I wrote this post four years ago.
I’m revisiting it again because it is one of my best pieces -not because it’s well written or makes a good point… but because it is one of my most sacred pieces. Every time I read it, I inevitably cry. It takes me back to a day when I was surrounded by angels and given one to keep -forever and ever. Today I’m reminded of eternity and love and WHO I AM.
Today my son is four.

My Surprise:

I wasn’t planning on him; in fact, I cried the day I found out he would be a permanent part of my life. I announced the pregnancy to my husband through tear-filled eyes with a choking voice. I wasn’t ready, I tried to explain, for my world to change. I wasn’t ready for this blessing that brought on so much sickness. I later found out that there were so many other things I wasn’t ready for: the stares and glares from strangers when they saw me holding a toddler with one hand and resting the other on my protruding belly. The financial worry that loomed in the near future was a constant burden.

Most of all, the one thing I was completely unaware of was how things would work out in the end.

An end which came much sooner than it was supposed to. Right?

No. He came at exactly the right time.

Just in time to remind me that this has nothing much to do with me at all. This is his story. This is his beginning. Since he initially began his growth inside me, he has continued to teach me. Sometimes, the answers aren’t where you think they should be. More often than not, true treasures are found when you look up and celebrate life as it is instead of spending your time looking around and accepting life as you see it.

After months of complaining about my aches and pains, I found that they abruptly came to an end. I found myself with little contractions at 5:30 am on Tuesday. I tried to rest them away, then clean the living room in hopes they would diminish (which they didn’t), and finally decided to take a warm bath, assuring myself that I would be relaxed and back in bed for a few more precious minutes of sleep.

That’s when I made Danny call my mom because I couldn’t speak through the pain. That’s when mom wasn’t home, so Danny asked my Dad to come over to help give me a blessing -during which phone call, I clawed my way through the house grasping for the front door. I didn’t care that my hair was nappy and wet. I didn’t care that I was wearing glasses and a blue robe that makes me look like a marshmallow peep. I just had to get to the car. I had to drive somewhere that had someone who would give me something to take the pain away. The only problem was that I couldn’t get into the car, no matter how hard I tried and, literally, screamed.

Danny did the only thing he felt he could do. He called the Fire Department and had an ambulance dispatched. Within minutes, my filthy house was filled with emergency personnel. I was whisked away on a gurney and the nearest hospital was notified that a young woman was on her way, and she would be delivering a baby. Danny insisted that we were already pre-registered in Flagstaff, and we would deliver there. Through the blinding pain, I shook my head. I knew we wouldn’t make it.

I was wheeled into Winslow Hospital at 7:45 am and had a wriggling baby in my arms at 7:56 am.

Short labors are not necessarily better.

But this one was. I felt every moment -every movement. All of the intensity that goes into long labors was poured into 2 1/2 hours. It was furious.

But I don’t really remember the pain much. Oh sure, it hurt. I was not brave. I was asking anyone who passed by for pain medication. I’m thankful none was given. I was aware of everything.

I was aware the minute Trenton was placed in my arms of how complete I felt. I suddenly didn’t know the girl who was worried about finances and what other people thought about her pregnancy. I realized all in one breathtaking moment who I was. Who I am. I am a trusted daughter of a Heavenly Father -Mother to His children, Wife to one of his elect Elders.

My eyes filled with tears.
My heart filled with immense gratitude.
My arms filled with an Angel.

When Danny went home to gather a few things, the nurses took Trenton away. For the first time in 8 months, I felt alone. Trenton left my side. I hadn’t even realized he had been there with me the entire time until he was gone. He was there -teaching me, preparing me. Preparing me for an amazing journey filled with surprises that bring tears, fears, worry, and, eventually, ultimate happiness.

Thankful Tree

A while back, I pinned a pin on pinterest.

Pinned Image
Isn’t it SWEET? I thought it was perfect. I tucked in the back of my mind as “things to do after Halloween” and I almost forgot about it.

Until two days ago.

My kids were running rampant. Kids can smell exhaustion the same way sharks can smell blood. They smelled it on me from across the house and somehow knew -without even communicating it to the other -that they could really skin the cat. Figuratively.
The neighbor’s cat is fine.

