Sunday, November 9, 2014


look at that kick!

One day this week the kids were banished sent outside after school while Porter napped, and Landon got a game of soccer going. (To make the teams 'fair', Landon was a floating player between teams who helped whoever had the ball at the moment :)

I love those times (even when they are just moments)  when the kids are such great friends to each other. We got home today from picking up Ellie and Owen from school, and they headed straight downstairs to work on a secret project together. Those are just the sweetest times!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Today I'm thankful for my great little bike buddy Ellie and for our fun family bike rides. Yesterday we were biking downtown for a family 'date night' dinner out. Some time along the way I noticed Ellie and I were both humming out loud, our own little tunes - two happy girls :)

This afternoon we all ran our Saturday errands together by bike, and enjoyed maybe one of our last warm Fall days. (Though I feel like we've been saying that since mid October, so maybe there are still many more beautiful days to come!)

We're loving our perfect bike set up and have had such fun on our family adventures this summer and fall!

Also today, a little yard work, a Saturday morning sleep in/ made by Jordan special breakfast for the kids, backyard soccer, tidying up,  and playing with the Brough's at the park + a fun dinner out.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My family

"Jordan, Porter, Owen, and Ellie Landon Love Debbie" (Ellie and Owen's secret project today)

I'm so thankful today for this family of mine that I love so much too!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Computer!

new computer + (my favorite part) a new colorful case

I'm thankful today for my new computer! When I stopped teaching, we bought a white macbook for me (the same type I'd used as a teacher). Eight years later, after saving up for a few years and then waiting, waiting, waiting... finally, I lost a deal with Jordan and his prize was for me to finally make the switch to a new computer -  change is hard for me even when the change is a fun one!

I'm still in the process of moving everything over, but I'm liking it more and more. Besides being super fast (and new and shiny!), I only had to charge it once last week (which is about a million times improved battery life from my old and dear computer :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


sleeping  Porter, 2 weeks old
When I was pregnant with Porter, I read a sweet blog with a phrase that jumped out and played on repeat through my  mind for months (though now amazingly I can't remember it exactly!) It was something like this though

"Babies are meant to rock our worlds for a little while."

And goodness, this little Porter rocked my world :)

I can't say for sure whether he was our worst sleeping baby yet (but if not, he certainly came in a close runner up to baby/toddler Landon), or if it was just 8 years without sleep that finally brought me to my breaking point...

But, oh! this year without sleep was sure hard on me.

And now that we're to a more livable routine (still up a few times most nights, but quickly calmed and back to sleep till at least 5:00 most mornings), I feel overwhelmingly grateful for the sustaining power of prayer through the hardest days. And when I wake up in the early morning every once in a while and realize I've slept all through the night, (like last night, woohoo!) I still want to celebrate every time!

Also, I'm grateful for such soft and warm pillows and blankets to return to after each Porter wake-up call. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Owen's Reminders

Owen, our happiness maker
Today I love...
Owen's reminders for me to be the kind of Mom I want to be. More than I wish, I'll get upset and it will be only a moment before Owen repeats back to me my own instructions (completely gently, innocently and happily) "We need to use kind words. Even when you're upset it's important to talk kindly." And, oh I'm grateful for those sweet reminders!

Also, I'm thankful for the happy time I have with just the little boys after Ellie and Landon are off to school. Today, we played Alligator and Lion and Porter (the one and only roaring Alligator) and Owen (the Lion who patiently waited to scare me until the Alligator could find me too) followed me around the house, finding all of my hiding places with roars and a race to the next hiding spot. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A sweet goodnight

Oh, I love this boy!
For a long time, I've had the habit of checking in on the sleeping kids with a 'Mama loves you' and a kiss before I go to bed. The last little while I got out of the habit a bit and have had to remind myself to do it. Last night I was heading to bed early and almost just climbed into bed, ignoring that reminder in the back of my mind. But I'm working on just doing those good things I know I should/want to do,  so I took the minute to go in and say goodnight to my sleeping little ones. A kiss for Owen and Ellie and then to Landon who surprised me, still awake. "Come here" he whispered, arms around me in a hug "You're the best Mom in the world." What a sweet ending to my night.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Brownies/Sharing the Gospel


A sweet older lady at church shared her testimony a few years ago, and I've remembered it so often since that I thought I'd finally write it down. Mid-testimony she stopped and said something like this,
"Now, since I have you all listening, I want to tell you all something. I have discovered a delicious brownie recipe! I've been wanting to share it with everyone I know because they are just the best I have ever had and so easy, and here it is -- it's the recipe on the back of the box of the Duncan Heines brownie mix! And I promise they are just the best brownies I've tasted and I'm so happy that now you know too! And you know, this is just how I feel about the gospel. I love the gospel and I just want to share it with everybody I love and really everybody I know so they can enjoy it just as much as me!"
Also, along the same idea -

A Normon's article about why we share the gospel

Elder Bednar's great Conference Talk (with his sons' funny story which has been told in our Sacrament meeting a few times already :)

Though I'm not the greatest example of sharing the gospel, I do love it and I'm grateful today for my testimony and the strength it gives to my life.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Windy day

Sometimes I can't believe we live in such a beautiful place!

