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Prairie Mama; Back On The Prairie

Everyone has a story...this is a bit of mine. I am a Wife, a Mama, a sister, daughter and friend. Come, grab a cup of tea, and hang out with me!

Updated: 2018-03-06T09:47:18.090-06:00


My First Christmas


Dear Meemaw and Grampa,Mama is so busy right now, so I thought I would help her out by writing you about Christmas.As you know, this was my first Christmas.  At first I didn't understand what the big deal was. Mama was in the kitchen a lot more and she was busy putting things in her mouth.  The big kids were too and I kept wanting some, but no one would give me anything but puffs. Even though I like those, the brown things looked yummier.One day Mama and the kids put a lot of things on plates and then we had to drive all over the place (I didn't like that part).  They said something about taking goodies to our neighbors and friends.  Whatever goodies are.You know my Dad? That hairy guy? Well, he was around a lot more than normal.  Mama seemed really happy about that, but I wasn't. It just means that he holds me more and he isn't soft like Mama and doesn't give me milk, and he is hairy.On Christmas Eve I was pretty cranky. My mouth hurts so bad and my ears too. So Mama and Daddy keep giving me this stuff in a squirter thing. It tastes okay, but I like to chew on the squirter thing more.Anyway, on Christmas Eve, I woke up and Mama was gone. I was NOT happy about that. She came back home all sweaty and said something about running, and feeling good, and whatever. I just wanted some boob, so I cried until she gave it to me.  Then we went to a party where everyone ate a lot of food that I couldn't have. I played with my friend Landon, then decided there was too much going on, so I cried until Mama gave me milkers. Then I fell asleep and it was great.The rest of the day was fun. We opened presents (I loved the wrapping paper), and played games. Our favorite present was the big swing set from Mama and Daddy and you guys. Mom says it will be great after Daddy puts it together and I can swing with my sisters and brother.On Christmas Eve night we did the Nativity. Mama told us that she did this every year when she was little and that she was always Mary. Amelia and Libby got into a big fight about who was going to be Mary. Amelia ended up being the Angel and Libby was Mary -- only because Mom and Dad promised we could do it again the next night and Amelia could be Mary then.  But, when it was time to do it on Christmas night, guess who threw a fit? Yep, Libby.  Girls. I don't understand them. I know when I am big enough to be someone Seth and I won't fight over who gets to be Joseph. If I knew how to roll my eyes, I would do it right now.Christmas morning came and while I was sleeping everyone else opened presents. I got two cool wooden toys and a couple books.  But, my favorite toy was a toothbrush. I love to chew on it. After Church, Mama and I had a good nap while Daddy and Seth played Wii and the girls played with their new ponies and art supplies.We had a really good Christmas. I liked seeing you on the computer that day. It always makes me laugh.Mama says she misses you but knows you are doing the Lord's work, so it is okay.  I can't wait to get to see you again.Love you lots,Elliott[...]



Here Amelia, eat this. She looks at him suspiciously, then looks at what is in his hand. Two small rounds of bread with chocolate chips in between. A chocolate chip sandwich!Reminds me of the concotions I would make for my little brother. Except mine weren't nearly as delicious (or edible). Mine consisted of prune juice, sugar, water, chocolate syrup, sprite, salt, pepper and anything else we could find in the cupboard. And he would drink it. Every bit. And love it.Want to play Beauty Shop? I will let you do my hair and make up this time, I promise. I doll him up to look like the little sister I always wanted. When it is his turn to make me beautiful, I look at him, laugh and run outside. I jump in the pool before he has a chance to get me.My little brother. I wasn't very nice to him. In fact quite often I was down right mean. That is what I knew though. My brothers and sister weren't nice to me, so I thought that was how a younger sibling was supposed to be treated.He was so patient with me. Never hit me back, rarely yelled back. The angriest he got was when he stuck a pencil in my butt cheek in Jr. High (I still have a blue mark on my bum!).This little boy, who eventually became one of my favorite people. He can make me laugh harder than anyone else. He is gentle and kind and hilarious. He is perpetually late and a bit of a flake, but I love him. My boy.I think of my little brother and I pray my children can have relationships with each other like I have with him.Typically when my kids want to experiment in the kitchen I say no. I don't want to waste ingredients and I don't want a mess to clean up. But they are making memories. They are building bonds and that is something I don't want to interrupt.[...]



