As I left Jeff with the kids at the restaurant tonight because I am frustrated that they aren't responding the way I want, I have gained even more appreciation for my parents. They were 16 and 19 when they were married and ended up being married for 37 years. They were not perfect, but they were an amazing example of love, dedication, faith and perseverance. It is not easy being a parent, but they taught me that the most important relationship is that of husband and wife and then you can be united as parents. I am so impressed that they both broke the cycle of broken marriages(of their own parents) and found comfort in a secure relationship with one another.
I thought of their marriage and my relationship with my father as I attended the temple this morning. I am so grateful that he fulfilled his duty as a father. I learned so much from him- mostly patience and love. That is what he gave me unconditionally. I am grateful that I can still feel him close to me, being my personal cheerleader and helping me not give up when I get frustrated with my weaknesses.
I miss him every day, but especially today. I love you Dad!
We had a very nice Thanksgiving with good friends. We did not take many pictures, but just enjoyed the time together chatting away while the kids played. We had a fantastic dinner, and I believe my first attempt at a turkey all by myself was a success! I also made the homemade rolls, and K made everything else. She is a fantastic cook and everything was yummy! She even made my favorite-banana cream pie- on a moment's notice. That brought back all of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. We missed being with family, but were grateful to share it with friends.
I am a little behind on posting because I am at my favorite place- the beach. It is gorgeous weather and it is just our little family. We are enjoying the time we have to relax and be together. The weather has been incredible and we are loving it! We are thankful for friends who share their amazing condo with us. I will share pictures when we get back home!
The beach has always been a special place to me because of the connection I feel with my dad when I am there. I am never happier or more at peace than when near an ocean. I also love how happy the kids are just playing in nature.
One of the little perks of this house was a surround sound stereo system. Jeff was excited about this because it is something he wouldn't have bought on his own most likely, but can appreciate good sound! So, many nights our house is found with all of my kids and Jeff and I rocking out to whatever comes up on my Ipod. Some of our favorites: Dynamite, Eye of the Tiger, Beat It, Evacuate the Dance Floor, Hey Soul Sister, California Gurls, anything else!
This nightly practice has made 2 of my 3 kids very comfortable up on stage! For the church talent show, Bryce performed Beat It and Emily sang "What a Wonderful World". I was very proud of both of them.
I know I already wrote about Jeff, but today I got to enjoy being with him! My good friend, Ranell, called and asked if I could watch her daughter while she went to the doctor. I said "Sure!" I said that I would be bringing the kids to mat time at the Y and then she mentioned that she had child watch appointments for the kids at 11:30. She offered to keep Bryce with her too from 11:30-1pm. I was very excited because I was wanting to get some alone time with Jeff today anyway! It is the anniversary of our first date and I love celebrating it even if it is a movie at home after the kids go to bed. This fun lunch date was exactly what we needed today. I surprised Jeff and he loved it! I am grateful for a friend who is willing to help out like this!
Bryce and his half birthday
Today is Bryce's half birthday! My kids are so funny that they like to celebrate this. Last week, someone asked Bryce how old he is and I said, "4 1/2". He said, "No, I'm not. Not until November 21st!!" We have just started a tradition this year that on their half birthday they get a date with mom and dad. So, I took him and his buddy Spencer to McDonald's for ice cream cones and cake! It was fun watching them play. Those are some of my favorite moments as a mom!
I promise that I am still feeling thankful, I was just busy this week with nine 4 year olds at my house! It was my turn to teach the kids in our co-op preschool. For the past 2 1/2 months, I have been dropping Bryce off at different friends' houses from 8:30-noon and he comes home a happy boy who has loved learning and being with friends! In return for this "free" preschool, I take my turn teaching. This is something I have chosen to do instead of traditional preschool. I tried it with Dallin and found that I really enjoyed being part of his school experience. I am always nervous right before my time to teach, but each time I do, I remember how much I love this age! The kids are so fun and eager to learn and they say the funniest things. (I learn some good dirt sometimes!) The other moms are fantastic and good friends of mine and I feel strongly that my kids have a good base for school and have a great time! But, when it's my turn to teach, not much else gets done, hence the blog not getting updated!