Today I loved...

Jordan gathering up the kids and taking them outside to play in the wind. (And Owen fighting the wind with a great big stick, and how the wind eased up just as his fight began so he felt like a true save-his-family-from-the-wind kind of superhero.)

Also today -  an early morning trip to the temple, lots of yard work, leaf raking, house cleaning and toy sorting, hot dogs for lunch + a Sam's club trip, a much needed nap for me (plus more leaf raking for Jordan), and a loooooonnng kitchen sink bath for Porter while we cleaned/took turns supervising.

Happy November!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Raspberries, Reading

raspberry girl
Ellie stood with me out in the raspberry patch this afternoon, holding the jar while I filled it with berries from the too-high branches. I handed the jar to her almost full, expecting to need a second jar in just a minute. But no matter how many berries I added to that nearly full jar, it never did quite fill up. :)

happy reader
Also this afternoon, we put off homework (for raspberry picking and other outside time while sick Porter took a late nap inside). Landon had all three of his new books from library day today finished before we got to homework time about an hour after school. Somewhere in the middle, a friend came over to play on the neighbors little merry-go-round thing and Landon asked to go play, then quickly came back "And while I spin, I'll read!" During dinner prep (pumpkin soup bowls!), he told me the story of the first Dragon Slayers Academy book (today's were 14, 15 and 16) - fun to hear the stories from Landon with such excitement.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Favorite Things by Owen Brough

How we love this happy Owen. 

What is your favorite letter?
       all of the letters in the alphabet
What is your favorite number?
       all the numbers! I love everything!
Do you have a favorite color?
       I love all of them! Actually I love five colors (counting on his fingers) -- one is green, one is purple, one is yellow, one is red, one is green...we already did green? One is blue.  And another five -- what five colors did we not do? (with help) brown, orange, pink, black, and white. Five and five I like!
Do you have a favorite animal?
       What animal has the letter J?  (jaguar)  Jaguar! One that has a Z in it… Zebra! and Horse, Cow, Zebra… A cow is my favorite animal. And a horse is my favorite, favorite animal. I definitely like horses. What does definitely mean? (what does it mean Owen?) It means you for sure will. I definitely like horses. 
What are some things you like to do?
       play all day! play tinker toys, make a square on paper, I'll go do that right now! I mean after this. Play with that new balloon, blanket fight - then we would have to fight with blankets! And then the person that had a blankt on his head would throw it to the other person that throwed it on his head. Would that be funny? Then I would throw it back to him!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Landon had his last soccer game for the season today, and I'm a little sad that it's over! It has been so fun to watch him (and his team) playing. They've gotten so much better and it's just so great to see them  really playing their positions, watching and passing to each other, trying out the footwork they've been taught… And oh, what beautiful days to spend outside! (Not so fun has been keeping Porter off the field/out of mischief…) Such fun though - I'm happy we've discovered soccer :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Park City by Landon Brough

Landon at Shoe Tree Park
        A couple days ago, my family and I went to Park City. This is what happened --
        First, we went on the Alpine Slide. I got to do it by myself! It is a huge slide on the mountain,  and you get up there by sitting on a chair lift. There's these sled things and you slide down on the slide. The swimming pool (at our hotel) was right below the chair lift, so you can see it when you're going up. I only used my brake one time because I wanted to go really fast!
        Second, we went on a bike ride. It was 15 miles! We rode to the park, and went on a merry go round. We got skittles from the vending machine, and mom never lets us do that, but Dad does! Then we went to another park up some stairs. There was also a restaurant and we got some food there. It was really tiring going on the bike ride. At the last biggest hill, Mom's bike broke down! We walked up that hill, and I pushed her bike up the hill some of the time. It was a really fun bike ride!
       Third, I went to the Blast Shaft for the last time. The Blast Shaft is a place where you play video games and ping pong and foosball.  At first I didn't even know how to play Super Smash Brothers, but then I won! Right by the Blast Shaft are two pool tables. We played pool two times. I got 10 balls in in all. Owen only got 1. Once Dad was on Ellie's team, but I still won because Dad joined in when we had almost lost all our balls.
        I was glad to get a vacation in Park City again! There were lots of other things, but I can't talk about all of them. Some of them were cookies and milk and swimming. It was really fun!

