Sunday, January 25, 2015

"This Is Sacred Ground"

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend my Stake Women's Conference. I wrote it down in bold on my calendar to show how much I was looking forward to it. And let me just say, "looking forward" would be an understatement. I was so excited to be able to get out with other women and take a Devin break. I was eager to listen to Carole Mikita (Channel 5 News anchor/ religion specialist) and was hoping she would share stories from all over her travels--she did. I invited my mom and I just love spending time with her!

I know I have heard the it said before that you could have a room packed of people listening to a presentation and everyone will get something different out of it. I think this is especially true when the presentation is that of a spiritual matter because the Holy Ghost will touch each person with what they individually need to hear. I really saw this yesterday during the soup luncheon and constant chattering. All the sisters around me were each sharing what they liked. As each shared their little take home gem, I was like "Oh yeah, she did speak about that." and "That was an interesting story." But their tiny little gems didn't mean much to me other than it being such an interesting story--Carole Mikita has truly traveled the world and interacted with so many LDS people/ temple dedications/ etc.

I wanted to share my gem, the thing that I took home and inspired me to become better. Because I have this hope that sharing it might touch someone else.

She shared a story about a family from Tonga. While I definitely do not remember the names (I don't even think I could have repeated the Tongan family name immediately after she said it--lol), the message was written in my heart.

A girl was able to come to Utah for General Conference. She returned home to her family disappointed to relay the message that no temples were announced for Tonga. The father (maybe grandfather??) of the family said that from that day forward they would treat their five acres of land as a sacred place. The land was thought of as sacred ground to that family. A good time later--like years, Pres. Hinckley (and Carole Mikita and others were with him) was touring Tonga to look at the land. Many different places were presented for where the temple could be built but Pres. Hinckley kept asking to see more options on the island. Then they came to this five acre spot and Pres. Hinckley did not even hesitate. It was immediately decided on the place to build the temple.
She went on to talk about how we likely won't have a temple built literally on our own land (definitely not us... we have a huge backyard but not temple size! haha!) but that we could still make it a sacred place. That thought stuck with me and I have chewed on it over and over.

Our home is sacred. According the the Bible Dictionary, "Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." I love that--the stake center with the baptismal font is not mentioned. The chapel where we have the opportunity to take the Sacrament each week is not mentioned. No, it is the home. I realized that I have definite room for improvement for treating our home as the sacred place that it should be. And using the sacred voice that I should.

Within the walls of my home, I'm raising a future missionary (maybe two)--plus the goal of serving a couple mission with my sweetheart. I'm teaching a future father and mother (the most important calling). I'm changing daily trying to better myself so I can be ready to live with Heavenly Father again. Ignore the fact that there are patch jobs and scribbles on walls, stains in the carpet and lumpy carpet pads, an unfinished basement, only two bedrooms, etc (sidenote... someday these will be fixed/ finished... love our HUD home! Someday...) this truly is a sacred place.

Our home is the place where we put on the armor of God with prayer & scriptures.
Our home is the place where we show our faith as we face trials.
Our home is the place where we unite as a family for meals.
Our home is the place where we build our testimonies & feel the spirit.
Our home is the place where we truly can live on Sacred Ground.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

December 2014

December was lovely! I enjoyed the (crazy!!) warm weather for the entire month and then the snow falling on Christmas Day. The weather motivated me to take Devin out and about. We really have not gone on field trips since before Heidi was born. I was just exhausted being pregnant. And I couldn't figure out how to be a mommy to two. I'm not 100% certain I have figured out the balance of life and mommy-hood yet. No idea how to exercise, clean my house, take care of my little loves, read my scriptures, go on field trips, teach Devin preschool, make dinner, fold the laundry, etc all on the same day. But I decided to just let the not-so-important things get ignored. "Making dinner" is now something as simple as opening a can of soup or macaroni and cheese--both count as me "making dinner". And my little loves will only be little for such a short time. They are most important. Other stuff just has to wait.

Yes this is long. Read if you want. Skim if you want. Glance at pictures if you want. I would love comments and responses if you actually end up reading. :) And just a tip... if you click on the pictures, they should become much larger so you can actually see everything in the collage!

