You’re not inadequate, you’re the perfect fit.

DSC_1358
family walk time

I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken to since – 2008? Now that I count it up, almost a decade ago! Wow. Thank goodness for social media to help keep tabs on those friends!!

We talked of many things, but something that stayed on my mind was the feelings we shared in our ability to be good mothers.

DSC_1371
run baby run

After pondering on the matter for some time, the thought came into my mind that my children chose me.

They chose me.

Of all the brilliant, kind, talented mothers in the world, these kids chose me.

DSC_1377
run dance run

I don’t have any evidence to prove to you that this is true, it was just something that came to me and brought me peace.

I want to remember that feeling any time the temptation to feel inadequate creeps into my life.

DSC_1406
our deep thinker

They knew you before they came to this earth and thought, “yeah, you’re going to be the perfect fit!”

DSC_1431
He loves to bring me flowers

Keep trying your best. Keep giving them your time, your love, your hugs and kisses.

Keep praying that they will continue to grow up to become the incredible humans you pray they will be.

Keep taking the time to do the things they want to do – even if you can’t finish all the things you want to do.

DSC_1434

They need you. They want you. They are your greatest treasure.

There are still long days ahead. They will need your guidance, your patience, your understanding and most importantly…

DSC_1403
everyone gets a turn on daddy’s back

They need to know that you love them.

Each child will understand, feel and show love in different ways.

Just like you understand, feel and show love in different ways.

DSC_1416

Take the time to learn how they communicate.

DSC_1412

In time you will see that not only were you not inadequate, you were exactly who they needed you to be.

“Life must be understood backward. But… it must be lived forward.” -Søren Kierkegaard

DSC_1394
hold on as long as you will

In writing this open letter to myself I want other parents to know that you are doing better than you think you are.

XOXO

Me

DSC_1420

Raising children in an uncertain world.

DSC_0295

Every other day I wonder what kind of world I’m raising my children in…

DSC_0276

I want to shelter them forever from the absence of love, so I love them more.

DSC_0280

I want to shelter them from anger, so I try to be more patient with them…

I don’t always succeed in that, but I will keep trying.

DSC_0293

I want to shelter them from unkindness, so I try to teach them to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’

We’re still working on sharing.

DSC_0308

I want to shelter them from other people’s bad choices, to I teach them to be aware.

DSC_0307

I had a happy childhood and I want my children to know what happiness is, so they can look for safe and longterm solutions to cope with the world.

DSC_0316

I want them to know how much God loves them, how much God loves every human on this planet and how we need to see each other as brothers and sisters.

DSC_0319

I want them to know that every human has the potential for greatness – not the world’s definition of greatness – that, in the words of Howard W Hunter,

“True greatness [comes from] the thousands of little deeds and tasks of service and sacrifice that constitutes the giving, or losing, of one’s life for others and for the Lord.”

DSC_0289

Children, your time for service and sacrifice is coming. Your job now is to know joy, to know love, to see beauty in the world you live in and to know that in the end, everything will be alright.

Indeed, in the end, our life is in God’s hands.

DSC_0324

Play on babies, play on.

Our oldest turns Four years.

20160416_184234
This boy makes me laugh – No, I didn’t make him sit like this.

Today at church I briefly stood before my congregation and bore my testimony of God’s love, how sometimes in His love  (and infinite wisdom) He asks us to do hard things…because He knows that it will make us strong.

Motherhood has been a struggle for me lately. Particularly with my first born. He is determined to help me be strong. Really strong.

After my testimony, I returned to my seat.  Wiley was so happy to see me and said, very enthusiastically, “Mom, you did a great job!” followed by a sweet little boy kiss.

Floating – his kiss and exclamation had me floating the rest of the day! (much like the hot air balloon we saw fly over our home.)

God sent me a strong willed, funny, intelligent, happy, passionate, particular and loving boy we call, ‘Wiley.’

Wiley turned 4 years old last week.

20160423_101806

Lord knows time is flying and somedays it doesn’t fly fast enough to bedtime…

I am well and healthy today, but the entire month of April I was sick.  So, as Wiley’s birthday neared, I knew he wouldn’t care if he had a party, but I wanted his day to feel really special. I wanted him to know I thought he was special.

He started his day with cartoons. I had blown up several orange balloons to litter the floor and got him four floating balloons and two dinosaur puzzles.

[go Dollar General!!!]

20160423_103354
Happy Birthday!

I had to coax him away from the TV for a morning outing – just with mom.

I took him to the grocery store and let him pick out anything he wanted! Cause, I’m money bags like that.

20160423_103404

The birthday boy wanted fresh strawberries, raspberries, whipped cream and donuts.

