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Gimme A "B"

Updated: 2017-07-12T07:50:53.094-05:00


Baby Prep


SO I have had so many ask for my recipes and how I have been prepping for baby #6, so I figured I should get it all down and share.My nesting urges have come and gone all throughout my pregnancy, but most intense at the end of October.  I decided we needed to rearrange every room in the house, we pretty much moved, it was exhausting, but just what I needed.  We will now have 2 kids in each room, minus a playroom, which in all reality was just a room that was ALWAYS messy and was never played in.  I have to point out that no matter what there is no way I would have been able to do any of it without my amazing husband who gives into my decorating whims.  He's a very patient husband, who hates to anchor furniture, for obvious reasons.  After moving each room around there was a desperate need to "clear-out".  I went through EVERY drawer, got rid of 8 bags of clothing.  Each kid got to keep 7 shirts, 3 pants and 10 pairs of underwear.  We ended up purchasing new socks and underwear and other clothing that they may not have had.  It felt good to get in there and see exactly what they had or needed.  It's so easy to let those things go with everyday life getting in the way, so to get in there and know for sure felt really, really good.  :)  We also went through toys and only kept toys that were actually played with, not just dumped out on the floor.  We kept blocks, trains, baby dolls, doll house/accessories, dinosaurs, cars and super heroes, this has helped a lot with messes.  When the messes are too big my kids feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so with less it's much easier to get them to pick-ip before bed. Another thing that has helped with my nesting are daily chores.  My kids have chores that they do everyday.  They each have a room in the house that they are responsible for every day, we only change jobs every 3-6 months or so, this way we never have to figure out who does what, they already know and the more they do it the better they get at it and the faster it gets done.  It's magic.  Honestly.  They do their room in the house and then they are also responsible for their own bedrooms.  On Saturdays they have an extra chore, i.e. windows, baseboards, toys in the yard, lawn mowing for Calvin, and on especially cool days weed pulling, this is the only chore they get paid for, $1 for every full grocery bag.  Keeping up with these chores daily/weekly has helped SO much.  When you are trying hard to organize it's hard to have the motivation AFTER cleaning the house, especially when you're huge and pregnant.  ;)  It also helps me to feel willing to clean-up because I don't feel like I'm the only one who cares what our house looks like, and I'm doing it all my own, you know, what mom feels at times.Now for meal prep.  It all stemmed from advice from my therapist, yes, I see a therapist/energy healer, it's amazing, but that's another post.  We were talking about why I always get so sick after having a baby and how to prevent it.  I am desperate to enjoy this last baby, and to not be sick at all.  We figured out that it is because I try to do too much and don't just let myself recover and enjoy my baby.  Not to get too in-depth in our conversation, she suggested I have meals brought to me for 3 months.  That freaked me out because how does one even go about asking for 3 months of meals?!  So I decided I would let my family, friends, and R.S. bring as many as they were going to bring and I would cover the rest.  I did a little research on-line...Pinterest, but didn't like most the recipes I found, so I went through my own and used the ones I figured would be ok freezing.  First I went through my freezer and made the meals I could with what I already had.  I was surprised, I was able to make 8 freezer meals EIGHT, with what I already had.  It's much easier to get a s many done as possible in one day, because it is exhausting and to make only on[...]

What do you mean?


Do you ever feel caught between two worlds?  I feel I am at constant war with myself.  I tend to really love trendy music with somewhat questionable lyrics but a great beat, but then I love feeling the spirit, and most of the time the two don't mix.  I also really love the idea of being an entrepreneur and being busy working and building a successful popular brand / business, but then I love the idea of just being home and being a really great mom, which doesn't give me a while lot of recognition from the world.  I know I will never regret working hard to be a great mom, but I most definitely would regret taking time away from being a mother to be something else.  It is still hard though, recognition from the world or peers for being good at being trendy or setting trends is SO appealing.  Why is it that we want to be better than others?  And what I mean by "better" is stand out above the crowd.  I'm not sure why.

Here are some things I am struggling with right now:

1.  I want to be SUPER fit...and by super fit I mean skinny/toned AKA look smoking in a swimsuit BUT I also REALLY love food, mainly Doritos and Chocolate malted crunch ice-cream.

2.  I LOVE to have a clean home because it feels so good BUT I really like to look at Pinterest and watch Netflix.

3.  I love to get up early and go running/biking/swimming BUT I really like to sleep in.

4.  I really really love to decorate my home BUT I really really really don't have any money.  ;)

5.  I love the outdoors and camping BUT I like being at home cozied up in front of a good movie.

6.  I love to host parties BUT really don't feel like cleaning up my yard/house.

7.  I really like to put together cute outfits BUT don't really feel like brushing my teeth today.

8.  I really like to love myself BUT am often too busy hating myself.

9.  I love to be productive BUT also really love just hanging out.
10.  I love being a wife and mother BUT just want to be left alone!

So these are my dilemmas right now.  ;)  Really though, life is good, I think at times we just have to be kind and patient with ourselves.  We are in actuality caught between 2 worlds, this one that we are currently in and the eternities to come.  It is hard to choose so I must find that grayish area where I am still progressing but still able to listen to the Biebs.  Does that make me terrible?




There may be something pretty big in the works.  I have been mulling it over in my head "is it ok to do this?", "am I brave enough?", "will my family judge me, hate me, distance themselves from me, or love me?", "Maybe I should just be anonymous".  These thoughts keep going through my mind.  I'll let you in on the secret soon.  Maybe.Things are pretty uneventful here, if you don't consider changing diapers, cleaning up pee, drowning in peed sheets and laundry, and never ending hunger as events.Life is such a....I don't even know. I cry at night (or broad daylight) because my husband doesn't get me, but then I cry because how is he supposed to get me?  I don't even get myself.  I came to the conclusion a few weeks past that I will just never ever be satisfied, because I am a woman.  When I think I know what I want, I don't want what I wanted any more.  Its like sending the doc out for take out, in the time it takes for him to go out and get it and bring it home, I either don't want it, or want something completely different.  It's maddening.  Maybe that's why it's hard for me to make a healthy dinner, by the time it's finished I don't want it anymore, because lets face it, healthy = takes a REALLY long time make. I am stuck between really really wanting a needing a schedule and not wanting any schedule at all because "I like my freedom".  However, I am totally stuck, because no schedule, for me, equals no freedom.  I am stuck with a huge mound of laundry, struggling to find a clean uniform 20 minutes before school starts,  kids sleeping on the floor because I still haven't gotten around to cleaning those peed sheets, and dishes galore because "I like my free time".I used to think that the happy me was the me sitting on the couch watching copious amounts of uninterrupted episodes of my favorite show and eating really really crappy food and drinking soda.  I realized just today while chatting with Biff (my best Friend in Utah, long story) that happy me is actually not that me, it's the me that plans great parties with great decorations and plenty of food, including mini chocolate, powdered and crumbs donuts.  Going on great hikes and trips with my family.  Sleeping outside on the trampoline with he kids counting stars, having a bonfire and s'mores every night, holding off on eating that second helping of the best pasta I ever made, waking up early to have some girlfriend time while running, the me that can't wait to pick up my kids from school and loves spending time with them, not the me that can't wait till they go to bed.  That is happy me.  Which happens to not be the current me.  Current me broods over the fact that we are feeding all the stupid birds in our entire neighborhood with expensive cat and chicken feed, that my children are constant mess makers, that my bedroom always seems to look like a war-zone and how I CANNOT for the life of me find the chairs I want for my bedroom within my budget, or that I am not as skinny as my sister!!! I am crawling out of this fog that I have lived in for the past month or so, I am only realizing this now, now that I am stepping out.  I look back and it seems so clouded and dreary, like nothing, stagnant.  I spent an entire day on the couch watching TV, I got up for the occasional diaper change, snack and to pick-up my kids from school, but other than that I did not move.  In a way it was good because I do feel I needed it, but now that I'm in the light I am finally seeing a future a future full of fun stuff. I think my fog started when I decided life sucks when you have your own business and it's not making any money, at least not enough.  I realize now that I was not counting my blessings.  I have a husband who loves me and my children and works hard for us, we have a home, but not just a home a beautiful home full of beautiful things, its the perfect home for us - the fireplace.  I have family and fr[...]

