Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Magical Moments

The Christmas Program at church today was so beautiful...I think I cried through most of it! The talents people are blessed with amaze and delight me! I feel so much gratitude at the blessing I have of attending church each week and mostly the weeks prior to and just following CHRISTMAS, as well as EASTER... What special times ~ time to awaken ourselves to the things that are our greatest gifts.

Days like today take me back about 15 years ago to the first Christmas that we celebrated after my baptism...
the first Christmas that I truly felt what Christmas really means...
for the first time in my life
it wasn't all about Santa Claus
and gifts
and stockings
and food
and friendly, busy little elves hurrying about
to bring all the special packages to Santa's sleigh
and we can't forget those amazing reindeer.
That year it became so much more for me...something within me came alive or rather was re-awakened, I believe it had always been there.
It was too familiar, too sweet, too comforting to be "new" to me. It was a part of me that had been deeply suppressed just waiting for the right time to come out.
Going back to our greatest gifts...
I had no idea the gifts I had been given until that day.
I really didn't know of the love and gratitude I had in my heart for my Savior.
I think it may have been that very day that I realized the love He and my Heavenly Father have for me.

What a refreshing thought ~
what a lovely moment ~
what a perfect start to a new life honoring My Savior.
It was that day that I vowed to myself and in a silent little prayer that I would always make sure my children know that this special day we celebrate each year really isn't all about SANTA CLAUS. Santa Claus is fun and jolly and every child deserves the magical feeling that comes with such a plump, happy ol' soul...I want them to enjoy those little extras of the holiday, but most importantly to me is that they
KNOW that CHRISTmas is about the BABY JESUS
that was born in a lowly stable to a sweet young mother...
It is a day to remember and to honor His birth, His example, His words, His sacrifice for each of us, His love, His divinity, His Perfect Life, His Death, His Resurrection and His promises...

Today was all of these things for started out perfectly, there was a soft blanketing of snow on the ground this morning.
We drove to church and were then given a special gift of beautiful music and inspiring messages of the birth of our Savior.
We sang Christmas Hymns, oh how I love them!
This is truly my favorite time of the year!
People are happy, they smile, the love and generosity freely flows from so many.
We are aware of others, we think of others and wish to bless their lives with just a little more joy at this time of year.
There is a feeling of joy that emulates from so many faces, especially little faces that are giddy with excitement and anticipation. I think I could sit endlessly and enjoy the happiness that I see...
In my last class of the day (Young Women's) we enjoyed a beautiful message set to music and pictures ~ so many thoughts of gratitude surged through my body as I watched and listened...and the thought I was left with was, what is my gift to my Savior this Christmas? (Hold that has required some pondering time...)

As we walked out of church this afternoon, the most wonderfully enormous snow flakes were piling up as they dumped from the sky was magical ~ the kind of magical feeling that many of us forget we can feel.
The kind of magical feeling that a child is able to feel at the simplest, sweetest little things can also be felt by us, if we only let ourselves be enchanted and delighted by such magical moments. I'm so grateful that I can feel those magical moments without being a child...maybe I feel them because I look into the eyes of my children and I want so desperately to still feel the wonder and awe that they enjoy so easily...I really believe it is because I allow myself to feel this magic, I crave and need this magic to feel real, to feel alive, to feel the Spirit, to feel the Love and Joy that I know My Savior and My Heavenly Father desire for me to feel.
These magical moments remind us of who we really are ~
I don't have to just be the Mom, (even though I love that more than anything)
I can still be just like a little child
and I can marvel and relish in the beauty that lies before me...
in seeing that beauty that lies before me,
I can see the beauty that lies within myself and within others...
isn't that what our Savior does for us?
He sees our beauty,
our talents,
our divinity ~
our faults
or our failures
or insecurities...
He sees that Little Princess that is in us
and He also sees the Majestic Queen we will one day become...

As I sit here tonight in front of our beautiful Christmas Tree, comfy on my couch, propped up with pillows holding my warm laptop while typing away, I go back to my thought I left church with earlier today...What is my gift to my Savior this Christmas? What is my offering?

President Thomas S. Monson said the following, "WHAT WILL YOU AND I GIVE FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR? Let us in our lives give to our LORD & SAVIOR the gift of gratitude by living His teachings & following in His footsteps."

The answer to my question or thought is that I will do ALL I can to live my life the way He would wish me to and that I will follow His example and love others and do my very best each day to reach out to someone who could use that little hug or word of encouragement. If I can be an instrument in His hands to bring Joy to another, then I believe that would be the very best offering or gift I could give... "What will YOU offer or give this year?" Please share your thoughts with me ~ I Love so much to hear from you!!!

My wish for YOU, whomever you may be, whether I know you or not, I wish YOU the Merriest Christmas Ever...I wish you joy and wonder and magical moments...I wish YOU the knowledge that Your Savior loves YOU and Cherishes YOU...I wish YOU the Peace and Comfort of this beautiful season...I wish YOU a very Merry Christmas filled with the joy of a little child.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great day

What a fun day...

First, I slept in and when I finally decided to open my eyes there was SNOW blanketing everything in sight ~ oh Happy Day...I LOVE THE SNOW! Just makes me happy.

Next, I was lucky enough to hold such a sweet new little baby ~ Chad's youngest sister, Bethany, just had her second baby yesterday afternoon...there is just something about holding a newborn that makes my heart so full! Especially when they are just tiny like our little ones were...he was just a little over 6 lbs ~ oh brings back such sweet memories!

