Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Our New Normal

Where to begin?

Life is so different.  Busier?  More full?  More to love?  More work to be done?  All of the above!

The days are LOOOONG.  My mom often says, "The days are long, but the years are short."  But right now, that year is feeling long too.  😂

But.  It is long in a way I have always dreamed and wished for.  Days where little hands and feet are constantly at my hands and feet.  Where my cheeks are sticky from kisses.  Where toys are strewn everywhere and dirty dishes are overflowing.  Where my heart leaps with joy when I hear the garage open as Jared's car pulls in from work.  As I give him a kiss and welcome him home, to our messy, loud home, but where he can feel loved, accepted, and be fed.  Where I feel like all I do is feed, change, discipline, love, repeat, all day long.  Where I long for a break, but where the break doesn't come till 8:30pm.  Where I never knew the joy that would come from watching my toddler follow me into the baby's room each time it's baby's nap time, with toys and books in his arms and hands, him settling on the ground while I sing to the baby, but he too joining in to sing "I Love To See the Temple" to baby Carter.  Where today, when my baby turned five months old, I thought my heart might burst as I put my two boys on the couch and took pictures and video of them.  Where now, while they're both peacefully sleeping and bedtime took far too long and I couldn't wait a minute longer to put them down, I'm watching videos of them on my phone and grinning ear to ear.  Where there is so much exhaustion but SO MUCH LOVE!

(How do people have more than two kids?!)

^^^There are many freak out moments like that each day.  But gratefully, as my dear friend once told me, "Time is either a mom's best friend or worst enemy...but usually best friend."  And boy is she right.  Life is so much easier than it was when Carter was a newborn.  I am slowly but surely adjusting to being a mother of two.  I feel like I'm finally emerging from trying to survive and just feed and clothe everyone.  We are in a good groove now.  We are getting sleep.  And actually, it's the toddler challenging us instead of the baby.  😂  Hitting, attitude, testing limits, all that fun toddler stuff.  He also is looooving the new freedom of a twin bed and greeting us at 7am each morning.  Or 12:30am, take your pick.  Oh and naps?  Bye.

But, I will take this job any day of the week.

And, this article gave me such a good slap in the face that I think I may read it every day.

Some recent pockets of sunshine:

"Mom, I'm going to make the ants happy."

"Look mom, Carter's an astronaut!"

My sweet boys, oh and the Thomas the Train Engine book that entertained all of us all day long.  
Want me to sing all the songs for you?  "There's two, there's four, there's six, there's eight..."

I love them!

My sweet, sweet, sweet Grandpa Stephenson passed away yesterday.  What an INCREDIBLE man!  A man who loved til the very end.  A man who filled his retirement days with memorizing Book of Mormon chapter headings in his spare time and could recite any of them at any time.  A man who, after being married for a while, realized the importance of serving a mission and left his pregnant wife to serve the Lord.  A decision that changed the course of his eternity and his posterity's eternity.  A man who made me feel like a million bucks - who made each of his grandchildren feel like a million bucks - but to me, I was his million bucks.  A man who loved Big Band jazz music, a man who loved his Hill Cumorah mission with Grandma so much that they created a "Sacred Grove" room in their home painted like the Sacred Grove.  I love the memory of he and grandma coming to my and Jared's wedding.  They didn't travel much at that time and it meant so much to me that they were there.  One time he and grandma visited us while we were living in Germany.  For some random reason, I was singing the National Anthem in my room.  (?!)  At the very end, I heard clapping and "Bravo!!"  Grandpa!!  😂  He had been eavesdropping.  He was always encouraging.  He also was so encouraging with his faith.  I loved talking to him and grandma on the phone.  He would always make me feel like we were living right, to keep going, and to never give up.  To always rely on the Lord, and that "Everything will work out with Him on your side."  A man who gave me MY dad who is the best of the best.  Oh how I love my Grandpa Stephenson.  (Here is his obituary.)

I'll be seeing you!

I am so grateful I was able to see him in June of last year at the Stephenson family reunion.

