Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Uncooperative Little and My Other Little

 It is almost December and I have a little secret. I am DONE! Not only am I done with shopping, I have even finished wrapping the presents.
I must be superwoman. Or I'm just super excited for my kids' Christmas presents.

Anyway, now that I've finished my Christmas shopping, I decided to get started on some other projects. One of those projects was some new pictures of my kiddos for myself and extended family members.
Since the weather is beautiful and my kids are always perfectly dressed and coordinated (ha!), I decided today was the perfect day. But a little 3 year old who shall remain nameless decided otherwise.
The pictures weren't as easy as they normally are.
 I didn't have two kiddos excited to smile for the camera.
 In most of the pictures, one of my little rascals wasn't looking at the camera.
 And by the end, one of my kiddos was even getting a little bit frustrated and started saying, "Mom, I'm just so angry right now!" {At least he's appropriately sharing his feelings with me, right?}
 But somewhere along the way, I got some good shots of my littles.
 Every once in a while, the kiddo who didn't want to be in pictures would look up and give me a cute smile.
 And some of the time, he even matched his sister's poses, though I could not figure out why this was the favorite pose of the afternoon for my oldest little.
In the end, I came out with some super adorable, goofy, and beautiful pictures of my children. This last picture is my favorite because it is so my children!

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for these two. Every day, I love them a little bit more, even on the hardest of days {which included today}. They are not the easiest or most even tempered children but they are perfect in every way for our family.

I am so excited to enjoy December and do some fun things with my littles. I would say that this is my favorite time of year but really, I love every day with my family. I am the luckiest momma in the world.

And that's how Suze sees it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Importance of my Eternal Marriage

Tonight, I want to blog about the thing I am most thankful for at this very moment in time and that is my marriage.

Months ago, I didn't think I'd be married today. My attitude was in the wrong place and I just didn't think I was going to continue on with the eternal commitment I had made. Around the time that my husband decided he didn't want to continue to go to church with our family, I decided that was the final straw. "Poor me", right?

Big. Fat. Wrong.

Let's start with what changed my outlook on this not-so-big-but-seemed-really-huge trial. From the time I was a little girl, I judged those who stopped coming to church. I thought it was the end of the world for their happiness and for the happiness of their family members. I knew nothing like that would ever happen to me because I wouldn't be able to handle it (Kind of how I viewed infertility before becoming an infertile person. Ironic? I think not.).
The morning my husband told me he didn't have a testimony and wanted to stop going to church with us, I thought it was all over. I was angry and scared. I cried more in those first weeks than I did when I was diagnosed with infertility. I would write little odd things on my blog about going through something really hard but I didn't want everyone to know what was happening. It was hard feeling alone and I will forever be grateful to my best friend/sister who was the only one I really talked to in those weeks. I didn't feel like this was something we were going to be able to get through. I didn't feel strong enough to handle this.
But one day, things started changing. I began to view my husband as a child of God. I began to see this as his trial and realize that I am here to love him and support him. I realized this not-really-my-trial should have never had a 'poor me' sticker attached to it. I started realizing that my husband didn't feel like he is a child of God and that began to make me sad. Que this post. I hoped by some miracle that this trial would last weeks for him but such is not the case. Boss is figuring out his life and in the mean time, he is the best husband a girl could ask for.

What I've learned through this is that my eternal marriage is more important than what is happening at this very moment. There are days that are hard. There are days I'm worried probably more than you can even imagine {or at least I hope so}. There are days I want it all to end. But just like anything else in life, even on my hardest days, I've learned to trust in God's plan for our family. He knows what our life is and where it is going. I have faith that He will never leave me when I'm feeling lonely. He loves me. He loves Boss. And He wants us to be together forever. And guess what? I want us to be together forever too.

Everyone has trials. Everyone is dealing with something of their own. There have been many times I've been afraid that our family is being judged, just as I did to others as a kid, but what I've learned is that all I can do is make sure I'm not judging others. We don't know every personal story of everyone around us so why do we judge them for what we see on the outside?

