Thursday, July 31, 2008


1. Link the person who tagged you…In my case, Katie.
2. Post these rules.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them

1. For as long as I can remember, I have been very sensitive to motion and afraid of heights. Roller-coaster rides have always been absolutely terrifying to me. In fact, when I was little, I remember going on the Dumbo ride at Disneyland, and being absolutely terrified... I hated it! I don't understand (and totally admire) how people ride those things for FUN! I just don't get that!

But, over the last couple years, I have been trying to conquer this fear of mine. Jon and I went to Kings Island, and we started with the kiddie rides and worked our way up to the really scary ones. By the end of the day, my poor hubby had scars on his arms from my fingernails digging into his skin. The next adventure to help me overcome my fear was the hot air balloon ride which was wonderful, but no big deal compared to what's coming up. The whole purpose of the hot air balloon ride was to get me primed for... sky-diving!!! We have one last gift certificate that expires at the end of this month. (I got these certificates for my birthday 2 years ago, and now that time is running out, and I'd better work up the courage to do it... and quick!) My brother Ben, (who has also been afraid of heights) and I are going to take the leap together! It will be such an amazing accomplishment. It's on my list of 100 goals to complete in my lifetime. I just hope I can do it! Stay tuned for a future blog this month... hopefully it won't be one of depressed defeat.

2. I eat ice cream with a fork. I don't know why... Jon always teases me about it... but it just seems more logical that way, because then I can dig out the chunks more easily.

3. I habitually lose things. I can't tell you how many times I've lost my keys, I usually blame it on being pregnant (because that has been my state for much of the last few years), but the honest truth is, I was scatter-brained before I had kids, and I'm much more scatter-brained now that I've had kids.

4. I despise sponges. I know that sounds totally bizarre. But, I just can't touch them unless they're brand new. I think it's cause I saw a documentary once about how the average sponge hosts 7 BILLION bacteria. It grossed me out so much, I could never touch one again. I just can't stand the thought of wiping all that stuff around the whole kitchen. Bleh!! In case you're wondering- I do clean. But I use a dishwand, handtowels, and paper towel products.

5. I don't drink anything other than milk and water. I figure I can eat more that way, since I'm not downing all those quick calories from pop and/or juice.

6. I am hyperactively passionate about time management. When I'm on vacation, or spending free time with my hubby or the kids, I have no problem relaxing and doing nothing except being together. But if I'm waiting in the car at a traffic light, or folding laundry, or even watching a movie, I have to do something else too. For example in the car, I have a sign-language book to help me learn new signs when I'm stuck in traffic (no, I don't do it while driving!). Or when I'm folding the laundary, or doing dishes, etc. I always listen to a book on cd. I also have a problem with watching tv or movies. Occasionally it's fine, but after a while I have this overwhelming sense that I should be out living my life instead of watching someone else live theirs. I just feel this sense of urgency that there's just too much work to be done to waste any time in this life. Sheri Dew said something once that really inspired me... "We no longer have the luxury of spending our time on anything that doesn't lead us and our families closer to Christ."

So there you go... there's a few of my quirks... Hmmm, who should I tag now?
1. Michele
2. Tracey
3. Caroline
4. Jenn
5. Mandie
6. Tresa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birthday Traditions

One thing that my family was really good at growing up was establishing meaningful traditions. When we got married, Jon and I realized the value of traditions, so we borrowed a few from my family, and we added a few of our own. Today was Celeste's 5th birthday, and I think she was finally old enough to actually enjoy and appreciate them! Here's a list of our birthday traditions:
-The birthday girl woke up this morning and most of her presents were placed on the foot of her bed. I got to sneak in her room last night and place them there when she was sleeping. (I remember trying to stay up late enough so I could pretend I was asleep when my parents came in and open my presents early, but it never worked!)
-Then she got one more wrapped present that we had hidden somewhere in the house. We gave her a hint, and she found it rather quickly in the office closet.
-For breakfast the kids get to choose any cereal they want... (this was a HUGE thing for me growing up!! It was my favorite tradition!) It was special because we only had Cheerios and Grape-nuts (bleh) when I was a kid, so every year I looked forward to the sugary cereal.
-Another birthday tradition is every even year birthday (4, 6, 8 etc.) the kids get a party with friends, but on the odd birthday they get a little party only with family, and they get to choose a family activity for the day. Celeste's choice was to go swimming in the "big pool". This was special for her because I only allow them swim in the baby pool since I can't possibly watch them all safely in the big pool. She begs me every time, and I always say no, but today I left Charity and Jakey with Daddy, and she got her birthday wish, and she just LOVED it. I on the otherhand, wasn't so thrilled with the experience... (see Embarrassing Moment post.) ;)
-We also have a special plate that we bring out for the person of honor. Jon and I made it at a ceramic store when we were first dating.
-And lastly, we go around the room after the cake is cut, and everyone in the family shares one thing they love/appreciate about the birthday boy/girl.

