For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

No good reason, really....

My last post was almost three months ago. That's just shameful for me. I am usually better than that! To be honest my mind has been on overload, forsure. So much has happened in these last months, and yet from the outside our lives seem so much the same. We haven't moved. We haven't added anyone to the family, except for a kitten. Jon's job is the same, our lives appear to be the same. Appear...

We have had several birthdays. School has been crazy. Life has been crazy. Just after my last post Megan was hospitalized for an enlarged liver. They did several tests but could never figure out why it was enlarged and the general consesus was that her poorly controlled diabetes was at the root of the problem. It wasn't a fun time for her, or us and it sidetracked her on school. Everyday since then has been a struggle and yet for some reason even with all of that she still seems to "forget" that she has diabetes and goes about her day as though she were like everyone else. But she isn't like everyone else. Nights spent in the hospital, worry, prayers and all still seem to have no affect on this child. Jon and I worry non stop that it is going to take the loss of a foot, or her eyesight, or a kidney for her to figure it out. We desperately don't want it to come to that, but she is too old for me to babysit non stop. We want what every parent wants for their children. Happiness...

After a few October birthdays and a fun Halloween we got to November.  I surely thought the arrival of my brothers twins and a nice Thanksgiving would be all we had to talk about that month. Just not so. The twins came safe and sound and are adorable and healthy. Great news! Not one week later Jon and I sat in the living room watching TV. In the one hour we sat there Colby got up to go to the bathroom at least every ten minutes. We sat there and talked about how he had been going a lot lately, was thirsty at night and was not quite himself. Jon told me to check his blood. I told him to do it. We both sat there a few more minutes until Colby got up again. I finally went in and checked his blood. It said 550. I checked my blood hoping the machine was wacko. It read 120, so I checked his again, and again it was high. I walked into Jon and broke the news. He almost laughed hoping I was joking, but knew I wasn't. That was it, another diabetic. Another thing to redefine our sense of "normal". Another child to take care of and worry non stop about on a greater level. We sat for another hour debating about when to take him to Primarys. Right then, or first thing in the am. We finally decided that he wasn't going to die before morning and we could get the kids off to school in a good way and then go. I cried when we told the kids the next morning, I cried all the way to the hospital and I cried on and off the next few days. Why was I crying so much? We walk this road everyday, we have done the diabetes thing for almost 15 years, we have two other children with it. Jon and I both know what we are doing. And we both knew what we were getting into. I think that's why I cried. That and the fact that Colby's whole life had changed. Forever. I am not sure people without diabetes knows just how much it affects the lives of those who have it. They can never eat anything without poking their fingers and giving themselves a shot. Or bolus on a pump. They will forever live with pain, uncertainty, carb counting and a lifetime of struggle. Diabetics are some of the strongest people I know. Like others who deal with cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and other diseases they will forever will be changed. I read recently that insulin is like having a person on life support. Without it, my children would die. They would die. They are on constant life support and it isn't an easy life. Now, having said all that I have to say this. My children are an inspiration to me. They test their own blood, read the numbers and stand bravely for each and every shot. They eat on a schedule and know that medication, syringes and doctors will be their constant companions through life and yet still smile everyday. They still laugh, play, sing and always inspire those around them. They are my heroes and they teach me everyday the will to live and live happily is born into children. We as parents only need to nurture that will and help them become the most amazing people they were born to be. I feel this way about all my children and when times like this come along I am retaught. Re inspired. Regenerated.

November started out like any other and turned into a teaching month. I have come away humbled, yet again, happy and sad, up and down. I came into December somewhat sad, very stressed, exhausted and a little down. But I will say that despite all of that I am so happy that despite the long struggle ahead of my children, they are with me. Thanks to those pioneers of modern medicine that have made that possible! Bring on Christmas...I will be so happy to look into the faces of all my children Christmas morning and know we have many more years together!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Life is ever changing....

Skyler is on the counter eating chips, I am on the computer doing everything but my chores. He is picking the music, which today is MGMT and I am actually really enjoying it. It is only 9 am. Brynlee is chasing the cat with a poptart in her hand. I am not sure if it's for the cat or herself. My older kids are off to school, lunches in hand, homework done and clothes clean. I am a pretty good mom. Not perfect, but ok.

Twenty years ago this morning never would have happened. Kenna would have been at the table, with a variety of other daycare kids, eating fruit and oatmeal. More kids coming in than going out, unlike today. She would have gotten in trouble for sitting on the counter, and I didn't even buy chips. Life changes, constantly.

Lori and I had a long conversation about change. Who we are today compared to what we were twenty years ago. Jon has changed. He looks older, carries a heavier burden on his shoulders and less money in his pocket despite the pay increases over the years. I have changed too. My weight is definitely up and my desire to do something about it is down. But there's good changes as well. I have become so much more sensitive to the needs and pain of others that at times I have to shut out the world because I can't fix it all. My heart aches when I see a homeless person begging on the street, I cry when those sweet kids on tv get surgeries that their parents can't afford and I can't even watch the UFC. Silly I know, they do it willingly, but I can only imagine how much it hurts to have someone constantly pounding on you. Ouch! My world has also changed. Not just in my kids growing, moves from here to there and people coming and going, but my world. Most people don't stray too far from the realm to which they were born. My realm has been somewhat sheltered. I have always lived in Utah, always been near my family, my kids even go to the same schools that I went to. But several years ago I was thrust, happily, into a new realm. My location has stayed the same, but family morphed into something I can't even describe. A part of my past came into the present and made my life so much more than I could have dreamed of. Lori, Lisa and Tracy are my biological sisters. They grew up so different from me, they lived a life so far from the one I lived. I have spent the better part of 16 years getting to know them, loving them and changing because of them. I am happier with them in my life, more understanding of those who grew up differently and more complete with them as a part of me.

