Morning Cuddles

My girls love their morning cuddles.  Henley now pushes me aside to be the first one into Becca’s room in the morning.  She scrambles over the crib-side and snuggles in right next to Becca.  I have a nest built out of rolled up flannel blankets that keep Miss Becca cozy and secure during the night, Henley decided that this nest is not acceptable while she is trying to spend time with her sister.  Every morning she throws out the rolled blankets, unwraps Becca from her swaddle, and places her arm tenderly over Becca’s chest.

“Good morning, Becca.  How are you today? Did you have good dreams?  I’m so excited to see you this morning.  What are you telling me?  Is it hard to wake up?”

I don’t have any pictures (or video) of the girls in the crib, just these of them in my bed.  I love, love, love that they love each other.  I love listening to Henley talk to Becca and seeing Becca watch her sister’s every move.  I’m convinced these two are going to be best friends some day.

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What It’s All About

Two weeks ago we were able to tour the Meridian, Idaho, LDS temple.  We made it just in time to take a tour before the temple was closed for cleaning prior to the dedication.  We’d been busy running in ten different directions at once, then sick with the stomach flu, and barely made it through the nausea to come to the temple with our girls.  At the end of the tour there was the opportunity to take pictures with the Christus and outside of the temple.  Henley, of course, was out of sorts at being woken up so early and repeatedly told to “shush” that she absolutely refused to smile for our pictures.

At least she looked at the camera for the outside photos.

As I reflect on the experiences I’ve had in the temple, I am so touched by the gift of knowledge that God has given me.  My brother lost his youngest son in a 4-wheeling accident last Friday.  This tragedy has shaken me personally and my family as a whole.  The death of a child is never easy to pass through. I spent much of last weekend running through what I thought I believed, over and over again in my head, just to make sure I really believed it.  I do believe in life after death.  I do believe that children who die before the age of 8 are taken directly back to our Heavenly Father.  I do believe that families can be together after death, through the incredible blessing of temple sealings.  To be sealed in the temple means a husband and wife and their children can continue on as that family unit, even after death.  I believe people who pass on without accepting the gospel can be taught and given the chance to accept it after death.  Their sealings can be completed here on earth in temples through proxy ordinance work.  I do believe these things, and I can’t imagine my life without this faith and knowledge.

My nephew David was a sweet, remarkable boy.  He gave hugs to anyone he met.  He was very intense, he went full-speed in whatever direction he was headed.  He showed love unconditionally and made friends everywhere he went.  I believe he is doing these very same things now, just on the other side.  I believe he is with my grandparents who passed away before him.  I believe he is still here, helping to guide, encourage, and strengthen my family.

My brother and his wife and two other children have decided to choose joy every day and leave a legacy of light to honor their son and brother.  I am trying to be more like David and take every opportunity to say the good things I am thinking, to tell people I love them, to give compliments, to stand up for truth, to give hugs, to really express my emotions rather than bury them.

I was honored and privileged to present David’s life sketch at his funeral.  I wrote the sketch/obituary on Sunday afternoon and woke very early Monday morning to mull over what I’d written.  As I was reading, I became a tad overwhelmed and decided to take a break and browse my pictures that needed to be uploaded to this blog.  I came across these of my family at the temple and simply couldn’t get past them.  This is what it’s all about.  My family, at the temple, with the opportunity to be together forever, even through the pain and anguish of death.

I don’t know what you readers, the few of you besides my family, believe.  I’m not telling you that I have all the truth or that I believe my church or my faith is the only one with truth.  I am telling you what I believe to be true.  I hope you will take a moment and ponder on what you believe the meaning of life is and on how well you are accomplishing your personal mission in life.  If there are things you need to change, change them.  If there are questions you need answered, seek out guidance.  There are countless people who would be happy to help you on your quest to find God and help you discover the joy that comes from knowing Him and His plan.  Again, I believe there are many religions or faiths that can help you answer these questions.

