Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Six Years Old (Wordless Wednesday)

On Friday, July 2nd, six years ago,
Allison and Sarah entered our lives.

It's been a wild ride . . .

5 Days Old

6 Months Old

1 Year Old


2 Years Old


3 Years Old




4 Years Old



5 Years Old

6 Years Old


We wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Quiet

My husband just left with six of our kids for an overnight camping adventure. Harmony is taking a nap, Katie is on my lap, and the house is peaceful. I find myself wanting to savor the quiet, to grab the few hours I have to fill myself with something that will sustain me when the noise begins again. But nothing seems just right. I'd love to get a project or two done. Maybe this is the perfect time to touch-up paint the little girls' room -- one of them colored all over the wall (again!) a few months ago. Or perhaps I should clean out something -- the pantry? or the storage area?

Or I could work on a computer project, like sorting our pictures and prepping last year's for the book I need to work on soon.

Or I could just sit here and blog. Yeah, that's what I'll start with, some random moments from my life.

* Katie slept six hours last night, from 11 to 5. She did the same the night before, too. It was glorious. I'm hoping she's turned a corner with her sleep.

She's a delight to be with and now that she's smiling, the kids are even more excited to hold her and elicit these lovely things:





* Does this next picture look familiar? It should. Harmony adores Katie.


* A house with five little girls in it needs a good dress-up bin.



* Lillian and Joey are doing a summer day camp Tuesdays and Thursdays for two weeks. This was their first week and I was amazed at how much they had planned. Tuesday was a Bugs and Butterflies theme and they did several art projects, read books, and looked at ladybugs the twins caught before going on their own bug hunt. I was worried that Lillian might get a bit stressed out by it all, but after everyone left, she turned to me and said, "That was SO much fun!" I love that girl.


* Eliza still sleeps with a pacifier. We limit it to just at night and she'll be giving it up right after the Daddy trip next month, which means, there won't be too many more pictures like this one:

* We spent the day at the zoo. Michael stayed home because, "the zoo just makes me hot," and he wanted to work with DH and earn some work hours. I'm glad he wanted to stay home so I could drive our small van instead of the big monster.

It was hot at the zoo. I always feel sorry for the penguins in that kind of heat. If there's one thing they're not born for, it's 90 degree days in Salt Lake City.


We met up with our new friends the Robertsons and had a great time there. Their family has seven kids about the ages of ours and we met through blogging (Hi, Diane!).




Diane's son Joseph is adorable.

One of the highlights of the adventure was the bird show. I'm still learning how to get good action shots, but I was pleased at how these ones turned out:



Enjoy your evening. I hope it's as quiet as mine. I'm off to do some touch-up painting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not Quite Wordless Wordless Wednesday

I was disappointed not to find a video of "How Can I keep from Singing?" that I liked on YouTube the other day, so I decided to try my hand at making one myself.



The photos are all mine, the paintings are from the LDS Church Art Book. Sally DeFord is the arranger, the vocalist is James Loyne.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tired

I was peeking at my blog stats the other day. I've gotten fewer comments lately and wondered if anyone was still reading. My daughter came over and asked me what I was looking at.

"It's a way for me to see if people are reading my blog. See, here's the weekly summary. This line shows me how many people read it in a week." (It seems about the same as ever, by the way, so I figure everyone's just too busy with summer to comment. Either that, or I'm just really boring lately.)

"Who is it reading your blog?"

"I don't know all of them. Some of them are people who want to have a large family but are worried about it. They want to see how it's done and that it can be done. Others are probably just curious. I feel like it's a good thing to blog. There are so many voices that are negative towards large families. I want to talk about our lives, to show that 'Sure, it's hard, but it's worth doing.' Too many people encounter tough things and want to run the other way. But one thing that I've learned in my life is that everything worth doing is hard."

Everything worth doing is hard. I needed that reminder, as life has battered me down more than usual this week. Katie is now officially our worst sleeper, and the cumulative lack of sleep is weighing on me.

We rejoice in her presence, and I know that what I'm doing is worthwhile, but still, I am tired, and it appears that I will be so for some time.

But there are things to learn from being tired. I'm sure I could think of some and write something profound about them, if it weren't that I'm so tired right now. Maybe later.

But I will say that when I'm tired, I'm more aware than ever of how much I depend on my Heavenly Father. People often ask, "How do you do it?" and if I'm honest, the best answer is, "I pray a lot and God helps me."

He gives me the strength to do the work my family needs, the wisdom to know what to do with more limited energy, and the courage to count my blessings. They are many.

I've drawn strength recently from the song, "How can I keep from singing?" You can download an amazingly beautiful FREE MP3 of it here. The words are soothing and beautiful.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation
I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What tho' my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth
What tho' the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin
I see the blue above it
And day by day this pathway smooths
Since first I learned to love it

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing?


