Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day

Nothing in this world can prepare you for the eternal joys of motherhood.

And in contrast I feel that nothing can prepare you for the pain you feel for your children when you know they are hurt.

I have never felt such happiness [and really that word doesn't even do it justice] as the day(s) my children were born. I will forever have those memories burned in my mind. I vividly recall the first time I saw Quincy... beholding his tiny pink body.... hearing that wonderful first cry... knowing that this was a fulfillment of my divine destiny. I remember meeting Braxton face to face... seeing all that brown fuzzy hair and understanding that each spirit is unique.... I remember thanking Heavenly Father for trusting me enough to nurture His children here on earth.

Never have I felt a more powerful wave of God's spirit wash over me than when I first cradled my children in my arms. The privilege of beholding someone that was so near to our Heavenly Father is indescribable.

With that being said... I will say that motherhood has it's ups and downs. Some days are MOST discouraging. It's on days like these that I take comfort in these words:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit....

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!

To some it might be silly to to set aside a day to recognize, thank, and show our appreciation to Mother's around the world, but to me-- the mother of two rowdy and rambunctious boys-- it's a day to reflect on the privilege of Motherhood.

And so it is... this year that I had an amazing Mother's Day.

Not only did Tyler make me breakfast... but he also got the boys ready for church AND we were EARLY (something I love--as I hate to be late-- something instilled in me from my dad) in driving up to my parents' house Sunday morning to go to their ward.

Yes. It was so nice to shirk the mom duties for one day...But best of all it was great to be with my whole family.

I want to share an little story that happened to me on Mother's Day-- which hopefully doesn't discredit my skills as a mother....

We managed to get everyone out the door on time that morning and not forget anything. We sat through a beautiful sacrament which praised mothers. When Sacrament was over Tyler and I decided that we were going to go back to my parent's house to put Braxton down for a nap. Quincy was excited to go to primary and since my mom plays piano in there we gladly let him go. Before leaving I told my dad "Quincy is in primary. We are taking Braxton home to take a nap. Make sure you guys take him home with you." My dad said "Okay." So we got to my parents house, put B down for his nap, changed out of our church clothes, and waited for church to be over. During the last hour of church my dad came home to prepare the mother's day dinner. Pretty soon everyone starting coming home and we discovered that Quincy wasn't with any of them.... I had a moment of panic surge through me when I realized that the message never got relayed from my dad to my mom. Indeed Quincy was left at church by himself. In a ward he didn't live in. My brother Karter even said he didn't see Quincy at the church when he went to pick up my mom. Uh oh. Where oh where could our little Quincy be?

Tyler and I rushed to the church in our regular clothes and started looking for him. After peeking into several rooms and not seeing him I heard someone call my name. I looked down a hall to find my Aunt Victoria and cousin Sarah. Standing at their feet was Quincy... looking rather perplexed by my slightly panicked expression and eating a chocolate chip cookie. I gave him a huge hug and then discovered that he had peed his pants...Not because he was scared that he had been left at the church, but because his teacher didn't take him to the bathroom. However, he was happy. He was safe. And he was cheerfully showing me some paper flowers he made in his class.

Yes. Mother's Day was a great day to reflect on the privilege of Motherhood and consider that perhaps I'm going to make some mistakes... and maybe every once in a while I might just leave one of my children at the church.

Hope you all had great Mother's Days!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

This year Tyler and I celebrated our 5 year Anniversary. Sometimes it's hard to believe that we are already into five years of marriage.... weren't we just newlyweds? However, at times I feel that we have accomplished SO much in 5 years time!

We have both graduated college, we have lived in 3 houses (5 if you count the transitional move into and out of our parents' homes), Tyler has had 2 jobs, and we now have 2 children.


A lot has happened over the course of our 5 years of marriage.

