Friday, December 24, 2010

December 2010: Warning: Silliness Alert

I have been going through tons of home video footage for my sister-in-law who is creating a Christmas surprise and have been having a blast watching them.  Since Mike bought us this awesome new computer, I figured I should play around with it a little.  Here is my first attempt at using IMovie.  I am afraid it may be addicting.  Owen and I had so much fun creating this.  Hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of the silliness I am surrounded by on a daily basis.
Presenting....


THREE SILLY BOYS


video

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 2010: Pickles Gets a Haircut


So its the first official morning of the kids' 3-week (yes, you heard that right, 3 weeks!) Christmas vacation and I was grateful for the lack of the mad morning rush.  Apparently my brain went on a vacation as well.  After I gave up on exercising since 10 minutes of my workout became 40 due to interruptions, I made myself a bowl of granola for breakfast.   I proceeded to put the almond milk in the cupboard not even realizing I had already put the granola in the fridge.  Wwow!  This was a continuation of my brain's vacation last night when I played a game with my family and managed to add up die to get from 28 to 22.  Great addition skills. Mike loved that one.

So, back to this morning... After making a phone call to the appliance repair man since my heavily used and abused dryer sparked and blew the breaker on Saturday, I looked over to see a very giddy Tate smiling up at me.  My eyes were drawn to his smile framed by his chocolate breakfast-shake mustache and beard. He stayed looking at me for awhile but then scampered away returning to what the boys were supposed to be doing, cleaning out their school supply/junk drawer.  What a great and responsible motherly thing to ask of my children I had thought!  Well not 2 minutes after I had received Mike's text response to my grocery location mix-up who thought that was funny and to "Enjoy these days with the kids at home!"  I heard some snipping and my kids response to my inquiries to what they were doing as "cutting hair".  Once again my brain was on vacation because it took me 2 long seconds before that computed and I exploded out of my chair.

Owen, out of all three of them, yes the 8 year old, was the one that had cut his littlest brother, Tate, the giddy one's, hair.  Surprisingly this is our first encounter with sibling haircuts.  Tate has thrilled with his haircut.  Me... not so much.  Not my greatest mothering moment.  After there were some distribution of boys into corners, I quickly sent Mike a text of how I was enjoying the kids until Owen cut Tate's hair.  He responded with something that made me laugh.  Oh how I needed that.  Mike has a way of making me laugh, wording things just right, and putting things into perspective, mainly because he has a grand perspective of life, and maybe a small part of it comes from the fact that he's there at work and I'm here in the trenches:-)  "Find the fun.  Find the humor.  Things that can't be changed!!! (Don't you mean Pickles got his haircut!)"

I tend to be too serious minded as a mom and I'm working on it.  Owen told me in the car last week when I responded seriously to something he meant not to be taken seriously, "that most people joke around Mom".   I told him that he was right.  Oh how I wish I could be more silly and laugh more at the "inconveniences" that come my way at a constant pace.  I pray, literally, for a better sense of humor with my children.

"Pickles" is the nickname that Tate has given himself.  Hilarious, that kid!  He also calls Felicity "Bobo" for some reason.  Mike has started coming up with various little stories of the Adventures of Pickles and Bobo and this was just one more adventure for the lot.

Mike asked me to send him a photo of Tate's new do from my phone and I couldn't help but laugh.  Thankfully!  laugh at the gomer haircut and then at the still giddy and proud smile plastered on Tate's face.


 I decided that I had seen this haircut before.  At first I thought it was from the creepy guy on Charlie's Angels, you know, George McFly, but no that's not exactly right.


Then it came to me, its from the bad guy on The Fifth Element (who is also the same guy that plays Sirius Black, never would have guessed).  A nearly perfect resemblance!


I think we'll give Owen one to match!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

November 2010: Felicity's Foto Shoot


My baby girl has been growing up so quickly, and unfortunately I have not posted very many photos of her on my blog.  Believe me, there have been plenty taken.  So I will try my best to go back over the past fews months and post some of my favorites.  Wow, that's going to be tough.

As you can see, our sweet little Felicity has quite the little personality.  It took a little warming up to get her in the playful mood for the camera.  It took a lot of effort to get these photos!  Thank you Cheryl once again.