We’ll miss David.  Every day there will be something that reminds us of him.  I know my brother and his family have the hardest road to walk, much more so than I do.  I am amazed at the strength, faith, and grace they have shown since David’s passing.  My brother spoke at David’s funeral, about his choice to choose joy over despair and love over bitterness.  My sister-in-law sang beautifully about the gift Christ has given all of us, because He loves us, and the amazement that the God of heaven and earth loves us all so much that He took upon himself all our sins, pains, and afflictions.

God really is merciful.  Christ really does give us grace.  The Holy Ghost really is the comforter.  Family really is the most important thing.

 

Halloween 2017

Halloween was super fun this year.  We got loads of candy, had fun dressing up as pumpkins, and had ourselves quite the scare by a headless horseman at one of our stops.

Henley had a hard time settling down after seeing the headless horseman…he’s been instructed to dress up as Hey-hey or Olaf next year.

As usual (at least usual for last year and this year) Ty wasn’t home to go trick-or-treating with us.  Last year he was hunting, this year he was picking up a load of seed in Utah.

We took all these pictures to flood his phone so he wouldn’t feel left out.

I sure do love these little pumpkins of mine.

Becca especially liked our stop at Nannie and Papa’s house.  She talked with Nannie and smiled at her and Papa the whole night.

She and Papa have a special connection.  Papa cried for the first year of his life and Becca cried for the first three months of hers.  Now she is a smiley and very happy baby and I think Papa is much happier too!

 

Life at My House

Look what I found in my bed.

Two pajama-clad bundles of cuteness!  They love snuggling in mine or Henley’s bed for the first few minutes of every day.

Below, this is not where I left my baby.  And Henley was with me so I know she didn’t move her.  I’d also like to note that this picture was taken several weeks ago (as are all of these photos) and she can now scoot and wiggle even farther away from where she is placed by an adult.  We have a mover on our hands and we’re not sure if we’re prepared for that yet.

We bought new couches a while ago, Becca christened them by taking a sweet power nap,  totally unexpectedly while Henley and I were reading right next to her.  I’ve been much more structured with Becca’s sleep schedule than Henley’s (perhaps that is why Henley is such a horrid sleeper? I realize now that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing when Henley was a baby!) and she really doesn’t do power or sporadic naps like this.  Everyone needs a good nap on the couch every once in a while I guess!

As shocked as I was by Becca’s impromptu nap, I was even more aghast at this!

I’m happy to report that the thumb-sucking was short-lived and she is back to preferring her binky to her fingers.  I realize the binky habit is hard to break to, but at least the binky can be cut or thrown away (obviously unlike her thumb) if we get desperate.

Along with our new couches, Henley got some new clothes including this Elsa nightgown.  Need I say that she loves it?  Also, she loves the live action Beauty and the Beast.  As do I.  We may or may not have watched it every day for seven days straight and also listened to the soundtrack in the car for those same seven days…Henley has taken to singing “Madame Gaston, can’t you just see it?  Madame Gaston, his little wife. UGH!” with a towel on her head that she whips off just like Belle.

 

Finally, this girl still loves her baths.  She and Henley get one every, single night regardless of how late we may get home from a party.  Henley will go to bed fine without a bath but Becca will not.  I tried just putting her to bed one night when we got home late from a church meeting and she woke up an hour later completely distraught.  I finally put her in the tub and she settle right down for a nice splash then went peacefully back to sleep in a clean diaper and jammies like she hadn’t just screamed for 45 minutes straight.

I don’t know if all children are this way, but mine are opinionated and obstinate and have wills of iron.

That’s funny…I think I’ve said the same thing about their father…

Sisters

Everyone needs a sibling.  The richness that a brother or sister or maybe a couple of both add to a person’s life is incredible.  I love watching the relationship between my children unfold.  Sure they are still really young and it’s too early to tell how they’ll feel about each other over the course of their lifetime, but there is a special bond that is already apparent between the two.

For example, Henley had a sleepover at Grandma’s and Becca was unsettled pretty much the whole time she was gone.  Usually I can do a load of dishes, switch laundry, make my bed, take a shower, basically leave the room for a few minutes at a time without any protest from Becca.  Without Henley home, Becca would hardly let me put her down let alone leave the room without her.

