Thursday, September 29, 2016


Yesterday, I was having a really hard time feeling motivated.

However, after dropping Kevin off at preschool and showering, I finally managed to accomplish some things.

One of the most exciting things that I did was to pick some of our wild plums. There were a lot more than I thought there were.

Here's a picture of my bucket:
They don't look like normal plums. They're about the size of cherries, and when they're ripe they're yellow. When they're purple, they're over ripe and bad. They taste okay, but they are much more tart than the purple variety.

I'm hoping to make some freezer jam out of it. It should be an interesting experiment.

We got some nice big, purple plums from my grandma the other day too. We turned half of them into freezer jam, and we're eating the rest. They're pretty tasty.

More canning. Meanwhile, our apples are starting to fall of the tree. We're about ready to start canning those too. Lots to do, and it's hard to always find the motivation. I'm working on it, though.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Lately, I've been thinking about working from home. Yesterday, I attended a meeting that involved an opportunity to work for a company. It had a pyramid-based payment format, and after listening and asking a lot of questions, I decided it wasn't for me.

However, I have been thinking a lot about starting to teach piano lessons. I think I've about decided to go for it. I want to do a little more preparation, but I think it's going to be awesome! I'm excited, but nervous too. I've been playing for nearly 26 years, but I've had limited experience teaching.

Life is pretty interesting sometimes. Often we get taken in directions we weren't expecting.

A few years ago, if you'd have asked me where I was going to be at the age of 30, I probably would have guessed that I'd be married with four or five kids. That was my hope, anyway.

However, due to the fact that the Lord hasn't sent us anymore children yet, I am married with only one kid.

I am so grateful for him.

If I'm only supposed to have one so far, I'm pretty grateful that it's Kevin. He lights up my life and makes every  day exciting. He forces me to grow and become a better person, and he makes me laugh. Sometimes being a mother is frustrating, but for me, it's always worth it.

I've always wanted to be a mother. Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them that I wanted to be a veterinarian...if I wasn't married. Which basically meant that I was expecting to be married with lots of kids and so I really wasn't planning on becoming a veterinarian.

I love animals, but I always yearned for my own children. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't want to snuggle a baby or play with a child.

I was lucky enough to eventually meet an incredible guy who was perfect for me. My little brother once told me that he didn't believe in soul mates and predestined love...except in the case of my husband and me. He said that we are just too much alike.

That tickled me a bit.

I'm so grateful that I've been able to be a mother and to be able to be a stay-at-home mother. I can't imagine that anything else would be so fulfilling. Perhaps that's why it's been so difficult that we haven't been able to get pregnant again. My soul aches for more children, and sometimes it's been difficult to cling to hope.

We've really felt that eventually the Lord is going to send us more children, but we're not sure when. I've finally (after three years) admitted that something might be wrong. If we don't get pregnant this month, we're going to go see a doctor and try and figure out what's going on.

However, in the mean time, we've started considering foster care. There are a lot of children out there who could use a stable home environment. We'd like to help them, if it's the right thing for our family. We're praying about it and thinking about it.

Life is definitely always changing. We'll have to see where it takes us next.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Cutest Conversations

Saturday morning, Grig had to work.

Kevin, who had randomly woken up at 4:20 a.m. said to me, in an imploring manner, "Why can't I go to work with Daddy?"

Which began one of the cutest conversations ever.

Kevin really loves his daddy.
Kevin: Why can't I go to work with Daddy?

Mom: Because Daddy's work is dangerous.

K: Oh. There's big rocks? And sharp knives?

M: Basically. You're too little, but Daddy is big and strong, so he's safer.

K: Big rocks can hurt your toes, and you shouldn't touch the ends of knives. They're sharp.

M: Yep. And there's also bright lights that can blind you. (Grig is a welder)

K: Oh.

M: Daddy uses the light to make two pieces of metal into one.

K: And he takes three pieces and makes four?

M: Maybe. If he's cutting them.

After that, the conversation kind of petered out, and we both fell asleep.

It was super cute.

Then, at church yesterday, we had just finished primary, and one of the primary kids was standing out in the hall when an older man came walking toward him.

The child was between four and five, and the old man had a long white beard and walked with a cane. As the child caught sight of the older gentleman, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "Santa!"

Without batting an eye, the older man asked, "Have you been good this year?"

The boy nodded eagerly and said, "Yes! Do you have presents with you?"

I didn't hear any more of that conversation, but I was left with the distinct impression that this older gentleman was the coolest person ever.

People can be pretty awesome.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Preschool: Being a Mom and a Teacher

Last week, a couple of neighborhood moms and I started our own preschool. Every week we take turns teaching and hosting our three pupils, and this week was my turn.

