Gratitude... Long Overdue

I have been writing this post in my head for weeks, but it isn't until now that I have actually had the time to sit down and put it into words.  These past 3 months have been an absolute whirlwind.  Bringing a third baby into the family has come with its many joys... and with a few challenges.  It has been a struggle to ensure I spend time with each of my girls, individually.  Each night I would drag myself to bed and cry.  I felt like such a failure, even though I felt like I was doing my absolute, 110%, very best.  I would go over the events of that particular day and give myself a grade.  And every time, I fell short in at least one area... most of the times even more than that.  I have felt like I am just not enough.  I lose my temper.  I fall asleep in the middle of prayer.  My house is wrecked.  I forget to shower for days.  I even forgot how old I was.  (My sister had to remind me that I was 27... not 28).  But, as I sat and realize how short I was falling, I also realized something else.... Something so important.  I realized that I have Y.O.U.  Yes, you who are reading this post.  You.  Even as I fail to measure up, you are there to fill in the difference.  The neighbors, who brought delicious and nutritious meals to us.  The friends that took my girls on fun outings to give me a break and some time to really enjoy my newborn.  The family who did my laundry and played Mario with my girls too many times to count.  The words of encouragement and understanding from EVERYONE around me.  The long drives family made to celebrate our new daughter.  The many comments about how cute Juliette is.  The phone calls to let us know, even though you are far away, you still were thinking about us.  The cuddles and snuggles you gave my baby when you came to steal some time with her.  The patience and love given to the older girls who have so much more responsibility now.  The hugs and knowing glances.  The wonderful advice.  Thank you for thinking of us... of me.  I am so glad.... so grateful, for each and everyone of these things and each and every one of you.  If I was having a bad day, I would get a call asking if you could take Alexis for the morning.  If my kitchen was a mess, you came over to love me anyway.

I am sorry it has taken this long to say, but.... thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.  Yes, I alone, am not quite enough.  But, with each and every one of you, nothing is lacking.  I have not been left on my own.  Your love and concern has made up the difference.  Thank you.


Countdown to Christmas

Today is the first day of December!  (Happy Birthday to my sister Cheryl...  one of the best people I know and one of my very best friends.  No one knows me quite like you do.  And a special thanks to my brave mother who had us a mere 14 months apart... it's almost like having a twin).
We put our tree up a week or so ago.  It was so fun watching the girls get excited over their ornaments.  Christmas time is the best!  Last year we did the Christmas Book Advent.  While that was fun, we decided to do something different.  I thought I would share what we are doing, in case any of you are procrastinators like me and just started thinking of this today.  Ha!  I decided to focus on the real reason for the season for this year's countdown.  Each day comes with a scripture to read and an activity; everything from acts of service to journal writing to praying.  I think it is going to really help all of us to remember each day why we celebrate this time of year.  I got it from the Friend magazine.  Go here to see it for yourself.  :)

Don't forget to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional tomorrow!

Finally, if you want to hear one of my favorite Christmas songs... go HERE.

Stay tuned for some cute Christmas photos of the girls...  :)

Now I have to go and watch some Family Stone!
Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton in 20th Century Fox's The Family Stone 


An Everyday Fairy Tale

It all started the morning of my Grandfather's funeral last January.  I suspected that I was pregnant earlier in the week and had taken a test on "the day", that came up negative.  This was a good thing for me, because I wasn't ready to have a baby just yet...  Except, I couldn't help feeling a little sad that I wasn't.  Human emotions are funny things.  So, as I was getting ready for the funeral that morning, I had an impression that I should check again... you know, just to make sure.  :)  Well, I knew even before that double pink line showed up that my life had changed forever... I was over joyed.  I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub hoping that our baby would get the chance to meet my Grandfather... her Great Grandfather, before she left that place to come to earth.  I just knew that he would have some nugget of wisdom for her... (He may even have had the chance to call her Magillacutty).
I remember sitting at the funeral.... missing my Grandfather and my unborn child at the same time.  Now, it makes me think of what Gretchen Rueben said in The Happiness Project... "The days are long, but the years are short."  It seemed as though the pregnancy would take forever (not a good sign when you are thinking this on THE DAY you found out you were expecting!).  I couldn't wait to meet her (although, we didn't know it was a her yet either).  At the same time, I was thinking about all the Christmases with my Grandparents.  All the memories with my Grandfather... and it seemed to fly by in a flash.  Bits and pieces of the years stand out, but the rest is a blur... That is the main reason I started this blog... to preserve those memories.  So, here is the story of how I met my daughter on the 15th of September... one day before the scheduled induction; 6 days overdue.