When we went to pick up Henley, the very first thing she did was grab Becca’s face with her two hands, press their foreheads together, and tell Becca just how much she missed her.  She hugged, loved on, and talked with Becca like no one else was in the room for at least five minutes.  Only once she’d taken care of her baby sister did Henley even say “hi” to me.

Another sign of their special bond is Becca’s willingness to laugh for Henley’s antics.  Ty tickles and plays with Becca and may get a few giggles.  I sing with her or gently toss her in the air and she might laugh once.  Henley jumps over her, says boo, or tickles her and she gives an outright belly-laugh.  Henley dances around her, gets right in her face and asks “what are you telling me,” or screeches and Becca busts a gut.

I’m so glad my girls have each other.

After all, don’t we all need someone to play in the leaves with us?

Days with Daddy

Ty is a wonderful father.  Last week Henley and I were having a rough, rough, rough day with each other.  She was mad at me, I was mad at her and we were both sleep deprived basket cases.  I finally got her settled for a nap and decided to take on myself.  Ty came home just as we were both waking up and heard all about our disaster of a morning.  He offered to take Henley with him.  I think we both said “Yes, please!” before he’d even finished making the offer.

He whisked Henley away to the Weiser River place where the two of them drove this monstrous articulating dump truck, filled with rock to a wash out along the river.  The snow and flooding earlier this year washed out a portion of a road on our place and Keith, the manager of the hunting-side of the Weiser River place is working to fix the road.  Ty offered to drive the dump truck and Henley got to ride along.  It wasn’t too long before Ty called saying Henley was sick and tired of driving the truck back and forth and could I please come pick her up.

The rest of the week, Henley accompanied Ty to work almost every day.  She had so much fun working with Ty and actually worked all day with him without getting crabby or complaining.

This convoy you see below is what it took to move our grain drill to a very secluded field near Paddock Resevoir, about 30 miles outside of Weiser.  It took five vehicles to move the drill, the tractors, and the seed to the new location.  I actually got to tag along on this expedition and even got to drive our brand new tractor by myself for the first time this year.  All that tractor lacks is a heated seat.

 

See how much she loves being outside? Or being with her dad? Or helping on the farm?

This is Samantha.  She’s a weaned bottle-baby who is still very tame and willing to let little cowgirls pet her.

Days with Daddy are the best days.

Hauling Cows with Two Kids

Hauling with two kids in tow is similar to hauling with one kid in tow.  Except now there are two little people complaining that they are hungry.  Two little people are tired and in need of a nap.  Two little people not wanting to be buckled in their carseats.

I have discovered the real purpose of carseats.  Carseat manufacturers may say that the purpose of a carseat is to keep your child safe while traveling in a car.  This is certainly one benefit, but the true purpose is to keep your child in one place while driving!  To keep them from crawling all over the seats, the controls, the steering wheel, and your lap during your road trip.  All it takes is a couple minutes of hauling in the semi for me to realize just how much I love my kids’ careseats and their restraining mechanisms.

Amid the crying and whining, though, there are sweet moments like this.

I love the sleeper-area of our semi where the girls can play while the cows or hay or whatever is being loaded.  The bed is the perfect place to take a nap, snuggle, change a diaper, feed a baby, read a story, feed a pre-schooler, or play with your little or big sister.

Hauling Hay with One Kid

One of the few jobs I could help with, while pregnant and mothering a vivacious two-and-a-half-year-old was hauling hay out of the field and up to the hay shed.  Hay hauling is pretty low impact so long as you keep a sharp eye out for holes or ditches in which you could sink a tire or two of the semi.  The semi-seats are air ride which makes for fairly smooth work for the driver.  The only thing wrong with the semi is that it is equipped with far too many buttons, knobs, and gadgets that a certain little child simply can’t keep her hands off.

Inevitably, though, hay hauling leads to napping in the sleeper of the semi.  It’s a hot and long job and Miss Henley always succumbs to a nap on the pile of sleeping bags in the back.

I just wish our dog Bo hadn’t also taken a nap on those very same sleeping bags.

