Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Preparation for the Storm

Tonight I was looking for a post back in January where I thought I may have written down my resolutions/goals for the year. I stumbled across this post and it led to this post. In the previously mentioned post (can I say post just one more time?), I wrote about why I love being a mom. But in it, I also stated the following:

I must be coming to some kind of crossroads in my life because lately I've been thinking a lot about change and everything that has changed in my life over the past 10 years. I hope this isn't the Lord preparing me for some kind of impending trial.

Six months later, I think that quite possibly was what the Lord was doing -- preparing me for a trial. Spokane has been extremely difficult for me for a few reasons, but one in particular which I care not to disclose at this time. And, most of you would probably think it was trivial anyway...but to me, it was certainly not. "The trial" had already begun when I wrote the January post, but I was not yet fully aware of how intense it would become. Now, one could easily say that Samantha has been a trial for us. I don't quite feel that most of the time. In fact, I believe she is more of a blessing than anything. Sure, there are some specific trying situations associated with our lovebug -- her seizures are hard for me still -- and I feel like those, at times, are a trial of our faith. But even those are only for short periods of time. This particular trial has been consistently painful and emotionally arduous for the past 6 months. No breaks. No moments of reprieve. Unfortunately, I believe there were plenty of times when I complained and didn't handle it well -- and maybe, by my own immaturity, I delayed the end of the trial. I was just so physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out. Never have I experienced anything quite like this -- and hope to not have to experience anything like this again. But, through it all, I believe that I gained a better understanding of the church and the gospel. I most definitely gained a deeper testimony of prayer. And I gained a greater love and appreciation for my husband. During this time, I have also created some friendships that, without them knowing it, were a greater support to me than they could ever realize.

It wasn't until tonight when I looked back to January that I recognized the Lord preparing me for this trial. At that time, my thoughts were so focused on my family and the joy I receive from being a wife and mother. I didn't realize then how important those thoughts would be to me in order to ground me during such a troubling time. The Lord does prepare us for the storm. We may not recognize it at first, but He does prepares us. And I believe that through earnest prayer, He will also sustain us.

At one point, I would have packed up my bags and moved from Spokane with only 10 minute notice, believing that fleeing from Spokane would solve the problem. But it seems like something crazy happened overnight. I'm attached. We don't know exactly when we are leaving, but the idea of it makes me a little sad. Maybe it's because of my friends. Maybe it's because of all I've learned here. But really, it's probably a lot of both. I'm grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that enable us to survive when we feel like we can't -- or when we don't want to. I've experienced a lot of His tender mercies here, and feel nothing but blessed.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ender's Game

Well, Marcus has been wanting me to read this book forever, and I finally did it. And, believe it or not, I'm really glad I did. It was entertaining the entire way through. And not only was it entertaining, but it made me think a lot about how I treat others. No, I don't go around killing people who are mean to me. But, the relationships the human race has with the Buggers is quite interesting to me. There is no form of communication, so all they can do is assume that the one wants to destroy the other. Am I quick to assume that someone wants to hurt me when I don't quite understand their intentions? I don't think so. I feel pretty confident saying that doesn't describe me. But what about us as a people in general? It's interesting to think about. And, yes, the story was compelling. I had to keep reminding myself that Ender was just a little kid -- not some adult who is filled with life experiences. It was a fun read and I now understand Marcus' insistence on me reading it. I guess he can now die happy.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

** spoiler alert ** Too sad. I've had people tell me about this book in the past, so I've been interested. When I finally sat down to read (listen) to it, I was disappointed. I was interested in the story and how it would all work out, but in the end, I just felt empty. I felt a deep sadness for this Henry fellow -- how he could keep this secret his entire life, destroying many lives. The story was interesting, but it just left me empty. Blarg!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King

Earlier today, I heard that Farrah Fawcett had died. Television shows that were previously recorded talked about how she was close to death, but because of the immediacy of the internet, I already knew that she had died. This is sad, though we have all been hearing about it for awhile and her death wasn't unexpected.

