Tuesday, December 20, 2016


+ Snuggling this little one. And you know that feeling when you've had a long day and you're just about to climb into bed and it just sounds so wonderful and you're so excited to feel that pillow under your head and drift off to sleep? Me too. And it's amazing! So different from the "I can't bare the thought of going to bed because it is just the beginning of the next 8 hours of torture, though I do so love this tiny little baby..." feeling I've had for many parts of the last 10 years!  Isaac and I are up twice a night and for a Brough 5 month old, that is pretty spectacular :) (For a long time it felt like all I could talk about was how tired I was, and now whenever I'm giving an update on 'how's life' all I can say is how wonderful it is to be sleeping so much better!)

+ Laughing at the Christmas-every-day feeling at our house as deliveries are made and packages are opened. Even with pretty small Christmas lists, with 5 little ones plus normal household purchases to keep things running, the Fedex/UPS/USPS/Lee's/All of the above deliverers are pretty constant visitors at our house. (And there's something so fun about getting the packages and opening them up to see what surprise we've picked out that has arrived  like  "oh! Porter's play dough tools - he's going to love those!"

+ Figuring out health insurance. We've been on five different health insurance plans this year --Bonobos' company plan, COBRA, LostMyName's company plan, a temporary plan for Jordan and Isaac when we missed adding Isaac to our real plan, an individual plan, a new individual plan for 2017, and now maybe back to a LostMyName plan for 2017 after all? Whoosh. This stuff makes me a little crazy.

+ Pizzelle making. This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions and this year was the first time all three older kids could help, and really help even. And all the kids are such sweet treat deliverers - I would be so happy at the cuteness of them at our door (even if I am their mom... :)

+ Not doing anything at all about our basement. We finally had a contractor come over and talk through our plans and such (early in November) but then life has just kind of moved along... when this all first happened (in September) Jordan talked to a friend about doing some work for us and he said he'd be busy for the next month -- which was much too long for us, we thought. Three months later and life just goes right along, even with a semi-torn up basement (and half painted kitchen too!). Soon though hopefully we'll really start making progress -- I think I realized that for anything to get better, it would first have to get worse and that has been overwhelming enough not to start!

+ Looking forward to Christmas break! Somehow our school mornings have been a little crazy lately and I think all the kids (and me too, for sure!) are looking forward to a break even just from the busyness of getting out the door on time. And it will just fun to play and read and wrap presents and whatever else we come up with. We're enjoying all the little Christmas activities though. This morning I took the little boys to see Owen's kindergarten 'gingerbread man' performance and it was very sweet. Tonight we're going to see the school's holiday movie the kids all helped make. And tomorrow I get to help with Landon's class party and I'm excited for that too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

still thankful

So, apparently I'm not ready to get back to a writing every day habit, even for a month of Thanksgiving. But that's okay, I'm still thankful :) 

Here are some little things I'm thankful for today --

+ Today is the first day in about 2 weeks that all three kids have been at school after we've all taken turns with a few different rounds of sickness.  Porter and I are still sniffling, but everyone seems to be recovering. 

+ I'm thankful for the extra time I've gotten to spend with these kiddos as they've each taken turns with their sick days! Especially on the days when nobody was too miserable but just resting/recovering at home.

+ Yesterday was a recovery day for Ellie, and she and Owen had such fun when he got home from school. They were playing together in such a fun way and they got so excited about their plan of  going to the store to pick out a christmas decoration that I even stretched and packed up all 4 little ones for a trip to the dollar store before nap times. Through the morning, Ellie was playing so happily with Porter that I even had a chance to start on Landon's blanket (his birthday present several months late...)!

+ I'm thankful for this beautiful, warm November weather we've had!

+ I'm thankful for a fun chance to help Jordan with a project for work last night. He had to get something up for a conference he's helping with and the designer hadn't had a chance to finish designing the pages, so I got to help and it was just fun. :)

+ I'm thankful for a good afternoon nap for little Isaac (poor little-bit-sick guy!) right now. 

+ I'm thankful for the chance to do homework and reading time with Owen this afternoon. I've not been super awesome about homework with him. As a kindergartener, he needs one-on-one help with homework time so if we don't do it before the older kids get home, it doesn't happen. But when it does, it's (almost) always just so fun. (Sometimes there are lots of "it's time to focus" reminders when the silly-bug comes)

+ I'm thankful for sweet Landon. He debated about taking a recovery day off today or going to school, and ended up going to school. (He was most excited to be feeling better so he could hold Isaac again!) Before he left,  he left me a 'scavenger hunt' of notes all around the front room -- "I love you Mom!" and hearts and piranhas   :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'm thankful for April!

A few conversations from our house in the 24 hours or so --

from Porter to Jordan
You love me, and Owen, and Ellie... and Landon and Isaac...
And you love Mom!
And you love April!

at dinnertime yesterday

from Porter, out of the blue, and a little sadly -
Remember April's gone?

from Owen,
I know! I ran downstairs to tell her something and I forgot she wasn't here anymore!

from Porter today
I can stay home with April... oh actually... hm. :(

We got to have April here a lot this Fall and it was just so great. When I went to find a picture, I was surprised to remember all the great adventures the kids especially got to have with her -- camping and hiking, Lagoon and Aggie ice cream and bike riding... Besides being such a great help and fun adventurer, it was just so fun to have her here just to talk to and visit and be together. We will miss her now that she's back home!