                       Maybe to be continued...

Part 2: going to Park City by Ellie Brough

(see Part 1 here)
Getting ready for the Alpine Slide

      I went to Park City with everybody in the family to celebrate Mom and Dad's Anniversary because it's special.  We stayed in a hotel of course, and did lots of fun things. 
     We did the Alpine Slide once. It was so fun! (Probably for the boys to go down the slide) and the girls, me (Ellie) I had to go faster than Mom would feel like! It was still fun even though I couldn't go as fast as I really wanted to.  While we were going up on the chair lift, we saw a roller coaster and people going up slow and down fast like we were going slow up on the chair lift and then going fast down on the slide. 
      Once, we went swimming. It was really fun and there was a lot of bubbles, but there were only two sides that had those. But even though there were only two sides, we could go in both ways so it was still fun. 
      On Thursday, we played Scotland Yard. Me, Ellie - I was the robber. I even won! But we didn't really finish the game. Dad just said so, because we couldn't finish the game because it was late for bedtime. 
      On Friday, the next day, we went on a bike ride to get food. Once while we were going we went on a trail, and there were lots of different kinds of scarecrows! I knew scarecrows were supposed to scare crows. I joked about this - it's really funny - I said they would scare me! We got really yummy hamburgers when we got the place called Whole Foods. 
       On two days, we played a game called Pool. It was kind of funny - it was not a pool! We did not go swimming, that's not what I mean!  It was just a ball game. It was kind of funny because I thought it was called pool because the balls went in the holes like they were going into the pool under the water and then going out. It was fun! The sticks hit a white ball, the white ball hit a colorful ball into a spot, but sometimes we didn't make it. 
        When we went to Park City, I loved the trip! I remembered going there one time before. The end of the story. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

trash to treasure/ treasure to trash

Me? I'm way too cute for mischief!
A few days ago I decided to try reorganizing our kitchen cupboards, getting rid of whatever was out of date or we weren't going to use and finding better spots for the appliances and things we really get to most. Unfortunately, about the time that I had everything emptied out from several of our cupboards and our pantry shelves, I ran out of steam and our kitchen slowly grew more and more chaotic as Porter wandered in and out finding treasures and doing some reorganizing of his own.

Later that evening while Jordan was helping me put everything back together again, we noticed a few packages of brownie mix were missing… after some questioning of the big kids with satisfactory denials, we went searching, and searching, and searching.  Finally Jordan thought to check the kitchen trash, and we soon found that Porter was helping out with the pantry-clean-out. I wish I'd made a list, but it was like Mary Poppins endless bag full of tricks (except that it was a not-nearly-so-lovely garbage can,  full of  pantry foods) The missing brownie mixes, peanut butter, basil and cream of tarter and I'm sure a few more spices, mac & cheese, pineapple, soup, applesauce…

We've found Ellie and Owen's shoes in the trash and other kids toys (that apparently Porter was finished with!), kitchen spatulas and to-be-mailed packages.  Our van keys have been missing for several weeks now, and we're starting to wonder if maybe Porter helped clean those right up too!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

dance class!

(Ellie's favorite so far - the 'firework' dance)
I finally found a dance class for Ellie that is close to home, and I am so thrilled with it. Owen joined too (we had to have one more dancer to keep the class), so it's just Ellie and Owen and the dance teacher's 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. They read a story each week, and pause throughout to dance pieces of the story or dance out one of the characters - then they do an art project that goes along with the book, a little more dancing and they're done. And oh, it's so fun! I just love to watch this Ellie girl dancing so happily! (And Owen working so hard to copy just what his big sister does! :)

from my files (a note for baby-to-be Porter)

dear little one,
how i love to feel you stretch and move and wiggle and kick and stretch inside of me. oh, what an awesome thing it is to have a life inside of me. and soon to give all my strength and effort and endurance and faith to bring you into the world. and then to stretch all of my capacity to love and care for you and your brothers and sister each day. i saw your little heart beating today at my ultrasound. your diaphragm practicing for the moments you'll learn to breath. all your parts slowly, slowly - but oh really so quickly! - growing into my little son who i will meet - maybe tonight! maybe in a few days, maybe next week. but another little son so soon will be here in my arms . to love and cradle and feed and nurture and oh, to wake up with through each night. and you'll learn to smile to walk to laugh and play. to follow along with the adventures of our home. and oh we will love you. and a new lulaby will be yours and i'll hold you and sing. someday you'll join in. right now you'll just learn to be still and to feel your mother loves you so. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


num, num, num!
I think even more fun than enjoying this favorite treat of mine  is seeing the kids enjoy these raspberries. Such fun to go out and pick with any of them :)

