Daily Life, Uncategorized

Balance and Band

This. This was my day.

I did get stuff done. Not much. But the kids are all alive and fed and got to school, activities, friends and work. So there’s that. And I got a short nap with the youngest. She fought it, I didn’t. It was nice. I didn’t eat Oreos though.

I went to my son’s choir and band concert that night as well. I do like going. They are very good. They won seven first place trophies last weekend on their band tour. I am proud of them. They even made it on the news in Utah while singing in the capitol building.

The junior high concert is Wednesday. Alex will be going to that one while I stay home with the kids. Maybe I’ll make Michael babysit while I go with Alex. That’s a better plan.

My daughter plays the saxophone and the teacher needs someone to play the oboe. My daughter volunteered to switch instruments for next year. The main reason is so that she doesn’t have to carry the heavy saxophone. But as the jazz band played last night she was regretting her decision because the oboe isn’t in the jazz band. I asked her why she wanted to play jazz. “Did you hear that music?! It was amazing!” Then the symphonic band played and the girl who played an awesome saxophone solo was then playing the clarinet. My daughter’s face when she realized she could do both was priceless. If anyone can do it, she can.

I watched all the kids playing such beautiful and fun songs and I thought how much they had accomplished. I’d seen a lot of those kids since they were in kindergarten and younger and now they are all growing up. It is fun to watch.

With eight kids, I’ll be going to concerts and games and programs for years to come. I look forward to every minute of it.

Daily Life

It was Such a Long Day

Yesterday was busy and productive but one that no one really fully appreciates. I cleaned literally all day. I did laundry from 7 a.m. until I put the last load in the dryer at 9:40 p.m. not only did I wash it all, I folded it all and put it away. I organized the kids drawers and closets. I gathered all the garbage. I took stuff out of the house that has been taking up space for months. I prepped dinner. I was on fire! Why? Because my baby entertained herself pretty much the whole day. Usually she is glued to my side and begging to be held or fed or her show isn’t working or she wants chocolate or hot chocolate or she wants to go somewhere. She is only two and is beyond adorable but it was nice to be able to work constantly and mostly uninterrupted for a change.

This showed up on my feed this morning. So true. I’m guessing today will be more of an Oreo day. But not really. I need to wash all the kids bedding. And mop. And the cabinets could use a good wipe down. It will all get done eventually.

Alex came home last night and we were both just exhausted from the day. By the way, I walked over 2.5 miles hatreds just cleaning my house. That makes me laugh a bit. But anyways, we were tired. I had the kids clean up after dinner because I was dinner and they needed to do it. Alex and I went and sat down and decided to watch October Sky. The kids enjoyed it, too. I had different kids in my lap the whole movie. Years the end I had three of them smashed on me. It was a bit much but they won’t be little for much longer so I let them sit and snuggle.

Well, good luck with your day. I’ve got to get started on mine.

Daily Life, Thoughts

When it Shakes You Up a Little

Yesterday my kids said it was such a great day. I am so glad that for them it was. They had fun, played, went to school, went to watch their brother play soccer, play video games, go to other extra activities and in general be kids. Untouched by tragedy or fear.

Yesterday was a hard day for Eastern Idaho. It started in the morning and just kept going. On my newsfeed a live newscast of a school shooting in Rigby, Idaho was going on. I watched hoping my niece and nephew were okay because they go to that school. I felt for the parents who didn’t know of their kids were okay. I felt for the poor little girl who had to have been going through some seriously hard times to have resorted to such drastic measures. I felt for her family. I was heartbroken for the whole thing. It put a huge damper on the day. Miraculously the two kids and adult all survived.

The day wasn’t over yet.

Later I checked the newsfeed and there was a car on fire that had been hit by a train. We drove by the wreckage on our way home as it happened just a couple miles south of where we live. Turns out it was my friend’s brother. He is in the ICU struggling for his life now with burns, lacerations, and hopefully no internal bleeding. I added them and their family to my constant prayers.

The day wasn’t over.

