February 5, 2020

Activity Days: Courage To Be Kind

I currently work with the girls at church who are 7-11 years old. We meet twice a month. Usually when we meet, we have a lesson, we do a craft and we play a game. For tonight's activity I was in charge of the lesson. I was not able to share my lesson in person tonight due to our entire family being sick, so the other leaders delivered the message I prepared.

Here is my message:

Dear Girls,

I am sorry I cannot be there with you tonight, I am home sick with my family. The message I want to share with you tonight is near and dear to my heart, I hope that you may be able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost touch your hearts this evening as we talk about the courage to be kind.

Read John 13: 34 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Read Mark 12:30-31 

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Question: What message do these scriptures have in common?

The first great commandment is to love God. The second is to love our neighbors. Everyone is our neighbor, we are all children of God. Regardless of whether or not someone has done bad things, we are supposed to love them. If they look different from us, talk different from us, sin differently than we do or treat us unkindly, we are supposed to love them. Sometimes it is the people who are most unkind to us that are in need of the most love.

“A physician once said, ‘The best medicine for humans is love.’ Someone asked, ‘What if it doesn’t work?’ He smiled and said, ‘Increase the does.’”

I want to share a story with you about my little sister Megan. Megan was the youngest in our family and I am the oldest. Our parents both worked and we were often left to fend for ourselves. I am five years older than Megan and I was oft times her protector.

When Megan was born she was born with a birth defect. I wish I had a picture I could show you to help you understand, but I do not have very many good ones. She had a growth that came out of the top of her head and covered her left eye like an eyelid. This growth was puffy and purple in color—kind of like a bruise. Inside her head Megan had very large veins.

Megan has had about 15 surgeries to help save her life. Most of them occurred when I was in high school and she was in junior high. Megan spent months at a time in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Seattle, Washington. When she was eventually discharged from the hospital, she was incredibly thin and fail, half of her head had been shaved and she no longer had a left eye. She was very self-conscious about the way she looked.

She wore hats and scarves to school so her classmates would not notice her missing hair. She often wore a patch over her eye so people would not notice she no longer had her eye. She worn long sleeves to hide the skin graft scars on her arms. And she sat in the back of the classroom in hopes that people would not notice her.

One day while she was waiting in line to have her school picture taken a boy who was a member of the church was standing near her. He said loud enough for her to hear, “Who would want a picture of someone with a face like that?”

I cannot tell you how badly that comment hurt my sister. She was crushed. She was devastated and she did not go to school for days.

In time she went back to school. One day she decided to be brave and showed one of her scars to a boy in her class. He thought it was so cool! He had the rest of the class gather round to see how cool it was. This more positive experience was a boost to my sisters self confidence. I am incredibly grateful to this young man who had the courage to be kind.

From Left To Right: Daniel, Hazel, Julie, Megan, Jimmy, Russell & Dad.

Today Megan lives in Connecticut. She was sealed in the Seattle Temple to her husband, Daniel. She has two children of her own, Hazel and Jimmy and a step daughter named Audrey. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo with her Bachelors. She graduated high school as Valedictorian at 16 years old. While Megan may not look like everyone else, she has a heart of gold. I am so blessed to call her my sister. And in case you were wondering, she has her drivers license and can safely drive with one eye.

Being kind may not always be the cool thing, or the easy thing. But, I can promise you that it will always be the right thing. As you go throughout your lives, please stop, look around you and seek out those who may be different from you and show them that you care. If you do this, I promise you that the Lord will bless not only their lives but your lives as well. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

February 4, 2020

Update On Bear

About four weeks ago Bear started walking, by walking, I mean walking. He had taken a few steps here and there. But one day, he up and just walked across the room and he hasn't slowed down since. The last few days, he has been trying to run.

Our entire family has been home sick the last several days, so Andy has had a chance to really see the two boys interact. Yesterday, they started playing what looked like tag. Later in the day, Bear grabbed onto the back of Bubba and they walked around the house like a train engine pulling a car-- it was super cute!

Bear has added a few new words/phrases to his vocabulary list this week as well. We've heard him say, "Wow" and "Bye bye."

This little boy has a love for music and likes to bop along to the beat. He currently likes the Piano Guys. He also, really likes animals.

Bear has a love for remotes, mouses, keyboards and cell phones. He likes to take the batteries out of them (yes, he knows how to get them out) and he carries them around like they are prized possessions. We have to keep a super close on him when he does this because he likes to try and put the batteries in his mouth. With his love of electronics, I can't help but wonder if we have a baby nerd in the making.