( One of the houses we lived in when I was a kid had a raspberry patch all along the side yard with an apricot tree right in the middle.  Coming home from school/church and going out to pick raspberries is one of my favorite memories of living there. This is maybe the one thing though where I remember something being much smaller than as an adult -- though I'm sure that really is true -  I don't know whether it's good or bad, but some of our plants the last couple of years are about 7 feet tall! Thank goodness for this year's new stakes/strings set up! )

Teacher in training

Learning Time
When I was in elementary school, I had a little spiral notebook where I wrote down my favorite ideas from school about things I wanted to do someday when I was a teacher. Things like "hang up cool posters with nice quotes on them" or "have a jar and papers for people to write down who they want to sit by" and "talk to my students about hard times I had and how things worked out".

Last week Ellie was telling me about when she is a teacher someday and the things she will do (which were all very familiar from the conversations we've had about Kindergarten so far :) Things like "I'll have a bucket on the table for them to put their name in when they come in the door." or "I'll have a rug and maybe read one story each day or two if we have extra time."

Most of all, I love to watch and listen to Ellie doing 'learning time' with Owen. It was 'tree lessons' in the summer time - teaching him to climb a tree (she did have to bribe him with cookies for these if I remember right). Now it's ABC time or number time. And oh, how that Owen loves to watch and follow and learn from his big sister!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

playing again

Collage from a Humanities project (I still remember what fun it was picking out colorful pieces from my roommate's fashion/design magazines)

After Conference this afternoon, Jordan got out his guitar from the storage room to play for me. Then he tuned and restrung my guitar and had me put on a mini concert for the kids. What fun -- it has been a long time!

Also, Porter managed to have the perfect sleep schedule for Conference today, and the kids loved their listening-for-treats game and were such super listeners. We all liked Elder Scott's talk (good reminders of the basics for Jordan and me, and he hit on almost all of the major 'treat topics' the kids were listening for - prayer, scriptures, temple, and family,  so that made his talk a favorite for them!).   Hooray for a nice conference weekend :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

a tiny failed test / fix

This was a favorite quote from last conference (?) that we've talked about a lot in our family. I had a new cute chalkboard and decided to write it up to put on the wall, but made the mistake of using oil pastel instead of chalk (they're about the same, right?) and soon found with my first sloppy attempt that oil pastel doesn't erase like chalk.  So I had the brilliant idea of using butcher paper and a chalk pen to cover up my failed attempt. (This was a process of about 2 months to get this point, projects move slooooooooooowly around here.) But finally, it was finished. That afternoon, after I'd squeezed in minutes throughout the day to get the words just how I wanted… Landon tried signing his name in the corner and discovered that butcher paper doesn't erase like a chalkboard does. I didn't do awesome at following my carefully lettered advice in my initial reaction. But I did learn my lesson and instead of starting over, I now have an even better reminder of responding with kindness next time. 

A perfect cover-up + reminder to really do what the sign says :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

a happy surprise

food storage city
I was brainstorming how to get the kids to cheerfully help bring all the case lot cans downstairs today on their day off of school. Amazingly I got Landon started, and it was only a few minutes before Ellie and Owen were asking to help too. Now, we have the great city of food storage in our laundry room downstairs ready to be sorted and shelved in the storage room. (And the kids enjoyed an hour of helping + city building)

Also today, what fun to have Landon and Ellie and Owen being great buddies on a day home from school! And Porter got to have a babysitter for a short while (and  loved the one-on-one play time) while I met with the physical therapist and started a routine to see if I can help these arms and hands of mine. Now a popcorn and movie party with Jordan :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Super helper Landon

Favorite summertime (and now Fall) spot

Landon has always been quick to notice when I'm  having a hard time and jump to do whatever he can think of to help out. Today we had a bunch of case lot groceries at the top of the stairs (side note: I just made the most amazing discovery that Lee's delivers case lot groceries !!). After a rough afternoon,  I was putting Porter to bed and Landon came in from soccer practice and asked me if he could take the groceries downstairs to the storage room. I'm so grateful for his tender heart and sweet helpfulness!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I want to remember

finished with lunch, "Mom, take my picture!"
Every few days Owen will say to us "I need to tell you a secret" Then he'll come close and whisper in our ear in a low, scratchy, lion voice "The cows are standing on my kidneys!"

(From the kids favorite Studio C sketch)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Porter Brough, one year old!

One year old!

Thing I want to remember about little Porter ---

- the amazing day that you were born.

- the days/weeks leading up to your birth - the 'any minute now' anticipation, the calming phrases running through my mind like whatever will be, will be, morning walks and the familiar neighborhood walkers - the sweet lady who said "you're just going to jog yourself right to the delivery room!"