Then, Chad and I were able to spend a little time alone, it was so nice to just drive around taking care of things and visit and laugh, he makes me laugh every single day - love that man!

Then, came home to all my adorable kiddos, made some treats for them and got ready for our Elder's Quorum Christmas Party...way too much fun!
We played a silly little game, I guess you'd call it horse racing, but it's really not horse racing at all...but you have to name your race horse and stand up and compete against all the other horse's a little complicated, someday I'll explain it all...
but I was the WINNER ~
(my prize was a package of Red Hots!)
Fun Night, laughter is sooooo good for us!!!

The only problem was that I think maybe I had a little too much fun...completely lost my breath from all the excitement of winning and had to do my darn little inhaler to breathe well again, but how do you have fun without a little whoopin' and holorin'??? I just can't seem to manage that one very well.

And guess SNOWED even more while we were at the beautiful outside. Sure beats all the dreary rain we've been receiving ~ Bring on the snow!!!

My last thought for the day...
In my kitchen, I've hung a sign (actually hung it several months ago) that reads:
How Happy Did You DECIDE To Be Today???
I believe we have so much power over how happy we are and how happy we can be, just by deciding each day if we wish to be happy, or otherwise ~ I Choose Happiness, I Choose Joy!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Finished Product

Well, our Christmas Tree is now miraculously standing rather than lying on its front side in the middle of the living room floor...I am hopeful that we have fixed that little problem ~

redecorating a tree can only be fun so many times and then you start to wonder if it is worth it...but as I say that, I can't help but think of the fact that there are just some things that bring peace and happiness to me and our tree is always one of them...what an incredible sight in the evening with all the lights shining so brightly. After the kids are all asleep I love to sit on the couch with my hubby and just look at the tree, it is completely mesmerizing.
As much as I love the tree all lit up, I also love it during the day when you can see each ornament and the detail that goes into them. This year is even more fun for me, we chose to not hang up all of our regular ornaments and instead to have our kids make them from paper adding things that they are grateful and thankful for...
We really wanted our kids to focus on Gratitude and not so much on the gifts and such. The gifts are all well and good and yes they are fun, but there is so much more and it is our job to help them see that. It has been beautiful and I truly think it makes a difference. This is something we have typically done for Thanksgiving...we ususally draw a large Fall Tree with bare branches that we fill with various colored leaves listing our things we are thankful for.
Well, this year my hubby and I decided to change it up and carry this over into our Christmas Season... it's been great and it is so sweet to see the little treasures that ornament our tree!
The sweetest things are written on these little ornaments ~
thankful for Momma and Daddy
thankful for Jesus
Heavenly Father
close (clothes) :)
Yummy Food
Grammy and Poppa
Grandma and Grandpa
Onie and Rocket (our horses)
Motorcycles and Bikes
my blanket and pillow
one of ourboys made a candy cane and in the white sections he listed each of our names, it's as sweet as can be
Each day there are new little treasures put up...makes me just smile as I look at the things that mean the most to them!

And you have to see the sweet gift my boys made for me this past weekend...they couldn't agree whether they should give it to me for Christmas or if I should get it early...Lucky me...they just couldn't wait!!! I'm so glad, because now I have the pleasure of enjoying it for the next few weeks.

Is that cute or what??? They took an old ladder and decorated it with lights, pine sprigs and "snow." Then they made some little shelves to hold some of my decorations. Can't wait to get it all set up. Maybe I'll add another photo when I have it all together. What sweet boys I have (and what a sweet mother-in-law who helped them come up with the idea...thanks!!!)

Before ending this little post on our Christmas Tree, I must tell on myself...

Sometimes, don't you wish you could just go crawl back in bed and start your day over? Well, that is exactly how I felt just a few days ago...

I came downstairs to see our beautiful tree, not looking quite so beautiful. All the ribbon was in one big heap on the floor. Two of our kids were downstairs and guess what I did? Yep, you are right, I did it, I accused them of pulling off the ribbon...I could not fathom WHY on earth they would do such a thing...but it had to be them, no one else had been downstairs ~ so this lousy mom accused two adorable little people of destroying the Christmas Tree...

It gets worse, when they denied it, I re-questioned them, adding that "I don't have a cat, I only have children, and YOU two are the only children that have been downstairs this morning, so unless your Dad had some strange little fit and yanked all the ribbon off the tree and left for work, it MUST have been one of YOU!!!"

Well, after looking at their completely innocent little faces...faces that seemed entirely crushed by my accusations, I thought I should give that hubby of mine a quick call to see if he was the guilty one...

He laughed when I told him what I had done and said, "Dear, the tree was laying in the middle of the floor when I came downstairs, I stood it up but didn't have time to put it back together before I had to leave for work."

I thanked him and then gathered my thoughts and prepared for a little touch of humility as I went to ask forgiveness of those sweet little kids of mine that I had just thought were little stinkers...sure glad kids are so kind and forgiving ~ they just kind of giggled and said, "Told you we didn't do it Mom."

The next morning we came down to the same sight, only this time, we found it laying in the middle of the was a moment of chuckles and giggles between myself and those two little people.

I LOVE BEING A MOM...days are always filled with some wonderful little surprise! Sometimes it's me surprising all the kids ~ they just think I'm a crazy lady ~ and I guess I can't deny that times I am just a touch crazy and they always have to witness it!!! Maybe it's a good thing for kids to know their mom isn't perfect...and maybe even a better thing for their mom to have to suck it up, apologize and ask forgiveness for being such a dingbat. Guess we're just all in this together, learning and growing. Can't think of anything better than to be learning life's lessons with all these adorable little kiddos I've been blessed with.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Christmas Tree Journey...

