Wednesday, April 4, 2018

while the baby sleeps

I have to pee, like uncomfortably, but the baby doesn't nap forever so while he does I very selectively use my time. To do productive things like sneak a cookie and blog. 

It's hump day of spring break and can I just put it out there that breaks from school are my favorite thing in the whole world. We typically don't go anywhere far (okay, never) but just being home with all the kids and not having as regimented of a schedule is so fun and freeing. Today I slept in until almost 8:00am and once I actually woke up I laid in bed for another hour, nursing Ira and cuddling Gagey. Neither of whom sleep with me but both of whom one way or another find me in the mornings. "When Gage wakes up in the morning he always says good day" repeat. "He says, I'm hungry, I'm hungry, that is what he says." We sing this song together and laugh because my little #4 is always hungry. No one knows where he puts it all! And Ira... he's always hungry too if he is close enough to me to smell milk, and if you've seen him you know where he puts it. Thighs, backside, middle... little chunky man.

I come downstairs after the bed is made and everyone is up. Emmett is by the fire reading, predictable. Braxton and Adelle are comfy on the couch talking to their dad about... I have no idea. Jeff is eating an apple and walking out the door after a goodbye kiss. He's already been out feeding the chickens and setting up new electric fencing but he's in farm mode and that's his happy place. Besides husband mode and dad mode which he is the very best at. He says he's off to work and after I kiss him I ask him what he's got to prove to which he laughs his contagious laugh and answers, "nothing," while closing the door behind him. He's my favorite thing and I pinch myself some days that this is our life.

Last night we fed the missionaries from our ward, dinner. I made Hawaiian Haystacks, which is a favorite, and there was plenty for all of us. Plus the cookies which I also made, mainly because I wanted to munch on dough yesterday afternoon and they are a "healthy" recipe. During dinner one of the Elder's told us that farming is good for kids. It teaches them how to work he claimed, being from an Idaho farm himself. He didn't have to tell me that though because what I didn't know already, I am growing to know. Jeff and I always wanted to raise outdoor kids and the farm helps that be a reality.

After dinner we talked about General Conference which we all had participated in last weekend. We shared our favorite parts and messages and I was once again uplifted by the truth received by my family members. The opportunity to feel the Spirit testify of truth is one that I try not to ever pass up. Listening to perspectives and testimony rejuvenated me once again and made me so grateful for the knowledge that I have of why we are all here on this earth and where we are going after we die. Gage said he loved standing up and sustaining President Nelson during the Solemn Assembly and I'm thankful Jeff suggested we go to the local Stake Center to participate in that memorable event. I hope none of my kids ever forget how that made them feel, sustaining a Prophet of God.

Once the company had left, Braxton and Adelle did the dishes and cleared the table while Emmett cleaned up the front room and Gage and I, with Ira's help of course, emptied out all the Easter eggs and cleaned up all the Easter decorations. Jeff went out to finish cutting the boards for the roosts out in the new pasture coop. After all the inside duties were done and Ira was put to sleep we went out to get our farm on, family style. It was almost dark by now and Jeff wasn't quite ready so the kids and I played flashlight tag as the sun finished setting and the sky turned black. I silently prayed the whole time that I wouldn't fall and sprain my ankle because that ground is sure not flat and running in boots is sure not easy. The kids were falling all around me but I later learned they were doing that on purpose. Makes for a more exciting game apparently. Some moments can't be captured and although I brought my phone out to periodically check the time and with the intention to document and get some good pictures I soon realized that the pictures were too dark and too much of a hassle to get having to take off my farm gloves. I just want to remember the feeling. The stars, brightly shining. The moon, which was hiding and which we never actually saw when we tried looking. The squeals from the kids laughing and running amuck. I asked Adelle while we were walking through the field if she liked where we lived. She responded that she did and that nights like this when the coop was lit up and she was outside she imagined all the neighbors and the people driving down the street looking at the lighted coop and seeing her out there and wondering what she was doing. So sweet and innocent, her little thoughts.