- just a few months old, when you'd learned to roll and I was worried you'd roll off the bed so we moved you into a crib in the master-bathroom-turned-mini-nursery.  And how when I'd go in throughout the night to feed you or comfort you and that little bathroom felt like a holy place.

- a hard night with the sudden inspiration, 'just because it's hard, doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong.' and the comfort that brought me.

- (though not much later, that thought left and oh, I was sure I was doing it wrong! and each new sleep plan we tried was still wrong for so long… ) and oh, I wish I didn't have to remember the heart breaking feeling of letting you cry so many nights, not knowing what else to do. And of just praying even for angels to watch over you, for you to know you were loved, and somehow to be comforted.

- how Landon just brightens to be with you and play with you.

- Owen's happiness when we help you wrestle him.

- your first actions - clapping your hands for 'hooray!' and how as you were learning a few new signs, you'd suddenly want to tell us something and just start moving your hands whatever way you could think of, not sure exactly what you were supposed to do, but sure that you wanted to tell us something.

- Ellie walking with you around the house with your homemade pvc walker, helping you get back on your way again each time you ran into an obstacle

- my habit of drinking instead of eating my cream-of-wheat breakfast while carrying you in the wrap or pack to avoid spoonful spills over you at breakfast time. how almost always, in the pack you are happy.

- your funny mischief seeking - watching us as you go towards the stairs, then crawling just as quick as can be till we catch you up then laughing or smiling so proudly.

- how every once in  a while with just the right set up (like being in Ellie and Landon's room without supervision, or emptying mom's sunday bag in Elder's quorum with Dad) you are just so happy to play by yourself and explore all the new things you can find.

- how I felt so clearly, through your first year and with such a trial of sleeplessness, that Heavenly Father was aware of me and of our family and was helping me to do more and be more than I could possibly have done on my own.
- your 'foo, foo, foo' and signs for food :)

- your smiles! giggles and laughter and babbles.

- how you love your mama!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Breakfast Making Champion

birthday pancakes 
1st Day of School Waffles

Is there an award somewhere for 'super special breakfast making champion?' If so, Jordan wins :) What lucky kiddos!

Landon's Baptism

Baptism Day

This was such a sweet, special day. Landon was just as excited as can be and so, so happy. As I was planning out the program's talks/music, etc. I chose "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" for the closing song. It was one of Landon's 'love you songs' when he was littler and we'd sing him his five 'love you songs' before bed. And even though it wasn't a baptism song, I just felt like that was the message for the day - that Heavenly Father loved Landon. When Bishop Etherington gave his final remarks at the baptism, he got teary as he expressed the same words to Landon - How proud Heavenly Father was of him and how much he loved him. And the bishop later told Jordan just how strongly he felt that impression as he spoke. 

And oh, how we love Landon too!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A few thoughts from Ellie on the first day of Kindergarten

Back to school! (Ellie's been planning to wear her 'Kindergarten Rocks!' shirt for months! :) And Landon looks so grown up today!)
first comment when we picked her up (in a happy cheerful, I know I will some day voice):  I didn't make a best friend yet  (yesterday she told me on the way home from back-to-school night 'Maybe I'll make a best friend in Kindergarten!')

about recess: I was feeling a little scared, so I just stood. And I was looking for Landon, because I thought maybe we could have a fun time playing together… I was just getting used to being in the classroom and I was a little scared about the new place. 
and later: I bet soon I'll get used to recess and then I'll have a fun time playing.

about friends: Actually I did find one person at school who already is my buddy, and has been my buddy for a really long time! It was you! (Me! :)
about making friends: Maybe I could say, 'What's your name? And do you want to be friends?'

what was something happy? It was longer than I thought it would be! (yesterday she said she wished it could go from 8:30 until 4:00!)
something sad? recess

To Jordan's question "what would your mood-chooser be on about Kindergarten?" Hmm. I don't know! Because it doesn't have this one… Proud! And brave!!

In sum: It was awesome!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The big news this week (sleep!)