Friday, November 11, 2016

a good busy day

Our kitchen wall today

We had a bunch of little things on the calendar yesterday and after a couple of rougher nights (which 3 years ago would have been hooray! nights :) I woke up in the morning feeling a bit overwhelmed with the day ahead - lots of little places to be plus suddenly all of the started/unfinished projects at home felt like a bit much.

But it turned out to be just a nice happy day. I came home from the first round of activities in the morning and April had washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, tidied the house, and left neatly folded piles of clean Isaac laundry on my bed.

We had kids and friends in and out throughout the day and it was just happy and lively and fun.

Jordan gave me some sweet motivation in my paint-choosing angst and  helped get things moving by painting all my sample colors all around our kitchen (!) after the kids went to bed.

And then off to bed and I was just surprised how smoothly and happily the day went :)

Thursday, November 10, 2016


just playing together

I'm thankful for good friends for my kiddos. And for all the times they love to play just with each other too.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

for kindness and goodness and faith

"Enthusiasm is a form of social courage" -- 

Last night was pretty crazy! Jordan and I stayed up past midnight waiting for the election results (which is crazy by itself, since we don't even stay up that late for New Years). And then of course, the election results!

We finally went to bed before the final call was made, and I checked in to see the official news when I woke up to feed Isaac. (And then, since it was 4 a.m. and I'd been up super late already, my overtired mind grouped together all the election news with the worst headlines of the week and pretty soon I was feeling not just scared to fall back to sleep but pretty anxious about the whole fate of the world!)

But I woke up this morning singing a song I haven't heard or sung since Young Women's, on repeat in my mind -- I walk by faith.

And as I checked my favorite blogs and instagram feeds, I found such great charity, kindness, compassion,  optimism and hope

So, I'm thankful today for faith and for so many good people in the world and their examples to me. 

(And here's one more cheerful article from before the election. )

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November + Thanksgiving #1-8

(From Isaac's baby blessing day - oh! he was a sweet tiny little bundle just a few months ago!)

Sometimes in November, I've tried to write each day here about something I'm thankful for.  And as we got closer to the end of October, I thought that would be a great way to help myself get back in the habit of writing every day... But, here we are on November 8th... It's tricky to find a long enough stretch of focused time to write while the kids are all happy/asleep! But, even with a late start I'm going to give it a try. :)

So, for the first 8 days of November -- 

1. I'm thankful for Jordan. I'm thankful for his incredible love and devotion for me and for our family.  We took turns juggling a happy/hungry/wiggly/sleepy Isaac and a missing-naptime Porter through Stake Conference on Sunday and I was just all filled up with love for this good man who is also such a good Dad. 

2. I'm thankful to be a mom. I'm so happy that I get to spend my days with these kiddos. Sometimes I'm happy to go pick up pizza in the evening just for the few minutes of quiet all by myself. But I sure do love these little ones. 

3. I'm thankful for Landon. Yesterday he was assigned the lesson for family home evening. He spent a good little part of the afternoon with Ellie and Owen planning a very silly little show that they all completely loved being a part of. I love his good heart. 

4. I'm thankful for Ellie. On Sunday morning, we had a little extra time with a later than usual Stake Conference. Ellie made blueberry muffins with Owen and Porter as her little helpers. (And I know from experience this takes a good deal of patience!)

5. I'm thankful for Owen. He's learning to read and I have been loving helping him through 'Green eggs and Ham' a little at a time this past week. 

6. I'm thankful for Porter. When Jordan gave the kids blessings for back to school, Porter wanted one to. The one thing I remember was a blessing for Porter to learn to play with his toys. Which seemed a little surprising, but over the last few weeks it has really been wonderful to watch him really learn to play and pretend. 

7. I'm thankful for Isaac. Oh this little baby, I sure love him! Owen loves to play with him and he'll count how many 'happy sounds' Isaac makes. His goal is to get to one thousand and I think he's at about 300. He's growing and learning and we all just love him so. 

8.  I'm thankful for families! This year all of the visiting teaching lessons have been about families, and it has just been kind of fun to visit each month with friends and celebrate families and be reminded of how I can help and strengthen and have joy in my own little family. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's better now

Roasting marshmallows at the fireplace :)

Sometime in the last few months, I came home from errands and found Jordan and the kids all in the kitchen - cooking dinner maybe or tidying up and having a dance party at the same time. I sat down to feed Isaac and watched them all dancing and working and tapped my feet along and started to cry when I listened to the lyrics - feel better now, it's better now.

And this thought has been with me every single day since Isaac was born.  The first two years after Porter was born were so hard  that every day I am filled up with gratitude for just how much better things are working right now. 

