Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl....

Lately I have really been struggling with the thought of there will be no more babies added to our little family. And I must admit I have had a "poor is me" attitude for quite some time over this realization. But I am thankful for today. Thankful for the reminder that I have had not one but two miracles in my life. Today we celebrate Madelyn. We celebrate the miracle of her birth and the miracle of how she came to be a part of our family. Not only is she beautiful but she is smart. I mean really smart. She loves to learn and she loves to do things the right way. She has a strong and faithful spirit, and tries hard to follow Heavenly Father's plan. She finds honor in making good choices and is a person who feels her Heavenly Father's love and presence strongly. She is talented. She is a miracle and I am thankful every day that I was chosen to be her mother. Here is an excerpt from a journal entry written right after we brought her home....

It was about 5:00 pm and I was just finishing up with work. Brother Lewis, our caseworker called me and said I have some news; you and Dallan have been selected by a birthmother. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He said she lives in Florida and is due on August 17th. August 17th I asked? That was only 9 days away. I asked if he knew whether it was a boy or a girl and he said he didn’t know. We talked for a minute and he said I will keep you updated, but be prepared to go to Florida at any time. I hung up the phone and I couldn’t believe that had just happened. I left the office and on my way home I called your dad on the cell phone. I said I have some news and he said what? I said we are getting a baby and he said when and I said she is due August 17th and he said hurry up and get home. I raced home and as I walked into the house I shouted can you believe that you could be a dad in nine days? Your dad said what do you mean nine days and I said she is due in nine days and he said WHAT??? I thought you said she was due in November. Your dad is a planner and I don’t think he ever expected to have so little time to prepare for your arrival. I think we spent every night for the next week at the baby store, checking things out. Your dad wouldn’t let me buy anything so finally after going to this store day after day with his list I told him I wouldn’t go back until he promised I could buy you something! That night we bought the little car seat we would bring you home in. Your dad must have checked that thing over and over to make sure it was the safest one you could buy. Nothing but the best for you.

She (Stephanie) struggled with the decision but knew in her heart that she couldn’t take care of you the way you should be taken care of. She worked two jobs and knew that your birth father wouldn’t be around to help take care of you. She told us that she wanted a better life for you. That she wanted you to have a mother and a father. I want you to know that as she sat there and told us all of this she had tears streaming down her face. Madelyn she loves you, perhaps a little more than most mothers love their children because she had the courage to do something so tremendously hard. The easy thing would have been to have kept you, but she had seen the hard challenges your brothers had to face and she felt so bad about that. More than anything I want you to know how much she loves you.

Women having babies is perhaps the greatest miracle of life. You hear women tell of their babies coming into this world and how miraculous it is to have a life growing inside you. I worried that I would somehow feel cheated because I would never have that experience. When you were placed in my arms and I looked at your tiny face, I was so thankful I was blessed to have a different kind of miracle, one that most people don’t get to experience and a miracle that is every bit as priceless had I given birth to you myself.

That Madelyn is the story of your birth, of how you came to be the most important part of our little family. Your story is about love, miracles and about sacrifice. I hope one day you will look at your life and be amazed at how much hope and how much change you brought about all because you were born. We love you Madelyn and we thank our Father in Heaven each day that you are our daughter.

Happy birthday Madelyn...we are excited to see just how much good you will bring into this world.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Oh the Memories...

As I was unloading the dishwasher my thoughts suddenly turned to Josh & Jen Carter. You may be wondering why I would think of this family while doing something as ordinary and boring as emptying the dishwasher so let me tell me why...We spent many nights at the Carter home having dinner and usually when we were all done Josh would do the dishes. And when Josh is loads the dishwasher he separates all the utensils into their individual categories. Spoons all go in one bin, forks in another, and so on and so forth. Now the utensils just aren't gathered up and thrown in the bin but he turns them so they are all going the same direction. Some of you may be thinking this is a little extreme, and I have to admit I initially thought that myself but try it once and you will discover that it makes unloading the silverware MUCH easier. Thank you Josh Carter.
So that got me thinking...this happens to me a lot. I will watch something, eat something, or hear a certain song I remember someone. A friend, a person who means something to me, a person I haven't seen in a while and miss having in my life. So without further ado....here are some of my favorite memories. I would love it if you posted one of yours and it does NOT have to be a memory that includes me.
Clark & Emily Scharman...Chinese food, root beer, and Survivor.
Dick and Joyce Ekstrand...Chocolate, Baskin Robbins, Red Hot & Blue, and missionary sandwich hugs.
Lexi Magnusson...I can't drink a Mountain Dew or eat a chocolate Whopper (you know I had to specify otherwise you would think we hit up the burger king frequently) without thinking of her fondly.
Heather James...Nachos, ladies nights, prom dresses & police cars, and diet coke with lime.
Andria Laws...Every time I sweep the floor I giggle to myself. If you want to know just ask her about the time she got frustrated and went for the broom.
Nicole Kunzler...Wendy's Frosties.
Sherri Marks...Take 5 candy bars. Because of her I am now addicted. Or was that Heather's favorite. I just remember going to the mall with those two girls and being introduced to them. Now I am hooked.
Bernice Tooley....gallon jugs of milk. LOVE it and her!
Susan Forsgren....two words....SECURITY OFFICERS.
Jessica Washburn...Lime Cheesecake, and other yummy treats.
Laura Vanderbeek - Bike rides, walks in the rain, and Amish delights.
Oh I could go on and on...to those that I forgot...it wasn't that I forgot but this post can only be so long.
PLEASE tell me some of your memories of some of your favorite people...NOT including ME!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Claws Came Out...

