Monday, February 25, 2013

Twinkle Little Star

Sister stays very busy.

If she isn't bouncing, running, circling, rocking, swinging, pretending, running, jumping, twirling or whirling, then she is drawing or coloring.

I love it when she colors in her coloring books or draws on all the paper that has been stocked up for her.

This is my most favorite drawing she has ever done! She was so proud and we kept it on the fridge for a very long time. She is 7 and this is the first time she has drawn the whole family all lined up with our legs and arms and hair (smile). From left to right: Sister, Baby, Brother, Dad and Mom. Precious! These is the kind of artwork I absolutely adore from her!



But, I just can't figure out that even with all the reams of paper and the stacks of coloring books she still feels the need to draw on other surfaces like the table or the walls.

I guess I should count my blessings because she has now moved on from using crayons, pens and markers for that kind of drawing and has taken up the old fashioned pencil.

...

When I first started see all the "artwork" done in pencil I was so upset until I thought, "Hey, I bet I could get that off with an eraser!"

Well, the only erasers I had in my house were these:

 Cute huh? Only problem is, they are this small:
They're so small my iPhone wouldn't focus on it...
I'm always up for further punishing myself so I proceeded to use it to erase this:
 along with MANY other areas she drew on in her room, like the walls and her bedroom door...

It took the work of at least 5 or so erasers and that was to the point where the edges start rolling up into themselves and you end up rubbing some of the pencil off with your actual finger tip by accident.

Yep.

It was that fun.

Weeee.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Searching X



When our son was very first diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome I was at a complete loss. Not only because of the fact that our son was going to have a future we had not planned for but our son had a future in Fragile X and we knew nothing about it.

My first contact with someone who had dealt with Fragile X was living a few states away in California. Tiffany was the first parent I talked to over the phone who could give me advice and relate to what I was feeling.

Soon after that I heard about the Fragile X Association of Utah. I was so excited to finally be part of something that would affect my entire life for the better. I soon joined in with the new leadership as the marketing, design and social media person and as a parent contact for my area. With this feeling of leadership I started on the road to finding a way to bring more awareness of Fragile X Syndrome to everyone around me and hoping to reach out to others who were affected by Fragile X in one way or another. I felt like I was hitting dead ends. I was excited to go to the M.I.N.D. institute in Sacramento, California. It was such and awesome research experience! Amazing! They were all so sweet and kind to both Brother and Sister and to us. It was a grueling, yet incredible experience. Being able to meet with the famous Dr. Randi Hagerman is something I wish every parent with children who have Fragile X could experience. I learned so much, but it was also so far from home and was financially taxing on us.

As I became more aware of all the clinics for Fragile X Syndrome and all the Fragile X leadership groups there were all over the nation and seeing them dotted all over the map, I began to realize how Utah was not on the map for much.

One Association in all of Utah, and at the time, I had only met 4 other families who were in the Association. The big picture of how much work needed to be done here in Utah really hit me. I felt like we would never be able to get anywhere with Awareness or Education if we sat here and just waited.

Fast forward 7 years and I am happy to say that finally the word about Fragile X Syndrome seems to be making a splash bigger than the small ripple that was started with a few newspaper articles.

Yesterday my family had the opportunity to help in the first ever study and research that is happening here in Utah!

I had been preparing the kids with about Dr. Reid Robison's and his assistant Chase's arrival, especially trying to help them understand that they would need to have some blood taken to help them in their research. This, of course, made them, the older two, very nervous--Baby was just dancing and going along for the ride.

When Chase and Dr. Robison first showed up at my door I got a flutter because I was so excited to see something I had been dreaming of beginning to bud into a reality. Oh, and, yes, you read that right, they arrived at our door! We didn't even have to take the kids out of their comfort zones, and that, in and of itself, was so helpful to my kids. I think that because of them being right in their own home they were able to do so much better on their IQ testing than they would have at a hospital or classroom.

