Thursday, October 30, 2008


Well, Thursday is Finally Here! Jakob has his preschool Halloween parade and then we're off to G&G Hunt's home for a great Halloween weekend! We'll spend the day at Gardener Village window shopping. Then we'll take Jakob trick or treating at the mall. Then that night we get to go to the Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner that my brother and parents have produced this year. We'll all go in costume and it should be really fun! Jakob and Caleb will both wear their little ghost costumes I made.
So that's the plan for the weekend. The events of the last week are not too eventful. Actually, They have been! Leif has been considered a resident at Northern Arizona University. He hasn't been admitted yet. But we're hopeful. Leif was also offered another job (to go along with his current job.) He will be a recruiter for the community college in our county. He will recruit new students and teachers, help everyone with Student Aid applications, and run entrance tests as needed. It's 12 hours per week at double the pay that he's making at the elementary school. It will be busy! But all in all, I think it will work out. We're happy about it!

My update is that I'm feeling better for the most part. I did go in and get back on my anti-depressant. It helped right away. I need to remember to just accept that they help and stay on them... However, the Paxil started making me gain weight quickly. This is NOT acceptable! So the Dr. added Wellbutrin to counteract that side effect. We'll see how it goes. The last couple of days have been hard. Caleb is really sick again. He doesn't sleep well. When I finally get him to sleep for a long stince, I'm so awake I can't go back to sleep. So I'm a bit of a zombie. I had a huge youth activity last night too. I was in charge of the food. Last night was the first time in a long time that I was overcome with the emotions of not fitting in in a small town. I just do things differently (it didn't help that my emotions we're already on high alert.) I ordered food platters for the 100 people coming to the event. For the most part that went over fine. But some people did murmur about the cost (even though the leadership okayed it). I just made life easier for everyone. There were other things too that just stood out to me that reminded me that I grew up in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT World! I've been trying to stop bringing that up so I can try to blend in. But sometimes it becomes too apparent.

Anyway, we're doing good! I'm REALLY looking forward to this trip!! I need to get out for a few days. We'll also head over to the cemetery to visit the girls. I am going to try and find some stones that say Faith and Hope to put on their headstone. Flowers just get thrown away... The girls would be two years old today... I still miss them. I find myself hugging and cuddling my boys more around this time...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Essay # 3 Complete: Their Expectations - His Realities

Type of Essay: Comparison and Contrast
Subject Given: Expectation vs. Reality
Grade Given: A

Their Expectations - His Realities

Someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.” A newly married couple may think they have life all figured out. They’ve found each other after a long and wearisome search – and now it’s time for life to really start. This newlywed couple plans to have a family, a business, and their own home, and all of this will happen in a smooth and timely manner. They daydream and commit their dreams to paper. Little do they know what realities God has in store for them.

They’ll wait a year before getting pregnant. Then the pregnancy will be heavenly bliss, filled with joy as the couple anticipates the arrival of their first child. The family will enjoy their time together for two years before inviting another child into the family. This process will continue until the couple has three or four children.

Their plan also includes building a business together. This business will thrive into a nationally known company. Life will be full of responsibilities – and some stress. However, the couple will be able to meet the demands of both home and business – simply because they are doing it together. Three years after they have their business up and running, they’ll purchase a home, and their family will all fit nicely into this quaint little home.

However, God has a much different plan in store for them. Though He might not really laugh at the couple’s good intentions, He knows the realities. He knows that becoming pregnant will not be hard for the couple. Yet, He also knows that once the wife is pregnant, illness and fatigue will plague her for the whole nine months leading up to the birth of their first son. He also knows that the couple’s second pregnancy will result in a disheartening miscarriage.

When the wife becomes pregnant for a third time, the couple will be thrilled and astonished by the news that she is pregnant with identical twin daughters. However, God knows that this third pregnancy will be the beginning of a refiner’s fire for the young family. He knows that after a long road of trying to bring the babies into the world healthy and strong, it will be to no avail. Their first daughter will be stillborn at delivery, and their second will live only eight days. The couple will have to face the journey of mourning the loss of their daughters together.

Not all will be tragedy and loss for this little family. God will ensure that there will be at least one peace-filled pregnancy for this wearied mother. She will deliver a healthy baby boy after the loss of the twins. The life and vibrancy of the boys in this family will fill their home with laughter and cheer. As husband and wife, the couple will grow in love as they struggle to make many hard decisions and find joy through the sorrows.

Just as God knows the realities of the couple’s child-baring plans, He knows the realities of the couple’s business as well. They will work hard to build it into a thriving business but then have to sell it so the mother can focus on her children.

The money from the sale, which was meant to purchase the home of their dreams, will go to pay hospital expenses. Then the husband, who is no longer a business owner, will be forced to enter college, much later in life then planned.

So five years after marriage, the couple will be raising two children instead of five and, instead of being thriving business owners, they will both be full-time students. Also, rather then living in a quaint home of their own, they’ll be living in an apartment above his parent’s garage.

The couple will understand that though it’s good to plan ahead and set high expectations, one must understand that The Man Upstairs, who knows the greater plan and paints the masterpiece of life, might have other realities.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Hero

For our family, Monday night means Family Night. Many nights we end our Family Home Evening with the latest episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition (EMHE), on

Tonight I wearily sat down to watch the show. The minute the show started the spirit of giving and hope entered our home. By the end of the night I was re energized and filled with enough cheer and motivation to get up and do the dishes. This is really saying something if I'm doing dishes at 7:00 at night. But the great feeling didn't end with me. Jakob and Leif were inspired too:) They cleaned the living room together and then Leif topped it off by finishing the dishes with me!