  • We started the month off by looking at cars. If it seems really random, it was. We had talked about getting a new car (well, new to us) for awhile and decided that we each needed a car before it started snowing. I needed freedom to leave the house instead of going absolutely nuts with Devin inside. And we needed Casey to stay healthy instead of standing in snow, freezing to death, waiting for a bus. We looked at one old used van. And I decided that I couldn't do used because I would just be buying someone else's problems. Unless we bought a much newer used car that still included a warranty/ guarantee. We looked at new cars. Because it was still "Black Friday Weekend" there were several AWESOME deals. And with the killer low prices, we found that we could buy a brand new, completely basic model car for the same price as a 2011-ish with around 35,000 miles on it. Brand new 2015 versus used 2011. It seemed like a no brainer. And so we went forward and bought a Nissan Versa. It seemed like the most impulsive buy of my life but we also felt really blessed and guided.
    • As a side note... I'm not kidding about basic model. It is totally stripped down of anything fancy/ extra cost. We love our new car! And are truly grateful for it. But it is SOOOO annoying having two kiddos and manual locks. And it gets better... only the driver door unlocks from the outside. So that means Devin runs around like crazy and Heidi sits in her car seat on the ground while I climb through the car to unlock doors. It is great fun. ;)
  • Smith's grand open near-ish (sort of...) our house. This was the earliest I have ever managed to get two kids out of the house by myself. Both kids were still in pjs--yes, I became a pj mom at the grocery store and I don't even feel bad. I was one of the first 100 customers at the jewelry store and was given a beautiful, real, multi-colored/ strands, pearl bracelet. I LOVE it. All the grief of trying to get the kids ready by myself and having to feed Heidi while walking around the store was completely worth it because of that bracelet.
    • It has since been a blessing/ curse with a store closer to our house. It is now easy to make way too many trips to the store.
    • However, with a pharmacy promotion they had going on, we have been able to earn Smith's dollars. HUGE blessing!! Even with my rather frequent trips, I haven't spent very much money!
    • We saw the Oscar Mayer Hot Dog truck. I was so excited because I have never seen it. And you can only imagine Devin's excitement. He still asks about it every time we drive to Smiths now.
  • Casey and I went on the Jingle Bus for a date night. We also saw the "ZCMI Candy Windows."
  • Devin went to his first friend party by himself. We dropped him off. I'm not totally sure what he did other than eat macaroni and cheese and chocolate cake but seemed to have fun.
  • We went to a Living Nativity in Alpine. I felt like all we did was stand in lines. I'm not kidding. Casey and I got sick of it. Devin's feet got tired. There were so many people. But it was completely worth it in the end. Seeing Baby Jesus meant so much to Devin. More than sitting on Santa's lap or other parties we went to. He constantly talked about seeing Baby Jesus.
  • Devin enjoyed sitting on Santa's lap several times. He was not shy or nervous at all. He told Santa what we each wanted. 
    • (Devin= computer/ laptop. Heidi= Heidi movie with Shirley Temple. Mom= Jesus Calendar. Dad= work clothes.)
  • Devin played at Jungle Jim's twice. Once with his grandparents and cousin. Once with his aunt. He has loved having a free pass to it. Too bad the pass expired at the end of the year. He has had fun playing there for the past year!
  • I went to my RS Christmas Dinner Party. The program was amazing. Different women read a "journal entry" from each of the women in Christ's life when he was born. The one that touched me the most was the Mother of Mary.
  • Devin enjoyed "library school." He wants to participate but is nervous to do so without me. He at least sat on the rug instead of my lap. He made a reindeer mask with his handprints. So cute!
  • Enjoyed "Christmas rides" in our new car. I just love driving around to look at Christmas lights. And Devin's excitement made it even more magical this year.
  • We had dinner at Kneaders with my family and saw Santa again.
  • Casey worked insane amounts of overtime. He was super late coming home. One night came home late, ate dinner, then started working on his laptop. Only to get up early the next morning to keep working. Thankfully his job is normally not this demanding. The developing team was trying to get the program/software/website (I'm really not totally sure what exactly. I think it is more web stuff?) ready for a huge update. The giant overtime check will be so nice though!
  • Heidi got her first cold. Probably passed from me. No idea where I got sick because I live in a germ-phobic/ constant-hand-santizer life. We both survived.
  • We went to our ward Christmas Party. Loved the hot chocolate bar!!
  • Date night to Taco Time and Gingerbread shakes from Arctic Circle.
  • Watched "The Little Elf" puppet show at the library. Devin loved watching the elves. He took our elf, Tinsel with.
  • I attempted to go to another Living Nativity with Devin and my sister. But the line was way, WAY too long. Instead I took them both on the Jingle Bus. Devin loved the bus!
  • We decorated a gingerbread train.
  • I tried to take Devin to a different "library school." We were late and missed all the stories/ preschool part. We made paper mittens though. I traced Devin and Heidi's hand onto each mitten and then glued their pictures on the mittens at home.
    • Heidi really does have LONG fingers!!! Skinny and LONG!!!
  • Devin and I went to my parents' ward Christmas Party. They had a Live Nativity for the program. Devin LOVED seeing Baby Jesus again!
  • We went to my cousin's wedding. And drive-thru fast food date right before the sealing. I loved hearing the counsel of the sealer. It applied to Casey and I just as much as to my cousin and his new bride. We can't go wrong when following the prophet, attending the temple and remembering to love.
  • With kids all bundled in the car, we delivered cookie mixes to our neighbors and friends. And once again enjoyed looking at Christmas lights.
  • Casey took Christmas Eve off and then had Christmas Day AND Dec 26 off as paid holidays. I LOVED having him home for so long!
  • Celebrated Christmas Eve with Casey's family and Christmas lunch with mine. It was wonderful being with those we love so much. It has taken time but I completely love my in-laws just as much as my own family. I feel so blessed to have so many amazing family members (which really I consider friends) in my life.