The kids unloaded the boards and the nesting boxes from the tractor. I put the roots in their notches that Jeff had cut and lined the nesting boxes up in their spots. Then we started moving chickens. Jeff attached the big ol' dog crate to the pallet and handful by handful and without slipping in poop we tossed all 362 chickens into the crate from their temporary winter home in the barn. Jeff is the man and takes 5 at a time and Braxton and I take 2 or 3. Adelle and Emmett usually count as they are loaded and Gage is moral support and sometimes helps us corner the birds that don't comply. It was cold and dark and stinky and we took turns coming back to the house to listen for Ira. On one check Ira was awake and Gage was cold and Emmett was tired. We came him, the three of us. I tended to Ira while Emmett got his jams on and Gage grabbed a coat. I tucked Emmett in and he zonked. Gage and I got a snack and went back out with more layers of clothes. They were just about done outside so we helped get the last 30 birds or so and then came in. Job done. We stripped in the laundry room, clothes automatically into the wash, and kids into the shower (only one of them actually needed the shower. The one who doesn't wear farm gloves! Braxton). 

There is nothing glamorous about moving chickens. It takes time. It uses upper body strength. It stinks. But every few months we have to do it. That's just how it is. Once the birds are old enough to leave the barn and go out to pasture they get moved, one a time. And then when winter comes along they get moved back, one at a time. But the kids think it's seriously fun. They get to stay up late. They get to work hard, together and play in the dark. I love their perspective and good attitudes. They truly do not complain one single bit about it. We knew the rain was coming today and so we got it done last night while it was clear.

We do a lot of fun things during spring break, and always for that matter. Parks and playdates, friends over most days hanging out, water park in Canada on Monday with our friends and my mom and Lesha's kids... there really isn't ever a dull moment around here but my favorite moments are honest and truly when we are working the farm. It brings us together and that's the best place to be. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Spring is Here!!

March is here.
Spring is near.
Flowers, sunshine, rain and frogs. 
March is here. 

Since the beginning of the year I have been writing poems on the white board for Gage to practice and learn each month. This is March's poem and he already has it memorized (or he can read it:)

We have been ready for spring around here so on Tuesday, even though it was cloudy, we celebrated the first day of spring by meeting our friends at Semiahmoo for a walk/bike ride along the beach. Gage rode his bike and I pushed Ira in the stroller. I had already ran that morning with Braxton (something he and I are doing together before he goes to school 2 days a week) so after getting the big kids off to school I quickly showered and packed a picnic for the beach. 

It was cold and windy on the East side of the beach where we walked and stopped to have our picnic. Poor Ira was trying to nurse with the wind blowing the blanket off and chilling his face. Once we moved to the other side of the beach though it was nice and not as cold so the kids explored and found pretty rocks and shells. Gage collected dead crab legs and brought them home in his pocket to feed to the chickens!

Can I just say, "goodbye winter!" Until next time we are happy to be moving on to warmer days. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Matching Bowties and Loss. I am a blogger.

For Christmas I bought the kids matching bowties. Thank you, Amazon. The boys were so excited to all wear them to church and then to include Adelle for the pictures she came up with the idea to wear one as a headband. Clever sister. Cute kiddos.

In scrolling through my pictures on my phone this past weekend I've recommitted myself to my blog. The big events I will need to catch up on, and I will. But the everyday thoughts and lessons are what I miss the most. The little, simple, things that make up our beautiful lives. The moments. The smiles. The tears and fears.  The lessons. There was a time when I was so good at documenting all of it and those memories, which I did forget about, mean more to me than all the money in the world now.