I had been having contractions all week.  Every night, they would get stronger and stronger, and then in the morning they would stop completely.  (I like to think she was getting extra hugs and kisses in on the other side).  I hate being induced.... you have to wait around all day long before anything happens.  So, I talked Taylor into taking me and the girls to 7-11, where I bought the BIGGEST slurpee you can find.  :)  I downed that sucker as fast as I could.  I started to feel some pain, and not from brain freeze.  I was excited that the contractions started to really hurt by the time we got home.  I walked around at home for an hour, timing the contractions.  Finally, it was time to go.  We dropped the girls off at Tasha and Vaughn's house (thanks guys), who would then take them to Danna's house when she and her family got home from Calaway Park.  She ended up taking them over night and had some quality Dora time with a naughty 3 year old who wouldn't sleep.  :)  (Thanks Danna!)
Aaaanyway, We got to the hospital and got situated and just waited... and waited... and waited.  I remember  being able to tell who were new parents through the triage curtains.  I can remember laughing at the newbies, but also feeling so excited for them too.  I am always sort of jealous of those who are having their first child because it is one of the most exciting times.  It is also when you realize that you have never really been petrified before you had a child...  and that never goes away.  Anyway...  getting side tracked... again.
Finally, after 3 and a half hours I was checked and moved to a delivery room.  I will not go into the gory details... just know that I never have that amazing experience during birth...  I am just praying I can hold on until it is all over.  Seriously.  Although we did have so many awesome nurses and great doctors who took extra good care with us.  (I guess we got in just before the rush was beginning).  I remember one nurse who was filling in for our nurse's break.  She was so sweet (I am sorry I don't remember her name... like I said...  I was just trying to hang on).  She must have been a cheerleader... because she was a great one for me.  She was so confident in me, even when my epidural didn't work, that I couldn't help feeling the same way.  She also went and found a sweet knitted cap for my baby, instead of one of those funny yellow ones.

Skip the boring details... they broke my water and she was out in 3 minutes.  My Juliette.

That picture right there.... THAT is my favorite moment.  I can barely look at it without breaking into tears.  That is the moment I fell into complete, unconditional love.  I didn't get to see her right away.  Specialists were checking her out and she was getting some oxygen... but the moment they placed her in my arms, I felt that feeling... that heaviness in the heart that feels like a comfort instead of a burden.  That was the moment I knew I was given someone special...  someone who was filling yet another hole that I hadn't known was there.  That is all it took... one tiny moment, one tiny cry, one tiny new life.  And even past all the bruises, I could see she was far more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.  My Juliette.

Juliette Danna Leavitt
September 15, 2012
9 lbs. 2 0z.



Summer is almost here!  School is out in a week and a half!  So, in preparation for summer, I decided to make a summer list that will cure any case of summer boredom.  What can I say, I am a list maker.  (Mostly due to my inability to remember... things).  And, since we are staying pretty close to home for most of the summer, I thought it would be a good thing to have.  Yes, there will be trips to see cousins and Grandparents, family reunions, and maybe even an impromptu trip to BC, but this list is for those days that have no end... the ones where you can either embrace the day or you can watch it go by without doing anything spectacular.  So, even though most of our time will be at home, I still want this summer to be one of wonderful memories for our family.  Without further adieu, here is my Super Awesome Summer List...

-fly a kite
-make sock puppets
-have a fancy outdoor tea party
-go for a hike
-go to a splash park
-have a puppet show
-star gazing
-sidewalk chalk party
-glow in the dark tag
-bird watching
-go fishing
-ride bikes
-slurpee runs
-farmer's market
-feed the ducks
-fireman museum
-wash the car
-watch fireworks
-photo shoot outside (this one might be hard now that our camera was stolen. Boo!)
-factory tour
-play croquet
-science experiments https://docs.google.com/document/d/14v-TC3D22k1UtMHs3Fa0310O5bq49rSP1QJA3tsqQeY/edit?pli=1
-write a song or a story
-paint with water
-spread kind messages with sidewalk chalk http://deliacreates.blogspot.ca/2012/05/come-on-get-happy.html
-rock painting
-library club
-swimming lessons
-ABC scavenger hunt
-homemade ice cream
-go on a picnic
-tie dye t shirts
-discover new parks
-spend an hour cleaning up a local park
-window markers
-ding dong ditches (with cookies of course)
-bingo dot art
-outdoor reading day
-nature walks

We will also be implementing out very own chore chart.  That way, if the girls complain about being bored, there will always be something for the to do.  (Insert evil laugh).