Both Dr. Robison and Chase were so sweet and understanding with our kids and you could tell that they felt right at home with them and didn't even seem to notice anything "different" about them. In other words I felt like they were looking at them as the sweet little children they are and not just guinea pigs.

I think, so often when we think of research we are worried that our children are only the subject of a study and we tend to be nervous to volunteer them to be, what worry to be the lab rats.

This experience was nothing like this at all. There was lot of work on Dr. Robison's and Chase's parts to make friends with the kids and make them feel as comfortable as possible. They also made Marc and I feel better and more vested in the research by sitting down and talking to us about all the great things they have in mind to help those affected by Fragile X and those who are affected by Autism.

I was especially happy to hear Chase tell me that I was a big part of them being able to move forward for Fragile X.

I was also able to talk to Dr. Robison briefly about the seminar I want to arrange for this fall.

The tough side of all this was, exactly what you would have guessed, the blood draws for DNA purposes. Marc did great. I actually did well, considering I usually faint, but Chase did a great job. Baby had no idea what was happening and was just smiling at Elmo on Sesame Street until the needle went in. Then she cried until it was done, but then she was quickly consoled.

Sister was traumatized by the fact that she had been taken out of school early and was missing Library AND she was not sure what to expect from "blood being taken" from her.

Marc and I were amazed at her super human strength as we both held her to be able to get the needle in safely. That was where Chase's skills were truly put to the test and he stayed calm and kept praising her that she was doing so well... that made me laugh because I think I actually went deaf in my right here because of her screaming. I know, that makes me sound so cruel. I feel bad, really, even telling you that, but you just have to understand it is not necessarily the needle she is screaming about. It is all the anxiety of her schedule being different from the norm on a Thursday and the anxiety of the unknown. It is hard to calm anxiety that has been building up for hours. She was screaming long before the blood draw. She cried for about a half hour after the fact crying that they had taken her skin and she wanted it back, but was able to calmly collect herself to answer questions for her IQ testing with Dr. Robison. I was very proud of her.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that our dear, sweet Lindsey was there to help us. I am so glad I asked her to come help us out because we really needed her there to help with the other two while we were with the one getting blood taken.

My sister, Kirsten showed up during the terrible mayhem of Sister's blood draw experience and I think I may have traumatized her for life thinking that her sweet little Zac may act like that some day...

Brother had been taking his IQ test while all the rest of us were doing the blood thing so he was the last to have his blood drawn. In Brother's true character he was whining and complaining the entire time but was the bravest one of us all because he sat and watched the entire process! Amazing! I could never watch something like that without feeling faint, but he wanted to know exactly what was going on.

The best part of the whole day was after handshakes and smiles were exchanged and Dr. Robison and Chase were leaving that Brother hollered over the stair railing to them, "I want my blood back!"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ah... Utah!

Marc always says it's like we have beach front property, but in the mountains. (Oh, cute, he tries so hard to not miss the beach as much as he does.)

When you live in the mountains you sometimes get complacent about their grandeur and beauty.

We have made it a goal to hike, at least the trail that is 2 minutes from our house, each week. Hopefully that happens because our kids LOVED it!

The getting there was tough only because our closest friend, Anxiety showed up encouraging both Brother and Sister not to go. There was much weeping and dragging of feet (that's a pretty literal image as I carried my 13-year-old to the car screaming.

Then as soon as we got there it was as if heaven itself opened before their eyes. They were so happy and giddy and just wanted to take that trail all the way through the mountain. I was so happy seeing how great they did and how much they were enjoying it. It was also REALLY nice to get out into the rare sunshine.


Brother's feet aren't even touching the ground he was so happy to be galloping along the trail!





Two days later we had a visit from my sister, Jessie, and her family. The guys decided to take the older 5 kids on a hike on a different trail. It was pretty chilly that day so Jessie and I opted to stay home with Baby and get dinner ready for their arrival home.

