Monday, December 22, 2008

The Reason for the Season...

I LOVE this video, because it reminds me that Christmas is not just celebrating the fact that Jesus came-- but the fact that He fulfilled His sacred mission and atoned for us all.

What a glorious reason to rejoice!!! :-)

Merry Christmas...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baby Blues

I think the cabin fever is getting to me...

What do you do to lift yourselves out of the dumps?

I think I'll post some baby pictures. I may be a mess, but she's PERFECT.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Love Story

Sunday night my kids found an old video tape ("Goodness, Mother! What is this ancient tool of recorded media?") of my husband and I, so we spent the evening meandering down memory lane. Then, when I recently came upon the following questionnaire, the timing just seemed right to tell our "How-We-Met" story. I think it's a pretty darn good one! *wink*
(Merry Christmas, Honey. I love you!)

Where did you meet?

In a tiny auditorium in Firth, Idaho. He was a returned-missionary killing time while waiting to start back to Ricks College. I was a senior in high school who was crazy enough to try out for every musical I heard about (even one going on in a small town 30 minutes from home). The Firth High School Drama department always opened their auditions to everyone in the community (and beyond, I guess!), and Russell and I both happened to join the cast of "My Fair Lady" in February of 1992. We each had solos as chorus members. (Translation: Lots of time to spend sitting around getting to know one another.)

What was the first thought that went through your head when you met?

I know it may sound hokey, but the minute I saw him, the thought "I'm going to marry him" struck my mind like lightning. I immediately blushed, told myself to stop being such a dork, and tried not to be too obvious in my admiration. (Gosh, he was HOT!)

Do you remember what he was wearing?

YES. A black silk shirt, black pants, black boots, and a tan trench coat. Did I mention that he was definitely the "dark and mysterious" type? He looked like no RM I had ever seen! I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of him... *blush* (still do...)

Where did you go for your first date?

We went and saw the movie "My Girl" and then went dancing at the "Galleria" dance club in Rexburg. I could not believe that he had asked me out!!! But by the end of the date, I felt like his little sister-- not any kind of love interest. I later found out that he had gone to rehearsal the night he asked me out intending to ask out my best friend. Since she wasn't there that day, he settled for me. (Don't worry-- I NEVER let him forget it! *wink*) I came home from the date and emphatically told my mother not to worry-- I definitely wouldn't be marrying him-- he was not interested. (He still can't pinpoint when he started thinking differently about me. Maybe it was the fact that my crush on him was so obvious???)

Where was the first time you kissed this person?

In my parents' kitchen, after Junior Prom. (No, I was not a Junior, but I finally had a boyfriend, and I was going to attend a dance with someone besides my little brother or a blind date!!!) It was a first kiss for BOTH of us, and was kind of awkward, but very sweet. He told me he loved me, and I stammered for a few minutes before admitting the same thing. (I was scared spitless! Senior graduation was still two months away!)

When was the first time you realized that you liked this person?

Again, I had an immediate crush on him. Actually, I remember my friends Brian and Krisalyn talking about this RM with a great tenor voice they had met at the audition call-backs. My interest was VERY perked before I ever set eyes on him. *hee*

How long did you know this person before you became a couple?

Let's see. We met in early February, and had our first few dates before the month was out. Then at the end of the month, he went back to his mission area to visit a family (their daughter, actually!) he'd been good friends with while serving in their area. He and I both knew that it was now a competition between me and her. I spent an incredibly stressful week at home waiting to hear from him, telling myself over and over again that she was with him for the present, but that I would be waiting there at home with open arms. (My stomach still ties itself in knots just thinking about it.)

The first time I would see him after the trip would be when he attended a performance of another musical I was in. (I played "Jack's Mother" in "Into the Woods.") I don't know how I went onstage that night. I saw him watching in the audience, but I had no idea what was going to happen until the end of the show. When I cautiously stepped into the foyer after the curtain fell, I saw him standing there, grinning at me, holding a single red rose. And I knew everything was going to be wonderful.

How did this person propose to you?

Disclaimer: Being a really dense and naive high school student, (and the oldest child in my family, to boot) I had NO CLUE about how these things are "supposed" to go....

