Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I've enjoyed reading so many people's facebook and blog posts about the things they are grateful for throughout this month.  I love that about November!  I haven't been as good about writing gratitude posts, but I would be a wretch if I didn't today.

While some women struggle during their pregnancies with nausea and sickness, I struggle with insomnia, especially during my first trimester.  The first trimester of this pregnancy was especially brutal, as I slept only 2-3 hours per night, and was unable to sleep during the day.  It was agonizing to be so exhausted, but for sleep to be so elusive.  I'm amazed at how well my body adapted to the lack of sleep and accommodated to a new normal, even though night time had become my nemesis.  At about 13 or 14 weeks, the insomnia let up and I thought I was clear of the misery it had brought.

The past few nights, my insomnia has returned with vengance.  This time, though, much more brutal.  I've had what I can only imagine is Restless Leg Syndrome, although it hasn't been officially diagnosed, and that has been the worst part.  Being so restless when you're so exhausted results in fatigue that is painful- literally.

This morning at 2:30am I woke up Dennis, almost in tears and asked if he would give me a priesthood blessing.  I was so exhausted that my body ached and I was desperate for any sort of relief. Afterwards, he sat in bed next to me and rubbed my legs, without me asking, until I was able to relax and come near to falling asleep.

As he was getting ready for work a few hours later at 6am, Calista woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed.  Of course... isn't that how it always seems to go?  Dennis took her downstairs to watch cartoons and woke up Camden, and asked him to babysit his little sister so that I could sleep a little longer and he could go to work.  Dennis said he cheerfully hopped out of bed and snuggled next to his sister on the couch with his blanket.  By the time I woke up at about eight o'clock, I came downstairs to find that Camden had fed his two sisters breakfast and was waiting for me, concerned about how I was feeling.

I curse the insomnia and the misery it brings, but feel thankful for the love I've been able to feel from my husband and family because of it.

How did a girl like me ever get lucky enough to get a guy like this?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Little Magician

I feel sometimes like our family is like a geometric shape that comes closer and closer to completion with the addition of each child.  I can't imagine our family with any of their little personalities missing.
It has been a privelege and a wonder to see them grow into the unique dynamic that they will contribute not only to our family, but to the world.

Camden brings tenderness and thoughtfulness.  Luke brings laughter and passion.  Lauren brings excitement and energy.  Calista brings peace and unconditional love.  Our family would be terribly lop-sided and incomplete without any one of them.

They are each so beautifully unique in their gifts and dispositions, that it would be impossible to choose a favorite.  I hesitate sometimes to write too much about one child or another in fear of giving them the impression of favoritism.  But lately my little Luke has been on mind, and the wonderful gifts that he brings to this world.

My little Luke has made me laugh every day since the day he was born.  He has a gift that I've coined the "gift of context."  He has an amazing ability to read and see through people in a way that some adults have said is intimidating.  He bases his actions or reactions based on the context of the person or the situation, which in turn makes him either incredibly charming and witty, or incredibly stubborn at times.  Very little escapes his notice, even subtle nuances that most people miss.   I've noticed that he has learned to read words based on understanding the context of what he is reading, instead of sounds and syllables the way so many children his age do.  It's a truly a remarkable gift.

So much of his humor is based on this ability to understand context and I think that's what makes it so funny.  How very appropriate that he chose a magician theme for his six-year old pictures this year! When he suggested it, I smiled and thought, I couldn't have chosen a better theme if I had tried.

The other day as we sat around the dinner table, during a particularly noisy meal, he rolled his eyes and said, "Mom, you and Dad really need to stop spawning so many children.  I think we have enough."  ... this coming from a first grader.

I remember a couple of years ago, when he was probably only 3 or 4 years old, he did something terribly naughty to Camden.  I told him he needed to apologize but he refused, insisting that Camden had deserved it (which he had).  I told him that whether or not Camden deserved it, it didn't justify his actions, and I again insisted that he apologize.  If he didn't, I said, there would be consequences.  He furrowed his eyebrows and crossed his little arms across his chest, giving me a death stare that seemed to say, "bring it on."

Oh brother, I thought, here we go.  I knew I had just entered a battle of wills, and that there was a good chance I would probably lose.  As Dennis has said, "That kid could teach a mule a thing or two about stubborness."