I ran some errands today and on the radio, I heard "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. Haven't heard that one in a long time and it was fun to sing along.
When the song was over, the DJ stated that Michael Jackson had died from cardiac arrest today, and though he was gone, he'd always be the King of Pop. Then they played another Michael Jackson song. My jaw dropped! I was shocked! This was completely unexpected. Now, I don't mean to write a tribute to Michael Jackson, but come on. Do you expect me to NOT have some thoughts on this? I did, afterall, write a post because I was upset about The Bachelor back when that was all in the news. So, why not give attention to a man who deserves a little bit of love here?
I understand that over the years there have been questionable activities and whatnot. But I have always loved Michael Jackson's music. When I hear some Michael Jackson, it takes me back to Emily Tripp's house, dancing in her family room on War Bonnet. (I think that was her street name? Hmmm It was a long time ago.) Music and dancing was a huge part of my growing up...and who's music was better in that time than Mr. Jackson's? His life, to me, has been so tragic over the past 10 years or so. So sad. As Marcus and I were talking about it a little tonight, I told him how sad I thought it was that Michael Jackson had died, and Marcus said, "I know. He'll be our children's Elvis." He is probably right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3rd Birthday -- Part 2

Tuesday was Samantha's real birthday. We did the fun friend party on Monday, so Tuesday was reserved for family. We wanted to do something that Samantha would enjoy, afterall, this is her special day. I picked Marcus up from work and with dinner provided by Subway, we headed to the park.

Callie is now swinging on the big swings. This is a new development. They didn't have any of the infant swings, so we tried it out...and she held on. She loved it.

I love this picture of Marcus and Sammy. My new Daddy Daughter favorite.

Callie taking Sammy for a birthday ride.

A birthday throw in the air! Wahoo!

Now it's time for cake!
The top layer of her cake that we saved for the family.

Happy Birthday Samantha!
We love you so much!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

3rd Birthday -- Part 1

Last night we had a little birthday party for Sammy's THIRD birthday. I really can't believe that 3 years ago today she was born. It was a day of firsts. Giving birth for the first time. Becoming first time parents. Scotty and Chris came and met their new, first niece. It was a very exciting day. So, yesterday, a day early, we celebrated our sweetheart's birthday with some friends.

This year I went with a Tinkerbell cake. This was not easy. Have you ever tried fondant before? Well, I found a fabulous recipe, but I tell you, it was not a piece of cake that's for sure. We'll see if I ever do fondant again!

Sammy with her cake.

Getting ready to blow out the candles.

While Greg cut the cake, I served up the icecream (thanks Amanda and Tim for bringing the icecream!)

Samantha opening up her gifts.
Thanks everyone for coming. (And thanks for the gifts too. That was surely unexpected, but both Samantha and Callie are having a lot more fun the past 2 days with their new loot. And thanks Greg and Julie for hosting.)


Here's some more Sammy...last night we had a little birthday party for Sammy. (I'll post all those pictures later -- this happens to be more exciting to me right now.) While we were there, Samantha was, of course, walking around. There were times when she stopped and stood up so straight. I couldn't believe it! She was walking straight, standing straight. It was really amazing. Julie actually pointed it out to me and her excitement made me cry! Marcus and I were both in shock seeing Samantha so upright. Julie said, "I'm surprised you don't have the camera out." Well shoot! Why didn't I have the camera out? So, I went over, got it, and this is the footage I got. It's not the best of the best, but you can see little parts when she is more upright. Julie commented to me that there were times, long stretches, when it looked like Sammy was walking just like anyone else...like walking and standing wasn't an issue for her. She looked just like every other 3 year old! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Capturing a Moment

Today I was able to have two of those rare experiences in which your heart is so extremely full of love that it begins to overflow into every part of you. I do the best I can to capture these moments, to remember them, but unfortunately I have a memory of a doorknob, so if I don't write them down, they are lost in the cobwebs of an empty mind.