We'd been seeing each other every day since he got home (rehearsals, etc.) and were getting pretty serious. (Yes, my parents and friends were all freaking out!) The first Sunday morning in April, he came over to my house to watch the morning session of General Conference with my family, and then we planned to drive over to his parents' house, eat dinner with them, and then watch the afternoon session with his family.

Soon after we got in the car to head out, he gently asked what was going to happen to "US" after the play was over in the next couple of weeks. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I awkwardly blurted out "I don't know!" Neither one of us said another word until we were in his parents' driveway. I suppose I made him gather up his courage to mention the "M" word, and then everything came spilling out.

I don't remember much about the conversation, other than the fact that I was bawling like a baby, and that I told him I wanted to wait until I had a chance to live on my own. (I was still 17, afterall.) He gulped and said he would wait. (poor guy!) I also remember that as he told me what he wanted for his future life, that I got a strong, warm, peaceful feeling that he was the one I wanted with all my heart. He wanted all the things I did, and I could see, in that moment, our beautiful life together.

We finally went inside and ate when the second session was nearly over. I guess we had a lot to talk about! LOL!

A few days later, he officially "asked" me, but I was all confused, thinking we'd already "done that." Yes, I was quite the ditz. (Not any more, of course. Uh... ya.)

Do you and this person have kids together?

Oh, my, YES! *grin* We are the proud parents of TEN. He's the oldest of eleven, and I always wanted a large family, so... there ya go!

Have you ever broken the law with this person?

I am pleading the Fifth...

Do you trust this person?


Do you see him as your partner in your future?

Forever and ever and ever... :-)

What is the best gift he gave you?

(My son tells me I should say "The kids!") And that IS true. ;-) I don't know many husbands who would be so willing to let their wives be mothers 10 times over. (Thank you, Honey!!!)

As for a material gift... our second Christmas together I was GREAT with our first child (she was born on Dec. 27th), and I was slightly hormonal, but when he presented me with a beautiful new wedding band, I broke out in tears. I'd been wearing the wedding band he'd been handed down from his great grandmother, which was so cool, but I was always scared I would lose it and have several generations ticked off at me. I don't know why this new ring meant so much, but I still tear up, thinking about that Christmas morning with just the two of us.

What are your FAVORITE things about this person?
I love that he reads books that make him think, and that he shares his thoughts, dreams and desires with me. He and I still have amazing, lengthy conversations, about deep and important things-- many times late into the night. We just LOVE being together. He has helped me see things in a whole new way. (Who knew how helpful and interesting logic can be?! LOL!)

I love that he considers me his best friend, and his family as his #1 hobby and concern. I love that he'd rather spend time with me than any one else in the world. :-)

I love how he pampers me on my birthday and when I have a new baby. I love that he cooks so brilliantly, and that he loves to do it!

I am so grateful that he loved me enough to take me to the temple, so we can be sealed forever. And I love that he honors his priesthood and is a righteous example to our children and to others he comes in contact with.

I love that he has big goals and dreams, and that he loves God and the Gospel. I love that he is always reaching and trying to become a better person. I have grown so much, and become a much better person, myself, in the years we've been married-- all because of him.

What is one thing he does that gets on your nerves?

He has gotten much better over the years, but he still does have a hard time overcoming his propensity to criticize. He rarely criticizes me, actually, but the kids do still get it, sometimes.

Where do you see each other 15 years from now?

Hmmm... Fifteen years from now, our youngest three will be 15, 16, and 18. Hopefully, his business will be booming, we'll still be healthy, and we'll be enjoying our beautiful last three daughters, a son on a mission, and grandchildren too numerous to count! :-) I'm sure we'll be counting down the days until we can start traveling around the country/world, visiting all our children and grandkids, and hopefully serving a mission or two.

What causes the most arguments?

Willful misunderstandings-- usually from me. If ever he is wrong, he apologizes immediately and treats me with a greater increase of love. I can never stay mad at him! (That stinker!)

How long have you been together?

We've been married sixteen years, as of this past August.

Who Do you Tag?

