last new year with a baby

next year, we'll ring in 2014 with a two year old. and that just doesn't count as a baby in my book. it was a bittersweet bedtime with rodney tonight.

and look, a gratuitous photo of our laundry room. 
Happy New Year!


Christmas 2012...a small recap, but not too much.

Christmas this year in pictures...we're having too much fun lying around in pj's and watching movies together to post anything else.
 after opening stockings
 our first trampoline, lots of jumping going on here
 and reading our new books (success!)
 and legos....
 legos. (I owe my holiday sanity to LEGOS)
 the aftermath
 rodney is getting tall you guys
 hanging with uncle taylor (and aunt sarah!)
 and the millers
 yup, rodney wears his bosox hat every day now.
 phoebe helped peel the carrots for soup last night, every single one.
my baby is growing up. how do you make it stop?


Merry Christmas from us!

we hope you have a peaceful holiday filled with family and friendship.


almost there

phoebe, 2012

We are enjoying the holidays full throttle around here, and the fact that daddy is home for 5 days in a row! Every night we light a fire and spend time together watching a movie or finishing up to do lists listening to music. I stayed up till 2am wrapping a few days ago, so I am done and can exhale.

I also minimised what I am doing and giving this year and am enjoying is 100%. No neighbor gifts. No baking sessions, which the girls' haven't seemed to mind. No last minute gift purchases, just peace and family time (notice i didn't say quiet?). 

This is also our first year without a credit card, and although things are difficult to get used to, it is making this Christmas much more enjoyable. I would say 1,000 times more enjoyable, but I am an exaggerator. 

And thanks to Grandma Curtis, we made our annual gingerbread houses and the girls' haven't touched theirs once, at least not that I've noticed. (we wait until New Year's day to break them apart and eat them). They are 100% edible, and fantastic.


right this very minute

i think one of the greatest lessons i have been trying to learn these past 2 years is living in the present. being aware of what is going on and being there for the people and things around you. no more wishing, or wanting, or waisting my time pining for more or different.

today was abby's class Christmas presentation, and it was perfect. the angelic kindergarteners were on their best behavior (as always, their teacher is amazing) and sang wonderfully. i didn't stop smiling the entire time. I love my children, i love our school, i love our teachers we've had, I also love that tomorrow is the last day of school for two weeks. My own Christmas spirit has been full these past few days.

Quite the turn around from a few weeks ago wouldn't you say?

 abby and our favorite mrs. h
 my baby abby
 jara and abby
a little glimpse of my mornings with phoebe and rodney. phoebe's new attention trick? being pouty, shy and quiet (hey aunt sarah, where'd she learn that one?)


fear and faith

trying not to ask the "why's" about the Connecticut tragedy this past week is difficult for me. I'm not a cryer, so my kids don't really know how much has been going through my mind every night and day. Picking them up from school,  watching all the little kids play in the playground. Walking through the elementary school halls, seeing all those blessed teachers giving their lives and hearts to all those tiny children. It's sobering and humbling and absolutely terrifying. 

Last night Ty kept the girls up a little later to play Candyland with them before bed. Just 20 simple minutes, and it made his day with them that much sweeter. We are trying to say prayers together every morning, kissing and hugging and 'iloveyou'ing more. Softer replies, kinder faces, quiet happy homes. I believe our homes are one of the most sacred places for our children, where they can grow up strong and safe and happy. 

I haven't had the heart to see all the faces of the victims yet, I saw a few and my spirit just shattered. Those are my children, my sister (1st grade teacher), my nieces and nephews, neighbors, primary children, community. It's just too much for me right now. But I do know this, there is a God and He still loves us. 

Here are found a few articles that Have helped me with all of this:

other than this post, i have one of our Christmas card and then I'm taking a break for the holidays.