Felicity got her teeth in so quickly that I wanted to make sure we got some cute ones of her before she looked more like an infant than a baby.  She is a doll and has a million faces.  My favorite we have never been able to capture on film because she doesn't do it too often.  She puckers up her sweet lips so much that she cuts off the air to her nose.  Its hilarious!





Well I have been wanting to purchase some actions and learn how to use them as I mentioned in my previous post of my little AV8R (that's how my grandpa had it spelled on his license plate:-) ).  I haven't had too much time, but I decided I wanted to do some tonight.  So here I am way past my bedtime playing with these darling photos of Felicity.  There are so many gorgeous actions, that I couldn't just pick one this time.  All of them are from Florabella.  So so fun!  Doesn't she just make you smile and say, "Oh she's so cute!"?

Friday, December 10, 2010

HE IS HOME!!!


After 25 days in St. Joseph's hospital, my Daddy has come home!  What joy that brings to our family.  I wanted to let everyone know so that they could share in this joy as well.  Please continue to pray for his health as he has every intention of continuing his "normal" life of dutiful work and faithful church service.  He is driven.  I am sure it will be of no surprise to you to hear that on his first day "home" he went to work.  Pray for him to be sustained and lifted, but also to be wise and patient.  Thank you to all for your continued prayers and support!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Little Pieces and Small Moments


My cousin has encouraged me to write down my thoughts during this time and I need to be better about it.  This week has been a rough one.  One of pleading, one of desperation, but one of small moments.  Moments that have gotten me through it.  Little pieces of wisdom and perspective have crept into my heart amidst the turmoil of daddy's trials and daily motherhood.

This first one has made a lasting impact on me.
I was very blessed to have been able to spend an entire day with my Daddy at the hospital this week.  I was so happy to see him.  I wrapped my arms around him and didn't want to let go.  I instinctively wanted to crawl upon his lap and just let him hold me, but of course I didn't as he is so weak.  I was happy to be there for whatever he needed.
Around midday I witnessed another oncology patient be released from the hospital.  A pink-shirted volunteer wheeled him out to the parking lot as I was leaving to get my Daddy some lunch from CPK (He can't stand the smell of the food in the hospital, nor the menu or silverware for that matter).  When I returned to the parking lot after picking up our food, I passed this same patient trying unsuccessfully to start his clunker car.  My heart sank.  I was deliberating on what to do, because I have "gotten in trouble" before  from Mike for helping men alongside the road when I was alone.  I decided to go back.  I walked up to him and asked him if he needed help.  He turned to look at me with sad eyes and spoke to me in broken English and through empty spaces of missing teeth.  "Thank you, but I am fine."  I asked him if he was hungry and he replied that he was very hungry.  I gave him some of my favorite pizza, pear and gorgonzola, yum! and some bread.  He was very grateful but insisted that he would be ok.  He told me that his car had been sitting in the parking lot for a week while he was in the hospital.  As a walked away I began to cry.  Here was this sweet man,
alone
no one there to help him after a week long stay on the oncology floor.  No one there to take him home.  He was in a parking lot with a beat up car and missing teeth (and for anyone who knows me, knows how much I value teeth!), hungry.  After a long day at the hospital, I left my Daddy to return home to my children and husband, and there still was this sweet man sitting in his car.  He once again replied, "Thank you, but I am fine."

I thought about how hard these past months have been.  How horrible and raw they still are, but I realized that despite these seemingly endless trials my family are facing, we are doing it together.  We have each other to strength one another.  We have dear friends and family who pray for us, who sit with my Daddy at the hospital for hours, who send us words of encouragement just when we need it.  I cannot forget that.  I have prayed so hard for this man I briefly met.  I pray that he will not be alone, that heavenly hands may find their way to him.

The second piece is like unto the first.
In thinking about my family, I realized how I take for granted the fact that our family is one big circle.  Meaning that there is no divisions, no breaks, no dividing grudges, no hatred.  My parents love each other, fervently.  My siblings all love each other and we enjoy being together.  Those who are married have happy marriages and have married amazing people.  What ease that brings to so many situations.  What strength that creates in situations such as this.

The last little piece came today.
I finally decided that I needed do what I've been wanting to do for days, and what my boys have been asking me to do, decorate our house for Christmas.  I have been stuck in a slump the last few days and having a hard time getting out of it.  Late last night I received some very distressing news from my mother that my father was in some serious pain due to lesions in his throat, mouth, and now on his face and was asking us to pray for him and for divine intervention.  For my Daddy to be so forthcoming about his pain and a request from us, really demonstrated to me the level of severity...
Another morning of waking up with puffy eyes.

