Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Goodbye to 2009

2009 has come and gone. It has been a good year for our family, perhaps a tad too busy for my liking and that explains my lack of blogging, but looking back I see how truly blessed we have been.

January found me happily caring for my sweet newborn baby Faith (and recuperating from a C-section). I tried to keep everything else to a minimum so I could have plenty of time to just enjoy my baby!

In February we blessed Faith, said our last farewells to Great Grandma Spendlove, who returned shortly after to her heavenly home, and celebrated Xiaoyi's (our foreign exchange student from China) 16th birthday! We also had the privilege of going as a family to the Draper Temple Open House. It was a neat experience for Vaughn and me to share with our children and non-member Xiaoyi the beauty and importance of the temple. I attempted to participate in our neighborhood's Biggest Loser Challenge but I found it to be frustrating because I couldn't make enough time to exercise! I struggled to keep up with nursing a newborn, caring for 8 other children (Xiaoyi included), the housework, laundry, and meal preparations.

By March I figured out how to make time for walking. Vaughn and I had a contest to see who could log the most miles on our ipods with nike plus. I had to be creative and entertain Enoch and Faith in the stroller while I walked, or get up super early, or walk after everyone was settled for the night. I logged 72 miles, not enough to beat Vaughn, who had LOTS of free time to walk ALONE, but an accomplishment nevertheless! I still struggled with my daily chores but the walking helped me to feel good in spite of being overwhelmed.

Bad weather interfered with my walking and in April I struggled with depression. (I should learn from this!!!!) As Activity Committee Chair I pulled off a successful ward Easter Egg Hunt with LOTS of help and support from my awesome committee.

I felt better in May but I longed for solitude-a luxury not easy to come by as the mother of 9 (including my Chinese daughter)! Enoch turned 3 in May! (Amazingly enough I even posted about it.) Josh turned 14! And Ashley received two awards at Maeser's Award Ceremony: Top Latin Student and 11th Grade's Top Socratic Seminar (History and English) Student! Another highlight of May was our annual family vacation to Bear Lake over Memorial Day weekend. As always it was a lot of fun to stay in Grandma's and Grandpa's house and play and swim with all of the Kearl family.

June brought relief from the stress caused by school (except for Cami's summer school) but it was still a busy month. Rebekah had a birthday and turned 7! We took a little day trip to Silver Lake. Rachel went to Bear Lake with Aunt Amy for a week. Xiaoyi returned to China. Uncle Will and his friend Steve came to visit from Texas and took everyone (but Grandpa and Grandma Spendlove-they were still in Europe) to dinner at KFC! I was in charge of a ward breakfast in conjunction with the primary's bike parade. Ashley, Cami, and Josh went to Youth Conference. Josh had Scout Camp. We helped build our ward's float and then we (Vaughn and I) were put in charge of getting it to and from the parade route (not an easy feat just ask Vaughn) and making sure we had enough people to pull, ride on, and walk with the float for the two Lehi parades. I was really grateful to have that whole project done!!! And Grandma and Grandpa Spendlove returned from their mission to England!

July brought a trip to Yellowstone for Josh with the young men and leaders; a Spendlove family visit to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House; my Seminary Council Reunion mainly made possible due to Facebook; girls camp for Ashley, Cami, and Vaughn. (Yes, Vaughn, he loves to volunteer at girls camp as a priesthood holder every year); our 19th wedding anniversary; a Kearl family cookout in the mountains; an awesome Spendlove family vacation including a day spent enjoying the amusements of Park City and a camp out at Heber Valley girls camp. July was a fun month!

We began August at Bear Lake for Raspberry Days and lots of time at the beach! I found my turns on the wave runner to be exhilarating! Our last blast of summer fun was a spur of the moment camp out in the backyard. Vaughn and Faith passed on this one but the rest of us had lots of fun! The rest of August was spent preparing to go back to school-lots of school shopping, assessments, and meeting of teachers and then all too soon school was in session. Also in August was the blessing of being able to attend the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple and the surprise of ward boundary changes, we suddenly found ourselves in a new ward.