I am also thankful for my "older" sister Crystal who turned 29 today! I had a long conversation with her today and I was reminded how kind, generous and loving she is. We have grown even closer over the years and I am so grateful to have her in my life. I love when people say I look like her, because I think she is just beautiful!
It has taken us a few years, but tonight we finished the Book of Mormon for the first time as a family. Woo hoo! We try to read at least a few verses each day, but it doesn't always happen. I remember when we first started becoming consistent, Dallin's reading ability really improved. Now, it is amazing to hear Emily and Bryce both read through the Book of Mormon verses. Moroni's promise is in the last chapter of Moroni, and I hope my kids will take the challenge for themselves. I have prayed about it and I KNOW that it is a true book. It was written for us. When I take time to read it each day on my own, I am given the strength and the answers I need for that day.
Today I was working on my Christmas cards*. As I wrote each name, I loved that different, special memories came flooding through for each one. There are the family members who have been there for me since I was a kid. There are the friends that I had in high school and college that I love seeing their families grow through pictures. There is the family that I gained when I married Jeff, all of whom I love deeply! I really hit the jackpot with my in-laws, and I mean that!! Last there are the friends that Jeff and I have made since we have been married. Jeff had an internship in Austin, TX the first summer we were married and in Ft. Collins, CO the second summer we were married. We still hear from some of the friends we made in those cities. And of course, there are friends that have moved from Oregon since we have lived here almost 11 years. All of these friends and family still hold a special place in my heart. One of my favorite things about Christmas is receiving Christmas Cards. I love putting them up on a door in my house, and I probably leave them up too long because I love seeing all the faces! So, here is my plug! Don't forget to send us a Christmas card! We love them!! And if you would like one from us, and you don't know if you are on my "list" let me know!
*Don't be too impressed with my sending Christmas cards out so early. I want to send them out first with our new address. Last year, Jeff told me not to put the address of our rental house because we didn't know how long we would be there. He said to put the P.O. Box. I said, "We are going to be here for years, I am sure!" Well, he was right, so here I am sending out cards in November!
Today I taught (more like facilitated!) a class on Dating in Marriage. When I was given the assignment over a month ago, I felt a little inadequate. The focus was cheap, creative dates. I definitely can do the "cheap" part, but I don't think that Jeff and I are super creative or anything. But, when I thought about it, I realized that we have been pretty good about still having fun in our marriage. We have made sure to find ways to do things we love doing together or choosing something that the other person would really love to do. I am grateful that Jeff has made this a priority and I definitely think it has helped us grow stronger through the years. I loved the chance I have had over this month to think about some of my favorite dates with him. It made me appreciate and love him even more. Our marriage hasn't been perfect, but I know that we both are 100% committed and we still really enjoy being together!
Some of our favorite "dates"
1. Running on Saturday mornings while training for a race.
2. Jeff surprised me with chinese takeout and a romantic boat ride.
3. Kelly Clarkson concert
4. So you think you can dance
5. Cruises (my favorite kind of dates)
6. Laser Tag with other couples
7. Boating with other couples
8. Dance lessons
9. Jeff surprising me with tickets to Wicked for my 30th.
10. 49ers Rams football game
11. Wendy's and Johnny B's comedy club (1st date!)
12. Concerts for Jeff
13. Out to dinner by ourselves or with friends
15. Boogie boarding
16. Late Night with David Letterman
17. Broadway Plays
18. First art museum- the Met
19. BYU football games
20. BYU basketball games
21. Shakes at the malt shop
23. Out for lunch
24. Red Sox game
25. Magic Mountain
(Thanks to Oscarson Photography for the great pic of us! I love it!)
I love when my theory that people in general are kind hearted is proved true. Some examples:
1. I was taking Emily to a play and realized I needed cash. I had the baby with me, so I picked walgreens because the cashier is so close. As I bought a card and asked for cash back, he said the pin pad was broken. I kind of wear my emotions on my sleeves and blurted,"that is the reason I came here and now I need to take the baby somewhere else." he could see my frustration(along with the rest of the store" and realized he had a solution. He voided everything out and rook me to a different cashier spot. I was very grateful. Smallthing, but huge difference for me.