For the past many years we have had the pleasure of journeying out to find the "Perfect" Christmas Tree...

not to some silly old lot down the street filled with trees pre-cut just waiting for you...

but to the mountains! I guess we feel the need to go traipsing through the deep snow, searching for that one tree that will fill our every whim and desire!

Now mind you, our desired tree is sometimes less than what some may say would be what you might call "Desirable" ~ many of our trees have been the little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, some have been taller than our roof, some we could put on a table, and some have to be cut in half just to fit in the front door, but I have LOVED each and every one of them...they have so much character and when you add the touch of a child, they become priceless!

Our thought or main goal of this special day we venture out on each year, is more about the journey and the experience than that of finding the ideal tree...if what we Really wanted was the ideal, perfectly shaped, beautiful tree...we'd go check out one of the lots on every corner and grab one there, but that just doesn't cut it for this family we pack up enough food to feed an army, because we usually have a small one there ~ make sure to have plenty of hot cocoa and marshmallows and a few sleds and all the kiddos are delighted the whole day through!

Is anyone hungry???....Hot Chili, Hot Dogs, Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows and Cookies!!!

Here was the tree for our family...everyone else is off sledding at this point, but we had to have a picture of the "perfect Lytle Family tree" One of our little girls wondered why we picked a tree that was covered in ice and snow...well, what do you say to that???
There's Myles and Matt feeling just a little worn out after dragging back their tree. Shealyn hung out with her little ones while they went in search of her perfect tree...we were starting to wonder if they were lost in the snow somewhere or if they just felt they couldn't come back until finding just the right tree for her...It was a beauty!

The Campbell's came back with a beautiful tree ~ don't know how it's going to fit in their house, maybe it will be one of those you cut in half to fit in, but it sure looks nice! :o) What sweet friends...we just love their family!

And the Munson's...That's a gorgeous one! I love it!!! Corrie and I sat back and commented how much easier it is now that our babies aren't little babies anymore...they can walk around and drink hot cocoa all by themselves...aaaahhhhh....

Speaking of aaaahhhhh, I have a very thoughtful husband...

I'm not supposed to be out in the cold or breathing any cold air,

this can be a bit challenging when trying to get a Christmas Tree in the forest in December, it is cold! And on top of the cold of our day, we were blessed with a beautiful snowfall...perfect day...but, I do have to admit, I was feeling just a tad sorry for myself that I was going to have to spend much of my day sitting in the car to stay warm, but then right before my eyes, pops up this wonderful little tent with a heater, chair and blanket...aaaahhhhh!

I was so happy to be out with my family and friends, I was right in the mix the whole day, toasty warm and nice and dry. I didn't help pick out or cut down the tree, I just made sure to take photos and drink as much hot cocoa as possible ~ Perfect Day!
My sister and her family joined us for some sledding fun...aren't they cute??? They even brought along Hope, their little dog, the girls were lovin' on her!!! I can't even believe how big my nephew are...time goes by so fast!

Much to my dismay, the boys all tried their hand at hooky-bobbing behind Shealyn's car...I just closed my eyes and smiled and told them all, "PLEASE BE CAREFUL, I REALLY LIKE THE WAY YOU LOOK AND I'D REALLY LOVE IT IF YOU STAYED THAT WAY!" They think I'm crazy, and maybe I am, but I just love 'em all a little too much!!!

What's a day in the mountains without a little sledding??? Even our little grand-daughter had a ride down the hillside, so cute!

Here are some of my favorite shots of the day...

Soon I will post photos of the final product...The Decorated Christmas Tree! That is unless it falls over again and the decorations are all over the floor. I can only re-decorate a tree so many times!!! We just have to keep laughing when we come down in the morning to the tree lying in the middle of the floor...just doesn't seem right!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

So, what are you supposed to be learning from all of this?

I have a friend who has asked me 2 or 3 times during my bout with pneumonia, "So what are you supposed to be learning from all of this?"
Well, to tell you the truth, the first time she asked me it took me a little by surprise...
I don't really think I gave her a response the first or the second time, and I cannot even recall if I responded the third time...BUT, it has given me a lot to think about. So thank you for prompting some brain activity.
I still don't feel that I have a complete answer to that question, I think it may be more of a process, it may take some time to really answer it fully in my heart.

A few of the things I feel I am supposed to be learning, doesn't mean I HAVE LEARNED THEM yet, I am just supposed TO BE learning them...again, a process...

Patience, Acceptance, Listening, Watching, Relaxing ...

