Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I Can't Keep Up

(Obviously since it's now December and I'm just getting around to re-capping October...In my defense, I wrote this a long time ago but didn't hit post. Not sure what that does for my case, but here ya go...)

October flew by like a whirlwind! It started with Hewitt's birthday. I can't believe he's already two! I always find it difficult to shop for my kids when they're too young to ask for anything, so we gave him practical items - books, church clothes and a new fleece blanket. But a couple of days before his birthday we asked him what he'd like as a gift and he excitedly answered, "Fluffy puppy!" We passed that info onto Nana and she was more than happy to oblige, so much in fact that he got 2 fluffy puppies which he really loves. We all thought it was fun to watch Hewi open his gifts and cards. He didn't quite understand what was going on, but he did know that if he held up his spoils he got a reaction from his siblings and a few cousins. Hewitt loves to be the center of attention!October also brought with it Kenley's 6th birthday, which we actually celebrated 3 times. Her birthday was on a Wednesday but my parents invited us to go to McCall with them from Tuesday through Friday. Since Jeremiah had to work and couldn't join our vacation we had a surprise party for her on Monday night for FHE so dad could be there.

I sent her downstairs to get something out of food storage then ran and grabbed her presents, turned off the lights and told the kids to hide. I had planned to turn on the lamp on the piano once she got upstairs and yell "Surprise" but I didn't realize the lamp wasn't plugged in. Kenley came upstairs with the jar of peaches to a dark room and me pulling on the cord and everyone else laughing. It was obvious she thought we all were crazy but didn't mind too much when she realized we were having a birthday party.

Kenley also decided that our vacation with my parents was to celebrate her birthday. We had a great time in McCall. The drive took a while because my kids are unable to control their bladders on road trips but I was thankful that Gammie and Bucka were patient. We enjoyed lazing around the condo. We ventured out to the neighboring Ponderosa park where the kids, Bucka and I took a quaint hike along Lily Marsh trail. (Gammie stayed in the car with a sleeping Hewitt.) We didn't see much wildlife, just a few ducks on the pond, but we did hear the flapping of enormous wings while deep in the forest. Isaac even spotted a deer as we walked to the pool one afternoon.

We also had some friends over the day after we arrived home for cake and ice cream. Kenley wanted Hello Kitty cake pops and they were so stinkin' cute. Kenley likes to be the center of attention, although she doesn't demand it. Mostly she just smiles and tilts her head like she's shy, but we all know better.

Halloween happened in there somewhere as well. We didn't decide on costumes until the last minute. Isaac dressed as a Ninja, Kenley was a princess and Hewitt was Chewbacca from Star Wars. I honestly can't remember what Jack was because he was in costume from October 1 - November 6. He was either a Power Ranger, Buzz Lightyear, Captain America or a monkey with human legs (because that costume is 2 sizes too small!) I didn't get any pictures because I was preoccupied learning, teaching and coordinating a Thriller dance to present as a Flash Mob, which turned out to be lots of fun.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Sometimes It Just Hits You

I had a kind of sad moment last night, full of mixed emotions. My family and I had been at my parents house enjoying General Conference, dinner and the company of a couple of my brothers' families. We drove home kind of late and Hewitt fell asleep on the way.

I unbuckled him from his carseat and carried his sweet sleeping body into the house. I realized that I rarely get to hold him, or any of my children for that matter, while they sleep. So when I got downstairs I sat with him in the rocking recliner instead of placing him in his bed. I got a little teary-eyed as it set in that these moments, as rare as they currently are, will soon be gone altogether. As much as I sometimes wish my kids would "grow up," in that moment I wanted time to stop. I wanted to keep him a two-year old forever.

As I held him, I knew that I wasn't longing or hoping for another child. I feel complete, albeit overwhelmed, with the four I have. It was just bittersweet to hold a tiny, innocent, sleeping angel in my arms and know this child is it. All the sweet moments you experience while looking in awe at a newborn or small infant are about to expire in this household. And while I love my nieces and nephews, and have a couple on the way to enjoy as newborns, nothing compares to the love you feel for your own children.

I'm glad I took a minute to experience the tenderness I felt. They may grow up and change, but they'll always be my babies.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Message

Our family had a yard sale yesterday. The kids thought it was great to turn some of our household items into cash. Kenley, apparently, was especially excited because she called my mom (without my knowledge) and left this message on her machine:

"Hi Gammie, um, we're having a yard sale today (sigh). I just want to let you know that we're having a, um, yard sale today. We're having a yard sale, um, and I was just wondering if you could come and buy some stuff. K, bye!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What? Me on a Mountain?