Here are a few pics from her special day...

She woke up to a nice surprise! :)

Our beatiful birthday girl! She's becoming such a little lady.

I can't believe she's 5!!! (Notice Charity in the background... she was pleased with herself because she successfully snuck her finger in the cake for a little taste before I could catch her!)
There she is... going for more! (She's definitely her mama's girl)

Five years ago today, our first sweet daughter joined our family. I have to say, the experience of becoming a mother did not start off like I had hoped. Getting Celeste into the world was THE MOST grueling and painful thing I have ever experienced and have experienced since. I had 18 hours of back labor with her... the epidural wore off, and they refused to give me another one. The doctor wanted me to be able to feel so I could push her out (total nonsense). Poor little Celeste was stuck in the birth canal so long, that she had the worst cone head ever! And I was a complete disaster. My eyes were bloodshot and my face was swollen for days afterward... I looked like I had been beaten... I was just a wreck. (Luckily we didn't have a digital camera at the time, so I don't have any pics!) But whenever Celeste is disrespectful toward me, Jon often interrupts and firmly asks, "Excuse me young lady... do you have any idea what your mother went through to get you here?" Somtimes I wonder if Heavenly Father allowed me to experience that pain to help me develop patience and long-suffering for what was to come. Anyway, as soon as I saw her, I knew it was ALL WORTH IT. Celeste has been such a joy to us from the start.

It's unbelievable how much personality is crammed in her little body. She's just a little firecracker, and has been from day one!

This smile lights up my life! She's the life of the party, and she loves being in the spotlight.

She also has a sweetness and a tenderness about her that I just love so much. She's so willing to help her mommy, and she adores her little brothers and sister.

She's creative, artistic and very smart. She also comes up with the wildest outfits!

She's also just as headstrong and strong-willed (stubborn) as her mother. But I think those personality traits will serve her well in the future. She'll be driven and determined and she'll make things happen.

I LOVE her sense of fun! She's adventurous and fearless. I love how much joy she brings to everyone around her.

Here's a short video clip to give you a glimpse of her spunk!

I'm always interested in hearing about what traditions other families have established. Traditions and rituals can serve to make a family unique and create a strong sense of unity. What are some of your family traditions?

Embarrassing Moment

So I took the kids to the neighborhood "big pool" for the first time today. Every mother knows what an ordeal it is getting the kids ready for the pool... (you help get their swimsuits on, grab the towels, water toys, arm floaties, snacks, get them lathered up in sunblock, etc. etc.etc.) So by the time we all got to the pool, we were just happy to finally be in the water. But naturally, within 2 minutes Benny needed to go potty. Well seriously, I was just too dang tired to drag the kids back out... so (still can't believe I did this) I whisper discreetly, "Ok, listen... just go swim over there and pee-pee in the pool."  So I thought he did and everything was fine and we swam for another half an hour.

When we were all ready to go, we got out of the pool and Benny was really upset and he starts crying.
Me: "What's wrong Benny?"
Benny: "Mommy, I never got to pee in the pool."
"Benny, it's too late now... just hold it, and we'll just go potty at home, ok?" trying to calm him down.
THEN being the irrational toddler he is sometimes, he starts freaking out, and says, "But wait... you said I could pee in the pool!!" I'm trying to calm him down and keep him quiet, but it soon escalates, and he starts yelling, "I wanted to pee in pool!!" "YOU SAID I COULD PEE IN THE POOL MOMMY!!!" over and over.  So I'm just shushing him, and smiling politely at the onlookers who by that time were whispering and laughing.  I was so embarrassed!! 