I have changed a lot over the last several years. I try hard to change in good ways. Sometimes I need a quiet reminder, sometimes I need a sledgehammer to the side of the head, but I am capable of it. My heart is bigger, my hands are older and my hind end is wider, but it's all for good. The weight is worth what I got for it, ten beautiful healthy children. Someone said to me recently that I am the "agitator". I actually loved this. Let me rock your world and you can hate me for it, or love me for it. You pick. Polly has said several times over the years that she learned to relax with me around. I taught her how to play again. She has taught me to be strong in the face of overwhelming circumstances. It's a give give. Kara has taught me to love more and criticize less. Lisa has taught me unconditional love, no matter what. Mark has taught me to appreciate those you love despite your differences. Mike has taught me to pick myself up over and over again, no matter how many times it takes. Tracy has taught me love comes in all shapes, sizes and kinds...appreciate it all. Lori has taught me that honesty is good, love can be found in it and should be. Jon has taught me that even in my worst moments I can be loved and love those around me. He also has taught me patience. With myself more than anyone. See? I am teachable and capable of change.

Hang in there with your loved ones friends. They might be listening when you didn't expect them to. They might be caring even when it doesn't feel like it. They might change and surprise you, and themselves in the process. I know I have. I still am. Just in the last several weeks I have decided that some serious changes are in order, and I hope the people that needed that from me feel it and know how much I want to love them. If not, I am still on a better path, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What does it mean to me?

What does having children mean to a person? I know the "text book" definition of child bearing. I know that scientists believe all sorts of things when it comes to humans reproducing. I also know what our spiritual leaders believe. What does it mean to me though? Here is what comes to mind....

Being a mom to ten means many things....

It means when I am out and about I run to McDonalds before going home and buy two large Dr Peppers, one for me and one for McKenna.

It means my bed has not been a couple thing in years. Any number of people are in it, and laying on the floor next to it every night. Lately even Brynlee thinks she needs to co bed. Not what I signed on for folks!

It means I never get a full meal. I serve up my family first and make sure the bigger kids get seconds before I even eat my firsts. It's amazing I say that I still am fat...

It means my days are full of noise, clutter, racket, toys, phone calls and friends, and my nights are full of stress, anxiety, thoughts, worries and sleeplessness.

It means I dance in the kitchen to Lady Gaga, sing in the car with One Direction and know every Disney star by heart.

It means my shoes must last much longer than most. The kids come first, now and always.

It means every person at my pediatricians office knows me and my kids by heart. "So Julie, how is your one daughters OCD? Has it subsided?" "Yes, now I worry about my sons inability to sit still..." "Oh yes, I remember that from the last time you were here with  the baby for her check up!" No secrets between him and me these days. He knows I have gained weight over the last few babies and I know he has just recently been released as Bishop of his ward and is now plagued with Bells' Palsy...

It means I have seen all of the latest cartoon style movies, but am still waiting to see a movie with a real person in it...

It means my laundry is over abundant while my bank account in overdrawn...

It means my sister and I never tire of subjects to talk about. Kenna did this, Megan needs that, Isaac posted this on Facebook and Abby cried over that....

It means we take up an entire long bench in church and the primary would close it's doors if we moved. Ok, maybe not, but our absence sure does make a dent...

It means I need a vacation after a vacation to recover from the vacation...

It means someone eats all my chocolate and I don't discover it until I am crying, digging and coming up empty handed...

It means we have to take out a second mortgage in order to afford Christmas, but it's worth every penny of it...

It means my husband and I haven't had a date in years where we didn't get three  phone calls, six text messages and twelve loud stories the minute we walk in the door...

It means my freshly painted walls already have dings, dents and nicks in them and I haven't even closed the paint cans yet...

It means I have given up cute, fun cars in favor of large, bulky eye sores that can carry 12 people around easily...

It means any animal that comes into our home better have fast feet and a tough little hide...

It means I am told at least 4 times a day "I hate you!" and I know 4 times a day I am doing my job!

It means I never lack for love, hugs, attention and kisses.

It means my life is full of love, the kind that can push through any pain, hurt, frustration and anger and make everything alright in the end.

Being a mom to ten is a gift. I may not always feel it, show it, emulate it or shine in it, but my heart knows it and never forgets it...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dreams come, dreams go....

"Did you always want a big family?"

I hear that question more than any other when people find out I have ten children. That along with "Are you crazy?". The latter though is most folks being facetious. At least that's what I choose to think. Ten kids. Was it always my dream? At some point when I was very tiny it was my dream. After I grew up a bit those dreams changed. That's something I have discovered as my life has come and gone, dreams come and go with it. When I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to move to Hollywood and become a movie producer. Not a director or writer, a producer. I did a lot of it in college and loved it. That dream came and went. That dream went when I married Jon and we started our family. Big families aren't really conducive with a Hollywood lifestyle. Since then I have had more than my share of dreams. Writing, real estate, sonography, starting my own business. But, there's always this huge family.

I love to hear people tell me how blessed I am. I am serious when I say that....really I am. So many people say how wonderful it is that we have this huge family and how we will love it over the years when our family grows to children, in laws and grand kids. I will say that I love it, I really do. But I also wonder if people truly understand the sacrifice it takes to raise a large family. My life has not been my own in twenty years, and will stay that way for several more. I have given up most of my dreams, short term, long term and everything in between. The time for doing certain things I wanted to has come and gone. I am not too old to go back to school, but I am too old to go to medical school. By the time I was in a position to start and finish I would end about the time most people retire. I could go back to school to do sonography, and I try to hold on to that dream, but I also realize that I still have several tiny kids that need me more than the medical community needs me. I would never want to put my kids into daycare, that's my choice. I had these little munchkins, I am going to raise them! So I put on hold what I want for my children.