From the moment I was called to go to Girls Camp I was worried about "the hike." By all accounts this hike is the most dreaded (and "suckiest") of all the level hikes required by our stake.

Also, I am a wimp. I have always been a wimp. I have little endurance and chronic, flu-like muscle aches on good days thanks to my companion, Fibromyalgia. And I've not had a lot of out-doorsy (it's a word!) exposure.

Then right before camp, I caught a cold. The can't-breathe-through-my-nose-my-throat-is-sore-and-scratchy-thanks-to-this-cough-where's-my-voice-? kind of cold. Needless to say, I was not confident that I would make it half-way up, let alone to the summit. But, in the name of leadership, I was determined to do my best. So after waking up at a time that, to me, was only fabled to exist, we drove up to the trail head and started out.

The first little bit was encouraging; a slow, gradual climb crossing a frigid creek several times in the cool morning air. The trail gradually steepened but was not yet uncomfortable and the 30 of us on the hike were in a pretty tight pack. We were continually encouraged by our guide, but I had a feeling that he was psyching us up for when the real hike began.We made it up to an old mine which in the late 19th century and the early 20th century produced more than $50 million in placer gold. We stopped there to snack and take a potty break. It was also there that we saw the first snow on the trail ahead.
That's when the trail started to get a bit more steep. The weather was warm and the snow was slowly melting creating some squishy mud. Also, the tree cover became more dense and we were swarmed with mosquitos. (100% Deet is amazing!!!) After we emerged from the forest we were met with a rocky climb in the sun. Here our pack started to lengthen, the eager and spry in the front, the determined yet slightly less enthusiastic in the middle (my group), and those who continued on only because they weren't allowed to get behind the leader bringing up the rear.

We were told that we would see a peak and it would appear as though we had reached the summit, but that it was not the end, there would be a little up and down before we would reach the peak. Even with that in mind it was still discouraging to reach that point and see that there was still a good distance ahead of me.

As I began the slight descent my knee started to ache and I realized that it was going to hurt the entire way down. I was overcome by doubt and told the small group with me to go ahead, I needed to rest. As soon as they were out of sight I began to cry. I had come much farther than I thought I could already, yet I could see the summit looming ahead. I wanted to reach it. I said a little prayer and as I finished I saw the group behind me hit the same peak that brought me discouragement. I knew that if I sat and waited for them, we'd all stop there and never reach the summit. And I felt that if I got up and continued on that we'd all make it to the top.

So I began to climb again. I lost sight of the top as I walked alone along the ridge of one of the tallest mountains in our area. The climbing wasn't difficult, but every downhill step brought a stab of pain to my knee. I kept thinking of the words of one of the other leaders, "If you can make it to the top you will know that you can do hard things."

I felt like The Little Engine That Could. I kept telling myself, "I can do hard things." Before I knew it I could again see the summit and the sea of red girls. They cheered me on, bringing fresh tears to my eyes, and then I had made it! I was at the top!!!

Soon after, we could see the last small group of girls climbing the trail. We cheered them on and in a short amount of time we were all there. 30 girls and leaders, 3000+ feet above the trail head, looking out from the highest peak (9,803 ft!) in every direction. It was a beautiful sight! I was so thankful for the encouragement the girls had lent each other and for the fact that we had made it as a group. We all agreed that our hoagie sandwiches tasted amazing after the strenuous climb and enjoyed the view. I gave a short devotional on the saying, "When you see a man standing on a mountain, remember, he wasn't placed there," reminding the girls that we had a goal, but each of us had to take our own steps to achieve that goal, and so it is in life.

Then we were given the go-ahead to take off down the mountain. That was the worst part of the hike for me. My knee was unhappy with every step, but stopping to rest made no sense. Every downhill stride was going to hurt, and that was the reality. I felt bad holding everyone up, but another of the girls was experiencing the same pains, so we slowly and gingerly made our way down the mountain. I was thankful for those who could have easily gone ahead yet waited for us and kept us company on our descent.

Along the hike I saw more butterflies than I've probably seen in my entire life, tons of wildflowers and some amazing and rare-for-me views, but no sight was quite so welcome as that of our parked vehicles in the small clearing at the end of the trail. The hike was complete, all the girls had made it and were accounted for and I was reassured to know I can do hard things.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

3 AM Ponderings

April, May, June, August and September are sometimes used as names but I've never met a January, February, March, July, October, November or December.

Why are "ticks" louder than "tocks?"

Maybe I shouldn't have drank that Dr. Pepper at 10:30.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Around the House

Here are a few of the plants that I've been enjoying at my house.