Patience...I THOUGHT I was getting this one, but I guess not. I have found that I am extremely frustration while being sick has been at an all time high!!! I am sooooo frustrated that I cannot do ALL the things I used to do, I still cannot even read to my of the things that most Moms just take for granted -- I know I always have, and now I can't do it and it stinks just a little bit! But what I have been able to do is to sit back and WATCH my kids do more of their own independent reading and more reading to one another, this may not have happened had I been able to continue on doing what I did each WATCHING and LISTENING to the beautiful things my kids do has been a blessing. I have found during this time that I am not as Patient of a Mother as I'd like to be, or that I should and need to be...I want my kids to jump when I ask them to do something and do it RIGHT then, sometimes, they don't jump as quickly or as high as I'd prefer and my patience is tested...and guess what? I fail each and every time, instead of letting things happen peacefully, I jump, not up, but right down their throat and I hate that I am so impatient. So this is one I am supposed to be learning, not one I have mastered...with myself or with my family :( But I am more aware and I believe that is the first step because I can recognize when I am being impatient and take that deep breath (okay, I can't take super deep breaths yet, but I can imagine taking that deep cleansing breath and then think before I speak or act) I really hope I can be done being sick before I learn this lesson, or I may be sick for way longer than I'd like...
Acceptance is a biggie...acceptance of myself, of my abilities and of my LIMITATIONS. Acceptance of my best not necessarily being THE Best. Acceptance of my children's best and sometimes accepting that they don't always WANT to give their best. Accepting that I don't have to always have it all together. Accepting that I don't have to fix everyone, maybe even deeper than that...that I cannot fix anyone, but I can love them and let them know I am there and that I care and let that be enough. Accepting help from people who love me...this should be so easy, but I find it so much easier to help others, there is no guilt associated in helping, only in receiving...I have found during this little period of time, that I have the very BEST FRIENDS in the whole world...I have people who love me and want to help...
I think I am also learning Gratitude in a whole new light, I have always been grateful, that one is pretty easy, but when you are the recipient of so much love and kindness, the gratitude is exponentially higher, so I'll add Gratitude to my list of things I am supposed to be learning (and I actually thought I had that one under control)
And speaking of Control...I might as well add that one, too...I cannot be in control of all situtations, I thought I could control my own little world, not everything outside of it, but at least those things that I love and cherish the wrong I have found myself to be. I have absolutely no control of anything, or at least that is how I have felt this past month. I feel that I am learning that it is okay to not be in control, it is okay that I don't have everything under control, I don't have to control each day of my schooling, I can't control how my house is cleaned or not cleaned, or control how the towels are folded and put away or the dishes are cleaned and put away or, or, or...
This is such a hard one for me...while being sick I have had to sit and watch and listen and relax and let others do, I haven't been able to be up to say what needs to happen and how it needs to happen and when it needs to happen and then finally if it all happened okay...I think I might be a little sick in the head after taking a good look at myself! I think I'm a tad bit scary ~ I might even go as far as calling myself a Monster - oh, those are such ugly words...I really don't want to be ugly, I don't want to be a monster, I don't want to control everything around me, I guess I just don't want Chaos, I need order and happiness and joy and maybe I have been stifling those very things that I cherish by trying so hard to make them happen each day...hmmm, this growing and learning is a little painful!

Relaxing was the last on my list...maybe because it is the last thing I ever do...I am much better at being busy than at relaxing and putting my feet up. I think I've had enough relaxing for the next several years. But as I write that and I think about the word "RELAXING", I don't know that I really mastered that one either. I did a lot of complaining while I had to sit, instead of enjoying having the time to sit and relax... so darn, I think I failed that one, too! Maybe I still have to sit so often, because I haven't found any joy in the act, I have only found frustration. Wow, writing is sooo good for me! I learn so many things about myself as I write, my brain and my heart seem to open up together...I should do this more often.
So, as I am sitting to catch my breath, I will be joyful about it and I will not complain again! I will not worry about all that is being left undone as I sit, I will just grab a fabulous book and be grateful for my time...
It's painful to take a good, hard look at yourself and think about what lessons in life you are to be learning, but I am grateful that I am aware of my limitations and my failures because now I can only grow and become closer to who I know I can become, to who I have the potential to be. What a fantastic morning...I'm so happy to know ME a little better!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Magical Days...

There are not too many things I find more beautiful and peaceful than a blanketing snowfall...
I could sit and look out the window for hours on end just enjoying the piling white softness that covers each branch and blade of grass, that reaches up to the bottom rail of the fences surrounding the pastures, the glorious white that sparkles atop each surface...

How could anyone not love winter and marvel in the beauty of it?

Winter is the perfect reminder of slowing down, enjoying all that is good and beautiful, reminiscing our childhood memories...and relishing in the joy of making new memories.

Who doesn't smile when they think of making snow angels, catching snowflakes as they gently fall from above, sledding and building that enchanting snowman?

The familiar smell of a winter day is almost as magical as the day cocoa and cookies, pipin' hot chili and fresh cornbread, or a scrumptious pot of chicken and noodles with homemade rolls...

And then the adornment of winter fun...gloves, boots, scarves, hats, coats, snow pants, ear muffs, carrots and top hat for the snowman lay scattered from the front door clear to the fireplace where you'll find little people warming their bodies for the next round of fun...

Red cheeks and cold noses, crazy wild hair, frozen little finger tips and hot cocoa kisses...
These are the things that make me smile today ~ Happy December!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Once Upon a Time...
There was a young girl who dreamed of one day meeting her handsome prince...

Well, much to her dismay, she met many a disappointing toad, never finding anything that resembled her dream prince! She tried and tried, she kept her chin up, she believed in others, she hoped and she continued to dream of a happily ever after ending, but life kept dishing out one toad after another...
Just as she was about to "Give up" thinking all was lost, that the handsome prince we all dream of was nothing more than simply a dream and not a reality, it happened!
He appeared, not on a white shining horse, but definately the knight in shining armor. How his eyes shined, how he made her heart skip a beat, how she dreamed of what life might be like to be in his arms each day, how she dreamed he would always remain the prince she'd so desperately hoped, dreamed and longed for, that he would never change and become another disappointing "toad".
Well, that young girl was me and that dreamy prince, yep, he is my hubby! And he hasn't changed, hasn't become a toad, he still makes my heart skip a beat, his eyes still shine when he looks at me, and he holds me in his arms every single day...

