Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas


The Spirit of Christmas

By the magical light of a small Christmas candle
A little old man tries to carefully handle,

The small porcelain manger which serves as a bed
For the wee Baby Jesus to lay down His head.

In wonder he brings the manger up to his view,
Smiles at the baby and whispers, “I love you!

I love you for bringing this season of joy,
I love you for growing to a man from a boy;

For being our light and leading the way,
For being the spirit which makes Christmas Day!

You’ve been my mentor, my model, my hero and guide,
Please continue to help me and stay by my side.

I’ve tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave,
Reminding all to be kind and that it’s wise to behave.

Help me to serve others and bring them your light,
Especially the children, please bless them tonight!

Some have so very little, scarce food for their table,
You know how it feels - you were born in a stable!

Bless all their mothers and fathers with a knowledge that’s sure,
The best gift they can give is their love, strong and pure.

That’s the Spirit of Christmas when all’s said and done,
God’s gift of love, that came as His Son!”

Then back to His mother the child is returned
The Nativity glows as the candle is burned.

In a wink the little old man slips quietly away
Some say he goes up the chimney and climbs in a sleigh.

Whatever the case, His mission is clear -
Give unto others, bringing love and good cheer.

He flies into the night and bids us adieu
Doing for others what Jesus would do!

*Picture and poem both by Greg Olsen*

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Such Big Smiles!

Jesse is ten weeks old and such a happy baby! This past week I have spoiled my little man rotten by holding him every chance I get. He is so cuddly, so sweet and so absolutely adorable. I love having a baby in our home and am enjoying him so very, very much.

I was finally able to capture his big “whole body” smiles on camera this week. He smiles all the time—he is so happy and hardly ever cries. He is truly a joy in every way.



Jack is so sweet to Jesse. He still kisses and talks so lovingly to him off and on throughout each day. I thought it was so funny to see him playing on the blanket with Jesse yesterday. He was riding his construction trucks on Jesse’s body while making truck sounds. Jesse just laid there calmly looking up at Jack.


Next, Joe had to come over too. He, too is so loving to Jesse in his words and actions. This picture was my favorite from all week. My three boys playing together and looking so happy with one another. I love the way Jack is watching Jesse for a reaction to Joe’s animal sounds, and Jesse is looking up at both of them.


Jamie thought this next picture was “strange” as he put it. But I think in years to come I will be so glad to have yet another picture of my sweet babies’ hands and feet. Jesse had his little hand laid on Jack’s foot while Jack was playing with his construction trucks beside him. It just looked so sweet to me.


We have truly had a great week. Probably the very best one yet for each of us since Jesse came home for many different reasons. I have loved looking at my children play together this past week—no, they haven’t gotten along perfectly or been “angels” in their behavior every minute either, but….. I have appreciated my family and just been so thankful for the love, laughter and “noise” they bring into my life each day. I have loved everything about being a mom!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Food and Fun Outdoors

We enjoyed our day together as a family on Thanksgiving. I was a little nervous about our meal because I tried two new recipes this year--the chicken and the mac n cheese. Luckily they turned out delicious and we will definitely make these two tradition. We had a great meal and talked about all we are thankful for this year while we made our 2009 Thankful Tree.

After dinner we headed out for our River Walk park nearby to enjoy the sunny day. This is one of the kids' and Jamie's favorite parks to visit. We haven't been in months because it's just so hot during the summer.
A passerby volunteered to take our picture as a family. Jack got stranger anxiety when she took the camera and has the funniest look on his face.


Hanna and Joe skipped rocks on the water.


Jack just hung out in his stroller for most of the time. He didn't seem to mind, so we just let him stay put:-).


Of course, Hanna spotted and caught about 20 Daddy Long Legs spiders.


I took a picture of Hanna and Jamie in almost this exact same spot in 2005. Look at how much Hanna has grown. Honestly, looking at this picture gives me mixed feelings. I am so thankful for how our family has grown in size, closeness and spirituality, but my--Hanna is growing up too fast.