"It's comin on Christmas, they're cutting down trees"


Sometimes I do "wish I had a river to skate away on".  Life can be hard, but also oh so good.  Usually I am anxious and put my tree up  and listen to Christmas music WAY too early and then get sick of it.  This year we have decided as a family that we will wait and enjoy each Holiday in it's own time.  A few days into November we took down Halloween and set up for Thanksgiving.  I was throwing a Norwex party, so I borrowed all my mom's Fall/Thanksgiving decorations, because we still have not yet been able to replenish our seasonal decorations.  (sigh) Oh well.  So my house looks beautiful and festive.  I am LOVING being above ground and enjoying looking through windows and opening them to let in the crisp air.  We do not have a fireplace, so we have been utilizing our Prime membership and putting a fireplace on the television, I love to hear the crackling, just the sound makes me warmer.  We've been drinking Hot Cocoa almost morning.Dr. Barnes and I celebrated 12 years of marriage last night.  We went to dinner and shared a delicious steak dinner, with a delish cheesecake topped with strawberries for dessert.  We talked so long at dinner that we missed our movie time, so we called my MIL who was sitting for us and made sure it was ok to catch a later movie.  So we walked around and shopped.  It was a lot of fun, and we were out way too late.  My poor MIL, she is a Saint. I woke up and studied my RS Lesson, and was reminded and maybe even chastened to make sure we are being mindful and living within our means.  I do work a few days a week and earn a little extra money, maybe that should be set aside for savings rather than new bedspreads for everyone.  Then a little overwhelmed at the thought of not being able to do what I love, because we need to be frugal.  Hmmm.Full moons during the day enjoying some hot cocoa with a crackling "fire" No clothes allowed while on the potty. cutest scooter alive Captain underpants reading Captain UnderpantsCozy kitties are the bestHappy Sabbath.-KearaPonderize Scripture: Joshua 1:5  "...As I was with Moses, so I will be with her: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.[...]

My favorite season


We just passed my favorite time of year, when the air is changing and the people are putting up fake spider webs and orange porch lights.  I love going for walks at dusk when you can see the lights of peoples homes shining onto the street.  It always gives me a feeling of love a coziness, thinking of going home to my family cozy sitting around the coffee table coloring Halloween pictures and watching spooky movies, like "HalloweenTown", or R.L. Stine's "Spooksville".  I love picking out costumes and planning great Halloween parties, which we did, have an extremely awesome Halloween party.
                                                                       Zombie Caleb
 Cousins sorting their trick-or-treat spoils
 Old movies inside where it was warm
Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the festivities going on outside.  It was a hit.
Look at these babies! Halloween 2012
 Calve the Reith...outside of the cloak. Doesn't my Dad make a cute cowboy?
Me and my really weird fox/bunny and George Strait without the hat...

Modern Day Pioneer


(This is me most afternoons)Today was a rough day.  I cried when I realized I had left all or almost my Seasonal decorations.  I vaguely remember my thinking it would be better to leave and just buy new.  I was wrong.  I miss them.  I also don't think I saw our current circumstances coming, life throws curve balls.My children were so cute, they came into my room at different times to console me, it was sweet and it did actually make me feel better that and writing it all down in my journal.I am grateful for the Pioneers and their sacrifices and example.  I am grateful I have someone to look to for confidence and reassurance that I can make it through, and not just make it through but thrive. I am also very grateful for a husband who buys me KitKats when I am having a bad day.  :) (We spent the afternoon decorating and watching Nanny McPhee, and yes I am going to bed with my house like this) (My new pants that came in the mail)(I love when my children get my phone)                                                    ~Keara~[...]

Favorite Time of Year


I am so excited for Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween, in that order.  This year I am going to miss snow and changing leaves, cold weather and snow, in that order.  This year I am looking forward to having Thanksgiving dinner outside at my parents house and lots and lots of family and yummy yummy food.  Colored lights on our Christmas tree, and REAL Christmas tree, Christmas tree shopping.I have asked my children what they want for Christmas because I am determined to get all the Christmas shopping done before December this year, with our new baby girl coming I want to just simply enjoy her and my children and ALL Christmas has to offer this year. I have been reading blogs and looking on Pinterest for different gift ideas and stocking stuffers.  Last year we decided that we would give the big gifts to our children and Santa would give just stockings...this year we have decided that is lame, and it made Christmas lame.  Santa is exciting ad magical and full of wonder and that is childhood.  We want Christmas and childhood to be awesome and full of wonder, it only lasts for so long and Santa will no longer be fun it will fizzle out, so I want to try as hard as I can to keep that alive in my children. These are some things I am looking at for Christmas.  A great new game for the family.These awesome things for sensory play.Things for quiet activity for the older kiddos, paint by number.These for Anna.These for the boys.This for Ellie.I'm also dreaming up the BEST for my children this year, which I hope will turn into a Christmas Tradition for our family.  More details when I get more details...but here's a hint.  Oh, I can't wait.I'm also having a custom built doll house on order for my girlies.  SO excited, this Christmas is going to be amazing![...]

