Monday, December 15, 2008

Grateful for... Your Patience, Love, and Understanding

Pick yourselves up off the floor. You're not hallucinating or imagining things--it's true!

I am actually blogging again!

First things first--thanks to anyone who has continued (in vain) to check this blog week after week, month after month, wondering if I was even still alive. Not sure what motivated you to keep checking, but thank you. It means a lot.

I've had a lot of ups and downs since I last posted. Unfortunately, those "down" times were a major contributing factor in my not blogging for so long. For those who aren't aware, I struggle quite a bit with depression (and have for the past 9+ years). I'm here to tell you that it's a very real issue and not something that you can just wish away or ignore. I have so much compassion for those who struggle with mental and emotional issues. It's a triumph some days just to get out of bed and get the kids fed.

I have spent many hours in prayer to a loving Heavenly Father, begging Him to take this trial away from me. I keep reasoning with Him that I would be so much better of a servant if I didn't have this cloud hanging over me. I'd be so much more outgoing and serve so much more if this was something I didn't have to deal with on a daily basis. But in the past few years I've come to realize that it's BECAUSE He loves me so much that I am tested and tried. If life were a bowl of cherries, how would we ever stretch and grow? I look back on the times in my life that have been the hardest and realize how much I gained from those experiences. Although I don't think I'd choose to repeat them, I do stand here now grateful.

I'm not out of the woods by any means, but I can see the Lord's hand in my life--guiding me and nudging me towards better things. I've been able to feel a lot more in the past few months and I know that it's time that I stepped up a lot of things in my life. I've let a lot of things in my life sit by the wayside and it's time to change that. The people in my ward/neighborhood probably think I'm a recluse/hermit and anti-social based on my behavior since we moved here. I'm usually the polar opposite and I think it's about time to start being "myself". So to those of you in my neighborhood who think I've been avoiding them on purpose, please know that's not the case! Give me a call and let's do something! Sometimes all I need is a nudge to get out and I'm feeling much better!

It's also time to let some things go. As many of my stampin' sistas know, I LOVE making cards/being involved with Stampin' Up! It has been a wonderful creative release for me over the past 5+ years. But right now in my life, I need to focus on the MOST important things in my life---my little family and my faith. I have 4 young children that are looking to me to teach them all they need to know to make it through this crazy world as unscathed by evil as possible. I can't do that when I'm being sidetracked by other fun, (still good, but not ESSENTIAL), things.

I attended an LDS Women's Conference earlier this year, and one of the speakers said something that REALLY grabbed my attention. She spoke about a hobby/side job that she had that she really enjoyed. But she found that it started consuming most of her time and was crowding out the responsibilities she had as a wife and mother. She told us that she prayed for direction, and the answer she received was that her hobby would still be there waiting for her when those critical child-bearing/teaching years were over, or that her strong desire for this hobby would simply subside. I felt as though the Lord was talking directly TO ME. I only wish I'd had the courage to follow that council back in May, but I had already committed to not only attend Stampin' Up!'s yearly convention, but to personally head up a major shin-dig for 200 ladies during that convention.

But that's the beauty of the gospel of our Savior. He is ever standing at our door, knocking, and waiting for us to Let Him In. He wants us to repent and change and come to Him. He doesn't care if we've been wandering for a few months or a few years. He loves us and wants us back. He forgives us freely.

So...hopefully that helps you understand a little bit about my blogging absence. I've been wanting to start back up for a while now, but didn't know quite where to start. I actually had great intentions to blog on Thanksgiving Day, fiitingly rolling out the new title/direction I'm taking my blog in, but it just didn't happen. We spent time with family on both sides, including a sister-in-law who flew all the way from Connecticut to be there. But thanks to an INCREDIBLE Bishop who gave such perfect advice to us at church yesterday, I decided that I just couldn't put it off any longer and today was the day!