This past year two of my avid blog followers passed away. One was my best friend's Grandma. She read my blog for years and I would often write directly to her, knowing that she always read, and imagine her in her home, reading. She had lost her husband years before and lived by herself on a farm which she no longer ran. She found comfort in my words, in the new life that was blossoming around me amidst the chaos that I was often feeling. I would write of our days and feel motivated to keep going because I knew the experiences were blessing the life of a sweet grandma who was past her years of tending to little ones, but who had been there, and was joyous in the recollections.

The second reader who passed away this year was my dear Aunt Angela. If you look back in all my posts and years of blogging, she is there. Usually behind the scenes, hiding for the camera, but always there. She was the one who we lived by for most of our married life this far and whose house we commonly walked to and where we rode our bikes. It was her roof that Jeff and Brent replaced and her lawn where Braxton mowed. She was the one who stopped by regularly on her way home from work to give me a neck massage or help me thicken the rouge for dinner. She would drop by with gifts for the kids or spending money for me to treat myself. She would babysit my children and spoil them. She would hold them and love on them like no one else and constantly tell them how cute they were, what good kids they were, and how much she loved them. My aunt was a dear friend, a confidant, and in lots of ways more like another mother. She was wise and selfless and didn't expect anything from anyone. I loved her so much.
She read my blog too. She read it, and commented, and typically also texted me and told me how much she loved what I wrote or how much she loved the scenario I described. I knew she loved me and I knew she found joy through serving my family. The joy she felt from reading the blog was also real and in a way it was me showing my love back to her. Sharing with her the sweet moments of my life.

If anyone else reads the blog still it's a bonus but I will keep at it as a tribute to life and the responsibility I feel to record it. The responsibility I feel to remember the simple abundance I have and to share with later generations. The duration of my time with my kids at home in this stage is fleeting and I adore it. I want to remember it and I want to share it and to be frank, I want the blessing of looking back in a few years and re-living it through these accounts.

50's Date Night

Adelle and Jeff went to their Annual Daddy Daughter Dinner and Date Night. 
This years was 50's theme and when Adelle heard they were having a dance contest she decided that her and her dad should enter. 
Weeks before the event I came home to Jeff, by himself, listening to 50's music and choreographing a
dance that he could teach to Adelle. It melted my heart. 
They practiced the dance for a good week, before bed in the evenings with the boys and I as audience.
The night of the dance they were excited and looking good. They confidently performed their piece and made it to the finals but they didn't win the big prize. Jeff was so funny. He was convinced the reason they didn't win was because one of the prizes was a T-shirt and it was too big for Adelle.
I'm so happy these two carry on this tradition. Every year they have such a great time together and with other friends and dads.
Adelle is a lucky little lady for sure. Her daddy has my heart. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Part 2: Ira Bailer Ashmore

The week was a happy, summer whirlwind. My sister went to Girl's Camp so Monday we met up half way and I brought her boys home with me until Wednesday when I drove back half way and met up with Peter to give them back. The farm is more fun with a plethora of children and the boys just played nonstop while they were here. Our cousins are our besties. Tuesday Emmett didn't feel well so we took it easy in the morning. He even missed a good buddies birthday so I knew he was unwell. The usual morning chores got done around him and by afternoon he was feeling up to play so we headed over to my parent's pool to cool off and swim. It was a hot week to be pregnant. Wednesday morning, some more of our besties arrived early to hang out with us through the weekend while their parents went to Trek with our church. So Wednesday we hung out at my parents pool. Me, Adelle, all our boys, the boy cousins, and the boy friends. Lucky for her, Adelle's friend picked her up that night for a party at the waterslides. She was ready to be with another girl for a change.

Wednesday night I woke up because I was having contractions. They were about 10 minutes a part and not very intense but the fact that they woke me up, led me to believe that they were something. I tried to sleep through them and waited for them to intensify on my own while Jeff laid next to me sound asleep. They didn't progress to much but in the morning I told him that I had had contractions all night and he assured me that I needed to call my midwife, just to let her know. So I called her and told her the scenario and what was going on and she said that if they continued and if they came closer together to let her know. Jeff offered to cancel his job and stay home from work and I said absolutely not. No use all of us sitting around waiting for a baby to be born.