Sacrifice is more than just "giving something up for something else". It's taking the needs, wants, desires and hopes of someone else and putting them before your own. It's doing something very hard, with the hope of a great reward in the end. Sacrifice is never easy, but they say its worth it. I have only gone through 20 years of parenting. I have many more to go...on through eternity, so I cannot refute or substantiate what people say is "worth it". All I can do is go off my feelings and experiences day to day. Some days the hugs, kisses and smiles are more than I need to keep going.
"I love you, mom"
"Your my hero, mom"
"I don't want to go because I want to be here with you, mom"
"I want to be just like you someday, mom"
Some days I sit and cry a bit and try to remember exactly who I was before I started this journey and who I have become while on this path. Some days I feel like a nobody, and some days I feel like a true hero. Of course it depends on the day.
"I hate you!"
"Why can't you just let me do it my way?"
"Your so nosey mom!"
"You don't get it mom, you just don't!"

Since having my last child, I have had time to think a lot about what my own future holds. I know I have so many more years of patching up skinned knees, parent teacher conferences, ice cream trucks and giggles over the antics of a sly little boy, but I also know that someday my own needs will come first simply because everyone else will be gone. They will have their own dreams to tend to, while I will left with myself. What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? It has morphed over the years and continues to do so. I will figure it out and one day I will be able to post about it, until then I wade through some serious laundry, noisy days, friends, sky high grocery bills and day to day stress. While I do it I will try to remember that this too is a dream. The dream of this home full of little feet, happy smiles, happy laughter and soft tears. This too is a dream and even though its been realized, its not nearly complete. It never will be. It will march on with me while I add to it other dreams.

Dreams do come true, I tell people all the time. Sometimes we just don't recognize it for what it is, sometimes we do....have you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I tried to write, I really did....

I have spent the last several mintues sitting here writing. I keep starting a blog, then stopping. I think I have four new drafts, that I will eventually delete. There is so much to write about, and yet nothing seems to be coming out right. I think for now I will just post some cute pics of our summer so far and leave it at that. I can't believe we are halfway through the summer already. Not cool....it's gone by so fast I can't hardly believe it. I swear we are still sitting around waiting for our tenth baby to be born, and yet here she is almost a year old. It goes by so fast. Yesterday on our way to church I watched my older kids walk ahead of me. I am so still involved with my little kids, diapers, bottles and potty training, that it seems this time in my life will never end. But I know it will because after trying to push the stroller while Skyler pitched a fit next to it, I glanced up to see four of my older daughters walking up ahead. They are so tall, so grown up. Kenna will be twenty this year, Megan is fifteen, Abby is twelve and Lacie eleveen. I can hardly believe it as I write it. They were once so tiny, so little. I remember when Lacie was born and I thought how old Kenna was at the time. She was a whopping 9 years old. What did I know? Time has flown by, and continues to do so. My kids are growing up fast, and summer is half way done. Soon it will be cool enough for jackets in the mornings, as my kids scrounge around for backpacks, lunch money and homework. Soon I will have 8 of my 10 kids in school all day, and one of those 8 will be on her second year of college. Wow!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I have it all!

The last time I wrote, it was over my ever-deepening feelings towards my biological mom, Sue. I know not everyone knows the story behind Sue, how she came into my life after 26 years of being apart, and why we never got to know each other. One of these first days I will write about it. I am sort of waiting on that one though because I have bigger plans for that one. A lot of my writing about Sue is about how much I love her and how much I ache for how things happened. But today I chose to write about all the wonderful, positive things I got out of that, and have otherwise.

I can write about my kids till the cows come home. Jon and I and our experiences trying and trying some more to raise ten kids. Our conversations verge on funny on any given day. We have such precious little time to discuss our kids, and even less time to spend together with them, that when we catch five minutes to update each other it is ridiculous...

"So today Joe did something really surprising. He was upset over something and I had to punish him, by sending him to his room..."
"Uh oh, what happened this time?"
"Well, it was over Isaac and his friends not being nice, and uh, oh yeah..he has a camp out this weekend..."
"Joe does? Isn't he a little young?"
"No, Isaac does. He goes Friday to Saturday.."
"Friday we are going to see a movie though.."
"You and Isaac are? I didn't know that!"
"No Julie, you and I are..."
"Oh, right. Kenna won't be home to sit though."
"That's ok, we won't need it cause Abby will be here..."

And so on. One thing melts into another because we only have 10 minutes to discuss ten kids and all their goings on....

Wow, sidetracked! Back to my good stuff. Susie is my biological mom. Frances is my adopted mom. I have it all when it comes to both of them. Sue is a lot like me, or so I am told. One day when talking to my sister Lisa she was surprised to see me sitting there eating Jr Mints and drinking Dr Pepper. She told me that's what mom always loved to snack on. That warmed my heart. Frances and I are also a lot a like. We can talk until the crack of dawn and have more to talk about the very next day. The Lord saw fit to give me not only one awesome mother, but two. They each have a special place in my heart and the more I get to know Sue through my sisters the happier I am that I get at least that. She gave me so much without knowing she was even doing it. These last years with my sisters have been so wonderful. My heart is so full when I think of all three of them, each with their own sweet way of showing me how they too have come to love me. Lisa shares Maddie with us every summer. This sweet niece loves us, and we adore her. Her other daughter Taylor knows I will hang up the phone on her if she doesn't answer the phone to me with a "Love you" before we even say hello. These girls mean the world to me. Time spent with Lisa and her family is what we consider vacation. We will spend our savings, Jon takes time off work and we go down to Vegas, not for the strip, not for shows or casinos, but for my sisters and their families. Tracy and Chris always welcome us with open arms, awesome guacamole and my awesome nephew Carson. That kid is going to be a pro golfer and I can't wait until he waves to us on tv. He better mention us by name! Then there's Lori. My blab buddy, my friend, my confidant and my therapist. I think I would have gone insane this last year without her. My adopted mom has given me so much as well. I probably should mention my dad too...:) My sister Kara, brothers Mark and Mike and all their awesome kids. We spend every holiday together, laughing, talking about kids, time as kids and arguing over who gets the parents when they can't take care of themselves anymore. I think I have a leg up though cause I don't work outside the home....so ha!