Me and Hanna....


Hanna and Joe....


We had a really fun day. I am so thankful for my family. I truly enjoy these special times together more than I could ever express in words. I am looking forward to getting our tree and spending the weekend decorating it, watching Christmas movies together and being outside in the sunshine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Am Thankful For...

Here is a Thanksgiving verse by Nancie J. Carmody that I discovered years ago and have enjoyed reading ever since. One of those things I read often when I feel life is getting out of perspective for me.

I am thankful for....

  • ....the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
  • ....the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
  • ....the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
  • shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
  • ....the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
  • ....all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • ....the lady who sings off key behind me in church because it means I can hear.
  • huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
  • ....a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
  • ....the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I'm alive.
  • ....weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.
  • ....the piles of laundry that surround me because it means my loved ones are nearby.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pure Fun

The kids have had fun playing outdoors at their Nana and Grandpa’s over the past month. My mom has taken some really cute pictures of their outdoor fun.

Sadly, I can say I don’t ever remember myself or Jamie—ok, just Jamie, I don’t do yard work:-)--ever raking up a pile of leaves and letting the kids just have fun in it. Well, my dad did! They also enjoyed helping Grandpa “rake” leaves.



I LOVE this picture of Joe! It captures his childhood innocence, and you can tell he is just plain happy! LOVE IT!


Another good picture of Joe.


Of course, an outdoor adventure wouldn’t be complete for Hanna without a critter hunt….


….and a cat.


Jack discovered how to swing on his stomach like his big brother. He,too, looks so very happy in this picture. I love his sweet smile and baby face. He is such a handsome boy:-)!!


Jack loves his suitcase Nana got him for his spend the nights, so he could of course, have one like big brother’s. I just love my dad’s fashion statement with the athletic socks and shorts—a signature for him, such a familiar sight for me.


A trip to Nana’s wouldn’t be complete without dress up fun. My dad has been wearing this same silly hat—the kids make him and he happily obliges—since Hanna was a toddler.


I love writing and recording these memories of my children. Looking at the pictures and going back, rereading old entries—which I enjoy doing from time to time—helps me to remember how very blessed I am.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snug As A Bug!

I have always wanted to wear my babies.  I tried buying a Baby Bjorn with each of them and really didn’t give it a chance before I’d just take it back to the store.  Honestly, in my mind I was afraid carrying them around like that would spoil them to the point of not sleeping alone.  I am such a worrier in all areas….well, I decided I was going to get over this hang up with Jesse and enjoy wearing him no matter what.  It just looks so cozy and sweet.  I got a Moby Wrap and tried it out today while we were out as a family doing Christmas shopping and looking.  I LOVE it and so does Jesse.  I enjoyed every minute of having him in his little wrap.  I can’t wait to use this every chance I get.  Plus, it is going to make outings so much easier when I don’t have Jamie with us for an extra set of hands.



So, the Moby Wrap can hold a child up to 35 lbs.  I decided to try it out with Jack and see how it would hold up to his weight—he’s 25 lbs.  It was amazing!  It was like I was barely holding any weight!  Jack loves to be held, and I will be using the Moby Wrap for him as well when I need to—it has so many different positions when compared to other wraps/carriers.  I so wish I’d done this with my others, I LOVE IT!!

Nine Weeks Old and Growing So Much!

Jesse is getting BIG! Joe was a big baby. Not at birth—all of my babies have been small to average at birth, but Joe grew soooooo fast! I looked back at pictures last week and he looked like a 6 month old at 2 months. I can see Jesse taking on this same pattern. I’m glad he’s so healthy, but I do not want him to grow big so quickly:-). He weighs in at 13 lbs. this week.