Thursday was cooler and it was such a breath of fresh air to not be smoldering hot. All month the kids and I have been picking blueberries first thing in the morning to fill our freezer and this morning we had lots of extra hands. I remember being out at the blueberry bushes by myself, early, before the kids came out, and nicely telling my baby to drop. For weeks I had been taking the Hypnobirthing courses and listening to the birthing tracks and aside from my big kids teasing me, I really came to realize the power of my words and thoughts and I got used to talking to my body and my baby regularly. So here I am, up with the sun, in the blueberry bushes (barefoot of course) and repeating outloud, "my baby is in the right position and descending into my pelvis." 

The kids woke up and we had a slow, relaxing morning. They found the human rubberband game and I sat out on the front porch, watching and filming them as they flung each other across the band. They were laughing and having fun and I was running through labor scenarios in my head and watching.  I came inside and made muffins for a friend who I remembered had had a birthday the week before. My contractions were still coming, and they were causing me to stop what I was doing and breath deeply, but they were few and far between so each time Jeff called to see if I was in labor I had to tell him no. I remember him asking if I thought it was happening and I answered him a straightforward, "I'll have him tomorrow."

At 3:30pm Jeff was still at his job and I had a pre-scheduled appointment with my midwife so I took all the kids over to my mom and dad's to hang out and swim while I went to my appointment. I had more contractions on the drive, nothing like I remember with my previous pregnancies. Way more intense, but definitely not the real deal. I told her the details of the day and what I had been feeling and she checked me and confirmed, to my disappointment, that I was still only dilated to a 4 but that I was 90% efaced. She said I could have the baby that night, or in a week. That there was really no telling, but that once labor started... it would go pretty quick. She could feel the baby's head in the -2 position. Things were happening!!

I left the appointment feeling disappointed that I wasn't dilated more, but confident at the progression that was happening. I had the feeling to stop by the grocery store to stock up on a few things before meeting Jeff and all the kids at my parents. I went to Ferndale, stopped by the friend's to drop off the belated birthday muffins, went to the library to return some books, and then to Haggen to grab stuff for dinner and a pineapple because it sounded so good. At my parents I sat and continued to have contractions. My dad told me I would probably have the baby that night. He always tends to know these things.

We got home and I made french dips for dinner.  The boys wanted to sleep in the backyard in the tent with their friends and Adelle wanted to watch Descendants. I sat through the movie contracting the whole time. Gagey wasn't feeling very good so we cuddled and he fell asleep on my belly for a little cat nap. Once the kids all got to bed and situated outside, Jeff and I went to bed. It was just after 10:00pm.
At 11:00pm I still couldn't sleep. I was contracting and restless, and probably more than anything my mind was going 100 mph. I was timing my contractions and they were 10 minutes apart, consistently. Jeff was zonked next to me and his breathing was soothing so I let him be. Then just before midnight during one of the contractions, my water broke in bed and I knew it was time to wake up my sleeping birth partner. I woke Jeff, I called Winnie, and between the time I hung up with her and the time she got to our house, my contractions had intensified and sped up to only 3 minutes in between each one. Timing contractions is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. It's so exciting. Jeff got my phone and laid there while I would say either, "okay," or "contraction," or "start" which were his cues to push start on the timer. As the time between each contraction lessened he was getting nervous that Winnie, my midwife, wasn't going to make it in time. He's so cute when he gets all panicked like that. We turned on my birthing affirmation hypnotrack and it played for the whole duration on birthing. Reaffirming what I had already come to know. That my baby was healthy and ready and that my body knew exactly what to do.

I remember Jeff and I taking turns expressing our wonder to each other and repeating things like, "I can't believe this is happening," and "who would have thought he would come early?" Having never gone into labor before my due date before, we were both pleasantly surprised and excited. It was a whole new game for us, having a baby without begging it for days to, "just come already!"