My life is full of wonderful things, and amazing people. Susie gave me a future with her before she died through my sisters. I think she would love knowing we are together now. I think she smiles down from Heaven loving the fact that we are loving each other. Like Lisa would say, "It's all good!". It is all good, I got the best growing up with Kara, Mark and Mike, and now I have even more being able to add Lori, Lisa and Tracy. I do have it all. Oh my, the next post is going to have to be about all the wonderful people in my life that aren't blood related! Wow...that might a long one too! Life is never easy, but it's good and God is good. He saw fit to give me the very best family he could. A family He knew would love me, and I them.  I am tired, broke and worn out, but I have an amazing support network, fun people to share my life with and the best siblings and parents a person could ask for. I am and will ever be grateful!

My sisters Lori, Lisa and I with a dear family friend Lenny

Me and my little sister Tracy and cute Carson
Me, Michael, Mark and Kara This is an older pic, and I admit I am not quite so thin anymore, but I love this picture of us. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I get it!

I think I understand why. Why when things got to be too much you would hide away, and eat nothing but Oreos, and drink Dr Pepper. When that fight or flight kicks in, we can't always fight or flight and we have to just go "away" somewhere. I get it! Sometimes the deepest parts of our own minds are the best places to recede to. We are understood there. That's the safest place to be. I am on overload right now and if I could I would hide in my bedroom and let the world go one without me I would.
"Where are you Julie?"
"Why don't you come out? We need you..."
"Don't worry world, I will come out tomorrow ready to fight another day. But today I need to sit and hide. Be immature. Think of no one but me. Today I need to fly into the dark places of my own mind and let the world go on without me."
"Well, hurry up cause there's a lot you need to do!"
"I know, I know. Tomorrow."

It's days like today that I think of you. It's days like this that I want to find out what you would do. Or wouldn't do. It's days like today that I miss knowing I never got that. And for that I am mad. Today it hurts. It's not the only day it hurts. It also hurt the day Brynlee was born. Brynlee, Skyler, Colby, and all the rest. But for happy reasons. I always want to share my life with you. The ups, the downs. I will always miss the fact that we didn't even get to embrace as mother and daughter and at least tell each other how much we loved each other. Today is one of the days when it hurts the most. I know you weren't perfect Susie, but neither am I and that's the beauty of it all. Maybe after one long good conversation we could have sat back, laughed at all the time spent "wanting" all those years for someone that would have driven each other nuts for many years to come, but at least we could have had that. Instead we have nothing. Well, not completely nothing. I do have sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles that love to tell your stories. I love to hear them talk about you. Who you were, what you loved, what you hated and everything in between. So maybe you were more robbed than I was. You left this life barely even knowing that I was still alive. Sorry for that. Sorry for not being stronger when I should have been. When you were sick, I should have stepped up and spoken for both of us. But I didn't. I let those precious days go by with nothing. My one greatest regret in life. My only regret. Tomorrow I will be ok with it all again and walk tall loving what I do have, but today I want a Dr Pepper, an Oreo and some bitter tears to top it all off with. I want to talk to my mom.

Love you

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lazy days of Summer

Oh the sweet lazy days of Summer. On my way to drive to school this morning I saw a familiar sight. Kids walking to school. It's different this time of year though. They walk a little slower, as if to absorb as much sunlight as possible before entering the doors to the schools. Its almost as though their little bodies are powered by solar power and they need to regenerate as much as possible before going inside. They walk slowly, stopping to gaze at the world as it has come to life. Fun, rare bugs creep in and out of invisible homes, baby quails run from bush to bush and if you stop to listen long enough you can hear the quiet but sweet song of summer.

This is the time of year when moms have big plans to have their kids do chores everyday, read and do bits of homework to keep their minds fresh and keep a calender handy to keep kids busy. But who needs to keep their kids busy? They lay around till noon happily, dazily eating up summer nothingness. Sprinklers, lemonade stands and swimming eat up their days. Late nights playing games with friends, fire pits with the neighbors and no schedule is what the doctor ordered.

This is a time of regeneration. Taking the stress of school, tests, cold weather, being indoors and "there just isn't enough time in a day" and putting it on the back burner so that the beautiful days of summer can reign supreme. Sunlight is essential for us to live. Not only in a "global" sense, but in a very personal sense. Just like the creepy crawlies that my little boys love to watch come out, so do the people. Friends walk with friends, families take nature walks, bikers, runners and just the nature lover come out this time of year in full force and they stay out until the first snowflake falls come fall. As humans we love the healing power of the sun. I love to close my eyes, tilt my head towards it and let it sink into every part of my being, my soul. I feel like Superman, allowing the sun to power me, refill me and keep me going for another year.

The swing on our large tree in our front yard seems out of place in suburbia. It is something you would more likely see on a dreamy farm out in the middle of nowhere. The majestic tree that cradles the swing seems to stand as a beacon, loving my kids as they swing on her branches. An old rope, piece of wood and a sturdy branch remind me of what I love about this time of year. My children use it everyday, not so patiently taking turns swinging. The grass has long since given way to happy feet, and the beautiful roots of the tree jut out, as if to say "I stand here for you, I always have, I always will...climb at my feet and I will protect you!". I love that tree and everything it represents. Lazy days of summer, how we love thee....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ok, time to pick up the pencil again, or at least the keyboard. It's been too long when it's been almost two months! So over the last several days I have been wanting to write, but not really knowing what to write about. There's more than enough material. I mean, with ten kids there is always something to write about, right? I think today I will write the ups and downs of vacationing with ten kids.

Up...Vacation! The very word instills joy and happiness (for most anyway!). We don't get to vacation very often and thus when we do, we do it up big. Thanks to my dad who rents a condo on the beach every year, we get to go in style! Beach, sand, sun, water, water and more water, dolphins at sunrise, beautiful sunset over Dana Point, shopping at cheesy gift shops and dining at fun restaurants! It's all so good I am salivating as I sit here describing it!

