Thursday, December 30, 2010

Imperfections and Gratitude

The holidays were crazy this year.  Jewelry orders kept me swamped until the week before Christmas.  Two days before Christmas, Craig and I were scrambling around Wal-mart trying to wrap up Christmas for the kids.  Mental note: Next year, start earlier! 

Craig and the twins crash after a Christmas party

The week of Christmas brought tons of unexpected situations for our family members.  Craig came down with the flu and was walking around with wadded up tissues in both nostrils for almost a week.  Among the other surprises of the week for family members were: a forced move 3 days before Christmas, a new baby born 5 days before Christmas and a serious infection that kept one of our sweet nephews in the hospital until Christmas Day.  That week is still a whirlwind in my mind.

I have a tendency, as a lot of women do, to feel guilt...all...of...the...time.  Guilt for not helping others more.   Guilt for not being a better mother.  Guilt for not having a cleaner house.  Guilt for not spending more quality time with my husband.  Just guilt for pretty much everything you can think of.  And I won't lie.  This Christmas season had it's fair share of it.  I wish I could have been everywhere for everyone and I wasn't. 

One afternoon a few days before Christmas, I bent down to wipe CJ's nose.  He rubbed my cheek so softly with his cold little fingers.  I gave him a tight squeeze and my eyes quickly scanned the room.  Craft papers and crayons strewn across the kitchen floor.  Last nights rice under all the chairs at the table.  The sink full of dirty dishes, tiny fingerprint patterns of stick people all over the back sliding doors.  I wanted to cry. I felt inadequate, frustrated and exhausted....

And then I felt love.  An overwhelming sense of love and gratitude filled me.  I believe strongly in a loving Heavenly Father.  I know it was his way of telling me, "You're doing just fine, Lora." 

That feeling stuck with me for several days.  I found myself alone on my knees many times this Christmas season giving thanks for the good in my life and praying for the ones we love that were having such hard trials.  It had suddenly become so clear to me that I had SO many things to be grateful for.  Thinking about my family and those around me that were struggling awakened me to to fact that I have virtually no control over my life.  I can't keep illnesses away.  I can't control the economy and whether or not there will be work for my husband.  But I realized that the one thing I DO have control over is my home:  the feeling in my home, my personal attitude and beliefs the way I raise my children. 

Lizzie and baby Tustin while Papa read Luke 2

I am grateful for a life that is so so far from perfect but so good and so filled with love.
Gracie and Duke (who recently has become more of an "inside" dog)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thank goodness for a good man.

The summer is beginning to change.  Can you feel it?  It's the little things like cooler evenings, the slight rustling of leaves and the faint sounds of Riverton High's marching band practicing.  And, of course, the school supplies.  They're everywhere. 

So in honor of summer ending, we thought we'd sneak the kids out of school for one of the last boating days of the year last Friday.  We were supposed to meet my sister and her family at Deer Creek at 11 am.  Things were going pretty good until it became close for time to leave.  We realized we'd forgotten this or that and CJ was constipated and the list goes on.  We finally got on the road about 10:30.  Heading down I-15 we noticed people pulling up along side us waving hysterically and pointing to the boat.  I looked back to find that the back seat was missing.  Not flapping or bumping up and down....just GONE!  We pulled over.  I looked into the back seat of the car and noticed Lizzie crying into her arm.  She suddenly burst out, "Mom, it's my fault.  I put something under the seat before we left."  Wow.  I was impressed with her honesty.  Craig and I walked back to survey the damage.  No back seat.  One missing life jacket.  I looked at Craig who just stared into the boat.  I said, "She feels pretty bad about it."  He responded.  "Just don't say anything else about it when we get into the car."  And that was it.

We circled around a few exits and came back up the freeway to look for it.  There it was.  Our lovely, big back seat thrashed to pieces in the middle lane of the freeway.   I called 911 and reported a boat seat in the middle of the freeway.  They said they'd send someone right out.  We continued on our way to lake. 