Some of it has been challenging at times.... I recall very vividly before we moved to Portland Tyler quitting his job and the following week I found out I was pregnant with Braxton. It was one of those experiences we will never forget. It was a time that seemed stressful and bleak because we couldn't see the plan that God had outlined for us. I remember thinking 'I should be SO happy that we're having a second child', but instead I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. It was through that extremely difficult situation that we learned to have unwavering faith and relied heavily on our Father in Heaven. Through His guidance we were able to see that something great was going to come of our seemingly bad situation.

Almost 2 years later we are STILL learning this lesson.... This year we had a wonderful anniversary vacation planned on the Oregon Coast in a beautiful 1 bedroom luxury town home in Newport, OR.

Approximately 4 weeks prior to our planned vacation Tyler received a phone call which informed us that our beach rental was no longer available due to a change in ownership. Talk about a major bummer. With two active boys and Tyler's stressful days at the bank we TRULY had been looking forward to this getaway.

So once again... we were forced into having faith that God had a greater plan. I'll admit that I was a little doubtful at first. Immediately after finding out that our rental was gone I began searching for an alternative. It was SO frustrating! Everything that matched the quality of our original getaway plans was either unavailable or out of our price range.

After a week or two of getting the bad news and spending every day searching for SOMETHING... I came to the conclusion that we might have to settle for staying local in a hotel or something.

Then one day... it happened. I just by chance was looking on Craigslist when I came across a cabin rental on Mayfield Lake in Mossyrock, WA. The home sounded like everything we were hoping for and what was even more promising was the price.

After making sure it was a legitimate advertisement for an actual vacation rental we found that the dates we wanted were available. And lucky for us the lady was running a special 'stay 2 nights get the 3rd for free'.

We discovered that about a 90 minute drive from our place lead us to little Mossyrock,WA . The cabin was beautiful and accurately advertised to everything we were expecting: a 2 bedroom + loft, private hot tub, full kitchen, BBQ, wifi access, cable and best of all a quiet retreat. All in all we ended up paying less than our original plans called for and an left with an experience that was most relaxing and memorable.

When you have 2 active noisy boys and live in the heart of the city with lots of hustle and bustle you forget how quiet it is out in the woods. I can honestly say that I haven't been anywhere that quiet. When we laid down in bed to sleep there wasn't a SINGLE sound. SOOOO nice!

Most of our time we spent relaxing indoors... but we did venture down to the Lake, which was beautiful-- and COLD. But what can you expect from a huge lake in the mountains. The weather was gorgeous for the first 2 days and mild our last 2... we couldn't have asked for better.

I think about our last anniversary vacation to Las Vegas (which was SO much fun) where we went out to eat for almost every meal -- mostly because we were staying in the amazing Mandalay Bay Hotel *in which the hotel rooms don't have full kitchens*. For our getaway this year I did ALL the cooking. I actually told Tyler I don't mind cooking, in fact it's much easier to do without two screaming kids fighting around my ankles. :) Even though we stayed in to eat we didn't skimp in the food department. We had yummy breakfasts of scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast, strawberries and grapes. Delicious lunches consisting of one of Tyler's favorite, grilled sausages. And scrumptious dinners of fresh salad, scalloped potatoes and grilled salmon.

Wednesday we decided to golfing... and of course when I saw 'we' I mean Tyler wanted to golfing and I agreed to go with him. After all, it's a "tradition"....... since we went golfing during our honeymoon. And besides, with all the beautiful weather we were having we didn't want to be indoors. We found a great golf course in Chehalis and Tyler golfed his heart out. Although there were a few frustrating shots in there I'd like to think that I made it more bearable. I was like his little chauffeur/personal cheerleader... which I'm sure all the other guys were jealous of. :) I am NOT a golfer... nor do I think that I have the patience to START golfing, but I DO make a great golf cart driver! Perhaps when I'm old and having nothing better to do and am full of patience then I will start.... :)

After all that golfing we headed a little further North and stopped in the Centralia Outlet Malls... we found a few things, but the best deal were some Nike polos that Tyler got for $4.99!

I don't think it really matters where we go, Tyler and I can always manage to have fun.