Down...12 hours in a car with ten kids. Wow...where do I begin with that one? Isaac vies with Colby over the third bench because Isaac likes to lay down when on the road. Well, with twelve people in the car, a whole bench to yourself only comes if your puking, farting or just bullying. It always spurns an argument from several people. Then there's the fourth bench. Most people don't want to be in the very back of the car, until they realize how much crap they can get away with back there. Sleeping on the floor, bouncing around without seat belts because mom just can't reach all the way to the back like that, and playing naughty games that can't be heard from the front seat. The road trips are always split into two days and by day two this year right around Ontario California (only two hours from the beach) Colby looked up at me, sighed deeply and then said "Mom, I am so damn bored!". Normally I would threaten soap in the mouth of my five year old when using this language, but in this situation I just burst out laughing, in fact I am laughing as I write this....so I guess that could also be an up!

Up...the road trip does have it's perks too though because we get to stop in Vegas on our way down and back. I love this town, but mostly because we get to see my sisters and their families, at least usually we do. This year we couldn't, so we stopped in St George on our way home, and that was great too. Love those towns!

Down...sand. I love the sand, when it's on the beach, but seeing as our condo is beachfront, we have sand in every crevice of the condo all week. By the end of the week you learn to just deal with sleeping in sand. I know it's a stretch, but it can be considered a down, right? Ok, I guess lots of folks would take that when they get the beach in return. I know, I know.

Up....just about everything else is up! How could it not be? Lazy sleeping in days, casual not much to do days except lay on the beach. Shop, eat and have fun with the family in ways we can't do at home. No pressure from schools, no friends, no worries, just fun. I love these times with my family. We are in our own special element when we are on vacation. Most of the time we just sit around and enjoy each other. Those are our times to get away from the stress and strain of life and just be ourselves, with each other. Hot dogs and mallows over the fire pit. Swimming in the ocean. Burying each other in the sand, and not with the intent of murdering each other! Smiles from my kids that we just can't get any other way. I love vacations with my family. They are the best!

Down...coming home. Please don't take this personally friends and family, but when we get home there is a mailbox full of bills, crowds of friends on the doorstep, and reality staring me in the face. I have decided that I like the non reality part of life...it suits me! I admit I cried all the way to St George on Saturday. I didn't want to leave my happy place. But St George is at the top of my list of happy places and it played a good mediator to my soul. By the time we were headed back to Salt Lake on Sunday I was ok.

I am so grateful my family gets the opportunity to go on these vacations. Thanks to my dad for making that happen for us! I am grateful my family loves it the way I do. We are a better stronger family after one of our trips and that makes me a happy mom! Up!!!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

She said what? Hahahaha......

My oh my. Kids can have the most wicked tongues in the world. They can talk back, complain, whine, moan and make any person within a 10 mile radius get an instant headache. On the other hand, they can say the funniest, most embarrassing and best things in the world. And believe me, I have heard just about all of them!

I have to relate two very funny, specific moments. Both happened recently.

First, Jessi. A couple of weeks ago Jessi and I were out and about together. Kids like to talk to mom from the back seat of the car, probably because they are bored. Jessi in particular likes to blab. She will talk to strangers, siblings, classmates and even herself. That day she was looking somewhat contemplative. She seriously looked as though she was deep in thought.
"Mom...I have decided what I want to be when I grow up..."
"Yes hon...what is it?"
"Well, I either want to be a teacher.....or a prophet..."
She was so decisive it was just hilarious! Her thought process was complete and her decision had been made. Of course being the awesome mom that I am I happily encouraged her and told her she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. I believe that too. I would not want to be the one to burst any one's bubble about dreams, and hers are so sweet that I had to take joy in them with her. But I think what was so funny about it was the way she threw out the prophet angle. So matter of fact, so simple, so funny that she just thinks that the prophets of our church just sort of "decide" that's what their going to do someday. Good job Jessi...I have no doubt that you will be whatever you want to be, and be successful at it!

So on to Skyler. To tell about his little funniness I have to go back several years. When Jon's sister and her husband Trevor were in town once they came to visit. Trevor said "watch this" and we did watch. He's funny that way. He called to his son Jared, who was maybe 3 at the time, to come over to us.
"Hey Jared, why don't you show your ding dong to Uncle Jon and Aunt Julie?"
We were appalled and half closed our eyes with anticipation at what he was going to show us. He lifted his shirt, stuck his cute little finger in his belly button and said "Ding dong!". We laughed, hard. Since that day we have taught each one of our kids that same thing. It's a very popular thing among the kids. They love to teach our tiny little ones the "ding dong" trick. Well, one day Skyler came to me and this was our brief conversation...
"Mom...I want a belly button!"
I admit I was confused...
"What? What did you say?"
"I want a belly button mom!"
By this time he was getting flustered...
"Moooom....I want a belly button!"
I was still confused. One of my older children pointed to the items atop the fridge and said...
"Mom, he wants a ding dong!"
Indeed I had a box of ding dongs on top of the fridge. How he put the two together and figured that if his belly button was a ding dong, then a ding dong had to be a belly button. The logic in his mind made complete sense. I laughed, hard. I told everyone I knew and I admit I am kind of proud at his ability to have a sense of humor without even realizing he has one! Love it!

My kids may say lots of nasty things to me, but they also say some of the best things. Some they say to me, some are things I just overhear. My job is to make sure I am always listening so that when they complain I can tune it out, but when they make a funny I am right there to laugh with them, or at them....whichever works!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What "If"...

I have in the past written about words that I love. That post was a fun one to do. This time I decided to write about words I don't particularly love. There are some I will refrain from touching on because I think most people don't like them. Some of the more vulgar words, and not even necessarily swear words, but words that should be deemed swear words. Let's get to my list though.

First off I do not like the word less. The word all by itself denotes smaller amounts than others, or things. But add it to most any word and it creates sadness, defeat and just plain nastiness. For example; Hopeless. What a sad word. You have taken a perfectly good word that is the cornerstone of most religions, most uplifting literature and a word that is used countless times in the scriptures and made it something sad and devoid of light. Another example would be defenseless. This is how I view my children, especially when they are small, or how I view special needs people, homeless (there it is again!) people, etc. It is so sad that we even need a word like defenseless in the English language because that means that there are those that would take advantage of someone who cannot defend themselves and we have to have a word to describe said situation. How sad!