Living Underground


It's pretty tough living in my parents basement, there isn't any natural light, tight quarters, no storage, most of our earthly belongings are still packed away in boxes and very little alone time.  BUT there are also so many things to be grateful for, no rent, being with family ALL the time, family dinners, getting to live in a beautiful home, and the list could go on.  As hard as it may be, I am counting my many blessings.  I have good days and I have bad days.  On those bad days I try to imagine our future home, our dream home.  Our dream home has changed from being a 2-story mansion with plenty of land, a pool and a view, to a modest 3 bedroom fixer-upper with lots of natural light.  I do believe we will have our eventual DREAM HOME, but for now our dream is modest.   Today I am focusing on my children having fun building blanket forts and eating nature valley bars, and the beautiful rain that is falling.  I'm focusing on my sweet husband who works hard to provide for our family, and to love me and us.  I am grateful for his sacrifices and devotion to our family.   I'm focusing on my healthy baby growing inside of me, he sweet little kicks and movement that reassure me she is there.  I love having my baby's inside of me, safe.  It's like when I was a kid and we'd play camping and make a big huge blanket fort.  I'd put one of our lamps inside and turn all the other lights off and pretend that that was our fire and when we stayed near the light and inside the tent, we were completely safe.  We'd peak out and stick out our feet just to feel that thrill of danger, but we always returned to the light.  That's about how I feel about the gospel and my testimony.  When I stay close to the gospel and follow the Lord's counsel I feel safe and know that I am known and taken care of.  I may get laxed and feel the thrill of watching TV at night before bed, instead of praying or writing in my journal, but I always go back to the light where I feel most safe and secure.  I am grateful for the gospel and it's ability to strengthen me and make me equal to any task that is ahead of me.  Alan loves the story of Peter walking on the water and we use that analogy a lot in our home.  Peter only started to sink when he turned his focus from the Savior to the waves around him.  When we start to focus on those things we can't control or for me, things that I can't buy, we remind each other "stop looking at the waves".  Some days it's easier said than done, but it does keep our focus where it should be.  Life really is good, and we really are extremely blessed, especially with parents who love us and are incredibly patient.  Popcorn and a movie (Flubber, in honor of Robin Williams) Dreamin Sunday Baking[...]



 So it's been a while.  My web browser couldn't even guess what I was typing in, it's been so long.  That's sad.  I am making a new promise to myself to post at least once a week and work up to once a day.

 A lot of thoughts and emotions are running through me and my house this week.  We have recently decided, or have been "told" by Heavenly inspiration, that it is now time for us to pick up like the Pioneers and move out West.  Here come the mix of emotions.  I LOVE Arizona.  I LOVE the thought of being close to our families, logistically.  I love the weather, the mountains, the SUN, but I also REALLY love the trails here, the snow, the season changes, the people, the growth mentally and spiritually, the miracles we have been privileged to experience.  How do I say "good-bye" to that?  Can I really be expected to just walk away from these beautiful friendships I've made?  Does it really go this way?  Is this how the book of my life goes?  Do you ever sit back and say to yourself "is this my life"?  It is a strange feeling having all your dreams come true.  We are graduated and opening our own practice, we get to live by our family again, we have 4 beautiful children and one on the...just kidding, we have money in the bank, not as much as we unrealistically expected as pre-graduates, but enough.  These are all the things we could not wait for while suffering through the agony of schooling.  Why does it feel like this?  Is it growing pains?  It must be.

 I spent the afternoon in our lovely Cottage that we have made our home, taking pictures of our belongings and posting them on Craigslist for some stranger to give me money in place of these things, these objects that aren't worth much, these things that really make my home, my home.  These pieces of furniture that have made the trek with us, from Arizona to Iowa, Chicago and now Fairborn.  Are they really going to leave us now?  Now that we have "made it"? Is their trek going to end here?  Is it worth the money and hardship of moving them and storing them until we land on our feet again?

 Life is like that, we get attached to things, objects, that can't feel, but seem to give us feeling.  How is that possible?  Can I make a home without these things?  Are they just things? 

 So here I sit, debating whether or not I need to attach myself to these memories or start new ones.

 My Momma has told me that this is a new chapter.  I think she is right, this is our climax, the best part or our book of life.  It's exciting.



Beautiful Sunday Afternoon


Here I sit at my computer listening to Alan read the children Halloween stories we checked out from the Library Wednesday, I love to hear is silly voices he does, Calvy gets annoyed with all the voices and says repeatedly, "Daaaaaad".  I'm sad to say that I think that came from me, it used to annoy me too, "there are certain ways you need to read a story"  I would think.  Alan is a great Daddy and loves to make things fun for the children.  He took them on a great hike last Sunday while I stayed home and napped.  They were gone forever!  He came home and told me, "it takes a REALLY long time to walk a mile with kids."  haha!  That Sunday he actually came home with a picninc table that someone was throwing out, and a HUGE bar b que grill that someone else was throwing out.  We have been wanting a new grill for SO long, but hadn't been able to afford it, just one of those, "one of these days" wishes.  I am so thankful for being able to pay tithing and receiving the blessings for it.(we paid our tithing that day) We have been working hard at being very positive and excited for the future, but also being very satisfied with what we have already been given.  We are struggling to teach this to our children, whose favorite phrase is "when Daddy makes more money can we get..." Which is my fault I had said many times, "we can't do that right now, but when Daddy starts to make more money we will."  So Alan is working on being very positive with his work and the way things are going and working to be more successful.  I am working at not being frustrated with my kidneys sill recovering and the UTI/Bladder Infection that is plaguing me, and to just be grateful for the fact that I am NOT double over in pain.  I am grateful to have energy to clean the house and rearrange furniture.  My very favorite thing to do, I have moved bedrooms around in preparation for this baby.  We are ready for whatever sex it may be.  We are VERY excited and all of us would love to have a girl.  Calvy said "I will love the baby if it is a girl, and I will like it if it is a boy."  I asked him why he wouldn't be as excited for a brother and he said "because then Ellie will have a sister and she will stop messing up our things."  Haha!I do not feel the usual "I need to have this baby!" feelings, I don't feel incredibly uncomfortable, but I do feel extremely tired and I just noticed my face looking like a prego face, ew.  I was hoping to bypass that with this pregnancy.  Alan says that's pretty cool that the day before my due date I start to look pregnant, he's a sweet man.  He's awesome, I do love him. Alan took the boys to Father's and Sons, Friday and Saturday.  It was so fun to think about little Caleb on his first campout trip, and how much fun it would be for him.  Calvy had a great time and watched out for his little brother the while time.  No one was hurt and they had a blast.  There was a HUGE rainstorm, like HUGE,  on Friday  night.  Alan said they were one of the few to stay dry and were able to stay all night, I was so grateful.  Every time I got up to go the the restroom during the night, which was a lot, I said a little prayer for them.  Eleanor and I had a girls night and went out to dinner, and bought gum at the dollar store and painted our nails and watched movies late into the night.  Ellie was disappointed when Daddy and the boys came home because that meant Daddy would take up his spot on his side of the bed, and she would have to sleep in her bed. We had our Primary Program today and Calvin did his part all by himself.  He has always been SO shy that he would never even go up on the stand to sing or anything, this time he stayed u[...]

