Friday, December 26, 2014

Hello, There!

This would be me, in all of my just-woken-up/bedhead-hair/pj-wearing glory... playing on my new laptop that I got for Christmas yesterday.
And howdy there! How was your Christmas? Mine was fabulous. I had such a wonderful day with my little family and today we have absolutely nothing on the docket. I have kind of cleaned the kitchen, and I have stared at some baskets full of laundry that need folding, but other than that I am enjoying the mess. I am eating candy all day (maybe I've turned into an elf), there are toys and scraps of wrapping paper all over my floor, and I want to take my Christmas tree down, but I love it all. Christmas is simply the best!
Can you believe a new year is upon us?! In one week it will be the second of January, and I will be in the midst of trying to keep my goals for the new year. I feel like I have done pretty well at New Year's Resolutions (when I make them, anyway) and I have several things I want to accomplish next year.
This year was wonderful. I learned so much and grew in ways I never imagined possible. I think that I have finally accepted the fact that life=trials. No matter who we are, no matter our circumstances, we will face hardship and trial. One of my goals this last year was to accept my trials and be happy despite them.  I feel like I have done a pretty good job at that. This year was one of the most emotion-filled and hardest years of my life (do I say that every year, or what?!). But I was still happy. I still enjoyed life and my family. I had fun with friends. I did exciting and new things. I was able to accomplish things that were difficult and challenging. I did it.
And next year, no matter what things are thrown my way, I will do it again. More updates to come. I have a little bit of catching up to do. But after that, I hope to get on a more regular blogging schedule again. It's just been a little crazy, as I'm sure you can imagine. But I love this blog and I am going to keep at it.
I hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright! Happy New Year, too :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Trip to Bear Lake, A Back to School Feast, and The First Day of School!

 Well, here's just a bunch of pictures from our last week of summer. Rachel and I decided we were going to take the kids up to Bear Lake for a few days the weekend before school started. I was so excited to do it because as I've mentioned many times, summer was CrAzY. School was so busy for both Andy and me, and our kids were neglected, and I just wanted to take them to have fun and relax and reward them for being so awesome and helpful all summer. 

Bear Lake is beautiful. Rachel's in-laws cabin is right on the beach, and it has it's own private beach access. The kids would just walk down to the water whenever they felt like it. We went canoeing in the freezing water, but didn't do much swimming. The kids played in the water from the beach and just had a good time with their cousins.

 We goofed around, played games, and relaxed. Here is 9 of the 10 kiddos between Rachel and myself.
 We napped a lot too. Here's baby Owen, #10. The oldest and the youngest are quite smitten with each other.

 And the two BFF's. They loved squirting stuff. We finally made them turn the hoses off when the grass was flooded.

 Me and my girl. I kept joking that I looked like a cancer patient with my head-wrap on. Pretty ironic that only one week later we were in the ER with Magnus.

 This cabin was built in the 60's or something like that and it is sweet. Totally awesome and retro.

 Of course we had to head over to La Beau's for fries and shakes.

 We tried to cook our hot dogs over a fire, but both Rachel and I have pretty pathetic fire-building skills. The microwave works just as well. It worked well for s'mores too ;)


Back To School Feast

Our theme for the year is "I Love to See the Temple"
 I wanted to focus the importance of temples and forever families this year. I wanted my kids to know my testimony of the temple. We were also getting ready to have the Ogden temple re-dedicated, so I just felt like a temple theme was very appropriate. It is also a special year for our family because Laylah gets to go to the temple in May when she turns 12. I am so excited for her.

I am so thankful for inspirations from a loving Heavenly Father. I am so thankful I was inspired to teach my children about and focus on temples this year. Forever families are one of my favorite things about the gospel. Especially after all that we have been through with Magnus over the last few months, the fact that we have a temple theme is especially sweet.

We had white balloons and white crepe paper (and my sweet sign! Haha) for decor, plus some beautiful flowers Rachel brought.

On the menu was steelhead trout, twice baked potatoes, Sarah salad, strawberries, and rolls. It was amazingly delicious.

 Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting finished off the evening nicely.

I taught the kids about the importance of temples and shared my testimony of temples. I also showed them THIS video. I first saw it in a YW lesson that my friend gave, and that's when I knew that I wanted our theme to be temple related so I could show my kids the video. I cry every time I watch it because I can feel the spirit so strong and just know that it is the truth.

We had a great little discussion afterwards and I felt so full of pride for my kids that I could just burst. They are all such amazing little spirits.

Bear Lake was a blast.