The theme of the season for EMHE is Hero's. I started pondering about who my hero is... To me a hero brings hope, peace, strength, and love. There are also hero's who show physical bravery or courage. But right now, I want to talk about my hero.

My hero is my husband. When I was a teenager, for some reason I would never let myself daydream about the man that I would marry. Perhaps it was an innate fear that I would never find him. I think it may have been simply that I could never have imagined the man that I have been blessed with.

Now, Leif is not perfect. He would want me to make that clear.:) But he is perfect for me. Leif swept me off of my feet when he came over to spend time with me, but he ended up showing much needed attention to my brother whom I was caring for at the time. He took the time to play games with him and make us both laugh all night long.

Leif has been a pillar of strength for me through many hard times. He will do anything for me to make my life easier. I have to be careful not to take it for granted. Leif is kind and peaceful to all that he meets. He is an incredible father. Jakob counts on Leif to make up a whole new bedtime story every night before bed. He also insists that Leif play the rhyming game with him as well. Often times Leif and I will sit together and talk about the kid's and their development. We'll set up a game plan together that will meet one of the kid's needs or work on a current problem. These are some of the moments that I value most with Leif, working together to raise our children. I am so grateful that he doesn't just leave it all up to me!

Leif has had to make many sacrifices these last five years. He has started towards accomplishing dreams only to have them snuffed out by the hard realities of life. Sometimes those realities have been harder then others.... Leif has held our family together when I was not able to help in any way. The amazing part about this is that he has never complained. He has never resented the past and it's dealings. He just keeps looking forward.

How could I not be inspired by such a man? Leif is truly my hero...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Remembering Our Baby LeOra

Today marks a day in time that I will never forget. My LeOra Lynn passed away two years ago today. As I sit and reflect the events of that day I am filled with mixed emotions. Mostly, I just run through the memories...
I had been laying in a hospital bed for 5 weeks up to this point in my pregnancy with the twins. My time in the bed was only interrupted by one daily outing allowance in a wheel chair. The majority of those trips were spent on trips to different procedures. On this particular day I had a stress test exam for the babies. This is where the ultrasound nurses watch the babies for over an hour at a time marking down different stages of development or signs of stress that they note while watching the babies.

After doing this daily for over a month, Leif and I got pretty good at deciphering the images on the sonogram machine. In this particular day the images were not unlike all of the others except the twins were a bit more calm. They were practicing their breathing though, and everything seemed to be going fine. However, about a half hour into the test I noticed (and heard) something that sent me into a shocked panic. LeOra's little heart started to beat at a steadily slower pace. When the nurse and I realized what was happening they rushed me into Labor and Delivery to prep for an emergency delivery.

On the way I remember trying to reach Leif on his phone. For some reason he wasn't answering (a Very Rare occurrence.) I don't think I really thought that we would lose our baby. At that point I was so focused on keeping them alive like I had been for the last five weeks. Losing them was not an option. We had of course discussed the possibility many times. But in my mind, my will was to keep them alive.

I had gotten a hold of a neighbor who went and told Leif he needed to get to the hospital. In a matter of 5 minutes I was in the Labor and Delivery room, hooked up to another ultrasound machine. This is when it became apparent that LeOra had passed away. My nurses and I cried together. My doctor soon came into my room. I immediately asked him to give me a blessing.

The mantel of peace and sustaining strength given to Leif and I through that blessing stayed with us throughout the weeks and months that followed the loss of our daughters. I ponder the strength that came to us and I am in awe from the love that our Father in Heaven has for us...

LeOra was delivered with her sister five days later. She of course was stillborn and her sister Rhea was born alive. Leif brought LeOra to me soon after they delivered her. As I looked at her I saw my little girl. I thought I would be nervous to see her. But I wasn't... I felt her spirit close by for many days. This was a comfort to me as I held her in my arms for the first time. She was dressed in cute fluffy soft clothes with a little hat on. She was so small... So precious.

Someday I will raise my LeOra Lynn. LeOra's middle name is Talithiacumi. This is what Christ said to a little girl as he was raising her from the dead. It means "Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise!" Someday our little girls will be resurrected and we will have the opportunity to raise them in a world of peace and harmony.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Second Essay Complete

Some posts are just for the record.

This is my second essay for my English class. It came at a busy time and I never really caught the vision of it. I wrote one essay for my rough draft and a completely new essay as my final. I don't think the professor appreciated that!

Type of Essay: Short expository using "Development by example." Written in third person
Subject Given: "Failure to keep my mouth shut (or some other bad habit) leads me into trouble."
Grade Given: B
What I Learned From This Essay: In college, you write the same paper for both your rough draft and your final draft.

Mama Must Keep Up

It is 4:30 in the afternoon. The dishes from breakfast and lunch are still on the table, the laundry is still in mountainous piles on the bed, the preschooler has set up battle scenes between cars and dinosaurs throughout the living room, and Papa just walked through the door. What has Mama been doing while all of this mess has been growing within the walls of her domain? Mama is sitting at her computer writing and researching... again. This has become far too common in her daily routine. Failure for Mama to keep up on the house chores leads to a lack of harmony in the home.
For example, when Mama does not keep up on the dishes, a distinct unpleasant odor floats through the little cottage that she is supposed to keep clean. Because the kitchen sink is also the place where Mama baths the baby, if the dishes are not cleared from the sink then the baby does not get the bath that he needs. Another example is, when Mama lets the clean clothes sit in piles upon the bed without folding them before bedtime. When this happens, those piles then become mountains upon the floor at the foot of the bed. These piles are then stepped on throughout the night as Mama and Papa are getting in and out of bed to comfort the children who inevitably wake up throughout the night.
The little cottage that Mama and Papa live in with their children is centered by a living space called the living room. This is where the family gathers at night to read stories, play games, and have family prayer before bedtime. If Mama allows the living room to fall into complete disarray, and the kitchen to be scattered with dishes that emanate a foul smell, then the joy and contentment that should be felt during these special family times is greatly limited and dampened.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Blog Will Be A Book Someday

I have been asked many times what I will do with my blog several years down the road. I pondered that question, and I decided that I would want them to be books. So I googled "turn my blog into a book" Come to find out there are many people who want their blogs turned into books. Since I'm not ready to bind my blog into a book yet, I haven't selected the best company. But I did put the Google link up there for you.