I'd love to read the responses of my family and friends! So, whoever has time, post away! :-)


Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Personality Quiz

I know I'm a dork, but I love personality tests and quizzes! So while I'm sitting here, snuggling and nursing a sweet newborn, I'm going to post yet another silly quiz.

Your rainbow is strongly shaded red and yellow.

What is says about you: You are a passionate person. You appreciate optimism. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you. You're good at getting people to like you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

And I'd love to see your results, too, ya know! ;-)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures

Our very own Christmas Angel

Yes, that's 9 pounds, 5 ounces...

Meeting all the kids

"So this is a baby!"

Welcome, Little One

She's Finally Here!!!

Avalon Noelle

Joined Our Family

on Thursday, December 4th, 2008

at 8:08 AM

Weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces

We're so glad she's here!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Today's Words of Inspiration

Yes, I am now a week overdue. I haven't been here since baby #3. It's not fun, but it's do-able. I'm fine, and the baby is fine, and that's what's really important, right?

In my reading of birth stories this morning, I found this quote, and it has buoyed me up enough to face another day. I'm not familiar with the author, but the sentiments were truly inspired!

I welcome the pain your birth will bring for I know that it will teach me many lessons about life, about rewards that come after hard work, about submission, surrender, sacrifice, about devotion, commitment and faith.

I would do anything for you, my dear precious child, and when it is all over, I am blessed with your beautiful perfect slippery little body.

Excerpt from "A Mother's Vow to Her Unborn"
by Adriana Samargia Kaufman

I promise to update here as soon as anything happens. (Though I should warn you: I very well could be pregnant forever-- or maybe just until this baby is old enough to go to college, so don't hold your breath!)

I think I need a nap now...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Bit of Silliness...

Yes, I need another distraction...


You Are Apple Pie

You're the perfect combo of comforting and traditional.

You prefer things the way you've always known them.

You'll admit that you're old fashioned, and you don't see anything wrong with that.

Your tastes and preferences are classic. And classic never goes out of style.

Those who like you crave security.

People can rely on you to be true to yourself - and true to them.

You're loyal, trustworthy, and comfortable in your own skin.

And because of these qualities, you've definitely earned a lot of respect.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

Okay, so this is not the most exciting post in the universe, but I need more distraction right now! ;-) (Please note the baby time-keeper to your immediate right...)

Luckily, (seeing as how I am ready to pop with child) I have a FABULOUS husband who is a much better cook than I am, and he takes charge of the cooking at our house on Thanksgiving. (WHEW!)

Oh, how blessed I am!!!

My daughters and I will do the pies, and I'm taking over the stuffing this year. Wish me luck!

Praline Pumpkin Pie
Dough for a single-crust 9-inch pie (homemade or purchased)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (15-ounce) can plain pumpkin puree
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped coarsely

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Adjust rack to middle and heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough, if necessary, and it fit it into a pie pan. Line the pan with foil, cover with pie weights or dried beans to hold the dough in place and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust beneath the foil dries out and sets.
Meanwhile, beat the sugar into the eggs with an electric mixer until it dissolves. Beat in cornstarch, salt and spices. Stir in pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and vanilla by hand until thoroughly blended.
After taking the pie shell out of the oven, remove foil and weights, poke dough with a fork in several places to vent steam and bake about 10 minutes more, until the crust is lightly browned.
Meanwhile, heat the pumpkin mixture in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, just until it is steaming hot; do not boil.
Pour hot filling into hot pie shell and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 25 minutes more.
Meanwhile, toss pecans, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add corn syrup and blend well with a rubber spatula.
When baking time has elapsed, scatter topping evenly over pie and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until topping is bubbling around the edges, about 10 minutes.
Cool pie completely on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

How about some pictures from last year?
(We started a tradition of "dressing for dinner" on Thanksgiving Day. It was fun!)

Grayse Dawn is excited to eat!

Daddy carving the bird.

Can we eat NOW?!?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So, I Finally Read It...

Yes, that book that all Mormon Mommies seem to be gaga over-- "Twilight."

My sweet husband brought it home for me last week, since we decided that going to see the movie without reading the book first would be completely out of character for us both. What can I say-- we need a good date movie once in a while, and there's been a drought in the new releases department for a loooong time now...