If I could ask for one thing this holiday season it would be for more love. Not love for me but for my husband and for all of the others who are struggling to find out who they are, just as he is. I would ask that you reach out to someone you know and just love them. Don't judge them. Don't try to force them to do something. Just love them. Unconditionally love them as God loves all of us. I can bet you anything that God doesn't look at Boss and others and think, "Wow, you're making a stupid decision right now. How dumb! How frustrating!" He gets sad because He wants His children to know of His love but all He does is keep on loving us and hoping that we'll recognize and feel it. That's what I pray we can all do for someone close to us.

I am so thankful for my family and for the knowledge I have of God's love for me. I am thankful for the abundance of blessings in my life. I am grateful to know that no matter what trials come my way, I have faith that I can get through anything with God by my side.

And that's how Suze sees it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

We Bought A Zoo


As an early family Christmas present, we took advantage of a promotion at the Phoenix Zoo and bought a year membership. When I told the kids, they were so excited! We decided to go the very next day, just the kiddos and I alone.
It was our very first time going by ourselves and we will definitely be doing that again!
The kids were in Heaven, deciding what we would do and where we would go next. Nothing was off limits. And by that I mean we saw the elephants 3 separate times and the giraffes 4 separate times. :) I let them decide what we did the whole day.
 Spidey was not brave enough to sit with this orangutan so Petey took the opportunity alone. Isn't she adorable?
 We stayed at the orangutan exhibit for a long time since this little dude was swinging around on ropes and putting on the quite the show for the kids.
 Our membership includes free train rides and that is BY FAR my favorite part of the membership. The kids love riding around and seeing all of the animals at the beginning of the trip and then deciding from there which animals we will go see next.
On that particular day {we've gone a couple of times since}, we stayed for over four hours. We packed lunches and had a great day at the zoo! I am so grateful for beautiful weather that allows us to have a nice day out together, learning about animals and enjoying each other.

And that's how Suze sees it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Proud Mommy Moments: She's learning so much!

This week was the perfect week to link up with Emmy for my Proud Mommy Moment.

My sweet Petey is just the biggest girl these days! I sometimes have a hard time believing she's doing things that I remember learning at her same age. Can she really be that old?

The truth is, yes she can! She celebrates her half birthday tomorrow. I remember being 4 1/2. Such fun times.

Anyway, my girly is learning a lot and her personality, when she's happy, just lights up my day. Enjoy these videos from yesterday and today. She is quite the little turkey.

When she gets the sillies, she makes everyone around her laugh.
This week, she learned how to start the swing all by herself.
She has learned how to do the monkey bars halfway across.
She learned how to do a semi-cartwheel. This one has taken a while and she's been trying to get that correct motion down. I'm so proud that she finally got it!
And she also learned how to do handstands! Some of them are pretty high and she's getting really good at getting her legs up there.
I am absolutely, positively a proud mommy. I love that my girl is learning things that I used to spend hours outside doing. I love that she is still a carefree child. I know how NOT carefree life gets when you are older and it's fun to see my children enjoying the lives they are living right now. And that's how Suze sees it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I wish I would've known as a teenager

I've been out of the teenage age for 6 years now but let me tell you, thought of raising teenagers terrifies me.
I have dreams about being in high school again but with the knowledge that I have now. Those dreams are happy because in them, I am focusing on friendships and on God and not on impressing boys and thinking everyone is out to get me.
I wish those dreams would've been my high school reality but they aren't.