I dreaded the mile run in elementary school.  I was never good at it, and always one of the last kids to finish.  It was as if my lungs and my legs just couldn't coordinate enough to let me go faster.Junior High came and I decided to join the track team.  I found I was really good at hurdles and sprints.  Let me go a short distance really fast and I was great.  But, I preferred swimming and diving, so when high school came, I quit track and followed my true love, the water.It has been 21 years since I have run. Sure, I have chased my kids and I have tried to do the couch to 5K several times, but I have never really stuck with it and ran.That is changing.  Starting today, I am in training for the Zooma 1/2 marathon.  Yes folks, you read that right. I am going to run 13.1 miles on March 31.Zooma has a new program this year, the Texas Girlfriend's Program.  They took 15 women who don't run, haven't ever run, used to run but haven't in a long time, and paired them with a mentor. Their mentor is someone who knows a thing or two about running and will help them achieve this lofty goal.For the next 15 weeks I will be running, strengthening, and stretching my physical as well as my emotional muscles.  I know that much of my training will be mental. I tend to talk myself out of things before I even give it a good chance.I can do this though. I am strong. I have had 4 babies AT HOME, I can run a half marathon, right?Today is day 1. The biggest hurdle is going to be getting out the door. My plan was to take the baby with me and hit the trail while the kids were at the YMCA child care center.  Well, it is cold and rainy today, so I have to come up with plan B. Treadmill? Running on sidewalks/street? I am not sure yet.  This is all part of the adventure.  Ready or not, here I go.[...]



Sometimes you get a picture that so accurately depicts each of your childrens' personalities it would be a crime not to share it.

This is one of those times.

Happy Sunday friends!

She is 9.


Finishing up my trip at Target I heard a Mother say, "Greta, Emma, come over here".  As I always do, I turned to see how old this Emma was.  My eyes met those of a little girl, brown hair, blue eyes.  I asked how old she was. Her Mom responded she just turned 9.  My heart sunk a little.  I put on the smile I always do.  The one that is intended to be sure no one feels bad by what I am about to say.  I have an Emma also.  She would be 9 tomorrow but passed away as a baby.  Her Mother tears up.  I look into these beautiful blue eyes and tell her she is very special.  She has a very special name.  Thank you, her Mother mouths to me.I walk away and cry.I miss her so much it hurts. I miss her so much I want to punch things and cry, and eat away my pain.  I want to write over and over how desperately I wish she were here, as if my words could bring her back.  As if my tears and words could erase the last 8 years I have lived without her.  I don't want her here as a baby. I want her here as an almost 9 year old.I want to know what a sassy 3 year old Emma would have been like.  I want to know what she would have worn her first day of Kindergarten.  I want to know if she would be as boy crazy as her little sister.  I want to know what music she would like, what movies, what sports, what toys.I wandered the aisles of Walmart recently searching for something a 9 year old girl would like.  Up to this point I have felt pretty confident in buying her gifts.  First baby toys, then toddler, then preschool.  Next we entered the school age phase; dolls, barbies, books, board games.  Now though she is entering the tweens.  What to buy for this little girl who is not a little girl and not a teenager yet?  I called my dear friend Nicole to ask what her daughter (who is 3 weeks older than Emma and is Seth's best friend) would like.  She didn't answer so I was left to my own devices.As I searched the aisles, I came upon the craft section.  Make your own jewelry kit, make your own cards and stamp kit.  Yes. Yes, that is what she would like.I wish I knew. I wish she were here. I wish I could have the struggle of separating Christmas and her birthday.  I wish I had the challenge of making sure her day was so special and not just another day in the hubub before Christmas.  I wish, i wish, i wish.My darling Emma....Happy birthday baby girl.  9 years ago today you made your entrance into the world.  You were so determined to come feet first and have given me my Emma tattoo - my c-section scar.  You taught me so much about being a Mother, balancing Motherhood and being a wife, about myself.  You helped me to realize I am stronger than I ever thought possible.  I credit you for me finding my voice in writing.  It is through your life and death that I have learned to love your siblings so fiercely and intensely.I miss you so much.  I wish you could blow out the candles today.  I wish I could know your mischievous side, your sweet side, your not so nice side...I wish I could know you.You are my first, you are always in my heart, you are my special Angel and I love you more than anyone could ever understand.I love you a million times over. You are my special Angel.Love,Mama[...]

Just Writing


He is gone this week.  I always hate when he travels. Dishes, laundry, discipline, bedtime, school drop off, dinner, clean up, baths, trash...every thing falls on me.He does so much.  I know and appreciate it when he is here.  When he is gone it is just so much more.Bedtime was a battle last night. It always seems to be when I am doing it solo.  The balancing act of getting the baby and the 3 year old to bed at the same time.  I brush her teeth and read her stories while he gnaws at my shoulder and screams in my ear.I tuck her in and assure her she doesn't have to sleep yet, just read some books in bed and I will come sing to you in a bit.  He is still screaming in my ear.The big ones know what to do. Read some books, brush your teeth and Mama will tuck you in in a bit.He fights going to sleep tonight. It is as if he has had just too much and his brain won't stop, he can't settle down. I know that feeling all too well.We rock and sing. I hear the children playing and laughing. This irritates me because it means they are not settling down for the night and I have so much to do.  Cookies to make, dishes to wash, laundry to fold, and I still haven't showered for the day yet.He finally succumbs to sleep and with the help of the heating pad warming his bed, I lay him down to slumber.  I pray it is for more than 3 hours.  Please give me 3 hours. Please.The other 3 children are giggling and laughing and jumping on the bed. I break. I yell. They cry. I feel awful.  But I am so tired. Can't they see that?  Why can't they see how tired I am?  Oh yes, it is because they are 7, 5 and 3. They can't see past the end of their noses. I understand. I remember.We snuggle, I sing. They snack, and finally sleep.I go to make the cookies and I am out of sugar.  The baby wakes up.  It has been an hour and a half.  I sigh, pick him up, slip into bed and nurse him back to sleep.  I can make cookies tomorrow.  I can clean the kitchen tomorrow.It is as if he knows I am in for a long night and need to rest now.  Maybe he knew his sister would be up all night with a tummy ache.  Maybe he knew I would sleep on pins and needles all night just waiting for the vomit to cover my bed.  Maybe he knew that, or maybe he just wanted to nurse.Linking up with Heather and Just Write.[...]