Purple Robe Locust - Love, love, love this tree!



Bearded Iris

Double Columbine

I've enjoyed the sweat of my brow!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All the Small Things

Jack has started playing t-ball. Wait...scratch that. We paid for him to play t-ball but Jack heard it was 2 hours a week of sitting in the dirt looking for bugs and doing the potty dance in the infield. It's okay though, he's four and apparently some of the other parents paid for their kids to do somersaults and throw dirt at the opposing team. T-ball - it's versatile.


I think Isaac's going crazy being home. He's used to school where there is always something to and the day is very regimented and I think it's driving him crazy that we don't do that at home. Consequently, he wants to spend his day playing the Wii or computer and watching TV because that's all he can think to do. He has, however, been a star about doing his chores. His room has been kept very neat and he's been willing to get his chores done without much nagging on my part. I've just got to be better about helping him find things to do.


Last night Kenley walked up to me with a small, hand-held massager and said, "I got your 'sabotager', now I'm going to sabotage you!" What a silly!


Hewitt won 3rd place in his age division in a coloring contest! My mother-in-law brought over pictures for the kids to color for a contest @ work. Hewitt takes his coloring pretty seriously. He gets his face close to the pictures and makes small, deliberate markings on specific areas. He even holds the crayons correctly. He received a large, white 3rd place ribbon and a $10, WalMart gift card for his prize! What a kid!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Little Grease Ball

I'm so thankful for cameras and blogs.
Hewitt is grateful, too.

Without them he might not have survived this morning.

The Vaseline has been put away. Now if only there were someone here to watch him. ;^)

I threw away the clothes, but the child...

Friday, May 06, 2011

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

Yesterday I had the kids at the grocery store with me. As I was being rung up Hewitt kept standing on the seat of the cart. After several attempts to keep his bottom on the seat I finally let him down while observing, "You're gonna die."

Almost immediately Jack piped up, "Do we get a new baby if Hewitt dies?"

Either the cashier was a pig or the snort I heard was contained laughter.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ask the Expert

We FINALLY had some nice weather that lasted more than five minutes today. Although I had a lengthy to-do list of indoor chores I decided that I'd better take advantage of the weather and clean out the flower beds. I forced encouraged the kids to play outside as well and enticed them to join me by exposing a swarm of ants. This tactic proved useful as both Kenley and Jack knelt on the ground close to the curbing to watch the marching specks.

"Are they looking for Cheetos?" Jack wondered aloud.

Knowingly, Kenley answered, "No, Jack. They're looking for all kinds of food. Ya know, like pastaaaa, spaghehhhtti, all sorts of stuff."

"Well, Cheetos are food. So are they looking for those?" Jack queried.

In an exaggerated sigh of irritation and much rolling of the eyes Kenley concurred, "Yeah, even Cheetos."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Losing Your Mind Is Fun To Do

To do. To do. To do.

I'm blogging today not because I feel like I have a great post in mind but because I have a lot to do and I don't really know where to start.

April is always a crazy month for our family. This year is no exception other than it seems even busier. We had just finished a busy weekend and as I was sitting in church on Sunday I was thinking about the week ahead of me. I realized that each night, as well as the weekend, had already been claimed by one activity or another.

Monday: We always have FHE and Jeremiah's parents had invited us to a movie with them for family night. Also, freezer meal exchange.
Tuesday: The Young Women are having their spaghetti dinner and dessert auction fundraiser for Girl's Camp. I have a special interest in it this year because I get to go to Girl's Camp.
Wednesday: The kids and I have play practice. This day is our least packed.
Thursday: Now that Isaac's 8 we get to go to Pack Meetings plus I have a meeting for Girl's Camp.
Friday: Jack's birthday. We really need to do something fun for Jack. He was sick for a week and a half and then he's had a fat lip from chewing on it while numb from the dentist. This kid needs a break! Plus he's the one whose needs usually get pushed aside, I'll admit it. I'm also hoping that my company arrives this day. (Hint-hint, Katie!)
Saturday: Busy day! Hopefully we'll get the kids out for an Easter Egg hunt and Isaac and his cousin are being baptized. Plus I want to do something fun with our guests.
Sunday: Easter! I'm hoping that this will be a nice, relaxing day. If all goes well, all I'll have to do that day is lead the choir in Sacrament Meeting and make dinner. Oh, and teach R.S. (Almost forgot about that....)

As you can imagine, many of these activities for this week have associated to-do lists: Prepare freezer meals, make desserts for auction, practice lines, print lists, make phone calls, birthday shopping, cooking, planning, wrapping, find baptismal clothing, clean house, dye eggs, decide if Easter Bunny is coming, bake desserts for baptism, learn song, prepare get the idea. Plus there's all the daily stuff to do and a few projects that need finishing, like installing the downstairs toilet.