We will hear the bells

Yesterday, in church, we sang one of my favorite Christmas poems, I hope its words bring as much peace to your heart as it did mine. I could barely whisper the fourth stanza,.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of my favorite poets, wrote this shortly after his wife died in an accidental fire and receiving news that his son was severely injured in the Civil War.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)


testing, testing, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2

dear little blog, i have been neglecting you. in my defense, it is the holiday season and it takes a lot of time and energy making things jolly and bright. i've found myself slowly warming up and feeling little bits of Christmas cheer and goodwill all every now and then.

first, the Christmas cards. nothing says I love you, I care about you, you are my friend, more than something in the mail. of course i'm old fashioned at heart, but no matter how digital this world gets, nothing compares to a handwritten card of friendship. we've received several Christmas cards and i just smile and beam seeing the name on the sender corner, and opening it, and having the girls clamor all over me to go, "who is it?" "oh! it's them!", and we all ooh and ahh and then i place them somewhere where i can look at them lovingly throughout the day. and of course, our cards won't be mailed out till the end of next week, i'm awesome like that.

secondly, the little gifts. the sweet bread from a friend, cake bites for the kids, an emergency first aid kit for our car (best gift ever!), and today perfect little ornaments from my friend Emily. i was so proud to tell Lucy, these are from my friend Emily, and we met when we were 8 too! little things like this make my heart grow liek the grinch, there are wonderful people out there, there is so much love out there, we just have to show it.

we read The Paper Bag Christmas, on our annual 'cut down the tree trip', out loud. my parents gave it to all of the kids, with money to give service to others. we have been brainstorming on how to spend it and who to give to, and it's been fun watching the girls think out loud. the main part of the story that i like, is that none of the gifts involved money, people gave of themselves, which is, after all, the only true gift we can really give. man, i'm getting sappy here.

anyways, the Christmas music, wrapping presents for the kids has been fun.  watching the girls every morning make a mad dash for the advent calendars.  waiting for Sarah to come down from Utah (sqweeeee!), planning a trip into town with the kids (we think they are old enough this year, crossing fingers). looking at lights, dance recitals, music class break, class parties, pajama days, Christmas parties, watching movies together, spending time with family that is in town. it is all wonderful and glorious and merry and bright. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The Terril's joined us this year for our tree cutting, i think it's tradition now. 


an ounce of prevention is worth...

christmas morning last year...
For over a month I have been pumping our family full of vitamins, probiotics and echinacea. Trying so hard to keep away the sickies. And of course, i thought that cleaning and mopping more would keep us less germ attacked. But I got sick last week, and now lucy has little cold (really little...so i should just stop talking right now).  I'm done though, no more sick kids, sick days, tv marathons. NO more!!!!!

And we haven't even been that sick this year, but it seems as though I tell people we are sick they reply, "again?". Ugh, i guess we are the "sick" family. Oh well.

ps- we went and sang christmas songs to some of our elderly friends last week, and the girls even accompanied with the piano (2 chords!). Abby had so much fun that she has asked to go back every day since. For our Christmas service she wants to visit more "old people that don't have kids". ha! i think she likes the non-competition clause that comes with that scenario.

pps- anyone looking to give me that amazing gift? i really would like one of these calligraphy address stamps. beautiful!
and last but not least, my baby boy turned 18 months this morning. How on Earth did that happen?


what i learned from Barney yesterday

Lucy and me, 2007? 2008? I can't even remember!
Yesterday I thought I was feeling so much better...and then I was back to feeling blech. In the middle of all of that we watched a Barney christmas special. Yes I let my kids watch TV when we're sick and yes I let them watch Barney.

So, i'm lying on the couch watching it with them, and the "parents" come on screen. And of course this was filmed in the mid 90's so the mom is wearing the best pair of mom khackis these eyes have seen. And the thoughts that followed are still bugging me, "see, now that's just not fair. look at what moms could wear back then!" No skinny jeans, no tight shirts, no plastic chest, lips or face. Just... a mom. I was lamenting to another mom last week that being pregnant these days has so much more pressure than even when I had Lucy. She didn't believe me and I said, "that's because you weren't pregnant back then." Lucy, in 2004 was still close enough to the 90's that gaining 50lbs, wearing large blouses and full paneled gap maternity jeans was en vogue.  Even just 2 years later when i was pregnant again with Abigail, pregnancy had hit Hollywood full throttle and we had 7 for all mankind pregnancy jeans and pea in the pod $85 shirts that were what every mom should wear. i won't even tell you how many times I looked at clothes on NOM. ridiculous.

post script: not pregnant, i promise.

Anyways, long story short,  moms have it tougher and tougher every year. not only from the world and media, that we must always be attractive and sexy, we must be fit and trim, we must make all homemade organic healthy snacks, homeschool, homebirth, achieve post graduate degrees, lecture, blog, write books, and head up the local soccer carpool, be active in church and profess our feministic ideals.  Because, didn't you know, if you don't tell people you are a feminist that it means you think all women should be married to a drunken wife beater and receive no social equality whatsoever? I've heard it's true.

