Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Caring Voices

Ok, I know I didn't follow through on Graci's picture post, but I promise I will soon. It's a long post, so I've been trying to carve out a bit of time...

But I just HAD to post today and say how extremely grateful I am for Caring Voices Coalition.

Graci's last ECHO showed that the drug she had been taking for the last little while wasn't having any effect on her pulmonary hypertension. Her cardiologist wanted to try a different drug, and said he would work on approving it through our insurance. I got a call from the insurance last week that said it was approved, but with a very high copay. The lady I spoke to asked if I had heard of Caring Voices (I hadn't) and told me to give them a call to see if Graci might qualify for assistance.

Fast forward to today. I just received a message from CVC. We have been approved for a grant to cover the entire amount of our copay through 2011. That would be $5,113.00.

Holy cow.

Feeling so grateful...


Good Advice...

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”


Saturday, October 23, 2010


More on this picture tomorrow!

Friday, October 22, 2010

2nd place...

Me: "Thank you for choosing me to do your homework with."
Jesi: "I was going to choose mom, but she was asleep."
Me: "Oh."
Jess: "Did you know you can't choose people who are asleep to do homework with? So I haved'd to choose you!"

Thanks, Jess. At least I know where I stand...



Saturday, October 16, 2010

What am I going to do with her???

Elli knows how to wreak havoc on our home. Today she seemed to be making even more messes than usual, including chewed up crayons in the carpet and some especially sweet diapers. I had finally had enough, and piled the kids in the van to run some errands-- mostly so I could keep her strapped in for awhile. (: Our first stop was Walmart. On the way out I bought the kids ice-cream cones from the McDonald's inside. The kids are very good at not verbalizing when they have "treats," as they know Elli will want them if she knows. (Our girl has a sweet tooth!) I bought her a shake-- so I could feed it to her and she would stay clean, and we all got buckled in the car. Jesi handed Xander her cone so she could get buckled. He was sitting next to Elli.

I'm not sure how she realized he had ice-cream. Did she smell it?? Accidentally touch it? ? All I know is that Xander and Jesi both started shrieking like they were being stung by a swarm of bees. Elli had found the cones. She was grabbing at the ice-cream and shoving it in her face as fast as she could. We're talking handfuls of soft-serve ice-cream. Xander couldn't do anything because he was buckled in. He was holding them as far away as he could, but Elli is smart and strong. I wish you could have seen her determined little face as she shoveled the ice-cream in. By the time I got out and rescued the cones, ice-cream was eveywhere. I was laughing so hard I started to snort, which made me laugh even harder.

Why do I even try with this girl??? Needless to say, Walmart was our last stop.

Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."

We laugh a lot around here!

We cry once in awhile too.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Every Day!

As I read Christi's post of a few minutes ago, I found it sad that she feels guilty. She says "I’m really feeling overwhelmed at how many people are blessing my life while I’m giving so little back." I want to remind her of something I pointed out a couple of days ago. It was after she called me and told me about what an incredible angel Heather was to come over and help out, unasked and not expecting anything in return. I told Christi: "You do that EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE!" So don't forget it, sweetheart. Truly we are blessed. I am SO grateful for the many wonderful things that many wonderful people continue to do for us. But don't forget what you do for some pretty special kids every day.

By the way, the effort, responsibility and work that goes into rearing a family like ours falls much more on Christi's shoulder's than mine. Her work load has increased way more than mine through this process. I guess I'm giving up a 4-wheeler or something, but, seriously, Christi is giving so, so, so much of her life for our family. Thanks, dear:)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Late night ramblings...

After finishing the previous post, I was sitting here reflecting on today and was just overwhelmed with gratitude for my many blessings. I have found that if I am looking, there are so many tender mercies sent by the Lord just for me. It might be as simple as the beautiful sunset that I watched tonight as we were eating dinner. Or as big as the phone call I received from the photographer who took Graci’s pictures on her “Star Raising” night, telling me that she felt led to give us a discount (HALF PRICE) on the photos I ordered yesterday. This call was received after struggling all morning with feelings of “buyers remorse,” knowing that we didn’t have money for photos right now. Thank-you, Kathryn! These tender mercies also came in the way of getting to spend time with the beautiful young women in my ward and being uplifted by the friendship of the women I serve with. They came in two little girls knocking at our door asking for donations for Primary Children’s Hospital and me being reminded how grateful I am that none of my children are there right now. They came in Elli going potty at school three days in a row—YAY! They came in getting through an entire day without major pain from the shingles.