A big part of Ira's story, that sets it apart from the others, is that I never once sat around and waited for him. And with that, from a temporal standpoint, I was never as ready as I would have chosen to be for him either. That is my favorite part of all of this. Maybe it wasn't about me being ready. Maybe he was ready to join our family and that force overpowered all of the what-if's that I often struggle to control.

The window was open in the bedroom and Jeff was busily taking the dirty, now wet, sheets off the bed and replacing them with the liner and fresh sheets for birth. I stood in front of the window, held onto the side of the bed and followed the cues from my body. Working at just being a tool and doing what the baby and my instincts told me to do. Letting my body progress in it's own time and by it's own means. Trusting it's natural ability and allowing myself open up to birth my baby. Mentally I was so there!!

When Winnie showed up just after 1:00am I was sure the dog would bark and wake up the whole house. He didn't even make a sound. I was dilated to a seven then. She kept herself busily preparing her things for the delivery while Jeff continue to time contractions (because what else was there for him to do?) We laughed in between. Talked about what he was going to look like. Somewhere in between being dialated to a seven, and starting to push, I moved onto the bed in the standard position which has always been my preference. Mary, the assistant, showed up around this time too and I remember her and Winnie talking about the farm and how serene the scene was. It was perfect.

Just before 3:00am the pain became intense. I knew I was close and told everyone that I wanted to push. Like past deliveries I automatically tense up in my neck and shoulders and try to use my upper body strength, to no avail, and this time was no different. Jeff patiently reminded me to "bear down" and once I re-figured where I was pushing from Ira was born. Crying and perfect and covered with vernix. Ira Bailer Ashmore. 7 lbs. 14 oz.  Mary, the assistant, told me it was the most perfect birth and she wished she could model it for all pregnant mommies. I felt amazing.

 I remember holding Ira and him feeling so small. I instantly knew him and felt that he knew me. He was the perfect present that I didn't even realize how bad I wanted. When I looked at Jeff, less than 5 minutes after his delivery, and told him I was ready to do it again his eyes just about bulged out of his head. Never had I experienced anything so wondrous and peaceful. Ira's birth was magical and empowering and simply joyous.

My placenta followed and came out with a couple pushes on the belly and after Ira was weighed and both of our vitals were checked and good, Winnie and Jeff proceeded to re-make the bed, while I was in it. It was amazing actually. Just a little lifting and wiggling, and I was back in clean sheets and the laundry was started downstairs with the dirty ones. When we were comfortable and baby was nursing well, Winnie and Mary went downstairs to finish paperwork. By 5:00am they had both let themselves out the backdoor and Jeff, Ira and I lay in our bed, getting to know each other and blissfully sleeping.

The next thing I heard was Adelle knocking on our door. We had barely slept 2 hours but the adrenaline came back when sissy entered the room. Not noticing the newborn nestled in my chest, she excitedly asked me if she could watch a show since the boys were outside in the tent still she wanted to have first pick. I looked her in the eyes until our eyes met and then I simply pointed to Ira's little head which was the only part of him not swaddled in blankets. The look on her face then I will never forget. Hand automatically covers mouth. Bouncing. And then the most beautiful smile and tears swelling in her eyes. Pure, automatic, love I witnessed that day as Adelle met her most awaited baby brother.

She hopped onto the bed with us and held the baby. Then my mom showed up after awaking and getting the Marco Polo message we sent to the family. Her and Adelle were basking in Ira when we heard the back door open again and the sleepy boys from the tent walked inside, downstairs. We all hushed ourselves and quietly listened to them. Bryce M, "Was that a baby?" Braxton, "What? No! Probably just the alarm." More talking and getting situated. Bryce M, "No, that's a baby crying." And then a mad dash of  young boys running up the stairs to see if it really was a real baby crying. And it was. And it was all better than the best Christmas.