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Porter! (And this boy sure loves wood chips :)
Our kids have all had a rough time learning to sleep - I've read and studied and researched everything there is to know about infant sleep, (and have often felt like this about it :)  but somehow our little ones have just struggled. After almost a year of super crazy sleep with Porter, we finally reached out for help and found what so far feels like it might just be the answer to our prayers!
We visited with a new pediatrician and then with a sleep specialist at Primary Children's Hospital, and after going through all the 'should's' of infant sleep that we already have down (good naps, early bedtime, routines, loveys, consistency, drowsy-but-awake, white noise, etc.) he offered a suggestion for a new plan and we've finally had several nights with 4 hour sleep stretches, and even one 7 hour night (!!!)
We have been living in survival mode for so long that I can hardly remember or imagine what regular life looks like for us. But oh I'm so grateful to maybe be on our way there again!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birthday boy

an Applegram intro by Landon a few weeks ago

We celebrated Landon's birthday today with an Arctic Animals birthday party (with the highlights of  ice melting/treasure finding, arctic slime, balloon candy popping,  and a present of "Onto the Desert" from Jordan and me.) All day he was so super excited, 'what time is the party again?!?' I sat down with him for a couple of minutes before the party to tell him 7 things that  I love about 7-year-old Landon. And they were something like this -
1. His total excitement for life.
2. Watching the joy he feels so completely when he is happy about something.
3. How he works so hard at things that he feels are important
4. The way he is very conscientious at school in trying to be so respectful
5. His compassion. How he loves to come to the rescue and save the day and help any way he can when he sees someone is having a hard time.
6. I love hearing all of the interesting facts that he loves to share from things he's read or watched, especially about animals.
7. I love what a great leader he is for his siblings. It is a delight to watch them play together in one of the games he's thought of and leads the way on, and I know Ellie and Owen love it too.

Oh, this Landon! Who feels things so intensely - happy and sad, joyful and despairing, filled with gratitude or bursting with frustration…

Tonight he sat on the couch with us, squeezed between Jordan and me - showing us each of his new animal cards and stopping every once in a while to express his gratitude "You guys do so much for me! You work so hard to do these special things for me!…"  Oh, we do so love you

(a few fun pics, though I wish I had an even better one to capture the immediate and wonderful and total complete joy that Landon shows when he is playing in the water!)

Landon at the Oregon beach, just before first birthday
Landon and Owen at La Jolla beach

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our new garden (animoto)

Summer Day Animoto

Sunday, July 6, 2014

From Ellie: 4th of July is Awesome!

Fourth of July is awesome! Mom invented a new thing that we have never done before. Before we had 4th of July, Mom's invention was Star Day. When we had done a lot of activities, I  thought that Mom's invention was a great idea! On Star Day we did a lot of activities. We did kind of a lot in a row even. We made bags for the parade on 4th of July. And I even did an activity with Dad to make paper bags for extra.  I just forgot about parades because I didn't know they had a lot of candy! I thought they just had a little so they would be light for our paper bags that me and Dad made.  I liked to do all those activities! And we even made something out of pool noodles! We made a decoration to put outside.

And then, when that day came I was so excited for a parade that was happening that day at 4th of July. In the parade, Landon got a lot of string cheese, and it was funny because when he came back with the string cheeses, he said "Next time don't buy us some string cheese!" I thought that was funny because we didn't buy it - Landon just got them from the parade! It was funny because Mom brought some water bottles to bring with us because it's hot in summer, cause she didn't know that they had free water bottles at that parade! Everyone got a ton of candy, except Owen - he rested a lot of time. And sometimes I was a little tired, but when I saw another thing when Landon got the string cheese, then I raced up and got one. But I didn't know it wasn't candy - I thought it was candy, but it really was just string cheese. I did get one, but I just put it on the grass with the other ones that Landon got - he got a ton!

And at the parade, when the candy was done and the real parade part was done, we went to see some things that were fun to do somewhere else where they did the parade. We found a bubble machine. There were bubbles everywhere and they went about to my shoulders!  I went in it - I fell down a couple times, but one of the times I wasn't scared because I fell down in a little hole where there was no bubbles and I poked my head up where there were no bubbles. I got so bubbly! But Mom told me they had some paper towels I could dry myself up with just one.

A couple days later, Mom thought of an idea that she thought I would love - when we first came to a new park we'd never been to, with some friends - it was called the Splash Pad! A couple days later Mom's idea was to go to the Splash Pad again with swimsuits. And I had a lot of fun time! I played with a lot of the water. I had a super fun time at the Splash Pad!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July/thoughts on service

(Today's post for the Cache Valley Volunteer Center)

My kids and I are spending our days this week with red, white, and blue projects and star-spangled flag activities. Our fridge is getting stocked for a weekend barbecue, and plans are in the works for fireworks and parades. The kids have been learning to sing 'Fifty Nifty United States' and it has become the soundtrack to our summer days.  In the midst of all the fun, conversations are popping up over breakfast, craft projects, and car rides. 'I'm so happy to live in America' or 'Isn't it great that we have so much freedom to choose what we want to do?'

A friend recently told a story of living abroad years ago. He and a friend were looking for a way to serve in their small community when they came across an old  wall overgrown with bamboo. They went to the city officials to get permission to work on clearing the space, and were met with confusion and suspicion. 'Why would you want to do this for us?' was the general idea.