I feel so full of gratitude for the man that I married, for the way he cares for and loves me. He does the sweetest little things that still make my heart pitter patter and when he comes up behind me just to grab me for a dance in the kitchen, I feel that I am the most blessed woman ever! A man who still loves me, tells me daily and more importantly shows me on a continual basis. A dear husband who puts me on a pedestal even when I may not deserve it, the man of my dreams. He is my dreamy prince with eyes that sparkle when he looks at me ~ this is one of the ways that I REALLY know he loves me, I can "see it", I can feel it, his love makes me complete.
After all these years and all these kiddos, he is still my knight in shining armor, he can still sweep me right off my feet. He makes me laugh and fills my days with joy...
He is strong, yet soft...
He is bold, yet tender...
He is serious, yet light-hearted...
He is

and because of him I am
Living my Happily Ever After Dream...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Can School Go On???

One of my biggest worries with being sick is how to do all the schoolwork.
How do you teach when speaking just a few meager words takes your breath completely away? How do you read all those great stories? How do you answer questions? How do you explain that new math concept? How do you praise when one of them "gets it"?

Well, it has been a little bit of a challenge this past few days. I still cannot read aloud to my kids, but I have been able to talk a little here and there. And wow, can I be a great listener... Maybe that's a lesson all in itself...hmmmm

I have seen great things happen this week. My little Cassie keeps asking if we can do history ever again. It's only been a week and a half since I could actually read aloud to them, but they miss it. This is such a good thing! It's the little things in life that we cherish the most, especially when we can no longer do them. Hopefully just another week or so and I'll have that treasure back...keepin' my fingers crossed :)

But here is what is taking place instead of our normal routine, with me "being in charge". My little 9 year old has decided to pick up reading an assortment of books. I just have to laugh, he is picking up my bad habits, can't just read one book at a time, he has started three ~ all in the same morning. Now he reads a page or two from one and moves on to the other. I just have to smile...
Check out his choices:
Hardy Boys,
and Uncle Tom's Cabin.
All I can say is he is ambitious --
may take him until he reaches 12 to finish Uncle Tom's Cabin, or he may read it for a bit and put it away...whatever he chooses, I am okay with, I am just so thrilled to see his interest and desire!

The little girls have been researching everything there is to know about ocean life, birds that fly south for the winter, among so many other topics. The creativity and puppet shows have been outstanding! They have come up with some fantastic recipes...can't wait till I have the strength to actually stand and prepare a meal again. Watching their little minds go to town is so sweet and inspiring.
Natalie is really missing baking. She came up with her own little rendition of banana bread last night. She went into the kitchen, cut up a bunch of bananas, got out the sliced bread and cinnamon and thought she'd just mash it in. Sounded great to me. Then she wrote her own recipe for cherry pie, it was adorable. In fact, it was so adorable and hysterical, that I just need to share it...

take 2 cups powterd soogar (powdered sugar) and 1 cup woter (water) and 1 cup flowr (flour). Mix it up bake 5 mints (minutes) then take owt (out) and dump 1 can cherre sos (cherry sauce) on top. Its dun! (It's done!)

(We'll be attempting her recipe very soon...sure glad it doesn't have anything disgusting in it, cause I will undoubtedly be the guinea pig!)

My big boys have been doing great taking care of what they know they need to stay on top of. Luckily, I can work with them just answering a few things here and there and they are able to keep on. We did a huge lesson on Latitude and Longitude this week...hooray, after balloons and globes and oranges they've got it!!! Danielle is so good at just handling herself that I just review her work and smile with approval. Don't know what I'd do without my older kids...they are just priceless to willing to help pick up the pieces when I cannot. To me there is just nothing greater than to see that teenagers can have compassion and caring and put others ahead of themselves. Their willingness and love is inspiring and rewarding to me, I am one lucky Momma!

I've had a lot of time to reflect and to sit back and watch. It's hard to not be right in the mix full time, but it has been a blessing to see what they will do with themselves and truly to see that they miss their routine.

Just today, Bryce took over the girls and helped them to create the greatest Thanksgiving Crafts. They were busy for hours and so very happy! And they are so ecstatic to go and share the place cards and napkin holders that they made today to decorate the Thanksgiving table.

And there's another biggie!!!
I always host Thanksgiving Dinner and I LOVE doing this. But not this year...I guess I will just have to sit back and let others "serve and take care of me". Sure hope this passes soon! It is so much easier and happier for me to be giving to others, but I am so very grateful for the love and support of such a wonderful family and outstanding friends! I am so blessed!

So to answer my original question that I've been dealing with for the past few days, can school really go on when the mom/teacher is not up to par?
A resounding YES is the answer!!!
It's different, but not in a negative way, rather in a positive enriching way.

Maybe this is just what some of us need -- to let things go a little and let them explore who they are and what they love and to help them realize how much they do really enjoy learning. Because, after all,
it really is all about
Learning to

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Personal Vacation???

