Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recent Reads

This month has been one of heavy reading around these parts. I love to read but for the last few years since having kids, reading for leisure has taken the back burner. I did it, once in a while, but not regularly. That has changed. This month I read two books, just for me! I am really going to try and keep this up and I would love to hear good book recommendations.

The first book I read was The Leisure Seeker , by Michael Zandoorian. I found this book at the book store on a date with my husband and came home and reserved it from the library. I loved the story line. An elderly couple who go on vacation; basically run away from their ailments and ignore their doctors and kids orders. This couple is old and one has cancer and one has Alzheimer. It's a good, reminiscent read. I liked how this book was written. It made me think and evaluate and appreciate marriage.
I did not like the end of this book and so I don't know if I would recommend this one or not. 

The second book I read was Signs of Life , by Natalie Taylor. I loved this book!! This book is a memoir that a woman writes after the loss of her husband and the birth of her first child.  I found it extremely inspiring and entertaining. I found myself relating to the author on multiple levels and it felt really good. I laughed out loud and cried on many pages of this book. Sometimes her language is a little foul but it's not extensive.This book is a must read for any woman, in my opinion. This lady gets it.

I would recommend both of these books. Please share your favorite reads I am looking for a February "Me" book.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


 It makes me happy to creatively cut my kids' cheese. They get really excited over little things like this.
 It makes me happy to watch my big boy play basketball.
It makes me really happy that my big boy begged me to wear my cheerleading uniform from High School to his game and cheer for him. Seriously, how long does this sweetness last? He makes me happy.
 It makes that big boy really happy when he makes a basket! Him happy makes me happy.
 It makes me happy to candidly catch my husband with the biggest smile on his face after finding eggs in the nesting box. He is simply so happy about it. That makes me happy.
 It makes me happy to walk into the family room and hear my little girl reading to her best friend/brother. These two are so happy together. That makes me happy.
 Baby equals happy. No words. Just happy!!
 It makes me happy that Adelle wants to be a mommy so bad. It makes me happy that Gage is big enough now that I don't get as worried about him being dropped on his head by his loving sis.
It makes me happy that Braxton still plays dress up with his little siblings. 
It makes me happy when I go into Braxton's classroom to help and he acts like I am his best friend. That makes me so happy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Inspired by Raffi

This morning the kids and I were doing some crafts. I am throwing a baby shower with a friend and was trying to make the invitations while the kids were cutting and gluing. We were listening to Raffi on Pandora Radio and singing along, as we usually do.
Adelle asked me, "how is the baby going to take a shower?" She is so literal sometimes. Like last night when my mom took her to mini cheer camp and she asked my mom, "when they were getting in the tents?" (like to camp). Anyway, that's a side note, and could probably be another post that I don't see myself getting to anytime soon.
So this Raffi song came on and I liked it. It was the simple truth I needed to hear today. The first verse is this:

All I really need is a song in my heart
Food in my belly and love in my family
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family

So today I decided to be content with all that I have. It really is all that I need.

And with that, we bundled up and ventured out into the beautiful day. 

Thanks Raffi. You're just as wonderful as I remember you being.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Side by side comparison

Baby Braxton 1-3 months 200 September 2008 093   DSC09971 (2)DSC05773

     Braxton                                                             Adelle                                                         Emmett                                                  Gage

It’s funny to hear who everyone thinks Gage looks like. We hear a lot how much he looks like Braxton. Sometimes I can really see Adelle too. These pictures are all 3 month shots. They all look extremely different to me. And it’s funny how I never realized how bald my other babies were until I had one with hair ;) What do you think??

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Emmett!!

Emmett is 3 today! He is the most super 3 year old in the whole world. I love this boy so much.

We have a house full of sickies over here. Braxton's been home from school. Jeff has been down and out with the aches and chills. Adelle and Emmett have snotty noses....

But a midst it all we are partying like super heroes!

I made a "cake" last night and told all the kids we would have cake for breakfast! Talk about knocking their socks off. They talked about it all night and this morning as soon as they woke up they were dancing around singing about how they were going to have cake for breakfast. Thanks to it being Emmett's birthday, of course.