I am way behind on blogging, but I will catch up.  Documenting our life is so important to me.  I'll be back!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Abundant Life

My sister Mikele shared this amazing talk with us a while ago.  I especially love the story it starts out with:

"Harry de Leyer was late to the auction on that snowy day in 1956, and all of the good horses had already been sold. The few that remained were old and spent and had been bought by a company that would salvage them.
Harry, the riding master at a girls’ school in New York, was about to leave when one of these horses—an uncared-for, gray gelding with ugly-looking wounds on its legs—caught his eye. The animal still bore the marks that had been made by a heavy work harness, evidence to the hard life he had led. But something about him captured Harry’s attention, so he offered $80 for him.
It was snowing when Harry’s children saw the horse for the first time, and because of the coat of snow on the horse’s back, the children named him “Snowman.”
Harry took good care of the horse, which turned out to be a gentle and reliable friend—a horse the girls liked to ride because he was steady and didn’t startle like some of the others. In fact, Snowman made such rapid improvement that a neighbor purchased him for twice what Harry had originally paid.
But Snowman kept disappearing from the neighbor’s pasture—sometimes ending up in adjoining potato fields, other times back at Harry’s. It appeared that the horse must have jumped over the fences between the properties, but that seemed impossible—Harry had never seen Snowman jump over anything much higher than a fallen log.
But eventually, the neighbor’s patience came to an end, and he insisted Harry take back the horse.
For years, Harry’s great dream had been to produce a champion jumping horse. He’d had moderate success in the past, but in order to compete at the highest levels, he knew he would have to buy a pedigreed horse that had been specifically bred to jump. And that kind of pedigree would cost far more than he could afford.
Snowman was already getting old—he was eight when Harry had purchased him—and he had been badly treated. But, apparently, Snowman wanted to jump, so Harry decided to see what the horse could do.
What Harry saw made him think that maybe his horse had a chance to compete.
In 1958, Harry entered Snowman in his first competition. Snowman stood among the beautifully bred, champion horses, looking very much out of place. Other horse breeders called Snowman a “flea-bitten gray.”
But a wonderful, unbelievable thing happened that day.
Snowman won!
Harry continued to enter Snowman in other competitions, and Snowman continued to win.
Audiences cheered every time Snowman won an event. He became a symbol of how extraordinary an ordinary horse could be. He appeared on television. Stories and books were written about him.
As Snowman continued to win, one buyer offered $100,000 for the old plow horse, but Harry would not sell. In 1958 and 1959, Snowman was named “Horse of the Year.” Eventually, the gray gelding—who had once been marked for sale to a low bidder—was inducted into the show jumping Hall of Fame.1
For many, Snowman was much more than a horse. He became an example of the hidden, untapped potential that lies within each of us."
Elder Wirthlin shared three characteristics that the happiest people he knows have in common.  "They are qualities that can transform ordinary existence into a life of excitement and abundance."  (Added some of my notes)

1.  They drink deeply of living waters.
          -Pray, believe, develop unshakeable faith, fill my mind with a knowledge of Him.

2.  They fill their hearts with love.
          -The greatest commandment.  Am I truly loving ALL around me?

3.  They, with the help of their Heavenly Father, create a masterpiece of their lives.
          -Create something remarkable of my life.
          -We were created by GOD.
          -Every one of us has potential we can scarcely imagine.
          -One of my favorite scriptures, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the      heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor 2:9) 

And one of my favorite sections of the talk:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Big Things are Made out of Little Things

This mothering article is amazing.  I am so grateful for the resources and mentors out there who are there to encourage us in our mothering journey.

Big things really are made out of little things.

The micro matters.

The macro doesn't happen without the micro.

I am learning more and more that being a mother is the greatest thing I can do with my life right now.

When Jared and I were dating and engaged, we came up with a little motto, to "change the world" together.  I am realizing more and more that that will happen by raising children who are loving, respectful, and have a desire to do good and be good.  That is how we will accomplish our goal.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Carter newborn pictures

We had some newborn pictures taken by the amazing Hailey Mabey when Carter was three and a half weeks old.  I am so grateful we have these pictures to remember this special time of our life.  Little did we know the next two weeks would be sooooo harrrrrrd (circumcision complications, fussy baby, establishing a better schedule, baby not pooping for eight days...oh and we had just survived a hurricane), but, we survived and things are a lot better now. :)  I am grateful for the ability to have children, and I'm so grateful for the joy they bring to us.  I love my little family!!