You would think I would have had all the traveling and time away from home that a person could ever need after our very busy past few months.
But I had my very own vacation, all alone (a few visitors here and there, but I have a pretty protective hubby that kept it very hush-hush, so I would have quiet time).
This was not the vacation I would have planned (or would ever plan again), but I do have to say the service was impeccable, I was waited on hand and foot and every whim I had was fulfilled with the simple push of a button. I didn't have to cook for myself, get a blanket when I was cold, I could have even had someone else shower my body (that one I did not go for, that was a little too personal!)
The food was a little less than desirable, but they had some great ice water and orange juice and the graham crackers weren't too bad.
I had a T.V. at my disposal with the remote all to myself, no one to fight with over what we should see, no little kid shows, although I was tempted a couple of times, but thought I'd indulge in something new. I have now officially watched enough T.V. to last me for at least 5 or 10 years!!! I am happy to say that I saw programs I have never seen and watched a couple I haven't seen in a very long time. T. V. is a very rare thing in our home, just nothing good to watch, but here...I had cable or satellite or something like that, there was bound to be the greatest things ever (well, maybe for some, but I think I can now do without, again, I had my share for the next few years) But, let me share the highlights...
Food Network was pretty amazing, the Design shows were fabulous (if only I had the energy to do any of what they showed, but maybe soon I will),
I now know who Dr. Oz is, and no Momma's out there who were just like me, not the wizard of Oz, but a man named Dr. Oz. He was a pretty smart cookie from what I could tell...learned a few new things, just hope I can remember them long enough to put anything into action.
I also watched Oprah, saw Barbara Streisand sing, what a lovely voice! Saw an interview of Cher...I'm tellin' ya, that woman just does not age! Wouldn't want her life, but love her voice, too!
Let's see what else did I watch?
Well, a whole lotta news, yep, it's gonna snow and snow, if they are all right. Not really sure what the temperature might be, cause every channel had a different idea on that one, but my best guess is "Cold".
Saw, or listened to when I would doze off or when I would need to close my eyes due to content (I still need to be good, even though no one else was watching), the top 40 country songs of the decade...that was pretty good and it helped to block out all the noise in the hallway and surrounding rooms.
And finally I slept in a bed that served as a pretty great recliner...I could sleep whenever I wanted, didn't matter the time of day or night, no one really cared, in fact they were thrilled each time I went to sleep (not that they didn't wake me up every other hour, but then they'd leave me to be and with any luck at all, I'd be off in dreamland again.)

If you haven't already guessed where I spent my little vacation, yes in the hospital. How dumb is that??? Who on earth wants to go the hospital for a vacation? Who planned this? Well, I'm afraid I may be a little at fault...
Monday I was complaining that I never have any time to get to all of the things I need or want to do, had myself a little pity party and guess what happened? That very night I started getting sick. So do yourself a favor and don't complain!!! By Wednesday evening, my hubby had me in the emergency room, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, I was going downhill very fast, it was not a pretty situation.

After spending many hours in ER, I was admitted to a room.
Test after test after test...
Ruled out were Heart Attack, Blood clots in my lungs and a couple of other things I cannot remember. Thank Heaven for those results... I think this was all a little too much for my Dear Husband to be thinking about, but I am okay.
What they did find was that I had come down with pneumonia with an asthmatic exacerbation. All I knew was I could not breathe and my chest hurt like it had never hurt before. They quickly had me hooked up to oxygen, which I stayed on full time for the next 2 1/2 days. They started breathing treatments to help me to breathe and to release the pressure on my lungs. I was pumped full of IV liquids, antibiotics, steroids, and oxygen. Saturday afternoon, I was released to come home with medications to help over the next 10 days.

So after the run down of all the not so great details, I really wanted to
think of some of the great things that happened in the hospital, it was after all, my vacation and I need to relish in the good moments!
I saw the first snowfall from my room...that made me smile! It also made me a little sad that I wasn't home to enjoy my kiddos with all of their excitement of the first snowfall! But it was a magical sight! There is just something about that gently cascading snow as it falls from the sky, snow is amazing to watch fall, no matter the size or the quantity falling, I just LOVE it!

Just outside my window was the flag pole fitted with Our American Flag as well as the Flag for the State of Idaho. What a treat! On my first or maybe it was my second day, it's all a little bit of a blur, I looked out the window to see a very blustery day ~ those flags were just waving about, it was truly a beautiful sight to see. I watched them until I fell asleep again. Amazing what seeing the Flag can do for a person, well at least for me :)

I had a lot of quiet time to reflect, to prioritize, time to focus on how blessed I really am. Maybe that was the entire purpose in my getting so sick...time to slow only worry about me (although I was very worried about being gone for so long, but my family all did just fine).

As Mothers I really think we get so caught up in all of our responsibilities that we get lost somewhere in the mix.
I am absolutely not suggesting that we become selfish to any degree, but I do think we need to take care of us first and that is what I have come away with. When I can make sure I am okay, then I will better be able to make sure everyone else is okay and their needs are met. But, when you are running like a crazy lady 24/7, as I have been doing for much too long, it finally takes it's toll.
It was surprising to me how the doctors and nurses reacted to my being in the hospital with pneumonia. I loved it each time they would say, "You are way too young to have this" doesn't that sound nice? Let's say it again, "You are way too young" LOVE it! Anyway, back to what I was saying, they questioned what I do and how I got myself so run down? Well, I gave them only a small sampling of what I do and they were a little taken aback. Glad I held back some of the information, I might have had a tongue lashing!

Anyway, this was all a very good lesson for me... and one that I wanted to share with all of my friends... slow down a little, it really is okay, take care of YOU ~ it really is okay and so important, and lastly, I said this a little bit ago, DON'T COMPLAIN, cause if you do, you just might end up in the hospital, too! Love you all!

For the next week or so, please send me messages on my email or here or facebook, since talking is very difficult. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are traveling, please be safe!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Volumptous and Happy

For Family Home Evening last night, we focused on Gratitude. I know, not surprising for this time of year, but it was so sweet to hear what our kids are grateful for. I will spare you the list.

