Monday, October 31, 2016


Happy Halloween~ The kids in jr. high down dressed up for school. Ethan was an emoji, Hyrum was a weird hippy (although most people asked him if he was Jeremy from Studio C)
Melodie stayed up til 1 am with him last night helping him make the mustache. ...and some armpit hair. Nice. Owen didn't get a costume and he didn't even care, yay!
Wesley was cotton candy. He wanted to continue the sugary costume theme - following his cupcake and lollipop costumes that he made in years past.
Last night Corey and Ethan were trying to talk him out of it. "You are in middle school... It's cute Wes... but cute can get you beat up these days. Do you have any other options?" And I was telling them to shut up - Wes is happy with it, and he's done making it, it's 10 at night, I don't want kids staying up or to have to start over with this cursed holiday costume search, please, let's be done! They teased him saying he looked like a fluffy unicorn. Stop it, stop teasing the cotton candy! Lily obeyed me and used an old witch outfit from the costume box. She used this for her 2nd grade Halloween program. She was a good little witch.
And the older kids were hanging out with friends, so no costumes or trick or treating for them, yay, less candy around here to tempt me.
For the evening, we celebrated with our usual tradition with pizza at the neighbors house, trick our treating around the hood, and ending with root beat floats at the Jensen's house. 
Corey went over with the kids for pizza while I helped kids finish getting ready. It wasn't too hard - Natalie changed outfits three times and then ended up wearing the clothes she had been in all day - her Elsa pajamas. They didn't want me to curl their hair "My hair already looks like Ariel!" fine by me... so smack on a little lip stick and they were ready to go.
Corey was done after the pizza party, so he stayed home with Owen and Natalie and I took Sophi and Lily trick or treating. Hyrum helped me keep an eye on the little girls. He gave some of the parents concern as they wondered who was that guy getting candy with their kids. It was a little chilly, so we barely got half way around the block when Sophi was begging to be done. So I took them home and Hyrum kept going with the neighborhood kids. I had strapped Daniel to me with the baby wrap, but when I got inside he was ready to eat. Made it a little tricky and him a little frustrated to have me stop nursing him as I kept answering the doorbell. Around 9 I turned off all the lights and we headed upstairs to hunker down until the older kids got home and we could call it a day. Survived another Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pics of Hogle Zoo

Corey took the kids to Hogle Zoo last Saturday (Oct 22nd). Here are some pictures of their fun. We'll start with my favorite - I love this picture of Wes and Owen on the merry go round ~
Owen is such a cutie, look at those big blue eyes. And Wes is his BFF forever, Wesley is such a good brother and takes such good care of him. This picture captures all that perfectly. The rest of the kids had fun on the merry go round too~ Pretty Lily~
Pretty Abi
Pretty Natalie!
Can't find a pic of pretty Sophi. Here's another of Lily though - she looks like she's having fun.
The man of the hour that made the kid outing possible, everyone say "Thanks Dad!!"
Ah, here's one of Hyrum and Sophi. And that is all for now - Daniel's crying...
I was probably home feeding Daniel, as I shall go do now. I'm glad we can divide and conquer sometimes, though I don't feel like I conquer with the half I'm left with much of the time...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's Gonna Be Okay

I've been thinking about Annie Schmidt this week. The Piano Guys said via facebook that yesterday was going to be the last day that they looked for her, and the day ended with no more leads or discoveries as to her whereabouts. If you didn't know, Jon Schmidt is the pianist of that music group and his daughter went missing after going on a hike in Oregon and was last seen on October 16th. We have kept her and the Schmidts in our prayers individually and as a family. I read the statement that the mom, Michelle, made today and I am in awe.

I desire for everyone to know, who has exercised their faith in behalf of our family, your faith has not gone unanswered. We have been literally carried and sustained through day after day. We have felt a calm and a peace beyond ourselves that have enabled us to get up each morning and function and do what needs to be done that day to continue our efforts to find our daughter. We know that this is a result of your prayers. Thank you (times a million). 