I thought this article was so beautifully written and had so many wonderful things to say about being a mom. I especially loved this part:

Nature has something to teach us about this patience with the process. Anyone who has been to Arches National Monument can't help but be awestruck by the beauty of the place. It is a wonder how the wind and water have carved and molded their way through the soft sandstone, creating amazing arches and canyons. These were not produced in a moment, by a mighty blast of wind or one torrential rainstorm. It was day by day, year by year, a drop here and a breeze there. The wind and the rain may have only taken a few grains of sand from the stone, but little by little their work was accomplished. Now generations of people can look with wonder upon their work

I like to think that I am like the wind and the rain upon the soft souls of my children. My work is done day by day, year by year, a touch here, and a gentle word there. I may not see the effects of my work for years to come, and yet my heart whispers that I am doing something of great importance.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life in Pictures (Wordless Wednesday)

Katie's now six weeks old. Yesterday, she gave me some of her first intense, "I'm so happy to be alive and to be communicating with you" smiles. I didn't even try to capture them on film.

I did, however, catch this expression yesterday:
And lots of others





Allison loves to hold Katie and doesn't even try to hand her back if she starts to fuss. She'll rock her and give her a pacifier. She's soothed her to sleep half a dozen times and each time tells me how much she loves holding Baby Katie. I tell her she's going to be a wonderful mother someday.




A few weeks ago, Joey and Michael participated in their final track meet. They had a preschool kids' race just before the others. Lillian helped Harmony line up.

She didn't win. A few steps into the race across the gym, she stopped, stuck out her lower lip and began to cry.

There was no crying when Joey ran, however, just determination and effort.



Harmony has such a zest for living. Monday, I took all but Katie swimming. The joy on Harmony's face as she lay her head in the water and experienced the spray on her face reminded me of what a privilege it is to live and breathe and feel. Harmony brings that same excitement and happiness to everything she does.




My kids are finishing up swimming lessons this week. Everyone's loved it, except Michael, who doesn't see the point.


Life is good.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In a perfect world

everyone would have someone to exercise with.

someone they care about and enjoy spending time with.

someone available when they wanted to go.

someone enthusiastic enough to wake up with an alarm and never miss a run.

someone who doesn't care if you're a bit slower than they are.

someone you wouldn't want to disappoint, so you'd get up and run no matter how many times you'd been up with the baby the night before.

And wouldn't it be nice if they were the one to wake you up so there wouldn't be any excuses?

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Well, meet Joey . . .
He's MY exercise partner.
Bright and early, starting last week, we've been up and running. I wanted to take it slowly, but I was surprised at how easy and smoothly I was able to run nearly two miles all three days. I was pretty sore the day after the first run, a little bit sore the day after the second run, and not sore at all after the third run. Joey outran me every day, because I'm slow, but didn't mind stopping to wait for me every so often.

My perfect world, in which regular exercise is fun, enjoyable, and happening consistently was about to start.

But everyone knows a perfect world doesn't exist.

Here's my little wrench in the works:

Last night, my new jogging stroller arrived! Hurray! Now I can bring Katie along those days she's awake!

Two hours later, I was carrying Katie down for bed and I twisted my ankle. It's painfully sprained.

I really want to run. I've got the perfect partner to keep me motivated, beautiful sunrises to greet, and some extra weight to lose, but now I have to wait until I heal. Isn't life full of surprises?

Phone Calls

Lillian and Joey have been planning a summer day camp for kids ages 3 to 6. Last Thursday, we took fliers around to the families in our neighborhood with kids that age. Michael didn’t want to come on our walk, and since DH was working late that night, he ended up staying home alone for the first time in his life. I reminded him as we left that we would just be around the neighborhood and made sure he remembered my cell phone number. Five minutes after we left, my cell phone rang.

“Hi, Mommy.”

“Hi, Michael.”

“Um . . .How are you?”

“I’m fine.”

“When are you coming home?”

“In about a half an hour.”

“Well . . . when’s daddy coming home?”

“He won’t be home until late. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Bye.”

Ten minutes later, the phone rang again, and this time Michael sounded a little bit panicked.

“Hi, Mommy? I thought you said you’d be in our neighborhood, but I looked out the front window and couldn’t see you!”

“Michael, our neighborhood is bigger than just our street. We’re over by the church right now.”

“Oh. When are you coming home?”

“In about twenty minutes.”

“Oh. And when’s daddy coming home?”

“Not until after you go to bed tonight.”

“Oh. Okay. See you later.”

Five minutes later, another phone call.

“Hi, Mommy. Um . . . so, how is everyone doing?”

“We’re fine.”

(and so on)

Michael is a social boy and I can just see him all alone and feeling lonely in our big house. I don’t think he’s ever experienced the house that quiet.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Two sets of twins (Wordless Wednesday)

We were blessed to adopt a set of twins yesterday.


Allison (it's ALWAYS Allison) found them abandoned near our woodpile and the kids have had a blast with them.







We let them go tonight and wish them well.

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