But then, after and before all that, we have to deal with crap from each other. Women are awful to EACH OTHER, especially moms! Just get a group of moms together and ask them what pediatrician they recommend. Be advised, you will have to listen to a lot of arguments from everyone of how "theirs" is the best.  I follow nienie on instagram and am appalled at the stuff mothers attack her about. I am positive any one of you could walk into my home and point out all of my faults and shortcomings as a mother. I think that goes for everyone.

Why do we attack each other so much? Why does it matter? can't we all just get along? (famous words from my own dear mom).  We are all moms, we are all trying to raise our children. Whether we stay at home, work part/full time, have sitters, nannies/never have sitters, never leave our children/always leave our children, go on vacations with our spouse/never go on vacations with our spouse, homeschool, traditional school, hospital planned c-section/homebirth, anitbiotics/no medicine ever, prescriptions/essential oils, nursing/formula, minivan/suv, cloth diapers/disposable, tv/no tv, movies/no movies, ipads, iphones, DS/ no handheld entertainment, movies in the car/ old fashioned coloring books, potty training, cry it out/ cosleep, wean/nurse till 5, too much discipline/too little discipline, parenting books/ free spirit parenting, Santa/no Santa, the list goes on and on and on!

Guess what?

None of it even matters. It doesn't matter one little bit what other moms are doing with their children. Why? Because all that matters is what you choose. Ty and I are accountable for our home, our kids and what we teach them. That's it. Nothing else. Isn't that a huge relief? What an enormous blessing from above. I know we all think we are should be in charge of everyone else, but the truth is we can't even handle our own thoughts for 24hrs. How could we even begin to take care of more than our own sphere of life?

And so, I'm asking this Christmas season that us moms all support one another. It doesn't matter our faith, beliefs, political ideas, parenting methods, life choices or dress size. We are all mothers, and we all desperately need each other. And maybe, just maybe, from the small amount of mothers who read this can reach out to more moms, and so on and so on and so on. We are women, we are all equal and we support each other, no matter what.


Christmas Wishes

 Christmas '06
Christmas '05

I wish we got two days of snow every year in our Valley.
I wish that I can give heartfelt presents to all that we love and care about this year.
I wish that we won't get pink eye (it's raging all over!).
I wish that I could spend Christmas evening with all of my siblings.
I wish that Ty could surprise me with one Christmas present, (he hasn't surprised me in years).
When i woke up this morning, I realized all I really want for Christmas was fruit trees, nut trees, chickens, a chicken coop, a small garden and a goat.

Oh, and to not have the stomach flu tomorrow, or any of my kids either.

Do you think this is all too much to ask for?


on giving

christmas 2004

How do you decide on what and how much to "give" at Christmas time?  When i see this picture of our 2nd Christmas together i just laugh. I had just graduated from college, Ty was working full time, Lucy was a newborn and I had post-partum depression and no idea. I survived my PPD by shopping. I shopped and shopped and shopped. We bought so much stinking crap for each other it's sick to think about. And you know what? It didn't make me feel any bit better, no amount of presents or the 'right' presents can ever change anything, isn't that bummer? 

Growing up we always had sparse Christmas'. It didn't really bother me, as I knew the next morning we would be packing up and driving down to Phoenix to visit with all the family. Those trips made the best christmas vacations ever. Aunt Lynne and Uncle Dan always hosted us and I can't imagine how much work that must have been! But you know what? those are magical memories, and I still am closest with the Curtis cousins over all of my other cousins.  

I do all of the shopping every year for Christmas. Who gets what? How many presents from us? how many from Santa? what to give friends, teachers, relatives? Some years things have been tight and our presents have been lame. But you know what? It wasn't because of the money, it's because we ran out of time and I didn't plan well enough.

I think it doesn't matter how much you spend at all, but the thought put into it. we give gifts because we love each other, we give to show that love, and I always have to remember I'm not giving to "buy" anyone's love. For the last 2 years we have done 3 presents from us, and 2 presents from Santa. that may sound like a lot to you, or very little, but it has been great for us.

Luckily we have girls, who love getting clothes. So of course we give them some needed clothing for one of their presents, and this year I want the other one to be books. I've never given them books as presents, as we just go to the library every week. but I read 50 best picture books on designmom and am trying to build up our collection of the classics, so that someday my grandchildren can stop by and read them with their chubby little hands. 