I was so glad the took pictures. I love them all. I wish I would have gone just to see the view in person, but it was also fun to spend time with my sister.



Even though her face doesn't show it, she was having a great time!
And just look at those majestic, snow covered mountains!

On the summit (sort of) looking out at the valley





We really need to take advantage of where we live. We are pretty lucky to be here. I hope to have more pictures like these as the year goes on.



My next post I will be telling you all about our experience having Reid Robison come do research with our family. I am excited to see where this research goes here in Utah in bringing awareness of Fragile X Syndrome.

Blessings



Sometimes blessings in our lives are obvious and sometimes they are subtle and we have to search for them.

One thing that having all our children with Fragile X Syndrome has taught me is to search for my blessings. Blessings in Our Life aren't always obvious...

but sometimes there are so many obvious ones I just have to take pictures of them all and share them with you!

The flower pictures above is called an amaryllis. This beautiful red flower was given to us 12 days before Christmas last year. This is the second time it bloomed. It is actually growing a new start for a 3rd time right now in our kitchen window. This sweet amaryllis has been a blessing because Brother finds so much joy in it. He gets SO excited when another shoot starts up and he loves to take care of it and wait for the red flowers to come. Because of all his excitement Sister has followed his example and gets so excited about it too and makes sure I put it in the window every morning.

Who would know that a flower could be such a blessing in Our Life?



It was our night for respite care at Friday's Kids, but Baby still had a runny nose from her week-long cold so we gave up her spot for respite, took the other two and brought Baby with us on our date. I was kind of bummed about it at first, but it was actually fun to have her out for a little Parent/Daughter Date. (Remember I am listing blessings here, so I am not going to tell you about the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that happened in between the blessings...)




Sometimes it's the little things that are the most obvious blessings, like when your 3-year-old gets a Valentine's Card from her Grandma Lynne and Grandpa Gary with a whole dollar inside. She has now taken on the role of "mommy" by carrying her little silver purse around with her memory match cards and her dollar. It's so neat to see her following what she sees. It means that the wheels inside that head of hers are turning.



Or the fan that was given to Brother from "Aunt" Cathy last year at Thanksgiving. It brings him so much happiness. He even asked me to take a picture of him... not quite what I was hoping for, but, nonetheless a blessing to have him want a picture taken by me.



And then there's the fact that I am another year older and I am still not in a mental institution... that's a blessing right there. (smile)

Below is a picture of me trying to look like the picture my mom drew for me to wish me "Happy Birthday!" when I came to her house for the big bash.

It's also a blessing to be able to be with my family for my birthday. Even my Uncle Jeff brought cheese cake... yummy. Oh and to keep with tradition, Brother blew out my candle for me, which very much surprised me. He hasn't done that for a while so I forgot all about it. Everyone was singing "Happy Birthday" to me and when it was over I took a deep breath in and... Brother had already blown it out. It was so hilarious. What a blessing his sense of humor is!
 Cousins and friends are always a blessing.

Baby loves hanging out with her cousin LittleB, especially when it is in the secret tree house cubby in Sister's room.
 
friends who will come play games with me are always nice to have around

I mean, hello, see how happy I am... ?
Having my nephew Zac over to hold and take care of is a blessing for us because we miss having babies around this house.


I love watching what a blessing it is that Brother loves to be a big brother/cousin. He was so happy to hold Zac and feed him a bottle. I am so thankful that Brother enjoys that kind of interaction.



Speaking of Zac, he just had a blessing of his own. It was a baby blessing at church so that he will be officially on the records of the church and to be blessed with many other blessings in his life.

Not only was he blessed a few weeks ago, but, I was able to take some photos of him in his cute little blessing outfit. Awe!


It's been such a blessing to be with Zac as he reminds me so much of how Brother was as an infant. He was so happy and smiley and social with anyone who gave him attention. Oh my goodness he is cute! I can't hardly stand it!