After the boys were at school, Felicity finally took a nap, and I let Tate watch a show, I began to listen to my "Christmas Morning" playlist on my Ipod and to clean the house in preparation for decorating (our poor, neglected house.  I couldn't simply decorate on top of the mess).  I began thinking as I had these past weeks, how horrible it was that Daddy was sick during this time of the year, especially in regards to it being the cold and flu season and his white blood cell count being so low.  How I wanted him home during the holidays.  Why did it have to be now?  As I listened to my Christmas songs, a wave of gratitude washed over me.  If Daddy had to be sick at all, I guess it being now, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, is really a blessing.  No other time of the year are we more reminded to turn our hearts and thoughts to the Savior than now.  We are surrounded by reminders of our Savior, whether intentional or unintentional, as we turn on the radio, walk through the store, drive in our neighborhood, see on the television, etc.  I know that right now I need the extra reminders.  I pray that I may soak up this added spirit and allow it to carry me through these trying days ahead.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Earnest Expectation and Expecting Miracles


It is with a broken heart, puffy eyes, and reluctant hands that I sit down to write this morning.  My main motive is to alleviate a nearly impossible task from my mother, that of contacting those wonderful people in our life who have been praying for daddy in order to update them on daddy's condition.  Nearly impossible, because as I mentioned previously it involves that horrible "C" word... cancer, and because this time the news hit even harder.

Forgive me for writing so mechanically, but at this moment I feel a bit as if air has been sucked out of life as I know it.

My daddy has been re-diagnosed with Myeloma cancer, the most serious and aggressive strain of Lymphoma.
Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white cell found in many tissues of the body, but primarily in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are part of the body's immune system.
Normal plasma cells make antibodies, which help fight infection. Myeloma cells cannot help the body fight infection. As the myeloma cells grow in the marrow they crowd out the normal plasma cells. They also crowd out normal white cells, red cells and platelets. (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

It has come as such a shock after hearing and coming to accept the first diagnosis.  This cancer will have to be treated in a more aggressive manner and will involve more unwelcome things, such as increased nausea and my daddy losing his baby soft, salt n pepper hair.

We were told "facts" or "statistics" about this cancer, but we have decided that we are not going to focus on them, rather that we have HOPE and EXPECT MIRACLES.  Hope as my father chooses to define it is, an "earnest expectation".  I love that!  My parents will be seeking a second and possibly a third opinion soon, to consult on the diagnosis and treatment that St. Joseph's Hospital has recommended.

The doctor came into the room last night and sat while giving us the news.  I heard myself saying aloud in a desperate, weak voice, "You have to be wrong".  It still does not feel real to me.  What does feel 100% real to me, and more tangible than ever, is the love that we share as a family.  The eternal bonds that exist between my parents, between my parents and their children, between my siblings, and between my siblings who are married and their spouses and their children, can be felt so strongly, more than ever.  The phrase you begin singing as a Primary child, "Families can be Together Forever", continues to reveal itself more and more as one of the greatest gifts of a loving Father in Heaven.

I have always known that my father is one of the most exemplary men, but the way in which he handled such news last night was another testimony of it.  The first thing he said after the doctor left was his concern for the doctor in having to deliver such news.  Nurses who were unaware of what just happened cheerfully came in to handle routine things such as dad's IV.  He was polite and helpful as he held the tubes for them as they changed it.  When such news needed to be told to my siblings, He wanted to call them himself.  When it proved very difficult, we offered to make the calls for him.  He said that that this is how he is used to leading his life, he does hard things all the time.  He can do hard things.

Yes he can.  He has dealt with many things others may think impossible, but because of his perspective, because of his work ethic, because of his dedication to doing things right, his faith, his love, he has brought success and hope to the tasks.

I watched my mother and father gaze at each other, no words expressed.  To witness how much they are still in love... I speak about it with the greatest reverence.

I thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts in behalf of myself, my daddy, and our family.  I ask for your continued faith as we expect miracles and fight to beat the odds.  Miracles happen everyday, and I know we can have great faith on behalf of my father, my great father.  A man I can not imagine my life without.  As I look at this photo, Daddy reading an Italian toddler book to little Owen at one of our family beach vacations while Liz and I look on so intently, I pray for many many more of these moments.