He's Getting Nothing for Christmas


What do you mean I don't get anything for Christmas????
It's not what you think. I love my baby, I really do.  Sure he doesn't like to sleep unless the boob is in his mouth, but what baby isn't like that?  Also he loves to scream at me, pull my hair and now bite me with his newly acquired tooth.
None of this means I love him any less or that he doesn't deserve presents in his stocking.  Oh wait, he doesn't have a stocking (yet).
When you're the youngest of 5, what toy could you possibly need? Seriously folks. We have had (or still have) just about every toy out there. He loves his Indestructibles Books, so he is getting 2 more of those, but that is it.
I am spending our Christmas money on the children who will appreciate (fingers crossed) the gifts they get and will remember this Christmas.
So, maybe I am a bit of a Scrooge, but my baby isn't getting any gifts this year.  And, I feel okay about that.
Do you buy gifts for your little babes? What are your favorite gifts for babies?

Parenting Advice is Like a Buffet


When I was pregnant with my first baby I really had no idea what I was doing.  By the time she was born, I had been an Aunt for 13 years and had 11 nieces and nephews.  But that second hand knowledge was nothing compared to what I needed to know for my child.Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how to raise my baby.  Should I vaccinate or not?  Should I have a drug-free and medicinal birth?  Should I breastfeed or formula feed?  When should I start solid foods?  What kinds of baby shampoo should I use?  What is the best carseat/stroller combo? The list went on and on (and on…).We decided on natural childbirth in a hospital with a midwife.  This was the best choice for us.  However, I heard constantly from those I worked with that it was not a great choice.  That there were drugs, I should use them.  That I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain.  That I shouldn’t try to be a hero.When my baby was found to be footling breech, again I got advice from everyone about how to turn her, how a c-section wasn’t “that bad”, and whether I should try to turn her or not.I remember in our childbirth classes the teacher telling us this.  When you are pregnant and a new parent you will get a lot of advice.  You will hear a lot of things that have worked for others and they will be really passionate about what they believe in.  Listen to everything.  Mull it over and like a great buffet table set with lots of different foods, choose the ones that seem best for you.In my 9 years of parenting, this is what has worked.  As I come upon challenges with my children, I look for advice and I get a lot of unsolicited advice.  I ask other parents, read blogs and websites, take what I want and leave the rest.There are so many opinions out there about everything.  There is no way I could implement every single thing that every person tells me to do.  I rely on my gut and do what is best for my family. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to try something different. But that is kind of what parenting is all about isn’t it?[...]



(image) I had a moment in my life that was perfect.  I had a time when I was completely happy.  I had a time when I held everything I ever wanted in my hands.
My family was whole and complete.  Those I loved so deeply were close.  I held my baby in my arms, nursed her at my breast, slept with her by my side.  I envisioned her growing up, becoming a big sister and adding more babies to our family.
I made her a stocking on her 2nd birthday.  She had been gone for over a year.
Seth asked me the other day why Santa brings her gifts if she is dead.  I told him she doesn't get gifts from Santa.  "So why does she have a stocking then?".
I teared up.  Jeremy answered, "because she is part of our family".
I miss that moment when my life was perfect. When I had everything I ever wanted.  When I had the most important thing of all...hope.
I miss that time when I held everything in my hands.  Now, no matter what I hold, it will never be enough.  It will never be her.