Secondly we have the word dark. This word is used to describe the loneliest time of night right before the dawn... "It's always darkest before dawn". It's also used to describe the souls of certain people. When someone has a dark soul we know immediately what they mean, right? I am sure innocent children and babies were never described as "dark souls". Or what about the great men and women who inspire us? Are they ever described as "dark"? I think not. I might also not like this word so much because it is the exact opposite of what I love the most. Light. Literally. Light, sun, bright, happy, hopeful and so on. No, I do not like the dark!

The last word I am going to highlight might just be one of the worst words ever! If. That's it. IF. "What if?". This word clouds our good judgment, it scars our past and makes us leery of our future. "What if I had chosen to go out at a different time? Would I have hit that child with my car?" "What if we I hadn't left the kids alone in the tub?" "What if we move and we hate it?" There are an infinite number of ways to use the word "if" and although there are some that are ok, most in my opinion are not. Using the word if means you don't know. Don't know which way to go, how to explain a painful event and where your life has come from. Right? If leaves too much room for doubt. You begin to question everything. Your faith, your hope, your decisions and your life. After all the if-ing you end up with a feeling of hopelessness and finally you can end up in the dark. What a vicious cycle, huh?

So friends, lets steer ourselves away from the negative words and focus on the positive. Hope, joy, fun, love and so on! I will try to keep focused on those instead of the negatives. Help me friends, help me and I will help you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update...facebook style!

I don't have a joke of the day today. I just had a joke of a day....

My kids are all alive, well and you will know if they're mad at me because they will post it on their status update and all their friends will like it!

I liked 12 peoples statuses today, 10 yesterday and we shall see what tomorrow brings.

2 people tagged me in photos and I called two people and threatened them to untag me or I might have to do something drastic.

Our city got snow, and you know it by the posts of friends and family, so I spent the day stalking other friends who live in Hawaii, St George, Las Vegas and Phoenix in order to placate myself about our snow....

I have a few friends and family that are about to have babies, two that are going to the dentist today, three that went on awesome dates with their spouses, two are starting new jobs, four on vacations, three have church activities, several that love life, and few that are not so in love with life and one cute daughter that hates Price.

Tax season is upon us and Facebook reflects it. Jokes, humor, pages to like and lots of humor at the governments expense. Kind of like those!

My status updates are not life riveting things, just daily life. I have lots of dentist appointments right now since we have flex spending up and going! My kids are my life, my loves and the reason I will need a straight jacket by the time I am 45! And I do enjoy Pinterest, maybe a bit too much!

Not much to tell right now, maybe there will be more by the end of the week? Around here things can change overnight!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Bucket List

After spending so much time of Pinterest as of late I have found that my bucket list has grown exponentially. However, it has grown in ways I never thought possible. My thoughts often go to a list of "have to's before I die" and it's an interesting one. This one might be a blog that has several addendum's as time goes by and new ideas occur to me....so let's get it started, shall we?

I do not want to go down the most popular road with this entry. I want to take the road less traveled. Seriously, doesn't everyone want to travel to the tropics? Or sail around the world? Go whale watching in Alaska or fly in an air balloon? I think those things are gimme's, so I think I may try to stray from the norm here....

1. I want to walk the quiet, beautiful streets of Morano Calabro in the South of Italy. It's not a super popular destination, but a beautiful one rich with history. After all, the south of Italy is such a beautiful place.

2. Of all the places the Savior walked and taught, I really want to see the Sea of Galilee. This is where he calmed the waters and saved the fishermen. I often find that he calms the waters of my life and saves me on a daily basis. Why not be where I can put a visual to it?

3. Hold in my arms at least one beautiful grandchild. I know someday I will have some, but I want to make sure I am around for it. Don't we all take life for granted just a bit? We go along, living and making plans and sometimes life is jerked out from under us without warning. So, I made it to the point where I got to hold my own children in my arms, now I want the grandbabies...

4. I have always wanted to learn to read palms. Sounds funny, but I always have. I think I might have to look into some classes.

5. I want to attend one soccer match on an international level. Probably a championship. The rest of the world seems to love these things above all else, why not let yourself sink into the adrenaline and excitement of being at one?

6. Visit Africa. All of it. From South Africa where it is predominantly white to northern Africa where it is almost all sand. I want to see it all, but admittedly I want to get to know the people there. I think there are no more humble people than the people of Africa.

7. Go on one very awesome vacation with my family. Most specifically to Atlantis. That resort looks like the best family place in the world...I HAVE to try it!

8. Be an extra in a major motion picture. Sounds like a blast. I want to be the waiter at the restaurant while Tom Cruise and some leading lady, like Cameron Diaz plan to save the world. My fifteen minutes in the limelight!

9. Write a book. I know which one I want to write and by darn I will do it one day...I promise Susie, I will!

10. Visit the Louvre. Love love love this idea. So much beautiful artwork in one area...so worth the time and money for sure!

11. Learn another language. I am not sure which one, but I want to do it all the same. I know a bit of Spanish and I think that's the most useful one considering so many people here in our land speak it, but Chinese sounds appealing too!

12. Visit all 50 of the United States. Not just visit, but learn about them. When they became a part of the Union, the history of the state, the pros and cons of each. I love to travel and this would be such an awesome learning experience, not to mention fun! Oh, and it would have to be by Winnebago!

13. Go snorkeling on The Great Barrier Reef. Beauty all around I say!

14. Spend one day on a crab boat in the Bering Sea. I might even want to throw a line, grab a crab and spend some time on deck. Would love to have some time with the most dangerous job in the world.

15. Walk a while on the Great Wall of China. I don't necessarily want to see all seven wonders of the world, but that one I might. How magnificent. Beautiful culture, beautiful people and beautiful landscape.

16. Learn to fly a plane. I absolutely love to fly and it sounds wonderful to be able to be the one actually flying the plane. I don't think I would want to do it all the time, just knowing I can if I wanted to....