I’m just feeling very blessed! And very undeserving. I’m not just saying that to sound all humble either. I’m really feeling overwhelmed at how many people are blessing my life while I’m giving so little back. For example, I have my “adoption shower” coming up on Saturday. I am SOOO excited, and yet I feel almost guilty for having one. I can’t really figure out why—I just do! Maybe because they’re not babies? I don’t know… My friend asked me to register at Target. I’ve never registered for anything before—and really didn’t even know how to do it. When I got there, they gave me “the gun” that you scan your “wanted items” with. I felt so silly walking around going, “I want this! Give me this!” First of all, I almost always buy things on sale—usually clearance. When you try to scan those things, it tells you that there is a limited number and to choose something else. So I felt uncomfortable scanning things that were full-price. It was fun, but after I was done, I almost just wanted to erase it all. I want people to know that I would be grateful for anything—I love hand-me-downs! I don’t know… it’s just I realize that it’s a hard time for people right now and I don’t want them to think I feel entitled to nice things. Anyway… I’m just rambling at this point. I’m just so grateful for what is being done for me and I want others to know how much it means to me.

Thank you, everyone.


October 6, 2010 4:00 pm- 5:00 pm

I was going to do “a day in the life” post, but realized it would be much too long, so I opted for an hour instead. And here it is, a typical hour of my life:

Help Taylor type his newspaper article.
Judge horse races between cowgirl Jesi and cowboy Xander.
Give Jesi my condolences after she announces that her horse died. (This would be her stick horse.)
Try not to smile as she pretends to cry dramatically.
Help Graci with math problem.
Help Xander spell “sorry your horse died” on a picture he drew for Jessica.
Watch Jesi hug Xander tightly after she opens his note.
Think how glad I am that our kids usually get along like this.
Fold half of a huge load of laundry while quizzing Graci on spelling words.
Tell Jesi that, no, she can’t set up a lemonade stand because among other things, it’s raining outside.
Get Elli off the bus.
Remind kids to finish chores.
Cuddle Elli.
Give in to Elli’s pleas for candy corn.
Give in to Taylor’s plea to have a friend over.
Fold the other half of laundry.
Listen to Xander explain to me that Jesi is selling juice outside.
Tell Xander to fetch Jesi.
Listen to Jesi explain that she was obeying me, because she didn’t sell lemonade, she sold juice!
Put clean clothes away with Xander’s help.
Listen to the fun sounds of my boys playing with friends.
Listen to them groan as they come upstairs and ask what stinks.
Realize that Elli is VERY messy.
Change a diaper.
Shut my bedroom door so friends won’t see the mess that is my bedroom.
Listen to Elli’s screams.
Listen to Elli’s giggles.
Listen to Elli’s screams.
Get a hug from Parker.
Eat a granola bar.
Praise Graci for getting her chores done.
Walk in the kitchen to find an absolute MESS.
See that Jesi has dirtied eight cups and used up a full jug of apple juice.
Assess the mess on the counter and try to figure out how many kids made their own after-school snacks and whether or not I should embarrass them in front of their friends by asking them to come and clean it up.
Decide to let it go.
Eat another granola bar.
Try not to look aggravated as I see Jesi smile sweetly at me from the table, with cinnamon toast she has made for herself.
Kiss Jeremy as he walks in.
Explain to Jeremy that the kitchen had been clean before the kids came home.
Grimace as I realize I'm walking barefoot on a floor covered with sugar.
Yearn for the 5,000th time for a bigger kitchen.
Try to talk myself into feeling blessed with the one I have.
Smile as I see Jer take pictures of Jesi and her toast with his cell phone.

Giggle as I realize that’s the outfit she was “selling juice” in.
Ask Jer to take pics of the kitchen while he's at it.

Give in to Elli’s screams and pick her up and sing to her.
Look in the fridge and try to figure out what I can throw together for dinner.
Give up on the fridge and turn to the freezer.
Find some honey-glazed chicken I had bought on sale and some fruit to make smoothies.
Congratulate myself that it will be an easy dinner night.

And that about does it. Do you want to hear 5:00-6:00?

Just kidding. (:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Daddy Daughter Campout

Graci is quite the girl. She loves to tease me. She will often act very stand-offish and act as though she couldn't care less about her old man. She loves to call me "Dude" instead of Dad. At other times she will show her love for me in various ways. She has become more and more willing to give hugs the longer she has been with us (seems like a reasonable thing). One way in which she has always shown me that she loves me is by wanting time. She loves to be read to, play games, whatever, as long as one of her parents is spending time with her. She is also very sensitive to other kids having more parent-child time than she does. So the father/son campouts I go on with the boys are sometimes difficult for her. (There are various reasons she can't come on some of our activities, the main one being that we sometimes go on serious hikes that would not work for her. We do try to involve her as often as possible.)