When I got home after checking the newsfeed (maybe I should stop doing that) there was more bad news. There is a bridge about two miles from my house that people like to jump off from and into the river. Usually college students from the local university. Every. Single. Year. Every year without fail since we’ve been here one or two people drown. Yesterday three young men in their 20’s jumped into the river but only two came out. Last I heard they hadn’t found his body.

All these tragedies were avoidable. Poor choices. I was aching emotionally and mentally just couldn’t take it anymore. I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I couldn’t handle it anymore, I told him, “I can’t do it, they are in your hands.” Immediately I hear in my mind, “They have always been in my hands.”

They have always been in my hands.

Heavenly Father

I started to tear up. It was true. God is aware of all that was going on that day. I thought on that and it applies to all of us. We are always in his hands.

Lauren asked me that night after I told my kids the story, “How do you know it was God talking?” I gave her my standard reply, “God and me, we talk. All the time.”

So even though it was a rough day and there will be more rough days to come, always remember God is in control, pray, hug your family, and be grateful for all of your blessings.

Daily Life

Final Push to Summer

Good grief we’ve been busy. The weather is finally warming up and that means more work. That’s fine, it’s nice to get outside.

Friday morning I worked on the front yard and got it all cleaned up. Alex brought home a weed wacker so we could get the edges trimmed up. He got that done in quick order. Then on Saturday I had the big boys help me clean up the back corner of the yard under the lilac tree. It was a big garbage dump. Well, not actually, though some garbage was present. It had been a dumping ground for old grass, straw, some chicken manure, twigs, etc. It was just a disaster. The boys were such a big help in shoveling and bagging it all up and putting it in the truck. Alex and I then turned over all the soil and leveled it a bit. I was thinking I should just get sod to go over it but maybe I’ll try my hand at seeding the grass myself. If it doesn’t work then I’ll get sod. I’m excited to use that corner. We never have really, it’s always been an overwhelming mess. There is still al lot to clean up but it is just wood that we ate going to burn and cook dinner on every opportunity we can until it is cleaned up.

Alex and I also talked about trees a lot this weekend. We have ten aspens in our yard. They are big, messy, and honestly only look good for about a month. They have a fungus that turns the leaves black less than halfway through the summer and they look pretty bad. And they send up thousands of suckers (baby trees) all over the yard that we have to mow down a couple times a week. I will miss the shade for few years but it needs to be done. The best time to plant a tree will always be ten years ago. We’ll do the best we can.

We didn’t spend the whole weekend doing yard work. On Sunday we all got on our bikes and went for a long ride. It was a little chilly but we had a grand time. We’ve never ever done that before and the kids loved it so we will be doing it a lot more often.

I told Alex that I wanted to spend more time getting all the family pictures made into books and printed off. They do no one any good sitting on an SD card. So we downloaded one card onto the computer- 3,800 pictures and 41 videos. That is just one card! I have a few more to go through. Alex had a different SD card we’d bought for something else and luckily it didn’t have any family pictures on it because he misread what the prompt was saying and erased everything on that card. He was so disappointed. I was too, but if it had been our family pictures it would have been ugly. I’m downloading them several places and having a hard copy so I don’t have panic attacks over it.

Then at eight o’clock I told Alex that we should quickly run some of the cake we had made over to the neighbor’s house. I thought it would be a quick drop off. Try invited us in and we talked for over an hour. Well, we hadn’t told the kids we’d be gone. We got home to several panicked children. We’d left our phones home and they’d jumped to the conclusion that we’d somehow died or been kidnapped or abducted by aliens. I don’t know what they thought. Well, I told my oldest daughter that we had been gone since about eight o’clock. Her reply made me laugh. She said they didn’t notice we were gone until 9:15. They’d been panicked for about 15 minutes. I didn’t feel too bad after that. They had ignored us for hours. And now she knows how I feel when she doesn’t come home after school because she’s gone to a friend’s house without telling me. Lesson learned on both our parts- hopefully.

Daily Life

Hard Things and Miracles

My poor sister. Lately life has put her through the wringer.