I have decided to enjoy him as much as I can. What I mean by this is that I follow Baby Wise to the letter with my babies, and for the most part I love it. I am a scheduler and thrive on schedule, routine, doing things at the same time each day, but I just don’t have the heart to let Jesse cry it out. I also want to hold him as much as I can. Although I don’t anticipate Jesse being my last baby—I hope and pray Heavenly Father will see fit to bless our family with at least one more sweet spirit—I just love every second I get to spend holding him and smelling him.

Things I love the most about Jesse right now:

  • the soft pads on the bottoms of his feet
  • the rolls he’s getting on his thighs
  • his soft cheeks
  • his fluffy hair right after a bath
  • the way he looks at me, and calms down as soon as he hears my voice, or I pick him up

It’s never too late to be a pumpkin is it—even after Halloween? This outfit was too big for Jesse the week of Halloween, but it fits him now, and I think he looks so cute in it. I had to get a picture of the back of it.


Of course I got some close-ups. I have certain poses that have always been my favorites. This is my most favorite because it is close-up and I can see his sweet face so good.


Smiling at his toys:


Jamie brought Jesse in to sleep with me one morning this week. This is my favorite picture of the week. I love this picture because it reminds me of how good it felt to lay right next to him and hear him breathe those soft, quick baby breaths.


This week I thought often of one of my favorite quotes by Dorothy Evslin, “It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher, then suddenly they disappear.” This is so true!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First Smiles, Bright Spots and Uplifting Words

Jesse is certainly the bright spot in my days right now. Of course I love all of my kids, but there is nothing like the smell, touch and feel of holding and caring for a newborn. He is getting SO big!! I seriously think he grows overnight! I can’t believe he is already two months old. He is starting to smile alot. I managed to catch glimpses of his smiles this week, I didn’t capture a full smile—wasn’t quick enough—but I got some cute “partial smiles”.


Jack loves to lay beside Jesse when he’s on the floor or on his playmat almost always. I got the sweetest picture of the two of them—my favorite of all I’ve taken of them.


It continues to touch me as I watch Hanna care for, love and bond with Jesse. I also think it is so sweet how all of the kids enjoy and anticipate when it will be time for Jesse to be awake and up with them.


Here is Joe with Jesse. Joe is always very quick to point out how “adorable” Jesse is throughout each day.


I thought this was a good full length picture of Jesse. I can tell how much he’s grown by looking at him in this picture, but of course, his cheeks give him away too:-).


I had to throw in one of Joe with Ted. Joe loves his Ted so much. To me in the past several months Joe has really started to look like a big boy—he is losing his baby face and it is slowly changing into that of an older child. He is so handsome—that smile and those eyes, and let’s not forget the hair:-)….


And, my sweet Jack. Jack is the odd ball of the bunch with his dark hair and eyes. He’s going to be my little heartbreaker when he’s older.


One last picture of my three boys:


I’ve been trying to read each night in inspiring and uplifting books and magazines, particularly those that are religious centered. In my reading I found an article that I read every day sometimes more than once a day since. Some things really stood out that I am trying to take to heart and do better at, and I want to record them here for later reflection.

  • Focus on what you do well.
  • Don’t run faster than you have strength.
  • Limit to do lists.
  • Try to keep the big picture in sight—“As my children get older I realize there are good and bad parts to each stage of our lives together. Many of the challenges pass with time. So do some of the joys. I try to take stock of the joys, to imprint them on my memory for the days when the long, sleepless nights have passed—and with them the sweet, soft smell of a baby’s warm head against my neck, (Jean Knight Pace).
  • Get back to the basics.
  • Study scriptures and pray often, and sincerely.
  • Make time for yourself.

My mom also said something that really clicked for me and I so hope to remember this each day—it’s not only the baby phase that you want to treasure, but the toddler phase, the child phase, the preteen stage and every stage thereafter, even up to adult as I am now to my mom. I don’t want to waste time missing any of these moments with my children for whatever the reason may be. Each of my children need me and I need them too. And how thankful and blessed I am to be surrounded each day by family that loves me!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweet Jesse

I truly appreciate this baby phase of my Jesse more than any of my others. I realize just how quickly it will pass. I know that the nightly feedings are going to be a thing of the past soon, and often these are the only moments alone I get with my little man each day. I am trying so hard to remember this about my rambunctious toddler too—this is proving much more difficult though:-).

