Thursday, December 25, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Every Christmas, we love receiving Christmas cards from friends and family - we love hearing from you and getting updates on your own lives, children, future plans, etc.

And every year - though we don't mean to pick favorites - we come across a family picture that fills us with so much joy and delight it ends up being the "best" card of the season.

And here it is. We love this family! We wont reveal how we know them - or where - to keep any of you sensitive types away from calling child protective services...




Thursday, December 18, 2008

Unique Motherhood

My sweet friend is getting ready to deliver twins. She's afraid, nervous and excited - understandably so. She prays she will be a good mother. Reading this talk this morning - it made me think of her - and so many of us.

There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be 'full-time moms,' at least during the most formative years of their children's lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part- or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.

-Elder Russell Ballard, 2008-


Monday, December 15, 2008

When Your Parenting Just Isn't Sinking In

My Big Guy came home from the bus stop today via a friend's mom's car (who happened to pick up her daughter at the same time). I was grateful, but worried.

"Why did you get in the car? Do you know the mom?"

No. But it's okay. Her daughter is on my bus.

"But you don't know who the mom is. Did she know our family password?"

Don't worry Mom. I told her what the password is. She knows it.

....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home


We had some great times renting in Connecticut - but it's absolutely wonderful to have our own home again.







These pictures do a great job of covering all the things Greg and I will be fixing in the coming years - there are many, many holes, chipped corners, broken blinds, leaky sink faucets, a few faulty appliances, broken shelves, warped floor boards - the list goes on.

But it's minor, it's mostly cosmetic. And Greg can fix ANYTHING. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving and Our Sweetie

I love turkey. I especially love left-over turkey on those delicious sandwiches with slices of fresh avocado, miracle whip, toasted bread and a side of left-over pumpkin pie. Life is good.

It was even better this year to be back in Utah, watching my dad cut the traditional turkey and to visit with siblings over glasses of chilled Martinellis.


But my favorite part about Thanksgiving is My Sweetie's birthday. Every year it reminds me what I am most thankful for...my incredible miracle.


I've heard most parents refer to their children as miracles. But in my case - it really was.

The doctors had told me it was impossible. My body had decided to advance to a pre-menopausal state in my late 20s and my eggs were calling it quits. Many years, 2 rounds of in-vitro, surgeries, pills, terrible words like PCOS, stage 4 endometriosis, and drawers full of adoption paperwork - Greg and I had decided it was time to stop - this was no longer the path we were meant to go down.

I remember completely resigning myself to the life ahead of me. We had experienced our first miracle - adopting our Big Guy - we were more than grateful. Life would move forward and we would be happy.

But apparently there was more in store than I realized - greater work and sacrifices on behalf of our family - that brought about the miracle.

Eight months after bringing home our Big Guy, Greg and I sat in the Timpanogos temple, surrounded by family when I first felt the stirrings of something that felt - not quite right. But I was beyond skeptical. I never even said the words aloud - because I knew there was no chance.

Four weeks later I went to the store - absolutely furious and gnashing my teeth - to buy a pregnancy test. I hated doing this. I had done this so many times before. But something was wrong. Definitely wrong. I would have to make ANOTHER trip to the doctor's office soon and he would run a test regardless to rule out everything, and I didn't want to go through ANOTHER negative ALONE in the doctor's office.

So there I was - I had bought the cheapest, most generic test available - and I sat outside my bathroom door waiting. Still furious. Why did I have to go through this again? Hadn't I been through enough?? I knew exactly what the test would say - I knew there would be a GIGANTIC empty space in the circle area. I thought of the millions of women around the world in the exact same situation as me and I immediately started planning how I'd organize a massive party with fantastic food as soon as I was done reading this test. We could all wail together.

The time was up. I threw the door open, stomped to the bathroom sink, and my jaw dropped.
Three days later I saw him for the first time. I was 11 weeks pregnant.

And now he's three. And yes he cries and complaines about making his bed, putting on his shoes, sharing his toys, cleaning up his messes - and I do get upset with him often - but I am still joyous for My Sweetie.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Moving and Cleaning

We're in the process of moving to our new house (pictures coming soon!) and cleaning out our temporary living quarters - thank you Mom & Dad MacKinnon.