But I digress.

I've actually been following news about Stephenie Meyer for a while now, because I'm fascinated that she was published so quickly, even though "Twilight" was her first attempt. And while her writing isn't great, her storytelling really draws the reader in. And that's a talent I'm working to improve. Other intriguing things about Stephenie include the fact that she's a little LDS mommie (like me) who wrote a very successful book series in very little time, and with no training (ahem, me again), and that she lives in AZ, which is where I live, too.

Confession: I actually went to her website and read the transcript for "Midnight Sun" long before I ever picked up her first book. (And I do think her writing is getting better!)

So, to review "Twilight" itself, these are my thoughts:

  • I am glad I did not read this book as a teenager. I would have had an even more distorted view of what boys/men are like by the time I was married, and it was bad enough as it was! (Dang, all those Jack Weyland books!)
  • To be honest, my sweet DH was hoping for what I call the "Twilight Effect", where I romatically meet him at the door when he comes home from work, after reading all about Edward and his "Adonis-ness". Hmmm. What actually happened was that I came to him exclaiming that I am relieved to be married to Mr. Darcy, and don't have all the pressure of trying to live up to-- well, "Adonis-ness." *grin* (GO TEAM DARCY!!!)
  • I am encouraging my daughters to avoid reading the series until they, too, are married. One daughter in particular is waaaay too impressionable, and still hopes that Daniel Radcliff will be available in five or six years (or more). I'm still trying to find a way to tell her that he performed in the buff on Broadway and that I really wouldn't care for him as a son-in-law-- and that it's not likely that he'll be temple-worthy anytime in the near future...
So, all in all I'm glad I read the book before I see the movie; I'm looking forward to a lovely date night with hubby this weekend; and the jury is still out as to whether or not I'll finish the series.

(Oh, and I hope to still learn a lot about writing and publishing from Stephenie Meyer's example, so I, too, can one day finish my work-in-progress and be a rich and successful writer. She has given me hope!!! :-D )

Okay, Twilight fans, hit me with your best shot... *wink* (And see you at the movie this weekend! *hee*)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stepping into the Dark...

Have you ever been told by the Spirit to do something that makes no sense, but that you know is right? I have before, and I'm going through that again right now...

As background, I am ready to deliver Baby #10 any day now. I have had 13 pregnancies-- 3 miscarriages and 9 (soon-to-be-10) babies. My first SIX births were inductions in hospitals, two all-natural, four with epidurals. I had been told that I would never be able to go into labor on my own, and that I was lucky I didn't live in "olden times" or I would surely be dead. Hmmm.

So, with baby number 7, I decided to do an unassisted home birth. Ha! Everybody around me freaked out, (except my husband, luckily.) but I had confirmation from the Spirit that it was the right thing to do, so I studied, made plans, and got ready for the birth.

We ended up having an "angel"* help us out on the morning of my son's birth, and I delivered a 7lb. 6oz. healthy, beautiful baby boy on my own bed, in my own room, at my own home. It was BLISS! No poking or prodding, no demands from anyone. It was the most peaceful, sacred feeling in the world to have all my children around me gazing at the new little stranger in my arms, within the walls of our home-haven. I had been able to do the "impossible," thanks to following the promptings I received. God had been my deliverer, and I was truly grateful.

*(Our "angel" was a retired midwife who was the sister of our neighbor across the street. To make a long story short, my neighbor found out we were going unassisted, and got her sister to act as a back-up for us in case we needed or wanted her.)

When baby #8 decided to make her debut, I found a midwife I really clicked with, and had an AMAZING first water birth in my home. It was fast, intense, and nearly-perfect. I can't think of one thing I would have changed in the least. I was 100% sold on water births, and knew I never ever wanted to go back to "dry land."