If I could go back in time, there would be so many things I would tell my teenage self.
I would tell my teenager self to love God more and accept Him into my life. Life would've been so much happier back then if the choices I had made had been different.
 I would tell my teenager self that it's ok to be different. Unique is good. But the unique I focused on in high school was uniqueness from my family and not from the rest of the world.
 I would tell my teenager self that she is not entitled to anything. Once upon a time when I graduated high school, my oldest sister lived in Utah and I asked if she would let me live with her family while I was working at a wilderness program. I was utterly surprised when she told me they did not want to do that. How rude, right!?! It wasn't until I got married that I realized where she was coming from. I don't "deserve" things, I earn them. And in a situation like that, she was doing what was best for her little family, NOT what was best for me. And as much as I never would have realized it then, raising a teenage sibling when you have small children is not as easy as I thought it was going to be for her family and I know that she made the right decision {not that she ever doubted that}.
My teenage self was all about herself.
 I would tell my teenage self that she was skinny and she should've appreciated it more. And that even if she wasn't skinny or isn't skinny now, she is still worth a whole lot more than she ever gave herself credit for.
I would tell my teenage self that the approval of a boy should not make or break her self esteem. She was and is a beautiful soul and having a boyfriend or being proud of the number of boys she was kissed by means nothing a mere 6 years later. So I wish it wouldn't have meant anything back then.
 I would tell my teenage self that her annoying older sister was just looking out for her when she would constantly tattle on her, especially that one time when she was caught kissing a boy in the hallway. I wish I could tell that teenage girl that her sister is her best friend now and she missed out on appreciating her every second of her life as a teenager. There could've been so many more great memories had she appreciated the love that older sister had for her.
Most importantly, I would tell my teenage self that above all else, she is the daughter of a King. I would tell her to recognize her royal birth and act in a way that would please God and not in a way that would please her peers. She wasted a lot of time pleasing people who have not stayed friends with her and now she realizes what a waste that was. Because I know how important it is to recognize your worth, I would tell her a thousand million billion times until she really understood that she is a child of God and that He loves her no matter what.

So if you are a teenager or have a teenager, I hope you remember your worth and realize that these short times in your life are going to be gone before you know it. Enjoy them and embrace them and always remember that you are a child of God.

{PS: I know, I've been talking about this subject in the last few posts but bear with me. It is too near and dear to my heart to not talk about anymore.}

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I am a Child of God

I know I am a child of God. I know that I have worth. I know I am special. And so are you.

If I could have one wish, it would be that every single human being could see themselves as God sees us all and that they could all feel of His love. {Ok, fine, so that was two wishes...}

I hope you know that you are a child of God.

I hope you know that you have worth.

And that's how Suze sees it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time Out for Women 2012

Well, it's official. Both of my out of state sisters have gone back home to California and Virginia. I wish they both could've staye forever but I guess their husband's and homes were important to them or something... ;)

This past weekend was Time Out for Women, which has become a tradition that my sisters and I usually do with my mom. It was, of course, a wonderful weekend but what was even more wonderful was having my sisters here for longer than just 2 days.

Last Thursday, before TOFW, we headed to Vertuccio Farms with all of the kiddos.
We started at the front and the kids spent a lot of time in this bounce house.

 My sister, Andrea, with her beautiful daughter, Ellie. Just click on the links on the side to baby Ellie if you want to see how BIG she's gotten since the last time I saw her. 5 months makes a huge difference on a baby!
 Petey was having so much fun being surrounded by cousins.
 I love this picture of my nephew, K Bear, in mid-air. I wish the lighting was better but click on the picture to see that silly kiddo flying.
 Of course, all of us adults had to try this out to see who could get the highest. I am proud to say that I am still the strongest because I got a 7.5 and noone else went higher than that. :)
 Spidey decided it was more fun to hitch a ride on the teeter totter and let the other kids do all the work.