He also wanted a “grown-up sippy cup” (those plastic drinking glasses with straws/screw on lids) colored orange. The boy likes orange.

I’m pretty sure most of his t-shirts are orange.

Kind of fits his personality.

DSC_0858
Dad and Wiley had about 30 minutes of just ‘them time’ before I came out.

After our breakfast outing, he wanted to put his dinosaur puzzles together with me. He and his little brother had hours of fun playing with the balloons. I read some books…and I let him play on the iPad, because that was just what he wanted!

DSC_0869
I love his face as he bites into that marshmallow.

Daddy took Wiley and Tyler to the “big slide park” for about two hours later in the day.

(I love, LOVE, when Dan takes them to the park – no bedtime troubles – and quiet time for mom.)

DSC_0875

The grand finale to the birthday boy’s day was after the two babies went to bed.

Daddy made a fire in the fire ring and they roasted marshmallows!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten marshmallows, they aren’t my favorite.

DSC_0887

We didn’t have cake, I pointed them out in the store, but he wanted donuts for breakfast and marshmallows for dessert; who am I to argue with the birthday King?!

Wiley stayed up late. I wish I could say it was way past his usual bedtime, but he typically refuses sleep until around 10pm every night, so it was business as usual.

Wiley finally passed out on the bed next to mommy and his sleeping baby sister.

Fighting sleep till the bitter end.

20160426_222804

 

 

Can someone tell me what day it is?

The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.

1238156_1036483736413832_6437124628515731048_n
Adrian Bell – 5 days old – my holiday baby.

About the time I got serious about getting back in shape in Jan/Feb of 2015, I joined a beach body fitness group…my entire family had whooping cough (yes we’d been vaccinated, thanks).

11224647_1036012889794250_1037823416565485863_o
My Princess, 5 days old.

Sick as a person with whooping cough, who is taking care of two small people with whooping cough, can be – I still started my fitness challenge the day the rest of the group did.

A month into my fitness challenge, I was growing another human again.

DSC_0190
3 weeks

I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.

DSC_0237
4 weeks – taken Christmas Eve. She was totally crying when I took this.

Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.

DSC_0228

Here I am less than a year later with another baby laying next to me.  My brain is not… what it is capable of being. I can’t remember some people’s names, I can’t recall words I used to know (I think I still know them, somewhere in there…) and every day feels like yesterday.

DSC_0104
She was 2 weeks! Her brothers LOVE her.

We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays.  Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.

DSC_0108

My husband has been just as tired and overworked as I am. This winter vacation has been such a blessed and lazy affair.

We have had a very short visit to see my family this break and a weekend visit with Danny’s parents.

DSC_0120

I was mind boggling tired with each visit and forgot to get pictures of my kids with their grandparents!! I was so grateful for the time we had together.

I’m enjoying this “honeymoon” of sorts with a(nother) new baby! The long days just cuddling are slowly fading and I’m slowly pulling myself together.

DSC_0265
Read Mommy?

It’s good to exercise my mind again – with the whole blogging thing – and having just looked at a calendar, I can see that today is Monday…January 2016!

DSC_0267
Sigh, I love my babies.

Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.

DSC_0269

God Bless.

 

My recent struggles with Motherhood…

Danny has asked me for a few weeks why I haven’t written? Well, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

You can go back and read my early blog posts about motherhood, they all have nothing but happiness and gratitude within.

I am going to tell you that the last few weeks have not been fun – they have been very hard for me.

Along the coast of Northern California.
Along the coast of Northern California.

My escape was always thinking about what life was like before the children came along (pooping and vomiting on everything).

College – oh I loved college – my worries were whether or not I studied enough for an exam or whether my team would win the football game – heavy stuff guys.

Go Golden Hurricanes!
Go Golden Hurricanes!

Traveling was much easier – there was one bag – not five – and I didn’t have to haul any extra seats or strollers around or strap any tiny humans to my chest. Hopefully not any crying (pooping or vomiting) tiny humans to my chest.

Oregon coast - Cannon beach with my youngest sister.
Oregon coast – Cannon beach with my youngest sister. Goonies forever!!!

Time spent with family for reunions and weddings were much more simple.  I didn’t have to worry if my child was in danger or eating to much junk food (potentially going to stay up all night with a sugar high).

That's me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad.
That’s me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad. My Dad’s parents and older sister at family wedding. It was a great family party!! Nana was born in the UK, so we are totally a legit clan.

I could sit and enjoy a quite afternoon with my grandparents.

I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.
I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.

It’s been months, MONTHS! since I’ve been to the Temple. Something I used to do once or twice a week – now almost never happens.  I really look forward to having more time there again.

