Friday, February 23, 2018


So much fun!

Christmas eve dinner with Mim and Bop
Shepperds dinner with our little bunch
Christmas breakfast with Mim, Bop and Gma Billie
Christmas dinner and games with Grandma and Grandpa
Ellie's homemade doll blanket for Jane
Rubys surprise to get Ellie the vet set
Matching Jammies
Grand America and Temple lights the week before Christmas/ blessing bags for homeless
Sleepovers with the Giles!
Santa at Cabellas
Christmas sing, class parties, ballroom performance, traditions fair
Adult Christmas couples date at Sundance
Peterson party and Nativity
Collette Christmas party- cal almost won minions with that big giant group! Chicken cordon blue!
Lorna made all the girls checkered blue aprons from Grandma peterson's fabric and the boys got treasures from Grandpa
Live Nativity in Highland with cousins to our house after
Kids went to breakfast at Grandma Lorna's ward
Coco the week after Christmas
Jordan and Danielle in town for Christmas- curiosity museum, game nights
Visiting Gma and Mazile (mazile had a flood!)


I just snuggled Jane into nap time. She normally wants "Christmas" (silent night), "Temple" or just some face tickling makeups before she drifts asleep... but today she wanted "Jesus' (Sunbeam) and lots of extra kisses. Out of her norm- she cried we I went to leave. And so, I can back for more kisses, surrounded her babies as close to her as I could and said if the babies start to cry- could she please sing too them until they sleep. Now I can hear her tiny voice singing, "I am a Child of God" and every other primary song her heart desires.

Have a two year old is pure joy!

How my two year old arrived at this non-baby stage is beyond me... but I'll take it, and all the darlingness it offers.

Jane is the family mascot- this is for sure. Our world revolves around getting her yogurts from the fridge, singing Moana (her most favorite of favorites), trying to talk her into putting on jimmies, changing her bum or wanting her dinner (her least favorite of favorites), and changing her princess dress- or two or three or four- as she requests, "peas help?"

Her smile melts us and her giggle is priceless. She is always bound to giggle when daddy lifts her on his hands into the air. She flaps her arms, quite proud of herself and lights up the room. She throws the funniest little tantrums and heads straight to time out upon request, no questions asked. Within- oh- 3 seconds- she emerges completely content, "I happy now!" (reminds me of a certain big certain so many years ago). She walks around the house singing little songs and is always up for a big hugs and kids.

She repeats everything we say. I truly cannot get enough of her saying, "bubblegum." She has such a hard time with any word with an s. I can only explain it as her mouth is full of spit and spitting it out take all her effort. That sounds gross- but really it is the cutest thing. I smile every time she say princesses (which is regularly). She's starting to build little sentences and making so much sense. After a ballroom dance performance she could not take her eyes off of Paige- or beautiful dancing cousin. She kept saying, "Paige a princess! Paige sparkles! Makeups!" Over a week later she adorned her very own hot pink dress up with sequins- just like Paige. "Dis look good mom? Paige? Sparkles? Makeup all over... eyebrows and lips?" She's also quite good at phrases like, "I don't want to!" or "me no want..."

She can't get enough of Ruby doll- and Ruby is really quite sweet with her. Everyone is. Cal shares everything with her and is beyond patience as she steals, hits... maybe bites and he just goes with the flow. We often find Cal embracing her as they fall asleep. Ellie is so helpful, dressing, bathing and doing her hair. She misses Dylan and talks about him throughout the week. Both Cal and Dylan go by "Dyl Dyl" - but Cal doesn't seem to mind.

Somehow Jane has been given the name "Scoobs" by Ruby and especially Cal. He is always so excited to see his "Scoobs" as he returns from a big day of kindergarten. I call her Lady bug or Jane bug and everyone calls her bugs. Mostly I call her Jane face.

I hope never to forget the passion she exudes as she belts out Moana songs, or her little tiny hands- so chubby and ready to be held. I love that she bed hops each night to wherever she darn well pleases and daddy always has to carry her back to her bed- where she will wander from early morning, close the door behind her and sneak into another unsuspecting siblings covers. I love her clearly crazy wispy hair from her face and when she's all done up for church with high buns and red shoes. I loves her obsession with backpacks, even if they are filled so heavy she almost topples over. I love that when I say I love you she says, "So Much!"

Oh Jane face- I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! We all do! You bring so much sunshines, giggles, (work), (messes), and love into our home.

Happy Birthday sweetest girl!! Love Mommy

Birthday Plans:

Sing "Happy Bert-day ME!" at the top of your lungs!
Invite all the cousins to the tramp place for a really fun night and strawberry shortcake
Only take pictures with your eye shut, squinty smiles
Family Birthday Party at the Giles house for yummy dinner, splizza and presents
Open Calico Critter car (from the kids), dollhouse and treehouse with bunnies- that you love to sit and play with constantly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

These sweet days...

... Ruby was worried (with a big giant grin) that her new seating partner would be mad she was sitting next to him now when he returned from his vacation. She went on to explain- he really doesn't like her because she calls him "Toddy Woddy." He doesn't like her so much that he chases her around the playground. Sure...