As I watched my house and yard slowly unravel, I knew I had to do something to stop it.
Thankfully (pun intended), my kids love to help. They love to be given a job that they feel only they can do.
“Kids!” I hollered, “Go get your mama some sticks. We’re going to make a tree!”
Immediately, they abandoned the pile of soil-turned-absolutely-black-from-ash (oh, their clothes!) and came running.
The boy brought me two twigs, and I thanked him.
The girl was right behind him with a ARM LOAD of sticks. I gushed all over.

The boy became jealous. He ran outside. And returned.

“That’s not a knife… THAT’S a knife.”
Anyone know it? Please tell me you know it.

Anyway, our tree is substantially less cute. But it’s not about cute! It’s about gratitude.
We don’t have any yet.

Monday night, we’ll fill our tree with gratitude.
Until then, I’m off on a walk. I need some energy to mask my exhaustion.
The predator v. prey situation just isn’t working around here.

Kids are Funny

Yesterday we had some friends over.  The kids started tracing their hands and feet onto some construction paper.  They used permanent marker, but it didn’t phase me much.  It’s not like we haven’t had permanent marker chaos in our house before.

I left all of the markers and papers out for the kids while I went about my daily tasks.

Last night, I looked up from some paperwork to see my son sitting on the table next to me -his feet both out in front on him, a paper on his lap, and his head on that paper.

The thing is: he had already traced his hand. He had already traced his foot. He had even traced his arm! What was left? His face. Obviously.

Ahhhhh, my boy. I could hardly get him to look up to take that last picture. He was DETERMINED to trace his face. When he didn’t have any luck, he turned to his sister.
“Color my face, lace!” He kept saying. It sounded like a political slogan of some kind.

Kids are funny. My husband and I laughed while watching this:

Adults are funny, too.

That’s what I look like when I exercise. Thank goodness no one is around to film me.


The kids got their doggy doo doo Grandpa promised to give them (I know you were up all night wondering).

The boy ate half of it and took the other half outside. He decided to climb a fence but needed both of his hands, so using 3 year old logic, he tucked his rice krispie treat under his chin and climbed. But it fell. And then the neighbor’s dog gobbled it up.
You should have seen the tears on that kid. I felt so bad. All I could do was hug him and tell him that I was sorry he lost his doggy doo doo.
He told me he needed to go outside and tell the doggy “NO!” I set him down, he ran outside, and I listened.
“You don’t EVER eat my doggy doo doo b’cuz I will hafta get MAD AT YOU!”

Having told the dog off, he came inside completely satisfied.

Later on, the kids asked if they could play outside and I told them it was fine, but they needed to stay on the lawn.
They hopped out the door, and instantly I could hear them talking to someone. I went outside and saw them talking to my sister-in-law, their Aunt.
I asked her what she was up to.
“We went for a walk,” she said, motioning to her two kids in her stroller, “And then we saw this rattlesnake, so we stopped.”

I just sent my children out to frolic in rattlesnake infested territory?!

My brother JC was on scene in a matter of minutes, and the snake had it’s head blown clean off.

It was a small rattlesnake, but a rattlesnake is a rattlesnake.
Just typing the word makes me shudder. The thought of my kids getting bitten is more than I can stand.
JC is a pro at pretty much everything. Whenever I have any questions, I know between him and Dad I’ll get the right answer. It’s such a blessing, as a bit of a air head, to have such smart men around.
Having skinned many-a-snake in his life, my brother set right to skinning the rattlesnake. He had blown it’s head off, see, for TWO purposes.
#1) To get rid of the fangs.
#2) To spare the skin.

He’s going to mount it on a board. He’s done it before, I know. Pictures to come on that -it’s really something to see.

The body of snake was too small to anything with but toss it in the bushes -which is what we did (thank goodness).

Dear children,
Mommy is going to invest in a giant plastic bubble which you will be required to wear anytime you walk out the door. I’ll get rid of it only after cold and flu season, when the threat of the rattlesnake will be something of a distant memory and all the contagious sickness have died down.
Aren’t you glad you have someone who CARES so much for you?