I put him in time-out... no luck.

A spanking on the bum... nothing.

I took away his favorite toy, computer time, playing with friends... nothing.

We were about an hour into our battle of wills and I was exhausted and he was sitting on the stairs crying.  I had nothing left in my aresenal of humane consequences.  One little word... "sorry"- that was all it would take and for the life of him, he would not say it!  I knelt down by him and pleaded with him that if he would at least acknowledge in any small way that he was sorry, that this would all be over and he could go back to playing.

I suddenly had a flash of inspiration and told him that if he would touch his nose with his finger to let me know he was sorry, that that would count as an apology.  He looked up with tears streaming down his face and touched the tip of his finger to the end of his nose, over, and over, and over again.

My little boy... so very stubborn, but so dear to me.  I hugged him tightly and his tears were dried.

In one way his stubborness worries me, but in another way, I breathe a sigh of relief to know that this little boy refuses to let himself be pushed around or manipulated.  I admire that his respect for people comes not from their position of authority, but from the trust he has in them.  Intimidation is a foreign concept to him, and that is something that I truly admire.

What a blessing it is to have these children who bring such joy and laughter into our lives, but who also force us to stretch ourselves, and think outside the box.

My little Luke, I love you more than any words could express.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I went through a bit of a roller coaster, and truth be told, I'm a little embarassed by it all and the attention it got.   I was contacted by Deseret News and asked if they could post my last blog post to their website.  I had always thought it would be fun to be "published" so I agreed and later that afternoon it was published.

Knowing that my family blog does not get a lot of internet traffic, I had written the post with a small audience in mind, imagining that most of my readers would be people who know me, most of whom have been reading my blog for quite some time.

The reviews were mixed with the majority being very kind and positive, but many on Deseret News' website and facebook page being negative, having found offense to the topic or certain word choices.  Being a "recovering people pleaser," the negative comments were hard on me to say the least.  It's pathetic, I know, but it's something I'm working on.  I've made great progress over the past few years, but the people pleaser in me is unfortunately deep rooted.  And it's times like this that I realize it runs deeper than I thought.

But thank goodness for the beautiful life I have outside of any public scrutiny or criticism.  If anything, I came away from that experience realizing that living in anonymity isn't quite so bad after all- and it's the things that happen behind closed doors in our little home that make life so fulfilling and rich for me.

On a separate note, I've heard it said that October is for photographers what April is for accountants, and now I can see why.  It seems as though in every spare moment when the kids are napping or down for the night, I've been editing and preparing pictures for clients.  I'm ready to take a break and focus more on learning and practicing, rather than producing.  It's kind of a beast that takes on a life of it's own if you let it.  I've made a point to set some strict guidelines for  myself when it comes to time that I spend on work for clients.  While it certainly has drawn out deadlines, it has been wonderful for my family life and I wondered why I didn't do it sooner.

Halloween was the highlight of the month of course, with the kids asking almost daily how many days were left until they could go trick-or-treating.  During the excitement and preparation leading up to the Halloween night, I realized how sad I'll be when there aren't little ones left at home to make an otherwise gruesome (and my least favorite) holiday so exciting.  Luke decided to be a zombie this year.  This is the first year one of our children has wanted to go as something "scary" so he was breaking the mold!

The weekend before, we took some time to go four-wheeling up in the mountains, followed by lunch in a charming, small-town dinery with some of our favorite friends on one of the last warm weekends of the fall.  It was a wonderful break and I was again reminded how much I love the mountains.


The other day as I picked Luke up from school, I saw him walking towards the car with an ear-to-ear grin on his face and handful of cash.  He was obviously thrilled with himself and whatever it was that he had done.  When we got in the car I asked him where in the world he had gotten that kind of cash.

"Easy...  I sold my worst Pokemon cards to the girls in my class and they paid me a dollar for each of them!"

As much as I wanted to give him a stern lecture, I couldn't help but laugh out loud as I tried to tell him sternly that taking advantage of anyone, for any reason, is never okay.

Later that day, I called the school and told them the situation.  I told them I had already talked to my son, and that he had promised he wouldn't do it again, but to be aware in case the temptation was too great and he did it again.  The secretary had a good laugh about it as well, but assured me that she would keep an eye out on the playground for the little mini black market that my first grader had set up.

Life is good.

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