Making my kids jump up in down in glee is one of the things in this life that brings me the most joy. I love it. On the same note it is against everything in me to give my kids a sugary start to their day 
I found a way to do both. I made the kids this cake for breakfast. It was delicious, without it being a sugary, blood-sugar altering, disaster.
(I know it's a bread in the recipe but all I did was put it in a cake pan and cooked it for about half the time. And I only used two bananas not four, because that's all I had. It was amazing. Thanks Chelsey!)
So the cake, if you looked didn't have any sugar in it. Just sweetened by the bananas and coconut. It was so good, seriously!! And to make it more birthday-ee I frosted it with a homemade frosting of 1 cube of softened butter and 1 tbs. pure maple syrup and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix that up and spread on the cake.
I let the kids decorate it with sprinkles and they were in heaven once again!

After we had cake for breakfast the kids played for a while with trucks. Then Emmett invited Brax and Sis into the tub with him where they all played with his new boat he got for Christmas and then they pretended they were sitting in a hot tub and were on vacation.

Now we are getting ready for lunch, Emmett's choice; Chicken Nuggets and fries.

This little 3 year old is as happy as can be!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesdays Redifined

This post has been a work in progress. I hope I can express my honest feelings without sounding over analytical or like an emotional wreck. I am both, at times.

A couple weeks ago I was released from my calling as Young Women President. For those who don't understand what that means I will briefly explain. The church I attend does not have any paid ministry. Every person who serves in the church does so without temporal payment. Not without blessings, but without getting paid. The different services we render to each other are called callings. Callings come from the Lord. Leaders pray to call the person whom the Lord would like in each position. It's a lot to wrap your brain around sometimes but I can testify that it's real and it's amazing. So, the calling I had had, for the last six years, was working with the young women ages 12-18. First I was a counselor and then I was the president. Six years is a long time. It's longer than I have had 3 of my 4 children. And then one day. It's done. Done, meaning it wasn't my responsibility anymore. I was released from the calling.

When I got called as the 2nd Counselor Braxton was our only child. He was about a year old and I was longing for another baby. I wanted a baby girl. It would be perfect and I knew Brax would be the greatest big brother any girl could ever have. Adelle was the only child we ever tried to have and by tried I actually mean worked really hard at. I wanted her about a year and a half before I had her and during that time there were some dark days.
Getting called into Young Womens was a blessing. It gave me something to think about and distracted me from my constant desire to have another baby. It required me to be gone every Wednesday night after dinner. This is when we have our weekly meetings which are fun and spiritual and uplifting and skill building and all around great to be a part of. I looked forward to Wednesday nights. I looked forward to Sundays when I could teach the lessons and interact with the girls. I loved the relationships I was able to build and the role I was able to play. I also grew. My testimony strengthened as I prayed for them and as I heard about the challenges they were facing in their lives I would pray harder and with more faith.

So fast forward a couple years. I have Adelle, I have Emmett, and then when Emmett is 3 months old they call me to be the Young Women's President. It was mostly the same thing, but with added responsibility. Now I planned the meetings, attended more meetings, and was overall responsible for how the whole program was being ran. It was a lot. It was inspired. I was a big girl.

Two weeks after I was called to be President, Jeff was laid off from his job. The next 2 years would be the most trying and heart wrenching of my life, this far. But how great was my joy! I forced myself to rise to the call and The Lord poured out His blessings upon me and my family. By no coincidence did these events happen at the same time. It was essential to my well being, to His plan for me, that they did. I was steady and diligent and engaged in a good cause and I was abundantly blessed with nothing short of miracles.

My study increased, my faith intensified, my heart endured, my soul believed, my dreams became a reality, and the Lord in his mercy continued to use me to carry out his work. The power that I felt was not mine but was given me with assignment to love and care for those girls. I did. I do.