I know my Savior has carried our burdens and has suffered the heartache, pain, anger, and hopelessness that we have felt.  For what purpose?  That we may come unto Him.  Whatever form these miracles may come in, I pray that I may rely more heavily upon my Savior and seek his comfort and a greater understanding.  I must step from believing in Him to believing Him.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who We Are Together


I have been so blessed to have the example of my parents in showing me what a loving and thriving marriage looks like.  These past months have been exhausting and weighty for them both, but they continue to strengthen one another.  Last night I went over to their home and experienced a beautiful moment of true love and companionship between the two of them as my father expressed his gratitude to my mother for taking such good care of him.  Tears filled my eyes as I listened to this exchange.  How did I get so lucky?

Today I was reading an article in the magazine Ensign that is published by our Church, entitled "Learning through Life's Trials" written by Larry Richman.  It was a wonderful reminder of the purposes and benefits that come with experiencing trials.  He states, "Trials give us opportunities to show the Lord and ourselves that we will be faithful."  I was reminded of a moment in my life when I was experiencing the most difficult trial in my life up to that point.  I knew that I had to go through with something that God wanted me to do, but I wasn't happy about it.  I was rather angry.  I remember  driving in the car and talking aloud to myself (not uncommon:-) ), running through all the 'in's and 'out's of what was going on in my mind.  I stopped myself and said, "Is this going to break my faith?" "NO" I yelled.  It gave me such an amazing feeling that I knew that I was capable of overcoming this difficulty.  With Heavenly Father's help of course, but He knew it too.  I could be faithful.  I could make it.

Br. Richman concluded with this statement that I just loved, "Each of us has the strength to bear our challenges in life because of who we are, who God is, and who we are together."  Love it!  Who we are together...Father and child.  What a blessing to have that knowledge!

November 2010: My Little Av8r


Love this photo of Tate putting on a little aviator hat and goggles (yes, those are swim goggles painted black at one time).  I threw a little shower for my new darling nephew Lincoln Charles with an airplane theme in honor of my grandfather Charles who passed away this year.  Gramps was a true av8r!  Tate was trying on some of the shower decorations and having a blast flying the paper airplanes.

I am having fun with some new actions and textures I recently purchased from Florabella. So fun!  Would love to hear if any of you use actions & textures and where you get them from.  I am so new to this.  Seems addicting already.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Come Make Christmas Gifts with Me: 3 Necklaces

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I mentioned previously that I have started a Sewing & Wearable Craft Group with my friend Heather that meets once a month.  This month I am taking a break from the sewing machine and doing some hand sewing & jewelry making to create 3 fun & simple necklaces that you can make as Christmas gifts (or keep for yourself- oh, so tempting:-) ).  1 of them is the ribbon & pearls necklace that I copied from a Charlotte Russe necklace, that I have received a ton of comments from people that they wanted to learn how to make this one.  Well, you are in luck!  Join me tomorrow night, Wed. Nov 10th @ 7:30 at my house.  One condition, you have to let me know you're coming, please RSVP-email, comment, call, etc.

Visit our blog at www.learn2love2sew.blogspot.com for all the supplies you need to bring.


Would love to have you come!

Monday, November 01, 2010

October 2010: The Pillage People and the Little Lamb






 

I have been blessed with a creative mind, but for some reason I can't seem to get it to apply to parenthood.  Thankfully once a year it seems to really come in handy, Halloween.  I had so much fun creating the boys costumes this year.  They decided on vikings, and I ran with it.  I drew inspiration from lots of photos as well as those funny Capital One commercials.  I love this one where they had to come up with a new career so they started a band, "The Pillage People".



The boys have loved wearing their costumes during the week.  We decided not to go Trick Or Treating (or Chuck or Treating as Eyan calls it:-) ) this year because it fell on the Sabbath, so they took every other opportunity to wear their costumes.  Tate even wore his to the grocery store, where some lady mistook him for Bigfoot.  Bigfoot, really?  It was amazing to me how their boy energy could be heighten anymore than it is in normal day life, but putting on these costumes really amped it up.  Yaaaahhhh!