The kids - even Pretty Girl - have all been helping.


video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obsessed. Clearly Obsessed.




I can't help it.

Around .13 when he yells in his deep, breathless voice "Get in the car!" I suddenly find myself melting into a puddle of water.


Only 7 more days to go...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween Learning Points

This year I learned a few new pointers to help get me through Halloween next year.

Lesson Point #1 - Whatever costume My Big Guy decides to wear, My Sweetie will follow.


Lesson Point #2 - Adhesive teeth in any form DO NOT work and you cant talk, eat or really breathe with them in.



Lesson Point #3 - Strong arms and a signigficant knife are often needed for those bigger pumpkins.



Lesson Point #4 - Just because you are cousins, doesn't mean you dont envy each other's costume.


Lesson Point #5 - Eating doughnuts from a string is harder than it looks


Lesson Point #6 - We have big shoes to fill next year when we host the annual adult Halloween party.


Lesson Point #7 - Good things are coming soon! :)


Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Moment of Praise

This post is dedicated to my amazing brother-in-law, David, his wife Lindsey and their darling family.


(he's the one on the far left)

Right now David is spending many long days and late nights earning his MBA in California. He and my sister-in-law have also been faithful supporters of Prop 8 and have worked hard for the campaign to protect families and marriage.

In spite of democracy and the voice of the people, my bet is things will get a lot worse (if they even get better). Since the passing of Prop 8 David and his family have gone through very difficult days of personal slurs, window bashing, protests, direct targets at his graduate program, etc.

They don't complain. They hold true to what they believe.

They are amazing! We miss you guys and look forward to seeing you soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moab Mountain Biking

Greg hasn't been mountain biking since we left Utah. So he was very hyped to spend the weekend with one of his best friends in Moab. The pictures he brought back were beautiful.



The only thing I dont like about these biking excursions are the stories of 100 ft. cliffs and pathways so close to the road that reckless cars become a personal hazard.

Thank you Shayne for keeping him safe...


Let's face it. After 10 years of marriage, my husband is still amazingly hot! I love this man.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Human Magnet

I've been sick.

So sick that a few nights ago after dinner I asked Greg if he would mind cleaning up and helping with the kids so I could go fall into my bed. He agreed.

I miss my bed. It's somewhere in a storage center between here and Salt Lake. It's boxed away with my sheets, my pillows, my blankets, my pots and pans, my KitchenAid mixer....

Anyway....

I was within 30 seconds of sleep when two little hands appeared over the edge of my vision, followed by the pink cheeks of Pretty Girl. She gives me one of her 4-teeth grins and immediately starts to cry when she realizes I'm up in bed and she's not with me.

Fine. So I pull her up, quick kiss and put her on Greg's side and try to go back to sleep.

Not so.

Our Big Guy comes in 20 seconds later and tells me he's ready to wash my bedroom windows. Not any of the other dozen windows in the house. He wants the windows in my bedroom. He's armed with my water spray bottle I use for ironing and the squigee from the shower.

He's so willing and excited and anxious to please. How can I say no?

So I've got Big Guy cleaning the windows with the bright setting sunlight blazing through, Pretty Girl is drooling up a storm and keeps slaming her head into my face or my neck without warning, and then Sweetie makes his entrance. He wants to snuggle with mom and complain that he wants a turn to wash the windows.

Greg!! Greg - I need some help please!

He comes in casual, looks over the situation and seeing nothing out of the ordinary replies, "They just wanted to be with you."

Sounds very wonderful now. At the time it wasn't so cute.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

BIRTHDAY!!!


Just wanted to let you all know that is it Rachael's birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL, SWEET, BRILLIANT RACHAEL!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

blah blah blah...

Greg here… (for some reason Rachael insists I begin with that)

Ok, so more of my political ramblings. I was driving around the Avenue’s area of SLC the other day looking at houses (no, we’re not really looking to buy there – at least not now) and I saw a bazillion Obama yard signs. I thought to myself “how in the world do these people manage to dress themselves in the morning, let alone make enough money to afford a house like that?” I can only assume it is their idiot misguided kid that put up the yard sign, but still, shouldn’t the parents demonstrate more discipline?