Christmas Traditions


When I was young, Christmas was so magical.  I loved the lights on the tree, the visits with Santa, the snow falling, the fires in the fireplace.  Listening to John Denver and The Muppets sing The 12 Days of Christmas on the record player (I was always Miss Piggie in my imagination...bah dum dum dum) and sneaking molasses candy wrapped in wax paper.I loved when my Grandparents would come to visit and the packages beneath the tree would triple.  Counting each gift to be sure that I had as many as my brothers and sister.  Wondering what each package held and what was on Santa's Sleigh.Christmas Eve was a big night at my house.  My Grandparents and often Great-Grandmother would come to visit.  With 5 children and 5 adults opening gifts, we started on Christmas Eve.  We would first act out the Nativity, I was usually Mary as my older sister graciously would be the Angel.  After singing and acting out the Nativity, we would excitedly take our seats in the family room. What's that? Mary didn't lift up her nightgown and have Baby Jesus fall out?With the fire blazing, one lucky kiddo got to be "Santa" and pass out the gifts.  We would then take turns opening presents, youngest to oldest, one at a time.  My oldest brother would somehow always end up squirreling away gifts so he always had more to open at the end because he skipped his turns.  We loved opening our treasures of clothes (lots handmade by Grandma), toys, gadgets and candies.Exhausted, we would stumble to bed, sometimes in our own beds but more often than not, we would all cram into one room and whisper the night away.  I remember my older sister and brother, who always got to stay up later, coming in and getting us to play the quiet game so we could fall asleep.Christmas morning would come and my little brother and I were inevitably the first ones up.  We would run into the living room and see the tree all lit up with new gifts under it's boughs.  We would then run into my parent's room and tell them excitedly that Santa had come.  My Mom would get up (the only time of the year she got up before the sun) and with her Tab in hand, get her cinnamon rolls in the oven.Santa always hid stockings at our house, so while we waited for the big kids to get up, we two little ones would search for our stockings.  When everyone was awake we would open our stockings and gifts from Santa (and Mrs. Claus).  Then we would feast on homemade cinnamon rolls, Christmas morning casserole and wassail left over from the night before.Christmas was always so magic for me. Steeped in tradition, I couldn't imagine a Christmas in a different way.  Anything not happening the way I knew it and grew up with just wasn't right.When Jeremy and I got married I insisted we keep things the way my family had always done them.  He couldn't remember any traditions his family had, so I just instituted mine.  In the last 10 years our Christmas traditions have morphed and changed and I am sure they will continue to do so as the years go by.  Some of the traditions of my childhood we have kept (smoked turkey and wassail on Christmas Eve as well as doing the Nativity), others we have changed.We are helping our children make their own memories, their own traditions that they will then want to pass down to their children.  I just hope they remember their Christmases with as much joy as I do.What are some of your Christmas traditions? How have they changed from when you were a child to now? This is my final post in a series of posts for Hallmark.  I have been helping them celebrate and get the word out about their campaign, Life is a Special Occasion for the last few months.  I have been so honored to have been asked to do this for them, and[...]

I survived Thanksgiving and had fun doing it!


16 people, 8 of them are in this picture.  Ages 7, 5, 4, 3, 3, 15 mos, 7 mos and 6 mos all in my home for one week.  It was loud, there were tears, there were more laughs.  There was dancing, story reading, puzzle doing, make believe happening.There were trucks being played with, soccer balls kicked, bikes ridden, and playing at Ikea (and getting kicked out of Ikea play area because you are being defiant and trying to protect your little cousin...we won't name names *ahem*).There was pie (all week), the magic candy pocket, drumsticks from Grandpa, new foods eaten, Children's Museum, parks and sand.There was laughter and love and memories made.We can't wait to do it again.[...]

Mr. Elliott


Today Elliott is 7 months old.  I do not know how that is possible given he was just born YESTERDAY.  Seriously, it has gone so fast.  Maybe it feels faster this time than in the past because I know this is the last time I will do this.  Or maybe it goes this fast every time, but like the intensity of labor, I have forgotten.
Regardless - here it is.  Seven months old.  He sits, scoots on his belly, rolls over, laughs easily, and has a smile for long as Mama is holding him.
(image) He is getting his first two bottom teeth right now.  They have yet to break through, but I can see their pearly signs on his gums.  He talks up a storm and loves his siblings.
He still doesn't like when I have dairy - something we found out the hard way with a week of eating out and other people cooking.  Poor boy is breaking out in his tell tale rash on his face and trunk.
Even so, he is still the sweetest little boy ever.
This is a month filled with anxiety and anticipation for me.  In 1 month and 8 days he will be the same age as Emma.  In 1 month and 9 days he will have lived longer than she did.  Coupled with her birthday coming up on December 15, I may be found curled up in bed nursing him more than  usual.  I think that is okay though. Because look at could I not??

Raspberry Pretzel Salad


I don't remember the first time I had Raspberry Pretzel Salad. It has been such a staple of Thanksgiving dinners in my family, I don't even know where it started. I think my Grandma Cheezie (my Mom's Mom) made it for us, but really I don't remember.This is such a simple, yet delicious side dish. Don't let the title of "salad" deceive you though. There is nothing salad-like in this concoction. The saltiness of the pretzels mixed with the sweet of the whipped cream, marshmallows and cream cheese, followed by the tart bite of raspberries...this one has it all.My kids love helping me make this salad. Their favorite part is crushing up the pretzels and I can't say that I blame them!Raspberry Pretzel SaladIngredients:2 C. crushed pretzels3/4 C. butter2 C. small marshmallows8 oz. non dairy whipped topping (I use Rich's Whip because it doesn't have any caesin in it)8 oz. cream cheese (I use Tofutti non dairy cream cheese)2 C. powdered sugar2 1/2 C. water6 oz. raspberry Jell-O10 oz. frozen raspberriesDirections:Combine crushed pretzels and melted butter, then press into 9x13 baking dishBake at 350 for 15 minutes, then cool.Mix whip topping, cream cheese, powdered sugar and marshmallows together.Spread over cooled pretzels and chill.Combine boiling water with Jell-O.When Jell-O is dissolved, add the frozen berries.Let it chill until it is thickened - NOT SET. If you let it wait until it is set, it will be lumpy on top of the whip topping layer. (and then it will look like the photo in the top of the post. Not ugly, but not as pretty as it could be)When it is thickend, pour the Jell-O on top of the whip topping layer.Chill overnight.I hope you enjoy this one as much as my family does! I eat gluten-free and dairy-free, and as you can see, with a few modifications, this is a safe food for me.[...]