There was no way I would have had time to make Felicity's costume as well.  I knew I wanted something cuddly, so I knew this was the costume for her right when I saw it.  I added the bell and it was adorable.  Isn't she the sweetest little lamb you ever did see?!  The first time I put it on her she screamed, so I wasn't sure she would let me put it on again.  I just needed a picture.  Isn't that hilarious?  At the church Halloween party she screamed a little bit, but by the end of the night she had fallen asleep in it on my shoulder.  I could not believe it.  That just does NOT happen.  My friend Aileen told me that Felicity counted herself and fell asleep.  So cute, I love it!

Each one of them won an award in their age group for their costumes.  So fun for them.  I felt a little bad each time we walked up there to get another award.  The Johnson Family again?!  Sorry.  But really their costumes were the cutest.  Oh sorry boys, I mean craziest and scariest - those are the awards the boys won.  They are already making plans for next year:-)


Davis and Juliet came as well.  So fun to have cousins that live close by.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Best Kind of Medicine


There are a few sounds that instantaneously change my mood for the better:  the ocean surf, Pachelbel's Canon in D, the sweet song of this bird outside my bedroom window, the wind through aspen leaves, "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-Lite, and my Daddy's laugh.  It has been such a blessing to be able to hear my Daddy laugh lately.  Really its infectious.  And its not just the sound of his laughter but his complete facial expression, especially the way his face turns beet red and his eyes squint when he's trying really hard not to laugh.  

We are blessed to live so close that we are able just to drop by often.  A few days ago I found one of Dad's CDs in my garage, a Bill Cosby comedy act.  I knew he would love it and it just might be the "medicine" he needed to keep his mind off his nausea, headaches, and exhaustion.  The kids and I brought it to him and he invited us to listen with him.  He told us how when he was a boy his family would sit around the record player listening to Bill Cosby and his tales of boyhood and fatherhood.  As we listened I loved watching my Daddy laugh with my boys on the sofa.  I'm pretty sure they got some new mischievous ideas about what to do in their bedroom at night.  The comedy act was full of amusement that hit real close to home.  In truth they didn't need Bill Cosby for new ideas.  For one thing they all sleep in the same room, so its chalk full of nightly giggles and loud bangs, and for another thing, they could just get all sorts of ideas straight out of grandpa's boyhood stories -- most of which have not been revealed to us kids and are anxiously awaited to be told each time my Dad's brothers are around.  We pry for more stories of my grandparents coming home to all the furniture being moved to the roof or a newly placed picture over a fresh hole in the wall.

I am grateful for laughter.  And thankfully we have plenty of it in our family.  I love that we have fun when we are together.  I think being together at my parents' house is another good form of medicine for my Dad. It is hard to see him struggle, but I think only us adults notice.  As grandpa, he's still the same!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flew the Coop


Today we welcomed my Daddy home after 12 long days in the hospital.  A banner adorning the garage door reads, "Welcome Home Daddy. We Love U Grandpa!"  Banners are a tradition with our family, dating back to those awesome days of dot matrix printers with the hole punched perforated trimmed paper.  I always prefer the hand drawn ones myself.  The boys had fun coloring in the letters of "GRANDPA" and tracing their hands.  

My Daddy was not feeling so great today after enduring 3 days of chemotherapy, but he was thrilled to be out of the hospital.  He said that the smell was driving him crazy:-)  The smell.  That's hilarious, out of all of the things that would drive you crazy about the hospital, it was the smell that did it for Daddy.  Owen, Eyan, Felicity, and I went to visit him last night.  All the nurses were loving Dad since he would feed them all the delicious goodies that friends had been bringing him.  Dad told his nurse last night that he was breaking out of this chicken coop today.  He was in great spirits last night.  

Today he looked beat and worn out, exhibiting obvious pain and nausea.  Poor Daddy.  I am sure it will be great to sleep in his own bed, with his own pillow, next to my sweet Mommy.  

The official diagnosis is yet to be determined, with the pathologists still not giving a stamp of approval.  The doctor is standing firm with his assessment of the form of lymphoma being lymphoplasmacyctic, an uncommon classification which involves the B cells in the plasma and an increase in the IgM protein in the blood.  This increase of protein in my Dad's blood is what caused most of his scary symptoms because it made the blood so thick that it couldn't flow properly in his body.  While in the hospital he had to have plasmaferesis, a treatment which replaced my dad's protein-ladened plasma with fresh plasma.  The difference in my father after even his first treatment was extraordinary.