There's a lot I want to say about all this, maybe someday. A good deal has to do with sleep. To have a new baby and have some decent sleep at the same time is a miracle in my life that has shown me my Heavenly Father's love for me so tenderly. Being able to live these days with a clear mind and with greater capacity to care for and love my family has been such a wonderful blessing. 

Some days are hard. But more often it has been a great mix of hard moments and wonderful moments and regular moments all jumbled together as they should be.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The rains came down and the floods came up

A few weeks ago we had some pretty intense rain. One night Jordan was outside with a flashlight at about 11:00 cleaning out the rain gutters as the rain poured down into our window wells. Our downstairs bathroom got a little wet, but we thought that was the end of our rain troubles. But, a few days later when April stopped in to get her things after her river rafting trip, we discovered that the guest room had flooded! (With nice and squishy carpet beside the bed...) Jordan used the carpet cleaner and got about 5 gallons of water out of the carpet then pulled it back and also made some holes in the wall to dry with a bunch of fans blowing, etc. (And we discovered that this wasn't from the windows but coming up from the corner of the house...)

Then a day or two later we realized that the basement room had flooded as well. Unfortunately, this wall had two layers of dry wall and some old wood paneling in between so it trapped all the moisture inside and it all had to come down.

A few weeks ago Jordan and I started to talk about maybe jumping in and starting some of the little updating projects we've had in mind to do --  Now we definitely get to! (At least in this room for sure!)

Right now it feels kind of fun - new carpet and paint (except, carpet is much more expensive than I knew!) and maybe some bigger changes downstairs... we'll see how long our energy lasts and if we can make any decisions on how to move forward. :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

May & June little things / And welcome to October :)

from Ellie "Do I look like a great summertime girl?"

It has been long enough that I already can't remember why I set a few of these pictures aside... But here's a few little things from our early summer :)

Landon was a super strong ruuner at the 4th grade district fun run - Porter and I went to cheer him on. 

I can't remember the story of this picture, but he's a cute sleeping little kiddo :)

Some garage floor kayaking 

And some real kayaking at newly discovered Cutler Marsh

And at First Dam (with some inflatable rafts too) with family

Herm's Inn birthday breakfast for Jordan with Dad & Shauna + Danielle & Amanda

Celebrating with Jen & Jeremiah on Alex's baby blessing day!

Making some bedroom improvements for all the kids (and some Ellie & Dad building time)

Treats + a poem from Landon to his great primary teachers who were moving

Adventuring on the super train bike (Jordan + 4 kids on one bike!)

Trying out our new tent in the backyard 

And welcome to our little Isaac!

Welcome Fall!

two-year-old Landon + me
Last night we had a crazy welcome to Fall rain storm. As the thunder rumbled and roared and our room flashed again and again with lightning, I thought about heading downstairs to the guest room for a safe, cozy sleepover party. (Our kids have never really gotten nervous about thunderstorms, and at bedtime I knew I really wouldn't have taken the effort to move everyone downstairs, but it still sounded nice to be even just a little bit more sheltered from the storm outside :)

On the other side of the room, Jordan was just loving the storm. As the winds blew stronger and the rain fell harder, he opened the blinds to watch the lightning flash, then opened the windows wide and leaned out, just to take it all in.

We are a funny pair! I'm so glad for all the times Jordan helps me enjoy life a little more!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


perfect pic by April
from Jordan about Saturdays

"Sometimes I feel like we should just be responsible and clean out the garage or work on the yard... but then I think, I wonder if we could ride our bikes to Idaho?"

We've had some fun adventures lately - a few big (like a bikeride to Idaho with Jordan, April, Landon & Porter) and mostly small. Knowing that little Isaac wouldn't be able to ride in the bike trailer, and may not be happy in the stroller,  we were all set to put adventures aside until next year.  So we've been so happily surprised that we've still been able to enjoy some adventures, even with new little Isaac. Some have been just Jordan with a few kids (kayaking, bike riding) or April and a few kids (hiking, bike riding) and some with all of us (walking or Jordan running/pushing Isaac while the rest of us bike). Isaac has been such a trooper so far! (And all of the kids too!)

(And lots of Saturdays we also do just do the responsible things too :)

Last week we walked to Lee's for dinner. Then a few days later we rode our bikes to Sam's club for groceries.  Yesterday we walked to coldstone (for dinner) and Blimpie (for dessert :) There were some definite tired feet and we kind of dragged the last block or two home, but now looking back it already seems like it was so fun :) We even sang a few hiking songs to keep spirits high (I taught the kids Princess Pat and Ellie taught us "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.")

Owen asked something like "why do we keep doing this?" And my quick answers were 
1. to help our bodies be strong and healthy
2. to practice doing something hard with our family 
3. to enjoy the beautiful world and this beautiful place we live. 

Hooray for adventures and this perfectly beautiful Fall time in Logan!