That is, until Monday morning when we were supposed to get up, clean up, pack up and head to Lagoon. I woke up with the worst case of vertigo I have ever had. I have gotten it occasionally, but never this bad. I couldn't move without the room spinning and twirling and tilting around me. Even when I closed my eyes I felt like I was in a washing machine. I was so sick to my stomach and literally wanted to die. Poor Rachel and Andy (who had come up Saturday evening to join us) had to do everything themselves while I lay on the couch wishing I were dead. Rachel suggested that a chiropractor could help (both she and my dad get vertigo as well, apparently it is a lovely inherited trait) so I made an appointment with one. The plan was we would meet my family at Lagoon, drop the kids off, and Andy would drop me at the chiropractor office, and I had arranged for a ride home from Rachel's mother-in-law (who could really be my mother-in-law too.... my kids even call her Grandma Val ;) Then he would go back up to spend the day with the kids while I went home and missed out on the all the fun and slept my misery away. 

Anyway, whatever the chiropractor did worked (after it made me want to throw-up everything I'd ever eaten), when I woke up around 10 PM, I felt a million times better. Rachel and Andy had both sent me some photos and I had fun getting to see how much fun the kids were having. 

Another crazy thing that happened that morning was that Magnus threw-up. I've mentioned that he has always had a weak stomach, so we weren't sure if this was just one of his weird episodes, or if he was really sick. We kept an eye on him all morning and he seemed fine by the time we dropped the kids off at Lagoon, so we let him go. He had so much fun. I'm glad he got to do it.

Anyway, kind of a crappy end to our fun trip, but I am still glad we got to go!

First Day of School!

On Thursday August 21st, the kids woke up bright and early to head to their first day of school! Laylah is in 6th (boo hoo, jr. high next year!), Jonah in 5th, Daphne in 3rd, and Baron in 1st. It is SO weird to have 4 kids at school all day. Magnus was supposed to have a first day of school too, but we pulled him out of his preschool after he was diagnosed. I have never sent any of my other kids to two years of preschool and was just doing it because I was worried he would be bored. But he has been fine. All of his therapy and appointments keep us busy enough! And he will go to preschool next year :)

Sweet new duds...

 We couldn't find any of Jonah's friends! I promise, he has some ;)

The kids all love their teachers, have loved being back in school, and are all doing amazing! They all got straight A's on their first report cards this week (except their was ONE B among them.... guess who ;) and we have Parent Teacher Conferences after school today, so then I'll get the real dirt ;)
Haha! Just kidding. My kids are awesome and I sure love them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Rest of Summer

 Oh, hey there! Remember how I wrote THIS post over two months ago and then THIS happened and my life has been a little bit crazy ever since (not that my crazy life is anything new.... it's just a different kind of crazy)?! Yeah, well, I am bound and determined to get this blog caught up and I am DOING it! Okay, so I ended my last summer recap right before the 24th of July...

The day I got home from Girl's Camp was actually the 24th. My dear friend Becca was in town visiting and her 2 girls came over to spend the evening with us. We have a huge neighborhood party/barbecue every year and then do fireworks in the cul-de-sac behind our house once it gets dark. Unfortunately Andy had to head to work, but the kids and I had fun watching them.
 I have said it before, but I adore our neighborhood. There are so many kids everywhere and everyone has someone to play with. The boys all have kids their age and they all get along famously.

 The Three Musketeers, so happy to be together again.

 Laylah and her friends.

 Awww, me and my date.

 One day I will master the art of taking a photo of fireworks exploding. Until then, here's a really crappy picture of a firework that either just exploded or is about to.

 I love and miss Becca so much! How ironic is this?... they lived in Wisconsin while her husband was attending dental school and when he finished he was offered a job in.... Virginia! What are the odds?! Well, I guess 1 in 50, but still.... I thought it was pretty crazy.

 Just a relaxing Sunday summer afternoon braiding each others hair... haha
 So, here's a funny story. Magnus (aka The Silent Assassin) was in his pajamas all day one day and that evening I decided to take the kids to Movie in the Park. I told Magnus to go get dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops, and then I went to find the other kids at their various friend's houses (Andy was home with M). When I got home, M was gone. Andy said Magnus had gone to find me in the circle. I started back to the circle and looked everywhere. No Magnus. I went house to house, ran over to check at the school playground by our house.... nothing. Finally I went and looked in our neighbors backyard and there he was, playing in the sandbox in the get-up you see above-- Jonah's boxer shorts, a sweatshirt, and rain boots. He is such  a crazy kid. I sure love him.

Anyway, we made it to the movie in the park. I let all the kids invite a friend (their parent's were okay with us squishing... so don't judge. I'm not the only irresponsible one ;) It was a fun night.

 This is just some delicious baked oatmeal recipe I found. I made it for dinner one night when I had nothing else to make because I hadn't been to the store in so long. I think the kids ate like 5 bites and deemed it disgusting. I literally ate this every morning for breakfast for almost 2 weeks until it was gone because nobody else would eat it. It was delicious! Crazy kids (and husband) ;)

 Our dear friends from VA, Ira and Eric, were in town for a couple days for a family member's funeral. We got together really late the night before their flight left to go home. They were so nice to squeeze us in. I just love them so much! We had a blast reminiscing and catching up.