... Cal is obsessed with Lexia- a website that he can play games with vocab and reading. I love it because he has no idea really what video games are and pleased as punch to spend earned time doing, well, homework. Cal is such a hard little worker for school- always on top of his reading and site words. I also love how on top of brushing his teeth he is. Quite responsible.

...Brandon is away on a business trip so Cal was my sleepover buddy last night. Before we fell asleep, he read half of the first chapter of the illustrated book of mormon- reading so great! At 3 am, Jane joined our party. I could hear her climb out of her crib, close the door loudly behind her and call for me at my door. "Mama? Dwink?" We go to the bathroom for some water, "Light?" Turn on the brightest lights and she sits and blinks for a minute, yellow princess jimmies and hair in every direction. She drinks and drinks. Finally I scoop her up and she snuggles close to me in bed. Might as well try one last request if she's getting her way. "Cookies?"

... I did it. I gave Ellie the birds and bees talk. I warned her she might giggle a little and when we read through the book by Brad Wilcox about where babies come from, it was pretty detail free. She sighed and said that was far from funny and no big deal. Then we entered the Q & A sections that painted a more clear picture- and boy did she get the giggles (she also yelled how disgusting and had plenty of worthwhile questions). But first, we both took a minute or two to laugh until tears. Oh Ellie, I just love you. Thanks for making my job fun- even the dirty work ;)

... Cal randomly told me, "Sometimes I get weally used to my little toots, what about you mom?"

... We took Dylan out to dinner this Friday and had a really sweet night. Brandon wrote Dylan a letter telling him how much he loves him- and we tried to help him understand that our only goal really is to help him to be happy. This whole situation is a tricky one- but I'd do anything I could to help this boy and this was a really positive night. As we got up to leave Cafe Rio he smiled and said, "So... fresh start?" Sounds wonderful to me!

... I overheard Ruby interviewing Cal the other day in the car. She asked sweet questions like, "How do you feel loved in your family?" and "Tell me what you think Heaven looks like?" He sincerely answer each question.

... We gave Jane a Calico Critter dollhouse for her birthday- and I'm tickled to report she loves to play with it. I find her singing "I am a Child of God" to her bunnies and giving the kitties hugs softly saying, "I lob you so much- I mich you!" She is so darn cute... repeating all we saying and wearing brightly colored princess dresses over any outfit. She is heaven. (speaking of repeating- I just had to give Ruby a little talk for going out of control with friends over. Jane repeated the end of every sentence... understand? not ok! we lob you!" I think ruby got the idea- twice!)

...The kids all made it into the plays showing at the Lehi Rec center. I was so impressed with their bravery in trying out- and now they are all so excited to perform! It's a little wild with the rehearsal schedule- but I think so worth the experience!

...Jane woke early to Brandon and Ruby hanging out (my early risers). Apparently she snuck down the stairs and greeted them with hair completely covering her face. She lifted it out of the way and cheered, "Peekaboo!"

... My kids have been so committed to memorizing the Living Christ together. It makes my heart so happy. We are a few sentences away from reaching halfway. We try to recite it every morning on our drive to school and every night. Ellie, Ruby and Cal can do it with few prompts by themselves and Jane actually pipes in at the end of many sentences- not repeating it... just knowing it! How wonderful! We started in November so I think we can for sure have it done by the time our baby arrives. Hooray!

... Last week I went to the temple and prayed. In a ps. of prayers I asked if we could speed up the house process- that would be so great! Just a couple of days later we received word that lots by the American Fork temple would be opening up with Cadence. And! We are going for it! It's a little wild when I've had nearly year to wrap my brain around plan A but this new plan is exciting and puts us in a house possibly 6mon-1 year sooner than the ivory lots. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father opening windows for us! How exciting to build a new house and to have it all underway before our new baby arrives.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dear Darling Kate

(Missy asked all the women in the family to write her a letter for her 12th birthday- my pleasure! I wanted to hang out to it... and so here it goes)    

                                                                                   January 12th (your almost age), 2018

Dear darling Kate,

            Happy Birthday! In just a few short days you will be turning 12… and later this year I will be turning 36- TRIPLE your age! If the truth be told, some days I still feel 12. While my kids feel like I’m the boss who has it mostly figured out (which, ahem, I do not), I often feel like I am babysitting again and still just trying to figure myself out. I feel young- and yet! Here I am. TRIPLE your age. (I am possibly triple your size too, 6 months pregnant, but we will save that story for another day).
            Anywho, I was thinking about all I have done in the last 12 years of my life and in awe of just how much has happened during that time. I have been married to my most favorite person, I will have had 5 beautiful babies to add to my cute first born, I have lived in 7 different homes, in 4 different states… I’ve experienced some of my highest of highs (life really is wonderful) and my lowest of lows- but I’m alive and happy to tell the tale.
            I was then thinking about all you have accomplished in 12 years. I am one of the lucky ones that have loved you and watched you all 12 of those years. And because an aunt doesn’t often have the chance to tell you all the many reasons she loves you- today is the day!