I’ll give you a quick run down. Jobs pulled out from under them, lawsuits, their baby girl has unexplained seizures, son has to have emergency surgery, they get a new job and have to enter the bidding war on the other side of the country that is house buying and finally get one, she is pregnant with child number three and the latest ultrasound shows signs of Down’s Syndrome. This is the short list and this is just in four years.

A couple weeks ago she mentioned to us that her son wets his diapers to overflowing constantly. She did everything she could to contain the mess and constantly cleaning it up wears on anyone.

Enter the miracles.

They called to make an appointment because they were concerned. Nothing for weeks. They called again and got the appointment moved up. They called again yesterday because their son was acting lethargic. They told the nurse the symptoms. The nurse told them to go to the hospital immediately. So they do. They do bloodwork. His bloodsugar was over 600. Normal numbers are around or below 100. He has type 1 diabetes.

My youngest sister, a different one, wanted a dog. She just moved to her own place and she wanted a dog. Not just any dog, a Spanish Water Dog. There are only three breeders in the country that they could find. One of them is in Wisconsin, an hour from my other sister’s new house and just had a litter. The puppy was ready to be picked up this week. So the plans were made and my parents drove to Iowa to visit my brother and then went to Wisconsin to visit my sister as well as to pick up the puppy.

What are the odds that they would be there in the right place at the right time to help my sister when she needed it most? They were able to be there to help alleviate the stress of finding a sitter for their daughter overnight while they were in the hospital as well as offer comfort in person.

My sister, who hates dogs, said she was grateful that they were there to get the dog then.

Miracles happen. They might seem like coincidences but when so many things are orchestrated and converge at the same time and place, it is not possible to be a coincidence, it is a miracle. We need to recognize God’s hand in our lives. It happens way more often than I know we are aware of.

My sister and her family have a lot to deal with now and for the long term. But as hard as it is, it is good to know they are being watched over.

The doctors were able to bring his blood sugar down and now my sister and her husband have to go through diabetes bootcamp to learn how to handle all of this. Prayers for them would be appreciated. We are so glad they caught this early.

Daily Life

Unexpected Smells

Kids are just kids. They are new at everything. They are learning every single thing and sometimes they catch on real quick and sometimes they don’t.

Last night I went to watch a show on BYUTV. Get the app if you don’t have it! So many good shows. I sat down to watch Making Good with Benjamin and as we sat there I smelled something. A familiar smell. Ever smelled an old peed diaper? Yeah, that is what I was smelling. No one else could smell it and they thought I was crazy. After the next show, the season finale of Relative Race (another fun family show) I finally lost it. I had to find the source of the smell.

I got everyone up and we tipped the couch over. There had to be a diaper under there! Nope. Nothing but a bit of garbage and random toys. And the smell! Now everyone could smell it. Finally! Vindication!

The bad part is that it was the carpet that smelled. I love my kids dearly but I’m a bit miffed at the one who peed in his sleep on the couch. The beds at least have waterproof mattress pads on them. The couch doesn’t.

We were stuck with the smell until Monday because we don’t shop on Sunday. So after all the morning stuff was done I took Noah and Evangeline with me to Walmart to get a carpet cleaner. We made an outing of it and went out for lunch at the pizza buffet. We had fun.

Noah loved it but apparently it is opposite day.

We got home and I vacuumed the floor until the dust stopped filling the dust cup on the vacuum. I vacuumed the floor 12 times. I vacuum daily and apparently that isn’t enough. Then I washed it twice. I’ll probably do it again next month as well to make sure it is clean. I didn’t want to get it too wet. And I only did half the floor because I needed somewhere to stash the furniture. The carpet smells and looks better, thank goodness. The water was coming up very dirty, even after all that vacuuming. This is the reason I am not a big fan of carpet- it gets so dirty and is hard to get really clean.

Evangeline slept through thr noise of the vacuum and the carpet cleaner. Yay! Her late naps have been causing issues so I’m glad she got some sleep.

As for the couch, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it and how to clean it. It’s an old couch that the kids have pretty much destroyed and I’d like to just get a new one, but we’ll see.