It's been pretty fun so far. Last week, I really enjoyed having time to get things accomplished while Kevin was over at the neighbor's house. This week, I was a little nervous to teach, but I think things went really well. Both kids that were able to come this week were very bright and intelligent, and we had a great time.

One of the hardest things for me right now is knowing how to be a teacher and a mom.

Last week during church, I was teaching music to the children and Kevin started acting out. I can't really blame him. It was the first week back in our ward after we'd been gone for six weeks, and his mom was there, so he felt the need to push buttons.

I'm afraid I didn't respond very well. As a parent, I felt responsibility for my child, and so, instead of ignoring his behavior, I corrected him abruptly and then tried to invite him up to help me. It didn't help; if anything it made his behavior worse. I was at a loss for what to do when his primary teacher offered to take him out of the room.

When he came back in, he was folding his arms, and there was a marked improvement in his behavior. I was really grateful to his wonderful teachers.

The way I dealt with it has been bothering me ever since, and after a lot of prayer and thought, I think I have a game plan for this Sunday. I hope it works. :)

I've had a similar problem at preschool this week. Usually, the other kid has been very well behaved and Kevin has occasionally had a tantrum. The first day it was hard, but I think I handled it better today.

I've been really impressed by how well the kids have been doing though. It's been really fun to teach them, and it's been a good review of some of the skills I developed in college. Kevin's loved having more social time as well.

He's a pretty social kid and he loves playing with friends. Sometimes, because he doesn't have siblings, he doesn't share very well, but he's learning. It was fun to see the areas in which each child excelled.

I'm still learning too. This is the first time I've ever been the mom of a three-year-old, after all. My teaching classes in college never really taught me what to do when my own child is in the class. I love it though. I love seeing how Kevin interacts with his friends and classmates.

It's been challenging in ways that I didn't expect, but also a lot more fun!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Salsa, Applesauce, and Playsets

It's been a pretty crazy last few days. On Thursday, Kevin and I went outside and picked up all the apples off the ground. I then called my grandma to ask her for her advice. We'd thrown away the really rotten apples, but I wanted to make the rest into apple sauce. I didn't have an fruit juicer though, and so my wonderful grandma offered to bring hers and come and help me.

Kevin has been a great helper!

These are our two boxes of tomatoes. The ones in the bag are from our garden. The others are Roma tomatoes that I picked with my sister.
So, I cut up the apples, and boiled them. Then, once they were boiled, my grandma came over and we put them through the juicer. Kevin helped by turning the crank on the juicer. We made six quarts of beautiful applesauce.

However, as you can see from our tree, we are going to have a lot of apples this year. I'm pretty excited. We love apple sauce, and we bought a dehydrator this year that we're looking forward to making dried apples with.
  It's pretty loaded.
Then, Friday and Saturday, I worked on the ripe tomatoes. It turns out that salsa takes a while to make. We've now made about 10 quarts of salsa and four quarts of tomato juice. It took most of Friday night and Saturday evening, but I'm pretty excited to have so much salsa. It tastes really good too. :) Kevin helped me cut up the vegetables with our vegetable chopper.

 Then, yesterday, while I was working on salsa, we also decided to finally move our playset. We've been wanting to do that since we moved into our house. This is where it used to be:
However, that is the sunniest part of our yard, and we've been wanting to expand our garden. So, with the help of Grig's brothers and Allopex's friend, we moved the heavy wooden playhouse. 
This area is so much more open now, and I LOVE where we have placed the playset now. It looks so good, and, to me, it just seems to fit perfectly in the new spot. We have to make a few repairs, and then we're probably going to repaint it. It's been a pretty productive weekend. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Good Harvest

Grig was pretty amazing over the last couple of months. Kevin and I were out of town from half-way through July until the 2nd week of September. While we were gone, he kept up with the garden and tried to keep the house clean.

Our garden has done quite well this year. While I was gone, Grig blanched and froze quite a few green beans. By the time I got back, our garden, and especially our tomatoes had exploded.

The second day after I got home, Kevin and I went outside and harvested quite a few things from our garden. My little guy is a great helper!

Here he is with the fruits of our labors.

 This is only the beginning of our tomatoes, though it is about the end of the beans. There is one onion in there too. We made a half batch of salsa with these tomatoes, and it turned out super well! I made two and a half quarts of salsa. The half quart we just ate right away, and the brother in laws really liked it too.

In the corner of the previous picture, you can also see some tiny plums. Early this year, we found a wild plum tree (with three inch thorns) on our property. The plums were tiny, like cherries, and recently they've ripened to orange. We tried a couple, and they were pretty tart. However, on one random branch, we found some purple ones that were very sweet. It was kind of strange, but we're not complaining too much. We might try to turn them into jam.