Jordan's (not so) new schedule

One of the things that Jordan has loved about his new job with Lost My Name is his new work schedule. He starts at 5:00 in the morning, takes a short "lunch break" at 6:30 to read scriptures with Landon, and has worked a full day by 1:30 in the afternoon. Sometimes he'll work late and finish up around 2:00 or 3:00 (!) but often he's helping with the kids and/or out the door on a great run or bikeride or kayak adventure in the early afternoon.  Hooray for a perfect-for-Jordan schedule!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

two months & one week / tiny happy things

Sometimes I think it is just funny how the little snapshots I write here on my blog really just reflect such a little snippet of time. I wrote yesterday's '2 months' post a week ago and just added the photo to post it yesterday. And after a mostly crazy day, I re-read it last night and kind of thought "whose life was I talking about working so well?" :) It's true for all blogs, but I know what I write here appears rosier than real life. It's all true, but it's also missing the 3:00 - 6:00 crazy that happens some days in real life. Or the days when naptimes don't work. The "you're so mean!" cries.  Or the grumpyness I get that has Jordan sweetly asking me at the kids' bedtime "It's a beautiful evening, why don't you go out for a walk?"

Still, Isaac woke just once last night. (Once! At 2 months old! Bed about 10:00, quick wake up to eat at 2:30, up for the morning at 6:15. Woohoo!) So there is most definitely still cause for celebration around here. And real gratitude for all the things that really are working most of the time.

And oh, I do love this little Isaac 2 months old! He's wiggling here next to me, almost ready to get wrapped all up in a sweet swaddle blanket and held and cuddled for a bit before I set him down for a nap attempt.

Other tiny things to celebrate today, or just remember:

+ Isaac took a great nap this morning and we got all the groceries from the Lee's case lot sale delivery all put away downstairs in the storage room. Such abundance!

+ Landon worked on memorizing The Star Spangled Banner on the way to school this morning and it was a sweet soundtrack to our drive.

+ We found Owen's tennis shoes before Friday P.E. this week (Mistakenly put in a box full of to grow into shoes in the storage room!)

+ A new friend from school asked to have a play day next week with Owen

+ All of the kids have gotten to have ice cream dates with April :)

+ Jordan is adjusting his schedule a bit to watch the little boys so I can help out in Owen's kindergarten class on Thursday mornings, starting tomorrow!

+ Our laundry is all caught up (ish) thanks to some great help from April this past weekend

+  Fall arrived in Logan this week!

+ Landon wrote a great essay for his Lighthouse team application and was excited to turn it in yesterday. He asked his teacher for a lined piece of paper to write it on and carried it home so super carefully to keep it perfectly neat and unwrinkled.

+ Ellie made a plan to read all of the Magic Treehouse books this year before the end of 2nd grade.

+ I made a goal last week for Family Home Evening to eat one vegetable a day (I realize this shouldn't be a stretch, but right now it is what it is). I've been keeping my goal and feeling much better for it.

+ I went for a bikeride last night (Jordan saving me & the kids from my end of day grumpyness...) And it was so fun to ride my bike again. And I love my electric bike that took me up and down hills where my legs definitely couldn't have on their own!

+ Jordan started this week as a lead for his group at work.

+ Our second batch of raspberries have started to ripen!

+  Porter is so great at taking naps, which won't last forever so I feel especially grateful for how well he still does now. And he is awesome at bedtime too. Yay for Porter! This kiddo is into some major mischief these days which makes me even that much more grateful when naptime comes! ;)

+ Owen stayed home from school today. He had a bit of a scratchy throat and I'm sure he would have been fine but it seemed like he just needed a break. It was fun to have him home and I'm so happy we're all healthy right now!

+  Right now Ellie and Landon are at school.  Isaac is swinging in his swing, maybe falling asleep. Porter is napping in his tent. Owen is broom, broom, brooming with cars in the basement room for quiet time. Jordan is at the kitchen counter finishing up work for the day while eating his lunch.

+ I guess there is quite a lot of rosyness in our lives right now.

(And it's good for me to record it, because I may need a reminder of that in a few hours :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2 months

+ I remember thinking (and writing) that 2 months old was the hardest stage -- I've realized that I probably made it so by wishing/expecting/feeling bad when it didn't happen/stressing that I should be just right back on track by that time. But I've learned (at last!) that there is no grace period and not to worry about what I think I ought to be able to do by any certain time.

+ Jordan has been an amazing help for me in this just by helping me feel and remember how wonderful a blessing it is for this little Isaac to have had all this time with his momma holding and cuddling and singing and loving him all up. (And how wonderful for me too!) I never have a chance to feel any guilt about just sitting and holding little Isaac, because Jordan is so quick to remind me that I'm doing the most important thing.  And he has done so much to help with the kids and all the other things that have needed to happen to keep our family running smoothly.

+ And we've had such great help. From family and friends mostly, but also we've finally figured out the other little things we need (like grocery delivery every once in a while!) And the kids are all a super help too. (Except maybe Porter with his love for mischief...)

+ Basically, we are following my favorite stake conference advice, "if you're feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do and be, try lowering your expectations." Which in practice has really meant learning to put first things first. Not to rush things. Not to expect too much from ourselves but just enjoy this slower time of life for what it is. (And then be pleasantly surprised when sometimes we can do more than we expected/better than we thought).