Daily Life, Uncategorized

Thursday Slump

I get to Thursday and I am just tired. Friday I get energy back because it’s Friday and the weekend. But Thursday is hard. I’m tired.

I took Evangeline to the doctor Thursday morning. On Sunday she ran off the stairs and fell and hit her face. The swelling was finally going down and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t broken. It’s not, thank goodness.

So when you have little kids you just keep busy putting out fires. Not literally, usually, but you try to keep the kids alive and fed and the house in some semblance of order. I am transitioning from that to the next stage- chauffeur. It is different. I have kids in all sorts of activities. Soccer, archery, band, youth night at church, library craft time/story time, etc. I don’t know which stage I prefer. I am enjoying the house staying mostly clean or rather 20 minutes to clean at all times. But now I have to leave the house multiple times and juggle schedules. I guess I best get used to it.

We had dinner after everyone was finally home from their respective activities and we could slow down. I went downstairs to watch a show and found a show called Primal Survival. Good grief. I like some survival shows and this is on my list of likes, but gross. The kids all watched with me and we were all gagging and I about lost my dinner. Episode one was gross.

But what don’t understand, coming from a world of convenience, is why those people still choose to live in such primitive circumstances. They obviously have access to modern things, their tools, clothes and some other things are very modern. So why live in a desert with nothing but family and cows? I don’t get it. Alex said it is tradition. Yes, there is that, but other than that, why? Simplicity? But it looked so hard. I guess I love modern plumbing and cars way too much to do that.

Afterwards Lauren wanted to watch the movie Flipped. It is such a cute movie. It is on my list of favorites. Kind of in the style of Wonder which is another of my favorites. I was glad we watched it together. The nightly movies might seem a bit much, but every time there is a different kid taking the opportunity to sit by me. They all get turns. They need that cuddle time, no matter their age. We all talk about the movie too so I guess it is not time wasted. And we need to wind down after a busy day anyways.

We made it to the weekemd- which is also going to be busy. But at least we can sleep in a little on Saturday. Maybe.

Daily Life


On Saturday Benjamin started complaining about his ribs hurting. We had to clean the garage out. He’d promised to clean it in return for something we’d bought him. But his ribs hurt. He worked through it and I tried to take it a little easier on him but still get work out of him.

He still hurt on Sunday.

I did some research online. Lest you think I didn’t know what I was doing, I actually found out what it was. His ribs are a bit misshapen and always have been but I figured if he wasn’t complaining about it then there didn’t need to be anything done about it. But it was bothering him now so I made an appointment.

The condition where the ribs flare out is called pectus excavatum (I’m pretty sure because the doctor’s mask muffled it a bit and I am hard of hearing but Benjamin said that’s what he said). It is just cosmetic and should be fine. But since Benjamin said it felt like it was bruised the doctor sent us up to the hospital for a chest x-ray.

We went through that rigamaroll and went on our merry way.

The doctor’s office called yesterday with the results. Pleural effusion. Excess liquid outside of the lungs. Not a good thing. It can be a symptom of something pretty bad. He’s to take ibuprofen for a week and see if the liquid goes away or gets worse. We’re hoping for it to go away. I’m not really worried, I just want him to take it easy until this resolves. He said he’s feeling better so that is good.

When I was twenty-one and twenty-two I was on a mission for my church. I had companions, other girls my age that worked with me, and throughout my eighteen months I had to help deal with health issues. One had to get a root canal, another one had pleurisy and something else that was miserable for her to deal with. I’m thinking there was another issue in there somewhere but with just those things we had to go to the doctor and dentist and all that stuff. My mission president’s wife told me it was just practice for when I had kids. She wasn’t wrong.

We’ve been very been blessed to have healthy kids, for the most part. My mom said one time that it is a blessing to have healthy babies but just because they are born healthy doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. Very true. I started thinking about the health issues we have dealt with over the years with eight kids. Ear infections, broken bones, stitches, cuts, scrapes, bruises, cavities, the normal stuff. Then there were the not so normal ones such as seizures, botulism, autism, and now this. We got through them all just fine and I feel incredibly blessed that we’ve had our health and been healed. The body really is an amazing thing that is constantly healing itself. We just have to help it out a little every once in awhile.