I CANNOT tell you how excited I am for summer to really begin, especially since we get a nice "gift" at the end of it!  :)



Do you ever feel like you are running a marathon?  A marathon at night, when you can only make out dark shapes in the distance?  Many times you stumble.  You get road rash on your knees and hands...  You feel tired and have no idea where the finish line is or how long it will take you to get there?  You feel tired and defeated.  This seems like such a dark lonely road that you are on, and on the other hand you can feel the imminence of morning.  You are tired, but the burning in your lungs makes you feel strong and alive.  Somehow you know you won't give up.  You want to reach the end of this marathon...  You fight through the blood, sweat, and tears.  Even though it doesn't feel like it now, these things will make you stronger for parts of the journey that are really tough.

I miss running.... a lot.  I never did it to be fit...  Instead, I did it to clear my head and heart.  I can remember running on a lonely road to the cemetery just outside our small town.  I remember the clean breeze that felt so good....  I remember the storm clouds that always seemed to be in the distance.  I remember thinking things through.... boys, friends, God, life, etc.  I swear I can still smell the clean, crisp air.  I remember being so sweaty and tired, but feeling so good.

Life can be hard.  Plans never go... as planned.  Surprises jump out at you when you least expect them.  Sometimes life seems looooong.  Other times, it feels as though the pace of life is racing past you.  I guess I just hope I will be the person I want to be at the finish line.  I want to be the one lifting others.  I want to have battle scars to show how hard I fought to make it.  I want to be strong.  And I want to do it all with a little bit of grace.

Some days I feel like I am running in the dark at a snails pace.  Today, I feel like I am running uphill... but I can feel that wonderful burning in my lungs... I can feel that burning in my heart.  I feel very much alive and I feel like this is all part of the plan.



This morning, as I was putting on my make-up, I paused for a second to stare at the reflection in the mirror.  Today was mother's day.  How have the past years of being a mother changed me?  I know something in me changed the day I became a mother.... almost seven years ago.  (Wow!)  I feel different... more confident and beautiful.  I feel happy.  Which, made me question what had changed?  I have learned many lessons from my girls.  They have taught me what unconditional love feels like.  You know, it kind of hurts.  I want to protect them from anything that might hurt or harm, but know that I cannot, nor should I.  I also know that unconditional love is forgiving... If it wasn't, than there would be no way my girls would still look at me the way they do at the end of the day.  Each day, I make mistakes.  (Many, many mistakes).  And yet, at the end of the day, I tuck them in and tell them I love them and I am always rewarded with their love for me.  And it feels so good, it hurts.
I have learned that sometimes.... most times.... listening is far more important than talking; that, a day filled with bubbles, bike rides, and slurpees can be more fulfilling than lessons and lists accomplished.  I have also learned that, although I have my own goals, watching my girls accomplish theirs makes me feel like a million bucks!  I have learned that outside appearances really don't matter, but putting your best foot forward does.  I have learned to better trust myself and the knowledge that I know my children best.  I have also learned that sometimes advice should be heeded.
I am s-l-o-w-l-y learning to have patience.  I am determined to be the most patient grandmother you have ever seen.  Ha!  I am in the process of learning to let go.  Yes, children should be protected, but they should also be allowed to test their own limits in order to develop trust in themselves.  I am trying to live more in the moment.  I want to look back at pictures of the past and remember what we did that day....  what the girls laughs sounded like, what their hair smelled like after their bath, and how soft and warm their cheeks felt at the end of the day.

I am a mother.  I have never fit anywhere quite like I do here.  It is exciting and rewarding.  It is scary and empowering.  It is where I have always belonged.  It is so good... it hurts.


Which One?

I am planning on getting a haircut this weekend and I am stuck between 2 hairstyles....  Do I go with the safe cut...

Or, do I take a chance and go for something... else.

The only problem I have with the second cut, is that it has to be done really well, or it will look really bad.  So, I am leaning toward the first one, for that reason alone.  (Now, if only I had golden blonde hair and a nice tan... I would be all set.  Ha!)


Moments to Remember

The girls are in a dream world in a room down the hall and here I sit, trying to remember all the things I told myself not to forget.  Things like Alexis yelling out "Jeepers Creatures!" whenever something excites her.  Or when Lily asks us not to go in her room because she needs "private-sy".  Sometimes I forget how important little things like that are.  I get too caught up in the world of laundry and dishes and piano practice and school reader books.  We found a box of sparklers in a kitchen drawer and decided tonight was the perfect night to use them.  Seeing their enchanted faces and hearing their excited laughter made my soul feel light.  How simple a thing like left over sparklers can be... and yet how important are those simple moments?  I think nattherat said it best here. 