+ And this sweet little Isaac baby makes our lives so sweet! He has been an amazingly good sleeper/eater/somewhat predictable napper already. I feel like anyone who ever wrote a parenting book probably had a baby like Isaac. :)

+ And sleep! All of the other things are true and all, but really I think life is working because I'm getting some reasonable sleep. That's the real miracle here.

+ We all sure love this little guy!

+ At 2 months, Isaac

- loves to watch me.
- sleeps with me in bed (near me, but not in my arms - hooray for Isaac!) at night in 3 hour stretches (since his first few days even!) with occasional nights of a 4 or 4 1/2 hour stretch, and just a few rare 2 hour stretches every once in a while. (Hooray for Isaac!)
- has a fairly predictable schedule of wake, eat, play, sleep throughout the day and frequently will
even nap on his own in his swing (though he still prefers to be all cuddled up and held for naps).
- has great little baby smiles!
- is 14 lbs. 2 oz and 2 feet 1 inch
- is discovering his hands in just the last few days
- makes the sweetest little baby sounds and loves when someone will talk back and forth with him.
- loves his brothers and Ellie to talk and play with him

We went camping!

When Porter was one or so, we went on a camping trip to Moab with Kel & Josh. We had lots of fun, but it was also hard enough that we decided 'no more camping' until all of our children were sleeping through the night.

But then we changed our minds :) And this weekend we had a successful camping trip!

Jordan found us a perfect place in Logan canyon, right next to a great little pool in the river where the kids splashed in the icy water (Landon) and kayaked (Ellie and Owen) and threw shoes in (Porter).

April got back from her backpacking trip just in time to join us (which was so fun and also the difference between success and driving back home when things got a bit crazy nearing bedtime)

Despite some worries about bears and cougars, we all made it safely and happily through the night (and even Isaac did great with just his regular wake ups to eat and then quickly back to sleep). Jordan made us a delicious camp stove breakfast in the morning, and the kids got to do a little exploring and a little more playing in the water after we got things all packed up.

And then we had the rest of the weekend to recover :)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mini vacation

Just before school started we decided to do a tiny mini vacation to celebrate the end of summer. We stayed overnight near Salt Lake, ate at some fun restaurants, had Saturday morning movie time at the hotel and played Settlers with a late checkout. And (the main event!) had an afternoon swimming at the Provo Rec Center - so fun!

Isaac was an amazing traveler and did so super great on the car ride both ways -- hooray!

Back to school

1st day of school + a funny face from Landon :)
We're into the second week of school now with these three -- 5th, 2nd and Kindergarten! A few things:

+ I'm still figuring things out but have been surprised at how smoothly things have gone so far as we've adjusted to fitting Isaac's schedule into everyone else's instead of the other way around like we've been doing (April has been a great help with this!)

+ Landon spent the first three days after school memorizing all of the states and capitals to get started towards his Great American Award-- hooray for Landon! And I'm excited for him to be learning U.S. History this year. His classroom is perfect.  U.S. History + Harry Potter = Awesome 5th grade. (A fun little thing - his class played 2 truths & a lie and one of truths was "I've visited the actual platform 9 3/4" :)

+  We've had some definite angst with the new door policy for drop off/pick up time.

+ Owen is in Mrs. Fairbank's class just like Ellie and Landon (the only teacher that both Ellie and Landon have had, and I'm so happy Owen is with her too!) He walked himself in to school yesterday and today and I was so proud of him and also a little 'ohh' for my little boy being so grown up!

+ Isaac has had some awesome naps that have given me a chance to have a little one-on-one time with Porter in the morning  (who walked around the house the first day of school with "where's everybody else?") while Owen is at school and with Owen in the afternoon while Porter naps. It's not every day but it's enough.

+ It's hard to have the kids jump into homework and after school jobs and all when they get home because it seems like they've already had a long day! But still those things have to get done... Also Jordan is already finished working when school is out, so it feels like it's just time to go play :) Still some tweaking/planning needed to figure out the right schedule/routines for our family.

+ I always love helping in the kids' classes and getting to know there friends and teachers. I've been a little more hesitant this Fall though just because I don't want to rush things or try too much and make things hard on myself. (I've felt so grateful to have had the summer months to just love and take care of this little Isaac without too much else going on! Porter was born the first week of school and it was hard jumping right in!)

New baby thoughts (a quick start)

It's hard to find a few minutes of focused time to sit and write. I so often have these little things that I want to write about and remember, but now that I have a sleeping Isaac by my side and all the kids happy in quiet time, I can't quite remember all those thoughts that have been floating around in my head for the last month! Hmm...

+ I love this little Isaac. When we were brainstorming names, I read that Isaac means "He will laugh" and something about that was jus so delightful to me. I think because all the time I was pregnant, I felt like this was kind of a serious little guy, but I loved how right it felt that he would also be one who would be happy and laugh. Landon brought out some very first almost-laughs the other day from Isaac and was as excited as can be.

(an unfinished post from a month or so ago that I still wanted to remember :)

So long sweet summer

The kids are back to school today!