Who Gave You YOUR Nose?

During church yesterday, I was trying to keep my son quiet.  He was wiggling and squirming, and insisting on pinching my nose.  To keep with the subject at hand, I whispered, “I have a nose.  Do you have a nose?”
“Yeah,” he said, pointing to his own nose.
“Does Jesus have a nose?” I asked, seeing a teaching moment.
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Where did Jesus get his nose?” I asked.
“Santa Clause,” he answered so matter-of-factly that I burst into silent laughter -the kind that makes you snort while your shoulders shake uncontrollably.

I also have to add that my son believes his nose is simply called a “no” and that the word “nose” is the plural form. I have no plans of correcting him because there’s nothing cuter than a 3 year old boy trucking toward me and whining, “I bonked my no!”
He also makes it hard to get out of bed when he curls up on me like that.
Have I ever told you that I love being a stay-at-home mom? The only job I’d ever take aside from it is a teaching job, and only then if my kids are old enough to sleep in their own beds, speak the names of their body parts correctly, and find out that Jesus came before Santa.
That’s kind of the whole point of Christmas, right?


On the 16th, my son turned “fwee.” We got him everything he asked for and then some.
We asked him time and time again, “What do you want for your birthday?”
And time and time again, he answered, “Toy Story Cake and big gun.”

His Dad knew exactly what gun he wanted, and I took care of the cake. My husband has always been the stellar gift-giver in our family. I try really hard, but it just comes naturally to him. I sent him off to get the boy’s gifts, and he kept calling me.
“What about this?”
“Should I get that?”
“What color of…?”

I finally cut him off and said, “You know better than me! Get what you think would be best!”
And so he did.

A backpack!
Iron Man sunglasses!

The boy is big into backpacks. He actually slept with that thing on last night. And he’s presently clutching it in his little hands.
I’m no master cake maker to say NOTHING of my cake designing skills. I’m not big on fondant because
1) I don’t know how to use it.
2) I’m not big on the taste -even the homemade kind.
3) The kids don’t like it all that much.

So it was a losing cause. There is a Buzz Lightyear cake pan at Michael’s, but I would have had to make sure the cake didn’t stick AT ALL to the pan, and I’m pretty much the best at making cakes stick.
You would think all of this would add up to me just BUYING a Toy Story Cake, but no. No, I can’t do that.
And it’s all my mother’s fault.

Growing up, she would make us each a cake for our birthdays. I would sit by her side as she patiently dotted my care bear and Barbie cakes with icing. When she was done with the cake, she would pipe the leftover frosting onto my palm, making stars and faces… it was the best. I remember how exciting it was to SMELL the cake baking, to see Mom’s decorating kit on the counter. My children deserve the same. I have a feeling that in a few years, when they’re old enough to see the reality of Mom’s Botched Cakes (should I trademark that?), they’ll BEG for a regular store bought cake. BUT UNTIL THAT DAY… I will bake and frost and eat half of the icing.

Instead of buying a Buzz cake pan, I decided to buy Toy Story figurines and jam into the icing on top of the cake. The figurines, I should note, cost the same amount as the cake pan would have. Isn’t that madness?

Also, when I bake layered cakes, I use one cake mix and make three layers. I don’t know WHAT kept me from thinking straight. I thought I should make a four layer cake, and because my brain is on some kind of Primary overhaul, I did simple math.
4 layers.
2 cake mixes.
2 layers per mix.

And I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting myself into until I started stacking the layers, and then I went… ooooooooops.
Tack one more onto Mom’s Botched Cakes!
I set the cake on a glass platter, and I set the glass platter onto a glass candlestick.
You all know how I feel about cake platters.

This is what four layers looks like:

One layer of confetti cake, one layer of white cake with blue food coloring. And repeat. I asked the boy what color he wanted the layers to be, and he said:
“Toy Story.”
“Ok, but what COLOR of Toy Story cake? Blue? Green? Orange?”
“I want Toy Story.”
“Blue Toy Story? Green Toy Story?…” I gently prodded. At this point he literally GRIT HIS TEETH and through clenched jaw hissed, “TOY STORY.”
Wowza, he’s a regular birthday-zilla.