And then at the end of the year it came to an end. I was released. No more Wednesday night activities. Remember I have been gone every Wednesday night for most of my children's whole lives. No more early Sunday meetings. No more planning and executing and phone calls and lesson manuals and schedules and dances and camp and budgets and programs and emails and announcements and themes and.... no more.

It's a good end. My work was done. It's someone else's turn. I learned what I was to learn, and hopefully I did all I was supposed to do. But now what? That's the hard part. I feel like part of me was released with the calling. I loved the responsibility. I yearned for the challenge, the duty. I loved the interactions I was able to have and the relationships that were strengthened weekly. I love to be needed. I love to love others. I love teenage girls. I loved how it forced me to be in my scriptures, to seek the Spirit to be with me.

I am thankful for the past 6 years. For the growth I have experienced. For a loving Father who knew what I needed and who was with me when I did seek. For the never ending support my husband gave me. For the Young Women I have known and do know and love. For the women I have worked with. For the many lessons I have learned and for the humility I have felt. It's all been good, even the bad ended up being good. So this too, this new chapter whatever it is, will also be good.

As for Wednesday nights. I am home now. Hanging with my homies. Reading books. Doing homework. Washing dishes. And I must say Sundays too are nice now that I get to do my little girl's hair for church and not have to leave that to her daddy anymore. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"cootie cootie"

Have I told you that Emmett is constantly coming up to Gage and saying, "oh my yittle cootie cootie." He means to say my little cutie, cutie, but we like the way he says it so we have all started calling Gage, "cootie, cootie."
This little cootie cootie is the funnest. Sometimes I wonder if I enjoyed my other babies as much as I do Gage. I know I did... but I honestly think it's more enjoyable, at least for me, when I can see my children gawking over their little brother/sister. It's the best.
Every time Emmett says the prayer he thanks Heavenly Father that, "I have a baby." He really means it too.
Adelle told me just the other day that she doesn't need a baby sister anymore, phew! She said she is glad she has Gage instead.
Braxton sings "I am a Child of God," to him whenever he starts to cry. Brax has done this with all his siblings and I think it's the sweetest. Braxton also says Gage is going to talk soon. I would agree. This babe can really babble. He is a cooing, aweing, drooling, smiling, rolling machine!
Oh, and the hair... We love that too!
And thanks to Adelle his toes are always clean. That little lady sure is something. The girl loves feet. She is constantly playing with her own feet and whenever she gets a chance she is picking fuzz and hair and whatever else out from between Gage's toes. So ladylike, I know.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You've got a friend in Me

 Last night was just M, Babe, and me.
We played Toystory in the playroom. M named Babe, "the big green dinosaur."
M was Woody.

 Here is M giving Jessie her milk.
Darn kids see and do everything I do these days ;)
Here is the babe with his new found friends that M shared with him and laid right next to him.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Twas the week before Christmas

Jeff’s parents, brother Ryan, and Sister Gabe and her kids were here the week before Christmas. They got in late Saturday night, before the blessing on Sunday.  Jeff’s mom, "Gramy," brought a favorite book to share with all the kids before bed.

We spent the next week hanging out with cousins. The kids played really well together. Braxton and Riley are still total buds. Adelle kindof went back and forth between the littles and the bigs. Laney and Emmett were happy to chill and watch movies, Teagan looked big next to Gage…
It was fun to see the dynamics of it all. Cousins are the best!!
Jeff and Riley share a birthday so to celebrate we went out to dinner Monday night. I love this picture of them both. They look thrilled, don’t they!

Tuesday Grandma and Grandpa Johnson had the whole gang in for yummy dinner complete with little teddy bear rolls for all the kids.
On that Wednesday Gramy and Ryan left to go back home to Utah. It's always sad when they leave and we don't know when we will see them again. The kids got pictures with Ryan. He is off in Korea now with the Army.
Wednesday night my brother Brent, and his wife, Jess, took the kids to spend the night with them out at the bay where they were staying in a condo next door to my parents. The kids had fun and Jeff and I had a nice relaxing night where we finished up some Christmas last minutes.
Thursday we went up to Canada swimming at the wave pool with Brent, Jess, my mom and dad and Lesha and the kids. It was super fun and empty, we had the whole place to ourselves. Then that night my dad took all the big people to dinner and Auntie Melissa came and watched the little chillins. It was fun to get out with all my siblings and all of our significant others. Gage got to come too ;)
Friday, well nope. We will skip Friday and Saturday. I know they were busy but I didn’t write anything on my calendar.. So I have no recollection. Dang.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Go Hawks!