It is such a blessing to be a photographer. I was having fun going around and taking pictures of everyone who came to my house for the luncheon after church. Oh, and that is something else we have been blessed with, a great home. I am so grateful for it and all who live around us.




 Everyone was having fun playing with the Magformers and getting pretty creative with them. I just had to take a few pictures of those. Tee hee!



I am so thankful for all the blessings in Our Life. We have many.

I just need to remember that more often...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Making a Difference

So, I have to admit that living in Utah and trying to get things moving forward in the world of Fragile X is really tough and sometimes very overwhelming. Our Association hasn't really had a strong presence here yet, therefore, it seems often that what I do is in vain.

Once in a while something happens that gives me the push to continue to move forward.

Sometimes something happens that makes me motivated enough to take action.

But this week, was a whole other story!

I was contacted by a psychiatric genetics researcher who is doing doing a family-based study on the genetics of  Fragile X Syndrome using whole genome sequencing. Which may seem like no big deal (or greek-one of the two, but the opportunity is RIGHT HERE IN UTAH!!!! Right here!!!

I don't have to travel across states to help in furthering research being done for Fragile X Syndrome! It's right here in my own back yard.

Oh, and it just gets better! This wonderful man even offered to do a seminar for our Association... for free! What! He is so excited about this project that he is putting his heart and soul into it. There was even mention while I was talking to him on the phone about eventually having a place here in Utah that offers help for Families affected by Fragile X... do I sense a Fragile X Clinic possibility for Utah in the future? I hope so. It was mentioned briefly while we were talking to him and I got so excited!

He even knew about our Parade of Pumpkins and was excited about that too!

Notice all the exclamation points in this post!!! Look at them all!!! This is complete and total excitement!

They are coming to start some of the research with my family next week. They are even coming right to my home! Awesome! My kids will do so much better if they don't have to go to a hospital or doctors office. I am also really excited to show them what a family who deals with Fragile X Syndrome every day is like.

I really hope that I am able to be a part in making a difference here in Utah. It may be years down the road but I am excited that it is even a possibility and I am excited to start on the path now!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My heart is so full on a day like today...

I love celebrating love!

I see nothing wrong with having a holiday where we get to celebrate such a wonderful and beautiful gift such as love!

Love is something everyone knows regardless of whether we choose to accept or even see it.

I love the fact that on Valentines we celebrate loving everyone, not just a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, that we celebrate love of God, life, friends, family and all and anything in between.

I love sending my kids with Valentines to give to their friends, classmates and teachers.

My Valentine's isn't over yet, but I wanted to post about it now while I have chance because I want to make sure to devote this special time to my family.

I was so happy with how Brother and Sister's Valentine's turned out! It was a chore in and of itself just to get them to let me take their pictures. And to top it off it was really hard to try to explain the concept behind the idea. I was going to give up and at first when I saw the pictures I was disappointed that they weren't just like all the other cute ones I see out there, but then I got all excited because it is totally their personality. Especially Brother's. Ha! He is hiding his face and everything.


Aren't they adorable! And to top it all off, Marc stayed up with me until 11:00 putting them together! He punched the holes for me and helped put suckers in and cut them out. Boy, my husband is sexy!

I didn't put Baby's together because she has been sick all week and is still sick so I knew she wouldn't be going to school... Well, I did put a few together of hers but I haven't taken a picture of them yet.

Sister was up at 1:30 am this morning and never did go back to sleep! Why was she up? Oh, I am sure that the anxiety/anticipation of her school field trip to go bowling and the long anticipated Valentine's Day Party were the culprits. So I got a few winks (literally) in between her keeping busy on her iPod and crawling into bed next to me.

When I joined Marc at 6:45am in the kitchen before he was going to work I can in to see that he had written all of us Valentine's Cards on red hearts that he had cut out himself. I know, he just gets sexier! (I know, I know, get a room... )

Those 4 hearts are for me, Brother, Sister and Baby and that is Brother eating his pasta for breakfast.