I think that one of the great blessings of living in our country is the culture of service.  Every day I see neighbors, friends, and strangers here in Cache Valley offering service to one another - usually without giving it a second thought.  What a wonderful area we live in.

Because of my husband's work, we've had many opportunities over the past several years to spend time in New York City.  While he works, my kids and I explore and enjoy the sights and sounds and wonders of the city so unlike our own. As our family has grown, our recent trips have left me wondering if I wasn't one of the most unique sights to see in the big city (a young mom with 4 young children!)  And yet, each time we visit I am amazed at how quickly the strangers that I encounter there go out of there way to help me and my family.  Carrying a stroller up the subway steps, giving a smile or a kind remark to a tired child, giving up seats on the train, holding an elevator, offering directions, opening doors and holding them for our full parade of children to pass through. And all of this service, again, without a moment's pause.

With this week's celebrations and festivities, I'm so grateful to live in America. And I'm grateful for the examples of service great and small that make our country - with it's  big cities and small towns -  a such a wonderful place.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lunch Breaks

(Bikeride Scenery from Today)
One of the things that I love most about Jordan working from home (plus an East Coast schedule) is being able to take lunch break adventures together. Now that it's warmer, we're adventuring a little bit more and hopefully can make the most of this great time!


Jordan and I spoke in church today about this scripture --

“Yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.”

I talked about trusting that the Lord is blessing and prospering us even when it might not be so easy to recognize those blessings (Like the favorite quote above)

And Jordan did a super great job describing how the process of  learning to trust in the Lord and increasing our faith is like learning to ride a unicycle. (Which he can now ride all along the Bonneville trail loop and ride while pushing the BOB stroller :)


(Moab/Arches/Campsite/Lizards/Climbing Rocks/Messy craft table :)

We started off our summer vacation with a big event - a camping trip to Moab with Kelly & Josh! The highlight for Jordan was biking the slick rock trail with Josh. The kids loved hiking and exploring and climbing on the great rock mountains (and of course eating s'mores). And it was so fun to spend some time with Kel and Josh and sweet little Jaden - what a great little buddy he is!
The week following our trip, every day I heard things like "Wasn't Moab so awesome?" and "Next time we go to Moab, we'll have to…" and "I just love Moab!" Often the crazy sleep and the work of getting there make me hesitant about big adventures like this, but I'm so happy we took the chance and made these happy memories!

(Thanks again Kel for the fun trip!)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Up, up and away!

Oh, I'm glad these brothers have each other!

This little Porter learned to stand himself up last week, and he is just as proud as can be. He loves to practice whenever he can  (unfortunately he hasn't yet learned to sit, so his middle of the night practice sessions are a little sad for both of us!) But what a proud guy to be able to go and do just a bit more!

Porter had a week at about 7/8 months where we finally found some sleep advice that gave us a bit of a breakthrough and some three hour stretches at night. He was such a happier baby that I could finally set him down to play a lot more often.  In about one week he learned to sleep without a binky, sit up by himself, scoot, and crawl all at once. Since then it seems like we've seen the intensity in this little guy develop more and more. Much like Landon at this age, there is just something this little one wants to do/know that is just out of reach (like Landon's quote one day that described him so well at the age "I just want to know everything now!")

Also, Landon was so excited today that he taught Porter to clap for the first time. One of his tricks for keeping Porter happy in the car is saying with lots of clapping and enthusiasm "Hooray for Porter! You didn't scream!" again and again. Today at breakfast Landon was doing the same thing and Porter started clapping along with him. So all day Landon was just thrilled to keep practicing and getting a few more claps from his little buddy Porter.

From Ellie today/Apologies

I came across something a few weeks ago about teaching kids to apologize (here) and it's been a super great tool for us.  We've all been getting pretty good at  giving full apologies (there are always plenty of opportunities to practice :) Landon especially has become an expert and it's just so super -- it turns the 'say your sorry' thing into a real chance for both people involved to feel so much better about the situation. 

It goes something like  this
1. I'm sorry that I… 
2. It was wrong because… 
3. Next time I will…
 4. Will you forgive me?

  Today I'd said something wrong to Ellie (she's learning about grammar rules like can/may, etc. :)  I said sorry and she responded like this --
You don't have to say you're sorry, because it was just a mistake. 
Or, I know a different way you can give a full apology. You can say
I'm sorry
It was just an accident
Will you forgive me?
I love you.

(And then the part that I just love)

Then that will help them to forgive you. Because when you give your love to them, they can give a little of it back to you, and keep some for themselves. 