I'm kicking it all off really well by sitting here in my pajamas writing about it.

Hi! My name is Gwen and I've been meaning to tell you that I'm a procrastinator.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Day of Rest

I am the choir director for my ward. I'm also the 4th Sunday Relief Society Teacher. My husband is the Young Men's President and teaches the Teacher Improvement class during Sunday School. I have four kids, ages 7 and under, the youngest is just a couple weeks shy of (officially) attending nursery. On Sunday mornings my husband gets up and goes to meetings. I get the kids ready for church and (usually) make it on time. My husband can't always sit with our family because there aren't always enough deacons to pass the Sacrament. Then he usually has to stay after church for more meetings then heads to the hospital to help take the Sacrament to those who can't make it to church because of health reasons. When he gets home, I leave for choir practice. When I get home I throw together dinner and usually serve it to my husband in plastic storage containers so that he can eat it on his way to firesides, or whatever meeting is being held that night because, let's be honest, there's always some other meeting. I get the kids ready for bed while he's gone. When he gets home we have scripture study and family prayer then put the kids in bed.

I'm not patting myself on the back or saying that we're martyrs or anything like that. This truly is a typical Sunday at our house. We do it because we believe in the true church of Jesus Christ and because we have made covenants to do all that we can to give our time and talents to the building of the kingdom. So that is why, when I get home from church, make sure 4 kids get changed out of their church clothes, feed them lunch and then make phone calls to over 20 households to remind them about choir practice, I want to scream when I hear someone tell me they can't make it because choir is "during nap time."

Monday, February 28, 2011

(Bad) Job Well Done

Look at this cute little guy, all relaxed and sleeping in his crib. Laid out on a plush pillow-pet, covered in a nice flannel blanket. He wore himself out, that's for sure.
Did you notice he's in a button-down shirt? Yeah, that's because this is what happened right after we came home from church last week. This is his well-earned, much-needed nap after two and a half hours of being a B.E.A.S.T. at church.

All through Sacrament Meeting he was unhappy to be touched, held, looked at or breathed on. He spent about 10 minutes with me in class during Sunday School before laying on the floor in a massive fit about who knows what. We spent the rest of our time searching for a room in which he could be occupied and entertained; the nursery, the mother's room, the hallway, the foyer and, when the time came, Relief Society. Each room was more upsetting than the last (although I'm not sure which of us was more upset.) Finally, feeling like I wasn't getting anything out of church that day and that we would disrupt any group we tried to join I finally strapped the little stinker in his car seat and drove him home. He fell asleep before we even made it into our neighborhood.
When I laid him in his crib this is the position he assumed. He sure has it rough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Appendages growing straight out of your head deserve two giant thumbs up!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh, The Scandal!

Isaac, Kenley and I are participating in a play this summer. Our stake is presenting "Porter Rockwell," a musical, and since I've always wanted to be in a musical, I decided this was probably my only chance to try. I convinced Isaac and Kenley that it would be something fun we could do together. Kenley has been excited from day one, although she spends all her time during practices playing with a pen and notebook. Isaac was hesitant but since we've started singing he's been on board. He's been reading the script and hoping to be cast as "Boy 4" because, "he gets to try and tackle young Porter." Isaac has also been offering pointers on how to portray my role, Mary Ann Neff, Porter's 2nd wife in the play.

Until last night it was unknown who would play the part of Porter. As we were leaving the building, "Porter" introduced himself to me. Isaac smiled at me as we walked to the car and said, "I know why you're meeting him."

"Because I have to be his wife in the play?" I asked.

"Yeah. I hope Dad doesn't watch the play and get jealous."

"Daddy knows that play is just pretend, bud. He's not going to be jealous."

Isaac, having just read my final scene answered, "But you embrace."

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'll Be Looking Forward To That

Yesterday I picked out clothes for Jack after his bath. I was pretty excited because I chose some nice tan cuordoroy pants and a nice, pale blue and tan, plaid shirt that buttons up. I just knew he was going to look super handsome. He put on his pants without argument but began to pout as I buttoned his shirt. "I wanted to pick out my own shirt."

"But I already got a shirt for you and you look good, man." I countered, but the look on his face told me it was more important to him than it was to me. Still I was disappointed. "Okay," I said as I began to help him get off his shirt, "but will you wear this shirt another day for me? I think you look really nice in it."

"Yeah," Jack obliged, "I'll wear it on your birthday,"