It is that time of year again.  The one where the world pauses to take stock of our lives. We think about what we are grateful for, our blessings, and try to be better people.  We listen to others a little more carefully, our compassion grows, and we look for ways to serve others on a daily basis.I try to do these things year round, but I admit that I am guilty of really stepping it up during the holiday season.  Not only am I more conscientious of what I am doing, but of what my children are doing.  I try to teach them always to be grateful for all they have.  We are so blessed and talk about it often.  We have a home, we have clean water, we have good food, they have toys, clothes, a good school, a family that loves them...the list goes on and on.I wanted to do an activity with them to help them really understand how blessed they are.  To help them put into their own words all they have.We sat down with a colored piece of paper each, and wrote things we are grateful for.  I told the kids they could draw pictures, write, whatever they wanted.  These are now on display in the house, and after Thanksgiving, I will put them in a binder for safe keeping.  We are going to do this every year so we can have a physical reminder of what we are thankful for.  Also, it will be really fun to go back and read these in 10 years!While their thankful lists ranged from Legos (can you guess who?) to friends, to Mom (awww..), they each really thought about what they were grateful for.As for me? I am grateful for them.  Every one of my babies who make me want to be a better person.  I am grateful for my health and the health of my children.  I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who makes this journey of life so much better.  I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for my friends...including each of you.What are you grateful for this holiday season?  How do you help your children realize how blessed they are? This post is part of the Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion Campaign.  I have been lucky enough to blog for Hallmark for the last few months.  This month our theme is Thanksgiving/Family.  Be sure to sign up for Hallmark emails to get great deals throughout the year.  Who knows, you just might see me there too!Check out the other Hallmark bloggers and what they are writing about.  It really is an amazing bunch of writers and you are sure to be inspired!While I was compensated to write this post, all words (as   always) are mine.  You can’t put a price on this awesomeness![...]



At 18 months Seth had 250 signs and just as many words.  He has always been bright,and I have always felt the weight of being his Teacher on my shoulders.For as long as he could talk, he has been asking questions. He has had an insatiable love of learning and has always been curious how the world around him works.I try to foster that love of learning, to answer his questions and to help him find new avenues to the answers himself.Now I wonder if I have done enough. I feel such guilt that I haven't pushed him hard enough. I've let him play when I should have encouraged him to be working. I have let him goof around and read the texts that he enjoys.  I haven't pushed him and now I fear that is to his detriment.What if in my sheer exhaustion, I have prevented him from reaching his full potential?  Is it too late to change it?  Can I push him now?  Should I push him now?These are the thoughts weighing heavy on my mind at 8:43 on a Thursday night.[...]

I am done


For the last nine years I have been pregnant, nursing or both.3,509 days pregnant. nursing. or BOTH.That is a lot of time dedicated to gestating, birthing, nourishing and pushing my body to it's limits.So when people casually ask if I'm done yet, I have really had to pause when I answer.Am I done yet?  Will I know what to do when I am done?  Will I know when I am really done?This has been hard for me.  Jeremy says he is done.  He knew before Elliott was even born that he was done.  We have always said we would take what the Lord gives us and take it one baby at a time.  He knew though, this was his limit.I wasn't so sure.  You see after Libby was born, I just knew I had 2 boys left.  I didn't want to be pregnant 2 more times though, so I really hoped they would come together.  We all know that didn't happen, so I have really been struggling.Was this something I had just invented in my mind?  Was it wishful thinking? What was it?In one of our late night talks, I confessed to Jeremy that I keep wanting to have babies because I really have 5 babies and I don't want people to keep thinking I have 4.  So, if I had one more then I would have my 5.  He looked at me and said, "But then you would want another because then we should have 6. It would be a never ending cycle..when would it stop?".  I stopped and started to cry.  His logic gets me every time.So much of who I am is wrapped up into what I have been doing for almost the last decade.  I became pregnant 6 months after we were married.  When Emma died she was 8 months old.  She was nursing full time, barely eating solids. I got pregnant a month later with Seth.  My babies night-wean and a month later I would get pregnant again.  I didn't have a period for almost 8 years. Have a baby, nurse the baby, night-wean the baby, get pregnant. That was my cycle. This is what we have always known.I have been praying that I would know if we are really done.  I don't want to stop if there are more souls waiting to come to Earth and to our family.  What about that feeling I had of 2 more boys?I have felt so conflicted because I love having new babies. I love giving birth. I love feeling my babies move inside of me. Being pregnant is the only time I have felt completely comfortable in my skin.  How can I say I am never going to experience it again?  How can I believe that the next newborn baby I snuggle won't be my own, but that of my nieces or nephews?The last few weeks my answer has come very quietly and gradually.  I am desiring freedom.  I am growing tired of diapers, spit up, baby toys littering our living spaces.  I am tired of being up all night, getting nip bites and being tethered to my house (or children) all the time.  I am done.I am tired of sharing my body, having it fluctuate in size by at least 50 pounds every 2 years, and then struggle with the fact that my belly is flabby and that I don't look like the other Moms at the school or at Church.While I love having my sweet wee babe, who is really such a dream baby (minus when he is sick and doesn't sleep), I am ready to move on to the next stage of our lives.I am ready to reclaim my body.  I want to rush to the gym and work so hard to get it back to where it should be right now, but I can't because of that sweet boy who will take nothing other than Mama.So, now that I know I am done, I need to sit back and know that my time for me will come.  My days of diapers, baby toys, and spit up are numbered.  My sleepless nights will soon a thing of the pas[...]