We have been unable to find our sweet daughter’s body at this time. But these things we know. We know that Heavenly Father has heard the countless prayers and combined faith exercised by people literally all over the world. We know He has heard us, and if He choses to not show us where to find her, then we trust that there is a purpose in this. We know we are in His hands. We know He loves us and everyone who has reached out in such kindness and support. We can feel peace in putting our lives in His hands and pray that His purposes will be fulfilled in this whole experience.

What amazing examples, wow. What great faith ~ I want to be able to face my trials (so small in comparison!) with that kind of hope and trust in God. I was thinking of the Schmidts as I recenlty re-listened to their song "It's Gonna Be Okay". I first heard that before Annie went missing. But now ~ Can they still sing that and still believe that given these new circumstances? In tragedy and death, do we believe it's gonna be okay? From that statement I can tell that the Schmidts do, they made this video with faith like that in mind! "Michelle's optimism and faith is what our music and videos are all about" Also loved this post by Steven Nelson, the "cello" guy - Let these experiences give us an increase, not a decrease - "An increase of faith and empathy. An increase in gratitude for every moment we have with the people we love. An increase in long hugs instead of stern rebukes. An increase of faith in Divine purposes we cannot yet see. An increase in determination to search out and find people who feel lost and lift them up until they feel lost no more."
If we will let Him, Christ will wipe away every tear (favorite general conference talk from October!), "All that is unfair (or tragic or hard) about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." that one from another great talk by Sister Burton. With the Schmidts, I too know that because of Jesus Christ, it's going to be okay.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More of My Favorite Little Face

Come on buddy... straighten them out... focus...
There ya go! I know you still can't see anything, but you just keep on focusing and I promise it will come.
I think we're less than three weeks away, which means that pretty soon we'll see each other and meet for the first time! That will be so fun! It should be happening within the next month, judging by when we established contact with Owen and Natalie... Oh Natalie, look at you
Oh my gosh, baby faces, I could just die, so stinkin' cute!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Funny Little Face

Joseph spent last weekend (Thurs - Sat) with his Lyceum Philharmonic group at a retreat. They worked on recording three videos I think. They were supposed to be back at 5:30 on Saturday. I texted and called him before I left but didn't hear from him if they were going to be on time or not... so I left anyway and was there to pick him up at 5:30. No bus. At 5:45 he texted and said his guess was that they were 45 minutes away. So Daniel and I enjoyed a change of venue and spent about an hour in the car doing what we do at home, which is sit around and do nothin' (aka feed him and then stare at each other.) After he ate, he was looking at me cross eyed with his little lips tight in a "ooo" expression ~
I was too slow getting my camera open, so I missed the good picture of him, but just kept clicking photos as I giggled ~ here he is mid-sneeze. 
Baby sneezes are so cute. So I was just laughing and taking pictures of his funny little face....
Thus is this season of my life. I really need to enjoy this while it lasts, cause Corey is done having kids. We can't add any more..."We can keep the ones we have..." So that's good, you're in Daniel. If you kiddos made any Saturday's Warrior promises to any other spirits, y'all better start working some magic to help us out with managing things, cause Dad's about to break and I am definitely not on top of it being any help to him. But you're sure cute! (I have a newborn addiction).

Saturday, October 22, 2016


We have a new Saturday morning tradition (well, two weeks so far). In an effort to try to not have the day wasted by kids catching up on sleep, we crank up the volume and turn the tv on. It works every time - they rouse themselves from their sleepy beds and slowly begin to congregate on the couch, looking much like zombies woken from the grave. And what is it that draws them in? Not cartoons, although I think anything would work. But right now, it's a spy show. We're a little embarrassed to have to resort to this, but thus is our life right now. Corey said this morning "I feel like I'm contaminating their minds just to get them out of bed..." Yes, sweetheart, that is what we're doing. Although it does go along nicely with our scripture reading regarding "secret combinations". Corey found Season 1 of Alias at the thrift store. He got it shortly after Daniel was born. It helped him get through a few "I can't do anything" mornings as he held his new infant Owen. Kinda fun show ~ brings back memories... When Alias was first on tv in 2001, Corey and I were fairly newly married and Joseph was our only baby. We'd go over to enjoy dinner and company at Corey's parent's house on the weekend. It was there that Corey's brother introduced us to Alias. We got quite into the show. I think we only saw season 1 though ~ after that we realized that we had a problem. Or I knew I had one - I remember explaining one of the final twists of season 1 to my dad and I was totally amazed with a "Can you believe that?!!?" look on my face, and he gave me a look of "Okaaay... I think you should step away, cause you're weirding me out right now."