2. A new friend came over today to hold the baby so I could get some catch up time. It was great conversation getting to know her, and I got my floors clean.
There are more but I am tired and need to go to bed!
As we are back in the fun world of infertility, I am reminded how grateful I am for the 3 beautiful children I have. They are cute, smart, fun, funny and bring me so much joy. They are each so different and I love seeing their little personalities come out. They also bring frustration, disappointment (mostly with myself) and sadness, but I will gladly take all that to be their mom.
Each and every child is a true miracle. That much I know.
This is a picture of my aunt Marlynn, my sister Crystal, and me at the Angels game last summer. I grew up loving the Angels because my dad was such a huge fan. Being at the game last year with my aunt(who is my dad's beautiful baby sister!) and my sisters and their families is one of my favorite memories of that trip. (And the fireworks show was awesome!)
It is my Aunt Marlynn's birthday today. I have always felt very close to her and my cousins. I loved growing up with all of them. One of the hardest things of living far away is not getting to see them as often as I would like. This summer we rented a cabin in the mountains and got to all be together to play games and just hang out. I loved it!
Here are some things I love about Marlynn:
1. She is a fabulous mom! She has 5 great kids who are all amazing! Seriously!
2. She is an awesome beautician. I always have her cut my hair when I go home.
3. She is always doing something for others. She is one of the most generous people I know.
4. She is real and genuine.
5. She has always been there for me.
6. She is gorgeous!!
7. I want to be like her when I grow up!!
I am so grateful for the wonderful family that I grew up in, and the ones I gained through marrying Jeff. I feel so very blessed.
Sitting on my couch with a sweet baby in my arms-the world stops spinning for a little while, and all is right and good. I love new babies. I am grateful for a friend who trusted me with her baby for a little while. He is precious and I am getting used to sleep deprivation, and just enjoying seeing my children enamored with him.
Today at church, I was reminded how grateful I am to know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and knows even the smallest details of my life and of ME. He created me and loves me for who I am, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks I should be. His love envelops me when I turn to Him. I am not perfect, but I am His daughter!
I posted this picture because of what it represents. Emily snapped this picture of me while we were jumping at an all-trampoline place. I had a blast with my kids!! I am heavier than I have been in a couple of years and it is really frustrating. When I saw this picture, at first I hated it because of how my body looks. Then I looked at it again, and saw the pure joy on my face, and how excited Emily was about taking the picture. She didn't notice that my body isn't as thin as I have been in the past. Health isn't just about your weight. It is about how you feel and what you can do with your body. I know that my heart is in good shape. I went out and ran 11 miles last Saturday and was reminded that my body is still strong. I can still do a back flip on the trampoline and can keep up with my kids. That is what health is all about-that is the kind of example I want to be. I hope my kids (especially my daughter) never hear me talk about my weight, but about my health. Diabetes runs in my family, so that is my main reason for healthy eating and exercise. I want to be there for a LONG time for my kids. I know there are people who can't run and jump who want to, and I want to recognize my blessing of good health!
Ya got time for a story? Well, here's a long one. :-)
When Jeff was interviewing for jobs after BYU, our choices were in Silicon Valley, CA, Austin, TX, Ft. Collins, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and Portland, OR. We were pretty sure we didn't want to live in Silicon Valley, so that one was crossed off pretty quickly. SLC sounded great to be near his family, but he worried about there being a small market for hardware engineers. (There is a huge market if you are a software engineer, but not quite the same thing!) We had lived in Austin, TX the summer of 1999 and Ft. Collins, CO in the summer of 2000, so we would have been happy with either of those, so that is where we were leaning. When Jeff went to OR for his first interview, he called me after(we didn't have cell phones yet!) and told me about the most beautiful bridge he had been across. He fell in love with Portland, and said, "Kelly, you have got to come here!" So, he had an interview with another company in Portland and asked if I could come with him for the trip. They agreed and I fell in love also! I went out with a realtor (yes, I went out with a realtor in each city- I was ready to buy a house after moving 7 times in the first 2 1/2 years of marriage!) and as we drove around, we came down this street and I knew if we moved there, it was the neighborhood I would live in.
