Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Jer and I were phenomenally blessed to be able to go on a week long trip to Mexico earlier this month.  Even as I type this, it seems like a far away dream!!  We had not been on this long of a vacation together for 9 years, and it felt sooooo good.  Earlier this year, Jeremy won a travel card at work that helped us pay for a Disneyland trip for the family, and it also helped finance this trip for us.  (:

We are so thankful to my parents for watching the kids for the first two days, and for Jeremy's cousin, Chelsea, and her mom (Jer's aunt) Debbie, for watching them the rest of the time.  It was no easy task, and I should know!  (:  I tried to make it a week that wasn't packed full of stuff, and I tried to be organized and do the grocery shopping and laundry and homework projects and everything ahead of time.  Still, as they later said, "We had NO idea!!"  I was a bit relieved that it wasn't just a cakewalk for them, watching these 8 kiddos of mine.  If it was, I would feel like I was doing something wrong, because it's certainly not a cakewalk for me!  (:  Anyway, a huge, huge thank you for providing us with such a perfect vacation.  And much gratitude to our older kids, who were extremely helpful while we were gone.  We missed them!  (But not too much.  :)

Cozumel was paradise.  It was a much needed time for us to catch up as a couple and fall in love again.  We had a perfect blend of rest and adventure.  Jeremy talked me into going scuba diving while we were there.  I was terrified.  It sounded so claustrophobic and scary.  It took me weeks to warm up to the idea, and I finally consented to a trial dive.  Cozumel is a world famous place to dive.  In fact, it seemed that everybody on the island had come there for the diving.  You have to be certified to go lower than 45 feet, so that's as low as we went.  When I first got in the water and tried breathing with the scuba gear, I hated it.  I felt like I couldn't breathe.  I totally panicked and was about to just get out of the ocean.  But our divemaster would have no such thing.  He just calmly led me through the steps and before I knew it, I was underwater.  I didn't like the first dive AT ALL.  I didn't know it at the time, but it was mostly because my mask was super fogged up.   Somehow, Jeremy talked me into doing a second dive, this time with a new divemaster.  He was so much better than the first and made me feel much more at ease.  And... I LOVED it!  It was so amazing.  I have been snorkeling several times (and LOVE it.)  This was like snorkeling on steroids.  Amazing!  I liked it enough that we went on a third dive, and even signed up for a fourth dive, but it was cancelled due to weather.  We both are so excited (and I'm still a little scared) to go again someday.  (:  (:  (:

We also swam with dolphins, had a romantic dinner alone on the beach, rented a jeep and drove around the island, toured Tulum (Mayan ruins), shopped, watched a sea lion show, went night snorkeling (out by ourselves in the dark ocean-- fun!), ordered room service every single morning and ate it on our balcony, napped in our hammock, discovered our favorite drink (virgin strawberry margaritas with lime), watched romantic movies, had massages and pedicures at the spa, enjoyed our huge jacuzzi, went to a local church (we just LOVED that), ate five thousand quesadillas, and read our books sitting out on the beach.  I kept trying to take mental pictures so I could go back to that relaxing state when I got home.  Ahhhhh....

 I love you, Cozumel!

Dinner on the beach

I loved that hammock!

My favorite pic!

A fire show at our hotel
Love those photos you take by yourself...

view from our balcony

Ready for my first dive!  Can you tell I'm deathly scared?!!

This is the life

At Tulum

   If you look closely, you'll see the picture we're holding is of the sunrise coming through the ruins directly in back of us.  Our guide insisted we take a picture of our profiles, holding this picture. Kind of funny.

Did I mention how much I loved that hammock?
Sad to leave!

I love this guy!

Something that makes me smile...

I mentioned that Sophi "reads" braille, but did I tell you she's brilliant with Lexi's cane?  She loves going from room to room with it.  Did you notice the underwear?  Yes, we are trying to potty train.  Fun times!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sophi Quotes

Me:  Who do you love, Sophi?

