May 29, 2017

Living Life

As I think back to this past week, it's kind of a blur. Life is CRAZY right now! We have so many unfinished projects, it is ridiculous! It seems like every day something breaks or a new project seems fall into our laps. We are struggling to find a balance between: sleep, work, exercise, becoming entrepreneurs, being parents, personal time, cars breaking, church responsibilities, family time, yard work, house work and our many other projects- you get the idea. Some days I am so stressed, I just cry. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have things done and finished. Someday, maybe I will feel like I can breathe again. For now, this is what we call living life and it's really hard.

A chicken coop- it's in progress.

This is our washing machine, it started leaking oil on our clothes.

The highlight for you this week Bubba, is that we discovered your ticklish spot (your thighs). And boy, do we love to tickle you!

I love how his face is framed in this photo!

Bubba's first picture, it looks kind of like a boat.

And we put a bowl on your head, that was pretty funny!

Even though you can be a handful at times, we sure love you!

I love my little bear cub!

He brings so much joy into our lives!

May 22, 2017

Bubba's First Roadtrip & Russell's Baptism

This week started out pretty rough, you cried for four days straight. On day four, I decided it was time to take you to the doctor (don't worry, we saw a new doctor at a new clinic). You cried the entire way to the doctor and you cried while we waited for the doctor. A little boy in the next room over could hear you crying and was concerned for you. As soon as the doctor walked in you stopped crying. The doctor could tell you didn't feel well, but couldn't figure out why. We suspect you might be teething.

Wednesday night you were up every hour during the night. Early Thursday morning Mommy lost it and started crying. She was so tired, she didn't know what else to do to help you and we were supposed to be driving Thursday night to Hermiston, Oregon. I wasn't sure how we were going to make the drive with such little sleep.

I text my friend Kirsten and she came to the rescue. She picked you up so Mommy could get some much needed sleep. You had so much fun with Kirsten! I don't know what she did, but when you got home you were all smiles!

Thanks to Kirsten we were able to make the drive to Hermiston. It was a late night, but we did it.

One tired Bubba.

Friday we hopped back into the car and drove to Spokane. Great Aunt Renee and Great Uncle Todd were kind enough to let us stay with them. Not only did they let us stay with them, they watched you for a few hours so Mommy and Daddy could do a session at the temple.

Andy &  I.

I love the peace I feel every time I enter these sacred walls.

When Mommy walked into the temple and sat down a woman turned around and looked at her. Mommy instantly recognized the woman and went up and gave her a hug. It was your Great Grandma Charlene (Mommy's Step-Grandma).

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa had wanted to do two back to back sessions at the temple but were unable to get into the second session. Great Grandpa suggested that they go outside and walk around and wait until the next session. Great Grandma was frustrated by the wait, but you can imagine the surprise on her face when she saw Mommy walk in. Great Grandma said it totally made her night going through the temple with Mommy and Daddy.

Great Grandma Charlene & Great Grandpa Keith.

Later that evening we hung out at Aunt Renee and Uncle Todd's house with Mommy's cousins. It as good to catch up with everyone. Just before we were going to get up and get ready for bed the cat came in. It wasn't too long before Uncle Todd said, "The cat has a mouse." Next thing you know the cat dropped the mouse on the floor and Uncle Todd said, "And it's alive!"

The mouse took off running. Aunt Renee freaked out and woke Rischel up (she was sleeping on the couch). She started screaming, "Rischel! The cat brought a mouse in and it's alive!" About this time you woke up Bubba, you had been asleep in the bedroom.

The cat caught the mouse and Daddy picked the cat up to take him outside and the cat decided to drop the mouse again. The mouse took off running for a second time.

Aunt Renee stomped around the living room with her hands in fists saying, "In thirty years, I've never had a mouse in my house!" A swear word slipped out somewhere in the dialogue. Daddy was laughing so hard because of Aunt Renee's reaction- she is normally a very calm individual. She told Daddy to stop laughing. The whole thing was really funny! We spent a good amount of time tearing the living room apart looking for that mouse, but we never found it.

On Saturday your Uncle Russell was baptized by Papa. His baptism was wonderful! A lot of family traveled a long way to be there for his big day. Mommy's cousin Casey gave a talk on baptism and Great Grandma Charlene gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. Mommy really enjoyed both talks. We are so proud of Uncle Russell for making the decision to be baptized. Afterwards we took some family pictures and had a lunch/birthday celebration. You were also able to finally meet your Great Nana (Mommy's Nana).

Cousin Hazel.

Papa & cousin Hazel.

Four Generation Photo: Me, Bubba, Papa & Great Nana.

Most of my family!

Great Nana with most of her kids.