We continue to pray for everyday miracles as he proceeds with his weekly check-ups and chemotherapy every 3 weeks.  It is difficult to watch my father whom I have always viewed as superhuman with superhuman strength and ability, be so vulnerable and susceptible to human conditions.  I know he will be victorious in this battle.  He has too, he's my Daddy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Something I Thought I'd Never Have to be Grateful For...



Truthfully I don't know where to begin.

Thanks to all of you who have kept my Daddy and our family in your prayers and thoughts, for those who participated in the fast, some even fasting for the very first time.  Thank you for the calls, the messages, the visits, the yummy comfort food at the hospital, the help with my kids-even when they've been cranky and/or sick.  Thank you.

Last night we gathered in my Daddy's hospital room as the doctor told us the news.  The pathologists and the doctor are still in disagreement as to the exact disease which my father has, but all agree that it is some type of lymphoma...cancer...that horrible word I can barely bring myself to say.  There are 50 types of lymphoma and they are still running tests on his bone marrow to distinguish exactly which type he has.  The doctor however is very sure that he knows which type it is and has reassured us that is treatable and generally curable and feels like the pathologists-who are even disagreeing amongst themselves- will be in agreement today.

After seeing my father in the worst state I have ever seen and then imagining all these possible reasons why and having them marinate in my mind for over a week, it was amazing how comforted I felt when the doctor said that it was treatable and curable.  I didn't ever think that I would have to been grateful that my Daddy has a treatable and curable cancer.

It has been a roller coaster of emotions and I know we have really only just started this battle.  Many months of treatment and tests are to come.  I am already physically and emotionally exhausted.  I can't even imagine what my mother must feel, what my father feels.  What I do know, I know for a surety.  Heavenly Father loves my father.  He is one of His most valiant servants.  I know He is watching over him and my family.  I know my family is eternal through the ordinances of His Holy Temple.  I know my Savior has felt my father's pain and has taken it upon himself through His Atonement.  We must have faith and hope.  Please remind me of this testimony as time goes on.  I will need to rely on it.

Please continue to pray for us, continue to offer service, continue to lift our spirits.  Thank you all so so very much!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thank you for Prayers


Yesterday we witnessed a miracle in my daddy as he exhibited a dramatic improvement from his condition on Sunday.  Thank you so very very much for all of those who participated in the fast and who kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayers.  Your continued prayers are very needed as this may be a long road ahead.  My mother is carrying such heavy burdens and my heart aches for her.  We still have not received the results of the ominous tests, but we hope to receive word soon.

I was able to spend most of the day at the hospital with my daddy and most of my immediate family.  It was a comforting feeling being able to be there together.  We felt of your strength, faith, and love.  We know that 100s if not 1000s of people participated in the fast, and that is simply a tender mercy of our Heavenly Father.  It is truly a manifestation of the goodness of mankind, God's children.  To turn your hearts, thoughts, and actions toward someone else and their well-being is such a testimony of man's inner desire to be good, to do good, and to be surrounded by goodness.

This morning in our family devotional we sang the hymn, "Did you think to pray?"  We felt the truthfulness of the words "prayer can change the night to day" and the reminder "So when life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray"  I am thankful for the comfort we receive in song.  For me, music draws the comforting arms of my Savior closer.  My dear friend shared song with me that helped her during some scary times, and I'd love to share it with you.



When my world is shaking, heaven stands   
When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands  
Your hands that shape the world  
Are holding me   
They hold me still. 

I ask for your continued prayers for my sweet Daddy, for my loving mother, for strength and optimism for me, for Felicity who feels my tension and has been so cranky, for my little sister on her mission in France, for all of my family, for the doctors.  Thank you!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Fast for my Daddy



Dear family and friends,
It is with an aching heart that I ask for your help this evening.  My extraordinary father, my sweet daddy has been in the hospital for about a week and has been suffering much for a lot longer.  We are still not sure what is wrong with him.  He has undergone many, many tests from which we hope to receive answers in a few days.  Tonight I ask you if you would join my family in a special fast tomorrow on behalf of my father, Russell.  For us, fasting is an added power to prayer alone.  Fasting is not to just go without food for a certain period of time, it intensifies prayers and invites the Holy Ghost into our life for the purpose of bringing ourselves and our prayers closer to God.  Thank you all so much.