April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn't.
April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn’t. I still have that dress…I’ll wear it again when the baby factory shuts down for awhile.

My husband is aware of my princess complex – that thing where I like people to do everything for me? Okay, but really, I loved having someone around who could do my hair for me…does my hair ever get done now? nope. Unless you count a bun or a pony tail.

My sister doing my hair.
My sister doing my hair.

I rarely leave the house (because it takes lots of bags and effort) with two small children – throw in I’m pregnant too – and you have, “I would rather lay here and read…”

Confession, I'd still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair. Yep.
Confession, I’d still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair for me (because I love it!!!). Yep.  Also pictured is my baby brother – who turns 16 this year!

So the long outdoor adventures have been replaced by long days in my house wearing pajamas.

Do I make time for silliness these days? yes, I do, but again it all occurs right here at home, in my pajamas.

There was a time I was the person in our extended family that was called upon to house sit and watch kids.

That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle's house and stayed with the girls...and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was 'Phyllis Moneybags.'
That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle’s house and stayed with the girls…and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was, ‘Phyllis Moneybags.’ After we got dressed up, we drove to Walgreens. Just because.

The only kids I was responsible for were the kind I could hug and kiss…then leave after a nice visit, to return home to the quiet serenity of my clean living space.

My nieces and I - The niece on the far left turns ten this year!
My nieces and I – The niece on the far left turns ten this year!

In pictures, it looks like my life was a constant party or adventure and in a way, it was.

Party time - excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.
Party time – excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.

But after a lot of time thinking about what my life used to be like, I remembered the emptiness it still held.

Kayaking in San Diego bay.
Kayaking in San Diego bay.

I don’t feel that emptiness anymore – I feel tired, overwhelmed, busy, but not empty – I am free of the longing to fill my emptiness.

My husband and children complete me in a way that brings me the greatest ups and downs that life can bring.

Bay Area, California - right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant.
Bay Area, California – right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant with child number one..

My sweet moments are so much sweeter, because of the hard things I endure.  I sacrifice so much for these kids and the return is so much greater than a short trip or long hike in the mountains.

Kids grow up and my quiet time will return, so I’m still learning to embrace the chaos for now.  Because life moves so fast and I don’t want to miss the happiness of the present.

What Pablo Picasso and I have in common

What the heck makes someone “special”?

YAY! Wiley, after jumping into Grandbo's lap!
YAY! Wiley, after jumping into Grandbo’s lap!

Several years ago, while living in Utah, I was ordering a sandwich at Subway, along with my older sister Kelsey. I recall using the name of the female employee (well, the name shown on her employee name tag) while giving my order and after I thanked her for my sandwich, I bid her ‘goodnight.’

DSC_0500

On the way to my sister’s car I said, “I like to use people’s names, because it makes them feel special.”

DSC_0510

I will never forget what my sister told me…

Wiley loves seeing Grandparents!
Wiley loves seeing Grandparents!

Kelsey said, “she is special Kate, you were just reminding her she was.”

DSC_0528

Dang, I should have known better! Of course she is special!

Something Pablo Picasso quoted his mother saying to him made me think about the sons I’m raising,

“When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

—It struck me that, although my mother didn’t say the same thing to me, it was how my mother raised me that lead me to feel special.

DSC_0547

Sure, when I was a little girl I wanted to be Miss America – she got a crown, a dozen roses and a strut down the runway with falling confetti.

Nona said baby looked like Dom Deluise...I can see it.
Nona said baby looked like Dom Deluise…I can see it.

What child didn’t want to go to the Olympics and represent their country for a chance to win a medal? Well, I wanted to do that too…but,

DSC_0557

I didn’t need those things in my life to feel special.

DSC_0558

I was raised by a mother and a father who loved me – they gave me their time, they listened to me, they counseled me (even when I didn’t want to receive it), and when I came home late, my father was always waiting.

DSC_0559

It’s my hope, that my children will grow to know they are special – with an Olympic medal around their neck or not.

He said he didn't want a nap...
He said he didn’t want a nap…

We are special because we are children of God!

DSC_0564

Which means more than we know.

DSC_0566

Motherhood: resisting the urge to feel like a failure

Yesterday my two year old tested my love for him…

WHO? Me?!
WHO? Me?!

He didn’t sit in time out for stealing gum from my purse and eating half the pack.

He didn’t sit in time out for accidentally knocking over a cup of water next to the library books.

He didn’t sit in time out for taking my phone out of my purse and getting on Youtube without my knowing.

He didn’t get time out for tearing up my fancy bar of soap during bath time.

Beautiful Boy!
Beautiful Boy!