Then again, when I see McCain bumper stickers I think to myself “how in the world can you support a complete faux-conservative buffoon like McCain?” Granted, there is Palin, but her debate kept a new episode of The Office from being shown that week. Palin, you almost had me. Almost.

Now, when I see the rare Ron Paul bumper sticker affixed to a “car” (if you’ve seen Ron Paul supporter’s cars you’ll know why I used the quotes), I smile and think “fight the good fight, buddy, fight the good fight.” There is a special place in heaven for Ron Paul supporters.

Anyhoo, the point of my rambling is this:



Monday, October 6, 2008

It Begins...


Someone on a friend's blog once wrote they'd rather bang their head against a wall all day than potty train. That pretty much sums it up for me.

Best advice I ever got about potty training has to be credited to my amazing sister-in-law Sherry. Once you start - don't EVER EVER go back. So for better or worse - it begins.



So far Our Sweetie has been pretty good. A few accidents, but lots of success. However, I still afirm this is the one area of parenting I'd like to outsource.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So Honey...How Was Your Day?


I don't know if all women are like this, but I love hearing about Greg's day at work. I love the details of his projects, the business, the drama, the politics. Every evening I try to grab at least 10-15 minutes of alone time so we can reconnect.

Years ago at a company Christmas party, I'm fairly certain I got one of Greg's co-workers in trouble with his wife because I started discussing the details of a specific project they were pushing through funding. (We were seated at the same round table - so really - what else was I going to talk about?) After several awkward pauses between the husband and wife and a whispered, Why don't I know this stuff about your work?!, I pretty much shut up.

Anyway, with Greg's new position starting, I was so excited to get the feedback after his first day, and especially after the first full week.

Within two sentences Greg had included the following words - nuclear, President of the United States, EMP, Golden Eye, and Jack Bauer.

Wow!...this is going to be good...

BTW - don't ask Greg what he does. He can't tell you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where the Heck is a Spatula?

In our current transient mode, we are very grateful for Greg's parents generosity in letting us stay in their home for the next few months. We're actually the 3rd family of Greg's siblings to take advantage of their gracious nature while they've been off on missions for my church in New England.

Keeping that in mind, it didn't take us long to figure out that appearances can be deceiving. For example - while there is ample, generous cupboard space and shelves - opening a door will reveal piles of Tupperware and potato buds - but no pots and pans. Plentiful drawers are stuffed full of grocery sacks, table linens and more Tupperware - but not a single can opener.

The situation came to a grinding halt last Sunday morning as I prepared pancakes for breakfast. I brushed past the absence of a wisk and a large kitchen spoon, forgetting what I would eventually need down the road. The batter had been poured, the heat was on when I suddenly realized...

I need a spatula. NOW. I have 30 seconds before the pancake burns.

Cant use a fork - it could scar the ONLY pan I've found in the house.

Cant use a spoon.

Garbage sacks wont work. A Tupperware lid might come in handy - but not really.

And then...the miracle.


Our Big Guy saves the day!!

Thank goodness for pink, plastic, playset kitchen tools.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In The Top of the Mountains


Welcome to The Mountain!


(not to be confused with the craptacularly horrible network The Mtn.)




We're here.

Living in a somewhat chaotic state of affairs as we try to find our new home. Yesterday we found out our Subaru made it safely across country on the truck bed, however my beloved Toyota lost a rear window. Coincidently, the bashing of the window happened during a truck stop somewhere in Wyoming. Greg blames those high-class Laramie fans who must have spotted our BYU sticker. GGGrrrrr!

The kids have been extremely helpful unloading our "temporary" apt boxes. Mostly they get excited when they find the treats I packed and then helping themselves.

Still so many boxes to go. So many cobwebs to clean. So many home-owners who think they can actually sell a pile of bricks for what they're asking...


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Farewell Life on the Gold Coast

It's been an amazing experience! We'll never forget this...











(PS - Jen, thank you for the pictures!)