Some years I have spent a lot on family and friends, and then suffered in January when the bill came. But this year is our first Christmas without a credit card, so things have already begun to get "interesting". Hence the black friday disaster of shopping trying to "save" money, what a joke. But, I am having fun making things and planning, but we'll see how i feel in a few weeks. Any advice? Any problems with giving too? 

ps- It's getting harder the older lucy gets, because she's noticing how "Much" other people get and what we get, etc. etc. etc. How do you handle that?

pps- ty is the worst person to shop for! I always like to surprise him, but he doesn't consider a lot of the things I give as good gifts. Like, Church pants! Or an ipod!  


Doing too much?

Phoebe, Christmas morning last year
This is how i feel right now.

I helped out at school this week, taught Zumba and put up Christmas decorations and helped Ty with the house lights. You would think that wasn't very much wouldn't you? It sounds like a ding in the pan to me, compared to what other "moms" do.

But add it in to my daily schedule of dishes, making food, serving food, cutting food, forcing food, cleaning up food, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, laundry, playing, walks, swinging, phone calls, emails, planning, cleaning and then everything else repeated 10 times, and I'm pooped.

It made me think of this talk from a few years back, a talk that actually made a lot of mothers mad, but you know what? I totally agree. Putting up "christmas" and getting ready for "christmas" has been taking away time with my kids, time staying calm and collected, reading, taking it easy. It's downright maddening!  I can't imagine I'm the only mom who gets completely swamped this time of year, there is just too much to do in such a limited time, and stuff is only on sale for these 30 days! hurry hurry fast! And now there are moms who are having to have an "elf" tell their kids to behave, and texting Santa to tell them to be good.  Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. All I'm saying is if I'm doing so much that I can't keep my house orderly and play with my kids, I'm doing too much. In the end, what really matters? Family and home. Home and family.

In other news, have a great weekend! And enjoy this clip of Ty and his new "jump" he built in his spare time. Never mind the girls still don't have a closet, but that's a post for a different time. My mom always said, "choose your battles", and i would like to add, "choose your battles...wisely".


Christmas time

What are your favorite Christmas movies? We watched it's a wonderful life last night and it made me almost cry. I love that movie so much. i'm on track reading the Book of Mormon again and finishing Christmas eve. Have you ever read it before, I mean, like it's an actual book? As in, you keep reading as long as you like and get into it and understand what's going on? Growing up I always read one.chapter.at.a.time. And by the next night would have forgotten everything from the night before. And the chapter headings? Well sometimes those are just confusing, I don't read them at all anymore. When you read it like a book there is no need!

Speaking of books, i've read some great ones lately thanks to Joshlyn. She and Jandee are my book gurus. I love books, I love talking about books, I love listening to what books other people like. It gives you so much to connect over and laugh about. Everytime I hear someone say they don't like to read, i think in my head "You just haven't read the right book yet!".  I love historical non-fiction. My sister and brothers mostly all love fantasy (i abhor fantasy, except HP).  I have a hard time swallowing Young Adult literature, unless I'm hormonally prengnant or nursing, then I devore them!  What are you favorite books? Any favortie Christmas books I need to add to my ever growing list?

My favorite Christmas crooners? nat king cole, bing crosby and perry como. Nothing like those three in my book.


Sunday thoughts

You know what I hearmostaboutthisblog?people appreciate my honesty.butwhen ithinksboutit, ideally editouta lot of stuff! Ugh!imtrryingtop iostonmyipad and it sucks!

I am most definitely techno impaired.

So you want honesty? You got it!

- I taught the 15 yr olds today, and although the lesson bombed afterwards I heard the a friend  & neighbor suffered a heart attack and is dying. Talk about priorities whacked back to place. Life is so fragile! How can we waste any second of it not serving and showing love?

A lot of the time my snarky sarcasm abducts my body. I'm not even joking, I open my mouth and the jerk monster jumps out. I'm trying really hard to be good, but sometimes people just give me too much to work with you know?

We finished painting our house...2 yrs later! Ha! We are awesome home owners.

My house is still clean! Wahoo,

I've been eating some sugar. A bite here a bite there. No bingeing, but I def feel sick afterwards. I had a slice of pie and was all "meh" today.