I figure I will continue these blogs for the next couple of years until Leif is done with school. We will then start a new chapter in our life and I will either continue this blog and make a series of volumes, or I will start a completely new blog... We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Bump In The Road

I was starting to wonder if things were just a little too content and stable. My questions proved true yesterday afternoon. Leif called to inform me that he received a notice from Arizona State University (the school that he was going to earn his BS from.)

They told him that they would not consider him a resident of Arizona. Their reasons: We paid taxes in multiple states last year. Leif has not worked full time consistently in Arizona for the last 12 months. We haven't lived in Arizona consecutively for the last 12 months....

This is a major bump in the road! We did find a Distance Learning BS program at Northern Arizona University. However, we're nervous that they might have the same residency policies. If they do, we are in big trouble!

Our goal was to stay here in the barn (our home) for two more years, stay at the same employment for the next two years, and have Leif earn his Bachelors Degree online in those two years. If Leif isn't able to do his schooling online.... I don't even want to speculate what that might mean right now.

He applied to NAU last night. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Calories Burned While Feeding The Baby

Last night I had to find something positive about the situation I am in. Caleb nurses every two hours All Day and ALL NIGHT! Last night I saw 11:00PM, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, and 7AM. It seems completely insane that I put up with it. Trust me, I know! However, my kid's are unusual nursers. They only nurse for up to 10 minutes tops. That means it's possible that they are only getting one to three ounces per feeding. That burns up pretty quickly. Which means that they are hungry again. I can understand the feeling. Making the milk makes me just as hungry, just as often.

So I was sitting there at 3:AM wondering what possibly could be good about this. I had tried to let him cry it out, but it takes less time to just get up and nurse him then to let him cry. I came up with this conclusion: I sleep better (when I sleep) because of the hormones that are released while nursing. But the best benefit is the calories that I burn throughout the night! I started wondering just how many calories I burn... It looks like it's a lot!

I found a woman who has done her research and she's come up with this; "it is generally said that breastfeeding burns 200-500 calories per day. I think you can convert breastfeeding to a calorie burning on AVERAGE, and you can convert it to an hourly scale, as in 1 hour of breastfeeding=x calories burned. Usually a newborn baby will consume 2 ounces of milk every 2 hours or so if the milk is breast milk. That is 1 ounce every hour, 24 ounces every 24 hours (while the baby is a newborn). Breast milk burns very quickly once the baby drinks it, thus the reason for the constant eating...the baby is always hungry! 1 ounce of breast milk burns approximately 20 calories i believe... so that is 20 calories burned for every hour of breastfeeding, which averages to 280 calories per day in the beginning. I suppose that is about average between 200 and 500 more or less (the actual average is 350 but for estimation purposes of a baby consuming 24 ounces of breast milk per day 280 is enough). So that is breastfeeding 1 ounce of milk per hour burns 20 calories per hour. Breastfeeding 2 ounces of milk per hour burns 40 calories per hour. Breastfeeding 3 ounces of milk per hour burns 60 calories per hour, and so forth and so on. 1 ounce of breast milk=20 calories burned. If your baby drank 4 ounces of breast milk per hour, you burn 80 calories making breast milk per hour."

My guess is that I burn around 80-160 calories throughout the night. That's a low calorie meal or a dessert. It's possible to think that I am burning an average of 800 calories throughout a 24 hour day. Motivation enough for me! That is MY kind of exercise! Stop, Sit, Feed and Loose Weight!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Checkin' Out The Leaves

This afternoon we took a trip up to the mountain. We knew that we may have missed the peak of the colorful leaves, but we went anyway. I'm glad we did. There wasn't a spectacular amount of color. But we found a grove of scrub oak and pretended that it was the whole forest.

We had a great time exploring and collecting treasures. Leif and I got a kick out of all of the funny things Jakob said throughout the day. We were on our way up the mountain and I was talking to Leif about the possible summer trip we might make to California next year. I said "Let's head out there and camp on the beach for a while..." Suddenly we hear Jakob say, "Okay! Let's Dooo It!:)" Later on as we drove through the remnants of a forest fire we heard Jakob say to himself, "this is the creepiest forest I've ever seen!" Creepiest? Who taught him that! As we were on our way home we were talking about directions such as front, back, left, and right. That started a game of Hoki Poki (sitting down of course:) As we were playing, a yellow corvette with racing stripes came up behind us. When we told Jakob he started talking about how we couldn't race them on the road because we needed helmets.:) We then told him that we would also need a nice Race Car. To that he replied "Let's Buy One!" As if it were the same as buying a bike.:)

What a great little afternoon trip...

A Few Women Who Made The Difference

This morning I got an email from the Young Women President that I serve with. She was reporting to me about a visit that she had with some of the girls in our classes. As I read her experience and felt the love that she has for the girls, I was taken back to my life growing up. I had a hand full of women who worked along side my parents to raise me into the woman that I am today. A lot of the time these women were able to reach me when it was impossible for my parents to get through to me.

