Tuesday, April 29, 2014

American Bandstand

At the beginning of the year, while enrolling my son in a new school, we were told about a play that the school puts on every year. It is comprised of the preschool through eighth grade and they started practicing soon after he started. While the preschool's part was small, Superhero was very excited about participating.

Several months later, while picking him up from school, we were going through our daily routine of asking how school was going and what he learned, enjoyed, was nervous about, etc. This particular occasion he started talking about being nervous about "acting like a bird and singing". I wasn't sure what he was talking about until I received a message from his teacher on Facebook. She explained that they practiced on the stage that particular day and that he was pretty nervous, almost to the point of tears. It all made sense.

My son is the type of person who needs to be forewarned about performing. I spoke with him about it and after a few discussions and a few days passed, he was ready to try again. He got up on stage and performed his little heart out. I received word from his teacher that he did a great job at practice that time. Whew!

Last night was his real performance. He was amazing. I was wondering if it wasn't going to be a disaster because he didn't want me to leave him. However, he finally let me go and did great! Here's a little video of him as he performs. If you see the little birds circling the "tv host" you'll see one who is slapping his thighs, er, I mean flapping his wings. :) That's my boy!

You can view the video by clicking, here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chaos & Confusion

Sometimes life is just a mix of jumbled up emotions, chaos swirling around us as we desperately try to find our footing. I often find myself wishing for the next step in life as I find myself treading water tryin to keep myself from being sucked in to the current. I have a really hard time trying to live in the moment and enjoying each passing second with my family without wonderin, "What's next?"

Last month, my mom, my second mom and my sister all attended a religious Women's Conference that shared one of the same messages as this month's General Conference. The message portrade to those attending was to stop living for the "What's next?" and let now be enough. This is something that I have always had issues with and something I strive to perfect in my mortal life on earth.

I have always been happy, upbeat and opptimistic with nearly every situation I have encountered. However, when you grow up in one crappy situation after the next, it's hard to not look ahead to the "What's next?" in life. It's what helped us get through the really crappy times and look forward to getting out of them.

Lately, I have been in the massive whirlwind of postpartum hormones, a thyroid that is possibly not working effectively and a string of infected children. A few weeks ago, three to be more precise, we noticed a dime sized spot on Princess R's back. After inspection, I couldn't figure out whether it was ringworm or a bout of eczema that she has had so frequently. It started to grow and get progressively worse so we decided to take her in during Princess M's well child check and get it checked out. The doctor inspected it and agreed with my findings. It was either eczema or ringworm. If it popped up in any of the other kids, however, it was definitely ringworm. He perscribed her a cream and we were on our way. The very next morning, however, we found 4 spots on Superhero. The spots have since quadrupled in size and now he's up to 10. Princess R has 4 and as of this morning, we found 4 spots on Princess A. Thankfully Princess M has yet to get any. While at the doctors office we also found out that Princess A has a pretty awful ear infection and a raging fever. He prescribed us four prescriptions for the 3 kids, talk about mess.

I also questioned him about my ongoing hormone issue. I constantly feel like I am dying of heat stroke. I am aways sweating, my cheeks are flushed and I feel like it's always 85 degrees in the house. I cannot tell you how many times my husband has come home to me sweating and it's 60 degrees in the house. No wonder everyone constantly complains that it's cold in here. Problem is.. if we raise the temperature, I'm even more miserable. The doctor thinks it's because my thyroid is protesting life. Not his exact words but close enough. He took a blood test and we'll see what the results say. Now I get to nurse my horribly sore arm where the vein blew when they drew my blood. Fun times!

I feel like our house is slowly but surely being sucked into a bacteria infested pool and I can't seem to keep everyone out of it. I'm constantly running in fifteen different directions trying to keep everyone healthy, happy and content in the moment but I am nowhere close to succeeding.

One of the speakers at General Conference just gave a talk this past Sunday in which he stated (I'm paraphrasing) "How can we be thankful for the rainbows in life without first thanking God for the rain?" This resignates so much in my heart. I need to stop and enjoy my family, now. I need to be thankful that the troubles we're having right now are small in comparison to what they could be. I need to be thankful that overall, our family has not had to endure anything too serious and that usually we're all fairly healthy. I am so grateful for the times in which we are healthy. I need to be more grateful for the times in which we aren't because during times of trial, it makes the happiness that much sweeter when we arrive.

I need to learn to let this be enough and in doing so, know that it is my perfection. My situation, however tough or rocky the road, is perfect for me and that is enough.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Super Hero Humor

Oh my sweet boy. I go to get Super Hero on the bus this morning and after hugs and kisses he goes and sits in his seat. The bus driver waves me on and proceeds to tell me a story about last week.

Last week? Last week we were running a tad late. Late to the point where when we showed up at the bus stop, the kids were already on the bus and in their seats. The bus was getting ready to drive away when it seen me pull up.

*pause for a little backstory*

We live in a super tiny town. Population about 3,000. We have one elementary school and one high school. However, we have chosen for my son to go to a school that is about 15 minutes north, which is smaller and much more child centered. In order for him to go to this school, he has to ride a bus from our town, up north. We all have to drop our children off at one buss top behind our local grocery store which is about 5 minutes from my house.

*continuing on*

As I'm running to get Super Hero on the bus before it pulls away, I told him I loved him and to be kind and listen. This is something I always say to him. He yells back that he will and hops on the bus. The bus driver then pulls out and proceeds up to the school as I went home.