It was one of those moments where all I wanted to do was just get out of there... fast, so I grabbed ALL our stuff and all the kids and whisked them away.  I think it might be a while before we visit the pool again (well THAT one anyway.) 

Ahh, the joys of motherhood.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Light from above

I was so blown away by girls camp this year. It was THE most spiritual experience I've had since Jacob was born, and by far the most amazing camp experience for me EVER. I know that each of girls who were able to go grew spiritually. I was only able to go up two of the four days, but I loved every minute of it. The final night at camp was the most touching. There was a Stake testimony meeting and then we met with our individual ward in our cabins for our own testimony meetings. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was. The spirit was so strong in that little cabin, and everyone was so filled with love for each other. It was just so beautiful and we were all total bawl babies.
There's just something so bonding about sharing our deepest feelings about the gospel of Jesus Christ out in nature, wearing no make-up, no worldliness... we were all dressed the same, and we were all so vulnerable and unified. My heart was overflowing with love for each one of them and for Heavenly Father. I know that the spirit of God testified the truthfulness of the gospel to everyone who was there. I hesitated to even write about it because it was just really a sacred night for us. I just love each one of those girls, and I hope they always stay strong in their testimony of the gospel, because it's the only way to true joy in this life. And I hope they always remember the feelings they had that night... I sure will.

The theme for camp this year was "I never stand alone" based on a beautiful song that they taught the girls. It's about how we're never alone when we hold to our standards because we stand with the prophets of God. Each ward had to choose a prophet to represent them... our girls chose the prophet Helaman. So our whole theme revolved around "Heal-a-man". We got to wear scrub tops and hats, and the girls handed out band-aids they had decorated to their fellow campers. The skit (written by our tremendously talented secretary) featured girls with physical wounds that were healed spiritually. For example, one girl "Patty Pride" was suffering from a stiff neck, and the doctor prescribed humble pie. Another girl, "Julie Judgemental" had a mote in her eye. The doctor prescribed rose colored glasses to see the love God has for everyone. Then there was "Dirty Daisy" who had unclean hands, and of course the remedy was repentance through our Savior. There were a few other cute ones, and then the last girl, "Wanda Wallflower" was suffering from a broken heart, and didn't feel like she fit in with the other girls. So the doctor asked all the other patients to come back in for a group hug. They ended the skit by singing "We'll bring the world his truth". It was just great. I think one of the best things was that they did that skit on the first night, and it helped them to focus on others and try to look outward to give away the band-aids. I think it was also a great ice-breaker and helped them make friends. So by the last night, there was just a real feeling of unity and charity among them. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to help put it together, and for our AMAZING camp director Jennifer who worked tirelessly for the benefit of the young women.

Another really neat experience was when we did the ropes course. I'm afraid of heights and was very apprehensive about participating in the ropes course, but this young woman was so courageous, she inspired me to keep going. We had to climb up a tall pole with carabeaners, and then cross the ropes that were suspended about 20 feet in the air to get to the other pole. Well this young lady went first and ended up falling, and got her feet all wrapped up in the ropes. She was in quite a predicament. But she worked her way out of it, and pulled herself up, and then continued up to the next level about twice as high... and all the way up to the top, and finally down the zip line. I was so inspired by her! She gave me courage to keep going when I wanted to quit. At the end of the camp, Jennifer and I handed out awards to the young women, and this particular young woman was dubbed Dr. Resiliant for her inspirational bravery. (By the way, my hair was wet in this picture... I was NOT lactating on myself ;) he he)

This was a visit from the Prophet Moroni from the Book of Mormon who compared the trials of his day with our own. What a blessing it is to have the restored gospel in my life, and to know the truthfulness of these things. I am so grateful that I'll never stand alone in this life, because I stand with the prophets of God.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not a Typical Scripture Study

We try to have family scripture study every night on our King-sized bed. Some nights it goes really well, and others nights are down-right disasterous. But, I've been really pleased lately because the kids are learning to listen and sit still. (Positive reinforcement... i.e. bribery works wonders!) Well tonight was one of those great "snuggle scripture" experiences. After I helped Benny and Charity out of the bath, I came into our room to find this...