Before Brother was up to eat breakfast, Baby had come into Brother's bed to snuggle up and help him wake up for school! Oh, how I love my snuggle bug!

 
This was Sister's Valentine's kiss for her Daddy! (smile)


And for me my Valentine's Day started off quite fantastically because I didn't have any reactions to the new medication I started on to help with the funk I have been in.

Not only did it already help me out, but I didn't not get the rash around my mouth like it said MIGHT happen as a reaction.

 Ya, I know, I can't believe I posted this picture either, but hey, I'm just keeping it real! This is the picture I sent to my mom and sister to let them know I was still alive...

I know, sounds dramatic, huh!

Have you ever read the warnings and side effects of medication you take? I usually try not to, but this particular med I started has a HUGE warning in bold on a page all by itself! Ya! That kind of makes you panic. And when the pharmacist has to tell you all about it, you get a little scared.

"This medication may cause a severe rash around the mouth and face that can also cause swelling of the throat and may cause suffocation, also known as Stevens Syndrome."

Ya! Ppppfffttthhh! Scared me!

But, I put trust in my doctor and went for it, but also told my mom, sister and Marc about it, just in case something tragic happened...

And I survived without a rash.

That picture above is not pretty, but it ain't full of red spots... OK, maybe it is, but that's not a rash... and I know my nose looks huge. There is this weird genetic thing in my family where all of us wake up with what I lovingly call the Morning Big Nose. Whatever, deal with it. Oh, and no those are not shadows under my eyes, that would be yesterday's mascara. Yes, those are huge bags under my eyes, remember, I've been up since 1:30.

So, as a recap of my day:
I am so happy that I am alive and well and have the opportunity to love my children and my husband!
I love love.
I am happy we have a holiday to be reminded of how wonderful it is and to make sure we share it.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For the Love of Blog!

I have found out that I love to blog.

I know, I know, this may be a shock to you all.

But, I really love it.

I keep trying to not spend much time blogging/writing so that I don't encroach on my time with my family, but I am realizing that blogging is part of what keeps me happy. I always knew that, but now I really know it. I get so happy to write things down so that I can see how wonderful my life is or even when it is not wonderful that I can laugh at it, AND when it is not wonderful or funny, I can vent, fall apart and be completely public about it! Ha!

Anyway, I am going to try to make the time to write more often.

When I was writing everyday about all my "UPS!" it was really fun to focus on  my life in such a positive way. So, if I have something to say, I am hoping that I will allow myself the time to say it here on my blog.

Notice how I am making no commitment because I don't want to pressure myself, but it will be my goal and knowing how happy it makes me I am hoping that it will be more often than not.

Sooooo.....

today, since I haven't written in a while, I have a few random things to post.

Sister LOVES Angry Birds. So the clothing is a must:
Oh, wow, that smile is a winner... Tee hee!


My brother, Daniel, is still a kid at heart (all of me and my siblings are) and he just got a new set of blocks to play with:
ya... amazing...


Sister wanted to show him the cool things she builds with her "blocks."
She just woke up so she's got a little morning look going on...
Sister also really likes to take pictures with me!


Brother got a new haircut and he didn't want me to take his picture but he was also so excited for me to send the picture of his new haircut to his Aunt Jessie, so this was his "meet in the middle of anxiety and excitement" face. Ah. I love that kid!


Baby has been talking like crazy! Seriously! I mean... SERIOUS!

video

Baby and Sister LOVE to take tubs together every night! They make me giggle because their favorite part is at the end of the tub, singing the "clean up" song when we put all their tub toys away! Sometimes I will just have gotten the tub filled when Baby announces "clean up!" Ah, it's the best. Sorry you don't get to see that but you get to see an up close picture of Baby's sweet bath face!



And, of course I didn't want my littler brother, Aaron to feel left out if I didn't show his talents off in this blog post so I finally put a video together of his fantastic dance moves!