The rest of the day blurs now, after 4 months it's to be assumed I guess. My mom made the kids egg mcmuffins downstairs in my kitchen and then shuttled them all to her place, minus Adelle, to swim for the day. Aunt Angela came over and picked up Adelle for a Costco and lunch date with her and Gramy. Adelle had already had those plans scheduled. Jeff, Ira and I spent most of the day in bed. In and out of sleep and texting photos to everyone during our waking hours. Angela took Adelle to my mom's when they were done shopping and she helped watch all the kids as they swam. Then her and Adelle brought me beautiful roses and groceries (cherries, peanut butter, etc. ) from Costco.

There are other minute details that I won't go into but simply stated, Ira completely redeemed my love for pregnancy and natural childbirth. There are aspects of my pregnancy with him that completely changed my life, my outlook and perception. I trust in God more than I did before. I trust myself more than I ever have. I trust my mind to lead and my body to follow suit. I trust hope. I trust life. I trust fate.

And the week that followed was so stinking hot and hazy.  I remember beaming at the fact of no longer being pregnant!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Let's start at the very beginning: Ira's Birth Story Part 1

It's the Sabbath. "Easy like a Sunday morning," has been this day. Jeff just left for 9:00am church with all the kids. Gage tried to stay home with me and Ira but I told him all we would be doing was napping and resting and that was enough to get him to change his mind and want to go with his dad.
I anticipated laying on the couch with my baby and taking advantage of the next three hours of quiet rest but Ira is comfy in his little seat in the sun, where I put him to eat my breakfast, and as I laid and looked at him it occurred to me that I want to remember every, single, detail of his wonderful birth. For that reason I grabbed a bulk bag of walnuts and came to the computer to record my still very fresh thoughts.

I know this new baby has been waiting to come to our family and since his conception he has already transformed our lives and changed my perspective on life, love, purpose, priorities, and so much more.
Jeff knew he was supposed to come before I did. Jeff walks by faith in every aspect of his life and I sometimes still try and take life into my own hands but this last fall after praying and pondering for 7+ months, I knew that I was ready for another baby and I knew that it was absolutely right that it happen. So when it happened on first try I knew it. And it wasn't a surprise. It was the plan the whole time only Heavenly Father, Ira, and Jeff were patiently waiting for me to comply.

I wanted to make sure the farm was operating well and that financially we were in a good spot. I wanted to make sure I had my other kids all in healthy place emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, etc.... I wanted to progress on my Holistic Nutrition certification and help Jeff continue to grow our roof cleaning business. I wanted all of these things mastered until I started  narrowing in and focusing on what really makes me happy and what really brings me peace and that is the love that abides in my family. Then I realized that what I really wanted was to bring another choice spirit to this earth and love him/her with all that I possibly could.

We went to the Temple in November and at a Shopko in Canada we bought a pregnancy test so that I could prove to Jeff what I already knew and sure enough, positive. Now we had a growing baby and a secret and both of those things are really fun to share with the one you love.

And then winter came, really, really, hard and tried it's best to trample the hope and faith that I had built up in preparation for this baby. The farm froze. Our order or baby chicks came late and with that half of them were dead and another 1/3 didn't survive their first week. The pigs got butchered late and were half the size we anticipated. Our new twin calves in the barn were found dead one morning when Jeff went out to feed and when he came in to tell me I seriously thought he was joking because certainly one more fatality was going to put me all the way over the edge. The pipes froze, the laying hens got cold and stopped laying eggs, the feed bills started adding up along with the electricity bills to light the barn and with snow and frost covered roofs for days on end Jeff had no work. And so many cold nights and days we spent with him thawing water and chickens and wiping my excessive tears and calming my troubled heart. We couldn't possibly tell the kids yet about the sweet baby because mommy was a bit of a wreck and I didn't want them to associate a happy new baby with a sad and overwhelmed mommy. Although, in all reality thinking about it now, maybe that would have been a more honest approach.
Instead we played in the snow and did donuts on the 4-wheeler and drank cocoa and worked on strengthening what we had. Each other, and a growing one, and that was worth enduring for.