We stopped at the mouth of the canyon to fill up.  Craig told the kids to run in and pick out one thing each.  Gracie jumped out of the car and yelled, "Mom, I didn't wear any shoes."  I gave her mine and got back in the car.  While I waited I texted my sister (she and her family had been waiting for us for an hour at the lake.)  In the text I said, "Be prepared for white trash boating."  After that I sat in the quiet car and thought about my man and the way he'd handled a really crappy situation.  Could've been so much worse.  Could've ruined our day.  But it didn't.

The lake was freezing but we had a blast.  Suzy and I got thrashed around on the tube for a while and when we went flying off I hit the water so hard I thought she'd kicked me in the stomach.  Almost threw up.  Had a headache for the rest of the day. 

Don't worry I got him back, GOOD.  Who says white trash boating can't be fun?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Me...the amputee.

I've got lots and lots and lots to blog about this summer. So much to little time. But for now, I'll leave you with a little laugh from the picture below taken at Lake Mead on July 4th. Yes, that is me. Apparently I am an amputee, or so it appears!  Toodles!
Lora, the amputee and Dylan jumping off the back of the boat. Lake Mead, July 4th, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Who Am I?

It's almost midnight. Everyone in my house is asleep. I should be asleep but this is the first minute I've had alone all day. And I need it. I've been doing some thinking lately. With the kids out of school for the summer, my days are completely consumed with them. Feeding them, breaking up their fights, entertaining them, listening to their stories, helping Grace with meds and chest pt's...and the list goes on and on. So, this has stirred some thought within me lately. WHO AM I?????

A few nights ago I lie awake in bed thinking about this question. I know what I used to be passionate about. I know what I used to love. But that was 9 years ago before the kids starting coming. Since my first was born I feel like I've lost a little piece of myself with each one. I'm not complaining. I wouldn't change a thing. I am blessed beyond measure to have these little people in my life... I'm just not sure who I am anymore.

The babies will start preschool in a month. 5 hours of alone time EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I think it is time to find out what this woman is all about again.

The following will be on my agenda:

1. Start writing children's books again and start submitting to publishers

2. Learn new techniques for jewelry making

3. Be a better blogger

I'll let you know what I find out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today is a special day...April 28th

I can't believe my Gracie just turned 7 years old. I say that in the same sense that other parents do now...but a few years ago I just wasn't sure. She has been our angel in every sense of the word. Having her has changed me, my perspective on life and what really matters to me. In some ways I feel like I'm more hardened to life now, less outgoing and less friendly. Many days I just don't feel like wasting time when there are so many things to be done. This is a shame, because I know I miss out of so many of the tiny details...the little moments that make you pause and catch a glimpse into your children's or your own soul. But having Gracie has changed me in other ways, too. When I hear a story of a mother that gives birth to a sick baby, or a story about a child that is struggling with illness, I am touched. More deeply than I ever knew I could be. She has taught me to FEEL. Truly feel and hurt for other's pain, sorrows and struggles.

On the morning of her birthday, April 28th, I lie in bed. I heard the kids stirring. Craig got up and showered. I just lied in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking about this very morning, 7 years ago. I was frozen with the memory. Craig met the kids in the kitchen. I could hear him getting out pans and asking Gracie what she would like for breakfast. I knew I should be the one in there. I should be greeting her with a huge "Happy Birthday!" but instead I was in bed wiping the tears from my eyes. It amazed me how painful it was to recall the events of April 28th, 2003 and the months that would follow. I knew I should make myself remember it all. Feel the pain again. Because when I had remembered every last detail that I could recall, I felt nothing but gratitude. She was allowed to live, to be an important part of our family. She was here to love us and to teach us and to make us laugh, everyday.

I am so grateful to be Gracie's mother.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side

I can't believe it has been 10 years since I finished up at BYU. I didn't end up that far away but my trips to campus seldom. Only once every year or two. When I do get back there, I always get the same strange, home-sick feeling that reminds me of another life I once lived. Sort-of surreal. One part of campus that always pulls me back is the Monte L. Bean Museum.