  • I absolutely loved watching Devin open presents. He pretty much unwrapped everyones. It was a simple Christmas. But seriously, it was enough! I don't want to have so many new presents that they all just blur together and he becomes ungrateful. I would rather it always be simple.
  • One reason it was so nice for Casey to have the 26th off was because I could go clearance shopping by myself. :) We absolutely had to get some wrapping paper. We used up one roll and only had one partial roll left. I also was so excited to find several wood Elf on the Shelf puzzles for Devin next year. And a Baby's First Ornament for Heidi.
  • Date night was one of our Christmas gifts. A gift card for sushi and babysitting. We also enjoyed cookies from Hungry Bear. Best gifts ever are ones that allow us to go on free dates!
  • Heidi and I got sick AGAIN. Ugh. She started coughing and it made us nervous. But with countless prayers, the coughing stayed mild and she never developed breathing problems.
  • Devin and Heidi now have savings accounts at our credit union. They had a promotion going through the end of the year that would give the kids free money. Done. We love free money. LoL! The goal is to teach our kids to be savers. And I pray that my future children-in-laws are being raised to be savers as well. That is a whole different blog post though. One that I may never write....
  • We went to bed on New Years Eve. I slept with ear plugs. It was bliss.
  • And here are the rest of the pictures that we can't forget but I don't feel like writing about.... Haha. Click on the picture to make it larger!! And then you might be able to see everything. One of my favorites is in the bottom/ left -ish. It is above Devin's blue snowman pjs and Heidi's red/ pink heart pjs--both my boys are each feeding their baby!! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Her First White Dress

Sent to this earth

You were saved through the ages for this day

and time

Child of great worth

Child of promise, daughter of the Divine

Pure and holy in a little, white dress

You were held in a circle and you were

And the Father looked down

And the angels surrounded that place

They knew the truth, all that you could do

And you will, too, if you have eyes to see

What heaven sees in you

Lyrics are from "What Heaven Sees In You" by Doug Walker. One of my very favorite songs!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Heidi's History: THREE Months

Heidi's Favorite Things: Heidi likes singing songs with me and loves music. It calms her down so quickly! For Christmas, we found a baby radio--best toy ever for her! She is very observant and likes to look around at everything. She likes playing with her fingers and hands, with both hands together and even just opening and closing one hand by itself. She has super LONG fingers and it is so cute to watch!! She holds her dolly and plays with her jungle gym. (As a sidenote: Devin likes to play with the jungle gym now too. He lays on his back and bats the toys just like Heidi.) She is a very quiet baby and doesn't talk a lot but will carry on full conversations with her daddy. She likes having her diaper changed and always grins while we do it.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Celebrating Heidi's first Christmas. It didn't mean that much to her but Devin sure enjoyed opening both of their presents. December was the first month that I actually started venturing outside with both kids. It was a really fun month and Heidi was such a trooper but also seemed to enjoy the outings. She had her two month check up and shots.

Nicknames: Missy Moo, Sweet Pea.

Dislikes: She doesn't like having a hungry tummy but is patient for a long time waiting for milk. She doesn't like her nose touched because she is nervous that we will suction it. She HATES tummy time!! Like to the point that I give in and don't make her do her pushups/ tummy time for very long or very often.

Clothing Size: 0-3 months (Occassionally 3-6 months on the top, if I'm layering her clothes for warmth.) She seems so much taller now. She has either had a height growth spurt or she is beginning to stretch out instead of staying curled up in a tight ball. Either way, I'm beginning to wonder how long her 0-3 month pants will fit her long (and growing) legs.