I feel blessed to have such a wonderful husband.

He has always worked so hard to provide for our family. He has comforted me in times of sorrow. He has made me laugh when I'm fuming mad. He has challenged me to become better. He has protected me from harm. He has reminded me of the importance of my role as a mother when I'm having a rough day. He has made feel special by winking at me from across the room. He has showered me with love.

What a blessing it is to have the knowledge that Tyler and I are sealed together for eternity. I take extreme comfort in that. I can't wait to celebrate another 5 years of marriage together.

I love you Tyler!

Happy Anniversary.

Monday, May 9, 2011

March Of Dimes

Saturday April 30th we decided to wake up at 6:00AM, get dressed in multiple layers of clothing, wake our kids up (I know, who does that on a Saturday morning?), pack up 2 strollers and a backpack full of snacks so we could ride the max train to downtown Portland.

I know, you're thinking 'Seriously??-- You're crazy. However, we weren't waking up at the crack of dawn just for the heck of it. We were packing all our kids and their crap up and riding downtown to walk in the March of Dimes. Volunteers in the walk agree to raise/ donate money to help babies. It was for a great cause-- and since Key Bank happens to be one of the top sponsors -- and my husband just so happens to work for Key Bank... he not only signed HIMSELF up, but volunteered ME as well. Thoughtful, wasn't that? :)

I fully admit that I wasn't too thrilled to be getting up before the sun AND waking our kids up on one of the ONLY days we get to sleep in.... BUT it was for a wonderful cause. In addition to that reason it was a family adventure as well.

We had to be down to the max park and ride by 7:15AM, which lucky for us is basically across the street from our apartments near the Clackamas Town Center Mall. We made it with plenty of time to spare and managed to remember everything we needed to. Quincy was thoroughly excited to ride the "train". He couldn't wait!

Since it was so early, it was still a bit chilly, thus the reason my children look like they are bundled up for a winter snowstorm. :) Can you not see the anxious anticipation in Quincy's face as he awaits for the train to arrive?

Although Quincy was excited for the train to get to our stop, he was NOT as thrilled to be taking a picture with me on it... hence the 'Get that camera outta my face' expression. I guess, in his defense it WAS still a tad bit early.

The picture below sort of says it all... Tyler and I look all bright eyed and bushy tailed, Quincy looks thrilled to be drinking his juice, and Braxton doesn't know what's going on... nor does he really appear to care. This family snapshot was taken BEFORE the walk started.

It is a great thing we don't have an AFTER picture.....

This is how our walk went: since Key Bank is one of the big sponsors we got to line up at the start with other Key Bank walkers. It was freezing cold and the wind was blowing, but luckily it was just clouds and we encountered no rain during our whole walk. So, let me tell you that BOTH Tyler and I were under the impression that there was a 3K, 5K, and 10K. After gaining this knowledge we decided that for our family the best walk would be the 5K. About a quarter mile into the walk there were 2 signs one that pointed east that said 10K and one that pointed west that read 3K. We were momentarily confused because neither of us saw a sign for the 5K, however it was a huge group of people walking so we just followed along thinking that there would be a sign a little further for the 5K.

Oh-- how wrong we were. After getting to our 1st checkpoint Tyler and Quincy made a pit stop in the portable potty's-- Quincy thought they were nasty, and rightfully so! Along our walk by the Willamette River we saw a Sea Lion... which is pretty rare to see them that far inland, but there he was just one lonely Sea Lion enjoying all the attention from the walkers. When we had followed the river east and then crossed over the river heading back west.... we passed through checkpoint 4, finally I asked a lady: "How many checkpoints are there?" She replied with a cheerful "8". WHAT?!? At this point Tyler and I were getting pretty tired of pushing the boys in their strollers and our feet were starting to hurt a little. Needless to say, we did manage to finish the 10K...which ended all uphill (*lovely*) and we did it in a mere hour and a half!

We were completely exhausted by the end, and I don't think I felt like walking for a few days after, but we DID IT!