And speaking of birthdays… we had one a few days ago! A brand new niece! I’ve been dying to post some pictures of her, and I can’t WAIT to see her in person.
Welcome to the world, Olivia!

Do You Ever…?

Throw your to-do list out the windder and go to the county fair instead? I did.
Do you ever watch a television series instead of live, even if it isn’t AMAZING? I do.

Do you ever sort of give up on a television series after the main characters get together because THAT’S all you really cared about and NOT the actual plot line? I did.

Do you ever stop and think -after a kid asks you about a ride at the fair and you can’t answer because it’s been almost 20 years since you’ve ridden it -about how old you are? I did.

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with gratitude for all of your blessings -so much so that you can barely speak, let alone find words to express it? I do.

Do you ever want to eat your children because they are so so sosososo SO delicious? I  do.Photobucket


Do you ever ride the Ferris Wheel, even though it now costs as much as it does to go to a Matinee? We did.

Do you ever look through your pictures to prove to yourself that your son really did just turn 3 as of 7:56 this morning?
I did.




Do you ever look back on the last few years and wonder if you really appreciated it like you should have? That’s what I’m doing today. Oh, and I’m also making orange pancakes. The birthday boy gets what the birthday boy wants!

From the Files

I have a slew of pictures that I’ve been wanting to blog about, but things kept coming up.  Today is finally THEIR day.  Read on, completely aware that they are unrelated.
I love signs like this, found in my small town post office:
I love the penned-in reply, but I especially love how it says (at my house). You just don’t get homey stuff like that in the suburbs.

My daughter clipped and painted her own nails, and then she made this face:
Her faces just get me. Where does she come up with them? Heaven only knows. Heaven and Lacy.

My Grandpa Max gave me some squash seeds. I planted all of 2 of them, fully expecting my black thumb to slaughter them both. But they both grew to astronomical sizes until one finally BEAT the other one to death.
And guess what I have to show for it?
One squash. But, BOY was it worth having over 1/3 of our garden overrun. Over ran? I don’t know. I cooked that squash up (it is orange on the inside) and made it into one of the tastiest butternut squash pies I’ve ever had.
I saved the seeds. If you’d like one, let me know. It only takes one. Truuuust me.

The girl got her hair tangled up in a comb in a very bad way.
It was wrapped around the base! Of course the thought occurred to me to cut her hair, but it would have jutted out from a bald spot (she’d already ripped some hair out) in a weird spot on her hair (I can’t help but think of Rachael Green… “we had to cut it… and it was uneven for weeks!!!”). So we weaseled it outta there.

A few weeks ago, someone put a frog in the front pocket of my son’s church shirt:
My son, it must be known, hates creepy crawlies of any kind. His sister loves them and catches them with her bare hands (I can’t count the Mason Jars in my house filled with bugs), but the boy? He’d rather eat lima beans than hold a frog. But he didn’t mind it in his pocket. In fact, he loved it. He paraded around Grandma’s house, showing everyone his pocket-frog.
But then.
Oh, the screams! The horrors! A jumping FROG!

He couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t until the frog was safely outside that order was restored to my son. It turns out some little boys actually aren’t made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. SOME boys are made of Marvel.

All he wants is action figures. Iron man, The Hulk… he loves them. I picked up a bunch of tiny action figurines (army man sized) and ended up caught in a series of battles that lasted 30 minutes (of which I didn’t get to win once).
Iron Man trumps all.

And this made me laugh:
Does anyone else look at this and think “Nimbus 2000″?

Sure Fire Pick-Me-Ups

(This video is about 2 1/2 years old, but I can’t get enough of it.)

My husband and I stumbled across this video, and I instantly fell in love.  He?  Not so much.  “Our kids aren’t ugly!” He says.

And here’s the latest recommendation from Steve:

And if none of those put a smile on your face, please go and read THIS story. It isn’t sappy or sentimental… it’s downright AMAZING! I can’t believe it. WARNING: it includes a crazy x-ray photo.