This summer, we decided to add a daddy-daughter campout to our schedule. A few weeks ago, Jesi, Graci and I went to a beautiful site in the Utah west desert. It is called Clover Spring Campground. It is very out of the way, and there was only one other group camping there that night. The girls were very helpful in getting camp set up. We got there just in time to set up our tent with some light left. Then we made a campfire and cooked hot dogs and s'mores for dinner. Our campsite was perfect. It was just the right size for the three of us. There was a beautiful little river running right by, so we were able to fall asleep to it's charming sound. Someone had built a rope swing from a tree right on our site. We all loved it! In the morning we were able to go on a little hike and see the spring. It is quite amazing to see so much water just coming up out of the ground.

Camping with the girls was quite a different experience than camping with the boys. For example...

Graci was fine with the dark...as long as I was with her. Right with her. As in, she wouldn't go in to the glorified outhouse by herself. Nor would she let me enter said outhouse by myself. Too scary outside in the dark. Fortunately, the outhouse was fairly large, and two of us could stand facing the other way while one poor soul used the facilities. The ginormous, crab-like spider clinging to the roof of the outhouse was certainly no help in this regard.

Jesi is very feminine. She is not afraid to get dirty or to have fun, but there is just an air of femininity to everything she does that puts a very different spin on the whole camping experience.

Here are a few quotes from the trip (these are separate quotes, not related to each other):

Jesi: "Look! I found a rock that was made from the world! You want to feel it? Now you know what the world feels like. Well, the top of the world."

Me: "Graci, do you know what plural means?"
Graci: "Yeah, it's dat thing dat a orchestra makes."
Me: "What?"
Graci: "Dat thing dat a orchestra makes!"
Me: "That thing that an orchestra makes?"
Graci: "No! Not orchestra--ostra! Dat thing dat is in da ocean. Like a shell, and it makes a round plural."
Me: "Oh...you mean an oyster that makes a pearl."
Graci: "Yeah!"

Jesi: "This is the bestest daddy date ever."

Graci (as we're putting away the tent): "Mommy call you a clean freak about tent!" (Thanks, Christi:)

Jesi: "Dad, you're the bestest dad ever. I wouldn't sell you for anything!"
Me: "Thanks, Jess."
Jesi (in all sincerity): "You're welcome!"

Jesi (watching me type some of these quotes into my Blackberry so I wouldn't forget them): "Who are you texting?" I had no idea she even knew what texting was! She's only seven, for crying out loud. Someone has got to slow down this whole growing up process. I like them where they are right now!

The girls on the way there:

Graci pretending she's asleep in the back seat:

Jesi, before she knows she's being photographed:

Jesi, after she knows:)

Enjoying the campfire:

The rope swing was a big hit:

Graci helps cook breakfast:

We take a short hike:


It was truly a delightful trip. The daddy-daughter campout will definitely become an annual tradition. I have awesome kids:)


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Everyone needs a Heather...

Friday morning I woke up in a daze. Pain from the shingles had kept me up late into the night, and the meds I had just begun taking had left me exhausted. I felt like I had just taken a sleeping pill and yet I had to get all the kiddos off to school. Jeremy had been in Miami all week and was coming home that night. I had so much to do, but after I got the oldest four off to school, I felt like I couldn’t do anything, so I basically sat on the couch in a fog feeling quite sorry for myself wondering how I was going to make it through the day. After awhile, the doorbell rang. I thought about ignoring it, as I looked quite awful and my house looked worse. But then I thought it was probably just a neighbor wanting to play with Xander, so I went to the door and found her:

I shouldn’t have been surprised that my friend, Heather, was standing there with a bouquet of flowers and a bag of cute hand-me-downs for Lexi. Heather is just like this. She has an uncanny way of knowing exactly when I need her. (I'm thinking it has something to do with how close she is to the Spirit!) We haven’t lived in the same town for 7-8 years, but she hunts me down wherever I am. Sometimes it’s a package in the mail, sometimes it’s a phone call—but she is always there at just the right time.

Heather knew from my blog that I wasn’t feeling well. She came in and asked me what I had wanted to get done that day. I told her I had wanted to go to Target, clean my house, do laundry, and finish some projects I had started for Jeremy, BUT that I felt like I couldn’t move. So she stood up and started right in on my kitchen, insisting that I sit down and do a “low-energy” project. I would have been a bit mortified if it had been someone else, but H has a way of making me feel like I'm the greatest person on the planet, even when I'm not, and that there's nothing else she'd rather be doing than picking up my garbage and scrubbing my floors.

By the time Heather left a couple of hours later, I felt like a different person. Having a head start on my house gave me the drive to get it done. I finished almost everything I had wanted to that day, and felt a thousand times happier than I had that morning. If Heather hadn’t of shown up, Jeremy would have come home to a crying wife and a very messy house. Instead, we had a great night together in a nice, happy home.

A couple of hours from an angel made the whole weekend so much better for my entire family.

I love you, Heather! I am so blessed to call you my friend!