Enjoy!



OK. I feel better now.

Oh, crap, now I have to get the Valentines together for my kids tomorrow! Sheesh! See ya!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

School Woes

So, yesterday was Parent Teacher Conference for Sister.

The book fair is also going at the same time.

When Marc and I left the kids with Lindsey to attend the meeting and the book fair, Sister had a pretty good sized melt down because she wanted to come with us so she could show us the book she wanted. I kept reassuring her that we would find a book she loves and she would actually survive.

After peeling her from my extremities and quickly escaping from the house before she could grasp onto me again Marc and I jumped into the car and were off to PTC. (For all those who may not know "parent" lingo, PTC is the cool way of saying Parent Teacher Conference. OK, proceed...)

We got to the school a little early just so we could go to the book fair and find the ultimate LEGO Star Wars book they had there. We took a picture of it and sent it to Lindsey instructing her to ask Sister if that, was indeed, the book she had been dreaming of.

It was!

All right!

On to PTC.

Talking with Sister's teacher was actually very enjoyable. Sister is doing so well that it was just exciting to talk about how she is doing and all she has been accomplishing. We tried not to focus too long on her anxiety, because, well, that just gets us all anxious...

So, we brought back the book and all was well.

Until...

Marc left with Brother to Scouts and I was home with the girls who were enjoying looking at the new LEGO book.

Then I had a friend come to the door and we talked for a while and then said our goodbyes.

I saw Baby sitting in front of the new book, thoroughly engaged...

... wait ...

is that a pen in her hand?

Yep.

And yes, she is drawing in Sister's brand new, pricy-for-a-school-book-fair book!!

And the wailing and gnashing of teeth began.

But, all was well when I announced to Sister that she could take her book to school the next day and show it to her friends and no one would even care about the scribbles.

That was such a good a idea.

Too bad I didn't remember to get it down off the fridge to send with her this morning.

Then Sister came home from school with 2 woes. 1) she for got her LEGO Star Wars book! and 2) she now wanted "A new Lineus (Phineus) Ferb" book

I had to say "no" because we already got her one. It wasn't pretty at first but she seems to have accepted the fact finally. Of course she is asleep now, so all seems pretty well for now...

Now for my school woes:

I never help with school things. It's not that I don't want to. I do. It just seems that with the situation of our children, volunteering to help a lot at school just doesn't end up happening.

Well, today there was an opportunity to help for a PTA thing going on at Harmon's Grocery Store. I had signed up for a30 minute shift to serve ice cream. Well, I get there and we are not doing ice cream, we are doing apple slices poked with a toothpick flag and a tooth pick with a couple of grapes to poke into the apple and "voila!"

The first girl I worked with was very nice and we talked for the few minutes we were there together until the next shift volunteer cam along.

She had brought a friend.

There was room for two people.

So the two friends sat and talked about nothing I could relate to, nor could they even try to involve me because they hadn't even looked at me yet and they had been there for 10 minutes. I helped a small rush of kids make their apple boats while the girls continued to chat.

I thought now that the crowd had died down I would try to jump into the conversation and get to know the ladies. After all, I was only going to be there 5 more minutes.

After making a few unnoticed efforts to talk to these ladies the one standing and talking to the sitting one turned to me... I actually got a little happy thinking she was finally going to act like I exist, and she said, "You can go, I'll just stay." And then she sat down and they didn't even take a moment from their conversation to reply a "goodby" when I gave one.

...

I felt like the new girl in high school.

Sheesh!

Maybe I just don't fit into the volunteering parent realm.

In all honesty, even if I could join in on their conversation, I wouldn't have had much to add. They were in a whole other league than me.

You know the league of "My kids are perfect, we have money to do whatever we want, and don't even ask if they're real!"

So, my first experience volunteering for the PTA was not exactly the best half hour of my life, but at least I can say I helped once.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My mind wanders sometimes

I am having one of those "back" days where actually getting stuff done like laundry, dishes, vacuuming and sensory activities for the kids are tasks that I can't even think about, let alone do...