On her own initiative Celeste was reading from the Children's Book of Mormon and teaching baby Jacob about Jesus. It was really a precious moment for me.

But after we were done reading together, Benny put a swim diaper on their head (don't ask me why), and then of course eveyone else had to have one... so the night ended with a new twist on the game of "ride the horsey".

It's all about the little things with these kids. There's never a dull moment around here!

Summer Days

I have so many wonderful memories of summer days when I was growing up, I sure hope our kids will too! Here's a few of the adventures we've been able to have this summer (so far)...

At the Island Metropark... Celeste looks perfectly fine in this picture, but she "spit it out" (puked) in the car on the way home about 15 minutes after I took this. I guess she was having so much fun, she didn't realize she was sick. I love her enthusiasm!

Geocaching (treasure hunting) with Daddy. This has been such a fun hobby for us! For those of you who don't know what it is, there are little caches hidden all over the place... usually in parks, The coordinates are listed online and you use a GPS to find them. In the cache, you'll find an assortment of treasures (usually junk) but the kids are always absolutely thrilled! The rule is you leave an item for each one you take. So the kids each get to choose one treasure, and then we try to leave church DVDs, cds, etc. We always have Jon find it first, and then he takes the kids near it, so they think they found it. :) This is a hobby that serves so many great purposes... time with family, time outdoors, good exercise, fresh air, a surprise for the kids, missionary opportunity, etc. I highly recommend it as a fun activity that can strenghthen families!

This was a 'movie at the park' night in our community to raise money for our local Police Department. We had a great time together but we only got to watch half of the movie because there was a huge thunderstorm that night, so they sent everyone home (electronic equipment and lightning... not a good combination.)

At the Columbus Zoo with Papa

Luau Party at the Jordans (friends from AFIT)

Charity's not too wild about the water yet, but she loves being outside to watch all the action.

Backyard fun!

Whew! I'm with Jakey... I think we need a break from our summer break.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Live like you were dying...

One of my hubby's favorite quotes is "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." We got a chance to do the livin' part tonight... (thankfully- NOT the latter), and do something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. We went on a hot air balloon ride! I'm so grateful for my sweet hubby who on a whim would take me on a romantic hot air balloon to see the sunset! It was absolutely an AMAZING life experience. I have to say, I was pretty terrified at first... when I realized that only the only thing between us and the ground was a wicker-basket, but after a few minutes, I was able to relax and enjoy the experience. The "flight" lasted for about an hour, so I really had a chance to ponder, and get a break from everything. I literally felt like I was "rising above" the stresses of life. It was so tranquil and peaceful to leisurly float above the world and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to do this... it is definitely a memory that I will always treasure.

Jon helping fill the balloon with air

Almost ready for take-off!!
Woo-hoo! Flying high!
Holding on for dear life!! he he ;)

Having a moment of reflection...

Lovin it!

There is our shadow in the distance

Getting ready to land!
We skimmed the trees during the landing, but we made it safe and sound. Unfortunately, we landed in some guy's backyard- and my hubby almost died (but I'll save that for another blog post).

Happy to be alive! I'm such a dork, haha!

Whew! What a day! I'd better get to bed... We've got some more livin' to do tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sweet Charity Lynn

I can't believe our third-born cutie has turned 2! She's already been such a light and a cherished blessing to our family. From the day she was born, she has had the sweetest disposition. Jon and I used to marvel that as a baby she hardly EVER cried! For example, I remember driving to my parents house in Gettysburg, PA with all three kids when she was just 4 months old. The trip took 7.5 hours, and I kid you not, I only heard from her once! She was just happy and content, kicking her legs, sleeping and cooing in her carseat. She has always had such an easy-going and laid-back nature. Which is a great blessing since the rest of us are quite let's just say... passionate. I just love this little girl! But as usual, I'll let the pictures do the talking...
After 18, and 16 grueling hour births, the 4 hours and 2 pushes it took to welcome Charity into our family was a wonderful surprise! She was a dream baby from the start!

Making faces in the mirror... as you can see, she fits right in with the rest of the crazy bunch!

Here's a video I found of Charity's very first washing machine. (It's a cute routine Jon has done with all the kids as babies)

She thoroughly enjoyed her birthday cake during our special night out! Happy Birthday Charity! Could you be any cuter??


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