Baby #9 was a very emotional pregnancy for me. I felt directed again by the Spirit to use a different midwife, a lovely lady in my ward who had also been prompted by the Spirit that she was to be my midwife. It was a roller-coaster of a ride, but in the end, the birth went beautifully, even though it was long, and more difficult than my last. I again delivered in water, and the baby was a whopping 9lbs. 2oz.-- a full pound bigger than my biggest to that date! The midwife and I felt that the baby and I had been in the hands of the Lord, especially there at the end. The placenta plopped out almost on top of the baby, and the cord was almost immediately limp and cold. One side of it looked strange, as if it had died or were dying. We don't know much of anything that really happened, but we all felt we had been part of some unexplainable miracle. Baby was perfect and healthy in every way, and we were so grateful!

This pregnancy has also had its share of ups and downs. I've found that the more over 30 I get, the harder it is to be pregnant. My children are getting older, and I'm feeling that they need my attention-- my birthing days may well be over. That makes me quite sad, and yet relieved, at the same time. I'm trying to do what the Lord wants me to do. He's leading me along, but only giving me as much as I can handle at a time.

Which brings me to today. Two days ago, in the wee small hours of the morning, I couldn't sleep. The Spirit was telling me to "fire" my midwife. She's the wonderful midwife I used with baby #8, and we really "click" and understand each other-- how on earth could I let her go! I'M 38 WEEKS PREGNANT!!! But when I got up, after catching a few more Zzzz's, I knew I had to do it. She would be coming over to my home for an appointment that morning, and I needed to take care of it then. I knew I needed to tell her face to face, to be honest and upfront with her. It was not fun. I mean, I've never even broken up with anyone, much less "fired" somebody!!! There were tears shed by us both, but I knew, deep inside that it was the right thing.

So, NOW WHAT?! The Lord, again, is only giving me little bits at a time here, and asking me to trust in Him again, just as I did when I decided to have an unassisted birth. But this time, the answer was even harder to take.

I'm going back to the hospital for baby #10. I don't know why, I don't know what's going to happen, but I have been reassured through the Spirit, and through blessings, that this baby will be healthy, that all will be well, but that I need to sacrifice my desires and follow Father's plan for this birth. To say I'm not devastated would be a fib. I don't want to give up the liberty and privacy that my home births have given me. I LIKE being the one who says what I will and will not do. I appreciate the hands-off, gentle manner of my midwives.

Giving up the dream of homebirth is a huge sacrifice for me, but I AM willing to do it, because the Lord has asked me to. I must put this experience into His capable, omnipotent hands, and trust that everything will turn out for the best. It's funny, where homebirth scares so many, because I feel the same about going back to the hospital. It is a cold, too-sterile, diseased, hazardous place in which to welcome a newborn, but if the Lord can protect me at home, He can certainly protect me in the hospital, as well.

I hope it's not too much to ask for prayers during these last few weeks. This experience is making me turn to all my deep stores of faith, and I would appreciate any spare prayers my dear family and friends can give me, too. I love you all, and can't wait to introduce this new little angel to you all when she arrives.

I KNOW that when we follow the Lord's plans for our lives, even if those plans lead us into the unknown dark, that we will be strengthened and given the power needed to face what is ahead. We CAN do hard things-- with the Lord's help. I testify of this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You, Veterans!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and our country. May God bless you for your unselfish service!

Glorious Distraction!

It is a truth universally known that when an expectant mother gets this close to her due date, she does all in her power to distract herself from the neurotic pangs of waiting to go into labor.

Translation? I need to do something to keep my mind off the fact that this baby could come any day-- or NOT! (Which would be worse?! Oh, the AGONY!!!):-p

So, I was reading an adorable blog called "The Old Fashioned Girl" and saw her "Odd Duck" tag about sharing six 6 random quirky/weird/unspectacular things about herself. Therefore, in a effort to distract myself, I'm going to take the liberty of sharing my own list of 6 random quirky/weird/ unspectacular things about myself.

Here goes...

1) I am what you would kindly call an "Earthy" person. Sometimes I severely gross my poor husband out. I have curbed lots of bad habits out of respect to him, but I am not afraid of "earthy" topics of discussion. (If you have no clue what I'm talking about, just skip over this one. I'm trying to be delicate here, and going into more detail may offend more sensitive readers. I know my Aunt Judy will understand what I'm talking about-- right Judy?! *grin* )

2) I ADORE big, booming, scary, tense thunderstorms. If I believed in reincarnation, (which I don't) then I would imagine myself to be a "storm chaser" in the next life.