1.     I will forever be grateful for the example you set for my girls. I know you are their confidant and friend… and you have been from the beginning. I can picture Ellie following your every move after you received your first ever tutu. She wanted to be just like you. They see the kind way you talk to everyone- always so mature for your age. They see that you want to be good and make such solid choices when it comes to living the gospel. You are selfless and giving. Thank you for loving them and making them feel special. I could not have asked for a better example for them.
2.     I remember Aunt Sandy once saying, years ago, that she saw her nieces as her dear friends. She said she learned so much from them and wanted to be like them. At the time, no one was over the age of 3, and so I wondered what that would really be like. I can picture it now! Kate, thank you for being my friend. You are so easy to talk to and I am grateful that you always greet me with a hug. You are always so grateful and kind. Brandon and I will never forget the night you came down to chat with us while we finished the basement in our Sandy house. You made us smile and entertained us all night with sweet stories and thoughts. You are a class act and I want to be more like you!
3.     You are just plain cute. I’ve always thought you had the dreamiest hair. Even as a little lady- it laid so perfectly in place and you always have looked your best. You have great taste in clothes and a beautiful smile. You are a beautiful girl Kate- you were made to look exactly as you do- and it’s perfect!
4.     You are so well rounded and talented- what a blessing! From soccer to music, to doing well in school and always creative (plus an excellent baker/chef, sister, friend…. on and on)- you are quite the gem! I love the art you do and always anxious to see what you come up with next. I love watching you patiently teach younger kids how to do an art project- always so encouraging and helpful! With all of those talents- you can be anything you want to be!
5.     I have never seen you in a grouchy mood. Ok- maybe as a tiny babe you had some moments. But always you are smiling! Always you are pitching in. Always you are grateful. What a wonderful way to be! I love you Kate. I am so thankful you are in our family.


As I think of the years you have ahead of you, I have just a few snippets I wish I would have known as I entered the 12 years sandwhiched between the two you and are just now wrapping up.

1.     No one is as popular as you think they are. At times I would feel left out through high school- thinking I was the only person who wasn’t going to a party or a friend trip or a hangout every single weekend. I wondered if I just wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough. And then I left high school and learned- those “popular” kids were the ones struggling the very most. Everyone has moments of feeling lonely. Use those times to really develop yourself- find a new talent, make a friend with someone else who needs one, stick close to your family.  I also learned that I am enough! Everything that I was- loving life, loving the gospel, loving the idea of being a mom, doing creative things (all that good stuff)- is most popular of all now that I am grown. Being you is the very best thing you’ve got. So love it!
2.     Find people you want to be like and follow in their footsteps. Kate, I was the luckiest to have your mom. When I was a freshman in high school, your mom was three years ahead- and I thought she walked on water (she practically does). Lucky for me, she took me in and was such a wonderful friend to me. Everything Missy did- I wanted to do… volleyball, leadership, church dances, scrapbooking-  you name what she did and I did it too! And it served me well to have such a wonderful example to follow. She guided me through big life moments and ultimately lined me and Brandon up. I am so thankful to have one of my very favorite people as my sister in law. And you are so lucky to have her as your mom! Stay close to her. And whoever you choose for friends and examples- choose the very best! Shoot high- and then lift those people up. They will lift you too and make life so sweet.
3.     Learn now how the spirit speaks to you. Little did I know, I would be deciding who I would marry just months after I left home. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time in prayer asking Heavenly Father to teach me how I receive answers to prayer. I would have prayed to know which boys to go on dates with, I would have prayed more fervently over gospel topics I knew little about, I would have really considered my choices for college and let Heavenly Father guide my path. That being said- quite often, Heavenly Father shows his trust in us by allowing us to make our own choices too. And that’s ok. But the spirit will always bring peace when we have made a good choice. Remember to seek always for the peace. Being able to feel the spirit as much as we can is up to us. If I feel distance from my Heavenly Father- I know it isn’t him…. He loves me always. It is up to me to really pray, really read, head to the temple, talk a little kinder, forgive, serve- all those tools that help us to feel a Heavenly connection. My testimony is my greatest possession. Because of it- I am able to feel happiness beyond myself and my sometimes hard situations. I know that Heavenly Father loves me- and he loves you too. Never forget that Kate.

Life is going to be great Kate! No matter what comes your way- you’ve got this! Heavenly Father is on your side! I will always be behind you cheering you on. You have quite the army behind you actually. We are the luckiest to be in this wonderful family full of so much love and togetherness.

Have the happiest birthday and know that I am excited to watch you these next twelve years.

                                    All my love,
                                           Aunt Hill 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Talk

I should have seen it coming.

Since your 12th birthday you have expressed pure relief for not being asked to give a talk in church- and threatened me if I breathed a word to anyone that you had not.

This surprised me.