Thank you to all who made it this far--you're wonderful!!! I haven't decided how often I'll be blogging, but at the very least, I'll be posting once a week (instead of once a year!!!). Thanks again for those of you who have been so very supportive of my ups and can't begin to know how much I appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday Big Al!

So as a mom, when do you become "officially old?" I feel it today. I honestly do NOT believe that my oldest child is turning 11!!! Today, just like the day he was born, is a Wednesday and a bit cold and rainy outside. I remember lying in the hospital bed, watching the rain hit the window pane and wondering what was in store for me as a brand new mother. I was terrified and overjoyed, all in the same moment.

Alex joined our little family at 4:16 p.m. The first thought through my mind after they handed him to me was, "Oh my goodness, they took my husband and shrunk him down to 20 inches!" He's the spittin' image of his dad and grows more handsome every day.

He is such a fun kid to have around. He's got a spunky personality and a great sense of humor. This story illustrates what a little corker he is: The other day after church was VERY cold and blustery (I used that word JUST for you, Diana!), but my other 2 sons wanted to walk home. I was inside the church oohing over someone's brand new baby and Alex disappeared. I figured he'd decided to walk with his brothers, so I drove home with Kenzie, expecting to see him along the way. When I finally caught up with Nate and Cam, Alex wasn't with them. Then from the very back of the van I hear a wicked little giggle, and he pops up and laughs his head off! He had been in the van the whole time and hadn't made a peep--hoping for the EXACT outcome he got! He continues to gloat about how he "got me good!" Oh how I love my Alex!

I went down to my "crapbook" room (as my 3 1/2 y.o. calls it!!) and whipped up a quick card for him. Hope it's not too 'girly' as I'll be taking it to school, along with balloons and treats for his classmates in just a few minutes.

Alex, my good man, here's a shout out to ya, buddy! Happy, Happy Birthday! We love ya!!

P.S.--I did do a drawing for the card I posted a few days ago. Ironically, I picked out the name of my cute friend Sara, whose birthday is today as well!!! Crazy, huh? I SWEAR I didn't rig the drawing! I'm going to go pick up something fun for her and drop it off along with the card. Happy Birthday to you too, Sara!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring, Glorious Spring!!

I LOVE Spring. Leaving the cold of Winter behind, the hope of warmer days to come, the renewal of life we see all around us, and being able to go OUTSIDE with the kids!!! My oldest sis Sherri and her fam came up over the weekend. We took the kids to a COOL place called Castle Park. The weather couldn't have been more pleasant--upper 60's/low 70's with just a slight breeze. The kids had a blast running, swinging, playing, and exploring. Other than the 20 minutes we couldn't find my 9 y.o. (we found him in the "dungeon" area of the park!), we thoroughly enjoyed the whole outing!
Other exciting news and happenings: Nate got his cast off for good!!!! He has a "totally sweet" removable black arm brace that he will wear for another few weeks, just to keep his bone protected for a bit longer. One of his happiest moments in weeks was being able to put his arm IN the bath water!! Nate's a tubby boy, and it has been really frustrating to have to keep his arm wrapped in plastic bags/duct tape and above his head while he bathed.
The highlight of our weekend was attending a production called "Joseph Smith, the Prophet" put on by members of our Stake. It was an INCREDIBLE performance giving tribute to this latter-day prophet. I have no idea why I even put make-up on--I cried my eyes out all evening!! We took Alex and Nate with us and they enjoyed it as well. The choir rehearsed every Sunday for 3 months, plus extra rehearsals the week of, so it was a very time-intensive thing. They did an absolutely outstanding job. They also had the neatest displays up with early 1800's period items--dresses, baby clothes/shoes, barrels, and many other items of interest. The whole evening was completely delightful.