 This was the Sunday I got released from Young Women's. It was a tear-filled day. I was so sad to be leaving that amazing organization. I love these girl's like my own. It was a wonderful 18 month learning and growing experience.

 This is my mom, her mom, and her siblings. My uncles live out of state (the one on the right lives out of country!) and we all have a little reunion every summer when they both come visit. I adore my mom's family. I adore all of my cousins on her side and am very close with them. It was a fun Sunday night with yummy food and great conversation.

 I love that these 3 boys, while so far apart in age, are so very close. They can all 3 play for hours together and I love it.

 Jonah has enjoyed Webelos this year. He has an amazing scout leader who helps SO much with all of the stuff they need to pass off. 

 Okay.... this guy passed his EMT course! I know I have mentioned in a previous post just how insane this summer was, but I remember the morning he came home from his last EMT class and I just felt relief that he was done. We celebrated with sugar. 

 It's so awesome when random crappy stuff happens (um, not). Andy was mowing the lawn and he thinks a rock must have gotten caught in the mower blade, and flipped out of the mower at a fast enough rate to shatter our back window. Lovely.

 We like to date. We go every week, and rarely ever miss. Laylah was so funny one night and did a little photo shoot of us as we were leaving :)

 A week and a half before school started we did our end-of-summer shopping trip for back to school clothes, shoes, and other supplies. We went to lunch and just had a fun day together.
 My conclusion to this fun day? Kids are expensive. They're fun too, so I suppose it's worth it :)

Laylah and Daphne have been taking riding lessons from my sister Kaylie for awhile now. I haven't mentioned it much, but I used to ride and do small competitions. I worked my bum off to pay for my lessons and competition fees because my parents were paying for dance so they told me I had to pay for riding if I wanted to do it. I'm so glad I did. It was a good life lesson that I had to work for things I really wanted. 

So my girls help take care of Luna when they go for lessons. I'm so glad they're learning. I would love to have a horse someday (in my dreams) so I'm glad they're learning young.

We have LOVED having Rachel live down the street. Our kids are almost always together. And it is so nice to be able to borrow something and not feel bad when I go over there for the 4th time that week because I'm out of something, haha. She is free to do the same for me, but she is more responsible so rarely has to... that's probably why I'm the little sister. These three boys play every day.

 I mentioned in my last summer post that we were heading to Bear Lake for our last summer hurrah the next morning. We did go and had so much fun. We did our Back to School Feast while we were there, so I will do that trip/feast recap in another post.

On the way home from Bear Lake we met up with my entire family at Lagoon. It was the Monday before school started. That also happened to be the morning that Magnus threw-up for the first time leading up to his tumor diagnosis. I was also sick that morning (I'll explain it all in my Bear Lake post) so Andy dropped the kids off with my parents and then took me to the doctor and then I had arranged for a ride home. He went back up to spend the rest of the day with the kids. At the time, we thought Magnus might have a virus (after he threw-up), but he was acting fine so we let him go to Lagoon. I am SO glad we did. He had so much fun and just loved it. I'm so glad he got that fun time with cousins before being in the hospital and having his life turned upside down.
 The rest of the kids had fun going on all of the big rides. I can't believe 4 of my 5 kids are so big and can even go on every ride! I love it! I was so sad to miss Lagoon this year, but there is always next year, right?

 This was the first time Jonah and Baron went on the Samarai. Daphne chickened out, haha. 

I was feeling better by Wednesday (the day before school started for the kids... my semester started that morning) and the girls and I had a little Girl's Day with my mom and Rachel and Ella. They all came and saw me at work to get their nails done, we went to lunch, and then did some last minute shopping. It was lots of fun! (Besides me still feeling a little sick, and also being in major pain because I had just found out that I needed a root canal that morning and my tooth was killing me)

We went home and did Father's blessings for everyone (even me!), divided up all of our back-to-school loot, put supplies in backpacks, chose first day of school outfits, and got all ready to go!

School is here!

Actually, it's been in for over 2 months. But with my life the way it's been, I feel like school just started. I feel like I am kind of stuck in a time warp and that everything that has happened since M's diagnosis has just barely happened. It is weird. I have read of that happening to people who experience a tragedy or a  huge life change like we did. But that's why I finally decided to update this blog the best I can. I need to get on with life! Because it is moving on whether I like it or not.

So anyway, the kids had a great first day. That will be another post. We had a crazy, crazy summer with a crazy, crazy ending, but it ended just the same (and thank goodness. It was most definitely NOT one of my favorite summers). And at least now I documented it!

Over and out.