Holiday Comfort


When I say the words Holiday Comfort, what do you think? The first thoughts that came to my mind were cozying up with hot cocoa or cider, watching the first real snowfall of the year.  The big fat flakes floating lazily from the sky, landing in billowy softness and coating the world with white and quiet.Singing Let it Snow! and really meaning it, or White Christmas and feeling sorry for the poor saps who find themselves not living in a place where a White Christmas is not only possible, but normalThis is my first year as one of those poor saps I had always pitied.  And to be honest, it has me in a bit of a holiday funk.  I am so excited for Thanksgiving because we are having family here visiting.  But Christmas is a different story.We are in a new State, far away from any family at all, and in a climate I am still not used to.  While I don't mind not shoveling, it is just going to be so strange to be able to wear sandals on Christmas.  I don't know how to get into the spirit of the season without the cold weather.Knowing my friends and family are all much wiser than I am, I posed the question on Facebook and Twitter - what comes to your mind when I say Holiday Comfort?I loved the responses.  While several people replied with slippers, cozy sweaters and blankets, watching the snow fall and fires in the fire place (all things that just won't happen here!), there were other responses that helped me to redefine my definition of holiday comforts.Gathering with family was a main theme I read.  Baking, eating, drinking (cider, cocoa and a few stronger drinks in there too!), and listening to Christmas Music.  Putting up decorations, lights, trees, stockings.  Making memories with our families that will last a lifetime.  I think my favorite response came from our favorite babysitter in Logan.  She is a sweet 16 year old girl who responded, "Christmas is the one day my family doesn't fight... that's why it's my favorite :)".Yep, that is my definition of a Holiday Comfort.  A time to be together, to have peace in our homes despite what the weather is doing.  It doesn't have to do with how hot or cold it is, but what we are doing as a family.  As I think back on Holiday's past, it isn't what was happening outside that made it so special, but what was going on inside.  Making gingerbread houses, my kids playing by the tree, being sneaky about gifts, giving to others, and writing letters to Santa.  This is what makes the season so special for us.Of course, you may come over here during the Holidays to find the A/C cranked up so I can justify wearing some of my hand knit's that I love so much.But regardless, we will string lights, make goodies, sing Christmas songs and enjoy being together, the most comfortable place to be.What are some of your holiday comforts?  The things you can't live without? What makes it so special for you?[...]

Old Wive's Tale


(image) About a year ago my little brother told me to rub Vick's on the bottoms of my kids feet and then put socks on when they have a cough.  I thought, "that's a good idea, if it works. I bet it is just an Old Wive's Tale" and then promptly forgot.
Until last night.
Three of my four children are sick.  Coughing, fevering, miserable with a cold sick.  Elliott has an ear infection, Libby has a fever and Seth sounds like a foghorn as he blows his nose.
There was no sleep to be found on Monday night...unless you were Amelia and then you slept like a rock...that girl always does.
Last night as I was solo parenting and listening to my babies cough after their showers, I remembered that long forgotten tip.
I dug out the Baby Vicks and got to work.  Slathered on her feet and cozied up with socks, Libby was ready for bed.  As long as it was in my bed.  I didn't care as long as she would sleep.
Seth was coughing and coughing and coughing. He couldn't fall asleep.  I rubbed his feet, put on socks and didn't hear peep out of him the rest of the night.  Except when he was sleep walking into the girls' closet and nearly scared me to death thinking someone was trying to break down the front door.
Vicks on the feet -- Old Wives Tale?  Well, there is a reason why these tales have stuck around for so long.  They work.
Coughs, bring it on. I am ready tonight with my Vicks and warm socks.