Nana, Papa & Uncle Russell.

After the baptism we went to the cemetery. We left pine cones (it's a family tradition) on Great Great Grandma Hazel, Great Great Grandpa Joseph, Great Uncle Mark, Great Uncle Greg, and Great Papa's graves. It felt as though our ancestors were there with us at the cemetery that day.

Our next stop was your Great Nana's house, we visited with her for a couple hours. Nana is getting up there in age and we aren't sure how long she will be with us. It meant a lot to Mommy to get to spend some time with her.

Great Nana & I.

Then we headed over to Great Uncle Aaron and Great Aunt Theresa's house to say good bye to the rest of the family and then we drove until late at night back to Hermiston to stay the night with Daddy's Aunt Ilene and Uncle Randy.

The next morning we met Daddy's cousins (Aaron, Lynn, Joey and Cassie) and their kids (Ethan, Brodie and Cora). It was so good to meet and visit with all of them!

Cousin Cora.

Great Aunt Ilene & Bubba.

Daddy's extended family.

Then we hit the road and headed for home. On our way back we stopped at the Bonneville Dam to watch the salmon go up the fish ladder.

Fish ladder.

Me & Bubba.


We also stopped to see Multnomah Falls. There were so many people at the falls that day, we didn't stay very long.

We are so glad that we were able to make the trip to Spokane to support Uncle Russell and see everyone else. We are grateful to those who fed us and let us stay with them- we couldn't have done it without them.

May 21, 2017

Bubba At 6 Months

Has it really been six months already? Somehow that doesn't seem possible, I can't believe how fast you are growing up! Please slow down, just a little bit.

At six months old, you are still learning how to roll over and sit on your own. You love to laugh and talk. You have gotten really good at using your hands. You love to put everything in your mouth. Pulling Mommy's hair out of her head is a daily occurrence (hopefully I don't go bald). You enjoy trying new "solid" foods. You look forward to daily walks and Daddy coming home from work each day. You like to stand and jump up and down when we hold you. You have such a sweet disposition about you. Please don't grow up too fast. We love you little one!

May 15, 2017

Mommy's 1st Mother's Day

Well little one, another week has come and gone.

You were sick this past week and towards the end of the week Daddy got sick too. We've just been taking it easy at home.

We tried introducing you to green beans and turkey this week, but neither were a hit with you. Each time Mommy gave you a spoonful of green beans you would eat it, but once she finished feeding you, you would throw all the green beans back up. This happened on more than one occasion. As for the turkey, you just kept spitting that out. We are keeping our fingers crossed that one day you will learn to love green beans and turkey.

Mommy wanted to go hiking to celebrate Mother's Day but we had to postpone our hike for a few weeks due to illness and lots of rain. Don't worry though, Daddy made Mommy breakfast and some "Honey Do-pons" (a.k.a. coupons) to help celebrate Mommy. Daddy even helped you fill out your first Mother's Day card for Mommy- it was very sweet and Mommy enjoyed it very much!

May 13, 2017

Why I Struggle With Mother's Day

For many years now, I have struggled with Mother's Day. I believe that Mother's Day is a time to stop, reflect and say "thank you" to the women in our lives who have done and sacrificed so much. When you think about it a "Mom's job" entails A LOT: sacrificing her body to bring a baby into the world, she often rises before her little one(s) and goes to bed after they do, she cooks, cleans, is a chauffeur, cheerleader, coach, teacher, friend, a shoulder to cry on and the list goes on and on. A mother's job never really ends. Often a mother's pursuits, passions and dreams are put on hold as she puts the needs of her family first.

Growing up my Mother wasn't around very much and at the time I didn't think very much of it, I just thought that's how it was supposed to be. It wasn't until I was a teenager that this realization really hit me. I was sitting in Young Women's and our teacher asked each one of us to share something our father's did to show that they loved us and then they asked us to share something our mother's did to show that they loved us. I could think of a ton of things my Father did to show he loved me, but I couldn't think of a single thing my Mother did to show that she loved me. I started to cry because in that moment I realized that I didn't know that my Mother loved me. To this day I still don't know if my Mother loves or even cares about me.

You see, my Mother chose to work while I was growing up and work was her focus and her priority. When I was a teenager she left our family, left our Mormon faith and said a lot of very hurtful things to me as she exited my life.

I felt like a misfit especially among other teenage Mormons. A big focus in our religious culture is the importance of family and how they can be together forever. At the time, divorce wasn't very commonplace. I wondered how I could possibly be with my family forever if my Mother was no longer part of my life and of the same faith. I dreaded singing the song, Families Can Be Together Forever as it reminded me my struggles.