I won’t even go into how I feel this week—I’ll just sound like a broken record. To make it “short and sweet”, my emotions are shot, my energy is completely drained—I pray each day for inner strength. I am at the point of taking each day one at a time—this is not something I am accustomed too:-)--and while doing so trying to count each and every blessing that I have—believe me I know they are plenty and way too many to begin to name. That's why I hesitate to even share "my" feelings for fear of sounding ungrateful.

Here are some of the sweet moments from our week, some of my my most important blessings in pictures:

Watching Hanna learn to care for Jesse and hear her talk about how sweet he is—knowing that she is learning things right now that will make her a better woman, and I do hope mother too, when she is “all grown up”.


Watching my boys play:


A favorite of mine that I haven’t been able to capture on camera in a few weeks—a yawn:


Looking at Jesse’s sweet face and knowing that even though he has grown so much since we first brought him home, he is still so small….


….and all he truly needs and wants is pure, unconditional love.


I love having a baby in our home. We couldn’t ask for a better, sweeter baby than our Jesse. Looking at him fills me with peace and love.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Appreciating the Normal Days

I found a quote on a blog last night. It is just what I needed this week. I find myself lately not appreciating my normal days at home. What used to be normal is no more, and right now my normal seems pretty crazy and chaotic at times. Now, don’t be mistaken, I love my children, love being at home with them, homeschooling them and simply loving them more than anything—and I do mean anything. Oh yes, I do know things will calm down, things will become routine again.

But what I need to remember is that while I am waiting for things to calm down and become normal, these:


are too quickly becoming these:


I do not want precious moments to be wasted because I am letting the here and now pass me by without appreciating it, enjoying it and loving it—whether it be crazy or not, this is my normal and I am blessed, so blessed to have it all!

I hope I can do my best to remember the words below when I am feeling overwhelmed with life’s every day demands.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. - Mary Jean Iron

Monday, November 2, 2009

Boo at the Zoo Halloween Fun

We had lots of fun this year participating in different Halloween activities. First, there was putting up our Halloween decorations inside and out at home. Next, we took our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

On Thursday the kids wanted to have a Halloween “party” at home complete with costumes (some of them anyway), trick or treating in doors and a candy corn relay. I didn’t get pictures of our indoor trick or treating, or Hanna stirring up her witches brew in the cauldron, but….I did get this one of our candy corn relay. Here they are at the “start line” getting ready to take off:-). This was really fun to watch.


Hanna was a witch, Joe a skeleton, Jesse our little pumpkin and Jack just wore a skeleton shirt. He’s not much into costumes yet. He just pulls at them until you take them off at this stage:-).

Hanna and Joe opted for Boo at the Zoo this year instead of door to door trick or treating, and that turned out to be a great decision. We all had fun at the zoo. Before we left we got our first family picture with Jesse.



At the zoo we got some good pictures as well. Vampire Hanna:


Jamie, Hanna and Joe roasting marshmallows around the fire for S’mores.


Hanna and Joe at the "graveyard”:


Another family picture, but this one doesn’t include Jesse. He stayed behind at home. I’m just not big on taking new babies out at this point, especially in the night air:-).


We all had ALOT of fun at the zoo! It was nice that the kids weren’t overloaded with candy like when we go door to door. They got just enough. It was nice too, to see all of the lights and decorations that the zoo puts up. This was Jack’s favorite part.

Halloween night we stayed home, watched movies and ate lots of good treats—a Halloween family party. We decided this will become our new yearly Halloween tradition—Boo at the Zoo beforehand and a party on Halloween night, instead of going door to door.

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween just as much as we did! Now, let’s get ready for Thanksgiving!