There is a reptile show several times a week where your kids can pet snakes, turtles or huge lizards. Heads and full-body mounts adorn the entire 2 story building. It feels like a huge, dead zoo. I love it. My kids love it. Even Craig loves it.

You should check it out while your kids are off track, for a family night or just for something to do! Call ahead or check website for hours of reptile don't want to miss it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Party

I hate how crowded and impossible it is to have a date on Valentine's Day. This led to our family changing the dynamics of our Valentine's Day into a day of love for the entire family to share.

Every year we make homemade pizzas(heart shaped, of course,) everyone's favorite junk food, and rasberry sherbet mixed with sprite to drink. We go around the table and tell what we love most about each other while we pig out.

I enjoy it thoroughly, as do the kids.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

True Love

I've been thinking a lot lately about my marriage and my family. I remember as a teenager lying in bed at night thinking about my future. I thought about who I would marry, how many kids I would have, where we would live. Everything has turned out much different than I ever thought. I never imagined living in Utah married to a 6'2" red-headed stud who is absolutely passionate about hunting. (Which hasn't always been easy for me.) I did imagine having lots of kids, but never considered all the challenges that would come with that...for them and me. I DID imagine getting pregnant, having a babies, taking them for walks, trips to the library, helping out in their classrooms, trips to the zoo and making cookies together.

Somehow, in my thoughts of the future, I never pictured administering over 20 pills a day, along with vests that shake my child violently while she breathes from a mask to help clear her lungs. I never pictured having twins pulled from my tummy via c-section and staring at a cleft-lip that marred my baby girl's beautiful face. I never considered the stress that insurance issues and downfalls in the economy would cause in a marriage. I just never did.

I also never imagined going to bed each night staring at a man that owns my heart. I never imagined feeling so much joy and pride seeing my children run home from the bus together laughing till the cry. I never imagined waking up to burnt toast and watered down orange juice in bed or 3 year old twins that love to dip dino chicken nuggets in their milk...but these are the things that make my life full of joy. Knowing that I can be with them forever. Knowing that no matter what twists and turns life may bring....I will always have them.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Isn't it interesting the way our children decide what new things they want to be involved in and then they go for it! No fear. No hesitation. Just do it! I love it. I really look up to my kids for that. I guess I'm not so much the mom that says, "You have to pick something and stick with it." Maybe I should be that way more. But part of me can relate to them wanting to try everything. I want to try everything, too! I really feel that when they find their true love, that their passion and excitement for that find, whatever it may be, will drive them to excel at it.

So far, Lizzie has tried soccer, piano, swimming, baseball, ballet, gymnastics, tumbling, and basketball. She's enjoyed them all but could take or leave most. She's recently informed me that she can't live with basketball. (I was hoping for softball...oh well.) So basketball it is...And boy is she good at it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hospital and Zoo

Gracie has her check-ups every three months. The hospital is only a couple of miles from the zoo so after an excellent Pulmonary Function Test of 133 we met some friends at the zoo. The weather was nice, there were hardly any people there and the animals seemed happy to see us. (Especially Tino, the gorilla)

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of Tino because he was the most interesting, disgusting gorilla we've ever encountered. He was sitting right by the glass with his back facing us. Every few seconds he would turn his head to look at us as he chewed on something he kept putting into his mouth. A big, brown something. As he popped the last morsel into his mouth, he reached down to his back-side and grabbed another snack, fresh from his bum. Disgusting? Yes, I know. My kids were enthralled. Frankly, so was I. We could have sat and watched that dirty ole gorilla all day, but life and reality awaited us at home.

On the way home I remembered my dad telling a story about the gorilla in the Birmingham, AL zoo and threw up into his hands then threw it all over my dad. Lovely. I guess I'm grateful for glass enclosures now instead of bars.