Hey, sometimes things happen…

IMG_0888

He screamed in my ears, tried multiple times to hit me, bit me, threw things, hit his new little brother…

Don't hit me, I'm cute!
Don’t hit me, I’m cute!

I can’t keep him out of the fridge while I nurse his baby brother…

Wise man?
Looks to me to be a future philosopher!

He sat in his Time Out chair more times than I can remember.

Although he did get his ear flicked a number of times, I resisted the urge to spank “the tar” (as we say in the south) out of him.

Somehow I managed to do the dishes, get the oil changed in the truck, get some laundry washed and a little organizing done – all while battling the two year old.

Tyler Newborns-3

It was after he went to bed (early) that I did a second round of dishes, tired and trying not to cry, I resisted the urge to feel like a failure.

Failure is not an option.
Failure is not an option.

After all, the two year old still said, “I love you” today and gave me hugs and stroked my face while I sang him songs before bed.

Tyler Newborns-5

It was doing something mundane, like dishes, that allowed me to reflect on several talks given at the General Women’s Meeting this past Saturday evening.

The work of mothers, child caregivers, is not for the faint of heart. It is work and it is the best work we can do as a society – raise up the next generation. Those children will learn life’s coping skills from us!

Tyler Newborns-6

My children will know they are loved, regardless of the choices they make.

Tyler Newborns-9

My children will know what is right and wrong, because I taught them myself and tried to show them in my actions.

Tyler Newborns-12

They will learn weaknesses too, because I am weak, but they will also learn to be forgiving; because we are all weak and in need of forgiveness.

Tyler Newborns-13

Don’t give up the fight, because we are doing a great work!

Tyler Newborns-14

photos were taken by my friend Jewly Ann, who takes newborn and maternity photos!

Another Home Birth: My Sister Is A Goddess

My husband and I had a visit with our doctor Monday morning to follow up our ER visit from Saturday. During the days that accompanied my miscarriage, I had so much love and so many prayers on behalf of my family, that I couldn’t feel too sad. On the same day I miscarried, I heard a first time pregnancy for another women had been miscarried too. I heard a former LDS Institute teacher of mine was in the hospital with the chance of a leg amputation from the thigh down. I heard a family friend lost her son-in-law in un-timely death. My sweet sister Klara, pregnant with her fifth child, was one week over due. I had so many prayers said on my behalf last weekend, but I was busy praying for other families….which is the best thing I could have done.

In thirty seconds, she'll be laughing again.
In thirty seconds, she’ll be laughing again.

We left Missouri last Tuesday, made stops to see family in Oklahoma on our way to Texas. My sweet sister was desperately trying to encourage labor with no success. We arrived in Spring, TX around 5:30pm June 26 and she began to have productive contractions sometime after 6pm.

Her husband was there every step of the way...my have things changed in child birth over the last sixty years!
Her husband was there every step of the way…my, have things changed in child birth over the last sixty years!

If I had known she was waiting for us to arrive, we would have come sooner.

DSC_1789
Behold, A Goddess At Work

Start to finish, she labored and delivered within six hours. It was beautiful. Dialated to 7cm and between each contraction Klara was laughing and talking like she was having a good time. I only had one baby and there was no laughing until the pain meds got injected through the IV and I definitely did not feel like I was having a good time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She eventually pregressed to transition with more focus and less laughing after midnight. Just after 1am, my newest nephew came into the world. The amniotic sac had not broken and the baby’s head came out still encased inside the protective sac looking like an astronaut emerging wearing his helmet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BabyS

My sister is one of the strongest women I know – she is such a good mother – her children are brillant and cheerful. Klara at twenty-seven years of age and her husband at thirty-one are the parents of five beautiful children.

Just seconds later my sister is laughing again and asking for scrambled eggs.
Just seconds later my sister is laughing again and asking for scrambled eggs.

Most people might think they are crazy people for having SO MANY children and at SUCH A YOUNG AGE, to those people I say to you, “pisssh”. What purpose do we have as human beings without family? Family is central to the Creator’s Plan of Happiness.These children will make this world a better place, because their parents are teaching them good principles and good habits. What better way to show the world that God is optomistic, then by sending more babies into it…to shape it’s future?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m grateful to hold new babies, with their new smell and curious eyes. May we all live a little bit better, so the children may look to us and learn to be good.

My new little hobbit nephew, I shall call him Samwise!!! But that is not what his mother and father call him.
My new little hobbit nephew, I shall call him Samwise!!! But that is not what his mother and father call him.

Concert For A Cure: Music Benefit For Cancer Research

Friday night, May 24th, Cabool Missouri was treated to a free concert (donations were accepted on behalf of Relay For Life).