No Church for you!


Cutie Ellie in her church dress.I'll keep this one small for ya.....winkWell peoples, here I am....sitting again, this time on my bed with Alan's laptop on my lap.  I have been in bed for 2 days now, the previous day being spent in the bathtub, passing yet another kidney stone.  I will tell you that it is my least favorite experience.  During the pain of an attack I felt as if I would die, or that I wanted to die because then the pain would subside.  It is horrific pain, let me tell you, worse than natural childbirth, anyone who has experienced both will attest to that. I woke up friday morning feeling normal, I sat up in bed and read from The Book of Mormon and talked to my children when they decided to come in.  When I got out of bed I had a strange back pain, but not a normal back pain, it felt deep and was radiating into my stomach, it didn't feel right.  As I picked Caleb up to hold him he felt warm so I took his temperature and it was 102.8.  I text Alan at work letting him know.  After we finished breakfast I felt a little worse, I sat on the toilet trying to figure out what pain I was feeling, if it was gas, labor, gall bladder attack, the flu....ANYTHING but a kidney stone.  Ever since I had one while I was pregnant with Caleb, I swore I would never get one again.  Apparently my body did not care.  Every time I would feel the slightest pain in my back I would freak out and down a gallon of water.  This time was different, it came very quickly, and I was alone, with 3 children relaying on me, one of whom was acting sicker and sicker by the minute.  Alan was working, taking care of patients, and when you run your own practice, or acting as such, you can't just walk out.  I didn't know what to do or where to turn, I rubbed essential oils all over my back and stomach, I drank some, I put some in my bath and soaked.  As the pain progressed I got very nervous that I would need to go to the hospital.  I called Alan's office and talked to the front desk letting them know my situation and if they could please just pass the word on to him.  It was only 9am and he had to work until at least noon.  I didn't know if I could handle the next 10 minutes, let alone 3 hours.  Paige, the woman on the phone, suggested I call Dr. M's wife, who is a guru in natural healing.  I called her and got her answering machine.  In my message I told her what I was feeling and what I suspected it was.  I didn't know what I expected her to do, but I needed a mother, and I told her that.  She called me right back and said she would put together a bag of remedies and would be there in 30 minutes. By this time the pain had definitely progressed and my children were trying to figure out how to play a DVD on our massive 6 disc DVD player.  I was trying to explain to Calvy how to look for the number he had put it in.  I am not really sure how he figured it out, but he did.  So Dr. M's wife, lets call her Angela, came to the front door, Calvy led her back to me, my cute pregnant, naked body, lying in the tub so pathetic and in such pain I couldn't even open my eyes.  I had draped a towel over me to try and stay as modest as possible, but with the pain, modesty kinda goes out the window.  She was just the sweetest angel to show up, I couldn't believe how quickly she had gotten there, a half an hour seemed a lifetime away, but it went by very quickly.  She put together  a few drinks for me, that I was actually able to drink.  While pregnant with Caleb and dealing with the kidney stone I couldn't keep anything down for more than 30 seconds, if that.  It is very normal to vomit during kidney stones, many have to be admitted becaus[...]

For The Kids...Music


Okay, I am one of those who does not enjoy much kids music, in general it is annoying and not entertaining.  However, while checking many CD's out from the Library(a place we LOVE)  I came across these CD's of kids music and they are fabulous!  they are entertaining to kids and adults.  They are all songs by major artists so they are familiar voices singing cute songs appropriate for children.  We had tried the kids bop music but I was appalled, seriously appalled by the lyrics these young kids were singing, I think we made it through half of a song before I shut it off.

So here is a taste of our favorite songs.  Check your local library or download them, you won't be sorry.
For the Kids three, track 4: "My Little Bird" by Rogue Wave  this one is especially wonderful for me today, everyday it's different.  Track 3 is pretty hilarious "The Poopsmith Song"

This is the third of a series of CD's.  I am only aware of 3. but there may be another...I hope.   For the Kids, For the Kids Too and For the Kids three.



Sweet Birthday Text From My Daddy


Monday, August 20, 2012

Daddy:  Just had a reminder from Mom that it's your Birthday.  As I was driving home I thought of this day how long ago it seems to look back now.  How time gets away, we get so caught up with everyday stuff.  But I remember what a sweet cute face little darling girl you were.  It was a moment unlike any other, it was sweet and pure, a beautiful gift from God.  Your Mom and I gave you a name so befitting, it seems magical how it came about.  Well now your where we were and you have your own cute little ones.  It's funny how you can love so many in a special kind of way.  Well happy Birthday my little Crystal.

I love you and you make me happy.
Love Dad

No pics....I'm sorry!


So here I am sitting on the couch blogging.  I decided that I need to get this thing going again, seeing as how I will not be home any time soon and I think my family enjoys is...and I don't mind the comments I get from friends and family about our totally awesome life.My midwife, came today for our monthly appointment and we listened to the heart and measured and all that fun stuff.  I told her about my strange cravings for such weird smell and how I dowsed myself in  rubbing alcohol because I could drink it and I wanted to do more than smell it(maybe I didn't tell you about), anyway, she said I must have a deficiency, which is what I had assumed, but what am I deficient in that would make me want to smell, drink or bathe in rubbing alcohol, uric acid/ammonia, and dishwasher detergent?  Acid maybe?  Oh I also love the smell of Lavender essential oil, from DoTerra.  Oh goodness, Alan coughs every time I come to bed because I rub it all over my face, in my nose and body.  Seriously, I am dying, "How do I get that goodness in me?!"BTW, You're awesome if you know that quote.Days seem shorter and longer at the same time.  I feel like I will never have this baby and then I feel like it has gone by so fast.  Oh, yah, my midwife appointment.  So my wonderful mother who apparently does not like surprises has repeatedly expressed her disappointment in not knowing the sex of this baby and when it will be coming.  I think it drives he crazy actually.  ;0)  Love you Mom!  So I had my midwife listen to the heart and tell me what she thinks it may be......dun duh duh dun!  She thinks it may be a girl!  Which does't really surprise me, for the past few weeks I have changed my vote from definitely boy to possibly girl.  Which I am totally ecstatic about.  I would love to have another daughter and dress her up in all sorts of ridiculous get up, like bows and flowers that are bigger than her actual head, and dresses that are so fluffy you notice it before you notice the baby inside.  I would also like to have a sweet little baby boy, who will love me always and enjoy breastfeeding, because you know all boys love boobies.  I am most looking forward to adding another sweet little life to our family, another warm body at our dinner table.  I long to see our sweet baby sitting contentedly in the swing while I am busy making dinner for my sweet family.  To have Alan walk through the door and walk over a scoop the sweet thing up and cover it in kisses.  It's so exciting. Alan says we will have to seriously consider not having any more children if I get sick again like I did with Caleb, but I am choosing to be very positive, I will not get sick like I did. I am 36 weeks and one day today and I am measuring 34, which is very different from my other pregnancies.  It was usually the other way around, 34 weeks measuring 36 or 38.  I feel different with this pregnancy too, I feel better, healthier.  I think I had a much better start with this one, I weighed less and had mush better eating habits.  They didn't last through the pregnancy, but I guess having a good start counts.  We do not know my exact due date, so se will be coming every week from here on out.  Which this baby does have to come out, but I am choosing not to really think about that....ah!  It is crazy to think that I may only have 4 Tuesdays left until this baby comes.  In the words of my Biff, Cray cray!My windows are open and a nice cool breeze is blowing through them.  I love to here the June bugs in the trees and the baby birds chirp for more food.  I love the sound of th[...]