February 3, 2020

Perils Of Potty Training

Oh the stories I could tell you about poop and pee. Potty training has been kicking my butt or should I say my house and my patience.

Most of Bubba's friends are potty trained. My mommy friends shared with me a guide to potty train your kids in 3 days. They warned me that it took more like 2 weeks for them and after 2 weeks their kids regressed and they had to push through that.

I read about 20% of the 50 page guide and thought, this seems straight forward lets go for it. Up to this point Bubba was still wearing a diaper but he was keeping it dry the entire day. So we made the switch to underwear-- I made sure they were underwear he liked, Thomas The Train.

The first two weeks he did great! We didn't have any accidents going potty (aka pee) in the toilet. Except for the time we were using a public bathroom/changing room for swim lessons and I didn't hold his penis down and pee shot over the toilet and onto the floor, I got peed on and Bear was making a beeline for the pile of urine on the floor.

Or the time we went to story time and we went to use the bathroom before we headed home. I held his penis down and pee shot through the gap between the top of the toilet and toilet seat soaking Bubba's leg and leaving a pile of pee on the ground and pee on my boots.

Or how about the time he decided he wasn't going to pee in the toilet that day. Instead he peed all over my new living room rug not once, but twice. He peed all over my kitchen chair and pee ran  down the chair like a waterfall collecting in a pile of the floor. And he pooped in my closet-- we are still working on pooping in the toilet. He has only pooped in the toilet once so far. I've got a lot of poop stories but we will save those for another day.

This last day was probably the hardest of them all. I'd ask him to come use the bathroom and he would just pee instantly where he was. I can't tell you how many pairs of underwear we went through. I washed socks, shirts and pants. In addition to scrubbing my floors, chair, rug, etc. All I did was clean up pee the entire day.

I finally told Bubba that if he couldn't stop peeing his clothes that he couldn't wear any clothes. I took all of his clothes away except for his underwear and told him he had to earn them back by going pee in the toilet. When he peed on my kitchen chair, I told him he could sit on the floor to eat. Chairs were a privileged and if he was going to pee on them, he couldn't sit in them. He lost his coveted blanket. Next on the chopping block were his toys.

Bubba spent most of the day in his underwear. Just before nap time he peed in the toilet-- miracle!!! I told him he could have one thing back and I let him pick. He picked his socks. This boy insists on wearing socks all the time. When I went to tuck him in he asked for his blanket. I was firm and I told him he had only earned one thing back and he chose his socks. He started to whine and I offered to trade him. He took his socks off and I gave him his blanket. He napped in underwear and a blanket. Just as bed time approached he earned his last piece of clothing back. He hasn't had an accident since. Knock on wood.

Here's hoping pooping in the toilet gets better.

He does great staying dry and night. And he does get potty treats.

January 7, 2020

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

I wanted to share a few of the things that the boys have been saying this past week. I can't tell you how much these little phrases have made me laugh and smile. I feel blessed to have these two littles in my life.


Bubba got some new footie pajamas for Christmas. As soon as we put them on him he started say, "I so cute!" He'd run to the bathroom and look at himself in the mirror and say, "I so cute!" The next morning after I had gotten him dressed he said, "I not cute." I asked him why he wasn't cute and he said, "I not wear pajamas." Apparently, new footie pajamas are what make him cute. For the record-- he's never said anything about being cute before this incident.

The past few days he's been saying to me, "Mama, I love you so berry much." This one just melts my heart.

Andy asked Bubba to hold his hand and he said, "I hold Mommy's hand." Apparently I'm his favorite teehee.


Bear started talking at 11 months old. When I say talking, I'm talking about two word phrases. The doctor couldn't believe it when I took him in for his checkup. I guess at this age most kids just babble, he does plenty of that too though.

"All done." He says this when he is done eating, often he signs it in ASL.
"Uh oh." He usually says this when he drops something.
"Thank you." He says this when you give him something.
"Hi Mom."
"Hi Dad."
"Up, down." He says this when he goes from standing to sitting and vice versa-- he knows what each is.

October 29, 2019

A Daydream

I don't dream very often. When I do have dreams they are often nightmares. I can count on one hand the number of times I have received a dream from God. This dream I am about to share, is one of those. I have debated for sometime as to whether or not I should share it and right now I feel that I should.

Saturday August 24th, we got up really early to take the boys to see a hot air balloon festival. We had a really good time! When we got home we were exhausted. We put Bubba down in his bed and Bear laid down with me and that is when this dream happened-- in the middle of the day. This dream was so vivid, it is ingrained in my mind as though it happened yesterday.