17. Visit the biggest and most beautiful castles in Scotland. So green, so quiet, so grand. I love places that are so incredibly rich in history. Wide open spaces appeal to me more than crowded ones.

18. Shop one day on Rodeo Drive. There's a lot of money involved with that one, but to shop with the rich and famous for one day would be fun. After that I'm good. To be honest, I don't even really like to shop.

19. Go to a carnival in Rio De Janeiro. Talk about people that can party. I wouldn't want to drink or anything, but experience the food, festival and fun would be a once in a lifetime thing.

20. Spend a day Hillbilly Handfishin. Talk about redneck hick kind of stuff, but wouldn't it be fun? Stand in mud to my neck, stick my hand in the mouth of a catfish and watch while the toothless guide cheers me on!

21. Spend one week in the most luxurious hotel in Manhattan and get waited on hand and foot. Shows, tours and fine dining while there would be a must. Experience the best that most famous city on earth has to offer.

22. One whole day walking the hills of Cumorah. So rich in my own religions history. I would love to see what Joseph might have been seeing and hear the voices of our ancestors in the songs of birds there. Spiritual beauty in it's fullest.

23. Be a part of my very own 50th wedding anniversary. So few get to that point anymore, robbed of this experience through death or divorce. I want to look into Jon's eyes, old with time, and spent of energy, but there with me all the same. How many people can say they get to that point anymore?

24. Not only be in the room, but holding the hand of a loved one as they cross over to the other side. It would be a privilege to be the last person a loved one sees before they die. It would comfort me as much as them, I would hope.

25. Swim with the dolphins. I would love to be a temporary part of this sea creatures family for a few minutes. I am sure if mystical creatures actually existed God would have made me a mermaid. I was born near the sea, I love to be close to the sea and if I can I want to die on it's warm beaches. I love the ocean in all it's glory!

That's all for now, I am sure as I go throughout all my days I will think of a million things to add to this list, but I think that's it for now. I will go and continue to dream, pursue and work towards all these things. Good luck on your own journeys friends...make every moment count!

Monday, January 30, 2012

My advice?

I have been a mom now for almost 20 years. Not only that, but a mom to ten kids and a pseudo mom to more than 45 daycare kids over the years. That's a lot of kids and tons of experience on my part. Sometimes people come to me and ask my advice. Sometimes! Potty training, discipline, parties, holidays and vacations, plus more. It goes on and on. Most of the time I am flattered that they ask because maybe they think after all these kids that I might have something good to say. I won't go into the darker corners of my mind that say "Maybe they ask so they can do the opposite of what I did, to get different results!". Either way, I get questions. Here is some of my advice for any mom, mom to be and friend.

1. Laugh. Day, night and every time in between...laugh about it all. Yourself when you lose it over something stupid. Over the kids when they do something stupid that you have to fix, or clean. Over yourself and your husband when you make wonderful plans for "alone time" once the kids are in bed and you find yourselves too dang tired for anything of the kind. Laughter is the best medicine and it is contagious, I promise. Jon often finds himself laughing about something that normally would make him mad just because I can't help but laugh and vice versa. Laugh away folks, it might just save your sanity.

2. Potty training. First off, don't compare your kids to each other or your friends kids. After ten kids I can tell you every child is different! No two kids are alike. I had one child that was potty trained literally in one day. One day...no joke. I refused to put a diaper on him one morning and by noon he had underwear on and had no accidents. It was that easy. On the other hand, I had a kiddo that wet her pants well into the third grade....so moral of the story? Try, try hard, don't cry over a little pee and just hang in there. They all eventually do it where they should and when they should. After that it's just an issue of teaching the boys that the toilet isn't a moving target and the girls that toilet paper is better used in moderation!

3. Staying sane. How do I do it? Do I look sane to you? Yeah, don't answer that! Staying sane has several tricks to it. One of them I have already discussed...laughing. There are other ways though. One would be to go on a regular date with your hubby. These times usually are spent unloading on my spouse all of my frustrations about the kids. He also unloads on me. It may be unfair to the kids, it might just save their lives. Either way, it's good for both of us. I also like to go out with a friend once in a while. Since Jon has worked two jobs it only happens once a month or so, but it's better than nothing. There are other ways to preserve sanity. I like to take long showers followed by a bath. I relax, listen to the poundings on the door and pretend I don't hear them. They eventually go away. One more way is for me to sit up after the last kids are in bed and watch my tv programming and eat food I don't like sharing, like chocolate and soda, and sit wherever I want and enjoy quiet time. It can sometimes be a toss up between the extra sleep or the time alone, but either way it's to my benefit.

4. Love unconditionally. This can be the hardest thing for any parent to do. We think we all do it, but do we? We place expectations on our kids, rules, guidelines and exceptions. "Get all a's in school and you get money", "Stay by mommy and you get treats when we get in the car", "Go to church", "Go to college", "Get a job and pay your own way!". When all is said and done we want what we want for our kids, because we know ways in which they can be happy, but we need to trust that they know what's good for them too. We may want our kiddo to go to law school, while they want to go to art school. We should never underestimate our kids by confining them to our own standards and expectations. Not only allow them to spread those beautiful wings of theirs, but be completely supportive while they do it. If they fall and need help, we can be there to help nurse them back to health, with our unconditional love.

5. Offer choices. Oh how I hate to offer choices sometimes. "Sweetie, just get on your jammies and get in bed....NOW!" No choice there. I want it done, now do it! However, parenting is evolving and our ideas should evolve with it. The idea that children should be offered choices is a brilliant one, in theory, but much harder in practice. When my kids were little it was a bit easier, because the choice was much simpler and smaller..."Pick up your toys right now and then let's watch a movie, or I pick them up and they get put away....your choice". Choices as the kids get older are much harder for them, and much harder for us to follow through with. But so essential.