When you are thrown into new friends and faces- you shine. You make the mood light and seem comfortable and become your wittiest self. I'll never forget Jacyln's wedding open house we traveled to in California. You made quick friends with the pool boy and went around taking pictures of strangers, cracking jokes, like it was no big thing. You have prepared a few missionary march lessons and flawlessly presented them to family and rocked it in debate tournaments. School project presentations come easy for you.

And so it surprised me when your first offer to speak was extended- and you hesitated. But, you took on the challenge, and for that I am glad.

But the two weeks passed by and you mentioned the nerves each time we spoke. I thought little of it and told you you'd be great. I didn't realize how purely anxious and scared you were until the minute we were leaving for church.

Oh Dyl. It was heartbreaking to see how scared you were- and there was nothing I could say that would convince you otherwise. I knew anxiety was playing a role- but as your mother I feared it keeping you from many good things in your life. I wanted so badly for you to trust Heavenly Father and let him carry this for you. But I couldn't get you to walk down the stairs. The feeling of having zero influence over your choices has been ever so familiar and again we were left stuck.

Ellie cheered for you. I cheered for you. But to no avail. Then Mimi stepped in. She had come to watch you, and spent another 10 minutes cheering you on while Ellie and I waited in the foyer communicating with the bishopric counselor through text whether or not to announce your name over the pulpit. Lucky for us- the bishopric was actually being shuffled around- making extra time while people bore testimonies. I prayed and prayed and prayed for you... another familiar circumstance.

Some how. Some way. Mimi convinced you of what we all knew- you would do a wonderful job! At the very last second (and I mean last) you joined me on the first seats once walking into the chapel- with a promise that I would move front and center as you gave your talk.

And you did just that- you gave your talk! It was flawless! No one could have known for even a moment that you have been so scared moments before. Your voice was clear and sure. You looked right into the crowd a gave a near perfect talk.

I sat there solo on the front row with tears pouring down my face. The room was still and I couldn't hear anyone but you. Apparently, I even missed Jane yelling, "DYLIE!!" a handful of times and the audience chuckle as your spoke. But you were all I could hear- and the spirit whisper to me... comfort me really. And this is what I felt:

He will push you to your limits (check), you will worry and wonder and stress about this boy (triple check), you will feel powerless and like he is pushing you away... and yet. He will do it. He will make it to the stand and you will be there, front and center, cheering him on.

I love you Dylan. Like, a really dig deep and give it all I have kind of a love. And even if you push me away, even if you have so much independence I think there is no room for my love- I will be there cheering you on.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but thank you for this trial that is teaching me what is most important- it is my family. It is you and it is most definitely Ellie, Ruby, Cal, Jane, Dad and this little brother halfway to earth. Everything else can fall away- but all I want is a forever family. And I will fight for it- with the Lord on my side.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Ruby Doll

Has it been too long since I've written about how completely darling you are? It just may be. But it is not because you are not- because you really are. You are constantly serving- trying to help, writing sweet notes, saving all your classroom cash to buy all your siblings presents. You spent ALL of your candy deal money to buy Ellie's Christmas present... and on her birthday you selflessly gave your glass macaroon because you knew how much she's missed hers since lost. You are alway organizing games and activities to include everyone and the first to remind us to repeat The Living Christ and say prayers as we head out the door for school. You insist your new glasses sit right on the end of your nose and I am too often reminding you not to suck on your hair- but you always sweetly listen and obey and try again. I think you have the cutest lips on the face of the planet- oh your sweet hands, they could not be cuter. Your personality comes in bucket loads and you are a joy to have around. I love you Ruby. So much I love you Ruby. Love Mom.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Golden Birthday

10 years old! On the 10th! Can 10 years really have passed?

Oh Ellie you are such a joy and I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Here's the highlights...

We went to go see Wonder on Saturday- such a great movie. My kids are (happily) turning into foodies... and so Sunday, the big day, was all about the food: crepes, bruschetta, lemon shrimp pasta and cream soda. A delicious, filling, day. Ellie's favorite gifts were a plane trip to Grace's house (hooray!!) and a book a made for her of everyone in the family's top 10 favorite things about her. She devoured it all day- made me so happy to see! All day we played games... my favorite was questions to see who knew her best. She just glowed and giggled- and I think we found a new tradition! Grandma and Grandpa came over for pumpkin bars, she was sung to in primary with treats from the bishops office later. Britta brought her cookies and family texted and called throughout the day. Of course we closed with an episode of "When calls the heart."

Ellie. You are simply wonderful. I love you so much... and I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that you'd choose me as your friends and family pick on survivor! It's because you heart is as good as gold. You are kind and loving, brave and wise, easy to be around and full of light. I often think that I simply do not know how I would live without you. You are so aware and thoughtful of me- even when I have been a grouchy pregnant mom. I can't keep track of how many times you help without being asked. Just last week I had a busy day with Activity days at our house. I had flown around all day like a crazy person, leaving mound of unfolded laundry in my room. While your friends were still here, you escaped upstairs to put all the laundry away, make my bed, completely tidy my room and bathroom... silently and sweetly. It was a much needed, very appreciated, gift. It was so fun to watch you in ballroom. I love your quiet confidence and willingness to try new things and get to know new people. You are funny and make us all laugh- such a bright personality. You have such a great imagination... and I love seeing you and Ruby always playing school, house... anything you can dream up with your dolls.