Clean Carpets and Kiddos

My husband loves to clean the carpet. He does. I mean, he won’t admit it. He won’t come out and say, “Is it time to clean the carpets yet? I’m DYING! I can’t wait!”
But he does get a certain thrill over running the cleaner over our always-less-than-spotless brown shag (stylin’!) carpet. The past two nights, he’s done a different section.
If everything goes as planned, the carpet will be cleaned back to working order by Friday. This is no real hazard, but it is a pain in the b’hind.
We won’t even talk about my kitchen suffice to say: I can not get in it.
Today I’ve claimed my southwestern print (stylin’) love seat as my own little Island of Elba. I’m going to do laundry all day because -frankly -that’s all I can do. It will all be worth it in the end. Clean carpet makes everyone feel better.
I’d just finish the job myself, but I’d hate to take away the pleasure of cleaning from my husband. And I mean that in ALL seriousness.
The kids are handling it well. They don’t mind messes so much.

Speaking of my kids, I forgot to tell you about the time I tried to teach the girl how to rhyme. It was Saturday. We were parking our car downtown, and the kids were on the brink of losing their composure. They were hyper and loud… so I started spouting off rhymes.
Lacy doesn’t know what it means to rhyme, and what better time to teach than when you’re in two-lane crowded traffic in the middle of summer with pedestrians walking so close to your car that you have to constantly apply the break while doing your best to parallel park?
“We are parking!” I said, brightly. “Bark rhymes with park. Bark, park! Lark rhymes with park. Lark, park! There’s a dog. Log rhymes with dog. Log, dog! bog, dog!”
“Mom, dumb!” came her chipper reply, “Mom rhymes with dumb!”
Keep in mind that she is NOT a snarky teenager. But I imagine she’ll make for a great snark someday.

Last night, I ran an errand and came home to find that Lacy had gotten into my essential oils. She snuck them into a hiding place and then dumped the better part of my lavender oil out. I asked her about what had happened -why she had done it (“I just wanted to smell pretty like you!”) and after we worked out all the details, I asked her what she should have done instead.
“Asked,” she said, crying.
I told her the oils cost money, and that she would have to pay for what she wasted. Her eyes grew the size of dinner plates.
“ALL MY MONEY?!” She asked.
“You’ll have to use your money,” I nodded.
She dropped her head into her hands and sobbed. It absolutely broke my heart. It really did. Isn’t that the worst part about parenting? I wanted to take away her tears -wipe them clean. I wanted to tell her it was totally fine that she snuck my expensive essential oils (that were a gift) and used them without asking permission.

But I also knew she needed to be taught or else she’d keep doing it (it’s been a real problem for the past few months). Oh, she cried. And cried, and cried.
I gave her a hug and went into my bedroom where my husband was watching Prison Break on his iPod. He plucked his head phones from his ears and we both listened…
“ALL MY MONIES!” Came the sobs from her room, “They’re just going to take it ALL!”
That night as I was eating dinner (alone. Not sure why), my son came in, pointed his finger and said, “You! Don’t take! Lacy’s money!”
I put him in his place, “Don’t you ever talk to your mama like that.”
And he took off.
Thank goodness, because I about died laughing. Little protective thing. I also lightly tugged at the back of his head earlier that day when he repeatedly disobeyed my requests to STAY OFF THE WET CARPET.
He ran into his room and cried and cried -more from emotional hurt than physical. A few minutes later, he emerged with his finger pointed.
“Don’t ebber touch my head aGAIN!” He ordered.
“Don’t ever get on my carpet again,” I replied.

And that’s how we roll.

Isn’t that the sweetest pile of money you’ve ever seen -all wadded up?
She confessed to me as she handed it over that she felt so much better inside -not yucky anymore.
(Here’s the kids watching the rain last evening:)
I’m glad I could take some of the hurt away. She’s already started earning her money back, by the way. She’s washed her kitchen… and sung for me.
There’s really nothing sweeter than listening to her sing the theme song from Veggie Tales The Ballad of Little Joe.