September brought Cami's 16th birthday and her first date to Maeser's Homecoming Dance! It was also the month I trained at Velocity during their Pound for Pound Challenge (Velocity donated 1 pound of food to the food bank for every 1 pound we lost.) I lost 6 pounds and saw a lot of fitness improvements. It was a lot of hard training but I loved it!

In October we got to go as a family to Vaughn's mission reunion and meet Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Vaughn's mission president in Bordeaux, France 20 years ago; Ashley retook the ACT test after MUCH preparation and improved her score by a considerable amount; Cami, Josh, and I biked the Provo trail with Grandpa Spendlove; and of course we celebrated Halloween!

November was a birthday month: Rachel turned 9, Ashley turned 18, and Vaughn turned 29 again! Cami's good friend, Jared died and we mourned his passing. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Moore and Kearl families and keeping with tradition we saw Fantastic Mr. Fox with the Spendloves. I went the day after Thanksgiving with my brother, Rich and his wife, Amy,and my sister, Jodi and her husband, Naaman, to Nephi to visit my sister, Marci, who had her sweet little baby, Makinlee, 3 weeks early! Ashley and Cami were good enough to tend for all of us (11 little kids) while we made this excursion. Saturday night Jodi and I made an extra trip to Nephi to spend the night with Marci in her hospital room when we found out Makinlee was having difficulties and needed to be transported to a hospital in Provo. We didn't want her to stress and worry alone. Then Sunday morning after an uncomfortable night spent in a hospital recliner, I wrote a talk in the hospital parking lot and drove home just in time to speak in Sacrament meeting with the family in our new ward.

The craziness has continued in December! An opportunity to take a CNA class for free presented itself and I seized it! During the first 3 weeks of the month I spent 54 hours in class and 24 hours at a nursing home doing clinicals. I was super busy but I loved it! It was a thrill to be back in a learning environment. I did miss class one evening in order to celebrate Noelle's 11th birthday! I took my final and finished the course on the 17th. Then it was a mad rush to make up for lost time and prepare for Noelle's birthday party with friends, Faith's 1st birthday, and of course, Christmas! (I'm thinking that since December 21 was kind of a blur, I shouldn't have to add another year to my age! Am I right?) Thankfully, we had a very merry Christmas! And life has finally slowed down enough for me to catch my breath just in time for 2010!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My mom knows I love to read so she often gives me books as gifts. This past Mother's Day she gave me My Dear Sisters by President Gordon B. Hinckley. It is a sweet inspirational book full of beautiful art and uplifting quotes for women from President Hinckley. I reread it recently and his following words really make me want to be better:
"You have the potential to become anything to which you set your mind. You have a mind and a body and a spirit. With these three working together; you can walk the high road that leads to achievement and happiness. But this will require effort and sacrifice and faith."

I'm not sure what I want to be???

I do know that I have a long ways to go to reach my potential and I want to stop wasting time in mediocrity and get on that high road that leads to achievement and happiness.

Now, to muster up the faith and make the effort and sacrifice required....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Charity in Action

Sometimes life is hard! And a helping hand means so much!

I caught Tyler with my camera but there have been so many others who have served me and my family through the years. I am very thankful to all.

" And behold I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22: 37-39

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Can't Believe Enoch is Three!

On May 11, my little guy turned 3! Where does time go? It doesn't seem that long ago that he turned 2, or was born for that matter. What a joy he has been to our family! We still can't get over how cute he is.

Enoch admires his big brother Josh. He enjoys chillin with his big sisters, Ashley and Cami, and he loves to play house with Noelle, Rachel, and Rebekah. It breaks his heart when they go outside to play with their friends and he has to stay inside.

Enoch is gentle and loving to his little sister Faith. When she cries, he says, "Don't cry, I'm here, I'm here." He constantly smothers her with love and says “Oh, she is so cute, she is so cute.”