We moved to my home town when I was preschool age. The first teacher I remember was Patricia Potts. She was a family friend, but she was also one of my Joy School Moms. Patricia loved me as her own, and I always knew that. I remember singing with her as she played the guitar. I remember her teaching me the importance of cleaning up after myself, as she gathered every ones clutter into the "Gunny Man Bag." This was a bag she decorated as a silly looking man who ate up every one's clutter when it wasn't put away in the right place. As I grew older, I remember Patricia picking us up for school and seeing how many people she could pack into her van. She had ulterior motives however, she would have a quick spiritual devotional prepared every morning for those of us who dared to ride in her van:). Finally, Patricia instilled in me a love and understanding for the temple and it's importance in our lives. For years, she would take a group of us every Tuesday to the temple after school. We would do baptisms for the dead. I know this strengthened my spirit beyond words and helped me build a foundation upon my Savior. Thank you Patricia for your love and dedication, you will not be forgotten.

For many years, Karen Stolworthy was like a second mother to me. They lived in the house behind our home and we had a gate in the fence between our yards. Countless times, and for many years, I would run over to Karen and cry to her about how horrible my life was. She would just let me cry on her shoulder and love me through it. Karen worked hard to help me understand my worth and beauty, inside and out. Karen loved me as her own. I was a demanding child too.:) I'm sorry about that Karen! I know you had your own house full of your own kid's. Thank you for allowing me to adopt myself into your home and be nurtured by your love.

Shirley Turley was another woman who blessed my life. I have Shirley to thank for my understanding of the Internet. She helped me set up my first email account many years ago.:) I also have memories of sitting with Shirley on her front lawn and discussing checking and savings accounts. I started earning money at an early age and she took the time to give me some importance guidance in the matter. Shirley had a love for baking. I remember walking into her home and she often had homemade bread, cookies, or Cinnamon rolls laid out on her kitchen counter. Shirley also had a love of music and education. She instilled this into her children. I could not help but benefit from her teaching as well. Shirley and her husband also followed the counsel to hold Family Home Evenings. I remember watching their family participate in various activities such as relay races and games. I remember thinking to myself about how I would be sure to follow that example some day with my family. Thank you Shirley, for allowing me to grow up with your children and feel of your love!

All of these women had daughters who were my age. These girls were my best friend's. We grew up together. They are among the few girls that I am still in contact with from my youth. We were sisters. We loved each other, and at times, we hated each other.:) But we were always together. These girls, and their mothers played a defining role in my life. I thank them and the many many other leaders and teachers who took the time to add their touch to the painting of my life. Though I could not name you all in this post, I thank you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Young Women's Progressive Dinner

I had a great day yesterday which led to a great evening! You'd think that having a dinner for 15 people to get ready for would be stressful. I guess it kind of was. But it gave me something out of the monotony of life's routine to look forward to. The event I had to look forward to was a Progressive Dinner with the Young Women in our ward. The main dinner was going to be at my home.

The morning started off with a new addition to our routine (I know this shouldn't be new!) I got Jakob's breakfast and then I asked him to be quiet so I could go have my morning prayer time. He looked at me and said, "so you can hear Heavenly Father?" EXACTLY! I said with a smile! So I went and had my morning prayers. I could list off a bunch of reason's why I haven't been doing this, but it's not necessary. My point is, that while I was praying Jakob sneaked a peak through the curtains that partition our room off, and saw me praying. I guess he thought that it was neat because a while later I heard him in there at my bed having his own morning prayers. What a Blessing! I believe in the power of prayer and it's healing power!

Throughout the day I calmly cleaned and organized and prepared for the evening dinner. The best part was that by the time Leif got home from work to help me with the final prep, I had everything done that I wanted to do! Leif was heaven sent and willingly jumped right in and helped with the rest that needed to be done. He even prepared the noodles for the dinner after I had left so they would be warm when the girls got to our home. Leif is amazing! Shortly after I left I got a phone call from him, Jakob had a messy accident in his pants and he just needed to vent his frustration. He took care of it and still greeted us with a smile when we came for dinner. AND THEN, he offered to clean up the plates for the girls. What an example of the kind of man these girls should look for! Thank you My Love!

The evening went well. The girls loved our little cottage. And the spirit was strong throughout the night as we talked about the Young Women's Values. I think they appreciated the work put into it and it helped them understand that we take the Personal Progress Program seriously. I did bring home three delicious chocolate brownies for Leif from our last location. He sure deserved it.

Good Day! Good Evening! Good Food! Good People!

Pretend that this was taken in the evening and all of those chairs are filled with smiling faces and they all have plates full of yummy spaghetti!:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On A Brighter Note...

Have you ever felt like you just puked in front of an audience and they are just standing there stunned and gaping? Sorry for the gross analogy, but that about covers the status of my blog right now and those who read my last post.

So let's lighten things up a bit!:) How about some photos...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Melancholy and Mood Swings

Just after dinner this evening I got a phone call from my sister. We were in the middle of talking about the struggle I am having with mood swings and a melancholy state of mind. She had to get off the phone for another phone call and I decided to check my email. I got an email from my dad that was meant to be in good humor about us wallpapering our walls. However, I took it very personal and immediately sent him a ranting email about how rude he was and how I just wasn't in a state of mind that I could just brush off the rudeness... Case and Point!:)

I have always struggled with mood swings and anxiety. I have also been weighed down by depression at times throughout my life's journey. I have never met with a professional psychiatrist. Although, I have been prescribed antidepressants by a medical doctor. The doctor prescribed Paxil for me while I was in college. I used this until I found out that it could have adverse side effects during pregnancy. I then switched to Zoloft. I've switched back and forth between the two throughout the last four years.