Never forget how much we love you- and Heavenly Father too. You have limitless potential and talents and traits that leave you with so much to offer. I love you with all my heart sweet Elle. Always will. xoxo

No Wanee

The phrase I hear 1.4 billion (yes billion) times a day

Jane... time for a bath! No Wanee
Let's eat your sandwich? No Wanee
You must be tired- naptime! No Wanee
Time to buckle up. No Wanee
(Look at her, apparently the wrong way). No Wanee
Let's read a book. No Wanee
It's time to get dressed. No Wanee
Black pants? Comfy shirt? Jammies? No Wanee

Would I trade you for anything in the whole wide world? NO WANEE

Oh my sweet little fireball. You have made my days adventures. You act like you're big stuff- and still you are such a snuggle. So quick to say I LUB YOU. If we part from a friend, a show, or a treat we didn't buy at the store, you sincerely call, "Bye! See Ya! I'll mitch you!" You did the same as we left baby Jesus in the live nativity stall. And so how am I to resist you. You sing Moana songs with so much passion for such a little soul. I cannot get enough... the furrowed brow, the pouted lips and you belt, "IT CALLS ME!" You have a habit of pouring giant cups of water all over the floor and when I cough or sneeze you casually ask, "you ok?" You are the cutest in two little buns dancing on your head- but even with your hair smack dab in the middle of your face... it's still the very cutest little face. When you see Santa you bellow "HO HO HO!" and when we tuck you in your always request Christmas (where the mas comes out like a donald duck spit). So of course we sing silent night or we wish you a merry christmas- and you are so content and peaceful... until the last word. You beg for more. You hit more than I remember our other toddlers and today you shocked me with squeezing your little fist together and grunting a frustrating grunt. I offer timeout - or be nice. You smile instantly and say, "Otay mom." Yesterday a little boy at church kept trying to hug you. Clear as day you said, "No want hug!" But you were quite please to sit on Dylan's lap as he pulled a quarter from behind your ear. You best little friend is May Hurd- and so now, every friend is a May. "Hi May! Oh hello May!" You try to repeat most of what we say and every day are trying new words. I find it quite hilarious when you say, "I crying. I sad!" You saw a baby doll with fake tears rolling down it's cheeks and you had a panic attack. I have yet to have a baby so scared of anything- but you my dear are deathly afraid of bugs, shadows and steam. The other day we took a little shower and when we stepped out the light hit the steam just right. You were terrified. Clinging to me for dear life and screaming. So sad- but so cute. You are always ready for a laugh- and easily distracted. You love to wrestle and play, kiss and tease. You are completely darling Jane. I love you with all of my heart!

Friday, December 1, 2017


Found out we are having a baby boy!! So excited! So happy. 

Dylan went to youth conference with our new ward- ropes course and escape room and a wonderful time at Aspen grove. 

Brandon went on a quick trip to LA, but while he was gone- I really hurt my back. It was so sudden and so painful. I'm so grateful to Lorna for helping me and the kids so much- I could not have survived without her! 

Basketball all month long! So fun to watch Ruby and Cal play... and Brandon coach. 

Started my new calling in activity days. 

Little Mermaid with Lorna and Craig. It was simply amazing!! Just a high school play- that was just as good as any real deal I've ever seen. Loved it. 

Family Birthdays at Jared and Nisha's! Ellie loved the quilt Grandma made her, darling wooden dolls from Missy, earrings from Dig's family and a new book from Jared and Nish. She was so tickled! 

I forgot to take my unison b6 combo by one measly day and it through off my whole week- started with throwing up all day long the first day. I'll never forget again. 

Went to Anna's house a couple times to help with her baby girls. What a blessing for me- I loved being there and counted my own blessing. Service is so good for my soul- especially when I'm wrapped up in myself. 

Cramers came over for FHE. We laughed until we cried! So fun. 

Thanksgiving with Seely, Grandma Billie and my parents. It was delicious and fun. The next day Brandon hit black friday and got so much Christmas shopping done.

Ila came for a sleepover and Dylan and Ben slept at my parents. We took the girls and Cal to Anthropologie for a craft, AG dolls store, gardener village and home for ice cream and a show. It was a sweet night. 

We watched Grandpa while my parents went to an art show. He slept most of the time- but we sure love to be with him. He's so positive and wonderful. Jane really warmed up to him. 

Cal had his first cavity fixed... hopefully the last?!

Started helping in Cal's class. Lorna's so sweet to alternate with me. 

We began learning the Living Christ and are 1/4 of the way through. It makes my heart happy to hear cal saying words like commemorate and profound. Everyone is doing such a great job and I'm just so grateful to have this remind of Christ through these sweet holiday months. Each time I put Christ into my life- it is better. I often slip and forget- and my life easily because a crazy, discouraging mess. I hope to always remember the role he plays and show my gratitude by allowing the atonement to really help me. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

The cutest thing...