I spent much of the morning preparing Samantha's birthday cake. After Callie ate breakfast she dipped her fingers in the powdered sugar I was using. Instead of being frustrated, I thought it was kind of cute. She giggled and I tossed some sugar at her face. She was absolutely gorgeous to me as her smile stretched from ear to ear and then opened wide, revealing her bright white teeth, to release a huge built-up giggle Callie style -- which really is more like a cackle. The sugar on her hands and arm created a stark white contrast to her beautiful dark skin. She really made me stop because of how beautiful I thought she looked. And in that moment I remembered that we adopted her. It may seem kind of strange, but I forget that sometimes. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that she is mine. That I get to see that smile, hear that crazy crackle, read her books, teach her where her tummy is, sing her songs, put her to bed, etc. In that moment, Callie at age 2, 3, 5, and 8 flashed before me. I'm so excited for Callie's future. I'm excited to take her places, to send her off to school, to watch her soccer games or dance recitals or choir performances. I'm excited to live life with her because she emanates joy in all she does. That is a moment I want to capture with Callie -- her innocence, joy, and beauty. I do happen to think that Callie is a pretty girl, but her personality is what makes her adorable. She is a happy and fun little girl. I can't stop her from waving to people everywhere we go (ok, not that I've tried). She makes people around her happy. I can't tell you how many people randomly come to our shopping cart while we're out because Callie has lured them over with the triple threat -- smiles, giggles, and waves. But she is also a sincere little girl. She is beginning to learn about feelings and has become more compassionate to others as she realizes someone is "saaaad". There is a genuine look of concern on her face when she sees someone cry. As her mother, I hope that she always understands that inner-beauty transcends any physical shell. I hope she understands that about herself and maybe more importantly, about others.

Callie is currently taking a nap. She has started taking one nap a day which allows a few hour block for Mommy Sammy time. I admit that most often this "free time" isn't spent playing one on one with Sammy. Rather, it is spent cleaning, cooking, organizing, or doing anything else I need to do for our home. And typically this is fine because this is usually the period of the day when Sammy is playing on her own and is very content. Though she isn't napping, it is, in a sense, her own down time when she can do her own thing. Today, however, was different. Too often I get caught up with things I need to do. I get too busy. Well, lately, I've been tired...guess I must be slowing down in my old age. I laid down on the couch and brought Samantha up with me. She began jumping on me, which wasn't all that comfortable, but she was sure having fun. After a few minutes, I took her and held her close. Together we curled up on the couch. She didn't fight it. She didn't twist and turn. She just laid there with me, curled up against her mommy on the couch. She began softly talking "woa woa woa" while I played with her hair. At one point she began chewing on my shirt. I didn't care. She then wiggled her face into my neck and stayed there for the next 30 minutes. She didn't fall asleep, she just stayed there occasionally letting me know she was still awake by slipping out a very soft, whispered "woa". I loved it. During that time, I hoped that Sammy would know that I loved her, that she would understand that I am trying my best. I told her that I am so happy to be her mommy and that my life would be so sad without her. I told her that I would always be right here for her and we could lay like this on the couch whenever she wanted. I also told her she has super huge biceps -- because she really does! We were on the couch for 45 minutes together before she started to giggle. Why the giggle? I have no idea but it was pretty darn cute. So I tickled her so she'd have a real reason to giggle.

Now she's up, playing with a balloon and roaming the family room, and Callie will be waking up soon. I've tried to write down these personal experiences so I remember. I know, though, that they are greatly lacking the proper words and description that really explain how I feel in those moments. One day I'll reread this, and I'll be glad I wrote it down...and it will still be lacking. But I do also believe that one day, when my mind is perfect, it will recall all the moments I wish I could capture perfectly but just couldn't...and they will be pure memories, as if I were there again. I can't really imagine that day, but I think it'll be pretty great.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day it was indeed. I talked to my own wonderful father for a bit...even had to call him for some carpet counsel. (details below) I tried to make it a nice day for Marcus. I really did try. You'll have to ask him how he felt about it.
Marcus woke up to a nice breakfast and this surprise cake. Yeah, not the cutest, but it's the thought that counts. I didn't realize that I had 9 inch pans instead of 8 inch, and it really does make a difference.
Then, we had a little mishap. Yesterday when I asked Sammy what she was doing for Father's Day (see yesterday's post), I thought I understood her Samese. Apparently I need to study the language a bit more, because when she said "Woweee" I thought that meant "I'm making dad a cake and I'll eat it too." I guess what she really said was "I'm making dad a cake and I'll smash it too." There are so many Samese irregular verbs, I still get confused with what she is telling me sometimes. So, Marcus's cake ended up on the carpet. hmmm I've never cleaned up frosting off the carpet, and that's when I called my dad for his homecare expertise. He didn't answer because he was occupied (darn church), but I feel like my dad, being the great man that he is, has taught me a thing or two about how to fix a dirty situation. I hope we won't have a pile of ants over that spot in a couple days!
The Dad cake was pretty sad after the fall, but we all took small bites here and there. It was tasty.