Warming up just as the door open to allow the patrons to enter.
Warming up just as the door open to allow the patrons to enter.

My husband Danny plays the trumpet (among other instruments) and I sing in the community choir which is directed each year by Rebecca Peterson of The STARS FOUNDATION.

Danny's trumpet is tuned and ready to go!
Danny’s trumpet is tuned and ready to go!

It is a joy to be able to sing – and it’s been years since I sang in a large concert choir prior to moving to the Ozarks – I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my time and talents…..but having an infant going on toddler son to pass around during a concert evening is a tricky thing to manage.

My baby sister is in town for a visit, she helped me with baby while I sang the first half (Baby has a weird hair-do).
My baby sister is in town for a visit, she helped me with baby while I sang the first half (Baby has a weird hair-do).

The choir sang three songs near the end of the first half.

She ended up standing outside to keep him entertained.....
She ended up standing outside to keep him entertained…..

After Intermission the choir sang the last three songs: Amazing Grace, Salute To Heroes and Sweet Remembrance.

My mother took baby after intermission
My mother took baby after intermission

The slide show was still going, so the director played a piano piece (accompanied by the cello) called A Mother’s Heart.

Grandma is a season warrior of a mother and knows how to take care of babies.....
Grandma is a season warrior of a mother and knows how to take care of babies…..

My Aunt Tina and My Nana, both deceased from cancer, were the last two photos. I was looking up at the jumbo screen above the choir and cried like a baby when their names, dates, and photos passed. They were the last to show as the piano piece quietly came to an end.

During "Amazing Grace" my son began screaming. So, my mother took him over to the water fountain.
During “Amazing Grace” my son began screaming. So, my mother took him over to the water fountain just outside the room we were singing in.

The tears kept sliding down my cheeks as the audience stood and clapped.

she doused his head with cold water. He really liked that feeling of water dripping down his face. No more crying baby!
she doused his head with cold water. He really liked that feeling of water dripping down his face. No more crying baby! Which is good, because it was my turn to cry.

The orchestra is composed of new, intermediate and seasoned musicians. It’s incredible how Rebecca finds all this talent in the hills of Missouri and writes music simple enough for anyone to play, creating a beautiful concert.

It was a great concert.

Day One Of Camping With An Infant Is The Easiest

Setting up camp, baby and I change clothes as the weather was warmer than I expected.
Setting up camp, baby and I change clothes as the weather was warmer than I expected.

The first day of our family camp out, I was well rested and showered. We found a campsite along side the Current River in southern Missouri. There were no other campers near by, just our small band of family and friends.

Oh what mom?
Oh, what mom?
This rock? well, I ah...
This rock? well, I ah…
I was just going to put it in my mouth to taste it.
I was just going to put it in my mouth to taste it.

It was the first camp out I’ve had in a few years, the first with my husband and the first with a baby. I wasn’t sure how things would go, but I had my husband Mr Outdoors and new gear from Christmas to keep me well cared for.

As the temperature dropped, I put more layers of clothing on myself and the baby.
As the temperature dropped, I put more layers of clothing on myself and the baby.
My mother, 58 years old, is such a trooper, made the trip and so did Spencer (a family friend) who is my new favorite baby sitter.
My mother, 58 years old, is such a trooper, made the trip and so did Spencer (a family friend) who is my new favorite baby sitter.

I changed my clothes twice after we arrived at the site, first I was warm while we set up camp and I put on shorts, while later the temperature dropped, eventually into the lower thirties (Fahrenheit), which lead me to another change for warmth. For sleeping in lower 30 degree weather, I had a silk sleeping bag liner, an outer shell covering my 20° Cosmic Down Kelty sleeping bag and my husband suggested a Nalgene with boiling hot water in the bottom of my bag to keep me toasty all night long…I heartily accepted; while Dan had the baby snuggled with him in his 15° Big Agnes sleeping bag.

The boys each made dinners, while Dan and I made super de-lish steak and potato foil dinners.
The boys each made dinners, my brother’s friend brought his Salad Master frying pan and opted out of foil dinners…while Dan and I made super de-lish steak and potato foil dinners. Foil every now and again doesn’t bother me one bit.

Everything was peachy until bed time came and went with our infant son refusing to go to bed, instead preferring to stay up all night. Eventually, my husband took the baby’s outer clothes meant to keep him warm – to our surprise – the baby slept better in his onesie than in his sweatpants. Who knew? Not us.

Day One closes with marshmallows burning on a cold night.
Day One closes with marshmallows burning on a cold night.

I need to recoup from Family Bonding Time during Spring Break. Hello Monday.