Picture Post


My last post was much too long to add any more pictures, so here is a special post of just pics.  Enjoy.p.s. I did not edit any of these, sorry they are dark...I didn't feel like it.  ;0)Halloween decor.This children all had a blast putting up spiders and rats and these wonderful bats.These are from my baby shower.  Wonderful women in our ward!  It was a lot of fun, and yummy food!   Look at my beautiful diaper cake, I got 2 BTW.  Very very fun, and sweet!Oh goodness, maybe I should have insisted on standing.  ;0)Trying to catch a butterfly that ended up going over the fence.Ellie;s fake sadness for not catching it.  She tries SO hard.  ;0)Doesn't his face look funny!  He was jumping up and down saying "take my picture!"Playing with the hose, our summer past time.It is not always fun to be sprayed, the water here is ALWAYS cold.Me.After water, play.  Ironically he never got back in the water after he put his suit on. SYLYBYE![...]

~Fall is on it's way~


Today has been a wonderful day.  I woke up to Alan getting out of the shower and into his work clothes(a wonderful way to wake up), then I woke up again to him saying "shoot...I'm late!  Ready for prayer?"  I lay in bed will he knelt beside the bed and prayed for us to have a good day, for us both to have the stamina we need to get throughout the day.  He preyed for me and the baby and for our health.   He expressed gratitude for our situation, our very blessed situation and the blessings that seem to flow in over and over. I kissed him and told him I loved him and he left.  As I heard his truck start and the garage door open I jumped out of bed(well as best I can) and ran to the garage so that I could shut the door for him(it is broken and he can't close it from his car)  once I got to the garage and almost opened the door I heard his engine roar as he drove away, that's weird I thought he wouldn't have just left without closing it.  Then I opened the door to see the door closing and Calvy standing on his tip toes holding the button down so the door would close.  "Hey bud"  I said in surprise "I didn't know you were awake". "I heard Daddy walking down the hall and woke up."Calvy watched a show on Netflix while I read scriptures in bed, and then turned to my new best friend, this, I have carried this with me since Monday morning and have read it at any chance I had.  I am almost done, so I have had chances, but not many....and I am a ssslooooooow reader.  It is a great book though.  It has inspired me to blog again and get my memories down so that we have something to remember and cherish.  It has also helped me to relish the little things, the things that I take for granted.  I have tried harder to be with my children and play with them, to be their friend and imagine together.We had breakfast together and spent the rest of the morning cleaning.  Calvinor(I told alan how Nie calls her 2 oldest Claine and how cute I thought it was, and he came up with Calvinor) cleaned their room as KK(also a nickname from Alan) took a morning nap.  I cleaned like a mad woman, laundry scrubbing showers and bathtubs, floors and dishes.  It felt really good, getting around these days is getting tougher, but I was grateful to have the energy to do this.  We did Face Time with my Momma and big sister, but my sound stopped working so we did sign language.  It was good to see family.  I miss Arizona these days and can;t wait to be by family...BUT will really miss the snow and seasons.At snack time I was scrubbing the shower trying not do puke from the smell of vinegar(yuck!)C: Can I have cheese?!M:  Yes!C:  Can I have pudding?!M: Yes!C:  Can I have mumble mumble?M:  Yes!  Calvin!  You can have whatever you want!I walked into the dining room a few minutes later and saw calvin eating a huge piece of chocolate  cake, leftover from a Birthday party we went to the night before.  I said "Calvin?  Cake?"  "You said I could have whatever I wanted." he said.  He was right, I did.  I was impressed though, he had taken the piece out of the tupperware it was in and got a plate and fork.  He was very grown-up and tidy about the whole thing, I would have imagined him just eating it straight from the tupperware with his fingers. another reminder that he is REALLY growing up.Anyway, at about 1pm, I got a call from Alan informing me that we were invited to lunch with Dr. M and his wife, I was in my jammies, sweaty, and tired.  My chores were not quite done and I thought it was still mor[...]

Children and childhood memories


These letter pictures are from  Happy Birthday sign the family made for our Grandma's 60th Birthday.  So fun, I love the backward "h" on Caleb.I was needing something crafty to do, I had a wreath and some scraps so put them together.  If you're looking for lots of scraps of nice material go to your local Wedding Dress shop and ask for their scraps or trimmings.  I'm not sure what day this is from, it is old, I think it might have been one of our Monday Jammie Days.  The kids were reading and little Caleb fell asleep.These days are busy and tiring.  I am doing well, I was put on temporary berets because of far too many contractions.  I am doing better now, trying to take it easy, I took myself off of berets after about a day...well I did 3ish, it's really hard!  We have been eating out way too often for our health and our budget, cooking is just not my strong point these days, and food that is cooked by other people always tastes better.  I am supposed to be making dinner right about now, but I really just don't feel up to it.  If I had something to eat maybe I would, maybe we'll go out and get something...;0)Alan's calling keeps him pretty busy so we don't get to see him much, the children are so used to us eating without him, that when he is here it's a shock and they are all too eager to say goodbye, not because they want him to leave, it's just what they are used to.  He was walking out to the garage and Ellie said, "bye Daddy!"  He replied, "I'll be right back, Im just going to the garage."  To which she said, "Okay, love you, have a good day!"Our children seem to be going stir crazy, I'm not sure why.  We often leave the house, at least one a day we go somewhere, but if it doesn't last all day they seem to think it wasn't fun.  It's frustrating, Alan and I realized that we have spoiled children.  It is all due to my "mommy guilt"  if they are not happy all the time, with something to do I feel as if I am failing them.  Being 33 weeks pregnant takes a tole on your body though, well mine at least, and I can't do as much.  It seems that if I tell them to go play they have no idea what I am talking about and they always just end up fighting and screaming and then I lose it and we leave the house.  This will just who you what an amazing mother I am, it was nap time and  ALL of us were going to take naps, we ALL needed one after the morning we had had.  After about an hour of listening to the older children play and scream and NOT sleep I got out of bed, told them to go outside and play, and I would let them back in when I was done napping.  After my "nap" I went out to get the children and there at the foot of the backdoor was a nice pile of Poo.......human poo.......Ellie poo.  She was naked bum drawing with calk and Calvy was sitting very bored like in a lawn chair.  The first thing I said was, "I'm so sorry!"  I had visions of the poor Jewish people in camps who were forced to poo on themselves, and thought, "Holy crap, I am the worst mother ever."  Ellie says, "I pooped in my panties."  She looked a little scared, as if I were going to reprimand her, if she only knew all the things that were going through my mind, I felt so guilty.  I washed her up, and I put a movie on for them to make up for my...whateverness.  I am anxious for the season change, I usually fully joy summer and never want it to end, but I find myself anxiously awaiting Fall, and all that comes with it.  I LOVE Halloween, and cannot wait to decorate and make costumes. &[...]