Holiday Planning; How I intend to keep the crazy away


I can't believe it is already November.  It seems just like yesterday that we were making plans to move to Austin.  Now Jeremy has lived here for almost a year.Since moving to Austin, we have found ourselves far away from all of our family.  Everywhere we have lived in the past, we have always had someone within an hour's driving distance.  Now, the closest family we have is 12 hours away.So, this year I decided to invite all of Jeremy's family to come here for Thanksgiving.  We may have melt-your-face-off Summers, but Fall and Winter are GORGEOUS here.  So, everyone accepted and in just a few short weeks my house will be filled with the sounds of laughter, family and 8 small children!  Yep, 8 children under the age of 7. It is going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! :)I want to share with you how I intend to keep my sanity while hosting 8 adults and 8 children.I come from a long line of planners.  My sister is the worst.  She starts planning things YEARS in advance (in fact, I have it on good authority that she has her own funeral planned).  And while this is great for her, it is not my style.  I try to keep my crazy planningness under wraps as long as I can, but when I can hold it in no out!Delegate.  I am not afraid to ask people to help.  We will have 4 families here for 1 week.  I have asked each family to be in charge of dinner one night.  This way I don't have to do all the cooking, plus we will get to try out different recipes!Room Assignments. Figure out ahead of time who is going to sleep where.  Talk to your guests to see what they will need.  I know that Jeremy's brother and sister-in-law will need a bigger room than his sister, because of the pack and play.  This makes a difference in what room I put them in.Email guests at the beginning of the month (what I am doing today!) to start planning the holiday meal.  What do we have to have and what can we forgo this year?Purchase food ahead of time.  Get your menu set and then you can start looking for deals on that turkey, cranberry sauce and green beans that you will need.  Get everything you need BEFORE your guests arrive so you don't have to spend any of our family time at the grocery store.Give yourself a break. Just know that you are going to eat food that you normally wouldn't, in quantities that you normally wouldn't.  So, give yourself a break from the guilt and just enjoy that 2nd (or 15th) piece of pie!Plan activities for everyone.  For us it includes kids activities, Girls crafting night (and pedicures???), and golfing for the guys.  Find local activities that your guests will enjoy.  Save the movie theaters for another time, this may be the only chance they get to see your hometown!Find fun holiday crafts for the kids to do to decorate the tables!  Get the little ones involved.  This will take the stress out of meal prep if they are busy doing something else.I am so excited to have everyone here.  The last time we saw Jeremy's brother and his family was in 2008.  Libby and their little guy, Aidan, looked like this...Now they are big 3 year olds. It is going to be SO much fun to see them together!  I can't wait for these little cousins to start building memories together and hope this can be a more than once every few years kind of tradition!What are your holiday tips? What do you have planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  What am I missing that I absolutely must do to save the sanity of everyone?This post i[...]

Happy Halloween


I love Halloween. I love that my kids get to play dress up, and they aren't the only ones doing it!
Baby Pirate, Harry Potter, Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood
I love that they will come home with a large stash of candy and that while Jeremy is gone to Chicago this whole week, I will get to eat their candy and not have to share with him! ;)
(image) I love the fun, the whimsy, the childlike fun that comes with Halloween.  What do you love most about this fun holiday?

Growing Up


My boys are growing up way too fast.Seth had his first permanant tooth coming in.  Behind his baby teeth on the bottom.  There was no room for these teeth, and the new one wasn't destroying the root of the old one.  So, after an x-ray by the dentist, my boy came out with a big hole in his smile.  He couldn't be happier.Being in 2nd grade, he is one of the last kids in his class to lose teeth.  I was the same way.  I remember the waiting, watching all my friends losing their teeth and mine were just as tight in my mouth as ever.  I kept assuring him they would come out and...well, they did :)He is just getting too big too fast now.  He's going to have big adult teeth and next thing I know he'll be a tween worrying about his hair and girls.  SLOW DOWN.Speaking of needing to slow down...This boy is going to be 6 months old this week!!!  That can not be!  He is growing up WAY too fast.  What is with these children of mine????Happens every time, and while it is always hard to watch them do it, I am always so glad they do.Linking up with Small StyleOn Elliott - shirt and pants; Little Me from KohlsOn Seth - toothless grin; all his![...]