Oh, how I love this sweet Ellie!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mormon Channel

This morning (like lots of Sunday mornings) the kids have been watching Mormon Channel videos while I put Porter down for a nap. I love these movies. I love to walk in and see the kids so engrossed with such sweet and wonderful stories - ones that I know will stick with them.

This morning I helped Porter to sleep then went down to see the kids acting out their own versions of Swashbuckler and Runaway Stagecoach along with the movie.

You be the princess
I'll be the bad guy
Here's your sword!
I'm the girl who needs to be rescued
Hang on!

I just love this!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

from Owen

best little reading buddies
At the library this week, Owen was trying to find a good replacement for his Fox in Socks book he'd just returned. This was our discussion on our way to a new spot with all of the Caldecott books - 
Look, Owen. I know where they have some really great books! 
I don't want a really, really great book today. Just a regular book.

A tale of two ER visits (and my first ambulance ride!)

Surprise - I can crawl now!
1. Porter --

I was playing with Porter in the reading room when I heard Ellie and Owen calling for me from the bath. I went to pour in some more bubbles for them and then walked back out the door to hear the terrible thump, thump, thump, cry of Porter falling down the stairs. (We hadn't put the gates up yet, because I hadn't realized how fast he could already crawl, but they are up now!) The poor little guy was so limp and tired and sad for long enough afterwards that I was really worried and asked Jordan to give him a blessing and I called the pediatrician. 

With his symptoms as they were, she suggested I take him to the emergency room, and so I did. I think that Heavenly Father just healed his little body though because by the time we got all checked in and the doctor came in to see us, Porter was just sitting up on my lap, looking around, smiling at all the nurses and about as happy as a little boy could be. So although I felt pretty silly at that point sitting in the ER with a perfectly healthy baby boy, I was just so grateful that he was okay that I didn't even mind too much.

Ellie + Magic School Bus at the ER
2. Ellie --

A few days later, I was back in the ER and found myself talking with the same doctor again (yes, I was just here a couple of days ago...)  Ellie was super sick and her croup had gotten bad enough through the evening that we decided to take her in to instacare. I got there with a super sick and exhausted Ellie and they surprised me by hurrying her in to see the doctor after her initial check-in with the nurse. 

A few minutes later, Ellie was set up for some breathing treatments and the paramedics were on their way to take us to the hospital via ambulance. (Ellie's oxygen was quite low and the doctor was worried enough about her difficulty breathing that they required the treatments/ambulance ride/monitoring at the ER). Little Ellie was as brave as can be (or just as miserable as can be) and the paramedics were so super kind and professional and accommodating. They held my bag and let me carry Ellie out to the ambulance and I just held her in my lap with her oxygen and breathing equipment while we rode the 5 minutes to the hospital. 

It was a busy night at the ER, so by the time the doctor had a chance to come in, the steroid medicine and breathing treatments had worked their magic and Ellie was sitting up in the bed watching Magic School Bus on the iPad and feeling better than she had all day. 

{A few days later we were back at instacare with both Owen and Ellie.  The sweet nurse who'd helped us on her first visit was there again. I was so touched when she told us that she'd stopped by the ER after her shift that first night to check in and make sure little Ellie was okay. How wonderful to know she was being cared about on such a hard night.} 

And today, at last, Ellie and Owen were running around the house and playing and even went on a walk around the park. And oh, I'm grateful that they're getting better!

Monday, May 12, 2014

sick days

our house this week :)
In the last week or so, we've had 2 emergency room visits, 1 ambulance ride, 3 urgent care visits, 3 sick little boys + 1 even more miserable Ellie, and 1 sick as can be parent (Jordan's praying hard that I'll stay well.) And goodness, it's been hard!
from my companion's visiting teaching message this month

I've tried (sometimes well, sometimes not) to remember this talk -- and be thankful for all the little and great things that have still come each day. The kind and patient and professional doctors and nurses and paramedics and pharmacists. Health insurance and our savings set aside for medical needs. Tylenol and antibiotics and other medicines and heat packs and humidifiers and hot showers. Popsicles, and ice cream, applesauce and juice and jello. And most of all kindness and prayers from people who love us so. 

And beautiful Spring days outside our windows too. 

Oh, I love these pink blossoms!

And now I'm hoping that rainbow (of a healthy family) really will come soon! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

funny conversation with owen today

Owen, sitting down to a snack "Mom?"
(me holding squirming, hungry Porter, choosing some lunch for him - 'apples and chicken' or 'mixed cereals with berries'?)
(wrangling Porter into the high chair)
(opening up the baby food as quick as can be for must-be-starving Porter)
Yes, Owen?
We don't eat people.
me: That's right, Owen :)
Yeah, that's right. We just eat food. 
(a pause to eat more snack)
And animal crackers!