Diaper Size: One (with some explosions. The diapers still fit and are slightly big. But somehow she manages to explode what seems like frequently to me.)

Personality: Heidi is a very calm baby. She is very quiet. It is such a difference than Devin was at this age--like complete opposite. She is extremely happy and smiles more often than not when she is awake. She loves to be held and snuggled. She is very much attached to me and is beginning to have slight stranger danger if she doesn't recognize the voice.

Milestones: Heidi is definitely not rolling yet because she hates tummy time so much. She loves standing on her legs while holding onto our fingers now and is excited when she stands for long periods before she gets tired. She has a strong grasp on things (especially my hair!) and will hold onto her toys. When she hears something, she always turns towards it trying to figure out what it was. She loves to play with her hands and fingers.

Sleeping: Generally, she is a good sleeper at night now. Thankfully. I feel like I am beginning to function again because I sleep at night. She takes a good nap in the morning and afternoon. But she loves to be awake and play with us.

Eating: She probably drinks around 5 oz each time. I don't keep track of when she eats or how much because I have to remember my pumping schedule. I make more milk than she drinks (thankfully!! Huge blessing!). But she and I are on different schedules (generally) for when I pump and when she eats. She is a spitball baby! And I wonder how on earth she grows because it seems like she spits out more than she even ate to begin with.

Communication: Heidi smiles to let me know she likes something. And she responds when I talk to her (sometimes). She talks a lot to her daddy. But a lot is really not that much because she is much more of a listener/ observer. She grunts, coos, giggles, ooh and aahs. Sometimes she talks to herself and I love listening.

The hardest part: I know this seems odd but it is so hard that she is already 3 months old. I'm scared I'm going to forget having a baby. Soon she will be eating and crawling and etc. Have I written enough down that I can remember this treasured time? Have I held her enough for both of us to enjoy the snuggles? Will I remember her laugh and cry?

My favorite part: I love seeing her smile. I love looking at her and knowing that we will be best friends. I love that Devin loves her. I love that her hair is growing instead of falling out!!! (Except for a slight "bald" spot on the back of her head. But "bald" would really just mean thinner.) I love the few matching things she and I have (like a couple of hair bows and a bracelet)--I wish I had more so we could be twinners more often!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Miracles of 2014

How can you summarize a year with just one word? I have continued to ponder this over and over. So much happened in 2014. So many prayers, tears, excitement, frustration. And change. Change definitely happened in 2014. But the best word to summarize our entire year would be MIRACLE. I'm not kidding. The entire year was a miracle. So many miracles that I will forever remember.
  • Pregnancy in general is always a miracle. But mine was even more so. Heidi was meant to join our family and fought so many odds against her while I was pregnant.
  • Surviving half of the year on Casey's old salary after all overtime was cut out. I really don't know how we even lived. Truly food stretched further and utility bills were smaller than we have ever experienced. It was a miracle for sure.
  • Casey's new job is a miracle. He has an amazing boss. He loves what he is doing. He is able to commute on the train. Not to mention his salary. Sure, we could always use more money but we feel like we are back to functioning/ living normal.... not rich... just functioning. AND his new job also brought with it the much needed miracle of great health insurance benefits. Little did we know when he started the job how huge of a miracle this would become!
  • Planting an apple tree and attempting to grow a garden this year. Both were first time miracles in our new(ish) home owner lives even though neither produced hardly anything (the tree still has a few years before it should).
  • Living day in and day out with a two year old is a miracle. No joke. Some days he tries my patience further than I can stretch. Other days he cuddles with and kisses me constantly. He has changed so much in 2014!! But little kids do that.
  • And speaking of Devin, potty training is a miracle. Well... almost miracle. He still has occasional accidents.
  • Heidi's birth is a complete miracle. Modern medicine is a miracle. And all the medical staff is a miracle. Missy Moo would have died at birth if it weren't for the hospital staff and life flight. So scary at the time but seriously such a miracle.
  • Buying a car and getting a loan was a miracle. We needed a reliable car because the one car we share was starting to have problems. Its 13 years old and as few of problems as it has is a miracle too. But we also each needed our own vehicle. We were definitely guided and blessed.
  • And this doesn't even mention the day to day miracles. They happen all the time and we are so richly blessed. Waking up to two little loves. Going to sleep with a goodnight kiss from my sweetheart. Owning a washing machine and dryer. Going for walks in the double stroller. It is the day to day things, the little tender mercies, that make life worth living.
Looking back to January 1, 2014, I would have never, ever imagined all of the miracles, all of the faith building experiences, all the change, all the growth. I can't believe where we are today and the miracle it took to get here.