Did you know in our religion we practice abstinence before marriage? It's true, we Mormons are good at sticking to the 10 commandments.  Anyways, as awkward as it was to explain that to people sometime,es "(like my premarital exam at 21. The girl al,most fell off her seat.) in my limited experience it has been wonderful. So yes, I'm writing on this blog that Ty and I were virgins on our wedding night. Oh he's gonna die when he reads this!  I remember when I was 15 Marvia Drake told us that sex was awesome ! In a committed and loving marriage. And as grossed out as I was when she said it, I can attest to my 15 yr olds that it is true! Sex is one of the best parts of marriage and nothing you will see or read comes close to what it is really like,  I mean, what part of movies is ever close to real life?

Enough about that, I'm feeling ready to put up Christmas. I have some homemade gift plans (which almost never work out for me) for our friends and small ones for everyone else. We are trying to serve and give more to others this year. My poor kids! Ha, don't worry they have tons of grandparents for toys.

And last but not least, my 2nd annual tupperware party is this Friday at my house, you should come!


tis the season for....what exactly?

A few weeks ago a Target commercial assaulted me with the catchy jingle of "Are you all ready? are you ready, get set, are you ready get set, are you all ready?" While the target dog ran through a town with Christmas bags in his mouth.  (i"ll admit, super catchy tune). But I was peeved, what right does Target have to ask me if I'm ready for the Holidays? And then presume the Holidays is about giving gifts.  I guess because they are Target, and that's how they make their $.

Well guess what Target, I'm not ready for the Holidays, and it has nothing to do with presents. I blame it all on the election, but all of a sudden it was November 6th! What? Thanksgiving yesterday was wonderful, but i still felt in a daze. Is it really Thanksgiving? Is it really now Christmas "season"? It doesn't feel like Christmas season yet, i'm not ready for the music, or the decorations or the good cheer.

oh, i'm cheery, but i just don't feel ready. last year i did a scripture challenge and read the entire Book of   Mormon from Thanksgiving to Christmas (just 10 pages a day and you can do it too!). It was one of the most spiritually uplifting experiences of my life, and made the Christmas season more meaningful than I ever imagined it could. I felt closer to my Savior, more gratitude for my Heavenly Father and more respect for the season.

Today I brought down some decorations, and i just don't feel it yet. I feel confused as to what is celebrating what and who is celebrating who? And to top it all off I tried black friday at Walmart. Bad idea, I mean, bad bad bad bad bad. First of all, i'm allergic to shopping in walmart when it's a ghost town, what was i thinking? disaster! the only good part is my sister sarah went with me (bless her soul) and we had a great time visiting. But black friday completely robbed me of any Christmas spirit or good cheer. Saving $60 is not worth tackling people and leaving your family on a holiday.  The avarice! The greed! All for the sake of a few dollars. I would like to say that i am worth more than $60 dollars, I am better than $60 dollars, and I can cut back in many other ways to save $60.

This is the season of perpetual hope. Of peace. Of joy and goodwill towards all men. To remember that our Savior came! And lived! And gave himself for all of us, and the best part is he will come again! And how do I teach that too my children, during this holiday season? That is the question, I can't ram it down their throats, but I also am not going to text santa or put an elf on the shelf ( i really don't need another thing to manage, as the tooth fairy always arrives a week late around here as it is).  I think it's a delicate balance, and every family is different. But i'm praying that the Christmas spirit can come into our home and stay all year long, and that my kids will grow up with warm memories full of family and friends and quality time together. I hardly remember any presents when I think about Christmas, i remember cousins in arizona! and playing in the snow! and wrapping presents with my siblings. Those are the moments i cherish, and i hope to pass that on.

Is there is a cure for this Christmas confusion?  hopefully there is hope for me, the hum bug, and hopefully i'm the only one.