After I gave birth to Caleb (6 months ago) I decided I wanted to apply all of the nutritional knowledge that I have gained to my life to find out if I could heal my emotional and mental struggles nutritionally. Well, it's been six months and I have progressed leaps and bounds. I have lost over 30 pounds, I have the pain that radiates throughout my body at a barely noticeable minimum, and physically I feel very good! BUT, I haven't conquered the melancholy. I call it melancholy because that is exactly how I feel. I tried to put how I feel down on paper the other day. This is what I came up with:

"A thoughtful or gentle sadness, the gloomy character of somebody, pensive sadness, thinking deeply about something, especially in a sad or serious manner." -Encarta Dictionary

I Can find cheer at times during the day. But I am in a state of melancholy most of the day. Sunshine and music alleviate it some… lack of ability to concentrate at times. Frequent deep thinking and reflecting… strange anxiety about relationships… Living in a fogged state of mind filled with dull or creative writing/self analytical thoughts, unless jogged out of it by conversation or demanding responsibilities -AND/OR- fatigued, feeling like a ticking time bomb ready to go off. When it does, I lash out at Jakob or Leif.

I share these thoughts and let people in to my world for a couple of reasons , 1. this blog is for my future posterity and things like this are important to know. 2. my experiences and feelings are not all that original. I hope that my experiences give others strength.

As for solving my struggles, I feel that I have a choice to make. Because I am able to function and am not in a state of deep depression, I could just choose to live my life the way it is and try to apply stress management techniques and continue to pray. OR, I could choose to use prescribed medication, apply stress management techniques, and continue to pray. Most likely, I will end up using a low dose mild antidepressant. I feel that I am capable of functioning and living in a happier more pleasant state of being. I need to find that place!

Wall Decor Decisions

I have been stewing over how and what colors I should paint our walls. What you need to know about our walls before you can understand my dilemma is that our walls are 1. made from OSB board, and 2. half of them are hinged doors that look like walls. So even when we paint, the room still looks semi makeshift.
So, I am not going to paint. We are going to wallpaper! I am really excited. I think it will turn out cute and smooth things out really nice. I have tried to bring the "country cottage" feel into our home decor. This wallpaper will definitely do the trick!!
Here is what we've come up with:

Center Border

Top half of the wall

Bottom half of the wall

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Halloween Welcome: Decorations, Food, and Fun!

Today has been quite the Fun Filled Day! It started this morning with a high school homecoming parade down our street. This is another fun part of living in a very small town. Last night we went to their tailgate party for the community.

After Leif and I finished our homework and my Young Women's meeting, we got to work finishing projects around the house. After nap time we all went to the HS volley ball game. They asked Leif to keep the score and I was glad to go and cheer for my YW girls on the team.

When we came out of the school it was COLD! We started bringing holiday boxes upstairs just as it started SNOWING! Snowing in Arizona? In October? That does not happen! But it did today. Only for a minute of course. Luckily we were planning a fun evening inside.

We hung all of our Halloween decorations. It's fun for me because some of the decorations are some of the ones we hung in my house growing up. So I feel like I'm carrying on a fun tradition. For dinner we started the tradition of taco salad for dinner and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for dessert on the night we decorate for Halloween. I made my own rendition of taco salad. MMM, it was GOOD! I do the normal chips, meat, cheese, etc. But I also add black beans and a special homemade southwestern sauce. Yummy! I will post all of the recipes on my Healthy Mama's blog. My pumpkin bars taste WAY too good to be good for you! As we sat and ate Leif and I talked to Jakob about the fun Halloween memories that we have of growing up. Jakob pretended he had some fun memories too.
As I was making the cookies Leif turned on a computer game with Jakob that was a Halloween themed bowling game. They had a lot of fun playing together. We had a great day and a great evening celebrating the fun that Halloween brings!

I Found Facebook!

Well, it's official, I am now a "Friend" on I signed up just so I could find the contact info for a lost missionary companion. I have now found half a dozen old friends. It's fun to be back in touch. But I still love blogging a WHOLE lot More! I like to hear how all of you are doing in detail.:) Maybe I'll enjoy it more down the road. But honestly, I'm already pushing my limits on how much time I spend "socializing" online.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hurray For The Exersaucer!

We finally got Caleb's Excersaucer! I decided to just go with my instincts and spend the money for a high quality one. We got the Evenflo Triple Fun Excersaucer. I am SO Glad I Did! He really loves it as you can see from the photos. YIPPEE! Now he has a place to play that is off of the dirty crowded floor. He has already learned how to rotate around so he can play with all of the toys (the seat turns.) Great Investment!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Are You Ready To Vote?

The day to vote for our future President of the United States is just around the corner. Leif and I sat together and endured another presidential debate last night. I hate them because I don't trust everything that is said, and I can't stand blatant contention. However, I do feel that it's important to be involved in studying out who we feel is the best potential president.

After the debate Leif and I discussed some of the "issues" of the world today that we feel are important to us in particularly, and to our future as a country.

Here are a few of the things we came up with:

Same Sex Marriage
Stem Cell Research
Social Security
Health Care
How involved government is in All Areas of life
Strength of the military

Personally, I feel that the moral issues we face are the most important issues that I need to face as a mother and do what I can to stand up for Truth and Right. I received a short five minute video today made by the Family Research Council This gives us a good perspective of what will happen if same sex marriage becomes legal throughout the country as it has in a few of our states. I hope you'll view the video and form your own opinion.