But it was good television. So we've been watching the show together and will pause and explain the twists and things they might not have noticed that will be coming into play later. Today as we did chores, we had Alias on the brain. Our 3rd of 4 light bulbs in the front room went out the night before, so that was one of Corey's tasks - it is a very high vaulted ceiling... We don't have a ladder for some stupid reason, so I put a counter stool on the side table - the light was too far from the wall, so Corey balanced himself holding my head... "See, I could be a spy! I do hard things! Things that make you wonder 'Is he gonna make it?!'" The kids were a little concerned seeing our balancing act - but their dad's a professional spy and made it out alive, phew!

So Season 1 was enough for us, plus life happened and we were busy. We'd catch up with it through Mark now and then. And 5 years later, how does the show end? (Spoiler alert kids...) She gets married and has a little family and is kissing her baby as they go for a walk. Well shoot, that's my happily ever after too! That's I'm doing, and I didn't have to go through all that drama to get here! I thought it was pretty funny. She should have just skipped the whole they killed my fiance and I've almost died countless times and yada yada and just settled down. Although I realized that doesn't make for good Primetime television. But world, just a hint - that ending really is where the happiness and joy is at. It kinda seems corny and trite in the clip there, but it's true - that's where the joy is really at. In the end, the career, money, revenge... none of that stuff matters - so don't let yourself get killed thinking it does! Thus Corey took the kids to the zoo when chores were done ~ Family time. That's where the happiness is really at.

Friday, October 21, 2016

UEA Weekend

It is UEA weekend, which means some glorious days off of school and a good chance to catch our breath. That's all vacations are, right? Days for us to sleep in and do nothing? Abi, bless her heart, believes vacations are opportunities to carpe diem, and thus kept asking me what we were going to do. "Everyone else is doing something..." so what are we going to do? Abi, my dear, I can't do anything. I've got a baby that needs to suck on me most of the day, and I can't do that on the road and I don't want to do that at the park and I can't even guarantee that I can get away from junior long enough to help all you critters find your socks and shoes and jackets... Leaving the house is just such an overwhelming request. I work myself up all week just to be able to go to church on Sunday. Not being able to do these simple things makes me feel a bit like a failure. So having to tell her "we're not doing anything" several times yesterday caused me to develop a poor disposition, which carried over a bit to today. After some prayer and a phone vent and a shout out from a friend I was feeling better. I tried to put things in perspective. Maybe I don't do UEA weekend and haven't been able to go on hikes or camping with the kids this year, (or last year...) but that's how it is now, not how it will always be. This is just a season we are in yet again (perpetually?) and I can enjoy it. Plus I've done stuff before... there was that whole Brazil thing last year, that is worth some points, right? We've gone on adventures and done stuff! Heck, we did it even when "no one else was doing it". (I really don't like the "everyone else" card that is played sometimes, but I get it and know we all have a tendency to compare ourselves...) But I just gotta focus on us and what I know I can or can't do. And it's just a season, it won't always be like this. Soon Daniel will be 16 and getting his drivers permit and I'll be missing these days. Enjoy it while it lasts.
And, thankfully, Friday afternoon one of Abi's friends called and invited her to join her family at Red Butte Garden for some Halloween fun, hooray!
This was a tender mercy to me and my little socialite Abi, thank you!
 Abi didn't like the work the face painter did...
She was a good sport and laughed about it :) And they stopped at McDonald's on the way home, sounds like a great night for this young lady.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Answering A Date

Look at me, I'm going to write about one of the older kids! Yes, I do have children besides the toddlers and baby. For example, I have a teenager who likes to go on dates. He's been quite the dater since he turned 16 in January, not wasting a moment. And now the love is being reciprocated - he got asked to Monster Mash! He got asked a month ago. I know it was a month ago cause it was the night I was at the hospital with a new baby. Corey texted me this picture. Joseph trying to figure out the clues as to who it is...
And Joseph actually got asked twice on one night - he's a hot item!
He said yes to the girl that asked him first, cause that is fair. And then he took the girl that he had to say no to on a date that weekend. But he insisted it was not a "sympathy date".

