I am, running behind yet again.  There is so much going on and yet I don't know what it is that I am so busy with.  It was a good week; one where I saw a lot of light shining in the smiling faces of my children.  The snow was a blast to play in and to have it followed by warm weather again is an added bonus.  I laughed out loud when I turned and saw this little lady at the door; wanting to take it all in and not miss out on anything.  What a ray of sunshine she is for all of us.
Clark is not a little boy anymore and I am slowly coming to terms with that.  For so long he has been my little so dependant boy.  I'm happy and grateful that his body is bigger and stronger than ever and that he seems to have most of his health challenges behind him.  The attitude that is coming with his almost four year old self I could do without.  Even so, he is adorable and constantly makes us smile.  I only wish he were a little more inclined to get buckled into his car seat when I ask him to.  We need to work on that.  
I love soccer yet we are running a little ragged from it all; ready for a break after we finish out this week and get the makeup games scheduled and wrapped up.  I love the way I feel two days after physical therapy but not so much the going and the in between part where it just hurts.  I love the crisp air, the crunch of leaves, the geese flying, the flower beds put to rest, the children coming inside more to color and play with playdough.  I love the late night football games in the front yard with cousins and the whispers in the early mornings when they think I can't hear them.  I love the quiet house in the morning and wearing my slippers on the cold floor and making hot cocoa and cinnamon bread before the children are awakened for school.  I love playing tag in the front yard with my sons and feeling that tightness in my chest from running and laughing so hard at the same time.  I love watching Faye take a few steps and trying out her legs while we all watch and cheer.   I love witnessing a dog pile on dad on a sunday afternoon; spending time together just being a family.  There are so many bright moments to love this past week -- I'm so glad I finally sat down to remember them all. 
We were able to celebrate a special birthday with close friends; attend a wonderful Halloween party at the church then ended with sugar filled but ecstatic children.  We had the chance to see all of the hard work my brother and his wife are doing on their newly purchased home and paint with them for a few hours.  
Even as I write this we are well into a new week and yet  I can still bask in the light of what has taken place just a few days ago.  That's pretty great.  
Sailing on, 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Costume Planning

A few nights ago we were going through the Halloween box looking for costumes for everyone this year.  Clark pulled out a while pillowcase that had holes for the head and arms in it and told me that he knew what he was going to be.  What?  I asked.
" a baby Heavenly Father".

He makes me smile so much.  I had to remember this.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Light No. 42

It was a week of fall break; a week of a messy house; going to the zoo, the swimming pool, the park.  A week of sleeping in and playing in the yard, attending birthday parties, and gathering fallen leaves.  It was a fun soccer week, I love watching my children play.

In some ways I feel suspended in time; waiting to hear from the insurance company about the van, driving a rental car that is not my own and yet seems more familiar the longer we drive it.  We are narrowing down our choices of what we would like to purchase and yet cannot do that until we get a check from the insurance company, who seems to have us on hold, so the saga continues.

I feel like I made some good progress this past week in finding the light inside myself again.  I was given a fresh perspective on my children and how I can better deal with some of their behavior patterns.      I took time to attend the temple and to sit quietly for a while -- something I always want to do and yet never have time for.  I worked hard to get several things in order for upcoming events that have taken so much effort on my part which no one will ever know or notice and yet which I feel is paramout to the success of a particular child in school, the same child who told me this last week that they would like it if I went away on vacation by myself.

I'm frustrated, thankful, tired and failing at most things.  But here I am, trying again.  I'll get up tomorrow morning and pack the lunches and wash the dishes and do the laundry and bathe the baby and do my workout and prepare dinner.  I'll send the children off to school and get as much accomplished as I possibly can in one day, all the while trying to fight off that voice, the one that comes in the darkness that says "You are not good enough, you are not thin enough, you are not smart enough, you are not doing this the right way".  And then I'll try again the next day.  And maybe, after trying enough days and listening enough to the right voice, the one that speaks in light and truth, I can be the whole person I am supposed to be.  Until then, I guess I'll keep trying.

Is there another option?
Sailing On,

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Favorite

I love this photo; I'm not sure why.  Faye is moving around the house so rapidly now.  We are trying to teach her how to come down the stairs on her stomach but so far the only thing she has tried is putting her head back and sliding down on her back.  Silly.  Her other favorite thing to do right now is to chew on socks and shoes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Prayer Story

A few weeks ago, saturday morning the house was awake with early morning activity; everyone running around to find their correct color soccer jersey; socks, shinguards and cleats.  Filling up water bottles and getting assigned to which car they needed to be in to get to their field at the correct time.  Kurt left with most of the kids to get to Christian's game and then go straight to Savanna's.  Because I coach Emma's team I stayed behind to go to her game and then meet up with Kurt.  I ran upstairs to get in the shower really quickly before we left.

Sadly, Emma thought I had left and wasn't aware that I was upstairs in the shower.  She went outside on the driveway and saw that dad's van was gone and was scared that she was left behind by mistake.  Emma decided to kneel down in the driveway and say a prayer that she would know what to do and that we would come back for her.
this is a picture she drew for me the next day of her being sad and scared, kneeling down in the driveway to say a prayer.  {notice the tears falling}

After finishing her prayer; she told me:
"Right after I said the prayer I stood up and then I had an idea I knew that Heavenly Father gave me!  I knew I should go inside and call someone on the phone."

She came back in the house, picked up the home phone and began to scroll through the caller id until she recognized a number;  Grandma's cell phone.  She called Grandma and asked for help.

At this point I walked down the stairs into the kitchen and saw her standing there on the phone.  I saw her tear stained cheecks and hugged her and found out what was going on.  I felt so bad that she thought she was home all alone and that I hadn't clearly communicated to her that I was still home and that she would be riding with me after I showered.

I talked to my mom and explained to her that I was home and that Emma was ok.   Then I told Emma how proud I was of her grown up five year old self for kneeling down to pray for help; for recognizing that the idea to call someone for help had come from Heavenly Father, and for calling Grandma.  I was so impressed with her for settling down and finding a solution.

I am very thankful for a loving God who answers prayers, who listens to five year old girls who are scared and think they are alone.  I am also thankful for a smart five year old daughter who knew that God would indeed answer her prayer and didn't hesitate to ask for His help.  Oh the things we can learn from our children.

This is the picture she drew of how she was happy when she saw me and I gave her a hug


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This season...

I love the fall.  This time of year is so beautiful.  The cool air, the colors, the perfect light.
Sometimes the leaves fall off the trees and other times children force the leaves from the trees.  
It's the time when we get to start having hot chocolate for breakfast; warm oatmeal and fresh whipped cream.  It means bulb planting for spring and preparing garden beds for winter.  It means taking a break from lawn mowing and shoveling snow instead.  Everywhere I look this week I am struck by the beauty that is just sitting there waiting to be enjoyed.  

I'm so thankful that my children reminded me that we should walk to the park just because it was gorgeous outside.  These are moments that are too easily missed. 
Emma chose the perfect attire for playing at the park, wouldn't you say? 
All of it makes me smile.  
Happy Fall,