I just did a little research on the presidential candidates websites. They are quite interesting. They both have their faults. They both have some positives. Unfortunately, not one of them has it perfect. So, we'll have to draw up our own list of priorities, study the candidate's views on each of the issues, and then make our decision.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Lingering Question and General Conference

I woke up to feed Caleb early Saturday morning, long before the sun came up and we sat down to watch the LDS General Conference. I was jogged awake with a simple, yet profound question floating through my sleep fogged mind... "are you living a Celestial Life or a Terrestrial Life?" I pondered it as much as I felt I could without waking myself up too much to go back to sleep.

The thought was still with me when it came time to crawl out of bed and get ready to listen to conference. I began looking at different routines in my day. We pray over breakfast in the morning. Is the prayer Celestial or Terrestrial material? I care for and communicate with the kids all day long, is it in a Celestial or Terrestrial manner? Do I even stop to have my own personal prayers? What about scripture study? Am I living a Celestial Kingdom life TODAY? That doesn't mean I'm being asked if I'm perfect, the question is asking if I am even focused on the end that I am hoping for. A very interesting question...

I enjoyed General Conference. However, Leif and I have concluded that next conference we will go to Salt Lake and sit in a conference center somewhere and participate in a true manner of worship. Sitting at home with a 4 year old is pretty much Crazy! We did manage to get him to listen to President Monson. We asked Jakob what the prophet told us and he said, "to hug me." That is exactly what we were taught, to STOP and enjoy the moment. That seemed to be a theme, enjoy the moment and find peace in Christ through hard times.

I have a lot to work on. But I'm grateful that our leaders aren't preaching Hell Fire and Damnation. Instead, they teach hope and peace. This is Christ!

Teaching Jakob Repentance

Leif and I take the responsibility of being parents very seriously. Sometimes we're a bit too serious and we expect a lot from Jakob (Caleb will be in the same boat soon.) We re-evaluate often and try to make the right adjustments.

Recently, Jakob has become a lot more aware of what is right and wrong. He'll often correct Leif and I if we say a "strong" word (as we put it.) He'll point out whether his friends chose the right, and he is aware of his mistakes most of the time. Yesterday Jakob told a blatant lie. We have had to deal with him sneaking out of the house or away from the yard to go into his grandparents house. He knows that he has to ask First, Wait for an answer, and then Respect the answer. Last night he went into the grandparents house where Leif was studying. Leif asked him if he asked me, and Jakob told him that he did and I said yes. This was completely false.

When I came down to find Jakob, we were faced with a dilemma. How do you teach a 4 year old that he lied and lying is completely unacceptable. The first thing Leif and I came up with was to take away the privilege of watching his favorite show with us that evening. But something just wasn't sitting well with me and that consequence. A little while later, the answer came to me. We needed to teach him about repentance and HOW to repent.

Jakob came back up to our house after I had left and said that he wanted to ask me if he could go over to Grandmas house (he recognized that he really didn't like the consequence in store for him.) I sat Jakob on my lap and we talked. We talked about the fact that he didn't choose the right. I often teach Jakob a lesson and have him repeat it to me after it's been taught. The first lesson taught was, "Make the right choice The First Time!" Once that lesson was established, I talked to him about who his wrong choice hurt (himself, Papa, Mama, and Heavenly Father) and then who he needed to fix things with (Papa, Mama, and Heavenly Father.) He told me that he was sorry and he eventually told Leif that he was sorry. But he was confused on how in the world he could tell Heavenly Father he was sorry. He talked about the fact that he couldn't see Heavenly Father and he couldn't hear Heavenly Father. Basically, it was all completely abstract.

So I started from the beginning and as basic as I could get. I explained to Jakob that we talk to Heavenly Father by praying to him. Kind of like talking on the phone except that you have to "feel" Heavenly Father's answer instead of hearing it. He was thrilled to find out that Heavenly Father knew him and He knew Jakob's name. The fact that this was a novel concept to Jakob showed me that the Spirit was teaching him. It was finally sinking in.

Then came the prayer of repentance. I started the prayer for Jakob and asked Father to help Jakob feel His love and His answers to the prayers Jakob prayed. I then told Father that Jakob had something he wanted to say to Him. Jakob then told Heavenly Father that he was sorry for telling a lie and that he wouldn't do it again.

After the prayer was over I asked Jakob if he felt Heavenly Fathers answer. He said "Yes, it was soft and warm." ... Lesson Taught!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

We Have A Closet and A Sound Proof Room

Leif worked really hard this weekend! He was determined to finish our closet so we could get all of the furniture out of our living room. We worked all day yesterday (in between conference) and got a whole lot done! the biggest project was the closet. We are thrilled to have an organized space for our clothes. I'm loving these home improvements!!!

We also hung carpet up in Caleb's room. It was a messy, dusty job. But it was totally worth it! His room is like sleeping in a cave. We will be installing a bathroom fan in his ceiling to increase air circulation and maximize the sound proofing. I'm trying to get out of the habit of hushing Jakob when Caleb's asleep. Because it's no longer necessary! HOORAY!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

All Day Shopping and The Events Therein

Yesterday was our monthly trip into St. George. These trips usually take some serious planning and a Huge amount of time! This trip was no different. We usually hit Costco, DI, and Wal-Mart. Yesterday we scored big at the DI!:) But I'm getting ahead of myself...

First I have to write about the funny thing Jakob said while we were out. We were at Golden Coral eating lunch and Jakob was "practicing" his ballet next to our table. He was actually doing really good and it was catching the attention of the people around us. Just as everyone was paying attention to him he did something really good (can't remember what) just as I thought to myself, "WOW! that was great!" I heard Jakob say matter of factly, "I've Got Talent!" Everyone cracked up laughing!