On giving thanks:

my friend wendy posted this quote on Instagram, and it's been rolling around in my head for over a week. 
"not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure of our Thanksgiving."
w.t. purkiser

i feel every day that i am more and more thankful for everything, especially the little things. and i'm trying to show it in my actions. how am i using and taking care of the things i am so grateful for?

last night i held a heavy, footed pajama clad baby in my arms at bedtime. he held tight to his bottle with his chubby little fingers, and his chest breathed in and out. his heavy breathing kept on and on while his little right hand rubbed his silky blanky and he looked lovingly into my eyes. his days of baby are passing, and i relished every singly breath. he finished and lay his sweet smelling, freshly bathed head on my shoulder and snuggled in. oh, how i've loved my babies. every single one of them. and oh, how i wish i could keep them little forever.

i had to rotate out phoebe's 2t clothes to 3t last week, and it was the saddest thing in the world. what if i never have another little girl? what if i never have another baby? the thought is new to me, but feels strangely real. and so i took my favorite baby dress they all have worn, and hung it lovingly in the play room. i love to pass by it day by day, and remember that i was blessed with 3 beautiful girls who are growing up. 

now i have a little boy that all of a sudden his 24mo pajamas are tight. and his pants are getting higher and higher. and i just can't stand it. where did it all go?


the simple things...or how carpet makes me happy

We have a long hallway.

I know, you're thinking, "yeah, we have a long hallway too." To where I'll respond with the question, "Really? Is your hallway forty feet long? FORTY?"

and they sit there in silence.

Just like when a mom tries to shock me with a "my kid ate their poop" story. And then I tell them our famous Poopy Christmas tale and they all bow down before me. There are few things I win at, and long hallways and kids eating poop are the few.

So anyways, we had a windfall of wonderful carpet bestowed upon us by the inlaws, and we finally installed it! You know what, there is  a reason carpet was invented, it's amazing. We all went and lied down on it and rolled around the first day. And I love walking down it first thing in the morning, it's warm and fuzzy and makes me happy.
*i don't know what those white specs are, it was freshly vacuumed.

Have a wonderful weekend. I have a few painting projects planned, "mom's and muffins" on Saturday and more closet organizing to tackle.


in my little town

More often than not, I think about writing about our little town as I drive through it running errands. There is so much to love about it, and somedays, so much to laugh about too.

I definitely could devote an entire blog to all of the wonderuful, quaint, and strange things you will only see here in our town.

One of my favorite things is the Veteran's Day Parade (although, super short this year no?). Everyone lines up along main street and the kids bring empty bags to fill with disgusting candy. I love seeing people, and saying hello and reveling that absolutely every year it is freezing when it begins, and hot when it ends.  My favorite part of the parade is the Veterans, I always get a little somber, and the WHALE! It's this awesome 1967 motorhome, I love it. Until next year Veteran's day parade, time to get ready for Thanksgiving.
just the Stake Prez in front of the Sportsman's Bar. hahahaha
Dude, rodney. Did that wedgie hurt? There were a lot of old fogies drinking at 10am. (!)
um hello, we look like sisters here. What is a pregnant woman doing at a bar Danielle? Sheesh.

Some sights you'll love in our little town:
The Pioneer Theater
The Red Rooster
The Sportsman's (and I don't even drink!)
Glady's Beauty Salon sign (anyone else sad they tore that down?)
Tractors driving down the highway
People talking on their cell phones while driving tractors
People talking on their cell phones while riding horses (no joke)

Gary Marshall's breathtakingly huge, green and luscious front lawn Patriarch Charlie Pulsipher's house (I always peek at what flowers she has planted)
The Mortuary's flowers
A sweet hyundai with hay bales strapped and exploding out of the trunk
The tank (we have a tank!)
The Daughters of the Utah Pioneer's Building (or old Hospital, or first Stake Office)
The Old Catholic Church
The Senior Center Thrift Store
Old Logandale Schoolhouse


Confessions of a naturally messy person:

 I get grumpy at the end of the day. I can easily get grumpy at church as my desire for my kid to behave and their completely human nature inside their child body is to squirm, and wiggle and squeak and roll their eyes at me clash like Titans.  When I get grumpy I get snappy. When I get snappy the entire house turns black and and sad. I'm working on this.

Writing about what you are "working on" or something you are "good at" immediately puts you up on the chopping block. I once taught a 20 minute class on the importance of family meal time (a subject I am most passionate about) only to follow up with 4 months of horrible and mismatched dinners full of fighting matches.  I once made a comment in sunday school at how wonderful our marriage was (oh, i laugh when i look back), only to endure a year of struggles and misunderstandings and trials.

So forgive me if I don't share all, I'm protecting myself. I am willing to share something, as it makes me so happy I can't see myself changing (famous last words!).  My house....is....CLEAN.  I'm so glad you were sitting down for this because it is big news. I finally took a lot of information i know, added in all of my negative research of what doesn't work, and tips from reputably "clean" people and went to work.  I hope someone else will be inspired by this and it was what they needed to read, because let me tell you something wonderful: I feel like a clean home has changed my life.