 Our garden isn't very big yet (though we have great plans for expanding next year), so we only had five stalks of corn, but we got some pretty good ears off of them. They tasted amazing. I love corn on the cob, and I was excited that the corn waited until I got home before we picked it.

Nothing, however, compared to our carrots.
 They were huge! I'm still working on cutting them up, blanching them, and freezing them. We definitely don't want these bad boys to go to waste! The biggest ones were nearly the size of my wrist. They were pretty huge! I don't think I've ever seen carrots this big.

Then, on Monday, my sister called and asked me if I wanted to go and pick tomatoes with her. Even though we have quite a few tomatoes in our garden, most of them are green, and we really like salsa, so I told her I did, and I was able to get a bushel of (orange) Roma tomatoes for $20. We picked them ourselves. We also got a whole lot of bell peppers. I'm probably going to be making salsa today because quite a few of them are ripe now. We love salsa.

I'm super grateful that we've had such a good harvest this year. Our apple tree is doing really well too, but the apples aren't ripe yet. Once they are, we're going to be making a lot of apple sauce, dehydrated apples, and apple juice. Every year, we also make fresh pressed cider. The place where my aunt is living has a cider press, and all the family in the area goes over and helps press tons of apples into cider. It always tastes amazing, and I'm really grateful that they invite us.

Hopefully it doesn't freeze too soon. I'm excited for all of our tomatoes to ripen as well. I'm really hoping they do so before it gets too cold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Frozen Fruit Snacks

Last Wednesday, we went to the store and bought some groceries. At the store, there was a sale for 3 for $5 on fruit snacks.

Kevin loves fruit snacks, so I chose three boxes and brought them home.

Over the course of the week, Kevin ate all of the fruit snacks from the dinosaur box and the regular fruit box.

At one point, Kevin asked Grig from some fruit snacks, and Grig told him that they were all gone.

I said, "No, they aren't. There's a box of Frozen fruit snacks still."

Grig gave me a funny look, and the conversation moved on.

The next day, the topic came up again, when Kevin again asked for some fruit snacks. Grig once again responded that they were all gone.

"No they aren't," I repeated. "Remember, I told you that there is a box of Frozen fruit snacks left over."

He gave me a funny look again, and then asked, "Did you pull them out to defrost them then?"

Now I was confused. I said, "Why would I need to defrost them?"

"Well," he replied, "if they're in the freezer, don't they need to be defrosted before he eats them?"

Now, entirely confused I stopped and thought about what he was saying. Why on earth would the fruit snacks be in the freezer?

Then, like a bolt of lightening it hit me. I began to crack up. Grig was still confused and didn't understand why I was laughing.

Finally, I managed to gasp, "The fruit snacks aren't frozen! They're Frozen, as in, Disney?"

It took a couple of seconds, and then he began to laugh too.

However, when I actually pulled the box out of the cupboard, I found out they weren't actually Frozen, after all.

"Never mind," I told the others, "they're not Frozen; they're Inside Out."

"That's a weird thing for them to be," Grig's brother Allopex said. "I wonder how they got them inside out?"

Image result for public domain fruit snacks

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Thoughts from Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday, I mentioned that we had Stake Conference this last Sunday. For those of you who may not know, Stake Conference in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is where the "stake" (which is a group of local congregations who are grouped together) meets and hears from the Stake President and usually a visiting general authority. 

There is usually a Saturday night meeting for the adults, and a Sunday morning meeting for everyone. Both meetings are about two hours long. 

Sometimes the Sunday morning meeting is hard to pay attention to, especially when you have small children. This is one of the reasons that I was especially grateful for the Saturday night meeting this year. I really heard a lot of things that I needed, and I received some really good counsel that really struck me to my core. I wanted to share a few things that really helped me.

The first thing that really stuck out to me was when one of the speakers said something along the lines of, "Unwavering faith means faith in God's perfect love, not faith that our family will be healed or saved." 

That was something I had never really thought about in that way. Sometimes when bad things happen, it is really easy to doubt and wonder why our Heavenly Father won't take the trials away from us. It's sometimes hard to understand why the Lord let's bad things happen and why our prayers for relief aren't answered immediately. 

One of my sister-in-laws had struggled with a lot of health problems for the last while. We've been trying to pray and fast for her, and sometimes we wonder why this trial never seems to end. However, as I thought about what the speaker had said, the thought came to me that I didn't have enough faith. Faith isn't just telling the Lord what we want and expecting Him to do it, it's also trusting that He loves us and will do the best thing for us. Sometimes trials are what we need and if we trust in our Heavenly Father, we will become more like him as we learn to endure and have more faith and trust. Sometimes immediate healing isn't going to be the best thing for us. Sometimes we have to pass through the trials in order to become the person that we're meant to be.