Yesterday could have been an absolute NIGHTMARE! But it wasn't. Both Jakob and Caleb were wonderful! I actually enjoyed having them with us. Jakob was kind and patient and Caleb was the same. This was a VERY much needed blessing!!!

We have learned that if we hit the DI first and let Jakob choose a toy (that he has earned ahead of time) this will save us for the hours of shopping we have ahead of us! Yesterday our car was full even before we got to Wal-Mart. We found a cute toddler size art desk, a high quality air purifier, baby toys, and more. All for a lot less then what they were all worth. It was great!

We spent 5 HOURS at Wal-Mart yesterday! Have you ever spent that much time at Wal-Mart? We took our car to them to get the tires fixed. But the bulk of the time was just shopping without a rush. Now our cupboards are stocked and a few more home improvement projects are underway.

All in all, it was a great day. Long, but productive. And I still liked Jakob after we got home. This was the highlight of my day!!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Month Of October

The month of October has always had some type of meaning for me for as long as I can remember. As a little girl my parents would decorate the whole house and the whole yard with Halloween decorations. We would often decorate our unfinished basement and hold great spook alleys for the neighborhood. My dad inherited a trunk full of old Halloween costumes and dress up clothes from his family. We would use these as well as the costumes that my mom would make or purchase throughout the years to dress up. Thanks to my mom's great costume make-up talents, our family members were always among the "Best Costumed" group of students in school on Halloween.

As we grew older my parents began a business called Hunt Mysteries and Company. My dad would write great Murder Mystery Dinner Theater plays and they would hire a cast to perform them at different locations for private and public Dinner Parties. As young kids we would often go along and help with the set up and technicalities of the shows. My brothers were working the sound equipment with my mom at a very young age. For us at this point in our life, October meant Business. We would have many many shows booked for the Halloween season and it grew as the years went on. As a family the month of October was bitter sweet. There was always a sense of accomplishment and excitement as we pulled off another great run. But it was also a source of great stress and frustration.

Halloween night however usually always turned out great! Somehow my parents were usually able to come home from the shows and we had some great times! One year my dad scared some local teenagers half to death! Throughout the month we had a stuffed dummy sitting on our front porch bench. On Halloween my dad put the Dummy costume on and as the kids would come up to get candy out of the candy bowl he would grab their hand and scare the heck out of them. It was Great! The other fun costume for my dad was his custom made pirate costume. My dad lost one of his legs to Cancer when he was twenty. So he made the perfect pirate with a peg leg. He would answer the door wearing his peg leg and the Trick-or-treaters would stare in wonder at my dad. Another great memory...

Now that I am grown and a mother, the month of October has many meanings and emotions attached to it. I love to plan what the kid's will be for Halloween as early as August.:) Although, Jakob announced that he wanted to dress up as a ghost this year. This was a surprise to me. But a ghost is a lot easier then the Pilot that I was going to dress him as. I enjoy decorating our house too. I inherited some of the decorations that my mom would use to decorate our house while I was growing up. I love the sentimental value that they portray.

It is interesting that the traditional meaning of the word Halloween is commonly known as the Day of the Dead. I don't think I would think about this much except for the fact that our daughters were born the day before Halloween 2006. They both passed away leaving the month of October filled with a small sense of irony.

We feel blessed to have the knowledge and comfort that our little girls are well and that we will see them again. If we didn't have this knowledge and conviction, I'm sure the month of October would be filled with the darkness that it could portray if a person wants to invite it into their life.
For us, the month of October is a poignant reminder of the good and bad of times past. As well as the opportunity to fill our little family up with some great memories similar to those that we both have from our life growing up.

Our World As We Know It

Is going fine. :)

I haven't blogged as much because of the craziness of life. But I knew that would be the case when I started school. I thought I'd take a minute and post an update on how the first month of school and life in general went for the month of September.

We are doing good. Scholastically, Leif and I are doing fine in school. I am focusing on the general ed classes that I'm enrolled in because they are the classes with deadlines. So far, I've been able to keep up with the classes and running the house. Leif is keeping up and enjoying his classes for the most part.

This month I have become more involved in the Young Women's program for church. I am in the YW Presidency. The life that these girls live is so completely opposite from the life that I was living when I was their age. I grew up in the city, and this is NOT the city. Tonight we talked about writing in our journals at our weekly activity. We discussed different ways to incorporate journal writing into our daily life. I was shocked to see a dozen girls ages 12-18 years old give me a blank stare when I brought up the idea of blogging. NONE of them knew what a blog was! I then asked who used the Internet on a daily basis, only a few of the girls used the Internet often and two of the families of girls didn't even have the Internet in their home. I was a bit disturbed by this. I believe with the right kind of parental supervision the Internet can be an incredible tool for good. It opens up a world of opportunity. I think we all have a lot to learn from each other!