It's the cutest thing when Jane puts her small hand out and commands, "Back." or "Stay." as in I'll be right back or stay right there. Wonder where she's heard that?

Oh I take it back... it's the cutest thing when she runs all around the park for an hour watching the big kids play and then looks down and suddenly realizes she been running on freshly aerated lawn. Panics sets in and she can't help but reach for me, "Poo Poo!!"

Ah- it gets cuter! When Cal says the dinner prayer and says in a sugary voice, "I'm thankful for the cutest baby girl eva" and as he says it, Janes slides her tummy across the entire length of the bar- with her lips totally puckered- coming to give him some lovin.

I can hardly stand when she greets everyone with a clear "Hello!" Especially when she walks into the bathroom, diaperless, saying good morning to daddy while he brushes his teeth.

But then again, how completely darling is it when she wants to get my attention and the best way she knows how is to take her little chubby paws and gently grab my face and turn in right toward her. What can possibly be cuter than that?

Well- how can I resist when we drop Cal off at school and she yells with all of her might, "I mitch you!" She yells works of missing him until he is completely out of site.

Oh but then she out does herself with yet more cuteness and as I lie in bed next to her and squeeze three times, "I love you Jane" she squeezes right back and says "I ya you!"

Quite simply. Jane is just the cutest.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Things I love about Brandon.

Today he’s on a fieldtrip with Ruby. He coulda shoulda be at work while they move into their brand new building, he didn’t sleep many winks last night and I’m home being a lazo pregnant lady. And he’s on a fieldtrip with his Ruby doll- calling me to say how spunky and fun she is- playful and fitting in well with friends. He’s probably high fiving all the kids and making funny faces- sharing oreos and hamming it up. (He just came home to continue is Ruby date with errands at Costco while I hang with the littliest miss).

He woke up this morning in what seemed to me the middle of the night- taking work phone calls while cleaning the pantry. Who does that? And when I sleep in beyond normal person hours- he climbs in next to me, thanks me for my sacrifice to be sick and tells me how cute I am.

He works his buns off. Last week he was given less than 48 hours to create a major presentation for work that others had weeks to prepare for. Not only did he hit it out of the park- he looked hot doing it. He even did it with Brad in the audience
(so random). I am so proud of him for being brave and believing in himself.

I can always count on him for encouraging me to go to ward parties, visit people who need a friend, read our scriptures as a family, talk his ear off before we go to bed, be a little more patient or hear a little person who needs more attention or to simply cheerlead me when I am discouraged.

He makes me feel like I rule the world when I make dinner. He take me shopping for expensive stretchy pants and makeup I probably won’t wear for the next 8 months- even when Ruby only brought her slippers and I am throwing up in the parking lot. He is always trying to be better- and makes me want to do the same. His free time is only used for me and the kids and he’s quite simply my very favorite.

I love you Bran.

Post edit: Another day another reason I love him. We spent the morning, while kids still snoozed or made forts in the basement, in the kitchen. He got the the ribs all ready for dinner and re potted our succelents while I made cinnamon scones. He really is perfect for me.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How can I keep from smiling?

When Ruby is singing, "The Sun will come up, tomorrow!" as loudly as she can in the shower.

When Ellie shyly smiles about holding hands with her partner at early morning ballroom dance lessons. She giggles about how they were educated to have proper hand care.

When a water fight ensues at the curiosity museum, soaking Dylan, Ellie, Ruby, Cal, Jane and Brandon. Somehow I managed to stay dry.

When Dylan says he felt the spirit at Stake conference urging him to be kinder to his mother... and watch as he really tries to live it.

When Bran rocked the best pot roast he has ever made and I eat it for leftovers the next day- breakfast lunch and dinner.

When Ruby still loves laying in my lap to count each precious freckle- she has such a beautiful face.

When Ellie begins her chores without being asked- singing all along, "There are many things that I cannot see but I feel them just the same... (and loudest of all) I KNOW HE LIVES!"

When Ruby spends boatloads of time in her room making Christmas presents. In September.

When all the kids from Dylan to Cal are anxious to build a fort to sleep in and then, from Dylan to Cal, decide it is far to uncomfortable.

When Cal mutters to himself, "Jane is dust the cutest little pewson."

When Jane runs away at Ellie's Cabelas field trip and I find her trying to rip apart large bags of candy with her teeth.

When I ask Jane what she see's in the pictures of our book and she repeats a sentence that makes absolutely no sense to anyone but her.

When Dylan decides on his own to take notes all through General Conference.

When we teach the kids about the most horrible shooting in Las Vegas (so awful) and continue on by talking about the second coming and how to keep our family safe and protected from evil. Fear turned to faith. Everyone promised to follow the prophet and sweet Elle suggested we read 2 chapters of our scriptures when we wake up each day, and 3 chapters before bed each night. While the battle of evil is ever present- good will prevail.