This really has been such a sweet summer. Having little Isaac to love and the slow summer days to just work our schedule around him has been really wonderful.

A few favorite moments of this summer:

*   Floating in the lazy river with Porter. I'd hold on for a minute as the river floated us along. Then I'd let go and Porter's eyes would widen as he floated away just a bit in his life vest -- not worried, but watching me carefully and anticipating, what's going to happen now? Then I'd scoop him back up and he'd just laugh with such delight that I'd laugh out loud too.

*  Reading books with Owen and Porter during our school time while Landon worked on the day's activity (with his glasses taped) and Ellie practiced piano -- it's already hard to remember quite exactly what it was like with just those four!

*   Sitting at the pool during swimming lessons holding Isaac, with Owen and Landon happily inside in their classes and Ellie and Porter playing together in the pool as I watched. And just realizing this is working.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Birthday Porter

In honor of Porter's birthday, here's the first minute or so from our morning walk today (Porter's side of the conversation) I sure love this three year old boy!

Mommy! Look! ("wook!") There's a tree growing!

Mommy! Look! There's another tree growing!

Look! There's another tree growing. This tree is growing up to the sky! This tree is growing up, up, up to the sky!

Who's house is this?

Yep, it's Sister Matthews house.

What's this called?

What's this sidewalk called?

Yep, just called a sidewalk.

Look at all the flowers!

I spy (fingers up to his eyes like binoculars) lots of flowers!

Yep, those are roses. Let's see if we can find some more roses.

What flowers are those?

(fingers up to eyes) I spy with my little eye... a puddle!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Swim Lessons

We all had fun with two sessions of swim lessons this summer. For the first session early in the summer (before Isaac was born), I swam with Ellie, Owen and Porter outside while just Landon had swim lessons (practicing freestyle and back stroke).

I almost canceled our second session because I couldn't figure out the logistics of how to take care of everyone (Watch Ellie's lessons to help her not feel anxious, hold/feed Isaac,  keep an eye on Porter...) But at the last minute I came up with a possible solution and it turned out really great. Landon and Owen did lessons, I held Isaac, and Ellie took care of Porter in the outside pool (with me watching). Then, Ellie got to have her own personalized swim lesson by Jordan for the last day. It was a happy way to spend these summer mornings!

Happy Birthday Landon

Landon had a great birthday party last month to celebrate turning 10! When he told me he wanted a lego party, I was pretty quickly stumped about what to do for activities. Everything I thought of seemed pretty little kid-ish. But then I asked Jordan for some ideas, and it took him only a second to tell me several great ideas that were just perfect for these 10-year-olds. 

They had a race car building contest -- first for judged for overall awesomeness, then on to the blue track battle crash. That was my favorite part. Two cars were randomly chosen and had to race down the blue track from each side. Whoever best survived the crash got to move on the next round.  Then a lego bridge building contest with judging by how much money in coins they could hold (which quickly turned into how much money + how many cans from our pantry because those bridges were strong!). Last they had a rubberband shooting minifigure war (shooting the legos, not each other) then cake & ice cream and presents. Very fun and hooray for Jordan's good ideas!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Little Olympians

We had an Olympics watching party this evening while Jordan and Landon went to help a neighbor move. We watched about 40 minutes of gymnastics and then the kids decided they were ready to join in on the fun. (This started when Porter watched a floor routine and said, "I can do that!" then started to show off his own tricks across the front room floor). So fun.

Also, this is the first time I've watched any of the Olympics since I was probably in high school. When we started watching the women's gymnastics team with the kids, I was so surprised at how young they were -- just kids! The last time I was watching this, I was looking up to those girls, imagining what it would be like to be like that 'someday'. Now they're as close or closer to my children's ages than mine!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

From Porter this morning

Isaac was crying this morning as I was changing him and getting him dressed.

Watching, Porter said "Mommy, Isaac is sad! I think because he is growing too much!"

Lee's Online (for my Logan friends)

Here is where I become a Lee's online salesperson (because I love Lee's and this is just so great and I want to share :)

There are often times in my life when grocery shopping is fun. With two little shopping buddies by my side, I'm at my best.  We take our time. We look at the signs. Sometimes the boys get their own little carts. I use my best Mom voice.
"Let's get 10 apples, one...two...three...
"Who will get the bread for us?"
 "Should we go grab a cookie?"
"What else do we need?"

With five little children surrounding me, I'm at my worst.
"Don't touch the cart"
"Please don't talk to Mom right now"
"There will be no cookies unless..."
"The next person who..."

I've been trying out the Lee's delivery a bit since Isaac was born and it's awesome.

Top 5 things:
1. They shop for my groceries and bring them to my house!
2. It means I have to plan ahead a bit more than I might otherwise (which is great but also something I need to work on)
3. So super great for stocking up/case lot sale time
4. When I need more random items, I don't have to try to search for them or ask where to find something, I just type it in the search bar. :)
5. When I've used this, my fridge has been much less full because I just buy what we actually need.