This last month has been filled with church and community involvement. It's good to be getting out of our little bubble. Leif has made a great impression with the faculty as well as the students at the schools in town. He works with their lunch system. But he is also their Character Counts instructor. This is a program that teaches the kids about different positive character traits and how to be a person of good character. Leif is able to visit with each of the classes of the K-4th grades. He has really enjoyed the opportunity to interact and teach the kids something of value. They love him too! EVERYONE knows Leif!!!:)

Jakob is growing up more and more every day! This evening as we were driving in the car he started naming the names of the months. We had no idea that he knew them. Obviously preschool is sinking in. He has a really bright mind. His thinking skills are sharp as well as his memory! We sit and watch his dance class each week so that we can work with him on the different moves throughout the week. I am thrilled that he remembers the names of the different positions and steps. Jakob is a lot of fun! He's moody. But So Am I!!:) His excuse is that he's four years old, what's mine!!??;)

Caleb is a light in our home. He is content most of the time. I love to see he and Jakob interact. They can get each other rolling with laughter. Jakob has tried this week to get Caleb to wrestle with him. I growl at Jakob for squishing Caleb, but Caleb just smiles. Caleb is very mobile! A lot more then Jakob ever was at 5+ months. I think it was because we put Jakob in an Exersaucer when he was 41/2 months and Caleb's Exersaucer is still in transit after being purchased. So Caleb has had a lot more experience rolling around on the floor. I have a touch of OCD and it;s hard for me to just let him roll around on the dirty floor. But I have no choice really. He will roll across the whole room if we let him. This afternoon I laid him down for his nap and he Would Not settle down. So I finally went in to see what was wrong. He had rolled over on to his stomach and had his face smashed up against the rails. Poor guy! Last week he some how wiggled out of his swing seat! I came in to get him so we could go pick up Jakob from school. He had been fussing, but not hollering for me, so I let him be. I opened the door and panicked at the sight of an empty swing seat. I looked down and Caleb was on the floor on his tummy. He looked up at me with the look like, "So ya gonna pick me up or what?" I felt so bad! And grateful that he wasn't hurt! CRAZY! (Sorry if I already told that story, can't remember...)

Our little house is really becoming a home! I am so grateful for all of the help from my sweet husband as well as our good friends who have just handed over lumber and also their time and strength to help us build two new rooms. Caleb's room now has carpet up on the walls. It really does make a difference in the amount of sound going in or coming out. Leif and I also have a walk in closet now. I LOVE It! Our bedroom space feels like a bedroom now, not just a side part of the whole house. It is really nice!! Throughout the next while we'll continue to build and beautify. I'll keep you posted.

I think we're all doing well right now. I am getting out more and finding my whole self again. Leif is doing the same by sharing his light with the community through his church calling (Primary Chorister) and his job at school, Jakob is learning and growing so fast it's hard to keep up. Caleb is growing as quickly as he can so he can communicate with us and play with his big brother. We're in a good spot right now... It would be fine to keep it that way, as far as I'm concerned.:)

First Essay Completed

When Leif was taking his English 101 course (English Composition) I often asked him to save his essays for the kids to read someday. So, now that I am in English Composition class I will keep a record.

I finished my first essay and I am glad that it's over:) I like free style writing. Although, I am definitely learning a lot from the class! Here is a copy of the essay (for future record.)

Type of Essay Required: Descriptive essay written strictly in third person.
Subject Given: Where is the most interesting place you have ever been?
Grade Awarded: A

The Aura of Hawaii

There is a family of islands closely linked together by an enchanting magic out in the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. This family of islands, known as the Hawaiian Islands, is filled with an enchantment that can intertwine itself in the heart of an island dweller and never leave. The magic of the Hawaiian Islands consist of a rich array of natural beauty, musical sounds and heritage, and a multiplicity of activities for everyone young and old, strong or weak, to enjoy.
The beauty of the sparkling ocean view can be seen from countless vantage points generously sprinkled throughout the islands. One can wind through the islands on the different highways that are often established along the pristine beach lined edges of the island. It is a common occurrence to have the white capped ocean waves crashing along one edge of the highway and a lush green foliage filled mountain towering along the opposite edge. The sweet perfume like scent of plumeria flowers blow with the breeze in the day, while the soft smell of jasmine in the evening floats through an open window.
The hypnotizing sounds of the Hawaiian Islands express the heart and soul of the island culture. These melodic sounds can be heard everywhere on the islands. The coo-coo calls of doves and other birds alike are a constant piece of music in the air from the second the morning sun vibrantly rises, to the moment it quietly sinks into the ocean at night. The sounds of local musicians peacefully strumming their Ukuleles and softly singing the story of the leisurely island way of life float throughout the island in the whispering breeze. As a person strolls through one of the many peaceful parks located throughout the islands, the deep, rich, sounds of traditional Hawaiian Chanters share the respected story of the island’s ancestors through the musical stories that they vibrantly sing. The spellbinding music of the islands radiates throughout the many hills and valleys of the islands and down into the lulling sounds from the waves of the ocean as one walks along the warm water’s edge.
The Hawaiian Islands are filled with an abundance of leisure time activities. For someone who needs to rest a wearied body, one may rest casually on the warm sandy beaches while canopied by the fantastically blue sky and warmed by the welcomed sunshine. As the soft breeze cools and calms the mind and body, the rolling waves out in the distance hush any lingering troubled thoughts. For the young, and young at heart, the exhilaration that is felt while riding a wave on a surf board can make one feel, if only for a moment, that they have conquered something much more powerful then themselves. The mountains of Hawaii are a refuge for someone who is seeking a place filled with calm surrender. The grand, yet humble, mountains of Hawaii emanate a deep melancholy aura recognized by anyone who knows the stories of the struggles faced by the Hawaiian people who lived long ago, almost as though the ancestors who lived in them long ago are still crying for the loss of their land and their innocence. Hiking through the steep green filled mountains along the meandering streams and up to the magnificent waterfalls brings one to a natural state of introspection.
The Hawaiian Islands are a refuge of peace and serenity for many people. It is difficult for a person to find words to explain the many wonders of Hawaii. However, many express the captivating aura that beckons one to return to the islands and stays with them forever after they taste of the natural tropical island beauty, hypnotic musical sounds and heritage of the Hawaiian Islands, and the multiplicity of healing leisure time activities that Hawaii has to offer.
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