JANE 20 months

You just get better.

You also get naughtier. But you definitely get better. And frankly- the naughty is pretty funny.

Let's start there, shall we? Your favorite word is no. Your favorite past time is trouble. Your favorite food is cookies. Last week you climbed out of your crib (trouble), asked for a cookie (trouble), and when turned down you said, "I crying!" And then proceeded to fake cry. (serious trouble). Last night I caught you at scripture study- biting the couch... and then dad's stomach. You love to put shampoo or lotion in your already clean and dry hair and color on walls when siblings leave the markers out. You take off your diaper if you have any access and will strip your self and, if I'm really lucky, poop on the floor. Which reminds me- I was telling Cal how to spell Happy. When I got to "PP" you giggled and said, "Pooh Pooh." Quite lovely.

But then... I find you high a top the counter, on your tummy with your feet in the air and your chin resting on your little chubby hands- and it is official- nothing is cuter. You still let everyone and anyone hold you and are almost always up for a snuggle. You can now sit forever, reading books like the Big Hungry Bear and Pete the Cat... singing and jabbering along. When you eat applesauce pouches you always want to hold the lid and when I really know you are tired, you still tuck your small arms as far under yourself and between me as you possible can. You chant "daddy daddy daddy!" as soon as he walks in the door- or anytime you are missing him. You loving say "bye" to cal as we drop him off for kindergarten and he shouts with glee right back. It's not uncommon to hear him whisper something under his breath like, "Jane is dust the cutest little pewson." You dance. You gut laugh. You shake your head yes. If you really need my attention, you carefully take my face in both your hands and quietly ask me for what you want- very patiently, very sweet. You adore being outside and beg for "walk! shoes! tamp-o-en!" I love how you lay so still for me to put pretend makeup on you. You're everyone's favorite... especially when you tell us, "I lob you!" You are known to take 3 plus baths a day and to wake up far to early. You love to wear your tutu and pretties. I see another little mommy in our future- tucking in your babies and loving the dolls. Your hair has grown in so long- and we can't resist you brushing it out of your face as it gets in your way. You mostly love us signing I'm a Child of God before bed... but if we sing it too early in the day you will yell and say, "No Gaw!" You also love to sing, "Tempo" and apply lipgloss all day every day.

You are the very easiest to love and I'm so thankful to be your mommy forever. xoxo

drink (dr is a whole mouthful of spit to get out), shoes (same affect the first), mommy, daddy, dylan, ellie, roo roo, a cute attempt at Calvin, ay (jane), apple, pepper, poo poo, diaper, outsi, walk, boppee, mimi, grandma and grandpa are still tricky to say, baby,  nigh nigh, no nigh nigh, show, book, play, I lob you, happy, bank (blanket), uh oh,

points to most places on herself, repeats or tries almost anything (love when she says colors like yellow and purple),

a total joy!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Back to school Feast

I’ve tried out a bazillion new traditions… that just don’t stick. But this one the kids bank on. I smile inside when I hear them list this as a tradition- like somehow I have the power too shape lives and create patterns for these little people that think I know it all. And I guess it do. As a mom- I can create so much for the backdrops of their lives… with hopes it weaves into there little souls. All I really hope it creates is love. They are loved. They are noticed. They are celebrated. Do they really get that? They are my EVERYTHING. I love their details… I love that they bravely start a new school year, meeting new friends and teachers- destined to conquer the world.

But man- is it ever a jungle out there. And so we talked about all the ways to protect ourselves. We are committed to our scriptures. We are committed to having peace in our home. We are committed to each other.

We dined on one of our family favorites: lemon shrimp pasta. We finished it off we a giant chocolate chip cookie cake. And we played a gamed of matching all the baby animals with their baby name. When we came to a baby Collette- everyone guessed Jane… but they were wrong! A new little someone will be coming in May. They we SO very excited. Cheering and smiling. When the excitement calmed down, Ellie turned to me and said, “Whoa. Mom. You get so sick! Are you kinda freaking out?!”

Cutest kids.
Sweetest night.

Best life.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Counting Blessings

 When Brandon lost his job a few short months ago I heard the spirit whisper, “This is the part where I bless you.”

What could have seemed like the last straw in a series of an unfortunate couple of years- felt like the start of something new. And it has been. The blessings have come pouring in….

We knew with certainty it was time to sell our home- that we literally poured blood sweat and tears into. Getting it ready to sell and listing it went incredibly smooth. We seemed to have all the energy we needed for this huge undertaking, and huge projects (like finishing a bathroom, refinishing hardwood floors, new carpet, painting the deck- like whoa- we did a lot in two months time) came together near flawlessly. The only setback was when I dropped the stupid bbq on my big toe and hobbled/crawled/cried around the house the final day before listing.  I find it a miracle that we could look back at all our hard, beautiful work and still feel totally solid that this was goodbye. I was given a total disconnect to this shell of a house. Even though I will miss dear dear friends- and shed tears for them- I also felt a peaceful sense of closure as I visited each of their homes and told them how much I love them. My favorites are forever friends no matter where I live.