6. Inspire them. Never stop reaching for your own goals and dreams. They will model you. Be the kind of person that says to the world " I will never quit, no matter how hard it gets!" Be the kind of person that says "My mind and heart will ever strive for more, more knowledge, more adventure, more spirituality!", and they will mimic you. Be the kind of person that your children will praise to the world, just the way you have spent your life telling the world about your amazing children.

7. Love the life you've chosen. So many men and women grow up, have kids, get jobs and then realize they are miserable. Figure out what started you on your journey and then remember it everyday. Your life does mean something, it is worth something and learn to love it just the way it is. My life is anything but glamorous, but it's mine. I mean something to my kids when I praise them, love them and lift them up. I mean something to the friend that needed a good laugh that particular day. I mean something to the neighbor that needed some help just when I offered. I mean something to my sweet mom who loves to talk to me everyday, even if we don't have much to say. I mean something to my husband who wants to know he means something to me. We have each other. My life matters, make sure your kids know theirs do too.

I am sure I could think of much more, but I will stop here. If you have questions, ask me. I can't guarantee that I will have an answer for you, but I can try. And please, if you feel there is something in my life that needs improvement, just say so. Don't be offended if I hang up on you, I will later realize you were right and try to be better! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We are always striving for it. Some of us think we have already achieved it. There are some though that think that they will never even get close. I tend to fall into all of these categories depending on the day. What about what kind of parents were thought we were going to be? If your honest like me, you might admit you thought you were going to be a great parent. "I am not going to make the same mistakes my sister made...just look at her boys? I mean really! I would do a better job I think!" I look at my children and think about what it was that I thought parenthood was going to be like. Hours of day dreaming lent way to visions of well mannered, clean, smart talented children that when in public awed those around them. "Julie's children are such angels...I wish my kids were like hers". "Did you know Julie's son got accepted to Yale Law?". "What about that daughter of hers? She sings like an angel!" Admit it, you all thought the same thing when young and just starting out on your path to perfect parenting. Who really day dreams of getting a call from the principal saying your child was in his office again for misbehavior? Or that dreaded call from the Church Leaders saying your kiddo was running and screaming through the chapel instead of attending their Wednesday night meetings? Seriously, there's daydreams and then there's nightmares. Right?

But as the day to day of parenting has taken over my thoughts, actions and every waking moments I have come to realize that my children are perfect....for me. Each and every one of them has awesome strong qualities, and some serious weaknesses. But as a whole they are perfect. It reminds me of the movie "Remember the Titans". In one of the last scenes as the players huddle together during their last game the coach tells them that no matter what the outcome of the game they played a great season of ball. One wise player stands and says "I am not perfect, non of us are, but as a team we are perfect". Ones weaknesses are anothers strengths. My kids may have their downfalls, but they also are part of a whole that was formed in Heaven, has come together here on Earth and through the power of The Covenant will go on throughout all time and eternity. We, as a team, are perfect. My little rainbow baby Brynlee completed that perfection with her presence and we only go up from here.

We will always have our challenges, and there are days when I think those challenges will ruin us. There are days. But God does not make mistakes and with this family that is no exception. We are who we are and everyday that I look into the eyes of my children, one by one, I realize that my dreams have all come true. Each and everyone of them. Dreams that I didn't know were there have come to fruition. Kenna, Megan and Isaac. Abby, Lacie and Joe. Jessi, Colby, Skyler and Brynlee....not a one of them is perfect. I know it, I own it. I mean, really, neither am I! On that note though....non of you are either...not a one of you! No matter how much you try to convince me otherwise! So, while I have come to realize the fall of dream that I thought was once to be, I will also realize the culmination of many dreams that I never knew could even be. My team is perfect and I will revel in it. Love it, take joy in it, pray for it and look forward to many more days of perfection ahead. This is my family....you gotta love us.....

Monday, January 9, 2012


Well, it's the beginning of the year again and what do we all do around this time of year? I mean aside from heave a huge sigh of relief that the holidays are over and things went as well as expected...we all make new years resolutions. I have to be honest here for a moment...it's been years since I actually made any resolutions. I figure that if I didn't have the motivation to accomplish something in October, what makes me think that January will be any different? My new year signals different things in my mind.

First off, January is the "mid point" of the school year in my mind. Half way kids, half way to summer, sun, fun, swimming, front lawn parties and laziness. Hang in there guys, we are half way there! We all know what that time of year means to me!

Second, we are just weeks away from tax return. Someday this will be a yucky time of year, but while we have 10 dependants in our home it is an awesome time of year. We can repair and register the cars, fix up the house and look forward to a vacation or two. We usually go to St George in March or April to celebrate this time of year! I love all of that!

Third, to appreciate the third thing I love I will need to remind all of you what our fall is. Between October 20th and January 5th we have 5 birthdays, Halloween and Christmas. I don't count Thanksgiving because we don't spend money on that holiday...we just eat till we pop. All of the other things are wonderful, joyous occasions, but very costly. When Abby's birthday is done we get a break from all those stresses. No more major costly holidays and birthdays until May when it starts all over again with Megan, Me and Jon's birthdays, all 4 days apart! So this time of year is our "break" time. Which by this point we desperately need

Usually this time of year brings with it a certain amount of seasonal depression. Right now I am ok, but I can tell you why. We had a wonderful November and December weather wise. Some would argue, but I loved it! Warm, almost eerily so, all the way through the holidays. This last snow storm is the first time we have had snow that actually stuck around due to cold temps. Now, don't be blinded by my joy, I am sure come the end of February I will turn into the grumpy Julie everyone is used to, but for now I am coping and I am happy with that!

So, there it is. My update. I didn't go on and on about Christmas, in fact I didn't post anything about Christmas at all. I am having a bit of guilt over that. Not the kind of guilt that leaves you crippled, just a bit, a twinge, the kind I will forget the minute I am done writing and go about my day washing, drying, cleaning and yelling. Sorry about that, Christmas is what it is....toys, gifts, early mornings and late nights. The kids were happy and that's what counts. I however am looking forward now, to making this year a great year. Here's for hoping, huh?