We look forward to our next zoo excursion. Thanks, Kendi, for entertaining us for the afternoon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunday Night Splurge

Every Sunday night the girls and I make a treat. This was a recent sweet that we all enjoyed (a little too much.) It's easy to make and oh, so yummy.
I got the heart shaped pans (2 of them) at Target in the dollar section for $2.50 each. They are silicone. Have you tried those?? Where I have been all these years?... They are guaranteed to please.
Here's the recipe:
Double-chocolate cake:
1 pkg plain devil's food cake mix
1 big box chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 c sour cream
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c choc. chips
Preheat oven to 350. Spray your pan. Put cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water and oil in large mixing bowl. Blend w/eletric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down sides. Turn it up to medium and beat for another 2-3 minutes. It will be very thick. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until it springs back with light touch of finger, or starts to pull away from the pan. (20-30 mins if you've got it in 2 pans or 45-50 if it's all in one.)
Remove from oven and completely cool before frosting.
Magnolia Bakery's Traditional Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream butter with 4 cups of the sugar. Add in the milk and vanilla. Slowly add the remaining sugar one cup at a time until thick enough to spread. Add food coloring for pretty pink, valentiney color. Store extra at room temperature.
Add lots of heart sprinkles or edible pearls to make it beautiful then eat until you make yourself sick! Yum.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The little things

Tonight Craig and I went out for a quick dinner. Very quick, because it was getting late and our young babysitters needed to be home. We sat and ate (too much) and talked as fast as we could about this and that. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy talking to Craig (probably because we seldom finish a conversation without a child interrupting or the phone ringing.) It was so nice to talk in complete sentences. We both recently got new phones and are trying to become more techno savvy (we're learning to text...I know.) As I finished my last sip of diet coke I heard a little beep beep beep. I picked up my new fancy little phone and it said,"One new text message." I clicked on it and it only said the following:

"I love you." Sent by the man across the table from me.

Funny how those three little words still make me tear up sometimes.

I love that man.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Better days

Today was much better. We drove to American Fork to pick up a new pair of church shoes for CJ. He is impossible to find shoes for because of his puffy feet, so we LOVE squeaky shoes...minus the squeak. AND Sophie's Boutique has them on sale for $11.99 a pair right now! Incredible! I didn't tell Craig where we were going because I was afraid of his reaction. When we returned and CJ came hopping in, squeaking all the way, Craig met me at the door with, "Are you freakin' kidding me?" I just laughed. The kid is in love with his shoes! And so is Hallie. I couldn't buy CJ a pair and not Hallie because, by the way, the girl is the most high maintenance chic I've ever met in my life!

After shoe shopping we drove right past "Dippidee", only the most delicious cupcake maker on the planet, I'm afraid. I turned around and stopped in for a half dozen mini's. They're hidden in the outside fridge for our Friday night treat. (I'm trying to make up for the lousy parenting job I've been doing the past few days.)

Today was a good day. New shoes, cupcakes and no accidents from Hallie on the potty-training end of things. (I'll leave CJ's story on that for another day.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Today I've been grouchy. I'm not sure why. I just feel like being grumpy. When I tucked CJ into bed he asked me to read him a book. I said, "No." What kind of mother doesn't read her kid a book when they are asked? Craig told me to stop being so mean. I told him, "I'm not being mean, *&^&+%!" He just rolled his eyes and went to kiss the kids goodnight.

I went to get in the bathtub and found little pictures (about 12 of them) from Gracie covering my countertop in the bathroom. When I got into the tub I found all the little candle holders filled with cold bath water from Hallie's earlier bath. I went to the kitchen for a drink and found a paper Lizzie wrote at school. She named her stuffed animal, "Stephanie," by the way. It is after her bus driver whom I think she may love more than me.

I started to make sack lunches for tomorrow and wondered why I've been so mean today. Hormones? Easy blame. Winter/no sunshine? Caring for sick 2 year old twins that insist on fighting every second they are awake? And then I realized that I haven't left the house except for an hour at church (which doesn't really count) in 4 days. That's enough to make anyone crazy!

I'm going to be nicer tomorrow. I put notes in the kids' lunches. Just like my mom used to do for me. I'm going to put something besides sweats on tomorrow and the babies and I are going to buy CJ some new shoes. (Even if they do try to kill each other the entire time.) Wish me luck.