The house sold within a week- and then they pulled out the very last day. That was a big surprise. But still we knew it would work out, and it did. Two weekends later we held an open house and it sold again- but this time for good. Sometimes really darling families would walk through and I would cringe a small bit to think I wouldn’t get to know them in my ward… but this family was nice enough, but I felt even more confident walking away.

We were given reminders along that way that this house was too much work. The upstairs bathroom flooded the basement one beautiful Sunday and the week we closed up shop a giant tree fell right between the playhouse and the tire swing. All we could do was high five and smile, “Good Riddance!”

I find it no small miracle that I, Hillary mess- maker Collette, was able to stage and show a house with my young, big, messy, busy family. No seriously. I need a round of applause. It was SO clean and So fresh every single day- and it felt so good. But man it was a lot of work. Minus the garage, I pretty much packed the entire house by myself. Go ahead- keep clapping. Standing ovation? Oh you are too kind. But yes! House packed. Furniture sold and listed on KSL. Bags and bags of junk to DI. Rooms scrubbed top to bottom (with help from Miss, Page, Nish and Brit). And Brandon hired a moving company for the big stuff and some help from Jared and we fit everything into our rental. Serious miracles I tell you. Smooth. Smooth. Smooth.

The first load we brought to the rental, we turned off the new exit into Lehi and I burst into tears. I felt home. I felt safe. I felt so rock solid about our choice. And we’ve never looked back. When I moved from Cranberry farms I had to wait 6 months until I even drove passed our old house. Even then I cried and felt sick to my stomach. I’ve been passed the Sandy house a couple times now and it is weirdly wonderful- I just stop and think cute house but carry on!

After we moved (wow I’m really giving a lot of details- but God’s hand was everywhere), Brandon had two days until he left for China. WE HAD THE WHOLE RENTAL UNPACKED AND MOVED IN by the time he left. Party on. Sure. We kept much in boxes for the new house, but we were totally in business by the time we was in the air.

Maybe I’m missing the biggest detail of the house. It’s one silly to share- but since this is my journal- here I go. We bought our home as a short sale 4 years ago for $420,000. We sold the house for $850,000. What a huge and forever blessing to our family. I’m so thankful for Brandon and his forward finacial thinking and for every last drop of hard work. We hope now to simplify our lives by getting as close as we can to no house payment. Then we can save for missions, futures, family trips and have Brandon home as often as possible.

It gets better.

For 1.5 years, I woke up nearly every morning with a pit in my stomach. If I woke in the middle of the night- I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. I knew I was surrounded by still so very many blessing- but my heart felt shattered and sad. I worried I was never going to be really ok again.

The day we decided to move- everything changed. Peace was overflowing in my heart. Happiness returned in full swing. Clarity was restored. I will not be able to think of the power of the atonement- without thinking of this time in my life. I could do nothing to heal myself- I tried. But I am being healed. It is a beautiful wonderful blessing, better than any worldly gift.

Not only am I being healed, but so are the kids and Brandon. I feel more unified each day, more understanding, more forgiveness, more hope. Our situation is less than ideal, but we feel peace, contentment and joy. Brandon told me just last week he’s the happiest he’s every been- and I agree. We are so very happy.

But wait! There’s more.

We found out yesterday that the lot for our new house should be ready in October- hopefully getting us into a new house before the new school year. We are so excited about our floor plan, neighborhood, park up the street and the potential for a really great lot in this next phase. So very wonderful.

Last night we test drove a new (to us) van.  Cal would really prefer a tractor but understand our dilemma when cruising on the freeway. We are selling the van we bought right before baby Ellie was born and paying cash for a new Honda odyssey. It feels so fresh and clean- and Brandon is driving it home right now. I feel so grateful. Just this last week we’ve felt less than safe in our old van- and I’m so grateful we can afford the change. Hooray!

And still blessings keep coming…

This morning I found out I’m pregnant! Yes! Like we are going to have 6 kids. I’ve only told Jane. Dylan and Ellie especially have been begging for a new baby and while I worry there’s not enough of me even now to go around- we have prayed about it and feel so excited. I didn’t know Brandon was fasting about it a couple months ago- but that very day I told him I went to count our kids and I had a very distinct feeling that someone was missing. It was one incredible miracle that I had no panic attacks or fear of another pregnancy as we made this choice (that might be when I start barfing my guts out sometime next week)- but either way… I am so very thankful. I know so many who have really struggled to get pregnant (including Nat, Jaclyn and Sara)- and I wish I could give them how easy it is for me, I really do.

So car coming in about 45 minutes.
Barfies coming in a week or two.
New baby by the middle of May…
And a new house in July.

The spirit was right. This is the part where we have been blessed.

I have a testimony that Heavenly Father has heard every one of my pleas. I know that I needed to walk through so much darkness- so I can recognize this light. And this light is nothing compared the eternal joy that can be ours if we follow Him.

I want to follow Him.