We made it through all of that, with a lot of patience and a lot of prayers. It was refining, now that I look back but most things in life are that way. I am learning. By February when I turned 35 and the temperatures started to rise I felt renewed optimism and excitement. My body was physically changing and I could feel the baby inside of me, proving to me that he was right where he was supposed to be. We told the kids the "secret" on my birthday by playing a game of hangman and when it was my turn they had to solve the puzzle that read, "I'm having a baby!" It was so fun to watch them uncover it and then to realize that it wasn't a joke and that our family was really growing. The kids spread the news to all they saw and the word was quickly out.

Adelle made me a countdown chart with all the days from when we told the news until his estimated due date, August 5. There were a lot of days on that chart and since then we have been checking them off as we go.

I made a pack with Heavenly Father in my earnest prayers during the early stages of my pregnancy and through those winter months that if He would bring the sun back, I would put my boots back on and endure whatever this pregnancy, baby, farm life had to offer me. And we both held up our end of that deal.

This pregnancy was an ultimate dream as far as how I felt. I ran and played basketball until almost full term when, more because of the heat than anything else, I resorted to swimming and gardening for exercise.  I felt good the whole entire time. We ordered more chicks and they thrived. Adelle and I took a vacation to California for her birthday. I kept myself busy collecting eggs and getting all the extra squatting that a pregnant gal can get in. We finished the school year strong, went on a fun camping trip as a family with our good friends, spent many a summer day with a picnic at the beach, lots of pool days at my parent's, got in a car accident that totaled my car but that we were all unharmed in, planted a garden and barely weeded it, and harvested cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. And in the end did lots and lots of hiking.

Everything about Ira's pregnancy was exactly how it was supposed to be and that mentally prepared me so well for his miraculous birth. I knew, in my heart and in my mind, that Ira was supposed to come to our family. I knew that I could do hard things, after a trying winter, and I knew that my body was capable of conceiving, growing, thriving, and naturally delivering a healthy baby. There were too many tender mercies during the last 8 months to deny the plan that I had a special part in carrying out.
The freezing farm

Mother's Day 2017 6 months

My baby resting on my other baby. 6 months

California beach with Adelle 7 months

Family camping trip and Jetty Island 7-8 months

Strawberry picking 2017  

 4th of July party at our place. 8 months

Picking cherries from the box lifted up by the tractor 
8 months

Getting hit on Hannegan and totaling the car. 8 months 

Hiking, and hiking and more hiking 8.5 months 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Life right now is a feast

You all know the saying, "feast or famine." Well right now I feel like our life is a total feast and it feels really good.

Jeff asked me tonight how my day was and I told him it was so good to see the sun and know that more sunny days are in the near future. I don't remember any winters lasting as long as this last one did, but then again there are a lot of things I don't remember so... perspective, maybe?

There are so many good things happening right now in life and around the farm. The little baby in my belly moves all the time. It's so fun to feel him doing his acrobats whenever I actually pay attention. I love it. It's like he's in there going, "I'm still here mom!" Whenever Jeff or the kids put their hands on my belly, the baby usually stops, just to get a reaction out of them all, and then starts up again a few seconds later. I think he may just be "that" little brother.

Gage is big and my natural sidekick. He is seriously my best friend lately and I have a hard time imagining him as not the baby. I think a part of me will always think he's the baby and that's okay. They each will always be my baby in one way or another.
Gage is super independent and easy. He spent the first couple days of the week down in Lake Steven's with my sister and came home just the same as he left. Happy, funny, ready to make someone either laugh really hard, or really ticked off. He's so much like Jeff, which is probably why he is so much fun to be with.
Gage kisses my tummy (the baby) numerous times a day. Just walking by he will kiss my tummy, always before bed, and multiple times in between. It's the sweetest. He also prays every day that Hercules won't run away, which seems to be working.
He loves meeting new friends at his siblings soccer practices and comes home with lots of things that he's learning from these older kids. Plenty of teaching opportunities going on.