Sophi:  Sophi!

Me:  Mommy loves Sophi!  Who do YOU love?

Sophi:  Sophi!

Me:  Do you love Mommy?

Sophi:  I love Sophi!  Cuz I too cute!


Sophi:  I want make up!

Me:  You want make up?

Sophi:  Yes.  I want pretty eyes!

I put makeup on her, and she looks in mirror.

Sophi:  I is pretty!  I want sit by Cole now!  (Cole is Parker's best friend and Sophi's biggest crush)


On the way to Primary Children's, you have to drive onto the University of Utah's campus.  (They are BYU's biggest rivalry.)  I don't know why, but completely out of the blue and the second we drove onto their campus, Sophi started chanting, "BYU!  BYU!  BYU!"  I still am getting a kick out of it.  How could she know where we were???


Me:  Sophi, Mommy loves you soooo much!

Sophi:  You love ME?  Ohhhhhhh.  Good!


While watching me dress Elli:

Sophi:  Oh, Elli have feet? 

Me:  Yes, Elli has feet.

Sophi:  And Elli have hands?

Me:  Yes, Elli has hands?

Sophi: Both?

Me:  Yes, Elli has both.

Sophi:  Ohhhhhh.  I have feet hands!


Today Jesi had an appointment at Primary Children's.  I had to bring Sophi with, and she was being very distracting during the visit.  Luckily, the physician was enamoured with her and not bothered at all.  At one point, she gave her a roll of stickers to play with .  Sophi peeled them off one by one and put them on my shirt.  I wasn't really paying attention to the whole thing-- just happy that she was finally being quiet while I was visiting with the physician.  By the end, I had at least fifteen brightly colored stickers on my shirt.  All along the top part of my chest, if you get my drift.

I totally didn't even think about the fact that I had all those stickers on my shirt, and proceeded to run errands the rest of the day.  Don't ask me how I didn't notice them. I chatted with the guys at the Smith's checkstand, ran kids here and there, visited with acquaintances, etc.  All without a coat or jacket on.   It wasn't until I went to pick up Lexi and Xander from "sports camp" (an adaptive camp for kids with special needs) that I realized people were staring at my shirt.

Um, oops.

I love being a mother.  (:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time Out and the person I would most like to meet!

So my gem of a husband came up to me a few months ago with a flyer I had gotten in the mail for a Time Out for Women conference to be held in November.  He handed it to me and said, "I think you ought to get a hotel with your friends and go!"

Enough said.  (:

You may remember Heather from my "everyone needs a Heather" post.  She's also the author of my favorite blog and one of my bestest friends.  But have you met Kim and Vanessa yet???  These three girls have brought me so many smiles and laughs and good times in the last eleven years.  They flew out to visit me TWICE while I lived in Tennessee and have been with me through the good, bad, and ugly.

I LOVE them.

We had a great time at the conference, came back to our hotel, where Vanessa starting throwing free scarves and sweaters and hats our way (she sells them), stayed up WAY too late (4:30 a.m.), laughed, shared advice,  and filled each others' buckets.  I don't know what I would do without friends like these.

I probably shouldn't mention, because I'll seem TOO spoiled, that Jeremy offered to let me stay an additional night in the hotel.  BY MYSELF.  I don't think he thought I would accept, but I sure did!  That meant he got all 8 kiddos to 9:00 church by himself.  I'll give him a pass on the girls' hairdos.  (:

I slept and slept and slept some more, read my scriptures, and ate ALONE.  It was nice.  It was needed.  (:  Sunday afternoon I drove a few blocks and stopped at the first church I came to and went inside.   LDS churches in Utah typically have wards (congregations) that meet at 9:00, 11:00, and 1:00 (all for three hours) so I knew it was likely that there would be a Sacrament meeting I could attend.  (Of course, it was 1:00 after all that sleeping!)

So, don't lose me here...