You can try it out for free this month with DELIVERAUGUST (Tell me how it goes -- You're welcome!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sunshine, lollipops & rainbows

And then there are also those moments like yesterday

when I dropped a bottle of shampoo in the shower and woke Isaac up from his magic nap (not too happily). And by the time I hopped out and got dried off, he was pretty inconsolable. And by the time I did get him calmed down a bit, it was time to leave for swim lessons and I still had no clothes + dripping wet hair + an Isaac in my arms just so, and Porter's swimsuit had mysteriously disappeared...

or this morning at swim lessons

when Porter needed to go potty at the end of swim lessons right now at the same time Isaac was getting a bit worn out and I had one arm holding a crying Isaac while I tried with the other arm to get a toddler back into a wet swimsuit  in a small public bathroom as quick as possible since I knew the older kids were finishing lessons and swimming without any supervision outside...  and hearing Isaac's cries and my attempted persuasion for Porter, a lady in the locker room came to knock on our stall "do you need some help?"

or a the quick stop at grocery store on the way home from swim lessons today

where we made it through the store (just barely) but then went to check out and I had a sad Isaac in my arms and 4 children + 2 carts (one for the car seat, one for the bags of groceries) who all ended up between me and the credit card reader, so I asked Landon to sign for me while I rocked little Isaac, and the lady behind laughed to herself and said (in a loving, happy way) "This is what I used to look like!" 

And that keeps making me smile, because I could see she knew about how hard and crazy those moments could be, but I could also see that maybe she missed these sweet, crazy days just a little bit.

Monday, August 8, 2016

On first/last babies

Me and new baby Landon
Jordan snapped a picture of Isaac and me just after Isaac was born, and gave me a quick preview before sending it on to let family know our little one had arrived. And the first thing I noticed was that I'm getting older!  Maybe the wrinkles around my eyes were exaggerated with a bit of exhaustion, but even so, I'm not that same 22-year-old anymore and I don't look quite the same either.

And that is as it should be. I love this picture with Landon - it is taped up on my dresser across from my bed so I see it every day. And I can remember that wonderful feeling captured of "oh! I get to be a mother to this little one!"

And I loved that newest picture with Isaac because I'm feeling now that feeling of "oh, how lucky I am to have been a mother for the last ten years and to get to be the mother to this one more little one."

Knowing that Isaac is likely our last baby,  pregnancy, birth, and these newborn days have been different. The biggest thing has been that the hard things aren't as hard. There is no longer the question of "can I do this again?" So when things are hard, it's not "Is this too hard to go through again?" It just is what it is and things are just as hard as they are. And then they pass. 

Also the sweet moments are of course even sweeter because this is it. I'm cuddling and holding this little Isaac just as much as I can and loving these tender days. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

new baby summer snapshot

In the morning, we wake up about 6:30. I'll nurse Isaac and the kids will start coming in and climbing into bed with me as they wake up about 6:45 (or for Landon, as he finishes scripture study with Jordan - who has already been up and working for a couple of hours by that point.)

Breakfast time, and the kids all make their own breakfast (making breakfast for the kids was a sacrifice I haven't been willing to make in the past. But during Jordan's paternity he helped train them and I've been so grateful for the way it helps our mornings go so much more smoothly right now. Someday they'll have mom-made breakfasts again, but for now they're doing just fine making their own :)

The kids are eager to have their turns holding Isaac during breakfast time so I get to have my hands free for my own bowl of oatmeal. Depending on how Isaac is doing sometimes I'll even do a bit of tidying up.

Then the kids all start morning jobs, I'll wrap up little Isaac, hold him for a minute then set him in his bouncer in my bathroom while I take a shower. And (here comes the magic part) he falls asleep! While I shower! No cries or complaints, just calmly looking around till his eyes get heavy and then he sweetly sleeps while I quickly get ready and sometimes even make my bed/start some laundry/help the kids with morning jobs.

After morning jobs, we head outside to play or to swim lessons or some other thing.

Then some play time, every once in a while 'school time' or friend time, then lunch (and more nursing + holding Isaac in between/during all that.)

Kids quiet time (+ nap time for Porter) and I'll usually hold Isaac while he sleeps and the kids all play together in the basement. (Games or legos or pretend - I love this.)  By the time quiet time is over, Jordan is done working for the day and then we'll work or play for the afternoon.

We've had family dinner making time the last few weeks (which means we start about 3 or 4 to be ready at 5 or 6) And the kids have all done a super job of helping or leading the process.  And so far, with all of Jordan's help and the kids' help and dinners from friends, I've not made dinner once since Isaac was born! I had a bit of guilt when I first realized that -- but then just gratitude that I can still feel like (and be) a good mom even without being in charge of making dinner.

Then just a bit of time before jammies, brushing teeth and helping the kids to reading time and bed. Lights out at 8:00 then Jordan and I (and Isaac) have a short time together (We just started reading Okay for Now) then bedtime for us around 9:00.

Isaac wakes around 12 and 3, then we start the day again! :)

Friday, July 22, 2016


image here
When we chose to have another baby, it was with the reassurance that we would not be alone in this effort. And in these first few weeks, as I've rested and recovered and cared for and gotten to know our new son, we've had such wonderful help.