Fast forward four weeks... Joseph found out on Monday that the girl that he answered "yes" to a few weeks ago never got his answer. They had talked about going, so she knew he was, but was still a little puzzled as to why he hadn't officially answered her. Once she figured out (through a friend asking Joseph some questions) that he did answer her, they all figured out the mix up came by Joseph giving his answer to the wrong house, one that looks like hers and is on the same street, but isn't hers. Next time he answers, he isn't going to find their house by his memory, since that has just proved unreliable.

Another funny thing, the way he answered could be interpreted as an "ask"... Joseph said "I'd be a Happy Hippo to go to Monster Mash with you!" with a gift of some of these Kinder treats. And he didn't put his name or the girl's name that he was answering. ~ and they believe a high school boy lives in that house.... so the poor kid could be wondering who asked him and just how he's supposed to figure it out. Maybe Joseph should go by and clear that up if there is any confusion there... it would be so sad for someone to think they were asked but not know who or receive any further information about their date that might never happen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One Month Old

Daniel is one month old today. That went by fast. Oh to have a month of pregnancy go by as quickly as a month of a newborn's life! We love this little man so much~

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Concert Generations

Joseph and Melodie had a concert at school tonight. Mr. Chatlain, who was the band teacher when Corey played in the Skyline orchestra, was there too - Good opportunity to get photo.
Kinda fun having your children attend your alma mater!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Hold Returns

Natalie's been a bit of a stinker these days. Several times over the weekend, as Lily as tried to make her Duplo creations, Natalie would come by and smack her tower in half or push Lily's house off the window ledge and break it. She totally does it on purpose. Yesterday we scolded her and told her not to do that and "be nice". And THEN she walked by Lily, totally grabbed her hair and pulled on it as she walked by - she didn't even look at Lily, she was acting totally casual pretending she was just walking by and somehow Lily's hair got tangled in her fingers... She's being a bit of a naughty tease, and that means it's time for the hold.
Corey's put Natalie in the hold several times the past two weeks. The way to get out of the hold is to stop fighting it and humbly apologize. But Natalie is pretty stubborn and is very slow to say she is sorry or admit any wrong doing. This time she didn't either. This time the hold took place around 7 pm and Natalie hadn't had a nap, thus she was tired and fell asleep before she was broken. But falling asleep is an acceptable outcome of the hold.
I'm sure she'll have more sessions of "the hold" in the coming weeks, cause she does need to be broken - this little girl dishes it out on both ends of her siblings. She picks on her older sisters Lily and Sophi AND on younger Owen (watch out Daniel!) With Owen usually she's just playing rough and isn't being careful and will pull him to the floor as she swings him around or something like that. But he's already so accident prone and he's also pretty sensitive, so we have to come to his defense rather quickly. She's cute though, and she knows she's a "good girl". She was wearing a batman mask the other day and I asked "Are you bat girl?" and she replied "No! I'm a good girl!" Bat girl = Bad girl, I can see those being confused. Yes Natalie you are a good girl. And I guess being the 9th of 11 you have to learn to hold your own. But unfortunately Sophi and Owen are both docile and sensitive, (I don't know that Sophi was ever even put in the hold! Here's two pics of Abi and Lily being broken though) you gotta tone down on your survival-of-the-fittest instinct or you're gonna be branded as the bully of the toddlers. Don't worry, wee'll try to help break you before things get too out of hand. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Double Screen

So, as I previously admitted in "Mom Guilt Bingo"... my center square is "using the television as a babysitter." Daniel was asleep and I was trying to take advantage of the time to get a bit of work done at the computer and saw Sophi and Natalie watching TV, and also noticed that Sophi and Owen were watching/playing the Duplo Train game on Corey's phone...
And I wondered... does one hour simultaneously watching tv and playing on a phone count as 2 hours of the 32 hours of screen time that they say kids ages 2-5 watch a week?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Danny Boy