No joke.

The last little bits of my depression that were lurking about in the corners have been swept away with the clean sink and countertops. The shouting bursts at my children were scrubbed away with a toothbrush in my tub (thank you Becky Kelly!).  The freshly tucked in sheets and vacuumed carpets soothe my trouble soul. I am happy being home. I am happy being a mom. I am happy spending time with my kids. I am happy cooking and cleaning up! after meals. (the latter part has been non-existent except for in pre-labor).  Ty is gloriously happy and so are the kids. I love having people come over. I don't stress out when we have friends over.  The floors aren't crunchy or sticky anymore. It's completely different, and I'm so proud of myself.  A few tidbits to share in passing:

What didn't work that I kept trying (for YEARS)
-checking my email in the morning. (nothing was ever important, and all i ended up doing was facebook stalking or blogging)
-putting off cleaning until last minute for e v e r y t h i n g. It's true that I work well under pressure, but the aftermath was always scary.
-Only cleaning when it had to be done.
-Only doing laundry once the baskets were full and/or there were no clean clothes left.
-Only picking up and washing clothes when I  had to.
-Only changing the sheets when I was scared of beg bugs or sickness.
-Cleaning the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher once the sink was full.
-putting laundry from the dryer onto the couch or into a basket to fold"later"
-Leaving things on the counters to put away later.

Basically I had the Scarlet O'hara complex of cleaning:
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I could worry about it all tomorrow.

What I've Implemented over the last 3 weeks that IS working (consistently)
-Waking up before the kids, even if it's just 2 minutes (woops! still struggling a little here)
-folding laundry straight out of the dryer & putting it away.

-Keeping the computer off during the day. I'll check my email at lunchtime now, but I save all my blogging for night.
-Taking out the dishes and putting them away first thing in the morning.
-Start cleaning in the kitchen while the kids eat. I'm there, they can see me. We actually have better conversations while I'm cleaning than anything else. Go figure.
-Starting a load of laundry first thing in the morning too.
-Wiping down the kitchen counters, and bathroom counters every day.
-Vacuuming every room and straightening every room, every day. This may sound anal, but I couldn't believe after 3 weeks how easy it is. The first day it took me probably 3 hours to finish everything in the house. I'm close to an hour now! And phoebe just follows along vacuuming and singing with me as we travel room to room. 
-Always picking up, always. This may sound weird, but it's the truth. With four kids there is always something that could be wiped, swept, tucked, folded, thrown away, put back where it belongs. I no longer leave any room empty handed.
-2 loads of laundry a day (at least). We have a lot of kids, clothes and dirty rags that I use constantly.
-Getting everything done before I leave the house for errands. This last part is hard, I was caught off guard my first Saturday. All the kids were home, and we started out normal Saturday routine of cleaning and working on projects, but I still had the house to tidy up. Now I've learned that errand days (like to Costco and such) and Saturdays I have to get up earlier and clean before the kids are up. Then I only have to vacuum and straighten their rooms after breakfast. The older girls make their beds every day and clean up their room, but I've found that I love smoothing out their beds, arranging their stuffed animals and wiping down their drawers. I feel close to them, and I feel love towards them. 

I'm still learning, and there are still dirty areas around (like the insides of the couch for example). There are still some closets that need reorganizing and purging. But the clean fever is spreading and growing and I might even be getting a little OCD about it. I'm so excited, I've wanted cleaning OCD my entire married life!  Again, famous last words. But I want to give hope to the messy people, the creative ones, the artists, the readers, the bloggers. There is hope! If Annie Leavitt can keep a clean home for almost a month, anything is possible. I was surprised after the first week that I didn't see pigs flying around our house.

And so, for the benefit of all, I've exposed my weakness and my recent growth. And I'm fully aware that now I will struggle with this for awhile. But I still wanted to share, because it's been such a blessing for me. And now you understand my lack of blogging, I work on my feet so much more now during the day that I am pooped! And one other thing, I've never loved Sundays more. I don't have to do my regular routine and it's awesome to get a day off. 


speeding tickets, election day and grape jelly

I can't believe Halloween was only a week ago. Last Wednesday I had to drop off snacks for a class party and do kindergarten pick up. I forgot the apple slices, and had to run back home (meaning, speed) and run back to the school. Around the corner the apple slices slid, I tried to reach over and stop them from falling, and right then a highway patrolman passed me. Hmm, let's see, speeding, swerving into the wrong lane and leaning over at the same time? Pull me over please and thank you!