Two minutes into the bus ride, Super Hero starts wiggling in his seat. She reminds him, "Super hero! You need to sit still in your seat, for safety." He says okay and calms down. A minute later he starts wiggling again. That same gentle reminder comes from the front of the bus again as they proceed up to the school.

Then from the back the bus driver hears my sweet Super Hero says the following, "Excuse me, Bus Driver but my mommy fixed my hair and if I sit back, it will mess it up."

We both couldn't help but laugh hysterically when she told that story. My sweet little Super Hero.

I should note that when he came home that day, he did tell me that he wasn't listening on the bus. I explained that he always had to be kind and listen to the bus driver and if he didn't, he would loose his privilege of riding the bus. Since then he has come home every day from preschool to tell me that he has listened on the bus and been kind. The bus driver has agreed. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Better Than Boxed - Easier, too!

If your family is anything like ours, brownies are a common dessert staple. One thing I never realized, however, is how incredibly simple they are to make from scratch! I grew up buying desserts prepared from the store. Forget making things from scratch, if it didn't come from a box, we didn't have it.

Once I married my husband, he and I were determined to start making things from scratch, not only because we're true foodies at heart, but also because we wanted to make things healthier than stuffing our faces with a bunch of processed junk. This passion has continued to grow over the years and one of my main passions, aside from raising my children, is providing delicious meals (and desserts!) for them.

One of our favorites is brownies. It could be because the delicious chocolatey goodness, the perfectly salted background notes or the just how easy they are to throw together at a moments notice, but these babies truly are delicious. They're a pinch to whip up and are rarely ever are there any left overs. I often double the recipe to make extras for missionaries or friends who like to stop by unannounced. I definitely urge you to give these a try, they're divine.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (You can also use 1 cup oil!)
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt (I use coarse kosher salt.)
*You can also add 1 cup chopped nuts, but I rarely have those on hand so they often get left out.*

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Using non-stick cooking spray, spray a 9x13" cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl (I use my kitchenaid stand mixer.) mix together the oil OR butter, sugar and vanilla until combined. Mix in the eggs. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25min until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool just long enough to get some plates and forks, cut and enjoy.

Note: If you want perfect little squares of brownies, you'll need to let these cool completely before cutting and serving. If you could care less how they look, enjoy them warm. They are, however, incredible both ways and I rarely eat cold brownies. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Positive Changes

Man. Life has moved so quickly. Changing as each day moves forward. It seems as if yesterday my husband and I were just married and it has been almost 9 years now. It seems as if yesterday we were spending the time worrying about whether or not we would have children and we happily have four children fast asleep up stairs. It is amazing how fast life can take turns in unexpected directions. Directions completely unforeseen and either totally unpleasant or blissfully beautiful.

Our life has been filled with blessings. We have had the chance to travel across the country. We have spent time rescuing animals. We have even been fortunate enough to foster an amazing little girl. We have been extremely blessed to have issues with infertility and have undergone tests and procedures to see what was "wrong" with us.We figured out the issues and were able to get pregnant, not once but three times, resulting in four of the most beautiful children that I have ever seen. My babies. We have somehow been covered in the blessings of watching our four children grow into the amazing little people that they are. Even if we were somehow kicking and screaming along the way. We are so grateful for each and every blessing that we're constantly graced with.

Things, however, have not always been peachy keen. In mid December, we received a call that my oldest brother in law committed suicide. We still don't want to share the details of it but needless to say, he was sick and obviously wasn't getting the help he needed. It didn't help the hurt. The pain of knowing that we didn't call as much as we should have or at all. The pain of knowing that we'll never be able to call him again. The pain of knowing how alone he must have felt and the guilt of knowing we were not there. I don't think that pain will ever go away.

That pain was quickly followed by the preterm labor of our last baby. An ambulance ride followed by a hospital stay, only to be sent home. Two hospital trips followed resulting in a further swollen belly and empty arms. Finally, January 13th rolled around and my water breaks. I was 3 weeks early and I knew that she had to come. She would only be given 24 hours before she would be evicted via c-section.

After a full 18 hours of labor, she never came. I was wheeled in for a c-section and almost an hour later, out she came. Emmie was born at nearly eight o'cock, weighing 7.5 pounds and was just over 20 inches long. She was chubby and she was perfect. Every ounce of pain that those last two months held were so extremely worth it. She was worth every single moment.

She is now almost a month old and while I have been nothing but sick, she is an angel. She sleeps so incredibly well and eats like a champ. She's quite easily the easiest baby in the world. She rarely cries and is often joked about being stolen when she is held by friends. I, however, cannot stop staring at her. My last little baby. My muffin cup. She is perfect in every way. I hope I can show her how much she is.

Then.... last week. We get a random knock at the door to basically tell us that the Mister fell on the ice, hit his head and was unconscious in the middle of the road.. the ambulance was called and next thing I know is that we're at the ER with scans being ordered and tests being run. Thankfully he only has a severe concussion and should return to "normal" after lots of rest. Normal, however, is dependent on who you ask. Several people we have talked to have never really returned to "normal". They still have issues with memory, fuzziness, focusing, vertigo, etc. That is primarily what the Mister is dealing with now so I hope he continues to heal. He's miserable.

See how life moves quickly? All in the blink of an eye. In lieu of all this craziness, I think I am going to change things around a bit. I need a new blog name to capture the life that I now live. Life with 3 princesses and a super hero. Here's to hoping I can continue to keep this little beauty updated with my gorgeous life's blessings. I owe myself that, right?