Jeff heard on the radio that today is the day that everyone should wear blue to support the Seahawks.
We took it a step further over here.
All 3 boys are in their get-up today.

Go Hawks!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 in a week

I am tired. It’s nine o’clock. Jeff is working. I want to read my scriptures. I want to read my book. I want to finish the laundry. I want to go to bed. I want to blog…. I guess that’s what I will do, along with eat my nine o’clock snack of half a roasted acorn squash with a lot of melted butter. yum. Yes. Good choice. It’s hitting the spot. The tension in my neck is subsiding as I sit here with my warm snack.
After I put the big kids to bed, early, this little friend wanted all the love. We sang, he sings too. We rocked each other. I was rocking him at the same time he was rocking me. We needed it. I tried to lay him down but he protested so I picked him back up. I told my mom other day about the good team that Gage and I are. I take care of him, he takes care of me. It works, well. I love this babe. Just when I think I don’t have any more to give he smiles and tells me how much he loves me with his coos and awes and my perspective changes. I am his number one gal and that’s a blessed thing to be.
Did I mention that I am also listening to Adele radio on Pandora. My favorite. Another reason why this whole nine o’clock thing is so wonderful right now. And while I’m on the topic of music my husband and I have a theme song going on. You can listen to it here. It’s beautiful and really hits home as of late. There’s a lot going on around here, and it’s all good, mostly, but man, it’s a lot.  We are growing. Growing as individuals. Growing as a couple. Growing as parents. Growing as business owners. Growing as friends. Growing in humility…

The cousins were over today which made it double the fun. My house was destroyed within minutes, just the way we like it lately ;). The kids all decided to get all the toys out, decorate our whole house with them, and then get their faces painted and not play with any of them. Good thing they were there though, all over the house, so that they could trip over them while they were chasing each other around. I love all these kids. They are so fun and they love each other so much. And the toys get picked up, they always do.
Jeff’s brother moved to town. He hangs out here a bit cooking me dinner and things of the sort. : 0. He served a mission in Japan, same as Jeff, so last week they made us homemade gyoza. It was scrumptious.  For someone who loves to cook, I also love to be cooked for. Lane is awesome and so fun to have around. Those Ashmore boys men are really something.
The mornings this year look something like this. My helping hands are increasing. Gage likes to get in on the action now too. Loving my mobi that my BFF made me for Emmett. It really does pay off to keep things in bins in the garage…. as long as you remember to go searching for them when you need them.
Last night for FHE we buried a time capsule. It was really fun and the kids thought it was the most exciting thing in the world. We filled out papers with info. about ourselves. Our height, weight, favorites… and then we ended with goals for the year. Each of the kids wrote their own, the best they could. Jeff and I did it too. He weighs more than me again, fyi. This isn’t always the case. Then we went out in the dark back yard, flashlights in hand, dug a hole and buried our “treasure” until next year. It was fun. My goals for the year are: teach Braxton and Adelle each to play one song of their choice on the piano, start the book I have been wanting to write, read a book a month, do pushups (not every day but when I am up for it).
Have I mentioned that I love this year so far? It’s so good. On Sunday during testimony meeting a wise woman who I really love said something that hit me. She said something to the effect of, you don’t have to wait for a new year, new month, new job…. You can be better now. Every day, every minute, you can be better. I knew that. But I am glad she reminded me. It’s good to try and be better. It’s ok to not have it all down yet as long as you are trying. And if you mess up, it’s ok. I am telling myself this, not you.
So cheers to you. It’s going to be a good year.