Check out my little Girl.


I wanted to post something from a friends blog so you all could see how ridiculously cute this is.

Love to all.


One of those days.


The only way I felt I could feel better today was if I could put it out there for others to see or read how I am feeling.  Mostly because I can't find my phone so I can't text my mommy and tell her how hard being a mother is, and how much I sometimes just want to quit, or take a leave of absence.You see, it seems every time I turn around I am having to pick something up, or clean something, or fix the thing I just fixed.  Normally this is not such a problem, I can deal with it most days.  Today however, I feel like I am going to explode.  Ha!  Nixon, my dog, follows me everywhere!  If I get up to go to the bathroom, so does he.  If I am standing in the kitchen and walk over to open the back door for the kids, so does he.  If there is a stinkin party going on with many dogs to sniff and meet and I go to bed early, so does he! Money is tight and A/C is expensive and the children haven't learned to close the door, they think that if they have a question for me they must stand at the door with it wide open and talk to me.  If I ask them to close it it is as if I am invisible or I have no voice, they literally do not hear me.Calvy asks me constantly if he can watch a movie or eat, which the answer is usually, "no, go play a game or draw or read a book or play with your many toys, or go play outside."  To which he folds his arms in anger and storms off kicking or throwing anything in his path, to which there has to be a consequence because it is "unacceptable behavior".Ellie wants gum 24/7, or wants her nails painted or wants to watch Barbie.  She scream at her brothers and never talks above a deafening squeak or yell. Caleb just wants to throw his food on the floor and laugh, or take any full thing or anything, dump it out and laugh. I feel like I have lost control of my children and my life.  I feel like they are running my life and I have no say in the matter.  Nothing is mine everything is OURS.  I do feel like Keara has gotten lost in all this mess of life.  That I haven't given her enough time and she has been forgotten.  Not enough time alone.I am not sure why all of this is bothering me.  I think maybe it is because I am not in control, that I have given allowance to my children to control me and my emotions.  Everything they do dictates how my day will go, and I know that is not how it's supposed to be, but here I am.  I know better than to cry over spilt milk, or sticky peaches, but I do.  I know not to overreact and yell at my children for doing or not doing something, though they have been asked 14 times, but I do.  I know to go to bed by 10pm so I can get up before the children and read from my scriptures and pray before my day begins, but today it didn't happen.Why is it, that right when I feel like I have a handle on my life and I feel truly happy I have a day like this, where my kids are yelling and fighting and I am stuck in the middle wanting to run away.  I swear it was just 2 days ago that I was writing in my journal about how happy I am and how much I love my life and my children.I feel trapped by money, no money for fresh fruit or veggies, no money for new clothes, no money for girls night, no money for date night, no money to go off by myself, no money to just breathe free air.  I feel like every time I turn around something is costing us money that we don't have.  I am constantly worried about how much water we are using or electricity or laundry soap or anything.  I feel like I can't relax and jus[...]



Oh man I am so excited for summer!  It brings back memories of being a kid and not having to go to school.  What summer means to me:No schoolSleeping inWatching MatlockSwimmingTanning oilLaying outMidnight trips to Taco Bell or Wendy'sRoman NoodlesMacaroni and cheeseBar-B-Ques4th of JulyFamily Picnics and get-togethe's at the parkStaying up lateOtter PopsNO homework!I am excited to start a new list with my own family.   What summer NOW means to me:Swimming lessonsSummer sportsSummer reading programPopsiclesPopsicle stainsPlaying legosGarage salesSummer dressesSummer haircutsBike ridesLocal splash padsSunscreenTan linesPicnics with friendsDirty bath waterCaleb's B-day party!I am in love with summer so far.  I can't wait to go swimming and have a break while the kids are passed out from the chlorine in the pool.  ;0)  I always loved that after swimming, eating roman noodles or a hot dog and then falling asleep to a movie.  Those were the best summer days as a kid.  I want to give that to my kids...I need to find a recipe for homemade organic roman noodles.  winkMy mind is full of all these reasons why I love being a mother, so I'm going to go without he flow and write them all down, maybe I'll need to look back on this soon.Why I love being a mother:Listening to the Chipmunks sing sun oldies rock songs, like "Livin on a Prayer", watching cartoons, seeing my children play together, working together and pretending together.  Kids music groups like The Terrible Two's(Highly recommend to all parents of small children) Seeing my children dance around the front room, saying "Mom look at my cool moves!", I love when my kids want me to watch them.  I love being asks things like, "mom wanna smell my breath?"  Or "is he poppy?  Can I see?"I love sitting around the table at dinner and laughing about the silly faces we can make, or watching the kids try to cross their eyes.  It's so fun having young children and a lot of them.  No matter how many pregnancies or babies or toddlers I have it is always new and fun.  I love to feel this baby move and as my belly gets bigger it just gets to be more fun.  No matter how many babies I have I still love that first time they smile.  No matter how many kids I have that have learned to walk it is still so exciting for that first step.  No matter how many toddlers I have I love to hear their first word, and to see their little brains working and sputtering out their own little language.  I love seeing Calvy learn in school, so get excited about learning math and's getting better by the way.  I love to see how different each of my children are, they have such unique personalities and are so special.  I love seeing how girly Ellie is and see her training to be a mommy.  The other day she pulled her shirt down and stuck her baby up to her chest and put a blanket over her self and said, "I'm practicing to be a mommy".  Love it, I love that she wants to be a mommy.It's hard as a mother, you hope that you are teaching your children all they need to know for then to grow up to be good citizens and parents, and to make good choices.  I want them to follow Christ and grow-up and get married in the Temple and have big families that they love.  I want their experience as children to motivate them to do good and want to have a family like they had while growing up.  I would really like it is they said, "I want to be just like my Mom/Dad" vs. "I will not b[...]