Well, this morning I was reminded of our conversations last night during my frustration of finding something to wear that wasn't too tight or too uncomfortable or, or, or...

I found myself grumbling about all of this extra weight and starting to feel sorry for myself. Then I had a thought...
I should be grateful to have a body. SO I went with that thought and am going to choose to look at myself through different eyes from now on. This volumptous body of mine is fantastic and I need to love it!!!

I may not have the body I wish I did, someday hopefully that will change, but until then I am not going to hate who I am and what I see looking back from the mirror at me. I have a fabulous body that is capable of so many incredible things...I can walk, I can play, I can explore, I can run (maybe if it's only for just a few short minutes, but I can do it), I can crawl around with my kiddos and get down on the floor to play games with them, I can skip down our lane or jump on the motorcycles or bikes to hang out with all my boys. I can do all things, because of I am blessed enough to have a body.

You could take that another direction...I could be starving, but I am not and these extra little curves are proof that we eat well ~ and if we ever run out of food, I'll probably survive a little extra time (I have my own food storage, there's a little attached on each hip) I know not a pretty picture, but when you are reaching to love your body as I am, you might as well look for all the reasons!!!

Another thought on that...I know that I had to fight hard in the pre-existence for my body, so why should I be dissing it here just because it's not as perfect as some other bodies prancing around. What an ungrateful thing to be doing!!!

SO, instead of beating myself up that I don't look like a teenager any longer, I will be grateful that my body made the teenagers that we have and remember that there is a time and a season for all things and to be grateful for all of these wonderful seasons of my life.

Here's to a Fantastic Tuesday...

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Today my hubby called me while he was out working (thankfully he does that a lot) guess he knows how much it means to me to hear his voice throughout my day...anyway, he called me with a purpose. He wanted to share a thought he had and together we will make it happen. It's really something so very simple, but the effect of it can be so grand ~ and that is our hope and desire. So, I will share it with you:

But first, I want you to think about this quote, because it is so fitting...

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right." Henry Ford
Don't you just love that??? It is so true!

So our goal is to penetrate within our children's hearts and minds all of the positives we see within them...we want them to always see before their eyes that they can, that they are, that they have the utmost potential in this life to do or to be anything and everything they have the desire to become. We hope to enable these thoughts within them by posting throughout our home sweet reminders of just how great they are.

In the boys and the girls room and in the main area of our home will be prominently displayed the following ~

followed by all of the important things
they need to know and remember.
(Some of the top ones for me are:)
incredible ~ strong ~ courageous ~ worthy ~ positive ~
unique ~ virtuous ~ breathtaking ~ valiant ~ talented ~ brave ~ amazing ~ insightful ~ creative ~ adventurous ~ extra-ordinary ~ wishful ~ inquisitive ~ special ~ joyful ~ compassionate ~ energetic ~ loving ~ of infinite worth ~ peaceful ~ sensational ~ gentle ~ gracious ~ faithful ~ trustworthy ~ kind ~ divine
My mind has just been filled with joy since Chad and I talked about this earlier today...nothing is more important to me than for our children to grow up knowing who they are and how very special they are ~ and every little thing we can do to empower that...we will do with all of our hearts!
I'll show you what I come up with ~ doing this next weekend at my Retreat...cannot wait to put this just speaks to my heart!
Please, please, please share any other special words you might come up with...I'm sure I'll be losing sleep over this one, I better keep a notebook handy cause they just keep popping out at me!
Have a beautiful week and remember
"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right!"
YOU CAN!!! You are amazing and wonderful!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Well, this wonderful daughter of ours, who is about to turn another year older, informed me just a few days ago that she is not planning to turn 17, she'll just go back to 7. Well, I cannot even express the relief I feel at that! I might even throw a little celebration party and you are all invited! I am pretty darn sure that if she turns 17-- 18 or 19 is just around the corner and she will surely be snatched up by some sweet young man who is just dying to spend the rest of eternity with this adorable daughter of mine and my heart is just not ready for that!

So bring on the 7th birthday again!!! I could not be happier! :)

Okay, so since I truly am aware that I am in dream land, I guess I'll go ahead and share her beautiful photos from the Homecoming Dance a couple of weeks ago. She and her date looked simply adorable together. Such a pretty girl...I'm pretty lucky to be her Momma. Sure do love her!

Time to do the "Do". Our friend, Jessie, came right on over and spent the afternoon playing with Danielle's hair ~ she did a beautiful job. Thanks Jessie!!!! Getting in a couple shots before "the boy" shows up!
Cute :) Goodbye sweet girl of ours ~ have a wonderful time! By the way, when did you grow up???

You didn't listen very well all those times I asked you to just stay little!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The HAPPIEST Place on Earth!!!

Well, for those of you who've been so very patient with me. I am FINALLY getting pictures from, you guessed it, DISNEYLAND on my blog. Oh how I have wanted to, but I'm not sure where my time has been going.
I loved looking through the photos, but deciding which ones to post was so hard. The really sad thing was that for so much of the day my big kids were off doing big kid stuff and I was hanging out with my little ones doing Princess and little people stuff. So, I have very few photos of the big ones and I am sad about that, so please don't think I have favorites, cause they actually all think they are my favorite! And they are right...I have 7 favorites!!! How lucky am I???