So, I have been laying here on the couch with an ice pack watching for the kids' buses to come home while I answer emails, send emails and drum up wonderful ideas and documents for the Fragile X Association so that I don't feel completely useless today.

Aside from being a wife and mother there are 6 things I LOVE to do.

1) Photography
2) Write
3) Graphic Design
4) Sing/Perform/Public Speaking
5) Create things, like jewelery or artwork
6) make photo DVD's for family or friends

So today with the options I have, I have decided to write. Maybe that will make me feel useful and may make me laugh as I write!

I have had a few things on my mind today funny and serious and you may get them all... we'll see.

I was looking at a blog of another family and observing the pictures of their children. It got me thinking about the way a lot of us parents dress our children in this day an age, or even how we dress in this day and age. There's so much vintage, so much color, so many throw-backs to the good old days. I wonder if it is humanity's way of trying to take ourselves back to times when things were simpler, families were closer, and life was slower.

I've noticed trends of home schooling, do-it-yourself projects, refurbishing old furniture to look like older furniture, and making things out of stuff like toilet paper rolls.

I am amazed at what women and mothers are doing now days and all the time they devote to making things better or making things from other things so that they don't have to buy new things or add more garbage to the world.

But, I have to say that there is this part of me that also rolls my eyes at this...

Not because they disgust me or even bother me...

I think I roll my eyes because I am jealous. I would love to be able to make shelves to put in my daughters room that I made out of recycled 5-gallon icecream buckets neatly arranged and modge-podged by the latest scrapbook paper from the Hobby Lobby. I think that toilet paper roll coin purses wrapped neatly in vintage skirt cloth from my grandmother's closet would be so sentimental and shabby-chic. I would love to fill my house with  decorations that are made from decorative rubber matts sprayed with spray paint and sanded to look like antiqued iron, or old wooden shingles that have been refurbished into block letters hand carved with my old kitchen knife that I have refurbished by added a handle made out of the copper tubing from re-plumbing my pipes with the flexi-pipe. (Oh for Pete's sake it is amazing what people do!)

I would also love to have my daughter, who demands to have SHORT hair, wear sweet chic dresses made of white linen, with sweater tights and a blue ribbon tied neatly around the waist and riding boots to add to the "American Doll" look. Oh, and that she would wear a matching ribbon tied around her head like a sweet little headband topped off with a flower. And I would love to have my youngest daughters hair curled and styled by using cloth rags over night to make the perfect ringlets to match her cute little faux fur vest and matching faux fur-topped boots with ruffled skirt.

And then I want to go take these cute little children and take their photos while they pose willingly and happily so that I can hang massive canvases all over my house in neatly arranged patterns that I have pinned on Pinterest.

And then I want to have the amazing house that looks like it was set up for a magazine shoot and my kitchen has shelves and cupboards that look like they just came out of the Home Magazine.

OK, OK, so maybe I am a little jealous. I think these things are cool... funny, in a way, but cool.

But, I have to face my reality.

That stuff I listed above is just not Our Life.

At all.

I am lucky that I remember to change the toilet paper roll to the new roll, let alone put it somewhere to be saved and then re-purposed. Besides, in my house, I don't even know if the toilet paper roll would be sanitary.

If I made cubby shelves out of 5 gallon ice cream buckets and modge podged them with beautiful paper they would just become the canvas for Sister's latest artwork. And dresses are only a 3 hour requirement for Sundays and will not be worn at ANY other time or the world may fall apart before her very eyes. And if she ever wore things that were frilly and girly no one would recognize her outside of her Angry Birds T-shirt and jeans comfort zone. Having Baby let me curl her hair would take and act of God. Seriously.

But there are some things about today's styles I can definitely embrace (an you'll notice this is something that takes no effort on my part). I am so grateful that colored jeans are in for boys. You don't know how long Brother has wanted to have green pants. Well, now he has them and is happy as can be.