The girls got all dressed up cute for church...in watermelon attire.

And boy did they get some compliments today at church.

But before we left for church, we took our Father's Day pictures. Daddy with Callie...

Daddy with both of his baby girls...

And Daddy with his lil' Samsquatch.

After church, we did dinner, and presents! Wahoo. Marcus scored big this year...shoes from my dad, a case for our GPS (thanks Mom and Dad again), an Outback gift card from my parents (mmmm my once a year Queen Victoria steak!), I Love You Daddy book from Callie -- because she loves to be read to, We Are Marshall from Sammy because football season is quickly approaching and she liked going to the games with Daddy, framed pictures of the girls, and Playstation 2. Yeah, I got that one for free. A friend who is moving and decluttering decided to declutter her playstation. I thought I'd help her, do a good deed ya know?

Here's a close-up of the framed pictures. I can't tell you how difficult it was to do this! Painting the letters, no problem. Getting the girls to hold the letters and take a cute picture? Good luck. The letter "A"? Yeah. That was the best shot we got.

Happy Father's Day Marcus! We think you're pretty great!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hey Sammy

Hey there Sammy. What are you planning on doing for Daddy on Father's Day?

Reeeeeaaallllyyy? That's very interesting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I love Sundays because I get to see my cute girls in their cute dresses! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Series of Sammy Sam

The other night I was showing Marcus some pictures of Samantha that I had taken earlier that day. Now, Sammy is a funny subject to photograph. She's very difficult to work with...but when you get a good shot of her, it's magical. She is just adorable. I was determined to get a good picture...here was my series of attempts.

In constant motion

Woa Sammy, a bit too close

Alright, let's slow down and take the food out of your mouth

Not such a pretty face

Falling over

And this is the classic shot of Sammy making her "woa woa woa" sounds. When we were going through the series of these pictures, we were laughing, but when we got to this...Marcus started laughing so hard, Crystal Light came out his nose!

AH. That darling perfect face, big blue eyes, and little blond bob. She makes me melt.

Again, on the move
Now, there's the smile I was looking for. I love that little flip of hair by her face. See? Magic.

Callie Talking

I've been organizing our videos and came across this. Callie is so funny. This is a couple months old, but here's Callie giving some animal sounds. Marcus tried to teach her what a piggie says, but she can't quite do it -- so she's come up with her own way.

Those Darn Laws

I try my best to be a law abiding citizen. I really do. But, I admit that sometimes I knowingly break the speed limit if I'm running late -- or listening to a fun upbeat song. (I'll work on that.) And I have been known to cross the street in the middle of the road back in Provo when no cars were around. I probably should have gone the extra 150 feet so I could lawfully walk between the thickly painted white lines. But, I didn't. Laws are here for our safety. I understand that. But those darn laws sometimes get in my way! Let's talk carseats for kids.

Samantha will be 3 next week. She weighs anywhere between 18-19 lbs (depending on which doctor's scale were using.) I kept her in a rear facing carseat until she was over 2. I remember one day talking to our pediatrician about it, and I was thrilled when he said, "These laws are good and meant to be there for the kids safety. But Samantha may be under 20 pounds for a long time. Is it realistic to keep her rear facing until she's 5?" He gave me the unofficial go ahead to turn her seat around. Wahoo! It was great.

Callie is 17 months. She weighs almost 19 lbs depending on the day. About a month ago I turned her carseat around. I knew she wasn't 20 pounds, but I didn't care. To me, she was close enough and it would make it a lot easier. She was starting to really kick the seat and pull at the fabric on the car door. Turning her around changed all of that, and it made our rides more enjoyable.