I wish I had the super hilarious pictures of us jumping on the huge bubble thing at Vertuccio but sadly, they are on my sisters' cameras. If they ever send them to me, Ill make sure to post them.
 That night, I did a lot of snuggling with this sad little boy, whom we've nicknamed Bugsy. I'll explain why in a couple of pictures...
 Poor Bug has colic and reflux and has a hard time whenever his tummy is hurting.
 But >this< girl is apparently really good at getting him to calm down and sleep...and sometimes even smile! He is such a cutie and I love my nephew so much!
Here is why we call him Bugsy. If you've ever seen Bedtime Stories, you might know what I'm talking about. :)
 Here are all of us at TOFW. Yay for breastfeeding parties. :) I love Karin and my face in this picture. I promise we were just being silly. Nursing doesn't really gross us out. Well, maybe a little...but not really.
 My buddy during TOFW. This kid really likes me! Everyone would have trouble getting him to sleep and I would hold him and he'd be out in a minute. I loved feeling needed by him. My arms were feeling pretty empty with all of the babies around and I am so grateful to Bug for letting me be his second mom for the weekend. He really made my weekend a lot happier and easier.
 Jamie took a picture of Andrea and I with Jericho Road. Unfortunatly, I look like a complete idiot but this is the ONLY picture we got with them. I absolutely loved them performing at TOFW. They are pretty hilarious and amazing singers.
 Jamie stuffed Mini G in her TOFW tote bag. :)
 Karin did the same thing with Bugsy but looked a little bit creepy doing it...
 Isn't this the cutest picture? I am not sure why it's half blue but I do love that Bug was smiling for my picture too.
 We came back Saturday night and Sunday, the whole family got together again. We tried to get a picture of all 3 granddaughters but Ellie just wanted to grabb Mini G. :)
 Later, I got this adorable picture of the two oldest granddaughters. Aren't they beautiful? Petey has been the only granddaughter for almost 4 years so it has been so fun to have more girlies around, even if they're a lot younger than her.
 Ok, this procession of pictures is hilarious. I wanted a picture of everyone snuggling on the couch but K Bear closed his eyes.
 Then, after we told him to keep them open, Spidey purposefully closed his.
 In the last picture, Petey and K Bear are trying REALLY hard to keep their eyes wide open. Maybe we should've nicknamed one of them Bugsy...
 Two buddies. They are exactly 18 months apart and they get along pretty well. I love Petey having so many cousins to play with.
And let's just end it on this note...I have the cutest son!!! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Halloween!

 Halloween was a ton of fun this year, once Spidey got over the initial shock of scary costumes and mean people jumping out of hidden places scaring him. We had a trunk or treat at our church on Saturday that I posted a picture of a couple of days ago. Spidey dressed up as Captain America (a birthday gift from us) and Petey decided to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
The rule for Petey this year was that she could pick anything we already had. So she picked Belle for Saturday's party, Tinkerbell when she dressed up for dance class on Monday, and on Halloween, she picked her costume from 2 years ago, a punk rock princess.
Boy howdy, we went all out this year with her costume and she loved every bit of it.
Spidey was kind of obsessed with this costume all weekend and it is super dirty now. He wore the mask more days than not and loved being a super hero. Captain America is his favorite Avenger and I'm glad he gets to have his own 'manly' dress up to play with now. :)
 Petey in her punk rock princess outfit---this was before we went all out and made it super awesome at night.
 Bruiser was with us during the day on Halloween so he dressed up as Sparky and we went to a pot luck at my dad's office. The kiddos had a lot of fun showing off their costumes but mostly, they just love playing in the waiting room with all of the trains. :)
 That night, my kids looked so adorable that I had to get some pictures of them outside our house before it got dark.
 My little Captain America is such a strong little dude!
 And he has the cutest smile ever!
 Petey really should be a model but since I don't really want her to do that, she is happy to model for my camera. I did not once tell her how to pose and she gave me tons of options. :) She is so funny about moving her body a different, creative way for each picture. It's almost scary...

 Seriously, her poses are killing me! She is so funny and serious about giving me all these different poses!

 Her pink hair was her absolute favorite but second in line was being allowed to wear some make up. She had fun being a punk rock princess this year! She got asked by someone if she was Madonna, though. Not sure why but oh well. I thought she looked adorable. :)
We had a great time at my parents neighborhood party and then went trick or treating to a few houses in their area before heading home. It is so fun to see how excited my kids get about these fun holidays. I remember feeling that way as a kid too and it makes me happy to pass that on to them.