3) I am a big CHICKEN. (Bok!) I HATE ghost stories or movies.

4) I don't like to drive. I'd rather have a chauffeur than a cook OR a maid. (!) Just call me "Miss Daisy."

5) I am not a chocoholic-- I only like to eat chocolate sparingly. I tell my mother that it's because she sold bulk chocolate to our neighbors every Autumn, and we always had it in the house. I'd rather eat something sugary and chewy-- like marshmallows-- ANYDAY.

6) This next one will not be a big surprise to anyone who knows me, but it's a controversial issue I've just got to come clean about! *I HATE SPORTS!!!* (Whew! Glad I got that off of my chest!) I grew up taking gymnastics, playing softball, volleyball, and basketball. My brother and sisters and I would play soccer or softball in our backyard all the time. My dad spent most of every Sunday watching some sport or another. Yet, I LOATHE sports (professional or "UN") with every fiber of my being. To me, there is no greater waste of time, effort, and head-space than thinking about or participating in any sort of "game."

(My sports-crazed brother is waiting in the wings with the tar and feathers, but I can take him-- I'll just sit on him. ;-D )

I understand that I may have offended some-- for that I am truly sorry. Please don't remove your all-important link to my little blog here, though I understand if your principles have been compromised by the drivel I have presented today.

Amen and Thank you...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

These Got Me Laughing!

Now that the election is over, I want to do something light-hearted. I LOVE these videos! :-) I hope they lighten the mood today.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Victories for Traditional Marriage!!!


I am so very VERY grateful that the people of Arizona, California, and Florida chose to protect and honor traditional marriage in their states. I am rejoicing for these results today!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I will be voting today, and keeping a prayerful vigil that the Marriage Propositions in California, Arizona, and Florida all pass.

Please, wherever you live, get out there today and VOTE your conscience!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween Costume Parade

(Say "Trick or Treat!")

Halloween is wonderful! I love having an excuse to dress up, and I love seeing the creative costumes my kids come up with.

(Ronan-the-cranky-bat and our dog, Lucie)

(Dee-dee makes a cute cowgirl.)

(Gavin is a "Ninja Turtle.")

(Witchy-Bonny demonstrates her evil cackle.)

(Miss MacKenna *IS* Boo from "Monster's Inc.")

Unfortunately, our little Grayse had a fever, runny nose, and upset tummy, and so she never dressed up or went Trick or Treating with the other kiddos. :-(

("I'm dressing up as a sick child.")

Our big three went to a homeschool friend's party for youth, while Russell took the other kids Trick or Treating in the neighborhood. They went out late, so they got LOTS of candy. I guess everybody wanted to turn off their porch lights and be done with handing out loot!

(Lliam as "Link" of video game fame.)

(Brennan, the dashing "Ranger". We read a lot of Tolkien around here...)

(Morganne as a sweet and sassy "Hick Chick." Daddy better get himself a shotgun!)

In our family, we let the kids pick their 5 favorite pieces of candy to eat Halloween night, and then the rest goes into our candy stash, to be given out as an incentive when jobs are done. Amazingly, none of them complain, we have very little sugar overload, and the kids do their jobs more willingly! M*A*G*I*C!!!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Am Thankful

I've been sitting around in a black cloud lately, baby-waiting, sleeping, reading, and just generally playing the picked-on 9 month pregnant lady role to the HILT. (Unfortunately-- or fortunately-- we're out of bon-bons. I could do without the heartburn anyway...)

Then I was reading the "Nie Nie Dialogues" and had a little wake up call. I have MUCH to be thankful for. My husband, children and I are all healthy, safe, and (generally) emotionally stable. *grin* We are so blessed!

I've been reading random blogs where people make lists of 78 things people don't know about them. I want to make a list, too, but I think it should be a gratitude list...

I'm thankful:

1. For the loving way my husband looks at me
2. That I get to spend most of every single day surrounded by my children
3. For three amazing "teens" who hate the word "teenager." They prefer "Young Adults."
4. For a baby girl who looks like my mom, and even has her name.