Journals have a purpose


This morning while looking at a picture of the Disney Princesses...C: What?!  Ariel should be in the middle, not Rapunzel.  She turns into a mermaid and a human, that's so cool.E: Yah!M:  Well Rapunzel has magic hair, that's pretty cool.C:  Oh Yah!We are still trying to get the hang of school again.  I am uh really trying to be patient, and it's really not working.  I seem to yell a lot, when before I had really gotten away from it, I was the sweet mommy and my kids loved me.  Now all I hear is how mean I am and, "you are not a nice Mommy!".  I pretty much hate it.  ;0)  Really though, I don't like yelling at my babies, they are so sweet and innocent...most of the time.  I'm just pretty tired all the time and ready for naps and bed time.  Alan works a LOT right now, well he is sure gone a lot.  He is gone most nights and leaves early in the morning.  It's hard to find good help these days, it's pretty much all on me.  I keep my house nice and clean, my floors swept and mopped and dishes and sundry done, but that's about it.  Sometimes I just want to let it all go and just be with the kids, but honestly I enjoy cleaning more.  Sad I know, why am I even admitting this???I was looking back at some old journal entries the other night and almost every single one said..."I am a bad mother", in so many words.  I talked about how I wanted to be better, how I wanted to give my kids so much more.  I couldn't believe how many entries were about me being such a horrible mom.  It was like the bee on "Bee Movie" when he is trying to get out of the window but kept hitting the glass, he didn't change anything he just kept trying the same 'ol thing saying, "maybe this time, this time, this time this time."  I was spinning my wheels, I had nothing to build upon, I was always in the negative.  I thought about my kids and the things we do each day...Monday is jammy day we stay home all day and do nothing but play and clean and wear our jambes...Tuesday is food day we get our groceries...Wednesday is Library day, we go to story time and hang out for a few hours, then to the park for a picnic lunch...Thursday is another free day we get to choose what we want to do.  Today we did school, then watched a show, napped, road bikes and cut hair...Friday is workout day, we go down to the church and work out for an hour or so with other mom's and kids.  and thought, if I am such bad Mom then why do my children tell me they love me, or why do they seem so happy...most of the day?  Most of the time my kids go to bed tired, full and happy, so why am I such a bad mommy?  Truth...I'm not. I decided after reading that hogwash that I would never go to bed thinking about all the "horrible" things I did that day, I would focus only on the good.  That night writing down all the good things I had done with the children and as a wife and Keara, making sure Alan had clean socks, kissing my children and telling them I loved them, making countless meals, and reading my scriptures and trying to be the best me, I felt so much better.  I felt like the next day I could do even better because I was going to be adding to all the good I had already done the day before, not trying to make up for all the bad I had done.  I felt like I was walking up to the top of a mountain, not trying to climb out of a hole.So even though I yelled at my kids today for yelling at each other(I know), or the times[...]

Attitude of Gratitude


Well, life is never supposed to be easy, but it is worth it.  I have never believed this so much as I do now.  Graduating college is a little different than I had imagined.  I remember telling Alan when we were in school, "when this is all over and we graduate, you are buying me a big fat diamond ring and we are going on a cruise"  Well, we have not been shopping at any jewelry stores and we have no plans to be going anywhere but here.  Life is not the way I though it would be, money is a little tighter...a lot tighter.  BUT and this is a big BUT we are so blessed.  Life has brought us to so many different junctions where we have had to make many different choices.  I don't think we have ever had to rely on the Spirit so much.  I will not pretend that it has not been scary, but we do have faith and a testimony of our Father in Heaven and His awareness of us and our goals.  We feel incredibly blessed to be living here, it is a wonderful place, we have wonderful friends and a beautiful home.  It has been a humbling experience not being able to make my ohm look the way I want it to, not being able to paint or buy fabric...or whatever.  It was really hard for me at first, and frustrating, but I realized how ungrateful I was being by feeling sorrow for myself that I didn't have an awe inspiring home.  I had forgotten the many people who have helped us, the anonymous gift cards we received through the mail, the money we have gotten from family who just want to help, without even being asked.  It has been such a great blessing, we have amazing family who are led by the Spirit and are willing to run God's errands.  Alan has an amazing job with an amazing Doctor who loves to help people get better, and succeeds in it.  We feel so blessed to be working with him and being able to be close to his lovely family, they are such kind and giving people, I am grateful to call them our friends.  We are truly grateful for everything we have.  I love my home now, I love cleaning it and making it the best that I can with what I have.  I am excited for the changes that are happening, I love seeing things fall into place, even just in our home, that we are feeling more settled.  I am anxious to be able to sit and focus on writing again.  Life always seems to be going so fast that I feel like I am always catching up, and my writing keeps getting left behind.  I love the idea of having another baby in the house, I can't wait to have this little bundle, all of us are anxious for the big day.  I am finally starting to show and resemble a pregnant lady, not just a chubby one.  ;0)  I am struggling with this a little, I do not mind looking pregnant, but looking chunky is not fun to me.  I am someone who often  compares one self to others, and I often compare myself to my cute skinny little sister, and often wonder what my family would think of my ever growing figure, if they would judge or love me less.  BUT I am learning and growing and starting to be ok with the fact that that is not me and it is okay, that I am allowed to weigh what I weigh and it doesn't make me ugly or any less of a wonderful person.  I know I am special and that I have talents that no one else has and my capacity to love is big, I just need to make sure that I fit into the category of, "to-be loved".  I am grateful for a wonderful husband who made Mother's Day so fant[...]



2 seconds ago....C: Mom, do you want to hear a Spanish word?M: Yes.C: OoplayanosM: It's Cumpleanos.C: Oh.  What does that mean?M: It means compilation of years, like how many years old you are.C: How many years old am I?M: You're five years old.C: No, I'm five and a that bigger than five and a whole?M: No, five and a whole would be six.E: I'm three and a penny Mom.This Easter was the best Easter I think I have ever had.  I think the only way it could have been better is if the whole family could have been there.  My oldest brother and his family were planning a trip and decided they would come stay with us over Easter weekend.  One thing led to another and it ended up being a small family reunion.  It was planned that my youngest sister would fly out to my little sisters' house on Thursday, then my bro would meet up without them that same day and stay the night and do a little sight seeing, then they would all drive over to our house Saturday and we'd spend Easter weekend together.  Well Friday afternoon I received the greatest surprise.  My mom had told me over the phone that we would get our Easter gift from them Thursday or Friday...well we got it Friday and it was the bomb diggity of all surprises, it was my Mom and person!!!!!!!! I could not contain myself, it felt to good to see them.  I hadn't seen my Daddy in over a year, it was SO good to give him a big hug and see him look into my eyes like the loving father he is.  I always love the way he hugs me then pulls me back to look at my face, which usually lasts for a good 30 seconds.  It is good to be loved by my parents.  It was SO fun to show them around our new and awesome house, and then have them take us out for the best burger and fries ever, Five Guys Burgers, SO good. Anyway, they surprised us and the only other person who was here that knew they were coming was Lyda, so it was fun to surprise everyone when they showed up Saturday.  That was a great day, the sun was shining, we had awesome company and played all day outside.  We ate good food and had good conversation and the best part was that it was all happening in our home.  We felt extremely blessed to have such a house where we could all gather together and play.  We had a movie and a fire outside each night complete with Peep s'mores.  All the cousins slept in the playroom and watched movies till they fell asleep.  We had a lot of people and a lot of fun.  There is something about having your house full and loud with so many of the ones you love and love you back. We all got up early Sunday morning, after a late night of movie and Psych watching, and got to church on-time.  We enjoyed Sacrament meeting and the speakers and hearing about our Savior and His triumphant rising from the tomb.  I am so grateful to be able to celebrate such a beautiful day with my family.  We went home and made the McLaws version of Eggs Benedict, it's has become a tradition, and it was marvelous, our Mommy had outdone herself.  We had an egg hunt and family pictures and just enjoyed our wonderful time together. The weekend lasted till Tuesday morning, I and others managed to convince my brother Jason to stay an extra day.  If I could have made the weekend last till the next, I would have.  It was such a great experience to see all of(well most of) my family who I hadn't seen in WAY too long. Oh [...]