One day, I was blessed to meet and befriend some other Mormon girls whose parents were divorced. Not only were they divorced, they were divorced for the same reason my parents were. For some reason this caused me to feel a sense of camaraderie. It was during this time I realized that I wasn't a misfit after all that there were other girls going through the exact same thing I was going through.

Many Mormon women began to enter my life at what seemed like just the right moments. My faith, my Father, my friends, my Nana, my step-mother and these women ultimately shaped me into the person that I am today. I will be forever grateful to the sisters who: picked me up each week for Mutual, helped me get ready for the formal dances, taught me how to do my makeup, taught me how to cook, taught me lessons about what it means to be a good Christian person, taught me how to forgive, helped me apply to college, encouraged me to keep going even when it was hard and helped me see the good in me that my own Mother thought and continues to think doesn't exist.

I hoped that one day I would marry into a family that just loved me for who I am and sadly, this didn't happen. I married a wonderful man and I love him dearly but his family didn't accept me as one of their own. I was told that I had "to earn (their) love" and this all but crushed me.

For many years now, my Nana has been the one I look to as my "Mom." I don't get to see her very often because we live in different states, but we make it a point to talk regularly on the phone. She has had a number of health problems in recent years and I know her days are numbered. Even just the thought of her passing brings me to tears. I find myself asking, "Who will be my mother?"

Through all of these really hard and emotionally trying situations, I have come to learn that the Lord is very aware of me. Just this week, I finished reading Daughters In My Kingdom for the first time. And while I was reading I came across a section where one of the former General Relief Society Presidency Members faced a time in her life where she wouldn't be able to have very much contact with her own mother and she asked the very same question, "Who will be my mother?" Her answer was the Relief Society. As I pondered her response, I began to see the truth behind that answer. All of those incredible women who "helped" me as a teenager were/are members of the Relief Society. This brought such peace to my soul.

While I may not be celebrating Mother's Day with my own Mom, I want to say, "Thank you to the many women who have been like mothers to me over the years. Thank you for everything you have done for me! If it were possible I would wrap my arms around each and everyone of you and give you the biggest hug I possibly could. You have no idea how much of an influence and blessing for good you have been in my life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

To anyone else out there who may struggle with Mother's Day, please know that you aren't alone. God loves you! He is so very aware of you!

May 8, 2017


Well little one, you're another week older. It's hard to believe you are 24 weeks old already. Time is just flying by!

We have decided that you have a sense of humor. One afternoon while Mommy was changing your diaper, you started peeing and laughing at the same time. You little jokester! What are we going to do with you?

On Saturday we were able to sneak out for a little bit. We went and walked on the trails at Hendrick's Park. The rhododendrons are in bloom right now and they were absolutely beautiful! We all enjoyed taking in the beauty.

We gave you prunes for the first time, your reaction to them was pretty amazing! Your arms started shaking and you grabbed the container in Mommy's hands and pulled it up to your mouth. Mommy took the container away from you and you started screaming. It was a good thing we stripped you down before we fed you the prunes because they ended up everywhere!

You officially have your first cold. Your little nose has been runny this week and on Sunday morning you came down with a cough. We feel so bad for you! We know you don't feel well. You just want to be held. We are praying you get over this cold and start feeling better soon.

May 1, 2017

Bubba's First Time Up Mount Pisgah

Becoming parents has really changed the focus of our priorities and it seems as though we will never be caught up with all of our "projects." We spent time out in the yard: pulling weeds, turning soil, putting in mulch. The laundry managed to get washed, but not folded. I keep telling myself that someday we will knock out our to do list. Someday the cars will get washed and vacuumed. Someday the garage will be organized. But for now, you are our focus, Bubba. Our world  revolves around YOU!

Sporting Mommy's sweatband.

Mommy & Bubba.

Working in the yard.

This week was a bit more relaxed, compared to the last few weeks. We went on several long walks around the neighborhood and on some of the local trails, you love going on walks.

You recently discovered your boy parts. Each time we go to change your diaper, you reach down there are grab them. Most of the time this new found routine is fine, but when you poop it's a whole different story. You and I battled it out one morning in the poop department and I think you won. Poop was everywhere: on your hands, socks and changing pad. It wasn't very much fun for Mommy.

Feet are meant to be eaten.

We introduced you to yams this week too. You love yams!

The highlight for the week though was hiking Mt. Pisgah. You have officially climbed your first mountain Bubba! We are so proud of you! Daddy helped you make it to the top (he strapped you to his chest and carried you 3.3 miles). You looked around all the way up the mountain and decided to sleep on the way down. We are looking forward to the changing weather so we can spend more time outside, hiking and climbing.

Bubba & Daddy.

Family photo.

Those eyes.

The view from the top.