Lily is always active.  Always creating something.  She has such a great imagination.  Her wish today was that she could have a "robot unicorn pegisis that could fly and do magic".  Yeah- I would love one of those too!

Alexis is... quirky.  She is always trying to make people laugh.  There was a day recently when Lily was upset about something and Lexi came running up to me telling me that she wanted to make Lily feel better... and in order to do so, she would need "some stickers" to put on her nose.  She loves to be babied and cuddled, yet she hates being the little sister and always asks if she will grow to be big like Lily.

Sometimes it is too easy to get stuck in the mundane.  I forget that these moments I love the most, will one day be but a memory.  One day these girls will be driving... graduating... going on missions...  getting married.   And it breaks my heart to think that one day their world really will be something that doesn't include me.  They will go off into the world and make all the hard decisions.  Will they remember the sparklers?


Neville was always my favorite...

I saw this picture floating around the internet and it made me laugh.  I knew I always liked Neville.  haha!


Organizing Inspiration

I only keep a few blogs on my "read regularly" list.  Jen from iheartorganizing is one of them.  She has the BEST ideas for organizing small and large spaces.  In her last post, she collected ideas from different blogs to create her own organized dream home.  The ideas are perfect for me now, since I have decided to start organizing everything better around here.  You can read the post at iheartorganizing.  It has inspired me to think outside the box.  It has also given me the motivation to tackle my master bath!  Since counter space in our master bath is always a source of  contention (ha!) in our home, I can't wait to see what a little organization will do to make our lives easier.  Wish me luck!

Ps> I was playing around with picnik last night and came across this picture of Lily.  When was she ever so small!?!

 And here is one after she got her very first pair of glasses.  New glasses have never looked so cute!


A New Outlook

I know that now is the time of year when many of us make resolutions.  Many bloggers pick a "word of the year".  In years past, I have had my own main idea or theme as well.  This year is different.  So many things I want to change or make better about myself kept coming to mind.  So many, in fact, that I could not pick just one that was most important to me.  So, I am going to try something different.  I have picked 6 things I want to work on this year.  Ever month (or so) will bring a new goal or focus.  Hopefully, as each month passes I can add the next goal to the list and carry on.  I feel like this way, the change really can be a permanent one.

It was so hard picking the first one.  I didn't want the first goal to be too hard or intimidating because it might just stop this whole journey before it has really even begun.  So, my first focus of the year is going to be organization.  I hope to organize coat closets to file folders to dresser drawers to craft stuff to pictures in our computer and even to organize the way I use my time.  It is going to be a challenge, but I think it is going to give me the fresh start I really need to get going.

Goal number two has to do with family.  Sometimes I feel like life takes over and I'm trying so hard just to make it through another day, that I forget the wonderful people who are in my life.  I want to focus on showing my love better to my family.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that we are all individuals and we each feel loved in different ways.  I would like to learn how to show my love better to my family and friends... the way they feel love.

Goal number three is to beautify.  I want to incorporate more beautiful things in our home.  It will require a great amount of creativity due to a small decorating budget.  Ha!  But things like finding creative and beautiful ways to display my girls' artwork don't have to be expensive.

Goal number four is to gain more knowledge.  This could be from reading, studying, watching documentaries, visiting museums, etc.  I am excited about this one.  From a young age, my parents have instilled a love of learning in me that I hope to pass on to my own children.

Goal number five is to find peace.  I know I stress too much.  I know sometimes all I need are a few minutes with silence and my own thoughts or a few moments with some beautiful music.  I know that by doing this, I will be able to be more collected and ready for those moments of chaos.

Goal six is to eat healthier.  I want to learn to make healthy dishes that taste good enough that my kids will eat it (and Taylor too!).  We really only eat out on rare occasions, so that isn't a problem, but I want to learn how to better use fresh ingredients and make meals that are quick and easy too.

So, there you have it.  There really are so many more, but I think these first 6 are going to keep me pretty busy and make quite an impact.  Here's to the new year....  I don't think of it as a new beginning, just a new outlook... and I'm excited.  :)


Sometimes there are no words....

I attended my Grandfather's funeral today.  I love and miss him.  I am not able to express how I feel, but my sister Cheryl said it the way I would have, if I could have....

Read about Grandpa here.