A few days before, Parker had asked me if I could meet anyone in the world, who it would be.  He chose President Monson (president of our church and a prophet of God.)  I told him that was a great choice, but that I would have to choose Jeffrey R. Holland.  He is in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and one of my favorite people in the entire world, even though I've never met him.  My dad got to meet him a few months ago and I was pretty darn jealous.

You can see him HERE and HERE.  I LOVE the second one.  (Go ahead and watch-- you don't have to be a member of this church to enjoy these messages ;)

Anyway, that afternoon as I prayed before leaving for church, I remembered the talk given by Brad Wilcox, in which he shared an experience where he was struggling with his testimony.  He told of asking, "God, are you there?  And do you know me?"  I found myself asking those same questions during that prayer.  Does He know the desires of my heart?  Not that I didn't know, just that I love getting reassurance now and then.  (:

So anyway, I sat down in the chapel and waited for the meeting to start.  A sweet lady came and sat by me and we began to visit.  Then the meeting started.  The brother presiding over the meeting mentioned, "We'd like to recognize so-and-so (naming three men) who are on the stand with us presiding at this meeting."  I recognized one as a general authority of our church and assumed the other three to be as well.  (I know I'm losing you here if you're not LDS.  Just bear with me.)

Then he continued to say how grateful he was for the presence of so-and-so (naming two other men and their wives) who have served as general authorities in the past.

At this point, I turn to the sister sitting next to me and whisper, "Just HOW MANY general authorities do you have in this ward?"  She laughed and said, "Well, besides the 6 men they mentioned, we have Elder Holland."

I was like, "You have got to be kidding.  He's the one person in the world I want to meet more than anyone else!"  I remembered my prayer from just minutes before and thought, "Of course God knows me!  He sent me to Elder Holland's ward!!" (:  It was just like a little wink from heaven.  By the way, there happen to be over 28,000 LDS wards.  Not sure how many in Utah, but a pretty high number.  So it really is pretty cool to randomly show up where I did.

But, alas, Elder Holland wasn't there that day.  Apparently he's too busy serving people all around the world to be at his own ward every single Sunday.  (:

Maybe another time...  (:  I still felt loved.   (And I may be stalking that particular congregation!)

A perfect weekend.  Thank you, honey.

(The first picture is with Brad Wilcox, one of my favorite speakers ever.  He's like a big teddy bear and has been since I first met him as a young teenager.   He hugs everyone he meets and is just full of the light of Christ. The second picture is with Hillary Weeks.  She is basically AMAZING.  She and Heather are neighbors and friends.  (Makes me feel kind of cool, to know someone she knows.  Ha.)  You can see one of her videos HERE.  So good.  Her newest album is #6 in the Christian music charts.  The video also has footage of two other ladies that were at the event, one who almost died in a plane crash (you've likely heard of Nie Nie) and one whose family was killed in the wars in Africa.  Both inspirational.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Lexi knows that she is blind.  But what does that mean, exactly?  Does she have any concept of what sight is?  Does she understand the implications of sight?

I often wonder.

Lexi accepts her blindness, but is very excited about the healing that will someday take place for her.  She tells everyone that when she gets to heaven, Jesus is going to fix her eyes. (Of course, when Lexi passes away, she will probably immediately be healed, without Jesus physically healing her, but she has decided this is going to be a big, special event in heaven.) A few days ago, Lexi asked me if she could sit in my lap when Jesus fixed her eyes.  I said, "Yes, you can sit in my lap.  That would be very special."  She then asked if I would hold her hand, and went on to explain that she was scared that it was going to hurt.  I reassured her that it wouldn't be painful.  I said, "Jesus will just put His hands over your eyes, like this (I put my hands over her eyes) and when He takes them away, you will be able to see."  (I'm not sure that's exactly how it will happen, but it's got to be something like that, right?)   (:

Lexi was very happy about this, and has shown at least a couple of people how Jesus is going to heal her.  She gets very giddy just talking about it.

