Tuesday, March 31, 2009


We had a near miss with the van last week. Jeffrey came out and hid under the van as I was rushing to leave somewhere. I heard his voice but couldn't see him. I had one of those times when I knew I better stop and check things out. Sure enough, Jeffrey hopped out from under the van with his big smile. I had to go but took him inside and asked Rich to help him understand why that was so dangerous. Rich used the analogy of what happens when you step on a grape, which is a good one for a 4 year old. Graphic, I know, but I believe it sobered him into listening. When I knelt down to say my prayer that night, the realization of what might have happened really hit me. I felt so grateful for that still, small voice that told me to stop, and also that I listened. So many times I question my feelings. So many times I just plow forward with what I was doing, anyway. I suppose I listened because I knew it had to do with one of my children. That's a whole different thing, isn't it? Or maybe it was stronger this time. I am just so grateful that, in this challenging and fast-paced endeavor of raising this family, we are not on our own.

Count your many blessings

We were sick in some way or another since before Thanksgiving. Now we are finally well. Being sick that long has made me unusually grateful to feel good again! Here are some other things I am grateful for:
  • My children are all safe and well (see above post).
  • Our insurance benefits begin tomorrow! Hooray!
  • It is Spring Break next week. We are all looking forward to a change of pace, from sprinting to meandering.
  • We have so many fun things to look forward to. Rich and the older boys are going to General Conference, the rest of us are staying home and watching General Conference, I am going to Women's Conference at BYU with my sister and niece, Jacob and Katie have EFY in June, Whitney (my sister's oldest daughter) is getting married in July, plus many summer activities and camping trips! I haven't even mentioned school getting out and getting rid of the homework monkey always on our backs. Fun, fun, fun!
It could just be that the spring sunshine and flowers and birds chirping are contagious. It seems like, at least in Northern California, the whole world is cheerful and happy to be alive!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Family Night fun

Here's what happens when boys sing Primary songs with hand movements while sitting next to Dad during family home evening.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy birthday, Jeffrey!

Jeffrey turned 4 this week. He had scones with maple frosting for his birthday breakfast, we went to the park for lunch, and he had "chinchiladas" (Jeffrey's name for chicken enchiladas) for dinner. His birthday cake was, by very specific request, a yellow cake with blue frosting with a purple lightsaber on it (which is Mace Windu's lightsaber color, in case you don't know Star Wars as well as a four year old.) He got ninja turtles and legos for presents. Oh, and I should point out that he had to wear Adam's old basketball jersey that he had just gotten as a hand-me-down. It was a fun day!

Jeffrey is a good example that children are pretty flexible and can overcome some tough things over time. The valves in his lower ureters were too thick when he was born, so he wasn't able to urinate properly, damaging his bladder, ureters and kidneys. At 5 weeks old, he had a surgery to reroute his bladder to empty out of a hole in his abdomen. He had another surgery at 7 months, along with many painful and invasive tests and procedures. After that surgery and round of testing, he really wasn't sure who we were going to pass him off to next or what terrible thing they were going to do. He began to cling to Mom and Dad, terrified of strangers and refusing to go to anyone who wasn't a member of our immediate family. Now, though, just a few years later, he is totally independent and out-going. He doesn't ever want much help from Mom or Dad (which really caused a mess when he was potty training.) He says his "best buddies" are Jacob, Daniel and Josh. He and Adam go back and forth between "hating" each other and being best buddies, depending on how well they are sharing lego pieces. He really thinks he is one of the big boys. Even he and Beth get along great most of the time. He is a fiesty little guy, and we sure love having him in our family! (And, other than some minimal, residual kidney and bladder damage, he is healthy as can be!)

Here he is at birth and, below, Beth holding Jeffrey at 4 months old.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I looked out the window and what did I see?

Popcorn popping on the fruitless pear trees!

Here's a closer look. These trees are what we see when we look out the back windows of our house. I am so grateful for their cheery blossoms, and for the original owners of our house, who planted them.

Do you know something else I am grateful for? My sister came and planted our front planter, which had been overgrown with out-of-control ivy topiaries. She helped me choose the plants, bought them on sale for us at her nursery, and then went knee deep in freezing mud in January to plant it all. Here are some of the pansies that are absolutely thriving from all of the rain we have had lately. Only a sister would do something like that! Thanks, Jeanette!!