Enoch is affectionate. It fills my heart with joy when he comes up and says, "Mom, I love you." He is a singer. He bursts into songs like "I Am A Child of God" "Three Little Speckled Frogs" and "The Wise Man Built His House Upon A Rock" throughout the day. He loves books and is always looking for someone to read to him. He knows the alphabet and loves his letters.

Enoch is a very important part of our family! I am thankful to Heavenly Father for him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dry Bones! Not Me!

I linked to an uplifting post today of Nurture Mama entitled:

"All of you are children of the Most High." Psalm 82:6

"Be a joyful mother of children." Psalm 113:9

"Children are an heritage of the Lord" and "Happy is the [woman] who hath [her] quiver full of them." Psalm 127: 3, 5

It is not always easy to be a joyful mother of children but the world is a happier place when we are!
I am recommitting to be "a joyful mama!"

Besides what is the other option? An all time favorite funny verse tells me:

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22

Who wants dry bones?!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Ultimate Career

I found this quote on a blog entitled My Lady which I stumbled upon. It has caused me to wake up from a worldly stupor:

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only-- and that is to support this ultimate career."

-C.S. Lewis

I have been struggling. Satan has tried to make me feel I am missing out because I have chosen to be a homemaker for these many years instead of pursuing a career outside of the home. This quote has reminded me that I have no reason to feel bad about my choices. I have the ultimate career!
What a blessing it is to have the title of Mom and Homemaker! Now it's time for me to stop taking this marvelous opportunity for granted and to rise to the great responsibility!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Post Dedicated to Grandma Moore, Mom, and Ashley


"I sometimes wish every girl had access to a sewing machine and training in how to use it. She could then make her own attractive clothing." (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

Ashley went to Prom on April 25 with Bronson Whitmore. She had a great time! It was fun to watch from the side lines as a mom. However, my most favorite part of it all was being able to help Ashley sew her dress.

She decided several months ago that she wanted to make her own prom dress as one of her Young Women Value Projects. I was secretly worried because I hadn't done much sewing since my wonderful grandmother, and dear mom gave up on teaching me many years ago. But Ashley was determined. She bought a pattern while on a shopping excursion with Vaughn and then persistently reminded me that prom was getting closer.

Unable to procrastinate any longer, but afraid to actually begin I helped her make a trial run out of an old orange flowered sheet. Once I could see that we actually could make a dress that fit, I mustered up the courage to begin on the real thing: purple taffeta.

Ashley did most of the pinning, cutting, and sewing. I read the pattern and showed her what to do and how to do it. I am happy to say all of my grandma's and mom's efforts to teach me to sew weren't in vain! It felt great to be able to pass this skill I learned from them on to my daughter.

Now, I think we may have caught the sewing bug! The sewing machine hasn't been packed away yet like it usually is. Ashley and I each have a few projects in mind, Cami has been sewing together all of the jean squares she cut out last summer, and Noelle has been begging to create something, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Family Home Evenings

Family Home Evenings have been very good at our house lately. Not because Vaughn and I have done anything spectacular, but because our kids have.

Josh taught a couple of great lessons, on service and gratitude, complete with scriptures to look up and read, and his testimony. Ashley prepared and presented a touching Easter message.
And Noelle spent the Sunday afternoon before her lesson on the Word of Wisdom, preparing visual aides while everyone else in our household over 8 napped.

Living the Word of Wisdom helps you to be healthy and happy.

Breaking the Word of Wisdom will make us unhealthy and unhappy.

(See Doctrine and Covenants 89)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Wise Principle For Dealing With Difficult People

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a link today that I found to be quite useful:
How to Stop Difficult People from Zapping Your Energy and Happiness . Fortunately, I do not have to deal with too many difficult people in my life but for those times when I do run across a porcupine I will now be prepared! Well, at least in theory! (There is the minor detail of actually applying this new info.)