With love,
Briana

Friday, September 24, 2010

August 2010: Snips and Shoes


Well I did it!  I snipped it off.  Wow did it feel great.  I have to say that as much as I love long hair, I love having short hair so much more.  It allows me to feel put together in a short amount of time, and for a mom of 4, that is fabulous!  Thanks for all your words of encouragement.  For the most part I have received great compliments on my new do.  There have been a couple of exceptions, my favorite being, "you didn't mean to cut your hair that short did you?"  Brilliant!

I love this photo!!  Felicity and I are outside the Mt. Timpanogos Temple where my brother Jesse and his gorgeous bride Jani were married.  {I'll post more of their wedding in upcoming posts}  Felicity is of course only wearing one shoe and I am fiddling with the other adorably stubborn gold sandal.  Mike often inquires as to why Felicity 'wears' shoes.  I use that term lightly, which makes Mike's point exactly, due to the fact that one or both of them are usually missing.  She likes to shuffle her feet quickly back and forth causing her shoes to come off.  She is hilarious.  She has such a distinct personality already.  Does she realize the importance of a carefully selected shoe to any ensemble?  I am guessing not yet, but I'm going to try my best to make sure she learns that one early!

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 2010: My Bathing Beauty


Here's my little bathing beauty, Little Miss Felicity.  I realize that you all have been deprived of seeing photos of our baby girl, so I was determined to share a few recent ones with you.  These are two of my favorites.  

Felicity love love loves the pool.  Not just because she has such stylin' sunglasses or a darling bathing suit, but because she can splash splash splash in the water.  She is a riot to watch as her little legs pump up and down and her arms become wings flapping in the water.  She doesn't even flinch when her brothers splash water right into her face from jumping into the pool.  Of course since I am in the pool with her and am diligently watching my boys like a hawk since they are still not great at swimming, I have yet to capture her joy of being in the water on camera.  Thank you Mom and Dad for getting a pool.  Such a great thing it has been for us to enjoy in these hot hot days of late summer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 2010: Learn 2 Love 2 Sew

Sewing machine photo pendant by lemonroom



Yes, I am on to yet another project, a new sewing and wearable craft group, that my friend Heather and I will be teaching out of my home.  It is just the right amount of push I need to get a few of the sewing projects I have been wanting to do, done.  Check us out and join us if you'd like at www.learn2love2sew.blogspot.com  The group will compromise of a lot of beginning sewers is my guess, so come on over, no need to be shy or intimidated; just a "supportive sewing sisterhood".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Parenting: Touching the Hearts of Our Youth

Love this little video. It was such a sweet reminder for me to try a little harder to listen and really try to connect with my children. Thought I would share!

Parenting: Touching the Hearts of Our Youth

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 2010: To Chop or Not to Chop, That is the Question


photocard from staceywinters

So I'm guessing it was about 9 months ago at least that Mike suggested I grow my hair out.Normally when he makes a suggestion like that, I just take it at that, a suggestion, but this time I had become bored with my hair and thought I would give it a whirl. Wow, growing out your hair is tedious. Now that its almost past the awkward stage of growing out from a super short cut, I am wavering on whether to chop it or not. What makes the matter pressing is that I have a chance to get my hair styled by my most favorite hair stylist, Janae of Lunatic Fringe in Salt Lake. Yes, I chose the salon by its name: Lunatic Fringe, doesn't that just sound like me:-) and then just lucked out to find Janae. She is AMAZING, a real artist and perfectionist in hair styling. I can just tell her what I want and voile! Love her. And she recently married a Mike Johnson, so there you go.

So here's my dilemna:

PROS for CHOPPING:

*Felicity's new favorite thing is to pull on my hair
*I can look put together with 30 seconds of styling
*It is soooo hot here
*The one time I was asked if I was a model, was when I had short hair:-)
*I love this haircut on Sierra Miller- have wanted to try this


PROS for LETTING it GROW:

*Long hair is sooo pretty and feminine
*I can put it in a pony tail when I work out
*So many styling options
*I've made it this far with growing it out, why stop now
*I love this look by Jennifer Gardner-don't you just love her-of course my hair can't look like this exactly, but you get the idea

CONS for CHOPPING:

*I don't want to be the lady that always has that same hairdo
*My mom has short hair right now and I'm not so hip on twinsies-sorry mom, you're gorgeous, nothing personal
*Costs a lot to keep up a cut
*I look at those with pretty long hair and am envious


CONS for LETTING it GROW:

*Felicity's new past-time
*It takes time to do, something I don't have a lot extra of
*My hair texture has changed to be a little more frizzy and not so silky straight as it once was, hence more time to de-frizz and straighten
*I still have to wait quite a while longer for it to be as long as I'd like it

So there you have it, my dilemna: TO CHOP OR NOT TO CHOP
Would love your feedback and please take my little polls

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 2010: In Need of Some Calgon and Some Cleaning Solutions

I'm not sure how old I was when I saw this commercial or maybe the memory of the words, "Calgon, take me away!", came from my mother's lips, understandably so. So funny how the mind works. I found myself thinking these words just the other day, after how many years I'm not sure. You can imagine what my day must have been like to have jogged the memory of this frantic exclamation; I'm sure you know all too well.



I haven't posted in forever but I needed to enlist your help in coming up with a household cleaning routine that will work for me. I would love love love to here how all you super moms out there get it all done. I'm in drowning in a sea of things to do. I know you'll say, but you just had a baby. Yes, this is true. But I'm still going crazy. Well the baby is finally asleep so I must go, but I'm looking forward to your tried and true cleaning solutions!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 2010: My Morning Walk/Jog: Exercising More Patience Than Muscle







the other morning as i heard "i'm tired. can i have a drink?" for the millionth time from my scooter dragging 5 year old, and as i pushed my double jogging stroller one-handed, trying to hold a pacifier in the mouth of my screaming baby while my toddler whined that i wasn't going fast enough, this little thought popped into my head... "i'm exercising more patience than muscle. is this worth it?"*

well there have graciously been those morning in which the stars align for me: when I have just my younger two who can both fit in my champion jogger (I love love love my stroller), when Felicity manages to look like this (which she rarely does while at home): Tate is happy with his Veggie Straws and I can have a great work-out listening to my new Stroll-A-Tunes busting out Smashmouth's All-Star, such a happy, "you can do it" song. **
Other mornings I realize how desperate I am to get in a good workout and try to maintain patience, when I listen to my words as I tell my 5 year old child who has given up on our walk, to hurry because a dog is coming behind him (which in truth it was) and then throwing out the "you don't want to have to live here do you?" rationale.

Back to the question, "is it worth it?". I have decided "Yes!" Despite my days of very little muscle exhiliration and the fact that some days it takes an hour or so just to be able to get out the door with sippies, snacks, water bottles, helmets, sun screen, sun glasses, blankets, etc.... I have decided that I am helping my children develop a pattern of being active. Really they love our walks/bike rides/jogs (in the beginning of course:-) ). I have stopped trying to make it something it can never consistently be, a serious workout, and have shifted my mind into realizing that I need to expect a little less from it and turn it into a fun experience with the kids. We have developed somewhat of a pattern which includes stretching and push-ups in the beginning. We all do our stretches. I love watching Tate, who is thrilled to be allowed out of the stroller for a short time, attempt a one legged quad stretch. So cute! The older two love doing push-ups, which of course is done along a rock wall they love to climb after. We have also done squats together holding hands in a circle.
Hopefully one day I will realize that my patience and my muscles have both become much stronger, as well as my children's love for being outside and active.

*note: photos were not taken on this day, although i am getting better at taking photos one-handed
**Can you tell when I transitioned from typing from one hand whilest holding Felicity to two hands (which lasted about 5 minutes)? I started using capital letters again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 2010: Jesse's Girl





Well it is official... Jesse is engaged!!! to a darling girl from Pennsylvania, Jani. She was actually Elizabeth's roommate awhile ago up at BYU. Liz was a successful matchmaker. Jesse drove down the weekend before last so we could meet Jani and to propose. My mom, sister Vanessa, and I helped Jesse do some planning on the proposal and it was so much fun. Of course what could be better than a beach proposal. They are such a darling couple. I can't wait to be able to get to know her better. Being constantly needed by 4 children doesn't lend itself to much in-depth conversation; so glad I'll have plenty of time to try later.




They spent the day with us at Disneyland and were pretty much bombarded with attention by my children from the get-go. Tate became Jani's little shadow. Jesse and Jani proudly wore their Disneyland "Just Engaged" buttons.

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