The First Time I Was a Mother


When I first became pregnant, I knew what I wanted.  I knew I wanted a natural birth with no drugs.  I knew I wanted to be in the hospital, just in case. I knew I wanted a midwife who would support me in my desires for a natural birth.My husband and I took Bradley Method classes for 12 weeks.  I ate right, I exercised as much as I could, I practiced laboring, I visualized my baby being born.When the teacher went over what to do in case of a c-section, I ignored her. I knew that wouldn't happen to me.  C-Sections only happened to Moms who "gave in" and had an epidural.  They only happened to those Moms who weren't as determined or educated as I was. Or so I thought.So, when my water broke at 37 weeks and my baby was footling breech, I was taken off guard.I had known she was footling breech, but I also knew she would turn.  There was no doubt in my mind. I visualized her turning, I did moxibustion – a Chinese herb – by my little toe to help her to turn.  I found a chiropractor who was educated in the Webster Technique to turn babies.  Nothing worked. Not laying inverted on an ironing board with light and music and heat down low and an ice pack on her head.  Not swimming in the community pool and doing head stands.  Talking to her, praying, pleading, begging…nothing worked.I was devastated. I felt like a failure as a mother before I had even had a chance to start.When I arrived at the hospital, the nurse checked me in and did a vaginal exam. I was dilated to 3 cm., with a foot presenting.  They called in the doctor on call, and the midwife on call, and I was taken to the Operating Room to meet my baby.We were short on time, it was late on a Sunday night and no one wanted to be there for long, so I was given a Spinal.  I remember the pressure of them trying to get her out.  Pushing on my stomach that caused me to become queasy and then vomit.I remember hearing her cry and the nurse telling me how pink she was. They held her up for me to see and just as I went to touch my vernix covered baby, they whisked her away.I didn’t get to hold her for over an hour after her birth. I didn’t get to smell her fresh out of my womb. She didn’t get to smell me, have skin to skin contact right away, or nurse right away as I had planned.I got to watch nurses hold her, bathe her, and cuddle her.  I couldn’t get a good look at her because there were too many people in the way.Finally, I was able to hold my baby girl.  This little person who made me a mom.  I was flat on my back in recovery.  I couldn’t sit up for 12 hours after her birth for fear I would get a spinal headache.  Our first touch was her swaddled up and me flat on my back.With the help of my husband, I was able to roll over to my side and get her latched on for her first nursing.  This was such an amazing experience, but I still didn’t get to get a good look at her.The rest of the night was somewhat of a blur. I was stuck in my bed, flat on my back.  My husband changed the baby’s diapers, snuggled her, and brought her to me when she needed to nurse.Finally, the next morning I lied to the nurses and told them I’d passed gas, as that was the requirement for me to be able to sit up.  I sat up and finally got a good look at my baby.Her birth was not at all what I had anticipated or expected. It was traumatic for me in many ways. However, it changed me for the better. It prompted me to le[...]

Crafty Crafterton


I've been up to a little crafting business. A few weeks ago, I went to a craft night at Lindsay's house. It was so fun to meet some new friends, and get my craft on. And, while I admit mine wasn't the cutest pumpkin at the end of the night, I was inspired to make a few other things.First up, freezer paper pillow covers.  This was SO easy.  I traced a stencil on a piece of freezer paper.  Then, I cut out the inside of the stencil and ironed the freezer paper (shiny side down) to the fabric.  After it was ironed, I just used black fabric paint and filled in the cut out space.  After it dried, I peeled off the paper and finished making my pillow covers.  I love how they turned out and think I am going to do more of these for all seasons!My small Halloween decorations have even gotten my kids in the mood for decorating...I also made some great "rule boards" for my kids rooms.And of course Jeremy's family is coming here for Thanksgiving, so we will definitely be having a girls crafting day. I think some fun necklaces are on the must do list.  Any other great suggestions you all have?How about you? What crafting are you doing for the holidays?[...]

Fall in Austin


After the intense heat of Summer, Fall has really arrived in Austin.  Our mornings are cool, and our afternoons are pleasant.  We can go outside and play and not turn beet red, or need to consume copious amounts of water. And we can finally eat outside again.  We really enjoyed doing this in Utah in the Summer.  So this year it was hard for me not to.  I am learning that my outdoor season is really from October to May.  I can handle that.

Also, I learned a very important lesson.  Do not give your 7 year old the camera and let him take a picture of you while he is sitting and you are standing.  I really don't have this many chins.

Oh, that's better.
And...well, what would a random post be without pictures of me and my girls being super silly?

Oh yes, I can handle this weather for the next 7 months.  Welcome Fall.  I love you.



I have been thinking of this post for weeks now.  Thinking of how to best describe the man I married.  He is quiet, contemplative, methodical and smart.  He is caring, compassionate and gentle.  He is slow to anger, and loves to laugh and have fun.  He is an amazing Father and wonderful Husband.    (image)

These are just words though.  I am so blessed and grateful to get to know him.
Ten years. I couldn't ask for a better partner for this life and for eternity.

It's not every day that you find someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.  Someone who stands by you regardless of what you do.  It is magic when you find that person who makes you want to be better, who laughs at the same stupid things you laugh at, that loves the same silly things you love and who pushes you to achieve your dreams.  That is what I found in my husband, my best friend.

In the last 10 years I have watched this man go from a 22 year old boy (we were SO young), to a new Father, to a grieving Parent, to a loving Daddy again.  I have watched him struggle with his own demons and always come out on top.  He teaches me what it means to persevere, and truly makes me want to be better.  He is my best friend.  The one I want to tell everything to right away (hence the reason I call or text 15 million times a day). The one I love and would follow to the ends of the Earth. Happy Anniversary babe. I love you more than you will ever know.  I am yours and you are mine...for-ev-er.