My parenting rule of thumb is when a problem arises between one of my children and a child that doesn't belong to me is take the side of the other kid. I try VERY hard to approach the situation with this mind set....What did my child do to provoke the problem. I do this not because I think my children are mean but as their mother I KNOW what they are capable of and as much as I hate to admit it...they aren't always PERFECT. For instance...Jack (he prefers the name Jack...at least for today) LOVES to tease. Now his teasing isn't meant to harm or to make another person cry (unless you are his big sister and then his ONLY motive is to inflict as much emotional turmoil as possible). No, he just loves good natured teasing, but other kids sometimes don't understand that. So the first question I ask when I see a problem between Jackson and another kid....Jackson, are you teasing? And one thing you have to LOVE about him is he tells the truth. If he was teasing he will fess up. With Madelyn...I know she LOVES to be the BOSS. When she plays someone she wants to be the director, you know the one calling all the shots. So when I see a problem I automatically ask...are you being bossy? So that is the first thing I asked when she swam over to me today and said these girls are being mom. Apparently, one wanted to play with her and the other well didn't and she was the alpha in the pack. So I give her my "girls are just mean" speech and tell her that I will play with her. Twenty minutes later the "nice" one comes over and says would you like to play with us because it is getting a little lonesome with you. Those were her exacts words. HALLELUJAH my faith was restored. Madelyn looked at me and I said sure you can go play...just don't be bossy (I whispered that to her as not to embarass her). So there I was in the pool (yes...in a bathing suit) watching Madelyn play with this cute little girl when here comes the alpha. She grabbed her little friend and said "I need to talk to you". The nice one kept saying but we are playing, don't you want to play with us? She said no we need to have a "meeting". So I just said why don't all three of you play together? And she looked at me and said "I need to have a meeting with my friend" and I said well after your meeting maybe all three of you could play", she looked at me and said..."maybe". I have one word B-R-A-T. I kept looking around to see if I could spot which mother I thought she belonged to. Okay I am now being bratty when I say that my suspicions were right. There she was the alpha daughter talking to her barbie doll of a mother, you know the one in a string bikini, a body to match, and a Von Dutch hat shading her pretty little head from the sun. That was catty I know...but I am still mad. Well.....the story ends with the alpha winning. She accomplishes this by going to the above mentioned mother and saying something probably something along the lines of "mom, my friend nice blond girl won't stop playing with the red haired girl." Sure enough within a matter of moments both girls were summoned from the pool for a mandatory rest. And Madelyn is left alone again in the pool. A few minutes later they re-enter the pool but the alpha takes great measure in staying as far away from Madelyn as possible. I know this is only the beginning of things to come. I hope Madelyn will forever be known as one of the "nice" ones. My mother heart broke for for her today... I mean come on....who wouldn't want to be friends with this cute girl?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Haven't Forgotten....

I just wanted to check in to let everyone (the 4 that still read this) that I haven't checked out. We are just busy with Summer fun. I will post some pictures soon! Plus I am having great difficulty publishing new posts. Something with an update Dallan did on your computer and now each time I try to post something I get a javascript error message. So frustrating!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Joys of Camping....

For those that REALLY know me, you know I am not a camper. There are many aspects of camping I don't necessarily enjoy. It is my opinion that camping is a chore, a production where everything from making breakfast to using the bathroom is work. But Dallan talked me into it. He said camping creates memories for your children and I want to go and create some memories...so I relented...and here are some of our best moments....
1. Our camp site - We camped at Cave Springs up in Sedona. Our camp site backed up to a creek where the kids found this rope swing. It was one of their favorite things to do.