Emmett is awesome, that's a constant. He is organized and happy. He wakes up first and gets dressed before I have time to remind him to shower. So usually he has to undress and do it again. Showering isn't his favorite but he is the dirtiest kid! Always comes home from school and soccer with dirty knees and hands. It's become a family joke because he will start to set the table with hands covered in dirt and we all laugh because his hands always look like that.
He is a natural leader at school, and a friend to everyone. He is the teachers pet and continues to advance in math, grade levels above his own grade. His piano teacher says he is to hard on himself and needs to relax and I tell her, "good luck," he has always been that way.
He is really getting good at soccer and him and Braxton are the best of friends at home always playing either soccer, football, or basketball in the backyard.
Yesterday when he came to the store with me he asked if he could pick out the cereal and I said yes and he picked out my favorite kind. Just the sweetest kid. I told him he could pick out one that he liked too.

Adelle is growing up too fast. She's so fun and mature and doesn't think I can tell when she puts on my eye shadow. But I can tell. And she knows it's not okay for school but it's okay when her friends come over to play. She is sweet and helpful and just happy and easy going. She has been working really hard at keeping her room clean and yesterday she woke up early to do her homework for the whole week because she had neglected it. It makes me happy when I wash her sheets and find her scriptures under her pillow. She is just a gem.
Adelle and her friend sang in the school talent show a couple weeks ago and advanced to the finalist night. She is such a talented singer, and performer, and it was fun to watch her personality shine through on stage.
She still bears her testimony almost every month in church and one week when I wasn't there a couple weeks ago she took notes of everyone who spoke so that I could know what I missed.
The boys at school love Adelle and she is not intimidated by them one bit.

Braxton is an amazing young man. He continues to impress me with his character and maturity. When the  boys his age are being disrespectful to people or adults, he leaves and finds something else to do. He is breaking records at school and at soccer practice with his running ability and wall sits. He loves to work hard towards his goals and achieve them. He always collects the eggs on Sunday's when his dad is gone at meetings so that I don't have to do it and yesterday he poured my bowl of cereal for me so that it was ready when I came to sit down.
Today he mowed the lawn down at The Diner in front of our house. His new summer job, and did a great job. Jeff said he got the lawn mower down to The Diner using the tractor, a pallett, and the forklift and was able to start the lawn mower himself. He's growing up quite nicely, but too fast!
Braxton is the best big brother. Emmett and Gage actually argue about who gets to sleep next to Braxton every night and it's turning into a bit of a problem but they both just love him so much and want to constantly be with him.

Jeff is busy, and the best. I say feast or famine because that's the way both businesses are and right now they are both kicking his booty! But he takes each day at a time and manages to get it all done without taking his frustrations out on me or the kids. He always has time to shoot hoops with the boys or wrestle with the dog, or help the kids with the dishes, or read to them Harry Potter, or fix the clogged toilet, etc. I am so thankful for him and his hopeful, optimism.

On Sunday the speaker, President Nelson, who was our Bishop for a long while in 1st ward, spoke about praying in the morning and only giving thanks. Then he challanged us all to do that and specifically to pray for something that we are having a hard time being thankful for, and giving a prayer of thanks for it. It's been miraculous in my life as I have prayed gratitude all week for all the blessings in my life that really are blessings. Chickens who are laying eggs that I get to collect. Kids that are healthy and active that I have the priveledge of driving around and watching fulfill their dreams, a home that is big enough for all of us and has lots of rooms to clean, etc. These are some of my blessings lately but there are many more.

Life is a feast.