We spent the first part of our day hanging out together ~ we all checked out Peter Pan and TINKERBELL! She was high on the priority list! Then we made our way over to the carousel...horses cannot be passed up by this family...LOVED that all my boys were riding along with us! Had to take a bunch of photos ~ got 'em all, babies and grandbabies!!!

and then when it was time for the teacups and princesses -- well, the boys thought it was about time to make a run for it! I did get Wyatt on the Teacups with us...and man can that little guy spin a tea cup!
Try as they might, that sword just would not budge!!! LOVE THOSE BOYS!
Just after our Teacup moment -- The Big kids, including the biggest kid of all (DAD) were off for the afternoon hanging out doing their big kid stuff, while the little girls, Shealyn and her little ones and I headed to find ARIEL and CINDERELLA!

LOVE that sign..."Where happily ever after happens every day"

Well, let me tell ya, it was a very happily ever after day for my little girls on this day. We waited in a very long line, but it was so worth the wait. Natalie's dream came true, she met her favorite Princess ever and talked and talked and talked with her. Ariel was delightful!
She listened so intently as Natalie told her "You have been my favorite princess my whole life!" They talked about Flounder and Sebastian. It just could not have been better for this little girl! And now that we've returned Natalie prays everyday that Ariel will be safe and happy in Disneyland and that she will be sure to take care of Pooh, and Tigger and the Heffalumps and Woozels.

Another magical moment...Cassie's very favorite princess has always been Cinderella!!!
Cassie has become so quiet...but her blue eyes just lit up when she saw Cinderella. I wish I had a sweet photo of just the two of them together, but the camera-man was pushing us along. I should have been more assertive and said, hold on just a minute, she needs a photo, luckily she is such a sweet little girl and is just as happy as can be with this one. She had a few minutes of time to visit with her, but Cassie just looked at her with the most wonderful look of awe on her face, what a precious little child she is! She had wanted so much to meet Cinderella (I sure wish I could have just put myself right into her thoughts at that moment, I'm sure it was full of wonder and magic for her because again, her eyes just sparkled as she looked at her!) Cinderella's autograph was just as beautiful as she was and I think Cassie will be practicing to make her name look just as magnificent!
Our last princess photo shot...
Alyce had her little photo moment...what a little cutie pie!!!

While we were visiting the Princess World, the girls saw Belle and Snow White and I can't even remember who else, they danced and sang with them and just had a truly magical was priceless! They would have stayed right there the remainder of the day had I not drug them off to see other things.

We ventured into Toon Town and I took the little girls on a roller coaster was a bit fast, but I wasn't really sure how fast it might have felt for the girls. Have a look at our before and after...Hysterical, sad, but hysterical all the same!Check out that awesome smile! Cassie is so ready for this ride! Natalie, on the other hand, wouldn't even turn around to see me sitting right behind her...I think the fear hit the moment she sat her little buns down. And just as we stepped off the ride, this was the reaction! I didn't know a little heart could pitter-patter quite so hard! She recovered quickly and we were off for more adventure!

We met up with Dad for a little fun ~he joined us for one of my favorites and now one of the girls favorites! IT'S A SMALL WORLD! Even the walkway was magical...

We were singing away for hours after this sweet little ride...wish I could have gone on it again and again! I think I must still be a little kid stuck in a big persons body!

After our It's A Small World was a mad dash to meet up with all the other kids for our SteamBoat ride. Dad took a shot of me with all our kiddos! Still can't believe they were all with us...Yippee!!! What a wonderful treat!
After our steamboat ride, we headed out for some real excitement!

We all wanted to ride Pirates of the Carribean. Well, the line was a little long and before we knew it, three kiddos were sacked out, Shealyn's babies and our little Natalie. Thank goodness for strong Daddy shoulders and arms, she is getting way too big for me to carry around and hold!It had been a long day up to this point full of so much fun and excitement, they just needed a little snooze to keep them going strong the rest of the day! Pirates was a hit! They all loved it. Next on the list...INDIANA JONES. I was a little worried this one might be a bit much for my little ones, but they loved it! Shealyn had to sit this one out, her little ones were just a little too little.
Dad and all the kids headed over "to test out just what they had" on the Buzz Lightyear Ride...they are some pretty good shots. Somewhere I have photos of this...but I have to check with my kiddos who forwarded them to our computer. If I can ever find them, I'll be sure to share!
We were lucky enough to be able to watch the Fireworks display and Fantasmic! Beautiful shows, Fantasmic -- well, a little too scary in some places, so we just covered eyes, wish they could have left out the scary and only included the magical...but who am I? Oh that's right, I am a Mom and that is why I think of these things. My guess is that a Momma is not in charge here or some things would be changing! The magical would be taking over!!!
Speaking of Magical...our last couple of stops before leaving this wonderland were mighty important. The boys had a couple of wishes and so did the girls, so again, we split up for just a bit.
The boys hit Splash Mountain and a couple of other big kid rides. We have the greatest photo ever of all my boys coming down Splash Mountain. I need to take a photo of the photo and try to upload'll all love it!
The big girls went off to do a little window shopping :)
As for the little girls, we still had two very important stops to make...We hadn't seen Winnie the Pooh or Pixie Land. Perfect place for a few more adorable photos!

We had our last ride of the night just as the park was closing. I grabbed all the little girls and Danielle and we loaded up on some airplane sorta ride...sorry, don't have the foggiest idea what it was called, but it was a fun one to end on with all the lights flashing and being way up in the air.
I think we're all starting to feel a tad bit tired...oh, but what a fabulous day!
We saw this adorable Mickey as we entered the park and just had to have this for our memories! That just might be the very best Jack-o-lantern ever! Good-bye Disneyland!
Thanks for the magical was truly the perfect day...
a dream come true~all of my kiddos together at
The Happiest Place on Earth!