2. Our trip to slide rock - This was Madelyn and Jackson's favorite off site activity we did. They had an absolute blast and were not afraid to slide, swim, or jump!
3. Our trip to see the Indian cliff dwellings at Walnut Creek Park - Madelyn spent a good portion of her second grade year studying Native American tribes, so this was right up her alley. After going all Jackson wanted was to meet a "real" Native American.
Madelyn by a very cool looking Juniper tree.
Hanging out in one of the many cliff dwellings there.
4. Our trip to Bearizona - In mine and Dallan's opinion this was a waste of $50, but the kids had a good time.
This was one of the black bears we saw from the car window as we drove through the zoo. The kids appropriately named him "tubby".
Classic Jackson! He came up with that pose all on his own.
Their Bearizona tattoos!
5. Our hiking trip to Devils Bridge - The kids didn't love the hike. It was hot and it was uphill, oh who am I kidding I didn't love the hike either but the end was worth the effort.
The beginning of the trail head.
The top of the sandstone arch.
More from the top.
6. Making friends - Our camp site was full every night which meant new friends to play with everyday. The kids had such a good time making clubhouses, going fishing with their little nets, and exploring the creek with their new BFF's. Jackson wouldn't slow down long enough to get a picture with him and his little buddy. But I will say he was the social butterfly of Cave Springs. If he wasn't going camp site to camp site looking for someone to play with, he was pillaging for food. The boy has no shame when it comes to eating.
In conclusion...I have to agree with Dallan...we did create some great family memories. I still think camping is hard work and sometimes I don't want a vacation to be hard work, but this time around I was thankful Dallan talked me into it. We had a GREAT time!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What to do, What to do...

As I was sitting poolside today in my shorts and tee shirt I vacillated between two different thoughts...The first....why should I care about what I look like in a swimsuit (I refuse to wear one in public) when there are people that look like "that" walking around parading themselves in front of a crowd of people. I mean they seriously have no shame. And the second thought was....if you wear one you will undoubtedly become one of "those" people and someone else will be thinking/writing the same thing about you. So you either stay cool or stay covered, I haven't made up my mind yet, and I can promise you that there will be no pictures should I decide to be brave.

PS - I love the promise of looking 10 pounds thinner in 10 seconds with the "miracle" swimsuit. Do they not understand that the swimsuit only covers a portion of my body. I mean they aren't selling me something that goes from head to toe. How do they then expect to make me look 10 pounds lighter? Advertising!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Feeling a Little Guilty...

Today was our first real day of Summer vacation. I mean the first day that we were home by ourselves for the entire day. Can I just tell you that it was a looong morning followed by an even longer afternoon? The last thing I wanted to do was plan a family home evening lesson. So I decided I would go ahead and give my search of the perfect cupcake recipe a trial run and give the results to the neighbors across the street. Because the "thin mint" cupcakes included things like boiling water and chocolate ganache I decided to go for the easier snickerdoodle cupcake. And I cheated BIGTIME. It was a store bought cake mix with a few added ingredients to doctor it up, and then it was frosting you buy in a can again with a few extra ingredients. I made the batter, sprinkled the tops with cinnamon and sugar, and hoped for the best. First lesson learned....I tend to overfill. The results....cupcake batter oozing over the edge. However, they did make my house smell lovely. The tops didn't "crackle" like a snickerdoodle cookie does but the taste was yummy. I then frosted them with cinnamon vanilla frosting, attached a card to the plate and sent the kids on their way. On a different note...I need serious help with my presentation skills because I am telling you they weren't pretty. In fact I was embarrassed to even take a picture of them so I don't even have any proof that I actually baked them. But here is where the guilt set in. A few minutes after the kids came home the phone rang. It was my neighbor. Mandee what kind of cupcakes were those? Well...they are supposed to be reminiscent of a snickerdoodle cookie. Well they were the best cupcakes I have ever had. Seriously you could put those cupcake places out of business. I was too embarrassed to tell her they came from a box. But then Dallan reminded me that maybe she knew they came from a box and that they weren't as good as a professional because (and these are his exact words) what is she really going to say...hey these are pretty good but I know they came from a box. Maybe she decided to call you because it is easier lying over the phone than in person. By the way he ate 4 cupcakes so they couldn't be that bad! So there is my confession...I am a slacker. I buy cake mixes from a box and pretend they are homemade. There I said it. And for those like me that want the recipe...you let me know, and I promise I will never tell a soul.