Corn Maze with Friends

Sometimes we do fun things.  One of my favorite things about this blog is going back through all the pictures and stories to see that we actually do have good experiences as a family.  It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else seems to be doing, according to their Facebook or Instagram accounts, and feel like we don’t lead very exciting or fulfilling lives.  Even though I know in my head that all of these extra things do not make or break a family, sometimes I have a hard time feeling that truth in my heart.  So I like the visual record of the many fun things we do do 🙂 as a family.

The weekend before Halloween we went with our new friends, the Bergquists to a corn maze and had the funnest time.  I should say new friends to me, Henley, and Becca, Ty and Michael went to high school together and I was so excited to realize that Ty actually likes Michael who just so happens to be married to Casandra with whom I get along quite well.  Another plus, Michael and Casandra have two daughters…who just so happen to be the exact same age as our two daughters…Now when does that happen!?

We’re rebels who picked ears of corn to shell as we walked through the maze…Luckily the owners didn’t kick us out for breaking the rules.

Henley and Lucy, her new friend, had a blast running through the child-sized straw bale maze.

They held hands throughout the whole thing and went through it five times.

Two other fun attractions at the corn maze were a cow-train pulled by a tractor and a zipline.  Henley absolutely lost her marbles over riding on the cow train.  She cried the entire time.  Lucy, on the other hand, loved it and couldn’t wait for another turn.  Henley rode the zipline over and over again, even though it was high and nearly gave me a heart attack to watch her sailing, all by herself, ten feet in the air.  Lucy was all set to go down the zipline but lost her nerve at the last second and had to climb down.  At least each girl found her own favorite activity.

Beautiful Becca

Hello there!  I have so many pictures and stories to share, and so little free time to blog.  Add a temperamental laptop to that mixture and it takes forever to actually post anything!

I took these pictures of Miss Becca about a month ago and just love every single one of them.

She’s been spending most of her waking moments on her tummy lately, thanks to her little head developing a flat spot.  We’ve been to a cranial specialist and he thinks her head will round out on its own, with our help in positioning her off the flatness.  We’re so thankful Becca does not need a helmet, at least as of now.

Extra bonus: she is getting very strong.  She can scoot forwards, backwards, roll-over from tummy to back, almost roll-over back to tummy, and turn in a full circle.  This week she has really started to push herself up onto her hands…she’ll probably be crawling by Christmas!

She loves, loves, loves this afghan for tummy time.  The yarn is soft and there are lots of holes and popcorn puff stitches that make it a textile dream for little fingers.

Her little face just kills me.  It’s all just right there around her pointy, little nose.  She looks just like her daddy.

And her furrowed brow.

And her little tongue.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Obviously, I’m a bit obsessed with her cuteness.  My favorite new development is that Becca laughs whenever Henley tickles her or “scares” her.  It is the cutest thing in the world to see Henley working so hard to get her baby sister to laugh and also to hear the baby giggles coming from Becca.

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks dealing with various sicknesses.  Becca had a double ear infection which meant waking every 45 to 90 minutes all day and night long…which nearly killed her mother.  Once we beat that–thanks to antibiotics–we were dealing with reflux and upset tummy issues since all the awesome probiotics we had worked so hard to get into Becca early on were killed during the antibiotic treatment.  We had just started working the probiotics again when we caught a nasty stomach bug.  Henley was taken down first and was up all Tuesday night throwing up every hour or so.  I got it next and was up all Wednesday night and most of Thursday morning puking my guts out.  Becca started throwing up–much more than normal baby spit up–around noon Thursday.  Ty never got it, lucky guy.  We’ve been healthy all this week, minus some mildly runny noses, and are so very grateful.

I am finally getting more sleep, thanks to Becca sleeping better.  Henley also went through a rough patch sleep-wise.  I think her imagination is really taking off and her upset stomach didn’t help matters either.  She was waking up super early and having trouble going to bed thanks to nightmares.  Hopefully we get at least a few weeks of night time peace so we can all get caught up on sleep.

And hopefully no more puking.  It’s so awful and smells nasty and creates literal mountains of laundry.  Plus, we have too much going on to be sick!  Thanksgiving is next week and Henley’s birthday is the week after.  We’re praying to stay healthy and being grateful that we are healthy most of the time.  I feel so sorry for those who deal with chronic illness.  It truly is the most awful thing to be sick.