Tonight, Lexi tripped on something in the living room and fell against a bookshelf.  She wasn't hurt badly, but she was crying hard, and wailed, "I can't walk when the floor is messy!"

That about broke our hearts.  Just try walking around your house right now blindfolded-- it's pretty scary!  I tried for less than a minute after her fall and my heart just ached for her and Elli and their daily struggles.  I will often remind my other kids to do the same, just to help remind us all to put our things away.

Tonight as I was tucking her into her bed, I was just overcome with how much I love this beautiful, special girl.  It's been almost a year since she joined our family and I can't believe her grasp of English, her resiliency, her happy demeanor, and her pure testimony of Jesus Christ.  As I kissed her goodnight, she said, "Mommy, can I fix my eyes?"  I said, "No, sweetie, only Jesus can fix your eyes."  She replied, "But I know how!  I just have to go like this," and proceeded to put her hands over her eyes.

Such childlike faith.

I have no doubt that it is faith enough to be healed now, if it is His desire for her. 

I love that sweet Lexi of mine.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Science Fair Help ADDENDUM

Wow!  Thank you so much for your input-- it has helped a TON!   Keep it coming, please!!

Ok, so this is the deal-- we need more MALES to watch the video.  We are getting a disproportionate number of females/males and we need them to be equal.  So... ask your sons and hubbies, if you don't mind.  (:

A big thanks from Graci and Taylor!  (:

Science Fair Help

It's my favorite time of year again--  science fair!  This year I get to help THREE kids put together their science fair project.  Lucky, lucky me!  (;

Graci and Taylor are requesting your help in their projects.  First of all, for Graci's project, if you could watch a short video and then leave a comment with the answer to the last question it asked, that would be sooo helpful!  Please state if you are male or female, as she is investigating whether gender affects the results of the test.  You can have family members take it too, if you feel so inclined to help even more!  (:

The video is HERE.

Secondly, Taylor is investigating the Birthday Paradox.  If you could just leave a comment in the comment box with the birthdates (without the year) of you and your family members, it would help tremendously.

The more participants, the better.  (:

Thank you, wonderful readers!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Parker!

I am 100% convinced that there is not a better boy in the world than our Parker. If you know him well, you know what I mean. Parker is not only athletic, funny, super smart, cool, and talented in so many areas, he is also generous, kind, spiritual, and so tenderhearted. He has always amazed us with the love he shows his siblings. Often, when he can sense me getting frazzled or frustrated, he will quietly step in and help. I don’t think a day goes by that he doesn’t offer to do something for me. He is protective of all of his little siblings. Every day after school, he picks Lexi up from her 1st grade classroom and walks her down the street a block to the place I pick the kids up. He does this despite the fact that his friends are running ahead of him, horsing around and having fun. And he has never once complained about it. That’s the kind of brother he is.

Parker’s birthday was yesterday. He chose a fried egg sandwich, sausage, raspberries, and mangoes for his breakfast in bed. After I sent the kids to school, I got thinking about how Parker had not-so-subtly hinted several times that he really wanted to stay home on his birthday. We had told him that no, he couldn’t miss school for his birthday. But I got to thinking about how happy it would make him and I decided to go pull him out before lunch. When I checked him out, he had a huge grin on his face. We came home and ate fettuccini alfredo together (his favorite food), played a game, and then cuddled and watched TV while Sophi napped. Best afternoon for both of us! I could do that every day!! Parker has declared that it MUST become an annual tradition. (:

Parker had his friend party tonight. He has such good friends-- I am so grateful! I took them all to the rec center to swim and play basketball. Then we picked up pizza and came to the house. Parker wanted warm pie and ice cream instead of cake. After they ate, they were hanging out in the living room just being boys. I was in the kitchen cleaning up, and after a few minutes, in came Parker to ask me if I needed any help. I think he’s going to make some girl VERY happy someday.

We love you, our wonderful Parker Matthew Green, more than we can ever say. Happy 11th birthday!