And finally, my sweet Cam Cam has cornered me into giving him a solid date for when he gets a pet turtle (or two)!! He hounds me relentlessly on many things: how many more days til...(the next person's b-day, til we get to go to McDonald's again, etc. etc. etc.!), and he recently remembered that we promised the boys they could get pets once we moved in to our new house. Ummm, yeah. We moved in last June and we still don't have any pets!! I now have a firm deadline: there must be turtles in the house on the last day of school (hence the turtle-stamped countdown chain!!! 40 days left and counting...)
Nate's teacher at school has a big tank with 4 or 5 turtles in it, and Cameron LOVES to go in and see them whenever he can. I now need to pick his teacher's brain about all the details of owning turtles--what/when to feed them, when they need to get in/out of the water, etc. You can actually order baby turtles through the internet (the turtles you can buy at the pet shop are full-grown), so we'll be making that purchase soon!! Wish us luck and PLEASE let me know if you've ever owned turtles and can offer any advice!! The one thing that consoles me for the turtle's sake is that he has a very hard, TOUGH shell. In this crazy family, he will need it to survive!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This could be "for you"!!

Card Recipe for my Stampin' Sistas: Wild Wasabi & Groovy Guava ink and paper, Versamark ink, One of a Kind Stamp Set, Cuttlebug--Swiss Dots and Script, Hodgepodge Hardware brads.

Hey everybody! I did something rather spontaneous and unusual (for me, anyway!) yesterday--I went down to my craft room and stamped a card, just for the fun of it! No swap, no b-day, just made a card because I had a few minutes!!

I'm not 100% thrilled with how it turned out, as I'm a total perfectionist, but overall I think it is pretty good. If you make a comment on this post, I'll choose someone randomly and send this card to you. Sound good?

It's soccer season and my husband, "Coach Cheney," already left with Alex for the game--so I need to round everybody else up and head out to cheer them on for the first game of the season. Goooooo Firebirds!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Live like you were Dyin'

I was listening to the radio this morning as I was driving kids to school. The DJ's were talking about a man named Randy Pausch who is dying of Pancreatic Cancer. They said how amazing this man is and the attitude he has towards life. I came home and googled him and found a ton of video clips on YouTube about him.

If I were more techno-savvy I'd know how to imbed the actual video right here. But we all know better, so here's the link:

PLEASE make some time in your day to check this out. It will inspire you to, as Tim McGraw sings, "Live like you were Dyin'."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tagged....Long time comin'

My neighbor Sara tagged me weeks ago and I'm just now getting back to my "bloggin' life." Sorry, Sara!! I wasn't dissin' ya, I promise! Here's the info I know you're all just waiting on the edge of your seat for:

One Word:
you're feeling: overwhelmed
to your left: frig
on your mind: kids
last meal included: cereal
you sometimes find it hard to: stop
something you have a collection of: Stamps!!!
a smell that cheers you up: Sam's cologne
a smell that can ruin your mood: halitosis
how long since you last shaved: Sunday
the current state of your hair: undone
the largest item on your desk/workspace right now (not computer): calendar
your skill with chopsticks: pathetic
which section you head to first in the bookstore: children's!!
...and after that?: self-help
something you're craving: quiet
your general thoughts on the presidential race: scary
how many times you've been hospitalized this Year: none
a favorite place to go for quiet time: tub
you've always secretly thought you'd be a good: author
something that freaks you out a little: children dying
something you've eaten too much of lately: candy
you have never: skydived
you never want to: disappoint

I tag: my cousin Becky and anyone secretly stalking my blog!!

I have lots of pics to share, stories to tell, etc. but I've got to go pick up my Kindergartener right now so they'll have to wait.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Diana!!!

Just had to dedicate this post to my sweet friend Diana! She's turning 29 (again, wink wink!!!) today and is just SUCH a great lady!! She's the first to say hello to a stranger, the first one there when someone is in need, and one of the first people I think of to call. She's an amazingly supportive wife, a great mom, and a tremendous friend to all.

Diana--here's a shout out to ya, girl! You rock! Hope you had a day as wonderful as YOU!!

I don't have a pic of her and I, but go check out her BRAND NEW BLOG (as in she created it this week!)-- They have the darndest cute little family eva!!

And don't forget, "You're not getting older, you're getting better!!"