One of my greatest trials lately has been my inability to have more children. We've been trying for the last 3+ years. The greatest desire of my heart is to have siblings for my son and to have a large family. However, for some reason, it isn't time yet. I am slowly learning to have patience and trust in my Heavenly Father's plan and His promises. I am learning to trust that the Lord loves me, and His plan will ultimately lead to the greatest happiness for me. 

This is Kevin as a baby. It's hard to believe that it's almost been four years!

The other thing that I really liked that was shared was when another speaker said, "If you ever think that someone you love is entangled in sin so far that Christ cannot save them, you know nothing of the Savior."

The Lord knows His children and loves each and everyone of us. He lets us make our own choices, but we should never lose hope in our brothers and sisters. Sometimes people make bad decisions, but as long as people are alive, there is always the chance that they might change. If we give up on them, we are essentially saying that we don't believe in Christ's ability to heal and change hearts. We need to keep loving, hoping, and praying for those who are lost. 

The third thing that really stood out to me was a talk given on Sunday. The speaker shared a story where we was told by a general authority to give her father a kiss and tell him that she loved him every day for a year. That seemed like a really weird thing to do, and she was frightened to do it because her father was not a physical person and had never told her that he loved her. She didn't know why she'd been asked to do it, but she did it. 

As she obeyed, her father gradually softened, and finally told her that he loved her too. Only a few weeks after the year had passed, her father passed away. She bore testimony that we needed to heed the council of our leaders, even if we don't know why they ask us to do something. I thought that was a really powerful story. 

I'm so grateful that we took the time to go to Stake Conference. Sometimes, it's hard to want to go to church on Saturday night, but a lot of the goals and inspiration that I've received this week have come from the things that I was taught over the last few days. 

I'm super stoked for General Conference this year! I can't wait to learn what the Lord wants to tell me through his servants. 

Monday, September 12, 2016


It's been a while since I blogged.

I don't have much excuse before July, but during the second half of July, all of August, and the first week of September, I've been out of town.

My grandparents own apartments in Idaho, and for the last few years during the break between semesters, I've been going to help them clean and renovate the apartments.

My parents, who live nearby, kindly agree to watch Kevin while I help my aunt and some of my siblings get the apartments ready. This usually involves painting, patching, cleaning, and repairing the apartments. We were hoping to tile three upstairs bathrooms too, but due to a few unexpected projects, we were only able to tile one of the bathrooms we had been hoping to work on.

It ended up looking pretty awesome though. :)

This year, I worked with my Dad, my youngest brother, my aunt, and my two sisters who are twins. Everyone worked really hard. Half way through, my dad (who is a principal) and my brother (who is a sophomore in high school) started school and had to leave. It was nice to work with them for a while.

Grig had to stay in Utah because of his job (which we're really grateful that he has), and so I got a little homesick sometimes for him and our house. I also missed my two dogs. One weekend, Grig had to bring them up because I needed to see them. Siff has grown quite a bit!

However, it was really nice to be around my family for so long. We live away from them, and sometimes I don't realize how much I am missing. Returning home was a bit bittersweet. It was hard to be away from home so long, and I was super excited to return with Grig. Kevin was excited too.

When I told him that we would be going home with Daddy, he looked at me and asked, in the sweetest tone, "Can I come with you?" Naturally, we told him yes.

However, as we prepared to leave and I stood at the top of the stairs and just watched my family talk and laugh together, I became a little emotional.

I love my home, my family, and my life, and I know we're where we're supposed to be. However, that doesn't mean that I don't regret sometimes that we live so far away. Compared to Grig's family, we're pretty close, but we still aren't able to go visit as often as I would like to.

I don't know how many more summers were going to be able to do this, but it is a blessing in many ways. It's a great chance to reconnect with my siblings and for Kevin to play with his cousins. Even if we can't come for six weeks next year, it would be nice to at least come for one.

Who knows? Maybe next year everyone won't be so stressed with wedding preparations.

The wedding went well too. Right after we finished, my youngest sister was married. She and her husband made a beautiful couple, and we're excited to have him join the family. He and my husband share a name and an occupation, so it can be a little confusing, but he's a nice guy.

Now, I don't have any unmarried sisters. My two youngest brothers are still available though, in case anyone was wondering. One's on in a mission in Chile, and the other is still in high school. My parents have had a wedding every year for the last six years.

I don't think they'd mind a little bit of a break.

It is really nice to be home, and hopefully back on a good schedule. We had a really good Stake Conference yesterday and Saturday night that I want to talk about a little tomorrow. It helped me set some new goals that I am going to really try to keep.

Kevin's been pretty happy to be home too.