Saturday, while running errands, I saw a FREE CARSEAT CHECK. "Oh good," thought I as I turned into the parking lot of our local Kmart. I've been thinking Sammy's carseat looked a little funny in our car, and I wanted to make sure it was in securely. 45 minutes later and after the entire team and Spokane law enforcement worked on our car, we got the 2 carseats out and back in our car -- REAR FACING! I kept thinking, "I should have lied." "I should have said they were 20 pounds." "When I get home I'm turning these suckers around." Then came the guilt. I know it's safer for them to be rear facing until they are 20 pounds. So, do I put my convienence ahead of their safety? Do I leave Sammy rear facing until she's 12? Will the 3 extra months we have Callie rear facing before she gains that 1 lb make that big of a difference? And, what's more important, that they are rearfacing or that the actual belts are tight enough? Because they way the carseats are in now, I can't properly tighten the straps. Grrrr Then you read articles like this.

I came home extremely irritated with the stupid seat checker people for pushing the passenger seat up uncomfortably in order to fit the carseats in and making my life miserable and with myself for being irritated that they want to make my children safe! So, for now, the girls are rear facing again and no one in the family is happy about it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Daddy Game

This is a small demonstration of the Daddy Game. We've never officially named it that, but I can't think of anything else. We've posted video similar to this in the past, but we thought this was pretty cute. This was taken a few months ago, but we came across it last night on our camera. She gets so excited and jumps up and down. Callie tried to get in the action a little bit too. What fun kids.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What I Think About Most

Larissa shared this on her blog, and I love it! Wordle creates word collages. You can make one yourself, or I did what she did...I put my blog address in and based on all the words on my blog, it created this beauty. The words that are largest are what I use the most.

Once the website created this word collage, I was really happy to see Callie and Sammy's names in large print (though I felt bad that "Marcus" wasn't written hugely across the page)...and family, love, and child standing out a little more prominently than other words like, oh, say "Beyonce" and "forget." Being a mom is really what consumes my life -- and consumes it in a really great, happy way. I think about my punkin and munchkin all day long. I even dream about them. A mom just doesn't get a break.:) I love my family and feel so blessed to have them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Soul in Her Blood

There's just something about Beyonce that Callie loves. Other songs are somewhat entertaining, but she really puts her moves on showcase when "All The Single Ladies" comes on. She must have been born with soul because we didn't teach her these moves. (That's Sammy yelling in the background.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book! Written through a series of letters, you get fresh insight on all the characters. Particularly enjoyable is the fact that it takes place during WWII, a tragic time in our world's history, but it isn't overwhelmingly depressing and sad. Of course sad things happen, but it is mixed with laughter, love, and true friendship. I also enjoyed that books and literature were what helped this group of friends make it through such a hard time. Loved the book. Recommend it to all. Everyone in our book club loved it too (which is a relief since I picked it and led the discussion.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

With the Greens

Here is Memorial Day weekend in no particular order....
Under Grammy's supervision, Callie climbs up the ladder.

Callie cuddling up to Uncle Bryan.

Wait a minute, there are two steering wheels. Who's really driving this machine?

I've seen other babies in this super cute Target suit. Sooo cute.

Sammy with Aunt Lisi.

For some reason, I just love pictures like this -- kids walking while holding a hand. In particular, with Sammy, I love it because we have worked so hard in physical therapy to get her to this point where she will actually walk holding a hand. The only real beautiful shots of Manito Park that we got were of the girls with family. Those are the real picture keepers anyway. Who needs to see beautiful gardens when you've got these girlies?

Callie playing with Daddy and Grandpa

Sammy, Colin, and Analisa with this other family in the Japanese Garden at Manito.

Sammy and Bryan, I'm sure, just before she scratched his ear and forehead and pulled out a chunk of hair. Just look at that face. She was thinking up something devious.

The new trick that Sammy couldn't get enough of.

There was plenty of giggling each time...though I'm not sure who laughed more, Sammy or all of us.
Thanks for visiting! We miss you all.


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