5. For a little girl who is my clone and my heart
6. For a boy who looks just like his daddy did when he was little
7. For a clever little blond girl who doesn't know the meaning of the word "can't"
8. For a gentle giant of a boy with gorgeous blue eyes
9. That I get to teach Shakespeare to awesome homeschooled "teens"/"Young Adults"
10. That my husband is a talented cook who often comes home and takes over dinner.

11. For an organized, determined, fibberty-gibbet girl with long hair and smiling eyes
12. For our house that fits us perfectly
13. That we live out in a more rural area, even if we haven't got our farm yet
14. That Morganne can go to early morning seminary with charter school kids, instead of at the regular high school
15. For my Asperger's kids who have taught me-- and continue to teach me-- so much
16. That I can call my mommie any day, any time, and she'll act happy to talk to me
17. For time in the temple

18. For living prophets and apostles
19. That Christ can carry all of my burdens, and loves me in spite of my whining
20. For my quiet study hour in the morning while Morganne is at seminary
21. For Morganne's quiet, noble strength
22. That Brennan is constantly playing the piano
23. That Lliam is so good with the little ones

24. For garden tubs
25. For thunder storms
26. For essential oils
27. That I am an American
28. For the right to worship how I want to
29. For the freedom of speech to say what I wish to say

30. For the freedom to teach my children where, how, and what I feel I need to
31. For inspiring classical music-- Bach, Beethoven, Debussey, Ralph Vaughn Williams, etc.
32. For good bluegrass-- old Nickel Creek, Cherryholmes, Allison Krauss
33. For Jane Austen-- God's gift to women who love to read
34. For books that speak to my soul-- "Tale of Two Cities", "Jane Eyre", "Persuasion", etc. (This list would get waaaay too long, way too fast!)
35. For Thanksgiving here in AZ, with roses blooming, and families going for walks and bike rides
36. For the rhythmic hiccups of babies in utero
37. For the freedom to birth at home

38. For a good smoothie or milkshake now and then
39. For midwives who come to me for prenatal visits
40. For the awe-inspiring power of the ocean
41. For red dirt in Georgia and Alabama
42. Peanuts with lots of salt
43. Pecans, anyway I can get them

44. For GRANNY: her funny stories, for the way she covers her mouth with her hand when she laughs, for the stash of gum and snacks she always has in her purse, for the way she slips and sometimes says a cuss word, for her thick "country girl" Southern Accent, and for the way she calls back "Whoo-hoo!" when you call her name-- there is no one like her in the universe!

45. For the smell of clean sheets, dried out on the line
46. For windows open at night, to let in the cool breeze
47. The sound of lawn mowers at dusk (9 PM) in Idaho during the summer
48. Ben and Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" ice cream
49. A big, hot, well-baked Idaho spud, dripping with butter
50. Breakfast food
51. The color red, in all its shades
52. Gardenias-- the smell, the thick white petals, the succulent, dark leaves
53. My husband's warm, strong hands
54. Good hair days
55. Losing 3 pounds, even if it was just water-weight
56. Seeing my nieces and nephews, even if they don't know me from Eve

57. Singing in full belt to a packed audience
58. Speaking in public and having the audience in stitches, laughing
59. Making new friends
60. Seeing old friends
61. Talking for hours with cousins, aunts, Grandma, mother, and sisters
62. Headbands-- quickest hairdo that looks good on me
63. Great art
64. Michael Buble's voice
65. Josh Groban's voice
66. Memories of laying in my mother's lap while she stroked my hair

67. My mom's twisted fingers and her incredibly soft hands
68. The smell of leather in my dad's closet
69. Calling my brother "Bean"
70. Hugging my brother and sisters
71. Reading Homebirth stories
72. Christmas Music from September to January
73. The smell of cinnamon, orange, and pine
74. White lace curtains
75. Cookies from Grandma's cookie jar
76. The books and toys at Grandma's house when we were kids: "Little Sambo" and "Grandma Winkie"
77. Climbing to the top of a sturdy, enormous tree
78. Music by Enya

You know, I could go on, and maybe I will in my journal. God has blessed us so much. I am truly grateful...