I love all the color in the world right now.

I wish movies would take note of color and not make so many dark movies. Can't Hollywood see we have seen enough dark and are ready for color. I love watching old musicals, not only for the reason I LOVE the music but because the colors are so vibrant. Ever seen "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"?



That movie is full of color! And Pinterest does not lie, if you look there you will see all the color and vibrance that we all long for!

OK, OK, so Hollywood is not to blame and Pinterest is not always right, but Social Media certainly is the wave of the future.

When I first heard of Pinterest I was thinking, "Why in the world would I want to 'pin' stuff to look at and hope I achieve." So I pin things hoping that someday I will actually accomplish or do some of these fantastic ideas that so many people have been smart enough to come up with. It can be overwhelming to see how creative and busy mom's are while I just pin what they have done so that people think I am as cool as that and will actually do all those things I pinned.

Raise of hands here, how many of you have pins that just collect dust on your Pinterest Board only because you love the idea of the idea and hope someone will want to repin your repin of some one else's repin? Be honest... you know you do it.

So in this world of over-achieving-upcycling-vintaged-shabby-chic people I can sit back and make fun of some of them because it is kind of funny when you think about re-purposed flyswatters and cottage cheese containers. I can also sit back and wish that even with all the craziness of it, I had reason or means to do it because it really does all look quite picture perfect.

I just have to remind myself that we are also in a day and age of technology and Photoshop does wonders to anyone's reality.

(smirk)

The changes I'm seeing...

are, in one word, miraculous!

Baby has been talking, and singing, and, tonight, she prayed!

Yep! Prayed!

OK... so when I say "pray" I mean it in the way that we know she means it...

here let me 'splain:

I had just come home from buying Brother his week supply of apples (which may only last 3 days) to my family gathered in our front room. Marc was on one side getting his Family Home Evening Lesson together and there were our 3 sweeties on the other side:




All three kids snuggled up under Sister's bed cover ready to learn from their dad.

We sang our opening songs, "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam" and "Popcorn Popping." That, I thought, was going to be the highlighted "UP" of my day, listening to my girls singing so happily while Brother sang behind his iPod so we wouldn't know he was joining in.

But, then it came time for the opening prayer.

Now this part I think we owe to the good Primary Teachers Baby has, because as soon as we said it was time for prayer Baby popped up out of her spot in the middle of the tripod and came waddling over to snuggle next to me with her arms folded looking at me for support in saying her prayer.

...

That, I have to say, was one of the sweetest moments of my time in motherhood. She has been taught and been watching other children praying with the help of their teachers and she new that when it was time to say prayer that's what you did.

I proceeded to cuddle up to her and loudly whisper a few words at a time for her to say out loud. She was grinning from ear to ear looking around at her siblings and dad while quietly squeaking out what were supposed to be words but were mere mumblings in high-pitched tones. (I wonder if one of the girls in her class has a very sweet and soft spoken voice because it seemed she was imitating someone.) After "amen" Marc and I looked at each other with the biggest, heartwarming smiles. We were so touched by her ambition to say the prayer.

After our lesson, which was this:


We sang another song to close and then asked for any volunteers for closing prayer. We ALWAYS ask this question at each Family Home Evening and every dinner time, rarely Sister will volunteer, never Brother and we don't even expect it from Baby. But, just like opening prayer, Baby popped up from her place under the blanket and routinely came to cuddle by me and Marc to whisper-squeak the closing prayer.

I just couldn't go to bed tonight without documenting this moment in time.

I am so touched by the spirit our Baby brought into our home tonight that I would have to say "UP" may not even describe how I feel.

"BETTER" might be pretty close.

Oh, and P.S. if you ever want to know how wonderful your husband is, watch him lead a Family Home Evening. It's pretty sexy watching your sweet hubby teach your children about the gospel...

Just sayin' ...