He made me late for pick up, and I had to call the school and tell them I was getting pulled over (double wammy). But he was kind and I really got let go of a lot of things (note to self, print out insurance verification).  The apples survived the entire ordeal.

By Thursday morning the stress of halloween was gone, but the baptism was freaking me out. And I had to find time to squeeze in an hour run Friday and Saturday. I couldn't handle it anymore, and I'm ashamed to say, I tried to back out of the Ragnar. I had heard they had a runner who wanted in, so I thought, "hey! perfect timing!" We have a family reunion Saturday anyways, so it was a win, win.  Well, they actually didn't have a runner so I stuck with it. And had a great run I might add. I was excited to run with some really great ladies from our valley. A 2 day getaway laughing and running sounded awesome after the baptism stress was gone.

And then Saturday Rodney woke up in the middle of the night (which, knock on wood, never happens). I fumbled trying to reach the almond milk on the top shelf, and a glass jar of grape jelly (the big 32 ouncer) fell of the shelf and bounced right off of my second toe. Yes, it bounced. At the moment I was happy it didn't shatter, but then I felt the pain and almost said an extremely naughty word out loud. It hurt that badly. After I put Rodney down, I couldn't fall asleep. I took 2 tylenol and tried again. When I finally fell asleep I dreamt I was in full on labor. Like, transition contractions labor. Holy guacamole I was in pain, and I woke up realizing that 1. I was not in actual labor and 2. my toe hurt like the dickens.  What it did do was give the coolest bruise in the world, it was really fun to show to everyone. I was convinced it was just bruised because, c'mon? Grape Jelly?  Well, a few google i age searches later, scary thought, and ty and i agreed it needed a better looksie. It was identical to every "broken toe" picture. One X-ray later Concluded  that it was indeed, a nice little fracture right down the most distal bone. Hooray for me!  It doesn't hurt to walk, but it does throb by the end of the day. I don't really have time to RICE it until after the kids go to sleep, if you know what I mean.

The election, oh I have put off writing anything political on this blog. But we were very sad last night. Ty and I are both conservative Republicans, which today is the equivilant of saying I eat ethnic minority workers at planned parenthood for breakfast. Serously though, it is much more popular and accepted to be a liberal democrat. So ofcourse, this year we were hoping for a change in presidency. But alas, it didn't happen. I can't help but feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness that people voted for their own personal agendas rather than what is best for our country as a whole. Take it as it sounds, but that is how we feel. We will pray for President Obama nonetheless, and pray for our country.

Oh, and to top it all off Rodney found the largest scorpion I've ever seen in my hairdryer diffuser! And I was mean to the lady at the gas station counter.

So the week in a nutshell?
Don't speed.
Don't keep your grape jelly on your top shelf.
Don't have tile.
Be kind to everyone, except scorpions.

And don't hate people because they have a different political view or agenda than you do.



Picking pumpkins at Grandpa Leavitt's
This picture makes me laugh so much- what you can't see is Phoebe's soggy diaper hanging down.

Happy Monday!

*ps* i think i broke my toe. No joke, and I'm supposed to run a race on Friday. ack!


the baptism

The oldest child, the oldest grandchild, the oldest great granchild....Lucy has a lot of fans. And boy, were we overwhelmed with love today. Our family and close friends all gathered together to witness and celebrate Lucy's baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I didn't realize how overwhelming the feeling would be of watching your child go through these times of life.  A wave of emotions washed over me as we sang a baptismal hymn and I watched Lucy and Ty sitting there in their perfect white clothes. I can not wait for heaven, to be surrounded by all of our family and friends, with no distance or time constraints, where we can all visit and laugh together for hours and hours.

We had a wonderful dinner at our house afterwards (thanks to everyone bringing stuff!) and I marveled at how our home swelled with an abundance of happiness and joy. Thanks to everyone who came, and those who were there in spirit. It was a momentous day for the Leavitts.

 look at those beautiful girls...but oh Rodney!
 Oh, oh oh Rodney!
 I really like to throw parties, where does that come from?

 I love this picture. Look at how happy those girlies are.

*thank you Becky Kelly for all of the wonderful photos! And washing the dishes!
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