Daniel had his two week appointment last week. I forgot the PKU so had to run back home with him and then run back to the clinic. After I got home Corey looked about wiped out from another morning playing Mom. Just another way Corey and I are different - it's probably not this way for all men and women, but for us, he gets wiped out from being home with kids, I get wiped out if I have to leave the house. I thought we'd be good for a month, but did have to go back in yesterday for a weigh in. Daniel's weight last week wasn't back up to his birth weight, so I took him in yesterday as a 3 week old and he cleared the hurdle - Just a few grams over 7 pounds 10 ounces, yay thank you Daniel.
So NOW we really are good for a few weeks - no eye or orthodontist or OB appointments. Maybe I'll be able to catch my breath and get things back in order here and remember all the things I am supposed to be doing... the orthodontist told me to take Abi in to get a loose tooth pulled... her top tooth isn't growing in over it. And the kids do all need to get their glasses prescriptions updated.... so much to do, hard to stay on top of it all. Dr. bills are coming in, good news there is we just had $900 more to meet our deductible, so that $8000= hospital bill was covered 100%, yay! Cheer with me Owen!
It's nice to see those insurance statements in the mail coming in that each have a $0.00 in the "Total Member Responsibility" column.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Doing Homework

Got a few cute pictures of Owen helping Mel with her homework on Saturday night.
He'd take the pencil she was trying to use and scribble scribble on her paper.
She turned to a page in her workbook that she didn't need. He's got the idea of how to do homework, that's right, you just scribble on paper! It was cute.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Goodbye Hamlet

Yesterday after Mel got home from school, she asked me if we could take Hamlet to the vet because she felt really skinny and has been acting not her usual self for the past week. I called but their vet that sees guinea pigs wouldn't be in until Monday. So I set an appointment. Melodie let her homework slide and full attention was given to googling things about guinea pigs that aren't eating and trying to feed Hamlet by hand with a little medicine tylenol dispeser.
We considered taking her to a pet ER but I ultimately decided against it - thinking that I'd take her tomorrow or if she was notably worse, then there probably wouldn't be anything a vet would be able to do anyway. The kids set up a little area for Hamlet and Vanilla inside and we let them sleep there for the night.
In the morning Hamlet seemed worse. I checked on her throughout the day and she passed away around 2pm. The kids will bury her tomorrow in our guinea pig graveyard. She was a good little pig. We will probably get another girl guinea pig to keep Vanilla company, cause guinea pigs are social creatures. Bye Hamlet, we'll miss you! We are glad you are with your mom and sister, say hi to Medusa and Twix for us, we'll see you again when we get there to Heaven!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cuts and Bumps

Owen's been good at getting bonks on his head these past two weeks. He's gotten a bruise 4 times. First time - I was in my bathroom, he walked over to me, tripped on the carpet - there was nothing else there except the carpet and his feet - and his hands didn't catch himself and his head just smacked on the bathroom floor tile and he got a huge bruise - on the right side. Next - a few days later - Abi was putting him in a supersaucer type toy that had just been delivered to us by my sis in law. Since it had just come out of the car, it was not hooked together at the bottom. It was also in the kitchen... on the tile floor. She put him in the seat and the base of it slid open, thus suspending him in air by his waist and holding him there, making his head swing down like a pendulum onto the floor. He got a big bruise on the left side, on the exact opposite of his previous bump, making his bonks very nicely symmetrical.
Third bonk - we were coloring with chalk in the front yard. I read a book and then colored for a bit, When it was time to move kids inside, I took Daniel first and had Natalie follow me. When I came back out, Owen was crying, he had fallen and scratched his head a little bit on the slanted driveway. It wasn't as bad as his other two, just looked like a little carpet burn. But he was sad, his poor head! The last bump, pictured above, was in the same spot at bonk #2. I didn't see that one. He just tripped in the side room and came over crying with another bruise coming. When I see him I want to chant that birthday thing of "Heavy heavy hangover thy poor head, what do you wish this person with a bonk on the head!"

Owen's not the only one with recurring injuries. Daniel got poked in his heel 6 times for his bilirubin checks, and then yesterday at his two week appointment he got it in the heel again for his PKU test. Later at home I was nursing him on the bed, and Natalie likes to get close to us when he's nursing.
She noticed his bandaid and spent her time kissing and kissing his heel non stop. It was cute.
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