I recommend you read the original post but in a nutshell, this is what I learned from Brian Vaszily:

What zaps our energy and happiness more powerfully and rapidly than anything else is our reaction to difficult people. Difficult people are not responsible for zapping our energy and happiness. We are in control of ourselves. We have a choice in how we respond.

He recommends that we make a list of the difficult people in our lives and then think, of all things: What about this person is worth emulating?!

Vaszily goes on to say: "It is our reactionary egos that are prone to completely trash those who seem to have a negative influence in some way on us. Our egos are primitive; if somebody strokes them, that somebody is good, and if somebody kicks them, that somebody is bad.

This lingering reaction creates the notion of “dislike,” or hate, which blocks our eyes, mind and heart from focusing on anything but the negative. But by focusing on the negative in anyone – “I really don’t like that person” -- we are doing by far the most damage to ourselves.

Honing in on what we don’t like in people (or in situations for that matter) won’t change them, but it does make our lives considerably less peaceful and sucks away our energy and happiness. It becomes a habit that perpetuates the self-damage. Plus it makes us considerably less attractive to others."

So there you have it. Now we know what to do, lets just do it!

I overdosed on caffeine a few hours ago and now I can't sleep! I haven't done this since my high school days when I worked at a restaurant and I could drink all the diet coke I wanted for free. Rather than wasting my time in bed I decided to make use of this jittery energy and do something? Anything? to save my blog!?!

The perfectionist in me has been stressed out by all of life that I didn't chronicle last year; the overwhelmed me realizes there is no way I will ever adequately "catch up"; the aspiring blogger in me does not want to abandon ship; and so I'm doing the only thing I can do. I'm letting bygones be bygones and moving forward.

I'll just say that 2008 was a year of many afflictions that culminated in the great blessing of receiving sweet little Faith. Would I do it again? Whole heartedly I say YES!!! But I am grateful, very grateful that I don't have to.

Sweet Little Faith when she was 1 month old.

2009 has so far been a little kinder and yet... Heavenly Father has not seen fit to lift all of the heavy burdens. I am trying now to more fully"Come unto Christ" for I truly need His rest!

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matt: 11:28-30

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time to Catch Up!

Christmas 2008

Santa Came!

The stockings weren't exactly hung by the
chimney but Santa filled them anyways!

Ashley always takes good care of Enoch.
Bekah wants to help too!

What did Santa bring Josh?

Hurry Noelle!

It's a barbie!

Noelle gave Rachel the coveted golden ball!
Rachel also gave one to Noelle. How tricky!

Santa knew Cami likes to exercise!

A Rubiks Cube was on Xiaoyi's list!

Enoch got a new outfit!

Bekah enjoying Christmas!

The only thing that would have made our Christmas better would have been to have sweet little Faith at home with us. She was having difficulties breathing and so she had to stay in the hospital for one more day. I went back to the hospital Christmas afternoon to be with her. Cami came with me to keep me company.

Friday, February 13, 2009

When I first started this blog I was so excited and had high hopes of keeping an online family journal and I was doing quite well but then the sickness that accompanies my pregnancies hit and I fell into a black hole.

When Faith arrived I emerged from the black hole!! And it has been such a joy to have her as part of our family! But it has taken me awhile to figure out how to add one more person's needs into my already busy life and stay balanced. I still don't have it figured out?! I am beginning to think that I will never figure it out!
So even though life is chaotic and at times I feel like I don't even have time to breathe I am going to start blogging again! Soon...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Announcing the arrival of

Holly Faith Spendlove

December 22, 2008
1:54 p.m.
7 lbs 3 0z
19 in
American Fork, Utah

It had been a long hard 9 months and I must admit I was thrilled my blood pressure was high and I needed to be induced!

Vaughn had to wear a mask and gown.

The baby was breech so I had my first c-section.

Noelle thinks "Dad looks like a lunch lady!"

I was sad I couldn't hold my baby right away.


It was all so worth it!

The weather outside was frightful the day Faith was born so by the time the Vaughn was able to bring the kids to the hospital to see their new little sister they were unable to see her up close because she had been moved to the NICU.