I found myself in a hospital room. The room number was 102 or 105 (I don't know for certain, a 2 is an inverted 5). The room had a pale blue curtain with polka dots on it hanging down from the ceiling for privacy. I went into the bathroom of this particular room to relieve myself, but was unable to get the door to shut, this was frustrating for me and I decided to give up on using the bathroom.

A moment later a fuss was made over the loud speaker. Lights were flashing and things were in great commotion. I watched a woman with dark hair amble down the hallway.

Next thing  I knew I was sitting on a hospital bed watching the following events unfold in front of my eyes.

I saw this same dark haired woman from before sitting on a hospital bed. Her hair was big like Moana. I couldn't make out her face. Standing on her right side was a man with dark hair, he looked islander to me. I could sense that they were around 24 years old and college athletes.

On her left hand side were two nurses. One of the nurses was holding a dark haired baby. This nurse said, "I'm going to give this baby the best chance it's got." The other nurse replied, "You're nicer than most."

This young couple had not intended on getting pregnant and did not want this child. I felt such deep unconditional love for this child. I knew that this child was meant to come to our family.

I sat bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat. At about that exact moment Andy walked into the room, he looked at me and asked if everything was okay. I told him we are supposed to adopt a baby and he said, "Okay."

Adoption is something we had been talking about, but we hadn't decided whether or not we would pursue it. I think God allowed me to see this dream because he knew I needed it. We aren't sure where this young mom is and we don't know how this baby will end up coming into our lives, but we pray for them both. We hope that this little one will join us sooner rather than later.

October 14, 2019

Bubba's First Time To The Dentist

I took Bubba to the dentist for the first time today. When we walked in the door I said to Andy "He has three cavities." Andy replied, "He has three cavities?!" I laughed and said, "Nope. He is cavity free."

Bubba did so good at the dentist! Several days before going to the dentist I told Bubba that we were going to go to the dentist in a few days. I told him that the dentist was going to clean his teeth with a toothbrush that made a "zzeeezzz" noise.

When we got to the dentist he was so excited because they had fun toys to play with in the front room. He treated me to a poopy diaper and then the hygienist took us back. He sat on the table and she let him pick out a toothbrush and she let him pick out a toothpaste and she started brushing his teeth by hand. He saw her special toothbrush and pointed to it. She showed him all of her special tools. Next thing I knew he was laying down with sunglasses on and she was cleaning his teeth. She flossed his teeth and gave him fluoride. Then the dentist came and looked at his teeth.

I was so happy to learn that he was cavity free. He did so good, he made me so proud! The hygienist was very impressed too. She told me most children don't get their teeth cleaned the first time to the dentist because they are too scared and they cry, etc.

I think it helped that we started brushing his gums with a rubber toothbrush before he ever had teeth. The switch to a toothbrush wasn't too bad. Bubba loves to brush his teeth. Some days he will spend thirty minutes in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Now to get him flossing on a regular basis.

To celebrate being cavity free and doing such a good job at the dentist I took Bubba to the store and he picked out a new toy. If you know Bubba you know that he loves Disney's Cars-- he picked out a blue tow truck and immediately started calling it Mater. 

Fun side note-- before we moved to Oregon I applied to dental hygiene school and was accepted. I felt strongly that I was not supposed to accept my invitation to this particular school. A few months later, work reassigned Andy to Oregon and then we started our family. Even though I didn't end up going to hygiene school, I get to play dental hygienist with both Bubba and Bear everyday. We brush and floss and fluoride.

September 14, 2019

The Rest Of Our Trip

After the funeral we spent a few days at Andy's parents house. It was nice for the boys to be able to spend some time with their grandparents. I know Andy really enjoyed being back on the farm.


Bear in his element with Grandpa.

Hanging out in Uncle Shaun's tree house.


We took both of the boys out for a 4-wheeler ride. I think this was the first time for both of them. Bubba loved it and Bear hated it.

Bubba playing with cousins.



Sod field with a rainbow.

Wheel line.

Bubba wanted to ride anything and everything including the boom truck, forklift and any tractor he could get someone to take him on.

Bubba & Andy on the boom truck.

We headed back out to the Wasatch front on Wednesday afternoon and few home Thursday morning. The entire trip was a whirlwind. I'm glad to be home and in my own bed.

Andy & Shaun.

Andy, Grandpa, Bear & Uncle Shaun.

I love the candidness of this photo of Grandma & I.

Bear, Andy & Grandma.

Bubba did not want his picture taken.