Daily Life

Win Lose

Saturday night we had scripture time before bed. It was wonderful. We talked about why it is important to be One. We went through and I asked the family, “Why is Michael important to our family? What do you love about him?” We went through all the kids and even Alex and me. It was so good! They were so kind and thoughtful and said the sweetest things about each other. My mom heart swelled with joy and love.

Sunday night at scripture time before bed we finally got everyone corralled and I started to read. I am not exactly sure where it went wrong. I asked the kids “If God told you to sell everything and move to ____, would you have enough faith to do it?” Well, I guess they don’t have enough faith because that’s about when control was lost and there was no getting it back. Even Alex got the sillies. They all lost it. They all started giggling and goofing of because of it. I threw my hands up and said to heck with it. We had prayer and I sent them to bed. They were all still giggling and joking around as I tucked them in. I rolled my eyes. Lauren said, “I love when we have fun together like that.”

Well, you win some, you lose some. I guess it wasn’t a total loss. We got some funny jokes out of it.

Well try again tomorrow.

Daily Life

Dates, Dumps, Garage Cleaning and Ditches

Alex and I went on a date last night. It was a much needed date. I love having older kids that babysit. They made their own dinner and watched movies and had a grand time without me. Yes!

Alex and I went to a fairly new store a few towns away. I wanted to see the decorations they had for sale and try a hand pie. It was a cute little place and the hand pies were so good! Alex got the coconut cream and I got the peach. We had a bit of each other’s and they were amazing together. We then went to eat at a diner a few miles further down the road. It was one of those hole in the wall places. The food was good and back in 2008 I think, Man vs. Food filmed an episode there. We did not try the challenge burger.

The drive through the countryside to get there and back was beautiful. Alex questioned my sanity as he surveyed all the brown fields. I told him it was beautiful because of all the potential. The fields were plowed and waiting to be planted. The grass was starting to peek out alongside the road. The baby calves were plentiful and so small and cute in the pasture. And best of all there was no more snow!

We got home around nine and I went straight to bed. I was exhausted. The rest of the family stayed up watching a movie. I woke up at 7:30. I was able to sleep in! It was wonderful. I jumped up and got to work and dragged everyone with me. There was a lot to get done. If they were tired it was their own fault for staying up.

Since I’d found a good deal on a grain mill this past week, I made some whole wheat flour in the morning. Half the family said they wouldn’t eat the bread if I made it out of whole wheat. Well, I used half white and half wheat and they ate it all up. I’ve started making baguettes and they have worked perfect for sandwiches and snacking.

The big job of the day was the garage. We ended up taking three trips to the dump. We pulled most of the stuff out and swept out all the sawdust and threw away a lot of stuff we’ve been holding on to for years. It has been nice getting rid of stuff. We made space for the chicks to live in the garage. I was done having them in the house. I have the heat lamp where they can huddle under it. I hope they stay warm enough.

Alex put the baby seat on to my bicycle and I got to take Evangeline for a ride. The girl freaks out if I go anywhere without her. She loved it! I took off on a second ride and this time the dog, who also thinks she has to go everywhere with me, ran alongside me. The poor fat dog. She kept up the whole time until the end bit when she started to lag a bit. I’ll be taking her on more walks now that I’ve got a bike and she can really get a good run in. It will take the weight off from her and me.

It was good to get so much done and have fun with the kids as well. They all got a chance to go out and have a treat. Lauren and I washed and cleaned out Alex’s car as a surprise and then I took the little boys out for ice cream and we drove out a ways and watched the sunset for a bit. It was a really pretty one and we watched a couple burning the ditch by their house. Sam said, “I remember doing that a couple years ago!” I’d forgotten he’d done that. My friend asked if my boys wanted to help them burn ditches a couple years ago and they had so much fun doing it.