Visitors who kept our house and family running smoothly, projects and repairs taken care of, dinners delivered and even more filling our freezer for the days to come, play dates for the kids and sweet friends taking care of our children, groceries purchased, little gifts for baby Isaac which meant 'we love you', time off from work for Jordan, notes of congratulations and encouragement. And kindly asked questions of 'any sleep?' from friends who remember how hard this has been for us in the past.

I feel so blessed.

First few weeks

Just resting in the grass while Mom picks raspberries
At just about 3 weeks old now, here are a few things about Isaac so far.

So far...

To show he's a little upset, Isaac is as likely to furrow his brow as he is to really wail (except for diaper change time - then he lets me know he's not so happy). Once when Porter was holding Isaac for a few moments, he said "He's getting fussy!" I reassured Porter that Isaac was fine, since he was just resting quietly on Porter's lap. "He is getting fussy! Porter said, pointing to Isaac's furrowed brow, "See, look at his eyes!"

Isaac does love to be held and cuddled, and much of each day is spent in my arms. But it has been amazing to see as he's had more awake time how content he is to just relax on his own and watch what's happening around him. Having had other babies who were not so happy to just hang out  has made me so very grateful for this!

When Landon was a baby, I remember another mom bringing her baby to ward choir in his car seat, and he just sat there. For thirty minutes! Wide eyed and happy, he just looked around and rested on his own, perfectly content. And it was so strange/amazing to me that a baby could just sit and be happy without being held/talked to/sung to/rocked/walked that I still remember it ten years later! :)

And now, little Isaac is surprising me in that same way! Of course, he is sad sometimes. And cries when he's hungry or tired or sometimes for reasons I don't know. He is a newborn :) but so far, a very happy, calm and content newborn.

 The big kids love little Isaac so much. And I've been amazed to watch them hold him and care for him and not panic when he starts to fuss, but just try something different to help calm him.

Landon is our star Isaac holder and I've made breakfast hands free the last several mornings while Landon has soaked in some Isaac cuddling time. What  a blessing! And Owen and Ellie love to put a blanket down and lay down next to Isaac on the floor. Owen will rest beside him and just say over and over in his sweetest voice things like "your brother is right here, your brother loves you..." Porter asks to hold him, but is quickly ready to move the turn along to someone else after just a few seconds.

In our first few days home, Isaac quickly formed an 'eat/wake/sleep' routine which so far has been really great. And I've felt blessed to be able to tell most of the time which cries mean 'i'm hungry' and which mean 'i'm sleepy' or 'i'm having a hard time waking up' or 'something's wrong and i just need to be held and cuddled'. (Breastfeeding was especially hard the first while, so being able to judge which cries really meant 'i'm hungry'  was really wonderful because otherwise I would have ended up just nursing him constantly and probably couldn't have survived it!)

I've been so grateful for so much help and support from Jordan, and from the kids, and Kathie & Winslow and so many others so that I've been able to spend so much time just holding and loving little Isaac. What a blessing for these first few weeks!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

March & April Little Things (which I forgot to post last month! :)

This is a bit late, now that it's June... but here are just a few fun little things from the Springtime. 

We took Landon in to the eye doctor and discovered that he most definitely needed glasses. (Update: we recently saw another doctor who specializes in eye problems like Landon has and he was completely surprised at how well Landon could see and determine depth, etc. We'd gone expecting to start some vision therapy on a regular basis, but the doctor said Landon was already at the level he'd hope to see him progress to after therapy. Good news! This summer Landon is working on patching a few hours a day and hopefully we'll see some great progress.)

We went to the Easter egg dash at Elkridge Park. Really, this is so silly because it lasts about 30 seconds, and then the kids all have a bunch of sticky candy that I don't particularly want them to eat... still it always seems like a fun tradition... This year Landon was too old to participate, so he stood on the sideline and helped give Owen some great big brother tips :)

We had several more Deer Pen meetings, etc. (above Jordan and Landon are out delivering flyers to the neighbors). Overall, I was discouraged with the outcome and the process, but also grateful for it to pretty much be over so I could quit losing sleep over the whole thing! (And also grateful for all the good and kind people I got to know a little better).  Right now, we're in the process of helping to make some plans for the remaining open space and so far it has been a much more pleasant process :)

Landon came home one day and told us the spelling bee was the next day. Jordan wrote up a program to make practicing into a little game and Landon had fun memorizing spelling words for an afternoon and evening.

We had a fun and beautiful campfire evening up at Green Canyon that ended with a bit of a rainstorm/snowstorm.

Our friends invited us to do a cupcake wars activity with them and we had fun making 'great outdoors' cupcakes with orange slice sunshines, milano cookie mountains, and sweet potato campfires.

It is always just so wonderful  when everything starts to come alive again in the Springtime!

We celebrated Owen's birthday with a pirate party for him with his friends from the ward/neighborhood. 

And enjoyed some simple Easter celebrating. 

One day after school, Landon invited these girls to come over and have a water fight (with the promise that he wouldn't shoot them, they could just get him! :)

And then we were off for our adventures in London!