It was a tougher decision for Jeff to make than he thought it would be. We finally narrowed it down to Austin or Portland. We made a list on paper with all the pros and cons and Austin seemed to win out. We even knew the house we would live in on Lake Travis. The cost of living was much lower in Texas than in Portland, and we really wanted to be able to buy a boat quickly. We went to bed and both were excited about the decision. We had lived in Austin and loved it and had friends there. It seemed like the right fit. Well, neither of us slept well that night. We woke up the next morning and realized we had made the wrong decision. We decided to move to Portland. It was scary. We did not have any friends or family living there, although Jeff had a cousin who would be going to law school there for another year or two, about 40 minutes south. We rented an apartment really close to Jeff's work, but I immediately went out to that neighborhood I had found 2 months earlier. I called the missionaries (since I didn't know anyone!) and asked them if they could give me the number of a family in the area who would tell me about the builders and schools, etc. Well, they told me about a street that had 15 LDS families living on it. The woman we called said they still had 2 houses for sale on their street and took us through them an hour later! Within a few days we had an offer on the house and we moved in 6 weeks later. It was perfect. We had a built-in family and we loved that house! We ended up living there almost 10 years.
The reason I am reminiscing is we had dinner with our good friends tonight and they were our very first friends in Oregon. So, we have been friends now for almost 11 years. We were set up on a "couples" date with them and one other Newlywed couple. None of us had kids yet and we hit it off really well. She ended up being in the hospital with me when I had Dallin and we have remained very close through the years. They even moved to CA for 3 years and we visited them there. (See Sarah, I promise we will keep in touch!! ) I love Oregon, and I love that I have a history with people. I think of all that has happened since we have been here- infertility, the passing of my father, job changes, life changes, 3 children, ADD diagnosis, disappointments, heartaches, accomplishments, my running group, playdates, beach trips, park days, good talks with friends, boating, and it all comes down to living in Portland and our little town. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people who live here and who have touched my life over the years. I will never forget the way I felt as I drove down the tree-lined street with the beautiful changing colors. I knew this was where I was supposed to be.
When my visiting teachers came by this week, it ended up turning into a huge crying session. I was a complete mess. One of my new visiting teachers, who I am meeting for the first time, lost her father this past year. So, obviously she understands better than anyone else why November is so difficult for me. They gave me a great message of love and the love of God and my other visiting teacher challenged me to see my blessings as well. I decided to look at some of my trials and what blessings came from them.
I always knew that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. I just didn't realize how emotional that process would be. We tried on our own for a year with Dallin and then went to clomid. Thankfully, it only took 2 months of clomid. After 20 hours of labor, the doctor informed me that I would need to have a C-section because Dallin's heart rate kept dropping and he was obviously in distress. I was devastated and disappointed. All I had heard was how awful recoveries from C-sections are. And with no family around, I was terrified of making it work on my own.
When I got home from the hospital, I took the doctor's advice of not doing anything for 2 weeks and just snuggled my baby. I was so in love with Dallin. I loved watching every little movement. I didn't think I could slow down like that for 2 weeks, but I was wrong! Jeff really stepped it up and did all the diaper changes and took Dallin whenever he could. I am convinced that the C-section is what allowed Jeff to bond with the baby even more than he would have otherwise. I know that the babies taking extra work to get down here have helped me appreciate them more and the C-section allows me to truly take time off of life to enjoy them. The really good news is that after 2 weeks, my recovery is pretty complete. With Bryce, I was even able to run a marathon 4 1/2 months later. :-) So, while both of these things were disappointing to me, they have led to these blessings.
It has been a crazy year, but I wouldn't trade one bit! I loved living out on acreage, but we feel at home right where we are. I have always loved this home (we bought it from a friend of mine) and I never would have guessed it would one day be ours. We back up to acreage, which I love! It makes me feel like we are in the country. We even have horses at the end of our dead end street. My kids have seemed to make the transition very well. I have had a lot of good friends help with the decorating and I am truly loving the place we call "home."
I decided to start November off the right way for me. I went to the temple this morning. It was a great way to gain perspective and peace and think about my dad. I am so grateful to know families are forever and I WILL see him again. It still stinks that he is not here and I get sad that my kids don't get to hang out with him here, but I am grateful for the knowledge that this life isn't the end.