Our Children are the LOVE of our life


L has been so cute lately, she is really growing up and showing us her strong will to do what she wants.  She brought me her Barbie that she was pretty excited to show me...we later found much more art work ALL over her room on her brand new sheets, her bed, her wall(we are moving in one week..), Calvy's bed, her doll house, Calvy's toys, the door, just about everywhere.  It was awesome.  She is really into pushing limits, constantly.  She loves to sit on the back of the couch or pretty much anywhere on the couch except the bottom cushion.  The other night she was not allied to have stories because she didn't finish her dinner and Daddy was putting her to bed, and she said "just close the door and read quiet, Mommy won't know"  She is one sneaky chick.  Never a dull day with this one, we love her!  I was packing in the other room yesterday and I could hear  her singing in her room and it went something like this:Ellie: "B I N G O, B I N G O, B I N G O and Diego was his name-o"Calvy is really growing up, he is getting a whole new set of responsibilities, he took the bathroom garbage out and put toilet paper in the bathrooms and a new roll on the "stick thing".  When we hear him saying something that is funny and we laugh he says, "that was me, Calvin, who said that." He is very entertained with knock knock jokes and loves to make up his own.  He also likes to put thumbs up or thumbs down on my pandora stations.  This is how it went the other day:M: "Calvy can you thumbs down this song?"Calvy: "Why don't you like that song Mommy?M: " It was singing about things that are naughty."Calvy: "Like what?"M: "Like drinking naughty things and doing other naughty things."Calvy: "Like soda!?"M: "Yup, like soda" ;0)Caleb is beginning to talk, he has a response to just about any question.  His deep little raspy voice is so fun.  He is quite the antagonizer, he loves to poke and prod his brother and sister till they blow up.  He loves cars and balls.  He's a pretty good shot with a basketball.  Everyone calls him, stout,  chunky, cheeks, chubby, husky...and every other chubby baby name you can think of.  He literally stops traffic.  When we were looking at a house before we moved to Chicago and as we were walking to our car, a guy across the street stopped dead in his tracks and said "Wow, that kid is stout!" ....we said thank you....M: "Caleb."Caleb: "What!?"M: "You wanna sandwich or cheese crisp?"Caleb: "sheesh csp"Life is crazy right now.  We just moved to Chicago less than 3 months ago and we are currently packing our house to move again by the the end of the month.  Alan goes to Ohio Monday to interview for an Associateship(keep your fingers crossed, better yet pray pray pray) then wednesday we head to Iowa for graduation, he graduates Friday and then....we are on our way!!!!  To somewhere, we aren't exactly sure.  Life is extremely tiring, I find myself staring at the boxes unable to comprehend what is happening exactly.  I keep saying, "I feel like we just did this"  and the fact of course is, that we did.  I long to feel comfortable and stable and settled, like I can hang a picture and know it's going to be there for a good while, well I guess that doesn't ever happen with me.  Alan calls me the fickle decorator, I can't seem to ever be satisfied, I like change.  T[...]

Merry Christmas from the Windy City


This Christmas has been the greatest Christmas I can remember since the Christmas I got a baby, a plastic blue chair and a dresser that "Santa" made in his workshop, just for me...which still sits in my bedroom and my nightstand. This Christmas was going to be a humble one, moving to Chicago where rent is 3x's as much as in Iowa and our income is the same, will do that to you.  We were going to be happy though, Ellie was going to get an old baby that she had forgotten about and calvy was going to get a Pirate ship that had sat in our basement for 3 years and Caleb was going to get a ball.  Things were going to be small and quite humble, but very good, we were just happy to be in our beautiful home together.  BUT, the Lord had greater plans for us.  Things had been stressful, Alan was working a lot and I was trying to organize/cram all of our belongings into our very tiny home with no storage, and Christmas was coming and I was beginning to feel sad that it wasn't feeling like Christmas.  With boxes all over and no pictures on the walls and kids asking to move back to our old house it was more just sad.  I was missing family and friends and the hustle and bustle of shopping and baking and just what I thought made Christmas, Christmas.Alan walked into our bedroom about 6am and woke me up.  He said that when he went out to start his car  he found a box full of toys and a not that said, "To the Barnes Family:  We hope the children enjoy the toys.  Merry Christmas.  -Santa's Helpers"I didn't know what to think.  I suddenly felt so embarrassed that I had told someone in the ward that I was worried about Christmas, because "we didn't have any money" and they were getting old toys, just washed up like new.  I felt so guilty that we got those toys, when "we were fine", "we could take care of ourselves" and their were so many others that needed it more than us, after all we had food, we had money we had a warm home with nice furniture, why did we deserve this.  I was suddenly aware of all the times I had complained about not having any money and had told others my fears, and thought "is this what you wanted?"  "What were you thinking was going to happen?"  I could not go back to sleep after Alan left for work.  I just lay in bed mulling over everything that had just happened.  Someone had spent all that money on toys, new toys, still in packages, with receipts.  One of the first things Alan said to me was, "These are new toys, no like really new, they have receipts."  We have not bought a new toy in a very long time.  In the next few hours I went through all the emotions, fear, shame, overwhelmed, grateful, sad, sorry,  to just extreme gratitude for these people who saw a need and filled it.  We were set, we were in Seventh Heaven, we were going to be able to give our kids a great Christmas.  Then the night before Christmas Eve we got another knock at the door, the kids ran to the door, yelling "is it a caroler?!"  We opened the door to 2 large garbage bags filled with wrapped Christmas present for us and the children.  My heart wanted to explode.  I didn't know what to say or even feel, till the feeling of anticipation and excitement for Christmas day filled my heart to the brim, the breath caught in my throat and I just felt grateful.  It fina[...]